Finally the topic I have been waiting for Joanie to tackle: denim! And not just because almost all of my jeans have big knee holes right now (checks Joanie’s notes: I guess I’ve been washing them too much). Denim trends are mysterious and unexpected, but as a category they are one of my favorite types of clothing. I learned a lot reading her thoughts and dared to imagine wearing a few different cuts, I hope you enjoy!
The long awaited and hotly debated topic, denim!
Denim is a very personal style choice. So take all my picks with a grain of salt and try them for yourself. Denim trends can shift dramatically, high to low rise, skinny jeans to wide leg, cropped, flare, baggy, tight, etc but it’s my personal belief that if you find a pair of jeans you love, you should wear them forever regardless of style. That doesn’t mean you should not try other styles, I think you should push your limits!
But it does mean that you can feel free to wear what you like regardless of trend. I know a friend who has been wearing flares for the last 10 years because they look good on her and they fit her personal style, despite skinny jeans being the required denim for 6+ years.
I also want to encourage you to get your denim altered, and not just the hem. I bought a pair of vintage Levis’ five years ago for $95. I had them slightly tapered and taken in at the thigh by a half inch, it cost me about $50 and it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve worn those jeans 1,000 x because they fit me like a glove. Denim is designed to last you for years, so take the time to get them altered exactly as you want them. If you’re getting them hemmed: I would highly suggest asking them to keep the original hem. It’s not always possible based on how much length you’re getting taken off, but it makes a big difference in how they look. The original hem has distressing and thread that is hard to duplicate.
A note on cropping, if you’re buying a pair of cropped jeans, more than likely you’ll need to get them altered because they are probably designed for someone 5’ 8” +. Cropped pants should hit above the ankle bone, showing that bone creates a very flattering line that you won’t be able to get if the pant covers your ankle. This small adjustment makes all the difference. You might try on a cropped pair of pants and they feel all wrong, tuck the hem in a couple of inches and the pant should look much chicer. And if you’re cropping them, you’ll also want to taper them slightly to maintain the original design.
I know denim with stretch is all the rage and I like it too. But, there is a case to be made for 100% cotton denim, they will feel stiff at first but once they’re broken in they will mold to your body and they will last forever. They also hold their shape beautifully. There is a reason that Levi’s from the 70’s still look great.
A note about washing, don’t over wash your denim! I rarely wash mine, especially darker colored ones, they wear much faster with lots of washing. Spot treat them and hang them up if they need to air out.
P.S. If you’re wanting that classic vintage Levi Mom jean look and you’re shopping vintage look for 501’s. Look at the color of the denim and make sure that’s what you want, the rest can be altered but the fading/color can’t be changed.
P.P.S. I link to Shopbop several times because they have fast and free shipping and very easy returns! If you’re a prime member they give you free two day shipping.
And a way we go!
a. I own these jeans and I really, really like them. I wasn’t sold at first but they have become a favorite. They have several great washes and even a couple with holes in them, if that’s your thing. I am personally not a fan of buying denim with holes in them. The holes end up landing in strange places and they don’t look natural. But that’s a personal preference. They will stretch, for sizing if you want them to be snug order your normal size, I ordered one size up for a relaxed fit and can wear them comfortably all day.
b. Hate the name but love the fit on these Levi Wedgie jeans. They’re high waisted, thick fabric and hold their shape really well. I would order your normal size and one size up. They will give slightly with wear.
c. AGOLDE denim deserves a mention for many of their styles. If you haven’t checked them out, I encourage you to do so. The have the Riley crop and they come in several colors, but the “Air Blue” gives you the most classic denim look. The Nico style is the one to pick if you want a classic skinny jean style.
e. B Sides
d. Here is a great wide leg option if you want to test the waters but don’t want anything too wide or dramatic. I like the idea of getting them in black and pairing them with a fun high shoe for going out (when we can do that again). I like the look of dark denim with a fancy cropped sweater of jacket for evening.
e. I’ve been a big fan of B Sides Jeans for years. They are a Brooklyn based company that makes one of a kind pairs with vintage denim and several years ago they launched their own line. The are going to be a bit on the trendy side but the quality of the denim is top notch. I find their jeans to run a bit small, so if you’re in-between, I’d order up. I like their Plein jean for a year-round white/cream denim option. Would be very chic in the winter with a black turtleneck and a big belt. Their jeans often say “sold out” but put your email down to be notified as they do restocks.
