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

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ringing in 2011 with a Resolution

Hello, everyone!

It was nice to have a little break from blogging to recover from the holidays. I had SO much fun seeing all my family and drinking lots of Starbucks holiday drinks, but alas, it's back to the daily grind for me.

Like most people, I've taken the new year as a great built-in marker to re-evaluate my life, my blog, and where I'd like to see myself in the future. I didn't make any concrete resolutions per se, but I have identified a few things I'd like to work on.

For starters, I am going to start wearing my wedding ring. ::pregnant pause::

Yeah, I know, I've been married four years, and why, you may ask, do I not wear my wedding ring? Well, Husband started freaking out about a year ago because I'm very forgetful and he was positive that I was going to lose my engagement ring. So I promised to stop wearing it.

The problem is that my engagement ring was the only anchor keeping on my too-big wedding ring, so then I freaked out that I would lose my wedding ring! So I stopped wearing it. (And after all that, it was HUSBAND who lost his wedding ring and had to get a new one. Ironic, dontcha think?)

Anyway, in the past year we've actually had fun imagining what people are thinking about us.... Even though we go to our local Mexican restaurant almost once a week, they ALWAYS ask if we want separate checks. And I've totally gotten Husband addicted to nightly Starbucks jaunts----do they think we are having a latte affair?

I personally don't think anyone notices whether you're wearing a wedding ring or not, but Husband says men most certainly do. All men except for him, of course---harumph....

So that's my personal "resolution," but you're all probably much more interested in my "clothing" resolution. Like everyone else, I spend too much on clothing and would like to cut back. But not just for monetary reasons. I want to LOVE my clothes. I want to value each piece individually, and remember the story behind it, and the first time I tried it on and swooned.

But it's hard to do that when your closet is growing so quickly that it's invading the rest of your bedroom like a bad case of kudzu.

I recently saw a neat post series at Wardrobe Review, where Shannon evaluated her 2010 purchases month by month. And I loved the idea of pinpointing the pros and cons of purchases, to analyze what worked out and what didn't. And being able to fit all your monthly purchases in a little photo box---so tidy! LOL. So be on the lookout for some kind of evaluation like that from me in the future (and as a result, much fewer purchases!)

On that note, I had a real hard time with the Anthro sale this past Tuesday because several things from my wishlist made it to sale. I finally narrowed it down to three items: the Pointedly Skirt, which I tried on here, the Florist's Arrangement Sweaterdress, which I also tried on there/here, and the Spliced Ikat Shift, which I thought might flatter my rectangular shape.

Unfortunately, the shift dress didn't work out as planned. I loved the length, the band of color at the bottom, the stripes of pink pattern along the sides of the dress to emphasize my hips.... But rather than creating more curves on my figure, it emphasized my thick middle even more. There's a built-in slip that isn't a problem size-wise, but was tight enough that I was aware it existed (not a deal-breaker but nevertheless annoying). Also, there are pockets, but they're not exactly functional because of the form-fitting design of the dress. And they bunched up on the front of my thighs, which was again, annoying.

I love the color and pattern, but it just didn't flatter my figure as I had hoped, and for $80, that's still a pretty penny to pay.

I hate to leave you on a bad note, so instead I will tell you about a recent wonderful customer service experience at Anthropologie. I had held off on buying the Florist's Arrangement Sweaterdress but knew I would cave if it got a second cut----well it did! But it sold out online before I could snatch it up. I called customer service and they found a couple left in stores. I was too lazy to call stores myself, so they offered to call for me.

Well, boo, but I got an e-mail yesterday morning saying they couldn't locate the item. I was sad, but hey, it's $49.95 back in my bank account! But this afternoon, I got a phone call with a strange number from a Colorado area code so I didn't answer it----am I the only person left in the world who screens her calls? Anyway, they left a message, and guess what! It was from a sales associate at a Colorado Anthropologie who had found my dress!

I immediately called her back----well....actually..... "immediately" after I checked the Anthro website to confirm the store's phone number and make sure I wasn't going to give my credit card number to a random stranger, lol----and now, she is shipping it to me ASAP.

Anthro?----I think I love you. ( if it were ever in doubt....)