A month ago, I put my closet through an extreme weight-loss program
You can read about that here. To make it short, I kept two button downs, a few white shirts and jackets along with one pair of pants and two pairs of shoes; for an entire month this was all I wore and featured a week’s worth of outfits.
That was back in April when spring was in full force – which meant the daily weather swings could mean Monday was 55 degrees with a 98% chance of flash flooding followed by Tuesday being 72 and bright skies. When Mother Nature decides to hit you full force (Hooray for “once every 500 year storms” occurring every 18 months), the best way to respond is with layers and muted colors to reflect the weather – grey and light blue being my favorite. Olive has been trending for at least two seasons now and shows no sign of falling overboard. Recently I even found a pair of linen pants in the iconic military green color so rest assured, hopping onboard the olive wagon with your olive M65 will not result in a short ride.
Now it’s now the end of May; school has been over for the past three weeks, the weather is pleasant, and there is no reason to keep track of the days. When the temperature is mid-70s with a slight breeze, there are numerous outfit possibilities. Once summer starts arriving feel free to drop your neutrals faster than your textbooks post-finals and start introducing brighter colors to your fits. Accordingly, my next few posts will be covering some unique ideas to try out spring/summer 2017.
This is a fairly basic spring/summer outfit:
white tee shirt, black jeans, but what sets it apart from my usual black/white fits are the shoes. Instead of my usual white sneakers, I’ve worn a pair of white espadrilles with red laces which provide an eye-catching accent.
Even with the shoes, this is a basic outfit that is easy to replicate in concept. Regardless, to me this outfit is a bit more meaningful because it indicates the completion of a goal of mine: to own one outfit made in the USA/first world. Some time in spring 2015, I decided I was going to stop buying new clothes every month – at the time I had budgeted $50 for clothes per month – and instead was going to buy fewer pieces that would last longer, remain in style longer, and – ideally – be ethically made.
Let’s start from the top: this might be the most expensive tee shirt I own.
It’s cost a full $20 (shipping included); however, it is also the most amazing tee shirt I have owned. I bought this shirt in May 2015 from a neat brand, Epaulet New York. If I told you to imagine a Brooklyn-based “hipster” brand, this is it. They focus on small batch orders of simple designs with inspiration from “classic American and European lines” which to most readers is a load of nonsense; all you need to get from that is “we make really nice tee shirts.”
$20 is a high dollar amount for a tee shirt, often you can find a pack of four or five shirts for $20 – typically this is how I buy my shirts. What made this worth it for me was how it’s constructed to last multiple seasons’ worth of wear.
The close up of the shirt details why I love it. Lengthwise, it ends right at the upper edge of my jeans’ pocket/bottom of my belt. The shoulder seams fit right at the junction of my shoulder blade and upper arm (best seen on the left inseam) and the collar is reinforced to prevent sagging/distortion. It’s hard finding details like that on tee shirts you buy in packs because of their implied disposability. The manufacturer doesn’t expect you to keep their product for long and constructs the shirts with this in mind.
Unless you’ve been keeping up with my blog since the start, you probably aren’t aware that the jeans I’m wearing are essentially God’s gift to us.
The reason being because of their fading.
Raw denim – what these jeans are – have never been washed prior to purchase; they enter your hands untouched from the factory aside from their sewing. Thus, through your wearing of them, they fade in areas that experience creasing, bending, or distortion. Commonly, this occurs in a “honeycomb” pattern around your knees, the pocket you keep your phone in most, and along the backside from walking.
In the photo above you can clearly see the outline of my phone, but here comes the plot twist: it’s not in my pocket. *A collective “holy shit” is heard from the audience (they pretend to be surprised)*
Another aspect of these jeans that makes them my most worn pair of pants is that they weigh in at 11 oz. of fabric. Generally, if you pick up a random pair of jeans from any given store in the mall, they’ll weigh between 14-16 oz. which is roughly the middle of the weight spectrum. An average weight makes them a good pair of pants to wear through the winter, and kind of hot during the summer which is fine for most of us because nobody wears jeans during the summer. Clearly 11 oz. makes these a lightweight which is perfect for me because it means I can skip through July without missing a beat in them. On the flip side, they are fairly useless during the winter but as you can tell from January’s post I still wore them meaning I had to get creative with my layering.
These jeans come from a workwear brand specializing in raw denim, Rogue Territory. The cotton from which the fabric was made was grown in Japan while the final sewing occurred in Los Angeles.
To be honest, this is an extremely bland outfit
and the only reason I care about it enough to write about it is because of the shoes. If I wore my white sneakers, there would be nothing “spring-y” about this; it’d be just another basic outfit I wear during any given day, no matter the season.
Espadrilles’ defining factor are the jute rope fibers composing the soles which are sewn onto a cloth upper. They’re meant to be worn as slip on shoes for casual trips rather than formal events and generally are treated as disposable footwear for the summer season only. Traditionally they have laces which can be tied around the ankles for reasons that I’m not so sure. Some say you can run a bit faster with them tied for support, maybe fast enough to outrun a bull in Pamplona, Spain even.
Above you can clearly see the rope fibers forming an integral part of the shoe’s sole. At first, this is a bit uncomfortable to walk on, and you do have to size down from your usual shoe size, but within a week they become your favorite footwear for almost every type of need.
This wraps up my introductory spring 2017 post.
I’m aware it came pretty late (approximately 60 minutes before May officially ends), but just like Blackboard doesn’t care whether you submit an assignment 10 hours or 10 minutes before the deadline, nether do I.
Going forward, my next post will take a look at an idea to move beyond tee shirts as your go-to summer shirt, fabrics to check out beyond cotton, and a new color combination. Ideally it’ll be up within the next week so keep your wifi connections strong until then.
Before signing off I’ll be posting some more pics from this shoot from last May (this explains the non-parted hair and happy demeanor) and would like to thank my photographer friend Gracie for the great photos.
PS: If you view Optimal Outfits on a tablet or computer rather than your phone there’s a lot more neatness you can experience from the layout.