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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

354

Kerry, What's in Your Closet?

A few weeks ago, we received an email from soon-to-be graduate student, Kerry:

"I'm moving from the South to the Pacific Northwest, probably not taking my car, and I'm trying to think about what I am going to take. I'll probably ship some boxes to myself, but I still need to really pare things down. Do you have any advice for someone who kind of needs to replace things in her wardrobe that she has had since the beginning of college?"

It was kind of hard to imagine giving wardrobe advice to someone you can't see, whose budget you're not in control of, and whose current wardrobe is a million miles away. So I asked Kerry if she'd like to try a little experiment: she takes photos of every piece of clothing she owns, sends them my way, and through looking at what she's already got, we'll get to what she needs to get rid of, what to keep, and what to put on her shopping list. (You could call this "shopping her closet" but then that would make it seem played out and boring, which this is not!)

Kerry responded with a "YES!" and proceeded to send me... wait for it... 54 photographs. If you were wondering how many items of clothing a random, seemingly normal woman you've never met has, you are weird. But fine: it's around 80. Before we get to them, I asked Kerry what she really wanted out of her wardrobe:

Okay, the look I'm going for... this is hard to articulate! I really like kind of a slightly androgynous look, like I enjoy wearing skirts but I am more drawn to things like plaid and denim jackets and straight pants. I like texture, too: denim, flannel, corduroy, suede, and leather sometimes. I guess you could say it's menswear-inspired but still somehow feminine? And though I like colors, I am always drawn to dark, natural tones. Brown, dark green, black, gray, etc. If I could start over, I would love to dress more like Charlotte Gainsbourg (though it would have to be slightly different because her body is a lot more boyish than mine) or Alexa Chung, sometimes. I also really admire how effortlessly cool Patti Smith and Cat Power always look. 

So, how's she doing?

The Diagnosis:

Let's start with what Kerry is doing wrong, because that is more fun than what someone is doing right.

1. If you were looking for the T-shirts, look no further. Kerry has all of them. Check it out:

I told her I was going to make fun of her for this and asked her to explain herself:

Yes, feel free to make fun of me. I deserve it! Why do I have so many T-shirts? That is a good question. I don't know. Help! haha.

2. Kerry loves flouncy skirts, especially ones of a certain color:

The skirts have all been acquired on sale at Anthropologie (except one, which I bought because it has deep pockets and had a gift card) (I love pockets), I guess because they seem easy to wear, not because they particularly speak to me.

3. Kerry has three plaid shirts, which, upon first glance, I thought were flannel but she assures me one is not. But which one?:

5. And lots of dark pants. She says one pair is green and not black, but the impression is the same. Here's a selection:

Points 6 and 7 we'll present without photos: Kerry has only neutral-colored shoes and she owns very few dresses. Alexa Chung wears lots of dresses. So do the other women she mentioned. I asked her how she felt about them:

I don't really have an aversion to dresses but I just don't know how to shop for them, maybe? I think I'm bad at finding dresses that can be really casual and also flattering. Like dresses that kind of fit in with [my androgynous look]. Or, wait. Something else has occurred to me, which is: until the past couple of years, I did have an aversion to dresses and makeup and that kind of thing, and I don't anymore, but it's taken me time to get used to wearing a dress and not feeling really dolled-up and you know how when you wear lipstick or something people are like "Ahh you are wearing lipstick!" and it's kind of annoying? I think when I was in school I felt like that about ladylike things in general and it is silly now because it would be fine. (I do wear some makeup now, btw, so it's just dresses that I don't know how to shop for.) ALSO. And sorry this is so long but... I think I would like dresses a lot better than skirts because they are a whole easy outfit. 

She's right — they are a whole easy outfit.

The Good Stuff:

1. Kerry's got a few excellent blouses.

I really hope her dry cleaner can get the spot out of that last one because it's perfect for the look she wants.

2. This girl has outerwear DOWN. Tons of it in a huge variety. This is where she's getting all that texture from: corduroy, denim, faux fur, etc. She's only lacking one waterproof, warm coat for rainy days. Maybe an insulated trench? And depending on how far north she's headed, a puffy down coat might be needed. Otherwise, it's just a matter of her picking faves from her closet to bring with.

3. She has some nice, classic sweaters. Perfect for where she's headed:

4. Kerry bravely sent me a photo of what she intends to take to Goodwill, and you know what is a bummer? I actually like these better than the T-shirts she wants to keep! At least they have something going on?

5. Though they're all in neutral colors, Kerry's shoes are perfect for the look she wants.

Treatment Plan: 

1. Pare down the multiples. You only need one or two black tees. Same goes for orange/red/pink skirts, black pants, and plaid shirts. Getting rid of this stuff will make room for...

2. More variety in each category. For example, in pants you could have a pair of cords, some ripped jeans, a printed jean, some heavy weight leggings, and a pair with some silkiness and drape. Imagine a wide-leg, silk pant and a plain T-shirt and those oxfords. Cute! Ripped jeans with a silk blouse and boots: cute! Corduroys with an argyle sweater and heels: cute! You've done well with the sweaters: pullovers and cardigans in a variety of textures and colors. Now extend that to your pants, skirts, and tops.

3. Get some Hunter boots in dark green. They're hot and will keep you warm and dry in your new climate.

4. Try more dresses! A dress is easy and usually looks better than a tee and orange skirt. To stay in line with your dream look, browse Helmut Lang's styles and purchase similar dresses at H&M or on Etsy. Go for neutral colors that you like in luxe fabrics and bring color and interesting details in the form of tights, belts, or other accessories. Speaking of:

5. Find your signature accessory. Maybe you're the woman who always wears a giant silver cuff? Maybe you're into suspenders or a tie? Maybe you like HUGE girlie earrings with your more rugged tops and boots? Or you might have a glorious handbag? Find it and make it yours.

6. Shop for quality, not quantity or "a good deal." This is the hardest rule to stick to, but in a year you'll be glad you did. All those ratty T-shirts could've been a few high-end, luxurious T-shirts (the kind Charlotte Gainsbourg rocks) you'll wear for the next few years.

7. This is going to contradict point 5, but I don't care: Let yourself off the hook every six months or so and go crazy at Target or TJ Maxx or Buffalo Exchange or Goodwill. Set a spending limit of $100 or $200 and just go nuts picking up a bunch of items you wouldn't normally wear. That is the key. Then take them home, try them on with some of your existing wardrobe, and return whatever truly doesn't work. It's a better game plan than just passively amassing clothes you didn't think about at all.

Who is next? Email Jane if you'd like to expose your wardrobe. 

 

 



354 Comments / Post A Comment

Xanthophyllippa

80 pieces of clothing? Honey, I have 89 pair of underwear alone. Then there's the rest of my wardrobe (which includes at least ten items of which I have duplicates or triplicates, because I have a wonky body and when I find something that fits I buy in bulk.)

Exene

@Xanthophyllippa Yeah, no kidding. "You only need one or two black tees"? As if!

EternalFootwoman

@Exene I know, right? One or two black tees? Pfff. I have at least twenty. They are all different and necessary.

Hellcat

@Xanthophyllippa Reading this has made me feel like the greediest, shallowest, decisive-yet-indecisive, over-prepared (but not in the good way) clothing hoarder in the universe. I am blaming 20+ years of not having my own washer and dryer for this... yet I know that's not entirely truthful.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Hellcat Yeah... I was like, "only 80?" I... *think* that would cover all my tees/tanks/shirts/sweaters?

redheaded&crazy

@Xanthophyllippa I started to count my clothing and I got exhausted at 16. Props to Kerry! Props to all of you who did it! I ... I have a lot of clothes. :\

Xanthophyllippa

@Hellcat This! I have so many clothes because I don't have a w/d and because, when you live on the third floor of a 6-unit building and share the basement w/d with 10 other tenants, laundry every week is a total pipe dream. I wait until I'm down to the last 10 pair of underwear and then take all four loads to the laundromat at once. In the interim, I hand-wash a lot.

(I think I just hard Jolie moan in horror.)

whateverlolawants

@Hellcat That describes me and my clothes fairly well too. And I've always had my own washer and dryer!

Two years ago I got ruthless and donated over 150 SHIRTS alone. Pretty sure the total amount of clothing articles I donated was far over 200. I still have most of the survivors, plus whatever I've bought since then. I treat my clothes well, so if it fits and can still be worn with some style, I tend to keep it. On the up side, I have tons of variety and am prepared for nearly ANY occasion. I don't need to do the laundry much. On the downside, a large wall closet, six-drawer dresser, and six plastic drawers barely contain my wardrobe. And I find it way too hard to part with things I don't wear anymore.

DoctaJones

@whateverlolawants After reading this I took pictures of my wardrobe (excluding things like swim/exercise wear, pajamas and underwear) and sent them to a stylish friend so she could give me advice. I came up with a count of 82 including belts, shoes and coats. I thought it was actually a good exercise in taking stock of what I have. For example, I have 15 dresses! I'd long assumed I was not a dress-wearing person. Now I have a better idea of what I should look for when I shop.

Hot Doom

@Xanthophyllippa You people are my people! When I told my husband how much space my wardrobe takes up, he was horrified. I don't know how many items of clothes I have but I have around 90 pairs of shoes. This isn't exactly a humblebrag, more of a disability I'd like to keep. I am going to rub this thread in his face so I'm not that crazy hoarding anomaly he seems to think I
am.
ETA: I don't *think* I have more than 80 items of clothing? Oh God. I don't want to know.

madgemmc

@redheaded&crazie i actually made a spreadsheet lately and when i got to 120 items, i panicked a little and stopped counting.

but it's about 140. including COATS and VESTS (not waistcoats, like a lacy undershirt? i dunno what they're called in the US). not shoes or underwear.

it's scary. don't count.

Hellcat

@madgemmc Now YOU are my people. A clothes fiend and a spreadsheet maker! Come be my roomie!

notfromvenus

@Xanthophyllippa LOL, and here I'm going "80 (non-underwear) clothes? Who needs that much?". I've got like.. well, actually about the same amount as the letter writer, only a different style.

Hellcat

@notfromvenus I think I counted 30 dresses before I gave up. I am not even getting started on bras.

whateverlolawants

@Hellcat I'm right there with you on dresses. I don't even get to wear them that much. Perhaps I will today! I don't have tons of bras, but I have so many pairs of underwear.

Hellcat

@whateverlolawants DO IT! So easy, so cute... but get ready for all the "You're wearing a dress? What's the occasion?" small talk. And prepare to multiply your tights collection significantly!

whateverlolawants

@Hellcat I pretty much never get that talk. I've been wearing dresses more than the other girls (who weren't obliged to do so by their religion) since kindergarten. I just have to dress in business suits for work now, so the colorful dresses don't get worn as much as I'd like. But no one would be surprised to see me in one. (I also wear my fair share of old T-shirts and holey jeans. I like a good balanced wardrobe.)

Also, I'm going to a burlesque show after dinner tonight! So I'm thinking a cute, colorful, summery dress for dinner, then something sexy, black, and short for the show. Accessorized by my comb-in mini-hat with a veil and my sheer black stockings with seams up the back.

EternalFootwoman

@madgemmc Ooooh, a spreadsheet! Mine would be utterly depressing, though. Shirt, shirt, shirt, jeans, skirt, shirt. 89% black. The end.

beatrix

great message also. Thanks!!!!@l

The Lady of Shalott

Noooo do not give the octopus/squid shirts away!!! They are adorable! GIVE THEM TO MEEE.

sox
sox

@The Lady of Shalott And while you're at it, please either keep that floral tank or send it to me in the mail!

kerryh

@The Lady of Shalott
ahh okay in my defense those cephalopod shirts have PITSTAINS which i ignored forever and recently realized i just cannot deal with anymore!!

themmases

@kerryh Oh god, all the best stuff is always lost to pitstains. (Naturally, I guess, since you wear the best stuff the most, but I prefer to think of it as cruel fate) I try to just block out all my lost t-shirt loves.

Xanthophyllippa

@kerryh BLUING!

Maryaed

@kerryh You need this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Favorite-Old-T-Shirt-New-Again/

Springtime for Voldemort

@kerryh Have you asked A Clean Person if you can still wash out pitstains after they've been there for awhile? Because if all that's standing between you and a fabulous shirt is one of those special cleaners (and by special, I mean, where you spend more than 3 seconds figuring out what kind of detergent you want in the soap aisle of the grocery store), then do that!

