Sweater time

dec-18-sweaters

Clockwise, from top left: Gap Girls Textured-Knit Cardigan Sweater, Gap Girls Chenille Cardigan Sweater, Banana Republic Petite Washable Merino Wool Crew-Neck Sweater, J.Crew Mockneck center cable-knit sweater.

Recently I read that J.Crew has or had a “Rule of Three” for their employees. In other words, one or two pieces – say a dress or a top with pants – did not an outfit make. It’s the third item that completes a look. Maybe that third item is a pair of statement shoes, a fun necklace, a scarf, a couple of jackets or a sweater. Maybe one day vests will make a come-back. The eighties did. It could happen.

Layering is the point, and the Rule of Three is one simple way to accomplish that goal without overthinking it (J.Crew’s oft-cited stylist Gayle shared a lot of others a few years ago in this post). One of the earliest style tips I ever received was to invest in a basic cardigan, and the Rule of Three was the reason why. Now I’m of the opinion that one can never own too many sweaters, jackets, and blazers, as you can throw a good one over or under almost everything and be ready for anything. I’m specifically thinking of Carrie running to Miranda on New Year’s Eve in her PJs, and now all I want to do is listen to Patricia Field.

Here are four sweaters I really like right now, all machine washable but not all petite.

Gap Girls Textured-Knit Cardigan Sweater

I have a vintage sweater so similar to this. Love the oversized faux tortoise shell buttons, and cropped hits-at-hip length.

What people have said:

Meh it’s still cute

I’m a petite framed woman and bought this in an XXL. The fit is great, my only complaint is that the photo quality makes the confetti accent yarns look a little more colorful than it actually is. Uniqlo kids has a similar cardigan out right now (but in 3 other colors) that I held off on buying because I ordered this one. Looks like I may have to get one through them after all.

Fabulous!

So soft and cozy! I’m very petite and purchased to wear to work, chose an xxl and it fits great, relaxed fit but not sloppy. However, it is NOT 100% cotton as in description: 60% cotton, 20% acrylic, 20% polyester.

Gap Girls Chenille Cardigan Sweater

Chenille sweaters are so soft and cozy, and often have a nice sheen to the fibers that feels festive. The deep navy color of this one is beautiful for the holidays, but could also be styled year round.

What people have said:

Very pretty and warm!

Fits great- runs a little big. Warm and cuddly and looks fantastic.

Perfect Cozy Sweater

This fits really well on my 4’8″ daughter with a bit of room for growth but not sloppy at all. I purchased a large. It is super soft and cozy. I may purchase the same sweater in the pink color.

Beautiful fall sweater

Lovely and soft chenille. The pockets tempt me to put my hands inside them. It’s so warm, and you can feel the hug of the sweater immediately. It’s a little large in the shoulders, and the arm length, but as a petite woman who bought this in XXL, I’m happy with the fit as it’s better than a little too short. Get this sweater!

Perfect pink chenille cardigan for adults too!

Purchased for myself – the XXL fit like a slightly oversize boyfriend cardigan on me (5’3″, 32DD) – the length just covered my rear. The color is a great neutral pink and the chenille reminds me of a throw – it’s that soft. I like the tortoise buttons but do wish the pockets were somewhat larger (for my adult hands, LOL!). The fabric is very stretchy – I was able to layer a long sleeve tee comfortably under my sweater – usually wear a women’s XS in Gap sweaters. Since the sweater has dropped shoulders, I didn’t look like I had on a girl’s sweater (no pulling across shoulders as an adult I have broader shoulders than a girl or steen). The sleeves fell below my wrists which is perfect. Would give it 5 stars but I have not washed it yet – the garment label says to hand wash but I don’t have time or patience for that – hopefully a delicate machine wash will be okay.

Incredibly soft

I’ve been looking so long for THE right chenille cardigan. This one is if. Not to thick, right shade of color, POCKETS, and not too long! I’m 5’ 1” and this is perfection in XXL. I even got one for my oldest daughter so we could match!

Ripped on first wearing

My daughter LOVED this – so soft and cozy. She wore it once and it got a massive rip under the arm along the seam.

