The times, the are a-changin' (for the better)

First of all, big hugs to Una, Marley, Deb, Texstyle, Denise, Vicki and everyone who has reached out to me the past few months. I know I have been a seriously horrid correspondent, but I have read every message and checked out all the suggestions - vitamins, meds, docs... 

I'm on new meds, off of hormonal birth control, on yoga (which I could never relax enough to do before the meds)... and off Nordstrom (in less than 2 weeks). I finally felt well enough to make that decision with a clear mind - I always knew I was not a Salesperson 4 Life, and spending more time selling didn't seem like it was moving me toward my goals. I'm going to get a styling certification and then do a combo of freelance styling, ebay selling, and temp work to pay the bills. One of you clever YLFers even suggested Keaton Row, which I'm seriously considering. This should give me more flexibility to make up for lost time with my dad and also stay on my husband's insurance while doing what I'm excited about and focusing on my health. 

It's been super hot in LA lately, so here's a very casual pic of an off-duty laundry day outfit: sheer tank, sport bra, bball shorts, and sandals. I'm not a huge fan of my midsection, but for whatever reason, I'm all about the sheer tops this season. I love having a loose fit that doesn't add bulk and volume. These sandals have also been a workhorse, comfortably dressing up sporty elements.

"See" you again soon!


You know you're really into fashion when...

... all your sweatpants are too upscale to lounge in!

Yeah, somehow I became that person. Came home dog tired, looking for something soft to cuddle up in, and did not even consider the sweats. Those are my business sweats, thankyouverymuch. 

Ladies, help me feel a little less ridiculous, will you? How would you finish the title sentence?


Musing: Why new flared jeans aren't for me... yet.

I've been excited about the return of flared jeans. I love how long my legs look in them, especially when I wear monster platforms hidden in the flare, and I love that DH thinks they make me look slim. I had tons of fun wearing bootcuts and flares in college! I'm dying to recapture that feeling. 

But I'm in a bit of a different place with my style right now. I'm always a tomboy at heart, and right now I'm not into running with 70s-influenced surfer dudes or bohemian/maximal glam rockers. Also, on a professional level, the "boyfriend" brands I'm supposed to reflect at work aren't showcasing many flared options, either. Not yet, anyway. 

I'm sure I'll come back to flared/bootcut jeans. They were so prevalent for so long that they are bound to saturate the market again, and hopefully there will be some modern/artsy/minimal guys out there wearing them and inspiring me. When that happens, I'll happily part with a few clams. 

There is a part of me that thinks that I "should" pounce on the trend right as it is emerging, to "prove" that I Know Fashion Things. But For now, I'm thinking I'll spend on other things, keep one lonely old denim pair at home, wear my classic flared wool trousers, and wait for the right time to strike. 

*cough* But if you come across any great manspiration flare photos, you know where to send 'em. ;)

I remember Denise saying she returned the flares she bought. Is anyone else having a hard time recreating the magic? Anyone else out there not interested unless the boys are wearing a version? 


Aha moment: Logic has no place in my fitting room

I purge frequently, and this time around I also made a couple of larger purchases at the same time. The contrast between the "meh" going out and the "omg-love!" coming in made it pretty clear that I am Team Emotional Shopping, full stop. 

One of my goals this year and last had been to work off a list to keep my purchases down. It was a great experiment! But as I look at the things going out - and the things languishing in limbo - and the things working hard year after year - a lot of those targeted, practical items didn't get much play and didn't really ring my bell when they did get worn. Conversely... did I need or plan for pajama jeans and another leather jacket? Nope. But they make me so darn happy that I know I'll be strutting around in them all the time. Other good examples of successful emotional purchases:

  • sparkle booties
  • TR Camerons
  • Tahari jacket I copied from Zap
  • Lulu Helmut Lang lookalike jacket
  • Striped Brahmin 
  • kitty flats

Exceptions are items purchased to go with my emotional prizes and make them work better/longer/harder. Simple linen tees to support statement jeans and jackets, dainty sandals to offset baggy pants. 

