Search Results for: label/DKNY

Ask Allie: Warm Winter Commuter Coats

I lived in Florida all my life, but am moving to DC for a new job and need to get a winter coat. I will be taking the bus for work and want a coat that looks professional but can survive public transportation and DC weather. Suggestions?

I need a new coat. I have the Squall from Lands’ End and have had a version of this coat for over a decade but want to get something more fashionable for work and stuff. I want it to be water repellant and I want it to have a hood and cover my [behind] when I sit on a bench. Where should I look?

I don’t wear wool but want a coat that looks nice, where can I find one that is stylish but also warm?

DC is a strange place, where it can be 70 degrees in November and 30 degrees in April. It is also quite wet in this area, many days that are cold are also with sleet, rain, or snow. In previous posts I have stated that a wool coat is more versatile and chic than one of a synthetic material, but I’ll admit it’s far more comfortable to deal with public transportation, walking, and commuting in general when you are both warm and dry and not worrying about your dry cleaning bill. Here’s some suggestions for winter coats that will keep your warm yet stylish all winter long.

 

I have a coat from Lands’ End that is very similar in style and made me a synthetic coat convert. The belt on this coat gives you a feminine shape and prevents the Michelin Man look, the faux fur trim on the hood adds a luxe feel, the longer length will keep your rear warm on cold metal benches at bus stops, and the large variety of colors and sizes means there’s a right one for each person. I like buying pieces like coats from Lands’ End because I feel confident that if a zipper breaks or there is some defect, I can easily return or replace it.

 

Quilting doesn’t have to add bulk and destroy your figure; strategic quikting and padding can actually accentuate your curves and emphasize a feminine shape. This coat from Betsey Johnson gets rave reviews even from those in Alaska for it being warm, but the shape, stitching, and belt give it a modern, fashionable, and flattering fit.

 

Wool doesn’t mean cold, on the contrary. If you live in a more mild climate like DC, you can get away with a wool coat for your winter. If the coat is long like this one from DKNY, you’re able to keep your legs cozy as you walk to the office or sit waiting for the train. While this coat doesn’t have a hood, it has a high collar to protect your neck and would look tres chic with anything from a cloche to a knit beanie.

Again, strategic quilting to the rescue! The varied sizes of quilting give this coat shape without sacrificing warmth. While black is a safe choice, the Prussian Blue adds a level of fashion and fun to a traditional long parka.  This coat is not only warm, but also water resistant – perfect for the woman who walks or takes public transportation to work!

 

Fit and flare with single breasted buttons makes this coat slimming, the traffic-stopping collar makes it stylish and extra warm. The cashmere blend will look equally at home with jeans and boots as with cocktail dresses and heels.

Tips for Purchasing a Stylish Warm Coat:

  • Look for a single statement-making detail. Fur-trimmed hood or collar, military-inspired metal buttons, belt, unique color or texture – such details will take a parka from play to professional. Keep such details to a minimum – only one statement needs to be made or it will go from chic to cheap.
  • Flatter the figure. Strategic quilting, a belt, single breasted, curved hem… such details can make the difference and have a coat be warm and chic.
  • Choose sophisticated colors. Some colors like yellow, orange, barn red, and baby blue scream ski slope or shoveling snow. Black, olive, navy, ivory, gray, dark plum, and teal give a more elegant feel to a parka.
  • Read the ingredients. Who cares what a coat looks like if it doesn’t keep you warm? Read the details – many outerwear retailers will state what temperature such a coat was made for. Wool, cashmere, down, Thinsulate – these are all materials that will keep you more warm than most synthetic blends. If you live in a wet climate be sure to find a coat that is also water-resistant or waterproof. If you choose the right textiles you can often achieve equal warmth to a bulkier coat of cheaper materials.

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My Bra Had a Baby!

As you know, I am on the search for new lingerie.  My bras are too large and my underwear is too old and un-pretty.  Well after being measured, it seems that I am still the same band size (though am close to going down) and down one cup size.  So I checked out Nordstrom’s sale department online to see what I could find in my new size.

These are the two bras I received.  THEY ARE THE SAME SIZE.  Same band, same cup.  One is Natori, one is DKNY

Seriously, doesn’t it look like Mama Bra & Baby Bra?

Seriously DKNY, WTH?  The Natori fit great and I am actually wearing it today and wore it Saturday.  It made my brown dress fit better because my bust wasn’t so… busty.  I couldn’t feel it on, and it hides under knits.  Total win.

The DKNY, I put it on just for giggles.  You know how a too-small bra may give you quad boobs from overfill?  Well this bra, I had overfill in my armpits, on top and even under the wires!  Talk about a major FAIL!  A funny fail, but a fail nonetheless.

Ask Allie: What to Wear Under Fitted Knit Dresses

I have been following your blog for awhile now and bought many things from your recommendation; the latest one is a dress from Dobbin. However, I need the correct undergarments. I put on the Jockey shorts (also your recommendation) but the seams show. I have tried Spanx and they are a bit too constricting. Any advice as to what I can wear under dresses so I can incorporate them into my wardrobe?

fitted dress underwear control garment

As I write my response to you I’m wearing a wrap dress I bought from Old Navy that needs just the right light control garment to smooth my figure, gently hold me in without gas pain and without visible seams. Like you, I find I need underpinnings like this in my arsenal to wear under my Dobbin ponte dresses, my Karen Kane jersey dresses, and other frocks that need that special something. Here’s my favorite light control garments that I wear under fitted and knit dresses:

DKNY Under Bust Bodysuit

This is what I’m currently wearing with my dress. I have three of these babies – one in nude for light colored dresses, one in black for dark colored dresses, and one in the most gorgeous fuchsia because it was on clearance and I couldn’t resist. While this suit has seams, they are in logical places that match up with seams of most dresses. The rear has a wide lace band so there’s no VPL, and I LOVE that it can be comfortably worn with any bra from my lingerie drawer. The straps are adjustable, which is a perk for my short-torsoed self, and it’s actually PRETTY.

The crotch has a hook and eye opening that I find utterly ridiculous to try to maneuver, especially when in a public restroom trying to handle heels, strangers’ germs, and a fitted dress hiked up around my waist. I don’t unhook it with each visit to the lavatory but instead just slide the whole garment to the side, hold in place as I take care of business. But really that’s the only negative aspect of this garment.

This is not a Spanx-like control garment. In fact, it doesn’t do a lot of gut sucking. What it does do is smooth the figure. No indentation of a belly button, no segmentation from the waistband of panties or tights, no VPL. My body is the same size, but it appears to be firmer and smoother under clothing.

DKNY ‘Lace Curves’ Shaping Brief

I’ve written about this garment before because I’ve been a fan for many years. This is pretty much the same thing as the bodysuit, but it ends at the waist. Same lace back, same smoothing but not gut-sucking capabilities, and same ability to not look like Bridget Jones scary pants. Seriously, pair with a pretty bra in the same color and you feel retro bombshell.

Unlike the bodysuit, the shaping brief does have a waistband, and depending on your figure and softness, it may show. I find this piece best for skirts or dresses with a defined waistband. Also know they do stretch out with time; pairs I’ve had for a year still look great but slowly get bigger even with careful laundering. I buy a new one when Nordstrom has them on sale (not on clearance now but have been part of their Anniversary sale), and have found them at a nice price on Bare Necessities.

Spanx Tight End High Waist Tights

I’ll tell you a little secret; one of the perks of durable tights is that you can go commando under them. They’re opaque enough for it, and they can handle being laundered so often. This really reduces the segmentation and lines that can happen under garments.  I wear these tights on their own quite often because they suck in a bit but not nearly as much as the brand’s actual control garments, and the waist is high enough that it doesn’t cut me in the middle. If you’re someone who doubles up hosiery for extra opacity, control, or warmth; this is a great pair as they don’t shift and they can handle it without stretching out. And as I mentioned at the beginning, they’re super durable and can handle being machine washed on gentle in a lingerie bag (or even a run in your stockinged feet across concrete to catch a dog chasing down the mailman).

DKNY High-Waist Control Top Tights

I also like these tights from DKNY, and for all the same reasons mentioned for Spanx. These do run a bit tighter in the elastic top, but I actually like that because it gives an even smoother line from ribcage down. DKNY’s tights come in Plus Petite which is a nice feature that I wish more brands would embrace. But these tights are durable enough that this fall I’m wearing a pair I purchased in 2012.

So now I ask you readers, what do you find works best under fitted knit dresses?

What I Wore: Festive

Dress: c/o Gwynnie Bee | Belt: c/o gift card from Nordstrom Rack (similar) | Tights: DKNY | Shoes: VC Signature (similar) | Bracelet: J. Crew (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon Matte in Real Red

One great thing about holidays is the permission to wear something that would otherwise be seen as cheesy. This dress came from Gwynnie Bee with a tasteful black skinny belt with gold buckle. Such a combination looked adorable, and I figured I could wear to work with a black cardigan. But for Christmas Eve at my sister’s house, I decided to up the holiday cheese factor and switched out the belt for something that made me look a bit more like a present!  Speaking of presents, if you’re a size 10 or larger, a Gwynnie Bee subscription is a great present for yourself – a whole new wardrobe for the price of a single dress!

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Thursday: Mementoes

Tee: Ann Taylor | Skirt: Halogen (similar) | Tights: DKNY | Shoes: Nine West | Ascot: Belonged to my Dad | Pin: Belonged to my cousin | Gold bracelet with tassel: J. Crew (similar) | Gold and blue bracelet: c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot

Today I didn’t feel like wearing anything complicated, but because it was a simple palette, I felt I could carry off a lot of accessories. Another of my dad’s ascots, today I held in place with a pin that belonged to my cousin, Amy. When she passed, her sister gave me her “A” jewelry and it’s so nice to be able to wear them and think of/honor her. The blue and gold bracelet is called the “Emerson,” of course I loved the name and love the look of it!

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Monday: The Wild Frontier

Sweater: Frontier Sweater” c/o Lisa Holt, CAbi
Skirt: Halogen (similar)
Tights: DKNY Super Opaque
Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar)
Bag: Sabina (similar)

Yesterday I had the chance to pour over the latest collection for CAbi and there are so many gorgeous textures, silhouettes, and prints! My consultant Lisa Holt loaned me a few pieces to test drive this week, one was this sweater. At first glance I didn’t think I’d like it, but it fits great and I love a cardigan that looks good buttoned up (so many lose their style when you try to stay warm). The pictures don’t do the sweater justice, it gave me an hourglass shape so I emphasized it with my short pleated leather skirt.

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My Wardrobe Today – Wednesday

Sweater - Ann Taylor (similar)
Skirt - J. Crew (similar)
Belt - Lauren Ralph Lauren
Tights - DKNY Super Opaque
Shoes – Talbots (similar)
Silver cuff (similar)
Clutch - HOBO (similar)

This has been a week at work that has been so busy, so exhausting, but exhilarating. I have some new responsibilities that are pretty fun and force me to use my noggin in a different manner. Some early mornings and late days, but ultimately worth it.

This morning was cold, but when I stepped out at 2:30 for lunch (yep, that kind of day) it was so warm I didn’t need a coat. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 70s!

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Cashmere sweater - Only Mine
Skirt – Ann Taylor (similar)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesVince Camuto
Tortoiseshell necklace - Shop in Rehoboth Beach (similar)
Gold chain – J. Crew (similar)
Bracelet - Lauren Ralph Lauren
Trench - DKNY (similar)
Fur collar – H&M (similar)

Thank you all for your sweet words and positive thoughts for Ruckus. He seems to be doing okay – moving around, able to get down the deck stairs again, eating a bit, but he seems to have aged years in just 24 hours. However, he’s probably now acting like a typical 13-year old Boxer when he has been going at a puppy’s pace for so long. We plan to keep him as comfortable as possible and just see what the future holds.

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Wednesday

Black puff-sleeved sweater from Banana Republic (got from their sale rack this past weekend), black and cream knit circle skirt from Rachel Palley, black tights from DKNY, black heeled oxfords from BCBGirls, silver cuff.

Hair is second day, I straightened the bangs, left the rest as bedhead and even in creased the bedhead look by flipping head over and hitting with some hair spray.

Makeup is Napoleon Perdis primer, L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit’s That Gal, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Body SHop’s Sheer Lipcolor in Sheer Pink, Body Shop eye color in Slate on lid, Soft Black in crease and along lash lines. Two coats of Cover Girl’s Lash Blast in black on curled lashes.

Thursday: Animal House

Cardigan: c/o Foxcroft
Tee: J. Crew via eBay (similar)
Skirt: Halogen (similar)
Bracelets: Ann Taylor (similar)
Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors
Trench: DKNY (similar)

Snakeskin AND leopard? At least I didn’t wear a zebra-print blouse or my spotted Vince Camuto pumps, THEN this truly would be an Animal House!

So I have been wearing Foxcroft shirts for a long time and have always loved the high quality, opacity, and great fit for my curves, but I didn’t realize they also carried sweaters! Foxcroft recently sent me this cardigan and I am in love. Like their shirts, they are cut generously for curves, and like their shirts, this sweater is very well made. With such a print, it jazzes up a simple cardigan, tank, and jeans look for the weekend and also dresses up nicely for the office!

With cold weather here in DC and many other places (and coming this way to other parts of the US), I want to try to share my outerwear as much as possible… even if I have my hands shoved so deep in the pockets it makes the jacket look weird.

While it’s super easy to throw on your dirty black parka every day, having a coat wardrobe can really complete your look. I often buy coats off-season for great prices, and try to choose classic silhouettes so they will still be stylish the coming year. This trench from DKNY I purchased last fall and it is one of the best outerwear buys ever. Even though I can get away with regular sizes for most clothing, I prefer coats in petite so they curve at the right part of the lower back and sit well on the shoulders. Coats are worth being altered for a great fit, but resetting shoulders and the waist is costly and sometimes impossible. Better to go for tall or short or whatever you are, go up a size, and then alter than try to recreate the wrong size (or just wear it too small or too large!).

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What I Wore: Winterized

Dress: Issa for Banana Republic | Tights: DKNY | Shoes: Nine West “Lottie” | Bracelets: had forever, c/o Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design | Glasses: Derek Cardigan 7014 | Lipstick: NARS “Hyde Park”

I wore this same outfit on the blog before, even down to one of the same bracelets… but last time it was warm enough to run around with bare legs. This dress is a nice heavy weight that doesn’t cling to tights or any of my curves, and is a bit warm. The neck is high enough that I can wear a v-neck cami underneath, and these tights are super thick; paired with a knee-length coat, scarf, hat, and gloves I’m good to go this winter!

And yes… new glasses!  Coastal.com has some deals that are just too good to pass up.  They have a few styles that are free to new customers (look at the top of the site for the promotion), and once you buy from them they send you 50,000 emails, but most have good promotions.  With a $49 Derek Cardigan promotion they were having and a promo code I found on RetailMeNot these ended up being about $20.  And if you go through Ebates, you get 5% cash back on purchases from Coastal.com!

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Black and White and Orange

Dress: Ann Taylor (worn without belt) | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson “Maryland” | Necklace:Cameron” c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Sequin, had forever | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Lipstick: Revlon Moon Drops in “Orange Flip”

One day it’s 80 degrees in DC, the next it’s 40. I thought I’d be packing away the tights and tall boots, but with this weather I figure I can eek out a few more wearings! I bought this dress during one of Ann Taylor’s 30% off sale deals several weeks ago, ended up being under $35 (note it’s cheaper in store than online). It’s cute but short with the self belt, but I like it for say a date night with my DKNY super opaque tights, or even with leggings. For work, I took off the belt for a looser silhouette and longer hemline.

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Monday: Maxi-nista

Dress: Tart | Tank: Caslon (similar) | Necklace: c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, misc. | Tights: DKNY | Booties: Miss Sixty (similar)

Had a bit of an unexpected hair cut this past Friday and am still trying to figure out how to make it work. Decided to combat to un-sassy feeling of the new hair with the sassiness of this dress (and also it’s as comfortable as a nightgown). I mentioned it in a previous post, but am finally wearing it. It’s a bit out there for the office, but today I know I’ll be hiding out in my cube and at least it keeps me warm when the office is chilly!

How was everyone’s weekend? Ours was pretty busy, but full of good things with good people. However I don’t really feel rested from it and hope to get some early bed times this week to catch up!

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Friday: Mix it Up

Dress: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Ascot: Belonged to my Dad | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Misc. | Tights: DKNY | Shoes: Nine West | Lipstick: L’Oreal Infallible in Coral Seduction

When I have the choice, I pick necklaces, especially if they are shiny. Bold silver or gold, something that catches the light and your eye… that’s my jam. However, when my mom found some of my dad’s old ascots, I have been jonesing for a way to incorporate them into an outfit. We all know I love pattern mixing, and when I saw these two next to one another I found it to be a match made in heaven. If I can’t have shiny objects near my face, how about a crazy lip color? Inspired by Jessica Alba at the Golden Globes, I recently purchased this lipstick and think it’s a fun hue (but more orange than NARS Heat Wave and far more long lasting!).

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Wednesday – Cool Neon

Dress - Vince Camuto
Belt - Ann Taylor
Hoops – Claire’s Boutique (similar)
Booties - Miss Sixty (similar)
BagForever 21
Trench - DKNY (similar
LipstickRevlon Lip Butter in Lollipop

I didn’t NEED this dress… but I just couldn’t pass it up.  Once it arrived I was even happier that I splurged on it.  The fabric is fantastic, the dress well crafted, and it has POCKETS!  Don’t be shocked to see it next time paired with leopard – I was going to wear my leopard haircalf pumps, but with the threat of rain I decided to be safe with platform booties for puddle jumping (and yep, there’s an umbrella in this tiny purse!).

UPDATE: Since you asked, I added the details for my lipstick! I plan on writing a post in the near future about some new beauty buys, but will put in a quick rave for the Revlon Lip Butters.  I bought this one after so many of you told me in this post that you adore them.  Now I own two and I know by summer I’ll have a half-dozen rolling around in my purse.  Creamy, great color, great feel, even a great package.  Thanks so much for the recommendation!

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My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Sweater – Banana Republic (similar)
Skirt - Ann Taylor (similar)
TightsNordstrom
Shoes - Talbots
Necklace – yard sale pendant on a chain from an Ann Taylor necklace
BraceletLauren Ralph Lauren

Recently Talbots had 50% off three or more accessories, including sale and including shoes. I got these shoes (and another pair I am still deciding on whether to keep) for only $39! What a score!  I know Talbots is having deals today as well – use code FIFTY to get half off a full-priced item and FRIENDS to get 30% off and free shipping on anything else.

Back to the grind, today at work has been pretty busy since everyone is back in the government and the office. While I loved an extra-long weekend, it does feel good to get back into the regular rhythm of work days.

Trench - DKNY
Bag – Sabina (similar)

Today in DC is near 70 degrees, but I brought my trench and wore tights because I know that it will get quite chilly when the sun sets (which is before 5pm these days!).

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Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?


Fit
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.


Style
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.


If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.


Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.


If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.


Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.


Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.


At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.


In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

My Favorite Shapewear

I used to dread shapewear – the stuffed sausage look, the visible panty lines, the gas pains…but it was an uncomfortable necessity for certain situations. 

Not all shapewear is created equal and in the past decade some new brands and styles have come on the horizon that are pretty darn fantastic. A few of my favorites, and when I wear them:

DKNY Underslimmers Lace Curves Shaper Panty
These have a retro look that is very cute. The lace trim prevents VPL on the backside and flatters curves. The waistband is high so they don’t roll down or cut my tummy in half. Light control, enough to keep me from being floppy, but not so much it’s uncomfortable. These have become my almost-daily underpinnings, especially for the office. Great under dresses but also under slim trousers, and they look cute with a bra of the same color.

Note: There’s two other versions of this shaper panty, the Bella, and the Signature Lace or Cute Girl Brief. I have not tried the Bella, but I do have the Signature Lace and a Cute Girl. The Signature Lace and Cute Girl pretty much fit the same – they give a bit more control, but I find the leg openings chafe and it gives VPL.

DKNY Under Bust Bodysuit
This is pretty much the Lace Curves Shaper Panty in a longline version and with suspenders. Like the Underslimmers above, this is actually pretty, dare I say sexy. Seriously, no Bridget Jones situation with this bodysuit. No VPL, sexy lace trim, and it makes it so you can wear your normal bra. Since this goes all the way up to my bra, no rolls and lumps between where it and my bra meet, a nice smooth line under fitted dresses. Oh, and I don’t have to wiggle out of it each time I have to go to the bathroom. And like the DKNY shaper panty, this doesn’t suck me in so much that I look stuffed or feel uncomfortable. Do note, this isn’t a piece that will suck you in like crazy, it just smoothes you out.

Spanx Higher Power Shaping Brief
This is what I pull out when I need everything sucked in. It goes all the way up to under my bra strap for a smooth torso, the panty part is a different fabric so it doesn’t hike up and give wedgies, and it’s not as bad as many other shapers when it comes to VPL. It’s a lot to roll off and hike back up each time you have to go to the bathroom; I’ll admit I slide the panty portion to the side to use the facilities which has stretched the leg openings out a bit but hasn’t affected the control portion.

Spanx Higher Power
This is like the shaping brief, but with bike shorts and a gusset so you can use the bathroom without taking it off. I can’t wear these with fitted skirts or pants because they do show a line at the bottom of the leg, but it’s great on a day when I will be doing a lot of walking or outdoors and could have chafing/chub rub. As a petite woman, I find the Higher Power to be a lot… longer than the shaping brief. I can practically pull it over my breasts, and pull the legs down to my knees. This is not perfection, but gosh it’s nice to have when I am attending an outdoor wedding in August or a blogger event where I want just a little bit more control and no chub rub.

Spanx Tight End High Waist Tights
These tights are pretty phenomenal. They are nice and opaque and not shiny, and the control portion is like wearing the Higher Power shaping brief without multiple layers. Not only that, the tights are super durable and can last more than one season (I own three-year old tights that look almost as great as the ones I bought during an end of winter sale). They do run a bit big, if you’re unsure go down a size.

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Shapewear often goes on sale, and styles are often discontinued. When it comes to this type of purchase, I almost always buy it online because I can find the best price. Instead of going to a favorite retailer, I usually Google the item to see who sells it, I then go to Ebates to see who offers cash back, and then check Ebates or RetailMeNot to see if there’s any coupon codes for additional discount. I have also found brand new, never worn discontinued shapewear on eBay; Amazon and HerRoom often carry styles that are being phased out at other retailers.

Do you wear control garments? I’d love it (and I know fellow readers would too) if you’d share your shape and what shapers work best for you.

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

 

Sweater – Ann Taylor (similar)
Skirt – c/o Ann Taylor (no longer online)
Tights - DKNY
Booties - Talbots
BraceletsAnn Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, clothing swap

So I have found the most brilliant invention – plus petite tights from DKNY. I am 5’3″ but in the land of hosiery that means I should weigh less than 160 pounds. So either my tights are cutting off circulation at my waist, or they are bagging at my ankles and knees by noon. Enter DKNY ‘412’ tights, which come in Petite Plus! Halleluiah! These tights are the right length, don’t dig into my belly, and aren’t stretching their limits over my thighs and calves! While the quality isn’t quite as good as Nordstrom tights (not as even of a weave and I don’t know if they would pass the barefoot on sidewalk test), they are comfortable and a classic denier and not shiny. They aren’t cheap, but they often go on sale (I got my pair for $10 at Nordstrom a week ago). If you have this same issue as I, check these tights out!

Note: I realized the link for these tights wasn’t working – updated.  Thanks YouLookFab!

This is a pretty simple outfit because I had to go to a client site today.  Casual Friday, so wasn’t going to wear a full-out suit, but didn’t want to be too casual.  I stopped by Ann Taylor last night and with my $20 rewards card, the discount on clearance and a bit of a gift card remaining, I didn’t have to pay for this skirt! It’s a soft flannel feel and more of an oyster color than cream or beige.  It has an exposed zipper like my orange skirt, but for this skirt it’s down the back.  This sweater I have had for eons, I may have even owned it in college.  Classic-cut merino and cashmere sweaters never go out of style!

So what are your weekend plans?  There is a craft fair in town that we will be visiting tomorrow.  I also hope to get and put up our tree – Emerson is obsessed with Christmas and I’d like her to have the experience.  On Sunday my sister and I are going to get massages (first one I think since my honeymoon!), and then going to my mom’s house to make Christmas cookies with Emerson.  As a kid, we used to make sugar cookies every Christmas – my sister and I loved the bear cookie cutter – we would take sprinkles and jimmies and meticulously decorate, creating necklaces, facial features, clothing with the candy.  One would hardly want to eat them, they were created with such detail!  I know Emerson will only be shaking red and green sprinkles, but I know she’s going to have a blast with the process!

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