Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Banana Republic Maria Lace-Trimmed Sheath Dress

    Truthfully, I'm not really liking what I've been seeing for spring on Banana Republic thus far. Everything seems kind of bland and unappealing. When I think of spring and summer, I think of strong, bright colors, and lots of it! BR tends to lack in this department season after season. I don't mind neutrals but pastels and pale tones don't ignite my fire. Last Tuesday, BR was offering 35% off their entire website and so I tried to find something that I really wanted to try. It happened to be black. Maria Lace-Trimmed Sheath Dress in 00P:



     When I pulled it out of the bag, I was pretty surprised by it's material. I guess when I purchased it, I didn't really pay attention to it's make-up. It's actually 74% rayon, 22% nylon, and 4% spandex. The material is thick and soft, like a scuba material. I rushed to put it on, but there was a small issue. I could not get the zipper above the waist detail. Part of the problem was that the waist is pretty snug on me, but also that it was just the detail was just making the zipper difficult to pull up through it and I had no one to help me. I thought I was going to break the zipper, but then I decided after some serious tugging (at least I know it's made well) that I should just twist the dress around and pull the zipper up and then turn it around again once I had it over the waist detail. That finally worked but not until after I started to sweat a bit.


     It's pretty, with very nice lace details and a defined waist, it's actually extremely flattering, but the lace deep-v neck certainly doesn't make it very work appropriate. Here are the details up close:


      I would definitely have to put a cami or something underneath it. In fact, if you weren't careful, you'd expose yourself if you twisted your body is just the wrong way. Definitely needs some fashion tape to keep it secure to the body. The length is perfect, right to the knee and the straps are perfectly placed so that no bra straps would peek out. I really thought about keeping this, but to be honest, I'm not even sure where I would wear it. What do you ladies think?

    See it on Jeanie of Extra Petite, who is a little bit smaller than I am, here.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Work meets the '70s.

    As promised, no jeans. If you notice my bulging belly, no I'm not having a baby, and no I'm not gaining weight--I just ate dinner. LOL. I don't know why I always insist on taking photos after I consume a huge bowl of pasta. 

Sweater: Club Monaco Merino Wool Turtleneck (Orange, size XS).
Pants: Forever21 Wide Leg Trousers (Brown Plaid, size XS).
Necklace: Forever 21 Pendant.
Coat: J.Crew Plaza Coat (Black, size 0)
Belt: Nine West Reversible Belt (Black/Brown Patent, size S).
Boots: Charles David Nexus Platform Boot (Black, size 6.5).
Handbag: Rebecca Minkoff MAB (Dark Brown).


     I bought these pants from Forever21 over four years ago and have not once worn them before today. Terrible, right? I do love them, though. I just need to learn how to work them into my work wardrobe. Hopefully you'll see these pants again. 


    The J.Crew coat I purchased five years ago, before I understood the sizing that is J.Crew. I wish I had gotten it in petite because the torso is too long for my body but otherwise it's I really love it.


    

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Keeping it simple.



    I have to say that my photos are terrible in the morning. And I had to go into the stairwell TWICE this morning because the first time after I was all set up, I realized that the battery in my camera wasn't charged. So I went back to the apartment, charged it for 10 minutes and then took a few quick shots before the camera died. So there's only three shots here, sorry:

 
Sweater: Jacob Narrow Boatneck Sweater (Mocha, size XS).
Jeans: Paige Premium Denim Verdugo Jeggings (McKinley, size 24).
Tank: Banana Republic Knit Tank (White, size XS).
Shoes: Vince Camuto Prettie Flat (Black, size 6).
Necklace: Target.
Ring: Adia Kabur Stackable Mixed Ring Set (Gold/Silver, size 7).
Handbag: Olivia Harris (Teal Patent Leather).

     I used to love crew necks so much in my younger days. I realize now that a V-neck is more flattering, but I'm still a quite drawn to the crew neck. Maybe it's a tomboy thing. This particular sweater has a slightly wider neck than a regular crew neck and so, so soft. Too bad it pills like crazy on my left hip. This seems to happen on a lot of my sweaters, all in the same spot. I can't seem to figure out why. I noticed the same thing on another girl once. Does any one else have this problem? Why in always the same spot?


   I really should be posting more work-appropriate EOTDs. I guess I'm just not entirely happy with what I have in my work wardrobe right now so I'm just avoiding it altogether. The next EOTD will not include jeans, I promise.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Casual Friday.

      Yes, I'm aware it's not Friday. LOL. But I thought I would backtrack a bit just because I've been really slacking with the posts in the past month or so.  Thank you to those who have been patient with me and understand that long hours at work and frequent traveling aren't always compatible with frequent blogging. =/



     I totally look like I just woke up. Next time I'll try to look more alert:


Sweater: Ann Taylor LOFT Cardigan (Army Green, size XS).
Shirt: Club Monaco V-neck T (Black, size S).
Denim: Paige Premium Denim Verdugo Jeggings (McKinley, size 24).
Boots: Calvin Klein Dina Knee-high Boots (Black Leather, size 6.5).
Belt: GAP Faux Snake Skin Skinny Belt (Flint grey, size S).
Pendant: Forever 21.


     I was getting a little tired of the "belted sweater" look, so I decided to use my belt loops this time aiming for an outfit that was both classic and casual-chic.


    Are you wondering about my boots? They're Calvin Klein Dina. And are you wondering whether I took them to the cobbler and had them altered to fit my legs? Well, I didn't! They came out of the box like this. No joke. They're described as 13.5" circumference, and I have 12"-12.5" calves. They're not perfect, they are still a little big over jeans. On bare leg there's quite a bit of room. Not horrible, but they're still a little big bigger than I'd like. I think I can overlook it, though. It's not often that I can find a knee-high boot that fits pretty well right out of the box.  They have a nice almond toe, and 3" heel which is extremely work appropriate. Admittedly, it's not the greatest of all leathers, but they're decent and not stiff at all. I would probably compare it to Aldo leather boots. I'm wearing them in a 6.5. With thick socks they fit well, I think I could have even gone down to a size 6 comfortably. A closer look:




     This boot also comes in black suede, graphite suede (grey), dark brown suede, and taupe-grey suede (light tan color). Its regular price is $149 on Shoes.com (you can use the code "CHEERS" and 13.6% cashback from Bigcrumbs.com with free returns), or you can get it from Dillard's for $99 plus shipping.  If your calf circumference is close to mine or slightly larger and you've been searching for a classic knee-high boot with a heel, you might want to check these out.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

EOTD: Home for the weekend

     Have you ever wondered what I wear when I'm out and about with the SO in Toronto during the winter? I've mentioned before, I don't pack very fashionably and the true tomboy in me comes out. I can only hope that it all looks put together when I leave the house. 


     I never leave home without a hat:




and UGGs:




     Mix it up with a sweater and some skinny jeans and, voila! Sorry, I was literally jumping around before I took these photos, so my sweater is a little messy and SO didn't care to tell me before he started snapping away. LOL. Especially included in today's edition are a few off-moments that I thought would be fun to throw in:


Hat: TNA by Aritzia Slouchy Beanie (Black, OS).
Top: Jacob (Black/White Stripe, size XS).
Sweater: AT Open Cardi (Mocha, size S).
Denim: Paige Premium Denim Verdugo Jeggings (McKinley, size 24).
Boots: UGG Classic Tall (Grey, size 5).
Belt: Asos Double Wrap Belt (Black, size XS).

      So now you know all about my typical winter get-up. Warmth and comfort trumps fashion especially on these super cold days. I'm not playing around. In fact, it was so cold today due to the wind chill I put on ANOTHER sweater on top of this just in case (we're talking -25C/-13F). Hey, you have to take extra precautions when you have very little natural insulation. 


      Right after we took these in the stairwell, I tore a huge hole into my UGGs by pulling the door really hard and getting it caught in my boot as I turned around to talk to the SO. ARGGHH. So mad. I'm really not having much luck lately. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fashion Fixation: Vera Wang Gillian Flat

    Sorry, no EOTDs this week. I'm on another project with OT, and I just can't get myself to wake up even just a little bit early to sneak into the stairwell and take photos. I'm just not a morning person. Maybe I'll drag myself out of bed tomorrow. Maybe. Otherwise, you'll just have to wait until the weekend. 


    In the meantime, I have to show you this ballet flat. I see it on the way in and out of my Nordstrom every time I go to the mall. I love it. Vera Wang Gillian Flat:





     I'm not a huge fan of pointy-toed flats (even though they can elongate the foot, which can be important if you have particularly small feet), but I love these. Adorned with a few jewels and a little a bow makes it oh so pretty! Also comes in a tan color. Regular price is $295. It went on sale at Nordies and I was too slow. I'll have to stalk it elsewhere, I suppose.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review: eShakti

      Before the Christmas holidays, I was contacted by Jennifer, a representative from eShakti.com. She took an interest in my blog and was super kind enough to let me review one of the items they sell on their website (as a disclaimer, I am not associated with eShakti in any way so this will be an extremely honest review like my many other reviews of clothing from my favorite online stores).


     eShakti  is an online store with a mission to make every woman look her best, no matter what size or shape, and they understand that one size does not fit all. One of the great things about this site is that they customize their items to your liking for a fixed fee of $7.95! The sizes already range from 0-26W, but you can customize the fit to your own particular measurements. Even after customization, if you still don't like the item, you can return it minus the cost of shipping and customization. This is certainly a great selling point, especially if you have trouble fitting items off the rack like I do, petite or not.


     To be honest, I did take a look at the eShakti website before I responded to Jennifer's email. I had never heard of this website, and I really had no idea what kind of clothing they sold. I took a little time to browse, and my first impression was that the style of clothing was very Anthropologie-esque--very feminine, vintage-looking/country-inspired/boho-chic. Not really in line with my own personal style, though I do like to incorporate different elements of that style into my outfits on occasion. 
  
     I did find a few pieces that I truly liked and in some really beautiful items in jewel-toned colors. Jennifer allowed me to choose one item from the website to review and I could customize it if I so desired. Looking at the size chart, I already had the idea that purchasing an item as is, was likely going to be too large for my petite frame as is, so I opted for some customization. What I really wanted was a cape or a skirt (they have a beautiful 100% silk skirts for sale), but I knew that the true test for this site was a pair of pants because I have so many problems with finding pants that fit. BUT, I am far too picky about my pants and though I tried really hard to try to find a pair of pants that I wanted, I finally realized that I was going to do both myself and eShakti a disservice by choosing something that I didn't really like to begin with and then force them to try to please me with some custom alterations.  If this were one of my regular online stores, I wouldn't purchase something that didn't truly like to begin with and hope my tailor would fix it so that I would like it, so I wasn't about put eShakti in a position where the chances to please me were going to be slim. I also wanted an item that I would wear again and again.


     Many of their items are 100% cotton of which I'm not the greatest fan. I do tend to like a little bit of stretch in my clothing, it helps with fit and helps the clothing retain shape, and IME, the material tends to last a bit longer. Some items were of some polyacrylic, and some wool blends. After taking some time to browse, I decided on this very pretty Herringbone Tweed Ruffle Jacket:




     I love tweed and I love little jackets so I thought that this would be a perfect choice.


     I began the process of customization. The form was very straight forward and easy to fill out. If you didn't know how to measure, then the site gave you instructions on how to do so. One problem with the customization that I do have, was the bra size option. Not that it applied to me in this case, but I did notice that the smallest bra size given for customization of tops is 32A. If you are petite like myself, many of us are smaller than 32A. I gave it some thought and I dismissed it because I didn't think it really mattered in the grand scheme of things. Maybe 32A is close enough since they are not actually customizing a bra, but even still, I thought that if you are going to customize to smaller sizes, it might be a good idea to have that option in there.





     I could have even opted for a bracelet length. I thought long and hard about this, but I decided to go with  a regular wrist-length jacket, but without the cuff as shown in the picture. I really loved the fact that I could do this.



     My first thought when I pulled it out of its box was, "OOH! Cute buttons!" The tweed material was very nice. I chose the jacket in Light Rust because I really wasn't a fan of the dark rust color. I thought that it might really bring out the yellow tones in my skin. 


   And here it is:




     Cute ruffle detail all around!


     Upon closer inspection, the quality was very good. Seams and buttons were nice and tight and there was no loose threading that I could see. I proceeded to put the jacket it on, and as cute as the buttons were, the jacket was pretty difficult to button and unbutton. The slits just weren't quite big enough for easy on and off. Once buttoned up, I noticed there was a little shoulder-padding, which is fine, sometimes jackets need a little padding to help structure the jacket.  And if you have small or sloping shoulders then a little bit of shoulder-padding is your friend, as it will help even out your proportions. I noticed here however that the padding was a little off on my right shoulder:



     Can you see it? It seems a little bit high and a little bit short on my right shoulder compared to my left.  I took a measuring tape to the shoulder seam and it was actually .25" shorter on my right than it was on my left. This may partly be contributing to the too-tight feeling in the back of the jacket.


     As to the rest of the fit, the arms could use a little bit more room in the bend. It was quite tight in that area. It fit perfectly across the waist. My main concern was the room across the chest and back. The chest was fine, but the back was just slightly too tight. I could lift my arms, but it just felt a little bit too small across the back. 


     There was one thing about the fit I did notice after wearing it for about twenty minutes. When I initially put it on, I thought that there was something just slightly off across the front that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then I realized something. Across the bust, the jacket seemed a little too roomy. I'm not sure if I could get the proper angle to show this properly, but this jacket is customized for someone with a fuller bust than I have. Maybe not having measurements smaller than 32A is a problem after all. Either that or the jacket needs to be cut a little bit higher under the bust for a better fit for a shorty like me.



     I compare it to having any empire-waisted top that just doesn't sit quite under the bust like it should, but rather it sits a little bit low. I'm suffering from droopy-boob syndrome in the above photos. 

     The sleeve-length was also strangely a bit short. I don't think I have particularly long arms, and I'm pretty sure I didn't accidentally opt for a bracelet-length sleeve, but you could see my wrist bone while standing normally. I generally prefer my jackets to be a little longer, but this isn't bothersome. After some time,  the wool material began to get a little itchy, but tweed tends to do that. 


     Overall, the jacket is very pretty and I really liked the way it looked, but the fit was just off. It could be attributed to my own inaccurate measurements, so I suppose I can't fully blame eShakti for the problem. It is also the danger when you anything altered, especially if the tailor is not there to do the measuring. On the bright side, if you purchase something from the website and have it customized, you can send this back and either get a full refund, minus the alterations and shipping cost OR get this, exchange the item for a credit with 20% more value. So if you return something worth $50, you will get a gift voucher worth $60 (the catch is that it must be used within six months of issue). eShakti claims doing this has two purposes. According to their website, they say it is: 


"*A way for us to show higher responsibility in not meeting your expectations. 
  ∗ To give you the opportunity to order again so that we can try and delight you, the next time round!"

     Now *that's* standing behind their products and I find that pretty impressive.


     A few of my other favorites from the website include:






     I'm generally not a fan of ponchos, but I love a great cape:




     They also have some great evening dresses and even some maxi dresses. So if you're a petite who has a hard time finding a maxi that fits, this may be a good place to try it out and their prices are very reasonable. The ruffle jacket didn't work out perfectly for me, but a simpler piece like a skirt or a top that requires less complex alterations (if you need them) is certainly something I would consider purchasing on this website in the future.


     Right now they have a few promotions: Free shipping with orders over $100, Overstock sale with up to 35% off, register with eShakti and get $15 off your first order, and free customization on your first customization order! Have fun with this site ladies, it definitely a place to check out! See here: www.eShakti.com.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dotted.

     I tried very hard, but eventually I had to give into the Ann Taylor  40% off sales over the holiday. I've been especially obsessing over blouses lately, mostly because I don't really own any. Partly because I've had so much trouble with fit (the short-torso problem), and partly because being in school, I've never had the occasion to really wear them without looking too contrived. I do love them, however, and when I saw this polka-dot blouse on AT, I knew I had to try it out:



This blouse is so lovely on the model, but it had the potential to be wrong on so many levels once I put it on. I purchased it in Petite 0 (it also comes in P00, but I opted to just go for the larger).

Blouse: Ann Taylor Petite Polka Dot Print Shirt (Navy, size 0P)
Denim: J Brand Lightweight Lovestory (Dark Vintage, size 25)
Belt: H&M Men's Leather Belt (Dark Brown, size 28)
Shoes: D&G Booties (Dark Grey, size 6)

     I love the little dots! The top fit pretty well across the shoulders and back which was my main concern. I think maybe when buttoned up all the way it is borderline small. At first, I thought that it was much too fitted around the waist than I would have liked, but when I tried it on again later I thought that it actually fit really well. The sleeves could also be rolled up and buttoned as I have it styled.

     I really like this blouse, the material is very silky and soft with a little stretch. It is made of 93% silk and 7% spandex. And I love the look of it with a lower cut pair of jeans. I can't wait to try and experiment with some skirts to see if I can get it to work for a business casual workplace.

    BTW, rumor has it that the '70s look is big for spring. Do you know what that means? The flare is back and in a big way! There is still time before spring, so if you love the look of flares, I would start searching for that perfect pair right now and then stalk for a sale! I'm considering a new pair of Lovestory. Hmmm.

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