Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anthropologie Wish List

I've noticed on other fashion blogs that people don't seem too thrilled with the latest offerings at Anthropologie (or lots of other stores, for that matter).

I must admit that I concur.

But as I've mentioned in the past, it's no real surprise to me, since I have always preferred my fall-winter wardrobe to my spring-summer one. I like to layer things; I don't like my neck or arms exposed (weird, I know); and my legs are so pale that I hate wearing shorts and skirts.

I hope this season to pick out a few things from my closet that I like, and basically wear them into the ground. If I make it to September alive and clothed, I will be satisfied.

So I've been pretty surprised at how hard I'm lusting after a few certain dresses at Anthropologie considering my anti-spring tendencies. Aren't these dresses amazing? I love the mint greens and pastels. They're quirky, but still sweet. And the shapes are simple enough that they could be worn to lots of different occasions.

They're all pricey though, so I'll have to wait for a few cuts before they're in my price range. I get to visit my sister in a few weeks and we plan on lots of Anthropologie shopping. I hope these dresses are in store so I can try them on!!

Verdant Slip Dress $138

Sugared Dress $198

Gathering Breeze Dress $258

Friday, May 20, 2011

Out and About: When Anthropologie and J.Crew collide

Do my eyes deceive me?

 I was browsing J.Crew's site this evening and found their "See How They're Wearing It" feature, which depicts nine different women all wearing the Perfect Linen Shirt.

Imagine my surprise when I saw what I'm pretty sure is Lil's Plaited Brushstrokes Skirt, on sale at Anthropologie for $49.95!

I love Courtney's look because it combines the easy, preppy cool feel of J.Crew and the funky, free-spirit vibe of Anthropologie. I've pretty much been shopping exclusively at J.Crew and Anthropologie for the past few months so it's great to think about how their aesthetics complement one another.

Plaited Brushstrokes Skirt $49.95

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My April 2011 Purchases (aka Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing)

Oh, Suzanne....You were doing so well! Remember February? When you only ordered some sweaters and a couple of workout tees???

Sigh..... Yes, I did a very bad, bad thing in April. I discovered Talbots. I have heard tell about Talbots' recent attempts to modernize their clothing, but I had no clue what they even were so I didn't really care at the time.

And then, I got a coupon in the mail. And then realized that we actually HAVE a Talbots store in the area. And it's been downhill ever since. I love everything! I love all the pretty work clothes for a kind of job I don't actually have yet. But someday, I will be the best dressed person in that TBD office.

BABY'S GOT THE BLUES: One particular thing I prided myself on in April, was that I carefully considered my color options. I love blue. I have always loved blue. But I see magazine articles and Website images of svelte models wearing neutral, neutral, neutral, and I say, "I want to be that!" In particular, I love the idea of wearing a pretty floral skirt with a slouchy tan sweater belted on top. CUTE!

Well, sometimes, we just have to recognize that we can't buy into every single trend. Because no matter how much I want to embrace spring's neutral craze, I just don't look good in creams or white. I'm very pale with less-than-pristine skin, and I need rich colors around my face. My eyes are blue, and so I like the look of blue tops to bring out my eyes.

Along those lines, I purchased the Temperate Climes Pullover (size Medium), which is a GORGEOUS blue color. It's very comfortable, albeit a little short. But over dresses, or high-waisted pants or skirts, it will be just beautiful. I also got the Floating Clef Earrings in blue, which I thought might be a nice accessory to bring out my eyes (even if I'm wearing neutrals on top). Totally frivolous. They're a very pretty blue but they're very dangly/long, and for a person like me who rarely even wears studs, I'm not sure that I will ever reach for these except for special occasions.

TALL ORDER AT TALBOTS: I also got two dresses from Talbots: the Bardot dress (size 8) and the Chiffon shirtdress in French teal (size 8). Both of these dresses are absolutely gorgeous. The Bardot dress is fitted up top with cap sleeves, and flares out beautifully which fakes me some curves. I bought the Crossroads Belt at Anthro (size L) specifically to pair with the Bardot. The neutral version is almost a flesh-colored tone with pink threading. Up-close, it's a bit frightening, but I think from far away it looks much more demure. The Chiffon shirtdress is a stunning teal color with an easy fit. It flows beautifully, although the teal belt that came with it is about 3 sizes too small for my thick waist.

Also from Talbots, I got a pair of grey Cross-Dyed shorts (size 10), Amelie Floral skirt in blue (size 8), and the daisy lace pencil skirt in white (size 10). All of which I plan to wear with my new blue pullover from Anthro! And I think J.Crew's gingham vintage schoolboy shirt in light mist (size 8) will also go great under the pullover. (I'm wearing this shirt as I type; I've worn it twice in the past week since I got it. I love it! A little pulling in the bust, and my third button down has popped open quite scandalously a few times, but I love the style and the color.)

WISHLIST FULFILLMENT: And lastly, I bought the Pond Reflections dress (size 8), which I've been hoping to hit sale for quite some time. I tried it on in a store a few months ago, and I loved the length, the floral pattern, and the easy-to-wear vibe. What I don't love is the top half---it requires a strapless bra or none at all, because it criss crosses in the back and the straps in the front come in almost like a halter top. However, I plan to wear this as more of a skirt anyway, with sweaters and T-shirts layered over the top.

Alright, that does it for April, folks. Your job is to slap me on the hand whenever you telepathically sense that I am going to try to purchase something. (Which is kind of all the time...) It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Spy Anthropologie: Sable Trimmed Cardi

Good morning, blogger world!

Just a quick post before I head off to work. I figure I really need to get my blogger act together because right now The Square Root of Style has been so neglected that it has accidentally become the premier Internet spot to find pictures of sugar bears. I kid you not. I get about twenty hits a day from people Googling "sugar bear pictures." All because of this year-old post. This is my service to the world!

