May 2017 clothing budget

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Just a heads up, I started an Instagram account to pair with the blog! You can find me posting “outfit selfies” at shortofinfinity_ until I can think of a better username without the underscore. See the blog’s sidebar for a glimpse of my latest outfits πŸ™‚

As for my budget, for the first time in a months, I got really close to going over budget. Since my last post, I’ve been increasingly thinking about my purchasing choices. I’ve been doing a lot more online browsing of sustainable and ethical clothing as well as spending more time on eBay and Poshmark trying to sell some of my clothes… however I end up looking at a lot of tempting things I want to buy but don’t necessarily need.

I’ve also been trying to replace a few items in my wardrobe so I think the more-than-average Googling and online window shopping has brought back some of my more impulsive behaviors. However, that being said, I’m happy to report that after months of searching, I think I’ve found a pair of replacement black jeans for a good price as well as my perfect leather tote bag.

Here’s what I got this month:

Budget: $150
Spent: $139.57

1. Genetic Los Angeles Mid Waist Crop Skinny Kate in obsidian ($59.50, originally $119)
Like I mentioned last month, I used the coupon code IMBACK to get 50% off my Genetic Denim order (the coupon still works at the time I’m posting this). I ordered these cropped jeans in a size 26 and 27 and kept the 26. The wash of the jeans are the perfect jet black and I’m curious to see how it’ll wash. The fabric is the perfect denim blend of 98% cotton and 2% elastane and is stretchier than compared to my Madewell jeans of the same material composition. These fit really snug but because they’re stretchy, I’m assuming they’ll stretch out and mold with some wear so I kept the 26 (my usual size) because the 27 was already a little loose in some areas (knees and bum). I’m not sure if I’d be able to always pay $119 for jeans but the discount definitely makes them affordable while being on par with the quality of higher end denim. The 27″ inseam is also perfect for my height (5’2″). On top of it all, these jeans are incredibly flattering on my lower half, if I say so myself. Bonus: these jeans are made ethically and sustainably in Los Angeles.

I’m hoping they’ll come out with a cropped dark-blue pair because I would definitely be interested in since I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement for my favorite pair of Madewell dark blue skinny ankle jeans for about a year now. I’ve had my old pair of Madewell black ankle skinnies for about four years, and I wonder how these Genetic denim ones will last in comparison.

2. The Stowe Mini Katie in black leather ($41.49 via Poshmark, retail $339)
I’ve come across The Stowe on Need Supply Co. but their bags (designed and ethically made in Montreal, Canada) are way out of my price range, even when on sale. My current style crush is Lee from StyleBee and she has a bag by The Stowe that’s a slightly unusual but cool shape, so I always notice when it makes an appearance on her blog. The Mini Katie tote in particular has been probably on my “pine but can’t afford” wish list for a while. I was browsing the Cuyana section on Poshmark the other day and ended up finding a user who was selling her used Mini Katie in black leather. For $40. I actually made an offer of $35 to test the waters (I honestly would’ve gladly paid more than $40 for the bag but I had just bought my jeans and was trying to stay within budget as much as possible) which was accepted. I legitimately nearly screamed.

It finally arrived after getting lost somewhere in the USPS mail system and you guys, it’s so beautiful. There are a few nicks here and there (but you can’t really tell unless you’re an inch away) and the inner cloth pocket has a small rip but the bag is completely functional and I like to think the wear and tear gives it character. Like all my leather bags and shoes, I’ve given the outer surface a nice coat of Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam (also approved by Katrina of The Demure Muse).

Some background: I’ve been on the search for a leather tote for about five years. I’ve tested the Madewell Transport Tote in the past, and they’re so large they completely overwhelm my petite frame (the tote ends up hanging past my butt and is about twice the width of my side profile). The Cuyana totes aren’t able to stand up on their own. Totes by other handmade leather brands end up being a little too utilitarian in style for my liking. The Stowe’s Mini Katie tote is the perfect simple design and roomy enough to hold a bunch of stuff but is still a manageable size. The brand name is embossed but it’s not in your face. I’m actually in love. Can’t wait to take it out for a whirl. Praise be (I’ve also been obsessed with The Handmaid’s Tale).

