Starting the layering game

warmth layer

Acne Studios sweater – Yohji Yamamoto suit dress – old Nordstrom Rack leggings – Nisolo shoes

I’m starting the how-can-I-create-a-nice-look-and-keep-warm layering game. I have to say I’m rather proud of myself for this one. This dress really is easy to layer. The only thing I’d change are my leggings. These are soft, spongey leggings that are fleece lined and they ended up giving me lots of static so the bottom of the dress stuck to my legs most of the day.

Also, be prepared to see this sweater A LOT.

My exercise routine is getting better. My reps have increased on my chin-ups much faster than anticipated. I remembered reading a while back that while muscle memory fades fairly fast, muscle mass actually stays around for much longer and can take upwards of a year to go away – assuming I stop all exercising for that year and go full-on slug mode. So the muscle mass retention has worked in my favor and now the muscle memory is kicking in because I’m not dying of DOMS as much. I’m also creeping up on my max barbell squat weight fairly quickly, which also makes me happy. I like the feeling of picking up something that weighs ten pounds with one hand and having it feel like it’s a feather.

Little steps

tuesday

Yohji Yamamoto shirt and skirt – Limi Feu sweater – Nisolo shoes

This skirt forces me to make little steps and today that’s a good thing. It’s got the right structure to keep me in work mode and I found myself taking time to think more about the work I was doing.

I also tore up my shopping list for after work. I really didn’t need anything on it.

On not being able to dress for any weather, inside or out

cold

Journal Standard linen jacket – Everlane shirt – Rachel Comey Menace Pant – Nisolo shoes

The AC was cranked today to help keep the humidity down from the flooding yesterday. I wasn’t planning on it, but ended up wearing my jacket all day. When I went outside for a couple walks I was hot due to the humid, warm weather, but then shocked right back into huddle mode when I got inside. The kitchen also smells really badly of mildew and apparently half the walls are being replaced due to water damage. But here’s the weird thing, they are cutting the wall on a quarter of the way up from the floor and replacing only that section. It’s really weird and frustrating. The industrial dehumidifiers and fans whirring in the office and on the shop floor all day meant everyone was shouting above each other and I left work with a pounding headache.

The Shop Yohji Yamamoto is open and I’ve been drooling over so many things. I’ve been looking forward to the Ground Y collections and am now picking out items for a wishlist. Btw, nearly all the items are unisex….

This “fluttering dress”/ cardigan is gorgeous.

This turtleneck top/dress looks really comfortable and I could see myself living in it all the time.

This skirt/poncho = swoon.

These gabardine hakama pant and wrap dress look perfect to combine.

This no-sleeve vintage crepe de chine vest dress drapes gorgeously (and looks so much better on the male model in the product shots).

Bright Lights

I feel like my outfits have had a sort of running theme this week, but I’m not sure how to put it into words. I’ve been comfortable each day, which is good considering the craziness that’s been going on at work.

Monday: Everlane top, Won Hundred pant, Nisolo shoes. Yep, I am wearing the Nisolos again. They sat in the box in the basement for my “Eventually I will get around to selling these…. some day” area. Once I got the shoe stretchers I thought: screw it, do it. So I stretched them out over the weekend. While the heel portion is definitely better the toes, even while widened, still cramp just a tiny bit. I may try stretching them some more this weekend. I can wear them all day and not be uncomfortable, but they could be better. I also want to change out the shoe laces, which are a weird beige-taupe-green color that seems odd.

Monday

Tuesday: My favorite stand-by outfit – Yesstyle linen shirt, YY pant, Nisolo shoes. No matter what I feel put together in this outfit even though the top is more casual than should be appropriate for work. (I get away with it and no one complains.)

Tuesday

Wednesday: Another easy one. My favorite old black top and Rachel Comey Menace pant with Dries Van Noten shoes. The Dries shoes are amazingly more comfortable now they’ve been stretched. The leather has a lot more structure to it than the Nisolos and isn’t nearly as soft, but I can tell that in time these will be favorite go-to shoes in the same way my Frye ones are now. Also, I’m panicking about having to replace this top. It’s a fast fashion one and it’s a staple and I love it but it’s super beat up and there are white-ish pit stains from deodorant under the arms. I may see if I can oxyclean those out.

Wednesday

Thursday: Feeling very “what is the point of this day” and it was so incredibly nice outside I was cursing every moment I had to be indoors. Knock Knock Linen top, YY pant, Frye shoes.

Thursday

Tonight Z and I are going to head to our old stomping grounds in the city for dinner (a dive sushi place in a half-basement cafe on a corner that we love) and then see Interpol play.

It’s been a weird week, but a productive one. Last weekend after reading Archana’s post, I binged on buying plants and have 5 new ones I’m not sure I can take care of, but damnit I will try. I’ve already moved one several times to get better lighting for it.

Also, I forget where I read it, but someone I follow recently talked about going without deodorant and I realized that the older I’ve gotten the less deodorant I need to use. Or maybe I’m just not nervous sweating like crazy as much as I used to? I dunno, but I tried an experiment this week where I’ve not gone with any deodorant at all this week. I normally wear antiperspirant, which I think is even more damaging to fabrics and maybe even myself, but it’s what I’ve always done and never questioned. Verdict? Well the weather was mild this week so it’s not been too much an issue and any stress sweating I did at work didn’t leave me smelly although I panicked a bit on Wednesday because I felt wet under my arms and thought for sure I’d stink to high hell. Nope. After work on Monday and Tuesday I attacked the flower bed out front that had been taken over by crap grass and even with sweating up a storm that way I still didn’t smell bad. I do know I can have stinky sweat but maybe it’s not as bad now? I’m really confused on it or maybe I need to wait until the 90 degree weather hits next week to know if going without is ultimately a good idea. Also, I’ve not worn overly tight clothing, which would definitely be a good litmus test for this.

A little run

I honestly did mean to post this week, but work has been all manner of WTF lately. One would think it would have been a great week because it was short due to the holiday, but in manufacturing it turns into, “HOLY SHIT WE ONLY HAVE FOUR DAYS TO GET X AMOUNT OF PRODUCT OUT!” On top of that, half of my day Thursday was spent taking a photographer from our marketing company around the whole building to do new company/website shots. So that entire afternoon was shot for me and I nearly cried when I looked at my email just before I left for the day.

I have a ton of things to talk about and to show, but I’ll have to break it all down into separate posts because I don’t want to make this one post The Longest Post Ever and I don’t have that kind of attention span to make it all that interesting.

Last Friday I left work midday so Z and I could head out on our mini vaca. We booked a house in the woods with a lake view almost 3 hours north of here. That area of PA has lots of waterfalls and lakes. We were the only car without a kayak and/or canoe on our vehicle driving up on the highway. The area was very pretty (and buggy) and we had a great long weekend getaway. I took a ton of photos of the waterfalls and hiking trails we went on. This post will just be photos for this week.

Friday night we ate dinner at a restaurant called the Waterwheel Cafe. It’s a cafe/ bar and the food was phenomenal. Because the mill itself is a historic site, there’s a self-guided tour people can take of the building.

Friday Mill

I bought some coffee from the cafe after dinner. I didn’t have any for the rental house. This photo was taken on the second floor of the mill tour. Z and I had the whole mill to ourselves because all other guests were in the bar watching the live band play.

last friday

This is technically what I wore to work that Friday and only changed into the sleeveless shirt (above) after we got to our rental. This is the back deck of the rental and behind me is the lake between the trees. I was probably swatting away bugs in this photo.

Saturday

Saturday: This photo is post waterfall hiking tour and post swim in freshwater lake. I wore my bikini top instead of a bra because I knew I’d be sweating a lot from the hike and I knew we’d most likely go swimming later in the day.

Monday

Tuesday – Back to work.

tuesday

Wednesday: Rainy and dark all day. I was banging my head against the wall with work stuff and managers not paying attention/ doing their jobs. The blue band on the table is my PT workout band the therapist gave me. PT this week was also insane. I was really sore after Tuesday’s session.

thursday

I technically had on my company pullover shirt all day but I didn’t want it photographed and I was being lazy. I wore my black sleeveless on underneath it all day and only took it off when I went to PT, which was brutal again and had me sweating up a storm.

friday

Friday: My custom Rosen linen shirt arrived in the mail (along with a Yohji Yamamoto 3-piece suit I bought a few days after buying the shirt *ahem*). Both items fit wonderfully and confused the hell out of Z. Even my boss said Friday, “What is going on with that shirt? It’s got two collars!” Apparently my boss gets very confused when I wear jeans. I found out it’s because he’s used to seeing me wear weird clothes so when I wear something “normal” like jeans he’s thrown off. I’d like to say I don’t quite get it but I just laughed it off.

