Friday, August 31, 2012

White before Labor Day

I have nothing against white after Labor Day.  In fact, I believe winter whites are very chic and pretty. But for now, I am trying to hold on to the ever fleeting last days of summer and wearing as much linen and white as possible.

Scout chinos, perfect linen shirt, Valentina pumps and BR necklace.

J.Crew perfect fit tee, necklace and belt, Brooks Brothers cotton voile skirt and Michael Kors peeptoes.

 J.Crew superfine cotton Attache dress, BR cashmere wrap and Joan & David shoes

J.Crew scout chinos, silk striped top and elephant necklace, GAP denim shirt and  Repetto ballet flats

J.Crew superfine cotton pencil skirt, Talbots slinbacks and BR top.

We will be away for most of the Labor Day weekend. We are planning to go the the beach to spend time with some friends that have a summer house at the Jersey shore and on Monday we are heading for a BBQ with some other friends. 

It should be a nice break from the soccer craziness that recently overtook my house. My daughter will be on a travel team this year and she is currently doing two weeks of all day soccer camp. She will also play recreational soccer which means 3 practises a week and games on Saturdays and Sundays. We just went to a MLS soccer game, my husband is watching soccer on TV, my dayghter is playing soccer in the backyard AND in the living room, by herself, with her friends, with my husband and with even with her stuffed animals! At night I am tripping on soccer balls left in the hallway. 

That's all folks!

Are you truing to use the rest of your summer outfits or are you ready for fall?
What are your plans for Labor Day weekend?

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jean Shop and my quest for the perfect pair of jeans

"Handmade one at a time in the heart of NYC and crafted from exclusive Japanese selvedge that's woven on old-school narrow looms..."

Do you ever fall for those stories? I am a total sucker for them... This is how I ordered my The Jean Shop® women's skinny jean in dark wash. 

The Jean Shop®
 women's skinny jean in dark wash

At least, since the jeans were part of the dreaded final sale, I had some sense to chat with Customer Service and ask them to make a note on my account, allowing me to return in case they don't fit.

Well, few days later, the jeans arrived and I was very excited to try them on. This was going to be the real deal and I was not your average mall shopper. No, I was a member of a secret society, possessing the rare knowledge about the whereabouts of  most authentic denim in the world. What better place to hide than the J.Crew final sale section?

Size 28

OK, the denim is very nice. It feels stiffer and more substantial and hard core and the seams are finished with the orange selvage strip that looks very nice when cuffed. I loved the wash and the orange stitching and the birthday date (of my jeans, no less) handwritten in black marker on the inside of the pocket. Gave me that 'cooler than thou' feeling ;)

But the fit was just OK There was some bunching going on and some not so flattering creasing in the hip and crotch area and overall, I think they are cut for someone a little more curvy than I am.

I wear size 27 in J.Crew matchsticks but I heard those jeans run small, so I ordered a 28 (27 was not available anyway). They had too much room in the hip but I am afraid the 27 would have been too tight everywhere else. 

From the back, they have an old school boyish fit, charming if you are cute twenty something hipster but certainly not a pair of jeans that will stop my husband in his tracks when he sees me going up the stairs.

Well, the fit is king and I decided these were NOT my 'Sisterhood of Travelling Pants' jeans.

These were OK jeans but I thought that even my old BR skinnies looked better on me:

Size 6

Still, I was afraid to return them. What if I am so pedestrian I just don't have any idea how the real deal, secret society jeans should fit?

So just in case I took them with me to the mall while I tried on endless other pairs. I went to Nordstrom and to Neiman Marcus then to a Seven's store and then to Anthropologie. I tried on about 30 pairs of Joes, JBrand, Citizens, Sevens, Paige, AG, Rag & Bone and Pilcros. They all look better than the Jean Shop.

I liked the fit of JBrand and  Sevens the best. Still reluctant to shell out $$$ for non-secret-society denim, I even stopped at the Gap, just to check if by any chance their under $50 (with coupon) pair of jeans is just as good as $200 designer duds. They weren't. They felt like the-under-50-jeans. OK, I got it.

