Search Results for: label/MICHAEL Michael Kors

Best of 2014: Style Purchases Edition

This year I think I made some smart purchases. I bought less (an arm in a cast can curb anyone’s shopping habit), and I bought smarter. While I narrowed the color story in my closet, I don’t think it narrowed my style or personality. The things I am most glad I purchased this year and why:

PicMonkey Collage

MICHAEL Michael Kors Poncho Sweater

I was wearing this sweater when I wore the Swag Edition of this series, and I’m wearing it now as I write this post. I wear this sweater at least once a week… okay I wear it all weekend long, just changing out the shirt underneath. This morning I wore it on a hike with Karl; I put a windproof top underneath and it was that perfect not-too-warm combo that let me sweat a bit, but also not be chilly when still. Every time I wear it someone stops me to rave about it and ask where I got it. It wasn’t cheap but it’s one of those sweaters that is worth the cost because of the ROI.

Isabella Fiore Leather Tote

Well, I did use MYHABIT credits for it so it was only $40 instead of like $150, but I did still pay for it. And I admitted in this post that I didn’t NEED it but man, it is the hardest working bag in my closet, rivaling my brown Banana Republic hobo that I know I’ll will own and love for many years to come. The funky mandala embossed on the front keeps it from being boring, the heavy rich leather keeps it from getting stretched out when filled to the rim, and it still smells like delicious new leather even though I have used it almost daily for many months. It’s the kind of bag that will still look cool when it gets worn and beat up, I look forward to the memories I will make carrying this bag.

NYDJ ‘Alina’ Stretch Skinny Jeans in Black

Skinny jeans rarely work on my frame. I can’t get them over my large calves, and they’re often a lower rise creating an uber muffin top. Not these babies. They’re more twill than denim which makes them dress up a bit better for the office, and they are comfortable over my thighs and calves. I hate when they’re dirty because I wear them so often. I like the sucking in feature of NYDJ jeans but haven’t found it in their pants or twill jeans… except for these. They do a bit of smoothing of the tummy without feeling like Spanx. Oh, and they’ve been laundered many times, sometimes accidentally being put in the dryer and they’re still in great shape and a saturated black color.

Nine West ‘Flax’ Pumps

I bought them last year in silver and peacock; this year I bought them in nude and black. For me, they are the perfect pointed-toe pump. A comfortable yet slender heel height, a pointed toe that isn’t too pointy, and a reasonable pricepoint. I recently found them on Amazon in black leather for under $50 and bought another pair because I know I’ll funk up the pair I have within a year and know I will want a replacement pair. I’ve learned over time that if a shoe becomes a workhorse and you can find it cheap, get a backup pair (hello Miss Sixty booties, I wore them just this week and am on my third pair). This style of shoe has been discontinued by Nine West, but you can still find it on Amazon, Zappos, and 6pm.

Silver ‘Arizona’ Birkenstocks

I totally succumbed to the trend and I’m not ashamed. When trends come that appeal to you, there’s nothing wrong in including them in your wardrobe. I loved Birks in the early ‘90s, I love silver, it made sense. And I wore the HECK out of these shoes all spring and summer long. I loved them with dresses, I wore them with boyfriend jeans, and they were my slip-on weekend shoe waiting at the front door for me to run errands or take Emerson to dance class.

Rebecca Minkoff ‘Major Laser’ Gold Cuff Bracelet

Why pay $56 for a piece of costume jewelry when you can find similar at Forever21 for $5.99? Because sometimes it’s worth the money. I don’t know why this bracelet called out to me, it’s nothing flashy or terribly unique. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and bought it full price. And I have worn it several times a week ever since. I love how it’s simple but not, edgy yet classic, and that through the year of wear it’s still shiny, no fading or wearing of the gold. It’s small but it packs a punch and constantly gets compliments and comments.  The bracelet is discontinued though I have seen it since a few times on Gilt.

Oroblu Fleece Tights

I bought fleece tights last winter and they were… fine. I felt they looked pilled right out of the package and the crotch was by my knees after an hour or two of wear but it seemed from reviews online as though that’s what you get with fleece tights. This year I ordered a pair from Oroblu and I am a fleece tights convert. I ordered an XL fearing knee-crotch, but would have done better with my height by choosing L or even M. That being said, these are comfortable, warm, a rich black color, and don’t sag. They are opaque enough that I can wear them with shorter dresses and not feel half naked. I also wore them over a pair of traditional tights for Halloween and I was toasty warm all night, even when outside.

Gap Real Straight Jeans

These aren’t skinny or stovepipe or slim or narrow. They’re not a bootcut or a baby boot or a flare. No stretch, no embellishment, no funky details. They are just classic straight jeans and they are my jam. The 12 Ankle is a great fit, the length that works with flat or low shoes. I have a classic wash and a distressed pair and both get worn on a regular basis. Finally, a pair of non-stretch jeans that fit and flatter my curves!

LOFT Custom Stretch Trousers (Marisa Fit)

I have them in black, navy, and ivory tropical wool and I adore them. They have a flat, straight look but flatter my curves. No pockets jutting out, no cuffs or pocket flaps or anything to make them stand out. Just a simple work trouser that looks great with untucked or tucked tops. A 14 Petite hangs perfectly, not tight, completely work appropriate. The fabric matches some blazers in my closet. Oh, and you can machine wash them!

Converse Shoreline Sneakers

I’ve been wearing Chucks since middle school, but I have never found them comfortable for a long period of time. They always rub on my big or pinky toe, and dig into the curve above my heel. That is until I tried Converse Shorelines. They look just like Chucks but have a different shape which gives my toes more room, and an elasticized back that makes the shoe have a lower profile, more comfort, but a more secure fit. They look classic, feel great, and will be worn quite a lot once the weather improves!

What I Wore: Statement Sweater

wardrobe oxygen what I wore gray poncho tunic sweater wardrobe oxygen what I wore Stella Dot pendant wardrobe oxygen what I wore MICHAEL Michael Kors poncho sweater
Sweater: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Twill Jeans: NYDJ | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Isabella Fiore via MYHABIT | Necklace: c/o Stella & Dot (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Ring: Vintage via Etsy (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I shared this MICHAEL Michael Kors ponch sweater and my love for it last week on Instagram. And when I wore it everyone I bumped into also shared their love for the sweater. Strangers, coworkers, even Karl remarked on how pretty and cozy it looked. It doesn’t do a damn for my figure but sometimes a piece makes such a statement and is so clearly cozy and awesome it just doesn’t matter!

Shop the Look:

What I Wore: Feeling Blue

Blouse: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Pants: c/o Karen Kane | Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors “Flex” | Watch: c/o WatchCo | Rings: Etsy, vintage via Etsy | Bracelets: Bead and Turquoise c/o Lifetherapy, had forever, “Emerson” c/o Stella and Dot, Enamel Bangles c/o RocksBox | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Maybe it’s the new mani (the nailcolor reminds me of my old Saturn’s paint job), but I have really been digging the color blue this week. These pants are ah-may-zing. I wore them on the train up to NYC the other week and they were so comfy, didn’t wrinkle, and I felt fresh enough to wear them straight to a meeting. While today is quite cool and lovely in DC, this entire outfit has become a go-to for me on sweltering hot days. This top is also ah-may-zing, I was so sad that I didn’t get it in hot pink and white when I saw them on sale at Nordstrom – I ordered the white in Large Petite but it’s just too short.  However when writing this post, I found the top at Lord & Taylor in green and purple and snagged another (Code FIRSTLOOK for an extra % off).  Seriously, great top for summer, figure flattering, but also wonderful under a blazer for cooler weather.  I have worn this top with a pleated chiffon maxi skirt, a pencil skirt, harem pants, and these pants.  The fabric is on the verge of sheer, you’ll want to wear a tee-shirt bra close to your skin color (or black with the black color) to if you do consider getting it but it’s not too sheer (at least in the darker colors) to wear to the office.

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Hammer Time

Blouse: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Pants: Street Festival (similar) | Shoes: Franco Sarto Artists Collection (similar) | Ring: Vintage via Etsy (similar) | Bracelets: c/o Lifetherapy, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Lauren Ralph Lauren | Earrings: Argento Vivo

A couple months ago I was at a festival in town and saw these pants for sale in a booth. I figured they wouldn’t fit, those “one size fits all” pieces rarely fit a woman over a size 10. But I looked at them more closely and my sister encouraged me to try them. The vendor let me take them into a nearby cafe to try them on in their restroom, I stood up on the toilet to see in the mirror, hunched over to see my reflection and thought from that odd angle that they were pretty cool… and bought them. I’ve worn them before, with an Old Navy vintage v-neck hanging out at home, and with this blouse to Dan Savage’s recent book signing in DC (though that time due to the hurt leg it was with lower shoes). Did I NEED harem pants? No, but they are a heck of a lot of fun and quite comfortable in this heat!