So my new plan of attack is this: 

  1. Lust and freak out over item...
  2. ... then evaluate possible redundancy or budget crash
  3. If not eliminated by #2, try on/order
  4. If lusting and freaking out even more, continue to #5
  5. Create outfits, evaluate for "missing links" that would be needed
  6. Keep or return based on cost/benefit ratio

This way, it all starts with the magic moment when I get really really excited! Note that this does not mean "when I get really really bored" and start browsing to kill time (that was a different bad habit I had). 

How about you? I know Anna is also an emotional shopper. Anyone else Team Love Will Find a Way? Or are you Team Plan of Attack?

ETA: I do not mean for this post to be instructional or didactic! Clearly not everyone can function in this way. I was just curious what factor weighs more heavily for you guys.


Customer Service Reviews: Brooks Brothers & Shoprunner

So last night, I decided to pounce on a 50% off Brooks Brothers trench - lined in breathable bemberg, complete with water-resistant finish and zip-out liner... but I had to wait until morning to order. I was using both a $10-off promo code (for signing up with their website) and Shoprunner (a company that provides free 2-day shipping and free 2-day returns on various web retailers), and I could not get both to apply. Customer service for both were closed at night. I had been watching this item for days and no sizes had sold out. 

Brooks Brothers 
This morning, I woke early to try and contact BB, and my size was sold out! Every size but 8 and 10 was sold out! (Did I cause the ordering flurry with my little YLF post??) I then called BB customer service and explained what happened. They gave me the number for four stores that still had my size, and thankfully I was able to order from the first store I tried.

Nicole of the Saint Louis store was super nice, polite, patient, and easy to work with - she found the coat, re-verified all the materials for me, agreed to honor the $10 code, and took my information in scant minutes. She would have also matched the web shipping fee, but without Shoprunner it was $12, and store shipping on sale items 40%-off or more is only $9. Additionally, when I called back to ask about tax, it turned out tax was $17 instead of the $19 they would have charged online. In the end, if Shoprunner is taken out of the equation, I actually came out $5 ahead by ordering from the store vs. the website. Thanks, BB and Nicole!

Now on Shoprunner's end, this is the second time I've had trouble using the service. Considering that they only have partnerships with 73 stores, and that I've only ordered through three of them, that is a dismal percentage of success. BB told me the issue was with Shoprunner login, and Shoprunner has told me that the issue is likely with BB checkout. Shoprunner will not honor the $9 in shipping that I was charged due to not being able to use their service, but they are having a tech look into the glitch.

I am using a free trial membership, but after 6/2014 it would be a $79 annual membership. I will continue to use the free membership, but I will definitely be watching to see if they can iron out these kinks and provide a smooth-running service. Many of the retailers they partner with already offer free shipping and returns, so the benefit is only speed, with the occasional savings on returns. At $9-$12 a pop, mistakes like this would add up quickly over a year and leave me spending that same $79 in shipping fees after all. 

The Verdict?
Big thumbs up for Brooks Brothers for standing behind their promise and letting me have that $10 in exchange for registering my info with their website. Thumbs are sideways and shaky for Shoprunner, awaiting a future decision. I realize they are a new company, and the concept is solid, but my opinion is that they need better testing of the system on the user end. 


Antique Fashions in Ohio

DH wanted to stop at a couple antique malls on the way in from the airport yesterday. I did not buy anything, but there were a couple fun things to see.

  • Woven b/w purse
  • Bolero style tie/necklace
  • Leather leopard cuff
  • The Cutest Stove in the World! Not fashion, but it SO reminded me of MaryK's TCPITW!
  • Old timey trunks, that would have been fun to pack on a trip way back when. 
Today I am wearing my silk shorts with a rust linen tee and my white-on-white H&M tiger sweatshirt. No pics yet, but I hope to con someone into snapping one for me while we are out and about. :)

Miss you guys! Hope to continue to comment on the forum a bit here and there. 


