Petite Fashion Challenge 17: Candy Colorized $9 H&M Dress

This month's Petite Fashion Challenge is hosted by the talented DIY'er, SewPetiteGal. Please be sure to check out her post for links to all the participant's outfits.

The challenge: Candy Colorized - Take a bowl full of colorful candies, close your eyes, and draw 2-3 pieces. Now use those colors (+ a neutral of your choosing) to form the basis for your ensemble.candycolored3 H&M tunic dress, J.Crew belt, Adia Kibur necklace (from a friend), 
Target T-strap sandals (similar and on sale), Mango aviator sunglasses c/o last year
Summer face: Stila bronzer shade #1 (lasts me for years), Revlon "Coral Reef" lip gloss

Before I got around to closing my eyes and letting the candy gods pick my PFC fate, I peered into my bag of Starburst and noticed how starkly familiar the colors were. They were a perfect match for a new dress and necklace lying around, both of which I have been very eager to wear.
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I fell in love with this tunic dress online back in March, but was too late. With H&M, the good, affordable stuff tend to sell out in a matter of days, so I was ecstatic to find this lone dress hanging on the clearance rack for $10, three months later, in my size nonetheless. A quick look told me that the dress had been abused...holes from being run over repeatedly by rolling racks, sash belt torn off, and seams coming apart like it had been stretched out then returned. I got another 10% off for the damages, and brought the poor thing home for some TLC. candycolored The fit of this tunic dress is extremely similar to my other H&M shift pre-alterations, but even longer. It's very "nightgown" on me as-is, but I knew it was intended to be worn with it's (missing) belt. For this brightly-colored outfit,

MAGNUM Ice Cream and alice + olivia: behind the scenes

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Earlier this month, I had the chance to be part of a collaboration between MAGNUM Ice Cream (Web/Facebook/Twitter) and alice + olivia. It was so much fun and I want to thank you all for your readership and support, which allows me to even be considered for such opportunities. The event was to celebrate the launch of MAGNUM Mini Ice Cream Bars, and Stacey Bendet of a+o, who will design a mini skirt inspired by these treats.
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With my photo buddy for the night, Sydne

Upon walking into the event, I was overjoyed to see the all the freezers filled with MAGNUM Mini bars waiting to be consumed. Between privately indulging in a few flavors (my favorite will always be Classic), catching up with familiar faces and meeting new ones, one of the best parts of the night was getting to chat with the founder of alice + olivia.
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a+o is a brand that I don't personally shop because of the price points, but I have admired how the line caters to a wide range of fashionistas. I have distinctly different friends who each love the brand, and I was curious how Stacey did it. The first thing she said to me was "you are so small! I love small people!" (mind you, she is very petite herself but you would never know it with the 6" shoes). She then answered that whenever she designs, she pictures four individual women with different personalities and body types, and tries to have something in her collections that appeals to and flatters each one of them.
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For the rest of the event, we were asked to create personal looks inspired by our favorite flavor. We slipped on a+o dresses that we selected ahead of time, and finished styling our ensembles using a TDF collection of vintage pieces and interesting jewelry. I could not help but gravitate towards this vintage sweater jacket in one of my favorite colors. I look forward to sharing the final images soon, but in the meantime, here's a behind-the-scenes video from the event:

Disclosure: This campaign is produced by Style Coalition and sponsored by MAGNUM Ice Cream.

NYC Quick Trip Part 2: Banana Republic Petite reviews

**Update: Get extra 40% off sale items in-stores and online (use BRSTARS). Each item reviewed in this post was on sale in-store. If you placed an order yesterday w/ the 20% off, I'd suggest calling to get a price adjustment!**IMG_4020
Banana Republic Annie Print Dress;  Papaya King "side on top" dog
Ferragamo bow shoes from Wendy (current version here), Nordies Rack faux-pearls

Half a block down from Shake Shack and H&M, I ran into some hot dog goodness and more shopping. I am a sucker for hot dogs whether they're at Ikea, 7-11, or baseball games (literally the only thing enticing me to attend)...and somehow I have never had one in NYC. Upon entering Papaya King, I must've stared at the menu with mouth agape for a good 5 minutes. They had every topping I could ever ask for. I also wanted a side of chilli cheese-topped curly fries but feared it was too much food...then realized someone already solved that dilemma for me by inventing the "side on top."

