Just for fun: share your imaginary Bespoke Burberry Trench

I had too much fun with Anna's link in her bespoke post:

I was shocked to find that my trench would be fairly classic: olive, gunmetal hardware, throat latch, black liner, cursive monogram.

Of course, if the options were infinite, you might be looking at something totally different. Paprika pony hair? Citron? Paprika pony hair with a citron plaid leather undercollar?

I'd LOVE to see what variations we all came up with - please post some pics if you can!


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The Unsung Benefits of Girl Math

My camera is on the fritz this morning, so I'm going to get a little philosophical instead of posting a WIW outfit today. :)

"Girl Math" is a term that is usually reserved to mock the spendy tendencies of a stereotypical woman. "50% off means I can buy twice as much!" or "This speeding ticked will cost me two pairs of boots!" or "Since I've returned $100 worth of stuff, I have $100 more to spend!" are the most common examples I've come across. I've mostly heard it used as a derisive term to suggest that females spend money unrealistically and can rationalize all sorts of expenditures, unbound by pesky things like budgets, value, or... you know... REAL math.

BUT. I've been thinking about this in light of some of our moves to Shop Your Closet status, in light of La Francaise's time here on the forum, and in light of some of our forum conversations about investment pieces/less being more/and closet space. When MaryK announced her SYC status, she said something that really stuck with me: that if she added up all the things she bought over the past year, she could have bought some things that she thought she couldn't afford - underneath it all, isn't THAT the core of Girl Math? And isn't it a good thing?

"50% off means I can buy twice as much!"
Instead of a greedy statement, this can be looked at as a value-driven statement. What's wrong with getting more for the same amount of money? Not that you need to get twice as much RIGHT NOW. But what if you kept track of all the things you waited to buy on sale instead of pouncing on at full price... and then rewarded yourself at the end of the year by getting something really nice with the money you saved? Wouldn't that inspire you to weigh cost a little more closely, strive to find the best deal you can, and truly evaluate how much you want and need each purchase?

"This speeding ticked will cost me two pairs of boots!"
You could say this is a materialistic way to think, but what's wrong with translating money into practical terms? I use this thought process a lot myself, thinking, "The cost of this top would get me 1/3 of the way to that jacket I want." Most of the time, the cheaper purchase doesn't seem worth it. I think this kind of equation helps me stay goal-oriented. Period.

"Since I've returned $100 worth of stuff, I have $100 more to spend!"
Now, I'm NOT advocating buying and returning a bunch of stuff you don't actually want and can't afford just to trick yourself into an irresponsible splurge. But I think this little mental trick is super useful in that it makes it okay to return things if you suddenly find that what you have isn't what you want most in the world. Like in the previous section, I see this type of thinking as goal-oriented thinking. It forces you to make a choice and give something up if you want to get something else.

Of course, this only works if the full-price item, or the object of your goal, or the amount of those items to return are within your budget. I am most definitely NOT an advocate of living above your means or in a fog of fiscal denial. However, I do think that Girl Math is a powerful tool to use in *conjunction* with a budget.

I feel like I've been doing this a lot lately and, really, it's prevented more purchases than it's enabled. I returned 3 pairs of BF jeans in favor of a much-needed and long-wanted photo print sundress. And I'm giving up my current meetup budget for a pair of elusive, classic, walkable, heeled engineer boots.

Maybe I've lost my mind and crossed over to the dark side. But I think I like Girl Math.


Leather Jacket Dye Mockups and Item-Outfit-Capsule Considerations

I am here to beg opinions on dye colors again! The consensus last time was that a deep berry red color would be best - now I am having second thoughts because I have three red toppers as it is - not that awesome berry red, but still. The second choice was the sour olive color in 4, but I realized I have my bright citron yellow/green jacket, too. Then I thought a nice, saturated cognac would be good, but I do have my medium brown jacket.

On the one hand, riffing within my signature colors is a good thing, because it will help items mix and match well. On the other hand, going outside the norm (i.e. possibly leaving the jacket camel or going for a totally different color) would widen the variety of looks I can create. On the other hand, the non-signature colors like camel won't look as flattering on me.

What are your thoughts on colored additions to your capsules? Do you try to stay within your set colors, or do you like to aim for variety first and foremost?

#1 is the jacket as-is.
#2-4 are Photoshop mockups
#5-9 are my current colored jackets in similar colors


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Desk Job Denoument

I have been sitting on this post since leaving the Office Job, so I figured I'd just up and post it before the day gets away from me again(who knew being unemployed actually would give me *less* downtime?) - so here we go! Working in an office actually taught me a great many things about my personal style.

