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I know I am not the only one who has fallen in love with the clothing brand Universal Standard. Offering elevated wardrobe staples and unique silhouettes in sizes 00-40, Universal Standard is striving to democratize fashion. As an influencer, I was happy to see how they have handled all that is going on in our country right now and that they have done something unprecedented – they have printed their rate card for working with influencers on their website. I can't think of ANY other brand I have worked with in my 15 years that has EVER done something like this.
All this, and the Universal Standard sample sale is happening right now with up to 75% off items. This sale runs through August 2, 2020. AND if you use promo code wardrobe_oxygen10 at checkout you get an additional 10% off your purchase!
How to Shop the Universal Standard Sample Sale
Shop quick, and shop with care. Items sell out quickly at these amazing reduced prices, but all sales are final. However, if you end up making a purchase you regret don't stress too much. Universal Standard clothing has a high resale value.
I often sell my old Universal Standard pieces on Poshmark, the Wardrobe Oxygen Community has created a Sale and Swap group on Facebook where US pieces are often shared, and there is even a Universal Standard-specific Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook.
What are the Best Buys at the Universal Standard Sample Sale?
I own a LOT of Universal Standard; I've been wearing the brand since 2017 and it has only improved with time (as has my style… yeah don't think I'd wear that combo today!). I was even in their video when they launched petites. If you click this link you can see all my posts where I've worn and reviewed Universal Standard. For reference, I wear an XS 99% of the time with Universal Standard and I am usually a 14 or 14 petite in other brands. When US has had petite I have chosen that.
For jeans, I wear a 10 with US and with their pants if it's a single number I've done best with 12. I am 5'3″. While yes, I do many a commission on Universal Standard (if you click on one of my links and make a purchase I will earn a percentage of that purchase), I continue to promote this brand because you have let me know you too love the brand. So I am sharing what from the Universal Standard Sample Sale I own or have owned and what I think:
Tops, Blouses, Tees, Sweaters, Etc. in the Universal Standard Sample Sale
- Rosa Twist Tee: I think this top provides a super cool neckline and the jersey is fantastic. It washes up great, I have it in black and it the color has remained saturated even though it has been washed often and even put in the dryer. Only thing is on my body my bra strap shows, it doesn't hide under the knot. I have safety pinned it, but that's a pain. However, my taller friend has the top and finds no issue with it covering her strap. You can see me wearing it in this blog post. I also wore it in this Instagram post.
- Thames Fog Top: If in doubt, size down even though it's sheer. It's created for your shape, so don't worry that it will be too tight. I say this because I did this, thinking it wouldn't accommodate my larger arms and bust and it ended up too big for the right effect. But this is such a cool piece – put under dresses, wear over tanks, knot over a dress, it is surprisingly versatile and can look elegant, sexy, goth, rock, or romantic depending on how you style it.
- Curve Cardi: This is a beautiful weight and quality of merino wool and feels incredibly expensive. However, on my 5'3″ self it hit at all the wrong places. This is better for a person at least 5'6″ so the curve hits in a cool spot and the sleeves aren't too long. The curve detail isn't too obvious, this could be a staple you wear for years and when unbuttoned you don't even notice the curve detail. You can see me wear it in this blog post.
- Tee Rex: This is my favorite t-shirt. I own several of this shirt, and have some that are over a year old, been in the dryer, and still look like new. I love the sleeve length, the neck width, the silky yet opaque and not clingy knit. The pale pink is quite pretty; I also have the pale pink from Everlane and this is a much lovelier color and I am not a pale pink fan. It's an unexpected neutral and very on trend right now, looking really good with black, gray, olive, white, cream, and denim.
- V Rex: Same cut but with a v-neck. I personally love a v-neck that is a bit lower so it shows a bit of cleavage, but that's a personal choice. Otherwise all I said about the Tee Rex hols true for the V Rex, it's a great shirt!
- Elbe Shirt: If like me you enjoy the look of a crisp button-front shirt but find such a top doesn't work for your curves, this is the shirt for you. It's a popover, so no buttons across the torso which gives a more streamlined look and I think looks nice untucked. The buttons are strategically placed, the shirt is crisp but has stretch and doesn't get wrinkly. I had it and wore it often (see me in it above) but ended up getting rid of it because it didn't really fit my work from home lifestyle. As a petite woman, the sleeves were too long but I liked them rolled up. You can see me wear it in this blog post.
