Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: GAP Premium Black Pant Collection (The Really Skinny and the Slim Crop)

      It occurred to me the other day that I really need some work pants for fall. Skirts and dresses are all fine and dandy for summer, but I'm not a happy camper when my legs are exposed during colder weather. At last count, I have six pairs of trousers, only one of which is hemmed for flats. This is a big problem considering that I wear flats every day, at the very least during my commute because I live in the city. My go-to store for pants is Jacob, but for the last few seasons their pants have been pretty "meh".

       Reading the latest blogs and reviews, rumor has it that GAP has done a little bit of tinkering with their pants, particularly their black pants. I figured I should give it a go especially with this past weekend's G&G. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember I have a little bit of an unusual issue when buying pants. I am petite--very narrow hips and a short rise on a small frame, however, my natural inseam is unusually long for my height. So if I happen to find a great pair of petite pants that fit me in the hips and waist, chances are they will be too short in length. For this reason, whenever I purchase petite pants online, even if they are "petite-friendly", I don't let my hopes get too high.  I purchased two pairs of pants from GAP during the G&G. The Really Skinny Pant and the Slim Crop Pant, both from the Black Magic Premium Black Pant Collection.

       The Really Skinny Pant really intrigued me when I saw them online. I've always wanted a great cigarette pant, but I could never find one that was flattering on my boney hips. This pair looked like it had potential (pic taken from GAP.com): 

     The regular price for these pants are $59.50. The look super cute on the model, my only issue was the lack of back pockets. I really despise pants without back pockets. Without them, unless you have a perfectly curved and shapely rear, a pant with no pockets can really flatten out you out and further emphasize a not-so-round behind. Even just a small welt pocket can detract from that "pancake"-y look, so I always opt for a pant with some kind of pocket in the back. In this case, however, I decided to just go ahead and try it. The pants do have a back yoke, so maybe it could be used as a "replacement" to the rear pockets. If I was going to keep these pants, chances are I was going to [mostly] cover my back side anyway. 

      For some reason the GAP website does not specify an inseam for these pants, so my assumption was that it is 29 (if you read their sizing charts, they indicate that their petite pants are 29"). If this were a bootcut pant, this would be much too short for me. But given that these were skinnies, there was a chance that this might work out. I purchased these in 00P.

      Right  out of the bag, I was a little surprised by the material. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this was certainly interesting. From afar, it kind of looked like a wool pant, very matte, but upon further inspection it was definitely cotton and *extremely* stretchy. It is 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Often times, you can find material similar to this in stores that sell clothes of much lower quality; it is usually thinner and a has a shinier texture to it (I've had my share of those pants growing up). These, however, definitely had more cotton to them making them appear thicker and of better quality. Note: Keep your lint-roller handy. I swear, every speck of lint and dust made its way to these pants.

     When I put them on, I was surprised by the inseam. By the look of them, they looked to be about 29.5", which is my ideal length for skinny jeans since I like a little bunching at the bottom. When I measured (measuring from the front crotch seam rather than right at the crotch) I did get about 29.5".

     The waist? Pretty good. No large gap. The back? Not bad. I do have a little bit of folding as you can see. I don't really have hips, and although I have been doing a lot of lunges and squats at the gym lately I haven't put on enough muscle mass to fill out these pants quite enough. It's not terrible though, and I'm by no means turned off by it despite there being no back pockets. Surprisingly, I think these may be keepers. They are conservative enough for a business casual work day or a night out and I love the length. I'm pretty happy with these. Wow. I didn't think I would ever say that about GAP pants.

     The Slim Crop Pant looks really great on PAG (see here). She mentions that the inseam is 24" (again, not stated on the website). This could potentially end up being an extremely awkward length. I am not the biggest fan of cropped pants unless perfectly cut in all aspects, especially the inseam. Below the calf is fine if the pant is cut extremely close the legs. But something around mid-calf really irks me and I'm super, super picky about it. I ordered the Slim Crop in 00P (regular price $49.50):

With flats:

     The material is exactly the same as the full length pant, and these actually have front pockets which can be opened up and back welt pockets. The waist? Actually a little bit snug for me. Keep in mind though that I am ruler-shaped and a little "thick" across the middle, so if your waist is smaller than my own then these will probably fit much better on you. I, on the other hand, have a slight muffin hanging over the side. 

