Search Results for: label/ann taylor

What I Wore: Old School Allie

wardrobe oxygen what I wore Red Fossil Leather Erin Satchel wardrobe oxygen what i wore fossil red leather bag wardrobe oxygen what I wore ann taylor stripe tee loft pants fossil bag
Tee: Ann Taylor | Pants: LOFT | Scarf: Liberty London (similar) | Bag: c/o Fossil (similar) | Watch: Citizen | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Shoes: Cole Haan (similar)

I wore this outfit last week to work and I felt very Classic Allie. My sister bought me this scarf a few years ago when she visited London and I love pairing it with stripes. And well, we all know I love stripes! I put away laundry this weekend and was floored how I have a drawer of almost all striped tees, but I wear them all and they all have different purposes, fits, and colors. This one I recently picked up at Ann Taylor; I like the notched hem and leather elbow patches which makes it look a bit more polished than a traditional tee, and I liked the sale price!

What I Wore: Cozy Stripe

wardrobe oxygen what I wore kensie blanket sweater leather leggings wardrobe oxygen what I wore leather bag HYHABIT review wardrobe oxygen what I wore kensie striped sweater
Sweater: Kensie | Tee: Ann Taylor | Pants: Ann Taylor (old – similar petite/regular version, plus version) | Shoes: Jessica Simpson | Belt: Halogen | Bag: Chancebanda via MYHABIT | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I love huge sweaters like this, so perfect to snuggle up in when the temperatures drop. This weekend I wore it as a cardigan with a simple tee and jeans, but tried wrapping and belting the sweater and found it looked more polished and appropriate for a casual day at the office or going out to brunch with my friends.  I love the color story and it has fun knit elbow pads for interest.

The bag is a recent MYHABIT score; I had some credit stored up and this bag went on mega sale making it only $19! The blue is no longer available but they do have it in brown and plum.  I don’t love the lining which is a plasticy feeling acetate, but the leather and color is great, I love that there’s short handles plus the adjustable crossbody/shoulder strap, an outside pocket for my SmarTrip card and phone, and plenty of interior pockets to keep me organized.

As for the tee, it’s on a mega sale right now – when I bought it, it was $24.99 and then 60% off that price.  I got it in the black and white and the navy and oatmeal colors – you know me, I can’t resist a good price on a great striped tee!

Recent Purchases – Ann Taylor

I have made some recent purchases from Ann Taylor, here’s my reviews of the pieces!


As soon as I saw this dress in the store I HAD to have it! Unfortunately they didn’t have my size in the store. However the next day, Ann Taylor had 40% off and free shipping so I got it online. I ordered a 12 Petite, since that seems to be my standard size with this company.

The dress is exactly in person as it looks on the model – intense cobalt shade, nice weight of ponte, cute hip pockets, exposed back zipper. However, it runs small in the arms and bust. If I had a smaller chest (we’re talking a B), and therefore smaller arms, as 12 Petite would have fit – it looked great everywhere else. So I exchanged it for a 14 Petite, which I love and have now worn twice. I think it looks cute with bare legs, will look great with black opaque tights or boots, and come spring will still look sassy.

I wore this dress here and I really like it. It has an unusual silhouette, is stretchy and comfortable, and can dress up and down with ease. I wore it with a wide belt, but also think it looks great (and more dressy) without a belt, or could use a skinny belt for a pop of color or shine.

I got this dress in a 12 Petite and almost considered trading it for a 12 Regular – it runs a bit short in the waist. However, I stuck with petite because it fit so well in every other location.

I got this in a 12 Petite and had to struggle for several minutes to get it zipped up, Once on, it looked ridiculous – too tight in the body, gaping at the armholes, waistband a hair too high on the waist yet the length was still to the top of the kneecap. Would be cute maybe on a straighter figure. I also found it to be a bit too casual – I thought it would be a pretty dress for a wedding, but on the fabric looked more work-appropriate (though the silhouette really isn’t).


Not sure what I was expecting with this skirt, as I already own a blue ponte skirt from Halogen (here). This skirt is a gorgeous cerulean blue – different from my cobalt ponte skirt. It is also shorter – same length as my orange Ann Taylor mini skirt. The waistband is invisible – a band of wide elastic inside and a back zipper. Cute… but a very simple thin ponte skirt free of lining, details, or anything making it more special than the one I have from Halogen. I also find the $78 pricetag to be a bit ridiculous – again, there is no lining, no fancy silhouette or details. You could find a similar skirt at any other retailer for around $50.

It doesn’t shed glitter everywhere, and like all my other belts from Ann Taylor it is well crafted. Fits true to size, is sparkly without being too blingy for work. Would be cute with a simple black shift or in the beltloops of gray tweed trousers.

Returning because… well I just don’t need it. I got it at 40% off, but still don’t see the need for such a belt in my wardrobe at this time.

Have you taken advantage of the recent Ann Taylor promotions?  Any great purchases?

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Friday, and Ann Taylor Love

Black tank from Jessica Chaus, which I got at Marshall’s during the first trimester of my pregnancy. I loved it then because it wasn’t maternity, but worked with my changing shape. It was funny, after I had Emerson I tried on this tank and it looked so DUMPY, I was surprised. I now realize it was because I had more hips and tummy postpartum than I had at 12 weeks of pregnancy. Now it seems to fit again – nothing spectacular, but a tank that is work appropriate and I think is more flattering than this picture leads you to believe. With it are my straight dark jeans from NYDJ – the only jeans that still fit and flatter. I whipped out some fall shoes early – my gray strappy heels from Miz Mooz (do need some black or funky colored sandals but haven’t seen any I adore and fit…). The necklace is new and from Ann Taylor (sale), and the bracelets are old and also from Ann Taylor.

Hair is washed and conditioned then air dried. Our bathroom is still unavailable as that the contractor came by this week to retile it. The tiles never quite stuck properly after the remodel and have gotten loose. He is working on another house in the neighborhood and offered to come by and fix a couple things around the house for free. So the bathroom is off limits, and it is keeping most of my beauty products hostage (the husband didn’t think to clear the medicine cabinet before they started work). So no product, but I do have my curling iron available so I just put it on high and hit big sections, let it cool, put a bit of face moisturizer on my hands and finger combed to separate but not frizz up. Makeup is Max Factor Pan-Stik, Nars blush in Orgasm, Pop Beauty shadow palette for Brown Eyes (khaki and black), Tarte’s Indelible Wink in black, Bare Escentuals Buxom lip gloss in Dolly, and DiorShow mascara.

