Spring fashion and new job

Ah, spring. It’s time for spring clothes. I have a new job (which I just started last week, woo!), and new job means new clothes :D Well, no, spring means new clothes. New job means “reevaluate your current wardrobe in comparison with what everyone else in your new work environment is wearing and alter your spring wardrobe purchases accordingly.”

The one hold up is… I don’t actually get to work in the office until we get the internet and IKEA furniture set up! (Naturally I volunteered to show up with my tool box and allen wrenches as soon as the IKEA boxes are delivered.) For the past week I’ve been working at home, which is no hardship, but it does make it hard to gauge the fashion of the location.

So while I’m waiting to move into the new offices, I’ve spent the weekend looking at some fashionable bits that might work with the new surroundings. Mind you, some of these things are totally not affordable, but they are inspiring!

Foofy skirts

The Audrey Skirt in pink

The Audrey Skirt in pink from Pinup Girl Clothing

I am so happy to see foofy skirts in fashion. When can you ever go wrong with a big, foofy skirt? You can pair them with leggings for cold snaps, stockings for parties and the office, and go bare for picnics! I ended up with a black one and a black and white print one over the past two years, and they are terribly useful. I think a hot pink one would be fantastic, too! I especially like it with that striped shirt.

Blouses and why ironing is your friend

Great Top in Red

Greta Top in Red from Heartbreaker. This would add a punch of color to my black wardrobe!

I don’t like ironing. But I do it. Why? Because knit shirts do not impart the subconscious signal that structured, woven ones do. Even businessmen wear woven shirts (they just take them to dry cleaners instead of ironing them themselves! But you’ll save money if you iron.)

I mentioned a subconscious cue, right? Think of all the people you’ve ever admired or looked up to. Maybe an actress or political figure. Anyone you perceive as having power or respect. Imagine them in a magazine spread. Are they wearing knit t-shirts? I’m willing to guess that 90% of the time, they were wearing something structured or woven, something that needed to be ironed. The reason for this is that wealthy people can afford to have someone else clean their clothes. Woven fabrics say, “I am a person of resource. Take note of me” Knits say, “I throw all my clothes in the dryer and hope for the best.”

I’m not saying you can never wear knits. But to look “put together,” at least one thing you are wearing should be of woven fabric. Also, knits tend to age poorly, looking dull and pilly in a year or two with good care. Woven cloth holds up much better. I own dresses made with woven cloth that have lasted for 7+ years! I cannot say the same of my knit pieces.

The Little Black Work Dress

The Vanessa Dress in Black

The Vanessa Dress in Black from Heartbreaker. Very va-va-voom! You could poke someone's eye out!

I tried looking at suit separates at Macy’s the other day. They were super cute, but they just don’t stand out like my little black work dresses. I couldn’t get into them. Hopefully the new workspace won’t be so formal that I have to jump ships. But I feel that for all but the most extreme cases, you can’t go wrong with a little black work dress. They look professional but creative, and a person who would look awkward and “slapped together” in a cheap suit will look polished and swishy in one of these numbers.

Also, black is easy to accessorize, meaning you can spend less on “just the right color” of shoes/whatever. All your accessories will work with all your outfits. Win!

Shoes and “investment pieces”

Macchiato Fluevog shoes, pretty blue shoes with heels and many straps

Macchiato Fluevogs, so blue, so pretty, and in size 12!

I am very happy that Fluevog has starting making shoes in my size (women’s 12!). I loved these pretty blue heels, but they wouldn’t go with enough things in my wardrobe to justify their high price tag. I tend to take good care of my shoes and clothes (some of my old standbys are a decade old!), so I can usually justify high price tags for what we call “foundation pieces,” like a multi-tasking white blouse or your ubiquitous black flats. But specialty pieces just won’t see enough use to make it worth my while. For instance, if I wear a good $200 pair of boots for ten years, that’s like buying a new $20 pair of boots each year. I can totally justify the price tag for high-quality, long-lasting items. Otherwise, if I buy a $20 pair of boots, I don’t expect them to last more than a year (and they rarely will), I won’t get the “nice boots!” conversation piece factor, and I’ll be filling up landfills faster. Good clothes make you look good, and if you can afford a large initial investment, you can come out on top in the long run.

However, I once spent $40 on a purse I expected to use for 5 years. When it fell apart in 9 months, I was furious. That purse was not made well enough to warrant price tag. I sent a letter to the manufacturer (which you should always do when you are disappointed–feedback is crucial for companies to improve their products) and put them on my “do not buy” list. Luckily, those instances are rare. I do a lot of research before I buy (online reviews, yes please!), and I buy from retailers with excellent return policies.

I have already bought a pair of red flats (to replace the pair that didn’t fit me and hurt my feet) and black around-the-house flats from Simple (who promises sustainable, comfortable, biodegradable footwear). That will probably be it.

A word about stockings…

I try to wear pantyhose and tights in the cooler months, and stockings with garter belts in the summer. There is a polish an outfit gets from stockings. They say, “I pay attention to details.” However, stockings require maintenance (hand washing and a bottle of clear nail polish in your desk in case of runs), and they are expensive, which is a huge issue if you don’t take care of them or are accident prone. (Tip: I find wearing a pair of gloves while putting stockings on helps reduce snags and helps prolong the lives of pricey stockings profoundly.)

Last year I stopped wearing stockings in summer for two reasons:

  1. Finding affordable stockings became an issue (i.e. I could not longer find my favorite brand at stores in the area).
  2. I tried ordering expensive stockings online, but found that the sizing was impossible to sort out because of my height. Since the return policies on such things are draconian, I do not have $40 to spend trying to figure out which size stocking–if any–at Stocking Girl doesn’t leave me with saggy ankles. There’s nothing like paying $18 + shipping to show off your brand new retro bi-color backseams with… saggy ankles. Urf.

I don’t know if I’ll try again this year. Summer without stockings in NC was definitely comfortable.

All right, I’m done being a total girly girl. Going to play Pokemon to cleanse my system!

  • Cherie

    I love your sense of style, O Great One.

  • http://bookspread.net Bookspread

    After reading this post I feel ashamed at my half-assed blog post about spring clothes for bookhunting. Your models look so chic! And your writing is so neat!

    I, however, feel like I’m wearing an armor when I don woven clothes. It is true that they make you look polished, but with woven button-down shirts in particular I look like my shoulders were developing a life of their own and my waist disappears. I know that it is a personal tick, because people do actually comment more when you wear woven pieces. So you are right.

    By the way, thanks for putting up all the old comics! Rachel The Great was my favorite part of gURL.

  • http://rachelnabors.com Rachel the Great

    Oh but I adore the pieces in your post! (It seems we’ve both fallen in love with “eco flats”.)

    It is true that finding woven pieces that lay right is hard, especially if you don’t use a tailor (usually found at the same place you get shoes mended). With my proportions, I am not able to buy woven pieces in stores except for skirts and pants. I buy my woven tops from sites that cater to girls with bigger busts and smaller waists. It’s tough getting it right sometimes, but worth the hassel when I do!

  • http://bookspread.net Bookspread

    Aaah, tailors. Some time ago I lived in Senegal, where you had to buy your own clothe and hire a tailor to get a decent outfit (casual, traditional or business). It was so cheap, and everything was produced and manufactured locally. Then again… the fusebox tended to explode for no reason whatsoever and they despise the idea of recycling their water, so…

    If only there were affordable tailors in Europe and the US.

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