Monday, July 28, 2014

Anchorage Clothing Shopping Tips: What Do You Need?

I've been thinking about posts like this for a while but figured I should wait until I've spent at least a year here before I wrote it. I haven't shopped a lot this year but I've been keeping notes of what I need for life here and will be getting more in the next few months since my winter wardrobe is seriously lacking.

So, what I've learned:

1. Don't buy summer clothing. OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration but really, save your money for winter gear. A pair of shorts or skirt, a few cute summer blouses, a tank top if you're feeling sassy, and a dress. It can get to the 70s here but it's rare enough that it's not really worth a huge summer clothing investment, especially since there's a significant markup on everything in Alaska. One of my favorite "summer" outfits is a sweater and cutoffs with some sandals. I still get the summer feel without freezing.

2. If you hate the outdoors/camping, you probably won't like it here. Kind of kidding, kind of not. I love hiking and the freedom to do so here is probably the #1 reason why I love it so much. See a mountain? You can hike it. Saw a pretty meadow? Go check it out. There's not as much fences or private property here. People have learned to live with wildlife instead of calling 911 to report ducks or deer on the side of the freeway (I seriously took hundreds of those calls as a 911 dispatcher in Washington). As they say, "out of the car, into the food chain" so be prepared. Never go hiking without bear spray. Buy some cute trail runners for casual hikes, or just a great pair of sneakers for the hundreds of trails that go throughout the city (and borough). The REI in Anchorage obviously has cute clothes for hiking but I've ordered a bunch through H&M and have been really happy with them as well. Sweat-wicking material and being mosquito aware are important. Ticks, poisonous spiders, and snakes are pretty non-existent here which is nice!

3. Fall. You can wear your cold weather gear at least 9 months of the year here! If the thought depresses you, think of all the great autumn stuff you can wear comfortably before everyone else. You know the whole, "Yay! It's fall!" in blogland where people wear their new buys whether it's weather-appropriate or not? Suckers! Alaska is where it's at if you want to wear your favorite new sweater without wilting by noon. And your pumpkin spice latte will not leave beads of sweat on your forehead. Yay!

4. Winter. The biggie. Good snow boots. Long underwear. A snow skirt - sounds weird, but OH MY GOSH it makes such a huge difference - it's basically like extending your coat even further. Even men wear them sometimes and Shkoop is "the" brand although I've included some other alternatives below. Knit hats. Great gloves, and if you're an outdoor enthusiast (there's so much to do here in the winter too) some good mitts. A range of coats. Seriously. Anything from Really Effing Warm to light jacket. You'll use coats year round. A raincoat, too. Anchorage is surprisingly rainy. Sweaters (duh) and slippers because heating bills are INSANE. Not can be, are.

This is the first of a series I'm planning. I'd also like to do a post on the style here and also where to shop! I hope you like it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Instagram Tee Challenge

I've been fighting off a bout of depression and anxiety lately (which contradicts the "enjoying the heck out of summer" in my other post but both are true) and during the worst I just hated everything in my closet. I thought it might be fun to give myself a challenge: How many ways can I style this white graphic tee?

I'm only eight outfits in but I figured if I was going to post it on my blog I'd better not wait until it got too unwieldly. So here they are!

Worn in all outfits: Zoe Karssen tee

Outfit 1: thrifted necklace | floral skirt | UO flats
Outfit 2: Forever 21 jacket | James Jeans (similar) | Target heels
Outfit 3: Target sunglasses | Zara moccasins | Isabel Marant skirt
Outfit 4: Walmart hat | thrifted tote | Target skirt | Dolce Vita sandals

Outfit 5: Forever 21 jacket | Current Elliott jeans | thrifted clutch | American Eagle sandals
Outfit 6: vintage sunglasses | Forever 21 jeans | Zara boots
Outfit 7: vintage scarf | Paige jeans | Bass sandals (similar)
Outfit 8: random scarf (similar) | thrifted sandals | Madewell cuff | Paper, Denim & Cloth cutoffs

