Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 2016 Purchases

This month I tried to focus on buying basic essentials (tees, tanks, and shorts), but I sort of got sidetracked when I rediscovered the joy of buying clothes second-hand. Overall, I bought a lot of stuff but came in almost exactly on budget, thanks to another month of selling. Without further ado, let's take a look at what I bought in April.

1. Everlane women's cotton tank (black XXS) - I reviewed this simple cotton tank in my last post. I've already worn it three times, so it was definitely a good buy. Originally $14. Paid $14 - $14 Everlane credit = $0.

2. Everlane women's linen tank (black XS) - I also reviewed this linen tank in my last post, but I haven't worn it outside the house yet. I'm not sure why, but I tend to reach for the cotton one first. Originally $30. Paid $21 - $11 Everlane credit = $10.

3. J.Crew Factory piece-dyed tank top (navy XXS) - This tank is lightweight without being sheer, but it hasn't held up well. The first time I washed it, it developed a tiny hole. Would not recommend. Originally $26.50. Paid $15.50 + 25% off sale + 1.5% off ebates = $11.45.

4. J.Crew trouser in super 120s wool (heather flannel 2P) - I hardly own any business casual clothes anymore, so I thought it would be good to add another pair of lightweight wool dress pants to the mix for a conference I'm attending in July. Originally $148. Paid $49.99 + 30% off + 1.5% off ebates = $34.47.

5. Kat Von D tattoo liner (trooper) - This liquid eyeliner has been on my wishlist for a year, so I'm glad I picked it up during Sephora's recent sale. I already own the black Stila Stay All Day liquid liner but wanted this one for comparison. The Kat Von D liner seems to have a finer point (making it harder to apply for those of us who don't have the steadiest hand), and sometimes I have to test it on the back of my hand first to get the ink flowing. However, once it works, I feel like the liner stays put better than the Stila one (for some reason, the Stila liner always flakes off after a few hours). Originally $19. Paid $19 + 10% off sale + 4% off ebates = $16.42.

6. J.Crew 4" chino short (navy 0) - I'm slowly replacing all of my 3" shorts with 4" ones. I still like the way a 3" inseam looks, but they're too short when I sit down, which makes me feel self-conscious. Navy is the color I tend to reach for the most in the summer, so this should get plenty of wear. Originally $39.50. Paid $39.50 + 40% off sale + 2% off ebates = $23.22. EDIT: Returned. This particular pair was a little too tight in the waist.

7. J.Crew 4" chino short (storm grey 0) - Same exact short, but in grey. This is the first pair of grey shorts I've owned. Hopefully the color will prove to be as versatile as navy. Originally $39.50. Paid $39.50 + 40% off sale + 2% off ebates = $23.22.

8. J.Crew excursion quilted vest in buffalo check (navy ivory XXXS) - With summer just around the corner, it's a bit ridiculous to be buying a puffer vest. However, I love the clean print, and the price just can't be beat. I can't wait to wear it next fall. Originally $138. Paid $39.99 + 40% off + 2% off ebates = $23.51.

(Preowned) 9. Me Too Patty flats (nude 6) - If you've been reading my blog for a while, then these shoes might look familiar. That's because they're identical to a pair that I literally loved to pieces. They were so comfortable and flattering (relative to their comfort anyway) that I wore them all the time, and I was heartbroken when I finally had to throw them away. When I found these in like-new condition, I immediately bought them, and I've been wearing them almost everyday ever since! Originally $99.95. Paid $24.46.

(Preowned) 10. J.Crew Ella dress in porcelain paisley (blue/white) - I've always loved the porcelain paisley print from J.Crew, but I missed out on it long ago (~2012) because it was too expensive at the time. I've been looking for it ever since, and I'm glad I found this one in my size. It runs small in the bust, so I sized up from my usual 00, but sadly that makes the bottom too large. I'm planning to get the skirt slimmed by my tailor, so that will probably cost another $45. It's totally worth it though for a piece that I've been hunting forever. If all turns out well, then I'll wear it for one of the upcoming weddings I'm attending this summer. Originally $298. Paid $64.75.

(Preowned) 11. J.Crew Liberty classic schoolboy blazer in june's meadow floral (june's meadow 00) - This blazer is another one of those pieces that I loved at first sight but passed on at the time due to its high price point. I've been kicking myself lately after seeing Adina and Jess wear it beautifully. Then this one serendipitously showed up online in my size, so I took it as a sign from the universe that I had to buy it. I got it yesterday, and the print is awesome! I was a little surprised by how lightweight it is (more like a shirt than a blazer), but that means I can still wear it in the summer without being too hot. Originally $225. Paid $44.98.

So that's it for the stuff I bought this month. On the selling front, I sent a big bag of clothes (my second one ever) to Thredup after my big closet clean-out in February, and it finally got processed. I'm a little disappointed, because I sent in a lot of stuff (including a bag and some shoes) but I only got $29.60 as my cash payout. I probably won't be using them again unless I'm trying to get rid of clothes I can't sell in other ways. I also sold 2 skirts on eBay for $46.28 after shipping and fees.

The total for this month comes to...
RETAIL: $1037.95
SPENT: $253.26 (24.4% of MSRP)
SOLD: $75.88
NET: $177.38

My goal for the year is to spend no more than $2400, which equates to $200 per month. Right now I'm at $2400 - $447.87 for 2016Q1 - $177.38 for April  = $1774.75 for the next 8 months, which is an average of $221.84 per month.

How did you do on your budget this month? As always, I'm linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Everlane Reviews: The Cotton V, The Cotton Tank, and The Linen Tank

For someone who dresses pretty casually on a day-to-day basis, I own very few tees and tanks. I'm not exactly sure why, but it might have something to do with how boring they are to shop for. It's much more exciting to buy yet another jacket or another dress. However, tees and tanks are basic essentials for a reason. They are the foundation of any good wardrobe.

Of course, this realization has come to me a little late. Over the course of the past year, the already small collection of tees and tanks I owned dwindled away to a sad state as I threw away the ones that were no longer fit to wear in public. They either developed a series of tiny holes, shrank in the wash, pilled terribly, or got stained. When I turned to my staple brick-and-mortar stores to find replacements (J.Crew, Gap, Banana Republic), I was surprised by the lack of good options. What exactly do I mean by good? Natural machine-washable fabrics (cotton or linen), relatively opaque, neutral colors, simple silhouettes at reasonable prices. Everything I saw was either a blend of natural and synthetic materials or had some unnecessary trendy embellishment, like a chest pocket, high-low hem, etc. If it met my fabric and silhouette requirements, then it was too sheer or too expensive. At the height of my despair, I found Everlane, the minimalist darling of the blogosphere. Their cotton V has become my go-to tee (I wear them almost daily). Then earlier this month, I ordered their cotton tank and the linen tank and thought I would review all three for you. (By the way, if you find my review helpful and plan to purchase one of these tops, I would really appreciate it if you could use my referral link. Help support your local starving grad student!)

For fit reference, I am 5' 4" and weigh approximately 115 lbs. My measurements are 32C-26-34. I typically wear regular tops, because I have a longer torso and broader-than-average shoulders. My usual size at J.Crew, J.Crew Factory, Ann Taylor, and Loft is 00 and XXS. My usual size at Banana Republic is XXS or 0P. Sometimes I size up to XS for tees if they're more fitted, thin, or clingy.

The Cotton V (Muted Black XS)

I'm not sure when this tee increased in price from $15 to $20, but when I purchased them back in December, they were still $15. That's a pretty significant price hike (33%!), but the price is still tolerable. If they get any more expensive though, I would probably look for other options. It's interesting to note that the cotton heather V is still $15. However, I would recommend against buying those, because they stretch out easily and feel thinner than the solid colors.

Anyway, I own this tee in both muted black and white. I prefer muted black over true black, because I think it looks less severe against my dark hair. That's just a personal preference though. Both solid colors are soft, and the cotton is smooth to the touch. The material is lightweight without being too lightweight (doesn't feel overly thin or like it will develop holes as quickly as the J.Crew vintage cotton tees. but I did already find one small hole in a tee I bought only a few months ago). The muted black color is completely opaque while the white is slightly sheer. In terms of sizing, I tried both the XXS and XS. Although they both fit, the XXS was too clingy in the stomach for my liking. I prefer the slightly slouchy appearance of the XS, which seems to be the intended fit judging from the model in the product image. My recommendation is to stick with your true size for a fitted look. If you want more of a slouchy look, then go with your larger size or size up.

Verdict: Like. White is slightly sheer, so stick with dark colors for a completely opaque look. Runs a little small. Not the most durable, but not the worst either. More expensive than before. Would buy again.

The Cotton Tank (Black XXS)

The price of this cotton tank is pretty reasonable at $14. It uses the same soft smooth cotton as the cotton V tee, and the black color seems virtually identical to the muted black shade I already own. However, it runs much larger than the cotton V. I would recommend sticking with the smaller of your normal sizes or even sizing down if you want a fitted look. I took an XXS, and the overall fit is still slouchy and long (which I like, but I can't imagine how it would look if I went with the XS). There's also the tiniest gap under my arms, but it's not noticeable. I like that the armholes aren't too big, and the straps are thick enough to cover any bra. The overall length is pretty long and covers most of my butt. I like the flowy tunic-ness, and it looks great with a messy half-tuck.

Verdict: Like. Runs a little large and long. Would buy again.

The Linen Tank (Black XS)

I love linen, especially in the summer, so I couldn't resist ordering this black linen tank. If you're familiar with linen though, then you know it's naturally a little sheer. Even worn with nude undergarments, I can still sort of make out the outline of my bra. That's actually why I opted for a dark color as opposed to white, which I suspect will be even more sheer. In terms of the sizing, I should have gone with an XXS, but it wasn't available in a dark color. The XS is workable, but the tank gaps under my arms, and the armholes are cut rather low. However, the beauty of linen is that it drapes incredibly well, so the rest of the tank flows nicely away from the body. The linen seems to be of good quality and isn't too thin. Usually I don't like high-low hems, but I feel like this one is flattering and fits nicely over pants/shorts. I wouldn't buy this tank at its full price of $30, but since Everlane had another choose-what-you-pay offer, I bought it for $21, which I think is reasonable.

Verdict: Like. More sheer, even in dark colors. True to size. Would buy again in a smaller size.

Have you tried Everlane tees? What other pieces do you recommend from there?