The other day I saw an article on The DC Goodwill Fashionista about how she used to loathe Ann Taylor until this season. I have to agree that this season is looking pretty fabulous at Ann Taylor, but I have always been a fan of the store. I don’t feel that there is anything wrong with being a destination for great corporate wear. In this day and age, it’s hard to find good suits and workwear that isn’t dowdy, and isn’t Amanda Woodward. But the past couple of years Ann Taylor hasn’t been all corporate. They have had fantastic accessories, flattering and chic cocktail dresses, and some really great wardrobe staples like pencil skirts, current yet not overly trendy denim, fun casual tops. In fact, I am a bit sad that Ann Taylor isn’t as reliable of a shop for the ever-necessary interview suit. I don’t want to have to buy a new black pantsuit with every new New York Fashion Week – I don’t have that sort of fundage and most of the country is in the same boat as me.

But Ann Taylor has been a fave of mine for over a decade. Every time I am rocking a cool piece of jewelry and get a compliment from a stranger, they are always shocked when I say it’s from Ann Taylor (especially this necklace). Though it’s costume jewelry, the golds and silvers hold up great – these bracelets are years old yet still look fresh. This necklace is unique looking, expensive looking, versatile. Last night after work I changed into a bright cobalt scoop tee and my mom commented on how nice it was – the fit and the unique color. Ann Taylor! My two favorite summer wrap dresses (black and blue) are from Ann Taylor and with a quick change of accessories they can go from flip-flop casual to looking great for work or even a wedding. Yes, it is weird to be wearing an item and walk down the Metro platform at Gallery Place/Chinatown and see another woman in the same frock, but I have that happen FAR more often with Target, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, J. Crew and I have even had that happen with ten-year old items from Express and with items I have found at thrift stores.

Ann Taylor, and really any other chain store is a great place to find wardrobe staples and little accents. I know and have worked with and been friends with those women who have a bit TOO much brand loyalty and they look like a walking billboard for a store. I remember when I worked at Express I would have women who would come in sometimes more than once a week to make purchases. They had more clothes from the store than I did with my 40-55% discount (and the need to wear it every day). Having that intense of brand loyalty can make life easy, but it can make life pretty darn boring. But one can’t blame the retailer for every woman in DC running around in triacetate suiting, you have to blame the shoppers who are afraid or not educated on how to take such items and put their own personal spin on them. I am an Ann Taylor fan, and love them more than trendier mass retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic because though their concept and look may change from season to season, their sizing hasn’t changed that drastically, their quality and pricing hasn’t changed that drastically, they maintain a clear concept, know their customer, and provide just the right balance of really wearable corporate attire and fun trendy pieces to update a woman’s entire wardrobe. So thank you Ann Taylor, for making necklaces I have worn as Matron of Honor at an elegant evening wedding, have worn to the beach with a vintage tee and flip flops, on casual Friday, to an art exhibit opening and to a job interview. And thank you Ann Taylor for making clothes I can wear out to a club, dinner with the husband, a wedding, a bridal shower, work, and the grocery store. Yes, there are millions of women with this same necklace or the same denim skirt, but your store makes it easy for those pieces to look unique on my body!

Another Ann Taylor Sale!

Ann Taylor: 25% off EVERYTHING!

Yep, that means sale, clearance, you name it (of course it doesn’t include gift cards – I used to HATE it when people would ask that when I worked retail. Come on, THINK before you speak). PLUS you get free shipping if you spend $100 or more!

Code: 25FORYOU

Code valid May 8 through May 10. Only valid at Ann Taylor online and store (this coupon doesn’t work for Ann Taylor Loft or the factory stores).

As always, if you need the actual coupon for in-store shopping, drop me an email and I will send it your way! There has to be some good stuff, I stopped by the Connecticut Ave. location in DC last night and it seemed as though half the store was on sale – shoes, accessories, tons of clothing and suiting (all I bought was a $10 top). Much on the sale rack was full price just last week!

Enjoy!

What I Wore: Mom Style

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wardrobe oxygen what i wore ann taylor cashmere poncho

Poncho: Ann Taylor | Tee: J. Crew Factory (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Boots: c/o DUO Boots | Bag: c/o Fossil (similar) | Bracelet: CC Skye (similar)

It’s starting to feel like fall, so I HAD to whip out this poncho from Ann Taylor and my tall boots! While I’ll miss summer, I do enjoy fall fashion and it’s been great to sleep with the windows open and add an extra quilt to the bed!

This poncho was a splurge, but as I said in this post, it’s a classic that will look great for many years. I knew I’d wear it in a casual manner like this for errands and weekend “Mom Style,” but also think it would look elegant in the office over blouses and trousers. I was excited to see these boots match this bag from Fossil; I haven’t featured it on the blog since this post but am really feeling brown leather this season.  The bag is big enough to carry everything I need for a weekend on the go!

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Ann Taylor – My Recent Purchases

Someone asked me in the comments what I chose to purchase for the Ann Taylor Friends & Family which took place a couple weeks ago.

Not much. That’s why I didn’t respond.

However in the past few days, Ann Taylor has been offering 40% off the entire store (this promo is still going on today!), which led me to return, try a few things and make some purchases. Here’s what I got during Friends & Family as well as a visit to my local Ann Taylor last Friday:

Heavyweight cotton/spandex blend that actually looks like silk. Fully lined. Nice wide waistband. Comes in 12 Petite, which is my perfect size in Ann Taylor. Has black AND navy in it. Can it be any more perfect? I didn’t try on, I just purchased and dashed.

Well it fit great, but the print was dreadful on me, really emphasizing the mama pooch. Also on the body, the off-white background ended up looking a bit dirty and strange. I think this would look spectacular on a woman with less curves, and a woman with darker or more pale skin than I for better contrast.

Another piece I just bought without trying on.  It’s a linen blend so it’s more refined than a classic tank.  I loved the colors that also had navy and black in it, as well as shades of purple and indigo.

This tank runs LARGE and LONG.  I bought a large and almost returned it for a medium.  Even though it’s a loose tunic on me, it doesn’t gape at the neck and armholes, and keeps my bra under wraps.  The fabric makes it a great shell for work, but I can also see it with white jeans for a night out on the town, or with denim cutoffs and flat sandals for a weekend cookout.  Big fan – if it came in another color, I would probably purchase it, though this time in a medium.

I loved this scarf as soon as it arrived at Ann Taylor but the $58 price tag totally turned me off.  Come on, it’s a woven scarf, why the crazy dollar amount?  Then Ann Taylor put it on a mannequin in the window, taunting me each day as I walked to work.  I started analyzing my spring wardrobe, and saw a need for a scarf that worked with navy as well as black.  So when the store went 40% off, I went to try on the scarf.

