Saturday, June 30, 2012

What To Wear On A Summer Date

Yesterday I decided to pass on the white Lilah dress that I was tempted to buy, but after much deliberation and thanks to your feedback, I left it in the store for another happy buyer. You can read about my dilemma in yesterday's post. Anyway, since I was thinking about white dresses, I remembered that I have another white dress that still had tags on, waiting for a special occasion to be worn.

Well, I decided the special occasion is today. We are currently 'childless' for a couple of weeks having dropped my younger daughter at the overnight summer camp in New Hampshire and my older daughter vacationing with friends, so it is easy to go on a date. We thought we would go to the city, watch a movie, have dinner and meet some friends for a few drinks.

What do you like to wear on dates like that?  I usually end up wearing a pair of jeans and something fun for the top, but I cannot wear jeans in 90 degrees plus weather, I feel like I am going to melt and suffocate. In the summer, I prefer black jersey dresses, not very original, but it works. I thought of wearing my Kari dress and it would have been perfect, but I can wear it some other day. In the summer heat an ivory light dress would be perfect.
Dress au naturel
I bough this Surf Blossom Crinkle Chiffon dress in 2010. It has been sitting in my closet for two years with tags on. Normally, I would say this is a sign of something not working, but I really LOVE this dress. I stalked it in sale section and scored it on a popback and final sale, without ever trying it on previously. Fortunately, my regular size 6 turned out to fit me well and I love the color and cut.

The dress is made of silk chiffon and it comes with a matching slip, also in silk. It feels great against the body, light and airy and perfect for a summer date. I love this drop-waist shape which reminds me of the flapper dresses. To me this seems effortless, comfortable and pretty.

with blue Repettos and fun causal purse

I think the reason I did not wear it yet is because my idea of styling it was wrong. I was thinking pearls and light color shoes and elegant purse. That would all be perfect if we were attending an upscale summer garden party which did not happen. We had five First Communions instead, but that is one of the occasions when this dress was an absolute no-no.

Only this year I thought about wearing it differently. I don't know why it never occurred to me to wear this dress with a blazer and casual shoes (even boots) and accessories.

chambray cover up for the evening
I will bring my chambray shirt for an evening and for the a/c in the movie theater.  The trick I have for wearing this kind of shirt over dresses is that I flip the collar under, I like it better this way.  A slight sheen of the shirt makes it more elegant and the dots actually match the color of the dress.

toughen it up wih black

If it was a little colder, I would wear a black blazer with the dress, I really like the look but it is supposed to be over 90 F. This is my version of boy meets girl style, meswear inspired jacket and a girlie dress. This is MacKenzie (sp?) blazer from couple of years ago, it is perfect because it is light and unstructured and it has a nice drape, but I tried it with supefine cotton longer blazer and it also looked well. I love how the ruffles are peeking out from under the blazer.  If I was wearing a blazer, I would go with all black accessories and shoes.

love those ruffles peeking out
I feel like this outfit reflects my style well and I feel comfortable in it. I think I was right to pass on the Lilah dress and stick to what I have in my closet. It still hurts me a little to think of this dress not being mine (sniff, sniff) I but I will get over it.

That's all folks!

What do you like to wear on summer dates?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Should I Buy This Dress??? Advice Needed!!!

Yesterday, I saw some new arrivals from Banana Republic online that I wanted to check in store. They were running 40% off sale items and I have $30 in rewards cards, so I thought I will check if there is something of interest. I also visited Madewell and I will have posts about both store visits next week (some really nice finds, so please check it out).

Then I stopped by at J.Crew, just to visit my white Lucille dress and check how she is doing.

Lucille was doing just fine, hanging out with her friend in the sale section, but I lost interest in her (I am very fickle) when I spotted a bunch of Lilah dresses in my sizes.

Lilah Dress

I know DaniBP and Shopwithm both own a dress and like it so I have to give it a try. It is currently $129.99 minus 30% off.

size 8 and fitted at top

The eyelet detail on this dress is beautiful and it feels luxurious. The dress is lined in cotton and it fits me well. It is tiny bit high waisted but this doesn't bother me. The bodice is fitted but it has enough scoop not to be too demure. No armhole gaping. It has pockets and concealed back zip. It looks like a special occasion dress, but I think it can be dressed down with accessories and shoes. It would look good with a cardigan and I could wear it to work this way.

Back zip, pockets and lined in cotton

But I am still afraid it seems too precious and I would probably only wear it couple of times this year. I definitely do not need it, this is just a collector in me, because of how pretty the fabric is, it feels like a heirloom.

Now, Audrey had a very good point yesterday when she said the the question is "would I rather wear this, or ______ (something-else-comparable-that-is-already-in-my-closet)". Lets ponder over this for a moment.  I have two other white dresses in my closet. One is the white Attache and the other one is crinkle chiffon, flapper style number, that I bought 2 years ago. Well, the Attache has a different purpose, I would only wear it to work, so yes, I would rather wear this dress when going out. 

But the crinkle chiffon is another story. I LOVE this dress but somehow I did not find the occasion to wear it yet, so it has been sitting in my closet for two years. But I just thought of styling it with a black blazer or chambray shirt and I think I am going to wear it tomorrow. I have a date with my husband and we are planning to see the new Woody Allen movie and go out for diner and drinks after. I could wear the Lilah dress as well but I would rather wear the crinkle chiffon. Hmmm...

I think I should pass on the Lilah dress, I definitely do not need it. I have it on hold, so I have until this evening to decide, as I am not going to make it to the mall tomorrow and they are closed on Sundays. Do you think I wold regret not buying it? Please advice!!!

Also see the shopwithm review HERE.

Perfect shirt in anchors and horseshoes

I am not big on anchors and mixing them with horseshoes seems a little random, but the shirt is rather cute. For some reason and I mad about red this summer, as I discovered that I can wear the shades J.Crew has been producing recently.

Size 6
It fits like most J.Crew button fronts and I do like the fit. It was gaping a tiny bit in a 6, but probably still wearable. I would get an 8 for more comfort, but it does not look as nice.

Like I said, the shade is gorgeous and the print is subtle. The fabric is not as soft as some J.crew shirts and it is thin and slightly see through, if you wear a printed bra for example, but it is OK with nude or red bra, or a cami, of course. Still, it is a cute shirt, especially if you are craving the color, like me.

I like it with Porcelain Paisley skirt

Btw, Porcelain Paisley skirt is on sale and at $69.99 ($99 with 30% off) it is a steal, imo. I love this skirt!


Summerweight chino short

Shorts size 6
Since I have this red obsession, I also tried the chino shorts in belvedere red. They are cute. I sized up to 6 and there was no room to spare, so I'd say go with your bigger size. They are thinner than regular chino shorts, which  I don't care for, as I like my shorts to be sturdy. I think they would be cute with many tops and great for vacation photos.  They were still regular price, so I would wait for sale, unless you need them right away.

Personally, I would prefer the regular 7" chino shorts in modern red.

That's all folks!

What do you think of Lilah dress? Should I get it or is it a pass?

What are your plans for this weekend?
Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

J Crew 30% off Sale Fitting Room Reviews

The stores are still running 30% off the sale merchandise and the selection is quite good. Prices are currently way better than online, so if you live near the retail store, and your are not completely shopped out, it is definitely worth checking. I went mostly to do a bunch of returns, but also because I wanted to pick up the red Tessa top, now $49 before 30% off. I liked this top when I first tried it on (see HERE) and I was waiting for it to go on sale. My PS has put it on hold for me, but since I was already in store I browsed the sale section and picked up few other things to try on.

Jardin maxiskirt

I was not a big fan of the Jardin skirt in general and especially the maxi version. I though it was too full and I hated the uneven hem. I tried it once when the knee length version came out and I confirmed my suspicions, it was a disaster on me. When the maxi version showed up in stores I didn't even bother to try it. That is until I saw it on Aureybella (in THIS post). I thougth she looked adorable and the skirt had such a nice vacation vibe, flowing in the wind, easy-breezy and dreamy.  Alas, it was just the Audreybella doing the magic, because the skirt looked as bad on me as I originally feared.

Skirt size 6
Comparing to some other full skirts this one fits large and I could have easily worn my pencil skirt size 4, but they did not have it in store, so I tried a 6. It just had too much volume and it was overwhelming my frame. It was one huge mass of peasant skirt on me,  nothing flowy or dreamy in sight. I could hide a flock of chickens there. And the tea length was akward on me, I think I would have preferred a true maxi. Sizing down would make it worse, because the skirt is already sitting pretty low on my hips. The volume would probably be reduced a bit which would have helped. I also did not care for the color and I think this is much better in the lighter shade. 

The price was good, I think it was $59 (?) before the 30% off, but I am not sure if I remember correctly.


Multistripe dolman-sleeve tee
This was one of my picks from the last rollout. I like the slouchy shape and cheerful colors and thought it would be perfect with jeans. IRL it is quite pretty and the fit is OK but it is very thin and I don't think it is worth full price. 

T-shirt size Small
It fits TTS, I am wearing a small which is my smaller t-shirt size and I think a Medium would be too low and too sloppy. It is not a bad tee but I was just meh about it. Oh well...

See it on Cate HERE.


Linen bow 
Linen bow short
My PS put these shorts in my fitting room, I have no idea why, because it is definitely not something I ever pick. But since they were there, I tried them on. The color is pretty and they were comfortable, but the bow adds bulk in the waist, unless you tuck your top in. However, tucking something into knit shorts seem awfully dorky to me, and not in a good way. 
Shorts size 6
I guess if I couldn't buy a $10 pair of knit shorts at Target I could wear this J.Crew version for hanging out on the couch in the summer.  I never even noticed them on the website but I checked and they were originally $54.50! 

