What did I buy this month? Well, with a gala coming up for the first week in October, a size six gown (Jesus, take the wheel), and weight loss not going the way I hoped, I bought three dresses in two sizes each.
My plan was to find one of these dresses that would serve as my back-up in the case that my size six perfection of a gown did not fit the way I hoped by this week. Towards the end of the month after all six of the gowns arrived, I tried on the original game plan gown, and then the other gowns. I should mention that I purchased the other gowns in sizes ten and twelve and two of the above are the same contemporary designer as my original game plan size six gown.
Neither of the dresses of the same designer, two sizes up, fit better than the size six. Each fit smaller than the OG size six. In a way this was thrilling. I was not, however, as jazzed that I had to pay a restocking fee for the flocked gown return. Hashtag racket.
Other than that? Other than some perfection that J.Crew released, specifically this tall skirt in burgundy, I haven’t even been tempted.
My resistance to shopping in August was consistent with that of July, in that I did not have the discipline that I did during June. Glass half full, at least from a sustainability perspective: I mostly shopped secondhand at eBay and Thredup.
Remember when I bought this dress in a size too small back in May? A refresher: I already have a similar dress to the long sleeve tee shirt dress, albeit navy with white stripes, boatneck, and 3/4-length sleeves. I wear it all the damn time. Every time this particular dress is restocked, it immediately sells out, at least in the tall sizes. I finally scored one at twenty percent off, but due to it running small, had to return.
Flash forward to the beginning of the month, I got over the zipper placement and added this dress to my fall queue.
Jack Rogers had a sale. We are talking eighty percent off prices, people! The bone sandals I have had my eye on? From $125 to $45. It is no surprise that the site repeatedly crashed during my many checkout attempts. This is the only color that I was hoping to add to my collection of ten and my will for a new pair of West Palm Beach sandals won.
I originally spied this DVF dress over a decade ago. How is that for a clothing obsession? I then purchased what I thought was the same dress via eBay in 2011, but I mistook the dress for a different DVF style (refer to the similar styles above). I finally found the dress in a size six but with my chubby phase I am going through, I do not exactly fit in it. Cut to planning for a wedding at the end of the month. I found this same dress from my 2008 obsession on eBay in a size ten and at a very competitive price. Now I have a one for my skinny version and my chubby version. Excessive? Or ingenius? You decide.
The red blouse is the same I purchased in a cream colorway several years ago and have already worn on the blog. I love the tonal print. I love the tie at the collar. I love the fabric; you cannot tell via photo but it has the slightest amount of stretch which offers enough give for someone with linebacker-esque shoulders. Speaking for a friend.
The cream and gold shirt is Vera Wang Lavender Label, a brand that was established just prior to the 2008 recession and shuttered circa 2011. Such a shame. The fabrics and the cuts were gorgeous. It was exactly what I imagined a Washingtonian version of Blair Waldorf wearing on Gossip Girl.
The new Red Fleece line is so damn good. Straight fire. Rather than indulge in the clothes of the season, I caught some stuff that I missed the last time the trees were bare and at prices that were easier to stomach.
Recently I have been mourning the time that I ended up returning a pair of Lena cap toe pumps – as lamented about here – because I thought the heel was too high for me. I have been kicking myself because I genuinely loved the cap toe and the colorway. This very morning I wandered online and found the block heel variation of the Lena pump and at a fraction of the original +$200 price tag.
The slingbacks were not particularly frugal, but they were 30% off. I don’t know what the detailing is going to look like in person, so best order a pair while taking advantage of the free shipping and try them on in person, in the comfort of home. I love the Colette style, as it is the same style as the shoes I wore for my husband’s and my engagement photos. I walked miles around the cobblestone streets of Georgetown in those heels and though I ended up barefoot on the sidewalk much later on that night, after the engagement shoot and after celebrating two friends who had just returned from abroad after eloping and after drinks with more friends who we had not seen in months, the situation could have been much worse.
Fourteen items. That is nearly a purchase every other day of August. Some might say I have a problem. Admitting you have a problem is the first step of getting clean right?
I lost my shit this month, shopping-wise. I definitely not as perfectly disciplined as I was during June. Shame, shame, shame. Here goes:
I happen to love a jewelry brand that was selected for the CFDA incubator back in the late aughts. Gemma Redux was frequently featured on Gossip Girl, which is how I and many others discovered the brand. Unfortunately, the designer behind Gemma Redux, Rachel Dooley, closed up shop and stopped production a few years after finishing the CFDA incubator period.
