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. DING! DING! DING!!!! This outfit is a winner!!!

    Posted 11.13.11 Reply
  2. Dear readers – I’ve moderated further comments on here as I’d like to move past this issue. Thank you all for your words of support, and I hope you can do the same. I receive your notes and I appreciate them very much.

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  3. I so wanted the jacket to work for me just like it did for you and Kelly (no luck for me) but at least I had scored the skirt before you posted or my size would have been snapped up by your other readers! I wear it with burgundy or bright blue blouses/cardigans.

    Thanks for posting this inexpensive alternative to suits.

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    While it's true that the product options are limited, that does not mean that the outfits have to be the same. Just compare the outfit (of this blazer) posted by Extra Petite to those at Alterations Needed. Plagiarism is plagiarism regardless of intentions. I think it's obvious by the number of followers that the petite community does not support plagiarism. Jean, I'm not sure if you noticed or care, but I think it's great for you to not comment on this publicly, but know that the readers do notice. I'll leave it at that.

    PS. I want that blazer!!!

    Posted 11.6.11 Reply
  5. Annapurna wrote:

    Cute suit, Jean, although I must say, I preferred the original length on you. Maybe it is because I am oldster – but shortening it makes it less business-y.

    Do you experiment with your skirt lengths still or have you decided to stick with just one length once you found the one that suits you?

    I agree with the poster that said you make inexpensive clothes look expensive!

    Finally, commenting ladies…you have inadvertently driven a lot of traffic to the other site! Never knew it even existed before this post….

    Posted 11.6.11 Reply
  6. Callandra wrote:

    I'm so glad to see this skirt on you Jean, it looks fabulous!! I love that jacket too but it would need some serious tailoring in the torso just under the arm pits for me and I already have too many suits to justify spending the money right now. Another thing I'm loving about your pictures is the color palette….not just of your outfit but the entire back drop as well! Very beautiful 😉

    Posted 11.5.11 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean I check your blog (at least!) once a day and just wanted to let you know how much i love it and support you (i've written a few times on your facebook page) and think you always look absolutely amazing. I'm super petite and into fashion, and your blog is the only one I religiously follow and admire, so thank you for it! Keep up the amazing work. Michelle S (from London, UK)

    Posted 11.5.11 Reply
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    I've been following Jean for at least a couple of years now I think..and I used to check out Really Petite's blog as well. I haven't gone to RP's page in a long time so after these comments I had to check it out for myself again. Not having seen her page in a long time, I totally just felt creeped out about RP's current blog look because it is total deja vu…I actually really liked her old original style…tsk, tsk, this is blatant plagiarism and I'm glad to see people noticed. RP – please either go back to your original style, or evolve into something different from EP. Stop being a clone!

    Posted 11.5.11 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    Readers have noticed the copying a long time ago. This dates from July, but I'm sure many have noticed before then. I actually had the same observations at the time those posts were posted:

    Also, I feel that it was a bit childish-sounding when Really Petite said in one of her posts that she found the Nordstrom Halogen boots first but she wouldn't do a review on them anymore since someone (Jean) beat her to it.

    Of course, I have the choice to only follow the blogs I admire. This is only to show that previous commenters weren't making assumptions or issues when there "aren't any" or that we're bashing another blogger. These are valid observations. There has been talk aboout supporting each other. I can't see how the petite community can support creative plagiarism. I'm here to support a talented, creative, and uniquely stylish blogger.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  10. Melissa B wrote:

    I am a new reader, and ever since I discovered your blog about a month ago, I have have been checking in everyday (but this is my first time posting a comment). What I like most about your blog is that you flawlessly meld great style with frugality, mixing fashion trends with investment pieces. Please keep up the great work! I admire your style, grace, intelligence, and sense of quite confidence. Clearly, you are a great inspiration to many readers.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean you are the beautiful one. Know that I read your blog daily and love it.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  12. Elle wrote:

    A whole outfit for under $100, that's beyond impressive. If I didn't know you and someone told me you spent $1000 on this outfit I would not bat an eye. Everything looks 10x more expensive than what you spent on them, goes to show that if someone is willing to put in the effort anyone can look professional on a budget. 🙂

    Keep up the great work.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree with some comments that if we don't like something, we can choose to unfollow. I just don't think most people realize the extent of creative plagiarism that RP gets away with because us petites "support" everyone. She is strategic and usually posts copied things a while after EP does, probably so that readers would've forgotten by then.

    Case in point, I like reading LOFT blogger features to discover new blogs. I'm guessing bloggers get a lot of new traffic and readership from these features. RP's outfits for these are always EP-inspired, but this one was uncomfortably familiar to me:!/photo.php?fbid=10150189934585677&set;=a.10150189934120677.303831.26483215676&type;=3&theater;

    "I paired my navy LOFT blazer with my chambray shirt, crochet skirt, a vintage cameo necklace, I am ready for the weekend!"—Annie from Really Petite"

    I recognized the vintage necklace as Jean's, same brand and everything. I hear the argument that us petites are limited for work clothing, but what about old necklaces? Must we have the same exact one too? Also, note that the "clutch" was quickly sold in exchange for Jean's exact taupe Chanel bag. I guess key words here are exact – not even inspired versions.

    And then I saw this post again, dated over one month earlier:

    So a 100% copied outfit, used to promote her blog with no citing of EP. Just many thank you's to her blog readers oozing over what a great styling job it is. I hope RP can learn from this feedback and I personally look forward to original posts of hers in the future. This is not bashing, this is pointing out facts to support a talented blogger, and to encourage another blogger to accept some feedback. I was never sure if Jean noticed or cared, but I interpret her post today to mean that it has bothered her for some time.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    My heart goes out to both ladies. I think Jean is charismatic, intelligent, original and fun. I think Annie is sweet, naive, beautiful and lonely. Of course we know that imitation is a form of flattery, but I'm sure it saps some energy and spirit out of Jean, as she mentions this has weighed heavily on her.

    I have taken some great advise from you Jean, so please know that you have my gratitude. Your effort in putting your blog posts is commendable as it is surely very time consuming. (I don't have a fashion blog but love to read them). The other thing I really appreciate about you is that you have a life outside of blogging. Blogging can come across as narcissistic but that is not who you are at all. Your sense of humor, fun personality and helpful tips truly make your posts a pleasure to read. Keep being true to yourself and know that you are really contributing to this community!

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  15. tara g wrote:

    Although I agree its nice to see two reviews, it does seem like reallypetite goes out to buy most of the things that extrapetite reviews and style it almost exactly the same way. Like;=5

    I do appreciate it and like it when RP comes up with original outfits though (:

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  16. Elissa wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  17. You make both pieces of this suit work so well! I tried on both of them at the store and opted to buy the skirt only. I didn't like the elbow patches and I don't really love the way I look in blazers/jackets (I think I have a small head and wide shoulders, and I feel like blazers/jackets tend to accentuate that…don't laugh!) So at $60 for us Canadian petites I had to leave the jacket behind. But then you keep posting pics of yourself looking awesome in the jacket and styling it in so many cute ways, I'm seriously second guessing my decision to pass on the jacket! Argh!!

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    I also recently noticed the similarity between Extra Petite and Really Petite's blogs, and I agree that it's not ethical to copy ideas without properly sourcing it. If plagiarism is not appropriate in an academic setting, should it be accepted within the blogging community?

    I can't change the actions of others, so what I do is simply follow the blogs that I appreciate.

    Jean, thank you for all the hard work and ideas you've put into your blog and for sharing it with us.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  19. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, you are gorgeous, your personality shines in your blogs and you're basically my fashion hero. Keep up it up — you're irreplaceable!

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  20. Sara wrote:

    I love your outfits and these pictures, you look so good, I especially like that suite, the color and shapes are perfect, also you are really beautiful and that blouse is awesome! Your have an awesome blog by the way and I am a new follower! Hope you will like my blog and follow back!

    Pop Culture&Fashion; Magic

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    wow, I cant believe so many people are voicing their opinions at the same time on this issue – I clicked the comments to do just that and so many others beat me to it. Its not just this post, its been on going for a long time and its creepy. There are many petite fashion sites that all have their own spin even if they wear the same pieces. This is not the case with RP and I am glad others are here to support the originality of EP's posts.

    Posted 11.4.11 Reply
  22. Vicky wrote:

    Dear Jean,
    As usual, I love love love the outfits you put together. This is no exception. I especially love that you use monochromatic color – different degrees of gray and black for this outfit. You did it once before and I just absolutely adored it. Kudos on your DIY project. You are getting better and better at it. I need to ask you how you slim the sides of the GAP blouse by yourself since I need to do it for mine too.

    On a different note, to be honest with you, I am quite put off by some of the anonymous comments on this post. Maybe I just don't understand blogging world as much as these guys/gals do. Leaving anonymous comments bashing another blogger on your post is very low. (yes, a lot of them are obviously bashing to me. They are not friendly, and not constructive.)
    Annie posted a "lookbook" post almost at the same time as you posted this outfit last night. I actually saw her post before I saw yours. (It was that close in time). I seriously doubt that she went and copied your outfit, took the pictures and posted that close to your post. Also you used different color scheme than she did. A suit is a suit. It's hard to make them look different on different people. So please discourage this type of comments on your blog. They don't go with your beautiful posts.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    I recently purchased a houndstooth suit set at a thrift store (more of a traditional blk/white, larger print houndstooth). $8! I didn't try on the skirt, just the jacket, which was somewhat snug. I was VERY excited since I'm also 5'0 and very slender. anyway, would you (jean) or anyone else here ever wear the pieces together (the print is very bold… each "tooth" is about 1 cm long) or should they always we separated? THANKS!! BTW – the skirt ended up being a hair tight… but i'm going to see what the tailors can do about that!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    LOL this is all so hilarious. Poor Jean. She really doesn't deserve all this, being the sweet, down-to-earth girl she is. She'll always have my support, since she's my inspiration not only fashion-wise, but also personality wise.<3

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    I recently discovered petite blogs a few months ago, and I have to agree with some of the other posters. I originally gravitated towards this blog more than the others because my body type is closer to Jean's… However, the handful of times I scrolled through RP's blog, the clothing was so familiar that it was off-putting. I never have this feeling when I scroll through other petite blogs – a little deja vu on occasion, but nothing as obviously redundant as RP. I think it's ok to be inspired by another blogger's style, but in all things creative, I think it's important to take that inspiration and make it your own. If you can't, then it does seem somewhat inappropriate to profit off of someone else's creativity. Even the watermark is the same. It's kind of creeptastic.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  26. Anonymous wrote:

    To anon at 8:26: if you don't have any problems with it, that's your own personal view and a fine one to hold.

    But you cannot deny that blogging is a source of revenue, and that you don't know how much revenue RP's blogging generates. And I think it's safe to say that it's unethical to copy content in any capacity, whether or not it is financially lucrative. If I were a poet, and someone else copied my poems and published them "as a hobby," they would still be guilty of plagiarism. And this is where we disagree- I think it IS an issue to support unoriginal content, and I don't think that I or the other commenters are "creating" issues.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    To Anon at 5:27 PM.

    I do have a blog, but I do not blog about fashion. I do understand that it takes a lot of work and passion.

    Blogging is not ReallyPetite's fulltime job and I also don't get the sense that she is trying to move in that direction either. I feel that she is blogging for her own personal enjoyment, which is why I am not being super picky about site theme, design, and creativity. I don't think that Really Petite is making tons of money off her blog or trying to use her blog to propel her in the fashion world. If that were the case then I would see your point, but like I said, it seems like ReallyPetite is really just doing this as a hobby.

    Like I said, I do not read petite blogs for fashion and style advice. While I greatly enjoy outfit posts, I'm much more interested in specific item reviews…much like what AlterationsNeeded does. I guess we disagree because as readers, we are looking for different things.

