November and December: What I Bought and What I Thought

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It's December, and even though I am taking off a lot of work to focus on my mom's estate and the holidays, I am still online a LOT as I have done shopping for others. And let's face it, as we peruse teh interwebs for gifts, we end up finding many things we want for ourselves and know will not be gifted to us. So I have shopped for myself; call it retail therapy, though I don't know if any of it will truly improve my mood, my outlook, or my life in any manner beyond looking great. But I'd figure I'd share what I bought and what I thought.

What I Bought and What I Thought

I'm keeping this just to what I bought, and not what I received as a gift from brands and absolutely love and keep wearing. That will be in the recap of what I wore this month, which likely will go live at the beginning of next month!

Shoes, Shoes Shoes

Who else got to True Winter and realized they didn't have the right shoes? I mean, I still have my closed-toe Birki clogs for going to the mailbox, my ice-gripping hiking/snow boots for outdoor walking (these are similar), my brown Docs (seen here) that I wear a lot, and two pairs of knee-high boots (brown flat/riding and black kitten heel that are crumbling) but my other winter shoes are either too high heeled or not the right shape or style for 2023 fashion. So I did a bit of shopping… that which I needed and that which was shiny and caught my eye.

Sam Edelman Janina Pointed Toe Flat

I have wide feet, and fussy feet that need arch support and room for high volume (my feet are both wide and tall/thick). Flats rarely work because the vamp is too low and toe cleavage becomes an escape hatch for my pinky toes and I slide around, stretching them out. The only flats in my closet are the LISSOM Flytes, and the ALLY Forever Flats. But I saw these in wide width and decided to take a chance.

Sam Edelman Janina Pointed Toe Flat in Green Chartreuse

The Sam Edelman Janina Pointed Toe Flat in Green Chartreuse

I got the Green Chartreuse, which is a wide-wale corduroy that looks like velvet. The “buckles” are pearl and crystal and not too sparkly for day but clearly can read night with the right look. And that high vamp meant my toes would stay in place. I got my regular size, wide width.

I put them on and they felt snug. Like half a size too small snug. But I walked around in them on my carpet and within a half hour they stretched to fit my feet. And when I put them back on they were back to being a hint snug but not nearly as snug and quickly molded to my feet. And the third time I put them on, I wore them out of the house and around for two hours and they didn't stretch out, didn't rub, didn't do anything terrible.

However, there is no arch support. It's tempting to get some of these gel inserts but I don't plan on walking miles in these. I wanted a funky dressy flat I could wear with pantsuits and jeans that didn't disappear under a wide leg opening and looked structured, not like a ballet flat. And these do it. And being funky and not uber trendy, I think I can wear these years from now and not look like I'm stuck in 2023. That being said, I may get some of these insoles so I don't have to try to hide a pair of no-show socks in them.

What goes with this color? Nothing, which is why they work. The color looks great with denim, with black, with navy, gray, olive, ivory, shades of pink and berry, and pretty much any jewel tone. I wore them with wide-leg jeans and a cropped light green/celery-colored cashmere sweater and loved the effect. I see them with my navy pantsuit.

If you don't have wide feet, these come in a black suede that would be great for comfy dress shoes without a heel. And if you have wide feet and chartreuse corduroy isn't your jam, they also come in black leather.

Birdies ‘Starling' Flat

After sharing these shoes as a comfy dress shoe and adding to my wish list, I decided to order a pair in black velvet from Nordstrom in wide to see how they fit. If I liked, I'd keep and consider getting a green velvet embroidered pair in the future. And yes, they do fit wide feet and are really comfy and cushy and look luxe.

Birdies Starling flat in wide width, black velvet loafer

But I have feet shaped more like shoeboxes than shoes. My feet don't curve like most feet. Shoes usually curve so that the ball of the foot is a bit wider and angle towards each other. And mine go straight. It's why I wear Adidas not Nike, and why flats rarely work for me… including these.

My foot looks like it's fighting against the shape of the shoe, and my high volume is pouring out around the vamp like a popped can of biscuits. But if you have normal feet that curve like normal feet, but are wide… these are gorgeous and comfortable shoes that would look chic with everything from jeans to a cocktail pantsuit. Nordstrom has a decent selection but the Birdies site has more colors and optional monogramming.

Aerosoles ‘Cosmos' Sandal

I know I am not the only one who was haunted by Aerosoles ads on social media this summer and fall. So many folks raving about the ‘Camera' style of sandal. I loved the look in the silver mirror and ordered a pair… and I couldn't even fit my high-volume foot into the first strap. I should have known.

Aerosoles Cosmos sandal in silver mirror

And then I saw the ‘Cosmos' sandal, which has the same chunky stable heel and platform base, same silver mirror finish, but an ankle strap and cross straps over the toe. This meant my volume would be unrestrained, and the cross straps would likely contain my pinky toe, which likes to escape straight toe straps. And while the Aerosoles site didn't have silver mirror in wide, Nordstrom did, and I decided to try them.

OMG, these shoes are so great. My foot fits in them (a little snug at the toe straps but that's normal and I've found all sorts of shoe textiles stretch enough to give me comfort and room after one wear). The ankle strap fits around my ankle without cutting off circulation, the platform makes the heel feel lower, the mirror finish is on trend but also classic Alison style; they're not terribly heavy and look super cool with dresses and pants and will look great all year long. Tip: if you're not wide, shop Aerosoles as they have more color selection (and at the time of writing, this had 30% off sitewide).

Aerosoles is one of those brands that keeps reinventing itself. Great shoes, then frump. Then great shoes, and then lack of quality and comfort. Well, they seem to be on the upswing with shoes that are on trend and have elevated details (the buckles this season are so chic). The price continues to be reasonable (I think $135 for a comfortable, on-trend, well-made shoe is reasonable). This experience will have me checking out Aerosoles on a more regular basis.

Activewear and Athleisure

I mentioned on Instagram that I had to charge my mom's funeral arrangements (and some other estate costs) on my personal account and used my Banana Republic credit card. And with that, I got a lot of points to use on Gap family purchases. So, I decided to upgrade my activewear and athleisure game.

Old Navy Dynamic Fleece Two-Piece Set

I don't shop Old Navy as much as many because TBH, I don't like their colors. This season especially, Old Navy has a lot of colors that are lovely, but are totally not my aesthetic. But my loungewear was starting to look super tired so after hearing raves about the Old Navy Dynamic Fleece, I got this sweatshirt in XL and these matching pants in L Petite.

Old Navy Dynamic Fleece Two-Piece Set in black on Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen
This day was… rough. But I was comfy in my Old Navy set! The bag is Chico's and no longer available.

This does feel really premium. It's not fleecy, it's a heavyweight tight-weave knit with decorative seams that elevate the look. French pockets on the pants (the diagonal style typical of knit pants) made from athletic mesh so low-bulk. There are ankle slides but they aren't super obvious. The sweatshirt is a crop style that hits below the pant waistband; it has a kangaroo pocket (also mesh) with zippers on both sides. There are thumbholes in the cuffs; this is the only part of the sweatshirt I don't like as the holes are really big and not well-fashioned.

I have the set in black; the zippers and all hardware are also black. It's a great choice if you are looking to elevate your athleisure or loungewear game. It feels like a modern take on the 2020 athleisure of lockdown. And if these pieces aren't right for you or you want to create an athleisure capsule wardrobe, Old Navy also has joggers, a classic hoodie, a full-zip hoodie, a tunic version of the sweatshirt I'm wearing, and cargo trousers all in the same fabric.

Athleta Dark Fiber Optic

Highlighter color, that bright and clear chartreuse, has been my jam all of 2023. And my love of all colors in this range continued into winter. So when I saw Athleta's winter color “Dark Fiber Optic” I was in love. And with my points, I bought a lot of it. And when I saw it IRL I bought more.

