WIW to shop for shoes I don't need

Yes, I ended up buying shoes. They are a low-heeled pump with an ankle strap. I'm thinking of them as my version of the ever-popular Sam Edelman Okalas that Angie and so many YLFabbers have.

I rarely wear pumps, but I like to have them on hand for times when I want to dress up and really need a dressy shoe. I'm excited to have a pair that is light-colored (my other go-to pumps are black), and a low enough heel that I might actually wear them for non-dressy occasions. (We shall see about that; I always think that about pumps, and then I don't wear them.) I like that the heel is closed. The ankle strap hits me in a place that works for me (above my ankle bone), and it's actually long enough to go around my ankles. Ooh, and look! You can move the buckle to the side or the front (photos 3 and 1)! I love that feature!

I don't know how AGL does it, but they manage to make a rather dainty-looking shoe that flattters my high-volume feet. That's why I have collected a few pairs of their ballet flats--AGLs are the only version of that style that I really liked both the look and feel of on me.

The shopping outfit, with the new pumps, and with the shoes I wore shopping:
1-3: dark skinny jeans (Mother, the Looker, "coffee tea or me" wash); light green tee and long cardigan (Halogen); light blue prism-print scarf (Nordstrom); nude ankle strap pumps (AGL, Claire).
4-5: the outfit with taupe oxfords (Paul Green, Dale); navy trench (London Fog); gray backpack (Rebecca Minkoff).

Thanks for looking! I welcome your comments and suggestions.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

23 comments

WIW & WIB: new coat and tee

I haven't posted outfits for a while, mostly because of a new schedule, but also I'm not that motivated. I feel I'm kind of on auto-pilot dressing, and my culled wardrobe makes it easy. Today, I decided to post because I'd like some feedback on this coat that hitched a ride home with me from Banana Republic.

Some background on the coat. I have been on the lookout for a warm winter coat. I've been wanting one that would cover my knees and be suitable for winter visits to the Midwest. I have considered down/puffer styles, and have tried on a few, but I really prefer good old-fashioned wool for my style.

After looking around online and in stores for a while, I haven't found anything that I'm crazy about within my budget, or perhaps even out of my budget, for that matter. The length is hard to find, and something not black or gray--well, that's just about impossible. I realize what I need to do is make the burgundy-toned coat I've been intending to make for 2 or 3 years now. It's a daunting project, and I keep putting it off. Yesterday I started the pattern work on it, and it's possible I could finish it in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, the coat I bought today isn't what I've been looking for--it isn't as long as I want, and it doesn't seem like it will be particularly warm. (Though there is room to layer a thick sweater underneath--a bonus.) So it doesn't preclude my long-put-off sewing project. I thought it was pretty cute, in the classic-with-a-twist way that always appeals to me. And it was ridiculously inexpensive (marked down further than what's shown on the website, plus an extra 40% off). So I could wear it a couple of seasons and not feel guilty about passing it on after that, right? What do you all think?

Yay: fun style to play with for a season or two
Nay: misguided impulse purchase

Photos 1-3: the coat (Banana Republic, Flocked-Hem Long Peacoat).

Photos 4-5: The outfit (worn for a day off and shopping): Straight-legged jeans (Kut from the Kloth, Stevie); mixed-media landscape print tee in brown and cream (made by me); taupe shredded-knit cashmere blend shrug (made by me); black and brown belt with studs (Suzi Roher); espresso moto boots (Miu Miu). This is the first outing for the tee, one of my recent creations.

Thanks for looking! I appreciate your feedback.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

36 comments

wild cards & organized emotional shopping

In response to Angie's post about "Organized Emotional Shopping," I wrote that I carry around a mental list of what I’d like to have, usually for items
that 1)are going to help me wear things I already have or 2) represent
trends that I want to pursue.
I added that I recently bought a pair of shoes that did not meet either of these criteria. I feel like they are a departure from my usual style. And they are not only a departure, but perhaps one that harks back to a former style rather than moving my style forward. And yet, I bought them and at the moment plan to keep them. Perhaps I could be persuaded to return them, but I'm more intent on discovering all the ways I might wear them.

