I recently had the opportunity to check out one of Lands End’s new outerwear. As a major fan of their outerwear line (I already own two coats from them) I was excited for the opportunity.
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Almost a decade ago, I asked for the Lands End Squall Parka for Christmas. Always one to have a wool winter coat, I realized I was in desperate need of something a bit more water-repellent, wind-repellent, and durable. Be it scraping ice off my windshield, shoveling the front walk, going for a long walk on a sunny but blustery winter day, I knew the Squall Parka was a good bet.
I chose a rusty orange color, which I thought was fun and modern. I forgot that a little South Park character wears a parka in the same color. Every time I wore it, someone called me Kenny. But I didn’t care – that coat was fantastic. It kept me warm, but I had flexibility, breathability, and I loved that I could throw it in the washer and dryer. I still have my Squall Parka, and choose it when I take the dogs for a wintry walk, or want to play with Emerson in the snow.
When I started working in DC three years ago, I realized I needed a good commuting coat. Something that could cover my rear when I sat on cold stone park benches, kept my legs warm, yet was able to be shoved in a bag if the day got too warm. My first day of work was a cold November Tuesday, and I stood on a street corner next to a woman in a dark olive quilted coat that came to her lower thigh. The quilting was brilliant and changed at the torso to whittle the waist. Stand collar kept her neck warm, and it look fantastic paired with an ivory scarf and knit cap. I asked her where she got her coat, she said Lands End.
Again, I headed to Lands End where I got their now-discontinued reversible Commuter coat (most similar current coat is the Women’s Lightweight Down Coat). It came in olive and a couple other colors, but I chose black because I knew it was more appropriate to my personal style and wardrobe. The coat had one side that was smooth, another that was quilted. Lightweight, but warm since it was made of down. Water resistant. Pockets that zipped up (on both sides too!), and easily washed and dried in the machine. I loved this coat, and still do. It’s the perfect commuter coat for a mid-Atlantic state like Maryland where the winters are cold but not frigid, and there is often a chance of precipitation that is more likely to be rain than snow. I wore this coat almost every day until I got pregnant, and even wore it often then, though left open with a pashmina covering the belly. I was happy to know that this coat was still a classic style that would treat me and my wardrobe well this winter.
Lands End sent me their Luxe Down Coat, and I have to say I was a bit nervous. A furry collar and a belt on a quilted coat? I was sure to look like the Michelin Man. I loved the ivory and gray colors, but thought it would be a bit too marshmallow for my petite and curvy frame. Since I already had a black coat from Lands End, I decided to choose Spice Brown. I don’t normally wear brown, but thought the brown would look nice with my hair (and the coat’s furry collar).
I loved that I could choose this coat in petite. I am not always a petite in clothing, but with coats, I often find the sleeves too long and the shoulders drooping. With past experience with Lands End, I knew that my size 12/14 body would be best with a Petite Large.
My sizing guess was accurate – the Luxe Down Coat fits beautifully, even with a thick sweater. It is much warmer than my other Lands End down coat – so much so that I couldn’t really wear it until recently. The belt is long, but that is so you can tie it instead of buckle it. The fur is removable, as is the entire hood. The coat has deep pockets so your gloves won’t fall out, and knit wrist cuffs to block the wind and snow.
The brown is a nice shade – deep and chocolatey. The faux fur trim is nice quality and doesn’t shed. I found the belted quilted style to be relatively figure-flattering, even being a thick coat. As with my other down coat, this coat is shaped at the waist, not a straight up and down silhouette. I think the belt really keeps me from looking like the Michelin Man, and it does a good job of preventing the wind from flying up the hem of the coat. This coat is pretty much the same length as my other Lands End down coat, which is a great length for pants as well as skirts. I have worn the jacket open and have either removed the belt or loosened it in back to take up some of the slack and not have the ends drag.
Sometimes you don’t know what you will love until you try it on. If Lands End hadn’t sent me this coat, I would have never considered a quilted belted winter coat. And now I am a huge fan.
Note: Lands End did provide me with this coat, however all opinions are my own and not biased by my monetary compensation.
Hey Allie, you mentioned wanting a wrap coat this winter on the blog so I thought it might be appropriate to take this moment to send you some pics of the wrap coat I bought last winter and have been struggling to style – and ask for your advice! I really like the exaggerated collar and slightly fifties style flared skirt but with so much of the neckline very exposed I find it difficult to know what to wear underneath that won’t clash with the style. I also find it can be hard to wear a scarf with it without making the collar look scruffy… (and I’m never sure what kind of colour scarf doesn’t clash with the green?)
The reader in her green wrap coat
A wrap coat is tougher than most outerwear to style with scarves, but not impossible, especially with the current trends in winter accessories. Currently, the ginormous scarf look is on trend, which is a look that would flatter the style of this coat quite nicely.
When searching for photos to illustrate my suggestions, I found these beautiful photos of Corey Kingston on the blog It’s My Darlin’ and the collar of Corey’s coat reminded me of yours. It looks as though she took a classic pashmina and wrapped it around and tucked the ends into the coat. The cashmere of a pashmina would nicely flatter the fabric of your coat and keep you quite warm. You mentioned in your email that you are drawn to jewel tones and I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t work with this color of coat; a pashmina in a deep red, mustard, pumpkin,berry, or rich purple would look glorious against the green.
A tone on tone look would also be quite lovely, as seen by the Crown Princess Letizia of Spain with shades of tan, and the blogger Awed By Monica in shades of gray. You can do this with shades of green, choosing a deep emerald, forest green, or a lighter shade like avocado or peridot.
The pictures above of Bethenny Frankel and Elizabeth Banks show that your scarf doesn’t have to be a solid, and it doesn’t have to be a pashmina. You can use most any type of scarf, as long as there’s a lot of fabric. It can be an oversized square folded in half, a long oblong looped multiple times around your neck, or a wide rectangle. When I look at the print of your coat, I immediately think of classic patterns like plaid and paisley. An oversized tartan scarf like this one from Acacia Scarves (a company run by the blogger Jaclyn Day) in bright red with lots of white or ivory to keep it from looking heavy would be a lovely partner to your coat. This could be tucked into your neckline, or with so much volume could be worn on the outside, complementing your coat’s exaggerated collar. A paisley print scarf would also be a lovely choice with your coat; one with a touch of green but jewel tones like blue and purple would be very pretty.
Tucking a classic scarf into your collar isn’t the only option for a wrap coat, as evidenced by the women in these photos. To the left, model Emily Senko, per the blog Vanessa Jackman, shows how an oversized infinity scarf can look quite chic and would be another great way to incorporate a jewel tone. While most infinity scarves are knit, I think a faux fur one could also look great with your coat. I also think an oversized cowl like this one from DC-based company DeNada Design would be a pretty choice and would likely be big enough to cover the entire neckline. To the right as seen on the blog Hanneli, fashion designer Vika Gazinskayas wears a scarf in a manner that looks more like a blouse. You can achieve this by taking a large square, folding into a triangle, tying the ends behind your neck and tucking everything inside your coat. Depending on the weight and size of the coat, this could be a drapey cowl, tucked smooth into a look like Vika, or a cozy funnel neck. For this look you can do a print or color of most any type; choose a silk in fall and switch to wool or cashmere when the temperature drops further.
I lived in Florida all my life, but am moving to DC for a new job and need to get a winter coat. I will be taking the bus for work and want a coat that looks professional but can survive public transportation and DC weather. Suggestions?
I need a new coat. I have the Squall from Lands’ End and have had a version of this coat for over a decade but want to get something more fashionable for work and stuff. I want it to be water repellant and I want it to have a hood and cover my [behind] when I sit on a bench. Where should I look?
I don’t wear wool but want a coat that looks nice, where can I find one that is stylish but also warm?
DC is a strange place, where it can be 70 degrees in November and 30 degrees in April. It is also quite wet in this area, many days that are cold are also with sleet, rain, or snow. In previous posts I have stated that a wool coat is more versatile and chic than one of a synthetic material, but I’ll admit it’s far more comfortable to deal with public transportation, walking, and commuting in general when you are both warm and dry and not worrying about your dry cleaning bill. Here’s some suggestions for winter coats that will keep your warm yet stylish all winter long.
I have a coat from Lands’ End that is very similar in style and made me a synthetic coat convert. The belt on this coat gives you a feminine shape and prevents the Michelin Man look, the faux fur trim on the hood adds a luxe feel, the longer length will keep your rear warm on cold metal benches at bus stops, and the large variety of colors and sizes means there’s a right one for each person. I like buying pieces like coats from Lands’ End because I feel confident that if a zipper breaks or there is some defect, I can easily return or replace it.
Quilting doesn’t have to add bulk and destroy your figure; strategic quikting and padding can actually accentuate your curves and emphasize a feminine shape. This coat from Betsey Johnson gets rave reviews even from those in Alaska for it being warm, but the shape, stitching, and belt give it a modern, fashionable, and flattering fit.
Wool doesn’t mean cold, on the contrary. If you live in a more mild climate like DC, you can get away with a wool coat for your winter. If the coat is long like this one from DKNY, you’re able to keep your legs cozy as you walk to the office or sit waiting for the train. While this coat doesn’t have a hood, it has a high collar to protect your neck and would look tres chic with anything from a cloche to a knit beanie.
Again, strategic quilting to the rescue! The varied sizes of quilting give this coat shape without sacrificing warmth. While black is a safe choice, the Prussian Blue adds a level of fashion and fun to a traditional long parka. This coat is not only warm, but also water resistant – perfect for the woman who walks or takes public transportation to work!
Fit and flare with single breasted buttons makes this coat slimming, the traffic-stopping collar makes it stylish and extra warm. The cashmere blend will look equally at home with jeans and boots as with cocktail dresses and heels.
Tips for Purchasing a Stylish Warm Coat:
- Look for a single statement-making detail. Fur-trimmed hood or collar, military-inspired metal buttons, belt, unique color or texture – such details will take a parka from play to professional. Keep such details to a minimum – only one statement needs to be made or it will go from chic to cheap.
- Flatter the figure. Strategic quilting, a belt, single breasted, curved hem… such details can make the difference and have a coat be warm and chic.
- Choose sophisticated colors. Some colors like yellow, orange, barn red, and baby blue scream ski slope or shoveling snow. Black, olive, navy, ivory, gray, dark plum, and teal give a more elegant feel to a parka.
- Read the ingredients. Who cares what a coat looks like if it doesn’t keep you warm? Read the details – many outerwear retailers will state what temperature such a coat was made for. Wool, cashmere, down, Thinsulate – these are all materials that will keep you more warm than most synthetic blends. If you live in a wet climate be sure to find a coat that is also water-resistant or waterproof. If you choose the right textiles you can often achieve equal warmth to a bulkier coat of cheaper materials.
Many of you have written to me lately on how to handle very cold temperatures while maintaining your personal style. While it’s frigid right now by DC standards, I don’t deal with such cold temps on a regular basis and would never consider myself to be an expert on cold weather fashion. I know many of you live in far colder parts of the country and world than I and would love you to weigh in on what you swear by to stay warm and fashionable. Below are the winter style tips I use to stay warm when it’s super cold:
Have a Base Layer
Keeping your core warm will ensure you stay comfortable when the temps drop. Thin layers close to the body will do a remarkably good job without adding too much bulk to your outfit.
- Fleece and wool tights are my jam; I’ll wear a regular pair of tights under for extra wind and cold protection, and have even worn them under jeans and work trousers.
- The same holds true for fleece and wool leggings. Check athletic departments and brands for great ones; while some may have reflective strips others will be solid black which will fit perfectly into your work or weekend wardrobe.
- Wool socks keep your feet warm and dry and also help prevent foot odor. The chunky cable or marled versions are back in style and look cute peeking out of ankle booties or tall socks so they add style with warmth.
- A silk or heat-keeping fitted tank or cami is a must-have in winter. Brands like Lands’ End carry these in a broad range of sizes and colors so you can find one to fit and become invisible under your clothing.
Wear Smart Accessories
When it comes to accessorizing in the winter, choose pieces that have fashion as well as function. It’s possible for your styling accents to keep you toasty in the winter.
- I’m such a fan of pashminas. In wool, cashmere, or a blend these scarves are toasty without being bulky, stylish, and versatile. I will cross a pashmina across my body in front before putting on my coat; it will fill the neck area but also add an additional layer of warmth to my core. Once at my destination I’ll loop it around my throat for a pop of color to my outfit. Pashminas are also great when it’s not freezing; they can act as a shawl with a dress and I take them on travel to be my plane blanket as well as to ward off strong A/C on planes and at conferences.
- A cashmere beanie is in style right now, so it’s easy to find a color and weight that appeals to you. I have a black cashmere beanie that I’ll put on in the morning and not take off until I go to bed. I style my hair around it, intensify my lip color and it’s a chic look that also keeps me warm. Adding a hat when it’s cold can really do much for increasing comfort; in fact I am writing this while wearing my cashmere beanie and am quite comfortable even though it’s around 60 degrees inside.
- Gloves are a must-have and my favorite are cashmere-lined leather gloves. They are super warm, wind repellent, keep you dry when scraping off your windshield and look quite chic. Right now is the perfect time of year to stock up on leather gloves as they are on sale everywhere after the holidays. I always have a pair of classic black but when I can find fun colors like purple or green on clearance I snatch them up so add a pop of color or fun to black outerwear.
You Need Proper Footwear
When it comes to inclement weather, function always trumps fashion. A pair of warm boots that provide traction on slick sidewalks is a must-have for cold weather. Come winter, I keep a pair of black pumps at the office and wear boots on my commute. When out and about, slim jeans and pants look great peeking out of tall fur-trimmed winter boots for ski lodge style. Tall leather boots (especially if they are waterproof) are wonderful for when it’s cold but there’s no snow or ice; the leather is a wind breaker and an extra layer of warmth. I’ll wear tall leather boots with a dress or skirt, fleece tights and wool knee-high socks and be toasty while still maintaining my personal style. FYI all the boots featured in the carousel below are waterproof and ready for all sorts of frightful weather!
Choose Outfits with Layers, Length, and Warm Fabrics
If you plan on getting away with a long-sleeved tee and a pair of jeans you’re going to be shivering all day.
- Layer: I’m a fan of sweater coats, puffer vests, and ponchos come winter because these are easy layers to slip on and off depending on how high the heat is cranking inside. Under, I’ll wear a long-sleeved tee or fitted merino or cashmere sweater and a silk tank under that so when I slip off the topper I am still pulled together and warm. Chunky knits are popular this fall and easy to layer over a silk or knit tee. I’m also known to slip fleece tights or silk longjohns under dress pants or jeans come winter and no one is the wiser except my warm self!
- Length: Winter isn’t the time for mini skirts and crop tops. I pull out the midi skirts and wear with fleece tights and tall boots, longer tunic sweaters over slim pants or sweater dresses over fleece or wool leggings and tights, and thigh-skimming sweater coats keep my rear and upper legs warm.
- Warm Fabrics: Wool pants are truly warmer than synthetics; look for a pair with lining to stay itchy-free and add some wind repellant. As mentioned a thousand times already, fleece and wool tights and leggings are a smart choice with dresses and skirts. Leather is wind repellant and warm; I wear a lot of leather skirts come winter for fashion with function. This year sweater and sweatshirt dresses are on trend and look great with tall boots and leggings or thick tights.
