Wardrobe Round-up: October 2018

Similar to last time, I’m going to go over:

  • my favorite outfits this months
  • an overview of my item wear counts and wardrobe inventory
  • what I bought, returned, and donated
  • and what’s on my wish list and purge list.

This is a REALLY. LONG. POST. so feel free to skim and skip to the bits that look interesting to you! The word count is getting kind of ridiculous, and at this point I should probably be breaking these up into multiple posts. (Alternatively, I could stop churning my wardrobe so much and then I’d have fewer items to write about 🙃)

Product links are provided for things that are still available, but none of them are affiliate links or sponsored.

An aside

I lost 1000+ words of this post because of some bullshit with the wordpress editor. It’s 2018 but apparently one of the world’s preeminent blogging platforms still can’t get a text editor to work. I specifically recall checking that the post was saved before closing the window. I was able to load the saved content on a fresh load of the page on my phone the next day (and the media I had uploaded in the interim was persisted) so I know it was definitely saved at one point. But when I reloaded the editor page in a browser window on another computer that had the post in an earlier state, it somehow overwrote the old content including the history? Guess I’ll be editing in a google doc from now on, but apologies that this isn’t the most beautifully written thing I’ve ever produced. I’m super annoyed and just trying to churn out the bare-bones content at this point 😒.

Favorites

This sweater. Normally this section is for favorite outfits, but I was having a hard time picking favorites this month and I realized that most of the ones I was waffling between all had this ochre blouson sleeve sweater. I got it from Madewell (see “Purchased”  section below for details).

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Also wearing:

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Continuing the effort to make some cute outfits featuring graphic tees. I particularly liked how all the details complemented each other in various ways, even though tbh you couldn’t really see any of them from more than five feet away. I liked how the oxfords, tee, and purse all had vintage vibes, the earrings and the socks had goth vibes, and the earrings and t-shirt had metal vibes. Basically, this outfit is the nexus of the venn diagram of goth metal vintage awesome, except actually not that hardcore and quite wearable.

This was the first time I’ve worn a mini skirt in a while, and I forgot how much I like the silhouette but also how annoying it is to not be able to bend over (for shoe-tying, etc) for fear of flashing people.

At some point I’d like to make a post about all my vintage tech t-shirts. There are some pretty fun ones.

  • vintage t-shirt, ebay
  • button-front denim mini skirt, H&M
  • suede oxfords, Clarks (secondhand)
  • “Willis” crossbody, Coach (secondhand)
  • claw earrings, amazon
  • lace socks, amazon

I was going to include my outfit with the Macworld ’94 t-shirt, but I realized I accidentally included that in the September Round-up even though I wore it on October 2nd, whoops.

Bonus: Halloween!

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This is now by far my most liked photo on Instagram. Maybe it’s a sign that I should pivot into exclusively animal themed loungewear.

  • bat costume, Leg Avenue from amazon, size XL (I’m usually a US size 8, and if I were to buy again, I’d even do XXL. It’s a bit snug when I zip it up)
  • pleather leggings, Athleta, size S (secondhand)
  • boots, Steve Madden
  • t-shirt, Old Navy

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Boyfriend and I went out as Mad Max inspired wastelanders. In retrospect I could have gone a lot heavier on the “dirt” application on his shirt, and if I had more time I would have liked to have distressed his pants and done some dirt-paint on my leggings, but overall I’m really pleased with hose these turned out!

Boyfriend:

  • henley, amazon
  • pants, goodwill
  • bullet belt, amazon
  • goggles, amazon (aged with some rust antiquing solution from an art supply store because they were too shiny and chrome out of the box)
  • Doc Martens (already had these)

Me (I had all this stuff already LMAO):

  • “Mayur” sweater, Allsaints secondhand
  • leggings, Athleta (secondhand)
  • former party decor chain-o-skulls inherited from an old roommate
  • Victorian style boots, Forever 21 (spring 2017)
  • goggles, amazon

I used some Mehron AQ face paints (I used to be super into SFX makeup style face painting) for dirtying our faces and his shirt. I also used some matte reddish-purple and dark brown eyeshadows on myself.

