Basic wool peacoat: the purchase (part 2)

I previously wrote about my search for a classic and basic wool peacoat here. After literally months of searching, I finally found the one.

I like to think of my coats as an investment. Prior to this year’s replacement of the coats, my previous outerwear have all lasted me anywhere from 4 to 7 years. This year, I finally decided to replace all of my coats due to realizing that they’re actually not that warm anymore.

The three choices that I had looked at in my last post all had flaws that I just couldn’t overlook, and because I was confident in that I would be wearing this coat for many years, I decided to expand my search to more luxury brands. Specifically, I looked at Burberry.

I absolutely love Burberry for outerwear. I find that the quality really is fantastic and the price they charge for the craftsmanship and material is (almost) justified. I previously purchased a trench coat from Burberry and it has become the most beloved and most worn articles of clothing in my closet. Coincidentally, the Burberry website started their winter sale just before Christmas and of course I had to take a look.

Wool coats by Burberry London (my favourite of the three Burberry brands – Prorsum, London, and Brit) were marked down 30%, and everything was shipped straight from the UK. I looked at three different styles that met my criteria (everything except the price, of course). All o these coats were made of 80% wool and 20% cashmere, meaning they are extremely soft and warm.

Wool Cashmere Military Pea Coat

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I love the button details on this style, as well as the giant pockets (yay for carrying a lot of stuff around!). I also really like that cuff design around the sleeves and the nightingale extension at the back of the coat. The downsides were the extremely high price, and that it looked a bit too contemporary for me. I wanted something more classic that would stay in style for years.

Revere Collar Wool Cashmere Pea Coat

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Again, loving the button detail on the sleeves and the scrunched up fabric at the back of the waist. The downside was the sleeves look really short on the model, and I felt it might be too fitted to layer anything underneath. This coat looked more like a light spring jacket than a warm coat.

Wool Cashmere Pea Coat

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This one was a winner! Definitely love the oversized collar and the slightly longer cut. It’s fitted but still loose enough to layer a blazer or a sweater underneath. It has less detailing around the back of the waist or the sleeves, but the oversized collar is definitely the main feature. While the price is a bit high, I was very happy with this purchase. I was also extremely happy that my search is now over!

Basic wool peacoat: the search (part 1)

I’ve always been a long coat kind of gal. All of the jackets/coats I wear on a regular basis are long, either knee length or longer. This year, I wanted to get myself a short wool peacoat, something for more casual wear that wasn’t as heavy or formal as a long coat.

I started my search at the beginning of coat-shopping season, during early September. I had narrowed down my list of criteria to the follow:

  • Short (ish), around hip length
  • Dark colour, either black or navy
  • Made of wool, with minimal other materials mixed in
  • Fitted enough to create an illusion of a waist-like, but loose enough so that I can layer underneath
  • Budget of around $300

In addition to looking at the various brands such as Club Monaco, J.Crew, Mackage, Smythe, I also kept my eyes out for sales on shopping sites such as Gilt, Rue La La, and others. In the end, I narrowed down my selection to the following choices:

Majesty Peacoat from J. Crew

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The classic Majesty Peacoat from J. Crew is made of warm stadium cloth. Available in a wide variety of colours, I fell in love with the fit of this design. I tried this in a size 8 and it was just perfect for wearing with a thick sweater or a blazer underneath. The navy colour, coupled with the gold buttons, was also a standout. The downside to this peacoat was the gold buttons, as they looked plastic and slightly cheap.

Samantha Navy Blazer Coat from Mackage

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This was a lot more expensive than what I had originally budgeted, but I love the feel and quality of Mackage coats that I couldn’t resist but look. The leather detailing, a Mackage signature, was very much my style, but the zipper side details were a bit too grungy for me, especially since I wanted something classic for every day wear.

Wool-felt peacoat from Iris & Ink

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I’ve never heard of the brand Iris & Ink, but this came pretty close to what I was looking for in a wool peacoat. The material looks heavy-duty, and the design was a contemporary take on a classic silhouette. The only thing was I couldn’t find much online about the quality of this brand and I was wary about spending so much money on a coat that I wasn’t sure of the material and make.

Which coat do you think I chose in the end? I’ll be following up with part 2 of my coat search soon!

A tale of two dresses

This past weekend, I took a 2-day road trip with my girls – Sarah, MizzJ, Karen, Angela and Ashley – down to Seattle for some shopping. I’ve been obsessed with clean-cut, modern work dresses with a trendy twist for the past couple of months so I took this opportunity to look for some.

