Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spring. In January.

   The weather this winter thus far has been unreal. A few weekends ago my condo community held a New Year's Brunch and I actually ate my meal outdoors on the rooftop. In a cardigan. In January. Wow. The following is not the outfit I wore that day, but just an explanation as to why I would be wearing such lightweight sweater and a trench coat at the end of January and not something heavier:


Sweater: Club Monaco Merino Wool Turtleneck Sweater (Orange, size XS).
Jacket: Le Chateau Trench (Black, size XS).
Denim: Paige Premium Denim Verdugo Jeggings (McKinley, size 25).
Handbag: Olivia Harris (Patent Dark Teal).
Shoes: Ann Taylor Signature Pumps (Porcini, size 6).
Belt: Ann Taylor Leopard Haircalf Skinny Belt (size S).
Necklace: J.Crew 5-Strand Pearl Necklace.

    Apparently, I thought it was cool that my hand was in my pocket because all the photos are like that! Haha.


    A few weeks ago I had a reader request for more outfits with jeans. And to be honest, I'm at a bit of a loss. I own a *lot* of denim. Almost embarrassingly so, but you don't see a whole lot of it on this blog. If you've followed me for a long while, you know that I am truly a tomboy and I am perfectly content wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of sneakers most days (to the point where Stacey and Clinton might be mortified). I also like to take walks during my days off and I don't drive anywhere in D.C., so where a lot of girls may opt for heels in their off time, I would most definitely *not* unless the specific occasion calls for it. So when I go casual, I don't think of it as anything spectacular and I promise you, it really isn't. But that is why you may not see a whole lot of different denim in my posts. The only time there is a somewhat significant divergence from my typical t-shirt and jeans for casual wear is a change in season--as the weather gets cooler, my outfits get edgier, but not necessarily more interesting (if I had more disposable income then it probably would be). But, having said that, there are some off days (maybe few and far between) where I do put in a little bit more thought into what I wear, so I will put more of an effort to blog about them. If there is anything else you'd like to see more of on this blog, please LMK. I'd love to hear some ideas!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hounded.

Blazer: Zara (Black, size S).
Blouse: H&M Chiffon Cross-over top (Black/white houndstooth, size 2).
Skirt: Zara Sheath skirt (Blue, size XS).
Boots: Marc Fisher Kevins (Tan Leather, size 6.5).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway Watch (Silver).

     I found this sleeveless houndstooth chiffon-type cross-over top at H&M quite a few months back. I took it with me into the fitting room and when I put it on, it was just "meh". But I had walked into the store wearing a blazer and had a thought that I should put it on over top to see what it would look like. Voila. Instant chic. Goes to show that it pays to be creative even in the fitting room.


      The skirt is just a touch too long to be worn with these boots. If the boots were black or if the skirt was a bit shorter it would give the illusion of a longer leg. Here, I just insisted on wearing these boots with the rest of this outfit and hoped that no one noticed that I looked extra short today.


      Remixes:



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Monday, January 23, 2012

Decidedly Undecided.

     I thrifted this amazing electric blue suede skirt a few months back but I can't decide what to do with it. Should I alter it to make it fit and keep it as a pencil skirt, or should i chop the bottom off and turn it into a cute little suede mini? I haven't owned a mini in a long time.  I used to love them in my early and mid-20s, but after I left for law school, I haven't had the occasion to wear one (maybe because I no longer own one?) or I kind of felt like it was inappropriate for my lifestyle. But I've seen a lot of minis on other petites lately, and I'm thinking maybe I should have one or two in my wardrobe just for fun.






     What do you ladies think? Please leave a comment below!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Black-and-Blue.


Blouse: Ann Taylor Silk Button Tab Long Sleeve Shirt (Bright Royal Blue, size 0P).
Booties: D&G Suede Booties (Dark Grey, size 6).
Bracelet: Express.
Necklace: Forever21 Choker.
Belt: Ann Taylor Leopard Haircalf Skinny Belt (size S).
Clutch: Botkier Charlotte (Black).

    I was quick to make an outfit with this amazing blue AT blouse and I was *dying* to blog about it. And because there have been inquiries about the black Rich & Skinny Wax-Coated Legacy Jeggings I managed to kill two birds with one stone in this post.  Let me tell you, these jeggings totally satisfy the punk rocker on me. 

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Ann Taylor Blouses (3!)

