Search Results for: label/gap

Open Letter to GAP (warning: LONG)

Dear Gap:

Do know I love you, and I have loved you for a very long time. When I turned 16 I headed to my nearby Super Gap (think it was a precursor to Old Navy) and turned in a job application. You never called (maybe because I was 16 and had no experience?) but it didn’t change my love for you.

One of the first outfits I recall purchasing was from that same Super Gap. Emerald green tee-shirt hiked up with a brown leather belt at the hips, an emerald and navy plaid cotton drop-waist skirt that puffed out quite nicely. My sister had a similar look in pink.

I still have that forest-green v-neck sweater I bought for my high school boyfriend Shaun (that is not Shaun in the picture). Remember it, with the wide stripes of navy, gray and ivory at the neck? It was 1992 and very preppy in a cool way. We broke up around Thanksgiving and I was secretly grateful for then I could keep the sweater for myself.

How about that pewter shantung a-line wrap skirt I found on the clearance rack for $9.99? The snap was missing but was otherwise perfect. I paired it with a black silk twinset and black ballet flats and felt like Audrey Hepburn. That skirt is sitting in my attic waiting for the moment when I again fit into a size 10.

Gosh, I am still sporting my forest green hoodie with the half-zip neckline that I got in 6th grade. Then it was paired with leggings and puffy socks, but now it goes with me on every camping trip and it thrown on every sick day. Other than the torn seam at the pocket, it looks almost brand new.

I did denim cheat a few times in high school and college. Guess, Calvin Klein and Express were shiny and attractive, but you were the one that always fit me best. You were always who I went running to when the others were too tight/too loose/too trendy.

After college my body became more… feminine and it seemed that the only store that accommodated my curves was you. I found jeans that were not only the right rise on my petite frame, but the right length to let me wear heels without either tripping over the hem or have my ankle bones show. Oh the original Lowrise Bootcut… I kept my first pair for two years after they tore at the crotch in some hope that the Denim Fairy would come and make them whole.

But Gap, you started betraying me. You modified the Lowrise Bootcut, making the denim stiffer and the legs slimmer. Don’t you know by now that I have “athletic” thighs? I still bought them, but instead of a custom fit, I had to do squats each morning to get them to be comfortable. It made me feel… the way Express started making me feel at the beginning of the new millennium: used… and fat. Then you discontinued the Lowrise Bootcut all together. Why, Gap? Why?

On one of those increasingly more rare occasions, I had the pleasure to work with a salesperson who was A. knowledgeable about your line, and B. helpful. She suggested I try your new Curvy line of denim, suggesting the Curvy Bootcut as a decent alternative to the Lowrise. The denim wasn’t as refined, the color not as hip, the fit not as exquisite, but it was good enough that I could again own a pair of jeans and not show my thong each time I sat or fear that my “athletic” thighs would bust a seam. I purchased a pair and wore them regularly, the denim molding to my figure with each wash and wear.

After a season of wear, my Curvy Bootcut was looking a bit ragged and the trends were heading toward more indigo of territory. I returned to you, hoping for a replacement pair. Yet again, you betrayed me by discontinuing this line as well! I tried every style in your store, finding them all to be built for someone else – a woman with skinny legs, no curve to her belly, and no junk in her trunk. When you chose to bring back this line, yet again it was altered to no longer fit a REAL curvy body.

What happened? Did I go to sleep and wake up to a world of stick-people? I looked around me and saw the same women as before – curvy, soft, natural and in desperate need of a decent-fitting pair of jeans. Beautiful women in jeans way past their prime – waistbands above the belly button, tapered ankles, dated stonewashed hues. Gorgeous ladies with muffin tops, exposed ankle bones, exposed undergarments and suffering legs in binding denim. Women who are clinging to old pairs because nothing current fits. Women who have succumbed to denim built for plastic mannequins and not human beings. Women with NEEDS.

Last year I was in San Francisco, your stomping grounds. My job had me visit your hallowed halls and I even ate in your cafeteria and sat on your terrace and admired your view. I felt as though I was Home. I met one of your bigwigs and together we went to your flagship store to go shopping. I, a curvy petite brunette and she, a leggy blonde scoured all the many floors of your store for new fall jeans. On a whim, I picked up a pair of your denim trousers and in a size 12 Regular no less (at the time I was a solid 14 Petite). You know what? The FIT! For the first time since my affair with the Lowrise Bootcut a pair of your denim fit me as though they were made for my body. It didn’t hurt things to know I comfortably slid into a size smaller too. I left the fitting room to find that Leggy Blonde had also fallen for your denim trousers. The magic was back – your ability to dress all women and make us all feel great about our figures.

I wore the heck out of those denim trousers. I would hang them dry and iron them to press a crease down the front. I got rid of all my not-quite-right denim, slipping into the trousers at least once a week, of not more. Each time I wore them, I got compliments on the style, the color, and questions as to whether I had lost weight. I glowed; I had that look of love.

Even with careful maintenance, my denim trousers started to falter. The color began to fade, the hem began to fray, the fabric between the thighs started showing signs of much wear. I went to your website to buy a replacement pair but they were no longer available. I ordered an alternative and returned them before even trying them on – I could tell in the package that they wouldn’t flatter. The denim was too stiff, the slash pockets would bulge from my curves, the waistband would probably dig into me when I was sitting.

A couple weeks ago, I came back to you. You had updated your website and I eagerly logged on to see your fall collection. Your denim selection was extensive, but I didn’t see anything that was quite right… the straight leg trouser jean. No slash or patch pockets in front, no flap pockets in back. A clean look and a delectable color and finish. A worthy replacement to my San Fran pair, almost exactly like the original. I ordered them in haste and waited with bated breath for their arrival.

Finally, they arrived. They were even more beautiful in person. I put them on… and they fit well. Not as well as San Fran, but not too shabby. I liked the 2007 details – the detail on the back pockets, the tab waistband, the dark grainy wash.

