Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review + Haul: Sam & Libby Ashland Studded Sandals



I've always had a love/hate relationship with Birkenstocks. When I was a teenager, I was fascinated with them and I wanted a pair so badly, even though everyone thought they were unflattering and ugly (and this was in the 90s when they were actually popular). But with their $100+ price tag, I let them go and forgot all about them.  And then I found these.

And my love/hate relationship turned to love once more.

Are they still ugly? Maybe. And if you're asking my husband, he would say most definitely and deem them a deal breaker. And if you're asking a majority of America, they would agree. But somehow I just don't care and I love these anyway. They are not Birkenstocks (15 years later, I still can't stomach the $120 price tag), but I'd say they're pretty darn close. At least in looks. They are only made of man-made materials in Vietnam, as opposed to leather in Germany. But that's why these were on clearance at Target for only $20, a much better price especially given that they're super trendy right now and look pretty close to the real thing. I definitely didn't want to invest a lot of money in something that could easily swing back into a "hate" relationship. 

These do look and feel very much like real leather, and they have interesting gold studs along the sides. They feel quite sturdy so I don't think they'll fall off. The bottom reminds me of cork board, and the footbed feels like suede and is thick and slightly cushioned. I've never even tried on a pair of Birkenstocks so unfortunately I can't compare the fit. But I can tell you these feel amazingly comfortable. The buckles are functioning and have a velcro closure in case you need to adjust anything. 

I took my usual size 7, which is the perfect fit. As for styling options, so far I see myself wearing them with skinny jeans or drapey pants with a slouchy tee. Or with shorts or boyfriends jeans and a feminine blouse. For other styling options, check out this great post at Chic Obsession. I got more excited after seeing this post as the styling options look endless!

Nail polish color: Ciate Pepperminty

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

20% Off Orla Kiely FW14 Etc Collection at Amazon

The Fall/Winter 2014 Etc collection is now available at Orla Kiely. This collection features Kiely's classic shapes and giant stem print, but in two new color combinations - Kelp and Navy. I personally prefer the Kelp colorway, which has contrasting bright pink zippers. The Navy, which is a little more classic and subdued, has brown zippers. One design difference I noticed in this collection is the leather logo card holder pocket seen on the outside of all the bags. Personally, the only thing I was ever able to use this pocket for was my Metro card when I traveled to New York. They really don't hold much, but they're still a nice cute addition. And for a limited time, you can purchase these new handbags and accessories for 20% off a $100 minimum purchase at Amazon! I love how Amazon is able to feature sales on new collections, allowing you to start the Fall season with the latest from Orla Kiely.

I have the Linear Stem Backpack from the SS14 collection, and I LOVE it. It's currently been my summer go-to bag - so easy to pack up and throw over your shoulders, especially when you have a little one running around. I also use it as my baby bag - I pack it with diapers, wipes, and snacks for my son, and there's still enough room for my wallet, makeup bag, keys, umbrella, sunglasses, etc. If you missed out on last season's backpack, then I totally recommend this one. Again, I just love the Kelp color because I think the pink accents are so much fun. I did notice the slightest price difference, and by "slight" I really mean it - last season this backpack was $189 and now it's $188. Not sure why, especially since there's now that leather card holder in the front. I'd imagine that would actually make the bag slightly more expensive. Not complaining here, though! Just an observation.

I noticed that the price dropped a bit on this wallet as well, which I believe retailed for $106 just last season, and it appears to be the same, just a different color. I could be mistaken though.

I have a smaller version of this sling bag in the Cross Hatch Stem Print from a few seasons ago, as well as the diaper bag version in the Oval Stem Print. The diaper bag is very similar to the Midi Sling, except it has additional pockets and compartments on the bottom and sides for bottles and such. If you're looking for a purse that'll hold lots of stuff, then this is the one!

I have this shoulder bag in the Scribble Stem Print, which is another nice roomy bag. 


I think this would make a great gym bag or carry-on while traveling.


What do you think of Orla Kiely's Fall/Winter 2014 Etc collection? Do you plan on purchasing any of these bags? Remember, you can get 20% off a $100 minimum purchase at Amazon now until August 1, 2014. Just use code SUMERSAV at checkout.

The Orla Kiely UK site is slowly releasing items from the entire FW14 collection, and so far, I like what I see! I'll write a post on my thoughts and favorites from the collection once all the items are up on the US site. Until then, happy shopping at Amazon!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review + Haul: Orla Kiely Baby Rhino Trenchcoat

For reference, I am 5'3", 110 pounds, 32A bust, typically a size XS in tops, 0-2 in dresses, 25-26 in jeans.