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Maryaed That's brilliant! (also your name makes me wonder if you are a lady I went to elementary school with)

barefoot cuntessa

@kerryh A mixture of peroxide and baking soda in a toothpaste consistency rubbed into the stains with your fingers will most likely do the trick. You don't even need to let it sit. Just soak in cold water for 15 minutes after and throw in the wash.

Maryaed

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Dunno, are you really old, like in your 40s? Because otherwise sadly no.

fondue with cheddar

@themmases It IS a cruel fate! I rarely buy white shirts unless I really love them for that reason (likewise for black because both my cats have white bellies). This is my saddest loss to yellow pits and neck, but thanks to this thread it prompted me to look it up and see that it's still available! YAY! But I will try @melissamachete's suggestion before I buy another one.

themegnapkin

@kerryh OXYCLEAN! For real, it is hte best thing ever for pit stains! I had this one white t-shirt that I loved and wore for years and years and years (like 15 years, from ages 10-25), despite the pit stains (gross, I know). Then I discovered Oxyclean! It worked on 15-year-old pit stains! Take the Oxyclean powder, mix it with a little water, and then rub it into the yellow stain. Then, stick the shirt in a bucket and forget about it for a week. Once the week is up, wash as usual.

slutberry

@The Lady of Shalott I was going to say. Kerry can just send me ALL HER SHIRTS. It would be okay.

Slapfight

@The Lady of Shalott For real! I'll fight you for them! So cute!

themegnapkin

@kerryh Can you tell me where you got those octo-shirts? I *really* want one. . .

kerryh

@themegnapkin yes I screen printed them myself!

themegnapkin

@kerryh oh wow!!! Are you taking orders??

Faintly Macabre

@themegnapkin Seconding this! There were a few shirts I was going to give/throw away because they had serious stains or ground-in antiperspirant. But I decided to try Oxiclean after reading about it on here, and MAGIC!! Except also bad, because it meant I still didn't get rid of clothes.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Maryaed Ah, no, not my age range (also that is totally not "really old"!!!!). But your username is almost her actual name.

julia

It's like What Not to Wear except not soul-crushing and depressing and mean.

And Tretorn makes great rain boots and not everyone has them already.

hulia

@julia Tretorn used to have the CUTEST pair of wedge rain boots that I only found out about after they had sold out of my size everywhere. I do not understand why they don't bring them back because gah, they were seriously the most adorable.

Marquis of Hartington

@julia Beware, those Tretorn rainboots tend to split along the side within a season...! (Happened to me and to a couple friends.) Though if you're not wearing them every second day because you live in a place with an insane climate...you might not have this problem.

isitisabel

@julia I love my Tretorn boots so much! I have the most basic kind in yellow, and they are adorable and warm and I love them. I like that they're not as tall as most rain boots, because I don't really need rain boots that come up to my knees. They're great quality, too. I got mine two years ago (which means they've lasted twice as long as my previous pair from Target) and I expect to have them for quite a while.

AniaGosia

@Marquis of Hartington Mine split in just a few months! I wore them constantly though. And Tretorn gave me credit to get another pair. The wedge ones were so cute - I wish I had gotten a pair too!

Slapfight

@hulia I had them in yellow. They made me super happy but they definitely split apart within a year. I'll never spend that much on rainboots again.
Except for the patent leather Sperry's I got. They've held together nicely and I feel like a superhero in them.

Stefanie J@twitter

KERRY PLEASE READ:

I disagree with Jane on the Hunter boots. They're cute and classic and make you look rich sorta but they're also big, clunky, heavy, and a little TOO warm. I live in Vancouver, Canada and own Hunters but rarely wear them because they're so daunting. I really really recommend Loeffler Randall rain booties: http://loefflerrandall.com/LRProduct.aspx?ProductID=236&CategoryID=10
They come in neutral colours, with or without laces (which I wouldn't imagine are functional, just provide a different "look") and totally go with what you're going for. I have a friend who dresses in the style you describe and these fit right into her wardrobe. Good luck!

null

@Stefanie J@twitter I LOVE THOSE. Also, I agree. It rains so much out here, a low pro option is much more functional.

jaimie

@Stefanie J@twitter
I love those booties, what a great idea. I've been wanting a pair for a while now, but can't justify it on top of regular rain boots and duck boots.

Speaking of, though, I'd recommend a pair of LL Bean duck boots. They come in all black now too! I think they're perfect for that androgynous look and you can pair them with leggings and a tunic or something and tie them loosely and it looks cute.

parallel-lines

@Stefanie J@twitter I kinda hate my hunters--if you have big calves they suction to your legs as you're taking them off, which is creepy and weird.

Nina B.@twitter

@jaimie Yes, yes, yes to L.L. Bean duck boots! Excellent for rain and snow. Also, they have great customer service.

reburkel

@Stefanie J@twitter I live in Vancouver too and have a tall pair of Ilse Jacobsens, but I am always cold so I don't mind the extra warmth :) http://www.ilsejacobsenboots.com/proddetail.php?prod=Rub1

Xanthophyllippa

@parallel-lines I might actually be grateful enough that they even go around my big calves to put up with the suctioning. Most boots won't go over my calves to begin with.

octagonfudge

@Stefanie J@twitter I also live in Vancouver, but I love love my Hunters. I got them for like, half off and I wear them all the time. My feet get cold a lot, though, so I don't find them too hot. I bought them in BRIGHT YELLOW and I credit them with saving me from killing someone when it was too dark for too long.

Deb of last year@twitter

@Stefanie J@twitter When it *WAS* too dark for too long? It's June and I still can't trade in my wool tights for sunglasses!

Fellow Vancouverite here too and after years of struggling to get my stupid Hunters on and off every day, I bought the Rachel Antonoff booties and wore them pretty much every day this winter and I love them. http://www.modcloth.com/shop/shoes-boots/rachel-antonoff-for-bass-i-love-the-rain-boots

Short duck boots > tall rain boots any day

ColdFinger

@Stefanie J@twitter Yes! And they killed my legs! My legs are dead! (I wore them without tall enough socks, and I literally have bloody gashes across the back of my calves. Admittedly, I have rather later calves, but still. Do not trust the Hunter Boot.)

Better to Eat You With

@Xanthophyllippa

I'm starting to think you're me, with the hoarder-esque wardrobe and the robust calves. I would like for tall boots to stop being cute now, at least for a couple of years.

ColdFinger

@ColdFingers Ha! *Large* calves. I don't know what "later calves" might mean.

ColdFinger

@Better to Eat You With Hi five for the calves! I can't fit the tall Hunters around mine, had to get the shortened version. And... well, I just wrote my sad, bloody story of how that turned out.

Ophelia

@ColdFingers Ugh, ditto. I found a pair of great (lighter-weight, kind of floppy, but stay up around your legs) rain boots at DSW, and the brand is Cougar. They have a little bit of elasticized fabric around the top of the calves, so they don't let water into the tops. They've lasted through a NY winter, and fit over my generously-sized calves.

travelmugs

@Stefanie J@twitter FELLOW LARGE-CALVED LADIES,

Hunter makes boots that work for us. They're called the Huntress line. They work and they're fantastic!

Xanthophyllippa

@Better to Eat You With Hey now. I just have a lot of underwear...and black tee shirts. I've gotten rid of about 5 shopping bags of clothing over the last year, so at least I'm reforming my overconsumptive ways!

anachronistique

@Stefanie J@twitter BOOTIES. I may have to get these since my 19-inch calves defy even the wide-calf boots.

Slutface

Aren't you supposed to go crazy and spend $100 everytime you go to Target?

I hate the whole thing where people feel the need to say, "You're wearing lipstick!" or "OMG! You own a dress?!" They're going to do it so just deal with it for a week or two and they'll stop. Sometimes you just have to put up with people's bullshit.

Reginal T. Squirge

Same goes for a dude wearing a suit.

all the bacon and eggs

@Slutface Seriously, I think one is not permitted to leave a Target without spending at least $100.

Hellcat

@Slutface Serously, how does one get out of that damn infernal Target without doing just that? I bet part of it is that you (collective "you," not YOU-you, I mean) typically pick up some "responsible" shit too, like cleaning products or vitamins or picture frames and then... BOOM (hey, a thunder just happened just as I was typing "BOOM"--spooky)! The "Well, I am already here..." thing kicks in!

And I wear (casual) dresses 3-4 times a week, and have been at my job with the same people for years, and still I get the, "A dress! What, do you have a job interview--hahahaaaa!" crap.

sox
sox

@Slutface Plus, since she's moving to a new place, I think this is the perfect time to take advantage of any changes in style! Kerry, let yourself loose! No one knows you don't often wear lipstick or dresses!

annebee

@Slutface I agree. so annoying! anyways, i'm over the lipstick hump, mostly because of my obsession with lip STAIN! and now i wear it all the time and people had better be used to it already

every tomorrow@twitter

@Slutface When I decided to join the adults and start wearing makeup at least some of the time, I had to get through a lot of "You look so nice today! Are you giving a presentation?"

Well-intentioned but made me super self-conscious.

Then I started teaching and wore makeup every day I taught, and people got used to it, and now nobody gives a shit.

Scandyhoovian

@Slutface I can't go into a Target and spend small. Seriously, I went in yesterday for a CARD and came out with said card... and $50 in makeup. >.> I wanted to try the Loreal Tru Blend and then something happened and eyeshadow eyeshadow lipliner mascara!

Also, I HAAAATE the "omg you're wearing LIPSTICK!?" "omg you own a dress!!!???" stuff. I get it literally every time I do more than wear jeans + shirt + shoes, it's crazy.

Slutface

@Scandyhoovian AHH!! This is so relevant to my interests because I've been thinking about trying that Tru Blend stuff. What do you think of it?

fondue with cheddar

@all the bacon and eggs IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO.

pinecone

@Slutface I really like my Hunter boots. The construction is good and much more durable and versatile than the cheapo rain boots I had before. Maybe they're too warm for the Pacific Northwest, but they're perfect for New England in the spring. IN THE SPRING. Not the winter. Stop wearing rain boots in the snow, college students of greater Boston. They're not warm enough, you'll get snow inside them, and they're just all wrong for ice and snow. You'll fall and break your neck.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Scandyhoovian Ahhhhh Target I love it I love it I love it! I went in to buy a few groceries (I really kinda love Archer Farms stuff) and to look for some sturdy containers to use for lunch, and somehow spent $160 because conditioner was on sale, and I needed some makeup brushes, and they had custard cups which obviously I needed, and I did end up finding the PERFECT microwavable soup mug which ws exactly what I was looking for, and also they had magnetic nail polish. So. Obviously there was nothing to be done.

slutberry

@Hellcat WHY DON'T I HAVE A TARGET. I want some cheap, pretty dresses.

NeverOddOrEven

@Slutface I freaking reapplied a tinted lipbalm, and when my husband turned around he went, "Aah! What happened to your lips?!"

isavedlatin

I have 13 (I counted) plaid shirts, and they are each my beautiful, individual snowflake children.

PatatasBravas

@isavedlatin I just want to point out that in Oregon, flannel is the norm. NOT wearing flannel every day gets me "Why are you so dressed up?" and "are you from the East Coast?"

fondue with cheddar

@isavedlatin Plaid shirts are the best. I keep a flannel (from Target!) instead of a sweater at my desk at work for when I get chilly.

Also, the third one. The third plaid shirt is the one that's not flannel.

travelmugs

@jen325 Man, if I did this I'd be in such trouble with cardigans. I have four DRAWERS full of cardigans and only two pairs of pants.

fondue with cheddar

@travelmugs See, I love cardigans and would probably have tons of them too. But I've got big boobs, and cardigans either accentuate them* or hang down in a way that hides the fact that I've got a waist under there, making me look all frumpy.

*Not in a flattering or unflattering way, but in an OMG LOOK BOOBS kind of way.

tessamae

@travelmugs Can I tell you a secret? I just moved and for giggles counted my cardigan collection as I packed it. 42. Forty-two cardigans. And I was so shocked I donated a few to thin the herd. But I miss them. I sometimes try on outfits and think, "if only I would have kep that dark green cardi, it would have been perfect for this." And then I sit for a quiet moment of mourning, and put on a navy one.

propermake

don't bring those shoes here! save them. any kind of suede, woven, perforated leather is out of commission for 9 months/year and you will ruin them if you take a chance on the wrong day.

a good pair of riding-style boots are a necessity.

tiptoemammal

@propermake I concur. 7 years in Seattle has finally taught me how to dress for this weather. The trick is that there are only the two seasons:
1. Summer, which happens late June through September. It never rains, the sun stays out till 10pm, and it's hot all day but then cool at night. You'll want sundresses or shorts or whatever your summer thing is, plus light sweaters for layering at night.