The only Ikat Trance scarves left in the store were on mannequins, so I had to strip one.  I tried it on in the fitting room with Friday’s outfit and loved how it hung on me – not too floppy, not too stiff.  I then tried it tied around the waist like a sarong over my jeans and thought it would look pretty cool like that with a white tank and a bunch of beaded necklaces come summer.  Since I was returning the Shibori Print Pencil Skirt that day, I felt more justified in purchasing the scarf.  Once I got home I thought of many more creative ways to wear it and make it worth the price!

Thursday as I was scrambling to find something to wear to fashion:district I thought, “I wish I had a subtly sequined top.”  I then met Deb from Real Girl Runway for dinner before the show, and she was wearing one!  I decided it was a sign and my mission to find a sequined top that would catch the light, but still be subtle, and even possibly work-appropriate (love the concept of daytime sequins though it rarely can be carried off).

I found this tank on the sale rack, and with the 40% off deal, it was only $24.00.  The Petite Large fits perfectly – snug but not clingy, and not too long.  I think it would look great with my black tux jacket and jeans, but also alone with vintage denim or even dressed up, tucked into a taffeta fuller skirt with wide belt and peeptoe heels (another concept I am loving and wanting for this summer).

***

And that’s it.  I know, would have expected more from me, being a self-proclaimed Ann Taylor addict.  However I don’t really NEED anything right now that they have in their stores.  That’s not to say they don’t have some gorgeous pieces right now, it’s just that I need to stick to my budget, and shop smart.

Have any of you found any scores at Ann Taylor with their Friends & Family or 40% off promotion?  I would love to hear about them!

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Ann Taylor LOFT – My Recent Purchases

Last night I got my latest order from Ann Taylor LOFT. As I mentioned on my Facebook page last week, they had 30% off full-price styles. I ordered some items from LOFT in the past few months and almost all of them have been a fail for me. However, I had seen many bloggers raving about their spring line, so I decided to take a chance.

What I ordered and what I thought:

On the LOFT Facebook page, someone mentioned how this top was way overpriced – almost $50 for a polyester tee shirt? With the 30% off deal it seemed to be a more reasonable price. I was imagining it with jeans like in the photo, but also with a leather skirt, with a navy fuller skirt and peeptoe heels, even under a suit jacket. I thought it would be unique, versatile, fun.

Yeah, it’s a cheap-feeling polyester tee shirt with an elastic band at the waist.

I chose a size Large, which seemed too big for me. It gapped at the armholes, exposing my bra. The neckline was also large, sliding off a shoulder showing bra strap. The elasticized waist wasn’t tight enough to stay at the waist and blouse out, and the top was so darn long that it couldn’t be worn without being tucked in. Did I mention it felt cheap? It’s the same weird nubby polyester of my brown and blue dress from last spring, but at least in a dress it seems to work. This top would be awesome… if the price was more like $30 and it fit more like it does on the model (she HAS to have it clipped in back!).

I thought this dress would be a perfect addition to my wardrobe for spring. I have a LOFT dress from last spring that has a grosgrain waistband, and it has a nice fit. Black, 100% polyester, a flattering cowl neckline and subtle bubble skirt, I was thinking this dress would be cute for work with a colorful woven or my black patent belt, but also could be glammed up for a wedding or date night.

Another fail. Again, LOFT has used really cheap material. This dress is black, but it’s a sheer polyester that is so cheap it looks almost like dark gray. White the exterior is a floaty (yet cheap feeling and looking) organza-like fabric, the interior is a very tight-fitting opaque black polyester. There is a size zipper which is necessary to get this dress on, and even when on I found the lining to be extremely fitted to the point that it rode up when I walked or sat and required adjustment just to walk from the bed to the full-length mirror. This dress looked as though it cost $25 and was purchased at H&M.

I ordered a 12 Regular, which technically fit – it fit in the bust, it fit in the ribcage, the waist hit at the right place, the skirt in the right place (note –if you are tall this dress will be very short). however the really snug-fitting lining made it do weird things from the waist-down. I can’t even imagine how this would fit on a woman who has more curves in the hip area.

I know I am not the only person who occasionally forgets her personal style. For those who have been reading for a long time (and those who know me IRL) are thinking, “What the heck is Allie doing ordering this sweater?” I know my sister is thinking, “There she goes again.” All my life, I go through phases where I think I will start wearing subtle neutral colors, pieces that are beautiful based upon their detail and shaping, than color. I imagined wearing this sweater with jeans and all my champagne pearls, with a statement necklace like the model, or with my black leather skirt and some fun booties.

This sweater is gorgeous in person, I think moreso than on the model. It has a heavy weight, but the knit is sort of spongy/stretchy so it still has lovely drape. A size large fit me like the model, but a bit longer in the body. It would look amazing with some weathered jeans and beaded jewelry, with white jeans and a bold silver cuff, and yes, with a black leather mini and ankle booties. It does have dolman sleeves, which isn’t the best on a woman with a large bust and broad shoulders, but it’s a really lovely sweater than looks expensive and seems to be made with care. It’s just not my personal style.

I didn’t take this out of the plastic, I found it really goofy looking in person. I was thinking it could be cute with a blazer and jeans, or as a fun alternative to a tee, but it looked so muddy and cheap in real life, I didn’t even upwrap it and try it on.

I was looking forward to these tees. A few years ago, I got some pima scoop tees from Banana Republic that were perfection – a refined knit with a slight sheen that could dress up or down, a flattering scoop that elongated the neck but didn’t show bra straps or too much cleavage, a mix of fabrics that could handle the washing machine and didn’t stretch out over time. I still wear my Banana tees from time to time, but they are really showing their age. I thought these tees from LOFT would be a worthy replacement. I ordered four of them – Spring Orange (pictured), Shimmer Pink, Navy, and Black. I ordered all of them in size Large Regular.

Each shirt fit differently. The black tee is a hint too large, the navy one so long it covers my crotch, the orange one gaps at the neck and has shorter sleeves than the rest, the pink one fits me perfectly. Also the actual fabric varied from piece to piece – some seemed thinner than others, some seemed to have more Lycra. Again the pink was my favorite of them all.

As for the colors, the Spring Orange is the most random color – it’s like neon salmon and slightly faded; I own a highlighter this color and I don’t like using it. Think Spam, think weird orange drink that comes in gallon jugs, think Laffy Taffy. Now, some women could rock this color, but I feel very few. The Shimmer Pink isn’t as vibrant as I had hoped, but it’s a pretty color that can get your fix of Honeysuckle for the season. Black and navy were rich and true, the navy a nice inky dark shade that looks polished.