Wardrobe Stats

As usual, all these numbers have some nonzero error bar associated with them. I’m not perfect at logging things but I’m hoping that over time, this will help me learn more about my buying and wearing habits.

This month I wore:

  • 46 items of clothing (-3 from last month, but expected since the fall 10×10 started this month)
    • 16 tops
    • 14 bottoms
    • 3 dresses
    • 4 outerwear
    • 9 layering items (sweaters, cardigans, blazers)
  • 42 accessories (+3 from last month)
    • 14 shoes
    • 22 other (belts, jewelry, watch, scarf, or hat)
    • 6 bags
  • Of clothing, 22 items (48%, -1%) were worn once
  • Of accessories, 14 items (33%) were worn once

Not including loungewear, activewear, tights, or thermals, I have:

  • 55 tops
  • 30 bottoms
  • 15 dresses
  • 15 shoes
  • 10 outerwear
  • 30 layering
  • 49 accessories
  • 9 bags

for a total of 212 items (140 are clothing items). I have 68 items total in the excluded categories.

Within clothing items, wear counts all time:

  • max 107
  • average is 10
  • standard deviation is 16
  • median is 5

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Purchased

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Ochre 100% cotton balloon sleeve sweater, Madewell, M, $61.60 (on sale from $88). At the time I wrote this, are a few left in odd sizes at Madewell and Nordstrom.

This is now officially my favorite pullover sweater 🧡.  The size of the balloon sleeves here are big enough to be noticeably poofy, but not impractical. I also like how the chevron stripe in the front to provides some angular contrast to the rounded sleeves. It’s not the warmest or the softest sweater I’ve ever had, but it’s still really comfy. One thing I did notice about it is that the yarn used to knit it is kind of lumpy, which results in a kind of worn (or rustic, if you’re trying to spin it as boho) texture overall.

I usually hate sleeves that go past my wrists so I usually cuff sweaters when I wear them, but here the balloon part narrows around my wrist, so I found that I actually didn’t mind the cuff going down further.


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I liked it so much, I got another one in white for $70.40 (also sale).


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Gold fallen petals necklace, Madewell, $32.00. I thought this was such a cool necklace because 1) it’s a unique take on the floral motif (at least, I’ve never encountered a design like this before) which I think is especially appropriate for fall, and 2) the petals on this thing are individually articulated! Super fun, and it is slightly adjustable in length.


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Gold fallen petals earrings, Madewell, $24.00. I got the matching earring set! These have been my go-to for days when I feel a little more feminine and don’t want to go for my claw, half hoop, or skull earrings. My boyfriend pointed out that shape-wise they also mirror my existing hand motif jewelry, which is nice.


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Gray plaid paperbag waist tapered trousers, Forever 21, M, $18.09 (incl 20% off). I had really been digging all the fall plaid I’ve been seeing on Instagram and decided that a lighter color of trousers similar to the black “peg pants” paperbag style that has been in heavy rotation over the last year would be a good way to try it. These seem to be well-received on Instagram and reddit, but I still feel like they look off somehow. It took me a couple of wears to get used to the black trousers, so I’m going to give these another few chances with different shoes (so far I’ve tried these boots and some gray pointed-toe flats). However if I still don’t like them after the fifth wear or so I think I’ll probably donate them.


Rust pointelle knit sweater, Forever 21, M, $12.56. (pictured with gray plaid trousers) I wanted a rust sweater, so I bought a rust sweater. 55% cotton 45% acrylic knit that should be a nice option for warmer days, and I think the cropped length will be a nice option to have for skinny bottoms. We shall see how this fares against my ever-growing menagerie of sweaters in the increasingly fierce competition for wear counts. I think last winter I was rotating between three pullover sweaters that I felt aggressively meh about. Now my heart is so filled with sweater-induced joy that I don’t think I’d even be upset if I end up in a perpetual coat + sweater + jeans + boots combo again when the temps drop.


