What I Wore This Week: A Revelation

Let me tell You about this thing I did.

So two weeks ago, Eli went on a sleepover! It was very exciting.  We celebrated by going to the mall, because I had a bunch of stuff I needed to return to Lands’ End.  While I was there, I tried on a cute striped jacket and another one of those Lands’ End dresses we all loved, but in navy, and a dress I had been eyeing at the Gap, and then I put it all back.  I have no idea why, but I put it all back.

Then I came home and proceeded to dump a whole bunch of stuff from Old Navy into my cart online.  When that order showed up, it was all awful.  Too short, see through, didn’t fit, and worst of all, a sweater that made me feel SAD.  Literally, I felt sad whenever I put it on, even though in my head, when I ordered it, I had seen myself looking so cute! in it.  Much cuter than any of the clothes I had tried on at the mall the weekend before.  But somehow, after I was done packing up all the Old Navy stuff so I could return it all, I couldn’t get that Lands’ End jacket out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about that dress I’d tried on at the Gap.  And so I went back.  For the second time in a two week period, I went back to the mall.  I know.

BUT while I was there, I crossed some kind of bar.  Yes, those clothes were more expensive than the very very cheap clothes at Old Navy.  And also because I was trying them on and standing there looking at myself them and although I looked good, I was also not able to pretend that they were going to make me look aspirationally better than I actually look, if that makes sense. I did not have a false picture of myself in those clothes, because I was standing there looking at them in the mirror.

For some reason, it’s really hard for me to pay $20 for a well made t shirt. I would rather buy $40 worth of dresses on Ebay than one $40 dress at the Gap, even though when Ebay things show up they are often faded, or don’t fit, or look a little off.  It took me three trips to the mall to buy a jacket that looks great on me and was on sale for $38 dollars, because I am so much more comfortable with the idea of an $18 sweater, even if it makes me feel sad every time I put it on.  It’s very strange, it really is.

So my “list of clothing I am not allowed to buy because it’s actually terrible” started with random Target t shirts, and it has extended to everything at Old Navy, unfortunately, and most things on Ebay and probably almost everything online, and thrifted stuff I can’t try on.  In general, even though I hate it, I should be trying things on in the store.  When I think about the things I still own and that I love and that look great on me, it’s mostly clothes from J. Crew and Banana Republic.  When I think about the things that fill the giveaway bags year after year, it’s a pile of clothes from Old Navy, dresses that looked cute on the first time and then never fit right again, t shirts that shrank, dresses that faded or pilled.

I will probably have to learn this lesson a few times, I’m guessing.  I love buying shoes on Ebay.  I still really like the sweaters in Target, actually.  And like I said, all the stuff that I bought this weekend from Lands’ End or the Gap was WAY on sale.  (Although interestingly most of it isn’t actually on sale online, which is another reason to go to the store.)

So.  Whatever.  Most people figured all this stuff out years ago, I know.  I’m getting there, though.

{Polo: Izod (Marshalls), Skirt (Gap), Necklace: Target, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

I wore this skirt a few weeks ago with a white t shirt and hated it, but I felt like if I wore it with a white polo shirt, it might redeem it. And it did! I finally found a white polo and when I wore it with this outfit, I LOVED this. I think it’s a little boring looking in pictures, but in person I thought it was super cute and flattering.

{Shirt: Banana Republic, Shorts: Target (Mossimo), Shoes: J.Crew}

I bought this shirt in a fit of desperation when I was shopping for The Blathering last year. It ABSOLUTELY KILLED me to pay $40 for this shirt, and yet it’s gorgeous and I love it and I’ve worn it a ton. I don’t even want to think about much money I spent on MUCH CHEAPER clothing that I have since gotten rid of.

{Jacket: Lands’ End (way on sale in the store (Sears) but not online), Denim Capris: Old Navy, Necklace: Ebay, Shoes: J. Crew}

This is the infamous striped jacket. I really love it. I can see myself wearing the crap out of it this fall.  They had a ton two weeks ago in the store, and when I went back, they didn’t have any. I went to go try a dress on anyway, and there was one, in my size, hanging on the dressing room door, marked down to $30 something dollars. Kismet!

{Dress:  Banana Republic, Shoes: J. Crew}

The nice thing about taking pictures is that when something is off, you can see it and work on it. I wore this dress a few weeks ago and I thought it looked weird. So I tried it without the built in green panel thing and I liked it MUCH better.

{Dress: Lands’ End, Necklace: Target, Cami: American Eagle, Sandals: Gap}

I had to go back and get this dress in navy.  There’s almost none left online but in the Lands’ End section in my Sears there were a fair amount still remaining.  Also, these shoes were on sale for $9 at the Gap in Roseville, fyi. And they have orange, tan, and some other color I forget.  I kind of wish I had bought three pairs.  They slip on! Best shoes ever.

This look, by the way, is saying: “Preschool was canceled but I didn’t find out until I got there. The dress I wanted to wear is in the wash. I slept funny and now I can’t move my neck.  I am not at all sure about this necklace and I had to retake these pictures because the first set was blurry, and I realized I wore those J. Crew wedges in every picture and I just had to grease up my daughter’s leg with olive oil to get it out from in between the crib bars, and some horrible spam robo caller is sending me to the brink of insanity but I am SMILING ANYWAY.”

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19 Responses

  1. That striped jacket is amazing on you. And your realization is exactly why I can’t buy clothes online. I don’t like shopping in person, but trying things on makes a definite difference. I really want to try the jcrew personal shopper thing, but I’m afraid of how much money I’d spend.

  2. I may or may not have visited your site about 10 billion times today because I was so anxious to see today’s post. So YAY!

    Love love love all these outfits. You look fantastic. That jacket is killer. DOWN WITH SAD SWEATERS!

  3. You are hilarious! I love everything you wore, and I LOVE that Gap skirt on you! That navy shirt is so pretty and flattering, and though you’re not sure about it, that necklace is adorable.

    You’ve basically done a “What Not to Wear” episode on yourself. Brava!

    I can’t believe you had to grease up Katie’s leg! Was there screaming involved?

    • Yes, she was super pissed. She does it on purpose though, so I have a hard time feeling sorry for her. When she doesn’t want to sleep, she jams her knee in between the slats, and then screams “My knee is stuck” so we have to come in there and we can’t make her CIO. My daughter is smarter than I am, basically.

  4. You’re so totally hot. (And yes, I stopped shopping at ON too for the same reasons. I don’t need clothes that remind me of my mommy tummy every single second of the day.)

  5. Another week of super cute outfits! Usually there’s one or two that really stand out but I think all of these are fabulous.

  6. It’s hard to reach these revelations, isn’t it? I feel like I am still working on them myself. And thank you again for recommending that Lands End dress, I wore the one I got to a cookout on the 4th and got so many compliments, and it was so comfy! Win-win.

  7. “When I think about the things I still own and that I love and that look great on me, it’s mostly clothes from J. Crew and Banana Republic. When I think about the things that fill the giveaway bags year after year, it’s a pile of clothes from Old Navy, dresses that looked cute on the first time and then never fit right again, t shirts that shrank, dresses that faded or pilled.”

    yes! i’ve been trying to really learn this over the last year or so. i am currently wearing a THIRTY DOLLAR T-SHIRT from j.crew that nearly killed me to buy, but i wear it ALL THE TIME and it’s the most flattering t-shirt i have. how is that not worth 3 crappy $10 t-shirts!?

  8. I love that last dress. So flattering. And I love that navy shirt.

    I’ve only had one online shopping experience go well. One out of way too many.

    Also, I’m learning too that I just need to stay away from Old Navy and go to actual adult clothing stores. It’s hard because they have Cute dresses for Cheap. But you are right. They look cute once.

  9. Yeah, I’m there with ON too, but weirdly I swear I really liked the ON maternity clothes I had. They seemed…thicker?

  10. I have to say I love these posts! You are inspiring me to get out of my yoga pants at least a few times a week!

  11. Old Navy clothes are perfect for kids but HORRIBLE for moms. Nothing there lasts more than a season and mostly it’s not flattering. JCREW stuff lasts for years. It hurts to pay their prices but shopping the sale rack often yields fruit. Another brand you might like? Maxx Studio. Lots of flattering dresses.

  12. I try to go for quality over quantity with my clothes. Sometimes? I actually succeed. :p

    Although with maternity clothes, all bets are off. Even the expensive stuff is cheaply made. My line in the sand is that I’m only buying things when they’re on sale.

  13. Yup, I learned that lesson about 7 years ago. I Never shop at Old Navy, no matter how cute or how cheap. It is not worth it. I’d rather pay more for better quality. I’d rather buy what I know will fit and work than take a hope and chance on something cheap that never gets worn or gets given away.

  14. Do you ever go to Loehman’s? I tend to avoid going there bc it’s a big schlep and then I have to put aside a big chunk of time to sort through everything — but I swear, every time I go I find multiple high-quality items. It’s not dirt cheap but they have TONS of sales and coupons and really, it is just so worth it. So I try to make myself go once every 3 months and I’m always glad I did.

  15. I love these posts! Also – wondering where you got the reward chart that has worked for you? After a scream-y week over here I think we need to make some changes…

  16. I’m new to your blog but I read some of your archives and I have to say that I adore your style (both home decor and fashion). I love BR and the Gap – I’m an abnormally tall lady (6′) and their tall sizes fit me fantastically so I’ve been in the habit of shopping those stores for awhile. The prices slay me but it’s (mostly) good quality stuff and lasts awhile if I take care of the garments properly. I love those j. crew wedges!!

  17. LOVE that banana republic shirt, you look so cute! And I also can’t wear Old Navy more than once or twice. Stupid tempting cheap clothes.

    I bought 3 of those Lands End dresses because of you, but only the 2 in size L fit thanks to my lack of boobage. I am wondering if I can make the 3rd fit by using your tank top trick. If not, anyone want to buy a cherry red dress in XL before I return it? DM me.

  18. Thank you for posting your weekly outfit updates. You inspire me, and remind me that I don’t have to spend a lot of money to dress well. Thanks for that!

    Also, have you read Karen Thompson Walker’s _The Age of Miracles_? I just finished it and it was really great.

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