Search Results for: label/old navy

The Perfect Summer Dress?

For me, every summer is spent in dresses. Breezy one-piece dressing is my jam, I wear bike shorts underneath for modesty and to prevent chub rub, throw on some sandals, maybe a necklace if I’m feeling fancy, and head out to the farmer’s market, to run errands, a cookout or most anything on my schedule. For work, I’ll top with a cardigan to adhere to dress code and battle the arctic breeze from the A/C.

But it’s hard to find such dresses. They’re too short, the neckline plunges too much, and more often than not they can’t be worn with a standard bra. So when I find one that fits the bill I get excited… and I of COURSE have to share it with you!

Old Navy Cross Front Dress

Meet my new summer dress, the Old Navy Cross-Front Dress. What makes it great:

  • Solids and prints available, and they are wearable classic colors and prints!
  • Knee-length and maxi length versions available
  • Regular, petite, and tall lengths (I bought the exact dress pictured above in Large Petite)
  • Straps that cover a standard bra in front, and in back
  • Front not too low (I did pin it closed, some may prefer a camisole)
  • Plenty of room for my bust
  • Machine washable (I did gentle cycle in a lingerie bag and hung to dry)
  • Faux wrap waistband so it won’t loosen
  • Lots of coverage in the wrap for modesty even on a windy day
  • Less than $40.00
  • Makes my curvy figure look great!

Have you tried this dress? What do you think? Have you found any perfect summer dresses, if so share with us in the comments!

Budget-friendly Fave – Old Navy Vintage Tee

This weekend my husband caught a bug so I took Emerson to a nearby strip mall to keep her entertained and have the house quiet so Karl could sleep. We grabbed a snack at Starbucks, went to say hi to the animals at PetSmart, and went into Old Navy. I only planned on checking out the clearance rack for Emerson, possibly grabbing a pair of shorts or pajamas, but we walked through the women’s department and they had a table full of perfectly-heathered and worn vintage tees.

While these shirts came in a variety of necklines, I was drawn to the v-neck. Without trying it on, I grabbed one in a heathered purpley blue (not online). I bought a Large; though the Medium may have worked, I figured such a tee would be better too large than too small. I got home, tried it on, and fell in love.

The heathering is perfect – not too extreme, a true vintage look and feel. The shirt is soft and weathered, but completely opaque. the v-neck is deep enough to look feminine, but high enough to not expose too much. It’s fitted, but not too fitted, the perfect length where you could tuck it in, or slouch it on the hips untucked. I had a hard time choosing a color as almost all of them look pretty darn fabulous and classic. This weekend I wore the tee with a pair of denim cutoffs, after washing and drying (it shrank only slightly but otherwise looks the same), I wore it again today untucked with white bootcut jeans, silver beaded necklaces and yellow heeled sandals. I can see wearing it with my Talbots Garden skirt and a wristful of colorful bangles, with a white blazer and distressed jeans, with a hot pink pleated skirt and a printed scarf at the throat. It’s the type of tee that usually costs $80 at the department store, but right now at Old Navy it’s on sale for $8.50.

There are some negative reviews, so I believe that like other retailers, the quality is based upon the factory where the tee was made. I can recall when I worked for Express I preferred their Metro tees made in the Mariana Islands for they had the right weight and amount of stretch compared to supposedly the same tees made in other countries. The tee I am wearing and loving is made in Vietnam.

When I find a budget-friendly fave, I just have to share it with you. The next time you visit Old Navy, check out their vintage v-neck tees – while the blue and medium gray are classics, don’t discount the dark pink, light purple or yellow for a subtle pop of color that can dress up and down with ease and may possibly become your favorite tee in your wardrobe!

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What I Wore: Perfect Pomegranate

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Lysse Damaris Top and Dagne Dover Tiny Tote Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Lysse Damaris Top and Dagne Dover Tiny Tote Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Lysse Damaris Top and Dagne Dover Tiny Tote Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Lysse Damaris Top and Dagne Dover Tiny Tote
Top: Damaris Top c/o Lyssé | Jeans: Old Navy | Boots: Santana c/o DUO | Bag: Tiny Tote c/o Dagne Dover | Lipstick: Mary Kay True Dimensions in Mystic Plum | Coffee: Vigilante ;)

