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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tailoring..... Happiness

My jeans that were botched too short have now been salvaged to a wearable 1/2" from the floor length for flats.  You can see the before length here.  I am so happy the red of my shoes can't be seen from the back.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Not To Wear 'Full of Glee' Episode Complete Copy Cat

This blog entry is quite long and rambling, so if you're up to it, read on.  If you love WNTW, you might appreciate this post.  If you like copying outfits seen on other people, you might like this post as well.  It turned out longer than I thought it would be since I probably included more detail than necessary, but it was so incredible to hunt down an actual WNTW outfit and be successful, I wanted to share my experience in detail.  By reading the following you will see how much digging it takes to find something in a store that was already marked down and you don't see your size.  This is what I go through sometimes to find my size at the sale price.  Most people I know would not have any interest in digging so hard to find a piece of clothing if so much work is required, but I love doing this.  I'm good at it.  I save a lot of money on clothes. 

This is about the "Full of Glee" episode of What Not To Wear shown back in December.  Sue is in her 40s and is a high school glee coach from Seattle.  This is my most favorite episode ever because I love TWO of the reveal outfits shown in this episode.   I found out the brand names, prices, and store info on each piece from TLC's website.  (I stalk that site frequently.  LOL)  My mission was to try and find each exact piece of this outfit, and if I couldn't find the exact piece I would try and find something very similar.  These pieces were very challenging to find considering the episode was broadcast in December yet it was most likely filmed back in August.  In case you didn't know, the show sends the participants to stores that fit their lifestyle.  In this particular case with Sue, many of her items were already at sale prices, so you can imagine this made it even more difficult to find the items.  When an item that has been on sale for four months is practically impossible to find in the size and color YOU need.  Here is the WNTW participant Sue showing Stacy & Clinton reveal outfit #2:

The info I found about this outfit as shown on the TLC website:

Pants: Tahari at Bloomingdale's
Blouse: Deletta at Anthropologie
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Cuff: Banana Republic
Sling-backs: Tahari at DSW
Handbag: B. Makowsky at DSW 
Earrings:  no info provided

The blouse, pants, shoes, and handbag I ended up finding are all exact pieces as shown on WNTW.   I gave up on looking for the exact Banana Republic cardigan since they seem to clear out their merchandise pretty quickly once they go on sale.  Since I know Nordstrom had those great cardigans by Halogen in so many colors I figured I would be able to find one in cream.  I was right about that.  The cardigan was the first piece I found.  No trouble at all.  I also found a very similar purple cascading ruffle blouse by Halogen at Nordstrom that would have been a fine substitute for the Anthropologie Deletta blouse, but I wanted to give it my best shot to find the exact Anthropologie blouse shown on the episode.  Those cascading ruffles made the blouse very interesting.

The Anthropologie blouse.  Man was this tough to find, and it required the most time looking, hunting, and making phone calls to several stores across the country.  If only the TLC website would include not only brand names, prices, and stores but actual names of the items, it would have been so much easier to find the exact pieces.  Hello TLC website people, don't you shop online?  Almost every item of clothing, shoes, and accessories available online have names.  It's not as easy to find the pair of shoes you want online if you don't know the actual name of the shoe besides the brand.  For example, you know the brand is Cole Haan but is it the 'Carma Air',  Markesa Air',  'Justine Air', etc.?  I can google those names and it is so much easier to locate the EXACT item I'm looking for.