Longer Coats that Repel Wind
Many years ago I wrote that women don’t need puffer coats and can be just as warm and more stylish with a wool coat with Thinsulate lining. And now that I commute in a city, ride public transportation in the snow, and walk longer distances I agree with many of you who thought my advice bunk. Buy a coat that keeps you warm. When it comes to frigid temperatures, first look for something that will keep you as warm and dry as possible, then look for stylish touches. A quilted or puffer coat with a longer length is brilliant because it’s wind and water repellant, will keep your bum warm when sitting at the bus stop, prevents gusts from slipping up inside the coat, and is often machine washable. I like styles that at least cover the rear and have a belt which keeps you from looking like the Michelin man. While I wear a hat almost always, a hood is an additionally nice feature when you’re waiting for the train or it begins to drizzle. Buy from a company that is known for outerwear and get one that is made for the climate you experience. Companies like Patagonia, Lands’ End and LL Bean often give temperature ratings for their outerwear helping you make the best coat decision for your lifestyle.
And now I pass it back to you, what are your tips for staying toasty when the temperature drops? What are the best items in your wardrobe for winter weather? What brands or items do you recommend to those who are trying to stay stylish in the cold? Thanks!
Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.
If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.
If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the
We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.
If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.
Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.
Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.
At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.
In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.
I am so glad you realize that one can be an active mom while maintaining style. I recently wrote an article on Savings.com about new mom fashion, but will offer some basics that should get you on track without looking like a mom, or like a college student:
Dark Straight Jeans
A dark straight jean is classic, can be worn any season of the year, looks more polished than lighter washes, and doesn’t need a fancy label to look chic. Having a straight leg means this jean should work with most any length or style of top in your wardrobe – simple tanks and tees, longer tunics, blazers and cardigans, blouses tucked in or left untucked. Add a bit of spandex so that you won’t be showing your undergarments or cutting into your stomach when crawling on the floor after your little one.
The Lee Slender Secret 5-pocket Jean is a classic style that is great for women who may have a bit of that baby pooch still left. Oprah recently rated them as a top jean, and reviews state that these jeans in petite are not needing of hemming for those who are 5’ tall. $29.99
Levi’s 512 jean is a straight, classic style that is made for a woman’s shape. Their Perfectly Slimming 512 Jean has the Lycra to keep your body looking smooth, and giving you the flexibility you need to keep up with your children. Again, this jean is rated great for the really petite woman – they run short so you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg on alterations. $40.00
A Versatile Trench
When the weather is chilly one day, hot the next, and rainy the third it’s hard to be prepared. A simple trench or mac in a water-resistant fabric that is lined will keep you looking stylish yet comfortable on those in-between days.
The Sunshower Coat from Lands End is a favorite – it’s a classic style, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant. Lands End is known for their quality and service so you know you will get a great piece that will give you years of wear. Khaki is a safe bet, but a more memorable color like their Wine Grape will look great with neutrals, make your skin glow, and will give you a sunnier outlook on the day, even if the sky is cloudy. $99.50
Macy’s Style&Co brand offers great style for a reasonable price. This double-breasted trench has a shorter length that won’t dwarf your petite frame, and the soft sage color will look great with neutrals, but be a fresh change from beige and black outerwear. $79.00
Solid-colored Seasonally-appropriate Tops
Toss the oversized tees and stiff striped button-downs. It’s easy to be comfortable, get dressed in an instant yet look great if you have an arsenal of flattering, well-fitting knits in your size and colors you adore. Wash on the gentle cycle, line dry and these pieces can give you years of great wear. Look for pieces with 5% spandex or more – they will be more likely to keep their shape, not need to be ironed, and maintain their color longer than 100% cotton tops. For winter, I love merino wool because it acts like a knit in keeping its shape and flattering the figure, and can also be washed on the gentle cycle.
Ann Taylor LOFT is a fave of many petite women thanks to their extensive collection, reasonable prices, and truly petite sizing. Their Petite Twisted Boatneck Tee is a fashionable version of the comfy tee shirt. The neckline adds drama to a casual day look, and would fantastic under a cardigan or casual twill blazer. Great colors like Balsam Green and Ocean Depths will complement dark denim, khaki, white, gray, and black. $19.50
I love Nordstrom’s Caslon line – great wardrobe basics of great quality. The petite Caslon Ballet Neck Tee is a feminine and flattering twist on a simple knit top – the ¾ sleeves make it wearable almost year-round and a scoop neck is lovely on most every woman’s figure. $24.00
A Casual Blazer
A great way to jazz up simple tees and jeans is with a casual blazer. If it’s unlined and has a bit of stretch, it’s as comfortable as a hoodie but with far more polish.
Ann Taylor LOFT’s Petite Urban Twill Blazer is a great choice. The grosgrain trim gives it a unique, higher-end look, and in navy it would go with most any color tank or tee in your closet. $69.99
The striped blazer from Banana Republic would look amazing with neutral tanks, tees, and bottoms. It would also look quite chic with a pop of color underneath – try candy pink, blood orange, or apple green. The standup collar elongates the frame, making you look taller. $149.99
A Trendy Knit
Right now, striped tees are a hot look – this is a great way to add some variety and current fashion to your wardrobe without looking passé in a season. Striped tees look great with a simple denim or twill skirt, under a blazer, with shorts, capris, jeans, and even dressed up with a fuller skirt or with trousers. Add a bit of contrast with a turquoise or coral necklace, or a cardigan in a color like leaf green, tangerine, or yellow.
