Skirting issues

I mentioned earlier this month that I’ve been feeling pretty content with my wardrobe as it is. The last few things I purchased from November 2014 to present were these Banana Republic turtlenecks and some Extra Warm Heattech turtleneck tops. I’ve lived in these for the last two months along with my trusty Uniqlo Ultra Stretch denim. It was great for the slow days at work over the holidays, but lately I’ve been feeling a bit unpolished. I’ve been riding the casual line at work for so long that I’ve forgotten what actual slacks are like. I want to go back to more structured work looks, like blazers and pants and flats–not so much because I am required to, but because I feel good when I look good and that affects the way I approach my work and duties.

I decided to challenge myself to spruce up a bit more and put the jeans away for a week. It’s January and I want to enjoy what passes for “cooler” weather in California before it goes away all too soon–and it already has. We’ve had low 80-degree days just this past week with humidity that makes hair go haywire. The challenge was to wear either a dress or a skirt for a week–no jeans.

I’d done a few looks with mini skirts and tights last year that felt comfortable, so I opted to get a second pair of Target Merona opaque tights to help me out this week. I’d purchased a cheap pair from Marshalls but it fit uncomfortably; it had a little too much control in the control top and it was cutting into my stomach. Maybe I bought the wrong size? At any rate, I’ve found a pair of tights that are opaque enough and more importantly comfortable at the waistband with no heavy seams or itchiness.

Prepare to be underwhelmed, because my creativity apparently decided to disappear this month:

IMG_5363
#allblackeverything club

Monday: Macy’s INC long open cardigan (similar from ASOS), old babydoll sweater dress (similar cut), Uniqlo Extra Warm Heattech turtleneck top, Ecco Sculptured 45 GTX bootie
Tuesday:  Uniqlo Extra Warm Heattech turtleneck top (sold out), Cotton On mini skirt, Clarks Charlie brogues
Wednesday: Banana Republic cropped turtleneck, Gap striped mini skirt, Ecco Sculptured 45 GTX bootie
Thursday: Lands End supima cardigan sweater, Uniqlo Extra Warm Heattech turtleneck top (sold out), Cotton On mini skirt, Clarks Charlie brogues
Friday: Macy’s INC long open cardigan (similar from ASOS), Uniqlo Extra Warm Heattech turtleneck top (sold out), Cotton On mini skirt, Ecco Sculptured 45 GTX bootie

Fun facts:

– the long black cardigan and the baby doll sweater dress were “shopped” from my aunt’s donation pile. She’d never worn the black cardigan and was going to get rid of it until I intercepted the stash. I also got a nice gray peacoat out of the pile, which I haven’t worn to work yet.
– Tuesday’s outfit is the base for Thursday and Friday

As far as the challenge goes–I completed it successfully–no jeans during the workweek and I even managed a maxi skirt and Crocs during the weekend because it was warm. As for variety, well, I could do better, but my addled brain couldn’t think up of anything new. It’s a combination of things: I’m bloody comfortable, so I keep reaching for the same few things every morning. I’ve also been preoccupied with running, so most nights I try to go to bed right after dinner so I can run before work. This doesn’t leave much time to hem and haw over outfits, which is good, but also leads to a lot of monotony and repeats.

Despite the lack of variety here, I think it was a good exercise to complete. Comfort doesn’t just mean tee shirts and jeans, it can be a simple skirt and sweater too. It goes with the spirit I’m trying to follow for this year: grow, develop, innovate. I’m not breaking the ground here fashion-wise, but I am challenging my own behavior and tendencies. This also helps me appreciate what I already own/what already exists–who would have thought that Cotton On $5 purchase would turn out to be so versatile? Or that clothes destined for a donation bin would fit my aesthetic so well? I love that long black cardigan and I’ve worn it at least a few times a week since I got it last month.

Do you have any clothes that you feel deserve commendation for being workhorse pieces? What items do you rely on during this time period to feel comfortable and stylish?

