Review: Banana Republic ponte sheath dress

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Banana Republic ponte sheath dress, Cole Haan pumps

I have always made it a rule never to purchase sheath dresses. They are often boxy in nature and provide no shape or form to the pearshape body. However, during a recent BR sale I ordered this sheath to test my theory again. I knew from experience that the ponte material was stretchy, and on the model the dress looked more like a fit and flare than a true sheath. While I was right in my assessments, this dress is a total dud and I promptly sent it back.

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Just for starters, the top is much too curve hugging to be work appropriate. I would have to wear a cardigan or sweater over this at all times and wouldn’t feel comfortable removing it. Also, the arm holes are incredibly wide exposing just a little too much side action for the workplace. Finally, the pleats in the front make me look so much heavier than I am… not somethin’ i’m looking for.

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The one saving grace of this dress is the tush area. It is surprisingly not form fitting for those of us with some extra back there, and would be completely office appropriate.

Have you tried any BR work dresses?

Not looking matronly in a turtleneck

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Target top (similar), LOFT curvy skinny jeans, J.Crew bracelet and flats, Gorjana rings

I’m not much of a turtleneck girl. I typically opt for the shirt + scarf combo so as not to look like my grandmother. Plus, when you have a big chest, turtlenecks do nothing to help minimize in that area. However, after a particularly frigid day in Pittsburgh I scooped up this cheetah/leopard print piece at Target in a moment of panic. Aside from keeping me warm, it has become one of my favorite pieces for cold weather temperatures. And as long as it’s styled properly, i’ve found I can avoid looking too matronly.

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Step 1: I always pair this top with something bright. Be it a purple pencil skirt or red skinnies like I have here, bright colored bottoms make the print look bold and intentional.

Step 2: Make sure the bottom has a tight fit. Loose fitting bottoms plus a high neckline will give off too conservative of a vibe. Slightly fitted bottoms make the look appear modern and young.

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Step 3: Wear your hair down! The first time I wore this top it was a day 2 hair day and I wore my hair in a bun. I swear people were making fun of my outfit and saying I looked like Betty Crocker. Hair tight and up just gives this too much of a “buttoned up” vibe.

Step 4: Finally, pile on the jewelry. Lots of gold baubles or bracelets pull in another modern trend, keeping the outfit young.

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Are you a fan of turtlenecks? How do you style them to keep it young and fresh?

Quick alteration tip: fixing a drooping skirt

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Andrew Marc leather jacket, Ann Taylor top, GAP skirt (similar), Target belt and scarf (old), SPANX tights, J.Crew boots

Unlike some, I like to keep my clothing for years. Through life stages, experiences, and many moves, my clothing stays with me as long as it is in working condition. However, part of this habit comes some headaches, like this skirt for instance. I have had this Gap skirt for nearly 5 years and have altered it many times to my fit fluctuating weight. Darts have been put in the back, length taken off the bottom, and yet still it does not fit me perfectly. To be able to keep this piece, I have found simple ways to “alter” it, making it wearable for weekend.

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As I mentioned above, crudely sewn darts were put in the back of the skirt a few years back to accommodate a weight loss. I have (thankfully!) maintained that weight loss and have even lost a few more pounds, making it droop once again. To solve this problem I use a simple skinny belt, some layering tips, and a blouse-y top to camouflage the ill fit.

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Aside from simply belting the skirt into place, I also almost always wear high waisted SPANX underneath, and layer a tank and a shirt underneath to add extra width in the waist. A blouse-y top and jacket make this acceptable for a casual weekend outfit.

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I have also considered using a bit of fashion tape under the belt to keep it in place on the skirt. Have any of you tried this tip?

Review: J.Crew double-cloth metro coat for pearshapes

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J.Crew coat + boots, Vince Camuto blouse (similar), Banana Republic jeans, Louis Vuitton Speedy 30

I found out a few weeks ago that I will be traveling to Pittsburgh every week for work for the imminent future. I spent my first few days there last week and to say the least, it was COLD. Freezing. I am a California girl at heart and have no idea how I survived. I also quickly realized that I do not own the proper clothing to deal with such weather. Namely, a good quality wool coat. After reading Jean’s review of her J.Crew Lady Day coat with Thinsulate lining, I decided to jump on the J.Crew 40% off deal and buy this coat to keep me warm in the Pittsburgh snow. While I got it for an amazing deal, and it’s clearly great quality, there are definitely some alterations that I am going to need to have done to make this coat flattering and proportional on my frame.

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First, let me preface my review by saying that I ordered a size 12 instead of my usual 10 because I always like my coats a little looser to allow for layering. I cannot vouch for the sizing of the 10.

Likes: I like that the coat is great quality, lined in a silk-like material and the Thinsulate really does keep me very warm. The camel color is a classic and the tortoise buttons are an interesting contrast. The back paneling has curved seaming and a strip of material which creates some definition. The shoulders fit me well (I have standard shoulders), and the sleeve length is just about right. Furthermore, the bottom button closes over my widest part without any pulling! Woohoo! This is my #1 problem with coats and the main reason I ordered up a size. This simple fact makes this coat a winner as compared to many others.

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Dislikes: Because this coat fits my hips, of course, it is too wide in the waist. As you can see below, it needs to be taken in about an inch on each side to create that hourglass effect. As it is now, I look a bit like I am wearing an army uniform. The length on this coat is also an issue. It is abnormally long given that I am of standard height (for reference I am 5’6′). It needs to be taken up at least 2 inches to maintain a contemporary feel.

coat edit

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Aside from a few alterations, which I am more than happy to pay for, given the great price I got the coat, I am overall very pleased with the purchase. The Lady Day coat never fit me properly (the 12 was too big and the 10 was too small in the hips) so I am thrilled that this other very sophisticated non-belted coat fits pearshapes well. I can’t wait to use this for work trips and finally be warm!

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Have any of you tried J.Crew coats? What do you think of the Metro coat?

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