Category Archives: Lar’s Style

Goodwill Hunting Part 2

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Top: shirt from Goodwill (drawn on by moi), cropped shorts from UK charity shop, shoes Superga. Bottom: Club Monoco dress from Goodwill.

Since taking these photos last week, a strange thing has happened — a new season. Somehow the end of summer rolled into town. Why and how and why so fast?

I’m sure Cath is rolling her eyes at me in Hot-lanta where the temperatures still soar and the humidity smothers. But here in the temperamental PNW, we’ve had one or two 90 degree days nestled between chillier 60-70 degree weeks. I’m not complaining — nooooo. It’s far summerier than the summery of summers in Edinburgh, but it’s still ending too soon.

And for some reason, this change in season has me moving away from the above pictured minimalist style and into piling on rings and a sweater or two with a (gasp!) print or pattern.

Does that happen to you guys too? Change in season or time of life and your style asks for a shake-up without you realizing it?

It’s confusing because I thought in my 30s I would sort of start sticking to one style a bit more (Cath and I have talked about this repeatedly on the blog here and here). Maintaining one style is friendlier on your wallet and your closet (aka living with less). So I’m kind of baffled by this need to, stylistically-speaking, maximize my wardrobe — at the same time as limiting acquisitions.

But I’m going to go with it. I find any time I try to stick too closely to one school of thought — even when I can feel things shifting to explore new avenues — I end up frustrated and feeling stuck. So let’s embrace the confusion and the arm parties and contrasting patterns.

Happy almost-Fall!

Goodwill Hunting Part 1

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Tee thrifted from Revival, Pants from Goodwill, Dress from Goodwill, Red bandana from Ban.do

I’d say roughly a third of my closet is thrifted, the second third is at least five years old, and the last third is stuff bought within the last five years. That’s pretty good, right?

Ideally I would find everything I needed (and wanted — such a bad minimalist) at Goodwill or a charity or vintage shop. But certain things (undies, a fresh white T-shirt, socks) are better bought new.

I’m always on the hunt for good ethical sources for closet staples. If you guys have any suggestions please do send them our way.

Thrifting has become my default for “ethical” — I feel I’m at least not adding to the overabundance of STUFF by re-using. And I honestly think being conscientious about our buying habits is a first great step to living with less.

I currently live about a 7 minute walk to the nearest Goodwill where I found these pants-that-feel-like-pjs (#winning!) and this dress that, with a red bandana, makes me feel like Rosie the Riveter. I really can’t ask for more sartorial dreaminess for less than $30 combined.

To sum up: get thee to a Goodwill (or similar establishment of thrifty repute)!

In which I (inadvertently) wear two pairs of underwear

queenieOne of the wonderful results of living with less is that you know exactly what you own. For instance, I used to have a mess of a sock drawer, but I now know exactly what’s in there: orderly wool socks, posh socks, sporty socks — the whole Spice Girls gamut of sockdom.

I also know exactly where to find the stuff I need because I don’t have to keep track of so many things. Generally speaking, things don’t go missing because there’s a space for everything. Since my KonMari weekend a few years back, nothing gets relegated to a miscellaneous closet that never sees the light of day.

Well, that might not be exactly true. I don’t actually know everything I have. But I really thought I did — until last week.

You know what they say, pride goeth before the fall, etc.

I bought this new hoody back in early spring. It’s light-weight and super soft – perfect for a bit of light layering. I ended up wearing it all day last week because Seattle hadn’t quite warmed up to a proper summer just yet.

I went to meetings, I went out to lunch, I had multiple water-cooler chats with coworkers. It was an unusually long day, but my super-soft hoody made me feel comforted even after blinking at a screen for 9 hours.

And then I came home.

I dropped my bags on the floor and shook off my hoodie and on to the floor falls a pair of undies. Mine, thankfully. And clean ones! With no holes (thankyoubabyjesus)! But still!

I have a sneaking suspicion that they were sticking out of my hood all day after comingling with my hoodie in the laundry. I’m praying everyone just thought I had a purple-lined sweatshirt.

So here’s a fair warning to you all: check your hoods before leaving the house, kids! You thought the pant-leg undie-rider was bad, just think what would happen if you casually popped on your hood and a pair of frilly knickers slides over your forehead. (I bet Queenie, pictured at the top of the post there, checked her hood and scarf before venturing out for a bit of fox hunting or what have you — one can never be too careful).

So this really isn’t a helpful post on owning less, but this incident has really made me seriously reconsider the true genius of days-of-the-week underwear.

Oh and guess what, guys?! I actually have two outfit posts lined up for this week and next. So hold on to your hats, kiddos, AsianCajuns is back in business!

