outfit: pre-owned galore (+ a new non-fiction book I’m reading about ‘inconspicuous consumption’ and the ‘aspirational class’)

ootd 2018-04-24 at 8.56.54 PM

(excuse the all lower case… my shift key is still stuck, but i should be getting my new thinkpad tomorrow!)

wow, i just realized i’m wearing nearly all pre-owned clothes today. 

i went out the door to work with this exact outfit on.  no coat required.  i overheated while power walking the dog at the park in the morning and didn’t think i’d need a coat on my way to work.  the truth is it did get a little chilly but nothing unbearable. i’m glad i wore two layers up top.  i like the way mandarin collared shirts look when they are left unbuttoned.  but when it got cold later in the day, i was able to button up the shirt for added warmth.  i’m back to wearing real socks with my boots again.  i figured out that if i wear thick socks, my feet are held in place and don’t slide forward as they did with average thickness socks.  i can walk all day in these hopp comfort boots and my feet feel fine. they are nearly sold out, but SAS makes some nice minimalist style boots that are probably equally as comfortable.  i can’t say the same is true for my no. 6 store clogs, which cause my feet to ache after a few hours of wear, and which by the way, caused me to fall down the stairs the first day i bought them.  i had also heard of other people twisting their ankles in their high heeled clogs. beware!

i’m reading a new book called the sum of small things: a theory about the aspirational class by elizabeth currid-halkett.  she talks about the consumer habits of the new cultural elite and how cultural capital and consumer choices with more subtle signifiers of status are what separates the classes today.  the book put to words what i’ve observed among my own social group.  really i bet anyone who reads this blog can see themselves in this book.  much of the book is focused on the consumer habits of women in today’s world. she mentions essie ballet slippers nail polish, barre class, artisanal coffee, organic produce, TOMS shoes, and much more as replacing former, more ostentatious signifiers of wealth, ie. the birken bag, which probably in this day and age, most women would feel ashamed to own.  but anyway, if you have any interest in “ethical fashion”, or “conscious consumerism”, then i’m sure this book, which is not directly about those topics per se, would be of interest to you.  i’m about half way through the book and it’s frustrating that the author has not formulated an opinion yet on what feels like a long list of semi-neutral observations about contemporary class differences.  i hope she eventually gets there. but still so interesting nonetheless! i’ll keep ya updated as i get through the rest of it.

i finished reading the year of less by cait flanders and actually really enjoyed it.  it was a light, fast read, and at no point did it feel too preachy.  its a great book to get inspiration from.  i don’t think i would ever adopt a no shopping ban but it was interesting to read about her experience with one.

and for more stuff i’m enjoying, i wanted to give you guys an update on my discbound notebook.  i really like it and use it everyday at work to take notes.  i like being able to re-arrange the pages and replace them with refills. i converted my calendar back to paper with these pretty monthly pages that i found on etsy, although they seem to be sold out of these prints.  seems like everything i’m buying is selling out lately!


since i’m already using the notebook for work, adding a few pages for my calendar was easy. i haven’t used a paper calendar in years, but i find that i am better able to keep track of my schedule when i have to write things down by hand. i’ve had issues with my iphone not saving my events onto the cloud consistently, which has caused me to miss important meetings, so this solves that problem.  but more importantly, it reminds me of my planner when i was in elementary through high school, and it looks so pretty!

[outfit: *lemaire/uniqlo shirt, *james perse tee, *jil sander skirt, PACT leggings, HOPP zip up boots, *cluse watch, *dagne dover midi tote]



13 thoughts on “outfit: pre-owned galore (+ a new non-fiction book I’m reading about ‘inconspicuous consumption’ and the ‘aspirational class’)

  1. Hi !
    I’ve been reading your blog regularly for awhile now, and I just want to thank you for continuing to write about these topics. I know nobody with whom I could discuss my shopping habits, clothing reflections, or preferences for any of the minute details in my life. :). I specifically want to ask about tr disc-bound notebook. What brand do you recommend? I don’t always trust my phone and the purist in me sometimes longs to scrawl on pretty paper.
    Thank you again! Keep writing!


    1. thanks beth.. could always use some encouragement to keep this thing going. that’s part of the reason i started the blog. i like writing about this stuff but the topic doesn’t make for good conversations in real life, plus most people in my life could care less about this stuff. as for the notebook, i personally own the tul brand. from what i could tell there aren’t much differences between brands and they are all interchangeable, ie. the pages of one brand can fit on the discs from another brand, etc. so i just went with the cheapest one, which is tul. i think eventually i’ll get a hole puncher to create my own pages but not ready to take it that far yet.


  2. I think I remember reading an excerpt or book review of the Sum of Small Things book (or at least an article about the same topic) a while back. It definitely sounded like something I recognize in my own life, and that I probably would recognize even if I wasn’t as into the things I blog about.