The shoes are clunky, cutout booties (Kork-Ease, Stina), which in the photos below, I just put on with what I was wearing earlier in the day. They are also shown as a Find. They seem more in keeping with my style of a few years ago, when I loved my Ariat clogs and other clunky shoe styles. Part of my attraction to rounded toes, chunky heels, and clog soles was that I felt they balanced out my calves, which are relatively large for my overall body size. I have since gotten over that idea and have gradually moved toward more refined footwear. One of my style goals in the last couple of years has been to aim for a little more sophistication.

And yet, here I am with a pair of shoes that are hardly refined and sophisticated and could possibly be the antithesis of those things. So what gives?

I came up with the theory that these shoes may be a wildcard for me--which Angie defines as "an item that is atypical to your style persona, but that speaks to you in some way."
Which makes me wonder if wildcards help put the emotion in organized emotional shopping. These particular shoes seem to speak to the same part of me that the arty pair of green/brown oxfords I toyed with last summer did. I ended up returning those, but these I don't have the same hesitation about.

What do you think? Where do wildcards fit in this OE shopping scheme? And what do you think of these shoes for me?

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

17 comments

A treatise on the oxford hunt

The backstory
My oxford hunt continues, even though I am ostensibly participating in Aesthetic, Ascetic August. I ordered metallic oxfords from Banana Republic and, after helpful forum guidance, returned them. Ultimately I didn't like the synthetic lining or the shape of the shoe on my foot.

Then I bought the Stuart Weitzman brogues on the last day of NAS, figuring that since the sale started in July, my purchase could be considered a continuation of July's sale purchases. They didn't work out, though, so I returned them. (I swear they fit in the store! They felt clearly too small at home.)

My impulse for oxfords is to have a pair that goes with things that my  well-loved caramel Born Arlettas don't go with. And that I like better than my current second pair of oxfords--black Josef Seibels. I have worn the Seibels quite a lot, though I find them a little hard to style without having them feel too, I don't know, unflattering? I was thinking a different style in black could work as my not-brown oxford, but I was also wanting metallic--and then you all opened my eyes to the possibility of metallic instead of black. Then there is the question of vibe, or oxford genre. What I like about my Seibels, besides the #1 consideration of comfort, is that they are kind of funky while also being, well, a traditional, or classic shoe (an oxford, after all). What I don't like about them is that they are on that razor's edge between funk and frump, and admittedly some might not actually see the funky or arty possibility in them.

The latest attempt
Yesterday, I came home with a very different, quirky pair of oxfords. Not metallic and not black, but a blend of colors that works well with a lot of my wardrobe. They are a style called Fox, in the Cliff Dweller line from Cydwok, and they are a "painted" leather in shades of green, deep teal, brown, taupe, and a little tan.

The photos
Here they are:
1: a photo I found on the web. The colors in mine look deeper and less light-green.
2-4: The shoes on me, with the outfit I wore yesterday. I have not taken any other styling photos yet--sorry--but I will do so when I get a chance.

The last photos are of my outfit yesterday:
5-6: Dark brown shorts (Eddie Bauer); turquoise v-neck tee (Caslon); tan belt (Trafalgar); jean jacket (AG, Robyn); caramel oxfords (Born, Arletta); navy and tan satchel (Dooney & Bourke).

More thoughts--pro and con
A little more info on the oxfords: They are very comfortable. You've probably heard me go on about my Think! sling-back Mary Janes (the Aida style below) and how great the arch support is in them. They are a no-fail shoe when I need comfort all day. I imagine these oxfords to be similar, because they are made with a steel shank and molded arch support. Unlike the Think! shoes, these have a negative heel, like the old Earth shoes (not sure if Earth still does that). I never got on that bandwagon, but I do find these comfy. I really like the idea of an oxford that I could count on for great support, for my increasingly fussy feet (recent plantar fasciitis).

