Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You Look Very Familiar...Have I Seen You Some Place Before?

Hello Everyone! I hope you're having a great week so far! It's time for another edition of *You Look Very Familiar...Have I Seen You Some Place Before?*, so let's get started! :)

Michael Kors Michael Kors Stripe Cashmere Sweater as seen here on Marissa Webb:






Anthropologie-Elevenses: Boucle De Souffle Jacket






Anthropologie Licorice Lanes skirt






J.Crew Edie Purse


A big THANK YOU goes to Jaclyn for sharing the next 'Familiar Find' with us:

If you missed out on the J.Crew Silk boy shirt in heart throb and would love to have something in the heart print...
*This Ruffle-trim Tie-belt dress might work as an option for you.

Thanks again Jaclyn! Btw, if you have a *Familiar Find* you would like to share, please feel free to email it to me: FabulousFloridaMommy@cfl.rr.com.

That's it for this week's edition...I hope you've enjoyed it!

xoxo,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Planning Your Fall Purchases...{Part One}

As we have seen in the past couple of weeks, retailers are now unveiling their Pre-Fall lines, which means lots and lots of new lovelies to get excited about and possibly even purchase. So how does one decide what to add to their wardrobe without going over budget or purchasing pieces that end up as "closet orphans"? It all starts with a plan. I have one that I follow each season, and because it helps me so much, I wanted to share it with you, in hopes that it might help you as well. :)



In a nutshell, this is the way I approach each new season: I evaluate my wardrobe to see just what I have, what is worn out and needs to be replaced, what is needed to complete certain outfits, and also what I might simply just 'want' because it is fun. Then as the fall rollouts arrive in the stores, I can see if any of the items fit with the ones on my list. If they do, then I purchase, but if they don't...I leave them at the store. This has saved me a lot of returns, unwanted purchases, and unworn items. Plus it is excellent for my budget. I also then don't mind spending a bit more on one quality item. I would rather have one item that is well-made and loved, than multiple items that are disposable, and get tossed away or sent to my closet archives. 

Now let's go through the process together step by step:

Step 1: Go through your closet to see what you already own. As daunting a task as this may seem, it is a critical step (even as hot as it in most places right now), and must be your starting point. It will help you see where the gaps in your wardrobe are, help you avoid purchasing 'repeats' of items you already own, and also help you steer clear of items that don't have a place in your wardrobe. (These are the pieces that either require you to purchase several additional items in order to make a complete outfit, otherwise they become your "closet orphans" because they have nothing to go with them, and will often remain unworn in your closet (many times with the tags still on). 


Step 2: Try it all on. I know, I know...UGH, right? Hear me out, as I really feel this is another incredibly important step. Over the course of two seasons, your size and/or shape can change (this seems to happen more easily the older you get), and the clothing that fit you so well last fall, may not fit you as well this fall. This could be due to either weight loss, weight gain, or even a change in your figure due to an exercise routine, or recently having a baby. Whatever the reason, it is important to figure out what clothing is going to work on the body you have now, what items will work with a bit of an alteration, and what items you just need to let go of.

Step 3: Now that you have removed all of the clothing from your wardrobe that no longer fits, it is time to start putting together outfits! Sounds fun, right? Right! Now, you can either do this on your own, or even hire your own personal stylist to do it for you. (This is one of the services I offer to my clients, and I know that many other stylists do, as well.) Either way, this step will not only help you to see just what outfits you have that are already complete (no additional items needed), but it will also help you figure out just what additional clothing items or accessories are needed for the outfits that are not yet complete. (This is also a great way to get more use out of your current wardrobe with minimal expense.) 

  • I also suggest taking photos of the outfits you put together, (or creating a set design if you are on Polyvore), so that you can refer back to them later on when it is actually time to wear the outfits. Not only does this help when planning for each new season, but it also helps to take a lot of the stress out of getting dressed each day. You simply look at your photos (or Polyvore sets) of outfits, decide which look you want to wear, and then pull the items from your closet that are needed to put the outfit together.


