On My Wishlist Lately

For better or worse, I can’t seem to bring myself to spend less on food and allocate more of my personal allowance on, well, anything else. So I want to document this list of unattained wants in a visual way which will, hopefully, spur myself to be a little more disciplined with the eating out.

Anker Soundcore Space NC

$100

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Like many tech workers, I sit in an open office, which means I am constantly overhearing other people’s conversations less than five feet away from me. While I have a pair of headphones I already keep at my desk which do work, they are super old and incredibly cheap. The sound isn’t great and, most importantly, I have to turn it up pretty loud in order to drown out the people around me. Sometimes, all I want is just quiet– no music even. While I’d love to have something akin to the Bose QC 35s, I can’t bring myself to shell out $300 for a pair.

Symphonized Wood Earbuds With Fabric Cable

$25

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This is my go-to earbud. I’m going to be honest, they are not the top of the line. But I am HARSH on my earbuds. Nothing ever lasts more than a year so why pay $100+ for something that’ll just get broken? I like these because the in-ear pads are extremely comfortable and the braided fabric cable tends to prevent snags and frayed wires more than just the plastic-sheathed cables.

Superfeet Black Insoles

$40

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I bought a few pairs of these a couple years ago and they have been pivotal in keeping my flat feet comfortable day in and day out. Sadly, though, I’ve run through all the pairs I had and now it’s time for some replacements, at least for my daily shoe.

Mizuno Wave Paradox 3

$50

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It’s about time (honestly, probably even slightly past time) for me to get replacement running shoes. I’ve always like the Mizuno’s Wave Paradox line, so why mess with a good thing? Opting for the v3 instead of the v4 because it’ll save me about $70 and, honestly, I’ve never cared about being the early adopter type.

Leather Repairs

$40

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My leather jacket has gotten a very small tear in the shoulder, so I’d like to take it to get it repaired. I’ve been avoiding wearing it in the meantime since I don’t want to make it worse, which is a shame because I love wearing this piece. Not sure what the actual cost will be to fix, but I feel like $40 is a decently conservative estimate.

Watch Repairs

$250

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I got a couple nice family heirloom watches as gifts during my wedding. They’re old and haven’t been used in decades, so they definitely need battery replacements and some amount of cleaning/tuning I imagine in order to be worn. There’s a part of me considering just selling them or holding on to them unused so that my children can inherit them, but on the other hand, I feel like vintage watches/jewelry/etc. lose their value more quickly these days in the age of online shopping, remakes, etc. Should I really just let it gather dust in the hopes it might be worth something later? I don’t expect I’ll wear them all that often, probably only when meeting with business contacts, so I probably only need to get one repaired at most and hide the other for safe keeping I suppose.

Shorter Haircut

$35

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My hair is in an okay place right now– it’s healthy and decently kept. But it’s at a length that I don’t love and, now that the wedding is over, I’m pretty eager to chop it off to look like the above picture (minus the dye).

Alighieri La Collisione Necklace

$260

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I’ve been crushing on this piece for a long time. I really like it because it’s mixed metal, which I’m thinking/hoping will help me wear my silver wedding ring (actually I think it’s either tungsten or titanium, but it’s silver colored) along with some other gold pieces I received from family.

Custom Leather Chelsea Boots

$245

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A new shoe store opened up a few minutes away from my house. Their pieces are absolutely gorgeous and are custom-tailored to your foot. They take the measurements locally but the manufacturing actually takes place in Guatemala. They claim to pay their cobblers well and have individual biopics of each on their website, but Everlane and other clothing brands have ruined the “ethical clothing” label for me. It is very clear, though, that they know what they’re doing when it comes to shoes.

What’s on your wishlist?

My Thoughts On Sephora Having Been There Once For Approximately Five Minutes

Context:  I am traveling for work in the Rockies. Somehow it is dry and 60 degrees colder than it is in the Northeast. Plus TSA wouldn’t let me bring my Aveeno. Desperation brings me to this Sephora, because my face is blotchy and peeling like a banana from the hotel lotion and the nearest Walgreens is a quarter mile away through what is basically polar vortex weather.

This place is overwhelming.

I can’t tell where anything is supposed to be. Also the color scheme is intimidating. Do I belong here? Then again, does anyone really belong anywhere?

A nice lady asks if I’m looking for something in particular. Lotions?, I say declaratively but with the question mark.

She leads me through the aisles as if she actually wants to help me. You know, like a pal. It makes me very uncomfortable. I think I’ve been living in the Northeast for too long.

She brings me to the L’Occitane shelf and offers to walk me through the different lotions. She even brings out new little samples from a hidden drawer under the shelf. My mind is blown. Where did that drawer come from. Better yet, where did it go?

Where do we all go?

She places a little jar in my hand. The jar is beautiful. If I was a jar, I’d want to look just like this jar. I would be smooth and pleasantly weighty and fit just right in my own tiny palm.

The jar is 1.7 oz.

It costs $34.

Oh, there must be a mistake, I think to myself. This must be the sample size for the larger jar. That larger jar costs $34, right? Where’s that larger jar? I wonder. I know, it must be in the hidden drawer.

And then I realize: no, this tiny jar really is $34 of lotion.

I’m not going to be here that long, I think to myself. Why don’t I put this tiny jar back and reach for one of those even tinier tubes?

The tube costs $28.

I am now in a crisis. I needed lotion and then came here and then this nice lady placed a tiny jar of lotion in my hand. If I put this back on the shelf and don’t buy anything, will I be rejecting that nice lady’s help? Even worse, will I be denying myself my own needs?

Because, by this point, I have convinced myself that I need this lotion. It has 25% shea butter in it and I’ve heard that stuff is great for your skin. Shouldn’t I let myself splurge on this lotion? Think of all the opportunities, all the shea butters I’ve turned down because of the vulgarity that is money.

Down with capitalism, up with shea butter.

As I wait to be rung up at the register, I am ushered through a tiny hallway of perfumes. Ten different sample size, about four squirts each, for $25. What a deal, I think to myself. If only perfume didn’t make me break out I would buy it. Because, like the tiny jar of lotion, I am now imagining what it would be like to be such a tiny delicate spritzer.

I pay the $34. The cashier seems almost insulted I didn’t buy more. I feel ashamed. The couple in front of me bought multiple bags worth of stuff. Why can’t I be so carefree as they are? I think. I bet they don’t deny themselves shea butter.

I am now sitting at the airport on my way back home. My face is no longer peeling, the red jagged cracks in my hands have closed. A tiny $34 jar of lotion sits in my bag. It serves as a memento of my trip through Sephora. A strange journey through the Twilight Zone that I am too afraid to repeat. A frail human such as myself cannot traverse such spaces so wantonly. I fear it’ll tempt the spirits. I fear I may become lost.

A tiny $34 jar of lotion sits in my bag.

I cannot tell if it is my trophy or I am its.

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All The Clothes I Bought This Year Part 2

This post reflects all my clothing purchases in 2017 after I wrote the post “All The Clothes I Bought This Year.” For the most part, I mostly got winter gear to help with the increasingly chilly season (curse you polar vortex!). There were a couple somewhat unnecessary vanity buys like my new leather jacket (gasp!) and a bucketful of tailoring.

Everything I Bought

Brunello Cucinelli silk tank (tan) – $46.50

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I got this from The Real Real to go underneath my slightly-too-sheer Hugo Boss white silk shirt. It’s also a nice addition to my wardrobe generally since I don’t have any other tanks or camis. It looks really powerful solo with my pencil skirt or with a blazer. Probably more expensive than I needed, but the delta between this (EUC) and a new lower-end silk tank was pretty small.

Patagonia quarter-zip fleece (navy) – $26.50

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This was a replacement for my old North Face shell which after five good years of service ended up twisting all up on its zipper. Being a fleece piece, it can’t exactly be worn alone especially since it gets windy out here. But it’s cozy and nobody blinks an eye when I show up to work with this and a T-shirt.

Coach lambskin leather bomber jacket (black) – $168.00

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Pure vanity buy. I was craving a quote-unquote classic piece and don’t particularly care for trench coats so I decided to go for a leather jacket instead. Seriously, I spent about a full month contemplating whether to buy it. Save for my loafers– maybe including my loafers?– this is the most expensive item in my closet. The leather is super buttery but thin (it’s lambskin so that was expected), so I can only really wear it when it’s in the 40-60 F range and not raining. Which in my New England city is, oh, approximately never. But it’s darn beautiful.

