Thursday, November 26, 2015

REVIEWS: Flares, Sweaters, Coats, Tops, and Riding Boots from LOFT, Nordstrom, and ModCloth

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  With Black Friday and Cyber Monday and basically a weekend of crazy sales coming up, I thought I'd post some reviews of recent shopping endeavors in case any of them go on sale.  

There are 12 items up for review, so get something warm and yummy to drink and make yourselves comfy!  

For reference, I'm 5'6" with a shorter torso and normally size 6/8 or S/M.

Free People Flares - Size 28
I've mentioned that while I like the flare trend, I'd really just prefer to find a pair of bootcut jeans to replace my trouser jeans that no longer work with my post-labor hips.  I'm not sure how long the flare trend will be around, but bootcut jeans are sometimes a more tame version of flares, and bootcut is classic and will be around forever.

I saw these Free People flares on another blogger, and while they looked amazing on her, they weren't what I was looking for as they are super duper flared!  They looked more relaxed on the other blogger and therefore not as flared, but my thighs are bigger than hers are, proportionally, so they don't look relaxed on me.  Besides being too flared for me, they were too tight around my waist and my thighs.

These would be way better for someone with more slender thighs than me and who wants huge flares.  Other flares I've seen that look like this are over twice the cost of this pair.  One note though is that I felt like the zipper felt a little cheap.  It functioned fine, like it didn't get stuck, but it didn't zip up smoothly like jeans normally do.  I'm not usually picky about stuff like that, so if *I* noticed it, then it was definitely noticeable!

Dark Wash LOFT Flares - Size 6/28
I tried a bootcut pair from LOFT in the last shopping review (HERE), but I ordered flares to try too.  These felt decent in terms of material, but even though I like medium waist jeans, these had a *tad* too much material for me.  The flares were smaller than the Free People pair above, but still definitely flared.

I would still prefer a liiiitttle more room in the thighs, but I prefer this option over the Free People pair above in terms of how the material feels as well as price!  At full price they are roughly the same, but LOFT often has 40-50% off sales.  I think they're slightly longer than the free People pair, but also come in petite and tall.

Wit & Wisdom Bootcut Jeans - Size 8
I already shared about these, but I would just like to reiterate that THESE ARE SO COMFORTABLE.  They feel like yoga pants!  They're totally stretchy, including the waist.

Oh, and did I mention they make my legs look 5 miles long?  They flare out a tiny bit, but are actually bootcut, so I think I can wear these for a while well past the flare trend!  You can see how I've worn them a couple of times HERE.

LOFT Denim Leggings - Size 6/28
I'd been wanting to try these for a while because they look so good on the model and on Kendi.  Blah, they don't work for me.  And they're not even really that stretchy--for a pair of jeans OR for leggings.  The ankle is really fitted, but in a way that's too fitted for me.  That, combined with them being like an inch too long for me, just meant they awkwardly bunched up at the bottom, which you can see in the side pic.  Overall there was a little too much material in weird places, like the waist, parts of my thighs, and at the bottom before the ankle hem.  I'm assuming they'd be better for someone who is a tad taller than me so that the bits of extra fabric lengthen out.

In the end these only confirmed for me that keeping the finding the Lucky Brand skinny jeans (HERE) really was indeed lucky!  Those are stretchy, the perfect length on me, and the ankles are fitted without being too fitted and making my legs look like sausages.  Case closed, and dark wash skinny jean wanderlust over!

Riding Boots - size 9
These Vince Camuto boots are freaking 50% off right now and fully stocked in all sizes--$112!  The color is great as it's much more cognac than shown in my pics.  It's closer to the color on the product site.

BUT.  Gosh.  I wanted to love these boots.  The heel is comfortable.  The boot shaft is 14 3/4" which is perrrrfect for me.  The calf is 14 1/2" which is narrower than most boots but is again perfect for me.  BUT, the ankles felt weird and caved in on me, and honestly, I thought they felt cheap and flimsy.  I dunno, man...maybe I got a bum pair that had been folded up and was flimsy or something, but given that they are originally $228 I was expecting a lot better quality.  SO SADDDDD because otherwise they are perfect!

