Once again, it's that time of year where I begin to crave leather jackets, along with the usual yearning for yarn (aka sweaters, the stranger/uglier/bulkier the better) and corduroy pants (preferably in a variety of hues and wales). I previously wrote a post about leather jackets back in June 2013 (no, I don't know why I wrote it during the summer either), but as it's been awhile I figured I'd throw out a few more sumptuous options I've been considering/slavering over.
This year, I'm all about leather moto jackets. I have a couple faux leather jackets already lingering in my closet--a bomber style from Nordstrom and a shearling lapel moto style c/o Lucca Couture from a few years ago--but they're both years old, and a black, real leather moto style with an asymmetrical zip front has been on my wishlist for years.
The most affordable leather jacket on my list is the Wyatt Black Quilted Leather Padded Shoulder Moto Jacket. For some reason, I really love quilting on leather moto jackets, provided it's not too bulky or cumbersome; the quilted details add intriguing, pleasingly symmetrical focal points--and additional warmth as an added bonus.
However, while the Wyatt Moto Jacket is the cheapest on my list, I'm a tad bit concerned because I can't find any reviews. In fact, this jacket seems to only be available at Bluefly. Now, exclusive lines don't bother me per se, but the ideal brand I had in mind would be well-reviewed and/or known for good quality leather jackets, and would have at least a few customers sounding off about the fit and durability. With that in mind, I set out to find an affordable, yet slightly-more-loved option.
So, after a few hours of feverish searching, comparing, and image searching, I found my most likely contender, which is...
...The Muubaa Abila Quilted Biker Jacket! I love the quilting around the arms and shoulders, as well as the button collar, waist buckles, asymmetrical zip, and side pockets. (Side note: I can't believe there are a bunch of leather jackets out there that don't have side pockets--isn't half the point of a leather jacket to keep you warm?) Additionally, all the reviews I've read seem to say that Muubaa, a UK brand established in 2007, is a celeb and consumer favorite (various bloggers, along with the likes of Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Ashley Benson, Avril Lavigne, Miranda Kerr, a bunch of models, etc.) and is worth the splurge.
Muubaa Abila Quilted Biker Jacket
Originally retailing for around $625-$700 something in US dollars, there are now a few sites I've found offering this baby up on sale. We'll see if I pull the trigger in the next few days weeks! ;)
Even if I've found my perfect contender, we can still cry over the fact that this gorgeous Rika Chris Jacket in Black/Burgundy is still available in my size... and is still a very unaffordable€400.00, marked down from €925.00.
That's $507.88 in US dollars, not including tax, shipping, or import duties, in case you were wondering and/or commiserating with me.
Now, you may think $500 seems about standard for a nice European-made leather jacket by a designer brand, handmade of good quality lambs leather and dyed with vegetal dyes. (And Sarah, you may be thinking, you just said you were considering purchasing the Muubaa Abila, which is around the same cost...)
Well, let me differentiate. I love the burgundy contrast (burgundy elbow patches not shown) and the quilting, I really do. (The collarless silhouette I'm not too sure about, but that's a different story.) But ultimately, I don't think I can currently justify paying that much for a jacket I could only wear occasionally. This jacket seems to be more of a statement piece than a signature piece--it would steal the show whenever I wore it, which means I couldn't get away with wearing it on a daily or even weekly basis. I'm not bold enough to wear burgundy with every single outfit, and I don't think this style is quite as versatile as the Muubaa Abila, nor do I know whether the style would stand the test of time. Purchasing the Rika Chris would be a bit like buying the Acne Mape Leather Jacket in silver instead of black--eye-catching, for sure, alluring, certainly, but practical?
Not so much.
For anyone who'd like to mock my pain/share their wealth with me, the link is below.
For the vegan leather lovers out there, you're in luck! (First of all, because vegan leather is so much cheaper than real leather.) While on my quest, I stumbled across this gorgeous Ann Taylor number in the rich Winterberry hue. The styling is so classic, and the faux leather looks thick and warm and good quality--if it was black and real leather, it'd totally be a top pick. Of course, me being covetous and consumeristic, I still want this one as well. Anyway, I'll update soon on the size/fit/quality, as my kind and generous grandfather recently purchased this for me and it's waiting at home!
Backstory: I was super excited to be selected for CollegeFashionista x Amazon's Back-to-School Denim Campaign! Not sure when it drops, but I was too psyched to wait. Here's a preview of one of my looks for the brand partnership:
We had the option to choose one pair of pants from Amazon's Must-Have Denim Shop. I chose the [BLANKNYC] Skinny Jean in Pussy Cat.
Now, a bit more backstory (or the main story, it's all semantics): a few autumns ago, I had begun my search for the perfect skinny leather pants. My issue: leather pants, as one might expect, are expensive. Especially for someone who relies on the charity and goodwill of her parents and relatives. They were not as enthused as I was about my search.
However, I'd seen this pair mentioned over and over again as the best vegan leather alternative--five-star reviews abound on Shopbop, Bloomingdale's, Piperlime, the list is endless. I was, to be quite honest, a bit skeptical. How could fake leather live up to the real deal? (I'm sorry, animal rights activists, I really am, but my general opinion skews real leather>>>fake.) So, fast-forward a few years and here I am, faced with the same pair of pants I had been side-eyeing all those years ago.
Long story short, I took the plunge.
AND THEY'RE SO WORTH IT.
Supple, realistically textured, as comfortable as I expected real leather skinny pants to be (I had semi-low expectations, so the relative comfort was a nice surprise)... While they're technically vegan leather leggings due to their lack of front pockets, they do have faux back pockets, which I appreciate. Pocketless pants usually do not flatter the butt (even, I must admit, joggers, which I love).
These welt pockets are cute, and I think the pants overall are super flattering, versatile, and warm. So, my picky self is satisfied. My search is off (that is, until I get a higher paycheck--I want a machine washable pair of leather skinnies next).
Today, I woke up and was super happy to see this brought to my attention via a Tweet from @CFashionista. I clicked through and lo and behold! There I was, gracing the front page of CollegeFashionista.
Being the vain narcissist and pessimist that I am, I was slightly surprised/bewildered to see this was the first outfit of mine they chose to feature. After all, I posted pictures like this:
Which I thought looked much more fashion bloggy/street styling, but didn't receive so much as a blink of the eye or a word of praise. So, I guess it just goes to show that sweatshirts + dressy skirts = more relatable than floral dresses and polka dots...? Clearly, I have still not figured out their judgment system. (*Cough* Especially considering many of the featured articles aren't well-written in the least...)
/rant. Whatever, I won't complain. I'm thankful for even being on the front page. Anyway, go check out my featured article over at CollegeFashionista, and while you're there, feel free to check out my other articles!
I usually don't do this (too lazy, you say? Psh. ...Perhaps you're right), but I was way too excited to refrain from posting this week. After quite some time exploring the city with my dad (our adventures included wild parrots! Poet's Corner! pink vespas!), we found this perfectly coordinating storefront for this week's photoshoot.
So much fun to twirl in this dress.
(And yes, I do need to get my hair restyled/redyed, if you didn't notice.)
Jade + pearls = class act.
Then add a Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Partition Wristlet and you're ready for Breakfast at Tiffany's. ;) Shoutout to my dad for the perfect composition of this pic!
Bearpaw espadrille wedges! Surprisingly comfy, despite their height.
Believe me, I walked the hills of SF in these babies.
I haven't been posting Cheap Cheats for a little while because I became conflicted. After all, many of my Cheap alternatives came from fast fashion venues like Forever 21, which I try to abstain from because of the horrendous factory conditions and poor worker treatment. Not to mention the lacking customer service and bad return policy. I've decided to continue Cheap Cheats, but I'm going to try to source similar pieces which are made a little more sustainably or consciously. It'll be difficult, especially in today's world of global outsourcing, but I'll try my best. If I unknowingly post an item from an unsustainable/downright terrible place, you guys can tell me and I'll learn from my mistakes! Okay? Okay.
Without further ado, here's this week's Cheap Cheats: scallop hem lace shorts.
Recently, I was in the market for a very cute birthday gift for my very good friend Jodi. Recalling that a cute white skirt was on her wishlist--and knowing that her taste in fashion is often sweet and feminine--I set out to find her something that fit the bill. I had been eyeing a pair of lacy Free People shorts (okay, maybe for myself), but they were obviously a little out of my price range for a birthday gift.
However, I had a strong inkling that Jodi would enjoy that style, even in lieu of a skirt. So, it was with great relief that when out shopping for her gift, after hemming and hawing over not-quite-as-cute white skirts, I fortuitously came across a very similar pair:
And voila! I grabbed a striped apricot shirt from GAP to pair with it and my present was complete. Jodi was happy and predictably loved them, and I was happy that I saved $40. Also, I found a crochet pair in ivory for myself. So everyone was happy, really.
Why hello there! It's been awhile, hasn't it? I'm almost done with my freshman year (!!!), and the last few weeks are getting super hectic (in fact, I'm supposed to be composing about 3+ essays as we--that is, I--speak). My friend Michelle snapped these photos of me the other day, as I was featuring her for CollegeFashionista (look out for that article next week!).
Straight cheesin' it.
* * *
It's reallyyyyyy strange to me that I'm almost done. It seems like it was only yesterday I was just beginning to worry about things like prom and graduation and choosing a college.
Now all of a sudden, it's the end of my freshman year, and I realize I've been truly blessed to have so many new and eye-opening experiences and opportunities. My style, as well as my perspectives on society and literature and politics and the greater world, have begun to change and develop in ways I never could've imagined back in high school.
While I can't say I enjoyed all of it--sometimes I feel much like one of those animals raised in captivity that can't survive in the wilderness--this taste of independence has illuminated to me many of the areas where I need to look at myself and my writing and the image I present to the world, and address both my strengths and my shortcomings.
But I've also made leaps and bounds from where I was before. I'm on the editorial board for our literary magazine, Calliope, which has been an awesome trial in teamwork and analysis and cohesiveness and vision. (My piece was even selected to be published in it!) I've joined a professional language frat, Omega Eta Epsilon, and was elected for secretary next semester. I had to talk one-on-one to complete strangers for hour-long "coffee dates." I received an invitation to join the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, which I accepted. I've been writing a semester long column over at CollegeFashionista (aka, My First Internship. Cue the streamers ;)). I'm interviewing for Copy Editor for the newspaper (wish me luck--I need it), and just became a staff writer on Thursday. I was asked to be a classroom writing mentor (I declined due to scheduling conflicts, but may interview to be a general writing mentor--we'll see). I wrote my first resume. I discovered that instant mac and cheese requires 3.5 minutes in the microwave and milk to taste. I salvaged moldy baked goods. I learned the basics of Kung Fu and Taekwondo and the intricacies of doing laundry for myself. I've been to Ashland, Oregon, for goodness' sake!
I guess what I'm trying to say is, college, as much as I was dreading it before (and as much as I occasionally say I hate it now), really has been an irreplaceable transformative experience. As dumb as it sounds, I hadn't thought I could learn any real, new life lessons from coming here; hadn't really considered that I would grow to appreciate so many mundane, little things that I once took for granted. For instance, my mother goes far, far above and beyond for our family, and while I knew that I was spoiled by my parents, it hadn't truly registered how much they do to ensure that we run a tight schedule, live in a clean household, eat at least three delicious and healthy meals a day (and dessert! My dad's baking is sorely missed), have a means of timely transportation, and get to wear clean, ironed clothes. Living on my own has meant dark days of nights that bleed into mornings; wearing (and sometimes sleeping in) unwashed and wrinkled clothing; and even days where I ate only one meal, composed of salt and vinegar kettle chips and a Naked Juice. While I can't say these dark days are completely behind me--essays have a horrible tendency to sneakily pile up on a single due date, and sometimes the dining hall seems like the farthest mirage in the desert--I will say that surviving thus far has given me a pretty clear perspective of 1) the manymanymany things I'll need to work on, both personality wise and skill wise, before I ever contemplate actually living on my own, and 2) how grateful I am to my parents and my sister and my whole family for doing so much, for providing a strong moral and Christian background, for creating amazing childhood and current memories, for giving me something to both long for and strive for, for instilling within me both a sense of pride and a striving to make them proud, for being my best friends and my heroes, for loving me so much, and for loving me enough to completely cover my attendance and extravagances at this expensive private college, when they could've easily (so, so easily) convinced me to go to a bigger, cheaper alternative.
This summer, in addition to taking classes at the local community college in order to supplement my general education curriculum, I have a whole list of things I wish to initiate and hopefully complete. I have already submitted a few internship applications (CollegeFashionista's summer Style Guru internship as well as the Summer Editorial internship; no word on whether Modcloth is holding internships this year), and hope to improve my writing, publish some creative writing pieces, and complete another novel (it's been a few years, and hopefully I've improved a tad since I was sixteen). I also want to return to business with my sister, crafting and sewing and knitting and thrifting and upcycling and selling and all that good stuff. Of course, we have yet to see if any of these things will come to fruition--procrastination is still one of my greatest nemeses--but I'm really hoping this will be a productive time for me to develop significant skills (like cooking) and learn to use my time more wisely. When I was younger I was always waiting for the time when I would be able to go out into the world and prove to myself and to everyone else that I was worth something. I wanted to fast forward to years in the future, some alien place where I was already super successful and in love and married with kids to come, and just happy. Some days, I feel like I'm still waiting for that, but more and more often I'm realizing that it may never be if I keep standing on the sidelines now. Maybe the day where I finally get my time to shine--to prove to the world and to myself that I can take what I know and what I've learned and create something out of my perceived nothing, to prove that I have responsibility and drive and adequate writing skills to be a Someone in the industry, to do above and beyond what everyone expects of me--maybe that day's approaching soon, and fast, a vision I get closer and closer to with each step up a staircase of milestones.
Maybe that day is looming before me, even tomorrow, even now.
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Phew. That was a really long post. Anyway, as for right this minute,
I went to Ashland this past weekend as a school-sponsored field trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival AND IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. We watched two fantastic plays, Comedy of Errors (set in 1920s Harlem!) and The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (an intense emotional cathartic whirlwind!); did the whole thrifting scene; and had tons of fun exploring the little boutiques and eateries (I fully endorse Brother's Restaurant for breakfast--I enjoyed #19, a two-egg Omelette with Bacon, Red Potatoes, Fresh Garlic, and Jack Cheese, Hash Browns Fried in Butter, and a Housemade Apricot & Almond Scone, for $12. I also recommend Umi Sushi for delicious savory vegetable udon [$8]). Here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure:
I attempted to take an artsy picture of my friend's Starbucks.
The most amazing vintage B Steel Leather Wingtip Mary Jane Kitten Heels.
They were reasonably priced so needless to say, I bought them, despite the slight tightness.
Why yes, that is a vintage corduroy belted button-down culotte pant suit romper.
I'll admit, for all its dated cheesiness, I totally regret not buying this Nancy Drew-reminiscent number.
The price tag on this dress read: "$18. Velour is why." 'Nuff said.
However, the dress instantly looked festival ready when paired with a pair of $20 quilted leather Nordstrom boots and a cropped acid washed gray jean jacket.
Too bad I'm too poor to spend my [parents'] hard-earned money on such trifling fancies. Even if those trifling fancies do look like psychedelic seventies' acid trips.
...And yes, I am aware my legs could use both tanning and toning.
Cute decor inspo at a chichi little boutique. It had Free People. It was expensive.
Expensive, ethereal vintage costume dresses in the basement of a place called Renaissance Rose.
Ashland is quaint and adorable. That is all.
I am an English major and I approve these messages.
Oh, you fancy huh?
The glorious Ashland Springs Hotel. My professor had her honeymoon here!
Me awkwardly posing.
Insert Stitch sounds: H-h-hiii.
Hornbrook welcomes you.
Anyway, sorry for not posting regularly. Shameless plug time: If you'd like to keep up with my sage fashion musings weekly, check out my college fashion column here. To see the world through my rose-colored lenses (or Vscocam-filtered, as it may be) check out my Instagram here.