Thursday, April 26, 2018

April 2018 Shopping Reflections

So I guess one thing about biglaw and similar workplaces is that, sometimes one gets lucky and doesn't work late nights or full weekends for months on end, in which case life is pretty sweet, and sometimes one works at the office past 11:00 PM five workdays in a row. The former was true for me for almost my entire year in biglaw. And the latter has, less fortunately, been true for my past two weeks. It's just the nature of the job, alas!

I'd promised to dial back my shopping, though it's taken me a while to fulfill that. I think I've started doing so this month, at least a bit, and I'm hoping it'll be easy to continue as the weather gets warm at last. It hasn't been consistently warm in NYC yet, to our great collective distress, so I'm putting off that search for tees (thank you again for all of your helpful recommendations!) until a little later. Before I get to this month's shopping, a quick update on those recent changes to my office's dress code. As I suspected, they didn't actually mean that they wanted business formal all the time, and thank goodness for that!

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I'm a bit surprised by how much I'm enjoying my J.Crew Factory Open-Front Sweater Blazers. It's been great, substantial enough for layering under coats in these in-between temperatures, but not too warm the way my thicker sweaters are now. The lapels add a bit of interest (I often wear them flipped up instead of folded down, but both ways work). I've ended up wearing each at least once a week. Oh and the pockets are strong enough to hold my phone without the lines of the sweater getting weighed down (adequate pocket strength is important for functionality, as Michelle pointed out recently). And of course, being machine-washable is a huge plus.

That being said, it's not a perfect piece. While the fabric is thick and substantial, I often wish it had just a bit more heft or structure, so it'd lie a bit straighter and more flat over my clothes. This is a complaint I have about a lot of sweaters trying to look like jackets, they just don't have the same structure or hold their shape as well. When the lapels are folded down, I always think they'd benefit from being a bit wider. The J.Crew Open-Front Sweater Blazer, in merino wool instead of cotton (and tagged dry clean-only), seems to look more luxe (more store photos from Nordstrom, where it's sold out) in just about every way, and is more intentionally oversized. (Also seen on Feather Factor and here.) But because I couldn't see myself machine-washing it, the J.Crew version wouldn't ever be practical for me.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $122.50) 
  • Old Navy Classic Ponte-Knit Blazer - $34.00 - Although I didn't need more business formal, there's a definite space in my closet for a truly machine-washable "pretend" blazer that looked more like a real blazer than a sweater. Cat recommended this Old Navy blazer, and it's great for this. I sometimes think ponte feels too "heavy" and thus uncomfortably constricting. Despite having stretch, it doesn't always have enough "give." (I felt this while trying on the Brass ponte pants, for instance.) This particular ponte doesn't have that issue, its a "softer" stretch that doesn't feel too tight over my shoulders. (These days, especially when I put on an older blazers that I've borderline been sized out of, I often feel like I'm about to "hulk out," so this is a nice change.) Note that this runs quite big, I kept the small here, but could have sized down to extra small because there's still room in the chest and it's stretchy. Given that I'm a 10P in J.Crew Factory's blazers, I really shouldn't be a S or XS in any blazer. It'd also fit better if it was offered in petite sizing, as the body is a little long, and the waist could be placed a bit higher, though the sleeves are a fine length for me.
  • Old Navy Sleeveless Tie-Neck Shift Dress - $15.00 - When ordering the blazer, I added some summer dresses for free shipping. (I know, bad thing to do from either a minimalism or frugality perspective, and it's how I used to end up a Sephora VIB every year despite rarely wearing makeup and getting the vast majority of my skincare elsewhere.) Most didn't fit well, or the color/print combinations seemed off, except with this. I spend most of my summer in more relaxed-fit cotton, silk, linen, or viscose/rayon dresses (all fabrics I find breathable and comfortable for summer humidity). Most don't hold up well to frequent wearing and washing, the silk ones especially, so they end up getting worn out much faster than my other clothes, and I generally feel like I have a shortage of them. Admittedly, I'm not sure that rayon, like in this dress, is much better, as my last set of casual rayon summer dresses (more "jersey-like" rayon rather than this "polyester-texture"/"faux-silky" rayon) shrank up from being machine-washed in cold water and line dried. 
  • Wolford Neon 40 Tights - $36.75 x2 = $73.50 - I recently started buying more expensive tights, after becoming dissatisfied with the Uniqlo heattech tights (a new pair I bought in late 2016-ish was harder to stretch than past pairs and uncomfortable to put on). I've found that I like both my Wolford Pure 50 tights and Falke 50 denier tights (thanks to Luxe for the recommendation!) equally. They're both comfortable and sturdy so far, despite several accidental run-ins with a jagged edge of a desk drawer, and they stay put throughout the day, with no rolling down at the waistband. I've been considering whether to discard my old Uniqlo tights, even the ones from longer ago that don't have the odd difficulty stretching, because they have the rolling down at the waist issue, and are that much less comfortable than my "better" pairs. Two new pairs should be enough to replace the outgoing ones. 50 denier tights are also a bit too thick for current temperatures. I don't like the fabric texture on these as much as the Wolford Pure 50 though. They have an odd sheen. 

How was your shopping month? Are you also looking forward to warmer weather? I must say, I'm always taken aback by how fast time passes now that I'm not a student anymore, even if it's been nearly three years now. To think that, if I were still in school, it'd be almost time for final exams (always a particularly big, stressful production for law students). I miss being a student, but I'm glad not to have final exams ever again. Though my recent string of very long days and nights at the office are probably as intense as exam period got sometimes! 

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