Banana Republic Petite Washable Merino Wool Crew-Neck Sweater

Machine washable 100 percent merino wool in a classic silhouette and petite sizing, which a lot of people are loving. In my opinion, the merino is soft and not itchy at all, but on the thinner side, which makes it good for layering under. The turtleneck version runs true to size, if a bit small, but the sleeves and body length hit at the right places. It was a lot more fitted than the product photo. One reviewer commented that fit varied by color. Let me know about the fit of other styles and colors in the comments below if you can. See all available machine washable merino styles here.

J.Crew Mockneck center cable-knit sweater

Cotton, no petite sizing run available or product reviews, but great fall color options and silhouette if you can fit into it. Length 24″.

Advertisements

Review: goddess garden spf 30 everyday mineral sunscreen

GG_Everday_6oz_Tube_rgb_website

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for following along here.

As retailer websites continue to crash, and mall traffic continues to gridlock, I’d like to talk about something mundane and irrelevant to it all. Sunscreen.

Every year as I sit down to write my New Year’s resolutions, I find myself on the Environmental Working Group’s website looking at their sunscreen ratings. It used to be you’d go to your nearest drugstore, and pick the cheapest tube off the brightly lit shelf. Then we learned that a lot of the chemicals in sunscreen ironically are linked to cancer or some other toxic and miserable consequence. I started to look for mineral, physical block sunscreens sans chemicals, and discovered that these often used thick and heavy nut oil grease to bind the oxides to your skin. And this makes a lot of these products very greasy, sometimes itchy, and always rather unpleasant. A lot of people didn’t like these products because they’d make you look like an eighteenth century geisha, which was never the goal. Inevitably, I’d return back to the drug store staples and cross my fingers.

Then I discovered brands like Shiseido and Coola, higher-end brands that some people swear by. They cost more and smell a lot better and have cuter packaging, but often still rely on the same industry standard active ingredients that drugstore products use: avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene (octinoxate is one of two chemicals banned in sunscreens in Hawaii by 2021, the other is oxybenzone). If titanium or zinc oxide were a component, they’d always be in the minority. Although they were much more wearable than drugstore products, I couldn’t justify the cost. (Now I see both of these brands offer mineral based products, and that is interesting. Please let me know if you’ve tried them what you think in the comments.) One thing that still bothers me about Shiseido is the persistent inclusion of dimethicone, parabens, and the preservative BHT.

But guys, drugstore products are getting better! I’ve finally finished a whole travel sized tube of goddess garden organics (they lowercase their brand name) Everyday SPF 30 sunscreen. The packaging is the same as pictured above. Active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide 6.4%, Zinc Oxide 6.0%. EWG scores this as a 1, which is the most benign rating.

I love the travel size packaging, which conveniently allows you to try the product without making a huge commitment (also great for travel). The best thing about this product to me is the low EWG score, and if that is the most important thing to you, this is the least greasy wholly mineral sunscreen I’ve found so far. It smells nice, but for me is still too greasy, and does make your skin noticeably white. I think it is too heavy a product for everyday use if you are indoors most of the day, say working in an office environment. For outdoor use, you need to constantly reapply if you’re sweating or in the water, but it doesn’t seem to sting the eyes. I still would burn using this product, probably because the stated water resistance is only 40 minutes, which isn’t very long, and I wasn’t able to reapply every 40 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend this product as a high intensity sport sunscreen or for ocean use for this reason (it doesn’t seem to stay put well in water). If you are doing land based sports where you can easily reapply often, it may be okay.

If you are thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there were a mineral sunscreen in a convenient spray can? Think again! I tried the Alba Botanica Herbal Fresh Spray Refreshing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 35, and it literally sprayed thick, white, greasy sunscreen out in clumps that were impossible to rub in. Do not buy this product unless you want to be covered in a paint splattering of white sunscreen spots! I’ve refused to purchase any mineral spray products since. The technology is not there yet.

What’s your go-to sunscreen? Do you have more than one? Does it contain octinoxate or oxybenzone?