On the other hand, I have been aiming for more sophistication in my style: more tapered-toe shoes, more jackets or stylish pullovers. Pre-YLF, I lived in closed-back clogs by Ariat--they were stylish, but still clogs--with my jeans, tees, and cardigans. I have an arty streak and a little bit of boho, but artsy-craftsy is not my style.

I did try on these shoes with a few things but didn't get photos. I liked them with chino pants, especially rolled up, and I can see them with skinny or narrow jeans (what footwear does not go with those? Okay, maybe clogs. . . ). I thought I might wear them with narrow skirts that hit at or just below the knee. I might even wear them with my Eileen Fisher harem pants.

What say you? Am I fooling myself with these shoes, looking at them through comfort goggles? Or are they an arty style that could work for me?

If you've stayed with me this far, thank you. And thanks in advance for your thoughts!

eta: new photos of the shoes. . .

7: on my feet

8: with what I'm wearing today 

9: with harem pants and tops I'm wearing today

10: with harem pants, denim shirt and wine hi-lo sweater

11: with wine corduroy skinnies and sweater

The shoes are an easy match for my browns and greens, but I wanted to see how they would go with black and wine, and of course, the harem pants, which I mentioned. Not sure about oxfords and harem pants, but that kind of potential pairing is one thing that makes me hesitate about another brogue style like my Borns.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

25 comments

AGL tall moto boots from NAS

Me again, with another Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchase. In my NAS report, I mentioned that I had ordered the AGL tall moto boots in brown. They came today, and I thought I'd show them here before returning them.

First, what I like about them: I love the color of brown--a deep espresso. The leather feels divine--so soft inside and out. The buckles are really nice--a subdued, burnished brass. The style, with a rounded toe, crossed straps at the ankle and a strap at top, is moto-inspired like a lot of current boots. But it can be worn like the classic equestrian style boots, too. That is, if they fit your legs.

What I'm on the fence about: I really like the round toe, but I'm trying to gather some more tapered toes in my wardrobe. And yet, this toe seems a little fashion forward, as the tapered toe has been strong for a while now.

Why I'm returning them: They are too tight on my 15" calves. Plain and simple. I could barely get the right one zipped up, over a knee-high stocking. There is a small elastic gore at the top, but it doesn't extend low enough on the boot to ease the fit over the largest part of my calf. The leather might stretch, but not enough to make them comfortable to wear over skinny jeans--the way I'd most want to wear these. Another slight concern (but not enough on its own to return them, probably): the leather is so luxurious, I'd feel very self-conscious wearing these on sloppy rainy days.

Just thought you'd like to see them.

I'm also showing photos of my current tall brown boots, for comparison. If the perfect replacement comes along, I'll upgrade them. For now, they are just fine! (And they cost half what the AGLs do, on sale.)

1-3: AGL Italia tall boot in espresso
4: AGL boots with their bag. Included this shot because I thought it was kind of funny--it looks like the boots would be a really tight fit in here!
5-6: Born Sosie, in tobacco (my current brown boots, from a couple of years ago). This style seems to be the same as the Roxie.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

13 comments

my other NAS jeans: Hudson Beth baby bootcut

Really, how many pairs of jeans do I need? Well, I do wear them a lot. Let's see, I can't wear them to work (three days a week), but otherwise, they are pretty much in rotation 9 months of the year or more.
Though I will say, I've begun to realize there are only so many days in a year.

Anyway, I picked up these Hudson jeans to try on, simply because I like the pockets. I've always liked the Hudson flap pocket look, but whenever I saw them on sale and tried them in the past, they didn't fit. These came home with me, and today I put them on again to check the fit and the rear view, which is important to me. I thought I'd better take photos, because I can sometimes deceive myself with the mirror.

So, here they are for your consideration. As with my other post on straight-leg jeans I got at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I am comparing these to a pair of Luckys I already had. Just to show I really don't need another pair of bootcuts. I will admit, I actually don't wear bootcuts as often as I wear straight/skinny legs. But the two pair of bootcuts are quite different: sometimes you need a flap on your pocket and sometimes you don't. And the colors are different, so I will wear them with different things.

photos 1-2: Hudson Beth Baby Bootcut jeans (new, tags still on). I've turned under the hem, because they are too long & will need hemming.
photos 3-4: Lucky Sweet Jean bootcut jeans (the ones I already owned), for comparison.

