Thursday, September 30, 2010

J Crew Caprese Tunic

Yes, totally late to the party on this one, sure.  J Crew Caprese Tunic (#26796, orig $35, curr $14.99).  Would have been nice if I'd been blogging on this one over the summer, eh?

There is some background to this purchase...or at least what I was looking for here.  I used to have, several years ago, a fantastic pale pink linen long-sleeve pop over tunic top from H&M.  It wasn't super long, just enough to cover the bum, and long enough so that shape of it was a flattering vertical rectangle instead of the super-unflattering-on-me horizontal rectangle.  I loved this top, lived in it during the spring and summer.  I loved the popver idea, that it didn't have the button placket running up the front.  Alas, after a few seasons, it was showing wear because hey, it was from H&M, and you don't go purchasing a piece you expect to last for 10 years there.  But I've been searching for a replacement for it ever since.  When J Crew had their chambray popovers, I was one of the first in line to grab one and try it on.  Sadly, it was just too boxy - too wide and not long enough. 

And then I started seeing pics of the Caprese Tunic.  First thing I noticed was the length - so I thought, hey, I wonder if I could make that work.  The second thing I noticed was the self-belt, so I thought, hey, I can chuck that really fast (since my plan was to wear it as a loose but straight tunic, not something belted and puffy).  Of course, this was over the summer, it's not so easy to get to the B&M to try on, and so it took me a few weeks before I got there to try it. 

The first thing I did was grab a S, since it looked a bit wide and I had no intention of wearing it belted.  And then I realized that the S was huge on next I opted for an XS.  Yes, folks, an XS....  Ok sure, it's sleeveless and I don't have to worry about the shoulders, but still...5'10" and size 8 in pants here...the XS was exactly perfect for how I wanted to wear it.  (No wonder there are only M's & L's left online.)  Bottom line - this sucker runs HUGE. 

So thanks, Jenna & company, I'm sure this isn't how you thought of it, but it worked out exactly how I wanted it to.

Now that I have semi-replaced my lovely pink linen popover...the next question is how to wear it.  Well, since it was summer when I got it "with white jeans" was the easy obvious answer.  See first pic above - with my Kut from the Kloth white slim jeans from Nordstroms - one of my best buys over the summer - indispensable. 

That is one of those outfits (chambray top + white jeans) that works with pretty much any set of accessories you want to throw at it - metallic, bright, pastel, neutral, you name it.  That day (I think the kiddies & I met Dina & her kiddies to lunch & shop  a bit), I chose heeled sandals and a chunky bracelet.

Next outfit (middle pic), I went with black Minnies (Tall, size 8), and a gray cami.  For chillier weather, I could have easily added a cardi.  I'm pretty sure it was hot that day, so in the chambray top and black ankle pants, I felt cool and seasonally appropriate.  I was headed into school for a meeting and wanted to look nice, but be comfy (then again, that's my usual dressing mantra, right?)

And then let's get to today's outfit, shall we?  It's pretty yucky outside.  We've got the remanants of TS Nicole blowing through.  We've already gotten 3 inches of rain or so, with more to come. 

But am I complaining?  No, and here's why:
1 - it's not too chilly, so the rain doesn't feel to cold (don't you hate those days that are 38 degrees and rainy?  ugh!!!)
2 - With all the rain coming down, the stinkbugs aren't flying.   Are you getting hit with those, too????  They were divebombing us at soccer games this past weekend.
3 - I don't have to commute 99% of the time, so I'll just shut up now.
4 - I have cute pink rain boots for the grocery store runs.

Back to today's outfit.  I guess the rain gave me the blues, though, because um yeah, that's pretty much all I'm wearing.  Darker slim Chico's jeans, a navy cami, and a navy Jackie on top.  I think I actually might like this a bit better if the jeans were a touch darker, but still I liked how it worked...even though I have since abandoned the flats for a pair of cozy socks. 

And I think it shows the flexibility of this top - perfect for some of these fall days where it starts out chilly and then gets warm.  I doubt I'll still have it out in December, but I think it will be in regular rotation for the next couple of months, and then tucked away until spring.
Now my question is - if you have the Caprese, how are you wearing it?  I'd love to hear....
Polyvore from today:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Putting on the Parisian with J Crew

Ok, I'm not taking credit for the theme here...I'm going with Parisian because as I was leaving the bus stop this morning, walking Lucy, one of my friends was driving by and hollered out her window "You look so French today!"  Well, I'll take that as a big huge compliment...and wear this outfit again.