3. Gap Poplin Print Sleep Shorts in poppy print ($12.08, originally $19.99)
With summer approaching, it’s time for me to update my PJ shorts game. I have an old pair of these sleep shorts and they’re perfect so I couldn’t resist picking up another pair (in a gorgeous poppy print) when there was a discount code. Obviously unlikely to be ethically or sustainably made.

4. Old Navy Classic Flip Flops in black ($2.50, originally $3.99)
While I hate socks and wearing shoes, I have constantly sweaty feet so I dislike walking around my apartment barefoot because I end up with the dirtiest feet. To combat this,Β  I wear flip-flops that exclusively stay indoors. These flip-flops serve that purpose; I always have a back up pair in the closet for when my current pair gives out (I go through about one pair a year). Same as the Gap shorts on the ethical/sustainable front.

5. Tai Mini Gold Trim Post Earring in turquoise ($24, originally $30)
I was browsing a local boutique and stumbled upon these turquoise studs on sale. I’ve been casually looking for turquoise earrings for the last year and while these are a little smaller than what I envisioned, it was not a deal breaker. They’re super adorable and can’t wait to wear them all throughout summer. Clothing-wise, I usually wear two colors (three on an adventurous day or when laundry day is approaching) so these are a nice pop of brightness. I’ve never heard of this brand but I did some digging and the founder is of Thai origin and the brand employs and supports Thai artisans which I can only applaud.

That’s it for this month! A few necessary items and a few not-so-necessary purchases.Β Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

I still need to replace my increasingly beat up Vans slip-ons so that’s definitely going on the purchase list for next month. I’d also love to find a pair of cropped boyfriend-fit jeans since it’s getting warmer here, and I only have one pair of looser fitting jeans (shorts are not allowed in lab), and I’m not really someone who’s comfortable wearing a skirt or dress in lab. Also casually looking for a lightweight/packable rain jacket.

Going to lower my budget back down to $100 for next month. As always, linking up with other budgeting bloggers over at Franish πŸ™‚

February 2017 clothing budget

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I managed to continue to keep my clothing spending below $100 which is a huge achievement for me. Here’s what I got this month:feb 2017.png

1. Independent Trading Co. Unisex Zip Hooded Sweatshirt in black via Amazon – $19.50 (originally $31.50, also here)
2. Baggu Duck Bag in black via Poshmark – $18.49 ($30 at Baggu, $26 at Nordstrom for old patterns)

Budget: $100
Spent: $37.99

As a graduate student, I own about four to five hoodies and all but one of them are from Independent Trading Co. I first discovered this brand when I bought a Jack’s Mannequin hoodie at a concert back in high school. I loved how soft the fleece-y inside was and upon a quick Google search, found the manufacturer produced hoodies and sweatshirts in a ton of colors and thicknesses. I pretty much live in hoodies all year around; they’re my outer layer in spring/fall and fit under down coats in winter.

Independent Trading Co. are my favorite hoodie brand, and I have been buying from them for about ten years now and the quality has been consistently good for over a decade. I’m actually on my third black hoodie of this style which means each one has an average lifespan of ~3 years which isn’t bad at all considering they get worn at least a few times a week. My 3-year-old hoodie still looks black and not gray. The area that wears down the fastest for me is the cloth where the zipper is attached. I’ve gotten holes in this area on two hoodies but the holes are usually accompanied by thin patches all over. I get a small in the unisex style for an oversized comfy fit. I’ll probably be buying my hoodies from them until they no longer sell them.

It was also time to replace another staple in my wardrobe. I absolutely love my Baggu Duck bag. It’s the perfect everyday school bag for me. It holds an astounding amount of stuff (think Hermione’s magic bottomless bag), is the perfect length and the adjustable long strap is great for shorties like me. There’s a small pocket where I usually keep a pen, chapstick, a flashdrive, keys and hand sanitizer. I have a desktop computer in lab so I don’t have to bring my laptop to campus. My laptop would fit snugly in the bag but is awkward to carry. On days I have to bring my computer, I use a backpack.

I’ve had my maroon Baggu Duck bag for about 3 years now and the durable canvas is beginning to show signs of wear and tear at the bottom corners. The tiny holes don’t affect the bag’s utility at all but I’ve been thinking about replacing it for a few months now. Baggu comes out with different colors every season so I’m bummed the maroon color is no longer available but thought black will go with everything. The Duck bags used to be $26 but recently went up to $30. I was able to find a brand new one on Poshmark for cheaper but if my quick search didn’t yield any results, I would’ve just bought it at full price considering the resulting cost per wear.

