Search Results for: label/j. crew

A J. Crew Bedtime Story

Yesterday I got the mail from the box while we were walking in the house after dinner. Emerson asked to see the mail, and got super excited when she saw the J. Crew catalog. She sat down on the couch and began to flip through it, completely ignoring any other magazine or catalog. At bedtime, she asked me to read it to her in place of The Berenstain Bears or Princess Matilda. After putting her to bed, I slipped the catalog in her bookcase on top of a pile of her larger books; the next morning when I went to wake her I found the J. Crew catalog and only the J. Crew catalog beside her bed. I put it back in her bookcase.

This is what I saw when she got up for her nap. At least she had a bit of variety.

However she wanted a repeat performance of last night for tonight’s bedtime story. I see Cafe Capris and Jackie Cardigans in our future…

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What I Wore: Mom Style

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wardrobe oxygen what i wore ann taylor cashmere poncho

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

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

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

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Review and Giveaway: J.Jill Uncomplicate Me This Spring

I learn so much from you readers: sites to visit, beauty products to try, and clothing brands to check out. Many of you have raved about J.Jill and how the brand carries quality pieces in regular, petite, tall, and women’s sizes. With spring upon us, I’ve been looking for warm weather clothes to add to my wardrobe. When BlogHer and J.Jill approached me to try out J.Jill’s linen collection, I was excited.Many of you have raved about J.Jill’s linen collection in how it washes and wears so well. Linen is one of the oldest fabrics still in use today; it was first used in Egypt where it was prized for its purity and cleanliness. Today, linen is loved for its breathability, easy care (machine washable and dryable or dry cleaned), and durability – a great linen piece can last for years of wear because it’s 2-3 times the strength of cotton and just gets softer and better with time.

This spring, J.Jill is offering Linen in a Whole New Light. Their popular linen collection is updated with fresh details, blended knits, and watercolor effect prints that offer new ways to experience the fab fabric. J.Jill’s linen blend fabrics include rayon to increase the fabrics’ softness and provide luster and drape; and cotton for softness, a cool touch, and to minimize shrinkage (J.Jill’s linen can take a tumble in the dryer!).

J.Jill Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress

It has been hard finding clothes that work with my cast; something that fits over it, is easy to put on, something uncomplicated. Knit dresses have been great with the cast so I decided to try the Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress. When it was cold I wore the dress with leggings, tall boots, and a scarf for an easy casual look. With the temps rising, the dress is great for running errands with a pair of tennis shoes or Capri leggings and ballet flats. This is a Large Petite.

J.Jill Linen Big Shirt and Perfect Tank

I’ve wanted a white linen shirt; as soon as I heard about this opportunity I checked out J.Jill’s Linen Big Shirt. I ordered a Petite Large, which fit perfectly… except it didn’t fit over the cast. I went to the store and exchanged it for a Regular XL, which gives it a true big shirt look and fits over my right arm. For this weekend look I paired it with the J.Jill Perfect Tank (size Petite Large) and an old favorite pair of jeans. This shirt would look great knotted over a pencil skirt, belted over skinny jeans, or under a cropped top for a trendy silhouette. I must say the Perfect Tank is exactly that; having a petite tank is a game changer; it still has enough length but the neckline doesn’t gape and my bra straps stay well covered. The tank is an opaque, smooth refined knit that could dress up to be a shell under a casual blazer or paired with a full midi skirt and sandals. I liked this tank so much I got a second one in black!

Interested in checking out J.Jill’s Linen collection to uncomplicate your spring wardrobe? I’ve got two ways for you to do it for less!

Promotion
Use promotion code BLOGHER at checkout and get 30% off one full-priced item! This code is valid through May 21, 2014.

Giveaway

One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 J.Jill gift card! To enter leave me a comment letting me know what is your favorite spring look!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.  You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.  The Official Rules are available here.  This sweepstakes runs from 4/3/2014-5/27/2014.

Be sure to visit the J.Jill brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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What I Wore: Ikat Believe It

Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Tank: c/o J.Jill | Pants: LOFT | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Lipstick: Korres Guava Lipstick in Wine Red

I swore off LOFT for a while, the quality had really gone downhill and the sizing was inconsistent. However, this winter I tried them again and found some great wardrobe staples that were the quality I remembered from before and a 14 petite pant, especially in the “Julie” cut fits me quite nicely. I haven’t really been a pants person in recent years, but after being in a cast so long I really enjoy more effortless clothing and pants allow me freedom. I’ve been gravitating towards more pants for the workweek, and have to say most of the pants I now own are LOFT.

While I paired the pants in this post with an ivory jacket, I wore them to work with a black boatneck tee (see here on Instagram) and out to dinner with a bright green silk drapey sleeveless top.  Crazypants can be versatile!

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T.J.Maxx 1000th Store comes to Washington DC

Today marks a momentous occasion for T.J.Maxx – their 1,000th store opens. It also marks a momentous occasion for all DC fashionistas – this store is in our very city at Metro Center!  Last night I had the opportunity to get a tour of the new T.J.Maxx and learn a bit about the company.

The new DC T.J.Maxx is FABULOUS. I have been a “Maxxinista” since middle school (even scored one of my prom dresses at T.J.Maxx!).  I love how I can find designer and on-trend pieces for less and how I know that discount price doesn’t mean sub-par quality.  I have been to a good dozen different T.J.Maxx stores over the years. This one blows the rest out of the water. When you enter the doors, you see a few accessories, but when you take the escalator down, you are amazed at the incredible size (over 28,000 square feet!) and airiness of the store. A huge jewelry area with display cases full of on-trend necklaces and bracelets leads you to well-organized departments for clothing, shoes, menswear, children, beauty, luggage, and home.  I also loved the displays – mannequins, display cubes and T-fixtures to break up the rolling rack monotony and showcase really great pieces.

Hey, I recognize those stripes and that chevron knit! Click the images to see them larger.

The T.J.Maxx at Metro Center has The Runway – a department that showcases high-end designer clothing and accessories at fabulous T.J.Maxx discount prices. T.J.Maxx doesn’t like anyone to state what brands are featured, but these pictures hopefully will give you an example of the amazing designers available!

Shoes, shoes, shoes! I was in love with their extensive shoe selection, the brands totally impressed me!

Along with chi chi brands, T.J.Maxx has a lot of popular department-store brands, and styles that are currently popular and available at regularly-priced retailers. Unlike department stores who purchase new merchandise monthly or quarterly, T.J.Maxx buyers are shopping weekly, reacting to the most current trends for up-to-date fashion. Each store receives around 10,000 new pieces each week, so your local T.J.Maxx can be a completely different store each time you visit. T.J.Maxx doesn’t just buy from big brands, they have over 15,000 vendors they work with, which means you may find big covetable brand names, or you may find a unique leather bag from an independent designer in Florence or a beautiful bowl crafted from a beachside Thai artist.  I can attest to this, owning a gorgeous hand-painted tablecloth from India that I found at T.J.Maxx and would never be able to find at any local retailer.

Liz from So Much to Smile About showing off an adorable popular designer dress she found at T.J.Maxx

T.J.Maxx may have low prices, but they do not have low quality. Over 85% of merchandise in their stores is current – anything from last season is marked and priced as such (except for items that don’t change with the trends like holiday gift wrap). Also 95% of T.J.Maxx merchandise is first quality (same quality you find at department stores), that other 5% is marked as such and has a lower ticket price.  I saw the same dress I bought at Nordstrom last month on a rack for almost 50% of what I paid. 

The new Metro Center T.J.Maxx is located at 601 13th St, NW and is open 9:30am to 9:30pm Monday-Saturday and 11:00am to 8:00pm on Sundays. I encourage you to check it out, and be sure to report back to let me know what great deals you scored!

