Search Results for: label/miss sixty

My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Dress – c/o Ann Taylor (similar)
Belt – Another Line (similar)
Shoes – Miss Sixty (similar)
Cuff – Owned since 1997

This morning I was thinking of getting all creative, pairing my new polka-dotted silk CAbi shirt with a vintage sequined jacket and dark jeans. I started getting dressed and just felt hot, too layered, and not me today. Today is a dress day. A day where I don’t have to think much but still look sassy sort of day. And with that comes these booties. I know it’s the third outfit in a row with them, but they are just so darn comfortable and take an outfit from being too dressy or too prim to feeling kind of rocker and I like that. So I may feel exhausted and boring but I look as though I put forth a bunch of effort!

I gravitated towards this dress as soon as Ann Taylor had it in their stores, but I held off because I felt I didn’t need ANOTHER black dress. And then it went on sale. And then they had a discount on top of sale merchandise. And then Ann Taylor was lovely enough to send me a gift card a few weeks ago which will go even farther since I got this dress for only $45! it’s hard to see, but the dress is a stretch satin with jersey insets. This is a perfect replacement for last fall’s ponte dress which I wore to all sorts of events and eventually sold because it was too large for me.  I can see me wearing it to work, to a holiday party sans belt or with a skinny sparkly one, even to a wedding.


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My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Cargo jacketCaslon
Lace skirt – Ann Taylor (no longer available online though you may be able to find in-store on the sale rack)
BootiesMiss Sixty
Charm bracelet – eBay seller

My body may be here… but my mind is already at Bonnaroo! We leave tomorrow morning and I cannot wait. I spent all last night and this morning packing, planning, preparing. Though we decided to splurge this year and go VIP, it’s still four days of camping in the Tennessee heat and to be comfortable, you have to have the right gear and clothing (speaking of which, check out my lastest post about Bonnaroo fashion!).

I considered scheduling guest bloggers to post while I was away… but I was a slacker. I won’t be posting while at Roo, but I will be Tweeting while there! If you aren’t following me yet, be sure to do so – I’ll be sharing photos, stories, and experiences on the Farm. And if you are going to Bonnaroo, be sure to Direct Message me on Twitter or email me – maybe we can meet up!

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What I Wore: Buffalo Girl

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

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

What I Wore: Springtime Dreamin’

plenty by tracy reese petite dress plety by tracy reese dress plenty tracy reese robin dress
Dress: Plenty by Tracy Reese | Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar) | Bracelets: Coin Collection, c/o Lifetherapy, Rebecca Minkoff, c/o LiveTheLook | Earrings: Argento Vivo (similar)

In the shade, this was a bit chilly but in the sunshine it was nice. I’m enjoying the pockets of real spring weather we’re having, though I did NOT enjoy celebrating the first day of spring with snow! I styled this with a black moto jacket, sunglasses, and a bag but honestly I liked the pictures of the dress all by itself.  I mentioned this dress in this post, and just styling it for this post makes me even more eager for warm weather when I can wear it on a regular basis!

Last Days of Leather

Blouse: Ann Taylor (similar) | Skirt: eBay (similar) | Booties: Miss Sixty (similar) | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o lifetherapy | Necklace: Lillith” c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot

While I do believe in spring and summer leather (especially with the perforated styles that are so popular this season), we’re ending the days where I can get away with my black leather skirts. Today it’s going to be in the ’80s and was 70 when these pictures were taken. This skirt is actually cool because the weight has it stand away from the body and work a bit like a sun umbrella for my bottom half, but the look is just too heavy for the warmer months. I originally was going to wear this skirt with this blouse, but it reminded me too much of this outfit, which photographed nicely enough but made me feel like a box of Crayons. So I decided to switch out the skirt and give my heavy black leather a send-off until fall.

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

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

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

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

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

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Kimono Jacket: Tildon | Tee: Old Navy | Jeans: c/o Liverpool Jeans Company | Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar) | Navy bracelets: c/o lifetherapy | Silver cuff, necklaces: random mix I’ve had forever | Earrings: Nordstrom (similar) | Bag: Banana Republic via eBay (similar) | Cute child: Mah Bellay

Part of me thought about having the blog silent today out of respect for the tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. But then this morning as I was getting overwhelmed by more news on Twitter, I went to my Feedly app to distract myself with lovely blogs by talented writers and stylish women and men. And I realized, we all have different ways to cope with a situation, and sometimes we just need a distraction. Maybe it’s a reality TV show on Bravo, possibly a pedicure and latte, or maybe it’s visiting blogs on a lunch hour and distancing yourself from the news for just a little bit.

When I bought this tunic/jacket/thingie I felt very Stevie Nicks in it, but when I saw pictures of when I wore it this past weekend, I felt a bit more old school Carney Wilson. However, it’s so darn fun to wear, Karl told me I look sexy in it, and it’s free and breezy and flowing and dramatic when I move. This top is actually one big rectangle with a slit down the middle and four holes to thread the belt. It’s really getting my sewing juices flowing, thinking I could make something similar. I’m also thinking I may try this with a leather belt for a different look. The belt holes are a bit high so the belt can ride up to right below my bust (as you see in these pictures), so by making it myself I can have the belt at my natural waist for less riding. However I don’t have the skill to recreate the cool beading!

Oh these shoes… when I got on my ankle bootie kick, I set up an eBay alert to let me know when Miss Sixty Jaiden boots in my size were up for bid. I broke the heel on my first pair, found my second pair on Gilt (thank you Fi for the head’s up!), but they got beat up pretty quickly with winter wear. I found my third pair for a song on eBay and set up an alert to let me know if another pair in my size went up for bid. Day after I set up the alert, these came up for an insanely low price, brand new. I thought they would be great for spring. Nope, they looked atrocious, like horse’s hooves or bandaged feed. So they sat in a box waiting for me to get around to putting them back on eBay. This weekend I decided to try them with this outfit since black shoes looked too severe… and I kind of liked it. And they’re just as comfortable as the black ones (though a slightly different heel and shape). So comfortable, when I went to my cousin’s this weekend, I ended up taking a pretty long walk in them and didn’t have unhappy feet. Talk about shopping your closet!

And the key necklace?  I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before, but it’s the key to the cedar chest in our bedroom.  This weekend I thought… hey that would make a pretty badass necklace and I’d always know where to find it!

I remember when I was little, we went to a yard sale and I found this hot pink and white acrylic ribbed turtleneck sweater and I felt in love HARD. If I recall correctly, my mom tried to dissuade me from getting it but I felt I needed it in my life and I can remember wearing it a lot. In my child brain, I felt it was so beautiful and cool, but likely it was itchy and stained or ill-fitting. My friend Jazz gave me a box of her daughter’s clothing that she outgrew and in that box I found this sweater and just by looking at it I bet it was to her daughter what that pink and white sweater was to me. A couple of the crystal buttons are missing and it’s more worn looking than anything else in the box, obviously loved. I just opened the box last week, realizing Emerson is finally the size for the clothes, and didn’t put out this sweater since it’s getting warmer. Yesterday during her supposed nap, Emerson rooted through her closet and found this sweater and put it in her drawer because she found it, “magical.” And though it will likely be warm today, she wanted to wear it, and I have a feeling it will be worn quite a lot in the coming months, even during blistering hot days. And like my mom, I won’t have much control over the situation, and like my mom I will realize it doesn’t really matter what she wears as long as she is happy.

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Hiding from the Heat

Tee: Old Navy | Skirt: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Scarf: Nordstrom (similar) | Bracelets: Silver Cuff (similar), Pilar Leather Bracelet c/o Lulu Avenue, Indigo and Turquoise Bracelet c/o Lifetherapy | Necklace: Etsy | Rings: Had forever, Argento Vivo (similar) | Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar)

Yesterday I wore a nice outfit to work. White blazer, striped tee, the most amazing black pants from Karen Kane. I felt sassy and professional yet me. Karl and I went outside to take pictures and by time I got to the sidewalk I was a sweaty grody mess. My hair had gone flat, my face was shiny, my glasses steamed up. I deleted every picture. Today, I didn’t have meetings at work and wanted to dress more comfortably for the weather and my life so I grabbed some easy wardrobe favorites. And I decided to take pictures indoors. Obviously, we’re trying to perfect the lighting. Our living room is well lit with a bay window and two glass doors, but all pictures end up looking wonky. Karl had one of his photography lights still out from a recent shoot so we set it up but didn’t have a lot of time to play before I had to head out the door. We’ll keep working on it so it’s not so extreme, but don’t be surprised if the majority of my outfit posts this summer are in front of Karl’s grandfather!

I haven’t taken this Lifetherapy bracelet off in weeks.  It makes me feel like high school, when I’d wear my early ’90s arm party of friendship and gummy bracelets in the shower, the ocean, the pool, even to a relative’s fancy wedding… and I kinda like that.  In fact, it had me pull out some of my old sterling rings that I still have and still fit.  I’m also doing a bit of a 2013 take on the arm party these days, with more unique pieces instead of trying to have metal from palm to elbow.  Lulu Avenue sent me this leather and chain bracelet which I think fits my personal style quite nicely and I like how the size is adjustable.

Speaking of jewelry, I have not been able to find my silver chain with my charms ANYWHERE.  That’s pretty typical for early ’90s Alison, but not for 2013 Alison.  I thought I was going insane and scoured the house from top to bottom before Forecastle.  Just as I was sitting in a sweaty mess in my bedroom crying, I get an email from RocksBox – they received my last box back and a strange silver necklace with an Egyptian and a Maryland charm was in it.  I have NO IDEA how that happened, but I am thrilled and RocksBox is sending it back with my next box!  For those who haven’t heard of RocksBox, it’s kind of like Gwynnie Bee for jewelry – fill out a questionnaire about your style and each month you get cool designer jewelry delivered to your door.  Return for more next month, keep what you wish to purchase.  Pretty cool concept, and pretty cool people who run it too!

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#WO2turns10: Behind the Scenes (AKA what I wore and all that jazz)

dc noodles5I’ve planned parties before – Frozen and mermaid themed birthdays, showers for friends, and even a birthday for Karl where we hosted over 75 people in our home and a band played in our living room. Planning my wedding was stressful, but it was fun to take my vision and make it a reality. But when it came to planning a party for my blog, I had no interest. It seemed so self-indulgent and on top of that, terribly stressful. No need to worry, Rosana and her team at DC Style Factory took care of almost everything, just asking my opinion every so often. But still I needed to be there, and I knew my picture would be taken.

Oh God, what the heck was I going to wear???

I ordered this awesome pencil skirt made of black palliates with feathers and thought I’d wear it with a band tee shirt, the neck cut up, and a killer pair of heels. But when I put the look together it just seemed so contrived, and when was I going to wear this skirt ever again? I decided to wear my Myne “Heidi” dress, I knew it was easy and comfortable and fun and I wouldn’t be going against my advice on the blog by buying that which I didn’t need. But out for drinks with friends I was asked if I was going to wear color. The crowd would likely be in a lot of black, I should stand out in the crowd. Omigod, they’re RIGHT! I can’t wear black, I’m the guest of honor! I knew the Myne dress came in an orange-red color, my favorite color but I couldn’t find it in my size so I bought it in hot pink, another favorite color. It arrived… and the magic was gone. I sent it right back. Why am I trying so hard? I thought about this post I wrote and decided to just be. The black dress makes me happy, it brings good memories of fun times I wore it, and I knew I could wear it without fidgeting. I decided to splurge and buy a pair of silver bamboo hoop earrings with “Allie” on them, something I had wanted since high school and knew would we worn many times after the party.

The week of the party I realized a look is far more than a dress. Shoes, omigod shoes, what shoes should I wear? Talbots sent me these gorgeous heels and while I love them and will wear them to death this summer, they didn’t look right with the dress.  I freaked out and ordered three different pairs with Amazon Prime; they all arrived and none were that spectacular or comfortable. My sister joked, why not wear “those goddamn booties”? I laughed, but then I thought that was brilliant. There has been no other piece I’ve worn that has received more comments and criticism, and they’re shoes I just love, even if they’re not terribly flattering. On top of that, they’re uber comfortable. Okay, the Myne dress, the Miss Sixty booties, the new silver hoops, and of COURSE my silver cuff. Don’t try so hard Alison, just be.

dc noodles 3I decided to keep my makeup simple too. A bold lip would require maintenance and likely would get smeary with all the cheek kissing and hugs and drink sipping. Recently Skindinavia sent me their Makeup Primer Spray and Finishing Spray, claiming it will keep makeup in place for 16 hours, even in a hot sweaty Miami nightclub. I had tried it several times prior and found it lived up to its hype; it may make your skin feel a bit weird and rubbery and can cause breakouts if used on a regular basis, but gosh it keeps foundation in place until you decide to wash it off. I decided to continue with the “don’t try, just be” and did my default face of glossy nudish pink lips, a smoky eye, and lots of lashes. Reader Connie sent me Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Mascara to try out and it gives me the drag queen-esque lashes I love without having to mess with false lashes and glue AND it lasts through tears. A line of black liquid liner, some NARS Orgasm and I felt like me but polished.

beauty in a beat DC mobileBut hair was something that concerned me. I know how to style my hair in a way that feels me, but I never am able to keep my style all evening. Beauty in a Beat, a mobile styling business in DC reached out and offered to send a stylist to my home the day of the party to do my hair. Serena arrived the afternoon before the party and in the natural light of my living room, styled my hair for the evening. Having someone come to my house felt so decadent but the prices are comparable to going to a salon. Beauty in a Beat does blowouts, updos, partial and full extensions as well as makeup application and manicures (including gel and full sets). I think Beauty in a Beat is brilliant, not just before big events like weddings, proms, and yes, blog parties; but also a great treat for a new mom who doesn’t have the time to leave the house, someone who is convalescing after an injury or illness, or just a way to feel pampered in the comfort of your own home or office.

dcnoodles1I decided since I saved so much on not going out and buying a brand new outfit, we could splurge on transportation. Instead of taking the Metro or freaking out over trying to find parking on U Street at happy hour, we ordered an Uber to pick us up and take us home.

As you all know, I love music and decided to make the playlist for the evening. With our Premium Spotify membership, we had ad-free music going all night long. Click this link to access the playlist for the party.

dcnoodles 6I cried and while my mascara stayed in place, my blush and shadow faded away. I was having too much fun to think about reapplying my lipstick and gloss, and the heat of the day and my tendency to sweat when stressed had my hair look like a limp fried rat’s nest before all the guests arrived, but none of it mattered. I was glad to be doing this event on my terms, my comfort level, and surrounded by people who were there for me, not who I was wearing.  There’s something great about not having to think about what you look like and only about what you are experiencing!

dcnoodles4Karl took pictures with his trusty little Fuji before the party and captured a lot of my nervousness, excitement, and anticipation (as well as not-yet-done hair and no makeup!). It was great to not just celebrate with friends, but Karl, Emerson, my mom, and sister.  I will remember June 11th for a very long time.

Fashion Purchases Hits and Misses: Soma Intimates Edition

soma intimates purchases review - wardrobe oxygenSpoiler alert – there’s no misses really in this post. Also note some items were gifted to me from Soma, the rest were purchased with my money and my only discount was the code I got from one of their emails that goes to all customers. Anyway, on with the items I have recently purchased or received from Soma and what I think!

Soma Cool Nights Collection

I was going on vacation and wanted a pair of cute pajamas that wouldn’t be too heavy, too hot, or take up too much room. You have all raved about Soma’s Cool Nights collection for so long I decided to try it out. While the Cool Nights collection is 93% rayon and 7% spandex, I find it breathable and yes, cool at night, even in heat and humidity. It’s thin, stretchy, silky, and can survive the washer, dryer, being laundered with things like denim and towels and Velcro and come out looking like new.

Soma Cool Nights Lace Sleep Cami – Large

I got this in a no longer available color combination of Poppy Red/Rose Violet which is in my eyes, an orangey red and a cool blue pink. I love orange and pink together, and this color combo made me happy. I ordered a large… and think I could have gone with a medium. This is a very loose, drapey, swingy camisole. It’s not too low in the neck or under the arms, but I wouldn’t have minded less volume in the body. I also for some reason didn’t think about the combination of older softer, let’s say… drapey breasts and a soft, thin, drapey camisole. It’s not the most flattering combination. However, this cami is uber comfortable. I prefer to go commando when I sleep and find many pajamas annoying. This cami doesn’t annoy me at all. I used a promo code and got it for a bit over $40 and it has been totally worth the money. The cami has been washed at least a half dozen times and each time after put in the dryer and I haven’t experienced shrinkage, fading, pilling, or even snags in the lace. I love the fabric so much I am considering a more structured sleep cami that better flatters the bustline!

Soma Cool Nights Lace Pajama Shorts – Large

I love these shorts. They’re like longer, fuller tap pants. Super cute and feminine, not clingy, not snug, they don’t give wedgies, they’re long enough to not have my thighs rub, but short enough to look a bit sexy. If you’re between sizes, go down. Like the cami, I think I could have done these in a medium. With the code I used these were $38 and completely worth it. I have bought similar shorts from department store brands that aren’t nearly as nice in quality or fit as these. I love these so much, I may get the longer pants for winter.

Soma Vanishing Edge Collection

Soma sent me a pair of their Vanishing Edge Modern Brief. Again, you all raved about this collection and I see why. They completely vanish under clothing, and the little silicone grippers aren’t uncomfortable yet keep the back in place (no wedgies!). The biggest thing is that though they are 83% Nylon, 17% Spandex (though with a 100% cotton crotch), they don’t get swampy and uncomfortable in heat and humidity. As a petite woman, briefs are often too high on me and fold over; as a woman with a belly I often find lower rise underwear to roll down when I bend. I find these are a perfect height for me and are still sassy looking.  I decided to get a couple other pairs in a variety of Vanishing Edge styles to see which I like best and to have a good stash for my road trip.

Soma Vanishing Edge Microfiber Modern Brief – Large

I already had one pair in nude but I bought another in nude and one in black. These fit exactly like the pair I got free, and all three have survived being in the wash and dryer (though I recommend washing on gentle in a lingerie bag and line drying to keep them looking and fitting great as long as possible).

Soma Vanishing Edge Cotton/Modal with Lace High Leg Brief – Large

I got these in leopard print with black lace (currently not available online but plenty of other patterns and solids are on the site) and they’re super cute. They run a tad lower rise than the modern brief, but not enough to have them ride down or cut me under fitted dresses. The black lace makes them look more luxe, more sexy. I like these a lot.

Soma Vanishing Edge Microfiber with Lace Modern Brief – Large

I got these in black with white dots and black lace. They’re cute… but they look the most like a pair of shapewear (very similar to my DKNY Lace Curves shaper briefs). It’s funny but I find the hint of lace on the sides to make these look more frumpy than the plain solid ones. However, they fit similar to the plain modern brief and are quite comfortable. So on looks, they get a C but on fit and quality they get an A.

Other Soma Purchases

Soma Vanishing Back Full Coverage Bra

When I visited Soma for this post, I was measured as a 38D though I usually wear a 36DDD or F. I found it to be a bit off in size after owning it, so when Soma offered to send me this bra, I told them 36DD. It was the wrong size too, but Soma was kind enough to send it to me in the size I normally wear in Chantelle, Fantasie, and Wacoal. It’s a super comfortable bra, I hardly notice it’s on and I’m not itching to remove it as soon as I get home. That being said it doesn’t give me as gorgeous of a bustline as my favorite Fantasie bras. It’s more of a… relaxed silhouette. Decent lift and separation, no back bulges, no quad-boob, a good everyday casual bra.

Soma Travelers High Leg Brief – Large

I was traveling so a pair of these seemed like a natural choice. These are okay, but they are not my favorite. They run a bit more snug, and a bit lower rise than the Vanishing Edge, and the leg opening isn’t as open. They’re not bad, they’re more like an awesome pair of Target underwear than something that costs $15. I got them free as part of a buy X get Y promotion taking place at the time of order. I got them in Ruby, which was an ordinary red, not the brilliant red I saw on my computer monitor.

Soma Enticing Lift Unlined Full Coverage Bra

The Enticing Lift bras from Soma are supposed to give lift without being a padded pushup bra. As someone who wears a molded cup bra for that pushup lifted look, this sounded pretty darn good to me. Soma sent me one without me even asking for it, and thanks to my Vanishing Back experience, sent me a 36DDD in black.

The bra is black lace with a beige lining but the layers are bonded together so it’s super smooth and there’s no texture even when worn under thin fitted knits. No padding, but better shape and support than unlined stretch or lace bras. In fact, after my beloved Fantasie bras this is the best bra I have owned in a very long time. I think because of its weight but the bonded fabric, the bra molds to your body over the day and has a seamless and comfortable fit. It has been a favorite this summer because it’s lighter weight than my molded cups and well, it’s prettier too!

Soma Enticing Allover Lace Boyshort – Large

Soma sent these to me in black along with the Enticing Lift bra and they’re fine. My body isn’t made for a boyshort, I find them to ride a bit too low and not be too flattering on my figure. But these are nice quality, the lace holds its shape, they’ve been washed and worn and have held up beautifully. They are a lightweight lace, lighter than Hanky Panky, and not as stretchy/form fitting. Not my cup of tea, but if you like lace boyshorts, you may like these.

