Search Results for: label/ann taylor

What I Wore: Old School Allie

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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!

Shop the post:

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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What I Wore: Style Meets Comfort [Sponsored]

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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.

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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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.

[via]

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.

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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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Weekend Sale Shopping

Sales, sales, everywhere is sales… yes I am changing the lyrics to this song (which is a cover of this original) but there’s some insanely good sales going on this weekend that I just HAD to share with you.

Old Navy – 25% Off

At Old Navy, get 25% off your entire purchase with the code TREAT. Code is valid until the end of the 18th. A few restrictions: not valid on Everyday Steals, Hot Deals, Clearance (anything ending in $0.97 or $0.99) or Today Only Deals.  I think this top is an office attire staple and I love the variety of colors available; this chunky turtleneck would look great with skinny jeans or ponte pants for the weekend; I love the leather-look pockets on this dress (and love that it comes in regular, tall, and petite!).

Banana Republic – Up to $50 off Full Priced Items

Up to $50 off full price dresses, jackets, sweaters, and more. Note this doesn’t include their Monogram collection or leather jackets. No code necessary, deal through October 18.  I love their Gemma Wrap Dress and this print is something that would look great all seasons of the year; this lace pullover is fantastic – wear over a white shirt for the office and a camisole for a night out!  Other favorites on promotion:

Ann Taylor – 50% Off Tops, Shoes and Accessories

I know, right? 50% off? Get thee shopping, pronto with code STYLE50, this deal ends October 20th.  I think this bird print shirt is amazing, this faux leather pocket cape looks even better in person, and their buttoned-up boiled wool cape is so awesome, I wish I could justify the purchase (for the record, I’ve tried it on, it fits great, I am a Large Petite).

LOFT – 40% Off Tops and Sweaters

No specific date that this is to end and no code needed. Do note it’s not valid on Lou & Grey merchandise, but it IS valid on in-store purchases as well as online.  It does feel that LOFT is constantly having deals, but they’re also constantly getting in new merchandise that doesn’t seem to last long online.  So if you see it and love it, get it while you can!  I’m loving this belted cardigan, and think this variation on the chambray shirt would look modern and fresh with jeans or a midi skirt.  Some other pieces I like that are on promotion:

Lands’ End – 25 to 30% Off

Lands’ End is my go-to for quality yet reasonably priced winter weather gear. They have two promotions going on right now. Get 30% off select “fall essentials” (not sure exactly what that is but seems like a lot) with code LEAF, PIN 9223 through October 20th. But you can also get 25% off all full-priced merchandise with code MAPLE and PIN 1610 through October 21st. I love my packable down vest so much, I’m seriously considering this packable down jacket from Lands’ End and can’t decide between the polka dots or basic black. I’ve also had this Sport Knit skirt in black in my shopping cart for a while and may pull the trigger now that it’s 30% off.  These and a few other pieces I’m admiring:

Madewell – 30% Off Sale Merchandise

Madewell continues to impress, and a 30% off sale prices makes it easy to buy some fab fall and winter fashion. Use code PICKMEUP, which is valid through October 20th.  I love the classic look of their Otis boot, the unique color and slouchy coolness of their Firelight Pullover, and the perfect color and shape of their Berliner Satchel.

J. Crew – 30% Off Sweaters and Outerwear

Code SHOPFALL will give you 30% off at J. Crew through the 19th of October.  Their Majesty Peacoat truly is perfection and a classic piece that will be chic for years to come; their Jackie Cardigan is always a popular piece and nice to get on sale; and I am loving the pale lavender shade and the cool size zips of this lambswool sweater.

J. Crew Factory – 40-50% off Outerwear and an Additional 30% Off Clearance Merchandise

One of my favorite stores for great style at great prices; 30% off clearance makes it even nicer! Use code YAY30 through the October 19th to save.  As for the deal on outwear and cold-weather accessories, no code is needed.  Some of my favorites like this camo tee (imagine it with something dressy like a sequined or lace pencil skirt or under a denim jacket), this adorable flared leather skirt in black or brown, and this pleated maxi which I own and adore.  As for outerwear, I love the color and details of this coat, find this long hooded belted puffer to be something any city commuter would love, and think the price is nice on these leather tech gloves.

Any sales I missed?  Share them in the comments!

Why Would Someone Pay $150 for a White Tee Shirt?

expensive tee shirt designer worth the price

When some things become popular I really wonder what trendsetters were smoking. This is especially true when commonplace things have a fancy name slapped on them and they’re suddenly worth $500. I’m not going to spend my hard-earned money to advertise YOUR brand, especially if I can find similar at Target for a bundle less. This is how I have felt about tee shirts for a long while. Somehow, that which was purchased from Hanes or Fruit of the Loom is now worth $150 just because some hot designer decided to add it to his collection. No thank you.

When I was in college, my favorite v-neck (when you’re short and busty, v-necks are a godsend) came in a two-pack from Kmart and did just fine. When they got grubby, I’d bleach them, and replace them when they started to yellow. They were a classic, and looked great with my grunge, then preppy/minimalist aesthetic. After college, I was a visual merchandiser for Express and fell hard for their “Metro” v-neck tees. Does anyone else remember these beauties? I had them in a rainbow of colors, but a half dozen in white (the ones from the Mariana Islands were a bit thinner but still opaque and had a better fit over my curves. Yeah, I was that much of a fan of these tees). For my early ‘30s I bounced around budget-friendly retailers and nicer brands found at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Most of these tees would last a season at most. When I switched to a desk job, I found white tees at my corporate attire stores; Ann Taylor was often where I’d find tees of high quality, though not always the best fit.

And here I am, a couple months from 40 and I’m realizing I have spent a boatload of money on white tee shirts that have never satisfied. Too thin, too tight, too boxy, too stretchy, not stretchy enough, just plain wrong. Hrm, maybe there is something to that $150 “perfect” tee shirt. If it truly IS perfect, it could end up saving me money in the long run. I’m no longer a sloppy young kid who will destroy my tee shirt at a bar crawl or tailgate, I’ll keep the cheap tees for weekends but would like an awesome white tee for concerts, to wear under jackets, to pair with a sequined pencil or taffeta ball skirt. You know, that casually cool tee that looks perfectly worn and slouches in just that right way.

The Tees I Tried:

So I did my own white tee shirt science experiment, trying on and ordering over a dozen different shirts ranging in price to see if I could find my Tee Shirt Holy Grail and if a fancy brand and crazy pricetag does make for a better shirt. I originally planned to share each tee and rate it, but I learned from this process that a simple tee shirt is a very personal purchase. Like a pair of jeans or a tee shirt bra, what is Holy Grail for one is incredibly awful for the other. But what I did learn:

  • Price Does NOT Equal Quality. I was horrified by the quality of some of the pricier tee shirts. J Brand and James Perse both surprised me by the mediocre quality and construction for the price, especially after reading rave reviews from some of my favorite bloggers. An Old Navy Vintage V-neck, if you removed the tag, could be mistaken for many of the $60 – $90 tees I tried, showing that you don’t need a fancy label to get a good tee shirt.However, more expensive tee shirts more often than not had features that made them worth the money, and provide a better fit. Some had back seams, which really improved fit for my curvy figure. Some had no seams, which gave a more refined look and trimmer fit. A big place I noticed the difference was in sleeve length and width; more expensive tees had attention to detail and better fit in this area. Shoulders fit and didn’t just round into sleeves, necklines were made with care, not too wide or low but still a flattering and modern cut. A lot of them had cotton blends that made them drape better or have a different finish (for example this tee from A.L.C. was blended with cashmere, which helps explain the higher price).
  • Don’t Assume You Know Your Size. I wear a 12/14 and I have a large chest. Many of the brands known for expensive/fancy tees I knew didn’t sell clothing in my size, so I assumed their Large would be equivalent to an 8/10. For example, rag & bone’s Large is supposedly a 10/12 yet I found is almost too big for me (the Medium fit but too tight for my comfort). What is slouchy loose on a tall willowy model may be the perfectly not too fitted tee for a shorter curvy woman.
  • Just Because It’s a Tee Doesn’t Mean You Can Abuse It. Whether it’s from Target or T by Alexander Wang, if it’s a Holy Grail tee for you, treat it like fine silk. These aren’t your father’s Fruit of the Looms, they’re a thinner cotton, often a blend, cut specifically to glide over a woman’s curves or slouch in just the right way. Throw them in a machine and let them tumble dry and no matter the cost you may end up with a misshapen dish rag. I recommend washing in a lingerie bag and letting air dry. If like me you don’t have room for a drying rack, do NOT line dry your tee. It will grow and likely end up with bumps in the shoulders. I take two pant hangers and fold it over both of them so it balances the weight and doesn’t end up with bends. Once dry, it can handle a couple minutes in the dryer to soften and get rid of any wrinkles.
  • Tee Shirt Bras Exist for a Reason. The current trend of tees is thin and broken-in, which can make a tee a bit transparent. A nude-to-you tee shirt bra (my favorite one), free of lace and decoration can become virtually invisible even under slub knits.
  • Know Your Tee’s Purpose. There’s tees to wear to the gym, tees to wear gardening or cleaning out the garage, tees to wear to your friend’s house with leggings and an oversized flannel shirt to watch movies. But then there’s tees that can replace a going out top for a night at a bar, tees you wear under a blazer for Sunday brunch or a casual office place, and tees you wear to dress down a more glamorous piece like a sequined jacket or my previously mentioned taffeta ball skirt. Know WHY you need such a tee shirt in your wardrobe before you shop so you get the right fit, neckline, and opacity.
  • No One Needs a $150 Shirt. Seriously, if you’re perfectly happy with the tees your currently own, don’t go trying on designer tee shirts. Your life will be perfectly lovely and stylish without having one in your wardrobe.  One thing I did learn from reading the reviews on tee shirts during this process is how people shop for all the wrong reasons.  Just because you own the tee shirt that your favorite actress or blogger owns doesn’t mean you will look the same in it, or carry it off with the same panache.  Just because a certain brand is in your wardrobe doesn’t mean you’re fashionable.  It’s okay to be inspired by another person, but you will never be fashionable if you’re purchasing to imitate another or to impress with pricepoint or brand.  Style comes from knowing yourself and dressing the part, if you feel a tee shirt over a certain pricepoint is utterly ridiculous no matter the fit, that’s knowing your personal style.  Stick to that, be true to yourself, and your style will shine.
  • As for me, I ended up buying two white tee shirts:

  • rag & bone “Classic V” (size Large) $80.00 – This isn’t tight, but it’s not sloppy or boxy. It’s sheer, but you can’t see my nude tee shirt bra (or belly button or the mole on my back) through it. It’s longer, which makes it easy to tuck in, but it seems to gather/slouch on my hips far better than any other long tee I’ve tried. The V is the perfect length for me (I was looking for a going out tee, not something that would be worn to work). The shoulders and sleeves fit perfectly, and the back seam gives the whole shirt a better drape and fit.
  • Free People Shredded Muscle Tee  (size Large, but I was tempted to size down to Medium and would if it was a darker color) $58.00 – This is a novelty tee for me, I mean who really NEEDS a shirt riddled with holes? I bought it at the end of August and loved it untucked with distressed denim shorts and my silver Birkenstocks for weekends, but now that it has gotten colder I’ve paired with slim jeans and booties for a night out with the girls, and also wore under a blazer for brunch and loved how the distressed tee contrasted with a traditional jacket. This is boxy, but the neck fits nicely (no need to stretch it out like I have to with so many crewnecks yet doesn’t fall off the shoulder), you can’t see my bra when I raise my arms, and it’s thin without being Saran wrap.
  • And now I’d love to hear from you, how much have you paid for a tee shirt? And if you’ve found your Holy Grail tee, please share in the comments along with your general body type. Your Holy Grail very well may be the tee another reader has been looking for all her life!

    My Recent Purchases (and some fab weekend sales)

    I’m trying to be extremely careful with what I purchase this fall; this year has taught me I can live on less and there’s some pretty spectacular items already in my closet. But I do see some holes, and I’m trying to purchase higher quality and more timeless pieces to fit those wardrobe gaps. Some of the things I have purchased recently, and if applicable, the deals going on at those stores:

    Ann Taylor Cashmere Poncho
    If you follow me on Facebook (and you should, lots of conversations going on there and different content), you know I recently purchased this cashmere poncho from Ann Taylor. I got the Dark Sky (a rich navy) in L/XL and I love it so much I wish it was already cold enough to wear it. The neckline is big so you can have it off the shoulder, boatneck, or ruched as seen on the model. It’s elegant to wear to work with a crisp white shirt and gray trousers, or on the weekend with a long-sleeved striped tee, jeans, and tall boots. While it’s not cheap, it’s a piece that won’t go out of style and will work no matter my size or personal style.

    Ann Taylor this weekend is offering 50% off full price dresses and skirts, an additional 40% off sale items, and buy one get one 50% off select camis and tanks (no coupon needed).

