Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fitting Room Finds: Banana Republic.

   I haven't had many Fitting Room Finds posts lately. Two reasons:

   One, I'm lazy. Enough said. 

   Two, I've been finding that stores that once used to carry very small sizes like 00 or XXS no longer do (ahem, Ann Taylor!). If I know stores aren't going to carry my size, I'm obviously likely to have a very unsuccessful shopping trip, so I'd rather spend my time browsing and buying online. I do make my way to the mall to make returns, however. 

    A few weeks ago I saw a dress pop up online on that I thought looked amazing on the model. Out of curiosity, I stepped into Banana Republic to see if I could see if it was as great IRL as it was on the website. It's this Julie Belted Sheath dress:

     I knew of course that they wouldn't have my size, but I was hoping to be able to gauge whether it would be worth stalking online. Lo and behold in size 0:

     It's obviously too big in the shoulders and the hips and too long in both the torso and below the waist, but I could tell that with the right size that it had a lot of potential. It did fit my well around the waist so the 00P might actually fit pretty small. I forgot to note if there was a lining, but I don't recall one. If you see this dress in person, please let me know if there is one and I can update this post. It is made of 100% polyester, but it drapes beautifully. It will be much easier to travel with than my silk Nicole Miller sheath that I often use for business trips. Its regular price is $150, but BR has been having a lot of 30%-40% off codes lately, so best wait for a good coupon. I have some GAP rewards cards due to me next week, so I think as soon as I receive them and I get my hands on a good code, I'm going to snatch this up.

   Other finds are a few tops. My business wear tops, particularly sleeveless/short-sleeve blouses are seriously lacking so I do have to make a conscious effort to slowly build my blouse collection without settling. 

   I really liked this Cowl-neck Sweater shell that retails for $59.50:

     It comes in three colors: dark magenta, true navy, and heathered grey. I prefered the navy, but the only color they had in XS was the dark magenta. It fits rather well, even though the material is a little thin. I think it would fit better in petite, but unfortunately it only comes in Regular sizes.

      I also found this sleeveless keyhole blouse that looked draped really beautifully on the hanger. I saw online a few days ago, but I can no longer find it:

   It was only until I put it on, that I saw that it had a little keyhole opening in the front. Not really a fan. I left the store with nothing in hand, but I can't wait to order the Julie Sheath dress in my size.

   One other thing I see on the BR website that I  have my eye on is this Grosgrain-trim silk blouse

   I'd love to see how this blouse actually fits.  The color is gorgeous. BR hasn't really excited me in a long time, but on occasion I can find a few gems. Any great finds at BR lately?

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: Calvin Klein Nadya Wedge Pump

   Ever since my review of the Jean-Michel Cazabat Saga wedge pumps here, I've been trying to find something similar. I came across these Calvin Klein Nadya Wedge Pumps on Endless.com with 20% off:

     The JMC wedges look slightly better by design, but I was willing to give these a try since I haven't been able to snag a size 5 in the Saga wedges at a good price to see if they fit. I've never been able to wear Calvin Klein shoes due to my very narrow heels, so I didn't have high expectations when they arrived. Here's a few photos:


....and they actually fit! *shocked* And you know what that means--they're not going back. 

    The full breakdown:

Look: These shoes are actually very nice. They are made of calfskin, so have a bit of a shiny leather look to them, but not quite patent. These CK wedges are a bit taller in height than the Saga wedges. They are 2.75" high, while the Sagas are 2.25".  It has a stacked wooden wedge heel with rubber/plastic sole that looks a bit strange with the name plastered all over the bottom, but since it's the sole and it likely won't be seen, I won't worry about it. There is also no toe cleavage and the pointed toe isn't too pointy, giving it a nice classic shape that can be worn for years to come.

Comfort: This shoe has more padding in the footbed than most of my other heels. Without having worn them for a full day just yet, these feel really good so far.

Quality: Good quality shoe. I'm not always a fan of kidskin leather, but the construction itself looks good. I'm wearing these later in the week for a business meeting that will require some walking to get to the destination, so we'll see how they hold up and how they feel after that.

