May Outfit Remix & Migraine Discussion

Compared to March and April, May has been a fantastic month for me. I finally got my migraines under control and have been able to rejoin the land of living. There’s truly nothing worse than having almost daily migraines and not knowing how you will feel when you wake up each morning. For any of you that may suffer from migraines, I recommend charting your migraines on a calendar and keeping a daily food diary to be able to discover any possible migraine triggers. For example, my migraines are triggered by a corn allergy and bananas. Any form of corn from high-fructose corn syrup to popcorn triggers my migraines. In order to avoid corn, I don’t eat any processed food and have learned how to cook all my own meals. As you can imagine I eat very healthy! It may seem weird that I’m discussing this on a fashion blog, but I truly want to help other migraine sufferers discover what may be causing their migraines. Do any you suffer from migraines? If so, then have you discovered your triggers?

Now that I’ve given my little PSA, the talk about fashion will continue below. I put together a brief recap of all my looks for the month. Enjoy and I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day.
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Juicy Couture Trench Coat

The Trench Coat: Perfect for Spring

Slim Flare Jeans

My Spring Uniform

straw bag

Uniform Dressing:  How to Keep Yourself from Getting Bored

Anthropologie Tank

Color Splash

Anthropolgie Peplum Top

How to Evaluate the Quality of a Garment: An Anthropologie Peplum Review

Mid-Rise Slim Flare Jeans

Review: Express Mid-Rise Slim Flare Jeans

Benefit They're Real vs Roller Lash
Benefit Mascara: They’re Real vs Roller Lash

Benefit Mascara: They’re Real vs. Roller Lash

Benefit They're Real vs Roller Lash

As you’re probably already aware, Benefit cosmetics have recently released a brand new mascara called Roller Lash. Roller Lash promises to not only lengthen your lashes, but provide a long lasting curl through their revolutionary hook-n-roll brush. Already a huge fan of Benefit’s They’re Real mascara (it’s only the #1 mascara in the world y’all), I was curious to see how Roller Lash compared against it.

Benefit Mascara Wands

Roller Lash

Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara took four years to develop and features a patented hook-n-roll brush.  This hook-n-roll brush helps the lashes maintain a curl for 12 hours and alleviates the need to use a traditional eyelash curler. The formula contains provitamin B5 to help condition the lashes.  Roller Lash features a curved brush covered in soft plastic hooked bristles. You can actually the see the little hooks in the above picture. The hooks are a medium-hard plastic which you definitely notice when applying the mascara. It’s a gentle tugging sensation that doesn’t hurt. The formula is not jet-black, but more of a grayish black.  It’s hard to tell the color difference in the above photo, but Roller Lash’s formula is definitely lighter than the They’re Real formula.  I could see the Roller Lash color working better on someone with naturally blonde lashes versus someone with naturally dark ones.

Benefit's Roller Lash

Upon application, I did notice an immediate curling of my lashes.  I naturally have very thick lashes that refuse to curl so I was quite surprised to see that the curling technology actually worked on my lashes.  As promised I didn’t need to use an eyelash curler, but my lashes did not last 12 hours.  They lasted more like six hours which is the best result I’ve ever personally gotten. This includes the times I used a traditional eyelash curler.  The formula clumps more than I would like, but I figure the curling effect is worth the minor clumping. At $24.00 it’s the same price as the They’re Real Mascara.  FYI:  No product is applied to my bottom lashes.

They’re Real

As far as mascara’s go, They’re Real has been a personal favorite of mine for quite awhile. It’s been the only formula that lifts and separates my lashes without resulting in a clumpy mess.  This mascara features a jet-black formula and a domed-shape brush covered in soft plastic bristles.  The domed brush definitely helps me get the finer lashes at the inner-corner of my eye.  Benefit does claim that this mascara should curl lashes.  For me there is very little curling effect and I rely heavily on an eyelash curler.

Benefit's They're Real Mascara

 As you can see in the above picture, the mascara only separates my lashes, but does not curl them.  The formula does not clump and provides a more natural effect.

Benefit Mascara

Overall Impressions

To say that I am impressed with Roller Lash’s curling ability would be an understatement.   It’s the only mascara I’ve ever found that actually curls my lashes, but it does clump. Now if only they can create a mascara that doesn’t clump like They’re Real and curls like Roller Lash, I will finally have found the perfect mascara.  Until then, I will be sticking with Roller Lash for the foreseeable future.  Have any of you tried these mascaras? Which one do you prefer?

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Review: Express Mid-Rise Slim Flare Jeans

Express Mid-Rise Flare Jeans

From flared denim to peasant tops, the boho-chic 70s vibe is back for 2015.  Inspired by this influx of bohemian spirit, I decided to purchase a couple of pairs of flared jeans for myself. I bought one tailored-pair of dark wash flared jeans and one pair of light wash distressed flared jeans from Express.   To say that I love these two pairs of jeans would be an understatement. They are both so comfortable!

Mid-Rise Slim Flare Jeans

First Impressions

Both pairs of jeans are made of a cotton/polyester mix with 1% spandex which allows for a comfortable, relaxed feel.  The material does stretch out a bit while wearing, but after a quick wash the fabric tightens up again. To combat the stretching, I wear them with a belt. For comparisons sake, I am 5’2″ and wearing the regular length with four inch heels in the weekend casual look. In the casual Friday look I am wearing the short length with a kitten heel.

Tailored Mid-Rise Slim Flare

Blazer: White House Black Market (old similar here) | Top: Anthropologie (old similar here) | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Gianni Binni (old similar here)

Tailored Mid-Rise Slim Flare Review

I had been searching for a pair of tailored jeans for months and was so excited to finally  find them.  They are perfect to wear for casual Friday at the office or dressed up on a date.  A note of caution: these jeans run extremely long! I tried on the regular length at the store and even when wearing four inch heels they still pooled on the floor. I went ahead and ordered them in the short length, because I loved the cut so much.  Upon arrival they were still about an inch longer than I would have liked, but after washing them once they shrunk to the right size. I am wearing a size four in the picture which is my normal size in Express.  Some online reviewers mentioned having to size down for these pants to fit, but I can honestly say that I did not experience that problem.  You can find them here.

Slim Flare Jeans

Shirt:  Lucky Brand (old, similar here) | Jeans: Express  | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (old similar here)  | Hat: Target | Bag: Fossil old similar here)

Distressed Mid Rise Slim Flare Review

As for the distressed pair, they too run long. I ordered them in a regular length, because I wanted them to be long enough to almost cover my heels. I was going for that Rachel Zoe kind of vibe. The length of the regular pair gave me the effect that I was looking for. These jeans are extremely comfortable. Honestly, I feel like I’m wearing pajamas. I love them so much that I bought another pair in the short length so that I can wear them with flips flops. Unlike the tailored pair, these jeans did not noticeably shrink after washing and drying them. These jeans run large in the waist. As mentioned above, I normally wear a size four in Express, but I had to order a size 2 for these to comfortably fit.  While reading the online reviews, I noticed that other customers experienced the same fit issue.  I would definitely recommend ordering a size down from your normal size.  You can find them here.

So what do you think? Are you going to trade in your skinny jeans for some flared ones?

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Photography: Susan McDonald

How to Evaluate the Quality of a Garment: An Anthropologie Peplum Review

Anthropolgie Peplum Top

When I was in high school, I took a number of fashion design classes. We had the world’s most amazing teacher who patiently guided each of us in creating our first garments. Honestly, the woman deserves a saint hood for having the patience to deal with a class room full of novice teenage sewers. I’d probably of run out of there screaming! In these classes, we learned the basics of sewing and garment construction. Learning how to construct a garment has been one of the most practical skills I’ve learned in school. Now I can look at an item of clothing in a store and immediately assess the quality, fit and price. That’s one of the reasons why I enjoy shopping at Anthropologie so much. Anthropologie is a bit pricy, but the quality of the clothing is top notch.

Anthropologie Peplum Top

Unfortunately, the price of a garment does not always guarantee that it is well made. When purchasing a new article of clothing, there are six basic questions that I always ask myself.

Six Question Quality Assessment

  1. What type of fabric is used?
    1. Natural Vs. Synthetic
    2. Inherent characteristics of the fabric
  2. Is this an appropriate fabric choice for this type of garment?
  3. How are the seams and hemline constructed?
    1. Do they lie flat?
    2. Do the seams pull apart easily?
    3. Is the stitching tight and even?
  4. If the garment features a pattern, then does the pattern match at the seams?
  5. Is it lined and quality of lining?
  6. Determine the overall quality of the notions. Notions include things like zippers, buttons and snaps.

To illustrate the application of these six basic questions, I am using this peplum top from Anthopologie.

Shih Tzu

 Questions 1, 2 and 5: Fabric Choices & Lining

The fabric making up the shell of the shirt is composed of 89% cotton, 10% nylon and 1% lycra with a 100% polyester lining. I am happy with the composition of the fabric and feel that it will be able to hold the shape of the peplum. The addition of the lining will also contribute to maintaining the shape of the peplum as a good lining provides the overall foundation for a garment. Cotton is a lightweight fabric perfect for summertime heat in that it allows the skin to breathe. Basically, it allows sweat to evaporate which keeps you cooler during those hot summer months. Plus, the addition of nylon and lycra keeps the fabric from wrinkling and adds a comfortable amount of stretch.

Hemline Detail

As for the lining, I am a little disappointed that it is 100% polyester. Silk and rayon are the preferred fabrics to use when lining a garment. They are both lightweight and allow the skin to breathe.  Polyester is much cheaper and does not allow moisture (sweat) to transfer through the fabric. Anthropologie most likely chose to line the top with polyester in order to cut costs. Due to polyester’s lack of breathability, this type of lining can often be too hot to wear during the summer months.

Polyester Lining

 Question 3: Seam and Hemline Quality

When assessing the seams of a garment, you want to ensure they lie  flat, have even stitches and do not easily stretch apart. The seams for this garment comply with all of the above. The hemline is even and features a blind hem. Cheaply made garments will just serge the hem which can leave the raw edge of the fabric exposed. Having the raw edge exposed can lead to unraveling.

blue and white stripes

Question 4: Pattern & Seam Matching

To me question number four is one of the easiest ways to immediately tell if a garment is well made. As far as garment quality is concerned, the pattern on your fabric needs to match up along the seams. A poorly made garment almost never matches. Poorly made garments never have seams that much because it requires more time, skill and material in order to do it properly. As you can see below, the pattern has been matched on the garment. There’s really only one small portion on the bottom left side that is slightly off.  Honestly, I don’t think that’s too big of a deal and won’t be noticed when wearing.

Snap ClosureSnap Closureinvisible zipper

 

 

 

Question 6:  Notion Quality

Question number six involves the notions stitched into your garment. On this particular garment, the notions include the invisible zipper and snaps. The zipper slides easily and an eye and hook is used to keep it closed. The snaps on the underside of the straps snap close and open easily. The bottom snap also includes an extra thread loop to help hold your bra-strap in place.

Striped Peplum Top

Top: Anthropologie | Jeans: American Eagle | Shoes: White House Black Market (old, similar here) | Purse: Michael Kors (old, similar here)  | Necklace: Bridesmaid Gift

Overall Assessment

Based on my six question assessment, I feel that this top is well made and will last for years to come. From a sizing standpoint the top runs small. I had to size up in order to keep it from being too tight along the bust.  I also would not recommend the petite sizing.  I am 5’2” and length-wise the regular sizing fit perfectly.  I feel that the petite sizing would have been too short and ruined the effect of the peplum.

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Photography:  Susan McDonald

Color Splash

Anthropologie Tank

When it comes to shopping at Anthropologie, it can be real hit or miss. Last winter’s collection was a huge miss for me. All the clothing was drab, frumpy and what I like to call homeless person chic. This spring, however, Anthro has totally redeemed itself. The clothes are colorful, fun and don’t look like a bag lady had slept in them for hundred years. I actually purchased three different tops which is the most I’ve bought from them in about a year. The colorful brush stroke pattern and cut out detail on this top is what initially caught my eye. The soft material and great fit is what convinced me to purchase it. The top also comes in yellow.

Anthropologie Tank

Weekend Casual

Fossil Purse

Top:  Anthropologie | Jeans: Lucky Brand |  Purse: Fossil (old, similar here) | Shoes: Francesca’s (old, similar here)

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Photography:  Susan McDonald

Uniform Dressing: How to Keep Yourself from Getting Bored!

Mexican Print Shoes

The moment I spotted these Mexican-print heels I knew that I had to make them mine. From the vibrant colors to the bold Mexican pattern, I knew these heels would transform my everyday spring uniform of peasant tops and jeans into something fun and eye-catching.  I’ve previously discussed, here, the concept of creating an everyday uniform to stream-line your morning routine. Worried that I might get bored with wearing the same sartorial formula day in and day out, I developed a trick to keep me interested in my daily uniform.   The trick is to feature one bold accessory or statement piece into every outfit.White Pants

As you can see, there’s nothing particularly mind-blowing about the above look.  It mainly just consists of a blousy top and a pair of jeans; however, the twist of the statement heel makes the outfit worthy of a second look.  That’s how I keep my style interesting and simple to execute.  white and pink

Top:  Anthropologie | Jeans: Loft | Shoes: Francesca’s (only available in stores) |  Purse: Thrifted | Watch: Fossil |  Bracelet: Souvenir

Have any of you tried developing a daily uniform?  If so, how do you keep it interesting?

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Photography: Susan McDonald

My Spring Uniform

Peasant Blouse

70s Vibe

Leather BraceletDistressed Flared Jeans

Does it take you forever to get dressed in the morning? I know that it can take me forever! I sometimes just stare in to my closet feeling uninspired and annoyed that I have nothing to wear. Tired of wasting all this time, I took inspiration from one of my favorite minimalist fashion blogs called Into- Mind.   This blog introduced me to the concept of developing a personal uniform. Think of a personal uniform as a signature look that can be easily replicated with the items hanging in your closet.

In order to develop my own spring uniform, I first took inventory of the items I already owned. Next, I looked to current spring trends to see which of them I wanted to incorporate into my wardrobe.   I’ve been loving the whole flared denim and 70s revival that has currently hit the runways. Plus, I already own a number of flowy peasant tops. Ta-da! My 70s inspired spring uniform was born.

Unlike my failed capsule wardrobe attempt, the personal uniform has really worked for me.   It’s nice knowing what combination of clothes to wear each morning and has made getting dressed less of a hassle. Since I already owned a number of peasant tops, the only new item of clothing purchased was a pair of distressed jeans from Express. I LOVE these jeans and will be doing a review of them in later post.

So tell me, what would you choose for your spring uniform?

Outfit Details
Shirt:  Lucky Brand (old, similar here)
Jeans:  Express
Shoes:  Jessica Simpson (old, similar)
Hat:  Target (old, similar)

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Photography: Susan McDonald

The Trench Coat: Perfect for Spring

Juicy Couture Trench Coat

The unpredictability of spring time weather makes the trench coat the perfect addition to your spring time wardrobe. Made of water-repellant fabric; the trench coat is an obvious choice for those rainy spring days and adds needed warmth for those chilly spring mornings. Traditionally the trench coat is double breasted with 10 front buttons. It features wide lapels, a storm flap and button-closed pockets. The coat self-belts at the waist and is normally khaki in color.

Spring Time Trench Coat

Originally developed to keep army officers warm during long nights on the battlefield, the trench coat has successfully transitioned to the civilian wardrobe. Due to the trench coats transition into mainstream fashion, it can now be found in a wide array of styles, colors and fabrics.

Spring Time Trench Coat

I’ve always admired the look of the trench coat and have coveted one for years. When it came time for me to purchase my own version, I knew that I wanted to invest in a well-made coat that still retained some of the traditional military elements.Trench Coat
After a lot of research, I settled on a coat from Juicy Couture. Though my coat still retains many of the original military elements it differs in the choice of fabrics and the zipper closure. You can compare my coat with the traditional version below.

 I love my trench coat and its ability to be dressed up or down. As styled in the post, the coat can easily be worn to a more conservative work environment.  I’ve also worn it with jeans and a t-shirt to walk my dog without feeling out of place.  This coat has been a great investment piece.

If you’re looking to purchase your own trench coat, then I have several places to recommend.  If you want the crème de la crème of trench coats, then try Burberry or AquascutumThese two brands are both credited with developing the original coat design; however, coats from here will you set you back at least $1800.  A more budget friendly version can be found at stores like Nordstrom’s, London Fog and even Amazon.  Below are a few of my favorites!

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         Nordstrom                                  London Fog                                    Burberry

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 Outfit Details
Coat:  Juicy Couture (old)
Dress: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Christian Louboutin (sold out, other options here)