Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Oldie, but a Goodie

As I've mentioned several times on this blog, it's been a long time since I bought anything at Anthropologie. Rising prices, declining quality and uninspiring designs are the main reasons why my Anthro obsession has faded.

I bought this dress in 2012. I fell in love with the pretty, romantic red colour, the feminine details like the ruffles and the tie-neck. Plus it's silk! On sale, I'm pretty sure it was $119 or something similar. If it pops back, the price listed is $9.99 which would be amazing. This is the type of dress that I would love to see Anthropologie offer again...

Yesterday, I pulled it out of the closet for a date with my husband at the Trough. With the ruffles and the tie-neck, I felt like it didn't need any accessorizing. I paired it with simple grey suede pumps.

The Trough is our favourite restaurant in Canmore. The food is amazing and the service is always without fault. There are other restaurants in Canmore which also have good food but the service is often slow and lackluster.

The best part of the meal: dessert. I love sticky toffee pudding!
Outfit details: Anthropologie, Ruffled Oska Dress
Shoes: Nine West, old (similar)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Frock and Bike

After 25 years of riding a heavy bike I got from Canadian Tire for $65, my husband bought me a new bike for my birthday. It's from Mountain Equipment Co-op, and has all kinds of fancy features like an integrated hub. Thank you, Jeff!

Despite living in a city that is pretty anti-bike, I cycle almost everywhere in the summer: to work, to get groceries, to visit friends, to go out for dinner or to go to the theatre. I've learned over the years that wearing a skirt or a dress should not be an impediment to bike commuting. 

Here are my tips for riding a bike in a dress:

If you have a longer skirt (ie below knee length), it helps to gather up some of the fabric and tuck it under your bum on the seat. This prevents your skirt from getting caught in the spokes or the chain. It also makes it less likely that your skirt will fly up.

If I'm going a short distance, sometimes I'll cycle with one hand holding the front of my skirt down against the seat.

Another good option is to hold a coin or button behind you, in about the middle of the skirt. Then, take a rubber band or hair elastic and wrap it around the coin from the front of the dress. If this is clear as mud, you can check out this article on Slate for a better explanation.

Finally, you can wear shorts under your skirt or dress for better coverage. This is a good option if you're wearing a tight, short skirt as I've found they tend to ride up as you're pedaling. 

I wore this Club Monaco dress to dinner with my husband a few weeks ago. It's made of silk and cut on the bias, which it makes it really lovely and drapey and flowy. The cutouts are perfect for summer. This dress also comes in pink and a very pretty white and pink floral pattern. I highly recommend it.

A girl and her bike
I love the pretty straps at the back on this dress.
(Husband's fixed gear bike is in the right side of this frame... we're not hipsters, honestly!)
Cycling with my skirt tucked up
New bike even comes with a convenient water bottle/clutch holder!
Exploring new options for clipless pedals
(A word of caution when wearing Charlotte Olympia shoes and cycling: the raised spiderweb on the bottom of the sole actually got stuck on the pedal! It took some very careful wiggling to get it free!)
(Also, if you're curious, the bruising on my back is from cupping.) 
Outfit details:
Dress: Trina Silk Dress, Club Monaco (floral pattern is on sale now!)
Clutch: Arc clutch, Nina Ricci (similar in brown, mine was heavily marked down during Black Friday last year)
Shoes: Day of the Dead shoes, Charlotte Olympia (sold out)
Do you bike commute? Do you live in a bike-friendly city? Have you tried riding a bike wearing a dress?

(PS: I always wear a helmet... just took it off for the photos!)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Another (very) belated birthday post

I'm 35! I had another great birthday. If you can swing it, I would highly recommend making your birthday your own personal stat holiday. I took the day off from work, went to the mall for some birthday freebies, had lunch with my brother, went for a massage, went to a yoga class and then had a beautiful dinner with my husband at Vero Bistro.

This dress was my present to myself. I totally fell in love with the pretty flowers and when it finally went on sale, I couldn't resist. I got this bag during the Black Friday sales last year and it is beautiful and very functional. It's become my go-to bag for traveling because it has so many pockets and compartments. The leather scuffs a bit easily, but apart from that, it's been a good purchase.

Outfit details:
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, sold out
Bag: Proenza schouler, sold out (second hand in jacquard on The Real Real)
Shoes: Nine West, old (similar without an ankle strap, in white)
Do you have any birthday traditions?

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)