Thursday, January 31, 2013

J.Crew new arrivals without crewlade

J.Crew recently updated their website with the new arrivals. Since I am not checking the website on daily or even weekly basis anymore, I would have missed it, if I haven't been an avid reader of JCA and other related blogs. In fact, I have already seen the new arrivals in the store last week when I visited the mall with my friend. Her style is a bit different from mine but she wanted to see the store where I shop, since they don't have J.Crew in Poland. We happened to stop at the outlets first, so we went to the factory store. I am never inspired by factory for some reason and I hardly ever visit but being there with my friend made me step back and look again.

Well, it did not look any better from the distance. In fact, I felt something of mild embarrasment for all the crayola explosion, bad fabrics and cheap look of shoes and accessories. I should not that my friend dresses mostly in solids and does not like brights. Her 'uniform' is simple but it works well for her. She usually wears skinny jeans in dark wash, knit top in green, wine or brown/camel with a long sweater in similar colors. She tuck the jeans in a pair of boots, throws on a black peacoat and jazzes it up a scarf and colorful purse. She is not trendy but likes to feel modern and current. I could tell that all the pencil skirts, flower prints and 'good girl' cardigans did nothing for her.

It wasn't much better in the retail store although she did notice that the quality seemed better and colors less jarring. She liked the Gilded Brocade top, she considered Tartine satchel (until she saw the price),  purple medalion print scarf and she was intriqued by some of the colorful pants. She wanted me to try one of the Lady jackets languishing in the sale section. Overall, I knew she was not impressed, but she tried to be nice and said something about 'not working in the office', as a reason why the clothes did not appeal to her.

I have to say, there was nothing in the store I was lusting after. Absolutely nothing. Sure, some of the new arrivals looked 'nice', but in the end they just left me cold, as 'more of the same'. I liked the Liberty print schoolboy blazer, but I already have flower print blazer that I hardly wear. I liked the medalion scarf. After perusing the website, I added the tweed front tee and mini medalion dress or maybe a skirt (both can be too short and/or too twee) for consideration. 

Of course, it is quite likely that I will warm up to a few more items as the time goes by. However, when I have checked my recent credit card activity and I realized that my last kept J.Crew purchase (stovepipe checked trousers) was from December 3rd! That must be a record for me and I wasn't even trying. Overall, I have been shopping much less and spent less in last 6 months than I used to spend in one. And when I added my last six months purchases, J.Crew was only one third of them. The rest was Nordstrom, Anthro, GAP (boyfriend jeans!), Club Monaco and Ann Taylor .

So, still keeping with the 'no new stuff needed' spirit, my outfit today consists of an old and new(er) favorites: Italian boucle pencil skirt in honey glaze (2007?),  Nottingham boots (2009?), chambray shirt in polka dots (2012), J.Crew super skinny belt, Kate Spade purse and Banana Republic necklace.

However, I did buy something recently that I am excited about, but it is not from J.Crew. I will review it tomorrow!

That's all folks!

Have you been buying much from J.Crew these days?
Are you excited about any of the new arrivals?

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quality Time

I took a break from blogging last week, because I had a childhood friend visiting me from Poland. We were mostly just hanging out together, talking and drinking a lot of wine. Our older daughters are the same age and my friend's daughter just got married and is currently living in Ohio. When she came over for the weekend, the four of us had great time together.

It was a very cold week with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Fahrenheit which made staying home an attractive option. But eventually, we did decide to brave the cold and took the train to NYC. My friend has already seen all the usual tourist attractions in NYC, so we wanted to venture out to some not so popular destinations. We debated what to see but since she is very much into history and I am into fashion, we decided to visit Merchant House Museum and the Fashion Museum at FIT.

located just blocks from Washington Square
Merchant house is the only 19th century family house in NYC preserved inside and out. The Tredwells, the wealthy merchant-class family lived in the House from 1835 to 1933. During that time the NYC population grew exponentially and most wealthy families have moved uptown but the Tredwells decided to redecorate and stay.  

The house has floor stories with the kitchen and family room located in the warmest part of the house, the basement.
 First floor included large parlor and the dining area.


Second floor features his and hers bedrooms. Third floor housed several small children's bedrooms (not open to public) and the servant quarters were on the forth floor.

As we climbed the stairs to the servant floor my friend and I tried to imagine that we were two immigrant  Irish girls that came to work there.

The garden is small but enclosed and tranquil.

