Thursday, May 31, 2012

Teal + Ferragamo Bow Flats

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Ruffle crepe dress thanks to Ann Taylor, Burberry trench (similar), Michael Kors tortoise watch
J.Crew factory belt, LV Speedy 25, scarf and Louboutin cap toe pumps from eBay

On a separate note, I saw this dress a while back on a petite lady from Boston Magazine and fell in love with the color. The flattering shade of teal reminds me of tropical waterfronts, and the looser shift shape is easy to wear. True to most Ann Taylor petites sizing, this dress is roomy on me but works with a waist belt. A triple strap belt wasn't the best choice, so the second time around I switched to something more delicate:
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A few months ago, a box showed up at my door from the stylish Wendy, and I almost fell over with surprise upon finding these vintage Ferragamo bow flats inside. I had been hard-core eying the current Varina bow flats for over 2 years, but never pulled the trigger. These shoes are a signature style (Update - thank you Iris for letting me know I misidentified this style! These are actually the Vara low-heel pumps with a 1" heel, currently still sold in beige) that Ferragamo has been making for decades with slight updates - the most noticeable difference between older and current versions is the curved shape of the heel. I love the sleek silhouette (good for narrow feet), the leg-lengthening nude color, and the feminine grosgrain bows with gold buckles. Thank you, Wendy, for adding a classic piece to my wardrobe that will be treasured for years!
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Ann Taylor Outlet Vintage Crochet Lace Dress in Navy

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Ann Taylor Factory crochet lace dress in navy blue (not black) - item # 280570
Left: Fit of 00 Petite as-is   Right: Fit with 1-2 inches pinched back at the waistline
 
I was feeling burned out this week and decided to treat myself to a few minutes of holiday sale browsing. Since time was limited, I chose only one store - the hit-or-miss Ann Taylor factory ("hit" for me today). If you really loved Ann Taylor's vintage lace dress from years past but missed out, it's back at their factory store now in navy blue. The retail price ($169.99) is actually $30 less than last year, and there's 40% off everything going on this weekend. If you're a card member, remember you can get free ship from any store to your home on non marked-down items.

I was really excited to see this dress in navy, but since I already have the ivory version, I snapped a pic of it on the hanger and started to leave. However, something in my head told me the fit looked different from last year, and back in I went to try it on.
navylace
Belt: pre-owned reversible Hermes "Constance" (a beloved birthday gift) sz 70, extra holes punched

Sure enough, it's a bit slimmer than last year's. It's still a little loose at the waist, but much better than this "before" pic. And more excitingly for shorties like me, the length of the 2012 version is about 1.5 to 2 inches shorter than 2011's. I love the new length on someone my height (5 feet tall). I splurged on the ivory version last year...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thrifting Chronicles: $3 DIY Polka Dot Bow Blouse

*Nordstrom's Half-Yearly sale starts today! I haven't looked yet, so please let me know any good finds : )*diydot5
I showed this blouse a while back and received several requests for a tutorial. Unfortunately, I didn't document the process very well as I was just experimenting around. I'm not a professional sewer, so these steps are just to show what I did and are not intended as instructions!

Earlier this year, I couldn't get enough of feminine tie-neck blouses. I wasn't in love with the options out on the market due to either fit, quality, or price points, thus ventured out to Savers thrift store. I zoomed through the racks looking for items that were:

- either in nice fabrics (silk, wool, etc) or interesting prints
- had a collar
- affordable enough to experiment with

I like shopping thrift stores for "fabric" versus going to regular fabric stores, because you can find nice, unique materials for cheap, plus, you can take advantage of existing features like button plackets or collars. It's all about seeing the potential. The collar feature was key for me, as it makes a piece so much more versatile (see last photo in post). After a dizzying spin through the store, I ended up with this monster of a dowdy shirt for $2.99:
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Using a loosely-cut sleeveless blouse from H&M as a template, I dissected the shirt into five pieces: 1 torso, 2 pieces from sleeves to join together as the necktie, and 2 pieces from sleeves to finish raw edges on the armholes...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

White Jeans + Printed Scarf (& H&M 35% off coupon)

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H&M jacket (alteration tutorial), tee, clutch, and belt from dress, thrift store scarf
Old Navy jeans in petite, Target sandals (old) (similar for $40)

Just wanted to say a quick hello and apologize for my lack of responsiveness over the months. I will do my best to respond to your comments and messages in June. Today's post is just another casual studying outfit. I study at my office for about 12 hours at a time, and must be comfortable, but not too comfy in fear of dozing off! By putting on a full outfit complete with accessories (even if only my books will get to see it), I feel more in the right frame of mind to be productive. Anyone else feel the same way?
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To spruce up a simple jeans + tee combo, I added a silk printed scarf scored for about $3 at the thrift store, my fave buckle belt, and some strappy sandals. For anyone who scorns H&M and Target items because they are low-quality...I can't even count how much wear these 3-yr old $20 sandals and $17 clutch have gotten, while still looking fairly pristine. If you are selective with design and materials, there are definitely gems to be found at fast-fashion and discount retailers...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spring Wardrobe - Shopping & Spending

Some of my favorite posts on personal finance blogs are the monthly spending summaries. I may be in the minority, but I love seeing how others manage their lifestyles and the numbers behind it all. Such facts & figures are usually kept off fashion blogs, but I think it can be interesting to discuss. In a field that's ripe with consumerism and mutual enabling, I'd love to hear how fellow fashionistas keep overall consumption in check, while maintaining current, well-curated wardrobes.

Last year, I posted about keeping a streamlined wardrobe. My approach and goals remain largely unchanged, but I've indulged in some temptations (fun trends, end-of-season sales, etc) and hope to regain focus. In light of some heavier shopping this season, I wanted to do an update and share some numbers behind the fashion posts.

Since 3/1, I spent $634 and added 15 items to my wardrobe (40% of spending was on 1 item):
spring2012_purchases
 
I returned/sold 13 items, or 52% of original purchases due to various reasons:
spring2012_returns

I did alterations at home to save approx. $70 on tailoring (which I include in total wardrobe spending):
spring2012_alterations

As mentioned in my previous post, careful assessment of each purchase can help distinguish a well-curated wardrobe from one that's a victim of aimless consumption. One method that has helped me personally over the years is a manual log of items purchased...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Floral and Fuchsia (& shrinking the J.Crew Cafe Capris)

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J.Crew Wool Cafe Capris, H&M blouse (review) & clutch, Theory blazer (similar)
Louboutin pumps (similar) (similar in plain nude, sizes 4-12), thrift store chain necklace

I haven't been posting much lately, but am still sharing on-the-go finds / quick reviews via Facebook and Twitter (see twitpics). Please feel free to follow through either of those to receive updates : )

This is my third post featuring J.Crew's cafe capri pants. You've seen the Crewcuts kids versions which I adore, but I was initially drawn to this womens pair in a rich color and a more "grownup" lightweight wool material. Unfortunately, they suffered a bit of damage from at-home frying in the dryer, but more on that later.
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And as for this blouse...I wasn't sure about it initially, but changed my mind after seeing how much fun it adds to otherwise solid outfits. I also couldn't believe how similar it is to this Equipment blouse for a mere fraction of the price (given, that one is 100% silk)!
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