Search Results for: label/NYDJ

What I Wore: A Place for Everything with Dagne Dover

wardrobe oxygen what I wore dabne dover mini bag review dagne dover mini tote review wardrobe oxygen what I wore dagne dover bag review
Blazer: Ralph Lauren (thrifted – similar) | Tee: armor-lux (gift from reader – similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Shoes: Cole Haan (similar) | Bag: c/o Dagne Dover

Reader Missy recently contacted me regarding the bag company Dagne Dover. She saw there was a pop-up shop taking place in DC and asked if I may be attending, and if so could I report back on what the bags were like in person. See, Missy has had the Dagne Dover Mini Tote on her wish list for months but was afraid to pull the trigger on such a pricey bag if she hasn’t seen and experienced it. Unfortunately I had plans the day of the DC pop-up shop so I contacted Dagne Dover to see if there would be another show in my area in the near future. To be honest I hadn’t heard of this brand before Missy’s email.  They were kind enough to send me one of the Mini Totes for me to experience and share with all of you.

Dagne Dover The Mini Tote Review

The Mini Tote from Dagne Dover is an incredibly smart bag while still maintaining style. Though it’s called a “Mini” you can tell from the photos that this bag isn’t small. However, it’s a manageable size that seems to easily hold much more than my biggest hobos or satchels. It’s not as tall or wide as my Brahmin satchel, but it holds twice as much and is far easier to access everything. There’s a removable cup of sorts to hold an umbrella or bottle of water, a padded pocket inside for a tablet or small notebook computer (I use it to hold my momAgenda and a book or my Kindle), and a zipper exterior pocket that can also hold a similarly sized device (I slipped in my tablet). There’s a pouch to hold sunglasses so they don’t get lost in the abyss, a detachable cord to hold my keys, and pockets to hold and easily access everything from my SmarTrip to my iPhone to my lipstick.  Missy asked if the bag can hold an 8.5 x 11″ document or folder and the answer is yes.  While it wouldn’t fit in any of the pockets, the main interior compartment is wide and deep enough to accommodate.  As I type this, I have 250 flyers of that size tucked in there and still room for my sunglasses, wallet, and the ability to access all the pockets.

Not pictured is a detachable adjustable strap that can make the Mini Tote a shoulder bag or crossbody. The strap is even smartly designed with padding where it rests on your shoulder! For my 5’3″ self I put the strap on the shortest setting and it was right at that comfortable hip place as a crossbody.  The built-in short straps do fit over the shoulder; I could fit it with a thin knit but found it too awkward with this outfit and impossible with a winter coat.  A slimmer woman may find it easier.  Full, the bag may feel too boxy for comfort under the arm, but the other day I slipped it over my shoulder for a quick trip to get lunch (my agenda, book, tablet, and umbrella were not in the bag).  I use the crossbody to get to the office so I can have my hands free to carry coffee or hold on when standing on the Metro, but I feel most comfortable at my height and weight to carry this bag in my hand as I did in this post.

After reading about these bags and the loyal fanbase, I really wanted to see the bag in person.  Why so much for a bag not out of leather?  Seeing it in person and using the bag, the price and loyalty is justified.  The bag is of coated canvas but it could easily be mistaken for Saffiano leather.  All the trim including the handles are of butter-soft Napa leather, the hardware is heavyweight and utterly gorgeous, and the pockets and added details are made with thought and care (a tight pocket for a Metro card, a deeper pocket for a SmartPhone, the ability to put the key cord on the side of your choice for easy access, etc.).  The more I used this bag the more I liked it; to be honest I wrote this post Sunday and came back Wednesday to edit it with more raving and detail.

