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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Heat wave!

I always say that September is our hot month but this is ridiculous.

I've lived in San Francisco for 15 years and this is the first time it's been warm enough to go outside in a tank top and shorts at night. Yesterday was 106, smashing the all-time record. Today was "only" 102. I realize that isn't so weird elsewhere, but it is just so so strange to feel it here, where our usual highs are ~68 and no one has air conditioning.

I ventured out today in shorts and a tank top! I didn't even bring a sweater "just in case"! (Do you know how hard it is to fight that instinct?) I added a bandana around my neck to prevent sunburn -- I can only wear mineral sunscreen, and if I put it on my neck, it stains my shirts. This one is cotton, from Madewell, perfect for hot weather.

I walked all the way up Valencia Street to BART (the hipsters were mostly absent, probably indoors) and bought an ice cream cone on my way. Then I headed to the air-conditioned mall while my apartment melted. I'm still on this fall shopping spree... I found so many exciting things. I need to dial it back and decide what to return, but for now I'm just excited to have options.

Gap (50% off today)

  • New denim jacket.
  • Wool felt fedora. I'd like to wear more hats to keep sun off. This one is floppier and more casual than my fancy Rag & Bone fedora, and at only $17 I won't worry about crushing it.

Uniqlo

  • KM posted that the Ines de la Fressange collection was mostly sold out online. I remembered that my Uniqlo is one of the few to stock it, and the store still had so-so selection. I got one thing, a white cotton shirt.
  • This sweater might be one of the rare avant-garde finds at a mainstream store that make up my core wardrobe. But I rarely wear pullovers, more often turning to buttoned shirts or tees and cardigans, and it was pricey for Uniqlo. I'll model it once the weather cools down and decide.
  • Men's jeans. I think they fit me perfectly. But, they're very similar to the Everlane boyfriend jeans that will come out this week (the ones I fit-tested and loved) so I won't cut the tags.

Nordstrom

  • New bras (one beige to enable all the white shirts I've been wearing recently)
  • Emergency fishnet socks! (Visible in the photo) After a few hours of walking (and sweating) my sandals were giving me blisters. The socks saved the day. I'm really loving this fishnet trend.

I also tried to buy this J Crew shirt that I've had my eye on ever since fashion week, but the store was sold out in white, so I'll order it. I can't decide between white or stripe.

I hope the rest of you in the Bay Area, especially inland, are coping ok. We're just not prepared for this sort of weather...

(Well, except my little cat. She was born in Puerto Rico and I think she still misses the island heat. She was dozing in full sunlight when I left this afternoon.)

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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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Adjusting to wide legs: WIW

I jumped on the wide-leg crop trend, accidentally ending up with three pairs all at once. A few months in, I'm still wearing them often, though I think my next purchases will be slim, straight legs. One thing I've struggled with is tops. Aside from a few tees, I was at a loss for what looked good with them. So I was excited to find this cropped top at Madewell last weekend. The fitting room sales person - who recognizes me by now - said, oh, I have just the thing for you! and handed me this top that had been an online return.

I've always avoided tops like this because I didn't like how they tent out from my chest. I assumed they'd only work on a smaller chest/torso. But this one is surprisingly flattering and so I'm giving it a try. It's a nice heavy cotton knit.

I've found a few other tops that work well, including the Everlane square silk shirt and a cropped BR shirt from a few seasons ago. Long tunics work well for me, too. I'll try to take photos of a few other combinations - I took today's photos to convince myself that the top was a winner before cutting the tags.

The pants are the Everlane wide leg crops, pinned up until I have time to hem them. (Is this length good? Hard to see with my Dr Martens I suppose.)

Fall clothes are hitting stores and that means more black (yay!) and more structure (yay!). I'm suddenly spending a lot more time browsing new arrivals...

Edit: I can't seem to make a Find from the Madewell page right now but here's the top:

https://www.madewell.com/p/wom.....-tee/G5518

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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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Tomboy casual: the cape bomber

A few months ago I scored a cool DKNY bomber with cape sleeves. I love the idea and the wool suiting fabric but I kept not wearing it. Angie's post last week inspired me to finally cut the tags.

If it were warmer I'd have worn sandals as in her outfit idea. I did cuff my jeans at least!

I like it though I feel super self conscious about the "weird" sleeves. I can wear them more conventionally but it turns out I hate feeling the tight, warm cuffs on my wrists. When I got the sleeves shortened I should have gone with my gut and asked the tailor to make a self-fabric gathered cuff. I wonder if I can find matching fabric and do it myself?

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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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My perfect white shirt?

Angie's post is well timed. I've been wearing more white recently and I took photos of yesterday's outfit to post.

Since some movie or other that I saw in middle school, I've had an image of the elusive (illusory?) Perfect White Shirt, the one that looks stolen from your boyfriend yet ultra cool and flattering. They never quite live up to it but here's my latest attempt.

It's a men's oxford from Everlane, their new "air oxford" - almost as light as poplin but with the feel and durability of oxford. I sized up to a men's small. If I were taller I might size up even more to get the right oversized look, but at my height I'd be lost in it. Anyway, when I tried it on in the store, another customer came over and said it was the perfect shirt, so I decided to go for it.

Incidentally this outfit would be perfect with the pink sneakers I don't own! Old R13 boy skinny jeans, new Puma sneakers.

(Pardon the wet hair in the photos.)

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A sneakerhead is born

I've always owned a pair of classic black & white Converse Chuck Taylors. They were my signature look until a few years ago when they fell out of constant rotation. They just didn't quite look right with most of my outfits. Oxfords, refined flat boots, and the like took their place.

But, comfortable shoes are great. And the thing is, I'm really a casual person, just not sporty. I needed sneakers that fit my minimalist aesthetic and had a bit of edge. And I ended up with not one, not two, but four new pairs of sneakers. I can see how people fall into the rabbit hole of sneaker collabs... there's always some new limited edition.

I'm wearing all of these happily but I really need to stop here and NO MORE SHOES until these are worn into the ground. After my moth incident, I tidied up my "closet" (aka half my bedroom) and bought an Ikea shoe rack to contain the shoe situation. With the rack and the white shoe-filing cabinet, I have just enough space for my current collection -- and no more.

1. Puma x En Noir Clyde in nubuck. So comfy. These have become my go-to shoes for travel. A little more casual than my usual. My boyfriend liked them so much that he bought his own pair.

2. Puma x Stampd Clyde in perforated leather. Uh. I know I don't need two pairs of Pumas but these are all I've ever wanted in a minimalist sneaker. They're more refined than the other pair, with unlined leather and a pared-down look.

3. Converse Modern Lux. They were stupidly expensive for Converse, but the minimalist touches really called out to me. And they're perfect with all my new cropped wide-leg jeans. Unfortunately they're a little narrow, but I cut the tags and wore them today with no real discomfort. (While creating the Find for this post, I discovered the price had dropped from $140 to $70, and I got a price adjustment from Nike!!)

4. Atelje71 Emerald. These were probably a mistake, bought from Gilt a few months back. I like the retro 90s style but they're too big (I was between sizes) and my heel slides up and down. They don't work with cropped jeans the way I was hoping, but they're cool with skinnies or boyfriend jeans.

No more sneakers allowed. (But if any of you are looking, the Puma Stampd shoes also came in a dusty rose that might still be available in some stores, as well as white-ish and light grey that you can still get at Puma. Sizes are men's/unisex.)

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