What I Found: Express Cardigans

Cardigans are a wardrobe staple for me. Mostly because I bought a ridiculous number of sleeveless blouses during my first few years out of college, thinking I’d be the uber professional person who wears jackets all the time. Since most of my jackets go unworn, I need something else to cover my arms and prevent me from freezing in the office. Enter cardigans.

Finding the perfect cardigan is hard. Years and years ago, I bought four or five of the exact same cardigan — in different colors — from Ann Taylor. At the time, I thought they fit me really well, and they were on sale, so I bought one in nearly every color. I also stupidly bought a bunch of dry-clean-only cardigans from a different store. I sweat a lot, so I basically got one wear out of each cardigan before needing to take it to the cleaners. Stupid! I’ve gotten smarter about the cleaning instructions for all my clothes. Conveniently, I also don’t sweat as much. So there’s that.

I bought a few of the Eversoft boyfriend cardigans from Gap a few years ago. They were nearly perfect — great length, really soft, non-dry-clean. Unfortunately I wore them ALL THE TIME, so the color has started to fade, especially on the black one. I have a couple black cardigans I bought from Target five or six years ago that I love, but they were clearance purchases. The store hasn’t brought back either of those styles, so I must have been the only person who loved them.

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to try wearing flared jeans again. I went to a bunch of stores, which meant I looked at things other than jeans at a bunch of stores too. While in Express, I tried on a few cardigans and loved all of them. In the end, I settled on this ribbed cascading-front cardigan. I bought it in black (below) and white.

Express open front cardigan | What Lindsey Likes

The length is perfect — it easily covers my bum if I were wearing leggings. It’s not at all clingy, which is a plus in my book. The arms look tight, and they are, but there is plenty of give — I’m able to wear these cardigans over long-sleeve button down shirts. If you wanted to make it slightly more form-fitting through the body, you could easily belt it.

Express open front cardigan | What Lindsey Likes

I was also lucky enough to find a black cardigan that is identical to this oatmeal cardigan I wore here.

j crew factory chambray with faux leather leggings | whatlindseylikes

I love the oatmeal one and had been kicking myself for not getting it in black. I was able to pick it up for less than $15. I had a coupon on top of that, so it was even cheaper! It’s so cozy and comfortable, yet it’s also lightweight so it’s not too warm. I wore it with an Old Navy t-shirt dress a couple weeks ago — it was perfect.

Speaking of Old Navy, I have quite a few cardigans from there as well. Most of them are boyfriend style, meaning they’re really long and not clingy. I bought several on clearance a few years ago in a variety of colors. I’ve worn all of them (yay!), but I don’t wear them often (I wore the cobalt blue one to a wedding I attended in February). There are very few shirts that work well with them — the shirts have to be really long and relatively shapeless. That sounds cute, I’m sure. To balance out the proportions, they almost always have to be worn with skinny jeans or pants. They work well with some dresses, as long as they’re belted. They aren’t the worst things I’ve ever purchased, but also not the greatest.

What I Own: Too Many Jackets

A few years ago, I started a new job that required I wear a jacket almost every day. I bought a ton of jackets just before I started the new job, and then got it stuck in my head that a girl can never have too many jackets. Well, if I had stayed at that company, that could have been true. But I left that job after 6 or 7 months of absolute misery, and joined an organization where jackets were acceptable, for sure, but not really the norm. The organization I work for now is even more casual. Wearing a jacket at my current job means I’ll probably be asked at least once, “Do you have a job interview today?” or “Do you have a big presentation today?”

Thankfully I stopped buying jackets, but I have a very large collection of them collecting dust in my closet. The main reason I don’t wear them? They usually give me headaches. Wearing a jacket feels so constricting — compared to a cardigan — and that generally makes my head start to hurt. I’ve found a few jackets that are made of a knit material, so they’re actually almost as comfortable as a hooded sweatshirt. But, alas, most aren’t like this.