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Making a Splash

Dress: c/o Karen Kane | Necklace: Boutique in Rehoboth Beach (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bracelets: Indigo Spiritual and Focus c/o Lifetherapy; “Emerson” c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot; had forever | Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors

After the tragedy in Bangladesh, I am trying to be more conscious of where my clothes are made and under what conditions. I have always been a fan of Karen Kane for creating comfortable, flattering, and stylish clothes for a broad range of sizes, but am even bigger of a fan because their clothes are made in the US. While Karen Kane is a pretty big company that is sold in major department stores, working with them is like working with a small company. I get emails from Karen’s son,they have a very personal and intimate Instagram account where you actually see Karen at work, and they strive to please their customers. I saw this dress and knew it would be flattering and I was right. I like that the knot in the front is self-tie, so you could just tie it once, knot it tight, or do what is most flattering to your own figure.

And while this dress is utterly fantastic, I can’t ignore Emerson’s amazing fashion sense. She truly has talent in putting together great outfits. My mom recently got her a kit with a play hair dryer, curling iron, brush, and such and now Emerson has to “get ready” before she leaves the house. I may have created a monster, but at least she’ll be a stylish, creative, and independent monster!

FYI, I totally thought I could carry off pumps today, but after taking pictures and walking to the car I realized my leg is still not strong enough and I switched to my black Cole Haan sandals.  Maybe next week!

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Wednesday – Black and White and Red All Over

Sweater – Banana Republic (similar)
Shirt – c/o CAbi
Pants – Ann Taylor (similar)
ShoesMichael Kors “Flex”
Silver cuff (similar)
LipstickNARS “Heatwave”

Last week it felt like summer, this week it has returned to typical DC March weather – windy and chilly.  Glad I kept my sweaters in the closet!

Today I will be walking from my office to Georgetown to meet my sister for her follow-up MRI (proving she is tumor free!) so I wanted to wear comfortable shoes – these pumps are perfect for this – work-appropriate yet can handle a 20 minute walk in the city.

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Black sweater coat – MICHAEL Michael Kors
Gray pima tee – Banana Republic (no longer available)
Black trousers – Talbots (bought last year on clearance)
Black city boots – Fitzwell “Andrea”
Silver hoops and cuff

Yep, an early work morning!

So I have been stalking this sweater for a long time.  I saw it on the Nordstrom site, but it was never in my size.  I searched online, and again could never find it in my size.  I would Google, but it looked differently on other sites than it did on Nordstrom so I was confused.  I knew this was the type of sweater coat I desired – tight, heavy weave, not clingy, the cool silver turnlock hardware, a length that would work with pants, jeans, or skirts.

At Nordstrom, this sweater was $180.  Snap.  That’s a pretty hefty price for a sweater, but I thought that if it really was what I thought it could be, it would be my new millennium version of my “Trinity” sweater from The Limited.  I bought that sweater… gosh maybe 2000?  Well I still own it, if I get back to a 10 I will probably continue to rock it, and that sweater was a MAJOR staple in my wardrobe for nearly a decade.  If one can find that perfect of a garment, well $180 seemed like an investment.

Then Nordstrom sent me a $20 rewards certificate (I keep a Nordstrom credit card just for these rewards).  I felt it was a sign, and went back to their site to look for this sweater.  They had it… no Large, but they did have an XL.  I snapped it up and it arrived last night.

The many faces of the MICHAEL Michael Kors Turnlock Sweater

I now see why it looked differently on the Nordstrom site than it did on any other site.  This sweater has a matching cowl.  A tube about a foot in length of the same knit as the ribbed cuffs.  It’s held on to the cardigan by a sole button on the back of the collar, but easily removable. Removed, this sweater coat was exactly what was missing from my closet.  A bit big, but not too large.  But then I get to work, and I see this sweater is really big.  Like a size too big.  I really need a Large in this.  I am glad I didn’t wear perfume today, because I am going to return it or sell it.

So I look online, now that I realize this sweater has a wacky detachable cowl (which is super cute, but I don’t think goes with the silhouette of this sweater).  And guess what?  It’s currently $88.79 at Overstock AND if you go through Ebates you get 5% cash back AND Overstock right now has FREE SHIPPING!

So I ordered it in a Large.  There were six left in Large Black, and a variety of other sizes and this sweater also comes in Gray.  I really like it a lot, think it can be casual with a tee and jeans, but has refined enough of a finish that it could be worn with a sheath dress to a business meeting. And I really like that I found it for more than 50% of the original price!

Plus Sized Work Attire Options

Dear Allie:
I am getting back into the workforce after five years as a SAHM. I’m really excited, but am having a hard time finding nice work clothes. I am a size 18, 5’5” and an apple and all I seem to find are lowcut dresses and polyester pants. Do you know where I can find suits and work clothes like dresses and blouses for my size?
 
Why are all plus sized suits made out of polyester? Where can I find a suit that is equal in quality and price to J. Crew but goes above a size 16?
 
I was recently promoted and my new position requires me to travel on business several times a month. For such trips, I will need to wear a suit while at the office I can usually get away with casual pants or even nice jeans. While I have a great wardrobe of business casual pieces, it is proving difficult to find more corporate of attire for my size (I vary between a 20 and 22). Do you know of any retailers who specialize in suiting and corporate attire for plus-sized women?
 
Hi Allie, I need to improve my look at work. We’re allowed to wear anything we want but I don’t want to look like a slob any more and think if I look good I may be more likely to get a raise or promotion. I’m 5’7”, a size 20 with a large bust and don’t even know where to start looking for nicer work clothes. HELP!

I am not sure why the world thinks women over a size 12 don’t hold professional jobs. They must think that with the poor selection of career wear for plus-sized women. While quality suits and stylish business casual clothing does exist, it’s hard to find. Below I feature some brands who realize that just because you wear a larger size doesn’t mean you wish to sacrifice style, quality, or professionalism.

If you’re plus sized, I’m sure you already know about Lane Bryant, Avenue, Ashley Stewart, One Stop Plus/Woman Within/Roamans/Jessica London, and other retailers who specialize in plus size fashion. Below are some suggestions on brands I know who aren’t the typical shops, and who provide quality, well-crafted and stylish career wear in plus sizes

Nordstrom
I know, I know, Nordstrom again? Thing is, they offer a great selection of quality brands and style for plus sizes. MICHAEL Michael Kors, Rachel Palley, Calvin Klein, Karen Kane, Eileen Fisher, Tahari Woman, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole… all these brands and more are offered in plus sizes at Nordstrom stores and online.

Unlike many other department stores who think a woman in a size 22 dress wants a muumuu or a flowing polyester pantsuit, Nordstrom buyers find brands and pieces that are in the same vein of style as the rest of the store. Great colors, fun silhouettes, lots of options. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, will perform alterations onsite, and have personal shoppers that can help you secure a professional wardrobe for your job.

Macy’s
Macy’s is another department store who offers a fantastic selection of brands and styles for plus sizes. Alfani, Calvin Klein, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, and then their in-house brand INC International Concepts are great resources for great plus size office wear. Like Nordstrom, Macy’s provides a good amount of real estate in most of their stores for plus-sized fashion.

Macy’s always has promotions for discounts and shipping deals. Macy’s has a great return and exchange policy, where you can return by mail or at any nearby store.

Talbots
Talbots Woman comes in sizes 12-24 regular and 12-22 petite. Each season they offer several styles of suit separates so you can mix and match for the perfect career look. Talbots also specializes in business casual looks, with tailored trousers, well-crafted skirts, polished knits and sweaters and even shoes and accessories.

While many retailers hide their plus size department in a dusty corner or keep it only online, Talbots often has separate stores just for their Woman line, or else it gets plenty of real estate in their mixed-size store. Talbots is phenomenal with customer service, seeking out sizes at other locations, taking returns in-store, and giving you honest feedback and offering suggestions at the fitting room. When I was a size 18, Talbots was my go-to store, where I knew I would find quality, style, and a supportive staff.

Jones New York
While Jones New York is a department store staple, they also have their own online boutique that has a large selection of career wear in extended sizes. Since you have to return by mail (they offer a pre-paid shipping label), it’s good to try out JNY in a store to know how it fits, and then go online to find a larger selection.

