4.26.2022

wardrobe planning: spring 2022

spring colorblocking

it really feels like spring took ages to arrive this year. now that we are all (at least in our part of the globe) re-emerging into some kind of brave new world, the current mood seems to be we're all trying to figure out how to get dressed again.

during the last two pandemic years, 'fashion' was the last thing on my mind. the background stress of all that was going on in our country and the world kept my attention firmly on running the gears of wfh/daily life. however, this extended break from wardrobe shopping was actually quite helpful. it felt like an extreme ascetic design experiment – if you're not really going anywhere except to run errands or go for a walk at the park, what do you reach for time and again from your closet and why? now that we're doing more things and starting to travel again, what's essential when we're thinking of buying something new?

my core wardrobe criteria can be represented as a Venn diagram of comfort + style + joy. since the pandemic, comfort has become even more paramount in what i choose to keep or add to my closet. my style ethos has not changed much since i started the blog: keep it minimal with classic staples that will work for years to come. the joy aspect is new-ish; i'm trying to add a bit of delight in the details these days because it's a nice visual reminder to not take things too seriously. any additions will either fulfill a functional wardrobe need, replace/upgrade something that has worn out, or (in the case of accessories) be a functional item with unique qualities that spark joy.

hits/purchases:

  • a slouchy teddy-ish camel/tan coat: not a spring purchase, but now is a great time to find one or two f/w foundations on sale. i had been looking for a cozy teddy textured coat like this for ages and all the ones i tried on just...made me look like i was wearing a bathmat. after giving up on the idea, i happened upon this interesting French brand called American Vintage. very into the more subtle nubby texture, straightforward wool content, and the layering-friendly, oversized fit.
  • a light/medium weight beige open cardigan: another find by American Vintage – most of my knits are cardigans; i find them the most versatile for daily wear and also for travel. in the last few years the ones i've worn the most are the open front styles; very minimal and ideal for when you need a relaxed, put-together layer that's not a structured blazer.
  • velour tracksuit for self care time & weekend lounging: this is one of those hero H&M pieces that is worth getting in a few colorways. (longtime readers may remember my favorite H&M yohji-esque sweatpants -- 8 years on, they're still going strong!) the set manages to reference the Bennifer 1.0 era vibes just enough without the late '90s extreme low rise issues. super plushy and comfy! (N.B.: the hoodie runs tts but is a somewhat cropped fit; go one size down on the matching pants as they run long and a tad large in the waist.)
  • faux leather leggings: i lived in leggings for the majority of 2020 and 2021, so i got these to replace and upgrade my worn-out pair of coated black leggings that pinch uncomfortably at the waist. these are slightly thicker and actually have a realistic leather texture with the right amount of matte sheen, yet stretches nicely while holding you in – the practical, machine-washable version of those $$$$$ leather ones by The Row.
  • Polene numéro Un nano bag: this purchase fills an accessory need for the post-2020/new normal: a stylish mini crossbody in a carefree leather for running errands that's easily cleanable, and holds all the essentials (it fits a kindle!) including mask and hand sanitizer. over the last few years i've downsized from many of my larger bags. i wanted a pinky beige bag for spring/summer that would also work as a lighter neutral for f/w. the shape also reminds me of an angry dumpling and makes me smile whenever i wear it (see in ootd on insta). very happy with the quality, design and usability so far (will do a more detailed review after longer-term use).
  • Margiela zip card holder wallet (Saint Laurent also has a similar one): when my decade-old CdG wallet finally gave out in 2018, i replaced it with a Saint Laurent compact card case to experiment with wallet downsizing. it has held up superbly over the last few years and the card case format has been very practical, so i recently got a slightly longer zip style that can hold a bit more (Metrocard, insurance card etc).

misses:

  • Vanessa Bruno bucket bag: i'd been low key browsing for a more ergonomic medium everyday bucket-style bag since i parted with the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag some years ago (the regular size MG was alas too bulky and never quite softened enough to mold to the body for shoulder/crossbody wear, plus the drawstring tie closure was fiddly). unfortunately this VB bag was a disappointment in two colors and both sizes. the design details were on point: thumbs up for the multiple detachable strap options and metal feet on the bottom –  i really wish more designers would include feet on bags! but the leather quality (it wrinkled and creased awkwardly) just wasn't quite there, even on sale. the search continues...

wishlist:

