Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Worst Purchases of 2014

In my last post, I gushed about my best purchases of 2014. It was all rainbows and puppies. But what about the items that got relegated to the back of my closet? The ones that never saw the light of day. Let's talk about those too. Here are the 10 worst offenders of 2014.

Worst Purchases of 2014

1. Madewell skinny skinny jeans in crackle print (grey 25) - These jeans were originally $158, but I bought them for $22 this past June. Like most Madewell jeans, the fit is impeccable, but the crackle print is too edgy for me. I feel like a K-pop star every time I try to put together an outfit with them, which is fine if you look like this.

EXO (source)

My style is more classic (boring?), so I feel like I can't pull them off.

2. Madewell skinny skinny jeans in nightfall (nightfall 26/29) - I really do like Madewell jeans, but this pair has a fatal flaw. The fit was decent, and the price was right (on super sale for $18). The color was fine too, a very wearable dark indigo wash. So what's wrong with them, you ask? They bleed on everything they've come into contact with! Even though I washed them several times, they still stained my white Old Navy tassel bucket bag. Now I'm afraid to wear them with anything lighter than dark navy, which is just about every color except for black.

3. AG Adriano Goldschmied Angelina bootcut jeans (white 25P) - I've been looking for the perfect pair of white jeans for a while now. I don't want anything that makes me look fat, and the white material needs to be completely opaque. This pair delivers on both counts, but is too low-rise and after years of wearing skinny jeans, I just can't get used to the way bootcut jeans look now. They seem all wrong with the pointy toe flats I like to wear. I'm holding onto them though in case I change my mind later. Kind of sad that I paid $78 for them.

4. J.Crew lace shift dress (neon citrus 00) - This dress fits like a glove, but I'm having a hard time with how/when to wear this. I rarely wear cocktail dresses except to attend weddings, but the neon yellow is too gaudy of a color for solemn occasions. Also, I paid $46 for it in June, but later it dropped to around $20. *shakes fist*

5. Gap essential rib tank (heather gray XSP) - There isn't much to say about this tank, except that it's a little too tight and it rides up to become a belly shirt whenever I put my arms up. I can't even wear it out for fear of flashing someone accidentally.

6. J.Crew Factory sailor sweater in stripe (snow navy XXS) - This sweater seemed like such a good idea when I bought it for $33 back in June. Classic stripe sweater, right? Well, I hate the tan buttons on either side of the collar, and it shrank the first time I washed it (even though it's a cotton sweater). This is Exhibit #1 of how I tried to buy a classic breton top but failed.

7. Loft striped long sleeve cotton tee (burgundy XS) - And here's Exhibit #2. At least this Loft tee was cheap at $7.50. I bought it, thinking this could substitute for the normal white and navy/black stripe tee (which I'm still searching for). Wrong. The burgundy stripes are harder to pair, and the base color is ivory, not white. It's also sort of sheer. Sigh.

8. J.Crew lightweight merino tunic sweater (haven blue XXS) - Yet another time that sale goggles have gotten me in trouble. Look, this sweater only costs $9! It's so cheap! Of course I need a blue tunic sweater, even though I don't like tunics. 

9. Peter Pilotto for Target sunglasses (red iris) - The print is too loud for me. Also I don't like how they're simultaneously round and aviator style. My only consolation is that I bought these with a gift card.

10. J.Crew Factory seersucker mini (class navy 00) - I love seersucker, but I regret paying $38 for this skirt. The buttons should have been decorative instead of functional, and the front zipper needs to go down lower so that it's easier to slip in and out of.

So how does this compare against my worst purchases of 2012? (I forgot to make a Polyvore set in 2013 for my best and worst purchases.)

Worst Purchases of 2012

First of all, I actually rescued 2 items from the worst purchases of 2012: the neon yellow tee and the navy J.Crew dress. Secondly, the problem with 2012 was that my purchases were all sorts of wacky colors. I definitely toned that down in 2014. However, there are still some lessons that I need to learn for next year:

- Stop buying things just because they're cheap. A few dollars here and a few dollars there really add up. This is going to be even more important in 2015 as I reduce my budget.

- Don't buy odd colored things unless I know with 100% certainty that they'll work with my existing wardrobe. My current wardrobe color palette consists primarily of ivory, grey, black, and blue with hints of red and burgundy.

If there are any doubts, leave it. If something bothers me at the store, it's only going to bother me more when I get home.

- Don't settle for a substitute. Every time you wear it, you'll wish you got the original. You'd think I would have learned after the chambray shirt and military jacket fiascos.

What were your worst purchases of 2014? And where on earth can I find a classic stripe tee?


On a more serious note, I'm so glad I started blogging this year! Thank you all for being so welcoming and encouraging, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I can't wait to see what 2015 brings. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best Purchases of 2014

One of the reasons I started this blog was to create a better curated wardrobe. Now that 2014 is coming to a close, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the items that I have added to my closet over the past year and evaluate my 10 best purchases. I didn't include anything from December since only time will tell how much use I'll get out of each piece. Instead I focused on favorites that I wear all the time.

10 Best Purchases of 2014

1. Madewell outbound jacket (olive tree XXS) - Before I purchased this military jacket, I tried on many other options, including offerings from J.Crew Factory, H&M, and Old Navy. I even purchased a few but always felt dissatisfied and ended up returning or selling them. None looked as good nor fit as well as this one. It does sort of serve the same purpose as my J.Crew downtown field jacket, but I get plenty of wear out of both during the warmer months.

2. J.Crew Factory novelty quilted puffer vest (black XXS) - Ah, this is arguably the most popular vest that J.Crew/J.Crew Factory has ever produced. I was lucky enough to snag one for 40% off when it was released at Factory earlier this year. At first I thought it was a little too boxy, but clearly that doesn't bother me, because I wear it all the time. It's a great layer worn alone or under jackets and coats.

3. J.Crew Factory geometric graphic merino sweater (graphite ivory XXS) - This is my favorite sweater of the year. I probably wear it once a week and even seriously considered getting a duplicate as a backup. Case in point: a few weeks ago I was eating (read: slurping down) some spicy noodle soup, and a little bit of red chili oil splashed on it. I completely flipped out and spent the rest of lunch obsessing over whether I would be able to get the stain out. When I got back to my desk, I used my Tide To-Go pen, which worked like magic. Still a close call though.

4. Madewell transport tote (English saddle) - Everyone and their sister seems to have this bag, but it's legitimately worth the hype. The leather is thick and sturdy. The craftsmanship seems good. I use it every day to ferry my books/papers to and fro from school, and so far, so good. I do wish there were more pockets inside, but I just throw in an organizer, which solves that problem.

5. Pour La Victoire Loryn knee-high riding boots (black 6M) - These are the perfect knee-high leather boots. They hug my chicken legs like a glove, and there was no break-in period. The leather is very supple so they hardly have any creases across the foot like other leather shoes I own. I really can't say enough good stuff about them. I wish my cognac riding boots were as nice.

6. J.Crew tassel-trim scarf (neon papaya, similar in plaid) - I didn't expect to wear this scarf as often as I did. Since my wardrobe is mostly neutrals and blues, a nice pop of coral frequently completes the outfit. I also wear it on chilly plane rides, and it has doubled as a wrap for weddings.

7. J.Crew Viv metallic flats (metallic platinum 6H) - These are my special event shoes since I don't wear heels. Somehow the platinum color, which is neither silver nor gold, goes with absolutely everything. I've worn them to multiple weddings and professional events. They're quite comfortable too despite the pointy toe, because I had sized up from my usual 6. I really would wear them every day if I wasn't so worried about them getting too dingy. I wish I had bought a second pair, especially now that the Vivs have been phased out.

8. Nordstrom boxed round 2ct tw cubic zirconia stud earrings (clear CZ/sterling platinum) - I bought these simple studs after Katherine from Feather Factor recommended them. I'm constantly losing earrings, so I definitely can't wear expensive ones (even if I could afford them). I like that these feel much more hefty than other CZ earrings I've tried. They're good for my sensitive ears and pair nicely with my engagement ring so I wear them almost every day.

9. Michael Kors large jet set saffiano phone wallet (black, metallic version) - Another piece I use every day. This makes changing purses a snap. Usually I only carry this (with my keys attached to the wrist strap) when I go to lunch or take a walk. It also serves as a casual clutch. There's just enough space for the bare essentials (IDs, cash/credit cards, insurance cards, phone, and keys) with no extra space, so it's good for purse minimalists.

10. Longchamp Planetes tote (black large, nearly identical) - This bag essentially serves the same purpose as the Madewell transport tote. I like both, but if I had to choose only one, I would choose this. The Madewell tote looks quite casual, while the Planetes is more multi-purpose. It can be a casual bag, a piece of luggage (very light!), as well as a professional work bag. I've used it for all three purposes, using it to ferry my school stuff, while traveling, and at a conference. As is the problem with many other totes, I wish it had more organizer pockets, and it really could be less expensive, given that it's mostly made of nylon.

What were your best purchases of 2014? Also stay tuned for my worst purchases of 2014!

Monday, December 29, 2014

December 2014 Purchases and 2014 Budget Review

I started December with $402.81 left in my budget. That seemed like a lot of money at the beginning of the month, but I was still worried that I would end up over budget for the year since I have a weakness for winter clearance sales. As it turns out, I was right. I spent most of the money during the seemingly endless parade of sales before Christmas. One main culprit was the round of 30-40% off sales at J.Crew. There were several full-price items that I fell in love with and had to have, which is quite rare for me. The other culprit that pushed me over the edge was a sale on the Rebecca Minkoff bag I've been eyeing for months. Even though I am a little over budget for Q3/Q4, I don't really regret any of my purchases this month. I love everything, and the damage could always be worse, right? Anyway, here's a recap of what I bought in December.

December 2014 Purchases

J.Crew elephant parade tee (navy XXS) - I'm really a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl at heart, so I can never have too many tees. Isn't this fitted elephant version adorable? It's hard to tell from the stock photo, but the elephants are 5 different colors: white, silver, rose gold, gold, and copper. I foresee wearing this all the time. Of course it's pretty expensive, even at 30% off, but I really liked it and had a near panic attack every time I saw it sell out online. I got tired of the emotional seesaw while waiting for it to go on deep sale, so I finally caved to the pressure and bought one, telling myself that I would rebuy it if the price ever dropped lower. Originally $42.50. Paid $42.50 + 30% off + additional 10% off + 2% off ebates = $26.24.

J.Crew origami skirt in elephant parade (golden elephants 00) - This elephant parade mini is one of my favorite J.Crew pieces this season. The black and gold jacquard fabric is surprisingly versatile with my wardrobe of mostly neutrals. It's absolutely stunning paired with black. See my full review here. Originally $118. Paid $118 + 30% off + 5% off ebates = $78.47.

J.Crew Harper scalloped suede flats (deep violet 6) - I've always wanted blue suede shoes (maybe influenced by Elvis?), and this pointed toe pair was perfect. J.Crew does color well so the blue is extremely saturated, and I love the scalloping around the border. Unlike its predecessor the Viv, I find the Harper to be true to size. Originally $128. Paid $128 + 30% off + 4% off ebates = $86.02.

Old Navy glittery pointed-toe flats (silver/gold 6) - Is it weird that I can't stop staring at their sparkly goodness? Sadly they rub a little at the heel, but nothing some Dr. Scholl's can't fix (recommended by Instagram friends). Thanks to Caroline for pointing them out. Originally $26.94. Paid $26.94 + 30% off + 2% off ebates = $18.41.

!iT Collective Taylor mid rise skinny ankle jean (red sand 24) - I really wanted a pair of plum jeans for fall. I considered getting these Madewell ones at first, but they were too expensive, so I bought this pair instead. I'm pretty happy with them. See them in action here. Originally $94. Paid $43.94.

Rebecca Minkoff love crossbody (black/gold) - I'm so thrilled to add this quilted bag to my collection after months of lusting after it! Now Fran and I can be bag twins. It's absolutely beautiful in real life. The quality is excellent, and the attention to detail was phenomenal. See my full review here. Originally $295. Paid $295 + 30% off + $73.05 in rewards points = $133.45 out of pocket.

Brooks Brothers tuxedo shirt (white 0) - This was my first time ordering from Brooks Brothers. I was curious about their Red Fleece Collection and wanted to try out a few pieces. I've been looking for a tuxedo shirt for years now, so naturally I was drawn to this. The fit was surprisingly good, comparable to a 00 at J.Crew. Not too sheer, and I like the blue trim details. I think this shirt may run smaller than other Red Fleece shirts, because I also ordered this flannel shirt that I'll be returning since it was too large and long. Originally $85. Paid $85 + 40% off + 5% off ebates = $48.45.

Brooks Brothers crewneck stripe tee (black white XS) - For some reason, it's hard for me to find stripe tees that fit well and aren't too sheer. This one's a little long in the sleeves, but it fits like a dream otherwise. Slim without being clingy and completely opaque. A nice basic. Originally $39.50. Paid $39.50 + 40% off + 5% off ebates = $22.52.

So my total for the month comes to...

RETAIL: $828.84
SPENT: $457.49 (55% of MSRP)

Q3/Q4 2014 TOTAL: Over budget by $54.68


So how did I do for the year?

A little backstory first. Even before I began blogging this past July, I kept track of my monthly clothing expenditures. But it was just that, tracking with no enforcement. This year I resolved to stick to a budget of $300 per month for most months and $350 for January, July, and December. At first I just let it slide if I went over budget for the month, but in October, I decided to start carrying over my balance from month to month (and reduced my budget for December to $300). I like my new accounting method better, so I plan to stick with it next year. Okay, now onto the analytics (I am an engineer after all).

Here's the monthly breakdown. Yay, graphs!
Based on this, I went waaaay over my budget in January, July, and December. No surprises here. Those months correspond to winter and summer clearance sales. Perhaps in the future, I can either try to avoid the temptation of low sale prices or buy less in the other months to make up for it. During the rest of the year, I was right on target.

So my original goal was to spend less than $3750 for the year. That number got revised to $3700 in October. During Q1/Q2 of this year, I spent $1821.95 on clothes. During Q3/Q4, I spent a total of $1904.68. That's a grand total of $3726.63 for the year, which is an average of $310.55 per month. That's not too far off the mark, but I am still over budget by $26.63 for the year. The main shocker was how much the lump sum was. It's a huge pile of money! My heart aches to visualize it.

Next year I am decreasing my budget to $3000, which comes out to $250 per month. Wish me luck!


How did you do with your budget this year? Linking up with Franish and the other Budgeting Bloggers.

Friday, December 26, 2014

After-Christmas Sales

I hope everyone had a great holiday! Mine was quiet and relaxing. I didn't travel this year and just stayed at home with Engineer W. It was nice to wake up in our own bed on Christmas morning and open presents. The only blemish on an otherwise good Christmas was that I had pulled a muscle in my neck earlier this week (quite painful and inconvenient), and I'm still recovering from it. The timing is unfortunate since we were planning to take a road trip to visit extended family after Christmas. Now that trip is delayed until spring, and I can't even check out the after-Christmas sales in person today! The end of Christmas usually marks the beginning of the winter clearance sale season, so if you're not all shopped out, it can be a great time to score some deals. Lots of stores have launched new sales today. Even though I'm not up to braving the mall, I can still scope out the online deals. Here are a few of my favorite sales.

Semi-annual sale - save up to 50%. Now through January 2, 2015. Plus save an additional 15% through December 27th.

30% off full-price styles and extra 40% off winter sale styles with code HOLIDAYTIME. Offer ends December 26, 2014.

I suspect that final sale will begin any day now. If there are any online sale items you wanted to try out, now is the time. This is what I'm eyeing.

(left to right) Nike sneakersglitter loafers

Winter clearance sale.
My picks: Chanel-inspired jacketsequin dress (good option for New Year's Eve), sequin mini (so festive)


Please share if you score any awesome deals! Have a great weekend, and happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rebecca Minkoff Love Crossbody Review

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been lusting after the Rebecca Minkoff Love crossbody for months. It's a dead ringer for my dream designer bag, the Chanel boy, which is impossibly expensive and way out of my reach. At $295 the RM Love is still expensive but within the realms of possibility. Every month I waited for it to go on sale, but the price never dipped low enough and I was too miserly to blow an entire month's budget on it alone. Finally Amazon offered 30% off on the black one for Green Monday, which is the best deal I've seen to date on that color. I thought I would ask Engineer W to buy it for me as a Christmas present. Then I thought about it some more and decided that a) it's too expensive to be a gift, and b) it would be cheating to not account for it in my budget. So I ended up ordering it for myself and eagerly anticipated its arrival in the mail. Here it is, sitting in its cobalt blue dust bag.