Kiyonna
Kiyonna knows how to dress a woman. They make well-made pieces that are stylish and flattering to a plus-sized figure. No muumuus and garish prints here, Kiyonna offers beautiful dresses, and also a beautiful selection of separates. While their bottoms are very basic, they are well-made and classic. Some of their tops can run on the sexy side, but many are great pieces for business casual environments or fabulous shells under suits. Their return policy is pretty standard but I hear their sizing is quite consistent so once you know how you fit in Kiyonna you won’t have to make as many returns and exchanges.

Ann Taylor
If you enter an Ann Taylor store, you may think they don’t care about anyone over a size 12. However online they go up to size 18 and XXL on the majority of their pieces. I also find Ann Taylor runs a bit large and many of my readers have agreed that their size 18 can often fit a size 20 woman.

Ann Taylor regularly has promotions for free shipping and percentages off select items – it’s smart to sign up for their emails or follow them on Facebook or Twitter so you stay updated. Their online selection can sell out pretty quickly when they have such sales, so shop early. While Ann Taylor doesn’t offer free returns, they do accept returns even of larger sizes in any store. And if you have to do a return, check out their sale rack where I have regularly seen larger sizes from other women who have made returns.

Lands’ End
Lands’ End may not be the retailer you would think for career wear, but they do have a pretty great selection of workwear staples. While their summer selection is more geared towards shorts and dresses, they always have a good selection of blazers and coordinating bottoms and come the cooler months have an even greater selection of suiting and work-appropriate pieces.

Lands’ End often has promotions for discounts and free shipping so sign up for their emails to get the latest news. Lands’ End also accepts returns at Sears stores which makes shopping with them even more convenient.

Eddie Bauer
Like Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer mainly focuses on casual weekend fashion. However, like Lands’ End they have a few stand-out pieces each season for career wear. Eddie Bauer often focuses on easy-care pieces, and you’re likely to find wrinkle-free suiting, no-iron button-front shirts, and machine washable trousers and dresses. Eddie Bauer offers free exchanges and accepts returns by mail (they will provide a pre-paid shipping label or you can send by your own method) or in store.

Overstock
I’m quick to head to Overstock to find a toaster oven or an area rug, but I have now learned to go to this site for fashion. Popular brands like Tahari, Kasper, Calvin Klein, and Ann Klein are featured by Overstock, and at nicer prices than at the department store. While some of the styles offered on Overstock are a bit strange, you can also find some gems – often pieces being sold right now at your nearby Belk or Macy’s. Overstock has customer reviews, ridiculously cheap shipping, and a reasonable return policy.

TJ Maxx
While most of my local discount big box retailers will have some plus size fashion, it’s usually a small section, messy, and full of strange pieces I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Not so for TJ Maxx, who usually carries higher-end brands than similar stores, and they usually have a larger and better organized plus size department.


Where do you find stylish and well-made plus size career wear? I’d love to know your suggestions!

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What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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DC Sip and Swap

Image via So Much to Smile About
 
Last Thursday I attended the DC Sip and Swap, hosted by the lovely Amy & Melissa of The Swapaholics and Swap.com. For those who didn’t attend, you purchase a ticket (between $10 – $20 depending on when and where you got it), bring a bag full of gently used clothing, shoes and accessories and then get to grab all the donated items that work for you.  Anything leftover was donated to Goodwill.

Image via The Feast

Have you ever seen footage of Filene’s Running of the Brides? This was like that, but with less stripping of clothes in the center of the room and more black clothing.

I brought an XL LL Bean Boat and Tote overflowing with lots of great pieces – clothes from my now-defunct Shop My Closet as well as a few other pieces that no longer fit or no longer fit my personal style. While the Sip and Swap team organized all the donations, we attendees got to enjoy downtown Clarendon. Then we came back for the official beginning of the swap.

Images via Fasshonaburu, DC Goodwill Fashionista

I was excited to meet many bloggers I have respected and read for a while, such as District of Chic, Megan Nielsen, Fasshonaburu, Cardigans & Couture, whippedSTYLE, and La Rue Neuve. I also got to catch up with DC blogger buddies like Heart Print and Style, So Much to Smile About, and MartaFacts. We sipped wine, chatted, caught up… and didn’t realize that there were some rabid swappers in attendance.


I love this video from Quarter Life, which shows what the swap was like when they opened the doors. Since I was wearing a blue maxi dress, it’s pretty easy to see me in the video (I am in the center left, and it takes me a while to come in because I wasn’t expecting Running of the Brides). There were rolling racks along the sides of the large room, tables separating jeans from blouses from skirts from trousers. The stage at the back of the room held jewelry, scarves, shoes, and other accessories.

By time I got into the room, it was packed with women who were throwing anything they could reach into their bags. Fabric was flying, a few were stripping down to bike shorts and sports bras to try pieces and throwing back into the crowd the pieces that didn’t work. It was crazy. I headed to the stage, figuring I would have a better chance finding good jewelry than clothing that would fit. I grabbed a mother of pearl bangle bracelet and a strand of pearls, turned around to apologize for bumping into someone, turned back and 90% of the jewelry was gone. I figure someone must have swept it all into a bag. I grabbed some bright purple beads, figuring I could take off the thread and repurpose, or give to Emerson as costume jewelry.

Image via The Feast

The crowd started thinning, I saw women with those giant blue IKEA bags overflowing, women crouched in corners hugging their scores. A woman walked by with two huge totes overflowing and a few items tucked under her arm. I guess I was looking with my mouth agape because she defended herself by saying, “What? I have three kids I need to dress.”

This was the swap in a nutshell. Many women who were there to donate, hope to get one or two good things, and mingle. And then there were those who were out for the kill, leaving no prisoners. I didn’t let it get me down, I went expecting to not find anything, so I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I met some awesome readers of Wardrobe Oxygen (so great to meet you, I love it when readers introduce themselves!), some awesome bloggers, and the fabulous women of The Swapaholics and Goodwill. And really, I didn’t go for the items, I went for the experience. And the experience taught me that I would definitely attend next time… but next time I’ll be sure to put down the wine glass and wear flat shoes!

What I got:

  • A gold beaded frame clutch – when I got home I realized its actually a wallet, but I can fit my cell in it and it will still snap shut and not look ridiculous
  • Navy twill pants from Ann Taylor in like-new condition, wide waistband, flat front, straight legs, very classic
  • Dark denim sailor-inspired jeans from LOFT that will fit like a dream in five pounds
  • A strand of 30” small ivory pearls that look really nice (quality costume)
  • A slim gold bangle with mother of pearl panels
  • The purple necklace (which Emerson sported this weekend)
  • A pair of perfectly faded and distressed Levis 515s that do not fit and probably will never fit so I will be passing on to someone else
  • A black LOFT jersey dress that must have been shrunken in the dryer because it hardly covers my rear (will be re-donated)
  • A black jersey MICHAEL Michael Kors top that looked cute but wasn’t my style – I gave it to my mom who totally rocks it
   
Have you ever been to a swap?  What did you think?

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Ask Allie: Finding The Perfect Pump

Hi Allie, I’m looking for a comfortable matte black pump. Something with a heel that isn’t TOO high or TOO low (but just right, like Goldilocks, LOL). I might be in my 50s, but I don’t want a shoe that makes me look older, nor can I wear 3″ heels. Any suggestions?

Ah shoe shopping – can be so much fun or can be so frustrating!  Since I am a busy working mom, I do the majority of my shopping online, and that includes shoes.  While answering your question, I will also give you a peek into how I find shoes online:

I love shopping Nordstrom online for shoes – not only do they have free shipping and free returns and no time limit for those returns, they also have a search-friendly site and a boatload of customer reviews. On Nordstrom.com, I went to Women, Women’s Shoes, then chose Pumps, and then chose less than a 3” heel. From there, I could narrow to just black and found:


I have this shoe in a higher heel and find them wearable all day. They are comfortable, classic, and not at all frumpy. Not only that, you get all this for less than $100!

Reviews say they run a hair large, but are cushioned and comfortable. The wide heel will keep you feeling stable, but the touch of gold keeps these pumps from looking frumpy or boring.

In a similar sleek silhouette as the “Flex,” this is a pump that will stay stylish for many seasons to come. Reviews say it runs a hair narrow, but one said she was able to wear them straight out of the box without a single blister!

