Recent Fashion Purchases – Hits and Misses

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

L.L. Bean Deerfield Rustic Harness Boot

L.L. Bean Deerfield Rustic Harness Boot

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

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

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

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

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

Myne Heidi Dress Black

Myne ‘Heidi’ Dress

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

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

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

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

Eileen Fisher Silk Ankle Pants Review

Eileen Fisher Silk Ankle Pants

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

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

Glamorous Sweatshirt Dress from Nordstrom in Gray

Glamorous Sweatshirt Tunic Dress

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

Caslon Sweatshirt Dress review

Caslon Roll Sleeve Sweatshirt Dress

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

LOFT Crocheted Poncho Review

LOFT Crocheted Poncho

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

LOFT Tunic Blouse Review

LOFT Petite Tunic Blouse

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

LOFT Peppered Wool Trouser review

LOFT Peppered Tweed Wide-Leg Trousers in Julie Fit

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

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



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  1. I bought a pair of black boots from Hautelook before Christmas Elaine Turner Rowan. They are great! I been looking for a low heeled boot to replace my current pair and these are great. No zipper though a true pull on boot. Also in black a North Face thermoball vest. I didn’t want a real puffy one and in fact wore it under my down vest at the last Packer game.
    I did have a miss on a leopard print stretchy tee from Chicos I saw on another blog. The cut is just odd. I can alter it for a better fit but haven’t done so yet.

  2. I’ve had a run of good purchases since the holidays, which is good because they were drastically needed. My closet is looking like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard these days. I have really finicky issues with shoes because of an ongoing back injury and nerve problems, but I picked up a pair of flat black leather Chelsea boots on sale on Amazon (and paid with a gift card no less!) that I’m LOVING. They’re by Easy Spirit, who I usually shy away from because they just scream “old” to me, and they’re so comfortable and sleek and cute. I also finally got a long Land’s End packable down coat because I’ve been freezing my butt off on the train, even in Texas, and two more pairs of the Avenue Virtual Stretch jeans that I love that are as comfortable as yoga pants and make my butt look AWESOME.

    1. Three cheers for comfortable jeans that make butts look great! And your other two purchases sound fantastic; I’ve stopped judging a shoe company by its reputation after my Rockport Tiffany-blue snakeskin peeptoe wedges. They’re mega fierce and as comfy as slippers and these days comfort is moving up in regard to priority in my life!

      1. Avenue is incredibly hit or miss, and the quality can often be iffy, but these jeans are like a godsend. I recommend them highly for the plus-size girl who wants a good pair of skinny jeans that don’t feel like sausage casings. The Land’s End purchase was solely because of your previous reviews, I must say. And I love it…it’s light, super warm, and fits like a dream. I wish they’d had the wine color in stock when I ordered, but black will at least go with everything.

        And YES to comfort. I love wearing a fashionable outfit, but the prolonged agony that accompanies wearing basically anything with a heel now just is not worth it for me. I am sad that I’ve been writing off ES for so long because it looks like they have some super cute options now. They’ve come a long way since the days of orthopedic-looking shoes. I’m going to have to check out those Rockports…

  3. Too bad about the boots and the sweatshirt tunic. At first glance I was expecting both to work on you. All of the drapy-frumpy items are poison for me, too. I think any of us with softer shapes tend to feel sloppy in that kind of thing, which is too bad because uber-tall, willowy models make them look so tempting.

    1. So true, but I also have a cashmere sweater dress and a sweatshirt dress in what I thought was the same shape and while they don’t make me look like Marilyn Monroe or tall and willowy, they’re cute and flattering with a heeled boot or bare legs come spring/summer. But yeah, these two look FAR better on the Nordstrom models than my short round self! 🙂

      1. Oh, my latter sentence was more about the two pair of trousers and the blouse. I made a left turn without signaling! I also have sweater/sweatshirt dresses that look great on me–it’s all about the fit and the way the fabric drapes, for sure.

  4. I LOVE the look of the Myne dress! I’d love to see a picture of you in it to see what it looks like on a shorter figure (I’m 5’1).

    1. As soon as I wear it I will be sure to share it, may share just how it fits on Instagram in the near future! And also Kim Kardashian is 5’3″; it hits right at ankle bone on me, about the same as the pics I found online of Kim Kardsahian, google “Kim Kardsahian Myne Heidi” and you’ll see her wearing it in black, cream, pink, and more. Based on how it fits her, I’m thinking she sized up and had it tailored, that’s why it’s so low cut on her.

  5. That maxi dress is not at all the kind of thing I like but what I LOVE is you writing ‘My soft curves made it look way better on me than the model.’ That you don’t only accept that you don’t look like a model but can still be attractive, but actually have the confidence to believe that sometimes you look better than a model. Go girl!

  6. What a fun post! Love the drapey dress. Maybe even my 5′,1″ self could pull that off. I’m headed out today to shop for a casual dress to wear to a brunch this Sunday. I’d like something I can wear with ankle boots and tights and that doesn’t make me look like I’m trying too hard to be an age I haven’t been for quite a while. Wish me luck. I’m petite, so proportion is everything. Dresses are hard for me for some reason. It boggles.

      1. Good idea Carrie, a belt (skinny or wide) not only makes a look more sophisticated, it helps with tailoring when you don’t have time or $ for alterations. If the belt, tights, and boots are all the same color it would give a chic and pulled-together look. Also I think a shift that ends right at the top of the kneecaps with sleeves and a boatneck could also look great with ankle boots and tights and look chic and age-appropriate. 🙂

  7. LOVE the dress! I grabbed the Frye Jenna Disc Short boots in black on Haute Look and I LOVE them. I live in them on the weekend and it gives me a little bit of that rocker edge I love. Found the brown and congnac ones on 6pm for $250: I’ve been eying an Eileen Fisher alpaca/silk grey poncho since the day after Xmas. It’s on sale for 50% off and still $240. I bought a CK poncho in December that I also love, but I can’t get my mind off the EF one. It’s just $240…

    1. Oh those boots are fun! As for the poncho, do you need it? It is drastically different from the one you have so it has a completely different effect, or will it be “Carrie and her ponchos?” I ask because I had this very conversation with myself after realizing I have three ponchos right now, and was considering a fourth but realized that would make me Poncho Allie. The three I have are completely different in shape, material, cut, and color but there is no way I could add a fourth and justify it and have it look different. If you can say yes, it’s different and it’s not going to make you Poncho Carrie, and you are comfortable with that price with your budget, then consider because 50% off is good for Eileen Fisher and I know the line is good quality. 🙂

      1. “Carrie and her ponchos” LOL. Thanks for a good Monday chuckle! I’m fascinated by ponchos right now and can’t decide if my busty frame can handle it. I’m a crocheter so I’ve been contemplating making one but I don’t want to look like I’m wearing a doily. 🙂 Decisions decisions! Great post!

        1. I’m pretty busty and I find that the ones with a flatter weave and a tad more length so they drape down and don’t stick out after the bust are the best ones. I also like the ones open in front, more like a cape/coat help with the bust issue. 🙂

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