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.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

25 comments

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.)

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

20 comments

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!

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

42 comments

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.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

23 comments

It's fall in stores, hooray! And I'm shopping too much! (k/r)

Every August, without fail, I start getting excited about clothing again. Summer styles aren't my thing. As soon as the darker colors start reappearing, it's like I'm binging after a long fast.

Some of these things are wardrobe staples but I should be picky about what I keep.

1. Gap denim top. I'd probably trim the fringe a bit. It could be a good wildcard or it could be too boho for me and hard to style. I think it's actually a little short on the torso - the darts aren't in the right place. What do you think?

2. Everlane men's short sleeve shirts. I think I like the white and not the black. I love the long sleeve version I bought this summer and I've been searching for more short sleeve shirts. It's oversized of course but I think it fits my look. Styled with skinnies and wide leg crops to test different ideas.

3. Phillip Lim shirt from the Outnet. It's cool, and my style. It's also expensive and a little fussy. I do wear a lot of shirt dress tunic things... but maybe I don't need another. Fit looks great but it's tight through the chest when I move my arms.

4. Madewell denim skirt. So I own a zillion skirts and I've only worn a skirt three times since April. But when I did, it was always my Gap black denim skirt that is a little big and hits just below my knee. I like this as an alternative because it's much more flattering. And I've gone through phases of wearing a denim skirt really often. But also, is this too short for, say, the conference I'm going to next week? (Everyone dresses like they're at summer camp. Summer camp for grown up nerds! So the only concern is the sexiness, not casualness.)

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

17 comments

A laundry triumph

I did one of those "I should know better" things the other week. I bought a wool Margiela cardigan at the good used clothing store, took it home, and realized it was perfumed just enough to be unwearable. 

I may have mentioned that I'm very sensitive to most fragrances (headaches and upset stomach). Well, unsurprisingly, a lot of used items have a strong perfume scent. I don't always notice in the store, surrounded by competing scents, but it hits once I'm home. I can't count how many times I've tried to wear a thrifted item and changed my outfit within minutes. Even when I think I can just ignore it... no. And this is after I've washed it, or even dry cleaned. It doesn't help.

I was sad about my lovely Margiela sweater so I hit the internet looking for a solution. Everywhere I searched seemed to recommend the same product: Atsko Sport Wash. It's marketed for hunters who need to be scentless to avoid deer noticing them though as far as I can tell they also sell the exact same product as Sensi Clean laundry detergent and a few other re-labelings.

So I bought some off Amazon and it was miraculous. I wore the Margiela sweater today and I can't smell even the tiniest whiff of perfume.

They claim it's safe for wool and silk and all sorts of delicates, though I'm a little nervous, given how strong it seems to be. But I did a whole load of delicates with this stuff instead of my usual detergent and everything smells so much cleaner now. My delicate-wash silks were building up a bit of human odor from overly-gentle washing.

The funniest thing is that I also washed a heavily perfumed Madewell top I got for a few dollars... and now that the perfume is gone, I can tell that the wool is completely permeated with sweat smell. Ew. No wonder it was perfumed! I suppose that's why humans started using the stuff to begin with...

Speaking of consignment stores, I sold a stack of nice things I don't wear anymore and got $275 for them! Good laundering helped there, too -- they'd passed on buying a white Everlane shirt that was just a bit yellowed. I threw it in the wash with my other whites and some Oxyclean until it was shining white, and they bought it on the second try.

31 comments

Custom leather jacket sleeve length - help me choose it!

I think I finally found my next leather jacket. It's cropped, heavy but not stiff, and a classic biker style. I'm getting an honorarium for a talk I'm giving soon, so that justifies the cost.

I almost bought it at a local boutique. But when I looked at the designer's site I discovered that they're all hand made to order and they'll do a custom sleeve length for free!!!

I'm so used to sleeves being too long. I don't know what length is correct. I do want the sleeves to be past my wrist for sure.

So here are photos of the standard sleeve length. How much shorter should I go?

Ps these jeans are so much less flattering than I thought (they're a size too big but I thought it was fine).

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

9 comments

In which I try on pastels and overanalyze things

I'm tickled pink by the pink in my new glasses. I love it. I suppose it's almost a very pale lilac, but whatever the color, I think of it as pink. It is a surprisingly good shade next to my cool-pink-undertone skin. So I'm having a temporary fling with pink.

