Friday, February 22, 2013

J.Crew Rewiews (Medalion Skirt & Silk Crepe Tee)

After two and a half months of not buying anything, last week's STYLE40 promo finally got me to place an order with J.Crew.  I was not on any shopping ban, it was just that nothing was tempting me enough to pull the trigger.  I was not even checking the website, so I am sure there were better deals and popbacks during my time of abstinence, but I decided to try on the Silk Pleated Skirt In Mini Medalion and the Collection Silk Crepe Tee in navy. 

The skirt was one of the very few items that got my attention in the January rollout. In general, this is one of the silhouettes that I like to wear in the warmer months, fuller, shorter skirt with slightly slouchy t-shirt. 

Silk pleated skirt in mini medallion
I ordered the skirt in size 6, which is one size up from my pencil skirt size, so I can wear it a little lower on my hips. I think the length is acceptable and not too short. 

The color is pretty and from what we have seen in Fall 2013 preview, it should still be 'in' for the next season. The print is pretty and somewhat reminiscent of menswear, like ties or old fashioned pocket squares. It is a rather thin silk that has hardly any weight. That might be a good thing, as it drapes well and does not create too much volume, but it also feels a bit cheap and definitely not worth the full price. It has a poly lining, which does not bother me, but it creates a lot of static. 

In one size up, the skirt sits about 2-3  inches down the natural waist. There is no pockets :(
The skirt looks good with navy and blue, I also liked it with pink and of course you can wear it with white/ivory and black..

The color is a little different shade than my burgundy Tippy, but it still looks good together, imo. 

Overall, even with 40% off the sale price, I am still not sure if the skirt is worth the money. It is cute but not really striking and you can probably get something similar for less. I will most likely return it, although I will keep it for a week or two to decide.


silk crepe tee
Collection silk crepe tee

I wanted to get the Collection silk crepe tee from the time it made a debut on J.Crew website last year. Well, I always wanted the ivory one, but could never catch it at the price that was acceptable to me. A while ago I actually ordered it at full price to know my size and determined that it runs TTS. The $188 was more than I was willing to pay and the little pocket bothered me a little bit. But overall, I think it is one of J.Crew better staples, the silk is substantial and it drapes well.

The shade of navy is very pretty. Not so dark that it looks almost black, but not blue either. The shape is a little boxy and it may be short for some, but I actually like it this way. The boxy shape makes it more casual and t-shirt like and the shorter length is better for wearing with skirts. It is still OK with pants one me, but I have a relatively short torso for someone 5'6.

The tee is still not cheap (around $100) but I think it is worth it, as it is a very nice basic, if you need something like this. The reason I was interested in the navy version was because I had two skirts to wear it with in mind. One was the Gallerista skirt, that I often wear quite casual, but wanted to have a dressier option. Another skirt that I love but it was always missing a perfect top, is my Silk Indigo skirt from few years ago. I like how the tee looks with both of them and that sealed the deal for me.

I also tried it with my Madewell Rouge Dot skirt and Foulard print capris that are other slightly orphaned items in my closet and it worked with them quite well. 

I think this tee fills a small gap in my wardrobe and will pair well with a few of my favorite items. I still would like to get an ivory one but the navy might be more practical. The only thing I am a little concerned with is a dry cleaning. I hate dry cleaning items, especially in the summer because it is so expensive and I never get around to it so this limits the item versatility. I did recently machine washed my Blythe polka dot blouse and it came out perfectly, but somehow I am more hesitant about the silk crepe. I am not sure if this is justified.

Have you tried washing this type of silk crepe? Or is it too difficult to iron it afterwards? I would love some advice here.

What do you think of the skirt and the tee?
Do you think I should keep any of them?

Did you buy anything with STYLE40?
Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spring Catalogs - Talbots March 2013

I have mentioned in my Monday's post that I have been browsing through the pile of the spring catalogs over this weekend. One of the catalogs that I get regularly is from Talbots. I have only bought few things from them but the items I own made it to my favorites, including my luggage leather skirt, camel/brown striped dress, black pointe dress and my yellow and pink slingbacks.

