Streamlining Social Media

I want to delete my Facebook. I actually deleted it several times already- because removing "friends" can be so difficult, I closed one account, then started a new one... only to receive, despite the strictest possible privacy settings, more unwanted requests, messages, and pressure to accept and answer them. Social media is useful in so many ways- how could I live so far from family and longtime friends without it?- but Facebook, Instagram, et. al are businesses first and foremost. Their profit margins increase the more people join, share posts, and view ads. Donc, social networks don't care if we put too much information out there or spend too much time online.

Right now, I'm focusing on spring cleaning my social media- a digital detox, if you will. Periodically, I try to step away from all screens for awhile (it could be a day, a weekend, or a week) to get a grip. The internet is a great resource when used wisely, but it can be a little depressing. There's a lot of pressure to constantly take pictures with pretty filters in new outfits at the trendiest places. It can make me feel like I need to chase after a particular lifestyle, or buy certain things I wouldn't be interested in otherwise. For some, social media prompts a nagging sense of unease whenever they're at a dinner or anyplace where it would be inappropriate to check their phones, an urge to check and reply to incoming messages. This affects personal relationships, and is surely the reason Kar and Toffel like to sit on our laptops, or try to bat away the phone every time I spend too much time on it instead of playing "spy on pigeons from the window" with them.

Should you streamline your social media accounts?

  • Do you forgo sleep to surf the web, browse social media, or check incoming messages? Do you keep using the internet long after deciding on a time to stop?
  • Does it affect your self perception- in other words, do you find yourself comparing your life to others? Do you feel a decline in confidence due to unfair comparisons? Does certain social media make you feel bad about your life?
  • Does using certain networks or viewing certain images negatively affect your mood? 
  • Does your mood change, or do you feel uneasy or agitated, when you cannot access the Internet or use an electronic device? When you're signed out of social media accounts, do you find yourself longing to log in again?
  • Do you neglect other duties because of electronic usage? Do you find yourself using portable devices during meals or real-life conversations with people? Can include video games, TV, email, etc.
  • Are you overloading others by broadcasting the latest trending subjects to acquaintances, perhaps taking up your- and their- valuable time? Conversely, do you feel pressured into accepting friends, answering messages, and commenting when you don't really want to? 
  • Would your family members agree with your answers to these questions?

Since I said yes to most of these things, here are some strategies I found useful in cleaning up my digital footprint.

Social media minimalism

  1. Baby steps. Unfollow or unsubscribe to unnecessary accounts, email lists, and TV channels- that is, stuff you're not interested in anymore or things that clutter your feed. Delete apps and games you never (or shouldn't) use, and photos you don't look at or show others frequently- for instance, out of those 100 selfies you took in the car, maybe you should keep only a few. Sign out of social networks you don't urgently need (for instance, many people need Twitter and LinkedIn for work, but Pinterest less so). Making sites less readily accessible prompts you to think about whether you really should sign in or not. 
  2. Prioritize. Figure out what messages, online tasks, or activities are truly important, and what doesn't need to be done. Are online acquaintances cluttering up your newsfeed, so you don't see posts from real-life friends? I used to follow everyone back on Instagram, but then I was missing photos of friends' new babies and pictures from family gatherings, so I stopped. Now my rules for social media are: 1) Do I know this person? 2) Do I remember how I met this person (if ever?) 3) If they were in Paris, would I invite them for dinner or meet them for a drink? If the answer to any of these questions is no, I delete them. As Joan Didion said, I don't even keep in touch with the people I used to be, so why would I keep in touch with random others?
  3. Set reasonable limits. Obviously a lot of us need to use digital technology for business, but if we're overusing it recreationally, we may need to designate specific times for personal accounts. For example, you might wish to check in for half an hour in the morning and again at night, but nothing more. If you feel the urge to grab your phone or computer, try to do something else as you wait for the feeling to pass- scrub a toilet, make yourself a sandwich, walk to a park, whatever. It helps to plan activities in advance so you can react quickly when resisting the urge to use electronic devices. One thing we do at dinner with friends sometimes is put all the phones in the center of the table, and the first one to reach for theirs gets the bill. Even Kylie Jenner sets her phone down at bedtime, answers the first messages she sees in the morning, and ignores the rest, much to the chagrin of Kourtney Kardashian.
  4. Be realistic. Social media isn't a reliable indicator of how connected you are to people in real-life. It can even make some friendships seem closer than they really are. Stop texting or messaging some of your online friends, and see if they take the initiative to contact you. If an online connection sends you unnecessary messages, don't answer. Obviously you want to be nice, but if it's sucking up a lot of your time, don't stress- if people get mad at you for not answering a Candy Crush request, they're not true friends.
  5. Deactivate. In extreme cases of spending too much time on a particular network, you may wish to deactivate your account. You can always reactivate later, but a break can help you be less attached and gain a bit of perspective on whether or not certain forms of social media are truly necessary. For instance, I was really annoyed with Linkedin and Twitter, but kept my accounts because I felt I would be unemployable without them. Then I deactivated and found it actually did not hinder my ability to find a job whatsoever.

