Online Shopping Review | UrbanOutfitters.com's Pins and Needles Pintuck Shoulder Blouse

Online shopping review time! This one is all about a pin-tucked blouse I spotted on sale at UrbanOutfitters.com. It just hit under $20 so I had to check it out. At first glance, I loved the color, the cut, and of course, the price. This is the kind of blouse I've been known to grab in the past and can wear to death (translation: I can count on both hands how many ways to wear it, and then some). Did I throw $20 away on this or was it a true deal that has since found a new home in my closet?

Only scrolling will tell... Here's the product shot. Click to shop the blouse for yourself:

blouse1

product shot courtesy of www.urbanoutfitters.com

That's what I shopped. Here's what showed up at my front door. Images courtesy of Instagram, etc. Click here to follow along.

see more on instagram

Ok fine, I bought a few things (I'll review the rest soon). For now, this is just me having way too much fun with Instagram. I do love a good group shot:

see more on instagram

Meet the blouse in question:

online shopping review product shot

Right, so here's the scorecard (keep in mind every online shopping review I write is completely unbiased). The scorecard spectrum? Easy, five stars, unreal. One star, a sad day in shopping land. And...go:

online shopping review scorecard

That's right, it got a total of four stars. Pre-tty good.

The fact that I got this top at under $20 (before tax) and the number of ways I know I'll be wearing it, makes this a win-win. Yes, it is officially at home in my personal closet, happy as can be.

Here's the review: I love the color. The fabrication is synthetic which is not my favorite, but for the price, I honestly can't complain about that. It has the feel of chiffon (sheer, so you'll need to layer a tank or cami underneath for sure) and yet is far more practical, yet another positive note on it. I can't stand silk when it comes to the heat of summer. This blouse, although synthetic, breathes a bit. Be careful though, if you are heating up and wearing too much of one scent or another (usually deodorant is a problem with this) that scent is not going to come off. That's the backlash of synthetic fabrics. Once the scent sets in, it's over, I don't care how much Febreeze (or Laundress product) you dunk it in.

Moving on, it fits well and has stayed in one piece through quite a bit of wear and tear already (two ferry rides in the Virgin Islands, and a subsequent twenty-four hours of being in and out of planes between St. Thomas, through Atlanta, and finally Dallas). Through it all, this blouse held it together. The same cannot be said for myself. Let's just say I took full advantage of the free drinks in first class when I got upgraded.

Finally, the product shot on-line almost makes it look cropped or hi/low, but I would say it's not covering that trend in full fashion force. I think the model just got overzealous with the arching of her back or something. Anyway, it hits right at the waist in front and has a subtle dip in the back. Technically, yes, it's a little hi/low, but not in a dramatic way.

Now, on to the best body type to pull this off:

what to wear for your body type

It's an all-skate moment. I can see the blouse on everyone, from Pears to Rectangles, Hourglasses to Apples, it applies. That was easy. Actually, that was one of the easiest body type assessments I've ever done. Which is just ONE more reason to love this blouse. I mean, it just keeps going...

I mentioned versatility earlier. I figured I'd spell it out for you via a few quick Look equations below. These are exactly what I create (condensed version; clients get a full e-Lookbook) when clients send pics from their closet. See what I'm talking about here or head straight into the four and counting ways I am going to wear this new pick:

1. Grey skinny jeans + neutral sandal + oversized hobo

2. White pencil skirt + layered under a streamlined blazer + black pumps

3. Black leather (faux) leggings + strappy black heels + jumbo clutch with hardware embellishments

4. Layered with a basic grey tank + cobalt blue cropped pant + neutral strappy sandal with a major heel

5. I could keep going but I've got more product reviews to pull together...

Ok fine, here's one more way to pull this blouse off. I can't help myself:

check out how to wear the latest online shopping review

Shop the Look:

The point is to try it out. If something works, fabulous. If not, move along to the next option. Eh 'hem, speaking of options, they're all lined up with the rest of my favorites that I update weekly in the virtual StyleShaker Closet. Click below and see the latest batch of favorite picks out there from my favorite shopping spots on the web:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

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Online Shopping Review | UrbanOutfitters.com's Sunrise Geo Necklace

Before I dig into the online shopping review, a little blurb on building a solid style wardrobe:

