Friday, October 5, 2018

September 2018 Shopping Reflections

I had tons of fun on my recent trip to Taiwan and Japan! Although I'd been to Japan before, it was only for a few days, so it was great to have lots more time to explore this time around. I had also never previously been to Kyoto before. I'll write in more detail about the trip later on. We encountered some slight travel delays getting home because of Typhoon Trami, as Kansai International Airport was closed (mostly in an abundance of caution and to prevent travelers from getting stranded) on our scheduled departure date. But I'm back now, and the jet lag hasn't been too bad!

This month wasn't too exciting on the shopping front, with mostly secondhand purchases that I made before I left for my trip. K and I did end up needing to do some unexpected shopping while we were in Japan, though I consider clothing purchases made solely because of the needs or issues that arose during a trip to be part of my travel budget rather than my shopping budget, so I won't list them here. It was all boring/practical items anyway, mostly socks and underthings (which I don't typically document), and all from Uniqlo. It was the first time K had ever shopped there!

As for what I'm expecting from the next few months? I'm really hoping I won't be buying much in the way of clothing or shoes for the rest of this year, except for maybe one really great and luxurious, slightly slouchy or oversized sweater, as described in my most recent "shopping wishlist" post. For the past few months, my savings have been ticking up steadily, right on schedule to facilitate my plans for a certain elective procedure, and I think it's finally starting to hit me that, hey, the way that clothes fit and look on me could change dramatically very soon - maybe it's best not to shop for new clothes? (It's taken a surprisingly long while for that idea to fully settle in.) As for shoes, all my boots and booties are in excellent shape and ready for at least one more winter, probably more, so I'm not expecting any purchases in that area either.

I still am regularly tempted by jewelry, though. One brand that's new to me and that I discovered through a targeted Instagram ad is J. Hannah, a Los Angeles-based brand that makes a few rings that appeal to my current interest in "weighty" gold jewelry, especially their "Form" rings. Oh, and Farfetch is currently stocking a wider range of Alighieri necklaces than usual. (From all my browsing for Alighieri jewelry in recent months, Farfetch generally seem to offer the best combination of price, shipping cost, and Ebates or other cash-back rates). Their selection includes several designs I've been interested in since I first learned about the brand, including the wax seal-looking "Deceptive North Star" and "L'Infinito", and the wonderfully organic and irregular "The Odyssey" pendant on a longer chain (some listings for that one have it on a short chain that I don't think suits it as well). The prices on all the jewelry items I've been admiring should keep them safely in the "window shopping only" and "admire, but not buy" categories though, at least in the near future.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $198.08) 
  • J.Crew Juliette Collarless Sweater Blazer, heather gray - $88.80 - Whatever else one might think about J.Crew's quality issues and questionable business strategy decisions in recent years, they make some awesome sweater blazers. Both the "Sophie" open sweater blazer design and this newer collarless design were ones that I ordered just to try, but that I was sure I wouldn't keep because I already had plenty of other sweaters that filled the same general niche, but in the end I couldn't resist either. I took outfit photographs with this Juliette sweater blazer here and here
  • J.Crew Presentation Dress, black - $32.33* - The rest of my purchases this month were both on the secondhand market. I bought the blue version of this J.Crew Presentation Dress early last year from eBay (after previously rejecting this item when it was originally in stores and on sale around 2016), and it quickly became one of my favorite work dresses. The blue Presentation dress is always one of the first things I reach for after each laundry day. I'd been looking for the black one on eBay for a few months, but never saw it in the right size and at the right price. Finally, I saw this one while browsing ThredUp unsuccessfully for some summer clothing for my Japan trip. This one is a size 8, while the blue is a size 6. Both look about the same on me, at least around the chest and shoulders, though there's more room in the skirt on the size 8. This dress is one of those items that, on paper, shouldn't work that well. It's not a particularly flattering shape on me (it's not unflattering either, just sort of neutral), and the cap-sleeve is a bit restrictive, I can't raise my arms fully. Even so, it's still become something that I greatly enjoy wearing to work. 
  • Tory Burch Tie-Front Square Print Dress - $76.95* - This was also a product of my unsuccessfully browsing the secondhand market for clothing for my Japan trip. I got this from TheRealReal, which doesn't currently have any more of this specific dress in stock, though they always have plenty of other Tory Burch clothing in various sizes. This was a bit of an impulsive buy for me. Any TheRealReal purchase is always risky because their shipping and return shipping charges are quite expensive. I thought the print was pretty, and I was reasonably confident that it would fit me and look good. It's made out of a slightly stretchy cotton poplin, a blend of 97% cotton and 3% spandex/elastane. It's also labeled a "dry clean" item, which confuses me a bit, as I think that fabric composition should be fine if machine-washed in cold water and line-dried. I've only worn it once so far and liked it, but am a bit nervous about future wears and laundering it after because I don't know whether to comply with the care instructions label. 
*Indicates that shipping charges were included in the price.

How was your shopping month, and how's the rest of your shopping year looking? Should I take a chance on machine-washing that Tory Burch dress? I get nervous about not following the care instructions with items that were a bit expensive for me (even if I ultimately got a good deal on the item). I also don't have much experience with machine-washing stretchy cotton-spandex blends! 

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