I will be returning at least the Spring Orange, and most likely the Black.

Since my old beloved Ann Taylor denim pencil skirt is now too large, I have been looking for a replacement. I thought this may be a good choice – it’s not heavy denim, I liked the wide waistband and clean lines.

This skirt doesn’t look at all like denim in person. It’s a thin stretchy fabric with a slight sheen that may look denim-like in the right light. The fabric is so thin, it doesn’t hide a single thing (unlike my old stretch denim pencil skirt which was made of the same fabric as stretch denim jeans). On top of it, the skirt seems to run really tight in the hips/butt. While a 12 Petite fit me in length and the waist, it looked painted on. Also, I found the two slits in the back to be a weirdly conservative touch for such a skirt. This skirt just confused me and is being returned.

Meh. It’s cute, but nothing to write home about. I usually have great success with LOFT jewelry – it’s well made, unique, stylish, looks more expensive than its pricetag. This doesn’t look expensive – it looks as though I could find it at Forever 21. It’s a nice length, but the chains are so light and the teardrops so heavy, it all jumbles together between the breasts and you lose the detail in the necklace. Return.

Yet again, not much luck with Ann Taylor LOFT. I want to love them, I want to have success, but again I am disappointed in shoddy work and cheap fabrics. Every so often they have a true gem (like my leather mini skirt), but I am seeing more often that they are missing the mark on what used to be their staples – great jeans, quality knits, fun accessories.



Have you checked out LOFT’s new spring line? Have you found any winners?

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What I Wore: Style Meets Comfort [Sponsored]

wardrobe oxygen what i wore payless stylemeetscomfort Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #Payless #StyleMeetsComfort Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #StyleMeetsComfort Payless
Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Tee: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Bag: c/o Handbag Heaven | Shoes: Comfort Plus by Predictions ‘Karmen’ available at Payless

Many of you ask me to recommend footwear brands that offer comfort and style at a reasonable pricepoint. So when Payless ShoeSource contacted me regarding their comfort line, I knew I had to review it for you!

Comfort Plus by Predictions and Dexflex Comfort are Payless lines of shoes that come in regular and wide sizes 5 to 13. With memory foam insoles and flexible outsoles, these shoes are uber comfortable for walking and standing all day. When I visited my nearby Payless location I was really impressed by how these lines incorporate popular fall fashion trends. From pointed toes to leopard print, classic oxfords to booties and “shooties,” one can find on-trend shoes for work and play. I chose the ‘Karmen’ round-toe pump in wine, a hot color this season. The suede-like finish looks great peeking out of suiting trousers, paired with work dresses, but for this post I chose to dress them down with boyfriend jeans.

The shoes really are as comfortable as they claim. I wore them one day to work and found them comfortable enough to take a brisk walk of a few blocks on my lunch hour and didn’t get any blisters, rubbing, or hot spots. Standing was also comfortable; I got stuck standing the majority of my Metro commute home and wasn’t shifting my weight the whole trip like I usually do. All this comfort, seasonally-appropriate style, and less than $30! I’m glad to find Payless as a source for budget-friendly comfort shoes!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Payless via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ode to My Ann Taylor Denim Trousers

When my pants get too big, I do a happy dance.
Finally! I have eaten less, I have eaten better, I have exercised more, it is paying off!

When my pants get too big, I boast to my husband.
Look baby, Look how much room is in the waist! The thighs! I’m whittling away!

When my pants get too big, I want to try on my whole wardrobe.
This is off to Goodwill, this to be donated to my friend, this is ready for the trash! Woo-hoo! What fun!

When my pants get too big I get sad.
These are my favorite pants, my beloved pants. My pants that make me look tall and leggy pants.
Now they look a bit dumpy, a bit frumpy.
Shall I get them tailored?
Wait ten more pounds?
Replace them with a newer smaller-sized model?

I dash to the computer for some online window shopping. Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, Anthropologie, Macy’s, even Saks. I know what places fit me well, both my shape (even smaller) and my personality.
No luck. Nothing that perfect.
Will these even tailor well?
Will I ever fall in love with a pair of pants again like I loved these pants?

Maybe I’ll have one of those cookies that the lady in Accounting baked.
What the hell.
Maybe it will make my pants fit better.

Ask Allie: Styling the Ann Taylor Quiet Leopard Print Skirt

Hi Alison, I just bought this skirt from Ann Taylor and I love it. It’s so pretty and fits great but I have no clue what to wear with it. The other day I wore it with a black v neck sweater, black tights and pumps but I want versatility. Does it only go with black? Can I wear it to work? What would you wear it with? Thank you!

I love the Ann Taylor Quiet Leopard Print Skirt and have been fighting myself to not buy it. I don’t need it but boy every bone in my body wants it! So I shall live vicariously through you and offer some ensembles that I would totally rock if I owned the clothing.

[via]

Colorful Eccentric
Such a skirt doesn’t have to be only paired with black, it actually lends itself to looking great with other jewel tones. Deep indigo, berry, and shades of teal would be gorgeous with it if there is a connecting color and/or fabric. I used black as the connecting fabric and various luxe fabrics to connect to the sheen and print of the skirt. A velvet blazer, chiffon blouse with a floppy bow, sheer but lacy hose and corset-inspired booties combine for an outfit that is a bit over the top but quite chic. I’d wear a deep wine lip and several coats of mascara to complete the look for this fall.


[via]

Corporate Diva
Sheen and sparkle can be worn for daytime if you balance it with more traditional pieces. I paired the skirt with a crisp white button-front shirt and gray suede pumps to keep things from looking too After-Five. However, I did add more shine with a statement necklace and bracelet so the skirt didn’t look out of place. By choosing gray jewelry, the shine is toned down to make it look more boardroom than ballroom.

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Not Your Basic Black
A black sweater is a logical choice for such a skirt, but it can look pretty boring if not accessorized properly. I took a classic fitted black merino wool turtleneck, but upped the glam factor with sleek tall boots, a skinny belt to define the waist (wear the sweater untucked), and brushed gold jewelry. This could be worn with anything from patterned hose to opaque tights to make it winter-appropriate.

[via]

Shades of Plum
When I saw this skirt, I thought of my Ann Taylor black peplum top as a good match – a peplum looks great with a pencil skirt and is a trendy touch that lets the wearer get more bold with accessories. Just because the skirt is a blue-purple doesn’t mean you can only wear that color purple with it. Choosing a similar color with a slightly different tone can make an ensemble look very luxe if you do it carefully. For this, I chose a plum colored shoe with more red to it, and pulled that color up with a necklace with the same tones. I added a pair of black fishnets to make this ensemble more of a date look, but you could make this work-appropriate with different hosiery and/or footwear.