I decided to stop at Anthro and try on the Pilcros Stet, I liked last time I tried them, but this time in the slim bootcut.   

Pilcro Stet Slim Bootcut

Yes, please!

Rear view

Husband approved

slim flair

I decided this is as close to Sisterhood jeans as I will ever get. But better yet, they were on sale.


This is where I got sucked in to add a tee and a skirt, but you already know that story...

And now I really want a pair of cords in the same cut (they have them!) but I am waiting a for a similar sale/promo.

Pilcro Stet Bootcut Cords

That's all folks!

Have you tried Jean Shop or Pilcro Stet?
Do you think the cords will go on sale? Please say yes! When??

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Split personality and shopping at Anthropologie

After writing my recent post on minimalism, I went shopping at Anthropologie. Do I sound like split personality shopper?

The fact is, I almost never shop at Anthro. They have many beautiful and unique offerings but they usually don't speak to me. I do shop for my bohemian self sometimes, but then it just never seem to be a right occasion to wear those purchases. Mostly, I end up wishing for one less ruffle, funky hem or other embellishment. As far as whimsical, I do like owls, bicycles and castle scenes, just not on my clothes.

However, I was looking for jeans last weekend and Anthro is surprisingly (to me) well stocked in that department. 

I ended up buying a pair of jeans but I wanted to include them separately, because I also have a Jean Shop review for you.

Jeans reviews coming up tomorrow
I did not have the rigth top to try with the jeans so I grabbed a black tee from the hanger next to the fitting room and, to my big surprise, I LOVED it!!!

Slubby v-neck tee
It comes in an array of shades and is also listed under the name of Keansburg Tee.
Super casual

I never bought into the uneven hem trend before, but let me tell you, it does wonders for multitude of body sins. It flows away from the midsection and it is perfect with jeans and other slim fitting bottoms. The neckline is perfect as well, somewhere between scoop-neck and v-neck and just deep enough without revealing too much.  I was tempted to immediately order this tee in several other colors but I restrained myself. It is not cheap ($38) and anyway, I think this kind of shape looks best in neutrals. I would get a white one, but it was too sheer and it would require a cami. I am still thinking about the Keansburg raspberry one.

Another item that caught my attention was this lace, burgundy, a-line skirt, that I cannot find online.

Update: Thanks to fshnonmymind we located the skirt. Thank you!
Doily Lace Skirt
I don't have a burgundy skirt and the crimson maple one that I ordered from J.Crew was so unappealing to me that I returned it without taking it out from the package.

This skirt looked like perfect transitional piece and something I could wear to work but just as easily on weekends. I took size Medium, which is a bit loose around the waist (but OK with a belt). It also skims over the belly and allows me to wear it lower on my hips. The workmanship seams fine and while the lace is intrinsically susceptible to snagging, it does not seem too delicate. I love the easiness of the shape and it is supremely comfortable.

I tried it with a black t-shirt and it creates a nice casual look but being a-line, it benefits from more fitted top.

This brown t-shirt works better, however later on, I also tried other options, but only after my (9yo) photographer was asleep, so no pictures. It looked great with my denim short sleeve top from the GAP, and I liked it with striped J.Crew long sleeve tees in olive and black.
It is not what I usually wear it but I do love this skirt.

Last item I noticed in the store, was this cotton cardigan in marled black/gray:

It also comes in chartreuse. It is 100% cotton and lined in cotton, except for the sleeves. The lining fabric is black with white birds on it (I think those were birds...), you can see some of it peeking out from under the sweater.

Shirting Cardigan

It looks super cute and it feels super comfortable and cozy, I loved it.

It runs TTS to small and I needed a medium. The sleeves were full length on me but I have relatively short arms so they may be bracelet length on some. The shape of the cardigan is pretty basic, which is a plus in my book, but it has a nice drape and it floats away from your midsection. It was not cheap at $128, so I had to show some restrain, but it went on my wishlist (which Anthro actually has on their website, what a wonder!). 

The receipt was emailed to me, how cool is that? Anthro is definitely more on par with the technology, despite its old-world, vintage vibe.

What do you think?

Do you shop at Anthro?
Have you tried on anything I reviewed?
What do you think of the uneven hem trend? 

