Sunday, October 30, 2011

ode to pencil skirts...

I'm sure I must have used this post title at some point before, but then I am equally sure I will use it sometime again as well.  'Cause I love pencil skirts.  More to the point, I love J Crew pencil skirts.  

Until last fall, I thought there was no way you'd ever get a hippy girl like me to wear a pencil skirt- they always looked too boxy and bland. In perennial tones of black and charcoal, they embodied the dull professional uniform. Then I took a chance on J Crew's ochre classic, since I bumped into pictures of it everywhere, and so a love affair was born.  They have a magical lengthening effect on the legs and the colours are sublime.  I swear you can thrown anything into the mix for a smashing outfit, in any combination of colours.
Bright Dahlia, Rust, and Brown checks
Vibrant Flame, Burnt Twig and Oxblood
Blush Pink, Ochre and Moss Green  

Monday, October 24, 2011

of belts and colourful things in season...

hmmm...I know I've done more than just shop lately (although I must say the strain of bringing in several new items at once has made getting dressed difficult- you just can't debut too much at one time!)  I don't feel like I've been dressing very creatively either- it's like I was anticipating fall clothing, but then it stayed hot for a long time and I just haven't adapted.

However, in a last-ditch effort to make the weekend productive, I dragged my winter dresses out of their storage bins late last night and started packing away summer (I also made guacamole and ran to the grocery store for some nachos before they closed at midnight!) (The guacamole was tasty, but my bedroom is a mess!).  So I have a lovely pile of brightly-coloured pencil skirts folded in my wardrobe again (with some new additions), and the sweaters are next- I love seeing the array of hues together!

I grabbed this friendly old polyester knit dress in the morning (fresh out of the winter stock), and was glad to finally have a good belt that finishes it off- I bought the corset-like Junctions belt from the EA trade board in September after finding it excessively useful with a number of polyvore outfits!  The Fanfare platforms finally got to be worn out too, though the public display factor of the debut may be sort-of moot since I worked alone today!  They are comfortable and easily walkable, despite the high platform.  It's nice to have some shoes that are a bit more...kick-ass...than my usual demure librarian-lady looks.

I found the brooch on a trip to Value Village over the weekend (yes, I can find time to thrift, but not to clean the house...)- I love the brown glass petals and brass trim, and apparently it was manufactured in West Germany so that gives us at least an approximate era!

Friday, October 21, 2011

resuming your regularly scheduled programming...

Autumn!  And just like that, it's suddenly really truly fall- I haven't uncovered my cache of tights yet, so we are scrounging every morning for long socks and repeatedly handwashing the 2 pairs of tights that missed getting packed away.  But the wools and fun colours and the fabulous trench coat are out in full bloom!  I found this long wool skirt at Value Village one hot summer day while dreaming of rich autumn fabrics.  I also have a bit of a thing for those old funky-patterned polyester knit shirts- these trees are a recent addition to the collection, found at Beacon's Closet in Brooklyn  this September!
Camper booties, AA rust socks, thrifted wool skirt, blouse and scarf,  J Crew belt 
I haven't been very active here lately- last week was a marathon of pie baking, followed by several days of concentrated pie eating (spicy pumpkin, classic apple, and strawberry rhubarb).  Uh, and then this week has just been quiet and rainy I guess.  I miss pie.  Anyway, I have some catch-up posts to do, and then it's time to get very seriously into fall fashion before dreary winter sets in!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Epic Anthropologie Reviews! Part 3! The $$$$$ round!

I made sure to grab a bunch of the more 'dear' articles to try on while exploring the Anthropologie stores in NY.  My first and favourite item is the deliriously deluxe and exquisite Tracy Reese Tangerine Flicker dress.