Growing up, I swore I would never work a desk job. I hated hose, pumps, and all the trappings of corporate officewear. So what did I do after graduating college? I fell into the most hose-enforcing, pump-mandating, corporate office I could find. In Beverly Hills, no less. But I soon found that I enjoyed the challenge of riffing within a very restrictive dress code and, as I look back, I am grateful for my corporate jobs and all the things they taught me along the way.

Classics Are Malleable
After wearing horrible public school uniforms, button front shirts made my teeth itch. But after a while I saw how versatile and changeable they can be. A great white shirt can go from Prim Banker to Rakish Schoolboy with a bit of scrunch and pop and tuck. Cool!

Subversion Can Be Simple
My former boss rocks some subtle flair. His tie and cufflinks always coordinate, and always by theme - boats, racecars, bulls & bears. Personality comes through in less pieces than I'd thought. Because of my dress codes, sometimes the only "twist" in my outfit was a cougar skull necklace, but it was enough for me to feel like "me." The small suggestion of edge and weirdness also felt more natural and effortless than a pile of zippers and studs. Rather than shouting, "Look how Artsy I am!" I was pleased to find that my outfits could smirk quietly in the corner... as I am sometimes known to do myself.

Conservatism Can Be Cool
In a city full of beautiful people who know how beautiful they are, you tend to see a lot of leg, cleavage, and hair. Button your shirt all the way up, or wear a calf-length skirt, and you start to stand out a bit.

People Do Notice
I never would have thought I'd ever hear so much discussion on the state of collars! A male coworker without collar stays may as well be wearing a cutoff tee and flip flops for how much grief he gets. People point it out if your pinstripes clash with your belt or suspenders. And they also notice if you're having fun with fashion. I used to assume no one cared about my outfits - and some may not! - but they do notice.

I Am Not as Edgy as I Think I Am
Finally, after leaving the office and having free reign to wear whatever I want, I find myself still pulling out collared shirts and boat shoes. I sometimes conflate "edgy" and "masculine," which is a mistake. And, thanks to Le Bank Job, I now feel very comfortable tempering masculine UWP type pieces with laid-back classics.

So I may have taken a slight detour in working a traditional job for 5 years but, in the end, I feel like I gained a lot from it. Besides the awesome friendships and contacts I've made, I also was forced to pay a good amount of attention to my style, and I was challenged to inject personality into a conservative dress code. All in all, I'm grateful to have done it - and I may even miss dressing in a formal, buttoned-up way. From time to time. :)

Pics start from 2010 (around when I first started recording outfits) and go through my last day at The Bank.


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Analyzing Boot Flattery (or the lack thereof)

Pictures 1-3 are my favorite boots - I always feel slim of leg and attractive when I wear them, and they seem to go just as well with skirts and dresses as they do with skinny jeans.

Pics 4-6, however, don't make me feel awesome. They're not terrible, but I don't get that I-want-to-strut feeling - and while it is true that these ones are all flats, I refuse to believe that I will never be able to look good in flat boots. I did think this just a few years ago, and my DH strongly suspects this might be the case, but I'm stubbornly driven to prove otherwise. (I know almost everyone liked the #s 4 and 5, but I had to admit I was not in love).

I started playing around in Photoshop, drawing lines, looking at what kinds of angles the boots add to my body. Part of it is surely that 2 of my favorite boots are lace-ups - the laces create strong vertical lines all on their own. The reject boots all create fairly harsh horizontal lines due to the contrasting textures and, in the case of the white Fryes, the contrasting color between skin and boot.

I kept thinking, though, that my calves aren't the problem. DH didn't say my legs looked fat, he thought *I* did. And I didn't get that cankle feeling like I do when boots are too wide in the shaft. Plus, I have relatively thin ankles that should be able to handle a smidge of bulk... something had to be affecting the overall look.

When I drew lines against the sides of the boots, I was left with my new theory: I definitely think the angle between the ankle and shaft opening affects the perceived width of hips and thighs; the wider the angle, the wider the hips.

The gray Julias extend past the widest part of my calf and curve back inward toward the knee break. The black ankle boots stop well before widening to the full portion of the calf. The cognac Timberlands are the least slimming of the bunch but get away with more than the flat boots because of the low contrast with my legs, the vertical lines of the laces, and the extra height of the heel.