Note: I did receive a gift card for attending the store preview, but was not asked to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Jockey Skimmies Slipshort – An Unbiased Review

Jockey Skimmies Slipshort Review

I’m a gal who deals with chub rub (chafing between the thighs especially during hot weather); when I saw so many bloggers recently promote the Jockey Skimmies Slipshort I was curious. I receive free product in exchange for reviews on Wardrobe Oxygen and know how hard it is to be unbiased in such a situation.  I decided to buy a pair with my own money so I can be as honest as I like and share with you!

Truthfully, I expected to be disappointed in the Skimmies because I’ve tried the Jockey “Preferred by Rachel Zoe” line before and was not impressed (and had to write a sponsored review hence my desire to try on my terms). But my beloved black Kmart bike shorts from 2007 (have never found a worthy replacement) are getting threadbare and summer is here so I was ready for a replacement to wear under dresses and skirts to prevent chafing.

There are four types of the Jockey Skimmies – regular, anti-static, wicking, and short length. I decided to go with the regular, and because I’m petite, also grabbed a pair of the short length. I purchased both in Light (beige) and both in size Large (Jockey says this is equal to a 10-12 or panty size 6, but reviews online said these slipshorts run large).

Both are made exactly of the same material, and fit pretty much the same except for leg length. On my size 14, 5’3″ frame, the regular ended 2.5” above the top of my knee, the short 6.5” above my knee. As for the fabric, it’s opaque enough in case you have a Marilyn moment you won’t look as though you’re wearing cutoff pantyhose but obviously more lingerie than gym wear.

The Pros:

The fabric is awesome, it is silky enough to have knits slip over it, but doesn’t get gross with sweat and heat. The waistband doesn’t bind at ALL, they feel as though I’m not wearing anything. The legs don’t dig and there aren’t any visible seams; you could wear these under lightweight pants and slim knit dresses without any lines. “Light” is a perfect match to my light to medium skintone. They don’t stretch out at the waist or legs and they don’t make me feel hotter with an extra layer.  The Large is extremely comfortable from top to bottom.  I need to again mention how utterly comfortable these are, you truly feel as though you’re wearing nothing at all.

The Cons:

They claim to have a cotton gusset, but it doesn’t seem like it; it’s same color, nubby, and doesn’t breathe any better than the rest of the slipshort. This means on a hot day with a lot of walking, it can get a bit… swampy down there.

The regular length Skimmies didn’t ride. AT ALL. I wore them for 11 hours straight and they didn’t shift or sag or bunch, they stayed exactly in place, even when I got hot and sweaty, even after walking for 20 minutes straight. However they are so long on me that they can only be worn with midi and maxi skirts.  Even a knee-length skirt is too short if I climb stairs or cross my legs.

The short Skimmies… they ride.  When I stand from my chair I want to tug at them, when I walk a block I want to tug at them. The good thing is that it’s usually only one leg at a time that rides up so I still end up without chub rub, but if you don’t get a chance to tug down that one leg and sit again, both will ride up and they become useless.

Final Verdict:

Close… and closer than anything else I have tried but not perfect. I like them enough that I’m going to try the wicking version in black, and for long days and music festivals will likely wear a pair of cotton underwear under them. However for shorter dresses, I’ll wear my one pair of short Skimmies but I’m still on the hunt for something better.

Have you tried the Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts? Do you have another product you find perfect for battling summer chafing and chub rub?

What I Wore: Cozy Stripe

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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!

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

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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.

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Saturday

In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. :-)

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

What I Wore: Style Meets Comfort [Sponsored]

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Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Tee: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Bag: c/o Handbag Heaven | Shoes: Comfort Plus by Predictions ‘Karmen’ available at Payless

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

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

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

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

What I Wore: Air Flow

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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!

