An exciting month because I finally got to wear this coat that I bought ages ago but turned out to be too warm to wear in SF even in winter on our trip to Boston! I wore this outfit on the days we flew out and back and felt really festive with the green velvet headband and plaid. Still kind of an unconventional look there since 98% of people were in puffer parkas but I was nice and warm with a scarf+hat+thermal shirt in the ~25-45F weather.
Listed in descending number of wears for the month. Click images to view full res in new tab. I realized after I took the photos I hadn’t logged my outfit for 12/22, but the only notable piece there was my orange cropped cardigan.
Clothing and shoes
48 items, 18 of which were worn once. I think I have my ugly Christmas sweatshirt (not even sweater, just a sweatshirt with fake knit stitches as part of the design) classified as loungewear so it doesn’t show up in this filter, because the other 11/12 of the year when I wear it, it’s as pajamas and I don’t log it.
Really digging the colorful beanie with the fair isle scarf this month. Brought both of those for my five days in Boston for Christmas and felt really festive without the full cheese of just red and green. Last year I had a few different scarves, hats, and earrings for a 10 day trip to Boston along with a carefully coordinated black and white travel capsule wardrobe, but this year I just had fewer shits to give about clothes. I packed intending to wear the same outfit on each flying day, that same outfit except a different skirt on another, and gray leggings and the ugly Christmas sweatshirt with sneakers the other two days (still with the double breasted tweed coat, which looked kind of weird, but reinforced the I’m-on-vacation-and-idgaf #mood).
Asterisks indicate that the price I jotted down doesn’t include applicable shipping (I just can’t be bothered to do the arithmetic on online receipts where the shipping is listed as a separate line item)
The Petite Curvy Perfect Vintage Jean in Fitzgerald Wash size 27, $61.74* (37% off) – If you remember the long and return-filled road I took earlier this year to find The Pair of 100% cotton high-waisted light wash relaxed fit tapered jeans (aka “mom jeans” or “boyfriend jeans” or “girlfriend jeans” or “vintage jeans” or whatever retailers are calling it now), I had already cut the tags off the regular size 28 of this style and ended up just keeping them because they had initially fit Good Enough, I Guess, until someone notified me that the style came in curvy petite, the allure of better fit was too much and I ordered a pair anyway. Over time I’ve found myself only reaching for the 27 pair, so I thought I should get a second pair so I won’t be sad when it’s still airing out or in the wash since as much as I like to put together fancy outfits, jeans are a staple.
The 28 is going to be relegated to “trash clothes” for animal care/handling volunteering days at the local science museum, though tbh they don’t have quite enough stretch to be ideal for that.
Madewell Vermeil Star and Moon Stud Earrings 14k gold over sterling silver, $23.94*, (37% off list price of $38) – Despite owning over a dozen pairs of earrings, I only had one pair of gold tone stud earrings. I’d been building towards a more statement direction with earrings, since for a long time they were they only way I really accessorized, but now that I have more headbands I’d found myself reaching more for stud earrings when I didn’t want to go full out bling + headgear. But the pair I had was some kind of metal that is pretty tarnished now. I still wear them because I feel it’s working for the boho/antiqued vibe, but sometimes I want a cleaner look.
Figured that gold plated sterling silver was a nice middle ground and while I’m sure that Madewell isn’t the place to get rock-bottom priced jewelry, I didn’t really feel like Conducting An Investigation for other outlets or whether secondhand jewelry would indeed have the metal content claimed and decided to pick up the first pair slightly premium quality studs that I found cute.
Madewell Moon and Star Puffs Drop Earrings, gold-plated brass with sterling silver posts, $11.34* (37% off list price of $18) – basically the same as above, but sometimes I want tiny dangly earrings. These ones are plated brass which I’m hoping won’t scratch off easily and tarnish anyway but we shall see. I thought the chubby cut of these was adorable.
Jeffrey Campbell x Free People “Joe” lace-up boot in taupe, size 8 via Poshmark, $202.09 – Now that I figured how how I actually like wearing the distressed dark gray leather pair I have, I was thinking that wouldn’t a brown pair be super fun for a steampunk or adventure feel? Wouldn’t that just be perfect? Now that I know my size and that these seem to be well constructed enough that $200 for lightly used secondhand seems reasonable, I didn’t have much of a buffer keeping me from just ordering one. So I did.
They actually brought the style back this year (list price is $298), but the brown one is more of a nice shiny new rich brown leather, and I think that with my current style, a duller material would be more wearable. I’m still really happy with these (the fit is the same, and very comfortable), but the only annoying this was I didn’t realize this would be more of a suede than smooth leather. A brief experiment showed that water drops on them evaporate without a trace, but it still really shows up when you get a few drops on until then, so these aren’t going to work when it’s a bit rainy out.
I’d been drooling over the style since before I was even into fashion (filtering google search results seems to indicate they first came out in 2013), and I figure if the desire for them has survived an “pfffft, fashion” phase and then two subsequent wardrobe style overhauls, then they’re probably going to survive another couple of years of any style swings. But time will tell.
H&M embroidered tulle skirt, size 12, $33.91 via Poshmark – Facing the truth that the skirt which I love so much because it has a satin ribbon waistband instead of an elastic waistband was uncomfortably small, and that the satin ribbon waistband’s con is that it has zero stretch.
It’s in the range where I can still technically wear it, but after an hour or a large meal I spend the rest of the day looking forward to taking it off. I think it fit better though was still snug when I first got it, but I’ve gained like 10 pounds over the past year and I don’t really want to ever bank on losing weight so I just got the next size up.
There were a lot of these up on Poshmark. I wonder if people just have a hard time styling it, or if it’s also people who ended up not fitting theirs for one reason or another. I’m just going to keep the size 10 in case I do lose 5-10 pounds down the line again. It’s an inoffensive enough silhouette that I don’t think it will ever be so off trend.
But seriously, I wish more skirts did the thing where it’s a flat/woven band 3/4 the way around with a stretch panel in the back. Saves from having to get varying sizing. With my corduroy midi skirts, I own one specifically in my “chunky sweater size” for winter, since those are also non stretch and one large enough for sweaters would be too big for fitted t-shirts. But they look so much neater!
For more ways I’ve styled this, see Styling an embroidered tulle skirt
BP Sweetheart Neck Bodysuit, M $35.00* – I was still looking for some lower neckline tops since I ended up returning the Forever 21 top I got last month. This one mostly stays on the shoulders, unless I’m taking a jacket off in which case it pretty much always has to be pulled back on. But I’ll take that since most square neck or sweetheart tops will fall off if you just blink.
I haven’t washed it yet and I’m hoping it won’t shrink on cold wash in a garment bag even though it’s rayon. The snaps are plastic and not metal and I find them a little hard to fasten but it’s workable.
It’s too boobtastic for work (I need to wear a balconette bra with it, standard cut cups show) but honestly after a year or two of getting into the sexless minimalist elevated basics thing I’m down for some more fitted shit on the weekends.
Free People Softly Structured Knit Tunic tobacco/terracotta, S $99.90* (via Nordstrom, and it’s currently even more on sale, original $135) – The website says “tobacco” but the tag says “terracotta” and I’m not sure if those are actually different or they just couldn’t agree on the name. I hate the name “tobacco” but the color itself is really nice.
I think an XS would have also fit and frankly may have actually been a better fit. This is definitely a very oversized style either way. I like that the turtleneck is loose but very long, so I can fold it over twice and not feel like I’m suffocating. inb4 “MOCK NECKS ARE THE ANSWER” they’re not the same look as a more relaxed/thicker turtleneck.
This thing drapes excellently and I’m thinking that fabric blends similar to its 52% rayon 28% polyester 20% nylon composition are probably half the answer to “what kind of hammerspace pants/skirts do influencers have that let them tuck in giant-ass sweaters with no lumpage?” (the other half is “pins, photoshop, tucking up into bra, tucking into hidden thin waist belt instead of pants waistband”) As seen in this gif, there is still an extra lump, but not anything too intense. Tbh I think my ideal version of this sweater would not be quite so oversized, more just relaxed fit, but I’ll take what I can get. I expect to wear this more as an elevated loungewear/dgaf casual outfit sweater than something for fashun~ looks.
The Petite Curvy Perfect Vintage Jean in Sumner Wash $72.45* (at 37% off) size 28 – pictured above. For a full review of these, see Review: Madewell Petite Curvy “Perfect Vintage Jean” in Sumner Wash vs Fitzgerald Wash. The main thing to note is that there are multiple washes of the “perfect vintage jean” and this one is 94% cotton and has a different fit/feel/look compared to the 100% cotton Fitzgerald wash, which is sturdier and runs smaller.
$135 for the lot. Honestly I have no idea if that is really expensive or not. It’s more expensive than my local dry cleaners alterations, but the last time I went to pick up alterations I realized that they have a basically nonexistent tracking process for their repairs. The guy who I was picking it up from was not the person I dropped it off with, and he basically just had me come to the back area and pick out my 3 pieces because he didn’t know which were mine. Uh…. that does not seem like a great guarantee to always get my items back. Also they don’t really give any suggestions or feedback during pinning.
- hemmed the brown corduroy Topshop trousers so that I could do a 1-1.5″ cuff with 2 rolls instead of like, 3 giant cuffs
- hemmed the green corduroy Anthropologie skirt to proper mini length instead of just above the knee (see it in the lace-up boots picture above)
- shortened the straps on my green velvet rouleau button Madewell camisole so a regular bra doesn’t show and it’s un-boobtastic enough for work with a cardigan
- hemmed red cotton Uniqlo x Ines de la Fressange midi skirt to be upper calf length instead of almost ankle length (I think the proportions will be slightly less dowdy and the hem won’t catch on my shoes when I’m walking). Interestingly, this one seems to be the same cut and length as the corduroy version, but because the fabric has more drape, it ended up being longer when worn
- hemmed the sleeves on the Pendleton wool coat and fix a small hole in the lining – The sleeves were in my acceptable length for sleeves generally, but since the coat is a more oversized style, I prefer if the sleeves are Definitely Without A Question Not Too Long to make it clear that the coat is long but not unintentionally oversized, since I’m so short.
A couple of minimal dresses:
black cami maxi dress – I keep thinking someday I’m going to go on a beach vacation and wear this, but it hasn’t happened yet. I got it hemmed and was hoping to have it as a casual weekend summer option, but it ended up not coming out short enough and I didn’t really want to pay for another round I think the fabric was rather heavy for a jersey and perhaps stretched down more than expected for the marked hem length (I asked for ankle bone length) so it still just drags on the ground when I’m wearing flat sandals, which is an absolute no-go, since that would be gross trailing around bus stops and the subway.
Athleta bodycon dress – I would have probably gotten rid of this already because I never wear it, but I got it hemmed. Between the time I bought it from Crossroads and took it to the tailor, my enthusiasm for it waned a lot. But I love costumes and experimenting in the odd theme WAYWT, and I feel like having one option in this silhouette will come to fruition someday. I don’t wear it much because it’s a bit plain and I find silhouettes with volume more fun. And it doesn’t have pockets or is suitable for any actual athletic activity, despite being Athelta brand.
blue midi dress – Haven’t worn this this year at all. I think I bought this back in undergrad. There’s nothing wrong with the fit or comfort, I just find I reach for other things before it. It’s so plain and the fact that it’s a slightly different color on the bodice and skirt bothers me because it doesn’t feel intentional. It feels a little too casual for work for my taste.
I keep thinking one day I’ll embroider the bodice and live out my embroidered boho dreams but I highly doubt that would actually happen. I still haven’t even dyed the square neck tee I bought dye and a sink stopper for a couple of months ago.
Where Are They Now?
Home Runs: Frequently worn core item or it’s a specialty item that induces unbridled joy whenever I do have an outfit that features it
Hits: In regular rotation and would rather have than not have it, but when it wears out I don’t think I’ll try to find an exact replacement
Misses: Hardly worn, not actively liked, probably donated/sold by now. If I still have it, I would probably be considering donating it
Chart summarizing these little retrospectives. I know it’s ultimately squishy anyway since I bucket them according to my whims and not just how many times they were worn, but I’ve found that often it’s more helpful to see how happy outfits or items make me rather than optimizing for wear count. I used to wear the same pair of boots almost every day and hated it, and that was part of what spurred me to do the recent wardrobe overhaul. I do look at the wear counts before deciding how to classify them at least.
Many more charts to come in year in review, but it’ll be interesting to see what this looks like as more items have had more time to simmer.
Cream and gray mock-neck sweater, Athleta (“Rockridge” sweater), $55.19, M, 18 wears – This is my go-to sweater for cooler days when I don’t want to think about my outfit. It’s simple, comfortable, but the two-tone sort of stripey knit is a little interesting. Even though it’s unassuming I still get compliments on it, usually along the lines of “wow that looks really cozy” or “I like the stripey knit”.
It’s quite pilled now due to a tendency to wear it on more active days (plus once I was carrying an unsanded piece of wood against myself without thinking and that really pilled it), but I kind of like having an old well-loved looking sweater. Also, it’s pretty thick so even though it looks worn, it’s not holey and worn out.
Multicolored pom-pom beanie, LL Bean, $29.95, 12 wears – It doesn’t really get cold enough hear that headgear is actually required, but I love this thing. It’s so cheerful! Since I can at least still wear it on the bus or train I’m going to try and wear it on sub 50F days. Nice to have this as an option with the white pom pom beanie for trips out of California.
Brown wool panama hat, Brixton via Nordstrom, $39.00, 7 wears – I don’t wear this super often. During the week I’d have to take it off in the office and to sit down on the commuter bus so it’s more trouble than it’s worth to wear for all of 20 minutes. But occasionally I have an itch to wear a wide-brimmed wool hat, and it’s nice to have one. An easy color for my wardrobe and I’m fond of the subtle trim.
Cream fisherman sweater, LL Bean, $99.00, S, 11 wears – Don’t wear this one too much because despite being 100% cotton it is so warm! But nice to have around when the more thinly-knit cotton sweaters don’t cut it.
(See it in the headband picture two below)
Cream balloon sleeve sweater, Athleta (“Lucca” sweater), $67.99, M, 10 wears – I wore this frequently right after buying it – apparently 5 times within the first month! But I then realized that it was too large. Particularly, the sleeves are too long. Unless carefully arranged for photos, the balloon sleeves just collapsed on themselves and were rather deflated and it just looked too big.
However it’s so, so comfortable and a cashmere blend. I figured it probably wasn’t robust enough to be pajamas or “trash clothes” for chores etc, so I decided to have it live in my storage box under my desk at the office in case the AC gets turned up too high and I don’t have a sweater in the summer, or I have some sort of wardrobe emergency and need a top.
Gold scarf-look headband, Cara via Nordstrom, $28.00, 3 wears – I got this in the spirit of sparkly holiday things, but since otherwise my wardrobe tends to stick to earthy textures I haven’t really been feeling the Lurex. I’ll try and work it in a look this month but I tend to hold on to accessories that I don’t actively hate since they don’t take up much space.
Fair isle chenille gloves, Isotoner via Macys, $18.00 – These got a hole in them after a couple of wears (to figure skating sessions)! The construction turned out to be very weak so I ended up replacing them with a different one (some merino gloves from Madewell, though it remains to be seen how sturdy those are). It’s a shame because the fair isle pattern was really cute.
Gray check oversized blazer, Forever 21 via Goodwill, $5.99 – This one I mostly got to experiment with the oversized blazer look without expecting it would end up a cherished item. It ended up not working out, but since it was from Goodwill in the first place, not mad about it.
Holding off on wish list for now. After seeing how much I got this year, I’m going to be doing some kind of low-buy in 2020 and want to be more strategic with my purchases.
One thing that I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks was I split out some core/favorite items into a small standalone wardrobe, and if I didn’t have some outfit planned, or grand plans to experiment with a new combo, I only pick from that subset of things. I don’t track what’s in it, and items can swap in and out whenever.
I think it helps a little bit, but since I still have a lot of days where I want to try something new, I still get regularly frustrated. I feel like it’s decreased the choice paralysis on dgaf outfiit days though. I always feel conflicted about all this “trying to make it as easy as possible to get dressed” goal, because I want things to just be easy, dammit, but I also like the novelty and creative process of styling new outfits. I think the solution is probably closer to “only wear outfits you already know look good” on weekdays when there’s time pressure to go out, and spend weekends doing some dress-up experiments to come up with new outfits.
And that’s it for the year’s monthly round-up posts! I’ve got a big Year in Review post coming up where I’ll be taking a look back at year-long trends and changes for next year.