September tracking - week 1

I started tracking my outfits a year and a half ago, and it's been really informative. I've learned that jeans and denim or leather jackets get nearly infinite wears, for instance, justifying my large collections of both. I've also learned that special purchases do not live up to their promise: an amazing, expensive suiting vest, fancy shoes I craved, etc, are rarely worn. And, I've noticed that my professional capsule is huge after my year of interviews, so as I mentioned recently, I'm trying to wear it more often.

Anyway, here's what I wore this week (all solid black unless specified otherwise). It was the first week of the semester, so campus was bustling, and I had way more meetings than over the summer even though I'm not teaching. I don't track gear or play clothes in my spreadsheet, but I'm including them here for completeness.

Sunday: drove home from Burning Man - these are all old/worn items that aren't in my official clothing inventory (also jeeeeez that was a long solo drive - 9 hrs alone in the car).
Gap denim shorts, Madewell tank, hoodie from my art group, tall harness boots
Monday: holiday! shopping.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Everlane white tee, Allsaints Drina cotton cardigan, Laer leather jacket, Dr Martens gladiator sandals
Tuesday: work.
Everlane faded high rise skinnies (new), Zara cropped tee, Rag & Bone velvet jean-style jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
Burning Man truck unload (all old play clothes): Gap jeans, J Crew tee, Zara hoodie, old Docs
dance class (gear): Gap exercise leggings, Uniqlo tee, new sports bra!
Wednesday: work.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Everlane sleeveless silk shirt, Margiela men's wool/cotton cardigan, Dr Martens boots
Thursday: work.
Everlane faded high rise skinnies (new), Banana Republic merino shell, Banana Republic merino cropped open cardigan when it got cold at night, Everlane jean jacket (new), Free People asymmetric flats
Friday: work including faculty meeting.
Re/done high rise skinnies, J Crew linen v-neck tee, J Crew sleeveless wool/cotton duster cardigan, Everlane jean jacket (new), Cydwoq sandals
Saturday: social stuff.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Aritzia sleeveless tee with a dramatic long tail (calf-length in the back, waist-length up front), Everlane jean jacket (new), Dr Martens boots

So that gives us:

Jeans: boyfriend (worn 3x), two high rise skinnies (one worn twice) - these are pretty representative of the styles I like at the moment.
 white tee, cropped tee, sleeveless silk shirt, merino shell, linen tee, dramatic asymmetric tee - good diversity! I'm trying not to wear plain cotton tees as much; I own a stupid number of them.
Toppers & outerwear: cardigans (though I didn't always wear them all day), a different one each day. Sometimes I wish I just had one perfect cardigan but these are each useful in different ways. The new denim jacket is a home run; the leather jacket and velvet jacket are my other summer/fall standards. So, pretty representative.
Shoes: Also very representative. Two sandals (now that it's finally warming up), combat boots x2, and my new favorite Free People flats x2 - they are total workhorses and they've shifted my footwear style substantially.
Gear / play clothes: It's par for the course that I had one day where I only wore play clothes that I don't bother tracking, plus another day with multiple play/gear outfits. So I should make sure they're things I like, since those days often line up with my social interactions. I did well on that this week, since I'd rotated some beloved 'normal' clothes out into play clothes this summer. These jeans, shorts, and tees all fit well and are current silhouettes (higher rise jeans, for instance). Also, I bought my first real sports bra!

On new purchases: I bought the Everlane skinnies in their new gray wash, and the Everlane jean jacket, this week. And wore them multiple days. I think they'll be workhorses for a long time, but also, there is definitely a trend where I wear new items a lot for the first few weeks then move on to the next shiny new thing. I should try to keep rotating through older things so I don't over-buy new things that I don't need.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Jenni NZ replied 5 years ago

    Fantastic analysis. I also wear the "shiny new thing" a lot. I bought the bronze cardi 2 weeks ago yesterday and have already worn it 9 times. Good in a way, means I needed it I guess, but then that's something older not worn for those 9 times. I am puzzling over what this means in terms of clearing out older things. Love your flats!

  • K.M. replied 5 years ago

    So interesting. Reading your tracking analysis, and thinking about what I know of you from this blog, it makes a lot of sense--you do have a cohesive style and it shows in this list.

    Also, these Free People flats are amaaaaazing. How does it feel to wear them with such a big "slit" on the side? I had my eye on a similar style but wondered if it would feel that my foot was unprotected.

    I tracked my clothes this summer for two trips (for the sole purpose of making packing easier next time around based on what I actually wear--since I go to the same places every year) and I learned so much about myself and my wardrobe that I'm considering doing the same regularly...

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    KM - some people describe them as booties (though I'd call them flats) and I think that explains how they stay on so comfortably - they go up to almost bootie height on the inner side of the foot. So there's plenty of leather to hold them on. In terms of the exposed area on the side, I mostly wear d'Orsay styles anyway, so it feels familiar for me. And I can actually put in my Pedag insoles without them being too noticeable.

    And yes, tracking what I actually wear when I travel has helped me make a standard conference travel capsule. My next goal is to improve my real vacation capsule (often requires clothing for more weather than I encounter in my normal life).

  • K.M. replied 5 years ago

    Greyscale, I have a much easier time packing an academic-conference-travel capsule than a personal-vacation-family-visit capsule! There must be deep-seated psychological reasons :) or simply, the academic-conference environment already has a "uniform" of sorts, so it keeps variables to a minimum...

    Good to know about the shoes. Would you wear them in colder weather with socks? (I love bright socks that peek through shoes so I like the idea--e.g. some thick woolen red socks with these shoes--but I wonder how practical that would be.)

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I could definitely imagine them with colorful socks! Or ribbed wooly tights for a sort of Lagenlook effect. I wore them once with fishnet socks when I couldn't find the little toe-cover mule socks I usually wear inside them.

    I also just ordered the same shoes in silver (on sale at Nordstrom) and I'll have to try making some outfits to see if they're worth keeping.

  • K.M. replied 5 years ago

    Greyscale, I had to look up Lagenlook--wow! I love it! I guess I've been a fan of Lagenlook without knowing. Many years ago I saw a Sarah Pacini store in Montreal and fell in love. I don't know now, but back then it was all one size and the woman showed me how to layer so it would fit my frame. I ended up not buying anything (I was a grad student and it was all very expensive) but I've dreamed of achieving this look ever since. I guess I'll now read up on Lagenlook to see if I can recreate some of it...

    And these shoes would definitely look cool with fishnets! And woolly tights!

  • Jenn replied 5 years ago

    It looks like you have go-to brands that work for you. It’s pretty illuminating to see it all laid out like that.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I just added today's clothes and, sure enough, 3 of the 4 things I wore today were repeats from earlier in the week. Apparently I do a sort of weekly mini-capsule. I don't do laundry every week, and these jeans are each at their laundry point, so it'll be a different mix of jeans next week. And the jeans do define the outfits; these boyfriend jeans push me towards a more hardcore look, for instance. So It'll be interesting to see what happens.

    Jenn, yeah, I sure do wear a lot of Everlane... some combination of how it always fits me well, always basics that I want, and price points that I'm willing to just buy (instead of my usual deal of stalking something for six months until it's on clearance, whether it's designer or Gap).

    I also hadn't realized until just now, but only three things I wore all week were thrifted, a huge change from my past approach: the Re/done jeans, which would have been way outside my usual price range if I'd bought them new; the Free People shoes (bought on ebay but unworn as far as I can tell); and one of the tees I wore as play clothes.

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    You seem to have great success with Everlane!  I like their designs but have not ordered from them yet.  Your style works so well for you.  You seem to be able to adapt it for the occasion with some tweaking.

    K.M. I have been to the Sarah Pacini store in Montreal several times.  I love their clothes.  

  • Jessikams replied 5 years ago

    How do you manage layering with the duster cardigans? Jean jacket over, and bottom of cardigan hanging down? Still trying to figure out the longer silhouette.

  • K.M. replied 5 years ago

    Style Fan, I visit Montreal regularly but don't always have time to go to the mall where the store is. This summer I walked in front of it but had no time to go in... would love to try their stuff again next time. Just browsed their website and it is sooo elegant!

    Greyscale, your comment made me realize that my week rotation also has to do with laundry, as I try to maximize the wear of certain items before washing them. If it's not a sweltering day, the same top might appear twice...

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Jessikams, yes, the jean jacket goes over the duster. It’s calf-length, and the jacket hits at my waist, so the proportions work well. I was thinking of recreating that outfit to add a photo to the post- not sure I’ll get around to it though.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I just added Finds for my whole Week 1 capsule - 20 items (not counting gear / play clothes).

  • Barbara Diane replied 5 years ago

    I think that your stunning hair is the pop that makes your mostly black wardrobe work so well. 
    I am jealous of your attendance at Burning Man. I would like to go there in an air conditioned bubble. DS2 and my nephew and SIL and BIL have gone many times, DH has no interest, and I do not do well in dust and heat, and the idea of the sandstorms. But I would love to see the art in person and not just in photographs. And to experience the culture.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Barbara Diane - it's great that your family goes! If you do ever get an irrepressible urge, there are some gentler ways of attending. My friends who work for the event mostly go in RVs, and that makes a big difference. It was a very easy year for me, because I wasn't building art, the heat was moderate (high 80s), and our camp had great amenities. I never realized how much the amenities matter. Instead of my usual camping setup, we had a full kitchen in a shipping container, a large generator, and many (dusty) couches and rugs under a big shade awning. A friend in my camp who's a chef made all our meals ahead of time and we just had to do the finishing touches. And I was sleeping in a nice structure I built years ago out of rigid foam insulation. It kept out the dust and heat, and had enough space for a full-size mattress (the thin Ikea foam style) and all my stuff. That said, all those fancy features raised the price tag of my vacation from moderate to quite high, so I wouldn't be able to do that every year.

    The dust storms are the worst part, but this year I had a better style of respirator mask and good ski goggles, and I was much less bothered than in the past. But it's hard to avoid how dirty you get after a dust storm, and it's a fine, alkaline powder that clings to everything and doesn't come off. It does work as a natural sunscreen though!

  • LaPed replied 5 years ago

    Greyscale, your observation about secondhand vs new items is interesting. That is something I keep track of in my big spreadsheet. I know that the percentage of my wardrobe that's secondhand has dropped, mainly because I've gotten much pickier and more specific about what I want to add, and it's gotten harder for me to find things that fit at thrift and consignment stores (around here they're full of skinnies and tunics, reflecting the last 5-10 years of mainstream retail). I do most of my thrifting through eBay and Etsy now, usually with very specific search terms and often for direct-ish replacements of worn out items that are no longer available, or for things that would otherwise be over my budget.

    Okay, I went through my numbers. Including gear and lounge, I've worn 48 items total since Sept 1st, and 10 of them were bought secondhand (many of which are, in fact, gear or lounge -- the number would be lower if I looked just at town clothes). So, roughly 20% -- which sounds about right. I'd estimate that over the past 3 years or so, my wardrobe has gone from being over 50% thrifted to about 20-25% thrifted. I'd actually like to get that % back up, for ethical and financial reasons. Something I need to think about going forward. 

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