May 31, 2011

Already Sweltering OOTD

A.P.C. skirt
Embellished top from Urban Outfitters
Flats from Brazil

I wore this before the heat wave truly hit Pittsburgh (the skirt is a wool blend). Now I feel like I am melting since my older, radiator-heat home has no air conditioning. And it feels way too early to put in window units (I hate that I lose the use of the window for the season once they're installed). I can bear it. The only thing that makes me nervous is my dog. I realize dogs existed before a/c. Still, Speck is 14 years old. And I want her to be comfortable.

Thankfully I was able to take Speck to Mingo Park yesterday to picnic with my family, where she swam in the creek to stay cool. Then we hung out in a/c at Chris's mom's house, where she napped. We got home and though the house was hot, she got a bath and was a happy pup. I have to figure out my cool dog strategy for today. Then the heat is going to break for the rest of the week.

For those of you in the US, this weekend marked Memorial Day. As Carol of In Pursuit of Pretty Things very eloquently noted, the US is involved in multiple foreign wars, making it a particularly somber time for loved ones, grieving recent or distant losses. Be sure to read her moving tribute at the end of the entry.

May 28, 2011

Bathing Suit Season and Body Anxieties

The cheapest maxi dress coverup I could find at Gabes

Chris in Buzios

Memorial Day marks the official opening of swimming pool season around these parts (though sadly for me but smartly for local families, the Pittsburgh city pools wait until the end of the public school year to open). Although I bought a bathing suit before my December trip to Brazil, I am always on the look out for swimwear that can support a bustier bosom. I've come to adore the Triumph For Your Curves brand (even if the name is silly) for their fun prints and wide range of bikini tops with underwire (sized like bras in a wide range of cup sizes, and everything!). I've also heard great things about the Figleaves in-house brands (Midnight Grace, etc.) and Freya, though I cannot speak to their longevity or support from personal experience. 

Although I have far from what most would consider a bikini body, I started wearing one within the last year or so. I decided that I was sick of tankinis (since I always pulled up the tank part of the top to sun worship) and one pieces (which made going to the bathroom a pain in the butt). I am no stranger to those body image issues that effect most of us. But I have come to feel relatively bold when it comes to swimwear, especially during out of town travel. It already helps when you are in a place where no one knows you except for your travel partner(s). But when you couple it with the relatively exposed swimwear culture of Brazil, I was even more confident running around, flabby body and all.

As examined in this entry from feminist fashion blogger Millie of Interrobangs Anonymous and posted on the website of MrsBossaDoesTheDo, vacations carry liberatory and experimental potential. An otherwise safe, static style identity can try new things without the watchfuls eyes of preconceived expectations. I wrote in the comments section:

There is something really liberating about being in a place where no one knows me (except the person with who I am traveling). Fewer expectations and fewer closet options mean that I am simultaneously less and more confined, if that makes sense. I don’t have to feel like I am dressing my usual “part” because I won’t see anyone who usually sees me but I have such a smaller range of options because I tend to try to pack lightly. 

One of my favorite things about traveling to Brazil last December was how completely body unconscious people were on the beaches. Granted, my boyshort bottoms had more coverage than most of the men’s trunks, but I found it really refreshing to see women of all ages and shapes and sizes wearing the tiniest of bikini styles without reservation. I wonder on some level if this is merely a product of availability? If swimsuit retailers there only sell tiny suits, then everyone has to wear them by default. But those typical anxieties about how my body looked on the beach (the feelings that I try to fight because they run so contrary to my feminist beliefs) were a little less intense as a result. I felt comfortable because 1. no one knew me and 2. everyone there wore tiny bikinis, making my less-tiny-but-still-bikini style seem modest. 

I obviously cannot speak for the women who live in Brazil (a culture where I have read that plastic surgery and plastic surgery tourism are more common and less costly than in the US, and gender roles/expectations for conventional femininity remain relatively rigid in part because of ongoing influences of the Catholic faith and the prevailing traditional standards of beauty). But for me it felt really powerful to walk around the beach without a coverup and without the same anxieties about body judgments.

Are you ready (I mean emotionally, not physically) for bathing suit season? I'm trying to get back to how I felt in December, regardless of the location of the pool or beach... But I've got a ways to go. 

For more feminist style content, visit here.

May 25, 2011

Spinning Lace for Day: Trial and Error

Tracy Reese dress
Anthro cardigan
Forever 21 belt
Miu Miu flats

I was so in love with the intricate beauty of the Spinning Lace dress when I first tried it on last October. And I managed to get a really good deal on it during the additional % off sale. But without the ability to wear it to weddings,* and with a lifestyle that only involves occasional evenings at the symphony, I am struggling to bring down this garment's cost per wear.

Styling it for night isn't an issue. But the only real way to bring down cost per wear is to make this work-able for daytime. Pairing with flats was the first step, since they help me feel more casual in general. I figured I would also try it with the Cartography Cardigan since that seems to be my go-to, match-everything garment for pairing with Anthro dresses for daytime. I think it would have worked better if the cardi was a bit more cropped. The point where this cardigan hits the skirt makes the lower half look even more voluminous and me look even wider. Not sure I am crazy about that combo. Finally, I swapped the grosgrain sash for a casual belt. I should try it belt-less and see if that helps.

What do you think? And I haven't really seen this one worked for daytime in the blogosphere. If anyone can comment with links to sites that have styled this dress for day, please share! I would love some inspiration.

*Although I would have been fine seeing a sea of ivory among the guests for my own nuptials, I realize that a lot of people (not just the couple of honor) feel weird about this issue. So unless an invite encourages everyone to wear white, I personally avoid it at weddings.

May 24, 2011

Shopping Destiny and Shopping Rituals

Today Anthropologie launched round two of the tag sale, presumably in preparation for the upcoming holiday weekend. Unlike last week when I wasn't interested in any newly cut items, I found myself longing for something. The Magellan Dress was reviewed in April and it was something I really adored. The printed mix was interesting and the fabric was very summery. But my size is sold out on the website. And I don't know (because I haven't allowed myself to make any phone calls) if my local stores (or any other stores, for that matter) have any left.

I've held back from calling because I'm still trying to cut back on my clothing consumption. Yes this dress would fill an arguable gap as I have nothing else like it. But I have way too many clothes and especially too many dresses. I have a lot of things that I still need to sort, sell, and donate before I feel comfortable shopping sales without reflection. Why does the desire for more continue to nag? Because the ideology of consumerism has penetrated my thinking so thoroughly! Buying is sold to consumers as a solution, a hobby, a way of conjuring status, a way of rewarding oneself, etc. Buying becomes emotional shorthand for a lot of people. I understand it and yet I am not fully able to resist its power.

Ideologies can function in defiance of rationality and accordingly, I find myself wondering if I should  swing by Bakery Square tomorrow. I convince myself that if they still have my size then it would be "fate." It is so silly. But I fall into this thought pattern even though I have a new dress that I am still undecided about (see yesterday's entry)! I wish my brain would be more cooperative. At least I have talked myself out of running a search with customer service. With the Tippy, I talked myself out of buying when it was in stock on the web. I caved a week later, after it was sold out. Part of me just wants to buy the Magellan now, to hold onto while I decide. Because if I do cave in a week the hunt will be annoying when most of them are long gone. Blah... I feel so silly but I really like that dress.

Anyway, if you want to see what made it to second and third cut, check out Roxy's rundown and the community-submitted comments here.

May 23, 2011

Uncertain Tippy: Hitchcock's Subconscious Influence

Tippy dress from Anthro paired for styling purposes with:
Moth cropped bow cardi from Anthro
Marc by Marc Jacobs mary jane pumps
Kate Spade tote

I am so grateful to Laura of Anthro Closet Chaos for putting out an APB on this Anna Sui Hitchcock-inspired dress called the Tippy. I never saw it in my local stores so by the time it went on sale, I was clueless about sizing. But I wanted it desperately! And I tracked down a size 6 thanks to reader, Melanie. Thank you both!

I have been a major fan of Alfred Hitchcock's work since I was a child, sneaking late night episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on Nick at Nite (back when they played television classics from the 50s and 60s). My brother and I consumed and obsessed over the popular canon of his cinematic creations as teenagers. And I studied the psychoanalytic theories that influenced the director as a graduate student. A few years ago I was gifted a Hitchcock box set from my parents. It allowed me to see a bunch of works with which I was previously unfamiliar. And although I grew to adore some of the lesser known movies, I still love the cult classics.

