Thanks to everyone who purchased through my referral code on my Outdoor Voices review I got a bunch of $20 off promo codes. Since I’m on my one-purchase-only-a-month resolution (and who are we kidding, I’m not currently working out), I don’t need any of these codes. So if you’re interested in $20 off your next Outdoor Voices purchase, just enter the form below and I can email you a code. Giveaway will be open for a week and winners will be randomly selected (but who knows, if not that many people enter, you might all get one).
Jan 2nd I ended up back at the hospital due to another major bleed (the biggest one yet) which had me stay in the hospital for observation for 4 days (double my stay of last time). At the time I was quite bummed out, but instead of trying to just get through it, I decided to re-frame my thinking and make each present moment my friend (thanks to reading Eckhart Tolle’s New Earth at the time). And so I decided to think of it as a relaxing reading vacation with as much bed lounging as I wanted and some really good room service (the nicest nurses ever), though the food left much to be desired. And in the end I feel extremely grateful because 1) baby is fine and 2) this incident happened after our platinum health insurance kicked in. So yes, for the first week of working towards FIRE we probably spent about $3500 for our out of pocket max for the hospital bill, but at least it’s not the $7000 of last year’s bronze plan (ouch!). And in other news on the FIRE front, at least we minimized our eating out (yay for free hospital food), I didn’t shop (though I did spend time browsing what to add to my January list from the hospital bed), and we’re finally seeing the whole picture of our expenses through Mint.
This week we’re focusing on moving to Walnut Creek (that’s about 1 hour from our current home) and I’m busy packing (though I’m also trying to take it easy). It’s been an uber stressful time for us so please wish us luck that everything goes according to plan and we are able to make the move without a hitch.
And here’s another quote from New Earth to keep my (and maybe your) no-shopping resolve strong (and to hopefully lessen my time thinking about material stuff):
“One of the unconscious assumptions is that by identifying with an object through the fiction of ownership, the apparent solidity and permanency of that material object will endow your sense of self with greater solidity and permanency…The ego tends to equate having with Being. I have, therefore I am. And the more I have, the more I am. The ego lives through comparison. How you are seen by others turns into how you see yourself…You need others to give you a sense of self, and if you live in a culture that to a large extent equates self-worth with how much and what you have, if you cannot look through this collective delusion, you will be condemned to chasing after things for the rest of your life in the vain hope of finding your worth and completion of your sense of self there."
This is my third review of Storq, the first two being a review of their Easy Pants (here) and their leggings (here). If you haven’t heard of Storq, you can read more about them here. But I like to think of them as the Everlane for basic maternity wear. They make quality clothing responsibly in factories in Los Angeles and China. Since they are direct to consumer, they’re able to keep their prices somewhat reasonable (especially if you compare them to maternity lines like Hatch!).
Technically I could have included the leggings in this review since it is part of their Basics Bundle but decided to separate it out since I plan to talk a lot about various maternity leggings and wanted to reference it specifically (I’m getting ready for a Comparison Review of Storq vs. PACT vs. Target vs. Hatch so stay tuned if you’re interested!). Anyway the other 3 pieces in Storq’s basics bundle are their T-shirt dress, white tank and pencil skirt. All of these pieces can be purchased separately but when bundled together you save about $14. So is it worth it?
Here’s what it boils down to, if you’re 5’6” and taller, I think this might be worth it for you. But for us petite gals, since this does not come in petite sizing you’re going to have to compromise on fit. Similar to what I said in my Storq leggings review, the quality is great but you have to make the fit work (so for the leggings I would bunch it up near the top of the thighs so it wouldn’t bunch up near the knees).
All items are made of 92% modal and 8% spandex which make them really soft and stretchy. They’re super comfortable and don’t feel synthetic-y even with all the stretchiness.
But if you don’t need or want any one of these three pieces, don’t get the whole bundle. Just get the pieces that you want. For me, some items were clearly a winner while the others did not work for me at all (and I ended up selling them off through eBay—which was pretty easy to do).
So let me start off with the pieces that I didn’t care for:
1) The white tank was just too sheer. You can see the bra outline and even your belly button. For me, I wear it as a layering piece under something else and would never wear it by itself. Also since it’s made for tall people, the torso is ultra long on me. I haven’t sold it yet but I’m considering it.
