I’m spreading the gospel of the comfy waistband

You may have noticed that I don’t really do product reviews around here. I appreciate reading reviews elsewhere, but I’ve never been pitched a review that didn’t feel like it would be totally awkward for me/this space/people who read this site. However, I do from time to time get evangelical about things I’ve bought that I love (does anyone else fondly remember Mindy Kaling’s shopping blog, “Things I’ve Bought That I Love?”), like my IUD, and now, my life-changing jeggings. Yep, hold onto your lusty hats, this is a review about jeggings.

Photo on 3-2-15 at 1.17 PM

First, some backstory. As you may know, I birthed twins who weighed in at 6 lbs each. My pregnant belly was insane. At one point during my pregnancy, I felt a distinct sensation like burning fire down the middle of my stomach. It was my abs ripping apart. And they never fully went back together. This means that I’ve had to come to accept a very new midsection than the one I had before babies, and in this new world, most pants are really uncomfortable to me. To get super graphic, usually the button tries to find its way into the dent in my stomach where my abs used to come together. It’s INSANELY uncomfortable, like the buttons want to find their way inside my body, through the thinnest and most sensitive point. Sometimes I solve this problem with higher waisted pants that hit me above the separation. Other times, I stick to elastic waistbands.

Photo on 3-2-15 at 1.17 PM #2

But still, I miss wearing jeans. I like the way they look, if not the way their waistbands make me feel. I would often wish I had kept some of my maternity jeggings, which looked like real jeans, except for their soft pull-on waistband, and even contemplated buying myself some maternity pants, though that felt like admitting some sort of defeat. Then, in the comments section of a Jezebel piece, I discovered that Levis does in fact make non-maternity pull-on jeggings. Since they’re $40 and ship free on Zappos, I ordered two pairs and hope hope hoped they’d be everything I was dreaming of. Yes, I dream about pants, don’t you?

Photo on 3-2-15 at 1.15 PM #4

Y’all. These pants are in fact everything I was dreaming of. They look exactly like my favorite “real” jeans (Levis Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans), except that they have a stretchy waistband. I will be honest and say that getting them on and off isn’t exactly sexy or graceful, as they don’t have belt loops and it’s kind of a matter of wiggling as I pull them up and over my hips. But once they’re on, they feel exactly like yoga pants but look exactly like jeans. I walked out after I tried them on and my husband said, “Wow, it’s been a long time since I saw you wearing jeans. They look great!”

Photo on 3-2-15 at 1.14 PM #2

Photo on 3-2-15 at 1.14 PM #3

Now, I admit, the waistband is obviously not “real,” but as exposing my midriff in public is something that I only do in bad dreams, all of my tops are long enough that no one will ever know. If anything, the lack of a button makes for a smoother line under my hip-length tops anyway. A note on sizing: I was tempted to size up, but ordered the same size I wear in my regular Levis and other pants from Gap and Old Navy, and I would say that these fit true to size. I’m beyond a happy customer and love them so much, I’m irrationally considering ordering several more pairs just in case there’s an apocalypse and they disappear from the shelves tomorrow (note to my husband, I’m not actually doing that…yet).

Photo on 3-2-15 at 1.15 PM #5

Bottom line: if you’re a lady who finds the waistbands of most pants uncomfortable, you should try these. I’ve already convinced several friends to order a pair, and am now on a one-woman mission to save the women of the world from uncomfortable waistbands.

Hi. I'm the crazy person who just used PhotoBooth to take pictures of my jeggings. I feel kind of insane. I would be the world's worst fashion blogger.
Hi. I’m the crazy person who just used PhotoBooth to take pictures of my jeggings. I feel kind of insane. I would be the world’s worst fashion blogger.

Note: this is not sponsored. I bought my life-changing jeggings with my own money. If you’re from Levis and you want to send me 10 more pairs, I certainly would not object, though.

choosing not to wear leggings and yoga pants? or: pockets are the key to lust prevention

In response to this

I can’t really say I was ever around friends and had a husband remark upon his wife’s body to me, but if I were ever around a couple and the husband smacked his wife’s booty and told her she looked hot in her yoga pants, as our toddlers played nearby, as I examined the stain on the knee of my own leggings and wondered if it was snot or what, exactly, I would think, “Good for them. They’re adorable.” And maybe also a little bit of, “Gag, get a room, you two.”

Continue reading “choosing not to wear leggings and yoga pants? or: pockets are the key to lust prevention”

Boden vs. Discount: girls spring looks for less

Each season my Boden Mini catalog arrives and I wish I had adorable British children, or at least the ability to dress my adorable children in adorable British clothes. Alas, they are expensive, and I just can’t justify spending $40 or more on pants for my kids when I spend all my time in $20 jeggings. I hear the argument that Boden clothes hold up better and are thus worth the price, but honestly, my Carters, Old Navy, and Target stuff has been used and abused by my two kids, and still been in great enough shape to pass on to two of our besties’ baby girls, both born a year after Etta and Claire. I like my kids to look cute, but I have a hard enough time justifying my shopping habit at discount prices, let alone spending serious bucks on clothes that are outgrown in a matter of months. Thus, my Boden vs. Discount posts were born. Welcome to the spring edition! I think I’ve done a decent job replicating the looks in the Boden Spring 2014 catalog at much lower prices, and you can expect to see a lot of these discount items on the Bufflo Gals as the weather warms up!

Boden vs. Carters applique tee and skirt
Boden looks for less: mixed print dress
Boden vs. Discount: embroidered tunic and roll cuff pants
Boden vs. Carters: tutu/tee/tights
Boden vs. Discount: print shirt, striped pants
Boden vs. Carters tank and printed skirt

Bufflogal Style for Boys: Boden vs. Discount

OK, Boy Moms, this one’s for you. I’ve often heard mom friends say boys are harder to shop for than girls, and I admit, I usually roll my eyes and think, “How hard could it be? Cute little man clothes are everywhere!” I’m even sometimes jealous of tiny button down shirts, tiny blazers, and other clothes that essentially look like shrunken adult items. However, I’d never really shopped for boys’ clothes in any real capacity until I decided to do a boy clothes counterpart to my Carter’s vs. Boden girls’ clothes piece, and I have to say, there are a LOT of bad graphic tees out there for boys. The weird gender messages of kids’ graphic tees could be a post in and of itself, but it seems like boys’ tees are largely desperate to prove masculinity, covered in licensed characters, or just plain dumb. And, I admit, Carter’s doesn’t seem to be as rocking in the boys’ department as it is the girls’, so I branched out and included Old Navy, Target, and OshKosh in my boys’ looks. (Though if I had a boy, I’d be sorely tempted to dress him in OshKosh overalls 90% of the time.)

Additionally, I have concluded if I had a boy, Boden’s pants just might be worth it. They a) have cute baggy corduroys which I couldn’t find at Carter’s, Target, OshKosh, or Old Navy, and a lot of their styles are either lined or have extra sturdy features like knee patches to stand up to the abuse little boys will put them through.

Still, I think I managed to put together some very similar fall/back to school looks, usually for half the price of Boden, and as a bonus, even found some shoes. This time, I saved myself some trouble by figuring out how to post Polyvore boards in WordPress. So, they don’t have my cute little writing and prices on the images, but there are clicky links to make shopping easier for you. You win some, you lose some.

Without further ado, I present, Bufflogal Style for Boys.

$54 Jackets from Carter’s vs. $95 from Boden:

Carter's vs. Boden: Boy's Coats

$13 striped pullover vs. $38 striped pullover

Discount vs. Boden

Discount vs. Boden: cool shirts, cool kicks

Discount vs. Boden: stripes, flannel, sherpa, and shoes

Carter’s $52/outfit (including shoes!) vs. Boden $100/outfit

Discount vs. Boden: boys' outfits 2

Carter’s $59/outfit vs. Boden $112/outfit

Discount vs. Boden: boys' outfits

Bufflogal Style: Carter’s vs Boden Mini

One of the most common questions I get about having twins is, “Do you dress them alike?” And the answer is no. Because I promised my Papa, a twin, that I wouldn’t. So I don’t.

I do like them to coordinate, though, and I have to admit that the clothes are a big perk to little girls times two. People often ask me where I get Etta and Claire’s clothes, and the answer for 99% of it its Carter’s, with a smattering of Old Navy, Target, Baby Gap, and deals I find on Zulily. Still, most of it is Carter’s, because if you’re choosy, they’ve got some great stuff amid the “I’M CUTE” glitter teeshirts, and because they have insane sales and lots of coupons on top of that, so you can get a lot for a little.