In fact, I worry that my love for Hitchcock and his masterpiece of special effects, The Birds has colored how I see this dress. Such an influence could be more powerful than sale goggles. It's silly and short-sighted to buy something based on the intellectual and pop cultural associations it evokes for me. Sure, I've mused before that materiality is more meaningful than the mere acquisition of stuff. But I am not so certain that this dress is the right fit for me, despite its evocations. So opinions and yays or nays are welcome! This was a pricier piece than I usually buy (even on sale), during a period of relative fiscal austerity. Help me answer: Do I like this dress only because I like thinking about the film?

Hitchcock's The Birds is a remarkably misogynist take on the shifting norms of gender and courtship at the mid-century. Anxieties over the meaning of masculinity, if and when a woman aggressively pursues a suitor (in the context of heterosexual relationships) permeate the script, which was based on a novella by Daphne du Maurier. Ultimately our beautiful, confident, modern heroine (played by Tippy Hedron, after which this dress was named) is reduced and quite literally henpecked to near oblivion. By the film's end, the audience is left to presume that the "natural" order of things (in the gendered world, where femininity caves into submission and masculinity enjoys supremacy) has prevailed. The woman has been "put in her place" by nature's revolt against human progress. It is disturbing and powerful to witness. To read about Hitchcock's films and gender, check out The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory.

I fell in love with this dress because I was already in love with the film. Then I saw it looking amazing on some of my favorite bloggers! Help me decide what to do. And be sure to check out how those bloggers wear it! See Laura wear the Tippy here. See Becca here. And see Anjali here.

May 22, 2011

Why does the sea rush to shore? Rapture OOTD

See by Chloé Landscape print dress and Daytripper bag (smaller size in black here)
Charter Club cardigan

I wore this outfit to dinner with friends then to a rapture party at the home of some other friends on Saturday night. Though I was not hungry at all, the rapture party entailed a "camp" fire pit on which people cooked hot dogs and other foods. There were also a few fierce rounds of corn toss. It was pretty fun!

When I bought this dress, I loved the landscape print. I knew it was meant to be light and whimsical (why else would it include such a pretty lady and a hot air balloon in the composition?) but I was drawn to the darker aspects of the scene. Growing up in Southwestern PA, I found the railroad tracks and rough terrain to evoke the landscape of my industrial/post-industrial childhood. Such scenery has decorated the sets of apocalyptic cinema for decades. I bought this dress because it reminded me of  dystopic fiction so it seemed fitting to wear it on a day that was alleged to be significant, no matter how far-fetched I believed that allegation to be.

Prophesying the end times has become an extremely lucrative career path for some. It is a shame that such a cottage industry of supposedly-devout snake oil salesmen has cropped up around one interpretable Biblical passage. These folks prey upon and profiteer off of the vulnerable and God-fearing. And I hope that at least some of them find their credibility has been compromised after unethically working so many people up into a panicked frenzy.

May 20, 2011

Luck's been a lady of late!

One of my favorite things about trying to keep up to date on google reader is learning about the fun opportunities of blogger giveaways! I've had a few lucky moments in the last few months that I wanted to round up so I could reiterate my gratitude to the bloggers who hosted them.

Tippy of Tres Tippy's CSN giveaway from a few months ago yielded new shower curtains for my bathroom!
 City Scene "Henna" Shower Curtain

Thanks to the Pretty Ladies of In Pursuit of Pretty Things, Chris and I are enjoying a year of Netflix and Netflix Instant!

I am still trying to decide what summer maxi dress to buy with the Forever 21 gift card I won from Carly of Strawberry Heels Forever!

Parker dress worn as blouse from the Shopbop sale section.

And thanks to Roxy of Effortless Anthropologie and Shopbop, I have a new Tucker dress I can also wear as a blouse and black leather Tory Burch Revas.

I haven't done a giveaway in a while, here. And because I was too swamped with work, my blog anniversary has come and gone. But I intend fully to pay forward the incredible generosity of the above bloggers with a giveaway of my own. Thanks again, ladies!

