Seeking: petite denim

Gap’s jeans are running small. I tried about half a dozen pairs of skinny and legging denim and could easily size up to regular sizing in all of them except for the inseam. My usual size in petite sizing was actually too tight, but the inseam was correct. Taking the regular size version of my typical petite size in an ankle or crop length jean is what would work best for me. And that’s probably why all of those styles are sold out in the small sizes.

Waist gaps are finally totally gone, as is saggy butt syndrome (from the fabric stretching out over the course of the day while wearing), as far as I can tell. I haven’t worn the current fabric all day, but generally there is less stretch and less cotton than in the past so I’d say it’s looking good on that front. If you’re looking not for black or white jeans but for blue denim, the color options weren’t perfect (not navy enough, too light, too faded, etc) nor were the cuts the most flattering (acceptable, but no WOW factor) nor was the fabric the best (so much synthetic fiber that I think breathability must be compromised). The pockets on the regular sizing were a bit too large so that might be one benefit of going up a size in petite sizing versus looking for an ankle or crop length regular size.

Over at J.Crew I looked at denim also, as well as other things. A round-up of thoughts:

Girls’ garment-dyed runaround jeans

The fabric feels very polyester and not so much cotton, not at all as good as the old toothpick denim. I really did not like the feel of the fabric. They are supposedly “terry-like” inside so that they are “comfy like leggings.” It didn’t seem too “sweatpants fleece” in there (unless that starts further down the leg; I only felt near the waist band), and it did not seem too thick or hot for summer wear.

8″ mid rise and 9″ high rise toothpick jeans

I tried these in regular sizing (whereas I would typically take petite). They both fit well everywhere except the inseam. I like the higher 9″ rise; it’s very flattering. However, the fabric of the 8″ mid rise jean felt better. Fabric quality definitely varied a lot across the different colors and styles. I’m not linking either because I’m not totally sure exactly which color I tried as it wasn’t clearly stated in the store.

Funnelneck shirt in chambray

This was probably the best top they had in store. A lot of the other cotton shirts were pretty thin and just didn’t seem as great quality as past seasons. The Funnelneck shirts in the stripe colorways were made of a different fabric that lacked nubbiness and were more sateen-like. They did not carry any of the solid color versions of this shirt.

Everything else was pretty underwhelming. There is a t-shirt campaign to help decipher the different options, but it is more confusing and unclear than ever. Please just make one great t-shirt. I don’t even want to look at the t-shirt wall and try to figure it out.

My store carries swimwear now, but unfortunately none of the most successful styles made it there (I’m looking at you, French bikini top). They are filling the racks right now with Playa swimwear (thin and flimsy), one-pieces with large words on them (not classic at all), and other styles that just aren’t of the same quality as the French bikini top. For example, the Tie-front bikini top in piqué nylon (runs small – all their tops seem to run small but there bottoms run large?) is cute and there is a white option not on the website right now but the fabric is thin and flimsy (although there is padding and it is lined). It just felt cheap and like it wouldn’t last long. Even the beach cover-ups they had (eyelet) just weren’t as classic or well made as past styles.

There was a stack of the palm print (white on charcoal) tote bag in store (can’t find this online anymore). Exciting, until I realized every – single – one had the palm offset or cut off and barely there, and the print was predominantly nondescript flowers. One actually had the palm tree upside down.

Mercantile merchandise was everywhere and not easily distinguishable from standard J.Crew items. Lots of polyester dresses with cheap elasticized waistbands that look like tween store offerings and Point Sur items that look more like Lucky Brand.

Also no one ever greeted me in the store, asked me if I needed help, or even spoke to me in the dressing room. There were new people working and the vibe was a little more pretentious than ever. I know they are looking for a new store manager, but what’s up with that?

After seeing Mercantile, Point Sur, Playa, and that upside down palm tree, I believe the the old J.Crew can’t come to the phone right now. Because it’s dead.