Okay, I'm done with my rant about the lack of specific item info provided on the TLC website, back to the Anthropologie Deletta blouse.  Deletta is one of the Anthropologie house brands but there are SO many different tops by Deletta out there there is no way I could find the one from the episode without doing some digging around since of course by this point I did not see it online.  I called the store with a detailed description of the blouse, but none of the people I spoke to were able to pull up a name or a style number based on my description.  Finally I found the blouse on Ebay by simply searching "Anthropologie Deletta" and narrowing it down to blouses, purple, and short sleeve.  I saw the exact blouse and learned the actual name of this blouse.  It is called the "Once & Always Tee".  I googled that name and was able to get the UPC and style numbers and then called Anthropologie and gave them those numbers.  With that information I provided they were able to give me the stores that had the blouse in my size and color available.  I called all the stores that their computer said might have the blouse.  There were about 12 blouses left over about 8 stores.  So I called all of them.  I swear I was on hold forever with each store.  This was a few days before Christmas when they were very busy.  It was a nightmare.  After 7 stores and waiting forever on hold and none of them were able to find one even though the computer said they had one, finally, the Santa Barbara store found me one.  The guy was ringing it up and he tells me, "Oh dear, this blouse is damaged.  But it's a simple fix.  The ruffle has torn away from the blouse on one side.  I'll give you an extra 15% off if you still want it."  Of course I wanted it it.  It was the last one in the company.  I figured I'd be able to find a tailor to fix it.  The blouse was already 50% off, so I got it for 65% off.  Nice.  Nordstrom ended up fixing the blouse free of charge.

The Tahari pants.  Totally difficult to find.  Again I wish the TLC website included the actual name of the item besides the brand name and store.  The site says the pants are by Tahari and from Bloomingdale's.  Okay fine, but which Tahari pants?  Are they Elie Tahari, Tahari, T Tahari,  Tahari by Arthur S. Levine?  I searched online and found there are two styles of these pants that are available in this color, both are by Elie Tahari.  I learned from the two different names and I saw they had the color looked like an exact match on the TV screen so that's how I figured out which pants to try and find.  I learned the name of the color is 'Chestnut Melange' and the two different styles are the 'Theora', which were at but of course out of my size.  The other style but same color is called the 'Simone' which had in my size and color.  Unfortunately when I tried them on I learned the Simone style is low-rise.   It was then I figured out that I needed to find the mid-rise version, the 'Theora'.  Next I called Bloomingdale's and asked them if they had the Theora.  The girl was really helpful.  She knew of the Theora and she found one pair but not in my size.   She scanned them and found out that the size I needed was completely sold out at Bloomingdale's across the country.  So here's where I got smart.  I asked her for the UPC number so I could give that number to another store that might have them.  So I thought about what other stores might have this pant.  Nordstrom Rack, Macy's, Saks, Nieman Marcus.  I called and found out these stores used to carry them but they had none left.  Nordstrom carries the Theora but only in black as of now.  I went to Loehmann's to check but found nothing. 

While watching hoping for a return in my size with no luck, my last resort was to try the Tahari store in Newport Beach.  I was checking their website for the phone number, but instead I came across an email address to contact a concierge who will help you find what you need.  I wrote to this concierge and gave her the UPC number I got from Bloomingdale's.  It was unbelievable.   I got a response the next day.  She found the Theora pants in my size in Chestnut Melange and this is the unbelievable part.  She found them at the Las Vegas Tahari outlet store so they were 65% off!  The only pair left in the company happened to be my size.  The fit and quality of these pants are AMAZING.  I am so glad I took the time to research the different styles of the Tahari pants that come in this color.  The Theora pants are the perfect mid-rise fit for me.

The Tahari sling back pumps.  I go to this store in the same city where I live thinking it was DSW, but it was actually Off Broadway.  To me those two stores are almost identical.  I don't go to either of those stores very often, so I didn't even realize I was at the wrong store until I drove up.  But I went in anyway.  I'm so glad I did, because they had the shoes!  They were 50% off AND they had my size!  What made it a bit challenging, however, because nothing is ever THAT easy, they had two colors in the same shoe and the two colors were VERY similar.  One was gray and one was light brown, but they were almost identical.  There was no way I could figure out which color was the correct one that matched the pants without having the pants with me, so I had to buy both colors, take them home and then return one.  The two colors still looked similar to me at home and it was not easy to figure which one went with the pants.  I had to watch the damn episode and pause it to try and figure out the color.  Finally I figured it out.  Each color the inside soles were different colors.  I could see the color of the inside soles on the TV screen so I finally figured out.