On sale at ModCloth $258.99 and Orla Kiely (originally $518)
I love this coat for its classic shape, but fun design. It does seem a bit too big, but I have to remind myself that I will be layering underneath. It buttons up the front and has more of straight silhouette, as opposed to the fitted bodice and flared skirt silhouette that the Heavy Wool Trench Coat has. For the photos above, I did pull in the waist so there's some extra material gathered in the back (you can see it in the third photo above). I also pulled the belt tightly around my waist (but not too tight!) to give it a more fitted look. It does still appear to be a little bigger than what I prefer, but it fits and feels very comfortable on. The jacket is fully lined in an unexpected but fun bright red satin-type material, so my arms easily slipped through.

The inside collar has a chain detail above the logo tag.

I got the jacket in a size UK6, which is about a size XS, and the smallest size this jacket is available in.

I'm happy that this jacket is machine-washable!

The jacket comes with an extra button.

The print features a "camel"-colored background with tiny baby rhinos throughout, which appear to be a dark navy blue.

The buttons are black with a marble-like pattern.

The wrists have a button-and-tab detail.

There are two cargo pockets in the front. I usually prefer slant pockets, but the cargo pockets add to the safari-esque theme.

There are a ton of holes on the belt so you can cinch it in the waist as much as you need to.

The back of the coat.

There are buttoned epaulettes on the shoulders.

And the same baby rhino pattern continues underneath the collar, in case you want to pop it up.

The jacket can be worn open for a more casual look. And it's also fun to let the red lining peep through a bit :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Anthro Day Review: Amory Tank, Marais Anorak, Salinas Pencil Skirt, Pilcro Hyphen Lace Chinos, and AG Stevie Angle High-Rise Jeans

I stopped by Anthropologie today for their Anthro Day sale, which gives members 15% off everything for today only. I wanted to try out a few things on my wish list, as well as check out whatever goodies I could find in the sale section. Since I had my son with me today, they put me in the largest fitting room, which had a table set up inside (see photo above). I thought it was a different, but cute addition. Now onto the reviews!

For reference, I am 5'3", 110 pounds, 32A bust, typically a size XS in tops, 0-2 in dresses, 25-26 in jeans.

Size 2
This tank was at the top of my wish list, so I was very excited to try it on today. Unfortunately, the smallest size available was a size 2. It fits fine in the bodice, but the armholes were a bit larger and dipped lower than what I prefer (see third photo above), so my usual size 0 would've fit me better. It's made of rayon, which feels very soft and cool against the skin. It's very comfortable, flowy, and flares out a bit, making this an easy top to throw over jeans and conceal any bulges you may want to hide. There's black piping along the modest neckline, which has a slight V in the center. There's also a pleated bib on the front, which adds some additional interest to the already fun eyeglasses print. The background is an off-white cream color, and the eyeglasses are black and come in different shapes, and continues to the back. I felt it was opaque enough that you wouldn't have to layer another tank underneath, and you could get away with just wearing a nude-colored bra. This is a great tank to wear with jeans or shorts, and is work appropriate when worn with a cardigan and pencil skirt. 

Size 0
Since they did not have the black & white version in my size, I decided to try the red version in a size 0 just to compare. There's really not much difference in the bodice, but the armholes are smaller, which I like. The background is a maroon color with bright coral lips. I like this print also, but I like the eyeglasses print better. Will wait for this one to go on sale first.

Size XS
I'd been wanting an army green anorak for awhile, and I'm so sad I missed out on Camouflaged Lace Anorak as I thought that was the perfect combination of tough and girly. So I decided to try on this one to see if I'd like it. First of all, this version has eyelet details instead, which I don't like quite as much as the lace details (although they are still cute!) Also, this army green is a bit more yellowish, and I prefer something that's more of a darker green. One thing I do like about this jacket better than the Camouflaged Lace Anorak is that it does not have a hood. I pretty much never use the hoods of jackets anyway, and sometimes I think they take away from the overall look. The material felt thick and substantial. My usual size XS felt perfect on, and the shoulders and sleeves felt very comfortable and not constricting at all. 

Size 0
I love this skirt so much! The print is so pretty and I have nothing like it. It has an orange background that's not too bright, with a maroon-white-and-black-colored floral print.  The size 0 felt perfect on. It sits a little above my belly button and does not pinch at the waist. The skirt fell to my knees, which makes it perfect to wear to work. It was fitted and laid perfectly, showing no bumps, bulges, or panty lines, which means I wouldn't have to wear Spanx with this skirt (a plus!) I can see so many styling options with this skirt, and even paired it with the Amory Tank to see how the prints would work together (see third photo above). And even though I don't usually pair different patterns together, I personally don't think it looks bad at all! It's made of cotton and spandex, and is machine washable.

