Borrowed Stella McCartney for Target: Fitted Lace + Clean Lines

navylacetaupepants1
Stella McCartney for Target Australia top (similar) & Ann Taylor necklace, borrowed from Elle
Limited(?) pants (similar in 00S-14L) & H&M blazer (both altered), Louboutin pumps from eBay

In addition to shopping the pre-owned market, another way to practice sustainable fashion is to swap clothing with stylish friends. August was a low shopping month for me both in volume kept and amount spent (~$20 for these pants and this outfit), with discipline exercised at my usual favorite stores. However, I had plenty of fun reworking thrifted pieces and playing around with borrowed items.

I got to hang out with Elle again last month, and she was so kind to remember my infatuation with her SM for Target pieces from ages ago. I was bummed that the beautiful, petite-friendly collection was only made for Target in Australia. This girly, low-cut top fit me like a glove, so I wanted to balance it out against more conservative pieces with clean, tailored lines. These old trousers and blazer did the trick.
navylacetaupepants5
I like certain H&M blazers for their fitted shoulders and torso, but oftentimes the sleeves are disproportionately wide/long, or have distracting details like ruching. It takes me hours to alter lined sleeves (tutorial here), but this partially-lined jacket only needed slimming and a snipping of the elastics. Even though it saved me some sewing time, I do wish the sleeves weren't awkwardly half-lined:
yellow blazer alt
When I used to pay for alterations, I almost never had sleeves slimmed. The shortening itself was already a hefty $25, so any extra width was "overlooked." I eventually realized, however, that baggy, floofy sleeves definitely detract from an overall sleek look:
yellow blazer alt1
Here's another before and after look on the sleeves. The soft Doctor and Barber tee peeking out is one of my faves - it was designed and screen printed by my friend Ping's boyfriend (and can be ordered for men or women for $30).
yellow blazer alt2
navylacetaupepants
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I loved the blue version of this necklace and strongly resisted a duplicate in pearl. I regretted it for a while, but eventually had my share of fun with Elle's. It probably was for the best, as I don't think my coworkers' eyes could've withstood prolonged wear of such bling : )

Readers - Have you participated in local or online clothing swaps? If so, I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences.

74 comments:

  1. This is a gorgeous blouse, Jean! I was about to ask when the SM for Target line was debuting, but clearly I won't be getting my mitts on it in the US, ha! ;-)

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  2. That jacket looks so perfect now. Gooooooood job!

    http://frenchpresstights.blogspot.com/

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  3. Also, these colors work so well together... It kind of threw me off.

    http://frenchpresstights.blogspot.com/

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  4. Great job with the blazer! I have the same one in beige, and I agree, the sleeves are too wide. It looks soo much better altered. You are seriously inspiring me to consider investing in a sewing machine with all your amazing alterations. Love the color combo here!

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  5. that necklace is gorg and you look elegantly flawless as usual.

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  6. Such a great, classic outfit! We considered that necklace too, but ended up doing the single drop pendant. You are right, it's major "bling"! I had searched your blog all weekend, remembering you did the yellow blazer tutorial. I have a peach 3/4 sleeve blazer from The Limited, that I'd love to remove the elastic on. Is it pretty easy, if only the elastic is visible? I just checked my jacket, and it's fully lined, so the elastic is not easily accessible. I guess I'll ask my tailor tomorrow what the charge would be...
    ~L&W
    www.thedoubletakegirls.com

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    Replies
    1. You could make a tiny hole in the lining along an inside seam, then remove the elastic from there and stitch the hole back up.

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  7. i haven't done a clothing swap yet...but i would LOVE to! when i saw that you were wearing SM for target i was like....WAIT....how did i miss that?!?!? glad to know it wasn't my fault for missing it...ha ha!

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

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  8. You girls make me wish I lived on the East coast! Or at least traveled there more!

    What size is your DAB shirt?

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    Replies
    1. I think it's an XS but I will double check in the laundry : )

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  9. Very pretty ensemble..I swear your alteration skills are getting better each time! :)

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  10. Gorgeous outfit and silhouette! I love that you wear lots of yellow! Do you have any tips for picking shades? My skin is a shade darker and yellower than yours and while I love yellow I'm always afraid of looking jaundiced. I see you pulling off all kinds of yellow though and looking fabulous! :)

    (I don't think I've ever typed "yellow" so much in a comment. Hahah)

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    Replies
    1. Hmm...no great tips from me but I would think to just make sure there is enough contrast. Personally I like either darker than my skin tone (ie. rich mustard yellow) or something really bright like this neon color.

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  11. Hi! I'm from Australia and love reading your blog. What a surprise to read that you happened to wear a SM top from Oz! Great combo again - colour and style wise. PS. are those photos taken near your place?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jodi! Yes, these photos are taking in Boston, MA : )

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  12. Fantastic outfit. love how you can pull off the yellow. Wonderfully done! It seems a great idea to have buddies with whom one shares similar styles, values and of course sizes to swap clothes with but I've never personally considered that possibility.

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  13. On another note, you mentioned your love of the statement jewelry pieces and how it was difficult not to purchase the necklace in pearl. Given your handiness in learning how to sew, have you considered making your own jewelry? It is a passion of mine having started with stringing pieces for several years with beads, stones and findings from scratch and I've now gotten into beadweaving; I can tell you from experience that one can actually make quite beautiful pieces rather inexpensively. Alternatively one can purchase old pieces from thrift stores (or go through friends or relatives' unwanted jewelry) and revamp into a modern design. (I just ran across SewPetiteGal's blog and enjoy her entries on both jewelry and sewing projects also).

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    Replies
    1. I have not made jewelry since those fun days of stringing beads as a child, but am definitely open to doing so. Revamping old pieces from thrift stores into modern designs sounds very fun.

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  14. Love the necklace! I like the way you pulled this outfit together.

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  15. I love how you styled this blouse! You look fabulous.

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  16. That top is gorgeous and looks so lovely on you! Such an incredible story of how Elle was able to get the SM pieces and how lucky for you she was willing to share. Although, I think if I were you, I'd be tempted to take it and run. ;)
    ~Shirley

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    1. Hi Shirley! I, too love reading Elle's story about how these pieces came to be. Trust me it was hard to send back the 5 lbs of goodies : )

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  17. This yellow blazer is sooo beautiful!
    And normally I only like skinny jeans or something like that but these pants look absolutely amazing on you.

    ♥♥♥

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  18. It's refreshing to see you in more casual clothes; nice to see something different from your typical professional attire.

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  19. WOW! This outfit is amazing. I've got the same blazer, but left the sleeves the way they were (see my outfit with it here: click )
    I'm also quite petite, but I think the sleeves look okay on this one (though I agree with you on other H&M blazers, the sleeves are terrible most of the time). Now that I've seen how good they look without the ruching, maybe I'll give it a go sometime in winter, as I'm not allowed to wear shorter sleeves to work around christmas anyway :)

    x
    Sabrina

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  20. I agree completely with your comments about H&M blazers. There's always like *one thing* about them that throws me off and makes me not buy. I admire you for being able to do your own alterations. It's a great skill to have!
    The notion of swapping or borrowing clothing is cool too. The ladies in my office are all much taller than I am, with slightly larger frames and sizes, so unfortunately they can't swap with me, but they do with one another. I enjoy seeing them sporting each others' outfits and styling them differently. One of the ladies actually started a pinterest board for office outfits because it's so much fun. I think that this whole idea is a really great way to scratch an itch for new clothing, and avoid spending on items you really aren't crazy about just to satisfy the itch.

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  21. you look awesome! nice outfits. love the top,

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  22. The necklace is the showstopper for me in this outfit! I love it and must have it or something similar! It's the perfect elegant but statement making addition to an outfit!

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  23. What a pretty top! Bummer that it's not currently available.

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  24. This outfit really elongate your body, well done!
    xo
    Rachelle
    http://pinksole.com

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  25. classic pieces and you look great Jean as always. Good job on altering the blazer. maybe I should start to learn how to sew.

    xo
    Sam
    http://fabulouspetite.blogspot.com

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  26. That navy top is gorgeous! And i love what you did with the yellow jacket. It definitely looks better and more upscale without the ruching at the sleeves. And it's gorgeous with both your work attire and that rocker T and shorts.

    -Erin-
    http://onetwosummer.blogspot.com/

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  27. This is super chic! I love the color combo!

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  28. I really in-love the outfit you wear here. Do you think, it is possible can used for interview outfit? I am kind na looking for interview next month. I found a black blazer is cheap which is I like badly but, I don't have idea what to put color underneath and what should pants color too. Any way, your the very inspirational and lovely's bloggers.

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  29. I'm so amazed at your ability to do alterations! And of course, you look absolutely fabulous in them once your done. Great outfit - adore navy and yellow together!

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  30. obsessed with that top!

    Take a sneak peek into our photo shoot at the glitter life! http://theglitterlife.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/sneak-peek-photo-shoot/

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  31. Hi Jean! I see you're always doing your own alterations, but can you show us how you finish your seams? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel, I have a serger machine back at my parents house which is the proper way to finish seams, but I have been taking shortcuts and just use the zigzag stitch on my regular machine to sew over raw hems. It definitely doesn't work as well, but I don't have room for a second machine at my apartment. Alternatively you can also leave a wider seam margin and fold it over twice (so that any raw edges are folded under) then stitch to secure.

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  32. jean, you look so good in those pants! i went to AT outlet and almost bought similar pants but decided not to bc the waist was too big. i actually didn't end up buying anything from AT. i got a navy polka dot sweater from jcrew. it was $50 still after the 40% discount, barely a sale!!!
    thanks for the mention! timmy appreciates it. lol

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  33. I found your blog over the weekend and got super excited to see a new post. :) You are adorable! I have always been petite, and have always struggle with things fitting me properly. I have still yet to find dress pants that don't sag off of my butt but at the same time fit around my hips and waist...

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  34. I didn't know that Stella McCartney designed a line for Target (Oz). I love her kids clothing. The shoes from the children collection are far cheaper than the similar looking ones in the grown up department.

    BTW, I've just had a chance to read about your travels to the Philippines and Guangzhou. It certainly brought back memories of my trip to Guangzhou when I went to attend a friend's wedding. Like you, I'd underestimated the weather and goodness, I wore ALL my clothes because there simply wasn't any heating in the hotels nor at all the places I went to. I had no idea you were born and grew up in China. It's wonderful that you still keep in touch with your relatives there.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them! Oh, the lack of heat is such a terrible surprise but we know better for next time. I can't imagine being in wedding attire in that cold wet climate.

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  35. the yellow looks great on you! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  36. I feel the same about H&M blazers too! But what do you do at the armhole? Like if the entire sleeve is too wide, then the armhole is too big, then how do you "mend" the armpit after slimming the sleeve?

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    1. I usually do not touch the armhole on blazers, so it will remain a little bigger relative to the finished sleeve width. For blouses and shirts I make the armhole smaller and continue the stitch down the upper torso to slim that as well.

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  37. I posted a while back and you said that you Ocassionally sell your clothes...I go
    To college in the Midwest where fashion is limited especially consignment shops. Any tips on where to find bloggers that are Perrier and sell
    Designer pieces like yourself or maybe you could tell me when you plan sell ( ie summer etc)

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    Replies
    1. You can check forum.alterationsneeded.com for a marketplace where other ladies sell their clothes, or eBay is my personal favorite.

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  38. This is gorgeous! I love the tip on snipping the elastic on ruched sleeves. I have a knit blazer in hot pink that I am going to do that on. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  39. this for sure is a fave post of mine. I was surprised that back then, only elle was able to snatch up this collection from her follower friend. very jealous bc I rmbr commenting on her post abt this shirt. love it!

    i see you got some sun lady! looking bronzed & golden!

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    Replies
    1. Clearly a few of us were behind the fashion curve : ) Lace and peplum both explode years after Elle snatches these up for bargain prices.

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  40. Wow gorgeous. Love the jacket and that beautiful top!

    creamyclothes.blogspot.com

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  41. I love your casual outfit with the shorts and sunglasses. I wouldn't mind seeing a full-length photo of that outfit (Your photos are always amazing!) with some really great boots/shoes.
    Have you thought about pairing the SM top with a pencil skirt? I know you want to balance it with a looser bottom half, but you are so tiny I think you would look great with the skirt too.:)

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    Replies
    1. I think it would look lovely as well with a pencil skirt (a very ladylike silhouette overall). I returned it back to Elle already and hope to see more pairings from her!

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  42. LOVE the blazer, tee, and cut off look. So adorable!

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  43. Slimmed sleeve width is looking more better..All the things like top,necklace and coat are looking cool and trendy..The color is literally looking great..

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  44. You look fabulous!!!
    I love this yellow and I am also bummed to know that the collection was only made in Australia.
    XOXO

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  45. I love that top! This post of yours made me miss my time in Australia so much! & good job with altering the yellow blazer. It looks awesome! But I may be biased, since I'm not a fan of ruched sleeves on structured jackets like blazers.

    http://shortandsweetjoy.blogspot.com/

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  46. I keep imagining your closet joining forces with Elle's and becoming a mega petite fashionista closet (undergoing a He-Man esque transformation - hmm, may have been before your time, lol). It's a beautiful top and love how your paired this with wide-legged trousers. A very classy combo :)

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  47. Hi! I run a facebook page called simplypetite which aims to help people find and post petite clothing. I thought you might be interested. it is just getting started. I love your blog btw!

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  48. HI Jean, I have a question with fall season ankle boots. Will it look bad to wear a 1 size bigger ankle boots for petite figure? Hope you can reply.. really need some help.. I'm new to this and i've been starting to build my confidence.. you have nice entries here..

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    1. Hi there - I would definitely suggest buying them in the right size. I have a pair that is a size up and it always just feels like I have lobster claws on.

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  49. nice top!!!! love the yellow jacket! unfortunately its too hot here to wear one!!!

    i've added you to my daily reading list :P

    xoxo jenna
    Visit my blog at The Petite Blogger
    Follow me on Facebook
    Find me on Chictopia

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  50. those trousers look AMAZING on you! and love the top!

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  51. nice post.
    http://onlinefootwearindia.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/get-assured-of-comfort-with-brushed-leather-shoes/

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  52. This top is similar to your top. I think the lace is nice too. Only medium and large left though... Maybe you can slim it? You can get a 20% off code if you sign up for Amazon's clothing email. Still kind of expensive... maybe the price will go down after a while.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071UXSI8/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_4?ie=UTF8&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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  54. Tks again for posting the jacket sleeve tutorial. I'm gonna need it!

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  55. Beautiful necklace! I tried on the blue version, but quickly realized it made my face look rounder than it already is. LOL. Oh well, much better suited for your facial structure :)

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  56. that ruching is GODAWFUL but i love the finished product!

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  57. Nice job there

    http://mybeautyobssession.blogspot.ca/

    ReplyDelete

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