Recent Fashion Purchases – Hits and Misses

I’ve done a bit of shopping the past couple of months. My wardrobe was woefully unprepared for the cold; I don’t know what I was wearing up until February last year because this year I just laugh at my thin cardigans and distressed jeans and crave more wool, more fleece, more layers. In the DC area, it doesn’t really get cold until after Christmas and I did end up spending most of February and March in yoga pants and a caftan and a tres chic full-arm cast, so I think that may be one reason why I had many holes to fill this winter. Below, what I purchased and whether it was worthy of space in my closet:

L.L. Bean Deerfield Rustic Harness Boot

L.L. Bean Deerfield Rustic Harness Boot

I have big calves, thick shins, and what many would not hesitate to call cankles. I know it, I embrace it, and I often say “fugget” and wear what I want even if it emphasizes the situation. One thing that is not the most flattering with my gams is a pair of ankle boots. But a pair of ankle boots is pretty fantastic. Slip them on with skinny jeans or leggings and a sweater coat and you’re weekend ready. As I showed in my post about Chelsea boots, they work with skirts and dresses too. And do you know how long I have longed for a pair of engineer boots? We’re talking over 20 years, folks. So when I saw these boots at L.L. Bean, and saw the reviews stating that they’re too wide in the ankle and opening, I thought I may have a chance. Gaping on the normal individual means won’t cut off the circulation to my feet for me.

Since the reviews said these ran narrow, I purchased a wide. I also went up a half size; I could say it’s because I want to wear thick socks but it’s truthfully because my size was sold out. I’m actually glad I did because an 8.5 wide feels like an 8 medium. The boot is snug on the sides of my foot, but not enough to rub and I think they’ll stretch with wear.

The shoes are well made, as is the majority of L.L. Bean’s merchandise. The hardware isn’t too shiny, the soles not too lug-ish, the leather is heavy but not too stiff and matte but not in a cheap leather sort of way. These are engineer-style boots that will remain in style, become a classic.

And yes, the tops are wide, and have little elastic gussets. Wider than my leg wide. Wide enough that they don’t chafe when I walk and I can easily slip in skinny jeans or heavyweight ponte leggings. They would likely show under straight and bootcut jeans, but would work with fuller leg styles and likely would hide under trousers.

These boots are pretty darn perfect… but they’re just too wonky looking with the legs I have. I think a shoe with a lot of style can help justify me wearing unflattering shoes, but with my legs these boots end up looking like something I’m wearing to work in the garden or to ride a bike – a uniform and not a fashion statement. If I were taller or had slimmer shins I’d keep them because they are lovely.

Myne Heidi Dress Black

Myne ‘Heidi’ Dress

When I was thinking about what I wish I had in my wardrobe this past year and what in my wardrobe got the most wear, one of the pieces was this off the shoulder maxi dress. This is my party dress when it’s cold out; the fabric is like a lightweight sweatshirt so it keeps me warm but the off the shoulder detail (the tank isn’t attached) makes it festive. I wore it to my friend’s birthday the night I broke my arm, I wore it to Karl’s cousin’s holiday get together, and I wore it to my sister’s New Year’s Eve party. I really wanted something similar that wasn’t as long, not as heavy, and more appropriate for warmer months.

Yeah, this dress is a mega mega splurge. I never ever spend this much on a dress, but if it gets as much wear for as long as my maxi has, it could end up saving me money in the long run. And to be honest, since I got it at Nordstrom if I don’t wear it by May, I can return it.

The dress is so, pardon my French, FUCKING BADASS. I got the 12 in Black and I felt like a modern minimalist Grecian goddess in it, if that makes sense. My soft curves made it look way better on me than the model. The skirt has draping that are kind of like pockets but also add volume in the right way and make the dress look at first like a jumpsuit, the gathering on the shoulders creates cool draping, and oh wow when I replaced it with my ASOS metal band belt and added my Miss Sixty booties I was ready to go to a party. Karl even said it was awesome. But the large was a bit too large – I had to hike back the shoulders to not expose my bra and the bodice was a bit too full, making the wrap gape open. So I ordered a 10. Not as voluminous but still badass and now fits in the bodice. This could be dressed up or down with a change of accessories; it comes with a boring skinny belt but I tried it with my metal belt, a large silk scarf tied like a cummerbund, my skinny python belt with a pave buckle, and my vintage wide brown leather belt and they all looked so cool and give different effects. I can see it for a blogger event, for a wedding, for a party.  It’s silk so it could be worn year round.  I haven’t worn it yet, so I’ll keep you posted as to whether it is a keeper, and worth the money.

Random factoid: when looking online to find any reviews of this dress, I found out Kim Kardashian has this same dress in multiple colors.  Didn’t sway my purchase, but does show how it fits on someone who isn’t tall and is curvy and shows why a smaller size was a better choice (less boobage)…

Eileen Fisher Silk Ankle Pants Review

Eileen Fisher Silk Ankle Pants

I don’t know what I was smoking when I ordered these pants. Maybe I was on a Myne Heidi dress high? I was thinking of them with pumps, a silk shirt, my slouchy black merino sweater, come summer with a silk tank and a fabulous necklace.

The pants made my ass look saggy, they were larger than expected in the waist (I ordered a Large and they fit like a 16), the pleats were too strong emphasizing my pooch, and they didn’t look cool or modern but like a thrifted pair of work trousers from 1986.

Glamorous Sweatshirt Dress from Nordstrom in Gray

Glamorous Sweatshirt Tunic Dress

Tunic is the word for this description. On my 5’3” self, this dress hardly covered the good china. This made the kangaroo pocket directly over my tummy and hips, killing any shape to my body and making me look second trimester. Too bad, because if it was 6” longer bringing down the pocket, it could be a super cute piece to wear with leggings now and just a pair of Chucks come spring.

Caslon Sweatshirt Dress review

Caslon Roll Sleeve Sweatshirt Dress

I love Caslon, and Caslon usually loves me. Not with this. The body was shapeless with a band at the bottom that made it look as though my torso was inflated. The neckline was super wide, and the sleeves so incredibly tight I could hardly get the dress on. Also the fabric in this sweatshirt dress was far cheaper looking than the one from Glamorous.

LOFT Crocheted Poncho Review

LOFT Crocheted Poncho

In person it looks exactly as it does on the site. I took cuticle scissors to rip the seams out of the tags and gently remove them because they were visible through the open weave, and once I did this I fell in love. It’s soft, it has cool fringe, it has a slouchy flattering neckline, it’s not too open or too opaque. I’ve worn it twice with a black tank under it, black ponte pants tucked into tall heeled boots and a lot of silver jewelry and know come spring I’ll be pairing it with a white tank and distressed jeans.

LOFT Tunic Blouse Review

LOFT Petite Tunic Blouse

Yeah, was so imagining this top with those Eileen Fisher pants. This was just as frumptastic as the pants. It looked more like a regular blouse, properly fitted in the shoulders and arms in that it would likely work well under a blazer. However at the end of the buttons it is pleated and flares out like a maternity shirt. The combination was not flattering.

LOFT Peppered Wool Trouser review

LOFT Peppered Tweed Wide-Leg Trousers in Julie Fit

I should have believed the reviews that complained about the pleats. The pleats are awful, making these too look like thrifted work pants from 1986. Super unflattering. A shame because the leg width and the fabric is really nice. If they had a clean front, I would have kept them.

Have you made any great or horrible purchases since the holidays? Share your triumphs or warn fellow readers in the comments below!


Three Hits, Three Misses

So I received one package from Ann Taylor on yesterday, and three packages today – Nordstrom, Local Celebrity and J. Crew.

Local Celebrity was presents. A tee shirt for my sexy hubby, and a tee shirt for my friend who is turning 30 next weekend and says things like “golly,” “good gravy,” and “he’s a keeper.” Appropriate.

So Ann Taylor arrived. An angora cardigan in a leopard pattern. Not sure what drugs I was on when I ordered it. First I ordered Petite. I am petite in trousers and suit jackets, but not in sweaters or tops. Why I have no clue, but this sweater barely hit my waistband, it was so short. Also, I don’t wear many prints for a reason. I look foolish and brawny in them. RETURN.

Then I got a pair of trousers. Nothing spectacular about them except that they are on sale and that lovely all-season suiting fabric. Perfect for work. A little annoying that they are petite and still dragging on the ground unless I wear my 3 1.2″ heels, but hey, a quick hem will fix that. I wore them to work today and looked very nice. KEEP.

Then today came the two merinos from J. Crew. Can I say I didn’t remember the colors I ordered? I think on here I said burgundy v-neck and blue scoop. Ah no, it’s a blue v-neck and brown scoop.

The brown scoop has a rolled hem. Ew. Also it’s so long it is like a tunic. A fitted stretch merino tunic. Ew. Nice neckline but the rest was goofy. RETURN.

Then the other merino.
The same as the pink one, but in a nice blue. Less robin’s egg, more late in the day come summer. Very pretty, flattering, nice. KEEP.

And the box from Nordstrom. SHOES!!!!! In this box was a pair of wine leather heeled loafer type shoes for work.
Um, they are heinous. Yes they were on sale for like $30 but they look as though they are of pleather, they come up too high on the foot, they are dorky. I see why they are on sale. Oh, and they hurt. RETURN.

The second shoe I ordered on a whim. Total whim. Don’t need them, have nothing that color in my wardrobe.
I mean, I don’t wear teal, I don’t usually wear suede, I haven’t owned wedges since my Steve Madden slides of 1998. But something called out to me.

That something was SOOOO SMART! These shoes are AMAZING. I mean like everyone must buy them amazing. I wore shoes today that hurt, I put these on and my feet feel soothed. The wedge is out of rubber, covered with suede so they look hip but feel fabu. The width is perfect, the size is perfect, the color is cute (nice compliment to the new blue sweater!) and they look good with the new gray trousers, with my jeans, with a black dress! LOVE LOVE LOVE! KEEP KEEP KEEP!

So three out of six ain’t bad. Going for sushi with a girl friend tonight, wearing the blue sweater, my dark denim Gap jeans and my new teal suede shoes, silver hoops and cuff! Have a nice night!

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.


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!

Recent Fashion Purchases, Hits and Misses

I haven’t become athletic, I’m not on a diet, but I’ve changed what I eat slightly for health and wellness reasons and it’s changed my body a lot. I’m not pounds thinner or a different size but everything has shifted and all my spring and summer clothes from last year fit weird. So I’ve been shopping and here’s the results, hits and misses…

halogen jumpsuit review - wardrobe oxygenHalogen Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit

I love Halogen, it fits me great. I thought this would be a great alternative to a midi dress for summer. I loved that since it was a wide leg jumpsuit it would look like a dress, but prevent chub rub. I ordered an XL Petite.