f. Order these before they sell out! I bough a pair of these last summer and they are a go-to for me and sell out quickly. They have a similar feeling to the wildly expensive Jesse Kamm pant. They are so comfortable and flattering and look great worn styled many ways. They are long but I took my kitchen scissors and cut them to the length I wanted, no need to pay to have them altered. They run slightly big. I ordered my true size, 4, which fits well but I could have done a 2 for a more fitted look.
g. Citizens of Humanity
i. Madewell skinny
g. The only time I’ve ever stopped a woman on the street to ask her what denim she was wearing was with the Citizen of Humanity Charlotte jean. These have a slight vintage look but feel very modern and incredibly chic. They are expensive but the quality is great and they should last you years of almost daily wear. I like the gray color as it’s unexpected but they come in a variety of washes and I also love this classic look.
h. A cute boyfriend jean option, Size down one or two sizes and if you’re on the shorter side expect to get them altered or wear them with a big cuff. Boyfriend jeans are supposed to be casual, oversized and relaxed so don’t stress over the fit too much. Pair them with a fitted top or a cropped sweater.
i. Rounding out this round up with a pair of can’t-go-wrong-skinny-jeans from Madewell. I personally love the 10” rise, it sits above the hip bone, which I like. I’ve owned these jeans for 5+ years and still wear them regularly. You won’t regret them! They come in three lengths which is very helpful.
Today’s post is going to be a little bit different. We’re going to talk about shopping secondhand and vintage, specially on eBay. I could spend an embarrassing amount of time pursuing eBay and Etsy for vintage. It’s thrilling for me and since I can’t add much more to my own closet I end up sending links to people I know telling them to buy this sweater/coat/boots, etc. Part of me is hesitant to give away my shopping secrets but the truer, purer part of me loves knowing someone found something great that they love and will wear, at a fraction of a new retail price. Shopping secondhand is good for the earth, your wallet, and once you get into it, you get a real high from it! Or at least I do. 🙂
I’m going to narrow today’s conversation to sweaters because they are one of my favorite things to buy secondhand. The sizing and fit is flexible which makes it a great starting point to buying vintage–there is not a lot of loss or risk involved. Referring to our sizing conversation from post #1: Don’t be afraid to buy two or three sizes up from your normal size! Knitwear is great oversized.
Some items might have small imperfections, I say: embrace them. I’m not looking for 100% perfect condition when I’m shopping secondhand, it has a history!
Everything we’ve linked is one of a kind, they are currently all available when this post went live but things move quickly!
Dear readers, a few dated elements of my old theme broke last week. So I am reconstructing and reimagining this blog space. It’s not perfect yet. But seasonal footwear goes on, and we have a few favorites from my sister Joanie this week. Thank you Joanie!
Okay, let’s do fall/winter footwear! Yes, I live in Los Angeles but I take several cold/snow trips every year to Michigan, New York and Colorado so I’m well versed in the subject. I have to keep my shoe lineup tight as I’m generally packing things in a suitcase and don’t have a ton of room. When I’m traveling, I like to bring one boot with a stacked heel that I can wear with pants or a dress with tights, one all weather boot that’s waterproof and a boot that’s weather appropriate but maybe a bit more stylish for when it’s cold but not sleeting or snowing.
Something that took me way too many years to learn is that when you’re investing in a boot or a shoe, take it to a cobbler and get the sole and heel re-enforced before wearing them. It will add a lot of life to your boots and also prevent you from having to do damage control down the line when you wear a hole in the sole. Many fall/winter shoes are expensive and should last you for years. Properly caring for them from the minute you buy them will help. This doesn’t apply to rubber soles, but ones like the Madewell or Everlane pairs below.
This week’s style advice column written by my sister Joanie. Most links are affiliate. Thank you Joanie!
Rachael has made a request for a denim post, which is coming, but before then we’re going to cover something that I would argue is even more basic than denim and that’s the t-shirt. They can be the workhorse of your closet and something that goes with everything from a pencil skirt to your favorite pair of sweats.
Remember the sizing discussion we had last time? That applies to this area as well. There is a time and place for the fitted tee and also for a gently oversized one. There is something very chic about a fitted skirt or pair of jeans with a loosely tucked in t-shirt that falls slightly open at the neck. It makes your whole outfit more comfortable which in turn makes you feel better in it which is really the most important part. The #1 key to anything looking good is that you feel good in it. We’ve all (or maybe it’s just me?!) worn those outfits that required constant pulling and tugging and making sure the hem isn’t flying up or the button isn’t gapping and even if it’s this seasons Gucci dress there is nothing stylish about an outfit that requires constant pulling, tucking or tugging. You have to want to be wearing what you’re wearing, that’s really the biggest part of style.
