Crimson Corduroy + Crested Oxford (& 2013 style goals)


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)

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.
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.
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.
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
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  1. Suzie Q wrote:

    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.

    Suzie Q

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  2. Jessy wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  3. Christie wrote:

    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.


    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  4. Katherine wrote:

    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 🙂

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  5. I have Loft skinny cords and love them–but the knee bunching is an issue on them, as well! Weird. Love the burgundy color!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  6. Ale wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  7. Cute! I love the cords! Thanks for the tips!

    Check out our weekend wrap-up today on The Glitter Life!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  8. 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 =)

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  9. 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 🙂

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  10. 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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  11. Sonya Kuo wrote:

    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! =)

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  13. 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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  14. 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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  15. 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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    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…

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  17. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  18. Emily wrote:

    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…

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  19. 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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  20. Candice wrote:

    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).

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    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?

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  22. 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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  23. 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.


    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  24. 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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  25. Elle wrote:

    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! 🙂

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  26. 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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  28. Olyvia wrote:

    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 🙂

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  29. Janki wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  31. bella wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  32. bella wrote:

    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"

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  33. mingming wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  34. Rachelle wrote:

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


    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  35. 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?


    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  36. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  37. Sabrina wrote:

    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!


    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  38. Debora wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  39. Carol Li wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  40. 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

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  41. 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! 🙂

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  42. LC wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  43. Lien wrote:

    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! 😀

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  44. And my style goals? To evolve my casual style, create more occasions to dress up, and sadly, to iron more frequently!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  45. 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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  46. Mel wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  47. Mary Ann wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  48. 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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
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    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  50. Michelle wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply

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