These days, when I can find any Gemma Redux jewelry at a competitive price, I jump at the chance to buy it. After making offers on the five pairs of earrings and combining shipping, I got them for a combined $150. I found a necklace that coordinated with one of the pairs and outbid the lowest bidding in the last minute of the auction, for a total of $55.
I love old Tibi and old Milly. These days both of the lines are super clean and super minimal, especially the former. I love everything that made it extra during the late aughts. Prints? Yes, please! Chain detail? Sign me up! Metallic accents? In the cart!
“…But that’s where I stop myself short to consider the reasons that I participate in a trend — why I buy fashion that appeases said flights, and equally as often, fashion that doesn’t. One common denominator sticks out among these decisions: Impossibility. Impossibility of what? Unseeing what has now been etched into my psyche as a veritable saving grace. The holy grail. Glory, glory, hallelujah. My closet will never be the same without x or y. If I could only get my hands on z, I’d never need another thing. It is addiction to be sure — a roaring lion that yells over my shoulder, louder and more forcefully each time I try to ignore it until, eventually, I give in and watch as it whispers into the past, now a satiated lamb. But I don’t notice any of this part because I am busy marveling in the rush of my saving grace; my addiction has paid off! Until, before I know it, the next roaring lion has taken its place.” – Leandra Medine
Under the suspicion that credit card rewards are but a gateway to get me to spend more, I had an experiment in mind. I would save my rewards for the next month and just not shop at all, even if I was risking missing out on a bargain or an incredible item. I did not use any rewards and I did not buy anything at all. Not a first, but it has been awhile since I have gone that long without adding anything to my closet. The sense of control is phenomenal. Is this sense of control my new drug?
I used to use eBay to find stuff that I missed during the first go ’round of primary retail. Then during my last semester of graduate school, I did a marathon closet clean and listed items galore on eBay. I had no idea how much of the stuff would end up selling. What I thought would be a way of deaden the pain or parting with old things, ended up supplementing my income while I was in my last few months of graduate school. Yes, I know I can give it to my local Goodwill or consign it, and this is something that I consider when looking at the condition of an item.
While I know we are in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future, I also know that my husband’s job will eventually, inevitably, relocate us. I do not want to have to move with six large Rubbermaid bins of off-season clothes. Because of that, I am starting #projectpurge. Phase one is listing the stuff I would feel at peace with parting. A morning of listing stuff on eBay and the first phase is underway.
I tried to ride the success of my April moratorium into May. I was not nearly as successful, but it was not as much of a fail as my February and March efforts. Per usual, most of my purchases were made during promotions or with coupons. The ones that were not, are gifts, because Mother’s Day and birthdays.
I have really been into pajamas this month. I probably would not have purchased the three sets had they not been on markdown with an additional fifty percent off. On top of that? The top left set is monogrammable. Naturally, I got my set monogrammed with a canary yellow thread. Perfection.
Despite liking it out of the parcel, this skirt did not fit. I should have read the reviews. Not only does this skirt run small but it is also high waisted. I should have gone up at least two sizes. Returned.
While I cannot resist a rugbystripe, and the dress version of the rugby shirt is the rugby garment I did not know I needed, it was not available in tall. Sometimes you just have to take the chance, especially when it is not a final sale. I was going back and forth between the navy / white colorway and the khaki / black colorway, teetering towards the former. What sold me on the khaki / black is the contrast of the white chino fabric placket and collar. All of my deliberation was for nothing, because while the colors were exactly what I was hoping for, the dress sizing was just not for the tall gal. Returned.
I already have a similar dress to the long sleeve tee shirt dress, albeit navy with white stripes, boatneck, and 3/4-length sleeves. I wear it all the damn time. Every time this particular dress is restocked, it immediately sells out, at least in the tall sizes. I finally scored one at twenty percent off, but due to it running small, had to return. Also strange? It has a zip back closure (not shown in the product photos), which is not exactly the ease that I look for in a tee shirt dress. Returned.
I obsessed about the yellow maxi dress here. It came in tall and it was 40% off. Justified purchase, right? Well, not exactly. The fabric is a touch too sheer for me, albeit the bust is lined. It also just seems like a lot of fabric, a lot of dress; I am sure this is magnified as it is longer in length than the standard size. Returned.