The older Emerson gets, the busier my weekends. Girl Scouts Daisies, dance classes, birthdays, homework (yes kindergarteners have homework!), play dates are all scheduled with errands and chores tucked in the free moments. I keep my weekend looks like a uniform so I can save my brain power for the tasks at hand. A pair of stretchy jeans, footwear that will be comfortable all day, and a top with stretch that will look great even after seatbelts, sitting, and being squashed into parkas. Lyssé sent me this top recently and the gorgeous berry color (they call it Pomegranate) keeps my look from being ordinary. This is one of my favorite colors, almost the same shade as our kitchen! Since my Saturdays are usually a two bag day (one big tote for Daisies stuff, ballet outfit, etc. and then my purse) I’ve recently switched to this adorable gold bag from Dagne Dover. It’s small and cute but well designed like its bigger sister to hold everything and have all the contents easily accessible. Got my coffee and I’m ready to take on the world of a five- almost six-year-old!

Review: Petite and Tall at Old Navy!

Old Navy
When you are a woman of less than average size, there is nothing more frustrating than companies who swear they carry extended sizes but they just don’t fit.

As a petite woman, I hate when companies sell “short” lengths in trousers in jeans. The inseam usually is the right length, but nothing else about the pant is actually petite. Petite women are not the size of 5’7” women but with shorter legs; usually we have shorter torsos, a shorter space between belly button and crotch, our hips and thighs are thereby proportionally spaced on our body. A “short” pant usually gapes at the waist, goes past our belly buttons, bunches at the crotch and hips and just has a poor fit.

I have many tall friends who complain that “long” lengths are often not long enough, and if they are they are usually too short in the rise and too slim in the hip area. Again, a tall woman is usually not just an average sized woman with longer legs…

For tall and short women, other garments are also an issue. Jackets are the worst – not only are sleeve lengths wrong, so are the widths of shoulders and where the jacket is supposed to nip in at the waist. Petite women often look as though they are playing dress-up in their mother’s closets and tall women always look stuffed and uncomfortable in shrunken pieces. Dresses bunch at the waist on petite women, and often are an indecent length for tall ladies.

Well one of my favorite budget-friendly retailers has seen the light… and the fact that not all women have the same size torsos. Old Navy has come to the rescue with their new Petite and Tall lines for Women sizes 0-20!

The new lines have many pieces from their standard size line, just cut to fit a tall or petite woman. I had to check it out for myself.

Old Navy ponteSince I am pregnant, I knew I wouldn’t be able to accurately test out the petite cuts of dresses and shirts. However I knew with a belly band I would be able to see how a pair of trousers fit. I decided to test the line with their Stretch Ponte Mid-Rise Wide-Leg Trouser (see left). Ponte knit is one of my very favorite fabrics – easy care, can dress up while feeling as comfy as a pair of yoga pants, keeps its shape. I own a jacket of black ponte fabric and was thinking this could make a nice casual suit. Also a true test of a proper petite fit are how the pockets lie on the frame – these pants have side slash pockets and I wanted to see if they would gap, if they would be at a place that would be comfortable to actually use, and if they were fashioned well to lie flat.

As always, the order arrived from Old Navy promptly, well packaged without extra paper and stuffing. The pants were a medium weight of ponte fabric, unlined, acetate pocket linings, simple invisible seaming. Closure of a zipper, hidden button and two hooks for the waistband (which I love because it gives a very smooth flush finish under trim knit tops).

On, the pants really do fit like a true petite! The rise was shorter than regular trousers, hit just below the belly button, laid smooth over the bum and crotch. The length was perfect for my 5’3” frame with a kitten heel. And the pockets? Even with my belly bump they were smooth. They arrived basted shut (front and back pockets) which helped the pant come shipped smooth and then wear smooth.

The pants are machine washable; I washed them on the gentle cycle and had them hang to dry. This is how I clean my other ponte garments; it helps maintain good texture of the knit and the rich black color. After washing, the pants looked exactly the same. They didn’t pill, didn’t fade, didn’t stretch out. I compared them to a $65 pair of ponte pants from a different company and they looked to be of equal quality fabric, and equal construction.

Oh my goodness, budget-friendly petite clothing that is truly fit for a petite woman? Old Navy has produced Fashion Nirvana!

Old Navy’s Tall line is made specifically for women over 5’10”. There is an extra half-inch in the shoulders, longer sleeves, longer length in tops, lower waist position for tops and dresses, a nice longer rise, a full 36” inseam, and proper shaping to fit a woman’s figure.