I had heard this ran a little small, due to the delicate and unforgiving fabric, however I have rather weeny shoulders, and even the 0 was quite loose on top. (of course, now I'm not sure if maybe this was a 2?) I thought it was utterly beautiful, and likely worth the price even, given the quality and care in its construction. The fabric is a lovely light swirly chiffon, the bronze embroidery is stunning but not flashy, and there is a nice structured under-slip.  When the man was scrolling through the pictures on my camera, he exclaimed "I'm surprised you didn't bring home that orange dress".  I wish. I am keeping an eagle-eye on this- I would love to pick it up on sale!
I love the idea of Leifsdottir's Skyscraper dress- the soft filmy layers somehow create the appearance of structured deco architecture.  This is beautifully made, but it seems like a lot of Leifsdottir pieces are just not cut for my body type- the bodice was far too large and droopy in the size 2, but it was very tight in the hips.  I am no Chrysler building! 
This is the lovely-in-concept Agnita dress, but definitely not for me.  I like the idea of the mixture of fabrics, and it has a sensible folk-fairy-tale quality to it.  However like everything in this set, it is quite large in the bodice, and more fitted in the skirt portion.  This is a size 2- way too big on top for me, but I wouldn't be able to size down to a 0 in the skirt (maybe the lining was more fitted?  I am a terribly unscientific reviewer!).  Like many dresses these days, I also found the zipper to stick at the waist.  I hate invisible zippers since they're so delicate and prone to breaking where they cross thick seams.
Okay, here's a beautiful Leifsdottir piece that could work on a lot of body types.  I love the silk print of this Ottoman Poppies dress, like a blouse construction over a simple skirt.  The cutaway details at the collarbone are gorgeous, and I found them subtle enough that there was no brastrap reveal. The size 2 fit nicely, and it appears this winner is so popular it is basically sold out online at full price.  I'm not surprised.
Mmmmmm...the Melba dress.  Another Leifsdottir winner.  This beauty would be right at home at an Edwardian tea party and could also make a gorgeous wedding dress!  It's a lovely soft champagne-coloured silk, with layers of opaque and transparent panels.  The size 2 fit me well, though a straight body-type could also likely size down.  I only wish I had the lifestyle for such simple luxurious confections!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Anthropologie Wavering Grid dress, Gap cardigan, AA knee socks, Indigo boots
You know when you're seriously in love with a dress, but then dither long enough about buying it that you then wonder if it's just going to go on sale, but then you feel like you should wait, but you still dither?  Well, that's what I did with this baby.  I mean, I was ready to order it the minute I saw it in late June, but then thought I would wait until my trip at the end of September.  Well, I waited, then I grew impatient and thought it would go on sale any day, then I ordered it with a free shipping promo, and then I exchanged the size in NY (S is drapier than XS BTW) and then it STILL hasn't gone on sale.  But you know what?  I LOVE it, I've worn it several times already- I only wish I had it all summer.  It can be worn in the fall, of course, with slouchy sweaters and boots (it has a bit of an Ally Sheedy vibe), but it was just spectacularly cool in the humidity and heat of my trip to Manhattan!

The fabric sways and bounces slightly as you move- it's like the dearest love child of these two dear dresses:
Sigh.  I mentioned in my last post my weakness for hand-drawn stripes and grids- like somehow getting to inhabit a drawing.  I'm kind of obsessed with lines, like a visual hoarder or something!

(oh right, should start a board on pinterest for this actually!)
Follow Me on Pinterest

Here are a few of my favourite drawing-y inspirations:

Richard Diebenkorn

Agnes Martin

Sol Lewitt

Nigel Peake

Antoine Watteau

I think you may have seen some Giacometti inspiration here, and striped inspiration here!

And while we're on the topic of living drawings, I love these subtle and marvelous installations:

Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Epic Anthropologie Reviews! Part 2: What I brought home!