After "relishing" my affordable meal, I poked my head into Banana Republic. I wanted to try on new arrivals, specifically this adorable striped T-shirt dress (not yet online in petites but the measurements are already listed) and vibrant red-orange ponte dress. Did not find either, but was intrigued by this black and white faux-wrap dress. BR stores with petite offerings carry down to 00P, but not XXSP (why not? beats me) - so this was an online return. 
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On the rack, it doesn't look like much, but I actually really liked it on. With the sleeves pushed up, the dress had nice shape from the front, looked classy with pearls, and I even appreciated the demure below-the-knee length on me. I think it would look even better on someone with more curves up top who can fill it out more. I seriously contemplated getting it, until I saw the side view...

Signature Style: Classic tweed, pencil dress, and pearls

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Asos Petite dress (similar and similar), H&M blouse, Jacket c/o Uniqueen sz S (my review)
Louboutin cap toes from eBay, Talbots necklace, Chanel classic flap, Ann Taylor belt

My style has evolved immensely over the years, but there are certain looks and pieces that I will always and instantly feel like "myself" in. I am uncontrollably drawn to pencil shapes, pearls, drapey blouses, tweed, and a little Chanel...and this outfit embodies it all. Looking back on my first few posts (here and here), I embraced these pieces and aspired to channel this look even when I was clueless about putting together outfits.

If asked today about my signature style, I can answer with confidence (after years of experimentation and cultivating my wardrobe) that it's comprised of:
- a combination of classic and feminine looks
- figure-defining but not revealing silhouettes
- a variety of soft textures; and
- a mix of splurge pieces and bargain finds
peachcream2 I've tried to "get more" out of my dresses before by wearing them as a top, but the bottom part just became too uncomfortable when layered under another skirt. Inspired by the combo at the bottom of this page, I did the reverse here with a very lightweight blouse...

NYC Quick Trip Part 1 - H&M fitting room reviews

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During my brief visit to NYC, I was delighted to find out my hotel was steps away from shopping and locally-famous quick eats. I pretty much ran to Shake Shack which I've been wanting to try for a while. Their signature Shackburger + fries plus water came out to be a hefty $10, but boy was the burger itself delicious. My patty was cooked medium, which I thought was unusual for a fast food chain, but that probably contributed to the juiciness. They are also known for frozen custard which I look forward to sampling next time. I won't comment on it myself, but I am curious how In-N-Out fans feel the two burgers compare.

After chowing down (and praying that no one noticed the small, voracious person sitting alone with ketchup, mustard and mayo on her face), I hopped next door to try on some form-fitting dresses at H&M. Should probably reverse that sequence of events going forward.
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Floral print tank dress in sz XS, item # 045008, $34.95 & Ferragamo bow shoes (current version here)

I first tried on this tank dress with a print that reminded me of Wendy's gorgeous Tibi shift. I thought it was a very fun piece and I liked that the print was all-around, but I currently have no need for such a curve-hugging dress. Verdict: Passed.
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Divided print shorts, item # 067314, $24.95

Next up, another piece that appears to be strongly influenced by Tibi's leopard and chain print. I loved the look of these shorts but only a lone size 10 was left...

Preview: Thrifting Chronicles, $4 Kids Tweed Dress Set

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Happy Friday, readers! I'm currently on vacation and hope to resume posting next week. I know I owe many of you emails from months past, so thank you again for your patience. Just wanted to do a quick preview of one of my favorite thrift store finds to date - a little girls Easter twinset which I've converted into a flirty tweed sheath dress, all for $4! I look forward to sharing more about this (and the simple alterations performed) soon.

Lookbook: Navy Bows + Ivory Lace

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Blouse and skirt (from 2011) c/o Modcloth, Target sandals, H&M bag, Michael Kors watch
"On the Mark" necklace c/o Stella & Dot

I don't have many items from Modcloth, but the pieces I do have are very special and garner so many compliments. This versatile blouse is no exception, and I have to thank Jess of what jess wore for enabling. I had been eying it online, but was unsure about the fit. After reading Jess's thorough review, I didn't waste two minutes before pulling the trigger!