    In search of my next item for 5-tem Challenge, I decided to make some Ann Taylor purchases when they finally allowed us 40% off their New Arrivals. I really like AT blouses, they're made well and tend to fit and look beautiful when worn. Perfect both for work and casual-wear.


   First up, Single Button Tab Long Sleeve Shirt in Bright Royal Blue, regular price $118:



   The color of this blouse is UNBELIEVABLE. The photos do not do it justice. I think I literally gasped when I saw it in the box. The quality of the silk is OK (material is 95% silk and 5% spandex). It's not super smooth and silky, but it's about the same as their Silk Camp Shirt from last year. It fits perfectly on me in 0P, my usual AT size for tops and blouses. Untucked:




    J.Crew has something in a similar style and color in a sightly more feminine version here. I haven't seen it IRL, so I can't attest to the actual color, quality, or fit of the Blythe blouse. (EDIT: I saw the J.Crew version in-store and the color is very similar, if not exactly the same. The silk is a bit smoother--feels a bit like polyester. Very pretty, but I didn't try it on since J.Crew doesn't carry petite sizes in-store).


    Next up, Pleated Placket Long-Sleeve Blouse in Chartreuse, regular price $88:




    This 100% Polyester and feels really nice and smooth, but certainly feels like polyester. I wasn't blown away by this blouse, but it was nice. The details of the blouse are very nice--the hidden placket and the double layer cuffs. One thing to note is that the buttons don't go all the way up to the collar. If you like to style your blouses by buttoning them all the way to the top, the lack of buttons does take away from its styling versatility. Otherwise, if you are looking for a nice yellow blouse, this is certainly a good option. I've purchased multiple items in yellow in December, I think I need add a different color to my existing wardrobe. As to sizing, this also fits like a typical 0P blouse, although I had a bit of trouble pulling my hands through the sleeve with it buttoned up. Untucked:






   Ruched Shoulder Long Sleeve Blouse, regular price $88:




   This blouse, I ordered to hit the $150 mark for free shipping. It doesn't come in petite, so I didn't have high hopes for it when I ordered it in 00. The color is a french grey (grey with a purple-ish undertone), and the ruching at the shoulder is a very pretty detail, but it just did not fit. It was too big at the shoulders and way too boxy all around. It would have been pretty if it fit, but it didn't. It is 100% polyester, also. One thing I didn't like, was the sleeve openings. I would have preferred a cuff, it was just a narrow hem. To me, it seemed unfinished, but to others, it might not matter at all. Untucked:




   Other blouses I would have loved to try had I seen them in my size online are the Graphic Looms Print Blouse, regular price $88:



And the Fireside Blouse--the subtle print on this just stunning in real life, on sale for $69.99 plus 40% off but seem to be sold out in small sizes and even completely sold out in petite online:




Anyone else get their hands on these last two blouses?

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

I DIM: Skirt #2

    My personal sewing is goal is to be able to make one kick-ass pencil skirt. For the next little while you may see a few of these "Did It Myself" skirt posts.  Don't worry, this won't turn into a sewing blog. :P


     I know in my first DIM skirt unveiling, I said I would try something easier, but I went ahead and tried another pencil skirt, but this time with a side slit.




   What do you think? The material is 100% cotton, so it doesn't drape as well as I'd like (it crinkles at my every twist and turn). It took me a few weekends, but only because I didn't have an invisible zipper to match the fabric. In the end, I think it was a blessing in disguise. I was dying to work on it so I spent a lot of time perfecting the details and the fit waiting for the zipper to come. It turned out pretty well. Check out the cute little grosgrain ribbon in the inside: 




     The fitting process was...I don't want to say difficult, but it was very time consuming and took a long time to get just right. What may have helped me was my previous knowledge on fit since for so many years I've studied, analyzed and picked apart clothes trying to figure what needed to happen to get them fit my petite body perfectly. 


      For this skirt, I followed a pattern, and as much as I tried to alter the pattern itself before actually cutting, the fact that I'm petite and the pattern was not, turned the process into a whole new ballgame. With my initial changes, theoretically the skirt should have fit. In reality, it did not.  Regular-sized sewing patterns (like many ready-to-wear clothes) are definitely made for women with hips, thighs and a butt, all of which I do not have. It was a lot of sewing, adjusting, sewing, adjusting, sewing, and adjusting. The fit turned out a lot better than I expected, however. The biggest mistake I made was shortening it too much when cutting the fabric, not sure how that happened. So instead of a 2" hem, it was more of a .75" hem with an added a polka dot grosgrain ribbon for binding to make it pretty. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. For the next skirt, I will attempt to add a lining. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two of Three.

     I know some of you have been waiting for sweater reveal #2, so here it is styled with a suit:

 Suit: Talula Babaton by Aritzia (Black, size 0).
Sweater: C by Bloomingdale's Cable Knit Cashmere Sweater (Grey, size XS).
Belt: J.Crew Skinny Leather Belt (Cobalt, size XS).
Ring: Forever21.
Pumps: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Amaya Pump (Black, size 6).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway (Silver).


      This C by Bloomingdale's Cable Knit Cashmere Sweater is two of three of the season. I initially bought this during the Bloomingdales F&F sale (I later returned and re-purchased for a lower price). I wasn't going to keep it, but when I pulled it out of the package it was so soft and cozy, I changed my mind. It's a little bit big in XS, but not in a bad way. I can't wait to wear it through the end winter.


   And because we don't all have to wear suits to work, here is the outfit without a jacket:



     Or you can change out the jacket for something a bit more casual (and bright!):


Blazer: J.Crew Hacking Jacket in Double-Serge Wool (Bright Berry, size 0P).

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Vested.

 
Blazer: Talula Babaton by Aritzia (Black, size 0).
Vest: H&M (Black, size 6).
Blouse: J.Crew Three-quarter sleeve stretch shirt (White, size XS).
Skirt: J.Crew No.2 Pencil Skirt in Double-Serge Cotton (Citron, size 00P).
Shoes: Ann Taylor Signature Pump (Black Patent, size 6).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway (Silver).
Ring: Le Chateau.
Clutch: Botkier Charlotte Clutch (Black).


     I purchased this vest over the holidays, and it is teeny weeny! I didn't bother trying it on, I just grabbed the 4 off the rack and handed it to my brother who has already standing at the cash register. It's a halter vest, so I didn't foresee any problems with the sizing even though the size 2 looked a bit small (the reason why I took the 4 instead). When I tried it on at home, I couldn't button it up all the way up without impairing my breathing! I had to exchange for a 6. Weird. 



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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: J.Crew No.2 Pencil Skirt in Leopard

     I was just going to return this skirt without blogging about it, but I figured that some of you might be interested in how the Leopard version of the J.Crew No.2 Pencil Skirts fits, so this is just a quick review.


    00P (left) and 00R (right) side by side:



    Check out the length on the 00P! I was actually expecting the fit to be *exactly* like the No.2 Pencil Skirt in Double Serge Cotton (see here). However, even though they fit similarly in the waist and hips, the length is a good 3" longer! Comparing the 00P to the 00R, the 00R is obviously larger and proportioned for a non-petite. The widest point since lower on my body, although that partly has to do with the fact that it's sitting lower since the waist is 1.5" wider. The length on the 00R is also quite a bit longer than the 00P, but despite the fact that it is big all around, I'm kind of liking the extra long length even though it's still probably a touch too long for me to get away with.




    What I don't like about this skirt? It's cotton. Without paying too much to the description on the website, I ordered it expecting something else. I find it somewhat disappointing since it makes this skirt a lot more casual-looking. The material almost looks and feels like a light (but soft) canvas. My feelings? Meh. It's not as thick as the double-serge cotton and there is no lining. No side or besom pockets either. It's acceptable if you are looking for a casual looking pencil skirt, but this isn't for me despite the great fit and the good quality. Regular price is $118, although I snagged it on sale around $70 (I think).


   What do you ladies think of it?



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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Belated Happy New Year!


     Yes, this is very late, but AFD (AKA me, Cher) wishes you all very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. I decided to take a little bit of time and put the blog on the back-burner for a few weeks and try to re-evaluate a few things. And after taking the time, I realized that I do really love my blog (and the people that come along with it! :)) and I'm not ready to quite give it up yet. However, given my current priorities, I don't have the time to put as much effort into it as I'd like. It's still my baby though, and as long as I continue to feel the way I do about it, I'll continue to post. But right now there quite a few things on my "to do" list that need to come first, including a set of Barrister and Solicitor examinations that I need to write within the next six months. I don't imagine them to be as grueling as the New York State Bar, however, I'm going to attempt to study for them while concurrently working on a few temp projects to keep the income flowing. How I will balance my time between work, study, the blog, job-hunting, exercise, and everything else will be interesting to see, to say the least. AFD might become excruciatingly slow at times, but hopefully won't come to a full stop.