May 18, 2011

Sunrise Shirt dress review

I love how crisp a white cotton dress can look in the summertime! But my own clumsiness usually means I avoid the hue for my own wardrobe. Still I saw this Sunrise Shirtdress with its pretty, white embroidery and decided it couldn't hurt to try. On the hanger, it looked blousey so I grabbed a 6 (one size down from what I would typically try in this style). The 6 was small in the bust so I'd say this runs true to size for a shirtdress. It has side ties and a formidable slip layer. The quality is definitely there but I am not sure about the cut. The sleeves puff but aren't so puffy that it would be annoying to layer over top. The skirt has some volume which might deter some. I am going to pass on this, even once it hits the sale because I have more flattering, less-easy-to-stain shirtdresses in my closet. Maybe I would feel differently if I tried the 8? It comes in a very spring-like sea foam green as well as black. The green might be on my radar if the 8 is a better fit.

May 17, 2011

Anthropologie Tag Sale Report: Pittsburgh Area Stores

Today was the launch of the much-hyped Anthropologie semi-annual Tag Sale! Although some are let down, I was already in the burbs to pick up my newly-fixed vehicle so I decided to make a few detours. First I stopped at the Galleria to visit the Mt. Lebanon store where I found a lot of racks outside of the entrance, marked by price. The sale room was also stocked and open as usual. One rack outside of it contained more dresses and skirts priced individually. A discount jewelry table was to the right of the sale room with many things marked down to $9.95.

To give you an idea of the stock as of noon time, there were the markdowns from today but also quite a few second and third cuts. Specifically, the skirts you see above were marked $19.95. Sizes small and large were available in the printed skirts. Size 12 in gray and black were available in the corduroy skirt on the right.

The cropped pants in the photo were all marked $9.95. The pleated gray ones on the left were available in a range of sizes. The middle cotton ones were available in S,M, and L. And the ones on the right were available in size 14.

Also spotted: plenty of sale belts, a lot of first cut skirts and dresses, and some home items.

The Pittsburgh store (Bakery Square) was not quite on my way home from Whole Foods but I stopped anyway. This store was more crowded with shoppers and had far fewer second and third cut items. It is possible such items were already bought (since I made this visit later in the day). They had a large selection of first cuts, especially tops, sweaters, and pants. They had more intimates and a lot of home and bedding stuff when compared with Mt. Lebo. The racks were concentrated in the center of the store with the usual sale room curtained off for employees only.

I picked up a necklace I've wanted for a while for $9.95 for myself and I found the Easy Keeper skirt by Tracy Reese (also marked $9.95!) for my friend Elaina. 

For a full list of sale items and information about second/third cuts be sure to check out Roxy's post on Effortless Anthropologie!

May 16, 2011

Anthro-centric OOTD and avoiding closet obsolescence

Two Wheeler Shirtdress
Cartography Cardigan
Miu Miu flats

I wore this outfit to celebrate a belated Mother's Day with my family this weekend. I saw my mother on the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend but because my brother was working on May 8th, she decided to postpone things. It was important to her that all the kids could be together. It felt sad that I didn't get to hug her on the actual day but I did get celebrate and hug with Chris's mom and stepmom. Yesterday was pretty chilly but I still decided to go bare legged. Today the high is in the low 50s so bare legs aren't an option.

When I bought the Two Wheeler dress by Porridge I knew about its weird fit issues. If I wanted the dress to hug my waist the sleeves were going to be too tiny to button. It's bizarre but I guess I have meatier limbs than Porridge imagined. haha This means I often wear it layered if I don't choose to use my hair-tie button-extending solution (wherein I take a thin elastic hair tie, loop it around the button, thread through the hole, then hook).

I didn't buy anything this weekend which I consider to be a victory. I was in two malls and a Gabriel Brothers. When I browse the stores I often gravitate toward items that are facsimiles of what I already possess. I suppose this affirms consistency in my tastes. But it also can lead to a lot of superfluous shopping. On multiple occasions, I end up buying duplicates, backups, and/or stuff that foresees an eventual (conscious or subconscious) obsolescence. I already wrote about how I purchase in multiples (which I am trying to avoid because it can get a bit hoarder-y) and dress with monogamy (which is a good thing because it brings down cost per wear). But I will soon compile a list that evidences instances of planned and unplanned obsolescence in my wardrobe. I think it will be a good reminder about how silly it is to buy without purpose.

