Style in a Suitcase, Part 3: Black, browns + ankle boot woes

This is a scheduled post. I won't be able to answer any questions until I return. Thank you for reading!
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Gap Boys Gingham Shirt sz S - now $12 (boxy fit photos) (navy version), Theory blazer (similar)
Nordies Rack pearls, YesStyle skirt (old), Adrienne V. booties, H&M bag & belt, Michael Kors watch

I wish ankle boots weren't so challenging for shorter legs, because I love the bit of edge they add. An easy, elongating way for petites to do the ankle boot is to pair black booties with dark bottoms or tights (see oldie). If you want to go bare-legged, try shorts or dresses/skirts with higher hems to make up for the leg line being truncated at the ankle. I find this latter look to be so chic, but acknowledge it's less flattering on short legs (and bowed - to this day Grandma laments not "straightening out my knees" before it was too late, whatever that entails).

When I initially purchased these cognac booties online, I pictured them to be lengthening against tanned legs. Wishful thinking! Once I put them on, I was hit by the realization that my skin is not and will never be close to a chocolate color. Aside from the simple dark skinny jean, I was stumped about how to wear these boots without appearing stumpy...

Style in a Suitcase, Part 2: Redwood, leopard + winter white

This is a scheduled post. I won't be able to answer any questions until I return. Thank you for reading!
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Old Navy legging jeans in "Russet Brown" (more colors) sz 0 reg, H&M ivory shell
AT leopard cardigan (similar starting in XXS), CL Decolletes, Chanel WOC, c/o t+j Designs earrings

Continuing with the Style in a Suitcase series, here's a simple outfit from my visit to mild-wintered Southern California. I had the luxury of baring my shoulders during the day, but needed thick layers once dusk rolled in. Packing a print/patterned layer helped break up the solid blocks.
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J.Crew Lady Day Coat - 2011 vs 2010 sizing & quality

This is a scheduled post. I won't be able to answer any questions until I return. Thank you for reading!
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Coat: J.Crew Lady Day sz 00P in "oasis green" (extra 30% off w/ MUSTHAVE) Clutch: H&M  
Booties: Adrienne Vittadini  Tights: Target girls  Earmuffs: Burberry  Gloves: no brand from Mom

I know this is a belated "review" as it's already 2012, but I just wanted to share some of my observations now that this coat is on final sale. Elle did a thorough review after the epic promo (or pricing error) during which these were available for an amazing price. She was so kind to sell me an extra in the color I've been eying all along - this beautiful, preppy, "oasis green." 

I did a review and video on this coat in 2010, during which I picked up a 0P in olive (subsequently sold and replaced with cobblestone gray). 0P was the smallest size available that year. I was very excited to see a 00P available in 2011, but had my suspicions that sizing wouldn't be that much smaller. Lo and behold...

Lookbook: Sweater Dress + Simples

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Crewcuts Mohair Dress sz 10,  Theory blazer sz 00 (similar),  thrifted Talbots belt
CL Simple 85 Pumps in metal rouge, Sparkling Sage necklace (not worth full price), Talbots earrings

This cozy sweater dress was my favorite find from J.Crew's final sale. I would've loved a longer length, but my search for sz 12 came up empty.  I paired the heathered knit against a classic black blazer, and broke up the gloomy color scheme with rich jewel-toned accessories.
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These "ruby slippers" are a recent addition to my shoe family. They're metallic rouge patent from a few seasons ago, and the heel height is a lower, comfortable 85mm (mine measure 3.25"). They were a random store return and marked down quite a bit. I can't thank Elle enough for the sale alert! Since I'm trying hard not to hoard, my Elisa 100's in a similar color have already been sent to a new home where I hope they will get lots of love. 

Trying to stay warm in: J.Crew Lady Day Coat (2010), leather gloves from Mom, Goyard tote, H&M tights
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Continue reading for more photos...

Talbots extra 40% off everything + free ship at any price

Update 1/16 - I believe this code was deactivated. Thank you NS for sharing this deal with us! Code 019588431 gives you 40% off everything and free shipping at any price. I tested this on regular, sale, and outlet merchandise and it worked for me. I picked up the suede bow flats below in a sz 5.

From my past orders, the clothing in petite sizing has been much too big, the shoes have been great quality but with slightly inconsistent sizing, and the costume jewelry has been hit or miss in terms of quality (some nice and heavy, some cheaper metals).
  Lysa Suede Bow Flat $36 $139Corrine Penny Loafers $23.7 $159Sylvia Suede Slings $32.7 $129

Readers - Please share any good finds that you picked up!

Don't Miss: Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps for $35.93

If you're not following Fast Food & Fast Fashion on blog or Twitter yet, then you're probably missing out on a lot of great deals (and cute outfits). I can't count the number of times I've scored something at a great price thanks to Elle. Earlier tonight she tweeted about this deal and I thought it was too great not to share:

Ann Taylor is having 40% off everything online, now including excluding new arrivals. If you go to the sale section, there are a number of sale shoes left sortable by size. The perfect pumps in navy are currently $59.88 PLUS an extra 40% off, making them a mere $35.93 - 77% off retail price. The catch is that they are final sale, and there's no free shipping unless you order $150+. Be sure not to confuse these with the perfect pumps in the regular-priced section (I see a navy there too).

Sizing info: In my personal opinion they run true to size and possibly lean towards the bigger side. I am usually between 5 and 5.5 in all shoe brands, and I always order a 5 in these because leather may stretch out with wear.
Happy shopping! Thanks so much, Elle, for always sharing sales & deals!

DIY Alterations Tutorial: Slimming + shortening blazer sleeves

I haven't been posting as much due to work and prepping for exam cramming, but follow me on Twitter for some fitting room photos and more. I've fallen very behind on emails and comments but will try to respond to any questions soon. Thank you for your patience!

Lately, I've noticed that many bloggers have been sewing unique garments or doing alterations at home. I used to sew and gave up due to lack of patience and skill, but felt inspired to dust off my sewing machine again. Here's a little something that I worked on recently:

Which sleeve looks more flattering?
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H&M Blazer, Item #037443, $34.95.  Left sleeve (on me) slimmed & shortened, right sleeve unaltered.

When I initially tried on this blazer, I almost left it behind. I loved the light gray material and slim torso, but did not love the lack of lapels, the much shorter back, and the unsightly wide and bunchy sleeves. My other gray cascade jacket had the same sleeve issue, but it was unexpectedly sold before I even considered alterations. My tailor charges $25 for shortening sleeves, and $20 for slimming (hopefully less for both together). This blazer was nice but definitely not worth $70-$80 to me.
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I've done simpler alterations in the past such as slimming shirts and taking in the waist on a skirt. Never had I worked on a blazer, and especially not one with lining. I gingerly took apart one sleeve and tried to learn by retracing the steps of how it was assembled. As you can see in the above pics, such an alteration can make a tremendous difference in the overall silhouette of a garment.
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I think I got the hang of it after one sleeve, and took step-by-step photos the second time around. Warning: Please note that I am an amateur and I'm sure there are better and more efficient ways to do this. The remainder of this post is picture-heavy and sleeve-focused so continue scrolling at your own risk of dozing off...

Jason Wu for Target Preview & Prices

*Visit NY Post or Glamour for prices on each piece. Thank you Rowena, Nicole & more for the links!*

I haven't been enticed by many designer + mass retailer collaborations, but the Jason Wu for Target line looks pretty, feminine, and fresh. The collection launches on Sunday, February 5th both in-stores and online, with price points ranging from $19.99 - $59.99.
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Images from the February 2012 People StyleWatch Magazine
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The pieces I like so far are the crepe/mesh neckline dress above and floaty blush pink blouse + paisley (?) skirt, shown below. I'm curious whether this will be a juniors-sized collection like some past collabs (which means pieces may run smaller), or a womens-sized line.
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Images below from Refinery29:

 Readers - Will you be shopping this collection? If so, which pieces?

Lookbook: Pine & Patterns (and Old Navy jeans in petite vs reg)

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Old Navy Jeggings sz 0P (comes in 5 inseams - Petite (27"), Short (?), Regular (29"), Long, and Tall)
CL Decollete pumps, Goyard Marquises Tote, Nordstrom Rack pearls, eBay cameo pin

Use code WINTER for extra 30% off final sale items on J.Crew online. This winter outfit easily converts for a business casual work environment. I plan on replacing the black legging jeans with some trousers or ankle pants, and tucking in the button-up shirt. You can also try the sweater with a rich camel or black pencil skirt.

I only got one of these sweaters for myself and am regretting leaving the fuchsia behind. A reader recently asked why I am against buying duplicates. I used to get overexcited at finding things that "fit" and freely hoarded multiples of different colors. Looking back, many of these things were quite mediocre and didn't even fit right. Now that I'm more experienced, I know that there will be other, new options in the future (unless it's a true challenge item, like petite-friendly suiting) and that fashion tastes will change over time. Unless I am certain that a piece will be a wardrobe favorite, I'm hesitant to buy more than one.
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After wearing this sweater in "pine bough" all day, I'm more convinced that it'll be a wardrobe favorite...

J.Crew and Crewcuts Final Sale Reviews (extra 40-50% off)

For a limited time and in stores only, J.Crew is having extra 40% adult final sale items and extra 50% off kids. The online prices are not as great - use code WINTER for extra 30% off final sale. If you can't find your size, several ladies mentioned that you can pick up a red phone while inside J.Crew to locate pieces at the in-store price, however you'll have to pay for shipping (free ship on Crewcuts right now). If you're interested in something specific, call your local store to look for it and put it on hold.
J.Crew Honeycomb Cable Sweater in XXS - XL (wearing XXS), 9 colors, currently $24 in stores

I tried on these sweaters a while back and almost paid $45 for one. The knit is less traditional and the color selection is excellent. Kelly tweeted that they were now $24 so I happily skipped to the store. I don't like buying duplicates, plus these might get even cheaper, so I limited myself to just one. After hemming and hawing, I settled on this winter-y pine color. XXS in this fits pretty well - slim in the sleeves, slightly roomy in the torso, with wider shoulders due to that banded design.
Nothing else interested nor fit me in the womens department, so I headed to kids. The boys gingham that Kelly introduced me to last month is now on sale for $10-$15 in stores. I currently don't see any more online. I found the nicest manager who gave me a price adjustment on one that I'd already worn.
Left: Crewcuts classic gingham (small check) & Addison gingham. Trying on Addison in boys sz 10, $15.

In the girls department, I saw lots of Caroline cardigans, the little sister daughter of J.Crew's classic, plain, Jackie womens cardigan. As with all kids stuff, the torso fit me well but the sleeves were short and have to be worn scrunched up (note: the womens version is 3/4 sleeves anyways). These were only $10 to $12.50 in-store after the 50% discount.
Crewcuts Caroline Cardigan in girls sz 12, $10 (love the minty "green willow" color online for spring)
Crewcuts Chambray Confetti Skirt w/ pockets in girls 10 (NOT on sale), sz 12 was too big.

Earlier this season I also tried on these bright corduroys in a kids 12. I'll be staying away from kids pants, at Crewcuts at least. The waist, hips, butt fit me well, but the legs were awkwardly short and not tapered enough.
Crewcuts Girls Audrey Cord in Bright Blaze (3+ colors), ~$16 in store, trying on a girls sz 12

My favorite find of the trip - a Crewcuts thick heathered sweater dress (only small kids sizes left online). I found a girls sz 10 which is borderline tunic-length on me. A 10 is do-able but a 12 would've been perfect for a looser sweater dress. This was surprisingly "pricey" for final sale at $30, but I really loved the cozy knit and the pockets.
I was eying the following pretty Crewcuts items online but did not see any in-person. All of the below are still left in larger kids sizes online, with free shipping but no more extra discounts (boo!). I ordered the first skirt below in a girls size 10. Per J.Crew's online customer service, the measurements of a girls sz 10 in this skirt: waist circumference 22.5" stretches up to 30.5" when elastic is fully extended, sweep circumference at the bottom 57.5," and total length 16.8." I was sold by the color, the silk banded hem, and the on-seam pockets.
Cotton & Silk Double-Dipped Skirt w/ pockets in 4 colors,  Organdy Filagree Skirt w/ pockets
Girls Long Stripe Tee (2 colors),  Girls ShirtdressGirls Sequin Cardigan (2 colors)
If anyone has tried on these items in person, please let us know about the quality and fit!
Girls Sing-Along Sweater Dress (also in taupe-gray), Girls Patty-Cake Dress (love the retro orange)

I was really hoping to find the two last dresses in-store but no such luck. I know the super kiddy item names are wince-worthy, but I saw potential in both pieces. The little chest pocket is holding me back from getting the sweater dress, and the second dress is just too risky without having been tried on. It looks like such a vibrant, comfy dress for daytime lounging, but the fit could be very childish in person.

All in all, I got 1 honeycomb sweater for myself (+ some for friends) ($24), 1 crewcuts sweater dress ($30), 1 patent XS skinny belt that fits perfectly ($12), 1 Crewcuts cotton & silk skirt shown above ($11 - ordered before the online promo ended), and 1 unexpected price adjustment (-$13). Four pretty pieces for a grand total of $64.

Readers - Did you shop this sale? Please share what you got or tried on!

Petite Fashion Challenge #12 - From Night to Day

This month's PFC is hosted by IamKhatu. Be sure to visit her post to see everyone's entries!

The challenge: "From Night to Day: Restyle a glamorous look that you would typically wear for a night-out-on-the-town into daytime casual wear. Bonus points if you can restyle it for work!"

I like that this challenge started with a glamorous night look and worked backwards to daytime casual. It was a true challenge for me because I don't have many fancy pieces - I can probably count the number of times I've had a glamorous night-out-on-the-town on one hand. I tried to get creative with my peplum cocktail dress and silk paisley dress, but Nick said the results were scary. Alas, I took the easy way out with this gold sequin skirt:
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Night: J.Crew Factory sequin skirt (similar in 00-16), H&M blouse (old), Payless pumps, Chanel WOC
Day: Target chambray (similar in petite/reg, 3 colors), J.Crew cardi & belt, Tory B. flats (similar), H&M bag

I started with this previously-shown look, and replaced dressy pieces with casual and comfortable garments. Satiny lace top was swapped for a well-worn chambray shirt and cotton cardigan. Sky high pumps were replaced by broken-in flats. Veteran brown crossbody bag instead of a caviar clutch. I would've liked a bag that stood out less, but this had to do. Continue reading for more photos...

Basic Work Outfit: Collar, Sweater, Necklace + Skirt

I had a surprise day off today and spent the morning shopping and dining on Newbury street. It was such a treat to stroll outside before the true cold hits tomorrow. See Twitter photos from me and Khatu (plus a lone Instagram) for some shopping updates. For anyone who liked this classic white blouse with black trim, H&M now has a new one in a smoother, silkier material, plus collar (fun!), minus large pockets, minus black trim on the sleeves - for an updated price of $24.95. I did not try it on so I'm not sure about the fit. Item # is 045939.

I haven't written any other suitcase style posts yet (I did receive your questions on packing & beauty bag contents and will try to show those), so here is a filler post showing the Crewcuts sweater from this review. I wore this simple outfit minus the sweater to work. I threw on the sweater for some quick photos to see how it'd look tucked in, but returned it afterwards and kept the yellow.
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Sweater: Crewcuts mohair cable sweaters kids sz 12  Skirt: Ann Taylor Cobalt Ponte sz 00P
Collared Shirt: Gap  Tights: Target Kids  Pumps: CK Elara (no more leopard)  
Trench: Burberry (similar) sz 2   Necklace: thrifted

Style in a Suitcase, Part 1 - Gingham and Lace

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For the past ten days, I spent some time on both coasts living out of a suitcase. As temperatures varied from 30 to nearly 80 degrees, I had to pack wisely (lots of layers!). I also had to plan for a variety of occasions. I ended up bringing (from left to right)...

3 jackets: Black Theory blazer, Uniqueen tweed jacket, Gap cardigan jacket
4 pairs of shoes: Calvin Klein leopards, Adrienne Vittadini booties, CL pumps, ebay (no brand) boots
2 pairs of pants: Seven for all Mankind olive jeans, plus purchased Old Navy ones in Russet Brown
3 skirts: Ann Taylor olive lace pencil skirt, camel wool mini, vintage herringbone mini
2 clutches/crossbody bags: H&M brown bag and Chanel WOC
7 tops: Gap nudes & gingham, Target chambray, H&M ivory shell, crewcuts sweater, AT leopard cardi

I tried to take photos each day to share with you guys some easy, packing-friendly outfits. The above was more than enough and probably could've lasted me for a month : ) First up is this dressier ensemble which I've already worn to work. Both shirt and skirt travel nicely - the gingham material never wrinkles on me, and you can just roll up soft lace skirts when packing.
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Shirt: Gap Boys Gingham sz S (6-7)   (J.Crew petite version)   (Gap womens version)
Earrings: Talbots    Clutch: Chanel WOC    Belt: BR Factory
Lace Skirt: Ann Taylor (old)  Tights: H&M   Pumps: CL Decolettes

I balanced out the boxy, boyishness of the gingham shirt with a more feminine lace bottom. Without any slimming, the shirt is still a bit poofy from the back when tucked in, so I like to conceal that at work by layering a blazer on top. Continue reading for some fit photos of the gingham shirt...
 
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