  • a prince of wales check long blazer/jacket –  something that's missing in my wardrobe is a midweight jacket that's warmer than a trench but lighter than a leather jacket. thinking about adding this classic check to round out my very tiny "haberdashery" section of tailored jackets in menswear fabrics. maybe watching all those episodes of The Crown during lockdown has had some influence, ha!

wardrobe editing tip:

  • the next time you find yourself itching to buy, say, a new pair of jeans, add to cart but don't check out. block off some time and do a mini Kondo assessment of that specific wardrobe category: try on every single pair of jeans that you currently own and sort into three piles (keep, sell/donate, repair/alterations). this exercise worked well when i recently felt the urge to buy a few pairs of skinny jeans on sale (spoiler alert, i don't need any more jeans!). at the end of this denim Kondo, i managed to do the following:
    • avoided several redundant impulse buys
    • confirmed that i could part with several ill-fitting pairs that i never reached for anyway
    • rediscovered the excellent quality, flattering fit, and all-around comfort of the jeans that i am keeping, which in turn inspired some new ideas of how to wear them
    • and bonus – cleaned up and reorganized the denim section of my closet.     

inspiration:

i've been catching up on all six seasons of the Queer Eye reboot and it's such a balm for the soul after the past two years and the daily news cycle. Gardener's World is another wonderful show that i got into in 2020 and inspired me to start my mini veg garden last summer. now that the weather is finally warming up, i'm making the effort to get out into the botanical gardens and parks as often as possible. 

finally, taking a page from Ross Gay's Book of Delights and trying to make it a daily practice to appreciate life's small joys.

what's inspiring you this season? how's your wardrobe planning coming along?


12 comments:

  1. So nice that you're blogging again. I'm trying both to come to terms with a small, but inconvenient weight gain due to medical issues as well as transitioning from my lovely and slightly vintage-inflected, but maybe too cutesy, wardrobe (heavy on APC dresses and blouses) to something that will work better for me as a 40-year old professor while feeling like myself. It's hard! I'm looking a lot at Revelle collection for inspiration and recently got some things in her sample sale. I want to work with vintage vibes while not being too cute, want to have clothes that fit well while not getting rid of everything. Some staples will stay: my APC trench has worn out after 11 years of constant wear and I'm just going to get another one just like it from them. That's a big priority.

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    1. it's wonderful that your APC trench has been such a workhorse for so long! do give yourself grace in navigating wardrobe transitions. although i think if you really love pieces from a decade ago, styling a new purchase with existing pieces or tailoring older favorites can often 'remix' them nicely with your updated aesthetic vibes :-)

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  2. Hadn't opened my Bloglovin since probably 2019 and it's so nice to see your blog again after all this time and feel I still relate. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. thank you for reading and you're always welcome to chime in here! :)

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  3. Just to say, awesome to have you back!

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    1. it feels good to be back in this community :)

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  4. the Polene bag looks great on you, I esp like the color you choose.

    Even though I regularly declutter my wardrobe and have done some big declutters, I've never done a proper Marie Kondo. Since I changed jobs last year, my actual closet is definitely in need of a major re-organization. I need to setup my work capsule. My challenge right now is being comfortable but looking cool/put-together at work, while wearing a uniform on top. For off-duty, I look back at my style in my mid-20s and I was KILLING IT. I need to find "her" again.

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    1. i think Polene has some excellent colorways in their collection – just colorful enough but still neutral-adjacent and thus versatile. i also recently tuned into the idea of how much color affects my mood, even in something as small as a handbag.
      i am sure that your mid-20s off duty self is definitely still with you...and some kind of style reset after all that we've collectively been through is more than understandable! let us know if you do the Kondo and how it goes :)

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  5. Just saying again that it's so nice to have you back! Also, great tips on avoiding impulse buys by doing a mini-Kondo clearout, and searching for f/w staples now!

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    1. thank you Sarah :) the denim kondo was a bit brutally honest but it was worth it in the end!

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  6. So glad to see you back!

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  7. I miss getting dressed.... since moving to Australia I have lost interest in how I dress. Most of my wardrobe is in storage until my flat is ready for moving in, and I work from home so I've been rotating between my only two pairs of sweatpants (it's getting colder by the day) and a selection of t-shirts. I'm looking forward of getting out of my limbo state! That said, I have been delighting in my oversized denim jacket which I never wore in Singapore cos it's so hot there, and also the opportunity to wear socks with sandals.

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