I'm normally 8.5 to 9 and 9 fit best.

Aqua Utility Blouse
I recently reviewed this top in a deeper teal (HERE), but re-ordered because I wanted to do a direct comparison to the Nordstrom top below.  I also wanted to see what the aqua color (the one above) was like in person.

Both colors on this top were gorgeous!  But ultimately the cut wasn't for me.  I'll explain why below...

Green Blouse - Size M
This is the top from Nordstrom I've been posting about (HERE).  It's a little darker and more muted than the LOFT one above in green (HERE), and while I prefer the color of the LOFT blouse I like everything else about this one more!  (For me, that is.  The LOFT blouse is beautiful!)

LOFT's blouse is too long for me in the front, and the rounded hem accentuated my hips in a way I didn't like.  The Nordstrom blouse above is straight across in front with a curved hem in back.  (The part popping out near the back of my waist in the side view is a tag from the jeans.)  While I think the curved neckline on the LOFT blouse is really cute, I like that the v-neck on this blouse elongates my neckline a little.  Lastly, the LOFT blouse has full-length sleeves while Nordstrom's are bracelet sleeves.  Overall, there is a little less material on the Nordstrom blouse, like a shorter hem, shorter arms, and a deeper neckline, and all of that seems to be more flattering on me.  This is a winner for me, but I imagine if you're taller than me, the LOFT blouse would look SO pretty on you!

Peplum Sweater - size M
I've already reviewed this, but this sweater is beautiful and super classy for the holidays.  It's much more expensive than I'm used to, but at least it feels quality and like you're getting what you paid for.  The peplum detail is adorable!

Paired with the Wit & Wisdom bootcut jeans I reviewed earlier.

Green Sweater - Size M, exchanging for L
This green sweater from ModCloth is a beautiful color!  I purchased this with leftover money on ModCloth gift card from doing a sponsored post, and I was so thankful for that because I love this sweater.  I'm wearing M in these pics, but I exchanged it for L.  I like my tops slightly looser because, if you look from the side view, a snugly fit top like this kind of tapers out from the side on me since I have a smaller chest.  I don't love that look, so when it happens, sizing up usually fixes it for me.

Someone asked if I buy pullovers a size up in order to layer over tops, but I usually don't.  Instead, I just get stretchier sweaters if I plan on layering.  This sweater has enough stretch so that layering things even while wearing Medium was not a problem.

I know some people in colder climates NEED full-length sleeves, but I love that these are 3/4!

Red Toggle Coat - Size M
I reviewed this coat recently (HERE), but I just wanted to include another look at it from the side.  (This was purchased with ModCloth credit for that post.  I'm pretty in love with this thing!)

Polka Dot Coat - Size M
Along with the red coat I tried this navy polka dot one.  It had such good reviews, but the flared bottom was too much material for me.  Also, given that I have broader shoulders, the puffed shoulders weren't working for me.  In the reviews people that were both curvier than me and less curvy than me looked great in this thing, so it seems like I'm the odd one out!  Too bad for me because it's really cute and pretty sturdy.

Cream Sweater - Size M/L
This was also purchased with the leftover ModCloth gift card, and I just love this piece!  It's laid back and easy to wear, cute, and totally has that cozy holiday feel.  It comes with a bottom through the front, but a couple of notes.  First, beware, the sleeves have legit holes in them, so your arms might get cold if you're in cooler climates!  Might have to wear a long sleeved shirt underneath.  Second, the lining isn't stretchy, so if you have larger hips it might not fit well.  However, I have larger hips and the M/L worked fine for me.