Today I decided to finally wear them. I looked in the mirror and was pleased with the reflection.

I drove to work, and when I got out of my car, the tab waist unsnapped (there is an inner button, then an exterior snap for the waistband). Maybe I moved weird; I re-snapped the pants and walked to the building.

The pants unsnapped twice on the walk to the building and once in the elevator. As soon as I stood up from my desk chair to retrieve a document from the printer, my pants unsnapped again, having the denim tab stick straight out from my waist through the denim, making this wardrobe malfunction obvious to everyone around me. I used my document to cover my waist and rushed back to my desk, searching my purse for a safety pin. All I had was one of those little gold ones that attaches tags to garments. I attempted to use it to hold my pants together, but your denim was too strong and the pin bent and collapsed under the weight.

I was angry and could not wait to get home and throw these pants back in the box and send them back. Then I went to the local grocery to grab lunch. I was walking from my car, walking carefully and with perfect posture to keep the pants intact. I saw my friend Megan who was grabbing a drink from Starbucks. “Look at you Al, have you lost weight?”

Oh Gap, how you toy with my mind and heart. You KNOW I am a sucker for the weightloss compliment. I followed Megan to Starbucks and we chatted, your jeans staying snapped the whole time. Walked back to the car, jeans still on good behavior. Then walking back to the office building, and you unsnapped. TWICE.

You know what the problem is? These jeans were not made for a tummy. No tummy at ALL. If I suck in my stomach and have perfect posture, the jeans stay relatively intact. But if I move, walk, BREATHE they unsnap. A quarter of an inch more on the tab, and these jeans would have worked for a woman with a six-pack or with a bit of softness to her shape. But noooo…. Yet again you have betrayed the softer sex and made jeans that have us believe there is something wrong with US.

Gap, I know you haven’t been doing well financially and I would hate to see you go. I think of many great outfits in my past, and most had at least one Gap garment in it. But if you don’t stop and see the population of this country, you will fade away. You have Old Navy for the cheap basics and trendy pieces. Banana is great for the young professional and elegant staples for many ages. And you? You should be a guaranteed spot for great jeans, well-made tee shirts and a bunch of fun pieces to jazz up a wardrobe of staples. The last hoodie I got from you had two seams fray in the wash. My newest denim skirt faded after one round in the washing machine, and the new scoop-necked tees I got from you in a Large are too big and the Medium are like bodysuits. Your chance for survival is not going to be based upon white shirts by Doo.Ri, the European Collection (which I have tried many pieces and found them all to be cheap and weirdly made/styled) but from being reliable. You need to be a standard for American women (and women around the globe), but now you are a place I see many females walk right past in the mall to head to J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, Levis or a department store. No, you can’t compete with the high-end designer denim, but you still have a chance to hold onto your title as American Fashion Mecca. Just remember who it is you’re actually trying to dress. Your mannequins aren’t the ones with the money.

Love,
Allie

Giveaway: Gap Skimmer Jeans – Save and Win!

Last week I featured the new Gap Skimmer Jean and how incredibly versatile and adorable it is. Many of you were interested in trying the Skimmer for yourself, well now’s your chance! From February 21 – 27, 2013, try the New Skimmer and get $20 off! When you try the New Skimmer at any Gap store, you’ll get an automatic $20 off any regular-priced pair.  What a fab promotion, I’m thinking I may have to grab a pair of their camo-print skimmers for spring!

Want even more encouragement to try these awesome new jeans? One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $50 AmEx gift card that you could use to buy your Gap Skimmers!

How to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Gap Skimmers: Versatile Style for Now and Spring

I recently visited Gap and felt like a kid in a candy store. Adorable jackets, tons of stripes (we all know how I adore stripes), and fun jeans including their new Women’s Skimmer. Named because they skim the ankles as well as the body from waist to hem. I’m pleasantly surprised by how flattering the Skimmers are on my curvy frame. I tried on several variations and fell for the 1969 Dot Always Skinny Skimmer. I immediately thought of the outfit possibilities!

Jacket: Gap | Scarf: Ann Taylor (similar) | Shoes: Nine West (similar)

Sweatshirt: Alo | Shoes: Lands’ End (similar)

Jacket: Vince Camuto | Tee: Canvas Lands’ End (similar) | Necklaces: eBay | Shoes: Target (similar)

Sweater: Lands’ End via Gwynnie Bee | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (similar) | Cuff: Gap (similar)


The Skimmers are adorable with a sweatshirt and flats for weekends, or a slouchy sweater and platform heels for a night with the girls. For work I paired with Gap’s Striped Twill Zip Jacket, and for play the Skimmers are fab with an ivory blazer and bold gold necklaces. I can’t wait to style them for spring!


While I did receive compensation for this post, all opinions and text are my own.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Recent Purchases: Hits and Misses

I’m slowly filling in holes in my wardrobe. Though I lost some weight from Whole30 I am still not the same shape and size I was last winter so I need to do a bit of purchasing. I’m also noticing how some of my “classic” items aren’t all that classic. For example, Monday morning I was wearing a cream sweater (see below) with cream trousers and thought brown shoes would be perfect. I went up on a shelf in my closet to pull out my “classic” brown suede booties and realized they have a hidden platform, a weird chunky toe that points up a bit, and the brown is very reddish (these are the booties I’m describing). Yep, they’ll be on eBay before the month is through! Anyway, below are items I have recently tried, some I have loved and kept and others that didn’t make the cut:

Halogen Zip Detail Leather Moto Jacket

Halogen Zip Detail Leather Moto Jacket

I have a green leather jacket, a blue leather jacket, and a fake leather jacket but I really want a black leather one that is a classic fit, classic cut, and can be something I wear for a long time. In high school I had a black biker jacket, I wore it all four years and into college. I still have it, but it’s a very dated silhouette and I’d like a simpler version. This jacket from Halogen appealed to me because there weren’t any funky details, it’s under $300 for real leather, and it comes in petite. A big issue with previously purchased jackets is the sleeves are too long (or with the faux leather, it has bracelet sleeves which makes it hard to wear with long sleeved clothes, and well, faux leather isn’t very warm).

The jacket is well made, and like all the other Halogen leather pieces I own, very soft. This isn’t a classic biker jacket with the notched collar, but with a moto snap collar and then the wide placket to be able to zip up the jacket. The details are subtle so it’s a piece that will stand the test of time. A petite large fit me nicely, and I am usually a generous 12 or slim 14 in coats and need bust space. The sleeves weren’t too tight with a lightweight sweater, and the lining was soft against bare skin.

But I returned it. I didn’t LOVE it, and honestly, it looks so similar to my green leather jacket. It’s a little too polished for what I want; right now I want something that can wear a bit, dress up maybe with a midi skirt, but mainly be what I throw on with a tee shirt and jeans. While this is a great price for a high quality leather jacket, I am still looking for the right one for me.

Halogen Varsity Pleat Skirt

Halogen ‘Varsity’ Pleat Skirt

During the Nordstrom Anniversary I purchased this skirt to replace this skirt from Hinge that I wore to DEATH last winter. Yeah, no. The skirt emphasized everything I’d like not emphasized and I realized it’s because the flare is right from the waist. So I returned it and decided to try this skirt from Halogen; the pleats start lower and are better managed (no belly pleating).

This skirt runs small. I purchased a 12 (my normal size in Halogen) and regular (more length for work) and I could hardly pull it over my rear and I couldn’t zip it more than an inch. Oh, and the description doesn’t mention that it’s textured, like a mini waffle weave.

The Vince Camuto Notch Collar Cape is so odd I had to share multiple photos

Vince Camuto Notch Collar Cape

I briefly mentioned this cape in this post, but think it deserves a proper review, especially since I wrote a review over a week ago on Nordstrom and it has yet to be published, and because other Wardrobe Oxygen readers mentioned the same issue with it.

While I own a lot of Vince Camuto and think they’re a great choice to wear runway-inspired trends without spending a ton, they sometimes go too cheap or get a trend completely wrong. This is one of those times. The cape is made out of a suiting-like material (and a cheap scratchy suit at that) and lined only in acetate; this isn’t outerwear but more like a weirdly shaped blazer. And it is weirdly shaped; I ordered a Large and it was huge on me, I looked as though I was in the Talking Heads. On the models the button seems to be near their navels, on me it was closer to my crotch; buttoned the collar gaped and looked cheap and unbuttoned it tented out. The armholes were very low down, I couldn’t get my hands out unless my arms were bent, and then only the first half of my forearms. No way could I reach the pockets. Mega fail.

LOFT Custom Stretch Trouser Pants Marisa Fit

LOFT Custom Stretch Trouser Pants – Marisa Fit

I now own two pairs of these pants. I wore them here in black, and now I also own navy. These pants are the perfect work pant. You can machine wash them (I line dry, I hang by the legs, making a crease and a clean look by matching the seams to one another and using the weight of the pant to make the legs taut), they’re stretchy, yet hold their shape all day and through multiple wears, look professional/pair nicely with blazers, and the lack of lining does make them not as polished but more comfortable for business casual offices. Though they have belt loops, the waistband is very flat so it doesn’t look bulky under fitted knits. The pockets are ridiculous, I can’t even fit a credit card in them but again, no bulk. I purchased the 14 petite and they are a comfortable fit and comfortable length with mid-height heels. The Marisa Fit is best for me because while I have a booty, I don’t have a very hourglass shape. The Julie Fit of these pants is better for curvy frames, and the Zoe Fit is great for straight shapes with smaller booties; they all come in Regular, Petite, and Tall. All this and under $80 (and then LOFT is always having some sort of promotion!).

lands end lofty sweater

Lands’ End 3/4-sleeve Lofty Blend Cable Pullover Sweater

I thought I ordered a Large, I ordered a Medium. It fit, but it fit too well to the point of looking dated.  I think if I exchanged it for Large Petite I’d like it better.  This sweater is very soft, perfect for those who can’t deal with wool and scratchier fabrics. The knit is tight so no need for an under layer for modesty. It looks expensive and elegant, a classic. This sweater would look nice with jeans, but I think can dress up and look quite lovely with a button-front shirt underneath, or paired with a pencil skirt or work trousers. However, I mentioned this sweater in my post where I was looking for a fisherman sweater and this sweater is NOT that. This is a tailored, ladylike sweater. A great sweater, but you won’t be mistaken for Ernest Hemingway in it for sure!

lands end drifter sweater

Lands’ End 3/4-sleeve Button-back Cable Boatneck Drifter Sweater

Gotta love it when the sale item is the one you like best! I cheated a bit with this sweater, I had borrowed the lavender version of it from Gwynnie Bee this summer. From Gwynnie Bee, I ordered a Large and it was a bit too heavy and boxy for me. However, in cream I thought a Large would be quite Hemingway-esque. But like the other Lands’ End sweater I seemed to flake out and ordered a Medium (what I wear in Lands’ End for most knits and dresses). When it first came I thought it was too fitted to accomplish my goal, but I tried it with different items in my wardrobe and decided this size is more flattering and versatile. I wore it this weekend sightseeing with my Gap Real Straights rolled like boyfriend jeans and my Converse Shorelines and as mentioned above, wore it to work with cream tropical wool trousers and booties. I’ve styled this sweater at home with my pleated leather skirt and also like it over a denim shirt. It has a boatneck and gold buttons in back which makes it look a bit more expensive and special than a traditional cable, but may limit your styling. At the time of writing this, there were still lots of sizes available in Petite, Regular, and Plus.

_9343977

MICHAEL Michael Kors Faux Wrap Maxi Dress

This is not something I needed, but per my post Wednesday, something I bought to hopefully wear to a wedding.  I really wanted this in blue but it was out of stock so I ordered it in black, 12 Petite. I ordered for the wedding, but thought the fabric and style would make it year-round wearable and versatile enough to dress up and down.  Glad I ordered petite because this dress is LONG! Like even in petite I’d need to wear heels to not have a train long. And that’s not where the fail ended for me. The sleeves are a weird length (longer on me than in the photo) that look too casual for the rest of the dress (and tight too), the neckline was so low I’d have to pin to hide my bra, and the wrapping in the middle added bulk instead of flattering my curves.  A plus is that it fit nicely in the torso and over my hips and rear; the fabric is opaque and heavy enough to not cling.  I’m glad I didn’t get the blue because I may have fallen in love so much with the color I would ignore the faults in the dress.  I think this dress would look far better on someone who is taller, and I think it’s made for a woman with her curves below the waist; some hips would really make the skirt flow nicely.

So now I want to hear from you, have you purchased anything lately that is phenomenal? Anything so awful fellow readers should get a warning? I learn so much from all of you, I’d love to know what’s on your radar!

33-Worthy Friday

Shirt: Gap | Jeans: NYDJ “Marilyn” | Shoes: Softspots (similar) | Scarf: Bambi 1 Square Zebra” c/o Nepali by TDM Designs | Bracelets: Silver cuff (similar), indigo bracelets c/o Lifetherapy

It’s Friday! When I got dressed this morning I was thinking more about the rain and wearing some shoes other than the black Cole Haan sandals I have worn for almost two weeks straight (those and these are the only shoes I can carry off with the hurt leg). After getting dressed I realized that this outfit is all pieces I would choose if I was doing Project 333 (details here). While the white jeans are a different pair (last year’s jeans fit but they look strange, too low rise and a bit too short in length too), everything else is something I would choose if I had to pare down to just 33 piece in my closet.

This scarf has become quite a favorite, and I can’t believe this is the first time it has been featured on the blog. If you know me in real life, you know I wear this scarf weekly. It’s a soft bamboo that has gorgeous drape, the cadet blue shade is quite versatile, and it just feels good around the throat. This is the type of scarf I would take on vacation; it would be a great wrap on a plane, a cool shawl with an LBD, and can even be tied around the swimsuit like a pareo. All that, and you’re doing good by buying a scarf from Nepali by TDM Design!

I am proud to have partnered with Nepali by TDM, a company that creates opportunities for poverty-stricken women to generate sustainable income in Nepal. They are also invested in a literacy and education campaign throughout the country. Nepali by TDM Design’s mission is to bring about social and economic change by allowing women to participate financially in their society. All their scarves are hand-made in Nepal from natural materials and eco-friendly, azo-free dyes. You’ll see int he coming months that the clothing and accessory companies I partner with are ones I admire for doing more than making pretty things. Be they companies who give back to the community, improve this world, or care about how and where their products are made, I am proud to give them some visibility. I’ve been working with Nepali by TDM Design for several months now, and find them to be sweet people who truly care about the world around them, and the scarves are fabulous quality and high on style.

UPDATE: If you too like Nepali by TDM Design scarves, they are offering all Wardrobe Oxygen readers 25% off with the code wardrobeoxygen.  Happy shopping!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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.

What I Wore: Buffalo Girl

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Plaid and Leather Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Leather and Plaid Wardrobe Oxygen
Shirt: Gap (on sale!) | Skirt: Halogen (this year’s version) | Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Bag: Isabella Fiore via MYHABIT | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I could have just called this post “A Few of my Favorite Things!” I’m such a sucker for plaid flannel shirts, it’s the college grunge Eddie Vedder obsessed gal inside still getting her sartorial moment in the sun. This skirt I’ve had for a few years now and love it; I’ll wear it now with bare legs and come winter I’ll wear it with tights as I did here last winter. These shoes… well if you’ve been reading for a while you know I’ve been rocking them (and replacement pairs) since 2010, first seen in this post. The bag is a new purchase I mentioned here and adore, and oversized Ray-Ban aviators have become my signature sunglasses (and Karl’s too, we share pairs!).

What I Wore: Mom Style

wardrobe oxygen what I wore weekend style gap ann taylor wardrobe oxygen what i wore duo boots

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:

What I Wore: Air Flow

wardrobe oxygen what I Wore Gap Real Straight Jeans Karen Kane Messh Top Nine West Pumps wardrobe oxygen what I Wore Rough Tumble bag Ray Ban Aviators Nine West Flax wardrobe oxygen what I wore Gap Real Straight Jeans Karen Kane Top Rough Tumble Bag

Mesh top: c/o Karen by Karen Kane (similar) | Tank: c/o J.Jill | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Nine West (similar) | Bag: Rough & Tumble | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Lipstick: MaryKay ‘Mystic Plum’

If you follow me on Instagram you know I wore this look to work Friday. Karen Kane was sweet enough to send me this awesome mesh sweatshirt this spring but then the whole cast situation made it impossible to wear. Once the cast came off this was one of the first long-sleeved tops I made sure to wear.  The jeans are the ones from Gap I mentioned in this post; after some weird years I find Gap to again be a destination for quality but reasonably priced denim.

And this bag I continue to adore; no need to buy a trendy brand name to enjoy high quality and style.  I found Rough & Tumble on Etsy and am thrilled to see they are growing, now with an e-commerce site.  A woman-owned business with everything made here in the USA?  Yes please!

Shop the Post:

My Wardrobe Today – Wednesday

Dress – Gap (from last year – similar)
Belt – vintage
Shoes – Sofft (no longer available – similar)
Bracelets - eBay, Ann Taylor, picked up at the DC Sip & Swap
NecklaceJewelMint

My husband picked up our dry cleaning and it feels as though I went on a shopping spree. I completely forgot I even owned this dress and it’s perfect for hot weather! I was going to wear it with a black belt and my Payless sandals for the life of me I couldn’t find one of the shoes. I obviously haven’t gotten completely unpacked and back to normal after the vacation… what needed to be laundered has been laundered and put away, but my husband’s duffle is still on the bedroom floor spilling everywhere and clean clothes are piled up on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed. I am doing a little bit each evening and hope to have it all cleaned up by Friday!

