Another green + navy: Scarf bow and Spearmint Gingham

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Crewcuts gingham cafe capris sz 12 (an adult option in 2 colors - use BONUS10 for 10% off)
Ann Taylor blouse (old), blazer from Lefties (altered), BR bag (old)
Scarf and CL pumps from eBay, necklace c/o Stella & Dot

Just popping in to say a quick hello and to show these fun, preppy pants from Crewcuts. After being surprisingly pleased with their apple pants with a handy adjustable waist, I couldn't resist this pair in spearmint gingham for $25. I returned my Gap kids mint jeans from earlier this season because I knew they wouldn't get enough wear. These have been the perfect replacement - they're a favorite for studying at the office (comfy but not too casual), and also work-appropriate on "denim" Fridays.
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I have been wearing this blazer a little too much, but the spring green color just brightens up any outfit. Last month, I started a new job and my new team is mostly men who don't care much about clothes...

Vintage-inspired: Polka dots, navy bows + rustic gold

I missed this month's Petite Fashion Challenge, but please visit Megan's post to check out all of the participants' outfits. This month's theme was "Chic Pin-spiration." I created a Pinterest account but haven't used it yet - I'm excited to start after my exam! As we take inspiration from photo sharing sites, however, I think it's important to remember to credit the original source versus just show the image.
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H&M dot dress (review), Lefties blazer, J.Crew belt (colorful options here)
Ann Taylor patent pumps and necklace, thrift store chain, bow shoe clips from eBay

For those who have asked about getting soft, wavy hair...it can be very simple with no curling iron required! Please see this video from 1:30 - 2:20 where I do a quick demonstration. The only difference is now I usually do two buns in the back (one on each side), and sleep on them (removing the butterfly clip) after my hair is mostly dry. I am relegated to this hairstyle every few months when I'm overdue for a haircut and my hair is so long when straight that it doesn't look professional.

After assessing this dress and reading all of your opinions (thank you!), I decided to keep it even though it's not perfect. The spots are fun and I am a fan of the feminine draping. If this dress doesn't get enough wear, I hope to pass it on during a future closet clean-out. I took up both shoulder straps by an inch, which helped address the low neckline, but didn't do much for the roominess/length.
dotsandbow3 On a whim, I tried something here that I preached against in this post. This boyfriend-length blazer looked disproportionate with a below-the-knee dress, so I tried to fold up several inches of dress length above the waist belt (see above pic). I went for a vintage grecian-inspired look, but the results were more reminiscent of stomach flab, especially from the back. Going forward, I will be sticking to shorter, cropped jackets for longer dress/skirt hemlines...

Something Borrowed: Sequin Pencil Skirt + Neon

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Gap sweater (similar, but not dolman), Zara skirt borrowed from Khatu, ring from Vicky
Pearls & Prada pumps (~$20!) from eBay, Chanel bag & tortoiseshell sunnies, Burberry trench (similar)

Lord & Taylor is having their F&F sale until 4/23 - use code FRIENDS to get 25% off almost everything, and 10% off beauty & fragrance. Free ship on orders over $99 or beauty orders over $49. My picks are:

- any of their Michael Kors watches (I love mine, and 25% off such a large selection is very rare. See my post on MK watches.)
- Kate Spade tortoiseshell sunglasses that look like my much-loved ones for a fraction of the price, or
- something for Mother's Day!
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Not much else to say in today's post except that I love having a like-sized friend with awesome taste living close by. It's even better that our styles are a bit different, as it allows me to experiment outside my comfort zone. I might not pay for this eye-catching skirt (and the alterations it required) myself, but it sure is fun to borrow!
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Reviews: Asos wrap dress, pointy pumps, and cap toes

I found this post in my drafts and apologize for the belated review, but it's less fun blogging about items that don't work out! Last month, I was determined to add some fun shoes to my collection full of AT work pumps (btw, friends & family at Ann Taylor and LOFT has begun! Use FRIENDSAF for 40% off your entire order. Tried the crepe shift dress (c/o AT) on here). First and foremost I wanted neutral pointy toes, as pointy has made a comeback and are great for lengthening legs. I was also interested in classic cap toes, and entertained the thought of a fun printed/patterned pump:

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Before we get to the shoe-mania, here is a quick dress review. Last month when I ordered this bright blue peplum dress (now 40% off, see review), I also picked up this yellow number as a cocktail prospect:

Asos petite long sleeve belted wrap dress in US1, comes in 3 colors. Thrift store shoes, H&M clutch
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This dress is a petite exclusive, and since the models are definitely not petite, I was hoping that it would have a little more coverage and length than shown in the stock photo...

Loving now: J.Crew apple print cafe capri review (on sale)

**Gingham lovers, Crewcuts also has cafe capris in mint gingham for just $25.89 (final sale) with free ship. Thanks so much Val  for pointing these out and getting us the measurements: size 12 has 28.25 (adjustable) waist, hip 32.25, inseam 24.25. Size 14 has 30 waist, hip 33.25, and inseam 26.25 (keep in mind J.Crew's measurements can be a little off). I like the more grownup front & back pockets, plus added belt loops.**
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Crewcuts apple bobbing cafe capri sz 12 (free ship, use MUSTHAVE for 30% off), H&M top, Target heels

Meet my latest love: apple print ankle pants. They're fun and preppy with a classic silhouette. J.Crew is having apple overload this season, and there's something for everyone:

Apple in Kids sizing w/ free ship at any price: cardigan, chino shorts (good option if you are too tall but still narrow enough for kids sizing. Was contemplating these in case the capris didn't work out).

Apple in Womens sizing: shorts, pullover sweater, underwire swimsuit, large apple pleated skirt (so pricey, but how adorable would this be on a teacher?), large apple cafe capri.
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A big thank you to my friend Jimmy for snapping these during our study break. I realized that I've been taking my photographer for granted. Apparently, "shoe shot" or "angle up" (how shorties can appear deceptively taller) don't mean much to other men. Jimmy was a fast learner...he crouched low & braved passerby stares to get these shots.

Toes: Essie "tangerine"   Hands: Essie "turquoise & caicos"  Lips: Revlon "Ravish me Red" 
H&M bag & belt (from a dress), bangle thanks to t + j designs
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Now for my review...

H&M reviews: Conscious collection, navy dots, 20% off coupon

Armed with my 20% off coupon, I popped into H&M during lunch to scope out their latest merchandise. This navy with white polka dots dress (found it in the women's work department) quickly caught my eye:hmapril
Navy dots dress in XS, also comes in solid colors, item #031063, $28 after coupon

Material is "slinky" (95% viscose, 5% elastane)...I don't know how to explain it but it feels like slip/shapewear material, and not a cotton knit like I'd prefer. The silhouette reminds me of my beloved Ann Taylor striped dress, which I interestingly enough reviewed exactly 1 year ago, alongside last year's H&M Conscious collection. Both dresses have a crossover V-front and side ruching, except the H&M version has ruching that extends to the back side (which I appreciate) except just on the front half.

The H&M version is cut for someone taller than me, so the neckline is a little low, the armholes are big, and the length hits me below the knee. This can be fixed, however, via DIY Alteration #2. This is one of those dresses that would look fabulous on a curvier figure. On someone less curvy, however (like myself), it might be harder to fill it out especially because the letter sizing (XS, S, etc) feels roomier than the numerical size I usually wear. A wider belt may be needed to define the waist.

Verdict: Purchased. Want to keep, but it's similar to something I already have. Friends & bf vote keep.
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Next up is H&M's Spring Conscious collection made of sustainable or recycled materials, featuring lots of lace, floral, and white. This blouse looks vibrant online (& I love those sandals! Please let me know if you see 'em in person) but is a more washed out in-person. I do like the colors, though. The base is a sheer peach-blush pink with neon yellow, minty teal, and coral red throughout. This makes the blouse easy to pair with white or trendy colored denim in any of the aforementioned colors.
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Conscious floral blouse sz 2, item #045469, $24 after coupon & lace skirt sz 2, item #021285, $12

Retailing at $14.95, this lace pencil skirt is one of the biggest bargains in the store, esp. after the coupon....

Ann Taylor Boston Prudential Center Store Opening

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Just a quick note that Ann Taylor is having a mini-celebration at their updated concept store in Boston's Prudential mall, today from 1-5pm, during which 10% of proceeds will be donated to the Children's Hospital Boston. I won't be there today but I see many of their Spring arrivals in-person - lots of neon, jewel-tones, and nautical themes! I ducked out of work last week to meet up with fellow bloggers and my lovely friend Keshia visiting from Atlanta (isn't her pleated dress darling? Wish you could see more of it) at a local Ann Taylor event, and loved getting to know the energetic woman behind their social media accounts.
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Khatu, my friend Keshia, me (in this work outfit), Natalie

For online shoppers, AT is currently having 30% off sale items and $50 off full-priced shoes, no code needed. According to AlterationsNeeded and her sharing readers, this is stackable with code 10000006879 for 20% off your entire purchase of $100+. You can also use 10000006890 for 40% off one full-priced item. Here are my picks:

Happy shopping and have a wonderful Saturday!

J.Crew Sale Update: Online Factory bargains under $13

**ASOS sale alert: the striking blue peplum dress I reviewed is 40% off w/ free ship & returns. I loved mine too much to return it, but it needed a hem for sure. The slit is also closeable by a tailor or if you sew.**

Per an anonymous tip (thank you!), the extra 30% off sale code works on J.Crew Factory items as well (MUSTHAVE good til 4/20). I was bored in class and decided to take a peek on my phone...and couldn't believe the stock and prices! Any of the below would make a cute affordable gift for Mom, a sister, or girlfriend. Don't forget to go through ebates (referral, see my post on how to use it) for another 6% cash back...the rate is usually 2 or 3%!
Prices after promos - Pouchette: $12.83, Scarf: $8.22, Bracelet: $6.58, Belt: $6.58 sold out

Some notes:
- If you can wear regular sizing...there are some classic J.Crew-looking pieces at amazing price points. Navy tweed pencil skirt for $17? Silk camp blouse for $24? Remember that you can ask livechat for exact measurements for a certain item and size.