This jumpsuit fits amazingly well, and the straps are placed nicely so I can wear a standard bra and they don’t show. And it does look a bit like a midi skirt and hit at a place on me that looked really nice with a pair of pumps or a nude heel. This is dressy looking, not something to throw on with sandals.

However, this was returned because there’s no way in hell I could pee. It’s so tailored on top, I needed Karl to zip me up. Then you have this long self-belt that wraps twice around your body. If you had to use the bathroom, it would take several minutes to undo everything, then you’d have to hold onto those straps so they didn’t drag on the floor or fall into the toilet, and then to get dressed again you’d need a full length mirror to get everything right, possibly a friend to zip you up, and you may want the ability to see the back view to ensure the straps are lined up. Come on designers, humans need to urinate on a regular basis, why make it so hard? Men don’t have trendy fashion that prevents their ability to eliminate. Why do we have do decide between hydration and fashion? Boo on you Halogen.  Oh, and it doesn’t have pockets. So FAIL.

Leith A-Line Tank Dress Review - Wardrobe OxygenLeith A-line Tank Midi Dress

I bought this dress in black in large. Leith is hit and miss with me, but this looked like a perfect summer dress I could wear to work with a jacket or cardigan or for a summer evening with sandals or heels. And it is. It’s a heavyweight, tightly woven knit with a refined finish that could dress up or down nicely. Though I am short, the skirt ended at a nice midi length between knee and ankle. It drapes just like it does on the model. However, it’s low cut. Not so low cut that I can’t wear it, but low cut enough that I have only one bra in my collection that doesn’t show. If it was petite, that situation likely would be remedied (and if I like it enough I may get the straps shortened to accomplish this). The one thing that has me torn whether to keep or not is the pockets. While I love me some pockets, these sort of ruin the line and make it look more casual. They’re of the same heavyweight fabric and aren’t deep enough to drape nicely, so they sort of add a bit of puckering and are obviously pockets. I haven’t tried pressing them, and I only tried it on twice, so we’ll see. For now it’s in my closet with tags still attached. If you’re taller, this could be a super awesome dress as it’s only $68 but could pass for an over $100 dress. So… WIN? I’ll keep you posted…

cold shoulder tops - wardrobe oxygenGibson Cold Shoulder Flutter Sleeve Top – Black
Chelsea28 Chiffon Cold Shoulder Top – White Snow

I am putting both of these together because they are essentially the same top. I got both in Large. I returned both as soon as I slipped them over my head. I don’t know the online reviews are so darn positive but I thought these were really cheesy looking and cheap. The sleeves weren’t flattering, the top draped weird and hit at a strange length. I felt I looked like a bridesmaid that got in a bar fight. FAIL

topshop bomber jacket - wardrobe oxygenTopshop MA1 Bomber Jacket – Olive

I was slow to the bomber jacket trend, but was thinking how cute they look with a simple tank or tee and shorts or girlfriend jeans… or even over a little dress. Imagine an olive bomber over a striped tee dress with some slip-on sneakers, a great alternative to a denim jacket or cardigan. Anyway… I got this bomber jacket in a 12 (which supposedly fits like a 14). I could hardly fit my arms into the sleeves yet the body was huge and voluminous, and not in an oversized cool way. And see where the jacket hits on the model? On my 5’3” self it hit past the crotch. FAIL.

LOFT Sleeveless Tie Waist Shirt Dress - Wardrobe OxygenLOFT Sleeveless Tie Waist Shirt Dress

This is the kind of dress female corporate Americans desire. It looks polished and professional yet won’t cause you to overheat. I envisioned switching out the belt for one of leather, pairing with a blazer or cardigan when needed, and then rocking it on the weekend with a pair of tan flat sandals.

I think I’ve ordered a version of this dress from LOFT every spring and every spring I return it because it looks like a sack. I think this is a great dress if you’re slim or firm. But it’s a faux-silk sack with a few strategic pleats to remove any trace of body definition, and tries to bring it back with a thin cord that hits at an unnatural place on the torso. It’s a piece I could make work with the right belt and shoes and maybe a necklace… but summer clothing shouldn’t require so much effort. FAIL

LOFT Modern Hoop Earring Review - Wardrobe OxygenLOFT Modern Hoop Earrings

Reviews said these were too big which meant they’d be the perfect size for big-earring loving me. Right? Wrong. These are not big, their meh size (maybe as wide as a quarter and about the height of a quarter and a dime) made them look dated. Seriously I think my mom rocked similar earrings in 1989. FAIL

LOFT Striped Ottoman Tee Dress - Wardrobe OxygenLOFT Striped Ottoman Tee Dress

This was on clearance and then 50% off so I can’t return it even if I wanted to. I got a Large Regular. This dress is fine. It’s not something that ‘sparks joy’ when I put it on, but it’s something that fits, is relatively flattering, and incredibly versatile. As I type this, I’m wearing it with my denim jacket and Clarks suede booties. And well, it was cheap as anything and doesn’t feel cheap (hello ottoman rib). It’s not too tight or short for work, it’s a good throw on with Birks and head to Target dress. So yeah, it’s not awesome but it’s still a WIN.

Wardrobe Oxygen - LOFT Ahoy Striped Dress ReviewLOFT Ahoy Stripe Dress

Another striped dress on clearance and even cheaper with a promo code. They didn’t have L so I got an XL. An XL is too big, it was gaping at the boatneck, the sleeves covered my whole hands, it’s tent-like and hangs below my knees. Ugh, and it was final sale. But washer and dryer to the rescue, it shrunk like most LOFT clothes do and now it’s super cute! The sleeves are longer than you see on the model, so I likely won’t wear this a lot (come on summer!), but it will be great in the fall. WIN.

Wardrobe Oxygen - LOFT La Bonita Dress ReviewLOFT La Bonita Dress

I got this in petite large. It’s huge. It’s mid to bottom of knee, full enough to be able to wear second trimester. But I thought it was cute in a boho relaxed way and having it off the shoulder I felt balanced the volume. I slipped on some gold gladiator sandals, a couple gold delicate necklaces and my Panama hat and was like, Oh Em Gee I am totes wearing this as an outfit post and then to the farmers market!

Then Karl walked into the room and said, “Does that come with a belt?” So I tried it with my raffia and leather belt, my tan wrap belt, and both looked lame. I asked if it looked boho cool and he said, “Yes, if you’re pregnant.” I took off the hat and really looked at it. The fabric is crinkly, but it’s poly and I started thinking how it could be itchy and hot in the summer. The length was too long, if it hit top of the knee it would be better. A medium would be too tight in the top. So I returned it. I bet it would have looked smashing in an outfit post, but in everyday life bopping along the path between stalls at the farmers market I’d end up bumping into an old college friend who would end up asking me when I was due. So yeah, no thank you LOFT. FAIL.

Wardrobe Oxygen - LOFT Chambray Softened SHirtLOFT Chambray Softened Shirt

Oh I dream of slouchy shirts, the sleeves pushed up carelessly but with such a chic effect. Linen, silk, washed chambray, tencel. Maybe one button too many unbuttoned at the collar, exposing a hint of cleavage and a cool necklace. The last buttons unbuttoned, just the ones done to keep me from exposing too much. Pair with skinny white jeans, half-tuck into some girlfriend jeans or denim cut-offs, wear alone with sexy bedhead while I drink coffee in a window seat.  The reviews said this shirt was soft and longer than most chambray shirts, woot!

I dream of this look, but it rarely works on me. I am not willowy and I do not own a window seat. And this shirt didn’t accomplish this effect. It looked like something I’d pick up at Goodwill to wear when painting the house. The color was terrible, the wash was dated, it was not soft enough, slouchy enough. Looked more like part of a uniform. I know so many of you love J.Jill but I swear I’ve tried this same tunic on at their store and have seen many women over 40 wear it and look like they’re going to work on an assembly line while they likely feel they look as though they’re sipping coffee in a window seat. Women, we can do better. FAIL

Wardrobe Oxygen - LOFT Chambray Blazer ReviewLOFT Chambray Blazer

This is one trend I wanted to adopt this spring. I so thought it would work with my current wardrobe, over Breton tops and band tees, with printed skirts and white jeans. I’ve now tried five different ones and they all look hideous. This one fits, but the chambray color isn’t interesting enough and just looks like a dull blue jacket. The cut is really basic and didn’t look cool or modern or flattering, just like something that I could have purchased at JC Penney in 1991. FAIL

wardrobe oxygen - loft white leg trouser jeansLOFT Wide Leg Trouser Jeans – White

I ordered a 32 in regular and petite. They may be cute but I couldn’t slip them over my calves so I’ll never know. FAIL

J. Crew 7" Chino Short - Wardrobe OxygenJ. Crew 7″ Chino Short – Vibrant Red

I’ve always had luck sizing up with shorts, less likely to ride up or get wonky in the crotch. Also with thicker thighs, it provides more breathing room. This was not a good choice with these shorts. I got a 16. Karl said they looked like the bottom of the suit Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman. Pretty accurate. They fit in the waist but ballooned everywhere else making me look frump da dump. I can’t even tell if they’d be cute in a different size, I doubt it would work because the waist would be too small. These also were surely too long for me (I’d do better with 5″).  That being said the color is pretty (it’s like a hot coral) whcih I felt would be fun with denim, chambray, and all my stripes… but these shorts were a big ass (literally) FAIL.

J. Crew Vintage cotton V-neck T-shirt in metallic - Wardrobe OxygenJ. Crew Vintage Cotton V-neck Shirt in Metallic – Metallic Blush

I have this shirt in silver and love it. When it went on mega sale I got this thinking it was like rose gold. It is not like rose gold. It is the same exact color as my skin, but sparkly. Call me Edward Cullen. This may be great if you have a darker skintone, but for me it’s a FAIL

J. Crew Long-sleeve striped crewneck T-shirtJ. Crew Long Sleeve Striped Crewneck T-Shirt – Black Ecru

I thought this shirt was this shirt on sale so I ordered in a different color combo. It is not the same shirt. This is stiffer, and far shorter. See how short it is on the model? It’s also that short on me. It was not cute. FAIL

J. Crew Ballet Cap Sleeve T-Shirt - Wardrobe OxygenJ. Crew Ballet Cap T-Shirt in Stripe – Navy Ivory

Cotton/linen blend and cap sleeves seemed like a smart choice for my striped-obsessed self for the dog days of summer. I got an XL so I could wear it casually with shorts or knot it with a skirt. This is itchy and fit super weird and wasn’t light and breezy like other linen blend tees from J. Crew. FAIL

So yeah, this is a long post but as you can see, I only kept three dresses and none of them were anything holy grail perfect. So I’m still on the hunt. Have you had any success lately? Share in the comments, you may inspire me and other readers, or help us find exactly what we need to complete our wardrobes!

