Winter neutrals: Classic trench + silk stripes (& Stuart Weitzman Park Boots Review)

stripes_herringbone
Burberry trench sz US 2 (similar), thrifted Ann Taylor top (DIY re-sized), Ann Taylor skirt & necklace
Longchamp tote (similar with zipper), Hue tights, Louboutin Decolettes, H&M gloves

Last January, I remember treating myself to a study break during Savers thrift store's 50% off day. While speeding through the racks looking for quality fabrics, I came upon this $3 Ann Taylor blouse. Although the referee stripes are a little dizzying, I loved the clean lines of the hidden-button collar and the airy 100% silk material. It was just a tad boxy...but sure made for good sewing practice!
stripes_herringbone3
As it was my first time re-sizing a blouse, my workmanship was decent at best. Even though I finished this project over a year ago, it hasn’t gotten much wear due to a peek-a-boo gapping problem at the chest. I probably cut it a little too narrow there, but just noticed that this was an issue even when the top was oversized (see upper left photo). A little double-sided fashion tape did the trick - for months I was too lazy to go find this tape, and only have some now thanks to Nick's mom.
stripes_herringbone1

For the full steps I took to re-size this blouse (including narrowing the shoulders, slimming the torso, and shortening and slimming the sleeves), please see this post. I used the exact same approach and even the same well-fitting blouse for the pattern:
stripes_herringbone4
On an unrelated note, here's a quick review of some Stuart Weitzman boots that I tried on and returned. They were over half off at Bloomies from $595, and are currently on sale at Nordstrom and a few other retailers ($298 here - don't forget that Nordies is pretty good at price matching). I am hooked on Stuart Weitzman boots for their buttery soft leather, sleek silhouettes, and relatively slim shafts, but this style just did not work out for me.

*Boots are a deep, non-shiny black leather. Photos below were lightened to show the detailing*
stuartweitzman_park

Style: Tall boot with classic-style foot, almond-shaped toe and manageable 3.5" heel. Inside zipper that goes up halfway, and slim patch of stretchy material (like on the 50/50s) down the back center.

Foot fit: I usually wear between 5 and 5.5 in American brand shoes, and size 5 in SW boots consistently works for me. The middle part of the footbed on these boots felt narrower than usual, and was a very snug fit on me at that point.

Shaft height: Shaft of a sz 5 measured 13" tall from the back and about 14.5" tall from the front, measured from the base of the foot not including heels. Please keep in mind that as sizes get bigger, shaft height and circumference may also increase slightly. These were too high for me and hit awkwardly at my lower knee, about an inch above where womens tall Hunter boots do, for reference.

Shaft circumference: Measured about 12 and 5/8th inches around the widest point on a size 5. These are a little wider than the 50/50 because the shaft composition is more leather, and can still stretch a bit due to the back panel. They fit me at my calves, but were too wide at the top opening (which is probably designed to hit at the wearer's calves). They would've fit better circumference-wise over a pair of jeans, but I am looking for boots to wear mostly with tights or bare legs.

I cannot speak to the comfort as I only tried them on for a few minutes, but the quality appeared to be excellent and the leather was extremely soft. Alas, the tall black heeled boot search continues...

stuartweitzman_park1 Hrm, seeing these photos reminds me to try on skirts/pants at home and test how they fare after a little sitting. I almost always do this, but was so excited to have found this Ann Taylor skirt on clearance (months after admiring it as a new arrival) that I ripped the tags off and wore it to work right away. Within 10 minutes of sitting, deep creases formed on both sides which can't be fully ironed out, even on my highest setting. Oh well - I love the mix of herringbone and faux-leather trim, and will suffer through the creases until a higher-quality replacement is found.

82 comments:

  1. Wow - that first photo is gorgeous - it looks like it could be in Vogue!

    Love the slimmed down blouse - such a transformation! Wish I had the patience to sew, but I don't LOL...it's just not a passion of mine - but I definitely admire the results on other people :-)

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  2. Love the neutral monochrome outfit :)!! So classy and elegant.

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  3. I love how you alter a lot of things yourself!! It's very inspirational!! You look so pretty in this outfit!! Also, what size is that Burberry trench? I find that most adult sizes are way too big for me!!