 

Review: Lucky Brand Made In L.A. Lucky Pins High Rise Jean In Stark

7W14062_410_9Made in L.A. Lucky Pins High-Rise Jean in Stark, made in Los Angeles from some of the last denim woven at the historic Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina, dyed by Stoney Creek Colors from indigo grown in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

I read somewhere once that jeans are the most profitable garment in retail fashion. Or something like that. Don’t quote me. Denim fashion moves surprisingly fast nowadays for what started as a utilitarian garment designed with durability in mind for those doing real work, by which I mean, work that is really hard, like mining. Fast forward to the nineteen-nineties, rises seriously dropped. Denim became stretchier, and thinner. Bagging out after half a day of wear crept up on us after the turn of the century, an unresolved issue we all tolerated for way too long. And when every conceivable poly-spandex-cotton blend was tried, we moved on to mid-rise, and then rediscovered high-rise. Once I had mostly given up hope of ever seeing it again, one-hundred percent cotton denim made a come-back.

Yet most of the one-hundred percent cotton jeans I’ve seen are constructed of thinner material, often highly distressed, and are not weighty or durable enough to withstand actual physical labor. They are a far cry from their origin. The same is true of blended denim fabrics, which is what almost every pair of jeans I pick up is, a polyester blend comparatively lacking in breathability. Levi’s are perhaps the most iconic and well-known American denim still made today, although no longer in America, and more often than not, no longer pure cotton. Try as I might, I have never found a pair of Levi’s small enough to fit properly, vintage or otherwise. They just do not make jeans in petite sizes.

Lucky Brand does not specifically cater to petites either. They don’t market petite sizing. Yet I’ve noticed that some items they make here and there run small enough to work on a petite frame. Generally, this fills a void in petite mall fashion since most affordable brands catering to petites make conservative office attire. Specifically, this sizing fluke holds true for the Made in L.A. Lucky Pins High Rise Jean in Stark wash, offering petites everywhere a rare opportunity to purchase a truly American denim product off the rack that fits.

Lucky Brand’s Made in L.A. Lucky Pins High Rise Jean in Stark wash is a hidden gem for several reasons. These jeans are well-made in Los Angeles of a HIGH QUALITY (emphasis earned) medium to heavy weight (depending on your definition) high cotton content denim fabric (ninety-nine percent cotton, one percent spandex; no polyester, nylon, rayon, or recycled plastic water bottles) that is manufactured and dyed in the U.S. According to the Lucky Brand website, the fabric was made by Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina, which has since sadly closed, and dyed by Stoney Creek Colors with plant-derived indigo grown in Nashville. There is a small bit of distressing (see product page photos or lead photo above), but it is minor. Aside from the imported trim (the labels?), this is easily one of the most American items I have ever seen made in modern times.

This pair of jeans makes all other jeans look like tattered old rags destined for the garbage. This is the kind of pant that Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard had in mind when he created his Stand-up Short. This is the kind of quality that America was once known for that fast-fashion has obliterated. The decidedly classic fit that will stand the test of time ensures this product will stay off the radar of trendy mainstream fashion blogs everywhere.

Fit is described on the product page as “High-rise, slim fit, with a tapered leg.” For me, the fit is Ralph Lauren on his horse ranch, and I love the utility of it and its nod to humble Americana. Since the brand’s size chart is lacking in detail, size 25 measures as follows, laying flat:

13.5 in across waist
17 in across hip
11 in front rise
13 in back rise
25.5 in inseam

One reviewer commented that this style runs narrow in the hip. I agree that compared to other brands, the hip may run slightly narrow. The shorter inseam is the result of a cropped design. Both of these factors may work in favor of someone that is petite and slim searching for a full length jean. Since the leg is cut straighter than a skinny style jean, there were no issues with the knee hitting at the wrong place for me. The fit is very flattering as a looser style. It may not work for someone more curvy without sizing up and tailoring the waist down, assuming you can size up enough to accommodate your hips.

If you are looking for a looser, slouchy, boyfriend jean style fit, I recommend sticking with the regular version of whatever size you normally take in petite. If you are looking for a snug and fitted jean, I recommend trying one size down. The fabric gives a little if you keep following the care label (machine wash delicate, line dry), so if it starts to get too baggy for my liking I will tighten it up in the dryer on low heat, delicate cycle.

An absolutely rare convergence of every detail I look for in denim fulfilled and delivered at too reasonable a price, this is a holy grail product for me that deserves to be right up there next to the original L.L. Bean boot and Tabasco sauce. Grab your pair now because the mill is closed and jeans of this quality may never be available again in our lifetime.

There is also a destroyed, lighter colored denim wash called Wilkins, which is the same fabric content of ninety-nine percent cotton, one percent spandex. View all L.A.-made items here.

What is your go-to pair of jeans? What do jeans mean to you?

All of the major Waterpik models compared to each other in one review

waterpik-review

Years ago I used Waterpiks similar to their current WP-72 and WP-100 countertop models (not pictured above). Then I moved on to their current WP-360 cordless model (left most in the image above). Now I have moved on to their WP-660 countertop model (second to left in above image). If you have an old Waterpik and are wondering if there have been any significant design improvements, the answer is yes.

There are a few reasons why I switched from a countertop model like the WP-100 to the cordless WP-360:

  1. Easier to use – there is no cord getting in the way, no extra features, just turn it on and off
  2. Less counter space – the cordless model takes up less counter space
  3. Less clunky – the old counter top models were large and clunky and were aesthetically unpleasing

There are a few reasons why I switched from the cordless WP-360 to the countertop WP-660:

  1. After many years the battery life of the WP-360 was not as good
  2. Plugging in the bulky charger and unplugging was a bit of a hassle
  3. The water capacity of the built in reservoir on the WP-360 is too small and you run out of water while using it and need to refill it
  4. The counter top models have a higher maximum pressure than the cordless models
  5. The WP-660 is a little smaller than old countertop models. It’s much more aesthetically pleasing in its design compared to old countertop models, and comes in several different color options now including matte plastic finishes that are not glossy.

I initially thought I might upgrade to another cordless model. After years of dealing with a clunky plug on the WP-360, I really liked the magnetic battery charging system on the WP-560. Unfortunately, if you read the WP-560 reviews on the Waterpik website, it’s clear that the magnetic charger is designed to be disconnected after 3-4 hours and if you don’t disconnect it within this time frame it stops working. I expect a lot of people plug in the cordless models overnight and unplug them the next day. Adding a bulky timer on the outlet end is a potential work around but aesthetically this defeats the purpose of a sleek magnetic charger.

The other downside of the cordless models is the reduced maximum water pressure. The pressure range for cordless models is 45 to 75 psi while the corded countertop models have a pressure range of 10 to 100 psi. When they say 45 to 75 psi, there is a high and low setting (except on the WP-560 Cordless Advanced which has a medium pressure setting) so there is no toggling between the ranges. You either get 45 or 75 psi (or somewhere in the middle on the Cordless Advanced). As the battery declines so does the pressure. On the countertop Aquarius models, you can adjust the pressure in increments of 10 psi so there are a lot more options and you don’t have to worry so much about losing pressure over time because there is no battery to lose a charge. It’s nice to have more pressure options for a beginner user or a household with many different users. It might not be as critical for a seasoned user, but the person used to Waterpiks will probably want the higher pressure settings that only the corded countertop models can provide.

Thoughts on the WP-660 / Aquarius(R) Professional

Overall I am very happy with the WP-660. Past models had a removable lid that held all your flosser tips. It was clunky and bulky and probably ended up being thrown out. The design of the Aquarius(R) Professional is better. People with large fingers or families may find the two flosser tip storage wedged in beside the reservoir annoying. You may need to remove the reservoir to access the flosser tips. For a household greater than two or if you’re someone that uses all the different flosser tips Waterpik offers, you may need to devise alternative storage. But for those that put design over these aspects, this is an improvement. No more loose lid floating around cluttering up your space.

Removing and replacing the water reservoir on the WP-660 is easier and more enjoyable than all previous iterations of this product.

The only gripe I have with the WP-660 is that out of the box, the reservoir has a slow leak. It doesn’t have a good seal like the older models used to out of the box. I’m not the first or only person to have this problem. Maybe it will improve with use? I’m not sure. It’s a pretty slow leak so I’ve decided to live with it for now and contact Waterpik if it becomes unusable.

People that are new to Waterpik may find the highest pressure setting of 100 psi too much. It’s a little intense. But it’s definitely an improvement to have psi options above let’s say 60, which is my wild estimate of the output on an old WP-360 that doesn’t fully charge anymore.

The built-in massage feature reminds me of their competitor, the Phillips Sonicare Air Floss. It’s basically a pulse of water, followed by a pause, followed by the next pulse of water. I’m not sure what the pressure of the pulse is, but it’s definitely less than the maximum available 100 psi. I’m not sure how useful this setting is. If you regularly use the massage option, please let us know in the comments how you like it.

I like the On/Off slider switch on the handle better than the On/Off button of the WP-360. It’s just easier to use. Apparently others found the button design lacking as there is an improved button on the top of the line Cordless Advanced now (and switches on the other cordless models).

The only difference between the WP-660 Aquarius(R) Professional and WP-670 Aquarius(R) Professional Designer series that I can see is the expanded color options of the WP-670. For $10 or so more, you have access to additional colors. The last digit of the model number changes for each color. Here’s a rundown:

WP-660 and WP-670 / White
WP-662 and 672 / Black
WP-663 and 673 / Navy Blue
WP-674 / Pink
WP-675 / Orchid (Purple)
WP-676 / Teal (Aqua)

What I can’t figure out is what the difference between 660 and 670, 662 and 672, and 663 and 673 are. The WP-660 looks like it might be glossy compared to the WP-670 that looks more matte. The WP-662 and 672 both appear to be matte, however, as do the other colors available.

If you have an older countertop model, I would say it is worth upgrading at some point. The WP-660 is easier to use and nicer to look at.

Thoughts on the Sidekick(R)

You may be wondering what about the Sidekick(R)? It arguably looks better than the WP-660 and 670 series (third from left in image above). In addition to White, Black, and Navy Blue, the Sidekick comes in Rose Gold, automatically making it destined to be a blogger favorite. The Sidekick has global voltage and the base stores neatly inside the reservoir making it a great option for travelers or international users. Well, here are some of the more significant cons:

  1. No on/off switch at all on the handle
  2. Smaller reservoir capacity (60 vs 90 seconds of flow; 13 vs 22 ounces)
  3. Five pressure settings instead of ten (but same pressure range)
  4. Flosser tip does not rotate

The Sidekick also only comes with one flosser tip instead of the seven included with the Aquarius models. It looks like the only storage available for tips is the handle itself, which makes it perfect for one person.

I hesitate to add that I’m not sure how easy it is to remove and replace the reservoir. It looks like it may be more difficult than on the Aquarius but I haven’t tested it and can’t say for sure.

To me, this is for the person that needs the 75 to 100 psi range while travelling for the short-term or anyone that is willing to forgo the conveniences of the larger Aquarius models in favor of compactness, weight savings, and potentially aesthetics. The Sidekick also retails for 40 USD more than the Aquarius Designer series and 50 USD more than the Aquarius Professional series.

For those willing to forgo the higher pressure settings or who want maximum portability, a cordless model may be something to consider.

Cordless Waterpiks

All of the cordless Waterpik models have the same pressure range of 45 to 75 psi. The Cordless Advanced model breaks this down into 3 pressure settings while the other models have 2.

Besides pressure range, some of the other significant drawbacks of the WP-360 are listed below. Then we will go into how these drawbacks have been addressed and improved in their other models.

  1. Reservoir is too small
  2. NiMH battery is not replaceable, declines over time
  3. On/Off button is not as good as newer button/slider options
  4. Reservoir is not removable and is difficult to clean – over time this can become the reason why you would throw it away despite the battery still being functional
  5. Refilling the reservoir from the top is difficult because the opening is small and you need enough sink clearance to place the Waterpik vertically under the faucet

Reservoir:

The Cordless Advanced and Cordless Plus have a larger reservoir capacity than the other three models at 7 ounces versus 5. This is still much smaller than the smallest countertop model.

Battery:

The Cordless Freedom (WF‑03CD010) and Cordless Express (WF‑02W010) both run on AA batteries that are replaceable while the other models use NiMH batteries that are not replaceable.

The Cordless Plus has a similar plug to the WP-360, but the Cordless Advanced has a cool magnetic charger. It bears repeating that the Cordless Advanced magnetic charger must be disconnected within 4 hours or so of charging or you risk irreversibly damaging the equipment. Although it would be much easier to use otherwise, and easier to clean, this is a major disadvantage.

On the upside, the Freedom, Express, and Advanced can all be used in the shower whereas the Plus should not be according to Waterpik.

On/Off button:

The Cordless Advanced has an improved On/Off button compared to the WP-360. The other models have On/Off switches, also an improvement over the WP-360 button.

Removable reservoir:

The reservoir appears to be removable on all models except the WP-360. It’s not explicitly shown for the Cordless Advanced or Cordless Plus the way you can see it in the product videos on the Waterpik website for the Cordless Freedom and Cordless Express, but if they included it on these latter models one would expect this feature to be included on the Cordless Advanced and Cordless Plus. The reservoir design does look similar across all of these models, whereas the WP-360 reservoir is clearly different.

Refilling reservoir:

While you refill the reservoir from the top on the WP-360, all of the other cordless Waterpik models refill from the side (see right most model in image above). This reduces the minimum sink clearance required to refill a cordless Waterpik considerably.

Pulses/minute:

The WP-360 and Cordless Plus have 1450 pulses per minute. The other models have less at 1200 (Cordless Freedom and Cordless Express) and 1250 (Cordless Advanced). For comparison, the Aquarius Professional series countertop models have 1400.

Rotating tips:

The Cordless Freedom and Cordless Express do not have rotating tips. The other cordless models do.

Bottom line:

While the other models are clearly an improvement on several counts from the WP-360, the best model for your needs will depend on specs like battery life, reservoir capacity, handle switch type, and other differences. Here’s a side by side comparison table of only the differences between the cordless models currently available.

Cordless model Advanced Plus Freedom Express WP-360
MSRP (USD) 99.99 54.99 44.99 36.99 37.99
Black WP-562 WP-462 WF-03CD012 WF-02W012
Blue WP-563 WP-463
Orchid WP-565 WP-465
White WP-560 WP-450 WF-03CD010 WF-02W010 WP-360
Rose Gold WP-569
Flow rate/minute

Pulses/min

10 oz /
300 ml1250
10 oz /
300 ml1450
8 oz /
260 ml1200
8 oz /
260 ml1200
8 oz /
260 ml1450
Pressure settings 3 2 2 2 2
Chrome accents Yes
Travel bag Yes Yes
Travel plug Yes Yes
Quiet Ultra Quiet
Handle switch Push button On/Off slider On/Off slider On/Off slider Push button
LED function indicator Yes
Shower safe Yes Yes Yes
Included tips 4 4 3 2 2
Classic low pressure 1 tip
Classic high pressure 2 tips 1 tip
Classic flossing 2 tips 2 tips 2 tips
Orthodontic 1 tip 1 tip 1 tip
Plaque seeker 1 tip 1 tip
Capacity 7 oz /
210 ml
7 oz /
210 ml
5 oz /
150 ml
5 oz /
150 ml
5 oz /
150 ml
Capacity (seconds) 45 45 30 30 30
Voltage Global; 100-240 VAC, 60/50 Hz North America Only; 120 VAC/60Hz North America Only; 120 VAC/60Hz
Battery replaceable No No Yes Yes No
Charging system 4 hr Magnetic Standard Standard
Battery type NiMH NiMH AA AA NiMH
LED charging indicator Yes No No No No
Height with tip/brush (in/cm) 11.60 / 29 11.65 / 29.56 11.75 / 30.00 11.75 / 30.00 11.90 / 30.22
Max width (base, in/cm) 2.80 / 7.10 2.74 / 6.95 2.50 / 6.35 2.50 / 6.35 1.82 / 4.62
Mad depth (base, in/cm) 4.00 / 10.20 3.80 / 9.65 3.63 / 9.20 3.63 / 9.20 3.00 / 7.62
Unit weight (lb/kg) 0.80 / 0.360 0.74 / 0.337 0.75 / 0.343 0.73 / 0.329 0.66 / 0.300
Shipping weight (lb/kg) 1.43 / 0.650 1.36 / 0.620 1.05 / 0.476 1.00 / 0.457 1.30 / 0.590
Warranty 24 months 24 months 12 months 12 months 12 months
Cordless model Advanced Plus Freedom Express WP-360

 

