Thursday, October 25, 2018

Outfit Post: Autumn/Winter

Coat: Ellen Tracy Wool Blend Stadium Coat, 6P (similar from J.Crew)
Sweater: unbranded, from Taobao (no longer available)

I'm always taken aback by how quickly the seasons change here. Every year, it feels like I go through the process of relearning what clothing works best for each range of temperatures all over again. One day last week, I put together a desk-to-dinner outfit with my new J.Crew collarless sweater blazer (photographed here), one of my many work dresses, a light and floaty Nordstrom cashmere and silk-blend scarf (which still manages to be warm enough for me, even once winter really sets in), and some 50 denier tights (the Falke Matte 50 to be precise), only to be surprised to find that I was freezing in that outfit the entire evening. The wind cuts right through that collarless sweater blazer, even though I thought it was the right thickness for temperatures in the low 50s Fahrenheit. I still like my new sweater blazer, it clearly just isn't meant to be worn as a coat this time of year!

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Now that it's cooled down even more, it's definitely time for outfits that are capable of standing up to near-winter temperatures. I've had this Ellen Tracy Stadium coat for nearly three years now, after buying the 2015 version during the post-holiday sales in January 2016, and I still love it. In the years since I graduated law school, I tend to get a new wool coat about once a year. (Some of my far more frugal peers also do the same, and they comment that it's partially because it's the only particularly noticeable way to add interest to their outfits for most of the period from October through as late as April, as it's the only part of one's outfit that really gets seen while one is outdoors.) A few times, I've thought about getting the similar J.Crew Cocoon Coat in another bright color, and when I do, I usually take another look at that year's selection of Ellen Tracy Stadium coats too. I'm not sure if Nordstrom will stock it again, but they did in 2016 and 2017.

My "cashmere" turtleneck sweater is from a now-defunct Taobao listing. That's not an avenue I'd recommend anyone else ever look to for any kind of shopping, by the way. One just never knows what one will get, it's the wild wild West, and there are, er, also many listings for counterfeit products on there. Any listing or seller can say absolutely anything (not that I can understand most of it, with my extremely weak Chinese reading skills, ha!), and there's no way to verify any of it without having the item in hand. Plus, most US-based customers, myself included, shop through an agent like Superbuy, which adds additional fees. And international shipping is always a significant expense, of course. This particular unbranded sweater came from an listing that had a lot of positive reviews, as well as customer photographs of the real item, which can be helpful, but well, the idea of caveat emptor, or buyer beware, definitely still applies.

Sam Edelman may have officially discontinued my beloved "Petty" booties in leather (size 6M only still available at Zappos), though they still offer it in suede. The closest new style they make now is a slightly edgier pointy-toe design called the "Walden", which I don't think would work for the office as well as the round-toe design on the Petty, at least as far as my fussy tastes and preferences for office wear are concerned! I'm totally sad about this change in their product line because I love my old booties. I actually manage to have two pairs of the "Petty", my old, worn-in ones from around December 2014 and a newer pair, made in a stiffer leather, from around December 2016. I think it's well-established that it's generally a mistake to buy backups, even of the most well-loved items, at least until the old one is well and truly worn out and unusable. It wasn't until last year that I started wearing the newer pair, I held onto them in their box for an entire year without touching them. As of now, though, both pairs are getting tons of use. I wear my newer pair to court, meetings, and other more formal occasions in fall/winter and my older, well broken-in pair the rest of the time.

Have you ever bought an identical backup of a well-loved item, only to realize that it wasn't the right choice to do so? Did the backup item get any use in the end? 

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