Pleats Pretty Please + Anthro Sale picks

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Pleats were a big trend at New York Fashion week for Spring 2016.  This is just a quick post to show how pretty pleats can be.  My friend Betty snagged this Leifsdottir pleated dress off the rack recently at Anthropologie for me. Unfortunately, they are all out but I just want to show the different ways you can wear this trend this spring (here is a micro-pleated chiffon skirt by ASOS that is similar in effect for the swing of the skirt).

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But pretty pleats aren’t just for a special occasion.  Here are some ways to get pleats into your everyday wardrobe:

White pleated cotton shirt with denim jeggings and boots (And special cameo appearance from my dog Lucky). Apparently he is a fan of pleats too!.  I love how the pleats turn an otherwise plain white shirt into something just a little more special.

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Maeve pleated white shirt 00 petite, Anthropologie, no longer available online; similar white tunic by Modcloth.

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And into your weekend or weekday wardrobe: a classic spring transition pea coat with a pleated back.

This is my friend Betty’s jacket – but I wish it were mine. This jacket will outlive any trends.  The front is your classic double breasted pea-coat styling, but it is the back that is to die for.  It’s the pleats that make this jacket!  Unfortunately, this jacket seems to sold out, but here is a similarly gorgeous Burberry jacket.

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And last, but not least, a few Anthropologie sale picks (act FAST).

Anthropologie is currently having a sale but as you can tell, items are quickly disappearing (all of the items above except for the Burberry jacket, I picked up on sale in store but are sold out online).

Below are a few steals that are still available & caught my eye .  They have high reviews and still have some PETITE sizes left.

 

 

Uniqlo pants review for petites

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Uniqlo leggings pants in dark charcoal grey. Size XS (I am 5’2″/104 lb).

If you haven’t heard of them, Uniqlo is a Japanese brand that sells basics at affordable prices.  Since they are from Japan, you can guess that their sizing runs smaller than average – which is great news for us petites.  Another bonus is that they offer free hemming.  I was happy, however, that the XS in pants worked fine for me (I’m 5′ 2″) so I didn’t need to bother with hemming.  I happened to be in Bellevue a few weeks ago when they had a grand opening for their new store, so I ducked in and grabbed a few pairs of basic pants.

They have a basic women’s pants/jegging (pictured above…and below).  These were warm, stretchy, and flattering.  And at a great price – regularly $29.90, on sale for $19.90 (and as of today looks like they are back up to regular price – but I would keep an eye out for a sale, especially after Christmas).  I think I will go back and pick up another pair or two in different colors (or better yet, online – although note that although shipping is free, returns are not).

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These are a dark charcoal grey with a denim texture.  Note I am wearing the asymmetrical top from my first post…in the spring!  It hasn’t been all that cold around here lately (I am near Seattle) and still is warm enough to wear with a tank top underneath and of course, some cozy boots.  Note that there is some bunching on the leggings – I don’t mind as I am mostly wearing these with boots, but if it had bothered me, I could have had them take an inch or two off.

I also had been eyeing some warm sweats/joggers to wear around town but hadn’t been wanting to spring the $80 – $100 at Lululemon or Athleta so I was excited pick up these fleece-lined joggers for $39.90 ($34.90 for grand opening sale).  They are much better in-person than on the website so I’m glad that I happened to see them in-store.

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Uniqlo warm-lined slim fit stretch pants
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Side & back zippered pockets…the back pocket is a little bulky. Probably the only minus.
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Fleece-lined with a drawstring on the inside.

And lastly, I discovered Uniqlo selling pants advertising some type of keep-warm “Heattech” technology.

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Women Heattech Legging Pants

Unfortunately, these leggings/pants did not work out for me.  I’m not sure what it was about them, but they just weren’t as flattering as the other pants. They were thicker than the average legging, but they didn’t feel especially warm to me.  In fact, the grey leggings above felt just as warm or warmer.  You might feel differently though – as they have some positive reviews on the Uniqlo site, at least for style.  As for me, however, I’m taking these back.

On another note, I picked up a down-like (in appearance, not in warmth) jacket for my son, and found that it fits me and is actually pretty cute.  Sorry, no picture right now but I will try to add one later.  If you need something lightweight and aren’t terribly worried about warmth…it’s a decent packable jacket for a steal of a price.  It would work for fall or spring (or, if you live in warmer climes, an anytime jacket).  I can’t attest to how well it will hold up (the zipper feels a bit flimsy), but it’s a nice looking jacket & comes in some fun colors.   I also picked up some fleece-lined pants for my 11-year old boy who pretty much will only wear jeans or sweats to school.  He loves them as they are cozy and great for the chilly and wet weather we’ve been having around here lately.  This is another pair of pants that I think looks better in real-life than in the pictures they have online.

