Reviews: H&M Shell sz 2 & LOFT Sculpted Sheath Dress sz 00P

Please see the video at the bottom for my review : ) I can't wait for my flip cam to more cell phone vids and barely audible volume (gotta turn your sound wayy up to hear)!
Top: H&M sz 2 - Style # 068031  Necklace: J.Crew
Skirt: Ann Taylor Tropical Wool Pencil Skirt sz 00P (taken in) - buy here
Shoes: Mossimo Palani Gladiator Sandals sz 5.5 - buy here - loove these

And here is the top with my Gap jeans that I am absolutely obsessed with:
Jeans: Gap Legging Jeans sz 00P in "faded dark" - buy here

And the LOFT Sculpted Sheath Dress is now on sale for the crazy price of $24.50. Unfortunately I got it for $45 (with a sunken cost of $7.50 for shipping), and I'm on the fence about returning vs. keeping and paying for alterations. Click here to see it on Vicky in 00P, here to see it on Diane in 0P, and here to see Hanna's review on a 0P vs 00P. Photo below was taken after I clipped back about 2 inches:
Dress: LOFT Sculpted Sheath Dress in 00P - sold out online, but not in stores. Click here for item #
Shoes: Aldo peep toes 5.5   Akoya pearls: eBay


Click here if the video player does not work.

Readers - have any of you tried on the top or dress above?

Rachel Zoe's Moto Jacket - Petite Fashion Challenge # 3

Petite Fashion Challenge #3 is hosted this week by Petite Little Girl! Be sure to visit her blog to see all the entries by fellow petites.
The Challenge: "Pick an outfit from your favorite celeb and show us how to recreate that look for less. Your style icon doesn't have to be petite."

I don't really know celebs—my friends poke fun at me for being completely devoid of pop culture knowledge. It was truly a challenge for me to find an outfit to recreate. I first looked up pics of famous petites, but nothing really resonated with the stuff in my wardrobe. Some considerations below: the Olsen twins (too homeless), then Rachel Bilson (too tomboy), then Hayden Panettiere (no style at all).

As the clock was ticking down yesterday, I stumbled upon this image of Rachel Zoe, celeb stylist. I thought, hey now, finally something I can do. Gray moto jacket: check. Patterned scarf: check. Fab over-the-knee boots and oversized Chanel tote...le sigh. Will have to be substituted by kiddie leggings and invisible designer handbag.
Lace Top: H&M Trend sz 2 - $32
Cardigan: LOFT sz XXSP - $20
Moto Jacket: Topshop Petites sz 0 - $115 (gift from bf)
Leggings: H&M kids sz 11/12 - $8 Linen Scarf: H&M - $8
 Booties: Calvin Klein "Hadrian" sz 6 from eBay - $40 Gradient Sunnies: Chanel

Not sure where Rachel's stuff is from but I think one (1) of her boots may have cost more than my entire outfit. So hopefully this satisfies the "look for less" portion of the challenge!

pfc3 -1

To make up for the boring bottom half, I tucked an H&M lace trimmed blouse under the cardigan. This is the flowy blouse version of a dress I reviewed back in this post.

Work has consumed me lately so posts here will definitely be more sporadic. I wanted to say "Hi!" to new readers and "thank you" to all past readers for continuing to visit and being patient with my responses : ) Since I'm so behind on blogging, I just ordered a flip cam in hopes of recording short "v-log" reviews of recent purchases while they are still in stores. Stay tuned, and I hope you guys have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

Take Two: Sweet Velvet Petites Audrey Dress

I've been experiencing "LOFT fatigue" recently as PetiteXXS put it, but couldn't resist making a purchase this week. I never noticed this sculpted sheath dress online, but saw it on my coworker and it was simple yet adorable! They don't mention this online but the fabric is the comfy knit Scuba fabric. I have been swamped with work lately so I paid the $7.50 fee to locate & ship a 00P to my home. Cost was $45 including ship; style # 249106.

On to today's post...

Remember this little number on AlterationsNeeded? When Sweet Velvet Petites approached me about a review, I specifically asked to try on the Audrey Cocktail Dress. I recalled Kelly saying an XS fit her perfectly right off the rack! Being 5-10 lbs heavier than her, I was curious how it would fit on me and even contemplated sizing up.
Swing Jacket: Banana Republic sz 00 reg, altered
Shoes: Aldo  Purse: LV Speedy 25

Continue reading for my review...

Petite Lookbook: Business-y in Boucle

I first saw this skirt tweeted by fellow petite moneymaus and fell in love with the thick boucle texture. Since the description said "mini," I ordered a size up from normal hoping to wear it to work. In person the texture is fab, but I'm a little on the fence about the fit and price. As usual, lovely readers, your opinions are appreciated : )
Boucle Jacket: Theory "Tessen," sz 00 (altered here)
Top: Banana Republic XS (sides slimmed)
Boucle Skirt: Un Deux Trois Mini Skirt in kids sz 14
Shoes: Aldo sz 35   Akoya pearls: eBay  Belt: Theory

Ah yes, I'm back in the kids department despite all efforts to avoid it. Continue reading for more pics...

