Winter neutrals: Classic trench + silk stripes (& Stuart Weitzman Park Boots Review)

Burberry trench sz US 2 (similar), thrifted Ann Taylor top (DIY re-sized), Ann Taylor skirt & necklace
Longchamp tote (similar with zipper), Hue tights, Louboutin Decolettes, H&M; gloves

Last January, I remember treating myself to a study break during Savers thrift store’s 50% off day. While speeding through the racks looking for quality fabrics, I came upon this $3 Ann Taylor blouse. Although the referee stripes are a little dizzying, I loved the clean lines of the hidden-button collar and the airy 100% silk material. It was just a tad boxy…but sure made for good sewing practice!
As it was my first time re-sizing a blouse, my workmanship was decent at best. Even though I finished this project over a year ago, it hasn’t gotten much wear due to a peek-a-boo gapping problem at the chest. I probably cut it a little too narrow there, but just noticed that this was an issue even when the top was oversized (see upper left photo). A little double-sided fashion tape did the trick – for months I was too lazy to go find this tape, and only have some now thanks to Nick’s mom.

For the full steps I took to re-size this blouse (including narrowing the shoulders, slimming the torso, and shortening and slimming the sleeves), please see this post. I used the exact same approach and even the same well-fitting blouse for the pattern:
On an unrelated note, here’s a quick review of some Stuart Weitzman boots that I tried on and returned. They were over half off at Bloomies from $595, and are currently on sale at Nordstrom and a few other retailers ($298 here – don’t forget that Nordies is pretty good at price matching). I am hooked on Stuart Weitzman boots for their buttery soft leather, sleek silhouettes, and relatively slim shafts, but this style just did not work out for me.

*Boots are a deep, non-shiny black leather. Photos below were lightened to show the detailing*


Style: Tall boot with classic-style foot, almond-shaped toe and manageable 3.5″ heel. Inside zipper that goes up halfway, and slim patch of stretchy material (like on the 50/50s) down the back center.

Foot fit: I usually wear between 5 and 5.5 in American brand shoes, and size 5 in SW boots consistently works for me. The middle part of the footbed on these boots felt narrower than usual, and was a very snug fit on me at that point.

Shaft height: Shaft of a sz 5 measured 13″ tall from the back and about 14.5″ tall from the front, measured from the base of the foot not including heels. Please keep in mind that as sizes get bigger, shaft height and circumference may also increase slightly. These were too high for me and hit awkwardly at my lower knee, about an inch above where womens tall Hunter boots do, for reference.

Shaft circumference: Measured about 12 and 5/8th inches around the widest point on a size 5. These are a little wider than the 50/50 because the shaft composition is more leather, and can still stretch a bit due to the back panel. They fit me at my calves, but were too wide at the top opening (which is probably designed to hit at the wearer’s calves). They would’ve fit better circumference-wise over a pair of jeans, but I am looking for boots to wear mostly with tights or bare legs.

I cannot speak to the comfort as I only tried them on for a few minutes, but the quality appeared to be excellent and the leather was extremely soft. Alas, the tall black heeled boot search continues…

stuartweitzman_park1 Hrm, seeing these photos reminds me to try on skirts/pants at home and test how they fare after a little sitting. I almost always do this, but was so excited to have found this Ann Taylor skirt on clearance (months after admiring it as a new arrival) that I ripped the tags off and wore it to work right away. Within 10 minutes of sitting, deep creases formed on both sides which can’t be fully ironed out, even on my highest setting. Oh well – I love the mix of herringbone and faux-leather trim, and will suffer through the creases until a higher-quality replacement is found.

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  1. Melanie wrote:

    I love it 😀

    Love xx
    Melanie ~

    Posted 1.26.13 Reply
  2. Wow! Fantastic ensemble!