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Capsule Wardrobe: Skinny Jeans for Winter

Allie you shared something on Facebook about skinny jeans aren’t stylish any more. I just bought three pairs of skinny jeans in brown, jean color, and a tan cord. How can I make them look okay this winter? What tops are best with them, what shoes? I live in Michigan so I need to be warm.

The conversation on that article went deeper into what jeans are coming back en vogue, and how even though they say skinnies are dead they aren’t going anywhere. Like boot cut jeans, peasant tops, a-line shift dresses, and tall boots; there’s some trends that won’t go away even though fashion “experts” say they are dead. They don’t ever die because we real women with real bodies find these trends flattering and extremely wearable. It’s funny how five years ago many of us refused to adopt the skinny jean trend and now we refuse to let the trend go. But just because one news article says skinnies are passé doesn’t mean you need to find a whole new wardrobe. I’m still rocking my skinnies because though I was a late adopter, I now LOVE THEM.  And what matters most when it comes to style is wearing what is true to you, wear what you love!

capsule wardrobe casual winter skinny jeans cold weather

I’ve found the best way to incorporate a trend, whether hot off the runway or something the New York Times deems dated, is to wear it with similar colors. Create a color story with your wardrobe, mixing varying shades of similar hues or going monochromatic. For this capsule collection based off your skinnies wardrobe, I stuck to a warm palette of neutrals that will look luxe and show the skinnies are a purposeful addition to your closet.

When wearing skinny pants, it’s important to balance the figure or you can quickly look like a lollipop. Luckily, this is easy to do when it’s cold and you want lots of weight and layers. The first row of tops are the type that can just be thrown on with skinnies and look chic: tunics, slouchy sweaters, ponchos, and chunky knits that balance the frame. The second row is all about the layers; a knit blazer adds polish without sacrificing comfort or warmth, and waterfall cardigans and sweater coats are cozy and on trend while balancing the frame.

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Speaking of base layers, this year has really embraced layering, and practical layering at that. Turtlenecks are easy to find at all pricepoints, henleys are back in style, and there’s nothing wrong with even putting another layer under these pieces. Because I’m Allie, I added a striped knit which adds interest to an outfit of solids, and I also find to be the easiest pattern to mix with other patterns.

As for shoes, I also believe balance is important and I also believe in the importance of function over fashion. I chose three different shoes that will balance the skinny jeans while keeping you warm and dry through the winter. A pair of tall boots are a perfect pairing over skinny jeans. A pair of ankle boots are also a great pairing and this season chunky marled socks have come back in fashion and look great filling the space between cuffed skinny and boot (or over tucked-in skinny for extra cold weather protection). Use a waterproofing spray on your leather shoes and put rolled magazines in them to improve ventilation and help them keep their shape. Finally, if you’re in an area that has snow and slush, by all means wear boots appropriate for the weather! A traditional lace-up style of duck boot is back on trend and looks great laced up over skinnies.

Accessories are what pull a look together. Pashminas and infinity scarves are stylish while adding warmth and color to an outfit. A wide leather belt can cinch those sweaters to create a completely different look. Having a quality bag can add a luxe look even to discount mart knits and make the wearing of snow boots quite chic. Choosing one in a color similar to your leather shoes ties an entire ensemble together.

Plus Sized Work Attire Options

Dear Allie:
I am getting back into the workforce after five years as a SAHM. I’m really excited, but am having a hard time finding nice work clothes. I am a size 18, 5’5” and an apple and all I seem to find are lowcut dresses and polyester pants. Do you know where I can find suits and work clothes like dresses and blouses for my size?

Why are all plus sized suits made out of polyester? Where can I find a suit that is equal in quality and price to J. Crew but goes above a size 16?

I was recently promoted and my new position requires me to travel on business several times a month. For such trips, I will need to wear a suit while at the office I can usually get away with casual pants or even nice jeans. While I have a great wardrobe of business casual pieces, it is proving difficult to find more corporate of attire for my size (I vary between a 20 and 22). Do you know of any retailers who specialize in suiting and corporate attire for plus-sized women?