It starts with the core basics in your closet, the basic t-shirt, tank, perfect jean for your body type, pencil skirt, and the list goes on. It's upon that strong fashion foundation that you can (and should) build, via leveraging accessories, especially, jewelry. The best part is, your investments go into lasting and classic essentials while you can spend easily, and not heavily, on more trend-forward pieces from scarves to statement necklaces. In this case, it's all about the latter, the statement(ish) necklace. Cue the online shopping review of UrbanOutfitters.com's Sunrise Geo Necklace. Did it stay or did it go? First, the product shot:

neck1

product shot courtesy of www.urbanoutfitters.com

That's what I shopped. Here's what showed up at my front door. Images courtesy of Instagram, etc. Click here to follow along.

photo group

necklace2

Time to bring it all home with the scorecard:

ranking template

Overall, I'm happy to tell you that this necklace stays. I love it back to everything in my closet, from my red maxi to a strapless  LBD and most recently, paired with my recent chambray shirt find (review coming soon). That's just the tip of the iceberg. It will get plenty of fashion play as the season goes on. No doubt.

Did I mention it's $18? The amount of 'look' you get for under $20 is ridiculous, and brings me back to my initial styling point. Spend on core closet pieces (the essentials), and save when it comes to the trends and fun jewelry. In this case, you're out $20 and will wear this enough times within the first week of owning it to more than cancel that out.

I have to mention as well, the construction is impressive. It doesn't have that copper smell, no dark marks left in the wake of the metal on my skin, and it's holding up remarkably well. These are all shocking statements for me to write out, mainly because I wouldn't expect that to come from such an inexpensive piece. Am I complaining? Nope. This is what you call shopping shock. I'm embracing it with open arms as it's a rare occurrence.

One necklace not enough for you? I'm right there with you. Now that you're warmed up, check out other shopping options, statement necklaces and beyond, in my Happy Place otherwise known at the virtual StyleShaker Closet, updated every week with new favorite picks from my stand-by favorite shopping sites. Click below to keep the momentum going strong:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

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Online Shopping Review | Roxy.com’s DVF Monokini

It's online shopping review time, and this one was hilarious (I had to laugh, or else I'd be crying like a little baby). I could have gone on a downward spiral after trying this monokini on, but instead, I decided to laugh and chalk it up to an item not running too true to size. I will say, I'm pretty glad I had a couple other swim options to try on the same day (from J.Crew, see the other online shopping reviews here) that renewed my faith in the overall (and notoriously dreaded) process of swimsuit shopping.

Here's the product shot from Roxy.com of the DVF monokini that I bought before my recent trip to the islands:

monokini_prod_shot

product shot courtesy of www.roxy.com

That's what I shopped. Here's what showed up at my front door. Images courtesy of Instagram, etc. Click here to follow along.

instagram shot

Another shot of the monokini on today's product review chopping block:

monokini_my_prod_shot

Here's the scorecard and then a little blurb about why I ranked this puppy the way I did (reminder, and as you could probably assume after checking out the scorecard, every online shopping review is completely unbiased):

ranking monokini

Sad. I mean, sad. I got this monokini with high hopes and yet ended up with a score that was relatively brutal.

I can't lay all the blame on the product here. When you're shopping for swimwear, especially something like a monokini that is far from universally flattering, sometimes you just have to know what works for your body type and what doesn't. That's the whole point of trying on right? If you never try, you'll never know (not only a lyric from a Coldplay song people, it's my shopping and life motto).

Fit was the major culprit. Sizing can be iffy and sometimes I recommend buying two sizes if the site has free shipping and return shipping. That way you don't have to deal with more back and forth. I however didn't do that this time. Even if I did, there's still  no way this monokini would have worked for my silhouette. Now I know.

The way the bottom sat on my hips was almost cringeworthy. Let's just say, curves were created where I really, no I mean really, was not interested in having them. It's a good thing I have a positive body image or else this would have sent me off the deep-end, i.e. straight to the bottle of Pinot I have sitting on the kitchen counter. That's about as deep as I go for now. It's swimwear so I can't get THAT dramatic over it (or can I?).

The positives? The print was great. DVF is a brand that is synonymous with wrap dresses, but also amazing prints, and this monokini is no exception. Value? Sure, eighty dollars isn't going to break the bank on a great, designer suit.

The design and fit are where it lost me completely. Hence, returning this monokini to where it came from. No Tortola (the island I went to) for this swimwear pick. Sorry Charlie.

