Wednesday, January 26, 2022

January 2022 Shopping Reflections

I won't have as much commentary on this month's purchases as I usually do. That's in part because I've been so busy at the office - I'm nervous about taking my first-ever deposition, in a multimillion dollar litigation no less! - and also in part because I've had the flexibility to work from home since late December due to the Omicron surge, so I haven't left my apartment much. (And I'm definitely not the type of person who gets dressed up while working at home, I just stick to sweatpants and sweatshirts.) 

A purchase that almost happened - but ultimately didn't stick - was one of those long-ago Mansur Gavriel flower sweaters in blue, which popped up on The RealReal ("TRR") in my size. It's an item I've kept thinking about and yearning for over many years, so I ordered it immediately, even though TRR was selling that gently used sweater for its original retail price, or even slightly more. 

Once I received it, though, I saw it was too thick a knit and too intentionally oversized for me to ever actually wear it outside in NYC. In other words, it has the exact same issue as the Babaa No. 15 jumper I recently sold (also via TRR), namely that it's so chunky and large a sweater it can't be layered comfortably under any of my coats. In my experience, there simply isn't an appropriate temperature or season for that kind of sweater in NYC. If it's cold enough for that sweater, it's also cold and windy enough to need a coat on top. 

This was my first time trying on any alpaca-blend sweater, and it did seem like alpaca wouldn't cause me to itch, so that's good to know. The alpaca seemed to make the sweater nice and soft (in a different way from cashmere, I think it's a bit more plush-textured). I was disappointed that what I thought would be the perfect, best-ever whimsical sweater didn't actually work for me, but I suppose it's good to learn from firsthand experience that this long-desired item actually wouldn't suit my lifestyle, so I can finally stop looking for it.

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For January, I ended up doing some winter sale shopping after all, despite my initial thinking that I wasn't interested in all that much that was actually discounted. My sale purchase is definitely a bit outside my style comfort zone. And maybe the non-sale purchase was also a bit outside my comfort zone too, actually, as it's an intentionally very-oversized blazer, something I've never tried wearing before. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $1,061.53) 

  • Tibi Faux Patent Leather Maxi Aline Skirt, black - $244.97* - So this is definitely an adventurous choice by my standards! I probably would never have considered if it wasn't 50% off. Tibi's discounted items are all final-sale only, so I had to feel sure I wanted to experiment with this. (Amy Smilovic has posted a few outfits with this skirt, which helped inspire me to order.) One thing about faux leather clothing, it'll make noticeable squishing noises when you move around, something which really bothers many Rent the Runway customers who try the faux patent leather version of the Brancusi jeans I bought in indigo denim. I've worn this skirt to the office once, and I can confirm the skirt also makes a fair bit of noise. I don't think I mind, but I also felt like this skirt announced my presence everywhere I went indoors. The faux patent leather texture is also a bit slippery, enough that I think if someone perches too carelessly right on the edge of a leather or faux-leather chair or sofa, they may accidentally slide right off. (Or maybe normal people never actually sit down so precariously, but I could totally see myself doing that.) There's no stretch to the pleather material, and the waistband is also not adjustable like with my other Tibi skirts. While my usual size 6 was right for me in this design, the unforgiving texture of the pleather does make the skirt feel more snug at the waist and like I could never possibly size down, though it might have been possible to do so with the other skirts.
  • Tibi Tropical Wool Liam Blazer, stone - $816.56* - The quite-dramatically oversized Liam blazer is a signature Tibi item, maybe the signature Tibi item if Amy and her team had to pick just one design. Each of their new collections tend to include at least one Liam in a new material or fabric color/pattern, or with some extra embellishments (like this studded plaid Liam or this tweed one). This "stone" shade of tropical wool-blend is the same color and material as that wrap skirt from December's shopping post. I spent so much time looking at Tibi's tagged photos on Instagram and their YouTube videos to guess what my best size would be. (Jaime wears a Liam in the same size S I got, but she's significantly taller and slimmer than me. I think Miranda from Tibi's NYC boutique is a similar-ish size to me for tops and also wears S, though she's also significantly taller than me. Theresa from Tibi's team is around my height, but smaller than me for tops and dresses, and so I think she generally prefers XS.) I think the size S I ordered is the right one for my current 5'3'' and 37.5''-27.5''-38'' measurements. Any smaller and the blazer may get close to feeling snug when I cinch it up with the extra button on the side; it wouldn't have as much of the intended "chill" feel. Some women with my bust measurement might want to size up for an even more relaxed look, but that might also feel too oversized if you're 5'3'' or shorter and also haven't experimented so much with outfit proportions before. 

*Indicates that price includes sales tax. 

Hah, I guess I was still able to write a lot about this month's purchases after all! That's despite not having worn the blazer outside my apartment yet, so I haven't yet tested out how functional that will be for my lifestyle. And the skirt has only had one trial run at the office. For obvious reasons to do with the nature of the material, the Aline faux patent leather skirt probably won't suit summer temperatures in NYC. The design has a relaxed a-line silhouette, so maybe the skirt won't feel that un-breathable in summer, but I doubt I'd ever prefer it over my silk, linen, or cotton-blend dresses and skirts when it's hot and humid. 

I think the Liam blazer would have a similar function to my Everlane trench coat - which I still wear to this day - in that I'd use the Liam as a jacket for spring and fall. Though unlike with the trench coat, I probably wouldn't take it off and switch to one of my office cardigans once I got to work. I think the Liam is maybe a little too oversized to comfortably layer under my coats. Back in 2015, I would have said that trench coat weather was a fleeting thing in NYC, we used to get barely a week or two in spring and fall before the temperatures either heated up or cooled down too much for a light jacket. Over the years though, NYC weather patterns have started to feel quite different - yikes, climate change - and we got months' worth of trench coat weather last year. 

How has your shopping year been so far? Have you gotten any really great deals in the winter sales? 

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