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Doing the tone-on-tone thing that’s trendy now. The 70s would be proud. Mid-2000s me is horrified. I’m sure in five years or so this palette will have the same effect that turqoise and white chevrons do now, but I’m currently really enjoy this.

Brown wide-leg canvas pants, Forever 21, L, $19.67 (incl 20% off). I saw these pants that are really similar to wide-leg styles (in shape and color) offered by Madewell, Everlane, and Jesse Kamm at Forever 21 and decided to give them a try. The ones at Madewell and Everlane are also probably made by enslaved children, and I don’t think warm brown wide-leg canvas pants are exactly going to become a ~timeless classic~ worth shelling out $400 for (also I believe that meaningful change across the fashion industry is going to have to come from policy change and not rebuying an entire fresh wardrobe from some currently hot ethical brands, but that’s a rant for another time), so I went with these. They’re supposed to be cropped, but I’m really pleased that they ended up as perfect full length pants on me (I’m 5’1″)!

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Some fit pics from more angles. Highly recommend taking multiple fit pics before deciding to take the tags off something! I’m trying to be more diligent about doing that. These have pockets that flare out when you bend at the hip. Not a deal breaker for me, but I know some people hate that. The Everlane pants have front pockets that do the same thing. The Madewell and Kamm pants have weird tiny front pockets with horizontal openings that I’ve heard aren’t super functional, although I haven’t been able to check out a pair myself.

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An easy breezy outfit, ft. my end of day partially wiped off eyebrows

Green velvet button-front cami, Madewell, 8, $45.15 (I think this was on sale). I was super excited when I saw this because it reminded me of the button-front linen cami that featured in a lot of my favorite outfits from this past summer, and the Victorian/Edwardian vibes from the rouleau buttons and the fantasy villain luxury of deep green velvet really spoke to me. I hope this gets as much wear as the summer cami.

I wish I knew more about design+manufacturing because I wonder what makes this cami priced at this point in the current market. It is lined, but that seems kinda steep for a camisole. Are velvet rouleau buttons hard to make? Are there drastically different grades of velvet? I wasn’t curious enough to actually look things up, just note the thought down here.


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When I wear hip-length sweaters, I like to wear the same color pants and shoes to create a longer leg line and keep my top-bottom proportions balanced.

Brown cable pattern boxy sweater, See U Soon via Foxglove Store, S/M, $73.60 (incl 20% off). This was 100% acrylic, which I usually tend to avoid, but I’m willing to compromise on that if 1) the sweater is a unique (to me) design and 2) it’s a soft knit. As it is, I’ll try to avoid any open flames while this is draped on my person.  I liked the pattern here because it reminds me of tree bark, and I thought the 2-D variant of the classic twisty cable-knit shape was fun.


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Black and white cotton scarf, Gray Market Design via Foxglove Store, $33.60 (incl 20% off). I was really drawn to the pattern here, which has organic shapes but doesn’t venture into the trypophobia realm and is a good balance between black and white. Apparently this is hand made and block printed by the smiling Indian workers in the video on the “About” page of the Gray Market website, but they don’t seem to have any sort of official fair trade / ethical certification. Granted, those sorts of certifications could be a bureaucratic time-consuming headache and / or expensive to obtain especially for a small indie company, but I’d still take the feel-good marketing with a grain of salt. When it comes down to it, it was a cute and cleanly constructed cotton scarf.


Lace fishnet crew socks, Amazon, $15.90. I enjoyed the patterned fishnet tights I bought last month, so I followed up with some socks. Planning to wear these with my oxfords, although I think they might also look cool with my strappy pointed-toe flats.

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Black button-front mini skirt, H&M, $24.99, size 8. I think around 2016, I really wanted a button-front A-line mini skirt, but they were everywhere and I thought that it was going to be a microtrend and if I picked one up it’d look dated really easily. Well, it’s 2018 and while they’re not as ubiquitous, they’re definitely still a thing, so I picked one up. This one has relatively muted buttons anyway.


