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.
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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!

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

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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!
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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?

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.
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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?

Loving Now: Mustard Yellow Pleated Skirt

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Low camel pumps: Aldo (similar here and here)
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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.
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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.
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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? 

Video Archives: Maine Vlog - Lobster, Bed & Breakfast, LL Bean

While cleaning up my files, I came across this "home video" of our Maine trip from earlier this summer. Ever since seeing Jen's vlog from her Boston visit, I've taken a liking to these as a way to preserve memories and to share snippets of travel with friends. I haven't forgotten about Chanel Part III (where to buy). I'm just slowly gathering information and reading through resources, so stay tuned : )

Review: Talula (from Aritzia) Exeter Boyfriend Blazer

Last month I enjoyed an activity-filled trip to NYC (pics to come). While there, I tweeted excitedly about a tiny boyfriend blazer. Shrewd Canadian and West-coast friends immediately recognized it as the Talula Exeter blazer from Aritzia. I've seen this exact blazer on Canadian ladies LaLaLove and Jessy, and knew that it ran small.

Aritzia, a Canadian retailer for juniors/young women, recently expanded its US presence from San Francisco to Chicago, Dallas, NYC, Portland, and Short Hills, NJ. They offer apparel starting in XXS and 00 regular. NYC didn't have a navy 00 blazer in stock, so I paid $10 to have it mailed to my home from another store (which ended up being cheaper than buying there, because my state doesn't have clothing tax nor an Aritzia store). You can call any US store and order over the phone for this $10 fee.
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I was so excited to start assembling outfits with this blazer, but upon carefully assessing it, I decided it wasn't a keeper. While in-store, I was blinded by "tiny fit syndrome" (being oblivious to issues because I'm too amazed by how tiny something is - does this happen to others?) plus I was practically pushed to the cash registers by super clingy SA's. I didn't take proper pics before returning, so I apologize for crappy iphone pics.

Fit: Sz 00 measures about 13.5" across and fit me perfectly in the shoulders, but was pretty narrow in the chest and torso. When buttoned, blazers should lightly graze your body but this one was snug on me and creased. I tried on a 0 but then the shoulders were too big. Sleeves were very long when un-cuffed. This blazer was designed for proportions taller and slimmer than mine. See sz 0 on 5'1" Cher and 00 on 5'2" Sarah.
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I'm drawn to long blazers on others, however I haven't yet found one that doesn't make me feel like an orchestra conductor. I know high heels can be a fix-all, but I often wear flats, so I have to assess the merit of a garment without the enhancement of heels. This one felt too long on me.

(Below: another Talula blazer I tried on in 00 - on sale for $50)
aritzia1Quality / Value: Retails for $125 plus tax (Twitter friends said they got this during 20% off promos or with coupons). I found all of Aritzia to be expensive for the quality, even when on sale. Blazer is a lightweight wool/poly/spandex blend similar in quality to H&M Trend or Zara. Nitpicking complaints of mine were the details: ginorm bottom pockets, cheap-looking material lining the sleeves, and brassy buttons.

Verdict: I'm spoiled by H&M pricing and fit so I didn't keep this jacket, but I know many women who love it. Its super slim cut makes it a top contender in the world of petite-friendly blazers. I recommend Talula jackets for casual wear or dressy nights out, but not as business suiting. Next, I'm looking forward to Kelly's review on the shorter "Exeter Shrunken Blazer" (see on LaLaLove).

Readers - I know many of you have tried on or own Talula blazers. What are your thoughts as to fit, quality and value?

Not just for Halloween (& a tribute to swing jackets)

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Jacket: H&M sz 2 (Style # 065030, also in a muted navyBlouse: H&M (old)
Ring: YSL Arty in Coral   Heels: Louboutin Simple 100s in Nude
Eye makeup from this post.

When I first brought home this little orange swing jacket, I made a mental note that it could be paired with many colors - but not black. I'm super wary of colors combos such as red and green, orange and black, at the risk of looking like a jolly elf or an emaciated jack-o-lantern.

However, through trial and error, I learned that patterns offer more versatility than solid blocks of color. Although black is present in this skirt, I worked on bringing out the ivory with a similar colored blouse and nude pumps. I find the finished color pairing seasonal-chic, versus holiday-tacky.
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I've received a few questions regarding swing jacket fit. I've always loved swing jackets for the following reasons:

- Usually shorter in length, and thus petite-friendly (ivory jacket below is 00 regular, black is 00 petite)
- Flattering on small-chested women. I find two garment types to be generally more flattering on smaller-chests: swing jackets, and shift dresses that are cut straight up and down and shorter in length.
- Very versatile. I wear mine over everything. Here are some outfit pics dug out of my archives:
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Above (from left to right):  October 2010, June 2011  Below: March 2010 March 2011
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Below: March 2011, November 2009 (deep archives!)
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However, fit can be tricky. Ideally, a swing jacket should fit perfectly in the shoulders, and when buttoned up, should have a slight A-line shape and just lightly graze your chest. Some readers mentioned that this H&M jacket fits in the shoulders, but when buttoned up, the torso is too snug (and thus does not "swing"). In this case, I suggest sticking with the size that fits your shoulders best and wearing it open, versus sizing up to accommodate the chest area.

Readers - Are you a fan of the swing jacket?

It's never too early to...

...start trying on coats! I love coats, and I know summer's still in full swing, but I blame the retailers.
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I tried on about a dozen blazers and jackets from the Zara Woman line, and without fail the smallest size swamped me every time. It was so bad I didn't take any pics. 

Then, on my way out, I came across this stretchy Double-Breasted Frock Coat in a thick knit. In short: 
- XS (no petite sizing) is very fitted on me in the torso. See the curve-hugging back view!
- shoulders are a smidge wide but I don't mind the structure; sleeves are just a little long
- nice details like epaulets, cuffs, inside zipper, buttons (not as shiny as in the pics)
- great option for anyone a few inches taller than me looking for a lighter winter coat
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Here's how it looks on their model, which confirms the fact that petite women need to scour for items that appear shrunken-fit and short on the tall models. Something that looks normal fit = no hope.
Zara's online shopping is slated to open in the US in September, but for now, Elle reviewed a pretty amazing service, Suddenlee, which hunts down items and ships them to you for a small fee. This coat retails for $169. Here's the tag and the online description. 

Readers - which coats are you eying for the upcoming Fall/Winter?

Getting drenched for Bon Me Boston

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Most Bostonians are familiar with SOWA Sundays in the South End, where local artists, artisans and farmers come out to sell their goods. I've been to this a few times, and pretentiously picked at some $8 organic tomatoes and sampled crusty bread. Somehow, I had no idea that a sizeable community of food trucks were situated in the back area. Last Sunday we had a torrential downpour, but Nick and I braved the weather for food. I was dying to wear my new trench, but per usual, sensible Nick said "too warm." : /
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Nick has pointed out the Bon Me truck to me a few times in the past, so my mouth fell open when the owner, chef Ali, mentioned she was a fan of Extra Petite! She descended from the high truck to reveal her 5 ft tall frame, and we chatted like old friends. "I feel like I already know you!" she greeted me, and I have to say I've felt that way with every reader and fellow blogger I've hung out with. My non-blogging friends do not understand the concept of an online community, and get concerned when I mention I'm going to hang out with strangers I met over the internet.
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Bon Me is a "gourmet food truck serving Vietnamese-inspired food with local sourcing." So fusion fare made with local ingredients. We had deviled tea eggs (with housemade spicy mayo, scallions, and aleppo pepper), a chicken rice bowl, BBQ pork banh mi sammy, and a chocolate rice pudding with a hint of star anise. Nick was a happy camper. I don't think I got to sample the pudding before it vanished!
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Readers - Is there a large food truck community by where you live? Which ones are your faves?

Ann Taylor Review: Petite Crossing Paths Print Skirt

Unusual name for a print, but nevertheless, I was drawn to this skirt during the last Ann Taylor sale. To date, I haven't found a skirt from AT that didn't require alterations (including the popular white linen skirt that unfortunately did not fit), but the stretchy knit material of this one had me very hopeful.
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Similar print knit pencil skirt: Ann Taylor Broken Dashes Skirt
Tee: H&M   Belt: Ann Taylor   Heels: Aldo (similar)

I wanted to show the true fit on me, without the enhancement of 3" heels or a belt holding it up:
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Fit: Sits low on my waist and length covers my knees. I prefer my skirts to sit higher at my natural waist, and - with my short calves - length needs to hit above the knees.

Easy Smokey Eye Look for Beginners

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Per your requests, here is a simple smokey eye look that I've been wearing almost every day. For Fall, I'll be experimenting with purple, hunter green, and more bronze on the lids. I finally "splurged" on the popular Urban Decay Naked Palette this year, but I like this Too Faced one better!

Dress & Nails:
- H&M Print Shift sz 2 Item #045676, $39.95
- Essie Clam Bake

Face:
- MAC Select Cover-Up Concealer in NW25
- Makeup For Ever Duo Mat Powder Foundation in shade 203
- Rock & Republic Bronzer Refill in Villa (discontinued)

Eyes:
- Elf Eyelid Primer in Nude
- Too Faced Shadows (can be found in the Romantic Eye Palette)
- NYX Single Shadow in Smokie Mountain
- Physicians Formula Eye Booster Eyeliner 
- Fiberwig Mascara
- Elf Studio Eyebrow Kit in Dark
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I forgot to mention - before buying this dress, I tried on the "cropped" top version as well. The shoulders of a sz 2 fit narrower than the dress version, but the torso was just as wide. When tucked into a skirt, it was too poofy/boxy, but it might look nice on someone else over pants. Nick voted to get the dress version, which also comes in navy (seen here).
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ASOS Petite Hotpants

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Blouse: H&M sz 2 (old)  Clutch: H&M  Watch: Michael Kors Tortoise Jet Set
Pants: ASOS Petite Pink "Capri" Jeans sz 1 (buy here w/ free ship & returns)

Per your requests, here are photos of the ASOS Pink Jeans. We snapped these hastily today before work, and garnered quite a few stares from conservative morning commuters. I love that these pants are so attention-grabbing, but hopefully in a fresh (versus gaudy) way.

I originally planned to keep the midi skirt and return the pants, but now I'm contemplating vice-versa. Although I love the romantic look of the skirt, I'm just not sure how many times I'll wear it. These pants, though, are durable can be worn for slummin' on the weekends.
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The fit is not perfect on me, but pretty decent. There's a slight gap in the waist which causes creasing by the crotch, but a belt alleviates some of this problem. The upper back thigh area is slightly loose on me, which causes wrinkling right below the bum - I need meatier thighs! Other than these issues, the fit is good and I love how slim and tapered the legs are.

While posting these pics I noticed a huge poof on the back of my hair. Lol! I promise it's not a bumpit a la snookie...I fell asleep with my hair slightly damp last night and it seemed to have taken on a life of it's own.
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Lookbook: Peach & Pleats Revisited

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Top: Topshop sz 0P (old)  Shoes: Target (old) (similarClutch: H&M  Ring: YSL Arty Coral
Skirt: ASOS Pleated Midi Skirt in US Petite 1 (buy here in two colors; free ship & returns)

Over one year ago, I donned a peachy and pleat-y floral ensemble on here. The accompanying text: "I've been trying to push my style outside of my comfort zone...a year ago I wouldn't even have touched peach or salmon, and definitely not mustard yellow!" Bah! These colors (esp. mustard) are now some of my favorites, but blogging encourages me to continuously push my style outside of my comfort zone - this time, with skirt length.
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Looking back on the old post, I noted many differences as well as consistencies. My hair and makeup skills have obviously improved, but I'm happy to see that my style has stayed fairly "true" to who I am. Standing at 5 ft tall with short lil' legs, I never thought I'd enjoy a romantic tea-length skirt, but there's something about this piece that's very wearable. Nick even gave it a solid thumbs-up. The soft blush pink color makes the length less jarring. I tried it on with both high heels and low strappy wedges, and see it as a piece suitable for spring to summer to autumn.
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Fit: The waist is very small and is designed to sit higher up, so size up if you want breathing room. US Petite 1* measures 11.75" across the waist, and 26" in length. *This is confusing, but ASOS is wavering between labeling their smallest petite size a US1 or US0.

Quality: As with most ASOS items, I don't expect high quality. Material is 100% polyester, with a sheer overlay and a stretchy lining. The price is higher than what I'm used to forking over at H&M, but less than Topshop and Zara. I factor the convenience of free shipping & returns into the price.
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Verdict: Would like to keep. I'm going to revisit items bought last week from this post (ended up getting #6 in cream - it's pretty but not as versatile) and my older pleated skirt, and sell/return half of it. There's a lot of stuff I like on the market right now, but I only want to keep the ones I love.
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I also got the ASOS Petite Pink Skinny Jeans: $60.34 now $27.58 (free ship & returns):


Measurements of my US Petite 0: 13" across the waist, 16" across the hips, 7.25" rise, 26" inseam.
Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane

I didn't take photos yet, but I recommend these if you're looking for fitted, brightly colored denim without breaking the bank. Although labeled as "capris" on the site, I hoped they would be longer, and sure enough these fit perfectly like ankle-length jeans on me. The fit is comparable to a Gap 00P or 24 in other brands. Upon trying these on, I originally thought I was keeping for sure, but they might go back because there are other things I love more.

Readers - Yay or nay on this tea-length skirt?
 
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