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Johanna Ortiz x H&M Review

Johanna Ortiz Review
    In minor, lighthearted, low-stakes news, the full Johanna Ortiz collection dropped at H&M today and I'm going to review it. I felt a little torn about this because for the last few years I've been moving away from buying from any fast fashion brands and otherwise would try to only buy H&M secondhand. On the other hand, I'm a long time Johanna Ortiz fan (my first JO dress) and want to support her collection to help it be a commercial success. If you don't know her, Johanna Ortiz is a Colombian designer (read a profile here) whose clothes I always think of as colorful, flirty and expensive. I feel like 3 years ago I remember her dresses retailing for around $1,000 (still too expensive for me but I bought secondhand or otherwise heavily reduced - they often appear on TheRealReal.com) but recently I've been seeing them retailing for closer to $1,500-$2,500. In this collab, nothing that I saw is over $70. 
     I was curious to see what she would do with H&M and what the quality of the pieces would be. Obviously, the fabrics are going to be different from what is in her normal collections. As a petite lady I also always appreciated that her sizing ran a little smaller and was curious if that would carry through in the collection. My thoughts are woven throughout below, but my overall impression was positive. I think there are a few items where fit was sort of strange (on me at least - and I'll point it out below) but that otherwise I thought it was a cute and well-done collection for the price. Most of the dresses had pockets, a few were lined and a lot of them had cute details like semi-open backs or covered buttons. 

This is what I tried on:

2020 Challenge

     I've been trying to figure out what I want to focus on for 2020, closet-wise, and I think I finally have my answer. Recently, I pulled some clothes out of a storage bin and was surprised there were a few pieces in there that I love but hadn't thought about recently. I've been passively mulling over the idea of wearing every piece in my closet at least once over the next year and then seeing this post about it by Feather Factor was the last push I needed - I'm doing it!
Jacket from 2017, but otherwise just wanted to throw this up here so there is a photo in the post.
     I think it'll be a fun way to get reacquainted with my closet and also be a way to assess if there are some things that I need to let go of. I initially hesitated because I know there are some pieces I'll have to reckon with and also because part of me was worried I have more clothes than there are days of the year, which isn't something I needed confirmed. I did some quick math and while that isn't the case, I am definitely not living that capsule wardrobe life. Since I want this to be fun, this is how I'm going to do it:

2019 Purchases - the Highs and Lows

     I keep an excel sheet of all of my clothing purchases (going back to 2014) and at the end of each year I'll go through and evaluate how I feel about my purchases for the year and this year I am pretty darn pleased. Even the lows aren't really that low. I think part of that is because at this point I have, if we are being honest, a lot of clothes so the only things I'm buying throughout the year are things that really catch my eye, because I've got the basics, and then some, covered. The only thing I was a little disappointed about was that I wanted to get myself to a point where 50% of my purchases this year were secondhand, and I've been trying to hit that goal the last two years. Last year I was at 42% and I thought this was the year I'd finally do it. In part due to my move earlier this year, where the secondhand scene hasn't been as convenient or plentiful as in California, this year I actually fell down to 37%, instead of inching closer to 50%. I would say there is always next year but I don't think that is going to happen, so I'll have to come up with something new to target. I usually limit myself by budget each year (2019 was $200 a month) but I know a lot of people also limit by total item number (I feel like 20 or 25 pieces per year is a number I've seen thrown around a lot) so maybe some combo of those two in 2020? We'll see.
High: Hecho in Mexico
carmen rion skirt
    A unequivocal highlight this year was this outfit that I got from the eponymous brand Carmen Rion in Mexico City. The line is made in Mexico and plays beautifully with color and volume (and I first heard about them from Cait - so thanks, girl). Walking around the boutique I fell in love with this pleated wrap-around skirt right away. It is hard to tell in the photos but it has about 4 different fabrics and each fabric section is a different color and weight. My main squeeze is actually the one who grabbed the open-back linen top for me to try it on with. I thought it looked too big on the hanger and had passed it by. When I tried them together, it really felt like a fashion revelation. I felt like a queen in that dressing room and I felt like a queen when I wore it to a wedding later that week. Just writing this makes me want to go figure out how to work it into my day-to-day wardrobe because I don't want to wait for another special occasion. Unfortunately, the skirt is pretty warm - part of it is definitely wool - and the top is pretty naked, so we'll see what I can do.