And I believe this is the first time I have worn this necklace on the blog!  Recently I won a giveaway on Real Girl Runway for a gift certificate to JewelMint.  I have been hearing great things about the company but had yet to buy anything so the certificate was pretty awesome.  The quality is nice – heavyweight, well constructed.  And the packaging is amazing – it comes in this gorgeous heavy box that snaps shut with a hidden magnet.  Open it and there is your piece displayed nicely, as though you were receiving a piece from Harry Winston or Tiffany.  All this for pieces that are only $29.99 and free shipping!   If you haven’t joined JewelMint, you can join here (this is my personal referral URL – if you join and like it you can share your personal referral URL with others and collect points for free jewelry!).

Fighting Closet Fatigue – Winter to Spring Wardrobe Transition

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

spring 2015 fashion trends

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

Best of 2014: Style Purchases Edition

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

PicMonkey Collage

MICHAEL Michael Kors Poncho Sweater

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

Isabella Fiore Leather Tote

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

NYDJ ‘Alina’ Stretch Skinny Jeans in Black

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

Nine West ‘Flax’ Pumps

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

Silver ‘Arizona’ Birkenstocks

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

Rebecca Minkoff ‘Major Laser’ Gold Cuff Bracelet

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

Oroblu Fleece Tights

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

Gap Real Straight Jeans

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

LOFT Custom Stretch Trousers (Marisa Fit)

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

Converse Shoreline Sneakers

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

Boot Scootin’

Shirt: Gap | Skirt: c/o Soft Surroundings | Boots: DUO | Bracelets: c/o lifetherapy, c/o Soft Surroundings, made by fellow Inforooster | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Another day that started with rain. Too hot for tall boots and skinny jeans, so I decided to whip out my festie boots. I bought these from DUO Boots in 2007 and I still adore them, though now they have become more of bum around boots. They have gone to a few Bonnaroos, parties in the parking lot at several concerts at Merriweather, went with me to Forecastle fest and are often the boots I slip on when going out in the yard to hang laundry or play with Emerson. Not really typical work footwear, but it’s Friday and they’re pretty well hidden under this skirt and will keep my feet dry as I stomp through puddles!

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the crazy holiday season and crazy beginning of 2013 but I am craving a vacation right about now and yesterday I got a fabulous care package from Lifetherapy with some products from their “Vacation” line.  This morning’s shower was with the Vacation body wash and then I used the Vacation lotion and added the matching Pulse Point Oil Roll-on Perfume to my wrists and behind my ears. It’s a warm but feminine blend that smells a bit like vanilla, a bit like sandalwood, a bit like coconut, and makes me want to sip a fruity drink while under the shade of a palm tree on a beach.  It’s one of those fragrances that works when you get hot and sweaty – some fragrances smell too strong or too wrong in the heat of summer, but this one just seems to get more… mature and right.  I liked it when I put it on but it felt a bit too girly for me (I usually wear Burberry London perfume and Neutrogena Body Oil for moisturizer), but by time I got to the office I was quite the fan, and I love the travel-friendly perfume oil bottle!

Can I just say I wish Ray-Ban made more of the fun versions of their aviators in the 62mm size for us big-headed folks?  I want the fun green lenses, but they’re only in the normal-headed size.  However, I did find the all-black ones on eBay for a sweet price and just got my email yesterday that they have shipped out.  Can’t wait for them to arrive!  This is my biggest tip for designer sunglasses – if you know the model number, the size and details check eBay to see if you can find them for less.  There may be some sketchy folks on there, but there’s also a lot of companies that sell overstock or old styles on there for really good prices and some people who are just selling things they no longer want that are in almost-new condition.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

We All Have Those Days

Jacket: Rubbish | Tank: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: c/o ECCO | Bracelets: JewelMint, old, c/o lifetherapy | Sunglasses: Gas Station in Kentucky | Watch: c/o WatchCo

This morning I decided to make an outfit around my new watch. WatchCo let me pick a watch of my choice, I haven’t worn one in eons and have been wanting one, so I picked one of their Citizen watches. I Instagrammed my watch-filled arm party the other day but haven’t yet featured it on the blog. So my hair was damp, I put in some beach waving stuff I never tried before, and decided to go up in the attic, grab some warm weather clothes and create an ensemble. Well actually, I decided I wanted to wear my white shirt with my Banana Republic red skirt. I know I said the white shirt was too big, but my body is bigger than it was last year so I thought it may work.

The shirt is a no-iron style but everything needs a bit of heat after being shoved in a Rubbermaid bin for a few months. So I got all steamy in the attic, then whipped out the iron which got me even more steamy. And Emerson’s asking what I am doing, can she watch, can she try, can I teach her. And time is ticking, I need to leave for work. I’m hungry, I’m short on time, I’m sweaty and I just showered and I try on the shirt… and it still is too big. It looks too crisp, too much like I am wearing my husband’s shirt. I try a black boatneck tee with elbow-length sleeves. Too severe of colors. I try a striped tee, felt too cliche. I try the white shirt with cropped pants and feel fat and frumpy. But this time my hair has started drying in crispy curls a la 1989 Alison. And Emerson wants Bunny Fruit Snacks. Please. Please. Please. Please. Pleasssssseeeeeee Mommy I NEEEEEEED BUNNNNNY FRUITTTTT SNACKKKKKKSSSSSSS!

So I told Emerson I needed a moment, if she could go into her room and pick out her outfit for the day. I calmly closed the door, locked it, and slammed a pillow a dozen times into the bed and screamed a bit into said pillow and stripped off all the clothes that made me hot and feel fat and laid down spread eagle on the bed and did some yoga breathing until I literally and figuratively calmed down. And then I just grabbed what was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed – jeans I wore this weekend, a tank that was just washed and not yet put away, a jacket I have been deciding whether to keep or not. Grabbed a barrette to hold back my mall bangs, put on enough makeup to not have coworkers ask if I was okay and moved on.

We all have those days. And while this outfit is NOT what I should be wearing to work, it’s not awful. It makes me glad that I regularly purge my wardrobe of stained, stretched out, faded, and super duper unflattering clothes. Because we all have these days, these days where we say (pardon my French) FUCK IT and just put on clothes so you’re not arrested for indecent exposure. And life’s a lot better when those fuck it clothes doesn’t make you even more miserable and stressed out.

Take care of yourself, and prepare for those fuck it moments. Get rid of the unflattering, the poor condition, the pieces that give you low self esteem. Slowly build up a wardrobe of loungewear that is flattering as well as comfortable, weekend clothes that you can wear outside your home and backyard. You’ll thank yourself when the next time one of these days hits.

And this jacket? I guess it’s a keeper!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

My Wardrobe Today – Friday

Jacket - Limited (at least 10 years old – similar)
Tank - Caslon (similar)
Necklace – J. Crew via eBay
JeansGap “Long and Lean” via the DC Sip & Swap
Shoes - Miss Sixty “Jaiden”
BraceletsLauren Ralph Lauren and Ann Taylor

So um… two things going on here. You’ll see that not only am I wearing my engagement ring, but also my wedding band! I was able to get it on this past weekend and have been wearing ever since. I haven’t been able to fit it since my first trimester and even then it was a tight fit!

Second… these jeans? I picked them up in a rush at the DC Sip & Swap and got home, hoping they would run large. I couldn’t even get them over my butt and thighs. This morning I was looking for my old Gap Essential jeans, thinking maybe I could cuff them like boyfriend jeans. Digging through the “To Donate/Swap/eBay” bag I found these jeans and gave them a chance. They FIT! Me, in a size 10 pair of jeans? This hasn’t happened in YEARS! Happy Friday to me!

This weekend is my friend’s baby shower, and there is a blues music festival in town. Otherwise pretty free. I hope me and the fam can relax, get this bug past us 100% (Emerson is pretty sick again and my husband is also battling it). What are your plans for the weekend?

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

What I Wore: Casual Sparkle

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

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

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

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

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

Bat for Lashes

Tux jacket: Ann Taylor (similar) | Tee: Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo via eBay | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Ivanka Trump | Glasses: Derek Cardigan 7003 c/o Coastal.com | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bracelets: c/o Lifetherapy, Nordstrom (similar) | Ring: Argento Vivo (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balmstain in Lovesick

Darn you, Pinterest!  I saw this tee shirt pinned several weeks ago and I just HAD to have it!  I couldn’t find it available in the US, so I went to eBay and was able to score one, tags still on it and even shipped in a Uniqlo bag with the receipt.  I’m not one who goes gaga for designer collaborations and it’s not like I am some mega Lulu Guinness fan, but I just thought this shirt was too cute.  The sleeves are more like cap sleeves with a cuffed edge, which makes it dressier than your average tee shirt.  I can’t wait to wear this shirt come fall with my black leather midi skirt!

And these shoes are my first non-sandal shoes worn for more than 15 minutes since the leg drama.  I was even able to wear them comfortably when walking a few blocks from my favorite parking garage.  Before I hurt my leg, I would purposefully park a few blocks from the office because it’s easier to get out of the city, but also because it forces me to walk each day.  I’ve missed that part of my daily routine and just was able to add it back in this week.  And to finish the week with my favorite low-heeled pumps?  Pretty fantastic!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Today’s History Lesson – Old Navy and Me

SuperGap was the pioneer outlet store – a cheaper version of the famous Gap brand, it sold lower-priced versions of their wardrobe staples and irregular and damaged pieces from the classic Gap stores. Growing up in middle-class America, our first stop for back to school shopping was at the nearby SuperGap, getting “name brand” clothing for a reasonable price. If it weren’t for SuperGap, my 6th grade and on wardrobe would consist of poorly-thought out fashions from Bradlees’ located just a mile down Greenbelt Road.

The nearby strip mall had a SuperGap. As soon as I turned 16, I turned in an employment application there, in hopes to get a job there and a discount on high school must-haves – jeans, hoodies, rugby shirts and ragg socks. I was never called for an interview but my friend Wendy, who had previous experience at Sears did get a job there.

SuperGap eventually changed to Gap Warehouse and carried less factory-store items and more irregulars and returns from the traditional Gap locations in the fancier malls. Hours were spent after school, pouring through rounders and racks for jeans and sweatshirts that fit and didn’t have obvious garment flaws.

A few years later (1993, the same year I graduated from high school), SuperGap shut down, but opened up at the end of the same strip mall, with the new name – Denim Supply Company, a brand name under the new Gap Warehouse subsidiary of Gap. Wendy by now was an Assistant Manager and I was able to get the lowdown on the change. Supposedly Gap was doing an experiment in a select few markets – this lower-end Gap that had their own brand, own label, own line of clothing. Not a Factory Store, a separate entity added to the Gap brand.

From a 1993 article in the New York Times:

In an internal memo, the company said the “Gap Warehouse collection was created specifically to improve the productivity of 48 of our current Gap stores ‘which have been an undervalued asset in our company,’ says Mickey Drexler, president of Gap Inc.”

Analysts said the new merchandising strategy was a good way for Gap to compete with other purveyors of basic merchandise without eroding the image of its Gap brand.

For more than a year, Gap stores have marked down prices of their basic merchandise to compete with the department stores and discounters that have begun selling their own versions of Gap staples: T-shirts and blue jeans.

[The Gap is] confronted with the question of whether they’re doing basics or whether they’re doing fashion,” said Heidi R. Steinberg, a retail analyst at Lehman Brothers. “If they stick with basics at Gap, then they’re competing with Wal-Mart and Target, where you can buy Fruit of the Loom all-cotton T-shirts for half the price they are at the Gap.”