That’s all I bought in terms of clothing (and accessories) this month! Both items were replacements.

I feel like I’m on a roll and am going to try and keep it up with this $100 clothing budget for next month. I’ve ordered some stuff to try (they haven’t arrived yet so keep an eye for next month’s post about what items I keep). I’ve been mostly on a makeup and skincare kick and have found some new favorite things I might make a post about in the future.

As always, linking up with other budgeting bloggers over at Franish!

Things I want: Totes, totes, totes ma goats

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I really want a leather tote bag. Like in a cognac-y or dark chocolate brown leather but how can I say no to olive green…

Not sure which one I’ll eventually (and by eventually, I mean waaay in the future) buy, but here’s a compilation of “reasonably priced” (maximum of $300) totes that have caught my eye.

tote Collage

click for larger image

1. Linden Leather Tote from FORESTBOUND, $300 *
2. Ashbury Tote from Banana Republic, $130
3. The Transport Tote from Madewell, $168
4. The Vintage Tote Bag from Whipping+Post, $175 *
5. Olive Green Genuine Leather Tote Shoulder Bag from etsy user rutinet, $99.99
6. Leather Tote from Cuyana, $150
7. Leather Tote (Tall) from Cuyana, $150 *

* = my favorites

– amy
p.s. another collage (used picmonkey- super fast/easy to use). changed the theme. yay changes!

Pics: Longchamp Planetes Large Tote

Sorry for the shitty iPhone photos; currently at home and my dad has a DSLR but as Tammy can confirm, I have no idea how to use one. And I don’t know why other people’s iPhone photos are always so clear. Maybe my hands shake too much? Or maybe my phone obscures a lot of the light from entering the lens? I have no idea. It’s kind of sad.

But my baby is finally here! Here’s my previous post explaining my thought process for buying this bag.

Here are the photos: Continue reading

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!

First post: Coach bag and Madewell jeans

I’ve been cutting back on spending and my back account is very happy. Since I’ll be entering the real world soon, my parents have also cut back on support money, which I both like and dislike. Why can’t we stay underage forever?! But I recently got a few things that I really did need.

eBay had a Coach factory sale a few weeks ago and my mom decided it was time for her to finally get a new purse for herself (first one she’s gotten in ~5-7 years. (About time too. Her current Nine West bag is literally falling apart. She’s been using a small binder clip to secure one of the ends of the handle to the bag… which I think is pretty clever but sad.) And since I actually don’t have a single black bag, and the one I liked was $98, and for graduation, she paid for my bag too! Thanks, mom πŸ˜€

I ended up picking the Coach Kristin Leather East-West Crossbody (below) which is the perfect size for me–I typically only carry my wallet, cellphone, hand sanitizer and a bobby pin. I kind of wished the short handle was removable so it was a little less bulky, but it’s a minor complaint. The leather is buttery soft and I want sheets that soft. It also has the perfect number of pockets (front flap pocket) and three pockets on the inside, one of them with a zipper.

Most recently, because of their 40%off sale items with free shipping on $50+, I finally got another pair of Madewell jeans. I got the Skinny Skinny Ankle Jeans in Canister Wash (here). I get ankle jeans because I’m short with a 28-29″ inseam so these are perfect “normal” length for me. The total ended up being around $55 for the pair so I decided to buy the “Spend $60, Get $100” Refinery29 Madewell Coupon (two days left before the deal ends). I figured I’d still have ~$45 to spend, which would mostly be “free.” Unfortunately, I got a call that my size ran out and the order was going to be cancelled. However, I decided to call Madewell (and I hate talking to strangers on the phone but decided it was worth he anxiety) and see if they had any pairs in stores and sweet baby Jesus, they did. It would be a whole new order, but with the price I originally paid. But at the time of my call, my original order hadn’t officially been cancelled yet, so the money hadn’t been refunded to my giftcard. The sales associate was super nice, and said that this was a special case and she ended up placing the order, only charging me the remaining amount of my giftcard! So instead of paying $55, I ended up only paying $45 for my jeans! Bottom line, wonderful customer service and it totally made my week (I have a midterm coming up). YAY MADEWELL.


So yeah. Those are my recent crazy shopping adventures. Maybe I’ll post real life pictures later. Also, first post!

-amy