Friday, July 30, 2010

The OTK Boot: Part II

     Shoe week on A.F.D. continues...


     The SM OTK Boot was a real disappointment. So I decided to go ahead and order another pair of OTK boots that I've had my eye on for a long time. The Air Sarafina Boot from the Maria Sharapova Collection by Cole Haan in Dark Grey Suede. That's right, grey suede. Scary? Yes, kinda. I told my friend what I bought and she said, "Suede??? Really?? I thought you didn't like suede!" Actually, no, not true. I love suede, I just recognize that it is completely impractical if you live in a snowy climate. However, now that I live in D.C. where it doesn't really snow (or so I'm told, because my during my first winter here there was quite a bit of snow. LOL.) I think I will be able to wear them through out the winter season rather than just three times in November. These are on sale on Endless.com for about $168 plus 40% cashback. Original price, $297.95. YAY!



Small box again? Hrmm.



     Dust bag? Awesome!






     The material was super soft and squishy, just like a great leather/suede should be. It was a perfect shade of grey as well. I couldn't wait to put these on.


     Wearing with black leggings:



      I am pretty pleased with these. They didn't fit the leg perfectly, but when you have thin legs, when do they ever? Not too much scrunch which is also good. And I could actually bend my knees this time. I ordered these in a size 6. I usually purchase my boots half a size larger to accomodate thick socks and a winter insole if need be, but for some reason I decided to go with a 6. Bad move. Though the length seemed OK, I needed a little more width to accomodate my thick socks. It wasn't bad, but just a little more snug that I'd prefer.



     Folded down:



    The bagginess is a litle more obvious from the front view. But also keep in mind that I am wearing leggings and not a pair of jeans.



     I think these are keepers! For a half size larger, of course. I think they would look great with a pair of dark skinny jeans. I'll just have to spray them like crazy with a suede protectant and hope it doesn't snow too much this year!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Ballet Flat Search Continues...

     As promised some shoe reviews! With the 40% Bing cashback, I figured I'd better hurry up and try order some shoes while I could. I settled on three pairs: Vince Camuto Prettie Flat, Cole Haan Air Bandon Ballet Flat, and Me Too Lovable Flat--all three in black and size 6 (my usual size). It has taken me a few extra days to try these because I was still recovering from the foot squishing that occurred with the Revas. Any shoe that I put on was just too painful to wear. I knew I couldn't properly try and review these new shoes until I was completely pain-free. And so here are almost a week later...


     Vince Camuto Prettie Flat in Black, size 6 (original retail price, $97.95 from Endless):










     The shoe fits TTS, and the leather is actually quite soft and supple--not as thick and supple as the TB Revas, but still soft nonetheless. The little jewel piece on the toe is a little strange looking, but still pretty. It didn't want to make me throw it back in the box at least. Width-wise, the shoe is a little narrow, but not as narrow in the toe box as the Revas, so there was enough room so it there wasn't any squishing issues. The elastic around the mouth allowed the shoe toe kept on the foot, which is great. Not too much elastic meant a good chance for a more comfortable fit without any digging into the heels or ankles. I've been walking around them for a while today on the carpet, they are very comfortable. The real test however, is on a harder surface. I will try them out in the hallway and see how it goes. The soles are actually rubber, but I'm afraid to walk on them on actual concrete just in case I scuff them up and can't return them.As of  now, I think I may keep them. They do feel pretty good out of the box. Vince Camuto also has the Penn flat which I think may be even nicer than the Prettie flat; I may have to get these as well if I do well with the Pretties. They also come in black, gold, and a bluish color (pic from Dillards.com):


     Cole Haan Air Bandon Ballet Flat in Black, size 6 (original retail price $110):






   Cute tissue paper.








     Because this shoe had Nike Air Technology, I was kind of expecting these flats to be more comfortable than the VCs,  but comfort-wise, they were about the same. The leather was pretty soft and there was good padding in the sole. The mouth even with the elastic all around was still very comfortable. However, what was bothering me was the the shape of the toe and maybe even the lack of toe cleavage. There was just something about it that made it look matronly and extremely plain. It wasn't terrible, but I wasn't in love with them either. Don't get me wrong, I own plain black flats and they do not feel as if they are matronly, but these just didn't do anything for me. I thought about keeping them just because they were comfortable and they did the job, but a part of me just didn't want to spend $60+ on a pair of shoes that I didn't like that much. These eventually went back after much debate.


