Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May 2018 Shopping Reflections

Does anyone else feel like they need to relearn how to dress for the changing seasons every year? One would think that, with more than five years of living in NYC, I'd be used to how quickly and suddenly summertime heat and humidity (with a good dose of rain) sets in each year, always right on the heels of a long winter. Somehow, though, I still find myself surprised. In the first week or two, I'm always confused as I get dressed. What jacket or sweater do I usually like for sixty degrees Fahrenheit? How warm is seventy or eighty degrees and do I need a light cardigan? And so on.

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I've also had a challenging time picking out shoes as summer begins settling in. This time last year, I wore my trusty Fitflop Skinny sandals all season long, but I seem to want more closed-toe shoes that I might not need to change out of at the office. I may have an additional shoe purchase coming up, despite having made several in recent memory, this time a pair of Rothys (which Elaine reviewed, I have quite a few colleagues and fellow college alums who echo the enthusiastic recommendation). And I'm not normally a shoe person! The shoe shopping probably seems excessive, especially when we combine this month's purchases with last month's M.Gemi Felize (similar), but I've been trying to take better care of my shoes, rotate them and not wear any pair two days in a row. The Soludos llama slip-ons and the gold shimmer leather Felize loafers are also off the table on days where it might rain, which constrains my "shoe schedule" even more.

The other category I shopped for this month was light, summer-weight cardigans. It's already warm enough that I don't generally wear them while walking outside, but my office is quite climate-controlled, and I reliably get a lot of wear from my lighter linen or cotton cardigans all summer as a result. The ones I purchased in recent years were all from Ann Taylor or Loft, and those have not held up well, the main factor causing my growing disillusionment with those formerly reliable workwear brands. I spent some time browsing Bloomingdales online, but wasn't finding a good range of things that looked suitable or worth their prices, so I ended up back at Uniqlo. Out of the mall brands I've shopped at in recent memory (Ann Taylor, Loft, J.Crew and Madewell in particular), I've had the best luck with Uniqlo's knits. Back in the day, when I spent a lot of time in the truly extreme heat and humidity of Hong Kong's warmer seasons, I was fond of Uniqlo's ultralight summer cardigans (usually a synthetic blend, in this case modal and acetate), but these days I find them too sheer, and they can be fragile, so they don't suit my needs anymore.

When ordering my sweaters, I got a chance to try those Uniqlo Two-Way Tuck Tees that looked so much like my favorite Ann Taylor shell for wearing under suits (pictured here, but long discontinued), but alas, as I suspected, the Uniqlo top is not the same at all, nor should it be when it's a different fabric and a fairly different design on top of that, despite some visual similarities with that gathered detail at the neckline. Oh well!

Fashion - (TOTAL: $254.70)
  • Sam Edelman Loraine Loafers, black - $96.00 - I've talked about these for a while, and previously ordered another pair in the wrong size when it was mostly sold out. I managed to snag these during a Lord and Taylor sale, when they were also doing 15% Ebates cash back on top of that (which I haven't factored in to the price), so I got a great deal. The leather is quite soft and pliable, enough that I worry about their long-term durability. Like most Sam Edelman shoes I've tried, these were immediately comfortable with no breaking in needed. They fit true-to-size. (The previous pair I tried felt a bit narrow despite being otherwise too big for me, but I didn't have that issue here.)
  • Soludos Llama Slip-on Sneakers - $99.00 - I've also had these on my mind for a while (I first noticed the navy blue velvet ones, but velvet struck me as not suitable for summer), though they kept getting sold out quickly. So when I saw my size in stock, I jumped right on them. They run big, my usual size 7.5 was too big in all dimensions, my feet would slip right out. The  7 works pretty well, however. This pair actually had small defects, there were bits of extra glue or rubber sticking out of the edges of the insoles, inside the shoe, which would have caused blisters. I would have sent it back if they weren't sold out of my size . (I had to fiddle with a pair of scissors, a fruit knife, and contort my hands a bit inside the shoe to remove the excess glue/rubber.)
  • Uniqlo Supima Cotton Crew-Neck Cardigan, gray - $14.90 - Not too much to say here, except that they're Uniqlo's standard crew-neck in a reasonably summer-friendly, thin (but not too thin, unlike those other summer-weight sweaters I mentioned above) cotton knit. I haven't put them in the wash yet (but plan to machine-wash in cold water and dry them on a drying rack), so I can't yet comment on how they'll hold up. I'm generally confident in Uniqlo's sweaters having reasonable durability, however. 
  • Uniqlo Supima Cotton Crew-Neck Cardigan, blue - $14.90 - I thought this was a nice color, a bit more interesting than navy blue. I still have two navy linen cardigans from Loft in my rotation, but they're generally looking a bit worn out, hence my shopping for summer cardigans this month. One note about Uniqlo sweater sizing, their size chart suggests that they should run smaller than most mall brands, but I find that they're rather true to size, and maybe even a little big. A size M is supposed to fit me best, going by their size chart, but tends to be noticeably loose. (I'm usually a S in other mall brands, but can often size up comfortably to a M without the size difference being particularly noticeable, whereas here the M is noticeably big.) 
  • Uniqlo Linen-Blend Long Cardigan, gray - $29.90 - This reminds me of Michelle's cardigan, though I think hers is a bit more interesting. (This one is longer and more voluminous on me than the model, as I'm shorter.) Of the three cardigans I got, this is my favorite, maybe in part because the linen blend is lighter than the cotton, and the length is nice. Does anyone remember the last time longer cardigans were in style? Similar "duster" cardigans (shorter maybe, usually just covering the butt rather than going down near the knee) was in style in my later high school years, 2005 or so. Longer ones were cool around 2008 or 2009, I think? By 2013, when I was editing down my closet during law school, my long cardigans from 2009-ish seemed uncool, so I donated one and gave away another that was still in great shape to my sister. Now I miss them! My sister still has the one I gave her, so if I wanted it desperately, I could probably reclaim it. 

What shoes do you usually wear in summer? Any favorite sandals? I have a hard time with sandals, as I find most of them uncomfortable. While I have others in my collection, I always end up in those Fitflops, as uncool as they are. Do you also find yourself a bit clumsy with dressing for the season each time it switches over? 

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