Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Being a "Tweener": Ann Taylor Sale Item Review

Disclaimer: My one-month shopping ban has been unintentionally broken (*sigh*) and when in the mall today to return some make-up at Sephora, the tractor beams of the Ann Taylor 40% off already reduced items event pulled me into the store and has led to today's post...not sure what to do about my lapse - just acknowledge that these things happen?

Now onto the actual post...

I admit that I am fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) enough to not have to worry about being able to fill out the smallest size offered by popular clothing stores.  In fact, I find myself either wrestling (or shall we say shimmying) into size 0's or not filling out size 2's.  I realize that this is not really something worth complaining about, but it is frustrating, because I have a hard time knowing exactly what size to grab as I work my way through clothing racks.  To illustrate this point, I have snapped a few pictures using my trusty iPhone - if you could only see how much I had to contort my body for the back views, you might have gotten quite a chuckle from this "photo shoot."

The Ann Taylor Modern Wide-Leg Pant in Mud Pack (who thought of that name???), find here

Here's what a size 0P (left) versus a 2P (right) looks like on me.

Based on the front-view, the 2P seems like the better fit, right?  But then, when you take a look a the back - it's a whole other story. 

The 2P sags a bit in the back because I don't have the *uh-hem* assets, shall we say, to fill it out.  So, while I loved how the pants hung on my hips and didn't require any sucking in of the tummy to button, the back just ain't right.

But, there's hope!  I know that Ann Taylor regular sized pants are often a bit roomier (albeit longer).  I fell in love with the material and draping of these pants, so I wasn't willing to concede to the battle of being a tweener without trying one more option - a 0 regular!  See front and back views below.

So, in summary, I ended with the 0 regulars and will have to take these puppies in for some length adjustment, but, I think they sit nicely on the hips, my bootie is endowed enough to fill out the back, and I am once again a happy "tweener" camper. 

Readers: do any of you have similar experiences, and if so, what have you done to win the tweener battle?

I leave you now with a few other items that did or did not make it into the shopping bag (in case it's helpful as you shop online):

V-neck cardigan in limelight, Sz XSP (find here) - Purchased!
Faux fur skinny belt, Sz S (not available online, find similar animal-esque fun-ness here) - Purchased!
Wool trousers, Sz 0P (no longer available online) - Left in Store (too snug)

Wild Leopard Print Skirt, Sz 0P (find here) - Purchased (I guess I can get away with smaller skirts!)

Petite Utility Shirt Dress, Sz 0P (find here) - Left in store (not good for people with bigger arms, such as myself)

Blue Wrap Shirt, Sz 0 Reg (not available online, find white, textured version here) - Left in store (not all that flattering)

Military-esque woven zippered sweater, Sz XS Reg (not available online) - Left in store (sleeves too long and cannot be altered)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Petite Fashion Challenge #6 - All Tied Up

Today's blog is in response to Stylepint's Petite Fashion Challenge (#6):

"For this challenge, start off with a jeans and tee basic look (it can be any style or color) and dress it up to show off your personal style with accessories, jewelry, and whatever you’d like to add."

Because I'm on a supposed month-long shopping ban (though I've already made a few exceptions - I guess you could call this more of a curbed spending month), I decided to use items already in my closet rather than buying something new to spiff up the jeans and tee combo.  As I stood in my closet hmm-ing and haaa-ing about what to add, my eyes wandered over to my husband's side of the closet and landed on a 70's ish tie that he was given by his uncle on his 40th birthday.  I've always been into interesting belts and using them to give a little more oomph to a blase outfit, so I decided to use this tie to jazz up this outfit and to serve as a color inspiration for the other pieces.

So...(I apologize for the grainy pictures - still trying to figure out photoshop, fancy camera, self-portraits, etc.)

H&M white t-shirt, BR trouser jeans

Corduroy Jacket from Brass Plum (Nordstrom), Hubby's 70's-ish tie, and yellow flower necklace from Lady Mosquito (find here)

I think it actually kind of works, so you can bet that I'm going to continue to raid my husband's tie rack for makeshift belting.  If you do plan on doing this, though, keep in mind that the tie becomes a bit wrinkled and will require re-pressing so as to not upset the male friend from whom you borrowed this accessory :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Forever 21 Review: Turquoise Explosion!

A couple weeks ago, I was trying to find a skirt that would give some oomph to the black lace cardigan that Jean rocked so well.  I bee-lined for Forever21 as my goal was to get something cheap that would be suitable to pair with the lace top but would not break the bank.  I eventually came across this skirt that has some nice detailing around the bottom, is turquoise in color, and best yet, is elastic!  So, forking out the $11.99 was a no brainer!  While in the store, I decided to journey over to the jewerly section to find a few more necklaces that hang lower than the bustline (as that appears to be the trend these days) and picked up a few cheapies to use this season.  Jean recently tweeted about covering necklaces from Forever21 with clear nail polish to prevent tarnishing - interesting idea - one I think I'll try!

Forever21 turquoise necklace (found in store, find similar here, in brown)
 Forever21 locket necklace (find similar here)
Forever 21 turquoise ring (find similar here)

Forever21 turquoise skirt with detailed hem (find similar here, albeit shorter)
So, I guess you could say I'm digging the turquoise these days - something about the jewel tones that make me feel kind of exotic!

Readers, is there a color that you're channeling these days?

Monday, March 21, 2011

To Keep or not to Keep - that is the question!

Well, my so-called month-long shopping ban was put on a temporary hold when I "had to" spend a $100 gift card at a local boutique (paid $50 for it on Groupon) that expired on 3/22.  I headed into the store fully expecting 100% self control and only allowing myself to grab things that would fall well within $100.  Well, in local boutiques that does not happen...1) because they tend to be smaller stores so it's harder to slip under the sales associate's radar, 2) because local boutique prices are simply higher because you are paying for the quaint store feeling and the fact that the owner hand selected the pieces that he/she found worthy to offer his/her customers, and 3) because for some reason, when things are displayed on hangers hung several inches apart from each other, they suddenly become much more appealing and easier to grab.  So, I headed into the fitting room expecting everything to look awful on my short physique, and unfortunately came across a couple of dresses that I "had to" have.  I'm posting pictures of them below and really, really, really need your (yes, that means you, reader) advice as to whether either or both of them are keepers.  The hubby has already weighed in on the wrap dress and thinks it looks funny in the shoulders.  Say hello to the return of shoulder pads!
Yoana Baraschi silk wrap dress (cannot seem to find this anywhere online - sorry!)
Gypsy 05 Tamara Silk Butterfly Dress, Sz XS (find it here)

Also, just a quick discovery tidbit - Photoshop works wonders with pictures!  I know this is likely a no-brainer to the more seasoned bloggers out there, but WOW!  I recently bought my husband a "serious" camera for his birthday (okay, yes, maybe this was self-serving as I figured it was high time I start taking better pictures for this blog), and had a chance today to experiment with Photoshop - see for yourself what a difference exposing an underexposed picture can make-I'm sure you can guess which is the before and which is the after!

So, readers, which dress should I keep - or should they both go back??

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Canadian Find: Lady Mosquito Jewelry

Last week, to celebrate my hubby's birthday, we headed up to Toronto for a weekend trip.  I've tried putting myself on a 1-month shopping fast so as to re-gain control of my spending, but still allowed myself to buy a few accessories.  On one of our days, we walked Queen Street (a bohemian-esque part of downtown Toronto) and I came across an adorable boutique that specializes in Peruvian jewelry/accessories.  The owner informed me that she makes regular trips down to Peru to find interesting artists and then exports them to Canada.  The jewelry is a tad on the pricey side for the quality, but I just love the novelty and uniqueness of the pieces.  She carries handbags, necklaces, brooches, earrings, etc.  and each piece of jewelry comes in it's own mini-dust bug (I am a sucker for packaging).  The necklaces have this cool drawstring contraption in the back, so you can adjust the length of the necklace (see pictures below - I tried doing a video, but couldn't figure out how to load it on YouTube, then gave up).  I will definitely be visiting this site to make more purchases when I am in search of the special something to complete an outfit - Check it out for yourself: http://ladymosquito.ca/

Readers - where do you like to go to get your favorite accessories?

