Borrowed Stella McCartney for Target: Fitted Lace + Clean Lines


Stella McCartney for Target top (similar) & Ann Taylor necklace borrowed from Elle
Limited(?) pants  & H&M; blazer (both altered), Louboutin pumps
In addition to shopping the pre-owned market, another way to practice sustainable fashion is to swap clothing with stylish friends. August was a low shopping month for me both in volume kept and amount spent, with discipline exercised at my usual favorite stores. However, I had plenty of fun reworking pieces and playing around with borrowed items.
I got to hang out with Elle again last month, and she was so kind to remember my infatuation with her SM for Target pieces from ages ago. I was bummed that the beautiful, petite-friendly collection was only made for Target in Australia. This girly, low-cut top fit me like a glove, so I wanted to balance it out against more conservative pieces with clean, tailored lines. These old trousers and blazer did the trick.

I like certain H&M; blazers for their fitted shoulders and torso, but oftentimes the sleeves are disproportionately wide/long, or have distracting details like ruching. It takes me hours to alter lined sleeves (tutorial here), but this partially-lined jacket only needed slimming and a snipping of the elastics. Even though it saved me some sewing time, I do wish the sleeves weren’t awkwardly half-lined:
yellow blazer alt
When I used to pay for alterations, I almost never had sleeves slimmed. The shortening itself was already a hefty $25, so any extra width was “overlooked.” I eventually realized, however, that baggy, floofy sleeves definitely detract from an overall sleek look:
yellow blazer alt1
Here’s another before and after look on the sleeves. The soft Doctor and Barber tee peeking out is one of my faves – it was designed and screen printed by my friend Ping’s boyfriend (and can be ordered for men or women for $30).
yellow blazer alt2
I loved the blue version of this necklace and strongly resisted a duplicate in pearl. I regretted it for a while, but eventually had my share of fun with Elle’s. It probably was for the best, as I don’t think my coworkers’ eyes could’ve withstood prolonged wear of such bling : )

Readers – Have you participated in local or online clothing swaps? If so, I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Bijal wrote:

    Hi! I run a facebook page called simplypetite which aims to help people find and post petite clothing. I thought you might be interested. it is just getting started. I love your blog btw!

    Posted 9.8.12 Reply
  2. I keep imagining your closet joining forces with Elle's and becoming a mega petite fashionista closet (undergoing a He-Man esque transformation – hmm, may have been before your time, lol). It's a beautiful top and love how your paired this with wide-legged trousers. A very classy combo πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.8.12 Reply
  3. Joy wrote:

    I love that top! This post of yours made me miss my time in Australia so much! & good job with altering the yellow blazer. It looks awesome! But I may be biased, since I'm not a fan of ruched sleeves on structured jackets like blazers.

    Posted 9.8.12 Reply
  4. You look fabulous!!!
    I love this yellow and I am also bummed to know that the collection was only made in Australia.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  5. Slimmed sleeve width is looking more better..All the things like top,necklace and coat are looking cool and trendy..The color is literally looking great..

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  6. Carol wrote:

    LOVE the blazer, tee, and cut off look. So adorable!

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  7. MissM wrote:

    I love your casual outfit with the shorts and sunglasses. I wouldn't mind seeing a full-length photo of that outfit (Your photos are always amazing!) with some really great boots/shoes.
    Have you thought about pairing the SM top with a pencil skirt? I know you want to balance it with a looser bottom half, but you are so tiny I think you would look great with the skirt too.:)

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  8. Emily wrote:

    Wow gorgeous. Love the jacket and that beautiful top!

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  9. this for sure is a fave post of mine. I was surprised that back then, only elle was able to snatch up this collection from her follower friend. very jealous bc I rmbr commenting on her post abt this shirt. love it!

    i see you got some sun lady! looking bronzed & golden!

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  10. This is gorgeous! I love the tip on snipping the elastic on ruched sleeves. I have a knit blazer in hot pink that I am going to do that on. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  11. Will Wong wrote:

    Good top, it fits you well.

