All The Clothes I Bought In 2021

TW: body image, weight

The past two years have been rough on my body. I gained a decent amount of weight, then lost most of it. I lost a lot of muscle in my pandemic haze, then gained it back when I started daily exercise again. There are still some pockets of belly fat I don’t remember from before, and leftover stretch marks that are, incidentally, around the same places my clothes started developing rips and holes.

Because of the changes, for a long while I didn’t feel great about my body. When at my heaviest, I could feel how the extra weight was affecting my range of mobility and causing me to carry myself— walking, standing, sitting— differently. While I’d been proud of my figure before, particularly when I was at my athletic peak a year or so before the pandemic, in the past year it didn’t seem like something worth showing off. Not really something I’ve wanted to adorn.

I was nervous for a while to even think about clothes. I didn’t like that nothing I had seemed to fit anymore. I couldn’t handle sizing up when I bought new clothes. I tried avoiding my feelings by grabbing my husband’s outcast tees and defaulting to elastic waist bands more and more.

But I was doing a disservice to myself and, in doing so, inflicting more harm to my mental well-being. So I cleaned out my closet: what didn’t fit anymore? what probably would never fit again? I figured out my new sizing: I got jeans that actually fit my new body. I stopped buying things in my old size in the hopes it would fit, only to be disappointed when it arrived that my body could barely squeeze in.

And as I have gotten back to a healthy diet and consistent exercise, and loosened how much I clinged to my pre-pandemic physique, I’ve settled into a place that feels okay. I still don’t feel as “desirable” as I once did but I do feel like I am in my body, not something temporary that I can turn away from. I think it’ll be a few years yet before I buy nice tailored clothes again— between ttc and pregnancy and all the rest of it who knows what I’ll look like and when things will be stable. But I am making steps to feel comfortable where I am now.

Everything I Bought

J Brand Jeans – $60 (2 pairs)

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New size jeans for a new size body. I still love J Brand, comfy and sharp. Glad to now have some jeans that fit me again.

Various T shirts – $100 (5 shirts)

Levi's crew neck t-shirt with pocket in orange ASOS

A combination of work from home and being a few years in tech and out of consulting means I am ready to lean into the casual wardrobe. I bought mostly neutral-ish colors (black, blue, grey, clay red, mustard) on Poshmark from an assortment of brands (Everlane, Carhartt, Levi’s). All have been great. The Carhartt tees in particular are really thick and feel indestructible.

Cable Knit Sweaters – $35 (2 sweaters)

AE Cropped Cable Knit High-Rise Sweater

I wanted some sweaters for cozy days. I mostly wear a jacket while out, so I didn’t need anything super warm, just something to cover my arms on chilly days while indoors. I threw a bunch of stuff in my cart, but only a couple stuck: one is a forest green acrylic sweater from American Eagle (same cut as the one above), another an aquamarine cotton cable knit from LL Bean.

Mizuno Horizon Running Shoes – $80

Amazon.com Mizuno Women's Horizon 4 Running Shoe, Vapor Blue-White, 6.5 Road Running

Replacement running shoes. Mostly been working out indoors, so only one pair this year.

Donation Bin – $145 (6 pieces)

Universal Standard WINTERLUST Milled

Lots of stuff I ended up buying that didn’t fit, was too constraining (bye bye button downs and silk shirts), had wool (allergies), or for some other reason ended up in the donation bin. This included: two Madewell silk tees, a Lucky brand chambray button down, a Universal Standard romper, and two cable knit sweaters.

Total – $420

Summary

I struck out on a lot of stuff this year, which pushed the amount spent higher. Overall, this was a comfort and replacements year. Because of my various body stuff, it’ll probably be a long time before I make a significant reinvestment in my wardrobe.

I have a few things on my wish list. Though looking at how infrequently I’ve splurged on clothing in the past, I expect these to be fleeting unfulfilled wants. Still, here’s what’s caught my eye:

  • Sezane’s circular crocodile cross-body bag. Not that my existing bags aren’t totally fine, but just that the extra level of sophistication might be nice.
  • Bottega Veneta woven wallet. Maybe these will go the way of braided bracelets, but I kind of love the woven leather wallet look.
  • Resizing my wedding ring. So I can wear it, because it no longer fits. 😦 Or getting a silver chain necklace to keep it on my person.
  • Frills and florals. For whatever reason all my pinned wishlist items are either very frilly or floral (which, if you’ve seen any of my roundups from the past few years, is very much not my usual style). I think I feel like I have enough good-but-basic stuff and maybe want to add a little more in the way of playful touches.

What clothes did you buy in 2021? Anything on your wish list?

All The Clothes I Bought In 2020

Late round-up, but this felt like the right time to go over my 2020 fashion spending before I start going wild buying new clothes as quarantine comes to an end.

Everything I Bought

J Crew Shorts – $17

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At some point, I realized that if I was going to be home all the time, I should have more home clothes. Cue the elastic waistband shorts.