My ideal closet

One of the reasons Cath and I changed the focus of the blog was to figure out how to dress better. That might sound silly coming from 32-year-old women who’ve spent the better part of nearly three decades dressing themselves, but I think your style evolves all your life.

And I don’t mean how to dress “on-trend” or be “fashionable”, but how to find your own style. That takes time and dedication. It also takes years of giving yourself the freedom to wear whatever you want, like this (holy-moly).

I’m not saying there aren’t some days where I still want to Gaga-it-up, but in general, I love the idea of being comfortable enough in my own skin to wear what I want — not because it looks cool but because it feels like me.

So before I tackled my closet clear-out this past weekend (post to come) I sat down and had a think:
• What sorts of things do I feel the best in (I mentioned this in my Uniform post).
• What do I wear the most and why
• Does my current closet fit my lifestyle (for instance, I bought a pair of Adidas because I thought it would make me feel like a fashion editor if I wore them with a beanie and long, minimalist coat — turns out that “look” makes me feel like a bald hobbit — not the lifestyle or look I am for, though I robustly support elevensies).
• Who are my style icons and why (see photos above)

I then delved into Pinterest with a purpose (no aimless scrolling here, ahem) and made a collage of lovely ladies who fit what seems to be a style that I’ve slowly gravitated toward since the end of my 20s:
• 1960s lines
• Monochrome, clean cut outfits
• Black and bold colors (I look washed out in pastels)
• Very little pattern or accessories
• And a bit of eccentricity thrown in

And I don’t just like this look, it also fits with the way I get dressed. Most of my clothes are solid colors because I think my 5’2 stature can’t handle the busy-ness of a pattern.* I also forget to put accessories on anyhow — and when I do remember I spend all day fiddling with them and clanking my bangles awkwardly on my desk. My closet already has lots of mini-skirts (again, good on a petite frame) and clean silhouettes. I also own a basket that I sometimes use as a purse (thank you, Jane Birkin).

It doesn’t matter what age you are. Any time is a good time to really review your current style. In the past when I’ve looked for inspiration, I would go online and find beautiful images of very stylish women and try to emulate them in order to feel fashionable. But I never did. What works on very tall, skinny models with natural bedhead hair never works for me and will never work for me. But that doesn’t mean you have to eschew your inspiration board, just spend a little more time with your images and really delve into why you were attracted to them.

Find inspiration and then learn how to make that fit your lifestyle and yourself.* Your closet and style will always be evolving, but it will begin to be small shifts that always look like you and no one else (even if you are an identical twin).

*Speaking of which, Cath and I have been discussing this idea of “dressing for your body type.” And we’re not sure this should be rammed down our throats as much as it is. Stay tuned for future posts about “dressing for type.”

Slipper weather*

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Seattle is known for being rainy and grey, but last week we had beautiful weather. Crisp blue skies and just enough of a chill for a jacket and a warm mug of apple cider. But all the fall loveliness made me realise I was lacking two fall/winter essentials: a cozy robe and fluffy slippers.

I hopped onto Shopbop‘s site and immediately fell for this fleece robe (it has pom-poms!) and these warm faux shearling slippers. I spent all Saturday morning (and — ahem — afternoon) curled up on the couch wrapped in fuzziness. My hibernation skills are going to be on form this winter.

If the cooler weather has you dreaming of a new item or two for your closet, check out Shopbop’s Friends and Family sale. You get to take 25% off your order if you use the code INTHEFAM25. The sale runs from Midnight on Tuesday until Thursday at 11:59pm. Happy cozy-Fall shopping, everyone!

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*Disclaimer: this post promotes our sponsor Shopbop. By clicking on the ad on the right to make any purchases, Cath and I get a small fee — which will help us continue to grow AsianCajuns. Be ready for cha-cha-cha-changes in the near future!

Sister Time

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When Lar and I were little, our mom would dress us up the same. I mean, we were twin girls, what mom in her right mind wouldn’t? Lar and I never minded. Growing up as a twin and dressing like else was normal. We didn’t start dressing differently until we started picking out our own clothes at the mall – anyone remember Limited Too?!?!

Now that we’re full blown adults and are hardly ever together (sob!) we love wearing the same thing – or at least similar things – when we’re together. It just feels right! Of course we don’t look super twin-like now that Lar’s hair is legitimately curly and I can never come back from over plucking my eyebrows in the 90s – damn you, pink Tweezerman tweezers! But I still love looking similar – if not exactly alike.

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Where: The Devil’s Advocate
Wearing: Old Navy tops

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Where: The Hanging Bat
Wearing: H&M black cardigans, Truly Madly Deeply tanks from U.O.

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Where: Rose Leaf
Wearing: Not really wearing the same thing in this pic, but we are drinking the same thing – Coconut Crunch juice (so good!)

