Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful

It will likely come as a surprise to no one that I purchased this sweater during a snow filled wind storm last week.

Sweater: Amour Vert / Turtleneck: Icone / Jeans: 7 For All Mankind / Boots: Frye / Watch: Skagen

I’m generally pretty wary of shopping for shirts online, especially when returns are expensive, if not impossible. Ordering a shirt online from a store I’ve never shopped at before? That was really going out on a limb. All that aside, I took the plunge and ordered this sweater from Amour Vert during their sale last week.

There were several reasons why I liked this sweater when looking at it online, other than the obvious – colour and stripes. This sweater hit a bit lower on the model’s hip compared to the other styles. Most sweaters are being designed quite boxy these days, and the shorter length of them visually adds width to my midsection. Not what I’m going for. This sweater hits more on the hip, which I personally find a bit more forgiving. The raglan style sleeve meant I didn’t have to worry about shoulder seams hitting in an awkward spot either. Given the height of the models and where their bust hit the stripes, I was reasonably sure the stripes wouldn’t sit awkwardly high on me. The neckline, while technically a crew neck, is wide enough that it’s less constricting and on the model almost carried some of the visual properties of a boatneck. The sleeves are cuffed on both of the models, indicating a fairly generous length. I’ve had my fair share of too short sleeves in the past, so seeing this was a bonus as well.

Having received it, I’m pleased with the material. The sweater is a nice, thick, dense, 100% Merino knit. Given how much some retailers are charging for much thinner Merino/poly blends these days, this sweater is comparatively a very good value. The yarn is soft, and it isn’t itchy at all. I’ve worn it directly against my skin with no problems whatsoever. Barring unforeseen colour bleeding/unravelling/moths, this is the kind of sweater you can hold onto for life. Most places don’t make them like this anymore.

That being said, I ordered the small and it’s kinda big on me.

My first thought was that since it’s 100% wool, odds were good that I could shrink it down to a smaller size in warm to hot water. My biggest concern was colour bleeding. My mom has her Masters in spinning (yes, that’s a thing), and specializes in wool, so I figured it would be worth getting her two cents on the subject. She advised me that Merino is one of the easiest types of wool to full when you wash it, potentially wrecking the sweater (fulling is to woven and knitted fabric what felting is to non-woven fibres). After looking at the construction of the sweater she advised me to take the sweater in at the seams instead. I’ll baste (tack) the sweater together with some thread, and if I like the result she’ll spin some matching Merino for me to properly stitch it up with.

In the mean time I have a chunky cozy sweater to curl up in. If we go through another cold snap like the one we just had, you’ll find me holed up in this sweater with a mug of tea in hand.

What are you wearing to combat the cold these days? Or are you lucking out with some gorgeous winter weather right now?

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

New Year New Strategy

Looking back on the last couple years has been a great teacher when it comes to budgeting for my wardrobe.

When I first started this blog, I allowed myself $250 a month. Part of that limit was to prevent overspending, but part of it was also to mentally allow myself the space to buy clothes. After a few years of minimal spending, my wardrobe was dilapidated and quite hodgepodge.

After some contemplation, while $250 was certainly a lot of money, it didn’t always allow me the flexibility to invest in some of the higher quality items I would have liked, such as thick jackets and good leather boots. Modifying my budget to $750 a quarter allowed me the flexibility to spend more on a quality item some months while saving in other months. This has been a very successful strategy for me, and it has allowed me the flexibility to purchase items such as my high rise skinny jeans, which have been worn 29 times in the last two and a half months.

Looking back on my budget posts though, I can see that it has also allowed a significant amount of mistake spending. Spur of the moment items that I wouldn’t buy again if given the chance. As great as sale racks are, they are also where I make the bulk of my mistakes.

This year I won’t be reining in my budget, but I will be reining in the volume. I purchased 57 items in 2016. I’m having difficulty comprehending that quantity, but I just went back through my posts and tallied the individual items. Now granted, 30 of those items were purchased due to size fluctuations as a result of being pregnant, but it’s still a lot.

My husband has commented recently on the amount of turnover in my closet. He’s right, I have donated a lot of clothing in the last couple years, some of it more recently purchased than I care to admit. That turnover needs to slow down, and that will only happen if the items coming in to my wardrobe are actually good enough to stay there.

For 2017, I intend to purchase no more than three clothing items a quarter. This does not include underthings such as bras/underwear/slips/socks/etc… It also does not include accessories such as shoes and purses, which I will be covering in a second. The intention here is to spend a lot more time thinking about how individual pieces of clothing will work within the larger framework of my wardrobe. I need pieces that offer ease and flexibility, allowing me to mix and match what I have more easily than what I currently can.

In terms of accessories, I will be purchasing no more than one accessory per quarter, with a small exception:

The boots I purchased recently turned out to have a defective zipper, and I am returning them to the manufacturer for a full refund. With this in mind, I will be putting that money back into footwear, and allowing myself to purchase two accessories in the first quarter of the year.

All going well, that will result in no more than 17 purchased items entering my wardrobe this year. Gifts and swapped items will not be included in this total. I hope that this year will be as much of a learning experience as the last couple years have been.

How do you plan on approaching your wardrobe spending this year? Will you be changing your your spending quantity in terms of money or volume of clothing?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Take Pictures Before You Wear It

Take pictures before you wear it.

Take pictures before you wear it.

Take pictures before you wear it.

You’d think I would know this by now, but apparently I don’t. This needs to become my mantra. Maybe I’ll take some eyeliner and write it on the bathroom mirror.

This is not the outfit I intended to post today. The photograph potential of that outfit met its demise at the hand of some strawberry-apple puree. The outfit before that? Spit up. When will I learn?

Sweater: Lord & Taylor (thrifted) / Blouse: Le Chateau / Jeans: 7 For All Mankind /
Boots: Manitobah

I really would have liked to wear my army green Poppy Barley boots with this outfit, but sadly I don’t have them anymore. The company contacted me in December to notify me of a defect in that colour of boots – the zippers don’t stay done up. I had noticed the defect in mine a couple times, but I thought I was loosing my mind and forgetting to do them up while tending to the munchkin. They offered three options: replace the zipper with a silver one, have the same pair of boots made in black, or bring them back for a full refund. It’s near impossible to stitch in the same holes when repairing a zipper, so I would probably end up with extra holes in the leather if I went that route, and I already have black boots. Sadly, I returned them for the refund.

But seriously though, how many companies contact customers to proactively notify them of defects? I can’t think of many off the top of my head. It’s one of the advantages of buying from small companies – they actually care about their customers.

The green boots were a limited edition colour, so I won’t be able to get those exact ones again. I’d love to buy the same pair of boots in toffee, but my size is currently sold out. Ditto for their Feminine Slipper in taupe. I’m going to have to watch for their spring colours, because I’m definitely going to purchase from them again this year.

If you’ve been reading for a while you know these tops have been in hiding for a year. I hauled my stored clothing bins out of the basement and pulled more of the clothes out. It gives me a lot more variety and colour than I’ve been working with for the last little while.

Sadly my loving and well intentioned husband washed my sweaters and threw them in the dryer last winter. I held on to them thinking I may be able to make them work, but they kinda need to go now. If the V-neck was a little deeper, and it shrunk a little shorter, I may have been able to pass this cashmere one off as a cropped sweater, but sadly it really hits me in the wrong spot.

I wore it last night to my stitch and bitch outing anyway. With the evening hitting -34 with the windchill, I wasn’t going to let that cashmere go to waste. One last hurrah.

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Late To The Secret Santa Game Much?

So I’m a little late to the Secret Santa game… I blame Canada Post.

No seriously! My Secret Santa elf gave me a heads up that the parcel would be a little late, which wasn’t a big deal for me. The tracking number on the parcel showed it went through customs on the 14th, so there was plenty of time for it to arrive before we left for BC on the 21st, right?


The parcel was in my mailbox waiting to be discovered when we got home on the 31st. Turns out my elf was Mattie over at Northwest Native! A blog I follow! 😀 Makes me feel a little silly for letting her know she should contact herself to let her know her parcel would be delayed, but whatever.

It’s a good thing my son doesn’t know what stickers are yet, because we would be in competition for them.

I started a round of Whole30 on January 1st, so it’s a good thing I picked up this package on New Years Eve! She sent two bars of chocolate from one of their local chocolatiers, and it’s soooo good. Toffee and almond are both go to flavours for me, but adding the sea salt to them as well? Perfection. I absolutely got into both of the bars that night.

One of the questions she asked was whether or not there was anything I would like that we couldn’t get in Canada. Most things we can access, we just pay through the nose on shipping for them. Glossier, the buzzy makeup brand, is one of those rare companies that doesn’t ship to Canada at all.

She sent me one of their lipsticks! The colour is called “Like”, and it’s a nice plummy pink colour.

It might be hard to see, but I swatched it twice on my hand. The upper swatch is a single swipe, while the one below it is about four swipes. It’s super sheer, which is perfect for me since I don’t do a loud lip. The colour is really flattering too. Great pick Mattie!

Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift hun! I’m linking up with other bloggers over at the Christmas Cheer Exchange Reveal!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Monthly Update – December 2016

Would you believe I technically didn’t purchase anything this month? Not even on Boxing Day! Everything in this recap was purchased on Black Friday and delivered during the month of December.

Sloan Fit Solid Pant in Beret Red – $57.75 (reg $115.50)

These pants have been surprisingly versatile, and I’ve already worn them six times this month. The cut was significantly looser than my thrifted Sloans, so I took a chance and shrunk them in the dryer. It worked. They hug the knee and calf much closer now, and are a touch more cropped than shown in this picture.

Logan Fit Black Lightweight Pants (short inseam) – $70.35 (reg $140.70)

Another purchase I’m pretty content with. I’ve only worn them twice this month, but I’m not too bothered by it since these were meant to be work pants and I’m not actually back to work yet. The short length was perfect with 3″ heels on me, and so far they don’t appear to be completely brutal when it comes to being hair magnets. Funny how having a pet can change your priorities.

Italian Cashmere Blend Vee Neck Pullover in Emerald Green – $44.63 (reg $89.25)

I felt better about this sweater before wearing it than I did afterwards, but that’s a separate post of its own. For what it is I felt the price was reasonable, and I’ve already worn it five times. I love the emerald green colour. It’s more of an accent colour than a core colour for me, but I like what it adds to my wardrobe.

Three items is more than my current two a month allotment, but since the last two months involved only single item purchases it all balances out. Additionally, the reduced quarterly budget after my spendy September doesn’t appear to have hurt me in the least:

Quarterly Budget: $650 – $299.25 (Oct) – $44.63 (Nov) – $172.73 (Dec)= $133.39 under budget

Still more than $100 under budget! Which also means I’m under budget for the year as well. I’m finding my current budget allotment to be quite workable, and I think I will continue maintaining this level of spending in the new year, albeit with a few twists (more on that soon).

How did you do this month? Did you do any boxing day shopping? Did you come under budget or did you blow it all out in preparation for the new year? Any good deals?