Alack, alack, for though I love sugar bears, I also love fashion. So here's a sighting of Anthropologie that I found on People Style Watch's Website. Click here to see the picture flourishing in its natural habitat.

It's Dianna Agron in Sparrow's Sable Trimmed Cardi. Anthropologie is marketing it as a beach cover-up, but how cute is it as a relaxed "airport-style" cardigan? I have an old Loft purple, leopard-print scarf just like hers, so, of course, it only makes sense for me to purchase this flowy topper. Right?

Of course, right.

Sable Trimmed Cardi ($118)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My March 2011 Purchases

Hello, everybody. Long time, no see. I've been MIA, and now I'm a month behind on my monthly clothes purchase updates. Oops! Turns out I also went hog-wild shopping in March and April----coincidence? I think not.


A.) Because it's actually embarrassing to publish my purchases. The more I buy, and the bigger my "rectangle of images" gets, the more I realize how addicted I am to accumulating "stuff." Knowing I have to share my purchases at the end of the month actually curbs my spending impulses.

B.) Because seeing what I've bought recently, helps me keep track of what I already have in my closet, and whether my new "must-haves" would really fit into my aesthetic, or if I already have a similar item that can serve the same purpose.

C.) Because I'm a little bit obsessive-compulsive, and "tracking" my monthly purchases actually satisfies the same craving I have for purchasing those things. So instead of buying, I spend my time editing a "Purchases" image and a "Wish List" image in Microsoft Paint.

Anyway, I went crazy in March and April, so expect to see some major editing in May. Summer weather is almost upon us, and I don't expect to like many things anyway. Cross your fingers!

MARCH 2011

OFF-SEASON DEALS: Most of the items I bought this month have been on my wishlist at Anthropologie for quite a while. Evident in their complete inappropriateness for impending spring. :) But don't those fall colors look gorgeous together? Deep wine. Mustard yellow. Reddish-clay brown.

I love the Eastpointe Garden Top (size 6), and I'm already plotting to buy its Spring version, the Loosened Shelby Blouse, in the floral motif!

The Theodora jacket is great. I got it in a size 8, and the color is unlike anything else in my closet (very true to the product pic IMO). I will be able to fit thicker layers under the size 8 and be comfortable. Unfortunately, the jacket is also quite heavy, and thus will probably be hanging in my closet until fall when the weather is colder!

The bummer is that I went to wear these three items together several weeks ago....and found the anti-theft tag still on my sweater. DOH! I called the Anthropologie store and shipped it back for them to remove the item. Not only did they refund my shipping cost, but they gave me an extra 10% off the purchase. Anthropologie, I love you....

NEUTRALS AND BASICS: I bought these Pleats Galore Pants at Anthropologie with absolutely no expectations. I mean, what CAN you expect for $19.95? Turns out, I really like them! The Size 8 fit well (one size down from my regular pant size), and the pleats don't seem to add as much bulk around my hips as I had thought they would. My only fear is that, being black, they'll attract fuzz and puppy hair.

The black tunic (Facile Camp Shirt) I also got in size 8, and it pulls a little around the bust, but not too badly. It came with loop threads on the sides for the cloth belt, but I snipped them off so I could wear the shirt tucked in without the belt (otherwise, the loops stuck out quite noticeably.) I wore this shirt to an interview, tucked into a vibrant turquoise pencil skirt and felt very comfortable and confident in it. I've since also worn it untucked over jeans (without the belt).

The khaki bow skirt I saw/tried on in a White House Black Market store and kept wavering between the size 8 and the size 6. I ended up not getting it, and of course, found out later that it was pretty much OOS online. Oof. I later got a coupon in the mail for $25 off $125 so I called the store and ordered the skirt and some jeans I had tried on. The jeans are my new everyday go-to. They're a size 10, PLUS they're very stretchy, so they are flattering but don't give me a muffin top. :) They are called The Favorite Blanc jean, and I highly recommend them.

SPRING SPLURGE: This Talbots Amour Floral dress doesn't look near as slinky on me as it does on the model. But I did have a horrible time finding the right size. The bottom fit on all the sizes I tried, but the V was way too low/scandalous. I went from Size 8. To Size 6. To Size 8 Petite. To Size 10 Petite. I ended up sticking with the 10 Petite because the waist was slightly higher, making the V higher. I'll still probably need to wear a little lacy camisole underneath it though. I love the gathering at the hip, which drapes beautifully and hides my tummy. It's only available in a neutral color online now, but try your store for the gorgeous coral color pictured!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Spy Anthropologie: Potpourri Edition

Hi, everyone. Long time, no see!

I've been super busy, so please excuse the lack of posts. I just have time for a quick post tonight to give you a backlog of Anthropologie sightings I've been hoarding. Enjoy!

1. Spliced Ikat Shift in an Edible Arrangements TV ad

(Too bad this shift dress didn't look this good on me!)

2. Liquid Bouquet Tank in a Honda Odyssey Magazine Ad

(I originally saw this in one of my old InStyle magazines, but eventually took this picture from
an old Redbook while visiting my grandmother........I've got my finger on the pulse, baby...
No, really. That's my finger right there....on the pulse....see it?)

3. Cockatoo Feather Dress worn by Kate Walsh 
in the InStyle Look of the Day (March 14, 2011)

I am in love with this dress. I am not, however, in the love with the $498 price tag. Yikes!

And as always, remember to check out Anjali's great blog, goldenmeans, for even MORE great Anthro sightings!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My February 2011 Purchases

What, you ask----this is it?

Yep, I was quite frugal during the month of February, mostly due to financial reasons. There's something eye-opening about standing at the front door, counting out quarters, to pay the Girl Scout who is holding your Thin Mints hostage.

Oh, you guys.... I didn't *actually* do that.

I made Husband do it.

heh, heh.

But I did have to shake the beejeez out of my Cabbage Patch doll piggy bank to get said quarters, so that alone was traumatic enough to scare me into shopping-restrictive submission.

It was really tough, I admit it. And a few times I almost caved and made some huge purchases, but now that the month's over, I do feel proud and ... somewhat liberated. It feels good to overcome materialism, and I'm able to focus on appreciating what I have.

Of course, I say all this, and a new month is starting, and who knows how long my willpower will last. But I can only hope that my good habits will continue. Wish me luck!


Zoetrope Cardigan (Anthropologie): When I added the Zoetrope Cardigan to my wishlist several months ago, no way did I think it would ever make it to my doorstep. At $238, it was nowhere near my budget. Enter Cut #1 to $120. Still too pricey but I kept tabs on it just in case. And, voila! Enter Cut #2 to $60. Much more palatable for my wallet. I got the Size Medium, and truth is, I like this sweater, but I'm still not sure if I am keeping it. The sleeves are very tight, so I could only wear a sleeveless/short-sleeve thin layer underneath. Since it's currently so cold out and this sweater is pretty thin, I'd like to wear a third layer over the cardigan (like in the Anthro styling pic below), but I don't currently have anything that fits the bill. I'm afraid that on its own, it's a little too wacky in-your-face. It sorta needs a layer on top to tone it down (even though it would cover up the thick black/white stripe pattern on the back of the cardigan).

Fab Plimsolls (Boden): Both J.Crew and Boden have been churning out catalog styling pics with grey sneaks and dress pants, and I've been dying to try it out myself. I've been on a shoe shopping ban since January 1, but this was the perfect pair to break my ban for. I'll get a lot of wear out of these, and the details are marvelous: the metallic toe cap, the denim body, the ribbon laces. I am normally a size 9 US, so I got a size 40, which fit perfectly. I do think the "Boden" label is a bit ostentatious on the back of the shoe, but I doubt anyone will really notice.

Brittany Jumper (Boden): I have been pining over this top for a while now, but I was worried about sizing. My only previous clothing purchase from Boden was the denim laidback shirt, which I got in a size 8, but it a little tight. So this time, I sized up to a 10 (just in case). It fits perfectly for me (a little loose and comfortable). It's very thin and see-through, otherwise I would say I could have gotten my regular size 8. As it is, I think an 8 would have emphasized my tummy. Even with the size 10, I'll probably wear a white or nude camisole underneath to tuck everything in. I love the light grey color though and the soft fabric, and can't wait to use it with some fun pattern mixing.

Nike Dri-FIT id Women's Training T-shirt: I bought three of these shirts for working out. And I love them. They're semi-fitted, so you don't look sloppy even though you're comfortable. Sometimes I just get sick of wearing revealing tank tops, so this is a nice change of pace for those days when I'm not trying to be a fashion-plate. Truth is, these shirts are so great that I am considering buying more: to sleep in and even to wear out in the real world. Great purchase. (For comparison's sake, I purchased one Nike Pro Combat Core Women's Training T-shirt, hated it, and returned it. It was way fitted, and accentuated my big tummy problem area.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Oscar Awards: My Favorite Dresses

I only watched a few moments here and there of the Oscars, but I'm thinking that I must have been born in the wrong generation...

Because I much more enjoyed the "old Hollywood" presenters like Kirk Douglas and Billy Crystal than all the hipster presenters who seem so self-absorbed and, I don't know, ugh. In fact, I found most of the behind-the-scenes, lesser-known winners to be endearing and witty just the same (kind of what I wish the "stars" were more like sometimes....) I just read an article that apparently the Oscar producers basically discouraged nominees from reciting long lists of names in their thank-you speeches. I guess it worked, because they've all been quite good.

I thought the contrast of Jeff Bridges's making all the best actress nominees crying and Sandra Bullock's roasting all the best actor nominees was well played out and entertaining. A little obvious, maybe---Let's make all the ladies cry!---but I was glad to see some of the men tear up a little, too.

But, anyway, onto the fashion. Did anyone else feel like Reese Witherspoon was totally channeling Julia Roberts in her 2001 Valentino gown when she won the Oscar for Erin Brokovich? Just sayin'...

Photo Credit

Gwyneth Paltrow looked sleek and shiny in her Calvin Klein gown. I especially liked the unexpected deep, skinny V neckline. When most stars tend to think "more is more" when it comes to decolletage, it's nice to see a starlet think outside of the box when it comes to sexy elegance.
Photo Credit

 The pale lavender color and lacy delicacy of Mila Kunis's dress was breathtaking. She looked quite stunning, and it's no surprise that she seems to be the media's darling so far for Oscar red-carpet coverage. Her picture is everywhere! Great dress, Mila.
Photo Credit

I loved the necklines of Melissa Leo's and Hailee Stenfeld's dresses during the TV coverage, but I wasn't wowed by their dresses from the bust down OR how they photographed. 

I also loved the colors of the dresses worn by Natalie Portman (purple) and Jennifer Hudson (orange), but I wasn't in love with the dresses themselves. Pregnancy dresses are kind of shapeless by definition (though the wide v-neck was quite flattering), and Jennifer's dress just seemed a little too in-your-face with the, ahem, you know.

So, there you have it. That's all I've got. Congrats to all the winners, and must say I'm very excited to see The King's Speech!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner

Yeah, right, I know. Who writes a Valentine's Day post on February 26? I do---that's who!