Lar is still holidaying in southern England (check out her IG pics here), but I’ll get to see her again in a month. She’ll be visiting Atlanta before moving onto Seattle in the fall. That means I get to see her twice in one season – that never happens!

Lar Hearts Scottish City Life

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By now Lar only has a few more weeks left in Scotland. As much as she hates the lack of sunlight in the winter, she’s going to miss her adopted home of four years so much. When I asked her what she was going to miss the most about living in Edinburgh, she said her friends and coworkers. She and Matt have created a lovely life in Edinburgh and surrounded themselves with amazing people. They’ve also totally become completely at home with the way of life there. Lar walks and takes the bus/train everywhere while Matt bikes to work every day. They live in the center of the city where they’re within a one minute walk of an amazing beer bar (Hanging Bat), corner shops, a coffee shop, pubs, an Indian restaurant, and a chip shop. And they’re totally smitten with how unpretentious and open folks are in general in Scotland.

I have no doubt Lar will create an equally fulfilled life in Seattle, but I imagine this last month won’t be easy. I know she and Matt will make a number of return trips to Scotland and hope they let me tag along when they do 😉

I took the photos in this post while I was visiting two weeks ago. I love how at-home she looks in these photos – but not as much as I love the fact that she’ll be moving back closer to me! (insert maniacal laughter here)

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An Outfit Post!

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Shirt H&M (old) | Leggings Marks & Spencer | Shoes Ferragamo

I don’t usually do outift posts anymore. Cath still inspires me with her style posts, but I honestly seem to wear about the same five basic outfits . mainly centred around stretchy trousers.

There are a few reasons for my sartorial shrinkage. Around the time I moved to Scotland four years ago, I really cut back on my shopping. Part of that was just down to having very limited funds after an overseas move (costly things, they are!). I had also started researching how horrendous working conditions are for many of the people who make our mass-produced clothes. I wanted to be more aware of all the stuff I had and think about where my clothes were coming from.

So with all of that, my outfits have become really boring the last few years. And I’m not saying that needs to happen if you start caring about the ethics and environmental effects of your shopping habits, but it did to me. I just really had a lot less interest in having lots of different looks and more interest in buying fewer, higher quality pieces (hence the spendy shoes above — the most expensive items in my closet by far).

I’d love to strike a better balance again where I could be a bit more creative with my style, but still keep my consumer habits humbled. I think these more frugal years in Scotland were an important stage in finding that style and learning about what I could do without very much. My secret hope too is that when we move to Seattle in September, I’ll be able to wear fewer layers year-round than I do here (my next post is all about how I’m still wearing a coat . in the summer — egads, someone pass the vitamin D bottle!).

How do you guys approach the complexities of personal style and consumption?

Sunbathing on a Scottish Beach

bathingroomsNorth-Berwick-ScotlandNorth-Berwickseaside-doorsLobsterruins savoury-muffin beach-chairs by-the-sea  beach-yogi

This past weekend Matt and I took a short train ride east to North Berwick, a lovely little Scottish seaside town. Edinburgh is right on the sea too, but we don’t have a beach and I miss the susurration of waves lapping the sand.

But you can’t be picky when you’re in Scotland. Going to the beach usually means being an intrepid toe-dipper or agreeing to sunbathe in layers — yes, even in spring (and summer!).

We had a beautiful sunny day, but it was wiiiindy! And I shed my winter coat momentarily to take some pics, but generally I was bundled up tight while my hair whipped around my head and I tried not to get it in my butter garlic lobster dipping sauce. A hard life, I know.

Ahhh to be by the sea!

 

Where are my stretchy pants?

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H&M jacket | (5 yo) Madewell jeans | Cos booties | Baggu leather tote

I’m in a transition phase at the moment. I love a good pair of jeans — nothing revolutionary there — but I’m a little jean-shy these days.

Ever since my first endo surgery almost two years ago, I’ve been a massive fan of leggings because. they are stretchy! Going through two invasive pelvic surgeries in the span of six months meant that anything with a non-spandexy waistband, got shoved to the back of my closet.

It’s now been almost a year and a half since I had my second surgery and I still wear jeans only on occasion. That photo above is from this past weekend. I’d like to say I was contemplating the qualities of suspended flight, but I was actually thinking “oy this waist band needs some elastic in it.” Seriously, I’d love to dress like a five year old all the time: flowy dresses or elastic-waisted trousers. Sounds amazing.

But I’m trying to wear jeans again just because I think part of my hang-up is mental. Leggings have kind of become a comfort blanket to me. And comfort blankets have a purpose, but it’s good to leave them at home once and a while.

Or maybe I’ll just become a yoga teacher and then I can wear my comfy trousers all day long!

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