Old Navy’s Petite line is specifically for women under 5’4”. The garments have narrowed shoulders and higher arm openings (yay for properly covered bras!). Sleeves are shorter, hips and waist are more narrow than the classic, fit, pieces have a shorter rise and there’s a lovely 29.5” inseam for truly petite ladies.

The Old Navy Petite and Tall lines are available exclusively online.

You can see the ponte pants on me at my other blog, My Wardrobe Today. Do know they don’t fit as usual due to being 26 weeks pregnant. :)

Today’s History Lesson – Old Navy and Me

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

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

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

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

From a 1993 article in the New York Times:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

What I Wore: Leggings Are Not Pants

nordstrom collection cashmere cardigan svelte leggings svelte leggings review

Sweater: Nordstrom Collection | Tee: Old Navy | Leggings: c/o Svelte | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: c/o ADORA | Necklaces: Fortuna Drop Pendants c/o Deb Vaughan Stella & Dot, Sparklepop c/o POPSUGAR Must-Have Box

Leggings are not pants! I’ve said this many times, yet I dare to stand here in the middle of the street in a pair of them? On weekends I’ll admit I wear them with tunics and long sweater coats like this one.  When dashing around town from Girl Scouts to dance class to Target to the dry cleaner’s to the market (and a stop at Starbucks to keep going) I want something comfortable, easy, and machine washable.  These leggings from Svelte are nice; the double-knit ponte maintains opacity even when stretched and the built in tummy tucking panel keeps things smooth.  I’ve washed these leggings multiple times and they maintained their color without a single pill or fuzz ball.  If you’re considering them, I recommend if you’re between sizes go down since the quality material and construction prevents all the issues with most leggings.

Karl calls this sweater my Matrix jacket; it has become one of the most-worn things in my closet with these frigid temps.  The cashmere is super thick and plush and warm and the real leather lined sleeves are are also warm and protect me from the wind and I wrap the waterfall part around me to stay cozy.  Tall boots add a layer of warmth (there’s cashmere knee socks under there) and a level of style to what essentially is luxe loungewear and comfy cozy weekend garb!

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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Distraction

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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Lazy Tux

Blazer: The Limited (similar) | Tee: Old Navy | Ascot: Belonged to my Dad | Silk Bracelet: c/o lifetherapy | Boots: DUO (similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Lipstick: Revlon Matte in “Really Red”

I prefer rain to blustery cold days, especially in April. April showers bring May flowers, right? It rained all night and was still gloomy and wet when I left for work so I wore boots to be on the safe side.

Still playing with this hair, today is Day 2, I curled large sections with a standard curling iron, angling away from the face. Finger combed, then added Jonathan Silky Dirt for a piecey/Mandana from Rachel Zoe Project sort of look. The bangs are still wrong, I need to make an appointment with my stylist to fix this cut, but I just have not had the time. Even this weekend is booked solid but I need to figure it out before I go on a 2am hacking spree with my cuticle scissors!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, thank you so much for all your support, emails, comments, and tweets this past week. I blog because I love it, and because I love all of you. I love connecting with you, knowing my writing benefits you, and making new friends through technology. I seriously adore all of you and am so incredibly grateful to have you in my life!

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What I Wore: Bandana Badass

Tee: Leith | Jacket: ASOS (similar) | Bandana: Vision Street Wear (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Vince Camuto

The bandana is back this season, and it gives me an opportunity to pull out some oldies but goodies like this one from Vision Street Wear. It’s always fun to take something old from the wardrobe and give it a new life with new trends.

Though my cast is off, my arm is still healing and my hand isn’t strong enough to perform many daily tasks.  Clothing is still best when it’s a bit loose, but I’m liking jackets because they cover the still healing scar and provide some protection.  Adding the jacket and the bandana make me feel less like an invalid and more like a badass!

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In the Navy

Dress: Coldwater Creek c/o Gwynnie Bee | Necklace: Boutique in Key West | Shoes: Sofft | Bracelets: Silver cuff, c/o Lifetherapy | Rings: Vintage, Had for Years, Argento Vivo

This weather sucks – it’s like soup and so thick and humid that when there’s a cool breeze it feels like the chills you get when you have a fever. That being said, it’s doing some super fun things to my hair. I have hardly been washing it; once a week I will wash the scalp with shampoo, and once a week or when needed I will wash with conditioner only, but otherwise it’s surf spray and the occasional dry shampoo and scrunching. I like the crazy mop mess, and wish it would do this year-round!

