All About Belts: How to tie, hole punch, and store belts

Per your requests, I've compiled my favorite belt tips and tricks into one video. It was nice and awkward lying down while filming the trench-tying tutorial, but hopefully the neck strain and burning abs were worth it : )

Products mentioned: Belt Hole Puncher (a must have!) and Belt Ring Hanger
You can also buy the hole puncher on eBay, or at Michaels or ACMoore. Be sure to look for coupons!
What I'm wearing: Details in this outfit post. Nude nail polish is Zoya Shay.

The half bow loop for trench coat belts and longer fabric belts:
Burberry sz 2 short trench (similar) from this postBanana Republic Mad Men Leopard Pumps 

And the simple loop for shorter/thicker fabric belts or skinny leather belts:
Burberry sz 2 felted wool coat (2011 version), Theory slacks sz 00 (similar), Perfect Patent Pumps

Fellow coat lovers, please see my Burberry coat archives including my very first outfit post : )

Cobalt Skirt Remixed & Banana Republic Octavio Woven Heels


In case any of you were considering this skirt for Ann Taylor's next sale, I wanted to show how versatile the color is cross-seasons. Last week I wore it amidst winter gloom, but for spring months I can see it with delicate neutrals and gold jewelry. The lighting in my room is all over the place, so I can't get an accurate photo of the color. Please don't rely on my pictures for the true color of this skirt.
Thrifted bracelet (resized by my handy jeweler),  Reversible Resin Necklace c/o Amrita Singh

Ends Wednesday 11/2 - 20% off at Sephora Online

If you haven't yet shopped Sephora's F&F promo, click here for a 20% off online coupon, plus go through eBates (referral) for another 4% cash back. I've been waiting patiently for this to restock on everyday favorites.
1. Make Up For Ever Duo Mat foundation (I wear shade 203) - I used to be a Bare Minerals user for years, but the coverage was just so sheer regardless of how many layers I put on. I've been hooked on this powder foundation because it takes seconds to apply (see in this video), yet has sufficient coverage to even out my splotchy skin tone.

2. Clarisonic replacement heads - The Clarisonic Mia is the travel-sized version of a large vibrating brush that cleans and "smooths" your skin. Since I wear a powder foundation, it's critical to exfoliate off unsightly dry skin flakes on my face - which this brush does well, gently. Also, I'm paranoid about removing all makeup before bed ever since I've been wearing more of it. After washing my face with my hands and gentle african black soap (from this seller), I'd use my Clarisonic, and the brush head would still be covered with makeup that I missed. It's amazing how much gunk gets left on your face that you don't realize!

Readers - Any beauty or skin care faves to recommend from Sephora?

Banana Republic 40% off everything in stores - ends 10/30

*Update 10/30: Use BRTAKE30 for 30% off online & go through eBates (referral) for 10% cash back*BRshoes

Now through Sunday, BR is having 40% off your entire purchase, in-stores only. Even though their smallest size in-stores is a 6 (5 and 5.5's can be found online w/ free ship), I figured what the heck and went to try on their Mad Men Leopard Pump. In response to my quest for leopard pumps, several of you suggested BR's version. I've seen these online, but always thought the butterscotch base was too orange, and didn't love the curved heel shape.  

To my surprise, I put my feet in these shoes and loved them - from the unique darker color combo, to the manageable, concealed platform front that gives me extra height, and the sharper almond toe that shows just the slightest amount of toe cleavage. My mind swarmed with all the outfit possibilities.
I brought home a 6 in these shoes at 40% off, before going online to order a 5. Looking back, I probably should have gone with a 5.5 because the 6's don't fit that big on me. Unfortunately for small-footed ladies, online prices are slightly more - the best coupon I have is BRTAKE30 for 30% off, combined with eBates' (referral) current promotion for 10% cash back at BR. All in all these shoes still cost less than the Ann Taylor ones reviewed here, which I've returned.
It was like pulling teeth getting Nick to pop into BR, but lo and behold he found the desert boots he's been eying at Nordies - at 40% off! We highly recommend the Clarks Mali Boots for men who want a casual, comfy, J.Crew-esque shoe for everyday cold weather wear (my pet peeve is men wearing gym shoes with normal clothes). They're not on BR's website, but we found plenty in-store.

Gloomy Gray with Bright Cobalt

Ann Taylor Ponte Skirt sz 00P, Perfect Patent Pumps sz 5, Theory Top & Blazer (similar splurge)
Burberry Trench sz US 2 (now available in sz US 0? gasp!)

Oh, Boston. 35 degrees and rain/flurry mix while I'm just trying to snap some photos - why? To brighten up my outfit, I wore this striking cobalt skirt with the usual cold weather black/grays. I was instantly sold on bright blue from Ann Taylor's Winter ads, and even ordered the fun modern shift dress (review coming soon). In person, this skirt is more of a deep cobalt blue, and less electric like on the AT website.