Step 4: Make a 'Fall Shopping List'. This is going to be the list that has all the items you need to complete your outfits from Step 3, as well as any other items you may need, or even simply just want. For example, I like to write down everything I need/want to add to my wardrobe, and then pare it down as the season moves on and more merchandise is introduced by retailers.  (As you will see in Step 5, I do put the most needed/wanted at the top of the list to get them crossed off first, then move on down the line as my budget permits.)

Step 5: Prioritize. Now that your 'Fall Shopping List' has been made, the next step is to PRIORITIZE it! As lovely as it would be to purchase everything on the list, for most of us this just isn't realistic, and that is why it is so important to prioritize. Not only does this help to keep you focused on the items you really need/want, but it will also help to keep your budget in check (more to come on that later) as the season actually arrives.

  • The prioritization of the items will of course be different for everyone as they make out their list. Some may put the items they need at the top of the list and the items they want further down the list. Others may put something they really just want at the top of the list, and go on down the line from there. It just depends on which items you feel are the most important for you to get, and also on how much or little of a budget you have to spend on your fall purchases.

Step 6: Decide when to buy. The warm weather is still here, so it is important to remember that you will not be able to wear many of the items on your list right away, and it is possible that you may be able to catch them on sale in a month or two. If the item is something high on your list that you think will sell out in your size, or that you will not be able to find later down the road on sale, then by all means purchase now. However, you should be sure that you are happy with the item at the price you are paying for it, and realize that not only is it taking away from the budget you have set aside for fall, but there is also the possibility that others may be able to purchase it for much less money down the road. 


Step 7: Realize that there are more lovelies yet to come, so try not to spend all of your fall budget right out of the starting gate. Fortunately, most retailers have Fall/Winter Lookbooks that allow you to preview the items still to come. In most cases, you can call or email for more information about the piece you are interested in. This way you can see if the item will fit into your budget, or if it is not doable at all.

  • Another thing to consider when looking at the preview items, is whether or not they fill a gap in your current wardrobe and work with other pieces you already own. After all, the goal is to add items to your closet that enhance it, not items that require you to purchase even more in order to make the item work. So, if the item you are considering does fill a gap in your current wardrobe or works with other pieces you already own, and it does fit within your budget, then you add it to your 'Fall Shopping List' in the order of its priority.

  • Besides the lookbook, another great resource for getting a 'sneak-peek' of what is yet to come at J.Crew is ajc's blog, which you can see here. She lives near the J.Crew Concept store, and takes pictures of the "soon to be released" items to share with us.


Step 8: Stick to your budget, and purchase only when you have the money on hand. This can be a really tough one, especially when there is an item you feel you really, really want, or the 'buzz' is that it is going to sell out quickly. Trust me, I have been there more times than you can imagine! (After all, shopping is part of my job, and something I love to do, as well!) I have made purchases on credit that I shouldn't have, and then felt guilty, or regretted them on down the line. I have justified purchases by planning to sell other items in my closet or 'not spend at all' for a month or two, but that rarely worked out. I also found myself caught up in the buy, return, repurchase at a lower price cycle, too. This was mainly due to the dreaded Final Sale at J.Crew. I felt I needed to buy everything I was interested in at full-price so I could try it on for size, before it hit final sale. I can honestly say that the entire cycle was extremely exhausting, time consuming, and not one that I wish to ever get into again. Instead, here is what I do now:

  • Each month I put my allotted spending amount into my Paypal account. This is the only money I have available for making purchases, since using the credit card is not allowed. If I have spent the money and find something else that I want, I have to wait until the next month when I have funds available again to purchase it. Now this has meant that I have missed out on one or two items that I really wanted, but I am ok with that and feel better in the long run that I did not put them on credit. There are also many times that I choose to spend as little as possible, so that I can build up my savings for the larger ticket items on my list. (I don't mind spending a bit more on one quality item, as I would rather have one item that is well-made and loved, than multiple items that are disposable, and get tossed away or sent to my closet archives.) All in all, this method of shopping and budgeting has been working well for me, and I no longer feel the weight and exhaustion of the shopping cycle I was on before. I am also now much more critical about the purchases I do make. I am very much aware of the 'latté factor', and avoid picking up items here and there that are not on my list, even if they are at a fabulous sale price. (Each little purchase eats into my budget, and is money spent that could have gone towards an item on my list.) After all, an item bought on sale that hangs in your closet unworn, really wasn't such a great deal after all.


