Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Style for Under $100: Petite Fashion Challenge #13

For this Petite Fashion Challenge, we were given this prompt by the lovely Annie: "Put together a professional outfit (excluding shoes and accessories) for under $100." Here's my look!

Photos: Katie Derus | Cardigan: Express (similar here on sale!) | Turtleneck: H&M (similar here) | Skirt: Ann Taylor (similar in petite and regular sizing) | Tights: Ann Taylor (similar here) | Sunglasses: Prada | Pumps: Nine West (similar here) | Gloves: Gift (similar here) | Necklace: DIY | Bracelets: Express, Nordstrom, Tiffany

My cost breakdown:
Express Cardigan: $30 (on sale)
H&M Turtleneck: $13
Ann Taylor Petite Skirt: $40 (on sale)
Ann Taylor Tights: $7 (on sale)
Total: $90

Visit Really Petite to see the rest of the entries and be inspired by the other petite professional looks for less!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sock Bun Tutorial

How to Make Your Sad Little Bun Look Big and Beautiful.

I've had a couple requests from readers to do a tutorial on the updo you've seen me wearing on a few occasions. I taught myself to do it after reading a couple tutorials online and lots of trial-and-error. Hopefully this step-by-step little guide will help you to have a lot less error than I did. I've included two different ways to achieve the same look so you can find the one that works best for you. Feel free to email me if you have additional questions!

Photos: Katie Derus | Sweater: Pins & Needles (last seen here) (similar here) | Shirt: AE (similar here on sale) | Pants: AE (similar here) | Bracelets: Tiffany, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor | Watch: Fossil (old, but similar here)

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Snapshots

[Photo 1] Shirt: H&M | Skirt: H&M (similar here) | Jewelry: Express, Tiffany, Nordstrom | iPhone Cover: kate spade (similar here) [Photo 2] Boots: Hunter (on sale in dark olive green) | [Photo 3] Books: Penguin Hardcover Classics (ModCloth has Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations) | [Photo 4] Jacket: Billabong | Shoes: Via Spiga (on sale!)

Just wanted to share a few pretty photos from my Instagram feed over the last couple weeks.

As an avid reader and lover of classic literature, I have been coveting Coralie Bickford-Smith's gorgeous hardcover, clothbound editions of my favorite classic novels since their debut. Her collaboration with Penguin to create this series of Penguin Hardcover Classics appeals to both my literary and aesthetic sensibilities. They're well worth the investment, in my opinion. I received the first few I ordered last week and fell in love all over again with my favorite Austen heroines. (If you're interested in chatting about books with me, come check out my shelves on Goodreads--I'm presently struggling through Infinite Jest.)

Denver's famously unpredictable weather means that one day's blizzard is the next day's mini-flood as the snow melts away in 60-degree sunshine. I'd been looking for a suitable pair of rain boots I could get away with wearing to work when it's wet and slushy, but finding some that didn't look childish or overwhelming on my petite frame proved to be a challenge. I finally tried on a few pairs from Hunter's Regent line and liked them quite a bit. They're narrower in the calf and ankle and come in sophisticated colors and patterns, making them look more like a riding boot than your classic Wellies. While the boot shaft is tall, I didn't find them to be uncomfortable, even when sitting or bending down.

The lovely white roses in the last photo really make me wish spring were here already! Whenever it finally decides to arrive, I know I'll be ready with plenty of reading material and rain boots for those flower-bringing showers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dots, Dots, and a Pleated Leather Skirt

Photos: Katie Derus | Top: Urban Outfitters (similar style here)| Skirt: H&M (similar here) | Tights: F21 (similar here)| Sunglasses: Prada | Shoes: Nine West (old)(similar here) | Necklace: DIY | Bracelets: Tiffany, Express, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor | Watch: Fossil

I've been hunting for a leather skirt for a while and had more or less ruled out anything that wasn't genuine leather due to my dislike of the plastic-like texture of most faux leather materials. To my surprise, I found this leather mini-skirt at H&M (in the Divided section) and was immediately enamored of it. The faux leather doesn't feel like vinyl, the shape is pretty and flattering, and the pleats give it a little something extra. I have a feeling this skirt is going to be appearing often in my sartorial rotation this spring!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Petite Work Attire: Color Me Turquoise

Photos: Katie Derus | Dress: Ann Taylor (similar style here) | Cardigan: Express (similar here) | Belt: Ann Taylor | Sunglasses: Prada | Shoes: F21 | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Necklaces: Ann Taylor, F21 | Bracelets: Nordstrom, F21, Ann Taylor, Arden B. | Rings: F21, Borrowed

I'm such a fan of wearing color to work (check out a previous colorful work outfit). Wearing a bright cardigan like this turquoise one feels fresher and cheerier than the traditional neutrals that dominate my work wardrobe--however, I like to pair brights and colors with other neutral pieces in order to stay work-appropriate.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Casual Friday

Photos: Katie Derus | Shirt: J.Crew | Vest: F21 (similar here) | Jeans: Wet Seal | Boots: Vintage | Necklace: F21 | Bracelets: Tiffany, Express, Nordstrom, Vintage | Earrings: ALDO

