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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WIW: wide leg jeans, on the road

A few months ago I found some great wide leg jeans. But of course they were like a foot too long on me. I finally got them hemmed and I'm so happy with them! Perfect for the conference I'm at on Long Island.

Another few wide leg options arrived in the mail last week. I'd like a cropped version but we'll see how that looks on me. Photos when I get back home!

I was so proud of my packing job (a full week of outfits in my tiny carry on - mix and match rather than statements) but the forecast keeps getting warmer. All the lightweight, packable merino layers I brought are too warm! I'll be fine though. I brought 3 pairs of jeans with very different silhouettes, and plenty of layering tees, so with my leather jacket I'm set for warmer weather too without feeling too boring. I'll still need the heavier things when I go to Rochester at the end of the week.

The perfect mix and match packing list (all black except as noted):
3 jeans (wide leg, skinny, crossover)
6 tees (white and black)
merino cardigan and pullover
silk v-neck pullover
short sleeve wool pullover
silk buttoned shirt
white buttoned shirt
ankle boots
oxfords
leather jacket
wool coat
2 light wool scarves

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A new basic (WIW)

For years my FFBO was a silk sleeveless shirt, skinnies, and a drapey waterfall cardigan. I've drifted away from the waterfall cardigans -- styles change, and I can't seem to find one that fits the way I want. But the alternatives didn't seem better -- I've always had a poison eye for 'boyfriend' cardigans for myself, even as they became trendy. I think because I don't see myself as preppy and I associate the look with that style. Anyway, with all that, my old FFBO hasn't been such a fallback the past year or so.

Then I was at Crossroads Trading (used clothing) and found this J Crew cardigan in mint condition and tried it on. I love it! It flatters my shape more than a big draped cardigan (I prefer de-emphasizing my chest). And the pockets stand open with a bit of structure that adds some distinct style to the look. And for $16, it can't be beat! I think this will get a lot of use this year, though it's getting too warm for merino. So here's what I wore today, just a basic outfit that I can repeat again and again. (It would be better with a collared shirt open at the neck, rather than this neckline, but that's ok.)

I wonder why I had such a negative opinion until I tried it. It's such a simple basic that it's hard to see why I'd object. And I wonder if this means I'm shifting back towards closer fits.

(Edit: Yikes, I'm pretty sure my silk shirt isn't that see through in normal light. I hope!)

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WIW: 20th reunion

I'm home in Connecticut for Thanksgiving and tonight happened to be my 20th high school reunion.

I went, but it was a hard decision, to be honest. My school was tiny (graduating class of 68), and while the other kids weren't monsters to me, I was one of the very unpopular students. I was so awkward and lost in my own world of books. I really blossomed in college and I was more or less happy to never look back.

So of course, having decided to go, I particularly wanted to look chic. I wore my best-fitting skinny jeans (Genetic - as a biologist, the embroidered DNA logo is like a talisman) and my new Aritzia sweater. And I wore my Converse shroud wedges from last year's NAS. I had no idea I'd wear them so often, but they're amazing.

The reunion wasn't a smashing success for me, but I found people to talk to all evening. The attendees were all people who stayed in our rural town, and though the town is really a lovely place, I would have enjoyed catching up with the people who spread their wings and left. Most people ignored me, and I ignored them. But at least I know I looked a lot better than I did back then! (Everyone looked great, in fact!)

Bonus picture of my mother's horse enjoying the aftermath of apple pie -- and yes, that's an electric fence that I accidentally threw those peels onto! No horses were injured.

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Buttoned down boy (wiw)

A few people posted about button down (button up...) shirts and I thought I'd wear one today. This is a men's flannel shirt from Uniqlo, XS. It may not be to everyone's taste but I love the fit, though I have to roll the sleeves. It has room for my wide shoulders. My arms can move freely. And it doesn't puff out in front as much as the women's "boyfriend" shirts I own. So I guess the best way for me to get the stolen-from-the-boys effect is to do that, literally. (The shirt also fits my guy perfectly.)

By the way, for the fastidious wordsmiths, this one is literally a button down (the collar buttons) but regardless, I decided ages ago that I like the common usage of "button down" to mean a shirt with buttons.

I only wish my arms were longer so I could wear men's shirts with sleeves unrolled!

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Wardrobe maintenance pays off

Angie's reminder to prep our wardrobes for fall was well-timed. I'd been carting around a bag of things to bring to the cleaners for ages, so I finally made time to do it.

I also brought in a bag of clothing in need of minor repairs. I knew my cleaner could fix them more elegantly than I could. My favorite skinny jeans had a hole. They were new with tags at a consignment store because they had a small puncture on one leg, $50 instead of $300. But the tiny hole got bigger over time, and I never got around to fixing it. I also brought in a pile of sweaters with holes and torn seams.

I got it all back and it's all the benefit of shopping at a fraction of the price. All the repairs are perfect, too. Today's outfit is things I hadn't worn in ages because they were awaiting repairs: the R13 skinnies and a thrifted Club Monaco sweater that had pulled apart at the armpit. I like the outfit. With the sandals, it might be better with the jeans rolled, but that made my legs look really short...

Also, a year ago I posted looking for dramatic minimal sandals. I finally found them this spring! I don't think I've posted them here. These are handmade by a California brand called Cydwoq. They fit my very strange feet as if they were built for me. The high strap across the top doesn't rest on my "foot bump" where my metatarsals hit my foot at an extreme angle. Pressure on that joint hurts after a few hours, so it really limits what shoes I can wear. It might be more flattering to have the strap placed further along my foot, but I don't care, because I can actually wear these!

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