Step 9: Do not get overwhelmed! Easier said than done when retailers constantly offer so many new beautiful items, isn't it? As someone who shops extensively, both online and in-stores (not only for myself, but for others), I know firsthand how difficult it can be to not want almost every new item out there! This is where having your 'Shopping List' is going to be extremely beneficial. It will help you keep on track and focused on what items you should be adding to your wardrobe, instead of adding a miscellaneous item here and there. 

Now even with your shopping list in place, it can still be very tempting at times to make a spur of the moment purchase when you see something that makes your heart pound and your pulse race. When faced with the temptation...try this:

  • Stop for a moment, and take a deep breath.
  • Turn off the computer and step away if you have to.
  • Try to think about your list. Is the item on it? Do you need it enough to spend part of your fall budget on it? Will it work with other items in your current wardrobe?
  • If you are at the store, then ask them to hold the item for you until the next day, so that you can go home and think about it. 
Most importantly, remember that you have a set goal in mind...you are in the process of building a fully functioning wardrobe! One that will consist of pieces that work cohesively with each other. One that is filled with only the items that fit well, and that you love. One that will bring you peace of mind knowing that whatever the occasion or event, you will have something to wear! Don't let one 'I need that and have to have it now' moment deter you from the end goal! You are stronger than that!

So what about you? Do you have a plan you follow when deciding on purchases each new season? Are you also a list maker? If so, do you already have a list made out for your fall purchases? Please do share! I always love to hear from you! :)

***Update: Planning Your Fall Purchases...{Part Two} can now be seen here. :)

xoxo,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Inspiration: Real Integrity



xoxo,

J.Crew Pre-Fall Rollout 2012 - Fitting Room Reviews: Port of Call Sweatshirt, Boy Shirt in Snowcat, and 'Heather Caramel' Schoolboy Blazer in Wool Flannel

Last week J.Crew debuted their Pre-Fall rollout, which you can see on their website here, and in the August 2012 catalog which I posted here. My store received their shipment of the New Arrivals on Wednesday, so I stopped in that evening to take a look and try some things on. I also took a lot of fitting room pictures to share. :)

This is the final post (of several) with photos and reviews of new arrival items that I have run over the past several days.  If you happened to have missed any of them, you can see the first set of reviews here, the second set of reviews here, and the third set of reviews here. My 'Planning Your Fall Purchases' post is currently in the works, and if I do not have anymore obstacles or delays (it's been one of those weeks), it will go tomorrow. The post will include my own 'Fall Shopping List', my personal method of deciding just what goes on that list, how to not get overwhelmed by so many new arrivals, and much more. :) **Update: The 'Planning Your Fall Purchases' segment was posted on 7.30.12, and you can see it here.

For those of you who have been enjoying my J.Crew Runway - Get The Look... series (featuring the Spring/Summer 2012 collection-see the right sidebar to access previous posts), I wanted to let you know that I will be continuing it into the new season with the J.Crew Fall 2012 Collection Lookbook, so you can 'Get The Look', too (or at least part of it).

Now on to the reviews! For sizing reference, I am 5'4" with broad shoulders, a short-waist (or torso), 'athletic' thighs, and a 31" inseam. My measurements are 36-26-37, and I normally wear an XXS, XS, 00, 0, or 2 in tops and jackets, a 00, 0, or 2, in skirts and dresses, and a 0, 2, or 4 in pants (depending on the cut) at J.Crew (I used to only have two sizes there, but now I have three).


First up is the Port of Call Sweatshirt, which is made of cotton and comes in sizes XXSmall to XLarge. The sweatshirt is described as 'shrunken' with a slim fit. The cotton is very soft, making the sweatshirt incredibly comfortable to wear.


I tried it on in both sizes XSmall and XXSmall. Here it is on me in the XSmall (my pic of the XXSmall turned out too blurry to post). I remember this one feeling roomy in the bust, body, and at the hips. The XXSmall was a slimmer fit, but still felt roomy enough to be very comfortable. I would say this is running True-to-(J.Crew) Size/Slightly Large. Go with your 'normal' J.Crew size for a slimmer fit, but size up one if you like to wear it more slouchy.


Next up is the Boy Shirt in Snowcat, which is made of cotton, and comes in sizes 00-14.



I normally take a size 00 in the Boy shirts at J.Crew, and this one is no exception.The shoulders of the shirt felt comfortable, and there was no gaping at the bust. The body of the shirt was roomy, but this is common with the boy shirts at J.Crew. I would say this one is True-to-(J.Crew) Size.


The Schoolboy Blazer in Wool Flannel comes in sizes 00 to 16. This year it is being offered in the colors 'Heather Caramel', 'Pearl Grey', 'Festival Blue', and 'Modern Red' (which you can see here on the J.Crew website).


I tried on the 'Heather Caramel' colorway in my 'normal' J.Crew Schoolboy size 0, and found the fit to be just right. It was comfortable in the shoulders (even when buttoned) and fit nicely through the body. I could easily button it without any pulling across the bust or at the waist, but when I left it open (which is the way I always wear it) it did not look too roomy, but instead gave a nice slim silhouette. I would say the blazer is True-to-(J.Crew) Size.


(I am wearing it with the Accordian Pleat Top in 'Ivory', which I reviewed in this post.)


So what are your thoughts on these new arrival items? Have you seen them in person? If you live near a J.Crew Brick and Mortar, do you plan on going in to check out the new arrivals? Please do share! I always love to hear from you! :)

xoxo,

Weekly Recap
















xoxo,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

J.Crew Pre-Fall Rollout 2012 - Fitting Room Reviews: Colorblock Sequin Tank, Optic-Dot Boatneck Tee, and Jules Dress in Snowcat

Last week J.Crew debuted their Pre-Fall rollout, which you can see on their website here, and in the August 2012 catalog which I posted here. My store received their shipment of the New Arrivals on Wednesday, so I stopped in that evening to take a look and try some things on. I also took a lot of fitting room pictures to share. :)

This is the third of several posts that I will be running over the next couple of days with photos and reviews of new arrival items (you can see the first set of reviews here, and the second set of reviews here). I will also be running a post that shares my tips for 'Planning Your Fall Purchases'. This will include my own 'Fall Shopping List', my personal method of deciding just what goes on that list, how to not get overwhelmed by so many new arrivals, and much more. :) **Update: The 'Planning Your Fall Purchases' segment was posted on 7.30.12, and you can see it here.

For those of you who have been enjoying my J.Crew Runway - Get The Look... series (featuring the Spring/Summer 2012 collection-see the right sidebar to access previous posts), I wanted to let you know that I will be continuing it into the new season with the J.Crew Fall 2012 Collection Lookbook, so you can 'Get The Look', too (or at least part of it).

Now on to the reviews! For sizing reference, I am 5'4" with broad shoulders, a short-waist (or torso), 'athletic' thighs, and a 31" inseam. My measurements are 36-26-37, and I normally wear an XXS, XS, 00, 0, or 2 in tops and jackets, a 00, 0, or 2, in skirts and dresses, and a 0, 2, or 4 in pants (depending on the cut) at J.Crew (I used to only have two sizes there, but now I have three).


First up is the Colorblock Sequin Tank, which comes in 'Cream/Black' and 'Sea Mist Navy'. This is a cotton tank covered front and back with sequins. It comes in sizes XXSmall to XLarge, and is hand wash only.

(Sea Mist Navy combo)

I only tried on the XSmall because the store did not have any of the XXSmall in stock. The Sea Mist Navy tank I tried in this size seemed to fit better than the Cream/Black combo in the same size, which seemed a touch too roomy.



(Cream/Black Combo)

It is hard to tell in this photo, but the fit in this colorway was a touch roomy under the arms, as well as in the body. I would want to try the XXSmall to see how it fits, if I were to purchase. I would say this one runs True-to-(J.Crew) Size/slightly large.




Next up is the Optic-dot boatneck tee, which comes in 'Vintage Champagne' and 'Navy'. The tee is a Cotton/Modal blend, and comes in sizes XXSmall to XLarge.



I tried this tee on in size XSmall, and it was fitted, especially in the bust. It is possible that it will stretch a bit with wear, but I wouldn't think too much, as the fabric does not have a lot of 'give' to begin with.  I would want to try the size Small if I were to purchase, though it would probably end up being overly roomy in the bodice in a larger size.


I thought the tee was quite cute in person, and I like that the boatneck is not too wide, so wearing a bra with straps should not be a problem. I would say the tee runs True-to-(J.Crew) size/slightly small, depending on your bust size, and if you like to wear your tees more fitted or slouchier.


The Jules Dress in Snowcat is an in-store only item right now. The style number is 11330, and it retails for $188. The dress is 100% Rayon, but feels quite silky and comfortable on. The fabric has a slightly textured feel and heavier weight to it.


The dress is a shift silhouette, with two large pockets in front at the hip area, and a slit keyhole with button closure at the back to make it easier to get on and off. I took both the size 00 and 0 into the fitting room to try on. The size 0 was the better fit, and the size I would get if I were to purchase it.



(Close up of the two front pockets)


The dress is shorter in length, hitting several inches above my knee (remember that I am only 5'4", so it would be much shorter on taller ladies, and longer on those shorter than me). Overall, I thought the dress was quite cute and comfortable on, but overpriced at $188. I would say it runs True-to-(J.Crew) size.




So what are your thoughts on these new arrival items? Have you seen them in person? If you live near a J.Crew Brick and Mortar, do you plan on going in to check out the new arrivals? Please do share! I always love to hear from you! :)

xoxo,

J.Crew Promo-Priced Items (and Markdowns): The Women's List

J.Crew has done a 'switch-up' on the Promo-priced items this week...some new items have been marked to promo-price, while others have gone back to regular-price or marked down to sale price (now making them final sale). I have updated the Women's list, and you can see the Updated Men's List here

For those of you who aren't familiar with Promo-priced items, they are select Regular-price pieces that J.Crew marks down to a 'Promotional Price' for a short amount of time. These items are eligible for any extra % off sale or full-price promotions that may occur at any time. The Promo-priced items are also eligible for the Educator and Student Discounts, so if you are a teacher or student you can receive an additional 15% off on them, as well.

The promo-prices are usually in effect for a week or two (sometimes longer), then they either go back up to full-price or move on into Final Sale. I have noted the majority of the Women's Promo-priced items currently available on the J.Crew website here (please note that the items now ending in $.99 are the ones that have been marked down further from Promo-price and are now Final Sale):

**PSA for those interested: The Collection No. 2 pencil skirt in sequins is on (final) sale now.

*Naomi Top - also $69.99 in Modern Red
*Sydney patent sandals - now $79.99 in select colors
 *Selima Sun® for J.Crew Belle sunglasses - Black on promo and Bright Kiwi is $79.99
*Café capri - also $59.99 and $39.99 in select colors
*1035 trouser in superfine cotton - also $79.99 in select colors
*Memo dress in Super 120s - also $159.99 in Deep Lagoon
*Stretch perfect shirt in classic stripe - also $39.99 in Sunwashed Pink
*Waverly Chino - also $39.99 in select colors
*Everyday chino - also $29.99 in White Sand
*Biennial satchel -Red on promo and Dark Bone, Tangier Orange are $239.99
 *Maritime colorblock dress
*No. 2 pencil skirt in double-serge cotton - also $49.99 in select colors 
*Lightweight chino short - also $29.99 and $39.99 in select colors
*3" chino short - also $29.99 in select colors
*5" chino short - also $29.99 in select colors
 *7" chino short - also $34.99 in select colors
*9" chino short - also $34.99 in select colors
 *Lilabeth dress in silk taffeta

*Maritime-stripe blazer - now $79.99 
 *Schoolboy blazer in herringbone - now $119.99 and $79.99 
*Collection featherweight cashmere cardigan - $129.99 and $99.99 in select colors
 *Edie wallet - now $79.99
*Whisper gauze beachcomber tunic  - now $39.99
 *Antique paisley *Classic mini in double-serge cotton - now $69.99 and $59.99 tunic - now $44.99
*Garment-dyed vest - now $79.99
*Stripe popover tunic - now $39.99
*Leather denim belt - now $39.99
*Matchstick jean in starlight wash - now $79.99
*Seville wedge espadrilles - now $79.99 and $49.99
 *1035 jacket in superfine cotton - now $109.99 and $79.99 in select colors
*Edie calf hair wallet - was $119.99 - now $99.99
*Mona patent pumps - now $159.99 and $149.99 
*Perfect shirt in linen - now $49.99
*Stretch perfect shirt - -select colors now $49.99, $39.99, and $29.99
 *Perfect-fit tape boatneck tee - select colors now $19.99 and $14.99
*Emmeline glitter espadrilles - were $89.99 - then $69.99 - now $49.99
*Havana clutch - now $59.99 and $39.99
*Mona leather pumps - now $139.99
*Blythe blouse in silk - select colors now $49.99, $59.99 and $69.99
*Malta sandals - were $99.99 -now $79.99
*Filigree embroidered jacket - was $139.99 - now $99.99
 *Soludos® for J.Crew Dali espadrilles - were $29.99 - then $24.99 - then $19.99 - now $14.99
*Italian Summer Scarf - now $29.99
 *Heritage chino in original fit - now $39.99 and $24.99
*Scout chino - - select colors now $49.99
*DODOcase™ for Kindle - was $44.99 - now $29.99
*Silk-linen henley tunic- was $89.99 - then $69.99 - now $49.99
*High-waist double-serge short - was $59.99 - now $49.99
*Seville canvas and satin wedge espadrilles - were $89.99 - now $69.99
*Inez patent sandals - now $79.99
*Azalea necklace - now $79.99
*Schoolboy blazer in eyelet - was $129.99 -now 99.99
*Matinee trench - was $129.99 - now $99.99
*Sydney snakeskin sandals - now $199.99
*Back-bow dress - now $99.99
*Jumbo brulée necklace - was $79.99 - now $49.99
*Seville printed wedge espadrilles - were $79.99 - marked to $69.99 on 7.4.12 - now $49.99
*Inez patent midheel sandals - now $139.99 - reduced to $109.99 on 7.4.12 - then $89.99 - now $69.99 as of 8.1.12
*Ready-or-knot suede wedges - now $149.99 
*Cecelia high-heel buckle sandals - now $119.99 - now $89.99
*Straw bucket hat - now $29.99
*Swiss-dot dress - was $69.99 - then $49.99 - now $29.99
*Hutton trouser in wool crepe - now $99.99 and $79.99
 *Bette suede platform wedges - was $99.99 - then $79.99 - now $49.99
*Small crystal brulée bracelet - now $39.99 and $29.99
*Patent capri sandals - now $39.99
*Feather paisley bikini - now $34.99
*Tissue crewneck tee - now $14.99 and $9.99
*Vintage cotton long-sleeve V-neck tee - now $24.99 and $19.99 in select colors
*Boardwalk tote - was $49.99 - now $39.99
*1035 jacket in wool crepe - now $159.99 and $79.99
*Aubrey jacket in wool crepe - was $129.99 - then $99.99 - now $69.99
*New élan trouser in wool crepe - now $89.99 and $69.99
*Amie maxidress - now $39.99
*Classic café capri - now $49.99 and $34.99



Have a lovely day and Happy Shopping! :)

xoxo,