Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Casual Outfits with J.Crew Sweater Blazers

Sweater (Left): J.Crew Sophie Open-Front Sweater Blazer, heather khaki, size XS
Sweater (Right): J.Crew Juliette Collarless Sweater Blazer, heather gray, size XS
Shirt: Old Navy Relaxed Lightweight Cap-Sleeve Shirt, blue/white stripe, size M
Shoes: M.Gemi Felize, gold shimmer (sold out, similar in non-shimmer suede)

Note: I am currently on vacation, but wrote and scheduled this post before I flew out. I'll be back by early October! This is just a super-quick outfit post of something I can't generally wear outdoors in NYC for some time yet. Back when I was thinking about whether to keep the J.Crew collarless sweater blazer, I also wanted to try it on with pants, and ended up throwing together this look really quickly to accomplish that. Then I also thought it'd be fun to show the other sweater blazer in a casual outfit.

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Because my interest in the collarless sweater blazer was based so much on the look I thought it might have with workwear dresses and skirts, I don't think I like it quite as much with pants, or with casual outfits. It just isn't the look I had in mind.

I really like the collared sweater blazer with casual outfits and pants though! I think the collar and lapels may give it a slightly more interesting look with many casual outfits than the collarless version. I've often worn the J.Crew Factory version of the collared open sweater blazer (which has a fairly different look and sizing than the J.Crew version, as seen in my photos here) in casual outfits with jeans, so I'm sure I'll wear the J.Crew one out that way too, once the weather cools down a bit more. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Link List: A Few Quick Things

via Sarah Andersen comics - I love her work and think it's hilarious, I relate to this and also to many of her comics

Note: I am currently on vacation, but wrote and scheduled this post before I flew out. I'll be back by early October! Today's post is about a few things I was looking at online right before I left for my trip. As usual, given my writing style, it was really difficult to be quick and concise so that I could actually get this post completed and scheduled before I left.

1. // In the midst of a renewed discussion about the Eileen Fisher-ish "menocore" aesthetic, one r/femalefashionadvice commenter, u/PalmSignet, made some interesting points about the increasingly casual and relaxed standards of professional dress in many industries these days.

I can't relate to every single thing, but she makes some good points that ring true to me. My overall experience with workplace dress codes is ultimately quite different, but some of the key details still feel real. (I've never been in an employment situation where I felt the dress code expectations were unfair. While I wouldn't be terribly pleased about a "business formal every day" rule, it wouldn't exactly be an unreasonable thing for many attorney workplaces to demand.) Anyway, I won't be able to articulate my full thoughts on that discussion any time soon, but I wanted to share that specific discussion because it was novel and interesting. Oh, and this other discussion about (mostly workplace) dress and what it might signal was also interesting, though it didn't get much traction. 

2. // There've been a few interesting discussions about "influencer" (mainly Youtuber) campaigns and compensation recently. I'm not at all familiar with the world of makeup Youtube anymore, I last followed it back when Michelle Phan was in her heyday (and that was ages ago) but it seems to be a wild and highly compensated world for the top players. The r/blogsnark discussion about this topic wasn't too active, but someone took a screenshot of a comment from someone in the industry that noted that some Youtubers solicit companies to pay them to do "dedicated negative review[s] of a competitor's product" (and for that particular anonymous Youtuber, this option cost significantly more than a "dedicated product review" of the company's own product). Now that is wild, and is probably enough to make some makeup and beauty reviews on Youtube sound potentially suspect.

Somewhat relatedly, a r/blogsnark user mentioned the parameters of that Olay Whips campaign that's been around on Instagram lately. Among other things, I feel like these campaigns can look inauthentic because they go live at the same time, and because many of the people promoting the item typically use higher-end stuff. (Not that skincare products need to be high-end to be effective. My own routine is mostly prescriptions and drugstore products!) Of course, there are probably data-supported reasons why Olay set those campaign parameters.

3. // Both Leigh and Bitches Get Riches recently wrote about the important topic of splitting and sharing finances as a couple. Given my stage in life, it's a topic about which I currently have surprisingly little to say. K and I are remarkably aligned in our values when it comes to money and related topics, so we haven't felt much of a need yet to discuss most of the gritty details. We're also both very flexible about things like how accounts should be arranged. Many people might find this lack of having hashed out the practical details to be a bit odd (maybe even irresponsible), but well, it works for us.

And that's it for this slightly abbreviated link list post! Any thoughts about those workwear discussions I linked? I guess I'm generally not a fan of the "dress for the job you want" idea if it requires things like pantyhose or blazers when I'm not in court. Also, I only wear heels when I feel like I have absolutely no choice, with great reluctance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Money News Lately: Grab Bag

Coach Foldover Card Case Wallet (affiliate link)

In a little less than a week, I'll be off on my travels! K and I will make a quick stop in Taiwan to see my family, and then we'll be off to Tokyo and Kyoto. Things will probably be quiet around here until I get back. I might be able to get another post or two written and scheduled to go live during my trip, but that will depend on how some things go at the office in the next few days. I'll be fully back to writing here and reading and commenting elsewhere in a few weeks, once I get back from my trip and have gotten over the jetlag! 

For today, here are a few quick thoughts about some money-related news items (and well, yet another unpopular Refinery29 Money Diary) that I've found interesting lately: 

On Fleeting and Ill-Gotten Gains

Congressman Duncan Hunter from San Diego is a personal finance cautionary tale for us all (as well as a "don't commit federal crimes" cautionary tale, but that's a given). The indictment is a doozy, let's just say. I personally think its worth skimming through just for all the very many alleged instances of money mismanagement and misuse it contains, detailed down to specific transactions. Among other details, the Hunters allegedly incurred approximately $37,700 in overdraft and insufficient funds fees on their personal bank accounts over seven years. All this despite his annual congressional salary of approximately $174,000, and allegedly siphoning off $250,000 in campaign funds over the years on top of that! 

In other news that's, at least in part, also about, er, how quickly even a large quantity of ill-gotten gains can potentially be spent, there's also that saga of the $400,000 GoFundMe. The story, and the related civil litigation (and possible criminal investigation), are all still developing, but there's an allegation that the couple that raised the money depleted it all without actually giving it to the person they raised it for. It sounds like GoFundMe has committed to giving the intended recipient the money that was raised for him, but there could be potential criminal proceedings against the couple regardless

The Case of Another Unpopular Money Diary

I know it's terribly silly of me to regularly think too hard about comments and reactions to Refinery29 Money Diaries, but sometimes, I just can't help myself! With this particular diarist, or rather, the reader reactions, I may yet spin off my thoughts into another post at a later date, but I thought the story was also worth sharing now.

The initial Money Diary, by a purported 24 year-old NYC-dwelling software engineer with $118,000 base salary, and additional bonus and stock worth approximately $168,000, was... unpopular. I did find a few details odd (including that a Duane Reade purchase of batteries, decongestant, and a box of tissues would cost significantly more than $5.50). Except that I feel like most Money Diaries probably fudge some numbers, both intentionally to protect anonymity and accidentally because of mistakes with record-keeping or math. I don't think that kind of slight adjustment or error prevents a Money Diary from being substantially true and interesting. Furthermore, I generally find a lot of the reflexive skepticism and criticism about high-earner Money Diaries to ultimately be ill-founded, so I'm generally not inclined to nitpicking individual details as if that might call the whole thing into question. People hated that Brooklyn-dwelling biglaw attorney's Money Diary, for instance, and some even declared she must be defrauding her firm with some of the reimbursed expenses. Trust me, because of the generous reimbursements associated with summer associate programs and business development (charged to the firm, not the client), those charge were likely all proper.

I thought the software engineer diarist's follow-up with Refinery29 about her approach to investing should have calmed some of the criticisms. I thought she came across as being practical and hard-working. Alas, if you go through the comments there, not everyone agreed. I know it's particularly foolish of me to think too much about the especially mean comments, particularly ones I can identify as baseless or incorrect, but I really am interested in the psychology and mindset behind them, as well as in whether those comments suggest that there's a need for better personal finance education for everyone. 

There are some real awful things in the comments, some of them buried deep in the discussion threads and responses to other reader comments: 
  • One reader accuses her of having an "I'm only here for the cash y'all" attitude towards her career, and maybe her life in general. (There's some terrible and horrifyingly sexist aspersions about the diarist's personal life in that particular gem of a comment, if you find it.) Um, isn't compensation, and seeking fair market compensation for our work, something we should all value? 
  • Various readers turned up their noses at the idea that someone who was average in school could get themselves to that compensation level by their mid-20s, which just seems really wrong-headed to me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like anyone who's been in the working world for a while, whether they were excellent students or not, quickly realizes that grades have almost nothing to do with career success and compensation after one has gotten their foot in the door? 
  • The diarist noted that, given her many successes in the years since school and a challenging search for a first job, "[n]ow it's easy to think I was always a superstar". Many readers gnashed their teeth about this. Some readers were skeptical that any real person would say that about themselves. I found that entire set of reactions particularly bizarre. (I tend to be a bit self-deprecating, but I'm also not afraid to own up to my successes when it's warranted...) 
I totally shouldn't get so absorbed into Money Diaries comments sections, but I really do have a strange and intense fascination with it. How do people get so opinionated, sometimes based on incorrect assumptions? (There are many other times when commenters on other Refinery29 money-related discussions are actually extremely sensible, it is mostly just the Money Diaries where the comments sections get really wild.)

Have you been following the Duncan Hunter or the depleted $400,000 GoFundMe stories? What did you think? Particularly if you're familiar with the STEM industry in the US, do the numbers in that Money Diary seem plausible to you? 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Review: J.Crew Juliette Collarless Sweater Blazer

Sweater: J.Crew Juliette Collarless Sweater Blazer, heather gray, XS
Dress: old, from Loft (similar from Loft or Ann Taylor)
Shoes: Sam Edelman Tristan, black leather

Today's post is about a quick try-on of a new J.Crew item, the Juliette Collarless Sweater Blazer, which I was drawn to as soon as it popped up among J.Crew's "new arrivals". A few bloggers I follow have also mentioned their interest, though I don't think I've seen any blog posts featuring it in an outfit yet. (I've seen one post on Instagram, though!) Like with the collared J.Crew sweater blazer, now called the "Sophie", which I tried on and bought earlier this summer, it may well be another month before NYC weather cools down enough for me to wear it out of the house. I'm still thinking about whether to keep this, after trying on the size XS in heather gray, above, and the size S in burgundy, below. I haven't photographed the gray to its best advantage, as it got creased in transit. It also may be a bit difficult to see the differences between the two sizes in my photos, but of the two, I'd "size down" and keep the XS in gray. (I also sized down to XS in the "Sophie" sweater blazer.) 

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My interest in this item may be a bit idiosyncratic. It was ignited by my fondness for a very specific kind of business formal(ish) look, one involving a long "topper" jacket (something like this from Calvin Klein or this from St. Johnover a workwear dress. It's not conservative or formal enough for job interviews or a jury, but it's a look I've seen some stylish women pull off for other somewhat formal professional occasions in NYC (usually in a less matchy-matchy way than in many photos of similar outfits).

Opting for an "almost-jacket" or "pretend jacket" that's actually a sweater, and is therefore less structured and doesn't hold its shape as well may not actually be the best choice for someone who was interested in the look of an actual jacket. This is a notion I keep revisiting with all these sweater blazers, that I'll never be able to fully replicate the look of a jacket with them, but that I might not really care and still always opt for the sweater blazer over a real jacket nonetheless, because well, I kind of hate jackets. (They rarely fit completely right or comfortably over my chest and shoulders!)

Dress: old, from Loft (similar from Loft or Ann Taylor)
Shoes: Sam Edelman Tristan, black leather

For reference, I'm 5'3'' with shorter "petite" legs and more "regular"-sized torso for my height. My measurements are approximately 37''-27''-37''. To the extent that size XS has even a chance of being a better fit for me than size S, this item definitely runs large. It's hard to tell from the photos, but the sleeve length is  better on the XS, cutting off right at the wrist, rather than hanging over it a bit. The S could overwhelm my frame and be too loose in the arms when viewed from some angles. Naturally, the sleeves and body are both a bit slimmer on the XS, and as you can see from the photos of the XS in gray, it still has an intentionally oversized look. With the model photos (they took one for each color, which you can see when browsing their "sweaters" section, but not on the Juliette's actual product page), I think they're generally wearing the item in their "typical J.Crew size", i.e. one that's maybe a little too oversized for them, rather than sizing down as I'll do if I end up keeping this.

Oh, and I think this comes across in my photos, but the burgundy colorway is a noticeably darker and richer red than in J.Crew's official photos, particularly the one of the burgundy sweater blazer laying flat by itself (as seen on the Juliette's product page), where it looks like more of a medium-red. It's a significant color discrepancy, and I personally prefer how it looks in real life. I'm definitely not keeping the burgundy one I ordered, as it's the wrong size for me, but I like how the color looks on me... Ack, I don't know why I'm such a sucker for all these sweater blazers, I'm definitely long past the point where I have any need for more! 

Both the collarless Juliette and the collared Sophie sweater blazers are made of a 35% cotton, 35% polyester, 30% merino wool blend. The label says "dry-clean only" for both. From my past misadventures with laundering J.Crew merino wool cardigans (they often shrink after machine-washing in cold water, even though I never put them in the dryer and laid them out flat on a drying rack instead) I wouldn't dare machine-wash any of these J.Crew sweater blazers. The risk of damage is too great. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

One Step Forward, One Step Back for Entry-Level Workwear

At this point, three years into my private sector-leaning legal career, I've largely grown out of the "graduate student and new graduate" price point for workwear. I still wear mostly items I bought at that price point, including those old Loft dresses I purchased as a summer associate, even though their silhouettes aren't what I would pick out now if I were in the market (they read a little dated, I think, and maybe a little too youthful if one is hyper-picky, which I sometimes am), I'd prefer more fitted sheath dresses instead. I'm also still in those wool-blend suits from J.Crew Factory, which is pretty much as "new graduate" as women's suiting gets, particularly if you insist on a wool blend (which I now do). Any future suit acquisitions will likely involve jumping up to at least the Talbots, but more likely the Brooks Brothers price point. (I do hope I can put it off as long as humanly possibly though, because dang, wool suiting can get real pricey, as it should.)

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Nonetheless, though its not fully compatible with my larger goal of more ethical, conscious, and minimalist shopping, I don't know if I'll ever completely stop being inclined to thinking about those mid-range mall brands that are suitable for students and new graduates just starting out and building their work wardrobes for more formal white-collar workplaces. Those brands were such an important part of my getting started with my career that I'll always appreciate their ability to fit that role in a relatively affordable way, and quickly and easily. Accordingly, I still feel some distress when they change directions or re-brand, which could leave other young women now situated where I was a few years ago without easy places to find what they need, and without the same range of affordable-ish options I had when I desperately needed to build a full-size work wardrobe quickly, and on a budget. So I still browse J.Crew Factory, Ann Taylor, Loft, and the like, and take note of whether their offerings for that particular market seem to have improved or deteriorated from season to season, year to year. Currently, things seem to have taken one step forward, one step back.

Before jumping in to the substance of this post, a few additional points about other ways to build a starter work wardrobe that are arguably "better", from both a frugality and ethical shopping standpoint, than shopping new from J.Crew Factory (where prices before things hit clearance stay about the same no matter what promotion they're running, give or take ~$5/item) or Loft and Ann Taylor (where 40% off regular price and additional 40% off sale discounts are both frequent), but that take more time or effort, and a bit of luck: The right thrift or consignment store can be an excellent place to buy workwear, I used to find many suitable pieces at Buffalo Exchange. There are also many online secondhand options, such as ThredUp (generally well-stocked with J.Crew and Ann Taylor in a wide range of styles and sizes), Poshmark, eBay, and if you wanted to get more adventurous, TheRealReal for things like, say, Tory Burch at Ann Taylor-ish prices (there's a bit of "buyer beware" at work there, however, it's only good for trying out items one is quite sure of, as they have expensive shipping and also charge for return shipping, people sometimes report quality control issues, and their product measurements are not reliable). If frugality is the primary concern, one can also find some good items at Uniqlo (i.e. ponte dresses, though a similar one last year didn't fit me) or Old Navy (simple ponte dresses may be the most likely choices). 

For the step forward, Ann Taylor and Loft may be going back to their "roots" by offering a wider range of more structured work-appropriate dresses of the kind I rely on. I'd previously noted that, for most of 2017 and maybe starting a bit earlier than that, both brands were doing trendier collections with less of what I'd consider work-appropriate for myself. This was particularly noticeable at Loft, which had taken a much more casual turn, offering many overly stretchy, thin jersey dresses or unstructured, flowy polyester or rayon dresses, many with smocked or stretchy waists, neither category of which I generally like (they rarely fit me right), much less for work. Most dresses of either type, even if they're covered up enough and in staid enough colors or prints for the office, read just slightly too casual for business casual law firms in NYC to me, I'd feel too much like a paralegal freshly out of undergrad! Ann Taylor was a bit better, and generally still had at least one or two of those more structured sheath or shift dresses I like, but nowhere near as many as before. 

This category of dresses is a genre that, honestly, I find pretty boring. I probably wouldn't dress like this for anything except a workplace that demanded it, I'd prefer to dress in more casual and comfortable stuff if I had complete freedom. (East coast business casual law firms: We get to push the envelope a bit in terms of trendier takes on workwear, but the foundations of what works best day-to-day don't change much!) It's sometimes hard to figure out, until I have worn a dress for a while, why I gravitate to some in my closet over others. Fit is key, of course (Ann Taylor and Loft have always fit me best off the rack of any brands I've tried). Being machine-washable is also helpful to keeping something in frequent rotation. Outside of that, though, some of my favorites have little in common. My current favorites are that Ann Taylor boatneck sheath from last year and an older J.Crew shift dress I bought used, two dramatically different silhouettes with arguably different levels of relative formality or "classic"-ness. 

The dresses currently at Ann Taylor that I think look best are this ruched sheath dress in navy, this black square-neck sheath (I like a good square-neck and find it flattering on me!), and this bright orange split-neck sheath dress. Loft's current selection is a bit smaller, but I like this wrap skirt dress in black or pale gray-blue and this checked jacquard dress. I also put the ones I mentioned, as well as some additional choices from the two stores, into the widget below.

Please follow the link below for the discussion of the "step backward", a change to J.Crew Factory's line of women's suiting.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Link List: Social Media Things

Pictured above is our order at Grace Street, a coffee shop and dessert spot in K-town with plenty of seating, but no wifi. We often go after dinner, as it's open quite late. They turn into a sit-down place in the evening, with a $5/person order minimum, but that isn't too bad. K got an "ube latte" (no caffeine), I got a jasmine matcha latte (oops! as that has plenty of caffeine and made it hard to fall asleep), and we split a "churro waffle". And ack, as usual, I'm a bit embarrassed by my lack of photography skills!

Today's link list is mostly light and fun. We're a bit preoccupied with planning our trip, which we are doing at the last possible minute. Our departure is imminent, in about two weeks, and we've only just booked our hotels. I totally do not recommend being this delinquent with travel planning, as it stresses me out a bit, but our work schedules, particularly his, have been difficult this year.

1. // I enjoyed this discussion on r/blogsnark, about whether people had any offline friends or acquaintances who are big bloggers or other people who've "made it" on social media. This may be a function of my age (on the cusp of 30) and my social circle leaning heavily towards more traditional professions (lawyers, in particular, are generally social media-averse), but I don't have any offline friends who use social media with an eye towards more public consumption. Of people I know well, the one with the biggest "audience" by far is for their cat (~5,000+ Instagram followers). Outside of that, a family friend's child (around my age, but whom I don't really know personally) is an athlete with ~150,000+ Instagram followers, and that's about it. Between that discussion and and others, including Buzzfeed's March 2018 article about what it costs to be "big on Instagram" and a similar New York Daily piece, I am very belatedly appreciating the power of Instagram as a platform, and also how much effort and work it takes to consistently stage and post attractive photos. 

On a semi-related tangent, I don't think I've ever felt bad because of Instagram or because of comparing myself or my photos to other people's far more well-edited photos and thus, more attractive photos. If we had Instagram in college (also see this 2015 ESPN long-form), I would definitely have felt bad sometimes because of it. Back then, the platform du jour was Facebook, so it was people's far less curated and more awkward photo albums from college parties and other outings that sometimes made me jealous and insecure. (Everyone is having fun without me! Why don't people like to do fun things with me or want to be my friend? etc. etc.) I'm relieved that those teenage insecurities have faded by now, all of a sudden in my mid-20s, because by golly, it was awful. 


2. // I finally watched HBO's Big Little Lies last week, and it's so good! I binge-watched it in an incredibly short amount of time. The lead actresses are all great. It isn't really the kind of show one gets fashion inspiration from, as the focus is on the emotional complexity of the characters and the story gets quite dark, but I did love the above outfit on Laura Dern's character. 

Another show I've enjoyed, though it's less objectively good, is Hulu's Castle Rock, or rather, mostly just episode 7 (spoiler warning, though I went in only after reading detailed recaps, and the impact of the episode was not diminished), where Sissy Spacek gave an absolutely incredible performance. I think it may be the single best hour of television I've ever seen, standing out more because the rest of the show is, admittedly, rather "blah". (It's one of those horror/sci-fi shows that tries too hard to be cryptic and mysterious, and very little had happened in the six episodes up to that point, except a lot of highly creepy, but unexplained, incidents.) 

3. // Things I've been reading at other blogs: My friend at Garb Guide recently wrote about her year of "no shopping", inspired by that Ann Patchett New York Times piece I also commented on a while back. Talia wrote a great, very personal post about her music.  Ms. Ziyou has posted some really good food for thought and hosted some interesting discussions, including this one about "freedom", broadly defined, which I contributed to. I was being a bit intense, but well, better credentialed lawyers than I (and I'm no slouch) believe us to be well into the "previously unthinkable violations of due process and rights are now all possible" territory, as do I.  

And, er, abruptly going back to lighter things, I thought it'd be good to recommend other blogs that frequently and regularly post "link lists" I particularly enjoy. Kathy at Feather Factor does great and tightly curated ones, and she always directs me to something unexpected and interesting to read. Elle Blogs does comprehensive and broad ones that hit just about everything I noticed and was interested in throughout the week, and then some, from a wide range of sources. Grumpy Rumblings (of the Formerly Untenured) also does a good broad weekly link list, one that's focused a bit more on domestic news and politics, and also on taking action. 

4. // Now for a bit of "shopping life lately". Many people have posted about their interest in J.Crew's new Juliette collarless sweater blazer, an updated take on that ultra-popular sweater blazer I bought  a few months back (worn here), which they're also continuing to sell. I confess, though I now have plenty of sweater-jackets and other cardigans for cooler seasons, I'm also very tempted by this one.

To me, this new collarless sweater blazer has the look of one of those longer jackets or toppers that can be worn over workwear dresses as part of a slightly less conventional and less traditional take on (almost) business formal. Something like this or this from Calvin Klein (which I think is the only brand more in my price range that regularly makes them), and well, St. John makes a lot of ultra high-end ones. I've seen some really chic professional women wear that look, which is why I'm tempted by the new J.Crew offering. Though, given my familiarity with this material from when I shopped for the other sweater blazer, the Juliette sweater blazer might not actually have the same structured look or hold its shape as well as an actual jacket. 

Do you personally know anyone who as "made it" on social media? Does it seem to require a lot of work or effort on their part to keep it up? I may not have a good eye for photos, and I clearly have absolutely no patience for taking or editing nice ones. So I do appreciate that, when it comes to the more "visual" platforms, it takes a lot of work to make things look good!