    Kate xo

    Posted 1.26.13 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    What a great look! Love the colour/texture combo! The shirt-gap might stem from a slightly off-placed button, you might want to compare the button holes to the position of the buttons, laying them next to each other. Looks like one or both of the two upper visible buttons just needs repositioning according to button holes on the other side 🙂 *tricia

    Posted 1.26.13 Reply
  4. Michelle wrote:

    Absolutely love your before picture! 🙂 You make what could look very Beetlejuice, look classy.

    Good choice returning the boots.

    Posted 1.26.13 Reply
  5. Nice and gorgeous! I think the waist of the blouse can be tightened a bit more to make it more fitted?

    This look reminds me my search for the perfect trench coat and I come across that you had a few post about this before. It is really useful for me! Thank you, Jean! Just that the burberry coat is still too pricey for me and there are not as much sale in burberry as in US.

    Posted 1.26.13 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Hairdo lends a very tired, matronly look (esp. in 1st photo). Hair down gives is more youthful-looking for you Jean!

    Posted 1.26.13 Reply
  7. i love this post so much! thanks for posting this! I have so many shirts that are loose and need to be re-sized.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  8. Jean.. how do you keep the skirt from turning?!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  9. newpetite wrote:

    Love the first picture! Love the outfit and how you've styled it.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  10. Bela Anzu wrote:

    Hi Jean, I've been fazed by how to style my work shirts, so this elegant outfit is helpful. I'll remember I can wear a statement necklace or two the next time.

    After reading so many of your DIY posts, you've inspired me to take an introductory sewing course with eight classes in total. I took my first class this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  11. Petite-ish wrote:

    Such a classic B&W; look! And got a kick out of your football graphic. You are always so creative with those "before" pics 😀

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  12. Lovely outfit! You are so good with sewing and I love your skirt.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  13. Genie wrote:

    Love the first shot, you could build an entire story around it. The skirt is so pretty, even though you mentioned it creases, if you find an alternative please let us know! I always find you so talented especially since you tailor most of your clothes yourself.


    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  14. Your look, as always, is elegant and classy! I love that you do a lot of DIY tailoring and your descriptions of how to do it are great, perfect for petite girls who are often frustrated by being unable to wear beautiful clothes that do not come in petite sizes 🙂

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    I got the Longchamp Le Pilage after reading Jean's review. (she did it a while back. I love it. It's nylon but look stylish enough for a profesional work outfit. I love how it's water resistant in the rain.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  16. Mady T. wrote:

    love the skirt! the shirt is amazing! you really have an amazing eye for thrifting…


    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  17. Rosie wrote:

    @Anon — what a clever way to make lemons out of lemonade!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  18. Rosie wrote:

    The Longchamp cabas looks good on you! I love the the cabas because of how it folds up so small. I often stick mine in my handbag for picking up groceries on the way home from work.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  19. Janki wrote:

    Very nice outfit! I normally stay away from those stripes as they tend to feel dizzying as you mentioned.
    A sewing question for you: did you use a thinner needle when working on silk? Was it tricky to work on that fabric? I'm tempted to try on some of my thrifted blouses this weekend.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    I love your stockings– it's so opaque. Which ones do you use?

    Also, how do you keep stylish while keeping your ears warm? 🙂

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  21. You look great! I love the neutral outfit and the stripes add depth to the outfit. I love how you paired the necklace with the top!

    It's a bummer the boots didn't work out, they look nice!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  22. Very nice outfit, for work or weekend! For the high heeled black boots, you may want to try SW crushable knee-high boots or Tod's? These two styles are very comfortable (I shopped Newbury on them all day)!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    If wrinkles are an issue, have you considered getting a Jiffy steamer? They really work a charm on stubbon wrinkles!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    Make sure it is a WHITE dish towel. I won't embarrass myself here, but I know from experience . . . . Let's just say I now have a cool wool jacket that used to be a dress.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  25. Such a lovely outfit! Where did you get the earrings?

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  26. i love how you altered the blouse – this outfit is so elegant and timeless!! i love the trench with it – stunning.

    xox P

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  27. Jane wrote:

    Jean, to get rid of the wrinkles in the AT skirt, dampen a dish towel and lay it over the wool while you iron the towel on the highest setting. The steam helps get the wrinkles out.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  28. Beautiful and classy 🙂

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  29. GEMMA wrote:

    Amazing outfit!

    Come visit for a MIU MIU IPHONE COVER:


    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  30. GERALDINE wrote:

    A really nice outfit. The first pic is really awesome. Absolutely perfect! Nothing to change… Style as its best! I loved everything… Have a great day/night. Cheers from Switzerland. G.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  31. Kittie wrote:

    great review! I would love to do some DIY resizing as well!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  32. Carla Krae wrote:

    Blouses gap when the buttons are above and below your breasts instead of a button being centered between them. A blouse fits correctly when the button is centered.

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    Can I request a review of the Longchamp Le Pilage tote? Or maybe just a short blurb about it really. I've been hesitating to take the plunge and buy it, so any info or a review, what you like/don't like, how durable, etc. would be much appreciated by me at least!

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  34. Bubbles wrote:

    you are so good with DIY clothing!!! it's really amazing! i actually want to buy my own sewing machine and start off small by hemming my jeans… 😀

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  35. Kaity wrote:

    I've been following your blog for a while and know that you are more into alterations lately, so when i came across this girl's blog all about her alterations I immediately thought of you. Perhaps you might find it interesting/helpful in your alteration endeavors this year. (I am not this person nor do i know who she is…i just found some of her alterations really cute and thought you might too.)

    Posted 1.25.13 Reply
  36. SC wrote:

    Have you tried Via Spiga boots? I don't have any SW boots but I find the quality good enough and the price more reasonable.

    I have a pair of black leather Via Spiga Waverly boots I got from Ebay for $30. They fit very close to my calves and the leather is very nice (at least in my opinion). They are sold out, but Via Spiga should have similar styles. Good luck in your search for a heeled black boot.

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  37. Lovely photo and beautiful outfit! I love your extensive reviews of clothing – you do a great job!


    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  38. Susanna C. wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  39. KC wrote:

    I love the neutrals! Have been wearing a lot of neutral colors myself lately 🙂 Amazing DIY job as usual! For boots – I loved those boots you recommended from the bloomie's sale – they fit perfectly around the calf since they are like a heeled version of the 50/50 (see on my newly started blog –, maybe you can call around to see if they are still available in your size?? They run true to size unlike the 5050, which is half size bigger.
    Keep up the wonderful posts!

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  40. i have a shirt very similar that I found in a thrift store .. thanks for
    the tip using double sided tape


    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  41. Those SW boots look really chic 🙂 I have a pair very similar to your tall one by SW as well, but much shorter. I love the quality of SW craftsmanship 😀
    I love your football portrayal of the blouse! LOL

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  42. lin wrote:

    i agree with the first commenter. the first pic could have been right out of a fashion magazine. you look lovely and so chic.

    the shirt fits you very nicely after the alterations. great job! wish i had some of your skills and patience to do my own alterations.

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  43. Suzie Q wrote:

    I love the neutral colored outfit, the skirt is so pretty. Great job on the DIY alteration, especially as your first blouse project, it fits great on you!

    Suzie Q

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  44. Tara wrote:

    I hardly ever find the treasures that you find at thrift stores! It may just be my location, but all of shops here seem to be filled with '90's velvet spaghetti strap tops. You look absolutely lovely!

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  45. Rachelle wrote:

    I love this look, you altered that stripe shirt perfectly.


    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  46. I love how you alter a lot of things yourself!! It's very inspirational!! You look so pretty in this outfit!! Also, what size is that Burberry trench? I find that most adult sizes are way too big for me!!


    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  47. Love the neutral monochrome outfit :)!! So classy and elegant.

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  48. Wow – that first photo is gorgeous – it looks like it could be in Vogue!

    Love the slimmed down blouse – such a transformation! Wish I had the patience to sew, but I don't LOL…it's just not a passion of mine – but I definitely admire the results on other people 🙂

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply

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