Addendum: Ann Taylor Loot

There seems to be a lot of interest in Ann Taylor's petite ruffle shell from a prior post, so I figured I'd share how it looks in a different color, worn with pants. Here it is in winter white (online exclusive color) in PXXS with my favorite Theory skinny work pants:
Don't forget EXTRA30! And in case you have trouble figuring out how to spend that $150 to get free shipping...I am in love with these pumps (doesn't the outfit above look better with a change of shoes? My black pointy pumps are so outdated!):
A 5.5 fit perfectly, but alas I returned them because I can get them at 40% off some other day. Every little bit of savings counts!

Review: J.Crew Cardigans - not all XS's created equal

After finding success with a J.Crew size XS cardigan from this post, I fell under the false impression that all of their sweaters would fit equally well in XS. I ordered a bunch online, looking for the word "fitted" under descriptions and scoped out all the model photos to see which sweaters seemed the most snug. I ended up with the following three:

*Warning - it was a frizzy hair day to say the least. I literally rolled out of bed and decided to start the day w/ some blogging pics*

1. First up, the dream crewneck cardigan in XS. $85 only $35 with EXTRA30 (extended til Sunday!). They really sold me on the product description, and I liked the unique exposed seaming at the arms and down the back. The sweater looks so snug on the online model - I was SURE it would fit great on petites.

In real life (hrmm, notice that the sweater kind of "gained 5 lbs" from the image above? As in, it looks wider and dumpier than the sleek sweater shown above?):
And on me:
Verdict: return. Too much baggage around the torso. Loose and long sleeves. A nice knit though, and some very pretty color options. Someone 1 size up would fit much better in this, especially if it shrinks a little in the wash.

Click "Read More" for more sweaters.

Petite Work Outfit - Routine Ruffles

Okay, as you can tell by now I'm quite bad at thinking up "titles" for these outfit posts. Creative writing (and English in general) was clearly not my college major. What I was trying to convey was, this is my go-to routine outfit whenever I wake up with about 10 minutes to spare before having to hop on the subway. I dot on concealer, then slap on a soft ruffled top with a suiting skirt, and a cardigan. Basic, boring - but it gets the job done.
Top: Ann Taylor Ruffled Shell in "soft pewter," sz XXSP  - sold here; must search for additional colors. See the "winter white" version on me here.
Skirt: H&M suiting skirt size 4 (altered waist, sides, and length) - I really like this one.
Cardigan: Banana Republic ruffled cardigan PXXS- sold here
Shoes and Earrings: Banana Republic

As always, don't forget to signup for store mailing lists or check retailmenot for coupon codes! I got my Ann Taylor shell for 30% off but they frequently have 40% off a single full-priced item coupons in store.

Click "Read More" for more pics.

The Verdict: J.Crew Petite size 0 (P0)

**This post has an update. View the dress post-alterations here.**

I was very excited for the arrival of my J.Crew goodies. My expectations were low, after the comments and input from this post, but needed to see for myself and put my curiosity to rest. I also wanted to see whether the fit could be correct by alterations, and if so, for how much $.

First up, the Terra Paisley dress in 0P. On the J.Crew model (left) and on me (right):

Side and back view:
Measurements: 16 inches across from armpit to armpit, 13.25 inches across the waist.

The fit was loose and blah, but it was not swimmingly huge like I had feared. A petite lady 1 or 2 sizes up from me could probably fit perfectly into this dress.  

When I took this to my tailor, she said it needed alterations in the following areas: straps shortened so that the neckline could move up (it was a little gaping), sides taken in, plus hem shortened slightly. Because there was a side zip and side pockets, she would have to take it in via the two back darts instead of the sides, thus shifting the symmetry of the dress. 
Loose arm holes:
Waist and torso about an inch or two too big:
Because this dress was silk and fully lined, the alterations were costly - about $50 total. With my discount this went down to $40, but still a lot for me to fork over for one dress that was pretty expensive to begin with. The dress was final sale (silly me) so I ended up going for the alterations. To make myself feel better about spending all that cash, I returned my Theory Chanesa Dress, since it was still hanging in my closet with tags and all.