I find Dagne Dover to be a perfect bag for the busy woman on the go. Unlike my other big bags, I find it a breeze to wear it across my body, unzip it and be able to see and access everything with one hand. Yes, you can hold a cup of coffee and be able to grab your sunglasses, you can hold a child on your hip and find your ringing phone, and you can quickly access your keys in a mall parking lot without having to put down your packages.  The Dagne Dover Mini Tote has a place for everything, with everything in its place.  If you have any questions about the Dagne Dover Mini Tote, please ask in the comments.  While Dagne Dover did send me the bag, this post is not sponsored and they knew I would be completely honest in my review and in replying to any comments.

FYI: The links in this post are for Missy to Share + Score with Dagne Dover.  I wouldn’t have known about this brand if it wasn’t for her.  You can learn more about the Share + Score program on Dagne Dover’s site, but if you are interested in purchasing one of their bags I encourage you to use one of the links on this post and support a fellow Wardrobe Oxygen reader!

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: Simple Isn’t Easy

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instyle essentials shirt NYDJ hayden jeans

Shirt: c/o InStyle Essentials | Jeans: NYDJ ‘Hayden’ | Shoes: Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ | Necklace: Tasha | Watch: Citizen | Bangle: Rebecca Minkoff | Stretch Bracelet: Nordstrom | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bag: ‘Molly‘ c/o Handbag Heaven

Isn’t every woman supposed to have that crisp white shirt and dark pair of jeans in her wardrobe? Aren’t they supposed to be simple, versatile pieces you can throw on in a pinch? Yeah right, how many of us have actually found those things to fit and flatter not only our body but our lifestyles? Yet in the past year I have found both, and it’s pretty darn exciting. InStyle Essentials sent me one of their shirts last year and while it fit… it justfit. I learned that if you’re not just busty but soft and curvy, it’s good to go up a size to make it truly work. This year they sent me another one in the size up and I have been wearing the heck out of it. And as for the jeans, I adore the Hayden style from NYDJ. The petite is too short, the regular too long, so when I saw the Resin color on clearance and Neiman Marcus for $40 each (see don’t judge a department store by its reputation, deals can be found everywhere!), I bought two pairs of regulars and took them to the tailor to be shortened. Having these “simple” wardrobe pieces hasn’t been simple, but very much worth it!

As an aside, this necklace is more awesome than it looks. You may recall I mentioned it was a good buy at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and how I wanted to buy it but was “good” and saved my money. Well a reader I have been emailing with for a while contacted me asking my opinion on some pieces she was considering for the sale including this necklace and she went and bought it for me as a thank you/get well soon gift! Not only is the necklace such an incredibly sweet gesture, but her card with it brought me to tears.

I wrote you a number of years ago because you revolutionized getting dressed for me. You made it expressive and showed me that a curvy woman could be fashionable and classy. I love getting it together to go out, no matter what size I am. Especially having lived in Europe for 9 years, everyone is always dressed up upon stepping out the door. Thanks for helping me give up the sweats and inspiring me on the daily.

Well S, thank YOU for inspiring me to keep blogging and loving it! This necklace, and your whole letter will be items I will treasure. I feel blessed to have connected with you, and with all of you who read Wardrobe Oxygen on a regular basis. THANK YOU!

P.S. I almost called this post I’m My Sister’s Sister because I couldn’t believe I had a picture with one eyebrow up. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did and I look JUST like my sister in that photo!

What I Wore: Weekend State of Mind

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Weekend Mom Style featuring Ramones Tee and NYDJ Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Weekend Look featuring NYDJ Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore NYDJ Ponte Jacket and Hayden Jeans
Jacket: c/o NYDJ | Tee: had forever (similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Boots: DUO (similar) | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Cuff: had forever (similar)

When the weekend comes, I don’t have time to plan out outfits.  I have created a weekend uniform: jeans, a knit top, and a topper. It’s easy to choose sweater coats and cardigans in the fall, but a stretchy jacket like this ponte number from NYDJ is just as comfortable but more refined. This is the type of piece that can work for the office with trousers as well as dress down with a tee shirt for the weekend. With a lot of stretch that can help me chase after a kindergartener on the playground, and a big cup of caffeine to give me energy to go all day, I’m ready for any given Saturday or Sunday!

Brand Love – Not Your Daughter’s Jeans

My stomach has always been my soft spot – even when I was younger, slimmer, and more athletic my lower belly protruded and was mushy. I remember working for Express, wearing their Metro collection – a knit hoodie, v-neck tee, and matching maxi skirt (hey, it was the late ‘90s!) and a customer pulled me aside and told me about a control garment sale taking place down the hall at Lord & Taylor. I was mortified, and resolved to do anything possible to get a six-pack. Even when doing crunches through the commercial breaks of Friends and Beverly Hills 90210 I had a soft tummy. Eventually I got over it and accepted it as a part of my body – a soft, mushy, protruding part of my body that I flattered with wrap dresses, wide waistbands on trousers, and untucked knits.

After having a baby, my lower tummy became even more pronounced. Even when I was able to fit into my pre-pregnancy pants, they looked terrible with my saggy belly. I resigned to the fact that I would live the remainder of my life in dresses… until I tried a pair of Not Your Daughter Jeans.

I hate control garments – they make me look like a stuffed sausage, aren’t comfortable, and often cause gas pains. I’d rather be curvy than uncomfortable. So when I heard that Not Your Daughter’s Jeans had a control aspect to them, they totally turned me off. But a reader raved about them, so I decided to try them. No pain, no constriction, yet the jeans held in my “mama pooch” and made me look more streamlined. The brand states that they will make you look a size smaller – I don’t know if it does that, but each time I wore them in the year after my pregnancy, people told me I looked great and asked if I lost weight.

Emerson is three years old and I still rely on Not Your Daughter’s Jeans for my denim. I have a couple other brands in my wardrobe, but I only wear them with tops that cover my lower belly. With NYDJ, I can wear shorter tops and fitted knits without feeling self-conscious.

Other than the hidden and yoga pant-comfortable control aspect of NYDJ denim, I like that the jeans don’t LOOK like control denim. No logos or visible labels, every cut seems to have an option with non-embellished pockets (I don’t like decorated denim), on-trend washes and silhouettes, and the denim is cut for women with curves. Straight jeans in other brands look like stovepipes on me and skinnies don’t fit over my calves – with NYDJ straight looks straight and skinny is skinny without cutting circulation off to my feet. I can get classic fits like a dark wash of Barbara or Marilyn, or get trendy with a skinny like Sheri or hot pink cropped Alishas.

Many of you readers have told me that you find NYDJ to be too expensive – and yes, they aren’t cheap. However, they are quality jeans. If I wash on the gentle cycle and line dry, my NYDJ jeans will remain in great shape with the same saturated color for years. I recently sold a pair of two-year old NYDJ on eBay for $35 and they were worn and washed several dozen times, yet were in great enough condition to garner positive feedback from the buyer. NYDJ is also available at great prices at Nordstrom Rack, Amazon, and NYDJ outlet stores (for you local yokels, there’s one at Arundel Mills Mall). But really, I often talk about quality, not quantity and I feel NYDJ fits the bill – you can get away with one pair of their $125 jeans to cover weekends and nights out with friends equally well, and not find them to be dated in a year’s time.

And nope, NYDJ didn’t ask me to write this post. I am writing this because I noticed on laundry day how many pairs I own, and how often I happily wear them. I believe a woman should love and accept her current body, she shouldn’t go through pain or humiliation to achieve society’s ideal for a woman’s figure. However, if you can find something that makes you feel more confident and flatters this lovely body you own, I say go for it!

