Hey, hey! In preparation for the upcoming Fall Business Casual Starter Kit Wardrobe Guide (will be available next week!) I’ve been doing a ton of shopping. That means I’ve got another review for ya!
I’ve found some items from Amazon, Target, and LOFT to share with you. I also reviewed some underwear from Soma. All of the pieces from Amazon and Target are under $36. The LOFT items are pricey, so be sure to wait for one of their many sales (hopefully starting tomorrow for Labor Day weekend sales).
SIZING: I’m 5’6″ and usually S/M or 6 in clothes, 8.5 to 9 in shoes.
Wrap Dress – tried size S; but I prefer M
Gotta love a comfy, figure-flattering dress–especially when it’s affordable! It ranges between $20-$39 depending on size and color. This thing is one of those stretchy, comfy dresses and offers a figure-flattering shape with the wrap and v-neckline. The material is fairly thick. It’s also breastfeeding friendly!
However, a couple of notes. This IS stretchy and comfy, but the arms don’t offer as much stretch as one might need. They felt a bit tight on me in size S, or rather, exactly-perfectly-fitting-but-not-cutting-off-my-circulation type of tight. 😜 That’s the main reason I want to try M.
Second is that the tie on the side adds some bulk and actually looks a bit strange–IF not tied in the right place. I had to play around with its placement, trying a little more to the side vs. a little more towards the front, to get it to look right. But once I found the sweet spot, it was good!
This comes in 23 prints or solid colors! Above I’m showing Emerald / Pale Blue Delicate Floral and Black Mini Tulip. Check out all the prints HERE.
UPDATE: I tried M and it fits a whole lot better. Still nice and flattering, but overall lays on me much more comfortably.
If you’re not interested in the tulip hem wrap style, there are alternatives versions of this dress with slightly different cuts. See them all through the widget below. They all come in LOTS of prints.
Printed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse – size 6
This resembles tops from LOFT but costs less at $29 (plus free shipping and free return shipping that LOFT doesn’t offer!) The silhouette is professional and clean but relaxed at the same time, and it’s easy to front-tuck into pants or fully tuck into skirts. This can be worn to work or for nicer, dressy casual outfits.
One note is that the material is thicker than LOFT tops and a BIT stiffer, though still flows enough to front-tuck into pants. Given that, it also just doesn’t breathe as well as LOFT tops do. That’s just me being picky, though. It’s a great top at a more affordable price point and one to at least try!
Washing instructions say hand wash, and since this review is just an initial try-on post, I haven’t actually washed it yet. I wash most “hand wash” items in my machine on the “hand wash” cycle. We seldom actually hand wash anything, and this top seems plenty durable to at least handle the hand wash cycle on our machine.
Comes in 6 prints and 4 solid colors. I’m wearing the Navy Vine Leaf Print. See them all HERE!
Shop My Outfit:
Paper Bag Waist Pants – size S
If you want to try the paper bag waist trend without breaking the bank, these $23 pants make it VERY easy to experiment. I tried two pairs from Amazon–this one and the one below. The two pairs are pretty similar with the biggest differences being how they are cut.
This is made of polyester + spandex, so they are very, very, very stretchy and comfy, but they definitely feel like polyester in the sense of lack of breathability. The waistband is fully elastic. The material tends to cling a little, at least on me–the legs seem to fall much more fluidly on the model. It’s not clingy enough on me to be unflattering, though. Also, the front has a little extra material on me which is due to my shorter waist. If I could pull them up higher, it’d take care of the material. And I could pull them up higher, but they’d basically be up to my chest, haha! Short torso problems. Anyway, the extra material is not terrible, just not perfect. If I were paying more for this or was sure I wanted a lasting pair that I’d invest in, I’d be much pickier about everything. But, given that for me this is an experimental pair and that it’s very inexpensive, I’m fine with how they fit!
This color is a fun departure from the shades I typically have in my closet. It doesn’t go with the majority of my closet, but I have a FEW pieces I can pair with it. Since it’s a very inexpensive addition, that’s totally fine with me.
These come in 9 colors that are all pretty great! I ordered the olive green pair OF COURSE! Check them out HERE.