The B. Makowsky handbang.  Okay, the last piece needed to complete the outfit!!  I knew this was going to be very tough to do.  This handbag was already on sale when the participant got it.  Four months had gone by.   There was just no way I was going to get this bag.  If the TLC website was more specific in giving the actual name of this handbag and not only the brand name, then I could just google the name of the bag and probably find it.  But no, they don't list the names.  So this is crazy.  This was three days before Christmas, totally pouring rain and crazy winds, I drag my kids to DSW.  There are two DSW stores near me but one is closer than the other.  I decided to go to the one that is closer to South Coast Plaza since most stores near or in that mall have way more selection than other locations.  A little further for me to drive, but I made the right decision.  This handbag makes the outfit.  It had to be THIS one.  I love the gorgeous metallic pewter.  It even has gold hardware that makes this bag interesting.  

I showed the salesperson at DSW the photo of Sue on WNTW, the second photo I posted above which shows a pretty good shot of the handbag.  She probably thought I was a freaking lunatic to show her a picture of someone on a TV show holding this bag and expecting her to find it.  I explained to her all about when the show actually filmed and when it aired and that's why it might be difficult to find because it was a sale item after four months blah blah blah.  The girl said she knew the handbag, and it would be in the clearance section.  I already looked there but didn't see it.  She said she swore she saw it there a few days ago.  So she goes to get another employee.  She described it to her and I shoved my phone in her face to show her the photo of the bag.  She says, "Oh yes, I know I saw it on display....hmmmm.  It's a clearance item, but it's not in the clearance section right now.  It's on one of the display tables.  I think I saw it today..... Oh!  Here it is!"  And she walked me right to it.  Yep, this was it.  The one in the photo.  Exactly.  And it was in perfect, brand-new condition with tags.  Not a single flaw or scratch and it even came with the dusting bag.  It looked as if no one even opened the zipper once.  And it was the only one left.  I saw the price.  The tag said it was the same price as it was listed on TLC's website which was 20% off.  Then the girl says, "And all clearance items get an additional 40% off!"  OMG.  Are you serious?  MAJOR score.  This is a very nice quality bag.  I've always wanted a B. Makowsky but never found the right one.  Until now.

Earrings:  You can't see the earrings Sue is wearing in the photos above, but you can see them if you watch the episode.  They are small gold dangle earrings with pale green stones.  I happen to have a pair that look exactly like the ones shown.  Remember my husband picked out that chunky gold and pale green stone necklace?  He also gave me earrings that are from the same collection as the necklace.  I never would have thought to wear pale green earrings with a purple blouse, but man, these two colors seriously complement each other.  I can't even believe I already had the earrings that are almost an exact copy of what was on the show.

Cuff bracelet:  It was from Banana Republic so I didn't even try to look for it.  I didn't need one anyway since I already have one that is very similar.

And that's it!!  I copied the outfit completely.  And here I am wearing the outfit.  I had planned on wearing it for my birthday night out to dinner, but I felt very crappy that day.  I didn't want to wear it unless I was feeling good, so it's been hanging in my closet all this time.  Finally the opportunity to wear it came up last Thursday night.  I thought this would be the perfect outfit to wear to Book Club.  The outfit is a work outfit, and I don't work outside the home, so I do crave daytime work clothes. 

It was my husband's idea to take the photo of me in front of the TV screen showing Clinton, Sue, and Stacy with me standing "next" to them.  It is so dorky, but I'm posting it anyway.

On the episode and in the website photos of Sue carrying the handbag, I did not really notice the crocodile texture.  I was pleasantly surprised to see this texture.

Sigh.... the perfect hem length.  This hem is 1/4" from the floor.  :)   Nordstrom Alterations Department, I love you!