And here's the part, I was thinking of all my fellow JCA's as I got dressed this morning.  I know a lot of uber-JCA's got the shaft regarding the Mickey card.  I did get my 25% white card...and I am completely flummoxed as to how I got it when so many deserving others didn't.  As I said on Rats On Parade's blog, I hardly even shopped this summer - because the kiddies are home, so not so much mommy-out time.  Who knows...

So today's outfit was a few J Crew classics.  Ok, both purchased in the past year, but they've already become classics to me, and will continue to be so.  The vintage bateau top in dark pewter (#24484, $39.50) - still for sale on the website and in store.  (This is an M, btw.) My store had it in a gorgeous bright orange, but not in my size.  They also had a dark olive green, which I purchased, but then returned because it is just so similar to the dark pewter..  I am still considering ordering the orange one..  I still just adore this top.  I'm curious to see how much I end up wearing this when it really turns to sweater weather.  But even if I'm not wearing it as much mid-winter, I'll be wearing it plenty now.  Of course, the most recent Jenna's picks suggests using a striped sailor tee as your base layer, just like a cami.  Hmmm, I think I'll stick with some of my tanks.  But striped tees almost always send me mentally to Paris...or the French Riviera...

If you can see the tank peeking out, it's from the Loft - their Essential Tank.  I only see it on sale on the website, but if I recall correctly, the store was quite well stocked.  These have been one of my major finds from this summer.  They are usually $14 each, or 2/$20.  But I majorly stocked up when they were on sale for $6 (um, yeah, I got 8...but I think I'm pretty set for a looooong time now).  They are similar to the JC favorite tank, but the straps are a wee bit wider (good for hiding bra straps).  And the Loft tanks come in a wide array of colors - even for neutral-happy me.  Yes, I got white, navy, and black, but I got a yellow, orchid, several tan/taupe colors...lots of options.

The pants are, of course, the JC Minnies in Tall 8 (#24646, reg $79.50, curr on sale online for $69.50).  I think I need to wash and dry these because they are way loose in the midsection now.  Then again, I've lost a some weight recently, so maybe that's it.  In any case, they still worked, and a quick spin in the dryer will put them back where I need them to be.  As a reminder, the Tall Minnies have an inseam of 29" and I'm 5'10", so mentally adjust based on how long you want your pants to be.

To finish off...crystal? starburst? pendant necklace (can't remember the name), gold hoops, braided rope rose gold bracelet, and my comfy Naturalizer croc loafers.  Anything exciting today?  No...just work.  But I felt cute & comfy, so that's a good way to be.  So if you are on a JC shopping ban because Mickey snubbed you, enjoy those classics in your wardrobe - they still work!!

Polyvore from today:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nail Files - Fall 2010 Polishes - OPI

Ahhh, I do love polish.  I have 3 of the OPI Switzerland collection to share with you.  Mixed reviews here.  I'll be honest - this one didn't thrill me like the 2 previous fall collections  - France & Spain.  I don't love the teal-y blues, they just aren't my thing.  Didn't go gaga over the reds/browns...or at least not yet.  But I did find a few to enjoy.

First:  Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous.  Have to get this out of the way - every time I think about the name, I picture Billy Crystal as Fernando on SNL with his "You look mahvelous" spiel.  Ok, I'm done (now it will be stuck in your head, not mine).  Back to the color - a sparkly dark pewter.  Honestly, I wasn't feeling this one so much when I put it on, but that was earlier in August when it was so devilishly hot that it was hard to even comprehend fall...let alone fall polish.  Looking at the picture now, it's really growing on me.  I'll have to pull that one out again soon.  It would be a fun party polish - and the darker pewter means it works with silver and gold, so it's way versatile.  And do I even need to say it?  Application was fantastic.  And remember, as with all sparkly polishes, those little bits of glitter mean that it stays on better.

Second: Cuckoo for this Color.  I've probably said it before, but at the risk of repeating, I'm just not a blue-green person.  I am really way more of a yellow-green person.  I don't get teals and turquoises when I shop for clothes - they just aren't great colors on me unless I have an uber-unhealthy tan.  And I'm just not drawn to them in general.  I go for the olives and such.  Not sure why I even got this one except that it was pretty and I was just in that state of mind.  Again, application is fantastic.  If you skew to the blue greens, go for it.  This was ok on me.  But it was GORGEOUS on E's toes, so I have a feeling she'll be the one sporting it this season.  I do also think it would be a great spring/summer pedi - very mermaid-ish, as well as cuckoo-ish. 