Can you imagine Charlotte York wearing both the pink and blue and white striped shirtdresses? They come in tall (petite too!) and I visited the website everyday them until I found them on a forty percent off promotion. The striped version took a bit of obsessive stalking as it almost immediately sold out of my size. The time came that the medium tall was restocked and I pounced on it! Too much of a classic to pass up.
I am really into shirtdresses now. I love that with a blazer and a pair of heels, a shirtdress is perfect for an air conditioned conference room. The ruching on this style is my favorite part, as it camouflages my midsection. The horizontal stripes add something different to the style. I once read in a Vogue article that you should consider wearing what you wore when you were younger. This dress looks like something I would have saved up my money from working at my weekend (I was not allowed to have an after school job in high school) job and ran to the mall to purchase.
I have wanted these sunglasses ever since Krewe released the style last year. Two weeks ago, Krewe had a private sale. These happen but twice or thrice a year. Fact: Beyonce has been spotted in this style in a different colorway. I also saw photos of her in this style. If they are good enough for ‘yonce…
University of Virginia cap for a friend. Terp cap for myself. In John Mayer’s song No Such Thing from his Room for Squares album, he name checks faded white hats in what I believe in an homage to this college staple. They are my favorite to wear during the summer – around town, in the pool, on a run, wherever.
I know at the beginning of the moratorium, I said that I would lay off the beauty products, but I needed a night treatment and I wanted pink lipstick and lip liner for the summer. The latter has been on my mind for awhile; it was not an impulse purchase.
Mother’s Day came and went. There is nothing that my mom enjoys more during the summer than relaxing in the pool. I sent this float to my parents’ house. I think it will go perfectly with the floating cooler I gifted my dad years ago.
My shopping moratorium for the month of April went much better than that of February and March. I am back on the success train that was January!
Something that helped me not shop was reflecting on where the prospective garment would live in the apartment. Is there even room in the closet or in a dresser for it? My answers were almost all nearly no.
This month I purchased two things and both with brand rewards:
March was not so good for theShoppingMoratorium. When I look back on the stuff that I bought…well, I feel guilty that I fell so far from my course. It is time to rededicate myself to the cause.
When I was in my last year of graduate school, I started to feel like a hoarder. Enter eBay. While I started selling on the site to lessen the bloat, I soon realized that it was a wonderful and passive way to supplement my income. During a time when I was stretched thin between coursework and a job, I found that between the fifty free listings per month and a Sunday morning-long investment in time, the results yielded enough money to live a just little more comfortably.
Within the past month, I started to get that familiar feeling of once again being a hoarder. Cut to me pulling anything I have never worn – which was an embarrassing amount – and anything I haven’t worn in seasons – fat feels – and listing them. It seems like less of a waste to sell it and sock that money in my Roth IRA.
How excited am I to share that I did very well at sticking to my Shopping Moratorium this month? Very. I was telling my father about my Shopping Moratorium and he audibly laughed when I started, “I am not a compulsive shopper, but I do love shopping…”
While I did make some purchases, they were smart and minimal:
I had $45 in Banana Republic Rewards and I did not want them to go to waste. Last weekend, full price items were 40% off. I bought this candle and this one-shoulder shirt. After the 40% off promotion, my $45 rewards, BRCARD 10% off, and LUXE free three-to-five day shipping, the purchase totaled to twelve dollars and change.
I had a 30% off coupon for CVS. I was nearly out of shampoo and conditioner and after confirming that I did not have any bottles of either stowed away, bought one of each.
I cannot tell you the last time that I felt so in control of my spending.
This past Monday I mentioned that I tried on much of my clothing in mid-December. There was so much of it and I love it all. Most of what I have are not items from recent releases; I either have collected the pieces over the years or bought old items NWT it via eBay. Tragically, I do not fit into most of it. As addressed on Monday, I have plans to remedy that.
After a holiday season of shopping like a madwoman (granted not just for me) and the Lilly APS of seasons past, I have a bloated closet. During the last few weeks of December, I was listening to Pop Fashion podcast (highly recommended) and the hosts were discussing an essay detailing a year without shopping. I was inspired. After reading the essay the hosts were citing and reading up on a few accounts of years without shopping, I grew inspired to do the same. Along with clothing, shoes, and accessories, I am putting a shopping moratorium on the following:
home decor (I will allow myself to indulge in floral bouquets and candles.)
daily espresso drinks (This is symbiotic with my commitment to Whole30.)
One of the biggest advantages of being tall is that weight gains do not draw as much attention as it would to one of an average height. In the year and a half my now-husband and I have lived together, I have added forty pounds to my body. After amonthofWhole30 and after our wedding, my husband and my diets went to complete garbage. Carbs? Yes. Butter? All of it. Added sugar? Add more sugar. We enabled each other when it came to what food we ate and effectively stopped exercising.
It is science. Calories in, no calories out. He gained weight. I gained weight. That is how 206.2 pounds happened to me. I reorganized my closet mid-December. When my husband encouraged me to try on my clothes, it was a reality check. Waistlines on pants and skirts scream in pain. Arms and shoulders of sweaters are not accommodating to the addition and if there was no stretch in the fabric content, my husband had to help remove me from said piece of clothing. For the most part, two pieces of shapewear must have been layered in order to zip up dresses. It is frustrating and devastating to have the most fantastic clothes hanging in my closet, but no longer fitting into them.
One of my role models when it comes to weight loss is my little sister. While she kept to herself how much she weighed at her highest, she hinted that it was over two hundred. Like me she towers over most and hid it well. Around 2015, I encouraged her to start Couch to 5k. Before a knee injury, I very much enjoyed running though I didn’t start until my mid-twenties. I suspected my sister would fall in love with it as I had, as she was approaching 25. A year later, she and my brother-in-law joined a health club and have found joy in not only running (creaky knees are also her weakness) but spin, yoga, pilates, bootcamp… Her profession as a chef is very conducive to eating healthily and once they figured out that by waking up earlier and hitting the gym during off-hours, weight just disappeared.
I am going to rededicate myself to getting healthier just like my little sister did. Since my husband and I do not have the food science chops or the kitchen skill that both she and my brother-in-law possess, we are going to follow Whole30 once again; however we are going to do it long term. It is my hope that once I get in a good rhythm, I will not desire the garbage that I have been consuming.
Rather than getting back on the insane workout routine that I was on during the first nine months of last year, I am going to add in an hour of elliptical five times a week for the month of January. Baby steps. I am sharing all of this with y’all to keep me accountable and I will check in with y’all on the first of Februrary.
A few weeks ago, I received the follow message via Instagram:
“How are you so confident with your height? 😅 I’m 5’8 and I’m always self conscious with the way I look, especially my height. I have heels but I don’t wear them a lot because I feel like everyone just stares at me because I tower over them.”
I will preface my response by saying that I think the young lady who asked this is in middle or high school. 5′-8″ seems a typical height to me, but I know that being tall is relative to one’s age.
But back to the question. It took me two days to even respond back to her because, to be honest, there is a lot to unpack for me. I related on such a personal level to the insecurity that underscored her message. I knew if I tried to write it in a message, I wouldn’t be able to cover it all and I told her such.
The summer between middle school / eighth grade and high school / ninth grade, I shot up enough inches to stand out against the other freshmen. Who would think that the girl who is 5′-10″ is fourteen? (I was on the young side. One of the youngest in my grade, I only turned eighteen only five days before leaving for college.)
Growing confident did not come naturally or overnight, as I think is the case with all young ladies. There were a few things that happened that helped me gain confidence in relation to my height:
My mom and I were in the waiting room at my old dentist. This must have been around 1998 or 1999; late enough to realize that my height was going to be a “thing” but no earlier than hitting my peak height of 6′-2″. An old People magazine from 1997 was sitting on top of one of those waiting room side tables. One of the front page headlines boasted Attack of the Six Foot Tall Woman, along with a very glam photo of Cameron Diaz. I snatched that magazine and when I wasn’t finished reading the article when my mom was ready to go, did I take it with me? Maybe. (Read: Definitely.) I read the piece from title to end and every caption, and realized that I, too, can capitalize on my height. I only wish the linked article had the layout available; the women featured were so fabulous!
Having taken dance classes from elementary school into the junior year of high school also helped with my confidence. While I spent many a number towards the back in the line formations, there were two teachers in particular who recognized my attendance (my mom would not allow me to skip a class), effort, and dedication and disregarded my height as they pulled me to the front lines. (Shout out to Miss Harmony who taught lyrical and Mr. Richard who taught pointe.) At the very least, hours and hours in the studio ensured that the good posture became second nature.