I love these sling back pumps.  They are good quality and the sling back does not slip.  Normally sling backs give me trouble.  This outfit would not be complete without this metallic bag.  I've been wanting to get a pewter or silver metallic bag for a long time, and this is my favorite part of this outfit.  If I couldn't find this exact one I would have been disappointed.  I'm sure I could have found one like it if needed, but I doubt another would have this beautiful gold hardware.  Also what makes this bag extra special is the animal print lining.

Earrings.  None of the photos that were close-ups turned out clear.  Here is the stock photo.

Total And Complete What Not To Wear 'Full of Glee' Copy Cat Outfit 

(Since it was so difficult to find these exact pieces after they were on sale for such a long time I wanted to share my benefits of hunting down the items - see how much I saved!  The prices I got were way less than what was on the TLC website!  Yay!)

Anthropologie Deletta 'Once & Always' Tee, purple - Anthropologie (65% off)
Halogen 3/4 sleeve cardigan,'Taylor Ivory- (50% off)
Elie Tahari 'Theora' pants, Chestnut Melange - Tahari (65% off)
Tahari 'Carolyn' sling back pumps, Flint Grey - Off Broadway (33% off)
B. Makowsky 'Melbourne' handbag, pewter - DSW (60% off)
Liz Palacios 'Zodiac' earrings, gold and pale green stone - Nordstrom
Macy's brand cuff bracelet, silver with gold circles - Macy's

This was 'Reveal Outit #2' in the episode.... I also copied reveal outfit #3 of this same episode.... stay tuned...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tailoring...... UGH!!

I took my two new pairs of jeans to get hemmed.  One pair I kept the hem longer for higher heeled shoes, but they still needed a little hemming.  The other pair I needed hemmed for flats.  Originally after the first fitting both pairs of jeans were dragging on the floor.  After the second time the pair for higher heels turned out fine, although we (Style Underdog and myself) had to convince the tailor NOT to go as short as she thought they should be.

I took the pair back to the tailor to bring up the hem for the flats pair since they also were dragging on the floor after they were hemmed once.  I said they should be 1/2 inch from the floor since they were too long after I told him to hem them 1/4 inch from the floor.  I get them back and they are horrendously too SHORT!!  Since the heel of the red flat is 1/2 inch, you should only be able to see the black part of the heel and NOT the red patent leather of the shoe.

Also, it looks as if the right leg is shorter than the left.  It looks like the left hem is about 1.75" from the floor and the right hem is 2" from the floor.  See for yourself in these photos.

The photo above I'm wearing with my silver flats which have a slightly shorter heel than those red flats, but I still think the jeans are too short even for the silver flats.  I wore the higher flat at the fitting to make sure they wouldn't be too short.

These are my summer flip flop sandals which are my lowest heeled shoes.  I still think the jeans are too short even for these.  I hope they can be let down (and evened out) and still be able to have a hem.  I think I'm going back to Nordstrom for my pants hemming.  I'll be paying a lot, unfortunately  :(

Monday, February 14, 2011

$9.97 Cardigan: Two Different Looks

I'm so happy with my $9.97 Halogen cardigan in Spiced Rose.  Now there is some life to my charcoal chambray shirtdress and a floral top I've had for years that I've never worn with anything but a crappy old black cardigan.
Volunteer in Son's 1st Grade Classroom Outfit

Jessica Simpson charcoal chambray shirtdress - Nordstrom
Halogen 3/4 sleeve Spiced Rose cardigan -
kate spade 'Keswick Caning' gold, cream, black ball necklace - kate spade
Nordstrom leggings -
Bettye Muller 'Cruise' black flats -
Close up of necklace

Valentine's Day Themed Bunco Party Outfit

Halogen 3/4 sleeve Spiced Rose cardigan -
Sweet Pea by Staci Frati floral print mesh blouse - Nordstrom
*7 For All Mankind Mid-Rise Bootcut Rinse Wash jeans (most awesome fitting dark rinse mid-rise jeans on the planet!!) - Macy's
Cole Haan 'Carma Air' OT black patent pumps - Nordstrom
Style & Co. silver croc skinny belt -
Macy's brand silver/hematite bracelet - Macy's
Kendra Scott 'Python' chandelier earrings - Nordstrom  
Close up of earrings

*I saw these perfectly dark mid-rise jeans on one of the episodes of What Not To Wear which aired last December.  The girl who got the makeover turned around to hug Stacy & Clinton and the camera captured her backside so I was able to spot the brand and style pretty well.  I have never been happier with a pair of jeans.  No bleaching; no whiskering; perfect mid-rise for my body type; simple, dark squiggle on the back pocket.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saturday Night Date To See John Lithgow "Stories By Heart"

I'm really getting a lot of use out of my Ann Taylor scarf this season.  Instead of my usual loop tie or knot tie I wrapped it loosely.  This was last Saturday night just before we left to go see John Lithgow's one-man show "Stories By Heart" at the John Taper theatre in Dowtown LA.  Before the show, we had dinner at Bottega Louie.  Incredible.  Wow.  Totally delicious Italian food!  If you're ever in Dowtown LA you must go there.  They are known very well for desserts.  I had a red velvet muffin for dessert.  Yummmmm.

Saturday Night Date John Lithgow Show Outfit

Merona chocolate brown sweater dress - Target
Ann Taylor neutrals abstract scarf - Ann Taylor
Style & Co. black skinny belt -
Cole Haan black opaque tights -
Cole Haan black 'Markesa' boots -
Prada gold metallic handbag - 2nd hand store in Laguna
Kendra Scott black/gray/gold chandelier earrings - Nordstrom
Macy's brand silver cuff bracelet w/gold circles
Temple St. Clair for Target blue fashion ring - beautiful holiday gift from Style Underdog!  For a closer look at the gorgeous ring, here is the stock photo:

*Message to Style Underdog:  You are probably wondering..... why isn't she wearing the black blazer and sparkly silver tank we worked so hard to figure out which size worked???  I thought it was going to be too cold to wear that outfit Saturday night since it was soooooo cold at home that day.  I should have known better that it is much warmer in Dowtown LA with all those tall buildings warming things up.  I was too hot in my sweater dress.  :(

Monday, February 7, 2011

My 42nd Birthday Can't Be Topped

Do you know of anyone who ever bought a car on their actual birthday?  Now you know someone.

Yes, we finally got a larger car.  And it happened to be on my 42nd birthday last Friday.  My husband finally worked out a deal on Thursday after many, many emails and phone calls to several Ford dealers in Orange County.  The next day the car was ready for delivery.  I don't believe my husband planned it this way, he's not that romantic anymore.  So, the new car isn't really a birthday gift, it just seems like it is.

I was extremely tired from being out late the night before.  I think I had four hours of sleep, and my b-day was a very hectic day, so my clothing choices were lazy choices.  Did I mention I was insanely tired?

Me and my new Ford Flex in my really boring outfit.

KUT From The Kloth bootcut jeans Future Wash -
Caslon charcoal long sleeve ribbed tee -
BP. Nordstrom teal ombré scarf -
Cole Haan 'Justine' Woodbury boots -

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Same Old, Same Old

This photo was taken last week sometime but I forgot to post.  Nothing too exciting here.... same old look with a tee, scarf, and skinny belt but I think this scarf makes it a little bit nice.

Old Navy brown tee w/ extremely low v-neck
Caslon white cami - Nordstrom
KUT From The Kloth wide leg trouser jeans Delight Wash - Nordstrom Rack
Ann Taylor brown & cream abstract scarf
Style & Co. black skinny belt -
Kenneth Cole REACTION 'Ballet Parking' pewter flats - Macy's
Perlina teal croc handbag - Nordstrom
kate spade teal large stud earrings - Bloomingdale's