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Super Sale Time at Lands’ End

Have you been to Lands’ End lately? They are having some phenomenal pieces on sale! I recently went through their Clearance and found some great deals that will work now, for Spring, and as preparation for next fall and winter. As always, Lands’ End has a great return policy making it easy to try at home, and shipping is free for orders over $50. On top of this, they are right now having 30% off one full-priced item so you can also score on one of their gorgeous New Arrivals (Promotion Code FAVORITE and PIN 31415601). But back to the sale selection… my favorites on clearance:

Seeing Stripes

Lands’ End is a fantastic resource for well-made and classic striped tops. Here’s a few I found at amazing prices that can be worn now, through the spring, and will likely be a favorite for many seasons to come.

  • Plus Size 3/4-sleeve Mid-weight Jersey Sport Stripe Tee: Available in two color combinations, customer review says it’s great quality and a nice weight. $24.99
  • Petite 3/4-sleeve Heavyweight Jersey Engineered Stripe Sailor Tee: In blue and white and two shades of berry pink, this classic boatneck will likely be a wardrobe favorite.
  • Petite 3/4-sleeve Boatneck Sailor Tee: I have this shirt, I bought it several years ago and it still looks like new. Available in two different color combinations. $9.99
  • Plus Size Breton Top: A beautiful classic striped knit in two great color combinations, the details are what makes this top. Gold buttons at the shoulder, a weight heavy enough to handle layering (as seen in the picture) and an uber flattering neckline make this top look far more expensive than its sale price. $19.99
  • ¾ Sleeve Button Boatneck Top: Another great knit, this one in two classic and three statement-making stripes. Buttons at the shoulder and a mid-hip length will look great now and come spring and summer with everything from jeans to ankle pants to shorts. Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes. $19.99 – $22.99

Cozy Coats

This is a great time of year to buy a winter coat. So many styles are on sale, but there’s still a decent selection. It’s smart to purchase a classic style that will still look chic next winter even if the trends change.

  • Boiled Wool Parka: Available in Regular, Petite, and Tall sizes, this is a great versatile coat for warmer climates or that period of time between fall and winter or winter and spring. With clean lines and a longer length, this coat looks chic with jeans but will also look great with your business suit or cocktail dress. I love the Neptune Blue featured, but it also comes in three other great neutrals. $79.99
  • Boiled Wool Jacket: This one is shorter with statement buttons making it a more casual alternative for fall weather, or can also be a jacket to be worn inside for the office. $59.99
  • Shimmer Down Parka: Available in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes, this coat is stylish, flattering, and rated warm to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. I can vouch for its flattering fit as I have two different friends with completely different shapes who have this coat and look phenomenal in it. Removable hood with removable faux fur trim and a water-repellant finish, this coat is available in four different colors. $119.99
  • Patterned Coastal Rain Coat: You won’t mind gray skies with this cheery floral waterproof coat. Limited sizes available, but there’s still selection in Regular, Petite, and Tall. $54.97
  • Luxe Wool Pea Coat: A classic silhouette, a luxe blend of wool and cashmere, seven colors to choose from, and sizes available in Regular, Petite, Tall and Plus. Who could ask for anything more? If you’re not sure, check out the raving reviews online for its gorgeous expensive look and quality. $104.99
  • Down Vest: One of the best buys I made in the past year was a down vest; I wear it with a plaid flannel, skinny jeans, and tall boots on weekends and wear it over a running shirt when walking early in the morning. I’ve also layered it over fleeces and under parkas for additional warmth. This one is available in 11 colors, Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes. $18.99

Sweater Weather

As I type this, I’m wearing a Lands’ End sweater! I love their sweaters – so well made, so many great colors to choose from, and silhouettes that transcend trends.

  • Cotton Cable V-Neck Cardigan: Once it went on sale many of the original reviews left the site, but they were positive. Some don’t like the buttons but I think they’re pretty basic and at this price you can easily switch them out for a custom look. 11 colors available in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes. $24.99
  • Classic Cashmere Cardigan: Lands’ End is a great resource for quality and reasonably priced cashmere. Come sale time you can really score big getting cashmere for the price of a cheaper fabric. Seven gorgeous colors and Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes available. $89.99
  • Year Round Cashmere Balletneck Sweater: More cashmere at a great price! I love the silhouette of this sweater, the mid-hip length makes it work with so many different widths of pants and the wider neckline is uber flattering on its own or layered over a button-front shirt. $59.99
  • Printed Supima Cardigan: Leopard, Zebra, Dots, Paisleys and more are available in this classic cotton cardigan that can work now and into the warmer months. Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus available. $29.99 – $34.99
  • Cotton Cable Turtleneck: This classic sweater will keep you warm and work with so many pieces in your wardrobe, from boyfriend jeans and booties to a pencil skirt and pumps. Nine colors in Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes. $24.99

Dashing Dresses

Lands’ End has really upped their style factor in past seasons and its especially clear with their dress department. Great fabrics, rich colors, and flattering silhouettes makes Lands’ End a great place for summer frocks, workplace sheaths, and even lovely dresses for social events.

  • Sleeveless Ponte Sheath Dress with Pockets: This gorgeous blue will work year-round; right now pair with a cardigan or blazer (or use as a jumper and slip a turtleneck or crisp white shirt underneath) and come spring and summer wear alone. Available in Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes, customers rave about the fit and quality of this dress. $34.99
  • Sleeveless Patterned Ponte Welt Pocket Dress: The same great dress as the blue, but in two gorgeous prints. Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes. $39.99 – $59.99
  • Sleeveless Ponte Dress: Yet another of the same dress, but gosh the print of this one is ah-may-zing! Regular, Petite, Tall and Plus sizes available. $35.99
  • Sleeveless Cotton Modal Fit and Flare Dress: I borrowed this dress last summer from Gwynnie Bee and was uber tempted to buy it from them, but then realized my sister owns it and too many times we show up at the same event in the same outfit. So buy it for me, okay? Limited sizes available and each size in different colors, but there is still selection in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus. Tip from me, if you’re between regular and petite you may prefer petite. $29.99.
  • Squareneck Cotton Modal Dress: Again, read the reviews, they are stellar for this figure-flattering frock. This is a dress that can dress up and down with a quick change of accessories. Three fun prints at the sale price and available in Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes. $29.99
  • Knit Shirred Surplice Dress: I adore dresses like this; they’re great for travel as they roll up to nothing and don’t wrinkle. Dress up or down with a switch of accessories. Four colors and available in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes. $24.99
  • Plus Size Lace Column Dress: A gorgeous statement-making color that can be worn to a wedding with pearls and nude heels, or dressed up for evening with a sparkly belt and strappy heels. Dark accessories for fall or winter, lighter for spring and summer. $89.99

Closet Classics

Lands’ End has great wardrobe classics and a few of them are on a great sale right now.

  • Matte Jersey Skirt: I think a skirt like this is so versatile and flattering. Matte jersey is travel friendly, dresses up and down easily, doesn’t cling in the summer heat, and has that perfect bit of stretch. Wear now with a turtleneck sweater and come summer with a fitted tank and hip belt. Regular, Petite, and Plus sizes available. $19.99
  • Thermaskin™ Heat Microfiber Tights: A matte finish that looks polished and professional for the office and a fabric that is microbial and keeps you warm on the coldest days of the year. $9.99
  • Landmark Mini Fontana Lady Bag: A classic shape that makes for a great leather crossbody all months out of the year, and the three colors available will make a great statement against neutrals, denim and other cheery colors. Monogramming available. $69.99
  • Bianca Ballet Flats: I don’t find most ballet flats comfortable because the lack of support and structure. However, I have two pairs of Lands’ End flats because they are so comfortable. This classic ballet flat comes in 13 different colors and patterns. $22.99
  • Bailey Embellished Ballet Flats: If you aren’t comfortable in heels, you don’t have to wear them, not even to more formal affairs. A pair of embellished flats can look great with an LBD or peeking out of a pair of work trousers. Available in three colors, though I am partial to Gunmetal. $39.97

Friday Favorite: Lands’ End Thermaskin Heat Collection

lands end thermaskin heat reviewThe day I am writing this (and per the forecast, the day this will go live), it is bitter freezing cold in the DC area. Windy, crisp, that sort of weather where the cold hits your bones, and usually the kind of weather where fashion is thrown out the window and I’m looking like the Michelin Man. But not this year, since I invested in some pieces from Land’s End Thermakskin Heat collection.