    LOFT Snow Leopard Print Car Coat

    From LOFT I purchased their Snow Leopard Print Car Coat; it arrived Friday evening and it’s amazing.  The texture is fuzzy, like felted wool and faux fur blended together and tightly woven so it will provide warmth the cooler days of fall and less blustery days of winter.  I bought a Large Petite and it fits perfectly, nips in at the back right where it should, shoulders at the right place, sleeves right length, can comfortably button over a lightweight sweatshirt but also looks smart unbuttoned.  It looks smart with trousers and jeans, but I also thought it worked with a dress.  The pictures make it look just cream, gray, and black but there’s a hint of blue in the print that makes me love it even more.

    LOFT is having 40% off all merchandise with the code FALLSTYLE but don’t delay because this fab deal ends September 13.

    gap real straight jeans

    I love the Real Straight jeans from Gap; my legs are too thick to carry off skinny jeans and most boyfriend jeans are too narrow.  The Gap Real Straight jeans work well with my curves, having enough room for my booty, no gaping at the waist, no suffocated calves or thighs, and a fuller leg opening to balance my large ankles.  The 32 Short fits me best; the length works with sneakers and low heels but I’ll also roll the hem (see in this Instagram photo) to give a boyfriend jean effect.  I bought the medium wash, but also snagged the destructed (seen on Instagram) which was on sale.

    Gap is having 30% off everything with the code HAPPY and if you have GAPCASH right now it is being redeemed.  I just bought two plaid shirts (this one and this one) and a henley (I know, I know, totally channeling my ’90s self this fall) and thanks to GAPCASH and rewards from my Banana Republic Visa I only paid $20 for all three!

    Isabella Fiore Galiana HoboI didn’t NEED another black leather bag (I have this one from Rough & Tumble that I love), but with MYHABIT’s Labor Day sale and some MYHABIT credits burning a hole in my virtual wallet, I got this bag from Isabella Fiore for only $42.  And OMIGOD it’s gorgeous!  The leather is thick but it slouches perfectly.  It smells divine, the print is pretty cool, and while it’s super big (like fit my lunch and laptop and commuter shoes in it along with all my purse stuff big), it doesn’t look ridiculous with my 5’3″ frame.  And strangers stop me to ask about it.  It’s hard to use any other bag in my closet now that this baby has entered my life.

    I’ve also bought some things that went immediately back.  Some wide leg pants from Nordstrom that made me look pregnant and 5″ shorter than my 5’3″ self, the LOFT camo sweater I mentioned in my last sale post (super gorgeous but not needed and not really my style in real life), and an incredibly disappointing cape (but returning it meant I could get the leopard car coat), but I’m really loving the fall trends in general. What have you purchased for fall?

    Labor Day Super Sales

    I don’t believe in shopping just to shop, but if you have holes in your closet or need to update for the colder months, there’s some AWESOME sales going down this Labor Day weekend!

    LOFT

    This morning I hit up LOFT and got this camo sweater, this striped sweater, and these pants for about $145. 50% off everything, no code needed. Deal ends 9/1/14 so don’t delay!

    ANN TAYLOR

    50% off select full priced items and 50% off all sale prices. Not too shabby, and a great way to score a nice suit or a holiday season frock for a nice price. But the best deal I see on the 50% off full price is the shoes – great time for some classic shoes for work and social affairs at killer prices – Eryn Kitten Heel or Favian Pump for $64 and the Leiah flats for only $39.

    TALBOTS

    Oh, this sale is dangerous, you know how much I’m loving Talbots lately! They’re having 25% off all full-priced items and have taken extra discounts on sale so they’re up to 80% off. I am dying over this bucket bag and think this denim shirt dress is utterly adorable for work and weekends.  I’ve gotten many good shoe deals from Talbots and they have some awesome ones right now; these wedges are great for late summer/early fall and prep for next year, and these metallic peep toe flats are too cute.  Shop while there’s still decent selection.

    ELOQUII

    Eloquii is having their friends and family event right now which means 40% off your entire order and free shipping for any order over $100.  Use promo code FRIEND. I used their Studio Midi and if I were 2″ taller I would have kept it, it’s so well made and GORGEOUS in person, and this perforated faux leather midi is drool-worthy and would look so cute with a band tee or glammed up with a cashmere sweater.