I have been coveting Kate Spade's Violetta dress for some time now, but its color similarities to the Two Wheeler have stopped me from purchasing. Even with this knowledge, a nagging consumer impulse has lingered. I considered selling the Two Wheeeler to replace it with the Kate Spade until I reasoned that my lifestyle is one where cotton makes more sense than silk. This weekend I pulled out the dress in part to remind myself that I have a perfectly cute blue shirtdress (so I need to stop hypothetically shopping by filling up my cart at that ritual can transition to literal shopping pretty quickly!). In light of my car repairs, the similarities should be plenty fuel to curb any impulses. Layering this with the map printed cardi isn't at all clever or new. I wore it almost the exact same way last September.

Do you have any tricks or tips that gently remind that nagging inner consumer when the things you covet replicate what you already own?

May 14, 2011

Mystery Money OOTD and how I'm curbing my consumption

Nanette Lepore You'll Be Mine dress
Forever 21 belt
Coach sequined captoe flats
Michael Kors Calista hobo

Earlier this week I decided to venture to the Tanger Outlets in Washington, PA because Chris and I had Mystery Money coupons from Off Fifth. I figured that even in the worst case of us both only getting $10, $20 off any two purchases would make it worthwhile. We indeed got the smallest mystery amount but everything in the store that is not on clearance is an additional 25% off. And the clearance selection is pretty decent. I personally didn't like the fit of anything I tried. But I spotted some cute things.

For example, you can get a DVF wrap dress for around $60 after the clearance discount (plus mystery money can bring down the price further). I saw a few Nanette Lepore dresses, some Tibi tops, and some MBMJ dresses that would have been around $40 or less.

Normally this would have meant I walked out with major clothing haulage. But I am trying, after years of sale-goggle purchasing to only buy stuff that I love and that fills a gap in my wardrobe. This process of consumption curbing is partially inspired by what I've been reading on the fantastic blog, The Year of Nothing New. It is written by another Anthro and DVF lover who is managing her enthusiasm for shopping with a year of abstinence.

Although I am not personally abstaining, it is inspiring to read her blog along with all the participants in Kim from Anthroholic's Shopping Ban/Shop Your Closet Challenge. With my coupon I did end up buying a set of Nambe crystal bud vases for the house.

I have bad luck with glass vases and seem to break anything that isn't very sturdy. So I consider this purchase to be a good one since this crystal set was on major clearance. I also find it to be very pretty, like most Nambe pieces. Because I walked out of there without any new clothing or accessories I felt pretty victorious. Chris got two packs of cookies than ran him .50 after the coupon!

Soon after, Chris was driving in Squirrel Hill and the car overheated. Long story short, a week after I spent a small fortune on car repairs, the car is back in the shop. And I am glad I have been curbing my consumption because that means I have more emergency funds and more savings. But still. :(

So much for couches and cameras until we figure out what is wrong and how expensive the repair will be!

May 11, 2011

In a blur OOTD and my bare leg anxieties

Rainforest Morning shirtdress (anthro)
Anthro belt
Kate Spade Bon Shopper tote
Flats from Brazil

Between my city tax bill, my car repairs, and the desire to replace my living room furniture, cameras are falling low on my list of needs. The above blurriness fuels a pro-camera position, though. I apologize for it! I couldn't get the flash to work and that was as focused as flashless would be. I'm still too timid for solo outdoor ootd shots!

Just in case I hit the lottery (which I would need to start playing in order to win), I'd love some hybrid or starter DSLR recommendations. I would prefer to keep the price in a reasonable range, including my first lens or whatever is needed. 

The dress is one I was glad to buy last year because it matches the lining in the Two Paths trench. I feel like it exposes more cleavage than I want, though. The U shape of the top is difficult to pin. It's been warm so I've gone bare legged which is always a rough transition for me. I really do depend on the coverage of tights. I feel so exposed when I have to stop wearing them. Between feeling pale and self conscious, I tend to wear tights for longer than most.  I try to remind myself that the critiques I wage about my own body I cannot fathom thinking about other people. I need to be less hard on myself and have more faith in the fact that most people don't have the time, energy, or critical personalities to spend evaluating the bodies of others. Unfortunately the ubiquity of harsh tabloid caliber body snarks have influenced my own self-evaluations...

Anyone else find it tough to transition from having covered to bare legs?

Home Fashion: Help me pick a sofa!