In stores and online: 40% off at LOFT with SHOP40

  Snake Print Henley Blouse and Knife Pleat Shell (both in regular or petite sizing)

Lately I've been giving all my love to LOFT's sister store Ann Taylor and her fabulous stack-able sales, but two items did catch my eye today. This snake print is soft enough to function as a neutral, yet it would spice up any solid-colored outfit. The knife pleat shell has perfect details to peek out from under a cardigan or blazer. I'd probably just remove the dangling ties.

Tip: If you're shopping in-store and can't find your size, shipping from another store to your home is free with an AT / LOFT card - as long as the item isn't marked down. The 40% off is a promo, not a markdown, so cardmembers still get free ship w/ Style Finder. See my shopping tips here for hunting down your size.

Barcelona Part I & Petite Fashion Challenge #11: Vacation Vogue

I am starting my Barcelona photo journal in conjunction with this month's Petite Fashion Challenge, hosted by SkiPetite. Please visit her blog to see the other ladies' outfits.  

The challenge: "Put together an outfit made for sightseeing. It should be one that will be comfortable for walking around in and can last you from the early morning until dinner and drinks in the evening."

How convenient! Instead of posting just one outfit, I'll share how this habitual underpacker had to stretch a handful of garments over several days. I brought one of each: blouse, sweater, skirt, jacket, shorts, pants, bag, and scarf.
Thrifted skirt, H&M pants, BR bag, Gap neon sweater & nude blouse (similar), Missoni scarf, Topshop jacket
Left: Super tender octopus in a potato puree - so good. Right: A satchel of cheese atop heirloom tomato salad.
Best ever tuna tartare w/ avocado and roe.

Striking Winter Blues - $16 and under

If you're not Amrita Singh'd-out yet, the Canadian site Enviius (invite) is having a large blowout sale, and the plethora of blue pieces jumped out at me. Bold blues are everywhere this season - they're flattering on most skin tones, and pair easily with black, neutrals, and winter white. Prices are in CAD, and shipping is a hefty $12.99 - so maybe split it with a friend. Sale ends Tuesday, November 1st at 11PM.

Review: J.Crew Townhouse Trench Coat in Petite

Coat: J.Crew Townhouse Trench in 00P, 7 colors available in petite, regular, or tall
Jeans: JBrand sz 24 from Hautelook   Suede booties: A. Vittadini (similar here or here)

J.Crew's 25% off plus free ship over $100 (use code LOVEFALL) ends tonight. I started coat shopping several weeks ago in my quest for a classic camel coat. This coat seemed promising - it looks super fitted on the model and even comes in a 00P (J.Crew long coats used to start at size 0P).
Likes: On me (around 5' tall and 95lbs), the 00P fits very well throughout. The shoulders, waist location, sleeve and total length fit well on me (I noticed J.Crew made many of their coats longer this season, which does not bode well for someone short like myself). The torso of this coat allowed for some layering room but was not bulky. And lastly, I've been a fan of the double cloth texture, the pretty lining, and the buttons with reinforced backs that are typical of J.Crew coats.

Dislikes: I wasn't in love with the military structure as I'm looking for a classic camel coat. I was also not a fan of the shiny buttons that felt like lightweight aluminum (would love a tortoiseshell-button coat), but they do suit the military theme. 
I try all coats on with flat shoes, since I rarely commute during the winter in heels. The proportions of this coat (higher belted waist, shorter overall length) still look good with flats on.
Verdict: Returned and holding out for something more classic. However, the fit is smaller and more flattering than the J.Crew coat I bought last year (see this post and this post for my video review).

Other J.Crew coats available in petite sizing this year:

Readers - Did you pick up anything from this sale?

Petite style spotlight: Lilliana Vazquez

Although still completely on Boston time (hence writing this post at 3am), I have been loving Barcelona and the people I've met here. Just wanted to share quick pics of an extra petite stylist whose wardrobe I am mildly obsessed with. Lilliana hosts NYLive and writes the shopping blog Cheap Chicas, but there's no pictures of her on there. I'm dying for her to start a personal style blog.
On me: Dolce Vita dress borrowed from Lilliana (taken in & hemmed), bulky old BR bag to schlep DSLR
On her: Maje cape blouse (from Europe), $20 jeans from Philly store on Chestnut St, L.A.M.B. sandals

We are the same size exactly (imagine my giddy raiding of her suitcase), yet Lilliana's extensive wardrobe consists of almost no "typical petite faves" Ann Taylor, LOFT, H&M. This was so refreshing to me, and proves that size should not be a reason to conform and buy the same wardrobe. Although she gets many items altered like myself, she sees potential in various regular-sized items that I would never even consider.
 Knit maxi: TJ Maxx, Leather jacket: Madewell (sleeves shortened), Bag: Balenciaga

Lilliana describes her style as feminine, chic yet classic, and aspirational. She loves mixing bargain finds with investment pieces, and pays a lot of attention to silhouettes and fabric drape. See her reel for more outfit snippets featuring clothes that have never even been on my petite-friendly radar. 

