Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PFC #16: Summer Wedding (Under $100)

This month's Petite Fashion Challenge is hosted by Lauren of Petite on a Penny.  Don't forget to check out the other entries on her blog!

The Challenge
Summer Wedding: Create an outfit for a summer wedding (the dress code is up to you). For bonus points, try to make your whole outfit, head to toe, come in under $100! 

As you may or may not know, I'm a deal hunter through and through so I was rather excited about this challenge.  I didn't use any of my DIY dresses here since sewing materials are rather inexpensive and would automatically lower the overall price.

My favorite part about this particular ensemble is that it incorporates a little bit of neon to amp it up.
All above items (except the ring) are old and no longer available online.
Dashes of Purple Crystal Ring, T + J Designs, (buy here)

Other budget-friendly options from scouting the sale racks:

Are you a deal hunter?

Past PFC Entries:
  PFC #15: Chic Pin-spiration
  PFC #13: Professional Under $100

Sunday, May 27, 2012

DIY: Maternity to Fishtail Dress Refashion

I originally made this sack dress to accommodate my pregnant belly last summer.  Airy and lightweight,  it kept the super-heated me relatively cool.  Fast forward to hot and humid today (95 degrees in May - gah!).  Now is the perfect time to re-wear this frock with a quick refashioning of the hem from maxi to fishtail.

To do this, I simply folded the dress in half (front center on one side and back center on other), cut out the "S" shape, and then hand-sewed the hem.

DIY Maternity Dress to Fishtail Dress

Speaking of maternity, I got to meet the lovely and glowing Sydney from PetiteLittleGirl (now transitioning to Sydney's Fashion Diary) last week.  I've never had the pleasure of meeting another blogger before so this was absolutely delightful.  My toddler son, in particular, had fun and kept talking afterwards about the "pretty girl at lunch" for the rest of the day.  What a little flirt!  :) 

Would you re-wear your maternity garb?

On a personal note, Hubby and I celebrate 6 years of marriage today!  Adding our years of dating, that means we've been together for 11 years now  <3 <3  If we had known 6 years ago that we'd be relaxing on the couch with our 2 children in a toy-strewn house, I think our happy day would have been even happier :)


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

J. Crew Natasha Inspired DIY Top

Polka dots, gingham, anchors, stripes...they've been in constant replay in my mind.  Today's DIY was inspired by J. Crew's Natasha top.  I loved the dots and ruffles combination so decided to give it a shot.

I typically don't line my tops (too much of a pain) but a cami underneath the chiffon just wouldn't have the same effect.  I think the extra effort paid off in this case.

Inspiration:  J. Crew Natasha Top in Polka Dot, $80 (buy here)
DIY:  Polka Dot Top w/ Ruffled Placket & Collar, $10 in materials

DIY Polka Dot Top
Macy's Black Skirt (old)
The Limited Leopard Belt (old)
Target Mossimo Pearce Pumps

J. Crew Crystal Stripe Link Bracelet
Kate Spade Take a Bow Ring (avail in Kate Spade Outlet for $28)
H&M Black and White Bangles
Hermes Clic H

What kinds of prints have you been in love with lately?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reviews: Gap Sale Items and Old Navy Dresses

The Gap family stores had some great online deals recently (20% off purchase at Old Navy and 30% off at Gap) and I couldn't help but order a few things to try out.  The prices listed below were what I paid after using the promo codes.

Current promos
  • Old Navy - 20% off today, 5/20, and 15% off tomorrow, 5/21, using code
    ONBEACH
  • Gap - 25% off 5/21-5/22 using code
    GAPLOVE
Old Navy Fold-Over Jersey Skirt, Brite Nite, Sz Sm Tall, $16 (buy here)
Ever since I got the convertible J. Crew Factory Sanur dress, I've been wondering what other skirts out there may double as a dress.  I initially tried this in regular XS and thought it was too long as a skirt so I decided to see if tall sizing would allow it to work as a dress.  I think it actually looks quite nice this way and I love the chevron pattern.  Currently debating whether or not to add straps to prevent a wardrobe malfunction.  
Side note: do you see my awesome t-shirt tan? LOL
Verdict: A keeper - can be worn as dress or skirt and material is super soft jersey.

Boat Neck 3/4 Sleeve Shift Dress, Sm, $12 (buy here)
I fell in love with this dress on Gigi and have to say it looks much better on her than me.  In order to avoid tummy cling, I sized up to a small so the shoulders / chest area is a bit large.  Also, this particular shade of green seems to make my skin look even more yellow?
Verdict: Undecided.  I love the concept of green / blue stripes but this dress doesn't seem very flattering on me.

