Search Results for: label/halogen

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: 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.

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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!

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!).

All About the Summer Shoes

A bit ago, a reader asked me about a pair of shoes I wore in an Instagram photo (I share far more outfits over there than here so come on over and follow!) and I realized I haven’t shared bits of my closet lately, or recent purchases.

This summer has been atypical thanks to this arm situation. A huge portion of my wardrobe is unwearable thanks to the bulk of the cast or my reduced dexterity, and that has affected my choice of footwear (some shoes just DON’T go with everything!). This has caused me to really examine what I buy and more importantly, WHY. I recently shared this post from Momastary on my Facebook page (another place you should follow me because the content there is different from here on the blog) and it really resonated with me, especially this quote:

“I will not be a slave to the Tyranny of Trend any longer. I am almost 40 years old and no catalog is the Boss of Me anymore. I am free. I am not bound to spend my precious days on Earth trying to keep up with the Joneses- because the Joneses are really just a bunch of folks in conference rooms changing “trends” rapidly to create fake monthly emergencies for us.”

As you know from some of my recent more personal posts, I’ve made a concerted effort to see the positive in my arm re-breaking and using this time to craft a more positive and healthy life. While that has included walking, Whole30, and some other new habits, it has also affected my shopping. Am I shopping to try to fill a void? Am I buying to keep up with the Joneses (or bloggers) or to make more compelling blog posts or because there’s something else in my life I need to focus on but am afraid or don’t want to do so? Anyhoo, lots of existential mumbo jumbo when this is supposed to be about SHUZ! But point is, this summer my shoe purchases were made with more thought and care.

I broke my summer/early fall shoe collection into two categories: pretty, and practical:

fall shioe must have collection

My pretty shoes. These are shoes for work, for nights out, and when I want to feel fancy with my simple knit dresses or jeans. Clockwise from top left we have the Halogen ‘Marlie,’ Rockport Seven to 7 Peep Toe Wedge (c/o), Nine West ‘Ugogirl,’ and Nine West ‘Flax.’

halogen marlie calfhair leopard gray pump

I said in my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post that I wouldn’t buy these shoes because I already have a ton of leopard shoes, but this summer I saw that my leopard semi-flats and leopard pumps got more wear that any other work shoe. All my other leopard calfhair shoes were warm tones and I often wished I had a slightly different version so while they were still on sale I grabbed these. They’re not my first pair of Halogen shoes (or first pair of leopard Halogen shoes) and like my others, I find them comfortable and well-made especially for the reasonable pricepoint. These shoes have been worn with black, blue, denim, white, skirts and pants and jeans.

rockport aqua wedge peep toe seven

It’s so nice when a brand sends me something and it ends up being in regular rotation. These pretty snakeskin wedges from Rockport are just that. I’ve written before about Rockport’s comfort, and I love how they are able to have sneaker-comfy shoes with great style. I love this color with denim, and they look great peeking out from work trousers. While some may rock wedges with skirts, I think they look a bit wonky on me and keep them for pants. But these are my go-to for a day after a pair of painful heels or when I’m wearing a boring outfit and want a punch without a lot of effort. And by the way they look great with a red nail (my summer tootsie color has been OPI’s Big Apple Red).

nine west ugogirl calfhair leopard

My Ivanka Trump Indicon leopard calfhair pumps are comfy but they’re looking a tad worn after two+ years of city life. My cobbler does his best to cover heel nicks but I was looking for a replacement. While I have had a watch on eBay for a year and regularly check places like 6pm for the exact shoe, I was okay with finding a completely different shoe. The ‘Ugogirl’ immediately appealed to me because while it had the pointed toe that I adore, it had a modern thicker heel. They fit like other Nine West shoes, which is good for my chubby in front/skinny in back feet and the wider heel makes them wearable for a longer period of time.