2) The T-shirt dress is also way too long for me. It becomes quite a midi dress on my frame and doesn’t look great IMO. Also the modal/spandex material is quite thin and can easily show panty lines, which I’m also not a fan of. I ended up selling this off on eBay pretty immediately.
Now onto the clear winner of the set for me: the pencil skirt. What makes this pencil skirt so great is that it is made with a double layer of the modal/spandex material so unlike the t-shirt dress there’s no VPL. Plus the extra layer helps hold in the belly better. I usually pull this skirt right up to the bra-line and it falls right at the knees. I also like the way the skirt tapers down a bit at the knees, which does make taking large steps difficult but gives the whole thing a nice silhouette (especially when wearing a bigger or boxier top). Also it’s basically seamless so there’s no rubbing point and I love that.
So for me, the Basics Bundle was not worth it. Also the fact that it comes in a plastic pouch is a turn off because really I don’t need another plastic pouch in my life (though I understand it’s reusable). I ended up giving it to the buyer of the t-shirt dress. But for me personally it was worth trying out this bundle since I’m able to write this review here lol. Also I love the pencil skirt and still use the leggings (for now, until I find one that works better for me). But for everyone else, I think it’s worth it to just pick and choose what you want and skip this bundle that really only saves you $14 (and who knows if you’ll use or like all the pieces).
My first encounter with Alpaca was Everlane’s alpaca wool blend sweater (which I reviewed here). But because it had such a high nylon content I, one, sent it back and, two, really wanted to try a sweater that was 100% alpaca (no plastic please!). In the Everlane review I went over why alpaca fibers are better than cashmere and why it’s now the luxury fiber for sweaters (cashmere is no longer a luxury because even fast fashion brands like Uniqlo churn out cheap cashmere (including Everlane’s $100 cashmere I’m sorry to say)—which is also harming the environment with its mass production). And well 100% alpaca sweaters have the “luxury” price tag to match (like this one, this one and this one). Trying to find a sub-$300 100% Alpaca sweater is pretty much impossible. So I decided to stalk my favorite clothing consignment site, TheRealReal and found one from Lauren Manoogian (that link is for the one I actually tried on in this review and there are similar ones here and here). I’ve reviewed one of her items before, where I talk about the ethics and values of sustainability behind her company (she’s not quite slow fashion, but almost). Her limited number of items each season aren’t cheap but they’re made to last. But the best way to afford her pieces is by buying them used!
I was lucky enough to snag this 100% Alpaca sweater for about $128 (incl shipping) but had to compromise on the size (it’s a large). But I figured with my big ‘ole prego belly, the large would probably be a good fit. So what did I think of the sweater? Alpaca really is an amazing fiber! The 100% alpaca knit was super warm (even with the shortened sleeves) and the sweater was super thick, but still lightweight considering how thick the knit felt. There was zero itch and if you’re sensitive to wool, this is probably the best alternative since it’s still ultra warm. It’s not as smooth and soft as cashmere, but much thicker and better than regular wool. I can’t speak to how it wears and whether it pills or not since I ended up not keeping it (but alpaca is supposed to pill much less than wool and cashmere). But considering this is a used sweater, there was no pilling at all (but of course I don’t know how many times it was actually worn by the previous owner). It was around mid-50’s when I was wearing this sweater and even with the shorter sleeves, I was feeling almost overheated in it.
So why didn’t I keep it? I just didn’t think the shape and length flattered my body. The large overwhelmed by petite frame (I’m 5’4”) and I think it made me look shorter than usual. Of course it did accomodate my prego belly but I couldn’t really see myself wearing a sweater this long post partum, so I sent it back (and thus it’s available again on The RealReal site). I think if you’re taller than me (around 5’6” and above) then this sweater might be a better fit.
But my appetite to find a used 100% alpaca sweater is even stronger than ever. I’m on the hunt y’all! Anyone else try 100% alpaca and what did you think?