Anyway, the shirt is amazing and comfortable. I love the color, which is gray, but with a slight beigey-mauve tone to it. It’s very lightweight, but has the perfect weight to it for warmth in an air conditioned office. I am very glad I got this custom sized. I had the shoulders, sleeves, and general width brought in, but it’s still nicely loose on me. This might be my perfect summer office shirt. And truth be told, I’m wearing it again right now.

I wore my Nisolo Oliver oxfords this week (Wednesday) and realized I really should have bought them in a size 8.5 instead of 8. I am regularly a size 8, but I guess the fit of these shoes is best for wearing them without socks, which I don’t like. I also think the style isn’t overly flattering on me because the only time I have skinny looking ankles is when I’m laying down. My legs always swell when I’m sitting/standing and I get the slight cankle look no matter what. The style of the oxfords would look better on someone who has tiny ankles. Plus, whenever I wear them, the lump comes back on the back of my tendon. It’s because the backs dig in a little and even though it doesn’t bother my right leg, I am annoyed at how it does affect my left. I’m not sure if I should try taking them to a cobbler to have them stretched out or if I should just sell them. Any thoughts, friends?

Friday I wore my trusty old Frye oxfords. They have much higher of a heel but they are very comfortable. I’ve had them for several years and they are nicely broken in. I should take them to a cobbler as well for cleaning and to be fixed up a bit. I want them to last. Even though these raise my leg and shorten the tendon, which does causes my foot to be more plantar flexion (pointing down), I did not get a lump at all wearing them.

And now to the title of this post: I actually went for a run today. For me, that’s freaking BIG ASS AMAZING, OMG, SERIOUSLY, WHAT- I CAN DO THIS AGAIN, AMAZING news. I started out by going for a walk, thinking I’d just take the long route like I used to and haven’t done in two years. Halfway through, where the land evens out for a long section (our neighborhood is slightly hilly) I decided to run just a little and probably ended up running 3/4 of a mile. Zero calf/ tendon pain. The only discomfort I had was in front of my ankle. I forget if it’s a tendon or muscle (I think it’s muscle) but basically it near atrophied while I was in the boot for so long and so stretching it out has been a huge focus during PT. I have several stretches I need to do multiple times a day for it and while it is very gradually getting better, it’s going to take a long time before it’s back to normal. That area did cause me some trouble during the run but not flat out pain. I simply need to keep up with the strengthening/ stretching exercises.

My run was super hot because it’s insanely humid out today. I was drenched in sweat when I got home – something else I also miss about running – and Z immediately gave me the stink eye, “You went running, didn’t you! You need to be careful! Ask your PT therapist if you should be running first!” Yes, dear.

Kuro

Ys1

“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all black says this: ‘I don’t bother you – don’t bother me’.” – Yohji Yamamoto

I’ve read a lot of interviews with Yamamoto-san and there are lots of famous quotes by him about fashion and style. His quote about the color black is one of his most famous. There is another I read somewhere about him always looking for a new kind of black. In looking at my own wardrobe, I can see why he’d look for it – there are many shades and hues of black.

I was going to write a different title to this post, but after ironing out my new clothes last night, kuro, which means black in Japanese, was the only one that fits.

Last week I mentioned I got a couple packages and in them were my first items by Yohji Yamamoto. I can’t afford his newest creations and can’t even really afford anything on sale by him either, but some not-as-expensive vintage items and used items are in my affordable range.