2. Winter, which sets in in late September and lasts through mid-June, and it's cool-to-cold all day but warm indoors and on busses, and there is never full on rain but instead a constant drizzle. For the fluctuating temperatures, you need layers. Waterproof shoes are a must; no canvas sneaks, open-heeled clogs, suede, etc. will do. It's windy here, rendering umbrellas useless. Instead you'll need a waterproof outer layer and a hat with a brim which keeps the wet off of your face (and makeup). Under all of these layers, you will get sweaty, humid, and disgusting. I highly recommend microfiber baselayers which wick moisture from your skin. I got mine from REI and wore these, with waterproof pants which actually look like street clothes rather than hiking gear, every single day this winter. Cotton is useless here: it absorbs the wet and is slow to dry. You want wool. Also, keep in mind that all of these layers will get heavy; technical garments have the added benefit of being extra lightweight, and I am really enjoying the extra lightness in my step.
I too moved here from the South, and was pretty miserable about the weather for the first several years I was here. I'm doing way better now with the proper gear, and with remembering to take Vitamin D every day. Don't forget to do that Kerry; everyone in the NW has to because of the lack of sun. Welcome to your new home!

Blousey Brown

@tiptoemammal Damn, this is so good and thorough that I want you to come back to the South and tell me how to dress here!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@tiptoemammal My dude and I are probably moving to the NW next spring and this is great!

yrouttasight

@tiptoemammal Wow, this is so comprehensive. Also, it explains why so many Pacific Northwesters dress like they're going camping all the damn time. I seriously though it was just a regional trendy thing.

slutberry

@tiptoemammal Dude, thanks so much for this. I'm going to Seattle for a visit in the summer and I was all, "can I wear my usual uniform of summery dresses with cardigans?" and it looks like the answer is YES!!

fun fact: at first I wrote "my usual unicorn"

Summer Somewhere

@yrouttasight The REI gear is certainly functional but it's also an example of the more casual/outdoorsy local fashion, so you're correct on both points. Just look at the east coast; they have Weather and manage not to look like they're ready to go backpacking whenever they leave the house. I try to avoid REI because if I'm going to drop hundreds of dollars on outerwear I'd rather have cute stuff.

yrouttasight

@Summer Somewhere Oh, as a New Englander I will tell you that all fashion bets are off in the winter time. Everyone ends up looking like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man come mid-January when it's below zero with 3 feet of snow.

I've just never been an outdoorsy kind of girl, so I felt a little out of place when I was in Seattle. I don't think I've ever set foot in an REI.

steponitvelma

I've only lived in the NW for 4 years so YMMV, but I don't find it super necessary to gear up for the winter. Yes boots are nice for super rainy days but not all days are super rainy, most aren't, so sneakers and such are fine too. Although, suede will probably get ruined. The only thing I think is definitely a must is a good rain jacket that you won't mind putting on over everything.
Also I'm fond of wool tights with dresses and boots in the winter so I don't have to worry about getting the bottom of my jeans all wet, but I am a short person.

Ophelia

@Summer Somewhere Also, in all fairness, East Coast-wise, we often get wild weather, but typically don't have days and days of drizzle (although it happens...last week, I'm looking at you...), so while we need waterproof/warm outerwear and shoes, waterproof/water resistant pants aren't such a pressing issue. That said, I do wear a lot of stuff from REI and EMS when I'm not hiking/camping, so I might not be the best person to articulate style for the NE.

Summer Somewhere

@yrouttasight @Ophelia NO STOP IT YOU ALWAYS WEAR WOOL PEACOATS AND SCARVES AND NICE HATS AND LEATHER BOOTS. and maybe fuzzy mufflers.

@steponitvelma I find that a good, longish wool coat in the winter does wonders, as does a pair of weatherproof boots (although I prefer leather to rubber), and I would like to have a nice water resistant trenchcoat for the spring when wool is too warm. Layers are good, but I wear lots of thin layers so I don't get bulky. I don't find rain pants or sporty gear necessary unless I'm actually doing sporty things outside (gardening, biking).

yrouttasight

@Summer Somewhere We also wear giant, shapeless down coats and big ugly snow boots. When it's cold enough, your pride goes right out the window, trust.

I do have lots of cute scarves, though.

LollyWillowes

WOOL. Spend your money on Pendleton and Filson, and skip the techy (flimsy) fabrics and cargo pants at REI. After 10 years of NW living, I embraced the Twin Peaks look and never looked back.

sceps yarx

@LollyWillowes Yes, please don't buy REI stuff! A couple of good wool sweaters and some smartwool socks are great. And pick up a bunch of thrift store coats. I've lived in Seattle for twelve years, and sometimes I feel like my wardrobe is only as big as my jacket collection. Also, long sleeved Ts and thermals. You can keep wearing your summer dresses by layering a long sleeved T and wool tights underneath, and it won't look weird to anyone because we all do it.

And honestly, I haven't seen a lot of people wearing puffy coats and snow boots...that would make you so sweaty! It's kind of humid here. Humid and chilly at the same time.

hotdog

Re: dresses. Does everyone have to shave their legs every 12 hours? Or is that just me? I would loooooove to wear dresses more, but I'm pale and have dark hair and you can't wear tights in the summer. And shaving takes so. long. when it's every. single. day. Maybe I'm just lazier than everyone else?

okaycrochet

@hotdog This is my problem also. I sometimes shave all the time and I sometimes don't shave that frequently and still wear dresses because as that one servant boy said in Ever After which loosely applies here, "No one will be looking at your feet."

Nina B.@twitter

@hotdog As a dark-haired lady, I can definitely relate. I've learned that day-old stubble may be noticeable to me but not to other people. Additionally, sometimes I only shave to above my knee and not the whole leg. (Well, depending on the length of dress.) It works for me?

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@hotdog Oh, totally--my legs are pale and hairy, and that hair is dark. And I feel like shaving takes me soooo long and I still usually end up missing a bunch of spots. Ugh. So, I never wear skirts or dresses.

H.E. Ladypants

@hotdog No, I only shave once every couple of weeks and no one can really tell the difference. I am pretty sure if leg shaving were a big regular thing I wouldn't wear them at all.

However, I also add that I have to agree with okaycrochet and Nina B., too. I rarely shave above the knee and I've learned that most people don't notice unshaven legs. You have to be full on sporting some leg hair before it even crosses people's minds.

null

@H.E. Ladypants Yeahhh this. I can't think of one time I've ever looked at another woman's legs to check if she shaved or not. I might notice a woman who chooses to keep her legs hairy, but I just think she's badass.

LaLoba

@hotdog Well if one is moving to the Pacific Northwest, it is not as socially abhorrent to not shave at all.

Koko Goldstein

@hotdog Yeah, I've pretty much given up on shorts and dresses. Except at the gym, where everyone just needs to deal with my leg hair. It grows back within hours!!!

frigwiggin

@hotdog My legs get (to me) pretty obviously hairy pretty quickly, but I've just sorta given up on caring. I doubt most people actually notice! I just do it for meeeee when I want to repeatedly pet my smooth shiny legs. Otherwise, fuck it.

Limaceous

@hotdog I find that if I shave my legs too often I get unpleasant razor burn etc problems.

So in winter, I shave maybe once a week, and now that it's summer I'm doing it twice a week (but only up to my knees, the hair on my thighs is light enough that it's less noticeable when grown out than stubble would be), and timing my shaving around days I want to wear a shorter dress. Then on day two or three or four, I wear maxi dresses or leggings under a tunic or short dress.

You might also try knee-socks. I'm afraid I've kind of aged out of knee-sock appropriateness, but I think they're adorable and recommend for everyone.

octagonfudge

@LaLoba So true! And I love each and every one of those ladies who will walk around sporting their leg fur which just screams "LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKS I DO NOT GIVE." Love.

crango

@hotdog I love me some dresses but haaaaaate shaving my legs, so I just wear them anyways. Leg pelts be damned!

orejitasmiamor

@hotdog In the summer I'm all about letting my leg pelt do as it pleases between bi-weekly shaves, but if it is fall or spring I wear cute tights, or up to 4 pairs of tights in the winter. And in the summer you can still mask some hairs with lace tights, and they will make you feel all sexy!

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@orejitasmiamor @all Changing your razor or blades more often might help, if you're a shaver. You'll get a closer shave so the stubble won't pop up as quickly.

And then you can get away with those days where a little bit of hair is showing but you're like "eff this, I won't be late for work just so I can shave my legs"

Papaya

@hotdog GIRL. Ditto. I am palepalepale and you can see the hair follicles on my legs and I get all prickly-pear if I get goosebumps like, 5 minutes after shaving. Sometimes I get goosebumps or a shiver in the shower and have to shave my legs twice because all the hair is like, "Oh, HAI we're back now." It's maddening. I want the lasers to take it all away but I am a poor grad student and my husband thinks there are better ways to spend $3k.

Nivea makes a good gradual-self-tanner that is also shave-minimizing, and that has been a godsend because once it is above 80, I cannot physically wear pants or I will die because it is so hot. It doesn't have a funky smell and the color is superlight, not orange.

Better to Eat You With

@hotdog After about 23 years of shaving most days, my leg hair growth has slowed down dramatically. (Wow, that makes me seem old. 38 isn't that old! I swear!)

OhMarie

@frigwiggin I'm with you--I don't wear dresses if I haven't shaved in, like, weeks, but if it's stubble then people can deal with it.

This is my new username

@Papaya I am also like this. I definitely get stubble within 12 hours and my upper legs are quite hairy so i get none of this only needing to shave the bottom part of my legs benefit either. People who only need to shave every few days don't understand it either. I have just given in and been like "eff it" for a days worth of growth, but I definitely don't feel comfortable going to work in a skirt without shaving any more than that. It is definitely visible hair by that time, and I am bound to get goosebumps at least once and that results in even more hair showing! Then there is all the razor burn fun times and ughhh! I hate my lg hair! I have just started laser hair removal on my thighs and bought another groupon to start on my lower legs. I am excited that soon I can be fancy free like other girls and wear skirts and crap when the mood strikes me!

miss buenos aires

@hotdog Two words: MAXI DRESSES.

anachronistique

@octagonfudge I am so glad that some people are looking at my hairy hairy legs and thinking pleasantly that I give no fucks!

As someone who is hirsute and has pale legs with super dark hair, I do not think I have ever had anyone SAY anything to me about my furry legs. I pretty much shave for special occasions (weddings, commencement, visiting elderly relatives) and as the mood takes me otherwise. But I figure it's that whole thing where people are paying a lot less attention to everybody else around them than what's going on inside their own heads.

slutberry

@klaus I keep my legs hairy, and dress super femme/classy, and nobody ever says anything. Sometimes I get leering guys on the bus, but whatevs. But I also have fairly light/sparse leg hair (it's definitely THERE, but it doesn't draw too much attention to itself).

Lily Rowan

OK, here's my magic trick for determining if other people (people not touching you) can see your leg stubble/zit/hideous whatever. Actually look from the distance that other people are! Stand straight up and look down at your legs, look in the mirror, etc. Of course YOU can see everything, because you're two inches away.

Ellie

My hair is light enough (though still technically "dark hair" I think) but I do have that problem where shaving doesn't last very long - UNTIL I started using this aftershave gel: http://www.thebodyshop-usa.com/body-products/foot-care-products/peppermint-cooling-leg-gel.aspx (It's called "cooling gel" but it's really aftershave) I don't use it everytime because it's a bit pricey but it keeps my legs super smooth through at least an entire 24 hours. It also prevents bumps, ingrown hair, irritation, etc. so I always apply liberally after any bikini line shaving.

hotdog

@Lily Rowan Yeah, you might be lucky then...because after 12 hours, you can definitely see my leg hair from a good foot away. After two days of not shaving? Make that like 3 feet.

NeverOddOrEven

@Nina B.@twitter I only shave up to the top of the knee too. When I shave that is.
The longer coarse stuff only grows that high. Thighs are still baby fine stuff and I find they look worse if I do shave them with the irritation and ingrowns.