Recent Fashion Purchases: Hits and Misses

It’s that time of the year where everything seems too heavy or too light, and all the clothes you own you’re sick of. I’ve made a few purchases lately, here’s what I’ve gotten to help transition my existing closet and whether they have been hits or misses.

A by Amanda DressA by Amanda ‘Nora’ Lace-up Shift Dress

I love dresses like this, they’re easy to slip on and look put together. The fabric looked glossy like silk, the lace-up detail was fun, I figured I could pair with nude sandals and lace it up for work, add some gold bangles and heels for a night out.

The dress runs big. I got a Large and it was huge, I felt I was wearing an XL and a tall version. The sleeves almost hit my wrists, the lace-up was so low and wide you could see the little bow of my bra and a bit of the cups, and the dress was mid-knee length. The lace-up part cannot be laced up; while the lace is real the cut of the dress causes it to look weird and bunchy if you cinch it even a bit. I picked it up from the shoulders and I think if I had another two inches it wouldn’t expose at the bust, but still too big everywhere else. That being said, this is a really pretty dress that looks like silk and is well made. If you’re tall (I think at least 5’6”, likely taller if you’re not curvy), this is a great buy. Size down. For me, a fail.

_11731230Lulla Collection by Bindya ‘Bandana’ Silk Scarf – Blue

I don’t know why I ordered this scarf. I already own tons of scarves that hardly get wear. But the positive reviews and the idea of a glammed-up bandana appealed to me.

It’s nice. It’s real silk, it’s a real bandana print, and it’s a nice large size that can wrap a few times around your neck, be worn as a belt, or make a great headscarf. I like that it’s not stiff, I did fold it into an oblong and looped twice around my throat and tied it and it looked great. But I don’t need it so I returned it. If I did, I think I’d go back and get the black and white because when not worn cowboy style you can’t truly tell it’s a bandana print. I returned it, but if this is something you need, it’s a good buy.

freepeople bittersweet cold shoulder topFree People ‘Bittersweet’ Cold Shoulder Top – Black

Come summer, I like tops with a bit of interest to throw on with denim shorts. This looked like a great choice. It’s not. While it’s not as sheer as it appears on the model, it’s short. Like I’m 5’3” and there’s no way I could half-tuck it like the model because it’s a belly top. If it was longer in the front (say the same length as the back), I would have kept it. Also note this is a swing-style top – the shoulders and bust fit great but the body is really full. Fail.

topshop gathered shell topTopshop Gathered Shell Top – Black

Again, a top with interest for the summer. I thought I could wear it with pants to work, with boyfriend jeans for the weekend. This is a heavy fabric that’s a bit itchy. The neck is really small; there’s a button closure at the back and it’s not decorative – you need it to get this over your head. I ordered a 12 which they say fits like a 14; while it technically fit the armholes were tight, the whole thing fit really close and fitted, not at all like the model. And since it was heavy and fitted, the gathering looked like a manufacturing defect, not a cool detail. Fail.

rebecca minkoff mini suki orangeRebecca Minkoff ‘Mini Suki’ Crossbody Bag – Orange

My leopard Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac is the perfect size and has held up pretty well. I wanted a more summery crossbody to carry the basics and thought this could be pretty cute (and we all know how much I love red-orange).

This bag is tiny. Not only is it tiny, the zippered opening is smaller than the width of the bag. I could hardly fit my hand into it; I can’t even fit my wallet in it. This is an essentials bag – a card holder, phone, lipstick, and keys but the size and weight isn’t one of those tiny “essentials” bag where you hardly notice it on you. It’s pretty useless of a bag, which is a shame because it’s otherwise a gorgeous bag. Fail.

Glint Mallory Wedge Heel Sandal SilverGlint ‘Mallory’ Wedge Sandal – Silver Metallic Suede

This is the kind of shoe I always wish I had in my closet. It’s seasonless, it’s perfect for outdoor weddings and cocktail parties, it can work with dresses and pants, and metallic is so easy to dress up and down.

This shoe looks exactly the same in person. It’s a very pretty shoe, and don’t let the suede confuse you.  It’s more like a sueded leather than actual suede. Too bad my feet are so chubby I couldn’t even slip my foot in under the strap to try it on. Also looking at the sole of the shoe, this looks to run narrow. If you have a slim foot, this is a lovely shoe. But for me, a fail.

J. CREW Collection featherweight cashmere striped boatneck sweaterJ. Crew Collection Featherweight Cashmere Striped Boatneck Sweater – Ash Navy Poppy

If you follow me on Snapchat you know I wore this sweater this week with my navy pinstripe Banana Republic pants, leopard pumps, and my vermilion Dagne Dover tote. So clearly I like the sweater.

This is a lightweight cashmere that is perfect for spring or fall, but it’s opaque. The poppy stripe at the neck and the arms is not poppy, it’s a neon coral. Like super bright. I personally love it, but it deserves a warning. I got an XL and it’s big, probably too big but it’s a final sale so I half-tucked it and pushed up the sleeves and the lightweight and open weave made it look (I hope) purposely slouchy and oversized. It’s super soft too. The sale price is $80, I think it’s a great price for the sweater, but I would never have paid the original $228 price for it. Hit?

J. Crew Navy Deck-striped T-shirtJ. Crew Deck-Striped T-Shirt – Navy Ivory

I got an XL. I am not an XL. This looks like I am wearing my husband’s shirt. While it’s not a dress on me, it’s big in the body, the sleeves, the shoulders. I LOVE the weave; it’s a loose knit and not too stretchy; I know this is a terrible description but this is the kind of shirt you want to throw on after a day at the beach. Though it’s huge I decided to keep it because I do love having that kind of shirt, and have it big enough that it doesn’t cling to sun-dried and salty skin and I have a fear it may shrink (haven’t yet laundered). But I like it enough that if it doesn’t shrink in the wash, I may buy one in a smaller size. FYI, it says it’s ivory but it looks more like white to me.  There’s plenty of stripes available and at the time of writing this with the promo code they’re advertising on the site the shirt is only like $24. Hit.

J. Crew silver Vintage cotton V-neck T-shirt in metallicJ. Crew Vintage Cotton V-neck Shirt in Metallic – Heather Chrome Silver

I am still looking for a good replacement to my silver shimmer linen tee from Anthro that went in the dryer. I still have it, but it can only be worn tucked in because it’s so short. I decided to try this tee from J. Crew. I got an XL.

It’s not at all like my Anthro tee but that doesn’t mean it’s awesome. It looks like a standard heathered grey v-neck tee shirt, but it’s covered with this silver finish that’s super shiny. I got it and didn’t like it too much, it was stiff and it looked as though it was painted with silver. But then I washed it, and that’s when it got awesome. It softened up, it got slouchy and finally looked like it’s vintage name and looked like it does on the model. But the shine didn’t go away. It makes people stop and compliment it especially when it catches the light. I wear it a lot, it’s more fun than a standard tee but not too dressy. Hit.

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Recent Fashion Purchases: Hits and Misses

Here we are with another round of things Allie bought that she loved and she regretted. But thank goodness for free returns and a new office location not too far from a shopping mall, those regrets can be returned quite easily!

Halogen JacketHalogen Zip Pocket Open Jacket – Ivory Cloud

I ordered this in an XL Petite and think it fits great. The fabric is a crepe that dresses up nicely. It is fully lined, has a bit of give, and nice details like a seamed edge where a lapel usually would be a fully functioning zipper pockets. This looks a lot like a jacket from Rebecca Minkoff that I admired but didn’t come in my size. Regular and petite sizes, comes in a bunch of colors (and even a tweed option), and under $100. This is a jacket I will wear to work, but can also pair with a band tee and a pair of leather-front pants for a night out. Hit!

_12453450Vince Camuto Stretch Cotton One Button Blazer – White

I have this jacket in black (seen here) and pink (seen here) so when I decided this spring I needed a white blazer, I ordered this one in 14. It had to work, right? Wrong. Karl said I looked like a doctor, I thought I looked as though I was selling cosmetics door-to-door. The jacket that I love and regularly recommend looked frumpy, cheap, and boxy in white. I thought it was me, I was too heavy, too busty, too curvy in general for a white jacket. But I decided to try again with the Halogen one (it’s more of a winter white) and realized it’s not me, it’s the jacket. I still think this Vince Camuto blazer is amazing, but just not for me in white. Miss.

_12161072Wayf Blouson Midi Dress – Coral

I ordered this before I saw a ton of bloggers wearing it. I saw it as a perfect summer dress and something fun to wear to my friend’s wedding this May, styled with sandals and a turquoise necklace. I ordered it in XL, knowing Wayf to be a Juniors brand and to run a bit small in the bust.

That rich almost neon color that you see here and may have seen on a blog or two? That’s not the color in real life. The real life color is more muted and felt dated, especially in the crinkle fabric. The neckline is super low and wide; while my bra wasn’t on display, if I moved the wrong way half a breast would slip out. The lining felt too heavy; it took a summery dress and made it feel as heavy. The sleeves were weird; loose and flowing until the hem which was fitted on my arm. It just looked and felt cheap. Miss.

cn10559927Banana Republic Foulard Ruffle Tank – Preppy Navy

Never go clothes shopping in a dress. I went to Banana in one, and tried on this top in an XL with no pants and thought it was super cute. The print is far more colorful in person.  I envisioned it with my orange suede pumps (there’s plenty of orange-red in the print), untucked with dark straight ankle jeans, or tucked in with navy trousers for the office. I thought it would be fun with distressed denim shorts in the summer.  I bought it in an XL, the L was too tight on my bust. I got it home and this looks insane on me. A woman with curves like mine should not be wearing ruffles like this; they looked like straps for an apron. The XL is far too big, while it fits in the bust it’s gaping under the arms and tents out so much it looks like I’m expecting. The ruffles do not play nice when the top is tucked in. That being said, the print and the fabric is nice and this could be a great top for a woman with fewer curves. But for me? Fail.

cn10767114Banana Republic Colorblock Crepe Top

See how drapey and relaxed this top looks on the model? It doesn’t look like that in person. This is a heavy top, with longer sleeves than I expected. I got an XL, which again was too big. The burgundy color went down past the middle of my bust, taking the spotlight and making the cheery colors on the bottom an afterthought. The burgundy was as low as the sleeves were long, making a big rectangle of sad on the top of my body. Then having the fabric so heavy without flow? I looked made of Legos. Too bad the top doesn’t have more shape, less burgundy, or maybe was made into a dress so the other colors could have a chance against the rectangle of sad. Fail.

vince-camuto-rich-black-off-the-shoulder-blouse-black-product-0-878046616-normalVince Camuto Off the Shoulder Blouse – Black

I fell for the season’s trend of cold shoulders and off the shoulder tops and ordered this in black, envisioning it tucked into my Banana Republic Ryan pants and paired with a fabulous pair of shoes and a bright lip. I got an XL, partially because I worried it may be too small and partially because black was no longer left in L. Well the XL is too big; so big the straps were too wide-set to stay on my shoulders. There was so much volume it looked insane, and the top is too short to tuck in. The fabric is challis, so it has a nice drape, but that’s about all I can say positive about this top. It sells out pretty quickly, if you do decide to get it size down. I think I could have carried off a Medium in this top except I’d worry that my navel would be exposed when I raised my arm. Fail.