J Crew snap stripe tee, Foundational pencil skirt, rust knee socks, Camper boots
I didn't expect to love this skirt so much- I already had the vibrant flame pencil skirt from J Crew coming to me, so a vibrant pink pencil skirt seemed like overkill.  But then the colour is just that pretty, and the soft textured fabric made it irresistible.  The fact that it had long sold out online meant that I had to decide on the spot.   I've already worn it twice since, so I can't regret it at all!  This is a size 2- it is loose at the waist, but the longer length makes all the stairs at work difficult as is, and the simple construction means I can easily take it in a bit at the sides. 
Dots Within blouse
How's that for a happy face?  I didn't go for the similar 'Precious Particulars' blouse in the spring since I already had a tie-neck green blouse.  Well, by the time I decided I needed another green silk blouse, this one had been released.  The new pattern is even lovelier, and I can't wait to wear this with some snuggly cardigans this winter, and an array of pencil skirts.
Take Action dress
A surprise love for me was the Take Action dress.  I barely looked at the green star and teal polka-dot versions when they came out last year, but the grey chain pattern on yellow silk sparked my interest.  I felt that the cut wouldn't work on me, and figured there was such a shark-like frenzy when it went on sale that this was just not going to happen.  Well, I found this lone size 0 before my shopping appointment and put it aside.  I had a sad whirligig dress to exchange from the summer (so large in the bodice I could have used it to swaddle a baby...) so this was an easy 1:1 exchange.
Maeve Painted Plaid dress
While my all-time favourite colour is green, my all-time favourite pattern is hand-drawn grids and plaids.  Um, so when you give me the choice of the two in one dress, well, it's not really an option then- it's a must.  I love every aspect of this dress- the painted print, the splashes of yellow, the heavy fabric, the swishy-yet-subtle crinoline.  I was a little afraid the cut of the bodice would be too Oktoberfest, but I think it's safe from that.  The 0 was a 99% percent perfect fit for me.  sigh.  total lovefest. 

So um, the best part about these lovelies is that I received an additional 20% off on the Take Action since there was a small rip in the seam at the neck and the tiny button was missing.  And then I realized later that they accidentally gave me 20% off everything.  Oops!  So now my dilemma is the pink pencil skirt that went on sale today- do I try and call for a price adjustment, or will this highlight the fact that some poor girl accidentally gave me a partial discount already on some very not-damaged items?

I later picked up the aforementioned Fanfare platforms, and then found this lovely We Love Vera silk blouse I had missed out on.  I love Vera!
Pointilist Pond Blouse

Friday, October 7, 2011

Epic Anthropologie Reviews! Part 1!

This lucky gal just spent a few days in THE big city and took advantage of the free 'personal shopper' service at Anthropologie.  I was a little dubious at first, since I'm kind of an introvert, but it seemed like a fun thing to try once.  Boy am I ever happy I did-  it turns out my wishlist is kinda old and so everyhing was languishing in a secret backroom somewhere!  I went into the Rockefeller centre store in the morning to check the store out, and was disappointed that many of the things I wanted to try weren't even there.  Well, when I came back, Alison had filled a big changing room with everything I had been hoping to try, alongside layering pieces in a bunch of fun colours and textures and just let me 'go to town'.  I had a blast, and it seemed like one of those days where everything fit, and everything is beautiful and squeal-worthy.  It was pretty tough to narrow my selections down at the end of a marathon session.

Now, I went in with a pretty good idea of my most-desired pieces, but I still came away with a surprise or two.  However since this is probably the one and only time I will ever be able to review things before they hit the sale cycle or come to me second-hand via the trade board, here are a few of the newer pieces I tried on.
Rodna dress, size 2
Rodna dress, size 0
I was pretty eager to try this dress out- I mean, it's green, it's vintage-y, and it's lovely and sold out online in my size(s).  Well, I still think it's lovely, but I found the fabric a little thin for the structured design of the top.  It was hard to zip up because the corners were droopy, and I felt like for $158 it needed to be a bit more substantial and enduring.  Both the 0 and the 2 fit, so pretty TTS I'd say, though I would probably want the smaller size for fear of stretching in the top if magically I were ever to find this beauty on sale.  I also kinda felt oddly busty in it, which is just weird.