Yesterday I posted about how Chris and I are buying new furniture for our living room. If anyone wants to weigh in with their opinions on some sofa options, we are pretty torn between these:

 Room and Board Eugene
I like the feminine but still MCM shape of this sofa. I love the buttons on the back and the three legs at the base. This one is Chris's least favorite though.

 Room and Board Murray
I like the color of the legs. I like that it is three cushions. But I think it is a bit plain. It looks like it could go into a doctor's office waiting room. And I worry that the unattached cushions in the back will get lumpy like our current couch's (since Speck likes to perch). This is our compromise choice since we both like it along with the fabric selection available. It is also the least expensive of the three sofas from Room and Board.
Room and Board Reese (without chaise)
This is Chris's favorite. And I adore the look of it. But it is the most expensive and I worry that the buttons are going to be dirt traps when they are attached to the seat rather than the back. I also think that they will be more likely to come loose when they are constantly sat on.

We ordered fabric samples from the company and are eager to make a decision. But we also have contemplated buying the much less expensive but still mid-century-modern sofa from Macys called the Corona:
I don't care much for the Corona fabric but they have a great protection plan and the couch is plenty comfortable. I don't know where Macys furniture is made but Room and Board is all made in the US which draws me to them. We sat on many Room and Board sofas when we visited their store in San Fransisco. Still I wish we could go to a store to see everything in person to sit on things now that we've narrowed our choices to the above three... Sadly there is no showroom in Pittsburgh. Any thoughts?

May 10, 2011

On-the-go OOTD

Limited (via Gabes) chambray dress skirt
 Lands End Canvas cords (worn cuffed to make them Spring-appropriate)
Burberry Brit jacket from Larrimor's
Tory Burch LeeLee flats (tri-color Patent Revas)
Kate Spade Journal Bon Shopper

I wore this to run some suburban errands the other day/night. I needed to get Mother's Day stuff (cards, odds and ends, etc.) so I went to Wild Card. I had a few things to grab in preparation for a friend's upcoming surprise birthday party. I also needed to buy replacement cushions for a new (albeit vintage) piece of living room furniture purchased by Chris. He bought a Arne Wahl Iversen chair from a dealer so we had the covers dry cleaned. But the cushions were 50+ years old and full of cat dander (to which Chris is allergic). They had to go! The chair looks like this:

(disregard the Speck toys and the old, oversized, soon-to-be-replaced couch)

We're in the market for a new sofa which I would love some guidance on tomorrow.

J. Crew Factory Store Opening!

Good news for Pittsburghers and Southwestern PA shoppers! The Washington PA Tanger Outlet will be opening a J. Crew Factory Store this month. It was the one last store that Grove City had that made me envious. But now we'll have our own! Granted, it is still about an hour from my Bloomfield home, but I head in that direction more often to visit family than I ever head north. If you go between opening day on May 17th and May 29th, you can print out this coupon for 20% off. Please let me know if the coupon doesn't work for some reason! I can forward the email I received to all interested parties. :)

May 09, 2011

Calypso for Target Maxi Dress: Why do you only come in "crimescene" red?

I loved the shape of this Calypso St. Barths for Target maxi dress when I tried it on last week. And I briefly contemplated buying it to dye at home because I cannot get over the brightness of this graphic red. If I had swimsuits that were already in the color family I would probably feel differently but I don't. And I felt like the aftermath of Carrie at the prom. It was as if PETA thought I was wearing fur and TOOK ACTION. As much as I've tried to make myself feel comfortable, I am just not capable of sporting a red this bright, all over.

I bet a well cropped denim jacket would really do wonders with this dress. But if I have to layer over it, then its purpose of being an easy poolside/beach friendly frock is compromised. Fuchsia would have been preferable and for me a teal blue would have been perfect.  For size reference, I'm wearing an 8. I think this GO collection runs like regular Target stuff, rather than being smaller like the other collections. The 8 was a fine fit.

May 06, 2011

Confetti Sweater

Sorry about the delay in posting. I had a number of things going on this week. Car troubles. End of term wrap ups.  Tabulating final grades. It seems like the cold spell has mostly passed but it meant I wore a lot of pants or tights as I ran around.

