Sunday, February 7, 2016

20x21 Challenge

I'm going to be doing a 20x21 challenge! I learned about it from Andrea over at Seasons and Salt and while I'm not sure capsule wardrobes are for me, I do want to really start refining my style and trying something new. This seemed like a really interesting way to work with what I have already and focus on what's in my closet right now. The challenge is to pick 20 items(including shoes but not footwear and accessories) and wear those for 21 days. If you live in a cold climate like me, you're probably thinking "well shoot, it's -15f and I'd be wear at least half of those items at once, that seems really restricting!" This was my first thought and I felt really resistant to trying this - I like my closet and I didn't want to ignore it for 21 days but the more I thought about why I was so resistant, the more I felt like it WOULD be a good thing for me to try.
Right off the starting block, I have to give props to capsule bloggers- how do they make their clothes look so pretty and appealing in those "here's my capsule" pictures? I'd like to think I take decent photos but man, I failed hard at this. You're stuck with shitty pictures guys and I'm sorry. (Please don't laugh at my awful photos, we all know I can't take pictures inside to save my life.)

Shirts from left to right -
DKNYC Cardigan (thrifted)
Max Mara Gray Cashmere Sweater (consignment)
Anthropologie Sweater (thrifted)
DVF Tee (consignment)
Free People Drape Sweater (ebay)
Anne Klein Cashmere Sweater (thrifted)
Free People Top (thrifted)
Old Navy Long Sleeve Tee (2 years ago)

Skirt and Dresses left to right -
Helmut Lang Drape Skirt (ebay)
Rick Owens Lillies One Shoulder Midi Dress (thrifted!!)
Free People Dress (once long and beige, now shorter and grey thanks to dye and an accidental hot bath)

Pants, left to right -

Rag and Bone Mulberry Jeans (thrifted)
Rag and Bone Bengal Embroidered Jeans (ebay)
J.Brand "Maria" High Rise Jeans (ebay)
Rag and Bone Leather Jeans (ebay)

Helmut Lang Black Leather Cropped Jacket (consignment)
Helmut Land Gray Leather Asymmetrical Jacket (ebay)

Boots (not pictured, you've seen them a million times)
Sorrels (thrifted)
Seychelles Black Ankle Zip Up Boots
Sandgrens' Manhattan Clog Boots c/o Sandgrens

My biggest stumbling block was actually footwear, I love my shoes and asking me to pick which to keep is...difficult. I ended up going with what I thought I would get the most wear out of and what would work with the other items. My Seychelles boots have been my stand bys for years, they are SO well made, the suede doesn't even have scratches in it and I've worn these hardcore during the winter for 3 years. That's impressive guys. I also really like the lines of them with drappey garments and midi dresses so I felt like they would work in well. (They are also so comfy I can stand in them all day and my feet still feel good. My feet are pretty wise and these have so much room in the toe box and a lot of cushioning. Cannot recommend Seychelles enough for wide feet.) We've had some colder temps this month and while this has been what's normally considered "SUPER HEAT WAVE WINTER" for us, I got wimpy and like my toes to be warm so I had to add in the Sorrels. I felt a little unsure about them and they're actually why I added in the Anthropologie embroidered sweater, I'll try to play up the rustic look a little. I did really debate about switching them ouf for my Docs, I haven't worn those as much because they STILL hadn't broken in and the last time I wore them, they deystroyed the backs of my ankles. Why do that when I already have so many broken in, comfy shoes already? But I'd been doing the thick socks/wear them for only short amounts of time and in the past two weeks they've just broken in beautifully. I still don't really know why I picked the Sorrels, we'll see if I have capsule item regret.

I feel really tacky about adding in a c/o item to this capsule but you guys know I've accepted c/o items very infrequently in the over 4 years that I've blogged and....I just really like these boots. I wear them a lot and I really enjoy them and I wanted my capsule to be a good repensation of what I wear. So I apologize in advance for my tackiness guys.

I just realized that most of my jeans are Rag and Bone. I've had a hard time in the past finding jeans that really fit well (as has every person on earth) and most of the time, it's been because there wasn't enough room cut in the butt. I have a 13 inch difference between my hips and my waist and my biggest problem I have with many jeans, designer included, is that even if I size up so my that the jean is falling off in the waist, it still flattens my butt because the jeans are cut SO flat. AEO jeans have been the only ones in the past that really worked okay for me but then....Rag and Bone. These jeans, they are perfect and have so much room back there that even a Kardashian could fit in there. (maybe.) The waists are smaller and the back is cut a little rounder and they just fit so well - aside from the J.Brand "Marias" which seem to have a little more room in the back than J.Brand's other styles I think Rag and Bone is the only jeans I will buy from now one. I can't rave enough about them.

I am really looking forward to this challenge and seeing what I learn from it! 20 items for 21 is a big challenge for me and we'll see if I survive how it goes!  And if you're feeling a little stuck with your own style right now or just have the serious winter blahs when it comes to your closet, I really suggest joining up!  I know I've always felt that my style wouldn't work with a capsule, most capsule wardrobes you see chambray, Benton striped shirts, bf jeans, you know what I'm talking about.  My style is a good 180 from that and I'd really thought it just wouldn't work but after putting together my 20 items, I feel really awesome about it.  I also really dislike my clothes this time of year, it's been winter since September and everyone's like "spring is only a few weeks away" NO IT'S NOT I DON'T SEE FREE GROUND UNTIL MAY.   I think this will be a good way to keep me creative and trying to put together fun outfits so if you feel like it, give the 20x21 a shot!  (Or if not, talk about how you keep your winter wardrobe feeling awesome until spring finally does hit - we can all use inspiration.)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shaking It Up...Sort Of

Free People Hat and Bag (birthday gift from a few years ago)
Helmut Lang Leather Jacket (consignment) and Skirt (ebay)
Isabel Marant Etoile Blouse (ebay)
Sandgrens' Manhattan Clog Boots c/o Sandgrens

I haven't worn my favorite blouse in a little while so it felt like a good time to break it back out! I'm loving how this leather jacket has been working with everything, it's really a nice step up from my last "leather" jacket that had the pleather flaking off the arms.  I am brightening things up a little today, there's white in there!  And red! *GASP!*

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Word Vomit About Bags

UO Hat
AEO Scarf
Jacket (thrifted - no labels)
Free People Dress (ebay)
Sandgrens Manhattan Clog Boots c/o Sandgrens
Coach Leather Bag (consignment)

An interesting thing I've come across while reading up on the difference between really expensive bags (in the $2000 range and up) and expensive ($200-500 range) is not only the hand stitching and better hardware/zippers but apparently the quality of the leather. With the freakishly expensive designer bags, the leather is suppose to mold to your body and rather than looking just old and worn out, are suppose to soften up and still look nice, even after 30 years where the lower end designer bags are suppose to start looking "worn out" after a while. I'm not sure I completely agree with that - My Marc Jacobs bag retailed in the lower range for "nice bags" but the leather is high quality and even a few years later, doesn't have any scratches or wearing in the corners. And it's colored leather! (I have to choke for a moment on the price thing however, Marc Jacobs bags seem extremely expensive to me at their normal retail of $250-$450, I was lucky and found mine at the consignment shop a few years back and used my consignment credits to pay for most of it.)

This Coach bag however is really showing it's age. The leather was not great to start off with, it is from the Poppy line which was more of a diffusion line and the leather is very thin and plastic feeling. Rather than gaining a supple, worn in look, the leather is wearing off and close up, it looks worn out. 

Now, I'm not saying that a $2000 plus bag is a good buy because I can't even imagine spending that much money on one, for me that just would make zero sense and is nuts.  That would be almost two loads of logs for our house or part of the money for the well and while I don't mind saving up for more expensive items, I don't think I will ever save up for an "investment" bag like a Channel.  It's so much money and a that point, while the quality might be great, I'm not so sure that it's not something I could get at a much, much lower price range. At that point, it almost becomes more about the status of the items rather than the actual quality.  But if I found one at the thrift store or the consignment shop for around $100, sure! (Yessss, this will NOT happen.)  That's really my upper limit and I've only spent that much on one bag, my Proenza Schouler brown leather tote. It is interesting to learn about the different level of quality in leathers a little more, it's helpful for judging what's a good buy and will hold up.  I would stay away from this sort of leather in the future, this Coach bag has had fairly light usage so it's not like it's been banged around a ton, lesson learned! 

