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One week, six days, and approximately fourteen hours until self-destruct…

10 Aug

Just kidding! I’m so sorry it’s been over eight months since my last update. But I have good news for you: I haven’t bought clothes! I’ve traded clothes, been given and gifted clothes, and bought several pairs of shoes, but I haven’t traded money for clothing.

First, let’s go through the things I’ve been gifted or traded since my last update.

Since my in-laws are aware of my “situation”, they were very generous and gave me several beautiful articles of clothing for Christmas, including the most beautiful oxfords I have ever seen and a wonderfully dramatic and comfortable maxi skirt. And because they are of sound mind, they did not spend hundreds of dollars on clothing; they chose classic, versatile pieces they knew I would like. Unfortunately, one of the items they gifted me, a pair of J. Crew black corduroy pants,  did not fit me quite right.

So, upon my arrival to J. Crew with ill-fitting corduroys in hand, I decided to go with some accessories instead of more clothing. WHOA, right? Here are my purchases:

A pair of gray ribbed tights, and the beautiful leather oxfords.

A pair of blue, white, and gold men’s socks… So comfy!

A perfectly peachy stretch rhinestone bracelet–works so well with casual and dress!

A super-comfy navy jersey maxi skirt (whoa, adjectives). I love this–perfect for lazy Sundays!

I’ve also purchased a few used pairs of shoes (stay with me here…) off eBay (no no, it’s OK!) for super cheap. I know what you’re thinking… where have those shoes been?! Well, my thoughts exactly, so I went ahead and got some, uh, preventative powder and have had no resulting issues. Onto the pictures!

Let’s get the worst one out of the way. If you know me, you know that I have Sjögren’s syndrome. Long story short, it makes life difficult and painful, but regular exercise along with medication helps tremendously. Unfortunately, my closet contained only one pair of sneakers, and they were over 5 years old. Now, I shouldn’t have to tell you that they were no good after five years. They no longer had the support I needed, and after 15 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine, my feet were cramping up. So, I broke down and spent new money on a good pair of shoes. Here they are:

New Balance Women’s WX813 Cross-Training Shoe–good for all kinds of stuff!

I would apologize to you and feel a deep sense of shame if it were anything else I bought, but these were necessary for my health, so they needed to be mine. Onto the fun:

Used, no-name, “fake Cole Haan” woven leather loafers. Total cost, including shipping: $15.40. My new favorite shoes, they can be casual or dressed up in a dress or trousers.

A cute pair of used low-heel peep toes by J. Jill. Very easy to wear and they stay comfortable on my feet all day. Total cost: $17.67 (Picture by VintageFitforStyle)

I’ve been trying to dig up a picture of the great used Bass motorcycle boots I also bought, but I’m at a loss. They’re about knee-high, chocolate brown with cute subtle buckles and a zipper closure. Perfect for cooler weather. Total cost: $25

I also purchased a pair of Bass metallic flats, but they were huge on me. I ended up giving them to my sister in exchange for hard labor.

Now that I’ve broken the radio silence, I plan keep this blog going. I’m excited to finally be finished with my year of no clothing, but if anything, this year has taught me ways to keep my wardrobe looking great for a long time on a budget. Stay tuned for more!

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I bought clothes and lived to tell you about it!

10 Dec

Whoa! Don’t get too worked up. It’s been about 3 and a half months since I made the decision to not buy clothes for a year, and so far, it’s been really informative. I’ve run into a number of issues with my wardrobe since August. For one, it was summer, and I was fairly happy with my warm-weather wardrobe. However, when it came time to unpack the cold-weather clothing, I was a little surprised. None of my trouser fit me anymore. It’s so bad that the only non-jean pant I have is my Express cargo skinny pants (and my J. Crew Pixie wool pant, but that’s really a legging). I have a pair of brown trousers that I have to safety pin to wear, which I can’t do anymore because it makes me physically ill to have to do something so fashion-adverse, and I have a pair of black J. Crew cigarette pants that are also big, as well.

I don’t know how I got to this point. I badly need a tailor, to say the least. As well as that, I’ve been a huge fan of blazers, especially in the colder weather, and I hate the only black blazer I own (I own two total). All the fuzz and hair seems to find and occupy it, and there’s nothing worse than a faded black blazer. Yuck.

Needless to say, something snapped along the way, and I saw my wardrobe in a new light. I realized its potential, and I noticed its flaws. It might be that I never realized how bad it was because it was all I ever knew. Or maybe I never fully committed to it because the option to try newer, better things was there. I do have great pieces in my wardrobe, and I can put together a great looking outfit. However, there were (and still are) many things I would love to trade out for better things.

And that’s what I did! I genuinely don’t believe this is “cheating” because I see it as gifting myself with new clothes by getting rid of old ones. (Also, I checked my non-partisan ethic counsel, my good friend Ben, who approved this.) There’s a great second-hand shop here in Philly called Buffalo Exchange that will, you know, exchange your gently used clothing for cash or store credit. So last weekend I stuffed two paper grocery bags and biked over to BE. Out of those bags, they bought about 2/3 of the clothing and told me to bring some of the unwanted items back in the spring or summer when they needed warm-weather clothing. They offered me $30 in store credit or $15 in cash. Most people who were selling clothes at the same time took the cash, but I took the credit so I could use it for clothes.

My first experience shopping there was tough. I’m used to shopping in stores where I know my size and the styles I like. In J. Crew, I’m a 4 pant or a small shirt, and everything is displayed in a very attractive, easy way. At Buffalo Exchange, everything is either on a round clothing rack on the floor or straight racks along the walls. Nothing that’s on display can be found elsewhere; everything is one-of-a-kind. It’s arranged by clothing type and size, but it doesn’t help much. Thanks to vanity sizing, I may find pants that fit in any size between a 4 and an 8, sometimes even a size 10. And in jackets I was anywhere between a small and a large. I probably looked at every single thing they had on their racks, no matter what size it was, and I found nothing after at least 5 trips to the fitting rooms. It was exhausting.

I went back today with a plan. When I sold my clothing, they tagged it immediately and put it on the floor only a few minutes after that. I knew exactly what I wanted (blazer and trousers), so I focused mainly on those sections. I took as many items into the fitting room as I could, and I went back to the same racks at least once or twice to check for new things. It was still exhausting, but I found so many things that I actually had to decide (or rather, remind myself) what I truly needed.

I ended up going with a black pin-stripe blazer from Calvin Klein for $15.00 and a cotton-linen trouser from Express for $8.00. Here they are:

I love these pieces! I’m thrilled that I found these two items for $23. They both fit really well and will work great with the rest of my wardrobe. One of the most important things I thought about when shopping, and the number one reason an item would get a veto, was whether or not it would work with a lot of pieces I already have. I think people (myself included) sometimes make the mistake of buying an outfit when they should shop for two or three versatile pieces instead. Three things that make an outfit gives you one outfit, but three versatile pieces give you a dozen new, different outfits.

This post has gone on quite long, so I’ll wrap it up. I can think of at least 5 more items of clothing that BE would buy in a second and that I never wear. I think I’ll be going back there again, and now I’m confident that I’ll survive this year. A little perseverance will pay off.

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Why I Epilate

15 Sep

I have a confession: I haven’t shaved my legs in three months. No, I haven’t decided to start busting social norms. No offense to my hairy-legged ladies, but I prefer my legs hairless.

If I have just one thing consistently going for me physically, it's these lovely ladies.

But after nearly 15 years of shaving, I realized that it wasn’t doing good things for me. For one, I constantly had razor burn or ingrown hair from shaving. Despite having a full 34″ of slender, long legs, I was shy about my legs due to the problems caused by shaving. Don’t even get me started on waxing! The lower half of my body isn’t allowed within 50 feet of a hot pot of wax. Laser hair removal was a great choice for me for my bikini area, but it wasn’t a great one for my legs. It’s much more expensive than the bikini line due to the size of the area. It’s certainly something I’ll keep in mind if I ever find a great Groupon that includes laser hair removal for legs (this was how I ended up with full course of laser hair removal for my bikini area for $198), but until then, epilation is for me.

There are two questions that people first ask me when I tell them I use an epilator. I’ll answer them right off the bat:

You mean like the original Epilady?

Good god, no. Look at thing! It’s like a snake-leech out for blood! You can just tell it was designed to ruin you forever. Please do not buy that thing. It was clearly made by the Human Centipede scientist. Evil. (I like this one, which I did tons of research to find. I am not affiliated with Braun in any way. Just an educated, happy customer.)

Doesn’t it hurt!?

Well, yes. I have 9 or 10 tattoos, depending on who you ask, so I have a higher pain tolerance than most. It’s a risk/benefit balance for me. If the IRB were to stumble upon me whilst depilating, they’d probably tell me that the pain I was enduring wasn’t worth the benefits I am given. I would respectfully disagree. Why? Because, as I mentioned before, I like my long legs to be smooth and blemish-free, and shaving or waxing didn’t provide this for me.

I know the real question here is how bad it hurts. I can tell you that I have, on occasion, winced during depilation. It hurts. I’m not going to lie to you. Again, we’re doing a risk/benefit analysis here.

Time

When I was shaving, I would do it two to three times a week with each time taking 15 minutes. This is very personal; your time spent shaving might be different than mine. I would spend 30 to 45 minutes a week and up to 3 hours a month on shaving. And the times I most needed to shave, normally in the shower in the morning, I was usually in a hurry or lazy and opted to skip doing it. When using my epilator, I need to take at least an hour and a half if I power through it, or two hours if I’m depilating during that time of the month when pain is much worse. Twice a month. That’s more time than shaving, sure, but I can do it twice a month on a Sunday after brunch while my husband watches tennis or plays Assassin’s Creed. 15 minutes three times a week is significantly harder for me to plan. It’s just how my brain works.

The Real Results

Tonight I depilated for the first time in about a month. I remember doing it a few weeks before the Philly Geek Awards, which took place on August 19th. The picture I show above of my legs was taken on August 31, at least 15 days after depilating. Can you see anything? I can’t. My hair is finer and sparser than it was before I used an epilator, and I experience no irritation whatsoever. Being irritation-free is reason enough for me to deal with the pain, but less hair and more convenience certainly helps.

Have any more questions about epilators? Leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer it!

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Would You Promise to Be Kind?

4 Sep

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last few days. Thanks for reading!

Friday's outfit. Taken by the lovely Erica.

Erica is so dreamy. I like her.

Saturday beach trip. Ocean City umbrellas.

My beach outfit. I have a soft center.

The obligatory leaving-the-beach custard stop.

Until Monday!

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I’m Craving…

1 Sep

If I could buy things for fall…

 

Night!

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