“That outfit is not appropriate for work,” my supervisor said quietly.
“Why?” I demanded.
In retrospect, the question was hilarious. I was wearing a too-short orange tee shirt and black cargo pants with the sides torn and the hems worn out from where I kept stepping on them. But I was furious. I was humiliated. This was my first job out of college, working for a nonprofit I believed in, and I worked really hard, I followed all the rules (I even tore through the employee guidebook searching for rules that my outfit broke), and I expected to be judged for what I did, not how I looked.
That, and other experiences like it, prompted me to study the unspoken parts of what ‘appropriate-for-work’ meant. I wanted to keep my sense of personal style, but I didn’t want to get pulled aside by supervisors anymore. But more specifically, that experience got me near-obsessed with finding a pair of work-appropriate pants I didn’t hate.
So are there pants out there that are work-appropriate, flattering, flexible, soft, durable, lint-resistant, machine-washable, and somewhat affordable? No, not all at once, that’s too much to ask, but you can get a decent subset of those from Ministry of Supply, MM. LaFleur, and to a lesser extent Betabrand. (And since the Betabrand Mondo Anniversary Sale makes their Dress Pant Yoga Pant extra affordable, I wanted to get this up even though I still haven’t gotten some answers back from Ministry of Supply. I’ll update the post when I do.)
This week’s post has been delayed because I’m being too thorough about getting some hard details about the pants I’m finally reviewing. I expect to hear back soon, though, and I promise you this post will be giant.
Nothing made my acne go away. I tried everything available over-the-counter. Dermatologists prescribed me topical and oral antibiotics and Retin-A. I even went on Accutane, the “scorched earth option” for acne treatment, which involved monthly blood draws and the 2/3 likelihood of a permanent solution. None of it worked for more than a couple of weeks, which makes sense in retrospect– I turned out to have a hormonal imbalance that makes it super difficult to get rid of acne.
I tell you that to give you hope, because the ingredients I thought didn’t work for me actually did. I just had to learn what made them effective! Here’s how to fix common problems you might be experiencing with my personal favorite ingredient for dealing with acne– salicylic acid (also known as a beta hydroxy acid, or BHA). This topic may be familiar for anyone who’s been reading the blog since April of last year.
Please excuse the photos today, it’s pouring outside and my photo-color-adjusting PC is out of commission. Whee, getting back into the swing of posting!
I’m generally skeptical of MM. LaFleur’s ‘bust-friendly’ filter. Multiple shirts under that filter fit me anywhere from ‘terrible sack’ (yes, Didion, I’m talking about you) to it-would-be-perfect-if-they-added-just-a-tiny-bit-more-fabric-across-the-bust (Bourgeois Blouse). I impulse-bought the Rankin 2.0 top anyway because of MM.LaFleur’s recurrent combination of impeccable style and convincing branding (a shirt that makes it look like I tried really hard when I actually just threw a thing on? Yesplz.)
It arrived in the mail today, and I’m actually kind of surprised by how it turned out, so I thought I’d show you.
Six months, I started a new full-time job, moved across the country, bought a lovely house which has nonetheless been a surprising time sink (bamboo! surprise broken AC! water leaking out of the ceiling from the newly installed AC!), and also got so sick that being on my feet for more than 10 minutes at a time made me want to pass out. Basically, it’s been six months of my life overwhelming my blogging.
But I’ve missed it, and that’s finally, finally all settling down. Expect to hear from me a lot more soon: I’m tentatively planning on updating every Monday, and I have a bunch of blog topics stored up. (As always, feel welcome to either comment or drop me an email if you want specific advice on something!)
In the meanwhile, sad news for busty ladies: DD Atelier is closing its doors for good in less than a week. If you wanted to buy any of their remaining stock, now’s the time. Front Room is also currently having an end-of-season sale, and I recommend basically everything of theirs I’ve ever bought. (The stock hasn’t changed much over the year because the founder’s been sick.)
I feel sad saying that, because they’re an *absurdly* comfortable material, but I’ve had three significant issues with the Sarah knit pant that make me want to warn others about it. (Also, I feel silly calling it a ‘pant’ in the singular, even though that’s Beija Flor’s language, so ‘pants’ it will be from here on.)
- They shrank after the first wash. That wasn’t a problem for me, as I was going to have to get them hemmed, but when I brought them to the tailor they were already the right length. Still, this is a big deal if you’re tall, or if the Sarah pants fit you right when you tried them on. In fairness on this point, I don’t remember if I washed them in the proper water temperature.
- They slide down on me constantly. The fabric’s so smooth that they keep slipping enough that they’re uncomfortable and honestly, a little obscene. I have to pull them up every five minutes or so. They’re the same size as my other two Beija Flor pants, so it’s not just a sizing issue.
- They are wearing out fast. Rayons in general are not exactly durable, and I tug on these pants all the time, but they’ve already developed holes at the seams along the hips. I’ve only owned them for four months. That’s not what I expect for a pair of pants that cost over $100 apiece.
So basically: don’t waste your money, but please do tell me if you’ve found a pair of soft, flexible, work-appropriate pants that stay on.
A lot of the awesome holiday sales are over on January 1, but Dagne Dover seems to be clearing out last year’s seasonal bags today! I previously recommended the Mini and continue to recommend it– it’s still heavy, but I have yet to find another bag that feels as comfortable to me as it does. Also, I use mine literally all the time, and it has shown no wear between that last post and today.
So if you ever wanted a sturdy $245 bag for $129, you’re in luck through the end of today.
Hello again, everyone!
I’ve been having a massive (but very positive) life upheavals for the past few months: basically, I interviewed for and got a new job, moved across the country for it, and bought a house. Trying to juggle all that while working full-time may not have been my wisest life choice, but everything’s turned out surprisingly well.
What that means for my readers is within a week or two I should be able to write regular content again. I have plenty of ideas stored up, but do you have any requests?
This one’s a reader request, and one I’ve felt a little impostor-syndrome about! Everyone wants to find comfortable heels, and I hate heels. However, I am a good researcher, I appreciate how heels look on other people, and I am all about harm mitigation, so I decided to find out:
- What shoe brands promise reasonably comfortable, yet attractive, heels?
- Do any of them actually have data, rather than anecdotes, to prove their points?
I know that a lot of recommendations I make are not cheap, but there’s no area of fashion I’ve explored that can command prices as absurd as “comfortable, pretty high heels”– especially shoes with any kind of data to back up their promises of comfort. That said, here’s what I’ve found on brands that make nice-looking high heels that are designed to hurt minimally.
L’Amour Des Pieds is a fairly new comfort brand created by Wayne Finkelstein, who is also the dude who started Gentle Souls before Kenneth Cole took over. That meant I was willing to give their shoes a try even though they don’t make wide widths: Gentle Souls (under Kenneth Cole) is one of the only brands that makes pretty-ish shoes with a toebox wide enough for me. So I picked up a pair of L’Amour Des Pieds’s Darron sandals in mustard.
Man, am I profoundly torn:
- They’re way more interestingly-designed than most comfort shoes. They also come in fun colors, which may not mean a lot to most people, but I have been trying to find a pair of yellow or green shoes that I can actually wear for *literally years*. Add ‘wide’ to your search and all your unusual color options disappear.
- They were extremely comfortable right out of the box– they’re smooth on the inside, have a comfortable amount of arch support, and have enough padding that bumpy roads don’t hurt my feet.
The problem: I’ve been wearing these sandals about every other day for two months, and they’re already showing signs of falling apart. Pictures below the fold, so you can see what I mean.