A New Day – Target Womenswear Picks September 2017

I’m not even going to pretend I’m to the minute with my trends or fashion scoop–heck, I’m barely on the blogosphere these days. But imagine the nice surprise when I found myself running the umpteenth errand of the week at Target to see several new concepts unveiled in the apparel department. I have to hand it to the retail giant, they’ve been improving their offerings every year and this fall I think they’ve hit on something with their womenswear concept called “A New Day.”

Disclaimer: not an ad, no sponsorship (though I wouldn’t mind if I got sent pants! Hi Target Corporate!) just an every day woman shopping for a bargain. etc. etc.

Kristina’s Picks (left-to-right):

1.  Bi-Stretch Twill Skinny Pants in black, $24.99
Don’t get me started on work pants. Oh wait, too late. I’m STILL looking for work pants that have functional pockets that hold, oh I don’t know, pens? a phone? not tiny Tic Tac boxes? These pants unfortunately suffer tiny pocket syndrome, but at $24.99 it’s at that price point where I can live with it–somewhat. It forces me to use a wristlet or purse, which is just not efficient IRL. I am woman and I still want real pockets. I’m wearing a size 4 which is a bit baggy throughout the thigh and knee, but I can’t go down on the waist size. The bi-stretch twill fabric will warm up and eventually bag out by a second day’s full wear, so I’d get two if you prefer dark colors, wash inside out, and air dry to preserve its life for as long as possible. My favorite black pants from Target’s Mossimo brand had deep enough pockets and still works well today except it is horribly faded. These pants are on the short list for when I MUST be in pants, but I’ll wait for it to come down to $20 or less with coupons. WOMEN NEED REAL POCKETS TOO.

2. Ponte Pencil Skirt, $22.99
This is just okay. It’s a skirt. Pocket is deep enough for a phone. It’s a bit long on me (I prefer mine to go at or an inch above the knee.) There is also a pesky silver chunky visible zipper in the back. Good if you need a pencil skirt.

3.  Denim Pleat Front Skirt, $19.99 and Utility Popover Shirt in indigo, $17.99
These ended up being my favorite combo together. I had initially picked the top to try with the pants but it looks better with the denim skirt. Madewell-heads rejoice–you can get the Courier shirt look for less. The Target version is Lyocell though, not chambray.  I am wearing a M in this but can go down to a small for the true fit for my shoulders, but you may loose the relaxed fit if you go your true size.

The skirt is not quite my favorite–I don’t really care for the paper bag/ruffled waist, but if you do this I’d go up a size. The elastic is a bit tight for the small to fit me where I want it, which is slightly below the belly button in this picture.

4. Gingham Popover Shirt, $17.99
Same double pocket construction as the previous popover, but no pocket flaps. Instead the pattern for the pockets is turned for “visual contrast.” A little too distracting for me, to be honest, but the fabric on the shirt is soft and comfortable.

5. Flutter Sleeve Crepe Dress in cherry, $27.99
Go your true size. I’m in a M and it’s definitely too long in the torso, shoulders, and length. I should probably be in a Petite but I don’t see PM or PS options for this dress. It’s poly all throughout, and lined. I thought it would be a good office option until I realized it’s too baggy overall plus polyester. The color is good for the upcoming season and should be flattering for most body types.

6. Anorak Jacket in olive, $44.99
I truly don’t need another olive jacket but this was surprisingly well-made. Not really a fan of roll-tab sleeves but it’s not heinous–in fact, I wear my beloved H&M military jacket with the arms rolled up most of the time now. I really should have unfurled the Target jacket sleeves to see how long they are. There is a thin hood wrapped/tucked into the collar under a zipper. I’m wearing a small, which I probably wouldn’t do if you wanted to wear a substantial sweater under this.

The entire jacket is pretty thin with no lining, and the anorak tail and waist are adjustable via drawstring. I wish it had storage pockets on the inside of the jacket, but at this price you can’t really ask for more. I’m going to go back and see if the blue version can pass for navy. On the site it looks a little too bright of a blue to work in my closet.

Let me know what you think–I’m definitely eyeing those pants and am hoping the jacket goes on sale sometime soon!