_11614778NIC+ZOE Drifty Wide Leg Linen Pants

Will you do me a favor? Will you please keep reminding me that I do not look good in thin drapey wide leg pants? Because I don’t, no matter how many times I try. I featured these pants in this post and sold them so well I ordered them before the post went live. Oh how summery and cool! Pair with a Breton tee and flat sandals, wear with a white tank and lots of beaded necklaces, knot my white linen shirt at the waist and wear with my silver Birkenstocks and silver choker. Oh I had great plans for these pants. Then they arrived and I put them on. They fit perfectly (I got Large Petite) in every way and even length. They look really nice in person, a little button at the elasticized waist was a nice touch. They have pockets, and they’re opaque. But dang if a pair of pants like this don’t emphasize all the negative and hide all the positive. And I am not a drapey linen kind of personality. If you are, these pants are quite nice. But if you’re not, let us remind each other of this every spring so we don’t make this mistake again. Fail.

20310_mBaublebar Aloha Bib

Can you believe I’ve never shopped at Baublebar before? Each year when I get my annual bonus at work, I buy myself a treat. Usually it’s a new purse. After two years of paying an insane amount of medical bills and depleting most of my savings, I decided to treat myself to a smaller accessory and sock away the rest. Many times I wished I had a necklace that wasn’t a color, wasn’t silver, wasn’t gold. Just something to add interest. I saw this necklace when crafting an advice post for the blog and never forgot it so I decided to have this be my annual accessory treat.

I’ve done Jewelmint (RIP) and Rocksbox and received accessories from popular costume jewelry brands like House of Harlow, Gorjana, Vince Camuto, Nadri, Natasha Couture. I’ve seen accessories from other brands of this pricepoint and I always feel they look so… juniors. Not bad, but not really something a 41 year old mom and business professional can rock with confidence. Baublebar is not juniors jewelry. Oh man, I am highly impressed and now understand all the hype. The Aloha Bib necklace was shipped connected to a cardboard card with twist ties, that card was wrapped in bubble wrap, then put in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag, then more bubble wrap, then plenty of crisp tissue and finally in a very large sturdy box. I also received a free necklace (that is also super nice), a black storage bag, and instructions on how to keep the necklaces nice. And the necklace is nice. It’s a good weight, the lucite balls are clear and shiny, the gold metal is well done, there’s a nice long chain to adjust the length, the closure is quality. The necklace is $42 but I don’t think it would be insane to sell this necklace for $68. All this, and you get points for each purchase on Baublebar to use toward future purchases, shipping is free, and they accept returns. This will not be the last time I shop Baublebar. Hit!

Have you made any recent fashion purchases worthy of a warning or deserving of a share to other readers?  Would love to read about it in the comments below!

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Recent Beauty Purchases – Hits and Misses

Beauty reviews - cosmetics for a woman over 40 - Wardrobe OxygenEvery January, I get uber melancholy. I feel fat, I feel old, I feel tired, I feel stuck and stagant. There’s something wrong with me, I need CHANGE! A tattoo! A haircut! Skydiving! A trip to a different country! But it’s Emerson’s birthday, then my mom’s birthday, then my sister’s. And this January had work changes – my department became part of a different division, moved to a different location, and had a very high-pressure project to complete.

Then my birthday happens on the 28th of the month and I realize it’s not something wrong with me, it’s just me getting older and putting too much pressure on myself to accomplish something that would look really impressive on paper. When I think about it, I feel pretty damn good about my station in life. I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m surrounded by love, I have a good job, I have this wonderful blog… tons of blessings in life.

All I need is some new makeup!

So since I turned 30 and had these “woe is me my life sucks” feelings as soon as the New Year begins, I have battled it with a makeup splurge. When I turned 30, I bought my first compact of NARS Orgasm blush and a brush that wasn’t from Target. Since then, I have used my birthday as a time to try something new and exciting in beauty. Through the year, I will budget for makeup, buy drugstore options, make do with what is in my dressing table before purchasing but for my birthday I buy that It Product that every vlogger claims is a gamechanger, the mascara that costs more than dinner, the primer that will make my pores disappear.

Shop The Items Mentioned in this Post:

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

While I have my beloved Mary-Lou Manzier from theBalm, I was looking for a highlighter that would be a liquid. Something I could put on under my foundation for very subtle dewy-ness, blend with foundation or tinted moisturizer, and have more creative control. I bought something from NYX, something from Revlon, and both made me look greasy so I decided to go high-end. This product from Becca gives me exactly what I was looking for.

While I have fair skin, I found the colors Pearl and Moonstone to be too light and obvious for daytime. I’ve been playing with the product and there’s a lot of ways to wear it but I find the most success for everyday is to put it on after my foundation but before my blush. I squeeze the absolute smallest amount on the top of my hand and apply with a foundation brush to my cheek bones and blend. I then use my ring finger and dab a small amount on my brow bones and inner corners of my eyes, the cupid’s bow of my mouth, and then if there’s anything left I put it up at my hairline. It doesn’t make me look glittery or shimmery, just dewy like I have happy hydrated skin. It looks more natural than my pressed highlighter (less shimmery) but it doesn’t make me look sweaty or greasy. Applying blush over it helps blend it and also diffuse it; putting it under my foundation often blended it too much so it hardly showed. You really need very very little, one squeeze is often too much so I expect this bottle to last an extremely long time. Price is painful (though I linked to Amazon where it’s far cheaper than Sephora or Ulta), but results are exactly what I wanted. Hit.

Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair

I watched a YouTube video that recommended this concealer for those over 40 because it blended so nicely and didn’t emphasize fine lines. The video (can’t find it now!) used the Sigma brush I mention below and it blended so beautifully I was mesmerized and immediately bought the pair.

And it does blend beautifully, especially with the brush. However, this is not a product to hide a pimple or a dark spot. It’s a liquid, and it is sheer. I am using it under my eyes and in the inner corners to lighten the dark circles and reduce the appearance of the bags and for that, it’s brilliant and doesn’t look like I used concealer. It stays all day, it doesn’t irritate, and it’s a natural finish. Hit!

Sigma F64 Soft Blend Concealer Brush

I have never used a brush like this for concealer. It’s quite large and fluffy, I’ve always used a flatter and smaller brush for concealer, but then I have always used a cream or stick concealer. This brush made me feel like a YouTube beauty vlogger and I was floored that in my little makeup mirror I saw myself buff away dark circles and minimize the bags under my eyes.

If there’s one beauty product I splurge on, it’s brushes. I’ve tried all the cheaper brands that are supposedly as good as department store brands and they rarely are worth their cheap price. I have brushes from MAC and Trish McEvoy that are almost two decades old and still in excellent quality – you can only tell their age from the style of the handle. Brushes are something you don’t have to keep replacing if you treat them well, so it makes sense to buy the best you can afford the first go-round. This brush is quality. The shape, the feel, the weight, the blendability… it’s my first time buying a Sigma brush but it likely won’t be my last. Hit!

NARS Blush in Sex Appeal

I’ve been using NARS Orgasm for over a decade and while it’s versatile and awesome… I find with age it has become too strong a color and too shimmery. A reader told me once her favorite is Sex Appeal, it’s a softer, less sparkly Orgasm. I prefer a peachy tone to my blush so decided to give it a try.

This is daytime blush. It gives a very subtle flush, which is something I didn’t desire at 30 but I do find far more flattering at 41. It looks extremely natural, as though I just woke up with this lovely subtle flush. Paired with the Becca highlighter, my skin is still 41, but it looks healthy and happy at this age. And speaking of brushes, my favorite for a flush of blush is the Bobbi Brown blush brush. Over the years I have accumulated a ton of blush, bronzer, and face brushes and I think the Bobbi Brown blush brush is the softest, best quality, and best shape to give the right amount of color for my face shape. Another hit!

L’Oreal Volumninous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

I needed a new mascara, and I bought this thinking it was the one Phyllis reviewed and liked. Nope, different drugstore mascara in a yellow and black tube. But it seems to be the same concept – big thick spiky lashes but online reviews that say it actually works well for normal lashes that are just long and thick looking.

The plus: You really can get thick, lush, long looking lashes that don’t have any hint of spider or Twiggy to them. Wipe the wand with a Kleenex the first couple of times, wiggle through the lashes while applying, and the effect is awesome. The mascara stays in place all day, even if you sweat or cry or rub your eyes.

The minus: This mascara doesn’t want to come off. Coconut oil, Neutrogena wipes, old-school oily makeup remover, a steamy shower, even cold cream and you THINK it’s all off, and then you wake up with crunchy sticky eyes and you washy again and think it’s all off and then you put in your contacts and it feels like there’s sand in your eyes and you take out your contact and it’s coated in little black flecks. For me, the negatives outweigh the positive. Miss.

NARS Lipstick in Tolede

I’m always on the hunt for a lipstick that is my lip color but a bit more intense. Everything is always too orange, too purple, too pink, too something. I did love Laura Mercier’s Sparkling Pink but it’s discontinued (and Sarah I know you were going to get me one in the UK, I have my pile of magazines for you I haven’t forgotten!) and I wanted something a hair darker. When I was in New York this summer my friend and beauty guru Sarah recommended Bite’s Lipstick in Shiraz and it was the closest I had found to what I wanted (you can see it in this post, with NARS gloss in Viva over it), but still a bit too dark and too cool. I’ve liked NARS lipsticks, I have Dolce Vita and it’s a bit too light so I went with Tolede, thinking if my blush is warm my lips should be too.

And Tolede is pretty fantastic. It’s semi-matte, so it doesn’t look dry and cakey but it stays on really well. And the warmer color isn’t orangey or weird, it’s like my lips. In fact it’s a bit too much like my lips and I don’t feel “done.” I usually wear it with my ‘Viva’ gloss over it so it looks more purposeful, and the formula plays nice with gloss and stays in place. But I need something a hair darker and this tone or slightly cooler. Still looking… so this isn’t a miss but it’s not the biggest hit.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Lipcolor in Rose Petal

This is also a nice “my lips but better” color but it’s a bit more shimmery than I usually like. I don’t mind a gloss, but when it has shimmer and it’s a soft pink, the look can be uber dated. I feel this is so pink and shiny I need to be careful when I wear it. It’s also a heavy formula; when I put it on I can feel the lipstick, my lips feel heavy, sticky, and I feel more dried out after wearing it. Though I do wear this sometimes I’d have to say it’s a miss.

Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Definition Lipstick in Le Carmin

I didn’t buy this one. Lancôme was kind enough to send me this amazing box of products at the end of October and this lipstick was in there. I’m always on the hunt for a new red, and it was the first item from the box I tried. It hasn’t left my makeup bag since. This is the red I am wearing in the “after” shots for my Clairol post and I’ve worn it several other times. Each time I wear it someone asks what lipstick it is. It’s a pretty perfect classic red with a pretty perfect finish that isn’t too matte, too glossy, too anything.

As for the actual product, this is what an expensive lipstick should feel like. It’s velvety, doesn’t dry my lips, doesn’t feel like I’m wearing lipstick. It’s not long-wearing, but it fades nicely and evenly so I don’t end up with a red line around my lips. It smells like lipstick, which I like; it adds to the luxury experience. The case is divine; it’s pretty and it has a magnet built in so the cap snaps on and stays on no matter what.

Have you purchased any recent cosmetics worthy of a mention (or a warning)?

Recent Fashion Hits and Misses: LOFT Edition

After my last LOFT experience I didn’t plan on shopping there again. I felt I had aged out of the store. However so many of you raved to me about the LOFT linen tees I decided to give them another chance. So glad I did! While not everything was a hit for me, this was a really positive LOFT purchase.  Unlike most of these haul posts, I was able to get a few phone selfies in on my lunch break the day I worked from home last week.

lou and grey linen v-neck tee peacockLou & Grey V-Neck Linen Tee – Pretty Peacock, Large

Lou and Grey Linen V-neck tee reviewThis color is to die for. Mommy, if you’re reading this, you might want this shirt. My mom LOVES the color blue, and this is a super bright rich cerulean peacocky blue that is so darn pretty. Usually Lou & Grey runs really narrow and small for me, but the large is a comfortable fit for me. Unlike the linen tee I got from Everlane, this one is drapey and not itchy. I have a skin-colored tee shirt bra on underneath and it isn’t too transparent. The only odd thing about this shirt is the hem – the back is shirttail/scooped and the front is straight. Why would a shirt have such an odd detail? Eh, it’s not a big enough detail to affect my feelings on the shirt. I have yet to wash it; I plan to wash on gentle and line dry. Win!

LOFT sleeveless linen v neckSleeveless Linen V-Neck Tee – Forever Navy, Large

LOFT Sleeveless Linen V-neck tee review - Wardrobe OxygenThis tee is from LOFT not Lou & Grey and there is quite a difference in the cut and a subtle difference in the quality. The price difference for me (they had a sale at the time) was only $3, but I think the Lou & Grey one feels a good $10-$15 more expensive. That doesn’t mean this shirt is bad, on the contrary. I like it very much. It’s a bit more fitted, the neckline is a nice length, and it’s a rare sleeveless top that doesn’t make me look like a linebacker. In fact I already wore this top with these very jeans and a pair of silver Birkenstocks out to lunch. It’s not too sheer, it’s thin and breezy, and long enough to tuck or leave out without being that awkward length for us ladies with lower tummies. Again, haven’t washed yet but plan to baby it. Win!

loft linen shirttail teeLinen Shirttail Tee – Wild Crimson, Large

LOFT LInen Shirttail Tee Review - Wardrobe OxygenThis tee is a super pretty color but not a color that goes with much else in my wardrobe. I think it fit well and is the same quality as the sleeveless version. A very flattering neckline. However, I am returning it because the color isn’t right for my wardrobe and I don’t really need three linen tees that are all relatively similar. Since the cause of the return is personal and not due to the shirt I say Win!

loft easy linen teeEasy Linen Tee – Ominous Teal, Large

LOFT Easy Linen Tee Review - Wardrobe OxygenWhile the name is a bit odd (reminds me of this Etsy shop), the color of this tee is quite gorgeous in person. I love this color and could see it working with all of my wardrobe. Too bad the silhouette doesn’t work with my figure. The cocoon-esque sleeves aren’t flattering with a bust or larger arms, I just looked more bulky. This cut could look super cute on a slim figure, but that is not I. Fail.

lou and grey crinkle linen tankLou & Grey Crinkle Tank – White, Medium

Lou and Grey Crinkle Linen Tank Review - Wardrobe OxygenReviews said this top ran super big and they are right! I think I could have worn a small just fine. However, why would I? This top reminds me of the mesh underwear the hospital sent me home with after giving birth to Emerson. It’s super sheer, it’s really full, and I would need a racerback tank or adapter to wear it (and no way will I wear an adapter with a shirt so sheer you’d be able to see it). I do think this could be super cute on the right person, the same kind of person who can wear a black bralette with straps at the bustline that look chic peeking out of a thin white v-neck or a tank like this. If you’re that person, try it for it is breezy but size down at least one size. Fail.

LOFT inked dressInked V-neck Dress – Summer Fuchsia, Large

LOFT Inked V-neck Dress Review - Wardrobe OxygenMy review of this dress is a summary of every review I read before ordering it. It runs a bit big and full, but if I sized down I think it would be too tight on top. It’s not figure flattering, but if you’re looking for a dress to throw on in the extreme heat, this is a great option. It has pockets, which is awesome. I put this on and kept futzing with the string at the waist trying to make it look better. It didn’t help. I asked Karl’s opinion and he said it looked like a good Bonaroo dress. He’s right; if I was going to be outside all day without access to A/C, my home, or showers and care more about comfort than figure flattery or style this dress would be awesome. But I’m not going to Bonnaroo. My bra shows a bit, the lining is as heavy as the dress so it’s pretty bulky, and it just doesn’t make me happy when I look at it on me.

dressFor fun, I jazzed it up as I would for an outfit post with some accessories at the front of the closet. I still don’t like it and it’s still bulky and weird, but it’s a good example of how outfit posts can be misleading. Have just the right pose, some distracting accessories, and a beautiful background and a potato sack can look gorgeous. Fail.

loft lace up dress - navyLace Up Dress – Forever Navy, Large

LOFT Lace Up Dress Review - Wardrobe OxygenIf I were taller and not as busty I may have kept this dress. It’s a crepe finish which can dress up nicely, but is also travel friendly and won’t cling in heat and humidity. It’s lined, but it doesn’t make it too heavy. The lace-up detail is fun without being so memorable or trendy you can’t wear it often or next summer. It’s the kind of dress you can wear to work or on the weekend with a change of shoes. But I am short with big breasts and this dress looks maternity on me.

navy lace up dress three different shoes - wardrobe oxygenAgain, I played with accessories. This dress is far cuter with a pair of nude pumps. I felt a bit Kate Middleton that way. But I won’t be wearing nude pumps in August, I’d more likely be in a pair of sandals so I grabbed my two most worn styles and it showed this dress is not right for me. Fail.

LOFT Riviera Shorts 6 inch inseamRiviera Shorts with 6” Inseam – Milky Tan, 14 Regular

ugly shortsI usually size up with shorts, but thanks to the reviews I got these shorts in a 14, my usual with LOFT. I wanted petite but LOFT is one of those brands that thinks short people don’t wear over a size 12. Le sigh. It’s clear a petite would have been better on me, but I don’t think that would have kept these shorts from entering the city limits of Frumptown. These are the kind of shorts that age a woman, that causes women to give up on shorts and sweat it out in capris and ankle pants all summer long. Ladies, it’s not you, it’s the shorts. It’s the super wide thick waistband that adds bulk just where we don’t want it. The pockets that gape, making our hips and bellies look even bigger. There’s so many reasons why these shorts are not good shorts for people shaped like me. The one positive? These are super stretchy. I could climb and run and squat and spend a whole day being active and they would move with me and not get all wrinkled and gross or cause a wedgie or stretch out so I have to hike them up after an hour. That one detail made me almost keep these horrible shorts, thinking of my upcoming road trip. But I’d rather hike in a dress and bike shorts than in the shorts equivalent of the Mayor of Frumptown. Fail.

loft utility blouseUtility Blouse – Black, XL

Wardobe Oxygen Review LOFT Utility Shirt BlackI have a navy silk utility blouse from Ann Taylor that I love and wear often. The only issue I find with it is that it is silk. It’s often in a bag for the cleaners when I really want to wear it. I also wish I had one in black, so when I saw this one and saw it was machine washable I ordered it. And I love it. It’s a lightweight crepe finish that looks elegant enough for the office, and it has good drape. Flap pockets aren’t the best choice for a large bust, but these are floppy with black buttons so they don’t draw too much attention or add too much bulk. I love that I can tuck it in to trousers or a skirt for work, or wear it like this with jeans for the weekend. It’s a good length, one I can wear untucked with my leather-front leggings or a pair of skinny jeans this fall. Win!

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In general this was a pretty positive LOFT shopping experience. While LOFT isn’t an ethical brand, being the size I am my pickings are slim. I feel these pieces have the quality I desire where they will survive multiple seasons and get plenty of wear. So LOFT, you’re back on the list of potential retailers where I’ll shop. Let’s hope it stays that way this coming fall!

Recent Fashion Purchases – Hits and Misses

Wow, it’s been a while since I have done one of these posts! It’s a mix of holiday craziness… and me just not purchasing as much. The medical bills put a dent in my spending, but also I’m feeling better about what I own and just don’t need as much. And to be honest I’ve been pretty “screw it” with my work fashion. I love my job, I love who I work with, but there’s been a lot of change going on and I never see clients these days unless it’s on a webcam so I’ve gotten more casual with my attire (but have had to up my hair and makeup game!). So anyway, on to the recent hits and misses!

Wardrobe Oxygen - Recent Fashion Purchases Hits and Misses

1. Glamorous V-Neck Sweater Dress

I’m wearing this as I type this, so obviously I consider it a hit. However, it’s not a hit when it comes to figure flattery. I bought a Large, and it’s big. Like borrowed my 2XL boyfriend’s sweater big. I thought that maybe I should return it for a medium, but I like this oversized ridiculous look and I think a Medium may be too short. I can have it be off the shoulder, or wear as a V-neck. I’m wearing it with black fleece tights and ankle booties and my silver chains and messy beachy hair with some smoky eyes and I like the effect, though I know it likely makes me appear shorter and wider than I really am. Sometimes you just have to screw figure flattery and winter is the perfect time for that. I bought this in cream and it’s a soft ivory color with a tiny bit of a luster. If you have sensitive skin you may find it itchy. It’s opaque enough to not need a layer, but on a blustery day you may wish to add a silk cami or full slip for some wind resistance. If you’re taller, it may end up being more of a tunic, which would still be uber cute and slouchy. And the sale price is insane.

2. Cristabelle ‘Waterfall’ Multistrand Crystal Necklace

I featured it in my Nordstrom sale post and sadly it’s sold out. Do I need this necklace? No. Is it awesome? HECK YEAH! It’s even cooler in person, all sparkly rhinestones. I considered for New Year’s Eve to wear with a black ponte dress and two rhinestone cuffs I own. It was a serious contender, this necklace makes an outfit.

3. LOFT Tipped Short Sleeve Dress

I bought this on clearance, final sale and with a promo code so it was around $20. I know how I fit in LOFT, I know I like ponte, it seemed like a win. This purchase made me realize LOFT is not for me. The dress does not fit like any other LOFT dress I own; it’s short (I got a 14 regular and it’s a good inch above my knee), it’s cut completely straight so it was a bit snug on the boobs, loose on the waist, and bunched weird above the rear. I sold it NWT on Poshmark since I couldn’t return it.

4. LOFT Fauxmere Sweater

I bought this in Deep Turquoise Melange. I kept it, but mainly because I got it for $25. If it cost more I would return it because this is not worth more than $25. It doesn’t look or feel like cashmere, it’s that kind of knit that gets all wonky and stretched out if you line dry it but will shrink if you put it in the dryer. I wore it twice and now not sure what to do because it needs to be laundered. And the color isn’t nearly as rich and pretty as it is on the web. At first I was surprised by the positive reviews for this sweater considering my opinion, but I feel this is because as I mentioned above, LOFT isn’t for me. It’s for a college student or someone straight out of college who would find this sweater to be utterly awesome because it is in comparison to something from Forever 21. It is slouchy without making you look big and lumpy, I wore it once with my leather-front ponte pants and once with skinny jeans and boots. But it’s not anything amazing; I can find better quality at other stores for the same price.

5. Nina ‘Camille’ Sandal

On my desperate search for a NYE look, I realized I didn’t have a pair of dressy heels in a wearable height. Sure I have high ones that look pretty but end up being taken off by time I’m hitting the dancefloor at the wedding reception, but nothing I could wear for a couple hours of standing with a glass of champagne in my hand. I have short toes, strappy shoes usually leave my pinky toe hanging out all awkwardly. I also have puffy feet from walking on my toes as a kid so the strap over the toe area is often too tight, even with wide width shoes. These shoes from Nina looked promising because there wasn’t a thin strap; my pinky toes would be covered up and happy. I got them in wide. They aren’t the kind of shoes that will make people gasp and ask where you got them, but they’re sparkly and well made and comfortable and a nice low heel that I can wear for hours. They have a bit of a retro look to them. My pinky toes are happy, the top of my foot isn’t losing circulation, and the color is subtle enough to go with a lot, elongate my leg, and not draw a ton of attention. It says it’s a 3” heel but it’s more like 2.5”. This is a great shoe if you need a pair of dressy heels, desire a shoe that isn’t frumpy but is also comfortable. I bought them in Light Gold, but they also have the shoe in satin in a couple good colors (especially if you’re trying to coordinate with a Mother of the Bride or Bridesmaid dress).

6. adidas Originals ‘Superstar’ 3-Stripes Track Jacket

It was on clearance, I bought it on a whim, then went on Amazon to see if I could find it for Karl and Emerson. I found them, ordered them, and was going to give them as a family Christmas present but then told Karl about them and we decided to open them early and make it out Christmas card. I’ve always wanted one, ever since I was a kid. So far I’ve only worn it on a hike on a warmer day, but have tried it with pencil skirts and other unexpected pairings and really love it. Karl wears it as a light jacket, and Emerson wears hers all the time, though it’s is a bit big (I figured I’d go larger so she can wear it more than a couple months).  As an FYI, the one I got from Nordstrom is much nicer than the ones from Amazon; it has a mesh lining, is a bit heavier in weight and has the logo on the back. The others are fine too, but unlined and only the logo on the front.

Have you had any hits or misses with recent fashion purchases? Share or warn us in the comments!

Recent Fashion Purchases: Hits and Misses

Change in weather, preparing for BlogHer and other vacations, and spending the majority of last summer in a bulky cast has caused me to do some clothing shopping! Here’s what I’ve tried and which things were fails and which were wins:

recent purchases hits and missesShop the Post:

J. Crew Factory Denim Jacket

Mega win! I’ve been turned off by denim jackets since my years working for Express. Back then, management (and especially brand management like me who was to lead by example when it came to dress) had to wear three pieces of Express clothing and there was nothing easier than a denim jacket to throw over a Metro Tee and pair of Editor pants. When I left the company, I had six Express denim jackets to my name. A couple years ago I bought a denim moto jacket and wore it a total of two times before retiring it, feeling too much like my ‘90s self. But denim jackets ARE useful, and with my new company having a more relaxed dress code, a denim jacket seemed like a smart addition to pair with dresses, skirts, as well as weekend looks. J. Crew Factory was having 40% off so I took a chance.

It’s not too light, but not dark (Antique Sanded Blue). It’s weathered, but not too distressed to look wrong in a creative business casual environment. Patch pockets at the chest, slash pockets at the waist, and two internal pockets that are the perfect size for my iPhone 5 with a chubby protective case. But best of all? The fabric looks like standard denim but has stretch, making it comfortable and more flattering with my curves. I ordered an XL because I wanted this to be a jacket I can wear as an actual jacket over lightweight sweaters and long-sleeve knits; this was a good choice but it’s not too oversized for wear with a simple tank or sundress. The sleeves are long, but I roll all jacket sleeves anyway and the sleeves are loose enough that I can roll four times without restricting blood flow to my hands.

J. Crew Factory Drapey Knit Dress

Fail. The color is gorgeous, the knit is thick enough to not cling or show VPL, but man is this unflattering. I believe if I were tall and willowy or more straight or athletic of a figure this could work, but with my curves it looked like a hospital gown.

J. Crew Factory Sleeveless Shirtdress

I ordered a Large in Blue and it fit well in the bust, shoulders, and under the arms but was HUGE in the waist. Cinching with the self-belt and even switching out for belts in my wardrobe caused the fabric to bunch so much I had this weird shelf under the belt of fabric, pleats, and pockets.  If you have a smaller bust, you can size down on this dress and it may actually be pretty great for a hot summer.  The dress is breezy cotton but opaque enough even in front of bright light to go sans slip and it doesn’t have buttons all the way down so no fear of them popping open or gaping.

J. Crew Factory Striped Knit Top

Anyone surprised I found this a win? Flattering neckline, flattering width of stripes, nice and opaque and stretchy and a looser fit that looks nice with ankle jeans or shorts. It makes me want to buy a pair of colorful ankle pants so I can style the two together and finish the look with my leopard calfhair pointed flats… and maybe the denim jacket come fall! I have a Large and it’s roomy and relaxed of a fit (too loose to look nice tucked into a fuller skirt).

Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa Stripe Cashmere Sweater

I don’t own a lot of cashmere because at my income level, I can’t afford very high quality and mediocre cashmere regularly pills and gets worn patches. Honestly, I’m a Merino gal – it’s pretty, it stretches, it holds up great, it can be washed, and it fits my budget. But I keep hearing about how good cashmere is worth it, I bought this cashmere piece from Nordstrom Signature last year and ADORE it, so when I saw This sweater went from $445 to under $200 and I had $60 in Nordstrom Notes I ordered it in XL. It arrived, I tried it on, and boxed it back up to return. See how on the model it hits right below the waistband and fits her long arms? Yeah, that’s how it fit on 5’3” busty moi. The sleeves were a good 8” too long but the sweater ended right below my jean waistband. Though Nordstrom’s TRUE FIT said I would want a Large, the XL was very fitted and also fit in the shoulders. It’s itchy, the ivory is a chevron knit though the navy stripes are not, and the gold button closest to the neck won’t stay buttoned. Mega pricey fail.

Mural Slouchy Boyfriend Blazer in Hot Pink

I loved the white one so much, I thought maybe the pink one would be awesome. Nope. I looked like I was working a makeup counter circa 1986. The pink made the oversized style look Talking Heads oversized, the shoulder pads more pronounced, and all that was missing was blue eyeliner and Aqua Net bangs. However, I still adore the white one and wear it regularly. I even machine washed it and it turned out great!

Felicity & Coco Double Knit Sheath Dress

I am a sucker for anything that is red-orange like this dress. It looked promising, and I own other pieces from this brand. I ordered it in XL, which is supposed to be a 14. While this fit in the arms, it was way too tight everywhere else. It smashed my boobs and was so tight on my belly you could see the depth of my belly button. It’s a shame because it is a gorgeous color and a heavyweight fabric that is a hybrid between scuba and ponte that could dress up and down with ease.  If this dress came in a larger size I would order it, it’s so nice otherwise.

Taylor Dresses Cotton Voile Midi Dress

This dress is blue and a warm salmon pink; the combination is unique and I think could be quite pretty on a darker complexion but looked on me as though I accidentally washed the dress with a red tee shirt and wore it while I was battling the flu. The dress is made for someone at least 5’6”, the straps were too long, the bodice a hair too long, the pockets were at an odd too-low point where I couldn’t easily access, and the skirt almost hit my ankle bones. If you have a small or very firm bust, this dress could possibly be worn sans-bra as it is lightly boned. Well made, but clearly not made for me.

Sam Edelman “Ivy” Calf Hair Slingback Sandal

I usually do well with Sam Edelman, and when these shoes went on sale under $100 I snagged them in orange as well as the ivory/black combo print. I think these are the type of shoes that look great peeking out of a pair of dark denim, can be styled with ankle pants, look great with a full midi skirt but can also be cute with some straighter skirt and dress styles. The heel is nice and wide for comfort and stability, and wide straps are far more comfortable when it’s hot and your feet swell. If my feet were more narrow and my toes longer (my pinky toe hung out between the straps and my middle and ring toes were hidden under the straps yet the shoe fit everywhere else) I would rock the heck out of these shoes. So buy them for me, send me a picture of you wearing them, and let me live vicariously through you, okay?

Loveappella Sort Sleeve Wrap Top Jumpsuit

I mentioned in this post that I bought this jumpsuit but haven’t properly reviewed. I bought an XL regular in Black, and there’s no way I could wear a petite without having a perma-wedgie. I’ve found sizing up on jumpsuits is a smart choice for the rear view anyway. The jumpsuit is traditional jersey – not shiny, not terribly thick, more for weekends or casual wear. With my bust, I find I can wear without pinning, but a smaller chest may need a cami or safety pin. On weekends I usually just wear with silver Birkenstocks and my silver cuff, but I’ve worn to work with heeled caged sandals and a scarf or wide belt.

Now it’s your turn, bought any great pieces lately?  Any fails you want to share to warn your fellow readers? I’d love to read all about it!