Sorry for the blurry picture, but I wanted to include this so you can see where the necklaces typically hit (again, the length is adjustable - see pictures below).

Necklace with drawstrings in back pulled to shortest length.

Necklace with drawstrings pulled so that necklace drops lower.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh the Heights You Can Go without Stilettos!

In my last post, I had mentioned that one of my upcoming blogs would be focused on how I've been getting some height out of recently acquired Target shoes so I can occasionally not feel like the 5'1" person that I am.  So, here goes...

Xhiliration black strappy ankle boot, sz 5.5 (find here) - At first, I was a bit sheepish about wearing these shoes as I feared that they made me look a bit trampy - but then I got over it and realized that they are really fashionable and great with leggings, jeans, and when the weather finally gets warmer, evening-out shorts.  They are pretty comfortable, the rise in the heel scrapes the Achilles a bit, but nothing that can't be fixed with a clear band-aid.  The faux-leather is pretty pliable and the padding inside makes for a decently comfortable shoe considering the height. 

Paired with grey Susana Monoco Loft dress (find similar here)
Necklace from Lady Mosquito (find here)

Xhilaration Tawny Wedge Sandals, sz 5.5 (find similar here) - Okay, so some of you may have already read from ExtraPetite's blog that these shoes can be dangerous!  Jean reviewed these shoes and paired them with a chambray shirt and skinny jeans, and then recently with some adorable brown shorts and a striped off-the-shoulder top and referred to a comment I made on her review of these shoes to BE CAREFUL when wearing these height-inducing kicks.  They are very lightweight and comfortable, but taper down to a very skinny sole.  Add a 5-6 inch wedge, and you may fall prey to losing balance like I did while boarding a train in Windsor, Canada (my ring finger is still reminding me of the topple taken last Thursday).  However, I now walk with caution (even through several airports) and can happily report that I've worn these shoes on several occasions without another incident.  These puppies definitely give us shorter ladies the vantage point of our taller counterparts and, for me, instill confidence as I walk amongst the crowds no longer feeling like 90% of the population towers over me.  These shoes seem to run a bit big, so order down a 1/2 size if you buy these online.  They are also available in black.

So, there you have it - a way to instantly grow a few inches without subjecting yourself to too much foot torture.  I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out for wedges as the weather continues to warm - can you say Espadrilles?  Here's what I currently have my eye on - and to think I passed up Target's buy one get one half off sale this past weekend (how's that for self-restraint during my 1-month shopping fast?).
Click here to find them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Going Beige

Yay!  My LOFT scuba jacket finally arrived!  It was a much coveted item after seeing it first on Jean, then on Annie.  I tried on the 0 Regular in the store last weekend and was dismayed at the fit, but luckily, the Sales Associate willingly hunted one down for me from a store in Chicago and had shipped to me a 00P and a 0P.  I had a feeling the 0P would fit, but ordered the 00P just in case as the 0 Reg was so boxy.  The 0P fits well and is a definite keeper at the bargain price of $48.44.  So, I'm now left with a 00P and am happy to ship it to anyone who is interested in buying it for what I paid for it - $51.60 (inc tax) + shipping.  If you do want the jacket, please post a comment within the next week and I'll generate an invoice for you via Paypal (once I calculate shipping), otherwise, I'll just take it back to my local LOFT to get a refund.

Ann Taylor LOFT Scuba jacket (available in stores only now, but 00P up for grabs)
Jones New York black sheath dress (circa 2003, TJ Maxx!)
Ann Taylor Factory Store patent leather belt, Sz S (find similar here)

Also, my discovery of the awesome Target sheath dress brought me back to the store to purchase it in beige.  I'm still working with how to style it with the right color combo's, but am interested in hearing opinions about pairing it with a brown braided belt - what do you think?

Mossimo Sateen Dress in Beige, Sz 2 (find here in Olive color)
LOFT braided brown belt (find similar here)
BR Factory Store cropped orange sweater (circa 2009)

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am on a month-long shopping "fast" to recover from my binging in February.  So, this upcoming month, I'll either be posting about things I have acquired but still not blogged about, or will be having a few give aways as I begin to clean out my closet.  Just pay shipping and you can have whatever gently-used, outgrown-by-me item you like.

