Building your wardrobe :: Fall 2012 wishlist

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This week on Effortless Anthropologie and for the next little while on The Parallel Universes Resolution, I'll be focusing on my plans for Fall 2012. Every year around this time my budget becomes more important to me, as I begin saving for Hanukkah/Christmas presents and setting my financial goals for the next year. It's very tough for this shopping lover to reconcile my favorite shopping season (fall! hooray!) against the long-term good of my financial plans (retirement! hooray!). But I always try.

The series will focus mostly on the shopping end since that's what this blog is about but I will also try to incorporate as much of my budgeting and planning thought process in as possible. I have covered how I budget for shopping before in this post; although it's old now the information is still mostly valid.

In addition to my take, the incomparable Fabulous Florida Mommy has been running a great series on planning your fall purchases. You can find Part 1 of her series here with links to the other parts at the bottom of FFM's post. I highly recommend it! Although I will be overlapping a bit with some of FFM's topics, I hope to approach it from a different angle to complement her series rather than being redundant.

Let's start with my Fall 2012 wishlist so far, shall we? I began tackling this on my tumblr earlier this week with a post devoted to my love of one specific Fall mailer, and I'll have another love story in the next day or two. Plus we'll take a look at some of the trends I'll be embracing this fall and some I will reject outright. A great discussion has begun over there on the mailer post and I'd love to hear your take!

To begin, let's outline the items I need in Fall 2012:


Notta. Zip. Zilch. For the first time in as long as I can remember, there isn't a single piece of clothing I need. No accessorizing required. No outfit finishers. My closet is full, my shoe racks don't have a single open slot, my jewelry cases are stuffed and my belt rack is damn near overflowing. I'll tackle this more in an upcoming post but my issue right now is more having lots of pieces I love in my closet and not enough complete outfits. And in another post we'll tackle why my multiple fashion personalities are a deterrent to dressing. We'll also tackle some ways to make the items you're bored of seem new again. But for now, let's just look at some of the pretties tempting me shall we? Because even though my closet is full I am persuaded by the power of NEW.

A few years ago I went from hardly ever wearing dresses or skirts to wearing them almost all the time. At work I found that dressing in more feminine styles helped me balance the masculine toughness I needed to rise up the corporate ranks. Right now I'm equally split in my daily outfits between jeans/shorts or dresses/skirts.

As I look through my current dress collection I see three or four good corporate office-appropriate wool dresses of varying weights, ten or more casual dresses that can be spiffed up for casual work with the right sweater, cardi or top over them, four going-out dresses, and then some one-offs I bought for a specific event but re-wear occasionally.

So why am I tempted by more? A few reasons. First, as I've mentioned before being on-trend helps me advance my career. The New York Times recently embraced this as a trend article in their own silly way...ladies of technology love to dress well! It was surprising at first when clients for my day job would recognize the brands I was wearing but now I'm not only used to it; I'm surprised when it's not mentioned. And of course working working with various fashion brands as a social media contractor or subcontractor means that looking up-to-season is somewhat important. I do think that there's a sea change towards embracing more past-season items so long as they still fit the zeitgeist; it's not as important to wear the FALL 2012 OMG NEW line as it once was. So in looking through my closet I'm less worried about having the absolute newest as I am making sure that my cuts and silhouettes still say current.

Another reason for my love of new is that my personal style is still changing and evolving. Items that never interested me at 22 are now much more tempting. Some styles I used to laugh at now make sense. And some styles I am sad to let go must sadly be put in the past because I'm no longer a college student DJ'ing at the radio station. On the other hand, I refuse to be defined as some dowdy old maid so I'm at this weird in-between stage where I'm trying to figure out how to both flatter my body and still look confident, alluring and modern. It's a tough balancing act!

Lastly, my body is changing. I'm mutating! No, just kidding. As is my eye for what flatters -- my definition of body-flattering has evolved a lot in the past several years. Items no longer fit for one reason or another. Things I thought looked good do in fact not look good at all; items I hardly wore suddenly fit fantastically and are daily wears. As I cull my closet it's time to bring in some new as the old goes out.

In each of the dresses above I see an opportunity to move forward. Dress 1 is longer than most of my current options and would work great for day to night. Dress 2 would be perfect for the after-work functions I'm attending more often (and currently have limited options for). Dress 3 is a casual cutie that's already selling quickly online. Dresses 4 and 5 represent options in chambray, a trend that's expected to carry forward for the next few seasons. (Although exactly how it will look is yet to be determined.)

tops 1 &2 // top 3 // top 4 // top 5

In the realm of tops, I'm hunting for items that can be worn both to work or client meetings and transition to my evenings on the town. I think the silk colorblock camis in the 1/2 spliced shot would look great tucked into a pencil skirt by day with a blazer over, then by themselves for a hot date. Top 3 looks great over skinny jeans. Top 4 has a light elegance that I appreciate and top 5 is strictly weekend wear.

Currently, I own so many tops. So many tops. But they are also the items I cycle through the quickest -- a top that's interesting to me this year might not hold my interest next season. Tops are also the hardest item for me to find in a flattering silhouette. I'm big busted with a tiny waist, which is awesome! But very hard to dress. Loose tops look like sacks, tight tops look vulgar, and tailored tops have to be just right to work.

The question I should ask myself is: will I love this top in 3 years? But more often than not the question I ask is: is this cute? When I buy tops I force myself to mentally make 3 outfits for them, but when I look at my top collection I'm still not satisfied. It's very much a work in progress.

skirt (1) // sweater (2) // skirt (3) // jeans (4)

Aside from dresses and tops there are just a few other things catching my eye. Skirt 1 isn't actually viable for me -- it's only 15 inches long!! But I have it wishlisted as a reminder that I'd love to find that same shade of ruby red in a knee-length silhouette. Do retailers even remember what knee-length is anymore? I'm dubious.

Skirt 3 is the only item on my wishlist that I'm dying for. It's coming home with me very soon. I love the asymmetric hem, I love the sleekness. I just hope it fits; I can fit into most Helmut Lang but sometimes the brand runs too small for me. The Tippi sweater in 2 is the kind of preppy chic layering piece I love and I'm sure it will fit right in with the 30 or so sweaters I already own...heh. And can a girl ever have enough jeans? AG wants me to say no. Dark wash? Check. Copper accents? Check. Perfect fit? Well...

bracelets (1) // bracelet (2) // bag (3) // bag (4) // bag (5) // belt (6) // shoes (7) //
shoes (8) // boots (9) // flats (10) 

Finally, here are the accessories I'm pining for. I've been lusting after the Alexis Bittar bracelets in 1 for about a year now. They unfortunately run big though, and every time I try them on they clang and slide and are generally too big for my wrists. I keep hoping they'll come out in a smaller circumference. The Lulu Frost bracelet in 2 is pretty and sparkly -- my weaknesses. My bag collection is steadily growing, with 3 being a great day-to-day option from Madwell with two menswear-inspired bags from Fossil. (Both are actually on the men's side of the site.) As I mentioned on my twitter not too long ago my idea is to buy the bags for my guy and borrow one at a time, so he's never without and neither am I.

The lone belt on my list is a waist-cincher from Anthropologie. Shoewise I can't help but love the colors of J.Crew's suede Everlys. And I can't help but hope someone comes out with a cheaper option. God bless Madewell for making extended calf boots (are you listening Anthropologie?). These Archive boots will be a great replacement for a pair of leather flat boots I purchased in 2008 that are on their last legs. And 10 is just a pure pleasure play -- I heart spectators! 

What's on your Fall 2012 wishlist so far?