Hope this was helpful.  I am interested in knowing what other Uniqlo pants or products worked for you, especially if you are petite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer into Fall . . . with the help of Seattle Teen Band Bleachbear

Moody florals are in for fall and I’m so excited that Bleachbear, an indie all-female band, agreed to do some pictures for the blog.  In this post, the girls accessorize with knee-highs, scarves, and jackets to add mood to our florals while staying chic & warm.

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Bleachbear Band. Left to right: Emiko Nakagawa Gantt (bass/vocals), Tigerlily Cooley (main vocals/song-writer/guitarist), Annabella Bird Cooley (percussion/vocals).

Bleachbear is a teen family band comprised of sisters Tigerlily and Annabella Bird Cooley and their cousin Emiko Nakagawa Gantt.  Their dream-pop grunge debut album, Lost Parade, was released in April of last year.  Since then, Bleachbear has gotten radio airplay worldwide, been featured in film soundtracks and on TV, and was named “Seattle’s Best Underage Band” by Seattle Weekly.

As described in their bio for Seattle Soundoff (an annual underage Battle of the Bands held at Seattle’s EMP), the band is “heavy on an atmosphere full of vintage influences and lead vocalist Tigerlily Cooley’s angst-soaked lyrics create an evocative, wistful vibe.  Bleachbear, with its breezily sweet harmonies layered over a fusion of distortion, has the perfect juxtaposition of fragile and badass.”

Here they are playing at the iconic Crocodile in Seattle:

As I mentioned above, moody florals are in for fall.  So, don’t put those short sets away just yet – they can still make a great outfit for those warm or just-a-bit cool fall days.  Moody can be anything that brings it down a notch from the bright summery vibe, e.g., deep colors and tones on either a dark background or with darker-colored accessories.   With the help of a few basics that you hopefully have in your closet, you can still have fun with your florals.

Below is Emiko, in her still-summer short set.  Normally, I wouldn’t recommend dark ankle boots for petites with shorts as it doesn’t do much for elongating the leg at the ankle, but with high-waisted shorts, they can be very flattering and chic.

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Sunglasses, Marc Jacob; Floral crop top with shorts, Shein; black wedge boots, old, similar; Watch, American Apparel; Lipstick, by MAC (Lady Danger).

For fall, add a classic moto jacket and a wool black floppy hat:

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Biker jacket, similar; Wool lariat hat, Forever 21.; Lipstick by MAC (Lady Danger).

Another easy way to add mood to any summer floral outfit is to throw a bright and cozy scarf over your neck and pair with the short black boots. This will work with a floral print dress as well.  Here is “before” – Tigerlily, in a bright summer short-set:

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Sunglasses, Marc Jacob; Crop Top & Short Set, Shein; Boots, Frye; Lipstick by MAC (Lady Danger).

And adding in a jewel-toned scarf with a classic jean jacket:

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Floral crop set with shorts, Shein; Scarf, old but similar here; Jacket, Levi’s.

Last but not least, is Annabella, showing us a practical and fun way to stay warm with knee-socks.  Knee-highs and thigh-highs made more than a few appearances during fall fashion week this year.  Turn any short set (or dress or skirt) into a fall outfit by adding a cozy jacket or blazer and matching knee-socks.

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Blazer, similar Modcloth; Scarf, Macy’s old, but similar here; Knee-socks from here;  Lipstick by MAC (Ruby Woo). .
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Knee-socks; Black short boots, similar Frye boots.

When it gets colder, you can add some additional warmth all the while staying a little more conservative by adding sheer tights underneath.  I have to admit, I have always found wearing knee-highs a bit intimidating (here is a useful article I came across if you are a bit like me: http://www.xojane.com/fashion/how-to-wear-knee-socks-without-looking-like-a-schoolgirl).  But, I plan to get over it soon, as I just love the idea of extending my summer wardrobe into fall without freezing.  I hope this post was helpful in your transition to fall.  In the meantime, please check out and follow this talented all-female band on Instagram, Facebook, Bandcamp or Youtube!

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Linda

How to get your nail polish to last a week! And, the perfect color…

Last week I had a manicure and wanted a color that was modern & pretty. And hopefully, long-lasting.  I  didn’t go with shellac because even though I love how long it lasts – it pretty much destroys my nails.   So, I went with a polish in this beautiful color – Thistle Thicket by CND Vinylux.  It’s a gorgeous creme grey with a lilac hue.