    J.CREW

    40% off Final Sale items (and some at 50% off) with the promo code WEEKEND. Final Sale can be scary, but if you know the items or the brand, it’s a good time to get some sweet deals. I usually use this kind of sale to stock up on tees, tanks, and snag some fun accessories (like this gorgeous classic link bracelet).

    J.CREW FACTORY

    J. Crew Factory is also having a major sale, where the majority of the site is 40 – 60% off. This means classic cashmere cardigans under $100, this ponte dress that I own and love is under $60 (under $50 if you dig navy as much as I do), and this killer leather skirt that will look cool now and years from now is only $159.50.

    NORDSTROM

    Nordstrom is having their clearance sale with up to 40% off, and there’s some real awesome and current items part of it. My Tasha necklace is now only $34.80, this tweed jacket is a steal under $80 that can be worn to the most conservative offices of dressed down for the weekend with jeans, and I have this jacket in ivory and think this price is insane. Click here to see everything that’s on clearance.

    GAP

    Online, you can get 20% off your purchase with the promo code HAPPY, but sale ends 8/30/14 so take advantage while you can. Do note this deal doesn’t work on jeans, leather and suede items, shoes, and a few other things. Though the deal didn’t work on sale, the prices on these Sexy Boyfriend jeans and True Straights with the raw edge were too good so I snagged them anyway.

    BANANA REPUBLIC

    40% off EVERYTHING! And gosh, is Banana Republic’s new collection awesome (I see your touch Marissa Webb and I am loving it!). Totally digging this sweater moto, and this shirt dress would work now with sandals or come fall with tall boots or tights.  Use promo code BRLABOR, sale ends 9/1/14.

    OLD NAVY

    Oh Old Navy, I have such a love/hate relationship with you! This summer I found some great scores (like this dress), so I’m feeling hopeful about their fall collection and right now the entire store is up to 50% off.  May have to snag this awesome leopard pencil skirt and this dress is the perfect thing to wear on weekends with boots or a pair of Shorelines.

    DOROTHY PERKINS

    Dorothy Perkins’ sale department has been reduced even more where items are up to 70% off. Spend $50 and get free shipping with promo code DSHIP50.  I’m digging this striped crop top, think it would look so cute with the full midi skirts that are everywhere this season, and this $15 dress is such a score and perfect for everything from work to a weekend bridal shower or day wedding.

    GYMBOREE

    For you parents of little ones, Gymboree is having 40% off everything. I know, right? Get back to school shopping pronto!

    NEW YORK & COMPANY

    Pants, jeans, and jumpsuits are buy one, get one free at New York & Company. Rest of the store (except clearance) is 50% off. They’re also offering free shipping on any order over $50.  How cute is this dress from their Eva Mendes Collection?  And OMG regarding this jumpsuit – gorgeous and nice to see a stretchy one you can easily get on and off!

    MYHABIT

    Y’all know I love me some MYHABIT, well they’re having and end of season sale where they’re clearing out and items are up to 80% off. Sale ends 7pm EST 9/1/14.

    Have you seen any other great deals happening this weekend? Do share in the comments!

    Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: What I Bought and What You Should Get!

    I love Nordstrom. Great selection of brands and sizes, great customer service in stores and online, free shipping and returns, and when I worked retail it was the most serene place in a mall. My morning coffee drink came from their Espresso Bar, my afternoon salad from their Café, and my shoe wardrobe and made up face from their fabulous staff on the main floor. I got rid of all my store credit cards years ago but held onto my Nordstrom card because of the perks. Reward notes for cash off purchases, free alterations, exclusive in-store events… and early entry to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale which starts July 18th!

    Last Thursday I shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale early, but in a different frame of mind from previous years. Usually I use it as Back to School shopping, plotting out my personal style and wardrobe for the upcoming seasons, choosing pieces that will become signature. My blue leather and green leather jackets and my pleated leather skirt are all previous Anniversary Sale purchases.