Another Gwynnie Bee winner. This is not my kind of dress, I don’t like sleeves like this, I don’t love the color, but with Gwynnie Bee it’s okay because I can wear it once, send it back and get something else. And while it’s not something I would buy and keep in my closet for years, it is something I like wearing today. Stretchy navy lining doesn’t ride up and keeps everything opaque, a long self-belt I could have tied in a bow but instead doubled to make it shorter, and a breezy style that will do its best to keep me cool (and a fabric that won’t look a mess in the heat). It’s a win in my book and a true example of Gwynnie Bee – clothing without commitment! If you’re 10-26 and would like to try Gwynnie Bee yourself, use this link or mention Wardrobe Oxygen and get a 30 day trial free. They have some fab brands and styles to choose from and the selection is constantly growing!

Note: If you use my specific link or mention me when signing up for Gwynnie Bee, I will receive a commission if you extend past the 30-day trial. However, I really dig Gwynnie Bee and wear clothes from them because I like them and the company and am proud to share them with you.

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Spring Wardrobe Additions

Now that the cast is off and the swelling has gone down, I can finally get into the spring fashion spirit! Here’s a few things I have recently purchased and like very much:

1. Well all know my adoration for stripes; when I saw this shirt at J. Crew Factory was only $21 I had to try it. I love the fit, the shape, the fabric, everything. It’s tempting to get it in gray as well!

2. I don’t ever shop Walmart, but I was on vacation in a small town where it was the only place to go to get a pair of shorts for Emerson. While there, I found these shorts by Faded Glory for $12.94 and I must say they’re pretty great. Good length that is comfortable yet not dowdy, a bit of stretch so they’re flexible but also keep their shape, and a nice non-dorky wash. Totally got rid of the cheesy neon skinny belt and will likely do an at-home distressing on them, but not too shabby. As with any shorts, I went a size up for a better fit.

3. I don’t own this EXACT shirt from Boden, but unfortunately the one I got is no longer on the site. This shirt featured is the Eliza Top, and I own the Eliza, but in a cerulean and navy stripe (yep MORE stripes!). I absolutely positively LOVE this shirt; I love silk but hate washing it (this shirt is machine washable); I like ¾ and bracelet-length sleeves now to protect my scar but stay breezy (this shirt has it), and I love a top that is casual like a tee but can dress up for work (wearing it right now with a pair of trousers and pumps, looks great tucked into a pencil skirt, and this weekend wore with boyfriend jeans). The Eliza Top from Boden is a regular in their collection and a great addition to many wardrobes!

4. I now own five pairs of Nine West’s Flax pump (black, natural, silver, peacock print, red and black spotted haircalf). I know that seems a bit insane, but it’s a pretty perfect shoe. Single sole, pointed toe, walkable heel height, and a nice price. I’ve been wanting a “nude” leather pointed toe pump for over a year, but find each pair is too pale, too dark, too pink, too something for me. The Flax’s Natural Leather is a pretty perfect shade for me, and I love having a shoe that looks great with both pants and skirts.

5. Another silky shirt with an in-between sleeve length! This is the Sophie Blouse from Dobbin Clothing, and while it has the same basics I like from the Boden Eliza Top, it gives a completely different effect thanks to the details. Slightly crinkled silk, gold buttons down the front, and blousy sleeves. The color makes it work with black, brown, ivory, and denim quite nicely. I often wear this blouse untucked with dark wash narrow jeans, but also wear to work tucked into ivory tropical wool trousers.

6. I mentioned my desire for delicate gold this spring, and I am still loving my Rebecca Minkoff cuff; I also picked up this dangly but not too jingly bracelet from Nordstrom for $24; it doesn’t look cheapy, it’s stretchy and doesn’t get in the way when I type.

7. This Panama hat is only $17 from J. Crew Factory. Runs a bit wide, but I like that because I can twist up my hair and tuck it in the brim to keep my neck cool (or hide bad hair).

8. Me and my Lifetherapy bracelets – it’s an addiction! I love turquoise, I have a few bracelets from the company in blue (see here) so it brightens up my current collection, and this one has an Aquarius symbol! I like that these bracelets are just one long cord; I’ve been known to also wear them as a long necklace with tanks in the summer!

9. Seriously, the Converse Shorelines are my jam! I’ve missed having casual tennis shoes for spring and summer, and these are so easy to slip on, no heel blisters, and no looking as though I’m wearing shoeboxes on my already chubby feet.

10. Linen always looks like such a mess on me.  Well this spring I’ve given up being crisp, and have embraced the casual wrinkled-ness of linen.  My J.Jill white linen big shirt is great knotted over distressed jeans, and these pants (the Julie fit from LOFT) I love with a simple cotton knit sweater, silk blouse, or with a denim shirt.

***

Outfit posts have been few and far between because it was slow and difficult getting dressed with the arm, and honestly pretty depressing. I gained weight and lost muscle being so sedentary during my time on disability, and just putting on a tee shirt could leave me in tears. And then, much of my wardrobe didn’t work with the cast, only having one arm to put myself together after using the bathroom, the stiff swollen arm and all that jazz. But I feel SO much better, have much more flexibility and less swelling and am feeling like myself again. So stay tuned, for actual posts of me wearing these new pieces!

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An Old Favorite

Dress: Vince Camuto (similar) | Belt: HOBO Bags (similar) | Shoes: Mootsies Tootsies

It’s funny, when I first wore this dress I didn’t like it.  It felt too much – too much fabric, the mullet skirt, the bold color.  Now it has become a favorite because while it looks polished it’s super duper comfortable and easy.  It’s easy to switch up the look and level of formality with a change of accessories.  I’ve worn it before with a wide belt, and I like it equally well with strappy heels or pumps.

Speaking of pumps, on Sunday I was perusing 6pm.com (those of you who follow on Facebook know since I kept posting really awesome deals from their Cinco de Mayo sale) to find shoes for K and E. Found nothing for them, was ready to sign out and saw these for $25. I have had no luck with nude shoes the past few springs, figured for such a price I could try and if they sucked, could return or sell on eBay. Well they’re super close to my skintone, they’re comfortable, and a reasonable heel height. While I really wanted pointy for a more classic look and to look better with pants, the round toe is fun and not too twee and gives my toes more wiggle room.

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What I Wore: In the Navy

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #SoleSociety Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Navy and White Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Sole Society Suede Pumps Jacket: Lauren Ralph Lauren (thrifted – similar) | Tank: Boden | Jeans: NYDJ | Bag: c/o Fossil | Watch: Citizen | Shoes: ‘Ena‘ c/o Sole Society

I’ve been hearing about Sole Society for a while and admired their shoes but didn’t know much about the brand or its quality. So when Sole Society contacted me and offered to send me a pair of their shoes to try out, I was pretty excited. While Sole Society has many fun and fashionable styles, I wanted to try a more classic pair that could work at the office. I chose the ‘Ena’ pump; a 2.5″ heel shoe with a pointed toe and bow detail. While it comes in a black and white tweed and mushroom colored suede, I chose navy suede as it is becoming more and more a prominent color in my wardrobe.  I ordered an 8, my regular size and found it to fit like most department store brands of shoes, both in width as well as length.

sole society ena suede pump navy

For this outfit, I styled the Ena Suede Pump in more of a Casual Friday look with dark denim and a navy blazer, but have also worn the pumps with a simple sheath dress and with ivory trousers and a silk tee.  Sole Society is known for high quality shoes, bags, and accessories at amazing prices and these pumps do not disappoint. I think the quality and style rival brands that would sell a similar shoe at twice the price. I also have to say that from the blog end of things, it has been a pleasure working with the people of Sole Society, they’re super nice, personable, and passionate about their brand.  All that and they have a referral program where you can earn a $25 credit for referring friends to Sole Society!

Have you shopped with Sole Society before?  What do you think of the brand?

Tuesday: Old and New

Top: Ann Taylor | Skirt: Ann Taylor (similar) | Tights: Nordstrom | Shoes: VC Signature | Necklace: Stella and Dot c/o Kristin Biggs (similar) | Coat: Betsey Johnson

I don’t believe in purchasing an item to wear for just one season. Even if you consign or sell, it’s still a loss of money and it makes it more difficult to hone your personal style. I purchased this skirt from Ann Taylor last fall and love how I can give it a fresh look with Fall 2012 trends of a peplum and cap-toe shoes. Mix a little new with the older pieces in your closet and they get a whole new life!