Talbots catalogs are not as aspirational as J.Crew and their styling is very wearable. You could show up in any of the outfits at the office without anybody questioning your sanity. And their wear-to-work items have appropriate hemlines and no cleavage. They have full skirts and lower heels. The models hair is groomed and they are smiling. Actually when you look at how the outfits are worn, this is the way most J.Crew bloggers wore their J.Crew.  Maybe that's why we don;t lust after them, they don't have enough novelty.

I tried to give Talbots a shot couple of years ago but the clothes most of the time don;t fit me well, I think because they are cut for more curvy figure. Their colors are Crayola variety outside of neutrals and most of their clothes have a retro vibe that is not really my style. But there are always some gems if you browse through it and the sales are excellent.

However, where I think Talbots excels is with shoes and accessories:

I like the colorblock pumps in black and white. And the heel is only 2.5 inches high.

Their ballet flats are cheaper than J.Crew and about the same quality. Check out the ones in primrose pink.

More heels under 3". The pumps are 2.5" and the slingbacks are 2". Didn't we all ask for it? I find Talbots shoes more comfortable than J.Crew.

I said I wanted to try some sparkly silver pumps...

The handbags are also very nice:

How about this bag instead of Michael Kors Hamilton? Only about $111 with the 25% off...

Another version of this bag is quite fetching in black and white with cognac colored straps. The whole outfit on the left is something that I could wear any day.

I wish I needed a red bag...

The scarves I think are a great deal, especially on promo. They are 34" square 100% silk twill and they have some pretty patterns available.

Like I said, for me, there is usually something off with the clothes, but I did find some pretties.

A short sleeved silk blouse seems to drape nicely and the price is reasonable with promo.

I love this dress but it is rayon/viscose blend :(

This pencil skirt reminds me of J.Crew short sleeve lace print sweatshirt.

They also offer some longer full skirts (25") that are not my style but some may like them. You may check out the whole catalog HERE. The current website promotion is BOGO 50% off on tops but if you get the catalog you can get 25% anything and free shipping until March 16th with your customer number from the back of the catalog.

I did place an order for two items and I will review them when I get them.

What do you think of the recent Talbots Catalog?

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blue and Green

I am definitely on the monochromatic kick in the last couple of weeks. I have always liked the ease and simplicity of it. Single color just pulls everything together while tonal variations and bits of pattern or texture keep it from being boring. In the beginning of the the last week I wore the peach/orange outfit and the black with cobblestone outfit which were both tonal. I plan on wearing the blush outfit no5 from my Valentine's Day post and I have few other monochromatic combinations in mind for the next week.

Brora sweater, bag Banana Republic, glasses Ray Ban, rest J.Crew

I always say that I am more of a blue than a green person but there are certain shades of green that I really like. I think it has to be a blue toned green, yellow toned greens make me look sick and suck all the light out of my complexion.

The skirt has some silver threads in the tweed and I liked how the necklace picked it up but I could not capture it well in the pictures because of the blazing sunshine. The skirt is J.Crew from couple of season's ago and the turtleneck is from Brora.

jeans by Anthro, Coach purse, L&T cashmere vest, rest J.Crew

Again, this was a very sunny day and everything was coming out very washed out, he colors are much more vibrant irl.

I don't think I have worn a sweater vest over a button front shirt since my twenties but for some reason it felt right this time. I think it is because of the tonal aspect. The shell elongates the line of trousers and creates a leaner look, while the pattern of the shirts breaks up the monotony of blue.


That's all folks!

Blue or green for you?
Are you drawn to monochromatic outfits like me?

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Spring Catalogs - Michael Kors

Most of the days I find a catalog or two in the mailbox . It is a terrible waste of paper because they usually go straight to recycling bin. That includes the J.Crew catalog, which sadly no longer inspires me or makes me lust after the outfits. It is not even that I find the styling forced or unwearable irl. Recently, they are just... whatever.

But I was a little bored this weekend, so I browsed through the pile of catalogs before taking them down to the basement and I have found some looks that I liked. The first few are from Michael Kors spring catalog.

For some reason, I was never smitten with Michael Kors. I am not sure why because it seems to be very close to my style. His colections usually include a lot of typical American sportswear separates with modern, clean lines, lots of neutrals and safari tones with shiny gold hardware details.  I think it might be that shiny gold details that often make it look too flashy and somewhat ostentatious imo. 

However, I really like the whole look above, the color and shape of the leather jacket, the Hamilton bag, mix of saddle, ecru and gray, the Aviator sunglasses. I could totally wear it all, just maybe with long pants, instead of shorts.