Review: Athleta Girl Waterfall Wrap

athleta-girl-waterfall-wrap

Athleta Girl Waterfall Wrap

If you have been on the hunt for a waterfall cardigan in smaller sizes, here finally is one that is still kind of in stock. The fabric is a heathered gray most similar to the first product photo on the Athleta site. The color thumbnail on the product page shows the color as striped but there are no stripes. It feels like a soft jersey knit on the outside and a soft terry knit on the inside, but it’s a machine washable modal-spandex blend. The fabric is on the thinner side, but warm for it’s weight. I don’t know how it will hold up over time. One reviewer commented on its tendency to snag, and I can see that happening. Still, seems like a versatile piece that will take you from business casual office to the gym or outdoors. The waterfall design in front is flattering and not too overwhelming on a petite frame, but the shoulders run slightly wide and the sleeve length slightly long. It may shrink up a tiny bit in the wash to fit perfectly, or you may be able to size down one size. Currently on sale.

Here are some reviews from other petite ladies:

★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

So soft and comfy!

Love this wrap, wish I could get it in every color, but only the one was on sale. I’m usually an XS in adult. I’m 105lbs and 5’2”. So comfortable and soft it feels like you’re still in pajamas.

 

★★★★★★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

The best purchase from Athleta

I love love love this wrap!!! I am 5’1” and 105 lbs. and bought it in a large in Athleta Girl. I wear it with every item I have…I’d buy more colors. Please add more colors everywhere- adult and Girl. And better ones!!!

 

★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

Cute style

I’m a 5’7” and 127 lb adult. I’m usually a size XS/S or 2/4. This is my first time purchasing from the girls section! I tried a size medium on in the store and felt that the arms were too tight. So, I ordered a large and it fits perfectly! Nice color and weight of fabric – thin and light. Easy piece to throw in your bag when traveling incase you get cold. Good for cool summer evenings etc. I like the pockets, although they aren’t really functional for anything but putting your hands in. I’m not sure if the quality is quite as good but I’m gong to give it a try and see how it wears.

 

★★★★★★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

Super soft and comfortable

I love this wrap. It go’s with everything and is super soft and comfortable. It can be worn with almost everything. Great purchase.

 

★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

She loves it!

My 12 year old LOVES this wrap! She’s worn it every day since it arrived – to dance, school, and just hanging at home. A great find!

 

★★★★★★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

Versatile and amazing quality and comfort

I needed something that I could wear as a layer to and from workouts AND over a cami for work. This piece provides exactly that and much more! I’m petite so I can wear Athleta Girl and I also share it with my 10 year old!!

Review: J.Crew Mercantile V-neck T-shirt

jcrew-mercantile-t-shirt

Mahogany, Stone, Rich Gold (left to right)

At first I was not much of a fan of the J.Crew Mercantile V-neck broken-in t-shirt, despite it being 100 percent cotton. That’s because when I put it on, it was pretty tight in some areas and pretty baggy in others and not really the sleek, minimalist silhouette that the product photos sold. I wasn’t that surprised. Past t-shirts from J.Crew in that size were pretty fitted, but those were designed to be and this one wasn’t.

It is surprisingly difficult to find a great t-shirt. “Vintage” cotton fabrics often have a good hand only to develop holes after a few washes. I’ve resigned to accept these holes as part of the look even though I’m sure there are people out there that think I look dreadful. Who cares. The fabric feels so nice and comfortable.

Finding a high quality fabric that will last and isn’t sheer is not the only challenge. Shoulders are too tight, arm holes are too large or small, the body is too baggy or fitted, the neckline is too deep or high, the length is too cropped or too long. I suppose these problems are typical of anything made at the industrial scale to fit everyone and thereby no one.

The thing is, the simpler and plainer an item is, the better it should fit. It’s like when a chef puts something classic on their menu like mac and cheese and prices it as though it were a steak. It better be the best damn mac and cheese out there, and it better not be microwaved.

I went out on a limb and decided to keep that J.Crew t-shirt for a couple of reasons. It is really hard to find an off-white color that isn’t horrid on my skin tone. The Stone color is more beige than oatmeal with gray rather than yellow undertones (in my novice opinion), unlike the product photos online, but it’s the closest thing to the color of an old shirt I like from ten or more years ago that desperately needs to be relegated to the rag pile.

It’s also hard to find a t-shirt that is neither cropped or tunic-like. This one hits right at the hip. Normal sized people are complaining in the reviews that this shirt runs too short and cropped. For me it is perfect for pairing with high rise bottoms. For the first time since 1988, people will actually know I am wearing a higher rise with this shirt.

Also the v-neck is surprisingly not too deep. It is rather well proportioned for a petite person.

And then after wearing this shirt for a day, it stretched out to comfortable and body skimming. Who knew that could happen. That might mean the fabric is thin and lacking in durability. I’m not sure. I do like it enough to recommend you give it a shot if you’re looking for that perfect t-shirt. I recommend Stone, Mahogany (deep red), Rich Gold (marigold yellow), and White, in that order.

Update: 

After about two washes, the hem seam has started to unravel. Wow, J.Crew is not making t-shirts like they used to!

Review: Teva Flatform Universal Sandal

teva-flatform-review-petite

Teva Original, Midform Universal, and Flatform Universal (top to bottom)

I’ve been using the Teva Flatform Universal (chunkiest platform) for a couple of months now. Overall I like them, but there are some quirks that could be worked out.

Sizing

I think they run true to size. They are only offered in US size 5 to 11 right now. If your feet are smaller than US size 5M, check out the Children section on their website for youth sizes 11 to 3. The Hurricane XLT 2 is the most similar style to the Women’s Original style pictured above (top sandal). It’s a neutral all black sandal that’s supposed to have improved traction. Unfortunately there aren’t any smaller sized options with a platform. Teva, please extend your sizing for the Midform and Flatform Universal! Not everyone fits between 5 and 11. People with half sizes are guided to size up, but that may not work for everyone.

Comfort

The Flatform Universal is fairly comfortable. It is a great option for people that cannot wear wedge heels. They give height and elongate the leg. They put a lot of foam between your feet and the ground and have been surprisingly stable given how chunky the platform is. The straps took a while to get used to and were quite stiff initially. After some breaking in, they are much more comfortable. They still cut into my smallest toes on the outer foot side enough to be noticeable but not enough to cause blisters or anything. My pair are a little big/loose and I can tell that they would be more comfortable if they were my true size. The straps hit further forward on my foot than ideal, and the heel strap is pretty useless. They are still reasonably comfortable despite this sizing issue. After walking all day on paved surfaces, your feet do feel tired and achy and like they need a break from these shoes.

Platform height

I like that the Flatform Universal (highest height) makes you so much taller. I thought the thicker platform would be most comfortable just because there is more foam to cushion. I’m not sure about this now. On unpaved and uneven surfaces, I find myself wishing my feet were a little closer to the ground so I think these are best for urban walking on paved surfaces or well maintained and even unpaved surfaces (like a dirt parking lot or something). If I were repurchasing, I might give up the height for the Midform Universal which I think could be useful on a wider variety of terrains and thus more universal.

Insole material

Over the years there have been a lot of cool collaborations and different styles to choose from, some with leather lined insoles. I wanted a sandal that I could walk in water with, and the synthetic material used for the insole on all three of the styles pictured above work well for this application.

Tread

The tread performed well generally in urban settings, but does not have as much traction as I expected on wet surfaces. The tread becomes a little slippery on wet slick surfaces and this is disappointing. It’s not great on unpaved surfaces like those you might encounter boulder hopping or while light hiking, as the marketing implies. People rave about Chacos for those kinds of activities and so I expected something similar from the tread of these, and their performance underwhelmed.

Velcro

A little annoying but not that bad.

Arch

This sandal has a lower arch than Chacos, but still does provide some arch support.

Style

The added platform definitely makes these more versatile in my opinion. They seem trendier and more fashion forward with some platform (either Midform or Flatform). Unless you’re tall with long legs, the Original style sans platform evokes a constant image of granola munching treehugger coming off some rugged mountain trail no matter where you go, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, one can take the platform from a walking path to a mall to a festival and never lose any of the youthful coolness that the simple addition of a platform imparts.

Bottom line

In a nutshell, worth a try. Improvement suggestions: extended sizing, better traction on wet/slippery surfaces.

If you wear these, do you wear yours with socks?