    The cliffs notes version of it seemed to touch on something that I thought about often once I started law school, and realized how most of my peers and internship colleagues came from great wealth (the kind of wealth that allows parents to make significant contributions to the cost of law school) or distinguished pedigrees (parents are judges or biglaw partners, or other lawyers): a lot of the signs of “privilege” or being from (or at least being able to “pass” somewhat and feel comfortable-ish in settings involving) these privileged classes can be … subtle.

    I don’t really have any well-formed thoughts on this, except to appreciate that I come from a lot of privilege because I’ve never felt any true class-based discrimination or obstacles, though I can see very clearly why other students might experience it, sometimes to the extent that it harms their professional prospects. I do generally feel like law is an extremely exclusive and insufficiently diverse field, in part because of the economics of getting the degree and paying for it, so all these things just add to that.


    1. i’ve certainly experienced similar things in going to a private 4 yr university with majority rich kids and then onto medical school where it seemed like every student had parents that were doctors or lawyers or other high paying professional of some kind and the signifiers were invisible, but very apparent to me… ie, family vacations to europe, swimming lessons, piano lessons, tennis lessons, country clubs, second homes, etc. and the advantages that come with having educated parents, ie. proper grammar, knowledge about history and culture that are beyond what’s taught in schools. and other more life changing disadvantages like having to pay for your parents retirement, massive student loans, etc. i think the book though, focuses on a broader class of people that might be defined as the educated class, who are not necessarily wealthy, some might be teachers, starving artists, but they still belong to an elite class though their cultural capital, ie. their concerns about where their food comes from, their ability to still shop at whole foods, farmers market, their interest in ethical manufacturing practices, etc. i appreciate your appreciation that you also have a lot of privilege but let’s be real, i bet there were a lot immeasurable disadvantages that you had to overcome either directly or indirectly because of race/gender/SES as well, and you sure as hell earned it.


  3. That outfit is great! I like the double layer of white on top and that it looks like a smart, non-rote version of a uniform.

    I’ll have to check out the ‘Small Things’ book. Your critique about it reminds me of an Elle piece extolling ‘old lady’ dressing, where the author expressed her preference for a uniform of items that predominantly (very well-off) mature women would buy/wear. But she doesn’t analyse the socioeconomic significance of these things beyond saying that her mother ingrained into her what was ‘tacky’ or not, and that she easily fell in with a crowd where she could observe these norms.


    1. thanks.. that’s totally right.. it does sort of look like a non rote uniform. i’m a little further in the book and it seems like the author is taking more of a stance. lmk if you end up reading it too.


  4. Cute outfit–and “aspirational class” seems interesting. I find the word aspirational to be a little bit of a headscratcher here since it implies that there’s a next level that people (we?) are looking for in our consumerism: we want to look expensive or telegraph good taste and disposable income with a certain type of apparel or set of brands. But all of it is in anticipation of the next level somehow?

    I see what you mean about certain things, like Birkins, being so ostentatious as to be ridiculous, even among those who have millions and who truly can afford things like that. It’s just in poor taste because the thing is so well known for being expensive. But the first difference that comes to mind between Hermes consumers and the ‘aspirational class’ (as your author seems to define it) seems only to be money. The barre-third wave coffee-Margiela wearing set makes, say, 200-300k a year? This type of person might drop $1500 on a handbag, a lot of money, but that’s so much less than what the Birkin costs. I wonder what your author might have to say about someone who wears, say, Michael Kors and Abercrombie–are they one step removed from aspirational? To me, her lumping together TOMS wearers/artisanal coffee drinkers/barre takers just signify an upper middle class life and sensibility. All of these questions probably mean that I need to check out this book!


    1. i have issue with the term ‘aspirational class’ too.. its a bit confusing what she means exactly by that.. and it certainly has a really negative connotation doesn’t it? because it seems as though this new class of not necessarily rich but poor inclusive educated, urban, bi coastal population actually does not try to aspire to be ultra wealthy in their focus on non material goods… if the signifiers of wealth become invisible, are they really aspiring to be that next level?

      i think what the author might say about the michael kors/abercrombie folks, are that they are not even in the aspirational class, because the aspirational class wouldn’t purchase from a mass market brand with no transparency.

      check it out and lmk what you think.. would love to talk more about it when/if you read it. thanks!


  5. I really want to read that first book! It sounds like the kind of thing I’d get enjoyment out of since I like reading blogs like this one too. It’s fascinating to hear other people’s ideas about how the world works.


  6. I wish I could have a paper planner but I have so many work meetings that change frequently that it’s impossible. I tried my first year here and ended up double-booked work-wise and socially so I finally ended up using my work calendar for all, with the “private” function for my personal stuff (and color coded).


    1. back when my work life was ruled by frequent appointments i need an electronic calendar.. things are different now which is why i can switch back to paper.


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