And yup–this top is the one I reviewed above! Looks so good with these pants. 😀
Paper Bag Waist Pants – size S
This was the other pair of paper bag waist pants that I tried. The material, stretch, comfort, clinginess, etc. is basically the same as the pair above. The major difference is that I felt there was even more extra material in the front. Plus, the belt loops stuck out noticeably more than the previous pair. I believe they were also a tad longer. I passed on this pair for the pair above, but this one has more reviews and different colors. I’d try both, since both offer free shipping and free return shipping with Prime. (Sign up for Prime HERE!)
One heads up about this pair and the pair above is that they both show VPLS. If you’re not into thongs, I’d recommend wearing boy shorts.
BTW my top is currently out of stock but comes and and out. See it HERE. Wearing size M.
Stainless Steel Foot File Callus Remover
This is not a clothing review but I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT!!! Okay so first, my heels are ROUGH, you guys. Both my mom and I have ridiculously dry feet, and while some lotions make it better, they don’t remedy everything completely and I constantly have calluses and cracked heels. It’s crazy town. I’ve used a few different foot files in the past which I thought had decent results, but this stainless steel one is AMAZING. NOTHING has gotten rid of my callouses like this! I read it through one of Penny Pincher Fashion’s recommendations, and it’s so, so good! I wish I’d taken before and after pics, but they have completely eliminated my calluses! I seriously CANNOT BELIEVE IT! For hours after using it, I kept telling Benson how amazed I was. If your heels need some help, you’ve GOTTA try this! It’s only $8.99 and has free shipping AND free return shipping. So really, just go try it! Find it HERE.
The instructions caution you that it is quite sharp, so go gently. Honestly, my heels were so rough that I didn’t find it *too* sharp, rather just perfect, nor did I go gently. Haha! But, don’t follow my example, and go gently just in case. 😆
Amazon Essentials Utility Jacket – size XS
Since a utility jacket is one of my closet staples, I’m always on the lookout for good ones for you as you’re building your closets. And personally, I’ve been feeling the need for a navy or grey utility jacket. Olive goes with almost anything–almost. I can’t wear it with olive pants which you know I wear very often. Also, I don’t always love olive with maroon. This utility jacket comes in 6 colors.
Good things about it are that it is very durable, which is GREAT for being around kids and their sticky hands. It has four large pockets to hold a bunch of stuff. It also has a drawstring waist, which you can cinch in for a more flattering fit. (And NOTE–you definitely should cinch that drawstring or else this looks pretty shapeless and baggy. I had to play with it for several minutes to get the cinching exactly how I wanted, but now it’ll be good for always!) It holds shape really well, meaning that it provides structure for your body which is always great in garments. The arms are also a good width–not too wide which is sometimes a problem with utility jackets. And the sleeve cuffs can be unbuttoned to allow you to roll this up easily, which is how I prefer to style my sleeves 99% of the time. Lastly, it’s only $32, putting it on the affordable end of the spectrum when it comes to utility jackets! 👏🏼
The one downside is that I prefer my utility jackets to be really, really soft so that they’re really comfortable, easy to move in, and easy to wear all day. This one, unfortunately, is not. However, this has so many other good things going for it that I am going to hang on to it for a bit, wear it around, and see how/if that really does bother me. Or, since it wouldn’t be my primary utility jacket (that spot is reserved for my olive one!), I might be okay with treating this like true outerwear that isn’t worn all day long.
It’s available with free shipping and free return shipping, so if you’re in the market for a utility jacket, give this a try. Remember to cinch the drawstring waist for a more flattering fit! See all 6 colors HERE.
Shop My Outfit:
Soma Vanishing Edge Underwear – size S
People rave about these for not showing underwear lines through clothing. Unfortunately for me, they haven’t lived up to that promise. Here’s my full review.
I’ve been wearing Natori Bliss Cotton Girl Briefs which were working really well for me regarding no VPLs until I trimmed down with FASTer Way to Fat Loss. (One of the very few downsides of trimming down! :P) The Natori underwear is extremely comfortable, so I continue to wear them. And usually, while they are not as effective anymore in eliminating VPLs, they are decent enough. However, sometimes “decent enough” doesn’t cut it with more form fitting items or items like the Amazon paper bag waist pants above. That’s why I looked into Soma’s Vanishing Edge underwear.
This is my second time trying them, because though they weren’t effective for me the first time, I thought maybe I got the wrong size? This is my second go and they still aren’t doing the trick. While lines are less visible, they are still there. Also, lines are more prominent in other areas like around the waistband in the back, which is also problematic. Lastly, I just don’t find them as comfortable as the Natori underwear, so if I’m going to wear something that’s not doing the job 100%, I might as well go for comfort instead.