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    I posted a while back and you said that you Ocassionally sell your clothes…I go
    To college in the Midwest where fashion is limited especially consignment shops. Any tips on where to find bloggers that are Perrier and sell
    Designer pieces like yourself or maybe you could tell me when you plan sell ( ie summer etc)

    Posted 9.6.12 Reply
  13. I feel the same about H&M; blazers too! But what do you do at the armhole? Like if the entire sleeve is too wide, then the armhole is too big, then how do you "mend" the armpit after slimming the sleeve?

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  14. the yellow looks great on you! xo

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  15. I didn't know that Stella McCartney designed a line for Target (Oz). I love her kids clothing. The shoes from the children collection are far cheaper than the similar looking ones in the grown up department.

    BTW, I've just had a chance to read about your travels to the Philippines and Guangzhou. It certainly brought back memories of my trip to Guangzhou when I went to attend a friend's wedding. Like you, I'd underestimated the weather and goodness, I wore ALL my clothes because there simply wasn't any heating in the hotels nor at all the places I went to. I had no idea you were born and grew up in China. It's wonderful that you still keep in touch with your relatives there.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  16. I found your blog over the weekend and got super excited to see a new post. πŸ™‚ You are adorable! I have always been petite, and have always struggle with things fitting me properly. I have still yet to find dress pants that don't sag off of my butt but at the same time fit around my hips and waist…

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  17. Ping wrote:

    jean, you look so good in those pants! i went to AT outlet and almost bought similar pants but decided not to bc the waist was too big. i actually didn't end up buying anything from AT. i got a navy polka dot sweater from jcrew. it was $50 still after the 40% discount, barely a sale!!!
    thanks for the mention! timmy appreciates it. lol

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  18. BEAUTY MD wrote:

    Cute outfit!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  19. Rachel wrote:

    Hi Jean! I see you're always doing your own alterations, but can you show us how you finish your seams? Thanks!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  20. obsessed with that top!

    Take a sneak peek into our photo shoot at the glitter life!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  21. I'm so amazed at your ability to do alterations! And of course, you look absolutely fabulous in them once your done. Great outfit – adore navy and yellow together!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  22. Pettit Mom wrote:

    I really in-love the outfit you wear here. Do you think, it is possible can used for interview outfit? I am kind na looking for interview next month. I found a black blazer is cheap which is I like badly but, I don't have idea what to put color underneath and what should pants color too. Any way, your the very inspirational and lovely's bloggers.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  23. Jackie wrote:

    This is super chic! I love the color combo!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  24. Erin wrote:

    That navy top is gorgeous! And i love what you did with the yellow jacket. It definitely looks better and more upscale without the ruching at the sleeves. And it's gorgeous with both your work attire and that rocker T and shorts.


    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  25. classic pieces and you look great Jean as always. Good job on altering the blazer. maybe I should start to learn how to sew.


    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  26. Rachelle wrote:

    This outfit really elongate your body, well done!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  27. Annabelle wrote:

    What a pretty top! Bummer that it's not currently available.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  28. The necklace is the showstopper for me in this outfit! I love it and must have it or something similar! It's the perfect elegant but statement making addition to an outfit!

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  29. rekha wrote:

    you look awesome! nice outfits. love the top,

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  30. Mary-Irene wrote:

    I agree completely with your comments about H&M; blazers. There's always like *one thing* about them that throws me off and makes me not buy. I admire you for being able to do your own alterations. It's a great skill to have!
    The notion of swapping or borrowing clothing is cool too. The ladies in my office are all much taller than I am, with slightly larger frames and sizes, so unfortunately they can't swap with me, but they do with one another. I enjoy seeing them sporting each others' outfits and styling them differently. One of the ladies actually started a pinterest board for office outfits because it's so much fun. I think that this whole idea is a really great way to scratch an itch for new clothing, and avoid spending on items you really aren't crazy about just to satisfy the itch.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  31. Carla Krae wrote:

    I LOVE the top.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  32. WOW! This outfit is amazing. I've got the same blazer, but left the sleeves the way they were (see my outfit with it here: click )
    I'm also quite petite, but I think the sleeves look okay on this one (though I agree with you on other H&M; blazers, the sleeves are terrible most of the time). Now that I've seen how good they look without the ruching, maybe I'll give it a go sometime in winter, as I'm not allowed to wear shorter sleeves to work around christmas anyway πŸ™‚


    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  33. annie wrote:

    It's refreshing to see you in more casual clothes; nice to see something different from your typical professional attire.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  34. This yellow blazer is sooo beautiful!
    And normally I only like skinny jeans or something like that but these pants look absolutely amazing on you.


    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    That top is gorgeous and looks so lovely on you! Such an incredible story of how Elle was able to get the SM pieces and how lucky for you she was willing to share. Although, I think if I were you, I'd be tempted to take it and run. πŸ˜‰

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  36. I love how you styled this blouse! You look fabulous.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  37. Love the necklace! I like the way you pulled this outfit together.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  38. On another note, you mentioned your love of the statement jewelry pieces and how it was difficult not to purchase the necklace in pearl. Given your handiness in learning how to sew, have you considered making your own jewelry? It is a passion of mine having started with stringing pieces for several years with beads, stones and findings from scratch and I've now gotten into beadweaving; I can tell you from experience that one can actually make quite beautiful pieces rather inexpensively. Alternatively one can purchase old pieces from thrift stores (or go through friends or relatives' unwanted jewelry) and revamp into a modern design. (I just ran across SewPetiteGal's blog and enjoy her entries on both jewelry and sewing projects also).

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  39. Fantastic outfit. love how you can pull off the yellow. Wonderfully done! It seems a great idea to have buddies with whom one shares similar styles, values and of course sizes to swap clothes with but I've never personally considered that possibility.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  40. jodi wrote:

    Hi! I'm from Australia and love reading your blog. What a surprise to read that you happened to wear a SM top from Oz! Great combo again – colour and style wise. PS. are those photos taken near your place?

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  41. Rose wrote:

    Gorgeous outfit and silhouette! I love that you wear lots of yellow! Do you have any tips for picking shades? My skin is a shade darker and yellower than yours and while I love yellow I'm always afraid of looking jaundiced. I see you pulling off all kinds of yellow though and looking fabulous! πŸ™‚

    (I don't think I've ever typed "yellow" so much in a comment. Hahah)

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  42. elleandish wrote:

    Very pretty ensemble..I swear your alteration skills are getting better each time! πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  43. Michelle wrote:

    You girls make me wish I lived on the East coast! Or at least traveled there more!

    What size is your DAB shirt?

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  44. i haven't done a clothing swap yet…but i would LOVE to! when i saw that you were wearing SM for target i was like….WAIT….how did i miss that?!?!? glad to know it wasn't my fault for missing it…ha ha!

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  45. Such a great, classic outfit! We considered that necklace too, but ended up doing the single drop pendant. You are right, it's major "bling"! I had searched your blog all weekend, remembering you did the yellow blazer tutorial. I have a peach 3/4 sleeve blazer from The Limited, that I'd love to remove the elastic on. Is it pretty easy, if only the elastic is visible? I just checked my jacket, and it's fully lined, so the elastic is not easily accessible. I guess I'll ask my tailor tomorrow what the charge would be…

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  46. trang wrote:

    that necklace is gorg and you look elegantly flawless as usual.

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  47. Suzie Q wrote:

    Great job with the blazer! I have the same one in beige, and I agree, the sleeves are too wide. It looks soo much better altered. You are seriously inspiring me to consider investing in a sewing machine with all your amazing alterations. Love the color combo here!

    Suzie Q

    Posted 9.5.12 Reply
  48. Also, these colors work so well together… It kind of threw me off.

    Posted 9.4.12 Reply
  49. That jacket looks so perfect now. Gooooooood job!

    Posted 9.4.12 Reply
  50. Mary Ann wrote:

    This is a gorgeous blouse, Jean! I was about to ask when the SM for Target line was debuting, but clearly I won't be getting my mitts on it in the US, ha! πŸ˜‰

    Posted 9.4.12 Reply

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