Garment Care: Petite hangers and seasonal storage (& Only Hangers coupon code plus giveaway)

yellow blazer before after
On right: Juniors 14" hanger w/ clips in natural c/o (also in walnut, also without clips, also in 15.5" petite)

Over the past year, I’ve been trying to focus more time and funds on taking care of items in my wardrobe. Forking over $ for professional alterations and cleaning is not fun, but hopefully will pay off in the long run. During this time, two aspects that I was guilty of neglecting were proper garment hanging and storage. I had a closet full of standard adult hangers, and cringed a little each time I stretched the shoulders of my clothes onto them. I had tried kids hangers before, but they were too narrow and resulted in the opposite problem – sagging and bumps in areas between the shoulder lines.

Kelly’s awesome post on narrow-shouldered hangers was revolutionary for me, however I decided to put off a hanger overhaul until we moved out of our current place. Unfortunately, it took a recent mini-panic over a permanently stretched-out Theory blazer for me to take quicker action.
striped blazer shoulders
I met the owner of Only Hangers thanks to Kelly, and he kindly sent over some products to try. Their website offers hangers in childrens (12" across and under), juniors (14”), petite (15.5” wooden, 15" plastic shaper), regular (17" - 18"), and oversized (19" - 20") widths, plus more. The search box in the upper-left corner can be helpful for navigating such a large selection.

Loving now: Around the world watch

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U.O. Around the World watch (HOTDAZE for 15% off $50+; everyday free ship & returns on $50+)
Gap kids dress (fit pic; took in 1" on each side), Coach court bag (review, current version), thrifted pearls

Happy Friday! Just a quick update today to share an accessory I can't get enough of lately. This watch was a surprise from Nick (to match my favorite skirt, he jests), and I guessed it was a lucky ebay'd or vintage find. Once I realized it was widely available and very affordable (under $30 with coupon), I couldn't wait to share.

The 1.25" face diameter of this doesn't overwhelm narrower wrists, and the strap adjusts from a circumference of 6.5" up to 8.5" (you can always punch extra holes at home, but I didn't need to). Strap is genuine leather and the case backing is stainless steel. Made in China. The quality is fair given the price, and I expect the watch to look better after "aging" with some love and wear. I already picked up an extra for a map-loving friend!

Summer Style with Caress: Playful Prints

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DIY floral maxi skirt, H&M kids organic cotton striped tank (from 2011, but still avail. in stores)
Ann Taylor starfish necklace c/o and sandals (old)

Today’s post is sponsored by Caress, in celebration of the launch of Caress Tempting Whisper Fine Fragrance Elixir Body Wash and their newest Fabulista (spokesperson) La La Anthony. La La Anthony will be posting fashion trends and beauty tips on Caress' Facebook page throughout the year, and fans can enter to win a variety of prizes by showing how they live the Fabulista life every day. The body wash’s long lasting scent was inspired by the world of fine fragrance and created by top experts at fragrance house, Givaudan. 
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This outfit is my interpretation of one of La La’s summer style tips, and also inspired by the fragrances of white peony and red plum in Caress’ newest body wash.

“Playful prints – Fashion and style should be playful, and nothing is more mesmerizing and fun than a wardrobe with prints to mix and match. Trying contrasting colors, prints and layers or turn it up a notch with metallic and floral patterns. If you are unsure about a look, stay within color families – that way clashing patterns look edgy and avant-garde.”
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The bottom half of this outfit is made of fabric from Scotland - my only souvenir from the trip. I wasn't able to find apparel that fit, so brought home the next best thing! The vibrant all-over poppy pattern is easy to pair with solids, but I wore it here with my most comfy striped tank (a longtime closet staple, and a worthy buy for just $5).