Simple studying outfits w/ Theory pants (similar) + AT pumps, and H&M shorts + Cole Haan flats
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I wasn't able to post a timely review, but did share photos via FB/Twitter so I hope some of you were able to grab this blouse. It was out of stock the last I checked, but there is a restock signup list. They order based on demand, and the restock list is actually how I was able to snag this lace skirt last year.
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This is one of those blouses that work equally well tucked...

Revived Favorites: Retro Print Shift Dress + Oranges

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Dress, jacket and clutch - old H&M, Sandals - pre-owned Prada via eBay, YSL ring

Last night, I had a great time being on a panel about Asian American women and fashion (hosted by ASPIRE). It was my first time talking about blogging as well as my career path and goals, and it was a treat getting to meet so many interesting women and to hear about their aspirations as well. One of the questions asked was how to truly gauge if clothing fits and flatters your figure. A trick that's worked for me is to snap photos of yourself from the front, side, and back and inspect for unsightly gaps, tugs, pulls, and bunchiness. Cameras pick up things that get overlooked when one gazes into a mirror. Clothing that fits should usually graze your figure - not constrict nor swallow it.

Before -----> After
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I initially realized this simple tip while drafting this oldie post, and have had many more "yikes" moments reviewing photos since then. One such occasion was with this H&M dress. I fell in love with the print and convinced myself that shift style dresses were meant to be non-fitted. Only after seeing multi-angle photos did I realize how wildly unflattering and nightgown-esque it was.
orangeprint4A next step to understanding fit is learning about simple adjustments that can make a big difference. Thankfully, this dress just needed some slimming along the torso and sleeves...

LOFT Pinterest Contest - My vacation picks

LOFT is holding a Pinterest sweepstakes and asked me to share some picks from their line. I was happy to do so, as they are one of the few retailers that offer extended petite (all the way down to 00/XXSP) sizing in-stores. I only wish more retailers would follow suit.

To enter their contest, follow LOFT on Pinterest and create a board pinning your vacation destination plus a wardrobe using 5 LOFT pieces. Here are my board and picks (threw in an old spring break photo for good measure...boy was that a long time ago : ) - I'm headed to Mexico again next week and gravitated towards floaty fabrics and linen, bright prints, and easy-to-wear silhouettes. I just started using Pinterest (better a year late than never) to organize my shopping list and save ideas from other ladies, so my account is a little bare for now but won't be for long.
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LOFT's Pinterest and Official Rules

Disclosure - I received gift cards c/o LOFT and will be passing them along in an upcoming giveaway.

Philippines Food & Travel Diary, Part 1 - Cebu City

Earlier this year while I was in China, I made an impromptu decision to join Nick in the Philippines and meet his family there. Coming from the bone-chilling cold in China, the heat and humidity of the Philippines hit me like a brick. I had just one outfit with me suitable for the 85+ degree heat (initially packed for a long layover in LA), which I wore every single day and hand-scrubbed at night. Despite this, I had an incredible time experiencing a new culture, and am happy the two pieces I brought turned out to be rather appropriate for the vibrant, colorful country.

 Tasting mangosteen from street-side fruit stands:
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Colorful vehicles; free-spirited children who shouted loud, friendly greetings to the "foreigners":
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Feasting on lechon (crispy-skinned roast pork) at Zubuchon, proclaimed by Anthony Bourdain as the "best pig ever": PI4
Continue reading for more photos...

Trina Turk for Banana Republic Petites Botanical Dress Preview

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Banana Republic Trina Turk Botanical Dress c/o, H&M sandals (altered) and clutch
Gap neon sweater (similar), Morgan Ashleigh necklace bought on Ideeli (referral) & pearls from eBay

The Trina Turk for Banana Republic collection launches this Thursday (BR Facebook fans can shop 1 day early), and I'm very excited to share a preview of my favorite piece from the line.
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This dress has a classic pencil silhouette, but is updated with a crisp white background and one of Trina's signature, eye-catching prints. I was impressed that this 100% silk, fully-lined dress (from a designer collab., nonetheless) is priced at $130 retail. Details like the twist-straps, side pockets, and sash tie belt (not shown) are added bonuses.
 
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