The first thing on my list was a black or grey peplum dress. Zara had released some peplum dresses since early this year but the cut, fit and material of the dresses were not worth the money they charged for it. At the very first mall we went to (Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood), I saw this gorgeous peplum dress at The Limited. At first I wasn’t sure about the split peplum in the front or the stretchy knit fabric (I was looking for more of the non-stretchy, blazer fabric), but J convinced me to try it on, and I was super glad she did.

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This dress fits beautifully around my curves, hiding my flaws but accentuating where it needs to be accentuated. My waist looks more cinched, giving me an hourglass figure. As the fabric is so soft, the peplum is very subtle because it doesn’t stick out awkwardly like other peplum dresses on the market. The stretchy fabric has more give, making it extremely comfortable to move around in. I am normally a size medium in 95% of the clothes I buy, but this one I had to size down to a small because the medium was too loose around my armpit area. The small fit me perfectly in all aspects.

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The only thing about this dress that is very annoying is the hidden zipper sometimes doesn’t zip up so smoothly because of the sewn-in “belt” at the back, which creates folds in the fabric and some places are thicker than others. Some times it takes more effort to sew it up.

This dress retails $89.90 but The Limited had a 40% off all items in store at the time of my purchase, so I was able to get it for around $60 including tax.

The second dress from the shopping trip that I am very happy about is the crop-top two part dress from Ann Taylor. If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I am completely obsessed with Ann Taylor as their clothes are clean, modern, comfortable but still affordable compared to other companies that have similar offerings. This dress has a simple black and white pattern with a crop top that accentuates the waist-line. It is not as fitted compared to the peplum dress from The Limited, but it still gives me a nice hourglass figure. The material is also stretchy, which translates to comfort.

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I am normally a size 6 (or Medium) at Ann Taylor but I had to size down to a size 4 for this dress (as well as for this top that I bought). The size 6 fits, but is slightly loose around the waist area; the size 4 fits perfectly. The same dress also comes in a blue and red here. It retails for $98 with no discount so it came to about $110 for me after tax. I plan on wearing it often so it will probably be worth it.

What do you think of these dresses? Do they look like something you’ll add to your closet?

Vancouver Bloggers Fashion Challenge: Shorts!

Shorts: Propaganda (from Plenty) | Top: Ann Taylor | Shoes: Ferragamo

To be honest, I’m not a shorts person. I was never a leg-baring person until probably a year ago, so this is definitely outside of my comfort-zone. I actually bought these shorts especially for the challenge because I only had super casual shorts, and nothing that fit the theme of this challenge: shorts for day and night.

The other fabulous bloggers:

Hey look, me and Angela bought the same pair of shorts, but in different colours! She looks a million times better than me, but that’s just a fact I’ve come to accept *fake sobs*.

As usual, a silly photo to end things off =)

You might have noticed the Kiehl’s store background where we took our photos. Yes that is a little sneak peek of what’s to come. More  sneak peek…

 

Shopping for work clothes: what I look for, where I shop, and how to get the best deals

I admit, I am becoming like an old woman because I get excited at the sight of nice, proper work clothes. On my last trip to Vegas, I didn’t look at any casual clothes, and even if I did look, I was not interested at all. What I was interested in, though, was the pencil skirts and fitted blazers of the bunch.

When I shop for work clothes, I look for three main things:

  • Fit – I like my clothes to be fitted against my curves but still loose enough for me to move around comfortably in them. I really like structure in most of the work clothes I buy as I feel it makes me look more professional, however structure does not mean scratchy fabrics.
  • Texture – The feel of the item is equally important as the look. I like my fabrics to be soft to the touch, and preferably stretchy so it is easier to move around in them. I also like well-made, high quality pieces of clothing. I am willing to splurge on something that will last several years rather than buy several items that are of lower quality.
  • Timelessness – With work wear, I rarely, if ever, follow trends. I almost always go with timeless pieces, such a good quality collared shirt or silk blouse with bow tie.

There are some stores that I absolutely love for work clothes, some of them have been long time favourites and others are new discoveries for me. Some of them used to be favourites, and then as time went on… quality of their products have really declined so I’ve stopped shopping there.

  • Banana Republic – BR is hands down my absolute favourite place to shop for work clothes. Their non-iron shirts are staples in my closet as they are incredibly soft and they fit well on my body shape, not to mention the convenience of not having to iron them. Their designs in general are chic and modern, without looking too trendy. Quality is also on their side; their products are very well made and are made from high quality fabrics too. Their products are slightly on the pricier side so I usually wait for sales to buy them though, make sure to sign up for their mailing list to get information on when their sales are. Hint hint, they almost always has some kind of markdown event going on!
  • Ann Taylor – This is a new discovery from my Vegas trip. I’ve been hearing bloggers talk about Ann Taylor but I’ve never shopped at one until recently, and I quickly fell in love. Their Perfect Pumps are easily one of my favourite work shoes and I also love their blouses. The quality isn’t as top notch as Banana Republic’s, I find, but again if you check their website regularly, or subscribe to their mailing list, you can find really amazing deals (up to 90% off!).
  • BCBG Max Azria – My favourite place to shop for blazers, which I talk about in detail here. I also love their silk blouses and accessories, especially belts. Quality of most products is fantastic, but they are a little bit trendier so not everything is office-appropriate. Their outlets are great places to find awesome deals, and they also do sales sometimes in store, either for 30, 40, 50 or 60% off select items, and then sometimes they have a 20% or 30% off all regular-price items in store.
  • Zara – I fell in love with Zara just this spring when I bought two of their blazers in a row, plus a bunch of other things. Both fit and quality are inconsistent, so I highly recommend trying things on in person. Their sales are good… on the first day. And then it becomes a madhouse and things get ripped or makeup stained and I would rather just not go there.
  • Jacob – I used to love shopping at Jacob, both the regular Jacob and Jacob Connexion. The quality of their products used to be fantastic, with great designs that were trendy but still very wearable, but now it has just been going downhill. Now, I feel that their products don’t fit me as well as before, and the fabrics are stiffer, but prices have stayed the same. I will still look occasionally, but I usually don’t find anything I like anymore.
  • Mexx – Same as with Jacob, but Mexx does those 50% off the entire store events which I enjoy.

Wow, now that I’m done, I totally realized this was just a big fat word vomit of a post. I hope it was helpful to those of you who had the patience to read through it though. If you have any questions, feel free to ask =)

New finds at Zara!

Sorry for being MIA for the past nearly 10 days. After work kind of slowed down, I caught the flu, so I was home sick and tired the entire week of being away from work. Since my brain was kind of fried at the same time, I didn’t know what to blog about so I just didn’t blog. Like I mentioned in my last post, I do have several new and excited things I want to talk to you guys about, but you will just have to wait a few more days to see what they are =)

In the mean time, I went shopping today and found some new things at Zara! Zara is slowly becoming one of my favourite clothing stores now that Esprit is closing their stores in North America. The clothes at Zara are chic, modern but still wearable for every day, whether for work or for fun. The new Zara Spring/Summer collection, which is just arriving in stores, basically screams ME. The main collection is comprised of mostly clean neutrals with a designer flair. I’m seeing a lot of Chanel-inspired pieces which I am loving.

I tried on three items today, the first is a dress that I have had my eyes on since last summer. Zara releases their famous tulip dress in new designs each season, and for spring they’re released a really cute baby pink women-material tulip design. The back is no longer a straight, horizontal neck line, but rather a slight V that goes down to the middle of the back. While I prefer the previous straight design, this one is pretty cute and can be worn both for a dress-up event, or with a blazer for a quick dress-down.

I also tried on two blazers. The first is a white cotton material that is kind of puffy, and the second is in the same material as the pink tulip dress but in a grey-blue colour. I really liked both of them (I LOVE blazers, I always seem to be wearing one in any outfit), but the prices were pretty hefty so I didn’t end up getting either of them.

In the end I only walked away with the pink tulip dress because I tried it on with my BCBG cream blazer and I absolutely loved it. I hope to get the other two blazers if/when they go on sale as well. The quality of these items weren’t fantastic (I prefer BCBG blazers) but the style is nice and something I can see myself wearing often.

New love: T. Babaton Caroline Bow Blouse (+ outfit photos)

I’ve always had a thing for bows, especially bow blouses. Recently I’ve newly discovered my love for silk, which is also around the time I discovered this Caroline blouse from Talula Babaton (Aritzia brand). It is absolutely gorgeous and fits really well, but the price is just out of the world (for me).

Being thrifty, I tried to look for a similar one online, which I was able to do from ASOS. The price was much cheaper, but so was the fit, quality and look. After a month of drooling over the Caroline blouse, I finally made the jump and bought it.

The ASOS blouse is longer and more of a tunic (but I wear it tucked in anyways). It is also a darker cream in colour.

The Caroline blouse is shorter (but can still be tucked in). It is a light cream in colour. (Sorry it is so wrinkly)

Some outfit photos with the Caroline blouse:

With my beloved BCBG Adoree Blazer which makes it perfect for work.

Now to compare the two. The one on the left is the one I got off ASOS, which is made of polyester. The one on the right is the Caroline blouse which is made of 100% silk. You can see the difference in the collar. The ASOS one has a lower collar line and does not have a collar, per se. The Caroline blouse is set higher.

You can also see the difference in the cuff. The ASOS blouse has an elastic cuff, but the Caroline blouse has a button cuff.

FOTD + OOTD Shi Nail Grand Opening Event

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I attended the Shi Nail Grand Opening Event on Sunday, July 10, 2011 and this is what I wore! I stayed away from Chanel today as I’m trying to use up more of my makeup collection. I also tried out a new pair of contacts: Freshlook Colourblends in Turquoise. I didn’t know what kind of eye makeup would look with this colour so I use kept it safe with a more neutral look.

On my face, I wore Jill Stuart Pure Lasting Makeup Base and Moist Silk Powder Foundation in 103, which created a light veil, perfect for the Sunday afternoon. My cheeks were coloured with Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact in 09 Little Bouqet which is a peachy coral colour.

On my eyes, I used UDPP for the base and NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Kuala Lumpur. I used the pink gold as an all-over wash of colour and to highlight, and then the boysenberry on my outer V and outer half of my lower lashline. I lined with Dollywink Liquid Liner, curled my lashes with Shu Uemura and coated them with Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara.

On my lips, I left the house using Paul & Joe lipstick in 002 from last summer, but then I went to the Bay to try on Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in 86 Desinvolte, which is a soft coral peach, from the limited edition Le Blanc collection, so this is what you see in the photos (I didn’t get a chance to take face photos until after I got home).

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I am wearing Paul & Joe 002 lipstick in this photo below as it was taken while I was waiting at Richmond Centre (sorry for the bad indoor lighting).

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My outfit for the day was simple, and slightly underdressed. I wore a colourful tunic by Morgan de Toi, jeans by True Religion, Zara blazer (not pictured) and Gucci flats (not pictured). Hair was just straightened with Hana’s 1.5 inch flat iron, sent to me by Misikko (which I love… and will review later).

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FOTD + OOTD for CityTV x eBeauty.ca event… green all over!

I did a smokey green and gold look to match my green dress and gold accessories for the CityTV x eBeauty.ca event.

On my eyes, I used:

On my cheeks, I used Jill Stuart Mix Blush compact in 07 Lovely Tulip as blush, and 101 Puffy Marshmallow to highlight.On my lips, I used Chanel Rouge Coco in 13 Gardenia.

My eyebrows were shaded in with MAC’s eyebrow pencil in Taupe. Nails were done using Dior Vernis in Timeless Gold. Base makeup was all Chanel: Vitalumiere Aqua in B20 and Poudre Universelle Libre in 20.

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Here are some photos of eye look (no blush/lip colour yet). I love the shape of my eyebrows in these photos, which is why I’m showing you, haha =P
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And my finished look with my straight bangs/fringe down.

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My outfit for the night was a green dress with paisley print by Anna Sui. My belt was especially purchased for the occasion, a gift from one of my good friends Stephanie, from BCBG. My shoes (not shown) were from Dior.

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FOTD & OOTD for afternoon tea with Jill Stuart & BCBG

Went downtown last Wednesday for afternoon tea with my girls Kerri and Yvonne. Coincidentally it was the day of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals so we wanted to get in and out of downtown as soon as possible, just in case. I tried to do a look with the Canucks colours but the blue turned out to be too dark and the green too light, so that didn’t really work out. But the end result was still nice so I stayed with it and went out anyways. Sorry the hair is a mess; I was in a hurry so I didn’t even bother doing anything with it. Turned out to be a good decision because it was windy outside and my hair ended up blowing everywhere anyways.

I wore Guerlain Parure Extreme in 02 on my face, Jill Stuart Brilliance Eyes in 02 Crystal Jade (the white, green and dark blue) on my eyes and Paul & Joe lipstick in 02 on my lips. I used a pink blush from a Japanese drugstore brand that I don’t know the name of, and mascara was Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara with Majolica Majorca’s mascara base. Dollywink Liquid was my choice of liner, as usual.

For my choice of clothing, we were going to the Fairmont so I wanted to look presentable, but still versatile. I wore gold gladiator sandals with grey True Religion jeans, a black lace tank and my newly acquired white BCBG ruffle blazer.


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