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The Little Black Dress & Banana Republic’s Embark

My friend Betty is funny, smart, and creative.  Here she shares about her closet and her latest recommendations to find a deal…

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I have this problem.  It’s actually become more of an illness.

My obsession with shopping has resulted in a closet full of little black dresses that have never seen the light of the day – the poor things are crying out to be taken out on the town.  Good news is that I will have the perfect LBD for just about every special occasion.  Mind you, I’m a homebody who hardly ever goes out.  But a girl can dream.

Part of the illness is that I can’t pass up a good deal.  If it’s on clearance, I have to have it.  And then, there’s the thrill of the hunt and the score.  Like getting a dress that was originally $130 for under $20.  Yes, I’m that good.

So this “illness” of mine extends beyond clothing to home goods.  I may actually love home goods more than my stock-pile of LBDs.  Lamps shades, throw pillows, blankets, frames – one for every season, holiday, and just because.  It’s out of control.

Since my closet and my home are busting at the seams, but I can’t stop shopping and can’t stand the idea of letting a good deal slip away – this blog is my retail therapy.  If I can’t buy it – at least someone else out there can benefit from my finds.  So please help me help you!

BANANA REPUBLIC “EMBARK”

So my closet of LBDs is thanks to my favorite store – Banana Republic.  It’s my go-to place for achieving a simple, polished look.  When I was in my 20s and just starting out in my career, I would often skip lunch just to go shopping at Banana.  I still remember when I first became a “Luxe” member over a decade ago.  All those lunch-time shopping excursions quickly added up and soon I had earned enough points to become a “Luxe” member with added privileges like free basic alterations and free shipping.  And when I stopped working after my first child was born, I remember lamenting to my husband that I no longer had an excuse to go shopping now that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom.  “What if I lose my Luxe status?” I whined.  My husband just shook his head, appalled that we were starting a family and all I could think about was losing my Luxe status.  Fast forward over a decade later and I am happy to say that I never did lose my precious Luxe status.  Apparently once you earn it – it’s never taken away.  Thanks Banana!  And I’ve drifted in and out of being a stay-at-home and working mom, and Banana has remained my favorite go-to store for both casual and business attire.

For years now, I have prided myself on mastering the art of shopping for discounts at Banana – hitting their 40% percent or additional 60% off clearance sales.  But I’ve recently discovered an even better way to score additional discounts.  Not too long ago, Banana started this “Embark” program.  So essentially by becoming an Embark member, you just enter your phone number every time you make a purchase and Banana will credit money back to your account if someone else ends up buying the same item for less within 7 days.  You will be credited back the difference in savings and you can use that credit towards a future purchase during designated “Embark Days.”

But what’s even better than earning those credits back is actually when you get to choose an “Embark Pass” which are additional perks that you get to select.  You get to choose from 3 rewards – like my most recent one was 1) 30% off woman’s dresses, 2) Extra 5% off sale’s item, and 3) Free 2-day express shipping.  Naturally I selected the 30% off woman’s dresses so I can stock my closet with more LBDs.

And here’s the secret – the trick to maximizing your discounts is to make the purchase on-line because the site will allow you to combine promos.   I’ve tried using my “30% off woman’s dresses” embark pass at the store during one of Banana’s take an additional 40% off promos and the store wouldn’t allow me to combine discounts.  But I tried it on-line and it totally worked!  So I got this cute little quilted shift dress (yes, I know  – it’s another LBD.   But I don’t have a “quilted” dress in my collection so it’s totally justifiable, right?).  It was originally $130, but after all my discounts I got it for under $12!  Seriously – I kid you not.   I’ve got the invoice to prove it.

Receipt petite finds style double

So become an Embark member, combine those discounts, and happy shopping!

StitchFix for petites review

This is a review of my most recent StitchFix box.  For those of you unfamiliar with StitchFix, it’s an online service that, for a $20 styling fee, will send you a “fix” – 5 items of clothing and/or accessories based on an online profile that you fill out.  You have a few days to decide what to keep or return.   Just drop the items you don’t want back into the mail.  The $20 styling fee will be credited against any items that you keep.  This is my fourth box….my first three boxes weren’t much of a success because most of the items did not fit because they were not in petite sizing, which is what I normally wear (note -I did keep some nice scarves and accessories, which I don’t think I would have picked out myself).  So, I was excited to learn before this box arrived that StitchFix now carries petites!   Here are the items from my box…

1) XSP (Petite!) – Collective Concepts Rilo Button-Up Blouse  $68.00

I love the color – coral with the flecks of blue.  This is my first item I have received that is actually in petite (and only one in this box, actually).  It’s flattering and it fits.  Great for the office or just with jeans.

stitchfix Rilo Petite blouse

and a bit brighter with white denim…

 

 

Rilo XS Petite Button-Up Blouse White Jeans Petite

2) XS – Gilli Lauree V-Neck Drape Dress Navy  $68.00

This dress is comfortable – the fabric is soft and the cut is flattering.  It’s a great anytime dress.   Unfortunately, it went back because I felt the price was a bit high for the fabric and quality.  But…again StitchFix is about saving time – so if I were not a big shopper – this would be a keeper.  It is not petite, but still fit me – so those of you that only wear petites might want to keep Gilli in mind as an option.

