March 2017 clothing budget

This post contains affiliate links.

Another month, another clothing budget post. Here’s what I got this month.

march 2017

1. ASOS LEMONADE Elasticated Ballet Flats ($12, originally $31)

Ballet flats aren’t really my style but I’ve always wanted to try them. I didn’t want to spring for a nice but expensive brand without knowing if I could wear ballet flats on a daily basis. Working in a wet-lab means I’m often running around during the day so it’s critical that my shoes are comfy. When I saw this pair on super sale, I thought they were a great pricepoint to try a new style. I also like the slight heel and lack of toe cleavage due to the high vamp. I usually wear a size 6.5M in shoes that don’t require socks but the 7M fit fine due the elasticated heel backing.

2. Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka in olive ($54.90, originally $79.90)

I have the jacket version (no hood) of this parka and will be selling it once this parka arrives (I have a one in, one out rule for my winter wardrobe). It’s just too damn windy here to not have a hood when the weather calls for a down jacket. The olive color of the parka is currently marked down more than the other colors and I jumped at the chance to get this at such a discounted price. Currently still on sale for $49.90!

3. Everlane Gia Tee in navy/white ($16.25 via eBay, originally $35, now sold out)

While I think Everlane has great prices on their basic tees, I didn’t think the Gia collection was worth the higher price point despite really liking all the stripes so I refrained. But when I saw this tee on eBay for a fraction of the price, I couldn’t resist. The material feels different from their other cotton tees; it feels somehow lighter and slinkier. I was initially worried would highlight all the bulges and bumps but it actually falls beautifully. Can’t wait to wear it when it gets warmer. Protip: lots of gently used/new Everlane items often pop up on eBay and Poshmark at even cheaper prices; it’s especially worth checking these sites if you’re looking for an item or collection that’s now sold out.

4. Everlane Cotton Box-Cut Tee in heather grey ($16, used credit)

Used some of my credit to try some of the new tees by Everlane. The only one I kept was the the box-cut tee in grey. I really like the original box-cut tee but have never been a fan of the front pocket so I’m happy they came out with a pocketless version. I don’t have a basic grey t-shirt so this is perfect for the warming weather.

I also tried the scoopneck tee and love the cut of it. The neck isn’t as constricting as the crewneck shirt but definitely not as revealing as the u-neck style. Unfortunately, the white version I got was a little too see through for my liking so I sent it back. Will probably re-order it in black. As always, thank you to anyone who has ever used my referral link to purchase an Everlane item! I’m in the process of compiling a review of all my Everlane items but it’s proving more complicated than expected (waiting for more consistent day light before taking photos!).

Budget: $100
Spent: $83.15

In addition to keeping under budget, I sold a bunch of items in my closet that I never wear and am super happy about that.

I think for next month, I’ll up my budget to $150. I’m on the hunt for a new pair of ankle length black skinny jeans to replace my 4-year-old Madewell pair (my favorite pair of jeans) that’s literally hanging onto life.

Linking up with other budgeting bloggers at Franish!

My Michigan winter closet: outerwear essentials

This post contains affiliate links.

As a Californian living in Michigan for the past three years, I like to think I’ve streamlined my winter wardrobe. This winter hasn’t dipped below 0°F too often so far (oh how far my temperature tolerance has changed), but it dropped down to around 20°F from 50-60°F within a week so I’m glad I had all my winter gear packed under my bed for convenience so I could quickly grab all the coats and jackets I needed.

When I first moved to Michigan, I was a little lost on what clothing items I needed since the coldest place most of friends lived was New York, which is cold, but a different kind of cold, compared to Michigan. My roommate during my first year of graduate school grew up in Minnesota so I asked her for tips which were really helpful. I’m hoping this post might help someone who is in a similar position I was in, or at least might be interesting to someone who’s looking for a few outerwear reviews. I have a 12 minute walk to lab and typically don’t spend more than 20 minutes walking outside in the winter.