7/24: Extra 65% off Ann Taylor + 40% off J.Crew w/ free ship

Some examples of the very good sale pricing

**Thanks so much Sara for sharing these stackable codes! 10000011224 for another 10% off, or 10000011235 for another 15% off for cardholders**

Good morning - just a quick post to share some items I picked up during today's sale! Today (7/24) until midnight, Ann Taylor is having extra 60% off sale items, and upped it to extra 65% if you use your AT/LOFT card. Free ship over $175. My size popped back this morning in the green crepe full skirt dress which I've been watching (thanks Vicky for the heads up!), so I was happy to place an order. Other picks:

- Left in Petite XS and up, elegant $28 dolman dress. The silhouette looks very similar to this AT Factory dress I own. I did have to get that one professionally altered, but with no regrets.
- $28 vibrant teal jersey dress left in Petite 00 and up 
- Left in size M petite or regular, beautiful paisley blouse for dressing up or down
- Left in Petite 00+, sateen white pencil skirt for summer for $24
- Can't go wrong with classic perfect pumps in sizes 7+ for just $40
- If you can pull off the straighter shift cut, $40 paisley shift dress left in most sizes. Printed cotton is cute in person and would be perfect summer casual with flat sandals.

J.Crew is also having a notable sale - extra 40% off final sale items with free ship at any price (fairly rare). Beware though of final sale. I lucked out again on a size pop-back and picked up this sailboat tee that I loved on Tara.

$79 Yoox Leather bag review (Prada Saffiano tote look for less)

**As most of you already know, the Nordies Anniversary sale has begun! My attempts to find riding boots and a not-too-trendy leather jacket early on were unsuccessful, but here are a few picks if you're shopping the sale. As always, free shipping and free returns on everything.
- More rugged/utility style trench option: Burberry Brit trench coat w/ detachable hood
- Conservative work staple: Halogen seamed pencil skirt starting in 00P and 7 color options
- Absolutely love my Stella & Dot arrow necklace that is now sold out. Similar option in gold or silver.
- Basic bras starting in a harder-to-find 30 band size. I have not tried these, but they came recommended by reader Alannah: "I gotta shout from the rooftops about Nordstrom's new BP Undercover juniors lingerie line. All bra styles come in a 30D and other 30 sizes, and the quality is FAB."**

On to today's review... after a slow search for a light-colored work bag, I’m happy to have found a winner (an affordable one, to boot). I first stumbled across this purse on Yoox while searching for a “similar” recommendation for my cobalt blue satchel. Their huge selection of genuine leather bags and small-sized shoes on sale is almost overwhelming, so it took me a while to browse before placing an order.
prada bag for less3

For me, shopping for work bags has always been a struggle between finding something that could fit a large laptop (the bane of my daily commute), yet doesn’t overwhelm my 5 feet tall frame in size or weight. This bag met all of my needs at a very fair price for genuine leather. 

I tend to gravitate towards the same few styles, and didn't realize how similar the general look of this bag was was to my Prada tote. The first day I had it sitting on my desk at work, conversation from passerby traffic went something like this:
 - #1, very keen male boss (who likes to go shopping): “Ooo, a knockoff of your camel bag!”
 - #2, semi-keen female colleague: “Is that a new Prada? Oh wait…it looks similar, but cheaper no offense.”
 - #3, female colleague: “Wow, you got the same bag in a different color?”
Parentesi bag review2
 Wearing with: DIY skirt (last seen here), LOFT blouse, J.Crew Everly pumps (on sale, runs very small)

I won't say the bag is a dupe given noticeable differences in quality, however it is a similar style for less. Continue reading for my review...

Eat and Explore (& Exercise!) Cape Cod

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Two piece set from Khatu (on Etsy), Panama hat - old H&M (similar for $10), Warby Parker sunglasses c/o

Earlier this month, Nick and I headed to Cape Cod for an impromptu trip with some friends. For fellow Bostonians, this can be as quick as 1.5 hrs away without traffic. We usually head up north for lobster and outdoor activities...little did I know, the Cape offered a wealth of both and more!
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Living in a windier city, I've learned my lesson to wear biking shorts under fuller skirts. This came in handy when we stumbled upon the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a paved bike trail (once a railroad, true to its moniker) that runs through the Cape. We rented from Barbara's Bikes in South Dennis, refueled on tacos at Guapos Brewster, before peddling back in a 17-mile round trip. It was a scenic, leisurely ride for someone who hasn't been on a bike in years. Bonus: Wear your swimsuit to take cooling dips in two little lake spots along the way.

