WIW: professorial

The semester just started, and even though I’m not teaching, campus is bustling and I suddenly have all sorts of meetings. And - the big update - I am staying here, upgraded to an actual faculty job. I haven’t signed anything yet but I have the offer letter, at long last, so I’ll just count it as done.

So, I’m trying to shift from my jeans-and-tee uniform to a slightly more polished look. When I joined YLF I wore nicer clothes, but I drifted back to casual. My long stretch of interviews left me with quite a large professional wardrobe that I rarely wear. Now's my chance to make use of it.

I don’t have photos of most days, but my ‘grownup’ outfits have included two of my silk shirts, my dressier flared jeans, and my favorite new pointed flats. I wanted to make a good impression at the welcome lunch for new grad students, a lunch meeting with another new professor, and similar events.

Today, to meet with someone who is a bit of a direct competitor in my research area, I wore a power outfit I really like:
- deconstructed shirt by Milly (the tiny shoulder cutouts make me a little uncomfortable at work)
- R13 boy skinny jeans (my only remaining low rise skinnies, but they are a timeless rock n roll look)
- Zara cowboy boots (very comfortable despite heel height)

I’m going to try to keep up this trend of wearing my professional clothes for daily work life!

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Vintage high rise reprise [mom jeans]

Last week I posted about my quest for high rise, 80s/90s style jeans. I enjoy the look but it’s been hard to find the right ones, especially because my waist is really high and my tummy is sensitive to pressure.

As I said on my cowboy boots post, I’ve also found it hard to build outfits around these that aren’t boring. Shoes are one key. I’ve found some great cropped tees but they can look a little plain. Cropped or tucked oxford shirts are another option that I should explore.

Here are two outfits from this week.

[Edit to match the order of photos]

The first (photos 1 + 2, today's outfit) is Agolde Jamie jeans in a faded grey wash that I love. Again, they look great here but by the end of the day they’re stretched out - I broke my cotton rule and they’re 20% lyocell. Worn with a disappointing Everlane box cut tee (fabric is too soft and light), J Crew sleeveless cardigan, and old Allsaints pointed boots that almost fill the role of the cowboy boots I’m craving.

The second outfit (photo 3) is the Levi’s wedgie jean, the sample pair I found. This pair is 10% elasterell(?). Better for comfort, but sadly by the end of the day they bag out and sit almost on my hips for a very different look. Worn with a Uniqlo cropped tee in a nice heavy cotton, and J Crew kids’ oxfords.

Not photographed yet:

Both of these were thrifted and yesterday I hit pay dirt at Crossroads again: a pair of Re/done Originals that fit perfectly and don’t seem likely to stretch. I’ll post pics once I’ve washed them. Re/done started as a high end brand that remakes vintage Levi’s but at some point they realized they could recreate them themselves - vintage Levi’s aren’t a renewable resource! Anyway, at $55 they were a lot for second hand jeans, especially with my growing pile of not quite perfect jeans, but I have high hopes.

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WIW: edgy preppy pink

Sooo I’m basically allergic to pink. As a kid / teen, I really really didn’t want to be a girl, and I had this knee jerk response of eeww pink. But it wasn’t always like that... in elementary school, in preppy New England, I wore pastel oxford shirts quite often, pink included. A plain oxford shirt, like my mother always wore, didn’t seem too feminine for me.

30 years later, I reconsidered. I found my new glasses with icy pink frames. I love them and it’s a good color on me. So since last year I’ve been keeping an eye out for my perfect pink shirt: pale and cool, no beige undertones. A masculine cut. Here it is! I finally bought this pink oxford from Everlane just before it sold out.

I love it! And I wish it were still available in white, too. Maybe they’ll make more.

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WIW: less black

My wardrobe is still monochromatic, but I've been mixing in more white and grey recently. Today's outfit ended up much lighter than I intended. White and black striped silk shirt, high rise grey jeans, and my new biker jacket. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it! I don't like wearing this shirt with truly black jeans, but I think I'd prefer a darker grey or faded black. But I was in a rush and these were at the top of the pile. 

(Photo captures an unwitting motion that I do far more often than I realize: adjusting my glasses. It made me laugh so I didn't re-take the shot.)

I'm also really waffling about this sleeveless cardigan from J Crew. It has a belt, but no belt loops, so I'm wearing it without the belt here. If I keep it, I might add little thread loops. I think it would look better with a loosely draped belt pulling it in at the waist. What do you think of it? Too shapeless? It's a nice heavy cotton/wool blend and I have to admit I'm cold in my office right now, so it's tempting to cut the tags!

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WIW: my weird shirt, finally!

All year, I've wanted a Weird Shirt. You know, all these deconstructed shirts, strange angles... it seemed so 'me' but I had trouble finding mine. Many were poofy and frilled and didn't fit my style. Some were overwhelming on my short frame.

Then I found it! This fragmented shirt by Milly. It can be buttoned together in various ways: here I'm wearing it fairly conventionally. The whole bottom buttons off to make a cropped shirt, another good look.

I waited for its price to drop and drop some more. Eventually it ended up at the Rack. I had to size up because it was tight in the armpits; the end result is a little looser than ideal but I think it works.

Worn here with Gap velvet legging pants and an excellent consignment score: this wool Rag & Bone jacket I got for 10% its original price. It fits my shift from drapey avant-garde to a slightly more masculine inspiration over the past few years.

Edit: I added the Find. Note that the Rack website, and the tag, say it's silk, but it's definitely stretch cotton poplin, maybe with a bit of nylon. Also, here is a page of different stylings of the white version. http://www.milly.com/the-fractured-shirt/

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Heat wave!

I always say that September is our hot month but this is ridiculous.

I've lived in San Francisco for 15 years and this is the first time it's been warm enough to go outside in a tank top and shorts at night. Yesterday was 106, smashing the all-time record. Today was "only" 102. I realize that isn't so weird elsewhere, but it is just so so strange to feel it here, where our usual highs are ~68 and no one has air conditioning.

I ventured out today in shorts and a tank top! I didn't even bring a sweater "just in case"! (Do you know how hard it is to fight that instinct?) I added a bandana around my neck to prevent sunburn -- I can only wear mineral sunscreen, and if I put it on my neck, it stains my shirts. This one is cotton, from Madewell, perfect for hot weather.

I walked all the way up Valencia Street to BART (the hipsters were mostly absent, probably indoors) and bought an ice cream cone on my way. Then I headed to the air-conditioned mall while my apartment melted. I'm still on this fall shopping spree... I found so many exciting things. I need to dial it back and decide what to return, but for now I'm just excited to have options.

Gap (50% off today)

  • New denim jacket.
  • Wool felt fedora. I'd like to wear more hats to keep sun off. This one is floppier and more casual than my fancy Rag & Bone fedora, and at only $17 I won't worry about crushing it.

Uniqlo

  • KM posted that the Ines de la Fressange collection was mostly sold out online. I remembered that my Uniqlo is one of the few to stock it, and the store still had so-so selection. I got one thing, a white cotton shirt.
  • This sweater might be one of the rare avant-garde finds at a mainstream store that make up my core wardrobe. But I rarely wear pullovers, more often turning to buttoned shirts or tees and cardigans, and it was pricey for Uniqlo. I'll model it once the weather cools down and decide.
  • Men's jeans. I think they fit me perfectly. But, they're very similar to the Everlane boyfriend jeans that will come out this week (the ones I fit-tested and loved) so I won't cut the tags.

Nordstrom

  • New bras (one beige to enable all the white shirts I've been wearing recently)
  • Emergency fishnet socks! (Visible in the photo) After a few hours of walking (and sweating) my sandals were giving me blisters. The socks saved the day. I'm really loving this fishnet trend.

I also tried to buy this J Crew shirt that I've had my eye on ever since fashion week, but the store was sold out in white, so I'll order it. I can't decide between white or stripe.

I hope the rest of you in the Bay Area, especially inland, are coping ok. We're just not prepared for this sort of weather...

(Well, except my little cat. She was born in Puerto Rico and I think she still misses the island heat. She was dozing in full sunlight when I left this afternoon.)

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Adjusting to wide legs: WIW

I jumped on the wide-leg crop trend, accidentally ending up with three pairs all at once. A few months in, I'm still wearing them often, though I think my next purchases will be slim, straight legs. One thing I've struggled with is tops. Aside from a few tees, I was at a loss for what looked good with them. So I was excited to find this cropped top at Madewell last weekend. The fitting room sales person - who recognizes me by now - said, oh, I have just the thing for you! and handed me this top that had been an online return.

I've always avoided tops like this because I didn't like how they tent out from my chest. I assumed they'd only work on a smaller chest/torso. But this one is surprisingly flattering and so I'm giving it a try. It's a nice heavy cotton knit.

I've found a few other tops that work well, including the Everlane square silk shirt and a cropped BR shirt from a few seasons ago. Long tunics work well for me, too. I'll try to take photos of a few other combinations - I took today's photos to convince myself that the top was a winner before cutting the tags.

The pants are the Everlane wide leg crops, pinned up until I have time to hem them. (Is this length good? Hard to see with my Dr Martens I suppose.)

Fall clothes are hitting stores and that means more black (yay!) and more structure (yay!). I'm suddenly spending a lot more time browsing new arrivals...

Edit: I can't seem to make a Find from the Madewell page right now but here's the top:

https://www.madewell.com/p/wom.....-tee/G5518

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Tomboy casual: the cape bomber

A few months ago I scored a cool DKNY bomber with cape sleeves. I love the idea and the wool suiting fabric but I kept not wearing it. Angie's post last week inspired me to finally cut the tags.

If it were warmer I'd have worn sandals as in her outfit idea. I did cuff my jeans at least!

I like it though I feel super self conscious about the "weird" sleeves. I can wear them more conventionally but it turns out I hate feeling the tight, warm cuffs on my wrists. When I got the sleeves shortened I should have gone with my gut and asked the tailor to make a self-fabric gathered cuff. I wonder if I can find matching fabric and do it myself?

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My perfect white shirt?

Angie's post is well timed. I've been wearing more white recently and I took photos of yesterday's outfit to post.

Since some movie or other that I saw in middle school, I've had an image of the elusive (illusory?) Perfect White Shirt, the one that looks stolen from your boyfriend yet ultra cool and flattering. They never quite live up to it but here's my latest attempt.

It's a men's oxford from Everlane, their new "air oxford" - almost as light as poplin but with the feel and durability of oxford. I sized up to a men's small. If I were taller I might size up even more to get the right oversized look, but at my height I'd be lost in it. Anyway, when I tried it on in the store, another customer came over and said it was the perfect shirt, so I decided to go for it.

Incidentally this outfit would be perfect with the pink sneakers I don't own! Old R13 boy skinny jeans, new Puma sneakers.

(Pardon the wet hair in the photos.)

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My stripes (wiw)

A month ago, Angie wrote about the versatile, essential striped top. I always like the idea of stripes, but I struggle to fit my striped tops into my look. Reading the post, I realized that the black and white striped tops I own are higher contrast than I prefer, and black and grey stripes might work better.

I happened to find this Rag & Bone tee at Wastelands, my favorite used clothing store. I think it works! Amusingly, almost every element of this top is something I often avoid:

1. stripes
2. heather grey - I prefer solid grey, but here the heather grey gives a nice visual texture.
3. boxy - my mid-sized chest and broader shoulders mean that some boxy tees don't sit right on me, but this one works. 
4. linen - by all rights I should love linen, but I rarely reach for my linen tees, maybe because the black tends to fade.

I also found my ideal cotton cardigan at the Gap this week. Lighter weight but still provides some warmth, cropped at the perfect length for me, and the sleeve design leaves space for bulkier short sleeves like the cropped tee. Score! There is a thinner version, in black linen, that I might also snap up. (I'll return that Brandy Melville wool cardigan, because this is more what I was searching for.)

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