Shopping can be hard. Knowing what is actually good online can be harder. So this year I thought it would be fun/useful to take you to the mall and physically try on all the things – the staples and the current cult favorite pieces in an attempt to recommend affordable (and some not) pieces I really love. You see, I’m full up with stuff and I don’t really want to recommend anything I haven’t tried or seen in person, nor do I want to do the buy-online-ship-and-return waste cycle just for a blog post. So I went with the intent to not buy a thing, but as you’ll see there were a few things that were just extremely good. So here are my favorite things from the mall, in 2022. Shout out to Washington Square:)
Also before I go into it you need to know I kissed a lot of frogs. I tried on so many clothes. I didn’t want to body shame myself or design shame a store so I’m not showing you all the stuff out there that sucks in fit, style, and quality. That’s all to say, what made it is because it’s legit good.
*A holiday gift guide statement – we can’t be all things to all people at all times, so we are curating our gift guides differently this year. Everyone shops/consumes differently based on their location, budget, needs, and wants. We truly want to give ideas, with an editor’s eye and be a service to all in an attempt to help you find stuff you will actually use/love long term – regardless of budget. This shopping post (and a couple of others this coming week) are for those shopping the big sale weekend at larger retailers, but we have many others with small businesses, gift kit ideas, thoughtful gifts, and of course my favorite things (still working on it). If you don’t like shopping at big box stores, skip this post and come back again – there will hopefully be one for you 🙂
I tried on a ton of different pieces here and many were mediocre, TBH, but then I asked a salesperson what were the most popular and she pointed me towards these three things:
I’ve been wearing The Great for 8 years (since it started I think) and have some of the OG sweatshirts but always nice to find more affordable versions. J. Crew’s slouchy sweatshirts are so good because the seaming (a diagonal) makes the right drape shape – it allows space near the tummy, but cuts in near the armpit with a wide neckline. These details are crucial to a good slouchy sweatshirt that looks cool and not frumpy. I wish these came in more colors (the cream is good and red is great for the holidays but I would love an off-black, a stripe, a heathered gray, etc). The fit is excellent. I’m wearing an XS here but could have sized up to an S (so it’s a bit oversized but not crazy oversized).
Admittedly I’m not selling it in this photo, but it’s a perfect layering piece. When the salesperson told me that these were cult favorites I tried it on and was sold. These are so thin but forgiving (maybe because of the pattern) – it didn’t even really show my bra strap. Not too tight or constricting totally breathable and kinda just felt like an undershirt, but since it’s a turtleneck you get that cute pattern at the neck and sleeves. PERFECT for layering under sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, and coats. I wish they made them in every stripe possible.
Jeans. SOLD. As you know I have a short torso and big boobs so I can’t do the high-waisted mom thing which I know is “in”. These remind me of my Rag and Bone boyfriend jeans but with the 40% off, these were $70 versus the usual $225 (when did that become normal?). Such a good fit without holes, not crazy low-waisted (a 9” inseam), and didn’t cut in but sculpted a bit. On my trip to Thanksgiving, these were the only jeans I brought. BIG FAN.
Nordstrom – Clothes
Like I need another one but once I put it on all of us were like, “oh that’s good and so you”. I asked Brian for it for Christmas because I feel too guilty adding another shacket to my collection (and this one was expensive which I didn’t realize until I tried it on – whoops). But this one is SO GOOD!!! The cut is excellent. It’s lined and falls well in a non-stiff yet structured way. And obviously, that plaid has Emily-Farm-Henderson written all over it. Again, I didn’t get it but it might be under the tree if Brian actually reads his texts from me:)
The thing about trench coats is that you can leave the house looking cool while wearing something really basic underneath. No secret that I love a plaid coat (I’ve been wearing this Madewell one every time I leave the house lately – over sweats! I look so pulled together but secretly wearing athleisure!). This coat is GREAT. Had I not had that Madewell one I probably would have bought it. The plaid is cool without looking bathrobe-y. This one is a bit oversized (it’s a medium because they didn’t have a small). Pockets. Great collar. Just a solid investment IMHO.
I know that this is what is cool and in – super oversized, sherpa, etc. If someone gave it to me I’d be psyched but I think I felt a bit silly in it. Kaitlin (our photographer who has with me but has a younger/cooler style) loved it hard. So I think it’s for a younger demo. We both agreed that the white isn’t the best for kids and that you must know it adds bulk – which is “in” right now but just not my thing. Anyway, it’s a splurge but we liked it enough to show you.
YES. So many yeses. If you are in the fleece market this is a GREAT one. It’s a mid-weight (not thick like some NorthFace but not cheap and thin). The color blocking is great.
We all really liked the color blocking on this one, too. It felt cheaper, TBH, but I think on sale it could be a good gift for a Gen Z gal. Again, good shape and colors.
She’s good, boxy, with slight bell sleeves, extremely cozy and soft. If I were in the market for a new classic sweater this would be IT. They didn’t have a small in store so I’m wearing a medium here which is slightly too big so it seems like it runs true to size. Big fan.
In my mind, this looked way better on me haha. If you have a lady in your life that is picky, this is a great classic quarter zip that is thin enough to layer over (again, not bulky) but warm in itself. Target has a pretty awesome version right now, too.
On the other hand…These pants clocked in as one of the things I didn’t “need” but couldn’t not get. The shape of the leg. The finish of the fabric (waxed so a bit shiny but in a high-end way). They fit low on hips and those large rectangular pockets ALWAYS play with the eye and reduce the size of your stomach and hips (if you are into that). The structure of the leg is wonderful – not tight, but tailored. These were expensive so I’m hoping that they are on a Black Friday sale. I couldn’t not get them and am excited to wear them when I need to look like I know my style and care (in a comfortable casual way, of course).
Yeah, we agreed these are awesome, cool, comfortable, and with volume in the right place. They are Mother jeans, which if you don’t know specialize in a specific level/chemistry of stretch making them far more comfortable while still keeping you retained.
I’m a low-waisted gal myself, but I could totally see dressing these up or down and looking cool.
Kaitlin picked this out for her but I tried it on and was like “oh shoot”. This is a GREAT t-shirt and I thought it was going to be one of those annoying $120 shirts, so was happy it was $59 (not on sale yet). Yes, that’s still a lot but the cut, fit, fabric and wash are really good. The cuffed sleeves are great for those of us a little self-conscious about our upper arms (it flares out giving the illusion of a smaller arm) and the wash doesn’t wash me out! Pure black cotton often just makes me look extremely extra pale, but this wash doesn’t. Thank you, Kaitlin! And yes I bought it.
Nordstrom – Shoes
Nordstrom was at first none too pleased with us taking photos so I had to be really brief and sneaky. I asked Kaitlin and Emily M. what shoes were “in” so they divided and brought them all to me.
This style is obviously everywhere and we love them – plus I think they are PNW-friendly. This pair itself was comfortable, and cool, with a not-too-tight (but still tight) ankle.
Brex™ Waterproof Chelsea Boot (On The Ground, Second From The Left)
If my bootie collection weren’t still deep I would have absolutely bought these and part of me still might. These are so much cooler than what I have had for years, can be dressed up and down, add instant edge and youth, and still feel like me. Gosh, I’m convincing myself right now that I should own them (fun fact, to assuage my consumer guilt my sister is selling all my clothes on Poshmark right now, saving for a house for her and her two boys – head over there to see it). These are awesome and would still be great in rain or snow. Shoot. I need them.
Hayle Platform Chelsea Boot (On The Ground, Third From The Left)
The famous Steve Madden boots that were sold out last year and now I see why. These give height, are chunky but so comfortable, and tuck in REALLY NICE with the cloth ankle. So good. Tried to convince myself I needed them but I love my new Madewells that are also waterproof and have a heel. These are just a bit more edgy and cool.
OOF. These are so dope. I’m a huge Ganni fan so I wasn’t surprised that I loved these.
I want these very bad and am hoping that Brian will buy them on Black Friday/Cyber Monday should they be on sale. DEAR LORD, they make you look cool, even if you are wearing sweats. Does my farm life need them? Nope! Which is why I didn’t buy them for myself. But would I be bummed if they showed up under the tree? NO, I WOULD BE VERY EXCITED. It’s not like they’re delicate velvet ballet flats. These souls can handle some rain. But I just feel cool in them, and feel like they actually work great into my lifestyle and capsule wardrobe. We, of course, found more affordable versions out there because these are crazy expensive – check out these and these.
I think the platinum loafer mule combo is a pretty darn great one. These were VERY cute.
This had a really good shape (sorry hard to see with my pose) and flares out with the front and back longer than the sides (in a good way – like tails).
This came in a couple of different colors and is a cute affordable gift for sure.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Ok, these are the famous Abercrombie jeans everyone is talking about (I hear). I absolutely get it but they aren’t for me. As a 43-year-old mom, I don’t think that mom jeans are doing me any favors. I do, however, understand why these are cool for the younger crowd. The shape of the leg, the stiffness of the side seam, the height of the inseam, the length – it’s all cool. I think if you have a Gen Z daughter they’d likely love these. As you know the 90s are very back and cool – just some of us may not want to revisit it.
These pants are famous and now I TOTALLY SEE WHY. A flowy trouser is in and my lifestyle doesn’t really warrant needing this, but these are just so comfortable. They have light elastic in the back which you can’t see, making your butt kinda pop out in a really good way. They fit and then flare out. The front pleats are super flattering (sorry – so hard to see here – just check the site for detailed photos). Excellent, excellent, excellent.
Let me know if you are into this type of fashion shopping/review post in the comments (no need to say that you hate this post, y’all) and if so I’ll go back and do a second one – this mall didn’t have Anthro, Urban, Madewell, or Zara – but I’d be happy to play dress up again 🙂 And stay tuned for Brian’s post very very soon…Off to get a Cinnabon:)
*Photos by Kaitlin Green