Megasus

I don't know what your skin tone is (though it really doesn't matter), but stay away from dingy colours! I like all your orange stuff but those pink skirts just look like they haven't been washed.

VDRE

THAT counts as a lot of T shirts? I think maybe I am doing something wrong with my wardrobe.

Xanthophyllippa

@VDRE I'm with you on that. I have three drawers full of tees. One of those drawers is devoted solely to black tees.

Hellcat

@Xanthophyllippa I've got one dedicated to "old band Ts" that would have to be pried from my cold, dead hands. The other drawer is plain/striped. Anything that deviates slightly from standard t-shirt shape is hung in the closet. And, yes, the plain black section is a big one.

Megoon

@VDRE yeah... I recently found a "perfect t-shirt" on sale at Target and bought ten, including three in black. Last year I did the same thing with a perfect racer back tank from the Gap. I wear either the tank or the t-shirt every single day with black pants or a black skirt. Getting dressed takes two seconds and it's awesome! T-shirts forever!

However, I do love that first blouse.

pilcrow

@VDRE I'm feeling an anti-T bias in favor of the dreaded "blouse." Don't people wear cute, fitted, solid color t-shirts every day? With their skirts/jeans whatevers? Under their nice cardigans? Or is it just me. Boo to the blouse!

Hellcat

@pilcrow I think boo to the word "blouse." However, the garment is fine with me!

Not It

Since Kerry is looking for dresses, I'm going to pose this question to the crowd, and act like it's (obliquely, anyway) related:

Say you were a size 16-18 lady who wants to wear more casual dresses, but is on a pretty serious budget, where would you go for a couple of dresses that are under $80 bucks each? And say you wanted these fantasy dresses to have an elbow length sleeve , enough chest coverage that leaning over to pick up my kid doesn't put on a show, and you preferred a woven fabric not requiring ironing to a knit? I just want the moon, is all.

HeckYes

@Not It Try eshakti (eshakti.com)? They have dresses in a huge range of sizes, for not a huge amount of money and they'll let you customize the sleeve length and hem length for most of the dresses for free/not very much money. They seem kind of magical. I've never ordered from them but I have heard good things.

katekatekateyeah

@Not It eshakti is pretty magical, and will customize a dress for you like that, though I think most of their fabrics are pretty wrinkle-prone, so that's a bummer. Still, totally worth it.

Dizzy

@Not It Have you checked out Shabby AppleI have heard good things from a lady who was looking for the same-ish size and coverage as you. They have very pretty, retro-styled dresses.

quatsch

@Not It Lands End and Lands End Canvas! I think Canvas' size range is generally smaller, but they I find that they still fit a bit looser than a lot of other brands. Both have frequent sales and deals and big clearance sections - I got 2 dresses from LEC for less than $30 each today with free shipping because of dealitude! One of them was silk! Ack! Anyway, there's my hot tip.

daisicles

@Not It I am somewhat addicted to scoping out the sales section at igigi.com. Their regular prices are above your price range (and mine too, so sad), but they always have sales on with a fair mix of casual and dressier dresses.

I would also go scope out the selection at onestopplus.com, just because they carry a lot of different lines. Simplybe.com might also be good, though again on the higher end of your budget, because they're a British company and tend to have slightly different styles than the American companies that you might like more.

Not It

@quatsch Whoa, I'm digging around that site right now! Thanks for the tip!

Not It

@daisicles Both of these sites are news to me, thanks!

lobsterhug

@Not It If you have a big H&M near you, check to see if they are carrying their new plus size line. I got a great shirt dress and a wrap style one over the winter that I love. They were not expensive ($25 ish) and better quality that you usually see from that store.

ingrid.tuesday

@Not It Look at effiesheart.com. I have the Dolce Vita dress, and though that particular one goes for a shade over $80, they can be found on sale and are both flattering and super comfy. Plus: POCKETS.

nyikint

@Not It

Alternatively, you could hit up Pistol Packing Mama on the Sharepin who is giving away a mammoth-load worth of stuff in your size!!

barefoot cuntessa

@Not It Asos Curve section is what you're looking for. Excellent stuff.

Punk-assBookJockey

@Not It I am about this size and shirt dresses with belts have been my friend. I have a couple from Target (shop online unless you know of a magical unicorn target that has a good plus size selection. SO MUCH of the good plus size stuff on their website is online only though. Which, can we have a discussion about why plus size people are not entitled to try on before purchasing like everyone else?!) that I really like. One is black and I never iron it and one is chambray and I only sometimes iron it. Old Navy also has some decent options online. I usually buy a ton of stuff, sometimes the same thing in multiple sizes, get the free shipping for orders over x dollars and then plan to return roughly half of them, if I'm lucky.

Nina B.@twitter

Hunter and Ugg boots are the stereotypical "sorority girl" marker at my Midwestern university. (But I'll at least admit that Hunter boots can be worn stylishly?)

hotdog

@Nina B.@twitter Don't worry, they go on to be the attire of entire marketing and PR departments in large cities who employ those sorority girls post-graduation. WILL IT EVER END??

H.E. Ladypants

@hotdog Ugh. I work down the hall from a PR firm and every day I come to work with my grungy bike commute shoes and my helmet hair and OH BOY do these perfectly groomed ladies give me some looks.

I have to admit, I kind of relish not living up to their standards. I like knowing that I'm still someone's grungy, weird girl. It makes me feel like doing something right.

Xanthophyllippa

@H.E. Ladypants

We will never be never be
anything but loud
and nitty gritty
dirty little freaks!

I routinely change my clothes in my office after I've biked in to work.

H.E. Ladypants

@Xanthophyllippa I do, too. Even if weather isn't hot enough to inspire a full on clothes change, I put on different shoes, run a brush through my hair and toss on some powder.

The walk from bike to office is fun, though.

Nina B.@twitter

@H.E. Ladypants +1. And you can be confident that your style isn't cookie-cutter, too.

Xanthophyllippa

@H.E. Ladypants The best is when I see my students on my way from the bike to the office and I'm wearing grungy shoes, rain pants, an old stained shirt, then 20 minutes later I walk into class and I'm wearing my Naot sandals, a long flowy skirt, and a spotless tee.

Oh, who am I kidding - all my tees have spots on them.

every tomorrow@twitter

@Xanthophyllippa NAOT SANDALS

I splurged and bought some, and ever since I have been angry at the weather for being too cold for sandals. FLUFFY FOOT CLOUDS. Sometimes I wear them in the house, just because.

PatatasBravas

@Xanthophyllippa RAIN PANTS. RAIN PANTS. RAIN PANTS.

Dear new PNW-er,

BUY YOUR ASS SOME RAIN PANTS and a bike of course, bike and lights and helmet.

They will save you so much time, effort, and keep you warm and dry.

And they're quite sexy to the right kind of PNW-er.

ColdFinger

@Xanthophyllippa ok, tell me this. is it possible to bike 12 miles to work and not have to change? in my mind, there are mythical people - i think they look a lot like charlotte gainsborough, only grungier, in fact - who find THE PERFECT LOOK and don't have to change clothes because they get only the right amount messy and sweaty.

I made that up, right? They don't actually exist?

H.E. Ladypants

@ColdFingers In my experience the problem with that is that in mid-summer, I'd start getting zits on my back and whatnot from spending all day in sweaty clothes. Thus my rule (for me personally) is to wear sensible clothes to bike in for most of the year (leggings and a dress, usually) but to bring a change of clothes when it starts getting really hot out.

linolanayseda

@ColdFingers I would like to believe that those people don't actually exist, because that would make me feel even more like a troll. I'm a fairly fit person and I'm fucking disgusting after my 10-mile bike commute, no matter what I wear. Hair matted, red splotches, chain grease tattoo on my leg, sweat ev-er-y-where. But I try to stroll into the office like a badass.

ColdFinger

@linolanayseda The chain grease! Yes. I, too, strut it like I'm a fucking Charlie's Angel.

There are probably about 6 days per year when you can bike in New York without a change of clothes... On a separate note: those days are also the ones when your commute from and to Brooklyn feels less like a casual ride and more like you're in a really competitive bike gang. ("Back off that intersection, bitch! ... Naw, we're cool, we're cool.")

Xanthophyllippa

@ColdFingers They exist, because I know one. But she burps when she eats, so it all evens out and I'm still allowed to like her.

ColdFinger

@Xanthophyllippa Fine, fine. I know one two. She's way into bugs and too cute to dislike. I was just hoping she was the only one - slash - there were not many of them. Like the albinos of bikers.

jaimie

Ah, I have that silk tank from Anthropologie, except mine is purple. I wanted to get it in grey as well, but then I thought about how I can kinda sometimes be that person who likes something a lot and then buys it in every color, so I didn't. But now I wish I had.

As far as going for a Charlotte Gainsbourg/Alexa Chung look, definitely check out Madewell. Everything they have is perfect, and they have pretty good sales (plus, in store, use your student ID to get 15% off of everything). I love their dresses in particular, they're the perfect mix of chic (lots of silk) and cool. They also make really great shoes that are high quality and often go on sale for less than $100 a pair. You can also use the models on the site to get ideas for outfits that are styled in just the look you're going for.

jaimie

@jaimie
Oh, and another recommendation for the luxe tshirt thing Jane was talking about -- https://www.everlane.com/
Really nice tshirts for less than you'd pay at, say, Alexander Wang.

sox
sox

@jaimie I LOVE the styles on Madewell, and something awesome about their current summer look is that it's kind of slouchy-preppy and many of the styles could be mostly duplicated with thrift store finds and then a couple key pieces could be purchased at Madewell. I go to the website when I'm getting ready all the time to get ideas!
My summer plan:
-shop thrift for colored khaki type pants that can be cutoff and rolled, grey/neutral worn cotton sweatshirts and t shirts for layering.
-splurge on one of their bright colored plaid shirts and maybe either their bright or floral skinny jeans, or those sweet floral shorts.

redheaded&crazy

@jaimie I am that person who buys something in multiple colours when I like it and it's so good! Sometimes I give away the colour I wear less, which works well for other people. But if I like something, why NOT have it in all the colours?!

themmases

@redheaded&crazie I have passed by stuff I otherwise kinda liked because it came in only one color and, no, my plans for this item were to have it in all the colors.

EternalFootwoman

@redheaded&crazie This! This is my clothing-buying m.o. Once, when I was nine, a couple bitches in my class asked me, in a really mean way, why I wore "the same clothes" every day. Did that stop me from owning the same outfit in multiple colors far into my late twenties? Nay.

jilt

@jaimie The Everlane site looks great - I'm going to stock up for summer

mangosara

@jaimie ALSO you can get Alexander Wang t-shirts at the Outnet, Bargain Bin favorite, for super cheap a lot of the time.

okaycrochet

Kerry! I love your teapot collection! Kerry! KERRY! THE TEAPOTS!

acid burn

Aww, the "bad" part of Kerry's wardrobe looks like my wardrobe, so I guess I'm doing it wrong too? :'( I too wish I knew how to find dresses. KERRY! LET'S HANG OUT WHEN YOU MOVE TO THE PNW, AND YOU CAN TEACH ME WHAT CLOTHES TO WEAR, WITH YOUR NEWLY-ACQUIRED STYLE. BUT SAVE THOSE OCTUPUS/SQUID/CONSTELLATION SHIRTS FOR ME, OK?

kerryh

@acid burn
YES and you can have them, the picture does not show how gnarly they are! i just couldn't let myself get that vulnerable...

EternalFootwoman

@acid burn This is my wardrobe too! I blame my attendance at a high school with a uniform. I can dress in jeans for the weekend, and I can dress super-fancy, but the in-between times (so, like, eighty-seven percent of adult life) I am either overdressed or schlubby.

Also, I'll fight you for the octopus/squid/constellation shirts.

acid burn

@EternalFootwoman I don't think I'm THAT schlubby, but... well, I was thinking about how it would be fun to do this and have Jane tell me what to wear but then I realized I would be too ashamed to post most of my wardrobe, so I guess that's not a very good sign. I don't have a uniform backstory, so I guess I just blame hating to shop?

PatatasBravas

@kerryh Can the arms and pitstains get cut out of the cephalopod shirts? Because @acid burn is totally right about them being perfect here. And for the two months a year it is sunny and warm and delightful, you could very easily swing a radically cut octopus shirt with the right amount of body in the pants/skirt.