I'll do a Black Friday post tomorrow, but in the meanwhile, have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tool for Building a Personalized (Capsule) Wardrobe

Whether you are building a wardrobe from scratch or trying to create the perfect, versatile wardrobe, it can be overwhelming.  While this post is about capsule wardrobes, this tool will help you build a wardrobe in general, regardless of whether or not you're into capsules.  

While capsule wardrobes have been around for a long time, you have probably noticed their rising popularity in the last year or two.  

If you're not familiar with capsule wardrobes, it's basically a mini wardrobe made of versatile pieces that is essentially fixed.  Some people have one capsule or minimalist wardrobe for all seasons while many others build capsules seasonally.

Why Capsules Are Compelling to Me
I'm not officially doing capsule wardrobes at the moment, but since I live with a minimalist husband I feel like I am forever inching my way over.  And I find myself even more compelled by them since having a kid.  After becoming parents, Benson and I both feel a heavy sense of "decision fatigue."  Everyday we are inundated with large and small decisions to make, from significant strategic decisions at work to how we will decorate our house to what to wear.  When Addie was born we felt the amount of decisions pile up--which sippy cup to get, what baby clothes to buy, which daycare to take her to.  It feels endless!  We noticed decision fatigue taking a mental and emotional toll on us, and having to make decisions about stupid little things everyday prevented us from engaging fully with the things and people that are really important to us.  

I used to think the point of capsule wardrobes was to save money, but nowadays the bigger appeal for me is that building a capsule wardrobe should allow you to spend less time thinking about clothes and free up that energy towards more important things.  I've watched Benson streamline his life, like how we eat the same thing for lunch everyday or how he has fewer clothing options and doesn't waste as much time as I do mulling over what to wear (and still looks really good!), and I feel compelled to streamline my life a little more, too.  

Over a year and a half ago I was introduced to a company called Cladwell, and I'm excited to introduce them to you today!  Cladwell built a tool that creates a personalized capsule wardrobe to fit your lifestyle and style preferences, and I'm gonna show you the capsule I created!  

Anyway, I know some of us are on the capsule train already, some of us have been intrigued by it (like me), and some of us will never do the capsule thing.  All of that is fine!  Even if you don't want to do a capsule wardrobe but need a more robust and personalized list than the Starter Kit list in my Wardrobe From Scratch Series, this could be a fantastic tool for you.

Shop for the Items
Items below are exact or similar to what's shown above.  If the exact item is not linked that means it is no longer available.  

Row 2 // striped tunic  |  grey home tee  |  patterned tee  |  black tee  |  white tee  |  grey sweatshirt
Row 3 // navy sweater  |  cream sweater  |  green sweater  |  patterned cardi  |  tan cardi  |  yellow cardi
Row 4 // maroon cardi  |  navy vest  |  herringbone vest  |  cargo jacket  |  denim jacket  |  navy coat 
Row 6 // black dress |  grey dress  |  striped dress  |  dark skinny jeans  |  flares  |  med-wash skinnies 
Row 7 // olive jeans  |  white jeans  |  black jeans  |  maroon jeans
Row 7 shoes // cognac boots  |  black boots  |  tan flats  |  black flats  |  white sneakers

The Process
Cladwell takes you through a 4 step process of discovering your style and color preferences.  On the last step you'll get asked a series of questions about color preferences, lifestyle activities, and types of clothing you prefer.

I entered that I work from home 3x/wk, have meetings 2x/wk, church 1x/wk, attend weddings and dressier occasions several times per season, and have errands and kid-friendly activities 2x/wk.  I love that you get to enter what kinds of pieces you prefer to wear for those activities!

Then Cladwell generates a list for you with different types of pieces and you choose a color for each piece.  Cladwell gives you 3 color suggestions for each garment based on your chosen color palette, and you either choose one of them or you can enter a different color completely.

After choosing colors, you check off whether or not you already have each garment.  If you don't have it, it'll be added to your shopping list.

What's great about this tool is its flexibility.  You can add pieces to the list, exchange one kind of piece for more of another, delete pieces altogether, add notes to each piece, and change colors.

