Tag : style

Fashion | 3 Trends Worth Embracing This Season

It’s easy to spot the trends just by dropping into a couple of your favorite stores, some you like and some maybe not so much. I’ve picked out the 3 trends that I believe work the best with the most complexion and figure types: B&W, Pastel, and Lipstick Red.PhotoGrid_1398284657091

Black & White

This season, black and white goes bold. These two opposites make the perfect fashion statement.

1. Goodnight Macaron Monochrome Plaid Car Coat
2. Kate Spade Shore Road Laurel
3. Ann Taylor City Stripe Dress (styled here)
4. Ann Taylor Contrast Perfect Stretch Cotton Sleeveless Shirt
5. Kate Spade Lilia Heels

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Pastels & Bows

Pastels give off a feminine and romantic vibe to any outfit, but with bow, it’s the epitome of elegance and class.

1. Banana Republic Heritage Leopard Jacquard Fit-and-Flare Dress
2. Zara Straight Cut Coat
3. Kate Spade Terra Skirt
4. Kate Spade Skinny Pyramid Bow Belt
5. Kate Spade Lilia Heels
6. Ann Taylor Ombre Yarn Die Stripe Scarf
7. Aritzia Wilfred Deesse Skirt (similar here, styled here)
8. Kate Spade Photo Finish Francis
9. Loft Anorak Jacket (similar here, styled here, and here) & Loft Seamed Flounce Skirt (similar here, styled here)

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Lipstick Red

Bright, hot, eye-catching lipstick red is in for the season. I’ve avoided red all my life, but I’m willing to give that Zara red Gathered Shoulder Blazer a try (Did you know Duchess of Cambridge also sported Zara’s red blazer with gathered shoulders? See here)

1. Kate Spade Charles Street Audrey
2. Kate Spade Angelika Dress
3. Zara Blazer with Gathered Shoulders
4. Zara Flared Skirt (styled here)
5. J.Crew Skinny Belt
6. Kate Spade Racer Flats

If you were equally intrigued with that last flat like I was, there’s even a GO taxi flats. Imagine that.

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Categories: Style

Reviews | Zara Picks: Spring 2014

If you’ve been following my posts (here, here and here), you would know that Zara is one of my favorite brands. It had always been on trend, reasonable price, and durable quality. However, this season, I set my eyes on two dresses and they’ve both returned as disappointments. PhotoGrid_1395764037743When I was browsing the “new this week”, these two dresses caught my attention immediately. The bold print on the left is perfect for summer and that subtle neutral/ivory colorblock is on the dot for spring.

FLOWER PRINTED DRESS REVIEW

PhotoGrid_1395765394651When worn, even with my petite frame of 5’4″ , it looked proportional even if it became an above knee dress instead of a mini on the taller model. The orange patches looked washed out on the model, but it is actually a fuller color.

PhotoGrid_1395765436298The back has a gaping hole held together by a weirdly designed button feature. It wasn’t shown on the model with her long hair, but it bothered me.

PhotoGrid_1395765888228Like: I love the bold print and the breathable cotton fabric. The silhouette looked flattering on my frame. It has pockets even though it is just a patch of cloth sewn on the dress.

Dislike: The dress is not lined. It felt very flimsy. Someone described it as a table linen upon touching it. The execution was rough and the stitches were coming off. If it were half the price, I might have considered purchasing it.

Verdict: I love the print, knew it would turn heads, but for the quality, I’d save it for something else. So back it goes.

TWO-TONE DRESS WITH EMBELLISHED NECKLINE REVIEW

PhotoGrid_1395765553359It looked like a beautiful dress and I wished with all my heart that it would be so when I received my package. When I touched the fabric, it dawned on me that with the rising material and labor costs, the quality can only go downhill. The fabric is not the thick and supple like the past structured dresses I’ve purchased from Zara.
PhotoGrid_1395765594283 I would give it full score for the design, but none for execution. The color is lovely, but the flimsy fabric allowed for unwanted folds and shadows, which is not flattering.

If you were excited that there were pockets, you would be exasperated when you see the lining.  It not only covers half of the dress, but the pocket area just look sad. And when I tried on the dress, the cheap polyester lining clung to my skin in a very uncomfortable way.PhotoGrid_1395765674470There is also an odd security like round impression on the side of the dress that I’ve never noticed. I suspect it was to prevent items been stolen from the factory and reproduced elsewhere.

Like: Love the color, love the design and idea, love that there are two pockets with the colorblock pattern

Dislike: The fabric is thin and not soft. It does not hug your curve, but instead bulges here and there in an unacceptable manner. The lining is cheap and uncomfortable and it is only half-lined.

Verdict: I really wished this dress would be better because I really like the design being so classy and elegant, but alas, for a made in China dress with hole on the side from the security tag, this is a heart sinking pass.

