Wardrobe Round-up: May 2019

A week late but here it is! Kept a bit shorter on the wear counts but some of the other sections are a bit longer than usual.

Boyfriend and I have embarked on a major effort to spruce up our apartment, part of which we’ve agreed includes downsizing our closets. A lot of the items I purged this month and am considering purging I actually more or less like, but I don’t think that cuts it anymore. I feel sad because a lot of them got only a few wears since I bought them. I do feel like at least my more recent purchases have been working out better, though I haven’t gone through and quantified that properly. The theme for a lot of the purged items are that they are on the flatter/blander/limper side or don’t fit well.

Wear Counts

49 items of clothing! I have been really into light-wash jeans with white/beige tops for spring, clearly.

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44 accessories and shoes!

Clogs and Birks are the new MVPs of summer (still appreciate my old chewed up Tevas sport sandals that used to be my summer shoe staple, but those are mostly relegated to volunteering wear or for going to the beach).

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In case you’re wondering where I wore the over the top choker and pleather shorts, it was in this outfit for a party (shorts were under the skirt, because I didn’t want to walk around outside where it was colder in just shorts).

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Purchased

I’ve been aiming to acquire at most three more non-replacement clothing items per month, but I’m going to not count the docs as an overage there because I have literally wanted those for years and have had ebay alerts set up for months. However, even with that I still went over by a few pieces. Next month I’ll do max one purchase.

Dr Martens 1460 Pascals x Hieronymus Bosch (Garden of Earthly Delights), US Women’s 7, $314.35 including shipping – See my recent post The Dr Martens Museum Collection Hieronymus Bosch boots are the coolest shoes ever (Pascal vs Smooth Leather 1460 Boot Comparison) for details

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Dr Martens 1460 Pascals x Hieronymus Bosch (Hell), US Women’s 7, $195.39 including shipping – See post above for details.

Planning to wear these in ISO ~dark and edgy~ outfits like these. Sticking mostly to black to avoid Ed Hardy outfit vibes.

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Madewell Curvy Petite “Perfect Vintage Jean” in Fitzgerald Wash, waist 27″, $98 – I had to go down two sizes and get the curvy, petite cut. See here for details: Jeans Shopping is Terrible: A Comparison of 12 Pairs of Madewell and ASOS Jeans

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H&M Black off-the-shoulder cropped blouse with smocking, $14.99 – this top and the one below I got because I felt I didn’t have enough fun tops. I don’t go-out go out every week but I do sometimes, and I’ve generally been feeling a lack of fun tops in my wardrobe as I’ve been trying really hard to get things that are mostly office appropriate since that/s 5/7 of my life. These are not tops I can wear to the office, but I’ve had fun coming up with outfits for them so far and I can see myself wearing at least one of these each weekend as long as it’s warm enough.

I’m glad this looks nice with the shoulders pulled down (L) or slightly higher (R) which I guess is its neutral position as that’s where it ends up when I raise my arms then put them back down.

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Cropped square-neck sleeveless top with O-ring zipper front, $17.99 – This is honestly a bit small around the bust for me (38″ bust, 32DD bra). Not in an uncomfortable way, but there are some pull lines across the back. Overall I don’t mind. I like the square neckline on this because it reminds me of corset stays (Etsy link).

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ASOS DESIGN tea blouse with collar detail (duplicate) $45 – I really liked this blouse but could tell the construction wasn’t great. I decided to get a backup one after looking around on Etsy and ebay for similar blouses (actual vintage or just vintage inspired), and was unable to find any that had the same set of details (narrow v-neck, flat shawl collar, rouleau buttons, nipped in at waist, blouson sleeves, can be tucked in). I would have loved to have upgraded to a true vintage natural fabric etc etc if one existed in my size from a shop that offered returns, but at this point I don’t really want to put stock in that happening within the next whenever. White button-downs are one of those super annoying items to shop for to start with (like non-stretch jeans) so I would be okay with a second one.

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Replacement / Practical Items

Athleta Elation 7/8 leggings in Powervita fabric, dragonfly green, size M, $96.57 ($89 before tax)

I’ve recently adjusted my exercise activities to include yoga and jogging/body weight exercises another 2-3 times a week on top of figure skating ~2x a week and dance ~1x a week. I’d been supplementing my leggings with athletic shorts that I usually use under dresses, but I prefer full length leggings for exercise. This wasn’t really cutting it.

I had 3 pairs of leggings in rotation: 2 from Athleta and 1 ancient Old Navy pair which will probably survive the apocalypse if it survived being used as fencing pants although it is not as nice to wear as the fancier fabrics in the Athleta tights.

I think Old Navy is still great value for how well their athletic wear holds up, but the Athleta “powervita” fabric feels so much more luxurious and robust than anything there I don’t see myself going back. The waistband of the Athleta medium tights are usually a bit loose though (I have a 29″ waist and 39″ hips), which is annoying. Not really gaping, but not exactly supportive like the descriptions promised.

The 7/8 tights are full length on me. I like that I finally have a pair that isn’t black or gray, but I’ve noticed that these aesthetically feel a lot more like purely athletic wear rather than something that could bleed into athleisure. I feel like I should be in Cirque or something while wearing these, which is fun, but I don’t think I’ll be wearing them as part of outfits like the gray ones.

I do have one more pair of old black capri length leggings, but I store those at the office in case I forget to bring sportswear and don’t have time to go back home before whatever activity requires them. I don’t really like capri length anymore, but they’re functional and I don’t feel bad about them languishing at the office most of the time.

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Clothes-adjacent

Cavallini Collection “Wildflower Specimens” pouch (Purchasable here. I got mine from the local plant nursery.) – Got this to replace a really garish pink and orange pouch from one of those “free gifts” from a Clinique purchase (I hate those. I turn them down now. How about you just MAKE YOUR PRODUCT CHEAPER and not give me extra crap I didn’t want?). I was using it to store backup and less-used jewelry pieces and it was resting on my vanity area. I’m trying to slowly transition that area to have an aesthetic that I like and is somewhat more cohesive and less dorm-y, which mostly involves moving everything to a more earthy style (the theme I have in my head is “old timey naturalist”).

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Berkeley Horticultural Nursery hemp tote bag – I had another beige cloth tote bag that I would use for holding random junk when running errands, but I put it in the washing machine in a mesh bag (cold cycle regular, as unfortunately our apartment building’s machine is hard coded to use warm water for the delicates cycle) and it shrank about 30% and came out crazy wrinkly, making it useless for its former purpose (to be a larger bag than my crossbody bags, made of cloth and slightly nicer looking than those plasticky reusable totes).

I’m pretty sure Berkeley Hort has had the same logo for ages, and I do think it’s a great logo for the place regardless of what’s trendy, but I do particularly enjoy that it fits into that 70s revival that’s happening right now with design trends (Vox: “Why funky ’70s-style fonts are popping up on brands like Chobani and Glossier”).

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Returned

See the huge amount of returned jeans at Jeans Shopping is Terrible: A Comparison of 12 Pairs of Madewell and ASOS Jeans.  If Madewell actually made all their waist sizes match actual measurements for those waist sizes this would have been a lot less arduous.

Purged

Urban Outfitters orange sundress – I bought this from a Facebook buy/sell group back in undergrad. It had a hole where the original owner apparently savagely ripped the tag out but it didn’t seem to fray any more in the wash. I really liked the cheerful boho print of this one but I hadn’t worn it much even last summer as a house dress, so I figured it was time to go. It was also a bit too boobtastic to wear out of the house even for weekend errands for my current tastes anyway, although I think part of that may be that it has gotten stretched out.

Target striped halter sundress – I got this on my 2016 trip to Portland for a conference where I had read the weather ~2 weeks before the trip and then packed for mild temps, but it turned out I was there during a major heat wave where it was literally 100F+.

I bought a black maxi skirt and this sundress at a Target there since I had only brought jeans (didn’t have time to ~go thrifting~ and then do an extra load of laundry at the hostel). I don’t wear it very often but every time I’ve posted an outfit with it on reddit, someone comments that it looks kind of off and I think of that on the infrequent times  I put it on. It isn’t more practical than sweats or shorts and an old t-shirt for house wear and it does look rather old and tired because the stripes are running together due to pilling anyway.

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Uniqlo black sleeveless swing dress – I got this from a local consignment shop. There was a while when I was convinced the black sleeveless high-neck swing dress would be a FOREVER STAPLE in the summer but  I was wrong. I looked back at all the photos I had with this and the other two like it which have since been donated, and decided that I had plenty of other comfortable summer options that I like more than this dress.

Target gray infinity scarf – I asked myself, is there any outfit where I would prefer this scarf over any of my other scarves? The answer was no. This one goes along with the theme of getting rid of a lot of black and gray blah sort of items.

Treasure & Bond paisley tassel skinny diamond scarf – Idk what possessed me to buy this. I think I had been on a kick with the spruce green scarf and decided that it worked well for my winter outfits, surely a fun summer weight scarf would be a great purchase. Turns out that I rather dislike this design and find it finicky to style on top of that. It’s also too large to really work as a bag accessory.

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Treasure & Bond burgundy cutout boots – I don’t think there is anything wrong with these, but I found that even with the cutouts they actually feel less of a statement than the similar style black patent leather boots I have. Somehow the design is just not as sharp. The burgundy color was also not as saturated as I think it needed to be to make an impact in lighting duller than direct sunlight. I am pushing the limits on the shoes I should have in our current space (and decision to not have a wall of shoe racks) so I got rid of these.

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Clarks black suede oxfords – I got these low-profile oxfords from ebay sometime last year and have worn them only a few times. They look almost like a sock unless you’re up close. I originally thought the minimal sleek silhouette would be better because every time I’d tried heavier black oxfords it felt like orthopedic shoes, but it turns out I don’t like the sleek look either. I guess black oxfords are not for me.

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Madewell olive tank top – I wore this a lot last summer, but looking back at the photos it looks like an undershirt tank top and I prefer a more finished look now. I would not wear this over my soft old t-shirts for house wear either.

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Gap tan wool blend tunic sweater – I only really wore this with black leggings and black boots because otherwise I don’t like the proportions. I have plenty of other sweaters. This got a fair amount of wear back in ~2016 when I mostly wore jeggings and leggings, but it doesn’t really go with most of my bottoms anymore.

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Purge Limbo

black lace-up side t-shirt – I just don’t wear this anymore. It doesn’t tuck in well either because of the design.

orange cardigan – This is a very nice lambswool cardigan I got from ebay (Charter Club brand, which I think is Macy’s). I love all the design elements, except I’m coming to terms with the fact that the actual fit is too big and I don’t like how it looks with crewneck tops. The neckline is a bit deep for it to work as a shirt.

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Forever 21 linen-lyocell blend green wide-leg pants – These are really comfy, but I find that the effect overall tends to be very loungewear unless I pair it with a fancy top and shoes. It also only works with heels because otherwise them hem drags. Also not too flexible because the belt is sewn on and there are no belt loops. Haven’t worn these much.

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Old Navy green field jacket – I think at one point this was my most worn item. I think this goes a lot better with skinny silhouette pants, and as such I haven’t been wearing it much recently. If I had a lot of space I’d love to keep this, but I think since I haven’t worn it in ages it probably needs to go.

I do wear leggings for workouts though, so I might try using this instead of hoodies when going to and from workouts. Edit: I went back and tried this on and I think it actually works with midi skirts because of the tapered waist. Also, it’s super comfortable and has like ten pockets! Why not give it another try.

UO velvet sweetheart mini dress (consignment) – I think this is really cute but it’s too boobtastic to wear anywhere where the expected attire isn’t like, clubbing status (it has been carefully arranged for this photo). The fabric is beautiful and it’s machine washable so I’m going to make an effort to wear it more as a house dress. I think the reason I haven’t done that is because it’s not really a cut that works as a night dress, and I prefer home outfits to be usable as pajamas.

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Forever 21 tan ribbed handkerchief hem chenille dress – This is fun and super comfortable, but I’m not sure it’s worth the space it’s taking up vs how much I wear it. I have the same dress in a dark grey which I find more wearable. The tan one is really cute for a mori girl inspired look though.

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Gap black linen cami jumpsuit – This was 100% purchased a result of a linen jumpsuit craze over on reddit.com/r/femalefashionadvice last summer. I think it’s alright, pretty well made, but kinda blah. I also think this would look better hemmed slightly as right now I think it looks a lot better in heeled sandals than anything else. I haven’t worn it much.