2 of my fellow DC JCA's come to mind immediately when I see this color - dinagideon & Summerilla - you both need this polish - Summerilla because she loves fun polish and it will look great on her; dinagideon because she doesn't do a lot of nail polish but this would be beyond amazing on her, too, and she is such a teal chick!

And finally: Glitzerland.  Ok, points along on the name, huh?  I'm still on the fence about this color.  I had it on last week when I wore my "you're so stylish it makes me sick" outfit and when I went to lunch, both friends commented on the polish and loved it - one of whom is a die-hard creme fan.  I think my issue was that by now, I am SO READY for the dark polishes, that I wasn't in the mood for a lighter one.  But as far as golds go, this one will work on a lot of people because it's not too yellow-gold, it's more tan-gold.  Way more versatile and skintone friendly for more people.  A great party or holiday polish.  I'll probably take this one up again when I get bored with darks in a few months (usually hits me in January - I don't crave sunlight, I crave pale polish.  Weird, I know).  Again, great application.  Can't argue with that - it's why OPI is my default polish. 

So that's my summary of my 3 faves from the OPI Switzerland Collection.  Some nice options for over the season.  I think Cuckoo will be a hit, but for my daughter, not for me. 

What are my fave fall polishes so far?  Stay tuned...I'll try to churn those out this week. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer Dress Round Up with Their Funny Stories

So it's Fall.  And our first couple of days were pretty darn warm.  So it was a good chance to look back at a few summer dresses and get in 1 or 2 more wearings.  I'm still working on the transition-summer-dress-into-fall thing.  Then again...I just love Fall clothes, so I'm usually ready to dive headfirst into Fall, and just say sayonara to the summer togs.

First up, since it's actually still available, is the J Crew Ruffled Jersey Dress (#29816, curr on sale for $59.99).  I did get a PS discount on this from FP, and I'm ok with that because I've already worn it twice in the three weeks since purchasing.  I took an M.  Plenty of room.  Love the fit on this.  It works great with a black bra - the straps blend right in.  It's not as low cut as the shirred v-neck dress from the spring was (this one doesn't show off a tan line, like the other one did).  I love the length - it works with the dress.  One note is that there is no hem - it's a raw edge.  But I haven't had any problems with that so far.  The weight of the knit is great - not too heavy, not too light.  And by the way - yes, my dress is black - they had lots in black in the store.  I only see the heather carbon or shadow online but trust me, it's black.  AppGal tried it on here.  (if soemone else did and I left you out, please holler.)

In the second pic, I'm wearing it with the Old Navy Cinched Front-Zip Jacket that appears to no longer be on their website.  I have to thank Gigi for guiding me to this as a great alternative to the JC downtown field jacket - she had a great pic when ON was doing their 30%, so I went ahead and ordered.  What I LOVE about the jacket is that I was able to get it in a Large Tall.  Large so that I have enough shoulder room...and can put heavier sweaters underneath (thank you, ON for the online reviews - always helpful), and Tall so that it's long enough in the sleeves.  Note in the name "cinched" - it comes in at the waist, so it avoids the all-too-common utter lack of shape that many field-type jackets have.  I will be wearing this jacket tons in the fall.

Funny story for this dress:  I was wearing this outfit again Friday night when hubby said to me as we were heading out the door to dinner "You're so stylish it makes me sick...but I don't mean that in a bad way."  Ah men...gotta love them.  What do you do?  I smiled serenely and sailed out the door.  Clearly it wasn't a rehearsed comment.  I've got to give him credit for noticing...and realizing it was stylish?  Then again, I also had a friend holler out her window to me at how nice I looked picking up dog poop.  I guess it was a winner all the way around.  And yes, I do clean up after my pooch when I walk her - if you have one, I hope you do the same.


Next up...the AT Loft Medallion Shift.  I loved this dress when I first saw it.  It's interesting because it's a yellow/tan print dress, like the famed LoL sateen sheath in the Dunclare print (which Dina has on here) - which I tried and immediately returned because the colors were just horrid with my skin tone.  As soon as I saw this at Loft I grabbed it...fortunately, I was shopping during a 40% off sale. 