Size 25
I thought I would love these pants. They looked great on the table, and I love the light mint color and interesting lace details on the bottom. I don't really care much for the contrasting waistline, but I don't mind it either. The cotton felt very soft and light weight. My usual size 25 felt comfortable everywhere, but felt like they could stretch a bit over time. I wish the rise were a bit higher - these fit more like low rise pants, sitting a good two inches below my belly button. I felt like with the lower rise and possibility of stretching that I'd keep hiking these up, which is annoying. And although the online model shot looks great with the rolled hems, I just thought on me it looked sloppy, meaning I would have to pay extra to get these tailored. 

Size 25
Ok, first of all, these pants are AWESOME! The high rise was perfect, sitting right at my belly button, therefore concealing any stomach pooch and holding everything in nicely. There were no stretched horizontal lines in the front or back - everything just looked super smooth, like these jeans were Spanx. I usually prefer a darker rinse, but I think this medium blue is quite versatile, and I don't currently own any color like it. And the whiskering along the front adds just the right touch of detail without looking too faded or trendy. Also, the length is PERFECT! No hemming required, which is a miracle for someone who's 5'3" and always has to get pants tailored. The size 25s fit, but JUST so, meaning if I gained even a pound, I feel like these wouldn't fit me anymore. I'm a bit torn as I know Stevies tend to stretch a bit, but I don't like the idea of having to break in my jeans first before they're comfortable. I think the size 26s will feel better, but my store didn't have them for me to try on, so I'll just have to wait and write an updated review later.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review + Haul: Orla Kiely Optical Illusions Dress

For reference, I am 5'3", 110 pounds, 32A bust, typically a size XS in tops, 0-2 in dresses, 25-26 in jeans.

On sale at ModCloth $89.99 (originally $179.99)
This dress is simply lovely. It is slightly larger than what I prefer, but it still fits and feels very comfortable on. It's versatile enough for work or date nights, and the black and white pattern makes it easy to create many looks with different accessories. 

This is an Orla Kiely with People Tree collaboration, which is a Fair Trade company. I purchased this dress in a size UK8, which is approximately a US4 or a size small. This is the smallest size the dress is available in (I'm not sure why though, as the main Orla Kiely line is available in a UK6). As with the Adorable Errands Dress, it fits but...I still think a UK6 would've been MUCH better. There's extra fabric in the bodice and the waist is not as cinched in as I'd like. But a belt could fix that, or I could wear a cardigan or blazer to give the illusion of a more fitted bodice.

The dress is made in India from 100% organic cotton and is machine washable, a great plus for someone who hates paying for dry cleaning (by the way, I pretty much never dry clean my clothes, even when it says to. I've learned how to hand wash my clothes with a combination of water, Woolite, and vinegar. I'll try to write a post about that soon!)

Here's a closeup of the print that's on the skirt portion. This is the Flower Girl print from the SS12 collection I believe. It's probably hard to tell from these photos, but the background is black and the print is a creamy off-white color that almost appears yellowish in some lighting.

The bodice is a bit different. The pattern is broken up by seams, which is a bit choppy - I would've preferred the pattern to continue seamlessly like the skirt portion, but it's really not noticeable and certainly not a deal breaker.

The skirt portion has some pleating under the waist.

The dress is unlined except for the bodice, which is lined with the same creamy colored organic cotton. If I'm wearing this to work, I'd definitely wear a slip underneath (I dunno, the extra layer makes me feel more comfortable), but if I'm wearing it outside of work, say on a weekend outing, I wouldn't bother wearing a slip underneath. Either way, the dress is not see through at all, so I'd say a slip is unnecessary.

The back has a zip and hook-and-eye closure, making it easy to step into the dress and close it yourself.

The shoulders have a slight gathered detail. The shoulders and armholes are very comfortable and do not feel restricting at all.

There are two pockets, which is awesome!

Because it didn't have a fitted enough look that I prefer, I decided to belt it and I thought it looked SO much better. Some dresses just scream for a belt, and this is definitely one of them. It helps define the waist and give it a more retro flair. Will definitely belt this dress every time I wear it. And I think that's another fun bonus with this dress - picking out different accessories to wear with it to make it look fresh every time. The belt I'm wearing here is from Anthropologie and the shoes are from J. Crew, both purchased a couple years ago.