Next stop was ShopStyle, where I clicked on Shoes, then Pumps, then narrowed by color, and then narrowed it to shoes under $250. You can also narrow by size, price, and if the shoes are on sale. While ShopStyle can be utterly overwhelming (without size I had 426 pages of black pumps), it covers more than one retailer online. In just the first 20 pages I found:

Naturalizer shoes are known for comfort, and these pumps have a N5 Comfort system footbed, which provides cushioning, support, and shock absorption with each step. Since these are available via Zappos, you have their free shipping and return policy, and over 20 detailed reviews from customers that can help you decide if these are a worthy purchase.


I have a couple pairs of shoes from Fitzwell and find them to be well made and very comfortable. Their heel is strategically placed to be the most supportive and to balance the foot. These shoes are on Amazon and sold by size, so if this isn’t your size, search the site for another listing. $89, eligible for Prime shipping and free returns!

Unfortunately since it’s via Loehman’s there’s not a lot of information on this shoe, just a great price of $69.99. However I did a bit of Googling and found that people find Tahari shoes to be very comfortable, yet occasionally run a hair long or narrow.

Finally I went to Zappos. While Zappos is known for their extensive selection, I often have a hard time weeding out decent shoes from all the crap or designer pieces. Usually they are my second or third destination, once I got a lay of the footwear land at other sites. Zappos is however, a place I regularly search for reviews of shoes – if I find the shoes I like at one retailer but don’t have enough information on them, I will check Zappos, and if Zappos has a competitive price, I will likely purchase from there. Here, I clicked on shoes, then heels, then pumps, black, and all styles under 3” heel that are under $200. You could further narrow the selection by size, width, fabric, and even occasion. Even with all my details, I still had 244 shoes to choose from. A couple nice ones:

This shoe gets mixed reviews, some saying the toebox is too short or stiff, but others finding the shoe to be perfection. The slight platform makes them look modern and also offsets the heel height, the shoe has an Adidas adiPRENE® heel and Adidas adiPRENE®+ forefoot cushioning which absorbs shock and enhances natural motion. All this for $110.

I have a pair of the Cole Haan Air series shoes, and find them to be stylish, well made, quality materials, and far more comfortable than standard shoes of a similar style. Cole Haan’s Air series has concealed NIKE AIR® technology which makes the shoe more comfortable for long days. One reviewer states they were transformed into Audrey Hepburn upon wearing these shoes – sounds pretty stylish to me!

Always nice to find a shoe that is available in a variety of widths! Vignotti shoes are trendy silhouettes rooted in classic, timeless designs. Cushioned footbed for additional comfort, and positive reviews from readers make these a good shoe to consider.

Finally, if I know a brand or style fits, I will search for the lowest price while still having a great return/exchange policy.  I will go directly to sites like 6pm.com who have great customer service and prices that can’t be beat.  I’ll also check eBay, and even have a few alerts set up for certain styles that I know I want.  Finally, I will Google a shoe brand and name or style number and see what pops up – sometimes they will be cheap at a site like Endless, Amazon, or Overstock, and sometimes I will even find bloggers who are selling the exact shoe I want in a “Shop My Closet” site.  Point is, don’t stick to one style of search, it is possible to find fabulous shoes that fit and flatter not only your body but also your wallet!

Note: Though shoes may be seen in patent, all styles shown are available in classic and versatile matte black leather.  I just had a hard time finding decent-sized pics for all!

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Gwynnie Bee in 2013: Behind the Scenes

Gwynnie Bee is like Netflix for fashion sizes 10 and up. For a monthly fee, you can borrow clothing as often as you wish. Be it work blazers or cocktail dresses, leather jackets or sequined tank tops, Gwynnie Bee has you covered with fabulous, fun, and well-crafted fashion from some of the hottest plus size brands. I have been working with Gwynnie Bee for half a year now, and I just love it more and more. Their selection of clothing has improved, shipping has sped up, and their customer service hasn’t been sacrificed in any manner with their growth. Last week I had the fabulous opportunity to chat with Christine Hunsicker, CEO of Gwynnie Bee, to chat about how the business came to be and it’s direction for 2013.

How Gwynnie Bee Started
Christine grew up in rural Pennsylvania where there were, “more cows than people.” Her aunt lived across the road and was a seamstress by trade. Every Monday, Christine would receive a box of clothes from her aunt that would dress her for a week. Crazy prints, fun silhouettes, and everything fit perfectly no matter her size. Christine and her cousin would swap garments for variety and when they tired of the clothes, they would consign them and use the funds to purchase more fabric. This childhood gave Christine the ability to experiment with fashion without having to commit. Things changed when Christine wanted to wear the same popular trends as her classmates. She recalled when she went to the mall to get her first pair of denim shorts and soon realized she was at the higher end of the size spectrum. She tried on a pair and felt that something was wrong with her since they didn’t fit her figure. That realization hit hard and she had a massive breakdown in the fitting room Fast forward to college and her 20s, where Christine wore a uniform of jeans, tee shirts, and boring black staples because fashion just didn’t feel fun anymore.

