It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these types of posts, mostly because I’ve attempted to do need-based purchasing as opposed to window shopping. Anyway, I don’t live in a minimalist vacuum, so in the last half of the year there have been some purchases and mistakes, so I’d like to talk about those today.

First, the successes:

2015wins

1. Arc’teryx Beta LT Hybrid Jacket (REI)
I got it for $250 at REI’s Labor Day sales for the Seattle trip. I am not too familiar with Arc’teryx’s sale prices, but I decided on this rain jacket vs. the orange Marmot Minimalist  because of the fit of the hood, deep front pockets, and the comfortable collar. I’m sure both would have performed adequately, but I have to give Arc’teryx a thumbs up for what it does. I was bone dry in that jacket. The adjustable hood and collar ensured a great seal around my face, and there’s a slight lip or stiffness to the hood which I noticed directed water away from my nose and eyes. That is not to say the affordable Marmot jacket would not have done the same, but I feel extra pleased by the workmanship and quality I get from this jacket. It gave me confidence during the Washington trip and now I have a solid rain jacket for the future; I won’t worry about future travel to the East Coast and/or other locales with inclement weather.

2. Forever 21 Jersey Dress (sold out. pic shown is Brandy Melville’s Alena dress.)
Struck by some inspiration somewhere on the Internet. This is an example of when buying a fast fashion interpretation works out in my favor. The F21 version is opaque, didn’t shrink, doesn’t stink. It is a very basic, flattering cut and there are plenty of versions out and about.

3. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante (2015)
I am so incredibly happy I found a shoe that works with my orthotics. The Fresh Foam Zantes pictured here are from NB’s running category, so it’s not really a #hypebeast or trendy shoe like the Nike Flyknit Racers or Roshe Runs. It’s an actual neutral running shoe. I was clunking around in Lunarglides anyways, so going with another running shoe-as-lifestyle isn’t a surprise. It’s much less cushioned and much lighter than what I’m used to, but the most important part is it is deep enough to house my orthotic inserts and I can lace up tightly for a very secure fit. I guess my review is skewed because I never wear the base insert, but I’d still recommend the shoe for its light weight. There is a men’s all leather version that is very very tempting…but I can wait on that and see what comes out after Christmas.

Then the underutilized:

Black Crane Pleats Dress (gray)
I didn’t wear this dress as often as I thought I would:
1. the fabric is a bit scratchy (wool/rayon mix) and for me, is a bit too warm
2. caring/cleaning for the dress is a bit complicated–I hand washed it and it shrank from a glorious full length, dragging skirt to just skimming the bottom of my feet. I kind of killed the fit I wanted from it by hand washing.
3. The daringness/oddness of wearing an extremely long, kind of sack-like dress was daunting. My coworkers just didn’t get it, and my family, bless their heart–didn’t say anything but I also get the vibe that if I want to avoid unnecessary commentary, I shouldn’t wear these dress to certain functions.
4. the 3/4 sleeve + dolman effect bothers me. I already know I don’t like either of those two elements, and yet I still bought the dress, entranced by the sale price and the excitement I felt at the store I bought it from.

I still like the dress, but there’s certain things I need to do to make it more me. I want to see if I can chop off or trim off those sleeves, but I’m a little afraid of editing it so permanently. The other half is just to wear the dress until it rips/dies–the fit is already irrevocably changed because it shrank–so I just need to wear it and stop babying it. Clothes are for the wearing, not storing, Kristina.

Muji linen dress
This is a case of I didn’t want to put the work in to maximize this dress (aka too lazy to iron.) I would take the dress out of the washer and hang it up to dry but didn’t fix the collar wonkiness and wore it to work pre-wrinkled. Not my style. I am getting ready to wear this dress later this week and yes, it has been pressed. Lesson of the day: don’t shirk the care for your clothes and reap the rewards of feeling #onfleek to work.

And the fail:

Forever 21 Chambray Shirt Dress (mine is gray)
The fit is fine, but it STILL stinks like preservative and rubber even until now. I Febrezed it, I soaked it in straight vinegar (maybe with a splash of water) for 3 hours. Still smelled after 5 washes and rinses. I should know better, but I gave into the urge after seeing a cool girl at a coffee shop (because where else) wear sleeveless shirt dresses with hoop earrings (which you could say is where my current IG pic inspo is from.) Holly if you ever read this, you’re a dope muse. What a disappointing use of $20, but I really should have known better, especially with fast fashion.

Upcoming guidelines for shopping F/W 2015:
1. no more sweaters/outerwear
Let’s face it, I live in a desert with little to no hope of really experiencing the proper temperatures for lovely cashmere sweaters and the like. I’ve already got a wool coat, tall and short boots, and now a rain jacket. I’ve also got several sweaters to choose from so remembering these and being realistic about the actual weather I live in should keep me from acquiring any more items. I barely have a week in January or so as it is to really properly wear what I own, during the season they are meant for. I own enough.

2. only shop for what I actually wear
What does Kristina reach for time and again?
– Cotton button-downs. My little collection of navy and white button downs are on heavy rotation for work. I also would like some short-sleeved ones like the Muji checkered one I got last year.
– Black pants and blue jeans (I own enough jeans for the moment, but I could always use fade-resistant black straight pants. The Gap ones I got earlier this year attract too much lint.)
– Black running shoes. I bring loafers or flats but I bail out into the running shoes when my feet start to hurt, or if I’m moving a lot between the two buildings at work. My health and strength come before fashion, every day.

Above is my no-brainer work uniform. Occasionally I’ll throw on a different topper–olive jacket, blue soft blazer, or a cardigan, but the base uniform doesn’t change. Some days I’ll wear skirts or have a few dresses to change it up, but rarely. If anything I would like more tops and perhaps one or two more work-appropriate dresses. I tried on this Gap floral print one that apparently just sold out (but here’s the cut with a different print.) Something easy going like that, with a nice understated print would be great. Could wear it to work and into the night.

I also would like some real sandals (not just Crocs) and some flats to replace the Gentle Souls Gabbys I have, which are 3+ years old and no longer have true arch support.

3. Support local artisans/boutiques
While it’s not always possible or financially prudent to buy 100% handmade, ethically sourced/produced goods–I can do a little bit by buying accessories, gifts, and goods by local makers. I love the LA Printer Fair for buying birthday and Christmas cards, and I’ve been to Unique LA’s December events for two years now. Last year was great–I bought some cards, candles, and jewelry as Christmas presents. I liken it to shopping Etsy but in person 🙂 This year I am going to try and go to a Patchwork show in Long Beach or Santa Ana.

That’s the longest you’ve heard from me in months now! Whew. That’s my little shopping update in the last quarter of 2015. How are you all faring with the annual #omgFALL marketing? What are your shopping thoughts for this time of year?

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10 thoughts on “Some thoughts on clothing

  1. Seriously, I so need to first clear out my cupboard and haven’t gotten to it yet. Have promised NOT to buy more clothes until I do (but last weekend bought a fab short (faux) fur jacket, in emerald green. Delicious. Jackets are a different category, or so I told myself… 🙂

  2. I’ve got to say I’m sucked in by marketing and got a pair of fashion runners (Nike Frees) instead of proper shoes. I guess I don’t run enough for it to make a big difference, and I get a lot of casual wear out of them too.

    I’m really lazy with my clothing upkeep so basically if I can’t machine wash something I won’t buy it nowadays, cause I know I won’t end up wearing it enough for fear of the maintenance haha!

    I always get sucked in by autumn clothes, this year I bought a sweatshirt and parka. I’m not that into summer clothes so I actually haven’t got much in mind to buy for the warmer weather – I’ve got my t-shirts, denim shorts and baggy viscose pants so I’m set haha.

    1. Jane, I wish my whole closet could be runners on runners on runners. I would have a pair for every day! Now I no longer look deranged for coming into work looking like I’m ready to jog.

  3. Oh, no! You looked so great in that Black Crane dress, too! Forget about the unnecessary commentary, though. Wear the dress as much as your heart desires to any function, if that’s what you want! Also, I didn’t know about Unique LA, so thanks for sharing! I hope I can check it out in December.

    I haven’t had much experience with Forever 21, but if you are looking for a good shirt dress to replace that one, I’ve had good luck with ones at Express. Also, my solution to ironing is a steamer. I actually travel with this one all the time: http://www.amazon.com/My-Little-Steamer-850-Travel/dp/B003ZT2ZQA

    This time of year is my kryptonite. I missed out on all the Labor Day sales while I was in Japan, so I haven’t purchased anything fall-like, yet. But I have been eyeing long, coat-like cardigans, and a blazer in burgundy or camel. And I always think about purchasing a faux-fur or shearling vest at this time of year but never do because they tend to shed all over everything. But now that I actually have a cat, I don’t think that will bother me so much…? The one thing that I have thought seriously about purchasing is a good crossbody/shoulder bag that won’t break the bank.

    Mostly, I’m just craving cooler weather! I’m not trying to enable you to purchase more coats and sweaters, but it does get cold at night in the desert 😛

    1. You’re not helping with hype talk of additional shirt dresses and desert cooling! 😛

      The Black Crane dress–I need to make peace with “messing it up.” I think it’s supposed to be a little wrinkled, worn, and lived-in. I might just wear it on weekends–I think if I iron the top half and leave the skirt wrinkly, I’m okay with that.

      How durable is that steamer? How long have you had it?

  4. I’ve had the travel steamer since 2012. It’s survived cross-country flights, seen three continents, and I use it when I’m at home on an almost weekly basis. I’d say it’s pretty durable!

  5. Too bad about the Forever 21 chambray dress. I’ve bought a decent amount of fast fashion in my day (and a scarf or two from Chinese wholesalers) and never had the problem of a lingering chemical smell…

    It’s really annoying when something gets damaged or shrinks in the wash! It hasn’t happened too often to me, but it makes me really nervous about washing some of the things I really like. The most recent casualties in my closet were three white tops when something I bought in Asia shed blue dye all over them. (I tried a few times to get the dye out, but without much success.)

    I’m being a bit haphazard about shopping now that I’m starting work. (Just adjusting to a new lifestyle and my dramatically reduced need for casual clothes.)

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the blue dye shed! Maybe time to try shibori dyeing? I can’t say I’ve ever had that experience, but I’ve had gum or oil stains on pants before and those were impossible to remove.

      How formal does work have to be? IIRC you’re in the medical field?

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