Here is another look from the catalog that I love. And I am strangely attracted to the tie-dyed jeans, both in blue and green, however my daughter strongly endorsed the green ones.

Currently all of the clothes are only available on pre-order, you can check it out here

What is attractive about MICHAEL Michael Kors line is that is is still somewhat affordable with prices very comparable to J.Crew Collection. And it usually goes on significant sale if you wait long enough, plus, since it is available in many stores, you should be able to get some kind of promotion applied.   Another thing is that it is all very wearable and practical. Even the styling of the catalogs can easily translate to irl looks, there is nothing over the top, shocking or clownish. Does it mean that it is too predictable?

I have to admit, I don't have any experience with the label since  I never bought anything. So I would be very interested in your opinions. 

What do you think? Have you bought anything from Michael Kors? Do you like anything from the Spring 2013 collection? What do you think about it in terms of style, quality and value.

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

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guess my Valentine's Day Outfit

Hope everyone is having lovely day today!

This Valentine's day I am spending solo but I still like to treat myself to wearing something festive. Why not?
So let's play a little game. Can you guess which outfit I decided to wear for Valentine's Day?  This is for wearing in the office, not for going out. My office is business casual, no jeans allowed but no suits necessary either. And which outfit would you pick?

1. A chance to use my jaquard pencil skirt from few seasons ago. Quick note for WMM: cobblestone goes with pink! All J.Crew, except for shoes from Sofft.

2. Inspired by J.Crew Fall 2013 pattern mixing. There is no J.Crew in this outfit, btw. Boden boots, Janeville skirt, Brora sweater and scarf from L&T  This looks good without the scarf too, if  I wanted to take it off.


3. Brocade skirt again but toned down more with J.Crew cashmere v-neck and Ann Taylor tee.

 4. Red Brora sweater with J.crew Blush Tweed skirt, Boden boots and scarf from Talbots. Fine without the scarf as well, if I wanted to remove it.

5. Subtle pinks.  All J.Crew except for the necklace (from BR). Cobblestone sweater again (told you it goes with everything). Both pants and striped t-shirts have pink tones in them. This comes out very washed out in photographs, so I am showing you a closeup below. 


That's all folks!

Can you guess what I am wearing today?

Are you going out or dressing up regardless? Red pajamas do count!

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

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SHINE (J.Crew Fall 2013 RTW)

What did you take from J.Crew Fall 2013 RTW presentation yesterday?

The colors are rich and pattern and shine are plentiful. Lipstick is dark and shoes are metallic. I kind of like  the overall tone, even if it seems ornate and taking itself quite seriously, with full-on shiny glam.

I don't even mind the pattern overload. I used to be infatuated with Oilily, after all. And the shoes! Why look to the comfort and quality of Chie Mihara, if you can have J.Crew at probably the same price?
 There is nothing more shock and awe inspiring like an outfit echoing the glam of military uniform.
And who can escape the charm of shined-up equestrian chic? You can go on a date straight from your afternoon horseback ride, just kick off your riding boots...

But seriously, I quite like the looks. I am all for dark costume dramas. I just don't lust after individual pieces. Either I already own them (navy blazers, tweed capris, leopard), or find them very hard to pull off personally (hello rug print sweaters). I would wear the shoes, but I feel like I can find more comfort for the price.

Now, this is something that I could wear. Simple, monochromatic with a little texture and (a lot of) shine. But this is hardly worth the runway, we have already seen it (many times) before.

Too bad I could not wear the lilac shade. But it still works, I admit. 

Another monochromatic look that I am digging. Love it, in fact. However, I can try to recreate it with what I already own. The multicolor Biennal is quite fetching, too.
This coat may be interesting. But I cannot help thinking her feet are freezing and that the shoe straps create plastic-y bulk around the ankles. There is something wrong with the way they are stacked, because I normally like the look.

OK, I do want that sweater. Looks super cozy and comfortable. Would go with everything. Hope this is not made from acrylic blend.

I hate the shoes, sorry. I also never cared for the tipped hacking blazers. Well, I lied. I bought them twice and sold both. And nobody would convince me to wear shorts with my blazers. Especially in the winter. But I like the blouse. I think this is a cami and I can already see it with my blue and burgundy pieces.

