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 :: 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 :: curly hair updos

Can we file “hair” under “fashion”? I don’t know. But today I am, because this is what I want to talk about for Fashion Friday.

I have long, layered, very thick, very curly (3B, if you know curly hair categories) hair. For the first ten years of my life, it was only slightly wavy. For the next ten years of my life, I fought with it. Somewhere in my twenties, I began to make an uneasy truce with it. And finally, in my late twenties, I embraced it. I never brush it, I never straighten it, I never do a blow-out. I just (mostly) let it do what it wants. I get a good cut, use great styling products, and try to treat it well, but otherwise, I don’t do much to it or with it. I like having a low-maintenance routine, and I can live with the fact that my hair doesn’t really look “professional” (the way some people think of “professional” at least – sleek, crisp, controlled – i.e., STRAIGHT).

almost always a little bit messy

almost always a little bit messy

But lately, I’ve been finding that I’d like to experiment with my look a little bit. I basically have always just worn my hair down, even at my wedding. My only variations ever is the very, very occasional ponytail. At home, I almost always pull it back in a clip, but it is not really a good look for me for wearing out and about.

This time last year, I went to my stylist for a haircut. She knew I was getting ready to go out for a Christmas event, so she offered to put my hair into an updo for free. I had never, ever had an updo before (like I said above, not even for my wedding); I gave it a go.

feeling fancy

feeling fancy

I really liked it!

When I took it down that night (which made me sad!), I was staggered by the number of bobby pins it took. I think there were like 60! I had watched my stylist carefully as she worked, but I remained unconvinced that I could try this at home. So I didn’t.

But then it was time for Halloween this year, and I wanted to go as Lucy Ricardo, from I Love Lucy. This called for an updo!
In the warm, dry house while the fam is out trick-or-treating - Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do! #halloween #selfie #ilovelucy #lucilleball #redhead #costume
I basically just kept piling hair up in the back and pinning it with bobby pins, while trying to keep the front loose.

a little bit messy

a little bit messy

I think keeping the front loose is really important for me to feel comfortable wearing my hair up. I have a rather large noggin and my full hair seems to help balance it out a little bit.

But I still don’t feel I have the hang of this. For the Lucy costume, I seriously just pulled up hair and pinned kind of blindly (I don’t have a mirror system in my bathroom where I can see the back of my hair without a handheld mirror). I think it looked okay, but nothing like what my hair stylist managed.

Still, I’m interested to try this more, and I’d love to know any advice, tips, examples, etc., that any of you have for updos. So here are some of my questions:
– Do you ever pin your own hair up? Especially if you have thick curly hair, what are your tips for making this work?
– Where do you wear this style? Are there casual-style updos that you would be comfortable wearing out for work or for casual events?
– Are there websites and/or tutorials that any of you have seen that you would recommend? I have of course been looking up things on Pinterest and elsewhere, and have found some good-looking stuff. Most of it is aimed a people whose hair isn’t really as thick or curly as mine, but some of it is for us curlygirls, which I appreciate. But I’m always interested in links that people can actually vouch for as being helpful. So hit me with your best stuff!
– And beyond updos, what other styles – besides just down – do you think look good for curly hair?

Okay, so it may seem like I have now written an awful lot about my hair, but trust me when I say I could write/say so much more. I will spare you … for now.