Update: Many of you had questions so I figured I’d answer them here for all to read:

  • These jeans are a high rise; that helps keep the tummy completely smooth and there’s no muffin top.  However they don’t taper like “Mom Jeans” giving you a weird shape, and the pockets are still at the appropriate place on the bum.  The novelty styles seem to have a lower rise than the traditional jeans
  • I haven’t had any problem with the color fading or running with the novelty jeans.  I planned to wash the red on its own, but my husband threw them in with the rest of the denim and they turned out great.  The pink still looks bright after several washes.
  • The jeans run a hair large, especially if you want them to suck in the tummy.  If you are deciding between two sizes, go a size down.  I have NYDJs in 12 and 10, but the 10s suck in the tummy better but aren’t indecent/too tight/uncomfortable.
  • NYDJ has the control in the tummy area, not in the hips or rear.  However, they are made for a woman’s curves so those of you who find jeans are not flattering to your hips or bum may like them because of the lightweight stretchy denim, shape, and style.  I cannot personally vouch for this as I am as apple as apple can be.
  • I am 5’3″ and I have NYDJs in regular and petite lengths.  Each style seems to have a different inseam.  The straight legs I like in regular because they look best with heels, however I have a pair of petite straight legs I wear with flat shoes.  The bootcuts run longer and I find the petite is too short for my heels, so I have the regulars shortened by my dry cleaner.  Check the descriptions, even their crops come in different inseams in regular lengths.  I recommend trying them on in a store to really understand the unique fit of NYDJs – they aren’t like regular jeans for weight, shape, or length and the style that I like best may not be the best bet for your specific figure.

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Ask Allie: Plus Size Tall Retailers

It is becoming easier to find stylish clothes in tall sizes and in plus sizes but hard to find garments that are both. Don’t the manufacturers realize a person can be both tall and fat? I find the perfect office trousers in a plus size but then they aren’t long enough. Or I find the perfect office trousers that are long enough but they aren’t big enough. Over a certain waist size, it is impossible to get a 34″ inseam.

The reason is supply and demand. While it seems simple to just have the same pieces with a couple more inches at the hem, a retailer needs to invest in stock in that size. If they don’t have a proven customer, they can see extra lengths and sizes as a financial risk. The reason plus size fashion has improved lately is because plus sized women have begun to speak up, and LOUD. Opinion pieces in reputable publications, more and more plus size bloggers, and social media have given plus sized fashionistas the platform to let the retailers know they DESERVE style and if it exists, will purchase it.

It’s time for those who need not just plus size, but petite and tall lengths to speak up! The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it’s clear that not all plus sized women are comfortable with a 32” inseam. Let your voices be heard, and make change happen in the apparel industry!

plus size tall long clothing retailers for women

Luckily some retailers understand that many plus sized women are also tall, and have added long lengths to their collections. A few retailers who offer plus sized tall or plus sized long lengths:

Lands’ End

Lands’ End realizes that a tall woman doesn’t just need a longer inseam for her jeans, but more length everywhere. Offering everything from sweaters to swimsuits, Lands’ End has a pretty varied plus size tall collection. Lands’ End often has great promotions, I recommend signing up for their emails to get the scoop when they take place. Lands’ End also has a generous return policy making online shopping a breeze.

Eloquii

Eloquii just released long and short lengths in their popular Kady Fit ankle pant.  Ankle pants are so hard for tall women to find, and this one comes in a 31″ length.  I hope this is just the beginning of lengths being offered at this stylish fashion resource for plus sized women!

Talbots

Talbots is one of the few retailers who offers both Womens Plus Tall and Womens Plus Petite pieces. Their plus size tall selection is only pants, but each season they offer at least a dozen styles up to a 24W with a 35” inseam. Talbots is another retailer who has amazing sales and great emails to notify you of them and you can return and exchange online purchases in their storefronts.

Long Tall Sally

Long Tall Sally specializes in clothing and accessories for tall women. They offer up to a 38” inseam, size 20, and even up to size 15 shoe. Long Tall Sally is not just a great resource for clothing, but also activewear, providing athletic gear and swimwear for those with long legs and torsos.  While shipping isn’t cheap with Long Tall Sally, they do now have Click & Collect in their shops.

Torrid

Torrid is known for trendy, youthful fashion in plus sizes, but they also have great wardrobe staples. Their tall collection (34” inseam) has trendy denim as well as classic styles of jeans, work trousers, and ponte pants; their extra tall selection (36” inseam) is limited but still provides some great styles of denim.

NYDJ

NYDJ offers a 35” inseam on many of their popular styles up to size 16. While you can find classic denim looks in long lengths, they also have trendy looks like coated denim and faux leather leggings. NYDJ runs big and stretchy; I recommend purchasing a size smaller than you’re accustomed to.  NYDJ also has free shipping and returns, making them a great online shopping resource.

Lane Bryant

While their selection of plus size tall bottoms are limited, there’s some good office staples in there and Lane Bryant always has some prints and variation from basic black pants and the occasional trendy piece.

Old Navy

Old Navy has tall and long lengths; their long inseam is 34” and their tall inseam 36”. Not only that, they are another retailer to realize tall women need more than black pants and offer tops, activewear, and shorts in tall sizes.

Alloy

Alloy has quite an extensive tall collection and go up to a size 25 and 3XL. Alloy is a great resource for on-trend plus size tall pieces like jumpsuits, waterfall cardigans, maxi skirts, and dresses which are often unavailable in longer lengths.

Long Elegant Legs

Founded by a tall woman, Long Elegant Legs has a great selection of everything from jeans and pants to activewear and sleepwear. They have styles up to a 39” inseam and offer up to size 24 making this a great resource for plus size tall women.

Have you found plus size tall clothing at any other retailers? Do share in the comments!

What I Wore: Rule Breaker

Shirt: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff

For YEARS I preached how some style rules just shouldn’t be broken, and one I stuck to was not wearing white pants before Memorial Day. And here it is the first full week of May and I’m wearing white jeans on the blog! (I also wore this same exact outfit a couple weeks ago, see on Instagram). Why the change of heart?  As my friend Rosana said on Twitter last week, by Memorial Day it’s just too hot to wear white jeans!  Also I think it looks seasonally appropriate when paired with darker colors and cooler weather accessories.  Choosing a closed-toe shoe and a longer sleeved blouse in navy shows I’m a purposeful rule breaker!

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What I Wore: Leopard with Stripes

wardrobe oxygen what i wore talbots leopard coat wardrobe oxygen what i wore stripes and leopard wardrobe oxygen what i wore leopard coat talbots alison gary wardrobe oxygen
Coat: c/o Talbots | Tee: Armor-Lux | Jeans: NYDJ | Booties: Cole Haan (similar style, same brand) | Bag: c/o Fossil | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I shared this Talbots coat in my Talbots Fall Look Book post and was so excited when they sent me one as a gift! This is more of a coat than an indoor jacket; it’s the perfect choice over dresses, blouses and trousers, but I love how it glams up a classic weekend look. I’ve always been a fan of mixing leopard with stripes (see here and here), and this coat’s fuzzy texture adds an additional layer of interest. This coat is a 12 Petite, lined and cozy enough for a brisk fall day; add a pashmina at the throat and leather gloves and it will be just enough until the weather gets frigid!

Current favorite red lip is actually two colors – I start with Revlon Matte Lipstick in ‘Really Red’ and top with Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in ‘Enticing.’ I find if I start with the Pixi lip primer/liner first, pat it in my finger, apply the lipstick and let it dry/set a bit, I keep the color all day and the Lacquer Balm refreshes it and adds shine.

Saturday: Weekend Style

Top: Ann Taylor | Jeans: NYDJ | Necklace:Cameron” c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot | Flats:Mary” c/o Ecco | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

My weekend style is pretty simple – solid or striped knit top with jeans. When it’s cold those jeans are covered with tall boots, when it’s warmer the flats come out. Yes folks, I do own flats and wear them on weekends to give my feet a change of pace. Ecco sent me these flats and I adore them because they are a soft leather, have good structure and arch support, and I love the soft metallic finish.