“Gap Warehouse clothing will be priced lower than Gap brand clothes because the company is using manufacturing techniques and fabrics that are less expensive. Athletic Department sweats, for example, are 59 percent polyester and 41 percent cotton, while Gap sweats are 100 percent cotton. T-shirts are double-stitched instead of triple-stitched, and there is less detail over all, analysts said.

The company, based in San Francisco, said the new line was not likely to cannibalize the sales of Gap brand clothing because it would appeal to a different type of customer. Robert F. Buchanan, a retail analyst for Alex. Brown & Sons, said mass merchants like Wal-Mart and Kmart were gaining a bigger share of the market for basic clothes, and their customers were different from those who have shopped at the Gap.

“The Gap already has two types of customers: those who shop its store at full price, and those who are looking for sale items,” he said. “There’s a third customer who hasn’t shopped there, and that’s where a lot of the basics business is going.”

A few years later, it seems this experiment worked for Denim Supply Company/Gap Warehouse as that this location (and all others across the county) shut down and a few months later, right next to the old SuperGap location (which was now an H&R Block) they opened an Old Navy, which exists to this day.

Old Navy fit the feeling of the time – the grunge era, where it was cool to not spend money on clothing; where fashion came from thrift stores and not from higher-priced specialty and department stores.

Named after a bar the Gap CEO visited in Paris; Old Navy Clothing Co. was the new member of the Gap company (though the original name was going to be Elevator, Monorail or Forklift, to evoke the industrial bare-bones concept of the store). Unlike lower-priced peers like Sears and Kmart, Old Navy combined cost-affordable apparel with great ambiance – loud popular music, quirky ad campaigns and colorful store décor within a warehouse-inspired core. Old Navys were put in lower-rent strip malls (like my nearby Greenway Center) instead of higher-cost malls to help keep prices low and target the appropriate customer – the customer who also shops Wal-Mart, Kmart and Toys R Us. They also did it by taking the staples of Father Gap, but recreated them with cheaper materials, stitching and fabrication (a CNN Money article from 1996 quotes an Old Navy customer as noting that denim shirts from Old Navy are only washed once before selling, versus Gap shirts being washed three times. This difference ensured consistent color in Gap shirts, but a far lower cost to create the Old Navy version).

Years later, we forget when Gap Warehouse ended and Old Navy began. Old Navy, like Target and Starbucks has become a standard in the culture, language and lifestyle of Americans. What was a random experiment by The Gap in attempt to revive slumping sales has become a necessity in the wardrobe of all income levels and ages of our society. I mean, who these days doesn’t own at least a tee shirt or pair of lounge pants from Old Navy?

In honor of my favorite discount fashion Mecca, here are a few links about Old Navy that may interest you:

Sarah Conley from StyleIT reviews the Plus Sized holiday line (cashmere anyone?) on the site Coutorture.

I know I Googled to find out after seeing it the first time… didn’t like Old Navy’s sweater commercial, but fell in love with the song. It’s “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson (saw an interview with Ingrid on VH1 and no, she didn’t get any free sweaters for having her song in the ad).


Bronwyn from Mommy and Maven reviews the pieces from Old Navy that she encountered on her latest jaunt to the store.


Anyone recognize the cute brunette in this Old Navy commercial? It’s Vanessa Hudgens in her pre-High School Musical days.


Want to know what thought process goes behind Old Navy’s packaging? The DieLine interviews Jason Rosenberg, Senior Packaging Designer for Old Navy about the new packaging he created for the men’s and boy’s divisions.

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Black Knit Moto Jacket – Gap (no longer available online but you may find in their stores in black or gray)
Black Ponte Dress with Exposed Back Zipper – LOFT (no longer available online which is a shame because I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress!)
Belt – Ann Taylor (bought a couple years ago)
Black Patent Mary Janes – Nine West (see below)


Shop your closet, folks. Shop your closet!

I have been spending this week doing a hardcore closet clean-out.  I dumped everything out of my bureau and only put back that which I like.  I made one bag of things to donate, and one bag of things to put on eBay.  Now I am working on my closet.  I took everything out that is too small, too big, too ugly, too worn.  There’s a pile of items to repair, and then I added to my two bags.

I am putting all my shoes in boxes on the shelf, because the floor of the closet it a bit of a No Mans Land. My dogs sometimes like to take a nap in there, my husband uses it as a place to throw things and close the door when people come over, I often find Emerson’s books and toys hidden in corners… anyway it’s a bad place to keep shoes. I opened each box to ensure the shoes inside match the label on the outside… and found these shoes!

Long-time readers may remember them. I saw them at Nordstrom a couple years ago and HAD TO HAVE THEM. They only had them in 7. I ordered them, and they were far too small. I started searching online for these shoes from another retailer and found then for half the price of Nordstrom, but only in an 8. I ordered them anyway… and they were too big. I think I wore them twice, both times bad experiences with rubbing, blisters, and carefully shuffling from Metro to office. After that, I shoved them in the box, stuck them in the back of the closet and figured I would eventually put them on eBay.

Well last night I found them and tried them on… and now they fit! Not only do they fit, they are pretty comfy! I am so excited because on my shopping list I had a pair of patent Mary Janes. Granted, I wanted all black with a pointy toe and a slimmer heel, but these are pretty stellar. I had a stranger stop me on the street and ask me who made my shoes and two coworkers said they are “Fierce.” Hooray!

Tonight I hope to finish the closet and this weekend hope to tackle the attic. After that I will be posting even more stuff on eBay – check it out!

Ask Allie: Where to Sell Used Clothing?

