I’m Looking for the Perfect Bag

Hi, and welcome to my secret world of obsession and indecision. I’ve been looking for a new handbag and although I think I know what I want, I decided to go through what I have to help me make a decision. Here’s what I have:

  1. Black Banana Republic Top Handle Bag (similar): This is my go-to everyday bag. It has multiple pockets and zippered compartments, a top handle and a shoulder strap. It’s a bit heavy though and quite boxy/structured.
  2. Black Liz Claiborne Shoulder Bag (similar): I love this bag. It’s made with a really great quality leather and has a relaxed shape. It used to be my number one bag but now I don’t use it much. It is a great bag…
  3. Brown Madewell Transport Tote: I was thrilled to get this as a Christmas present a few years ago. I love the look of it, but it’s heavy and much too big for what I need to carry most days.
  4. J. Crew Straw Tote (similar): This is my tried-and-true go-to summer bag. I choose it over the others most of the time. So good.
  5. Multi-color Le SportSac Nylon Tote (similar): I don’t know when or why I bought this. I’ve seemingly had it forever. It is really good as a beach tote or if I’m going shopping. It’s lighter weight than the brown leather one and it’s a great choice if it’s rainy. I really like it, but it’s not very chic.
  6. Black and Tan Element Backpack (similar): Why is this even included in my handbag collection? I mean who uses a kid’s school backpack anyway? But, I think it’s good. I actually bought it at Disney World. It’s pretty indispensable for traveling. It carries a lot comfortably. I took it to California last month and I was really glad I did.
  7. David Bowie Ziggy Stardust Canvas Tote: This bag sort of checks off all the boxes. The perfect size. Kind of goes with everything. Not pretentious. It’s the sort of bag Rita would have as her handbag. It was $15 at Target. It’s cool but not very grown-up.
  8. Black Canvas Barney’s COOP Tote: This was the bag I got when I bought a pair of J Brand jeans at the COOP. It was free but I liked it so much I kept it. I often use it to carry my laptop (in neoprene sleeve that fits in the tote perfectly.)
  9. Hawaiian Print Tote: I got this on my honeymoon in Kauai so it’s pretty sentimental. It’s funky and on the small size but good for summer and goes with black better than my straw tote.
  10. Brown Lucky Crossbody Bag: I bought this a couple years ago because I became convinced I needed a bag this color and shape. It’s nice but very stiff and the flap closure kind of annoys me. Also, it’s a little too small for an everyday bag.
  11. Black Banana Republic Crossbody Bag (similar): I like the look of this bag. I like that it’s black and has the gold chain. It’s quite small and not practical for everyday.
  12. Light Blue Coach Crossbody Bag (similar): So cute but so small. I almost never use it and wonder what I was thinking when I bought it. However, I did take it on my last trip and it worked out quite well.
  13. Black J. Crew Clutch (similar): One has to have at least one clutch, so I have this.

My conclusions:

  • I could choose to keep one or the other of my two black bags (or find one that I love.)
  • The Madewell transport and straw tote are both keepers…
  • …as are the nylon tote and backpack. Very functional.
  • I could probably do with just one cute, casual canvas tote.
  • I really only need maybe two crossbody bags – one black and one not black (and the brown one isn’t really working for me.)
  • I really want a Spring/Summer bag that is leather, light colored, medium sized, that’s not too structured and makes me feel like a grown up.

I’m considering one of these:

Everlane $235
Madewell $158
Mark & Graham $199
Cuyana $375
Banana Republic $178

I think my favorite might be the Madewell medium tote (in “Linen”).

What do you think?

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New Wardrobe Additions: April

Okay Madewell, you win. I was doing really well on not going over budget and then the weather got warm and life got stressful and Leigh went to Madewell. I don’t regret it. I pick out 4 items I absolutely LOVE and had been wanting for a long time. Here’s what I added in April:

APRIL $428

Madewell High-Rise Slim Boyjean $135

Madewell Cali Demi-Boot Jeans $128

Madewell Rigid Denim A-Line Mini Skirt $50

Madewell Eyelet Keyhole Peplum Top $70

Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket Capri $45

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What I Packed for Santa Cruz

Packing for a trip is a perfect way to obsess endlessly about the exact right clothes I’ll need. My OCD kicks in as I ponder what to include so that every item coordinates with every other item and I’ll have everything I’ll want, never be too hot or too cold and have it all fit in a small roller board that will fit in an overhead compartment.

I spent a week in Santa Cruz, California (and the Bay area and the Monterey Bay) back at the beginning of April. Having lived in Santa Cruz for 10 years, I knew there was a good chance it would be cool and possibly a little rainy but I was hoping for the best. I even packed a swim suit even though no one goes in the ocean in April.

I finally settled on 1 dress, 3 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of jean shorts, 4 tee shirts, 4 long sleeve tops, a light jacket, 1 pair of clogs, 1 pair of sandals, 2 pairs of sneakers. Here are some of my try on shots:

A graphic tee, J Crew jean shorts and J Crew sandals.

Comfy Gap top, Madewell jeans and white Nikes.

Comfy Gap top, Madewell jeans and black Nikes.

Banana Republic black turtleneck sweater, Madewell jeans and black Nikes.

J Crew Tippi sweater, AG jeans and Troentorp clogs.

Gap tee shirt, Madewell jeans and black Nikes.

Banana Republic sweater, AG jeans and white Nikes.

Graphic tee, Madewell jeans and Troentorp clogs.

Madewell eyelet top, Madewell boyjeans and Troentorp clogs.

Gap striped dress and Troentorp clogs.

I had planned to take my Madewell transport tote but switched it out at the last minute for a plain black backpack which I thought was really smart and much more comfortable for travel. I also swapped my army jacket for my a trench coat but ended up wishing I had brought my Uniqlo puffer. I also wished I’d brought a hoodie like my one from Old Navy. I ended up buying Santa Cruz Skateboards sweatshirts for my kids and wore one almost the whole time. I didn’t wear the shorts, the dress or the bikini I brought. Have you figured out that northern California can be cold? It did finally warm up and it was beautiful. I ate a lot of tacos, saw lots of my west coast family and friends and had a really great time.

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How I Organized My Closet

I love to organize. I especially love to organize my clothes. I’ve done so many closet clean outs. I would get rid of things that didn’t fit or I never wore. But then three years ago I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. #konmari #sparkjoy I went through all my clothes, category by category and asked myself if they “sparked joy”. I was able to let go of items that didn’t spark joy even if they were gifts or expensive, or “might come back in style one day”. The whole process was so good! And I followed her advice about folding and arranging things so I could see it all easily. I stopped packing away off season items. All of it worked for me and I have kept it up over the years since.

This is my small walk-in closet. Items are arranged left to right: dresses, skirts, trousers/chinos, jackets, sweatshirts, long sleeve tees, button downs, tees, tank tops. I hang a lot of my clothes. Then, items go left to right: long to short, dark to light, heavy to thin… And I can see all of it at once.

I fold my sweaters and place them on a top shelf, organized by color. Thinner ones tend to go on top but then I get lazy so it’s favorites on top.

In my top dresser drawer are tights & socks, then bras and underwear.

Next is an extra deep drawer with my obsessively curated collection of jeans, followed by shorts.

Drawer three is: pjs tops, pj bottoms, pj shorts, swim suits and finally (summer) scarves.

The bottom drawer is all workout clothes: jackets/long sleeve tops, tanks and sports bras, shorts and capris, and then long leggings. There are some towels tucked in the back…

I have about a dozen bags hung up, including totes, a backpack, handbags and crossbody bags. Then I have my collection of belts and necklaces. I can’t say I ever really wear any of them but I’ve narrowed them down to what I think are essential. I also have a small selection of jewelry on top of my dresser along with some sunglasses and perfumes.

Shoes! I love to see all my shoes, and even though they get a little dusty, I like them lined up on shelves, not in boxes or bins. I made these shelves myself — just plain boards like the one up top for my sweaters. They are long enough to fit 11 pairs across, so my total shoe collection is 33 pairs…not including athletic shoes, or rain & snow boots which are kept elsewhere, along with outerwear, hats, gloves and scarves.

So that’s it! Thanks for reading.

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New Wardrobe Additions: March

I love these new jeans. I was at Nordstrom Rack with a friend and she said, “Here, try these on.” I did and they were perfect. It was supernatural. Also, they were the same exact jeans I had put on my wish list after a few bloggers had recommended them. I did not need another pair of jeans but I don’t know how I ever lived before I got these.

I fell in love with the leopard shoes from J. Crew after seeing them on Natalie Borton. I’ve gotten so many complements on them and they are so unique. This was definitely a solid addition.

Lastly, I added these white sneaks which were probably a mistake. I haven’t worn them much. I’m starting to think that my feet are getting smaller. I’ve always been an 8.5 but think I may be an 8 now. Weird. I think I might have to give them to my daughter who is the same size as me (She’s 10 years old!) but still growing.

MARCH $203

AG Farrah High-Rise Skinny Jeans $90

J.Crew Leopard flats $48

Nike Court Royale Sneakers $65

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My Style: Origin Story

This is an account of how my sense of style came to be. When I wonder why I’m so preoccupied with clothing, I only have to look back on my childhood and it’s pretty clear I how I grew up to be obsessed.

When I was very small, my mother dressed me, as I like to joke, “like a character in a Truffaut film.” She scoured yard sales and the like for simple, understated items she considered cool. I didn’t think much about it at the time. I just wore whatever she picked. I do have one early memory where I insisted on picking out my own outfit and I’m pretty sure it was a checked top and stripped pants and she said it did not look good, that I couldn’t wear two patterns at once. We got into a heated debate about it which ended with her saying, “Well it doesn’t matter what you think you look like, it’s what others think because they’re looking at you!” Other than that, my early childhood was a blissful time filled with shopping together, handmade dresses from Marimekko fabric and the seasonal tradition of taking clothes out of the attic and making me try every single thing on to see if it still fit.

When I was seven, my mom left my dad and went to California. My brother and I stayed in DC with my dad. My stepmother arrived soon after and a new chapter in my fashion life began. Now all my clothes came from Sears and the only criteria for them was they were 1) inexpensive and 2) covered my body. This time from age eight to about 14—those very critical years for a girl—were very bleak but ultimately formative.

Every time I asked my dad for clothes he’d say, “Let’s look at what you have.” I’d have to open my dresser, take out all my jeans and explain why they weren’t perfectly good or try them on.” If it was determined I needed new ones, we’d walk four blocks to Sears and I got to pick out a pair of Toughskins or something similar. It was horrible. And that was the good part. A lot of my clothes were hand me downs from my older brother. My sneakers were Sears brand and everyone knew it. My shoes had 4 stripes on them, not 3 and definitely not a swoosh. I did everything I could to talk my dad into cooler shoes. He said, “We’ll see” which obviously meant “Probably not, or no, never.” But when my sneakers finally got holes in them, (I might have dragged my feet while bike riding), he relented and I got my Nikes.

My stepmother made an effort to intervene in the clothing department, insisting to my father that “Girls need pretty things.” She was an accomplished seamstress and would occasionally let me pick out patterns and fabric and then she would sew things for me. One item that I remember distinctly was a full length wrap skirt made out of baby blue satin. One Christmas she bought me a book of Japanese fashion and I fell in love with Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. I know, right?

It wasn’t until I had my first jobs, at Subway, then Baskin-Robbins, that I had the money and the power to buy what I wanted. I feel like I bought a pair of Jordache jeans with my own money. I distinctly remember trying them on and thinking I looked amazing. I don’t have any photos of me in them so maybe I just imagined it. I didn’t have much to spend in high school so I mostly shopped at thrift stores. Or wore my friend’s clothes. In these days my peers were wearing Polo and Izod shirts, Tretorns and Bass shoes. Some of them were Goth, but mostly just very plain and somewhat anti-fashion. We dubbed our style “the no-style style.”

Brooklyn, 2003.

College and the years after are one long, painful string of bad choices. With clothing, I mean. Okay, with everything, but mostly I bought many odd and unrelated items, from Ross or Marshall’s or maybe the Gap sales rack that I look back on and wonder, “What on earth was I thinking?”

Ever budget conscious, I shopped at H&M, Gap, Banana Republic and J.Crew either at their factory stores or if it was on sale. I found pieces I liked but nothing really went together, at least not the way I wanted. My style looked hodge-podge and cheap.

 

In 2007, I got to fulfill a lifetime dream of visiting Paris. I always imagined how I’d look like a native and feel like a character in a Camus novel, or again, a Truffaut film. It didn’t really work out that way. Still struggling with what to wear and still on a budget.

After Paris came a long-awaited and very joyful pregnancy and birth of twins. From then on, there weren’t many photos taken of me. Just me taking thousands of pix of the kids. And really I didn’t think a lot about clothes. I just wanted to get back in shape and maybe have a full night’s sleep.

1st selfie

It was 2011 that I took my first mirror selfie. I had started looking at stuff online about putting together outfits. I followed J’s Everyday Style, Kendi Everyday and Unfancy to name a few.

 

In January of 2012 I started the blog “Women’s Work”, originally as a place to discuss the challenges of balancing work, childcare, etc. but it was really just a place to explore random thoughts and teach myself WordPress and blogging in addition to working as a Graphic Designer and being a mom of twins. Later I renamed it LeighFeather and committed to focusing on my three favorite things: Fitness, Fashion & Food, posting sporadically. And now it’s seven years later! I feel like I’m just starting to know my style and like what I wear. And it’s funny, I’ve probably known it all along. It’s simple and understated, sort of vintage/retro and a little masculine. It’s jeans and t-shirts and a good amount of black. And I feel good.

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Let’s Get Fit: Making Working Out a Habit

Happy Spring!

How on earth is it March 20th already? I remember thinking that it would be 6 weeks before the new years resolution crowds would disappear. That was over a month ago. I didn’t really notice when it happened but the Y is a lot less mobbed. By the way, I am loving my gym membership. And now that my husband is working out on Wednesdays while the kids take their running class it does seem worth it.

So far I’ve tried quite a few different workout classes: cycling, pilates, grit, step, body pump, body combat. The YMCA has an app and I check it a lot to help plan my workout and my day. If I don’t go to the gym, I will either do a walk/run or do a video on Popsugar fitness or a yoga series of my own creation or maybe a foam roller series.

How do I decide what to do on any given day? How do I motivate myself? Or keep from overdoing it and injuring myself? I really think the hardest thing about working out is getting started. And the thing that makes people stop is going out too hard and too fast. My motto is, “Start slow and tapper off!” Haha! The challenge is to just show up. The rule for me is, as soon as I’ve had my coffee (and usually after the kids are on the bus) I get dressed to workout.

Six Weeks of Workouts

I usually schedule my workouts. I put them in my calendar on my Macbook. I even color code them (purple). What I schedule for any given day depends on what classes are available that day, or if I have a client meeting and have to be more time efficient, and the weather. I’ll pick from options at the gym or at home, inside or outside. Sometimes I don’t get a workout in first thing and then it doesn’t happen all day. Sometimes I’ll do Just Dance with the kids or a Nerf battle—running around the house, ducking down, jumping up, and then picking up 1000 Nerf darts is a great cardio-strength workout! So, I plan out what I’m going to do on my calendar, then make any edits after the fact. That way I can see what I’ve done. It gives me a sense of accountability and accomplishment. If I can do three or four challenging days (and at least one rest day), that’s a great week. I try to have a good mix of strength training, cardio and stretching of some sort. But, I also try not to over-think it. I mean, sometimes you just have to get out of the house and move! Anything!

I used to always wear a Fitbit fitness tracker (the Zip, the Flex, the Alta, and then the Blaze) but now I wear an Apple Series 1 watch. It doesn’t sync with my Fitbit app, sadly, so sometimes I stick the Zip in my pocket. It’s fun to compete for steps with my daughter who has the new kids Fitbit, the Ace. Does the Apple Watch make me more motivated to move? I think a little bit. At first it was really novel, but over time you just sort of ignore it. Sometimes I turn on the workout mode and track my exercise but sometimes I don’t. I do love it though! I actually really want the new one, but I doubt I’ll splurge on that. I rarely ever look at or use the Apple activity app on my phone. I wish it was better! All that being said, you don’t need a fitness tracker or an app to create a fitness habit.

fitbit aria smart scale

I weigh myself daily. For a while now I’ve had this Fitbit scale. It uses wifi to send data to the Fitbit app. Then I can see my progress, an average for the week, on the app. I can even scroll way back and see that my weight was higher this time last year and that is encouraging.

Fitbit App

A note about weight, it’s a tricky thing. There are so many variables: food, hydration, muscle mass, even bone density. You can’t take it as the only measurement of fitness. I’ll also say that I don’t trust the smart scale’s body fat sensor at all. It seems very inaccurate, so I just sort of ignore it. The app also tells you your BMI, but I think most people will say that BMI is very misleading and not the best measurement, especially if you’re fairly athletic. Sometimes I use a tailor’s measuring tape and check my bust, waist and hip measurements (which I need to order clothes online anyway) but it’s a lot easier to step on the scale everyday. I guess it’s good to know your waist measurement as it’s a good way to know your overall health. They say your waist should be smaller than your hips and under 35 inches (for women). Of course you can always use the my-favorite-skinny-jeans-feel-so-loose measurement system!

I’ll sum up with these 10 tips:

  1. “Start slow and taper off”
  2. Make a workout schedule then just follow it the best you can
  3. Vary your workouts
  4. Get a workout buddy, make plans to meet at the gym or the rail trail
  5. Workout first thing if you can
  6. Stretch!
  7. Drink lots of water
  8. Find ways to sneak in exercise—park far from the store, take the stairs
  9. Aim for 10,000 steps a day
  10. Move everyday. Make it non-negotiable!
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White Sneakers

 

I’ve been on a quest.

I’ve been looking for the “perfect” pair of white sneakers. (Yet again I have been brain-washed by the blogeratti into thinking that I need a certain trend.) Not the kind you wear to workout, but the kind you wear all of your other waking moments.

Exhibit A, inside my sneaker-brain:

You don’t even want to know how many hours I spent researching all the options. And to make matters more confusing I asked my husband his opinion. An admitted sneakerhead, he had a very strong viewpoint and didn’t mind getting involved. Now I should mention, I have two pair of white sneakers: classic Converse and Adidas Superstars neither of which are “all white” and don’t quite have that “go-with-everything” style I’m looking for.

My current stable of sneaks:

I wear the Pumas a lot, my daughter has stolen the Chucks and I never wear the Superstars but my husband insists they’re really good and I must keep them. He has no opinion about clothes or fashion in general, this is the only thing he really cares about. Lol. He also pointed out that the New Balance options are in a different category as they are more of a running shoe than a “tennis” shoe. I’d agree, but I still like them a lot.

I had an exciting trip to Nordstrom Rack where I bought (and later returned) these Eccos as well as these New Balance. (With the NB, I needed to size down and they didn’t have them. Also, they were pink not white. But I did love them and may get them in the future.) While there, I tried on the Stan Smiths and decided they were too clunky. I haven’t tried on the Vejas but kind of love. The Jack Purcells, Tretorns and Supergas aren’t totally me but they are so iconic I thought I should consider them. Am I leaving anything out?

Anyway, this is getting long and boring… I finally made a decision, as you could probably guess. I ended up choosing the Nikes.

I think.

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Let’s Get Fit: Diet Swaps

 

Years ago I read an article about how small changes can make a big difference. I wish I could find it but I wouldn’t even know what to search for. I did find this and after reading it, I decided to insert my own ideas: 

 

whole wheat english muffin instead of bagel

(I’d do cream cheese occasionally, but with tomato, or avocado, or hummus and tomato, or almond butter and banana)

greek yogurt instead of low fat milk with granola

(Definitely! Low fat dairy, milk or yogurt actually have a lot more sugar. And fat is not the enemy. Also, I make my own no-sugar granola.)

an orange instead of oj

(Or a grapefruit. Or a smoothie with frozen fruit, almond milk, spinach, etc.)

wrap instead of bread

(I hate wraps! Ugh. I think just very whole grain bread, maybe only half a sandwich.)

apple slices with cheese instead of crackers & cheese

(Absolutely! Apples with cheese or apples and peanut butter or almond butter. Or rice cakes with almond butter and thinly sliced apples.)

corn tortillas instead of flour

(Yes! I love corn tortillas.)

trail mix instead of mixed nuts

(They’re talking about less nuts which is good but I don’t know if popcorn and Chex are so great. I eat roasted almonds and cashews. I think a small amount, like what easily fits in your hand, is good. Not the whole container!)

dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate

(I LOVE dark chocolate. I’ve learned that 72% is my bitterness threshold. More and it’s too much. Also, I have very much gotten into the habit, when I eat sugar, to take only one serving.)

radishes instead of corn chips (on chili)

(Doesn’t anyone eat Fritos anymore?! I say easy on the tortilla chips and I’m just getting into radishes. We rarely buy sour cream. I’ve never tried greek yogurt instead. Also, easy on the cheese. Jalapeños add flavor and boost metabolism.)

iced vanilla latte instead of vanilla frappuccino

(OMG, back away from the Frappuccinos. So Much Sugar. I would probably just do iced coffee, a little cream and cinnamon.)

raisin bran instead of bran muffin

(I don’t care what a muffin has in it, a muffin is never low cal. Speaking of Raisin Bran, a bowl of Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch cereal or Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch is the best thing ever, for breakfast or late night snack instead of ice cream.)

veggie/chevre omelet instead of ham/cheddar omelet

(Spinach or arugula and goat cheese scrambles are a staple in my house. Also, wherever possible swap ketchup for salsa or hot sauce.)

homemade parfait instead of pre-made

(I have long since steered clear of any kind of store bought yogurt concoction. They are all sugar. If possible I do whole plain greek yogurt with fresh fruit and homemade granola. I also love smoothie bowls!)

raisin toast instead of a cinnamon roll

(Cinnamon rolls are a huge cheat. Usually accompanied with a black coffee and some Swedish furniture. I say just enjoy it!)

pecans and yogurt on pancakes instead of syrup

(We only buy real syrup and use it sparingly. I eat pancakes pretty rarely but like them to be whole wheat or buckwheat and have a little butter and maybe bananas or no-sugar apple butter.)

pumpernickel bread instead of bagel with your cream cheese and salmon

(I love pumpernickel bread. I indulge in real cream cheese with my lox. Add tomato, cucumber, arugula. Yes!)

apples and honey on oatmeal instead of cream, brown sugar or nuts

(We buy Nature’s Path oatmeal, the flavored, sugary kind for the kids and I cook the plain stuff with frozen peaches or blackberries, a little butter, and some homemade no-sugar granola on top.)

bacon instead of sausage patties

(What? Well, ok. I say bacon once in a while, but can we all admit that bacon is not healthy? I agree, anything with very few ingredients is better. Also, have you ever tried an open face egg sandwich with arugula and smoked salmon instead of bacon. A-mazing.)

whole grain trail mix instead of regular

(It’s fun to mix your own, once in a while. Mini marshmallows, dark chocolate chips and annie’s bunny grahams. Mini pretzels, raisins, white morsels…)

ice cream sandwich instead of ice cream

(Ice cream sandwiches are natures perfect food! lol. Seriously, I suppose they do promote portion control.)

nutella on graham crackers instead of chocolate covered almonds

(Good idea. But remember, Nutella is not health food. It’s sugar and chocolate. and hazelnuts. Lots of parents give it to their kids on bread for breakfast. There’s the theory that sugar in the morning is better than before bed.)

lemonade and seltzer instead of lemon/lime soda

(I agree, start with seltzer — get a soda stream and make your own — then add just enough juice or lemonade to make it tasty.)

ricotta cheese and honey on flatbread (wasa?) instead of cheddar crackers

(Sounds good. I think I’ll try that. We switched from Cheesits to Annie’s cheddar squares. I don’t think they’re healthy, but it’s one of my favorite indulgences.)

edamame instead of peanuts

(No peanuts in our house because my daughter is allergic, but I think I will get back to having Edamame on hand!)

 

Have any wood swaps? Please share!

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H&M Vintage Jeans

This is me in my new high-rise button-fly vintage-fit jeans from H&M, wearing zero make up, the shirt I slept in and my new leopard flats from J.Crew. The jeans are VERY comfortable and I feel very good about them.

Here is what I know about this style of jeans: you see them all over the internet, but never IRL. Have you been obsessing about a pair of vintage Levi’s for the last few years? I have. This is basically what the inside of my brain looks like:

I have pinned and pined. I have tried on Levi’s at Nordstrom and found out what 0% stretch feels like. I have secretly wished for a $300 pair from Re/Done. I have scoured the thrift stores. I found a promising Etsy store that will work with you/your exact measurements.

My fear has always been that they wouldn’t look good on me, that they only look good on the super thin.

But then I was shopping at H&M and came across a cool look-alike pair that was high-rise (and comfortably so), a nice wash, somewhat stretchy and pretty flattering. At $29.99, I decided they were perfect. Later, at home, I almost changed my mind and returned them.

Once I decided to keep them, I had to make the call on whether or not to cut them. I was glad I came across this August Diaries post about how to cut the hem off jeans. I didn’t think there was anything I needed to learn, but I am glad I read it because she recommends washing your jeans first. Even pre-washed jeans can shrink. Once they’re washed, you should put them on and mark where you want to cut. Always start small and then try them on again and cut more if you need to. I found that once I washed the jeans (I always air dry jeans) — the tight waist was actually looser. As I wore them throughout the day, they got even looser. They had that I-never-want-to-take-these-jeans-off feel.

Here they are when I first got them.

And here they are after washing and cropping.

I think everyone needs a pair like this. Here are a couple other options I found: Levi’s Wedgie Fit  |  Madewell Perfect Summer Jean

Good luck!

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