Whew!

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.)

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Beija Flor Jeans Update: Avoid the Sarah Knit Pant

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.)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.   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.

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Dagne Dover Sale

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.

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Less Commotion, More Content!

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?

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High Heels Slightly Less Likely To Destroy Your Body

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:

  1. What shoe brands promise reasonably comfortable, yet attractive, heels?
  2. 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.

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L’Amour Des Pieds Darron: Super Comfortable, Wears Out Fast

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.

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Companies To Opt Out Of Giving Personal Information To

(Unless You Want All The Catalogs)

Generally, medium-to-large-sized businesses will want to sell your information to someone.  It’s lucrative enough to help struggling clothing businesses stay afloat: according to a 2011 Wall Street Journal article, catalog companies charge about $110 per thousand mailing list names per mailing.

Figuring out how to opt out of letting them sell your information saves you irritation and helps the environment.  Opt-out information is usually located in companies’ privacy policies.   CatalogChoice is a good option for if you forgot to do that and want to opt out of mail you’re already getting.

However, I’ve definitely experienced a couple of worst offenders, and I wanted to share those with you so you could extra avoid the trouble.

 

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Friday Snack Break: HungryRoot

I recommend HungryRoot with some reluctance.  Their food is “healthy” in several ways that are trendy rather than evidence-based (lots of gluten-free stuff when the real problem is probably FODMAPS, ‘veggie-centric’ but no leafy greens whatsoever, though I can understand the latter for storage reasons).  However, if you’re just wanting vegetarian food that’s incredibly delicious– like, five-star restaurant good for the best stuff– I can recommend some of their stuff to you.  I really like their:

  • Smashed Roots (they’re like mashed potatoes with an incredible depth of flavor without getting rid of the comfort factor)
  • Brownie Batter (it can be cooked, but it’s so good that I’ve just eaten it out of the container so far)
  • Spiced Boniato Vanilla Custard (creamy, rich, and probably really high on the satiety index),

all of which are ready-to-eat.  Also: their portions are all bigger than they appear to be in website pictures.

I didn’t personally like any of their main meals I had: they were all decent, but not great, and they were what I like to call ‘worldsy’– food for people who want to feel worldly but who don’t really want to know what their food is actually supposed to taste like.  I particularly noticed it with the ‘sriracha peanut’ entree, which did not taste like sriracha, and the ‘korean scallion gochujang’ entree, which tasted nothing like gochujang.  Their tofu was okay, but for $3 for 8 tiny cubes, I wanted it to be spectacular.  (They also offer chicken for non-vegetarians.)
If you want to give them a try, here’s a referral link.  I think it’s supposed to give you 20% off!  If it doesn’t, the code NATIONWIDE should do it.
I’d definitely discourage you from getting their tofu add-ons, though.  It tastes fine, but you get the tiniest portion in the world for $3. I could get an entire block of tofu for less than they’re charging.
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Beija Flor: Super Comfortable, Strongly Scented

I hate pants shopping so much.  Nothing makes me feel like I have a weirder body: everything’s too long, everything fits wrong in the waist or the hip or the rise, nothing’s comfortable.  I avoid doing it.  Then, last month, I finally took stock of what jeans I owned, and this was it:

  • 1 pair jeggings covered with runs
  • 1 pair jeggings covered with pills
  • 1 pair jeans a size too small
  • 1 pair jeans that give me plumber’s butt

I was still wearing each and every pair of those jeans, and feeling unhappy every time I did.  Clearly, I needed new jeans.  But I put it off for another month, because I wanted to find a pair of jeans that could replace the function of all of those pants.  I wanted them to be more durable and breathable than the jeggings; I wanted them to be stretchier and more comfortable than the too-small jeans; I wanted them to fit better than Plumber’s Butt Jeans™;  and I didn’t want to agonize about what pants would fit me.  I also wanted to be comfortable with my jeans’ ethics, not just their fabrics.

The combination of those factors led me to Beija Flor, a company well known for their ethical, comfortable, and flattering jeans.  

 

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Awesome, Extremely Expensive Coats: The Luxury Edition

Teresa Crowninshield is a coat company that excels at luxurious, comfortable, well-fitting coats with a unique design. For this weekend’s upcoming Secret Style Saturday event, subscribers to their email list will get a discount on five new designs.  I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a little bit of why I’m so personally excited (and somewhat conflicted) about their coats.

Let’s start with the positives:

  • Their coats are entirely made out of high-quality natural fabrics. Teresa Crowninshield’s signature Azurean coat is lined with a silk thicker and heavier than that of most silk blouses.
  • There’s a coat for every body type: some coats I couldn’t have tailored to fit me better, and others look awful on me but would look fabulous on people with straighter figures.  While Teresa Crowninshield only sells up to a size 16 on their website, they’ve “gone well into the 20s” for clients who needed bigger coats.
  • Every design is both classically tailored and unique, usually with fun colorblocking.  Teresa Crowninshield coats are appropriate for any occasion where you really want to impress people.   They’re the kind of coat you choose to wear on stage with the President of the United States.

And now, the negatives:

  • None of her coats are entirely vegetarian, and many of her fabrics are sourced from China, including angora. China’s got a history of animal cruelty when it comes to angora farming, and Tess doesn’t do anything special to ensure her Chinese angora is cruelty-free.  (If you’re interested in avoiding Chinese angora but still want one of her coats, she still has some incredibly beautiful silk coats, and a few newer designs in silk-lined bamboo).
  • Teresa Crowninshield coats are priced like something you’d wear on stage with the President. Your first coat will generally cost between $375 and $695.

That’s a reasonable price, considering the materials (I ballparked the cost of the raw materials of her Azurean coat at $222.40)* and the labor (Teresa Crowninshield coats are USA-designed and USA-made on a small scale, and each Azurean takes the better part of a day to make).  That price also comes with perks– she gives you a lifetime 20% discount after you’ve bought your first coat (so subsequent coats will cost $300-$556).

That still doesn’t mean most people can afford that investment.  So if you’re interested in a sharp-looking coat that has a less inventive design and less luxurious materials but is cheaper and weatherproof, maybe check out Mia Melon’s Ultimate All-Weather Coat for $129-$139.

Tess (the owner) was kind enough to let me take a bunch of pictures of myself wearing her beautiful coats at a local craft fair to demonstrate how they fit.  Those are below the fold.

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