Sunday, January 29, 2012

Battle of the Red Blazer: H&M vs. J. Crew

I was planning on debuting my DIY tweed jacket today (complete with fringe) but it's taking longer than I originally anticipated.  So I'll post part 2 of my red blazer saga instead :)  H&M received some new blazers this week and one of them was a nice, cropped red one.  When I went this weekend, they were already down to 2 and I was amazed at how quickly these were flying off the rack.

J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Maraschino Cherry, Sz 0, $188 (L)
H&M Blazer, Sz 6, $35 (R)

I'm wearing the same shirt underneath just so the comparison is as fair as possible :)  As you can tell, they both have a similar silhouette - both are cropped and slim-fitting.  

The J. Crew blazer obviously is of better quality with thicker fabric, more structure, 2-button closure and cuff buttons.  The gold buttons are beautiful and I feel like this blazer will stand the test of time.

The H&M one features a single-button closure, a brighter red color and a stretchy jersey material.  The lining at the cuff keeps popping out because the jersey has so little structure.  As far as fit goes, the H&M at size 6 is smaller in the torso than the J. Crew at size 0.  This gives me further motivation to lose the baby weight!

When asking myself what I really want, I find that the answer is quite simple - I just want a red, fitted blazer.  I'm not sure that I need one as a closet staple so I don't mind sacrificing quality in this case.  Having said that, the H&M blazer is a keeper.  I'm planning on switching out the button for a pretty gold one.

Which would you choose?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reviews: Horsebit Bracelets, ON Red Blazer & More

Despite a few "successful" shopping trips to the mall wherein I purchased only a few bracelets here and there, I have amassed quite a few items from online shopping.  Thank goodness I didn't make a shopping resolution this year!

During one of their promos last week, I got 30% off my Old Navy purchase and didn't hesitate to peruse the new arrivals.  When I spotted a red blazer (was originally thinking of getting the J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer here, but maybe this will do?), I ordered it to see how it would compare.

Old Navy Linen Blend Blazer, Red Chili, XS (buy here)
The first thing I noticed was the length - this is a longer boyfriend-styled blazer than the J. Crew cropped blazer.  The color IRL is more of a reddish-orange with a little bit of a faded effect.  The sleeves are rather long but since I usually scrunch them up anyway, it doesn't matter to me.  The torso fit is pretty decent for me.  Overall, I still prefer the J. Crew version - it just seems more crisp and classic.  The decision at hand now is to figure out if this is good enough.
Verdict:  Undecided - what do you think?  Keep or hold out for J. Crew?

Old Navy Utility-Pocket Chambray Shirt, XS, (buy here)
After seeing Ping rock her ON chambray shirt, I decided to order one and see how I liked it on me.  The fit is a little loose in the torso and a little tight at the bust (I'm wearing a sports bra to prevent the gaping which is more representative of my typical size after I stop nursing Baby E).  I think this shirt is cute but not necessarily "me"
Verdict:  Hmm, I think this is a return

Old Navy Hooded Button-Jersey Pullover, XS (buy here)
I saw this in store in the lounge section and fell in love.  I don't think I've worn a hoodie since college and I know I can't wear this to work, but I think this is perfect for those play-dates in the park with the kiddos.
Verdict:  Keep

Curb Link "necklace" and Horsebit Bracelet (buy here)
I found this curb-link chain (made of plastic) in the trim section of my Joann store and bought 18" to fashion into a necklace.  For $6, it gives you the look of a real necklace which is good enough for me!

The Horsebit Bracelet was a random find late one night (courtesy of Baby E) from an Amish website.  The leather is nice and thick featuring an adjustable strap with 2 settings.  The tightest setting is approximately 7" and the loosest setting is 8".  I purchased 2 - one in orange and one in navy blue.

You can also choose from brass or silver hardware.  I love these bracelets and they were such a good deal!  Like Jean was saying, I love how these bracelets evoke a Gucci-esque feel.
Verdict:  Definite keepers

Talbots Driving Gloves, Luggage, Sz 6.5 (no longer available online)
Thanks to Jean of Extra Petite, these leather gloves were only $15 with free shipping!  Thank you Jean for tweeting about the discount!  The 6.5 fit pretty well but of course there is still room in the fingers.  See Olyvia's review here.
Verdict:  Keep - what a great deal!

Any fun purchases lately?  Yay or nay on the red blazer?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chunky Scarf Mania - Knitting and Crocheting

Scarf buying season is dwindling down but I'm just getting started on making them.  Thanks to Mom and her endless supply of knitting needles and crochet hooks, I am knitting and crocheting (I just learned and am so excited about it) up a storm!  It's a great hobby for a nursing mom and it beats playing games on my phone to pass the time :)

Here are some I've completed so far:

Crocheted Bi-color Cowl

Braided Neckwarmer

Tri-color Infinity Scarf

Slouchy Cowl

Buttoned Wrap Scarf

I've concluded that I'm better at crocheting than knitting.  All of my knitted items curl and it's been driving me crazy.  Reader M (thank you!) just introduced me to the concept of blocking so I'll definitely be giving that a try soon.

I'm now looking for different scarf variations to try - any ideas?

And Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!!  Any Dragons out there?  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tweed + Corduroy and RM MAC Review

Rummaging through my closet always unearths something interesting - today's find are some super old, camel colored cords from my Abercrombie & Fitch days back in college.  From these cords, I've come to the conclusion that the most flattering pants for me are straight legged with either a side slit (like these) or a slight flare.  I seem to look dowdy or unnatural in other types.  Now to find more pants like these cords!  If you know of any, please let me know :)

Bonus conclusion today?  I found that if I look down in photos, you can't tell if my makeup is inexpertly applied ;)

Jacket: The Limited Blue Tweed One Button Jacket, XS (see it on Elle here)
Top:  J. Crew Darla Ruffle Cami, Sz 0
Pants:  Abercrombie & Fitch Corduroy (very old)
Shoes:  Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel
Bag:  Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Clutch (MAC), Stone

My new favorite, go-to bag is this RM MAC.  I've long been a fan of RM, but had only owned Nikki hobos and one ill-fated Morning After Bag.  When I saw Elaine post on the versatility of the strap and how to carry it, I put it on my wishlist.  I love crossbody bags but often lament on how small they are.  This one is the perfect size for me.  It will fit my long wallet, wristlet, phone and more (I carry a separate diaper bag often stowed in the stroller if you're wondering where all the kiddo stuff goes).  The only negative?  The chain strap is pretty heavy but seems to be of good quality rather than lightweight, cheapo chains.

See MACs also on Kileen and Annie.

What are your go-to bags?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

J. Crew Merino Cambon Cardigan Inspired DIY

When I first saw the Merino Cambon Cardigan, I was drawn to the contrast detailing as well as the color combination of black and tan.  I tried it on in store (see post here) but the fit wasn't ideal and the price wasn't good enough to justify buying it.  I remembered that I had an old tan sweater at home so I decided to try DIY'ing my own.

J. Crew Merino Cambon Cardigan and my DIY version

Overall, I think I captured the general look but there are 2 fails on my part.  
  1. The original sleeves on this sweater are very long and have a slight flare at the opening.  When looking at this picture, I think I need to shorten or slim (maybe both) the sleeve.  The problem would be how to bind it afterwards if shortening.  Adding more black trim seems overkill.  So maybe just slim the flare?  Any thoughts here?
  2. I trimmed the opening very closely when I should have tried to extend the placket.  Since the original sweater was fitted, cutting it open and trimming it automatically means I've made it much smaller and unable to button.  Whoops!  Live and learn.  This will have to be worn open.

Sweater Refashion: from turtleneck to cardigan.

What I did: Lopped off turtleneck, cut down the middle, trimmed neck and center with the "wrong" side of black satin fabric (didn't want the shine but did want the structure / firmness of this fabric), and then added non-functional "pockets."

If you decide to try this, all you really need is an old sweater and some fabric.  It gives you a nice, new look for free.  I'd recommend using the trim to extend your placket unless your sweater is large enough for a closable overlapping placket. 

What do you think I should do with the sleeves?  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

J. Crew Fitting Room Reviews

Thank you everyone for the kind comments on Sunday's post!  Whenever I'm feeling blue, I'm going to read those comments for a pick-me-up.  :)

After seeing Jean tweet about the extra 40% J. Crew sale items in store, I of course went to the mall to scope out the deals.

J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Maraschino Cherry, Sz 0 (buy here)
Imagine my glee when I saw this on the sale rack.  I quickly snatched it up and tried it on only to find that it had been misplaced and was actually a regular price item.  :(  At $188, I'm going to wait and see if it will go on sale before I pull the trigger.  For now, it has been placed high on this year's lust list.  The sz 0 actually fits me really well.  Sleeves are fitted but not tight, shoulders fit well, waist is nicely nipped but doesn't pull, and the length is perfect (pls excuse my untucked shirt).  My favorite part of this blazer, aside from the bright red color, are the gold buttons.  I always underestimate the power of a good button until I see one.
Verdict:  Wait and stalk online :)

This is a rather long post so see more after the jump!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cozy Layers and a Reveal

This OOTD was inspired by the desire to be warm and comfortable in 20 degree weather.  :)  I couldn't think of anything warmer / cozier than layering a thick-knit vest over a cowl neck sweater.  I'm also playing with brown and black (something I used to think was a giant no-no).  What do you think?  Yay or nay?

Sweater:  Banana Republic Cowlneck Sweater, Sm (buy here)
Vest: Thick Knit Vest (old, random from Dillard's)
Leggings:  Black leggings (random from Macy's)
Boots:  UGG Highkoo (buy here)
Bag:  Rebecca Minkoff Nikki
Necklace: F21
Dangly Earrings: Banana Republic 

I'm wearing the earrings on the right side.  I love the drama of them!

And the reveal?  A picture with my head intact and unobscured by giant sunglasses.  I am a bespectacled dork - clueless in the ways of makeup and how to "pose" my face.  There will still be many more headless shots in the future because of this :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

PFC #12: From Night to Day

This month's PFC (Petite Fashion Challenge) is hosted by the stylish Khatu from IamKhatu.  Be sure to check out her PFC post for a list of all the participants.

The Challenge:
From Night to Day: Restyle a glamorous look that you would typically wear for a night-out-on-the-town into daytime casual wear. Easy right? Bonus points if you can restyle it for work!

Times like these call for a slinky, sparkly dress that I don't have.  So I settled for my DIY dramatic collar dress (original sewing post here).  For my night look, I paired it with a sequined sash and a statement necklace:

Nighttime Glam 
Dress:  DIY
Sequined Sash:  Express (old)
Necklace:  Amrita Singh Sag Harbor Necklace, Lapis (buy here)
Bag:  Chanel Vintage Messenger
Shoes:  Gucci d'Orsay Pumps

To switch it to daytime, I adjusted my purse straps to make it messenger style and then added a button down shirt tucked into a belt (a nifty trick I saw Cee do) and a cardigan.

Daytime Casual
Dress: DIY
Shirt: Martin + Osa
Cardigan: Express (old)
Necklace: Target Pearls + Chain
Belt: Old Navy (old)
Bag / Shoes: Same as above

I'm not sure if my transition really works but I'm happy that I was able to use items in my closet that hadn't been worn in awhile.  I'm excited to see everyone's entries!

And I know this is late, but I wanted to write out my resolutions so I could hold myself accountable.

2012 Resolutions:
  1. Don't make resolutions I can't keep :)
  2. Get off the couch.  I spend a good deal of time on the couch nursing Baby Girl (who also inevitably falls asleep on me) and am becoming quite sedentary.  I need to learn to transfer her to a crib when she's asleep and get active for a healthier lifestyle.
  3. Continue trying to remix my closet.  Those 30 for 30 challenges inspire me to try to maximize the many unworn items in my closet (and also to get rid of any unnecessary items).  
  4. Stop hoarding craft supplies.  I have an overabundance of fabrics, yarns, and jewelry supplies that I keep saving for the "perfect" project.  I need to start using them or at the very least stop buying so many to stockpile.
  5. And the most important - treasure the moments with my kiddos during my year off for maternity leave.  They grow up so fast (sniff, sniff)!
Did you make any resolutions for the new year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

BR and H&M Fitting Room Reviews

Happy 2012!!!  The winner of the chunky, hand knit scarf has been announced!  Click here to find out who won.

Winter sales shopping is my weakness.  Virtually every store has a sale upon a sale and the deal hunter in me goes nuts.  This year, I really made an effort to reign it in and my purchases are a fraction of what I spent last year.  Baby steps :)

I went to the mall and stopped by Banana Republic and H&M.  I didn't even bother going to LOFT because our mall is set up in such a way that you have to go outside to get there (all other stores are indoor accessible) and I didn't want to drag Baby Girl outside just so her Momma could peruse the sale rack.  First up is BR.

BR Heritage wool plaid jacket, XS
orig. $225, purchased on sale for $45 (used rewards) (buy here)

Ever since I saw Olyvia blog about a plaid coat, I've had it in my head and I was so happy to actually find one for such a good price!  It fits nicely in the shoulders and torso.  The belt helps cinch it in to give it a more shapely look.  The sleeves are a teeny bit long (maybe 1-1.5") but it's not a big deal.  After using my BR rewards, this coat was only $45!

BR Cowlneck Sweater, Orange Velvet, Sm
orig. $79.50, purchased on sale for $15 (used rewards) (buy here)

I sized up on this one to avoid tummy clinginess and LOVED this orange color and large, dramatic cowl.  It looks orange-red in real life and I actually like the fit of this so much that I also purchased the camel version (to be seen shortly in an OOTD).

I then went to H&M and tried on a couple of items but was mostly interested in their accessories.

This knuckle ring here runs small.  The medium fits like a size 5 / 5.5 so if you have tiny fingers, size S will probably be perfect for you!

I also purchased another ring with 3 "gemstones" that reminded me of a beautiful Ippolita ring as well as an orange snake print bracelet from H&M.  The gemstone ring is true to size where a medium fits like a size 6 / 6.5.  

The curb chain necklaces are Vince Camuto from Dillard's that were marked down from $98 to $11 {{jumps for joy}}.

I also spotted this Mulberry Alexa look-alike at H&M but it had scuffs all over so I passed.

H&M Colorblock Dress, Sz 4, $39 (I think?)
This dress looked so cute on the hanger but just looked like I was wearing a cardigan with a top and skirt when I tried it on.  I had been hoping it'd give a more graphic effect.  Oh well, good for my wallet.

H&M Contrast Cardigan, XS, $25
This was another item that looked cute on the rack but didn't look as good on.  I think it has real potential but I don't have any good ideas for pairings so I passed.  The XS fit is a tiny bit roomy on me so will be loose on smaller ladies.

I was going to post resolutions today too but Baby Girl has finished her nap and I gotta go!  Did anyone do any winter sales shopping?


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