Another new direction: light lilac complement

I've been wearing white shirts and tees fairly often, maybe once every two weeks, to break up the all-black wardrobe. I'm still very committed to black, but I started thinking it would also be interesting to add in a bit more color. I settled on icy pink and pale lilac as colors that work as an alternative to white. The paler, the better: my goal is really to give the black + white look but a bit softer.

So I'm starting to put together a small lilac complement. I decided tees and shirts were the easiest place to start, but I might also add a cotton pullover if I find the perfect one. The main problem is finding the right shades of pink and purple. Blush pinks look too much like my skin, and I prefer cool shades. Luckily, lilac seems to be the new millennial pink (a color that was too warm on me). As usual I'm several months behind the trend but some of the summer clothes are still in stores.

I have two items so far: this new oversized pale lavender tee (photo 1+2) and the pink oxford shirt (photo 3+4, reposted) I bought a few months ago, both from Everlane. I'd like the shirt even more if it were a few shades paler. I also found a great lilac tee (photo 5) at Banana Republic (photo 5), but the fit is off (ok when it's tucked, though) so I will probably return it. And this Vince silk shirt (photo 6) is a lovely color, just barely tinted, that doesn't come through in the photo - unfortunately it was too big so I left it at the store.

All of these will be worn either with faded black denim or solid black, as shown in the photos. It's important to me to keep a sort of punk edge to the look.

Speaking of light colors - I have also been thinking about bookending, jeans length, and ankle / foot skin. As Angie could have told me years ago, my summertime all-black outfits work best if some skin is showing around my feet, and I always forget this. Eg, flats with an open top rather than boots/sneakers, or jeans that are cropped at the ankle bone. In the same vein, I've been contemplating the effect of a lighter shoe with an all-black outfit.

I'm less interested in bookending to match my hair for my current look. Cognac shoes with black jeans are a great combo, but it's more fall-tone than what I'm aiming for right now. But I am considering a very light pair of shoes, to match my face rather than my hair I suppose. I don't know if I'd prefer lilac, or white, or silver. There are a few shades of Converse low-tops I have my eye on but those summer colors are mostly sold out. Or the Madewell shoes in Finds, also sold out but easily found on Poshmark. Again, I'm going for cooler colors that don't quite match my skin, not pinks / blushes. Or I could duplicate my new favorite Free People flats in silver or a very pale color they call 'dove grey'. Pure white is too stark, but a weathered white like these cowboy books could be nice.

If I were to buy one pair of light-colored shoes, what type of shoe should it be? Flats? Boots? And what color? Simple flats seem the most versatile -- is the slingback trend going to keep going?

By the way, I miss real lilacs! They don't grow in California; I guess they require a real cold snap to bloom. There was a giant lilac in my yard growing up with a sort of cavity in the middle of the bush and we turned it into a playhouse (all furnishings were imaginary, but in my head it was a mansion)

1

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

26 comments

WIW: professorial

The semester just started, and even though I’m not teaching, campus is bustling and I suddenly have all sorts of meetings. And - the big update - I am staying here, upgraded to an actual faculty job. I haven’t signed anything yet but I have the offer letter, at long last, so I’ll just count it as done.

So, I’m trying to shift from my jeans-and-tee uniform to a slightly more polished look. When I joined YLF I wore nicer clothes, but I drifted back to casual. My long stretch of interviews left me with quite a large professional wardrobe that I rarely wear. Now's my chance to make use of it.

I don’t have photos of most days, but my ‘grownup’ outfits have included two of my silk shirts, my dressier flared jeans, and my favorite new pointed flats. I wanted to make a good impression at the welcome lunch for new grad students, a lunch meeting with another new professor, and similar events.

Today, to meet with someone who is a bit of a direct competitor in my research area, I wore a power outfit I really like:
- deconstructed shirt by Milly (the tiny shoulder cutouts make me a little uncomfortable at work)
- R13 boy skinny jeans (my only remaining low rise skinnies, but they are a timeless rock n roll look)
- Zara cowboy boots (very comfortable despite heel height)

I’m going to try to keep up this trend of wearing my professional clothes for daily work life!

