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).
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.
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.
I recently discovered the fabulous Angie of YouLookFab, and I love most of her advice. However, she is firmly against ankle-length skirts for anyone other than tall women, and I have to say, I disagree.

One of my most-complimented skirts is an Indian "magic wrap" reversible skirt (that can supposedly also be worn as a dress, but I've never figured out how). It hits right around my waist, is super-floaty and sparkly and colorful, and just gorgeous. I like to wear it with a plain, fitted top--I recently purchased a slouchy J. Crew sweater that picks up the golden tones of the mostly blue skirt--to really show off the skirt.

And, I tried it on with heels once--UGH. Does not work at all, because it emphasizes my bare ankles. I think it works with flats despite my height (5'2") because it's so floaty and maxi-like. Love!
This is my fifth and last week in rural Canada before I return to civilization. Tonight I had to attend a 50's themed dance party, and I hadn't had the chance to go shopping (i.e. thrifting, because the closest mall is 30-45 minutes away and I don't have a car) for appropriate attire. At the last minute, I took off the tights I'd worn under a navy jersey dress and layered a cream ruffle skirt underneath the dress as a mini-crinoline. Topped with my charcoal gray peacoat and a quick tie of a scarf that I'd thrifted in a previous week to the amazing Frenchy's^, I was ready to go.

^Other things I've thrifted from Frenchy's since arriving in Canada include a J.Crew Costine sweater, Ralph Lauren polo, Banana Republic striped tank, NWT Express black satin tank, and a gorgeous seafoam-green vintage silk scarf. Everything is sold in giant bins and priced by item type, no markups for brand names. There are often premium brand jeans, too, although I'm hard to fit in pants so I didn't take a look.

Being on vacation with a limited wardrobe--that wasn't particularly well-packed, as I was in a hurry--and I didn't have a good sense of the finicky, rainy spring weather in Nova Scotia--means that I've had to be creative (and, at times, just repeat super-casual outfits) with my style. For instance, I paired a mustard yellow J.Crew Costine sweater, oversized and the first yellow clothing item I can remember purchasing, with navy Aeropostale sweats. And y'know, it worked.

This time around, I love the look of this skirt as a crinoline/slip, especially since I've wanted to own a slip for a while now. (It's on the same impractical-clothing-items wishlist as a corset.) It was a random NY&Co purchase while at school--my friend owns a twin--but has proven to be quite versatile. The matching self-belt is held on by real belt loops and easily detached; it looks great as a ribbon belt over this same solid jersey dress. Plus, the skirt is fun and flirty by itself, has snap buttons down the front for interest if I decide to tuck in my top, AND is machine-washable polyester that has held its shape. And now a modern crinoline. All for $20, originally intended as a trendy way to try out ruffles. This is why I continue to shop at New York and Company: I also own a colorblock jersey skirt from several years ago that I've worn to death fabric-wise but STILL get compliments on. I often walk through NY&Co without finding anything that I like, but when pieces work, they really work.

Specs (photo pending, but under terrible lighting):
* J.Crew Drift dress in Shadow
  - currently available in teal Agate, size L (popback)
  - I own it in size XS; I also got the XXS in the same online order for fitting purposes because I am often sized out of J.Crew non-petite tops (and everything else that doesn't involve an accurate waist measurement), but it was a teensy bit smaller in the waist and had the same slightly-too-long bust to shoulder length.
* New York & Company cream ruffle skirt, size 4
* White Mountain Outfitters black leather knee-high boots, size 6
  - ordered from Amazon
  - The leather on these boots is really soft and very easily scratched, but I'm OK with that look. They are super versatile and when they die in a few years--I bought them for pretty cheap, under $30--I am definitely going to pick up another pair of flat black leather knee-high boots. I'd like to find a similar type of pair in brown, too.
* London Fog charcoal gray wool peacoat, size PXS
  - purchased in-store from Macy's, on sale with coupon
  - sleeves actually fit!
* Jones New York silk crepe moss green floral scarf
  - thrifted from Frenchy's for $1

Not pictured:
* Citizen Eco-Drive stainless steel, diamond, and mother-of-pearl watch
  - ~$300, gift from relative, purchased at Kay Jewelers
  - from last year, similar to the Silhouette Diamond but with a rectangular face
  - I adore this watch and wear it every day (though I always wear a watch every day). My skin turns green in the presence of copper, including when mixed into base metals, so the stainless steel strap was a must. It doesn't overwhelm my frame, and since it's link-based, I got it shortened for free to actually fit my 6" wrist. The surface has some scratches because I wear it every day and don't baby it, but the diamonds are all still firmly set in place and so far the no-battery-replacement claim seems to be true.
* Pink floral hair clip holding bun together, gift from relative while visiting in China
So here is what I ordered from Anthro's tag sale! The Seasons Change Cardi popped out of stock while I was deliberating, but since I wasn't totally in love (no front buttons for warmth, this summer I'll be working in a FREEZING COLD office), it didn't faze me. By the way, the cardi came in three colorways even though only one is left online: white, brown, and a beautiful teal. But I already own a teal cardigan--cashmere, Gap, baggy but looks fine open and cashmere will be warm enough.

I ordered three skirts, but two are navy so I will only be keeping 2/3 at most. Plus two belts (actually four belts since one is a set of there) that sadly didn't qualify for the extra percentage off. It came just over $52; I dropped a $10 necklace at the last minute because I have way too much jewelry and I knew I'd never wear it.

Going under a cut-tag because I got wordy again...

Tag Sale Round 3 )

Finally, a bonus: agonizing over the Eyeleted Corset Top, which I purchased in-store at the full price of $98 (+no tax, thanks DE!) before leaving for Canada. My store only had a few sizes left in backstock and none out on the floor; I'm sure it would be difficult now to track down a size 2, long sold-out online. I think the 4 currently available online is just 1 popback.

Eyeleted Corset Top by Floreat (reviews; see also Effortless Anthropologie, Erato's Closet--and again)
purchased size 2 for $98


This top has gotten surprisingly little love from the blogosphere. I've been wanting a corset-style top for a while--up to and including a real steel-boned corset from Otakon--and I love the eyelet detail. However, $100 for a top is ridiculous (compare with my Trollbeads bracelet with one charm, which I wear every single day layered with my watch) and since I own no orange (see above) I suspect this will be hard to style. Need to try it on some more when I get home, but it is probably going back. Maybe I'll keep the Snapdragon Belt as an alternative Anthro splurge.

I tried on both size 0 and size 2--no size 4 available--and was able to zip up both, but preferred the looser fit of the 2. It fits me well, though smooshes down my already-flat chest, because of my comparatively large ribcage. Back of bodice is smocked; bodice itself is very well-constructed. Super-flattering and gives me a waist. But--colors and price are a no-go. I don't think mine came with straps, but perhaps I just forgot about them. Here's a gratituous catalog shot:



By the way... for my birthday last month, I walked into my local Anthro with my mom and was prepared to pay full price for a gorgeous, versatile dress. I found the Overwhelmed Aster Dress (perfect fit in size 2 regular) to be gorgeous but terribly impractical; others that I tried on were all meh. I ended up buying the Magnified Corolla Dress for a sweet $30 (third cut, I think) at the register, even though the tag said $90. I am having the lining altered in China so I would probably have returned at $90, but for $30, the print is just lovely. I predict it will look amazing with the Snapdragon Belt. I purchased in size 0 because there was no 2 left and I didn't want to size up to 4. (This was on a different trip than the corset top, or the Inkwell Skirt... I visited Anthro three times in two weeks, I think.)

I am really itching to purge and re-organize my closet. Unfortunately I get home next Saturday afternoon and start work on Monday.
Right now I'm in rural Canada, studying French, with essentially no access to IRL shopping. As a result, I'm a little afraid to count the number of packages waiting for me at home (plus a few still coming in the mail, including my Anthro sale haul--see below). True to form, I haven't actually spent that much $$ because I refuse to pay shipping and I prefer to order from shops that have a nearby B&M presence. My parents are probably rather unhappy about the growing pile of boxes, however, especially since they don't trust my lesser cheapskate instincts.

But! A huge Anthro sale with extra 25% off, how could I resist? This was actually my second online order from Anthropologie--I paid shipping for the Inkwell Skirt on second cut because I'd already bought it and loved it on first cut, but was just outside of the PA period. I only wore the skirt once for a few hours and the tag was already off (in the pocket) when I bought it, so I have no qualms about returning my original $40 purchase.

Inkwell Skirt by Edme & Esyllte (reviews; see also Anthro Flux, In Pursuit of Pretty Things)
purchased size 6 for $26 shipped, originally $98


By the way, this skirt currently has a popback in size 8. Reviews are mixed, but for $20, it's a great deal. I would definitely recommend it to straight-figured ladies who would appreciate looking a bit more hippy. Even at $40, I was happy: high quality cotton with a gorgeous lace-edged lining, beautifully muted cool colors that will go with everything in my jewel-toned closet, and classic A-line shape. And pockets! It does poof at the waist, but I prefer to wear tops over skirts to create a drop waist at my slim hips, and I expect the same poof to give me some illusion of curviness if I choose to wear it higher-waisted with a top tucked in.

Note that this skirt is marked as dry clean, but being 100% cotton, I will hand-wash and line dry. If not for the delicate lacy lining, I would probably throw it in the machine in a mesh bag. But uh, my clothing care standards usually fall one step below whatever is recommended on the label. For instance, if it's 100% silk or 100% wool, I will hand-wash and lay flat to dry even if the label says dry clean only, because according to my mother, the ancient Chinese never had dry-cleaning and their clothes held up just fine. I have never run into problems with shrinkage or damage.

I purchased a size 6 after first grabbing my usual size 2 without realizing that I cannot fit an unstretchy size 2 waistband around my 28.5" waist. (Actually, depending on how I measure, I could also be 29-33 rather than 28.5-34, but that's too depressing.) It doesn't quite fall as low as my hips, but that wouldn't work with the poofiness anyway. Certainly it's more comfortable than my size 8 H&M skirt that fits very snugly at natural waist.

Also, I didn't realize until after seeing the online listing that it comes in petite sizes as well. I bought the skirt in-store in a regular size, but since the petite is only 1.25" shorter, I don't think it makes too much difference (and I prefer longer skirts anyway).

And this post is getting long, as always with my wordiness, so I'll break here and start a separate post for my ACTUAL Anthro sale haul yesterday. Can you tell I have OCD-like organizational tendencies?

August 2011

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About

Seeing personal style through K's eyes.

I'll be chronicling my quest for personal style on a frugally-raised college student's budget. Fitting room reviews, style inspirations, musings/rants about dressing a petite, size-2 apple figure--just whatever is on my mind. I adore the Anthro aesthetic, but rarely pull it off in real life. Same goes for heels and make-up...

SIZING REFERENCE:

Height: 5'2"
Measurements: 31-28-33
Bust: 32A (or 32AA without padding)
Shoes: 5 women's/3 kids, also 5.5 if open-back
True size: 2 with consideration for my waist
Shape: "crabapple"
Ethnicity: Asian = straight black hair (now waist-length for the second time!), boring brown eyes and nonexistent lashes, medium yellow-toned skin

SPECIFIC BRANDS:
Anthropologie: 2/S dresses (0/XS fits tight), 2/XS tops, 4-6 skirts
J.Crew: XS/0 tops and dresses, 4 skirts
Banana Republic: 2 tops, 4P Sloan bottoms (sometimes 2/2P in other cuts)
H&M: 4/XS tops, 4/S dresses, 6 (sometimes 8) skirts
Forever 21: S tops and dresses, 26 jeans

Resident of the teensy state of Delaware, whose greatest virtue is 0% sales tax!

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