Beige 100% lambswool sweater, JCrew via Goodwill, $5.99 A basic fitted crewneck cut. Thin but relatively warm, since it’s wool. This is the sort of item that I think is the best bang-for-your-buck (including time!) to find secondhand. Ebay has lots of classic basic sweaters with high wool content from good brands like LL Bean (and even brands that are mediocre now but were better quality in times past), and sweaters are a pretty forgiving when it comes to sizing.

Returned

This is going to be brief – this will be the skimpy section this month.

  • ochre sweater, Madewell (bought two sizes)
  • tan wide-leg pants, Forever 21 (bought two sizes)
  • plaid paperbag waist trousers, ASOS (realized after I bought it that the cloth belt was sewn onto the pants, and I wanted a detachable one so I can use different belts)
  • rust paperbag waist trousers, ASOS (the fabric on these was a little too stretchy and thin to get the substantial trousery look I was after)
  • brown scarf, Forever 21 (this was really thin and kind of limp looking and already had a hole in it when I got it)
  • Camden sweater coat, Madewell (color was more drab than I was hoping for, cut was generally also more relaxed than I wanted)
  • gray herringbone blazer, H&M (was going to potentially upgrade my existing boyfriend blazer from H&M which I really like but I like herringbone more than the burnout texture it has, but it turned out the mix on this one was a substantially larger percentage of polyester and it was the type of poly fabric that feels kind of clammy once you’re wearing it for a little while)

Purged

We’re having a format switcharoo, and the photos are now going to come after the related text. Still working out the best format

Herringbone blanket scarf with pockets, 1 wear. This had been in my purge purgatory for the last two months and I was originally going to wait for this upcoming winter season to end before deciding whether to purge this, but I thought about it some more and even though I think the design is great, I wouldn’t actually wear it. The berry color is a little too cool toned compared to the rest of my wardrobe, and it’s a large scarf which frankly it just doesn’t get cold enough here to wear often anyway. I’m going to see if my sister or mom wants it before going to Goodwill though, as it is quite a nice scarf.

Eileen Fisher colorblock yak hair and merino blend sweater, 8 wears, most recently worn in May 2018 (layering for ice skating). I think this was the first Eileen Fisher piece I bought after being introduced to the brand via /r/ffa. I’ve been consistently very impressed with the quality of EF items I’ve seen at my local consignment store, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that the design of this particular sweater just doesn’t vibe with my style. In particular, I find the colorblocking on the arms makes outfits tend to look rather busy unless the waistline of the bottoms is near the colorblock demarcation. When I wear it untucked, the zippers also feel unnecessarily busy. This is a really comfy sweater and I had previously kept it as a layering piece, but the cream lambswool sweater I picked up this month can fill that niche and I think is also easier to style since it’s just a solid cream.

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Ok outfit. It’s a bit more pajama-y than what I strive for now.

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Brown and white calfhair oxfords, 0 wears. I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that as much as I like these, the squeaky heel is caused by something related to the structural integrity of the shoe and fixing it would probably require rebuilding the whole shoe, which would likely cost more than the original price of the shoes. I had taken these to a cobbler who said he couldn’t do anything for it, too.

Metallic almond toe oxfords, size 7.5, 1 wear. Tragically, I think these may be too small. I’ve definitely had leather shoes before that were really painful to wear for a few weeks, then stretched out to become very comfortable, but I compared the length/width of these shoes to my other shoes and I think they are short and narrow enough that even after some stretching they will still be too small.

They fit insofar as I can put my feet in them comfortably sitting down, but when I actually walk in them they just don’t have the necessary give. I’ve tried walking around in my living room (I take my outfit pics in the living room with shoes, but I would usually not actually walk around in my apartment wearing shoes that have been outside on the nasty sidewalks of SF and downtown Berkeley) after my one painful outing in the shoes, but I’m not convinced there’ll be a return if I breaking them in for a few more weeks, especially that I’d have to not wear other shoes that I definitely like and definitely fit.

