Thursday, April 30, 2009

OOTD: April 30, 2009

Today I had to go to school for an event my club was hosting on campus (learned some amazing things about the retail industry), popped into the mall really quickly to return a top and pick up something for The Boyfriend, and then came home and worked on a final all afternoon.  (I changed when I got home though.)  So for the first half of today at least, I wore:

  • Editor pants in black (Express)
  • Dream turtleneck in spearmint (J.Crew)
  • Link necklace in silver (New York & Company)
  • Judy round-toe pumps - 3" (Payless)

J.Crew: Watercolor Floral Pencil Skirt Styling

This was an outfit my PS and I came up with together when trying to style the Watercolor Floral skirt.  It is the Victoria Ruffle Cami in the dark grey color, layered underneath a Jackie cardigan in the new breeze color.  I love the way these colors work together.  Normally I would not have thought to pair the minty green breeze color with the colors in this skirt, but I think it looks nice.

What do you think?  Do you like this combination?  What colors would you pair with the Watercolor Floral pencil skirt?

J.Crew: Tuxedo-Front Solid Cotton Cami Review

This is J.Crew's Tuxedo-Front Solid Cotton Cami (item #15251), which retails for $79.50, and is numerically sized.  J.Crew describes the cami as such:
A playful summer shirt with a ruffly tuxedo placket and pleating around the neck. It's one of our most versatile pieces for summer. Tuck it into a high-waisted skirt or toss it on with your favorite jeans. Cotton. Classic fit. Sleeveless. Side zip. Straight hem. Unlined. Hits at hip. Import. Dry clean.
This cami comes in light pewter, bronzed sand, bright fuchsia, and white.  I tried this on in shell in the store, but this doesn't seem to be available online.  This is a size 4.  I actually passed on this when I saw it in-store, but my PS brought it to me to try on.  I was a little skeptical, but I actually like it a lot more than I thought I would.

The cami fits pretty true to size.  I have been taking a size 0 in sleeveless tops and camis from J.Crew, and I would have been okay sizing down to a 2 in this, but I don't want to comment on how a size 0 would be, since I didn't try one on.  This cami is a really nice, soft fabric.  It doesn't move a whole lot, but it is really nice to the touch.  It's a tad bit sheer in the shell color, but nothing that a cami won't fix.

Here is a close-up of the front of the cami.  It has a scoopneck with a layered circle collar and medium width pleats down the front.  The other stuff I can't really described - J.Crew calls it a "ruffly tuxedo placket" - but it looks like a bunch of little napkins to me.  Don't get me wrong, I like those little napkins, but they're still napkins.  I was really surprised how cute I thought this was, and I saw it styled in some pretty cute ways.

I kept going back and forth and back and forth on this one.  As cute as I thought this was, it was just really too expensive.  I went to J.Crew a couple of times after I tried this on, and I was tempted every time.  Even with the Mickey card, I held off.  This is one piece that I'm really hoping will go on sale eventually so I can pick it up!

What do you think?  Do you like this cami?  What do you think of the ruffles?  How much would you pay for this cami?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

J.Crew: Victoria Ruffle Cami Review

This is J.Crew's Victoria Ruffle Cami (item #99742), which also comes in petite (item #10523).  It retails for $88, and I thought it was on sale, but now it's not showing up as such.  This top is numerically sized.  J.Crew describes the item as follows:
Easily the most versatile shirt of the season—it's as perfect for work as it is for a party. The design, in silk habotai, features a sophisticated double-ruffle micro-pleated collar that makes a chic and unforgettable statement. Layer it or wear it alone. Classic fit. Sleeveless. Button placket closure. Straight hem. Hits at hip. Import. Dry clean.
I will tell you, I was pretty wary when my PS brought this to me to try on.  We had been discussing how to style the Watercolor skirt, and she brought me this to go with it.  I had seen it on some other blogs, and wasn't into the dramatic ruffle, but I'm always willing to try on anything, no matter how ugly it looks (unless I'm at Abercrombie, who subscribes to the exact opposite of vanity sizing.  I won't try on just anything at Abercrombie.).  This is a size 2, in some grey color (labeled STO on the tag).

I will admit, I liked this cami more on than I did on the hanger.  I think the cami runs a little big.  I was already sized down one size from my regular top size, but I think I would have preferred to try it on two sizes down, in a size 0.  

I am not sure how I feel about the neck ruffle - I think it is a little dramatic (not in a bad way), and is really nice and soft, not stiff at all.  I think the reason I wasn't in love with this cam is because of the ruffle down the front.  It just seems to sit there, and I realize that it needs to be crimped and ruffled, but that's too much work for me, especially since when it's not being worn, it will just get smushed in my closet, and I'll have to re-fluff it all over again.

From the side, the collar reminds me of those Elizabethan ruffle collars.  Maybe that's the idea.  There is also something about the fabric, at least in this color, that I just don't like.  It's almost like the fabric couldn't decide if it wanted to be matte or shiny, and so it's just some sort of in-between, and I'm just not a fan.

Other than that, the cami does fit nicely.  It has some front darts to give you a little bit of shaping around the bust, but doesn't give you too much help around the waist, which I'm always hoping for in tops.  This color is a nice neutral, and is not really that sheer.   I can see pairing this with a lot of different colors.

Here is a picture of the ruffles up close.

I left this top at the store.  It was a bit too much for me, and just thinking about the ironing, steaming, crimping, and/or fluffing required is enough for me.  I'm not even sure I could be tempted with a more reasonable price.  With all that said, I have seen some ladies really rock this cami!

What do you think?  Do you like this cami?  What would you pair it with?

J.Crew: Featherweight Cotton V-Neck Cardigan Review

So first off, notice the picture above.  This is the thumbnail view of J.Crew's Featherweight Cotton V-Neck Cardigan (item #14988).  Someone certainly got their cardigans mixed up.  The real sweater is below.

This cardigan retails for $59.50.  J.Crew describes this cardigan as such:
Fitted and extremely flattering, this versatile lightweight cardigan is smart dressing at its best. Made from cotton in a 16-gauge knit, we finished it with faux-crystal buttons for added detail and a subtle hint of embellishment. Fitted. V-neck. Rib trim at neck, cuffs and hem. Three-quarter sleeves. Hits at hip. Import. Machine wash.
It comes in a number of colors: black, breeze, navy, pale aloe, sea green, weathered stone, natural, dark persimmon, melon, light petunia, sweet fuchsia, amethyst, white, and spring daisy. (That's a lot of colors.  And a lot of creativity in the naming.)

This cardigan also comes in J.Crew's favorite spring pink, shell, but I don't see it online.  I tried this on in a small.

The cardigan is definitely featherweight - it is a pretty thin sweater, but the cotton is super soft.  It is not as drapey as the Georgia cardigan (probably because that cardigan has silk in it), and has a more fitted look, which I think is nice - I usually prefer fitted sweaters to shapeless ones.  I think the cardigan fits true-to-size.

I like the length of the cardigan - it hits around the hip, so it is long enough to be paired with longer tops, but still short enough so that it's not hugging your rear, and works as a layering piece.  The sleeves are not tight, which I also like.

This is a close up of the faux-crystal buttons.  They are all right, and didn't really sway my decision one way or another about this sweater.  I think they are a nice detail, but nothing super special.

As you can see, I tried this on with the Watercolor skirt and the Garland cami, and I have to say that I really like this outfit.  I did end up getting this sweater, as I think it's the perfect weight for when it's warm enough to go sleeveless, but for whatever reason, you prefer not to.

What do you think?  Do you like this sweater?  Which (of the many) colors would you get it in?  What do you think of the buttons?

OOTD: April 29, 2009

Today is a bit cooler than yesterday.  I don't really love this outfit (it was a reject from Monday), but I was running late this morning, and I needed to get going.  This cardigan is a size too big now, and usually looks better buttoned up, but looks boxy and shapeless because of the size, so I left it unbuttoned for now.  Today I'm wearing:

  • Editor pants in black (Express)
  • Body shaper cami in white (New York & Company)
  • Sleeveless V-neck top with blue and green floral pattern (New York & Company)
  • Cable cardigan in green (Ann Taylor Loft)
  • Square-toe pumps - 3 3/4" (Payless)

J.Crew: Ombre Pencil Skirt Review

This is J.Crew's Ombre Pencil Skirt (item #16070), which comes in this one color, daffodil.  It retails for $88, and is numerically sized.  J.Crew describes the skirt as such:
A classic pencil-skirt silhouette, in a crisp blend of cotton and linen, overlaid with a subtle but stunning ombre effect. Sits at waist. Back zip. Fully lined. 24" long. Import. Machine wash.
My PS suggested I try this on, and I'm always willing to try something on to see how it looks, but I was already wary of this skirt.  It's a cotton-linen blend, and it's in white, so hello! Wrinkle City.  When I told my PS that I wasn't sure about this skirt because it was so wrinkly, she said she could steam it for me, but since I can't take her home with me, that means I'd have to steam or iron it myself whenever I wanted to wear it.

Regarding the color, I think ombre patterns are hit or miss, and I think this one was a big miss.  I don't the colors blend together as gracefully as ombre should (like a light blue transitioning to a dark grey).  I also do think this pencil skirt shape is as flattering as some of the other pencil skirts J.Crew has put out so far this year.  I think it is a little too voluminous, especially if you have hips.  It might also just be that the skirt just sort of hangs there, but is a little too relaxed to give you that slim, pencil skirt look.