I got an 8, and it had plenty of room. It's definitely not fitted - very flowy and breezy, but it shows of a lot of arm and leg to counter-balance the lack of shape. I love the linen fabric. Not see through, not stiff. The only downside, if I could come up with one would be that it really requires a strapless bra. But for this dress, it's worth it. 

And again, as I do with shorter skirts/dresses, flat sandals -these are from Target a few summers ago.  I wore them a ton this summer, and again, will be so sad when I have to replace them.  But they are insanely comfy and work with most of my summer wardrobe.  I found its perfect partner in last summer's JC linen vneck short sleeve cardigan.  They were made for each other.

Funny story on this dress:  A few weeks after I had purchased it, my mom and I were at Loft (30% off or something, probably) and I had pulled a few dresses into the dressing room to try on.  While I was doing that, my mom came back with this dress in hand and said: Did you see this one?  It just looks like you."  And I said: you're absolutely right, and that's why it's already hanging in my closet.  So clearly my mom knows my of the many reasons I love shopping with her.

Polyvore of Loft Medallion Shift Dress:

And the final dress I have to share, which was in HEAVY rotation this summer is the Loft Empire Tank Dress with Twist Detail. Can't remember the specs on this, I know I got it as a % off, just not sure whether that was 30, 40, or whatever.  In any case, in terms of cost per wear, it may well be one of the cheapest items in my closet right now.

What's not to love on this one...  Great shade of gray.  Beautiful draping. Lovely empire waist.  I took an M in the dress, and it fit perfectly.  The fabric is mostly synthetic, if I recall, but it still breathes.  This was a hot, steamy day staple in my wardrobe this summer.  Wore it tons.

Funny story on this dress: When I tried it on, I was asking the SA about the feasability of wearing my usual summer sports bra/cami underneath so that I didn't have to wear a real bra with it.  She, of course, was going on and on about how I could dress it up with heels, necklaces, etc. 9 a bit like at left here)  and I was just like:  um, I have plenty of that stuff, I really just want a cute knit dress I can throw on with a sports bra on a hot day and head out the door.  And that's exactly what I did with it...over and over and over again.

Polyvore of Empire Tank Dress:

I may have a post or two more on summer left, but I'll be switching to fall really soon, I swear.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

J Crew Franny Dress (Retail Only?)

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  We are headed off to a Mexican Fiesta Pool Party tonight - grown-ups only.  I want to be wearing a cute little dress...but it's about 70 degrees right now and headed down to a low of 51 tonight, so I don't think a cute little dress is in the cards...unless I go with a coat and tights...but it's Labor Day weekend - way too soon to pull out the tights in MD.   Instead I'll be wearing a pair of white jeans, like probably 50% of the ladies there.  I imagine that about 35% will have on regular jeans, and the other 15% will split out between black pants and the fools crazy enough to go with bare legs.  Did I mention it's always very breezy at our pool, so it's going to feel a lot chillier? 

But I'll have my Jaspe sequined slouchy sweatshirt to keep me warm...and sparkly...and given all the gardening I've been doing today, a sweatshirt seems about right  I've posted on that before and I'm not sure if I'll get pics before I go, so I thought I'd share what I wish I were wearing.  And I'll brace myself for the tomatoes, because a lot of you saw it on AppGal of Musings on the Mountain and I think pretty much everyone agreed with her big thumbs down.  Then again, I've always said it would be really boring if we all wore the exact same JCrew, right?

J Crew Franny Vintage Mixy Dress (#31033, $128, currently marked down in stores but not sure of the price).

Let's get this out of the's short.  It's shorter than anything I own.  But I fell in love with the spite of the length.  Now I'm certainly not going to wear it to volunteer at school.  For me, it's a great party dress.  I wore it a week after I got it to a wine tasting and fundraiser for Grassroots Soccer.  (fantastic organization, by the way, a co-workers daughter is doing a fellowship in South Africa this year) 

Even though it's short, the way the hem falls, I actually don't feel like it's about to blow up in the wind - it's cut straight at the bottom - not billowy.  I actually felt very secure in it, hem-wise...and you know me, I'm usually the first complaining (whining) about JC's hemlines.