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The New Ann Taylor – Event w/ Washingtonian at Lost Society DC

If you have even read this blog once, you would know that one of my favorite retailers is Ann Taylor. I find their clothes appropriate to my life, whether it’s a day at the office or a night on the town. The prices are reasonable for the style and quality, and they offer apparel that is unique, but classic – pieces that look stylish now but will also be stylish seasons from now.

Ann Taylor has really upped the style for their most recent collections – amazing details like zippers, faux fur, haircalf, and leather trim. I have been going gaga over the current line – the cobalt and aqua colors are so rich and beautiful, and the silhouettes so modern yet classic. This is a purposeful change by Ann Taylor, and they are continuing this trend with their new store designs.

“The new Ann Taylor is chic and stylish with a more fashion forward direction to address the needs of today’s modern working women,” said Lisa Axelson, Ann Taylor’s Head Designer and a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). “Our new concept stores are a reflection of our new fashion direction. They are light, modern, feminine, and designed to showcase the full Ann Taylor collection while making our client feel comfortable and welcome.”

The new Ann Taylor at Metro Center

As you know, I attended an event on Monday at the new concept Ann Taylor on 13th Street NW in DC (right at Metro Center). A gorgeous store that showcases the apparel, the New Ann Taylor is just what Lisa Axelson states – light, modern, and feminine while still being welcoming.

Last night Ann Taylor had a private event at Lost Society co-hosted by Washingtonian magazine’s fashion editor Jill Hudson. The event was also in partnership with Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international non-governmental organization that identifies, trains, and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world. This soire gave Washington media mavens, philanthropists and fashionistas the opportunity to see Ann Taylor’s holiday collection and learn more about Vital Voices.

A Washingtonian staff member modeling a sheath from the Ann Taylor holiday collection

Vital Voices President and CEO Alyse Nelson, Ann Taylor PR Director Andrew Taylor, Washingtonian President and Publisher Catherine Merrill Williams.  Picture via REVAMP.

While we sipped champagne and dined on adorable mini steak sandwiches and pecan pies, Ann Taylor’s PR Director Andrew Taylor informed us about the thought process behind the new Ann, introduced Alyse Nelson, Vital Voice’s President and CEO, and emceed a fashion show of the current Ann Taylor line, modeled by Washingtonian staff. After we got to spend time rocking out to DJs Broads and get a closer look at the Ann Taylor holiday collection.

Some pieces of the Ann Taylor holiday line on display last night at Lost Society

The new holiday collection is so luxe – I drooled over a dress with a floaty micropleated chiffon skirt and then a tough leather bodice, there’s a version of my new cobalt shift from Ann Taylor that is fire engine red with gold zipper detail, I desperately want their champagne-colored sequin and crystal mini skirt, and couldn’t stop petting all the faux fur pieces. Lots of cashmere, lots of pieces that just feel so good to the touch. Pieces that are on-trend and hip, without being overly trendy. Investment pieces.

If you haven’t yet heard, Ann Taylor’s Friends and Family event is going on now – save 40% on the entire store online and in person. And if you would like to see one of the Ann Taylor new concept stores, Ann Taylor has already opened select new concept stores in major cities across the country including New York, Boston, Miami, Boca Raton, Dallas, Atlanta, and Seattle.

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Spring Wardrobe Additions

Now that the cast is off and the swelling has gone down, I can finally get into the spring fashion spirit! Here’s a few things I have recently purchased and like very much:

1. Well all know my adoration for stripes; when I saw this shirt at J. Crew Factory was only $21 I had to try it. I love the fit, the shape, the fabric, everything. It’s tempting to get it in gray as well!

2. I don’t ever shop Walmart, but I was on vacation in a small town where it was the only place to go to get a pair of shorts for Emerson. While there, I found these shorts by Faded Glory for $12.94 and I must say they’re pretty great. Good length that is comfortable yet not dowdy, a bit of stretch so they’re flexible but also keep their shape, and a nice non-dorky wash. Totally got rid of the cheesy neon skinny belt and will likely do an at-home distressing on them, but not too shabby. As with any shorts, I went a size up for a better fit.

3. I don’t own this EXACT shirt from Boden, but unfortunately the one I got is no longer on the site. This shirt featured is the Eliza Top, and I own the Eliza, but in a cerulean and navy stripe (yep MORE stripes!). I absolutely positively LOVE this shirt; I love silk but hate washing it (this shirt is machine washable); I like ¾ and bracelet-length sleeves now to protect my scar but stay breezy (this shirt has it), and I love a top that is casual like a tee but can dress up for work (wearing it right now with a pair of trousers and pumps, looks great tucked into a pencil skirt, and this weekend wore with boyfriend jeans). The Eliza Top from Boden is a regular in their collection and a great addition to many wardrobes!

4. I now own five pairs of Nine West’s Flax pump (black, natural, silver, peacock print, red and black spotted haircalf). I know that seems a bit insane, but it’s a pretty perfect shoe. Single sole, pointed toe, walkable heel height, and a nice price. I’ve been wanting a “nude” leather pointed toe pump for over a year, but find each pair is too pale, too dark, too pink, too something for me. The Flax’s Natural Leather is a pretty perfect shade for me, and I love having a shoe that looks great with both pants and skirts.

5. Another silky shirt with an in-between sleeve length! This is the Sophie Blouse from Dobbin Clothing, and while it has the same basics I like from the Boden Eliza Top, it gives a completely different effect thanks to the details. Slightly crinkled silk, gold buttons down the front, and blousy sleeves. The color makes it work with black, brown, ivory, and denim quite nicely. I often wear this blouse untucked with dark wash narrow jeans, but also wear to work tucked into ivory tropical wool trousers.

6. I mentioned my desire for delicate gold this spring, and I am still loving my Rebecca Minkoff cuff; I also picked up this dangly but not too jingly bracelet from Nordstrom for $24; it doesn’t look cheapy, it’s stretchy and doesn’t get in the way when I type.

7. This Panama hat is only $17 from J. Crew Factory. Runs a bit wide, but I like that because I can twist up my hair and tuck it in the brim to keep my neck cool (or hide bad hair).

8. Me and my Lifetherapy bracelets – it’s an addiction! I love turquoise, I have a few bracelets from the company in blue (see here) so it brightens up my current collection, and this one has an Aquarius symbol! I like that these bracelets are just one long cord; I’ve been known to also wear them as a long necklace with tanks in the summer!

