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).
https://www.massimodutti.com/u.....87547.html

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.)

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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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Do you ever get stuck on repeat while shopping?

On my shopping list for fall, I had "silk camisole / tee" and "new boots" and "boyfriend jeans". I think I forgot to cross things off as I went! Over the past two months I ended up with not just one but:
4 silk or velvet tops
2 nearly identical pairs of boyfriend jeans (and a pair of high waist jeans, another goal)
2 new pairs of boots (and another pair of nice shoes)

I love all of them, and I was very picky about what I kept, so I don't really regret it. I didn't keep anything outside of these categories. But now it's time to stop shopping for the season. I did end up with more than I needed, perhaps. Three new pairs of shoes is quite a lot. And four fancy tops for someone who lives in tees and buttoned shirts -- good thing I've been going to a lot of parties. My goal now is to make sure I wear everything often.

I've posted photos of many of these over the past month -- I'm just amused (?) to see it all in one place.

Tops:
1. Equipment tee from NAS
2. Grana camisole
3. Acne silk top found with tags on at Wasteland (amazing consignment store) in LA.
4. Gap silk velvet top 

Jeans
1. Uniqlo men's selvedge jeans - these are amazing.
2. Everlane boyfriend jeans! I finally got them, after my whole saga!
3. AGOLDE high rise button fly jeans

Shoes
1. Dr Martens Danica boots, more delicate than the usual Docs, and shaped like Birkenstocks for my wide toes! I think they'll be really useful though wearing them, I feel like I have clown feet. I'm sure I'll adjust.
2. Paul Green Margo flats from Nordstrom. They fill a huge wardrobe hole for comfortable, professional flats. A pricey splurge at first. But after sending the wrong shoes in the right box, they eventually tracked down the right pair for me and by then they were marked down to $110!
3. Frye Campus boots -- I found these today at a consignment store in perfect condition. They're more retro than my usual look, but I like the clean lines.

46 comments

Gap velvet top: a winner (now with photos)

I just found the most beautiful velvet top at the Gap. It's a casual kimono-sleeve tee that drapes beautifully, made of a rayon/silk blend. It's trendy and super high quality -- it could easily come from Rag & Bone or the like. The cut is really loose, so it won't be everyone's cup of tea. But it reminds me of the Elizabeth Suzann silk tee that people love, as worn by Caroline at Unfancy: http://www.un-fancy.com/outfit.....four-ways/

I ordered it online after trying it in the store because there's a better discount online (40% off today). I do want to take photos once it arrives to make sure it's not too overwhelming. XS was definitely the right size for me. With my short arms, I might shorten the sleeves an inch or so.

I think I could wear it with faded jeans to work and not feel too fancy. I was wearing high waist vintage-y gray jeans (in finds for reference) and it was a great combo. 

Click through to watch the model walking, because the photos are all pretty meh.

Edit: the top arrived, and I wore it to a party last night with my new (used) high waist jeans and my new Paul Green shoes. It's almost overwhelming on me but my boyfriend really liked it, which is a good indicator that it moves enough in person to not look totally shapeless. The velvet is so soft - 80% rayon, 20% silk. I added some photos of yesterday's outfit, though the sunlight was coming straight through the window, so they're not the best. I think I'll probably leave the sleeves this length.

It's a departure for me in style, dressiness, and fabric (currently my only synthetic top). I'm not sure how much I'll wear it, but I think I like it!

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Fall haul: the reckoning

I've been shopping a lot, without clear goals, and I'm not sure which things I'll really use. My vague list is: a pair of boyfriend jeans, high waist vintage-y jeans, some silk tees and tanks, a "weird shirt" (e.g. deconstructed poplin shirting) and a cropped, loose jacket. And maybe something pink and/or dark floral. But here's what I ended up with, and decision time is here.

1+2: Uniqlo men's selvedge jeans. I love these! The only question is length: should I hem them to full length and roll? Wear long? Crop to ankle length?

3+4: Helmut Lang blazer I've been stalking. It looks great and my Theyskens blazer is sadly deceased but... these days I only wear blazers for job interviews (which I do hope to have this winter). I am really torn on this. It's a good deal at $200 but that's substantial.

5+6: Uniqlo cocoon sweater. Checks all the boxes: avant-garde shape, nice cotton fabric. But maybe more boring than I thought? I have a lot of tops, and pullovers get much less wear than tees and buttoned shirts.

7: Gap denim jacket. Expected to love it but I don't - something about the shape. This one is going back.

8-11: J Crew funnelneck top (showing sleeves at different lengths). A contender for "weird shirt" that I've wanted since I saw it in their fashion show months ago. I wish the sleeves were tapered and had buttoned cuffs. Otherwise I like it - but I have to say the quality is really disappointing. Seam threads hanging off all over, even some messed up tangled seams.

12: Equipment tee. I think I love it. I hope I can get a price adjustment down to its new sale price. Fits the dark floral theme I've been enjoying recently. I need to figure out if I would wear it often. There is a similar cami but with some pink in the flowers that I also love... (edit: Nordstrom adjusted the price! Hooray! I will definitely keep it at $75 even though that's a lot, but $113 was a stretch. Also, cami option added in Finds.)

Writing this post helped me realize I do have a clearer sense of what I need. Not all of these fit it, but some do. And please do chime in with opinions on how I should hem the jeans.

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