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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. 

Dress the Part

Hi there. I've recently had quite the shakeup, relocating from my old home in San Francisco to a new one in Dubai. I know I want to do something to capture, preserve and otherwise process this experience and this space came to mind, although I'm not sure it'll end up staying here. 
When I mention the move people have a lot of questions about Dubai and I feel like I have more questions than answers at this point. As of today I'm about a week + a handful of days into this new transition and I want to zoom in and just talk about something I do know something about: my outfits. 

Clothes always help ground me to a situation, whether I want to be confident in a meeting, joyful at a wedding, or whimsical on a weekend. You can't go outside naked, so "what do I wear" is a question that at least flits through all of our brains on a day-to-day basis. One way I've been documenting and processing the move is taking an outfit selfie everyday. The clothing experience here is particularly different from what I was used to in California for two main reasons. 

  • The first is the culture. There is a different standard of acceptable dress here and I'd like to be respectful. I've received some conflicting reports on what that means for me as an expat and as a woman. I can seemingly wear most of my wardrobe as is, though, and my plan is to do a lot of people watching (which I love anyway) and get a sense of it for myself. As a result, for the first month or so I plan to lean conservative with my clothing choices. 
  • The second is the weather. I cannot express to you how hot it is here. During the dead of night it is minimum 90 degrees Fahrenheit/32 degrees Celsius.  During the day it climbs to 109/42 degrees F/C. However, not only that, but it is also humid (right?!) and so my phone will report that with the humidity it often "feels like" closer to 121/49 degrees F/C. Currently, I'm only going outside when absolutely necessary, mostly during the small moments when transferring from the air conditioned hotel to the air conditioned Uber to the air conditioned destination (like the mall, more on that later). It also means I always have sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and water. 
Combine those two elements and I'm targeting natural breathable fabrics, light colors, flowy garments and decolletage, shoulders and legs mostly covered. So, here's what we've got so far: