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

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.

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.

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!

MNG by MANGO Challenge # 4 - Boston Public Library

Cowl-neck tank: c/o MNG by MANGO sz XS   Blazer: H&M sz 2 (from this post)
Wool Mini Skirt: H&M sz 2 (worn here and here 
Accessories: H&M scarf, Prada suede heels & Peri cameo, both from ebay


This week's MNG by MANGO challenge was to take photos in front of a local landmark, in an outfit inspired by that landmark. My city is chock-full of landmarks, but I chose a functional one that I pass by almost every day, in honor of Nick's mom who is a librarian. I wore a houndstooth jacket with "scholarly" elbow pads, plus a print scarf to accentuate my deep teal blouse.

Old postcard


Both the jacket and skirt from this set are so easy to pair, and thus have become quick favorites for me. The jacket fits slim but not perfectly. See it again on Kelly. Although the elbow patches hit my short arms at the perfect place, the sleeves are slightly roomy and too long. As much as I hate too-long sleeves, I can't bring myself to pay $25 to alter an H&M non-classic blazer, so I have them safety pinned up for now (tsk tsk, I know). 
Here's another variation I'd wear with this Fall outfit, replacing the orange wool skirt with my cheapy H&M mustard pants. Which color combination do you like better?

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

$35 H&M Shrunken Woven Blazer is Back

Blazer: H&M sz 2, $34.95 (item # 040640, comes in turquoise or black)
Left: H&M dress  Right: Ann Taylor Factory top, Ann Taylor skirt (similar)
Left: Louboutin Simple 100 pumps  Right: Aldo

It's a known fact that H&M brings back popular styles, so I'm always on the lookout for past favorites to share with you guys. One of my most beloved purchases from earlier this year was a woven navy blazer in a soft knit material. The fit is very slim/shrunken so it's perfect for petites. It's currently back in a basic black (seems very popular - my store was pretty much sold out) and this vibrant teal.

Likes: can't ask for a better fit, affordable at $34.95, woven material is comfy and versatile
Dislikes: vibrant color (is fun but) harder to create outfits with, and I'm trying to avoid buying duplicates

Fitted back view and buttoned-up view:

As a refresher on how versatile the navy version is, here's a snippet of my past posts that feature it:
wmsocialhour1BlueGreen2_benchstriped pencil1

I noticed that some find this color inappropriate for work or certain seasons, which is surprising to me. This color in person is very similar to a bright turquoise dress which I wore at various times, both casually and to work, and did not feel it was unprofessional or unacceptable. For business formal I'm all about the dark suit, but for other environments - it doesn't hurt to explore color and stand out a little. My personal challenge with this color is figuring out what to coordinate it with, and not because it's inappropriate.

I'm torn - keep it for the perfect fit and challenge myself to style the color? Or return? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fall-ing for Lace and Tweed

Jacket and Top: Theory Skirt: Ann taylor lace skirt sz 00P
Shoes: Aldo (old)  Necklace: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

As the days get shorter and colder, I've been playing it safe with dark, solid colors. I've demonstrated this before, but a key way to keep solid colors interesting is by incorporating texture.
Polish: Revlon "Vixen" - for yet another year, this deep plum is my go-to Fall shade.
This is the best fitting skirt I own from Ann Taylor, but it's still a little long, so I have the waist hiked up high. The length is understandable, as petite sizing is for women 5'4" and under, whereas I'm a mere 5 feet. The measurements when lying flat are 12.25" across the waist, 16" across the hips, and 20.5" in length.
Several sizes are already sold out online, but if you're interested in this skirt, you can check in-store. The stackable 30% off code in this post was from a snail mail flyer coupon that I also got in the mail - so check your mail to see if you can use it in-store on top of the 40% off sale.