September tracking - week 4, final reckoning

Well, this week started off with a lot of outfits I didn't love. But I got my mojo back by the end! Amusingly, I accidentally wore almost the same outfit twice -- the first time was in my "meh" list, the second time in my "yay" list, and I didn't even notice until I wrote this post.

Sunday: I stayed in my bathrobe until dinnertime, doing various housework, but then threw on an outfit to go out for pizza. It was a chilly evening, so I cut the tags on my new Halogen wool moto - I love it.
Everlane faded boyfriend jeans, Madewell elbow sleeve merino top, Halogen wool moto (new), Frye engineer boots

Monday: White jeans are a big departure for me. I bought this pair a while ago as 'emergency' jeans when I realized the jeans I was wearing were really uncomfortably small. So... they are a full size too big. Between the size problem, the mundane sneakers, and my discomfort in white pants, I felt pretty meh in this outfit, and then I was asked last-minute to fill in for a grad seminar... Ugh.
Levi's wedgie distressed white jeans, J Crew linen v-neck, Gap cotton cardigan, Everlane jean jacket, Puma sneakers
But then I went for super energetic Irish folk dance, at a venue I haven't been to in years, and I had an excellent time.
Dance outfit: Club Monaco wool flare skirt, Gap tank, dance shoes

Tuesday: Another meh day. These are the full-length version of the Everlane jeans I asked about a few weeks ago. The combination with the Converse made it feel like something I'd wear in high school, but not in a good way. I'm going to hack off the jeans to hit above my ankle bone. Also, I love this cozy men's cardigan but it's too shapeless to make the outfit pop.
Everlane cheeky straight jeans (new), Zara cropped tee, Margiela wool boyfriend cardigan, Converse high tops

Wednesday: My most meh day! It was supposed to be a real summer-like day, so I wore the Gap crops that I haven't worn much this year. The combo with the drapey knit top made me feel twice as large as I am. I might pass this top on because I rarely feel fab in it.
Gap wide leg crops, Eileen Fisher knit linen top, Everlane jean jacket, Dr Martens sandals

Thursday: Getting better! These are the Gap mom jeans that I love but feel ill wearing because of the dye odor. After another few rounds of washing, once with peroxide bleach, then hanging in the sun, they were ok to wear all day! I think I should get the jeans hemmed a few inches.
Gap mom jeans, Everlane oxford, Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats

Friday: Not bad at all! Very me. I am taking notes on what made this feel perfect. Amusingly, I decided against buying this Uniqlo top a year ago, but this year I bought it and I'm really glad.t.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Uniqlo cocoon top (new), Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
bonus photos with my new wool moto - wasn't sure which I would wear out of the house - and the amazing purse I bought this summer!!

Saturday: Accidentally duplicated Tuesday, but, I like it this time. Same tee (I have 3) and jeans, but I folded up the jeans to show where I might chop them off. Maybe an inch lower than shown. Much better at this length and with oxfords.
Everlane cheeky straight jeans (new), Zara cropped tee, Zara nylon jacket, J Crew oxfords

Of note:

  • It's definitely fall, meaning I'm shopping and buying more. I cut the tags on the wool moto, Everlane jeans, and cocoon top this week. That makes three new pairs of faded black jeans this month... but I do like them all. What do you think of the 'cheeky straight' style?
  • I'm not sure about the white jeans as a look for myself, but I did manage to find the proper size on Poshmark, so I bought them and will sell these (no net $ loss). Big improvement over these. I wish they had just a touch of grey... the contrast feels too stark to me. But, the distressing takes them firmly out of preppy territory (not one of my styles) so I think they'll work for me as a wildcard. I'm going to chop them off (they're sold as raw hem, but too long on me, so I rolled them).
  • The Free People shoes really do jazz up any outfit! Both my sneakers outfits felt blah. I like the black Pumas with the white jeans, but I think the outfit would feel more my style with the FP shoes, or edgy sandals, or boots.
  • The non-meh outfits were put together more intentionally. I tried every pair of jeans I owned with the cocoon top to see what worked best. Solid black skinnies were the runner up, but I think this boyfriend look is best. It's interesting to see which tops work with all my new faded black jeans and which are best with solid black jeans. The faded jeans have the risk of looking sort of boring if I don't style them carefully.