EternalFootwoman

@acid burn Yeah, I also would be embarrassed to admit to what is in my wardrobe. There would be way more t-shirt pictures.

slutberry

@EternalFootwoman Oh. I went to a highschool with a uniform too, and I have EXACTLY the same problem.

Also I inherited the bulk of my shirts from my dad, so I have a million white t-shirts and oversized button downs which I will not get rid of because, my dad, and I miss him.

entangled

@acid burn. you're one step ahead of me. the "bad" part of Kerry's wardrobe is what I want my wardrobe to look like. my actual wardrobe is an overflowing drawer of gym clothes and a collection of falling apart tank tops/hoodies/sweaters/jeans.

Maryaed

You're going to be fine in the PacNW. Except for the suede.

DO NOT toss the cephalopod shirts.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Maryaed Best thing about the NW is that all the awesome suede shoes end up at Nordstroms Rack and I get to buy them and bring them back to the less wet part of NW. Muah ha ha ha!

Nina B.@twitter

Blouse #1 is adorable(!!!). It looks like it can be worn with anything and easily go from day to night. Or edgy to super feminine. Anything.

Hellcat

@Nina B.@twitter I actually made a happy sound when I saw that one.

yeah-elle

You will rip my tshirts from my cold, dead hands. I have 5 black tshirts and 4 grey tshirts and they are each different and special (drape! sleeve length! neckline!) in their own way. Also, I never paid more than $10 for any of them, and the $4.80 Forever21 one still fits me better than any $40 silk and bamboo tee I tried on.

every tomorrow@twitter

@yeah-elle I have a really unfortunate body type for non-knit tops (fat, big shoulders, no boobs to speak of) so my wardrobe basically consists of about 10 billion tshirts of various colors and necklines and 5 billion different sweaters and cardigans and things I wear over them. I get the tshirts cheap and then splurge on interesting sweaters.

It works for me better than blouses, which pretty much all either emphasize my arm fat, make me look very pregnant, or straight up don't fit.

Xanthophyllippa

@every tomorrow@twitter Blouses generally sag in my front (no boobs) and strain across my back (former swimmer). I have a few nice sleeveless blouses - because then the armpits aren't too tight and I'm not in danger of splitting the seams across my biceps - but that's it.

yeah-elle

@every tomorrow@twitter Word. I'm slim, with a short torso and a large bust, and it's an absolute pain finding blouses that don't either gap at the buttons or straight up don't fit across my bust. Big, drapey tops tend to just look like boob-tents on me, and make me look big all over. Tees are a must!

As long as the tees fit well, and look in good shape (no fading, pilling, etc), they can actually be part of a pretty chic outfit.

themmases

@yeah-elle <3 those $4.80 Forever21 t-shirts. People who say you can have too many just don't understand.

Xanthophyllippa

I have spent the last 15 minutes trying to decide if that blouse is the underside of jellyfish or mushrooms.

quatsch

@Xanthophyllippa The undersides of parasols!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Xanthophyllippa Thank you. I've been puzzling about whether it's mushrooms or buttons.

lue
lue

@Xanthophyllippa
I sort of suspect that it is homemade--It's this material from Joann Fabrics!

Xanthophyllippa

@lue Ah, so it actually IS parasols! Excellent!

LaLoba

The most important thing to remember about dressing in the Pacific Northwest is: Layers!!!! Layers layers layers.

Also, a good raincoat is an essential and something that you might want to consider spending a reasonable amount on, as you will wear it all the time. These days REI often has really nice raincoats that are incredibly functional and very nice looking. Mine is a heather gray color that makes the fabric appear to be wool-like; it is an illusion raincoat! And is nicely fitted.

Riding boots or motorcycle boots are good for keeping your feet dry and badass.

jaimie

@LaLoba
Speaking of layers, maybe her signature accessory should be scarves. Very cool-Parisian, and versatile for chilly days. While I generally hate Banana Republic, they have some really pretty scarves and are almost always running some sort of sale. I got one in a silk blend from them that's perfect for both colder and warmer days.

SeaMoney

@LaLoba I was just drafting a comment about Rain Coats, I agree. In the winter (when in Portland) I usually wear a fleece and a shell type rain coat. One that is compact-able Like this: http://www.rei.com/product/804387/marmot-precip-rain-jacket-womens

every tomorrow@twitter

@LaLoba Yeah I live in Seattle and we had like a 3-week period earlier this year where it was yoyoing between 30 and 65 degrees. LAYERS. (We don't really get spring here so much as it alternates between winter and summer until it decides to actually stay summer. Sometimes it alternates several times in a 24-hour period.)

I don't own rain boots, either. idk where in the pacific northwest Kerry is headed, but in Seattle and, as far as I know, Portland the rain tends to be light to moderate. We don't get torrential rain, it just rains ALL THE GODDAMN TIME. So leather (or not-totally-crappy faux leather) boots are just fine and will keep your feet dry, you just have to look after them a bit. The main benefit of the boots is actually that they go up high enough that they keep my socks and the bottoms of my jeans from getting drenched, because soggy feet are the worst.

Also definitely have some kind of a water-resistant jacket. Lightweight is fine. Also for winter you may want to invest in a decent wool coat if that's your thing. I have two coats: an it's not that cold but it sure is wet coat, and a SHIT IT'S COLD coat.

OxfordComma

@LaLoba : YES. And for all that I make fun of them, fleece vests are *incredibly* awesome in the PacNo.

I grew up three miles south of Canada in Washington state.

I know from fleece, baby.

DoctaJones

@LaLoba Ditto for people moving to or visiting San Francisco. Sure we don't get as much rain as Seattle or Portland but we do have micro climates. Moving from one neighborhood to another often results in the addition or subtraction of outer wear, even in the summer.

Ophelia

@SeaMoney Hahahaha, I just posted the same jacket downthread. Love Marmot.

LaLoba

@SeaMoney I Live in Portland!!

LaLoba

@SeaMoney I Live in Portland!!

LaLoba

@OxfordComma My prized fleece (the ONLY FLATTERING FLEECE IN THE WORLD) was stolen out of my friend's car this winter. I need Jason and the Argonauts to go get it back to me.

OxfordComma

@LaLoba : Get my fleece, JASON.

MollyculeTheory

Don't get the boots! I am so mad at Hunter boots right now! I bought this pair less than 2 years ago, thinking "oh, they are terrifyingly expensive for rain boots, but I can wear them for forEVER!" and one just split open up the back heel seam like a TWO HUNDRED DOLLAR ROTTEN BANANA. ):<

parallel-lines

@MollyculeTheory I read a couple years ago that they used to make them in England but then they got super popular and they started making them in China and the quality went WAAAAAY downhill.

Xanthophyllippa

@parallel-lines I was just ogling a pair of Doc Martens online and then saw that there was a tiny little box at the bottom of the page that said "Made in China." So much for tradition.

whateverlolawants

@parallel-lines Those jerks!

harebell

@parallel-lines the really good rubber boots right now for quality & fit & so on are Aigle, not Hunter, which has never been that great at not cracking at seams anyway. but shh, don't tell too many people.

stephanieboland

@MollyculeTheory I've had mine for almost five years, and the trick is to wax them- any wellies will crack eventually without upkeep. May not be relevant in your case since it was the seam, but for anyone else trying to maintain a pair of Hunters.
(I had no idea they'd got popular in America- I got mine in a hunting shop in Oxford and was amazed enough when everyone started wearing them here, how exciting that they're GLOBAL)

frigwiggin

Aw dude, I love stuff like this! I would submit my own closet, except that I have pretty much been doing it for myself for the last year or so (since my best friend and I started our personal style blog together), and I've gotten so much more in touch with what I look for in clothing. I will admit that it's taken a fair amount of buy-it-try-it and there's been a lot of stuff that's gone back to Goodwill because it's nice in theory but doesn't jive with my color preferences or whatever, but that's part of WHY I shop at Goodwill--I don't feel so bad giving them back something that cost me $5 a few months ago. Now that I have a better grip on my preferences, I can sometimes splurge on something higher-end because I know I'll get a decent amount of use out of it. (Well, "splurge" for me means like $30 shoes and $40 dresses because I am a tightwad, but I do occasionally buy something more expensive. *coughDuoBootscough*

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin P.S. Taking a picture of yourself in daily outfits is actually a good, fun way to figure out your style preferences, too! Not saying you have to blog 'em or anything, but my interest in and understanding of what colors I like and what silhouettes I prefer really jumped after I started taking clear, semi-nicely-lit pictures of myself so I could see the outfits in all their glory.

whateverlolawants

@frigwiggin I am so trying that. I like my style, but who couldn't use some refinement and greater understanding?

redheaded&crazy

@frigwiggin oooh I totally want to do this! I think it would be a good motivational force for me to look nice in the morning.

like the week i tried to become a "ring person" (speaking of having An Accessory) that lasted for a week

frigwiggin

@whateverlolawants You should, it's fun!

@redheaded&crazie For what it's worth, I used to abhor rings, but now I actually feel weird if I'm not wearing one...although that's mostly because I take them off when I wash my hands and then invariably leave them in the bathroom at work, and then someone has to come looking for me. I am universally known as the Office Jewelry Loser. Buuuut I still like wearing them!

miss buenos aires

@frigwiggin Can you post a link to your style blog,pretty please?

I actually *just* started (like, yesterday) a blog about my closet and the contents thereof. It's weird that this article came out on the same day, because I am basically trying to crowdsource the same decision-making process: keep, toss or give away? (Spoiler: I am keeping most of it.) Anyway, my wardrobe consists almost exclusively of vintage dresses (about 70 at last count), so I thought vintage-loving Hairpinners might be interested:

dressopotamia.blogspot.com

P.S. Sorry if this is too spammy!

anachronistique

@frigwiggin DUO BOOTS. I am saving up! And I've been doing the same thing too, over the past year - I switched from a job where I could wear jeans and sneakers to a job where I have to look like a Responsible Adult, and buying clothes has become a whole new adventure since then. How do I look professional while maintaining my own sense of self? Haven't completely figured it out yet, but I'm getting there.

frigwiggin

@miss buenos aires Not spammy at all! I love new blog friends, and your dresses are SO. COOL. My blarg is here, and I am the Mia of the pair. Although apparently at least one reader likes to pretend that Tia and I are the same character, played by two different actresses.

@anachronistique Right? When I got my first "real" job after college, the whole business-casual thing threw me for a loop, but now I definitely play with it and *cough* sometimes stretch the limits of what some people might consider work-appropriate. I mean, I cover all the important bits, but I wear bright colors all the time, flouncy skirts, unnecessary hats, etc. etc. Nobody's said boo yet!

frigwiggin

@anachronistique P.S. I looooove my Duo Boots. It still makes me a little faint to think about how expensive they were (compared to what I normally spend), but boots! That fit my calves! And are so super nicely made! They make me feel like a badass, no lie.

slutberry

@miss buenos aires I aspire to have a wardrobe made almost entirely of vintage dresses. Kudos. (What the heck does "kudos" even mean??)

slutberry

@frigwiggin Holy crap your hair. Also your style. Also your hair.

anachronistique

@frigwiggin I think it's a solid investment, though, if you are never going to find real leather boots that fit your massive calves. (Speaking only of my own calves of doom, here.)

@sniffadee In ancient Greek it means "glory," the praise you win for doing something awesome! #classicsnerd

miss buenos aires

@frigwiggin Yay, blog friends! Glad you like it.

@sniffadee The secret is just buying them whenever you find them. I fear they are dying out, but I still find stuff in great condition, so there's hope yet...

slutberry

@anachronistique Classics nerds FTW!! I live with one :)

frigwiggin

@anachronistique Oh, for sure. The only other pair of knee-high boots I have are from Woman Within, and they are most definitely not leather.

@sniffadee Aw, shucks. I'm still learning about what I like and what suits me (and hopefully will keep learning, forever and ever), so it feels both weird and awesome when people actually, like, look at the blog? Ahh, haha. And the hair is all getting buzzed off this weekend, so Tia will have to carry on the flagship of brightly colored hair until mine grows out again. (I can never keep mine one way for more than a month or two. Oh fickle heart of mine...)

