Hey home fries! I have been away for a hot minute — things get super hectic as the term starts to wind down with grading and the like at the college where I teach. Anyway, last post, on hurricane-recovery, was a little heavy. Today I’m gonna lighten up a bit…
About a month ago, I decided to make a few changes to my wardrobe. It had been a long-time coming. I’m a *little* picky — and try hard to buy / keep only things that fit me well, work flexibly with my life, and make me feel good when I put them on. That’s a tall order — it makes shopping for myself an exhaustive process involving research, lots of fitting rooms, much hand-wringing, and a good deal of return-shipping. (Seriously, I agonize and torture myself — it’s not the way normal people shop, I don’t think.) But it needed to happen, and it was time — a number of my staple pieces had seen better days; I had long lusted over a few things that I hadn’t pulled the trigger on; all added to the fact that home-renovating over the last year left little budget / mental headspace to deal with my shopping quirks.
The floodgates opened during a brief trip out of town. I stumbled upon a boutique and popped in for a moment, realizing I’d hit pay dirt in the form of a TDF denim display. Savannah’s shopping is adequate, but there aren’t a lot of places that sell high-end jeans, for instance. And I cannot buy jeans online — I just can’t. Anyway, my go-to skinny jeans had seen better days. I bought them in Germany about five years ago now and have pretty much worn them into the ground. They’d lost their shape and just weren’t working for me as hard as they used to. They needed to go to Goodwill, and soon.
I was aided by the fact that I finally — finally — know what size I wear in pants. I know sizing differs from store to store, but I seriously did not know until recently how pants should fit me and have long-nurtured a habit of buying a size up. As a result, I often look and feel a little sloppy in jeans. (This is something I’m actively working on now as a grown-up lady.)
Ultimately, I walked out of that boutique with a new pair of mid-rise skinnies by 7 for all Mankind. They were an investment, and I felt a little sick to my stomach as I made the purchase. But I’ve worn them a number of times over the past few weeks and, I have to say, mama likes. Bonus: Moment-of-purchase aside, I don’t feel guilty. Owning ten pairs of expensive jeans is one thing. Having one or maybe two pairs is moderation, I say.
Spurred by this success, I decided to clean out my whole closet. I followed the Un-Fancy capsule experiment advice of taking every single thing out and laying it on the bed, then sorting it into YES / NO / MAYBE piles. I cull my closet fairly often, once or twice a year, but this was a more serious overhaul than any since I left graduate school.
After all of the sorting, I considered the capsule-experiment advice to look for specific wardrobe holes. I realized I was down a good black pencil skirt or two, and a few versatile basic fitted shirts, including stretchy ones to wear under casual blazers and the like. I’ll spare you the gory details here, but let me plug, in particular, this skirt from Zara, which is longer than a normal pencil skirt and looks really cool.
I also realized it was time to up my shoe game. I saw two gaps on this front: smart-casual black slip-ons and good black ballet flats. Shoes are especially hard for me. First of all, good shoes are not cheap. I know this — and I know I have yet to be let down when I’ve splurged for quality. Still… it’s tough to settle on something and just go for it — maybe because I view shoes as such a commitment. Second of all, I have ridiculously small feet — like a carny person.
The slip-ons were tough to find. But I ended up going with a pair of TOMS Avalon Slip-Ons in black patent linen. Yes, patent linen; it’s a revelation! I love these bad boys — and Zappos. Big kisses to those guys for super great service all these years.
For the ballet flats, there was an especial amount of hand-wringing. I knew all along what I was going to do; I just needed to accept it… and finally buy the Repettos I’ve been eyeing for, um, always. Because, shopping difficulties aside, I’m still just a little bit sassy and unpredictable, I went with the low-heeled Camille style in black napa. You guys: They. Are. Heaven. So worth it. I feel like I will have them for years to come. Thank goodness because, again, nice shoes are Pricey McPricerson.
One other important thing I did: I set aside a day to fix stuff I had and loved but which needed TLC. I have a pair of casual, everyday jeans from Madewell, for instance, that I bought about two years ago. I’ve been meaning to hem them since I bought them in a mad-dash before catching a plane all that time ago (very un-me, but hey, it happens). Anyway, it took a while as I’d never hemmed jeans before, but they turned out really well and I feel like I have new pants now. Also, I have a pair of slim black cigarette-pants from J. Crew that I LOVE, but I tore a hem a while back. I finally sat down and fixed it and, once again: bam, like new.
Might I also mention that, with these triumphs out of the way, I turned my sights to poor Manny and his closet. He is, like me, not a shopper. But unlike me, he won’t force himself to buy things when he needs them and instead gets prodded into it annually by his wife. And he has a reputation to uphold! Case in point: My dental hygienist asked me about my husband the other day when I was in for a cleaning; when I told her he was a patient too, she said: “Oh, right! He always comes in wearing a nice suit!” He’s in a suit for work… but I don’t let that get in the way of my views on his sartorial accomplishments.
P.S. Those instagrams at the top are my all-time fav Danish fashion bloggers. I have a total crush on these two ladies and love Danish street style in general.