Oh, and if any of you Anthro shoppers knows the name of the skirt, please let me know!

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

J.Crew (Not Yet Online) New Arrivals reviews

I have to return something from my 30% off order, so I picked up some of the new arrivals to try on. I was very uninspired for some reason, and not many items really appealed to me, but here is what I took to the fitting room:

Size 8
I spotted this new colorblock knit blazer in camel and black. They did not have a size 6, so I tried on the 8. It was a little big too big overall, especially in the shoulders, so I would say it fits TTS. I felt like my regular size 6 would have been perfect. I loved the colorblocking, and in these colors, it did not seem too trendy.

The blazer is unlined and 51%wool, 49% cotton. It was comfortable and it felt more like a sweater but still looked polished, like a blazer. I always preferred lined blazers, but I never wear them, because they feel too formal for my lifestyle, too bulky to wear under coats, and either too warm or too hot to wear in our weather.

Maybe a knit, unlined blazer is not a bad idea?  But I don't know how it would hold up and keep its shape. Especially that it was not cheap, priced at $188.

From the back it looks like a black blazer.

$188, 51% wool, 49% cotton

Overall, I quite liked the blazer. I just wasn't sure if it was practical and I definitely thought the price was too high.

If you are sick with all the French Hen talk, you can scroll down. In case you are not, here is a new silk shirt in French Hen print:

Size 6
It fits a little looser than J.Crew perfect shirts. Size 6 was good fit, loose around the middle and no gaping in the chest. It reminded me of a fit of navy/red heart shirt from the spring. Maybe I could have sized down to a 4.  In my experience, this usually creates gaping in the chest area, but I didn't try.

The print is cute and much easier to wear because of the smaller scale.
$128, 100% silk
From the distance, you can hardly tell these are animals, but up close you get a small dose of whimsy. 100% silk drapes great and it is easy to tuck in.

Print close up

Another top that I tried is this marled sweatshirt, that I previously featured in this post.

Here it is on yours truly in size Medium:

The scoopneck is low and, overall, this sweater (sweatshirt?) is big and slouchy. Or just plain too big and shapeless. The sleeves are flipped to show black lining and they almost have to be this way, because the hem is unfinished. Or rather, it has the zigzag stitching at the bottom.

$95(!), 49% acrylic, 34% wool, 15% cotton, 2% other
I tried size Small to compare:

I would say this top is definitely oversized. It supposed to have a slouchy, loose fit, but you should be able to get it even in smaller size. It is a good deal shorter in Small, so it may be a problem, if you are on a taller side. I thought it was borderline on me.  Overall, a cool idea, but I am not sure about the execution. It is definitely overpriced.

Better fit in smaller size
I am also wearing bootcut cords (size 27) that fitted OK, but were just soooo meh in brown, it gave me bad flashbacks of my high school cords, from the 80s (brrr).

They did look better in other colors, but I like my pants neutral. I am still looking for slim bootcut in camel. Anyway, I would have never paid a full price for those.

That's all folks!

Do you like any of the new arrivals?
What's on your list and are you sticking to it?

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

J.Crew 30% Off Select Sweaters Promo Ending Today

Have you picked up anything from the J.Crew sweater promo? It is ending today and it is a good time to pick up some fall basics at up to 30% off. I decided to get a navy Tippi cardigan and a long v-neck merino cardigan  in black.

I have already reviewed the Tippi cardigan:

Size Medium, Review HERE
I think this is one of the best basic cardigans J.Crew came up with in the recent years. The wool is soft, the length is just right, the neckline is perfect and the arms are not too tight. They come in many beautiful colors but I was in a need of a basic navy.

Note on sizing: I have stated in my review that this sweater fits TTS. At that time I ordered a Medium and it was a good fit. However, when I was in store over the weekend, I tried on a Small and I actually liked the fit better. In any case, I don't think there is a big difference between those two sizes. The store matched an online price for me, which was great since I didn't have to spend $175 in order to get a free shipping.

Another sweater that I picked up was a Classic merino long cardigan.