Kudos to one and all! "Glory" is a great way of giving people props.

slutberry

@frigwiggin Brightly colored hair has been one of my favorite things for as long as I can remember, but I've never done it myself. For my wedding, though, I intend to tip it with all the fun jewel tones and then do a fancy updo, and I am SO excited! :)

frigwiggin

@sniffadee Ahhhh, that's going to be so pretty!! Please do it and then show us! (I will never again have hair long enough to just do tips, I think, but I looooove how it looks on other people.)

slutberry

@frigwiggin I've had my hair quite short for six years, but this year I decided it was TIME. It's just below my chin now, so by the time we get hitched (in either 6 months or a year) it should be long enough. I am also planning on wearing a colorful crinoline. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THE COLORS. (also about the getting married bit).

pilcrow

@frigwiggin Duo! I'm so glad you like them. I am always tempted because I have zee chicken legs and wear boots like 330 days out of the year.

bitzyboozer

I just don't think it's possible to live in the South (or a similarly hot climate) and not own at least a dozen t-shirts.

EMarrinner

"some heavy weight leggings" -- please help: looking for recommended styles and brands. I mostly come across footless tights (even when outside the hosiery department), which are definitely not the same thing. Any suggestions?

jaimie

@EMarrinner
I think J Crew makes a nice basic black legging that's fairly thick and well-priced. I live in Chicago, and in the winter I often layer a pair of Uniqlo's Heat-Tech leggings under a regular pair like that, and it keeps me really warm.
http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/jcrewweekend/Bottoms/PRDOVR~17689/17689.jsp

EMarrinner

@EMarrinner Oh! Wonderful and budget-friendly suggestion. Thank you! I adore the legging look, but don't want to be that victim who is obviously (yet obliviously) wearing opaque tights.

orejitasmiamor

@EMarrinner I had to buy 4 pairs to finally get away from that. Sneaky sneaky stretchy pants. Hopefully it was cute underwear?

pinecone

@EMarrinner I'm almost tempted to send the fashion police after myself for this suggestion, but the solid black leggings in various lengths from the C9 Champion Premium line at Target are great. I have two pairs of the "knee tights" (more like mid-calf on me, but I'm short) that I wear for running, yoga, and as regular leggings. The texture is nice and not too workout-looking, and they're heavier and stay in place when you move around.

Ophelia

@EMarrinner I really like Athleta's leggings, and they come in regular and tall. The black ones have black elastic, so they don't do that shiny thing at the knees/thighs.

EMarrinner

@EMarrinner Loving the bevy of options! Now I know exactly what to do with my allowance this weekend. Thanks!

pilcrow

@EMarrinner I asked for leggings help on, I think, Jezebel? Anyway, an anonymous internet person told me something that I will now tell you - Aritzia TNA leggings. Yeah, I'd never heard of them. But now I am loyal. They are only 20 bucks, hold up waaaaay better than anything that price I've tried, have a wide waistband (yay) and you can sort of cut them to the length you want because they have these little seams that go perpendicular to the side seam...blah. Hard to explain. But anyway, they rock.

Decca

This is great! I too am moving for school (in September) and am excited about maybe trying out some new wardrobe outfits. Mostly I just want to buy a pair of Doc Martens and wear them without my friends asking me if I think I'm a badass now (I do).

feartie

@Decca I saw this lady walking by with shin-high gold lamé Doc Martens and otherwise fabulously dressed and smirking a little. I was impressed, yes.

Decca

@feartie Oh, that was me. Say hi next time.

feartie

@Decca The impenetrable aura of awesome made that rather difficult.

Verity

@Decca I want a pair of Doc Martens so much, but am not quite brave enough. One day!

Nina B.@twitter

Cheaper options than Madewell but have a similar look?

jaimie

@Nina B.@twitter
I don't know of a straightforward store to recommend, but I think the key is to get in your mind what sorts of pieces you're looking for (for instance, drapey silk blouses, skinny ankle pants, shift dresses) and then shop around sales like crazy until you find something that works. I think it's important to buy quality--why spend $20 for a rayon forever 21 blouse when you could have found a silk one on sale for $30?--but it does take work. And look around at places you would never expect. For instance, I've bought some great silk tshirts at Coldwater Creek, of all places, for like $10-15 each, and I frequently stalk the Brooks Brothers little boys section for great deals on sweaters, shirts, etc.--I even got a Loro Piana wool blazer for $90 after Christmas.

Brunhilde

PNW? Sweater dresses, warm tights/leggings, rain boots, raincoat, Prozac.

every tomorrow@twitter

@Brunhilde Full-spectrum SAD lamp.

OxfordComma

@Brunhilde : Cuddlduds (trust.), thick socks, warm hats, and I will second the sun-lamp.

(My last year in Washington, it rained for
Ninety. Three. Days. Straight.
I thought I would never see the sun again.)

(I cried when I read "Summer in a Day" because that was ME trapped in the closet of the Northwest! FEELINGS.)

Xanthophyllippa

@OxfordComma This is why I force myself to go outside for at least half of every sunny summer day, even if I have work to do: because I live in fear that it will rain for the rest of my LIFE.

OxfordComma

@Xanthophyllippa : It's a terrible feeling, isn't it? My dad and I used to fantasize about putting our house on a crank that would lift it above the clouds.

lue
lue

@OxfordComma
HEY WOW. I've been sort of passively trying to remember the name of that story since I read it in 7th grade. I tell my husband about it so often it's probably annoying. THANK YOU!

OxfordComma

@lue : Anytime, lady! I am good at finding story titles. :)

tmk
tmk

I live in Seattle and second the thing about rubber boots: they are not necessary at all. I love my leather boots--effortless, and they make any outfit seem that much more intentional. Look great with plaid shirts, too.

Get some kind of rain slicker, but don't get an insulated one. Don't! Like the previous Seattlites have said: we layer. We kinda have to. Your rain jacket (columbia or underarmor or something like that) should be something you can throw on over a bulky sweater or a tank top. Mine is also my running jacket.

I love scarves. Not winter scarves--fancy lady scarves. Find a stunner. Go ahead and shell out $100 for a vintage Hermes scarf on eBay, if you find one you love, or look at Madewell--they have adorable ones, too, for $60-ish. I know it seems like a huge chunk of money to spend on a scrap of fabric, but look here: t-shirt and jeans? Meh. t-shirt and jeans and scarf? YOU'RE ALL DRESSED UP. LOOK AT YOU, PRETTY LADY! LET ME BUY YOU A DRINK! There's also the added benefit of them keeping your neck warm.

Also, you won't need the SAD lamp until your third or fourth year here, when you realize that you're committed to this place and its amazing seafood and stupid traffic jams.

every tomorrow@twitter

@tmk SEATTLITE BROFIST.

I'm on year 5 and I just invested in an alarm clock that is also a lamp and wakes me up by brightening slowly. I have noticed that I now wake up a lot less angry. Especially in the winter, when it is still GODDAMN DARK WHEN I LEAVE THE HOUSE. (I said less angry, not non-angry.)

And yeah I agree with everything you have said. My rain jacket is in service most of the year, I just wear heavier sweaters under it when it's colder.

contrary

@tmk I like your ideas about scarves! I am a frequent wearer of t-shirt and jeans because I am lazy/a student, but fancy scarves will change that now.

NuckingFux Nix

@tmk I just moved back to Seattle after college in the Midwest and I am already laughing because I was mad that I couldn't find my packed fleece today. In June. All of my Midwest friends ask about the rain, but this weekend I did the Rattlesnake (no actual snakes!) Mountain trail and looked over the great NW and all of the lush green trees and remembered why I moved back.

Moral of the story, I live in leather boots, and varying weights of sweaters and scarves for the entire year... just think... you will no longer have to have two separate wardrobes for summer and winter! You can now spend all of that money finding all the adorable sweaters.

My additional piece of advice would be to invest in leather/suede protectent and spray more or less everything you own with that shit, because it is magic and I have worn suede boots in the dead of the rainy winter and they have been untouched.

huh, somehow this turned into a novel... GO PNW!

Ophelia

@tmk I don't live in the PNW (Northeast! Woo!), but for anyone who wants to "invest" in a slightly higher-end rain shell, I LOVE Marmot. They also have an adorable line that comes in a whole host of colors, in case you want to be the person that combats rainy days by wearing an orange or apple-green raincoat. And, I find that the shape of the hood does a good job of keeping the rain off my face while not blocking my peripheral vision. Also, I think they rotate their colors a lot, so there probably are versions of last year's on sale somewhere:

http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11854317&lmdn=Category&cp=3677318.12125209

Apocalypstick

@tmk How does one wear a scarf without everyone asking whether you're covering up a hickey?

slutberry

@Apocalypstick Occasionally get hickies all over your neck and don't wear a scarf.

Apocalypstick

@sniffadee Genius simplicity. When in doubt, do not give a fuck and see how that improves the situation.

slutberry

@Apocalypstick I get hickies a lot. I employ the do-not-give-a-fuck technique. As my Gentleman puts it, "They know you have a boyfriend. They probably guess that you make out sometimes."

cimoreneismyspiritprincess

@sniffadee This makes me so happy on so many levels. Sometimes when people are shocked by things like that....I wonder what their sex life is like. And the occasionally getting hickeys all over ones neck and not wearing a scarf would disassociate hickeys and scarves. Call to all hairpinners! Its time for a scarf/hickey disassociation! Lets lead the way!

slutberry

@cimoreneismyspiritprincess The other day my friend pointed at my neck and was like, "You should get some cover-up." and I was like.... Oh, right. Sometimes people cover hickies up.

acookieaday

I hate to protest, but the girl said she's going to be a grad student..... Keep all of the t-shirts!!! Everyone one of them! So, there's no way this girl is going into business. As long as she's not doing research at a medical/law/business school, she's going to be dressing comfortably. Some of my compatriots manage to be fashionable (scarves at the lab bench!), but most just try to drag through the days. I would keep two weeks worth of clothes that don't need to be ironed that you can just throw on in different combinations. Get some sold color sweaters, button downs and slacks for conferences (it's extremely unlikely you'll need a suit). If you get to have an office, buy a nice, neutral sweater that you can keep in your office and throw on over whatever. I'd also buy a really nice, classic rainboot that is heavy enough to be worn in the snow. Then you can keep a pair or two of shoes at your office for days when you wear rain/snow boots.

I do like the dress suggestion, especially for ones that you can throw on over tights. However, if you're a sciency grad student, dresses can be awkward depending on how active you have to be in a lab.

Personally, I live in tees/jeans but will throw on a fun going out shirt on the weekends.

orejitasmiamor

@acookieaday I'm so glad to hear that grad school is not all business casual all the time! I'm going into a professional graduate program (health-related but not med school) this fall and they keep sending out e-mails about how we will need to wear suits for x event and also whenever we meet with certain advisors and I'm ready to throw out half my closet! I guess maybe it's a little different from what you do, but thanks!!!

Scandyhoovian

@orejitasmiamor Hahaha my graduate experience (history major) was "jeans and t-shirts and hoodies, unless there was an event, in which case I whipped out one of my two black dresses and did my hair a little." It was the best, though now... I have a very "grad studenty" closet.

Xanthophyllippa

@Scandyhoovian Srsly. My grad school experience was "whatever isn't visibly stained." Except for one metrosexual guy and another who only wore khakis and oxfords. But the rest of us looked like we slept in dumpsters.

whateverlolawants

@Xanthophyllippa My sister is a psych grad student and lives in androgynous striped Ts (she has a drawer devoted to them), jeans, and colorful sneakers.

redheaded&crazy

This is awesome! I've flipped my entire wardrobe (minus like, one or two skirts) since highschool and mostly again since university but there's some stuff I've had for ages that I still love.

In highschool was a lot of: "won't you ever wear colour again?" and sweatpants, but in grade 12 I kind of started to grow out of that

University was jeans, threadless tshirts, and like, sparkly bar tops that you grow out of reaalllll quick

these days: mostly dresses and skirts. I also love flouncy skirts! I have maybe 5 of them but they are all very different which i love. i also have a few different black/grey/white basic top-things (vests/shrugs/tshirts/tank tops) that I pair with my colourful skirts that allow me to switch things up! And then I have a bunch of different coloured tank tops to pair with my black/white/neutral-y skirts.

so basically i have too many clothes. that's not even counting dresses which are the perfect versatile thing! i have 5 sitting in my closet with the tags still on D: will somebody be my fancy dress date???