My first order, I bought a tank, a beanie, a vest, and a half-zip mock neck top. The hat never arrived and they credited me it. That was fine because I found an L.L. Bean beanie I already owned (this style but in this color) matched perfectly. The tank I thought was like one I and and loved, but it wasn't and I didn't like the fit or fabric. I returned it and got the Coffee Run wallet (still available but not in this color).

Woman standing in a parking lot wearing the Athleta Dark Fiber Optic vest over a half-zip long sleeved top. It is paired with black leggings, HOKA sneakers, and a bright blue knit beanie.

But the half-zip, and vest, both which I ordered in size XL, are fantastic. Like I get why Athleta costs so much more than a lot of activewear fantastic.

The only other half-zip I own is from Nike and I think older than my teenager daughter. They are usually pulling at the bust, or if they fit the bust. they're too big in the shoulders. And even if they fit the bust and shoulders, they're usually uncomfortably snug over my arms. But this one is super comfortable, has grip and ventilation where needed and washes great. They're on sale at the time of writing this and I may get another.

The vest made me realize how ill-fitting the other puffer vests in my closet were on me. This one has shape, is really trim, but just as warm as the ones I have from Talbots, Amazon, and Lands' End that are much thicker (and boxier). Unfortunately, it's out of stock in my size in black, or I'd be buying another.

And More Athleta Gear

I already own a pair of black Rainier tights and bought another pair in navy. They're fantastic, durable, warm, comfortable, have pockets. I wear L Petite in them. They're on sale so I ordered a pair for my daughter.

Alison in Athleta Dark Lapis Blue hoodie and joggers. She is standing on a deck wearing a Dark Fiber Optic beanie cap and holding a vest of the same color in her hand. She is laughing and holding a brown stonewear coffee mug. On her feet are green Birki clogs and hot pink running socks from Bombas
The one and only time I wore these joggers. But see how good these two colors look together, and would look with pops of other colors, some black, white, or navy?

I ordered this hoodie in Dark Lapis Blue, size XL and it's… fine. It's the same fabric as the Rainer tights which for leggings I don't mind but for a top it feels a bit weird. I also got the matching Dark Lapis Blue Rainier joggers and the set made me feel like a wind-resistant Cookie Monster. I think because it is so much volume and so much of this same color. And then when I took off the joggers, I saw the crotch seam was unraveling. I returned the joggers and kept the hoodie. The hoodie runs big, I was surprised when I looked it up to link to it that it's so short on the model. It's a tunic on me. I now wear it with leggings to balance the volume, and with navy or black to temper the color.

Navy, Black, and Athleta's Dark Fiber Optic, and Dark Lapis Blue work really well mixing and matching along with the bright orchid half-zip I've owned forever, a pair of orchid and navy tie-dye leggings from Miami Fitwear, and an electric blue beanie I got at Universal Standard a year or two ago. It's nice to have an inspiring activewear wardrobe as I am trying to go outside and walk as much as possible, regardless of weather, for physical and mental health.

Universal Standard Next to Naked Dress and Hooded Zip Jacket

A year ago, I began a blog post reviewing what I thought was the best active skort dress. I tried every single one I could find in my size that would accommodate my bust, and at the time, I decided it was the one from Old Navy. In the blog post, I wrote I wished Universal Standard would create an active skort dress in the same concept as their Next to Naked Bodysuit that I love. I went to finish the post (I'm trying to tie up loose ends before the end of the year) and when I wanted to grab a link for the bodysuit, I saw Universal Standard launched an active dress! So I ordered it, and the matching zip jacket, in Cobalt.

Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen in the cobalt Universal Standard Next to Naked Dress with the coordinating Next to Naked jacket tid around her waist. She is standing on a patio of a hotel in a tropical locale, smirking at the camera while chinching the jacket around her waist.
I promise, my Thanksgiving vacation recap is coming! This is a picture from it, standing on the patio of our hotel room in the Universal Standard Next to Naked dress, cinching the matching zip jacket around my waist.

