Back to where I left off before I interrupted myself with the news bulletin. After my tire got replaced, I was fully mobile again. My sister and I wanted to shop, but the local malls served up the same old fare, so we decided to go somewhere different (and also farther)--the outlet mall. My goal was to expand on my work apparel collection and to pick up a few Christmas gifts if I could (since I'm waaay behind schedule this year). Given the little time I had to spend at the mall, I only got the former finished, but it was a pretty good accomplishment.
Most of my time was spent at the Banana Republic outlet. There was an extra 40% off clearance items, which meant there were great deals. I found a dress shirt for just over $7. It had a few very minor imperfections, but otherwise it's great as a work staple. The fit is great and the patterns are interesting. I wore it as a Casual Friday outfit with my "skinny jeans" and a sweater for a bit of a stylish-bookish look:
With a conservative ensemble up top and a pair of pumps, I guess you can pull off the skinny jeans look in a working environment, but the jeans can't be of the super-tight, skin-tight variety. If they are on the tight side and you insist on wearing them, I'd suggest wearing a long sweater or jacket over it, and keep it on all day like so:
I thought this was an interesting spin on the 3-piece suit concept. The outfit looks way better in person. I'm a big subscriber of the layering philosophy. You've seen me wear the cardigan, the shoes, and jacket before. Each of these pieces are so versatile that I can wear them with lots of other things that I've also worn before, and it never gets old. Boring basics can go a long way when they get mixed around.
Remember those perfect pants that I had to let go because they were $80? That's really the reason why I spent so much time at the BR outlet--now that everything's been marked down, I tried to hunt them down. Alas, I couldn't find them in the sales racks even though I've fought off the throngs of people to reach the racks. I was about to give up when I wandered through the petites section and found a pair of pants that clearly didn't belong--the legs were longer than the petite pants. Sure enough, they were "my" pants, last pair in my size, fits prefectly, and $35 instead of $80. Oh yeah, they're definitely mine now:
I like how they are fully lined so that the tweed won't make me itch, and the fabric has a bit of weight to it so that it drapes well. The cuffs are great as well. The olive green is different from the standard boring colors. Because the pants have all my favorite features, they're definitely worth it. The pockets are sealed, which is kinda silly. I understand this is done in the interest of keeping the sillouette more streamlined, but why go through the trouble of sewing in fully-functional pockets only to seal them up later? If you know the answer, do tell. I'm curious.
It's amazing how fabric weight affects the fit, particularly for the now-popular wide-legged pants. I've tried on the same cut of pants of the same size/fit, yet one pair of pants looks markedly better than the other. So in addition to quality, fit, and construction, fabric weight will be a consideration when I shop for work pants in the future. Of course the fabric shouldn't be so heavy such that they make the pants sag (as we've seen all too many times in men's fashion), but it shouldn't be so light and flimsy that they make your thigh look bigger than they really are.
Even though I couldn't get any Christmas shopping done, it was a great shopping day because I found what had previously been out of reach. I also found some discounted MAC eye shadows at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet.
Maybe I should head out to that mall again soon for some Christmas shopping. Parking is going to get crazy now, but if I can get most of my shopping done, I'll only have to brave the crowds once.
I was going to update with Part 2 of the blowout story, but my brain is somewhere amongst Cloud 9 and has yet to be retrieved. And since I don't have my camera cord with me, I can't update anyway. I know...excuses, excuses.
Anyway, I'll be sure to update early next week.
I was also very thankful that most people were out of town early or stayed in for the long weekend, resulting in fewer cars being on the road. Because of that, I avoided disaster.
I was driving in the number 2 lane of the freeway, just before the interchange of three major freeways. All of a sudden, I knew something bad happened to my car because it was shaking very badly. I heard a loud noise of something go under my car, followed by an incessant, repetitive flapping noise as my car chugged along--the rear driver side tire had blown out. This is not a good thing to have happen when you're travelling at high speeds. Because that stretch of the freeway was 5-6 lanes wide, there was no way I could just stop and pull over. So, I had no choice but to drive about half a mile onto the connector road leading to US 101, moving toward the right lane as I went along. That part was much easier since the freeway was now only 3 lanes wide. Luckily, I wound up at a narrower end of a very wide shoulder area--unusual for LA freeways. I called my parents, who would later come with a jack and other tools to put the spare tire in.