Hi Allie, I need to improve my look at work. We’re allowed to wear anything we want but I don’t want to look like a slob any more and think if I look good I may be more likely to get a raise or promotion. I’m 5’7”, a size 20 with a large bust and don’t even know where to start looking for nicer work clothes. HELP!

I am not sure why the world thinks women over a size 12 don’t hold professional jobs. They must think that with the poor selection of career wear for plus-sized women. While quality suits and stylish business casual clothing does exist, it’s hard to find. Below I feature some brands who realize that just because you wear a larger size doesn’t mean you wish to sacrifice style, quality, or professionalism.

If you’re plus sized, I’m sure you already know about Lane Bryant, Avenue, Ashley Stewart, One Stop Plus/Woman Within/Roamans/Jessica London, and other retailers who specialize in plus size fashion. Below are some suggestions on brands I know who aren’t the typical shops, and who provide quality, well-crafted and stylish career wear in plus sizes

Nordstrom
I know, I know, Nordstrom again? Thing is, they offer a great selection of quality brands and style for plus sizes. MICHAEL Michael Kors, Rachel Palley, Calvin Klein, Karen Kane, Eileen Fisher, Tahari Woman, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole… all these brands and more are offered in plus sizes at Nordstrom stores and online.

Unlike many other department stores who think a woman in a size 22 dress wants a muumuu or a flowing polyester pantsuit, Nordstrom buyers find brands and pieces that are in the same vein of style as the rest of the store. Great colors, fun silhouettes, lots of options. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, will perform alterations onsite, and have personal shoppers that can help you secure a professional wardrobe for your job.

Macy’s
Macy’s is another department store who offers a fantastic selection of brands and styles for plus sizes. Alfani, Calvin Klein, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, and then their in-house brand INC International Concepts are great resources for great plus size office wear. Like Nordstrom, Macy’s provides a good amount of real estate in most of their stores for plus-sized fashion.

Macy’s always has promotions for discounts and shipping deals. Macy’s has a great return and exchange policy, where you can return by mail or at any nearby store.

Talbots
Talbots Woman comes in sizes 12-24 regular and 12-22 petite. Each season they offer several styles of suit separates so you can mix and match for the perfect career look. Talbots also specializes in business casual looks, with tailored trousers, well-crafted skirts, polished knits and sweaters and even shoes and accessories.

While many retailers hide their plus size department in a dusty corner or keep it only online, Talbots often has separate stores just for their Woman line, or else it gets plenty of real estate in their mixed-size store. Talbots is phenomenal with customer service, seeking out sizes at other locations, taking returns in-store, and giving you honest feedback and offering suggestions at the fitting room. When I was a size 18, Talbots was my go-to store, where I knew I would find quality, style, and a supportive staff.

Jones New York
While Jones New York is a department store staple, they also have their own online boutique that has a large selection of career wear in extended sizes. Since you have to return by mail (they offer a pre-paid shipping label), it’s good to try out JNY in a store to know how it fits, and then go online to find a larger selection.

Kiyonna
Kiyonna knows how to dress a woman. They make well-made pieces that are stylish and flattering to a plus-sized figure. No muumuus and garish prints here, Kiyonna offers beautiful dresses, and also a beautiful selection of separates. While their bottoms are very basic, they are well-made and classic. Some of their tops can run on the sexy side, but many are great pieces for business casual environments or fabulous shells under suits. Their return policy is pretty standard but I hear their sizing is quite consistent so once you know how you fit in Kiyonna you won’t have to make as many returns and exchanges.

Ann Taylor
If you enter an Ann Taylor store, you may think they don’t care about anyone over a size 12. However online they go up to size 18 and XXL on the majority of their pieces. I also find Ann Taylor runs a bit large and many of my readers have agreed that their size 18 can often fit a size 20 woman.