I like fitted clothing, and I despise wearing layers. While I have doubled up on tights (or worn them under pants and leggings), I always feel like a stuffed sausage. I also hate visible camis, and I never hopped on the trend of layering knits because it always felts so bulky and awkward on me. I avoided anything like long underwear because of this reason; the idea of a pair of pants under my pants gave me the heeby jeebies, I’d rather just wear fleece tights, boots, a thick dress and a long coat.

Then a blogger (can’t remember wish because I’d totally buy you a cookie in thanks) casually mentioned the Lands’ End Thermaskin pants in a post, and she had them under leggings. She was curvy like me, so I put them on my Christmas list, my mom bought them for me, and they are an ultimate fave.

I’m short with a round butt, very thick calves, and sturdy thighs. I rarely can buy leggings because they cut the circulation off to my toes, and the whole dressy jogger trend I had to bypass because they always looked like leggings on my calves. The Thermaskin pants are stretchy and silky with a wide non-rolling waistband. They’re super comfortable, and pants slip over them without any issue. In fact, I’m wearing them under my ponte skinny pants in this blog post. Can’t even see them! And while they’re warm, they’re not too warm. I’m perfectly comfortable in my over-heated work office, and don’t sweat if I’m dashing about town.

Since then, I also purchased the Thermaskin cami. This seems to really vary in size and quality but is worth the risk. After reading reviews, I went with a Large and one fit perfectly (not skin tight but slim enough to be invisible under slimmer knit tops) and the other one was wider and shorter and a bit thinner of fabric. This is a great base layer; I’ve worn it as a regular cami under dresses, slipped it under sweaters and knits, and am grateful for the adjustable straps.

Shop Lands’ End Thermaskin Collection

All my Thermakin pieces have been through the washer and dryer without shrinking or losing quality. The Thermaskin Heat line also has tanks, short and long sleeved tees, socks, and activewear but I haven’t tried any of them, but would likely purchase if I lived in a colder climate or did more winter sports and outdoor activities.

When shopping Lands’ End, be sure to sign up for their emails, or at least check them out on a site like RetailMeNot as they often have promotions and steep discounts. The Thermaskin collection often has prints which go on clearance (at time of writing this, there were a few patterns on sale for less than $10). I’m psyched I finally tried some form of longjohns, and am psyched that they don’t have to affect my style to keep me warm through the cold winter months!

The Friday Favorite series is an opportunity for me to share items I purchased that have really impressed me. Some may be fashion related, some not, all have exceeded my expectations. These posts are never sponsored, and all items have been bought with my own money.

Review – Lands’ End Outerwear

Almost a decade ago, I asked for the Lands’ End Squall Parka for Christmas. Always one to have a wool winter coat, I realized I was in desperate need of something a bit more water-repellent, wind-repellent, and durable. Be it scraping ice off my windshield, shoveling the front walk, going for a long walk on a sunny but blustery winter day, I knew the Squall Parka was a good bet.

Wearing my Squall Parka in 2005 while snuggling with my dog Ruckus

I chose a rusty orange color, which I thought was fun and modern. I forgot that a little South Park character wears a parka in the same color. Every time I wore it, someone called me Kenny. But I didn’t care – that coat was fantastic. It kept me warm, but I had flexibility, breathability, and I loved that I could throw it in the washer and dryer. I still have my Squall Parka, and choose it when I take the dogs for a wintry walk, or want to play with Emerson in the snow.

When I started working in DC three years ago, I realized I needed a good commuting coat. Something that could cover my rear when I sat on cold stone park benches, kept my legs warm, yet was able to be shoved in a bag if the day got too warm. My first day of work was a cold November Tuesday, and I stood on a street corner next to a woman in a dark olive quilted coat that came to her lower thigh. The quilting was brilliant and changed at the torso to whittle the waist. Stand collar kept her neck warm, and it look fantastic paired with an ivory scarf and knit cap. I asked her where she got her coat, she said Lands’ End.

Earlier this year in my now-discontinued Lands’ End Down Commuter Coat

Again, I headed to Lands’ End where I got their now-discontinued reversible Commuter coat (most similar current coat is the Women’s Chalet Down Coat). It came in olive and a couple other colors, but I chose black because I knew it was more appropriate to my personal style and wardrobe. The coat had one side that was smooth, another that was quilted. Lightweight, but warm since it was made of down. Water resistant. Pockets that zipped up (on both sides too!), and easily washed and dried in the machine. I loved this coat, and still do. It’s the perfect commuter coat for a mid-Atlantic state like Maryland where the winters are cold but not frigid, and there is often a chance of precipitation that is more likely to be rain than snow. I wore this coat almost every day until I got pregnant, and even wore it often then, though left open with a pashmina covering the belly. I was happy to know that this coat was still a classic style that would treat me and my wardrobe well this winter.

Lands’ End sent me their Luxe Down Coat, and I have to say I was a bit nervous. A furry collar and a belt on a quilted coat? I was sure to look like the Michelin Man. I loved the ivory and gray colors, but thought it would be a bit too marshmallow for my petite and curvy frame. Since I already had a black coat from Lands End, I decided to choose Spice Brown. I don’t normally wear brown, but thought the brown would look nice with my hair (and the coat’s furry collar).

I loved that I could choose this coat in petite. I am not always a petite in clothing, but with coats, I often find the sleeves too long and the shoulders drooping. With past experience with Lands’ End, I knew that my size 12/14 body would be best with a Petite Large.

My sizing guess was accurate – the Luxe Down Coat fits beautifully, even with a thick sweater. It is much warmer than my other Lands’ End down coat – so much so that I couldn’t really wear it until recently. The belt is long, but that is so you can tie it instead of buckle it. The fur is removable, as is the entire hood. The coat has deep pockets so your gloves won’t fall out, and knit wrist cuffs to block the wind and snow.

The brown is a nice shade – deep and chocolatey. The faux fur trim is nice quality and doesn’t shed. I found the belted quilted style to be relatively figure-flattering, even being a thick coat. As with my other down coat, this coat is shaped at the waist, not a straight up and down silhouette. I think the belt really keeps me from looking like the Michelin Man, and it does a good job of preventing the wind from flying up the hem of the coat. This coat is pretty much the same length as my other Lands’ End down coat, which is a great length for pants as well as skirts. I have worn the jacket open and have either removed the belt or loosened it in back to take up some of the slack and not have the ends drag.

Sometimes you don’t know what you will love until you try it on. If Lands’ End hadn’t sent me this coat, I would have never considered a quilted belted winter coat. And now I am a huge fan.

Shop My Picks for Lands’ End Outerwear:

Review – Lands End Canvas

I used to be a big fan of classic yet on-trend retailers like Banana Republic and J. Crew. Every time a catalog arrived in my mailbox or a new display was in a store window, I could find at least five things I felt I needed that very instant, and knew if I bought they would be of great quality and be stylish pieces in my wardrobe for years to come.

This has changed in the past couple of years – both Banana and  J. Crew have become more expensive, and their pieces are more unique and on-trend, making them harder to be wardrobe classics. I have also found staples like ribbed tanks and tees to not be of the same quality that I found in the past. However the main reason I don’t wear J. Crew or Banana Republic much anymore is because it doesn’t fit. Over the years my waistline has expanded, but at the same time these retailers’ sizing has changed. Many pieces that I like don’t come in larger sizes, and 12s and 14s I bought from there five years ago are inches larger than current items from their line in the same size.

When I heard that Lands End had their new Canvas line, I had mixed emotions. I love Lands End because their quality is stellar and their fit is comfortable, even generous. I know that when I order a size Large sweater, that sweater will fit my size 12-16 body. I also love how I can wash my Lands End clothes dozens of times and they will hold up, maintain their shape and color. What makes Canvas different? Will it be sized more like Juniors, is it the “J. Crew of Lands End” in style but also sizing and quality?

My first experience with Lands End Canvas was back in June. I ordered some traditional Lands End pieces, but also a square cotton voile scarf from the Canvas line. Everything was shipped together, but in a box with Canvas marketing. Inside I found a handwritten than you note from Canvas for Lands End. What amazing customer service!

Since I have lost a couple pounds recently, I felt courageous enough to try the clothing from the Canvas line. What I ordered:
The Fit and Flare Dress in Size 14. I know other bloggers who have ordered and adored this dress. I am a pretty standard 14 in dresses, occasionally needing petite, but my bust needs that size. 

Their Poplin Skirt in Navy – sizes 12 and 14. I vary between these sizes with most retailers and wanted to see how they compared

Striped Sailor Tee in Heather Gray/True Navy. I ordered a size Large, hoping it wouldn’t be skin tight. I actually was envisioning it with the navy poplin skirt

Heritage Oxford Shirt in Bayshore Blue, size 14. Again, with my bust I decided to go with the 14, hoping it would be fitted but not skin-tight.

I of course hit up Ebates before going shopping – this got me 3% cash back on my order. I ordered during the weekend that Lands End had Friends and Family (25% off) but that did not work on Canvas items. However using the code still got me free shipping.  I recommend you check the Internet before finishing your order to see if there are any coupons out there (and of course use Ebates!).

As with any other purchase I have made with Lands End, it was very easy. Their site is easy to navigate, their shopping cart well laid out, the process simple. My purchase was on my front step in about a week. The whole purchasing and shipping process is exactly the same as with Lands End – easy, efficient, reliable, professional.

Now to the important part… the clothes! I wish I didn’t wait to try Canvas by Lands End, I was so utterly impressed!

Fit: The fit is pretty true to size, some pieces being a tad generous.

The Fit and Flare Dress I could almost carry off in a size 12, the waist and skirt were a tad big and long. The white knit top part is thick and opaque, the skirt is a nice weight of cotton sateen that has a bit of stiffness (and the dress has pockets!). I decided to not keep the dress because the waistline hits at a weird place on me – not empire, not standard. It hits at a place on my body that looks a bit like maternity wear. It wasn’t as bad when I added a belt, but it still was too much volume at that part of my torso. However if I were thinner and could wear a smaller size with my same height/frame I think the dress would be adorable.

The Heritage Oxford Shirt is perfect in a size 14. It is exactly what I wanted – looks like a classic oxford, but shaped for a woman. And that woman is me. It nipped in a bit at the waist but didn’t pull at the bust, and I didn’t find the arms to be too tight. It is the standard light blue, buttons at the collar as well as down the front. Rolling the sleeves three times made it the perfect length for a casual look. I have paired it with jeans for hanging around the house, and tucked it into a dark denim pencil skirt for a look that would be nice for work, and was great for a baby shower I attended this weekend. I rarely purchase button-down shirts because they never seem to fit well, this is a lovely exception. I am seriously thinking of getting another one in pink.

The Poplin Skirt fit as I hoped it would – the 12 was a tad snug but wearable, the 14 more comfortable, especially if I was to tuck in a top. I would find this fit to be similar to Gap in that regard. The poplin is light and airy, but with enough layers to have total modesty, even if standing in front of a light. The skirt is well made and utterly adorable… if I had a different figure. The skirt is full, and totally inappropriate for my body type. Too bad, because it’s super duper cute!

The Striped Sailor Tee is the other item I am keeping. I was shocked to find that the tee runs very large – I could probably fit into a medium with no problem. Because of it’s loose fit and longer length (mid-hip), it isn’t the fitted tee I imagined to be tucked into a poplin skirt. But then, I am not really one to wear a tee tucked into a poplin skirt! I have worn it with narrow jeans and really like the look. The knit is very thick yet soft and when thrown in the washer and dryer, it came out looking exactly the same and there was zero shrinkage.

Final verdict? Lands End Canvas is fabulous! It’s like Lands End’s slightly younger, hipper little sister. The pieces are classics with a trendy twist. I think I have found my new favorite place for trendy wardrobe classics!

Note: This review is not sponsored by Lands End. I was not contacted by them, I chose to do this review on my own free will, and was not compensated in any manner.

What I Wore: Cool Blues

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands' End striped button front shirt with blue ankara maxi skirtshirt | skirt | bag

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands' End striped button front shirt with blue ankara maxi skirt Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands' End striped button front shirt with blue ankara maxi skirt Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands' End striped button front shirt with blue ankara maxi skirtShirt: Lands’ End (14) | Skirt: Etsy | Bag: Topshop | Earrings: Bought at a music festival

With my broken toe, my daily work wardrobe has gotten mundane, but maxi dresses and skirts are a way to add fun while still wearing my roomy sensible flat shoes. I’m surprised at how often I wear this Ankara maxi skirt (last seen on the blog here). I pair with a tee shirt and denim jacket and have also worn with a black turtleneck sweater. I look forward to the temps rising so I can pair it with a simple ribbed tank or one of my many band tees!

Lands End Canvas – My Recent Purchases

With my recent weight loss I am finding that most of my spring clothes do not fit. I have been slowly buying staples, hoping I don’t have to spend much but find pieces that will work with the warmer weather, but also be versatile and classic. As you know, I had a meh experience with Ann Taylor LOFT. I recently tried another brand I found success with in the past – Lands’ End Canvas.

Last year I ordered a pleated skirt from Canvas and found it to be well-made but not a flattering style. That skirt had a drop waist, this one has a softly gathered skirt that flares straight from the waist. With that change, I figured it was worth checking out. I got the Persimmon Stripe, imagining it with a chambray shirt, a crisp white shirt, a scoop tee in navy or even a dark green, a brown leather belt and wedge sandals.

This skirt is exactly what I thought it would be. It is fully lined, two layers of soft cotton voile that float but don’t stick out in an unattractive manner. The color is true on your computer. I ordered a 12 and it fit perfectly, even a bit generous. The length was also perfect – came right to the top of my knee. You know how much I love pockets, well this skirt has pockets but they are practically invisible when not in use, not adding bulk to the silhouette. It is so refreshing to order an item that is exactly like what you see online.

However, I am not keeping this skirt. Though it is utterly adorable and well-made, it’s not a silhouette that flatters my body. Though I like the look head-on, I think the additional fullness isn’t too flattering to my rear or mama pooch. It’s not the skirt’s fault, it’s just a bad personal choice.

I purchased the Lands End Canvas Heritage Oxford almost a year ago and still adore it (wearing it today while writing this!). It’s one of the few button-down shirts I have found in a long time that fits my body right off the hanger. It’s a shrunken fit that isn’t too tight, can dress down with jeans or be tucked into a pencil skirt for a great work look. A few months ago I ordered a different button-down from Canvas and didn’t feel the love – it just seemed to be cut strangely. Well this spring I decided I needed a white shirt in my wardrobe and since this shirt was on sale, I figured I’d give this shirt a chance.

It isn’t what I expected. The shirt is very thin, very soft cotton. It has a safari feel to it with the pockets and semi-sheer fabric. Though the fabric is pretty sheer, you can’t see a skin-colored tee shirt bra underneath, and it doesn’t cling to the skin so it’s still quite modest and wearable sans camisole. I ordered a size Large, it fits great – no gap at the bust, no pulling at the shoulders, but it nips in a little bit at the waist for a feminine silhouette.

It’s a very relaxed style; this weekend I rolled the sleeves, unbuttoned three buttons and wore it untucked with vintage jeans. I can also see it being tucked in to a pencil skirt of dark stretch denim or olive canvas, giving an old-school Banana Republic sort of vibe.

I was imagining wearing it with the Pleated Pattern Skirt when I ordered it; it is not the right fabric or silhouette, but it doesn’t really matter since I’m not keeping the skirt!

Sort of a short review, but I am trying to be frugal with my purchases. However with the return of the skirt (which is now on sale but wasn’t when I ordered it), I may be able to check out the Chambray Officer Shirt so I can get my chambray fit for the season!

Have you ordered from Lands End Canvas? What do you think of their line?

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Lands’ End Spring 2012 – What I’m Loving

Many catalogs arrive in my mailbox, and many of them go straight into the recycling bin without flipping a page. However, when the Lands’ End catalog arrives, it always gets a view. For years I have trusted Lands’ End to provide quality, classic pieces at reasonable pricepoints. They have petite and women sizes, great colors, and phenomenal customer service. And each spring, I dog-ear at least a dozen pages. These are my dog-ear-worthy pieces from their recent catalog:

I may be a curvy, soft woman over 30, but that doesn’t mean I want a dowdy swimsuit. I like to wear something that flatters the figure, lets me play in the surf or pool with my daughter, but also make me look stylish… and yes a bit sexy. This suit does it all.

Detachable straps so you can have a sexy strapless suit, add the straps traditionally for a classic look, or cross the straps in back for a more secure suit for bodysurfing or playing with the kids. Soft cups and hook closure in back supports the bust and keeps the suit from sliding down. Shirring, gold hardware detail, and distracting yet on-trend print flatters the figure. Available in sizes 2-18, from past experience I have found Lands’ End suits to run a hair big so go down a size from what you wear in a dress.

About a decade ago, I took a black Lands’ End Beach Living tankini on a vacation to Jamaica. I wore it tubing, under clothes when zip lining, wore it in a waterfall, on the beach, in the pool. Came home, the suit accidently went with all the other vacation laundry into the washer on hot, and a long trip in the dryer. The suit came out looking exactly as it did when it arrived in my mailbox two weeks prior. A few years later, that same suit went with me on our honeymoon to Costa Rica where again it dealt with sand, salt, chlorine, and extreme activities. And still through the years and wear, the suit looked like new. So I know if I want another hard-working suit, I can rely on Lands’ End.

Their Beach Living series is always a great combination of different styles of bottoms, tops, and one-pieces in fun and classic colors and prints; this season had me gasp with their choices. You know I love orange and pink, well both colors are available this year in solids and some fun prints like Riveria Rose Floral and Watermelon Sorbet Dot. The V-neck One Piece reminds of the Lands’ End Canvas halter one-piece I own and adore; the twist and v-neck tankini tops look so stylish yet supportive, and I love the variety of bottoms so I can have something that covers the tummy but still has a stylish leg-lengthening leg opening. Don’t be surprised to see me in the Riveria Rose Floral or Watermelon Sorbet this summer!

I have a 15-year old Lands’ End tee that I can still wear in social situations for it has not pilled, faded, or stretched out with wear and washings. When I want quality tees in flattering silhouettes and fun colors, I know I can rely on Lands’ End; this season they have come out with some pretty cool silhouettes.

The Narrow V-neck has an extremely flattering neckline that is more polished than your standard v-neck; the Smocked Split-neck Shell is a feminine alternative to a tank with details that would make it even appropriate as a shell under a blazer; the Draped Scoopneck is a touch more refined and feminine than a standard scoopneck, and has the slightly longer sleeves that are so flattering. White the Flowered Soft V-neck isn’t my personal style, I think it’s pretty and a quality alternative to similar tees sold at other brands for a better price and better selection of colors.

I adore striped tees – they are a budget-friendly way to add a trend to your wardrobe, and look more polished than standard solid-colored knits. I own the Lands’ End Sailor Tee and love the quality, heavy weight, and classic lines. I have the Ivory/True Navy combo, but now desire the True Navy/Ivory combo to pair with pink cropped jeans, a floral full skirt, or a yellow pencil skirt.

The Striped Boatneck Top is such a flattering silhouette – the Washed Chambray Stripe would be lovely under a navy blazer with white jeans, or even with a bright mango or pink twill skirt. I am really digging their new Short Sleeve Drapeneck – the Ivory/Mushroom Stripe is a subtle print that would look amazing tucked into a printed pleated skirt, with cropped jeans and a blazer, or just with a pair of city shorts and wedge sandals for a casual weekend.

On Twitter, someone mentioned how light colored denim can be so unflattering, and said my suggestion of NYDJ for quality heavyweight denim was out of her pricerange. Lands’ End also offers quality denim for a much nicer price. These white cropped jeans are stylish, trendy, and less than $50. Available in regular and petite sizes 2-18, I have found their denim to run a bit big and go a size down from what I wear at retailers such as Gap and Ann Taylor.

Yesterday I was reading in Bazaar about how feminine shirtdresses are back in style – full skirts, feminine prints, lady-like touches. An hour later, I see this shirtdress in the Lands’ End catalog. Available in chambray and madras, this dress would look so chic with some espadrille wedges and a wide leather or jute belt.

Cotton/linen blend to stay cool on the most humid summer day, smocked back for a good fit. I love the mid-calf length which looks great with flip flops or proper shoes, for a trip to the farmers market or to an evening poolside soirée. While I wish it was available in more colors, I can see myself wearing it in white with a black leather belt, black heeled sandals and a big silver cuff.

While they may remind you of TOMS, these simple canvas shoe is a classic style that has been around far longer than that brand. What makes these shoes special is the memory foam sockliner and shock-absorbing EVA outsole. The Navy Seersucker would be an adorable choice to pair with most any color in your wardrobe – white jeans and a red tee, green cotton sundress, yellow cropped jeans and a white tank, hot pink floral frock.

I own this, I love this, and my set looks practically brand new, even after five years of machine washing, tumble drying, and heavy wear. Each year, Lands’ End makes these classic pieces even better, and this spring’s color choices make me consider purchasing another set – Phipps Orange is adorable and would look amazing with crisp white pants, similar watercolor brights like candy pink and leaf green, or even denim and chambray.

I don’t wear flats, I think they make my short and fat feet look even more short and fat. However, come summer I do a lot more walking and don’t want to go everywhere in heels. Last weekend I met with friends and one was wearing a peeptoe flat that was so flattering and classic, it made me consider a similar shoe for the warmer months. I think these flats are adorable in the Chambray Fabric, and would extremely versatile and comfortable.

Have you received the recent Lands’ End catalog? Any pieces you like, any you don’t?

Note: I was not paid by Lands’ End for this post, they do not know I am writing it. I chose to write it because I know you readers look for quality, budget-friendly brands that cater to a variety of sizes and shapes of women, and I feel Lands’ End fits the bill.

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What I Wore: Signs of Spring [Sponsored]

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands End shirt, Gap Jeans, Nine West orange suede pumps and a Talbots clutch Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands End shirt, Gap Jeans, Nine West orange suede pumps and a Talbots clutchShirt: Lands’ End (similar) | Jeans: Gap (similar) | Bag: c/o Talbots (similar) | Pumps: Nine West (similar)

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands End shirt, Gap Jeans, Nine West orange suede pumps and a Talbots clutchThis is the same shirt and jeans from yesterday’s look, but I made it work for dinner with a quick switch of shoes (which are far more comfy now with my Foot Petals), the addition of a bold lipstick, uncuffed the jeans, and removed the bag straps to make it a clutch. Versatility like this is something I am looking for more and more with new wardrobe purchases. This shows how you can create multiple looks with a smaller wardrobe if you shop carefully.  Both looks would be great for travel or most women’s smaller or capsule wardrobes.  The sunny colors of the accessories take winter wardrobe essentials and make them ready for spring.

These two posts have been sponsored but have provided me a way to show you how you can dress for real life this spring without a bursting closet or a ton of new trendy pieces.  I always have a white shirt in my closet; I find Lands’ End and Foxcroft to fit my bust and curves quite nicely.  A pair of straight denim in a dark wash with a bit of stretch is so versatile; yesterday I cuffed with tennis shoes and today paired with orange suede pumps they glam up enough for dinner out or cocktails with friends.  Choosing versatile accessories with personality is what can take your look to the next level.  Black may seem practical, but you’d be surprised how often you’ll reach for a sunny yellow bag or a shoe in a statement color.  And don’t forget the power of cosmetics; one of the biggest things that transformed my look from yesterday to today was my lipstick choice.

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Lands End shirt, Gap Jeans, Nine West orange suede pumps and a Talbots clutch Late in 2015 Lancôme sent me some of their products to try out and since then I’ve been a fan of the French beauty brand. In this post I’m wearing Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara in Black, L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick in Rouge Carrousel, and shadows from the Auda[CITY] in Paris Eyeshadow Palette. It’s funny, I used Définicils years ago and loved it but switched to something new that was getting a lot of hype. Receiving a tube reminded me again of how great this mascara is – it lengthens, it gives realistic volume, doesn’t clump, and doesn’t leave me with dark circles come the end of the day.  And as you can see, a bold pout can really complete a look!

Through April 11th, 2016 at Nordstrom stores and online if you spend at least $39.50 on Lancôme products you receive one of the best gifts with purchase I’ve seen. Choose one of three night creams, choose a concealer shade (3 options) or Lancôme’s Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur, Choose an eye palette with dual-ended brush, receive Bi-Facil Makeup Remover and Définicils and choose your cosmetic bag to put it all in. This gift values between $82 – $130 depending on your choices. Thank you Nordstrom for sponsoring this post and notifying me and my readers of this promotion!

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Wednesday: Lake Living

Dress: Lands’ End (on sale!)
Earrings: Purchased at a festival a few years ago (similar)

Vacation at my cousin’s house on the lake has been fantastic, and I must say fashion is not at the forefront of my mind. In such a community, shorts and sandals are the uniform. Jewelry and makeup are minimal since the days are being spent outside in the sun (of course always covered with sunscreen!). This evening my cousins had some neighbors over for dinner and then we went for a sunset cruise on the boat. I wore this knit dress from Lands’ End that has already become a favorite this summer – I can toss it in the washer and dryer and I love that it has pockets (and also easily covers bra straps). Bare feet is how I have gone most of the week, though I did throw on a pair of Reef “Sandy” flops for the boat ride.

Heading home tomorrow which is bittersweet. We have had a blast and it has been so wonderful to spend time with my family, but I do miss my home, the dogs, and the community.

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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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Fun in the Sun, No Matter Your Shape

When I swimsuit shopped for our Costa Rican honeymoon in 2004, I decided to go bold and leave my all-black swimsuit routine. I got a bright red halter tankini from J. Crew and felt terribly sassy… that was until I got back the pictures from that trip and realized the lighter color and lack of support made my breasts look droopy, displayed the indentation for my belly button, every lump, and every bump.

The only remaining picture from our honeymoon where I am in the red bathing suit.

After that experience, I was a bit more gun shy with swimwear. Strategic rouching, dark prints to camouflage curves, brands that specialized in slimming the figure. While I felt more secure in such suits, I often felt they looked too old and somber for my age and personality. After Emerson was born, I was so uncomfortable with my new figure I welcomed the black gathered fabric with strong mesh interiors to suck in my flesh. It felt like a suit of armor to defend me against…

…against what?

I sat on the beach in this frumpy bathing suit, and looked around. I saw women older and larger than I sunbathing in bikinis, women slimmer and younger than I in matronly too-large suits with too-long skirts, women built just like me in fun printed suits splashing in the surf and women built just like me in the same suit I was wearing, hiding behind strategically draped towels.

The biggest thing I saw was that no one was out there judging. Okay, maybe the teens giggling behind US Magazines were judging, but they were judging everyone, and I knew they would judge no matter what swimsuit I was wearing. Because no matter what I put on my body, it will still be the same body. The same cellulite, the same belly, the same curves, the same flesh. No swimsuit will make me look five years younger or 25 pounds slimmer.

And so this year, thinking about my beach experience and seeing phenomenal women like Gabi Gregg and Brittany Gibbons and Chastity Garner rock the heck out of fun and flirty two-piece suits I decided to do the same. There’s nothing wrong with a classic black one-piece that slims and flatters the figure, but there’s also nothing wrong with buying a suit that is fun and fits your personality and personal style.

I have always had great success with Lands’ End swimwear – well made, doesn’t ride or stretch or fade. I also like that they have cup-sized tops going up to DDD. I decided to try a two-piece suit (the Beach Living Tahiti Paisley Floral Shirred Bikini Top in 12DDD and the matching Flounce Mini SwimMini in 12 Petite), and the Beach Living Bardot Floral Scoopneck One Piece Swimsuit with Tummy Control in 12DDD and see which I liked better.

The two suits arrived promptly and the prints were even prettier in person. I first tried on the one-piece which fit quite nicely. I loved how I could adjust the neckline with the drawstring detail. It fit, it flattered. The print created an optical illusion, you couldn’t quite tell what was print and what was spare tire. Sucked me in without causing intestinal distress.  Not too shabby.

And then I tried the bikini. Somehow the two-piece made me look taller. Boy did it make me look softer but it made me look curvy in a good way. No Lycra to hide the rolls, the stretch marks from pregnancy, how my tummy is a bit lopsided from carrying Emerson. But the top had underwire and adjustable straps to support my breasts even if I dove into the pool, and the skirt was flirty instead of matronly and provided a bit of fun as well as distraction.  And I liked it, I liked me in it.  I felt like me.

Whether I am in a black slenderizing suit, a printed one-piece, or a “fatkini,” I am still me. I am still a 38-year old working mom who wears a 12/14, should go to the gym more often, and should watch her portion sizes. But in this suit I feel sassy, I feel as though I have to walk with confidence since I made such a bold decision with my swimwear.

I wore the suit to the pool on a busy day. I played with Emerson, sat with Karl on the side of the pool watching the kids play, floated around in the deep end, gave Emerson piggy-back rides over and over in the 3′ section, sat on the ramp and watched E splash in the shallow section, had a great time. The suit held up well, it fit great, and I didn’t feel terribly on display. In fact, I don’t think one person even looked twice at me.

Often all the judgment we feel about our bodies and sartorial choices is in our heads. And for the judgment that may be real… who is it coming from? Does that person even deserve time or real estate in your brain? Some people will judge anyone about anything… might as well have a blast yourself while they’re wasting their time with their lame hobby.

Now go out there and have FUN this summer!

Note: This post was not sponsored by Lands’ End, I just think they’re pretty rad.

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What I Wore: #teamponte

Tee: Lands’ End Canvas (similar) | Jacket: Old Navy | Jeans: Old Navy | Boots: DUO (similar) | Scarf: Belonged to my Dad (similar) | Bag: c/o Fossil | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Watch: c/o WatchCo (similar)

My friends and I have a bit of a joke where we’re #teamblackponte on social media. Come now, it’s the world’s best fabric! Well I’m not exclusive with #teamblackponte for I like me some ponte in any color, like this heather gray blazer from Old Navy. While I look pulled together, I feel as though I’m wearing a hoodie.

I always love finding ways to style my dad’s ascots, you can see how I styled this one before here, the red one here and here, and the blue one here.  Though he’s no longer with us, I can bet he loves the fact that I am wearing these and putting my own spin on them!

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What I Wore: Primary Colors

wardrobe oxygen featuring a talbots skirt with a Breton top wardrobe oxygen featuring the Talbots pocket a-line skirt wardrobe oxygen featuring a dagne dover tote and talbots a-line skirt wardrobe oxygen wearing a Lands End Breton top Talbots Skirt and Dagne Dover toteTee: Lands’ End (similar which is available in plus and petite) (Medium) | Skirt: c/o Talbots (14) | Bandana: Had since I was a kid (similar) | Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings | Shoes: Nine West (similar, lower heel option) | Bag: c/o Dagne Dover

I wore this skirt with a denim shirt and these leopard shoes to a Talbots event at Tyson’s Corner Center that I hosted earlier this month. This skirt is pretty fabulous; it looks vintage, has a great fit, fully lined, pockets and keeps its shape all day; it survived a work day at the desk then several hours at the mall running around the store and fitting room.  I wore this look last week to the office and loved the mix of primary colors. I know I’ll be wearing this skirt this winter with thick tights and a cashmere or merino turtleneck. This citron color looks great with neutrals, but imagine it with forest green, burgundy, or purple.  The skirt also comes in many other colors, it was hard to decide which one to get but I chose this one because it’s a color I love but doesn’t look good near my face.  Gotta love shoes and skirts for incorporating fun colors without looking like I have the flu!