I'm not really inclined to return, unless you think the fit is off and/or I need to consider a different size. This purchase is just for fun!

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

29 comments

K/R: NAS Kut Stevie Straights

I got two pairs of jeans at Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This is one of them: Kut from the Kloth Stevie straight leg. On me they are more like a skinny jean. My idea is to replace my Paige Skyline straight legs (also like a skinny jean on me), which I wore a lot--they were a real workhorse pair--but now are tighter than I want.

Now that I have the jeans home, I realize that they may be duplicating the Lucky Sweet Jean straight legs that were already in my closet. I bought the Luckys last fall a size up from my usual size--to serve as a slightly roomy but not quite boyfriend fit. They now fit me pretty similarly to the new Kut Stevie. When the Luckys had a more relaxed fit, they actually felt kind of frumpy; they weren't a favorite pair for that reason.

Photos 1-2: the new Kut Stevie straight legs. These are keep or return.

Photos 3-4: Lucky Sweet Jean straight legs, for comparison. (These are the ones that were already in my closet).

First thoughts: The Kuts felt amazing on, in the dressing room. Still do feel great. They were an immediate "yes" in the store. The fabric is thick and feels nice. I really like the wash, and the length and leg opening are great for all purposes (flats, heels, tucking into boots).

Second thoughts: a) I wonder about the back pocket design, though. Flattering or no? (Do they look like built-in panty lines??!)
b) I wonder if I'm being ridiculous to keep them, when the Luckys seem so similar. The Kuts somehow feel better, but in the photos I can't see why.

Third thoughts: I am willing to entertain keeping them even if they're duplicates.

What do you say, YLF wise ones?

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

25 comments

NAS report: back to basics

Here's a rundown on what I tried and what I bought today at my early access appointment for Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I was trying to go for some basics and to steer clear of statement pieces, which I would rather sew for myself.

What I bought:
Straight leg jeans (Kut from the Kloth, Stevie). I am amazed at how nicely they fit. Had to have them. While they are called straight, they look more like skinnies on me, but not overly tight--just right. Yay. Got these in my current usual size.

Bootcut jeans (Hudson Beth Baby Boot). I bought these mainly because I have always admired that Hudson flap pocket and never had a pair--and these fit like a dream. I bought a size up from my current usual size. These are quite long; I'll probably take 3 inches off the hem.

Espresso zip pocket ponte knit pants (NYDJ, Ski). I was wanting a pair of dark brown skinny pants, and I also wanted something in the moto-inspired zip-pocket trend. These fit the bill (and my body) nicely. Got a size down from my usual current size (typical of NYDJ). These run quite long; I'll be taking a few inches off the hem.

Magenta high-low shirttail hem cashmere tunic sweater (Halogen). Looks fab with the espresso zip pocket ponte pants! Love the color. I wanted a cashmere sweater and was surprised to find I liked this tunic style. Took my usual size.

Bras and undies (Natori Hidden Glamour, Natori Jacquard, DKNY signature lace bikini). I already had these and love them, so I took advantage of the sale to replenish.

Camisoles (Shimera two-way seamless). These are a staple for me. I add a few each year.

Workout shorts (Zella, City). So cute and comfy! I have the longer version of this style, the Move pant by Zella, and love them. Took a size up from my usual, as is common with Zella.

Espresso leather tall boot (AGL, Italia). These are on their way to me. I tried them on in black and a half size up from what I need. I will see when they arrive whether I want to keep them. They have a slight moto vibe, and a toe that is more rounded than it appears in the photo. Not sure if I want to go rounded. But maybe! The leather is gorgeous.

What I tried that did not work or did not come home with me:

Skinny jeans (Rag & Bone Jean, zip detail). These are so skinny that the size that fit my hips did not pull all the way up, because my calves got in the way. And that's with the ankles unzipped. It was pretty comical!