    One of the other things that I've decided to do for the first few months of the new year is to take on a Five-Item Challenge. I can only purchase five items of clothing, including accessories from January to the end of March (read more about it here). The first item I'm contemplating are these Rich & Skinny Wax Coated Legacy Jeggings in Red. I absolutely *adore* them. I already own the Tar (black) so I've been trying to decide if I *really* need another pair in red. The wax coating makes them look similar to leather. Not all wax-coated jeans are this shiny, so don't be surprised if you see a pair of wax-coated jeans and it looks a bit dull-looking. The Rich & Skinny Legacy denim, however, looks great--not too shiny so that they look like plastic, but enough to fool people from a distance into thinking they're real leather. They run a bit small. I can fit the 24, but they are quite uncomfortable and squish my butt down flat. Size 25 fits much better and more flattering. I would say they run about a half size to a full size small (I've been a little sick lately, please excuse the tired eyes): 

Blazer: T.Babaton by Aritzia Exeter Blazer (Black, size 0).
Blouse: Ann Taylor Silk Camp Shirt (Off-white, size 0P).
Denim: Rich & Skinny Wax-Coated Legacy Jeggings (Red, size 25).
Pumps: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Amaya Pumps (Black leather, size 6).
Ring: Le Chateau.
Necklace: Forever21 Choker.


     They are surprisingly versatile. Super easy to dress them up (as seen above), but easy to dress them down by wearing a cozy layer or two on top (will see in an upcoming post). The best thing is that they add some edge to an outfit, which you all know I love.


     One thing to note is that the wax is pretty delicate. Don't be rolling around on the carpet or the wax will fade (don't ask me how I know this). Full price is $168, which is typical for HE denim, but also a quite pricey for girls who are not used to paying such a high price for any kind of denim (including myself who always buys HE denim at a discount). These things have been selling like hot cakes, particularly in the black. I managed to purchases these from Amazon for ~$85.


     What do you think? Should these red wax-coated jeggings be one of my 1 of 5 items for the next three months? I absolutely love them and I think that pretty much satisfies my criteria for 1 of 5. LOL.


    P.S. I got some new gear for my camera over the holidays (thank you *SO* much to you-know-who!).  So if the lighting in the photos seems a little wild at times during the next few months it's because I have no idea what I'm doing yet. :P

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

I DIM.

    "I Did It Myself".


   Ever since I got my sewing machine, I've been pretty obsessed with it. I have become quite the hoarder already--books, machine accessories, patterns, fabric. I started out doing some starter projects to familiarize myself with my new hobby, such as this reversible tote:




     Then, I decided to move on to skirts. However, I did not start with the super easy elastic band A-line skirt that all new sewists are supposed to start out with. I was feeling crazy ambitious and began with a pencil skirt--complete with interfaced waistband, darts, vent, invisible zipper and all. I actually had to convince myself *not* to do a lining this time around. Don't ask me what I was thinking. If there was a sure way to discourage myself so early on in my "career" as a sewist if the end result was horrific, this was it.


   It was a little challenging for a total newbie who had never used and cut a pattern or put together a garment before. It took me about four weekends to finish it mostly because I was feeling extremely overwhelmed at times. But I learned that the key is to really take your time. The western culture, particularly Americans (no offense intended), constantly demand instant gratification: I want everything NOW and not later. Sewing is definitely not one of those hobbies that will give you that. It's very much a process that requires care at all steps of construction. If you want a really professional looking garment, you really need the patience which I sometimes do not have. I will say this, however: There is something oddly therapeutic about sewing. Who knew?


   A few of you saw it on Twitter already, but here is my very first skirt:




   And it fits too! LOL. Well actually it's a smidge tight as you can see by the bit of pulling across the front, and a bit too high-waisted. I didn't use ideal material, I just used the best I had that would work for this particular project. The cotton is very thin and therefore it definitely needs lining, but that's OK, I don't intend to wear this out in public anyway. My biggest pet peeve about homemade clothes is that they tend to actually *look* homemade. I think this falls into that category.


   Vent and invisible zipper up close:


 
    
    Not bad for a noob, huh? I made a few of errors, but I'm pretty proud of how it turned out considering it was my very first garment. I'm ready to try something else!...But probably something a little easier. =/


    Have you ever tried to sew a garment yourself? How did it turn out?


    P.S. Happy 2012! I was thinking of posting a slightly more elaborate first post of 2012, but I guess it's going to be my second post of 2012 instead. :P

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