    -Stephanie
    @LaminLouboutins.blogspot.com

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  4. I love this look, you altered that stripe shirt perfectly.

    xo
    http://pinksole.com

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  5. I hardly ever find the treasures that you find at thrift stores! It may just be my location, but all of shops here seem to be filled with '90's velvet spaghetti strap tops. You look absolutely lovely!

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  6. I love the neutral colored outfit, the skirt is so pretty. Great job on the DIY alteration, especially as your first blouse project, it fits great on you!

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  7. i agree with the first commenter. the first pic could have been right out of a fashion magazine. you look lovely and so chic.

    the shirt fits you very nicely after the alterations. great job! wish i had some of your skills and patience to do my own alterations.

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  8. Those SW boots look really chic :) I have a pair very similar to your tall one by SW as well, but much shorter. I love the quality of SW craftsmanship :D
    I love your football portrayal of the blouse! LOL

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  9. i have a shirt very similar that I found in a thrift store .. thanks for
    the tip using double sided tape

    xoxo
    avenueahline.blogspot.com

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  10. I love the neutrals! Have been wearing a lot of neutral colors myself lately :) Amazing DIY job as usual! For boots - I loved those boots you recommended from the bloomie's sale - they fit perfectly around the calf since they are like a heeled version of the 50/50 (see on my newly started blog - www.lifeinpetite.blogspot.com), maybe you can call around to see if they are still available in your size?? They run true to size unlike the 5050, which is half size bigger.
    Keep up the wonderful posts!

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    1. Glad you like them! I am going to hold out b/c they are too similar to what I already own, but am happy you were able to find your size on sale : )

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  12. Lovely photo and beautiful outfit! I love your extensive reviews of clothing - you do a great job!

    -FashionEdible
    http://fashionedible.blogspot.com

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  13. Have you tried Via Spiga boots? I don't have any SW boots but I find the quality good enough and the price more reasonable.

    I have a pair of black leather Via Spiga Waverly boots I got from Ebay for $30. They fit very close to my calves and the leather is very nice (at least in my opinion). They are sold out, but Via Spiga should have similar styles. Good luck in your search for a heeled black boot.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I've definitely eyed a few VS style boots. Haven't found any yet with a low and narrow enough shaft but the general styles I've seen look very classic.

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  14. I've been following your blog for a while and know that you are more into alterations lately, so when i came across this girl's blog all about her alterations I immediately thought of you. Perhaps you might find it interesting/helpful in your alteration endeavors this year. (I am not this person nor do i know who she is...i just found some of her alterations really cute and thought you might too.) http://www.merricksart.com/2013/01/peplum-top-refashion-tutorial.html

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kaity - Thanks for sharing! Am checking it out.

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  15. you are so good with DIY clothing!!! it's really amazing! i actually want to buy my own sewing machine and start off small by hemming my jeans... :D

    www.cityfoodsters.com

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  16. Can I request a review of the Longchamp Le Pilage tote? Or maybe just a short blurb about it really. I've been hesitating to take the plunge and buy it, so any info or a review, what you like/don't like, how durable, etc. would be much appreciated by me at least!

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    Replies
    1. I got the Longchamp Le Pilage after reading Jean's review. (she did it a while back. I love it. It's nylon but look stylish enough for a profesional work outfit. I love how it's water resistant in the rain.

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    2. (Thanks SW for posting below!) http://www.extrapetite.com/2009/12/petite-quest-shopping-for-longchamp_16.html

      I love these bags. The "planetes tonal" style is a little more structured than the standard "le pliage" thin nylon styles. I have both and they have lasted me for years. Very lightweight and water-resistant in the rain/snow (not completely waterproof, of course). The Longchamp store also claims they do complimentary repairs, but it takes several weeks.

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  17. http://www.extrapetite.com/2009/12/petite-quest-shopping-for-longchamp_16.html

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  18. Blouses gap when the buttons are above and below your breasts instead of a button being centered between them. A blouse fits correctly when the button is centered.

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  19. great review! I would love to do some DIY resizing as well!

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  20. A really nice outfit. The first pic is really awesome. Absolutely perfect! Nothing to change... Style as its best! I loved everything... Have a great day/night. Cheers from Switzerland. G.

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  21. Amazing outfit!

    Come visit for a MIU MIU IPHONE COVER: www.gemmamonclus.blogspot.com

    Love,Gemma

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  22. Jean, to get rid of the wrinkles in the AT skirt, dampen a dish towel and lay it over the wool while you iron the towel on the highest setting. The steam helps get the wrinkles out.

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    Replies
    1. Make sure it is a WHITE dish towel. I won't embarrass myself here, but I know from experience . . . . Let's just say I now have a cool wool jacket that used to be a dress.

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    2. @Anon -- what a clever way to make lemons out of lemonade!

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    3. Thanks for the suggestions! Hope it works : ) And anon - sorry about the mishap, but the cool wool jacket sure sounds unique.

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  23. i love how you altered the blouse - this outfit is so elegant and timeless!! i love the trench with it - stunning.

    xox P

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  24. Such a lovely outfit! Where did you get the earrings?

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  25. If wrinkles are an issue, have you considered getting a Jiffy steamer? They really work a charm on stubbon wrinkles!

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    Replies
    1. I do have one, but not Jiffy...mine only works on light fabrics and spurts water everywhere, so may have to upgrade : )

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  26. Very nice outfit, for work or weekend! For the high heeled black boots, you may want to try SW crushable knee-high boots or Tod's? These two styles are very comfortable (I shopped Newbury on them all day)!

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    Replies
    1. Just looked them up - gorgeous boots! A little tall for me with the platform, but sure are beautiful.

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  27. You look great! I love the neutral outfit and the stripes add depth to the outfit. I love how you paired the necklace with the top!

    It's a bummer the boots didn't work out, they look nice!

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  28. I love your stockings-- it's so opaque. Which ones do you use?

    Also, how do you keep stylish while keeping your ears warm? :)

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    Replies
    1. They are Hue control top opaque hose - love them! And I wear earmuffs.

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  29. Very nice outfit! I normally stay away from those stripes as they tend to feel dizzying as you mentioned.
    A sewing question for you: did you use a thinner needle when working on silk? Was it tricky to work on that fabric? I'm tempted to try on some of my thrifted blouses this weekend.

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    1. I didn't out of laziness, but I am sure that the proper method would entail using a thinner needle! Good luck!

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  30. The Longchamp cabas looks good on you! I love the the cabas because of how it folds up so small. I often stick mine in my handbag for picking up groceries on the way home from work.

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  31. love the skirt! the shirt is amazing! you really have an amazing eye for thrifting...

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

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  32. Your look, as always, is elegant and classy! I love that you do a lot of DIY tailoring and your descriptions of how to do it are great, perfect for petite girls who are often frustrated by being unable to wear beautiful clothes that do not come in petite sizes :)

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  33. Love the first shot, you could build an entire story around it. The skirt is so pretty, even though you mentioned it creases, if you find an alternative please let us know! I always find you so talented especially since you tailor most of your clothes yourself.

    xoxo,
    Genie


    www.uniqueandchicstyle.blogspot.com

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  34. Cute pics!

    http://the-glitter-life.com/2013/01/25/friday-five-wardrobe-staples/

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  35. Lovely outfit! You are so good with sewing and I love your skirt.

    Happymedley.blogspot.com

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  36. Such a classic B&W look! And got a kick out of your football graphic. You are always so creative with those "before" pics :-D

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  37. Hi Jean, I've been fazed by how to style my work shirts, so this elegant outfit is helpful. I'll remember I can wear a statement necklace or two the next time.

    After reading so many of your DIY posts, you've inspired me to take an introductory sewing course with eight classes in total. I took my first class this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Bela - I'm so happy to hear! I would actually love to take one myself again as an adult (since so much of what I learned as a teen was...forgotten). You will have to share some of your first at-home projects with us.

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  38. Love the first picture! Love the outfit and how you've styled it.

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  39. Jean.. how do you keep the skirt from turning?!

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    Replies
    1. You can make sure to have it altered to fit properly (usually if the waist is too loose and the skirt sits low on your hips, it's easy to rotate and turn around). You can also use double sided fashion tape which is very handy, or sew in some non-slip / non-skid strips on the inside waistband.

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  40. i love this post so much! thanks for posting this! I have so many shirts that are loose and need to be re-sized.

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  41. Hairdo lends a very tired, matronly look (esp. in 1st photo). Hair down gives is more youthful-looking for you Jean!

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  42. Nice and gorgeous! I think the waist of the blouse can be tightened a bit more to make it more fitted?

    This look reminds me my search for the perfect trench coat and I come across that you had a few post about this before. It is really useful for me! Thank you, Jean! Just that the burberry coat is still too pricey for me and there are not as much sale in burberry as in US.

