Monday, September 28, 2020

September 2020 Shopping Reflections

September has been a strange month. 

In most ways, I'm reasonably well-adjusted to our COVID-era "new normal." Since late July or so, I haven't had any disturbances to my sleep schedule, which is a relief. The only downside is that -  probably because I now get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night, due to not needing to commute to the office before I start work - I can't really sleep in on weekends anymore. I haven't had more stress-induced slight tightness in my throat or chest, unlike in the first two months of COVID-19 shutdowns. As an introverted homebody, it's never been a real emotional hardship to be stuck at home, even if I'm now trying to process the daunting prospect of Americans potentially needing to continue taking serious COVID precautions through late 2021

But I don't feel quite like myself. At the moment - outside of the political situation in the US - I don't have any major stressors in my life. For now, I only have a reasonable, manageable workload "at the office." My family and friends are doing as well as can be expected. Yet I still find myself feeling unusually irritable at times. I also generally still have trouble focusing on reading for fun, no matter how good or engaging a book is. 

I'm sometimes tempted to describe life these days by saying that a "veneer of unreality" hangs over everything, because life changed so drastically and so quickly from the old, pre-COVID normal. With that, I feel like my judgment and ability to make decisions - whether about small, relatively un-serious things like shopping or about bigger, important things like future job transitions and career development - simply isn't the same as what it used to be. I'm probably being overly dramatic to describe life in the "new normal" this way, but I just can't shake the feeling that I don't feel like myself, because things are currently so sad and strange and - politically speaking - more than a little scary. 

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Turning back now to the lighter topic of shopping: If you read my recent "COVID-era staycation" money diary, you've already had a spoiler for this month's post. I've long been a fan of the London-based jewelry brand Alighieri, designed by Rosh Mahtani. One of this month's purchases is an Alighieri design I'd been thinking about for a long time. During the six-day period covered by my recent money diary, the brand had a surprise one-day sale and I just couldn't resist. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $411.12)

  • Cuyana French Terry Boatneck Sweatshirt, deep ocean - $85.00 - (sold out, other colors available) - These days, I'm really into the idea of matching lounge sets, something I'd never before had any interest in until COVID-19 caused me to start working from home full-time. There aren't a lot of bright teal sweatsuits out there, and the "deep ocean" color of this Cuyana set was what first caught my eye. (I have a bit of a thing for teal, to put it lightly.) I ordered a size L because I like a relaxed fit for things I wear around the house and because of where my chest measurement lands on Cuyana's sizing chart. I think I'd have done better with an M instead, though, because the cotton-modal-spandex blend has a very soft, comfortable stretch. The boatneck, slight balloon sleeve, and back pleat details also magnify the oversized feel even more. Put all those together with a sweatshirt that's already a little big on my short-ish frame, and it starts looking a bit too oversized in the mirror! But I decided to keep this anyway since it's still comfortable, I'd only ever wear it to lounge at home, and none of the details make it less functional for that purpose. 
  • Cuyana French Terry Tapered Lounge Pant, deep ocean - $95.00 - (limited sizes available) - I got a size M in this based on the size chart, and that's the right size for me. The lounge pants in this Cuyana set are more typical-looking, I don't think there are any unusual design details, unlike with the sweatshirt. The cotton-modal-spandex material is, again, very soft and comfortable and quite stretchy. I'm not sure, however, that this particular material is better - whether in terms of comfort and function, or durability - than the cotton-polyester-spandex blends commonly found in sweatsuits these days. The cotton-modal isn't very warm, even if it's soft and nice to wear. I've only been wearing this set off and on for two weeks and have only washed it once, so it's too early to say if the material is actually durable or not. (In the past, I've sometimes found modal to start looking worn out sooner than some other materials with regular machine-washing.)
  • Alighieri Fractured Cloud Necklace - $231.12* - I've been interested in this particular Alighieri necklace design for quite a while. I just think it's really cool looking, like a wax seal on a letter! For a few months, this design was out of stock on the brand's website, but it popped back earlier this summer. I was still going to hold off on purchasing this necklace because I don't wear much jewelry while I'm social distancing at home. But when Alighieri announced their surprise one-day sale on Instagram, I couldn't resist. The design is as beautiful as I thought it would be, the pendant has a very intriguing, organic shape. 

*Indicates that price includes international shipping charges. 

Do you have any favorite lounge clothes for wearing at home? How has your September been? Maybe I'm not the only one who feels like a "veneer of unreality" hangs over everything now, with all the uncertainty associated with long-term COVID-containment policies in most places and jurisdictions, and with all the other not-so-great things happening in the world. 

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