So if you find a t-shirt you love, buy two and start wearing them with everything. I think, as a foundation, you should have a white, black, grey and striped t-shirt in your closet. Those four will cover most of your needs. And then once you have those you can start adding in other options, like a graphic t-shirt or variations of a white tee. A short sleeve t-shirt is a year round item
One note on t-shirts that might be slightly see through, I recommend wearing them a white bra. I think it’s chicer than a nude bra but that’s just personal preference.
Also, I’m going to suggest a couple of t-shirts that will probably seem way over priced. Reason being, I have a couple of $50 tees that have lasted me years and that I truly wear several times a week which makes cost per wear pennies.
Here are my picks!
I am forever texting my sister Joanie style questions. She understands fashion heritage and trends in a way I will never fathom. I was so excited when she agreed to do a regular column on here! All links are affiliate. You are welcome to suggest a focus for her next column, secretly I’m hoping: jeans. And now, Joanie:
I’m excited to be collaborating with my sister on this new style column. I can sum up our style relationship as me knowing almost everything that is in her wardrobe and being truly shocked when I see her in something I didn’t pick out or approve for her to buy. Sister honesty is nice when it comes to things like clothing. She can send me a text asking what I think of a sweater and I can simply respond with “no” without fearing that I’ve hurt her feelings!
The agenda of this column is less trend, more: personal style, share things I’ve found and loved, styling tips, and general clothing fun. I worked in fashion for several years and have dressed hundreds of women of every shape and size which has given me a deep appreciation for the female body and clothing it. I’m also sympathetic for the mass confusion that clothing brands have caused for women trying to dress for themselves. Fashion or style can be categorized into vanity but in reality, it’s something that impacts us everyday. I don’t think it should occupy too much of your brain-space, but I do know there is comfort, efficiency, and power in having some items in your closet that you really love and that make you feel good. And then building on those items over years so that you have a wardrobe that, for the most part, you love.
There are lots of tips to make shopping (in-person and online) easier and I’ll share some along the way. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a question! The first thing I want to touch on as a baseline for all posts going forward is size/sizing, since it impacts every part of shopping. We’ll call this tip, “letting go of your grip on size”. Fashion has become a numbers game with people constantly telling themselves, “I’m a 6”, or “I’m a 12” and living and dying by that number. Every brand (and within that brand every item) is going to run differently. Even if you ordered the same pair of pants year after year they would all fit slightly different. I can’t tell you how many great pieces I would have missed out if I only tried the item in “my size”. And beyond that, how many amazing sale rack pieces I’ve found because the sizing was clearly wrong and most people left the piece behind when their believed size didn’t fit. I have things that fit in my closet from a size 0-8 and that’s a realistic range, given that I’m generally a size 4. Plan on freely going up or down two sizes whenever you’re trying something on. We have such a strong relationship to our size equalling some part of our self-worth that a self-identified Size 6 fitting best in a 10 can throw some people off. Focus more on the fit than the number. I’ll make notes around items if I believe they run large or small. Some brands like H&M always runs small and others, like Everlane, run on the bigger size. And don’t be afraid to order multiple of the same item. We are fully in the online-shopping age and surrendering our access to the dressing room means creating options within your online order.
A note on items that I pick, I get feedback from both sides of people saying please don’t promote fast fashion and others who say please make things affordable. And I see both sides, the reality is not everyone can afford to spend $150 on a dress and as much as I promote ethical manufacturing and practices I also want to be inclusive so you’ll see a mix of all brands here. I also believe that vintage/second hand shopping is one of the best ways to shop for a number of reasons but that’s hard to include in a blog post. I would say that 50% of my wardrobe is second hand and I’ll include tips, when I can, for the best ways to shop secondhand.
And now for today’s topic, KNITS! to me, knits are year-round, but Fall is upon us which means they’re even more in focus. H&M and Mango happen to be one of my favorite places to buy them and I’ve included several in this round-up. My recommendation is if you see something you love, act quickly, things sell out fast. Knitwear is also easy to find secondhand, when people clean out their closets to make space they give away bulky items like sweaters and coats. The Men’s section of the thrift store generally yields better results.