J. Crew Fall 2017

I fell a bit out of love with J. Crew after the exit of Jenna Lyons, but I still keep coming back to the well.

With their sales becoming as frequent as Banana Republic’s, it’s also almost impossible to pay full price for anything at J. Crew.

I bit at a recent 30% off sale and picked up this open front sweater blazer, which is a pretty perfect fall camel hue:

I *just* noticed that it also comes in a cool looking olive color, which sets off all kinds of justifying in my mind why I need two extremely similar sweaters.

I decided to pair the sweater with a striped turtleneck that was only $11.99 on sale, a price I could not resist. The vision was to wear the turtleneck, jeans and sweater blazer together for fall, maybe with leopard print sneakers.

The side slits on this sweater – also a turtleneck– intrigued me, and many of my black turtleneck sweaters are looking a bit sad, so I put this in my basket. A fresh (read: not faded or pilled) black turtleneck sweater is a wardrobe must, and it should be replenished the same way that a good white tee needs to be frequently updated. 

I *also just* noticed that this sweater, too, comes in a cool olive color. And now I am self-justifying the purchase of nearly-identical sweater #2.

The last thing that I bought for fall 2017 was this pair of earrings:

Statement earrings aren’t my thing the way that statement necklaces are, but I saw a segment on the Today Show recently where both the interviewer and the interviewee were wearing oversized crystal danglers like these, and I liked the look enough to try it for myself. I was happy that they were bold but not too heavy. It’s hard to tell from the picture but they also have a slight yellow-diamond type tint, which makes them look great with the camel sweater above.

While none of these pieces from J. Crew is a huge style risk, I think they’ll fall into the safe space of being new and versatile enough to feel like I updated my wardrobe more than I did.

What do you like at J. Crew this fall?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stitch Fix #21

I was stalking my Stitch Fix order online, so I was excited to rush home last night to check my doorstep.

Bam! Delivered.

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Stitch Fix has an app that lets you preview your box, but I never, ever peek. I love the element of surprise.

However, I *did* observe on the tracking notice that my package only weighed 3 lbs, which meant that there were probably no shoes included.

I’ve received some cute shoes from Stitch Fix before, but I’m ok with skipping them, too.

Here’s a first look:

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Right away I could see fall colors and some floral prints. In the end, I lovingly dubbed this the Fall Floral Overload Fix.

I’m going to start with Floral #1:

This is a mixed fabric top that has sweater-like fabric on the front, whereas the back is a floaty floral print. I like the gold zipper detail on the back.

Stitch Fix describes this as the Apricot “Mindee Mixed Material Raglan Knit Tee,” and full price was listed as $58. This was also the $58 dollar Fix, as 4/5 items were listed at that exact price point. The included styling cards showed this top with jeans, leopard print mules and a bomber jacket for one look, as well as with black leggings, a leather backpack and sneakers as another way to wear it.

I had Pinned this top, so I was excited to see it. The fit was good, so it quickly went into the Keep pile.

This plaid shirt was next:

Sigh. My usual photography problems are omnipresent, but this Statement “Athenia Button Back Top” is navy blue with electric blue, red and white mixed plaid. The backside has buttons down the middle, hence the name. I rarely wear plaid shirts; nothing against them but they are not really my style. One thing I like about Stitch Fix is that it can introduce me to new pieces I wouldn’t have gravitated to on my own, and I’d put this squarely in that category. Price, you ask? $58. Stitch Fix’s styling cards were pretty boring with this. It was shown with jeans and booties twice.

Ok, Floral #2:

Another floral mixed media top. Another 41 Hawthorn piece. Another $58 item. This is the 41 Hawthorn “Dido Mixed Print Knit Top.” The front is a silky t-shirt material and the back is the same floaty fabric (polyester, I think) as Floral #1. The front is gray and the floral has a dark green (deep forest) background with a quartz pink print.

Here’s a close up of the print:

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The style cards basically put together the same looks as for Floral Top #1, and they even used the same jeans/bomber combo for one and the same leggings for the other. Well, now I know what to do.

Breaking up the florals, we turn to the final $58 item:

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This is the 41 Hawthorn “Nio Pullover Sweater.” The collar is an oatmeal color, the body and cuffs are gray, and the sleeves are deep navy blue.

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There’s a lot going on, but it works. This is very, very similar to a lot of things I already own, but I own them for a reason – namely I like stuff like this a lot. Winner.

I saved the best for last. Item #5 and Floral #3.

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This is the 41 Hawthorn “Cristen Shirt Dress.” I’d seen this on another blog and absolutely loved it. I Pinned it and hoped there was a chance for it to show up, so I was beyond excited when it did. The price is listed as $78, which I think is extremely fair. The quality is higher than some Stitch Fix pieces I have received.

As for the style, it is a flattering shirtdress that could be worn many ways. The style cards paired this with blush heels and a matching handbag, as well as a light colored trench coat. That combo would look great in April but probably won’t cut it for fall, so I will probably go the tights/booties route.

Here are a few close ups of the fabric:

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I was photobombed at this point.

I liked this Fix a lot, so I kept it all for $212.50.

While I’m probably set for floral pieces for a while, I have very few similar things in my closet so these were great choices from my stylist.

 

 

 

 

 

My Camo Fixation

I’m not sure why this was the year that I became really, really into camouflage prints.

Yes, they’re trendy now, but they’ve been trendy in the past and I’ve never succumbed.

And since I have not magically morphed into someone inclined to participate in activities such as hunting (ok, maybe urban hunting, which is shopping in my vocabulary), this predilection is entirely new.

It started with these pants:

I ordered these pants after spying them in a Nordstrom ad. The muted print is nice and surprisingly neutral. I’ve been wearing them at least twice per week since they arrived. Another blog suggested pairing them with a striped blue and white button down, which I think would look cute. I have two of those exact shirts, but both have idled in my to-be-drycleaned pile for too long to admit, so I’ve mostly been wearing the pants with a light pink or gray tee, sometimes with an oatmeal colored cotton sweater from the Gap. I haven’t paired them yet with the velvet bee mules. but seeing this picture above reminds me to try this soon.

Around the same time that I ordered the pants, I received notice that my next Stitch Fix was being styled, and I quickly added a request for camo bottoms. While there weren’t any available (which, in retrospect was good since I had these pants on order by the time I got the Fix), this jacket arrived instead:

This camo bomber has proven to be incredibly versatile. I’ve worn it a few times already as a light layer over my favorite Target find of the summer, this dress:

The fabric in the jacket is really soft (Tencel?) and I like the cute zippered pocket detail on the arm:

While two pieces of camo in my wardrobe would have sufficed, I also added these sweatpants:

Alas, these are now sold out, but the cute online boutique that sells them has a lot of other comfy lounge pants in stock.

My final two items were from my recent Gap splurge, where I had a bunch of Gap Cash that was burning a hole in my pocket.

 

I promise not to wear this all at once.

Elizabeth & Clarke Fall 2017 Review

If you’re not familiar with it, Elizabeth & Clarke is a shirt subscription service.

Each season they offer a small collection (three items) of shirts, and subscribers can opt for one, two or all three of the designs.

I’ve been a two shirts per season subscriber for a while, and this puts me in good company since Elizabeth & Clarke says that this is the most popular option.

About six months ago, they also raised their prices from (as low as) $20 per shirt (with the three per season plan) to $40 per shirt for the same option. Currently, the two per season price is $50 per shirt, or $100 per quarter.

With the new pricing, the quality has taken an uptick. Many of the shirts feature their Unstainable technology and are winkle-free. Both of these are huge wins in my camp.

For Fall 2017, these were the three choices: a gray sweater (the “Florence”), a sleeveless Burgundy top (“Davis”), and a sleek open black cardigan (“Sloane”).

I chose the gray sweater and the cardigan.

Burgundy is not my jam.

I was excited when the package hit my doorstep last week. Here’s a look:

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Ok, this black cardigan may not look like much, but I swear the cut is almost identical to my beloved M.M. LaFleur Sant Ambroeus Jardigan (which is a jacket + cardigan). Given that the Sant Ambroeus is 4x the cost, this is a potential steal.

From Elizabeth & Clarke:

The Sloane is the best of a sleek black blazer combined with the soft, cozy knit of a cardigan.

My, that sounds familiar.

Regardless, this is a great layer for fall. I’ve already worn this a few times. Two thumbs up. This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever received from Elizabeth & Clarke.

Next, the Florence.

From Elizabeth & Clarke:

The Florence is a cozy, yet collected glacier grey jersey knit sweater with high-quality YKK rose gold zippers as a beautiful detail.

I didn’t realize that YKK zippers were a status item.

Actually, on further reflection, I’m not sure that’s a Thing, but I do like the sweater.

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The sweater was kind of hard to photograph. I think it definitely looks better with the zippers open.

And here is that designer zipper up close:

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Overall, I like the Florence. The zippers are a fun detail and I love anything gray, so this will be a fresh addition to what I wear this fall.

One tiny concern is that the knit seems like it will pill quickly. This is yet to be determined but this feels like an inexpensive sweater. I don’t think it’s a classic, but for a subscription box and a seasonal piece, this fits the bill.

 

 

 

 

Gap Cash Spend

Back to School shopping this year consisted of two parts.

One: Click “Buy Now” on the Target supply list that the kids’ new school conveniently put together.

Seriously, this was the easiest thing ever, and all of our school supplies showed up on our doorstep within 24 hours.

24 hours.

Let that soak in.

Granted, we now live in Minneapolis, the home of Target, but still. That was awesome.

Two: A sub-two hour shopping trip to the Gap store at the Mall of America, where I grabbed a staggering pile of clothes in the correct-ish sizes and hauled both kids to the dressing rooms. If it fit, we bought it. 

