This is part of my replacement dressing series: because sometimes clothes have an expiration life but you don’t want abandon a certain aesthetic.
I started looking for a new trench around late 2017, my Banana Republic trench had more or less lived a good life, but I think the main thing that prompted me to a new coat was style evolution. My BR trench was still in a way not my ‘forever’ trench. I bought it before I left for S. Korea in 2012 after putting my previous trench – an ancient Zara piece that I picked up in a lost&found pile at one of Oxford University libraries during a summer study abroad program in 2009 with the librarian’s blessing that I eventually passed onto my sister several years later – through its paces. The BR trench while never really worn before I got my hands on it, was a secondhand find via Ebay and probably a more rushed decision due to my time constraints in retrospect. I remember receiving it and realizing that I wanted eventually a knee-length number as opposed to trench that hits upper thigh.I also wanted a richer camel color like my original Zara number as opposed to the classic light beige that I had now to wear.
The photo above taken during my trip to Lisbon during Christmas 2019, I feel like this kaleidoscope of tile most reflects my personality, a mix of everything with no rhyme or reason and somewhat distorted but somehow everything fits. I felt a lot like Rey from the New Stars War Trilogy this past year both aesthetically and mentally. Because well… well last year was a blur, and not always in the best way. I had health issues that plagued me for the majority of the last year. And unlike other tough years where I’ve been able to sit with my emotions and write it out in a private or public capacity -#tbt to my livejournal years in middle school- with little interruption elsewhere, my health issues this past year were majorly disruptive on a professional and personal level. Also, my health issues put my psychological state on overdrive…this was overall a very pensive year where I reflected a lot on what should be my new normal and how I should manage my worst impulses.
Items from left to right: muji striped buttondown, grey cashmere/silk blend sweater, L’Oreal x Balmain , black silk camisole, madewell white tissue tee, madewell black tissue tee, Eram tennis shoes, Madewell packable Mesa Hat, Uniqlo jeggings in off-white and black., ‘monoprix’ earrings, Armani blue sling-back flats, A.P.C leather skirt, L’Oreal , x Isabel Marant lipstick, Mellow Yellow gold heel, Lanvin low wedges with embossed python leather.
I’ve decided to break down the acquisitions into a numerical format for future reference. This year, I’ve spent (outside of shoe repair and dry-cleaning) 300 euros on clothes.This expenditure only amounts to about 4% of my yearly revenue (based on 2017 estimates-which should be the same if not more this year ). And for full disclosure only 200 of that was actually my money (thanks BF and mom). I currently am under budget for my age demographic in France where the average spend is 359,4 euros annually.
As you can see in the collage, I’ve bought around 14 items ( I’ve decided to not include skincare stuff because that is more of a need). I averaged 21 euros for each item, but if we divided my expenditures by month, it would increase to 24 euros.
In terms of sustainability, half or seven of the items that I purchased were second-hand. Everything else was bought brand new at a discount – except for one lipstick.
My overall thoughts about my spend amount this year? I’m surprised that I’ve spent as much as I did due to the fact that I moved in with my BF into an apartment ($$$). I also think this year was still a very conservative spend year for me considering that most of purchases were to replace items in nature which makes me shudder on how much I used to spend where I felt more inclined to follow trends. However, this year was much more spendy in comparison to 2017 and 2016 – years where I can count on my hand the number of items I bought for my wardrobe.
In terms of sartorial shifts, it’s clear that I have assimilated the sartorial codes of a Parisienne wardrobe, i.e lots of neutrals. However, most of my purchases feature some whimsy or extra luxe detail. Most of my purchases feature all natural fibers. Also, some of the items shown in the collage are close approximations of items that I bought. The low wedges have python embossed leather in real life. The navy sling-backs that I have blue sequins at the front. However all the other items are near identical and I think my gold heels, black lacy cami and leather skirt add more ‘pop’ into my wardrobe.
These purchases also reflect somewhat of balancing act of my daily style: with working and now being back in school full time, there are days that my clothes need to be super casual and others when I can happily ramp up the formality factor so it’s imperative that I have items that can function for several occasions.
How do you feel about your shopping progress this past year? Do you think that there could be improvement?
Source: Sézane (can we all please acknowlege that Sézane is killing it this season?!?! ugh)
Winter is quickly approaching and I’m not really ready for it, mainly because finances (broke student life) are currently put towards living expenses but will be in the clear in a week or two to do some housekeeping such as:
Getting my Isabel Marant boots (finally) resoled , I will update the post with the costs but I’m estimating it’s going to be around 30-40 euros. Edit 14/12/2018: I ended up paying 15 euros because the heels only need to be replaced!
Re-adding my button to my winter coat. I attempted to do it but I think a rétoucherie (tailor) will be more competent for this task. Hoping this won’t be more than 10 euros.
Scouting for new jeans after my beloved black pair of Uniqlo jeggings ripped in the thigh…RIP. My army green version also are finally on their last legs too. Due to this point, find another bottom, such as a cognac leather skirt and jeans (ew, hate jean shopping) has become a priority. EDIT: Currently acquired camel leather skirt from A.P.C.
Besides these main house-keeping duties, I’ve finally received my Madewell tissue tees that seem to run large which is perfect because I was looking for slightly over-sized tees. After re-arranging my wardrobe, I feel really content for the moment for tops and now it’s just refocus on bottoms.
Recently, I started wearing my Ferragamo Varas again due to weather changes and I don’t know it felt tired?Or possibly dated (more so for my patent pair than my regular leather version). I have had my two pairs of Ferragamos for about 6 years or so and I’ve sunk too much money into maintaining them to think of getting rid of them based off of a sartorial slump. Thank goodness for google images because it garnered some outfit inspiration such as the picture above from matches fashion. What I love about this image is:
Pairing it with a unique blazer. I’m thinking of using my grey Isabel Marant blazer so I have a more of a relaxed feel.
Making sure that my pants hit right at the ankle to make things look more current. I think I might roll up my pants to show off my ankle like Matches did. I’m a little bit too picky( and lazy) to start the hunt for the perfect jeans although it’s becoming more of a need as opposed to a want.
Wearing a basic tee to make things more casual.
What items have languishing in your closet until recently? Have you lately used pinterest or google to garner up some more inspiration? Do you sometimes feel that your classics in your wardrobe sometimes become dated or you outgrow what was previously a staple in your wardrobe?
“No I don’t think about my audience when I write…When I teach writing to students, I tell them not to think about the people who are going to read, especially who they know, because you’re going to censor yourself….The self that writes is very different than the self that speaks…and so when I’m inhabiting that self that writes it’s also the self that dreams..it’s a very deeply closed place. When I’m creating and I wish this happened more often…it can feel like being transported-characters take on life. I don’t realize how much time has passed. So in writing fiction I really don’t think about who is going to read it…I hope that people will read it but I don’t think specifically of who I read it because if I did, I would censor myself. “ – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Quai D’Orsay, Paris during Nuit des Idées, January 2018.
Note: I drafted this post up months ago and while it will be published now in August and I still feel very much the same as I do now.
There are many parts of her talk that spoke to me. But this part is what stayed with me…writing for oneself.
Plenty of people have asked me to restart a blog. And admittedly I have lots of ideas about privilege, expat life, learning languages, minimalism, feminism, race relations, travel etc.
When I read Jude’s of Fifty Shades of Snail Post,K-Beauty and Why It Matters To Me, I just had all of the feels. OMG, the feels. While Jude was addressing the normalizing of Asian-Americans in American media discourse, her story of feeling like ‘other’ is so universal that the response was overwhelming. And it was so heartwarming to see the response and it shows how inclusive the Korean beauty blogging community is. I did not really know how to adequately respond at first but I knew I had a lot to say. So much of how Jude felt is also something I can hugely relate to as another minority who felt “ other” and learning how to accept myself in spite of the socialization and internalization of standards imposed in American society.
I recently made my first two original posts private in an effort to figure out my direction of this blog. I figured out that I don’t want this blog to be just a beauty blog, but mainly travel focused because that’s what I do the most with my discretionary income and my free time. But I also knew that it was coming more from a place of fear.
Part of the reason why I’m really trying to blog (consistently) is the fact that I have done so much…and there is very little to document for it. So let’s take a trip down memory lane…
5 Years Ago…
I had came back from Atlanta for my first ( and not the last) visit to the French Consulate in Atlanta for a student visa. I was preparing to leave the USA to live in France for the first time and I would soon learn that despite my affinity for travel, I always seems to have some minor-major paperwork or scheduling issue when it comes to visas…
4 Years Ago…
I was preparing to go back to alma-mater for my senior year. I was excited to resume my university life again but I knew after being back in the US all summer that I wanted nothing more than to get my degree and find a way to get out and travel again.
3 Years Ago…
I was a newly minted graduate and was preparing to leave the US again…Not back to France to teach like I had originally planned in my mind but to South Korea instead. I also ran into some paperwork issues – it was a (expensive) mistake on my part. Little did I know that going to Korea was going to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
2 Years Ago…
I was in the UK/France seeing all of my close friends in a period of two weeks. I also had made time to see someone else who had come to care about a lot over that spring/summer. It was an emotional trip with many highs and lows. But the trip helped solidify my resolve to come back to France.
1 Year Ago…
I was prepping for French Visa #2 to teach. That August in Korea was so wet and grey. My mood for the most part that month reflected that mood. I was very much torn about my decision to leave. Every day I woke up feeling that I needed to get out of Korea as soon as possible but also knowing that I would very much miss the life that I had there because it was a life I had built for myself. I also went to Busan for a long weekend at that time and I had learned so much from that weekend.
I’m back in the USA, waiting on French Visa #3. After two more years of french courses at Alliance Francaise in Daejeon as well my time spent in France this past year, my French was finally good enough to apply to grad school in France and get in. I’m so excited, terrified and nervous about this next step in my life.
Today, I’m going to deviate a little bit from my love affair with Korean skincare and cosmetics to an equally passionate love: French skincare. I’ve never been big on cosmetics in general but one thing I was looking forward when I moved back to France was rekindling my love affair with the French pharmacy. These are my favorites from my time here so far, from left to right: