Shopping List Update

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Earlier this year as part of an effort to stop wasteful and redundant spending on clothing items, une femme made a list of pieces intended to fill current wardrobe gaps.

They were:
1. V-neck cashmere sweater in a neutral color
2. Nude pumps
3. Casual dress or skirt for upcoming Italy/Paris trip in May.
4. V-neck top for evenings
5.  Jeans long enough to wear with heels.

Here’s how things stand:

1.  I ordered a v-neck from Eric Bompard, but may send it back.  I’m on the fence about the fit, which while not technically too small, is snugger than I’d intended.

2.  Check!

3. I’m rethinking this one.  I’m really not a dress person, and think I’d probably be more comfortable with the types of items I normally wear (pants, capris on warmer days).  Consider this scratched for now.

4. Have two on order, though neither are v-neck (both low scoop neck), will report back. V-neck tops that are a notch above Casual seem to be an endangered species.

5.  Check!

Since last week’s Work Wear Epiphany, I’ve added to the list:

6.  Jackets for the office that will support a more polished Business Casual look. Not the usual menswear blazers, but nothing too frou-frou either. I’m going to say three total, two for warmer weather and one more for the cooler months. I think these will be a smarter investment than Item #3 above, which probably would not see as much wear.

Are you on the lookout for any items in particular?  Are you having any luck finding them?

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  1. I’ve been thinking about a shirtdress since last summer. Like you I don’t wear dresses often. In fact the last time I wore a dress was to a wedding last summer, a rare occasion.

    I looked at the Eric Bompard sale when Duchesse mentioned it. Their sizing seemed to be all over the place – my measurements were a small for one style and medium for another. Not knowing the ease for this brand and based on past experience where some medium tops will fit my bust but be oversized in the shoulders, I decided it would be too risky to place an order.

    I’m interested in your search for jackets. I think we work in similar style environments; something like this could work for me too.

  2. I love the idea of making a list about wardrobe gaps. Now that could stop impulsivity in its tracks! Paris and Italy in the spring sounds very inviting. We will be able to live vicariously through your posts.

  3. The list is a good idea – I think just writing it down focuses your attention and makes it easier to revise it after looking at it for a while, just as you have done. It makes for better planning.

  4. Well, I’ve studied in Italy, so I know it well, though I couldn’t give current recommendations for restaurants, shops etc. Last time I’ve been back was 2006. Mostly a work trip – actually in Perugia, one of the places I studied, with side trips to Florence and Rome (mostly visiting old friends).

    I’m very surprised you aren’t considering a casual – but pretty – skirt for Italy in May. Depending on the region, it can already be quite warm there then, and sometimes downright hot. You might feel underdressed in capris in some places. I can’t abide trousers in the summertime; I know that i signori have to put up with them though. Italian tailoring has exquisite cool wools and other fabrics for business wear in warm weather. Italian men are exquisitely dressed. In terms of women’s style, in some ways I prefer les Parisiennes, as some – but by no means all – Italian women wear too much makeup, have their hair dyed gaudy colours etc. My friends of course are not like that, but they are always a little better dressed than colleagues from other countries.

    Perhaps you’ll find a skirt over there?

    Have a wonderful trip and I might have more concrete advice for Italy depending on your itinerary. Are you flying, driving or taking the train from Paris to il Bel paese?

  5. Your list sounds eminently sensible and therefore quite calming. It also leaves room for an impulse purchase – just that you will know for sure when it’s an impulse. As for dresses, I don’t wear them either. I’ve puzzling over why – I think I have a deep-rooted fear someone’s going to see my underwear. And if that isn’t silly, I don’t know what is.

  6. Hmm, nothing on my list now, I’m in house redecorating mode right now. I’ve realised that I’ve barely worn the clothes that I bought in the last 18 months so I’m not going to buy much this year unless I am swept away by passion!

  7. I wear those EB fitted vees- need a good supportive bra under them but do love them b/c not the boxy boy vee. Perhaps you need the next size up? (I take a bigger size in it.)

    I’d like a skirt or two that hits just below the knee in “not black again”!

    To order from EB: measure something that fits in your current wardrobe then compare measurements on site. No riskier than ordering from, say, J. Crew.

  8. I just found a dress…and i usually steer well clear of them…it has the potential of being a workhorse in my wardrobe.

    I am not looking for anything else at the moment…
    I do like your list and swooning over the Paris trip in your future…you might consider shopping there!

  9. well done on your search so far!
    starting late autumn, i hunted for a loose-cut, v-neck charcoal grey cashmere sweater, to no avail. i haven’t given up; i know it’s out there.
    as i just commented on another blog, the right wardrobe staples can be tricky to find. wherever we look, fast fashion (sometimes posing as updated “classics”) seems to be the rule of the day (yuck).

  10. Where does one find “The Laundress” products? I’ve never heard of them before, but would like to try them.

    Comment to LPC: My 16 year old daughter doesn’t wear skirts very often, and is uncomfortable about them for the same reason you are. She is a volleyball player (you know, tall, slim, and their uniform includes skin tight spandex shorts), and she and many of her volleyball friends wear their spandex under skirts. Kind of a teenage version of Spanx, I guess, without the need for flab control!

  11. Dear Femme: This is somewhat off the subject but since you mentioned a trip to Italy/Paris… I found this site while looking for a packing list for Paris. I would love your thoughts on a packing list for Tuscany/Milan. Trip is last week of March, first week of April. The only dressy thing scheduled is the ballet at La Scala. You have been a great inspiration thus far! Ciao~

  12. Dear femme, I have been looking for the V-neck cashemere sweater for ages and got lucky this winter at Benetton in the men’s section. Navy blue and camel. I went back and bought a second navy blue as a back up tough I seem to like the camel even more. I wish I had bought 1, 2 in an oversize for the casual days at home, too. But at 114 EUR / piece, cashmere sweaters, even the bargains are not something I buy like bagels. If you have a Benetton close, maybe you want to check it out? They will by gone with the winter-season’s clothes. This weekend I washed them with The Laundress Cashmere and Wool Shampoo, laid them out flat, they are alreay back in the drawer, softer than they ever were. Good luck on this one!

  13. Pseu, I’m looking for a slim tan/khaki skirt suitable year round. Any luck after a year? No.

    I’ve discovered an incredible tailor in town; next time I’m in their neck of the woods, I’m going to stop in to ask how much it’d cost for them to make me a skirt. I’m really just kinda tired of the hunt for something so basic. And yet I don’t WANT it to be basic. I’d like some pretty details to make it special, which a tailor could add.

    I have added several of my most-wanted items to my wardrobe over the past year, so I’ve been very lucky lately.

  14. P.S. I use The Laundress’s wool shampoo that Paula mentioned too. LOVE IT. Love all Laundress products, actually ….

    They make handwashing fun.

  15. Oh, Paris and Italy in May? Lucky you! We loved staying in an apartment in Paris, and if you’d like a recommendation, I’d be glad to pass it along. I’ll eagerly await your report on Italy, as that is also on my list of “never been/want to go someday.”

  16. Isn’t there just something so calming about making lists?! I always feel that my life is more organized and clear if I make a list of things to do, buy, mend,… And one of the greatest feelings in the world is when I check an item off a particular list.
    The most pressing items on my shopping list clotheswise would be:
    1. A pair of flat vegan ( I no longer buy leather) sandals with ankle straps (driving laws in my country prohibit slip on shoes)
    2. Two dressy daytime tops. Those are a dying breed, I agree!
    3. A pair of khakis in a neutral sand beige colour.
    4. Casual short zippered jacket sutable for late spring/ early summer.
    These items have been on my list since last year and I’ll probably sew some of them myself. At least one top and possibly the jacket as well depends on how much time I’ll have.
    Good luck finding items off your list and of course do post them when you buy them.

  17. After this long winter, I’m so sick of black and gray that my mental list appends “in a pretty color” to everything I’m looking for now: a few cool tops and summer jacket substitutes, a flattering skirt and/or sundress, possibly some great jeans (if such things exist for me–if not, I can live without them.) I did find one thing I’d been wanting: a good-looking bathing suit (dare you to do a post on that radioactive topic!) to take with me to Miami this Spring. It’s from J. Crew, the blue and white seersucker tank, a color and style that suits me well. And it’s not black!


  18. Happy Vals Day to you too Une Femme… You are doing very well with you list. Looking forward to seeing your jackets for work when you find them. Am on the hunt for a pair of nude coloured flat shoes with a little interest. XX

  19. I’m on the lookout for a grey slim skirt….I’m hoping to purchase secondhand but grey seems to not show up too often.

  20. I bought a few pairs of ponte pants/leggings and have been wearing them in bliss. I also bought some funky boots. I only teach 2 days a week, so I realize that I don’t need anything.

    Do all of you buy so few pieces each season? Very impressive.

  21. Your lists seems practical and easy to work with.

    I used to love dresses and skirts, now I prefer black knit pants or capris.

    I ordered a bunch of things from Eileen Fisher but had to send the whole box back, with the exception of one item. I ordered everything in 1x or X-lg — way too big.

  22. I don´t write lists. As some probably know, I don´t like shopping. I am an impulse shopper.
    Right now, there is nothing I need for spring ( if there is going to be one ). Later on, maybe cotton T´s.

  23. This kind of list has been on my mind lately, so it’s fantastic to see another person’s “need” list… it’s really inspiring! And I love the Prada shoes you ended up with in place of the Louboutins..

  24. My list is quite long, given the vast gaps in my wardrobe, and I’ve not managed to tick anything off yet. I need to dedicate a couple of days to shopping, but as I hate shopping with a passion, I keep putting it off! I really want a pair of black velvet pants for winter, but no idea where to find them … Plus some more work-appropriate garb.

  25. I seem to be at an impasse with clothing; I’ve lost some weight, but even without the weight loss I’m not even sure what I want anymore.

    It just seems, that suddenly, nothing works anymore.

    Did you find working with Imogen and Karen helped you know where to begin?

  26. Paula – that’s good to know! I’ve never had much luck with men’s clothing (I’m just too short) but those who are a bit taller might do well to check those out!

    Luxe Bytes – having your skirt made may be just the way to go. I’m about ready to “go custom” for an LBD if I can find a tailor that will work in ponte knit jersey. I’m going to have to check out those Laundresse products!

    Couture Allure – thanks so much! We did stay in an apartment on our last Paris visit, and it was a good way to go for a full week’s stay. This time we’re only there for three days, so we’ll be going the hotel route this time. I can hardly wait to see Italy; I’ve never been either!

    coffeeaddict – I agree about the calming power of lists. They bring order to the universe.

    Northmoon – a shirtdress is one of those items that sound good in concept but rarely work for me. Too bad; they’re so practical. Bompard sizing is a bit challenging, but I think once you know your size in a particular style, it’s pretty consistent. Duchesse can weigh in on that. I have some jacket news…will share tomorrow.

    The Style Crone – well, the list hasn’t stopped impulsivity altogether, but certainly has curtailed it somewhat. I think we need to keep room for the occasional impulse purchase when True Love strikes.

    Rita – having the list really does help keep one focused.

  27. LPC – I find that a list gives me a sense of order over my universe. There are two reasons why I’m dress-adverse. One is because I HAD to wear them until my teens at school (and then for a few years after that at various jobs). Two is because there just aren’t many dresses out there that really *appeal* to me right now. Everything is sleeveless or strapless or high-necked or tight or an ugly print.

    Jana – grey is such a great and versatile neutral! People probably hang onto grey. But it’s been everywhere lately, so you might have more luck soon.

    Tabitha – that sounds like a good plan! Our house is sadly in need of redecorating, maybe next year.

    Duchesse – I did measure a current sweater and ordered the size that corresponded. Now I know. I’ve ordered the next size up and am returning the snug sweater. I’d LOVE to find a skirt that isn’t black or khaki, but those seem to be the only choices right now.

    hostess – ooh, I look forward to seeing your new dress! I hope you’ll share soon. If the dollar doesn’t tank too much against the Euro, I do hope to do a little shopping in Paris.

    Susan Tiner – oh, I should’ve warned you about EF sizing…the tops do run large. I hope you’ll give some smaller sizes a try. Maybe there’s a store near you where you could try some things on? Many of the department stores carry EF now.

    Style Odyssey – you’re so right that the classic wardrobe staples can sometimes be the hardest to find. Good luck with your cashmere sweater!

  28. Jill Ann – I met a woman not long ago who also swears by bike shorts worn under skirts…says she just feels more comfortable that way.

    metscan – you seem to be doing fine without lists. Your instincts are very good and you know well what you like and what works for you.

    WendyB – now’s a great time to shop for sweaters. Everything’s on sale!

    Tiffany – ooh, black velvet! Do any of the stores where you live offer personal shopping services? I’m thinking that maybe you could give them a list, and tell them your likes/dislikes/budget and they could have some items ready for you to try on, rather than having to rummage through rack after rack. Maybe that would make it more tolerable?

    That’s Not My Age – let us know if you find some good cigarette pants. I’ve tried a few pair but they always seem to be wider at the hem than I’d like.

    Anonymous – I’ll put something together for next week. I haven’t been to Italy before, but I’ve developed some packing strategies (with some help from my stylist friends) that I hope will translate.

    C. – yes, a bit of color would be nice! Bathing suits…aaayyyyee. I tend to shop for them only under duress. I’ve tackled the subject a couple of times, but maybe it’s time to revisit.

    Semi Expat – thanks! This seems to be a good year for nude shoes, bet you’ll be able to find something you love. Will have a jacket update tomorrow.

    Tom – oh, I love ponte pants! So comfy and flattering. Funky boots are good too. I’ve been in the habit of buying a few pieces each season, but want to become more discriminating and only buy what I love.

    ashe mischief – the list has been good for reducing distractions. It’s much easier to put something down when it’s not on the list. And thanks, I love those Pradas too.

    Anonymous – yes, it did help to shop with Imogen and Karen, especially to get a better feel for what shapes/colors/styles work best on my body, and to try things I normally wouldn’t have. But I also needed to suss out my own style. I’ve been “clipping” pictures online of styles and looks I really like and trying to analyze how to make those work within the parameters of what works best for me.