  • jeans: Six pairs, one worn twice. Three carried over from previous weeks, three made their first appearance this week. I'm trying to wear all my jeans. Final total for September: 11 jeans (plus a skirt and a dress). Wore 11 of 18 that I own.
  • tops: A fairly standard mix of tees, sweaters, and shirts. I wore different tops almost every day of the month! Four repeats.
  • toppers and outerwear: Two cardigans this week. Three jackets. Wearing the Everlane denim jacket nonstop. Final total: 5 toppers, 5 jackets. I own many more but wore all the seasonally appropriate options.
  • shoes: Six pairs of shoes this week! The two pairs of sneakers are almost never worn, but I keep them for occasional use. Final total: 11 shoes. A few were worn once, the others were worn 2-3 times, and the Free People flats showed up 8 days! Wore 11 of 27 that I own -- but some of those 27 are up for sale on Poshmark, and others are more specialized (or a few outdated styles I am saving for the memories).

My main conclusion of this exercise: I have a large wardrobe. I do pretty well at wearing a lot of it, but there is so much more than I need. There's a core of pieces that see more use, but I don't feel a huge need to pare down the rest. I have storage space for my whole wardrobe, I cull things once I realize I truly don't like them, and variety isn't such a bad thing. But, I will be ruthless about selling things that never get worn, and I've done most of my shopping for the fall, so I shouldn't add many new items from here on.


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September tracking - week 3

It's finally summer! SF summer, that is, right on schedule. We've had a few days in the 80s, so sunny that it felt warmer. It's been chillier than usual this summer, so it was nice to have some heat.

Sunday: breakfast at a cafe with a friend in from NY, then we went to SFMOMA (we have memberships - quite affordable - but rarely go).
Uniqlo tee dress, Laer leather jacket, Dr Martens boots

Monday: woke up feeling really out of it and barely got myself together in time. Threw on an outfit with messy hair and a giant zit on the tip of my nose - perfect for my first faculty meeting in my new department! :(
Madewell slim straight jeans, Uniqlo tunic shirt, Everlane jean jacket, Allsaints flat ankle boots.

Tuesday: back to normal.
Everlane faded boyfriend jeans (new), Gap cotton v-neck sweater, Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats

Wednesday: no meetings, so I wore a denim mini skirt.
Madewell raw hem mini skirt, Everlane u-neck tee, J Crew cotton/wool sleeveless duster cardigan, J Crew boys' oxfords

Thursday: gave a talk on my research to the new grad students. Possibly showed more midriff than ideal for the context?
Everlane faded boyfriend jeans (new), Banana Republic cropped
short-sleeve shirt, Dr Martens sandals

Friday: meant to go out in the evening but didn't, again.
Madewell slim straight jeans, Zara chunky cotton sleeveless top, Rag &
Bone velvet jacket, Dr Martens boots

 a good friend's art opening! One of those fantasy lifestyle events, and everyone looked so cool.
R13 crossover jeans, Everlane u-neck tee, Free People asymmetric flats, Laer leather jacket

Of note:

  • Not one but two dress/skirt outfits! 
  • A few of these outfits had favorite tops that are getting faded -- I know of an excellent fiber-reactive black dye that I could use to re-dye some things, but it require hot water and works best on raw/organic cotton. I wonder if it's worth trying.
  • I bought another pair of Everlane faded jeans -- this time the boyfriend jeans. I don't need any more. I don't regret the purchase because they fit me so perfectly but, time to stop shopping for them - no more faded black wash jeans.
  • I've been culling my shoe collection to remove things that I never wear, mostly for comfort reasons. Lots of money down the drain, though I've recouped some of it on Poshmark. I'm going to be extra careful about shoe purchases in the future. Comfort is king, as Angie knows. The rejects are thing that should have been comfortable but were subtly wrong. It can be hard to get it right.
  • I stopped tracking gear. I went to two dance classes and wore my standard workout clothes.


