Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OOTD: 2/6/12

Jacket: J Crew Velvet Ecole, sz.2
Top: F21 Tie Back Polka Dot Top. sz. small
Jeans: Loft Modern Trouser Jeans, sz.0
Shoes: Coach
Bag: the Sak

These Trouser jeans are the 2nd pair of LOFT denim jeans I bought during a recent excursion to the outlets. Again, I am amazed that they're long enough! How lovely. I like the besom pockets on these, as sometimes slant pockets tend to add bulk to the hips on trouser pants. And I really like the more true blue shade on this particular pair. Most of the time trouser jeans come in such dark washes, which is nice and all, but how may pairs of dark wash trouser jeans can someone own? It's nice to have something a little different. Again, the quality on these seem very good. Just as nice as the many pairs of J Crew or Talbots trouser jeans I own. I do think that LOFT is a victim of vanity sizing though. I am not a sz.0. I should not be wearing sz. 0 pants. Oh well. It did make me feel good (which I'm sure is the point of vanity sizing in the first place.)

On to the rest. The top is another addition to my growing polka-dot collection. Yeah, it's from F21, and yeah, that shows in the quality and construction. After one washing the material has already started to look a little 'fuzzy' and pill. Eh. We all know F21 is for cheap thrills, so I wasn't expecting a lot in the first place. But it is darn cute. And what you can't see (and what I forgot to photograph) is that the back has this cute key-hole with a grosgrain ribbon tie. Very sweet. For $15, my small thrill was worth it.

(the polka-dot top on the top right is the one I'm wearing.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

OOTD: 2/5/12 J Crew Factory--Where's the Love?

Sweater: J Crew Factory
Tee: J Crew Striped Pocket Long Sleeve Tee
Jeans: Loft Factory Modern Skinny Jeans, sz.2
Bag: Coach
Boots: Frye Melissa Button
Hat: F 21

Aw, I know. The hat is kind of dopey. But in my defense, it was actually cold this day! (and truly I just didn't feel like washing my hair. I'll own it.) We were out and about running errands all day, I was mostly concerned with staying snugly warm. And I'm wearing the Loft jeans again. Man, when I like something, I really like something.

The sweater is one of my better purchases from J Crew Factory. I don't see it available on the website anymore, but it was very well made, and had a nice heavy, cozy texture. Honestly, I've been nothing but impressed with the items I've gotten from the J'Crewlet so far. I know a lot of people automatically assume that if it's Factory, it must be sub par. But to that I say, 'really?' Sub par to what? Retail J Crew's outstanding reputation for quality? {snorts} I've found that for things like tees and perfect shirts J Crew Factory is actually better. The fabric is thicker, less see-thur, and less prone to developing holes. I just got the J Crew Factory Ruffle Gamine Jacket, and the Factory version of the Maxi check shirt (which I'll review soon) and I was most impressed.

Last year, I returned the retail version of the Maxi Check Perfect shirt because the fabric was so sheer, and right out of the package, larger holes were starting to form where the needle had made stitches. The factory version is much better. The fabric isn't nearly so flimsy. I have quite a few items in both retail and factory version, like the Waverly's, Scout Chinos, slub tees, pencil skirts, Matchstick jeans, and perfect shirts. On all of those, I don't see a discernible difference. Sure, there are some factory reissue blouses, camis, and dresses done in a lesser material like cotton as opposed to the retail version in silk. But honestly, I prefer that. Cotton is a more manageable 'real life' fabric for me.
I guess I just don't see what the big turn off is for J Crew Factory and maybe get a little defensive when people turn up their noses at it. It can't categorically be quality (because otherwise they'd be saying the same thing about retail J Crew), so is it something else? Maybe just the idea of something being a 'factory/outlet' item? It's kind of like refusing to eat generic Tastee-O's as opposed to Cheerios's even though they taste the same and come from the same production facility and are just put in different boxes (my mom does that btw-- she thinks that paying $1 more for the yellow box somehow makes them better). I guess I have no qualms about wearing J Crew Factory or eating the Tastee-O's.
{Shhh-- don't tell, but actually when my mom comes to visit me, I take the Tastee-O's out of their box, and put them into an old Cheerios's box, and mother dearest never knows the difference!}

Anyway,  I've now said my piece on J Crew Factory. 

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Monday, February 27, 2012

OOTD: 2/4/12 Loft Modern Skinny Jeans

Sweater: Lands End Canvas Heritage Cardi, sz. XS
Tank: J Crew Factory Dot Tank
Jeans: Loft Factory Modern Skinny Jeans, sz.2
Shoes: BE &D
Bag: J Crew Lexi Clutch

I can't believe this, but I'm wearing a pair of Loft jeans! I had almost completely written the Loft and Ann Taylor off as being too short for pants and jeans. But there is both a Loft and Ann Taylor factory store near my house and when out and about at the outlets, I always at least take a quick tour thru the stores. One can always hope, right? So the last time I was there they had a promo going that was buy one pair of jeans, get the second pair free. Um, yes. For that kind of promo, I can try one last time, yes?

And yes! It paid off.  I found two great pairs of jeans. The ones in the photos are the Loft Modern Skinny jeans. Normally if a style is "skinny" I have to size up, but in this case my standard size 2 fit perfectly. As to the fit, I'd say they are a cross between J Crew's Matchstick and Toothpick-- in other words, perfection. Absolute perfection. I love the J Crew Matchstick, but that is more of a straight leg. And I like the idea of the Toothpicks, but the leg is almost impossibly narrow on my athletic legs. But the Loft Modern Skinny jean is the best of both worlds. The leg is more slim and fitted than the J Crew Matchstick, but not as skin tight as the Toothpick. Love.

I don't shop at the regular Loft enough to know how similar retail is compared to Factory, but the quality and construction seemed good to me. Actually, better than what I'd usually find at say, Banana Republic Factory or even J Crew Factory. So if you live near a Loft Factory, I highly recommend giving them a shot.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

"A diplomat is someone who always remembers a woman's birthday, but never remembers her age."
                                                          - Robert Frost

In an attempt to be a diplomat today, I shall look upon yet another birth-day enjoying and celebrating the day, but forgetting the reason.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

OOTD: 2/3/12 & Husband goes shopping

Sweater: F21
Scarf: F21
Jeans: Banana Republic Factory Premium Skinny Jeans, sz.4
Bag: J Crew Lexi
Shoes: Coach
Bracelet: made by me

I feel slightly "Minne Mouse" in this outfit. Didn't she wear red and polka-dots? Anyway, this scarf from F21 is one of the small ways I've been trying to incorporate more polka-dots into my wardrobe. I've been on a polka-dot binge lately, scooping up the delightful dots wherever I can. I snagged the J Crew Factory cross-town tee in 2 shades recently too. Actually, it was Husband who got them for me. He was going on a business trip a few weekends back that took him right past a J Crew Factory store. Knowing that, I sent him off on his trip with a kiss and a list. That's right-- I made my husband go shopping for me at the J Crew Factory.

And bless his heart, he did. Sure, I could buy much of it on-line, but the promos are always better in store, and since Husband is a professor too, he could use the educator discount. So shop he did. Although it was rather funny. I had a list of potential items I wanted him to look for in the colors and sizes I needed, so once he was in the store, he called me so I could guide him thru, and our conversation went something like this:

Husband: "Ok, there's a table of pants up front here marked an extra 30% off."

Me: "Oooh, that's a pretty good deal. What kind of pants?"

Husband: "I don't know. Pants."

Me: "Well do they have a sign in front of them saying what kind they are?"

Husband: "Yeah, it says all pants 30% off. So they're pants"

Me: "Yes, but what kind of pants? Chinos? Trousers? Wool dress pants? Skinnies? Denim? Capris? Are they the Minnies? Waverly? Addison? Surplus? Cafe Carpi? Scout?"

Husband: "I don't know. Are there that many types? They're just pants."

The conversation at the sweater table was similar. Husband was totally lost as to the intricate vocabulary apparently associated with ladies fashion--I never quite realized this before, but knowing the terminology of ladies fashion is like learning a foreign language.Very cute. Eventually he just got one of the SA's to find the things on my list for me. I can't fault him at all, because at least he tried. I know that not many husband's would go out of their way during a business trip to shop in a ladies store and make a genuine effort to pick things out. And he did come home with several of the items from my list. Oh, and the pants in question ended up being the Waverly chinos, and he did end up getting a pair for me. Good boy.