Click "Read More" to see the fit of a J.Crew P0 blouse.

Review: Banana Republic Petite Silk Floral Tunic PXXS

Here's another quick review on a mediocre piece from boring ole Banana Republic. I need to stop hatin' on BR, because they have a pretty decent petite offering. I'm just itching for more variety in my work wardrobe. J.Crew - clean up your petite sizing act!

So I've been keeping my eyes peeled for an airy tunic to take me from Spring through Fall. I like tunics over white skinny jeans and flats in the summer, and over leggings year-round. I saw this one amongst Banana Republic's new arrivals a few weeks back and ordered when they were having a 30% off sale:

Details: I liked the little delicate pleats on the chest area, and the fact that it came with a nylon under-tank to help combat the sheerness.

Fit: the PXXS was cut pretty loose - but what did I expect from a non-stretch tunic? Measurements of Petite XXS: almost 17 inches from armpit to armpit, 22.5 inches across the bottom hem, 23" long sleeves, 25" total length.

Color/Pattern: The combination of colors (moss green, taupe-brown, and white) were also not as nice together in person as I had hoped. The pattern is a little busy, thus blurring any distinction between the torso and arms:

Back view:

Verdict: Return.

If I had the money to get alterations without discretion (which I don't), I would keep this tunic and have the torso slimmed. Since it's 100% silk, I estimate such an alteration would cost at least $20. Here it is again clipped back about 2-3 inches at the waist:

Other tunics I'm considering...
The Splurges:
1. This pretty Matisse Tunic from Ella Moss in XS. It's got a self-belt to help with sizing, but the sleeves may be too long.
2. Super darling tunic from Anthropologie in XS. 28 inches is long enough for me to don as a mini-dress with flats : )

The Steals:
1. Kohl's white cotton pintucked & ruffled tunic in Juniors Small; comes with braided belt.
2. Forever 21 Carolina Crochet Tunic in S. This color would not work on certain skin tones, but I do like the crochet detail and gathering. Oh, and this isn't really a tunic, but I love the print and color combination. I'd get the skirt hemmed to be of min-length: Forever 21 Artistic Peplum tunic.

Petite Lookbook - Jewels and Jacquard

Here's my first look for the "casual" files. Remember the GapKids skirt from this post? I've since come to love it, especially after getting it for another $10 off for a grand total of $17 ($6 of which was for shipping). I also accepted the fact that my little girls' size 12 days are over and ended up keeping the 14. This skirt is so easy to wear with a simple tank and longer cardigan.
Tank: H&M cotton tank sz 2
Sweater: J.Crew long cotton cardigan in XS 
Skirt: GapKids Brocade Mini sz 14 (sold here. I ordered mine "store to door" using the style # because my size was sold out online)
Necklace: J.Crew Crystal Necklace from outlet
Shoes: Aldo

Closeup of the skirt's pattern:

Another way to achieve this look is with a a pretty combo dress with a tank upper and brocade skirt. Aqua (Bloomingdales in-house brand) makes two really cute ones here and here (love, love the etched floral skirt). Also, is it my imagination or is this the same exact dress but under a different brand name? I wasn't aware that Aqua also make clothing for Nordies ... 

Altering Linen - Ann Taylor Loft 00P Linen Pants

Dear Big Apple -
I'm sure you are fun and glam and packed with yummy restaurants on every block, but I'll never know cuz I'm doomed to 12+ hr workdays and greasy takeout for every meal. Love, PAG

On a more pleasant note, while home on Christmas vacation I found these great linen pants in my mom's stash of clothing and kept them (thanks, Mom!). Now, my mom is several inches taller than me (and over 20 lbs curvier) so I don't know what happened there with the genetics. Anyhow, she's a great bargain hunter and found these Ann Taylor loft pants in 00P at some crazy discount store for a mere $7. 
 $9.99 plus 30% off ... oh yes.

A typical lackluster and unflattering fit from Ann Taylor Loft 00P pants, which is why I don't really shop there:
The waist was a tiny bit loose, but I didn't think it was loose enough to be taken in. I was, however, convinced that the hips down through legs needed to be significantly slimmed/tapered and the length hemmed. I brought these to my beloved Hemmingway tailors, and they said ....

Pre-Spring Want List in Petite-Friendly Sizes - $50 and under

Boy am I ready for winter to be over! As I'm wiping the slush and salt from my boots, I can't help getting excited for new Spring stuff that's currently taking over all stores ... cute shorts, flirty dress ... only 4 more months! Some picks for now, though, before the small sizes are gone:

1. Little white dress - American Eagle Burnout Floral Dress in sz 00, $44.50. Material is really pretty when zoomed in, plus I'm a sucker for side pockets.  Several of us petites have had luck with AE's XXS sweaters, but I can't speak from experience as to how small their 00 fits. For a really adorable patterned dress, the AF Kids Bridget dress I blogged about a while back is now on sale for $19.99 in navy with large sizes still remaining.

2. Sheer Lightweight Scarves - Aurorae Scarf from Anthropologie, $78 19.99... a great deal for 100% silk. Additional picks: Old navy also silk blend dot scarves in 6 colors at $12.50 a pop, and Gap has a lightweight plaid frayed scarf - on sale for only $5.99 in stores! I picked this up in gray/blue and love it for casual wear.
Click "Read More" for more picks.

Need - Nanette Lepore "Ladies Night" Corset in sz 0

Ever since I saw this Nanette Lepore "Ladies Night" corset on one of my favorite bloggers, I knew I had to find a similar piece for my own wardrobe. Normally I would never be interested in something like this, because I would assume that it could only be worn 2x a year on special occasions. But ChloeConspiracy proves corsets to be super versatile. Here she is tucking it into a pencil skirt, and here she is wearing it over an A-line skirt. Unfortunately, a few roadblocks stand in my way to acquire this gorgeous corset:

1. It's from several seasons ago, and even if it were current, it is too $$$ for me ($275 to be exact).
2. Corsets are difficult/costly to alter due to the boning. I tried on a Nanette Lepore dress in 0 and it was too big, so I'm not sure how a corset in size 0 would fare.

The only NL corset top that I was able to find in stores was this purple tank one from Bloomies which clearly is not the same. At WHMB, however, I actually found a plethora of corset or bustier-style tops. Some picks in size 0 (I wonder whether 00's are all sold out, or if they just didn't make 00's in bustiers?):

1. Gorgeous silk sweetheart neckline bustier, ($88 full price - sigh)
2. Waist-slimming belted peacock bustier ($88 $50) - this one is my favorite
3. Brushed rose floral bustier ($88 $50) - left only in sz 0, but a lil' too fancy for my tastes.

Although none of the above are exactly what I'm looking for, I have a feeling that WHBM may come out with something in Spring/Summer that I will love, in a petite-friendly size. I also found this to be interesting - Ruffle Tube Top in XXS ($68 $19.98) - it's just a tube top, but has a sweetheart neckline, plus boning construction on both sides. Hmm.

So a month ago while at the Banana Republic outlet, I saw a pouffy cotton blouse that strangely had the potential to temporarily fill this gap in my wardrobe. A PXXS was baggy in the torso, but the details were nice. At the time it was a ridiculous $44.95 at the outlet, so I passed, but this weekend it was on sale for $18! And there were a ton of them left - with not one, but three PXXS's. Ok ... don't laugh ...
Banana Republic Factory Store jeweled, ruffled and pleated 100% cotton blouse, $44.95 $18

Now, readers may be thinking ... this oversized blouse is hids! It may be acceptable to wear while milking cows, but it's nothing similar to the Nanette Lepore beauty! Yea, I guess it can't really compare. But click "Read More" to see the potential of this blouse with alterations.

Life with PAG - Healthy Meal Makeover - Rotini with Sausage and Spinach

When my boyfriend got the "Eat This, Not That" book, I instantly tossed it aside. I tend to eat whatever I want (in generous portions) and more often than not it's pretty unhealthy stuff. Although I'm currently blessed with good metabolism and a petite figure, I have a bad feeling that my poor eating habits are going to catch up to me one day.

Last week, however, I decided to take a peek inside and was surprised that the book contained mostly photos with interesting commentary and nutritional facts on the side. I ended up reading it page-to-page and now carry it in my purse as a reference (since I eat out 3x a day when traveling).

The premise of the book is to continue eating the foods you love -whether at home or at restaurants- but to be informed in order to make really simple yet smart decisions that could have significant nutritional impact.

I decided to apply some learnings from the book to "makeover" one of my favorite easy n' inexpensive 15 minute meals - pasta with sausage and baby spinach.

Original Recipe (1 serving):
- 1/8th box (2 oz) Barilla regular pasta
- 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 1/2 link Hilshire Farms Beef Smoked Sausage
- 1 cup uncooked baby spinach leaves (I buy the $1.99 bag from TJ's)

Healthy Revised Recipe (1 serving):
- 1/8th box Ronzoni Healthy Harvest pasta
- 1/2 cup Classico Tomato & Basic Sauce
- 1/2 link Archer Farms Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Sausage
- 1 cup uncooked baby spinach leaves

**Optional: 1 clove garlic, minced, and 1 tbsp freshly grated cheese of your choice**

(Hah! Didn't even realize the book was in the background until now)

Pictured: Approx. 1 serving. I typically eat almost 2 servings because, well, I love food.

Directions:  Chop garlic and sausage while waiting for water to boil. Sautee garlic with sausage while pasta is cooking, until fragrant. Drain pasta, then stir together all ingredients at medium heat until sauce is heated through. Garnish with cheese. I eat this with a dot of Sriracha hot sauce and a glass of soymilk.

Click "Read More" to see the "before-and-after" nutritional information.

Petite Lookbook - Bright Fuschia and Tweed

I'm home in Boston today to get Lasik surgery to correct my -6.5 vision! Hopefully this is the last morning that I will wake up near-blind, fumbling for my glasses. I'm SO nervous ... wish me luck!

Anyways, I'm so glad I decided to keep this mini from H&M Trend despite finding it expensive. I initially tried it on here in all black, and it looked a little stuffy. I think a pop of fuschia does the trick! I would wear this outfit when at my firm's own office, but it's not conservative enough to don at a client.

Side note - I brought a few skirts to Florida, but it was so surprisingly cold (25 to 50 degrees) that I never broke them out. In the Northeast, black tights have become more than acceptable for the workplace throughout Fall-Winter. In typically warm places like Florida, however, I didn't know whether or not that was appropriate. It just didn't feel right wearing black tights when it was gorgeous and sunny outside (albeit very cold) and I did not see a single woman wearing them! Thoughts from readers?
H&M Trend Tweed Skirt sz 2 (similar here in XS - I'd chop off that chiffon trim) (not exactly similar, but same idea and very cute in 00p)
Banana Republic Silk Cap Sleeved Blouse 00P (similar here in cotton/chiffon)(and here in silk in PXXS)
J.Crew Merino Cardigan womens XS (similar petite-friendly style here - $48) (and here - $40) (and here - only $32 with EXTRA20! Gorgeous colors available in all 3 styles ... I might have to get!)
H&M 40 den Tights 
Aldo Arnoldoa Pumps (sold here - just got the bone patent in 36 .. gorgeous, but half size too big) (similar here but I prefer the Aldo's for a much better price)

Now if I can only learn how to smile!
Click "Read More" for more pics.

Sale at Theory Outlets

Could they be any more vague?

Tryin to decide whether or not it's worth going to. If anyone decides to stop by, let me know how "drastically reduced" the prices are :)

For a listing of Theory outlet locations, click here.

J.Crew sizes 00 womens and 0P... have any petites tried?

**This post has an update here**

I was shopping with my coworkers last night and we stopped to admire these super cute J.Crew printed cotton shorts. The smallest size was a womens 0, which I didn't try on, although the waist looked decently small. I went online to find them ... and couldn't.  Turns out I overlooked them because they looked so bland in the photo! I swear these are cuter in person:

Closeup of the pattern (they had several patterns in the store, but only 1 pattern available so far online):

I almost jumped a little with delight when I saw that these shorts came in size 00 online. I would have never dreamed of wearing J.Crew womens bottoms as they normally look quite large, but these are shorts, so the potential fit really piqued my curiosity. Unfortunately, I didn't love the print (where are the other prints I saw in store??) and the price was a hefty $58, thus I continued my search for other 00 items ...

Click "Read More" for more potentially petite picks.

Affordable Shoes that Run Small - Aldo

Several readers have been asking about small shoes, but I don't really have small feet for my size (usually wear anything from 5 to 6 depending on the brand). I wanted to share this post because I've noticed that a size 35 at Aldo has been getting smaller over the past year. Point in hand...

The inspiration: Christian Louboutin Zebra Prive Pumps with 4.25" heels - hundreds $$$?
(random pic from Google images ... these could very well not be auth.)

The affordable rendition: Aldo "Seavers" peep-toe pump with 4.25" heel and .5" platform - $110 currently $49.98 (but were on sale for $34.95 when I ordered them last week).
I own a handful of Aldo shoes in size 35, so I didn't even think twice before ordering them in that size. I was pretty excited when they arrived, as plain pumps have not been doing it for my going-out outfits. Zebra print is fun yet not too wild, and therefore has the potential to still be classy when styled appropriately.

Oh yea, I also like how Aldo shoes come with an extra pair of heel tips, although I have no idea how I would "install" them:
So did I end up going out that night looking zebra-chic? Click "Read More" to find out.

Petite Lookbook - Faux Pearls and a Crease

I just wanted to showcase how pretty this Banana Republic 100% silk blouse really is, not to mention affordable (for some reason it is not popular online - currently avail. in almost all sizes for $34.99 here). My last post did not do it any justice. I gave it a light steaming, and de-wrinkled the ribbon using my hair straightening iron, then paired it with some simple light beige pants. Oh how I love a good clean crease on a pair of pants. 
Blouse: Banana Republic Faux-Pearl Necklace Shell in PXXS - (sold here)
Pants: Either Limited or Express light beige pants in sz 0 (brand tag removed when waist was altered in this post) - (similar here) (and here)
Shoes: Banana Republic taupe leather and patent pumps from 2008 - (similar here) (and here) 
Earrings: Banana Republic Bow Teardrop Earrings (similar here) (and here)

I love the versatile taupe-gray color of these shoes. The chunky heel also makes it quite stable and is a welcome change from stilettos. Fortunately, BR is making shoes this season with similar heels in a very similar-colored leather, called "Ash" (goes down to a size 5). I tried on both pairs of shoes in the above links while at BR today, and will be awaiting when they go on sale.

Review: Banana Republic PXXS Sale Picks

BR has been issuing a lot of online coupons lately (the extra 20% for today is over, but sign-up for their emails as I'm certain there will be another one), so I felt encouraged to try some of their PXXS picks that went on sale. No effort was made to coordinate an outfit for any of these items (no pretty lighting either); just a quick-and-dirty post to showcase how some of these items fit before the tiny sizes are sold out.

I was vaguely interested in this tank when it first came out, but $70 was an exorbitant price for what I consider a "novelty" top. I was surprisingly pleased with the fit: petite-appropriate length, flowy yet not too baggy, and armholes are an acceptable size. My biggest fear was that the pearl print would be tacky or shiny, however the pearls turned out to be a nice, muted silvery-taupe color.
Whoops - tag is showing, ponytail is terribly messy, and there's a huge Timb hogging the pic; please pardon. Note that there is a ribbon tie in the back which I think adds a nice touch. I just need to learn how to tie it right and iron out the wrinkly ribbon. Also note that the silk is fairly thin and may even be sheer is held up to the light. I think I'm going to keep.

Click "Read More" for more picks.

Petite Do or Don't? Gap Kids Dandelion Brocade Miniskirt - $19.99

This just came in the mail yesterday and I'm pretty undecided about whether or not to keep it. On one hand it looks a little childish (my boyfriend winced when I took it out of the box) - you know you're in the kiddie department when there is ELASTIC on the waistband! I would also need help figuring out what occasion or even season to wear this in ... can't figure out how to make this Winter-appropriate, so I'm thinking Spring?

On the other hand, I really like the colors and I think the fabric is unique. The pleats and pockets are also plenty cute. This skirt first caught my attention here, but all the larger kids sizes were already sold out. I called my local store with the style #, and they located some larger sizes at a different store. Shipping is a flat $6 from other stores (or free for Luxe members).

In person, the material is not as shiny as it looks in the photo below. The metallic threads were extra-reflective due to my camera flash.

I think this skirt has potential to look more "mature" if styled correctly. The base is textured ivory jacquard with embroidered dandelions in taupe, gray, and silver metallic threads. I have it paired in the pic above with some neutrals - Aldo Cythia dark taupe heels and a stone-colored long J.Crew cotton cardigan. The bf was pleasantly surprised and commented on how the skirt transformed into "casual chic." Similar cardigan and pumps sold here:

J.Crew at ShopStyle

Click "Read More" to see sizing information.

Theory Tweed Suit: Gratian Blazer and Joanie Skirt in "Lecture"

My first "outfit" post! I've been refraining from doing outfit or lookbook posts because, frankly, I don't really know how to style my stuff. I buy things that I think look nice on their own, and wear them plainly with basic tees and pumps. This leads to my fashion-related resolutions for the new year:

1. Learn how to accessorize and actually "style" my outfits.
Reading other blogs led me to realize how much my outfits desperately lack accessories and that fashionable punch. As of 2009, I owned merely 2 pairs of earrings (BR ones from here and the Chanel studs worn in this post), pearl necklaces "borrowed" from my mother, 4 handbags, and a closet full of mediocre shoes.

2. Write down and prioritize the items I am coveting. Save deliberately towards these items, and avoid impulse purchases.
At the top of this list - Chanel small gray classic flap with silver hardware.

3. No more splurge coats. 
I'd love to move to the West Coast in a few years or so, where my beloved coat collection would serve little purpose!

As these are resolutions that I'll be working on throughout the year, I wanted my first look to be a simple outfit that requires little styling. The Theory Lecture Gratian Jacket and Joanie Skirt which I bought in this post finally arrived, and together they make what is easily the most lovely and well-fitting suit I own. Each piece works as well on its own as they do together (readers will def. be seeing them as part of future outfits). The Lecture texture is unique without being too "different" for the business world.
Theory Lecture Gratian Jacket in 00 
Theory Joanie Skirt in 00
BR Monogram drape-neck silk tank in womens XS
J.Crew chiffon floral hair elastic turned pin
Aldo Arnoldoa Satin Pumps in 36 (35's fit much better)

The only alteration I need on this suit is a simple skirt hem, which should be about $10 since it is unlined (really, how does Theory get away with selling a thin, UNLINED skirt for $190??). In the pics I have it temporarily pinned up 2 inches - does it look like a good length? After a big meal, the skirt in size 00 is *almost* too tight, but I know a 0 will sit too low on my waist/hips for my tastes.

As for the tank, BR Monogram unfortunately only comes in regular women sizes so I had to have about an inch taken in on each side. It cost about $15 to alter since it is 100% silk. I really love the Monogram line with its nicer materials, design, and workmanship, without too much of an increase in price from regular BR stuff. This top was on sale for only $25 or so; I especially like how the wide neckline drapes delicately.
I've been hunting for a pretty flower pin for the past month, but it was hard since I refused to spend more than $10. I finally found this chiffon hair elastic with jeweled center at the J.Crew outlet for only $4. It came in fushchia and green too but of course I chose basic black. After lots of struggling, I managed to remove the glue-gunned hair elastic, and replaced it with a safety pin secured by a piece of felt - voila! J.Crew now makes these with both hair clip and pin attached - why didn't they start doing that sooner?
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