MNG by MANGO Challenge #2 - Milan Inspired

Old postcard
For this week's challenge, we were asked to create an outfit board inspired by the streets of Milan, incorporating a MNG by MANGO leather jacket. I thought this would be simple, but once I logged in and saw the vast selection of garments and shoes to choose from without having to worry about sizing, fit, and proportions - I was utterly overwhelmed!

This got me wondering - how would I dress if I had no issues shopping for clothes? Would I be tempted to buy everything (without worrying about alterations costs, overbearing boot shafts, or looking like I'm playing dress-up in Mom's clothes?). I don't know, but one thing's for sure - I would miss the thrill of finding that rare, well-fitting garment. Readers who need special sizing - would you dress differently if fit and proportions were not an issue? Would you shop more?
Pondering aside, for this look, I:

- used both items I covet as well as things I already own and love (suede ankle booties and deep plum polish!).
- knew nothing about "Milan" fashion so I took the easy way out with Italian designers.
- was hit by a strong desire to own a non-Target, monochromatic, classic Missoni tunic or mini dress. I love the cut on this one, and it's the perfect knit piece to don with tougher leather and ankle boots.

If you're interested in joining us on a trip to Barcelona, check out the Sweepstakes for a chance to come along!

I didn't realize that this week's challenge would be on a board, and had already picked up a blouse for the post. I'll show more of it later, along with a review of two textured Fall pieces in petite sizing. Stay tuned!
herringbone2c/o MNG by MANGO top sz 4 (slimmed), Gap Cord Leggings in 00P, J.Crew Hacking Jacket in 00P

Disclosure: This campaign is produced by Style Coalition and sponsored by jcpenney.

ASOS Flash Sale: Petite Picks

From now until midnight 9/29 PST, British retailer ASOS is having up to 50% off select fall apparel. Although my orders from there are hit or miss, I do love the convenient free ship and returns, and the very petite-friendly size US 0/1 (usually cut tiny, but still a tad long for someone 5 feet tall, which is understandable). For an extra 3.5% cashback, be sure to go through ebates (referral) - thank you, Jingxst, for the tip!

Each of the above items are on sale and still left in sz Petite 0/1. From the regular-sizing sale section, I've been eying sweater skirts like this A-line Knit Skater Skirt in the gorgeous deep plum. Note: Please check their size charts before ordering anything as their sizes tend to run small compared to US brands!

Readers - Do you have any recommended items from this sale?

SOLD OUT: Heel & Wedge Rainboots in Sizes 5 - 10

As a shorty living in a wet climate, I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for rainboots that give extra height. The other aspect I look at is boot shaft length. Mid-calf rain boots are my friend. Tall and lean wellies are beautiful on others, but usually whack me at/behind/above the knee and thus quite clunky to walk in.
Sold out! From Ideeli : Henry Ferrera Lace Boot, $22.99 (8" shaft), Wedge Boot, $29.99 (10" shaft)
I have never heard of this brand before. I like the wedge boot better, but the shaft appears wider in the pic than the lace.

Neutrals and Orange

Blazer: Theory sz 00  Skirt: H&M sz 2, $24.95 (similar in wool jersey)
Blouse: Gap Shirred Shoulder Top sz XSP (petites sold out, check in-store for reg. sizes)
Shoes: Aldo (old, similar in Natural) Earrings: from NYC

Just a quick outfit from yesterday incorporating favorite basics, old and new. Seeing these photos, I note room for improvement. Next time I'll trade the formal blazer for a slouchy crewneck pullover, and swap the stiff updo for loose waves. As for the shoes - sigh, I love seeing sky high, sculpted heel, or platform heels on fellow bloggers, but I have no idea how they go about daily life in such. I'm always taking public transit or dodging brick sidewalk cracks, so no fab shoes for me.
Crossbody/Clutch: H&M (similar in leather), Watch: Michael Kors Tortoise Jet Set
Gap has really hit it out of the park with their poly blouses this season. I avoid manly button-up dress shirts like the plague, but feminine, drapey ones in a peachy nude? Yes, please!

This weekend I also had the pleasure of seeing the Raw Edge Henley Shirt in "new bisque." I thought the olive one was nice (see my fitting-room review), but the "new bisque" blew me away. In person, it looked ten times better than in the stock photo. The shoulder epaulet and raw edge detail made it look much more expensive than a Gap blouse. If you can wear a sz S - XXL, then lucky you, because it's only $24.99 online, while still full price at my local store when I tried to buy the XS.

