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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WIW: Tweed, with musings on style, androgyny, and thrifting

Like Aida, I didn't really go for spring or pretty. But Angie's post reminded me that this Zara tweed jacket is practically a closet orphan. Pairing it with a white graphic tee really helps! The tee is from J Crew Crewcuts and I think I should buy a few more boys' tees - I like the fit. Sneakers are new Atelje high tops that I thought would be my HEWI but are just a little too big for perfect walking comfort. Still useful.

I went to Wasteland, an awesome upscale secondhand store, this weekend. I ran into a woman whose easy, dramatic style made me feel like a total amateur at all this fashion stuff - but I'm sure she feels that way some days too. Her look was sort of dark Scandinavian minimalism. Very androgynous (oxfords, men's tees) -- she was tall and broad shouldered with long dirty blond hair and pulled off that look perfectly. I think the androgyny is what I envied most, and I'm just not the right shape to do that. But this boy's tee reminded me that a lot of the problem is just sizing and I'm sure I can work around that. Still, I'm sad about "the one that got away" -- I found an amazing Comme des Garcons men's grey pinstripe wool buttoned shirt at Wasteland. I fell in love with it but a men's medium is just too big everywhere. So I handed it to her and I'm pretty sure she bought it. I'm glad it found a worthy home.

ps - I can't think of who this might apply to, but if you are near SF and a women's large / XL and like minimalist designers, the Crossroads Trading on Haight St has an amazing collection of Vince, Helmut Lang, etc, in that size range. Gorgeous simple silk shirtdresses and such. They put their nicer pieces on hangers up on the wall and the set of items was so cohesive that I had to ask if they all came from the same seller. The manager explained that sadly, an older woman with an amazing wardrobe had passed away and her daughter had sold all the pieces to them. She sounded really happy to pass them on to people who would appreciate them.

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WIW: cropped with cropped. And new sneaks!

I've been playing around with different tops to go with my new wide-leg jeans. One winner is this cropped Banana Republic shirt I got last year. I've hardly worn it because I find the cropped length challenging, but with these new higher rise jeans, it's perfect. I'd wear a tank under if I wore it to work. (Two of the photos are lightened to show detail, but I also included one that's a truer representation.)

The Gap jeans are still getting heavy use although I almost wish I'd sized down -- they do run large and the denim is light and stretches so they slide down my waist. I'm even considering getting a second pair a size smaller and perhaps cutting them an inch longer than these. But my Everlane wide-leg crops arrive next week, and they might fill that niche perfectly.

Also! You may remember my black sneaker quest, which included 10 shoeboxes delivered to my house, yikes. I found a winner: this Puma x En Noir fancy-schmancy version of the Clyde sneaker. They're nubuck rather than suede, and a bit wider and lower-profile than the classic Puma suede sneakers, so they seem to fit me better. Also, their subtle gothy details appealed to my partner so much that he just ordered a matching pair.

They're a bit small in the toebox, but I guessed that they'd be fine, and I was right! I was in Boston this week for another job interview* and I arrived a full day early to adjust to the time zone**. I spent my free day walking in the sunlight and practicing my research talks -- by the end I'd walked seven miles on Wednesday in the new sneakers. And Friday, after the second day of the interview, I walked another five miles from Longwood over to Newbury St and back. The heel rubbed a little, but I added bandaids after the first few miles and had no problems after that. These sneakers are what's been missing from my wardrobe, something I really can wear for miles and miles while traveling. They're light and packable, too. WIN.

*I wore exactly the same clothes as last time. It was great to have that all planned out ahead of time. Sadly my Theyskens blazer has moth holes and permanent sweat smell in one armpit so it might be time to pass it along, but I might duplicate it from The Real Real.

**My NY interview was really a disaster because I was sick, slept horribly from anxiety, and never adjusted to the time change. This time was perfect: melatonin, an extra day to adjust, and walking outside in the sun for hours all helped immensely. Good to know for the future.

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WIW: what I want to stock up on

As I got dressed today, I realized everything I'm wearing, from my top down to my socks, is something I've considered duplicating. It's not the most exciting outfit but it's made of my essentials so it feels very me.

Everlane wool top: this is the perfect essential for my style, but I haven't worn it much recently, maybe because I worry about wearing it out. A second one is on order from Everlane.

Airism seamless tee: I am not one for underlayers and I hate most synthetics against my skin, but this new all-nylon mesh top is perfect for protecting wool tops from sweat. I have it in tee and tank versions and I'll buy more next time I'm at the store.

R13 boy skinny jeans: My perfect slouchy skinnies. When they finally went on sale I bought these, then tried to buy a second pair, but the sale ended before I could commit. I'm glad I didn't, to be honest. I bought three (!!!) pairs of wide-leg jeans recently, with a fourth on order (someone please tell me to stop) and I'm not feeling as excited about skinnies just now.

Smartwool socks: Needs no justification. I buy some whenever Nordstrom Rack has anything in black.

Frye boots: Not so much a duplication as... these are maybe 1/2 a size small, so I bought a different brand of engineer boots to replace them. Which turned out to be worse. And then, these broke in reasonably well and I love them enough to suffer through a bit of pressure on my instep. I still wish I could trade for a larger size, though. But I'm accumulating an embarrassing number of expensive boot failures!

(For completeness, I'm also wearing a bra and underpants that I have in multiples. And I always want more.)

Underlayers make sense to duplicate, for sure. I can't decide about the duplicate sweater top, but it was discounted at Everlane and I had a lot of store credit. Maybe I'll store it in a sealed plastic bag and take it out when the moths get this one -- I saw something fluttering out of my clothes rack when I grabbed this top today. Will the silhouette age well or will I get tired of it? Should I get a larger size just to cover my bases?

(And really I need to stop buying wide-leg jeans. I looked for so long before I found any I liked that now the scarcity mentality kicks in whenever I find another perfect pair. Four is probably the limit. But at least I like them all!)

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Wide-leg crops: I did it my way

I've been inspired by the Rachel Comey Legion jeans (in Finds) but I just never quite found the right version for me. These Gap jeans checked almost all the boxes: fit well through the hips and waist, comfortable, and a nice faded black wash. Of course, these "crops" were almost floor length on me...

This morning I read Angie's post and immediately cut the tags and chopped 5 1/2" off the jeans. What do you think? If they're too short I can always sew the original hem back on (I love the released hem look of the Rachel Comey version).

What to wear with them was another learning process. I put on this high neck, mid sleeve ribbed top for a sort of 70s vibe, then went outside and discovered it was suddenly cold and rainy. Back inside for a sweater. Attempt one was this cropped cable knit. A good look, but it didn't feel like me.

I realized I'd feel far more like myself in some boxy layers. So the final outfit had this long felted wool cardigan from Uniqlo. Not exactly a spring look! But much more me.

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