Of course they re not your old knit cotton shorts. They are linen and the have a bow.



Unidentified colorblock top

This one was also reviewed by Ema HERE. I actually really like how it fits and the colors are gorgeous!
But it is 100% rayon and $128, so I will pass for now. Maybe if it goes on a deep sale?

Top size 6
It fits TTS and I like the fit better than on Talitha blouse. There is no buttons so it is just a pull on but I did not have any problems getting it on of off.

$128, 100% rayon


Lucille dress 
in scalloped eyelet
Lucille dress in scalloped eyelet
Size 6
I tried this dress some time ago (see HERE) in purple, but I was more interested in white.

Size 8
I tried on both 6 and 8 and decided that 8 was more comfortable. I was not sure if the eyelet and scalloped hem makes it too juvenile. I loved the fact that this is machine washable especially since it is white. And the price of $89 minus 30% is not bad.

I did not get it but I am kind of regretting it and contemplating going back to pick it up. Should I?


Tessa top

And finally, the reason for my store visit, the red Tessa top. I decided I will wear it enough to pay the current $35 price. It does wrinkle viciously but it does not bother me, I think it is part of linen's charm. What pushes me over the edge (not that I need much, haha) is the color, the absolutely gorgeous shade of red that I can actually wear.

Size 6

That's all folks!
Have you bought anything from the 30% sale?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camels and Elephants Remixed

My 'color story' for this week could be called 'Safari'. I love all the sandy shades of cream/ivory/beige mixed with brown and black. And I still did not get bored with my Elephant necklace!

Anthro skirt with J.Crew cami  (both older pieces)
This outfit got the most compliments. It was a gift from my husband, from couple of years ago. I am proud of his good taste. I don't like wearing a strapless bra but there is no way around it with this top and I make an exception.  I did bring a cardi to cover up but it it was hot that day and my office is casual.
J.Crew perfect tee and No2 pencil skirt
I never thought I would wear animal prints until last year, but I do like this skirt. I usually tone it down with simple t-shirt and soften it up with pink shoes. Miraculously, this skirt does not wrinkle, even if it is all unlined cotton. I usually don't like unlined skirts but this one holds its shape and feels cool.
J.Crew cami and linen trousers (older)
This Grand Ruffle cami was one of my favorite purchases from J.Crew despite having big ass ruffle, mixed fabrics and unfinished edges. I wore it a lot, machine washed it on regular cycle and it held its shape and did not unravel. It is also not a see through, rarity at J.Crew and I love the color.  
J.Crew Jenny dress with Jack Rogers sandals
I wore this Jenny dress on my work from home day, it is super comfy. I think I paid under $20 for it last year. It has a big exposed zipper in the back and it came in numerical sizes (I am wearing a 4). It even has bra strap snaps! I like that it is finished in the woven fabric, it dresses it up a bit. Still there is something off about the fit, so I like it but do not love it. 

Ann Taylor Shift with old sandals
You have seen the review of this Ann Taylor dress HERE. This was my husband's favorite from this bunch. I love this dress and it does not need any styling imo. I just wanted to wear a black strappy sandals with it. It did wrinkle but not horribly; this picture is from the afternoon. This is the only piece in this post that was purchased this year.
J.Crew perfect fit tee with Hutton pants
This is one of my basics outfits, so I like to add a little punch with my red Repettos.

J.Crew Rowboat dress
The Rowboat dress did not get much love in the blogosphere but I love it. I am wearing a size Small. I reach for it a lot, when I want to look casual but still polished.


That's all folks!

Do you like 'safari' theme for summer?
Do you own any of the pieces? How do you wear them?

Which look is your favorite, if any?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kari Dress Review and Update on Attache Dress in Seersucker

I was looking for a longer, easy fitting, casual, black summer dress, that I could wear on weekends and vacations. Kari dress caught my eye when it first debuted on the website, but I never heard anything positive about it, so I was hesitating to try it on. It also seemed expensive for a simple knit dress, but once it dropped to about $40, I decided to order it out of curiosity as a ride-along.

I had very low expectations for this dress and I was prepared for it to fit in a weird way. I was sure the wide elastic shirrig at the waist will not work for me.

Size Medium
I ordered it in size Medium and it was a good call. It has enough room in the chest and it is not too low, or too loose in the skirt. The straps are covering my bra strap and I can wear a regular bra, which is always a huge plus. It does not have bra strap snaps and I would like to add them if I kept the dress.

Good length and regular bra friendly
I think the shirred wide waistband actually works and does not create lumps and bumps. It makes the dress more interesting and the top portion drapes well above it. The dress has a slightly awkward midi length and I think it would look better with flats. 