  • jeans: Three pairs, two worn twice each. One carried over from last week, two made their first appearance this week. As expected, I'm rotating through my large jeans collection quite reasonably, but I'd probably be fine owning fewer. Running total for September: 8 jeans (plus a skirt and a dress).
  • tops: no repeats yet (but I have multiple copies of the Everlane u-neck tees, if that counts as a repeat). I own a lot (too many) tees, and I could definitely get by with fewer tops. No dressier tops this week, but I tried to expand out from basic tees - the Zara sleeveless top was an old favorite that I hadn't worn in ages (actually I thought I'd donated it).
  • toppers and outerwear: another warm week meant few cardigans, again; just the sleeveless duster that I also wore in week 1. Same three jackets as the past weeks, reinforcing my sense that these were all great purchases. Running total: 4 toppers, 4 jackets.
  • shoes: Five pairs of shoes this week (two work twice each). Three from previous weeks, two new pairs (a different pair of Dr Martens boots, and my dressier Allsaints boots). Running total: 9 shoes.

Photos: Thursday, Wednesday.


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September tracking - week 2

Week two! Quite different than week one. Last week was a capsule. I could own only those items and be pretty happy. This week was odds and ends. I think it was subconscious: the capsule was great but I own a lot of clothing and I should try harder to wear more of it.

Again, all black unless otherwise specified - but this week did see more of my white and lilac options.

Sunday (photos 1-4): Wandered around my neighborhood with my guy. We stopped into the awesome cheese and wine place for an afternoon snack - bonus photo of me and a glass of rose (usually I'm a beer person)
Everlane faded high rise skinnies, Aritzia cropped tee, Zara cropped nylon jacket, Free People asymmetric flats.
Monday: work, nothing special, but a nice warm day
Gap faded cropped wide leg jeans, Everlane men's white short-sleeve oxford, Everlane jean jacket, Converse leather high tops
Tuesday (photos 5-6): taught a class (grad students, so casual is fine)
Re/done high rise skinnies, Banana Republic lilac tee (new), Rag & Bone velvet jean-style jacket, Cydwoq sandals, silk bandana
dance (gear): Uniqlo sweat shorts, Uniqlo tee
Wednesday: planned to go out after work, so I wore edgier clothes (then didn't go out after all, heh)
R13 crossover jeans, Uniqlo boxy tee, Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
Thursday: work, much chillier than it has been
Levi's wedgie high rise jeans, Alexander Wang thick cotton sweater, Frye engineer boots
Friday: faculty meeting
Everlane high rise skinnies, J Crew silk shirt bodysuit, Laer leather biker jacket, J Crew oxfords
Saturday: we meant to do something social/interesting but we didn't - waste of a good outfit!
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Helmut Lang sleeveless draped wool turtleneck, Everlane jean jacket, Dr Martens boots

First, the totals.
Jeans: Six in one week! Three repeated from last week, three new. Boyfriend, three different high-rise skinnies, wide leg crop, and the very distinctive R13 x-over - a more eclectic mix than last week. The Gap wide leg crops haven't been worn much this year - I don't know if I got tired of them or if it's just that we had a chilly summer. Also, the new Everlane skinnies are really taking over the Levi wedgie's place in my wardrobe. But redundancy is fine even if I don't like the Levi's as much.
 No plain black tees!! Well, ok, two black tees but both were distinctive. And two non-black tops! And I'm doing a great job of working my interview/professional clothes into my daily wear.
Toppers & outerwear: ...not a single cardigan! How strange. Last week was all cardigans. Mostly just the weather? And, same three outerwear choices as last week. Two weeks in, and the Everlane jean jacket is one of my best-ever purchases.
Shoes: Flats x2 (those Free People shoes are still dominating!), 2 boots, sandals, fancy Converse. The oxfords are what I used to wear in outfits where I now turn to the FP flats, but they still have plenty of opportunities.

Outfit happiness:
Thursday's outfit was sort of meh. I should have taken a picture. The chunky cotton sweater looks better with dramatic boyfriend jeans, I think. I'll keep that in mind. This outfit felt a little too much like me-in-highschool, sort of basic.
I really liked Sunday's outfit with the cropped nylon jacket, and Wednesday's with the crossover jeans, and today's with the years-old Helmut Lang top. All very me.
I like the lilac tee, but something didn't quite gel for me about Tuesday's outfit. Maybe just my unease at not wearing black.


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Argh! jeans length - my nemesis (updated in comments)

Update - photo of jeans folded up to a cropped length in the comments. And I'm going to the Everlane store today to try the full length.

I don't know how I can be so comfortable with my style in general but so hopeless at jeans lengths.

I just bought two pairs of Everlane jeans in their new faded black wash: high-rise skinny and 'cheeky' straight. I bought both in the ankle length, which is almost but not quite full length on me. I almost wish I'd gone for full length for both.

I think I just find full length more flattering on my short legs, but maybe it's hard for me to see?

So, the questions are:

Photo 1-3 The cheeky straight jeans - should I keep these? How should I hem / chop them? (Would a raw hem be best?) Alternately, I could return for the full length, which are only about 2" longer, and wear them full length. I'm not planning to roll them. (Photo 3 added because I realized the tag was making the waist area hard to see)

Photo 4-5 The high rise skinny: tags are cut and I've worn these a few times. Should I leave them this length or hem them? And, since they're inexpensive, I could even duplicate for the full-length style - what do you think?

Photo 6-7 (repost) The straight jeans are meant to be a replacement for these Gap 'mom' jeans (their name not mine) which are perfect except for the strong chemical scent of the dye that hasn't faded after multiple rounds of odor-removing detergent and drying in the sun. I feel sick within an hour of putting them on. At this point the only remaining option is bleaching them to almost-white for a totally different look, since I suspect the odor is from the dye itself. *sob*


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September tracking - week 1

I started tracking my outfits a year and a half ago, and it's been really informative. I've learned that jeans and denim or leather jackets get nearly infinite wears, for instance, justifying my large collections of both. I've also learned that special purchases do not live up to their promise: an amazing, expensive suiting vest, fancy shoes I craved, etc, are rarely worn. And, I've noticed that my professional capsule is huge after my year of interviews, so as I mentioned recently, I'm trying to wear it more often.

Anyway, here's what I wore this week (all solid black unless specified otherwise). It was the first week of the semester, so campus was bustling, and I had way more meetings than over the summer even though I'm not teaching. I don't track gear or play clothes in my spreadsheet, but I'm including them here for completeness.

Sunday: drove home from Burning Man - these are all old/worn items that aren't in my official clothing inventory (also jeeeeez that was a long solo drive - 9 hrs alone in the car).
Gap denim shorts, Madewell tank, hoodie from my art group, tall harness boots
Monday: holiday! shopping.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Everlane white tee, Allsaints Drina cotton cardigan, Laer leather jacket, Dr Martens gladiator sandals
Tuesday: work.
Everlane faded high rise skinnies (new), Zara cropped tee, Rag & Bone velvet jean-style jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
Burning Man truck unload (all old play clothes): Gap jeans, J Crew tee, Zara hoodie, old Docs
dance class (gear): Gap exercise leggings, Uniqlo tee, new sports bra!
Wednesday: work.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Everlane sleeveless silk shirt, Margiela men's wool/cotton cardigan, Dr Martens boots
Thursday: work.
Everlane faded high rise skinnies (new), Banana Republic merino shell, Banana Republic merino cropped open cardigan when it got cold at night, Everlane jean jacket (new), Free People asymmetric flats
Friday: work including faculty meeting.
Re/done high rise skinnies, J Crew linen v-neck tee, J Crew sleeveless wool/cotton duster cardigan, Everlane jean jacket (new), Cydwoq sandals
Saturday: social stuff.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Aritzia sleeveless tee with a dramatic long tail (calf-length in the back, waist-length up front), Everlane jean jacket (new), Dr Martens boots

So that gives us:

Jeans: boyfriend (worn 3x), two high rise skinnies (one worn twice) - these are pretty representative of the styles I like at the moment.
 white tee, cropped tee, sleeveless silk shirt, merino shell, linen tee, dramatic asymmetric tee - good diversity! I'm trying not to wear plain cotton tees as much; I own a stupid number of them.
Toppers & outerwear: cardigans (though I didn't always wear them all day), a different one each day. Sometimes I wish I just had one perfect cardigan but these are each useful in different ways. The new denim jacket is a home run; the leather jacket and velvet jacket are my other summer/fall standards. So, pretty representative.
Shoes: Also very representative. Two sandals (now that it's finally warming up), combat boots x2, and my new favorite Free People flats x2 - they are total workhorses and they've shifted my footwear style substantially.
Gear / play clothes: It's par for the course that I had one day where I only wore play clothes that I don't bother tracking, plus another day with multiple play/gear outfits. So I should make sure they're things I like, since those days often line up with my social interactions. I did well on that this week, since I'd rotated some beloved 'normal' clothes out into play clothes this summer. These jeans, shorts, and tees all fit well and are current silhouettes (higher rise jeans, for instance). Also, I bought my first real sports bra!

On new purchases: I bought the Everlane skinnies in their new gray wash, and the Everlane jean jacket, this week. And wore them multiple days. I think they'll be workhorses for a long time, but also, there is definitely a trend where I wear new items a lot for the first few weeks then move on to the next shiny new thing. I should try to keep rotating through older things so I don't over-buy new things that I don't need.


Denim jackets, figure flattery, and Burning Man

Here's some navel-gazing, with a related K/R:

I just got back from Burning Man (it was so cool to run into JAileen at my grocery store stop on my way!). I've been going to the festival every few years since 2005, and it's always fascinating.

If you search google for photos, you'll see that the fashion is out of this world. But you'll also notice that women's outfits are skewed towards the very sexy side of things. That's not really my style. Since I'm often working on large art installations, my usual look is a cowboy hat, tank top, black denim shorts or short skirt, and tall Frye boots. Less sexy, more practical, maybe with a post-apocalyptic vibe. At night, I either wear a more interesting outfit (silver leggings, silver crop top, a few layers of warm jackets) or a practical flight suit / coverall (mine is flame resistant, warm, and dustproof!). My friends, though, have some fantastic outfits, and every year, I wonder whether I should put in a bit more effort.

That gets me to figure flattery. When I'm there, I wear skin tight leggings with no compunction. When I'm back in the default world, though, my style definitely leans towards relaxed and JFE. Five years ago I wore black skinnies, fitted tops, stompy boots -- the outfits that my local friends wear and consider cool and attractive. Styles shifted overall, and I traded in my super-skinnies for boyfriend or high-waist vintage jeans, my fitted tops for relaxed buttoned shirts, etc. But the people around me are wearing fitted clothes and they look awesome.

As I near 40 I've been thinking about this more. Why am I avoiding the figure-flattering look that my friends value? Have I overdone it on the relaxed fits? My relaxed look feels very me, but I do like my figure...

And that leads us from navel-gazing to a practical decision: this jean jacket. Jean jackets are a staple for me, but I haven't had a great one in years, and I've been searching. Everlane just released this great solid black, rigid denim option. It's boxy but not huge. I think I love it. But I also wonder if I'd be happier in one of the more flattering, figure-hugging options out there, like these two from J Crew and Banana Republic. Am I making myself look too shapeless?

What say you? Is the Everlane jacket The One (for now)? I think it's very true to my usual style. I almost wonder if I should size up for an oversized look?


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