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


10 Days of Summer in a 20" Carryon (pic heavy)

Hello, all! A lot of us are busy packing for our warm-weather trips right now, so I wanted to share my travel capsule (and capsules within the capsule) and no-check packing plans. 

My trip to Ohio will be 10 days, and the temps will range from about 80-90F in the day to 50-60F at night. There will be thunderstorms scattered throughout, and we will split our time between three relatives. We will have access to laundry facilities, so you can see I don't have a wholly different outfit for every day. 

I decided to plan based on the temperatures, since the high heats really dictate my levels of (dis)comfort with certain items. Next stage of planning took into account night and other events. 

For packing, I started with the heaviest items on the bottom and worked my way up to the very lightweight and more damage-prone items. 

On to the photos!

  1. Lower 80s capsule - short shorts, linen tops, and my H&M tiger sweatshirt to throw over in the morning or inside with A/C. Can also be topped with the citron sweater in #3 instead of the sweatshirt.
  2. Upper 80s capsule - breezy dresses with a scarf for A/C. Can also be topped with the Ella Moss moto in #3 instead of the scarf. 
  3. Nighttime capsule - jeans to replace shorts in case of night outings to casual dinner etc. though we'll probably stay home for the most part.
  4. Emergency dress-up capsule - I don't know of anything planned, but I figure I can wear these all together or mix and match to fit the event. The fancy coat could go over my dark jeans, for example, or the Ella Moss moto could go over the black dress. 
  5. A variety of sandals, a must-have to switch up the wear and tear on my feet. 
  6. Layer 1 in my 20" carryon: Shoes and shorts. Shorts were stacked, then rolled together. 
  7. Layer 2: Jeans and coat. Folded individually.
  8. Layer 3: Dresses. Stacked at full length with the heaviest dress on bottom. Folded in half. 
  9. Layer 4: H&M sweatshirt. I didn't want to fold any areas with the faux leather design on it, so I just folded the sleeves and bottom back.
  10. Layer 5: Linen tees. Folded individually. I would have liked to fold these with something heavier to help with wrinkles, but I think they'll steam out easily. 
  11. Layer 6: Ella moss moto. This is only on top because I have to wear it to work tomorrow. 
  12. Layer 7: Swim capsule, pills. Not pictured is my swimsuit, since it hasn't arrived yet, but you can see there's plenty of room left in this layer. 
  13. Layer 8: really just my zippered pouch of liquids (BB creams with SPF, hair wax, moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup setting spray). 
  14. Inner flap compartment: unmentionables. And my umbrella. Cuz that's totally the logical pairing.
  15. All zipped up! You'll notice I've not yet used the front zipper compartments. This is where I'll store my pajamas, which I still need to wash before I can pack them.
  16. All the sundries to pack in my Personal Item. The brush, wallet, phone case, and lotion will go into my Zella frame bag, as per usual. The makeup goes into my kitty makeup bag. The scarf and dressy bag will be separate. 
  17. All packed up!
  18. Worn on my person for the flights to and from: trench (also useful in the event of storms), dark wash jeans, linen tank, cashmere sweater, and Report booties. 

A note on my luggage: I just bought this new citron baby off of Ebay to replace my old suitcase, which did not have spinner wheels and drove me crazy every time I bonked it into my ankles turning a corner. DH's American Tourister has really held up well, so I chose the same brand for myself. The 20" size is a fair deal smaller than the limits for most American airlines, but I wanted one that would also fit most International requirements. It is still too big for some Euro airlines like Alitalia, but I felt this was a good compromise given my infrequency of my International excursions. 


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


I'm on Nordstrom's Instagram!

Ok, so it's not the Official Nordies Page, but it I am on the page for my Westside location! I hope I'm not being too silly for sharing this, but it totally tickles me to see my picture somewhere other than my own posts.

I wish I could say I was chosen for my devastating good looks, but the deciding factor was really just that my legs were recently shaved. ;) I didn't choose the outfit, but I ended up in my favorite shade of orange - yay! 

Thanks for indulging me!

