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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

Review – Lands End Outerwear

I recently had the opportunity to check out one of Lands End’s new outerwear. As a major fan of their outerwear line (I already own two coats from them) I was excited for the opportunity.

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 Lightweight 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.

Note: Lands End did provide me with this coat, however all opinions are my own and not biased by my monetary compensation.

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.

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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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!


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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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.

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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Fighting Closet Fatigue – Winter to Spring Wardrobe Transition

The holidays are over and it’s normal to be sick to death of your current closet. You’re dreaming of warmer temperatures though you’re still bundling up in sweaters. When shopping for your wardrobe at this time of year, it’s smart to make purchases that you can wear now, but also wear months from now. Small updates that can refresh your current wardrobe and transition nicely into spring. These items have caught my eye and are great ways to get a touch of spring and new trends into your current winter collection.

spring 2015 fashion trends

  1. Printed Fabric Pumps. A statement shoe is a quick way to update the wardrobe. The gorgeous print on these pumps from J. Crew will go with everything in your wardrobe, from an LBD to your favorite pair of jeans. Right now, style with dark denim and a slouchy sweater in navy or black for brunch or a party at your friend’s house. Consider letting these shoes steal the show and pair with a black shift and opaque black tights. Come spring, style with white jeans, a dark blazer and striped tee for a fresh and classic look or pair with most any colored dress in your closet for a weekend wedding. The thicker heels makes these shoes more wearable and reviews state they’re comfortable and well made.
  2. Cotton Cable Sweater. A wool sweater may be warm a cozy, but it can get itchy and stifling once the temps rise. This sweater from J. Crew will be comfortable now with a layer (I have a cotton cable from Lands’ End and wear a knit or plaid flannel under it), and will be a great transition piece come spring. This sweater comes in classic navy but I like the crispness of the ivory. Pair now with a pleated or a-line skirt and tights for a modern take on collegiate chic; come spring pair with a twill pencil skirt and pumps, or go monochromatic with white or ivory jeans and nude shoes and touches of gold jewelry. If unsure, go up a size for the slouchy relaxed fit that will look great over skirts and with pants, jeans, and even shorts.
  3. Silk Paisley Square Scarf. Some of my favorite scarves are from Lands’ End; great quality, beautiful prints, and awesome prices (this one is currently on sale). A scarf can completely transform your wardrobe with a simple knot. I love folding square scarves into a triangle and tying “cowboy style” around the neck; adjust the knot to the length of drape you find most flattering. Just this past week I folded a square scarf this size into a long oblong a couple inches wide, wrapped around the neck and tied just the edges together in the front, then pulled at the fabric so it covered the knot and looked a bit messy; perfect tucked into the collar of a shirt or with a wider neck top and jacket. Tie onto the handle of your bag for a pop of color, if it doesn’t fit as a belt just knot on one belt loop for an accent, and wear in the classic “flight attendant” style with a striped boatneck, jeans, and a pair of canvas sneakers come spring.
  4. Silk Cotton Shirt in a Statement Color. There’s no better color to liven up a wardrobe than yellow and this shirt from Gap is full of spirit. You may argue that yellow is a very hard color to wear, but this is a statement piece that goes beyond coloring. Right now, slip under a gray or olive green sweater and pair with black trousers to add a pop of spring to your winter basics. When it warms, wear untucked with slim or straight dark denim, flats and gold jewelry. Come summer, wear this shirt tucked into a white pencil skirt or wear as a beach coverup. Size up for a slouchier fit; when wearing untucked don’t be afraid to unbutton another button and add modesty with a camisole and casually roll the sleeves. A color like this works best when it’s worn in a casual “oh this thing?” sort of way.
  5. Mixed Print Silk Top. The ‘Eliza’ top from Boden is a perennial fave by many including me. I have one and I love the flattering shape, the seasonless cut and fabric, and how it is so versatile. This print really called out to me because it would transition so nicely from now into the warmer months. Right now, pair with a navy cardigan and jeans or trousers; come spring lighten it with white jeans or a twill pencil skirt and bare legs. Also available in three other prints, this is a great wardrobe addition that looks fresh now but will become a closet classic.