Classic merino long cardigan

This marled jade shade is gorgeous but what I actually needed was a boring black. I thought longer cardigan would be perfect to wear with jeans and trousers. I like the idea of merino versus cashmere because I hope that it will pill less and of course it is much cheaper.  I also prefer slightly lighter weight and warmth making it more versatile and 3-season wear.

Here are some pictures from the fitting room:

Size Small

I am glad that I was in the store because I would have ordered a Medium but this is a Small and the fit is perfect. So would say, this runs TTS to big, if you are in between sizes, go with the smaller size.

The length is perfect, it covers my rear without being too long and overwhelming. Again the wool is soft and the sleeves are not too tight. If you keep it open, the pockets add some bulk in the hip area. It does not bother me but it may be a concern to some.

Overall, I highly recommend both sweaters. I would love the longer cardigan in camel but I thought the marled camel shade that they have was unappealing to me. The marled effect makes it dull and drab imo. I was hoping for a more clear golden tone but this one has a lot of gray in it.

I am tempted to add a Tippi in black and long cardigan in navy but I shall contain myself.

Another update: do you remember the Sweater from Look #16?

Review HERE
I have previously stated that it is probably a blend but I have finally checked the tag in store and I am happy to tell you it the 100% merino. It is still not online but probably coming soon.

Tomorrow I will have some new arrivals reviews. I tried on a new camel/black blazer, french hen silk shirt, a new marled black sweatshirt. Plus a review of Jean Shop jeans, bootcut cords and my quest for perfect jeans continues. I am expecting my 30% packages, including bunch of pencil skirts, a collection dress and some other items, I cannot even now remember what I ordered, isn;t that horrible? But nothing was final sale, so I will probably return more than I will keep. Unexpectedly, I also found some great stuff at Anthro! Stay tuned this week, for all those reviews!

That's all folks!

Did you pick up anything at the sweater promo or have you received your 30% off orders?

Have you tried the Tippi cardigan or Classic Merino Long Cardigan?

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Channeling Sophie Marceau

Few nights ago I was looking for a a movie to watch and I spotted 'Anthony Zimmer' on the Netflix. It is a older (2005), rather fluffy French flick, categorized as crime/drama/romance on IMDB. The movie itself was quite unsubstantial, albeit entertaining and exactly was I was looking for.

But suddenly, Sophie Marceau character became my new style icon.  I realized that this is exactly in line with my sartorial tastes and aspirations. What she is wearing in the movie is timeless and sexy, but also super simple and minimally accessorized. She wears almost no jewelry and prefers neutral color palette. Her clothes do not steal attention from the woman inside. 

Well, except for some fabulous shoes and a gorgeous handbag (fashion editors breath a sigh of relief).

When tried to analyse what do I like so much about her style, I realized that there is not that much to it. Mostly, she looks great because she is beautiful, with fabulous body and great hair (feeling a little deflated here, sigh). Her clothes are basic, fit well and have fluid simple lines that do not distract from her natural beauty. She does not need any embellishments.

But how about us, mere mortals?

Can I dress like Sophie and still look good? Well, certainly not as good as she looks in those pictures, but would dressing like her make me look better, or will I be missing some 'enhancements', provided by statement necklaces, pops of color, belts, bangles and interesting color combinations? 

Let me tell you, it is not an easy feat. I tried a simple black tank but it seemed than I did not own the right kind of black tank. My tank was giving me a muffin top. Even with Sophie's face (and hair!), she will not look as dashing, has she suddenly developed a pot belly, I am afraid. I almost gave up and resigned myself to forever distracting the eye with pattern mixing, camouflaging my jiggly bits with neon belts and sassy bereted (French, like Sophie) chickens...

Here is another, I dare say slightly more successful attempt. I decided to stay with my linen separates, which I have donned for the last couple of weeks. It is French Riviera hot here in New Jersey.

No color popping!!!

Minimal color. Minimal jewelry. Simple lines that still cover muffin bits. Not sure if it completely works. But I feel this is somewhere in the right direction.
Wide movie shot
Sunglasses help. Do you think I should I add a cigarette?

That's all folks!

Do you think this only works for Sophie-like fabulous creatures?
Can we benefit from shedding some accessories or is it just plain boring? 

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