Target Shoe Order Update

The last shoe order I placed from Target turned out to be a big bust. The only pair I kept out of four were the Palani Gladiator Sandals as shown in this post and this post. Here are some quick reviews of the returns (shoes pictured are all sz 5.5):
The good: Looked just like the stock photos, and faux-suede felt similar to real suede (below)
The bad: Sides of the booties were stiff and chafed my ankles, ruffle detail stuck out like a clown collar when worn with black tights.

The good: ...
The bad: Looked like elf shoes. Or little rodents on my feet. Heel was also high (4") and stiff, and my feet kept slipping out the front when I tried to walk in these. Sidenote: wowowow keeping my legs out of the sun for a year has turned me quite ghastly! *shields eyes from blinding paleness*

I was super hopeful about these, but in-person the patent was a lil' too shiny for my liking. I also found the 4" heel and .5" platform to be awkward to walk around in. Bf said they were inappropriate for work, and I couldn't see myself tottering around in 'em on weekends, so returned they were. See the same shoes on Vicky here.

On an unrelated note, here are some pics from earlier that day. We rolled outta bed and went to this little fish taco shop where Nick satiated his San Diego-an cravings. I'm not a big fan of Mexican food, but I already made him eat Asian all week. He jests that we should open up a dim sum & taco truck (seriously no food trucks at all in Boston...lame!). 


^ Grilled calamari and fish tacos; impatient, hungry boyfriend

Building a professional wardrobe for work - Part I

Hi readers! I had some time this weekend and recorded a video, but bear with me as my macbook fan went crazy during the intro. By the time I switched computers, the sun was almost gone...oh, winter : (

I get a lot of questions from women who are just starting to work in business casual / formal environments, regarding where to begin when shopping for work clothes. My answer is usually to invest in black suiting separates (which also comes in handy for future interviews) and wear them as coordinates with what's already in your closet. After you have the basic suit down, you can then start building up with pretty blouses and more jackets & skirts in different colors and textures.

When I graduated from college I had just one black Theory jacket and an H&M suiting skirt that were altered to "fit." I pretty much wore that skirt every day with casual tops & cardigans that were already in my wardrobe, and threw on the jacket occasionally as needed. In this video I showcase those two basics, with tips about alterations:

Items shown:
- Black blazer: Theory "Branden" sz 00, retail $375 paid about $150 from outlet and $25 to shorten sleeves
- Black skirt: H&M suiting skirt sz 4, paid $30 retail and $20 for alterations (take in waist and sides)
- Basic pumps: Ann Taylor suede pumps sz 5, retail $155 paid $70 with their last stackable sale

Pretty costly, but since these are classic foundation pieces I am more willing to spend the $. I also started a small compilation of suiting reviews by extra petite bloggers. We definitely don't cover all the bases (ie. Ann Taylor suiting, LOFT suiting, Talbots petites, Brooks Brothers petites, and J.Crew now has 00P suiting) so let me know if you have reviewed a full suit from one of the above retailers.

Readers - what are the "foundation pieces" in your work wardrobe?

Fall Favorites: Gap is Back (for cozytime)

Back in middle school (and even into high school...yikes) I used to think Gap clothes were the epitome of cool. And they were, I guess, compared to the K-mart stirrup leggings and Route 66 tapered elastic-waisted jeans that Mom usually bought me. It was a treat in my household to own anything "brand name," and I proudly wore my GAP logo hoody to school picture day, for several years straight.

I then went through a phase during which I couldn't be bothered to shop at the Gap. To an aspiring fashionista, their clothes were undeniably drab, and few things were tiny petite-friendly.

Flash forward to Fall 2010. Three awesome, super cozy scores at the Gap have me back on board with this brand. Their petite legging jean has caused me to retire all my H&M and Abercrombie kids skinnies (!). I've worn my soft Gapbody sleep romper to pieces. I am also occasionally enticed by their chunky womens' sweaters which fit "casually loose" on tiny petites. Although finding something good at the Gap is still like finding a needle in a haystack (no petite sizing in stores, boo), at least there are some finds to be had.

Floral Top: Topshop Petite 0
Earrings: J.Crew
Necklace: Vintage "Peri" cameo pin/pendant from ebay 
Cardigan: Gap Moto Knit Blazer womens XS
Jeans: Gap Legging Jean sz 00P in faded dark (buy here)
Shoes: Mossimo Palani Gladiator Sandals sz 5.5 (buy here, online only)

The under-ensemble:
Check out these jeans on fellow bloggers Petite XXS, Curls n' Pearls (and here in black), and Chloe. I was totally sold after seeing them on PetiteXXS because she is tiner than me! These jeans in 00P fit amazingly throughout the hips and leg, and the length is perfect on shorter petites if you like some scrunching. They are so stretchy and comfy that I've fallen asleep in them several times after a meal (versus regular "skinny jeans" in which I can't unbutton the waist fast enough to allow breathing after a meal).

My only complaints are a small waist gap, plus the faded dark color is more medium than a true dark. Nevertheless, I love these to death and will be picking up the faded black wash during a future sale.

(below left) Waist is higher-rise, which I'm liking. Is that a sign of middle-agedness? Uh oh...
I hope some of you had the chance to pick up this moto cardigan. This cardi is gone now but I had it on my sidebar several times when some sizes were still in stock. This came in XSP, but I wanted bright yellow instead of navy, so I called about 5 stores to find the yellow in regular womens XS (ended up having it shipped from the NYC Gap). It's definitely roomy, but is oh-so-warm and cozy for throwing on during brisk Fall days.
And these shoes! Such a cheap thrill. I can wear them around town without worrying about scrape-ups cuz they were only $20. Buy them here before 5.5 sells out, and don't forget to use the retailmenot $5 off $50 coupon, and ebates for 3% cash back! I am guilty of buying doubles...and just got a 2nd pair of these, go figure.

A word of warning about the Gap legging jeans...size 00 regular does NOT fit anything like a 00 petite. Gap was having an in-store only sale so I reluctantly gave the 00 regular's a the fit of these to the ones up above!
 Gap legging jeans, sz 00 regular

Although the jeans didn't work out, this Varsity Shawl Collar Cardigan (in XS) piqued my interest:
The varsity jacket aspect is a little juvenile, but the boyfriend liked it and it was plenty warm. Sleeves are long but can be folded or scrunched. "twas full price at the time but I will be keeping an eye out for sales.

Readers - Any good finds at the Gap lately? Share share...

Giveaway: Win a $100 gift card to Rent The Runway

*Giveaway is now over and prize has been claimed. Thank you for entering!*

A while ago a friend told me about Rent the Runway (RTR), but my mundane life hasn't been calling out for fab designer frocks as of late. Although I haven't personally tried out this NYC-based service, I still wanted to share because it's a nifty, they are sponsoring an awesome giveaway for you guys!

How it works: Rent designer dresses and jewelry at a fraction of their retail price. Schedule the item you want online, receive it in the mail, and send it back when your rental period is over (standard is 4 days).

Images below via Renttherunway:
1. Milly ($75 to rent, $695 retail) 2. Herve Leger ($150 to rent, $1590 retail) 3. Tibi ($75 to rent, $495 retail)

RTR will send you a second size free of charge (although for extra petite ladies, this doesn't really matter since the smallest size available is usually needed). The cost per wear is pretty high, but for extra special events I think it is worth it. For the last wedding I attended, I spent $125 for a dress at snooze-able Banana Republic and wore it for 4 hours.

Some more info I noted while exploring the site:
- Shipping costs listed at checkout include postage for both ways
- For an extra $25, you can choose a second dress to try on ($25 applies for the lower priced item)
- There are online "fit specialists" available for chat so maybe you can get measurements
- You can filter dresses by size & body type (ie. petite) and read user reviews on sizing
- Mandatory $5 insurance fee per dress covers certain damage and stains
- As an FYI, there is tax on rentals

I was thrilled that RTR agreed to sponsor a giveaway for my readers. One of you will win a $100 gift card to this site which should be enough to cover the rental of a nice dress, tax, and shipping.

Something different: H&M Faux-Fur Collar

I saw this collar on xppinkxx's blog last week and immediately put it on my buy list. She wore it over a simple black blazer with shorts, tights, and flats, and I feel in love! Faux-fur is everywhere this season, but I wanted to dabble in it without spending too much.

When I came upon the rack of collars at H&M, several girls were clustered around it displaying their mockery & disgust. I had to huffily push my way through to grab one. I suppose this is one of those things that you can either love or hate.

Faux-fur collar: H&M
Khaki Jacket: Theory sz 00 
Dress: Theory Yeneth sz 0 (hemmed)
Heels: Ann Taylor Elle Pumps in sz 5 (buy here)
Sweater: LOFT long cardi sz XXSP in charcoal (buy here)
Belt: Ann Taylor Perfect Skinny sz S (buy here, holes punched)

For $14.95, I am tres impressed by this accessory. The faux fur is beige/taupe/gray and goes nicely with a variety of colors. It definitely looks and feels more expensive than $15, and easily dresses up cardigans or blazers. Continue reading for more photos...
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