nine west flax

Oh Nine West ‘Flax,’ how I adore you. I have this very shoe in red and black pony hair (an impulse buy I still adore but hardly wear), peacock print (not worn often but SOOO worth it, my absolute favorite statement shoe), silver (haven’t worn recently but get a lot of wear in fall and spring), black, and nude. After several summers, I finally found a nude that matches my skintone and of COURSE it’s in this style! ‘Flax’ can often be found for super cheap on sites like 6pm and Amazon, occasionally on sale at Macy’s and Lord and Taylor but they’re getting harder to find.  I went to a Nine West outlet while at Rehoboth on the hunt for more ‘Flax’ (hopefully a backup pair in nude or black) to no avail. But a non-shiny, single sole pointed nude pump is more of a workhorse in my wardrobe than the same shoe in black. It’s a great way to summarize black and darker outfits, and elongates the leg.

popular summer shoes

And now my practical shoes. These are the true workhorses, and honestly, they look it so no close-up shots of these babies. Clockwise from upper left we have the Vince Camuto ‘Effel,’ Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops (c/o), Softspots ‘Ventura’ (now discontinued so linked to only retailer I could find that still has them), Converse ‘Shoreline,’ Born ‘Myndy,’ Birkenstock ‘Arizona.’

I bought the Vince Camutos back in February in black and this color. Tan was backordered, black arrived, I wore once and found them stiff and they cut my ankles. Returned. The tan arrived and I was ready to return them right away but decided to try on. Completely different experience! The leather is soft, the fit different, and the color far more flattering. I wear these shoes weekly, with dresses (seen here) and jeans (seen here) and pants (seen here) and skirts (seen here). The heel is a wearable height and I don’t hesitate to choose these for long workdays or general admission concerts.

I wear flops far less than I used to, and I think it’s because with this arm I haven’t spent much time at a swimming pool. These hang out at the front door to wear to the mailbox, to take Cindy for a quick walk or Emerson for a quick trip to the playground. They also slip into my bag for pedicures. I don’t condone flip flops as actual shoes, but these are uber comfy and the fabric strap more refined than plastic making them a great choice for the pool, beach, and bumming around.

The Softspots Ventura sandal is my JAM. Almost the same color as my legs, a mini wedge which is more comfortable than completely flat. This is my second pair (found them on eBay unworn in box) because the first pair was destroyed after a few summers of music festivals, concerts, and weekend events. Worn them here, here, and here.

Converse Shorelines are amazing. Far more comfortable than the All Stars, but with the same style. I’ve worn them here, here, and here and wrote about them here and here. Love.

The ‘Myndy’ by Born, I bought these on clearance and immediately regretted it. What the hell Alison, I don’t wear yellow! There’s not a single yellow thing in my wardrobe! They ended up sitting unworn in a box for several months. Then I pulled them out and realized what I was missing. These babies are COMFORTABLE and CUTE and yellow, when this shade and with a cork wedge heel ends up being a neutral! I’ve worn them on the blog here, here, and here. I wear them with jeans, with dresses, and even with shorts. They’re so comfy, I wear them days when I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking but flats won’t look right. Even though I bought these a few years ago, they’re still available each summer in different colors (love the pink) and often found on discount sites.

And my silver Birks. Sorry not sorry, I wear the HECK out of these babies. I can walk miles in them, I can stand on my feet for hours on concrete in a crowded concert pit, I wear them with casual dresses and cutoffs, maxis and boyfriend jeans. I love that they go with my beloved silver cuff, and I don’t care that they’re clunky and overly trendy and played out. I love my Arizonas, and likely will be wearing long after the trend dies.

There you go, the most worn shoes in my wardrobe this summer! What are you favorite shoes in your wardrobe, and what are your must-have footwear workhorses?

Spring has Sprung in my Closet

Spring has sprung here in DC! Hooray for bare legs, packing up the hats and mittens, and being able to expose elbows and toes! With each change of season, there’s usually a change of wardrobe. I’ve found that closet organization has been good physical therapy for me; the pinching of clips to hang skirts, holding the weight of a full hanger, folding scarves and jeans. With my arm, this process has been extremely slow, but that time is great for really thinking about what is in my closet, what I really need, and what I really need to remove from my collection.