Ta-da, the grand unveiling! This little bag is even more gorgeous in real life! It's structured without being rigid. The leather is supple and soft. Not only is the quilting on the front beautiful, it's also fun to press and feels like a cat's paw. The gold turnlock clasp with the Rebecca Minkoff stamp is a nice finishing touch.

The quilting continues along the top, and there are two rings on each side for the chain strap to slip through. There's also an external back slip pocket that is magnetically closed.

The inside of the bag is completely lined with a black and white patterned fabric. There are four interior pockets: one zip and three slip. Two of the slip pockets are along the front, and one is along the back.

Here's the side view. The bag bows inward along the side.

A view from the back. No quilting here, but there's another small gold Rebecca Minkoff stamp.

One thing I love about Rebecca Minkoff bags is their versatility. The straps are usually designed to be worn in a variety of ways. Here's a diagram showing how to turn this crossbody into a shoulder bag.

In fact, there are really three different ways to wear this. The first is my favorite: as a shoulder bag. The chain is doubled through, and the whole bag hangs slightly below my waist. This look is a little more dressy and could work for a night out on the town or even as an evening bag for more casual weddings.

The second way is as a crossbody. This is how I would wear it normally, with the bag hitting slightly below my hip. Easy and hands-free for walking around campus, running errands, and going shopping.

The third look is to simply wear the chain long and sling the bag over one shoulder. This is my least favorite way to wear it, because the chain is too long in this configuration and the bag keeps hitting me in the back of the leg. Could be okay for taller ladies though.

Overall, I'm very impressed by the RM Love crossbody. Aesthetically it's one of the most beautiful bags I've ever seen. It's also extremely functional. Whoever designed this put a great deal of thought into it. The size is perfect, fitting my bulky wallet, phone, and many other essentials. Surprisingly the bag isn't too heavy despite the sturdy chain strap. It feels like it would be comfortable to wear for many hours throughout the day. One minor gripe is that the chain does get twisted easily whenever the strap configuration is changed. It doesn't have swivel connections like my vintage Coach bag, so I have to pay extra attention to how I connect the straps. At this price point, it would be nice if there were swivel connections, but it's not a dealbreaker for me. Ultimately, this bag is beautiful and functional. I can see getting a lot of wear from it in the future.

What do you think about the Rebecca Minkoff Love crossbody? What's the most beautiful bag you've ever seen?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

J.Crew Factory Reviews: Embellished Cable Knit Sweater, Black Watch Plaid Blazer, Classic Button-Down Shirt in Suckered Gingham

Here's Part II of my Factory reviews. Check out Part I here. In all of the photos below, I'm wearing the retail sateen toothpicks (on sale for 70% off with JINGLE) and the Sam Edelman Petty boots.

Embellished Cable Knit Sweater (Item B3811)
Ivory XXS

It wasn't until I had put on this sweater that I realized it looks very much like the Gap cable knit sweater I wore to the outlet mall that day (see below). I guess my taste is extremely consistent?

Gap cable knit sweater
Even though the two sweaters look similar at first glance, several differences became apparent upon closer inspection. One key difference was the embellishment detail, which was composed of shiny little beads that were sewn into the knit. Another difference was that the cabling continues on the back of the Factory sweater whereas the Gap version's back is smooth. Also, the Factory sweater had a rollneck, which I wasn't a big fan of personally since it gaped a little around the neckline. As for the color, I would describe the Factory sweater as truly ivory whereas the Gap sweater was closer to cream (more yellow undertones).

Anyway, I felt that this sweater was true to size. Neither the torso nor the sleeves were too bulky or too long. The knit felt decently warm without being itchy. Overall, this sweater is a solid option, but I think the starting price of $128 is too high. Even at 50% off, I wouldn't buy it. It's only worth about $45 max to me.

Verdict: Almost like, true to size.

Black Watch Plaid Blazer (Item 22235)
Blackwatch 00

I own the retail Black Watch schoolboy blazer from last year (seen here), and I have to say that this Factory version was really not up to snuff. The wool blend material was extremely thin, considerably thinner than other Factory schoolboy blazers. It felt very flimsy and lacked structure. Note how wrinkled the sleeves and torso are. Also, the buttons felt very cheap, and the black watch pattern looks too flat. The colors are very one dimensional and lack the depth of the retail one. This blazer fit fine in the shoulders and sleeves but seemed to run slightly small in the torso. My usual 00 pulled a little at the stomach (see above). Even though I love black watch plaid, I would not recommend this blazer.

Verdict: Blah, runs slightly small.

Classic Button-Down Shirt in Suckered Gingham (Item 35499)
Black White XXS

This button-down is the Factory version of the retail crinkle boy shirt in black check. The first thing I noticed about this shirt upon trying it on was the fabric choice. The material is very lightweight and thin, almost gauzy, making it more suitable for summer than winter. Even though I like the classic black gingham pattern, I probably wouldn't buy this now since it just isn't seasonally appropriate. Maybe I could have overlooked the fabric weight eventually, but the fit also wasn't right for me. It was too long in the torso and the sleeves. I'm only 5' 4" though, so it could still be a good three-season layering option for taller ladies.

Verdict: Meh, too long.

That's a wrap! Have a good rest of the week!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

J.Crew Factory Reviews: Crossover Collector Tee, Pinwheel Collector Tee, Paisley Collector Tee, Flocked Heart Collector Tee

I stopped by my local J.Crew Factory on Friday to return a few things and decided to try on some stuff since I was already in the neighborhood. Even though it's winter, I'm still looking for more tees since they layer well under cardigans and blazers. Here are my thoughts on a few I tried on.

Crossover Collector Tee (Item B3510)
Heather Grey Metallic XXS

In general, I like Factory collector tees, and I like grey tees. This silvery grey version should have been an automatic winner, but instead it was a letdown. The fit through the torso and sleeves was decent; I found it to be true to size throughout. The length was good, and the medium heather grey shade is rather versatile. Even the graphic was fine, although it does bother me a little that the dark grey and silvery stripes didn't form a symmetric pattern. The problem was the silvery applique. It felt almost like duct tape rolled across the shirt. You can see in the pictures that the silvery stripes didn't lie flat. They had sort of a ripple to them. Overall this was just okay, not a home run for me.

Verdict: Meh, true to size.

Pinwheel Collector Tee (Item B4376)
Multi XXS

Oh boy. First of all, this tee feels quite substantial. It's medium weight and could serve as a winter layer. Because the fabric is so thick, the white background is almost completely opaque, which is a refreshing change from the sheer tees that J.Crew has been rolling out over the last few seasons. But why the drop shoulders? They don't make any sense here and visually widened my frame. The torso was very boxy. The pinwheel pattern was reminiscent of a swastika. The colors said summer more than winter to me. Needless to say, this was my least favorite tee out of the four.

Verdict: Blah, runs large.

Paisley Collector Tee? (Item B3457)
Multi? XXS

I didn't see this on the website, so I just made up a name for it. If it shows up eventually, I'll update it here. Anyway, this is the Factory version of the moonglow paisley tee. I vaguely remember trying on the retail one, and the colors weren't as saturated as they are here. In fact, these colors are almost too saturated to the point of being garish. The pattern sort of disturbs me. My brain keeps seeing weird shapes in it, like fish or dragons or bugs. Overall, the shirt was too long, and the white background was somewhat sheer. If you like the graphic and you're tall, this might work for you. Personally I'll pass.

Verdict: Blah, too long.

Flocked Heart Collector Tee (Item B3358)
Ivory Black Flocking XXS

It's hard to see here, but this tee is ivory and not white. On the website, it looked like the little hearts were simply painted on. In reality, they're attached to the shirt, which produced a 3D effect that I liked. This tee was just a hair tight on me, and I would feel uncomfortable wearing it out in public as is. If you want to achieve that casual slouchy look, I would definitely size up. If you like your tees fitted, then stick with your regular size. I do wish the hearts continued around the back. That would look cuter. Also the ivory background could stand to be a little more opaque. Here I'm wearing a nude bra, and I can still see it in the pictures. Overall, cute but not a must have.