A couple years ago, Christine sold her start-up business and was looking to do a new project – something big, long-lasting and would be of service to people and make a major impact in their daily lives. She thought about the stress and frustration of shopping, and how she knew of friends and family who dealt with the same issue and from that decided to start Gwynnie Bee.

Gwynnie Bee’s business culture is all about giving the customer and amazing experience and provide stellar service. Hunsicker believes that if you treat your customer well and with respect, it makes a huge difference on how people view the business. While on the phone with Christine, I mentioned my sister is a member and she immediately knew not just her name but clothes she had borrowed from Gwynnie Bee and feedback she had provided. She also knew of a friend I mentioned who also is a member of Gwynnie Bee. This was not prepared, our phone conversation was only scheduled about an hour ahead of time. It’s just proof of how this company truly sees each member as an individual person.

Gwynnie Bee in 2013 – What to Expect
Christine mentioned how drastically different the collection is now from how it was a year ago and she says that’s completely because of member feedback. Gwynnie Bee carries more statement pieces, more pieces that are a celebration and make fashion fun. Thanks to member feedback (which they constantly encourage – even brutal honest criticism), the Gwynnie Bee collection has more statement pieces, more colorful, fun, and flattering pieces. They hope to offer styles that women may not necessarily buy or even consider in a store but find they like when they try it on. The collection will continue to improve in 2013, and you can expect to see more indie designers, the introduction of jeans and pants, accessories, and a true wardrobe feel.

The site will also be getting some upgrades this year, and one feature I am most excited about is prioritization. I have had many of you readers tell me you find it frustrating that you can’t put your “closet” items in priority order. Gwynnie Bee heard your feedback, has a prioritization pilot program in place, and will be building this feature into the site this year. They will also be trying to make the site more informative with more editorial, suggestions on how to style pieces from the collection, and guest blog posts.

Shipping will be even faster this year as Gwynnie Bee moves to distribution warehouses. This change will shave an entire day off your garment deliveries!

The reason these improvements are happening is because of member feedback. Be it on the little cards you mail back with your garments, your reviews on the sites, comments on Facebook and Twitter or emails directly to the team, Gwynnie Bee acts on every bit of feedback they receive. Gwynnie Bee strives on having a public and wide open business, accepting the good and the bad feedback. They encourage all of you to let them know what you like and what you find could be improved so you can help make the company better for your fellow women.

I’ve received some Gwynnie Bee new releases over the past couple of weeks and see a drastic difference from the more traditional cuts and colors from when I started with them at the end of the summer. Hot brands like ASOS, Michael Kors, DKNY, and Eloquii. Leather, galaxy prints, sequins, peplums, and all the other hot trends along with workday classics and elegant party frocks. More customer reviews with each piece so you can get a better feel as to whether it’s a good choice for you. And more selection, be it styles or sizes. It’s exciting to see a company grow and improve before your very eyes, and I am proud to be a spokesperson for them.

Awesome Gwynnie Bee Promotion!
If you haven’t yet checked out Gwynnie Bee, now is the time!  Gwynnie Bee is currently offering a promotion where you can get a 30-day free trial of their program.  You won’t be charged unless you continue with the service and you can cancel online at anytime.  Well Gwynnie Bee is also offering all Wardrobe Oxygen readers a free one-garment upgrade on their new subscription!  Just be sure to use the link in this post and mention Wardrobe Oxygen to receive it.  Offer is valid for those choosing the one, two, or three garment plan.  This deal won’t last forever, it expires Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at midnight. Existing members, let your friends know about the 30-day trial (using your name) and you earn a free month!

Note: I do receive a commission on each new Gwynnie Bee membership if my or my blog name is mentioned at sign-up. However, all thoughts in this and any Gwynnie Bee posts are mine and they have no editorial control. I wanted to know more about Christine and the company and asked to do this phone interview; I am not being compensated for publishing this post. I just think Gwynnie Bee is rad.

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