The Gap was running one of their endless promotions that weekend, including 40% off marked prices, an extra 10% off for Gap cardholders, and another 10% off for a donation to the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America. In the end, I spent about $300 but walked away with four giant bags of clothes for the kids, enough to outfit both of them for school and beyond.

It was also a weekend to earn Gap Cash, which is basically a coupon for up to 50% off a future purchase. There’s a catch, though: Gap Cash comes in $25 increments and is only usable when you spend double the amount. Example: you need to spend at least $50 to use a $25 credit. If you spend $49.99, you’re out of luck. And if you spend $60, it’s still only $25 off.

I received $125 in Gap Cash and this weekend was the window to spend it.

Spouse is starting a new job this week (much closer to home, so this is a huge relief to shed his current 2 hour daily commute), and he needed some new work appropriate outfits. The first part of shopping was easy, two new pairs of pants and a few work shirts. for him.

But of course I had to look around a bit for myself…

This cold shoulder sweater was the first thing that caught my eye.

Frankly, I thought this trend would be dead by now, but it seems to still have a few last gasps.

I liked this sweater because the cut outs are relatively small (thus limiting the cold factor in the cold shoulder look) and it also incorporates another current trend, bell sleeves.

I ordered black but it also comes in light gray. The black seemed dressier and more evening appropriate. I am hoping to wear this out to dinner or to events this fall (if any of those things ever happen, sigh).

I’ve also fallen really hard for the camo trend this season, to the point that I bought cargo pants, sweatpants and received a Stitch Fix jacket, all in camo.

I may regret this decision, but I also added these to my basket:

 

Ok, these are definitely NOT meant to be worn together, but independently, I liked them both.

The gray and tan pattern in this tee is just so good.  Talk about a versatile layer.

On the other hand, the printed joggers are just a splurge.

I managed to burn through that Gap Cash and a teeeeeny bit more.

 

 

 

Tucker Dress Inspiration

Did you see this photo last week?

The title from Mashable says it all:

Insane wildfire photo perfectly sums up America in 2017

Golfing at the country club while the forest burns behind you. Yep.

And this is exactly how I felt about myself yesterday as I sat on the sofa shoveling ice cream into my mouth while remotely tracking two of my friends who were competing in the Ironman Wisconsin.

She just completed mile 62 of the bike portion? Wow! Slurp. Slurp.

Her half marathon time is better than mine, even after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112. Wow! She’s so amazing! Slurp. Slurp.

I was so impressed that two of my friends had done the work required for an Ironman and were now fearlessly competing. That was awesome. 

The correct thing to do here would have been to become insanely motivated and head out for a sweat session of my own, running in solidarity, but I did none of that.

I stayed on the couch.

Argh.

Earlier this year, I set a personal goal to train for and set a PR in a fall marathon. I had my sights set on the Twin Cities Marathon (October 8th), with the secret dream to stay in good enough shape to consider tacking on the 25th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. These are both races I’ve done before and love.

Through the end of July, I kept up with my training fairly well. At that point I was commuting up to three hours a day, but I still found time to get in the weeknight runs as well as the longer ones on the weekends. In the week before we moved, I completed a 15 miler. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

And then came the move.

The first week, I missed three training runs during the weekdays but was able to complete my longer run (13.1 miles, it was a drop-back week) on Saturday.

The second week, I missed the weekday runs and the long run. I started to panic. I didn’t know routes, directions or water stops in my new neighborhood. I doubted the safety of running alone. It was hot.

I fell apart.

I made the lame excuse-ridden decision that this was not my year, and called it quits on the marathon plans, but I really let myself down.

Compounding that is the fact that while I changed my exercise patterns, I sure as heck didn’t change my eating. Frankly, the move has opened up a Pandora’s Box of great new restaurants to try in person or via delivery. There is even a liquor store that delivers through Amazon Prime’s two hour service to my house, which just sounds like the most dangerous thing ever. (I haven’t sunk quite that far).

Which brings me to the title of this post: Tucker Dress Inspiration.

Tucker is a NYC-based company that makes feminine, pretty clothes.

They are also very expensive.

While I love to spend money, it is hard even for me to justify buying a blouse that is almost $300.

Except – I have a work conference coming up next month, and the combination of my lifestyle factors (M&Ms, I’m looking at you) and job switch (moving from all suits/all the time to more business casual or even – yikes! – scrubs) has left me with limited wardrobe options.

And of course I want to look good.

These dresses from Tucker caught my eye:

The top one is called The Market Dress in Black Tire Track.

It’s silk and retails for $375.

The bottom is a fun Russian Dolls print.

The style is called “Abigail’s Party Dress” and it retails for $355. Tucker’s website styled it well for fall with black tights and boots. It looks adorable.

The real kicker? Both of these look like they *may* be forgiving of my recent indulgences.

I might have to find out.