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.
Tops:
 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.
Tops:
 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.

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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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Another new direction: light lilac complement

I've been wearing white shirts and tees fairly often, maybe once every two weeks, to break up the all-black wardrobe. I'm still very committed to black, but I started thinking it would also be interesting to add in a bit more color. I settled on icy pink and pale lilac as colors that work as an alternative to white. The paler, the better: my goal is really to give the black + white look but a bit softer.

So I'm starting to put together a small lilac complement. I decided tees and shirts were the easiest place to start, but I might also add a cotton pullover if I find the perfect one. The main problem is finding the right shades of pink and purple. Blush pinks look too much like my skin, and I prefer cool shades. Luckily, lilac seems to be the new millennial pink (a color that was too warm on me). As usual I'm several months behind the trend but some of the summer clothes are still in stores.

I have two items so far: this new oversized pale lavender tee (photo 1+2) and the pink oxford shirt (photo 3+4, reposted) I bought a few months ago, both from Everlane. I'd like the shirt even more if it were a few shades paler. I also found a great lilac tee (photo 5) at Banana Republic (photo 5), but the fit is off (ok when it's tucked, though) so I will probably return it. And this Vince silk shirt (photo 6) is a lovely color, just barely tinted, that doesn't come through in the photo - unfortunately it was too big so I left it at the store.

All of these will be worn either with faded black denim or solid black, as shown in the photos. It's important to me to keep a sort of punk edge to the look.

Speaking of light colors - I have also been thinking about bookending, jeans length, and ankle / foot skin. As Angie could have told me years ago, my summertime all-black outfits work best if some skin is showing around my feet, and I always forget this. Eg, flats with an open top rather than boots/sneakers, or jeans that are cropped at the ankle bone. In the same vein, I've been contemplating the effect of a lighter shoe with an all-black outfit.

I'm less interested in bookending to match my hair for my current look. Cognac shoes with black jeans are a great combo, but it's more fall-tone than what I'm aiming for right now. But I am considering a very light pair of shoes, to match my face rather than my hair I suppose. I don't know if I'd prefer lilac, or white, or silver. There are a few shades of Converse low-tops I have my eye on but those summer colors are mostly sold out. Or the Madewell shoes in Finds, also sold out but easily found on Poshmark. Again, I'm going for cooler colors that don't quite match my skin, not pinks / blushes. Or I could duplicate my new favorite Free People flats in silver or a very pale color they call 'dove grey'. Pure white is too stark, but a weathered white like these cowboy books could be nice.

If I were to buy one pair of light-colored shoes, what type of shoe should it be? Flats? Boots? And what color? Simple flats seem the most versatile -- is the slingback trend going to keep going?

By the way, I miss real lilacs! They don't grow in California; I guess they require a real cold snap to bloom. There was a giant lilac in my yard growing up with a sort of cavity in the middle of the bush and we turned it into a playhouse (all furnishings were imaginary, but in my head it was a mansion)

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Cotton tee dresses: why do I own so many, and which should I keep?

There are certain wardrobe categories that I wear rarely -- and yet feel drawn to, constantly. One is t-shirt or tank dresses. I do wear them - they're a favorite of mine for summer conferences. (Biologists basically have summer camp. Always in New England or Long Island, always hot and humid and casual and rural.) But my San Francisco climate is too chilly for me to wear them often.

Everlane just released a collection of refined knit cotton dresses, so I ordered some to try out. But, while waiting and waiting (their shipping is all messed up right now, after they changed warehouses), I also found this cheap Uniqlo alternative, the dress-length version of a Uniqlo tee I own and love.

Meanwhile, I also looked through my current possessions to see whether there really is a wardrobe hole here.

1 (new option) Everlane tee dress. I love it. It is $50, which is a fair price, but not nothing. Heavy, smooth knit cotton. It has a sort of casual elegance that I like quite a bit, and the length is good on me, I think.

2 (new option) Everlane tank dress, same material. I don't love it -- too athletic looking -- so I'll return it. One useful note: It is much shorter than I usually buy, yet actually looks great at that length on my short legs, so I will keep in mind that I should buy shorter skirts.

3 (new option) Uniqlo French sleeve mercerized tee dress. Lovely smooth fabric. It looks cooler and more distinctive in person than in the photo, I think -- when I tried it on in the store, I had to have it. Though, it is tempting to remove the ribbed neckline to open it up a bit. Thing is, it fills the same niche as the Everlane dress, and it was $8 instead of $50. If I hadn't come across this one, I'd keep the Everlane dress, but now I am really torn.

4 (old) J Crew tank dress. Very casual. Light t-shirt material, with a smooth finish. I've worn this at almost every conference I've attended for the past few years. It isn't worn out yet, but it's a bit shapeless and oversized, perhaps? But I like the relaxed shape, so I'll probably keep wearing it. Sometimes I throw a linen button-down over it.

5 (old) Old Everlane tee dress. Heavy t-shirt fabric, interesting pockets. I loved this for several years, and it was another conference mainstay. But it is probably 1/2 a size too small now, and it gets caught awkwardly on my butt. I feel self conscious wearing it, so it's sat in my closet unworn for the past two years. Should I sell it on Poshmark? I do love it though.

Should I keep the first Everlane dress? The Uniqlo dress? Neither? Should I pass along the old Everlane dress or add it back into my usual wardrobe?

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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.

Edited to add photos.

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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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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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