Search Results for: label/talbots

Talbots Fall 2014 Preview

Talbots sent me their Fall 2014 look book and it was so yummy I just had to share it with you! Fall collections can often look too collegiate or too dreary for my tastes, so when something comes down the pike that is fresh yet still classic and wearable, colorful yet tasteful it catches my eye. And when it’s available in regular, womens, petite, and tall? Autumnal heaven!

talbots 2014 lookbook animal jacquard

I love an animal print, and Talbots Brushed Animal Jacquard Jacket and Pencil Skirt do not disappoint. The texture of the material makes the leopard luxe instead of flashy. Partnering with red and black is another classic move that makes these pieces chic now and wearable for seasons to come.

talbots 2014 lookbook blue peacock

Hello blue! It’s refreshing to see cerulean and teal on the scene after so many seasons of chambray and navy and I love seeing a cool tone featured in autumn. Talbots’ Boiled Wool Coat in Blue Topaz makes a statement and would be a delight during the gray days of winter. I love a feather print almost as much as a leopard and am going gaga over this Peacock Feather Pencil Skirt and Feathers Talbot Cashmere Sweater. While both are styled here with other shades of blue, I can see them easily work with black, navy, and camel staples already in my closet.

talbots fall 2014 lookbook crimson jacket

Red is a fall standard, but the intensity of this crimson makes it stand out. A collarless jacket is quite flattering, and I love that this Double-Faced version reverses to a mulberry hue. And the Printed Tree Silhouette Dress is one of those prints that I wouldn’t tire of quickly; I could see it worn over a white collared shirt, with black tights and tall boots, or even worn come spring with nude heels.

talbots fall 2014 lookbook blush pink

Pastel hues are hot for fall this year, and Talbots has embraced this trend with classic style. I love how they paired their Canyon Pink Double-Faced Coat with graphic black and white; I think this is the type of jacket that could dress up nicely over a cocktail dress or dress down with a Breton tee and cuffed jeans. Speaking of cuffed jeans, how adorable is this weekend look? I love the Pink Blush Marianne Jacket dressed down like this, but can also envision it for the office with gray, camel, black, or ivory.

talbots fall 2014 lookbook sweaters

But what made me drool the most in this look book were the sweaters. The Cabled Dolman Sweater seen here in Almond has such a flattering silhouette and also comes in seven other shades. The Drawstring Shoulder Bag is a cheaper alternative to the leather buckets that have been seen everywhere this season and the tassel detail keeps it from looking to utilitarian. And let’s have a collective gasp for the Cabled Curved-Hem Sweater in Green Spruce (also comes in four other shades); this is the first item I’ve seen all summer that makes me look forward to fall! While it’s styled here with plaid trousers and pumps, I’d be wearing this baby with skinny jeans and ankle boots all winter long!

What do you think of this collection from Talbots? What looks or trends are you looking forward to wearing this fall?

Talbots – My Recent Purchases

A few years ago, some of my friends from my retail days made the switch from their current companies to work for Talbots. Talbots was known as being good to their store management, understood there needed to be a balance between work and life, and had shops outside of malls (those who have worked retail know a boutique shop is great to have normal hours and be easier to manage in regard to payroll, staffing, merchandising, etc.). They came back raving not just about their work environment, but the stylish and quality fashion that Talbots carried.

So I came to visit them at their home away from home, and check out this great Talbots fashion. I left feeling underwhelmed. I still felt several decades too young for the fashion, and even if I was of the right age, I surely wasn’t of the right personal style. I like modern, I like clean, I like a bit of edge to my classic style. I couldn’t find this between the embroidered pink twill capris and pointelle-knit sweater tees.

Years later, right after I had Emerson I had a devil of a time finding retailers who had stylish work clothing that would fit a plus sized petite woman. You readers suggested I visit Talbots. There was a Talbots right near my job so I decided to visit, not expecting much.

Wow, Talbots had changed over the years. I walked it skeptical, and left with bags full of new fashion. Their pants were the only ones I could find ANYWHERE that fit and even flattered my postpartum body. They had gorgeous wrap dresses that made me feel svelte and even sexy. Far less frou-frou and more classic, simple pieces that I could make more “Allie” with bold accessories and shoes.