    But this year? I’m going to work as much as I can with what I already have. I think back and really LIKE what I already own, so I only need a couple things to fill holes and incorporate a couple trends. So here’s what I purchased:

    halogen flared ponte skirt bp print tassel trim poncho
    dkny lace curves shaping brief nordstrom logo tea towel

    • Halogen Flared Ponte Skirt: I bought a similar ponte skirt from Halogen last year and wore the HECK out of it.  So much, it’s covered with pills and stretched out.  At only $29.90 I figured I could splurge on a replacement.
    • BP. Print Tassel Trim Poncho: I’ll buy a whole wardrobe of great work and going out clothes and then realize I’m freezing and have to take Emerson to dance class or just want to throw on a layer when watching TV.  Depending on the quality and fit, this could also be a Casual Friday look with a merino sweater, jeans and boots.  Only $24.90.
    • DKNY Lace Curves Shaping Brief: I love these things, they don’t suck in as much as Spanx, but smooth the belly enough for slightly clingy dresses and to give a good shape with skirts and trousers.  They’re comfortable and cute too!  The lace back prevents VPL.  With one arm, I’ve ended up stretching out my black one so I’m getting a replacement at the $13.90 sale price.
    • Nordstrom Heritage Collection Logo Tea Towel: I DID say I loved Nordstrom!  I also love dish towels, and apple green is one of the accent colors in my kitchen.  At just $6.70 I couldn’t resist!

    That’s not to say there aren’t a heck of a lot of other amazing items that are part of the sale, just things I don’t need right now. However these guys caught my eye for being great deals (all under $100), great staples, or great pieces to update your wardrobe for the fall and winter.  Catch them while they’re still available!

    Wardrobe Basics:

    Accessory Updates:

    • Cara Spike Hinge Cuff: I’ve been wearing the heck out of my Rebecca Minkoff cuff (also on sale!) which is a similar concept.  This one is available in silver, gold, and hematite and on sale for $17.90.
    • Kendra Scott “Deanna” Pendant Necklace: An elegant and classic necklace that looks hip now but stylish for years to come.  Available in six different colors, on sale for $51.90.
    • Halogen ‘Marlie’ Calf Hair Pointy Toe Pump: Gosh I wanted to justify buying these shoes!  However, I already own a very similar pair.  I own a pair of Halogen shoes and find them pretty decent quality and they hold up well.  Two leopard prints to choose from plus berry and black.  $59.90
    • Tasha Chain Mesh Collar Necklace: I was THISCLOSE to buying this myself, and will likely regret not snagging it.  Totally badass, available in gold, hematite, and silver and on sale for $37.90
    • Hobo ‘Zara’ Patent Leather Crossbody: My sister has this bag and it’s the perfect size to carry all your need without bulk; it’s become her Night Out bag and I’m tempted to snag one for myself.  Black, Camel, Red, and on sale for $64.90.
    • Halogen Leather Crossbody Bag: I love a good leather bag that’s free of logos and trendy details.  This bag is one you can have an enjoy for many years without looking dated.  Black, blue, and camel on sale for $78.90.
    • Louise et Cie ‘Azalya’ Mini Wedge Flat: Gray leopard calfhair with a cute bow detail, a tiny wedge that makes it even nicer for the office.  Medium and wide widths available. $69.90
    • BP. ‘Burton’ Moto Boot: A cool looking knee-high leather boot under $100.  $89.90

    Incorporating New Trends and Silhouettes:

    • Bellatrix Faux Wrap Front Blouse: I’ve written before about draped tops, and I think they’re great on their own, or under a blazer.  I have a Bellatrix blouse and find the quality nice; this top comes in basic black and five fun prints and is on sale for $39.90.
    • Chelsea28 Fit & Flare Skirt: Another item I was THISCLOSE to purchasing.  The midi skirt is still hot for fall, and looks so cute with simple sweaters.  The creamy color will modernize the black and gray currently in your closet.  $58.90
    • Vince Camuto Lace Panel Cardigan (Plus): So simple, but the lace detail really takes your outfit up a notch.  $88.90
    • KUT from the Kloth ‘Lincoln’ Faux Leather Drape Front Jacket: A great way to jazz up weekend knits or wear as a soft jacket to the office.  It also gets good reviews on the site.  Available in black and chocolate and on sale for $59.90.
    • Foxcroft Graphic Jaquard Cardigan (Plus): I love the preppy print and can see it on the weekend with a Breton tee and jeans and at work with a simple shell and trousers.  I have a Foxcroft cardigan and find them very well made. $76.90
    • Halogen Leather Front Shell:  Buy this for me, because I want it soooo bad! Pair with jeans, a pleated chiffon skirt, a pencil skirt, under a cream blazer.  Regular and petite sizes, $98.90.
    • Sejour ‘Metropolitan’ Faux Leather Front Peplum Top (Plus): Ignore how it says peplum, it’s more of a fit and flare.  This top could be paired with a pencil skirt for work or rocked for evening with black skinny pants or dark jeans and heels.  $78.90

    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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