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.

old-navy-polka-dot-gingham-stripe-black-white-swim

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?)

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The nine best swimwear brands for petites, srsly

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I am asked all the time where to get swimwear that is petite-friendly. This post is all my favorite swimwear brands for petites in one place based on years of experience. I am always on the lookout for flattering, high-quality construction in small sizes, so please let me know if you have any tips about other brands!

AERIE

The lead photo is my current pick from Aerie. LOVE their “VOOP” (V-neck plus scoopback) concept, and love this VOOP one piece, but it looks like the one piece fit might still have some design issues to work out. I am not sure about quality and durability, but their sizing should work well for petites. The suits are usually padded.


Acacia

My favorite suits from Acacia are the ones that feature native Hawaiian plant motifs. Acacia makes very flattering suits in small sizes. I’ve never seen a top from them that has any padding, but the seamless (or near seamless) construction (two pieces of spandex fabric sewn together along the inside edges) they seem to consistently opt for is extremely comfortable to wear. So much so that I no longer want to wear any of the older style of swimwear construction (you know, those thick edges folded over with a meshy nude or white colored lining).

L Space Bikini Top & BottomsL*space

L space also makes very flattering suits that are comfortable and stylish.

https://i2.wp.com/n.nordstrommedia.com/ImageGallery/store/product/Zoom/3/_100353523.jpgViX

ViX has been in the swimwear game for a long time and is known for their high quality thicker fabrics that last a long time and stay put in the water. If you like a touch of gold hardware on your suits and rouching, they always seem to have that. They also make classic silhouettes that are very flattering.


Mikoh

Mikoh always has very cute, very strappy, very flattering unpadded swimsuits. They do a lot of colors that would work well for cooler skintones, like the Lychee colorway of the bikini top pictured above. Their suits can be hard to find, but you can shop their website now. Construction is similar to Acacia where the garment feels like a silky second skin, but may not offer enough coverage for some.

 

French cross-back bikini top
J.Crew

J.Crew makes some tiny swimsuits, at least they have in past seasons, which actually makes sizing a little tricky, but shipping and returns are complimentary. The French Cross-back Bikini Top is my current favorite. It comes in a multitude of colors and extensive sizing options. They have had some iteration of the French Bikini Top for years, and I like to think they are refining it to perfection, although I wish they would bring their other version of the French Bikini Top back (you know the one with the band along the bust line).

Hurley Quick Dry Tie Dye Women's Surf Bottom Hurley

Hurley was being manufactured in the US, at least partially, by Swimspot for a while but the inventory there seems to be tapering off, which makes me think that manufacturing has moved overseas. I’m not sure where the fit, quality, and styles will end up. Such a shame. They made some great suits for a while.

https://i1.wp.com/static.quiksilver.com/www/store.quiksilver.eu/html/images/catalogs/global/roxy-products/all/default/hi-res/erjx303454_cubagangwoventikitri,w_rzm6_frt1.jpg
Roxy

Roxy is a little hit or miss, both size and design wise. They consistently make good quality suits at affordable prices though, like the Cuban inspired print above. Just keep checking back until they come out with a silhouette that looks promising in a print that you like.

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Splash! Hawaii

Trends come and go, but this suit by Splash Hawaii is always on point. Flattering, wide range of sizes and colors, great quality, affordable, made in Hawaii. I always have this suit in my closet as a go-to staple. You can’t go wrong with a basic triangle bikini top and Brazilian cut bottoms. They have a lot of other styles made in-house, too, and also carry other brands, including a lot of the ones mentioned above.

Have you tried any of these suits? Did I miss your go-to brand? Please let me know in the comments.

Current petite-friendly favorites at J.Crew

Textured summer straw hat

I’m not loving stripes or ruffles or the off-shoulder look as much as everyone else it seems. What I love the most at J.Crew right now are the few staple items that have stuck around for the past few seasons.

Topping this list is the Textured Summer Straw Hat, which comes in black and a natural tan. This hat is a head turning statement piece. It makes everything else you wear instantly chic. It’s proportions are perfection. I hope they make this forever. I’m sure they will not. Stock up while it’s available. Everyone should have one. The description for the current version says it is foldable and packable, although in past seasons it was not and it looks the same as past seasons.

French cross-back bikini top

Next up is the French Cross-back Bikini Top. It comes in a multitude of colors and extensive sizing options. The sizing is a little tricky but with free shipping and returns, it isn’t too much of a hassle to get the right fit.

Ebbets Field Flannels® for J.Crew Brooklyn Eagles ball cap

Love this twill Ebbets Field Flannels hat. Ebbets Field carries this hat in wool. It’s nice to have the twill option here, although wool sounds good, too…

Knot-back tank top

The one thing I like out of the new arrivals is this Knot-back Tank Top. It has a more modest overlap in the back than some of the other versions I’ve seen, which is a nice option to have if you aren’t a fan of a more exposed back.

Sunday Funglasses

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Aerie Pineapple Sunglasses

Yes, I am fully aware of how frivolous and unnecessary funglasses are. Nobody needs a pair of cheap shades with lenses shaped like hearts or fruits or charismatic pandas. The lenses are never as clear or sun-protective or scratch-resistant as the glasses one might procure from an opthamologist in standard oval, square, or cateye shapes. They never have the option to add a custom prescription or anti-glare coating. They never come polarized.

Yet I have been sporting a pair of classic heart-shaped sunglasses for the better part of two years that I got for just a few dollars at Claire’s of all places, and am delighted to report that while nobody’s life is changed by standard eye-doctor sunglasses, a pair of classic heart-shaped glasses has the power to transform other people’s ordinary, errand-filled, hum drum days into hum drum days punctuated by an extraordinary moment of highly memorable joy.

Funglasses are an easy way to filter the debbie downer grumps from those gems of humanity that have a healthy sense of humor and appreciation of creative self-expression and random quirkiness. Because the most highly evolved humans do not judge you sternly for your decision to pursue frivolity and fun in your fashion choices. No. They are overcome with amusement and giggles and delight in the silliness of it all. They understand that life is hard, so why not shape a pair of eyeglasses into pineapples.

I am all about delicately balancing form against function, with function as the foundation of good design. Eliciting pure joy from a form that also (mostly) fulfills its utilitarian goals is what great design is all about.

Pink Heart Sunglasses from Paper Source. (Unsure about sizing.) Also, Unicorn Lipgloss and heart shaped drink straws.

Daisy Sunglasses, also from Paper Source. (See product description for sizing info.)

Pink Flamingo Party Sunglasses / Tenacious Peacock (Unsure about sizing.)