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ASOS petites floral midi dress – this is pretty fun but I think the waistband hitting in the weird indeterminate space between empire and natural waist bothers me too much. This is the second time I wore it ever. The first time was for attending a wedding :/

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green linen paperbag waist shorts – I had another pair of these in black too from last summer, but every time I put these on, I still feel like the silhouette is wrong. I’m fine with shorts generally, but these are a bit too voluminous in width for how high rise they are, and there aren’t any belt loops (less accessorizing options). I think an extra high rise with pleats (80s style) might be more my style.

grey strappy pointed toe flats – I just don’t wear these. I’m not much of a flats person generally, but the black pair of these is just so awesomely witchy (and easy to wear because of the straps and high cut – no blisters!). I don’t wear the black pair that often, but these are doing even worse. I do really like the design overall, but I don’t think the color fits well with most of my clothes.

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I really gotta wear these pants more, too.

Wishlist

I just want to be happy with everything in my wardrobe and not have it spilling out of the closet space. I feel like I’m a lot closer, but it still feels so far. I don’t expect to every be like, “I’M DONE, NO MORE SHOPPING EXCEPT TO REPLACE THINGS”, but I’m definitely not at a point where every piece I have is 💯 for me and the whole thing is well rounded in terms of colors, textures, and cuts.

  • raincoat – a longer cut and brighter color than the grey hip length one I have now
  • romantic style mini dress – I have three pairs of docs now and I really like the cutesy dress with combat boots look, so I figure getting one that goes with all of them will be a nice option for easy-outfit days.
  • camel coat – not really actively looking for this right now, but it’d be nice to have a warm toned outerwear option when it gets cold again. I think this may have been on every wardrobe round up post I’ve made since I started this blog.
  • Blundstones – walkable boots. Still stewing on this as I have a load of boots already. But none that have a reasonable heel true walking boots and are slip on.
  • replacement pleather leggings – I did wear the pair I had before regularly. I miss them.

Last month I was thinking of getting some funky earrings, but I’m feeling kinda meh on that idea now. I think it’s because I’ve been on more of a witchy outfit kick than a retro casual outfit kick.

Tailoring

I didn’t get around to stopping by the local cleaners or tailor, but some things that I’ve been meaning to get done.

inb4 LEARN SEWING, IT’S EASY AND CHEAPER YOU CAN DO IT – I do not have space for more stuff in my apartment, if you want to makeover my shared 400 sq ft apartment which has a load of space-inefficent furniture that belongs to the landlord and I can’t get rid of, be my guest and do not have the personal bandwidth or hobby budget allocated to put towards classes as I have other projects going on now. One of which happens to be improving the apartment as a living space.

I feel like spending so much time on the ffa subreddit has made me very defensive in my writing style and I kind of hate it, but replies there in discussion threads seem like they are contrarian by default. I feel like I need to justify and provide context for every statement I make which I’m pretty sure doesn’t actually improve the reading experience for most people.

hem brown culottes – get this taken up a few inches. I think it would feel more purposefully cropped and less dowdy with flat shoes. See Thoughts on styling sneakers with wide-leg pants and culottes for further exploration on this topic.

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hem brown canvas wide-leg pants – same reasoning as above. I like the current cropped wide leg pant trend because I like how it gives the outfit some breathing space. I’ve heard lot of petite folks have expressed distate for cropped wide leg pants because they think it makes them look shorter, but I actually like feeling like I’m not engulfed in fabric of full length wide leg pants and also it’s more practical (doesn’t drag on the floor).

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hem pleather mini skirt – right now it’s above the knee, but I think I’d like it more if it was mid thigh (like 0.5-1″ below the fingertips when arms are at my sides). I usually would not wear a pleather mini skirt if I’m feeling conservative, and I’ve generally felt that the hemline was a bit long for the going out style outfits I use it in.

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Stewing on getting my black smock dress hemmed. I think I would be happier wearing it styled in other ways besides with black heeled pointed-toe boots if it were mid-thigh instead of knee-length. However I do really really like wearing it with the fancy fishnet tights, and in the current religous-smock-garment vibes of the dress, pairing it with a bit of fun hoisery doesn’t feel too sexy for the office. Mini length dress even as a smock dress with fancy tights would be a bit much.

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Conclusion

Well, I feel kinda shitty about how much effort I’ve been putting into curating a wardrobe only to see how many of the purchases were not that great and that I’m okay with donating so soon. It’s not a good use of resources, although at least it is okay for time put in since I have developed a better sense of what works for me as well as how to style things. I don’t think you can get that without trying a bunch of things over time to see how you feel and look.