Black linen midi skirt, ASOS petites, size 8, 0 wears. I got this a couple months ago back when I was still in the “witchy all black everything” phase and swept up in the linen errything hype. Normally I’m reliably a size 8 in ASOS house brand items, but with this skirt I think what happened is they used a 29″ measurement for the waist, but didn’t account for the fact that it was highly elasticated and thus should have been smaller to start with so it wouldn’t sag under its own weight when actually worn. I had been planning to take it to the local tailor and have the waist taken in (smaller sizes were sold out by the time I got it), but at this point I don’t think I need more black bottoms in my closet, and I don’t think I’d wear this one enough compared to the other midi skirts I have to justify the cost of tailoring and having it continue take up space in my wardrobe.

Urban Outfitters black button through midi skirt, size L, 5 wears. I also got this in my Sisters of the Black Moon fangirl phase and at the time of purchase was totally convinced that it was going to be a ~staple~.  However I’ve only worn it 5 times, including the time period when I was super into the style. The fabric it’s made of is pretty thin and the result is that when sitting or walking the front placket has a tendency to gape a little bit. Tucking anything into it also results in lump city (although to be fair, I think it’s meant as a summer skirt). It’s also at a kind of awkward “not sure of maxi or midi” ankle length that I’m not a fan of anymore. I think at the time I really liked the length because it was “maxi but not dragging on the ground”, but looking back at my outfit pics it really just looks like I’m wearing a midi skirt that’s about 7 inches too long for me.

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This is the nicest outfit I have with the skirt. I think this actually looks fine, but when I wore ankle boots or flats with it the skirt just hit at a weird spot.

Old Navy chunky handkerchief hem vest, XS, 9 wears (seven in fall/winter 2017, and two in February 2018). Another casualty from the black and gray drapey knitwear witchy era. I have two outfits that I like wearing this with. One of them included a gray dress that I have since donated, because that was the only outfit I liked wearing it with. I found that when worn over any outfit that doesn’t also have a gray top, it tends to look kind of chucked on. The actual vest is a pretty cool piece of knitwear and I do dig the silhouette especially from the side. It kinda reminds me of mori girl silhouettes. I just don’t love it anymore.

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I think this outfit is pretty cute, but it was the only combo I would wear this vest with.

Gray puffer vest, ? wears. (UPDATE: I wrote this before I actually went to Goodwill with the full intent of donating this, but I couldn’t find it. A few months and one winter trip to Boston later, I realized this has utility in layering under jackets when you don’t want to add any more bulk to your arms, so I ended up keeping it.) I think I wore this mostly back when I was in a phase where I had embraced wearing the same tunic + leggings + boots to work every day, and I would sometimes layer this vest over that ensemble for warmth. This was probably in fall/winter 2016 when I hadn’t started tracking my outfits yet, though I bought it sometime when I was in college. It’s a really nice vest – compact but warm, and it has zip pockets. I’d been keeping it around as a utility sort of item, but now I have a full puffer jacket and I don’t think it makes sense to keep both since I think It would always reach for the jacket over this vest because I like how it looks, and if it’s cold enough to wear the vest, I wouldn’t suffer from wearing a full jacket.

Black merino blend turtleneck sweater, Gap, 13 wears. I bought this sweater (and its gray counterpart) in January 2017, which I think was the first winter that I was into curating my wardrobe. It did a solid job keeping me warm, but looking back at my outfit photos I don’t like any of them (they’re “meh” at best) and I find that the turtleneck on this is rather too long for my own neck and I often end up folding it twice, which is kind of a funny look.

Gray merino blend turtleneck sweater, Gap, 11 wears. I just don’t think I’d reach for this over any of the other sweaters in my wardrobe now. It was a step up from the thin hoodies I was mostly wearing at the time I purchased it, but I think it’s time for me to let it move on. It is a pretty nice sweater (not like, LL Bean or Eileen Fisher quality, but solid) and I hope it makes it into a new home and not a landfill.

Black loose-knit cotton cardigan, Gap, 12 wears. Same as above.