The good, though? These work for tons and tons and tons of women, so they’ve gotta be doing something right. Just not for me. They also have a silicone lining around the edges to keep them from budging. I think they’re at least worth trying since they work for so many women! See them all HERE. Can you chime in in the comments if you’ve tried these before? Might help out others!
Soma Vanishing Edge Microfiber Boyshort – size S
This is my first time trying these, and I tried them in hopes they would be better with eliminating VPLs since I knew the bikini ones above didn’t work for me. In theory, boy shorts are great for eliminating VPLs with clothes like the Amazon paper bag waist pants! However, I didn’t love this specific pair. These also have the silicone lining around the leg which is supposed to keep them in place. Instead, on me, the edges kept rolling up. Also, I found them tight around the legs in both S and M. I returned these then promptly ordered Natori boy shorts to try. Hope those work out!
Soma’s running a huge sale on underwear right now, 7 pairs for $37, which is a little over $5/pair. If you wanted to try any, take advantage of this sale! Check them all out HERE. I signed up with Shoprunner to get FREE shipping and FREE return shipping!
EDIT: Anna left a very helpful comment below about her experience with finding the right Soma underwear. I just placed an order to try the Embraceable Super Soft Hipster and sized up to a M based on Anna’s recs. Figured WHY NOT with the sale going on and free shipping/returns! 👏🏼
LOFT Puff Sleeve Top – size S
This top comes in several different prints, though all of the prints are listed separately instead of under one link. The top feels great with a comfy, relaxed fit that’s great for dressier casual looks with jeans and flats or business casual outfits. The material is exactly like most other tops this style from LOFT–lightweight and breathable with a good drape. It’s so cute with its puffed shoulders. I have broad shoulders, so extra volume at the shoulders tends to make me look out of proportion. And though this does make my shoulders look even more broad, I’m rolling with it! If you’ve got narrow shoulders, puffed sleeves like these are great for balancing out your body. In the widget below are various prints this top comes in. Swipe through to see them all and click to shop.
LOFT Flutter Sleeve Top – size S
This top is super similar to the Puff Sleeve Top above, just with shorter flutter sleeves. If you want something with shorter sleeves or more forgiving sleeves, this is great to try. Same lightweight and breathable fabric with a good drape.
LOFT Pintuck Sateen Pants – size 4
If you’re looking for pants that aren’t quite as formal as trousers, this type is great! They are very, very soft, have some stretch, and have great reviews! One note is that I am unsure if this material has enough rebound to maintain shape or if it gets a bit baggy. No reviews seem to indicate bagginess, but I have no way to know for sure since I only wore them for a few minutes while in store. Personally for me, there was too much material in the front, but I think these are still worth trying as a comfy non-trouser pant for work! They come in this darker grey, a pretty blue, and they’re available in regular, petite, and tall lengths HERE.
Target Blazer – size 4
I have an old blazer with striped lining underneath that shows when you roll the sleeves, and usually when I show it someone asks for a similar one because that striped lining is so cute. This Target blazer has that same striped lining! This is a good option if you need an affordable blazer. It nips in at the waist to create flattering curves. The shoulders are a TAD pointier than my blazers typically are, leading to a sharper look. Also it is a bit longer than other blazers I wear this style. It works on my shorter torso, but I generally prefer them a bit shorter. However, those last things are just me being really picky, and I think overall this is a great blazer to try. It has 500+ great reviews and comes in black, navy, khaki, and grey HERE.
Target Floral Top – size M
This top is so, so pretty, and I really like it. But be warned–it’s totally sheer and very thin. I’m not wearing a cami underneath in the pic above (just for trying on–too lazy to put a cami on), and surprisingly you couldn’t really see through it. However, for a work environment I would NOT take any chances and would absolutely wear a black or nude camisole underneath. One thing I love about sheer blouses like this is that they are actually great for hot weather. They’re so sheer that they are very breathable, and with a camisole underneath it actually feels more like you’re just wearing a camisole. However, they’re not as great for cooler weather. Just depends on what you’re looking for! This is only $19.99 and would look cute with black pants as shown above, navy, and maroon. Would be really cute with dark wash jeans, a maroon cardigan, and booties, too! Check it out HERE.
Need help with a wardrobe and don’t know where to start? Check out the Fall Casual Starter Kit Wardrobe Guide!