Overall, I am glad to see the deep color mix and that the burgundy is not going away. Neither are the patterned capris but still, I am not convinced I should get them. 

In the end I decided I need two items: metallic heels and bold flowered blouse. Not necessarily from J.Crew.

That's all folks!

What's your take on the Fall 2013 collection?

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


In my last post Abby has asked me about texture. I thought that was a very interesting point. Texture has always been my favorite way to add some interest to monochromatic outfits.  Have you ever watched 'What not to wear'? I remember that one of the mantras of the show was 'color, pattern, texture, shine'.  Basically, the idea was that this these are the 4 ways of making an outfit interesting and that a great outfit would use all or most of them.

What do you think? I have to say, I am not totally sold on the idea. Of course, adding color, pattern, texture or shine may make the outfit more interesting, no doubt about that.  What I question is certain method which, similarly to the styling of J.Crew catalogs, when applied too often starts being predictable and, as a result, not interesting. Fashion is always after something new, fresh and unexpected so when you always add a pop of color, mix in pattern and texture and slap on statements necklace it looses its novelty. Suddenly, we see matching shoes and purse and exclaim 'how unexpected!'  I guess everything works in moderation.     

J.Crew cashmere popover, Rosebud (?) Tweed pencil skirt  

To check my theory I went though some of my favorite outfits and noticed that the ones I like the best would have some of the four elements but often only two or three.  I usually have some shine (jewelry) and most of the time I use the color for visual interest (even if it is a neutral combination). Then I usually have either pattern or texture but usually not both and if I do I would lose color or shine.  There are exceptions of course and there is a question what counts as any of the four.

With all that said, texture is definitely a great way to vary a monochromatic outfit


All the orange/peach tones in this outfit might be a little boring if not for combining soft and plush of cashmere sweater, bumpy texture of the tweed skirt and smooth and hard leather purse. 


The second outfit is even more monochromatic and the main interest is provided by the texture of the lace cami.

All by J.Crew

I totally forgot about this cami and only found it when I was looking for another top but I was very happy to rediscover it.  These are definitely the joys of shopping you own closet! Otherwise it would not be very unlikely that I would buy something very similar. Thank you Abby for mentioning lace!

The cobblestone cardigan is here also for the benefit of WMM, who owns a sweater in this color but was asking for styling suggestions. This is probably not very innovative, to pair it with black but I liked it a lot. Actually, I am a big fun of cobblestone. There are brown and gray tones in it so it goes with everything that would go with gray or brown. It is great with red or ochre, but I am afraid not so great with blue which maybe caused some problems for Wendy, who owns a lot of blues. But it is also wonderful with any patterns that have a bit of brown or gray in it, so how about that cheetah skirt?  Additional benefit of this color is its taming powers.  My daughter calls this a Grandpa color,  it is perfect to try with something bright, shiny or laud. Even the lace for work may be questionable, but the sweater tones it down, so I felt perfectly appropriate.

I really liked how this outfit turned out, it was one of my recent favorites. Another reason I liked it was that it creates almost a mod dress silhouette which I like a lot but the mod dresses offered by retailers for some reason never work for me.


This last outfit is all about texture, we have chunky cable sweater, fur vest, cords and shearling. 

Lambswool Cable Sweater and Faux Fur vest by Boden

I think it works because the rest is fairly monochromatic and pale so the texture is the only focal point.  I think any more color, pattern or shine would be distracting with so much texture.

The pictures almost look like some Alpine village with all that snow, but it is still good old New Jersey.  This was over the weekend and just when I was about to drop off my daughter for her CCD class, I realized my car battery was dead.  Because she really needed to make it to the class we have decided to to walk (rather fast).  I actually made it back home after I dropped her off (because I was washing my cashmere sweaters and did not want to leave them in the washer) only to walk back to pick her up. Then we walked to the restaurant, since I promised her lunch before, and then back home. I probably walked close to 5 miles altogether, which would not be that much if it wasn't for all  the snow and ice to navigate.  In the end, it was a great exercise and the weather was beautiful. But I was happy when we finally got home and very grateful for the Roadside Assistance guy when he showed up to jump start my car.

That's all folks!

What do you think of 'Color, pattern, texture shine' mantra?
What is your favorite element to add to an outfit?

Have you done any walking in the snow?