Periodically, I also delete Instagram and Facebook pictures that don't mesh with my aesthetic vision for my feed. That's my own weird personal hangup, though. I do find that zeroing my inbox and deleting unnecessary archival emails helps me answer emails more quickly and be more productive (it also reduces your digital footprint- storing emails emits carbon. Some other easy ways to reduce carbon emissions from electronic usage: solar chargers, and using, a search engine that plants trees). I keep one folder of digital photos on my computer and backed up on the cloud, and the only apps I have on my phone (besides factory apps) are three programs I use daily (not Pinterest and Facebook, which I find easier to access on Chrome). I have 30 documents on Google Drive that I refer to frequently, so I don't feel the need to apply minimalist principles to them at this time. Minimalism is a useful tool when it serves us, but it's not something we should necessarily strive for in every aspect of our lives.
Paris to Go

Personal Style

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
-Oscar Wilde

I have this sudden urge to start dressing my age, ever since watching that scene in Miss Granny when Ji-ha teases Oh Doo-ri about her clothes and I realized I'd wear everything she had on right then. I haven't paid attention to trends in a few years because, before I moved to Paris and lost 30 pounds, I was happy with my wardrobe. I thought I had a well-developed sense of personal style and never felt self-conscious or inappropriately dressed for any occasion. I was a lot more inventive and experimental, likely because I was poor, living in a small Midwestern suburb filled with people who now identify as Trump supporters. 

I love my dresses more each time I wear them, but it goes without saying that my off-duty wardrobe is a mess. I keep repeating the same buying mistakes- picking up fast fashion "basics" secondhand, only to have them rendered worthless after a few months, or purchasing things that theoretically work for my body type, yet look really bad in practice. I dislike the notion of purging anything not perfectly curated to my tastes. Still, I didn't consider how subtle environmental changes influence what I'm comfortable wearing. Suddenly the dresses that felt so right at Le Baron back in the day seem silly in my friend's apartment, where we're barefooted eating Chipotle. It's time to recalibrate what's appropriate for my current lifestyle. 

I couldn't have picked a worse time for an overhaul. I already tried the bomber jacket / plaid / drop earrings / choker / peasant top thing. I did not survive the cancellation of Daria, nor Britney Spears' progressive descent into madness, simply to revisit the weird denim trends of that era. Don't get me started on white Adidas, the preferred footwear of every Mia Hamm-obsessed mean girl from 5th grade on. I wore skater shoes and didn't learn how to play soccer until later, so my inner teenager refuses to consider them now.

I just want clothes that are easy, that look decent on Instagram without requiring a camisole, covert adjustments, or wardrobe hacks (my heart wants to dress like a K-Pop star, but my head, saddled with the responsibility of a four mile daily commute on foot, says no). So how to do a style refresh in 2016, while avoiding anything that vaguely smacks of gypset and Gigi Hadid? Here is the method I'm using for my makeover, in case it helps anybody else.


