Style in a Suitcase, Part 1 – Gingham and Lace

For the past ten days, I spent some time on both coasts living out of a suitcase. As temperatures varied from 30 to nearly 80 degrees, I had to pack wisely (lots of layers!). I also had to plan for a variety of occasions. I ended up bringing (from left to right)…

3 jackets: Black Theory blazer, Uniqueen tweed jacket, Gap cardigan jacket
4 pairs of shoes: Calvin Klein leopards, Adrienne Vittadini booties, CL pumps, ebay (no brand) boots
2 pairs of pants: Seven for all Mankind olive jeans, plus purchased Old Navy ones in Russet Brown
3 skirts: Ann Taylor olive lace pencil skirt, camel wool mini, vintage herringbone mini
2 clutches/crossbody bags: H&M; brown bag and Chanel WOC
7 tops: Gap nudes & gingham, Target chambray, H&M; ivory shell, crewcuts sweater, AT leopard cardi

I tried to take photos each day to share with you guys some easy, packing-friendly outfits. The above was more than enough and probably could’ve lasted me for a month : ) First up is this dressier ensemble which I’ve already worn to work. Both shirt and skirt travel nicely – the gingham material never wrinkles on me, and you can just roll up soft lace skirts when packing.

Shirt: Gap Boys Gingham sz S (6-7)   (J.Crew petite version)   (Gap womens version)
Earrings: Talbots    Clutch: Chanel WOC    Belt: BR Factory
Lace Skirt: Ann Taylor (old)  Tights: H&M;   Pumps: CL Decolettes

I balanced out the boxy, boyishness of the gingham shirt with a more feminine lace bottom. Without any slimming, the shirt is still a bit poofy from the back when tucked in, so I like to conceal that at work by layering a blazer on top. Continue reading for some fit photos of the gingham shirt…

This is what the Gap boys shirt looks like in it’s natural form, untucked and with sleeves uncuffed. As you can see, it is very short and boxy, and the sleeves hit my arms at 3/4 length. After all, it was designed for boys aged 6-7.  When styled, it looks much better. I’m not recommending it as a good fit (sz S will not work on anyone taller than 5 feet), but a true, crisp gingham is hard to find, so I’m happy with this one. Measurements of a Boys sz S: 14″ across shoulders, 17″ across armpits, 22.5″ length, 16″ sleeve length, and 3.75″ across the sleeve opening.


I know a children’s S sounds horrifically small, but this shirt runs big for kids sizing. While in San Diego, the fun and charismatic Kelly of Alterations Needed showed me her J.Crew boys secret wash shirt in classic gingham (similar in addison gingham), boys size 10. I liked it so much on her I got one for myself (was ~$23, see on me). As you can see below, the Gap S/6-7 is exactly the same as the J.Crew boys sz 10 in the shoulders and torso width. The J.Crew one is marginally longer in total length, but the sleeves are several inches longer.

The material of the J.Crew one has a vintage worn feel w/ tiny check. The Gap one is more crisp w/ large check. Check out Kelly’s post for an informative gingham review.


These pebbled leather pumps are a much-loved gift (although in my honest opinion, my Ann Taylor perfect pumps are more comfortable for prolonged wear). I love having a “caviar” leather accessory set now.

Readers – I’ve closed further commenting on this post. As always, thank you to those who shared thoughts and opinions in a respectful manner. I’ll try to respond to your questions soon!
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  1. Anonymous wrote:

    can you share whats in your makeup bag? beauty post please 🙂

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    i bought bright blue and pink ones from jcrew kids collection last year and i love it! it looks a lot like your black gingham.. only downfall is that it does wrinkle..

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  3. ruthie wrote:

    Greetings from London! Oh, and a happy new year to you!

    I discovered your blog… Probably just over a week ago and I am hooked! Like you, I'm a tiny oriental girl… Same shoes and same clothes size as you… I am forever finding the perfect jeans… Shoes… Tops… Coats…. You name it! You've inspired metro check out kids departments and now I've found my first rustic red pair of jeans without any alterations! Aged 12 though!

    Am loving your blog very much and am struggling to read through all your previous blogs… So many tips and all… Too much to take in! I might need to jot it all down!!! Am looking forward to reading your blog on a regular basis! You are such an inspiration!

    Btw, ive ordered a bump it for the volumising up do! Found an ebayer in the UK that stocks them!

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  4. I really like the skirt and you organization in packing. I'm such a mess!!

    The Life After

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  5. Lien wrote:

    Just wanted to drop in and wish you a very happy new year! My mom and I were just going through your 2011 reader favorites and couldn't stop laughing at the 'petite asian boy' blog… Only wish there were more posts :p

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  6. Anita wrote:

    Jean, don't you worry about being copied(not like u are in any way). Your styling, photography and thoughtful posts are always going to be yours and any copier is only going to be a step down.