Holiday style

Earlier this year I made a joking aside to my friend that we should both find New Year’s Eve parties in SF and LA respectively to wear obscenely sparkly outfits to. Flash forward to now and while I haven’t found NYE plans just yet, there are office parties and Friendsgiving (friend-Thanksgiving) as well as family occasions to prepare for. In the past years I haven’t really felt like dressing up, opting for jeans and sweatshirts at family parties because we all end up falling asleep after Christmas lunch anyway. But this year, I want to be a little more polished, especially at work where it can’t hurt to leave a good impression leading into the new year’s performance review period. Heh.

Off-duty holiday elegance is the tone I want to strike. Knowing my habits, it will probably end up being pretty sporty where a pair of sleek black Nikes wouldn’t be out of place (note to self: actually acquire sleek Flyknits. wallet says please let us recover from New York first.) Here’s what I’ve been looking at in terms of “off duty holiday,” a mix of the casual and polished:

I especially like the last picture of the gal in the plain gold skirt. I’d use my Ecco heeled booties and black tights and I have any number of sweaters I could use for the top. I’d just need a shiny skirt. I also like the monochromatic pairings of the other two pictures–it’s subtle sparkle, not literal Christmas ornament/disco ball styling. I’ll leave the Ugly Holiday Sweater moment for goofing off with friends.

I did some preliminary scouting yesterday and came up with these lovely bits over at Banana Republic:

A shiny skirt:

IMG_3234

I like that it’s subtle-sparkle and not HELLO SEQUINS. Not that there’s anything wrong with sequins; but I checked out a couple of bedazzled skirts and I get the feeling that it will snag on tights and be itchy to wear. I get pretty particular about what lays close to my skin. Love this skirt. Here I just have my Heattech top on but I’d like to find a slightly more opaque top to wear with it tucked like this. I also have a short-sleeved close fitting turtleneck sweater I can use but I like the v-neck, long sleeved arm look (reminds me of that gal up top in my inspiration picture.)

Paired with a comfy sweater:

IMG_3233

Sweater: Textured Cropped Turtleneck
Skirt: Coated Shiny Mini

That turtleneck is pretty light but warm. I said I shouldn’t buy more sweaters, but I think I might buy this one. I’ll have to keep a Heattech layer between us, but the drape is lovely and the neck is not too constricting. The arms are kind of long but that’s ok–they’ll be additional protection in the cold when I head out East again. My NYC wardrobe was pretty good but if I actually had to take my coat off all you’d see would be Nike. For work, I’ll be able to wear this up until March and stay plenty warm–I envision throwing the Uniqlo ULD vest over this, jeans and boots and I’ll be set.

As for the skirt, I’m not sure yet how to remix a shiny skirt in for workwear but I do have a light gray Gap v-neck sweater that might look good tucked into it. The skirt I’m less sure about integrating into my wardrobe–I have ways to make it very very casual, but will I really want to wear what is effectively a white skirt? Can I even keep myself from dropping stuff into my lap?

What do you think? How do you dress for the holidays? Do you have a tried-and-true dress or top that gets you through the party season?

Necessity or vanity?

I mentioned in previous posts that I’ve taken up running, and earlier this week I talked about running at the beach. This activity has spurred more new purchases than I thought it would! For example, here I am now hankering for a new pair of shorts. It’s been on my mind for about three weeks now. Not that I don’t have any bottoms to wear–if we’re going to be honest, I want shorts because I feel pretty confident about my legs now after about six months of hard work. It’s pure plain vanity, and I guess I could argue that it’s getting warmer and full pants are too hot to run in, etc. But no, I want shorts because I worked for my legs and I want to celebrate them. It’s not the best reason to justify buying anything, but it’s not the worst either. And there lies the rub. How much of my purchases are vanity-pleasing vs. fulfilling actual needs?

When it comes to looking at my purchasing behavior and patterns, I refer to Kali’s insightful writing over at The Nife en l’Air, specifically to her articles on simplicity. I am pretty sure I’m still a highly emotional buyer (I do have some brand preferences *cough* Uniqlo, Nike *cough*), but I am trying to slow my trigger pulling on purchases by waiting at least a month and doing extensive research online before buying. It’s helped to ensure that most of the new acquisitions are 100% well-liked and used as opposed to being dead weight in the closet. However, I still think I could be a more purposeful shopper. Let’s look at those shorts (and workout clothes) again. Here’s my current workout wardrobe:

Pants Tanks
Adidas capris (2) Zella mesh 
ALO bootcut
Bike ankle zip leggings Bras
Champion medium support (2)
Shorts GapFit high impact
Nike Dri-Fit 7-inch inseam North Face racerback
Jackets
Nike Dri-Fit blue
Nike Dri-Fit black
Nike Element thermal zip

 *purchased in the last month

I filled some gaps in this area of my closet this month:

Underwear
My two sports bras were fine when I was just primarily walking for exercise, but now that I’ve been running regularly, I need more support.

The North Face bra I got is similar in cut and style to the one above. It’s a basic racerback bra that compresses and holds me in. I’ve yet to test the Gap bra for running, but for jumping jacks and lunges and squats it is more than enough support and I even feel comfortable enough to wear it the whole day.

Tops

The Zella mesh tank (similar) was a lucky find at Nordstrom Rack. I was looking for sports bras when I found a mesh black tank with no external logos. I really liked the way it fit and I thought it would be a good alternative for when I could no longer run in Heattech tops due to the weather. It’s been a great addition thus far–I’ve only had it for two weeks but I’ve worn it five times already. I don’t know that buying a second similar tank will be a high priority, but if I find another tank for under $15, I might consider adding a  royal blue or dark purple one to my collection.

Jackets

I have been looking for a running jacket ever since January. After much deliberation and online stalking, I finally found that the Nike Element Thermal full-zip jacket that fulfilled my requirements: no hood, zippered pockets, and all black.

I am really happy with this purchase for several reasons: though the fit is a bit large (especially in the arms, this is a Medium), it is still slim enough to not drown me in fabric, and I can layer a thicker shirt underneath if I need to. The thumbholes are a happy, non-intrusive addition; the pockets are a godsend–I finally have a place to stow my phone. The Thermal fabric is soft, comfortable to wear, and is effective at adding warmth. I find that I like the jacket so much I’ve been wearing it out to non-athletic activities. It is worth the money I paid for it ($72 + shipping) and with good care it should last me a good couple years like its older Dri-Fit counterpart, which is going on four years now.

Which is vanity and which are needs?

In my opinion, proper foundational pieces like a sports bra, shoes, or a jacket are critical and worth spending the money on. Feet and breasts are body parts that get impacted directly/indirectly by the mechanics of running. I bought the best level of support I can afford (under $30, ideally) but I’m also interested in longevity. I thought the Champion sports bras would last a little longer than one year but they’re starting to stretch out/lose compression. Though I bought them on discount ($10-13 apiece) I still want a product that lasts, so I’ll be doing more research in the future on brands that have good value and performance. A jacket is also important if you will be running in inclement weather. I live in an area with great weather, but in the winter or early mornings there will be a few cool mornings. A layer that protects my neck and keeps my torso warm will be very useful.

Things like tops and extra shorts: I probably don’t need a running-specific tank top or shorts, but I want them. These are rewards and encouragement for me to continue with the activity, plain and simple. I think that’s OK as long as I am aware of my intent and that I keep an eye on my budget.

Have you ever examined your reasoning for buying something? I am curious to know how others prioritize their purchases–do you fulfill needs first, desires, or are the two closely intertwined?

On the Hunt – Workout Gear

Since starting this blog and reading other writers’ thoughts on purchasing, materialism, and the like–I feel as if I’ve become more aware of my rate of acquisition and the amount of money I actually dedicate to funding my life, including clothing/accessories for various activities.  Today’s post won’t delve into all of that, but perhaps in the future I’ll conduct a more thorough analysis of my spending and general principles.

