Friday, July 10, 2015

Anthro: Tag Sale Reviews

I've been pretty busy lately so today was the first opportunity I had to check out Anthro's tag sale. They are running an additional 20% off sale items so I'm glad I waited!

I tried on this shirt dress first. It has lots of pretty details, including the lovely light blue pattern and the eyelet along the sides and back. I also love the collar. I found this dress fit true to size, and the slip inside is integrated into the dress rather than being a separate piece so it's really easy to put on. I seriously considered getting this dress but the volume of the skirt is just a bit too overwhelming for me.

Seapane Dress
Next up was this pretty dress with ties on the straps. The pattern is pretty and for some reason makes me think of summer trips to Europe. Unfortunately, although the dress is silk twill, the lining is made of polyester. Hot, heavy, scratchy, cheap-feeling polyester. Boo.

Tied Acionna Silk Dress

I also tried this lovely dress on in a size small. It was too big, unfortunately, and the neckline was pretty low on me. I did like the draping around the hips as it gives the dress a unique silhouette. I think I would have taken this home if my size had been available. I could not find this one on the website which may mean it's already sold out. Not surprising, since it is very pretty and feminine.

I tried on this dress by HD in Paris. It's made of a stretchy knit material, but fortunately the seams are not as lumpy as other stretchy dresses I've tried on in the past (Tanith dress, I'm looking at you). This is a nice, versatile basic that I can wear to work now and in the winter. For $49.95 minus 20% off, it was an easy decision to bring this home.

Marceline Flounced Sheath

I've seen this dress all over the blogosphere and Instagram. The halter neck has buttons on it rather than a tie which keeps the look very clean and graphic. The horizontal stripes might be intimidating but they're actually very flattering. I love how the black stripe in the middle defines the waist. Unfortunately, the dreaded polyester curse stirkes again. If I can be very whiny for a moment, "Whyyyy, Anthro??? Why? Why make such a beautiful, unique dress in such a cheap material?" Sigh.

Candymint Halter Dress
Have you found any good deals at the tag sale? How do you feel about polyester?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Blue floral

I've always considered Banana Republic my go-to for classic, work-appropriate staples. I am not exaggerating when I say that at least 60% of my work wardrobe comes from Banana Republic. 

I was interested to see how things would change with Marissa Webb taking over as creative director. The new collections seem to be edgier and more contemporary. I had kind of gotten bored with what I was seeing at Banana Republic and this dress is actually the first thing I've bought there in a long time. I like the pretty floral pattern and the subtle high-low hem. I also like the material, which is kind of like a fancy sweatshirt and is super comfortable in addition to draping really nicely.

This dress is sold out, unfortunately, but there is a similar dress in black and white floral which is on sale for 30% off. The black and white version is made of a textured cotton silk blend so it feels a bit more formal.

Outfit details:
Dress: Banana Republic (sold out, similar)
Cardigan: Banana Republic, old (similar on sale)
Shoes: Aerosoles, old
Purse: Lanvin Trilogy (on sale)
Do you ever shop at Banana Republic? What do you think of the new collections?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Reviews: May at Anthro

It's sale season! Lots of retailers are having big sales right now and there are some good deals out there. Sales at Anthropologie seem to have become more common, but you know what? It has been a really, really long time since I've bought anything at Anthro. I can't quite put my finger on the reason why. It might just be that my store doesn't get as much selection as bigger stores in the U.S., or it might be because I'm put off by fit and quality issues.

For example, I saw the Sonora Dress online and was instantly drawn to the pretty colours and loose breezy shape. When I saw it in the sale room last week though, the polyester material felt so cheap and uncomfortable that I didn't even try it on. 

Moonsong Dress
I usually really like Maeve dresses. This one has a pretty, unique pattern and the colours are different from what I tend to gravitate towards. It's made of cotton, fits true to size and has an exposed, contrasting zipper in the back. I like the knee length skirt as well. I wanted to like this dress but it didn't seem to fit quite right. I found the waist of the dress was placed higher than my natural waist, and this made the dress feel really boxy. I think Roxy at Effortless Anthropologie has commented that this seems to be a common Anthro failing lately. Back to the rack for this one.