I’m currently taking a break from taking new outfit photos for Instagram (instead rewearing whole outfits I like and reusing photos). That’s really been driving home that I only have a few silhouettes and item combos that I really do love, so maybe I will end up with one of those minimalist capsule wardrobes in the end anyway, despite always maintaining the this blog and my Instagram are focused on exploring style and optimizing for being able to make outfits I really love, and not purging the whole thing and replacing it with a ~highly curated minimal ethical capsule wardrobe~ as one is wont to see in a lot of fashion accounts nowadays. As much as I enjoy dressing up and trying different styles and items, I do always somehow end up back at button down midi skirts, tapered cuffed trousers, or straight leg jeans most days in recent months. More thoughts to come in the next outfits post.

6 thoughts on “Wardrobe Round-up: May 2019

  1. I have such difficulty parting with things – I admire your ability to go through and be honest in your summation of what works what doesn’t. I know the pain of donating something barely worn… But as Seamus Heaney said, about clearance – it gives space for the light to get in, for other things to grow. However personally painful it can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s definitely getting harder now that I’m down to things that I don’t actively dislike, and there is always the lurking fear that I may regret a donation.

      One thing that helps is telling myself that for almost all items, I should be able to find something to fill the same niche should I ever decide I need it again (since most of my items are fairly basic non-designer pieces, not with elaborate cuts or embellishments).

      The other thing that’s helped a lot is being able to see all my outfits using an item at once (by pulling them up in my Airtable database) so I can be like, “See? You don’t even like A SINGLE ONE of these outfits. If you can’t think of any outfits using this now that you would like, there is really no reason to keep it!” and assure myself I made a good decision that was backed up by some data.

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  2. Totally relate to that feeling of disappointment about still having a lot of new items that end up on the “to donate or resell” pile after not-very-much use, even after years (years!) of thinking about what I like to wear and what I need to wear and trying to find a balance there. I’ve known my own preferences for a long time, that I’ll always want to reach for my current favorite version of whatever category or type of item before even the next best, still very good and very functional in its own right alternative item from the same category; that I’m a bit of a “function over form” person in that issues with an item being fussy or not quite right/needing adjustment throughout the day or with an annoying detail means that the item will never work for me, no matter how pretty it is or how much I like the look; that I’m super-picky about some details with how certain items fit; etc. etc. And even then, I definitely still picked out new items that turned out not to work for me much at all!

    And I also relate to the feeling of sort of preemptive defensiveness when writing about these topics. Part of it is my profession, in everything we produce for law school or our work, we generally need to be aware of and ready to respond to potential rebuttals or people zero-ing in on weak spots in our analysis, and we need to minimize that in our original work product. Social media, though (and I feel like there are slightly different cultures and norms of communication across different platforms, including Reddit, Instagram, or Twitter), dials it all up to 11 because a lot of the potential rebuttals come so quickly and from people who are gratuitously nasty and/or are pretty ignorant or uninformed. To me, it’s really difficult to fully disconnect from those social media platforms because there’s still a lot of useful information there, but there’s no real way to use those platforms and completely filter out the unpleasant “noise”. Plus, I’m primarily interested in the “ethical” or minimalist fashion discussions and personal finance discussions out there, both of which can attract some particularly judgmental and harsh people. (Learning to sew and tailoring are also not on the table for me at the moment, similarly to you there’s definitely no physical space for a sewing machine anytime soon, and professional tailoring is hyper-expensive in NYC.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. > I’ll always want to reach for my current favorite version of whatever category or type of item before even the next best, still very good and very functional in its own right alternative item from the same category

      That’s something I’ve come to internalize a lot more intensely recently. Sometimes when I’m making an effort to wear more of my wardrobe, I’m fine wearing multiple items in the same niche, but for most categories there is definitely a favorite piece that I’d just repeat forever if I was running on autopilot. And since I suppose my goal is to be able to make outfits I like on autopilot, why bother keeping extra pieces that I don’t equally like?

      Really well-said points about how online communities can result in defensiveness. I feel like at least once a week I say to myself I should really just stop reading reddit ffa, but the occasional useful article or thread is often super useful, and I don’t want to lose that! I’m trying to be on top of unfollowing Instagram accounts that I find result in negative feelings though.

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    1. It’s been too hot recently to wear them but honestly they’re really great even just as displayed art pieces 😂 Hoping to get some more outfits with them once the heat wave passes though!

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