A few of you have asked for additional styling ideas for this windowpane blazer. I’ve been keeping it safe by starting with a black and white color scheme, then picking one accent color to add interest. Here I swapped blue suede shoes for my favorite red pants, and used a blouse with vertical detail down the front center. The large square print on the jacket can feel ‘widening’ at times, so the blouse line helps to visually slim and lengthen.
This $10 H&M; blouse from 2011 has now lasted years of regular wash and wear. The launch of their U.S. online store was so highly anticipated, but I was surprised by the small selection as compared to what’s in-stores (usually it’s the other way around). Shipping is $5.95 and return shipping is the same (no online returns to actual stores), but you can sign up for their newsletter for occasional coupons. Their items are hit or miss quality, but they do run smaller than any U.S. brand, and can last if you take care of them.
I also have a few try-on photos to share from BR, where there’s currently 40% off everything both in-stores and online. I show mostly skirts and dresses on this blog, because shopping for pants can be dismal. To date I have yet to find any adult pants that don’t require alterations (please share if you are similarly-sized and have!), and have had pants ruined by alterations 4 times out of 5.
Left: Banana Republic Martin Suit Pants in 00P – Once upon a time I owned a pair of BR Martin pants in the same size, so these were the first pair that I picked up to try. In the words of a friend, the “street breaker” look was not for me. These would’ve needed significant reshaping, which has never been an alterations success story for me. These do have good reviews online, so would probably fare better on those with curvier hips and thighs.
Right: Banana Republic Sloan Fit Ankle Pants (houndstooth, or 8 solid colors) in 00P – I almost didn’t want to try these after the first pair, but they were worlds better for me in terms of fit. I noticed the Sloan pants online have amazing reviews (many from petite ladies), and can now see why. The fit is not perfect on me, but close. It’d still require taking in at the waist (a more straightforward alteration than hip/leg reshaping), which will hopefully eliminate some of the crotch crease, and the lower leg area has some wrinkling. This is a common issue for me due to having bow-shaped knees, so the wrinkling may not occur for others. I went home and ordered both “porch green” and navy with the current 40% off.
I posted this photo on Instagram a while ago, but was impressed by the fit of this BR Sloan Sheath Dress (40% off, also in black). Apparently Sloan indicates their slimmest fit, so I’ll be on the lookout for more styles in the future. A 00P was slightly loose on me in the hips typical of most BR dresses, but very nice and fitted in the torso. This type dress is the perfect transition piece between the office and dinner/drinks at night. On my wishlist is a dress just like this, but in a true red and wool or ponte material. I was enticed by the silhouette and fit of this one, but the color wasn’t right for me (the poor lighting in my photo makes it seem fluorescent…it’s actually a nice coral red). and the material is like a thick twill. There is also black lining behind the neckline to create a thin ‘trim’ of sorts.
This was also shared on IG already, but one of my favorite tweed sheath dresses has been brought back by BR Factory (it’s their outlet store so they do not have online shopping, but can ship from store to home for $5 if you call). I received an email a while back from a member of BR Factory’s petites merchandising team, asking for fit and quality feedback on their Fall products. They were not looking for any blog exposure, just email feedback, so I was more than happy to do so.
Out of all the items I received c/o their team for review, I was most excited by the return of this tweed dress. It was interesting to compare the same piece from from Fall 2010 and now. The fit is very similar (a rarity with the trend of vanity sizing), except the two aspects that I had to alter/adjust back then are now fixed. My dress then hit me below the knees, and the current version is at a flattering length right above the knees. The old belt was too big and hard to poke holes d
ue to the grommets, but the new one is sized to fit. The past version had wool content and an enamel belt buckle and retailed for $99.99, and the current version is 86% poly, 14% rayon with an all-fabric belt and retails for $109.99. I pointed out the trend of lesser quality materials, but know that this has happened across the industry.
I did note however that my wool blend dress had a looser weave which caught snags on the tweed, but this synthetic version is a tighter, smoother weave. For anyone interested, here is the tag (if you call right when outlet stores open, they are more willing to search for stock and process a phone order). Measurements of my 00P are 15.5″ across the armpits, 32-32″ total length, 12.5″ across the waist, and 17″ across the hips. It’s fits well on me in the torso and waist with some room in the hips, but not enough to require alterations. Dress is fully lined with pockets and a back slit, and is made in China.