I thought I was going to make it out of January without any more purchases…and for the most part, I did pretty well this month. I didn’t do an Acquisitions post for January but all I got so far was stuff from Uniqlo: Ultra Stretch Jeans in navy and this Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt in white. Wardrobe-wise, I’m fairly covered for our California winter, and the stuff I got from Muji (the striped shirts) are ready to go for spring. These upcoming items are mostly to support my walk/run workouts (actually I’m “running” now–albeit with walk breaks.) Here’s what’s on track for the next round of purchases:

oakleyxx earsocks

1. Oakley XX replacement earsocks

I have some old Oakley sunglasses (15+ years old!) that have ripped earsocks/missing nose cushions. I also now have a prescription for astigmatism that I wear corrective lenses for (it’s mild, but I notice how much nicer the world is when I can see with glasses on.) The non-prescription lenses are scratched but they’re still ok for glare/sun protection; eventually I will get them filled, but for now, replacing the rubber parts means I can wear these when I’m out running and shield my eyes from the sun and bugs. I just bought these today from Amazon–they also seem to be available on Ebay and other optical websites, but I have less experience with the reliability of those sellers.

nike jacket

2. Nike Luxe Seamless Running Jacket, $139.97. I have an older version of this, with open pockets. I like to run with my phone tracking my route and speed, and providing musical accompaniment. My old jacket’s pockets aren’t secured, so zippers would be a welcome addition. I’m not sure about those thumb holes, but I’ve never tried it, so who knows? I’m mostly looking for a non-fussy black jacket with zippered pockets, and I liked how my old Nike Dri-Fit jacket fit and kept me warm.

lunarglide collage
Left is from Zappos, $110. Right is a customized, NikeiD version: $160.

3. Nike Lunarglide 5+: I’ll probably get something like the one on the left–price is important considering I’ll wear these out in a year or so. But Nike’s customization means I can design one to my desires! That diamond pattern is supposed to be a reflective layer when lit up. It looks really cool–and you can see it on Nike’s website. If you pick a lighter base color, like gray, it is even more reflective (at least from what I can tell on the site.) This purchase is basically updating my old shoe (which is more than a year and a half old.) I think the cushioning is just about done on those, so it will soon be time for a replacement.

uniqlo uld black

4. Uniqlo Ultra Stretch jeans in black

Ok, these aren’t really workout-related, but I’m a little obsessed with these pants. I have two of these in navy, but I might bite for one in black. Size one down if you do order; they stretch quite a bit. They’re forgiving when you eat a big meal and once hemmed (because they only come in 33″ inseams) they fit (IMO awesomely. Denim heads will argue that maybe the hips are a little tight since I have a little bit of whiskering, but I’m not too picky.) Love these pants. If I could wear them to work, I would have a whole stable of them already.

Time to do some creative budgeting and prioritization! How’s your month in shopping going thus far?

On the hunt: cold weather

The next two weekends are going to be busy with family, friends, and the national pastime of holiday sales. My previous post was all about keeping a clear focus on what I need for this winter–here I’d like to talk about the actual items I’m hoping to find in the next few weeks.

My list for Winter Shopping 2013:

1. A technical down coat:

DC was cold to me and I envied every woman in a down coat. I’m joining the bandwagon. I tried out some North Face down coats–I am interested in the following below. The Metropolis (knee-length) is $289; the Transit (mid-thigh) is $249. This will ensure I won’t freeze when I go to the East Coast again! My wimpy California wardrobe doesn’t know anything beyond 65F.

Left: Metropolis Parka; right: Transit Jacket. Color: Graphite Gray
Left: Metropolis Parka; right: Transit Jacket. Color: Graphite Gray

2.  A wool coat

Double-breasted coats look funny on me, so I like the simplicity of these two coats. The Lands End one is currently on sale for $99 this weekend, but I was hoping for a slightly thicker coat (and I’ve been told to look for Thinsulate-lined ones.)  The more traditional/dressy it skews the better, since I plan on wearing this to work (in the 2 months my cubicle gets no passive heat) and possibly to a wedding later next year. Either way I’ve decided I’d like to have a dressy coat for formal events, and I think I should look into a wool coat.