I love love love the fact that the dress is cotton.  I like the mix of textures - the black eyelet is just fun for me.  The waistline hits me at a good spot.  It's cool and comfy, and works great with just a regular black bra (so it's easy).

Interestingly enough, I got this dress when I was out shopping with one of my dearest bloggie friends, dinagideon - who is a couple inches shorter than me and is long-shinned as well (while I am short-shinned, with more of my leg length in my femur).  Dina tried on the dress, but it actually looked shorter on her, which was weird.  And we both agreed it was weird because usually everything looks and is shorter on me.  We think it had something to do with the weird bodice fit on her.  For me and my wide shoulders, it sat in the right spot.  But it was nice to ha

But I go back to Ema's sidebar notes on her blog, My Closet, My Baby, and I:  "If something that you are trying makes you feel like you are Kate Hudson (replace Kate Hudson with your favorite style icon), BUY IT."  I felt a bit Gwyneth in the dress.

Given all that's going on with the dress, I kept the rest of the outfit pretty simple - ponytail, stud earrings, and flat sandals.  Yes...FLAT sandals...because it is a short skirt and flat shoes always ground the short length a bit. 

Funny story:  When I was trying the dress on at my not-usual B&M, the SA suggested it would look great with heels.  And I just looked at her and said "with a hem this short?  seriously???  Um, yeah, I don't think so."  But I may try it out in chillier weather with tights and a long cardi...we'll see...not sure if I'm that adventurous yet.

And if you need a tomato to toss, check out the gorgeousness below...fresh out of the garden this morning:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to School in the Crew...with some Loft Love

Today's post is dedicated to My4Boys - have you seen her new blog, Tweed and Toile?  And it's not just the cute pic of her 2 pooches on the sidebar that makes me like it...although admittedly for me, cute puppy pics always make it more fun.  She's always had such great Polyvore sets, and now we get to see them in person. Check it out!

Anyway...a month ago or so, she had a way cute Polyvore set with one of my all time fave tees, the J Crew navy/white striped tissue tee from last fall with cuffed jeans and a pair of adorable red sandals - from Loft (the Bridget thong sandal).   I might not have stopped to look that closely at the shoes at Loft, but the next time I went in, I moseyed over to the big huge tower o'sale shoes, tried them on, and realized that they actually were as cute as I thought they should be (note the large amount of projection here - it disappoints me when something doesn't live up to all the outfits I've created in my head).  And not only were they cute, they were on sale and 50% off, so they were mine for $17.49.  I was impressed with the padded footbed for comfort, and the fact that it meant my other sandal requirement - that I could  slide the strap over the back of my heel without having to unbuckle it.  Lazy, I know, but it works for me.

I'm viewing these as the perfect summer alternative to my patent peep toe flats - it's a great pop of color for all the neutral - white/tan/gray/navy/black - that I wear. It works with all of them.

And so to the outfit...I wore it, ironically, much earlier in August - about 2 weeks before the kiddies went back to school, but the JC Nicky skirt always has such a schoolgirl vibe for me (maybe because of the navy color?), so it really reminded me of back to school.  So whenever I wear it, I'm usually trying to downplau the schoolgirl feel and skew it more to the resort vacation vibe..which is why I probably never wear it with sweaters.  But colorful sandals really help with that. 

The Bridget thong sandals were the perfect finishing touch to the navy skirt and white (open crewneck painter) tee ensemble.  And a chunky pewter locket for some visual weight.  I liked the nautical feel of this outfit. Admittedly, I could sub in most any of my colorful sandals and they would work with this outfit.  I particularly look forward to utilizing the Bridgets for the 4th of July, when I'm usually wearing navy with or without some white, because I just don't do red clothing in the summer - doesn't work on me with my coloring.  Speaking of the 4th, I could replicate this outfit...if only it weren't so hot every year...oh well, food for thought.

Does anyone else have the Nicky skirt from Spring 09?  I wouldn't mind finding it in in the hot pink or orange color they had.  Size 8...let me know.  Maybe I should really be posting on the JCA exchange.  (see note above on laziness)

Polyvore from 8/16/10:

And since I mentioned cute puppy pics above as well as back to school...this is Lucy's back to school picture...since the only way E would consent to get a BTS pic with her brother was if Lucy was in the pic as well. (yes...the kiddies needed to go back to school this week and get out of the house...)

Hope you are enjoying your back to school season!!