This post is not sponsored a bit, but was born of the fact that this week, I got a Boden Mini and a Carter’s catalog on the same day, which turned out to be unfortunate for Boden. I flipped through their catalog first, drooling over adorable British children in cute outfits, wishing I could afford to dress my girls in their stuff. But then I flipped through the Carter’s catalog and discovered that they have some very similar looks for far cheaper, and they even included a 25% off coupon, on top of the fact that they’re currently having a sale. So I put together some comparison boards, thinking they might help some other girl moms looking for Back to School style inspiration. Perhaps my fashion blogging sister is rubbing off!

Winter coats, Carter's vs. Boden Mini, $43 vs $92

Cute raincoats. Carter's vs. Boden Mini, $25.50 vs $60.

Carter's vs. Boden Mini, $13 vs. $38

Carter's vs. Boden Mini, $22.60/outfit vs. $60/outfit

Carters vs. Boden Mini, $12/outfit vs. $58/outfit

Carter's vs. Boden Mini, $16.60/outfit vs. $62/outfit

Are you as surprised as I am that a brand as ubiquitous as Carter’s has stuff as cute as pricey, pretty Boden Mini? Where do you like to shop for your kids’ clothes?

i sewed my first dress!

About six months ago, I said to Jon while walking through Hobby Lobby, “I wish I could sew cute dresses.” I started sewing in June, and let me just say: CUTE DRESS ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!

Because I’m still a beginner at sewing, I knew I needed to stick with cheap, solid fabric for my first dress attempt. No worrying about matching up prints or stripes, and no sorrow if I somehow botched it beyond repair. I was inspired by this yellow dress worn by Leelee Sobieski (source):

And also by this image I found on Pinterest, which I’m pretty sure is from  J.Crew catalog (source):

So I picked up Vogue 8723 and decided to tackle my first dress in yellow cotton.

I was a little nervous, as the dress would require me to sew my first ever darts, but I tackled them and they weren’t nearly as intimidating as I expected. It’s fully lined and features pockets and a back zip. I finished all my seams with french seams, so it’s nicely constructed. Jon helped me pin and fit my bodice, which was crucial– though I made the size indicated by my measurements, I probably ended up taking the bodice in by about 2 inches, mostly from the sides and back. Getting the shoulder straps right was also tricky, as I have scoliosis, which makes my shoulders crooked. You’ll probably notice that the straps don’t look symmetrical, but there’s no gaping in the back, which is what I was more worried about. All in all, I’m really proud!

I just might wear this dress every day, I’m so proud of it. And I think Tinycat approves:

trying to live la pura vida

I’m back from an amazing week in Costa Rica. Did you miss me?

I want to write all about the trip, and kept a journal while we were there in order to do so, but our camera broke while we were there, and my husband’s iPhone, which became our backup camera, was left in San Jose. Through a strange and amazing series of circumstances which I will surely tell you about later, the phone is on its way back, but I’m not going to write about the bulk of the trip until I have some pictures of beautiful Costa Rica to share as well. I really fell in love with the country and the people we met there.

One thing people in Costa Rica say a lot is “pura vida.” It literally translates to “pure life” but can also be used to sort of mean “full of life.” It’s definitely true of Costa Rica, it was true of our trip, and it’s something I’m trying to make true of my life as well. As the comments on the “No Clothes” post keep rolling in and people affirm the challenge, I’ve been pondering my motivations for the challenge and for my desire to begin to live a simpler life in general. Part of it is that I know that for me, the cycle of wanting and buying and wanting and buying is not actually leading to a happier, more joyful life, but rather a vicious cycle of materialism. And another part of it is, I don’t want the things that give me happiness, like a pretty new dress, to be tainted by the fact that they’re bad for the environment and made by very poor people in very poor working conditions. A life of “pura vida” would be about life and happiness for all, not life and happiness that is dependent on others’ suffering and oppression.