Back to body type and the importance of figuring out what works and what doesn't for your silhouette.

body type img

My recommendation to any of you who are going to attempt trying this one out, try sizing up if you're more of an hourglass shape like myself. The bust and hips were ridiculous looking when I slipped (not so gracefully) into this monokini. A size up would have helped slightly. But again, Hourglass ladies, this may just not be your suit (try it out if you can't live with yourself otherwise; see, there's that drama I was talking about).

As for the Rectangles out there, and possibly some of you Apple silhouettes, have at it. Pears and Hourglass ladies, my stylist suggestion would be to move along to the next pick. Oh, and speaking of additional picks. There are plenty more swim options out there to choose from. If a suit doesn't work for you, do not, I repeat, DO NOT go into 'I don't like this and this and this and this about my body' mode. Seriously. Not all swimwear is made for all silhouettes. It is a reflection of the cut of the suit, NOT your body. Don't get it twisted and certainly, don't let a pot holder-sized pieces of spandex ruin your mood, day, or opinion of yourself. That is not the point.

The point is to try it out. If something works, fabulous. If not, move along to the next option. Eh hem, speaking of options, they're all lined up with the rest of my favorites that I update weekly in the virtual StyleShaker Closet. Click below and see the latest batch of favorite picks out there from my favorite shopping spots on the web:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

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Online Shopping Review | J.Crew’s Featherweight Cotton V-neck Cardigan

Online shopping review anyone? Why yes, thank you, I'd love to share the latest. Mmmm hmm.

J.Crew has certainly seen a lot of action from me lately. First I went coo-coo for coco puffs on their swimwear (see the online shopping reviews here) and now I've gone into the ready-to-wear section with a classic that we all know and love, the cardigan. This time around, I'm talking about the featherweight, v-neck version of said Closet Classic/Essential.

So, did the cardi find a home in my closet or did I send it packing, not with me on my recent trip, but back to the warehouse it came from? First things first...

Here's the product shot from J.Crew.com (doctored up via Photoshop because I can't help myself):

redcardiprodtshot

product shot courtesy of www.jcrew.com

That's what I shopped online. Here's what showed up at my front door. Images courtesy of Instagram, etc. Click here to follow along.

instagram1

Another shot of the tomato red J. Crew cardi on today's product review chopping block. Remarkably similar to the product shot I saw online, which is a very very good thing. Consistency in the online shopping arena is key as you well know (i.e. you saw a pink dress online, bought it, and it's periwinkle blue twin arrived at your house instead). Time to check out my camera skills:

myprodshotredcardi

Here's the scorecard:

ranking red cardi

Overall, this cardi came with me to Tortola and has made several cameos since then. I'm in love with pretty much everything about it from the color to the light weight cotton that works as temps begin to rise (along with the humidity) rapidly.

I hardly ever, EVER, give out five stars. The last pick that got five stars was a Burberry blazer that I consider to be a member of my family. As in, it's going into my will. And yes, I'm that insane about it.

That said, the higher the price of an item doesn't always equate to a higher ranking. I have a pair of Boutique 9 suede gladiator sandals that hit right at $150 in the coveted five star spot as well.

What I do want you to know is that my online shopping reviews are 100% unbiased. I hold product to a high level of expectation, and I shop everywhere. A decade at Neiman Marcus may have ruined me when it comes to knowing how ridiculously well designer construction fits (thanks Mr. Armani, I've now seen how good it can be and it's tough to go back, so I suppose I should also thank Mr., um, Sample Sale?), but I know value when I see it, and also when I don't.

A big label, and subsequent price tag, is never a guarantee. I shop Target, I shop La Garconne, I hit up J.Crew and I'll never shy away from a quick trip to Yoox.com. My standards are high regardless of  location. Just ask my clients. Well, you can't because their information is on full lock-down. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Moving along...

As far as body type consideration goes, this cardigan is universal. It's an all-skate for pretty much any silhouette out there. The v-neck elongates, the fit is close enough to the body but not too snug (very comfy), and the length is right where you want it to be (just below the waistline or right on it). The only way you could mess this up would be to pair it back to a hunter green, a big red spongey nose, and go around singing Xmas jingles in July. An unlikely, or so I'd like to think.

body type img

My only 'iffy' moment when trying on this cardigan was sleeve length. Part of me really wished the sleeves had gone all the way down to my wrists, it's an odd-security blanket thing I'm guessing I developed after moving and being the new kid (for the ump-teenth time) at a middle school in New Canaan, Connecticut.

I love having the option of pushing up sleeves or leaving them long. This cardigan misses the mark there, but it's stated in the product details so really, shame on me for not reading all of those bullet points. Still, the length isn't three-quarter, or half-sleeve, it's just odd. But not a deal-breaker. The color by the way, I die for. Amazing.