9. Seriously, the Converse Shorelines are my jam! I’ve missed having casual tennis shoes for spring and summer, and these are so easy to slip on, no heel blisters, and no looking as though I’m wearing shoeboxes on my already chubby feet.

10. Linen always looks like such a mess on me.  Well this spring I’ve given up being crisp, and have embraced the casual wrinkled-ness of linen.  My J.Jill white linen big shirt is great knotted over distressed jeans, and these pants (the Julie fit from LOFT) I love with a simple cotton knit sweater, silk blouse, or with a denim shirt.  

***

Outfit posts have been few and far between because it was slow and difficult getting dressed with the arm, and honestly pretty depressing. I gained weight and lost muscle being so sedentary during my time on disability, and just putting on a tee shirt could leave me in tears. And then, much of my wardrobe didn’t work with the cast, only having one arm to put myself together after using the bathroom, the stiff swollen arm and all that jazz. But I feel SO much better, have much more flexibility and less swelling and am feeling like myself again. So stay tuned, for actual posts of me wearing these new pieces!

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Baby Announcements

I just received the proof for our cool baby announcements and just HAD to share with you guys!

This is the picture I sent in…

And this is the announcement…

How utterly cool is that? I love how the baby announcement looks like a concert poster. The announcements are from Rattle-N-Roll; each order comes with two 11×14″ posters of this announcement. Rattle-N-Roll creates unique and custom announcements. Communication and service with this company has been awesome and I cannot wait to send these to all our loved ones!

In other news, I go back to work on Thursday and I am not looking forward to it. Well, in some ways I am. I miss my coworkers a lot, I miss the camaraderie, and I miss the brain stimulation and the daily challenge. However I will miss Emerson even more. I was emailing with my supervisor and he joked about how I will spend half of Thursday balled up in a corner sobbing, and then most of Friday (which I will be working from home) latched onto Emerson feeling guilt for abandoning her the day prior. My husband is also nervous about having the “food provider” being gone all day, though I have already started a milk stash in the freezer and plan to pump at work.

Emerson went to the pediatrician this week for her one-month appointment. She’s a big baby – 90th percentile for head circumference and length (she is 22 1/2″); 97th percentile for weight (11 lbs., 4 oz.). Today our neighbor came over to see the baby. She recently moved from China and is still becoming comfortable with the language. She looked at Emerson and said, “she got tall from your husband and she got fat from you!” The doctor says Emerson isn’t fat, she is just proportionally larger than most babies at this age. I think she is utterly adorable. Oh, for those into the baby fashion, you may like this onesie…

And yes, she had matching black Trumpette socks with that onesie! ;) Too bad the onesie is Newborn size, it barely fits her any more. She has outgrown almost all of her newborn diapers and all of the newborn diaper covers. We put a Newborn sleeper on her the other day and it fit like a unitard. I swear, she grows so fast we can practically see it right before our eyes. She is also gaining so many skills – she is doing far more eye contact, more responsive facial expressions (and I swear it’s not all gas, she does smile!), and she has realized that she has a tongue (likes to play with it and stick it out) and a voice (she makes all sorts of squeals and sounds). She sleeps 3-4 hours at a time and at night she USUALLY passes out immediately after feedings (of course last night she was fussy much of the time), and as you can see by her size we have both learned the fine art of breast feeding.

Fashion has been tough. The body is so… saggy in the middle. My maternity pants don’t fit, yet normal clothing is binding. I am still living in the ponte maternity pants from Old Navy, but they are starting to look dumpy and too large. I have a pair of Gap’s Long & Lean jeans in maternity version and they are okay but not great. Yesterday I wore the black jersey dress from Boob Maternity that I sported most of my pregnancy. The surplice neckline makes it good for breast feeding, and the cut doesn’t look super maternity. I am too small for an XL top, but a L top is too tight in the bust. Size 16 pants look a bit dumpy, but 14 can’t fit over my thighs. I just ordered some basics from Lands End and hope something works. I have a few new knits from Old Navy, but due to them being too large (XL), they are better for being at home instead of going to work. I fear I will be living in my blackberry cashmere sweater, those old ponte pants and the one black maternity dress for WEEKS. Oh well, I have my six week appointment next Friday; if they say I am healed I will be starting up yoga two times a week and that along with walking should hopefully tone me up a tiny bit so I can actually fit in “real” pants again (don’t care about the size, just need some clothes that fit).

Hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day on Saturday!!!

True Fashionista: Annette

I often hear conversations in the blogosphere that one cannot be a certain age and be a personal style blogger. What does a blogger do once she hits 35? As a personal style blogger who is closer to 40 than 30, I feel it’s even more important to showcase your personal style when you’re older. Women have plenty of resources for fashion when younger, be it magazines, TV shows, and yes blogs. But blogs – quality blogs with quality photos and quality style aren’t as easy to find when you’re over 40. So when I came across Annette’s relatively new blog, Lady of Style, I cheered hooray! I have been a subscriber for a few weeks and love seeing elegant yet wearable personal style by a woman with class and taste. I find Annette stylish and inspiring and was thrilled when she agreed to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Annette’s life motto is, “Style is a reflection of your attitude and your personality.” This is clear in how her personal style fits not just her figure, but her age, her lifestyle, and her passions for travel, fashion, and home décor. Her blog, Lady of Style is geared towards the mature woman, but as you can tell by me it can be inspiring to women of all ages, especially those who are looking for style that is appropriate for the workplace. Annette works for NATO and deals with high ranking officers and civilian guests on a regular basis, but doesn’t lose her style when at the office.

“Just because you have the freedom to wear anything you want and don’t need to care what others say, you should not ignore a sense of good taste.”
                – Annette, Lady of Style

Though Annette resides in Bavaria, Germany she wears brands (H&M, Zara, MANGO) and silhouettes that are relatively easy to find in the States. She admits that she does most of her shopping online since she lives in a small town, and swears by her seamstress for custom fits. Annette’s style is classic with a touch of current trends, sophisticated yet never dowdy. She has a base of neutral and classic shades that are complemented by bright colors and more trendy of accessories.

“Attractive, mature and self-confident woman certainly don’t need to cover up or wear conservative clothes in muted colours.”
                – Annette, Lady of Style

Annette not only shares her personal style, but also discusses the topic of style for women over 40 and how style and trends don’t have to stop with a certain birth date. She proves in each post that style is achievable at any age, and that you can have fun with fashion and trends. Her pleasant demeanor is clear in each post, and her blog voice is positive and just as elegant as her personal style. I asked Annette the same five questions I ask of each True Fashionista; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
A feminine, elegant style which friends and fellow bloggers tend to call “sophisticated”. Dresses are my favourite type of clothes and I wear them as often as I can!  Even when I was younger (I turned 50) I was never a casual girl and over the years my style more and more evolved. When I call it “ladylike” people always associate it with a beige cashmere twinset and a pearl necklace! But that’s not me – I love combining trends, youthful elements and colours with more elegant pieces. That’s my style!

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I grew up on the countryside with not much inspiration when it comes to fashion and trends! Yet my passion started early by reading fashion magazines and putting together my outfit for the next school day the night before. I even made little drawings of my outfits ;-) Many years I worked for an international airline, travelled a lot and always have been fascinated by what we nowadays call “street style”! I love the natural elegance of Italian or French ladies, something I often miss here in Germany.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I follow a lot of blogs, international magazines and naturally I am addicted to Pinterest ;-) My 18yr old daughter started her blog FashionFlirt in 2011 and I was involved in getting her started. It was Alena who introduced me to the blogosphere before I started Lady of Style – a fashion and style blog for mature women – in January 2013.

We share our passion for fashion, we go on shopping trips to London together, with her I watch livestreams of fashion shows and we even share clothes and accessories!

My style icon is Olivia Palermo. Even she is a lot younger, I love her ageless style.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I wear a lot of high street fashion, whether it is MANGO, ZARA, H+M or Wallis – that is fashion. The way I combine a new dress with the right shoes, add a vintage necklace or an old handbag from my wardrobe and people say “you look so elegant!” – that is style.

Very often my readers can’t believe that a dress I am wearing actually was on sale for 15€ at H+M. It is not about designer pieces… ok, I wouldn’t refuse a Céline bag ;-) but it is about how you put your outfit together. I am far from being perfect but for me styling is quite easy.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Usually a woman knows the type of clothes she naturally feels comfortable with. That is a good start! It doesn’t help if you are an outdoors person and somebody tells you that you should wear a shift dress and high heels.

Go from your comfort zone and find accessories to enhance your current look. I always find
shoes most important as they can be the highlight of your outfit or completely kill it. Don’t pick accessories randomly, put some effort in creating a new look.

Go shopping with a friend and try out various themes like spring floral prints, pastel colours, try on a dress in a bright colour! Let her take photos, compare the looks and see what flatters you. If you are not sure it might take a while until you really know “that’s me and this is how I want to look!”

It is true, if you feel good, it shows.

***

The purpose of the Friday True Fashionista series is to show women who use clothing to express their personal style. Each woman has a different, unique look and opinion on clothing and fashion. These women inspire me in my clothing choices, and possibly their bold sartorial statements will inspire you. Stay tuned, there will be a featured True Fashionista every Friday. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

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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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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: What I’m Loving

Oh Nordstrom, I just can’t quit you! Great selection, phenomenal customer service, and awesome deals such as your Anniversary Sale! I have a Nordstrom Card so I had early access to the sale but restrained myself, only getting a few more pairs of Hanky Panky Retro High-Waist Thongs and this skirt, but here’s some items from the sale that caught my eye:

Sale Price: $119 (regularly $188)

It’s hard to find a single-breasted trench with classic styling, even harder to find one with a hood (come on, our heads also get wet in the rain!). This one from Michael Kors has a look that will be chic now as well as years from now, comes in classic black and khaki or you can be bold with red, and it also comes in Petite!

Sale Price: $39.90 (regularly $62)

After my friend Morgan raved about this bra, I have been wanting to try it. Unfortunately Nordstrom doesn’t have it in my size, but maybe they have it in yours!

Sale Price: $6.90 (regularly $11)

Okay I lied, once I started writing this I remembered I ordered another pair of these in black. By far my favorite tights – they are a medium weight, fit great, don’t sag mid-day and are durable enough to last more than one season.

Sale Price: $24.90 (regularly $38)

My other favorite tights – these are just as durable as the ones from Nordstrom but with famous SPANX® control. I love that they are high-waisted so you don’t get cut in the middle and have a seamless look under sheaths and fitted pieces. I have walked barefoot on concrete in these and haven’t gotten a snag – another brand that will last more than one season.

Pants Sale Price: $176 (regularly $265); Jacket Sale Price: $259 (regularly $395)

Theory is known for making incredibly well-fitting suiting, but the price can often be hard to swallow. With these sale prices it is more reasonable, and with such classic styling, this suit is a wardrobe staple that will get much use for many occasions and for many years.

Note: If you also want a skirt for the suit, the Theory ‘Golda – Tailor’ Pencil Skirt is on sale for $129 (regularly $200).

Sale Price: $48.90 (regularly $74)

I wrote about my love of Foxcroft shirts before, and this is a fantastic deal for a classic white wrinkle-free button-front. Wear now with the sleeves rolled (or even with the hem tied!); wear come cooler months in the traditional way with everything from suits and pencil skirts to jeans and stilettos.

Sale Price: $52.90 (regularly $79)

These trouser jeans are brilliant! I love the smooth pull-on waist – why bulk up your midsection with buttons and zippers if you plan on wearing an untucked blouse? I have Jag Jeans and love them – great fit, good quality denim, and they keep their shape and color nicely. I also love that they are free of logos and embellishments – just clean, stylish denim.

Sale Price: $169.90 (regularly $248)

Talk about a fashion statement! Leather is going to be major again this fall, and this jacket does leather right with a classic silhouette and a subtle use of the material. This would look hot with jeans and a simple striped tee, and would also be a perfect coat for dresses and skirts.

Sale Price: $45.90 (regularly $69)

Jazz up weekends with a cevron stripe in place of your classic solid; this sweater would also look great for the office over a button-front shirt and paired with a pencil skirt and tall boots. I love all the color combinations, but am partial to the Navy Peacoat/Pear stripe (pictured).

Sale Price: $64.90 (regularly $98)

What a fun fall jacket! The stripes will surely make a statement, and would look great with jeans on the weekend or over a brightly-colored dress and black tights for the office.

Sale Price: $84.90 (regularly $128)

I am always on the hunt for a classic-cut blazer made of a heavyweight knit. It’s not as constricting or bulky as a classic blazer, but still can give that professional look at the office. Not only that, it dresses down nicely and looks great with a cami and jeans for a night out. If you desire color, this blazer is also available in teal for the same sale price.
Note: Make it a sassy suit with the Sejour Ponte Knit & Faux Leather Skirt (Plus) on sale for only $49.90 (regularly $78)

Sale Price: $51.90 (regularly $79)

A great alternative to the blazer or cardigan, this piece mixes both for around $50. Again, a bunch of great color combinations – do note one reviewer says the mustard is more of a lime color.

Sale Price: $84.90 (regularly $128)

Peplums aren’t going away any time soon, and this piece is relatively budget-friendly for it also including the hot leather trend. I love the exposed zipper int he back too!

Sale Price: $149.90 (regularly $228)

This is a fantastic price for a leather skirt. Classic shape but with fun details like zipper pockets. I recommend you size down as leather skirts always stretch.

Sale Price: $59.90 (regularly $88)

If you don’t like this print, search the site for there are several others to choose from. I think this is a beautiful and versatile blouse that would look great untucked with jeans or tucked into trousers or a skirt for the office. Also love that it comes in petite sizes.

Sale Price: $26.90 (regularly $36)

I have it, I love it, and this price is pretty great.
I didn’t cover beauty, shoes, or accessories since those are such personal purchases and sizes and colors are limited. But do check them out, there’s some fabulous deals for fall and winter!

As a reminder, Nordstrom has free shipping and returns every day. If you first go through Ebates you will also get 5% cash back on your entire purchase! What are you getting from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

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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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Seasonless Black Trousers

A pair of black trousers in a seasonless fabric is a necessity to any woman’s wardrobe. What deems a fabric “seasonless?” This means the pants are not wool, they are not cotton. They are most likely a blend of fabrics, usually a good portion synthetic. Ann Taylor has a seasonless fabric they call Triacetate. Express’ seasonless fabric is called Microtwill. J.Crew (and many other brands) calls their version Gabardine. All different fabrics, all seasonless. Maintains it’s shape, often has a bit of stretch, has a slight texture or sheen (great for dressing up and dressing down!), and sort of blends into the background. Not only should these tousers be seasonless, they should be eventless (if that is a word). You want trousers that can go from work to a happy hour to a cocktail party to an interview, to a night club. What cut achieves this? A bootcut leg, not tight, but not Palazzo pants (those pants that look like a skirt on each leg). A tab waist if often a good choice. You never need to worry about a belt, it lies flat under fitted, untucked shirts, yet looks smart with a tucked in oxford. Due to a tab-wait trouser having a wider waistband, it is less likely to cut into the torso, creating a spare tire above the waistline. Very flattering on women with hips, bellies, rears, or straight shapes.

These trousers should not have front pockets. I do not care what your body shape is, front pockets ruin a smooth line and make trousers look more casual and less versatile. These pockets often bow out, wrinkle under the tousers, and look messy. They can make Kate Moss look like Kathy Bates. Back pockets are okay, as long as they are small besom pockets, and not patch pockets (again, detroy the versatility and make the trouser more dated and casual).

Examples of good trousers:

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Yes, I said these trousers should be black, but I chose a lighter color so you could see the detail. The bootcut leg adds a modern look to the pant, elongates and slims the leg. This is an example of a tab waist. See how it is a wider waistband, less likely to cut into the middle. The lack of pleats, seaming and pockets in the front minimizes a belly and gives a smooth line. The strong crease down the front elongates the leg and gives a long, lean look. See how you could see these pants with an oxford and matching blazer with pumps for work, a beaded camisole and pointy toed heels for a night club, a cotton v-neck sweater sweater and some boots for a jaunt to the mall. These pants are from Ann Taylor, and are a cotton/rayon/spandex blend (rayon gives it the seasonless fabric, strech gives it the smooth fit wear after wear).

Here is a great example from Lane Bryant:

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These pants are a seasonless nylon/rayon/spandex blend. They are cut just below the waist (reduces the look of tummy bulge), have a bootcut leg, and smooth lower torso. These pants would look great with strappy heels, a beaded shell and matching jacket for a cocktail party, or a merino turtleneck and some crocodile pointy boots for lunch with the girls. At the time of writing this, these trousers are on sale for $20, regularly $45. You really can find stylish classic pieces for a steal at your local mall. I cannot stress this point enough.

The point is that with the right black trousers, you can dress for almost any event. I have black trousers I purchased five years ago, and still wear weekly. They do not have to cost a lot, most of the trousers I buy on sale and get for less than $50.00. Do keep in mind that though a bargain is always great, black trousers is one thing you do not want to look cheap. They will be worn more than most anything else in your wardrobe, so don’t settle for a chintzy fabric with a cheap sheen, a pair that wrinkles easily, isn’t lined, isn’t the right length, the right cut, the right anything. I do believe in buying in bulk. If you find the trousers of your dreams, you may wish to invest in a second pair in black, and possibly a third pair in another versatile color (gray, brown, tan, white). Consider this especially if you buy the matching suit jacket. I purchased a pair of amazing trousers and the matching jacket at Ann Taylor four years ago. I often wore the trousers without the jacket. One day my dog jumped up to greet me as I returned home from work, his claw got caught in the fabric and ended up snagging and tearing the thigh of these coveted trousers. Ann Taylor no longer makes pieces in this same fabric, so I have a lovely well-fitting jacket and no trousers to match. Since then, I always buy two pairs of pants for every suit jacket, allowing one pair for every day wear, and one pair to preserve to wear with the jacket or for special occasions.

As for care of these pants. I will let you know ahead of time that often these pants say “Dry Clean Only.” I DESPISE spending money on dry cleaning. I end up taking my clothes to the cleaners and forget to pick them up for two weeks. Most of the knits and sweaters I purchase I ignore this “Dry Clean Only” label and wash in Woolite on the gentle cycle of my machine and hang to dry. I have tried this with trousers, and rarely have had good luck. They end up wrinkled, losing that nice front crease and long line. They look cheaper, they often get tighter, the legs shorter (often leaving the lining the same length, which is NOT a good look!), the threads weaken, leaving the potential for an embarrassment the next time you sit down. I have a stain remover I actually purchased in the lingerie department of a department store. I spot treat with that or a Shout! Wipe (always have 5 or 6 in my purse – available at your grocery store in the detergent aisle) and then take them to the local discount dry cleaners. Every so often, they get a better cleaning at the higher end dry cleaners. This may seem like a pain, especially if you have children, a busy schedule, a tight budget. I must tell you this is an investment. If you take care of your clothes correctly, they will take care of you in return, looking gorgeous and lasting for years. Though it may be more appealing to buy all clothing that can take a tumble in the washer and dryer, you lose that polished look, that classic look, the look that shows you care what you look like and others should as well. If you can’t go beyond Tumble Dry Low, you will have a hard time following the closet rules of this book.

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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