Spring citrus, silver pumps & ShoeMint Giveaway (3 winners!)

lime DIY skirt silver pumps
LOFT box pleat blouse (now extra 60% off), H&M blazer (still in stores) sz 2
Gelareh pumps sz 5.5 c/o ShoeMint, DIY convertible skirt, Morgan Ashleigh necklace

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I’ve been turning to zesty yellow and lime green to brighten up my work wardrobe. I do want to mention, however, that an outfit like this is not appropriate for every type of business environment. At meetings with clients or "serious" government officials, I usually go with a muted-colored, knee-length suit to ensure that attire isn’t the reason I won’t be taken seriously. For days when only my internal team will lay eyes on me, I have a little more fun getting dressed. 
lime DIY skirt silver pumps2
For an outfit ripe with brights and neons, I found that a soft metallic shoe works just as well as the usual staple nude. I was excited to see these ShoeMint pumps that look just like a popular designer style, and are offered in extended sizing down to a 5. I went with silver to replace an old, similar pair, bought back in the day when I thought 6 was the smallest shoe size out there. Thank goodness for the advent of online shopping, otherwise I’d still be gripping my toes to keep heels from flying off. 
lime DIY skirt silver pumps4
Fit & quality notes: I am between size 5 – 5.5 in most brands (for reference, I take a 5 in Ann Taylor and 5.5 in J.Crew/BR), and usually size up for pointy styles so my toes don’t have to suffer. A 5.5 in these fit perfectly. I love the sharp silhouette, and feel the price is good for a genuine leather pump. The brand partners with Steve Madden for craftsmanship, and I found the quality of these to be reflective of that. 

ShoeMint is also sponsoring a fun giveaway open to both U.S. and Canadian readers - three readers will win a pair of shoes of their choice. To enter:

- Mandatory: Sign up here to be a member of ShoeMint and fill out the giveaway form below. It's free to sign up, and new members can get 20% off full priced items w/ code RACHEL20.
- Optional: Facebook fans will receive 1 extra entry. Thank you to each one of you who have supported this blog through various social media channels!

Leather trim + leopard linen (& all-over coat alterations)

leopard coat red bag1
Emerson Fry coat (from last season, altered), Gap petite sweater
J.Crew bag - 25% off everything w/ SPRINGBEST, Ann Taylor leather trim skirt (similar), YSL heels

This outfit features pieces that have trendier details, but have nevertheless become classics in my fairly conservative wardrobe. Last October, I saw this leopard linen coat on Chloe and didn't wait five minutes before messaging her about the quality and fit. A leopard print coat may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I loved the more wearable textured linen unlike the usual faux fur. After trying on so many items that I've felt yawningly indifferent about, I've been all the more appreciative of pieces that get me excited at first sight.
leopard coat red bag2
Chloe responded that she felt the quality was impeccable ("a rarity these days"), but the fit ran big so I'd probably need alterations. The jacket was pricey to begin with, and I estimated all-over alterations to be about $150 and risky without a trusted tailor. I love a good coat and have splurged on several in the past - mostly items that have earned their worth in # of wears, but also an impulsive purchase or two that are now gathering dust. I wanted to make sure this wouldn't end up like the latter. 

Reviews: Old Navy wrap dress, Nordstrom petites jacket & more

Spring has me itching for prints and stripes, and there was no shortage of such in my April packages. Although I found just one keeper, there were several decent contenders that I still wanted to share.ONdress1. Old Navy wrap dresses (in reg, petite, tall) - 5 color/prints available, use ONSAVENOW for 15% off

I really like my DVF-inspired ON wrap dress from last year, and couldn't resist trying their current version in petites. PXS fit well off the rack, and the wrap style is forgiving and adjustable. Their regular-sized version last year required so many tedious DIY alterations for me...I'm glad they decided to bring this back in extended sizing!
H&M blazer (old), vintage shoes from eBay

The rayon material is on the thin side, so I'd recommend wearing a slip skirt underneath (I own this in both colors and wear them all the time). Please excuse the wrinkles in the photos as I forgot to iron.

Verdict: Returned, but would recommend in the various colors/prints. The fit is good for a petite garment and the wrap style is so easy to throw on for work or weekends. I was ready to keep this, but Nick convinced me otherwise - I don't love this year's prints enough to justify buying a duplicate just yet.

2. ASOS Dress in Striped Jacquard - free ship both ways, try SALESCORE for 10% off, or CHECKOUTTREAT for 10% off $75+
H&M blazer (old), J.Crew mona heels
I love the look and sturdy texture of this black & white dress, but as expected, something was off about the fit of a regular sized garment on a sub-5 foot tall frame...

Simple Spring: White on White

The past few days in Boston have been surreal, and I thank each one of you who have expressed care or concern. I read every message and truly appreciate your thoughts. We had group counseling at the office yesterday to help transition back to normalcy, only to wake up this morning to find the city panicked and in lockdown mode. As numerous tragic events keep unfolding around the world, I'm thankful for my friends and loved ones, and my heart goes out to those who've been affected.
double ivory mustard cardigan3 J.Crew felted wool mini (altered) and pumps (similar), thrifted & altered blouse (similar)
Gap sweater jacket (stripe version) (similar), Prada tote, H&M scarf (similar under $10)

It feels frivolous to be posting fashion at this time, but writing this was a welcome respite from the chaos on TV. I wore this outfit to work a few weeks ago, and loved the look of a fresh ivory canvas plus an accent color and some neutrals. For a more casual setting, I replaced the blazer with a cozy sweater jacket, which also provided a punch of color.
double ivory mustard cardigan4
This 100% silk, Lauren by RL blouse is one of my most-worn thrift store finds. It was several sizes too big, but I couldn't pass up the nice and weighty silk quality for $4 (especially when compared to the flimsy and sheer options typically found on today's market).