    Kudos to being adventurous. You look fabulous in the red lipstick!

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  7. Ivana wrote:

    I always have the hardest time deciding what to pack when I travel, and as a result, I never travel light… Big thanks for sharing the contents of your suitcase, looking forward to the rest of the outfit photos!

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
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    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
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    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    I guess once a copycat, always a copy cat. Jean, so sorry you have a stalker on your back, she must be so in love with you to once again start copying your posts. It takes a person with very thick skin to go back to their old ways, she indeed need some exfoliating 🙂 you are her drug, your creativity feeds her. Kinda sad and pathetic.

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  11. Olivia wrote:

    Thanks for another great post! And I second one of the other commenters about a packing demonstration video – how did you fit everything into your suitcase?? Also, will you be showing all the outfits you put together from what you packed? 30-80 degrees – you are amazing!

    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
  12. vivian wrote:

    hi jean,

    what color is your lipstick? it's gorgeous!


    Posted 1.2.12 Reply
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    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  14. Lucia H. wrote:

    The positive content of this post (and all others) goes without saying, but what popped out to me was your green apple Clinique makeup bag! Did you get yours from your mother, as I did? Asian moms seem to have a huge thing for Clinique gift sets.

    And I know a lot of your fans are "rallying behind you", but I most of all commend your calm and professional response to all the drama. I'm sure it's hard to be diplomatic and regulate your own feelings (whatever they may be), but you do it with grace, class, and beauty — as you do with all other things!

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  15. must be great being able to wear kids clothes!!! =)

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  16. I love the look of the gingham and lace. I'm very impressed by how little you packed and manage to look fabulous.Everytime I travel I feel like I'm packing a month worth of clothes. I need to take lesson from you.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  17. May wrote:

    @ anon at 11:14pm

    jean isn't encouraging the bashing of another blogger and she never has. we just want to express our views and feelings, that's all.

    this other blogger just took her pictures today. she even stated that herself in her comments. jean took pictures a few days ago of her outfit so many people have seen it, and i'm sure this other blogger has too. that's why some people are saying that this other blogger is copying her style.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    @ Anonymous 11:15 pm–Jean doesn't encourage the bashing of another blogger. Her comments aren't moderated, unlike that other blogger. And anonymous–your post makes it seem very likely that you are that other blogger who copies Jean's wardrobe. And in response–Jean actually posted that very outfit on her twitter on Dec 28th… and tweeted those HM gingham shirts awhile back… Given that the other blogger states that she is very bad at mixing and matching prints and "remixing her wardrobe," it's very suspicious she would think to wear a gingham top with a lace pencil skirt and post about it the very same time that Jean did…

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  19. Anonymous wrote:

    Yeah: to anonymous– she's not encouraging it at all. And maybe you don't look at the twitter feeds, but Jean posted a preview of this outfit more than a week or so ago.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    @ Anonymous (the one above the one above me)

    I dont think she's encouraging the bashing of another blogger….

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  21. Ana Ponick wrote:

    so perfect!


    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I love your blog and take much style inspiration from you (I am a relatively new reader…about 5-6 months now). However, I must say that this gingham outfit with the lace skirt is a rather odd combination. I don't like how busy the two look together. The gingham on top looks like it belongs with jeans, or if you want to make it look more professional, with a solid colored skirt. The lace just does not go at all. Separately, I like the pieces though. And, I too noticed the other blog copying your post. Shame.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    I can't believe this women on women bashing. The other blogger always takes her photos ahead of time and her post came like an hour after this one, so how in the world could she have been copying? Jean, I love your blog, but it does NOT make you look good to encourage bashing of another blogger who did nothing wrong.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  24. Ping wrote:

    jean– i like this gingham better than the other one that comes in many colors. it's more crisp and less causal.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  25. Anna wrote:

    I love your blog and have been following for awhile now. It saddens me that your creativity and effort is so blatantly ripped off by another blogger. I know that there has been drama over this issue before, and I am frustrated that it's starting all over again. I can only imagine how you feel when your hard work and dedication to this blog and finding your own individual style is utilized by Annie for her own gains–as I realize blogging can be a source of income and gifts from companies.

    You have been so classy throughout all of this, even though it must be quite discouraging to see your work being copied so flagrantly and disrespectfully. Keep your head up and just know that your readers support you and appreciate all the work you put into your blog and realize an imposter when they see one!

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  26. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, can you please do a youtube video on what/how you pack?

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    I'm sorry YOUR blog always has to be the site of such drama, since you don't moderate comments (unlike certain others). Just wanted to let you know that your attention to detail (crispness of shirt, size of prints, accessories) really separates you from any potential imitators.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  28. Jackie wrote:

    This is a great idea for a series! I can't wait to see the rest. I plan on traveling this year to see my family since I moved far away from them so I can use the tips =D

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  29. Ah that shirt looks great on you! I am soooo impressed by how little you manage to pack all the time! I need to take some lessons from you 😛 Hope you had a very happy holidays and I hope 2012 brings you even more happiness and success, you deserve it 🙂

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  30. JessicaW wrote:

    I know you don't like talking about other bloggers but the copycat thing is ridiculous. You totally pull off the look so it's obvious that these are your ORIGINAL ideas. Kudos to you for maintaining professionalism… and for giving us all fresh/stylish ideas. 🙂

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  31. i caved this past summer with the gingham from jcrew. i'm another fan of how cee wears hers. it can be so versatile!

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    It is obvious somebody is copying from the pictures you posted on Twitter..

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  33. Cindy wrote:

    Hi Jean! LOVE your blog-I only just started following late last year. You have a great sense of style and I really enjoy seeing how you put pieces together. Can't wait to see the other outfits you created with what you have there. I'm curious about your suitcase. Is it a carry-on? And what brand is it? I'm impressed you could fit all that in there!

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  34. DSK Steph wrote:

    Happy New Year Jean! My cousins are hooked on your blog! 😀

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  35. R.L. wrote:

    P.S. I ordered the GAP women's gingham shirt in XS pink and it runs long and large. It has some nice piping detail on the sleeves but overall the material is see-throughish and not as crisp as the boy's shirt.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  36. R.L. wrote:

    Jean, I love these travel organization posts! Keep 'em coming 🙂 The GAP shirt looks great with the lace and your new CLs. I got the same shirt after you posted about it because I just think that the medium gingham looks more attractive than J Crew's smaller squares. The Ambercrombie girls shirt that Vicky tweeted about fits me slimmer/better. The moose is in a less noticeable navy blue so I may add that to my growing gingham collection when it goes on deep sale.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    Even after the post with all the drama, it looks as if Copycat is still on a roll.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    This actually work because one of the print is really small (i.e the lace) and the shirt is crisp. cough cough there are other blogs copying you but you actually made it work look professional and classy.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  39. lin wrote:

    cute outfit. it's great that you're thinking outside the box. i really like how you pair a variety of things together (i.e. colors, textures, different fabrics). 😀

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  40. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, as much as I enjoy your Twitter previews, it seems that someone uses them to "beat" you to post.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  41. Wow. 30 to 80 degrees. That's a wide range to dress up. Cute shirt. Super nice way to pair it with that lace skirt.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  42. I just realized you bought the J.Crew Classic Gingham shirt and not the Jenson Gingham. I thought the checks on the Classic Gingham looked a bit small compared to the Jenson, which is the one I picked up instead. Might want to look into that one as well. =)

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  43. Jacki wrote:

    I always look forward to posts like this with travel wardrobe ideas. Can't wait to see what else you put together!

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  44. Cher wrote:

    I gave into the gingham myself. I've been dying for a white/black gingham. Although, TBH I'm not crazy about the fit of the one you're wearing on your body. It's a bit too boxy–too wide in the arms and in the waist (but the shoulders look fine)–the silhouette it gives when tucked in could be a lot better.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  45. Alexandra wrote:

    I like that gingham shirt for casual wear. I just picked up a gorgeous one in brown/rust/cream from Old navy in XS regular and it fits very nicely. Too bad it doesn't show up online. Their camper shirts in XS regular fit great too albeit a bit see-through.

    However that gingham shirt and the lace skirt do not belong together. They just don't click. It's too much of a clash between blue collar on top and aristocratic on the bottom.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  46. Thanks for the measurements of the size S! If anyone is interested in the measurements for the size M(8), I popped into a Gap kids with my trusty measuring tape over the holiday break: shoulder=15", torso=17.5", length=24", sleeve=18".

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  47. A big resounding YES to your question (although I think Cee was more influential on my gingham purchase than J. Crew).

    My gingham shirts (one from J. Crew and one from H&M;) are both from the boys' section. My one pet peeve about them is how roomy the sleeves are compared to women's oxfords. How do you feel about them? I tried pegging them like I did with my pants when I was a kid but that didn't work LOL.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  48. Lynn wrote:

    So helpful! About to do 10 days in Chicago and LA, coming from Philly so this is really relevant.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  49. Shannon wrote:

    The outfit is a great idea, I have the J. Crew boys purple/white Gingham shirt in the bigger checked pattern. This is another idea. I am also very petite and your blog is awesome. Have you ever checked out the Canadian brand Aritzia? I don't think they have a store in Boston yet, but the do have on in New York. It has great coats and blazers for petites. I've never has to alter anything that I have bought from them yet.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply
  50. Yes, I caved and bought a J. Crew Factory Women's Gingham shirt with large check.

    I might go online and get a Gap boys gingham just to see how it is on me.

    Posted 1.1.12 Reply

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