Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Polka Dot Skirt DIY

Still thinking of the J. Crew Elinor dress (fitting room review here), I was delighted to see this blue / white polka dot fabric on sale.  I thought about making my own version of the dress but decided to opt for a skirt instead to pair with various tops.

I'm currently obsessed with green / blue combinations and wanted to give it a try with the resulting skirt.  I fell in love with this blouse when I saw it on Jean here, but went to the store too late to buy it.  One day, I found what must have been a return and snapped it up.  I love the vibrant green!

H&M Double Placket Blouse 
DIY Polka Dot Skirt
DIY 5-Strand Pearls
Banana Republic Pearls / Chain Bracelet
Michael Kors Tortoiseshell Watch
Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel

I'll need to post a better picture of the skirt in the future because you can't really see the box pleats.  I'd also like to play around with different pairings like the gingham / dot combo in this Pinterest image (repinned from Aubrey).

When it comes to dots, do you like pairing them with solids or prints?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

J. Crew Fitting Room Reviews: Dots & Stripes

There were quite a few sale items on the J. Crew website I was looking at but was wary about final sale.  Rather than buy without trying, I decided to go to the store to check out what they had.  I didn't wind up finding the sale pieces but a few new arrivals did catch my eye.

Elinor Dress in Polka Dot, Sz 0 (buy here)
J. Crew sure knows how to camouflage a belly with their dresses and skirts!  This one is no exception and so cute too!  I loved the navy / white polka dots and the fit of the chest / waist / hips but 2 things made this dress a no-go.  The neckline is too low-cut for me and I think wearing a cami would detract from this dress (shortening the straps would wind up raising the waist too high).  The model shows the length as mid-knee but it's more mid-calf on me.  The SA thought that this was a flattering length on me but I can't really pull off a midi length.  A hem job is pretty easy but I try not to buy things I have to "fix", well, at least not at retail price.
Verdict:  No, but will consider on sale

Big Shot Dot Circle Skirt, Sz 0 (buy here)
I usually wear a size 2 skirt (and weirdly a size 0 dress) in J. Crew but this skirt runs big.  The size 0 fit nicely at the waist with a little bit of room for lunch and the length hit right at the knee.  I quite liked this skirt except the profile view (I wish I had taken a good picture of this!) had a poofy bell butt.  I think I can find this fabric so may try replicating it minus the butt puff :)
Verdict: No

Gondola Stripe Top, Sz 0 (buy here)
I feel like this tee looks so much better untucked.  I really like the red-white-blue color combination and the relaxed fit but am unlikely to pay retail for it.
Verdict: No for now

While I didn't find anything clothing-wise, I did wind up ordering this from the website:
Tillary Tote in Canvas Stripe, Red Stripe (buy here)
I've been seeing Celine bags and Tillary totes all over the place so I just couldn't resist pulling the trigger when this lovely bag popped up on sale.  Normally, I buy only leather bags, but the fun colors (so nautical / preppy!), shape, and price (less than the colorful bags I've been admiring from Kate Spade) added with the fact that I've actually been very good about not buying things made me decide to treat myself.  I'll do a full review once it arrives!

Any good shopping finds lately?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chain, Chain, Chain Blouse DIY

Despite not being much of an AI watcher, I do watch The Voice and they recently sang Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools."  It's been stuck in my head ever since and given the print of today's DIY blouse, well, you get the idea.

I saw this gorgeous sheer navy blue (looks black in the photos but a deep blue in sunlight) fabric with gold chain print in the sale section of Hancock Fabrics and instantly thought of different blouse ideas to try.  Though I initially thought sleeveless, I decided to go with 3/4 sleeves to be more office-friendly.  My favorite part of the DIY was being able to use gold buttons.  I don't know why, but I find gold buttons delightful - just a weird quirk of mine.

DIY Chain Blouse
LOFT Wide-legged White Trousers
Banana Republic Pearls / Chain Bracelet
F21 Pearls / Chain Necklace
Michael Kors Tortoiseshell Watch
Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel

Over the weekend, I decided to try for a more relaxed look.  Why?  We were going to a dim sum buffet and I can't feel restricted whilst indulging in so much food.  Total glutton, I know.
Old Navy White Maxi Dress
Talbots Yellow Suede Sandals
H&M Gold Braided Belt

Close-up view of the chain print

That's a wordy post for me - must be feeling chatty today.  It's probably all the Thai iced tea I've been drinking.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

$5 DIY Bed Sheet Dress

While hunting for a paisley bed sheet (wasn't having luck finding it as a fabric), I found this multi-colored stripe sheet (flat twin sheet for $5) and decided to try it out in preparation for the day when / if I come across a paisley sheet.

There are several advantages to sewing with a bed sheet:
  • large, continuous piece of fabric (roughly 70x100")
  • machine-washable
  • soft relative to the stiff cotton blends found in the fabric store 
  • good value (only $2/yard in this case)
DIY Bed Sheet Dress
Amrita Singh Sag Harbor Necklace, Lapis 
Gap Belt
Talbots Chunky Heel City Sandals
Can you believe the summer-like weather we're having in March?!

Close-up view of the colors and stripes

 How would you feel about wearing a bed sheet?  :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Nautical Bracelet Project and GIVEAWAY

UPDATE:  The giveaway winner is #94 Amanda B!  Congrats and please contact me within 2 days to claim your prize :)

I've always been a fan of all things nautical and just recently started collecting bracelets.  Why not marry those 2 things together?  Inspired by several Pinterest photos, I've been playing around with these colorful, striped wrapped leather bracelets.

Green and Navy + Brass

Also Cream and Navy + Gold.  Worn with Timex + J. Crew and trench coat.

Want to win a custom-made bracelet to share in my obsession?  Winner will be able to choose their own color combination (Thread colors are red, navy, green, and cream.  Button colors are brass, gold, and silver).

Giveaway Details:
  • Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  • Winner will be drawn on April 14th and will have 2 days to claim their win.  If unclaimed, another winner will be drawn.
  • Don't worry about having to log in with Facebook on Rafflecopter, just put in your email address.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

H&M Fitting Room Reviews

We took a mini-trip to Chicago to visit family and I got to visit a huge H&M store with 2 stories.  The selection in this store was amazing!  Makes me so envious of all the ladies who get to frequent larger, metro-area H&M stores.

Striped Dress, Sz 6, $49.95
I've been on the lookout for items that mix blue with green lately and this dress looked absolutely gorgeous on the hanger.  The color combination was exactly what I was looking for but the top portion was too puffy for me and the skirt really emphasized my hips.  I think this dress would look much better on gals with a slimmer silhouette.
Verdict: No, makes me look big on top and bottom - yikes

Striped Top, Sz 4, $29.95
After the dress fail, I picked up this top hoping I could just recreate a similar look with it.  It runs a little big since I've been wearing size 6 in H&M post-pregnancy and this size 4 fits with room to spare.  I think I could have made this work by tucking it in but the only green it had was one tiny stripe by the belly button.
Verdict: No, but second-guessing myself

Striped Blazer, Sz 6 $49.95
This blazer looked so good on Kelly that I wanted to try it.  It definitely runs small - I could barely button it and when I did, I looked like I was about to Incredible-Hulk out of it.  The thought of sizing up hurts my ego which is admittedly more fragile post-partum :P
Verdict: No, but it is lovely on smaller gals

Blue Paisley Dress, Sz 4, $29.95
After seeing Jean (review post here) tweet about this dress, I fell in love with the paisley print and was determined to find it.  I thought the print looked lovely in person but I felt like the dress made my top look too wide (this whole nursing thing makes me hyper-conscious because I'm so used to being completely flat).  At least it did not call attention to my hips :)
Verdict: No

My shopping outfit to keep warm in the brisk Chicago weather:
Old Navy Plaid Shirt
Banana Republic Cowl Neck Sweater
Burberry Scarf
New York & Co Red Pants (slimmed, alteration post here)
Clarks Camel Flats

Another shopping trip without any purchases.  I am doing so well on a shopping resolution that I didn't even make!

After shopping, we stopped by Mitsuwa, a Japanese supermarket with an amazing food court.  Don't let the grocery-store looking sushi fool you, the fish was super fresh and everything tasted restaurant-quality.
Shoyu Ramen, Sushi, and Green Tea-ccino (sooo yummy!)

And so my search for the perfect paisley dress continues (holy grail being Jean's J. Crew here).  I've also been trying to look for the perfect fabric to try a DIY version but so far only these sheets (from my uncle's house) have caught my eye.  I will now be stalking paisley bedding as well :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Alteration: The Red Pants Experiment

Argh, I had this post all ready to go for Sunday evening and then, inexplicably, all the content was deleted when I hit "publish."

Let me reconstruct this darn thing and try again...

Armed with a coupon for $10 pants (from this post), it was unlikely I would be walking out of the store empty-handed.  I found these red pants and loved the color but the fit left something to be desired.  Size 4 fit my tummy well but then the legs were a bit baggy.  The unfortunate effect of baggy pants plus tapered legs was a pear-shaped nightmare.  I decided to take them home for some DIY slimming to "fix" the silhouette.  Aside from hemming, I've never really worked with pants so I was a little nervous about it.  Thankfully, simply slimming it along the inseam gave it the straighter, more-slender shape I wanted.

New York & Company 7th Avenue Sateen Slim Crop, Yelling Red, $10, orig. $43 (buy here)

I wasn't quite sure what to wear with them so I first tried my trusty stripes.

Top 1: Old Navy Tee (old)
Necklace 1: H&M Turquoise Necklace (old)

Top 2: Ann Taylor Starlight Stripe Sweater, XS (buy here)
Necklace 2: J. Crew Resin & Chain (old)

Belt:  Lands' End Canvas Rope Belt (old)
Shoes:  Gucci d'Orsay Pump, Camel (old)
Watch:  Timex face + J. Crew strap (original post here)

Then thought maybe an analogous color combination?  I wanted to try orange with it but the only oranges I had were too close to this shade of red and ultimately made me look like one giant fireball.  I decided to try peach instead. 

And added a deep purple inspired by this J. Crew image I pinned.
Shirt & Cardigan: LOFT (old)

Closer view of accessories
Target Chain / Rhinestone Bracelet, $17 - reminds me a little of the J. Crew pave link bracelet
Amrita Singh Cannes Ring (buy here)

How would you wear red pants?


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