Buttondown bonanza (K/R)

Hi all - I’ve been super busy with my new job but I stopped by the mall this weekend and found many shirts. Some are from the Uniqlo U spring collection that just launched (and sold out instantly). Others are Gap or BR. With markdowns, all were quite affordable. I wear a lot of buttoned shirts but I don’t need this many more! So I thought I’d see what people thought of them, then choose a few to keep.

1. Uniqlo U tunic. I love it. It’s oversized, but so drapey and light that in person it doesn’t overwhelm me. I think I’ll call it JFE and keep it, but the photos reveal that it’s a bit larger than I realized.

2. Uniqlo U stretch shirt. Really interesting shape. Love it, might never wear it because it’s a little more refined than my usual, though I wear a lot of white shirts these days.

3. Banana Republic Quinn oxford. I like how casual this is - goes well with my all-jeans lifestyle. Lacking some pizazz compared to the others but I like the modern cropped boxy fit. But I have another boxy oxford so this is first on the chopping block.

4. Gap denim shirt: first shown in S, then XS. Which size is better? A denim shirt is a HEWI and this is the best I’ve found in years of looking but I wonder how I’d style it to look more put together.

5. Banana Republic Parker silk tunic, on super discount. Is the tunic style a good look for me? I do wear a lot of silk shirts and one is nearing the end of its life...

6. Not button down: silk tee, also super discount from BR. I had to size up to accommodate my chest so the end result is way too big if I don’t tuck it in. But good when tucked in high rise jeans I think?


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Plaid blazer redux (updated)

Update: photos of another size in comments

I've wanted a glen plaid blazer since the very beginning of this trend (which probably means it's about over now? boo). Previous posts:

Now I have a new contender: Everlane released their oversize blazer in a new glen plaid. I'm sad they didn't offer this last year alongside the tweed option! This blazer is a very boxy cut and I'd previously ruled out the tweed version as too shapeless on me, but I think it looks better in plaid.

For those considering the blazer, I sized down from my usual 2. This is a size 0 and fits perfectly in the shoulders. If I get it, it'll be this size. I swim in the 2, and the 00 is definitely too tight.

The debate now is whether this is just flattering enough, and whether it's a good addition to my wardrobe. Is it too long on my frame? (The rolled pants don't help...) Is it edgy enough for me? Its boxy shape looks more like outerwear and less dressy, which is good for my lifestyle. I do have a habit of buying and then not wearing blazers... and I have a lot of fall outerwear... but I like the look.

It's more my style than the Nordstrom one I tried, though it was a lovely fit (old photo included for comparison). Even at NAS prices it was too expensive, so I returned it. And it sold out as soon as the price dropped even lower. Lovely as it is, it's off the table. The Massimo Dutti one I considered is even more confusing - the same link now goes to a page with photos that look like a different blazer - so I guess that's out too.

Photo 1: Everlane

Photo 2: Nordstrom, no longer an option


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Wildcard statement shoes?

I just made an impulse buy at Bloomingdale's before their 25% off sale ends today. I am having trouble committing to them, though.

I fell in love with these navy & black snakeskin-texture cowboy mules (first in Finds, below). I've been looking for cowboy boots all year (my R13 dream boots are also in Finds, for reference) but I wasn't thinking of mules. But something about these just captivated me when I saw them this weekend, so I went back this morning and snapped them up as quickly as I could. They have all the style points I was looking for in a cowboy boot, the heel and toe shape, particularly.

They fit perfectly and stay on my feet. There's an elastic gore that makes them very comfortable over my very high instep. Quite a surprise - usually I have to avoid mules. I don't know if it would become a problem after a few hours of wear, though; so many of my boots become painful.

I have a lot of shoes, but they're all solid black, and I'd been wanting a statement shoe of some sort. My black shoes feel boring (except for the FP asymmetric flats!). Are these the ones? They would be great with jeans - I will model later. I think the navy would go well with my black denim and not feel like a challenge to fit into my wardrobe, despite the novelty of the color for me.

My only hesitation is the little silvery studs around the edges. If not for those, I'd keep them in a heartbeat, but it feels a little loud for my usual minimalist taste. I suppose an alternative is the black suede version (no studs) in Finds, but they lose something.

They are expensive... much, much more than I usually spend. I just listed an embarrassing collection of practically new shoes to sell on Poshmark, so my track record with shoes isn't great, but these seem to pass the comfort and style test...

Poorly lit photo from Bloomingdale's. I'll post more at home with jeans. They're ok with the skirt but better with ankle-cropped jeans, I bet.

Update: more photos in comments

My current shoe collection is here for reference.


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Plaid blazers; Massimo Dutti fit? (Update)

I'm on a quest for a long glen plaid blazer with sharp shoulders, conveniently found everywhere this season. The problem is that I can't stand wearing most synthetics (physical feeling, not aesthetic), and most of the stylish ones I encounter are polyester or viscose, like the Halogen blazer I tried on yesterday (photo below.)

Anyway, I've just found this new wool blazer at Massimo Dutti (edit: added find).