Can't wait to share my Spain photos on here. Stay tuned, and I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Seeking: The Perfect Leopard Pumps

(This is a scheduled post; I'll try to answer any questions upon my return : )

**Ann Taylor is having 40% off everything again. The extra 30% off shared by a reader here still works!** My pick is the Overlapping Placket Blouse, now $32.76, available in petite and regular in many colors. I've raved about a Gap drapey blouse which did not come in petites (I settled for a reg XS and altered it). This AT top in "Crisp Nougat" looks like a good dupe - the perfect neutral for wearing with prints, bold skirts, jeans, or layering under crewneck sweaters.  leopardpump
Heels: Ann Taylor Leopard Pumps sz 5 (buy hereBlouse: Target  Skirt: thrifted  Watch: MK

Wanted - an elegant pair of leopard print pumps to jazz up my solid-colored work outfits. Requirements - approx 3.5" heel, almond toe, good quality, some toe cleavage, thin heel, dark camel with true leopard brown & black spots, under $100, maaaybe $ you exist out there?

A year or two ago, I wouldn't even consider something "flashy" like a leopard pump. And especially not for work! However, after eying my friend's day after day through various seasons, I'm convinced that a leopard pump can be versatile and unexpectedly classy. Hers are also Ann Taylor perfect leopard pumps, but circa 2010. I didn't jump on those because I didn't love the print, but she rocks them.
During the last stackable Ann Taylor sale, I hemmed and hawed over this 2011 version. I like the luxe "pony hair" material, but in-person, the spots are not right for me. Instead of true leopard spots, these are reminiscent of cocoa pebbles up close, or black polka dots from afar. Small and close-together, with no brown in the mix at all.
Although the fit, quality, and material are all great and what I expect from Ann Taylor shoes, for $83 I'd rather wait for the perfect leopard pump. Maybe, just maybe...they'll do a third version next year and it'll be the winner. Here are other styles I considered, but for one reason or the other (price, crappy material, heel shape) none were perfect:

The second item I got were these Perfect Patent Pumps, scored for just $65 with this coupon (still going on right now!). I like patent shoes in general because you can wipe off dirt, scuffs and scratches more easily than regular leather. Having already hoarded three colors of the same style shoe (black leather, exotic taupe, and gray suede), I know I don't need one more. Nevertheless, I'm holding on to these to ponder over the next 60 days.leopardpump2
Readers - Do you find the leopard pump flashy or classy? Any rec's?

Preppy Time - Fall Stripes and Layering

Sweater: Old Navy 3/4 sleeve crewneck sz XS (buy here; use FABFAVES til 10/18 for 30% off)
Shirt: Gap Shirred Blouse sz XSP   Blazer: H&M (old) Skirt: YesStyle Boots: eBay

I haven't set foot inside Old Navy in ages, but a reader Aviva kindly shared a tip about these shrunken-fit sweaters last month. In-stores, they're only about $8 each. To add color to my casual wardrobe, I picked up this preppy green & black stripe (wish it were green & navy) and the fun multi stripe, to be shown soon. I got the multi stripe in a sz small, which is not that big on me. See this sweater on Kelly.
Watch: Michael Kors Tortoise Jet Set   Necklace: 3-row "pearls" from Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Obligatory leaf tossing pic.
This weekend, my beloved boyfriend/photographer and I celebrated 7 years together. We shared a delish dinner, I squealed at a striking gift, but my favorite part - every time - is the thoughtful handmade card : )
anniversaryI'm traveling internationally for both work and blogging right now, so I apologize for being behind on your questions and emails. Can't wait to settle back into Boston and catch up on my favorite blogs. I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

Review: Gap Tweed Bell Dress (w/ suggested alterations)

Dress: Gap Colorblock Bell Dress sz 0 Petite (buy in reg, tall, or petite w/ GAPLINE for 25% off)
Heels: Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps sz 5 (suede from last season)

Happy Saturday, readers! Just a quick little review on a Gap combo dress I picked up this month.

- Fully lined, decent quality
- Affordable, esp with coupons and sales
- Back zip closure makes side alterations easy

- Fit is pretty decent for a 0P, however is a tad roomy in the armholes and bust
- Bust darts are too low for where my chest actually is
- Lining is too long and keeps peeking out (maybe it's just mine?)
- I wish the bodice part were knit / ponte instead
The top feels like a stretch cotton/poplin material, and the bottom is a thicker textured tweed.
Thankfully, most of my "dislikes" are fixable. The lining can be shortened if you're handy with hems, and the armhole and bust problems can be addressed with a simple shortening of the straps, like so:
After simply shortening the straps, the end result is:
- Smaller armholes
- More fitted across the back
- Bust darts move up closer to my actual chest
- Higher waistline (you may or may not like this)
My verdict? I'm too lazy to sew this month, and this dress wasn't love at first sight, so I'll probably return. See this dress also reviewed by Ping, who is about the same size. If you're looking for a fairly classic sheath dress with a nice texture, this is an affordable option.

Readers - did anyone else pick up this dress? What do you think?
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