Did anyone else have that experience of previously (as a young teen and up to my early 20s, at least) feeling deeply insecure and vulnerable about not being liked, or worrying that one's friends liked other people better and would move on, until, all of a sudden, just... growing out of it completely, seemingly overnight? To the point where it's hard to understand why the emotions used to be so intense? I've always found that experience disorienting (I really was an extremely sensitive teen, so the abrupt change was odd), but I'm so glad to have grown out of it. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Thinking About: Weighty Gold Jewelry

It's no secret that I've had a jewelry phase recently. By now, because of my sudden and intense obsession with Alighieri, which resulted in purchasing two pieces in two months, I've spent enough that it's unlikely I'll be buying anything else in that price range (or upwards of it, but that was always a given) for quite a while, unless I cut clothing expenditures significantly in coming months. Still, jewelry has long been a category I window shop and plan for, sometimes for years, without actually buying anything (mainly with that opal ring I've been thinking about since 2015), so I might as well keep up that tradition. At the very least, it doesn't hurt to look and admire, but not buy!

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Lately, I've developed an interest in what I call (for lack of better or more accurate phrasing) "weighty" gold jewelry, items that, while fairly simple in design (though with a bit of interesting or unusual detail), have a bit more substance or texture to them, a bit more weight or boldness than a lot of the smaller, super-dainty pieces that have been popular (i.e. most of Catbird's catalog), though they don't quite rise to the level of being "statement" pieces or particularly "big", at least when compared to some of the louder jewelry I've been interested in and worn in the past. This new interest of mine is mostly in earrings, bangles, and rings rather than necklaces, though I suppose the J.Crew Chain Tassel Necklace from two months back could also count.

This isn't a category I've ever really shopped for, so I don't know the market well. I would need to do lots more research to know what I actually wanted to get, and for how much. So the things I've been looking at while window shopping are completely random, from a range of wildly different price points, and may not be from the best or best value places to shop for anything in this genre.

I've never had an interest in hoop earrings before, for instance. I generally wear the same pearl studs every day, including to sleep, and only rarely switch to a pair of small dangle earrings (from Porcelain and Stone) on special occasions. In the distant past, on occasions when I wore anything bigger, I always worried that the earrings would get tangled in my hair or on my scarves, and I found them fussy. (With bigger earrings, or ones that dangle down too low, I start getting paranoid and worrying about outlandish and unlikely accidents, the earrings getting caught on something and causing injury.) Still, I've now become very taken by the idea of small, but not exactly dainty, hoops. The closest thing I've seen are the Mejuri Bold Hoops, or their Dome Hoops. In fact, I'm quite taken by the entire Mejuri Dome collection, which also includes a bangle and rings (all pictured above, with some of the other pieces named in this post).

As for bracelets, I have this simple gold bangle from Coach, a Christmas gift from K's mom, and I adore it, it seems to go with everything. (There's nothing similar in stores now from Coach, the most similar thing I've seen is one of Kate Spade's simpler bangles.) I'm also quite fond of the idea of bangles with similar heft and thickness, but an edgier design, something like Meghan Markle's Shaun Leane Tusk Bracelet (which she wore here, but with diamonds, and it's definitely not at a price range that's amenable to being impulsively purchased!), or the Mejuri Dome Bangle. Rings are probably the category I have the fewest opinions about, because I never wear any (and again, I've been balking on one particular purchase in that category for years now), and so I'll probably also never actually get one. I do like the look of signet-style rings though, particularly the Alighieri False Promises Ring. (Their Wreckless Pursuit Ring is also cool!)

The widget below contains some other random, mostly costume jewelry (except for one pair of thicker gold hoops, which are fine jewelry from Saks Off Fifth) choices that also sort of fit the general look I'm thinking of. It was actually surprisingly difficult to find items that had the right look, particularly with a costume jewelry budget constraint in mind. Anyway, I don't know the jewelry market well at all, so I'd need to do considerably more research before I actually thought about buying anything, and these are not things I'm currently actively shopping for. 

Where do you shop for jewelry? What are your favorite styles of earrings or bracelets? Do you prefer silver or gold-tone metals? I personally think the look I have in mind here lends itself a bit more to gold jewelry, though I'm probably biased because I generally have a strong preference for gold-tone metals over silver or white metals on me. I guess it might be because my skin has warmer undertones!