Adidas Grand Court Sneakers $47

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I wanted to replace my old walking shoes with something basic but fun. These shoes fit the bill with the pop of yellow adding a little bit of flare to the plain white sneaker look.

J Brand Jeans – $30

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Bought some extra jeans as I was starting to tear holes into my old ones. Unfortunately, these ended up being tighter than I wanted (even before I put on weight during the pandemic).

Entireworld Sweatpants – $75

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I have mixed feelings about these sweatpants. On the one hand, even by sweatpants standards, they are comfy af. However, while the marketing makes you believe these may be good athleisure wear, I’ve found the cut of these to be baggy in a “not even a model can make this look flattering” sort of way. The website is whimsical in a way that put a smile on my face, but others may find it too twee and grating for their tastes. All in all, given the price, kind of disappointing.

Theory Linen Cropped Pants – $136 (3 pairs)

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As the pandemic went on, I realized on the few occasions I did go outside that my pants were feeling a bit snug relative to what I was used to. In addition, wearing sweats kind of spoiled me to wanting to feel comfortable 100% of the time. These pants with their elastic waistband have been a happy medium— professional enough that I can use them as my work pant when we start going back into the office, but still very light and comfy. Plus they have pockets! I ended up getting these in three colors: black, sharkfin grey, and cream.

Total – $305

Summary

For a year I didn’t leave the house, I spent a surprisingly “normal” amount of clothing. $300 seems to be my magic number.

During the pandemic, I’ve felt zero pressure to look nicer or meet any sort of expectations of what I should look like. But now, thinking about going back out into the world again, I feel an urge to just round out my thirty year old yuppie wardrobe and be done with it: add a long-sleeve bodysuit, a neutral tote, a few loose fitting silk shirts, and a statement necklace, and I should be good to go.

I feel like I’m at an inflection point where I truly don’t feel young anymore, and I don’t know what that means for my sense of style. I don’t really care whether or not people think I look good so I’m kind of free to do whatever, but at the same time, don’t terribly have enough interest to double down on my own “personal style” so I just default to appropriate basics for my age, body, etc. Perhaps the best way to summarize it is: I’m too tired to care? I think these feelings are going to percolate into areas other than fashion too, as I feel more stable in my “identity” and less anxious about my place in the world. I’m interested in seeing where this goes in 2021.

What clothes did you buy in 2020? Do you have a budget for this year? What pieces do you have your eye on?

Distracting Myself With Fancy Things

I’ve got a lot of background anxiety about a lot of things right now. It’s work, other stuff with my family, one of my friends, and of course the election, the pandemic, and the impending doom of climate change. So right now I’ve decided to distract myself by thinking about fancy things because in the world of those fancy things, it is clean, minimalist, refined. Everything is perfectly splendid from my imaginary ivory tower.

So here are some of the things I have either bought or want to buy to distract myself from reality. (Editor’s note: Actually I only really bough the pants and the house painting below, everything else is idle desire.)

Theory linen pull on capris

Having not left the house basically ever for 6 months means all my clothes are tight and I refuse to wear pants without an elastic waist.

Rag and Bone Floral Hoodie

Granted, I have nowhere to where it given that I never leave the house, but I like the pattern. It’s as busy and scattered as my brain is right now, so we match.

The “perfect white sneaker”

Because if I’m going to start dressing like a zoomer, I’m going to need some cool shoes.

Ceremonial grade matcha

I watched a single video of Graham Stephan of all people making an iced matcha latte and now all I can think about is making some iced matcha lattes.

Horai - Matcha - Ippodo Tea USA & Canada
Ippodo Horai matcha tea

Wagashi

What’s the point of fancy tea if I can’t have the petit fours. No matter that a clump of tiny bite sized pastries shipped in from Minamoto Kitchoan cost approximately the same as a three course meal at a very nice restaurant.

Sachertorte

A bakery near us makes the most delicious sachertorte. We got one for our wedding cake. Maybe taking a bite will remind me of those halcyon days when I could actually see people I cared about in person.

Image from Epicurious

Ridiculously expensive candles

These candles are, I kid you not, $85 a piece. Bougie parfumée indeed.

New computer

So this started happening to my laptop screen a week ago:

From iFixit

I could just live with it. Or I could pay a few hundred dollars to get the screen replaced. Or I could drop a couple thousand on a new laptop. Or I could just abandon technology altogether and go live in the woods.

iPhone

Even if I live in the woods, I’ll probably need a phone to constantly scroll through Twitter, lest I forget for a moment my fear and anxiety. My two year old LG Nexus is on its last legs (barely charges, constantly lagging, just kind of a mess in general). Now may be the time for an upgrade.

One of those TVs that look like a framed painting

It looks nice and though there’s really no clear wall space to hang our TV it still is a completely practical idea because #insertreasonshere.

Samsung Frame TV

Also my house is a different color now and it cost me $5000.

This is the color my house is now, Benjamin Moore’s “Fairmont Green.”

Note it is much lighter in person. It’s not awful, but I’m still not sure I like it. C’est la vie!

How are you? Any material goods succoring your sense of anxiety and dread?