Monday, January 7, 2013

Crimson Corduroy + Crested Oxford (& 2013 style goals)

crimson_corduroys
Crewcuts toothpick cords in sz 12 (legs tapered + hemmed), similar in petite (6 colors, now $22)
JACHS shirt sz XS (similar blue or pink versions), old J.Crew cardigan, Calvin Klein heels (similar)

I spent a fair amount of time at the mall this weekend, helping a self-proclaimed "style-challenged" friend build up her wardrobe. I couldn't help but try stuff on as well, and hope to share some more fitting room pics soon. One item I walked out with were these Crewcuts corduroy pants in "crimson maple," on final sale for $13.99.

After I posted these on FB and Instagram, shrewd readers noted a number of fit concerns like bunchiness, too-long length, pulling by the crotch, and low back pockets. My own standards for pants like these must be relatively low, because I actually think the fit is pretty good on me. I may also be jaded by the fit of other colored pants I've tried on to date, including some unspeakably bad Old Navy colored jeggings recently (did they change the quality/fit this year?), and these Gap burgundy corduroys which fit very similarly. My biggest concern was that I was buying them just because it was a good deal for a decent item.

Michael Kors watch (similar, also 38mm), Prada Saffiano tote ("caramel" back in stock)
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In the end, I bought them because the boyfriend said they looked good, but I certainly could've done without. This leads me to a few style goals for the year...

1. Do not buy items because they're a good deal. This one is so obvious, but it's also hard to stick to (case in point - already broken). The thrill of a deal makes it easy to justify random items that we never really wanted before.

This also applies to items that aren't "on sale." For example, after I started having luck at thrift stores, I ended up buying more than I could wear (or alter at one time) because everything was just a few bucks. Even though the total money wasted was negligible, it's the acts of adding clutter and unnecessary consumerism that I hope to further cut down on this year.
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2. Develop a wardrobe budget for the year, and be okay with spending more on items that are thoroughly researched and within budget. 
This and #1 go hand-in-hand, because less frivolous purchases mean more space and funds for items I really want - even if they may be much pricier. I've never liked budgeting, but have been approaching this concept loosely by developing an annual wardrobe spending target (and tracking purchases monthly). Last year, I allocated it as an approximate percentage of income, after considering short and long-term financial goals plus spending desires in other categories. As these factors constantly change, I plan on sitting down to evaluate this year with fresh eyes.
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3. Expand more outside my comfort zone, while keeping true to my personal style. If I stuck purely to what I'm most comfortable with, this blog would probably be a catalog of tweed pencil skirts and AT perfect pumps. As silly as it may sound, encouragement from readers to be less predictable inspires me to try different styles and silhouettes. I have several on my list to experiment with (i.e. non-skinny cut jeans), and hope to learn how to make them work for my own body type.

4. Continue curating my wardrobe, with an effort to make it more interesting. Over the past few years, I've added a number of good, versatile basics to my closet. I've also noticed large concentrations of H&M, Ann Taylor, and J.Crew in my closet. These brands cater to petite women and offer fair price points, thus I'll probably always shop them. However, as my wardrobe voids are diminishing, I hope to add new brands and designers for some diversity in my collection. I also hope to add pieces that may be less versatile / get less wear, but bring something special to outfits.

5. Fix or get rid of existing items that aren't great. This goal is inspired by a reader, Janki, who wrote that she resolves to fix ill-fitting garments in her closet before buying new ones. I've taken several alteration "shortcuts" throughout the years, to achieve a passable fit for the time being. I hope to revisit those items and either spend the money on professional alterations, or the time on learning how to DIY them properly.
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Briefly turning back to these cords - after bringing them home and taking a 360 degree look, my biggest fit issue is the knee bunching. I'm not sure what causes them, but just noticed the same issue on the Gap petite cords. Measurements of a girls sz 12 are: 13.75" across the waist, 16" across the hips, 8" rise, 28" inseam (which I hemmed to 26.6"), 5.5" wide leg opening (which I tapered to 4.5" across). Material is a semi-stretchy 98% cotton, 2% spandex.

Readers - What are your style goals / resolutions for this year? I'd love to hear them!

88 comments:

  1. Definitely guilty of #1. :/

    "adding clutter and unnecessary consumerism that I hope to further cut down on this year." - you said exactly what I have been feeling lately.

    As for the pants...isn't knee bunching of cords common? It just looks normal to me. Your preppy look is cute!

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  3. I would guess that it's the stretch factor in the cords that causes them to bunch at the knees. Having said that, I don't think it looks bad. They're casual pants (and they look adorable on you) and a little bunching does not detract from the look.

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  4. I think you have some great goals, Jean. I'm on board with #1, too. I agree it's especially hard when thrift/consignment shopping. I want to save up for a Chanel WOC (pre-owned), so I want to spend less, too!

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  5. I'm 5 feet tall like you, Jean, and ALL of my jeans bunch at the knees. I have no idea why, but I feel that it's a distraction when I want to wear something that makes me look slightly above casual.

    I wonder if it's because of my height or because of the fact that I buy my jeans for cheap at Forever 21. Perhaps it's because of the material, as well.

    Anyway, my main style resolution this year is to build a wardrobe that looks more grown up, polished, and professional. I want my wardrobe to be more cohesive and less like a hodgepodge of items that I bought without thinking about how it would blend with my wardrobe.

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    1. I have the same problem as you. I am 4'11" and my jeans bunch up at the knees as well. I buy jeans at A & F and Abercrombie. Do you think we need to buy the real expensive ones to avoid this problem???

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    2. I think the knee punching is caused by the stretch of the material. I am 5'2" and this happens to all of my non 100% cotton jeans.

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  6. Your outfit - grabs at my preppy heart. I especially like the shirt.

    Old Navy jeggings: the corduroys haven't been too horrible, but I triedin 4 prs of the same size to get the correct fit. Also, the reg colored jeggings have all been horrible for me...not enough stretch?

    and Amen to your style resolutions. As a style blog reader, I've noticed blogs that seem to focus on mindless consumerism on a daily basis, and they seem to consider this the benchmark of style. I've always thought of those who can create fresh looks with existing items as the real life style icons. I am working on my frequent impulse buying by listing items on my phone, and making myself think about it for a few days (or weeks) before ordering. I eventually realize that I don't need another striped blouse when I already have others...plaids are an exception since I've worn them for years! :) if something sells out? I've learned that life goes on, and if you love something, you'll use them, enjoy them, and not let them sit sadly on a hanger.

    I look forward to your posts this year, and I admire your trueness to your own aesthetic without always showcasing the same look in different colors. Sorry for the dissertation!

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    1. And my style goals? To evolve my casual style, create more occasions to dress up, and sadly, to iron more frequently!

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  7. Maybe it's because I am a lazy dresser but I have been steering towards the t-shirts/leggings/flats combination very often as of recently. This made me realize that when it comes to dressing or picking out what to wear in the mornings, I've always had an "easy on, easy off" approach. Lol, I know that may sound a bit naughty but what I'm really striving for is comfort and effortless chic. With that said, I think my style goal for this year is to only shop for good-quality basics--oversized sweaters/cardigans, simple silhouettes, etc.

    On another note, a belated wish for a wonderful new year! :D

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  8. New year resolution: stop spending money on unnecessary stuff! Or cut back at least. Also need to declutter stuff in my room. I have way too much junk.

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  9. My new year resolution: build up good quality basics in my wardrobe, and cut back on frivolous or "unique" items that are hard to match with what's already in my wardrobe! i'm also guilty of the "buy if it's a good deal" syndrome, so i know how you feel!
    In other news - you (and wendyslookbook) have inspired me to start a blog of my own in 2013! :)

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  10. ok...i'm not sure what other people are seeing that i'm not...these pants look FANTASTIC on you!!!! and with that price tag...TWO THUMBS UP. =) i agree on the old navy colored jeggings...the rock stars do NOT fit me well at all. but i am a big fan of other ON pieces. really liking your style goals...i need to work on a few myself.

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

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  11. I love this preppy outfit on you. One of my new year's resolutions is to wear more of my existing clothes and shop less!

    www.petitestyleonline.com

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    1. My resolution is the same as yours! Though I am not sure how I am going to keep it as I love to shop for new items!

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  12. I love you new years resolutions... it has definitely got me thinking about my spending patterns...as for a resolution I will have to get back to you on that one lol

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  13. Love the college style on you and how you added a special twist by wearing it with leopard heels!
    Great resolutions, my only resolutions this year is to wear less black, but I have already broken that one, as all black outfits are just so easy to style!

    x
    Sabrina

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  14. The bunching happens because of poor fabric construction, and too tight tailoring. It's not a particulary suitable fabric for a tailored seamless drape and fit.

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  15. I looved the top with the crested pocket, I can always count on your blog to show us pieces with unique touches to clothing.

    I thought knee bunching was a common thing :s guess not, I'm getting a bunch of pants tailor made, what could I tell them to avoid the bunching issue?

    Thanks!

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  16. I love this look, my style goal for this year is quality over quantity ie focus moremon getting great key pieces.



    Xo
    Http://pinksole.com

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  17. Great goals Jean!

    I'd have to say my goals for this year style and shopping-wise are: Buy less, buy only what I love and cannot make myself.

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  18. Thanks for great style insights! Love your blog. Can you do an update on budgeting for clothes? I am always interested to find out how much others spend on apparel, shoes, etc per year. And what is considered "average"

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  19. i don't see why the bunching is bad...
    it's just a little bit, and i think it looks nice.
    it seems popular here in japan!

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  20. You look fantastic as always! I must say that I really admire the stance you are taking against consumerism. We all know you are successful, but you are taking the time to focus on fit and quality instead of buying tons of stuff. I get disgusted when I see other bloggers binge at AT or H&M nd get 5 pairs of shoes or multiple jeans. Some even don't get a chance to wear them, "discovering" them later in their closet.
    I had to stay clear of the mall and all the NY sales, trying to keep to my resolution. I have started the alteration process. So far, I realized that if it "smiles" (seams puckering at the bust and hips), it goes to the giveaway pile. You inspired me to learn to sew a few months ago, and I'm taking classes on proper hemming and fashion fix ups.
    Can I say what a thrill it was to see me mentioned in your blog?!
    I can't tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I finally feel like I'm looking polished!

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  21. The color of the chords are so pretty I didn't even notice the bunching and stuff at first. I ordered these same pants in size 14 since December when it was on back order. Still haven't heard anything from jcrew on it yet. Now I'm excited to see how they turn out! Since I think they still look good on you and I've been searching for burgundy skinnies forever it seems :)

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  22. Can you blog about staying skinny while being a short person?

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    1. Hi there - I feel strongly that each person has her own naturally healthy weight, based on a variety of factors like bone structure, body type, etc. I can only encourage the simple steps of eating nutritious meals at regular intervals (I eat smaller-portioned but frequent meals spread throughout the day), and incorporate exercise into your weekly schedule.

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  23. Maybe I have low standards too, but I think the pants look great on you. Sometimes pants bunch at the knees...you know how to avoid that? Having knee-less Barbie legs. But that's just not practical :)

    I think your style resolutions are awesome! Mine is to think about what kinds of things I will wear in the future as opposed to just in the next year.

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  24. I am guilty of the buying because it's a good deal thing...I've been a lot better about it in the second half of last year but think there's room for improvement.

    Your style goals for this year are very do-able, I know you'll fulfill every single one with flying colors! :)

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  25. Love the resolutions, especially the first. One of the best things to come out of the wedding process last year was that I finally found a seamstress that I trust and I use her as a resource to alter my clothes.

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  26. Love this post! So many good points. The one that stuck out to me most is not buying things just because it's a good deal. I get way too caught up in clearance items that at times I buy things that I really don't like after a few months (usually these are end-of-the-season purchases). So thanks again for that crucial reminder. Sometimes it's better to pay more for things that you will love forever than less for things you may wear once.

    FashionEdible
    http://fashionedible.blogspot.com

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  27. I love these goals. I'm almost half way through a year of no new clothes, but I'm already thinking about how I'll be able to moderate and choose wisely once I'm allowed to start spending again in September. I think these are all good guidelines!

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  28. I love, love, love your watch! Can you tell me the productnumber? Because the one you´ve linked isn´t the same one, isn´t it?

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    1. THanks! I think it is MK5138 - an older version from a year or two ago.

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  29. Hi Jean,

    Great post - so many good points! I'm definitely guilty of #1. My goal this year is to expand outside of my comfort zone (e.g. wearing different colors/textures, not just sticking with black).

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  30. I appreciate that you are making a goal to not buy, just because it's a great deal. And also the point about consumerism, even if the item is thrifted and only a few dollars. I hope readers and other bloggers have the same goal. I hope that you are able to reach all of your goals and I'm excited to see what new style ventures you have in 2013! I wonder especially about the point you made about buying more interesting items that may not get as much wear. Seems contradictory to your overall philosophy of versatility. Anyways, interested nonetheless!

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    1. Good point, Lisa (& thanks for always sharing your thoughts over the years!). I'm not the best at wording what's in my head, but I made that point thinking of statement pieces or items that add something special to a wardrobe yet don't get regular wear - such as a Zara sequin dress.

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  31. Great goals. I do the same thing with buying more items than I need because they are so cheap, ebay is my worst problem, I always say anything that doesnt fit I will relist but I never do, it gets thrown in a drawer for a 'maybe' outfit which never happens.
    My new years resolution for clothes this year is to buy more basics, I own so many interesting peices that I have nothing to wear them with as everything is interesting, if that makes sense. I dont actually own any plain tshirts or even a button up shirt...

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  32. I have the same problem with a lot of my straight leg jeans where they are bunchy around the knee. It drives me absolutely nuts but I don't find many pairs (except jeggings, which aren't an everyday solution) that don't suffer from this. I've always sort of thought it was because the pants are tailored to be still at your thighs at that point, whereas my short self doesn't have that long thighs. I'd love to hear the real answer.

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  33. Just out of curiosity: how are you able to walk on ice with those heels on? Also did you not wear a jacket / coat with the outfit? I would be freezing...

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    1. Haha - The ice had melted everywhere but that driveway, so I went no further. And a temporarily-removed coat was waiting a few feet away : )

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  34. The only style resolution for me this year would be to majorly curb the shopping and make better use of my existing wardrobe, as 2013 will hopefully be the year of buying a house and more international travel.

    I would love to see you branch out into more styles and brands! (While still keeping your resolutions, of course.) I think you always look so put together and classy, but this Southern Californian reader would find it interesting to see you put your Boston/East Coast spin on different looks.

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    1. PS - I get bunching at the knees no matter what kind of jeans I wear, both basic brands and premium brands. I'm envious of women who can find perfectly fitting skinny jeans!

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  35. You have such great goals Jean! I always attempt to follow your #1 and #2 when I am shopping. As for knee bunching, I find that more stretchy pants, such as jeggings or jeans have less knee bunching especially if they are a slimmer fit. Due to the smaller fit, and the stretch fabric it will prevent it from bunching. A lot of my 99% or 100% cotton pants have knee bunching after a fear days of wear. They generally look best right after the wash until they are stretched out.

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  36. First, I love the cords. They look great on you. Not sure why the knee bunching is such an issue. I remember when stirrup pants were in fashion. The stirrup prevented knee bunching, but the look of a pulled leg was not attractive. I much prefer the bunching.

    Second, I resolve every year to stop spending so much on clothes that I do not need. My size and style has not changed much in 20 years, so I have a lot of clothing. Unfortunately, I have never been very successful in keeping this resolve. In addition to buying 'great deal' items, I also buy things I may not need because the fit is 'perfect.' I get deliriously happy anytime I find something that does not need alteration because I'm such a hard fit.

    As much as I love fashion blogs (yours especially) and shopping websites, I realize that constantly looking at clothes makes it hard to keep my resolve. In fact, I just let my Lucky subscription expire (after 10+ years) because I need to lessen the temptation. This past year was particularly bad. I could barely wear anything twice because I always had something new that needed to be worn.

    I'm not giving up though. This year may be the year I am successful. I will, of course, continue visiting your blog for encouragement and inspiration.

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  37. hello! I love reading your blog and all your tips are so helpful since I am about the same size. I'm going to try to follow your same style resolutions this year, sometimes it's so hard to be stylish but also save money at the same time! good luck to you this year and I look forward to every blog post! =)

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  38. I hardly ever comment on blogs but I think this is one of my favorite outfit posts you've ever had. I'm obsessed with the style of this outfit and you've definitely inspired me to step outside my comfort zone with my clothing!

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  39. I think the fit on those is actually quite good. I think that the fabric/ style just tends to do that. A few days back I did a similar analysis with some style goals and such. Way too much time was spent on that post, but it's here if you're interested :)

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  40. I love how put-together and effortless your outfit is. Over the years, I certainly have become more selective with my purchases. Although, being a budget shopper, it’s hard to say no to sales sometimes. One of my goals this year is to focus on quality rather than quantity. You inspired me to pull out those Gap corduroy leggings again. The last time I wore them was a year ago =)

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  41. Cute! I love the cords! Thanks for the tips!

    Check out our weekend wrap-up today on The Glitter Life! http://the-glitter-life.com/2013/01/07/weekend-wrap-up-5/

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  42. On my list:
    Invest more on home decor & beauty treatments (and make up).
    Add more color to my wardrobe.
    Keep the shopping rules: do not buy if it looks cheap, you're not sure or if it looks like something you already have.

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  43. I have Loft skinny cords and love them--but the knee bunching is an issue on them, as well! Weird. Love the burgundy color!

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  44. Count me in as someone with the same style resolution as you have for #1! I tried your idea of using an Excel Doc for tracking purchases and it really helped me last year, I made my own tweaks to the system and will be doing it for this year too. You look great Jean :)

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  45. Such a lovely and classic outfit. Love the oxford inspired top.

    Your blog is truly inspiring, great ideas for planning a budget for a year.


    xx,

    www.loveandcompanyblog.ca

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  46. I love that the cords aren't a bright red. It looks really good with your outfit. : ) Great resolutions! I can agree with many of them and hope to stick to them as much as possible.

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  47. Lovely school girl look. Great New Year's fashion resolutions! My goal is to buy more key pieces that are versatile to be worn for work or play.

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  48. I agree with these goals and will try to practice this year, along with my usual "one-in-one-out" rule (buy something new, get rid of something old). I need to also get into the habit of change - one of my plans for this is to add more prints and textures this year.

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  49. Hi Jean, new reader here! I was first drawn to your site during my research for a Goyard tote (of all things) but stayed for your realistic tips and adorable lookbooks. I am not as petite as you are (I'm 5'4) but I am still a very small framed Asian woman that struggles to find a perfect fit even in 0s and the like. I've long accepted the randomly huge fits at JCrew and other store,s but your blog has inspired me to search and work for the fit I dream of! P.S. I've ordered my belt-hole puncher and I'm so excited to use it!

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  50. Hi Jean, I am not sure if you have the same problem as me but my jeans/pants also bunch and I'm 5'2.5. I think it's because I'm bow legged. i.e. when I stand with my feet together, there is a small gap between my legs and as a result, my pants do not "flow".

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  51. Those are some good goals! I haven't bought anything for awhile so I am pretty proud of myself. I have a similar corduroy pants in burgundy from Hue a few years ago. It was perfect but they make them too long now.

    Angela W.
    http://weekdays2weekendsinstyle.blogspot.com

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  52. In love with your blouse and cords! Definitely need to try stuff in the crewcuts section! lol
    Totally agree with your goal #1. I need stop myself from buying things just because they are on major sale! It just leads to me buying things I only wear once! lol

    xx
    Giovanna
    www.HeyLoveBlog.com

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  53. It's so hard passing up good deals just because they're good deals. I have to work on this one too! Having an H&M on my daily dog walk makes it difficult. One goal I'm going to try is for every new item I get this year, I must donate an old item. I really need to keep my closet neater! Happy New Year and can't wait to see what 2013 holds. xo

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  54. love your very sweet, preppy look - the burgundy pants made the outfit <3
    would you like to follow each other?
    A
    xx
    http://epiquemoi.blogspot.com

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  55. #4 was the one I was nodding my head at the most - I'm reaching that point too where I have a good foundation of basics, and I'm able to look at my closet and truthfully say I love each garment in there and frequently wear each piece in multiple ways. It's time to start looking for a few statement/special pieces (which is exciting!). I have you to thank for even getting me this far, as I was clueless when it came to even knowing what ARE the basics, what to look for with fit...I've become a much more discerning shopper! I've learned that bargains are not always the best way to shop - that investing in well-fitting, versatile basics (that you love) is not only ok to spend a little more on, but forces you to really question getting bargain clothes "just because". (I tend to hold up a $5 shirt and ask myself if I'd still want it at $20, hehe)
    So, THANK YOU!!! :)
    p.s. - I love the color of those pants - they look great!

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  56. Those pants are not too long. Pants should hit the top of your foot unless you want cropped or capri.

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  57. I really like your resolutions here! I have to train myself to get out of the Forever21 habit and instead really think about what I want to invest in and look for more grown up pieces that will last. I also like what you said about expanding from your style comfort zone—mine would be jeans and sweaters :).

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  58. love those pants on you -- they are a great color! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  59. My plan is to continue forming my school-and-work-friendly closet :-)

    I'd like to ask you if you could write an article about casual party outfits (pubs, etc.)

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to your posts :-)

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  60. i love how professional your blog and your outfit posts look

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  61. These are really good goals, and a good reminder for all of us to buy more thoughtfully. :)

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  62. I think those pants are a great buy... Burgundy is so hot now!

    happymedley.blogspot.com

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  63. If anyone finds a reason/solution for the bunched knees problem, I'd love to know! I seem to have this problem with all of my jeans, although it may just be because I don't know the proper fit.
    My resolutions are very similar to your number one, specifically because I almost always buy only sale/ clearance items. (eep). I also want to cut down on new purchases and wear the clothes I have more often. I've noticed I'm tempted to spend less now that I've cut back on my email subscriptions (getting frequent emails about sales are lovely but quite detrimental to the wallet). And it sounds funny, but your blog is no longer book marked on my dashboard because seeing your polished outfits make me want to wear grown-up clothes like you :P (which I don't need just yet being a broke college student) Now I mainly peruse blogs for tips on how to put together an outfit and what the right fit looks like

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  64. I agree with others re: bunching that it's the fabric type, and that if you wanted less, you would need to find something a lot stretchier, otherwise if you did not, then if it did not have the extra fabric bunching, then bending your knees would hurt a lot more unless it was a looser more straight leg or trouser cut. Personally I think bunching is fine as long as the other parts look like they fit.

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  65. I've been eyeing your JACHS for ages and just caved and bought their last blue XS!

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  66. Your new years resolution to love and ... Certainly was the day I got thinking about my spending patterns ... Will need to contact him again, as you need to solve for one

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  67. Some time ago I started to wash my jeans and corduroy in cold water and without softener. Knee bunching stopped. Obviously if the trousers have stains on them they should be washed in warm water but if you just want to refresh them I would recommend cold water programme.

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  68. love your outfit! very inspirational
    Check my latest outfits worn in Vegas :)

    chicfabcorner.blogspot.com

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  69. Looking great!

    Check out what I got for Xmas: www.gemmamonclus.blogspot.com

    Love,Gemma

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  70. i d k why ppl are so fixated on knee bunching. I dont have a problem w/them. unless the bunching creates a flap over the knee, i think it's just smthg in daily life you're going to experience that wasn't photoshopped to look sleek.

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  71. resolution #1 resonated the most with me (they all did though) - i've tried to make sure in 2012 that i didn't suffer the "sales goggles" syndrome but it does happen especially when things get marked down so low you can't resist it.

    this year in particular, i do resolve to try things outside my comfort zone and to make sure i stay true to my personal style. i look forward to seeing what you do in 2013. i'm so happy to have discovered your blog, impeccable style and words of wisdom!

    you look fantastic, as always. the knees thing i think is a function of the stretch in the material. i didn't notice anything when looking at your pictures though!

    xox P

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  72. I actually thought your pants look fine. I think it's a wonderful idea to venture out of your usual uniform. I'm terrible. I stick to my jacket-top-jeans uniform and have done so since I was 18.

    I'm so paranoid about clutter. We've got a small flat and I live with two massive hoarders (the husband and the child) so if I don't purge every other month , the place would've been a wreck.

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  73. Your outfit and handbag is GORGEOUS! I really enjoy reading through your blog (especially looking at the photos!) Keep up the great work!

    XOXO
    Queen Bee of Beverly Hills, CEO

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  75. I like the color and texture of the pants. I am currently looking for something like that.

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  76. I'd kill for those cords! They look absolutely stunning on you!!

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  77. Those are really great style resolutions Jean. I hope to do some of the same, specifically with thrift shopping. It's hard to pass up the good deals, and my closet is overrun with beautiful items waiting to be altered, etc. taking up space.

    AND I LOVE your outfit even if you already broke resolution #1!

    xo, sam
    **Style of Sam**

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  78. I think these look great on you!

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