Shopping this week, with pink in mind, finally made me understand why I chose all black. I suffer, constantly, from choice overload. When I have options, I need to choose the one right choice. The single best. And of course there never is a single best, so I'm stuck! Mired forever in overanalysis. Each choice fits into some larger set of life choices, eventually spiraling into my whole identity. "What does it mean for me to be a person who wears pink?" my brain whispers at the mirror. Or, "this dress is a thing a person in Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2 would wear, and you are a person in Subcategory III.A.5, so that's right out."

So, it goes like this. There are many shades of pink, right? There are so many ways I could fit a bit of pink into my black wardrobe.

Let's say pink sneakers. Should they be monochrome and minimal, like the current trends? Or have a rock and roll edge to toughen up the pink?

And what pink? There's a warm blush that is very trendy in minimalist looks, often paired with black, but cooler pinks look better on me. Pale petal pink might work, but it reads as the most feminine. Lilac looks good, but it is neither rock 'n' roll nor minimalist. Metallic is cool, but also the opposite of my usual minimalism. And so on.

And then I'm reconsidering every aspect of my style before I know it! Chaos. Much simpler to stick with black and free up my brain to do science.

Well. Now that the navel gazing is over, here are two photos of me trying on different lilac-y colors at Crossroads for color analysis.
1. The tee is too big but I wanted to see the color on me -- matches my glasses. Edit: tried on for the color only, never intended to be bought! It's entirely the wrong size and a fabric I wouldn't wear.
2. Madewell shirt, brighter than I want.
I think this family of lilac-pinks is good on me? It doesn't wash me out. But does it bring out the pink in my skin too much?

3. Also at Crossroads, the aforementioned "dress for Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2" (Allsaints, with structured darts and origami puffs of fabric, much more goth-femme than my usual, but so lovely! But I never wear dresses... And I'm out of hanger space... But it's only $30...)

And here are finds for some sneakers I am idly considering. The first pair, I bought at Macy's on super sale this weekend, but they are stiff synthetic material (not leather as described) and my feet sweat in them so they will probably go back.

If I try on any other pinks over the next week, I'll update this post with photos.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

38 comments

Moths invaded my keep/return pile!

So yes, that happened. I think it's ok though. No damage. But I should decide on this vest!

Every season for the past two years, my wish list has had VEST!! at the top, but I never find the right one. Long but not too long, tailored but casual, wool but not heavy. This is by Alexander Wang via Nordstrom Rack and it's tailored beautifully from lightweight, unlined woven wool. (Almost the same texture as the lightlaine fabric from Ann Demeulemeester, a hint gauzier than suiting.)

Downsides:

  • Expensive ($250) so it would have to become a central part of my look. 
  • The racerback cut is actually a little tight on my back (not too small, just not the best cut for me).
  • I don't love how the a-line cut emphasizes my new wider hips (I just haven't gotten used to that silhouette on myself yet). 

But overall it's so close. What do you think? Will I wear this a few times a month?

Ok, but here is the moth saga: I brought the vest home a few days ago and hung it neatly on the back of my bedroom door, my cat-hair-free holding zone for purchases I might return. Then I walked in yesterday and saw a moth flutter off the vest, and little lines of tiny, tiny spheres (eggs?) on the vest and on an Everlane silk shirt I also might return. F#*$! So I jumped into action.

  1. Used a clothes brush to brush off the eggs. Checked every square inch. Then folded it neatly, put it in a giant ziploc, and put it in the freezer just in case.
  2. Assessed my wardrobe. Damn but I own a lot of wool. Photo #4 is all my wool wovens. I am carefully brushing & checking each one and bagging them all while I sort this out.
  3. Bagged all my wool sweaters and tops (photo #5) and put them all in the freezer (#6) to kill any larvae. Luckily we got a new fridge just last week so the only things in the freezer were one bag of frozen edamame and a bottle of vodka (for making pie crust...)!

Did I mention I own a lot of wool? Oy. I keep finding more. Scarves, gloves... my Pendleton blanket... so far, the only serious damage was to this old wool scarf at the bottom of my scarf bin (photo #7). I never wear it (it is not black!), so I don't know if this damage was recent or ancient. I did find one hole in my interview blazer a few weeks ago... but so far the damage is mercifully light.

I ordered pheromone traps (one day Amazon delivery, so I already have them!). They'll catch the adults, and tonight I'll do a thorough vacuuming and clean inside my drawers. I decided not to worry about all my silk - I hope I don't regret that!

But what a tedious way to spend a whole Sunday...

And here's a stray WIW outfit from last week (photo #8): Uniqlo IDLF silk shirt, thrifted J Brand boyfriend jeans that I love SO much more now that I chopped and cuffed them, and Steve Madden block heel sandals that I never wear but are actually perfect so maybe I'll hold onto them and work them into the usual rotation.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

21 comments