Another reason I don’t wear jackets is because I’m very particular about the shape and how that works for my body. I’m still trying to figure out what works for my pear shape — and probably will be for the rest of my life. Some jackets I’ve purchased seemed great in theory, but then never looked quite right. For example, this jean jacket (or do we call them denim jackets now?) from Gap. (I realize this is not a dressy jacket AT ALL, but it’s a jacket in my collection of jackets.)

gap jean jacket | What Lindsey Likes

I bought this jacket close to 10 years ago. It was on crazy clearance at the Gap store in Madison, Wis. I was shopping with my mom and hadn’t bought anything. I bought this solely so that I didn’t leave the state empty-handed. Aside from standing on the deck outside my house for this photo, I’ve NEVER worn this jacket before. The fit is wrong in every area. The length is too short for my body type, the arms are really long and the body is at least one or two sizes too big.

Gap jean jacket | What Lindsey Likes

It doesn’t help that the shirt I’m wearing is really long in the back. But still, there’s no hope for this jacket. I’ll try to add it to my closet misfits pile and see if I can figure out at least one way to wear it. I’m not optimistic — I think it’ll be moving from the misfit pile to the Goodwill pile.

So short jackets are clearly not what I should be wearing. Yet I kept buying them for such a long time. This next jacket is still kind of short, but it’s shape makes up for it. I don’t think it’s perfect with this shirt because this shirt is so long in the back, but it goes with quite a few other tops that I have. Plus, most importantly, this is one of those hooded-sweatshirt-material jackets.

Target jacket | What Lindsey Likes

Oh, by the way, I’m blonde now.

This jacket is an improvement over the jean jacket because it has an actual shape. The zipper detail cuts in a little, giving me an actual waist. There’s also some strategically placed darting to make it look a little more feminine. I LOVE this jacket. However, like I said earlier, this shirt is too long, so this probably isn’t an outfit I’d wear. Ha, yet I’m comfortable posting in on my blog.

Target jacket with too long shirt | What Lindsey Likes

This next jacket is awesome because it’s longer than any other jacket I’ve ever seen. I saw a former coworker wearing it once and basically tackled her to the ground to ask where she got it. The jacket is made by Gibson, and is available at both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I bought this one and an identical black one from Nordstrom Rack. I know that I ordered a few additional colors/prints from Nordstrom’s website, but the sizing wasn’t quite the same, so they went back.

Grey Gibson jacket | What Lindsey Likes

So this jacket is a bit deceptive. It LOOKS like the same hoodie material at the green one, but it’s only like that on the outside. The inside is lined like regular suit jackets are, which defeats the whole purpose! So it looks like it’d be crazy comfortable, but it’s not. Plus it’s dry clean only. Worst thing ever! I still love how it looks, though. I love the length and the darting.

Grey Gibson jacket | What Lindsey Likes

This post’s final jacket is on the longer side too, but not quite as long as the Gibson. This jacket came from New York & Company. It was incredibly cheap, and was another purchase that was made solely because I didn’t want to leave the mall empty-handed.

Leopard print jacket | What Lindsey Likes

It’s a straighter fit than the previous two jackets, but that’s OK. It’s still slim enough to give me a little shape rather than just being a box like the jean jacket was.

Leopard print jacket | What Lindsey Likes

I never mentioned the shirt I’m wearing today. I bought this sleeveless top from Banana Republic this weekend. It was originally $55, on sale for $29, plus an extra 50% off, making it $15ish. I had an Old Navy rewards certificate that needed to be spent, so I bought this and a few other things for what amounted to $10. The top might look polka-dotted in these photos, but it’s actually like a mesh. Ha, a classy mesh, if you can believe it. I bought the size small, and as you can see from the photos it’s still fairly large. I tried on the ‘small petite’ size, but it was a lot shorter without much change in the fit of the body. The arm holes are ridiculously large on me, so it’s safe to say I’ll never wear this without a jacket or cardigan unless I’m commuting — alone — to and from work on a warm day.

Sorry for the mixture of headless and head-ful photos. The wind was CRAZY when I took these pictures. My hair was everywhere, namely in my face. Wind is my least favorite element of weather.

 

 

What I’ve Learned: Must. Take. Notes.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. All of the books I’ve read in the last 6 weeks have been about human behavior. I’m fascinated by how each of us makes decisions. Mostly because I like giving advice — solicited or in-solicited. I happen to think I’m really good at it, but all of you would be better judges of that since you’ve at least read some of my advice here. I love analyzing choices, whether they’re mine or yours, and thinking through all the potential consequences of each choice. I like to assess my own thought process, especially my hesitations or rationalizations around my choices, and then post-decision, see which thoughts were right or wrong so I can either avoid or replicate making decisions based on a certain feeling.

Reading with Digger | What Lindsey Likes

I’ve read three books so far, all of which have been awesome. I went through the first two relatively quickly and thought after finishing them, “Wow, those were good, but if someone asked me for a few of the key points, I’d be at a loss.”

I’ve had this same experience with meetings or situations at work. Even when I’m truly interested in what I’m hearing, I’m most likely going to forget big points of what I experience. Especially if it’s a totally new concept for me, and most of community health concepts are (at work), as are a lot of the behavioral economics concepts I’ve been reading about.

When I was about a third of the way through my most recent book, I stared at the big bold letters that read Chapter 6. I knew I’d read a TON of interesting information up to that point, but I felt like I couldn’t confidently explain it to anyone if someone had asked. So, I decided to start from the beginning, this time taking notes of all the interesting concepts, along with notes that applied the concept to something in real life, usually a work situation, but sometimes my personal behavior, especially in regard to working out, eating healthy or cleaning my house.

Now that I have my notes, I feel a million times better about how I’ve spent my time. Not only can I go back and reference something, but I actually think the concepts are more ingrained in my brain because I read them, wrote them and read them again.

Notetaking | What Lindsey Likes

I actually learned this lesson at work a long time ago, yet clearly I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. A couple years ago at a previous job, I had a boss who would ask me to do things at times that felt random. Not that his requests were random, they just came out of the blue for me — like they weren’t tied to a meeting about the specific topic or at a 1:1. Ha, most of you are probably thinking, “Oh, so he just asked you to do something like everyone else does in the real world?” Yes.

But I learned quickly that I needed to write down everything — from the specifics of his request down to the wording he was using. If I didn’t write that down, I would forget how he worded it and would have basically no recollection of the conversation the next time I looked at those notes.

I didn’t take a picture of this, but you can basically imagine me smacking myself upside my head in disbelief at my lack of a memory. Moving on.

At my current job, I have to take tons of notes in meetings in order to feel like I ‘get’ it. And I definitely have to take notes if someone comes to my desk about a request that wasn’t top of mind or even on my list of things to consider that week or month. The requests my coworkers have are totally legitimate and I’m the person they should ask, but I will 100% forget without detailed notes. I usually make them send me an email, that way I get it in their exact words (my paraphrasing of things with which I’m unfamiliar is pretty horrible) and, more importantly, I have a record of it.

I took detailed notes all through high school and college too, so again, none of this is new behavior, really. It’s more about just accepting — from the beginning — that I will not retain anything without notes.

All of that being said, there are certain times where my memory is crazy good. I remember birthdays for tons of people who I either haven’t talked to in decades or who are spouses of my best friends. Remembering their birthdays is not at all critical to my friendships so I have no idea why those dates stay in my mind. I remember most of my friends’ wedding anniversaries. I remember phone numbers. I can almost always tell Dan where he last had his wallet, keys or cell phone. If I’m missing a tube of chapstick, I can remember which purse or pocket it’s in. I’m sure there is some kind of obvious explanation for this. Maybe this isn’t special — maybe all of you can already do this, PLUS remember people’s requests of you at work. Either way, I will try to read a book about it and take notes so that I remember the answer and can tell you about it later.

Anyway, I’m LOVING these books. In case you’re interested in behavioral economics or human behavior, here are the books I’ve finished (or am about to start):

What I'm Reading | What Lindsey Likes

Here are the details about my fabulous reading/note-taking attire. My sweatshirt is from Express. It’s super comfortable and lightweight. The sequins on the front are reversible — one side is a combo of grey and pale pink; the other side is gold. I don’t know how to clearly describe this in writing, but I’ll try: If you move your hands up the front of the shirt, the sequins turn gold; if you move your hands down the front of the shirt, the sequins told grey and pink. My pants are a pair of lounge capris from Gap Body that I bought last Christmas for like $5. They are crazy comfortable! The adorable fur-ball next to me is my maltipoo Digger.

When I was taking these photos, I realized how pathetic it was that Dan and I don’t have a headboard. I have another post coming later this week or early next week all about that and why I think it’s a sign that I haven’t fully reached adulthood.