Lounge wear conundrum

Gretchen brought up an interesting point in her outfit post today. Her style choices have made her more aware of how she may stand out to everyone else around her who wears workout clothes or the typical tee/jeans combination.

I had to admit that as someone whose uniform was very much a tee with jeans I knew that if I saw someone dressed as her around my neighborhood I would take notice as well. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a tee and jeans, but as I’ve expressed here before – I’m kinda tired of that same old look and actually want to put some more effort into how I look.

All of this got me thinking about how casually most people in the suburbs dress nowadays. It’s definitely a bit different in the city, where many people dress up more. Why is that? Why is it ok to dress up more in the city or is it just the fact that there are so many more people who live in the city, thus there are more types of personalities and within the throngs there’s bound to be several handfuls who deliberately make an effort to dress up? Is it due to the fact that the more eyes there are on the street then the more one feels the need to dress up as opposed to just throwing on a pair of leggings and a tee to go shoe shopping at the local suburban mall? Do people in the suburbs feel more complacent about their lives and therefore don’t feel the need to dress up or put a little more effort into dressing when they go out? Is it maybe due to the fact that more families live out in the suburbs and parents who have little time to deal with all their children’s activities mean they care less about how they look due to their busy schedules? (And to that extent – how many times have they used said business as an excuse for not bothering to dress a little nicer?) I definitely don’t have the answer to these at all. I’m not a parent, but I  do wonder how some of my friends with kids would respond.  I know that’s not the case for all parents though. There are several who do make an effort to be more presentable – the amount of fashion/influencer blogs I follow says as much – not just for the sake of people possibly looking at them, but because they want to feel better about themselves in general, which is really no different than my own reasons.

So does dressing up a bit more in the suburbs make one more…. pretentious/subversive/different? At any given moment in any store out in the suburbs here, I know I’ll run into women wearing athleisure clothing – leggings or yoga pants with tees and sports shoes or sandals. Then there’s the tee/jeans wearers (like myself) and…. that’s really it. The only other time is when you see someone wearing clothes for work, which might entail a suit or nice dress shirt with dress pants/ skirt. And here is where the I get to the point of the topic: is it really ok to wear lounge wear out in public? When I mean lounge wear, I mean the yoga pants, leggings, old jeans that 99% of the time rarely see the outside of the house, the stained or ripped or old tees that are too soft to get rid of, etc….  Also, have most people in the suburbs resigned themselves to more casual codes of dress that’s seen everywhere out of complacency, practicality, or because they don’t want to stand out too much since everyone around them is dressed similarly?

 

 

Routine colors

outfit

I seem to have a thing for wearing black and blue together. The bright shoes really throw this off, but I’m ok with that.

Shirt: Everlane – drop shoulder tee. Pants: Grana. Shoes: Lems Primal 2. Necklace: Swarovski – gift.

So looking through my pinterest over the past week makes me laugh a bit. I’ve gone from Eileen Fisher lagenlook chic to Rick Owens, Comme de Garcons, and lots of Yohji Yamamoto. Affordable (to a degree) lagenlook to…. high end fashion avant-guard that’s waaaaay out of my range. Yet I’m still coveting a lot of it and have even found some of it for prices that I could afford if I only buy one item – and then save another 6 months for the next one. I’ve always liked Comme de Garcons just because the designs were always so wildly amusing and the silhouettes are totally different from most other designers. If I had to choose one designer though whose clothes could be the only ones I’d ever wear for the rest of my life (assuming money isn’t an issue – more a mandate: wear only 1 designer’s clothes) then it’d definitely have to be Yohji Yamamoto. I’ll even pare that down further since he’s got two lines: Y’s and Y-3 collaboration with Adidas. Out of the two, I’d take the high-end Y’s range, but if allowed then sure, give me both.

I love his tailoring and the “unstructured” structured look of his clothes. The asymmetrical lines of skirts and billowing sleeves are completely beautiful to me. Also, he tends to dress women in a much more masculine manner and I’ve always been a fan of that look on women.

To the very few people who may (or may not) read this blog: if you could only wear the clothing of one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Lagenlook

So a while back I mentioned how I liked the over-sized look. Well, it’s got a name – lagenlook. I learned something new! It’s apparently a German term and means “layering look”. From what I gleaned doing a basic cursory search on it lagenlook is about layering clothes that are loose and appear over-sized. Some might associate the look with peasant style (think medieval times), areas of boho style, Jane Austen style, mori style (forest girls in Japan), etc… It can be very frilly with lots of ruffles. But it doesn’t have to be frilly. Eileen Fisher is the best example of a put-together, chic lagenlook.

I really love this. It definitely wouldn’t work easily in really hot weather, but when cooler weather comes around I definitely want to work on making this look happen.

Half tucked

cardiganoutfit

Rolling up the jeans and half tucking in the shirt made me feel a little more put together even though I felt craptastic today. I was perfectly comfortable and thought I looked a little better.

Shirt: Banana Republic – old. Jeans: Grana – no longer available. Shoes: MaddenGirl from DSW. Necklace: Swarovski -gift. Cardigan: Banana Republic – old.

Last night I looked through some photography books I bought a long time ago. They were from people who I’d followed on Flickr and admired their work. I used to take a lot of photos and kinda miss it. When I got back into anime and started reading manga photography was pushed to the back burner. I used to take hundreds of photos a month of everything around me and even published my own book of photos about breakfast when taking breakfast photos was a huge thing then. It still is, but it’s now all on Instagram. It’s amazing how phone cameras changed the photography world, for better and worse.

I took some photos around the house today. I was never a professional by any means so the disconnect between what I think I’m shooting and what ends up on the screen is still rather great.

plants
Plants I bought yesterday.
crumbs
Our crumbly dining room table.

The photography books I looked through were about a journey two photographers took in mainland China. The people in the photos had very simple lives with no technology and barely any electricity. It made me think of how odd it was that my life was just as simple, but it felt hurried and rushed – like I’m always waiting for the next Big Thing to happen even though there isn’t anything. I have every convenience around me, but I take it for granted and even resent it at times. But it’s not the fault of the technology – it’s me. I’m the one who’s bored and needs to make better use of my time.

So I’m going to try to take some more photos. Maybe I’ll even do a series to give myself a project of sorts.

Style inspiration – linen

Lately I’ve been obsessed with pinning all things linen on my pinterest. It’s most likely due to how freaking hot it’s been here lately. That being said, I’m also being aware of items I can wear throughout the year just by layering them. Most of it would easily work for spring and autumn seasons when it’s cooler – just layered up a bit.

button down
Ovate
dress
Fantasy Linen 
jacket
Evam Eva – no longer available
orange pants
Calo Rosa on Yesstyle
pants
Fantasy Linen
top and pants
Knock Knock Linen

I’m also realizing what sorts of colors I like. Browns, creams, white, black, deep green, blues (predominantly navy), dark orange, umber and grays are what I tend to like the most. There is of course white in there because it’s good to have a contrast to all the darker colors in the list – even if I’m not overly fond of it.

I also would love a collarless linen jacket – a la Paul Harnden style (yeah, right – may as well take out another mortgage loan), so I’m on the hunt for something similar.

harnden
Paul Harnden jacket

Collarless items or Mandarin collars (is that racist? It sounds racist or culturally insensitive – I’m not going to use that anymore – collarless it is) are prevalent on my wishlist items too.

Linen blends, linen lined with cotton and various linen fabric weights are what I want to test out. I realize there may be a LOT of ironing/ steaming in my future.

Boring clothes

outfit

Another WFH day for me. I ran errands for the company all morning and took the afternoon off (scheduled, of course). I got soaked this morning in the rain because I stubbornly decided not to wear my rain jacket.

Shirt: Uniqlo. Jeans: Grana – old, not available anymore. Shoes: Merrell. Necklace: gift – old.

I don’t know if I’m having a mid-life crisis early or just having a manic episode of Need. Change. Now. We all go through those, right? I’m also tired of wearing this boot. I’ve worn it for 5 weeks now so I think it’s time to start the weaning off and gradual strengthening process.

Ever since I posted about my style preference yesterday regarding the over-sized look, I haven’t been able to shake the idea of doing it. This may not seem like a huge deal to some, but considering my wardrobe right now, it would be quite a substantial change. I don’t dress bad at all, but looking at the above photo just makes me think: that is really fucking boring. It serves its purpose and that’s all.  There is nothing visually appealing about it in any way. Even assuming I could wear better shoes and not have the boot on – it would still just be -meh.

I don’t want to just have my clothes be adequately doing their job anymore. I’d like to actually wear them and enjoy them no matter what. I want a variety of silhouettes. I also want to break my uniform habit. All of this got me thinking about how I could possibly cultivate a wardrobe where almost every item could potentially be worn year-round. I live on the east coast (US), therefore Winter. So having heavy coats is a necessity. However, instead of just buying sweaters for the sake of wearing them in the winter, can I buy a kind of sweater that can be layered for winter or worn by itself in spring/autumn as well? It does get hot enough here that wearing a sweater in 90F degree weather would be suicide, so I know there will be some concessions to the year-round rule.

I’ve started a pinterest board for my clothing wishlist. Many of the items on that board are way the fuck out of my price range – like, laughably so. I could either buy one piece of clothing or buy groceries and make a car payment for the month kind of laughable. So the “wishlist” is more or less a guideline for what I’m looking for. This will take quite a lot of time and it should be interesting to see if I stick with it or give up and hang out with Boring because it’s easy and I’ve already accomplished that.

Style inspiration – Over-sized

I love boxy, big, voluminous looks with lots of layers. I hardly ever wear that style though. I do have one super large sweater I wear in the winter, but that’s it. I’ve been wondering why I don’t attempt to wear this style more.

Is it because it’s not the norm here? I don’t think any of the above looks are the norm anywhere, but they still make me want to dress that way. Most people want to show off their figures no matter what their body shape looks like. That’s always a given. Since I’ve lost weight I’ve also been in the “woohoo I can wear smaller sizes and look fab!” mode as well, which is why I purchased two pairs of skinny jeans and am rather meh about both of them. Am I reluctant because I’m used to being told I look frumpy or like I’m wearing a potato sack if I wear over-sized clothes? Have I not found the right kind of over-sized clothing that does actually “fit” well and drape in a way that while still looking “big” also look amazing? Am I too focused on showing off my figure instead of the clothes?

Several months ago I was at a Nordstrom Rack and saw a girl that took my breath away. She looked as if she’d walked straight out of a South Korean fashion shoot. She wore an over-sized v-neck tee in green over a voluminous brown skirt that fell almost to her ankles. A black floppy hat, Birkenstocks, and an enormous leather tote completed her look. She was different. I followed her throughout the store, hiding behind racks so as not to look too obvious. I personally thought she stood out, but most other people didn’t take notice. Maybe I was just so entranced with the fact that she wore the perfect summer combination of an over-sized look that I adored so I singled her out easily.

I’ve had my finger on a couple of items online I’m tempted to purchase that fall into this style. The key clearly is buying items made of good materials that drape in flattering ways, which means lots more $$$ than what I’m used to paying. I can always send them back if it doesn’t work out – right?

Most of the photos above are from collections from Exception de Mixmind, which is a clothing line from the Chinese designer Ma Ke.