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. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 3.8.13 Reply
  2. Anj wrote:

    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???

    Posted 1.23.13 Reply
  3. Elle wrote:

    I think these look great on you!

    Posted 1.13.13 Reply
  4. Samantha wrote:

    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**

    Posted 1.12.13 Reply
  5. Adi wrote:

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

    Posted 1.12.13 Reply
  6. I like the color and texture of the pants. I am currently looking for something like that.

    Posted 1.11.13 Reply
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 1.11.13 Reply
  8. Your outfit and handbag is GORGEOUS! I really enjoy reading through your blog (especially looking at the photos!) Keep up the great work!

    Queen Bee of Beverly Hills, CEO

    Posted 1.11.13 Reply
  9. 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.

    Posted 1.10.13 Reply
  10. 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

    Posted 1.10.13 Reply
  11. 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.

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  12. GEMMA wrote:

    Looking great!

    Check out what I got for Xmas:


    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  13. love your outfit! very inspirational
    Check my latest outfits worn in Vegas 🙂

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  14. Anna wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  15. 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

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  16. I've been eyeing your JACHS for ages and just caved and bought their last blue XS!

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  17. Thanks for sharing – what a great read!

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  18. 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 : )

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  19. 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.

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  20. THanks! I think it is MK5138 – an older version from a year or two ago.

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  21. 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.

    Posted 1.9.13 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  23. ohbeep wrote:

    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 😛 (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

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  24. I think those pants are a great buy… Burgundy is so hot now!

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  25. kimmie wrote:

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

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  26. Eva Wu wrote:

    i love how professional your blog and your outfit posts look

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  27. 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 🙂

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  28. love those pants on you — they are a great color! xo

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  29. Erin wrote:

    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 :).

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  30. Carla Krae wrote:

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

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  31. Draven wrote:

    #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!

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  32. Anthea Lau wrote:

    love your very sweet, preppy look – the burgundy pants made the outfit <3
    would you like to follow each other?

    Posted 1.8.13 Reply
  33. Sydne wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  34. Giovanna wrote:

    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


    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  35. Angela W. wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  36. Anonymous wrote:

    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".

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  37. Jina wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply
  38. Jackie wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.7.13 Reply

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