Suit Chronicles: Bargain $56 H&M Houndstooth


H&M; Houndstooth Blazer (item #083890, $49.95) and Belted Skirt (item #050425, $24.95)
Ruffle-Front Shell: Ann Tayor (similar),  Purse: Chanel Small FlapShoes: Prada, thrifted
Lipcolor: Rimmel Bordeaux (discontinued in stores?)

In my last Suit Chronicles – Tailoring Ann Taylor, I documented my experience whittling a regular-sized suit into a petite-friendly suit. In today’s post, I wanted to show how you can achieve semi-fashionable business formal without spending a small fortune. This suit (purchased with coupons), top (from the outlets), and shoes (bought pre-owned) together cost $94. Add in thrifted pearls, and that’s $99. We won’t mention the bag ; ) but I’ll be honest – there’s no wearing Chanel at my job anyways. Just large workhorse totes to schlep around heavy laptops!

I usually don’t browse H&M;’s work blazers, because the Theory outlet has unfortunately turned me into a fabric and tailoring snob. H&M; is a great starter suit brand for petite women because blazers are often cut cropped (also, a sz 2 fits very slim). But once you move into Theory territory, it’s hard to go back to wrinkly suits with imperfect lining and stitching. I picked up this skirt last month using a coupon, before realizing giddily that it coordinates with Kelly’s adorable jacket. If I didn’t read her thorough and compelling review a few days earlier, I would’ve missed out on a great little piece.
H&M; sizing is regular, not petites, so the typical issues I face are sleeve length and total garment length…

This blazer was fortunately a good length for me, but the sleeves almost covered my thumb, and the skirt went past my knees. I’m a big stickler about skirt lengths (read my old post on finding your ideal length), so I hand- hemmed the skirt up 2.5 inches. Sleeve shortening is trickier due to lining and buttons (costs $25 at the tailors). I’m being cheap and lazy right now, and have them safety-pinned up.
The original fit – longer sleeves and skirt length:
hmsuittPicture 44

The back view is where you can kind of tell this is H&M; quality. The jacket typically looks good from the back as seen in this post – the pulling below across the back is probably just due to my sudden movements running away from Nick. The back of the skirt is where I usually see uneven fabric, wrinkles, and pulling due to quality issues.
Nevertheless, for $56 total, I adore this suit. Quality is more than fair given the price, and I’ve gotten a ton of wear out of both pieces. The fabric just makes me feel “Fall,” plus it filled a menswear-style void in my closet. I’ll be showing a series of posts later on how I’ve remixed both pieces for work.

Readers – Did anyone else get this blazer or skirt? How do you style it?
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  1. @anon that replied to me – LOL sorry don't know how to distinguish you 😛
    No I totally understand what you're saying! I guess it's just up to people to decide for themselves whether to follow or unfollow someone as there's unfortunately no way to prove copying of anything unless confronting someone directly and getting them to admit it 🙂 Anyway, it's unfortunate that Jean's commenting space has become a bit of a war zone 🙁 I will bow out now.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  2. I love houndstooth print! The suit looks really classic and I like the whole masculine/feminine feel. Good pick!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  3. R.L. wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  4. Nelah wrote:

    Beautiful outfit, Jean. The only thing I am not so very fond of is the patch elbow design, I feel that it takes away a sense of professionalism (but that's my personal feeling). I may like it more with pants. Overall, a lovely outfit that looks very expensive.

    It is sad to see how this post turns into a war zone. I am also a petite but have not been an active member of this community as far as reviewing petite sizing clothes. Obviously, this community has grown and changed so much since I started following over a year ago. That supportive community was long gone.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    I'm a Twitter follower as well. Jean posted hers last night and RP posted hers 2 hours later. To be honest I actually get excited when Really Petite posts something "original" – like that post about color blocking during the summer. I try to "give her a chance" in my book, but she fails me every time she posts something eerily familiar to Jean's posts.

    Jean, I'm sorry for all this drama, but I feel that as loyal readers we just want to express our views. I don't see it as bashing. Every anon comment has had a valid point. I've kept my comments to myself for the longest time and I feel that it's about time I spoke up.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Wow! Busted 🙂

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    i can see how people's style may change over time and there might the the occasional outfit that that is similar between EP and RP. but the fact that RP's blog is a carbon copy of Jean's — from the header (looks just like Jean's old one), to the watermarking style, and even to the blog name — takes it a step too far. i think a bit of originality would go a long way…

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    @Really Petite I have never commented on a blog before, but I wanted to say I have a hard time finding clothes so I actually like when the same item is reviewed many times on different bodies. So thank you for the reviews. But I am confused why come on here and lie about it? I have been your reader and twitter follower and you just got your top from that post two day ago, so why come on here to prove you wrote it last week? You should just ignore what you don't like to hear but no nee d to make stuff up.

    Really Petite
    So happy! Got my @gap blouses back from tailors and just slimming sides makes a world of difference!
    31 Oct 8:46 PM

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    @elaine a

    i understand that people will review or wear some of the same clothes but like what one of the anons said, everyone has their own personal style. it may change somewhat as time goes by but you still remain true to who you are. you can tell when people start imitating others when their style changes to look almost like someone else's. it's great that the petite community is supportive of each other. if someone else inspires you and you want to imitate them then just own up to it…it's ok to copy but at least admit it. there's nothing wrong with that. just my two cents. 🙂

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I want to know what kind of rain boots, do you prefer for a petite who is 5'1?

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  11. Samantha wrote:

    That is a great price for a full suit. And I never thought to check the back during movement for pulling, etc. but that is great advice.

    I wish I would have seen that blazer because I love the elbow patches! I would style it with a thin sweater, skinny jeans, and boots (my fall staple outfit)! Can't wait to see how you style them separately for work! :o)

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  12. LOL do you run away from Nick often? hahaha!

    I don't have any use for a full suit, but I did buy that blazer! I've had my post drafted for a while now so hopefully it will go up soon 😉 You look great!

    Ok and to the annon comments above…the blogging community is generally one of support but I have to say the Petite Blogging community is ESPECIALLY supportive. Being the same size and shopping at the same places WILL lead to reviewing the same pieces and even possibly almost exact outfits! We all draw inspriration from one another too so the word "copying" isn't really fair. Both and have huge followings and probably a lot of the same followers as it is with a lot of other petite blogs out there so we are bound to be seeing similar reviews.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    I'm SO tired of hearing the excuse "we have the same taste and style!" when i browsed back to RP's very early blog posts, her outfits were very distinct from Jean's. Multiple reviews of the same items are fine if a blogger puts their own spin on it – I've seen other petite bloggers review the same items but do not have nearly identical outfits. I remember when LOFT had the Memorial Day feature and RP had the same Modcloth social skirt + chambray + navy blazer outfit that Jean posted way back!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  14. To all the @anon comments above- I took pictures and wrote my post 1 week ago and had it scheduled for last night so not sure how I would be able to copy Jean.

    @Dolce I did shorten the sleeves so not sure what you meant?

    I adore Jean and we happen to have similar taste in clothes and are similar in size. I do not blatantly copy her clothes or her blog. My taste has always been the same.

    @Kam wam – thank you

    Jean- I'm sorry for all these comments but I had to stick up for myself.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  15. H&M; needs to come to Houston NOW!

    I have been in search for a new suit though. I usually buy the Banana Republic suits but I want one with more quality and style. I want to breakaway from BR for a change.

    Jean, how would you rate Banana Republic's suits compared with Theory suits?

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    There's nothing wrong with reviewing the same items. Kelly and Jean both reviewed the same blazer but both added their original thoughts on it. Something does need to be said when a blogger's banner, background, format, etc are being copied verbatim. That's creative work not easy to come by and not up for grabs. What happens if Jean stops blogging? The other blog isn't going to help me shop and style clothes since everything is inspired by Jean.

    Jean, you're def original and talented in both fashion and blogging. It's clear people realize that. I hope you continue to blog and don't get discouraged by any drawbacks.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  17. JJ wrote:

    I've been trying to find this suit set in this color for ages, but the only one that seems to be available by me is the grey version – which unfortunately looks so much cheaper than the brown. This suit looks so quality – especially the way you've styled it!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I know that you'll delete some of these comments since you don't want to cause any problems but I do want to say that we each have our own personal style. I agree that we can help each other in adding new ideas into our style but with a certain blogger, I've seen how she's changed from her own style to being your style. It can be flattering but only to acertain extent. We all should just be true to ourselves.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  19. I LOVE the blazer and want it SO BAD! I'm not too crazy about the skirt though – don't care much for the buttons down the front but they look great together and what a great deal! It's a good and bad thing that I live so far from an H&M.;

    I posted a suit look today that's similar to yours too. Only, mine are not matching pieces! Check it out and let me know what you think about the way I added colors to the outfit! I'd like to think I might inspire you next time you wear this suit. 🙂

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  20. I had to do a double take cause Annie from Really Petite had on the same outfit! I love how we bloggers learn and experiment with each other. I really like this skirt on you, you did a great job getting it shorten so that it is more appropriate for petites. Gorgeous as usual.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  21. I'd never think of buying a suit from H&M; but you make it look good! Love the way you've put it together. I have that bag, too 🙂 You have beautiful hair!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    Haha yea I noticed the copying also. I noticed about two months ago . It's so annoying! That reallypetite girl has no shame

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    can you please share what kind of bags you've been using to schlep around your laptop for work? i'm having the hardest time finding a cute one that doesn't cost a fortune. i'd love to see what you're using!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    Jumping on the band wagon with this one. I have followed your blog for a few months now and will admit that I have read in curiosity to see if she has reviewed the same items you have. While I get people share the same taste in clothes/style, there are so many ways to rework an outfit! People need to do their research as well and make sure someone hasn't posted that same exact outfit before you do. And if it is the same, be more creative and bring in a different perspective on your review!!! I guess you can take it as a compliment to a certain extent, but at the same time, it does get kind of ridiculous that you are seeing a very similar review just days after what you post!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  25. Lena A. wrote:

    Finally a great outfit! I'm really impressed with this one. But, I'm quite disappointed with the modeling. When facing downwards, your neck doesn't show. It looks as if your head is attached to your shoulder. It also makes you look shorter. You are short already, so you don't want to look even shorter! Rise your head!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  26. kam wam wrote:

    I don't think none of that matters. We should be here to support each other. I'm sure if we all read/follow each other's blogs then we have somewhat similar taste. I personally do not mind seeing so many reviews on one item since I know how hard it is for me to find petite clothing.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    This is so sad : ( I don't find it bashing, because something has to be said. I've been following both of you since you guys started and I like both blogs very much. But I feel bad for you Jean because she has copied everything from your banner to layout and heck, the site name. Jean did you know she was 0petite . com and changed her name right after you changed yours to extra petite?

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  28. kam wam wrote:

    Stop the bashing.

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    wow! i agree with the other anons above. that's just too bad about some people. there was even a top you had showed one time and she said she didn't get it but she does have it. tsk..tsk… *sigh*

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  30. dolce wrote:

    she even says she doesn't wanna spend money to alter the sleeves!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  31. dolce wrote:

    i was juz going to post the same thing abt the OTHER blog. ha

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    As much as I enjoy reading this other blogger once in a while, I haveto agree with anon that it's getting ridiculous. EVERY SINGLE thing in her post today – ann taylor brown pumps, gap bow blouse, suit, she rushed to purchase right after you. There's so many styles and places to shop out there – why she does not build a successful blog based on her own ideas and style is beyond me?

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi –

    I have got to agree with anonymous up above – that other blog mentioned copies EVERYTHING you do! That is my pet peeve – I have had many copiers in the past and it is annoying! Just wanted you to know that it does not go unnoticed.

    In any case, love your blog and the suit is cute on you!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, have you seen this?

    This is getting ridiculous.

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  35. I love the suit on you but honestly…Those Prada heels are to die for! I can't stop admiring them!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  36. I was impressed with H&M;'s quality this Fall. I picked up several great pieces and did purchased the other houndstooth elbow patch blazer prior to their release of this model. I styled it as an equestrian look with skinny black pants tucked into riding boots. My blazer however, was not cropped. I agree it is hard to go back to H&M; once you own pieces from Theory. But sometimes we can afford to make small wardrobe sacrifices.

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  37. lin wrote:

    nice find at h&m.; you look great in that suit. i really like the colors, so very fall-like. 😉

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  38. Ping wrote:

    looks great jean! i didnt think i'd like the combo, but it looks nice together.

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  39. Vonnie wrote:

    I'm so glad I found this blog. I have such issues finding things that are well fitting. I always have to hem when I get home!

    I adore that suit, especially with the shirt and accessories that you chose. I wish I had the ability to wear things like that to work. One day!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  40. Megan wrote:

    AMAZING for the price!! I think a trip to H&M; is in order!! 🙂 thanks for sharing!!!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  41. Jen wrote:

    Wow, great suit. I love the little elbow patches. <3


    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  42. yuni.k wrote:

    You are so darling in grey! I love it. Esp the color of that AT ruffle shell. And that skirt makes you look fabulous in back!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  43. It's a great menswear-inspired look! Very mature : ) I just purchased a full suit (but will be wearing the pieces separately) from H&M;, but it bothers me that I can't find it online!!

    The skirt is pinkishhh with a black waistband..hard to describe. The pattern is reminiscent of the Isabel Marant Ritchi sweater : ) LOVE it!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  44. C. wrote:

    Totally agree with you on the Theory fabric and tailoring snob thing. I used to love H&M;, F21, and all those other super cheap stores for cute, trendy clothing. But unfortunately, they don't stand the test of time and they just look cheap. However, every once in a while you find a great piece and this suit looks amazing on you! Keeper 🙂

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  45. Michelle wrote:

    The front buttons on the skirt are adorable!! That is a great deal for an entire outfit!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  46. Julie Khuu wrote:

    $75 suit, that's a steal honey! 9to5 chic and looking sexy to boot! That last shot of you is seriously sooooo stunning! MAD props to your photog babe!

    Peace. Love. LOL!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  47. Phuong wrote:

    I bought the blazer and I love it for the fall! I haven't worn it as much as I want to, but hopefully that will change. I can't wait to see how you remixed the blazer!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  48. xJOLE wrote:

    Love the gray on gray! Doesn't look too monochromatic since there are different patterns and materials,

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  49. maggie wrote:

    I love how you explain your choices behind each purchase every time you post, it helps me a lot when deciding whether or not I will be buying a certain piece or not! I've been eyeing that H&M; blazer (but it black) for a while, so next time I go, I will definitely have to try it on to see if I look good in it or not.

    xx maggie

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  50. wrote:

    Wow that is an amazing suit for a starter suit. I still don't feel like spending $$ on good suits ( I seen a few theory blazers/pants!)..mostly because I am teacher so I don't really wear suits. Yet I would so wear your outfit for work! Gosh you have an amazzzing tailor!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply

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