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Thursday: Going Old School

Shirt: Target (similar)
Jeans: Gap
Shoes: Ivanka Trump
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Earrings: Filene’s Basement (similar)
Bag: Sabina (similar)

My company moved offices a couple weeks ago and one of the many perks of our new location is a modern bathroom… with a full-length mirror! I had to be at work at 7am this morning so no fancy photos from my husband. Figured I might as well take advantage of an empty bathroom with good lighting!

If you can’t tell, I woke up and thought it was Friday. I knew I had a lunch to celebrate a coworker’s pregnancy, and somehow that got me in a Friday denim frame of mind. Good thing I didn’t have any client meetings on the books today!

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Thursday: An Old Favorite

Dress: Maggy London
Cardigan: Only Mine (similar)
Belt: Lauren Ralph Lauren
Shoes: Nine West (similar)
Bag: LOFT (similar)

I don’t usually wear the same exact outfit twice on this blog, but I wore this same look last year. Today I had a few meetings and wanted to have a professional yet still personable look and felt this fit the bill. I love this dress, it looks great on its own, sometimes I pair with a skinny orange belt, and it has pockets! Sorry Misty, I still love this dress but do know if I do decide to get rid of it it’s all yours!

Tomorrow I am leaving with the women of the family (my mom, sister and Emerson) for our annual Rehoboth Beach weekend. I’ll be sure to do a recap when I return!

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What I Wore: Maybe Navy

Shell: LOFT (have simple knit tank underneath for opacity) | Pants: LOFT | Belt: HOBO (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Watch: Citizen | Lipstick: Revlon Matte in Really Red

I feel as though every outfit post recently is about how I break rules! With my figure, rules say I should wear sleeves, I should wear a top untucked, and have shoes the same color as my trousers to make me look taller and leaner. Well the weather’s getting warmer and I think it’s ridiculous for women to have to sweat and hide their arms just because they’re not as thin or toned as society thinks they should be. And honestly, I have this body whether or not I tuck in my top, I’d rather look polished than pretend to hide anything.

I’m so happy that navy is back in the stores, I’m really enjoying it and have been mixing it with a lot of white, tan, coral, and pink. I bought this belt a HOBO sample sale for a couple bucks and I don’t know if I wore before, but with my growing navy wardrobe, it’s getting some play. This top is just a lace shell so I can dress it up like this for my Business Casual office, but it’s also cute with a white tank and a pair of denim cutoffs for the weekend!

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The Return of an Old Friend

I guess everything does come back in style if you wait long enough.

Anyone remember Generra? Hot brand of the 1980s most famous for creating the much loved Hypercolor shirts. I remember Generra well; my family was too poor for name brands and I found a yellow canvas pullover with lots of grommets and drawstrings and New Wave embellishments at a yard sale for 75 cents. Though yellow has never been my color and the top was at least two sizes too big, I wore that thing every week because I owned a popular label.

Generra, Outback Red, Benneton, Esprit, Guess?, Forenza… brands that were as much a necessity to a young girl in the 80s as a Liz Claiborne purse and matching wallet. How is it that brands like these that were such a hot commodity ended up being fodder for discount superstores and cheesy mail order fashion catalogs? Who decides when a brand is hot, or when it is not?

Many of these oldies yet goodies have tried to make a comeback. Heck it works for hair bands, why not for the clothes that complimented the Aqua Net? Gloria Vanderbilt and Jordache had their fifteen minutes of fame a couple of seasons ago. We saw the return of jelly shoes, clear vinyl bags, high waists, neon colors, even mullets.

But Generra? They aren’t having just fifteen minutes of campy fame. They are back, and they are far better than ever. Every hot boutique online and in town has a few of their pieces, there is even an in-store Generra boutique at Henri Bendel. This isn’t a flash in the pan, Generra has slowing been taking over the past couple of years, being seen on the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Alexandra and Theodora Richards and also having their moment at New York Fashion Week 2007.

I like it when brands make a comeback. I may not purchase Lacoste, Burberry, Generra or Le Tigre, but I admire their tenacity and impressive marketing skills. I find Generra’s new line to be a bit too utilitarian for my tastes, both in cut and color; but am excited to see an old friend back up on the runway. Now I just need to dig through my mom’s attic to see if I can find that yellow canvas pullover with the grommets…

The Three-year Old Blush

Often we hate to spend when it comes to our looks. We are told even in beauty magazines that there are “steal” items that are equivalents to “splurge” pieces. Have you ever looked closely at those “Splurge vs. Steal” pages? More often than not, the cheaper item LOOKS cheaper.

This is not to say that you must pay top dollar to get quality. The point is that there is no reason to buy a cheap version of an expensive item; just buy a different item. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattering, but really imitation style is just that… an imitation and not the real thing. If you can only afford $30 for jeans, then buy the nicest, best-fitting and most flattering $30 jeans you can find. Embroidery, bedazzlement and appliqué will not make those $30 jeans look as though they are worth $230; they will just make your $30 jeans look cheap. Simplicity is key in one seeing style and not price tags.

That being said, there is something for saving up to buy good quality. Shown here are photographs of my beloved Nars blush in the shade of Orgasm. This is a blush that is raved about in every beauty magazine, and is always mentioned as being in the makeup bags of celebrities and fashionistas. I found it ridiculous to pay $25 for a BLUSH! I had perfectly lovely blushes I had bought from drugstores that gave me enough color to not resemble a corpse. Why in the world would I pay that much for such an unimportant makeup piece?

My 30th birthday rolled around. I felt the need to treat myself. I went on a mini-shopping spree at Sephora and bought this blush, a Shu Uemura lash curler (also often raved about in mags) and an expensive mascara. Why not use a new decade to see what the hype is all about.

Over two years later, here is the very same Nars Orgasm blush. No point in taking a picture of the lash curler, because it looks the same after two years of rigorous use (it too was worth the $ and the mascara was nice too). My point in showing this battered and beaten blush is that quality is really worth it. How many people can admit that after two years of almost daily wear, travel across the country and overseas, their blush is still in one piece and still has product left to use? My discount blushes often are crumbled or used up after six months, but this one has probably another year of life left in it. The lid may have broken off, but the mirror is still intact. The metal may be showing, but there is still plenty of great product left. And the color? The peachy-pink with just a hint of sparkle makes me look healthy without flushed, glowing without looking disco, and on the first day of wear was asked twice if I had lost weight.

$25. For you this may be dinner out with a friend, a new little top for Friday night, a couple drinks at happy hour, fresh flowers for your home. Excluding necessities in your life, think about the times that $25 has been spent… and then forgotten. Think of how you picked up a magazine, a candy bar and a new foundation that you really don’t need but saw in an ad and it’s on sale all within one grocery trip. Think of how you again forgot to pack your lunch and this is Day 3 that you are hitting up Subway instead of eating the food in your pantry. Think of how you don’t really need a new pair of shoes but your boss was a jerk today and Payless is right next to the bank and well they are only $22.99 so what’s the harm. Then think about how you don’t have the money for a haircut, a well-fitting pair of trousers or a blush that may make you look fresh, rested and really YOU.

Think about HOW you spend your money. Add up those Starbucks drinks, those snacks with your gas fill-up, your lunches on the run, your $9.99 tees from Target that are really pretty colors but just stacked up with your many other tees. Think of how many blushes you have bought below $10 and then have tossed because they weren’t right. You may be surprised at how much money you are spending on nothing.

This is not an advertisement for Nars, and really this color may be dreadful on your complexion. The point of this article is to really examine your life, your spending habits and your priorities. We often buy cheap in hopes that it looks expensive, we often buy disposable to fulfill a craving and not a need. We often complain about no money, forgetting about our eBay obsession or daily stop at Starbucks.

Try spending at least a week journaling all that you spend. When you go to the grocery store, go with a list and stick to it. Try shopping from your pantry and closet before heading to the mall or market. Consider dinner in – use the good china and light a few candles in place of a restaurant; it’s amazing how candles can make even spaghetti seem elegant. Take your lunch to work and if you are prone to hitting the vending machine at 3:30, prepare with a few snacks at your desk. The next time you are at Target and Wal-Mart buy what brought you there, and nothing more. Do not enter a store unless you have an agenda – stop using retail therapy as a social activity. You will be amazed at how much you buy that you didn’t even realize you picked up. You’ll soon see a little more money in your bank account, and after a month or so, the cravings for consumerism will diminish. Meals out will be treats, clothing bought will be necessary and perfect for your style, figure and needs and you just may have the money to invest in a great blush that will give you three years of happiness.