Pippa Romper
I don't own any jumpsuits. (Sorry, I just can't call them playsuits or rompers... both sound ridiculous to me.) But, I'm trying to be openminded and push my boundaries so I decided to try on this one. Most of the jumpsuits I've tried on thus far have been drapey and have not won me over. This is completely opposite, with thick and substantial fabric and a structured feel. It has pockets and like the dress above, also has a contrasting back zipper. It also felt a touch short waisted. I think it might look better with a belt? I'm not sure about this one. It just reminded me of a post-apocalpytic dystopian uniform.  

I could not find the name of this dress anywhere, but I did actually consider getting this one. I love the neckline and how it draws attention to the shoulders. The colours are pretty, and the length was pretty much perfect... no hemming required. I found it fit true to size. I gave it a pass though because the synthetic fabric felt like it'd be really uncomfortable on a hot summer day.

Fleur Blanche Embroidered Top
This top is so pretty. The details are hard to make out in this photo, and I'm not sure the Anthro website photos are much better. It is covered with embroidered white flowers and lacy details. I found it billowy but not boxy. I didn't get it because I wasn't sure what I would wear it with. 

Pieced Brocade Dress
This dress is basically a variation of the popular Carissima Sheath. It's made by the same designer, Byron Lars. It's definitely a dress that will get attention because of the striking colours and design. It comes with a knotted belt which the model is not wearing on the Anthro website. I found this dress to run a bit smaller than the Carissima Sheath and would probably size up although like the Carissima Sheath, I found that the bum area was a bit loose. It has a nude liner so no need to worry about a wardrobe malfunction. I'm not sure I like the contrasting front zipper, but it's definitely more functional than all of the little hooks on the Carissima Sheath which tend to unhook themselves. I didn't buy this because I already own the Carissima Sheath and can't really justify buying two similar dresses, but this is very pretty and definitely worth a look.

Have you bought anything from Anthropologie lately? Any other sale purchases?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Outfit: Oscar de la Renta

After the Flashdance debacle, I thought it would be hard to convince my husband to go to another musical with me. Luckily, the next musical touring through Calgary was the Book of Mormon.

It's written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creative minds responsible for South Park, with Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) so this should give you an idea of what to expect.

The basic premise: two Mormon boys go to Uganda for their mission. They end up in a village which is under the control of a warlord, General Butt Fucking Naked and set to work helping them the only way they know how: by trying to help them find Jesus.

To be honest, I thought that the show would end with General BFN massacring the entire village for converting to Mormonism. I guess that maybe tells you something about how cynical I am. Or maybe it tells you a bit about my experiences working in other countries.

In any case, that's not actually what happens, although there is a lot of dark humor and irony in the show.

I thought I would find the show offensive and juvenile. It definitely has its moments. One of the most controversial songs, "Hasa diga eebowai" is supposed to translate to "Fuck you, God". Some of the last lines of the song are: "If you don't like what we say, try living here a couple days. Watch all your friends and family die. Hasa diga eebowai". Although I think the show often exploits shock value for laughs, I can't argue with those last lines.

As a musical production, the songs are generally catchy but trite. The second act really seems to drag. There are a lot of cheap shots at the Church of Latter Day Saints, which I found lazy on the part of the writers. In summary: not the best show I've ever seen, but also not the worst.

Bag: Alexander McQueen Knuckle Box Clutch (these are often available for cheaper on The Real Real) (similar)

Outfit details:
Dress: Oscar de la Renta
Scarf: old, from Cambodia
Tights: old, Target
Shoes: Valentino Rockstud Booties (similar but with a low heel)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April showers...

It's been more than a month since I posted for lots of reasons.

I wrote in my last post that March was tough. It was a really busy month for me at work, and then on March 10, one of our friends, Robson Gmoser, died in an avalanche. We hadn't known him for long but he was such a warm person that we really felt like we'd lost a good friend.

A beautiful day at Battle Abbey
Heading over to a run called "Steepness", with Robson in the lead
I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow April was even busier than March.

The one high point of April was our trip to Fairy Meadow. I wasn't sure how I would feel spending time in the backcountry after what happened in March but that joy and wonder that I've always felt in the mountains is still there. I skied 8 days in a row, most days covering more than 20 kilometers with 2000 meters of elevation gain.


I'm hoping May will be a better month and that I'll be able to post weekly again. Thank you for continuing to read!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Anthro: Reviews, mostly dresses

I have to apologize for the lack of posts recently. March has been an unexpectedly tough month.