When we were in San Jose, we stayed in an amazing house-turned-bed-and-breakfast that we found through AirBnB. Our host, when we asked what brought him to Costa Rica, told us about the day he was liberated from a life of comfort and material things the day a wildfire destroyed his nice house and everything he owned in Southern California. And that’s the way he describes that experience: liberating. Now he lives in a lovely condo in San Jose and shares the gifts of hospitality and good conversation with everyone blessed to stay with him. And I do mean blessed– hospitality, shared meals, and good conversation are practically the sacraments of my faith.

Over the course of the week, I just kept ruminating on what it would be like to feel liberated from materialism. I don’t mean liberated from actually having things, or appreciating beauty, or even from buying things, but I do mean liberated from the never-ending desire of my current shopping habits. For example– I like to browse lots of style blogs, largely for inspiration on how to wear things I already have, or things to DIY for myself or my home– they inspire my creativity, and that’s always a good thing. However, they also often inspire my desire to shop and spend. For example, while perusing my backlog accumulated in Google Reader during a week without my computer, I saw, and immediately wanted this dress from Ruche: Why? Because it’s a very good knockoff of a Marc Jacobs dress I’ve been coveting ever since Michelle Obama wore it (source): The Marc Jacobs version was $685. The Ruche version, which is sold out, was $43. Why? Well, the knockoff is 100% polyester (read: made from petroleum, not very breathable) and “imported” (read: probably not manufactured under the best of conditions). I could (were it not sold out, and had I not taken a no shopping for clothes vow) buy that $43 dress and simply enjoy its beauty and the feeling that I had scored a great look that I had long admired at an insane price. But I’d be bothered by the fact that it’s a blatant ripoff of something someone else created, and I’d be more bothered by the fact that it was made of oil and most likely sewn under not great working conditions. And the sad fact is, the person I am right now, that person can easily say to herself, “BUT IT’S CUUUUTE. AND SO CHEAP!” I don’t want to be that person. That person who says she cares about living “la pura vida” and advocates for the environment and social justice, but is willing to throw all that away for a cute dress. Maybe one day I’ll actually live up to my own values, but it’s hard. Anyone else out there on the same sort of journey?

not shopping, and a chambray skirt

Thanks to my “no shopping” post being featured on the WordPress homepage, a lot of new faces have showed up around here in the last two days! Welcome! Even though I said I wouldn’t be posting daily outfit photos, I will be occasionally sharing photos of items I’ve sewn, and possibly particularly interesting outfits remixed from items in my closet. Though seriously, I need to get a tripod and some self confidence, because I feel sublimely silly posing while my husband snaps photos with our 5 year old digital camera in my kitchen, home to the only bare wall I could find (I like art), while also trying to keep two large dogs from hopping into the picture (I was standing near their food bowls and it was almost dinner time, so they got rather excited).

I thought I’d clarify a bit on what motivated the no-shopping challenge. I identify as a follower of Jesus, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how my consumerism lines up with that identity. I read Shane Claibourne’s Jesus for President with a book group at my church, and I’ve also been reading a lot of Pete Rollins. Basically, I think I undermine my statements about following Jesus and trying to love people like he loved when my dollars every day are a) going toward my own comfort instead of those in need, and b) are perpetuating a system of slavery and oppression in other parts of the world, where the poor are exploited just to make my clothes. And yet: there’s no other way to say this, I want to look cute. Yesterday, while out buying a must-have hair product, in an apparent act of self-torture, I wandered into Forever21, “just to look.” I saw about 20 things that I really wanted. “Wouldn’t that little dress be a great beach cover-up for my upcoming trip to Costa Rica?” I didn’t buy anything, but I realized what an addict I am. I can’t say that I’ll swear off buying clothes forever, and only buy from thrift stores or make my own, though that would probably be ideal. I can’t even say I’ll never buy something from Forever21 again. But I am going to spend the next several months abstaining from buying clothes (I have a feeling trips to Target are going to be torture! I also spotted a gray striped jersey dress there yesterday that I really wanted.),  and I hope to learn something from the experience.

One area I do hope to improve are my sewing skills. I am confident that I can learn to make a lot of the clothes that I want, for myself, for less money than I would spend in retail stores, and in the process, with confidence that my clothes weren’t made in a sweatshop. Now, when I want an item, if it looks “sewable,” I pin it to my Sewing Inspiration board on Pinterest. One thing I had been pinning a lot of lately was chambray skirts (click image to be taken to Pinterest page which links to original source):


So, armed with several skirts under my sewing belt, I decided this covetable item was something I could make myself. And sure enough, I followed this tutorial to make myself an adorable (if I do say so myself) chambray skirt:

I used a double layer of chambray for the skirt, to prevent sheerness and give the skirt more of the full look I was going for. I have to say, I think it turned out just as cute as several of the skirts I had pinned!

no clothes til december

my actual closet.

Wait. That title seems misleading. I’m not going to be running around naked between now and Christmas. What I mean is, I’m not buying any clothes between now and December. What the what? (Sorry. I quote Liz Lemon ALL THE TIME. Jon thinks people actually think I can’t speak properly because of the number of times per day I say “I want to go to there.”)

I’ve been feeling more than a little convicted lately about my consumerism, and the way in which my shopping habits don’t really line up with my values, and the way in which I spend money like it’s going out of style. (Me, however? Never going out of style.) So, I’m trying to take a break from shopping. This isn’t some sort of blog stunt. I’m not going to wear the same dress every day for a year like that one chick did, or one of those “me made” monthly things I see on some sewing blogs, where the talented seamstresses wear only clothes made with their dainty hands for an entire month. (Quite frankly, I haven’t sewn enough stuff to wear for a week, let alone a month.)

And I’m not going to post pictures of my outfits every day, because, for one, Jon would be really annoyed with having to take pics of me by about day 3, and in the warm weather, you’d all be bored looking at pictures of me wearing various tank tops with various skirts, and in the winter, you’d be totally over my rotating uniform that consists of skinny jeans (ok, let’s be honest, I wear jeggings, deal with it), sweaters, scarves, and my beloved boots. I wish I were a cute style blogger with a top knot and bold lipstick and a seeming unending supply of vintage frocks, kooky necklaces, and colorful scarves, posed in front of a wall of artfully peeling paint that contrasts just so with my adorable ensemble, but the truth is, my style is cute but predictable. And I can’t be arsed to style my hair any other way but the same way I style it every single day. Because I have half the hair of a normal person, and it makes the world’s teeniest top knot.

Instead of all that, this is just a little personal challenge to wear the clothes I’ve got, which I’m positive is more than the average person, thanks largely to the fact that I can and do still wear items I’ve had since high school (before you hate me, know that I’m NOT wearing the same pants size I wore in high school, by any stretch). I take up the entire closet in our bedroom, though I must point out (what is with me and the caveats today?) that our house was built in 1925 and thus the closets are teeny. I bought myself one new pair of jeans before my little challenge started, and I’m exempting underwear and white teeshirts/tank tops from the “clothing” category. Other than that, I have to wear what I have.

A sign of just how big my problem is? A new pair of shoes came in the mail yesterday. Jon, aware of my “no shopping for clothes” challenge, raised his eyebrows. Me: “What? Shoes don’t count as clothes! Plus they were only $20!”

my new sneaks.

Think I can make it?

roses are red skirt

After my last three skirts turned out a little large, I made this skirt slightly tight in an apparent overcompensation. Despite the slightly constricting waistband, I’m going to wear this skirt, because I freaking made it, and because I love the fabric. You might remember seeing this pile:

That rosey red fabric has now become this:

Excuse the poor photography, I really need to get a decent camera with a timer so I don’t have to resort to awkwardly photographing myself on my front porch with my Mac’s photobooth app. This is a super easy half circle skirt. The fact that I had already made two of them meant I could focus on trying better techniques, like French seams for a nicer finish inside (tutorial here) and a hand-picked zipper (tutorial here), since I lacked a zipper foot for my machine and wasn’t able to get a neatly finished zipper unless I tried it by hand. Here’s a peek at the French seams: I love how nice and neat it looks, and that I don’t have to worry about threads raveling. I will be doing French seams or mock French seams (see same tutorial above) in everything I make from now on. It just looks so much better!

For my next project, I’m going to attempt pleats for the first time in a skirt with the black and white and red paisley-ish fabric you see above. After that, I have one more skirt to make before I tackle dresses, something I’m itching to do since 6 new “easy” dress patterns just came in the mail!