Freak outs and being human

outfitbad shoe dayfridaymonday

Last week I made a bad shoe decision and freaked myself out big time about my ankle. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster again because of it. I’m so completely and stupidly stubborn.

Thursday and Friday of last week were actually kinda slow for me. The earthquake that was the huge ordeal with one of my clients was over and now we are dealing with a few remaining tremors – getting product out on time. I left work early on Friday and instead of exercising I went straight to bed and slept.

I did remember a few funny things that happened last week. There’s been a firearms safety session going on because management freaked out about something. I was offered to join in the “lunch training” meeting, which meant we sat around eating food and not really training at all.

Coworker (jokingly): So, welcome to the training session for firearms. Do you know how to handle a firearm?
Me: Yeah keep the safety on and point the gun downwards at all times.
Coworker: Wrong, you wear gloves… to hide finger prints.

We all had a laugh and ate lunch.

Sometimes I think about how much food is such a driving force for interaction in our world. We base a lot of our schedule around eating and actually watching other people eat can be a gruesome experience, depending on the person. But we still do it because we need to and sometimes I feel mechanical about how we must refuel so many times a day. It’s funny to think of myself as being robotic in how I need to refuel. If I were a game character I’d need a green energy bar (food) and a battery energy bar (sleep).

During lunch we talked about foods we like and which ones “don’t like us” so to speak. For the record, I don’t like bananas and I’m allergic to fresh figs and goat milk and mussels.

Around half hour after lunch I watched another coworker go towards the bathrooms. She opened one door and barely had a foot inside it before she came stumbling out, shaking her head. She saw me watching from down the hall and we both burst into laughter. She had been at the lunch meeting as well and we knew: someone bombed out the bathroom. She went into the other bathroom and I remembered I’d heard some rather…unpleasant noises coming from the bathrooms earlier. I wondered if the coworker who said he can’t handle onions had onions in his sandwich.

backpacklunch

 

plum blossom

This weekend was really nice outside. We drove to a park on Saturday and the trail was so uneven Z gave me a piggy back ride so I wouldn’t hurt my ankle.

On Sunday the weather was warmer so we packed up a picnic and went to another park. A family friend gave us a fancy picnic backpack – like a picnic basket. It’s been 3 years since we’ve been married and this was the first time we used it. We stopped at the store to buy cheese, crackers and fruit. I was drinking jasmine tea in the silly plastic wine glass. The backpack does have a wine bottle opener and insulated areas for cold foods.

It was really nice to see the trees blossoms at the park and smell freshly mowed grass. It does feel like spring is finally here.

On buying Japanese designer clothes

I wasn’t going to post today, but I got my clothes! So, you know…

yohji isseyhyacinth

Don’t mind the brown socks. I was wearing them to keep my feet warm and then my clothes came and I was just trying stuff on. I didn’t actually wear this today because it’s very warm out. The bottom photo is me making fun of myself wearing a turtleneck when it was already 75F outside. Z took the photos and told me to hold the hyacinth flower I cut the night before from our yard. He said he wanted a contrast color (other than my socks).

Z: You know you can’t touch any surface in this house with that outfit on. You need to just hover.
Me: Hover? I need to learn how to levitate?
Z: Yes, hover, and always hold the lint roller in your hand because otherwise you’ll be covered in Yuki hair. You probably already are.

saturday

This is the outfit I wore today and I only wore the blue shirt for when we went to a restaurant with my parents for lunch. I’m always cold in restaurants. Right now I’m just in the linen tee and my linen pants and my feet are swollen and hot because it’s hot outside. I’m about to turn on the AC. WTF weather!?

Ok, so the point of this post is to relate where I bought the above black outfit and other pieces I have from Japanese designers.

The top is Yohji Yamamoto and the pants are Issey Miyake. I got one other black top from YY I’ll wear later this week.

I buy from the following specific shops:

Rosen – Owned and run by Gracia Ventus. Her pricing is great and she’s very easy to contact and communicate with. I’ve bought 4 items from her (YY pants, YY shirt, YY skirt/pants and Sacai Luck pants) and each time she’s sent me a really nice note. I think she knows my preference now for YY based on the last note she sent me. I’ve contacted her before about sizing and she was very honest with it and even sent me photos of the garments to show me how the size could be adjusted. The clothes come in a cute rice bag (I have three of these now) and a message. This is from the latest order, which was in December ’17:

rosen

She does have a return policy where customers incur a restocking fee and must pay for shipping costs. This is a small establishment that’s run abroad so I’m not surprised by it. The last item I ordered is a little too small (a shirt) and I didn’t return it because there is a chance I may be able to wear it yet. Plus it’s gorgeous and I’m stubborn and this is a whole other story, so moving on….

I do recommend contacting her if you have any doubts at all about how the clothing might fit. She also has her own line of clothing, Rosen, she runs with a guy named Daniel (I forget his last name) and they make unisex clothing. I’ve not tried any of it yet, but from what I’ve seen it’s all gorgeous if you like that kind of thing, which I do. They make the clothes from Japanese dead stock so once the stock is out, that run for the item is done. Her blog is really awesome as well.

PLAYFUL – at Rakuten. Rakuten is a ginormous online shopping place. They have tons and tons of shops and sellers. It’s like if Amazon and Ebay had a baby – in Japanese. I wouldn’t be surprised if one runs the risk of finding fakes there, but I don’t think I’ve run into that problem. This is where I bought the above outfit and the other shirt I got today. Z also bought my Limi Feu sweater from there. While there are hundreds of sellers who have designer clothes on Rakuten, PLAYFUL has the most that I’ve seen of the Japanese designers I like. They also pride themselves on authentic items. Most of it is second hand/used with a grade system. They are exact in what defects the clothing has and even circle it and tell you what it is. It is a bit precarious to shop from the Rakuten site because the English is not so great, but if you pay attention enough you can understand it. Also, paying is a weird email two-step process. You “order” the clothes from the site and they send you an email. Then they send you another one once they’ve figured out your shipping fee and give you a link to pay with. They send another email asking you to reply with “authorized” written in the reply. If one didn’t want to buy from a site with so much Japanese text and a really weird payment system then the PLAYFUL shop does have an alternative: an eBay store called dc-playful. It’s the exact same inventory. The seller does not accept returns – so I don’t think they do at the Rakuten site either, but you are covered under the ebay return policy if the item is not as described in the listing. The difference between the Rakuten and eBay stores is the pricing. Rakuten pricing is a little lower, but you do pay a shipping fee. Ebay prices are higher because the shipping fees are included in the pricing – and then they say “free shipping!” on them. I opted for the lower priced Rakuten store and bought multiple items, which combined the shipping cost so instead of paying a built-in shipping fee for each item, I paid for each item and only one shipping fee. Shipping fees in general are $20, which is also what it is for Rosen, but it may be different depending on where you live. I do believe the prices are a little higher than they should be for the items and other sellers on Rakuten, but they do occasionally have sales.

I have also bought from the eBay shops artwearjapan and tsano2012. I’ve gotten a YY shirt and all my 45rpm clothes from those shops. Both allow returns with the customer paying for shipping. Both are good and communicative and there’s no language barrier issues that I could foresee. When I bought multiple items I was issued a refund on shipping because they combined the shipping fees into one instead of charging me a fee per item.

I have my eye on some clothes at TheReaReal but haven’t bought anything so I can’t comment on that. The same goes for Poshmark. I did ask about a YY skirt I saw on PM but the seller took forever to get back to me and didn’t even complete my request for information and then the item was sold. So, just like with any reseller, it can be a crap shoot of whether or not the experience will be good or bad.

A note about sizing: It’s also a crap shoot if you just go by the vanity size. You really REALLY need to know your specs when you buy, especially if you don’t have someone to contact to be straight up with you about it. That’s why I like ordering from Gracia. For the Rakuten order, I spent 3 days agonizing over sizing. I have a fabric measuring tape so I went and measured and remeasured and measured again clothes that I have that are similar to what I want to buy, clothes from the same designer and even myself. For the above shops, sizing is in cm (with Gracia having both cm/in). Google is your friend for getting cm/in conversion. I always have the window open next to the shop window. For designer Japanese clothes, see the super rough size chart, but this is NOT AT ALL set in stone. In fact, I’d say the sizing runs a gamut of up to three US sizes.  I’m basing this information on sizing I’ve seen after looking through hundreds of items. Many of them I see the vanity size and the cm size and think: ok, that makes sense. Sometimes, I see the vanity vs cm size and have no fucking clue where they got the measurement from or if it’s right. I’m just using waist measurements because I have the most issue with those:

size 1  = XS (anywhere from 24″ to 28″ waist, US size 0ish to 4ish)
size 2 = S (anywhere from 26″ to 32″ waist, US 2ish to 6ish)
size 3 = M (anywhere from 28″ – 35″ waist, US 4ish to 8ish)

I think I’ve only seen a size 4 once, but have no recollection on what the specs were on that. Yes, feel free to say it: these sizes are biased towards skinny people and you’re absolutely right.

Take the above sizes with a huge grain of salt because I’ve seen size 2 pants with a 35″ waist – because they were low-rise pants that fit more at the hip. So while the clothing may truly fit a US size 4 person, the waist measurements may be due to the cut of the item. If the sizing seems really odd then it’s probably cut low or maybe the waist is meant to be loose, because you know, this is weird stuff we’re dealing with. The skirt/pants I have from YY can be worn in three different ways (skirt, pants with pocket up front OR back).

 

The majority of the clothes I have bought are listed as size 1 from all the tags I’ve looked at, but I do have a size “s” for small, a size 2 and the turtleneck above is a size 3. The material is a super stretchy cotton that almost feels like polyester, but the tags read 100% cotton. With clothes that are very form fitted, I feel I would definitely go up a size to be on the safe side, like I did with the turtleneck because it fits great. I based everything on the cm size for the turtleneck and didn’t rely at all on the vanity sizing. It all really depends on what end of the size scale (in centimeters)  the vanity sizing (the 1, 2, or 3) falls under. That’s how I ended up buying a too-small size 1 shirt. Simply put, know your size in centimeters backwards and forwards. Also take into consideration the material the item is made with.  I would caution when in doubt, size up because as a general rule lots of Japanese clothes are made to the smallish side. That being said, I’ve taken lots of gambles with these clothes. Some of my pants are snug in the waist, but not uncomfortably so. Should I have bought a size 2 instead of size 1 in some cases? Most likely. I felt as though I took a gamble with the Issey Miyake pants above because those are listed as a 74 cm/29″ waist (size 1). My waist is 28″ but these pants sit just below the natural waist line, so they are snug. I bought them anyway and they do fit great because the material has some stretch to it. The material is a mix of cotton, spanx and polyester I believe. It’s extremely lightweight, which is just what I wanted – a summer black pant for the office.

I can’t afford new designer clothes from the designers I enjoy the most, but it doesn’t stop me from taking risks in buying older items from them second-hand. I spend a lot of time going over them (days) before pulling the trigger to buy. Now that I’ve got some experience under my belt I have a better idea of where I fall in their sizing system, but there may always be a surprise if I’m not careful.

Perpetual autumn

I may very well be broken. Even though we are finally in spring, all I want to wear are clothes from Yohji Yamamoto autumn/winter 18-19 collection.

yy aw18yy aw18-2yy aw18-3yy aw18-4

To be fair, we’re not really having a Spring per se. We’ve gone straight from ass-freezing cold to WTF-why-am-I-sweating-so-much summer in a span of 12 hours. It started yesterday when the high got up to 85F and will be again today. Ugh, I’m over these extremes. I want perpetual autumn weather please.

Also, I’ve been looking at skirts a lot lately, mostly YY ones because 1) they look comfortable and 2) they are granny length long – and that’s a compliment. I hate short skirts and I can’t even tolerate ones that come to my knees. This is highly unusual for me because I technically only own 2 skirts (one is a YY) and will always choose pants over a skirt any day. Even the skirt I own I wore as pants (YY one). Maybe this is just a phase, but I am tempted by a few I’ve seen at discounter sites.

Buying all the things – black

The mule shoe hunt continues. After a failed DSW browse last weekend I went online and bought a pair of mules from Frye, but promptly returned them because I felt like I’d kill someone by flinging the shoes off my feet and hitting people in the head. It was cold this week anyway so I didn’t really need open backed shoes.

monday

Monday’s outfit: not caring. While these Brass Clothing ponte pants are nice, I’m kinda over them and only hate-wear them when I want a skinny black pant look. Note to self: get skinny black pants I want to wear, not hate-wear.

tuesday sweatertuesday

Tuesday: feeling black. The situ at work with one of my clients starting boiling today and half of a department at work was 86’d for incompetence. The director isn’t dicking around and will cut anyone not worth their salt. Unfortunately, that puts them in the situation of having all production work bottle-neck at their area.

Fun note: Although you can’t really tell too much from the photos, my arm muscles are fierce. I took off my cardigan for a bit and the GM  – halfway down the hall – noticed and said: Damn girl, you’ve got some guns! He asked me to flex for him. Aside from one of the other directors saying I look fit, this was the first time someone’s noticed my muscle gains. I take a certain amount of pride in that, although it’s making wearing skinny/ tight fitted clothes difficult. Most normal clothes aren’t made for muscular people.

wednesday

Wednesday: this day was doomed from the get-go. I had on an all Yohji outfit – all black again – and was so pleased with myself for it. I was actually wearing a skirt! And then I got toothpaste all over myself because I have butter fingers and my electric toothbrush went rogue on me. Looking back on it – yes, it was hilarious, but at the time I was miserable and late to work because I had to completely change my outfit.

The situ with the client boiled over and I was super stressed out most of the day. I felt flustered during our usual call and my boss came in and saved the day – like he normally does. I still have a lot to learn.

thursday

Thursday: work is getting even worse with delays and my client’s company taking their sweet time getting information to us so we can finish our inspections and get product out the door. My boss took me out to lunch to de-stress. He could tell I was struggling and we discussed where the whole situation was going wrong and how we could make it better and to assure me I’m doing a good job, but maybe my sense of responsibility is too severe because I’m taking things personally. I put a lot of weight on myself for being the liaison for the client when even he knows that not everything is in my control.

At first, I didn’t even want to go to lunch because I thought I should stay and work, but I’m glad we went out. Getting out of the office was nice and I was much more relaxed and “over it” the latter half of the day. I even called my client’s engineer to light a fire under his ass in getting us data and let him know: we cannot work on ANYTHING until we get his specs. *drop mic*

friday

Friday: the entire morning hours were wasted by shit data provided by the client’s team. One of his people got back to us at 2 pm: Uh… yeah, so all the numbers I gave you – they’re wrong. *head**desk* Over. It. It’s ALL on them now and I’m done wasting time. I tell our people to shut it down. We aren’t spending another second on this crap until they get their heads straight. A coworker laughed and told me I should’ve had a double scotch last night like she told me to. I said I only had a beer because I’d been drinking scotch every other night this week. The engineering group bust into laughter, saying: she’s one of us!

I started doing more work for another client this week and this new one is a real piece of work – not in the good way. She only hears what she wants and has laser focused tunnel vision where she basically ignores everything you say until you end up saying what she wants. I hate this bitch already. My boss says not to get involved with her game and just give her what the answer is once and let it go. Ignore the rest because it’s not worth getting pulled into it. She’ll continue with her Spanish Inquisition style bullshit but it’s not necessary to answer to it if what we’ve given her is correct in the first place.

And the last nail in this week’s coffin: no admin support for me. The one interviewee we all liked out of 80 applicants took a job elsewhere. We are at square one again and I’m no where near getting the help I need so I can focus more on learning my other roles. FML.

Saturday I got dressed, but didn’t take a photo. We went to see Isle of Dogs and it was fantastic. I’ve learned a lot of Japanese from watching so much anime so when some characters spoke Japanese in the film I could easily get the gist of what they were saying due to lots of words I recognized. It was nice being out with friends for a bit. Everyone has been in hermit mode this winter. We are also trying to resurrect Food Night, which is just one night out of the week (usually Wednesdays) when all the friends get together to have dinner and hang out.

sunday

Sunday (today): I wore my All-Bird shoes but I folded down the backs of them so I wore them mule-like. This allowed me to have mostly warm feet and not agitate my ankle. I went out to the mall to mule-shop again but came home empty handed. The mall was super depressing too. The selection was dismal at Bloomingdales and I noticed half of the Macy’s second floor was completely empty. I wonder if they’ll close that one down. I did see some nice Vince mules, but I knew I could get something more of what I wanted for cheaper online.

I ended up coming home and ordering the Gwen Slide by EF. I like how low heeled they are and I think they’ll go with the majority of my clothes. I find it funny how one of the reviews calls them “vamp” but she means it in a negative way. I think I’m guaranteed to like them then.

My mental state of mind has been very fragile lately. A lot of it has to do with work, clearly, but a lot of it also has to do with my ankle. I’ve had Z examine my legs several times this week and he’s assured me I’m being paranoid. There is no bump coming back on my bad leg. Because I’ve worn the brace for 4 months and kept my foot at a right angle, the natural bumps and creases in my skin around the ankle are completely smooth. My whole foot and ankle area is baby smooth soft as well and I hate it. Wearing house slippers hurt my feet because they are so incredibly sensitive now. And now that I’m moving my ankle and getting the natural creases in it again I’m getting overly paranoid and freaking out because those creases cause little bumps in the skin and that’s just it – it’s just skin, not a bump in relation to a torn tendon. I know that’s what it is and Z has constantly told me so, but I’m still freaked out a little. I do have a little bit of pain, but it’s more due to soreness in that area from moving it again. This week I spent more time doing slow, controlled stretches with a towel. I would only wear my boot in the morning and take it off mid day. I do more walking around at work than I realized, especially now that I’m chasing down more issues with production on my client’s work. I’ll probably do another week of half and half at work and add some different stretches this week to get more range of motion back. My left leg is so pitiful and weak!

This fragile state has also made me prone to therapy shopping. Gretchen’s post about not knowing how to dress herself really hit a chord with me. I feel the same way. I’ve lost 20 lbs since I was married  just over 3 years ago and before, dressing was never really an issue for me. Now, I’m questioning the fit of everything and not sure how I should look. I know I veer on the side of quirky and it’s deliberate because I hate the idea of dressing like everyone else. [side note: i’ve used the word “hate” a lot in this post – again state of mind…] However, sometimes I wonder if I’m trying too hard or if I’m letting mainstream ideals of dress crowd out my natural tendency to be rebellious. I still don’t know. All I do know is that when Gretchen wrote: “I don’t want to wear flowy, drapey, oversized things, I want hard, refined and BLACK.  I want rigid and crisp and clean.  Give me all the Yohji Yamamoto please.” a light switch turned on and so did my OCD button because I went online, spend three days debating on items and yesterday bought 3 black items of clothing from Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake. Whether or not they work out is TBD. It may take a week or so to get them because they are all coming from Japan. If they do work out – and I have a feeling they will – I have planned a post about shopping for these designers because they are all second hand from discounters. But for now, yes, I’m having a moment too – more due to general stress from outside issues. And for now – give me, too, all the black, crisp clothes from Japanese designers please. And a fucking pair of mules.

4 months, 1 shoe

vince

For 4 months one shoe (right) has been on my foot and the other (left) has been in a box. Btw, the heel of the shoe above is falling off now at the very bottom layer.

I kinda knew I wanted to do a comparison post when I first bought these shoes. Ideally, I’d wear the one during boot time and then be able to wear both afterwards. That’s…. not so much something I want anymore.

I bought these shoes because of the platform on them. The shoe I wore allowed me to be evenly balanced while wearing the medical boot. I still hobbled about a bit, but at least I felt more stable being on the same walking plane.

To give an idea of just how much I relied on this shoe, here’s a breakdown of every day, including weekends:

  • Wake up, get dressed and put on shoe and boot.
  • Wear both all day at work with the exception of times I had to take off both and put on my non-slip shoes for going out on the shop floor. I tried wearing the boot once on the shop floor and terrified myself. I seriously thought I was going to fall and break both my legs.
  • Change into workout clothes on M, W, F and put back on shoe and boot to exercise in – I would take it off for doing push ups because the pointy toe end wasn’t very stable for that.
  • During evenings I’d put my feet up on the sofa or a pouf and only take off the shoe.
  • The only other time the shoe was off was during showers or at night when I’d wear a different brace to sleep in.
  • Weekends: wake up, dressed (sort of) and put on shoe and boot.
  • Again, only time I take it off when either lounging, showering or sleeping.

I lived in this shoe constantly.

Pros of this shoe:

  • It made me feel stable and more balanced.
  • It works well with the majority of my wardrobe.
  • It is easy to take on and off in a second, which is what I wanted.

Cons of this shoe:

  • The break-in period was awful. I’m not used to wearing shoes that pinch my toes together because I’d been wearing so many barefoot styled shoes beforehand. I feel as if I’ve cramped my toes together completely during these 4 months.
  • Wearing thick socks to keep my ankles warm was painful until the shoes stretched out a bit. This also goes along with the break-in period. Not good.
  • After the beginning of the second month a squeak developed in the forefoot area of the shoe and no matter what I’ve done it will not go away. The boot already sounds awful – like someone running around in a diaper due to the padding for my leg and all the velcro straps moving around. Adding a squeak to it on the other shoe has made wearing both boot and shoe highly annoying for me every. single. day. I made a joke with a coworker I’m the walking Squeaky Diaper and we laughed, but I think part of my anger and grumpiness is due to this damn squeak in the shoe.
  • It’s not great to wear in cold weather and has zero traction, just like the boot. I’m basically in ice skates during inclement weather. Big, cumbersome, annoying ice skates.
  • It’s also not warm at all, which is why I had to wear thick socks, but that just made the shoe more uncomfortable until I managed to stretch out the shoe, dealing with a lot of annoying pain in the process.
  • Expensive – I definitely got my money’s worth out of wearing the one shoe constantly, but I still feel a bit bitter about paying as much as I did for them and only wearing one out of the pair.

As I’m starting the tapering off period (FINALLY!) I don’t have much longer in this shoe and I’ve learned a few things from it.

  • I only like the look of platform shoes. I can’t wear them. I felt like I was tripping all over myself until I got used to it and it just wasn’t me. I know I’m not that tall, but I still need to be closer to the ground. I still trip over myself from time to time and it’s not the boot, it’s literally because of the shoe itself.
  • I hate break-in periods on shoes. This was a big reminder of why I’ve switched to barefoot style shoes or shoes that I know I won’t be fighting for a few months to feel “right” wearing. No one should have to deal with that when wearing shoes and it amazes me how women put up with it for the sake of fashion/style/their ego/prettiness/looking like that girl/ etc…. Hell, men do it too. ANYONE wearing shoes that are uncomfortable – just stop it! You’re not helping yourself look awesome if you’re in pain!
  • I will burn any shoe that squeaks! Ok, so that’s a rage response, but still, if any of my regular shoes squeak when I go back to wearing them, they are OUT!

In the end, I will not be wearing the other shoe even though it is brand new because I don’t want to look at this pair of shoes ever again once I’m done with this one. I don’t think Vince shoes are for me or maybe I need to look at their more casual ones that might have bigger toe boxes. But they all have a lift right? Hmm… nope. Never mind. No Vince shoes.