1

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

51 comments

Surprise! NAS.

I wasn't planning to do any NAS shopping, but two things caught my eye. I didn't actually get either package until after the sale ended so I'd almost forgotten about it.

To my surprise, both are really great. I don't know if I'll keep either, mostly for money reasons, but here they are.

1. Halogen wool-blend moto jacket, XS, $120. I think the oversized fit matches my style? I sort of love it.

Last year I had an oversized wool boucle bomber from H&M that, sadly, I left on an airplane (caution: do not put coats in the overhead bin!). It left a real wardrobe hole for a warm jacket that fits over tops with large sleeves. I do have a lot of jackets, though.

My one hesitation is that it's wool/viscose, not pure wool, and some wool blends pill badly. This one looks quite durable, though? And, unlike many synthetic blends, it doesn't make me sweat instantly. I think I'll wear it around the house a bit to test that concern, because I have a few otherwise lovely jackets that failed for that reason.

2. Nordstrom Signature wool plaid blazer, 4. I was expecting this to have a less modern shape, from the online photos, so I'm pleasantly surprised. The fit is great through the shoulders and torso. 

I posted last week about my plaid blazer quest. This one might be 'the one' but I think I'll order the Massimo Dutti option to compare. And, as the season progresses, I see more and more wool blazers appearing. I'm a little sad that this one is regular plaid, not a glen plaid with houndstooth...

At $300, it's a real splurge, and I already have three very nice black blazers that I rarely wear. If I'd found this last year while shopping for interviews, I'd have spent the money, but now it's not clear that I should. Sometimes a quest takes on a life of its own, and I have to consider whether I'll really use this. I have a lot of professional clothing I never wear, but once I start teaching, perhaps that'll change.

1

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

20 comments

Cotton tee dresses: why do I own so many, and which should I keep?

There are certain wardrobe categories that I wear rarely -- and yet feel drawn to, constantly. One is t-shirt or tank dresses. I do wear them - they're a favorite of mine for summer conferences. (Biologists basically have summer camp. Always in New England or Long Island, always hot and humid and casual and rural.) But my San Francisco climate is too chilly for me to wear them often.

Everlane just released a collection of refined knit cotton dresses, so I ordered some to try out. But, while waiting and waiting (their shipping is all messed up right now, after they changed warehouses), I also found this cheap Uniqlo alternative, the dress-length version of a Uniqlo tee I own and love.

Meanwhile, I also looked through my current possessions to see whether there really is a wardrobe hole here.

1 (new option) Everlane tee dress. I love it. It is $50, which is a fair price, but not nothing. Heavy, smooth knit cotton. It has a sort of casual elegance that I like quite a bit, and the length is good on me, I think.

2 (new option) Everlane tank dress, same material. I don't love it -- too athletic looking -- so I'll return it. One useful note: It is much shorter than I usually buy, yet actually looks great at that length on my short legs, so I will keep in mind that I should buy shorter skirts.

3 (new option) Uniqlo French sleeve mercerized tee dress. Lovely smooth fabric. It looks cooler and more distinctive in person than in the photo, I think -- when I tried it on in the store, I had to have it. Though, it is tempting to remove the ribbed neckline to open it up a bit. Thing is, it fills the same niche as the Everlane dress, and it was $8 instead of $50. If I hadn't come across this one, I'd keep the Everlane dress, but now I am really torn.

4 (old) J Crew tank dress. Very casual. Light t-shirt material, with a smooth finish. I've worn this at almost every conference I've attended for the past few years. It isn't worn out yet, but it's a bit shapeless and oversized, perhaps? But I like the relaxed shape, so I'll probably keep wearing it. Sometimes I throw a linen button-down over it.

5 (old) Old Everlane tee dress. Heavy t-shirt fabric, interesting pockets. I loved this for several years, and it was another conference mainstay. But it is probably 1/2 a size too small now, and it gets caught awkwardly on my butt. I feel self conscious wearing it, so it's sat in my closet unworn for the past two years. Should I sell it on Poshmark? I do love it though.

Should I keep the first Everlane dress? The Uniqlo dress? Neither? Should I pass along the old Everlane dress or add it back into my usual wardrobe?

1

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

29 comments

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.

1

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

19 comments

Midriffs

After a year or two of dabbling, I finally jumped headlong into the high waist jeans trend. They work well for my body. My favorites hit right at my navel (11" rise or more).

Of course it's made me reconsider my tops, also. I've been tucking in my loose-fitting tees, and I like that look. But I've also sought out a capsule of boxy, cropped tees and shirts.

Some are barely cropped, more of an updated regular length. But some are cropped enough that, on my very long torso, a sliver of midriff appears when I move. 

I'm trying to decide how I feel about that. I've been self-conscious ever since a guy in my lab said something about my accidental midriff in the early 2000s... back when jeans waists were dropping lower and lower, and tee lengths hadn't kept up! At the time it wasn't at all the look I wanted, so I added long tank tops under my tees.

But, my current top + jeans combinations are trendy and intentional. And in casual contexts (weekend socializing, dance class) I have no trouble showing a lot of midriff. It's just a question of whether any is acceptable in my lab/office, say. My rule of thumb has become, if no skin shows while I stand still, I'm fine with the small amount of skin that might show when I move. My workplace is incredibly casual, my look is generally the opposite of sexy, and I doubt anyone would think it was inappropriate here. (Note that I don't teach at present - there's a whole different set of considerations when I'm teaching.)

And that brings me to a shopping dilemma. I found this really great cropped white blouse at Aritzia, but it really shows a lot of midriff on me (much more than the model). I love it. But I don't think I'd wear it to work (unless I change careers to fashion editor). It would look weird over a layering top, and none of my pants are quite high enough at the waist. I could wear it on weekends, but I have no shortage of shirts, so it's probably not worth the price or hanger space for something I'd only wear to... trendy brunch? Art museums? Shopping? (Then again I've just about talked myself into it, from that list of outings.)

It's on final sale, so I didn't buy it at the store today, but I'm debating going back for it tomorrow. Sorry I didn't think to take photos in the fitting room.

Edited to add photos.

1

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

36 comments

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.

1

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

16 comments

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.

1

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

46 comments

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.)

36 comments

Vintage high rise reprise [mom jeans]

Last week I posted about my quest for high rise, 80s/90s style jeans. I enjoy the look but it’s been hard to find the right ones, especially because my waist is really high and my tummy is sensitive to pressure.

As I said on my cowboy boots post, I’ve also found it hard to build outfits around these that aren’t boring. Shoes are one key. I’ve found some great cropped tees but they can look a little plain. Cropped or tucked oxford shirts are another option that I should explore.

Here are two outfits from this week.

[Edit to match the order of photos]

The first (photos 1 + 2, today's outfit) is Agolde Jamie jeans in a faded grey wash that I love. Again, they look great here but by the end of the day they’re stretched out - I broke my cotton rule and they’re 20% lyocell. Worn with a disappointing Everlane box cut tee (fabric is too soft and light), J Crew sleeveless cardigan, and old Allsaints pointed boots that almost fill the role of the cowboy boots I’m craving.

The second outfit (photo 3) is the Levi’s wedgie jean, the sample pair I found. This pair is 10% elasterell(?). Better for comfort, but sadly by the end of the day they bag out and sit almost on my hips for a very different look. Worn with a Uniqlo cropped tee in a nice heavy cotton, and J Crew kids’ oxfords.

Not photographed yet:

Both of these were thrifted and yesterday I hit pay dirt at Crossroads again: a pair of Re/done Originals that fit perfectly and don’t seem likely to stretch. I’ll post pics once I’ve washed them. Re/done started as a high end brand that remakes vintage Levi’s but at some point they realized they could recreate them themselves - vintage Levi’s aren’t a renewable resource! Anyway, at $55 they were a lot for second hand jeans, especially with my growing pile of not quite perfect jeans, but I have high hopes.

1

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

18 comments