VolcanoMouse

@redheaded&crazie I will wear dresses with you! Maybe not fancy dresses (I suck at fancy) but I'm trying to only wear skirts and dresses in June! Not because I have any especial ire against trousers, but more because A. I too have too many dresses, and B. I would just wear my one comfortable pair of shorts all summer if I didn't challenge myself to do otherwise.

But seriously, dresses. Skirts. I am always boggled when people think they are fussy, because a flouncy skirt is the most comfortable/least restrictive thing.

This is my new username

@VolcanoMouse For me they are fussy because I do not sit like a lady so skirts are problematic. I sit cross legged for a good chunk of the day which is not so great when wearing a skirt (not the lady like type of leg crossing, but the kindergarten student at story time leg crossing).

Also, the five o'clock legs shadow that was discussed up thread.

Maryaed

@This is my new username Long skirts, mid-calf or longer. Indian print if you can find them, or maxi skirts, or the occasional awesome 50s lined circle skirt, and then tights with short skirts in the winter.

I used to be all jeans and sweaters for many years (don't like my legs or obsessive shaving) and now I'm almost 100% skirts.

slutberry

@redheaded&crazie Seriously, we have the same fashion taste/progression, and I want to be your best friend.

redheaded&crazy

@sniffadee you say that and yet you're fleeing the country when I'm coming to visit!

MIXED SIGNALS MY FRIEND. MIXED SIGNALS.

slutberry

@redheaded&crazie Please. I know you scheduled your trip for when I was out of the country. I don't know what I ever did to you!! :sob:

OhMarie

I feel like this would be really fun but also Jane would tear me apart!!

ghechr

Ditto with all of the above re. excessive clothes. But, 1st world problems aside, I wanted to let everyone know about a SUPER CHEAP LONG DISTANCE SHIPPING OPTION. I used this when I moved from Denver to Washington, DC several years ago. Ok, the answer to everyone's shipping problems is TRAIN FREIGHT SHIPPING. You can ship something like 500 lbs of stuff for 100 bucks. The only caveat is that you cannot ship furniture this way and everything must be boxed up and you drop off and pick up your stuff at the train station (it's not deliverable to your house). Google your local AMTRAK office and call them to get the details. Like I said, I did this many years ago (maybe, 10?) but a quick google leads me to believe they still have this service and it is likely still way cheaper than sending anything via post. Happy moving!

Jenn@twitter

@ghechr Greyhound! Ship it Greyhound! If Amtrak is not an option, GREYHOUND THAT SHIT.

Ophelia

@ghechr You can also ground-ship things "Book Rate" through the US Postal Service, and it is similarly cheap. Maybe not QUITE as cheap, but WAY less expensive than flashier shipping options. They won't guarantee fast delivery (I think they'll quote you something like 4-6 weeks), but if you're going from city to city, I've never had it take longer than 2-3 weeks.

harebell

@Ophelia ah, no, you can only ship books this way. It's called Media Mail, and it's for books.

I only post this because it's a widespread mis-assumption, and the poor postal workers at my local p.o. end up explaining this over & over to grumpy people. I live in a student-y area and for some reason the students are always confused about this (wishful thinking?).

Train freight sounds cool.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@harebell Also if you try to mail something Media Mail and it's not media and the post office suspects you are taking advantage of them, they will open up your package and the person you're mailing the thing to will have to pay to pick it up and they'll be pissed. Um...happened to a friend.

Ophelia

@harebell Ooh, really? Hmm. I have apparently sneakily cheated the system. But good to know!!

TheShe

On the accessories tip, future Pacific Northwesterner: PLEASE don't listen to anyone who tells you that "locals never use umbrellas". That is the weirdest, most made-up thing. Get several! Because oh boy will you use them.

The Lovecats

@TheShe I respectfully disagree. I ditched my umbrellas for a good rain jacket with a hood and I am so happy to never have to fight with an umbrella ever again. I do miss having all the cute options though. But how can I hold a coffee and an umbrella and everything else I need at the same time?? ;)

TheShe

@SurpriseEnding Fair enough, but seriously: I'm a lifetime Seattlite and I own several, and so do most of the people I know. Hoods are swell but not every coat you (I) wanna wear has one. So, umbrellas! No rules! Go nuts.

jaimie

@TheShe
Chicago is also super windy and I find that my clear bubble umbrella is perfect--I can hold it down so it's basically covering my whole head and still see where I'm going. Like http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Clear-Bubble-Umbrella-totes/dp/B000YB7T04/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339045494&sr=8-2

phylogenetic

@TheShe Yeah, there are *so many* umbrellas. But I hate umbrellas so I'm one of those weird hood people. The upside of being a hood person is that you don't have to carry or remember an umbrella. The downside of being a hood person is that you have to shield your eyes from ALL THE POINTY UMBRELLAS! Ugh, I miss Vancouver, but I do not miss getting off of the bus and worrying for my eyesight.

Anyway.

Maryaed

@TheShe Yes, but you still look like a tourist. (kidding)

I'm in PDX. I don't really care whether anyone uses an umbrella, but no one I know does. Maybe they're more popular in Seattle?

steponitvelma

@TheShe Weirdly enough the only people I know who use umbrellas are real locals and tourists. Transplants with a chip on our shoulder are all hood, all the time.

TheShe

@steponitvelma: hahaha EXACTLY! I was going to say, anyone I've ever heard gravely intoning this silly "rule" in real life, I swear, moved up here from Cali within the last ten years.
@jaimie: I have one of those too, and I love it! I reach for it whenever my hair is BIG and needs Fort Knox-level protection.

In general, I'm just not the kind of gal who can wear the same REI goretex raincoat every day of my life. One of the silvery-est linings about PNW weather is that we have more time in the year to show off our outerwear, so I've got five or six coats on rotation - and only one has a hood. In a perfect world they'd all have one, but until then, Umbrellas are just practical.

Rozebekistan

Ask Cat Power needs to be a THING.

Jane Dough

I love this feature. Please make it a regular thing! And btw, can I just say-- the Hairpin ROCKS! Where has this been all my life?

digsapony

I love when the Hairpin talks about clothes. No more inteligent articles, please - only the clothes. I kid, I kid (sort of). I think I dress like a tidier version of Kerry's Gainsbourg-dream (I am not rock and roll in the slightest, which disgusts my bandmates). I will now force my sage advice on you.

It might be a controversial thing, but I recommend that you choose a colour scheme. I wear only blue, white, red (a little) and grey with occasional primary-coloured accents and the amount of crap I can buy has been severely reduced just by this, plus all my clothes match.

I second the accessory thing - I only wear a few simple rings but am heavily pierced around the ears. However, I do have dreams of being Massive Necklace Girl, who wears multiple huge necklaces and developes chronic neck pain by 30.

Also, figuring out what shape you like your clothes to be is helpful. I like slim, tapered jeans and trousers with boxy tees and shirts. I spend lots on shirts and go to H&M for tees (they have the best boxy tees and I don't feel guilty for pitstaining them).

Finally, the advice I haven't taken (yet). I live in the North East of the UK, and it is rainy and cold. A really good way to not die of lack of sun and variety is to have a really nice selection of coats and jackets. Having one (poor quality) winter coat and a tweed jacket is really, really annoying me at the moment. Do better than I am doing and splurge on a nice selection. In the dead of winter, blazers and leather jackets can be worn under winter coats for extra warm and stylish. Hope some of this helps!

fabel

@digsapony I second the color-scheme thing-- it makes it easier (for me) to find stuff to wear when I'm going crazy in the morning, & switch up my shirt/pants pairings without wondering if it matches. I never liked wearing color, but if you want to avoid an enitre wardrobe of darks and neutrals, a "scheme" could work well!

commanderbanana

I think you can still totally rock the adrogynous look in dresses, as long as you keep the silhouette simple and avoid ruffles, lace, etc. Just sayin.

Personally I advocate finding a 'look' and sticking with it. I mean, my body shape isn't going to change even if clothing trends do (tl;dr, would Joan Holloway ever wear a minimalist mini? No, no she would not. She's found out what works and sticks to it.) I wear a kind of aggressively retro, 40s look, so I shop mostly at Goodwill or thrift stores, because they have a lot of vintage clothes. I also wear the same six colors over and over. Everything matches! I think people have a tendency to gravitate towards the same colors anyway.

Also I'm ashamed to say how many clothes I have, but I think of myself as a collector! I just collect clothes!!

miss buenos aires

@commanderbanana That is exactly how I feel, that last bit. I collect vintage dresses, and they take up a lot less room than, say, porcelain pigs.

Scandyhoovian

Um. Kerry does not own all the t-shirts, for I have quite possibly a good 20-25 of them in my dresser. THEY'RE ALL DIFFERENT AT LEAST?

Also my biggest wardrobe issue is "how to add a professional clothes section to my closet when I am a poor person?"

Ophelia

@Scandyhoovian H&M, with some staples from the GAP, and very few, carefully-chosen, expensive things.

Scandyhoovian

@Ophelia Ohhh, how did I COMPLETELY FORGET about H&M? It's like my brain refuses to remember that we have one here in Atlanta.

fondue with cheddar

@Scandyhoovian Seriously, I've got at least 20-25 regular t-shirts, not to mention the "fancy" t-shirts like most of the ones shown here which I don't even put in the same category.

"How to add a professional clothes section to my closet when I am a poor person?" is relevant to my interests! Though I would also have to add "when I am also very short and busty and a little bit heavy and have Fred Flintstone feet?" Because each of those things make it hard to buy clothes, but when you put them all together it's nigh impossible, which is why I'm 38 and still dress like a college student.

Ophelia

@Scandyhoovian Yeah, I find that they have stuff that's cheap enough to buy it/try out a trend, but not SO cheap that it'll fall apart after a few wears? Sometimes I just get overwhelmed going in there, though.

Xanthophyllippa

@jen325 TWINSIES! Except I'm not busty. But everything else is me.

fondue with cheddar

@Xanthophyllippa HELLO, TWIN! Hey, identical twins aren't ever exactly the same anyway, so it's okay that we have that one difference. Though I would be happy to share some of my boob material with you because I've got more than enough!

mangosara

@Ophelia also, Ann Taylor / LOFT (on sale!!!!!) for staples. but mostly, H&M.

Xanthophyllippa

@jen325 I'll keep that in mind! Right now I'm pleased with my little titlets, as they're great for running, biking, and generally being active without floppage.

fondue with cheddar

@Xanthophyllippa So Jealous. Also, I love the word "titlets"!

parallel-lines

If you ever need volunteers I'd love to help--I'm pretty okay at the clothing thing in that I have a "style" (albeit one that may not be totally well suited for my body type) but I cannot accessorize to save my life. A lot of it stems from having really bad allergies to cheap metals when I was younger, I couldn't buy anything unless it was gold or silver and I was too broke, so I never did. But that's faded, and I literally own one pair of earrings, two necklaces and...that's it. And I never really feel fully "put together". I need an accessories 101 makeover!

Ophelia

@parallel-lines I was in a similar boat until recently, and the way I dealt with it was kind of disorganized, but seemed to work? I earmarked some money (I picked $100, but you could do whatever) and went to Accessorize and just grabbed the stuff that I liked the best (didn't pay any attention to whether it was the "right" stuff). I then looked through what I'd found and noted the things that were missing (I had a bunch of necklaces, but not many earrings), and used another $100 to find a few slightly nicer things to fill in the gaps.

Now, when I travel, instead of buying souvenirs, I try to buy one nice accessory from a local store.

I still don't always WEAR them right, but I'm starting to have some cool stuff.

Xanthophyllippa

@parallel-lines Can you wear sterling silver?

firstmute

I actually created an account to say this, because I didn't see anyone else bring it up: always fold your knits! Hanging distorts them.

That's like the one thing I know about garment care.

branza

@firstmute what if there is no space to put them in, folded?

:(

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@firstmute But but but wrinkles?

anachronistique

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I think firstmute means the sweaters on hangers. Knitted sweaters should always be folded and shouldn't wrinkle much. Hanging them stretches them out.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@anachronistique Say a person has a large collection of thin knit cardigans in a rainbow of colors that she loves like children and wants to take good care of? Also this person does not iron? Should she fold them?

Ophelia

@sudden but inevitable betrayal If they're thin, and you hang them on padded hangers, you should be OK. Heavy knits, though, or knits hung on wire/thin hangers will stretch out.

anachronistique

@sudden but inevitable betrayal She should let them air-dry on a flat surface (ideally a drying rack) and fold them. I have never really noticed my cardigans getting wrinkly this way, and it reduces stretching, shrinking and fading.

klr
klr

I know it would take forever to do, but don't you guys think pictures of her *wearing* the clothes would be more helpful when deciding what to pare down? Fit matters most.

fondue with cheddar

@klr It would, but she sent 54 photos this way; taking pics of them worn would have meant a lot more!

slutberry

Why are there not enough boat-necked t-shirts in jewel tones with narrow, white, wide-spaced horizontal stripes?

slutberry

@sniffadee BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH

frigwiggin

@sniffadee Aw man! Right?? I was just looking at boat-neck tees at Old Navy last night, but the only ones in my size were striped in two different shades of blue that made me feel like Steve from Blue's Clues.

slutberry

@frigwiggin My classics nerd roommate got some really nice ones at Zara, so I'm going to check it out (but hers are black, so.) It's funny-- she's little tiny (like, less than 90 pounds tiny) and I have kind of a Joan Holloway figure (actually quite similar to yours, but with more boobs!), but we look good in EXACTLY the same things.

Ophelia

@sniffadee I LOVE boatneck shirts, and I am neither tiny like your roommate, nor curvy like you guys (tallish size 10 who once was athletic and is now just solid?), and I swear, those shirts look perfect on EVERYONE.

slutberry

@Ophelia They are the best. They are just the best things.

OH. Also. What should I wear for engagement photos tomorrow? I want to wear a pretty dress, which kind of means I want to go buy a new one...

Xanthophyllippa

@sniffadee How do you wear boat-necks without bra straps showing?

slutberry

@Xanthophyllippa I have found some just slightly narrower boat necks that stop shy of the bra strap. I like that width best, actually, because it's flattering without making your shoulders look too wide. Occasionally I've had a neckline that's too wide, and then I just wear a strapless bra or corset under it, but that doesn't work for everyone.

tessamae

@sniffadee Fact. Or this. Which I am lusting after in all of the colors...whhhhhyyy do you have to be 75 stupid dollars? I'M POOR.

http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/knitstees/longsleevetees/PRDOVR~84486/84486.jsp

slutberry

@tessamae Oh man, yeah.

I actually have a shirt quite similar to that one that I got at H&M for less than $20! And I got it years ago and it's still super great! So do not give up hope! H&M's t-shirts are, in my experience, awesome.

pain

Hey! I have those bass oxfords! Love 'em so much I bought more colors. I'm wearing the navy blue ones today.

Uncommon Hussy

Could I maybe ask all you fashionable 'pinners a question? How does one wear dresses/skirts for casual occasions? I'm a slobby jeans and t-shirts person and I want to start dressing more pretty and feminine, but if I put on a skirt or a dress then I start feeling all overdressed and self-conscious, like people will be staring at me for looking too fancy and then I get embarrassed and take it off again and throw on some jeans. :( How do I just make it look all laid-back, like "Oh hey I'm just running around doing my everyday stuff in a skirt and looking awesome, nbd?"

anachronistique

@Uncommon Hussy Denim skirts: the gateway drug.

frigwiggin

@Uncommon Hussy I think part of it definitely depends on the garment! Like, doing errands in a party dress or a super-professional looking pencil skirt is one thing (although I certainly wouldn't say I haven't done those), but if you have, say, a simple sundress or a loose-ish a-line skirt in a fun pattern, those are anytime-and-all-the-time items to me. Especially if you put on some more casual or weekendy-type accessories (i.e. not pearl earrings!). Add some flat sandals or other casual shoes, a cardigan or other layer on top if you need, and just breeze around!

Another good tip for dressing down skirts is to wear a t-shirt on top--nothing sloppy, and non-crew-neck tees look a little nicer, but a nice fitted scoop-neck tee, whether it has a graphic on it or not, can casualify a skirt pretty nicely.

But honestly, if you're only worried about people staring at you, just go and rock it! Human beings are surprisingly self-absorbed, and most likely they'll just go about their business and maybe think, "hey, that chick looks cute!" I've definitely gotten nice comments at the grocery store and stuff, and it makes me smile. If and when people notice, they won't think, "who does she think she is??" they'll just think, "she looks so put-together!" Rock it if you wanna, and the imaginary haters just won't materialize.

slutberry

@Uncommon Hussy frigwiggin's advice is perfect, and I echo that.

Also, a 50's style full skirt in a bright print is fun, comfortable, and goes well with t-shirts or tank tops. Gap currently has some circle skirts in a soft jersey, which is definitely casual and comfy, and they come in GORGEOUS colours. I think the key is something long enough that you can move around without flashing your bits, loose enough that you can walk normally, and in colours that feel right to you.

Xanthophyllippa

@Uncommon Hussy Target's Merona line has some really cute little $12 skirts that aren't too fancy. I wear them to teach in with a nice sweater, but you can also toss them on with a tie-dyed tee (...) and just go to the market and library and coffeeshop. They used to come in just brown and grey and black but now they come in blue and pink and teal, too.

tessamae

@Uncommon Hussy I also agree with friggy (can I call you that frigwiggin?).

I am a BIG thrifter/vintage shopper and that is a great vein for casual dresses. Recently I picked up a couple of amazing 50s-esque shirt dresses (full, awesome knee-length skirts), and I roll the sleeves up and toss on some gladiator sandals or wedges and voila! Summer easiness. Those stores are also usually a treasure trove for simple cotton sleeveless dresses that are awesome for layering, like a nice floral frock with a bright cardigan and some Jack Purcell sneakers...done and done.

Another fool-proof way to dress-down dresses and skirts is a nice-fitting jean jacket. They are a classic and go with everything. OR even this season (though I haven't quite jumped on this train myself, I've seen them on friends and they are adorbs) you could try a jean vest with a sleeveless dress.

Sidenote: I am obsessed with pencil skirts at the moment. I have about 5 of J. Crew's No.2 pencil skirts-- the cotton ones in super bright colors and a lepoard print and a tweed-- and I wear them ALL OF THE TIME EVERYWHERE. I pair them with plaid shirts tucked in, striped tees, long cardis with blousy tanks, peep-toes, wedges, ballet flats, sandals...basically everything. I love them. So. Just sayin if you are ever in the market for a more casual pencil...they are the biz.

mangosara

@Xanthophyllippa note about circle skirts: they will totally blow up whenever there is even a little bit of wind. a lot. (says the person who has shown many unsuspecting strangers her ass and is slightly traumatized even though they are SO CUTE). so... just be prepared for that one.

Summer Somewhere

@mangosara Bike shorts or petticoats can help with the Marilyn problem. :)

Faintly Macabre

@Uncommon Hussy I am a constant overdresser and have stopped caring, mostly. What's wrong with looking nicer than everyone else? I think it's people who wear pajama pants or ratty sweatpants all the time who should feel self-conscious. Anyway, there are allll kinds of dresses and skirts out there. I have a few actual fancy ones, and a lot that I just dress up or down, depending on the setting. To dress them up, nicer jewelry, nicer shoes, black/grey tights. Dressing down, less or funkier jewelry, more sneakery shoes, brightly colored/patterned tights. (I own about 15 pairs of tights, so this is pretty easy for me.)

For example, I got a purple St. John skirt at a thrift store. They can look a bit fussy/fancy. To make it look nice, I wear it it with a button down shirt, black tights, and red flats. For everyday, a long grey sweater, black sweater tights, and flat black boots.

redheaded&crazy

@Faintly Macabre yeah I'm on board the "I just dress nicely and don't give a fuck" train. People you know will get used to it! People you don't know aren't going to be like "damn that weird chick is all dressed up" they're gonna be like "DAMN THAT FINE CHICK IS ALL DRESSED UP" (is ... does that sell it for you?)

also ever since i lost one of the studs that i got my ears pierced with, i haven't taken these pearl earrings out! (the only studs i could find, probably a 18th birthday present from my grandma)

So yeah, I don't give a fuck. Rock itttt.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie my advice seems kind of repetitive below frigwiggins :\

DRESSES FTW!

TheShe

@Uncommon Hussy: It's all about giving your brain time to adjust.

Like, let's say you never wear lipstick. If you decide to wear it one day, every time you pass a mirror you'll think "oh god I look like a clown!" and want to wipe it off immediately. Conversely, if you wear lipstick every day, the one day you go without it you look in every mirror and think "oh god, I look like a corpse!" and want to put it on IMMEDIATELY.
You don't ACTUALLY look like a clown OR a corpse - you look totally, perfectly normal to everyone else and nobody is even giving it a second thought. But your brain expects one thing when it looks in a mirror, and your eyes are giving it something else - so it's freaking out a little. Same goes for clothes, hair, everything outward. Change always FEELS so much more drastic than it is. So, just start wearing dresses! Give yourself a week for your brain to adjust, but seriously: you're already a natural.

frigwiggin

@tessamae Please do! I am the friggiest. And yeah, more casual pencil skirts are awesome, and can easily be vamped up to basically the sexiest thing ever. Fat Girl Wears Clothes is my favorite blog for exemplifying the sexiness of a casual pencil skirt.

@mangosara @Summer Somewhere Bike shorts are definitely the way to go! I ride my bike to work most days, and it actually feels quite weird to wear a skirt or a dress without the bike shorts underneath, even when I don't have to. (I've also heard that pettipants, which are like a slip but with legs, are the shit for this sort of thing, and also help prevent thigh rubbing irritation in the summer for those of us who suffer from that.)

tessamae

@TheShe You speak the truthiest of truths. I am a lippy girl fo sho, and feel naked without it, but forever it made me feel very prostitute-ish. But now, the redder the better!

And to echo and join the chorus of the above posts about just not giving a fuck and owning what you wear: HELL YES. I grew up in a relatively small Southern-ish town wear the norm was to wear tshirt/jeans to any and all occasions. I have always had quite a love affair with clothes, and so I have always dressed sort of fancy. And I remember being at a bar one night and one of my guy friends commented "Aren't you kinda overdressed?" to which I replied "The day I satrt dressing for this town is the day I need to re-evaluate my life."

Own it!

Gwdihw

@Uncommon Hussy
The key for me was making sure that my shoes were on the more-casual side, definitely veering toward
flats.

mangosara

wait, variety in pants? am I the only one that, when the holy grail of pants are found (aka, good fit AND comfortable AND cute), I buy one pair at full price, stalk the website obsessively, and then buy 1-2 more pairs when they go on sale??

(I thought I was normal)

Cat Jail

This might sound silly, but have you been watching this past season of Parks and Rec? Because April may be the style inspiration you are looking for.

mystique

GIMME YOUR SKIRTS

Please.

(and...holy crap, I love the Hairpin. This is great practical advice for everyone....)

karencarrot

I have lived in Seattle for two winters now and I never ever wear my Hunters, as they're really uncomfortable and I've found them to be unnecessary too. Sometimes I wear patent Danskos, which are stylin' if you live in Seattle no matter what the rest of your look is like, although usually I just suck it up and wear regular sneakers everywhere since I'm most often on a bike. I also can't get on board with the shoplifted-from-REI look, so I wear a vintage leather jacket that works every bit as well at keeping out the rain as Gore-Tex does. Put any woolly sweater on underneath it, and you're good to go. A fine merino wool sweater makes a decent top layer too, it'll keep you warm even when damp.

I'm from the midwest, so I don't think Seattle is very cold in the winter. For bottoms, I usually wear American Apparel winter tights (best ever!!) under shorts or a skirt... or regular jeans. Keeps me warm enough! I also like to crochet thick stocking hats of heavy baby alpaca wool.

Our 2 1/2 months of summer are the best! When it's warm enough I wear shorts and dresses every day.

designchic255

Can someone explain to me how Hunter boots are "hot"? Are we talking about those rubber boots that essentially look like rainboots? I lived in the PNW for several years and hated it...mostly because I always felt dumpy. To be warm, you have to wear lots of unflattering layers. To look cute, you have to SOMEHOW FIND A WAY TO SHOW YOUR FIGURE, which means you will be cold and miserable. So, I quit. I moved south.

Amber

Le Sexoflex? Kerry, are you moving from Atlanta? Haha.

OxfordComma

Oh, oh!

I'm going to give a shout-out to SockDreams.com, because they are AMAZING, their customer service rocks, and they have one of the broadest variety of socks and tights and thigh-highs that I've ever seen.

Keep yer feets warm--go to sockdreams. :)

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