Overall. Love it. J.Crew scores yet again. This cardigan has officially found a new home in my closet.

Love this cardigan but still want to see what else is out there? Check out the rest of my fashion favorites that I update weekly in the virtual StyleShaker Closet. Click below to see the latest batch of prime picks out there from my favorite shopping spots on the web:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

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Online Shopping Review | Roxy.com's Spring & Honey, Printed Hi/Lo Skirt

It's about that time. You know what I'm talking about, you've already read the title of this post and yet, here I am reminding you again. Silly fashion rabbit. Check out the latest online shopping review!

Reminder! These reviews are completely, 100% unbiased from the perspective of a former luxury retailer (cough, over a decade spent doing that one) turned professional stylist. Moving right along...

I went shopping on Roxy.com for some last minute, beach-y picks before my trip to Tortola. I had only a few stragglers left on my vacation shopping list, one of which was a skirt that I could throw on with a tank or bikini, you know, something to slip on post-saltwater swims or should I need to 'dress up' (it's an island after all) for dinner.

I shopped around a found this Spring & Honey skirt which I thought would fit the fashion bill. Did it? Hmmm, good question. First, here's what I saw on-line:

skirt_prod_shot

product shot courtesy of www.roxy.com

That's what I shopped. Here's what showed up at my front door. Images courtesy of Instagram, etc. Click here to follow along.

instagram shot

The skirt...High and very, very low.

skirt_my_prod_shot1

On a hanger so you can actually see what it looks like. Details...

skirt_my_prod_shot2

How did the hi/lo skirt stack up? Check out the scorecard below:

ranking_hi lo skirt

The Recap

As you can see, the final verdict was a sad little lonely star. I don't like giving these kind of reviews, I mean, my budget does, but my closet's heart breaks a bit. That said, shopping on-line waters can be tricky, and this skirt is no exception to that rule.

The straw that broke the shopping camel's back was two-fold. First, the waist was way too tight. The synthetic fabric was ruched along a cinched waistline and it did not feel oh so soft. It also dug in and I was looking for something a little less constrictive. If you've read previous reviews on swimwear, you'd be well aware of this fashion factoid (do the research here).

Second, the hi/lo situation was a bit too exaggerated for me. The high front was all well and good, but the low looked a little ridiculous. I wasn't planning on wearing heels with this on the island which would ever further warp my proportions, i.e. stunt me vertically. So, all in all, this skirt went back to Roxy.com.

There's no love lost there. I did end up keeping a couple of picks from the site after all was said and done, this skirt just wasn't one of them. Moving on to the next one right? Right.

But before I cut ties completely, should you want to try this or something like this hi/lo skirt out for yourself and are left scratching your head wondering what the best body type this cut is made for, let me tell you:

body type img

Rectangles, this one is for you. Pears, avoid this guy at all costs unless you have a sky-high heel with it (note: you need to actually be able to walk in said heel or throw in the towel all together; just be honest with yourself).

Hourglasses, my girls, it's worth a try, just be careful that the waist is clean, not bunchy, and sits low enough on your hip to elongate, not create or accentuate a high waist (my clients have me On Call so they can send me pics from fitting rooms to get the thumbs up or down; contact me to find out more about that). Apples, you have plenty more options out there to choose from in Skirt-Land. Pass on this cut.

There you have it.

That's all for the reviews today. But don't let it end there. Shop more favorites served up along the shelves of my virtual StyleShaker Closet. Everything is updated weekly so click below and see the latest batch of favorite picks out there from my favorite shopping spots on the web:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

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Product Reviews | J.Crew's Snail Print Underwire Bikini Top & Jersey Lomellina® Foldover Hipster

It's product review time and today I'm talking about J.Crew swimwear. I have not been shopping for anything that comes remotely close to swimwear in quote some time. Not sure why, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that a. working full-time while starting a business on the side has left me with little to no time on a beach or near a pool, and b. I too dread the experience of going under those harsh fluorescent lights while trying on what essentially is just colorful underwear.

Well, I have no more excuses. First, I'm leaving for the island of Tortola in a week and I'm certainly not going to be on an island for seven days without the perfect bikini (cover-up, sandals, the shopping list is endless really). Second, I left the day job to pursue my dream (you're looking at part of it right now) so I have decided to make the time to do what I love. And I love, love, LOVE being near an ocean.

