H&M Divided blazer ($24.95, item #027423) and shorts (old, similar), both altered, Theory blouse
I loved the concept of "windowpane" print after first sightings on Elle and Wendy. This modern version of plaid in basic black + white is on-trend, yet classic enough for more conservative wardrobes. To cut down on unnecessary purchases, I haven't visited H&M in two months and only found this blazer thanks to Vicky. It's part of their Divided juniors line and should currently be in stores (Boston ones were stocked as of last week).
Although H&M is considered "fast fashion," many of my pieces from there have lasted years of regular wear. I've yet to find blazers for work anywhere else that fit this well in the shoulders and torso (hardest and priciest parts to alter). To avoid falling into the disposable fashion cycle, I suggest shopping there with a selective "long-term" mindset, looking for pieces that are worth the time/ money for any necessary alterations and cleaning. Contrary to the AT lace dress, I dry clean all blazers to not risk damaging the structure - even if they're labeled machine-wash. I've also learned to avoid pilling-prone rayon, and look more for smooth polyester, 100% cotton, ponte, or sturdy weaves. The cost of tailoring plus regular care may exceed the garment price, but results are well-fitting pieces that can become wardrobe staples.
Theory dress, YSL heels, J.Crew Edie bag, pearls from a friend
I wore this to work last week with a simple tweed shift dress and black Longchamp tote. I couldn't resist bringing it out again for a weekend dinner with white shorts.
Design: I love the clean collarless design and upper notches. There are also two side pockets in the front. I'm wary of stripes or checkers from inexpensive brands, because little attention is usually paid to matching up the patterns along each seam. I was surprised that there was noticeable effort in lining up the grids on the sleeves, front, as well as the back center (pictured below). There are two side panels on the blazer where the grids unfortunately do not match the neighboring panels at all, but they are at least symmetrical on both sides.
Fit: Like my other H&M blazers, the shoulders and torso fit very well (about a size smaller than Ann Taylor 00P's, for reference) but the sleeves needed alterations. Below right is the original sleeve, and below left is after slimming and shortening. A little tailoring can make the difference between sloppy and neat.
Left: Sleeve after slimming & shortening, Right: Original sleeve
Slimming sleeves yourself is very easy (followed the steps in my old tutorial), and I prefer to do it at home to get to the perfect width. Shortening lined sleeves, unfortunately, takes me hours and doesn't always come out right. I wore this with the sleeves folded up, before dropping it off at my tailor for professional shortening.
Material of this blazer is 64% polyester, 34% viscose, 2% elastane. Fully lined. Made in China. Measurements of a size 2 are approximately: 13.75" across the shoulders, 15" armpit to armpit, 19" length, and 22.5" original sleeve length.
After admiring the Manolo blue suede pumps on Kelly for over a year, I finally decided to order the similar J.Crew Everlys. As luck would have it, my size sold out while in my cart, so a quick eBay search yielded this pair for about $110 (bought from this seller). They were listed as new with the inside label crossed out in black marker - I was hesitant due to this, but the quality exceeded my expectations upon arrival. I love the suede uppers, leather soles, sleek, pointed toes, and walkable 3.5" heel height. The marker on the inside is unsightly, but can be covered with a thin heel pad.
Note: J.Crew pumps run at least half smaller than AT in my experience, and the Everly style fits especially narrow in the pointy toe. I went half a size up from AT shoes, but the toe area was still snug on my bigger-sized foot. I tried on a non-leather pair of Everlys a while back which were not comfortable, but leather / suede seems more forgiving and stretches out. After a few wears, these now feel pretty good in the realm of pointy toe heels (walked nearly a mile in them the other day) and have been a welcome addition to my plain pump collection.