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!
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!
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.

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!
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

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.
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
Continue reading for more photos...

DIY Alterations Tutorial: Slimming + shortening blazer jacket sleeves with lining

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!

On to today's post ~ 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?
H&M Blazer.  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 current tailor charges $25 for shortening sleeves, and $20 for slimming (hopefully less for both done together).
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.
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...

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

J.Crew Lady Day Coat & cable sweater (similar) sz xxs, Gap shirt (similar)
Old Navy Jeggings sz 0P, Louboutin Decollete pumps, Goyard Marquises Tote

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 over-excited 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...but will probably regret not doing so for this sweater!

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:
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.
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

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.
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...