Last week Friday I did a year in recap of what items in my whole closet that I wore the most and this week I wanted to see which Everlane items in my closet had the lowest cost per wear. I think it’s a good indication of what pieces from Everlane (my favorite brand) were really worth it. I did one last year for 2017 and you can see how much or how little that list has changed for this year (last year was just a guess since I didn’t have the Stylebook App yet). And this year I have the actual cost per wear!
1) Everlane Street Sandal (no longer sold): Reviewed here. This is my second pair of these shoes that I started wearing this year (you should have seen how beat up my first pair got! Those were included in last year’s lowest cost per wear Everlane post). And already this second pair is the lowest cost per wear Everlane item and also the only one under $1. I plan to wear them for another season so get ready to see the cost per wear on these go down to pennies!
2) Everlane Day Market Tote: Reviewed here and a 100 wears later post here. I already talked about them in last week’s most worn post and this was my number 1 most worn/used item. Seriously this tote is worth it!
3) The Ribbed Wool Cashmere Sweater (no longer sold): Reviewed here. This also appeared in last year’s post and also in this year’s most worn items post. I guess you can say this is my all-time favorite sweater from Everlane so it’s a shame they decided not to re-release it this past year.
4) The (original) Anorak (no longer sold): Reviewed here. Also on last year’s lowest cost per wear post since this is my go-to rain coat for almost 3 years running. This anorak is best for wet Cali winters where it’s actually not that cold since it’s quite a bit thinner than their City Anorak that they released a year later (late 2016). I love this rain jacket because it’s so lightweight and easy to pack into your bag, but it does it’s job perfectly. I usually layer sweaters underneath to keep warm.
5) Easy Chino (c/o Everlane): Reviewed here. Ah, my most favorite pair of pants from Everlane so of course it’s in my lowest cost per wear post. I wore them consistently since I got them in June (as a gift from Everlane so technically cost is $0 but I like to calculate it out as if I did purchase it). After multiple washings and dryings in the dryer, the edges of the elastic waistband are getting a bit worn-looking so I’ve started air drying them instead of putting them in the dryer (gotta make them last as long as possible!). But they’re starting to look like a favorite vintage pair of pants and I can’t wait to bust them out again post pregnancy!
6 and 7) Everlane's cotton two-pocket shirt: Reviewed here. This is one of the items I liked so much that I bought two of them and I guess I like them pretty much equally since they’re right next to each other in cost per wear. These are the perfect shirts to just throw over your outfit in the summer when you want to cover your arms from the sun but they don’t cling to you or make you hot. I wore them a lot when I was out and about or when driving. Plus the large pockets are handy when needing to stash something right away. Though I won’t be working the Airstream biz this coming year I can see them transitioning to the perfect breastfeeding top (button down but also cropped and boxy).
8) The Modern Utility Jacket: Reviewed here. This was my most worn jacket of 2018 because of its versatility and layerability. Also loved all the large pockets. I look forward to getting the cost per wear down even lower in 2019 (I foresee all those pockets being really handy for kid stuff).
9) The Cotton Long Sleeve Crew: Reviewed here. I originally loved this sweater so much that after my first purchase in 2017 (the pink one), I waited until 2018 to buy this second striped one. Well as you can see in the post, they actually changed their second run production to be a much bigger and looser of a sweater and I loved it even more. So it’s no surprise to see it on my list here.
11) Waffle Knit Cashmere Crew (from 2017): Reviewed here. I loved this sweater in 2017 and I loved it in 2018 so it’s no wonder I was able to get the cost per wear down fairly low (considering it’s cashmere and a $155 sweater). I loved it so much that I bought their oatmeal colored version of this for 2018 (and have already worn it 16 times this winter season).
12) The Polka Dot Shirt Dress: Reviewed here. This was my first time trying the fabric cupro (made sustainably from cotton by-product), and I love it. I wore this dress from the end of summer into fall and with some layering, it was the perfect transition dress. The cupro breathes but also keeps you warm. And it feels like silk without the wrinkling and high maintenance upkeep. I stopped wearing it just because with the growing baby bump, the front became a bit too short for my liking. But I can’t wait to throw this on post pregnancy!
And there you have it folks, my current lowest cost per wear Everlane items. I plan to continue to track this year after year and I’ll be able to see which favorites I keep wearing (and thus really lowering the cost per wear). What were some of your lowest cost per wear items in 2018?