September Shopping Hits and Misses

Items shown in video:
1. Gap tie-neck blouse in XSP (petites sold out online, check in-store for regular sizes, on sale)
2. Gap dropped-shoulder sweater in sulphur in XS
3. H&M Divided faux-fur vest sz 2, $29.95
4. H&M wool-blend mini sz 2, $24.95
5. Ann Taylor glazed lace pencil skirt in 00P (yes, I caved during the last sale)

Are you sick of seeing this blouse yet? I wore it 2x last week - to work and also to the ice cream festival. Remember these bunchy $11 H&M pants? I think they look better for casual slummin' w/ the hem rolled up.
And some "misses" this month that have already been sent back:

1. ASOS Chiffon Sleeveless Pussybow Blouse sz 2 reg. For a regular sizing item, the length on this was fairly short. I love the electric blue color, and the mesh shoulders, but it was a complete tent on me and poofed intensely when tucked in. See also on Elle.

2. Ann Taylor Melded Shell Print Dress sz 00P. This dress fit me nicely throughout and I like the elegant boat neckline. However, it is not worth the price, even when discounted at 40% off. It's a stretchy knit tee dress that I'd expect to be $30 at H&M. See also on Ping.

2 to 8 PM EST - Use GAPFLASH for 40% off Sale Items

Originally drawn in by their legging jean in dark vintage (reviewed here - note that the petite length is very short), I now find myself constantly scoping out Gap's latest offerings - cozy knits, drapey blouses (per my last review), and more skinny bottoms. From 2-8pm EST today, you can take an extra 40% off sale items in-stores and online w/ code GAPFLASH. Store sale prices are usually cheaper, however petite sizing is online-only. Free ship on orders over $50 (calculated pre-promo), plus shopping through ebates (referral) gets you 2% cash back.
My neutral picks:
Zip Cardigan in petites ($18 after sale), Dolman Sweater in reg ($24 after sale, brown only)

Keep an eye out on here for the Lightweight Corduroy Leggings. I had a tough time choosing amongst the rich Fall colors. Be warned again that the petite is super short - 00P has a 7" rise and 26" inseam.

H&M Update - Coats, faux leather, and more orange

If you signed up for H&M emails, check your inbox for a 20% off one item coupon. Or, download the H&M app on your iPhone or Android and shake it for the same coupon, good 'til 9/26. No purchases for me this visit, but here's what caught my eye:

1. Wool Double-Breasted Coat sz 2 - $49.95, item #051404. On my wishlist (but no rush) is a classic, quality camel coat. I don't plan on finding it from H&M, but this coat is a great value for those looking for something affordable (esp w/ the coupon). Sizing runs big and is shapeless when un-belted, but looks decent when belted.
2. Faux leather paneled pants sz 2 - $24.95, also in brown. The juniors Divided department also has faux leather shorts in pink and black. The material on these is thick and the side paneling is stretchy. I came so close to getting these, but thought they may need to be tighter given the style. In the pic I have ~ 2 inches folded under. Leather-look pants are more versatile than some would think, and are a chic (and warm) alternative to jeans. I'd wear these with this slouchy blouse and ankle booties.

MNG by MANGO Challenge #1 - London Style

mango1-1 mango1-2
Dress: MNG by MANGO sz 4/XS c/o jcpenney Trench: Burberry sz 2 (similar) (for less)
Faux-Fur Collar: H&M  Shoes: Aldo heels & Adrienne Vittadini suede booties (similar)

For the first MNG by MANGO challenge, we were asked to create a look inspired by our fave British style icon. I raced to my closet and whipped out this trench that has been begging to be worn. I suppose my style inspiration can be Emma Watson from her glamorous 2010 Burberry ads. 
I stopped by jcpenney last week to pick out my MNG by MANGO items. Flipping though the racks, I started to panic as every item I pulled out was cut generously. In the midst of my flipping fury (and still empty handed), Nick surfaced out of nowhere with carefully selected, potentially petite-friendly items. I thought for sure he was off wandering the mall for pretzels or checking fantasy football stats. Instead, my photog-turned-personal shopper pulled through for me in a time of need. Almost every item I ended up bringing home was hand-picked by Nick!

Hair Tutorial: Voluminous Puffy Bun

Per your requests, here's a tutorial for the voluminous bun I've been turning to lately (to conceal unwashed hair). In this video I share my secrets for extra volume both at the crown of my head and in the bun itself.

Tools used:
1. Velcro bumpit (search for "velcro bump" on eBay. Shipping took a few weeks.)
2. Elastic and bobby pins for flyaways
3. Teasing brush
4. Goody Spin Pin (comes in dark or light)
For anyone who doesn't know what a flat head means...allow the photos below to explain!flathead1
A flat head makes one (or me, at least) look very childish. An extra inch at the crown of the head makes any updo look a bit more elegant and mature.

Fall Dressing: Neon, wool, and faux fur

Sweater: Gap dolman-sleeve sweater (similar)
Vest: H&M Divided sz 2 ($29.95, current)  Skirt: thrifted and hemmed
Bag: H&M Divided, Pearls: Nordstrom Rack S (similar) Watch: Michael Kors JetSet

I woke up today, shivering, to a brisk 49 degree morning. Where is the mild 65-70 degree "Fall" weather that allows for donning light layers while sipping cider and watching the leaves turn? I wore this today (with a tee layered underneath) and was still cold and Rudolph-nosed. I just don't want to give in to tights yet.
Low heels: Aldo (old) (similar here in "Natural")

Today's outfit combines three elements that I'm embracing this Fall - color, textures, and faux fur. This vest is very shrunken fit in sz 2 because it's from the juniors "Divided" line, and I really wanted to swap it for a sz 4 for more frontal coverage. Nick vehemently protested, saying there was a "subtle but noticeable" difference from the back view, and that sz 4 looked like a fur backpack on me. Alas, I'm still with the 2.
neonwool3A splash of neon from this Gap dolman-sleeve Sweater prevents my outfit from veering into full neutral, monochromatic territory. I have enough mustard yellow, but this eye-catching color is different from anything I own. I also love the comfy, slouchy fit - just have to be careful not to snag the material.
And oh, do you recall this wool skirt from earlier this week? : )

Accessory Storage: The Belt Ring Hanger

After going from owning 1 belt to amassing a small collection, my poor mannequin begged me to find a new storage solution. Growing up, I remember toying with my dad's belt ring and thinking how clever it was. I don't know what took me so long, but I finally ordered my own from Amazon.

For the ring to be effective, look for a thin ring with the open ends super close to each other, preferably touching (this way the ring can move smoothly through all your other belts as you get to the one you are looking to remove). The open ends on mine are a little too far apart and belts fell off, so I flexed my muscles and did some bending. This one looks like a better alternative with close-together ends.

Readers - how do you organize and store your belts?

Thrifting Chronicles - $5 Wool Skirt, Before

thriftedskirtI want to gush again about how much I like Savers thrift store, where items are sorted by size. I only go once every few months, and have "finds" just half the time, but those finds usually become cherished pieces. Even after factoring in dry cleaning and possible alteration costs, you can't beat the value of quality thrifted pieces (look for materials like wool and silk) that no one else will have!

I picked up this wool skirt (nice texture, fully lined with generous pockets) for just $5, and it's on it's way to becoming a chic little Fall mini. Move over, $80 mainstream J.Crew minis that require a small fortune in alterations! I couldn't believe the waist was on this size 4 skirt. Can you picture the "after" yet? Or are you too distracted by my Amish semblance : )

Past faves from Savers:
- Petite Sophisticate red skirt sz 2P, taken-in and hemmed
- Ann Taylor purple skirt sz 2, taken-in
- Banana Republic olive skirt sz 4, taken-in and hemmed
- gold chain necklace and bronze chain necklace

Readers - Are you a fan of thrifting? Share your favorite finds!

It's here! 40% off everything at Ann Taylor

In stores and online, free ship > $150, no code needed. Stackable coupons, anyone? Click to shop:
AT items are still pricey after the discount, so I recommend quality wardrobe staples like perfect pumps and tropical wool pencil skirts (I like that these don't wrinkle, but 00P is still big for someone my size) over trendy pieces. Since someone always asks about perfect pump sizing - I wear between a 5 and 5.5 but sized down to a 5 on all my AT pumps because I like a snug fit. Regular leather stretches out a little with wear. Patent leather is stiffer and stretches out less, but is more scratch/stain resistant.

Readers - Any successful finds to share from AT's Fall collection?

H&M Update - Wool minis, faux-fur stoles, wedge booties

H&M currently has these wool-blend (50% wool, 40% viscose, 10% poly) miniskirts for $24.95. I saw at least three colors - burnt orange (similar to the orange jacket but a deeper, rustier color), camel, and medium gray. A size 2 fit me perfectly and measures 12" across the waist, 14" in length. They're lined and have functional kangaroo pockets.
The pairing possibilities are endless with a little wool mini. Think slouchy sweaters, winter blazers, colored/textured tights, and more. I loved J.Crew's felted wool skirt last year, but sizing was not at all petite-friendly.
Also tried on these wool-y plaid shorts with belt, $34.95. These would be cute over winter tights with booties for a schoolboy look. Size 2 fit me well, but I wasn't really feeling it with these.
Saw wedge booties in taupe (pictured below) and gray, $39.95, but very few sizes were left. My H&M wedge booties from last year were very light and comfy and got tons of wear. There was also a pile of faux-fur collars in a number of colors, very similar to the one I got last year.
Lastly, I stumbled upon this blouse. I had circled this blouse as my favorite item in the H&M lookbook, but was sorely disappointed today. The model made it look feminine, crisp, and chic, but in-person the silk/viscose blend is very sheer and wrinkly. The back is also jarringly longer than the front, making it hard to keep tucked. And the worst part - a hefty $59.95 price tag for this unfortunate top!
Tucked in, it looks ok but was too poofy on me and the buttons kept gaping. Oh, what a bummer, little piped blouse!
Readers - Pick up anything good from H&M lately?
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