One thing I wished Cladwell's capsule tool did was tell you if you should go for a solid or patterned piece.  Right now it only indicates color.  As you can see in my capsule above, I was still able to incorporate prints, but it just took a little more thought.  Once I actually got into the nitty gritty of going through the list and thinking of pieces I currently had to fill the list it was much easier to figure out patterns versus solids.  I was just like, "Yes, I have a white button up blouse.  And it happens to be polka dotted."  :)  It might be a little harder if you have absolutely no pieces because you're working completely from scratch.  But if you're an average person with some stuff in your closet and trying to build a capsule wardrobe or curate your wardrobe you should be fine once you actually get into things.  If you're looking for guidance, about half of my tops (out of 15 including pullover sweaters) had a print.  To know your style preferences, Step 1 in Cladwell's process should help you do that, or you can read Part 1 of Wardrobe From Scratch.

Cladwell is a subscription service, so you pay to use the tool for each season. It's just $15 to use for one season, meaning ~$5/mo.  Not too shabby for something that's going to help organize and streamline your life, IMO!  

My Capsule Wardrobe
I ended up with 49 pieces, but depending on how much variation you need for your lifestyle, you could end up with more or less.  I switched some out and added others because, let's face it...I love clothes.  :)

Even though I recently did a huge closet clean out (HERE), making this list has helped me see that focusing on a smaller set of pieces--having even less clutter--really does feel freeing.  If you've been following PMT this season, most of these pieces should look familiar as I've already been living out of this list more or less.  It's been unintentional, but I've noticed I think less about clothes than I ever have, yet I'm more content with how I dress.  At the same time, however, part of me goes, "But, but, but...what about my cobalt pumps?"  I feel sad about pieces that aren't here that I love.  BUT, then I realize that this capsule wardrobe thing isn't meant to be rigid.  It's supposed to be freeing.  For me, it's not about exercising self-discipline to only use these pieces to see if you can do it (no thanks) or even saving money (--I already budget).  It's about removing some distractions to decrease decision fatigue and be freed up mentally and emotionally to focus on more important things.

While I can't say I'm not going to shop anymore this season (it's still a hobby for me, haha! but maybe I'll get there), my current plan is to remove a lot of items from my closet and pare it down to focus on this list as a base. (Not get rid of, but just remove for this season.)  If for some reason I instantly think of an outfit with a piece that's not in my current pared down closet, then I'll use it.  On a day to day level I think I'll have much more mental space if I'm staring at less pieces in the morning, but if one day I want to reach for cobalt pumps, then I will, and there ain't no harm in that!

For anyone who would love some help building a capsule wardrobe or even if you just need a starting place to build a wardrobe, check out Cladwell's capsule wardrobe building tool!

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Favorite Watch 12 Ways + 15% Off for the Holidays

This year I got really into wearing watches.  But I don't mean that I got into watches the way that one of my friends knows all the different watches and how they make a huge statement and all that.  I really mean that I'm obsessive about knowing what time it is and love always having it on my wrist.  But on the style side of things, I also love that a watch is a functional piece of jewelry, and I've noticed how much I've relied on watches lately to make my outfits feel complete.  

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact)
Skirt: c/o Le Tote (similar)
Shoes: Sole Society (exact, similar, similar, similar)
Bag: c/o Sole Society (exact)
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (exact--use HOLIDAYAUDREY for 15% off)

My very favorite watch is this Daniel Wellington one (HERE).  I looooove how timeless, classic, and sleek their watches are!  At first I just loved its simplicity, but I didn't think much of it until I got compliments ALL.THE.TIME. because of it!  Whenever I wear this, it never fails to get a compliment, from men and women alike.  On top of that, it's super comfortable to wear as it's very lightweight, sleek and not bulky so it doesn't get in the way, and the leather band molds nicely to my wrist.  