* Please join me now in silent prayer for an immediate course correction. *

* Thank you. *

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Spring 2018 Gap/BR

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Gap makes denim now without waist gaps! I tried on a mid-rise True Skinny jean in regular sizing recently and it was nearly perfect even though I typically take petite sizing. There was no waist gap, it was fitted throughout, and was just a tiny bit long in the inseam, hitting just below true ankle. They were pretty flattering except for the fact that there was wrinkling in the knee area due to the jeans being slightly too tight. I tried to find the same style online to link here but can’t (even though they were fully stocked in store).

I also tried a mid rise True Skinny jean in Sculpt fabric (above, here). Their product photos online have featured curvier models and so I expected the cut of the denim to not work for slimmer figures, but these actually ran so small that if I were buying petite sizing, I’d consider sizing up one size. I didn’t think I’d like the Sculpt fabric but it really sucks you in and I’ll definitely keep it in mind going forward.

Both pairs of jeans I tried had about 88 percent cotton in the fabric blend, but I noticed that the fabric content as well as inseam length vary widely amongst the many different styles they offer even within the same category (ankle, cropped, etc). This makes shopping online a special kind of nightmare! At least they provide some info on inseam length in the product descriptions now.

More interesting were the batik inspired offerings including this robe, which was more of a ballpoint pen blue than navy in person, and this linen blend swing jacket, both made in Indonesia if I remember correctly. Neither are offered in petite sizing. I tried the swing jacket and it could work for some. The fabric was a nice weight, not thin or flimsy, and it’s machine washable. I don’t need another jacket, although it’s nice to see Gap offering some nicer pieces again after a very long hiatus. Everyone loves these kinds of straw totes.

The last thing I like at Gap right now is this straw tote. I like the black option as well.

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I finally tried the Sloan again, more specifically this one (above), and I was pleasantly surprised. Banana Republic has vastly improved the fit of this pant. There no longer is a waist gap, baggy thighs, or saggy butt. The inseam off the rack is perfection. Alas, the wrinkling extra fabric in the crotch region has been reduced, but has not been fully eliminated, and this is why it went to the reject pile. You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the product video on their website as the model walks and turns. The stretch of this fabric will make this pant outstanding as soon as they fix the crotch issue. So close.

Also tried the Petite Skinny Zero Gravity Light Wash Ankle Jean with Fray Hem. Wow, that is a really long product name! No waist gap, excellent fit off the rack. Just a handful of denim in petite sizing available online unfortunately. It’s great to see denim options that are made in the USA on their website (and unfortunately a higher price point to match) though, but all the petite styles I checked were imported.

In the sale section, this knit midi dress with a-line skirt and tie-back at the neckline looks cute and is fully stocked in all petite sizes in the olive/brown color.

There is not much else to speak about at BR. I’m not sure what the deal is with BR. While Old Navy has been on a winning streak for years, and Gap is slowly making a comeback, BR seems to be on a downhill slide. I will say that their items look better in store than online in general, but how many people are checking the brick and mortar first before the website?

The best thing at Old Navy right now is this 100 percent cotton Distressed Denim Jacket in petite sizing!

Spring 18 Old Navy / boho looks worth a look

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Old Navy has a lot of great floral prints right now and boho style items that I’m loving. In particular I like the cotton-rayon blend fabric they are using for a lot of these floral items. Generally I am not a fan of rayon as it doesn’t breathe as well as cotton and tends to shrink when laundered. The cotton blend is an improvement over the pure rayon used in past years, although some of the items I’m going to talk about here are described as pure rayon. I’ve been on the look out for winning boho styles since they are trendy now. It is hard to find petite friendly bohemian pieces otherwise when brands that fill this niche like Free People do not stock petite sizing. Anthropologie is a good option now that they carry petite sizing, but the price point is higher, they tend to prefer high maintenance fabrics, requiring dry cleaning or shrinking in the wash, and quality is highly variable since they carry so many brands.

Up first is the Boho Tassel-Tie Swing Top for Women (also in a navy based Orange Blossom print) with trendy ruffles and tassles. I like the print. It obviously looks great paired with white, which is so hot right now, and it will flatter a lot of different body types due to the looser fit. The sleeves look a little awkward in length in the product image, but that may be a good sign for petites. It comes in regular, petite, and tall sizing, and it just came out so sizes are well stocked. This print reminds me a lot of Ann Taylor.

Yellow is even more exciting to me than white or floral right now. Honestly, white is not my jam. I am much more a fan of taupes or off-white colors than pure white. It can be challenging to select a non-pure-white neutral that flatters a variety of skin tones. I appreciate the skill it requires to make this decision. White is just too bright to me. Are you on the white train or nah?

Old Navy has some winning yellow prints! It’s a bit trickier to find the fabric you want formed into a shape you like. My favorite is already sold out, but still available in limited sizes in the other navy blue floral colorway. One can always watch for pop-backs.

If you don’t mind regular sizing, the Smocked Floral Flutter-Sleeve Blouse for Women is a great alternative in the same fabric and an additional pink color option. It looks better in person.

Another yellow option is this Relaxed Ruffle Trim Sleeveless Top for Women in Yellow Floral, fully stocked in all petite sizes.

As we talk I am still on the fence about this Off-the-shoulder Swing Top for Women in white with pink floral print (“Red Print”). It also comes in black. It looks like the same fabric as a lot of the other tops mentioned above, and I think also the same print except the print is rendered in a homogeneous salmon-y pink. I am just trying to resist all trends and don’t know if I really need to revisit the off shoulder trend. It just isn’t a versatile day-to-night silhouette. It does have really great reviews, though.

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Similarly, the Waist-Defined Off-the-Shoulder Dress for Women in the same “Red Print” (although for this product it is more aptly called “Pink/White Floral”) has rave reviews. This one, in particular, really describes the best features of its design:

 

★★★★★★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

Comfortable elegance

This is not just another white dress! The subtle floral print and off the shoulder neckline give a southern lady elegance that seems hard to find these days! The elastic waisted and gathered skirt elaborate your figure in the best way! The below-the-knee length is also hard to find!! Love this dress!!!

– Liza H., Dallas, TX (size purchased: 8)

 

And how about this one:

 

★★★★★★★★★★5 out of 5 stars.

Phenomenal

I really love this dress. I felt like Adele.

– Neeah, Kansas City, MO (size purchased: L Tall)

 

I couldn’t agree more with Liza. It is so hard to find a below-the-knee length anything that skims your figure and is not skin tight. I am not a fan of elastic waistbands usually, but this one blends into the pattern so as to not be too noticeable. Saw it in store and thought the fabric wasn’t as lightweight as some of the other tops. It’s also lined, at least in the skirt portion (didn’t check the bodice), with a pretty cheap feeling polyester that may or may not cling… Overall, if you need an affordable casual dress for summer, I’d say this one is worth considering, especially if you aren’t a fan of true white.

Moving on. If you are like me and still looking for a gray waterfall cardigan in a petite friendly size, here are a couple options to consider.

  1. French Terry Open-Front Cardi for Girls

    It has a waterfall front design and also comes in black and peachy pink. I had to size down one size from the size chart recommended size to get the right sleeve length so I’d say this runs a little large.
  2. Open-Front Cocoon Sweater for Girls

    This one is a cocoon silhouette and not waterfall but I might like this fabric better than the french terry one. It also comes in Cashmere Blue and Bella Donna Pink. Had to size down two (!!?) sizes from size chart recommendation on this one, so I’d say this one runs very large.

For both of these, if you are curvy, you might prefer to take your normal size and have the sleeves shortened. They are pretty lightweight. This could be a good thing for spring/summer wear, but I thought they could use more structure and shape.