This black and cream striped boatneck from Lauren by Ralph Lauren isn’t your ordinary tee shirt – the silver buttons and boatneck make it a refined piece that would look great with jeans, and also with a white twill skirt for spring outings. $59.50
I own the Striped Sailor Tee from Ann Taylor and adore it – the scoopneck is flattering, the knit heavy and durable, the epaulets give a bit more style and panache. It comes in three colors. $38.00
A Not-so Little Black Dress
I have a black wrap dress from Old Navy that I bought years ago on clearance. I wear it with leggings and flats around the house, with heels for a wedding or funeral, with tall boots to work. It’s so versatile, and the matte jersey is a fabric that stretches, gives, washes easily, and looks timeless and seasonless.
The Petite Gemma Wrap dress from Banana Republic is a great choice – ¾ sleeves work year round, and a true wrap style means you can cinch the waist for a more custom fit. $98.00
Merona for Target has really come a long way in the past year – the quality has improved immensely, and the style is quite on-trend yet classic. The Merona Petite Faux Wrap Knit Dress is a great choice – the empire waist hides any post-baby pooch, and makes it dress up or down with ease. $20.98
It often impossible to find size 5 footwear in stores, however the selection is pretty impressive online. Sites like Nordstrom and Zappos have a great selection of smaller sizes that are still stylish and comfortable. I recommend investing in:
- A sandal with a low wedge heel (more comfortable than heels, able to wear with shorts or with a dress). The “Amber” wedge-heel sandals from Munro is a great summer choice – uber comfortable, thin elegant straps, will look great with skirts and dresses of all lengths, as well as shorts, trousers, and cropped pants. Munro is known for comfort and quality – these shoes should be wearable even for a day of sightseeing or a trip to Disney World. $179.95
- A pair of ankle boots you can slip on with jeans and a sweater (low heel, brown or black depending on your wardrobe – more versatile than flats as that they can dress up and also be waterproofed for rainy days). The “Wisteria” by Merrell has a wedge heel which is comfortable when standing or walking for a long period of time, but can still be paired with casual trousers. They get great reviews for comfort. $140.00
- A pair of tall riding boots (wear with dresses, over jeans and you will be amazed how they will transform wardrobe basics into something stylish – waterproof them for more versatility). These riding boots from La Canadiene are so classic – waterproof Italian leather, moisture-wicking lining, memory foam insole, low heel, elegant styling. These are boots you buy now and will still be wearing a decade from now. $256.00
- A pair of simple black leather pumps for those times when you do need to dress up (they work with pants, dresses, and even with your dark jeans for a Date Night or drinks with your girl friends). The Nuncio pump from Nine West is a classic pump that will look elegant year-round and years from now. 2.5” heel, elongated toe, and available in narrow and wide widths. $69.95
For additional petite inspiration, check out:
I don’t usually write about sales since I have many international readers, but there are some REALLY good deals going on right now (and a cool giveaway too!):
LOFT and Ann Taylor: 40% Friends and Family
40% off your entire purchase (including sale) in stores and online for both LOFT and Ann Taylor – use code FRIENDS at checkout. Starts today and continues through November 13, 2011
Lands End: 25% off Outerwear and Free Shipping
Ends TODAY (November 9, 2011) To get the discount online, use code SHIPOUTERWEAR and PIN 2198
Lands End and Lands End Canvas: 25% Friends and Family and Free Shipping
25% off site-wide, including Lands End Canvas, and free shipping, no minimum. Code: FAMILY SAVE and PIN: 1142. Runs from November 10 – 15, 2011.
Talbots: 50% off Jackets and Outerwear and Free Shipping No Minimum
This promotion ends TODAY – works on all full-price jackets and outerwear, including vests. Use code COLD.
Hobo International: Win a Lomo Bag and an iPad!
“Like” Hobo International on Facebook and enter their giveaway. When it asks how you heard about the giveaway, say you learned about it from Wardrobe Oxygen! Contest ends December 9, 2011
Hobo International: Sample Sale
Live in the Annapolis, Maryland area? Hobo International is having a sample sale at their Annapolis headquarters November 19th and 20th 10:00am – 6:00pm I went last year and got some amazing deals on beautiful leather bags, wallets, and belts (see here). Get there early, a line starts to get in! Hobo International is located at 9025 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701
Nordstrom: Half-Yearly Sale
They seem to be adding new things almost daily, so check often. Nordstrom now has free shipping and free returns, which makes it easy for those of you not near a store to take advantage of the deals!
Do you know of any other great deals taking place now? Please share with others in the comments below!
Note: By mentioning me as the referral with the Hobo International contest I too may win the bag and iPad; by mentioning the Lands End Friends & Family I may be able to win a $25 gift card. I doubt I will get either because I didn’t race to share this info, but wanted to keep you on the up-and-up!
Snakeskin AND leopard? At least I didn’t wear a zebra-print blouse or my spotted Vince Camuto pumps, THEN this truly would be an Animal House!
So I have been wearing Foxcroft shirts for a long time and have always loved the high quality, opacity, and great fit for my curves, but I didn’t realize they also carried sweaters! Foxcroft recently sent me this cardigan and I am in love. Like their shirts, they are cut generously for curves, and like their shirts, this sweater is very well made. With such a print, it jazzes up a simple cardigan, tank, and jeans look for the weekend and also dresses up nicely for the office!
With cold weather here in DC and many other places (and coming this way to other parts of the US), I want to try to share my outerwear as much as possible… even if I have my hands shoved so deep in the pockets it makes the jacket look weird.
While it’s super easy to throw on your dirty black parka every day, having a coat wardrobe can really complete your look. I often buy coats off-season for great prices, and try to choose classic silhouettes so they will still be stylish the coming year. This trench from DKNY I purchased last fall and it is one of the best outerwear buys ever. Even though I can get away with regular sizes for most clothing, I prefer coats in petite so they curve at the right part of the lower back and sit well on the shoulders. Coats are worth being altered for a great fit, but resetting shoulders and the waist is costly and sometimes impossible. Better to go for tall or short or whatever you are, go up a size, and then alter than try to recreate the wrong size (or just wear it too small or too large!).
I wrote about this dress in this post. A lot of you wanted to see me in it since I am a very different shape from the model, but it has been too cold to bust out this lightweight silk dress until now. When I bought it I figured I’d style it with peeptoe ankle booties and my wide silver metal plate belt, but once spring arrived I decided I liked it a bit more stripped down. The dress is by the brand Myne, and each time I read the label I say, “It’s MINE!” in the whiny voice I use when I read Emerson her book, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share. As an FYI, this is a size 10; I originally got a 12 but found it too long for my petite stature. The 10 fits comfortably but the belt that came with it is too small (no biggie, the belt is kind of ugly and cheap looking).
If you signed up for my monthly Style File newsletter you know that I recently got these glasses. They’re huge, they’re bright, and they’re a lot of fun for a very low price (hello prescription lenses under $30!). I’ve been wearing a lot of red lately – I’ve been doing a red lip almost all winter and have been choosing OPI’s Big Apple Red as my nail polish of choice for almost a year. It made sense if I was going to buy some funky glasses to have them in my current signature shade!
Jacket: IMAN Platinum Genuine Leather Soho Chic Quilted Jacket c/o HSN | Tee: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Shoes: Cole Haan (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Bag: Love, Cortnie | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Oh this weekend was GLORIOUS! After a ton of snow and sub-zero temps it was nice to be able to take a break from the parks and lug-sole boots! HSN sent me this jacket from their Spring Fashion Collection, The Fashion Edit. I originally thought it could work with the dress I wore last week, but it fits me more like outerwear than an accent piece. With the warmer weather, I could finally wear this jacket with a pashmina at my throat and be comfortable!
This jacket is quite lovely, very soft buttery leather and luxe details. It comes in six colors, regular and plus sizes, and the price is amazing for such quality. One thing I love about HSN is how beautifully things are packaged. No stuffing everything into a plastic bag, pieces are wrapped with tissue, sealed in stiffer plastic cellophane. This jacket came on a padded hanger that was wrapped in tissue and all the gold details also wrapped in tissue. I understand it’s hard to tell what is true and fiction when a blogger receives free merchandise from a brand, but I am seriously impressed with HSN and they quality and brands they offer, and am glad they reached out to partner with me.
This post is not sponsored by HSN. They were kind enough to send me this jacket in hopes I could style it in a previous outfit post. I felt it looked best on its own and chose to wear it in this manner and feature it on the blog.
Sales, sales, everywhere is sales… yes I am changing the lyrics to this song (which is a cover of this original) but there’s some insanely good sales going on this weekend that I just HAD to share with you.
At Old Navy, get 25% off your entire purchase with the code TREAT. Code is valid until the end of the 18th. A few restrictions: not valid on Everyday Steals, Hot Deals, Clearance (anything ending in $0.97 or $0.99) or Today Only Deals. I think this top is an office attire staple and I love the variety of colors available; this chunky turtleneck would look great with skinny jeans or ponte pants for the weekend; I love the leather-look pockets on this dress (and love that it comes in regular, tall, and petite!).
Up to $50 off full price dresses, jackets, sweaters, and more. Note this doesn’t include their Monogram collection or leather jackets. No code necessary, deal through October 18. I love their Gemma Wrap Dress and this print is something that would look great all seasons of the year; this lace pullover is fantastic – wear over a white shirt for the office and a camisole for a night out! Other favorites on promotion:
I know, right? 50% off? Get thee shopping, pronto with code STYLE50, this deal ends October 20th. I think this bird print shirt is amazing, this faux leather pocket cape looks even better in person, and their buttoned-up boiled wool cape is so awesome, I wish I could justify the purchase (for the record, I’ve tried it on, it fits great, I am a Large Petite).
No specific date that this is to end and no code needed. Do note it’s not valid on Lou & Grey merchandise, but it IS valid on in-store purchases as well as online. It does feel that LOFT is constantly having deals, but they’re also constantly getting in new merchandise that doesn’t seem to last long online. So if you see it and love it, get it while you can! I’m loving this belted cardigan, and think this variation on the chambray shirt would look modern and fresh with jeans or a midi skirt. Some other pieces I like that are on promotion:
Lands’ End is my go-to for quality yet reasonably priced winter weather gear. They have two promotions going on right now. Get 30% off select “fall essentials” (not sure exactly what that is but seems like a lot) with code LEAF, PIN 9223 through October 20th. But you can also get 25% off all full-priced merchandise with code MAPLE and PIN 1610 through October 21st. I love my packable down vest so much, I’m seriously considering this packable down jacket from Lands’ End and can’t decide between the polka dots or basic black. I’ve also had this Sport Knit skirt in black in my shopping cart for a while and may pull the trigger now that it’s 30% off. These and a few other pieces I’m admiring:
Madewell continues to impress, and a 30% off sale prices makes it easy to buy some fab fall and winter fashion. Use code PICKMEUP, which is valid through October 20th. I love the classic look of their Otis boot, the unique color and slouchy coolness of their Firelight Pullover, and the perfect color and shape of their Berliner Satchel.
Code SHOPFALL will give you 30% off at J. Crew through the 19th of October. Their Majesty Peacoat truly is perfection and a classic piece that will be chic for years to come; their Jackie Cardigan is always a popular piece and nice to get on sale; and I am loving the pale lavender shade and the cool size zips of this lambswool sweater.
One of my favorite stores for great style at great prices; 30% off clearance makes it even nicer! Use code YAY30 through the October 19th to save. As for the deal on outwear and cold-weather accessories, no code is needed. Some of my favorites like this camo tee (imagine it with something dressy like a sequined or lace pencil skirt or under a denim jacket), this adorable flared leather skirt in black or brown, and this pleated maxi which I own and adore. As for outerwear, I love the color and details of this coat, find this long hooded belted puffer to be something any city commuter would love, and think the price is nice on these leather tech gloves.
Any sales I missed? Share them in the comments!
I recently purchased this Tahari red ponte long sleeve sheath and it fits like a glove. I am trying to incorporate more Project 333 rules into my wardrobe collection and I’d like to make use of it in every season (maybe not dead of summer). Could you offer some styling tips for every season on this classic yet bold piece?
This is a gorgeous dress – a versatile piece with a touch of something unique to keep it from being too basic or boring (reminds me a bit of my black Dobbin clothing dress!). And red is a great color because it works so well with different colors and with a switch of accessories can dress up or down quite well. Since the dress has long sleeves, I doubt it will be comfortable in the middle of August, but below I have created six looks with the red ponte sheath dress: three for cooler weather, and three for warmer weather. Please know this advice would work for a dress of most any color, and with different necklines and sleeve lengths.
This group is warmer weather looks. Push up the sleeves for a bracelet length which will help you transition better into late spring or early fall, but also lighten up on accessories to balance out the heavier knit and color of the dress.
The first look is a classic – nude pumps are the perfect way to transition a fall or winter dress into warmer months. Continue the light classic feel with pearls; choosing a cluster necklace will give a more modern look than a classic strand of pearls and add more lightness to the top of the dress. A simple cuff and gold watch add shine but aren’t too over the top.
A great way to transition a jewel tone or primary bright into spring is to colorblock. Red with black feels wintry; red with pink or orange or turquoise feels fun and fresh. This dress has a seam waist which makes it perfect for switching up the silhouette with a skinny belt. I chose hot pink, but you could switch this out with aqua, coral, lilac, or French blue. The same holds true for the shoes – I picked orange because I’m an orange fan, but you could switch out for most any color or even a print that incorporates red or even just the color of the belt. With such a strong color mix, keep the accessories clean. A bracelet is all you need – I chose an enamel bracelet to continue the color combo but it could also be something smaller, simpler, and in just gold or silver.
Adding an oblong scarf changes the whole look of a simple dress and is quite versatile. Loop once around the throat and let the ends hang down your torso, tie the ends together to create an infinity scarf, or double loop and tie at the throat. While I paired this with camel shoes and wood beads, you could also pair with tall brown boots, brown croco or snakeskin pumps, or a brown heeled sandal.
This group is cooler weather looks and shows how the switch of accessories can provide a completely different effect for a different season.
The first look is a classic; come winter so many of us live in opaque black tights. I paired with a high heeled bootie, but you could easily switch out for a lower heel, a Chelsea boot, or a knee-high boot with a sleek silhouette. I chose a primarily black necklace to balance the dark black bottom half, but you could switch out for a chunky gold or silver necklace or a scarf.
I love red with leopard and this is a great way to style a red dress with leopard shoes. I chose a low block heel, but you could switch out for classic pumps or even ankle booties. Again, I added a skinny belt to switch up the silhouette; the addition of black also makes the look more wintry even though the legs are bare. This look could be switched with black shoes and a leopard belt. A tortoiseshell necklace complements the leopard without looking too matchy-matchy; you could switch out with gold or even go without a necklace.
A square scarf can also look great with a dress of this style. Tie “cowboy style” and have it drape in front or fold on the diagonal and tie at the throat. With a warm toned scarf, a pair of brown or cognac boots look great with the bright red. A bit of gold at the wrist ties the look together.
Adding a layer is a great way to change the look of a dress, and is also a way to stay extra warm in winter. A ponte dress has stretch and isn’t too bulky, making it possible to slip under sweaters and jackets.
Dress down your sheath dress by wearing a longer v-neck cardigan over it. Cinch with a skinny belt to highlight the waist. While I choose classic gray and black, most any color would work (and a leopard belt would be a fun touch). I styled with ankle boots, but this look could work with tall boots, pumps, and anything from a kitten heel to stilettos.
A blazer with some stretch works well with ponte; if you find a ponte jacket in the same material all the better! Again, I chose a basic color but you can switch out for another neutral or your favorite hue. A pair of tall boots complete the look for a chic winter office outfit.
I have a collarless jacket like this and love how it looks over a sheath, either as lightweight outerwear or to create an atypical suit. Classic pumps keeps the look elegant and streamlined.
What a great purchase! I hope you love the coat, I think it’s a classic style and Lands’ End is always known for their great quality and customer service.
Black is a great choice for outerwear as that it is versatile, can be worn many seasons, doesn’t show dirt, and can dress up better than tan or a color. However, it can seem dreary when all the trees are beginning to bud and the birds are chirping. Here’s some ways to add spring to your black trench:
1. A Cheery Umbrella. It’s so easy to get a basic black or navy one (or carry the random swag umbrella you picked up at the last conference), but a colorful umbrella will help you stand out in a crowd and add a pop of color to your black rain coat. This year Pantone says the hot color is Honeysuckle Pink, but the runways have shown all sorts of cheery hues and designers have had a soft spot for tangerine this spring (which is lighter than orange and won’t make you look like a Jack O’Lantern).
2. A Springy Scarf. For this time of year I am not thinking a cashmere muffler, but a cotton voile scarf in a sherbet color or a cheerful print. Florals as well as optic prints are hot for spring, and both would really pop against a stark black background. Tuck into the collar so just a bit peeks out, softening the look of the trench.
3. Switch out (or add) a Belt. The SunShower trench has a self-belt, the coat is sans belt but nips in at the waist. Both would work with adding a wide elasticized belt in a springy hue. This is a look I would have never considered until I started seeing women this winter wear their wool coats with belts that are obviously not for outerwear.
A wide belt will work with the fabric of the coat; choose a patent or leather buckle to balance the textures of the trench. You could do something simple like an ivory belt with black or wood buckle, or switch it up with a spring-like shade. To keep the proper line of the coat, don’t cinch the belt too tight – just enough to keep it in place and show off your waist.
4. Think Spring with your Accessories. Come spring, a black leather bag can look dreary, tall boots heavy, big plastic sunglasses overwhelming. Think spring when purchasing new accessories and you will be amazed how just a change to peeptoes and a canvas bag can make a black trench suddenly look light and fresh!
By all means, YES! Trenches are the perfect coat for when it’s raining – you look chic yet stay dry. However trenches are quite stylish even on days when the sun comes to visit. I wear my trench on any day where it’s not cold enough for a wool coat, but not warm enough to go sans outerwear. A trench is a wonderful spring and fall piece of outerwear, looks elegant with pants or skirts, and can be worn even if there isn’t a single cloud in the sky. Wear your trench with pride, no matter the weather!
Ooh, sounds like a pretty versatile skirt! Dark red, mustard, pumpkin, forest green, teal, or you could even get wild with hot pink or magenta. Leopard ends up being a pretty neutral piece, though I find it to be most elegant with darker jewel tones. If you do want to go standard with a color in the skirt, you can jazz it up with red heels, a hot pink belt over the sweater, a kelly green bag. It’s a great base piece to really play with color.
I go to a ridiculous hole in the wall of a place in Greenbelt (near College Park, Maryland) called Arto’s Shoe Repair. I have been going here for eons. I find they do quality work, are honest with their abilities, and have reasonable prices.
Arto’s is in a dying shopping mall, all the shoe orders are on display in bags over the employees’ heads, and the place looks as though it could use a thorough cleaning. However for $11 I can get my shoes reheeled, they will glue down any snagged leather on the heels and smooth it until it almost disappears, will polish them to a shine and do any other minor repairs I didn’t ask for but are needed (glue down lining or glue together fraying strap, etc.). I took them a pair of boots I wanted cut down an inch and that required one replacement zipper. They admitted that the boots wouldn’t look that great cut down, and told me it wasn’t worth the time or money to do such a change to the shoe. However with the new zipper, they not only said they could do it, they had a cheaper price and said they could use the old zipper pull on the new zipper for a cohesive look.
Cobblers and shoe repair places are a company where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – ask your neighbors, visit Yelp, Consumers’ CHECKBOOK and get true reviews, don’t base your decision on a fancy storefront or modern Web site.
Once you find a place that sounds good, test them out with a simple reheeling. Do they do careful work? Did they go the extra mile by polishing your shoes and catching any other minor repairs that needed to be fixed? If they pass the test, then consider a more complicated repair.
I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!
You can check out the interview here.
I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)
Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!
Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog
Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.
Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!
Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.
Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:
1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.
2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.
3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.
Purple Dream sweater from J. Crew (07), ivory and black zebra-print cord pencil skirt from Isaac Mizrahi for Target (05), black round-toe pumps from Jessica Simpson (06), solitaire necklace and studs from Diamond Nexus Labs (gift – 07).
Hair is second day, a few large sections twirled around the curling iron, some Jonathan Silky Dirt added to fingers and twirled around sections.
Makeup is L’Oreal true Match foundation in C3 used a concealer, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – the ivory in inner corners and over lid. Lashes curled, two coats of DiorShow and a thick line of Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line. On lips is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Shine That Pink.
And here is my outerwear – raspberry sorbet-hued mac from Ann Taylor Loft (clearance rack $19.99, I believe fall 06?) and my avocado pashmina. I had the sleeves hemmed on the jacket to be more… “petite.” I considered getting rid of this jacket, but as soon as I did, I seemed to have many situations to wear it. And the color is so yum, it brightens up the rainiest of days!
With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.
And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.
I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!
Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!
I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape. How can they move their arms? Why not just put on the coat? Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures. This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair. Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).
I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!
And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.