The design I'm wearing has little crystals, though Daniel Wellington carries ones with just normal lines for the index.  You can see all of their designs HERE.   You can also choose between black, tan, or brown leather bands or a sportier band like THIS ONE.  They also have rose gold or silver cases as well as different face sizes.  Oh, and the bands are interchangeable!  

Also, when I first got it I thought it'd mostly be for dressier or more professional occasions, but it's turned out to be super versatile!

I've worn it with all sorts of outfits for all sorts of occasions, from outfits for weddings and parties to office looks to my mom uniform for running errands and playing with Addie.  It pretty much works for anything.

If you're looking for a nice, standout gift for someone, like your dad, mom, sister, brother, best friend, significant other, or whoever, I honestly believe this would make a fantastic gift for both men and women!  I'm surprised at how many compliments I've gotten on it, and one of my friends is kind of obsessed with it.

Daniel Wellington is offering PMT readers 15% off!  Use code HOLIDAYAUDREY for 15% off all products from Daniel Wellington (HERE) until December 31st.

Also, shipping is FREE worldwide!

Huge thanks to Daniel Wellington for sponsoring this post!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

That's Mine Giveaway ($100) + Discount Codes!

I've mentioned before how one accessory can perk up an entire outfit, and I personally love adding a statement necklace to my outfit when it needs a little somethin' somethin'.

One of my favorite shops for statement necklaces and other jewelry is an Etsy shop called That's Mine Boutique.  It's full of colorful pieces as well as more delicate and discrete pieces, all of which will kick an outfit up a notch.

Today I've teamed up with That's Mine to give away $100 to anything in their shop, as well as provide a couple of discount codes and a grab bag deal to help you with holiday shopping!

Top: White Plum (exact)  |  Jeans: Nordstrom (exact)  |  Booties: Target (similar, similar)

This is one of That's Mine's newer statement necklaces.  It's made of acrylic turquoise-mint beads and a silver chain, and it makes any plain top seem exciting!  Find it HERE.

A sampling of just a few of the necklaces I own from That's Mine.  (I think I have over 10!)  The blue one is also brand new and is made from blue natural jade stone and a silver plated chain.  Find it HERE.

Below are ways I've worn two other That's Mine necklaces in the past.  This yellow/grey one (HERE) is one of my all-time favorites.  I also love the mint and silver one in the bottom row (HERE) which I would not necessarily have chosen for myself, but I ended up loving it!  I've found that That's Mine necklaces, though can be colorful, are really versatile and always add a lot to an outfit.

I've given That's Mine pieces as gifts to friends in the past, and they're always a hit!  And right now That's Mine has 3 deals for PMT readers:

Grab Bags
Shop owner Amy offered these last year, and I guess a few of you wrote to her asking if she'd be doing them again this year.  Because of that, she decided YES!  Thanks to whoever wrote to her, because grab bags are an amazing deal!  It's a mystery bag of at least 4 items, totaling up to $75 worth of items--for only $25!!

Below is a sample of the kinds of pieces inside.  Amy makes new pieces daily for them.  I got two necklaces and two pairs of earrings.  All so cute!  These make such great gifts, or are great deals for several gifts...or they're great for yourself.  ;)

Get the grab bags HERE!

Discount Codes:
  • TENOFF50 for $10 off purchase of $50 or more
  • THIRTYOFF100 for $30 off purchase of $100 or more
The beauty of these is that you can use them on ANYTHING in the store!  Grab bags, gift sets, sale items--it's all fair game!  

Win $100 to That's Mine:
Lastly, you can win $100 to That's Mine!  From November 22 to January 1st, share a piece from That's Mine on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #thatsmine and you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card.  One winner will be chosen on January 5th by That's Mine.  That's all you've gotta do!

With those three fantastic deals, be sure to check out the beautiful pieces at That's Mine!  Also follow along on Facebook (HERE) and Instagram (HERE).  

Huge thanks to That's Mine for sponsoring this post!  

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