White on white feat. H&M windowpane blazer & Everly pumps

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H&M Divided blazer ($24.95, item #027423) and shorts (old, similar), both altered, Theory blouse
J.Crew Everly pumps (on sale) from eBay, Chanel WOC, Stella & Dot "ever after" necklace c/o

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).
windowpane blazer1
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
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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.

Feminine favorites: Ivory crochet + nautical stripes

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Ann Taylor Factory dress (from 2011), H&M blazer (may still be in stores, item # 067391 $34.95)
Ann Taylor patent pumps, DIY skirt (last worn here), Stella & Dot "ever after" necklace c/o

This dress was part of a duplicate purchase that I have no regrets about. Whether worn alone or layered, the girly crochet and scallop details brighten up my morning. My office is an A/C ice box this month, so blazers and layers have been essential. It doesn’t look like Ann Taylor brought this style dress back for a 3rd year, but you never know…lace crochet and stripes1 I was just thinking of stowing away leftover fabric from this skirt, when I learned about "Skirting the Issue" via Sew Petite Gal. This is a month-long initiative started by two ladies to sew items for charity. They accept your homemade donations and help distribute them (this year it's girls skirts for foster home closets, pillowcases for children's hospitals, blankets, and more), provide clear tutorials, and encourage participants to look for local organizations in need. The ladies also happen to be excellent writers and had me drawn in to an evening of reading.

Comfort Traveling: Maxi skirt + denim jacket (& London faves)

highgate blue maxi 1
Old Navy skirt (old, similar), H&M scarf and kids jacket (similar), Gap flats (similar), Coach bag (review)

This is belated, but I wanted to share some final photos from London (saved my favorite places for last). I love knit maxi skirts for traveling, as they’re fairly breathable in warm weather, yet comfy to curl up in during chilly flights. I feel maxi skirts can be flattering on shorter women if the waist sits at or above your natural waistline, and the length just skims the top of your feet (basically as long as it can be without the risk of tripping/dragging). Since long skirts are often worn casually with flats, higher waist placement is especially important for creating a lengthening leg line.
borough barista
This old skirt from Old Navy petites is not great quality, but has gotten plenty of wear. Although the length required no hemming, I did have to take in the waist for the skirt to sit higher. Similar-sized ladies who prefer no alterations can try kids' long skirts - I found one here in three colors (20% off one item w/ BTS2013) made of a similar material composition. The foldover waist is not a bad idea because you can adjust the length. I also wouldn't mind a side slit, as I've tried on several long skirts that are too narrow for walking comfortably. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any additional information on the length and waist measurements for the different sizes of this kids skirt.

Simple stripes + leopard clutch (& LOFT petites review)

LOFT striped top
H&M shorts, LOFT striped top, Ann Taylor pumps (similar, on sale in sz 5+), DIY leopard clutch (tutorial)

Just sharing a basic outfit from the hot & humid weekend, and some pics from a recent order. I gravitated towards this navy & white top as a replacement for an old Forever 21 blouse, which became warped and shrunken after one wash to something suitable for a teddy bear. This top is cut generously and could probably benefit from an inch of slimming on each side. However, the smooth polyester drapes & tucks like silk plus is easily washable, which is why my LOFT blouses get lots of wear. I also appreciated that the tiny stripes actually line up on both sides.
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I like that this is a lightweight staple for work or casual outfits in the hot summer, plus works both un-tucked or tucked-in. I prefer it with pants/shorts to see the increasing stripe width detail. I got mine in-store for $18 after an extra 60% off. Measurements of XXSP are: 13.5" across shoulder, 16" armpit to armpit, 18.5" across bottom, and 22" length. Note: the narrower neck opening measures 9.75" across and may be tight for some.
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Elastic Waist Striped Pencil Skirt (XS P, left photo has 2" clipped back)

I also inadvertently ordered a semi-coordinating skirt. Apparently, LOFT made a few striped pieces to be worn together as a dress or separately – a design after my own heart. I somehow selected the wrong size, so the skirt pictured does not fit. I did try on a similar elastic skirt in the right size, which fit better like this.
 
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