There's no store near me, and I've never ordered from them. It seems like they do free shipping and returns. Any concerns about their return policies? As for sizing, they have a handy size estimator that says I should be a 4, maybe 6. I wear 0 or 2 in most US brands, but I'm very willing to believe I'm a 4 in theirs. Is the sizing comparable to Zara?

For blazers, I find that Theory and Helmut Lang fit my shape; J Crew is often too narrow in the shoulders; Boden is often cut for a shorter torso and with a less-straight cut than I prefer. Any sense where Massimo Dutti falls on that spectrum?

Photo 1: the blazer in question
Photo 2: the Halogen blazer - close to the look I'm going for, but synthetic

Update: this winter, I bought a second-hand J Crew Collection blazer. It’s too big, right? Photo #3 below. I realized I never took photos to evaluate the fit, but I think I should trust my gut on this one.

I also considered the Nordstrom Signature wool blazer in Finds but I think the cut is more classic than I'm looking for, and it's a bit more tan and less grey. It's sold out in my size, anyway.


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A sea of denim skirts, and assorted k/r

I posted about the ‘upgrade’ mentality last week and mentioned that I seem to collect black denim skirts. Note that I wear a skirt maybe once or twice a month so I don’t need many!

I found one I liked at Everlane and brought it home to try on. From the photos, I don’t think it’s an improvement over my existing Madewell skirt.

Also shown: a really nice pair of Madewell pointed oxfords I found at Crossroads for really cheap. I thought they were patent but they’re not quite that shiny. Instead they are cordovan, which Wikipedia informs me is horse leather. Horse-loving me finds that a little unsettling but not enough to pass them on.

My jean skirt collection:
1-2 Madewell skirt I love from last year
3-4 new Everlane skirt - too similar, will go back
5-6 old longer Gap skirt. The waist feels too low for current styles but I like the length. It used to be a workhorse, often with longer tops. Keep or pass on?
7 asymmetric Zara skirt that I only wear to parties/campout music festivals (old photo)

And on to the other new finds, some K/R:
8 Everlane “GoWeave” triacetate top. This might be a synthetic I don’t mind, but as that’s never worked so far, I’m not sure I want to risk the cost ($68).
9,13 (oops, out of order) Everlane sleeveless silk square shirt. Definite winner, will replace a faded, less flattering one that should be retired.
10 omg the perfect high rise skinnies that I’ve been wearing nonstop since I found them at a thrift store several weeks ago. Re/Done brand, would have been too expensive new.
11-12 oversized cropped jean jacket that I’d coveted all year. It showed up at the Rack. This is an XS - too overwhelming? And I was hoping for a more rigid denim, from the photos online.


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Upgrading: when to stop

I've noticed a trend in my shopping. Especially jeans shopping. I have some look in mind, say, high rise vintage jeans. I'll try many options and eventually settle on one. But the quest doesn't stop, and nothing is ever perfect. If I come across a slight improvement, I buy it.

To some extent this is a problem with consignment shopping. Things are inexpensive and can often be sold back to the store. Or maybe it's a problem with high rise jeans, because the fit is hard and issues aren't evident until I've worn them for a while!

I'd like to be better about this. But I suppose also, jeans shopping is just hard, and I shouldn't feel too bad, either. Maybe I'll just keep track of the actual money involved and evaluate it as I go. 

Exhibit A: high rise jeans. After my posts last month, I was basically content with the Levi's wedgie jeans, but they're honestly not the best. Then I found these Gap "mom jeans" that are exactly what I wanted, and unlike my usual habit, I cut the tags and wore them right away. They're not conventionally flattering (too much fabric in the thigh) but they're the look I was going for. 

Photo 1: the first Levi's wedgie jeans I bought (reposted from last month)
Photo 2,3: a different Levi's wedgie version I found at a thrift store, with a slightly more flattering fit (reposted from last month) 
Photo 4,5,6: the Gap jeans. I'm wearing them full length today but I folded them up to test different lengths in the photos.

I'll one or both pairs of Levi's online. I think it's time for an assessment of all my jeans.

Exhibit B: no photos yet, but I just bought another black denim skirt... Everlane's new cutoff skirt does fit me better than the Madewell skirt I bought last year, but I only wear jean skirts a few times a month, and the Madewell skirt is pretty awesome too. This one was sold out online, so definitely a scarcity thing: I found it in the store and bought it in case I decide I want it, but I can return it if not.


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Splurging on an of-the-moment It Bag: bad idea?

It's looking like my faculty job search might have a good conclusion and I'm considering a big purchase as a reward. Not counting on it, not counting on it, not counting on it... just starting to let myself imagine it working out.

I fell in love with this very of-the-moment handbag by Off-White at Barney's last month. I am not usually one for street-inspired style or bold patterns, but I love this. The strap has Off-White's riff on industrial tie-down straps. And, as my hobby is building industrial art, I spend a lot of time using tie-downs just like this, along with crane rigging slings and such, so the industrial aesthetic of the bag really amuses me.

But, among fashion people, Off-White is incredibly trendy, such that this will be instantly recognizable. That's usually something I avoid, both because I'm a little ornery about trends and because I don't like to have conspicuously expensive things. Also, my experience is that sometimes the It Bag doesn't age well. I don't want to feel "soooooo last year" with something so pricey. And it's hardly something that would be described as understated and classic. But I do love it.