  6. Dark Wash Straight Jeans. We’ve done skinny, boyfriend, distressed, coated, zippers, patches, high waist, low rise, and everything in between. It makes a classic fit and wash feel all the more modern and fresh. I’m a huge fan of Gap’s Real Straight jeans; they’re flattering to many different figures (I raved about them, Adrien at Looks Good from the back raved about them), they’re reasonably priced, and come in a bunch of different sizes and lengths. A straight leg is far more flattering with flat shoes than skinny or bootcut, and is still slim enough to fit into tall boots. No need to tell you how to wear a pair of jeans, just that denim doesn’t have to be so complicated. When you’re overwhelmed and frustrated by denim options, there’s nothing wrong with going back to a classic. Dark, crisp, and simple is always in style.
  7. Bucket Bag. This spring, the Bucket Bag and the Backpack have returned and are hotter than ever. Both styles are great for actually carting around your stuff, but a bucket is more versatile of a trend and likely to be in style longer. I was drawn to this bag by Deux Lux because it’s classic with a twist. I think the fringe is too much fun, and it keeps the bag from looking too basic without having it too crazy for most workplaces. Imagine it now with a black turtleneck sweater, dark jeans and tall boots. Come spring pair with white jeans and a chambray shirt or a simple black shift dress and flats. With two different strap lengths, this can be a shoulder bag or switch to being a crossbody. The price is nice making it a trend you can try without breaking the bank.
  8. Oversized Wayfarers. Ray-Bans are a classic, their Clubmasters, aviators, and Wayfarers have been in style for decades and likely many more to come. I’ve been drooling over these oversized versions of the classic Wayfarers. The traditional size looks a bit goofy on my head; the bigger size has a modern feel but isn’t so trendy you’ll regret the purchase in a year (and the more face your sunglasses cover, the more sun protection and the more you can get away without makeup on an early Sunday bagel run). These sunglasses are the type that are cool on 21 year olds and 71 year olds; care for them and they can last a lifetime. Envision them now with a beanie, parka with a fur-trimmed collar and warm boots; come spring wear with a striped tee and dark jeans or a simple frock and some Chucks for the weekend.
  9. Voile Dress. This simple dress from Splendid is so versatile. Right now, wear with black tights and booties, a denim jacket and a scarf looped around your neck. Come spring push up the sleeves and wear with bare legs and mid-calf or ankle boots, with a long pendant necklace and heels, or a beaded necklace and Birkenstocks. Available in four colors, I love the orange-red color, which looks so great with denim, white, black, olive, turquoise, and navy.
  10. Gold Fish Hook Choker. I believe in the power of a statement accessory that whispers instead of screaming. Last spring I purchased a simple gold cuff from Rebecca Minkoff and it has garnered more compliments than bolder more unique pieces in my jewelry collection and I haven’t tired of it. I feel this necklace from BaubleBar achieves the same effect for a really great low price. It is a style that could become a signature piece you wear almost every day; pair now over turtlenecks and come spring have it peek out of unbuttoned collars and add interest to simple crewnecks. To preserve the finish of gold costume jewelry, wipe down after wearing, don’t let it get wet, and store in a Ziploc bag.
  11. French Sailor’s Shirt. This is the time of year where you start realizing how worse for wear your knits may be. Stretched out, faded, stained, yellowed, and just not looking crisp any longer. When it comes to a wardrobe classic like a striped knit, it’s smart to buy quality so it stays looking great longer and lives through multiple wears and washings. LL Bean is known for quality and this heavier-weight knit does not disappoint. Available in five different colors and a broad range of sizes, my favorite is the navy stripe, a classic that will look so fresh now under a wool blazer and come spring with ankle pants and colorful flats.

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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My Must-Have Shoes for Fall and Winter

In the warmer months I get creative with my shoes. Yellow wedge sandals? Why not? Silver Birkenstocks? An unexpected staple! But come fall and winter, my shoe collection gets far simpler and more utilitarian. This is my current cold weather shoe wardrobe for 2014/2015:


must have shoes fall winter

1. Sneakers. Now that I’m walking almost every morning, my sneakers have become some of my favorite shoes. These aren’t the exact ones I have but a similar style and price to my discontinued and nicely discounted New Balances via 6pm. New Balance fits my chubby feet and short toes.