Black skinny jeans, Gap, 72 wears. Basic black skinnies erring on the side of jeggings. I think these may have been my most-worn jeans at some point. I’ve since come to favor the straight-leg cut for jeans, and I accidentally put these into the dryer and just didn’t want to deal with looking like a sausage casing for the first day wearing them after a wash while waiting for them to stretch out again. I had been keeping them as more of a backup item anyway and pretty much never wore it as a first-choice item in the past several months anyway. Surprisingly, these were in good enough condition that I definitely felt fine donating them instead of trying to find some jeans recycling program to send them off to.

Purge Purgatory

Two items that haven’t seen much wear and I’m feeling pretty meh on. I don’t like to immediately purge off-season items though, so I’m going to give these a while in storage.

Eileen Fisher cream open-knit linen waterfall cardigan, 2 wears. This is a beautifully made cardigan and I think it fits me well (the sleeves are even the right length!). I was super excited to find it back in summer when I was collecting lighter colored pieces with texture. However, I’ve only worn it twice since then, and both times I felt pretty blah about the outfits. I think it’s because

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Garnet Hill black linen duster waterfall cardigan, 1 wear (I tried it on as an option for several outfits over a couple of months but it only ever made the cut once). I got this from a local consignment shop, again, during the phase in which I wanted to buy everything at Sisters of the Black Moon. I noticed a lot of my Pinterest pins at the time included long, sweeping, thin black cardigans so when I finally found this hooded 100% linen one I was so excited! But I haven’t loved it in outfits I’ve worn it with because now I feel that so much black (especially in an untextured knit) kinda weighs down my outfits in a way that makes them feel a bit shapeless (not a silhouette I’m going for). Plus it doesn’t have pockets so it doesn’t make for a very good loungewear piece.

Wishlist

Long camel/tan coat. Same logic as applied to my purchase of the tan moto jacket. I have a black toggle coat that I wore a lot last year, but I would like a lighter colored option as well now that I’m not into the all-black look. I’m looking for a high quality one in a fairly understated / relatively classic style.

Blundstones (chelsea) or Doc Martens (lace up). I want a pair of truly comfortable low heeled boots that will stand up to a lot of walking (for day-to-day stuff – I’ve got hiking boots for hiking). Mostly debating which goes with more of my wardrobe, but I think they’d both work and fill a similar niche of stompy, fitted-ankle-higher-shaft boots so I’ll probably just go with whichever is more comfortable for my feet. I would replace my current pair of well-worn ankle boots with these.

Leather t-strap pumps. I suspect these are horribly out of style right now which is a bummer mostly because I could only find really matronly looking ones or cheapo plastic ones in an initial search of current store inventories. But I really liked my oxford heels that I wore in the 10×10 and I think that t-strap pumps would be another fun vintage-y option. I’m hoping to find a wingtip style because the smooth ones look a lot like literal dance shoes, which is not quite the look I’m shooting for.

Festive winter weight dress. All my formal/cocktail dresses are black. I’d like one that’s a little more festive (probably something velvet, or shiny) that I can wear to fancy events in the winter.

Concluding Thoughts

(Besides “Fuck the wordpress editor”)

It’s not a phase, mom, it’s who I really am

– me, buying 50 black and gray knitwear items last year after spending too much time browsing Sisters of the Black Moon and Death by Elocution

A lot of solid dark color near my face and hair kind of swallows me, and also you can hardly see any textures on black items! Also it looks at worst okay with everything but at best… usually also okay, with the plain items that I own, anyway.

– me, now

Hoping that there won’t be another round of style whiplash quite so soon after this round of changing my color scheme and getting into slightly more dramatic silhouettes! But I do think I’m more comfortable with my current style than I was with the more generic minimal witch style when I was into it. I haven’t gotten rid of all my old witchy handkerchief-hemmed things, but for now I am having a lot of fun exploring more colors, textures, and silhouettes that I previously limited myself from.

2 thoughts on “Wardrobe Round-up: October 2018

    1. First of all – sorry for the three week delay in approving the comment! I’d gotten used to always getting zero comments and had stopped checking the moderation thing, whoops. Thanks for the note, glad the details are helpful! And wow, that’s a shame about the editor. I started getting the pop ups letting me know about the new one… hopefully it ends up being an improvement.

      Like

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