Petite Fashion Challenge #10 - Summer to Fall

This month’s Petite Fashion Challenge (PFC) is being hosted by fashionforteens. Be sure to check out her post for all the other ladies' outfits! The challenge: "...take traditionally summer pieces (like tank tops, shorts, etc) and make them appropriate for fall." PFCaugust
Shorts: H&M sz 2 (old)   Tank: BR Lace Shell sz XXSP (similar)
Summer Shoes: BR (old)  Fall Shoes: Adrienne Vittadini "Adam" bootie (similar)
Blazer: Theory sz 00 (similarBags: LV Speedy 25 and Chanel WOC

All of my PFC's are kind of a cop out. I was wearing the outfit on the left and just lazily swapped bare shoulders for a blazer, and peep toes for ankle boots. I was trying to add tights, but started sweating while digging for tights and subsequently gave up. When buying shorts, I specifically look for versatile ones that layer nicely over hosiery - either solid black, patterned, or textured tights.

To find out more about PFC and how you can sign up, visit the Alterations Needed forum for petites.

I did some digging in my camera, and here are the few photos I have from last week's meetup! My photog was busy eating/imbibing at the men's table. Thank you again ladies for a fun chatter-filled evening.
And you can't see her, but Kerry of Little Nashua joined us from NH and brought a sprinkling of "diversity" to our table. Her blonde hair is hidden amongst a sea of shiny black manes. I've been following Kerry for a long time for her sewing projects and thrifting finds, and she is who I have to thank for discovering Savers - the magical thrift store that sorts everything by size! I love all my pencil skirts and jewelry from there!

LOFT: In Stores Now

LOFT is currently having 40% off tees as well as all sale items, stack-able with their 25% off full-priced items. For $20.02 (was $44.50), I brought home this Lace Yoke Top in XXSP to mull over. My lace print tee got so much wear, I wouldn't mind a dark, gloomy rendition as well. But I can't decide which is better - the LOFT or the Ann Taylor version?
Lace overlay seems to be a common theme at LOFT this season. Here is the Lace Applique Sweater Dress that looks amazing on the model, but frumpy on me in XXSP. Very comfy, though. Passed.
And here's the Pima Cotton Ruffle Front Cardigan on me in XXSP, almost an exact rendition of the popular one first blogged about by Kelly in August 2010. Why oh why won't LOFT take a clue from J.Crew and offer less dull color options? Please no more colors that make me look like a corpse! Passed.
Lastly, I grabbed these Marisa Boot-Cut Ponte Pants just so you wouldn't have to see my granny panties, but I was pleasantly surprised when a 00P fit snugly. LOFT pants and skirts are always too big for me. Although the waist/hips/thigh fit perfectly, the inseam will be too short on me with heels. I recommend these pants in petite for women under 5 feet tall, or for flats/low-heels only. Passed.
Readers - Did you pick anything up from today's stackable sale?

Review: Ann Taylor's new City Fit pants in petite

Necklace: Talbots (old)  Shoes: Aldo (old)

*Free shipping at any price on Ann Taylor's website, now through Tuesday midnight EST!*
I've received several requests to show pant outfits, but frankly, I never wear them. Pants are slimming and elongating, however I commute to work in flats so pants will drag on the ground and get yucky. Last week, Ann Taylor offered me a $100 gift card to try on their pants (Five AT Facebook fans also have the chance to win one here). I figured I would take this opportunity to shed my aversion for pants and share my finds!
AT pants fit
Upon visiting the AT website, I saw a pants fit guide showcasing 4 styles, including their new City fit - their "slimmest fit." Hooray! I've tried on Modern fit in the past, and a 00P was too generous. Kelly, who is slightly smaller in stature, reviewed this cut back in 2009, and had to get the waist taken in and the legs slimmed.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited by the prospect of a new "slimmest" fit. After work, I went straight to the store with the biggest petites section, and asked for the City fit in 00P. The response?

Banana Republic Camille Jacket Update

Please excuse the clashing outfit underneath! : ) The Banana Republic Camille Jacket I was eying online has finally arrived in petite sizing. I was intrigued by the shorter length and the waist-nipping "X" front - two signature features of the Theory "Gratian" Jacket that is famously flattering on petite women. 