Gilli XS Lauree V-Neck Drape Dress Non Petite

Items 3) and 4) were too big, but here they are (btw, I am 5’2″ and 104 pounds).

3) XS Market & Spruce Chaimbers Cowl Neck Knit Top $68.00

If this had fit, it would have definitely been a keeper.  Super soft and would have been so cute with a pair of skinnies or a pencil skirt.

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4)  XS Market & Spruce Hoover Asymmetric Knit Top $48.00

I also liked this top, but just too big..

XS Non Petite Hoover Asymmetric

5) Finally, XS Kiley Ankle Zip Legging $58.

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I liked the fabric of these – better quality than your average legging and although hard to tell from the picture, a bit of a satin sheen (but not too much).   I didn’t include a picture of myself wearing them but I am keeping them because I can always use a nice pair of black leggings.  Only time will tell as to the quality and if they are worth the price.

After 4 boxes, my verdict on StitchFix is that generally it’s convenient, fun, (in fact, I think these are their survey questions they ask at the end of each fix 🙂 ) and an easy way to breathe life into your wardrobe. For some of the items, however, you will be definitely be paying 25-30% more than if you found them yourself (although, if you keep all 5 items, you get 25% off). Even though I’ve only kept 1-2 items out of each box, I still think it’s a worthwhile service.  You can’t beat having a personal stylist send items right to your own home.  Many Stitchfix customers also swear by providing your stylist with detailed comments and putting up a Stitchfix Pinterest board so your stylist can become familiar with your style.  So, if you want new ideas for your closet (who doesn’t?), are especially short on time (hmmm, same?), and don’t mind paying a bit more for convenience  (this may be the deciding factor) – you should definitely try it (if you do try it for the first time, please use my referral link. :))

What is your experience with StitchFix and special sizes, petite or plus?  I would love to hear!

Transitioning to Spring

My first outfit post.  By the way, I think I could get used to this – having an excuse for a manicure & a pedicure (it’s still 40 degrees around here) in the name of sharing favorites from my closet!

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I love how a floral spring scarf can take any outfit into spring. Vera scarf (similar lightweight pretty scarves here), Old Navy top (similar), suede wedge boots (old) similar, Tory Burch 56 mm Cat Eye sunglasses (Nordstrom), and Gucci bag (see below)
I love how a floral spring scarf can take any outfit into spring. Vera scarf (similar lightweight pretty scarves here), Old Navy top (similar), suede wedge boots (old, similar) , Tory Burch 56 mm Cat Eye sunglasses (Nordstrom), and Gucci bag (see below)

 

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This Gucci patent leather bag is one of my all-time favorites!  It is not available anymore but there are several online consignment shops selling it, (search “Gucci Patent Leather D Ring Large Hobo”). I hesitate to include a link since I haven’t actually used any of them, but if you do your homework and don’t mind pre-owned, it’s a steal at $400-$600.  Not only is it beautiful, but it is luxuriously soft and light. Perfect for fall and winter (I live in Seattle, so it’s perfect for the rain) but also can be sleek for spring…and in the summer it finishes a black/white ensemble beautifully. If I find something close to it, I will let you know. In the meantime, here is a Michael Kors bag that I have been eyeing.

By the way, the Tory Burch glasses above are my favorite sunglasses.  I haven’t found an outfit that they don’t look good with.  These cat eyes from Tory Burch will look good on just about every face shape (am I being over optimistic? let me know if I’m wrong). I purchased this pair from Nordstrom after falling in love with them at the counter, but it looks like they are available on Amazon for $50 less.

Swapping the boots out for some nude wedges (similar) along with white jeans (Banana Republic, old, similar), Tory Burch 60 mm Aviators, and the iconic Louis Vuitton Alma or other classic structured handbag:

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I purchased this photo session almost two years ago from Aderyn Photography at an auction benefiting a great organization, ACRS.  Big thanks to Aderyn not only for donating to a good cause but for honoring my purchase almost 2 years later (life got hectic..) and for taking some great pictures!

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