     Finally, these Me Too Loveable Flats caught my attention when I was searching on Zappos.com. I used to love Zappos before Endless came into the picture. But now, without any codes or cashback or even price matching, Zappos has definitely become quite a bit more expensive than other online shoe retailers. Along with free shipping and returns, price matching and codes (or at least cashback) are extremely important to me when I shop online. I still really love the selection though, which at times it can be better than Endless. So I will search Zappos for what I want and if I find something I like, then I will search somewhere else for the same shoe and see if I can get it for a cheaper price. Anyways, here they are in size 6, original retail price $89:












     When I picked these out of the box, I literally said out loud: "Whoa, these are UGLY." LOL. I actually thought the little flower on the toe would be cute from the picture, but these were just...not. It wasn't even just about the flower, it was also the shape of the toe box. Very round AND square-ish, not very delicate at all. I put them on and I felt like a 10 year old. I can't wear these to work, they just don't look appropriate. As to comfort, I'm not going to deny it, they were comfortable. A little bit wide in the toe box for my narrow-ish foot, but the foot padding was pretty good and had some decent arch support. But I could not get over how ugly these were! These were going back too.


Score: 1/3.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EOTD


GAP Elbow Sleeve V-neck Cardigan (Bright coral, size XS), BR Modern Knit Tank (white, size XSP), Jacob High-Waisted Pencil Skirt (Grey, size 0), Vince Camuto Prettie Flats (Black, size 6), Silver cuff bracelet (worn backwards, oops).

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: STEVEN by Steve Madden Sabra Over The Knee Boot

   I know it's in the middle of summer, in fact its ben 100F+/37C+ here in DC, but I'm already looking for boots for the upcoming fall and winter season. Fit issues that petites have are not just limited to clothes, as we are all aware. Knee high boots? Big problem, especially if you have small calves. I, personally, have some 12 inchers. So looking for boots that fit out of the box without having to take it to the cobbler to get some pricey work done can be quite a chore. I love boots, in general. I don't have nearly as much trouble finding a great pair of boots as I do with pumps and flats. With Endless having their 40%, I just couldn't resist looking for a great pair. Knee high boots tend to be a problem if you have small calves, but surprisingly, over the knee (OTK) boots not so much. If you have never attempted to try on a pair because it is so difficult to find a good fitting pair of knee high boots, you should definitely give it a try! If you can find a pair with a buckle at the knee to keep them up, total bonus, but I've found that it's not even always necessary. I already own a pair of OTK boots, which I love. See them here. Many petites are also concerned that an OTK boot will shorten the leg. The way to avoid this is to keep the leg line long by wearing colors of that similar to the boot. For example, if you have a black boot, try a pair of black jeans or leggings are a dark pair of jeans. Same rules apply as if you were wearing knee high boots. 

    I saw these boots from STEVEN by Steve Madden, regular retail price on Endless is $259.90 and on Nordstrom $299.95. They're a leather OTK riding boot and it has a buckle at the thigh (pic from Nordstrom.com) :



 Cute and intriguing. Endless is having a special on Back to School styles ($20 off $100) so their price comes down to $239.90. Nordies is also having their big sale, so the were on sale for $199.95. Do you know what that means? I would get 40% cashback on $239.90 PLUS Endless would price match to 199.95. Here comes the math: $239.90 minus 40%=$95.96. Price matched to Nordies price, $199.95-95.96=$103.99! Great deal for a $300 pair of boots. How could I say no? I have mentioned this before but I am definitely not a fan of Steve Madden shoes. Sizing tends to be weird, materials are cheap and hard, and generally, just painful overall. But I made an exception to buying these here because they are made of 100% leather, and how can you turn down such a good deal? I was pretty excited about these. And here they are (sorry about the lighting again, awkward time in the day for taking pics):



Firstly, if it is an OTK boot, why is the box so small? =/ Strange.



Ah, I see. All folded up. Not cool.