In conclusion: I'm not giving up on flat boots. I'm going to keep searching for that perfect pair, focusing on styles with slim ankles and the ability to cinch snugly either above or below the widest part of the calf. Amazon and Zappos may hate me by the end of it, but what can I do when the three Ps (patient, picky, and practical) haunting me?


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What are your favorite patterns so far?

In light of Angie's post today, I thought it would be fun to share pictures of our favorite patterns!

I've been enamoured with the Miu Miu cat print since it came out way back when. Something about the cat's stance and expression is much more charming than any cat print that's come after. I'm also digging riots of color and placed florals.

How about you? I'd love to see what you've been ogling!


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Anyone have printed trench inspiration to share?

I found the below trench at the swap meet for a cool $2 - the catch was that it has some black sharpie marks on the back, sleeves, and hem. Not a ton, but I thought I would take the opportunity to make my own printed trench.

I was just ogling the Desigual trench in pic #2, but it seems like it would be a DIY better suited to a black trench. Have you seen any cool prints out there that might work on my SSB confection? I'd most likely be using Jacquard Textile Colors (paints without bleeding for crisp lines) or Dynaflow (works more like a watercolor), both of which leave the fabric soft.


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Manspiration Month Roundup (Pic Heavy)

June's over and, with it, so is my self-imposed manspiration challenge! It's been a fun-filled, somewhat goofy ride - sometimes I wanted to rebel against the manly looks and, by the end, I started to worry that I didn't have enough heroes to fill the month. Still, it was a great exercise and a fun way to explore a wide range of menswear influences.

The challenge also helped me learn a few things about my relationship with clothes and my personal style. First, I love a challenge! Who knew, right? Although I often feel bored getting dressed in the mornings, I didn't feel bored at all this month. Forcing myself to dress to inspiration photos really made me see my closet in a new light. Second, menswear is totally me. I'd been adamant before that I loved the tomboy look but hated menswear - well, it's still true, but only about a certain kind of menswear. Rugged, swashbuckling, bomb-making, spaceship-piloting, jailbreaking, hulk-smashing men's outfits are actually quite close to my heart. Third... like... woah, do I have a type or what? Apparently, I should have either been a rock star, crime fighter, or robot, because that pretty much sums up the bulk of my hero worship.

For anyone who may have missed the original outfit posts - or anyone who might want to review the manspirations after the fact - I've added all the side-by-side shots below. In order of appearance, the manspirations are:

Captain America
Colonel Saul Tigh (Battlestar Galactica)
Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Serenity)
Billy Mack (Love, Actually)
Bryan Mills (Taken)
Lord Eddard Stark (Game of Thrones)
Frank "Punisher" Castle (Punisher)
Tom Petty
Tom Waits
Rick Deckard (Bladerunner)
Special Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)
Rorschach (Watchmen)
Tristan Thorne (Stardust)
Remy "Gambit" LeBeau (X-Men)
Papa Rae (*Father's Day post*)
Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr (X-Men)
Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption)
Oscar Wilde
Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)
Wolverine (X-Men)
Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Jason "JD" Dean (Heathers)
Dr. Henry "Indiana" Walton Jones, Jr. (Indiana Jones)
Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)
Bruce "The Incredible Hulk" Banner

Huge thanks to everyone who followed along with me this month and guessed the inspirations despite my cryptic riddles. You all made this much more fun than I had ever anticipated!

*Note: I did not create any manspiration outfits on the 24th or 25th, as I was preparing for a meeting - this is why there are only 28 pictures for a 30-day month.


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The Call of the... Preppy

Natalie started a thread earlier and asked us all which looks we'd like to explore down the road.

Tanya also got me looking forward - into Fall.

So I was cruising around the web at lunch and realized that I'm seriously feeling the call of preppier elements! 1-3 are all from the Ralph Lauren Rugby line. 4 arrived today and I will be posting shortly (!) and 5 is the inspiration for a new bag DIY I will be starting as soon as my supplies roll in.

I still love utility, steampunk, tomboy, militaria/warrior elements - and what's interesting is I don't feel these and preppy are mutually exclusive. The red pants have a built-in *pen holder*! How coolly utilitarian is that? It's still UWP if I carry my pen in case I need to stab an attacker in an alley, right? o_0

What does everyone else think of a preppy style?


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Print Lust

It's kind of amazing how few prints I own, because they are very much wearable art. I'd be just as happy hanging this puppy up on my wall.

Now... if only there was a reasonable excuse to acquire it...