Monday, September 23, 2013

Fashion Show

The news is depressing right now, and I've got some unbloggable work-related things weighing on my mind. So I'm going to leave the serious topics behind for now, and post about something completely frivolous- my wardrobe. Yes, it is time for another one of my weird headless fashion shows.

Long time readers might remember that I am not an enthusiastic shopper these days, and that I tend towards a uniform of dark bottoms with a solid color top. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, but I tend to wear t-shirts past when the point when I should retire them to finish out their days as weekend grubbies, and I also find it hard to put together appropriate outfits on the rare occasions when I need to look a little sharper. So one of my goals this year was to spruce up my wardrobe. I tried out Stitch Fix, and got some good things from them (and will probably order another fix soon- I enjoy the surprise aspect of their service).

I also took advantage of the trip to New Zealand to add some new items to my wardrobe.

Here's the dress I mentioned earlier:

I also found this shirt, which I almost didn't try on because of the horizontal stripes, but which I love:

I wandered into a Veronika Maine store, and was helped by a sales associate who definitely earned her pay that day. I came out with a new blouse (that is probably as close to a peplum as I'll ever get) and skirt:

And also this shirt, which I love even though (or perhaps because?) it reminds me of a Star Trek top:

But my favorite clothing purchase in New Zealand may actually be this t-shirt with a pohutukawa on it, purchased at the last minute in the Auckland airport, to round out a "buy two, get one free" deal (we were buying the kids souvenir t-shirts), shown here in action on our recent weekend away in Orange County:

I also did a little shopping when I visited my friend in San Francisco. We were mostly just wandering around exploring, but we wandered into a couple of shops, and I ended up with this top:

That picture neatly shows the main problem with this top- I have a hard time keeping my bra strap from peeking out. Still, I like the top.

You might notice in the above that I mostly bought tops. I decided I needed to do some directed purchasing of some bottoms. I tried out eShakti and bought a skirt, which I love all the more because it actually has pockets:

It makes a good twirling skirt, too:

On my first half day decompressing at the mall, I bought these pants at The Gap:

 I ended up liking them so much that I went back and bought two more colors:

Actually, I bought the blue ones, and then on the very first day I wore them, I got what looked like several ink stains on them at the hip. I didn't think I'd get that out, so I went online to replace them, and couldn't... and ended up with the burgundy ones. But then the ink stains faded well enough that I can continue to wear them. So now I'm pretty well set for ankle length pants. 

That picture also shows two pairs of shoes I bought recently- some red mary janes (also seen in several pictures above) and some multicolor flats that I love. They seem funky in an age-appropriate way.

On my second decompression afternoon, I picked up a new pair of black trousers (boring, but essential), another blouse and an awesome casual blazer, which is something I've been wanting for a long time:

That's the new blouse peaking out, and there are those red mary janes again. They may be my favorite shoe right now.

Here's a better view of the new blouse:

Believe it or not, I don't think I am quite done. I had let my wardrobe deteriorate quite a bit, and I had to give away a lot of my favorite tops after facing the sad fact that my chest is NOT going to go back to its pre-kids size, so those tops will never fit again. I still often find myself standing in front of my closet trying to find a top that both matches a clean pair of pants and fits. I think I have enough bottoms now, and just need to decide what sort of tops I need, and whether I should let Stitch Fix surprise me with some or try to pick out some for myself on eShakti or a similar site. Anyone know of a good place to buy shirts online? No way I'm going back to the mall.


  1. Man, I need to do this. People dress nicer at my new post-doc and my free-conference-tshirt wardrobe isn't gonna cut it. So far I've been rotating my ~8 business casual shirts with jeans!

    I didn't know you were from SoCal! I've been reading a while and knew you were in CA generally. It's so nice down here - I've been visiting UCI for training and could stay forever.

    1. Yes, I live in San Diego. I love it here!

  2. I do most of my shopping online, and Boden is one of my favorites. Great tops, skirts, and dresses. Not cheap, but the clothes are good quality. Lands End has been surprisingly good lately, especially their Fit & Flare dresses, which are universally flattering.