      As for the rear, I'm not really too keen on the fit. I have quite a bit of folding near the bottom and even on the side right below the welt pocket (which is a little bit hard to see in the pic) and I'm not sure I can look past that. Maybe if I add a belt to help hold up the pants up over my narrow and boney hips (and do more side lunges =/) it will help eliminate some of the folding and bunching. The length seems OK. I'm not sure. I measured these myself and I got a measurement of about 24.5" inseam (the difference between my measurement and PAG's is probably just in the way we measure). I think I like the look better with heels, not so much with the flats. I'm a little on the fence about this pair, maybe I would like them more if they were a little bit longer? What do you ladies think?

    Finally, I also got this Skinny faux snakeskin leather belt so I could meet my free shipping quota. The description says "flint gray", but it is actually brown. I purchased it in a Small, and I'm so glad I did. It fits perfectly with my lower rise pants, and if I want to wear it around the waist, I just need to punch a few holes in it. It actually seems like a very good quality leather belt. Regular price is $19.50:

     Did anyone end up with some great stuff with the GAP/BR/Piperlime/Athleta G&G? I'd love to hear about it!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: The Matt Bernson Waverly Flat

     I think we may have a winner. We all know about my eternal flat search, and I think as long as there are shoes, I'm going continue looking. However, let me introduce you to the Matt Bernson Waverly Flat in Gunmetal Snake:

       These are a size 6.5 as it was recommended that I go up a half size, and it was probably a good idea. These are plenty snug even though they are half a size larger then my regular size 6. These flats are more of an almond toe than a round toe, which is fine; it gives them a little bit more interest especially since there is no toe cleavage. The foot padding is actually pretty good. Just enough so that I don't feel like I'm walking directly on concrete and my aging feet and arches won't complain. The elastic around the heel is comfortable and non-digging, although I will say after wearing them for about 6+ hours, I can start to feel it a bit around the mouth of the elastic up near the toes. I also find the elastic in the back a little bit too low.  It doesn't quite fully grab on to the heel so sometimes my smaller foot will slip out because of the lack of grip. So if this shoe is even just half a size too large, your might have trouble with it staying on the foot when you walk! 

     As for the color, the shoes seems to be more silver than gunmetal, but it is still pretty, nonetheless. I've had no trouble walking around in these thus far--no blisters, no pinching, no rubbing, and no cutting! These retail for about $138. You can get them on Tobi.com or Endless.com. There is a code floating around right now for 25% off with "DAILYCANDY25" for Tobi. For $101, I think they are totally worth it. I am definitely considering buying another pair!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall Trend: The Flare Jean

    It's back! The flare jean, that is. This 70s style is making a comeback for fall and I'm so excited! I still wear this style whether it is "in style" or not, but it is a total bonus when it's one of the biggest trends of the season. My favorite flare jean is J Brand Lovestory. Katie Holmes made these jeans popular a few years ago and given her long legs, she pulled them off quite easily. The flare jean can really give the illusion of mile-long legs if the length are kept right to the floor and the proportions are properly cut. What I mean is that the break at the knee of the pant should start at your knee and not below your knee, otherwise we run the risk of majorly unflattering bell bottoms and a super short leg line. =(

    One of looks I've tried to recreate is this one from Shopbop:

   I went on a HUNT for a blouse like this. I was trying to find something that was soft and flowy, but didn't cost $130+. I thought I was *never* going to find one, but alas, Jacob was my saving grace (again). In pale grey, this top is $59.90. A few weeks earlier I saw something similar at Club Monaco in a pale pink and pale yellow for $89.99. I would have bought that if it had come in a shade of white or light grey. This loose blouse is also a great shape for fall and I can already think of a million ways to wear it both for work and play (I think I have a smudge on the lens of my camera here):

Jacob sheer blouse (pale grey, size XS), J Brand Lovestory (ink, size 25), RM MAB (dark brown), H&M Men's Leather Belt (brown).

     I actually think that the jeans are a bit too short for these particular shoes that I'm wearing. I hate it when that happens. Ack. Ideally, I'd want the jeans to almost brush the floor; these are about half an inch too short. Check out the shoes up close:

     Lace-up booties. These boots give me a type of childhood nostalgia. One of my favorite elementary school teachers used to wear a black pair similar to this and they were HOT. She used to let us play with the laces when she read to us during story time. They are Nine West Vanished in Taupe, from Endless, $108.95. I purchased them in 6.5 and they fit well with a thick pair of socks, which is how I usually wear my boots. I'm kind of on the fence about keeping them. I think they are adorable, but I don't think I'm going to get a lot of cost per wear out of these and my budget right now is only allowing for me to add classic pieces and not trendy items to my wardrobe. Sadly, I think I'm going to have to send them back.

   Don't like the flare jean? Here's the same look with a pair of skinny jeans:

With Paige Verdugo Jegging (in McKinley, size 24).

     I think I would actually prefer a shorter ankle bootie with the skinny jeans. These particular boots hit a little bit above the ankle which shortens the leg line of the jeans, and therefore also makes my legs shorter than they could actually look. 

     You could also do this look with a classic pair of bootcut or trouser jeans as well. I would've taken a picture of that look too, except that it was a complete afterthought that emerged from my head as soon as I put away all my clothes. =/

**CLARIFICATION RE: PREVIOUS POST** Last night I posted about Piperlime's return policy stating that they would only allow credit (and no returns) on items purchased with a code. I actually emailed Piperlime just to see how strict they were about this. I had read on another forum that they would not let one customer return an item because she had used a promotional code. I mean, the idea is ridiculous and I was determined to let someone know that it was. The response I got back was: "Upon a return, you a refunded less the promotional discount amount. We hope this information is helpful." This doesn't seem to be an extremely clear answer, but what I think this means is that Piperlime *will* refund for the amount actually paid for the item. So there it is. Piperlime is now back on my list of "Good websites from which to purchase shoes". =)

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fashion Fixation: Charles David Nexus Boot

     I am fixated on this boot (photo taken from Piperlime.com):

     I cannot explain it. It just screams sexy to me. It has a small platform, with a thin but not too thin heel, cut outs around the ankle, and from what I can tell, a great seamless toe shape. I am in love. I can think of a ton of things to wear these with. Will I actually wear them? That remains to be seen. As of now, these boots can only be found on Piperlime for $250. I have a huge dilemma now. I swore to myself that my purchases would be minimal for the rest of the year, but the GAP Give & Get starts tonight AND I also have a $20 rewards card to use making this boots a lot more affordable than its $250 price tag. The other issue I have is Piperlime's extremely ridiculous new policy regarding the use of promotion codes. Once a code is used, if you want to return, you can only get a credit for the item purchased. Like I said, ridiculous. That policy alone is a major deterrence to any sort of purchase on that website let alone one worth $150+.

*EDIT* I emailed Piperlime about this policy because I thought it was just totally ridiculous and I wanted to see how strict they were about it (I really wanted to buy some shoes). I had in fact read on another board that a customer could not return her shoes because she had used a code. Well the response I received was that a refund will be given for the amount paid for the item. So take Piperlime off your bad list, ladies! It's A-OK.

     I also have these on my mind (photo taken from Piperlime.com):

     Jessica Simpson Minas. I'm not sure about many of you, but I feel a natural adverse reaction to fashion items with Jessica Simpson's name on them. I have seen a few things that I like, but as soon as I realize that it is "her's" I will immediately put it down and move on. This is the first product of her's that I've actually not walked away from. It has a great toe shape with a center seam and a reasonably thick heel. The description says it has a platform, but by the picture it doesn't look like it has much of one. I think these are great and would look super cute under a pair of trousers or with a skirt. Retails for $110.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Debut: BB Dakota Hinsdale Trench

     This trench coat immediately caught my eye when I saw it on Shopbop a few weeks ago. So much so that I immediately grabbed my credit card and purchased it online (while at work no less). Usually I take my time and surf the web for a better price, but for some reason, I just *had* to have this. I think what attracted me was the puff shoulders, and I've always wanted a short trench coat.

     The smallest size listed was a Small, so this had me a little worried. Good thing though, Shopbop has free returns as long as it arrives at their warehouse within fifteen days of delivery. HOWEVER, the night before the package was to arrive at my doorstep, I had to go home to Toronto unexpectedly, basically eliminating any chance of me returning this jacket without incurring at least a $10 charge. Ugh! I crossed my fingers and put this on:

      It actually fit! YAY! The shoulders are perfect. It is a little wide in the waist, but it's not terrible and can be fixed if need be. The puff shoulder is especially flattering on someone with narrow shoulders to balance out the the body. For some reason when I purchased this I thought this was a double breasted jacket, but apparently not. It's OK, though, I still think it's cute. The cost of this jacket on Shopbop is $90; I have seen it on Tobi.com for $79 but only in sizes Medium and Large.  Obviously, by the price, it is unlined. This jacket will probably take you through early- to mid-fall and through mid- to late-spring (assuming you live in a climate where it snows). The color of this jacket is Mushroom, which is a dark khaki color, almost olive. This jacket will likely be seen on this blog quite a few times, I can't wait to play with it!

     Worn open and with my beloved RM MAB in Navy Luxe:

    Also worn with H&M ruched shoulder T (black, size XS), Calvin Klein Feliz Boot in Black Calf, and SFAM Dojo Trouser jeans (New York Dark, size 24). 

      Everyone woman should have a great pair of trouser jeans! I got lucky here. SFAM usually doesn't fit me because of my narrow hips, but in a few of their washes I can wear the Dojo without too much trouble. I didn't even need to get these jeans hemmed!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Versatile Black Skirt: Part II

     Here's that skirt again!

Jacob pencil skirt (black, size 0), Jacob drape shoulder top (black, size XS), Le Chateau Belt (black, XS), Lauren by Ralph Lauren Zabrina Pumps (black, size 6).

     I saw the top on the Jacob.ca website a while back and I really wasn't all that impressed with it. But when I got into the store, it was one of the few conservative-but-not-too-boring black tops they had so I was forced to at least try it on. Surprisingly, it drapes the body extremely well so I went ahead and bought it. I can't remember how much it cost, but I think it's $39.99. It is a bit on the large side for their XS tops, but I can make it work by tucking it into my bottoms. I also went ahead and bought a waist belt to change it up a bit. I really love the accessories at Le Chateau (though often overpriced like most of their other items). This belt in particular is $29.99. I spent a good half hour in the store just trying on belts. Because my whole outfit is black, the belt doesn't emphasize my very short waist too much, plus it's stretchy so I could pull it down just a touch to give the illusion of a slightly longer torso. It might have been a different story if the belt was a different color. 

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Statement Necklace and EOTD

    I've been wanting some really nice statement necklaces the last few seasons. I love accessories and what they can do to pull an outfit together. But for some reason I can't bring myself to spend $20+ on a single piece of jewelry unless it was "real". Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I suppose if I wouldn't feel the same way if I had more money to spend on my wardrobe and accessories. However, as I am still looking for that elusive first job (c'mon economy!), I still need to very selective about what pieces I "need" and can afford, and which pieces can wait.

    I went to the mall last week to make some returns and with two shopping goals in mind, one of them being a statement necklace. I wasn't sure where I was going to find it, I just wanted to find it. My first stop was Express. I really like their jewelry pieces right now, they're big and edgy, but they are way too expensive. I saw a necklace for $69.50! Heck no! Even with BOGO 50% off, I had to move on. 

     Beside the Express is a Forever21. I wasn't going to go in. For some reason this F21 very rarely has any jewelry which kind of makes me mad because I actually like going into F21 for that exact reason. They are not the greatest quality pieces, of course--you get what you pay for. But so as long as you keep them far away from water, they can be kept looking new for a very long time. Something told me that I should go into the store anyway, and it was my lucky day! The store had a huge table in the middle of the store with an associate stocking jewelry! YAY! I ended up buying two big statement pieces. One of them was this necklace for $9.90:

     I knew exactly what I wanted to wear this with. I was also hoping for a matching bracelet or earrings, but no such luck. But here is my EOTD:

BR Sleeveless Gathered Sheath Dress (in Dark Pewter, 00P), Lauren by Ralph Lauren Zabrina Pumps (Black, size 6), F21 Necklace, Jalda Lamb Evelyn Clutch (green).

     I had moment where I thought that maybe I shouldn't keep this dress, but I finally came to my senses. It's not that often I come across a classic, and flattering work appropriate dress. This dress also looks great with a light patterned scarf, fringe tucked in (the loop a little bit too tight here, I think) and fringe untucked:

 Target Patterned Scarf (current season), $12.90. 

        I love scarves.

      Here is a comparison with no accessories:

     It's a great dress on its own, but the accessories give the dress a more complete and put-together look. Different accessories can really change the look of a clothing item. I know some women find it hard to accessorize, but it can really freshen up an outfit.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review: BR Paper Bag Skirt

    I'm sure many of you are thinking, BR again??? LOL. Well, this time I have a good excuse: the good ol' "I needed to get free shipping" excuse. I wanted to buy SO a pair of shorts and buy some extremely early Christmas presents for my nephews and nieces and I was extremely short on shipping, so I went ahead and bought the Paper Bag Skirt in Dark Pewter. It's not really my typical style, but I thought I would branch out a little. Here it is in 00P:

  If I had a choice, I probably wouldn't pair the white patent skinny belt with the white tank, but there seems to be a hole in my wardrobe with respect to basic tanks and skinny belts, so this is all I could come up with. I had to fill the belt loops with something because I despise empty loops, and I felt like it needed to be skinny to show off the "paper bag" waist. The paper bag waist is a cute little detail which attracted me to the skirt in the first place, but I am not in love with this piece. The waist is also a little bit big. Someone with a waist smaller than my own (remember, I'm ruler-shaped) probably wouldn't like the fit of this one. The other thing I wasn't too keen on was the back pockets (blurry pic, sorry):

     I like pockets, it gives the rear a little "depth", especially if you have none. But I'm also not a huge fan of flaps unless they are on jeans, and even less of a fan of them on skirts. A welt pocket is fine; on this skirt, I could tuck the flap in, but then the buttons would be exposed and I am not a fan of that either. This skirt is $59.95 and comes in several colors: dark pewter, black, green stone, and slate blue. It's an OK skirt, but I much prefer the Herringbone Tulip Skirt as seen here.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

The Versatile Black Skirt: Part I

   There was an article in a fashion magazine a few months back where Selma Hayak said something to the effect of: "The most versatile piece in a woman's wardrobe is a black skirt. Everyone will remember a dress, but you can wear a black skirt over and over again and no one will ever give it a second thought." So true. When I went home to T.O. and was in desperate need of several all black outfits, I knew I needed a black skirt.  After trying on about five different skirts at Jacob, I found this for $69.99 from their new Fall Collection:

     I don't actually think it was supposed to be out on the floor to be sold just yet because I didn't see it anywhere even after circling the store three times. But the sales associate brought it out for me because I was looking for a particular skirt that I could have sworn came in black, and she gave me everything she could find in the back room. It is a bit on the pricey side for a skirt made up of this strange man-made material (63% rayon, 32% nylon, 5% elastane), but it was totally worth it. I bought it in a 0. It has an ever so slight tulip shape because of the single pleat in the front, which I thought gave an amazing classic silhouette, and to my delight, it also has pockets. I had it hemmed up a few inches so it fell around mid-knee. I wanted to try to keep the length of the skirt as long as possible, but if you are petite, you know that wearing a skirt past the knee can be quite difficult as it really doesn't do the leg line any favors and can really overwhelm the body.

    I was only going to wear this skirt two out of the four days I needed to wear all black, but ended up wearing it for three days trying to save a bit of money. The remaining day I was allowed to wear yoga pants and a T-shirt because it was just family (thank goodness!). Here are the outfits I wore the first two days. I simply just changed the top and the shoes--in actuality, I only brought home one pair of pumps, but this is just an illustration of how a few slight modification in pieces can change the look of an outfit even if wearing all black!

     Wearing with a basic cotton tank from Jacob in size XS. It dresses down the skirt a little bit, making the whole outfit a little bit relaxed--well as much as you can with a pencil skirt and heels. LOL. The tank is very similar to the BR Modern Knit Tank and comes in a bunch of colors that I can't wait to get my hands on when they go on sale. They are a bit on the longer side, which I like anyway, but I would be aware of this if you are thinking about buying these and don't like your tanks to be too long. Regular price is $18. Shoes are my ever favorite Lauren by Ralph Lauren Zabrina Pump in Black, size 6.

     Here with an *old* strappy tank from Jacob. It's an XS, and it's pretty darn small. They don't make them this small anymore. Shoes are Nine West Jaewon in Black, size 6. Many petite women stay away from the ankle strap on shoes for the sole reason that it can really shorten the leg. And it can certainly do that; but I do think some women can pull it off better than others, particularly those with proportionally thin calves with respect to their ankles.

     I also got this crewneck cardigan in anticipation of the air conditioning being turned on full blast. The sleeves are a little bit long, but otherwise I'm happy with the length. I know it's a little hard to see given that the whole outfit is black! It costs $39.99 and also comes in blue, apple green, burgundy, and tan. I'm eyeing the blue one and will make a bee line for it the next time I step on Canadian soil. 

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