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16 thoughts on “Skirting issues

  1. my week has been looking pretty #allblackeverything too. it’s just so easy to reach for the same pieces again and i’ve been preoccupied with lunch-hour workouts lately so i’m dressing around that! in winter it is easy to wear leggings under pants etc but in summer i have to think about easy clothes to change in and out of that won’t crumple too much in a bag. so mostly jeans. bravo for having a denim-free week – i’m not sure i can do that! my jeans are my workhorse pieces 😀

    1. Ugh, I think I need to lunch-hour run! I am flagging trying to run in the morning like I usually do (it’s still too dark around here.)

      I can relate–I used to throw booty shorts under my dresses. Made biking home a breeze (literally, haha!)

  2. All back errrything for life! Good call on rescuing your aunt’s cardigan. I love my long black Rick Owens coat. It’s edgy and cool, but still under the radar enough that I can wear it to work. It really has come to my rescue so many times, it’s worth it’s weight in gold. I want to get a machine washable “dupe” for it, but I was lazy about getting a zara long cardigan one when it went on sale, I saw a long cardigan on target’s clearance, but still lazy about buying… since quality may be iffy.

    1. Isn’t that the best feeling? To have an item that is representative of your aesthetic and yet plays nice with the real world, because aside from working in very urban areas, most offices will probably balk at us coming in heavy layers with asymmetric hems and such.

      I have a question for you–my cardi/sweater is cotton cashmere, I believe 80% cotton /20% cashmere, from Macy’s. It’s recommended dry clean, but do you think I should pony up for it at the cleaners? Or could I hand wash cold without shrinking (line dry of course.)

      I’d hate to lose the length on the sweater coat. Last time I washed SUPPOSEDLY hand washable wool from Muji, I lost a good 4 inches of length on the sweater.

      1. I think you could hand wash or machine wash delicate in cold water. I use Laundress wool cashmere shampoo, but I know people that use baby shampoo or Dr Broner’s soaps. Then when it finishes dry it flat/roll it up in a towel, when it gets dry enough I just hang it.

    1. That’s not a bad thing necessarily–I didn’t have many skirts until I got a job in an office; most of my other jobs had either a company polo (with jeans or chinos) or I wore scrubs.

      Join me! I feel as if I don’t wear enough decidedly feminine things, like dresses and skirts.

  3. I actually love your week of outfits, they’re varied but consistent! Currently I definitely have a uniform of top/trousers, I should challenge myself to bring my good old skirts (which I’ve kinda fallen out of love with) out as well.

  4. I think I’ve worn a dress once in the last 4-5 months. And I’ve lived in jeans the rest of the time – it’s just my uniform. In the summer, it gets a little more varied so if I were to do a similar experiment, my chances of success would be much greater.

    But I think your wardrobe palette is probably pretty similar to a whole lot of other people’s at the moment – I’m certainly on board with the whole dark side theme and probably will be for at least another 2 months. And then I have a colour freak out. No – I’m just joking. I just wear more white and lighter blues – go Sue, go Sue, go Sue!

    1. Join the dark side! We have cookies. I’m trying to push myself to check out the few brown/cream sweaters I own but I haven’t been inspired yet.

      Sue, I really like your red purse (was it the Etienne Aigner?) I forget. But the items I remember from your denim skirt post is the red purse, gray sweatshirt, and CDG tee. Also you just reminded me to eventually do something about my lighter wash jeans–I can’t decide if I want to have them perpetually rolled up at the ankle, or hem them and wear them low-slung “boyfriend” style.

  5. Can I say plain tee-shirt (hello Helmut L!) as my workhorse piece? I wore them during weekend, now I even wore them to work (twice a week last week for the record). I found them still ‘presentable’ as they are not baggy and are simple enough to pair with skirt (Yes, skirt) or chino pants. And they don’t need ironing!

  6. Love look #1 so much. I can never pull off the empire waist despite my love for them. I have a similar outfit to Look #3 that is absolutely my favorite go-to for evenings with friends!

    1. Hence me hiding under a long sweater! It’s empire waist AND babydoll which I didn’t think I’d ever be into, but it’s ok as a first layer.

      Speaking of going-out outfits! I should wear the lipsticks I bought. I tend to get lazy on the makeup and accessories side 🙂

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