It really is like the NTN bodysuit, but a short length with an attached skirt. The cobalt, in typical US fashion, isn't cobalt but looks like the color on your screen, which is more like a dark periwinkle. I still like the color, but was hoping for something bolder. The skort dress has no built in bra, adjustable straps, some may love it but some may hate that it's near impossible to hide an athletic bra under it. There is a pocket on each leg so you can easily carry your wallet, keys, sunglasses, and lipbalm.

The jacket is a trim fit, and the scoop style doesn't really go with the dress, though it does with the shorts, leggings, and bodysuit of the same fabric. I think the jacket looks a bit weird unzipped with the dress, but I wore them together. I think I'll get another bottom in cobalt this spring (or when they replenish sizes and colors) to add to my activewear wardrobe. This color also looks great with navy, is bright enough for black, it's pretty with orchid/lavender, and I dig it with the Dark Fiber Optic and Dark Lapis Blue (AKA teal) so it's some nice pieces to transition my wardrobe to the summer pieces I already own (many which are navy, black, and highlighter).

Accessories

Accessories are my favorite way to update my existing wardrobe. Especially in winter, when I'm mainly wearing solid-colored sweaters with jeans or dark-colored pants, accessories can make staples and years-old pieces feel new and modern.

Nadri Pavé Cubic Zirconia Huggie Hoop Earrings

My right ear has a single piercing. My left ear has a conch piercing and three holes on the lobe. I almost always have small earrings in the two extra lobe piercings and for the past year or two, it has been some tiny gold “huggie” style of hoop. Really leaning into the return of silver, I wanted some silver hoops for those holes that I could wear all the time. And since it's sparkle season, I decided I wanted silver pavé hoops.

Nadri Pavé Cubic Zirconia Huggie Hoop Earrings on Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen
Wearing the Nadri hoops in my two holes, and a pair of Nordstrom pavé hoops that I do not recommend because the post is curved and thick. The necklace is about a decade old and is proof that jewelry, if you have the room, is worth keeping as it usually comes back in style!

These hoops from Nadri are only $40, and at first glance, they get bad reviews. But one negative review has no text, one is from someone who never received the earrings, and one it sounds like it got damaged in shipping and couldn't be removed from the display card. So I took a chance.

I love them. Pavé looks less fake than CZ solitaires but are super sparkly. These are bigger than I thought; many may wear as their regular hoops. But I like them a lot and have been wearing them constantly, even in the shower, for two weeks without a single issue.

Nordstrom Cubic Zirconia Eternity Bangle

A few years ago, a brand gifted me a gold and lab-created diamond tennis bracelet, and I've been wearing it a lot lately. With my silver kick, I desired something similar but again wasn't yet ready to drop a lot of coin. So I saw this bangle which is like a stiff tennis bracelet at Nordstrom and it was on sale for $36 so I tried it.

Silver Cubic Zirconia Eternity Bangle by Nordstrom

I like it. I don't think it looks super fake, and has a really elegant and sturdy clasp. Since it's a bangle instead of a chain bracelet, it doesn't get in the way and I can wear it above my WHOOP tracker. It also comes in gold, and it's a nice bit of sparkle to tie in with my huggie hoops.

Underpinnings

My intimates drawer is a sad state of affairs so with the end of the year sales, I updated some of my struggling underpinnings.

Wacoal Feeling Flexible Briefs

My everyday undies were some cotton blend style from Old Navy that is no longer available and they are starting to be stretched out and sad looking. I really wanted cotton, but I wanted something that wouldn't bind at the legs, which I find cotton undies usually do on me. And if they don't bind, they're either so high rise on my short self that they peek out of my jeans or just a bit too low and roll under my belly. I decided to take a chance with the Wacoal Feeling Flexible briefs, which got rave reviews for comfort and not sagging or shifting.

Wacoal Feeling Flexible briefs  and matching bra worn on a model

These are awesome. I bought XL and L not sure which size I was and while the XL is comfy and stays in place, the L is a better fit. A few colors are on sale. They're so great I wore them on my flights for Thanksgiving, and find them great under everything from tights to jeans, dress pants to sweatpants. And I don't feel like a swamp wearing them on a morning walk.

Soma Sale Panties

In the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook, it was shared that Soma had select colors of popular styles of undies on major clearance. As someone who is a big fan of the ‘Vanishing' collection and has plenty of beige and blush and sand colored pairs for light-colored pants but could use some in other colors to wear under dark pants and dresses, I headed over. And at the time of writing this, Soma still has a lot of panties on major sale.

Pile of Soma panties that are on clearance sale.

So, different colors have different prices. Clearly, I got teal, gold, and plum because those were the major sale colors that appealed to me. The deal was to buy seven or more pairs and get 70% off. And they were already on sale for less than $20, so I got eight pairs of Soma panties for around $50!

You will need to dig; the sale colors are the same link as the regularly priced. Just pick the style you like from the Sale Panties page, and then tap on each color and the price will show up. It doesn't have to be seven of the same style, just seven pairs of sale undies. Since these are colors and prints they are discontinuing, sizes are limited. But I had to offer this PSA if you too are a big fan of Soma undies!

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14 Comments

  1. though I don’t know if any of it will truly improve my mood, my outlook, or my life in any manner beyond looking great.

    Feels like reason enough!

    Also your skin looks incredible!!! Is that promo still available for your favorite skincare brand?

  2. This has nothing to do with the fashions you talked about but I am curious nonetheless. In one photo you are in a parking lot.There is a small airport nearby. At least I hope so. Otherwise there is a pilot in trouble. I can barely see the details of the plane but I think I know what it is. Can you tell me the location and the name of the airport? Or if you can give me the location, I can figure out the airport. Thanks!

    1. It’s a sculpture! It’s attached to a stone platform below. I’m not sure exactly the significance as the closest airport is College Park, but it’s not technically a place in College Park.

      1. As i thought, the is an Ercoupe. The sculpture is located on property that was formerly where the planes were made by ERCO. Ercoupe were fun, little planes. I got to fly one once because I had a friend who owned one. Flying one is like flying a lightweight sports car in the sky. All the Ercoupes still existing are old as manufacturing stopped many years ago. There is a small devoted group of owners and pilots who keep the planes alive by constant care.

  3. I love the Soma vanishing edge panties and am definitely going to check out their sale and see what’s left. Also, question on earrings… I have noticed on some fashion platforms women are wearing different earrings on each side. Is this a new trend? I kinda like it, I think? Just wondering what you knew/thought/heard. 🙂

    1. I’m far from being a fashionable person so what I say probably doesn’t carry any weight. Anyway, I have been wearing unmatched earrings for years. What I do however, is coordinate them with color, size, texture, or theme so that they look like they are related.

    2. Yes! Many companies are creating purposefully mismatched earrings. This is a trend, and I think it’s fun but I always feel personally I look mismatched not cool. However, I do like adding more earrings on one side than the other (I have multiple piercings) for my version of the mismatched look.

  4. I scored a brand-new, never worn pair of Sam Edelman Felicia flats for $20 on ThredUp. I have a narrow foot and they were a 7.5N — and too snug on my feet. I hit them with a warm hairdryer for a few minutes, and then put on some thick socks and stuffed my feet in them (quite uncomfortably!) for about an hour. It worked and now they are molded nicely to my feet. You might be able to do part of that process for your corduroy pair. And FWIW if anyone else is looking at the Felicia – they’re not worth the $130 retail price in my opinion. They are very narrow, low support, and kinda fragile. I prefer my Rothy’s hands-down over them.

  5. That’s a great deal on the Soma panties! They are definitely my favorites & I just did a little update myself a few weeks ago when they were having a “buy 3, get 2 free” sale. Soma tempts me greatly—ha! Everything is so very soft & washes & dries well. My Soma buys (lounge pants, sleep pants, pajamas, a robe) are some I wear constantly, even the older pieces; such good quality & again, so very soft. I was curious about the Old Navy fleece pieces but had been hesitant to try them, thinking they were like old-school fleece & would be very heavy & bulky. Glad to hear that’s not the case & I really like your matching set.

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