Midriffs

After a year or two of dabbling, I finally jumped headlong into the high waist jeans trend. They work well for my body. My favorites hit right at my navel (11" rise or more).

Of course it's made me reconsider my tops, also. I've been tucking in my loose-fitting tees, and I like that look. But I've also sought out a capsule of boxy, cropped tees and shirts.

Some are barely cropped, more of an updated regular length. But some are cropped enough that, on my very long torso, a sliver of midriff appears when I move. 

I'm trying to decide how I feel about that. I've been self-conscious ever since a guy in my lab said something about my accidental midriff in the early 2000s... back when jeans waists were dropping lower and lower, and tee lengths hadn't kept up! At the time it wasn't at all the look I wanted, so I added long tank tops under my tees.

But, my current top + jeans combinations are trendy and intentional. And in casual contexts (weekend socializing, dance class) I have no trouble showing a lot of midriff. It's just a question of whether any is acceptable in my lab/office, say. My rule of thumb has become, if no skin shows while I stand still, I'm fine with the small amount of skin that might show when I move. My workplace is incredibly casual, my look is generally the opposite of sexy, and I doubt anyone would think it was inappropriate here. (Note that I don't teach at present - there's a whole different set of considerations when I'm teaching.)

And that brings me to a shopping dilemma. I found this really great cropped white blouse at Aritzia, but it really shows a lot of midriff on me (much more than the model). I love it. But I don't think I'd wear it to work (unless I change careers to fashion editor). It would look weird over a layering top, and none of my pants are quite high enough at the waist. I could wear it on weekends, but I have no shortage of shirts, so it's probably not worth the price or hanger space for something I'd only wear to... trendy brunch? Art museums? Shopping? (Then again I've just about talked myself into it, from that list of outings.)

It's on final sale, so I didn't buy it at the store today, but I'm debating going back for it tomorrow. Sorry I didn't think to take photos in the fitting room.

25 comments

The infamous Levi’s wedgie jeans and my vintage high rise quest

I’m chasing that cool vintage high waist, button fly look and I don’t think it works for me. Do either of these jeans look right?

One is the Levi’s wedgie in deedee wash (heavy denim with stretch) and the second is a sample version of the same style that I found at a thrift store, in a lighter weight denim. I thought I liked the second better but now I’m not sure.

I’m realizing that my small weight gain all went to my waist. I haven’t adjusted to seeing the current me. So it’s hard for me to judge these.

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Yet another round of interview clothes (ETA photos)

The career rollercoaster continues! Seven months since my applications went in, and places are starting to reach decisions. I have a second visit to one school this week. That means they're seriously considering me, but no offer yet.

Second visits are more casual. No suit required, and nice jeans are ok. I need clothing for two days. The first day includes a casual presentation, so I want to look put together, and the second day can be more like my normal clothes. Weather will be in the low 70s - it looks like spring has finally arrived in New England!

I've collected all my options into this Pinterest board and added a few likely choices into Finds.
https://www.pinterest.com/mono.....l-round-2/

I'm realizing a problem with my wardrobe. I have dressy wool trousers, jeans, and nothing in between. I think I'll wear nice jeans for this round, because my black wool trousers just look a little too harsh. But then the second problem: my nicer jeans (better fabric, unfaded, flattering fit) are lower rise, and they don't play well with my new batch of stylish, slightly cropped shirts.

I run hot, so I don't want to wear a blazer during the day. But I think I'll want a light jacket as outerwear for the evening, and it's tricky to figure out what works with my outfits.

I'll play around with outfits and add options in comments here as I pack this afternoon, but in the meantime I was curious if anyone had ideas from the options. (Edit: problem is, all the jeans are drying on my drying rack right now! Hard to model them while wet.)

Edit 2: added a blazer option because it might be the best option for a light spring jacket, and not too dressy if I wear jeans. Would require rethinking the layers beneath it.

Edit 3: Photos.

1 - 2: Madewell slim straight jeans. Everlane oxford; Everlane notch collar silk shirt that I haven't committed to.

3 - 6: Madewell slim boyfriend jeans, cuffed. Equipment tee + Theyskens blazer*; old Everlane square silk shirt (is the new one too similar?), same blazer over a sleeveless shell (meh).

7 - 11: Everlane wide leg 'crops'. Upgraded from the ones I owned: a size down and solid black. I just zipped over to Everlane this afternoon and bought them. Here is the PPL issue: they are almost full length. But not quite. Shown with two shoe options (oxfords and x-strap flats). I could get them hemmed tomorrow maybe?? Currently wearing them for a few minutes at my desk to see if they stretch out as much as I expect or if I will continue to feel like I am in a corset. ;-)

12 - 13: R13 x-over jeans. Less in love with this than I expected.

Not shown because they are still drying: R13 skinnies (my most polished jeans), Rag & Bone full length wide leg.

So I need to find two outfits from this that are not too similar between the two days. I can mix and match - sorry for showing so many combinations. 

The next challenge is toppers...

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35 comments

A sneakerhead is born

I've always owned a pair of classic black & white Converse Chuck Taylors. They were my signature look until a few years ago when they fell out of constant rotation. They just didn't quite look right with most of my outfits. Oxfords, refined flat boots, and the like took their place.

But, comfortable shoes are great. And the thing is, I'm really a casual person, just not sporty. I needed sneakers that fit my minimalist aesthetic and had a bit of edge. And I ended up with not one, not two, but four new pairs of sneakers. I can see how people fall into the rabbit hole of sneaker collabs... there's always some new limited edition.

I'm wearing all of these happily but I really need to stop here and NO MORE SHOES until these are worn into the ground. After my moth incident, I tidied up my "closet" (aka half my bedroom) and bought an Ikea shoe rack to contain the shoe situation. With the rack and the white shoe-filing cabinet, I have just enough space for my current collection -- and no more.

1. Puma x En Noir Clyde in nubuck. So comfy. These have become my go-to shoes for travel. A little more casual than my usual. My boyfriend liked them so much that he bought his own pair.

2. Puma x Stampd Clyde in perforated leather. Uh. I know I don't need two pairs of Pumas but these are all I've ever wanted in a minimalist sneaker. They're more refined than the other pair, with unlined leather and a pared-down look.

3. Converse Modern Lux. They were stupidly expensive for Converse, but the minimalist touches really called out to me. And they're perfect with all my new cropped wide-leg jeans. Unfortunately they're a little narrow, but I cut the tags and wore them today with no real discomfort. (While creating the Find for this post, I discovered the price had dropped from $140 to $70, and I got a price adjustment from Nike!!)

4. Atelje71 Emerald. These were probably a mistake, bought from Gilt a few months back. I like the retro 90s style but they're too big (I was between sizes) and my heel slides up and down. They don't work with cropped jeans the way I was hoping, but they're cool with skinnies or boyfriend jeans.

No more sneakers allowed. (But if any of you are looking, the Puma Stampd shoes also came in a dusty rose that might still be available in some stores, as well as white-ish and light grey that you can still get at Puma. Sizes are men's/unisex.)

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Monochrome essentials

With everything one color, it was a fun and surprisingly easy task to group things into essential categories. My wardrobe is more coherent than I realized. And the things that don't fit in these categories don't get worn very often.

  • button-down shirts, sleeveless and long sleeve (silk, cotton)
  • shirt dresses worn as tunics (silk, denim, cotton)
  • low-neck tees (the deep v adds some structure to outfits)
  • tunic-length tees and tanks
  • long cardigans, boxy cardigans (cotton, wool)
  • light v-neck pullovers (cotton, silk)
  • sleeveless or short-sleeve wool pullovers, often structured felted fabric
  • three jeans silhouettes: skinny, relaxed skinny, and boyfriend.
  • biker jackets (leather, denim, wool)
  • not black: white buttoned shirts and tees

I'm currently adding wide-leg jeans to the mix -- we'll see if it sticks. To go with the new jeans, I think I also need to add fitted knit tops, and maybe some grey or white options for contrast. I could also use a few more summer-weight cardigans of different shapes.

I can pick out some details that make these things feel like essentials, not just basics. The heavy wool sleeveless tops (eg, Helmut Lang felted wool funnel neck) and silk shirts are really my go-tos. My cardigans are interesting, almost architectural shapes.

This list is going to be really useful for packing!

Things that aren't represented at all, even though I own plenty of them:

  • skirts (ok, a denim skirt probably should be on the list)
  • pants that aren't jeans
  • pullover crewneck sweaters
  • grey (never wear it, except today, as it happens)
  • blazers (I LOVE my blazers but I guess I just never wear them)
  • dresses
Edit: On statements: I think my leather jacket and the structured wool tops might actually be statement items, come to think of it. Same with one or two of the shirt-dress looks. And the blazers and dresses would fit in that when I do wear them. But I think my overall look is a statement silhouette made out of essential items, rather than statement items, if that makes sense.

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My faculty interview clothing! Decision time.

I have a faculty job interview at an med school in New York, on Wednesday and Thursday. Eek. Luckily most of my interview capsule still fits and I have a lot of good options. I just need to decide today before I fly out tomorrow morning.

Job talks are the only time you'll see a biologist in a suit, and a suit can be overkill, especially in the basic research departments that are full of mad scientist types who wear jeans and old t-shirts to lab. My friend there said most candidates didn't wear suits - but I'm not sure he'd notice what someone wore! As a woman I have a lot of leeway to wear what I want, but I also have to think about blending in (there are no women in this department yet, which I know they're trying to improve!).

So my goal is:

  1. True to my personal aesthetic
  2. Something I feel confident and relaxed in
  3. Snazzy but not standing out too much

Notes:

  1. I do not have time to hem or alter anything. :(
  2. I'll wear my hair down as in these photos, and just a touch of makeup
  3. On Wednesday it will be 60 degrees(!) so I can wear open shoes, but I'll have ankle boots in case of rain.
  4. These photos are awful, sorry!

Option 1 (photos 1-4): This is my default.

  • Everlane wool trousers (need a good steaming, which I will do at the hotel)
  • Milly silk shell (omg I love this HEWI, found at Crossroads last month)
  • Theyskens wool blazer
  • LD Tuttle shoes

The trousers are too big but the silhouette under the jacket is better than other black trousers in my wardrobe. I like the slim cut of the legs. I plan to keep the jacket on.

Option 2 (5-8): 
Same, with grey wool Rag & Bone trousers. I found these at the Rack for $40 and they fit quite well (other than the length? which is passable). I'm not sure I like the black jacket, grey trousers combo. I only wear black normally, so I actually feel uncomfortable in this outfit. But the all-black suit in option 1 is also rather stark, so perhaps this is a nice way to tone it down.

Option 3 (9-10):
Same, with R13 jeans. Friends in similar departments say the jeans would be fine, but I understand why you all said no on this. The appeal here is that the skinny legs work very well with the bold, wide jacket; with wider pants, the jacket just makes me look larger than I am.

Day 2 (11-12):
This is what I'm wearing for the second day of the interview, meeting with all the faculty individually. R13 crossover jeans, Uniqlo silk shirt, Allsaints ankle boots. Also adding my favorite dressy cardigan because it'll be cold, but I accidentally deleted that photo.

Random other things:
I am not going to wear a skirt (it's a bad idea, fair or not), but I like these looks. The silk DeMeulemeester skirt needs to be steamed. The wool skirt is another Rag & Bone Rack score, also $40, and I love it so much that I'm keeping it even if I never need a professional skirt.

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45 comments

When your formal capsule... is covered in mildew!

The title says it all. I'm heading to a wedding this weekend. The other day I pulled my fancy Theyskens Theory fishtail skirt out from the guest room closet, and the bottom is covered in little spots of what must be mildew. Damn it. I don't know if there's a leak in there, or if I put it away wet, or what.

It might be clean-able, but not this week.

The wedding is a very out-there crowd, all bright mohawks and techno-goth finery, and the clothing suggestion is "elegant but non-stuffy" (black is fine, even encouraged). And it'll be sort of chilly at the venue. So I fell back to a different plan, a simple LBD, fishnets, and this amazing silver leather coat that I found at a thrift store right when I joined YLF: http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....oween-look

So I'm not sure what the moral of this story is. Either, check your formalwear capsules occasionally for moth / mildew / fit issues, unlike me. Or, good thing I had a good formalwear capsule, with a few other options ready to go!

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Uniqlo has taken over my wardrobe!

I just updated my Pinterest boards with some new purchases and had a strange realization: 2/3 of the clothing I've bought since summer is from Uniqlo! I guess they really are the new Gap for me: versatile, high-quality, natural fibers, and most things come in black...

Have you found one brand taking over? Do you try to put the brakes on it before it goes too far? I go through phases of focusing on basics and it might be time to seek out a few special items to balance it out.

Basic or not, I love almost every one of these and they're basics with a bit of style. A lot are from the recent Uniqlo U line which was directed by Lemaire in some way. They filled a lot of niches in my wardrobe. So, I'm putting this all solidly in the positive category -- I just hadn't quite noticed what a trend it was!

(I'm including Finds for images but alas, almost all are sold out.)

Uniqlo U:

  • wool milano-knit sweater with a distinctive boxy cut that is somehow flattering
  • 70s-esque crewneck tee of the most amazing thick cotton - I wish I could have bought four, and some in white, but they sold out
  • fitted button-down shirt, something I'd wanted for ages
  • long button-down tunic, ditto
  • denim A-line midi skirt - I don't know yet if this one is in the "love" category, as I waffled too long on keeping it and missed the return window

Regular Uniqlo:

  • men's flannel shirt that I could wear every day
  • sleeveless tunic-length tee that is instantly flattering
  • v-neck tunic tee, same (not shown because I couldn't make a find)
  • boxy boiled-wool sweater coat that is admittedly not (conventionally) flattering but I wear it at least once a week

If I added my new R13 jeans to this set, it would almost be a perfect capsule wardrobe!

33 comments

Getting with the program: wide leg crops and PPL

Happy Election Day, US folks!

My jeans wardrobe needs an overhaul. One coveted item is a pair of black wide-leg cropped jeans. I dislike flares / bell-bottoms on myself, so I'm going for straight wide legs. Crops are hard on my very short legs, so I'm looking for some tough love on PPL.

Here's my jeans pinterest board, things that have caught my eye whether they're in my price range or not:
https://www.pinterest.com/monochro/jean-ome/

I can't decide between a few different styles. I bought two, but I may keep neither of these. 

1. Madewell high waist wide-leg jeans. They're an affordable duplicate of the pricey Rachel Comey Legion jeans. 70s-style at the top -- this is honestly something I have a poison eye for, on myself. Tight through the rise -- one size up is probably too big, but I should go back to the store and try it. I would cut them off to get the intended look on my short legs, maybe where I've folded them in the third photo?

2. Rag & Bone wide-leg jeans with a 2000s look to them. The low waist is less trendy but much much more comfortable on my fussy tummy. They're new, but do they look too dated? Could I crop these to modernize them or would they work best floor-length like we wore them back then? How short should I crop them, if so? 

The other contender is the straighter CoH crops in finds. Honestly I sort of love them. They're more my style, if they fit: medium rise, weathered denim, a bit grunge. I always go for grunge over 70s. But are they too much like boyfriend jeans?

Other jeans suggestions appreciated too!

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15 comments

Ask Angie: cropped tops and high waisted pants

With my long torso and short legs, high rise pants could be a great idea. But I am often at a loss for what to wear with higher rise trousers.

And, on the flip side, slightly cropped tops are everywhere this season. That seems like a good solution, but I can't quite make it work. My torso is long and a bare midriff isn't acceptable for work, so I have to be careful. Even mid-rise jeans are far too low on me for these tops.

So I'm in a bind. I would love to introduce both silhouettes into my wardrobe, but I never seem to find the right way to wear them.

I bought the lovely Banana Republic shirt in Finds below, then tried it with everything in my wardrobe and nothing quite looked right. Similarly, I'm not sure what to wear with the high-waisted Alice + Olivia trousers that I bought. They do work together, I think! A few other examples below.

I'd love to see ensembles that combine these shapes in interesting ways! Anyone have favorite inspiration photos or items? Do you all wear cropped tops?

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