Happy Friday, everyone! I wanted to share with you these casual photos from warmer, less snowy days. Denver had an incredibly warm, record-breaking January, but February seems to be more than making up for the previous lack of winter. [Sigh.] At least I can make the best of the snow and go skiing!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Glam in Gray: an H&M Coat Review

Photos: Katie Derus | Coat: H&M (available online in the U.K. here)| Sunglasses: Prada | Shoes: Nine West (last seen in the last Petite Fashion Challenge) | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

I bought this glam-looking H&M coat at the beginning of the fall, so I was somewhat surprised to see a few of them still lingering in the store when I popped in recently. After wearing it a few times, I think I know why there are still some left on the racks: this is kind of an odd duck of a coat.

I'll begin by saying that it's usually important to me to not have my coat be a big hassle to put on. I generally want to get out the door quickly, and spending a bunch of time figuring out collars and buttons and sashes isn't really my thing. I was willing to set my usual requirements aside for this coat because I loved the unique collar and adorable bow belt so much. However, practically speaking, I've found never want to wear it since getting into it is such a production. The collar has to be threaded through itself, the snaps are difficult to align and snap properly, and the bow belt has a tendency to whip its little elasticized self everywhere but where I want it to go when trying to snap it into place.

Since I have ended up not wearing this coat much, I decided not to fork over the money it would take to alter the sleeves, which are a bit too long for me. It was interesting to me, though, that when I looked at H&M's catalog shots of the coat, it seemed like the sleeves were also long on the models (I'm guessing both have a solid 10-12 inches of height on me). I'm not sure if this was the intended look, but it seems as if the sleeve length issue is universal across sizes.

Finally, the coat seems to only fall or lie properly when one doesn't walk, sit, or otherwise move around much. As soon as I begin moving, the pockets gape with the lining peeking out, the hem alignment looks off, and it bunches in odd places.

While this coat may still be available in some stores, I wish I had returned it while I could. The overall look, the interesting detailing, and the price were all very attractive, but the wearability and fit will probably cut short this item's life in my closet.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Snapshots

[Photo 1] Blazer: H&M | Cardigan: J.Crew | Scarf: Nordstrom (similar style) | Bracelets: F21, Nordstrom | [Photo 2] Hat: Arden B. (old) | Scarf: Target | Gloves: Gift | [Photo 3] Flats: Old Navy (in blue here) | [Photo 4] Macarons from d Bar Desserts | [Photo 5] Shirt: J.Crew | Skirt: Nordstrom | Bag: Tory Burch

Here are few photos from my Instagram feed over the last few weeks--I'll hopefully be taking more of these shots now that I actually have an iPhone (instead of having to pilfer my friends' phones). It's been fun this weekend trying to get it all set up and ordering a cute new cover for it--I couldn't believe how many different covers there are out there! I ended up designing one for myself and am excited to see how it turns out.

I ended up saying no to the leopard Tory Burch bag I had featured a couple weeks ago in a Snapshots post. I loved the design, but the leopard print felt a little too trendy for my generally conservative taste in handbags. When I picked up the cream-colored flap shoulder bag in Photo 5, it felt like it belonged in my wardrobe.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Stripes and Dots: Easy Print-Mixing

Photos: Katie Derus | Blazer: H&M (last seen here)(similar in regular and petite sizing) | Shirt: Urban Outfitters (similar here) | Skirt: F21 (similar here)| Belt: Urban Outfitters | Shoes: Ann Taylor (last seen here)(similar here) | Clutch: Arden B (old) | Necklace: Ann Taylor | Bracelets: Express, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Boutique | Nails: CND Shellac Tropix

Massive snowstorm = indoor photos! Here, I'm pretending like it's still warm and springy outside when the reality is that work is cancelled for the afternoon, and I'm drinking chai in bed.

I'm excited to wear this mix of stripes, polka dots, and lots of gold accessories when spring comes around (which in Denver might be a couple days from now or a couple months from now). I love mixing prints, and picking something simple--like stripes and polka dots--in the same color family is a foolproof way to do it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Glad It's Plaid

Photos: Katie Derus | Button-Down: Aeropostale | Skirt: BCBG | Belt: Vintage | Shoes:Via Spiga | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar here)(last seen here and here)| Headband: F21 | Necklace: Amrita Singh | Bracelets: J.Crew, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Boutique | Earrings: Boutique

Remember these pumps and this bag from the other day? Last time you saw them, they were doing their duty as pops of color in a conservative professional ensemble, but today, they're giving a classic vibe to an otherwise-casual-and-fun apres-work outfit. Pumps and a classic, structured handbag don't always have to equal formal or dressy; they can just as easily lend sophistication to your weekend, off-duty pieces.

I really love the combination of different textures in this look--soft, thin chambray-lined plaid, a bandage skirt, ribbons and pearls, a sequined bow, snakeskin pumps, and smooshy leather for the bag. It's a little slice of heaven for texture-obsessed me.