Left: Lands End Boiled Wool Walker Coat; right: Nordstrom Kristin Blake Single Breasted Lambswool Blend Coat
Left: Lands End Boiled Wool Walker Coat; right: Nordstrom Kristin Blake Single Breasted Lambswool Blend Coat

3. Uniqlo Heattech shirts and leggings

I drank the Heattech Kool-Aid, and I love it. Totally buying more of these to wear as base layers for work:

heattech shirt
Uniqlo’s Heattech V-Neck Tee Shirt

Optional desirable items, if I find a good deal:

Work-appropriate leather shoes.

Left: Naot "Kedma" in chestnut; center: Cole Haan "Allen" bootie; right: Born "Trisha"
Left: Naot “Kedma” in chestnut; center: Cole Haan “Allen” bootie; right: Born “Trisha”

Now to check all the store ads and emails for discounts! Happy hunting everyone!

On the hunt: pants for work

I am on the hunt for (black) work pants. My current pants are very heavily used and I don’t want to make a mad search for new ones when these fall apart. My criteria is very simple:

1. Price range: under $60 including any possible alterations.
2.  slim/straight-type cut. I feel like bootleg/flared cut makes me look shorter. Ankle, slim, straight is fine; short inseams welcomed (so I don’t have to get it hemmed)
3. The pants should have functional front pockets that can fit my iPhone.

Yesterday I scoured some nearby stores and tried on their offerings.

1. Target Mossimo Women’s Ankle Pants, $27.99
In the regular size, 8 was a little snug at the waist (but decent at the thighs), and 10 was comfortable on the waist but the thighs sagged badly. There was a lot of slouching and folding behind the knees and at my hamstrings.

I liked the feel of the fabric and the overall stretch and comfort of this pair though, so I might go and try this in the 10P size to see if that will help lessen the slouching at the thighs.

Target Mossimo Ankle Pants
Pockets were sewn shut when I tried them on, but when I looked inside the pants, they seemed big enough to fit the phone and a couple of pens.

2. The Limited Extra Stretch Bootcut Pants, sale $39.99
The store I went to only had size 10 with the Short inseam (30″) available, no size 8 Short. The 10 Short was too long for the shoes I planned to wear it with; it would need an inch or two off the hem, and the 10 was loose in the waist. I’m probably an 8 in this. If I wore a lot of fitted sweaters or thin knits, I would consider the bootcut, but I think my button downs look better with a slim leg. I’m already fairly thick up top; I don’t need fullness at the bottom as well.

6439159_150_1
Pockets fit the iPhone, but barely. I think the poly lining of the pockets will cause the phone to slip out when I sit down.

The Extra Stretch fabric felt comfortable enough, though rougher than the Target pant. If there were any Skinny-cut 8 Shorts I could try, I would have considered this line of pants, but I’m not keen on them enough to order online.

3. Gap Slim Cropped Pants, $49.95
Tried on a 8 Regular; too narrow in the hips and waist. 10 Regular fit the waist/hip but again I was confronted with bagginess in the legs. Too many wrinkles in the thigh at the back. The sales associate recommended trying 10 Petite. The 10 Regular is not a “cropped” length” for me but it rests rather nicely over the top of my shoe. If these ever went on a sale online for $25-30 I might bite, but for now I don’t want to deal with the hassle of online ordering.

Pockets are too small. When I tried to get my fingers between the sewn opening to feel for the end of the pocket, I thought, “Skittles. I can put Skittles in my pockets.”

4. New York and Company Crosby Street Double Stretch Mini Bootcut Pant, $46.95

I tried on an 8 Petite. The fabric was very lightweight, almost a little sheer when I did the sit-down and squat test (to see if I would be “cracking” in the back, if you know what I mean.) The fit in the crotch was all wrong; it wanted to give me a front wedgie. Otherwise the waist and thigh fit was comfortable and the inseam was spot on, but the weird crotch fit and bootcut leg gives me pause.

Everything fit except the crotch. The pockets were deep but the thin fabric showed everything, even my skin (when stretched.)
Everything fit except the crotch. The pockets were deep but the thin fabric showed everything, even my skin (when stretched.)

And there you have the first half of my quest for sleek, serviceable black work pants! I will keep searching and definitely update once I have found a pair.

Talk to me! What would you like to add to your own wardrobe? Share your tips and tricks below.