This top was a final sale from Ann Taylor online and I wish it wasn’t for I would likely return it. It’s extremely boxy which makes me look a bit like a linebacker and the side zippers scratch my stomach. Oh, and even though I bought it online and it arrived with tags, it smelled like another person’s deodorant and perfume and had blonde hairs twisted into the knit. Seems to be a running theme lately with online shops as I made my first MYHABIT purchase – a lovely red Latico leather crossbody that is the perfect color and size for casual spring and summer activities (and half the price of what it’s selling for online). Though it had tags on it, the bag came with a “purse score” (festie terminology: when you find something random and good on the field after a performance at a festival it’s called a ground score) of a Yogi Bedtime tea bag and a clay bead. I get that shops re-sell returned items, but where is the quality assurance that checks pockets, sterilizes and cleans items before retagging?

On a positive note, The “Hayden” jeans from NYDJ in petite is a pretty good straight jeans for the spring per my fantasy fashion wish list!

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Blogging Love – Interview!

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

You can check out the interview here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday

I must remember to lift my chin for photos.  
I must remember to lift my chin for photos.  
I must remember to lift my chin for photos.

I still love this top from Jones New York.  You know it may not be what one would choose for my figure – it hides any narrowness to my waist, it has a high neck, and it has wide armholes which make my upper arms look even wider.  But the print is fantastic, and in the hot DC summers, it is AWESOME to have such a lightweight top (cotton voile) that is work- and play-friendly!  The top says dry clean only, but I washed it on gentle, let it air dry and did a quick swipe with the iron to keep the interfacing inside the armholes and nat have it look as though I pulled it out from the hamper and it was good to go.

I was going to wear it with my brown trousers from Semantiks, but those pants… are too big.  I have only worn them twice.  I don’t know if it is removing weight (my WW leader says you don’t lose weight because that sounds as though you want to find it again.  Instead you REMOVE weight), or because my body is eternally changing and morphing post-pregnancy.  Anyway, they look as though they are a size too big and sag in the crotch area and look dumpy.  Sigh.

So I am totally breaking work dress code and wearing my straight-legged jeans from NYDJ.  I totally heart these jeans – the higher rise prevents muffin top and doesn’t dig into me when I sit.  The stretch doesn’t look goofy – the denim has a great tight weave and deep dark rinse which makes them look far more refined than many stretchy jeans.  The jeans are supposed to take 10 pounds off, but they don’t really suck in a ton.  I personally am happy for that because control garments like Spanx make me look like a stuffed sausage and TMI, but give me major gas if worn for a long period of time.  These jeans from NYDJ hold a bit in, but are comfy to wear all day.  And I am one of “those people” who throws her jeans in the dryer.  You wouldn’t be able to tell with these jeans, they are just as dark as they were the day I bought them.  So since they are a nice crisp dark indigo, I feel they are a bit more work-worthy than say my distressed bootcuts from Seven.

TopJones New York
JeansNot Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ)
Necklace and Bracelet – Ann Taylor
ShoesSofft

Hair was washed and conditioned with Pureology, added Frederic Fekkai’s Luscious Curls, scrunched and let air dry.  Still damp in these photos.  Makeup is my standard – Almay Smart Shade makeup in Light/Medium, Tarte bronzer, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis, DiorShow mascara, Bare Escentuals Buxom lip gloss in Dolly.

Outlet Mall Shopping

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

SweaterVince Camuto
Skirt – Ann Taylor (similar)
Tights - DKNY
ShoesTalbots
Hoops – Claire’s (similar)
BraceletsLauren Ralph Lauren
Bag – Brahmin (similar)
TrenchDKNY

I wasn’t going to do any clothing shopping for me this month, but I saw this sweater at Nordstrom and had to have it. I have again gotten myself stuck where I don’t have a lot of casual and weekend clothing. This is an issue I deal with often in the winter as I don’t like many of the trends for current casual wear on my body (longer sweaters, skinny jeans). While I love skirts and dresses for work, it’s nice to throw on a pair of jeans on weekends, and I am at a place with my weight-loss where I don’t really like this body in jeans and can’t find many that fit. This sweater, while it looks great for work, also looks nice with my NYDJ jeans as well as my black ponte mini-boot pants from LOFT, making it work for work as well as play!