Of course it turns more lush in the spring but winter emphasizes its classic structure.

The visit to the Merchant House Museum took us a little bit over an hour which was just perfect for us. After seeing the garden we headed out for a long lunch at the local restaurant. If it was warmer we would have probably wandered more around Greenwich Village but since it was freezing we went to see Fashion and Technology exhibit at FIT.

Photography is not allowed at FIT exhibits so I don't have any pictures but the exhibit was worth seeing. Again, the exhibit will most likely not take more than 45 minutes of your time but it is free of charge. I thought that the garments looked so much more beautiful in person than in the pictures since it is all in the details. It was also interesting to see the older pieces. When you see them at historical museum they are usually more worn out and faded, sometimes to the point where you miss the actual beauty of them. but here the emphasis in on fashion, so I was able to really appreciate them.

There are plenty of quirky pieces like clutch with electrical plug closure, suit that can be worn in the shower (coming with really funny commercial video), 3 dimensional dresses and many techno fabrics.


But overall, I was surprised that it was much more eye pleasing and 'wearable' looking than some of the runaway shows.


I really enjoyed our visit and I am looking forward to upcoming Shoe Obsession exhibit, which I have already put on my schedule for February.


My friend and I had great time seeing both museum and I recommend them if you are looking for something  more unexpected, if you have short museum attention span or if just want to spend more time drinking margaritas with an excuse of 'quality time' .


That's all folks!

Have you been to Merchant House or FIT exhibits?
What are your favorite 'off-the-beaten-track' museums and other places to visit?

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pink Tights

If you have been reading my blog for some time, you probably know that I can be rather conservative and not very daring in my choices.  For example, I don't usually wear colored pants. But actually, when I recently organized my closets, I realized that I did wear colorful bottoms in the past. I found a pair of green capris, mint colored cords and even a pair of pink ones. I own some psychedelic print shirts, bohemian skirts and gothic tops.  I don't remember ever questioning them or wondering if they were appropriate. Paradoxically, I became less daring since becoming more fashion conscious. I probably would not buy pink suede boots now. And it would be a pity.

That is interesting, even to me. I always thought that fashion blogging expands your sartorial horizons. However in my case, it seems like I decided to veer towards more restrained and subdued. I think it is because I associate it with more classy and elegant and this is where I aspire to be. Even if my natural tendency and taste is more eclectic and flamboyant. Or maybe it is just an age thing?

I think I made a statement somewhere on this blog about only wearing neutral hosiery. Well, I lied. I had these pink tights and I also have blue and green ones. And apparently, I do wear them. I am surprising myself.

My blouse is from J.Crew. I forgot what is was called, but I wanted it the minute it appeared on the website and I promptly acquired it once it went on sale. I am a sucker for a beautiful print. It is silk georgette and it drapes well and does not wrinkle. I machine washed it few times and it came out fine. This is another side effect of fashion blogging. I used to throw everything in washing machine without thinking about it. I did ruined a few things but 95% came out just fine. Now, I obsess more about my clothes and hand wash and dry clean. I think I need to go back to my more care free days...

My shoes are from Merona (my best Target buy) and my skirt is J.Crew. I love the skirt but I did have it altered to make it more form fitting and (!) shorter.

That's all folks!

How does fashion blogging or reading fashion blogs affect your style? Did it make you more daring or more conservative?
Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Nordic Blue

What is your favorite winter coat? Do you own many, or do you wear just one or two all winter long? 

I am somewhere in between and although I don;t have a collection I do like to alternate between 3 or 4 coats. Last year the winter was very mild and I wore my Majesty peacoat (seen HERE) the most. On colder days I would swap it for Boulevard trench coat  (seen HERE). When the temperture dropped even further I would wear my Wintress puffer, which I think never happenned last year. All these coats are in basic colors, navy, beige and charcoal. I wear quite a lot of black in general but I don't like black coats, or maybe I just did not find one that does not attract lint like crazy and does not seem so funeral appropriate.   

The Elements coat that I bought last year was not something I really needed but I thought it would be fun to have something more colorful and more casual. This coat fulfilled that need perfectly and I have worn it a lot. It looks great with pants but not so bad with a pencil skirt either. I really like the Nordic Blue color and even the hood does not look too bad and stays on your head when you put it up.

This coat is  similar to this year's stadium cloth duffle coat (currently on sale). I like last year's version better because it has buttons and loops in addition to the zipper. To me, it makes a big difference because I hate fussing with zippers and find the buttons easier. I suppose it should be the opposite but that's the way I roll.