2. Brown Riding Boots. Pictured are the DUO Santanas, the very boots I have (seen here and here). As a petite woman, I love how these boots are a bit shorter, elongating my leg and ending at a comfortable height. As a woman with large calves, shins, and ankles I love how these boots fit comfortably (you order DUO boots by the centimeter so they’re a great choice for narrow, average, or wide calves and the customer reviews help you narrow down the styles best for your specific leg shape). I wear these over skinny jeans or with tights and skirts or dresses.

3. Black Heeled Booties. For many years I have worn the Cole Haan Air Talia bootie (discontinued, very similar and cheaper option) and while I still have and love (in fact just got back from the cobbler for a reheeling), the round toe looked weird with fuller trousers. I just picked up the ‘Coolen’ from Jessica Simpson and love the pointed toe, sleek heel, and the wider top that is more comfortable with my thicker ankles and shins. I wear under jeans and trousers, but also over skinny jeans and with tights and dresses.

4. Statement Heels. Last winter I picked up a pair of silver pumps from Nine West (no longer available, similar concept) and was surprised by how much wear I got with them. They add some fun to dark jeans, jazz up an LBD, and look cool peeking out of black trousers for an evening out. The closed toe is more comfortable on frigid nights but the pointed toe, high heel, and silver color makes them dressy enough for most affairs on my social calendar.

5. Wedges. A wedge is far easier to wear for long periods of time; these are my go-to when I know I’ll be on my feet but still want a bit of lift. The booties I have are the Nine West ‘Lottie’ which are discontinued (and not as tall as the one pictured), but this one from Anne Klein is similar in style. I wear with black tights and dresses, but have also worn under fuller trousers where the wedge isn’t as prominently on display.

6. Leopard Pumps. I have more than one pair of leopard pumps, but the ones featured are the Nine West ‘Ugogirl’ which are my newest leopard purchase and my current fave. A leopard shoe is extremely versatile and adds interest to an outfit of neutrals (which I often wear in the winter; hello black with more black and maybe a splash of denim). I like that these have a chunkier heel giving me more support, but a pointed toe which elongates my short frame.

7. Stylish Waterproof Boots. SOREL sent me these boots in September (review here) and they’re a great option for folks like me who have all her pants hemmed for heels. These can tuck under trousers or be laced up over skinny jeans and the grippy sole makes me feel more secure on slick DC sidewalks.

8. Casual Winter Boots. I picked these Treton boots up last winter on clearance at 6pm and they’re one of the best winter purchases I have made. Lined with shearling, the boots are super cozy and comfy. The wide opening makes them easy to slip on over thick socks and when still half-asleep letting Cindy out in the morning. I keep these at the backdoor to go to the compost and let out Cindy; slip leggings inside them and my track or snow pants over them for snow shoveling or sledding, and often slip them over skinny jeans to walk Cindy or a quick run to the grocery store or Starbucks. Previously I had a pair of duck boots (RIP), and even earlier (and likely somewhere in my attic or at the bottom of my office closet) I wore Tims.  Winter happens and function trumps fashion when it comes to weather.

9. Classic Black Pumps. I wear these almost year-round with skirts, dresses, and trousers. Come the coldest months I switch out to booties, but these still hold a place in my closet for the occasional client meeting or day wedding.  My personal favorites are MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Flex’ and Nine West ‘Flax’.

10. Tall Black Boots I actually have two pairs; a black flat riding boot I bought two years ago from DUO Boots (very similar, same retailer), and a sleeker heeled boot with an almond toe that I got at Wide Widths almost a decade ago (same style, same retailer).  I wear riding boots over jeggings, leggings, skinny jeans several days a week come winter.  I use a protective spray on them so they keep me dry and salt doesn’t eat away the finish.  Tall boots are warmer than trousers alone; I usually add warmth with a pair of knee-high wool or cashmere socks (and sometimes a sock liner for extra tootsie insulation).  Heeled boots are worn with tights to make dresses bearable past Thanksgiving.

