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As America starts to open in select areas, I have decided to change my Friday Sale Alert posts to be a bit more… robust. These posts will be sort of like Weekend Reads with a variety of topics all categorized so you can scroll to the topics you're most interested in. I'm not sure about this name, so it may change but I plan to have this be a Friday series. I look forward to your feedback on what you think and what you'd like to see here. Yes, Wardrobe Oxygen is a professional monetized blog and I do make money based upon your purchases and shopping habits. But now more than ever, your trust and the ability to build an honest and supportive community are more valuable than any click. Looking forward to your thoughts!
I often share retail news in my Weekend Reads, but lately, the news is far more extensive, and it may determine where and how you shop. I'll be moving that sort of news to Friday's post.
R.I.P. Tuesday Morning (USA Today)
Retail may be struggling, but fine jewelry is having a moment. (Fashionista)
Did you know that Shopbop now has an Extended Sizing section? They now offer clothing up to 3XL or 22/24. Shopbop is an online boutique and don't have their own clothes but they curate a very cool girl collection of retailers and in the extended sizing department you'll see designers and brands like Veronica Beard, MOTHER, A.L.C., Rebecca Taylor, DL1961, Shoshanna, Veda, Vince, and Derek Lam 10 Crosby.
Have you entered a giveaway on Instagram where you need to follow 20+ different accounts to win the prize? Maybe the prize was for a Peloton, a Louis Vuitton bag, or even a car? Details about these kinds of giveaways, whether people win them (sometimes), and whether they're even legal. (Buzzfeed)
Wondering how beauty retailers are faring right now and who is going to make it through? (Retail Dive)
Walmart enters the clothing resale market with ThredUP partnership. (CNN)
J.C.Penney files for bankruptcy… and then starts a new home line? (Retail Dive)
For those curious about how J. Crew ended up filing for bankruptcy, this article has a great timeline of the brand (Retail Dive) and this podcast also delves into it. (NPR's Planet Money)
What I Got and What I Thought
This was part of the last few Friday Sale Alerts, and many of you let me know you appreciated the more in-depth thoughts and reviews even if it was a fail. I won't have this every week because I'm not shopping that often. I'm toying with the idea of having you readers be able to submit your own purchase and review with a photo, but need to figure out what that would look like. Let me know what you think of that idea.
I was sitting at my computer in my J. Crew sundress, the one that cost way more than I usually spend even on a cocktail dress and just thinking… I never would have bought this last summer. I would have bought five different dresses less than $90 and closer to $65 and all of them would be… fine. Maybe it fit weird, maybe the print was a bit too precious for my taste, maybe it was a bit too long or too short. I'd end up with five because each time I wore one, I'd be frustrated or disappointed by it and return to my computer to find a better alternative. And then in October as I pack up my summer wardrobe I look at those dresses and throw them into the Poshmark pile (usually the last one bought which is in the best condition and usually the best quality/most expensive) or the Goodwill pile (at least three of the dresses that let me down). But this summer, I will be spending most of my time inside my four walls so why do I need so much and why not buy what will truly make me happy. And dagnabit if this dress isn't making me happy every time I wear it. I think of the kinds of clothes I always want but never get because either they don't make them in my size, or they are not in my price range. All the mediocre clearance sh*t I've bought over the years… if I never bought any of it I'd likely have enough money to get a lot of the things I wanted.
I'm thinking this and I receive an email from one of my reps at an influencer company letting me know about the sales taking place Memorial Day weekend and on the list is Alice + Olivia. I mentioned the sale in last week's Friday Sale Alert… and then I clicked on my link and went to check it out. So many times over the years I have seen cute clothes while scrolling through online boutiques or Instagram, so many times I've googled what someone is wearing on a TV show and it's Alice + Olivia. I'm going to see what they have available in my size. I've tried the line through Rent the Runway and failed Nordstrom orders and know it runs small, at least on the higher end of the size range, so I am looking for loose and stretch and oversized and oh em gee, is that an orange (my favorite color) off the shoulder (my kryptonite, like seriously look through my archives, I love a Flashdance moment) sweater? It's on sale for $148 when it was originally $330, and a final sale. On my J. Crew expensive dress totally worth it high, I justify the purchase of this orange off the shoulder sweater, even though it's not really what I want. What I really want is it to be cashmere, not a cotton/acrylic/wool blend and I don't like a foldover neckline but this I have a feeling this will be cool.
It's not cool. Like seriously, this is not cool. It may be cool on a lithe 20-something who buys it one size larger and pulls it over her boyshorts and slips into her furry slippers and takes a mirror selfie of herself looking bored but it's not cool on a 45-year old mom. Depending on how you style it, it's either really tryhard or it's dorky AF. Yanked-down on both shoulders like I'm going to a Lita Ford concert, or let both slide up and I'm wearing a heavy knit cowl neck that I swear my mom owned in 1992. Did I mention this is a final sale? I'll be Poshmarking this, hoping to make a 20-something in furry slippers very happy.
I share often my love for Athleta. The quality is really stellar, but I also appreciate they have clothing for a variety of activities and in extended sizes. They could do better, but they're doing better than most and I appreciate how it's an easy brand to shop, especially if like me, you have a whole family that wears the Gap family of brands. So I have this top in plum, and the matching capri leggings. You can see me wear the pair in this blog post. Now that summer is coming, I want some bike shorts for the Peloton, and was thinking a pair of plum ones to match the top would be cute. Knowing I like a 5″ twill short on my 5'3″ frame and not owning bike shorts in over a decade, I got these because they were 5″. I worried longer shorts would be too long and rub on the back of my knee.
I got the shorts in a Large, all my leggings are size large. They fit just like the plum leggings, they have pockets, they looked so cute with the top. I got dressed and got on the bike. Not even a minute in, the shorts start rolling up. I'm trying to ride while trying to roll down my shorts because on Peloton there is no pause button. I can't get them to stay down and I did an entire 30-minute class with these plum shorts rolled up to where my legs join my torso, like a plum spandex diaper. That being said, if I wasn't spinning… say in the future I take a fitness class… I'd wear them. But based on this purchase I now know I want them 8″ in length and also of a thinner fabric.
There are fewer sales this weekend since it's not Memorial Day, but there are still some good deals to be had:
- Ann Taylor: 65% off what they call wear-now styles available at this link. Also an additional 65% off sale merchandise. I've already addressed my love for off the shoulder tops so I of course am eyeing this one. This is the perfect throw on summer blazer to wear with a graphic tee and jeans, with Bermuda shorts and a silk shell, with wide-leg trousers and an ivory blouse, heck it would even look chic over overalls! And if you want something that's not a slipper and is glam and fun for home or for when you do return to the real world, I've got the shoe for you.
- Anthropologie: An extra 25% off clothes, shoes, and accessories. One of y'all needs to buy this jumpsuit I want so bad but sold out in my size a month ago. This dress is really cute and read the reviews, someone I think clicked the wrong number of stars causing the rating to look lower than it is. And this tie-dye and embroidered knit top is the kind of non-tee t-shirt you always wish you had more of in your closet.
- Banana Republic: 40% off women's styles and 50% off sale styles. My absolute favorite straw hat is Banana Republic from two years ago. Great fit, color, shape, and mailed without being crushed so I am admiring this fedora. I love the idea of a lightweight Tencel short in a classic twill silhouette; these have a wearable 8″ length and come in some nice colors and a good size range.
- Follain: If you're interested in clean beauty, this is the place to go. Unlike many clean beauty destinations which offer a single brand or everything good and bad from every brand, Follain has their own products but also curates specific items, not entire beauty lines but individual products they've found truly effective. Get 10% off your first order with promo code WELCOME10. They're also offering a mini Instant Glow Body Oil & Free Shipping if you spend at least $80.
- J. Crew: 50% off warm-weather picks at this link.
- J.Jill: 40% off dresses and cardigan, 30% off everything else, promo code 30UNWIND.
- Supergoop: Get 20% off all SPF products at this link with promo code SUNSALE.
- Talbots: Get 40% off regularly priced items, no code needed.
- Universal Standard: They have their Kate Twill Jumpsuit on sale $50 off. I have this jumpsuit; you can see me wear it last summer in this post, and in this post I style the jumpsuit for winter.
Small Business Mask Maker
Now that the country is opening up, there's definitely a need for masks. Masks need to be washed between wears, so you may be looking for retailers that offer cloth masks to add to your collection. Here I will share different small businesses that are offering face masks. As the situation changes, so will this section of the post.
This week I am featuring Second Base. Second Base is one of the first companies that ever reached out to me and offered me free product. We're talking… 2007? Their founder Jennie sent me one of their demi camis and I wore that thing almost every week to work under all my wrap dresses and low-neck sweaters. I wanted the modesty of a cami under such clothes but as someone who runs hot, I didn't want to deal with another layer on my stomach. Second Base makes half-camis in a variety of styles and fabrics and they are so well made (and made here in the USA) that my one Second Base cami didn't leave my wardrobe until the birth of my child. While my style doesn't really need demi camis now, I continue to recommend this brand, which has extended to now carry some apparel and slips. This week I received this email from Jennie Horn, the founder of Second Base:
“As the needs of the world have shifted from fashion and fun to essential protection, we decided to quickly shift our supply chain to meet those needs. Spring and summer are normally our busiest time, and we rely on the boost in sales to carry us through the year. In order to support our vendors and employees, we have pivoted to making personal face coverings. In the process of creating masks, we are also giving back, contributing meals to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank on a weekly basis. We have been manufacturing these face coverings in our downtown factory since April and are now shipping in 1-3 days!” You can shop their face masks, which come in original and youth sizes, at this link.
I also enjoyed this new format! Your sweater fiasco made me laugh. While I don’t do off the shoulder (probably because I’ve had a chest that has always required a great deal of architecture and pulleys and rigging, ha!) – I LOVE anything orange (my favorite color as well), as well as neons or really saturated colors like poppy red or a cobalt blue. I purchased my first items from Athleta last weekend from a link that I think you had posted to their sale items and how on earth have I not bought anything there before. I am so impressed with my two lougewear sweatshirt type items. Curious to see how they wash and wear but for now I am a big fan!
Not sure when you changed your Wardrobe Oxygen logo, but I just noticed it and I like it a lot. Nice refresh.
Really enjoyed how you structured today’s post! The idea of reader hits & misses sounds fun too. I’ll be honest—I’d love to send a few to you but would not be comfortable wearing them for blog pics . Just not comfortable putting myself out there like that. I’d also love to have readers send you pics of purchases so you could give styling suggestions sometimes.
Allie, you cracked me up today. As a child of the 80s, I loved your admission about your weakness for a Flashdance moment. And your mom’s 1992 cowl neck sweater, and so many other gems in this post like the bike shorts rolling up. Girl, I have been there. I needed this today!
I love the extended format of the Friday Shop – Friday Shop Talk might make a fun title if you’re looking for input. I like the idea of readers submitting their “hits and misses.” One thing that really hit home again while reading this post, though, is that I love YOUR style. You have a certain filter for quality, prints that don’t look cheesy or cheap, good cut, etc. So maybe you could put out a call for a certain item, brand, clothing type (e.g. 5″ twill shorts, two piece bathing suits from lands end, etc) and have readers submit their reviews of specific items? I guess you’d have to make sure the submittals are from folks who don’t have a monetary interest in the product selling (i.e. cabi pushers which honestly turn me off a whole lot when they comment). Thanks for writing this awesome blog- I’ve been reading for close to 8 years now.
I love this format, Allie, in particular What I Thought and your hilarious commentary! Ditto to the other commenter who said she loves that you aren’t 19 and 110 pounds and you focus on what makes you feel good. I’ve loved your blog for many years and you just keep on killin’ it. Nicely done.
I love the idea of you having readers model their purchases – especially the failures. I learn the most from the failures.
Thanks for all you do Alison!
I love this idea too! The Wardrobe Oxygen FB Community has so many great recommendations and reviews, but I’ve been trying to limit my time on FB these days and with the algorithm being what it is I feel like I never see those posts anymore. Hopefully this is something you will be able to incorporate into your daily posts, or if not maybe Instagram?
Linda Peronto says
I found your blog about a year ago. And because you appear to be “fairly” normal(!) I started following your posts. I found THE J Crew sundress and ordered it. Yes, it was pricey, but it makes me happy. I don’t know where or when I will wear it (maybe a cruise) but I love it. It should be called the smile maker, as every time I see it is the closet I smile.
I think what I enjoy about your column is the honesty and the fact that you are not 19 and 110 pounds. At my age 65+ I do not try to imagine myself in most clothes or without the pounds I have added over the years. I just want to look nice and feel pretty. Many of your suggestions lead me to those results.
I think I would like you as a friend.
Thank you for your honesty.
“ plum spandex diaper” made me absolutely laugh out loud, I’ve been there! I LOVE the bike shorts from US, but they may be too long for you – they are a good length for me, and I’m 5’11”.
I love Athleta but unless their shorts have the grippy tape inside the legs they will roll up. I wear their running skirts with shorts underneath and make sure the legs have the grip. That stuff is magic.
Kathryn Fenner says
Me, too about LOL, and I am 5’10” so good to know about the bike shorts!
I like this! I’m trying to be more conscious about where my money is going now. And trying to be mindful of quality over quantity. We’ve teased that this has been a trial run for empty nesting (I need a hobby). I appreciate knowing more back side of what’s going on.
I do wear the longer athleta shorts on the Peloton but my favorite shorts to wear are these super cheap lightweight cotton bike shorts I got on Amazon in a package of three! Not exactly slow fashion but they work !
Ann Marie says
I bought a straw panama hat on sale in August two years ago at the Gap and it was the best purchase I made. Unlike baseball hats, it breathes and it protects my face and neck from the sun. It also covers my hair, which usually looks terrible in the high humidity. I never leave home without it on weekends or when I am otherwise running errands.
As for bike shorts, you need shorts that have an elastic at the bottom. That prevents them from rolling up. I highly suggest getting real bike shorts made for cycling. They come in different lengths and will not ride up. They also have padding, which stops you from getting saddle sore.
Alison Gary says
Yep, I do need that elastic but I don’t want the padding and it’s hard to find one without the other. I haven’t gotten saddle sore, though I did with my road bike. I don’t want any extra padding or layers there and am struggling. Think I’ll be ordering from Miami Fit Wear which gets great reviews!
If you order from Miami Fit, I’d love a review of their shorts. I like 5” shorts for rowing, and I had great luck with the Gap compression shorts last summer, but they are sold out (and no fun colors). You saved me from ordering the Athleta ones! The Girlfriend Collective shorts also came up in the WO group, so now I’m deciding between those and Miami Fit. Finally-your thoughts on colorful dresses and summer cardigans is spot-on for what I’m perusing for my summer WFH wardrobe.
Ann DD says
Hi Jane – I own some of the 5″ shorts from Miami Fitwear and love them. They’re high rise and definitely don’t fall down. I don’t remember having issues with the legs rolling or sliding up, but I do have stick-legs. I’m a 14-sh and buy a Large. I’m a little over 5’7″, and the shorts are mid-thigh on me. The fabric is lightweight and slinky, not a heavy/brushed. If you have other questions, I’d be happy to answer.
Ann DD says
YAY for Miami Fitwear! I love them so much, the prints are really fantastic.
I love Planet Money and have been telling everyone about that J.Crew episode. So nuts!!
I LOVE your J.Crew tiered dress. I actually have the cheaper version they make (in Bronzed Spice) and recommend it as well. I look so put together with no effort. I was thinking of finding a wide brim straw hat and just.. walking around my neighborhood all fabulous because I have nowhere to go?
Thanks as always for your honesty and thoughtfulness.
Alison Gary says
I figure with the hat I’ll wear it on walks and in the yard because I still need sun protection, and might as well look gaw-geous when doing it! 🙂