I’ve made a personal goal that I cannot buy any new winter gear unless I sell a current clothing equivalent. After graduate school, I plan to move back to California where I won’t have much need for all this heavy-duty outerwear. So as of now, here’s my curated winter outerwear wardrobe (with a variety of Instagram/real life outfits).

1. Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket, $69.90 (wait for promotions)
similar here (save) and here (splurge)

uniqlo-down-jacket

Uniqlo down jacket layered over a sweater.

The first down purchase I ever made was from Uniqlo in the fall of my first year. I’m a person who typically runs warm/hot rather than cold, so when it’s around 20-30°F, this Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket zipped up over a light sweater is perfect. The small size fit snug in a cozy way when zipped up over just a shirt. Unfortunately, my hips are wider than the cut of the jacket; there’s no stretch to the fabric and the jacket rode up noticeably when I walked so I ended up with a medium. Overall, the medium fits slightly oversized on me but it does fit over my hips and leaves room for a sweater. I find their down products well priced (they’re often on promotion) and my jacket has washed and held up well for over two years now. Feathers to escape but not enough to de-poof the jacket. I also just throw the jacket in the washer and dryer and it comes out perfectly fine. Additionally, these jackets (not sure about the vests) come with small drawstring bags. It takes a try or two to figure out how to roll up the jacket to smoosh it down to fit into the bag, but it makes these products really great for traveling.

For even cooler temperatures, I step it up with a slightly heavier Uniqlo down-filled jacket. This jacket is my newest purchase; I received it just a few weeks ago and have already worn it several times. I needed a jacket to fill the gap between my previously mentioned lightweight down and my heavy-duty snow jacket. I often go without a beanie so having a hood is crucial to protect my ears from the cold wind. Remember to protect your extremities (feet, hands, head/ears)! This was the only winter gear purchase I made this year and it’s perfect for my needs, down to the fleece-lined zip-closure pockets and adjustable hood.

3. Uniqlo Military Hooded Parka (old, sold out)
similar here, here and here

uniqlo-parka

Uniqlo parka (in black) worn over a dress for a holiday party.

Alternatively, I have a waterproof parka also from Uniqlo (do you sense a trend here?) with a detachable faux-shearling lining. I picked it up on super sale last spring on a whim and I’m absolutely in love with it. In the winter, for not-too-cold days, I keep the faux-shearling liner in and wear the parka over a shirt and when it’s even colder, I wear it over a cashmere sweater (optional: Heattech shirt underneath).

Speaking of cashmere sweaters, I always stock up during Macy’s Black Friday sale (a tip from me to you). Charter Club (Macy’s in-house brand) crewneck (currently $32!), v-neck (currently $28!) and turtleneck cashmere sweaters (currently $40), also available in petites and plus sizes in a variety of colors, are marked down to $40-50 per sweater which is amazing. My mom has been buying them for about a decade at this point and while the quality of recent sweaters aren’t as good as past season’s, they’re still of decent quality and don’t pill as easily as my Uniqlo wool sweaters which pilled horribly in one day. The Charter Club ones do eventually pill but are easily cleaned up with a sweater-saver (or pumice stone as an alternative) but are very warm and wash well (either by hand or wash on gentle in a machine but hang dry). I’ve also asked friends who’ve purchased Everlane cashmere sweaters and they’ve found that the Everlane ones pill within a few wears similar to the Charter Club ones but are $100 instead of $40.

Lastly, when I’m running late or when I don’t feel like wearing a ton of layers, I’ll just wear a single shirt under my holy grail Marmot Montreal Coat which I normally try to reserve for below 10°F.

5. Marmot Montreal Coat, $285
certain colors on sale here, here and here

winter-outfit

Admiring my winter outfit (featuring my Marmot coat) in the elevator

Like I mentioned in the previous sentence, this Marmot Montreal Coat is single-handedly my favorite thing about winter. I got it in the olive color since green is my favorite clothing color. It’s fleece-lined in the body and pockets, feels like you’re wearing a puffy duvet/cloud and hits me mid-thigh which doesn’t constrict my walking which is important when I’m wearing snow boots trying to avoid the slippery icy spots. The removable hood, with a removable faux fur ruff, is also down-filled as well as adjustable. The pockets have zips and there’s an inner pocket as well (I usually stick my wallet or my phone in there when I don’t want to carry a bag). I have this jacket in an x-small and it’s snug in the body but I’m still able to fit a thin to medium sweater underneath. The small would be a little roomier but where there’s space, there’s cold air.

As for my decision to go with the Marmot brand, I almost bought a North Face jacket because that was the only brand of down jackets I knew of at the time. I seriously considered the North Face Arctic Down Parka before stumbling upon the Marmot Montreal Coat during my internet research.

For jackets around the same price between the two brands, I found that North Face coats averaged 550-fill power where Marmot jackets were around 700-fill power. From what I understand, the higher the fill number, the less down material is required to trap the same amount of warmth aka the Marmot jacket requires less material to provide the same amount of warmth as the North Face coat which requires more geese feathers (so the North Face jacket isn’t as economical). Additionally, at the time I was searching for coats, North Face was in the process of switching to ethically sourced down where Marmot already had ethically sourced down. I am aware of my hypocritical stance on this since I do buy items from fast-fashion brands that probably don’t ethically source their materials or have great labor practices. However, for the heavy duty coat I was planning to spend $200+ on, I wanted to buy as ethically as possible. I ended up getting the Marmot jacket on sale for around $150 where the cheapest North Face jacket I could find at the time was around $200.

I mentioned that I tend to run warm so I found I can get away with wearing fewer layers compared to most. For alternative heavy-duty coat options, one of my friends here who’s always freezing (and also a native Californian) finally turned to Canada Goose for negative temperatures because the other brands she tried (North Face, Columbia , L.L. Bean, Patagonia) just didn’t cut it, and she hasn’t looked back since. For reference on our differing temperature tolerance, she wears North Face parkas when the weather is 30-40°F when I occasionally forgo the Uniqlo light down jacket and just wear multiple layers of sweaters and hoodies because hoodies are genuinely my favorite clothing item. However, for those who realistically cannot go the Canada Goose route, taking note from the lab tech in my lab, layering multiple down layers is probably the best alternative. For instance, a Uniqlo light down vest of jacket is thin enough to layer underneath a heavy winter down coat for two layers of down insulation.

Overall, I’m happy with my collection of outerwear. Every item has its own niche in my closet and I think the “one item in, one item out” rule will work well for me and my physically-small closet.

Hope you found this post helpful or at least interesting. And because it’s worth repeating, don’t forget to keep those extremities wrapped up!

Kickstarter: Amorstil review

Hey guys! Long time no write. I’ve always had a problem with following through with things when they weren’t mandatory. But I just downloaded the WordPress app to see if I’ll be better about blogging now that I can write blog posts on my phone (which I’m always on).

Today’s post is about Amorstil, the first Kickstarter project I backed (again, I paid for the watch with my own money and this isn’t a sponsored post). I’ve been wanting a basic menswear-styled watch for a while and have been seeing Daniel Wellington watches all over the blogosphere but at $100+ each, that was too expensive of a commitment for me to make. So when I spotted this watch on Kickstarter, for $35 (early bird special), I couldn’t resist.

I got the watch a few weeks ago and have worn it twice so far. I’m taking it slow since I haven’t worn a watch since maybe second grade and I’m making sure I’m wearing it on wet lab-light days because I study the colon and therefore poop 😉

It came in a beautiful box (backers could have received the box in black or white). I selected the black leather/white face option (which wasn’t one of the original three watch color combinations). I was worried the watch would be too big for my wrists but it’s actually the perfect size (some might disagree, but I love the oversized watch face). The watch can fit on even thinner wrists (I use the third to last hole for a looser fit and the second to last hole for a tighter fit). It’s also quiet enough where the ticking does not to bother me (ticking noises normally drive me insane).

 

trying to science

I love it so much I’m thinking about getting another one…

I’m also making this post in case anyone is interested in getting one too and I was browsing Instagram and saw they posted July 4th promotion code. The watches are such great quality for the price (retail $50) but use code JULY15 to get 15% off your order (promotion end date not mentioned) over at amorstil.com.

I just went on a huge shopping spree (darn you sales at Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic eep) otherwise I’d pick up another watch but I really don’t need another watch at the moment (I do have my eye on the brown/cognac leather with white face watch though…)

Just wanted to put the promo out there for anyone who’s looking for a classic and affordable watch.

Also, happy July 4th!

-amy

PS I have Everlane pictures and measurements ready but I just need to sit down and type reviews up. I also just moved apartments so I’ll be doing a closet clean out and might post the link on the blog later 🙂

Review + comparison: Everlane Men’s Crew, Women’s V and Women’s Box Cut shirts + measurements

This post contains affiliate and referral links.

So… I couldn’t resist getting a few more Everlane shirts. Especially since my favorite colors, moss and huckleberry, seem to be in the process of being phased out. The three shirts I got were: the Men’s Crew in Huckleberry (XS), the Women’s V in Antique (S) and the Women’s U-Neck in Moss (S). I also got the Women’s Cotton Box Cut Tee in White (S) in a separate order. The Men’s Crew, Women’s V and Box Cut shirts are new to me.

hello, gorgeous

hello, gorgeous
not pictured is the women’s box cut tee in white

TL;DR version? Like the men’s crew. Dislike the women’s vneck tee. Love the women’s box cut tee and uneck tee.

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Review: Everlane Short Sleeve Sweatshirt in black

This post contains affiliate and referral links.

Oops. It’s been a while. I’m currently in Taiwan and haven’t had time to get on the internet, let alone type something up. I’m staying at my aunt’s/grandma’s and I’m in the room that’s furthest from the router and therefore, I’m in the only room in the whole apartment without a wi-fi signal so I’ve been just keeping up with things via my my phone from the living room. Anyway, I finally have a few spare hours at night where I’m not exhausted so I thought I’d finally add pictures to this post and finally publish it.

So… I placed another Everlane order. The short sleeve sweatshirt and boyfriend sweatshirt are finally back in stock in all three colors (heather gray, black and blue).

As mentioned in my last Everlane review post, I’ve been pining for the short sleeve sweatshirt in black for a while now. IIRC, originally, a March 31 restock date was planned but was pushed back until April 14. So when April 14 came around, I quickly put in my order so I could get it before leaving for Taiwan next week. In addition to the short sleeve sweatshirt in black, I picked up another u-neck tee, in navy this time around, as it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite clothing colors.

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Review & comparison: Everlane U-neck in white. A long post.

This is not a sponsored post, but I have used affiliate links.

Warning, like I said, long post ahead. As in my internet/wordpress freezes once every three letters I type until my browser finally crashed… seems to be doing a bit better. Post is heavy in content and especially pictures. FYI- All my photos are taken with my iPhone 4S camera; I just forgot to properly caption them all in PS.

I know many people on the internet have covered Everlane and their business model/idea. But I really wanted to do my own post about the company and the shirt I bought a few months ago that I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I do.

For those who don’t know/haven’t heard about Everlane, they are a company all about “radical transparency.” They’re all about finding factories to produce designer-quality goods and sell them at non-designer prices (not as marked up as designer goods). On their About page, they state, “We believe customers have the right to know what their products cost to make. At Everlane we reveal our true costs, and then we show you our markup.” However, I can’t actually find a page where they explicitly state how much it costs to make items and how much they mark it up. I think they recently changed their website because I remember seeing these costs listed months ago. They sell clothes (mainly tops) for both women and men.

If you’re curious, check out their tumblr where they make awesome graphics detailing the cost/pricing process for some of their items. They also have a cool page about their various factories that produce different products. And here’s their page (pictures galore!) that walks you through how their tees are made. I’m assuming they try to find ethically sourced labor.

Now onto the review-ish part of this post…

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Bags, bags, bags! (Longchamp Planetes and others on sale at Nordstrom)

Longchamp’s Le Pliage tote bags blew up a few years ago and I just never understood the appeal. To be fair, I was a backpack person. I needed things with lots of pockets and compartments for all my books and little knickknacks. I also didn’t understand why someone would pay $100+ for a nylon bag when you could get a decent leather one for the same price (yes, rain might ruin the leather but leather protector?). But then a few months ago, I stumbled upon this beauty:

I fell in love. Deeply and stupidly in love. Honestly, I have never even seen this bag in person since most people have the Le Pliage and it serves the same purpose for a lower price (normally $145 where the Planetes is $180), but from reviews from online sites and bloggers (like this infamous one), I knew I wanted this bag and that I’d be great for my height (5’2″). I love the fact that it’s made of sturdier material because the flimsiness/sagginess of many of my friends’ Le Pliage bags upsets me. I also dislike the handles/flap (texture and color) of the Le Pliage bags and the gold hardware can look strange on some of the colors, but that’s just my opinion. The Planetes looks so much sturdier just in pictures and the color-matching handles and flap is perfect in my eyes; the silver hardware is A+. I feel like if I threw my laptop (13″ MBP from 2009) into the Planetes, the bag wouldn’t distort and collapse under its weight. In my opinion, this bag looks more formal and can be used in more contexts. Also, I can’t help but also love how few others have this bag and won’t easily be mistaken for someone else’s bag (no idea if this actually happens, but I’m paranoid and with the sheer number of Le Pliage bags in this college town, I wouldn’t be surprised).

However, I sadly could not justify the $180 (not including tax) price tag for a simple black tote bag when I have a large bag/purse and my backpack. I searched the internet for used or new bags at lower prices to no avail and pretty much gave up and began to lose interest for a few months until today. I even contemplated buying the Le Pliage at full price but decided that since I wasn’t in love with it, I should hold off for a little longer.

I checked Nordstrom’s online today because I’m on the lookout for a nice wristlet (Tammy got this beautiful and perfectly sized one in black and I oohed and ahhed and smelled it for minutes) and happened to see that many bags that are usually not discounted, discounted. The Longchamp Le Pliage shoulder bag in small and large are also on sale for $100 and $116 respectively. My interest in these bags suddenly came back in full force. I nearly bought the Le Pliage in large navy on the spot due to the attractive new price point, but I decided to keep browsing a little more and I’m so glad I did. When I saw the Planetes large tote in black also on sale ($144, down from $180, click the above photo’s caption for the link), I swear my heart stopped. I haven’t slept much/well for the past week and thought my eyes were deceiving me but I kept checking back to that tab and sure enough, IT WAS ON SALE. At $144, it’s still pretty pricey for a nylon tote bag, but after pining for this bag for months, and seeing it on sale, I went for it. With tax, it came out to be around $150 but I’m so excited. It’ll be my Christmas present to myself. Also, if I get interviews for graduate school, I feel like this bag would be perfect for flights, especially since all of my bags but one are on the small side, and the one large bag (all leather/suede with buckles) weighs the same as a toddler even when there’s nothing in it.

In my head, I’m already calling this bag “my baby.” My gorgeous, sleek baby that’s arriving at my house before Black Friday. Ahh! I’m so excited. I’ll take pictures when it finally gets here.

The plum colored Planetes is also on sale for the same price but I feel like it would be a too large swath of plum and it’d be a more difficult fit in my wardrobe (I usually dress in dark neutrals with one pop of color… usually red or green).

Other bags I noticed that are on sale are MBMJ Classic Q Isabelle (Tammy is a MBMJ fan), MBMJ Classic Q Natasha (Mini) (apple red not on sale), Tory Burch Robinson (Mini) (the bug print is so cute) and the Coach Tanner (Mini) Satchel (give it to meeee).

As usual, Nordstrom provides free shipping and returns! And because I feel like this post sounds like an endorsement, this entire post was not sponsored by anyone. I’m just really excited for this bag!