11. Slippers with a Rubber Sole. My shearling mocs from Lands’ End are what I put on as soon as I get home from work, have at the side of my bed when I go to sleep, and the first thing I put on when I wake. I like having a rubber sole so I can step out to the recycling bin or mailbox but also to not slip and slide on our hardwood floors and stairs. To keep down utility bills, I wear a cap and these slippers all winter long when indoors and these are uber comfortable.

What are your must-have shoes for fall and winter?

Friday: Working for the Weekend

Shirt: Lands’ End Canvas
Jeans: Jag (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Shoes: Halogen (similar)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Bag: Banana Republic (similar)

I really should have had my husband get a shot of my travel mug – it’s for Saturn of Bowie.  My dad got it when he bought his 1994 Saturn, which I inherited when he passed in 1998 and drove into the ground until 2002 or so when I took over the loan on my mom’s ’99 Saturn, which I drove into the ground and replaced this past Easter with my Kia Soul.  The more I have the Kia, the more I like it.  I no longer feel like a hamster in a track suit – it’s great for carrying a ton of stuff, is good on gas (went to SC, KY, and DE with us this summer), and is roomy and comfortable.  And it’s my first non-inherited car!

This week has been busy. So busy, I haven’t done laundry in quite a while. I started trying to pull together fancy-shmancy outfits, thought maybe I’d go all kitchen sink today… but then realized I just want to get through today so I can enjoy the weekend. So I went to closet basics.

Last night I went back to Weight Watchers… for the first time in three months! Ack! We’re doing a wellness challenge at work so I figured it was time to get back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. I was surprised I only gained 1.6 pounds in the past three months but no gain is a good gain. We’re moving offices soon and I am excited because the new one has a gym in it – a few of my coworkers and I have already decided to make good use of it, coming in early a couple days or using our lunch hours when we don’t have client meetings later in the afternoon.

Tomorrow we’re going to see Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket at Merriweather and I couldn’t be more psyched. Favorite band, and also get to spend time with some of my favorite people! What are your weekend plans?

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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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My Wardrobe Today – Wednesday

OxfordLands End Canvas
Skirt - Calvin Klein (similar)
Scarf (as cummerbund) – H&M (no longer available – similar)
Shoes Payless
Bag - Banana Republic “Sandhurst Hobo” (no longer available – similar)
Watch - Orient
Thread braceletsTreasure Tower
Silver cuff

Don’t you hate those folks who tell you on Thursday, “Today’s my Friday”? Yeah me too. Well today is my Thursday, hate me all you want! This weekend is the annual Girls Getaway Weekend where my mom, sister, Emerson and I head to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I couldn’t be more excited. Not really sure exactly why but I have been feeling very tense and stressed. I have this feeling in my stomach as though I am going to say or do the wrong thing, accidentally hurt someone or end up in a sobbing mess in a bathroom stall over nothing important. Please tell me I am not the only one who gets this way when life gets too hectic… but I am looking forward to a weekend away from computers and with some of my favorite people on the planet.

Now if I can just get myself together before we leave… tomorrow after work I am going to the Swapaholics Sip & Swap and I know I won’t get home until late and then we are leaving bright and early on Friday. Between now and then I need to do laundry, pack for me and Emerson, write my article for (and some other goodies such as a giveaway that is coming down the pike!), tie up loose ends at work and hit CVS or Target for some last-minute vaca essentials. However, it’s all so worth it because the Sip & Swap is going to be a blast (let me know if you’re going!) and I know the beach is JUST what the doctor ordered (speaking of which, been watching past episodes of the new Doctor Who and I think I’m getting a bit addicted…).

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What I Wore: Casual Sparkle

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review
Sweater: Lands’ End (on sale!) | Scarf: Spun by Sparkle Luxury c/o POPSUGAR Must Have Box | Necklace: ‘Sydney’ Pendant by Sparklepop c/o POPSUGAR Must Have Box | Jeans: Gap | Bag: Tiny Tote c/o Dagne Dover | Boots: ‘Santana’ c/o DUO | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Watch: Citizen | Bracelet: Nordstrom