Truth is, we kept everything pretty low-key. On the "real" February 14, Husband took me to Starbucks and reloaded my rewards card as a gift. Thanks, baby! Then, on the "fake" February 14 (um....that is to say....February 15....), we made reservations at a Japanese steakhouse we'd never tried before.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize until we were in the car and on our way, that it was basically one of those places where you sit around a table with strangers and watch the chef cook on the grill in front of you. Yick!

That's right. I'm not a big fan. Husband was actually surprised because we love bus tours and ghost tours and ...hibachi tours? Apparently, he thought that a chef "guiding" us through dinner was right up my alley. And the funny thing is that I'm the one who suggested this restaurant. I have attended several parties in my life at a similar-type Japanese restaurant---heck, I think I might have even had MY OWN birthday party at one of those places once. But it's one thing to have a group of people you know sitting at the table. In our case, our romantic Valentine's dinner turned into us sitting on the corner of a table, staring at a woman and her three kids. SMOOCH!

Luckily, we made it through the night without too much incident. The food was delicious, the chef was very understanding of our social awkwardness, and it was one of the kid's birthdays, which took most of the heat off us to be entertaining. I guess the main reason I don't like these type settings is that I feel realllllly bad for the chef because I feel like such a dud customer. I mean, I laugh at his jokes, but I'm not very outgoing or fun. Husband is the same way. That's why we wuv each other. :)

Anyway, the morning after our dinner, Husband explained to me that I shouldn't feel bad for the chef anymore because he realized that we actually gave him a 50% tip. Yeah. That's right. FIFTY percent. Apparently, the 18% gratuity they automatically applied (and that was pointed out in the menu) was NOT just for parties of 8 or more, which is what I assumed. Then, they didn't give us an itemized breakdown with the bill, and we were so flustered to get the heckola out of there, that we gave an additional 15 bucks.

So, Happy Valentine's Day, hibachi chef! I hope that our ridiculously huge tip will cloud your memory as to our fuddy-duddiness.

Martin & Osa purple rococo long cardigan, Limited criss-cross brown belt,
Anthropologie Night Blooming dress, HUE black tights, Seychelles Kiss at Midnight pumps

Today there is an Empty Nest marathon on TV so Husband and I are taping the entire day's worth of episodes to replay without commercials. I've never seen it before, but Husband liked it as a kid. And apparently it's a spin-off of The Golden Girls (or vice versa? we can't decide), and we watch that every night before bedtime. 

Tomorrow, Husband wants to have a Godfather marathon and make spaghetti and drink lattes. (OK, the drinking lattes part might have been my contribution...) 

Did I mention anything about our being fuddy-duddies, yet? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Plaid, Blue Plaid

I just discovered my love for flannel. Supplemented by a love for plaid.

I got both of these shirts from American Eagle last month, and I've seriously worn them both about 50 times already. (Don't do the math. It will only frighten you.) They're men's shirts (size small), and although they're cut a little too straight for my hips, the longer length makes up for any snugness. Because I can actually tuck them in without them coming undone!

I find that women's button-up shirts are often cut way too curvy/fitted for my liking. It's like, I know I'm a woman, I don't need my shirt to constantly remind me. And we all know that women are shaped in all different ways so the odds of comfortably fitting into a woman's shirt is drastically reduced. Men's shirts, all the way, people. Trust me.

This post also has the pleasure of debuting my new haircut! I've never really had a haircut that I love (excepting, of course, the haircut I got at my grandma's house when I was about 9, and we went to some hairstylist school, and they gave me a free black velvet scrunchie and braided my hair. Score!) But I lucked out this time and ended up really liking this haircut. These two pictures were from Day 1 and Day 2, so of course I haven't been able to replicate this beautiful flat-ironed do. BUT, the good thing about this haircut is that if I pull my hair back in a ponytail (which is what I end up doing 90% of the time anyway), and just flat-iron my bangs, then it actually looks presentable---hooray!

American Eagle men's plaid flannel shirt, Limited silver belt,
Canterbury Trousers, Tommy Hilfiger brown midcalf boots

American Eagle men's  plaid flannel shirt,
Loft jeans, Gola women's harrier green sneakers
In other news, I have been enjoying wearing my Gola bright-green sneakers simply for the funny reactions. My dad laughed and shook his head when he saw them. My dentist "oohed" and said I must be getting ready for St. Patrick's Day. They're also very comfortable; even though I had never previously heard of Gola, I would definitely recommend them if you're ever interested in a pair of sneaks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boden Remix: Laidback Denim Shirt

Happy Valentine's Day, readers! Husband and I will be celebrating on Tuesday night instead of today to avoid the crowds. I will be sure to post our dinner details, which are always international and always enjoyable. In the meantime, I thought I'd share an outfit I wore out a few days ago!

As part of my first order from Boden a few months back, I got their laidback shirt in pale denim. I got a size 8, and it's snug. If I had it to do over again, I would size up to a 10. But I was too lazy to return it at the time and figured I would make it work. The problem was that I bought it mainly to recreate this awesome look from their Website and catalog (below). And that requires it to fit over a SECOND button-up shirt. Quite a challenge.

Luckily, I had an old, short-sleeve, white shirt from Express (because there is no way I could get long sleeves under this shirt!). Seeing the product picture again, I realize that she has a few buttons undone at the bottom of her shirt, a look that I may or may not want to replicate. It would either look cool and "laidback"...or it would just look like my big old belly burst the buttons off my shirt...

Regardless, I felt very comfortable and put-together in this outfit. I even added to the outfit my Boden crossbody bag (the same bag worn by the model). But mine is the plain brown leather, and hers is the super-cute leopard print. I wore this outfit to go shopping, which ended up being a pain with all the layers coming on and off (minus), but I was also warm enough that I didn't need to wear a coat (plus).

I never would have thought to layer two collared shirts over each other, but I hope to play around with this look more often! Boden generally has offers for free shipping and returns, which makes me more willing to purchase more, even though I'm still wary about their sizing.

Right now, I have a few basics in my shopping cart at Boden: the Brittany Jumper and the Fab Plimsolls. I plan on getting the size 10 in the shirt, just in case, even though I'm thinking the style would be more forgiving. And I want the size 40 in the shoes, which translates to my regular U.S. size 9. I will keep you posted with how the sizing fares once I pull the trigger! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Spy Brent Spiner!

If you follow my sister's blog Princess of Taylor (which you probably do!), then you have seen some of her very thought-provoking posts about Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

And if you haven't seen them, then get crackin'! You can click here for a Brent Spiner birthday post, here for some Star Trek movie analysis, and here for a really good discussion about celebrities and how they handle fans. Now scoot!

But wait! Before you scoot, instead of my occasional "I Spy Anthropologie" post, the other day I was excited to spy ----you guessed it, BRENT SPINER!

I was watching the old, spooky TV show Tales from the Darkside, and all of a sudden a familiar face popped up on the screen. It's funny, though, because I wasn't even sure it was Spiner at first! He played a very Southern preacher with a heavy accent and an emotional plea to "Grandpa" that he is dead and should start acting like it! Very not-Data-like at all.

The episode ("A Case of the Stubborns") was from 1984 ---- three years before the character of Data was created ---- which made me wonder if perhaps a celebrity's "inability" to move past a role is somewhat self-imposed? Maybe an actor gets so used to playing a character, or after realizing that a certain type of acting worked for him in the past, he's unable to act without channeling that character or its idiosyncrasies. It almost becomes second nature to them. Then again....maybe he's just super young here and not wearing android-white makeup!

Just a thought. Anyway, you all lucked out because not only did my screenshot capture Brent Spiner, but it also shows a youthful Christian Slater and a decaying Eddie Bracken (later known as the toy store owner Mr. Duncan in Home Alone 2!) If that doesn't make you want to watch Tales from the Darkside, I don't know what will!

P.S. I just showed my husband this picture to see if he could identify any of the actors. Dear readers, I'd like you to meet Josh Hartnett (OK, passable), The Rock (????) no wait, Andy Kaufman (still a ????), and Grandpa Muenster (LOL).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tips for Styling Maxi Skirts in Colder Seasons

A few months ago, I impulsively bought the Tumbler Maxi Skirt in black. I figured that a long skirt is perfect for a person like me who shies away from showing too much leg. Also, it's a little dressier than just wearing pants all the time. When it arrived and I tried it on, I really liked it, yes, but I wasn't quite sure how to style it.

Then, it went on sale and I got a price adjustment to about $40 so.....let's just say that I was determined to make this work.

I pulled the skirt out of my closet to wear the other day, but ultimately gave up and hung it back up because I couldn't figure out what shoes to wear! Sure, in the summer, you can just wear some open-toed sandals or wedges, but when it's cold out, my toesies might not be so keen on that idea.

So like any good blogger, I took to the Internet. And apparently I'm not alone with the whole shoe-pairing question. The following is what I learned about my own preferences for maxi styling. I hope it also may help you!

1. I like the look of same-color shoes (for my purposes, black shoes with a black maxi skirt) or maybe cognac shoes for contrast. I like the look of "tough" shoes, combat-type flat boots or less-tough boots with a little height, but I don't want to look "too" urban. Maybe a lace-up wedge like my new Steve Maddens?
Free People Tencil Rib Maxi Dress
Free People Maxi Scoop Long Sleeve Dress

2. Playing with the skirt length is required. I like the look of to-the-floor skirts where your shoe doesn't even matter because it looks so flowy and bohemian. But I also like the look of ankle-length skirts that show off your shoes. What looks best on me will probably depend on my body shape and height. Lucky for me, my maxi skirt has a foldover style so I can either wear it as a tube dress or fold the waist over and adjust the length.

3. Keep it simple and think about proportions. I like the looks most with neutral colors and simple shapes/proportions. My favorite is this Michael Kors one---so classy, right? But I also like the look of a striped casual top and a cropped vest with a long skirt. It seems to work great with both casual and more formal looks.

Michael Kors Fall 2010 runway

Rachel Pally Skinny Long Skirt at Shopbop

4. Which also segues into the matter of belts. I like the look of emphasizing the waist with a wide belt, whether it be under or over another layer. I also think the idea of a hip-slung belt (though a little more hippie-chic than I'm used to) would be a great way to elongate my stumpy torso and fake some good proportions. :)

Elizabeth and James Taylor Long Skirt at Saks Fifth Avenue

Anthropologie Irresistible Maxi Dress

5. Long necklaces seem to elongate the body to keep the skirt-wearer from looking "stumpy." I'm of average height so every little would help, right?

Piperlime Promo Pic

With that said, after all my research, I finally decided the brave the world with my new skirt. And I'm pretty happy about my look! I don't own a hip-slung belt so I had to improvise with a Gap jeans belt that I purchased in a Large. All in all, I'm loving the proportions, and the LOFT grey topper I bought has met all my expectations and even exceeded them!
Tumbler Maxi Skirt, Gap leather belt, My grandma's hand-me-down necklace,
JCrew black turtleneck, LOFT grey melange cropped drape jacket 

Here are some more good links if you're interested in finding further information about styling, the trend itself, or helpful images:

How to Wear a Maxi Skirt at Diabolina Fashion Diary

Three Easy Tips for Pulling Off a Maxi Skirt at

OOTD with Plaid and Maxi Skirt at Style Pantry

The Maxi Skirt Fashion Trend at The New York Times

Thursday, February 3, 2011

All Choked Up

I've often heard of people who hate wearing things close to their neck---scarves or turtlenecks, for example----because they feel like they're being choked.

