Sunday, April 29, 2012

Inkblot Dress DIY Tutorial

There are so many Project Runway garments that have inspired me through the years, but Mondo's Rorschach dress really captivated me and made me want to attempt something similar.  This was also the perfect opportunity to play around with making my own print.

See tutorial after the jump.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

PFC #15: Chic Pin-spiration

UPDATE:  The tutorial for this dress is posted here.

This month's Petite Fashion Challenge is hosted by Megan of Long Live Classy - be sure to check out her blog for the rest of the entries!

The Challenge
Chic Pin-spiration:  Find a pic of an outfit you love on Pinterest, and recreate it the best way possible!

I heart Project Runway and have been an avid fan since the very first season aired on Bravo.  Though I wish they'd stop rushing the designers' creative process, I stare unblinkingly at their sketching and masterful draping while soaking in every episode.  To say that I get inspired would be an understatement.

Anyhoo, my Pin-spiration for this challenge is Mondo's Rorschach dress.  I loved the graphic nature of the garment and how the black side panels perfectly framed his artistry.  Mine, of course, pales in comparison but I had a lot of fun making it and getting in touch with my inner child (who loved art class but was never very good at it)  :)

My version: DIY Inkblot Dress

Wearing an Inkblot dress isn't exactly for every occasion, so I also played around with different options to make it more accessible:

J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Wool Flannel, Maraschino Cherry (buy here)
Melie Bianco Ariana Bag
Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel
Banana Republic Button Down Blouse (old)
J. Crew Factory Bib Necklace (might still be available in stores)
Ann Taylor Nude Belt (old)
Chanel Vintage Messenger (shortened strap for shoulder-carry)
New York & Co Slim Crop Pants (altered for slimmer legs)
Banana Republic Black Blazer (old)

Some fun accessories:
Orange Leather Horsebit Bracelet, no longer see online
LOFT Rhinestone Bracelets
Fossil Chronograph Watch

If you're interested / curious, I will be posting an inkblot tutorial next week :)

Past PFC Entries:
  PFC #13: Professional Under $100

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fitting Room Reviews: Old Navy Deals & Ann Taylor F&F

I've been on a bit of a shopping kick lately and hit both the Old Navy Stuff & Save sale (additional 40% off everything in-store) and the Ann Taylor Friends & Family preview sale (also 40% off everything) last Wednesday.  I left with some amazing deals from Old Navy:

Old Navy Denim Jacket, XS, $9 in store (orig. $35), buy here
I've never really been a denim jacket kind of girl (always felt like it looked off on me and so effortlessly cool on everyone else) but for $9, I decided to give this one a try.  It's a good thing I'm planning to wear it opened because there's no way I can get it to button across my chest.
Verdict: Buy, looks cute open and $9 to experiment with the look isn't a bad deal

Old Navy Ruffled Button-Front Drawstring Cami, XS, $9 in store (orig. $25), buy here
I was originally drawn to this online but never ordered it for fear of it being low-cut.  It actually isn't bad at all and I love the yellow + dots.  I tried pulling the drawstrings taut but it looked silly on me.  I like the relaxed look better.
Verdict:  Buy, good fit / print / color / price

Old Navy Drawstring Raglan-Sleeve Jersey Top, XS, buy here
Old Navy Rope Belt, XS / S, $7 in store (orig. $), do not see online
I wanted to love this shirt.  I have plenty of navy / white / cream / gray stripe combinations but wanted to add a red into the mix.  The top is blouse-y with elasticized cuffs and hem.  The  effect made me look a little balloon-like.
Verdict: No, not at all flattering

Thankfully, the belt worked out.  The knot is such a pretty detail and you already know I'm a huge sucker for all things nautical.  
Verdict: Buy, a perfect addition to my nautical collection

And then at Ann Taylor:
Ann Taylor Romantic Lace Top, Sz 0, $60, buy here
Lace and neon yellow?  So pretty!!  It fit pretty well and I was glad that the lace wasn't the itchy type.
Verdict: No.  Practically speaking, the price is too high for something that won't become a wardrobe staple.  I would consider on further sale though.

Ann Taylor Lace Detailed Colorblock Shell, Sz 0, buy here
I really loved the look of this shell with the contrasting neck band and lace sides but it's not a top I can wear by itself in the office.  I'd have to layer it with a blazer or cardigan and then the beautiful lace details would be completely hidden.
Verdict: Sadly no, the best part would be covered up when wearing

Ann Taylor Sleeveless Drape Front Shell, Sz 0, $18, buy here (solid color)
This is an old fitting room pic I never posted but the shirt is still available in stores.  I loved the draping and felt like the fit was pretty flattering but didn't feel like I could pair it very well.  
Verdict: No, not something I must have

Modern Lace Sheath Dress, Sz 0, ~$80 in store, (buy here)
This is a beautiful dress, but it just doesn't work on my body type (please ignore the pants underneath - I was being lazy).  It ultimately makes me look very matronly / Mother of the Bride-ish in the top portion but looks sleek and modern on Vicky here.
Verdict: No, looks much better on slimmer ladies

Any great shopping finds for you this weekend?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More J. Crew Reviews: Online Sale & Factory In-Store

I had been obsessively stalking this Schoolboy Blazer online since January when I tried it on in-store.  Mid-stalk, I came across a reasonable H&M dupe for $35 and purchased it instead (see reviews of both in my Battle of the Red Blazer post).  I tried to convince myself that one red blazer was really all I needed but my resolve wavered when the price lowered to $70.  In true shopaholic fashion, I snatched it up along with a couple of pretty baubles.

