Fashion Friday on a Tuesday: Stitch Fix Review #11

It’s been more than a year since my last Stitch Fix – I went out on a high note, keeping the whole box for the first time ever. I decided at that point to quit making clothing purchases and focus for awhile on refining my fashion sense and editing my wardrobe accordingly. This past spring, I worked towards a minimalist wardrobe centered around a specific palette and I’ve been trying to do that again this fall. It isn’t as hardcore minimalist as the wardrobes of people who limit themselves to 33 items, but for me, it’s pretty pared down.

But last month, I realized I had built up a little bit of referral credit in my Stitch Fix account, and I thought it would be fun to get a box and see if I could find one perfect piece to add to my wardrobe. Before I show you what I got, if you’d like to read previous reviews, you can check them out here:

Stitch Fix Review #1

Stitch Fix Review #2

Stitch Fix Review #3

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix Review #5

Stitch Fix Review #6

Stitch Fix Review #7

Stitch Fix Review #8

Stitch Fix Review #9

Stitch Fix Review #10

My 11th box arrived on Friday, and my first impression of everything was very good. I had stipulated that I didn’t want any accessories this time, and that I really wanted to focus on work-appropriate tops and jackets/cardis. I was also open to a skirt or dress. My stylist Shannon kept to my requests and picked out some really cute stuff, all within the price  point I set.

As usual, please ignore my dirty mirror and messy room! All my house cleaning efforts have been focused on the downstairs, where our Thanksgiving company will be!

First up was this sweet Daniel Rainn Minal V-Neck Silk Blouse, in a deep teal – a color I had been looking to add to my fall wardrobe.

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When I first pulled this out of the box, I instantly thought this was the piece I was going to keep. And when I tried it on, I was still pleased with it. It’s 100% silk, which I like, but it’s different from my other silk blouses in that it doesn’t button all the way down the front (meaning I don’t have to worry about a gap between the buttons at the chest, as I sometimes do). It’s also long and just a wee bit blousy, so again, different from other tops in my current wardrobe.

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However, it lies a little funny around the shoulders and bust, and it looks like it wants to stay this way. Also, at $78, it costs more than the silk blouses I’ve been able to buy on sale at Ann Taylor, which also have a more upscale feel. So though my initial impression was positive, I’ve decided that I’m just not wowed enough to keep this one. Verdict: Send Back.

Up next was this really sweet Market & Spruce Kristah Ruffle Knit Blazer.

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I was suuuuper excited to see a black blazer in my box. The last time Stitch Fix sent me one, I fell in love with it and then it ended up being way too tight and I had to send it back. That’s one down side of this service – you may get something you love, but if it doesn’t fit, you are out of luck; you can’t exchange it for a different size.

But I had a very good impression of this when I first tried it on. It’s a pointe knit with a great feel, and I just thought it was so completely cute. With three-quarter sleeves, it’s different from the other black blazer in my wardrobe (which gets a lot of wear). I felt like I would definitely get a lot of use out of this piece. Plus, it has this really adorable little ruffle detail on the back:

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It’s like a slightly sheer two-tiered ruffle coming out of the bottom back of the jacket. I was sure this was a keeper.

Then I tried it on for my husband. And he immediately pointed out what my brain had selectively chosen not to see:

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Yeah, it pulls, y’all. It doesn’t feel too tight. But that pulling is not flattering. And when I looked around online to see this same piece in other people’s Stitch Fix boxes, I saw this same thing happening in their pictures – unless they were wearing it open, which many of them were. But on me, wearing it open just looks unflattering. Plus, I don’t like buying a piece that’s supposed to button but can’t be worn that way. Verdict: Send back, with a huge sad face.

Next up was this RD Style Kalin Draped Cardigan.

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It’s hard for me to love an acrylic sweater, y’all. Call it knitter’s bias, but if I’m not wearing a handknit wool sweater, I want my store-bought sweaters to be either wool or cotton. I’m also not a fan of the marled look. That said, the fit of this was kind of cute:

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But still, this one was a no-brainer. Verdict: Send back.

Next up was a sweet little Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress. My stylist wrote, “I checked out your Pinterest board and I noticed you pinning a ton of vintage inspired Fit & Flare dresses. I thought you may fall in love with this gorgeous Pixley striped number. The silhouette is very classic but the v-back is what makes this dress extra special.”

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I have to say, this dress is pretty cute. I love the stripes and I love the shape and I definitely love the v-back, which I didn’t manage to get a shot of. At $68, it’s a nice price for a dress.

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But here’s what’s keeping me from keeping it:

  1. Though it feels comfortable, it looks too tight.
  2. The shoulders have a little bit of puff to them (intentional, part of the style). This isn’t a feature I care for – looks good on other people, but just not my personal style.
  3. I have no place to wear something like this. It is too fun/casual/party-ish for my work but not something I would likely pull out for a night out, either. (I learned this lesson from the last dress I kept through Stitch Fix – I love the dress and thought I would wear it for going out, and I think I’ve worn it precisely once).

It’s a shame, because it’s an adorable dress, but I want to be very realistic about what looks good on me, what fits in my wardrobe, and what I will actually wear. Verdict: Send back.

Finally, there was this Paradigma Firnat Henley Blouse. My stylist wrote, “I noticed that a lot of the items you liked from your last Fix were very boho-inspired. The Paradigma henley blouse brings boho into fall with the sheer material and loose silhouette.”

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This is an interesting piece. It’s got a sheer black cami to be worn underneath, and then the top itself it also sheer (but layered on top of the cami keeps the body of the blouse from being sheer). It does have a loose silhouette, but the light, sheer fabric makes it flowy rather than maternity-ish (right? you guys would tell me if it made me look pregnant, I hope)

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I would not be pairing it with this A-line corduroy skirt as shown above. When I tried it on with skinny black jeans and black cowboy boots this morning, it was exactly the right balance between loose and fitted.

It looks black from a distance, but up close you can see that it actually has dark blue squares printed on it:

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It’s different from any other piece in my wardrobe but also fits right in. It was not a WOW piece when I first pulled it out or tried it on, but I think this is the one I’m going to keep. The price is right (it is exactly the cost of my credit), I like the color, the fit, the feel, and the styling. I could see myself wearing this out for dinner or fun, or even under a blazer to work. So unless y’all tell me that the knit blazer fits just beautifully and I should keep it instead, this is the piece I’m going to keep. Verdict: Keep.

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So that’s my 11th Stitch Fix. In the past, I would’ve been tempted to keep at least three pieces from this box – the silk top, the henley top, and the knit blazer – or maybe even four (the dress), which would’ve led me keep all five since that would be more cost-effective, and then I’d be stuck with an acrylic cardigan I wouldn’t wear. It feels good to be more disciplined with myself about what stays and what goes back, and I think I’ve made the right choice. But what do you think? I’m returning the box later today so there’s still time for me to be persuaded by other input.

*Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/styling service – you fill out a style questionnaire on their site so that they get a sense of your “style profile.” Then you pay a $20 “styling fee” and they hand-pick five items for you, based on your preferences. They ship the box to you, you try everything on, and then you select what, if anything, you want to keep; the $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of anything you choose. If you don’t want to keep anything, you ship everything back in the package provided (they keep the $20 styling fee). If you decide to keep everything, you get a 25% discount (minus the $20 you already paid them). I do not receive any compensation from them for reviewing my experience with them.

But I *do* get a credit towards my next Fix if you schedule a Fix for yourself via my referral link: here. If you have questions about how it works, you can see their FAQ here – and I am more than happy to answer any questions based on my experience, too.

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Fashion Friday :: Stitch Fix Review #10

My tenth Stitch Fix* box arrived at the end of August, but it’s taken me awhile to tell you about it. How is it October already?!

If you’d like to read previous reviews, you can check them out here:

Stitch Fix Review #1

Stitch Fix Review #2

Stitch Fix Review #3

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix Review #5

Stitch Fix Review #6

Stitch Fix Review #7

Stitch Fix Review #8

Stitch Fix Review #9

If you’ve read any of my last few reviews, you know I’ve been wanting some skinny jeans for awhile. So far, I’ve received three pairs in Fixes over the last several months, and they never work out – either the fit, the price, or the style hasn’t been suitable. So I wasn’t really optimistic when I opened the box this time and found another pair of skinny jeans.

 

skinny jeans

skinny jeans

 

This is a terrible picture, but trust me – the jeans are fantastic. They are actually called “pull-on pants” because they have an elastic waist (i.e., no button and zipper), which is not something I would ever pull off the rack, because I have strong feelings about elastic waist pants and they are not positive. And yet these jeans are perfect! I LOVE THEM. The fit is spot-on, the length is perfect, the price was fantastic, and they have the perfect amount of skinniness and stretch. They look great with my favorite boots. I’ve been wearing them a lotVerdict: Keep.

black-and-blue striped top

black-and-blue striped top

Another terrible picture of another item I love – a 3/4-length sleeve striped knit top. I love the fit of this and, though you can’t tell in this shot, it’s a flattering top. I’ve worn it a few times already, and My Old Man always compliments it when I do. I love it with jeans but it also looks good under a jacket for work. I’ve paired it in this picture with the skinny jeans from the Fix, along with the aforementioned favorite boots. Total winner. Verdict: Keep.

embroidery detail tab-sleeve blouse

embroidery detail tab-sleeve blouse

You guys, I love this top. It’s another one of those items that I recognized immediately as very much my style without actually being like anything else in my closet. It’s too deep into fall to wear it now (at least, it’s not something I think I’ll wear now that it’s October), but it was a perfect transitional piece for late August and September.

I love the detailing:

tab sleeve

tab sleeve

The embroidery on the sleeve tabs matches the embroidery down the front of the top.

embroidery

embroidery

I just love it! Verdict: Keep.

crochet trim silk blouse

crochet trim silk blouse

Next up was this burgundy silk blouse. I love the trim, which strikes me as feminine without being twee. It looks great on its own or paired with a blazer, and I think it works equally well with jeans, with pants, or with a skirt. The color isn’t one I own any of, because burgundy isn’t a color I typically think of as being particularly flattering on me. But I’ve decided it looks fine:

burgundy top

burgundy top

This is another piece I’ve already worn two or three times since I received my Fix. Verdict: Keep.

Mini Pave Triangle Necklace

Mini Pave Triangle Necklace

The last piece is the little triangle necklace. It’s cute and I’ll probably get some good wear out of it, but it’s not something I really needed. As I’ve noted before, I am fairly picky about my jewelry and tend to err on the side of owning fewer pieces but loving everything I own. But with Stitch Fix, if you decide to keep the whole box, you get 25% off the price of everything, and as it turned out, it would cost me more to keep the four clothing items and send back the necklace than it would cost to keep everything. So … Verdict: Keep.

That’s the first time in over a year of doing Stitch Fix that I’ve kept every single piece! The prices on the items in this box were already right in my comfort zone, and that 25% discount made it all the better. I’ve already gotten lots of wear out of the four pieces of clothing (and have even worn the necklace once).

This fall, I’m working now to pare down my wardrobe to those items I absolutely love. So I’ll be taking a break from Stitch Fix, and from buying clothes in general, while I focus instead on refining my fashion sense and editing my wardrobe. Stitch Fix has been a lot of fun, though, and I’m pleased to go out on a high note!

Stitch Fix #10, all keepers

Stitch Fix #10, all keepers

 

*Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/styling service – you fill out a style questionnaire on their site so that they get a sense of your “style profile.” Then you pay a $20 “styling fee” and they hand-pick five items for you, based on your preferences. They ship the box to you, you try everything on, and then you select what, if anything, you want to keep; the $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of anything you choose. If you don’t want to keep anything, you ship everything back in the package provided (they keep the $20 styling fee). If you decide to keep everything, you get a 25% discount (minus the $20 you already paid them). I do not receive any compensation from them for reviewing my experience with them.

But I *do* get a credit towards my next Fix if you schedule a Fix for yourself via my referral link: here. If you have questions about how it works, you can see their FAQ here – and I am more than happy to answer any questions based on my experience, too.

Fashion Friday :: Stitch Fix Review #9, opinions please?

This month marks one year that I’ve been trying out the Stitch Fix* service. I’m a happy customer! Yesterday, my 9th box arrived, just in time for a Fashion Friday! I was very excited to see what warm weather pieces awaited me.

Box #9

Box #9

 

Before I review them, if you’d like to read previous reviews, you can check them out here:

Stitch Fix Review #1

Stitch Fix Review #2

Stitch Fix Review #3

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix Review #5

Stitch Fix Review #6

Stitch Fix Review #7

Stitch Fix Review #8

I think my experience over the past year with Stitch Fix has helped me hone my sense of what I define as a “keeper.” I’ve become a little more clear about what pieces I definitely want to send back, and I also think I’m doing my own shopping with a keener eye. I’ve noticed that I’m willing to try new and different pieces more than I used to be. Yay for getting out of my fashion rut!

My Fix this time was mostly easy to make decisions about, but I do have one piece I want your input on. Let’s start, though, with the things I’ve already made up my mind about.

at first glance

at first glance

When I opened the box, I had mixed feelings. The top piece was the exact same colors as a piece I sent back last time, a dress that I didn’t like for several reasons, color combination being one of them. I love navy, but salmon isn’t my friend (not to mention it gives me an 80s vibe that I can’t quite get over). I tried to maintain an open mind, though, because I noted that the piece was made by 41Hawthorn, which is the brand of many of my very favorite Stitch Fix pieces over the last several months.

Franklin Striped Side Gathered Short Sleeve Shirt

Franklin Striped Side Gathered Short Sleeve Shirt

It’s kind of cute, but I’m not loving it. If it were just navy and white, or if the salmon were another color (kelly green! true red!) I might’ve been more enthused about it. Verdict: return.

I was really excited to see a pair of skinny jeans in the box. As you might recall, I’ve been wanting some skinny jeans, and Stitch Fix has sent me two pairs so far. In both cases, though, they didn’t work out. The first pair was a bit small and they cost far more than I was willing to pay; the second pair was cute and well-priced, but they were too large. I had high hopes for the pair I was sent this time. Plus, they were white! I love white pants and jeans for summer, and the truth is I’ve been wanting a pair of white jeans ever since my last pair wore out a few years ago.

Vinny Ankle Length Colored Skinny Jean, by Liverpool

Vinny Ankle Length Colored Skinny Jean, by Liverpool

But it turns out that “skinny” is a misnomer. These aren’t really skinny jeans at all. They are just regular ankle-length jeans, and not particularly flattering. I honestly can’t figure out why they’re called “skinny” jeans – there’s no real stretch to them, and they aren’t shaped liked skinnies at all. Also, they are too big:

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Bummer! As you can see, my kitty is equally unimpressed. I guess I’ll have to keep hunting for the perfect pair of skinny jeans. Verdict: return.

The next piece was a no-brainer:

Reanne Cap Sleeve Polka Dot Dress by Market and Spruce

Reanne Cap Sleeve Polka Dot Dress, by Collective Concepts

I was happy to see a dress in the box, and the print is very cute (love me some polka dots!). It was also VERY nice to get something with cap sleeves, instead of sleeveless; the cap sleeves completely covers my tattoo without making my arms look like sausages. However, this dress is entirely too short for me to get any wear out of at all. I would never wear it to work and I have things I like better for going out. This seems like a dress that would like great on someone half my age, but not me. Verdict: return.

The next piece had me from the word “go.” The color alone had me hooked.

Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan, by 41Hawthorn

Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan, by 41Hawthorn

It’s called “light blue,” but I call this “beach glass,” and I adore it. Absolutely one of my all-time favorite colors for spring. The cardi is long and it’s long-sleeved, but it is super-lightweight, almost sheer, so I think it will be perfect for work, even in warm weather.

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I absolutely adore it, and while I think it is totally my style, I don’t have anything else in my closet like it. Win! Notice, too, that it’s also made by 41Hawthorn – wish this was a brand I could get my hand on directly, because I clearly love their style. Verdict: keep, keep, KEEP.

So those four pieces were all very easy decisions for me. The last one, I’m on the fence about.

Roma Cowl Neck Jersey Knit Top, by Market and Spruce

Roma Cowl Neck Jersey Knit Top, by Market and Spruce

I have come to adore wearing jersey tops and dresses, thanks to Stitch Fix. And this color, labeled as “Soft Orange” but which I think of as peach, isn’t like anything else I own. The neckline is interesting but wearable, and I could see wearing this for work as well as out. But is it flattering?

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I’m not entirely sure. My inclination is to keep it, but I’d love more objective opinions. I could see pairing it with a white pencil skirt and heels for work, or with dark skinny jeans for going out. Maybe a fun colorful necklace for some pop.

love this color

love this color

In looking at these pictures, it comes across as too tight in the bust, though it didn’t seem like that in person, and it definitely didn’t feel like it. It’s a thin, drape-y material that I might be able to arrange in a way that looks a little less snug. At any rate, I’m interested in input. (Though, as always, I reserve the right to do whatever I want!)

Okay, y’all, verdict is in. After considering feedback here, on Facebook, and on Instagram, I tried the top on again and played around with the styling. No matter what I did, it wants to cling through the bust (even when adjusted to put extra amounts of the drapey fabric there it still has those dreaded horizontal lines). I bummed out, because I love the fabric and the color, and I’m always looking for another top for work, but this isn’t it. I’ll have to look for something else in this color. Verdict: return. Thanks for the input!

Stitch Fix #9

Stitch Fix #9

So, that’s Stitch Fix #9. I remain a happy customer! I may take a bit of a break- I don’t feel I need more summer pieces right now – and come back to it in the fall. In the meantime, I’m excited to break out some of my first Stitch Fix pieces from last May and June. The weather has finally turned beautiful here, and I’m so happy to be able to wear warm-weather clothes at last!

 

 

 

*Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/styling service – you fill out a style questionnaire on their site so that they get a sense of your “style profile.” Then you pay a $20 “styling fee” and they hand-pick five items for you, based on your preferences. They ship the box to you, you try everything on, and then you select what, if anything, you want to keep; the $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of anything you choose. If you don’t want to keep anything, you ship everything back in the package provided (they keep the $20 styling fee). If you decide to keep everything, you get a 25% discount (minus the $20 you already paid them). I do not receive any compensation from them for reviewing my experience with them.

But I *do* get a credit towards my next Fix if you schedule a Fix for yourself via my referral link: here. If you have questions about how it works, you can see their FAQ here – and I am more than happy to answer any questions based on my experience, too.

Fashion Friday :: when in Santa Fe…

I had the great pleasure of traveling to Santa Fe last week, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I’ve been to plenty of desert places before (mostly in the Middle East but also in the American West and Southwest), and I’ve loved them all, but I don’t remember ever loving a desert place as much as I did New Mexico. It was completely charming. And yes, enchanting.

But the weather was not what I’d hoped for. It got quite chilly, and I irrationally failed to pack even a light jacket. So I had to buy a jacket in Santa Fe, right? Right!

red suede with fringe!

red suede with fringe!

(Apologies for the not-great picture). This is by far the flashiest, boldest thing in my wardrobe now. I couldn’t resist it and I totally love it. I haven’t gotten a picture of the back yet, but it also has silver embellishments and lots of fringe. I love the A-line shape of this, and the color is just slammin’.

I couldn’t stop at the jacket, though, because it just didn’t look right with my little spring flats. So I had to go boot-shopping, right? Right!

decisions, decisions

decisions, decisions

This was a very hard choice. My tweeps and my instagram friends voted for the brown, but in the end I went with the black, which I think look better with my red coat, and which will be slightly more versatile with my wardrobe. But the brown ones are on my wishlist, and I hope to own a pair someday. They are Ariat Dahlia boots, and they’re available lots of place online, including on Amazon: Ariat Women’s Dahlia Boot (affiliate link).

Ariat Dahlia, in black

Ariat Dahlia, in black

The boots are super-comfortable, though they are a teensy bit big for me. I bought them at a store on the plaza in Santa Fe that only carried whole sizes. I usually wear a 7.5, so I went with size 8. I think the 7.5 would’ve been perfect, but I’m happy enough with the fit of these. I walked all over the place in them and had no problems at all. The price couldn’t be beat, either, especially after I’d looked around in Santa Fe a bit. The first boot place I visited was a place that made all their boots by hand, in shop. I immediately fell in love with a pair in turquoise – and then discovered they were $1600! That is way, way out of my price range, so I was very happy to find a pair of non-handmade, perfectly lovely boots at a reasonable price.

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I did draw the line at buying a cowboy hat, though. Gotta save something to purchase on my next trip, right?!

Fashion Friday :: owls, revisited

Whoo-whoo wears wool in spring?

20140327-162256.jpgThis girl does.

But if you’re going to have to wear your winter woolies when spring has already sprung, it might as well be something you totally completely love.

I made this owls pullover back in the fall of 2009, and I still love it to pieces.

for Rav: o w l s
(pictured here with TTL Mystery Socks 2009, my Michigan Radio mug, and much shorter hair)

My favorite owl is the one on the back, with purple eyes:

whoo-whoo!

whoo-whoo!

They look pink in this pic, but they really are purple – I should have included this handknit in my recent roundup of my obsession with purple+gold.

I tend to gravitate towards making raglan sweaters, but I’ve realized lately that I really, really like wearing yoked sweaters. I think the only yoked sweaters I’ve made for myself are this one and Zelkova, and now I’m wondering why, because both Owls and Zelkova are two of my very favorite sweaters.

Which kind of sweater do you tend to want to knit – raglan, yoked, set-in sleeves? And which do you think is most flattering on you?

 

Fashion Friday :: Stitch Fix Review #8, opinions please?

My eighth Stitch Fix* box arrived on Wednesday night, just as I was leaving for a meeting. I tore into it anyway, just to get a glimpse of what awaited me when I got home, and I liked what I saw. I’ve been trying this service out for nearly a year now, and I never fail to get excited when that box arrives!

So now here we are, at my eighth Stitch Fix review. If you’d like to read previous reviews, you can check them out here:

Stitch Fix Review #1

Stitch Fix Review #2

Stitch Fix Review #3

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix Review #5

Stitch Fix Review #6

Stitch Fix Review #7

In some ways, this box was easy, because sizing and pricing made some of my decisions for me. Actually, regarding pricing, I have to say I was overall super-happy with the pricing in this box. I found the prices very reasonable for most of the pieces I received; the best total price I think I’ve seen (or close to it).

I was most excited to see that I’d been sent another pair of skinny jeans. Last fall, I got some skinny jeans that I fell in love with, but they were both too tight and too spendy. This time, the price was perfect, but the fit was too loose. This isn’t a problem I’ve ever had with Stitch Fix pieces, as the opposite has tended to be the case, even though everything I’ve been sent has been technically my size. Anyway, I love the jeans they sent, but they’re too big in the waist.

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I’m obviously not even sucking my stomach in (the way I would normally do if I were showing you a shot of my tummy), and there’s still too much of a gap there, especially for skinny jeans. They’re also a little baggy in places in the legs. The price is so right, though, so it’s a real shame. However! I think I have located these jeans, or some that are very similar, online elsewhere – the first time I’ve successfully done this with a Stitch Fix piece – so it looks like I’m going to be able to try these one size down. I’ll report back!

The next piece had the opposite problem – too small!

polka-dots!

polka-dots!

(You can also see in this picture how baggy the jeans are in a few places – wouldn’t be a problem for normal jeans, but not the right look for skinny jeans). I love these polka dots, but the top is overall a bit small and the sleeves in particular are too tight for comfort. I don’t know if you can tell, but there are two zippers on the front (outlined in red) – a cute idea, but unless they are unzipped (which I would never, ever do), they create some weird lumps because of the stiffness of the zippers.

The next piece I would’ve kept, except for the price.

silver necklace

silver necklace

This is very much my style, and I think it’s really cute. But it’s $48, and it just doesn’t seem worth that to me. I know I always sound cheap about jewelry, but I’m just really particular about what I spend my money on in that department.

So those three pieces were easy to decide about. The next one I was initially on the fence about. It’s a 3/4-sleeve navy cardigan, and I totally love it, but I was afraid that it, too, was too tight.

navy cardi

navy cardi

It seemed the buttons were straining a bit – and that’s a look I really dislike. However, the more I have tried it on, the less it has done that, because the sweater is stretchy. I tried it on first without anything else on under it (since I was afraid that something under it would make the buttons strain even more).

But then I paired it with a dress I received in my very first Fix:

with chili pepper red dress

with chili pepper red dress

And YES, this is a definite keeper. This cardigan makes this sleeveless, plunging neck dress totally work appropriate, don’t you think?

I like the cardi open, too (though not for work when paired with this dress):

with cardi open

with cardi open

I think it’s going to be a perfect layering piece for spring and summer, plus it’s only $38. Perfect! Yay!

So that’s three I’m sending back, one I’m definitely keeping, and one more I’m on the fence about. It’s this lightweight sweater:

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I love the feel of it – it’s very lightweight and soft, a nice transitional piece (which I am always in need of at this time of year). The teal is very pretty (up close, it’s actually blue, white, and yellow):

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The lighting is off in this photo, but it gives you an idea of the stitching. The seams along the edge of the sleeves and the body are raised, and I like the cabled raglan detail as well.

20140321-123707.jpg

I’m just not sure it’s all that flattering, and I try really hard not to buy things unless I’m going to feel great in them. So it’s a tough call, and I know it’s hard to tell much from the pictures, but if anyone has any opinions about it, I’m interested. Especially if you have ideas about styling. I could just consider it Saturday knock-around-the-house wear, but it’s a bit pricey for that – I only want to keep it if it’s something I would wear, to work or elsewhere.

Stitch Fix #8

Stitch Fix #8

*Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/styling service – you fill out a style questionnaire on their site so that they get a sense of your “style profile.” Then you pay a $20 “styling fee” and they hand-pick five items for you, based on your preferences. They ship the box to you, you try everything on, and then you select what, if anything, you want to keep; the $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of anything you choose. If you don’t want to keep anything, you ship everything back in the package provided (they keep the $20 styling fee). If you decide to keep everything, you get a 25% discount (minus the $20 you already paid them). I do not receive any compensation from them for reviewing my experience with them.

But I *do* get a credit towards my next Fix if you schedule a Fix for yourself via my referral link: here. If you have questions about how it works, you can see their FAQ here – and I am more than happy to answer any questions based on my experience, too.

Fashion Friday :: from curly to straight (and back again)

So I tried something this week that I’ve never done before – I flat-ironed my very curly, very thick hair. And it worked. And I liked it.

A lot of curly girls know their way around heating appliances quite well; I am not one of them. I’ve never used a flat iron and I’ve had a blowout precisely once, about fifteen years ago when a hair stylist friend asked me to let him try it. It took forever and then curled right back up before the night was done. In sixth grade, tired of being teased about my unruly red hair, I let my mom and my aunt chemically straighten my hair. It was an unmitigated disaster – the chemicals damaged my hair, which hung straight but also limp and gave my classmates new reasons to tease me. What’s more, the curls came back within a week. In my late teens, I finally accepted my curls, and in my twenties I finally discovered how to wear them (number one rule: no more short layers, including bangs!) and what products to use (number one rule: the right conditioner is key). I quit wanting what I didn’t have, I learned to love what I did have and to treat it right, and I honestly never really considered trying to straighten my hair in any way – blowouts, flat irons, or chemicals. My curl type is “3B,” which is to say that I have corkscrew type curls and my hair is curlier the shorter it is. I typically wear it in long layers:

20140314-120528.jpg

I’ve been doing all sorts of playful things, appearance-wise, lately, including experimenting with new hairstyles. My new desire to try some new things does not at all imply some sort of rejection of my natural curls. I am still and always Team Curly! But sometimes, it’s just fun to do something different.

When I had the urge to look into flat-ironing curly hair, I went to YouTube and found this fantastic video – her hair is much curlier than mine (3C? 4A?) and it seemed like if she could do it, I should be able to. So I set out to acquire all the proper tools and products. I bought this flat iron, which I think is the one she recommends in the video (her link was dead, but she mentioned the name in the video):

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I got the Conair Infiniti Pro Tourmaline Ceramic 1″ Straightener (only $22 and it has ceramic plates – also comes with a bonus bottle of Argan Oil).

Next I consulted my hair and makeup guru, Heather:

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Then I set off for Sally’s Beauty Supply to see to gather some products. They didn’t have the Moroccan Oil Heather highly recommends, so I decided just to use the Argan Oil that came with the iron for this time. They also didn’t have the heat-resistant spray mentioned in the video, nor the finishing spray Heather told me about. So I got what the women at Sally’s recommended, Beyond The Zone Turn Up The Heat Protection Spray (which I ended up really liking).

I got home and got to work. I’m about to show you photos, but please no judging on my bathroom mirror. Ugh! I didn’t realize when I did this quite how dirty it was – the camera seems to pick up every speck – and I certainly would’ve cleaned it had I realized I’d be showing it to all of you! Anyway, here we go. I started with clean, dry hair, with my usual leave-in conditioner and one of my usual gels (I rotate through a few), dried under a hood dryer.

(honestly not loving how my hair was looking that day)

(honestly not loving how my hair was looking that day)

I sprayed the heat-protection spray everywhere and started sectioning it the way the girl in the video does:

uh....

uh….

Then I sectioned it further and got to work, putting a little argan oil on each section and using the Tangle Tamer Max (mentioned in the video) to get each section smooth and following the tangle tamer down each section with the flat iron. This part was pretty foreign to me, as not only am I not accustomed to using flat iron, I also don’t ever use any kind of brush or comb on my hair – I just use my fingers to detangle in the shower and then leave the hair undisturbed after putting gel in it.

Anyway, it worked:

first section, straightened

first section, straightened

It went faster than I expected it to, and before long, half my head was done:

20140314-120141.jpgThere’s a pretty big discrepancy in length, between the straight side and the curly side, but of course the curly side was also still up in a pony tail.

I kept going, and before long I was done:

20140314-120146.jpgHonestly, I was shocked that it worked. I am so used to having hair that does exactly what it wants that I really did not expect to have this much control over it.

20140314-120152.jpgIt took about 50 minutes to do all of it, and that included lots of consulting the video, texting up-to-the-minute progress to Heather, and being interrupted by a son who was, on the one hand, fascinated by what I was doing, and, on the other, terrified that something was going to go wrong. But nothing went wrong, and I was very happy with how it turned out.

the next day

the next day

I’m actually kind of surprised at how much I like the end result. I expected that either it would turn out poorly or that it would turn out right but that I wouldn’t like how it looked on me. I thought I would try it for a day and then go right back to curly.

But here I am four days later, and I feel like my hair is still looking pretty good:

20140314-120212.jpgIgnore that one piece that’s out of place, please! That’s one thing I’m not used to with straight hair – it’s actually possible to have your hair mostly “in place.” With my usual style, I just kind of let it be where it wants to be.

A few things that have surprised me:

  • how fast this was
  • how easy it was
  • how long it has stayed straight
  • how easy it has been to maintain
  • how much I like it

I’ll be washing it this weekend and going back to curly, but I’ll definitely be giving this a go again. It’s been fun to try something new, and to actually be pleased with the result. I still have some things to learn – like how to get the roots on the back of my head done, and how to properly treat my hair each day its straight (brush or comb? wrap and cover at night?), and how to treat the ends. I am interested in any tips anyone who has done this wants to offer.

Wow. Who knew I could write so much about straightening my hair? Some day I may write about my curly hair routine, and then you’ll really be surprised with how much verbiage I can use. Apparently, hair is a thing I can go on and on about.

 

Fashion Friday :: boot toppers

Last fall, I saw a lot of super-chunky boot toppers in store windows around central campus (of the University of Michigan), and I saw a couple of co-eds wearing them atop ankle boots. I loved the looks of them, and thought they were a fun variation on the boot toppers I have often seen on Ravelry for the tops of tall boots.

For Christmas, I made a pair for my stepson’s girlfriend:

Whitefish Point Boot Toppers

Whitefish Point Boot Toppers

They can also work on top of regular tall boots, too, of course. They are super-chunky though, so I sort of think they look best around the ankle as opposed to around the knee.

(with the cable turned to the side)

(with the cable turned to the side)

I created this pattern to pair with the Whitefish Point Armwarmers pattern I released a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Whitefish Point Armwarmers

Whitefish Point Armwarmers

They also pair with the Fisherman’s Cowl, which I also made as part of the Christmas gift. A fun, fast, super-chunky set of knits:

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The boot toppers can also be worn as cozy legwarmers:

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But me being me, I didn’t get the pattern written up in a timely fashion, and now here it is, almost spring. Of course, here in Michigan, winter seems likely to last until May, so perhaps people will still be getting use out of chunky woolies. But I’m guessing it would just be depressing for people to be knitting boot toppers in March. So for now I’ll just show them to you, with plans to release the pattern sometime late next fall.

I hope they will still be fashionable then. Have you ever made boot toppers? Do you ever wear them? Have you seen them around your town?

20140307-114836.jpg

 

 

 

 

Fashion Friday :: my favorite non-knit scarves

It took me awhile to follow the lead of my tweeps, who  have raved about Martha McQuade’s Scarfshop for a long time, but now that I have, I’m totally obsessed. I ordered my first one on Cyber Monday in November:

chocolate-y brown

chocolate-y brown

I got the square size and it’s perfect in every way. This yummy brown was November’s color of the month, from the Cotton Collection. I can’t remember the color name, but it is a gorgeous cocoa brown and I am totally in love with it.

This month’s color of the month is “Blush” – a very, very soft, subtle light pink – and I couldn’t resist it (also from the Cotton Collection). After it arrived, I realized it was lighter than I thought it was going to be, and I wasn’t sure what I thought. But once I got it on, I fell in love with it, HARD.

blush, February color of the month

blush, February color of the month

In some light, it looks more white with a hint of pink; in other light, it’s more obviously pink. This one is also the square size, and it is really an ideal shape for me. I find it super-easy to style it just right. And every time I wear this one, my husband compliments me on it – I guess the light shade perks up my face or something.

I’m obsessed with these scarves, y’all, and I want one in every shade.  I’ve got my eye on Robin’s Egg, Chartreuse, or Lavender for my next purchase. Something to give my winter wardrobe a spring-like lift. Because it doesn’t seem the weather is going to be spring-like anytime soon.

This deep in the season, what are your favorite ways for perking up your winter wardrobe?

 

Fashion Friday :: Stitch Fix Review #7

Last night, I was happily surprised to come home to a Stitch Fix* box at my door. I say “surprised,” because I didn’t get a shipping notice this time so wasn’t quite sure when it would be on its way. But there it was, and I was thrilled. So now here we are, at my seventh Stitch Fix review. If you’d like to read previous reviews, you can check them out here:

Stitch Fix Review #1

Stitch Fix Review #2

Stitch Fix Review #3

Stitch Fix Review #4

Stitch Fix Review #5

Stitch Fix Review #6

Since my last review (in early January), I’ve gotten good wear out of the two pieces I kept from that Fix. In fact, I wore the red-and-black striped shirt from that Fix just this week, and was totally amused when Little Buddha came walking out of his room in his favorite shirt – also red-and-black striped.

mother-son matchy-matchy

mother-son matchy-matchy

Fun!

Anyway, before I show you what I got, a couple of caveats. First, I don’t know WHAT is going on with my hair. Please try to ignore it and don’t tell my mom I posted pictures of myself all over the internet with my hair looking like a rat’s nest. Secondly, there’s such a huge difference in the quality of pics when I take them with my real camera (instead of with my iPhone), that I really want to make that my habit. However, I also wanted to get this review posted today, and loading pictures from my camera to my computer has become a real trial (I really need to get the 40,000 pictures from iPhoto off my hard drive) and I couldn’t have done that and gotten this review posted today. So please excuse the low-rent nature of the photos. And, as always, also excuse the mess of my bedroom and my smudgy mirror – but please to note that I did finally change the battery in my smoke alarm and close the cover!