- You can combine your Factory order with the regular store to meet the $175 minimum for free ship.

Mid-week break: J.Crew extra 30% off sale plus 6% cashback

Take an extra 30% off J.Crew sale items with MUSTHAVE (ends 4/20), plus get an increased 6% now 3% cashback for J.Crew via ebates. There’s free shipping only for orders over $175 (or Crewcuts orders at any price) so combine purchases with friends to save, or order full-priced items to try on.
I’ve been buried by work & studying lately and have turned a blind eye to recent sales. However, some convincing texts from my shopping bees Kelly & Wendy led to me scooping up the following at decent prices (prices are post-30% off + 6% cash back):

- Wool Café Capri in petite, reg, or tall - $32.90 from $128. Final sale. I know for sure these will be too big (and are unfortunately unlined), but my coworker wears them so beautifully. The color is striking in-person and is not something you can find at other retailers for better price nor fit. I think they’ll be worth some alterations.
- Painter striped turtleneck (sold out) w/ un-foldable neck - $3.29 from $49.50. Final sale. This was a frivolous purchase. It was 94% off and in my size, so I got it for kicks.
- Crewcuts apple bobbing Café Capri - $38.16 from $68. Not final sale. How darling is the fruit print? On a grownup, I'm thinking these can either be disastrously childish, or cute. Still pricey but I got it to try on for size.
- Origami sheath dress in wool crepe - $98.70 from $198. Not final sale. Beautiful folding and silhouette, but low-expectations on fit/sizing. Trying on a 00P for free ship.
Other goodies worth checking out:
- Natasha silk chiffon shell, in petite 00-12 and regular, $39.47 from $88. Several colors available.
- Tissue turtleneck tees, left in XXS+ in several colors, $6.57 from $29.50.Mint & strawberry are pretty.
- Crystal link bracelet in mint/gold or black - $9.86 from $42.
- Tillary tote in canvas stripe – $65.14 from $228. See Elle’s video & blog review. I adore this bag (for work, beach, weekends) and was so close to pulling the trigger, but just don't need a new tote.

Happy shopping! I'd love to hear what you've tried before & recommend, or ordered this time.

Chanel, Part 4: Vintage Jewelry / Brooch Authenticity Tips

The Chanel video series (Part 1 - Wallet on chain and petite shopping tote, Part 2 - The classic flap bag (with updated prices as of February 2012), Part 3 - Buying pre-owned or at a discount) are some of the most-read posts on this blog, so I wanted to share my latest experience with buying costume jewelry as well. Now that I've fulfilled my tweed jacket dreams thanks to Uniqueen, I've been itching to get a classic Chanel brooch to adorn those jackets. Although Chanel costume jewelry (faux-pearls, man-made metals) is pricey for the materials, I mentally laid out some reasons on why the classic designs are worth it:

- A beautiful designer accessory can elevate the look of inexpensive clothes. I pinned mine on a Uniqueen jacket and received numerous compliments, whereas I don't recall that same jacket getting much attention a week earlier, sans-brooch.

- Costume jewelry can be quite versatile, as shown below...
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- Classic designs can hold their value extremely well. For example, costume brooches retail starting at ~$250 for small 1-1.5" ones (prices do go much higher depending on size and intricacy). If you look on eBay, most classic, simple Chanel brooches are selling for $200+ regardless of age, which is possibly more than what they cost years ago. Classic earrings lose some value but still hold up fairly well. For example, my beloved turnlock studs retailed for $260, and I watched a pre-owned pair go for a little under $200.

So for those interested in Chanel costume jewelry, I recommend browsing the pre-owned market because the variety is much more vast than what you can find in any boutique. However, buying second-hand means one must be savvy about authenticity. Here are two brooches that came into (and one went out of) my possession recently:

Which one is fake? Continue reading to find out...
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Spring: Mint dress, neutrals + cap toe pumps

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H&M dress, belt & clutch, Gap blouse, CL Pigalle 85 pumps (similar for less)

Boston weather teased me last week, allowing for 2 days of bare legs before freezing cold took over again. I jumped at the chance to break out this dress that I painstakingly altered + hemmed over a month ago. The fresh mint went perfectly with my latest loves - blush pink & cream cap-toed Louboutins scored at a great price (pre-owned via eBay).
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Blair of Atlantic-Pacific styled this same dress beautifully with an elegant mint tweed jacket and multi-strand pearls. Inspired, I delved into my growing tweed collection and came up with the following...
handmmint7This example illustrates something that I've become very aware of over the years: proportions. As a petite woman working with under 5 feet of height, the key to looking streamlined versus stumpy often lies in the proportions and lengths of my garments... 
 
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