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lemon and Blue

Definitely on a blue and yellow kick lately. The weather here has been cool and it allows me to still feel summery even if I have to wear warmer clothing. I know the shoes look (and are) outdated but I feel like they work with the really distressed jeans. Like, I can't be mutton dressed as lamb if at least one piece is a teeny past it's prime.

thrifted sweater (similar with a shorter sleeve)
BDG jeans
Prada flats (similar from Miu Miu, cute updated summer version from Sebastian)
necklace by me

Wednesday, July 9, 2014



If you follow me on Instagram this photo is old news. Just like my last few posts. Sorry about that.

I really wanted to keep up with blogging but I've been enjoying the heck out the Alaskan summer. 19+ hours of sunlight a day plus unlimited opportunities to get outside.  If you want to see some of the Alaska-y things I've been doing there's some pictures here.

So, above, that's me in Homer. After a delicious brunch and before an amazing afternoon playing on the beach. We had a perfect weekend. I felt pretty cute in my clothes which is great because I packed for the forecast and the forecast was wrong. I managed. And see that necklace? My 3-year-old made it for me. I never knew jewelry from a preschooler could be so versatile but I've worn it a lot!

H&M sweater (I can't find it online but it was a recent purchase)
Free People jeans
See by Chloe sandals (similar yellow jellies from Ted Baker, Juju {insert heart-eyed emoji here}, or Nordstrom)
Homemade necklace (similar)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Swing of the Pendulum

Nordstrom tee (similar) | ASOS jeans | thrifted jellies (similar from DV8, and Topshop)

H&M tunic | Free People jeans | Target tote | American Eagle sandals

Free People shirt (in blue, and similar from Free People) | thrifted necklace | Current/Elliott jeans (or here) | MIA boots (or here)
Isn't it funny how magazines and fashion websites are scrambling to sell us mom jeans and Birkenstocks after years of rolling their eyes at the unflattering rise or the stumpifying effects of the flat double strap? It's mystifying to me that they act surprised by this sudden development of "normcore" when, if they truly know fashion and it's cycles, they predicted this swing of the pendulum a long time ago.
Remember the 90's? Grunge ushered in a fashion era that felt fresh after the excess of the late 80's and early 90s. We went from DJ Tanner to Angela Chase and it felt so good. And roughly 10 years later, Doc Martens were out and Choos were in thanks to Carrie Bradshaw.  
 I've always been able to predict trends from far out, even when I was a kid. So far out that no one gives a shit, really. It's more like a parlor trick that only my mother and best friend find interesting. I've certainly never did anything productive with it and I'd make a terrible buyer for a department store. I have two friends that work as buyers at Nordstrom and they walk that perfect line where they  wear trends just as they're coming into fashion. They're the women that other women go out and buy the same thing to keep up with.  I'm the person that people tell, "Well, it looks cute on you but I could never get away with something like that." Not many people would buy what I was selling.
I hope you know I'm not setting myself up as some sort of trend-setter, and I don't dress day-to-day in a way that would even support that. If consumers are sheep, I'm just a sheep that figures out where we're going a little faster. It's fascinating to me to watch as the trends go mainstream and I'm no more immune to it than anyone else. I find consumer culture very fascinating. (For good reads, try The Power of Habit:Why We Do We Do In Life and Business or Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use To and Persuade Us To Buy.)
Editors had to know that all the pattern-mixing, put-a-belt-on-it, mixing-high-and-low that peaked in 2009-2010 would soon grow stale to consumers and they would start looking for the next thing. Maybe the whole, "Wow, ugly jeans and footwear! Who would have guessed it?" attitude partly is a way to bridge the gap between telling women to never, ever wear the horror of mom jeans (fupa! unflattering color! butt-widening pockets and rise!) to selling it to them (comfy! shows off your shoes! waist-enhancing!). Most of all, I think those in the know are touting the "surprising" new trends as a way to get us to buy something we already purchased twenty years ago. And I'm sold.