Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fashion Resolutions

I'm a huge fan of resolutions. Every year I make about 20 or 30, and try to avoid generalities like "Stop being such a bitch," in favor of a something that's more of a year-long To Do list, with "Take a yoga class" and "Don't get into credit card debt." This year, I'm making fashion resolutions as well, because one can always be more stylish and chic. Here's what I hope to accomplish in 2009:

1. Wear heels regularly
One of my resolutions for 2005 was to learn how to walk in heels (I remember, because I wanted to learn before prom). I did a decent job, but since then I think I've gotten worse at keeping my ankles steady and my heels inside the shoe. Despite owning plenty of heels of different heights, colors and styles, I can most often be found wearing ballet flats or my riding boots. These are fine for my happy-go-lucky college girl persona, but once I graduate and enter the dreary corporate world, I'm going to need to step up my game, footwear wise. So this year I'm really going to try and toughen up my feet so I can wear stylish pumps to work all day and then slip into some open-toe stilettos before walking to a bar at night. Pain be damned! I think these will help me ease into it: from Nine West, a company known for their comfortable and practical heels, these Jade heels, $29.99, have an unintimidating 3 1/2 inch heel and criss-cross straps to keep your foot in place. Plus, the dark red suede and leather straps are so fun that I'd look forward to putting these on every morning.

2. Wear More Skirts
I wear dresses near constantly, but for some reason I'm not terribly into skirts. I think there are two reasons for this: my high waist and wide hips create a proportion that makes most skirts fit oddly, and skirts involve much more complicated matching than dresses or pants. There's the question of whether to tuck in or not, belt issues, length concerns-- I find skirts a bit stressful. But if I'm going to grow stylistically I must confront my fears! Maybe I'll start with a simple, go-with-everything black pencil skirt, like this one from the Gap on sale for $23.99. Then I can transition into more daring skirts, like this sophisticated bronze asymmetrical tiered skirt from Banana Republic, $125, or flirty Forever 21 Colorblock satin skirt, $19.80.

3. Buy a great interview suit and build a decent work wardrobe
While I'm terrified to enter the work
force, I am psyched to do some parent-sponsored shopping and buy an outfit that says, "Hire me! Love me! Pay me!" I think I want to go for lightweight fabrics, since I'll probably be job-searching in the spring (if I'm unemployed by the time it gets cold again, then I'll be wearing a burlap sack to my interviews), and since I feel sort of funereal when wearing all black, I'm leaning towards grey or at some subtle pinstripes. I like this Super 120s pinstripe three-button jacket, $240, and city-fit classic trouser, $140. (If anyone has any advice on three versus two-button jackets, I'd love to hear it! I have no idea why one would be preferable to the other.) And after I (hopefully) get hired, I'm going to need some quality professional pieces-- but I'd like to try and avoid looking boring. I'm a fan of this Banana Republic printed wrap dress, $130-- the demure hemline and sleeves make it very office appropriate even as the print and silk-cotton fabric keep it from being overly serious. The Detour Dress by Maeve, available for $148 from Anthropologie, has a classy shirtdress feel and a go-anywhere navy color, plus a great diamond pattern on the skirt and some very useful pockets. Also, machine washable-- a big plus when all my money will be going towards rent, Cherrios, and gin.

4. Every time I buy a bra, get the matching underwear
To be honest, since I just bought two bras at the end of December and I a
lready own more than enough, it's very possible that I'll go all of 2009 without buying any bras. But if I do, I want to spend the extra $12 or whatever and get the set. While wearing matching lingerie everyday is not practical at all, doing it occasionally (even if there's no one who's going to see it) makes you feel a little bit special for having a sexy secret under your clothes. I really like the Sailor Stripe boyshorts, $9.99, that match the demi bra, $19.99. Even sexier? The ruffled bikini, $6.99, with the balconet demi bra, $19.99, from the Intimissi line.

5. Buy a pair of jeans that isn't from the Gap
I love the Gap, but it never hurts to branch out, right? There are two problems with this resolution, however: I have sadly short legs, so I need a line of jeans that comes with special lengths for us stumpy girls. I go to Nordstrom mall and try on Sevens, and it's like, "Where the hell did my feet go?" And sure, I could get them hemmed, but if I'm paying over $80 for jeans then they sure as hell better already be perfect. My second problem is that I only know my regular American size (you know: 4, 6, 8) and not the fancy pants European sizes (26, 27, etc.). This is why I stick to the Gap! But I want a pair of jeans that I feel fantastic in, not ones that are fine and comfortable enough. Any suggestions on labels I should check out? One that I've been hearing a lot about is Rich and Skinny, and I'm intrigued despite being neither of those things. I'm liking their classic bootcut jean, called Rich in Mystic, $191. It's not available in a shorter length, and it's in the scary sizes, but there's no better time than the New Year to be brave.

6. Buy a new watch
This is very simple-- I need a watch, and I've needed one for months. I want something simple, classy, fairly small, with an easy to read face. It would also be great if it was water resistant, since I can see myself forgetting to take it off before getting in the shower. Maybe something like this Kenneth Cole black strap watch, $85.

7. Convince at least one boy to wear a cardigan, sweatervest, or a shorts suit
I will wear them down eventually! Mark my words, I will wear them down eventually!
J.Crew Cashmere Argyle sweatervest, $99.99:

Gap rugby stripe cardigan, $59.50:

Street fashion from the NY Times:

Tentative 8. Try to be brave enough to take some street fashion photos
I'm no Sartorialist or Bill Cunningham, and neither my photography skills or my camera are top of the line. But I do have the ability to spot a woman and say, "Whoa, I love her dress!" and I do it about eight time a day. Would it be so difficult to catch up to that well-dressed woman and say, "You have great style, would you mind if I take your picture for my blog?" Ok, yes, it would be pretty difficult. I'm rather shy and I tend to racewalk my city's streets with my iPod blaring and my eyes straight ahead, giving a curt "No thanks" to anyone who addresses me. But maybe it's time to get out of that bubble, for the good of the blog.

Also, I feel like the Sartorialist has grown too "high style" and it's getting rarer for a photo to really catch my eye and inspire my own sense of fashion. First, he's practically never in New York, and I'm less interested in what stylish people in Moscow or Paris are wearing. Second, I'm not a fan of menswear unless it involves that one J.Crew model that I want to marry (points if you know which one I'm talking about-- it's not the one wearing the sweatervest abovee). Third, I feel like every other female subject is model thin, wearing black leggings and some designer architectural coat that would look insane on most people.

I guess I forgot my "be less bitchy" resolution as I slagged off the Sartorialist. Good thing that was a pretend resolution! Anyway, I will keep this street style idea in mind when I return to New York and see how it goes. Do you guys know any NY-based street style blogs that might help inspire me?


Jess said...

Three button jackets have less structure and are more stuffy because the lapel falls higher. A two button jacket draws more attention the smallest part of your waist, giving it more shape. I think that a two button jacket is more feminine.

Julia York said...

Wow, thank you! That is so helpful.

Alison said...

Wow! You read my mind with the first 6 things you had listed. Must be the similar age and point in life thing. lol.

As far as jackets, watch where the buttons are if you're busty at all. Two button jackets that are set lower can gap strangely if you have boobs. Good luck!

Emily Hughes said...

You could check out It's run by NYU students. Not updated very often, but it's cute.
I am with you on cardigans and sweatervests. I am NOT with you on shortsuits. I"m sorry.

Julia York said...

Alison, good call with the jackets, my biggest pet peeve is tops that aren't designed for girls with boobs and thus gap or get bunched up. Ugh, hate that.

And Emily, that site is awesome! I've never seen it before but it is pretty much exactly what I would want my street fashion photos to look like. I was also really excited to realize that I used to have a class with the second girl down on the first page.

Alisha said...

My fashion resolution is to wear heels too! I've got so many pairs that have never seen the light of day... but now it's time to suck it up and deal with the blisters.

Madelyn said...

the whole work/interview wear is a goal of mine too. though it scares me shitless. i did however find a nice pencil skirt at the gap outlet that naturally goes with nothing i own. but i'm trying!

Tara said...

As far as the jeans go, Google "European size converter" and find your European size! It's not that hard. I like Eddie Bauer jeans and I also just got a great pair of Bandolino jeans.

I'm working on updating and upgrading my wardrobe as well but I'm in my early 30s and am trying to break out of the schlumpy "mommy-rut" I had fallen into.

ashley said...

stumbled upon your blog and its great! love your fashion resolutions.. for the jeans one, try going to express.. they carry short lengths so it saves you the trouble of hemming. my fav shops for work wardrobe are banana and jcrew you'll prob love those too. and as for the sweatervest/cardigan issue, i'm still in the process of trying to convince my bf. goodluck! :)