Of course, just as I was getting my Talbots stride, they closed their location near me. To actually visit a Talbots, it would be substantial car drive to a megamall (and malls give me hives). Talbots fell off my radar until last Fall when it seemed every blogger was raving about Talbots’ great new style. Recently I even wrote about how impressed I was with the new Talbots collection, but I never got around to experiencing it first-hand. Last week Sally at Already Pretty let me know that Talbots denim was on sale. I saw it as a sign to try some pieces from Talbots and placed an order that same day. My review of what I purchased:

I have a trench from LOFT that I adore and have tailored to fit me perfectly.  It’s a gorgeous raspberry sorbet color and it makes every rainy day seem brighter.  However, I do not own a non-rainy day spring coat.  I saw this topcoat from Talbots and though it may be the perfect choice.  I love the stand collar, the oversized buttons, and the Nectarine shade looked to be an unexpected neutral like my raspberry raincoat.  I ordered a 12 Petite.

The color is more lovely in person than on the Web – it is the color of a ripe peach or apricot, but not pastel or delicate.  The buttons are polished wood and very unique.  The fabric has a great weight, the piece is fully lined and looks far more expensive than the current sale price of $113.99.

That being said, it is being returned.  The 12 Petite is too large for me – it hung over my shoulders, it was a bit boxy in the torso, the sleeves were about an inch too long, and the coat itself would need an inch or two taken off the bottom to make it flattering.  A 10 Petite would be too tight in the bust and upper arms.  If I were a taller person with more proportional arms and bust, I may have kept this jacket because it is quite gorgeous.  It could be worn like the model with a simple tee and jeans, would be a great dress coat with a simple frock, or even make a modern suit jacket.

Well based upon my outfit on Friday, I like this skirt!  I am not usually one to wear such a “girly” silhouette, but after wearing a fuller longer skirt the other week and liking the look, I thought I would try this skirt from Talbots.  I chose the Garden Print Full Skirt because the color looked as though it could be a neutral – I could pair it with white, black, brown, navy, denim, and cheery colors like pink and red.  I ordered it in a 12 Petite.

Winner!  This skirt runs a tad large, but fits like a petite – the waist hung at the right place, the hips at the right place, the length of the skirt pretty much in line with the model on the Website.  The pleats are perfectly placed, not adding bulk to my curves, just offering a ladylike silhouette.

The color is true to the picture on the site – though it is called “Green Multi” the color is more like flax, or even more like brass on a white background.  As expected, this color looks great with basics like white and black, but also shines with chambray and denim, and colors like leaf green and candy pink.

The skirt has a hint of spandex which helps with fit and also preventing wrinkles.  For such a lightweight cotton skirt, I was highly impressed that I wasn’t a wrinkled mess by the end of the work day.  I could have easily gone straight to a happy hour or dinner date in the skirt and not felt frumpy. 

Gosh I wanted to love this necklace.  I was thinking of wearing it with the Garden Print full skirt, a simple scoop tee and sandals.  I imagined it with a ribbed tank and beat up jeans and flat sandals, or with a shift dress in orange or pink.

I have to say, this is a quality piece of costume jewelry.  Great weight, great construction, beautiful color.  But it’s not a winner for me.  The chain looked a bit like Mr. T, the beading got caught between my breasts and lost its impact.  It looked okay… just okay.  Far better piece for someone with small breasts, slim figure, where the piece will really be a statement and won’t get lost in the curves.

I came to Talbots because of the denim, and I wanted dark saturated denim, and a classic yet flattering style.  I thought the trouser jean would be a good choice that could be worn for play, but also for work.  Based upon the inseams, I chose 12 Regular.

These don’t fit me.  The rise was too high, I definitely needed a petite.  However the petite inseam would be too short for even flats.  The pockets bulged, the denim was too soft and let everything hang out.  Just not my style at all.  However this weekend my mom came by and tried them on and they were quite flattering on her.  I think a petite would be a perfect fit on her, quite elegant.  I hope she gets a pair, I think she will find them to be a much-loved piece in her wardrobe.

For these, I ordered 12 Petite.  I figured in the summer I would be more likely to pair jeans with flat sandals, and wanted some dark straight denim to pair with them and breezy tops.  Again, I was looking for dark saturated indigo and these looked to fit the bill.

I liked the denim better on these jeans – a bit heavier, a tad less stretch.  The jeans looked very classic and crisp in the plastic.  On me, another story.  I could hardly get them over my hips, they fit like jeggings on my curvy legs, and I couldn’t button them they were so tight.  Far too low of a rise and I can’t believe it but too petite of a cut.

I ordered these in 12 Regular.  Another fail.  They were a big sloppy mess and looked like Mom Jeans in two sizes too large.  They were pooling at my feet even in heels, gaping at the waist, drooping at the crotch, and the denim was so soft and spongy it didn’t keep any shape at all. 

Do know many people like soft denim – it’s comfortable, it gives and moves with you.  This is why Pajama Jeans are so popular.  However I don’t like soft denim.  I will wear it for Not Your Daughter’s Jeans because those jeans suck in my mama pooch and don’t “look” like soft denim.  But otherwise, I don’t find it figure flattering and would prefer a heavier weight, more rigid denim.  So if you like your soft comfy denim, Talbots may be for you.  Just go to the store and try on in person to ensure you get the right cut and right size.

So all in all, not a successful shopping experience with Talbots.  But I am not deterred, I know that Talbots makes classic, quality fashion and I do adore my new skirt.  I just think that until I know how Talbots fits my body, I will need to take the trek to a brick and mortar store, spend an hour or two in their fitting room and figure out what works.  And I do believe Talbots is a brand worthy of such an endeavor.



Have you purchased from Talbots lately?  What do you like a dislike?  How do you find it fits you?

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Color Me Impressed – Talbots

Right after I had Emerson, I was having a devil of a time trying to fit this transitional body. A reader had suggested I check out Talbots, who had petites in plus sizes, and generous cuts. My mental image of Talbots was a shop full of clothes for elegant older women and ladies my age who liked embroidered palm trees on their capri pants. Not my scene. However there was a Talbots near my office so I took a gander.

I ended up finding many dresses that flattered my new curves, and hid the ones that weren’t so lovely. I also was able to find elegant work-appropriate trousers in a 16 petite. Soon after I started finding love for Talbots, they closed the shop near me. Being a busy woman, I never had the time to find another location and sort of forgot about Talbots.

Today I received a Talbots catalog in the mail, and color me impressed! I started circling items I wanted to check out online or in person; next thing I knew I had circled more than a dozen items! I haven’t done this with a catalog in forever! I remember when the J. Crew catalog used to get me so hyped up for the upcoming season, but in the past few seasons I have found the line to be inappropriate for my age, figure, or personal style. Companies like Boden and Ann Taylor always provide me with apparel I like, but not an entire collection that gets me excited, makes me feel as though it was made for me.

Talbots’ Spring 2011 makes me feel as though it was made for me. Here’s some items from the line I can’t wait to check out and add to my wardrobe:


Cotton/Viscose nylon blend means it will have a nice finish, keep its shape, and really be machine washable without stretching out or fading. The shaping makes it a beautiful hybrid between a classic cardigan and soft-structured jacket. It would look great on a lot of different body types. I can imagine it with a simple tee or tank and jeans, over a tailored shirt and pencil skirt, or a topper to a structured sheath dress. The color selection is fantastic – my favorites for spring are Daffodil Yellow, Chartreuse, and Geranium, though it is the style that would make it worthwhile to also invest in a classic Black or the lovely neutral Legion Green.

By now I think we all know about my love affair with the fabric Ponte de Roma – it a poly/rayon/spandex blend that is a heavyweight refined knit that feels as comfy as a tee shirt, but can dress up for work or even a day wedding. This dress has ¾ sleeves which I find to be very flattering (and comfortable on warmer spring days), a boatneck which adds interest, and a simple pull-on style that can be worn as a loose shift, or jazzed up with a belt. I of course love it in Black, but imagine the Haricot Vert with a yellow or tangerine belt, maybe with a navy and white striped scarf looped at the throat, or simple with some nude colored suede peeptoes and a strand of pearls.

Just last week I was thinking how I really want a longer statement necklace – something that will hit mid-torso, but have a soft look and not be too extreme for work. Something that can really glam up a simple solid dress, but also could be worn with a tee or tank and jeans and leather sandals. I felt turquoise was too cliché, clear crystals too glam, black too harsh. Then I opened the Talbots catalog and saw this necklace and it was perfection. On page 17 of the catalog they have it paired with a breezy white shirt and geranium-colored cropped pants and the look is so effortless yet oh so chic.

I am loving all the denim and chambray this spring, and especially love it when it’s used in a really feminine, girly silhouette. Page 5 of the catalog has the always-lovely Julianne Moore wearing this dress, a sweet ponytail, and bow-front kitten heels. So demure, so adorable, yet striking with the denim-looking linen fabric. Online, Talbots toughens up this dress with a wide black leather belt and pointy pumps. I can also imagine it with a wide beige leather belt, or worn sans belt with the funkiest, most unique printed heels in your closet. I also think this silhouette would look cute if a classic white shirt was worn over it, tied at the waist, collar popped, sleeves rolled.

It’s hard to find a summer shoe that can be as versatile as a pair of black booties (like my Cole Haan Air Talia booties). Something that looks great with a suit, with a sundress, with cropped as well as full-length trousers, jeans, and most everything else in the closet. These shoes from Talbots are a great choice. Sweet Almond will disappear into many women’s skintone, elongating the leg while looking great with every color in your closet. Olive is an unexpected neutral that will compliment the bright as well as softer hues of spring. However I am really digging Golden Haze – a pair of yellow shoes always brings a smile to my face and it’s color that looks amazing with navy, black, brown, tan, denim, and all shades of purple and green.

There are many more pieces I covet, but I’ll start sounding as though I was paid by Talbots to write this post. Nope, Talbots doesn’t even know about this – I was just so inspired I had to write, even on my day off work! Check out the new line from Talbots and let me know – are you as inspired as I?

Ask Allie: How to Style the Talbots Shetland Check Jacket

Hi Allie, your suggestions for the orange pants were spot-on and I was hoping you could assist me with a similar situation. This weekend I purchased this blazer from Talbots (in orange) and while I love it I realize I am not sure how to style it. I wish to wear it for work as well as weekends, I tried it with a white blouse or t underneath and it looked sloppy. Any suggestions?

Wow, you’re really pushing my creative side with this blazer! I totally understand why you bought it – it’s adorable, unique, takes on the current equestrian trend, and I bet is terribly flattering to the figure. This is the type of jacket that could look incredibly chic… or terribly frumpy. It’s all in how you style it. I agree that white may ruin the print, making it look dated or dingy. This is easily the kind of blazer that one purchases, wears once, and then it gathers dust in the closet. Here’s some ideas on how to make it look fresh for work and for the weekend that are hopefully unexpected yet quite wearable:

[via

Equestrian Chic
The check of this blazer is orange, hot pink, and brown on an ivory ground. Technically you could use any of the three print colors as a base (I received a mailer from Talbots that had this jacket styled with a pink shirt and brown pants). I chose brown as the connecting color to give the jacket a more traditional feel. I took advantage of the classic riding jacket silhouette and added riding boots. The denim shirt won’t compete with the print of the jacket, and a silk scarf at the throat continues the equestrian feel. Don’t worry about the scarf matching exactly – as long as it pulls one of the colors from the jacket and isn’t too loud or bright it will coordinate – look for scarves with classic prints (floral, paisley, horse bits and other riding images) to complete the equestrian chic look.

[via]

Classic Eccentric
When I saw this jacket, I thought of eccentric British society at their country house. I could imagine the jacket with a foofy skirt, Wellington boots, and a crazy hat and decided to take that concept and make it more street-appropriate. A brown leather pencil skirt is a great purchase for this season, and makes the jacket look luxe. Up the luxe factor with a lacy, ruffly cream blouse and some ridiculous booties that will stop people in their tracks. This is the kind of ensemble where more could be more – big hair or a messy updo, some crazy gold pendant necklace or cluster of brooches, maroon lips, a ring on every finger.

[via

Pattern Mixing Master
Sometimes the best way to wear a bold print is with another print – the two balance each other. In this ensemble, I chose a printed blouse that had similar warm tones as the jacket, brown tweed pants, and croco-embossed booties. All pieces are in the same color story so it looks cohesive and purposeful. A bold yet simple gold necklace makes the look polished and complete.

[via

Simple Yet Chic Weekend
This is a fabulous jacket to dress down. It would look great with a version of a Texas Tuxedo (a chambray or denim shirt and jeans), but also with a knit. With this look, I chose a simple brown turtleneck sweater as a base, darker wash skinny jeans, and brown flats with texture to balance the printed jacket. A charm bracelet continues the classic collegiate feel of the ensemble.

The longer I played with this jacket on Polyvore, the more I saw it as pretty neutral and versatile. I could totally see this with an ivory and navy Breton-striped tee and dark narrow jeans, I think it would look pretty fabulous with a band tee shirt with the neck cut up and vintage jeans or the brown leather pencil skirt, and I’d like to see this jacket buttoned up with a pleated skirt peeking out below and finished with ankle booties. This jacket looks great with textures – pair with suede, tweed, leather, lace, and cable-knit with ease. And don’t forget about the versatility of denim – be it polished denim trousers or your favorite well-worn dungarees, jeans will complement this print perfectly.

I hope some of these ensembles will get your creative sartorial juices flowing and I can’t wait to hear how you ended up styling your jacket!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Plus Sized Work Attire Options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

–>

My Wardrobe Today – Friday

White ruffle-front shirt – Ann Taylor (no longer available – similar)
Pleated skirt - Talbots (no longer available online – similar)
Leopard pumps - Nine West “Madeup” (no longer available – similar)
Gold bracelet – J. Crew via eBay
Black woven belt - Old Navy (no longer available)

Last night a box from Talbots arrived and I had no time to try on anything until this morning. This morning was a bit of a rush as that I spent far too much time on my couch watching the Royal Wedding! I yanked out this skirt just to see if it was as cute as I thought it was online and I LOVED it! I didn’t have much time to be creative with the pairing, but I can think of a dozen different ensembles to make with it! I will be having a full review of my recent Talbots order – hits and misses next week.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

What I Wore: Leopard with Stripes

wardrobe oxygen what i wore talbots leopard coat wardrobe oxygen what i wore stripes and leopard wardrobe oxygen what i wore leopard coat talbots alison gary wardrobe oxygen
Coat: c/o Talbots | Tee: Armor-Lux | Jeans: NYDJ | Booties: Cole Haan (similar style, same brand) | Bag: c/o Fossil | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I shared this Talbots coat in my Talbots Fall Look Book post and was so excited when they sent me one as a gift! This is more of a coat than an indoor jacket; it’s the perfect choice over dresses, blouses and trousers, but I love how it glams up a classic weekend look. I’ve always been a fan of mixing leopard with stripes (see here and here), and this coat’s fuzzy texture adds an additional layer of interest. This coat is a 12 Petite, lined and cozy enough for a brisk fall day; add a pashmina at the throat and leather gloves and it will be just enough until the weather gets frigid!

Current favorite red lip is actually two colors – I start with Revlon Matte Lipstick in ‘Really Red’ and top with Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in ‘Enticing.’ I find if I start with the Pixi lip primer/liner first, pat it in my finger, apply the lipstick and let it dry/set a bit, I keep the color all day and the Lacquer Balm refreshes it and adds shine.

My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Sweater – Banana Republic (similar)
Skirt - Ann Taylor (similar)
TightsNordstrom
Shoes - Talbots
Necklace – yard sale pendant on a chain from an Ann Taylor necklace
BraceletLauren Ralph Lauren

Recently Talbots had 50% off three or more accessories, including sale and including shoes. I got these shoes (and another pair I am still deciding on whether to keep) for only $39! What a score!  I know Talbots is having deals today as well – use code FIFTY to get half off a full-priced item and FRIENDS to get 30% off and free shipping on anything else.

Back to the grind, today at work has been pretty busy since everyone is back in the government and the office. While I loved an extra-long weekend, it does feel good to get back into the regular rhythm of work days.

Trench - DKNY
Bag – Sabina (similar)

Today in DC is near 70 degrees, but I brought my trench and wore tights because I know that it will get quite chilly when the sun sets (which is before 5pm these days!).

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

What I Wore: Summer Sheath

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Navy Dobbin Clothing Dress Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Talbots Purse Snakeskin wardrobe oxygen what I wore Dobbin Clothing
Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Necklace: Tasha | Shoes: c/o Sole Society | Bracelet: Nordstrom | Watch: Citizen | Bag: Talbots | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverz!

I’ve been wearing the heck out of this dress this year, but I realize this is the first time it’s on the blog (though you can see me wearing it on the Dobbin Clothing blog!). When it’s hot out, there’s nothing better than one-piece dressing to keep your cool! I love how the skirt of this dress is pleated so it sticks away from the body to be even more comfortable in the heat and humidity. While I’ve paired this dress with almost every pair of shoes in my wardrobe, today I kept it simple with same color heels so the accessories could shine. I bought this bag on clearance at Talbots and adore it as a shoulder bag or crossbody, and my peacock-print cast cover is by far my favorite!

Blogging Love – Interview!

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

You can check out the interview here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I Wore: Peacock Green

wardrobe oxygen what I wore black wide calf boots wardrobe oxygen what I wore green snakeskin bag talbots wardrobe oxygen what I wore green michael kors dress
Dress: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Tights: Spanx | Boots: Ros Hommerson ‘Maryland’ | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Bag: Talbots (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Come fall and winter, I love dresses like this. I have a leopard print dress also from MICHAEL Michael Kors (seen here and here) and find I reach for printed long-sleeved dresses to wear for blogger events, dinner with my girl friends, date night, and other similar occasions. When it’s warm, I wear with bare legs and pumps or booties and come the colder months I pair with thick tights and tall boots.  I’m such a sucker for peacock feather prints, and I thought it would be fun to pair with my green snakeskin bag.

Outlet Mall Shopping

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

Thursday

Attire:
Talbots – Black jersey wrap dress
Sofft – Black suede Mary Janes
Ann Taylor – Silver and crystal necklace
Silver necklaces, cuff and hoops

Hair:
Next day
Straightened with round brush and dryer on dry hair

Beauty:
Body Shop – Vitamin E Face Mist to prep/hydrate the skin
L’Oreal – True Match foundation in C3
Stila – Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer (the two mixed together)
Philosophy – The Supernatural Color Correctors in Light
Nars – Blush in Orgasm
Revlon – ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis (just the ivory)
Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black
Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara iN Rich Black
Clinique – Long Wear lipstick in Beauty

This is the same dress as my navy print one. I liked the other one so much, I went back and found it in black AND for less than $30! Seriously, Talbots is having some ridiculous sale items right now. I also got some ivory flannel wool trousers in a very classic cut for less than $20, originally $148. They are five pounds away from fitting well, and for that price I figured I could break my rule of buying things I do not yet fit into.

Monday – Stripes and Floral

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

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

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Thursday

Black jersey wrap dress from Talbots, black tall boots from Ros Hamerson, silver chain from Ralph Lauren, silver earrings from Treehouse, my silver cuff and chain with wedding band (put on after photo).
Hair is MUCH happier on Day 2, and obviously so am I.  By the way, this lipstick is Pink Chanpagne by Laura Mercier, and I utterly adore it.  I am on a big Laura Mercier kick recently – everything I purchase from the line I love.  This lipstick is the perfect pinky brown nudish color for me, and it goes on smoothly, has no weird smell or taste and stays on pretty well without drying out!

Tuesday

Ya’ll are lucky to get a picture. I went to sleep late, got up super early after E being fussy and hungry all night, and had to get to work early to complete an assignment for a meeting later today. I think this is how all of this week will be, so I may be MIA for many days. :(

Attire:
Talbots – Black jersey wrap dress
Duo – Bern boots in tan
Tolani – Blue Zig Zag Scarf
Silver jewelery

Hair:
next day, smoothed with round brush and dryer

Makeup:
Standard

Monday

White jeans from Caslon, raspberry heathered ribbed tank from Old Navy, navy cotton twill blazer from Talbots, tan thong leather heels from Mossimo. Silver hoops and cuff bracelet.

Hair is curly – Suave Professionals curly hair mousse, random pieces curled with iron, set with Sebastian Shaper Spray.

Makeup is Bare Minerals foundation, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer, Nars Orgasm blush, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral – ivory in the inner corners and khaki on the lids, on lips is Sally Hansen’s Diamond Lipgloss in Champagne Toast. oh, and L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara in black on curled lashes.

Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

Friday – When Life Gives You Lemons

Oxford - Lands’ End Canvas
Skirt - Talbots via eBay (similar)
ShoesBorn “Myndy”
Bracelet - Anthropologie (similar)
Bag – Belonged to my mom (similar)

Yesterday and today there is no A/C in our office, and my job requires me to be here in person to use certain technology. While it would be tempting to dress in the least amount of clothing possible, I decided instead to dress in 100% cotton so it would breathe. And really, with such a situation, one can’t think of the phrase, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade.” So I am creating lemonade with this cotton skirt I recently found on eBay!

Have a wonderful weekend, and for those in the US who have Monday off, enjoy the holiday!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Thursday – Chambray with Floral

Shirt - Target (similar)
PantsTalbots
ShoesMICHAEL Michael Kors “Flex” Pump
Bag - HOBO (similar)
SunglassesMarc by Marc Jacobs
Necklace and Ring – c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella & Dot

I was so excited to receive this necklace from Kristin Biggs, my Stella & Dot stylist, and was thrilled to also see she added this ring to the order.  I rarely wear rings because of my metal allergy, but this ring is adjustable so I can wear it loose and it has yet to irritate and is just too cute!  As you can see, Emerson loves the packaging – they came in the cutest boxes with plenty of padding, which Emerson says are “marshmallows.”

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook