Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belated Talbots Reviews (aka I finally got my Red Hanger Sale order!)

It took me forever to get this post up (I wrote most of it but never posted it) but a few weeks ago I got my Talbots sale order and I really wanted to post the reviews for anyone interested in trying out Talbots!

I finally got the Talbots order I placed in January - my Red Hangar sale picks. Despite the 5 week shipping time...which is really a) unacceptable and b) horrible business practice. If I had received this order two weeks, or even a week earlier, I would have totally bought more things on the Red Hanger Sale! Taking 5 weeks to ship an order...even to just ridiculous. But it turned out to be quite a bit cheaper than it would have been to buy in Canada. The exchange rate is obviously pretty sweet right now, plus the Free Shipping helped things along. 
Watercolour Plaid Cardigan - size small

Without further ado, here are my new clothes:

Watercolour Plaid Cardigan - size small (still available here)
I like this one - it's a great fit in the small, whereas I am a J. Crew medium, so definitely size down in cardis. I have it paired here with the Bettina in the rose colour which I really like - I had a lot of good tops to pair with this one. Definitely a springy-easter colourway but it's a sort of "fuzzy" winter knit (i.e. not a cotton). The buttons are super cute - metal and a pinky coloured crystal.

Scarf-Neck Sweater - size small (available here)

This one was okay...nice material, well made - cute "scarf" detail but definitely a little matronly. It fits me well, but it is definitely a tad short and the sleeves are a long short sleeve, not my favourite length (I was hoping they'd be a bit longer). Still it was about $20 and I'm sure I'll put it under a suit a few times. I think if I tucked it in, I wouldn't be so worried about the length. 

Ponte Knit V-Back Dress - size 10P (here)

I love this dress! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. It is incredibly classic, fits me perfectly, is a little bit sexy (it has a v-back that I couldn't get a good picture of, but it's nice - not low cut enough to show bra at all but just a bit of sexiness) and is really well made. The fabric is a very thick knit that doesn't show any bumps and is really soft and comfortable as well. I would have happily paid what I paid for the whole order just for this one alone. 

Note on sizing - I took the 10P which was perfect - the sleeves were more bracelet length but the length of the dress was just above the knee. I wouldn't have wanted a regular 8, it would have been much too long. 

Knit Wrap Dress - size PM (available here)
This dress is nice - a thin wool knit, not jersey, so it doesn't show bumps. Quite a full wrap skirt - no possibility of any wardrobe malfunction. I don't like the collar - I think it would look better without, and it's a little "matronly" on me but I think it's a nice wardrobe basic for a good price. Might have been able to get the Petite Small, but the Medium is fine. One great thing - nice high neckline! No cami required for this one. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

25% Cardis at Talbots (Prices as Marked)

I still haven't received my online order yet (slightly concerning but given that Talbots orders seem to take forever, I'm not yet worried. I do live in the wilds of the great North after all.) I've been checking out the Talbots Facebook page lately (which is a wealth of information almost to the point of the Mothership for JCAs) and noticed that all their cardis are 25% off in store and online. 

New? charming cardigan
As we all know...I can't resist a cardi (and my almost daily outfits consist of jeans, a tank of some sort and a cardi) so I thought I'd check out the offerings online. Prices are as marked and the sale goes on until February 9th! (So a good long time to check out the offerings - maybe hit up a store and try some on!). 

Talbots is on the pricey side at full price but the 25% brings it about in line with what I would be willing to pay. 

First up, it looks like they have updated their "Charming Cardigan" (similar to J. Crew Jackie and LE Canvas Heritage) to be more like the Jackie! WOOOO! Or maybe their spring cardis always have 3/4 sleeves?

It now features 3/4 sleeves and looks like a bit more of a cropped silhouette. I like! I hate full sleeves on lighter sweaters and they always just get stretched because I constantly push them up. 3/4 is much more flattering IMO. 

Rolled Edge Boyfriend
It's available here in all sorts of yummy colours for $46.87 - check out the really great periwinkle colour and even the tangerine above. As a winter, I'm a huge fan of saturated bright colours - I can only do so much muddiness (looking at you J. Crew). 

Also looking great is the Rolled Edge Boyfriend Cardigan. 
(The outfit is great too!) Also available in a range of great colours (although more muted) - I like the Sweet Almond - it is on sale for $59.62 here. This price is a bit much - but I'd like to see the quality before judging. 

Another favourite of mine is the Tipped Cardigan. I love the grey/ivory and sweet almond/ivory combos! It's available here for $66.75. I love the shape and the contrast - this would be a great dressed up work cardi IMO. 

What about you? Looking at any Talbots cardis during this sale? There's also free shipping and returns on shoes and the Red Hangar sale is still going on!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Talbots Online Order!

Talbots has some loooooow prices going on on-line at the moment. I had intended to hit up the mall this weekend as I need to get my watch sized but its cold and we got a ton more snow last night, so I'm very much feeling just sitting inside in the warmth and going nowhere.

I decided to do some online shopping instead - J. Crew's 40% Final Sale/Free Ship couldn't really tempt me. Would I like some of the items? Yes. Am I all that tempted to add a few more dry clean only camis in winter colours or blazers to my wardrobe? No. Thank god. 

Instead, I looked up Talbots online. 50% sale prices and if you "like" Talbots on Facebook, you get an additional 10% AND free shipping! Pretty nice. I picked up some wardrobe staples and a few fun little items, all for great prices. Now, they didn't add sales tax or duty, so I'm assuming either I will owe UPS when they deliver it or (hopefully) just go into the post office and pay Canada Post. We'll see but I'll risk it just this once.

The Ponte Knit V Back Sheath - $35.54 with discount (available here)
I got black in a size 10P because I just couldn't resist the price. It is final sale, but hey...I have tried on dresses at Talbots before. The 8P was a little too body skimming a few pounds I think the 10P will work. The length is 22 inches from the waist on the petite. That is definitely long enough for me, and I know the regular length would have covered my knees which I don't like.

The Watercolor Plaid Cardigan - $22.03 with discount (available here)
This one looks pretty cute! I haven't seen it IRL but I was excited since the colours definitely look more spring than winter so I should be able to wear it this summer in the office. Got a small in this one as my shirt size has tended to be a small at Talbots. 

The Scarf Neck Sweater - $23.84 with discount (available here)
I really like sweaters with sleeves this length. I don't know why...but I do. Also excited about the lovely lavender colour that'll be totally spring and summer appropriate. That is one thing about Talbots. Yes, they don't have the amazing rich colours of J. Crew but they do have some colours all year around making it way easier to shop the sales for off-season merchandise. Got a small in this one too. 
Knit Wrap Dress - $49.49 with discount (available here)
I picked this up in the grey in a Petite medium. 
Took a small chance on the sizing in this but since I was looking at a 10P in other dresses (and confirmed this IRL) I decided on the medium. I'm I just didn't want to take a chance. It looks very ladylike and for $50, its a staple for my wardrobe. 

Flower Charm Necklace - $17.74 with discount (available here
This one was in the outlet, not sale section. I am trying to incorporate more accessories into my life and this seemed to fit the bill. I know it is quite summer-y with the white beads, but I am happy to wait until then to wear it. 

Anyone else planning on buying anything from Talbots during this latest sale? Make sure to "like" them on Facebook for an additional discount!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

OOTD: Cozy in Fair-Isle

It's not even that cold today...I just checked and its only -10 celsius. But I was in one of the moods where I needed to be snuggly warm all day. If it wasn't brought on by the weather, it was definitely brought on by the fact that I spent my day trying to plan a trip somewhere warm in February (therefore thinking about the cold) and simultaneously trying to research a really boring aspect of Competition Law (therefore leading me to want to snuggle up in blankets and nap instead). 

So this is my dear BF commented a few times on it, which is pretty rare. First he asked where I got the sweater then later he randomly looked up at me and said he "liked the look" of the sweater with the turtleneck. (I think it was just because he approved of the price!)

Lord...I am not a photographer
Turtleneck: LE Cotton Modal Button Turtleneck - $14.99 USD (similar LE style available here, reviewed by me in this post) in Size S, black
Sweater: Old Navy Fair Isle Tie-Belt Wrap Cardigan - I paid $13 CAD in store for the last remaining one on Boxing Day (and got a Flip HD Ultra camera but that's another story). It's still available in the US online here for $34.95 USD or it may be in your local store...likely in limited sizes. I got a small - it runs on the big size of TTS.
Pants: Lululemon Groove Pants  - $98 CAD (available here in the flare style I'm wearing and also here in a relaxed fit and here in a slim leg version). If you're Canadian, you know about Lululemon. If you're American and you don't...check it out right now. These are THE best yoga pants around. They deal with muffin top, they make your butt look amazing, they last forever and they are comfy for lounging, working out, running or yoga. They're expensive but worth it - in fact, all of my work out gear is from this store. These pants are from...I'm going to say 2005 but it could be 2006. They are probably the only thing in my wardrobe from this time. That's gotta be a testament to something about them, right? (Word of warning...don't pair these with UGGs and a TNA brand coat from Aritzia if you plan on standing out though!)

Detail shot of the sweater!

Being Successful + Being Busy = ...Weight Gain??

At the end of 2009, I took a trip to visit my then ex-boyfriend and his family and so the year started for me with a nice dinner in, made by the ex-boyfriend, romantic outdoor skating (a date idea we had always wanted to do but never accomplished the first time around) and my first NYE kiss! (No, I'm not 16 - I just never managed to be dating someone or be with that someone on NYE.) Our lovely NYE 2010 was followed on January 2 by us getting back together. It was a wonderful start to what would turn out to be a wonderful year. 

I finished my first year of law school relatively unscathed. I found a (law-related!) summer job at at interesting place with wonderful supervisors and mentors. I enjoyed a fun summer with family and friends in my hometown. 

This past fall, I started the year on a wonderful note. The boyfriend moved to be with me. I had been accepted on a competitive mooting team for my law school, and then I was elected to be on the executive of the program. I became an executive of another club, a women's association that is just absolutely wonderful. 

Then came what law students call the On-Campus Interview (OCI) Process. A terrifying few months of rounds of applications and on campus interviews that culminates in a week of excitement/hell where you run around downtown Toronto in your best suit, furiously trying to convince (and be conviced) by biglaw firms that you're right for them. 

My wonderful year continued when I accepted my first-choice job offer for next summer. The busy-ness continued - I decided to co-chair a big event at law school. I attempted to study for exams and write papers, despite being evacuated from my apartment due to a fire in the utilities building. 

Finally it was Christmas and the year was almost over. I had been incredibly busy, more so than ever before in my life, but I had been successful. 

And that's when I realized none of my clothes fit anymore. 

Somewhere along the way this fall, I gained about 15 pounds. It must have occured sometime close to/after my interviews since my suits pretty much fit when I wore them last (although they won't now, I know). I know why it happened - being busy meant I was eating out a lot more for time purposes, and that I wasn't eating healthy when I was out because I was stressed out emotionally. Being successful just didn't help - I treated myself with food (and lots of wine) because I felt like I deserved it for accomplishing my goals. 

But now I'm in a position where I feel incredibly uncomfortable with my body. I've never been skinny. But I've not been this big since the freshman 15. My suits probably don't fit. I had to buy new jeans. I have to be selective about which tops I wear, because most of them pull across my hips and tummy. 

So what am I going to do now? Well...the new semester will likely be less busy, so I'll have time to cook at home and try to focus on eating healthier meals out. But just cutting back isn't going to take me back to a healthier weight. I've just downloaded (from itunes) the 30-Day Shred from Jillian Michaels. We're going to have to see how that works. 

But most of all...I think I'm going to have to deal with some of the issues that prompt me to reward myself with delicious, fatty junk food. Being successful doesn't mean I get to treat my body badly and being busy is no excuse to grab McDonalds instead of Subway. This summer I'm going to be working long hours in a stressful job with a great salary...if I don't control this now, I am worried that the freedom to eat out all the time plus the busy schedule is going to result in way more than 15 pounds of weight gain. And that's just not how I want to live my life. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lands End Cotton Model Button Turtleneck (aka camel is not my colour...)

As I said in the last post, when I got back to my parents house for the holidays, I ended up with a ton of stuff that I had ordered. It actually felt a bit overwhelming and I think necessitates a shopping hiatus for a while...

But, one of the things I ordered was the Lands End Cotton Modal Button Turtleneck (available here in limited sizes and a similar style here in a full colour/size range). I couldn't resist...they were $14.99 and provided a great ride-along to some gifts I bought for Christmas. I got a black and a camel colour. 

This was supposed to be my alternative to the J. Crew Tissue Turtleneck - I wanted to be able to layer with this tee but also wear it on its own, and let's be honest...I have too many lumps and bumps in the tummy area to wear tissue tees on their own. The LE Button Turtleneck actually looks a lot like I would think the Woolly Ribbed Turtleneck looks like (that one is mostly sold out) but a tee knit, not a sweater knit.

Fit: I ordered a small and that is definitely the right size. The perfect size, actually. For example,  I'm normally a J. Crew 8 although I can often fit into 6's at other stores  for tops (i.e. Talbots). I think LE small is a 6-8, though, so it makes sense. Essentially, though, if you're smaller than a 4 - you're out as it only goes down to XS. Fit is great - it actually fits like it does on the model! Nice and fitted, nipped in the waist, hits at low hip, sleeves are form-fitting but not tight. Well-made, nice and thin knit (but not too thin - not going to get holes or anything) that's really stretchy and comfy!

Style: Some of the key features of this top are the button cuffs and the scrunch neck. In case you can't tell from the pic, there is a ruched neck which is nice (you don't have to fold it over). The buttons are less nice...I have to say they almost (but not quite) ruin the shirt. The black buttons aren't so bad, but they look a little cheesy on the camel. Other than that, though, its a great basic layering or just casual turtleneck tee!

 On a side you can see from the pictures, camel is just NOT my colour unfortunately. Although the lighting here is very yellow, you can see in the bottom close-up shot what the true colour of the shirt is. What can I do to make this shirt better for me? Even layering a more flattering colour might not work given that the neck is right at my face...

Detail Shots:
This is the true camel colour
Black buttons

I'll be posting my J. Crew GIFTS promo photo reviews soon too - but just as a teaser...The highlight of the order was definitely the Factory Merino Boyfriend Sweatshirt (or as I explained it to my boyfriend - "the sweatershirt"). Solid Colours  and Stripes available in a full range of sizes on the J. Crew Factory Store Online for $49.50 and $59.50 respectively. I got a Mustard colour solid and the Ivory/Navy Stripe and I love them...well made (it seems), nice light merino wool (ivory is a titch sheer) with a flattering style. I missed the original Merino Boyfriend Sweatshirt so I'm glad I grabbed these up after seeing it all over the blogosphere...if you didn't grab any when they were retail, or like the idea of the stripes, take advantage of the 30% off factory right now! Or get into your Crewlet and see if you can find them cheaper than $50.

This pic is a little bit of the Ivory/Navy Stripe sweater plus my adorable Yorkshire Terrier. 

Did anyone see the Factory Merino Boyfriends IRL as compared to the Retail Merino Boyfriends? I'd love to know if they compare in your eyes...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lands End Luxe Down Coat Review (and a few others!)

I received my coat a while ago, but I could not find my camera charger and then it was, here we are. The Luxe Down Coat has been getting a lot of wear from me lately given that it has been very cold here! 

I ship everything to my parents house (its a long story...but essentially my real apartment is the blackhole of shipping by courier. Not only do couriers not even try to knock on my door, instead of just leaving a shipping notice on my mailbox in another building, I don't have a car so it is impossible to get to the Purolator/UPS/whatever depot during the 9-5 hours they are open. I've had several things sent back and now I just ship to my parents) so, when I go home, it means that I get a pile up of awesome presents from myself! 

This time, I got two turtlenecks from LE and my GIFTS promo order. GIFTS reviews to come, but LE turtlenecks will be in the next post. 

The Details:

Lands End Luxe Down Coat (available here) - $179.50 (I paid just over $115 I think given that Lands End sales are easy to come by)

There are limited regular sizes/colours left at this point, but I would assume they will come back into stock at some point. It also comes in petite and plus. 

With belt tied and hood up
Fit: I got the Spice Brown in a medium (which is a 10-12). It is TTS if you consider the numeric sizing. While I wouldn't normally consider a medium a 10-12 (in my mind it's an 8-10 or even sometimes a 6-8), this is definitely a size 10-12. For me, my hips are often a 10 and this fits well/slightly loose in the hips and quite loose on the top, although the arms are comfortable. It's not too big, its just big enough to layer a sweater or hoodie and to move around. You don't want to look like you're poured into a winter coat right? My mom also ordered a LE Coat (the Chevron Down Coat) this winter. Her normal size is XS tops, or 4 petite. She ordered an XS petite (numerical size 2-4) and it fits well. 

Style: It's a nice coat. It gives me the feeling - although its entirely possible that feeling is just warmth! The only part of this coat that sucks is that I wanted grey but it sold out. The brown is a medium chocolate brown - the picture of the hood at the bottom of the page shows the colour most accurately. It has a slight sheen to the fabric. the belt cinches the coat nicely and adds a stylish touch and the fake fur hood is cute. I don't feel like I can't go out in this fact, I want to go out in it because its so warm. 

Side view
Quality: This coat is both incredibly warm (tested to -25 Celsius for me) and has a ton of well-made details that really speak to the quality. I've included some detail shots of the buttons, fleece cuffs and the hood but I'll talk about them for a minute. The cuffs are lined with tighter fleece cuffs - provides comfort and warmth. The pockets hit at the right height and they're lined with fleece and not zippered - again comfort and warmth. I hate brushing my wrists against zippers when my hands are in my pockets. The down seems quality and the whole coat is light but has a feel of good construction.
With belt removed

All in all - I'm a huge fan of this coat and can't believe I went so long in the frozen north without a down coat! Highly recommend Lands End service and quality!

Detail Pics:

Fleece cuffs

Button detail

Hood/true colour