Ann Taylor regularly has promotions for free shipping and percentages off select items – it’s smart to sign up for their emails or follow them on Facebook or Twitter so you stay updated. Their online selection can sell out pretty quickly when they have such sales, so shop early. While Ann Taylor doesn’t offer free returns, they do accept returns even of larger sizes in any store. And if you have to do a return, check out their sale rack where I have regularly seen larger sizes from other women who have made returns.

Lands’ End
Lands’ End may not be the retailer you would think for career wear, but they do have a pretty great selection of workwear staples. While their summer selection is more geared towards shorts and dresses, they always have a good selection of blazers and coordinating bottoms and come the cooler months have an even greater selection of suiting and work-appropriate pieces.

Lands’ End often has promotions for discounts and free shipping so sign up for their emails to get the latest news. Lands’ End also accepts returns at Sears stores which makes shopping with them even more convenient.

Eddie Bauer
Like Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer mainly focuses on casual weekend fashion. However, like Lands’ End they have a few stand-out pieces each season for career wear. Eddie Bauer often focuses on easy-care pieces, and you’re likely to find wrinkle-free suiting, no-iron button-front shirts, and machine washable trousers and dresses. Eddie Bauer offers free exchanges and accepts returns by mail (they will provide a pre-paid shipping label or you can send by your own method) or in store.

Overstock
I’m quick to head to Overstock to find a toaster oven or an area rug, but I have now learned to go to this site for fashion. Popular brands like Tahari, Kasper, Calvin Klein, and Ann Klein are featured by Overstock, and at nicer prices than at the department store. While some of the styles offered on Overstock are a bit strange, you can also find some gems – often pieces being sold right now at your nearby Belk or Macy’s. Overstock has customer reviews, ridiculously cheap shipping, and a reasonable return policy.

TJ Maxx
While most of my local discount big box retailers will have some plus size fashion, it’s usually a small section, messy, and full of strange pieces I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Not so for TJ Maxx, who usually carries higher-end brands than similar stores, and they usually have a larger and better organized plus size department.


Where do you find stylish and well-made plus size career wear? I’d love to know your suggestions!

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January 2013

Today I turn 38 years old.
Saturday marked 20 years since the first time I kissed Karl. We were on the phone late at night, I said I was craving Beefaroni, he said he had to get off the phone and 30 minutes later was tossing pebbles at my bedroom window, holding a can of Chef Boyardee. I came down, we talked, we kissed, and who would have guessed 20 years later we’d have this awesome shared life!
Last Saturday marked one year that my sister was brain tumor free. A “just in case” MRI for headaches showed a meningioma, a couple months later she went to Georgetown University Hospital to have it removed and today she’s alive and well and wonderful!
The day after Debbie’s anniversary was her birthday – talk about a festive weekend and for a fabulous woman!
On the 11th was my mom’s birthday. While she may not love the age on her driver’s license, she is proof that age is but a number with her great health, great style, and great attitude!
Four years ago on January 8th I delivered one of the smartest, funniest, and most determined people I have ever met, and a person who has changed my life drastically and oh so for the better!

Saturday, my husband planned a fabulous birthday/anniversary celebration. We dropped Emerson off at my mom’s, and then we went to get pedicures (OPI’s I’m Not Really a Waitress – a classic!). We then came home and he drew me a bubble bath, made me a cocktail (with a bendy straw) and gave me the latest issues of Bust and Rolling Stone, turned on Spotify, lit my Montauk, and left me alone. After my bath, we got dressed and he took me to the Tabard Inn for dinner. We ate oysters, held hands, and were gushy wushy. However, we were both pretty tuckered out so after dinner we headed home, had dessert of strawberries and bubbly and watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Slept until our bodies woke us up, and we went to brunch with my mom, sister, and Emerson. The rest of Sunday was pretty relaxed – all three of us took a nap, we watched Shrek with Emerson (and she was willing to snuggle on the couch during part of it!), had Chinese take-out and began reading one of the books my mom got me as a present. I can’t imagine any better way to end this wonderful month of wonderful celebrations!

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Weekend Sale Shopping

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

Old Navy – 25% Off

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

Banana Republic – Up to $50 off Full Priced Items

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

Ann Taylor – 50% Off Tops, Shoes and Accessories

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

LOFT – 40% Off Tops and Sweaters

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

Lands’ End – 25 to 30% Off

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

Madewell – 30% Off Sale Merchandise

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

J. Crew – 30% Off Sweaters and Outerwear

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

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

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

Any sales I missed?  Share them in the comments!

HURRY! My Orange Jacket is On Sale!!!

Regularly $140 and hidden from the J. Crew website, just showed up in the Fall Sale for $99! Get it while you still can!

My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Black shirtdress – Lauren by Ralph Lauren (no longer available – similar)
Black beltLauren by Ralph Lauren
Teal suede pumps - Jessica Simpson “Terrance” (no longer available – similar)
Silk scarf – Thrifted (similar)
Gold bangles - Ralph Lauren
Gold charm bracelet - J. Crew via eBay

This is one of those outfits that looks far better in person than in photos. I think fashion can often be like models; some women who look average in person look phenomenal in photographs, some outfits that look meh in real life look gorgeous when photographed… and some that look pretty fab IRL are meh on film.

I was going to return these shoes after getting the blue ones on eBay, but then I realized that I got these for only $20 due to an online sale and thought they were cute enough to keep for that price!

This weekend was pretty gray and gloomy, but we still had fun.  Saturday there was a music festival in the town square – my husband went to take pictures, I went with Emerson so she could get her groove on.  She’s a huge fan of live music.  There was a troupe of hula hoopers there and they brought extra hoops for the crowd – here’s Emerson making an attempt to hula hoop:

Iz5aXd on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

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What I Wore: Peacock Feathers

Dress: J. Crew Factory Store | Necklace: Etsy | Shoes: Nine West “Flax” | Rings: Etsy, vintage via Etsy, gift from Emerson (she won playing skee-ball this past weekend)

Emerson and I were both excited by our new shoes and found it necessary for Daddy to photograph them! I’m not one to buy Emerson everything she sees on TV and we actually try very hard to have Emerson NOT see commercials, but she saw an ad for Sketchers Twinkle Toes almost a year ago and has been obsessed ever since. They have everything she loves in this world all rolled into one pair of hideous yet utterly amazing shoes that if I were 4 (or 6, or 14, or heck… even college age), I would do most anything for. So when I saw this pair for $24.95 at the Sketchers outlet in Rehoboth, I caved. As for my shoes? Well they were only about $20 on Amazon and I am as much a sucker for peacock print as I am for leopard!

This weekend was the annual Girls Weekend to Rehoboth – me, Emerson, my sister and mom.  We had a great time – the weather was spectacular Saturday, we had great food, lots of laughs, Emerson had some memories made, and of course we did a bit of shopping at the fun boutiques and outlets.  This dress is one of my purchases, it is such a classic silhouette, my favorite fabric, and a wonderful price.  I hardly ever shop J. Crew any more – their quality is inconsistent, their prices insane on many pieces, and I hate wearing the same thing 500 other bloggers are wearing.  However, I love the outlet because they seem to carry more classic pieces – they had a dozen different not-so-LBDs in the store, half a dozen variations of the denim/chambray shirt, and great variety of blazers and pants.  I tried to be good, the only other thing I got was a v-neck sweater for fall.  However, I did find some AH-MAY-ZING pants in a boutique near the beach which I hope to have hemmed and on the blog quite soon!

Note: Dress link updated with the actual dress I am wearing from the J. Crew Factory site.  Also in the comments are a few more links to find the peacock shoes!

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Seasonless Black Trousers

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

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

Examples of good trousers:

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

Here is a great example from Lane Bryant:

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

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

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