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Wardrobe Update, plus a few other random thoughts

July 3, 2010

We had a great day today. Unexpectedly, Terri mustered enough energy to come help me shop at H&M for some summer/fall wardrobe updating. We’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men and I am totally inspired by Joan Holloway. One of the few “celebrities” I can actually make a stab at copying.

We have not been clothing-shopping together in a really, really long time. Somehow all the stars aligned today and Terri was into it, I was into it, and H&M had the goods (often H&M and I do not play well together). Turns out Terri is a natural at styling me. She picked out quite a few really cute things, and then edited what I chose. I ended up buying more than I expected, but everything goes together, is interchangeable, and perks up my existing (sad) wardrobe remarkably well. Suddenly the few things I had are wearable again.

A few words about this sad wardrobe. I love shopping and clothes, but I rarely get a chance to really get into fashion. As a result, my work clothes (sort of a sketchy business-casual) are selected on an as-needed, sometimes-emergency basis. This works for a while but then as things wear out or are edited out, they are not replaced (or if they are, it’s a very slow process). I knew that this process would eventually leave me with, well, nothing to wear. As the weather FINALLY warmed up this last couple of weeks, I realized that that time had come. I had pretty much nothing to wear for summer (which stretches into October here in the Bay Area). I did a major purge when we moved to this apartment, and another major purge last winter to get rid of things that had been sitting there unworn for quite some time. I’d been adding pieces here and there from thrift shopping but that only gets you so far when you are a mid-30s adult working in a corporate atmosphere.

So, with Joan in mind, I got a couple of pencil skirts (one very retro-high-waisted, which needs a bit of tailoring), quite a few short-sleeve blouses (one or two with floppy bows at the neck!), two summer-weight cardigans (freezing office), and a dress which I am not sure about. I love the top part and the dress as a whole, but it might be an inch or two too short. Nothing scandalous, but it’s just above knee-length and I’m just not sure. I may need to ask for an opinion here. It’s black, so it might be worth holding onto for fall/winter, paired with tights and boots. J.Crew was also having a major sale and I never ever find things there (or if I do, I’m too cheap to buy them), but I did find two blouses marked way down. Both of them need a little bit of tailoring, so as the final touch to the wardrobe update I decided to take them, plus a few blouses which I’ve been holding onto for awhile, knowing they needed some tailoring, to a tailor and get them all fixed up. The skirt needs to be taken in a bit but I can do that one myself, plus it came with a cute wide belt that needs to be taken in as well, which I can also do.

Sadly, after trying everything on in various combinations (I do not remember the last time I came home with so many things I needed to put on a fashion show…), I realized that because I had to get rid of most of my shoes, I need to do a little bit of shoe-shopping as well. Flat black comfy sandals are great, but they do not go with pretty pencil skirt and blouses with ties at the neck. I had hoped to scrape by until fall, but I think I need at least one or two pairs to go with new clothes. Oh well.

A bit of an indulgence but it has probably been 2-3 years since I bought any work-appropriate summer clothes, and what I got are all so versatile that I think it was worth it. I felt extremely happy with everything and had only the slightest, ittiest-bittiest bit of guilt, so I’m taking that as a sign that I love everything and will actually wear it all. Actually I’m THRILLED with everything, so yay me.


As a side note, things are getting a bit tense here in Oakland, as the Oscar Grant trial comes to a close. Clearly officials are worried about the possibility of rioting, depending on the outcome of the trial. There has been signage posted around town (stores, hospitals, etc.) with safety guidelines, etc. It might be overkill but I think it’s pretty clear that the city is getting prepared, which is good.

Anyway, as you know, we have a retired police interceptor as one of our two cars. We usually take Buddy (the car) out on weekends when Terri’s in the car since she can lay down in the back. Also, he’s really fun to drive. However, he is not anonymous. People notice when you’re driving a cop car. Sometimes the attention is good, sometimes not so good. At the outdoor mall today, the attention was mostly not so good. Lots of, well, let’s just be honest here, thug-like guys actually pointing at the car. Not making us feel so safe. So I think Buddy will be semi-retired until after whatever happens all plays out. He can go to the doctor’s office or maybe to the grocery store, but I think we’ll keep him out of crowded areas for the time being. No need to attract attention when things are tense.


