Am I the only one who sometimes thinks it’s more fun to think about your wardrobe for an upcoming season than it is to actually buy or wear it? (Okay, I’m probably in the minority, I suppose.)
Maybe I’m a sucker for potentiality. And no other season has such potential than fall. It’s like the year’s big final rev-up: back-to-school, back-to-cool, back-to-business. Plus, there’s nothing I love to wear more than jackets, jeans and boots, and there’s no better season for those staples than a beautifully crisp, cool autumn.
This particular fall 2016, I’m feeling a little more eccentric and loose, just ready to let my hair down a little more, sartorially speaking. Last fall I was just trying to keep my head above water, what with a nursing infant and glimmering realizations that my post-birth funk was actually full-on depression. I was all about finding a functional yet still kinda me-ish uniform just to make it through the days — which meant, at the time, striped Breton shirts, skinny jeans and some kind of flat. Classic, grounding but a little safe — which is fine, because what I needed at the time was comfort and security during a rather dark, somber period of my life.
But I’ve got a little more of my fashion-with-a-capital F legs back — and I’ve got a renewed appetite for dreaming and reverie. I know it sounds strange, but depression can really rob you of your ability to imagine something more beautiful, inspired and poetic for yourself. In terms of life, it can make the days feel devoid of joy, an endless slog you see no end to. In terms of fashion, you either don’t care — or you medicate yourself in some way with mindless shopping.
Lately, though, I take pleasure now in looking at clothes and fashion on a simple level, just appreciating the beauty of a color or the grace of a line. I find charm and inspiration in the millions of ways people express themselves through clothes. I can imagine myself wearing an outfit and having fun in it. Through clothes — and other things like creativity and connection, but this is a fashion-ish blog, after all — I am actually dreaming of something vibrant, fun and magical again. I actually think magic and fun are possible, which is great and a big, welcome change.
Of course, I’m a mama and I do have to be practical. I’m chasing around a toddler a lot these days, so no stilettos for me, even in my fantasies. (I was never heels-inclined in terms of sartorial dreams in the first place, actually.) And I do have to keep a budget in mind.
But here’s what I’ve got my eye on this season, as well as some shopping possibilities. I’m still super-into athleisure like leggings and sweatshirts because it just kind of works with my life — I can stay all day in my workout clothes, layering over them as needed.
But lately I’ve also been feeling a kind of muted rock ‘n roll boho tomboy vibe: fun, comfortable but still sexy-ish, like a best of Isabel Marant thing. It’s closer to how I dressed when I was kicking carefree in NYC, hanging out in rock clubs and improvising good times and good luck as I went along. I don’t want to recapture those days — I was a broke insomniac who dated emotionally unavailable men back then, though my social, creative and professional life was the bomb. But I do miss that sense of liberation, adventure and general joie de vivre from back then. There’s no reason I can’t conjure those feelings now, and part of that means wearing clothes that make you happy.
Staples To Get And Build Upon In The Future
+ A new blazer
I already Kondo’d the crap out of my closet, but I did a quick purge and finally got rid of anything that didn’t fit. What with dealing with hypothyroidism — and the fact that losing weight with a busted thyroid is REALLY REALLY HARD, IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE — I’ve just accepted that I and my larger boobs are not going to fit into once impeccably tailored little jackets any time soon. This made me sad — because they were really beautiful blazers and jackets — but finally off-loading them made me feel a lot lighter and more free, because self-acceptance is ultimately better than almost anything. Plus, this means I get to invest in another blazer! I’m looking at a classic grey-ish wool blazer, no plaids or elbow patches, single lapel and button. Just easygoing, classic and well-fitting. I might go to ThredUp and scour Theory, since they make such great jackets — but I found H&M and Zara a viable high street alternative for me.
+ Grey and khaki skinny jeans or pants
I went high-waisted in terms of jeans after giving birth, and I never looked back — I’m a huge fan of a higher waist now. I already a dark denim pair and a not-as-dark one — now I’d like a khaki pair and a grey pair. Surprisingly, my fave pairs came from Target, but discount retailers are anything but consistent, so we’ll see where I source these in the future.
