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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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.)

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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I think this sweater is a failure? Now with photos.

[Edit: photos added! I had to log out and back in.]

At Nordstrom last week, I found a light, drapey cardigan, something I've needed for a while. I snapped it up full price, but I'm having reservations.

Now that I've seen photos, I think it's too big. It's one size fits all, from this apparently trendy teen brand Brandy Melville that makes all their clothes in "one size fits skinny teens." I think that's practically unethical, with all the pressure to have the perfect body that kids face these days. So I'm not excited about the brand for that reason, but then also practically speaking, I'm petite and it's clearly meant for someone either larger or more slender and angular than me. What do you think? I do love oversized things but it's just not looking as cool on me as on the models.

It's really nice though, a very light wool that I could wear year-round, and affordable, too. I planned to work today, but then I decided to take photos before I cut the tags. Now I'm sort of chilly without it but I don't know if I should cut the tags and commit!

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Jeansquest: the sequel

I'm still looking for high waist, wide or straight leg jeans. Here's the latest batch of options. It's funny how different they look in photos than in the mirror -- I still haven't gotten used to my new, curvier bottom half! But that's ok as long as I have cool jeans that fit.

1-2: Uniqlo U wide leg. I love these! I might be able to go down a size, except they're sold out, and there's nothing I hate more than tight jeans on my tummy, so I think it's a winner at this size.

3-4: Gap wide leg "crops" that are almost full length on me! I could let out the hem to make them truly full length, or I could chop them. What do you think?

Do I really need three pairs of wide-leg jeans (these two and the Rag & Bone flares I kept from the last round, a very different silhouette), as someone who still loves skinnies and boyfriend jeans?

5-6: Gap acid wash, button fly jeans. These had such potential but they are not winners. If nothing else, the fly is crooked. Too bad because I want something like this as my "white" jeans option.

And then, the other things.

7-10: I saw an R13 jeans+skirt look that I loved, but of course it's a zillion dollars. Then I saw this skirt at Zara and thought "hmmmm." Here it is over some straight-leg jeans. What do you think? Could this work as one of my weirder wildcards? It's $50, so pricey for a total wildcard, but I sort of like it. Does it fit ok? The sizing was odd.

I wouldn't wear the skirt alone (too short) in most circumstances. But I'm going to a cowboy-themed party tonight where a short skirt would be totally acceptable, so I'm tempted to cut the tags, but I don't know.

The shoes are also from Zara and, while they're comfortable, I think they are going back. They just don't quite feel like me? But it might be good to have nice leather shoes that stay on my feet, for professional situations.

11-12. Omg, I found these Coach haircalf high-shaft boots at Crossroads and they are perfect. I didn't know this was a wardrobe hole until I found them. I'm trying to be better about impulse buys but I couldn't pass this up.

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If sneakers are here to stay, which should I buy? EDIT: strikeouts

Update: Five boxes of sneakers later, I have an idea what I want, but no winners. You're all correct that the monochrome black Stan Smiths look like orthopedic sneakers. The Fryes don't fit right and are a little too plain on me. I'm in love with the simple lines of the Puma Suede Classic, to my surprise, but the men's size 5 was far too tight in the toes. Luckily the 5.5 popped back in stock and is on its way to me, but it might be too long. I also tried these wonderful Barney's Stan Smith exclusives: unlined soft lasercut leather (added to finds). They are beautiful, and oh so comfortable, but I just can't do the white sole with my style. I want to love them but I mailed them back right away to resist buying something I'd never wear.

I'm pinning my hopes on the larger Puma classics or this Puma x En Noir collab that is apparently a slightly wider style, with subtle gothy details that are just my thing (added to finds). I ordered two sizes. I might also try some of the Puma Basket styles if I can find them locally - I reached my limit for coping with shoe box deliveries.

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Angie says sneakers are still everywhere this year, and I keep wanting to jump on the bandwagon. I keep looking for the perfect pair (monochrome black, for sure!) but can't decide what vibe is right for me. I might be casual but I'm not usually sporty, so I want something simple, comfortable, and minimalist rather than athletic.

Mostly I'm just thinking out loud but other ideas are welcome!

1. Dr Martens shoes - simple, heavier, more of a sneaker-inspired oxford, but that might fit my look better. (My boyfriend has these, so we'd match, for better or for worse!)

2. Stan Smith monochrome black. Nice that the men's style comes in small sizes, as they usually fit me better.

3. Puma classic suede - the synthetic lining makes me sweat, and some Pumas are too narrow in the toe, but these might be ok. (I loved the Rihanna velvet creepers but they just didn't fit right.)

4. Frye Gemma - possibly too narrow in the toe but I like the sleek look and the leather lining.

5. Fuzzy suede Pumas - I tried these on and I seem to remember that the fit wasn't great. They're sort of the opposite of sleek and minimal, but maybe I could use more subtle weirdness in my shoe collection.

6. Patent Pumas. Too shiny for me, I think.

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