Ruffled Eyelet Cami, Bone White, XSP, $17 (buy here)
I love the eyelet details at the hem and think it looks so cute peeking out from underneath a cardigan!  The cami fits well without being too tight or loose and the elastic waistband falls at my natural waist.  Something that is hard to find!  Most fall at my belly button and then inevitably ride up.
Verdict: Keep - looks good as a layer and by itself

Gap Striped Boat Neck Sweater, White / Black, XSP, $13 (buy here)
I'm not sure why they labeled this as white / black because the "white" is more of an oatmeal color.  I've been subconsciously looking for a wide black striped sweater ever since I tried on this one at J. Crew Factory and was delighted to find this one at such a good price.  The sleeves fit slimly, shoulders fit well and the torso is slouchy and comfortable.  I have to say that this is my favorite fit for sweaters since it completely hides the belly while still maintaining a slim silhouette.
Verdict: Keep - great fit, price and color

Have you been taking advantage of any Gap family online sales?  Any good buys?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kate Spade Ellis Sweater Inspired DIY Tutorial

I first fell in love with this sweater on New Girl last week.  When I saw Emma from Glee wear it last night, I knew I had to try my hand at DIYing a version.  I usually can't DIY something quite so quickly but this one is a fast and easy project using supplies I already had on hand.


See tutorial after the jump.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Matchy-Matchy: Mommy and Me DIYs

Happy Mother's Day!!  Hope all you mothers out there have a wonderful day!  The morning of Mother's Day 2009, I received the best present ever - our baby boy was born (3 weeks early) so that I could officially be a Mommy.  This Mother's Day, I get to celebrate with 2 children and I feel so very blessed :)

My kiddos <3
E in a Mommy-made navy gingham dress to match my Crewcuts gingham shirt

Both of us in our skirts.  I LOVE her little Popeye forearms :)

Matching polka dot skirts

Pleating

Baby dress and Mommy skirt

 Rick-rack to add a little something to her dress

Matching striped belts

Many more to come!

And I'll leave you with my favorite Baby moments:
  • When she cups my face with both little hands and stares deep into my eyes, I feel like she's saying, "I love you, Mommy"  (I'll note here that hubby rolled his eyes when I told him this)
  • Kissing those chubby cheeks and seeing her smile as I do so
  • Her laugh out loud occasions
  • Seeing her get a kick out of blowing raspberries and getting spit everywhere
  • When she follows her big brother around with pure love in her eyes and a giant grin on her face
  • When big brother pats her on the arm and says, "It's ok, mui mui (little sis in Cantonese)" to comfort her during cranky moments
    • Or when he insists on holding his baby sister because he loves her
How are you celebrating Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

J. Crew Ultra Eyelet Shell & Maritime Anchor Dress

I hopped into my J. Crew store hoping to see some Anchors Aweigh items but they either hadn't arrived yet or I didn't look hard enough for them.  I did spy some other cute items to try on:

Ultra Eyelet Shell, Sz 0, (buy here)
Ever since magazines have been heavily pushing the spring LV eyelet looks, I've been keeping my eye out for a more affordable option.  This shell fits the bill as far as the eyelet goes but I didn't love the way it looked on me.  The armholes are cut a little too deeply for my taste, as evidenced by the visible underarm-meets-fleshy-upper chest-area and the torso is boxy.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want every garment to taper into the waist but if they're going for a loose torso, I want it to fit very well at the shoulders and chest as well as having a slightly longer hem to balance the look.

Maritime Anchor Dress, XS, (buy here)
I'm a nautical-aholic so I gravitate towards stripes / anchors / sailboats and etc.  This dress looked so cute on the model but I felt like the large anchor looked out of proportion with my short (5'2") self.  Sizing runs big - the chest / shoulder area was roomy.  The torso is boxy but I expected that from the website.  A cute detail that I should have photographed are the 2 bronze zippers on the side that start at thigh and go down to the hem (though would never be unzipped on me).  The material is a thick knit - this added to the sleeves might make it too warm to wear on a summer day unless you plan to sit indoors under heavy air conditioning.

J. Crew Striped Dress, Sz 0 (looks like the Blouson but don't see this color combo)
I loved the navy / green / white stripes but this dress didn't do me any favors.  I'm virtually waist-less and this particular style of dress seemed to emphasize my boxy shape.  A belt could probably do wonders but the material was thin and kind of flimsy-feeling.  It also had kind of a nubby feeling?  It wasn't soft and smooth like I expect most knits to be. 
See Gigi rock a navy / green dress from ON here as an alternative.

I left with a necklace but was glad that I wasn't missing out on anything big.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nautical Peplum Top DIY

When I saw this lighthouse fabric, I was instantly drawn to the nautical vibe of it.  I briefly thought of making this into a skirt but I decided it would be more fun as a peplum top.  I'm also in midst of making a little dress for Baby E in the same fabric :)

Trying to figure out what looks best with it.  Are the red pants too much?

DIY Nautical Peplum Top
DIY Blue Pencil Skirt
New York & Co Slim Crop Pants (slimmed legs for better fit)
Gap Always Skinny Jeans

Melie Bianco Ariana Bag
Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel
Frye Joy Vintage Slide

Amrita Singh Sag Harbor Necklace, Lapis (buy here)

LOFT Rhinestone Bracelet
DIY Pearl Bracelet
Hermes Clic H
Timex + J. Crew Strap
DIY Leatherette Bracelet  (refashioned from belt)

On the dress form for a better photo of the silhouette

Used bodice from Simplicity 2444 and peplum (slightly modified) from vintage McCall's 2948

Do you think peplums look better with skirts or pants?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hermes Clic H & Buying Pre-Owned

Many of you already know that I'm a deal hunter by nature and love a good sale, but I also have an unfortunate weakness for splurging on a nice accessory.  Enter handbags, a few shoes and my new (to me) Hermes Clic H bracelet.  Let me preface this by saying this is how I personally approach purchasing something second-hand and is by no means the only way to go about it.

Why buy pre-owned?
I purchased a brand new Balenciaga bag once and adored it so much that I put it on a shelf only to be looked at and never used.  It seemed silly to spend so much money on a shelf ornament, so I sold it and used that money to buy from a reputable consigner instead (with enough leftover funds for other items).  Since the consigned bag already had a little wear and tear, I had no qualms about using it (though very carefully and lovingly).  And of course, can't forget that you can also get a very good price on a pre-owned item.

How do you shop pre-owned?
My go-to resource is the Purse Forum.  They have an amazing wealth of information and even have Authentication threads that I highly recommend.  The "Authenticate This" threads are manned by volunteers who themselves are avid collectors providing a free service.  For a more official authentication (for use in eBay / PayPal disputes or simply for peace of mind), check with CarolDiva for a for-fee service.  When satisfied of authenticity, don't forget to use Jean's helpful tip of politely asking for a lower price.

Paying Safely
PayPal and eBay both have buyer protection policies and take claims against authenticity very seriously.  I once purchased a Burberry bag (authenticated via tPF) and then was sent a completely different bag (different tags, different font, different serial number).  The seller ignored my emails but responded promptly once I put a claim through PayPal (PayPal will freeze the seller's account for the amount in question until resolved).  Using a credit card also allows you the protection of a chargeback if the item received is significantly different from its description (i.e. is fake when advertised as authentic).

How did I buy this particular bracelet?
I don't foresee myself being able to buy a $10K+ Hermes Birkin in this lifetime but a little bauble seemed like a fun piece of luxury.  Finding this was actually a little difficult as tPF no longer authenticates Clic H bracelets due to the high number of very good counterfeits being produced and sold.  This was worrying, to say the least, so I approached this backwards.  I researched reputable eBay sellers with a history of authentic Hermes items and then familiarized myself with date codes, markings, and common complaints with Clic bracelets (not foolproof, but gave me enough confidence in this case).

Complaints are good to look at so you know what to expect / look out for in a given item.  In this case, I knew that they scratch easily, the enamel can sometimes come loose or break off (nearly always noticed within the first few wears so can be attributed to a defect rather than wear), and the hardware can sometimes develop spots.  When browsing, I made sure to look closely at the enamel and hardware for those flaws.

So without further ado, here is my new acquisition:

Beautifully packaged with Hermes box and ribbon

Unwrapped

Hermes Clic H, PM
I can't rave enough about how much better a hinged bangle fits versus a typical slip over your hand type.

Paired with other bracelets in an "arm party"

See Phiphi rock it here and you'll understand how she inadvertently enabled me :)

Hope you found this post interesting / helpful - it's definitely a departure from my usual subject matter.  Happy shopping!
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