I happen to be of the opposite persuasion. Because I hate baring my neck, especially when it's cold outside. During college, I literally wore Victoria Secret ribbed turtlenecks every day. After I wore them all into the ground, I began to think that the only way to keep my neck warm was to wear a T-shirt or a sweatshirt, i.e. something with a high crew neck. But now I realize that I can wear low-cut tops and just tie a scarf around my neck! Hooray! This realization has definitely helped me to have more fun getting dressed when the weather isn't the best. neck idiosyncrasy follows me into bed, too. Ever since I was little, I always had to sleep with the covers over my neck to ward off any vampire-type monsters. Even in the middle of summer, I have to at least have a light sheet tucked up to my chin. Unfortunately, the other night, Docker was sleeping at the bottom of our bed and I couldn't pull the sheets all the way up where I would like! It turned into quite the restless night for me. It didn't help matters that Husband had a cold and he kept making scary noises (think The Grudge) in his sleep. My only recourse was to elbow jab him in the ribs every time he started up again (and then to play dead so he couldn't yell at me). Maybe he'll just think it was a dream??

This outfit features one of my favorite Christmas presents this year! It's my J.Crew sweater in soft peacock from my wonderful sis at Princess of Taylor. I love this blue color, and it's so comfy. Thanks, sis! :)

J.Crew La Femme Cardigan in Soft Peacock (from my sister!), Old Navy grey leopard-print tank top,
Canterbury Trousers, Old Navy grey/white scarf, Tommy Hilfiger brown mid-calf boots

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My January 2011 Purchases

Well, January is finally over! I felt like I did *SO* good on my shopping this month, but I still got way too much, didn't I? The truth is that I went to the mall on the 29th and bought six of these items, sooooo....::sheepish grin:: On sale, people! ON SALE! :)

Overall, it helped pass the time that I had several shopping fiascos this month, including a rip in my new Canterbury Trousers and a charge-send for my Florist's Arrangement Sweaterdress that was almost all charge, and no send! Also, I ended up buying the Pointedly Skirt---twice. And apparently I'm a dumbbell and tried on the 12 in the store (and thought afterwards that it was the 8). So neither the 8 nor 10 fit at all---go figure! I kind of got over the skirt in the meantime, but I'm still bummed about all the dough I lost in shipping costs.

This month, I ended up getting quite a few neutrals---navys, and greys, and whites---which is a new goal I've latched onto. And I think it will serve me well as I try to build a "working wardrobe." I'm weary from trying to match all the crazy patterns in my closet, and I think the right neutrals will help tie them all together. Here's a breakdown of my purchases:

MENSWEAR: That's right. All four buttoned-down shirts I bought this month are cut for men. The two plaid flannel shirts are American Eagle, and I absolutely live in them. Fantastic purchase. The white and navy dress shirts are from Gap, and I think these will be great staples for work, and will be very versatile under all my colored cardigans. The American Eagle watch is technically a women's watch, I think, but I picked it mostly for its austere, men's quality.

CARDIGANS: At the end of the day, I love the ease of blouses topped with cardigans. Granted, as I get older, I run the risk of looking like every-other-preppy-mommy-on-the-go (without the little Square Root, of course). But, oh well. Maybe we're not all born to be fashionistas after all.... I loved the leopard and diamond patterns of these LOFT cardigans. They'd even be a great pop of pattern underneath a blazer, I think! And I have high hopes for the cropped grey topper (also from LOFT), that I envision wearing over longer tunic-style shirts, and maybe even with my black maxi skirt! I felt a little guilty after I purchased the navy cardigan because it's so basic, but it's a great length, very comfortable, and a nice neutral to top over almost anything.

DRESS PANTS: I've already worn both my navy/plaid and grey pants several times. I know pants can be more difficult to style and to find the perfect fit with, but I still ultimately prefer them to skirts and dresses. I'm still contemplating taking these both to the tailor and getting them altered to be jusssst right. But I admit it: I'm chicken. And I'm cheap. I just have to be careful not to squat too unladylike or I'll split my pants again, for sure!

I think all of these purchases fit into my true aesthetic, and I've already worn most of them at least once. I haven't yet tried on my sweaterdress because after all the trouble it took to get it...I'm afraid I'll have another Pointedly disaster! All in all, I think I made very thoughtful choices, but still could be less impulsive. On that note, I've already got my shopping cart at J.Crew sitting and waiting for me to pull the trigger! ::heh, heh::

February shopping----here I come!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SAG Awards 2011: My Favorites

I don't know about you, but I've had a very lazy weekend. And what better way to wrap up a lazy weekend than to lie in bed watching a bunch of beautiful people dress up and clap feverishly as they hand each other awards?

Well, honestly, I'm only watching a few minutes of the show while I'm blogging here just in case I say below that I *love* some dress that actually looks horrendous in person. (Or the opposite, as in the case of Melissa Leo's silver dress that was quite pretty in the TV broadcast, but whose shiny material and fitted silhouette photographed pretty poorly around her tummy area.)

Anyway, I was pretty impressed with the SAG Awards's offering of evening wear. Although there were a few of the usual suspects wearing boring dresses.... (Wow, ladies, how DO you look so pretty with long, wavy hair and a beige-colored gown with cleavage---incredible!) For the most part, I saw lots of creative embellishments, bright colors, and interesting construction.

I thought Jayma Mays looked quite arresting in her peach(?) dress, but I can't decide if it's just her fresh makeup and gorgeous hair that I liked. I also liked the delicate red flowers of Tina Fey's strapless dress. Unfortunately, both of them made it on the LA Times' 10 Worst Dressed List. Lame!