    I feel like some of you are creating issues when there really aren't any.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    I actually saw this awhile back when i first started following the 2 blogs and I googled them. I didn't think anything of it then. I found RP first and loved her blog, then I discovered Jean's blog and quickly realized that RP was merely mirroring Jean's posts.
    Scroll and read:

    Jean, I hope you don't delete your readers' comments. We only want to support all the effort and creativity that you (and fellow petite blogs with awesome, original content) put into your blog.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    I have to say that this has been happening for the longest time. Really petite has no shame and blatantly copies jean on everything and I mean everything. Jean thank you for not getting discouraged and for continuing with your blog in spite of her copying.

    AT really petite- If you don't have any originality to share with us readers then please do us all a favor and don't have a blog or at least stop copying Jean.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  30. Wendy wrote:

    cute! love your shoes!!! 🙂

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  31. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree completely with the criticisms of ReallyPetite and think that it's irresponsible of people to claim that, as part of a petite community, it is our duty to "support" each other through letting anything fly. This is not "trying similar items for fit," it's copying. I know she is probably well-intended but what she is doing is intellectual plagiarism, no buts about it. As another commenter pointed out, she takes and clones content from this blog and uses it to generate ad revenues and get blogging swag, etc. What bothers me the most is that she'll duplicate the outfits/ photos but never match the content– she doesn't provide half the detailed information for fit, etc. All of it just seems really unprofessional and unethical.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  32. Kellie wrote:

    Jean! You look stunning, AS ALWAYS! 🙂

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    To the petite lady at 4:41 PM:

    Do you have a blog too? If not, then you may not understand that writing a good blog takes a lot of passion and hard work. Finding awesome items to share with others takes a talented eye for fashion and fit, otherwise – wouldn’t every blogger have a large following? Also, site theme and design takes creativity. You may not see much similarity now, because Jean changed her site design a while ago. Probably to move away from having a clone?

    That’s why some of us feel it is wrong to just take someone else’s work and ideas over and over again, and even making money off of those ideas with a million ads and ShopStyle links.

    Heck, as a reader I love multiple reviews because it helps me find clothes too. But I feel for Jean who obviously puts a lot of time and thought into her blog, only to have her ideas and style repeatedly used to someone else' benefit. What kind of community is it that supports something like that? The identical posts today may be coincidental (although Jean did share a while ago she bought the full suit), but to me it is a culmination of what has been going on for a long time.

    Long post, oops.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    I want to add my two cents here.

    I began reading both blogs a few months ago, and at first I thought there were a few common things that both EP and RP reviewed. After following both blogs now for quite some time, it is CLEAR that time after time after time RP posts articles of clothing and often almost identical outfits AFTER EP posts them. I'm sure they have similar styles, but let's be real – H&M; and Ann Taylor have much more in their stores and online than what we see on these blogs, so the fact that RP always seems to post the same exact thing after EP is not just a coincidence. I am not saying this to bash, but just to be honest. I totally support all of the fellow petites out there – I would just like it if RP could try to be a little original not only for her sake (because everyone can recognize copying) but because it benefits us all to see different looks and different petite pieces. Anyway, with that said I hope RP/EP realize most of this isn't bashing, just allowing some of us readers to say what we have thought for a while now.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    I feel like I have to throw my two cents in. The selection for petite clothing, especially work appropriate petite clothing, is much more limited compared to regular sized clothing. Because of that, I don't consider ReallyPetite to be copying ExtraPetite at all. I read petite blogs not for fashion or creative outfits (that's what the million other non-petite fashion blogs are for), but for particular item reviews. As a petite, it is very difficult to find items that fit well…so I absolutely love it when multiple petite bloggers review the same items. That way I can see how it fits on different petite body types.
    And I can decide if that item is worth checking out or not.

    So to all the bashers out there, please remember that this is a petite community who are trying to help each other find well-fitting quality garments, as well as any tips to help the petite fashionista.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  36. Trista wrote:

    Cute suit!!! You always look so great!

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    I like the concept of menswear turned feminine with a closer fit and style to the body. I think the fit of the suit looks great on you. However, the gray-ish ruffle front shell and black shoes make the suit very dull and boring. I would try opting for a different color in your top, shoes or purse (I'm thinking deep, rich jewel tones)to make your outfit more interesting.

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply

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