It is 96% rayon and 4% spandex, but it does not bother me in the knit, loose fitting dress. The fabric is soft but substantial enough to not be too clingy. I think the trick is to get the right size, if it is too small it will cling and not drape well but if it is too big it will droop in front and in the arpits area. 

I like that I can easily wear this dress very casually , but it can be worn to the office with a cardi or a blazer. You can dress it up with a statement necklace and a skinny belt in contrasting color looks good in the middle of the shirred portion.

Overall, I like the dress and it fills a need in my wardrobe. I am sure you can get something similar even lower, but I I am OK with the price I paid.   


Update on Attache Dress in Seersucker.

Thanks to your advice (thank you Ema and Dani) I have ordered the dress in size 6. See my review of it in size 8 HERE.

Size 6

Fits better and more defined

It actually fits my chest (just so) and it definitely looks better in the hips and overall. If I was to keep this dress I would keep size 6, but I am not sure if I need it.


What do you think?
Do you like Kari dress?
Should I keep any of them?

Please share, it would no fun without you!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Basics And My Wardrobe Building Formula

Do you like buying basics? I always liked the ease of minimalistic dressing, but somehow ended up always buying special pieces and never I wanted to spend money on simple black pencil skirt, white shirt or navy v-neck.

The problem with basics is that they usually don't go on sale, like the more trendy pieces. I thought that since I am spending my hard earned money I should be getting something more unique and special, right? Wrong. I perpetually ended up staring into the vastness of my closet with nothing to wear. Because by the time I was able to wear my bought-at-the-end-of-the-season sale leftovers, my crazy print asymmetrical skirt was out of style and felt dated.

I started looking at magazines and pictures of celebrities and style icons and analyse what was it that attracted me to their looks. OK, so most of the time it was the faces and bodies but I cannot really change that (or at least I don't want to go there just yet). But when I focused on just clothes and styles, I realized that I am drawn to very simple shapes and colors.

It was rarely the multi-layered, statement jewelry covered, shocking color combinations or mismatched prints that attracted me. So why was I buying those things for myself?

Some of it was an influence of my mother. My mother is a very stylish woman, but her sartorial preferences are very different from mine. She would buy a navy v-neck sweater only if it had a asymmetrical sequin covered ruffle attached to the bottom of it. She is an Anthro girl at heart and totally at home with over-the-top, unusual and unique. She wears it well and somehow manages to make it look classic.

My mother would rock this
I can do this
What I like, is the most simple styles but with perfect fit and relaxed, feminine vibe. Sort of Calvin Klein look but without the scary looking severe hair and blank faces (at least I hope my face is not blank). Now, of course, this is is not too say that at any point in time I did not have a white shirt or a pair on black pants in my closet. I did, but they were the-wrong-kind. They were the I-can-buy-it-cheaper purchases. Bought under an illusion that everybody sells basics, so I can compromise.They ones that give basics bad rap as being bland and boring and I-can-never-make-it-work.

My theory is, that if you find those great basics, you would be thrilled to just wear them on their own. If you can only wear your black pants when you cover them with your blazer or you need to wear your white t-shirt with a cardigan or a statement necklace, you probably don't like it as much and they the not THE basics you need.

So here is the wardrobe building formula that works for me:

For neutrals, white, black, navy and camel are my staples. I own skirts, plain dresses, trousers, shorts, t-shirts, cardigans or v-neck sweaters in each of those colors in warm and cold weather version. More white and navy for summer, more black and camel for winter. I keep it simple and free of embellishment. Plain pumps, boots and sandals in black/navy and nude. Purses in black and light brown.

This is my base. No multiples but just the best I could find.  From my experience, if I have multiples, I end up wearing one version over the others. The only exception for me is white button fronts and t-shirts because I wear them so often and they need to be replaced frequently.

I try to resist the temptation to buy just any pair of black pants or white shirt. Of course almost every retailer would carry basic colors but I make sure I get exactly what I want and never compromise on fit. If you want to test it for yourself, try wearing just your basics for a week. And I mean actually wear them, not just do a Polyvore of them. Your basics should have fabulous fit and you should feel great wearing your jeans with your white shirt or your camel skirt with your black t-shirt.

Life would be boring with just solids so I add couple of neutral striped t-shirts. Or maybe neutral color polka dots or colorblock.  Then I pick two other colors I like. This summer it is blue and red. I get a few tops in those colors.  Then I add printed skirt and dress where my favorite colors are the base. Same for couple of printed tops. I add other colors in shoes, belts and purses, they work great with neutrals.


That's it, really. It is not for everybody but it works for me. Everything goes together and I find it super easy to dress this way. 

How about you?

Do you start with basics?
What is your dressing formula?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!