Coming soon...

  • Getting some height out of Target Shoes
  • Forever21 - jewelry & a fun skirt for less than $12!
  • My first purge/give

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ann Taylor Loft In-Store Review

Inspired by other petite bloggers' in-store picture taking and then sharing their reviews on items, I have decided to follow suit and am posting a few reviews based on my trip to Ann Taylor Loft yesterday.  Some of these you might have already seen on Really Petite's blog (here)

Printed Sheath Dress, Sz 00P - I can't find this online, but I think the price was $59.99 and you can take an additional 40% off.  As you can see from the picture above and a few below, this dress was a bit snug on me in the waist, and then there's this inexplicable bubble-butt thing happening that makes this dress a no.

Paired with a linen nautical looking jacket, also unavailable online that was a definite no - fit too boxy and just wrong!  This jacket, I believe, was also on sale for around $50, and with an additional 40% off.

Sorry for the bad picture, but you can likely see the extra material above the derriere that I must not have the backside to fill out, or because it was so snug at the waist, it created this effect rather than hanging as it should.
Floral Sheath Dress, Sz 0P (find it here) - I fell in love with this dress when Annie reviewed it (and thought it looked fabulous on her) and was happy to see it was on sale and an additional 40% off.  Here are the fitting room pictures - I think it actually looks a bit better than depicted below, but I'm open to thoughts on whether this one is a keeper.  I bought it and want to try it with a few other things and with a belt like it's modeled on the website.  It came out to around $36 - is it worth it?

Paired here with the scuba jacket (Sz 0 Reg) that was reviewed by both Jean and Annie.  Clearly the jacket is a bad fit, but I ordered this through a LOFT in Chicago store in both 0P and 00P and we'll see what comes of it.  This jacket is also on sale and eligible for the 40% off.

Woven Ruffle Neck Dress, Sz 0P, I think (find it here) - I love this dress and will definitely keep my eye on it.  It's an all in one type deal where you've not only got the ruffled white sleeveless, but also the rusched linen beige skirt!  It's currently $89, and even with my 20% off card, I just couldn't justify the purchase.

Zip Pocket Sleeveless Dress, sz 0P (find it here) - Annie reviewed this as well and was swimming in it.  I wish I could say the same case applies to me, but no, this just looked terrible - the elastic waist does not hang on me like it does on the model.  I guess you could say that perhaps a size up would change things, but my guess is that the top would then be too big.  I'm beginning to think this dress just doesn't work for petites, but I hope someone can prove me wrong!

Faux Wrap Shirtdress, Sz 0P (find it here) - This dress looks amazing on the model on the website and had I seen this, I would have purchased it online.  Luckily, I tried this on in the store and this just looks awful.  Not at all flattering.  Again, perhaps a size up would have worked, I don't know - but the shoulders already seemed a bit wide for my frame.  This was a definite no for me...if only I looked like the model!!  I'd love to see this on other petites as I'm sure my body-type does this dress no justice.

Floral print tops, both Sz XXSP & Polished Denim Pencil Skirt, Sz 00P (find skirt here) - Okay, I'm normally not an XXSP nor a 00P, nor am I trying to make myself believe that I am!  The sizes I grabbed in this case were due purely to availability.  The first floral print top, that Jean posted about a month back (here), is now a total steal (with the 40% off, came out to less than $5).  The second top has a cute ribbon tie in the back in a contrasting black color that will likely pair nicely with black trousers.  Though the skirt sits higher on the waist than probably intended, I think the smaller size in this skirt works - believe me, if they the 0P in the store, I would've tried that on and likely have bought it instead, but I do like that this skirt becomes higher waisted and fits throughout the hips.  What do you think?  Too tight?  Too short? 

Antique Floral Print Pencil Skirt, Sz 0P (find here) - I don't know why the LOFT calls this a pencil skirt.  It does not hug the body at all like a pencil skirt should and actually has this extra material around the belly area that looks plain awful (as least on me).  I did notice that on the model, the skirt sits higher, perhaps had I hiked the skirt up about an inch to my natural waist, this would have looked better, but there is something about this skirt that just ain't right - the placement of the patterns also make the belly area look bigger (which in my case is certainly something I do not want happening!).  Annie seemed to also have issues with the fit of the skirt - could this again be a miss for all petites, or will others have better luck with this one?