I’m wondering if you have any resources or suggestions for someone who is trying to minimize their closet. I’m moving towards capsule wardrobes and limiting my shopping, so this is leaving me with some very high-quality items (though not necessarily designer) already in my closet that I’d like to sell to get some money back, especially since a few of them have never been worn or worn only once! Over the years I’ve donated bags and bags of clothing, but for these purchases I thought putting a little extra time into it could get me some money back. Tips? Where to start?

selling used clothing online tips how to

This is a post where I’d like to ask you, the readers to share your suggestions. I have my suggestions but even I am wondering if there’s better ways to pare down one’s wardrobe and recoup some of the original cost. Here’s some suggestions:

Selling Clothes on eBay

eBay has been my most successful avenue for selling quality clothing that isn’t necessarily designer or a recent season. I make sure to have multiple photos of the item in natural light without a flash – full front, full back, photo of the tag (proves the brand, proves the size, and also many brand loyalists can recognize a year or season by the style of the label), photo of any details (fly, style of buttons, cuffs, close-up of applique or fabric texture), and a photo of any flaws. When it comes to flaws, be upfront from the get-go; it’s not worth it to sacrifice your rating on eBay. My description has as much detail as possible – the fabric, length of skirt in inches, size and how it fits me with my measurements, and I also offer styling suggestions (I wore it with X, it looks great with opaque tights and tall boots in winter but also with sandals in summer).

When it comes to listing price, don’t assume a bidding war will happen on your piece, especially if it’s a lesser known brand or more than a season or two old. Don’t price it any lower than you’re willing to take; nothing worse than having to go through the process to ship out an item for 99 cents, especially when you know you could have received more in a tax write-off for a charitable donation. eBay often has promotions where you can also offer Buy it Now for free; when that happens I always choose that as well and offer it for a price I hope to get but not an unrealistic one. To get an idea for prices, search eBay for similar items and brands and see what they’re going for. If you see one is sold by an eBay-er with a lot of sales, click on their profile and you can see recent sales and prices likely of similar items to what you’re hoping to sell.

Be firm with what you are willing to do and not to do in your listing. For example, I state no returns or exchanges and shipping only to the United States. However, I do offer other methods of shipping they can request it upon winning the auction

For shipping, I use the eBay calculator and labels; I can print the labels at home, go to USPS.com and schedule a pickup, and not have to wait in line at the post office. If you wish to ship Priority Mail, you can order shipping containers for free from USPS.com. While it’s tempting to get an item out in the smallest and cheapest packaging possible, don’t scrimp and sacrifice the quality of a piece. I have received leather skirts shoved into tiny boxes that are bent and creased and necklaces broken upon arrival because they were barely wrapped in newspaper and mailed in a standard envelope. You’ll end up losing money if you have to return payment for an item that arrives unwearable, so take the time to pack carefully. I have a box in my closet that’s full of shipping supplies I gather from online purchases. I save plastic shipping bags, tissue paper, bubble wrap, and useful sizes of nice-looking boxes just for eBay sales and in my storage box I also have a Sharpie, packing tape, and a pair of scissors so I have everything I need for an afternoon of shipping. If you wish to do this long-term, I recommend adding a little something extra to the packing – wrap in the same color tissue paper, safety pin a business card to the garment tag, show a little care and it can help your customers actually leave reviews, leave better reviews, and come back to see what else you’re selling.

Selling Clothes on Poshmark

I haven’t used Poshmark… yet. However, I know my friend Alyson at The Average Girl’s Guide uses it often and raves about it all the time so I asked her to share her thoughts on the site:

“I’m obsessed with selling on Poshmark. There are definitely pieces you know will sell fast, and others you need to wait for the right buyer. I personally don’t post anything under about $10 because I find that the time it takes to post (though just 2-3 minutes), plus any back and forth, packaging and dropping off, is not worth the eventual payment. I rather donate. That said, items from J. Crew, Lululemon, Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff all do really well, though I’ve sold everything from Gap, Target, Old Navy, TJ Maxx pieces, you name it. Think about posting the right time of year… posting a sweater and boots will probably not sell now unless you mark it really low, where going through your closet for springy pieces you’re no longer into could result in extra spending money.”

“If possible, take photos of yourself wearing the item — it really helps! — and be sure to label everything accurately and thoroughly. Lastly, be mindful of price. It’s just like how they say people who try to sell their homes on their own always have unrealistic selling prices; I’ve seen the same on Poshmark. Remember, you’ve likely worn something or it’s not brand new. If someone can go into J. Crew and buy a similar brand-new item for what you’re selling your used button down (and remember, buyer pays shipping) then you’re too high.”

Selling Clothes on Consignment or to Resale Boutiques

Back when I worked in apparel, before the start of each new season I would take bags and bags of clothing (hello employee discount, dress codes, and the need to wear current pieces) to a shop near where I worked. They would buy on-trend pieces for half the price they’d sell it for on their salesfloor, and a bit more if I was willing to take store credit.  I’ve used stores like this off an on since and know many friends who visit them every season.  I know there’s stores like this all over the country, from Buffalo Exchange to Plato’s Closet.

Appearance matters when trying to sell your clothes at such a store. Dress stylishly, and even if you have enough clothing to put in a lawn and leaf bag, instead choose a nice tote (I used my LL Bean Boat and Tote), or shopping bags from a “cool” retailer (think Anthropologie instead of Old Navy). Make sure the clothes are clean, folded nicely, ironed if necessary, and free of stains and damage.

And seriously, no damage. A tiny bleach dot that never bothered you when you wore it will be too much damage for the store to take. The wearing on the backs of your jean hems is only cool if the rest of the jeans are distressed. All buttons should be in place, tags still in place, linings still attached.

Know the store before you bring in your clothes. There’s no point in bringing in a bag of J. Crew if the store focuses on vintage fashion. Not only that, you’ll know if they already have enough Jackie Cardigans and will likely refuse yours, even if it’s like new.

Where To Sell Gently Worn Quality Clothing?

And now I ask you, what do you suggest to this reader? Have you used Twice, Threadflip, or Tradesy? Had any success with Craigslist or a local listserv? What do you find to be the most successful way for you to sell gently worn clothing?

If you have a storefront on Poshmark, etc. feel free to share it in the comments below, your castoff may be another’s must-have!  Do know any non-fashion related shops or obvious spam links will be deleted.