July Classics Shopping Recap + Ann Taylor F&F Sale Picks

For me, July was a fantastic wardrobe month – knocked three items off a long-withstanding “classics” wishlist after much research and patient waiting. A few readers have asked what my monthly wardrobe budget is, and I have to say I don’t have one. I keep an annual wardrobe spending target as a percentage of after-tax income, determined as a limit up to which I can shop without affecting any savings goals (and there are so many). I much prefer this over keeping stringent monthly budgets, because my spending fluctuates greatly. Although my overall spending hasn’t changed much over the years, I have noticed that I now spend increasingly more time planning and evaluating purchases than before.

1. Camel tote bag: For nearly 6 months I had been seeking a classic neutral satchel, and my search quickly closed in on the durable Prada “saffiano” line. I pushed the purchase off until after my June exam, in order to sufficiently explore the pre-owned market and do as much research as possible. The moment I opened the box last week from NM, I couldn’t stop grinning and knew that it was the perfect choice. There’s something to be said about well-made, classic and functional items that pair effortlessly with all sorts of outfits…I haven’t felt so strongly about a wardrobe purchase since buying a Chanel caviar flap. I hope to record a video this weekend comparing bags from this line, and discussing the features available plus any options to save a little.

2. Little red bag: I had also been itching for a small, richly-colored purse to add interest to neutral outfits. True red -whether on lipstick, nails, or clothes- is just so classic with a touch of sultriness. I had bid on several via eBay over the course of a year, before my shopping fairy Elle alerted me that this J.Crew bag was on major sale in-store. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any left at a clearance price (I used storefinder and ordered one of the last ones in the US), but it’s a bag that J.Crew makes every season and I suspect it will go on sale again..

3. Red ankle trousers: Starting tomorrow, Ann Taylor is having their friends & family sale – use code FRIENDSFB to get 30% off everything online, or print out this coupon to use in-store. Continuing with the red kick, I pulled the trigger on these adjustable waist-tab pants during an online BOGO sale. I cannot wait to start fulfilling my classic red pairing dreams. These run a little smaller in the waist and slimmer in the legs than AT’s other pants, and the 00P fit me wonderfully throughout:

These red pants are not perfect, but they met most of my requirements (fit, don’t wrinkle, price point) and were a quickly-decided “keep” compared to so many other ones I’ve tried on. The color is red with a twinge of orange, which I didn’t notice at all the first time I tried them on. I would prefer a more true red, but the boyfriend convinced me this shade was just fine. And if I had to nitpick, there are two front pockets that are almost vertically-placed slits, and I prefer angled side pockets. On the plus side, the back pockets are classic horizontal-style and there are chic ankle cuffs at the bottom openings.

Measurements of 00P pants: 13.75″ across waist, 14.2″ across hips, 24″ inseam on the petite length, 5.75″ leg opening.

Also in my order was this ponte pencil skirt in “avocado” color. This color is refreshing yet not too bright, and reminds me of a cross between chartreuse and a muted lime green. This skirt runs about a size smaller than AT’s other items and fit me perfectly in the waist and hips, but the length was then too short for me as a work skirt. As mentioned previously, if you can wear regular sizing, I’d suggest ordering a size down but in regular length. Or, you can let out about 1″ of the hem.

Ann Taylor Petite Ponte Skirt in pink or avocad, old H&M; blouse, AT belt, LV Speedy 25 bag

I have purchased a ponte skirt from AT during previous seasons, and it was around the same price point but was completely unlined. The full lining makes a world of a difference both in the feel of the quality, as well as how the skirt moves while you walk.

Measurements: The 00P measures 12.25″ across the waist, 16.5″ across the hips, and 17″ in length.

The inside waistband is lined in a wide grosgrain ribbon, and there is a back zip closure:

I really liked the look, fit, and quality of this skirt and seriously contemplated keeping and letting the hem down. In any other month, I think it would have been a keep. But last month, there were just so many other classic items which I felt more strongly about, and thus this was returned.

Lastly, I ordered these shoes using a gift card (with an extra 40% off sale items) as replacements for my overly-worn Target sandals. They run on the smaller side and look nice on, but I do miss the stable, chunkier heel of the Target ones. Overall, these are comfy, great quality, and I appreciate the warm brown color that goes with ev
erything, plus the leather-covered heel (vs wood!). I am still debating whether or not to keep them at this price point, but I am overdue for a replacement pair of neutral sandals.

Ann Taylor Darcy Leather Sandals, comes in black or brown
PS – If you are looking for sandals or pumps, Talbots has an amazing shoe blowout going on right now. From my past experience, Talbots shoes are made mostly of genuine leather, are of lovely quality, and they start in size 5 and come in multiple widths. They’re a great value when bought on major clearance (I just don’t recommend their flats, which can be stiff).

Readers – What are (or were) the top items on your wardrobe wishlist this year?