This past Friday was our department’s end of year/holiday potluck and I wanted to add a bit of a festive touch to my casual Friday attire. The most recent POPSUGAR Must Have Box made that super easy! I received the December box and was highly impressed, several goodies that I truly liked. This is the second time I’ve had a chance to review the POPSUGAR Must Have Box and both times the contents have blown me away. This scarf from Spun Scarves retails for $62, and this pretty necklace from Sparklepop retails for $42 and were both in December’s box along with a $37.50 Dauville Bowl from Canvas Home (utterly gorgeous, on my nightstand to hold change and hair accessories), a $24 long-wear lip lacquer from Smashbox (not my color but a really nice formula), $4 gift tags from the Etsy store Knot & Bow (very cute), and a $14.95 cupcake mix from Williams-Sonoma (haven’t yet tried, likely will use for Emerson’s birthday next month). Not too shabby for a box that is $39.95 for a monthly subscription. And right now with code DEC14SELECT you can save $10 on a three-month subscription (expires 1/2/15). I’ve had the chance to try out some other subscription boxes before but POPSUGAR to me has been the best value, providing products you’d actually want totally a price that far exceeds the cost.

I can’t believe this sweater hasn’t yet been featured in an outfit post! I know I’ve written about it a ton, it has been on Instagram, and made a tiny appearance for Halloween but this has become one of the hardest working pieces in my wardrobe this fall and winter.  While it’s usually paired with jeans like here, I have also dressed it up with ivory trousers, and as I planned in this post, worn with a flippy black skirt.

Anyway, back to the potluck! We’ve had a tough end of the year, our department is merging with another office and there’s been a lot of change, people moving, some leaving, some changing departments and it was so nice to have us all together in one room, eating home-cooked food made with love, laughing and having a good time together. I feel really lucky to work with such an amazing group of people that are brilliant, hard working, but also have the biggest hearts.

POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

What I Wore: Bandana Badass

Tee: Leith | Jacket: ASOS (similar) | Bandana: Vision Street Wear (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Vince Camuto

The bandana is back this season, and it gives me an opportunity to pull out some oldies but goodies like this one from Vision Street Wear. It’s always fun to take something old from the wardrobe and give it a new life with new trends.

Though my cast is off, my arm is still healing and my hand isn’t strong enough to perform many daily tasks.  Clothing is still best when it’s a bit loose, but I’m liking jackets because they cover the still healing scar and provide some protection.  Adding the jacket and the bandana make me feel less like an invalid and more like a badass!

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End of Week

my wardrobe todaymy wardrobe today So I never got to Target to get a new mirror. I know the quality of these full-length shots suck… hopefully I can remedy the situation this week.

This is me on Wednesday. Blue print matte jersey wrap dress from Ann Taylor, red patent leather t-strap sandals from Sofft.

On Thursday, I wore my cobalt and gold print jersey top from Nordstrom with black ponte trousers from Old Navy.

Friday I wore Essential jeans, white ribbed tank and my gray and yellow striped cashmere blend cardigan – all from Gap.

Friday was me and my husband’s Five Year anniversary. He sent me a dozen roses to work which was so sweet and nice after such long stressful weeks. I actually got off work early and we headed to our favorite sushi restaurant for their Happy Hour. We picked up Emerson from my mom’s and headed home. My husband bought a bottle of port because he read that is what you are supposed to drink for five years. We each had a glass with some awesome super dark chocolate and watched Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Emerson got sleepy so we put her to bed, had ourselves a lovely bubble bath in our newish bathroom, another glass of port and talked for hours. Then early to bed. I think it was the most romantic and lovely anniversary we have had since getting married. Who says you can’t have romance with a kid? :)

Great Deal – Lands Ends

Lands End almost never goes on sale. There are never promos for a percentage off if you spend a certain amount, there aren’t outlet stores in every strip mall across the country, they usually carry simple basics at standard, reasonable prices season after season.

Well they are having a sale.

Why am I telling you this? Lands End is boring polos and chinos, right?

Well of course they carry safe standards, but they have some amazing staples that could honestly fit in the wardrobe of every woman, no matter their personal style. They have some of the best prices on good quality cashmere. On top of it, the prices are great and the quality is amazing. They also carry Petite, Tall and Plus sizes. If you aren’t satisfied, their return policy is liberal and simple. If you are looking for some deals on summer clothes, I encourage you to check out their website or latest catalog. Some of my favorites:

Washable Linen Walking Shorts and 2-Button Jacket:

A real shorts suit that is work appropriate! Both pieces would also look lovely on their own, and it doesn’t hurt that this is linen that can be laundered! Be careful, the shorts have slash front pockets so if you carry a tummy, you may want to either pass or have the pockets sewn shut once you receive them to maintain a clean line.

