Month: February 2015

Grey + Yellow (With a Side of Wah Wah)

J. Crew tipped grey boutonniere blazer
Blazer, J. Crew (via consignment); sweater, LOFT (via eBay); pants, Banana Republic (via consignment); shoes, Jimmy Choo (thrifted); bag, MbMJ (via eBay)

I have no idea why I’m making that face; let’s chalk it up to a hellish week, the highlight of which was getting a replacement iPhone (6!) for the one I managed to drop and shatter to smithereens. The highlight, peeps. Moving on. The outfit is acceptably New Look-ish. The paisley print is pretty bold, but it’s one of my faves, and I think it’s suitably professional paired with a whole lot of black and grey. Speaking of grey, I’m still undecided about how I feel about grey. I have trouble nailing flattering shades of it. I think I prefer my darker (warmer?) grey Elie Tahari blazer.

J. Crew tipped grey boutonniere blazer
necklace, Cleo

Can we talk pants for a second? So, I started this new “clean eating” thing at the end of December, and it’s going pretty well. I feel less sluggish (when I’m not down with the ever-recurring Toddler Plague), and have fewer energy crashes, and I think (?) my skin looks better, blah, blah, blah. I have also lost a bit of weight. Most of it is probably water weight, and it’s not particularly noticeable, but I am technically down to my pre-pregnancy (#2) weight. [I say “technically”, because things are not quite the same as before. Ahem. They don’t call them “child-bearing hips” for nothing.] This is all fine, and you might be wondering what my problem is.ย  Well, my favourite pair of work pants is starting to get loose. Saggy and wrinkly in all the wrong (are there every any right?) places. This is a bona fide wardrobe emergency for me. Before you roll your eyes and tell me to stick the hyperbole somewhere uncomfortable, listen.

These are the pants I wear on a weekly basis – literally. I paid something like $20 for them at the consignment store, which is the kind of money I like to spend on pants. I hate pants, remember. Except that I wear them quite often. And I’m very particular about my pants requirements. Basically, I won’t bother with any pants other than the BR Sloan ankle cut, after one too many disappointments with other brands (coughJCrewcough). Sigh. Rather than spend the next year haunting my local consignment stores in the hope that the right pair in the right size (and in-seam) will turn up again, I may have to suck it up and pay $60-70 for a new pair at retail – IF they ever go on sale. [A sales associate told me that the black version rarely does. It figures.] I am absolutely, definitely, never paying the $110 full price. I might be in some desperate straights … but not that desperate. Nope, nopety, nope. You hear that, Banana Republic?

[Put the damn pants on sale, already!]

J. Crew tipped grey boutonniere blazer
wrinkly pants ๐Ÿ™

Triple Down on Print

Equipment Brett blouse; Ferragamo Flavia red pumps
Shirt, Equipment; skirt, J. Crew (via consignment); shoes, Ferragamo (via consignment); necklace, House of Harlow; bag, MbMJ

As you guys may remember, I had some reservations about this blouse when I bought it. The print combo, paired with the style, struck me as borderline … ugly. I may have been more diplomatic in my description at the time, but that was the gist. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Quite wrong. And I have no problem admitting that, notwithstanding what my husband might have to say onย that topic. (He’s wrong. Hah!) Bottom line: this shirt has grown on me a lot.

Not 100% sure how I feel about it in this outfit though. Let’s take another look, or two.

Equipment Brett blouse; Ferragamo Flavia red pumps
weird, leg-stumpifying angle ๐Ÿ™
Equipment Brett blouse; Ferragamo Flavia red pumps
too many prints?

Was mixing 3 prints a step too far? They’re all in the same colour family, roughly (blue, black, and white), so I don’t think they look clownish per se. But maybe just a little bit off? Seriously; here’s a close-up, and you tell me: one too many prints?

Equipment Brett blouse; Ferragamo Flavia red pumps
or too matchy matchy?

OK, enough about that. Can you guys handle yet another one of those navel-gazing entries about my never-ending quest to get my (style) s**t in order? Well, I hope so, because here goes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a hundred times once or twice before, but I have this weird attraction/repulsion/inner conflict about minimalism. (And, to be clear, I’m talking about minimalism as an aesthetic, not minimalism as a lifestyle.) As much as I love bright colours and prints, my definition of true chic has always skewed in the opposite direction. Think Gwyneth Paltrow’s or Kate Lanphear’s street style. Or a mere mortal’s version of Tilda Swinton’s wardrobe.