Fit/Sizing: A bit on the narrow side overall, but the length is TTS. My regular pump size is 6, and I take a size 6 in these. Since I'm not walking out of these shoes, the heel is very narrow,. If you  have super narrow heels like mine and have trouble finding a pair of pumps that will actually grip on to your feet, give these a try!

Verdict: Keep. No question. I'm super happy with these thus far. I really needed a good walking heel for those times when I don't have the option of changing shoes for my commute. Hopefully these don't break down like my last pair of heels that I was super excited about. I'll keep you updated.

     Try a pair now from Endless.com with an extra 20% off with code "YOURSALE" here. The regular price is $109 but will be $87.20 after the discount. And if you have Mr. Rebates, you can get an extra 10% cash back. If you aren't signed up yet, you can use my referral link here. They also come in taupe, beige snake print, grey snake print, black pony hair, taupe pony hair, and dark brown.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Petite Fashion Challenge #18: What to Wear to Impress your Date!

     This month's PFC challenge is hosted by Easy Petite Looks. Amber says:

I think this PFC will be a lot of fun for all of us, regardless of whether we’re single or in a relationship. The single ladies should be awesome at this. ;) I’m excited to get some inspiration from you! For the taken ladies, we still need to dress up for date night (at least once in a while!!). Generally, I think we wear what makes us feel good, regardless of what other people think. But what is your secret for making your outfit a little more memorable?? Have fun with this one!

Bonus points for pics taken with your dates or on a girls night out!!

    When I go out, I like to wear what makes me feel confident. I don't want to feel uncomfortable and be fussing with my clothes when I certainly have other things to worry about, like say, not embarrassing myself?? Haha. If the weather allows and if appropriate for the venue, my outfit usually involves jeans. But given that all of my denim is now in storage until September, I have to go with something else.  

Blazer: T. Babiton Blazer (Black, size 0)(similar here and here).
Shorts: Ann Taylor Resort Shorts (Oasis Teal, size 00P).
Shoes: Ann Taylor Factory Signature Pumps (Porcini, size 6) (similar here).
Blouse: Jacob Sleeveless Bow Blouse (Without the bow) (white, size XS)(similar here and here).
Clutch: Botkier Charlotte Clutch (Black)(similar here and here).
Bracelets: Material Girl and Forever21.
Necklace: Forever21.

     Many women like to go super flirty and girly for "date night" or girls night out, but that's just not me. I prefer a look that is a bit more androgynous but with a touch of femininity--a little leg never hurts, right?? 

    Check out the rest of the PFC looks here!

    This white sleeveless blouse has been getting a lot of wear:

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sam Edelman Beatrix Flats in Mazarine Blue.

     I am not going to do an entire re-review of this shoe since I did it here, but I wanted to share with anyone who is as obsessed with both royal blue and spikes as I am. Though, I will say that this pair feels a tiny bit short. A half size up should be considered if you don't like feeling the top of the shoe with the tip of your toe. Also, I don't remember the last pair feeling this cushy, but there is lots of padding in the footbed. Looky here:

     YUM, right??? I could not resist purchasing them to see what they looked like IRL. Can the brilliant blue color outweigh my dislike for the super-round toe? Quite possibly. 

     Get your pair here!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Sam Edelman Alvin Leopard Print Loafers.

   Ever since I bought my Sam Edelman Adena Loafers last year, I really wanted a leopard print pair. I somehow managed to resist, partly due to the fact that this style by Sam Edelman sold out rather quickly everywhere online. Even after being re-stocked across the interwebs mid-way through the season. 

   Kelly from Alternations Needed showed a similar pair of loafers by Cole Haan on her blog recently (see here) and she pushed me over the edge to buy a pair, just in time to see that the Alvin was again re-released for this summer. Coincidence??

Fit: Narrow. I order these shoes in two sizes because I read that these ran "small". In fact, they are not really small, but narrow. Given the shape of my feet (slightly narrow), they are snug in the width, but not uncomfortably so. I would expect these to stretch out comfortably. I tried on the 6.5 to compare and although the width was more comfortable, the extra length would be a problem for my clumsy self. I would definitely trip on the tip of these shoes and go flying face first into the ground. If you don't have a problem with an extra half size of length and you have medium width foot or wider, go up half a size, otherwise you might want to skip these.

Comfort: Despite the snug fit, these shoes are  similar in comfort to my Adenas, although the Adena loafers fit more comfortable. This could be due to the fact that they've already molded to my feet, however. There is a lot of cushioning in the foot bed. Some reviewers complain about the rubbing in the back of the heel during break in, I haven't walked around in these that much to experience that, but I do feet a few sharp edges around the mouth of the shoe. A few Spot Dots cut in half and stuck on should remedy that.

Quality: Good quality shoe. They are made of haircalf and not leather or satin like my Adenas. With the Adena I do experience a bit of the jewels popping off (I haven't lost any spikes), but obviously, I wouldn't have this same issue with these Alvins. The shoe overall seems well constructed. The sole is made of leather, so they will have to be re-soled at some point after a bit of wear.

Look: These are nice shoes overall, although, I find the print too large for my personal preference. I like the spots to be a bit smaller. They just glare at me. I kept taking them off and putting them on, and they started to grow on my a little, but all I kept thinking was "too big! too big!".

Verdict: Return. If not for the large print, I would not hesitate to keep these, but the large spots are held me back. What do you think?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

AFD IDIM Adventures: Skirt #3.

Blazer: Talula Babaton by Aritzia One Button Blazer (Black, size Zero) (see similar here and here and here).
Skirt: DIY Skirt (see similar here).
Blouse: Ann Taylor Silk Camp Shirt (Ivory, size 0P).
Shoes: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Amelie Pumps (Black, size 6).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway Watch (Silver).
Ring: Le Chateau (see similar here and here).

     I'm in love with this blue color. It's a bit of a cross between royal blue and cerulean blue. I love almost all blues, but at the moment this shade has captured my heart. 

     Can you tell that I made this skirt? It is the third skirt I've made (see the first here and the second here). This one is similar to the first but I added a full lining:

    The lining didn't go as well as I had planned. I had a little mishap trying to attach it to the vent, but I think that all started when at the last minute I realized I forgot that I was going to change the french vent into a kick pleat.  Instead of re-cutting new material, I salvaged what I could with what I had already cut thinking it would all be OK. Little did I know that it would make my life extra difficult when sewing in the lining. So it's in there, it's just not very pretty. 

    This skirt took me two days using pattern Burda 8155 (a favorite of many sewists apparently), while making some of my own modifications. I hope one day soon to free myself of patterns and start designing my own clothes, but since I'm still learning about construction, I'll have to stick with them for now. Despite the issues with my first ever insertion of a lining, the skirt fits rather well, although I would prefer that my next skirt be a bit narrower at the bottom for more of a pencil fit than a straight fit. The only thing I really dislike about the end result is that the skirt is very high-waisted. It sits about two inches above my belly button. I will have to remember to shorten the hip-line a few inches next time so I don't feel like Steve Urkel.

   I used a bottom weight cotton twill so the skirt doesn't drape all that well and it wrinkles like mad as you can see in the first picture, but it is a good fabric to learn with since it is not too slippery, relatively inexpensive, and a good weight. I already have a huge stash of some beautiful fabrics just waiting to be used once I get better at this sewing thing. I even won this beautiful chiffon fabric by the haute couture designer Louis Feraud from Elliot Berman Textiles:

     I'm afraid to touch it let alone work with it. I can only imagine how much this fabric actually costs, but I'm dreaming up things in my head about what I could one day make with it. What do you think I should make?

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Bragging rights.

    I don't often use this blog to brag about my purchases, but heck, I'm going to make an exception for this post. My new baby:

    Veda Max Classic Leather Jacket. The leather is like butter, just so luxurious.  It fits like a dream in XS. Right out of the box, it's a bit...I don't want to say "stiff", but it definitely was not at it's full "drapey" potential. However, even after just 10 minutes of wear it's begun to hang better on the body. 

     I've been wanting this jacket or something similar for years now (hello Rick Owens??!) . It has a very hefty price tag at its regular price and it sells out every season it is re-stocked. However, I found it at Nordstrom on sale and I snatched it up using my "Birthday fund" where I put away a little extra money when I can just so I can get myself something extra nice for my birthday. Yes, my birthday is in November. LOL. But I wasn't going to risk giving up this price, given that I had a Nordies rewards card and a gift card to use. The total price came to $357.80 down from $875. I wouldn't say it's a steal given that it is still cost me over three bills, but it is definitely a deal. It is on sale right now at Nordstrom for its anniversary sale for $479. If you have early access, check it out here!!! Otherwise, make sure to snatch it up on July 20th when the Anniversary sale is open to the public. I can't wait until fall gets here!!

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: J.Crew Viv Printed Flats.

  I've been wanting to try these J.Crew Viv flats for a LONG time. I just couldn't bring myself to bite the bullet at full price ($188). I really wanted the Wild Mushroom (nude), but of course, they sold out in my size before I could get my hands on them. So I settled for these cool snake-print flats instead:

    If you recall, I have slightly narrow feet with very narrow heels, so it is difficult for me to find flats that will stay on my feet without walking out of them. I don't seem to have this problem with the J.Crew shoes I've tried on in store, so I really wanted to see if these flats would work for me (they are only available online). They were on sale last weekend for $129.99 plus an extra 30% off so I could not resist despite trying to keep a low shopping budget this month. I saw a few reviews online, and I was trying to gauge if I *really* needed to size up a half size as the website suggested. I think every review I read said that I should go up half a size (Annie from StylishPetite also said she went with a 5.5 for her size 5 feet), but because my feet are a bit narrow, sometimes I can ignore recommendations to take a larger size.

     Upon inspection...

....apparently, I can't read. I thought these shoes were leather, but actually they are made of linen. I guess that's what they meant by "printed". Kind of a deal-breaker right there, but I'll go on to review the rest of the shoe.

Fit: These Viv flats actually do stay on my feet as I walk. It was not much of a surprise  since all other J.Crew shoes seem to fit me well. The shoes are narrow as I think most J.Crew shoes are, but I did not find them so narrow that I had to go up half a size. Size 6 (my regular shoe size) fit fine...maybe *borderline* small. If these were leather, I would expect these to stretch out and mold to my feet. Someone with medium width or wide feet would need to size up half a size at least.

Comfort: These are pretty comfortable. There is a decent amount of padding under the feet. The edges were maybe a bit sharp for my sensitive feet, but they are fine. Since they are narrow, someone with wider feet may find them a bit uncomfortable, especially near the toe box where the shoe starts to narrow into a point.

Quality: Good quality shoe. Every J.Crew shoe I've looked at are of great quality, and these were no different. I would expect these to last a long time with regular wear. The soles do appear to be leather.

Look: These flats actually look really nice. It took me a moment to realize that the upper wasn't leather. Obviously when I touched it, the fact that it was a rough material gave it away. The toe came to a good point (not too pointy). I think they would look cute with a pair of skinny pants or a skirt.

Verdict: I did think long and hard about keeping them since it isn't often I find flats that stay on my feet, but I need to be a bit more strict with my spending these days, and despite the good quality, I don't like the fact that they are linen. Overall, it is a nice shoe and if I could be a little more free with my spending I might have actually kept these, but since I can't--return.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Old Becomes New Again (More "IDIM" Adventures).

     I've owned this Le Chateau jersey wrap dress for years. I've worn it once--to a cousin's wedding. It was a last minute purchase because I don't really like to buy dresses, particularly for special occasions,  and when I do, I'm generally always struggling to find something at the last minute. I ended up with this wrap dress of all things. It is somewhat of a strange purchase because I typically don't find wrap dresses very flattering on my body. I mean, they look great on everyone else, but they tend to emphasize my narrow and straight hips. This is probably one of the better wrap dresses I've come across, so that's probably why I had settled on it after hours and hours of searching in the mall. Anyway, I bought it and wore it to the wedding without hemming likely due to time constraints. It is too long, but with heels it wasn't so terrible, so I just sucked it up for the few hours I was going to wear it.

   Lately, I've been really wanting to learn to work with knits. I've read they're pretty easy to work with and a pretty forgiving material to hide mistakes, but hemming can sometimes be a problem because some sewists get this "rippling" effect at the hem. Becuase of this, I was afraid to dive in. Finally, I worked up the courage to see if I could slim this Ann Taylor shift dress from my last post. It didn't work out so well. So I pulled out the threads and started to do some reading (BTW, if you are a beginner like I am, a great book to learn to work with knits is "Sewing with Knits: Stylish, Classic Garments from Swimsuits to Eveningwear" by Connie Long. I also have "The Stretch & Sew Guide to Sewing on Knits"  by Ann Person but it is not as detailed as the first book). With some new found courage I decided to hem the above dress. And it was a success! Here it is:


   Up close: 

       I got very little rippling at the hem, if any. The whole thing would have gone without a hitch had I not run out of thread on my second spool of black thread. I used this twin needle that came with my machine:

      As long as it is threaded correctly (check your sewing machine manual on how to do it), it works just like a straight stitch, but you will need two spools of the same colored thread (unless of course, you want your double stitch to be two different colors). 

     Et voila! Newly hemmed jersey dress! Maybe I'll actually wear this dress now. Maybe. 

     Thanks for reading all these new AFD "IDIM" Sewing Adventures! For a noobie like me, all these new things I'm learning is so much fun and exciting, but maybe not so much for everyone else. LOL. If they get to be too much, just let me know and I won't post about them so frequently. :P

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reviews: Ann Taylor Resort Shorts and Sheath Dress

   Ever since I spotted these shorts on the Ann Taylor website, I began to stalk them until I could find a good sale. I love the color, and I'm in desperate need of another pair of shorts--my denim shorts have been pleading for some rest. I also really wanted one in a loose, drapey fabric that I could dress up or down and these totally fit the bill. Of course, they sold out before I could get my hands on my size. However, when Ann Taylor had their Semi-Annual Sale, these shorts popped up again in 00P and I grabbed them even though I had sworn to myself that I wasn't going to make any purchases for the rest of the month (which was two days away).

     Sorry about these photos. I was having one of those bad photo-taking days where not a single picture came out right:

     These shorts did not disappoint. The color is a stunning jade green, and they fit great, though maybe a touch too high in the rise for my personal preference (I'm wearing 00P). They are a tiny bit snug in the waist, although, I tried them on after a full meal. Someone with a smaller waist than my own will not have this problem. I love that the belt is removable and that it actually has belt loops. Many shorts these days made with this kind of loose drapey material tend to have an elastic waist of which I'm not a fan. It is made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. Total keeper.

    Measurements of these resort shorts in 00P are: 25.5" waist, 8.5" rise, ~3.5" rise, 36" hip. They're a loose, drapey style so this last measurement shouldn't matter too much. For reference, my hip measurement is 32.75" and they don't look big from behind.

     The other items I purchased to hit my free shipping quota were these two shift dresses:

     They are exactly the same dress in different colors/patterns. I've been wanting a shift dress for a while, but it's not often I can find a good petite-fitting shift dress, and my dress purchases are pretty few and far-between--if I had a choice, I would almost always choose something else over a dress. But I decided to give this a go since I could not find much else on the AT website that I was interested in. The grid printed one was on sale for $49.99:

     The material is a thick jersey and lined on top. It's a bit too boxy over all for my tastes, but nothing a little nipping in at the waist can't fix (I'm wearing it in XXSP). I also find it a touch long for a shift dress. It hits me at the knee, but I would prefer that it hit me where it does on the models above (a few inches above the knee), otherwise I feel like I'm wearing a potato sack. 

     I was a little on the fence about keeping this dress initially, but I started playing around with it and I really started to like its versatility, so I think I'm going to keep it and have it shortened an inch or so (I don't trust myself to do alterations with knits yet). The other dress in Intense Orchid fits exactly the same in every way (no photos), but it wasn't on sale, so it is going back (buy the Intense Orchid version here, the Grid pattern sheath is OOS).

     I also wanted this dress in Mystical Ivy, but again, could not snag it in my size:

Buy it here.

         Anyone grab anything they love during the Ann Taylor sale?

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