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Friday

It was a very gray and rainy morning today in the Nation’s Capital. Doesn’t help that I have been battling a migraine AND we had a pwoer failure this morning. Hair air dried into some strange waves, makeup applied by candlelight, and it’s Casual Friday so I am rocking my dark NYDJ jeans, DUO boots, an ivory and black striped tee and taupe chunky sweater jacket from Ann Taylor. You don’t need to see a picture of this mess, so instead you can see Emerson leading the march to the car this morning to take me to the Metro. Can you believe how big she’s getting? Those are 2T jeans – two weeks ago we had to cuff them so she didn’t trip over them!

The sun has been working very hard on shining this afternoon, which has improved my spirits! Lots of events on the books for this weekend, have yet to decide which ones to enjoy! What are your plans this weekend?

 
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Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

What I Wore: In the Navy

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #SoleSociety Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Navy and White Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Sole Society Suede Pumps Jacket: Lauren Ralph Lauren (thrifted – similar) | Tank: Boden | Jeans: NYDJ | Bag: c/o Fossil | Watch: Citizen | Shoes: ‘Ena‘ c/o Sole Society

I’ve been hearing about Sole Society for a while and admired their shoes but didn’t know much about the brand or its quality. So when Sole Society contacted me and offered to send me a pair of their shoes to try out, I was pretty excited. While Sole Society has many fun and fashionable styles, I wanted to try a more classic pair that could work at the office. I chose the ‘Ena’ pump; a 2.5″ heel shoe with a pointed toe and bow detail. While it comes in a black and white tweed and mushroom colored suede, I chose navy suede as it is becoming more and more a prominent color in my wardrobe.  I ordered an 8, my regular size and found it to fit like most department store brands of shoes, both in width as well as length.

sole society ena suede pump navy

For this outfit, I styled the Ena Suede Pump in more of a Casual Friday look with dark denim and a navy blazer, but have also worn the pumps with a simple sheath dress and with ivory trousers and a silk tee.  Sole Society is known for high quality shoes, bags, and accessories at amazing prices and these pumps do not disappoint. I think the quality and style rival brands that would sell a similar shoe at twice the price. I also have to say that from the blog end of things, it has been a pleasure working with the people of Sole Society, they’re super nice, personable, and passionate about their brand.  All that and they have a referral program where you can earn a $25 credit for referring friends to Sole Society!

Have you shopped with Sole Society before?  What do you think of the brand?

Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!





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What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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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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My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Ann Taylor (bought on eBay 5 years ago for $14.99, no clue how old, label style unfamiliar to me)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesCole Haan
Scarf – c/o Nordstrom Rack
BagSabina
Silver cuff

I forgot to set my alarm last night. My body woke me up at 7:15 (glad it wasn’t 8:15) and I had 45 minutes to get myself together and out the door. I had pulled this skirt out of my stash of potential winter things and a month ago it was just too tight, too short, and I thought I would re-eBay it. I pulled it on this morning since it was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed… and it fit! Only thing wrong is I guess the hem dry rotted and has fallen out while wearing (easy to fix). Very excited to have another leather skirt in my arsenal!

New bag – I had $40 in Nordstrom rewards, saw this bag for $129 and decided to try it.  I have wanted a bigger bag to carry my netbook and such, and wanted a soft black purse (currently have my Banana Republic one which is that textured hard leather like a football). Love the bag, so soft, holds so much, necessary front pocket (with magnet closure) and hey… gotta love such a quality bag for only $89!

Sorry for the delay in posting, work has gotten really hectic. Glad I stocked the office fridge with Lean Cuisines because that’s the only way I get to eat anything. The only time I have left my desk is to hit the printer or the bathroom (and refill my water bottle!). Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks!

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