I think it looks better from the side.  It's not nearly as voluminous, but I still can't stand that dip-dye look.  The length was not bad, especially since the skirt does not come in petite.  I will say that the skirt is comfortable, and if you like the pattern, I think it could be easily paired with many different colors and tops.

I didn't take this one home, as I wasn't even close to in love with it.  I like the idea of this skirt, but I don't think it translated well to real-life.

What do you think?  Do you like this skirt?  Would you have liked to see it in other colors?  Do you wear a lot of linen or linen-blend clothes?

Origins: 25% Off Friends & Family

Julia R. was kind enough to share this 25% off coupon (no minimum!) for Origins's Friends & Family event.  This promotion is going on in-store and online.  To use this coupon in-store, print the graphic above (click the picture and then print), and bring it to the store with you.  There is no coupon code for using this offer online, but if you click the link in the e-mail, it takes you to this link, which seems to be tagged and "knows" that you are coming from the e-mail promotion.

I love Friends & Family events, especially when they are for higher percentages off!

What do you think?  Will you take advantage of this offer?  What do you think of Origins?

Banana Republic: Lightweight Pants

Banana Republic is getting ready for summer by promoting their lightweight pants.  I have already picked up a pair of lightweight pants (J.Crew's Saturday pant), and was almost tempted to pick up a couple more this weekend, but was good.  I like lightweight pants, but I rarely wear them.  If it's too hot for heavy pants, I go with shorts or a skirt or dress, and if it's not, well, then I just wear regular pants.  I am not really a fan of linen pants either, as they are so wrinkly!

What do you think?  Do you own lightweight pants?  Where do you wear them?

J.Crew: Solid Silk Garland Cami Review

This is J.Crew's Solid Silk Garland Cami (item #11527).  It also comes in petite (item #13345).  Both retail for $88, and are numerically sized.  It comes a pretty big variety of colors, too: light pewter, breeze, classic navy, key lime, white sand, ivory, grey, sweet lavender, and amber.  J.Crew describes the cami as such:
Silk habotai with a garland of delicate self-flowers that goes all the way around the neckline. We added a hidden button placket at the front for a sleek, seamless design. Self-ruffle collar. Import. Dry clean.
I have always liked this tank, but the price was always a bit too steep for me.  Luckily I managed to snag all of mine on some type of sale or promotion!  My PS gave this to me to try on in-store, and even though I already had it in the breeze color, I decided this might be a good chance to get some pictures for the blog, plus see how it worked iwith the Watercolor Floral Pencil skirt.

I initially tried this on in a size 4, as that is my regular top size, but it was too big.  I tried on other sizes during our Boston JCA outing, and I actually had to size down two sizes to get this to look sleek, and not really blousey.  Please note that the pictures below are a size 4 though.

The silk is a super smooth and delicate material.  I actually found snags on pretty much everyone I tried on.  I'm not sure if that's a fault of the execution, or just the nature of the material itself.  The ivory color was also pretty sheer.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to try this on in any other colors, so I'm reserving judgment on the sheerness of the tanks in general (for now).

I personally think the tank looks really sloppy untucked.  That might be because it was too big, but I just didn't really the like the way it just sort of hangs.  There are no darts or anything to create any type of waist or shape.  Interestingly, I think it looks a little more pulled together when the bottom button is undone.

I think the tank looks much better tucked in.  It still blouses nicely, but I think it just looks a little more polished.

I really like it with this skirt.  I think the small floral detail on the collar of the cami works well with the more prominent floral pattern of the skirt.

I ended up getting this cami, in a size P2, at our Boston JCA event.  It hasn't arrived yet, so hopefully I will remember to post an update when it gets here!

So what do you think?  Do you like this cami?  Which colors do you like it in?  Do you like it tucked in or untucked?  And how do you like it with this skirt?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

J.Crew: Georgia Cardigan Review

This is J.Crew's Georgia Cardigan (item #15132).  It retails for $78, and comes in several colors: navy, warm shell, bistro orange, white, and stone.  It is alpha-sized.  J.Crew describes the cardigan as such:
This slightly sheer shawl-collar cardigan adds a look of laid-back luxury to any outfit. Silk/linen in a 14-gauge knit. Fitted. Long sleeves. Rib trim at cuffs and hem. Hits at hip. Import. Hand wash.
I tried this on in white.  It certainly is a "sheer" sweater, and I think a little more than slightly.  The sweater is extremely thin, and is nice and soft, but not as soft and smooth as the Sorbet-Stripe Cardigan.  The shawl collar was a cute touch, and added some nice detail to an otherwise boring sweater.

The sweater has really large buttons, and I'm not really a fan of the cardigan open, what with those gaping buttonholes and all.  The good thing about this cardigan is that because it is so light, it will work really well as a spring and summer cover-up, without being heavy, bulky, or uncomfortable.  It is also a good layering piece over longer tees.

Here is a blurry close-up of the big buttons.

I left this sweater behind because it was just okay for me.  Even though I'm always on the lookout for a cute white cardigan, this one just wasn't cute enough.

What do you think?  Do you like this sweater?  What color would you get it in?  Would you pay $78 for it?

J.Crew FO: Summer New Arrivals Sale

J.Crew Factory Outlet is offering "special savings" on their new summer arrivals.  This is super tempting, as I love the outlets!  I think they are (usually) very good deals, and I have never had a problem with quality.  

And as a side note, I'd like to be wherever those people in the picture are.  Not with them, mind you, but wherever they are.  Anyone else want to come?

A Note on Sizing

So as mentioned previously, almost everyone is requesting that I include sizing information with my reviews.  I will do that starting today/tomorrow, but please note that I will not be going back and updating the previous reviews.  If you have a size question about a review I already did, please e-mail me or leave a comment on that post.

I do feel like I need to explain a couple things before I start including sizes.  You may wonder why I never included them before, and that's for a few reasons.

For one thing, the same item in the same size can fit differently on two different people, or even on the same person - that's just the nature of apparel sizing.  I strongly believe that you should try on clothes (when possible) for yourself, and gauge your own comfort level in each item.  I am happy to provide a reference point, but I urge you not to take sizing recommendations as anything but subjective!

Secondly, and this is more personal (so those of you not looking for personal information feel free to skip over this section!), but I'm still getting used to being a smaller size than I used to be.  About 3 years ago, I was super lucky to lose 20 pounds by doing pretty much nothing, and then this past spring, I lost another 7 pounds (this time by exercising and eating right).  Losing all the weight was great, but I also worry about piling it back on, and as a result, hang on to clothes that are one, two, or even three or four sizes too big, "just in case".  And I can't even tell you the amount of money I've spent to have my bigger clothes tailored down to my size now!

Stemming from that, and from having been noticeably heavier for awhile, I tend to wear clothes that don't actually fit.  I will pick one size, when I am really a size smaller (or two).  

Lastly, I just simply cannot stand clothes that are too tight, whether they are shirts or pants or dresses or skirts.  I really dislike the "stuffed sausage" look, and have been known to go up a size to have my clothes less fitted, rather than wear something that fits, but is too tight for my liking.

I hope this information is helpful to know before I start including sizes.  As a reference, these are the typical sizes I will wear.  These are the sizes that I am usually referring to when I say my "regular" size and such-and-such a store.
  • Pants - size 4 or 6
  • Skirts - size 2, 4, and 6, or S
  • Dresses - size 2 or 4, or XS or S
  • Tops (includes sweaters and shirts) - size 4 or S
  • Sleeveless tops - size 0 or 2, or XS
  • Shoe size - 6 (can also fit children's 3.5 and 4, and women's 5.5)
For additional reference, here are some stats on me:
  • Height - 5'0"
  • Bust - 34/36B
  • Waist - 27"ish
  • Hips - 37"ish
  • Inseam - 27"ish

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

So there are a bunch of things I'd like to update you on!

Poll Results
It was a fairly even split on including more personal information, with a small bias towards including it.  I'll try to incorporate a bit more personal stuff, but don't worry, the focus of the blog will stay on shopping, fashion, and coupons!  For those of you who are interested, I also maintain a couple other blogs (although not as regularly as this one) for a couple of my other hobbies: baking and photography.

Regarding the sizing, pretty much everyone wants to see sizing information, so I'll be including that going forward (sorry to the one person who didn't want it).  Please read my note on sizing though for some sizing info.

Friday Posts
I had tried out doing a Friday Fun post, but I'll be replacing these with P(sycho) D(og) Fridays, which will hopefully fulfill your Psycho Dog needs.  I'm sure he'll be making occasional appearances in other posts, as well.  He is very flattered by all the attention!

UPDATED - Pictures in Posts
Ah, yes, I forgot to say: I have finally mastered the pictures in posts.  Any 2x2, or similar arrangement of pictures that you see from now on - you should be able to click the individual pictures to view it larger.  Try it with the next review that pops up, and let me know if it doesn't work!

I want everyone to know that I do read each and every comment that you write, and I also do my best to reply to everyone!  I typically respond to comments in "batches", and I try to do that every few days.  So if I don't respond to your comment right away, please check back!

Most Importantly
Lastly, I'd just like to give a big, heartfelt THANKS to everyone who reads my blog.  I am very glad to be able to help everyone with reviews and coupons, and I appreciate all of you stopping by!