Onward to sandals. Cute sandals in small sizes can be very hard to find! Especially a huarache or Birkenstock style sandal. An old trick is to mine the Girls section. Old Navy has a few adult-friendly styles out right now. My favorites are:

  1. Faux Leather Huaraches for Girls

    Comes in brown and white faux leather. Neither color looks like real leather. The white in particular is very white and monotone and just lacks the color variation and detail in texture that real leather has. From the online photos I was very excited to see the white in person, but having seen both colors, I’d recommend the tan/brown color instead. They run large and wide. Especially wide. The white color one was especially wide and its horizontal woven pieces were just much longer than the rest of the shoe suggested. The sides actually flared out like a boat because of this. One reviewer commented that the two colors fit differently, and I agree. The white may work for few. For the tan, if you are between sizes the advice of another reviewer to size down is valid. They were half off in my store, probably because of this fit issue, but if you can make it work, they are a steal for the price. There is decent cushion in the synthetic insole. There just isn’t any arch support at all. One could add an insert possibly to make them more comfortable.

  2. (Silver) Metallic Double Strap Sandals for Girls

    These are Birkenstock inspired sandals in a silver metallic finish on a faux cork sole. Comfortable and cute. The only thing I didn’t like about these is that the insole is rather flat and didn’t have the little bump for your toes to grip on to like Birkenstocks do so I could see one’s foot sliding forward and that being annoying. I also didn’t care for the sueded material in the insole/footbed. There is a back heel strap. I thought this would make it look to “little kid,” but it doesn’t look bad in person. You could easily remove the strap, however, to make them slides like adult Birkenstocks. Very affordable way to try out the metallic footwear trend. If between sizes, size down. A similar style is the Knotted Denim Cross Strap Sandal for Girls, for which I have all the same comments.

  3. Bow Tie Capri Slide Sandals for Girls
    These are bow slides in three different fabrics. I like them all. The cushioned insole looks just like what the huaraches use (so some cushion but no arch support). The only thing I don’t like about sandals of this style is that they probably flip-flop and may take effort to keep them on your feet. Have you worn sandals like this? Does it work for you? I’m curious. These are so tempting.
  4. Jellies, revamped

    If you somehow missed jellies in the 80s/90s, they have made a comeback and there are a myriad of styles in stock right now in small sizes. Here’s a link to just one of them.

Found any great petite friendly boho pieces lately? Please tell in the comments.

 

Review: Naturalizer Thea

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What I like about the Naturalizer Thea is the thick platform sole that adds height, the durable leather upper, the cutout design lined with a synthetic mesh screen that ventilates while keeping debris out. Espadrilles are so trendy right now and this one comes in four colors (Gunmetal Leather pictured above, white, black, and gold).

Gunmetal Leather can act as a neutral, pairing well with purples, blacks, white, olive green, and natural colors, to name a few.

In my opinion this shoe runs slightly narrow and long. I think it may be hard to fit because if you size up, the length may be too long, and if you size down, the width may be too narrow. My heel slips even with heel inserts. I can actually fit a whole shoe style insole in these in my regular size with heel inserts and my feet still slip.

These shoes definitely are not comfortable out of the box and will require break in. Here is a good article about how to break in espadrilles. It’s written specifically for Chanel shoes, but much of the advice applies generally to any espadrille.

Given the fit issues, I’d consider the Sloan, a wide-heeled mule offered in the same colors except gold. The bow wedge Breanna is also still available, as is the ankle strap stiletto Kinsley. I also like the look of the Emiline loafers.

Abercrombie carries petite sizing now

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Gone are the shirtless dudes and modelesque dudettes. Abercrombie carries petite sizing now and has been churning out some pretty, vintage inspired styles updated to the latest trends amongst a lot of logowear.

Like the dress above, for example. This particular light blue colorway, the chiffon like fabric, and the ruffles along the top so remind me of 1930s day dresses (petite sizing available). The petite sizing ran true to size for me and fit exactly as pictured.

This tie-shoulder romper in black reminds me of 1920s swimwear (petite sizing available).

And then there is this other romper that reminds me of 1940s swimwear, namely the shorts portion (regular sizing only).

Every brand seems to have their own version of this midi dress. I love the nipped in waist of this silhouette that gives a tailored, fitted look that is not spandex tight. It reminds me of French sun dresses or something. Also kind of harkens to 1940s day dresses.

Their order online – ship to store for free set up is fairly easy to use and convenient.

Are you picking up any trendier items right now?

Every 90s throwback item at F21 right now

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MTV and L.A. Gear are back – at Forever 21! And they’re really hard to find on their website for some reason.

Forever21 x L.A. Gear Limited Edition Collection

MTV Graphic Tee

Somehow this actually feels like an old 90s cotton shirt – howwww?

See all the MTV items here (including The Real World 92 tee!)

Tie-Dye Kurt Cobain Graphic Tee

Sailor Moon (three products)

Rugrats (seven products)

My Little Pony (three products)

Power Rangers (six products)

Barbie (eight pink products)

Trolls (three products)

The Flintstones (three products)

Power Puff Girls

Mario

Some band tees

Something missing? Leave a comment and let me know.

February 2018: OMG ON

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Does this ever happen to you? You go to gap.com to buy one very specific closet staple item and somehow end up shipping yourself a hoard of stuff from Old Navy?

Old Navy gets me EVERY TIME. Worse than Target.

I’m not sure Old Navy has ever looked better online. Each week J.Crew Aficionadas discuss items that fit the J.Crew aesthetic but are made by other brands. Well, Old Navy arguably looks more like J.Crew right now than J.Crew itself (still love you, though, J.Crew). Clockwise from top left:

Classic Crew-Neck Cardi for Women: The polka dots are woven into the fabric not printed on to it, according to a reviewer. Available in petite sizing. I seriously cannot see this ever going out of style. UPDATE: the polka dots are like thread sown on to the fabric. The thread has a shiny quality. The sleeve length is actually proportional and hits at the right place for me off the rack. Overall fit is the best yet from Old Navy petite sizing. Fabric quality is very good especially considering the price. Pleasantly surprised.

Super-Long Open-Front Sweater for Women: I have been looking for a longer length sweater like this literally for YEARS in marled gray. Each year someone makes one, and each year I do not find it until it is totally sold out. This one is a machine washable cotton-rayon blend. The already beloved cornflower blue is a hard to come by color, at least in recent times. Interestingly, I want every color except the marled gray. Petite sizing available. (And in the time it took to create this post, the periwinkle/Cowboy Blue color is sold out in Petite S and on the verge of selling out in Petite XS I think. Check for pop backs as it is full price now.) UPDATE: the color is darker than expected and seems to have gray undertones. I’m not sure how else to explain it. I think it looks great over white or light colored outfits but kind of frumpy over dark colored outfits. Good quality, great sizing, hits exactly at the knee as pictured, just can’t decide if it is a cute office appropriate sweater or if it looks more like a robe for bed time. Fabric quality is pretty good – it IS thin – but the fabric of the polka dot cardigan feels better.

Twill Field Jacket for Women: Oh dear, this twill field jacket is back again, and maybe better than ever. This jacket has as of this writing 1883 reviews and is rated 4.7 stars. The Dried Herb and Bubblegum Pink colors are very of the moment. Petite sizing available.

Graphic French Terry Bikini Bag for Women: I am such a sucker for a good lemon print. This one on a mint green background is so much fun. The bag has a cotton exterior and nylon coated interior.

Classic Striped Cardi for Women: The striped design looks like it is woven into the fabric although it is hard to tell from the product photos. A classic wardrobe staple in a machine washable cotton/poly/acrylic blend. Petite sizing available.

Relaxed Bell-Sleeve Cutwork Blouse for Women: 100 percent cotton, machine washable, petite sizing available. I’ve not had good experiences with their eyelet fabric before, but maybe this one is better quality?

EveryWear Graphic Slub-Knit Tee for Women: The print shown is called “Calla Lillies.” It reminds me of Highway 1 and Big Sur. Jack Kerouac. On the Road. The Beat Generation. San Francisco. What it does NOT remind me of at all are calla lillies. Someone please enlighten me.

The Calla Lillies California shirt is made in Vietnam. The hem curves slightly up at the sides. I can see some people liking that but I am not a fan. The 100 percent cotton fabric feels nice. It’s lightweight and semi-sheer.

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If you are ready for summer, I really like the idea of mixing and matching bold prints in  monochromatic colors for a bikini and so it’s great that Old Navy’s latest collection of swimwear makes this possible. Please excuse the bad photo editing.

The Knotted-Tie Swim Top for Women and coordinating Swim Bikini Bottoms for Women (pictured above in different combinations) look really cute online. I really like that these Old Navy mix and match separates come in bold geometric white on black polka dots, stripes, and gingham prints. I’ve said this before, but I’m loving black almost as much as Justin Theroux does.

Historically I have not been a fan of bandeau styled bikini tops, but found one from Forever 21 at a thrift store recently that had a very flattering cut and liked that you don’t have to worry about weird tan lines so much, as with super strappy styles. I’ve been open to bandeaus ever since.

This Old Navy bandeau top is very cute in the photos, but in person I’m not totally sold. While trying the top on, it already started to roll down over itself along the neckline. If you intend to wear it only with the straps and never strapless, this may not be an issue, but…

If you look at the product photos, you’ll notice that the strap attachment points for the solid colors and the prints are slightly different. The solid color straps attach closer together, while the printed tops have the straps wider set in the front. The closer attachment points of the solid color tops may be more helpful in preventing the top from rolling down over itself than the printed top design, and will also probably be more comfortable to wear. But the prints are cuter, right?

The top is padded and fully lined in black fabric, but the spandex outer fabric is on the thin side. Not surprising at this price point I suppose. I just cannot see this suit lasting more than one season unfortunately. Made in Vietnam.

The bottom is also fully lined, but in a nude fabric. I don’t think the gingham printed bottom is see through when wet, but didn’t fully submerge it in water to really test that. The cut is just OK. There are so many other bikini bottoms out there that have a more flattering cut IMO, but maybe not at this price point. Made in China.

I thought I’d like the polka dot top and gingham bottom combination best, but found that with the darker color top and lighter color bottom, the eyes are drawn upward and the combination somehow makes everything seem top heavy while visually narrowing the hips. This could be a good or bad thing for you depending on your body type. It may not be the black versus white colors as much as the relatively large, bold polka dot print versus the smaller more inconspicuous gingham print. Actually as a petite person, I thought the polka dot print was a little too large proportionally, particularly when it is close to the face as with the bikini top.

Maybe I’m overthinking this, but my recommendation is to put the larger print wherever you want the focus to be. Pear being the most common body shape, I’d say the polka dot top with any of these bottoms is best unless you have broad shoulders or find the polka dot print too large and overwhelming for your stature. What do you think?

Note the gingham print top is currently out of stock in sizes XS and S.

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Okay the last thing I am LOVING is the Los Angeles canvas tote that is already totally sold out. Old Navy has a bunch of canvas totes right now with graphic prints on one side inspired by different American cities and one state – Los Angeles, New York (picture above, my second choice), San Francisco, Atlanta, Texas, Hawaii (is Honolulu not iconic enough, Old Navy?). Stated measurements 15 1/2″L x 5″W (pretty respectable depth!) x 15″H, with 10″ strap drop. For some unknown reason, the NYC print is more expensive. The tote bags seem like decent quality for the price.

The tote prints are particularly exciting. Could all of this be a sign of even greater things to come at ON?

(P.S., the 2018 International Women’s Day tee. How freaking rad would a men’s version of this shirt with this print be?)