2011-08-31 09:51 pm

Forever 21 version of Monochromatic Corset Dress

 Here is the cute B&W striped dress I bought a few weeks ago from Forever 21 for $22.80. I think a lot of their clothes are overpriced for the quality, but this dress is all cotton and has real self-fabric belt loops (although the skirt hemline is pretty messy). The belt is really poor quality but easily swapped out.

Striped Dress w/ Belt

I usually wear a 2 in dresses at Anthropologie (0 in tops, 4-6 in skirts) and the size S fit well. It's a tad too long in the shoulder, but I'm petite and short-waisted so that's a typical issue for me. It DOES pass the bend-over test on my 32AA chest. The length feels a tad longer than 33", probably closer to 34" or 34.5".

I picked it up immediately because it reminded me of Anthro's lovely Monochromatic Corset Dress, albeit minus the corsetry detail:

Anthro's version is more unique, of course, but also dressier and probably not machine-washable (line dry, and I'd recommend sticking to that unless you don't mind shrinkage).
2011-08-12 02:43 pm

Seychelles shoes in small sizes

 I wrote to Seychelles customer service to ask for a list of their "select" styles available in size 5 and 5.5. It's kind of a short list... what's even shorter is the list of retailers who actually carry the smallest sizes of these styles.

Change of Venue
Cream of the Crop
Greatest Hits
Matter of Fact
Second to None
Clue (5.5 only)
I Do (5.5 only)
Purr (5.5 only)
2011-07-29 12:52 am

Anthro reviews 7/29

 Went to Anthro today, with a friend whom I'm slowly addicting to the store. :D And I didn't buy anything!

First, got a birthday coupon PA [price adjustment] on the Carica Bag in beige, which I received today. It's almost huge, which I love but is also a little intimidating at the same time. I will bring it to school, but it doesn't really work with a backpack--too large to carry as a handbag, and over my shoulder is too bulky with my backpack at the same time.

Carica Bag

But it's a classic slouchy satchel shape, holds a TON, and I got a great deal: $85, originally $178. (I ordered a charge-send from California with free shipping, but when I got my 15% price-adjustment, it also took off the tax that I had to pay in CA. Hooray!)

Also returned the Blurred Bands Belt, which I'd picked up last weekend on a whim but was too big to wear at my waist.

And finally, I tried on a lot of tops, plus the Sagebrush Skirt. I tried a 4 but really need a 6 in the skirt, but decided that $70 was too much to pay, regardless. LOVED the Expanding Universe Tank in red XS, despite mixed blogger reviews--my theory is that it's designed for small-busted women, because the neckline will pucker if it's at an angle. Not a problem for my flat chest, I just needed to straighten it out and it stayed perfect. The red colorway reminds me of Canada, my native land, so it's even sentimental!

I re-tried the A-Bit-Unruly Top in green, size XS, but though there wasn't anything really wrong with it, it just seemed too simple for a $30 top. I'd much rather wait for the Expanding Universe Top to go on sale, and I'll snatch it up at first cut. Also retried The Gathering Tank, this time in lavender, and determined that I can't make the size small work (bust is huge). But the raw edges still bug me and I very much doubt this top will make it to second cut. The Sidebent Tank, similar to the failed Expanding Horizons Tank, is a better fit but still not perfect. Contrary to online reviews, for me it ran a little big--long, rather than wide--because the armholes dragged down in the XS. I like my tops fitted, so I didn't notice tightness in the torso area. The design is honestly kind of boring, though.

More tops... Loosened Shelby Top desperately needs to be sized down, but I didn't bother trying the 0 because the neck-ties were really funky. Too bad, because the navy bird print is really cute. I disliked the mannequin shape of the Alchemilla Tee, and didn't like it any more on me. It makes me look hippy, miraculously, but not in a good way (i.e. by making my chest look even tinier). Loved the flowiness of the Talauma Tunic, but it's sold out in XS and S both in my store and online. I'll consider it on sale if/when I can track down an XS to try. Hanging Garden Top was, by no means, an effective substitute... just huge. This is when I wish I was able to size down in tops--instead, I'm usually sized out of the flowy stuff. I sized down to a 0 in the Finding Roses Blouse (now on second cut for $20), but it was still too big.

P.S. Insights from trading clothes with my hourglass friend: Expanding Universe Tank doesn't work on >B cup, I suspect. Cirque A-line (aka "the elephant dress") has a crappy zipper, just like its sweetly singing predecessor. The beautiful Artist's Rendering Dress really doesn't work on petites in non-petite sizes, even if you're an hourglass (she was able to take the 2; I went up to a 4 to squeeze my waist in, and the top was a mess; but on both of us, the straps were too long and caused gapping).
2011-07-28 10:55 am

Belated: Anthropologie reviews (notes)

Not all of these have pictures because I went in quickly/with friends, but I want to note fit comments regardless.