While I waited, a tow truck suddenly stopped behind me. The driver got out and asked, "You called for a tow truck?" I told him no, but someone was coming for me, so he left. The way he phrased the question got me thinking, "what if I really did call a tow truck?" How would I know that's the guy I actually called for? If I was in a panic and would let the truck driver take complete control, I would have been taken in for a scam and possibly be charged an exorbitant amount. If you're ever in this situation, please make sure the truck driver is whoever it is you called, be it Triple A or someone else.
After all this, I should finally get some AAA protection. When I was in my belt-tightening phase, it was not an added expense I could afford. Now that I can breathe a little easier, it's worth the peace of mind. I should probably get a reflective sign or cone to get people to see my car and hopefully slow down. Believe me, sitting in the immobilized car while others whiz by dangerously close is quite unnerving, especially when one of the passers by is a huge semi with wheels skating on the line just a few feet away from your car.
The next day my dad managed to get me a set of rear tires that were on sale (yup, bargain shopping runs in the family). The blown tire was of course thrown out, but he saved the good right rear one as the new spare. He said that the next time something like this happens again, I can just pop in the good tire and it's all good to go--no need to put on the little spare one and replace it later. That's pretty good thinking.
Next time, I'll talk about a blowout of a very different nature: blowout sales. Finding those perfect pants is really satisfying.
The latest issue of Lucky magazine shows sweaters without buttons. The styling involved putting a belt across the front of the sweaters. It looks cute, but with an open front, it's hard to stay warm...isn't that the point of wearing a sweater? So it was to my great annoyance when I went shopping for sweaters that many of the styles had no buttons.
I do have a few thick sweaters for work, but they're anywhere between 6-10+ years old. Wearing the same zip-up sweater and the same black button-up sweater-coat does get a little old, particularly when the holes I've patched up are starting to get bigger and bigger. I'll keep wearing them of course (since I love them so much), but clearly I needed newer sweaters for a more professional look. I was hoping for something in a different style. After looking at various sales sections and finding nothing, I was willing to pay full price for something that will last as long as the sweaters I already have. That's when the buttonless snag came in--even though I was willing to pay for a good sweater, a good sweater was hard to come by. Feeling defeated, I had to settle. I wasn't willing to shell out too much money for something that wasn't perfect. And I needed the new sweaters right about now.
What ended up happening was this: I got 2 sweaters, both are $30. They have their own pros and cons, but they serve their intended purpose of keeping me warm, each in its own way.
The first sweater came from Forever 21. Since LA weather ranges from warm to cool on any given afternoon, I wanted a sweater that I can layer with. The quality isn't the greatest, but it does have buttons that go all the way up and the cut is really cute. Because I had such a hard time finding the right sweater, this is one of the rare times when I'm willing the make the trade-off with regard to quality. The short sleeves make this sweater perfect for a warmer Fall day (yes, we had an 85-degree day a week ago), when a long-sleeved sweater would leave me cooking during the day. I layered it over a long-sleeved shirt and it works just fine.
The second sweater was purchased from Target. I found one in a larger size hung on the wrong rack, then I went off to find where the rest of the sweaters were. Even though this one doesn't have buttons, the belt does keep it wrapped pretty well. It is surprisingly warm given how light it is, and the color looks great. Unfortunately, there's a huge minus that I didn't discover until I went to work with it. The angora-blend sweater not only sheds--it molts. Clumps of fibers were left behind on my chair, and all over my black pants. I took it home and gave it a good hand wash, and the shedding dramatically decreased. The shedding should stop after another wash, but for now it's good enough.
Not the best shopping experience for sweaters, but I did find a couple of other things that made the trips worth while. I bought the Charlotte Russe shirt with brown piping and puffed sleeves at (gasp!) full price as well. I wanted the shirt on first sight, since it's a nice work staple. I knew that I can afford to buy it, but it was weird to let myself to go ahead to buy it. After all, my first instinct is to ask if something is on sale, so I felt like I was doing something wrong. It was far more natural to buy the red hoodie off the clearance racks at Target. It's very much like my Mike & Chris hoodies, and I don't have to go to a sample sale for it.