    I've also been surprised to find several cute tops at Anthropologie. There's one near work, so it's one of the few shops I visit in person. I've gotten several compliments on tops I've purchased there.

    I love your red Mary-Janes. Can I ask where you got them?

    1. Hmmm... I'd forgotten about Boden. I'll take a look.

      The mary janes came from The Walking Company. Most of my shoes come from there, or from Clarks. I only wear comfortable shoes these days!

    2. Oh, I love Boden. It's definitely a case of "you get what you pay for"--they cost more, but the quality is good. (They often have decent sales, BTW.)

      I tend to have a similar uniform: black or grey bottoms and solid tops, often with a cardigan. I'm trying to break out of that a bit, but I keep being drawn to dresses and skirts when what I really need is more tops.

  3. Anonymous6:00 AM

    I need a casual cocktail dress to wear to a wedding coming up very soon. Maybe this weekend. Otherwise I'm going to end up wearing the suit/dress that I usually wear to these things but last time it was in the same fabric as the bridesmaids' dresses and I felt silly.

    1. Maybe check out eShakti. They have a lot of dresses, and they will let you supply custom measurements. The skirt I got is good quality.

    2. Anonymous6:53 AM

      I really need to try stuff on. I've just been putting it off.

  4. Anonymous6:25 AM

    I love the red Mary-Janes! This post reminded me that I need to get some fall and winter clothes...

  5. I don't own a single skirt. You have inspired me, maybe I should try to buy some...
    Lovely outfits, btw!

  6. I especially love that first dress--the dark one with white polka-a-dots!

    Yes, the news has been beyond depressing of late. I've been telling myself that I should just avoid the news altogether. So this fashion post of yours made me smile =) Very cute dresses, too! (As for me, I still do all my clothes shopping in-person, with Ann Taylor cardigans as the only exception for now)

  7. I like the polka dot dress! And hey, if you're hanging out in the mall to decompress, you may just learn to love shopping. I've been realizing that I dislike shopping when I have something else I have to be doing. If it was freebie decompression time, though, it could be fun. Maybe?

  8. Anonymous3:34 AM

    re: twitter feed
    I went to grad school with macarthur winners too (and other famous and award winning people). That just means I went to a great grad school. I figure it helps me when people from my program do well.

    1. Oh, yeah, I agree, and I think this particular award is well-deserved. It was just a weird thing, particularly when I've been struggling with imposter syndrome recently (long and unbloggable story...) I don't want the life that would have been required to even be in the running for those awards, so it isn't really like I'm jealous.

    2. Anonymous7:41 AM

      If I find myself negatively comparing myself to other people, I remind myself of the other 99.9999etc% who didn't even get to go to grad school with rockstars. Honestly I get a big charge just from not being in a semi-constant anxiety about money like my parents were. (Also, I think it's cool that some rockstars know who *I* am!) But really, with comparisons there's always going to be someone better on some dimension no matter who or where you are.

      Much healthier to have concrete work goals than comparative goals. In terms of comparisons, I like to look at other people just to figure out how they got where they are and steal what I can replicate. (I figure I can be more like Jon Gruber if I put my mind to it, even if I can't be more like Sendhil Mullainathan.)

      Side note: one of DH's labmates who got a MacArthur is now working in industry doing a high-powered start-up in something unrelated to her graduate field (and is more on the lucrative side than the "helping humanity" side).

  9. Try Zulily, they have a great diversity of styles so for sure you'll find something to suit your taste. Also, I think pants suit you better than skirts, or maybe an A-line would be cleaner-looking than the pleated/puffy skirt.

  10. For the bra strap issue, I highly recommend fashion tape (e.g., good for closing button gaps, which is an issue with which I always seem to struggle. And thanks for posting where you got the Mary Janes, I was going to ask about that but Betsyphd beat me to it!

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