The trends this spring and summer are so refreshing; after seasons of bright and bold, fitted and funky there’s a move to subtleness, quality, detail, and drape. I saw it on the runways, I see it in the stores, and I feel it in my heart. I started gravitating toward simpler pieces and colors in 2013, but desire it even more in 2014, especially after my broken arm. After six weeks predominately in loungewear, I crave dressing, but simple, easy, yet elegant dressing. Here’s a peek into my Spring/Summer mindset:

For clothing, it’s not terribly different from the past, but now it feels more cohesive. I’m liking (1) midi-length skirts, but somehow they look more right on me when part of a dress. I have pretty much this same dress; last summer’s LOFT collection, and know it will get a ton more wear this year. (2) White feels really right this year, even before Memorial Day. I’ve been wearing white jeans, boyfriend jeans, and pants quite a lot already (if you’re new to white outside of summer, start simple by pairing it with black). Each season I end up having a signature color without even thinking about it and based upon my closet, this season it’s (3) orange-red.  I type this while wearing a linen sweatshirt of this color, and desire a shift dress like the one pictured.  I’m really digging classic trousers this spring, paired with everything, from blouses to sweaters to tee shirts; I’m on the hunt for the perfect pair in (4) navy.  I’m loving how there’s a trend towards draping and purposeful slouchiness this season and have been gobbling up things that are (5) off the shoulder; I’d pair a top like this with slim white jeans.  I also like the trend of purposeful draping, a top like this (6) can be worn with jeans for a night out, or slipped under a suit for the workweek.  I’m always happy when weathered, worn, and distressed denim (7) are on trend; they please my inner Lita Ford and love the contrast with more classic pieces.  And it wouldn’t be my wardrobe if it doesn’t have a few striped shirts (8) in it!

For accessories, I’m craving fewer pieces, fewer necklaces, and again am drawn to orange-red accents.  Thinking about my faves, I saw they are sort of lumped into three categories:

  • Vacation Inspired: I love white Panama hats and fedoras, I know they’ve been in style for a while and may be less trendy but I think they’re quite classic and these days I’m doing all I can to protect myself from the sun.  I love them with jeans and striped tees, I love them with sundresses, and I love that they hide bad hair days!  I’m also loving my new Converse Shorelines, which make Chucks finally comfortable for me.  With the elasticized back and lower profile, they’re comfy and easy to slip on and off.  Aviators are always my favorite, as are scarves.  Now that bandanas are back in style, I’ve been pulling out my collection of them and square scarves and using them to jazz up simple knits.
  • Bold Silver:  This is nothing new, silver is my signature metal and I’ve been wearing my big sterling cuff for 17 years.  Now I’ve added a pair of silver Birkenstocks to my wardrobe, increasing my silver.  I love mixing shiny silver with a more relaxed material; the bracelets from Lifetherapy are a fave of mine.  I have several of them and love looping one of their wrap bracelets (especially in this season’s signature color of orange!) over the cuff to switch it up. 
  • Classic Gold: When my arm was in a cast, I relied on a watch since pulling out my phone was more difficult.  I’ve come to really like the convenience and style, and adore my Citizen Ciena Eco-Drive.  I recently got this cuff from Rebecca Minkoff which is smaller than what I’ve been known to wear and I like it.  Again, been wearing a lot of square scarves, be they around my throat, tied in my hair, or hanging off my purse.  I got a pair of Nine West “Flax” pumps in Natural and they’re a great nude pump, a comfortable height and go with almost my entire wardrobe.

My makeup has also been influenced by my time with a cast; it’s hard to have precision with your non-dominant hand. While I spent much of the winter with bold lips and liquid liner, lately I’m more into a subtle smoky eye, bronzer over blush, and glossy lips in a more natural hue. Miracle Skin Transformer has become my go-to while dealing with a broken arm since it’s so easy and so many beauty products in one.  I’m a mascara junkie and I love Too Faced’s Better Than False Lashes enough to buy a second time. It’s not a product to use when you’re short on time, but they do make my lashes look lusher than any other brand.  I got the Urban Decay lipliner in Naked as a freebie with a Beauty.com order and I use it almost daily with a natural colored gloss (adoring NARS Viva).  And then the original Naked palette from Urban Decay is still a fave for a no-makeup makeup look, a soft smoky eye, or to even replace liner.


Has spring sprung in your closet?  What are you loving this season in regard to trends or new to you classics?

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Tuesday: Sign of Fall

Cardigan: Halogen
Blouse: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Halogen (similar)
Tights: Nordstrom
Shoes: Cole Haan
Bag: Hobo
Lipstick: Cover Girl Lip Perfection in Embrace

You know it’s fall when I break out the tights. While many adore hosiery and look for any chance to wear it, I’m more comfortable in bare legs. However the weather has gotten chilly and the office still seems to be cranking the A/C so the tights came out of storage!

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What I Wore: Time for Tights

Sweater: Halogen | Skirt: Halogen (similar) | Tights: Spanx | Shoes: Nine West “Lottie”  | Necklace: Etsy | Bag: Sabina (similar)

I can’t believe it, finally it feels like fall!  This morning I woke up and could see my breath!  Out came the tights for the first time, and I felt quite comfy wearing leather and cashmere!

This bag was bought on clearance last year and I adore it because it can hold EVERYTHING. Lunch, hardcover book, sunglasses and glasses, bills to pay at lunchtime, power cord I need to bring back to the office… you name it, it’s in there and the bag doesn’t stretch out or look overloaded.  Good clearance buy!

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my Wardrobe today – Tuesday

Ruffled tank – c/o CAbi
Cardigan - Only Mine (similar)
BeltLauren by Ralph Lauren
SkirtHalogen
Shoes – Nine West (similar)
Silver cuff

Still playing with the new ‘do – I chopped my own straight bangs this weekend (I asked my stylist for sideswept but changed my mind Sunday morning), and today I tried it wavy – Added a bit of Jonathan SilkyDirt while wet, dried the bangs straight, let the rest air dry, then hit a few of the Kip Winger-esque pieces with the curling iron. A bit too poofy for my taste -hair needs to be longer to deal with this exact style.  Think if I used a larger barrel curling iron and hit the whole head it would have been more my speed.

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

Blazer – Limited (similar)
Shell – LOFT (similar)
Skirt - Halogen
TightsNordstrom
Shoes - Mossimo for Target

Today is a day where I liked my outfit much more in person than I do in these pictures.  I am excited to finally wear these shoes from Target (yes Target!).  They are a nubuck finish and surprisingly walkable for such a high heel.  I am such a fan of leopard shoes – I now own four pairs! If you are looking for any, seriously check out Target – they have a few different styles and look very similar to higher-priced brands.

Tomorrow I plan on going to the Hobo International sample sale – I went last year and made out really well. I am in need of a new wallet and maybe a small crossbody that is bigger than my Hobo “Libby.” That’s about it – no real need and with the holidays around the corner my focus is shopping for others. Will you be there?

Sunday I have a playdate scheduled with a friend and her kids, but otherwise the weekend is pretty open and I am grateful for that. I got a migraine last night – first one in I believe over a year and it was a very painful reminder that I need to SLOW DOWN. So that is exactly what I will do the next two days!

What are your plans for the weekend?

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My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Chambray shirt - Merona
Pencil skirtHalogen
Leopard pumps – Nine West (no longer available – similar)
Bracelet - J. Crew (no longer available)
Necklace - Purchased at boutique in Rehoboth Beach, used hair elastic to double it in back
Bag - Brahmin

I’m baaaacccckkk! How have you all been? Sorry I was MIA yesterday, had to get caught up on work, earn that paycheck and all that jazz. But glad to be back to blogging and can’t wait for some time to catch up on reading everyone else’s blogs!

This skirt is the only item I got from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. You know I am a Nordstrom addict, but I just don’t have anything I NEED right now, and with it being 100 degrees in DC, it’s hard to spend cash on leather, wool, and faux fur! Did any of you score great deals from the sale?

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Monday – Stripes and Floral

BlazerHalogen
Tank – H&M (similar)
Skirt – Talbots (similar)
Belt - Another Line (similar)
Shoes – Nine West (similar)
Bracelets – Nordstrom (this, this, this), Lauren by Ralph Lauren, JewelMint, Ann Taylor
Umbrella - Gap (similar)
Clutch – Novica (similar)

It’s humid and rainy outside, muggy in the house, frigid in the office… this calls for an updo. Too bad, as I got my hair cut on Saturday and it looks pretty cute! As for the umbrella, this was a happy accident that it matches the outfit – I was searching for my leopard one and came across this one instead. Still haven’t found the leopard umbrella, but happy to dust off the nautical stripes!

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Thursday: Mementoes

Tee: Ann Taylor | Skirt: Halogen (similar) | Tights: DKNY | Shoes: Nine West | Ascot: Belonged to my Dad | Pin: Belonged to my cousin | Gold bracelet with tassel: J. Crew (similar) | Gold and blue bracelet: c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot

Today I didn’t feel like wearing anything complicated, but because it was a simple palette, I felt I could carry off a lot of accessories. Another of my dad’s ascots, today I held in place with a pin that belonged to my cousin, Amy. When she passed, her sister gave me her “A” jewelry and it’s so nice to be able to wear them and think of/honor her. The blue and gold bracelet is called the “Emerson,” of course I loved the name and love the look of it!

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Monday: The Wild Frontier

Sweater: Frontier Sweater” c/o Lisa Holt, CAbi
Skirt: Halogen (similar)
Tights: DKNY Super Opaque
Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar)
Bag: Sabina (similar)

Yesterday I had the chance to pour over the latest collection for CAbi and there are so many gorgeous textures, silhouettes, and prints! My consultant Lisa Holt loaned me a few pieces to test drive this week, one was this sweater. At first glance I didn’t think I’d like it, but it fits great and I love a cardigan that looks good buttoned up (so many lose their style when you try to stay warm). The pictures don’t do the sweater justice, it gave me an hourglass shape so I emphasized it with my short pleated leather skirt.

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Thursday: Coffee and Cream (and a Giveaway!)

Sweater: Gap (similar) | Skirt: eBay | Shoes: Halogen (similar) | Necklace: c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot | Bag: c/o Fossil

Glad to have the weather cool enough to bring back out this skirt! I think it’s so much fun (though it’s a bit sheer so I got a slip off eBay for $2 to make it more wearable), and I love figuring out ways to make it look appropriate for the office!  And this bag… oh how I love it! And if you love it too, I’m offering a way for you to win a Fossil Vintage Revival bag of your own! Click here to read more and learn how to enter the giveaway!

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Wednesday – One of Those Days

Tee – Armour*lux (gift from reader, similar)
Pants - Halogen via Nordstrom
Shoes - MICHAEL Michael Kors “Flex” pump
Silver Cuff Bracelet (similar)
Bag - Nordstrom (similar)

Today is one of those days where I just don’t care. The hair doesn’t want to behave (it desperately needs a visit to the salon but I haven’t had time), everything I tried on seemed wrong, so I went with a weekend basic that isn’t too creative, isn’t even very professional, but it gets the job done. I was really tempted to not post – my husband even asked if I REALLY wanted to take photos this morning, but hey, doesn’t everyone have one of those days?

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Thursday – Put a Bird on It

BlouseOld Navy
Skirt - Halogen (this year’s version)
Necklace - eBay (similar)
Pumps - Nine West (similar)
Bag – Thrifted (similar)

I haven’t had much luck with Old Navy as of late. A lot of their dresses are strangely high waisted (not empire, and they aren’t petites yet they are up near my ribcage), and some of the quality has been even worse than I am used to with the brand. However, they had a promotion last week and I figured while I filled up my online shopping cart with skirts and tanks for Emerson, I’d try something for myself. And this blouse? Quite pleased. Nice feel, cute print, flattering style (wore it untucked with jeans last night yet tucks in well too). I’d say this is a win, and I hope a sign of the future for Old Navy!

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

Tee - LOFT
Blazer – Limited (similar)
PantsAnn Taylor
Tote – Halogen (similar)
Pumps - Michael Kors “Flex”
Silver cuff
Adorable child - mah bah-dee!

Today I went to lunch with my two best friends and then went with them to have one get a very major cut and color for her hair (I am so proud of her!). Tonight I am going to the Fillmore to see The Roots in concert. I don’t know yet what I will wear tonight but I will hopefully get some pictures of the ensemble!  I am looking forward to it, haven’t yet been to the Fillmore in Silver Spring, and have heard it’s an awesome music venue.

If I don’t get around to posting tomorrow I wish all of you a very happy New Years and I will see you in 2012!

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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

Blogging Love – Interview!

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

You can check out the interview here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outlet Mall Shopping

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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