So, at the end of the day, I took home the Floral Sheath dress, 2 floral sleeveless tops, the denim pencil skirt, and I have on order, the Scuba jacket in 0P & 00P - we shall see how that turns out!

Please post comments and be honest - you're doing me a favor if you tell me something needs to go back!

Coming up...I've come to realize that my shopping behavior can best be characterized as bulimic.  This past month of returning to shopping after a year of fasting has led to extreme binging.  I've decided that some purging is in order, and I may decide to use this next month to abstain from shopping and get use of all the new items in my closet, while also picking off those items that are either too small, out of style, or just not necessary for my lifestyle.  As I pick off items, I will post about them, and if anyone is interested in them, I'm happy to give them away (as long as people are willing to pay for shipping).  If you think of it, please share about my blog, as I'd love for others to benefit from items that I no longer need/fit into.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Target Review - The Must-Have Sheath Dress & Clearance Items!

I decided to make a stop into Target after my spinning class last Sunday - even after having placed an order online for a few things (tsk, tsk, as if I need to spend more money), and was, of course, seduced by several items that made their way into my shopping cart (actually, didn't use a cart as I thought that would curb spending - so much for that!).  Here is my review of both in-store and online purchases:

First up, the "Must Have" Sheath Dress: I tried this on in the store and assumed that it would look awful.  Imagine my surprise when presented in front of me was a well-made (it's lined inside), and fitted dress!  The length is actually good for my porportions and the rusching adds to the nice silhouette this dress creates.  I'm going back for the dress in beige, and am tempted to buy it in black too - eek!
Mossimo Women's Sateen Dress - Blue Ocean, Sz 2 (find it here)
Xhiliration belt (see below)
BR patent leather nude pumps
Xhiliration colored skinny belts - LOVE LOVE LOVE these colored skinny belts that I found in the store for $12.99 a piece.  I was so tempted to buy them in every color - they also have them in bright pink and orange.  As you can see from the picture above, I've already gotten good use out of the yellow one.  Unfortunately, I can't find these belts online (where in the world does Target.com store their belt selection???), but trust me, just go to the belt section at your local Target store and you will likely find yourself in a state of Xhiliration (ha ha ha) over how many skinny belts are being offered for less than $20!
 Now, the great sales/clearance items I scored:  

Xhiliration Thetis Strappy Sandal in tauupe, Sz 5.5 (find here)

    Xhiliration Thetis Strappy Sandals - extremely comfortable and will work well with summer dresses and lighter weight pants, skinny jeans, etc.  I hope to take these to Italy with me in May and get some good wear out of them.  On the Target website, they are still listed as $19.99, but in the store, I got them for $9.97...if you're interested, it maybe worth a visit to the store itself to see if you can score the same deal.  Too bad it's still in the 30's outside - I want to wear these now!
Teanna Heeled Sandals, in Tan, Sz 5.5 (find here)
 Xhiliration Teanna Heeled Sandals - also very comfortable and an instant height extender for us vertically challenged ladies - I'm showing a few pictures of these shoes paired with the Cargo pants, skinny jeans, and even a skirt so you can see the versitility of these shoes.  I originally thought the ankle strap would cut off the leg and look atrocious, but with the nud-ish color of the shoe and the height of the heel, I think it actually works to elongate the legs.  This was another steal, showing as $19.99 online but $9.97 in the store - check it out if you can.  I think I'm going back to buy them in brown too!

Teanna sandals paired with an A-line skirt (BR)

Teanna sandals paired with jeans (BR)
Do these sandals work with the skirt?  Please comment and let me know!

Mossimo Juniors Skinny Cargo Pants - These pants are super comfortable and not nearly as bad looking as I thought they'd be on my short frame.  I figured that skinny pants (aside from jeans) should only be worn by people with skinny (hence the name) or super long legs, but I think these pants actually work okay.  Also, the good thing about skinny pants is you can adjust the length of the pant to be worn with heels or flats because of the tapered leg at the bottom. These pants are on sale for $17.00 online and in the store.  Definitely can take the place of jeans given the more neutral color (remember, grey is the new black!), and the comfort/fit.  I might go and get them in the other color, an army/olive green variety, because they are so comfy!

Mossimo Juniors skinny cargo pants, Quartz Grey, Sz 1 (find here)
Mossimo Teanna Heeled Sandals, in Tan, Sz 5.5 (find here)
Xhiliration Juniors Open Cardigan Sweater-I saw this cardigan on the Clearance rack and was skeptical (as one often is when they see something on Clearance), but was surprised when I put it on with the "Must Have" sheath dress and how nicely it worked with the dress.  This will definitely be a go-to piece throughout the spring and summer months as I need a cover-up for my sleeveless tops and dresses to make my outfits work-appropriate.  This cardigan is on sale for $16.08 (I don't get Target pricing!?!), down from $22.99, however, online it is still full-price - so go to your local Target store! 
Xhiliration Juniors Open Cardigan Sweater (find it here)
Mossimo Women's Sateen Dress - Blue Ocean, Sz 2 (find it here)
Xhiliration belt (available at your local Target store)
BR patent leather nude pumps
Now for the items purchased online:

Xhilaration® Juniors Lace Cardigan Sweater - Black S - Okay, so I acknowledge that I am not rocking this piece as well as Jean does from Extrapetite.com, but for $11.97, I think I can still get some use out of this item.  I paired it with a contrasting red top and a black pencil skirt with an Ann Taylor Loft wide belt.  This sweater may also work un-buttoned worn with a black sheath dress or a bright colored sleeveless top and black pants.  We'll see - but for less than $12 (and it's now on sale for $9.98), I think I'll keep it.

Xhilaration® Juniors Lace Cardigan Sweater - Black S (find it here)
BR black pencil skirt
Bebe maroon sleeveless camisole
Christian Louboutin shoes

Mossimo Supply Co. Metallic Odell Ballet Flat - 5.5 - These shoes were less than $5 - they are a little tight as I am pretty much a consistent size 6 (though in Target shoes I think I'm a 1/2 size smaller).  I'm hoping they stretch with time, but for $5, it's worth a gamble.  These will be cute with skinny jeans, capris, and shorter shorts - definitely not with longer bermuda-type shorts as that'll make my already short calves look like tree stumps!!
Mossimo Supply Co. Metallic Odell Ballet Flat - 5.5 (find here)
Okay, now for the items that are going back to the store...

Mossimo Cognac Velika Tie PT Pump - um, no.  These shoes looked really cute online, but once I put them on, I knew they weren't going to work.  First off, the edge of the shoe digs into my ankle bone.  This maybe due to the fact that I ordered this a half size up (due to availability).  As you can see from the side-view with these jeans, these shoes make even my size 5.5/6 feet look huge.  I also am not crazy about how high up the shoes go.  Perhaps I'm just not being creative enough about what to pair these shoes with.  Trust me on this one, they looked awful with a skirt.
Mossimo Cognac Velika Tie PT Pump (maybe you'll have better luck - find it here)

Merona® Collection Petites Adelle Printed Skirt - Scroll Jacquard 2P - again, not a winner.  Something should have told me that this skirt was not going to work based on the fact that it was priced at $9.44.  As you can see from the picture below, the fit is too big in the hips and altogther unflattering.  One might consider alterations, but to spend more on alterations than the actual item is not a path I want to go down.  It looks so great on the model - who I am sure is not a 5'1" person.  Too bad, though, I liked the print!

Merona® Collection Petites Adelle Printed Skirt - Scroll Jacquard 2P (find it here)

So, Target is my new favorite store.  My only complaint is that the website is very difficult to navigate through - does anyone else have this problem?  I feel like they just randomly return search results and that it keeps changing each time you look for an option...or maybe it's user-error - who knows!  Nonetheless, for cute, trendy items that maybe hit or miss, it's my go to place these days - especially in-store where you can try things on and get them cheaper than you might online.