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.


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.


Jackets: sleeves too long, sleeves too short!

Jacket 1
I've wanted a lightweight bomber all year. But because I obsess about silly things, I wanted it to be wool suiting fabric. And then I found one just like that, by DKNY, and not only that, but it's a CAPE! Or a cape/jacket hybrid. I stalked it, bought one at a discount that was a size too big, returned it, and gave up months ago.

Then last week I wandered into the Rack when I should have been preparing for my interview, and I found it. In my size. For way less than anywhere else. Amazing! And it fits, and it is oh so cool. But I'm really not sure I should keep it for two reasons:

1. It's a statement item, and some of my statements never get used. They're too specific for daily use. But in this case I think it works well with any sleeveless top and jeans (my usual)? Still, I might be better off getting the cheap, stylish Uniqlo jacket (in finds) instead - or maybe I'd never wear that because it's too basic!

2. The sleeves are too long, as usual. They look great when my arms are through the cape slits (photos 1 & 2), but they look silly worn as sleeves (photo 3). Do you think a good tailor could shorten the sleeves? Also, I hate the feeling of ribbed cuffs on my wrists (...weird quirk) so maybe I'd just keep my arms out of the sleeves.

Jacket 2
This cropped moto jacket from Madewell... the salesgirl thought it was great on me, because my arms are so short that the cropped sleeves are almost normal. But you and I know that the sleeves are actually 1-2" too short and I think it just looks a little off? Not intentional enough. I didn't buy it but I snapped some photos for inspiration -- I think the cropped waist might actually be a good fit for me, but I don't usually consider it. (Those are my R13 crossover jeans, and the extra volume in front looks extra funny with the cropped jacket.)


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Goldilocks and the two jackets

I've been looking for a bomber jacket that wasn't quite so bomber-y, and I found one at H&M this fall. It's a wool-blend boucle. I like the zipper accents and I like that the cuffs aren't rib knit - for some reason I've always had trouble with the feeling of those on my wrists. Dunno why.

So I bought it. It was oversized so I sized down to a 2. I've worn it a bunch, but then I took some photos and wondered if I bought the wrong size. It sits oddly on my shoulders I guess.

Then a few weeks ago I walked past H&M and saw the same jacket on sale for $25, so I snapped up a larger size (6). I figured it was so cheap that I wouldn't mind donating the first one. But, much like Goldilocks, I can't seem to be pleased. I think it's too big. Maybe I should have found a 4, or maybe it's not to be, or maybe the first one was fine.

First four photos are the size 2. Last four photos are size 6. (I'm not at my most photogenic today.)

Should I return the bigger one?


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Black Friday, black denim

My jeans need a refresh, and a lot of styles I'd stalked went on sale on Black Friday. Now I have a pile of boxes awaiting decisions and at least one clear winner.

1-2: R13 Boy Skinny, a duplicate of my favorite jeans in an even better wash. I bought two sizes and kept the larger (shown in photos) for the intentional slouchy look. The smaller one is going back.

3-5: R13 Skinny. I'm on the fence. They were a great deal at Yoox and I've wanted to replace an old pair of the same style. But... do I really want low-rise skinnies right now? Do they look awesome or a bit dated?

6-7: CoH Liya with a high waist and stepped hem. I sort of love them and sort of hate them on myself. Expensive, so I should probably return unless I really love them. I would re-cut the stepped hem. I just don't think this look is me, no matter how trendy.

8-9: CoH Cora jeans. I was in love with these online but I'm pretty sure they're going back. I was hoping for stiffer denim.

10-11: WIW for today's chilly air. The new boy skinnies (I cut the tag after the photo), an old J Crew turtleneck, and my favorite giant architectural cardigan from Madewell. It's rarely cold enough here for a turtleneck so I was excited to wear it.

Edit: I just spotted my kitty sneaking into a photo! Can you find her?


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Discount HEWIs, expensive failures [edit: WIW: the Fryes]

A year ago I wanted a pair of ankle-height engineer boots.

I decided the Engineer 8R was the right look, and I found a size 7 pair at Yoox for around $100, the only size they had. I bought them gleefully, wore them once, and realized that the boot hits my instep in an incredibly painful way. And they're a tiny bit too small everywhere.

(I'm usually a size 6.5 but often 7 for boots. But my old Frye-imitation harness boots were 7.5 and perfect.)

So there they sat in my closet for a year, unworn. I pulled them out again last week and they weren't as bad as I remembered, but I had to change shoes after a few hours. I wonder if I could get them stretched, though they're lined with a thick synthetic fabric without much give.

Meanwhile, last month a local store had a closeout ($100) on their Sutro boots made in the same Mexican factory as Frye. 6.5 was too tight, they were out of 7, and the 7.5 felt comfortable. I wore them around the store with a thick pair of socks -- no problem. Bought them, wore them, and... pain, again. The ankle area cut into my anklebone badly and they really are too long.

So, here I am with two pairs of less-than-ideal boots. Then I stopped by Crossroads today and someone is selling the Frye Veronica short boots for $55. Size 6.5 and these really do fit me perfectly! They're definitely used, but with plenty of life left.

So what do I do? Sell the Sutros, regardless, I think. But should I spring for the Veronicas? And I can't help wondering if I should try the Engineer 8R in a 7.5, instead.

I can't decide which look I prefer, either. Opinions? The Engineer 8R is shorter and I think more flattering on my short legs and more distinctive to me. I'm often a passenger on a motorcycle and they boots would be serious protection, so that's one side advantage. I do think I prefer them, but the Veronica boots are going to be more comfortable and lighter, regardless.

Analyzing my failures here -- one was chasing after discounts rather than finding the perfect thing and paying full price. But on the other hand, I've bought full-price shoes I thought were perfect that ended up unwearable. It's just so hard for me to know. I shudder to think of how much money I've spent on shoes I had to pass on immediately. Am I the only one?

Would buying the Veronicas be throwing good money after bad?

Edit: I wore my Frye Engineers today. I think they're stretching out. They're not as painful over the top of my foot, though still bad after a few hours. Worn here with R13 relaxed jeans. I do think I like the height of these compared to the Veronicas but maybe either would be good.
Photo 1: Veronica
Photo 2&3: WIW: thrifted Club Monaco top, R13 relaxed skinnies, Frye Engineer boots.


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Duplicating and sizing up

Over the last few years, I've curated what feels like my dream closet. I have a few special items that really feel like "me." It's been a great process of refining my style and learning when it's worth spending money on the perfect thing.

But things also change: 

My size, particularly. I'm two jeans sizes bigger than when I joined YLF.

And my style changes, too, shifting along with the overall trends. Three years ago my FFBO was skinnies and a slim tunic; now I'm more likely to wear looser jeans and a structured top.

So here's the dilemma: If a truly iconic favorite item doesn't fit, or is at risk of not fitting, should I get another copy in a larger size?

In particular, my R13 crossover jeans in waxed black denim. They're amazing. They are so me. They fit, but they're getting a little tight at the waist. And someone is selling one size up on ebay for quite a good price ($50; they're $325 new). I worry that by the time I actually outgrow mine, they won't be sold anywhere. But then again, I worry that by the time I outgrow them, my fashion preferences will have shifted away!

It's not just the jeans; I'm also considering duplicating my favorite winter jacket one size up, so that it fits over bulky sweaters. TheRealReal has been a great source of items from a few years ago in different sizes. But I don't want to fossilize my fashion choices!

What would you do?


Edgy tweed: a Zara double windfall

It's been over a month since Angie's post about spring tweed jackets, but yesterday at Zara, I found the perfect one for me. When I saw this textured, frayed topper, I fell in love. It's the perfect weight to wear instead of a light sweater, it matches my style, and it'll go with anything.

So I bought it, but it was expensive as Zara things go ($130) and I wasn't convinced I should spend the money.

Then I came home and opened a letter and found a check for $385 from Zara!! It was a class action settlement about how they printed full credit card numbers on sales receipts for a while. I'd filled out the paperwork then forgot all about it. I had no idea it would be so huge!! Holy cow. So I guess I'm keeping the jacket. Of course, I could spend the money elsewhere, but the coincidence seems too good to miss.

Incidentally, this is one of the first non-natural-fiber items I've bought - it's 1/3 cotton, 2/3 synthetic. I'm trying to relax my preference there. I have weird issues with texture (some soft synthetics make my skin crawl) but really, I'm limiting myself too much.


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A minor coat debacle (update: coat triumph)

It finally happened: I lost the receipt for something I bought before I made up my mind to keep it. And it's expensive. 

I bought this wool cocoon coat at Madewell a few weeks ago for $230. I've been looking for a roomy wool jacket or coat. Everyone who's seen it on me has loved it (boyfriend & shopping buddy) though the photos leave me less convinced.

I definitely need something in this vein, but I'm not sure this is the one. I love the look, but the thing is, this coat is warm, maybe too warm. It's incredibly thick wool melton. San Francisco is raw and chilly at night, colder than the temperature would make you think (40s or 50s). But even for nighttime, this coat is warmer than the wool coats I've worn here... and during the day (50s or 60s), it's definitely overkill. And it's heavy, so I can't fold it and pack it in my backpack like my lighter jackets. For context, I lived here for 8 years before I bought a wool coat of any sort. But once I had one, I was very happy to have it.

I thought this would be useful for Christmas travel but it's so warm on the East coast that I could get by with existing options.

Madewell doesn't have a way to look up my receipt, from my first inquiry, but I might be able to return it for credit or something. 

Alternately... I've been looking for a coat for a long time, so maybe I should just be happy that I found a really great one (but my dream was something jacket-length). The price is reasonable, all things considered, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend money on something that might not see much use.


I kept the coat. It's been quite chilly this week, and I was very happy to wear it out to a bar last night. The walk home would have been pretty cold without it. Even the daytime was chilly enough that I was glad to have the coat today. Thanks for all your positive votes!

As it happens, Madewell does have some ability to look up transactions. I returned a shirt from the same purchase today with no problem. A few days ago a salesgirl said they couldn't look it up, but I was in a rush so I figured I'd wait until some time I had time to talk to them. Today I had more time and a more knowledgable salesgirl who explained that they'd switched to a new system this month so it was a roll of the dice as to whether something from a month ago would show up. So, the coat was returnable, but I'm very glad I kept it!


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Thoughts on boots trends & choices

I sort of want more flat ankle boots for winter. Black, as usual. I'm thinking through what (if any...) holes I have in my shoe collection and whether I want to follow any trends or do my own untrendy thing.

I own two refined ankle boots and two RATE boots (photos below):

  • Allsaints pointed-toe boots, mid ankle, workhorses
  • slightly glitter-y booties, low ankle, rarely worn
  • a variant on classic Dr Martens, mid ankle (they look more like boots and less like sneakers in person)
  • laced combat boots from Madewell, high ankle; former workhorses that I've shifted away from
Possible additions that have caught my eye (Finds below) -- I could buy one or maybe two of these.
  • Frye engineer 8r boots (an insightful birthday present from my boyfriend, to be ordered - I haven't tried them on yet)
  • Theyskens Theory boots (wanted since they were new, and currently cheap on ebay - the Find is a different color but I'd buy them in black)
  • Atelje sneaker boots (bought, but can't decide if the size is right)
One trend this year seems to be taller, fitted ankle boots like Angie has been wearing with cropped jeans, either zipped or chelsea. Another (not new this year) is low booties with skinny jeans rolled above them. Of course, I don't always follow trends, but I worry that the clunky Frye boots or the Theyskens boots with intentional giant flowerpot effect are past their peak trendiness, though I could certainly 'own' the look.

In terms of how they'd fit into my wardrobe, I can picture the Frye boots with relaxed skinnies (my current favorite silhouette). The Theyskens boots would go with true skinnies or tights and skirts; these seem less versatile and less useful. The Atelje sneaker boots are a bit harder -- boyfriend jeans or relaxed skinnies rolled at the ankle, or maybe my R13 jeans or cropped cigarette jeans like Angie's (I found a pair at Zara that I might buy, despite having too many jeans already). I worry that they'd be too sporty for me, but there's something about them that I love, a bit of a Rick Owens vibe.

Should I look for something sleek and mid-calf instead of these? Other trend ideas? I could do a slight heel, by the way, but not much higher than the Frye boots.


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It might actually rain this winter in San Francisco. A very welcome change.

I've lived here 12 years with no raincoat. I do have a Goretex shell that's mostly for camping but I do wear it now and then on really rainy days. Otherwise, an umbrella plus jean jacket has served me well.

But it might be nice to have a raincoat and I saw this waxed cotton anorak from Helmut Lang. It's the style I'd want but:
-is it too big?
-it isn't actually waterproof...
-even on super discount it is quite expensive and I might prefer to buy something I'd wear more often, like a warm wool jacket for winter

Keep or return?


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