All right, without further ado, my review.

First up, a chevron print dress. My stylist this time actually noted that she had looked at my Pinterest board and seen that I liked printed dresses. That’s the first confirmation I’ve gotten that my stylists were checking out my Pinterest – how cool! – so I better get to updating it.  At any rate, I wasn’t sure about the dress before I tried it on – the light orange and dark blue weren’t really ringing my bell – but I tried to have an open mind.

chevron print dress

chevron print dress

But no, it’s not for me. It’s just not a flattering cut for me at all – too blousy and billowy, especially up top. My Old Man said it looked “matronly.” I actually thought the opposite – I could see a much younger person, with more of a waif-like figure, pulling this off. It has an 80s vibe that might work for someone who didn’t actually live through the 80s.

While I had the dress on, I went ahead and tried on the cute little denim jacket they sent:

denim jacket

denim jacket

As you can see, it’s far too small. But I wouldn’t have kept it anyway, as I just bought a very similar denim jacket from Eddie Bauer just last spring (one that fits!). I’m glad to know that my jacket will still be on trend! My Old Man also noted that the dress looked much better with the jacket on, because it covers up the problematic parts of it (the blousy top part, the billowy part right under the belt).

Up next was this jersey top from 41Hawthorn. I’ve had good success with this line in the past (if I remember correctly, a jersey top I kept from my very first Fix was also this brand), and I was immediately in love with this deep teal (it reads in this pic as blue, but it’s more of a teal).

Milano Twist-Front Crew-Neck Top

Milano Twist-Front Crew-Neck Top

(forgive that big smudge in the mirror – it’s more of a scratch and I can’t get it to come off)

I LOVE this top!! I have nothing else like it. Love the neckline, love the fit, love the color, love that it’s jersey. This is going to be perfect for work, and will go great under jackets or with a belt on top of it.

photo 5

It’s just my style without being like anything else I already own. Definite keeper.

Next up was a dark grey a-line skirt. I haven’t had great luck with Stitch Fix skirts in the past – I haven’t kept any I’ve been sent. As someone who has sewn a lot of skirts for myself, I have high standards for store-bought skirts. Skirts are the easiest thing to make, and can be quite inexpensive, even with very nice material. So spending $60 or $70 on flimsy skirts made out of t-shirt cotton isn’t something I will ever do. If I wanted a flimsy skirt, I could make one myself for less than $10. So I was VERY pleasantly surprised to receive this:

Jordanne A-Line Skirt

Jordanne A-Line Skirt

It’s simple but perfect. The material is on the heavy side without being stiff at all – it’s perfect for winter (and fall).

side view

side view

This isn’t a great picture, but I’m trying to show the nice waist band and perfectly spaced darts. The way I’m standing makes the skirt look lumpy, but it’s not. It lays perfectly flat around the waist, and it fits great. It will work with a blouse tucked-in or a top on the outside. It’s my ideal length and I adore how it looks with my boots.

photo 3I love this skirt so hard and it fills a hole in my wardrobe – I have all kinds of black skirts of various lengths and styles for winter, but nothing grey (surprisingly) and nothing of this particular material. Love it. Keeping it.

The fifth piece I got was a pair of earrings:

mesh triangle earrings

mesh triangle earrings

(Not sure why they’re called “triangle” earrings)

Another pleasant surprise. I love these earrings! They show up so great, even in my crazy tangle of hair, and I love that they are silver, which will go with almost every other piece of jewelry I wear. And they were only $28, significantly cheaper than the last pair of earrings Stitch Fix sent me (which I nevertheless kept and have been in heavy rotation ever since). In fact, the prices of everything in my box were very reasonable. Yay! Totally keeping this earrings and can’t wait to wear them.

So in the end, I am keeping THREE items from this box – that’s the most I’ve kept so far. And I’m super-happy that everything I’m keeping is stuff I can wear for work.

Great Fix!

Great Fix!

 

I’m so super-pleased with this Fix, and, as usual, I will be scheduling my next Fix as soon as I can. Thank you to Megan, my stylist this time, and to all the folks at Stitch Fix for making this so fun! And thanks to you, gentle reader, for peeking inside my bedroom and withholding judgment about my mess, my mirror, and my hair.

*Stitch Fix is a personal shopping/styling service – you fill out a style questionnaire on their site so that they get a sense of your “style profile.” Then you pay a $20 “styling fee” and they hand-pick five items for you, based on your preferences. They ship the box to you, you try everything on, and then you select what, if anything, you want to keep; the $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of anything you choose. If you don’t want to keep anything, you ship everything back in the package provided (they keep the $20 styling fee). If you decide to keep everything, you get a 25% discount (minus the $20 you already paid them). I do not receive any compensation from them for reviewing my experience with them.

But I *do* get a credit towards my next Fix if you schedule a Fix for yourself via my referral link: here. If you have questions about how it works, you can see their FAQ here – and I am more than happy to answer any questions based on my experience, too.