Petite Fashion Challenge # 7 - The Little Black Dress

This month's Petite Fashion Challenge is hosted by Jessy of The Little Dust Princess. Be sure to visit Jessy's blog to see her and all the other ladies' entries!

The Challenge: "A little black dress (LBD) is essential in every woman's wardrobe. Adding a pop of colour to your LBD will change up its look and make your dress a little less boring. For this challenge, add a pop of colour (or two) to your little black dress to change up the look. You could add anything from an accessory to a blazer, or even nail polish!"

Soo...this is embarrassing, but do you ever read something and only retain the beginning and end, completely forgetting (or ignoring) the middle part? I read Jessy's challenge a few weeks back and remembered "LBD" ..."change up the look"..."add an accessory to a blazer"...but somehow completely missed the emphasis on color.

Today I went back to re-read her challenge and was like...huh?? Color?! So please pardon my derelict entry.
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Little Black Dress: Theory "Yeneth" sheath dress sz 0 (similar)
Blazer: Theory "Gratian" sz 00   Pumps: Ann Taylor Oxford Pumps
Faux-Fur collar: H&M  Necklace: Talbots  Peep-toe heels: Aldo 

I wear my LBD's without much color nor adornment. I think the simplicity of a sleek black dress is what makes it classic and beautiful. However, when keeping it simple (and especially with black, which shows the outline of a garment very clearly) - a perfect fit becomes even more important.

Target Dresses Review and 20% off Sale

Target is currently offering 20% off & free ship if you spend $75+ (no code needed) on select clothing, shoes, and accessories. Target purchases are historically hit or miss for me, but the hits usually become true favorites.

Two months ago I was contemplating these online-exclusive Versie pumps in natural patent. Manageable platform (. 5") and heel (3.75"), feminine almond toe, same-colored heel (very important) - seems like an affordable shoe I'd love. Unfortunately, this color sold out within days. I added the link to my favorites and checked back every so often - lo and behold, they're now fully back in stock!

Mossimo Versie pumps, ordered in sz 5.5, $24 after discounts:
A reader Tammy wrote to me with another shoe suggestion: "A friend purchased the Mossimo Pearce Camel Patent pumps today at Target and I thought they looked amazingly like the Ann Taylor perfect pump line, including the colors, the rounded toe and the cushy padded insoles." For me personally, the toe seems more round on these than almond, and the 3.25" heel is lower than what I normally wear. These come in 6 colors and are $24 after discounts.

How to Style a Leopard Cardigan for Casual and Work Wear

I know a few readers also picked up this Ann Taylor Wild Leopard Cardigan (still left online in all petite sizes), which I am pleased with so far. The print is a soft faded leopard, and the colors are suitable for all seasons. I'm sure it will become a wardrobe favorite of mine.
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Top: Ann Taylor Factory Petal Shell sz XXSP
Pants: Ann Taylor twill crops sz 00P (similar)     
Shoes: Aldo (old) Pearls: ebay Bag: Chanel m/l flap

I wanted to demonstrate how one can transform a basic top, pants, and cardigan ensemble and make it suitable for various occasions, just by tweaking the garments and accessories.



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Lookbook: Mixing Textures

Playing with brights is fun, but sometimes it's just easier to reach for comfy, muted shades. To zap some interest into an outfit full of mellow pieces, I like to mix fabrics and textures.
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Jacket: Theory Gratian Tweed Blazer sz 00 (old)
 Top: LOFT Hidden Placket Blouse sz XXSP (similar - use SPRING40)
Pants: Ann Taylor twill crops sz 00P (similar)     
Shoes: BR leather & patent peep toes (similar in wedge)   
Purse: Chanel taupe lambskin M/L flap  Necklace: Talbots

I love these twill pants, but every time I see photos of the crotch bunching, I cringe. Lesson learned is that flat-front, looser, side-zip pants (versus center zip) are not my friend. 
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Amrita Singh 50% off and FREE ship plus other deals

**4/22 Update: Picked up this Wild Leopard Cardigan in XXSP (still online in all sizes) $78 now $30. I like the sleek silhouette, pretty multi-seasonal print, and longer hip length!**
1. Use mom11 to get 50% off on AmritaSingh jewelry and free shipping, good for orders over $75 (value before discount code is applied). Thank you Alyssa for sharing this deal! The turquoise necklace from my previous post is now just $150 $30, and comes in many colors.

Cher also left a great tip for ladies with small wrists. Shop bangles here.

2. Ebates is having increased cash back for Mother's Day (May 8th) on stores like Nordstrom, Sephora, Lancome, and more. Click here for the full list of Mother's Day promos. If you're not an ebates member yet, feel free to sign up through me and enter my giveaway.

3. Ann Taylor's 40% off (use SPRING40 for online) ends on Saturday. And Ann Taylor Factory is having 40% off the entire store until May 1st. From left: Coral Statement Necklace, Exotic Skinny Belt in Pool Blue (I'm wearing yellow in my last post), Petite Colorblock Cascade Shell.

Lookbook: Spring Crochet and Citrine (& yummy brunch!)

This outfit mixes new Spring finds with trusty old favorites. The vintage-inspired crochet lace dress is not everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it last year (sold out at full price) and was ecstatic that Ann Taylor brought it back to its Factory stores. The citrine belt is something I coveted from their ads earlier this year. When I saw a lone XS lingering at my local store, on sale, I knew it was meant to be.
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Vintage Lace Dress: Ann Taylor Factory sz 00P (taken in)
Similar: (in-stores in regular sizing) (for casual) (pricier, w/ sleeves)
Cardigan: Martin & Osa   Belt: Ann Taylor Exotic Skinny Belt sz XS
Slingbacks: BR (similar) Bag: Speedy 25 Trench: Theory sz P (similar in 00P)
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Yellow has been my accent color of choice for the past year. This belt may be out of some of your comfort zones, but trust me - if you pick it up, it will quickly become a closet workhorse.

BeautyBar 50% off and free ship via Hautelook - Ends 4/22

The NYX sale on Hautelook was a bit disappointing, but I picked up one of these $20 for $40 gift certificates to BeautyBar. This site has a small but good selection of designer cosmetics and skincare from brands like Lorac, Stila, Philosophy, Peter Thomas Roth, etc and offers free 1-2 day shipping w/ orders over $39.
I got one of these coupons previously from another site, and was pretty pleased (got my beloved Lorac Top of the Line Liner and some bronzer). I'm going to use my certificate towards a Clairsonic replacement brush head and another goody.

Click here if you need an invite link to Hautelook. Deal ends Friday 4/22 at 11AM EST.

Loving Now: Vibrant Jewels

For the accessories-challenged dresser, vibrant jewels are an easy way to spiff up a basic ensemble. Unfortunately, good yet affordable ones are hard to find. My main problems with costume jewelry are cheap metals that rust and oxidize (I was told to store metal jewelry in individual ziploc bags), and jewels that fall out of their settings.
The foundation for this work outfit is a little girls' white tee, and plain trousers.
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Tee: Old Navy Girls Tee sz L   
Cardigan: Gap XS (old)  Pants: Limited (taken in)
Bag: LV Speedy 25 Heels: Banana Republic (old)
Turquoise Montauk Necklace & Westhampton Earrings courtesy of Amrita Singh

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Amrita Singh jewelry. Her "Hamptons" collection is exactly what I was looking for, full chunky pieces that come in at least 6 or 7 vibrant colors. The pieces are 18k gold-plated brass with "jewels" made of lightweight resin stones.

You can see more colorful Amrita Singh pieces on fellow bloggers: coral necklace on Cee, black necklace and ring on Jen, emerald necklace and ring on Vicky, coral bracelet on Sydney, turquoise necklace on April, and more.amrita5
Coral rings from left to right: YSL Arty, Topshop, F21
One thing to note is Amrita Singh earrings come in either post or clip-on backings, depending on the style. I really liked this style earring and thought I could make the clips work, but they were not comfortable on my pierced ears. I'm going to buy some post backings and try to DIY-convert these. 
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The color of these pieces are so vibrant. I can't wait to pick up some "emerald" items next. Retail prices are more that what I would typically pay for costume jewelry, but you can get 20% off w/ extrapetite or wait for the items to go to sample sale sites like Hautelook (invite link). 
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Pirate eye patch - aargh!

Readers - Do you own any Amrita Singh pieces? If so, please share the style name and your thoughts.

Ann Taylor Petites and H&M Conscious Collection Reviews

**4/15 Update**
I went back to H&M today specifically to find this little peplum top. It was my instant favorite from the price list for wearing on hot summer days, and quite affordable at $12.95. It reminds me of my well-loved TopShop floral tee, except that was an overpriced $40. Good news: I found a sz 2 in a pretty floral print, versus plain white. Bad news: it's tagged at $18.
While there, I also stumbled upon this safari-esque orange & cream circle skirt for a mere $9.95. I've been looking for bright, easy-to-wear skirts for summer that aren't too short (the winds are gusty here in Boston!). XS was sold out so I took home an S. It's 100% cotton so it will hopefully shrink.
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As detailed in my previous post, the Ann Taylor family of stores is having an epic 40% off your entire purchase (regular & sale items) promo from today until Sunday. No coupon needed in-stores. I popped into my local store and there were so many cute finds to be had. Even with 40% off though, items were still pricey, so I limited my purchase today to favorites only.

1. Knit Jersey Striped Crossover Dress in XXSP, $88 retail & Citrine Belt in XS
This is pretty much gone online, but it's worth hunting down in-stores. I believe there's free shipping for AT cardholders. This navy and white dress was love as soon as I put it on. The knit material grazes my figure nicely but is not snug (aka no dreaded "S" shape at the tummy & tush). The faux-wrap V neckline is perfect and I love the side gathered pleats.

I've been eying this belt since AT touted "citrine" as one of their hot summer colors. It's similar to my beloved yellow cardigans, but with a slightly neon zing. Verdict: Bought both at 40% off, plus a $15 coupon ; ) 
Does the right-side pic look familiar? Teehee : )

40% Off Spring Madness Sale in Ann Taylor Land

For a limited time, shoppers can get 40% off your entire purchase (full price & sale) at Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Ann Taylor Factory. Amazing sale. For AT, use SPRING40, and for LOFT, use TAKE40. I love shopping at this entire family of petite-friendly stores for work.

I haven't browsed yet, but I wanted to pass along the message and refer to some of my recent reviews:

1. Ann Taylor, Factory, & LOFT reviews on 3/27. My favorite is the Petite Silk Camp Shirt that comes in 6 beautiful colors online. Would be great if you're a little bigger than me.
2. Ann Taylor reviews on 2/18. Loved the Petite Canvas Motorcycle Jacket if only it fit smaller, now on sale and still left in sz 00P. I might get this and attempt shrinking in the dryer.
3. Ann Taylor pumps review on 4/7. Sizes 5 and 5.5 are available online only. I'd recommend sizing down if you're between sizes.
4. Ann Taylor Factory snippet on 4/10 showcasing the lace dresses and skirts, starting in sz 00p (runs big).

Please let me know if you have any questions on fit or sizing. Also, ebates has 3% cashback. Happy shopping!

Petite Lookbook: Crochet and the Blues

A few weeks ago I saw this darling skirt on ModCloth and fell in love. It had poor reviews, but upon a closer read, I saw most purchasers were just disgruntled at how small/short it ran (jackpot!). The skirt was sold out then, so I signed up for a restock notification. Last week, an S popped back, and I pounced.
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Top: Converse for Target chambray shirt, sz XS (taken in) (buy here)
Jacket: H&M sz 2   Belt: came w/ Forever 21 shorts
Skirt: Social Hour Skirt sz S courtesy of Modcloth
Shoes: I.N.C. (old) (similar here
Bag: B.R. Satchel (old)

For those of you who aren't familiar with ModCloth, it's an online retailer founded by a husband-and-wife team who love thrift shopping for vintage finds. A lot of their apparel is hand-picked from smaller, indie designers, and they also have true vintage finds up for sale. New arrivals are updated daily, and the cutest items sell out fast. Shipping is a $7 flat rate, and return shipping is free.
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On this sunny but brisk afternoon, I grabbed my trusty chambray shirt and layered on an H&M woven blazer (recent, $34.95). A bright satchel added another dimension of blue, and juicy orange nails brought a spark of interest. I stuck with earthy brown accessories to tie the look together.

Video Archives: How to Style a Flower Pin / Brooch

Fellow bloggers - have you ever written out a post, only to let it sit unpublished because you can't seem to find satisfaction with it? After filming the video below, I felt unmotivated to publish due to the overall lack of creativity, gratuitous grammatical errors (English is my second language <-- love that excuse), as well as the interesting outcome of my experimentation with wine lips minutes before shooting the vid.

Nick patiently helped me re-filmed, but as luck would have it...during a hard drive "purge" we somehow permanently deleted the entire new video and all the backup files. It just wasn't meant to be.
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Old photo: Theory Gabe blazer sz 00 (sold to Elle!), H&M leggings sz 2
Tory Burch Sohpie wedges sz 5.5, J.crew and pearl layered necklaces

Alas, I am pulling this from the YT rejects archive. The last idea (pictured above) was inspired by IamKhatu's cameo brooch tutorial, which actually spurred my desire to find a vintage Peri one. For more styling ideas, Elle previously posted a "wear it 5 ways" with her flower.


The star of the video is a J.Crew hair flower crudely turned pin from this oldie post, when I first "came out" from anonymous blogging. Although I still think these flower thingiemajigs are pretty, I haven't reached for one in weeks. My current obsession is with bold, colorful necklaces. I'm trying to collect affordable -yet not too cheap and costumey- gems and baubles to spice up my simple wardrobe. Coral, turquoise, emerald, lapis...I love it all.

Readers - what is your Spring/Summer accessory obsession?

Quest for a Classic Red Pencil Skirt

After seeing these beauties on Anh and Elle, I toyed with the thought of getting my own classic red pencil skirt. In China, red symbolizes luck, so I'd finally have something to wear for future lunar new years (I always forget the red undies on that day : / ).

First I got the same Ann Taylor one that Elle has. Sz 0P was the smallest in store, and it was on clearance, but still $40 and required slimming and hem alterations. The material was so stretchy and comfortable, but I wasn't gung ho about spending $65+ on it.
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Whoopsies, sorry for the obnoxious "watermark." I hemmed and hawed over this skirt, then magically came across a red 100% wool Petite Sophisticate (RIP) one at my favorite thrift store, Savers (thank you again Kerry for sharing about this lovely chain of thrift store that sorts items by size), for a more wallet-friendly $7.

The skirt felt crisp and new, but upon further inspection, I noticed a splotchy stain on the front. Yuck! "Okay...it's a no...time to go..." Poor Nick was getting itchy from the thrift store and I could see he was hungering for the neighboring Taco Bell, so I had to leave it behind.
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A week later I was still thinking about it. You know those things that you leave behind and keep on wondering..."what if?" ...well, I realized it's not worth losing sleep over when it costs $7. So back I went. I asked for a discount due to le stain and they kindly reduced it to $4. Score! Here it is post-alterations...

Petite Fashion Challenge # 6 - Dress up Your Basics

This month's Petite Fashion Challenge is hosted by the adorable Jess of Stylepint. Her challenge:

"Dress Up Your Basics: Jeans and a tee is a classic outfit starter...for this challenge, start off with a jeans and tee basic look and dress it up to show off your personal style."

I try to follow a 3-step rule when assembling an outfit. Before, I typically overlooked steps 2 and 3, but have come to realize that the extra bit effort goes a long way in adding dimension to an outfit.

To start off, "tee" doesn't necessarily mean a plain Hanes Her Way 3-pack white tee shirt. I try to buy tees with little interesting details or a unique fit. The shirt below from H&M has small perforated details, cuffed sleeves, a slouchy fit, and is just $12.95.
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Tee: H&M sz XS (current)  Lace Vest: H&M sz XS (similar)
Jeans: Gap Legging Jeans in "faded dark" sz 00P (buy here)
Shoes: Target Tawny Wedges sz 5.5 (buy here)
Necklace: eBay  Purse: LV Speedy 35

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My second outfit is the classic and easy-peasy blazer over jeans look, perfect for "casual Fridays" at work. Instead of a necklace, an oversized silky scarf is an appropriate accessory. I fell in love with this scarf after seeing it on the lovely Cee of To Brighten my Day. Thank you Cee for sharing the seller info!
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Tee: H&M sz 2   Blazer: Theory sz 00
Jeans: Gap Legging Jeans in "faded dark" sz 00P (buy here)
Shoes: Banana Republic sz 5.5 (old)  Purse: Chanel flap sz M/L
Scarf: eBay (buy here)   Belt: Ann Taylor Perfect Skinny Belt sz S
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Accessorizing is my weakness, but I've been sticking to my goal of at least one mandatory accessory a day, be it a belt, necklace, scarf, or brooch. Slowly and surely, I hope it will become second nature.

Please visit Stylepint's post to see all the other ladies' outfits for this Petite Fashion Challenge!


New Petite Blogger

I came across a peculiar new blog this morning. This blogger is giving me a run for my money!
 
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