I'll keep it short and sweet from here. First, the two pieces I bought from J.Crew.com. (I bought more than two, but I'll get to those reviews later. Baby steps.) Second, pics from my Instagram account so you can see what the goodies actually looked like when I received them. Finally, I'll tell you if they're coming with me to Tortola or going right back where they came from. Any guesses?

Let's begin.

First up, the J.Crew Snail Print Underwire Bikini Top:

7 snail bikini top

product shot courtesy of www.jcrew.com

Second, the J.Crew Jersey Lomellina® Foldover Wide-Band Hipster Bikini Bottom (slate gray):

8 foldover hipster

product shot courtesy of www.jcrew.com

Below two images courtesy of me and my fabulous Instagram account which you totally need to follow, um, right now. Click here.

snail top and bottoms

snail top

What did I think? Why did I buy a printed top and solid-colored bottom? What's up with the snail print? So many questions.

I mix and match my swimwear. It's more fun that way, let alone more versatile. I totally recommend that you give it a try.

Review time. First up, the underwire top: Fit was great. I'm a C-cup so an underwire is a great thing to have. I'll be doing more than just laying on a beach while I'm there (read: swimming with dolphins; ugh, I know, so excited) so I'm going to need a top I can trust to stay on while I'm doing my thing.

The rest: Fabrication is right up there with the Lomellina jersey. The top is lined, not really 'padded' so I'm happy about that because I don't need  the extra 'volume.' The tie around the neck makes this a halter top which is ridiculously flattering on most silhouettes. I happen to love it. As for comfort, I tested it out around the house to make sure the knot didn't dig into my neck. Not a problem. On to the print. I was worried the snails would be a little too strategically placed, but they're fine. Bottom line: I'm keeping it.

The foldover hipster: I'll start with the bottom line. I should buy this in every color they have. The slate gray is the perfect neutral that I can pair back not only to the printed snail (dusty burgundy) underwire top but other pieces I have in my swim wardrobe. The foldover means it doesn't dig. This is HUGE for me. I can't stand anything unnecessarily digging into my hips. A. it's not comfortable, B. it's seriously not flattering. These are ridiculously comfy, there's coverage on the back but not too much or too little. Just right. There's a tiny bit of ruching on the sides of the hipster which is a nice touch, more aesthetic than anything. And again, I am going back to get them in black as well. This is a keeper.

So, as you can tell,  it was a successful on-line shopping trip. Both picks are coming with me to Tortola and I'm looking forward to testing them out on those beaches. Counting down as I write this.

Side note: I will be hand-washing everything and laying flat to dry. The Lomellina fabric (jersey from an Italian mill J.Crew sources from) is lightweight and seems durable, but I'm not going to risk it. Swimwear is super easy to handle when it comes to hand washing and I want these pieces to last.

That's all for the reviews today. But don't let it end there. Shop more swim picks and other fashion categories that don't make you cringe when you think about trying them on, all served up on the shelves of my virtual StyleShaker Closet. Everything is updated weekly so click below and see the latest batch of favorite picks out there from my favorite shopping spots on the web:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

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Product Review | Low Luv x Erin Wasson's Domed Cage Ring

The Latest Product Review Video has Arrived, and This Time I'm Talking Statement Rings

It's time for another product review post on-line shopping spree last week. What's on the docket this time around? Well, I love a good statement ring now and again, especially when the overall look and feel edges on masculine. But that's just a personal style preference. If you're like me, it's time to check out the ring in question. Meet the Domed Cage ring  from Low Luv x Erin Wasson, a favorite name of mine when it comes to all things jewelry. Did the love fest continue once I got this ring on my pretty little finger? First, the product shot (click to shop).

Check out the product review video right here and get all of my thoughts on the edgy statement ring:

So at the end of the day, when it comes to the product reviews, like I mentioned, there are four key points to The StyleShaker rating system on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the best). Here they are:
1. Shipping & Delivery: 5 (Shopbop.com manages to do this oh, so, well, every time)
2. Fit: 5 (I finally figured out my ring size, chart here, so this was a no-brainer)
3. Construction: 5 (no problems here)
4. Value:  4 (it's silver plated so at $45 I'm not overjoyed, but it's not killing me either)
Glowing product review right? Overall, this Low Luv x Erin Wasson ring gets itself a happy face. I'm kind of in love with it, can't you see the elation? Such a ham, I know. But playing with DSLR cameras can be so much fun. 