One thing I will say is that I got this off The Real Real and I was really disappointed in their team when checking this item. There were definitely more scuffs on it than the listing noted and there was a half-opened piece of nicotine gum in the pocket. Major ew. They outsource their customer service to Zendesk so I wasn’t particularly hopeful my note to them will reach their garment review team. Though I love the jacket and plan on keeping it, I do not plan on using TRR again.

Neck gaiter (black) – $10.00ng-teal_1024x1024

I lose about two neck gaiters a year so I don’t bother to buy an expensive version, else I’ll be saddened when I ultimately misplace it at a restaurant or whatever. Fleece-lined, does the trick solo or, even better, layered underneath a scarf.

Patagonia better sweater mittens (marled white/black) – $39.25

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A replacement for my old Isotoner gloves which, though they let me use my smartphone, fail miserably at keeping my hands actually warm in the freezing winter weather. I like that these can convert between mitten and fingerless glove style, makes it easier to access my fingers quickly during my commute.

REI silk sock liner (white) – $11.00

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These are to go under my thick calf-high Smartwool socks for the coldest days in winter. They’ll help with the itch from my wool allergy. Also, they’ll add an extra layer of insulation when the polar vortex comes.

Patagonia beanie (navy) – $26.50

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A slightly cuter replacement for my current beanie which looks like a nerdy winter helmet. Made with recyclable materials, which I love. Also covers and keeps my ears warm, which is a major win.

LL Bean silk long llbean.gifunderwear (black) – $50.50

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In previous years, I have used hosiery, thick fleece lined tights, and even yoga pants as an extra bottom layer during winter. All these were fine, but left a lot to be desired in terms of comfort under my trousers– so many layers left my legs feeling like sausage stuffed into its casing. I haven’t gotten a chance to take these for a spin since it hasn’t gotten below freezing yet, but they certainly are thinner and feel more flexible than what I’ve tried before.

Red Coral Necklace – $5.00

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Statement piece to jazz up my otherwise boring neutral-color wardrobe. The picture isn’t of my exact necklace, but it’s pretty similar with the same thick finger-like coral protrusions. I particularly like to layer this over my crew neck Everlane silk tops.

Coach Willis messenger bag (black) – $56.50

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Originally I was going to try to get the lock on my burgundy cross-body from Cambridge Satchel fixed. But this was the third or fourth tie it broke in two years and it costs $25 each time to get the push lock shipped in from the UK. At some point I might bring it to a cobbler to fix and then resell, but for now I’m going with a classic alternative that I know has already been through a couple decades of wear and is still going strong.

Tailoring, dry cleaning, repair – $191.50

This is how much it cost me to hem and take in at the waist four silk shirts and to dry clean and re-line my peacoat. Tailoring is expensive. It basically doubled the cost of my shirts. But now they fit slightly better. Worth it?

Total – $631.25

Next steps

Altogether I’ve spent around $1825 on clothes in 2017. That’s about six to seven times as much as I’ve spent in any other year. While I don’t regret spending that much– I wanted to upgrade my wardrobe and am still in a great place financially– I would like to ratchet it back to my previous spending levels for a good long while.

Now that I’ve finished filling all the holes in my winter wardrobe, I feel pretty set to not buy any more clothes until at least April 2018. I would like to set a budget for 2018 to spend no more than $350 total, or just below $30/month. That includes all alterations, underwear, etc. This does not include my wedding dress, for which I’d like to spend less than $250.

Insofar as I might upgrade my wardrobe next year, I’d like to keep it to cheap basic items. For one, I’d like to get a few V-neck cotton shirts (probably American Apparel or another good quality cheap tee brand) to replace my current suite of crew necks. I’d also like to streamline my work socks so I don’t have a variety of too-large-for-my-feet hand me downs making up half my food wardrobe. Lastly, a good tote bag or backpack would be nice as well. These are all minor wants though and– given how burnt out on shopping I currently feel– I think I can go without for a year or more.

What do you wear for winter? Have you purchased any clothing in Q4?