I also thought Helena Bonham Carter looked very romantic with her simple black/white dress and large curls, but that may just be because I'm so used to seeing her wearing wacky shizz. :) And I'm still on the fence about Mila Kunis---she looked stunning in her red-drenched gown, but it also kinda freaked me out a little---because you know, it was a red-drenched gown.

The three below are my favorite. What were your favorites?

Julie Bowen
Am I just biased because I've been watching so much Boston Legal lately? Or I am just biased because I've decided to fully embrace my love of menswear-inspired clothing? Meh. Who cares if I'm biased! I think Julie Bowen looks absolutely stunning, and effortless to boot. Classy and real. My #1 Favorite of the Night, for sure!

Claire Danes
Another stunner from Claire Danes. She really knows how to rock the strapless dress. Normally I would scoff at the boring silhouette, but I love the texture and colors of the print. And the belt adds an interesting, more casual feel to the dress. All in all: another effortless masterpiece.

January Jones
I've never seen Mad Men, so I can confidently say that I am not all biased when it comes to January Jones. She's gotten a lot of flack for some of her recent fashion choices, but I really respect her willingness to be inventive and unabashedly modern. Personally, I think this dress is absolutely stunning. I already saw it on at least one Worst Dressed List, but you know what I say to that: LAME! It's a gorgeous silhouette with a luscious print. Bravo, January.

*all pictures from more here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Spy Anthropologie: Wightwick Manor Dress

I think this latest Anthropologie sighting officially makes me an Anthro-dork. (As if that were ever in doubt...)

It's the Wightwick Manor Dress (that I just so happened to wear earlier this week!) in a Bank of America TV commercial. You only get a small glimpse of it behind all the foreground clutter, but the cool retro print and the great shirtdress design that I love so much were sure to catch my eye!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All Dolled Up...

....and nowhere to go.

I got all spiffied up today in my Wightwick Manor Dress, but the weather is not being agreeable (sleet and snow) so I decided to play it safe and NOT drive up and down the interstate all day. Which means no work today.

What a bummer! Normally, I would get changed into some comfy lounge clothes, but I think I'll try to keep this outfit on a little longer just to enjoy my fleeting cuteness. :) Maybe I'll run an errand or something. Hey, at least the baristas in Starbucks got to see me!

In other news, I think maybe I should take a blogging hiatus more often! It seems like I get more followers when I'm NOT here. Hmmm.....are you all trying to tell me something? No, no, no. It's my wonderful sister's doing over at Princess of Taylor. She has graciously again included me in her awesome giveaway celebrating her one-year blogging anniversary! Click here to sign up and you can win a pair of handmade earrings and a $50 gift card to the store of your choice!!! Woohoo!

Wightwick Manor Dress, Red opaque tights, Miz Mooz boots,
Limited infinity scarf, Circle Game Belt

Lots of exciting things happening in the Square-Root household, but unfortunately, not necessarily clothes-related. I'm kind of hitting the wall in terms of shopping. I've been very good about keeping my shopping to a minimum this month, but it's been very difficult/depressing. As soon as February 1 rolls around, I already have three shopping carts full and ready to go! :P But even still, shopping just isn't bringing me the joy it used to. So I'm trying to find new outlets, including more exercise, more work (and hence more $$$!), more Quantum Leap watching, and more Starbucks (and hence less $$$!).

Anyway, hope you're all staying warm and I will be back again soon! I am anxiously counting down the days to the end of the month so I can "analyze" all my January purchases. :) Whee!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canterbury Trousers (Take Two...)

Hello, all!

Unfortunately, I've been nursing some kind of sickness all weekend, and I have been curiously tracking the ebb and flow of my alertness. One minute, I'm running around my house moving furniture and folding laundry, and the next, I'm nestled on the couch with the puppies sleepily watching anything and everything aired on the Investigation Discovery channel.

As far as being sick goes, I've had worse. But I think I must have some kind of ear infection, because my left ear has been hurting, and my balance has been a little off the past few days. In fact, this morning, I walked up to an ATM machine but miscalculated how close I was and ended up hitting my head on the top of the machine. Then I started laughing so hard that I almost fell backwards. Oh, I hope somebody was watching that security tape....

The good news is that I am wearing my wonderful, fabulous, terrific Canterbury Trousers today. I had been stalking these online for a while, and they finally went on sale last week, I think. Product reviewers had very different opinions on whether to size up or down, but since size 10 was available and size 8 wasn't, I had to try the 10. I figured if it didn't fit, I would at least know more about sizing so I could try searching stores without as much risk involved.

Turns out the size 10 works. They're very long; the perfect height for me (I'm about 5"6) when I'm wearing a few inches of heel. The subtle plaid pattern is great. The pants are navy, and the plaid is a mixture of black, red, and pink----but like I said, subtle. The waist is a little loose, but they're comfortable. So comfy in fact that I feel like I'm wearing pajamas! Always a plus. I suppose I could take them to the tailor if I wanted them to be a little more fitted.

My post title is "Canterbury Trousers (Take Two...)" because I actually was going to wear these one day last week. I even got out the front door wearing them, but I bent down to pick up a box of envelopes to put in my car, and ****rip*****. There's a hole in my pants, dear Liza, dear Liza.

I was pretty devastated, but I showed the pants to my mom, and she mended them up (lickety-split!). And now I am in love again. Thank you Mama, for mending my duds. And thank you Anthropologie for selling me these pants.

And thank you ATM company for making your ATM machines out of shock-absorbent materials.

Canterbury Trousers, JCrew perfect-fit T-shirt in rosewood;  LOFT leopard cardigan;
turquoise necklace, gift; Tommy Hilfiger mid-calf boots

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Spy Anthropologie(?): First Falling Blouse

When my husband and I are driving in our car, I have a bad habit of yelling out when I see something important alongside the road----like, I don't know, a gopher. Or maybe a dog walker.

I personally don't see anything wrong with it, but apparently it can be "startling" for the driver. Who knew?

Luckily, my husband has grown more accustomed to my similar habit of yelling at the TV when I see suspected Anthropologie items. (Although I am starting to feel a little guilty each time he excitedly asks what he missed and why I want to rewind...) It's just Anthropologie, dear...

This latest sighting is a tricky one, because I'm pretty sure it's Anthropologie's First Falling Blouse, but I'm not 100% sure. I even tried IDing this blouse by comparing the placement of the leaves, but the results were inconclusive. (Although I'm holding out hope for our pending fiber and DNA tests...) It was an nTelos commercial, and I'll let you take a look at the screenshots and make your own mind up about whether it is or it ain't.

Monday, January 10, 2011

UPDATED: LOFT fitting room reviews (and a rant)

Ugh, I say it every time, but lemme say it again: I am so sick of LOFT's shenanigans.

Their branding shake-up in the past few years has produced some great styling options, yes. But it has also pushed their prices into the stratosphere, ushered in their coupon/discount tomfoolery, and given me the impression that they intentionally keep their Website inventory low to prefabricate demand on certain items.

And yet, here I am again with fitting room reviews, and a bag full of new LOFT purchases sitting in my kitchen. What can I say?

Compared with how much $$$ I used to spend at LOFT, I've definitely cut back in the past few years for both financial reasons and simply on principle. I don't always feel good after I make a LOFT purchase. I'm always left holding my breath, waiting for the next promotion to realize I could have gotten my item for XX amount cheaper. Luckily, on this particular shopping trip, my mom and I gave the store manager the what for when she wouldn't let us use one of our coupons (that clearly said it could be combined with other offers). We eventually insisted on making our purchase in two separate transactions (of course, once WE came up with that idea, then suddenly she was all johnny-helpful, "Oh, of COURSE, we'd be happy to do it in two transactions...." Hmmm...then maybe YOU should have suggested it!). So we got all our items for about 50% off. Great deal, right? Because we all know that LOFT NEVER has 50% off deals (oh, wait...come to think of it....they do...). So as far as I'm concerned, we, the customers, are happy, so LOFT should be happy, too. It's just a shame that they make us feel so guilty for standing up for ourselves.

Anyway, end of rant: onto the reviews...

I bought this top, which I'd been admiring in LOFT's online lookbook for a while. I loved its casual/nautical feel when paired with grey dress pants. In my store, they only had the size small in Navy, and it ended up fitting just fine over a white short-sleeve T-shirt. However, if they had the Medium, I probably would have sized up. The alternating stripes are sheer, which I thought looked really cute. The sleeves are marketed online as "long sleeves," but they are rolled up and buttoned as three-quarter sleeves. I didn't try unbuttoning them. 

Colorblock Top (On sale)
This top is OOS online, but there were tons left in my store's sale section. I didn't even bother listing a sale price, because LOFT's sale promotions change so often, that God only knows how much you may end up paying for this! I tried the size small and medium because I had no idea how this top was going to fit. The picture on the left is the MEDIUM; the picture on the right is the size SMALL. The small seemed to hug my tummy in an unflattering way, but the medium seemed too drapey for my taste. The sage green/grey color combination was pretty, but it just didn't work for me. The bottom is elastic, which I almost always hate (this was no different).

Marisa Spring Wool Trousers ($89.50)
I tried on all my tops with these pants. I gave in and took my ill-fitting grey trousers to Goodwill a few weeks ago, so I'm in the market for some new ones. Here, I tried on the size 10, which sat very low on my hips and as you can see, were way too long. 

Unknown Cardigan ($54.50) Updated 1/12/11: Shibori Stamp Print Cardigan
I don't remember seeing this cardigan online and it wasn't on sale in-store, so I'm going to assume it's a new arrival that hasn't made it to the Web yet. But, boy it's pretty. And reasonably priced, too. I got the Size Medium, which was snug, but fit well. I probably would have tried the Large if it were available to see whether that fit a little better. The color is a pretty teal/green that looked gorgeous with a white T-shirt underneath and grey dress pants. I totally bought this, with very little persuasion needed.

These are the Size 8, which I would use to purchase. They were snug in my waist, but overall a good fit. They were comfortable, but there was nothing special about these. And certainly not for ninety bucks. If I can hold out for a good online promotion, I might get these in the grey, but these weren't anything I had to have. Basically I just want grey pants, not necessarily these grey pants---does that make sense? 

I'm obsessed with the idea of animal prints as neutrals, and was totally bummed that this cardigan was basically OOS online. Imagine my delight when I found this sweater (size large) lurking in the petite sale section. I balked when I saw it still had a regular-price tag of $89.50, but all the petite sweaters were on sale. I checked with the cashier, and she confirmed that the regular sizes were on sale, too. Woohoo! Large was all they had, so again, I probably would have taken the Medium out of habit. But the Large allows me to button up the cardigan with absolutely no pulling in the buttons. My mom initially thought this color washed me out when I tried it with the grey pants, but when I put on my green pants she said she liked it more. She maybe just knew I liked it a lot. :) I got this sweater, too.

This was the outfit I wore to go shopping. Nothing too amazing, but it was cozy!

GAP blue sweater
American Eagle men's plaid flannel shirt, size small (on sale and highly recommended)
Limited necklace
Anthropologie Simply Sketched Pants
Anne Klein Ladell black suede boots