Verdict: Almost like, runs slightly small.

Are you a fan of the Factory collector tees? Also, stay tuned for more Factory reviews later this week!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sugar Plum

Blazer: J.Crew (old, similar - 50% off, similar - up to 30% off)
Sweater: J.Crew Factory (sold out)
Necklace: vintage pearls from Ebay
Shoes: Me Too (old, similar)
Bag: vintage Coach from Ebay

Are plum colored jeans all the rage these days? I feel like I see them everywhere: on the street, walking around campus, on both genders. Maybe that's how I became obsessed with finding the perfect pair. I thought I had found the one when I tried on these plum jeans back in October. At the time, they were full-price and out of my budget, so on my wishlist they went. I kept waiting and waiting for them to go on sale. Even though they were included in several storewide promos, the price just never dropped low enough. I couldn't commit to paying $100 for jeans in a trendy color. Eventually I got tired of waiting and started looking around for options that were closer to $50, which is a price I can stomach.

After browsing my favorite e-tailer's website, I found these reasonably priced jeans for around $45. They're made of ProModal fabric, which I've never heard of before. Apparently it's a blended material that combines the softness of Modal with the moisture-wicking strength of Tencel. I can't speak to the durability of these jeans yet, but they certainly are soft, stretchy, and decently thick. In fact, because they're so stretchy, I had to size down to a 24 from my usual 25/26. I like that they're mid-rise, which I find the most comfortable. These pants also don't seem to bag out at the waist or knees. My main gripe is that the legs aren't skinny enough at the ankles. Even though they fit like skinny jeans at the beginning of the day, the fit through the calves and ankles change to straight leg by the end. I also wish they fit slightly better in the back of the thigh and knee. Sadly these are the things you learn after you cut off the tags and wear your new jeans, so there's no turning back. I do love the color and plan to keep experimenting with them in different outfit combinations in the future.

Do you like plum colored jeans?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mini Sales Roundup

Take 30% off select styles for Green Monday. Use GRNMON14 at checkout for a discount on eligible items sold and shipped by Offer ends December 10, 2014 at 11:59 PT. Shop eligible items here.

I've been lusting after this quilted crossbody bag for months now. It's reminiscent of my dream designer bag, the Chanel boy, which I'll probably never be able to afford. This less expensive version has been included in several Friends and Family sales for 25-30% off MSRP, but usually only the nonstandard colors were available. This time Amazon has the black one with gold hardware, which is on my personal wishlist (Santa, are you listening?). Unlike the ubiquitous Rebecca Minkoff mini M.A.C. or mini affair, I haven't seen it on too many other bloggers. Check out the petrol color on Vicky and the putty color in the background of Fran's video.

Other picks: Frye riding boots (55% off!), Rebecca Minkoff quilted affair (Chanel flap look-alike), Kate Spade simple knot earrings (perfect stocking stuffer).

Brooks Brothers
Enjoy 20% off your entire purchase online and in stores, now through December 11, 2014. Free standard shipping on all orders for a limited time.

I've never shopped at Brooks Brothers before, but I'm very interested in their Red Fleece Collection, which is targeted at a younger crowd and according to their website features a slimmer updated fit. The pieces in this line are very classic Americana, which some may find a little too boring but others will see as wardrobe staples. I've checked their website sporadically throughout the year, and they don't seem to have too many sales. Also usually shipping costs around $8. At full price, their pieces costs about the same as J.Crew. However, their button-downs seem to be more tailored with darts in the back. Could be a good alternative if you're looking for fitted shirts instead of the oversized boxy ones that J.Crew's been rolling out this season.

Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy
40% off your purchase with FESTIVE. Offer ends December 9, 2014.

Other picks: Three-quarter sleeve little black or white dress (more than 50% off), striped ponte dress (more than 60% off and great reviews!), classic cable knit sweater (see it on me here).

Don't forget about Ebates for extra savings, and happy shopping!