Ys2

One of the items is the shirt I’m wearing today. While ironing the shirt last night I noticed all the details that went in to making it. The collar has elongated points for dramatic flair, but also a slightly more than usual curve at the back to lay perfectly flat when curved around the neck. That slight camel-hump kind of curve is something I’ve not seen in any other collared shirt I have and when I compared it to others, I was thoroughly impressed with how well it lay when worn. Although the buttons are large for this kind of shirt and there’s a larger than usual gap in between them, the shirt still lays flat and doesn’t bulge out in between buttons. The slits at the side ended up being much higher on me than I thought when ironing the shirt, but I like the difference when looking at it from the side while wearing it today. I love the detailed darts on the back of the shirt and the slightly puffed front pleats below the shoulders. Despite the darts, which tend to make a shirt constrict more, there’s enough pleating to still make moving around in the shirt completely comfortable. There’s also the color. In some light, the black could take on a sheen, but then also look matte. It’s a perfect black and I’ve never had any shirt look this black before, which makes it very beautiful and exciting to wear. It makes me think this is what the title to one of my favorite anime means: Darker Than Black. This is that color. Yamamoto-san knows his black. The fabric is also nice. It’s a blend of linen and rayon, which makes it slightly stiff, but still rather soft and very smooth to the touch. It does wrinkle, but those wrinkles look like added details.

Ys3

I’m sure Yohji-sama would say – it’s just a shirt! – and he would be right. It is just a shirt, but I’ve never had a shirt this nice before made by a designer I admire and that makes it extra special to me. I appreciate all the detail and work that went in to making it. I already want to wear it with different bottoms for the rest of the week. I want to own more clothing with this attention to detail and artistry. This is what makes clothes fun to wear and makes me want to preserve them and keep them forever.

Many fashion blogs I follow focus on sustainable and ethical clothing choices. Some of them might even be offended that I referred to them as fashion blogs – I think the term is influencer sites? I guess because they influence lots of other people to buy and wear the same clothes from the same sustainable and ethical clothing manufacturers or whatever it is they are promoting. I still don’t get it, but that’s the only way I can explain it. If there’s a better definition then feel free to correct me. I don’t wish to offend any of them.

But that’s just it – these influencer bloggers all wear the same clothes, just in slightly different ways. Reading one or two of them is fine, but after that… you’ve seen them all. I was very much on that train for a while, wanting to wear the same things they did because they promoted sustainable and ethical means, etc… There’s nothing wrong with that – other than I got bored because I’m tired of seeing the same thing so many times.  I found it kinda ironic that the same thing happens with fast fashion as well, but those clothes get rotated out faster because they fall apart more easily or because something new is in. I do follow some influencer sites, but I’m actually more interested in the other tidbits they have to say. I’m more interested in them as people and find them interesting. Sure, I’ll end up finding out about some good deals on Everlane or Garmentory or wherever as a result, which is always a perk. Finding good staples is never a bad thing.

But now, I think I’ve found my way of being a more conscientious shopper. I’m more interested in the designers/ clothing brands I enjoy and realized there’s a lot of it available that’s used or pre-owned. These are limited items that have been worn or tucked away and need a new home and I’m searching for them to add to my home. Sure, I could buy some more wide-leg pants from Everlane, but I could also wait until I find a pair of wide-leg pants from Yohji Yamamoto, 45rpm, Kapital, Comme de Garcons, or other designers that may be in the same price range if I look enough through ebay, poshmark, or discounters.

There’s an excitement to owning something you really desire from a designer or artist. It’s about appreciating their craft. While I applaud Everlane and companies like it that work towards ethical fashion, I still don’t feel the clothing is as precious to me because they will still make many more runs of the same clothes over and over again. Sometimes the styles are phased out, but there isn’t as much novelty to them, especially since so many other companies like them are doing the same thing. Also, I don’t feel there is the same sort of attention to detail with the clothing. This is not to downplay the importance of these companies. I’d rather see people buy from them than Walmart or Target or other fast fashion types of places. However, why would I want to spend $200 on pants from Elizabeth Suzann that I know every other blogger I follow wears when I could buy some vintage Y’s pants around the same price instead that make me really happy?

This isn’t to say I’m not going to buy from those companies anymore. I prefer to put more effort now into waiting and finding the clothes from the designers I desire and if I need items to supplement that wardrobe, then yes, I’ll happily spend the money on more ethical clothing retailers.

Who knew one shirt could create such a long, rambling blog post? This is probably two or three different topics’ worth of information, but I’m not too good at being succinct.

outfit

Shirt: Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto. Jeans: Grana. Shoes: Nisolo.