In the mean time, if you're still not sold on this statement ring or you're looking for something else a little bit closer to your style speed, see more of my edited down jewelry picks from the virtual shopping list here:

 

Check out more product reviews pulled right off of the shopping lists created to answer the, 'what to wear,' fashion question. Don't forget about figuring out how to wear these trends and picks, that's here as well.

Product Review | Vince Camuto's Heath Pump

I Shopped, I Wore, Now See My Product Review of Vince Camuto's Heath Pump

Before I head straight into the video product review, it's time to look at the shoe in question, well pump in question if we're going to be specific. Here is Vince Camuto's Heath pump in a butterscotch brown leather. I'm in need of a basic brown pump, just one of the closet essentials that comes into play during every season. So I went shopping. Here's what I found:

Product review video time. Did it stay or did the pump have to go? The answer is right here:

So at the end of the day, when it comes to the product reviews, like I mentioned, there are four key points to The StyleShaker rating system on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the best). Here they are:
1. Shipping & Delivery: 4 (nothing blew me away but it was efficient)
2. Fit: 2 (ouch. Size up half a size. Seriously, still ouch)
3. Construction: 4 (still in week one but the leather is holding up well)
4. Value:  4 (you can't beat a basic pump that you can wear with anything into Fall for $50)
I'm still kicking myself on this one. I found it for less on Endless.com (link above for you), but that's my bad. Overall, the value is still pretty good. 
Product Review Final Verdict is... I'm keeping the pump. If you saw the video you'd already now this. Thumbs up for the value, the construction, the shipping, etc. Thumbs down for the extended breaking in period.
Shop more shoes from the list:
 

See more product reviews after I shop my 'what to wear' lists here, and then figure out how to wear all of these shopping goodies.

WTW Video! | Product Review of the Coral Silk Drape Front Blazer

Product Review time! What did I think of Boundary & Co.'s coral drape-front, chiffon blazer?

First things first, it's introduction video time, and then, time to get down to the million dollar question: did the blazer stay to find it's new home in my closet, OR, did I toss it, and by, 'toss it,' I mean, return it back to Piperlime.com:

Here's the blazer:

source: www.piperlime.com

Here's the pic that inspired the purchase:

source: www.fash-n-chips.com

I rate each pick, 1-5 (five being the bestest ever ever) on four key pieces of the shopping puzzle. First and foremost, it's time to talk about shipping & delivery. Did the order arrive in a small plastic bag smushed into the back of the mailbox? Nope. Piperlime hits the customer service mark every time when it comes to delivery. The package arrived, in full-on Piperlime fashion (green lime print all over the place), on time. Score: 5 (*free shipping AND free return shipping always wins).

Next comes the fit. This is a drapey piece, so it's not going to run too small nine times out of ten. The only danger here would be the opposite, i.e. the potential for the volume to swallow you whole. That wasn't the case. The fit was great, not perfect, but good. I'm a stickler on jackets so let's just say, to get a 5 here, it needs to be designer level (and sometimes not even the big guys can pull it together, shockingly enough after you consider what you're spending). I bought a medium, I usually wear a 6/8 and am a C so there needs to be a little volume to accommodate. That said, I think a small would work well here, but I love the loose feel especially with Dallas serving up ridiculous triple digit days. Ew. But, I digress. If you like a more fitted look, size down. Score: 3.5, and yes, I just threw in a point 5.

Step 3, the construction. Will the pick disintegrate after one wash or trip to the dry cleaners? Nope. This blazer is definitely not disposable.  Will it stick with me for the next five years? Most likely not, but I'm covered for the next two to three at least. I will say that this blazer, being silk (also lined well) makes it a bit more high maintenance. It means ironing, and I hate ironing, usually avoiding the chore as if it were the plague. And even after ironing (while personally making the ten year old whiny noise under my breath) the creases managed to keep coming back after a little wear. It's not flawless fabric, a slight annoyance. That said, a small crease here or there isn't enough to bring me down. Score: 4.

Last but not least, the value. The fact that I got my sticky fashion hands on this blazer at under $100 makes me happy. It's intelligent pricing on Piperlime's behalf and, sure, they may be getting over a 65% markup (total guess), but I still feel like I'm getting something great for the spend. Sorry, the retailer comes out now and then. You can take the girl out of retail, but I don't think you can ever take the retailer out of the girl. So goes life. Score on value: 4.

So there you have it: Shipping, 5. Fit, 3.5. Construction, 4. Value, 4. Total score: 16.5 out of 20! Not, too, shabby. This coral blazer stays.

That's just one review. See where it all starts, shop more curated picks and see how to wear them here.

What to Wear | My Review of Zara's Jacquard Blazer

It's product review time people! The latest addition to my shopping list was Zara's red jacquard blazer, and when I put it on the list, it's going to be bought, hence not calling it a wish list.

What got me on this blazer was the super saturated color. I was digging around in my closet last week, looking for something to wear to our monthly editorial meeting, and I realized (like I'm sure many of us do), that I was swimming in black or brown or grey or any other color without much of a pulse. Suffice it to say, the color options were few and far between.

This was something I needed to rectify and quickly, hence the new Zara blazer pick. But, enough about my countless hours spent wandering around in my closet, or what I like to call one (I have a few up my sleeve) of my 'happy places,' this is about whether or not the jacquard jacket was a keeper.

First, here's a close up of the bright red, almost persimmon, colored blazer  (source: www.zara.com, click the pic to see more info):

The box arrived ahead of schedule and I dug into that sucker like it was Christmas morning (or the first day of Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever, you get the picture) which I do with every delivery. I never gets old to me. Cue the bright green tissue perfectly folded and basically begging for me to tear into it. They do a good job at Zara with all the details, not too much and not too little, i.e. a plastic bag thrown into a  box (which, if you shop online as much as I do online, you've seen before unfortunately):

And here she is, in all of her Instagram'd-out glory. The colors are of course warped because I've gone completely insane with the filter options, but you got the accurate color when you checked out the product shot above. So, I'll just sit here and play for a minute with a  few more filters. Don't mind me, talk amongst yourselves...

source: Instagram

K, I'm back. No wonder it's all so addictive. Moving right along, did I keep it (sized correctly, color was as shown on-line, did it fit well, etc) or was this a return-to-sender sitch?

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 I bought this in a medium, and it fits really well (I usually go between size six and eight if that helps). The shoulders are  tad tight, there was bound to be something slightly off with a lesser-tailored jacket or blazer, always is, but that said, my non-negotiable is the arms and how they fit.

If the arm fits loosely, it's a goner. This blazer did just the opposite. It's fitted, doesn't run long, and has a strong vertical seam on the back which keeps things looking smooth. For what I paid, I'm extremely pleased with the product and within the first ten minutes of that creative meeting, people were going ga-ga over the color. Social approval is not the goal, the goal is to make sure you feel good and feel confident, however, it never hurts to hear a compliment or, um, twenty, about what you have on.

So, the Zara jacket stays. I adore it, from the color, to the fit, to the jacquard texture I didn't even touch on until now because I'm so swept away by this blazer. Can you blame me? Oh, and it also comes in a white that is perfection for summer, worn open over a maxi or really anything.

Spoiler alert: Finding the perfect piece to wear and making a new addition to my closet is one thing, figuring out how to wear it is another. I like to cover all of my bases around here, so you can expect to see a 'how to wear' it post inspired by this blazer coming soon, i.e. Wednesday. Be on the lookout!

See more product picks from the shopping list covering what to wear out there, and how to wear all of it, here.

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What to Wear | My Review of J.Crew's Minnie Pant

In the midst of a serious battle with the ever-present (in my mind at least; not necessarily proud of that, but I accept my fashion obsession with open arms covered by three-quarter length sleeves) question, 'what to wear,' I went on a little J.Crew shopping spree last week. New addition to my closet, number one: Say hello to Minnie. Skinnie Minnie, the new pant that I would wear every day and in every one of the five colors it's available in. So yes, as far as this product review goes, I like it, I gave it away in the second sentence because I couldn't hold it in. It happens, rarely, and usually only when I'm head over heels.

I have had my eye on finding a pair of cropped pants for summer, and since I have been in the dark hues rut for some time now, I figured it was time to step out in a big way with an insane pop color, hence, the orchid. It's true to the color you see on the screen, if not a bit brighter. It's almost one shade away from neon so if you're into stylish subtlety, then you may want to move on to the next product review or just go with a basic color.

The fit, oh yea, the fit. This pant in a cotton twill that stretches a bit to add some 'give,' but also holds onto curves in the right way, is perfection. It's ridiculously comfortable with the side zip and hook closure to keep everything where it needs to be, and runs very true to size. I'm sure I could have sized down actually to keep it super streamlined, but I wasn't looking for super-skinny, just skinny in general. It's an option though. The length is great with a heel, I tend to shy away from cropped pants and flats for two reasons: first, I'm 5'6, and while that's still tall, it's not amazonian tall which I feel you'd need for length if you wore a flat with the cropped hem cutting the vertical line right about the shin. A heel always elongates, which brings me to my second reason, pull out a great heel, something with some color or detail, because the cropped pant is the perfect piece to allow you to show it off.