Do you really need a wardrobe refresh?

How do you feel when you see your wardrobe? Are you mostly happy with how it looks? Are you excited to get dressed in the morning? Do the clothes reflect your personality? Is it easy to put together a satisfying outfit? If someone were to open your closet doors, would you be embarrassed by what they saw? If the answer to any of these questions is negative, move on to the next step. 

Closet cleanout

1. Set a date

Clear your schedule for one day to focus exclusively on overhauling and restructuring your wardrobe. Make sure the laundry is done and you've picked everything back from the cleaners prior to that date. If a full day just isn't possible, sort through clothing by category in one to four hour  blocks spread out over consecutive weekends (less effective- radical, sweeping changes are more encouraging and thus easier to sustain than incremental ones). Some may find it helpful to invite a brutally honest friend over for an objective opinion. I do not. My friends will tell me if I have spinach in my teeth but are too nice about clothes.


2. Start sorting

Gather every single article of clothing you own and arrange by categories on the floor. Be thorough- Marie Kondo seriously recommends getting rid of anything you find afterwards, and I agree. Arranging by category helps you spot themes and wardrobe holes, like having 20 striped t-shirts or lots of yoga pants and no office wear. If you absolutely have no time for this, try powersorting- set a timer for five minutes and pick out all the pieces or outfits that you absolutely love, reserving them in a "keep" pile. Next, reset the timer and pull out all the pieces that you despise or never wear. Don't overanalyze- gut instinct works best here.

3. Try on each item

Snap a picture if you can, looking at each piece from as many angles as possible. Ask yourself, do I like how I look in this photo? Does this piece make me feel good? Do I get compliments when I wear it? Does it coordinate with at least three items in my closet? Think if you have any place to wear it- ideally, someplace you go reasonably often. Is the garment hard to wear, i.e., am I constantly adjusting the straps, tugging the neckline, hiking up the waistband, etc.? If something is too high maintenance- that is, if the effort of wearing, washing, mending an item prevents you from using an article of clothing- get rid of it. 

5. Evaluate

Determine whether outdated, worn, faded, or unflattering styles could be tailored, dyed, upcycled, remade, or responsibly disposed of. Ask yourself, "If I ran into a former classmate wearing this, would I be embarrassed?" My French neighbors- even the ones with messy babies- don't lounge around in ratty old college t-shirts; they actually look nice for each other. As Marie Kondo says, if you dress like a potato, you'll be a potato (I'm paraphrasing). Have a little self-respect and keep presentable, comfortable, washable items to change into when you get home, like a jersey dress or decent leggings. Put anything that needs to be tailored in your car or in a bag by the door immediately, so you don't forget about it.

4. Pare down

I get why housekeeping guides push the "Have you worn it in a year?" rule, because clothes can rot away in the closet, but it doesn't apply to all situations. Instead, ask, "Will I wear this again?" Be realistic. If there's something you can't wear unless you find the perfect jacket or cami to go with it, forget it. I never found that elusive item, or I did and still hated the dependent garment after. Rid yourself of "just in case" pieces, since usually the imaginary occasion never comes around. Make sure each item passes the "bend and snap" test. Like, get rid of anything that gives you le sourire du plombier.

6. Organize

I hang dresses, coats, blazers, skirts, and pants- anything that needs to keep its shape- by category and color, while folding t-shirts, sweaters, jeans, and leggings. Lingerie, socks, and tights go in a lingerie box, accessories on a shelf, and shoes in their boxes. A place for everything and everything in its place really is the best old adage. As for sentimental items, I think it's okay to keep a reasonable amount. Some people take a picture before getting rid of it. Just use common sense. Don't stockpile more sentimental items (or multiples) than you can afford to store. This system helps you spot what is actually needed to round out your closet and makes future wardrobe planning much easier.


Personal style is multidimensional and constantly changing, so don't worry about defining it in one or two words. Instead, pull out your favorite, go-to outfits. What do you like about them? Is it the material, silhouette, or color? Is it how they accentuate or hide certain features, or is comfort a factor? Do the outfits or items you select project a certain image? If you're unhappy with that image, or want to incorporate more variety, visit a store and try a bunch of different looks. Examine yourself from all angles and snap photos if you can. Thrift stores are generally best for this, since they're less subject to the trends, colors, and silhouettes of retail (now that the secondhand market is more savvy and expensive, they've become increasingly selective about the brands and styles they take, so this may not always apply). For me, visiting an art museum, riding the métro, or sitting at a café is a better strategy than making a Pinterest board and endlessly studying street style, which I find more frustrating than helpful.

I think it probably is a good rule of thumb to have twice as many tops as bottoms, but could care less about the proportion of basics to statement pieces. A wardrobe can be composed entirely of statement pieces and still function. It should, however, match your lifestyle. If you work in a Fortune 500 company and your clothes are more appropriate for Coachella, you might need a fitted, knee-length dress. Are there occasions in life where you don't have anything to wear? These, along with unsalvageable items that need updating, should be the focus of your buying, within reason. Have your likes and dislikes firmly in mind before shopping, and read labels, so you don't get stuck with something high-maintenance. Evaluate quality before any purchase. The less elastic your budget, the more versatile every new piece should be, so purchase pieces that can be worn for several seasons, or year-round. 

I was at a loss what to wear anytime my husband and I went to Beaugrenelle. By observing my favorite outfits, I found I liked body-skimming natural fabrics, minimal embellishment, and muted colors. In other words, my style is anything the cats could sleep on, so I bought accordingly. I got rid of five items (clothing swaps are my favorite method now), then thrifted a linen t-shirtv-neck pocket teecashmere boyfriend sweaterplaid shirt, and two pairs of skinny jeans. I feel pretty happy with my wardrobe (I still need a swimsuit though). 

I didn't pay attention to my body type when shopping. I don't know if I'm an apple or tteokbokki or what. I once went to see a personal stylist who tried to dress me like Selena Gomez; another recommended Kourtney Kardashian. Both hated my wedge sneakers, which are non-negotiable. In the end, I just picked the colors, fabrics, and styles I liked. I'll have a tailor do what she can, and own up to my choices if she can't. 

This is not to conflate a wardrobe purge with morality. Getting rid of unloved clothes has not magically changed my life or attitude, and it's obviously not some open sesame to great style- I still kind of look like Jonathan Swift's girl whose clothes were thrown on with a pitchfork. But having a streamlined wardrobe helps me see what I really want and actually need. Don't worry about finding "perfect" items, which turns maintaining a small, useful wardrobe into a fruitless, dissatisfying and never-ending quest. If you never find the perfect blazer (I haven't), you'll get over it, same as you got over that crush on Devon Sawa in kindergarten. Anyway, I'm realizing it's okay to update a wardrobe every once in a while, as long as I'm not chasing after tiresome trends. I plan on getting a few ear cuffs or Berbere-style rings too; not a lot, just enough to make me less of a septuagenarian. I'm in no hurry, and I don't plan on changing pieces constantly. I hope to only purchase things that grow on me, that I learn to appreciate more with every passing day, like falling in love.

Paris to Go

Why I Don't Wear Vegan Leather

I've been meaning to write a post on vegan leather ever since Pam Anderson went on French television talking about it. She and I obviously have very different views on plastic, and animal products too- I tend to think secondhand animal products are less harmful than faux alternatives. This isn't to say you shouldn't wear vegan leather, or that secondhand options really are less bad. In fact, last week I briefly considered a pair of Line & Dot pleather leggings at Buffalo Exchange after seeing Gigi Hadid wear them. I looked like one of the Nelson twins in "Can't Live Without Your Love and Affection," but that is neither here nor there. 

If the idea of animal products inherently bothers you, I respect that. I read Arne Naess' Deep Ecology. I believe in the intrinsic value of all living beings too, and I appreciate and want to care for animal life. I'm not sure I buy into the whole "leather and fur are a meat byproduct" argument anyway (an estimated ten million tons of industrial meat discards end up in landfills each year). Aside from the horrors of sourcing raw animal hides, the tanning process incorporates chromium, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia, exposing factory workers and nearby soil / water to carcinogenic mutagens. Each ton of hide produces 20-80 cubic meters of contaminated wastewater. Leather production is also associated with the depletion of rainforests, clearcut to make room for new cattle ranches. Though biodegradable, treated leather produces methane and may leach hazardous materials, such as toluene or benzene, into the environment. Additionally, vegetable tanned leather produces more greenhouse gases than chrome tanned.

Vegan leather isn't great for the environment, either (nor is faux fur, which is just fuzzy petroleum, for that matter). To illustrate: vegan leather is like Kanye West- promising, but perhaps evil (actually I met Kanye twice at Silencio and he was really well-spoken and nice. He got my name and the next day I had an invitation to his fashion show after-party with my friends. It was fun!). Unless manufactured using a closed loop system, synthetic particles discharged as waste harm both animals and humans. Polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane, and polymer composite microfibers release microplastics into waterways every time they're washed. Such materials are often highly combustible, more likely to be treated with flame retardants, and downcycled. Up to 35% of the raw materials used to manufacture PU are from sustainable sources, yet at the end of its life cycle, polyurethane is generally incinerated, not recycled. PU is a higher source of nitrous oxide and hydrogen cyanide than PVC when burned, while PVC incineration produces dioxins. These make their way into the food stream and are now present in animals on a cellular level. To reduce these dangers, some companies are developing kelp, cork, electronic circuit board, and pineapple-based vegan leathers or plant-derived PU. For now, though, synthetic faux leather- manufactured by covering fabric in plastic- produces harmful phthalates and is subject to progressive deterioration via hydrolysis.

The consensus among experts is that for durability, breathability, comfort, and strength, leather is one of the best options available today. In the EU, tanneries comply with strict environmental regulations and rules governing public health and safety. This does not lessen the cruelty of the leather industry, but it does make products traceable, free from dichromate acid or chromium VI. Some brands, such as Deadwood or Pelechecoco, reuse vintage pieces to produce new garments (a mere 26 gallons of water are used to produce 100 reworked jackets, chemical and cruelty-free). Others source organic leather and use natural tanning processes, providing consumers with a passport of the cow's life and provenance. After researching my options, I decided vintage was more sustainable for me. I don't have a moral issue when it's pre-owned, and secondhand leather simply lasts longer than anything faux I've tried. Besides, have you seen the slaughter and exploitation perpetrated by oil extraction and the new clothing industry? Why should I exploit other living beings, when perfectly useful garments exist secondhand? Others will make different choices (waxed cotton is one option). Maybe I'll change my mind someday too. At the moment, though, I wear a secondhand down coat, secondhand and cruelty free wool and alpaca, and secondhand leather shoes. Weirdly, I'd never consider a secondhand fur jacket, although my down coat has a fox collar. I guess most furs remind me too much of my cats? I'm open to any other suggestions you have!

Paris to Go

Style Notes

For awhile now, people asked which brands I felt were consistent in fit and quality, since I source secondhand and encourage others to purchase pre-owned goods. Years of thrifting left me with a self-proclaimed decent sense of sizing and wearability; thus my obsession with charts continues. This is highly subjective, but here are the brands I encounter most often or that my friends wear regularly, based on my own limited, unscientific judgments and their feedback. I purposely left out H&M, Zara, and Forever 21, because I hate them.

Brand Fit, Quality, and Value Guide

3.1 Phillip LimLargeGoodBetter for tall girls
AcneVariesGoodThe t-shirts get holes easily
Agnes BTTSGreatLonglasting- my husband has worn their sweaters daily for years. Focus on the made in France products.
AlaiaRuns small / croppedPerfect Forever pieces. I used to buy these at the stock shop or depot ventes in Paris and sell them in US for a huge profit. I had a good racket going for a few years
Alain FigaretCustom, tailor-madeGreat Not much room for variety but perfect fit for a good price
Alexander McQueenLargeVariesBuy the wool, structured pieces secondhand- durable, beautiful, and wearable
Alexander WangLargeVariesHis silk and wool pieces are generally good. The cuts are kind of hard to wear
Alice & OliviaTrue to sizeMall qualityNot worth the price
And Other StoriesVaries wildlyHorribleYou can punch giant holes in their merino wool sweaters with your little finger
APCSize downVariesQuality doesn't match the price
BalenciagaHighly variableVariesYou pay for the name and promise of street style catnip
BalmainRuns small / narrowVariesI don't think it's worth the astronomically high price tags, but some disagree
Banana RepublicHugeDecliningVintage BR is better quality
Bottega VenetaTTSGreatLooks best after a certain age
Brunello CucinelliTTSFlawlessBetter for tall or older women
BurberryTTSGenerally qualityNeeds to be styled expertly or it looks like a caricature
CarvenRuns small / shortGoodGood for quirky types and petites
CastanerVery narrowGoodMakes espadrilles for other designers
CélineLargeVariesFor smaller busts
ChanelRuns smallGenerally qualityPredominantly well made clothes. The accessories lack quality, given the price
ChantelleSize upGreat Worth the price. Long-lasting and comfortable.
ChloeLargeVariesBest for tall women with small busts
CosLargeSame as H&MPeople swear by their t-shirts
Current / ElliottLargeAverageJeans stretch out, shirts are flimsy
DiorTTSExcellentBest for short waists
Dries Van NotenLargeVariesPay for the label, not the quality
EquipmentHugeGoodThe silks are too high maintenance. Other materials last a long time. Nothing is cooler than the cut. I'm XS in Margaux and Brett, XXS in everything else. Sleeves require tailoring if arms shorter than 23" inches. Dresses hang weird. Buy secondhand.
ErdemTTSGoodCould get better materials for the price
ExpressVariesGarbageNot worth it even at the thrift store
FerragamoTTSExcellentThe perfect shoe
GapLargeSame as APCVanity sizing has gotten out of control
GeoxTTSGreatWaterproof, warm, and walkable, but not ethical
Giambattista ValliLargeGreatI like Giamba better though
GivenchyVariesExcellentProbably the coolest of the French houses
GucciVariesVariesMaking a comeback
Helmut LangVariesVariesThe cowl necks are too deep. Pants range from a size larger (leather leggings) to hopelessly narrow / small
HermesLargeExcellentFor really tall women who A) play polo or B) are elderly
Hilditch and KeyTailor madeExcellentFran Lebovitz's brand of choice
IROPetites may wish to size downGoodBest for Gigi Hadid types
Isabel MarantVaries, best for flat chestsGenerally shoddyThe linen t-shirts are good. Remind me to tell you about the time my husband had dinner with her and Jerome Dreyfuss. Spoiler alert: They were the worst.
IssaRuns small / shortGoodBuy secondhand
J BrandTTS (even in Photo Ready / Maria )GreatFor me, these are consistently high quality, don't sag or fade, and fit well. The Maria and Photo Ready are short- 28 or 29 inch inseam- but the Love Story and Heartbreaker are super long.
J CrewLargePoorNot worth the price. The old stuff, like linen t-shirts and ribbed tanks, are good
JW AndersonVariesGoodThe shirts can be a little short
Lands EndLargeGoodOld Lands End stuff lasts forever. We had our LE backpacks for over two decades. My grandma likes this brand.
LimitedLargePoorNot worth even thrift store prices
Linda FarrowFor slimmer facesExcellentSeemingly impossible to break, highest quality materials
Line & DotRuns large and shortGoodTheir pleather looks funny and is quite noisy
LL BeanLargeDecliningThe old stuff, especially sweaters and canvas, is excellent quality.
LouboutinsNarrow, especially espadrillesVariesMy Decolletes were awesome but Simples have quality issues- good for wide feet, but comparable to Jessica Simpson in materials and construction
Louis VuittonTTS, if a little largeGoodThe Canvas and some clothes can have quality issues but the wool garments and shoes are wonderfully constructed
LoverRuns shortGreatSimilar in quality to For Love and Lemons (which runs large)
MadewellBigMehThe t-shirts are a little sheer and quickly develop holes
Marc JacobsBigVariesI don't like this brand much
MargielaCan be narrow (pants) or huge VariesBuy secondhand
MarniVariesNot very niceThey look good on the hanger but are a pain to wear
Michael KorsRuns smallBlahNot worth the price
NikeAccommodates wider feetGoodHate their ethics but like their Reuse a Shoe program
Opening CeremonyVariesSurprisingly goodShocking quality. I feel like it would be overpriced garbage and it's generally all really nice
PaigeShortGoodI generally have to wear capris to hit my ankle without tailoring; not with these
Paul and JoeTTSHighQuality brand, especially their cat print stuff :)
PelechecocoGenerally small, but varies 1 to 2 cm from the size chartVariesGenerally great, beautiful construction, but because they are recycled, the grain and quality of the leather may differ from piece to piece
Petit BateauLargeGoodLinen t-shirts stretch out (as knit linen t-shirts do) but bounce back into shape after washing
PradaVariesVariesMost of their clothes are unlined and cut weird- buy secondhand
PreenRuns smallGoodExtremely low necklines
Proenza SchoulerHugeMehMany like their bags but I find the construction surprisingly poor. The bustiers reflect a poor understanding of female anatomy
ReformationObscenely shortGoodShrinks easily. Needs more offerings for anyone larger than an A cup, who isn't Emily Ratajkowski
Roksanda IlincicLarge and longExcellentBeautiful colors, fabric, and construction
Roland MouretSmall and longGoodNice quality, but not $2000 for an unlined dress nice
Rosetta GettyLarge and longGoodExcellent wool t-shirts
Rosie AssoulinLarge with long sleevesGreatFor tall women
Stella McCartneyLargeGreatWonderful sweaters, silks, supportive lingerie (for up to an E cup, yay), and good blazers, especially for tall women with sloping shoulders
The RowRuns long, which is weird because aren't the Olsens shorter than me?ExcellentPerfect construction but so plain
Tod'sTTSExcellentMy husband wears these daily for years at a time, and they still look new. The clothes are good too
UniqloLargeGarbageI keep buying Uniqlo at thrift stores and they are consistently awful. Will I ever learn? Poor ethics and quality
ValentinoLargeVariesQuality can vary with older collections
Victoria BeckhamTTSExcellentGreat attention to construction and detail
Zac PosenHugeMehPoor quality for the price

For reference, my measurements are 34-26-32, inseam 29, and my driver's license says 5'3, but I think I shrank. I wear 26 J Brand's, 36 French size, 6.5 / 37 shoe (C width Ferragamo), 0-2 in Isabel Marant, and XS in the US. I forgot to put these in the table, but Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons, Le Mont St. Michel, Saint James, Réalisation, and Mrs. Pomeranz run true to size for me. Free People seems kind of big, and Urban Outfitters stuff tends to shrink.

These are broad, subjective generalizations intended to provide basic information while secondhand shopping. If I'm looking at something online, I try finding the exact garment in Net-a-Porter's caché and check the measurements against my own, read reviews, ask the seller for more dimensions or photos, etc. In terms of zero waste, The Real Real ships with paper tape and Vestiaire Collective sellers are usually open to shipping your items plastic-free. The nice thing is that in France, you can use old shoeboxes to send items in the mail. I try to limit online shopping because of the carbon footprint, but certain things (like an E cup bra, for instance) I just can't find in my size here. Please tell me your impressions of these or other brands and sizes!

Paris to Go