Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: American Apparel Crop Top


I know crop tops are marketed towards young 20-somethings and teens, not mothers who are about to turn 30, but I love the look of crop tops. Somehow the crop top has gotten a makeover, transforming from slightly trashy to chic and fashionable. Just check out how fantastic and polished these celebrities look rocking the crop top:


So I set out to find a crop top for myself. I originally hit up all the cheap stores - H&M, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Wet Seal, and for some reason I could not find one! I'm positively baffled by this because aren't super trendy tops what stores like these are made for? Anyway, I decided to check out American Apparel, a wise choice because prominently displayed at the front of their store was their selection of crop tops, varying from solid colors to stripes. I wanted just a simple white crop top because I figured it'd be the easiest to pair with many skirts and pants in my closet.

Let me start off by first saying I would never wear the above outfit IN A MILLION YEARS. So this picture is strictly for review purposes only, not an outfit suggestion. I'd definitely pair this white crop top with a high-waisted skirt like the Spearmint Stripe Skirt or a pair of high-waisted trousers (I still have a bit of a baby pooch so I'd like to keep that covered!) The key to keeping it classy I think is keeping the belly-button covered, which is what all the celebrities above did. And they look fantastic! Reveals just enough to show off their toned midsections.

I tried on a size small above. I wish it were more opaque, but I guess I'd just have to wear this with a nude colored bra. It's cotton and made in the USA, which is always a plus. The downside - it's $24! (And this was at the outlet). I know Forever 21 sold a version of this for only $7.80 (which is probably why it sold out so quickly and I wasn't able to grab one). So under $10 is all I'd want to spend on a top like this. I mean, it's far too trendy and it's HALF A SHIRT to be spending more than that. I took this all as a sign that I'm just not meant to wear this trend. But if you're young, toned, and love fashion, then I think this would be a great option for you.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Outfit Of The Day: Lauren and Lim

What I'm Wearing:
Catherine Malandrino for Lacoste Shirt
Neiman Marcus + Target Marc Jacobs Scarf

This purse is freakin' awesome! When it comes to the Target designer collaborations, I generally don't buy any of the accessories. Oftentimes, they're simply not my style. In fact, the only time I've ever bought a purse was when Loeffler Randall created their cream satchels for Target (I bought both the shoulder bag and the clutch). This 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target purse, however, is my new favorite.

It's so sleek and stylish and while I generally don't like zipper details, they look fantastic on this purse. You can either zip up the sides or keep them open (I prefer them open). 

Although it's made from polyurethane, it looks pretty close to real leather. I think the quality is great for the price you pay, and it looks a lot more expensive than what it actually costs. This purse reminds me a lot of those Celine handbags, which can set you back thousands of dollars. This is a pretty great alternative at only $54.99.

The bottom of the bag has "feet" which was a nice touch.

And the top has a zip closure, which is also a nice added detail.

I like how this line simply has the Target bullseye logo instead of the usual "for Target" emblazoned everywhere. Keeps it very subtle.

It's a very roomy bag. In fact, my husband thinks it's just a touch too big. And I have to admit that it overwhelms my frame just a little in the pictures above, but I don't mind too much. I find that I can fill it with lots of things, such as my wallet, makeup bag, umbrella, sunglasses case, and some diapers and snacks for my son.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this purchase. This, and the floral peplum, were the two main items I wanted. The first Target I went to only had two of these bags and they were quickly picked up by the two women who were in front of me in line. However, a quick stop to the Southside Target revealed that there were plenty of these purses in stock, along with all the colorways. I debated for a long time between the black and the taupe and ultimately, it was my husband who helped me make the decision to purchase the black version.

But I also got the...

3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Mini Satchel with Gusset in Taupe
Since I couldn't really decide between the black or taupe color, I decided to purchase the mini satchel in  taupe (that way I can enjoy both colors). 

I'm super picky so I spent a lot of time in Target trying to pick out the one I like best and I can't believe I didn't notice that the front pocket is a little crooked. Oh well, I guess I can try to shape it how I want to.

There's a detachable shoulder strap, which is honestly a little too long, even when adjusted to the shortest setting. But I guess as a crossbody bag, it's not so bad. 

This is pretty much an exact version of the larger satchel, just in a more miniature, cute way.

This purse can fit maybe a wallet, cell phone, and keys, but really that's all you need.

Again there's a zippered pocket.

And a single pocket on the opposite side.

I love all the little details and this taupe color is great for the fall/winter season. I can see wearing this as a crossbody bag with a casual outfit and then as a handbag for a night out.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target

I'm fortunate enough to live in Jacksonville, FL - one of those cities that's just big enough to have good shopping and restaurants, but not so big that traffic is atrocious and there's annoying tourists everywhere. We live close enough to big cities like Orlando and Miami that make weekend road trips quick and easy. And living close to these cities allows us to easily go back home and escape traffic, tourists, and bad out-of-town drivers.

Another bonus to living in Jacksonville is that every time there's a designer collaboration for Target, there's only about five people who show up for the launch.

When 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target launched on September 15, I decided to arrive at the Town Center at 7:55 am. There were only three people waiting at the door. By the time the doors opened, about five of us walked through. We all easily made our way to the Phillip Lim section, picked up the items we wanted, and walked to the registers to check out. It was all very civil and there was even polite small talk amongst us. Whenever I read other blogs about these designers launches, I'm always amazed at what a madhouse Target becomes in other cities. People fighting each other for a handbag, pushing and shoving, and entire collections selling out within minutes. It's been a little over a week now, and I can report that there are still some Target locations in Jacksonville that have almost the entire collection in a full run of sizes (I've found that the one on Beach Blvd seems to have the most). So I was able to easily grab the items I wanted (well, almost). 

The pattern placement on this top is just all over the place (see the photos above). Every one I tried on was so drastically different from the other that it took me forever to pick out the one I wanted. I'm just so picky! Did I want more black? More floral? And this seemed to be true only for the size extra-smalls. I really wanted a blouse with more of the floral print and as little black as possible, but I couldn't find one in an XS (all the other sizes had the pattern placement I wanted though. It was maddening). This blouse was the one I wanted the most so I was happy that I was able to find an XS easily. I think the pattern is pretty and the fit is great - nicely tailored and not too tight. I often find that these designer collaborations run really small in the armholes, but this blouse fit me very comfortably. I like the hidden zip closure up the front - makes it really easy to pull on and off. And there's a small button at the top for added security. A great blouse that can be easily paired with skinny jeans, leather pants, or a pencil skirt. Wear it day and night, to work or a night on the town. Super versatile!

This black peplum wasn't at the top of my list, but I thought I'd try it on in the store anyway because it looked cute. I'm glad I did because I love it. It's a simple top, but that means it can be paired with many different bottoms and accessories. Just like with the printed peplum, it's nicely fitted and comfortable. The embellished neckline makes it seems more of a night-on-the-town top so I'm saving it for a date night with my husband.

This blouse was also at the top of my list, but unfortunately it seems it was at the top of a lot of other people's lists as well. The extra-smalls sold out quickly and I was only able to get a size small. It's just too big. 

This is definitely one of those blouses that has to be very tailored to give off a more polished look. In the photo above, I'm pulling the back so it will look more how I want it to. I think taking it to a tailor is just too much hassle and investment for something from Target, even if it is a designer piece. I do like the color-blocking and the tan/navy combo is really nice. I wish, however, that the tan panel down the front was a little narrower. The wideness makes it look a bit awkward to me in my opinion. Or maybe it's just the fact that I'm wearing a size too big. I would love to see how this would've looked in an XS (anyone out there willing to trade with me?!)

I know this dress was predicted to be the top seller of the entire collection. I was excited to try it on in an XS, but it just didn't look right on me. I don't like dresses with a mandarin collar so I unzipped the top portion and left it open, which I think looks better. I don't really care much for the high-low hem - kinda just wish it was all knee-length. Also, I think this would look much better with a belt to cinch in the waist and break up the pattern a bit. However, the pattern placement on these dresses was much better than the peplum tops. I just wish it were a simple collared shirtdress. 

Here's the floral print again, this time in a buttondown blouse. I love loosely fitted blouses like these - I think they look great tucked in to skinny jeans. But this one just didn't look right on me. I think the pleated detail on the shoulders made me look too broad. I also like to roll up the sleeves, so I wish there was some type of tab closure to help the sleeves stay put. I'm interested in seeing how others style this top. 

Now that the fall season is upon is, I've been breaking out my scarves again. Although still far too hot to wear them in Florida, I still love the way they look and I pair them with tank tops and light-weight blouses so I don't get too hot. This scarf was not love at first sight. I was nonetheless intrigued by the leopard print (often considered a neutral), but I knew I didn't want the dress, sweater, or skirt (too much print for me). So I settled on the scarf, which adds just the right amount of interest to an otherwise plain outfit. Pair this with a simple tee and dark skinnies and you're good to go. 

Check out this video on different ways to wear a scarf. I'm amazed by all the possibilities and have been practicing a lot. What would I do without YouTube? These people are far more creative than me.

Check back later this week for my full review of the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target purses!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Joe's Coated Skinny Ankle Jeans

I'd been looking for a pair of coated denim jeans that had a real leather look - not too shiny, not too matte - and these are it:


I found these at Dillard's the other night and I was immediately drawn to the fact that they actually looked like real leather. Most of the coated denim I've tried looks so fake - too plastic-y and shiny and oftentimes way too shimmery. But these looked very matte and almost had the texture and feel of real leather. I found my usual size 26 to be the better fit. At first I thought the 27s would be better, but I wanted them to have a more fitted look and I feel the 26s will be stretchy enough (I've read all the reviews on Joe's website and a majority claimed that these pants stretched out a little over time). The rise was great - I'd say it's about mid-rise, not too low and not too high, which is PERFECT. Oh, and the length is fantastic for my 5'3" height. No hemming necessary so I can actually where these right after I buy them (something I hate about buying pants is that I often have to wait an additional week or so while they're being hemmed by my tailor). 

Size 27 on the left, 26 on the right:

The ONLY thing I don't like about these pants are the front pockets. I guess due to the coating process, you can see an outline of the front pockets, but this varied from pair to pair. The ones I tried on were really obvious, but there were others where you couldn't see anything at all. So I would definitely recommend trying these on in person so you can choose the pair that does not have an outline.

These pants are machine-washable, but I'm a little worried about how they'll turn out after a few washings. There was one pair at Dillards that already had a small portion of the coating peeling off. I also read one review on the Joe's website that said the entire coating came off in one wash, even after following the care instructions. However, one person advised not washing them at all and just placing the jeans in a ziplock back in the freezer. Somehow freezing them kills the bacteria and they're magically clean again. I'm a little skeptical about this one because I've NEVER heard of anyone doing this, but I guess it's worth a shot. 

I think faux-leather pants are fantastic for this fall season. I know they're super trendy, but as I always say, that's the fun of fashion! I can see these pants paired with super feminine tops and a great pair of heels, or dressed down with a slouchy tee and boots. They're super versatile and right on trend for the upcoming season.