Above you see the sweater version of the J. Crew Confetti piece. The fit on this was way more baggy than the dress. But I liked it less even if the dress was a bit short. I returned both but am sure they will make some J. Crew shopper happy as they are adorable! Much like the sweater, the merino knit is very soft. The sequins are sewn carefully. And the garment makes a little bit of rustling noise when you move. The sleeves were a bit longer, when in combo with the sequins made me feel a little more Atlantic City in it than makes sense for my life.

May 04, 2011

No confetti celebrations for me

Last week when J. Crew put the Confetti dress and sweater on sale with an additional 30% off coupon, I jumped to order both. I figured I would keep whichever one I liked best and return the other. They arrived quickly. But when I tried them on I felt pretty ambivalent about both. Once I discovered that my car needed an unexpected repair, it was easy to decide to make the returns. This way I didn't need to dip too far into my emergency funds to cover my mechanic's fee. I figured I would offer my thoughts on the pieces even if I didn't keep them. First up is the dress:

I actually liked the dress the best! I ordered a large because snug sweaterdresses are more va-va-voom than is practical for my daily life. And ivory ones just become sheer when stretched. The large was a bit short once I got my adult woman body into it. And I'm only 5'3. I tried to take a side shot but the flash didn't go off. You can see how even the large is a bit snug on me.

Some general comments: The merino wool was very soft but in ivory it became a bit sheer to wear sans tights (in my opinion). I'd worry about long term wear on a delicate garment like this but the sequins seemed to be sewn on sturdily. The dress makes a little bit of swooshing noise when you move around. It is definitely a pretty conversation piece but I don't know where exactly I would wear it. I veer away from light colored dry-clean-only knits because I am too clumsy. I loved how it looked on various bloggers and am a little sad I wasn't as crazy about it for myself.

Anyway I ordered the sweater in my regular j. crew sweater size: medium. Despite the size difference, it was downright baggy! And the sleeves were a little longer. So weird! I will post some of those shots tonight. But if anyone is looking for either of these, I returned mine to the South Hills Village Mall J. Crew.

May 03, 2011

Contemporarian Dress

As I wrote earlier this week, I really loved how a few other bloggers wore the Contemporarian dress so I figured I would give it a try (thanks to my bday discount). It has interesting draping and seaming to emphasize the curves of a feminine shape. But the industrial not-quite-plaid print keeps it from being too twee. My concern continues to be that the back is very bare which will make wearing a bra/going cardi-less difficult.

Do any of you own this dress? How are you planning on wearing it for warm weather? (IF warm weather ever comes and stays, that is... it is going into the 30s again tonight!). For reference I am wearing an 8 which was a good fit. It helps that the hips are loose on this one.

May 02, 2011

Chartreuse Shoots Dress Review

This dress called Chartreuse Shoots is by Moulinette Souers. It is silk with a poly lining. If I remember correctly, only the bottom half is lined. It zips and has two fabric sashes on either side to tie in the back. I loved the way the color modernized this otherwise old-fashioned floral print. So I went to the store with every intention to buy this as my bday discount dress. Sadly, it didn't fit. I should have tried the next size up but didn't have a lot of time before my dinner plans. I am wearing an 8 which is my usual size in this brand. But it was definitely smaller in the waist and bust than my other Moulinette Souers dresses. So I had to pass it up for now. Even with 15% off, at $168 retail it was too rich to not be perfect. It is on my wishlist in size 10.

May 01, 2011

Anthro Birthday Haul

April flew by. And I've been so busy wrapping up the semester at work that I almost forgot to use my birthday discount coupon! Yesterday, I planned to buy a full price floral print dress, the Chartreuse Shoots. But the fit was weird (review to come) so instead I found myself in the sale section uncertain about what to do. I could have just not bought anything. And I almost went home empty handed. But I grabbed two pieces that I like in theory. I am not sure that they work for my wardrobe in practice. So I am going to sit on them with the tags attached while I give myself time to decide. First up was this dress:

I love how Sarah and GeoinCalifornia look in this Contemporarian Dress. But I am hesitant because of the bareness of the back. If I want to wear it in warmer months then there will be an immediate bra issue.

I also got this Tea and Roses sweater. I thought maybe it could be an interesting piece to have. It's unlike anything I own. But I don't know if I can actually figure out how to integrate it into my wardrobe.

I am not sure if I'll keep either piece. I need to try styling them with things I own to see if they're worth holding onto. But I am glad I was able to use my coupon.


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