Layered column dress,size small; Arched pleats pullover size XS (?), Halation necklace

I was also hankering to try out the structural monochromatic stripes of the layered column dress.  So beautiful!  I love it even though I'm a little too hippy and small-shouldered for it.  It's just pretty, and it felt pretty, and flattering, and comfortable.  sigh.  But it is also just a bit too $$ for right now.  The cropped pullover was a fun and unexpected layering piece.  The colour and drape is nice, and the fabric is a pretty standard modal cotton mix.

Graublau Blazer, size 0
So, I'm afraid I'm a terrible reviewer- all I remember is that I really liked the slight stretch to this wool blend blazer and nothing else.  It may have been itchy, but I just kinda liked it.  I'm more in the market for a caramel blazer though, so this was reluctantly sent back to the floor.

Ihrin shirtdress, size 2
I wasn't super excited about the Ihrin shirtdress, but figured since it's green I should give it a shot, right?  Have I become so jaded that a green shirtdress fails to rouse me?  sad.  Anyway, the fit was fine, although a little too loose on top, and I didn't have much difficulty with the snaps.  I actually hate side zippers with a passion, since they always hurt that sensitive inner-arm skin, so I was fine with a little extra work to do it up.  I will definitely keep an eye on this for sale, and probably grab a 0 instead.

Trenchcoat skirt, size 4; Instant classic tee XS, Paintburst scarf
I love this shade of mossy-browny green, and was pleasantly surprised to find that this skirt actually fit.  I've read so many reviews about its hippy-unfriendliness and bunching, but I found this wasn't  such a bad fit.  But while I would LOVE to recreate the nerdy striped tee shot from the catalogue, I can't spend this much on a skirt, especially if it's not wool.  The striped tee and (I now discover) insanely expensive scarf were some of my play layering pieces.  The big soft scarf came in quite handy whenever I tried on something just too enormous for my upper body (hello Bronwen dress!).  The tee was definitely too clingy in the XS, but I'm not sure about the wide neck anyway.  I have my eye on the polka dot version- I never got over missing out on the curated tee last year!
Colloquium trousers, size 4; Nicoleta blouse, size 0 or 2

My problem when reviewing things is that if I like something, it's awfully hard to say mean things about it, even if warranted.  I love these pants- the waist was a little loose, the thighs were a little bit too snug- but I just liked 'em, alright?  The colour is a really pretty soft orange tweed and they just looked so cute with the bright pumps!  The blouse was just too blousy and not my style, but the white does look nice with the orange (but then, doesn't everything?)

Colorblocked oxford heels,size 36.5
These adorable shoes were comfortable, pretty and TTS.  I love the mix of colours and they pretty much go with everything.  Definitely added to my wishlist...
Test pattern dress, size XS

Test pattern dress, size small
This dress was a huge disappointment to me.  I fell in love the minute I saw those pretty little chevrons and full-skirt in Roxy's fall preview post a month ago.  I even contemplated ordering it at full-price because I loved it so.  Well, the XS looked terrible- the skirt was too short proportionally to the torso of the dress and the half-lining is really cheap.  It was better in the size small, so it had more length and drape, but the silvery threads and cotton knit just don't feel that rich next to more deluxe pieces at the same price point.  The one I tried on also had a large rip in the shoulder, which reminded me of all the cheap cotton knits I'm forever repairing for my boyfriend.  That's not to say that I wouldn't happily pick it up on sale, since I have nothing like it in my closet.  Just a missed opportunity.

Okay, that was tough, and I super really very much appreciate people who do regular reviews with consistent photos and sizing information!  Tomorrow I'll let you know what I brought home (I mean, you just know the painted plaid dress did, right?!) and then I have a set of beautiful very $$$$ Leifsdottir reviews I can share too.  Sigh.  That was fun, actually.