I did visit the Anthro store in Calgary today. I tried on a few sale items and a few full-price items too. I have to say, it really annoys me that Calgary never seems to get the pieces that catch my eye on the website, and after being burned on the exchange rate and duties in the past, I refuse to order online.

This dress was hanging in the sale room. There are quite a few sizes. It has a 70s vibe, and I can picture a woman with straight, centre-parted hair at a glamorous party wearing this. The dress is quite sheer with a slip underneath. There is a zipper along the side under the arm. The dress runs a bit small to size and I found it hard to zip up the zipper without catching the slip. It's cute and unique but poorly constructed, so this was a pass.

Equinox Pleated Maxi Dress
This is one of the dresses that I featured in my last post as being somewhat Oscar de la Renta inspired. It's made by HD in Paris, and I have a blue skirt with a similar flounce along the hem. It fits true to size.  The eyelet is lined with a nude material. It's still kind of sheer though, and I could very easily see my tights through the two layers of fabric although this doesn't show up great in this photo (fortunately!) It's very pretty but I wasn't completely smitten.

Georgia Eyelet Dress
This is another dress that seems Oscar de la Renta inspired. I noticed in the catalog that it didn't seem to fit the model well around the waist. This wasn't an issue for me, but the bust was quite large. I guess I don't have quite enough to fill this one out! It's made of a shiny material, which is hard to notice from the website or the catalog. I like the knee length. It's very ladylike and I think you could dress this one up or wear it to work. I passed on this one because of fit issues.

Tea Garden Sheath
Lastly, I tried on this blouse. For the sake of these photos, I grabbed a pair of flared jeans. Pilcro jeans don't usually fit me in the calves, but these ones are very stretchy. And high-waisted. They made me think of mom jeans.

The blouse is pretty and fluttery but kind of shapeless. Even the belt at the waist doesn't do much to define it, and I find if you tie it too tightly, it interferes with the ruffles on the sides. It's also very sheer, with a separate camisole inside. Because it has the two layers and the textures are so slippery, I found that I had to think really hard about how to put this one on and not end up with an arm through only one armhole. Or something. Pass.

Rose Garden Kimono Blouse
Pilcro Stet Flare Jeans
Have you been to Anthropologie lately? Anything that you're coveting for spring?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Oscar de la Renta and Anthropologie

I have a particular soft spot in my heart for Oscar de la Renta dresses. They're whimsical and romantic and feminine and just generally magical. I loved Carrie Bradshaw's pink dress in Sex and the City, and I couldn't get enough of the dress Sarah Jessica Parker wore on Glee in this video.

I did notice that quite a few of the dresses on Anthropologie right now seem to be Oscar de la Renta inspired. I also found one at Banana Republic that made me do a double take.
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, available at Neiman Marcus
Dress: Banana Republic
I love the floral overlay on this Oscar de la Renta dress. Wish I had the kind of lifestyle where I could a) afford this dress and b) have somewhere fabulous to wear it!
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, available at Neiman Marcus
Dress: Fiona Eyelet Dress, Anthropologie
These two dresses are very similar in terms of the neckline, the colour, the textured fabric and the belt.
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, available at The Outnet (and on sale for 55% off)
Dress: Winnie Sheath, Anthropologie
The spray of flowers around the waist is a common element in Oscar de la Renta designs. They seem to release a similar version of this dress almost every season. I found two dresses at Anthro with a similar pattern. One is an A-line dress and the other is a sheath.  
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, available at Neiman Marcus

Dress: Sweetheart Roses Dress, Anthropologie
Dress: Tea Garden Sheath, Anthropologie
Eyelet seems to have been a trend for spring/summer. The shirt dresses in particular seem very similar. Although white is definitely more summery, I'd be nervous about getting the dress dirty and would probably opt for black.
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, available at Neiman Marcus
Dress: Georgia Eyelet Dress, Anthropologie
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, available at Neiman Marcus
Dress: Openwork Shirtdress, Anthropologie
Do you have any favourites from the photos I've shared in this post? Have you noticed Anthropologie channeling any other famous designers lately?

(Photos are from the Oscar de la Renta website, Anthropologie, Banana Republic and Neiman Marcus).