     I pulled them out of the box and my first though was, "Wow, this leather sucks." Maybe I'm just a leather snob, but if you are into real leather bags and shoes, you definitely know what I'm talking about. The leather was not soft at all, and it actually *looked* and felt really plastic-y and stiff. Not a fan already. I didn't even want to put them on, but for the sake of this post I did anyway. I put them on with a pair of grey Hudson skinny jeans, just so they would be easier to see. I had a little bit of a hard time getting them on because the leather was SO stiff:


     From afar, the boot actually looks pretty nice. They fit the leg pretty well without too much bunching or material around the leg. I'm actually wearing them in a 6.5--I tend to buy my boots a half size larger than my regular size because I like to wear thick insoles and thick socks with my boots. They seemed as if they would stay up (even if the leather wasn't so freakin' stiff). If I had saw them on a girl in the street and hadn't known what they are, I would instantly want them. But you know what? Despite being real leather, I could feel the hard materials around my ankles. Bruises were inevitable for sure. And the biggest let down?? I couldn't even walk!! The leather was incredibly hard, especially at the thigh. There was no give whatsoever. Bending my knees hurt because of all the rubbing. It also didn't help that the buckle was just at the top of my knee. Umm...why? That's not the most strategic place to put a buckle if they actually wanted me to be able to walk in these boots. 


     I could not wait to get these things off. They were awful! I don't think I have ever tried a worse pair of boots. OK, maybe I have, but I cannot emphasize how bad these were. And they were trying to sell these for $300?? Negative. 

Verdict: Look nice from far away, but in actuality, they suck. Please, try OTK boots, just not these.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

The BR Button-Down

  [I know I've been doing a lot of BR reviews lately, but it seems to be one of few American mall brands that fit me fairly well (or at least somewhat close) in recent months! Hopefully this will be the last BR post for the next little (short) while.]


   I'm not sure about any of you, but I love the look of a great, well-fitted button down dress shirt tucked into a pencil skirt or a great fitting pair of pants. Unfortunately, the look isn't that amazing on people with short torsos (me!), but nonetheless, I do it anyway...and not always by choice, but due to a conservative work environment.


    I came to the realization the other day while browsing the BR website that I have never tried on a BR button down. This might be due to the fact that until now, BR rarely made their shirts so it could be buttoned right to the top--they are always made with this naturally open neck. Not that I would wear it all buttoned up, I think I just prefer the way the collar sits when it can be buttoned all the way up. OK, call me crazy, there might not even really be a difference, but that's my reasoning, and I'm sticking to it! Anyway, the Elbow-Sleeve Stretch Shirts were on sale for $29.99 so I thought that I may as well just go ahead and try one. Problem. I have no clue what size I might be. 00P or 0P? The BR suit pieces haven't been able to accomodate my slightly "muscular" shoulders, so I just wasn't sure. I went ahead and ordered both sizes: 00P in blue and 0P in white.  I read all of the reviews and found that many women were having trouble with the shirt not being able to accomodate a larger bust. Large bust? I definitely do not have that problem. LOL.




   When the package came I was really excited about the shirts. One of them just *had* to fit. The first one I saw in the box was the blue and I opted to try that one first because it was the smaller size. It is beautiful fresh blue color (please excuse the Endless boxes in the background):






The fit around the rib cage was great, and the overall length was also good--long enough to tuck into my bottoms without the shirt hem slipping out. The problem (which actually turns out to be two problems)? As I suspected: the shoulders. They felt a touch too tight. Slightly more uncomfortable than I'd like. I LOVED the color though. But the other unexpected problem that completely baffled me? The gaping at the bust:




     WTH? It's not a lot of gape, but it's still there. I'm not large chested at all (30B or a small 32A), so the fact that I had any sort of gape was pretty darn surprising. I attributed it to just being a bit small across the shoulders, so to accomodate them, the shirt pulled across the chest.


      I moved on to the white shirt in 0P:






     The overall look was not as nice as the blue. The fit across the shoulders was better and not so uncomfortable and as expected, there was a little extra room around the waist and rib cage. BUT, that wretched gaping at the bust was still there! 




     It's not terrible, but it was definitely distracting to me when I looked in the mirror. I also was not impressed with it being white, especially after seeing it in blue. I can appreciate a nice, crisp, white dress shirt every so often, but sometimes I feel like it's just too boring and conservative, especially to go under a very conservative suit. I think both have to go back. If the 0P wasn't sold out in blue, I would definitely consider buying it in that color. I would learn to deal with the slight gaping with some fashion tape.


     One final purchase I made, was this Lightweight Wool sheath Dress *again*: 




    After some thought and some readers' input, I did think I should at least try it out in a larger size (if you remember my previous post, the 00P was too small across my shoulders, but fit perfectly everywhere else. See here). Here it is (sorry about the AWFUL lighting):








     The shoulders definitely fit a bit better, but the fit around the hips was just atrocious. I felt huge! I always wanted hips, but this did not look good. Something else was also off about the fit on top that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It felt OK, but just didn't look right. I'm not sure, maybe the hips was just throwing my perspective off completely. All I know is, I didn't even want to attempt at altering this dress to make it fit. It just made me go, UGH. I guess I have to accept that my suit will only be a two-piece suit instead of three...at least for now.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Shoe Search

    [WARNING: Somewhat lengthy post].


    I splurged on a pair of shoes last month in hopes of finding a pair of flats that woudn't kill my feet. I got these (pic from Nordstrom.com):


Tory Burch Reva in Black Leather with Silver Medallion

     As much as I love my Bloch Giselle Flats, they are not for every day city walking. There is zero arch support, and although there is a little bit of padding under the foot, they still feel like house slippers. They will not hold up over time as I have learned, because after wearing them pretty much every single day for months, I found a hole forming on the bottom after running down the leather sole. =( Plus, with the lack of padding, the shoes were not doing my body any favors. I guess as you get older,  your body starts to get pickier about the proper footwear, because I was totally starting to feel it.

     I actually bought these Revas a few weeks ago, and opted not to review them until now, when I was sure I was going to keep them. So I think I may have posted a few pics in previous posts with me wearing them. Normally I would wait for an awesome deal, instead of forking over all $195, but I needed to be able to wear these out and see if they worked for my hyper-sensitive feet. So I purchased them from Nordstrom so that if need be, I could return them even after I wore them (gotta love Nordies!). My biggest concern about these shoes was the elastic heel. I need an elastic to keep the shoe on my extremely narrow heels, but the elastic must be soft enough not to dig and cut around my boney ankles. A few months ago I slipped them on quickly in the store after trying to avoid doing so for years, and was instantly in love. The elastic so soft I didn't even feel it. A few weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and purchase them online, with cashback of course. Being a soft and supple leather, there was a good chance these were going to stretch, so I went with my usual size 6. My initial order, I went to pick up in-store. The leather was super soft and pretty thick, and a very good amount of padding under the foot. I quickly slipped them on in the lounge area to see if they fit. They were kind of short. Or so I thought. But later did I realize that they weren't really short, the area around the medallion needed to be worked in a little bit. It was a little stiff above the toe and around the mouth near the toes. So at the time, I did think they were a bit small, so I opted to go up half a size, which Nordies shipped to me since they didn't have any in stock. No problem, I could wait (like I had a choice).
  
    When the 6.5 arrived, they were a bit tight around the mouth again, notably around the outside of my foot, and still stiff around the medallion.  So I put on a pair of socks and walked around the apartment for about an hour. When I removed my socks, they actually felt a bit long. I was confused. If it stretched this much after an hour, what is it going to feel like after a few wears? And for sure they were going to start slipping off my heels, especially on my smaller foot. Being as difficult as I am about shoes, I re-ordered the size 6. Here are the pics with and without flash:





     With the size 6, *again* they were tight around the mouth, particularly around my outside metacarpel (the joint that connects the toe to the long foot bones). Note, that these are a pretty narrow shoe, but it was a significant pressure point on my foot. A little bit strange considering I have narrow feet. However, I was willing to give these a chance. I put on some socks and walked around for a while. The shoe seemed to stretch out around the medallion and a bit around the mouth, but I was still feeling it around that one pressure point on my left foot, and a little on my right. OK, whatever! I decided that I was going to wear them to work and see what happens. I know that sometimes it takes 2or 3 wears for leather to completely break in, so I was going to have some faith in these little Revas.

     The first few wears were a bit painful. I didn't feel them stretching out that much so I was starting to get a bit concerned. One night after work, I took some vinegar and water (1 part vinegar and 3 parts water) to the leather where it was pushing on my metacarpel and stuffed in a shoe stretcher. I mean, really, this had to work, right? Once the leather dried, the leather did feel a little loose. Perfect! I was going to wear these again to work tomorrow. Unfortunately, the leather seemed to go right back down to its original shape. WTH? But I wasn't giving up yet. I was convincing myself that I thought the leather was stretching out just a bit more. But this time it was probably the fifth time I wore them to work. Just a few more times is all it needs. I was sure of it! 

     Then a few days ago after a weekend in T.O.,  I slipped these shoes on and made my way to work. As background, I use the DC Metro to commute, so in the morning, I hop on the bus to the Metro station and then have about a 7 minute walk to work. I was still feeling a bit of a pressure point on my foot, but I wasn't really complaining. My co-worker decided around lunch time that she wanted sushi and asked me if I wanted to join her. It was about a 15 minute walk or so. Sure! Why not? I love me some sushi! But apparently, my shoes did not. I was in some pretty severe pain when we got to the sushi place--and I still had to walk back! I could feel the pain on my metacarpels...on both feet, and callouses forming in those areas trying to fight back against the rubbing, or whatever was going on there. Then I started to feel the rubbing all around the side of the sole of my foot. This was not good news. A 15 minute minute walk on the city streets and I was in a lot of pain. I knew right then I couldn't keep these. I live in the city. If I can't get through a 15 minute walk without pain, these had to go back. =(

   So I am on my flats search again. I have already purchased a few already in hopes of finding something I love (and doesn't kill me). Keep on the look out in the next few days for some more reviews. I do have to say though, despite these Revas not working for me, if you are willing to splurge a bit, many ladies rave about the TB Revas, so they are definitely something you may want to try; I may just be one of those freaks that can't wear anything! It is a great looking shoe and as long as you don't find the big medallion annoying, the leather is great and they seem to hold up very well. Maybe some time down the road, I will try another pair in a different leather and see if they work, but for now, I'll have to try to find something else.

    I should also mention, if any of you haven't heard, Bing.com is now 40% cashback. Definitely take advantage of this if you can, they are discontinuing the cashback program at the end of this month, and I have no idea what they are going to replace it with!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

BR Herringbone Tulip Skirt

   I'm on the hunt for some "fun" skirts, since there seems to be a large gap in my wardrobe with regards to those. If they are work appropriate as well, big bonus! I decided to try out the BR Herringbone Tulip Skirt with my 30% off. It's regular price is $69.50. On the website, it's a little difficult to see because it isn't modeled very well, but here is what it looks like on the model:



     Could be cute, right? A tulip skirt can be especially cute on a ruler shape by creating a little volume around the hips thus creating the illusion of an hour glass shape. But unless I was in love with this skirt, this was another purchase I wasn't planning on keeping. It is still a little bit too pricey for me. But anyway, on to my review. 

     When I pulled it out of the bag, the material was very soft. I was expecting something a lot stiffer and rougher. It is made of 75% wool and 25% nylon. If you are extremely sensitive to wool, this may give a little itch, but it seems to me to be quite smooth and non-irritating:


  I zipped up the skirt, and again, like the other BR skirt, it sat a little high, about half an inch above my belly button. I think maybe it's just because I'm short waisted, so everything seems high! But here it is with the BR Modern Knit Tank (which I love). I'm modeling it in 00P:



     The pockets were sewn shut, so I couldn't stick my hands in them, hence the awkward hand placement. It's a really cute skirt. It's a little short for the office, IMO, but for a tulip skirt, it's actually the right length. There is also no pleating on the back side.


  I think I will ponder this one for a few days. I do like it, but considering that it's likely that I won't wear it to work because I think it's just a touch too short, it costs a little more than I'd like to spend on it. What do you ladies think? Is it too short for work or am I being overly conservative?

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