I’ve struggled with this a lot because, duh, I love bright colours and bold prints. The idea of wearing a pared-down colour palette and unembellished outfits always seemed … restrictive. And boring. And yet. One of the things that has really surprised me during this whole new “adulting my work wardrobe” adventure is that the outfits I’ve felt most comfortable in – and most like the best version of my(current)self – are the, you guessed it, minimalist ones. Note to self: what the hell is going on?

And, then, it finally dawned on me: the way I feel about colour when it comes to clothes, is the way I feel about colour when it comes to make-up. Let me explain. Set me loose in a drugstore (or, God forbid, Sephora), and I am likely to end up with a bazillion colourful things in my basket – eye shadows, eyeliners, lipsticks, you name it. I see colour, I want to get my hands on it. I want to play with it. But, in reality, I wear the same 2-3 eye shadow and lip colours day in, day out. I learned the hard way to avoid giving in to my colourful make-up buying urges, because it all just goes to waste. I don’t wear all those pretty, bright colours on my face, and if I ever try (because of an ill-advised purchase), I feel odd.

Anyway, it’s kind of the same story with clothes. I cannot get enough colour. I love looking at colours. I feel the same way about pretty prints. I would probably wallpaper my house in Anthropologie-esque prints if my husband allowed it. Because I just like looking at them. Does that sound crazy? Regardless, I’m starting to realize that just because I adore a print, doesn’t mean that I have to wear it. It may not, in fact, be something I really enjoy wearing, as opposed to just, you know, looking at it. I know that’s probably a really strange and random revelation to have but, well, strange and random is kind of the name of the game around here.

So, what does that mean? I think that, going forward, I’m going to try to set aside my love of prints and colours (for their own sake) when I go shopping, and try to base my buying decisions on other criteria. I’m working on figuring out a wardrobe colour palette (loosely inspired by this Into Mind post), which will hopefully make it easier for me to make more, shall we say, dispassionate choices about the things I buy, and don’t buy. What I’m not going to do, at least not until I’m really sure about where I’m going with all of this evolving style stuff, is get rid of all of my colourful clothes and prints. A lot of them I really enjoy wearing, so purging them seems unnecessary; the ones I’m on the fence about, I’m going to evaluate over the rest of the year. (I have a feeling that wardrobe analytics is going to play a big role in this.) No haste, no waste. Or maybe that’s just the hoarder in me speaking.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so hit me up in the comments.

Going Out On a Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
Dress, 3.1 Phillip Lim; blazer, J. Crew; shoes, Stuart Weitzman; bag, Mulberry (via consignment)

OK, you guys: this one is special. I spied this 3.1 Phillip Lim dress on the (non-sale) rack at Holt Renfrew sometime last year, and immediately came down with a case of googly-eyes over it. You know what I’m talking about. I ooh-ed and ah-ed (internally), and thought about how much cooler I would be if only I got to wear something so chic. This is, of course, nonsense, but some clothes have that magic of making you believe that it is possible to be a cooler, prettier, more sophisticated, fill-in-the-blank you. But I digress. I looked at the price tag, and it was all, like, “LOL, nope. Move along, peasant!” And I did, because while I like pretty things a lot, I like my retirement account more.

3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
love at first sight

Cut to late January, and I’m back strolling through Holt on a coffee break with a co-worker. (Which happens more often than it should but … ah, let’s get back to the story.) I spot the dress again, this time on the sale rack, and pull it out to show it to my friend, who agrees that it is quite lovely. I get ready for more wistful oohs and ahhs, when … do my eyes deceive me? Is that … can that be the sale price? $157, down from $815?

Yes, yes it is.

Chanel dragon
manicure, Chanel Dragon

Now, $157 (plus tax) is still a lot of money. I routinely spend that much and more in any given month on clothes, but very rarely in one go. And almost never on a piece of clothing. (It’s usually a bag.) It’s above my psychological price threshold for impulse buys, so to speak. This story might have had a different ending than these photos suggest, were it not for a little deus ex machina action in the form of my annual Christmas gift card from work. Gotta love a happy ending, cliched narrative devices aside.

3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
so pretty!
3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
prettiest thing I own? may well be …

Have you ever fallen (hopelessly) in love with a piece of clothing or accessory outside of your budget, only to later end up being able to buy after all?