- Knit Elbe Shirt: I can't find any photos of me in the knit version of this shirt but I had it and liked it but didn't keep it because it felt too formal/corporate for my work from home lifestyle. If I still worked in an office, I'd totally rock it with wide-leg trousers or even jeans. It's really comfy yet looks really polished and fits curves beautifully. The caramel color is like a bronze which is super chic and looks great with colors like plum, purple, berry, camel, and teal as well as neutrals like black, navy, ivory, and denim.
- Abigail Top: I LOVEEEEE this top. I did a closet cleanout at the beginning of our stay at home orders and this remained. It's a beautiful weight, all silky inside and crepe on the outside. It looks great tucked in, looks great left out, it's so subtle you can wear under a blazer or let it stand alone. This feels like a piece that costs way more. With some ivory or cream wide-leg pants and pointed-toe flat mules, this would be the kind of chic outfit you have for random social situations from client meetings to cocktail parties to a date night to a small gathering at a friend's home. You can see me wear it in this blog post.
- Foundation Long Sleeve Crew Tee: I had this in the black and white stripe and while I LOVE the Foundation line, I don't love this tee. The sleeves are super long, the cuffs a bit snug, and the stripes looked like an optical illusion in a bad way. Seriously, I own several other Foundation pieces long and short sleeved and this is the only one that I didn't like.
- Maria Merino Wook Turtleneck: I also LOVEEEEEE this turtleneck. I think it was the most worn sweater in my wardrobe this past winter. Scroll through my archives you'll see it many times. It washed beautifully, it fit my bust and arms, the neck wasn't restricting, I may get it in green since it's on such a good sale. This is a wardrobe classic. You can see me wear it in this blog post.
- Viva Boatneck Top: I love this blouse and have worn it often. It's basic but not. It's silky but still work appropriate. It looks pretty tucked in or left out and it is machine washable. I had it in multiple colors, after my closet cleanout I kept it in ivory but the other colors are also lovely. You can see me wear this blouse in this blog post and this blog post.
- Vienna Dolman Sleeve Tee: This isn't anything revolutionary but I do have it in glossy black and like that it's a satiny shiny blouse/tee that fits great and is versatile. If you want a bit of shine or polish without frou-frou this is a great choice. It's a nice piece under a blazer or cardigan, worn with trousers or a skirt, it fits curves nicely. It's nothing that will stop people in their tracks, but it's a good wardrobe basic and that good thing to put under a black suit to take it from corporate to cocktail.
- Michaela Pleated Top: The fabric is gorgeous, the sleeves and bust fit beautifully. I got rid of this top because there's this gathering at the waist that makes it hard to tuck in and unless you have a true apple shape may add bulk at the midsection and right where you actually go in. Granted, I am 5'3″ and maybe this gathering would be a better location on a taller person. If this top didn't have the gathering I would still have it and be rocking it on a regular basis. You can see it on me in this post where I did tuck it in, but it wasn't perfect.
Dresses and Jumpsuits in the Universal Standard Sample Sale
- Kate Twill Jumpsuit: I've worn this jumpsuit many times. At 5'3″ I did use Stitch Witchery to shorten the legs. You can see me wear it for summer in this post and winter in this post. it has held up beautifully even when thrown in the dryer.
- Isabelle Luxe Twill Sheath Dress: Universal Standard sent me this dress and I didn't think I'd like it. Then I put it on and didn't want to take it off. Luxe twill sounds like fancy chinos, but the fabric is more like a suiting fabric, that kind of fabric you can glam up with pearls and heels or wear on the weekend with a denim jacket and sneakers. But inside… it's this silky satiny elegant fabric that feels so good against your skin. And it gives it this weight that feels so expensive and gives great drape. I love this dress. You can see me wear it in this blog post. I think the dove grey is super elegant and perfect for work, summer weddings, and would look great with a denim jacket, a pair of tan sandals, a wood bead necklace, and other ways to make it three-season casual.
- Geneva Dress: This is the dress that got me hooked on Universal Standard and now I own three – Marine, Berry, and Forest Green. I wear them around the house. I throw on metallic Birkenstocks and a pair of hoops to leave the house. I've worn it with heeled sandals and a cool necklace to meet clients for drinks, I've worn it with a denim jacket and ankle booties in the fall, with a blazer and pumps, I've hiked it up on my hips and worn with jeans like a tunic. Last summer when we went on a road trip to Philadelphia, NYC, and Vermont I took two of these dresses and they got worn like crazy and did well being hand-washed in hotel sinks and thrown in a laundromat dryer. You can see me wear it at this post.
- Avenir Dress: This is a cool dress. It's crepe on the top with a strip of silky fabric on the bottom. It feels like you're wearing nothing but it doesn't cling. It looks modern and cool and expensive but you can roll it up into a suitcase. You can see it on me in this post.
- Rivers Wrap Dress: I love this dress… it just didn't work for my 5'3″ self. You can see me wear it in this blog post. After seeing the photos I gave myself some tough love and got rid of the dress because it clearly is too long/tall for me. But it's a beautiful dress in a gorgeous color.
- Samantha Caftan Dress: I made the mistake of getting this in the snake print. The black strip down the center really ruined it for me, it distracted the eye in a not-good way. I think if it was plain black I would have liked it. The fabric is heavy and silky and gorgeous, it has pockets, the neckline isn't too long. Honestly, if I kept it in the snakeskin I would be wearing it now around the house feeling like a luxury goddess. I'm tempted to get it in solid black during this sale.
Pants, Skirts, Jeans, Leggings, Etc. in the Universal Standard Sample Sale
- Seine High Rise Skinny Jeans: These are some of the best jeans I have ever owned. They are a great fit, great denim, they hold up nicely, they feel comfortable and they make me feel confident. Size down; I wear a 10 in these and wear a 14 in brands like Gap and J. Crew. I am not the only one to love these jeans, they are a favorite across the internet and in the Wardrobe Oxygen Community. The most recent photo of me wearing these jeans is this Instagram post but seriously, there must be a dozen posts on this blog with me wearing Seine jeans.
- Mosman Leatherette Skirt: I don't have a photo of me in this because this skirt was too long for my 5'3″ self, but it's a GORGEOUS skirt. I have never experienced such luxe leatherette as I have from Universal Standard, and then to also have it fit my curves is a major plus. The faux wrap style is what made it not work for me as it ended up hitting at my calf. But if you're taller, this skirt is a beauty!
- Sillaro Vegan Pencil Skirt: Again, this skirt is stunning. It's well made, it fits curves, it has a bit of stretch without stretching out, it looks like real leather, it doesn't make weird fake leather noises, it's so luxe. You can see me wear it in this Instagram post.
- Lynn Luxe Twill Pencil Skirt: If you love the look of a pencil skirt but can never find one that's not made out of scuba fabric to accommodate your curves, this skirt is for you. It's brilliantly designed to make you feel like you're from Mad Men. It has a wide waistband, genius seaming, and is made from a very elegant fabric perfect for conservative workplaces or dressy occasions, has a stretchy lining, and is just plain chic. You can see me wear it in this post.
- Danube Jersey Skirt: I received this for a promo once. It fit great, but it's too bodycon for my personal style aesthetic. It's very fitted. If you like ponte and scuba fitted skirts, this is a great alternative that isn't shiny.
- Emma Pants: I LOVE THESE PANTS! I have had them tailored twice and plan to get them tailored again since my body again has changed because I love them and wear them all the time. They're lightweight and high waisted and comfy and cool. I've worn them with a sweater, I've worn them with a graphic tee, I've worn them with a blouse. They look great with a lot of suiting fabric so you can pair them with a solid blazer for a nice suit. I wish they had these pants in other colors and prints, I'd buy them all.
- Farrah Velvet Pants: I bought this suit this past winter and thought it was so cool. The pants were a good length on me (you can see me wear the velvet suit in this blog post), loved the pockets, they were slouchy cool. But they run a bit big and as my body changed they didn't look as good. I considered tailoring them but the jacket really looked weird on me so I decided to just get rid of the suit alltogether. But these are cool pants, they'd look so chic with a black turtleneck or crewneck and a pair of black ankle booties! Or a graphic tee and blazer or denim jacket and some sneakers…
Blazers, Coats, and Jackets in the Universal Standard Sample Sale
- Bianca Velvet Blazer: As I mentioned above, I bought this blazer and the matching pants this past winter and LOVED the look and wore it a couple of times. But my body has changed and it no longer works for me. I think I'd need this blazer both a size smaller and tailored. But it's a great fit for petite bodies, for those with curves. I've seen others in this blazer and it looks AMAZING. I think it would be cool with a t-shirt and jeans, but it makes a glam suit. A “friend” (hard to say that about people I've never met, someone I've connected with years ago on social media) has the set in the gold color and wore it to a Roaring '20s party with pearls and a headpiece and it was one of the chicest looks I saw on the ‘gram all last year. And a black velvet pantsuit is the perfect thing to have for evening weddings, cocktail parties, holiday galas, and all those social events you never know what to wear but want to look great but also be comfy and warm.
- Meg Short Blazer: When I was a 14/16 I found this to be the best blazer ever. I like the bracelet-length sleeves and how they didn't pinch when I bent my arms. I loved the fabric which seemed to work with so many trousers already in my closet but not too shiny to wear with jeans and a t-shirt. I only got rid of it when I went down a size. I had the US Rio blazer so it didn't make sense for me to buy another black blazer. But for those who had the restricting feeling of many blazers may like this one! You can see me wear it in this blog post.
- Sophia Puffer Bomber: I adore this jacket. It seems so simple, but it's pretty perfect. It's not bulky, but it's warm. It's not shiny or overly trendy and unlike many bombers, doesn't make me look like a box. I think I wore this bomber more than any other coat this past winter and early spring. It's a good travel coat; it was my pillow on a cross-country flight and perfect when we got to high altitudes when hiking Joshua Tree National Park in January. This is not a coat for freezing cold weather as it hits at the waist, has no collar or hood, and isn't super heavy. But it's that perfect coat for 40-60 degrees. You can see me wear it in this blog post and this blog post.
- Kanda Puffer: I also wore the heck out of this coat this past winter. I have it in black and Universal Standard gifted it to me during a promotion. I thought it was kind of weird but it totally grew on me. I ended up cutting off the ties because they were at an awkward place for my short arms, but without the ties it was worn all the time. It's lightweight but super warm and the silhouette is so cool and modern. If you do cut off the ties, at least with the black one, take a sharpie to the bit of white lining that shows and it will stay black even when you wash the jacket. You can see me wear the jacket in this post.
I am not paid to write this post about the Universal Standard sample sale, I wrote this blog post a PSA as I know it's scary to shop a sample sale when the purchases are final. Do share your feedback on the Universal Standard sample sale items in the comments to help out other readers, and be sure to stop by the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook where we often discuss this brand as well as other fashion retailers!
I’ve been intrigued by the Curve Cardi for a while. I’m only 5’1″, so maybe I should pass. I do have a longer torso though, but yes the sleeves wouldn’t be ideal. I do wish US would offer more petite sizing, even for tops.
You look fantastic in that green velvet suit! Love brunettes in that color.
The Kanda puffer is $50 today (7/23)! I tried it via Rent the Runway, and at this price I could not resist.
Bonnie Grove says
Whelp, I waited too long. Everything I was interested in is out in my size! Boo. That’s the universe telling me I don’t need more clothes… 🙂
Thank you so much for this post! I checked out the sample sale and felt overwhelmed – this will help me focus on getting just what will work best for me size-wise, as we are both the same height. 🙂 Petites are tricky with US – some things I prefer from them in regular sizes, some petite. You introduced me to US and I have bought from them many times since – even more now that I am staying home. The feel of fabric and the quality of an item means more to me now that I am buying and wearing fewer things.
Marilyn M Mason says
Having problems utilizing your discount code! Enjoy following your suggestions and comments. Can you help with this?
Alison Gary says
Let me know if you still are, I haven’t heard any issues. It needs that underscore wardrobe_oxygen10. If it continues email me and I’ll work with US and you to help 🙂
I love US! I bought a curve cardi and their trench that I have been wanting for over a year in the sample sale.
Just an FYI for any of your taller readers: I’m quite tall (5’10), wear an XS in Universal Standard, and have and love many of the same pieces you do. I steer clear of their pants though–none of them have a long enough inseam for me.
If anyone is wanting to dip their toe into US, I can’t recommend a Geneva dress highly enough. They are staples for me all throughout the year.
Alison Gary says
Thanks for these tips, Amanda!
Sharon Arevalo-Greuter says
what size are you in the abigail top?
Alison Gary says
I am an XS. I’ll update the post, everything I am an XS unless it’s number sizing and for jeans I am a 10 and pants a 12.