ZARA FLOWER PRINTED DRESS
ZARA 
TWO-TONE DRESS WITH EMBELLISHED NECKLINE

Categories: Reviews

Love at First Sight: Ann Taylor Varick Tassle Leather Gloves

After moving to the Midwest, I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect pair of leather gloves that is functional, chic, and comfortable. I believe I’ve found it at last at AT – Ann Taylor Varick Tassle Leather Gloves in wine color.

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The best part is the color. Instead of the traditional black or brown, I opted for the dark, elegant, silky smooth, wine color. These little beauties are made with 100% sheep leather and 100% silk lining. They are buttery soft and keep my hands warm and comfy.IMAG0350

When you look at the details at the rim and the tassel, you instantly recognize the craftsmanship and care poured into them. They just came out this month for $79.50, but you can get them $39.75 or $47.70 if you purchase them at the right time.IMAG0352

HOW TO BE SMART WHEN SHOPPING AT ANNTAYLOR.COM

In Season Items: The highest discount is 50% off. There are usually flash sales and lunch sales for selected items but rarely 50% off entire purchase. When you receive the email for 50% off regular price and you’ve been eyeing that shoe or dress or whatever, buy it.

Sale Item: The highest discount is additional 60% off. There are usually a couple additional 60% off per clearance season, but most of the sizes are gone after the first flash sale, so be nimble and decisive.

Categories: Style

Purchase Philosophy

It takes time, money, and energy to become a smart shopper. You do not need to spend a lot of money to look good, but it does require a conscious and logical mind to avoid the shopping trap. There are way more things out there than our wallet can buy.

At some point in life we have all purchased things that were heavily discounted but looked just OK on us, but we would still purchase it because “it is such a good deal.” I’m sure there are a couple pieces off the top of your head. It could be a color that doesn’t look flattering on you, it could be a size that was a tad too small or too big, it could be a style that emphasize all the wrong parts of your body, but we would still buy it because it is on discount.

As a new working professional, my closet is no longer filled with trendy pieces but classy quality blouses and blazers that I can wear for years to come.

Before I consider an item, I ask myself: do I need it or do I want it?

There are critical differences between needs and wants. Needs could range from daily necessities such as socks and underwear to the snow jacket you need to last through winter, but be aware that you need it not only because you lack it, but because it is something required for daily life or required for an event or trip.

You do not need it if you already have one and is lusting after a new color or style and you do not need it if can go on living your life without it.

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Now, there are some rules of thumb that I go through before I make a purchase. If any item fails to meet any one criteria, put it back on the shelf. 

1. Does it fit right?

This should be a no-brainer, but apparently not so unless we consciously think about it. You could be trying on your normal size pants, but it is loose around your thigh, it is tight under your crotch, or it squeezes your behind forming an unflattering shape. Or you could be trying on your normal size top, but it is loose under your arm making it gap, or for those that are well-endowed or not so well endowed, the chest area does not fit right.

Every piece of clothing even by the same brand has a different fit. If any part of the clothing does not feel right, put it back on the shelf. It does not matter if it is $10 or more than 50% off. If it does not fit right and does not have a flattering fit, leave it, save that money for another piece that will fit just right.

2. Does it work with your closet?

Think about what you already have in your closet. Think about the color palette of your outfits. Then think about how this particular piece of clothing play into the mix. Can you already envision a variety of ways to work this new addition with other pieces in your closet? If the answer is yes, proceed to next criteria.

3. Do you already have something like it?

If you already have three pairs of black slim pants, do you need another pair of black slim pants? You might argue that it fits you better and it very well might be, then maybe you should be donating or selling your pair that “does not fit as well.”

4. Is it good quality?

Feel the material; is it soft, does it wrinkle easily? Check the seams; is it sewn with care, do you see loose threads, are the buttons coming off? These are all indicators you should be aware of. Again, price in a non factor if it doesn’t yell quality. This is also why I’ve drifted away from brands such as H&M, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe. My favorite brands for quality clothing are Zara, Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, Mango, and Express.

5. Is there a time frame?

Is it something that will go out of fashion? Will it go out of season soon or will continue to be a timeless classic. Is it something too young for your age or too old for your age. If there is an expiration date on how long you can wear this piece, how much you spend on it should be proportionally less.

6. Is it worth it?

For the money, are you getting the most out of it? How often you will use it should be put into calculation. Also, I consider the difference between functional vs stylish items. For the staple winter coat, I will probably spend a little more to get a high wool content coat than a good looking coat made of polyester.

If the item in question passes all 6 criteria, congratulations, you have found your next smart purchase. If the item does not pass all 6 criteria, put it back and stop thinking about it.

Many of my items have a * next to the price. It means I purchased at discount.

Categories: Style, Wardrobe Tips