I found a pair of 36″ inseam jeans. The Abercrombie & Fitch slouchy bootcut was not the denim they offered in the early-to-mid aughts. These were the jeans that LFO sang about (RIP Rich Cronin). I was thrilled to find this pair in my length at the Riverwalk location of A&F. I wore them nearly twice – thrice? – a week from 1999 to 2003. This is all to say, much like Wonder Woman armour, an well-fitting outfit does wonders for one’s esteem. Find your slouchy bootcut jeans.
Around the time I was a senior in high school, I came to terms that this is the body that God gave me and it is something that I would never be able to change – and I wouldn’t want to. Height is my thing. I know I am pretty average in terms of looks, but being 6′-2″, people notice when I walk into a room.
Did you know that Jenna Lyons of J.Crew is over six feet tall? True story – and she shared her story! If you haven’t read Jenna’s essay “The Watermelon Skirt” in Lenny Letter, what are you waiting for? Read it and come back to the rest of this post…
Are you back? Good. I hope you enjoyed Jenna’s essay as much as I do.
I reached out to my network of fellow tall ladies (we have each others’ back and trust when I tell you that it is a wonderful sisterhood) and they had the following to say:
It honestly has taken me years to accept the fact that I am tall. However I have over the years learned how beneficial it truly is to be tall. First off wear those heels and strut your stuff. I didn’t start wearing heels until a couple of years ago, and I wish I would have started wearing them sooner. – Abby Brady, The Classy Giraffe
Being young and tall can be hard because when you’re young. You aren’t trying to stand out, you’re trying to fit in, and being tall makes it really hard to do that. The one thing I’d remind young girls is that for one, you are not alone. No, every girl won’t have the same trigger, but most every girl has some trigger that may negatively affect their self-esteem. Whether it’s being too short, too thin, too big, too tall, it’s going to be something. You are not alone! You were made exactly the way you’re supposed to be made with purpose by God. Every inch is precious. Standing out is a wonderful thing you’ll have to learn to love, but in time you will. I’ve heard so many shorter people wishing they could stand taller than they do. Know it’s an asset, and treat it as such. They use tall women as models, for goodness sakes. Why do you think that is? Because tall women are beautiful! You are beautiful! – TallnNatural
For me, it was always the ill fitting clothes that made me the most self conscious. Because I knew when people stared because of my 6’4″ height, it gave them more to stare and gawk at when my clothes didn’t fit. Maybe it’s finding a tall friend or two to walk around with, or share stories with. There is power in numbers and it wasn’t until I had met other tall women that I truly embraced myself and began to celebrate my height. – Helen, Talltique
I tell my daughter who is 10 and 5′-7″ (the last we checked) that it is okay to be different. Everyone in the world now is trying to be unique and different so they can be seen as an individual. We are blessed to be born with a height that instantly makes us stand out from the crowd. All we need to do is add a little sparkle to it with our personality. And in order to do that you have to not be afraid of being yourself. Wear what you want and walking with your back straight and head high automatically screams confidence. It’s your way of saying look out world, I am here. – AkiaDanielle, The East on the West
Here’s what finally helped me stand tall and love myself: positive affirmations and meditation every night! I know that might sounds silly, but I write things down in a piece of paper like…I love myself, I cannot change my height, and that’s okay because I am beautiful. I stand out for a reason, and if I can’t go unnoticed, I want to be a positive influence. I am loved, I am appreciated, I am important, there are people who love me and my height. Models are tall, most people wish they were actually taller, I am strong and brave and not afraid, etc, etc… And then one day after a hard day of school, I stopped and asked myself, what good positive thought have I actually thought today? And because I was so sick of feeling down all the time, I told myself that I was going to think something positive of everyone I saw that next day instead of something negative. It was challenging, especially when it came to running into a bully, so I would pick something as silly as, I like that button on her shirt, or I like the color of his hair, etc, etc. And by the end of the day, I felt so good! Then after reading those positive affirmations every night and clearing my mind for a minutes each day, I really started to like being me and felt at peace with what I was and didn’t care anymore what anyone thought. – Nichole Terry, Alluring Heights
Let’s conclude this with a list of famous ladies topping 6′-0″: