Saturday, July 30, 2011

Petite Fashion Challenge #9: "Heat Wave Appropriate"

     I decided to take part in PFC#9! I figured, this challenge can't be too difficult, I do this just about every single day in the summer (when I'm working)! But as it turns out, it was really difficult. It's was a huge challenge for me to put something together PFC-worthy because when it gets as humid as it does in D.C. during the summer, I really just don't care about being creative. LOL.



The Challenge: 
Create an outfit that accounts for the various environmental factors that plague us in the summer. I want to know how you dress when it's 90 degrees outside and 65 degrees inside. Do you utilize peel-able layers? Are you particular about choosing fabric that is light but resistant? Or do you just tack on a blazer over summer clothes?

      Here in D.C., it's more like 100F (37C) outside and 65F (18C) inside, so it's pretty darn hard to get fancy. And to be honest, I don't. I also tend to get a little more casual the hotter it gets.  Not really on purpose, but I prefer not have to go through the laundering process (dry cleaning!) of all my nice blouses if I can avoid it. So I usually pick light, machine-washable fabrics because they are much easier (and cheaper) to clean. The best I do is try to add color and mix prints (which I'm not that good at), otherwise it's usually a skirt and a short-sleeved or sleeveless top because I sweat like a fat kid. Long sleeves is just not a good idea unless I want massive sweat marks circling my underarms right down to the bottom of my shirt. Oh yes, it's happened. Over top, it's usually a cardi or a scarf depending on how cold it's going to be in the office, sometimes even both. =P I actually would prefer to wear a blazer, but it's not something I like to carry around on my commute to work and I don't have a permanent office space to store it.


     To start:


      Add a colorful layer:


Skirt: Banana Republic Lightweight Wool Pencil Skirt (.Black, size 00R)
Tank: GAP Striped Tank (Black/White, size XS).
Sweater: LOFT Linen-blend Cardi (Green, size XSP).
Necklace: Forever21 Pendant.
Watch: Michael Kors Runway Watch (Silver).
Shoes: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Zabrina Pump (Black, size 6).

     Or a scarf:

Scarf: Tolani 


      Or, bright colored cardi and a scarf!



      Thanks for hosting, Elle! I can't wait to see all the other PFC posts! Hopefully they're all much more creative than mine!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bejeweled.


Shirt: LOFT Jewel-bib Tee (Cream, size XSP).
Skirt: Theory Larryn Skirt (Black, size P).
Belt: Ann Taylor Patent Skinny Belt (Black, size XS).
Shoes: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Zabrina Pumps (Black, size 6)


Do you know what's great about this little tee? That it accessorizes itself!


You may not notice at first glance, but there are actually few things happening in this outfit:


(1) As mentioned, self-accessorized.  Too lazy to think of jewelry? No problem!




(2) The fact that this skirt sits right at the waist elongates the legs; and


(3) the high heeled pumps don't hurt either. Leave out the strappy mary-janes and you give yourself a longer leg line.




High-waisted skirt + non-strappy pumps = long legs!



(4) While the skirt and the shoes elongate the legs, the little belt actually draws attention away from the fact that my torso is very short (and it would be really emphasized if I removed the belt); and last, but not least, 


(5) This skirt flares out at the waist camouflaging my very narrow hips.




     This simple outfit is actually doing a lot of work for which I'm thankful, because it disguises my true laziness.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Deliberations: Colored Denim.



Hanneli for Shopbop. Great lookbook here.

     One of the big trends this summer and likely through the fall is colored denim. I did colored denim once. When I was 15, and it was all the rage. It wasn't skinny jeans, however. It was the baggy, ghetto kind like Aaliyah would wear (please say you all know who Aaliyah is or I'm really going to feel old). I didn't think I would go back there again, but I've been seeing some really cute photos of the red jeans on celebrities lately, and I suddenly needed to have them too. 


     A few tips on helping you figure out how to wear colored denim:
  • Wear with a neutral colored top to help balance the bright color out. For example, white, black, or grey can work with any color. Even a navy blue could work with red, yellow, orange, etc.
  • However, don't feel like you need to be limited to neutral colors. Color-blocking has been a big trend as well, so something like a bright orange or yellow tee on top? Go for it!
  • Something else that works? Prints! Striped, floral, polka-dots, they all "go". When doing prints, you can think of the colored denim as a neutral piece.  Also, taking a color out of print that matches the colored denim can really pull the whole outfit together.
  • I suggest sticking with a skinny denim. Anything wide leg or baggy, or even bootcut is too reminiscent of the '90s. Keep the look clean.   
  • Avoid doing all one color. Yes, you will "match", but looking like a crayon isn't a great look. If you insist on going head to toe in pieces in the same color family, make sure they are in different hues. For example, it is possible to pull off fuchsia jeans with a pale pink top (but with all the different colors out there, I'm not sure why anyone would do this, I'm not judging though :P). Make sure there is some sort of contrast between the denim and the top to break it up.


     Are you starting to develop some style ideas in your head? Here's an obvious one and the pointy heels give the look a little edge:



Tank: Express racerback tank (Black/white stripe, size XS).
Denim: Blank Spray-on Skinny Jeans (Rust, size 24).
Shoes: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Amaya pumps (Black, size 6).
Belt: ASOS Patent Leather Skinny Belt (Yellow, size S).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway Watch (Silver).
Necklace: Dogeared Mantra Necklace (Silver).
 
      I know I look a little bit sweaty, it was really hot and humid in the storage locker area. 


      More photos:



      These are Blank Denim Spray On Skinny Jeans in Rust (yes, that's really the name of them), that I purchased from Shopbop for $80 (size 24). They are *very* stretchy, and a little on the smaller side, so someone a size smaller than I am could fit these easily. I would describe them as more of a stretch twill rather than denim because the material is very light and thin. They're more of a rusty brownish-red as opposed to a bright red, which is sort of what I wanted because they are more "subdued" in color (as subdued as red jeans can get). The rise is pretty low, I measure it to be about 7".  So if you like your bottoms to sit a little higher to prevent that muffin-top, these aren't for you. The front pockets are faux, which is kind of annoying because I keep trying to put my hands and other things in them. Otherwise, I kind of like the jeans overall, but I've been really trying to be selective about my purchases lately. I've been asking myself, "Will this help complete my vision of the perfect wardrobe?" This question has really reduced the number of purchases I've made recently when it comes to work clothes. However, I do allow myself more leeway when it comes to my casual wardrobe. I don't do a whole lot of trends, but when I do, it's usually limited to casual pieces.  I think these jeans may be far too trendy even though they're fun. I would rather spend my money on something else that is more timeless. I can't really see these lasting any longer than the fall/winter season, though I have been wrong before. 


     I'm also really loving the electric blue version. Check these ones out from J Brand:


Shopbop, $176


     What do you ladies think of these jeans? Should I keep them? Will you be partaking in this trend?

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Fitting Room Finds: Ann Taylor Pre-Fall Collection

   I made a trip to the mall today on the hottest day yet...to buy a pair of boots, no less. LOL. I purchased these Via Spiga Kacey Riding Boots from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because the description said the shaft circumference was 13". They lied. Plus, for the price ($259 from $398), the leather wasn't that great. For a $400 boot, I was expecting a lot more. So don't get tricked. These boots are not for small calves.

    Anyway, back to the real purpose of my post. The Ann Taylor Pre-Fall Collection! The Ann Taylor store in my mall is very small, and the petite selection is not all that great, especially for the 00P,0P, XXSP, and XSP sizes, which is especially disappointing because I find that the clothes aren't always consistent in sizing, particularly in the skirts. But I did my best to try on all the pieces that were available to me that caught my eye.

First up, Broken Dashes Pencil Skirt in 0P. It's not the pre-fall collection, but it was the only bottoms I found that I liked: 

 

     At first, I thought it was going to be too big. And then once I got close to zipping it all the way up, I thought it was going to be too small. But it actually fit really well. The material was fairly nice, though I wish the fit was a little smoother around the hip area, as it was kind of bumpy. Regular price, $98.

    Pleat Placket Shirt, size 00P:


      This was too small for me under the arms. I usually wear a 0P in AT on top, but all they had was 00P and I really needed something with a collar for the next piece.  Nothing super special about it. Regular price is $68.

       The reason why I wanted a collared blouse? This Striped Jewel Neck Shell:


     So cute! They only had it in size S, so this is too big for me, but online it does say that it comes in XXS. It would probably look better without the shirt underneath, but I had to try it anyway. Regular price is $68.

     I can't find this blazer online, but I picked it up because it looks very much like the Theory Landon Blazer which I love:


     From the feel of it, the material seems to be partially made of linen, I forgot to check though. I'm pretty sure it is, given how wrinkly the arm is, probably from being rolled up. I'm wearing it in 0P. It was just OK. I wasn't wow-ed by it. It fit fine in the shoulders, but I felt a little sloppy in it. Regular price is $198.

     I thought this Simple Dabs Print Shell was really cute on the hanger, but it looked huge. I picked it up in 0P because there wasn't anything smaller available. It has a little tie in the back behind the neck, that I didn't take a photo of because it was too difficult to get the right angle:

 

    It was a little difficult to get over my head, and once on, I wasn't a fan as to how it hung on my body. It has a little pleated accent on the side, but it didn't do anything for me. Regular price is $68.


     And here, the Cross-over tank with buttons in Deep violet, size XSP:


     This was the only top I could find that was in both XXSP and XSP. I really only needed the XSP, however. The front is actually pretty low as you can see my tank there, and that's even after I made a really good effort to pull it up. If wearing to work, you 'll probably need a cami underneath. I wasn't a huge fan of this either, but other than the very low neck, it fit well. It's on sale right now for $39.99 from $48 and there is also an extra 50% off sale prices in stores right now. So this knit top would come out to ~$20.

    And finally, my favorite top of the lot:


    Drape Neck Striped Pull Over Sweater. I wasn't even going to pick this up off the rack, but I thought I would try it on just because I was getting a little frustrated with the lack of selection in my store. And it turned out to be so cute! I love how it drapes in the front and it's just perfectly slouchy. So cute over trousers or a pair of jeans. This is definitely on my Want List. I am wearing it in XSP and it's regular price is $88.

   I'm sorry, I couldn't do better, but my local Ann Taylor store kills me. This is why I do a majority of my shopping online. :P

    Right now, AT is having 30% in-stores and online on their regular priced items and it is an extra 50% off sale. Are you planning to pick anything up from the pre-fall collection?

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For Sale: Paige Premium Denim Hidden Hill High-Rise Bootcut Denim

Photo from Paigedenimusa.com
     
     I don't usually do this, but I thought I would sell something to those in my blog community before I went ahead and posted these on eBay (for a higher price!).


     I purchased a pair Paige jeans from my local TJ Maxx. I held on to them for a while because I loved them, but ultimately I've decided they are a smidge too small and that I should just sell them. As if I really needed another pair of jeans. My collection is already ridiculous, and that my summers are in D.C., I can't even wear denim for half the year. =(


     In the older Paige sizing I wear 25, but this pair seems to be her new sizing and so it's about a half size larger than my older Paige denim. It used to be that I couldn't come close to buttoning up 24s, but I could button up these without too much problem and not look like I'm bursting out of them. However, they are still slightly too uncomfortable around my waist for my preference. They are high-waist bootcut, and insanely flattering and I don't even like high-rise jeans! If you've never worn Paige before, you are missing out, because they make the tush look FAB and the legs look super long. And they don't stretch out like a lot of other denim. Paige just makes the *BEST* jeans for smaller frames. I recommend these for someone who is just a touch smaller than I am around the waist (I have a 24.5-25" waist)  and maybe the same or a bit smaller around the hips/butt (my hips are 32.75").  If you have approximately a 24" waist and about 32.5" hip measurement, these are for you! 


     Here are the details:


NWOT Paige Premium Denim Hidden Hills High-Rise Bootcut Denim

Condition: New without tags! Perfect!
Size: 24 (fits more like a snug 25 in old Paige sizing).
Color: Barcelona Blue with Crease.
Material Composition: 98% Cotton/2%Spandex. Won't stretch out!
Waist: 25" (12.5"x2), double button closure.
Hips at base of zipper: 33" (16.5"x2).
Rise: 8.25" (from crotch seam).
Leg opening: 17" (8.5"x2).
Inseam: 35", break at knee begins at 14.5" from the crotch seam (Yes, they are very long, but I found the knee break to be around my knee where it should be, as opposed to 4" below it).
Price: $60 shipped within the U.S. If you are from Canada, add $3 and I'll ship from Toronto, if possible (and if you are willing to wait) to avoid duties. 
Payment method: Paypal only (just because it's the easiest).
Other terms: I try to measure as accurately as possible, but unless grossly misrepresented, NO RETURNS!


     Here are some photos, so you all can be sure they are real (I'm serious about my denim, I don't sell fake stuff):



     Interested? Have more questions? Email me! a.fashion.deliberation@gmail.com.


     These are going up on eBay in about a week's time, so please let me know if you want them!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: The HANA Air Premiere Hair Dryer from Misikko.com


     I don't usually review beauty/hair products on this blog (OK, I don't think I ever have :P), but I was contacted by Misikko to review one of their top hair products. Misikko specializes in salon grade hair straigteners and professional hair dryers, and they were super kind enough to send me their top hair dryer, the HANA Air Premiere Hair Dryer for me to try out.


Disclaimer: This is a honest review of this item and the opinion therein is all my own.


     Let me first start off by saying that I don't normally blow dry my hair. Generally, the only time that I do is if my hair is too wet for me to go to bed, or if I'm going out at night to an event of some sort and I choose to wash my hair first. I try to minimize heat styling as much as I can and given that I'm obsessed with my flat iron despite having stick straight hair, so that generally means skipping the blow dryer when possible.  Admittedly, however, the flat iron works WAY better after a good blow dry.


My hair: I have the typical stick straight asian hair. It does tend to dry with kinks from sitting on my shoulders since I have shoulder length hair. I get it cut/trimmed about every three months to reshape and get rid of dry ends. Sometimes it will dry a little "poofy" until my natural oils can set in after a few hours. The strands are pretty thick, but the overall amount of hair that I have isn't a lot. It isn't very thick, but it isn't very thin either.


     I decided to use this dryer a few times before I actually wrote my review. The dryer I had been using is a Conair that I purchased from the drugstore. It's not the super cheap $15 kind. I decided one day to "splurge" and bought a $30 hair dryer. It definitely works better than a $15 hair dryer, but I've never really had anything else to compare it to, so all I can say about it is that it gets the job done.


     I'm also not really the most skilled blow dryer in the world. I usually just comb my hair through with a wide tooth comb before hand and then blow it through with my fingers. I know that if my hair was curly, the process would be much more difficult and time-consuming. The only product I put in my hair before hand is a spray-in heat protector.


Before (some gratuitous bathroom shots):



During:




After:



     My hair dried on the highest and hottest setting in about five minutes! I don't have a lot of hair, but that's pretty quick! The air got pretty hot, like it does when the stylist blows it at the salon. And my hair?? Good volume, shine (though my hair is pretty healthy to begin with), and soft! My hair is never usually this soft after a blow dry.


     Other things to note:


Weight: Typical weight of a hair dryer. Not too heavy. My arms didn't get tired using it, even when I was trying to style with a brush.  But again, I wasn't drying that long and not trying to blow straight or curl with a brush.

Noise: Typical amount of noise. Not extraordinarily loud, but exactly what you would expect.

Cord: Extra long! It is a good 10 feet long, at least. And the it seemed to be wrapped in a very durable rubber.

Settings: Hot and cool settings, both with two options of low and high.  

Attachment: Comes with a head (as all good dryers should). It makes styling with a dryer so much easier and easier to control where you want the air to blow.


Quality: Seems as if it is made well. I didn't try dropping on the floor a few times, but it does look as if it's made of some durable plastic.

Warranty: Two years from date of purchase.



Overall: I really like this hair dryer, although, I do think someone with more textured hair that blows and styles their hair straight could probably appreciate this dryer much more than I can.  I don't think that I'll be blow drying more often, but I can say that I'll be more than happy to use it. 


     You can purchase this hair dryer here for $195. 

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Oh yes I did.


     I have no idea what possessed me. I wore colored denim when I was 15, and I swore I was never going to go back there again. But here I am, and here they are. Stay tuned to see what I can pair these up with in my closet (because I have not the slightest clue at the moment).


    There is a distinct possibility that I will have to send these back!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Orange Crush.

     I've been jonesin' for a sleeveless silk (or similar) button-front blouse this summer. I came across this one on Revolve by Dolce Vita: 




    Although, I prefer all natural fabrics, especially in the summer, viscose is close enough. I love this bright top paired with something appropriate for work:

Shirt: DV by Dolce Vita Camp Shirt (Orange, size XS).
Skirt: BR Lightweight Wool Pencil Skirt (Black, size 00R).
Shoes: Ann Taylor Signature Pump (Black patent, size 6).
Clutch: Botkier Charlotte Oversized Clutch (Black). 
Necklace: Forever21 Pendant.

      This new Banana Republic Skirt is actually size 00R, not 00P. Measured against my other BR skirt in 00P, but for the length, it's actually smaller! *scratches head* I love the extra length though; it gives it more of a true pencil fit. I always think Petite BR skirts are too short for my liking. And for anyone who has ever thought of taking down the length of a BR pencil skirt, don't do it. I tried. The most that it can be taken down is 1/4". For some reason they make an angular cut in them hem making it impossible to let it out a full 1"+.  I was really annoyed about that. =/


    Notice my new purse? It's no Chanel, but it will have to do for at least another few years. It's really labeled as a clutch, but it comes with this great detachable chain to making it a bit more versatile.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: J. Crew Minnie Pant in Stretch Twill

    
     The J.Crew Minnie pant has intrigued me for a very long time. However, given J.Crew's insane vanity sizing, I was convinced that they were never going to fit, so I never bothered to try them. However, a few weeks ago, J.Crew was having an extra 30% off their sale items. As luck would have it, the Minnie Pant in Stretch Twill (Coal, in 00P) was on sale for just under $50 not including sales tax. Sure, why not? 
   
    When my shipment finally arrived (because you know, J.Crew's processing and shipping is a little on the slow side), I pulled them out of the bag with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. 


    The color was a very, very dark charcoal, almost black. And yep, they are very stretchy. I think I would like them in a wool material better, nevertheless, this is what I had in my hands. The next thing I noticed, was the side zip: 




 I didn't realize that it didn't button up in the front. Not good. I despise pants with a side zipper. More often than not they are extremely unflattering and give the infamous pancake butt. These, however, could be salvaged because they have two welt-pockets in the rear, and yes, belt loops too (which is probably why I thought that these were front-zip bottoms).


      When I finally pulled them on, I was absolutely *shocked* that they actually fit fairly well around the waist, hips, and thighs:



      The back? Not the most flattering pant I own, but they aren't the most terrible either:


      There is a little bit of folding,  but not too much. Does certainly make it look like I need to do more lunges at the gym though. LOL. They are actually quite remininscent of the GAP Slim Crop Pants from their Premium Pant Collection except with welt pockets. I was a little bit concerned that these will stretch out like crazy like GAP's, but I wore these around for a while (OK, the whole day) and they have a sufficient amount of stretch in them that they don't stretch out terribly. I do have a little bit of saggy butt syndrome, but nothing close to the GAP pants which results in me having to launder the pants after every wear.

     The length, well...the inseam is about 24". It's little bit of an awkward length on me. Not bad. They are workable, but I think if I keep these pants I may let out the hem. It looks like I could get about one extra inch out of them. 

     Overall, I like these pants, but I'm a bit unsure. Right now, I'm really only looking to buy good investment pieces for work so I'm more interested in the bi-stretch Italian Wool which would be more appropriate for the office. But of course that also means the fit could be completely different (I'm almost positive they will be). What do you ladies think? Keepers? Should I let out the hem, or do they look OK the way they are?

    I also got this 3/4 length sleeve stretch perfect button down in XSP, as well. I love green, but it seems rather odd in a dress shirt. My dad likes it. He keeps telling me I should match it with green shoes. Really?? How many people own green shoes?? But I'm leaning towards keeping it, even though right now I feel kind of awkward wearing it. It is different though, and could really give an otherwise conservative office outfit a little pop. I also ordered it in Smokey Graphite as another option which is more of a taupe-y color and very "safe" (I don't think I can keep both!). What do you think of the green button-down? Too weird or does it have potential?

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