I have mentioned before that blue with yellow always manages to cheer me up. Underneath I was wering a gray perfect fit v-neck and  therefore could sport another favorite of mine, ochre with yellow.

This coat is made of stadium cloth fabric, which is the warmest from J.Crew coat fabric and the only one I buy. Due to the dense weave it is surprisingly warm and soft without being bulky and heavy.  Most of the time the double cloth fabric feels very artificial to me, even if wool content is similar and the cashmere blends seem too thin and fuzzy so I stick to stadium cloth. Although I have to say that I liked the double cloth fabric on the slim trench, especially in pink.

That's all folks!

Did you buy the coat this year or are you waiting for a deeper markdowns after the Holidays?

What is your favorite J.Crew coat or do you stick to different brands?

Please share, It would be no fum without you!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Red after Christmas

Do you get bored with red after Christmas? I often do. It just loses some of its appeal by the time Christmas decorations come down. This year I was actually very good with taking down my decorations and got rid of everything by January 6th. I often kept them a week or two longer, not because I love them so much but because I was being lazy and it is definitely not as exciting to put them away as it was to put them up in December.  Although it is not a pleasant task, the consolation prize is getting back, my suddenly so much bigger, Living Room! 

Isn't is funny how the winter is just starting in January, but with the retail cycle always throwing us couple of months ahead of the calendar, it suddenly feels like we should be already thinking about spring? It is silly of course, and I am still hoping to do a lot of skiing and ice skating this year.

But to get away from the wintery coziness of the deep reds I decided to pair my scarlet Brora sweater with pink, including liberty print perfect shirt, pink Valentina shoes and pink Banana Republic necklace. I was quite happy with the way this outfit turned out and it did not feel too wintery.

That's all folks!

Are you already thinking spring in your sartorial choices or are you still deep in winter mode? Do you associate red sweaters with Christmas?

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year Resolutions (Sort Of)

Hello Everyone! This is my first time posting in 2013, so Happy (belated) New Year everybody!

I took a little break after Christmas to 'recover' from the Holidays and it just took a little longer than planned. I have been a bit sick, busy with work and dealing with some personal issues. But I think I have things more or less under control and my motivation to blog is back.

I don't really have any true New Year resolutions, I never believed in them, and I don't have a shopping list. In fact, I have very little desire to shop and I haven't even check any of my usual shopping destinations (online or B&M) for several weeks. Of course, I still like to dress and put outfits together, but I am really determined to shop my closet more.  In fact, one thing I have been busy with during my blog absence, was organizing my closets. I did this in the beginning of the last year, when I was doing Project 333, but by December my closets looked like a clothing bomb explosion site.

I did not do any purging this time, but since I have 3 closets in my bedroom, I put everything I wear in two of them and left the rest in the third one. There are some of my summer clothes there, but most of it is the stuff that just never seems to tempt me anymore.

Of course, all this organizing made me realize (again) that I have way more than I need and that all this incessant shopping is pointless. There was a time in my life when I needed to refresh my look and add some variety to the way I dress, but I am now past this point. I don't want shopping to be my main pastime or the only way to express myself. My main goal is to change the direction of my shopping. I don't want any website to dictate what I should buy. I want it to come from me.  If I realize that I am really missing something, I will look for it. There is nothing wrong in being inspired by another blog or website but it should also come from being uninspired by my own closet not by a constant, frantic look for the next new thing that I find so all-consuming, exhausting and unsatisfying.

Since I am sticking to my plan, there is nothing new in this outfit. I am wearing Brora sweater (seen here), Blythe silk blouse (reviewed here), midrise toothpick cords (reviewed here), J.Crew necklace and Glenbrae boots and Banana Republic messenger bag. My hair was not really so messy that day, it was just very windy and it just would not stay in place...

Today my younger daughter and the photographer for this blog is turning 10! Happy Birthday A!!! She picked sushi for our dinner tonight, I cannot wait myself. We will celebrate as a family tonight but we are also doing a bowling party later this month for all A's friends.

A is sharing her birthday with the lovely WMM and I hope she will grow up to be such a sunny, optimistic soul and will never get over the habit of being a little girl!

That's all folks!

Are you planning to shop your closet more this year?
Do you shop based on actual gaps in your closet or are you driven by websites/magazines inspirations?

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