I am really not a bag person, so I currently own a very minimal Baggu cross-body that I use every day. Another consideration is the size, so I need to go back to Barney's and see if my usual contents will fit. It looks to be the same size as my Baggu bag, though.

I'm sure this style is not everyone's cup of tea, but what do you think about the purchase, conceptually?

(Another amusing option if I don't buy the bag - I see there are many knock-offs of the Off-White strap on ebay, mostly as belts. Since it itself is a direct knock-off of real industrial tie-downs, I'm tempted to look into getting custom straps woven with my art group's logo instead. Maybe I can just use it on an existing bag.)


Cowboy boots

I really want a pair of cowboy (inspired) boots. I keep putting on my jeans and thinking that’s what’s missing.

I know exactly what details I want. Ankle height. Pointed “snip toe” with a lot of structure (see the examples below). Short, tapered heel. Heavy sole. Real cowboy boot shank - they’re shaped perfectly like my feet and very supportive. Dramatic but simple.

I bought two options and I’m not sure either is quite right.

These leather Zara boots are certainly dramatic. They're a knockoff of something, I believe. The heel is higher than I want, so I worry I’d never wear them, like all my other heeled boots, and yet they are very comfortable. And I generally have a rule of only leather-lined shoes and boots, no synthetic, for comfort and longevity. They are high quality for Zara though (and the price shows it - $170).

The Frye Shane boot is closer, except they feel a little too normal (can’t quite explain it) for my taste. If they had a loose cowboy boot shaft instead of the fitted ankle they’d be perfect. They fit all the other desires. But they don’t make my heart sing. But maybe under jeans they really are ideal, and the quality and wearability are top notch.

The ones I really want are unavailable or too expensive (see finds) but I’m still searching for the perfect pair!

What do you think of either of these?

[edit: a note on the Finds. The Lucchese Flannery boots or the Dan Post boots are both just about perfect but not available in black anywhere anymore - I'm showing the purple one just for reference. The other Finds are out of my price range but I like them.]


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shoe zeitgeist

Maybe as a rebound from wearing the same shoes all of January for interviews, I've had my eye on footwear this week. I came across a few at Nordstrom Rack that I couldn't resist.

PSA - the Rack has changed their return policy to 45 days. I should be careful about buying things I'm not sure of!

First up - I want silver shoes. I don't think these are them, though, so they've gone back to the Rack. I love them but I know myself and I would never wear them. They're comfortable but not perfect. There's a bootie version that's similar and more wearable, but if I need mirror silver, oxfords are probably a better choice. Still, the retro, feminine aspect appealed to me (and when have I ever liked something because it's feminine? First time for everything!).

2 But then I was stuck on kitten heels, and I found these lovely Paul Green maryjanes at the Rack when I returned the others. Again, more feminine than my usual, but I think they'd be good with jeans. They're somehow a little avant garde? And surprisingly trendy.  My Paul Green flats are ah-MAZ-ing to wear and these might be too. I need to contemplate it. (I might be between sizes. These sold out long ago and this pair is a returned, refinished pair, so I can't compare with a size up.)

And then while I was looking for those in another size I found these Y's by Yohji Yamamoto sandals for a steal. I need to replace my Mephisto Helens. I was going to get regular Birkenstocks but these might be more me?

Also, I suddenly want cowboy ankle boots. Not real cowboy boots, but the pared-down urban style that Helmut Lang and a few others have had recently. My pointed-toe Allsaints boots are almost worn out after wearing them all month so this might be a good replacement. I suppose I could get silver cowboy boots but that's probably overkill.

Also in Finds:
Some cowboy boot inspiration (the Rag & Bone boots were at the Rack but not in my size; the silver R13 boots are, shall we say, aspirational, at $1300), a pair of kitten heels that I covet but which are out of my price range, and the bootie version of the silver pumps.


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Too oversized? (k/r)

Two shopping decisions needed!

1. I really really want a cotton velvet jean-style jacket. This oversized one from Rag & Bone is luxurious and beautiful - but just too big? Alas, I can't ever seem to pull off the oversized jean jacket look. Luckily I'm hoping it'll be a trend and I can find a more fitted version.

2. Uniqlo's JW Anderson collection had this very trendy sweater. Thin merino wool, oversized sleeves, with (the trendy part) ties at the wrists.

I like it but I'm torn about the purchase. On one hand, I like the look of it, it's good quality, it fits my style, and it's fun to have one item from that collection. On the other hand:

- I keep my clothes a long time, so I don't want something that will feel played out in a year. To be very clear, this doesn't reflect any dislike of this trend, or of trendy clothes in general. In fact I'm impressed by people who have an eye for trends and constantly update their look.
- Much as I like wool and turtlenecks, it's rarely chilly enough here to wear them all day. The loose cut of this makes it more wearable though.
- Related to that - I wear shirts or cardigans a lot more than pullovers.
- It was $50. For half that I'd keep it in as a wildcard.

(Both items are XS. I don't think sizing down would help -- I think some oversized clothes just work better on taller, more angular bodies.)


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