So there you have it, I am a huge fan of J.Crew's Minnie pant.

Here's the inspiration...Everyone loves a little J.Crew catalog action am I right? Here's a look with the Minnie pant in the deep orchid color from the May Style Guide (source: www.jcrew.com):

Here are some product shots to play with (again, source: www.jcrew.com; click the images to shop):

Side angle:

From behind:

I always like to make a note that this product review was not endorsed or paid for by the brand I'm writing about. This is my product pick and my unbiased opinion.

See more of my product reviews because I'm always doing heavy market research around here (job hazard), and also, keep your eyes open for the latest on what to wear and how to wear it here.

What to Wear | My Review of New Zara Shoes

The Shopping List is not just for show. Nope, it's what I like to call my very own, what-to-wear-inspired, occupational hazard. I scour the web everyday finding picks for my clients' Virtual Closets, and along the way, since I only pick for them what I would buy myself, I end up multi-tasking, much to the dismay of my CPA. One for them, one for me. Like I said, you could see it as the best job in the world, or a path that leads to trouble. That said, I don't just shop shop shop, I also give back. When a new purchase makes it's home in my own Virtual (and real life) closet, one little pick of the past has to leave, and usually ends up at my favorite local organization, Attitudes & Attire.

But enough about me. I was feeling the colored pump trend for a client's closet, and evidently, for myself as well. See the Zara shoes I bought and also what I thought of these bright pop shoes...

Whenever a package arrives it seriously feels like Christmas up in The StyleShaker office. It's the little things right? And even if it's just one box, the excitement is always there. It's one of my most random and most favorite reasons I shop online. That and the blissful avoidance of any shopping mall. So, I'll walk you through the day these puppies arrived...

First, it's time to tear open the box (source: Instagram)

What's inside? Technically I already know, but I'm just going to pretend it's a mystery for the moment. (source: Instagram)

As if I couldn't tell where the items came from, they put the logo on every open space of cardboard they could find. Job well done, maybe a little overkill, but it didn't steal my thunder as I kept things moving along. Sandal number one, from the box and then from the site:

1. Zara I BASIC SANDAL (source: Instagram)

2. Zara I BASIC SANDAL (shop online: www.zara.com)

And now, #3, num num nummmmmmm, so pretty. Zara's COLOURED FAUX-SUEDE COURT PUMP: (source: Instagram)

4.  Zara's COLOURED FAUX-SUEDE COURT PUMP: (shop online: www.zara.com)

So, what did I think? I love both. No joke. You'll see that I don't love everything I buy so, just trust that I will give you my honest opinion here (Zara is in no way endorsing anything about this post). It means a lot to me to have that level of integrity having spent a decade in the fashion industry trenches.

I'm not a paid third party, I'm the proud owner of these two shoe picks and have honestly never received so many compliments on shoes. That also could be a result of me doing the happy dance when I wear them into the office in the morning. You know how a newly engaged woman manages to get her ring finger infront of your face in a, not-so-sublte way? Right, well visualize that, and move your eyes, south to the foot. That was me, waving my fabulous shoe around for the world to see. I can't help myself. When I love something, I share. It's the basis of this site.

So, how do I rate these shoes? The sandal, five out of five stars. In, love. The Court Pump? Again, five out of five. Both are comfy. The sandal has an adjustable strap that keeps everything where it should be (no trip-ups here, or walking around like your on stilts, such an unfortunate look usually brought on by above-four-inch platform pumps), and the heel  height is very manageable. Same goes for the pump. It stays on my foot, is true to size, could use the day of breaking it in, but the faux suede, or what I like to call, you'd-never-have-a-clue-it's-faux suede, is insanely vibrant and adds plenty of color to the fashion mix. See and example of how I'm wearing it here.

And there you have it.  A love list, a fashion mush-fest if you will. This consumer could not be happier and these shoes have found themselves a new home in my closet. What to wear? Easy, I have two perfect options to fit into work looks for day or cocktails for night (unless it's a brunch moment, and cocktails will find their way into the daylight hours, as they should).

Back to more fashion favorites that answer the question, 'what to wear,' and so much more.