Likes: Very fitted. 00P was perfect for me in length, and the torso was snug when clasped. Figure-flattering silhouette with a slight peplum back

Dislikes: Partially lined (only the upper back half) so it looks ugly inside. Wish the material were a classic tweed or marled gray instead of stripey. Lapel is oversized.

BR is having 30% off women's (35% off with your card) today with code BRSAVE (code works on the Mad Men lace shell). However, this jacket was cheaper at my local store and will probably go on further sale. I am passing because I have similar and better in my closet already. Here's a better look of it on Ping, who is an inch taller but my clothing size exactly.
Here's a cute Military Jacket also with a peplum back. Would be nice with sleeves cuffed over dark denim:
A huge thank you to everyone who attended the Boston meet-up on Friday. I was floored by the amazing (and warm, and eclectic) group of women who came, including fellow bloggers Sydney, Ping, Khatu, and Vicky. I only wish that we had more time to chat, as I would've loved to learn more about each person who took the time to come out. Hurricane Irene also cut short the stays of two faraway visitors. Sadly I have very few photos from the evening. Update: Visit Sydney's blog for a few photos!

Ann Taylor 40% off one item (in-stores and online)

Well, it's not the usual favorite 40% off your entire order, but it's something. Use code FALL40 to take 40% off one full-priced item, and also get 50% off all sale items (no code needed). My pick is the gorgeous Glazed Lace Pencil Skirt from this post, currently available online in all sizes.

I also tried on the Petite Color Block Shell, on sale for $30 or less, but it was too generously cut for me in length and at the armholes. Pictured below is the size 00P in Dark Amber (also available in an ivory). 
Shorts: H&M sz 2, Heels: Aldo (old), Watch: Michael Kors Tortoise Jet Set

Gap Jeans for $24.48 and free ship

 Gap Ponte 5-Pocket Leggings in 00 regular, olive (pictured) or black, $70 now $24.48 shipped
Textural Knit Legging Jeans in my earlier review is also included in the promo.

I love readers who take time out of their day to share sales and codes. Thank you to whomever shared this!

If you have a Gap, Old Navy, or Banana card, use code GC1 at checkout to get an extra 30% off your purchase, stack-able with Gap's GAPDENIM 50% off jeans promo going on through 8/28. Visit Gap's homepage to see all the styles included in this denim promo. For free ship, I love that Gap's everyday $50 minimum is based on the pre-promo price. And lastly, shopping through ebates will give you 2% cash back (every little bit counts, plus we each get a bonus).

Keeping a Streamlined Wardrobe

I've received several questions from readers on how I manage to store/organize all of my purchases, because I'm always buying new clothes. I chuckle, because all my clothes are in a tiny closet (shared with Nick's ginorm flannel collection). Reading through extrapetite, I see how this blog may seem like a chronic shopaholic's diary. Despite frequent purchasing, however, I keep a small and streamlined wardrobe where most pieces are worn monthly. I can't stand clothes overflowing my closet, or sitting around collecting dust. Thus, I wanted to share my thought process behind wardrobe maintenance...

1. Keep track of what you buy. First and foremost I keep a manual spreadsheet of clothing purchases. I use Mint for overall money management, but the manual aspect of typing up a spreadsheet forces me to recount everything I've bought and assess their keep-worthiness. For July, I ordered $455.19 in clothing, returned $164, and sold $36. I hate doing returns, and retailers probably hate me too, but I like bringing items home to think them over.

2. Be critical of what you keep. Blogging and reading blogs has caused me to review all purchases with a very critical eye. A few years ago, I'd be so overjoyed with something fitting small that I may not think twice about keeping it. These days, I thoroughly consider the following:

- fit (and get an alterations quote, if necessary)
- quality and value (include the cost of alterations, which can be hefty)
- compatibility with my existing wardrobe (how many things can I pair it with?)

3. Part with items that don't (or won't) get enough wear. If an item doesn't meet the above tests, but I still really like it, I usually have no problem with indulging in frivolous purchases. But there must be turnover. As soon as I realize something is not getting enough wear, I'll donate it or pass it on to a new home. Blog sales, eBay, as well as the AN Forum marketplace are all outlets for this.

Also, items initially dubbed as "keepers" are re-assessed periodically. If I am reviewing my manual spreadsheet a month later, and notice that a purchase has not yet been touched, then surely it will be returned or re-sold. Such was the case with a pair of Talbots shoes. I realized I was keeping purely for the bargain and good quality. After a month, I didn't reach for them once, proving that I didn't need them!

Readers - Do you keep a streamlined wardrobe? Please share your tips and advice!

Review: Banana Republic Mad Men Petite Lace Shell

I'm updating very frequently due to a huge backlog of posts - reviews, travel, cooking(?) - that have accumulated in my Blogger, so please bear with me : ) Last week I watched my first episode of Mad Men (Nick has always been a fan). I was instantly hooked by the demure styling, the impeccable hairstyles. Although the hairstyles are impossible to achieve with my crispy/piecey hair, I did feel inspired to pick up one item from BR's Mad Men Collection.
brmadmen1Lace Shell: Banana Republic sz XXSP  Pants: Theory (old)  Shoes: Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps sz 5

I've been looking for a simple lace top for layering, for both work and weekend outfits. This shell comes in black or cream, from Petite XXS - L, as well as regular and tall sizes. I ended up really liking this one, but warning - it will not be flattering on every figure. The length is cut short, and the petite version is probably not suitable for someone too much taller than me (5 feet). I rarely find tops that are short enough to be worn with pants, untucked, so I'm embracing this.

The silhouette is fitted on top and flared toward the bottom. As a result, I didn't think it would work tucked in but I was pleasantly surprised. The part at the waist is still somewhat fitted so it doesn't poof much when tucked. Armholes are a little big, but acceptable. See this in regular sizing on Elaine and Sydney.
Skirt: Modcloth On Your Way Skirt sz S, taken in  Pumps: Louboutin Simple 100 sz 35

I paid about $37 after 25% off (unfortunately this line is excluded from many BR coupons and discounts). Will it go on further sale later on? Maybe. Probably. I've seen cheaper lace shells at H&M or F21, but this one feels more elegant versus trendy. I got both black and cream to try on, and although the cream has tiny flecks of gold sparkle, it's still the keeper color for me. I've worn it twice to work so far - once under a cardi, both tucked into a pencil skirt, and once with cropped pants and a swing jacket.

As for the rest of the collection, I was un-impressed. Watching the show, there was so much potential for an inspired collection, but many of the items seem low quality for the price (ie. plastic-y leopard trench at $200, itchy leopard cardigan at $80). The styling in BR's online photos with the hair, pearls, and glam lipstick appeals to me more than the clothes, but still falls short of how the show's characters are styled.

Readers - did anyone else pick up this lace shell?

Gap regular-sized legging jeans now run small

Sales alert! 50% off select styles of Gap jeans, in-stores & online w/ code GAPDENIM. Ends 8/28.

Before I get to Gap, I just want to holler with joy at J.Crew's new Townhouse Coat ($350 retail):
Belted waist (super duper important to define curves)? Check.

Shorter "midthigh" length? Check. 

6 gorgeous color options? Check.

But the MOST exciting feature...a long doublecloth coat now available in 00 Petite, not just 0 Petite. The double-cloth coat last year in 0P fit me decently, so I am thrilled at the prospect of a 00P. Nick keenly pointed out that this resembled the Zara coat, except better in so many ways. And oh, on the note of coats...Mackage coats will be on Hautelook tomorrow 11AM EST (invite). Size XXS of this popular brand usually goes fast.

Back to today's less fun post. This weekend, Nick went to get pants at Gap and I begrudgingly followed. Gap's petite line is online-only, so there is usually nothing for me in-stores. Out of curiosity, I once tried on their 00 regular legging jeans and swore never again! So much baggier than the petite version!

Refresher: October one year ago - Gap Legging Jeans in size 24/00 Regular - yuck!
This visit, I immediately noticed that the 24/00 regular looked strangely slim. I grabbed a few pairs to try on, and sure enough, they run significantly smaller than last year's versions. Hooray! Those who don't mind longer length can now buy in-store.

1. Textural Knit Legging Jeans in s 00 regular (no petite version) in Indigo. 96% cotton, 4% spandex. With more spandex content than typical legging jeans, these felt more like thick leggings. I prefer my jeans to have a little more cotton. The fit was super snug, however, with no waist gap at all.

Loving Now: Mustard Yellow Pleated Skirt

Blouse: Ann Taylor from 2009 sz XSP  (similar in petites)
Skirt: Mustard Yellow Pleated Skirt courtesy of Modcloth, sz S (comparable to a 00P/H&M 4)
Belt: H&M sz XS (extra holes punched with this tool)   Purse: LV SPeedy 25

Thank you everyone for your feedback on my last pleated skirt purchase. Although it fit perfectly in the waist, and was girly and romantic, the length prevented it from being a wear-often piece for me.

When I saw this one on Modcloth it was love at first sight. But how will it fit? Modcloth sources from various indie manufacturers, so sizing can be inconsistent. $7 flat rate shipping includes free returns, so I usually order several items in search of the rare one that runs small. I'll admit I've had more sizing misses than hits, but the hits have become true wardrobe faves - like the crochet skirt and now this one.
The description said "true to size" and the grosgrain ribbon waist has no stretch, so I expected a Small to be pretty roomy. To my complete surprise, it measured 13" across the waist, 19" in length, and actually fit me decently off the rack. Some of you may have tried on the Ann Taylor white linen skirt in 00P found by Kelly. The waist of these two skirts measure exactly the same, and sat loosely on my waist.
Because of my longer torso-shorter legs proportions, I like my skirts to sit higher on the waist. In an effort to save $25 in alterations, I decided to DIY. This was no easy task! First, I went to my parents' basement in their new home (3 hours away). They had just moved in and nothing was unpacked. I sorted, lifted, and opened no less than 50+ huge boxes and literally one of the last two contained my sewing machine. Next, skill-less me labored 3 hours taking in the lining and pleats. But the end justifies the means - it's now perfect, measuring 12.25" across the waist.
Low camel pumps: Aldo (similar here and here)
I've worn this business-casual to work with a blouse and blazer, and also casually this weekend with a floral tee, flat sandals, and H&M brown clutch. We appealed to Nick's San Diegan taste buds with steak & egg breakfast tacos.

Fall Arrival: Banana Republic Camille Cropped Blazer

*Update* Finally available in petites, starting in 00P!
Camille Cropped Blazer, starts in size 00 regular

Finally something catches my eye from BR - but it doesn't come in petites (yet?)! This shorter, wool-blend blazer w/ hook-and-eye closure is reminiscent of my versatile Theory jacket. Retail is $150, but they have 30% off online right now with code THANKS, and BR sometimes hands out 40% off coupons in-store, on Wednesdays. If you've tried this jacket on or have seen it in person, please share your thoughts!

Coveting Now: Ann Taylor Petite Glazed Lace Pencil Skirt

laceskirt6Out of Ann Taylor's Fall arrivals so far, this Glazed Lace Pencil Skirt is hands-down my favorite piece. I first saw it online and thought it was too metallic. Thankfully, in-person it does not give off a glaring sheen. Instead, it's an elegant, gorgeous dark hunter green with hints of charcoal. The skirt seems well-made, and the material is stretchy but still has some "pencil" structure.
But what really sold me was the fit. This is the smallest-fitting skirt I've ever tried on from Ann Taylor. As I've mentioned previously, every single 00P skirt I own from Ann Taylor has been taken in at the waist and hips. The last skirt I bought was an improvement, but still sat loosely on my lower waist. This one? Perfect fit at the waist and hips. Shapely without being too snug. laceskirt2If I had to nitpick, I would take up the hem an inch or two on me, but I'm on the shorter end at 5 ft tall. So did this beautiful skirt come home with me? 
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