Wear to Work: Double Tweed + Strappy Pumps

tweed jacket studded pumps
Uniqueen Malang jacket c/o (old color, use EXTRAPETITE through 5/2 for 10% off your order)
Valentino rockstud heels (4 colors), H&M blouse, LOFT trousers (similar), pearls from a friend

Just dropping in with a quick hello, and hoping you guys enjoyed your weekends. Work has been time-consuming, but I hope to have some reviews up soon. Our boss implemented casual Fridays for our team, as a small "reward" of sorts. While most of my colleagues have been turning to denim and polo shirts, I've been using this day to experiment with items like these strappy, open-back shoes - which typically are not appropriate per business attire standards.
tweed jacket studded pumps1
To balance out the trendier details on these pumps, I went very conservative with the rest of the outfit both in color scheme and coverage. It feels like Boston has regressed back to winter, so the double tweed (plus overcoat) was also necessary to survive my morning commute.

$20 striped maxi dress & find your fabulous at Marshalls event

striped maxi dress ivory blazer
Dress c/o Marshalls, vintage Hermes belt c/o LXR & Co (invite), Chanel WOC
Steve Madden sandals (similar- so cute for under $25), H&M blazer (review, sleeves slimmed & shortened)

I've teamed up with a few lovely bloggers (Lani, Lissy, Khatu and Bettina) to host an event at Marshalls Fenway, which is the newest store location to open up in Boston. If you live in the area and have time on Wednesday May 8th, 6-8pm, I would absolutely love it if you stopped by! We will be sharing our favorite picks from the store and giving away quite a few gift cards to help "find your fabulous." There will also be several chances to win prizes, including items that each of us picked out. If you'd like to attend, please RSVP here so we can plan for the snacks and prizes accordingly.
striped maxi dress ivory blazer1 I'm a big fan of maxi dresses for the comfort and ease, and this is the second time I've scored in the juniors department. The key for me is to find (or tailor) dresses with a simple cut in a stretchy but well-draping material, that just skims over the hips and legs and hits at the top of the foot. The end result is very lengthening and slimming, even when worn with flats or low shoes, as shown here.

Tutorial: Easy DIY Elastic Waist A-Line Skirt w/ Pockets

elasticwaistskirt_tutorial header
I'm looking forward to making this style skirt again with spring/summer-appropriate fabrics, and think it's a great easy project for beginner sewers to try (and inexpensive - cost me about $5 total). Please note that I am not an experienced sewer and these steps may not be technically correct - I usually take garments I own and try to trace back the steps to recreate them. For this skirt, I used this J.Crew skirt as a guide and added a few inches to the length and width for a fuller A-line shape.

You will need:
- 1 - 1.5 yards of fabric depending on the size of the skirt, and if you want pockets. I used 1.5 yards.
- Piece of soft elastic - at least 1" wide and long enough to fit around your waist.
- Sewing machine (my Brother is very old and discontinued; this is the most similar model), scissors & thread.

Green jacket + sheer florals (& H&M spring blazers review)

green jacket floral blouse H&M blouse (similar), Lefties blazer (from Spain), altered no brand slacks, Louboutin heels from eBay

Living with limited closet space, I've gotten into the habit of rotating seasonal items in and out of under-bed storage. It's always a small treat to unpack and re-discover old favorites, which this outfit is comprised entirely of. green jacket floral blouse2 This blouse from last year is a party of all my favorite spring colors. It's cut generously with very long sleeves, but still gets plenty of wear layered and under blazers. I was so excited to find this dupe that's even topped off with a neck-tie:
modcloth floral blouse

If you're new to this store, you can get $15 off your first order of $50+ by signing up for an account through here (referrers will receive the same credit). There's free U.S. shipping on orders over $50 and also free returns. I won't be trying this myself as I have the H&M one, but reviews indicate that it may run on the smaller side for standard S/M/L sizing, and a "blousy fit" wouldn't be bad for this style top. Another item I've been eying but already have something similar is the Eye for Ikebana floral skirt (longer 25" length may require hemming) - pricier at $69.99, but reviews say the XS fits a 24" waist perfectly.

Closet favorite: Uniqueen Tweed Dress w/ Faux Leather Trim

uniqueen tweed dress1Uniqueen Laila Tweed Dress (3 sizes) c/o - use EXTRAPETITE through 5/2 for 10% off your order
Ann Taylor perfect pumps (40% off w/ APRIL40), pearls from a friend, J.Crew bag

Earlier last year, I met up with Anna of Uniqueen who was visiting town from Toronto. Uniqueen has given me some jackets that I love to pieces (see the No.5 jacket in brown (review), No. 5 jacket in white, and the Malang jacket which is a little roomy/long, yet still gets plenty of wear), but what I like most about working with them is how receptive the small retailer is to feedback and suggestions. I mentioned to Anna that I'd love to see more elegant, quality pieces that are petite-friendly, and also brought up reader feedback about inconsistency amongst sizes. She responded that they would do the best they can to monitor fit consistency (as materials for each piece are cut by hand and not machine), and also offered to manufacture a custom size for my extra petite readers.
uniqueen tweed dress 5 Over the past few months, I've had the pleasure of working with Uniqueen's team to tweak this "Laila" dress and make it available in a new size XS (fits similar to H&M sz US 2 / EUR 32, and a tad smaller than American sz 00P). The end product is a classic piece that I see suitable for women of various ages, and can be worn three out of four seasons. The trim adds a tiny bit of edge but is still conservative, and can even be concealed by a collared shirt with the sleeve cuffs folded up. I've worn this a few times already to work, and nearly all the women on my floor have asked where they could find it...