A-Bit-Unruly Top: I've heard that this top fits different in the pink and brown colorways. I don't particularly like those two colors, though. Tried the XS in green stripe, which is a gorgeous seafoam green color. However, the modal is rather sheer and it's fundamentally a casual top, which makes it hard to pay $30 for.

Expanding Horizons Tank: tried XS in cobalt blue, lovely color but the front gaped open when I bent over.

The Gathering Tank: tried XS in green, the color and fit were great, but I didn't like the slubby thin cotton and I hated the raw edges. Also gaps a bit if I bend over, but that might be fixable with a different bra. I would pick this up on second cut, but not for $30, and I don't expect it to last until $20.

Tupelo Dress: fits TTS, straps are on the long side for petites.

Heartease Habotai Blouse: extremely low-cut and will not fit an A cup, even in sz 0.

Darting Dragonfly Dress: too small in sz 0, but fit fine in sz 2 when I tried it the first time at full price, so I wouldn't size down. Kind of regretting not tracking this down via charge-send when it first hit $40, but it is only a summer dress due to the styling--would look terrible with opaque tights.

Gathered Hemlock Dress: orange floral colorway; fits tight at the waist in sz XS, similar to the Whirligig. I later tried the S in the blue motif and it fit better, so I would take an S in this, though I'd probably take the XS in the Whirligig due to the extra drape up top.

Alstroemeria Tee: didn't try on, the yellow in the print is brighter IRL.

Splashed Palette Dress: has an adorable black polka-dot lining! Fits TTS, as I tried on the 0 and the 4 and neither fit. (The 0 zipped, but was uncomfortably tight in the thighs.) I would ideally want the petite version.

Strappy Dandelion Dress: runs small, as it has a back zipper and I still couldn't zip up the 0.

Vervain-Mallow Top: in rust, sz XS, fits well and surprisingly works with my Asian coloring, but I was bothered by the shoulder ruffle sticking out of my shoulder.

Also tried on a sale top with rolled sleeves and a pretty corset-style laced neckline which looks like it runs small but is actually TTS (I tried on the S and it was too big). Finally, I tried on a bunch of sale pants and discovered that I'm a sz 2/4 in pants at Anthro... but nonetheless ended up buying sz 28 (=sz 6) Pilcro High-Rise Flares, because they fit loosely and I couldn't pass up $10 pants. At least if I gain even more weight, they'll still fit once I chop off several inches from the hem.

Whirligig Dress in magenta (which Anthro calls medium pink) and dusty purple (lavender, I think?): elastic waist has a tendency to snap threads when stretched tight, which makes me frown--I expect better quality at this price point, especially for synthetic fabric. I tried on both the XS and S; the XS fit but was tight in the waist, the S gave me a tad too much drape at the top. And after trying the Vervain-Mallow Top, I'm intrigued by the orange colorway that I initially dismissed. Still, first cut is a bit much to pay for a jersey dress.

I tried on the Reflecting Pool Dress in sz 2 in case I decided to order the Verdant Slip [in the original mint green, I dislike the new blue colorway] online. It fits TTS, but I don't feel like the fit is particularly flattering, and I would prefer strapless to these tiny straps.

Calliope Dress, in size 2: loved the print online. I definitely need to size down in this, even at the waist. However, the pockets stick out unattractively, and I forgot about my irrational hatred for henley buttons. Later tried this in a 0 and it still looks shapeless. Maybe at a super-sale price.

Ah, Artist's Rendering Dress... how you taunt me so. I never wear shift-style dresses and they don't fit my body well either, but I loved the landscape print on this so much. I couldn't zip up the size 2, but even holding the top closed, the neckline gaps. The size 4 fits but gaps unacceptably at the neck. Has a lovely striped plaid lining.

Unknown Tracy Reese Dress, attractively priced at $30 but not my style and too short, not to mention too big for me. In sz P. This has since sold at my local Anthro, and I have no clue what it's called.

Magdalena Peasant Top: way too baggy in XS.

I've been coveting the Sagebrush Skirt ever since I saw it hanging on a display rack in the middle of the store, months ago. The size 4 fits snugly at high waist, and my store didn't have a 6 to compare. In comparison, I took a size 6 in the Inkwell Skirt, which ran small for most, and also the Plaited Brushwork Skirt [since returned, I didn't love the print], which was just non-stretchy. I love the color and the detailed embroidery. Now it's on sale for $70... I'm tempted to buy it, but will depend on whether I keep the Carica Bag (in beige, charge-send arrives today!) and whether I buy the Blurred Hydrangea Dress from an EA seller.

This green top (name? picture pending) is way too big and I can't bend over. Euch.

Runny Yoke Skirt in sz 4, black; the other is the Shaded Glory Skirt, also in sz 4 and on second cut $20, which comes in several colors besides taupe (I saw brown and purple for sure). Fit comfortably if snugly, so don't size up. I bought the Faded Glory Skirt, but ended up returning it because there was too much material in the hips.

Bright Bolts Sash, Slim, sz S/M... Caught my eye only because it was paired with the Eyeleted Corset Top in the May 2011 catalog. I returned that top, though, and I would never wear this belt otherwise. Since cut to $10 and my local Anthro still has a bunch.

Finally, an unknown brown belt that's way too big for my waist and drapes awkwardly on my hips. Pass.
2011-07-28 10:20 am

Belated: H&M reviews

Purple and indigo patterned tunic/dress was $15 down from $35, tried in sz 2 and 8. The 8 has enough length to be a dress but the top is way too big; even on the tunic-length size 2, the chest is overly blousy. I actually bought this and returned it last season at regular price, in size 4, because it's a gorgeous print--better in person--but a difficult cut. The dress length is kind of tight on my thighs, which measure as 35". Also, I can't bend over. A reluctant pass.

I've been looking for a white dress, but haven't found any cute ones at a reasonable price. This one, in sz 2 (equivalent to Anthro sz 0), has zero give at the empire waist--which usually isn't a problem for me, my underbust is only 29"--and practically see-through in the back. Also no price tag and obviously the only one available on the rack. If not for the sheerness, I would consider trying a size up.

Taupe lace-sleeved tee in sz XS, $7 down from $13. I love the sleeves, but the body is a very casual, plain, cheap cotton and not at all forgiving of a few lumps.

And finally, something that I actually bought! (Last month, AND I haven't returned it.) This blue paisley maxi was just $10 down from $20, last one left in sz 6. It's the right price for a trend I'm not sure I can pull off, and brushes the floor in flats, but I'm only 5'2". The surplice chest is huge, but I can make it work with a white tank underneath and a belt to cinch the empire waist. The surplice cut is mirrored in back, and there's no zipper, so I don't know how practical sewing the top closed would be. There would still be too much fabric to pass the bend-over test. So basically, this is a pretty fussy maxi dress, but with 3" wedges, it makes me feel like a goddess.

Addendum: I do plan on sewing the surplice together, I think, because it tends to fall off my shoulders otherwise if I'm not wearing a cardigan.
2011-07-28 10:17 am

Belated: J. Crew reviews

I'm apparently too perfectionist to post unedited photos, and I have too many photos to edit; so if and when that gets finished and uploaded, I'm just going to do text reviews for now. I'm a writer first and foremost, anyway.

Purple shift dress, $20 (originally $70). The XS is too large and gives me the illusion of unattractive hips, which is pretty difficult!

White Cecilia dress in sz 00, which fits like Anthro 0 (can't-gain-any-weight snug). The top is cut badly for me, whether due to my petite torso or my flat chest, I'm not sure. Has a three-layer skirt for opacity. No size 0 was available, and I didn't bother trying on the 2 since the straps would just get even more awkward. This is a beautiful dress if it fits you, though.

A cotton bell skirt in army green (not J. Crew's actual color name) in sz 0, which is a little ridiculous because a 28" waist should not be size 0. The 0 fits at waist but is a tad too short for my comfort, so I would size up for length and to wear on my hips if I wanted to buy this, though I don't particularly.

Two pretty embroidered tops in white and sage green--both are opaque, which was a concern for the white. However, the bust gaps way too much to be appropriate even casually, and this is on MY chest. I can't imagine what this top would look like on someone who was busty and actually pulled the fabric taut, since this is the XXS and it's not very fitted, just poorly designed.
2011-07-15 01:06 pm

Miscellaneous thoughts

1. Pants (real pants, not sweat/yoga pants) are pretty uncomfortable after living in skirts for a month.

2. My (finger)nails are currently painted OPI She Sells Sushi by the Seashore, which is just a bit too bright to be a true neutral, but not bright enough to bother me. I would call it a muted peachy pink. I'm still on the hunt for a pale pink that isn't too sheer and doesn't strike my ugh-pink radar... I might just give up, buy sheer pink and opaque white, and learn how to do French nails.

JCPenney is having a BOGO 50% off sale on OPI polish. I went with a friend, so we each bought one bottle for $6.38 each. I like the quality much better than Revlon or Sally Hansen. It's very thick, essentially opaque after just one coat, but not tacky.

Toes are alternating OPI Jade is the New Black (review with swatch, although it photographs brighter/lighter than IRL, in my opinion) and an opaque cobalt blue Sally Hansen.

3. Went to Purebread Deli for lunch, and their Italian wedding soup is WAY too salty. This from someone who loves salt.

4. Also went to Talbots to return my last sandal order--I have two more pairs coming in the mail, which I will hopefully like better--and tried on a few things. I saw a cute chevron-striped dress that I wish I'd seen during the $40 dress sale. I tried on three skirts (2 were the same style in different colorways) in 2P/4P/6P, out of coincidence. I definitely need 2P bottoms at Talbots, because the shorter of the two skirts still fell to my knee when worn at waist, and only the 2P sat at my waist.

Recall that I have a 28" waist! And I'd call the 2P waist measurement a 28.5 or maybe even 29 because I'd just finished lunch and it fit comfortably. Crazy vanity sizing--same goes for my size 2 The Limited pencil skirt--even if you go down to 00, that's only a 26" waist measurement. Which, in jeans, = size 2.

Oh, quick review on the sandals I returned, which were the Twisted-Rope Leather T-Strap Thongs (no longer available online). They are like pictured, but I just didn't like the look and feel of the T-strap--my foot was very bare and I felt like I was going to step out of the shoe when I walked, even though it's secured with an ankle strap. Plus, I think the bareness calls attention to the abnormally small size of my foot... my TOMS do that, too, but I'm OK when it's a casual look. I had ordered these sandals to have a flat shoe for work, and the strap is too much to bother with for casual occasions.

5. Hopefully going to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale tonight, and I'm kind of scared. It's all hyped up to be a huge deal, but this is the first year that Delaware has had ANY high-end department store presence. (No Bloomingdale's/Neiman Marcus/Saks.) It's a pretty small store, too, noticeably smaller than Macy's and not that much larger than the Forever 21 flagship XXI store.
2011-07-13 08:55 am
Entry tags:

Anthro sale haul

There was yet another Anthro sale yesterday, this time mainly second/third cuts. I debated some charge-sends but ultimately decided to pass. I did manage to grab the Atomical Tee on second cut  in the navy pattern, which is quirky and has caught my eye for a while now but I wasn't willing to pay even $40 for a tee. Justified the order because I needed a size up in the Snapdragons Belt, in hopes that it will fit overlapping like the product photo... I would have ordered the L as well to compare, but of course it didn't pop back until today.

And of course, to get free shipping, I picked up the Gull Wing Dress in plum for $100. I won't keep it at that price, for sure, but if it gets a second cut within two weeks, I'll consider it. And I do want to try it on.

Snapdragons Belt, by Lucky Penny (reviews; my review of the size S upcoming)
purchased size M for $40 (originally $78)

Atomical Tee in "blue motif" colorway, by Tiny (reviews; see also Behind the Dressing Room Door)
purchased size XS for $20 (originally $68)

Gull Wing Dress in plum colorway, by Girls from Savoy (reviews; see also Effortless Anthropologie, In Pursuit of Pretty Things, Anthroholic)
purchased for $100 (originally $168)

2011-07-12 11:38 pm

My first purchase at Bloomingdale's

 I've walked through Bloomingdale's a few times at the KOP mall, but have never purchased anything--the prices are too high for my taste. But over at Want Not, the wonderful Mir just posted a great coupon deal: $50 off a $100+ purchase online, plus free shipping if you purchase $50 of intimates. (Check out her blog post, and shop with her affiliate link, for details.) I took the opportunity to grab two bras for almost 50% off each--came to $54 total, as usual no tax.

First I ordered the Wacoal "Embrace Lace" Petite Push-Up Bra in black, which has pretty white lace on the band, in a hard-to-find size 32AA. I've never worn a petite bra before, because I always buy 32A padded push-up bras from Lily of France and/or whatever is on sale at Macy's. But I don't anticipate fit issues, because I am petite and I have a classically petite torso. Actually, my full torso is probably around average length, but I have a high waist (almost a hands-width above my navel) and noticeably short shoulder-to-bust ratio (straps never fit correctly).

SIDEBAR: Once, just once, I found a nude 32AA padded bra on the sale rack. It fits great, but it's a full-coverage T-shirt bra and I wear a lot of low-cut tops. I think the expanse of chest, even sans cleavage, shows off my collarbone and shoulders. Also, this particular bra design is almost entirely padding and not much pushing, so that the 32A--identical style, in black--also fits but with even more padding.

And I desperately need a new strapless bra--my current one is obviously dead and always slipping--so I picked up the Natori Women's "Reflex" Strapless Convertible Bra in nude, 32A. Reviews say that the Natori bra runs a bit shallow in the cup, so I'm hopeful that it will work out. If not, well, Bloomie's has an undated return policy, so I can always wait for my next trip to KOP.
2011-07-12 07:20 pm
Entry tags:

(Dis)Preferred Shopping Categories

Angie of YouLookFab has posted about preferred shopping categories... I have a few, but mostly I have a much longer list of things that I'm constantly shopping for (and failing to find).
1. Skirts! Especially Anthro skirts... I have a harder time finding enough tops to go with them, though.
2. Dresses! Just as pretty and feminine as skirts, without having to worry about also dressing my top half.
3. Jewelry--always fits! However, I have a problem of always buying similar, delicate-type jewelry, and then having nothing colorful and chunky to add to boring outfits. I prefer fine jewelry, such as diamonds in my everyday watch and sterling silver metals whenever possible, since base metals always end up turning my skin green.
4. Hair accessories (i.e. forks/sticks/clips), because there's not much point in maintaining waist-length hair unless you can play with it.
Most Hated:
1. Dress pants. Ugh. I've had some luck recently with the Sloan fit pants at Banana Republic, so I suspect one key may be to size up in the slimmest available cut. I have average thighs but nonexistent hips and a thick waist, so I need pants that are cut nearly straight up and down.
2. Jeans--slightly better than non-denim pants because I can buy hip-huggers that, while they don't particularly flatter my tummy, at least don't constrict it too much. But I need a 29" inseam, which is annoying because it means that 30" petite inseams are too long for flats and too short for heels.
3. Watches... which, since I treat them as fine jewelry, you'd think I would love shopping for watches. But I have certain criteria for a watch that MUST be met, and they usually contradict each other: all stainless steel, 12 points on the face (because I actually use my watch to tell time, instead of my cell phone), and a slim, delicate, lady-like style. The first two criteria are practical essentials but usually lead me to chunky menswear watches, which I hate. Old-fashioned oval ladies watches are also inappropriate. I finally found the perfect watch last year at Kay Jewelers--it's a Citizen Eco-Drive with a rectangular face and two vertical rows of diamond trim--but only after shopping way. Too. Much.
4. Swimwear. Enough said.
5. Bras--my true size is a 32AA (and my actual band size is a 31), but since that size is difficult to find in non-specialty shops, I just try on tons of 32A push-up bras until I find some that mostly fit.
6. Shoes and bags... Both are very hard to fit for me. My feet are size 5 with wide toes but a slim instep (so wide sizes don't fit, even if I somehow managed to find a 5W); in bags, I am constantly searching for the holy grail of both style AND organization. (I'm an obsessive organization freak.)
2011-07-09 11:41 pm
Entry tags:

The vagaries of (shoe) sizing

So, another thing that my mother and I did yesterday at the outlets was, out of curiosity, getting our feet sized at the Clarks Bostonian store. I've never been able to figure out the width-sizing on the metal foot-shaped thingy that shoe stores carry, so a sales associate explained it. However, I now have definitive proof that the sizing does NOT work.

Why? Because my mother and I measured as the exact same size: 5 length, C/D width. We do indeed have the same length foot; however, we have NEVER worn the same shoe size. As in, if she buys a pair of shoes that fit, it's guaranteed that those shoes will not fit me. (I still throw them on when running out to the garage, but they flop around and are clearly too big.)

And furthermore, neither of us wears a size 5 wide (thankfully!). I wear 5M and am sometimes able to size up to 5.5M; in narrow-cut shoes, my toes get squished, but wide sizes are universally too big for my instep. My mom wears 6/6.5W or 7M; she does fit wide sizes but often just buys a size up for convenience. In sneakers she can fit a 6.5M easily.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you have to try on shoes. And everything else that goes on your body.
2011-07-09 05:07 pm

Outlet (and Other) Finds

Took a day off on Friday and went shopping at the outlets with my mother.  I snagged an amazing deal at Banana Republic Factory, which was running BOGO free on all clearance items: trouser jeans and a cardigan for $17 total. (Plus, no tax on clothes in PA.)

I also poked around J. Crew for a bit without seeing anything worthwhile, and Fossil for a long time at the pretty bags. Some good prices at the Fossil store, including 50% off certain clearance items--bringing one leather bag that I seriously considered down to only $40--but I'm still in love with the Lola Patchwork Hobo. The smaller version has a top zip, and I saw the larger version in-store at KOP and it's not large enough for textbooks anyway.

Other stores with good sales: Easy Spirit had a ton of shoes on promo for $15/20/30. Coach Factory was running another extra 30% promotion. Ann Taylor Factory had some decent prices on shirts and well-stocked clearance, though the style is a bit too classic for my taste (my mother picked up a few nice shells). I didn't venture into the Gap Outlet, and ran out of time for the new Talbots outlet at Lancaster (another store with classic, trending-older clothes).

We were there initially to make a return at Calvin Klein, and got merchandise credit because it was past 30 days, so I browsed for a while and tried on a bunch of different pants without finding any that fit perfectly. I did confirm that I'm between a 2 and a 4 in higher-waisted pant styles, that slim-cut styles tend to have a larger, lower waist (= perfect for my body type), and that a 29" inseam is NOT consistent at CK. Also that CK bras don't fit me well at all.


Aaaand in related shopping news, all of my recent online orders came in the mail. I'm very happy with my new Lands' End Canvas bikini, which will be debuted tomorrow. Eek. I ended up pairing the Heritage Mini Dot Bandeau Halter Swim Top (fits my 32AA chest surprisingly well in the XS, though I'll never ever wear it without the strap, and does run small per reviews) with the Heritage Retro Hipster Solid Swim Bottom in the matching Deep Sea color (sized up to an XS although I usually wear XXS at LEC), rather than the mini dot printed bottom. Despite my non-existent chest, I feel more comfortable drawing attention to my shoulders--which look surprisingly broad in a bikini--than my tummy.

Maybe I should have gone for the matching set after all, though. Navy solids are much easier to find later than the exact matching print, and I do feel like my shoulders are a little unbalanced. LE's return policy is such that I could wear the solid bottom tomorrow to the beach and still return it later with no problems... though I feel like this might be slightly unethical.

The Talbots T-strap sandals are less of a sure thing; they look exactly as pictured, but I just find them so bare on my feet; it feels a bit more casual than my ideal flat business-casual sandal. (My office has no official dress code and casual non-flip-flop sandals are definitely OK, but I like to be a little dressier than the bare minimum.) I know I shouldn't keep things I don't love, but I will wear them if I do keep them, and the price ($21 for leather, albeit not very much leather, and a reliable quality brand) is probably unbeatable.

Finally, I received an amazing gray jersey Anthro dress by Yoana Baraschi from an EA Trade Market seller. I expect it to get a ton of wear this summer at work, as it's a forgiving fit with interesting pleat/ruching details and a neutral color. (And unlike my neutral jersey J. Crew dress, which has similar pros, it isn't low-cut enough to require a scarf and doesn't have a funny between-rib-cage-and-waist elastic waistline. I mean, I still wear that dress a lot, but it's not quite effortless for those reasons.) The Baraschi dress is a little big up top when I bend over, but the neckline is modest enough that I can easily wear a cami underneath for coverage, and I expect it will stay put once I layer a cardigan over top.

[Sidebar: I am so going to be shopping for unique Anthro cardigans this winter break.]
2011-07-06 10:38 pm

Verdant Slips

Anthro's Verdant Slip Dress just came out in a new colorway, teal-ish blue.


Blue colorway on the left, original green (methinks seafoam) colorway on the right. I'm addicted to seafoam green, so I much prefer the original... however, I tried on the Reflecting Pool Dress, which is an exact twin except for the print, and wasn't much enamored with the fit of the slip style. I felt weirdly under- AND over-dressed in a casual, skimpy summer sundress made of silk.

Still, seafoam green floral... I'm tempted to compare it with my seafoam green floral silk scarf, actually. (Thrifted from the amazing Atlantic Canadian chain Frenchy's, the only--and thankfully decent--shopping in rural Nova Scotia.)
2011-07-06 08:43 am

Marshalls heads-up

Also stopped by Marshalls last night--more cute stuff than I remember, although most of the quality was off-putting to my Anthro-accustomed eye. Tried on a great pair of Joe's dark wash jeans for $40, but they were a size 25/0 and I'm a size 26/2 even when I was 5 lbs. thinner.

I saw a few specific, direct Anthro knock-offs: River Bends Tunic (albeit in turquoise), Filtered Light Tunic, Orchard Grove Pullover. The filtered light one was pretty decent, given that sheer is sheer.
2011-07-05 10:33 pm

A Sears Surprise

 I stopped by Sears recently and was surprised to find some cute stuff on the clearance racks, under the brand UK Style by French Connection. I'm not sure why French Connection decided to collaborate with Sears, of all places... but there you go. Didn't find anything that fit perfectly enough for me to love it, but definitely cute stuff at good prices.

I was there to return a Lands' End Canvas online order, and I did end up buying a white Lands' End (non-Canvas) boat-neck tee in XS. It fits a bit big, but not too much as-is and I expect the 100% cotton will shrink. It's nice and thick 1x1 rib, not see-through like so many white tees are. And I love boatnecks. Also tried on the coral, but the trendy color plus conservative cut just ended up frumpy. There was a very nautical striped colorway as well, that I deemed TOO nautical but could probably work well for the younger set. $18 with extra 40% off, so it came to $11 for Lands' End's amazing quality and unconditional return policy.

I really wish that my Sears carried the Canvas line, so I could browse it in-person! The 1x1 ribbed LE tops have never caught my eye online, but trying it on, I was sold. Since Sears is not part of my usual shopping rounds, I don't want to make online orders with the expectation of returning most of it.

Another interesting tidbit: I was returning LEC and LE swimwear, but still NWT and hygiene liner attached. Nonetheless, it was automatically tagged with a giant yellow clearance tag and marked as "used," probably to go to an LE outlet. This must make returns a painful extra cost for the retailer! It does, however, make me respect Lands' End that much more.
2011-06-29 08:34 pm

Questions of weight

So, my Lands' End bikini order came today. Surprisingly, the padded halter top did not work at all and the bandeau top, which was only available in one size up from my usual XXS, fit perfectly. The reviews on the latter were accurate in saying that there is really not much fabric to cover the bust--I can't imagine what the XXS looks like, nor what the top would look like on anyone bigger than an A-cup (in swimsuits, sans bra, I'm a 32AA).

I had ordered two bottoms to go with the polka-dot bandeau top: striped size 2 from Lands' End proper and the matching polka top banded bottom from Lands' End Canvas. Honestly, I would probably want to exchange for a size up in either, although they both fit.

And I have had the same problem with pants recently... I'm closer to a size 4 than a size 2 right now. And I'm almost 10 lbs. above my ideal weight. Now that I'm finally home, I can't blame cafeteria food and/or my addiction to free dessert... but it is definitely time to start an exercise regime and be careful of how much I eat.

So here's my incentive deal with myself: I am allowed to use my belated Anthro birthday coupon no matter what, BUT if I want to splurge on something that costs more than $40, I need to have made real progress toward my ideal weight. I am probably also going to Otakon at the end of July; if I'm slimmer by then, and haven't spent too much money at Anthro, I'm allowed to buy a (useless but gorgeous) steel-boned corset.

And, I need to do yoga at least every other night. I despise the gym, and running, so hopefully that will be enough.
2011-06-29 02:22 pm

Bookbinder Heels... *sigh*

I want to preface this post with a disclaimer: I don't normally fall in love with shoes. I admire their design, but the prettiest shoes are always unwearable high heels. I do have a problem with buying shoes just because they fit and not because I love them, but I blame that on the genetics that decided to gift me with tiny feet. (My mother's feet are the same length but significantly wider, so she can wear size 6-6.5. I'm a tiny bit wide in the front, but my heels are too narrow to stay in pumps that are too long.)

However, the new Anthropologie July catalog just came out... and I am in LOVE with these Bookbinder Heels.

Anthropologie Bookbinder Heels

The sad part is... these have an infinitesimally small chance of making it to sale in my size. Already--and these are practically a brand new release online--there's only 3 pairs left in stock online. And my local Anthro doesn't carry shoes unless they're returned, so unless I make a special trip, I can't even try these on.

Honestly, I'm also a little afraid to try these shoes on... I have a birthday discount to spend in July--my birthday was in May but I never got a coupon, turns out they had my mom's July birthday in the system instead--but these shoes cost $140 even with the discount. And I'd be afraid to wear them in any kind of not-perfect weather, for fear of ruining the heels.

EDIT: In EA comments, someone mentions that these shoes/this brand runs long in length and narrow in the toe box--exactly the opposite of what I need (I would love to find a 5.5 or even a 6 that runs short, because it's more common than a size 5, and my toes are slightly wide).
2011-06-26 10:37 pm

The Magic Price Point

I went to the huge King of Prussia mall today with a few friends. (It has literally every store I'm interested in, except for Anthro, sadly.) These are not Anthro/J.Crew-type friends; we spent long periods of time in H&M and Forever 21, and I ended up just buying a few cheap accessories from Wet Seal and New York & Company. A nice black belt to replace an Urban Outfitters belt that recently broke--I returned it for a merchandise credit, using a year-old receipt--and two clearance scarves, for a total of $11.

EDIT: Also a <$2 nail file from the Sanrio store, haha.

In fact, the belt (on sale for $5 at NY&Co) is pretty much a knock-off of Anthropologie's Looping Lanes Belt, which I've loved on several bloggers. The scarves are just so-so, but I needed to buy one for the Scarf Swap and it was a buy-one-get-one sale on top of clearance prices. I tried on a bunch of other stuff and some of it looked OK, but the fit wasn't perfect or the quality was discouraging.

F21 had a really cute blue tank top with a white dove print, but the armholes were huge and taking up the straps would have left me with a bizarrely prudish neckline given the skimpiness of the tank top. The Banana Republic also had a ton of tuxedo-bib button-down shirts on clearance, some in pink and a bunch in off-white, for just $11 plus 40% off. However, my shopping companions were universally against the shirt--they called it prudish--and the body was very wide, so I passed. I have NEVER seen a BR-quality button-down priced that low with multiples in stock, and it wasn't even final sale... but, of course, the fit is way off.

And now I finally get to the original point of this post: the magic price point. I realized that I will buy something on impulse if it is 1) a piece of clothing or shoes (excludes scarves, belts, costume jewelry, etc.) and 2) priced below $10. This is definitely lower than my price point a year ago, which was more like $20; but then, I have also raised my maximum price point quite a bit to include first-cut Anthro. I ended up returning the Eyeleted Corset Top because the colors were too hard to work with, but I'm still somewhat willing to pay $100 for a "perfect" piece of high-quality clothing. And if that top goes on sale for $50, I may be calling CS to repurchase it...

O anonymous reader: what is your magic price point? Do you have fine-print exceptions to the rule?
2011-06-23 01:03 pm

Heartsy review, and an Anthro dress hunt

 Overall, I really like Heartsy.me (referral link), which is a group-buying daily deal site for handmade goods from Etsy and elsewhere on the web. It's different from Groupon in that there is no initial "tipping" point, but there's also a strict limit to the number of vouchers available for each deal.

I've purchased two Heartsy vouchers so far, both for Etsy, and it's really easy to check out with them. However, I ended up getting one of the vouchers refunded and had to argue with customer service by email for several days... so, I still recommend them, just be aware that they will make it difficult to get your money back and think of it as final sale. I did get my refund in the end by being persistent and aggressive. (The voucher was for custom-made clothing, and more expensive than most of Heartsy's deals, or I wouldn't have bothered.)

Secondly... somehow I managed to miss Anthro's Blurred Hydrangea Dress on second cut and only just noticed it on third cut to $50 from $400... obviously, it's all sold out by now. But I am willing to pay the second cut price of $100 for a size 0 or 2... maybe 4 if it's cheaper than $100 and will come out equivalent after alteration costs.
2011-06-19 10:13 pm
Entry tags:

Shopping (Anthro, part 0)

Just came back from a marathon 6-hour shopping trip. Lots of pictures and reviews to come, both of my many online orders that arrived over the past month and various fitting room reviews. But first, I wrote up an extensive sale room report of my local DE Anthro for Effortless Anthropologie's weekend community post, and I want to save it for posterity!

The Newark, DE sale room was pretty packed. I took notes as best as I could remember. Outside the sale room, I saw the Take Action Dress in original colorway, sz 0, 8; also two new colors of the Whirligig Dress, dusty purple and rust orange.
On sale:
Lavendula Chemise, sz L
Mompos Dress, sz 0, marked down for hole in the back fabric
Land of Springs Dress in red, sz M
Diamond Lattice Dress, sz 10
lots of Shore House Shifts
Glanz Dress, sz 12
D'armee Dress, sz 4 green, sz 6 navy and gray
Soft Bow Belt, sz M taupe and sz L blue
Drawing Parallels Skirt - green, sz XS x2, M
Drawing Parallels Skirt - plum, sz XS x2, S, M
Drawing Parallels Skirt - white, sz XS, M x2, Lx2
Drawing Parallels Skirt - black, sz XS, S x2, M x4
Ackee Pencil Skirt, sz 0 x2
Araca Pencil Skirt, sz 0 x2 (+slightly damaged 0), 4
Doyle's Desk Tunic, sz 12
Brickwork Tee in navy, sx XS
Runny Yoke Skirt in black, sz 4 (marked down to $20)
Things I don't know the name of:
A really weird Tracy Reese dress, colorblock with a striped skirt and thin jersey fabric... I tried it on and took a picture, but not yet uploaded. In sz P (XS) and M, marked down to $30.
Purple tie-dye-ish maxi by Isabella Sinclair, marked down to second cut $70, sz 8.
Gray sheer stripe knit pullover, which has been popular but the name is slipping my mind right now, marked down to $20 a while back, in sz M and L.
Lots of taupe and I think brown tweed-ish skirts, similar to the Runny Yoke but symmetrical, also marked down to $20. I bought a sz 4 in the taupe, so I can post a picture later if anyone is interested.
Also, I think, a Dissolving Spectrum Cardi.