Shopping: Boden, Banana Republic, and KS Saturday

kate spade saturday zip back crop top

I’ve got a few quick reviews today of items ordered online. Although I’ve mentioned the perils of online shopping before, I do seem to have a bit more luck with it than shopping in person, as in I’m keeping more than 50 percent of the items I ordered and haven’t purchased anything I’ve seen  in a physical store of late, with the exception of this amazing bag from Urban Outfitters (although I’m embarrassed to admit I actually bought something from there).

So, there are a few hits, a miss, and one absolute, what was I thinking moment, so much so that the subtitle for this post could be, “That Time I Thought I Would Try a Crop Top,” but we’ll get to that near the end.

Boden_Ava_dress

Up first, the Ava Dress, from Boden. I really liked the dress in the catalog and thought it would be worth a try. It comes in three colors, blue, orange, and dark gray. As you can see, I went with the gray, because I have another dress that’s also blue and white and I wanted some variety in my closet (and bright orange is kinda out of the question). The gray probably wasn’t the best choice for my skin tone and all that, but that wasn’t the biggest issue I had the with dress. Its biggest problem was its fit — I’m just too flat for it. There was a lot of room up in the bodice area, but not a lot of me, so it just looked weird. Fit aside, in the end, I also wasn’t particularly in love with the belt at the waist, the print or even the fabric, so back it went.

Boden_Holland_Park_dress

Fortunately, the other dress I ordered from Boden, the Holland Park Dress, was much better all around. Better fit (I don’t look like  a little girl wearing a grown woman’s dress!), better color, better style. I’m seeing this inverted front pleat everywhere this season, and I really like it. I also really like the two little buttons at the waist on the dress.

Boden_Holland_Park_dress_side

The fabric’s a ponte and is a blend of cotton,  nylon and modal. Honestly, it’s not the best ponte, as it’s not terribly heavyweight, and it did arrive pretty wrinkled (but, then again, it had to travel across the ocean, from the UK to here, so maybe I should cut it some slack. I’ve arrived pretty wrinkled after traveling from here to the UK. . .) While the Ava dress is on its way back to Boden, I’m hanging on to the Holland Park Dress. And, no I didn’t wear it on March 17, so just shush.

banana_republic_floral_ponte_midi_skirt

I know midi skirts have been a thing for a few years now, but I’ve never really been into them. The wrong midi and I look wider or as if I’m drowning in fabric. But, I have to say, I really love the floral ponte midi skirt from Banana Republic. I got it during one of their 40 percent off sales, so it was a pretty good deal. It falls a few inches below my knees and sits pretty high on my waist, just below my rib cage. It was really the bright blue color and the print of the skirt that convinced me to give it a try. The photo is pretty muddy, but you can see on the website how vibrant the blue really is.

Fit wise, I’d say this one is a little tighter in the waist than other skirts I have from Banana Republic, but only just slightly. I’ve always found the cut of their skirts to be a bit narrower in the waist, while the cut of skirts from J. Crew, for example, are usually a bit wider in the waist, as though designed for person with a straighter figure. Looking at the midi skirt’s reviews, it seems as though the waist is a lot tighter than usual for some people, so I guess order with care and pay closer attention to your waist measurement than usual.

As with the Boden dress, the big problem I have with the skirt is the ponte fabric. It’s a viscose, it’s pretty lightweight and I’m a bit nervous it will pill. The skirt isn’t lined, either, which could be an issue, but for the moment, it’s sparking joy.

In fact, it’s sparking so much joy that I decided getting a crop top to wear with it would be an excellent idea. It’s got a high waist, I thought, I can totally pull of a crop top without showing any skin! So, I ordered this one from Kate Spade Saturday, since they’re about to close up shop and it was 40 percent off (heads up: now everything is 50 percent off, but final sale, so roll the dice with care).

My genius crop top idea
My genius crop top idea

Well, that doesn’t look terrible, you might be thinking. True, it doesn’t look terrible. But, it also doesn’t look good. The crop top just didn’t work on me. There’s no skin showing, at least with this skirt on, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that part of the shirt was missing. Plus, the fit of the top was a touch on the boxy side. It’s kind of obscuring the  nice waist definition I’m getting from the skirt.

Oh, and it had a plastic, exposed zipper running up and down the back. It had to go back; there’s just no way I would ever wear it. (A side note: I’m so happy I ordered it before they switched over to final sale!)

Shopping: A Visit to Kate Spade Saturday

I was in New York last week, just for a fun. While New York isn’t really the shopping mecca it might have once been, since it’s pretty much just a bunch of chain stores you can find in any American city these days, there was one store I wanted to take a look at, because there isn’t one here in Philly: Kate Spade Saturday.

Saturday is Kate Spade’s cooler younger sister. The clothes aren’t so preppy and they cost a bit less than their older sister label. I’ve come to love them in recent years, both for their creative cuts and designs and for their quality and fit.

I’ve had my eye on this dress, but in dark purple, or grape. Although I’ve had good luck with the brand’s fuller skirted dresses, I wanted to try this one on in person, before taking the chance of ordering (although Saturday does offer free shipping both ways). Alas, there were just two sizes left at the store and neither of them would fit me. But, my size was available in the black, so I went with that.

Kate_Spade_Saturday_peplum_dress
Black dress . . . eh.

While the dress fit pretty  much perfectly, I didn’t get it, mostly because I really wanted purple and I wasn’t about to buy a dress I was lukewarm about. The saleswoman recommended I try the skirt, which was available in my size in purple.

Black dress. . .eh.

It was a bit tighter in the waist than I’d be comfortable wearing and a touch short – it felt shorter than the dress, although that could just be a visual trick created by the contrast between the olive green tights and the purple skirt. I could go up a size for a bigger waist and more length, but then I think I’d lose the interesting angles and cut of the skirt – it’s designed to fit on the waist, not a few inches below.

I tend to get excited about going to actual stores, instead of just ordering things online, but I do find that brick and mortar stores tend to be a bit of a disappointment. They have a smaller selection than the web and there is a greater chance that your size just won’t be in stock in the dress you wanted to try on. But, in the case of Saturday, the brick and mortar store has one advantage over the web, and that’s in the form of the very helpful and friendly salespeople working there. I know that not everyone who works retail is particularly helpful, but I had a really good experience with the two women working the shop. Both offered advice on styles to try, which I realize, is their jobs, but you really don’t always get that at stores, even if you make it clear that you want to leave with something.

Anyway, enough about the physical location of the store — here’s some important info about the online store: it’s having a secret sale until January 23. Stuff is marked down as much as 75 percent, which is pretty nuts. A few of my picks from this sale are below, including a dress I already own and bought before it went on sale (dammit). Note that the prices listed are regular sale prices, not secret sale prices.