Monday, December 17, 2018

Shopping Life Lately

Coat: Halogen Drop Shoulder Wool-Blend Coat, green storm, size S (not kept)
Tee: H&M Premium Quality V-Neck Linen Tee, old
Shoes: Sam Edelman Lior Loafer, gold glitter (sold out, similar)

Although I initially thought I might have enough feelings about Black Friday to dedicate an entire post to it (among other things, I was grouchy about the elitism I perceived in anything that sounded broadly judgmental and superior about anyone who has ever shopped any Black Friday sale ever), that has turned out not to be the case. All my feelings have long since dissipated, and any thoughts I had are certainly no longer timely or relevant. Instead, let me point you to Luxe's and Adina's thoughtful posts about various things to do with Black Friday and also a little bit about larger themes related to consumerism and personal finance. I very much appreciated having the chance to discuss my thoughts at their posts, and also on my own November shopping post.

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Well, maybe I'll point you to one more Black Friday-related thing, though it may seem a little silly, namely the aftermath of the sheer chaos with J.Crew's website throughout Black Friday weekend, seen in the comments threads here and here on their official Twitter accounts and here on their official Instagram. Because I don't often go looking for, er, customer service-related brouhahas on social media, I'm personally a bit taken aback by the volume and, shall we say, the intensity of some of the comments. I do empathize with their frustration, J.Crew's website really was close to nonfunctional that entire weekend, and the 50% off almost all items was somewhat special (typically the best discount is 40% off), especially given their new sales strategy of the past few months, which pretty much always excluded large and seemingly arbitrary categories of items, including the only item I actually wanted all that time, the Juliette collarless sweater blazer. I am a little taken aback, though, by how grouchy people got in a public way, particularly when they're mostly using accounts that appear to have some identifying information. (Not quite related to the J.Crew website outage situation, Elle has some good thoughts about recent business happenings at the company, the general takeaway being that they're continuing to go through some troubled times.)

As for this forest green Halogen coat I posted about, even though it was not discounted in any way for Black Friday, I still decided to order it around then because Nordstrom claimed to be running out of stock in what I thought might be my size. As you can see in the photos above, this will never be the coat for me. What is this, a coat for giants?!* All kidding aside, I was a bit shocked. Despite being on the shorter side at 5'3'', it's not actually that common for me to feel so dramatically swamped by regular-sizing coats. I suppose I should have anticipated this because it was clearly an intentionally oversized coat on the model, and the model must, of course, be significantly taller than yours truly. I sent this coat straight back.

*This is an attempted Zoolander reference. 

Please follow the link below for some thoughts about my recent window shopping for black leather ankle booties and fair isle sweaters, and the sources of inspiration for each, one of them rather incongruous.

First up is something inspired by @ahistoryofarchitecture's super-chic "A Week in Outfits" feature at A Cup of Jo. It was a great post in general, but what really caught my eye were Erica's fabulous Rachel Comey Mars booties. I particularly liked the outfits where they were worn with skirts. (That's a general type of look I sort of get when wearing my Sam Edelman Petty booties with black tights and dresses or skirts in the winter. My outfits, though, are significantly more boring, in keeping with my conservative profession and the fact that the now largely-discontinued Pettys are a far less interesting shoe than the Mars.)

That post inspired me to do some window-shopping for black leather ankle booties. It should remain an entirely hypothetical mental exercise because both pairs of my Sam Edelman Pettys are still going strong. My older and more favored pair, from late 2014, is made of a softer leather than my 2016 pair. The 2014 pair has had a little more than four years of frequent wear, from late autumn through early spring each year. While it's a bit creased all over from softening up more over time, and is scuffed in a few spots, especially at the toes, it seems to have a good amount of life left, so long as I get them reheeled as often as twice a year (We walk a lot in NYC, and I'm also unusually tough on my shoes.) I'll never reach for the 2016 pair as much so long as the 2014 pair is still in good shape, their stiffness makes my toes ache a bit towards the end of the workday, but because they're much newer-looking, I save them for more formal events, like if I go to court in the winter. In short, it's going to be a long time before I need another pair of booties.

You'll see in the widget below that my tastes are a bit all over the place. I used to like the idea of something with very pointy toes like the Acne Jensens (or the copycat Marc Fisher Yales), though in practice, I'd probably find them uncomfortable. At the moment though, having been so recently inspired by Erica's outfits, the Rachel Comey Mars stand out the most to me.

Second and lastly, during all of my browsing of online shops this winter, I noticed a few interesting-looking fair isle or fair isle-inspired sweaters in gray or black, which reminded me of a certain definitely-unintended style inspiration I've written about before: Rosamund Pike's electric and always slightly menacing Amy Dunne in the Gone Girl movie. Among other things, the film's costume designer specifically wanted the clothes to fade into the background, to not stand out, and to feel like things you'd see on people in real life. When it comes to a certain fair isle sweater that Amy wears in a scene that's included in the trailer, mission definitely accomplished!

It's strange, while I can remember the scene clearly, I've seen the movie and the trailer so many times, I can never remember what the sweater itself actually looks like. I have the vague impression that it was a gray fair isle sweater, with a bit of white, and some black or dark gray in the pattern, but I can never recall the actual details. In my faint memories of the scene, on those occasions over the years when I've thought about the movie (and Rosamund Pike's costumes), I generally remember it being a more typical fair isle sweater that only has the pattern around the neckline and shoulders, and is otherwise solid-colored. I'm always faintly surprised when I view the trailer, or dig up a screenshot, and see that the sweater has a more unusual pattern to it.

In all the years since the trailer first came out, in large part because I rarely actually know what I'm looking for, given my poor memory of the actual sweater, I don't think I've ever seen a fair isle sweater quite like Amy's. I don't look for such sweaters often. By now, I've decided that it's not a look that would ever work for me. I wouldn't like having my shoulders and chest emphasized by where the patterns are placed. But every so often, I browse past some and I'm reminded of the movie.

This year, I've noticed that there are a few designs out there with bolder patterns or more sharply contrasting colors, which makes for something that feels slightly closer to an approximation of my vague memory of Amy Dunne's sweater. I picked out a few in the widget below (the one I like most is the Everlane Ski Sweater, which is a fairly nontraditional take on the idea of a fair isle sweater.

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