When I started compiling my yearly shopping list I started out by looking for gaps in my wardrobe. Having identified some gaps and some basic wants, I decided what to buy each month. Funny enough, I was actually done shopping this month but then certain possibilities presented themselves. Let’s discuss the first one, and the idea of identical uniforms.
To Uniform or Not To Uniform
The most obvious items I seem to be missing is a collection of well fitted button up shirt, since I really want to make the button up + skinny black pants my go-to daily uniform. Now, I’ve been really tempted by the idea of buying the same shirt 15 times to create a true uniform as Matilda Kahl decided to do some time ago. Honestly, I really think that she’s making an interesting point. Looking around, the men in my life do seem to have a uniform; whether it’s a suit or a combination of a button up and jeans/slacks, their outfit are repetitive and uncomplicated.
That simplicity and ease has been the main reason I decided to go with a capsule-esque collection of clothing, so the idea of creating an identical uniform for each work day seems quite compelling. Yet, I don’t think that this exact idea is something I am likely to adopt. I am not sure that I will derive the same sense of empowerment Matilda Kahl derives from her uniform. That is, I would feel a little too self conscious having my students see me wear one white top + black pants combo day after day. Further, this type of repetitiveness feels like a recipe for lots of discussion, as my students are rarely shy about asking me anything, and I would prefer not to have to discuss it with them or with my fellow teachers. Honestly, at this point in my career I want to stay focused on looking professional, and not as a source of curiosity.
Tradlands Button Up – The Charlie
This led me to Tradlands, which makes button up shirts in the United Stated in small batches. When I first read about them I was quite intrigued, and was really pleased to find an ethical company to shop from who actually made clothes I could happily wear to work. Looking at my shopping list, I decided to buy button ups in August and September when I go back to work, but looking at my packing list I thought I could use a nice button up shirt during my travels.
Before ordering, I decided to contact their customer support because their sizing guide seemed to show all the shirts would be too big for me. Their response was super prompt and helpful, which I really appreciated. They recommending taking the size I mostly have in my closet, so I chose to order The Waverly Slate in XS. That size, unfortunately, did not work for me. It was surprisingly quite big on me. Not willing to give up, I decided to return this button up and go for The Charlie in XXS. The Charlie is made of organic cotton so I hoped it would be super soft (it isn’t as soft as my Pact t-shirt, but that’s not saying much), and since it’s white I thought I could more easily mix and match with jeans when traveling.
Having worn this shirt three times already (it arrived umm…about four days ago), I can say that I have fallen in love with it. The fit is tailored, but doesn’t make me look fat like the shirt is hugging and showing all my curves. When I read the description of the shirt I was somewhat dismissive of it having “8 Button Front = No More Boob Gap”, since that is not an issue I have ever not being that blessed in that department. Having worn it, I can attest to the magic of being able to not button the shirt all the way up, while still not showing any unfortunate cleavage. This makes me incredibly happy.
This shirt isn’t sheer, so I plan on wearing it without any layer underneath this summer. You can definitely see the pants line, though, but it can be avoided by tucking it in. It looks incredibly stylish tucked into jeans with a nice belt. This shirt can pull double duty, which is another reason why I am so smitten with it.
Finally, there are some really nice details to this shirt that show someone truly took the time to design it carefully. One such detail is the tiny buttons on the collar. It allows for a more casual or more professional look, and I’ve never seen it in woman’s button ups before. Speaking of buttons, while they are really substantial, I can’t help but wish for those delicate mother of pearl buttons found in all of my Brora cardigans. I am not sure if they would be just a little too delicate for continual buttoning, so I’ve learned to accept the buttons I’ve got.Oh, and by the way, I’ve washed it several times now and can report back that is holds up quite nicely.
Moving forward, I updated my shopping list to buy a couple more of these once I am back to work. I will likely repurchase The Waverly, though I have my eye on The Frankie (sold out in XXS). In the meantime, if you choose to order any of their magical shirts, you can use this link to get a coupon code for $25 off your first purchase.
Quick Note About Brora: Brora’s Cashmere Vintage Collared Cardigan
I wasn’t aware that Brora was about to have another sale anytime soon, so I had planned to purchased my next cardigan from them sometime in December. Funny enough, they are now running a sale, and knowing that I can pay less for a one of their magical cardigans pushed me to buy one now and remove it from my list. Due to sizing and color, I opted for the Vintage Collared Cardigan in Aubergine.
I’m happy to report that it looks lovely, incredibly well made, and truly nicely tailored. I haven’t had a chance to wear it out and about, but I will be taking it with me on vacation and expect to wear it for years to come. The purple adds a little color to my wardrobe, but I consider it to be somewhat similar to navy so I am not stirring away from my color comfort zone.
This is about it for June. I did pick up another Mata Traders dress and another Brora cardigan on eBay since I found some really nice deals. Again, these are all items that were on my shopping list for later months, but due to price I decided to grab right now. So, yeah. This ended up being a much more purchase heavy month than I anticipated, but now I move on to some vacation shopping in the form of shoes! Will update as that develops.