Skinny jeans (Hudson, Colette). The denim felt heavenly, and they did actually fit, in a size up from my usual. They just didn't wow me as much as the Hudson bootcuts on my bod. Also run long, for you long-legged gals.

Lace trim sweater (Joie, Hilano C). Very pretty! Just wasn't in love with it enough for the price. I also kept thinking, Hm, couldn't I add some lace like that to a less expensive sweater?

Ombre v-neck sweater (Vince). I'm a sucker for ombre and dip-dye. But the main part of the sweater is very dark navy, and it just didn't do as much for me as the sleeves did. I think it's a gorgeous sweater for someone else!

Double-breasted trench coat (Mackage, Malka). Total impulse try-on. I have no need for a coat; in fact I bought a more standard style trench in a similar color last year. But this coat is so "me." I tried my usual size, and it fit beautifully in the shoulders. It was tight through the body and hips, though, so I didn't seek out a larger one to try. Just seemed the wrong shape for my body. But it looks way more awesome in real life than in the photo. The "gunmetal" color is a gorgeous indeterminate shade of taupe--right up my alley.

Brown faux-croc satchel (Brahmin, Camden). Of all the items I spied in the NAS catalog, this is the one I was sure I would buy. I want a bag that will go with both espresso and black, and I thought this was it--until I saw the color in real life. The brown in the center of the bag had a pinkish cast that just was not the hue I was looking for. I kept thinking maybe it was the light. But it did not go with the espresso short boots I specifically wanted to carry it with. (Sigh.)

Espresso leather tall boot (Aquatalia, Obsession). Whoa--these are for all you narrow-calf lasses! I did barely get them zipped, but I had some serious muffin top going on with these boots. Too bad, because they are gorgeous.

Faux leather and knit moto jacket (Vince Camuto). I like the idea of a moto-style jacket that isn't leather, and this was cute. But I really didn't want black. I found the metal zipper hard to work. Took my usual size.

Knit moto jacket (Halogen). Very, very narrow sleeves. I really don't need another black jacket. Really, I don't. Still, just had to try it. I liked the way it looked, fit and style-wise (other than those impossible sleeves, which I couldn't have layered anything under--and which might have been more comfortable if I even shaved my arms, they fit that closely).

Leather trim moto-inspired tweed cardigan (Classiques Entier). The tweed is pretty (teal and coral are among the flecks in it) and soft. It's a beautiful sweater-jacket. Ultimately I didn't love it for my style, but I would admire it on someone else.

Still thinking I might need to get some running shorts and tights. But otherwise, I'm pretty happy with my purchases!

What do you all think? Did I do okay?

21 comments

the annual white jeans search

If the title sounds like I'm a bit over this white jeans shopping thing, it's because, yes, I am. I went through quite a trial last year to find the perfect white jeans, and this summer they don't fit. It's a combination of small amount of weight gain (every little bit shows in jeans!), and that I'm wanting a slightly roomier fit this year.

I'd like to have a pair of white boyfriend jeans that can be worn full-length or a straight leg that is slightly slouchy.
I'd also like a bootcut that is flattering.
I think I may have found both, but please tell me honestly what you think.

Here are the contenders:
1-2: White bootcuts (Lucky, Lolita). I'm planning to keep these, unless you see something that I'm missing.
3-4: White boyfriends (Kut from the Kloth, Catherine, sized up).
5-6: White boyfriends (Kut from the Kloth, Catherine, in the larger of my two usual sizes).
7-8: White cropped boyfriends (Lucky, Sienna).
9-10: White cropped straight legs (JCrew, Reid).

What I currently have, for comparison/info:
11-12: white cropped boyfriends (Eddie Bauer)--these fit, and I wear them.
13-14: white bootcuts (NYDJ, Barbara)--last year's, too tight.
15-16: white straight legs (AG, Stilt)--last year's, too tight.

Thanks for looking and helping me decide what to keep (if any). Collective wisdom is so useful!

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

23 comments