Oh, and if anyone is interested in sizing, I'm wearing all XS here.


Trauma, Mental Age, and Style Evolution: Musings on the Healing Power of Clothes

Those of you who have followed my posts for a while have probably noticed that they have been much less frequent since my workplace was burgled. The incident involved various types of violence, and I have been diagnosed with PTSD (it feels really weird to say that when the same diagnosis is applied to war veterans, but I'm not the professional) and put on a few medications, but those things haven't in themselves stopped me from posting. The bigger issue is that I feel this event has altered me as a person - and as a different person, my previous style no longer fits. I'm adrift and in flux, shedding old clothes like old skin. 

Mental Time Warp
I always felt that I was an old soul, but my body and mind felt young. I've only had two serious boyfriends. I only started travelling out of the country after college. I simply had not experienced that much outside of novels - and I can see now that my style reflected a lot of that innocence. Yes, I still dressed for an impending apocalypse - but I did so with flair! and short shorts! and Forever 21! And now many of the things I loved feel silly and twee on me. As Deb put it in a recent message, I feel grown. Aged. Mentally shocked with a streak of white hair. Nothing like a brush with death to suck the whimsey out of your closet, I guess. Maybe it will come back one day but, for now, it is how it is. 

Disease of Avoidance
My doctor calls PTSD a disease of avoidance - the mind wants to avoid the bad memories at all costs and becomes agitated when it can't. So in relation to my wardrobe, beyond the fact that I feel I've outgrown some things, I also can't stand to look at others. The coat I was wearing during the attack, for example, is still 100% my style and able to be worn in a mature way... but as much as I love it, I also harbor a bit of hatred for it. Poor coat! It's just a coat, yet I seem to be angry that all it did was lay in a pile with everyone else's coats. I am hanging onto it but may just have to sell it in the end. Even items that had nothing to do with that night are being purged, because they belonged to that person - the victim. Sometimes I think I want to sell it all, move away, and start a whole new life as a whole new (stronger, safer) person.

Change and Control
If being angry at a piece of clothing sounds weird... immediately after the incident, I would fly off the handle if someone suggested eggs in the morning. Mybreakfastismychoicegoshdarnitandhowdareyoutakethatawayfromme! Well. I'm not quite that sensitive anymore, but I do set out to make my own mark. I chopped off all my hair. I sold things. I bought new things. I've always loved shopping but, wow, does it ever feel great to buy new stuff now! I think this must be how some people create behavioral addictions, and I need to watch out for that since I do have a history of hoarding in my family. But. I will watch out for that later. For now, I like - and I choose - to feel in control. 

Retail and Rebirth
After all this talk of aging and avoidance and hoarding, you may be wondering where the healing comes in. I have always felt that style and identity are closely intertwined and that I never feel great about myself unless my clothes accurately describe who I am inside. So the theory - the hope - that I (sometimes subconsciously) work under is that editing my style will help strengthen my soul. Every day that I put thought into curating my closet and dressing myself helps reinforce the basic fact that I am still here. I still have a living body to dress. I still have a choice in how to dress it. I still have a job and a choice in how to spend my money. I can change my look - and my outlook. With a little time, effort, and therapy (retail and otherwise). 

I'm sorry I haven't been here as much and haven't given as much attention to all of your lovely posts. I am distracted and depressed and a little selfish right now. But I don't think I will always be that way. :)

Spring Cleaning Inside My Closet

Before I destroy the order with my chaos, I had to take a snap of my closet, post-huge-spring-purge. DH and I took everything out in order to do our seasonal clean, and I didn't let anything back in that I felt lukewarm about wearing again. Most of the top shelf is DH's tee shirts, but some of it is my (much reduced) bag collection. The main bar holds everything I wear aside from high summer short shorts, PJs, socks/tights, and scarves/belts/hats. The bottom is mainly my tall boot collection. I definitely have more short boots, booties, sandals, and pumps stashed elsewhere. This is 2/3 of the closet. DH has the last 1/2, plus the hall closet. :)

I wonder how long this organization will last!