77 thoughts on “July Classics Shopping Recap + Ann Taylor F&F Sale Picks

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 3, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Wonderful wishlist items, Lauren. After you find the right items, you will know it has been worth your time and patience!

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 3, 2012 at 12:09 am

    That is the price I got it at too…not bad at all for a fully lined, comfy skirt.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I bought it at full price. However, shortly afterward my friend let me know of a small discount via Neiman Marcus online for new visitors, but it doesn't seem to come up for everyone!

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Thank you so much, Alice!

  • Reply Joy August 3, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Hi Jean, that Prada tote looks very classic and sturdy, great fashion choice!
    which Target sandals are you talking about? Are they the yellow wedges you used to wear a lot? probably not since they were not neutral, but I LOVED those and I sometimes still regret missing out on them. I wish Target would bring them back.

  • Reply Anonymous August 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Jean, before I started reading your blog, I bought clothes almost exclusively from the junior's sections at Ross and TJ Maxx. But now, at age 30, I am finally starting to acquire a more adult and professional wardrobe, taking care to consider whether something truly fits, whether I love it and will wear it even if it actually fits, and whether the quality justifies the purchase price. Thank you so much for your careful and insightful reviews, for showcasing your fabulous outfits and pairings, and for introducing me to H&M;!

  • Reply Anonymous August 3, 2012 at 11:29 am

    What size is the Prada bag? – I know they do a couple of options?

  • Reply Anonymous August 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Jean, Can I ask how you used Jcrew locator? I am searching a skirt and online chat told me s/he can't locate sale items..Also what do you think of Edie wallet? I am thinking of getting one, maybe in orange or nude…

  • Reply Emily August 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Love every piece. Great shopping month is right!

  • Reply Jackie August 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    That red bag! *_* On my wishlist is a true red bag among other classics that need to be replaced! *sigh*

  • Reply Anonymous August 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

    How much did you purchase your Edie purse for? It's on sale online for $198 + 30% offw/ code SHOPNOW and I'm wondering if I should hold out for a better price.

    Thank you!

  • Reply sophié August 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I havent used it yet – but I think it will look really smart with one of J.Crews lady day coats. I hope they bring it out again this season – so adding that to my wishlist… heh heh. and then of course I need to think about shoes… oh dear!

  • Reply Anonymous August 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I love the way you make a simple outfit to look so stunning. This is off-topic but would you mind telling what do you study/what's your major? I'm just curious when you mentioned the exams.

  • Reply Lily August 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 5, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Thank you! I am not in school anymore but was studying for the CFA certification.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 5, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Hi there – I got it for around $95 by calling around in-stores. You can try your luck that way for a lower price!

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 5, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I had the item number (you can get it online) and call a store and have them punch in the item # and do a search. Make sure you're speaking with someone actually working in a store, because their special group who locates items are the group that actually cannot find sale items. I haven't seen the Edie wallet in person yet but an orange wallet sounds lovey.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 5, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Yes they do have a few options – I got the medium double zip.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 5, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Thank you for reading, Shirley! In high school I used to almost exclusively shop at TJMaxx and Marshalls, plus F21, before realizing how much junk I had amassed that was neither well-fitting nor classic. I am glad that we are both on our way to having well-curated, streamlined wardrobes.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 5, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I wish they would bring back the Cynthia vincent for Target sandals! They were very similar to the yellow wedges I have but a little better. I was talking about the Palani gladiator brown sandals which I've been wearing for a few years.

  • Reply Easy E August 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Long-time reader, first time comment(or?). Would love a post about when a replacement item is "due". I tend to buy replacement items for things i love, but then can't bear to part with (i.e black t-shirts). The ratty one stays in the closet, and the new one too..

  • Reply phiphis blog August 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    i love these buys – you are so thoughtful about pieces you add to your wardrobe. thank you for these reviews! xox P

    (ps i'm SO happy you finally got red pants!!!)

  • Reply Wendy August 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I love your new Prada bag. I've been contemplating with vs. without the shoulder strap. What made you bite the bullet for the one without the strap?

    Do you ever feel it a pain to carry it on your arm?


  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Hi there! If you're attached to the old ratty black t-shirts (esp if they've been worn so much they are beyond soft and cozy) then there really is no need to get rid of them, right? I had a run-in with an excessively gravel-ly parking lot at a food festival and these shoes got very scuffed, also the heel is starting to creak, thus I've been on the lookout for a replacement. On the other hand, I'm also guilty of buying replacements for things that do not wear up (but I'm "afraid" they will), and end up selling the replacement pair after realizing.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl August 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Wendy! Thank you : ) I got the largest one available with a strap. That was a major deciding factor for me and the strap makes a huge difference.

  • Reply Wendy August 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Jean!

    One more thing. 😀 How about the middle zipper? Sorry, I did noticed that you have the strap (after a double take! & saw that you had already replied).

    Love the NM coupon you posted!

    Thanks Again!

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