J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Wool Flannel, Maraschino Cherry, Sz 0, (buy here)
H&M Red Blazer, Sz 6
I wound up replacing the plain brown button on the H&M blazer with a gold one (looks so much better IMO) and have worn it quite a few times.  I think there's room in my wardrobe for both of these to coexist.  J. Crew for work, cooler temps, and more formal occasions while H&M's brighter color and lighter fabric (a stretchy knit) can be reserved for casual, warm weather days.  

Crystal Stripe Link Bracelet, $14.99 (no longer see online)
I initially thought the links were made of resin but they are actually quite heavy so I think it might be a coated metal.  True to J. Crew's great packaging,  the crystal portions come wrapped in protective plastic.  My favorite part is the life preserver clasp - too cute!  

Coral Bits Necklace, Black, $12.99 (buy here)
This is so much prettier in person than online.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the dainty little pearls - something I couldn't really make out from the photo.  Plus, what a great price!

 I also hit up J. Crew Factory over the weekend but was disappointed that the amazing sale they had online (see post here for reviews) was not in-store.  The Sanur dress that was marked down to $17 (after using the 30% code) was still full price in-store.

Striped Sweater, XS, $21, (do not see online)
Bronze Bib Necklace, $18, (do not see online)
This sweater looked massive on the hanger but I needed a top to try on with my bottoms.  I actually really like it!  It's a roomy sweater for sure but I like the relaxed fit in the torso, and of course, the stripes.  I didn't wind up purchasing because I have so many similar items in my closet but I'm second-guessing myself now.

I did buy the necklace.  I loved the little geometric "plates" and the rhinestone details (which you can't see in this photo).  

Factory Poplin Skirt, Sz 0, $59.50 (solid color online - buy here)
This skirt runs a little big.  I had a small waist gap with the 0 when those usually fit well or a bit snug.  The polka dot print is darling and I prefer this cut to the Big Shot Dot Circle Skirt (tried here) but I didn't love it enough to buy.

Factory Ruffle Collar Top, Sz 0, $59.50 (solid colors online - buy here)
Though this shirt is lined, it was still a little sheer so nude undergarments are a must.  The top fit quite well in the shoulders and chest.  The straight lines give it a blouse-y effect in the waist.  I'm sure this would look great tucked in.  All in all, a very pretty top but I'll wait to see if it goes on sale or maybe make my own.

I know I've been chugging the Crewlade like crazy lately, have you?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

J. Crew Factory Reviews - Super Sale Items

UPDATE:  Added measurements for all items.

I don't typically post so much in a given week (too lazy) but since J. Crew Factory is having such good deals (thanks to Jean's Twitter alert), I thought this post might be helpful to some of you.  I ordered these items last week for what I considered amazing prices but they are now even lower (prices listed are current after using the 30% off SHOPNOW code - good thru 4/13)!

Factory Printed Sanur Dress, XS, $17 (buy here)
The print is gorgeous and the XS fits very nicely in the chest / torso.  Since the hem is a bit long, I think I'll cut off the excess and fashion some removable halter straps for an extra sense of security.  The drape of the skirt falls perfectly to mask the belly too - bonus!  Measures 10.5" chest and 10.5" waist flat across but stretchy enough to accommodate my 36" chest.

It's also convertible.  Fold down the top, and voila, you've got a skirt!  (Erm, I probably wouldn't wear it quite like this as it seems to really truncate my torso but it's good for illustrative purposes)
Verdict: a keeper - great price, versatile, AND pretty color / print

Factory Lorelei Dress in Deco-Dot, Sz 0, $17 (buy here)
This is a fully lined dress available in 3 colors - pink, blue, and lavender (though the lavender looks a little gray online).  It's a little tight in the chest so I'll probably wear a more restrictive bra next time (it's not a long-haul concern because I'm currently nursing).  I love the bright color, the diagonal pleating and the tummy-hiding silhouette.  I'm not too keen on how it makes my tush look like it starts right under my boobs but it's not a huge deal.  Measures 14.5" chest and 13" waist flat across.

I'm not sure why I purchased so many strapless dresses this time around as I'm the self-conscious, fidgety type who is constantly tugging at the top to prevent wardrobe malfunctions.  Have no fear with this one though!  They included stretchy elastic bands that connect together for extra stay-put power.
Verdict:  Keep - good quality and great price

Factory Printed Cecilia Dress, Sz 0, $20 (buy here)
I've tried this dress on before here and passed on it but the comments on that post convinced me to give it another shot.  The length is perfect and the paisley print is very pretty but there's still something that bugs me about the bodice.  I think it's because my waist is non-existent and this dress emphasizes that.
Verdict:  Undecided.  Hubby and Mom like it on me but I still feel like it's iffy.  Maybe a contrasting belt will help visually nip the waist.  Measures 16.5" chest and 13" waist flat across.

Factory Tri-Buckle Waist Belt, Sm, $7 (buy here)
I'm a fan of wider belts because I feel like they help me carve out a waist line and these belts are perfect for that.  The stretchy band gives you a nice, snug fit without cutting off your circulation.  Measures 27" between the closures flat.
Verdict:  Keep - can't beat the price and love the 3-buckle look 

Will you be shopping this sale?  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nautical (DIY) + Gingham + Bright Accessories

Remember this Pinterest image I repinned from Aubrey?  I tried it with the dotted skirt but the proportions didn't look right on me so I decided to try it with a slimmer skirt.  I tied the ends of the shirt to make it look more feminine (and outright copied Cee).

J. Crew Crewcuts Boys' Gingham Shirt
DIY Nautical Kasia Skirt
Amrita Singh Water Mill Necklace, Coral (buy here)
Timex Watch + J. Crew Strap
Orange Horsebit Bracelet & H&M Enamel Bangle
Talbots Suede Chunky Heel City Sandals

This skirt is a previous DIY using Burdastyle's Kasia:

I love that this pattern incorporates buttons and hip ruching to set it apart from other pencil skirts.

I don't have any orange heels so threw in some yellow ones - should I have gone with neutral colored shoe instead?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paisley Fit and Flare Dress DIY

I still have paisley on the brain and found this cotton quilting fabric at Joann's.  This particular print isn't what I had in mind as my holy grail paisley, but I do like it.  I decided to "Frankenstein" some patterns together to get this particular look with a high funnel neck, fitted bodice and flared skirt.

Paisley Dress DIY
Melie Bianco Bag
Old Navy Tassel Necklace
Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel
Do you think a necklace can be worn with a funnel neckline?

Close-up of print

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

If you haven't already, there's about a week left to enter my Nautical Bracelet Giveaway :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DIY Nautical Rope Bracelet Tutorial

UPDATE:  These are now available in my Etsy store if you'd prefer to buy than DIY :)

I know you're thinking, "duh, I know how to braid, why are you doing this tutorial?"  This actually uses a similar method to creating a Turk's head knot which results in a cleaner looking braid that does not require 3 strands.  In fact, you can use a single strand if you wish.

What I used:
~24 inches of blue and green ropes (purchased in trim section of fabric store)
Jewelry pliers
2 jump rings
2 cord ends
1 lobster clasp

Leaving a few inches at one end, make a loop

Bring the long end up through the loop

Create a figure 8 with the loop.
For a longer braid, make a larger loop and more figure 8s.

Thread long end through the 1st portion of the figure 8

Thread long end through the 2nd portion of the figure 8

What it should look like after all threading

Lightly pull at both ends to tighten the braid.  Arrange strands by tightening / loosening to get desired look.

Snip rope ends to desired length.  Add clear glue to ends so rope doesn't unravel.

Dab glue in cord end and insert rope ends.  Let dry.  Do this for each side.

Use pliers to fold the cord ends together enclosing the ropes.  Add jump ring.

Do the same thing with the other end but also add your lobster clasp.  

That's it!

For different variations, add more colors / ropes or change the closures as you'd like.

DIY Nautical Rope Bracelet (buy here from Etsy)
Timex + J. Crew Strap
DIY Nautical Wrap Bracelet

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Travelogue: Dressed for Comfort & Good Eats

Inspired by Cee's and Jean's recent travel posts, I thought I'd share my recent trip to Toronto through the lens of a decidedly anti-glam traveler (fascinating, I know.  Because who doesn't want to know how travel like a slob??).  Not because I wouldn't love to look good in travel pics, but because traveling equals eating and lots of it.  Hubby and I are gluttons on the road.  We plot for weeks on Yelp looking up different eateries and mapping out every meal including snacks.

Me being ridiculously happy with my food & our eating itinerary (click to enlarge)
Satay Beef Noodles at New City Restaurant, Toronto

I can be really bad about taking photos of my food because I usually dig right in, but I showed a modicum of restraint for these:
Shanghai Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) from Ding Tai Fung
Sooooo yummy with ridiculously thin skin and amazing broth.

Japanese-Italian fusion from Shiso Tree Cafe
Soup, salad, and matcha green tea sundae w/ red beans were delicious, but the pasta didn't strike my fancy.

Green Tea Ice Cream Sandwich from Pacific Mall

Different Egg Tart Variants - Milk, Portuguese, and Green Tea from T&T

And my eating uniform: leggings, tunic, scarf, blazer, and boots.  Stretchy leggings and tunic allow for food belly expansion while remaining comfortable :)

Old Navy Tunic
Black Leggings
Born Boots
Michael Kors Tortoiseshell Watch
Banana Republic Pearls / Chain Bracelet

Tinley Road Olive Blazer, Piperlime (left)
Leopard Scarf, eBay (left)

H&M Red Blazer (right)
Horsebit Scarf, eBay (right, a Cee find)

Are you a glam or anti-glam type of traveler?


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