White Eyelet Bikini:
How utterly adorable and retro is this? At the price of Target, but the quality found at a higher-end department store. Owning Lands End bathing suits, I can attest to the fact that they fit well, they don’t stretch out, fade easily, wear well (have had one for five years of rough beach and pool usage). White is a surprisingly flattering bathing suit color, even on us fair-skinned maidens and this style is sexy without being too revealing.

Denim Jacket:
I love the feminine shape and all the details. This is the type of jacket you can throw over a ribbed tank or tee with a pair of pants and look pulled together. The chest pockets are high enough and small enough that they won’t add bulk to your breasts, and the dark color works in all seasons. Um, and the price? Gorgeous! A great jacket to have in the office, at the front door, at the ready for a slight breeze or an outfit pick-me-up.

Mesh Eyelet Classic Non-padded Underwire Bra and Panties:
How pretty is this? I never knew that Lands End carried such delicate and feminine undergarments! If the quality of these are anywhere as good as that of their clothing, this $19.99 bra is a STEAL!

Montauk Floral Stand-up Collar Caftan:
Why cover up in an old tee shirt when you can have such a glorious print for such a glorious price? This is long enough to be well covered and appropriate in boardwalk cafes and shops, yet the lightweight cotton poplin won’t stick to your damp skin. We often choose simple black and navy suits, this is a wonderful compliment to such a suit. I can see it with a big white tote, large black plastic sunglasses and flops, the wearer walking along the shore looking quite elegant and fun.

Washable Linen Bias Dress:
A beautiful and simple dress that is perfect for almost every summer occasion. Dress up with heels and pearls for a wedding, with sandals and a wooden bangle for a shower or church. Fine Irish linen and the white is fully lined… this is the type of dress that can be in your wardrobe for years to come.

Candy Paisley V-Neck Tank Swimsuit:

Why stick with boring black? With a suit this flattering and in such a variety of sizes (Long Torso, D-Cup, Sizes 6-18), and SPF 50 fabric to boot, why wouldn’t you try it? Wrap/surplice styles are flattering on almost every shape, and the leg openings are conservative enough to feel comfortable, but not dowdy. The straps do not look adjustable, but look easy enough to trim and resew at the back.

Long Sleeve Solid No Iron EasyStretch Shirt:

$29.99 for a classic piece that truly is no-iron. I had one of these when I had a job that required me to wear a white button-down shirt. Throw it in the wash, toss it in the dryer, shove it in a suitcase, a quick blast of the hair dryer will remove any wrinkles and you look crisp all day. I do feel the shirt runs a bit roomier than my personal preference so if you are between sizes, I encourage you to go a size down. But this is true for most of Lands End garments.

3/4 Sleeve Pattern Poplin Pintuck Tunic Shirt:

With white Bermuda shorts or wider-cut linen capris, with white bootcut jeans, with linen or poplin trousers… this shirt is easy, breezy, the pattern is crisp and elegant… this is an easy item to throw on with white and maybe silver hoops for an evening get together at a friend’s house, or dress up with linen pants and a few skinny silver bangle bracelets for a day at work. I usually shy away from prints – they are hard to wear and often make you look larger. However in the summer, rules can often be broken and it jsut seems right. As long as the bottom is very simple and clean, it can be a lovely look on most people.

Back to the Land of the Living

Brown merino v-neck from The Gap, brown and cream and pink tweed trousers from Ann Taylor (that have the most adorable pink lining!), brown snakeskin pumps. Silve cuff and hoops. No flash or flair, just clothes to cover myself. I am not quite 100% back to normal, but I needed to go put out fires at the office.

On the face is i.d. Bare Escentuals foundation and concealer, the Body Shop Shimmer cube – light on the lid, the second darkest in the crease. Black mascara. A touch of Nars Orgam on the cheeks, and the toffee colored gloss from Sally Hansen. Enough makeup to not make me look like death warmed over.

I hope to be much more sassy come tomorrow!