*I don't know where this word vomit post was going, I'm sorry.  I love bags and I'm really into saving up for a great item that will be a high usage item but at what point are we paying to have something to brag about rather than something that's just good quality?


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sith Don't Wear Hats

UO Hat
Helmut Lang Coat (ebay)
H&M Cardigan (thrifted)
Leather Oni Belt (thrifted)
Anne Klein Cashmere Sweater (thrifted)
Free People Skirt (ebay) and Bag (ebay)
Fred Meyer Scarf
Seychelles Boots

...or maybe they do, I don't know.  Clone Wars tells me they don't. 

Apparently I was feeling very Sith-y this day - I think it's the obi belt that really pushed it from "mmm, ok, all black" to "someone's doing some cosplay." (But how much fun is Sith cosplay?! So, so much black and all those layers....terrible retirement packages thou.  An on another not, why is cosplay not in the spellcheck?)

I think every time I've worn this skirt I've always worn it tied up, I'd sort of forgotten how cool it looks down. It's got that great tulip hem and it just flows so nicely - I think I normally tie it up because I wore it mostly with flat sandals this past summer and I am way too short to be doing flats+long skirts. Or I'm lazy and hate hand washing all of the dirt off the hem.

The funny part to this whole thing is that normally there IS a light saber of two shoved in my bag by Gunnar. Mom's purse is evidently a good place to hold all of the toys.  But today, the day I wear all of y black, there's not a light saber in sight.

Monday, February 1, 2016


UO Hat
Fred Meyer Scarf
Helmut Lang Leather Jacket (consigment) and Helmut Lang hoodie (ebay)
Free People Dress (ebay)
Anthropologie Bag (birthday gift)
Rag and Bone Boots (ebay)

I thought the hoodie and the jacket worked togther zipped up like this but uh, after seeing the photos, nope, it's dumb and full of butts. (Which probably means I'm wearing it wrong?)  I jut really don't care for how the zippers don't line up - it's a small thing but it really bugs me.

Otherwise, I like how this outfit changes once I took the hat off and put up the hood, it's two very different looks depending on one or two small changes like taking off the scarf and hat. I know I keeping talking about them but man, I love the Helmut Lang items I've found over the past year, they're just so much fun to wear and everything so far has been cut really nicely. the jackets all have really sharp shoulders which is something I love. I wear a lot of flowy, drapey clothes and seeing as I'm not super tall and angular, I need some angles somewhere to break up all of the roundness and the Helmut Lang jackets are ~amazing~ for that. And I think they're cool and I feel cool when I wear them which I think is the point? Upward inflection?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Out Of The Box

Fred Meyer Scarf
Helmut Lang Coat (ebay)
DKNY Cardigan (thrifted)
Anthropologie Jumpsuit (ebay)
Sandgrens Manhattan Clog Boots c/o Sandgrens
Coach Leather Bag (consignment)

Last winter I styled this jumpsuit almost the same exact way - black coat, black boots and uh, it wasn't good. In fact, the outfit looked so awful that it didn't even make it onto the blog. I think the difference this time around was that I played around more with layers, the DKNY cardigan has been a really great item for adding visual interest and being black, it works with everything!
I usually wear a red lipstick but my in-laws sent me a Kat Von D lipstick sampler for Christmas with a great red and a couple really fun colors, including this orange! Orange is really out of the box of me but I like it, it was a fun color and the lipstick itself is pretty great - it really stays on for a long time which hasn't always been my experience with a matt lipstick.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Lighten Up

UO Hat
Helmut Lang Leather Jacket (consignment)
Winter Kate Velvet Kimono (ebay)
Free People Dress (ebay)
Rag and Bone "Margot" Boots (ebay)
Leather Obi Belt (thrifted)
Anthropologie Bag (birthday gift)

I thought it was time to brighten up a little, I've been wearing so much grey and black lately that all of my brighter clothes have been hanging at the back of the closet. I like that this outfit is still darker but the velvet burnout adds some nice texture and the blue slip dress works with it. I've been wearing my obi belt more often, I thrifted it a few years back and wore it for a while and haven't broken it out for a while. It seems to really work with some of my more draped outfits and in this case, I really like how it looked belted over my kimono.