Search Results for: label/DKNY

What I Wore: Jewel Tones

Dress: Eva Dress c/o Dobbin Clothing | Tights: DKNY | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Erin Satchel c/o Fossil | Jacket: Halogen (similar) | Cuff: Had forever (similar)

This outfit features two items I received free from blogging, but two things I utterly adore and wear regularly with much joy. I love Dobbin Clothing – their ethics, their style, their quality, and service. This dress has gotten a lot of wear this year, and I wear it often with tights and boots now that it has gotten so cold. I wore it once with this jacket and loved the color combination and decided to repeat it for the blog.

And this bag… oh how I love this bag. it’s the Erin Satchel from Fossil and it’s my new favorite. While I often wear it with the long strap to make it a crossbody, I sometimes remove the long strap and carry it like a doctor’s bag. The shorter straps are still long enough to tuck it into the crook of my elbow and it’s easier in the season of heavy coats with hoods and laptop bags and too much going on around the neck. But this bag is really well made, holds everything, has really intelligent pockets and always brings me compliments. I like bags that look luxe but aren’t covered with logos; Fossil keeps branding subtle and lets the style shine.

I think this would have looked better with wavy/curly hair but it’s a lot faster to do my hair straight in the morning.  A good clue to what type of morning I have had is how curly my hair is.  If it’s curly and looks great, I had a good night’s sleep, thought ahead to shower the night prior, had time for breakfast and am feeling fine.  When it’s like this, I am running late but at least had time for a shower.  When it’s in a messy updo… watch out because mama hasn’t had her coffee and probably forgot her phone at home!

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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 Favorite Underpinnings

Wardrobe Oxygen: The best lingerie for curvy women and women over 30. Favorite bras, panties, shapewear, and more.When I was in my ‘20s, lingerie was chosen for its cute factor (or sexy factor). I had a drawer full of lacy frothy bras and slips of underwear, often in candy colors. As I have gotten older and my body has gotten softer, my lingerie drawer may not be as exciting, but I love it even more. Great underpinnings can really transform a figure, make clothing hang better, and give you a boost of confidence. Below are my favorite underpinnings – bras, shapewear, hosiery, and underwear of all styles.

Shop My Lingerie Drawer:

Favorite Bras

This is where I again tell you to get a professional bra fitting! Even with a tape measure and a friend, it’s better to put your girls in the hands of a pro who will not only give an accurate fitting but know which type of bra that would best flatter and support your specific figure. I always wore traditional bras of half satin or another fabric, half lace. They were pretty and they were what my mom wore when I was little and what I bought when I finally developed breasts. When my bust grew, I bought a lot of bras that were made of stretchy seamless lace or satin to have them invisible under knits. I never considered molded cups because I figured they’d make me look bigger but a salesperson suggested one, I tried it, and I never looked back. With weight gain and loss, over two years of breastfeeding, and a large cup size, a molded cup gives me a round perky shape without looking larger or fake. Molded cups also hide “headlights” and usually disappear under knits and light-colored tops.

Everyday Bra – Fantasie Smoothing Molded Cup Underwire Bra

I love this bra, it has been my everyday bra for over five years. I replace them every 6-9 months, around the time when the band gets too stretchy and a wire starts poking me in the armpit. This bra give a great shape, is extremely comfortable, and invisible under 99% of my wardrobe. I also like that the strap is simple so if it peeks out it doesn’t look weird.  I wear Nude with light colors, Black with dark, they disappear under everything and don’t look terribly frumptastic.  In fact, if I were the type to wear just a bra under a sheer top this would be a perfect choice.

Strapless Bra – Fantasie Strapless Underwire Bra

The coolest thing I learned with my first pro bra fitting is that it is possible to have a large bust and find a strapless bra that lifts, separates, and is comfortable for an entire evening. This is essentially the strapless version of my everyday bra. It’s not the most comfortable strapless I have ever owned, but it holds me up, gives great shape even under slinky pieces, and I can survive a day wearing it without wanting to tear off my chest.  This bra comes with straps, I have before worn one strap with an off the shoulder top but really this holds up well enough on its own.

Summer Bra – Chantelle Rive Gauche Underwire Bra

In the summer heat and humidity, molded cups can feel like encasing your breasts in sponges. Not hot. This is when I switch to more traditional of bras, and look for ones with thinner straps that won’t look as frumptastic if it peeks out from a tank top. Not only is this bra comfortable and flattering, but it’s sexy looking too (I have the matching panties to wear for special occasions).  Check out places like Amazon and Bare Necessities where they often have discontinued colors for cheap.

Sports Bra – Still Looking!

I have this one from Wacoal and for now it gets the job done, but it takes 20 years for it to get on and the straps unhook really easily, especially while I’m in some yoga-like position trying to get this thing on in the dark early in the morning.  But so far it’s the best I have found, I don’t jiggle and I don’t have monoboob.

Favorite Shapewear

I have no desire to make myself look or feel like a stuffed sausage or try to pour myself into a smaller size dress, but I do like wearing shapewear, especially under dresses for a smoother line and to have things hang better.  For transparency, I do sometimes double up my shapewear for outfit posts but if you see me around town I’ll be softer.

Control Panty – DKNY Lace Curves Shaping Brief

These control panties don’t suck me in as much as smooth everything out. I regularly wear these under dress pants because they don’t give me VPL (visible panty line), no muffin top, no gas pain, just a smooth look. They’re also super cute and have a vintage vibe, which is nice. These do stretch out after a few months, Nordstrom almost always has them part of their sales and you can often find them on sale at Amazon.

High Waisted Control Panty – DKNY Seductive Lights High Waist Shortie

This sucks me in more than Spanx, and far more than the Lace Curves Shaping Brief, but it doesn’t hurt. The higher waist prevents muffin top and on my petite self, ends only an fraction below my bra strap so there’s no spillover. There’s also plenty of silicone on the top which keeps it from rolling down (seriously, all other styles like this eventually roll down on me but not this one). Like the Lace Curves, the rear is lace so there’s no VPL and it’s prettier than traditional control garments. When I do an outfit post, more often than not this baby is worn under the dress.

Under Bust Bodysuit – DKNY Jolie Under Bust Bodysuit

This is essentially the same thing as their Lace Curves shaping brief, but with straps. The straps are adjustable and relatively thin so you can carry off wearing this even with a sleeveless dress. The satin is right up to my bra band so with a coordinating bra it gives a bodysuit effect and the back is high enough to not have a roll under the bra strap. No panty lines, and though there’s lace and seams it’s not visible unless your dress is a very thin material and quite fitted. The black is downright sexy, my husband thinks it’s lingerie. I got a hot pink one on clearance and baby the heck out of it because it’s my favorite to wear on Date Night with my hot pink and violet crossdyed push-up bra. Again, this won’t suck you in, it just smooths under dresses. My one issue is the hook and eye closure at the crotch; the bodysuit can ride up and you end up with metal in a very sensitive part of your body. I’ve become expert at shimmying the bodysuit down further than I think I need it each time I use the bathroom and it will ride up to a comfortable place and stay (unless I dance or anything like that… then I feel the pinch).

Firmer Control Under Bust Bodysuit – TC Fine Intimates Open Bust Torsette Bodysuit

This thing is NOT cute. It’s like a wrestling singlet as it’s a thick stretchy fabric that feels athletic. It is not something to wear under a bodycon dress as it will give you VPL, and the straps are wide and not cute so you don’t want to wear with a sleeveless outfit. BUT… it gets the job done without having you doubled over in pain or feeling too sucked in to have fun. The whole thing is seamless and stretchy, and there’s no hardware so it’s invisible under clothing, and it has a high back so you’re smooth from every angle. For going to the bathroom I do the same as I do with bathing suits – I move it to the side and hold in place. I don’t get sweaty or claustrophobic in it, and it holds up beautifully through multiple (gentle) launderings.

Favorite Underwear

I have small hips, a round booty, and a “mama pooch” so I look for styles that won’t roll under my belly, won’t segment my cheeks, and hopefully won’t give me VPL all while looking relatively pretty.

Thong – Hanky Panky Retro Thong

This thong is high waisted, it ends up just a bit below my belly button and has wide sides that stay in place meaning no wedgies! These never roll down on me, and I don’t wear lowrise pants so I never fear them showing. They’re super comfortable, come in a bunch of fun colors, and if you launder them correctly stay looking great for a very long time. I’ve been buying and wearing these thongs for years.

Everyday Panty – Hanky Panky Retro Vikini

This panty also has a higher front, so it doesn’t roll under my belly and the full back really fits my rear and never gives me wedgies. However with the v-front and full lace design it’s still a darn cute pair of undies. Even though they have a standard edge, I don’t get mega VPL with them. These are summer favorites as they’re cool and breathable but substantial enough to wear under sundresses.

Pretty Undies- Variety

I go up a size to prevent rolling and riding and buy designer brands on clearance. Since most of my bras are black or nude, I usually choose a black based style so it coordinates. Bikinis are often too skimpy, briefs are usually too full of coverage, I do best with a really general term of “panty” for underwear that is usually designed to coordinate with a bra that usually doesn’t come in a cup size big enough for me. I also have success with what some brands call a “bikini brief” and snag those when I find them on sale.

Favorite Hosiery

A good pair of tights are a gamechanger. I like them really opaque, with a matte finish, and a high waist that won’t dig in, segment, or give me muffin top. No sagging, no bagging, and no defined foot since that is always too big for me.

Everyday Opaque Tights – Spanx Tight End  Reversible Tights

I’m a big fan of these tights. Though I never wear the non-black color, the reversible version of these tights are nice and thick and hold their shape really well. I can walk on concrete, scrape against a brick wall, have them accidentally go in the dryer and they hold up. Usually I have to replace because the crotch has fallen apart, not because of a run or snag.

Fleece Tights – Oroblu Warm & Soft Tights

I bought these on Nordstrom but since then I can only find them on UK-based sites or Oroblu’s online boutique. They are the only fleece tights I have found that aren’t too long, too short, too saggy, not stretchy enough, don’t pill, and don’t stretch out. They’re a matte black finish and super opaque and unless you’re right on top of them you can’t tell they’re not normal tights. However they’re super warm.

Everyday Socks – Lands’ End Seamless Toe Cotton Blend Crew

I’m picky with socks. Even though I wear a size 8 shoe which is pretty average, most socks are too big for me. I have short toes and a seam always seems to be pressing on the pads of them. I have thick ankles and wide shins so many socks dig into my legs leaving marks and being uncomfortable. And my feet sweat, so I want a sock that breathes a bit, absorbs, but still looks professional enough to peek out between ankle bootie and trouser or disappear when wearing black pants and shoes. These accomplish all of that, and they’re often on sale.

Now Show Socks – Smartwool Hide and Seek Socks

These socks are awesome. They keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter, if you size correctly (I wear a medium and I am a size 8) they don’t slide around and they’re low profile enough to not be seen under my oxfords and brogues. In the winter I sometimes wear them under taller socks for an extra bit of warmth and I wear them over tights when I wear slim-fitting knee high boots. They’re not cheap, but they’re awesome.

Other Miscellaneous Lingerie

Things to add opacity, to prevent chafing, and complete a look. These are usually the things you don’t think you need until the situation arises and you wish you had!

Full Slip – Calvin Klein Icon Full Slip

This slip has adjustable straps, is thin and airy and free of adornment so it disappears under clothing. I have it in nude and in black. They’re great for adding an extra layer in the winter – really great for wind protection!  However, it’s not too sweat-inducing for sheer summer dresses.

Camisole – Random H&M Purchase

I know, very vague but I bought it at the Annapolis Mall H&M when Emerson was an infant. It’s essentially the same fabric as my Calvin Klein slip, has adjustable straps and is really long so it doesn’t ride up or slip out when tucked in. I don’t recall what department I got it from but I bet it wasn’t lingerie. I don’t like those stretchy body-hugging camis because they roll up on me and usually are too tight to work with my bra; before I had this I used a synthetic cami from Express. Though this may be considered clothing and not lingerie, I only use it as a camisole and keep it in my lingerie drawer.

Chafe Protection – Jockey Skimmies Original

These don’t suck you in, they are just made to keep a smooth line under clothes and prevent chafing. And they work, read my story in this post or this post. I’ve tried a variety of the Skimmies and prefer the original version the most. If unsure size down, they do stretch out with wear.

Long Underwear – Lands’ End Thermaskin Collection

You can read my review here. And I do use the cami from this collection in the same manner as my H&M cami, it’s just not as long so not as good under dresses and times when I don’t want a seam or it to ride up.

Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your must-have underpinnings? What has transformed your body or your wardrobe and you can’t live without?

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.

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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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?

Can a Size 14 Woman Wear Everlane?

the quest for larger sized ethical fashion - a review of everlane by a size 14 woman - Wardrobe OxygenI’m trying to buy not just for the here and now, but the future. I know I am not alone in thinking this may be a temporary size for my body, but I am over holding off on personal style and quality clothing because of it. Let’s be real, the last time I was under a size 12 Emerson was only a glimmer in my eye. If I do by chance end up that size again, I’d want some new clothes and would pay to have my closet favorites tailored to fit.

I’ve been hearing about Everlane for a long while. The brand even reached out to me a couple years ago offering to gift me some product from their line. At the time I was recovering from my broken arm and was a very solid 14, in some items a 16. I was trying to heal my body and my spirit from the injury, the last thing I needed was some too-tight clothing to come in the mail and make me feel even more like crap. So I accepted their Twill Weekender (it’s a fabulous bag, well crafted, stylish, perfect size for a 2-3 day getaway, see it in this post) and they sent Karl a The Card Case (very nice and he used for a bit but didn’t find the style to suit his daily needs).

But as I pare down my wardrobe and choose more quality of pieces, I would prefer these pieces to be made ethically. Again, I came back to Everlane. Everlane offers women’s clothing up to a size L; there is no size chart on the site, you are encouraged to email the company directly to ask questions about fit. I found this off-putting. Again I don’t believe I am alone in wanting to have a website provide everything I need and not have to wait to make a purchase. A size chart is a pretty standard option on sites, especially if your sizing is by letter instead of by number. But many blogs I follow say much of their collection runs big, so I decided to try a few items. I found most size L items were out of stock, these were the three that I ordered that not only came in a L but also were in colors or silhouettes I would actually wear on a regular basis. The results were not too pretty…

The Silk Camisole – Black, size Large

Everlane Silk Camisole Review - Wardrobe OxygenA spaghetti strap camisole in silk is such a great piece to have in your wardrobe. Wear in the summer untucked with a slim pair of jeans or ankle pants for a night out. Slip under a suit jacket. Wear under a dressy pantsuit for a cocktail party. Pair with a denim jacket and leather leggings. The options are endless. This one looked all loose and drapey on the model; I knew it wouldn’t end up that drapey on me but figured there’d be enough room in the cut of the cami to fit my boobs and not show the shape of my belly button.

Everlane Silk Camisole Size L on Size 14 Woman - Wardrobe OxygenWhile my breasts do fit in the Everlane Silk Camisole, I think if I tried to shimmy on the dance floor or if it was the week before my period I’d be busting some seams. As it is, I had puckering between the breasts and on the back. With the straps at the adjustment it came with (3” adjusted on each strap), the tank was digging into my armpits. I lowered the straps (something I never do considering I am 5’3” and short waisted I usually shorten straps) and as you can see from the photo, it still sat high and weird.

Everlane The Silk Camisole Review on Size 14 Woman - Wardrobe OxygenWhile the tank isn’t so tight on the torso that you can see the indentation of my belly button, it’s clear this wasn’t cut for anyone with a butt. It was skin tight from the natural waist down, and with each step the back flipped up and started shimmying towards my jean’s waistband.

The tank is a good quality of silk that isn’t thin or cheap looking. The top part where a small bust would be is double-layered which is nice if you’re able to go braless. I believe a large would comfortably fit a size 8 woman with slight curves. This size 14 woman required a second person to get her out of the tank without breaking it. FAIL.

The Silk Tank – Slate, size Large

Everlane The Silk Tank Review - Wardrobe OxygenI ordered this tank because like the silk camisole, such an item is a wardrobe workhorse.  Imagine untucked with white linen pants and a long silver necklace.  Tucked in under a leather jacket with jeans and boots, or under a suit with heels.  The color is the type that can look tough or feminine and work with most everything already in my closet.

Everlane Order Haul Review - Wardrobe OxygenI can’t properly review this because I didn’t receive this. Though my packing slip confirms I ordered this, instead I received The Silk Round Collar shirt in a raisin color and size XS.

Wrong item delivered from EverlaneI didn’t notice the XS on the label and decided to try it on anyway. Yeah, I couldn’t even fit my arm in the sleeve. Must say I felt much better about life when I saw the actual size on the label! I know stores make mistakes from time to time, but one like this, especially from a brand that doesn’t have free returns and mailing labels with their orders, is really annoying. FAIL

The Linen V-Neck – Charcoal, size Large

Everlane The Linen V-Neck Review - Wardrobe OxygenMy beloved Old Navy vintage v-necks are starting to fall apart. Not a bad run for cheap shirts, but Old Navy no longer carries these exact shirts and I am now desiring a style that’s a bit looser. I have linen t-shirts from J. Crew and Boden and love the slub finish and how they don’t stick in the heat and humidity. I have a metallic navy from J. Crew and a white from Boden but have been desiring a grey or charcoal option.

Everlane The Linen V-Neck Review - Wardrobe OxygenOn the plus side, this shirt actually fits. The sleeves aren’t skin tight, I don’t get ribbing between my breasts from it being too snug in the bust, and it’s a great length for tucking in or leaving out. I also like the color, a dark charcoal with little nubby flecks of white.

Everlane Linen V Neck Review on Size 14 Woman - Wardrobe OxygenAnd now the negatives. This is a very rough and itchy shirt. I only wore it long enough to take these photos, but I feel if I wore it outside in the heat it would be as maddening as wearing wool in the summertime. And while it isn’t tight, you can see it’s not made for curves – see the gathering above the bust? That’s because this shirt is made straight and there’s no allowance for a bust of any size. And while the sleeves aren’t too short, they ended right at the widest part of my bust making me look even larger. FAIL

To sum up, Everlane is not a brand made for a size 14 woman. I doubt much would work for a size 12 unless that woman was tall (distributing the size), and with slight curves. It is really unfortunate that Everlane doesn’t provide for larger women considering the average American female is essentially my height and close to my clothing size.

There’s been plenty of discussion in the past year about why there’s isn’t better options for larger sizes. Brands say it’s expensive to have more fit models and patterns, companies say that larger sizes aren’t bought as often as smaller. Many think it elitism and designers don’t want to see their clothes on larger-sized women. I know from over ten years of writing Wardrobe Oxygen and knowing a good portion of my audience is a size 10 or larger that there is a desire for ethically made quality clothing in larger sizes. I see what links you click on, and what you purchase and know women in double digit sizes are willing to spend money for well made, well-fitting clothing. Every week I receive emails and comments asking me to review ethical clothing companies and feature more ethical fashion. But as a size 14 woman who isn’t drawn to the minimalistic style, there’s little out there for me to even try. Over and over sites recommend companies like Everlane for basics that are made with ethics and quality, but when the average American woman can’t fit into their clothes, it makes such a wardrobe quite elitist.
I dropped $200 on this order and if the items fit, I would have kept them all and been a regular Everlane shopper, spending a few hundred each season and then wearing the items on the blog, recommending them to the over 150,000 followers of this blog. But because they don’t and after all these years of being in business they have not increased their size range, I can only say that Everlane is a fail.

As ethical brands come on the market and provide fashion to women a size 10 and over, I will try to review them. But know not every double-digit sized woman wants to be a pin up, likes drop crotches and asymmetrical tunics, or a wardrobe in the shades of oatmeal, olive, and bark. If you know of any ethical brands that cater to larger women and offer great style, share them in the comments. You never know, that may be the next brand I review!

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.