+ A super practical bag that works with all kinds of situations and carries all kinds of things.
Bags are such a dilemma for style-minded mamas sometimes — you need something big enough to accommodate a million different needs and situations, but also isn’t lame. I’m torn between ‘investing’ in a really nice bag — with, say, a nice black leather tote that telegraphs eternal classic chic — or finding a reasonably priced backpack that’s infinitely more practical (straps! hands-free!) that I (and my toddler) can beat the crap out of. Still thinking on this one…any input or suggestions welcome!
Whimsicalities And Fancies
Confession: I already got some for the season! I was tooling around the mall on a super-hot and super-humid day, when I needed to get out of the house with the Budge but didn’t want to run errands. I stopped into Charlotte Russe, marveled at how many crop tops there were, but then found some little items that caught my eye. I normally don’t like cheap jewelry, but honestly, I won’t cry so hard if my Budge somehow breaks these items. (Which he will: he loves pulling at things that jingle and jangle.) My personal directive was basically “How would Isabel Marant style her outfits with this stuff?” and grabbed what I thought worked. It is rock ‘n rollish and bohemian, but not super-obnoxiously so.
+ Cropped flare jeans?
I come and go on this one. I love the idea of cropped flares. There’s something very blase and funky about them, both gamine and bohemian. But I think they’re a little tricky to style and I can hear my sweetheart laughing in my head if I ever wore them. Still…you know how sometimes you just can’t get a song out of your head, no matter how nonsensical it is? This is my fashion equivalent.
+ A whimsical dress for fun days or cool nights.
Who doesn’t need a fun dress? I do already have a few dresses, really, but this is a category where your seasonal/at-the-moment whimsies and fancies should be honored. There are tons of lower-priced options out there, at everywhere from Old Navy to the mall to the high street. And if you’re jonesing for higher-quality designer stuff, ThredUp has a fabulous secondhand selection to dig through.
+ A quirky blouse.
I’m into the “rule of three” — basically, I like having a trio of an item or category, usually a casual option, a formal one and a more ‘fun’ one. My ‘fun’ options tend to be updated more seasonally — it’s where I like to play, experiment and indulge weird-yet-compelling fashion whims. So I’m really looking forward to getting a quirky option for fall, especially with such a rich, eccentric bohemian vibe this autumn.
Mulling These Over
I keep meaning to buy these, and ought to — high-top Vans are very, very cool right now, and I love the idea of wearing a pair with skirts as a kind of an ankle-boot alternative.
+ Workout shorts
This is a practical specific purchase, because while workout leggings can theoretically be utilized in everyday ensembles, workout shorts are a little bit harder. Still, there are days when I do go from the gym to laundry to childcare to errands, entirely in my workout ensemble — so it pays to invest some fashion thought into this. I’ll probably go Fabletics on this one — they do the typical big bold colorful prints that you find in athleticwear, but they also tend to do a more subtle print as well, which is nice when you don’t want to GYM HARD, if you know what I mean.
What I Don’t Need To Get, (i.e. STOP SHOPPING FOR THESE, KAT, YOU HAVE ENOUGH OF THEM
Ahem, I’ve already documented my love of sweatshirts on this blog! But this also means I have plenty of them and don’t need more. (Confession again: I did pick up the Everlane street fleece sweatshirts as part of their pay-what-you-want thingie. But now I’m seriously done!)
Same as above! I’ve got enough t-shirts and tanks! No more, Kat! Stop!
+ Workout bras & leggings
I’ve finally built up a nice inventory of workout bras for different types of workouts, and enough leggings as well. Workout leggings are like the Las Vegas of my wardrobe…and I’ve done enough gambling!
Oh, my biggest weakness and my biggest downfall! Well, maybe I’ll get a new pair from ThredUp perhaps…if I purge an old pair!