Sweater: Textured Tunic with side buttons by Stephanie Japel; madelinetosh 80/10/10 worsted in hearth; my (very few) notes and modifications on Knittin' With Dian
Skirt: Saks black mini-skirt; similar styles everywhere because it's a staple, but here's one from The Limited that's on sale and one from Loft that will be eventually - remember do NOT buy from Loft full price unless you enjoy setting money on fire
Shoes: Maiden Lane; similar styles by Miu Miu and Gianvito Rossi
Lips: Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Sunset Orange and Dolce and Gabbana passion duo gloss fusion lipstick in Sensual

Notice anything different?!?!? I cannot tell you how much better I feel about myself. Really. I need to remember how good this feels so that I don't permit another 4 months to elapse before my next chop. But a lot of work went into this photo this morning because when I put on the sweater, I realized that since I had made it, both the neck and the keyhole had stretched, and stretched in a way I didn't find attractive. So at 10 minutes to 8 this morning, I grabbed the leftover ball (yay for saving those) and a crochet hook and crocheted myself a little more sweater. So glad I did. Of course, then I noticed a moth hole and didn't have time to fix that, so I tied a hasty knot and tucked the offending bits away. Prior to this year, my sweaters were stored non-optimally, and every once in a while I find a casualty of that. Now everything is stored in big plastic tubs of moth free goodness!

Today I want to talk about two things, both under the heading of compromise. The shoes I'm wearing are new and they're cheap. If you took a look at the similar styles for the lady wanting calf-hair leopard pumps this season, you will notice that the CHEAPER pair costs $800. I didn't (don't) want to spend $800 on shoes, but I really wanted calf-hair leopard pumps. So I've been on the hunt for two months to find something that meets my stringent requirements: leather, good heel, and did I mention leather?, and under $300. Here's the problem, though, and it's one I am loathe to share because it's depressing. Remember when I was bitching about J. Crew charing $200 for $20 merchandise? Yeah, well shoes work the same way. Last year, when I knew my black pumps needed replacing, I attempted to find a cheaper replacement. I tried on a very popular style by Kate Spade which cost in the neighborhood of $250 and you know what? They were cheap as all get out. They looked cheap, they felt cheap, but at $250 they weren't cheap. See also: DVF, Stuart Weitzman, Tibi, and a whole host of other "mid-priced" shoes that aren't demonstrably better than what you'd find at Aldo. And it really really chaps my ass because the price suggests quality. DVF, Kate Spade, and Tibi make reliably good clothing, so one would assume their shoes would be similar. One would be wrong. So I took a $80 chance on Gilt.com's house brand. I say a chance because if the shoes didn't work, I'd only get my refund as a credit for other things on Gilt. The heel looked good, the leopard pattern was also the right color and distribution of spots (you'd be surprised what passes for leopard print), and the shoe was leather. Not the sole (which it is on expensive shoes) but the shoe itself. And I deemed that close enough. Well, the fact that they're on my feet should tell you how I feel about them. Good enough to keep, wear, and blog about. Now, I don't know if I would have liked the plain black leather pump in this style and the reason is that, without leopard to distract, any flaws in the leather or construction would be very apparent, but I would consider buying another pair of these shoes in a patent or even a suede. At $80, it's a relatively small risk, and a far better investment than in a pair of synthetic shoes from one of the mall brands.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is this skirt and the one I didn't wear today. You've heard me talk about vanity sizing before, but I think it's important to illustrate it wherever possible because women, as a generalization, are ridiculously obsessed with the sizes we wear. And I will fully admit to my complicity in this: after I stop laughing at the ridiculous size my skirt from Loft is (or my dress from Anthro), I do a little fist pumping because of a number on a piece of fabric fully knowing that it doesn't correspond to any reality. Strangely, I own fewer black skirts than I feel I ought to. Originally, before discovering the one I'm currently wearing, I thought my only choice for a straight black skirt was one from Brooks Brothers that wasn't quite right because it has two decorative buttons on a grosgrain ribbon waist band, and the buttons show through the sweater making silly lumps at my midsection. The Brooks Brothers skirt is a size 4. The skirt I am wearing in this photograph from Saks's house brand, circa mid-90s is a size 10. "How is that possible?" you ask. I respond that it's due to the fact that sizes are lies. Prior to putting on the Saks skirt, I laid it down on top of the Brooks Brothers skirt. They were (within 1/2cm) the exact same width at the waistband. Well, but which one is "right?" I would answer that neither is right. According to the kids at wikipedia things are worse than you could ever imagine. You're probably so fat you shouldn't even leave the house. Because charts! Which is why compromise is so important. When Karl Lagerfeld pronounces judgment upon me, he will likely judge me a pretty mundane size 6 because when I try on a skirt at Chanel or Fendi, that's generally what it is. He would probably look down his nose at me and hand me a size 8 dress because boobs, but then direct me to a tailor to fix the waist. So I can neither lock myself in the bathroom and cry all day because I'm wearing a, gasp, size 10 skirt (high school me would have killed a man to fit her ampleness into a size 10 anything), nor can I prance around like a mean girl because I could have also worn a size 4. Full disclosure: last week I bought a dress online in a size medium because the company's size charts assured me that was the size that would fit my actual measurements. But, in a panic, because my other letter-sized dresses are smalls (and one or two are EXTRA smalls), I called the 1800 number to get the actual measurements of the dress if possible because moi, a medium? Impossible! Except for every instance in which it is possible. And in every instance in which it is possible my actual body has not changed. Whether you call it a 4 or a 10, the actual measurement around my waist (which is sadly larger than it has been since quitting smoking) remains the same. And so do yours!


  1. Daaaaamn! This is hot. Great fit on the sweater--it really accentuates your curves! Great color on you too.

    1. Thank you! I actually have made this sweater twice, but the other one is in the to-mend pile (where this one will also go) until I suck it up and learn how to mend holes properly.