fashion favorite things travel

Japan: What we Wore in the Fall

Ok, so what did we pack for 16 days in Japan? The 16 days were spread across Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Okinawa in October. The first 3 cities: average 56-73 degrees during the month of October. Okinawa? The stats say 72-81 during October but … it’s a HOT 81 degrees. High humidity and unrelenting sun make it unbearably warm during the day, if you are out and about trying to see as much as you possibly can. Which is kind of our thing.

So we had to pack for pleasant tourist weather and also a few days of seriously hot and humid weather.

First up: the husband packed every single item of clothing he owns into a bag.

But for me, I spent a long time putting together the perfect trip wardrobe. This list is based off of memory, photographs, and my packing list. I wish I had taken pictures of myself every day, but, alas, I didn’t. So this is close-ish:

2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of Eddie Bauer travel pants
1 skirt/swimsuit coverup

1 blouse
3 3/4 sleeve shirts
5 t-shirts
1 hand-knitted sweater (that required a t-shirt underneath)

Flip-flops (Clarks: so super comfy)
Casual ballet flats + Gekks inside (Clarks again: super comfy)
Ankle boots (Earth: again, super comfy, great support)

Eddie Bauer windbreaker
Multi-way cardigan (Love, love, love this thing)
Travel scarf/dress (Have not yet gone on a trip where I’ve made serious use of it; but I love the multi-use idea of it – I do LOVE this for wearing on the plane, it makes a great wearable blanket, that you can quickly turn into an infinity scarf or cardigan)

Bathing Suit
Yoga pants (for lounging around the hotels)
Purse (Love, love, love this bag! I love Baggallini bags for their practicality, but this one might be my favorite. This isn’t my favorite color, but I like it well enough: I jump on their site every couple of months to see if they’ve added something more my speed. But still: 8 months later, this is STILL the bag I am using.)

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fashion shopping

5’10”, baby!

oooh, strappyI’ve always been wary of heels.  There is the discomfort part.  And then there is the wobbly-walking part.  I manage to trip over my own feet when I’m walking in sensible flats; better for me to stay away from extravagant heelage.

The husband’s company party is coming up this weekend, and in an effort to not embarrass him again*, I thought it best to invest in some appropriately flashy shoes.

I sent the husband a link to JC Penney’s ‘evening’ shoes, and asked him to pick out the ones he liked.  He was immediately drawn to a pair of 4″ heeled, 1″ platformed, super strappy, painful looking shoes.  I then asked him for a backup option.

Much to my surprise, however, I found that when I tried them on at the store, I could really walk in them.  Slow to regular speed, of course – there ain’t no obstacle-course running going on in these shoes.

It does take some, uh, serious finagling to get the shoes on.  If there had been anybody watching me try them on at the store, I’m sure they would have suggested I try a larger size.  But once they are on, they fit like a glove, and hence, no wobble.  My normal instinct is to buy my shoes half a size (or more too big) for, you know, comfort, but that has generally backfired for me on my past heel purchases.  Hence my tendency to stay away from them.

Now, these shoes are not comfortable by any stretch of the imagination.  I don’t know if I’ll really be able to wear them all night at his party – I may be saved by the fact that a large portion of the time I will be sitting down.  I did manage to wear them for about 30 minutes tonight, walking up and down two flights of stairs several times, without my feet complaining to me – but now that I have them off, my ankles are quite upset with me.

Better wear the ortholites tomorrow!

*I’ve never really embarrassed him.  What he doesn’t realize is that nobody even notices what I wear to his work parties.  I bet not a one of his coworkers (nor their wives) could tell him what I wore last year.

fashion shopping

retail therapy

Sitting at work this morning, I stared at the hibernate crap that’s been driving me nuts for the last week and a half, and realized that I didn’t want to be there.  At all.

So I sent out an email (this place sucks, I’m leaving, kthxbai) to let my coworkers know I was bailing for the day, got in my car, and drove to the outlet mall.

Did you know that there is nobody at the outlet mall on a Tuesday morning at 10 am during a recession?  It was great, I had the place to myself for the first hour, and it never really got crowded.

Four and a half hours, $319, 3 pairs of jeans, 8 shirts, 2 sweaters, 6 scrunchies, a belt, a set of pajamas and a vending machine Twix later, I was all set.  And my arms were killing me.  Carrying around shopping bags is a killer on the elbows.

Now it’s time to clear some space in the closet!  I think the husband has some things that need to go …

fashion life

sweaters and boots

I love this weather!  Time to break out the sweaters and boots.  And the jackets!  Can’t forget the jackets.

fashion nerdly

don’t even try to out-nerd me …

I was born without much of a fashion sense.  Or the ability to really find clothes that fit right.  I drool when I watch ‘What not to wear’ because I’d LOVE for someone to take me aside and dress me ‘right.’

So I was doing a little googlin’ the other day and I found a most wondrous website:  I punch in all my measurements (and I mean ALL – they have you enter in about 100 different measurements), and then they provide me with a selection of clothes that will FIT me.  And be flattering on my body type.

That’s right.  I found a WEBSITE to tell me what clothes to wear if I want to be fashionable.  How awesome is that?  I don’t even have to talk to anybody! 

And they also tell me what SIZE to get – which is awesome when you’re talking about buying clothes off the net.  Sometimes I’m an extra small – and sometimes I’m a medium.  It just depends on the mood of the designer.

The only downside is the cost of the clothes on the site.  I’ve never bought a pair of $150 jeans; I’ve never even considered it.  I don’t own any shirts that cost over $60.  They put together suggested outfits – which look fabulous – but I’ve never gone out in a $500 outfit before.  Not even my wedding dress … Which I suppose is greatly hindering my ability to be fashionable.

Maybe one of these days I’ll take the plunge into fashionable.  It’s great to know I can accomplish it with just a click of my mouse.

fashion nerdly

don’t even try to out-nerd me …

I almost got invited to a ninja vs. pirates party. And I was absolutely excited about it!

I contemplated dressing like a pirate – I do have knee-high pirate socks. But when it comes down to it, ninjas are just cooler. A touch of the supernatural, finely honed fighting skills – plus awesome clothing. I have two kimonos, one chinese dress, and a vietnamese pantsuit-dress thing – so I had the outfit down. All I needed was a samurai sword, and I woulda been totally ready to get my lucy liu on.

But, alas, the party never happened, and I was never invited. I’m still keeping my eyes out for a samurai sword, though – I want to be ready for my next invite.

confession fashion general complaints

what not to wear

Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of saving up to get my very own ‘what not to wear’ style consultation. The consultation itself, while not cheap, is reasonably priced. The part where serious savings come into play is in the buying-a-new-wardrobe part. There’s a reason Stacy and Clinton hand over a $5,000 Visa card to people they take under their wing; a new wardrobe doesn’t come cheap.

I don’t think I dress horribly, but I think I could do much better. At the moment, I fall into a strange fashion void, of being a professional in my twenties who doesn’t want to dress like a bimbo, but also doesn’t want to dress like my mom. (No offense, mom …) Not only that, but my size seems to fall more in line with the ‘juniors department’ than the actual ‘grown up ladies department.’ And, well, ‘juniors’ these days apparently don’t care to fully clothe themselves. And ‘juniors’ couldn’t care less about sensible things like ‘wrinkle-free.’

I also have a penchant for comfortable shoes. The exception to that rule is my 5’9″ collection. This collection includes 3 pairs of shoes that enable me to be 5’9″. (For the truly curious, the math on that works out to be 3-inch heels.) It works out well to have some 5’9″ shoes; when I get tired of wearing pants that are a teensy bit too short, I buy myself some ‘tall’ pants. And, well, tall pants require something a little higher than my skechers in order to not get ragged from dragging on the ground.

The real solution to my pants problem is a tailor. I’m of average height. Actually, I think the most perfectly averagest of heights. At 5’6″, I am neither tall nor short. Ladies 5’3″ and under are adorably short. Ladies 5’9″ and over are elegantly tall. So, one would think that ‘average’ length pants would be perfect. In fact, they are generally one inch shorter than I prefer. But ‘tall’ pants are anywhere from 2 to 4 inches too long (depending on that particular manufacturer’s version of ‘tall’). And so, I wear my pants too short or too long.

And then there’s my hair and makeup … I’ve never been one to spend, well, any time on makeup, and if it takes longer than 5 minutes, I’m not doing it to my hair. That used to include blow drying my hair, because I was blessed with a LOT of really thick hair that holds a LOT of water. I managed to find an 1875-watt monster that gets my hair dry enough in a few minutes. It also makes the lights in the house flicker, but, you know, that’s the price of beauty.

I know that “beauty is only skin-deep,” and that “it’s what’s inside that counts,” but there is something about feeling good about the way you look that just makes you feel better about yourself. Like when I go to the salon for a pedicure, I wear my adorable spa outfit. It’s not necessary, but it sure does make the experience all the more enjoyable. And on the rare occasion that I make it to the gym, I make sure to wear a you-wish-you-had-this-body exercise ensemble. It’s not that I want everyone to stare; but I sure do stay in the gym longer when I’m not self-conscious about the way I look.

So, for those of you who know me irl, if you happen to notice me wearing pants that fit and un-wrinkled shirts, then you’ll know I finally took the plunge.

fashion nerdly

don’t even try to out-nerd me …

I own an atomic watch. No, that doesn’t mean it’s extra small. Ironically, it’s a rather large watch, almost as large as a man’s watch.

The great thing about it, is that I don’t have to set it. Ever. I just have to tell it what time zone I’m in. As long as I’m in North America, it picks up the signal from Colorado, and I don’t have to do anything. Congress can mandate daylight savings to happen 100 times a year, and I don’t have to worry about setting my watch; Colorado will tell me.

I got this lovely gem for Christmas last year. And it’s wonderful, I wear it every day. Recently, however, I discovered that Casio has unveiled a new women’s atomic watch, something a little less sporty. And I hope to soon become the proud owner of not one, but two, atomic watches.

confession fashion shopping

guess how much I just saved at the mall …

$663! My husband was a little scared when I told him the good news, but he sometimes forgets that I am a world-class bargain shopper. (For real. I have trophies.)

And just how much did I have to spend to save so much money? Half as much as I saved. (Ok, ok, half as much as I saved plus $10.) That’s right, by waiting 2 months to buy my leather jacket, I was able to get 3 turtlenecks, 4 sweaters, a pair of slacks, a pair of jeans, 3 pairs of khaki-jeans, a hoodie, a bathrobe, a tote bag, AND that leather jacket, for the original price of the jacket.

I love 75% off January! Mostly because I like a good bargain, but also because I love jackets, sweaters, and boots. And I would be broke if I paid full price for everything in my jacket-sweater-boot closet. Which, consequently, now has more room in it since I moved those pesky trophies to my new trophy room …

fashion shopping

cowgirl pants

Thanks to a generous gift from my husband’s grandfather, I am now the proud owner of my very own cowgirl pants. The generous gift being cash, not the actual garment.

I grew up in Washington state (NOT cowgirl country), so I was unaware until very recently that there was such a thing as cowgirl pants. When I pressed the issue with my husband (born and raised in Texas, very much cowgirl country), all he could come up with was, ‘Tight. Real tight.’

When we got married a few years back, I bought myself a cowgirl hat. A shapeable, black-and-gray mottled number, accented with turquoise bits. It’s perhaps a little flashy, but it tickled me, so it joined my collection of hats I never wear.

A few months ago, I found a cowboy store in Frederick, MD, because my husband decided he needed a new cowboy hat. He didn’t find anything he liked, but I sure did. I found my very first cowgirl shirt! It’s a completely impractical rhinestoned-handwash-only piece, but it really is quite becoming. And since my husband didn’t find anything he liked, I had to buy something to make the trip worthwhile. I’m pretty sure that’s the law.

And that’s when I found out about cowgirl pants. My husband informed me that none of my jeans cut the mustard as cowgirl pants. When he couldn’t explain what, exactly that meant, I gave up all hope of ever finding any.

Until I found myself in Texas with $100 (thanks Danny!) burning a hole in my pocket, and in close proximity to all kinds of western wear stores.

And so I tried on all kinds of jeans, all the while with my husband saying, ‘No …. tighter …’ I finally found the perfectly tight pair (I’m pretty sure I can only wear them on skinny days). And then, of course, I needed some authentic boots. And also, I was informed, a rhinestone belt. The first belt I fell in love with was $85, so I quickly fell out of love, and found a … cheaper option.

Now, my outfit is complete. Someone find me a rodeo!