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  43. Absolutely love your before picture! :) You make what could look very Beetlejuice, look classy.

    Good choice returning the boots.

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  44. What a great look! Love the colour/texture combo! The shirt-gap might stem from a slightly off-placed button, you might want to compare the button holes to the position of the buttons, laying them next to each other. Looks like one or both of the two upper visible buttons just needs repositioning according to button holes on the other side :) *tricia

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  45. Wow! Fantastic ensemble!

    Kate xo petite-adventures.blogspot.ca

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  46. I love it :D

    Love xx
    Melanie ~ www.mlncrd.com

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  47. This is a beautiful look! I love the shirt and necklace!

    Lynette

    burlingstreetchic.blogspot.com

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  48. Hi, Jane!

    I just want to say -- wow! I'm so glad I found your blog: we have the same measurements, down to our shoe size and weight! I've been browsing like crazy and I love your tips! It's so hard to find clothes that fit. :(

    And I'm totally in love with this outfit, haha. :)

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  49. Hi Jean,
    I love the outfit (and your blog)!
    Also, I totally get your boot-dilemma-- most tend to be too wide to wear with tights. Not sure how warm you'd like your black boots to be (I'm from Canada, so these are the right temperature), but I found these a month ago and really love them:
    http://www.blondo.ca/en/product/women/fall-winter/b4006#b4006-11

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  50. I love neutrals, great outfit! Very elegant

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  51. This outfit is so polished and chic. Great job on the alterations!


    -Erin-
    OneTwoSummer

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  52. Love the whole outfit.I whish I had your sewing skills...

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  53. OMG...I love this outfit...and you're so pretty!
    So classy...

    A loser like me

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  54. you look amazing girl! love this neutral and black look! so classy!!

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  55. Love the blouse and skirt combo! Love the photos with the stonewall background too. LOVELY!

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  56. such a beautiful outfit! LOVE that blouse! <3

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  57. The outfit is well put together & I love the necklace to bits!

    iamprincessangeles.com

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  58. Great Look! I've followed your blog for a while. Your blog really give me, a petite girl, inspiration and confidence to dress myself. Thank you!!
    Can I ask what nail polish you wear in the picture?

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  59. I just found you blog and I absolutely love your style! I'm by no means a petit person, a bit bigger that your average person even. I still like your style, tough I can't maybe get the same peaces I love the way you dress your self and how you present your clothes. So Iäll come in here again, to get inspired and to see your lovely style!

    Dahlia
    http://xlelamaa.blogspot.fi/

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  60. I found your blog yesterday and was immediately drawn to it!
    Spending three hrs, I read all of your posts to the very first one...
    Amazed your jaw-dropping talent to adjust outfits.
    Because I have the same problems finding clothes:
    I'm asian living in Japan and 5.1 F tall!

    So, thank you so much for your valuable information!

    http://fetish-tokyo.blogspot.jp/

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  61. Great shirt !!! Love your look and creations!!!
    If you have time check out my post !!!

    xx

    morefashion-gaby.blogspot.mx

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  62. Wow this looks so elegant! Love it

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  63. The trench coat tops this outfit so well!

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  64. Hi Jean, I want to thank you for being such an inspiration. I particularly liked your layering of necklaces and how the entire look is complemented, and not overwhelmed, by the trench I must confess that I will be shamelessly deriving my look for my college admissions interview from this - elegant, stylish and work-appropriate! Sadly the only part of the outfit which will look somewhat close to yours will be my blouse...but nonetheless thank you! You're a lifesaver!

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  65. Hi Jean, I occasionally come across your blog due my never ending search for narrow calf dress boots. I am not as petite as you are, 5'4", but I have 12" wide calves and living in Boston I am always in need of boots that I can wear to work, what a pain. I recently came across another blog by Little Contessa, she has 12" calves too and looking at how these boots look you probably are in the same boat. Please let us know if you can find fitting (also not fitting) boots. That will save all of us a lot of time and money. I am tired of buying and returning boots, and to be honest I do not feel like paying $500+ for a pair and only wear it a season. Heels do get damaged very quickly, especially if you walk, and it is VERY expensive to get them repaired. I do not understand how cobblers make money when they charge $30 for the simples cap change...so I refuse to spend money on repairs.

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