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Practical Pal

We all have that friend or relative who doesn’t NEED anything and finds most traditional gifts frivolous. While she may be perfectly happy with a gift card to Target, it’s nice to buy actual gifts for people to unwrap and realize you thought of them. While I have been scouring the web for other posts, I’ve been bookmarking things I find to be so practical yet lovely that most anyone would like it as a gift. All of these are under $100 and have free shipping.

gift guide practical presents holiday

1. Large Personalized Canvas Tote – $34.50

A little secret, this is one of my favorite baby and bridal shower gifts. While many sizes of this tote are available, I find the Large Tote to be the most versatile size. It can be a beach bag, overnight bag, reusable grocery tote, tote all your kid’s toys to grandma’s, tote your dirty clothes to the Laundromat… I love carrying potluck items in it – I wrap the casserole in towels on the bottom and on top I can put a 6-pack, bottle of wine, present for the hostess and it won’t topple over in the trunk on the way there. Personalization is free, making it the gift she didn’t think she needed but will be using regularly for years.

2. Stabilicers Lite Hikers – $29.95

I may be biased from my ice slip last year, but this was an AWESOME gift from my sister. They’re rubber so they stretch over shoes pretty easily, and are easy to slip off once you get to your destination. A great choice for anyone in an icy location, and especially good for those who aren’t as steady on their feet (or fear black ice after a previous fall, jus’ sayin’…). Do know they run a bit small, if unsure go up a size because they still won’t be too big for boots and sturdier shoes.

3. Starbucks Stainless Travel Mug – $19.95

Almost ten years ago, I won a $50 Starbucks card and I bought that year’s version of this mug. And I am still using that mug today. Most travel mugs get weird with time – the lids get stretched out, they leak, the double walled system separates. Not this baby. While it doesn’t look brand new any more, it keeps my coffee hotter longer than any other mug I’ve had, fits in all the cupholders in both of our cars, and it holds a full 16 ounces. This is something that is worth spending a bit extra and your loved one will thank you five years from now when she’s still reaching for it for her daily work commute. Do note, this isn’t one with free shipping (it is on Amazon with free Prime shipping but costs $10 more), but I’ve seen it in several Starbucks locations this year so it’s easy to pick up in person. If you plan to buy more at Starbucks, code AFF10 should give you 10% off your first purchase with them online plus free shipping if you spend at least $65.

4. Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite – $99

I got one free last year as part of a blogger promotion and it made me a Paperwhite convert. My mom bought her boyfriend one last Christmas and he loves it. Long battery life, great for the practical person who doesn’t want to add more stuff to her house, and especially nice for those with poor vision or dexterity. While the newest generation Paperwhites are $119, you can find perfectly good refurbished ones under $100 and Amazon provides a 1-year limited warranty and proper packaging so you can feel good giving refurbished as a quality gift.

5. Portable Power Bank – $49.95

The more we rely on our smartphones, the faster we deplete their batteries. This compact charger that isn’t much bigger than a smartphone adds a boost of power to small appliances just when you need it most.

6. Silk Long Johns and Socks – Starting at $17

Of course you better know the person quite well to give such a gift, but it’s likely one that will be loved and well used by the recipient for many years to come. Since he doesn’t read my blog I’ll let you know I got Karl the Silk Interlock Crew and Pants for a gift this year (thank you Lands’ End for carrying it in Tall!) and I know he’ll go gaga for it while he usually finds most gifts silly. Lands’ End has a great return policy, are known for quality, and have a nice variety and pricepoint making it a good destination for such gifts.

7. Legacybox – Starting at $75

What a cool concept; fill a Legacybox with old films, photos, slides, negatives, tapes and more and send it back with the pre-paid shipping label and they will carefully digitize all your memories. You will get back all your original memories as well as DVDs with your digital copies. At the time of writing this, if you visited the site and provided your email you’d automatically get a 25% off coupon and last week I received a coupon for 40% off and a promise to have Legacybox delivered in time for Christmas.

8. Adult Shearling Insoles – $16

Slip them into a pair of your tall leather or snow boots for warmth and comfort or give new life to an old pair of slippers. Made from natural shearling which wicks moisture and EVA foam which adds cushioning, these would be a welcome treat for anyone’s tootsies this winter.

What I Wore: Tux Time

mural 2 mural 1 mural 3
Jacket: Mural | Tank: Lands’ End | Pants: Ann Taylor (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Necklace: MYHABIT | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar)

If you follow me on Instagram you know I wore this outfit Thursday night. I was asked by the Junior League of Washington DC to style two looks for their spring fashion show at the Chevy Chase Bloomingdale’s.  I wanted something that would let me get on the floor to adjust a hem, race from the end of the runway taking pictures back to the fitting room to help my model change into her next look, and not be a sweaty grody mess by the end.  I recently picked up this tux-inspired boyfriend blazer from Mural at Nordstrom and felt it was a perfect choice.  I was right, I had a great time, I raced all over the second floor of that department store but still looked relatively put together!  This jacket also comes in hot pink and black, but there’s something great about a white blazer that can make any look fresh and crisp.  Even better when the jacket has pockets big enough to comfortably hold a Tide to Go pen!

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Winter Style Tips: Warm Fashion for Cold Weather

Many of you have written to me lately on how to handle very cold temperatures while maintaining your personal style. While it’s frigid right now by DC standards, I don’t deal with such cold temps on a regular basis and would never consider myself to be an expert on cold weather fashion. I know many of you live in far colder parts of the country and world than I and would love you to weigh in on what you swear by to stay warm and fashionable. Below are the winter style tips I use to stay warm when it’s super cold:

cold weather fashion how to stay stylish and warm tips

Have a Base Layer

Keeping your core warm will ensure you stay comfortable when the temps drop. Thin layers close to the body will do a remarkably good job without adding too much bulk to your outfit.

  • Fleece and wool tights are my jam; I’ll wear a regular pair of tights under for extra wind and cold protection, and have even worn them under jeans and work trousers.
  • The same holds true for fleece and wool leggings. Check athletic departments and brands for great ones; while some may have reflective strips others will be solid black which will fit perfectly into your work or weekend wardrobe.
  • Wool socks keep your feet warm and dry and also help prevent foot odor. The chunky cable or marled versions are back in style and look cute peeking out of ankle booties or tall socks so they add style with warmth.
  • A silk or heat-keeping fitted tank or cami is a must-have in winter. Brands like Lands’ End carry these in a broad range of sizes and colors so you can find one to fit and become invisible under your clothing.

Wear Smart Accessories

When it comes to accessorizing in the winter, choose pieces that have fashion as well as function. It’s possible for your styling accents to keep you toasty in the winter.

  • I’m such a fan of pashminas. In wool, cashmere, or a blend these scarves are toasty without being bulky, stylish, and versatile. I will cross a pashmina across my body in front before putting on my coat; it will fill the neck area but also add an additional layer of warmth to my core. Once at my destination I’ll loop it around my throat for a pop of color to my outfit. Pashminas are also great when it’s not freezing; they can act as a shawl with a dress and I take them on travel to be my plane blanket as well as to ward off strong A/C on planes and at conferences.
  • A cashmere beanie is in style right now, so it’s easy to find a color and weight that appeals to you. I have a black cashmere beanie that I’ll put on in the morning and not take off until I go to bed. I style my hair around it, intensify my lip color and it’s a chic look that also keeps me warm. Adding a hat when it’s cold can really do much for increasing comfort; in fact I am writing this while wearing my cashmere beanie and am quite comfortable even though it’s around 60 degrees inside.
  • Gloves are a must-have and my favorite are cashmere-lined leather gloves. They are super warm, wind repellent, keep you dry when scraping off your windshield and look quite chic. Right now is the perfect time of year to stock up on leather gloves as they are on sale everywhere after the holidays. I always have a pair of classic black but when I can find fun colors like purple or green on clearance I snatch them up so add a pop of color or fun to black outerwear.

You Need Proper Footwear

When it comes to inclement weather, function always trumps fashion. A pair of warm boots that provide traction on slick sidewalks is a must-have for cold weather. Come winter, I keep a pair of black pumps at the office and wear boots on my commute. When out and about, slim jeans and pants look great peeking out of tall fur-trimmed winter boots for ski lodge style. Tall leather boots (especially if they are waterproof) are wonderful for when it’s cold but there’s no snow or ice; the leather is a wind breaker and an extra layer of warmth. I’ll wear tall leather boots with a dress or skirt, fleece tights and wool knee-high socks and be toasty while still maintaining my personal style.  FYI all the boots featured in the carousel below are waterproof and ready for all sorts of frightful weather!

Choose Outfits with Layers, Length, and Warm Fabrics

If you plan on getting away with a long-sleeved tee and a pair of jeans you’re going to be shivering all day.

  • Layer: I’m a fan of sweater coats, puffer vests, and ponchos come winter because these are easy layers to slip on and off depending on how high the heat is cranking inside. Under, I’ll wear a long-sleeved tee or fitted merino or cashmere sweater and a silk tank under that so when I slip off the topper I am still pulled together and warm. Chunky knits are popular this fall and easy to layer over a silk or knit tee. I’m also known to slip fleece tights or silk longjohns under dress pants or jeans come winter and no one is the wiser except my warm self!
  • Length: Winter isn’t the time for mini skirts and crop tops. I pull out the midi skirts and wear with fleece tights and tall boots, longer tunic sweaters over slim pants or sweater dresses over fleece or wool leggings and tights, and thigh-skimming sweater coats keep my rear and upper legs warm.
  • Warm Fabrics: Wool pants are truly warmer than synthetics; look for a pair with lining to stay itchy-free and add some wind repellant. As mentioned a thousand times already, fleece and wool tights and leggings are a smart choice with dresses and skirts. Leather is wind repellant and warm; I wear a lot of leather skirts come winter for fashion with function. This year sweater and sweatshirt dresses are on trend and look great with tall boots and leggings or thick tights.

Longer Coats that Repel Wind

Many years ago I wrote that women don’t need puffer coats and can be just as warm and more stylish with a wool coat with Thinsulate lining. And now that I commute in a city, ride public transportation in the snow, and walk longer distances I agree with many of you who thought my advice bunk. Buy a coat that keeps you warm. When it comes to frigid temperatures, first look for something that will keep you as warm and dry as possible, then look for stylish touches. A quilted or puffer coat with a longer length is brilliant because it’s wind and water repellant, will keep your bum warm when sitting at the bus stop, prevents gusts from slipping up inside the coat, and is often machine washable. I like styles that at least cover the rear and have a belt which keeps you from looking like the Michelin man. While I wear a hat almost always, a hood is an additionally nice feature when you’re waiting for the train or it begins to drizzle. Buy from a company that is known for outerwear and get one that is made for the climate you experience. Companies like Patagonia, Lands’ End and LL Bean often give temperature ratings for their outerwear helping you make the best coat decision for your lifestyle.

And now I pass it back to you, what are your tips for staying toasty when the temperature drops? What are the best items in your wardrobe for winter weather? What brands or items do you recommend to those who are trying to stay stylish in the cold? Thanks!


Ask Allie: Plus Size Retailers with Style

Hi Allie, I hope you can help. Where I live, there’s [well-known chain retailer that have plus sized clothing] but that’s it for plus size fashion other than Walmart and none of these stores have clothes I really like. I know you do a lot of shopping online, where do you suggest for plus size fashion where I can return by mail but also know what I get won’t be junk or ugly. Help! I really want to create my personal style and not be stuck with what is available.

I don’t know why retailers feel that women over a size 12 only want to wear polyester cabbage roses and bedazzled tunic sweaters. I understand that plus size fashion needs to be cut differently to flatter the figure, but why does that mean over the top embellishments, cheap fabrication, and dated silhouettes? Luckily some retailers realize this and offer fantastic fashion in extended sizes, and many of them have stellar online shops! Here’s some of my favorites:

Available in US sizes 10 – 22, ASOS Curve focuses on current trends cut specifically for plus size women. Not only that, they have free shipping and returns! Here you can find hot styles like peplums, leather, brocade, and faux fur and from my experience, the quality is equal or better than similarly-priced retailers (H&M, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Express). I love that their looks are flattering – not a muumuu or polyester cabbage rose in sight. ASOS Curve is a great resource for party dresses as they are youthful and on-trend while being reasonably priced.

Simply Be doesn’t have free shipping, but they do have a flat rate and provide SmartLabels for quick returns. But Simply Be is another great resource for on-trend plus size fashion. From faux leather pleated skirts and silver cropped pants to blazers; work attire, club attire, and dresses by Simply Be, you can find a varied collection of wardrobe staples and trendy closet additions.

This is not your mother’s Lands’ End – the retailer has stepped up their game by offering on-trend fabrics and styles and even brought Curvy Girl Guide founder and blogger Brittany Gibbons on board as an advisor.  While they have the wardrobe staples of turtlenecks and knit pants, Lands’ End also has some pretty fantastic dresses and career wear. Their quality can’t be beat, their customer service is phenomenal, and while returns aren’t free, they can be taken back to Sears.

Eloquii is the new kid on the block, the plus size line from The Limited.  It had mixed reviews from plus size bloggers at first, but they seem to be gaining steam with more consistent sizing and quality and I know some friends who have purchased from them and are mega fans.  Eloquii also provides SmartLabels for easy returns, though returns do need to be completed within 30 days.  For those who have an Eloquii store near them, they do accept online returns at retail locations.

If you read this blog, you KNOW I love Nordstrom. Free shipping, free returns, fabulous selection of brands, amazing sales and customer service. On top of all that, Nordstrom has a pretty great selection of plus size designers and styles! Vince Camuto, DKNYC, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and more are available, and they also have extensive customer reviews to help ensure you find a piece that will fit your figure and lifestyle nicely.

I can’t rave enough about Gwynnie Bee – a program that is like Netflix for plus size fashion. For a reasonable monthly fee, you can borrow plus size clothing with free shipping and free returns. Keep a piece as long as you like, return one and get another back lickedy split. Gwynnie Bee’s selection is quite varied and continues to improve as the business grows; you can find everything from work dresses and blazers to leather jackets and sequined pencil skirts at Gwynnie Bee. I love that you can test-drive a trend – try a one-shoulder blouse or wrap dress and if you don’t like it, return it for something else! Right now Gwynnie Bee is offering one free month to Wardrobe Oxygen readers – click here to sign up (be sure to mention Wardrobe Oxygen), and click here to learn more about Gwynnie Bee.

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Swimsuit Review: More Suits for a Large Bust and Soft Belly

In the last swimsuit review post I ended seeming as though I didn’t find anything good. And then last weekend we took a trip to Rehoboth Beach and I knew I’d be spending time in an indoor pool and I was still without a suit so I kept the green tropical bikini. It was really my favorite, and I still loved it as I swam a couple laps, did handstands, and played ball with Emerson. But I still would like something with a bit more coverage for active days at the outdoor pool so I returned what didn’t work and ordered some more. The results:


Since my last order, they had more suits available in my size so I figured I’d try some out.  Nordstrom’s free shipping and returns makes it so easy, I hope they continue to expand their swimwear selections, there’s nothing better than being able to try swimsuits at home, in your room, away from fluorescent lights, pushy salespeople, and fitting rooms that smell like Fritos.

Miraclesuit ‘Ansonia’ Mesh Inset One-Piece Swimsuit in White

wardrobe oxygen swimsuit review miraclesuitThe seaming below and gathers at the bust gave me hope that this suit could possibly work. Maybe I’d feel like a Bond Girl in this awesome one-piece.  I also ordered this in a 14.


Yeah, I need suits that are by cup size. This was also short in the torso, if I hiked it up to have the seam in the right place for the bust, I gave myself a front and back wedgie. This would be a darn sexy suit for a slimmer, smaller busted woman who just wanted a bit of tummy control to refine her shape.

Miraclesuit Front Zip One-Piece Swimsuit in Charcoal Black

PicMonkey CollageI ordered a 14. This suit (and a few others below) is proof as to why I need a bathing suit with bra sizing. If you follow me on Snapchat (I’m wardrobeoxygen) you may have caught my rant about Miraclesuits. How can a 5’3” short-waisted woman find a size 14 one-piece too short in the torso? Boobs. Seems as though Miraclesuit forgot that women with bellies may also have breasts. I think with a smaller bust both of these suits would have fit.

MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Draped Solids’ Bandeau One-Piece Swimsuit in Black

PicMonkey CollageI ordered a 14. I figured what the heck, why not?  I should have known.  This was a huge major colossal fail. The suit has no structure, it’s one layer of traditional nylon spandex with a bit of lining in certain spots. However, I think if one was younger and firmer this would be a really gorgeous suit.

Lands’ End

Lands’ End has always been one of my go-tos for swimwear, but I was hoping to steer clear of them this year because of their debacle with Gloria Steinem. But Lands’ End makes clothing and swimwear for a broad range of sizes and shapes, the price is good for the excellent quality, and I have owned Lands’ End suits before and know they work for my shape. I also know that I need a bra-sized suit, I don’t need a bikini, and one-pieces are often too long in the torso so I went with their tankini pieces.

Before ordering from Lands’ End, check sites like Retail Me Not to see if there are any promos going on. Lately there’s been plenty of codes to get 30-40% off and most include swimwear.

Lands’ End Beach Living Adjustable Top and High Waist Control Bottom in Deep Sea

lands end beach living tankini wardrobe oxygenI ordered the top in 14 DDD cup, and the bottom in a 14. I like a suit with color, but I just didn’t feel me wearing a purple or pink swimsuit with a big bow in the front so I went with Deep Sea (navy).

The control bottom sucked me in, but it gave me muffin top. The top had underwire but if I had the underwire truly under my breasts and not an inch lower, I’d have the cups end up near my chin. No adjustment of the bow or the straps could get placement right, but even so the suit gave more support and separation than one without underwire and I had enough fabric to not be spilling out. The top though was perfect in the torso – not too tight but not too loose. I think with a different bottom it would have been more flattering.

But this suit is a whole lot of meh. It reminded me of the green one-piece in the previous post. It’s fine. It’s okay.  I wouldn’t look twice at a woman wearing it at the pool or beach.  It’s what most women my age and size wear because it fits and it sucks to try on swimsuits and it gets the job done without more agony at the full-length mirror. I just can’t justify spending $100 (that is if there’s not a Lands’ End promo going on) for meh.

Lands’ End Beach Living Adjustable Top in Black Horizon

Lands End Beach Living Adjustable Tankini - Wardrobe OxygenGoing through the clearance section at Lands’ End I found this black and white striped top in DDD cup 14 and ordered it since it was on sale for $35.99. Here it is featured with the Miraclesuit bottom I reviewed in this post.

I have no idea why this top fits better than the navy one but it does. The cups align better, neckline looks nicer. I know it lays better on the torso because of the different bottom I paired it with. Totally shows the power of getting the right bottom for your specific body! Thanks to my promo code and it being on clearance, this top only cost me $22. I plan on keeping it, it’s perfect for playing at the community pool with Emerson.  Of course I’d end up with a suit that has stripes!

Bare Necessities

I already raved about Bare Necessities’ selection for bra-sized swimwear. Based on my last order, I ordered two more things from them:

Freya Sagittarius Halter Swimsuit

PicMonkey CollageI didn’t order this the first go-round because I’ve had halter swimsuits before and while they make a large bust look amazing, after a day at the pool your neck ends up sore from holding up your breasts. But this is Freya, Freya rocks, and I could order it in a cup size so likely the rest of the suit would be designed to help keep my breasts lifted. I ordered a 36E.

I am too short for this swimsuit. While it doesn’t look bad from the front or side, in the back you can see how it just doesn’t fit, and that issue affects the whole bust area. There’s a backstrap, which should help with the breast support, but because I am short in the torso, it can’t lie in the right place and ends up all squished down which pushes up the front, which makes my breasts lie funny in the cups which causes me to tighten the halter straps which puts more strain on my neck…

This is a cute suit if you have a longer torso or are taller. The top is made so it can support a large bust but also flatter and enhance a smaller one. And the dots are gold foil, the fabric is really nice, this suit feels and looks expensive. You can easily rock it at the pool, but gosh it would be fabulous on a tropical vacation with a big sunhat, the dots gleaming in the sun, a frozen cocktail in your hand. If you buy it, email me a picture of you wearing it and being utterly fabulous, dahlink!

Fantasie Versailles Bikini Swim Bottom in Black (shown with Freya ‘Pier’ Halter Swim Top)

PicMonkey CollageI really like the fit of the Fantasie Kuranda swim bottom and thought this bottom would essentially be the same thing but in black.  Newp. No. No way. Nuh-uh. It does have a more adjustable side, you can see in the side view I cinched it tighter for a smaller side, but it is a stretchier, thinner fabric and a lower-rise style.  When I bent over it rolled down even lower and I spilled over the waistband.  I know my strengths and love to highlight them; my lower abdomen is a part I prefer to keep covered.

Final Result?

Fantasie Tie-Side Boyshort Swim Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in KurandaI may still look for a better black control swimsuit bottom to go with the Lands’ End top, but otherwise I feel ready for summer.  I have the Fantasie Kuranda Balconette Top and Boyshort Bottom as my sassy sunning and funning swimsuit, and my Lands’ End Beach Living striped tankini top to wear for playing in the ocean or pool with Emerson and being more active.  I’m ready to have fun in the sun!

Thursday: The Kitchen Sink

Tee – Lands’ End Canvas (similar) | Skirt – Talbots (similar) | Necklace – eBay (similar) | Shoes – Payless (similar) | LipstickNARS Heat Wave

Today I felt like throwing it all on. If it wasn’t so hot on, I would have also added a scarf and leopard shoes. Today I just felt like being the crazy lady with too much going on.

Tonight my sister and I are going to see The Chris Robinson Brotherhood at The Birchmere. My sister has adored Chris Robinson for eons, and it will awesome to see him perform in such a small venue. I’ve seen the Black Crowes in concert, and am looking forward to checking out his new group and sound!

How was your 4th of July?  The first part of the day for us was pretty chill – slept in (with a toddler that means 7am), did some cleaning and organizing around the house, finally got around to hanging up a painting by Karl’s grandfather – we originally decided to put it in our bedroom, but it was just too freaky to wake up and see him staring at us from his boat.  Far better in the living room, and it really opens up the space.  Later in the day, three of our friends came over – Karl grilled ribs, corn, and salmon and we had a salad and my friend Nicole’s phenomenal rosemary bread.  We then walked down to the town lake for a drum circle and fireworks.

Emerson survived maybe a minute of fireworks and even with her Peltor headphones found them too loud and scary so my husband took her home.  These were the first fireworks I had seen in person for YEARS and they were phenomenal – my town really knows how to celebrate the holiday!

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What I Wore: The Old Reliable

Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle booties

sweater | jeans | booties | bag | sunglasses

Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle booties Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle booties Banana Republic Sandhurst Hobo Bag - Wardrobe Oxygen Wardrobe Oxygen wearing Clarks Spye Astro ankle booties in sand suede Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle bootiesSweater: Lands’ End (L) (similar) | Jeans: c/o JAG Jeans (12) | Booties: Spye Astro Boot c/o Clarks | Bag: Banana Republic (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelets: Gorjana (similar), c/o Joseph Nogucci | Watch: Citizen | Necklace: Stella & Dot

This past weekend I spent a lot of time running errands and catching up from spending the previous weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. This sweater I purchased last year on clearance and it’s still a favorite. I featured these jeans in this post and they’re a weekend fave; the embroidery makes them stand out and more fun than basic boyfriend jeans. Speaking of faves, I bought this bag from Banana Republic almost a decade ago (I mention it in 2010 about how it was such a good buy). I saw it in the store and fell in love hard but couldn’t afford it. I went on eBay and found it new for a fraction of the retail price, though it was way more than I would usually spend on a bag. I splurged, and am so glad I did as it’s still a favorite bag. It taught me to buy quality, not quantity, and to wait for the right thing instead of making do.  And yes, if you read the post I linked to about it, it has been cleaned!

I can’t believe I haven’t featured these shoes on the blog until now. Clarks sent me their Spye Astro ankle booties in Sand Suede several weeks ago but I couldn’t wear them because of my broken foot. If you follow me on Instagram you know I have worn them several times in the past couple of weeks. I’ve paired with a striped knit dress, grey skinny jeans, and often with boyfriend jeans. Clarks is known for quality and comfort and these adorable booties do not disappoint.