Day One of gluten-free is going really well. We now have only gluten- or wheat-free products in the house (not sure if we need to be entirely gluten-free, as long as we are wheat-free… time will tell). Terri is loving the gluten-free products — I think I’ve seen her eat more in the last 24 hours than I have in any previous 24-hour stretch over the last year or so. She is a little skinny bird-girl right now so I say, eat up. I have to say that I’m totally surprised that she’s enjoying the gluten-free things so much, but it’s terrific! I requested a few books from the library and will try some favorite recipes (a brownie recipe, a bread recipe, and maybe a pizza crust) to get my confidence up. I also just realized that we are within a few blocks from two gluten-free bakeries, one of them the yummy Mariposa. So we will not be suffering.

OK, plenty of chatter for one night. Time for more Mad Men and to show Joan all my new clothes.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2010 10:34 pm

    Joan is rad.

    There was a really good interview with her in Details or GQ a few months back. She is awesome in real life as well.

    I’m glad you found some new duds. That always makes for a nice day.

  2. July 4, 2010 8:46 am

    oh, sad that buddy has to go on sabbatical. but understandable. stay safe.

    congrats on the new clothes. that can always make you feel like a new person. i havent seriously bought clothes in quite some time and when i do its usually basics like everyday type shirts/tees/jeans/chinos. and i tend to stay away from trends which mostly suits me, but can make for a boring wardrobe, especially when i have somewhere fun to go.

    i read that portland will be getting an H&M sometime next year (i think.) ive never been to one but from what i understand its good for cheap, trendy stuff (is this a correct assumption?). anyway, that may be what i need to spice up my wardrobe a bit.

    i am a longtime fan of jcrew. ive been wearing it since i was a teenager (although always sale stuff because their regular prices are a bit much for me.) lately though, im displeased. they seem to be going with trendier, more couture type stuff and it just doesnt work for my life. like they’ll slap some ruffle on a tee shirt and then charge $78 for it!!! which i would never spend! i suppose i could see other people justifying it if the tee shirts lasted longer than average, but they are tracing-paper thin! my cat jumps on me once and its ripped to shreds!

    ok, sunday morning-heavily-exclamation-pointed-rant now over.

    happy fourth! enjoy the fireworks.

  3. July 4, 2010 12:51 pm

    Good job on the shopping! Will we get to see any photos of you in you new outfits?

    I hope whatever the outcome of the trial there aren’t any problems.

  4. Lara Starr permalink
    July 4, 2010 6:01 pm

    Joan is an awesome fashion icon – have you been reading Project Rungay’s Mad Men fashion retrospectives? Brilliant!

    I was in the Dollar Tree yesterday and overheard the checker tell the lady in front of me that all of the CA stores have been told to hide the cigarette lighters until after the Grant decision is handed down – crazy!

  5. July 5, 2010 9:17 am

    All this and no pics of the new stuff? How can we vicariously shop through you without the pics? 😉

    Glad you found some stuff you like.

  6. July 5, 2010 5:14 pm

    Dani: Thanks! I think I read part of that somewhere… she is awesome.

    Tammie: You will love H&M. Cheap, fun, trendy and also not-too-trendy. I need to check out J.Crew a little more… I usually love their clothes but they are so expensive! I need to check out the sales more often. I love their blouses.

    Stefanie: I don’t have a full-length mirror! I might have to work something out with what we have. It’s kind of a problem. 🙂

    Lara: That looks like fun, I haven’t been reading their blog. That is crazy about the lighters! But I’m not that surprised…

    Carl: I will try! Might be hard with the mirror situation… Thanks!

  7. trapunto permalink
    July 7, 2010 4:23 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about as-needed sometimes-emergency clothes buying. Especially when it comes to the *ahem* base layer.

  8. July 7, 2010 4:30 pm

    I’m sorry about the car’s pre-mature retirement. Not fair. But at least you have styling new clothes.

  9. Kate permalink
    July 13, 2010 9:25 pm

    I’m jealous of your H&M adventure, they have great blouses for so cheap!

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