Bonjour Winter

Figured I'd go with a non-standard Paris photo.
     I was in Paris earlier this month and enjoyed the opportunity to wear some winter outfits as well as do some secondhand shopping. I actually have winter clothes with me in Dubai but I think I underestimated what it feels like to be in 35 degree weather (Fahrenheit, 2 degrees Celsius), seeing as how it has been a minute. For example, I brought a headband beanie, but it was not enough and I ended up buying this cute beanie from the boys section of a Monoprix. I also ended up wearing my Uniqlo jacket as an extra layer under all outwear. (As an aside, I've had that jacket for about 2.5 years and I still like it so much, especially that it has deep inner pockets and outside zip pockets, both of which are nice when traveling.) 
Jacket | BlankNYC Suede Moto Jacket
Long Sleeve Shirt | Amour Vert
Dress| Proenza Schouler
Leggings | Zella
Boots | Blondo Liam

What a Waste

    When I moved to Dubai, I was curious about what the secondhand scene would be and I came expecting nothing. So far, I would say that there isn't really one, although I recently had a few leads on places to check out, so I remain optimistic. (When I'm being very optimistic I think maybe I can help start a secondhand scene here!) But back to the here and now I recently discovered a new company, Only Ethikal, that focuses on more sustainable fashion, so I'm counting that as a pretty big win.
I ended up changing out the sandals above for a more comfortable pair to actually wander around in
     I met the founder (who was very cool) at a fashion week event in a "Eco Pop-up" subsection of the event. She had left her more traditional finance job and started the company, promoting brands that focus on things like up-cycled fabric, fair wages and a healthy working environment. Also, the designs were really cute and almost everything she sold had pockets, so of course I had to support her and buy a dress. We joked about how a lot of people in Dubai seem to find the concept of used clothing pretty unappealing and she mentioned that initially a lot of people balked at the fact that she referred to the clothes as made from industrial or fabric waste (I think this is the same as what I've heard in the States referred to as deadstock fabric). Which, haha, fair enough.
     Anyway, here is the dress. The fabric is really light and breathable making it easy to wear in the sun, it is modest yet cute and, as I mentioned, I'm very into the pockets. 
    I'll get to brainstorming on a better name for the fabric and thanks for stopping by!

Outfit Deep-Dive of the Film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I started watching this movie on a flight and was instantly drawn-in by the outfits and costumes. Because the flight was going to end before I could finish the movie I started jumping around and trying to see as many of the costume changes as I could - so needless to say I'm a little hazy on the plot. (Also this movie is from 1953 and centers around the shenanigans of two showgirls suspected of being gold-diggers by the rich father of a love-interest, so you know, maybe not a huge loss there.) GPB stars Marilyn Monroe (playing Lorelei Lee) and Jane Russell (playing Dorothy Shaw), who come across as talented and beautiful and both wear the heck out of every single thing in this movie. 
     Seeing their outfits makes me want to dig out anything I have that's tailored, pay more attention to accessories, and has ignited in me a lust for the perfect red lipstick to wear casually (which is saying something since I typically wear lipstick about once a year). 
I mean, this is how the main characters are dressed in the opening musical number:
I took all the photos myself, via screenshot, so the quality isn't always great. 
     The incredible fit and over the top sparkle won me over immediately and I'm pleased to report that they both wear that bold red lip for the entire film. This striking visual start was followed closely by this next look, which is when I stopped what I was doing, paused the movie and played it back a few times to see what exactly was going on here.