Trench Dress & Sweater Blazer

These photos were taken before the stay-home orders were issued

While COVID-19 is surging in many parts of the U.S., hospitalization and infection rates in CT have fallen fairly dramatically from April highs and the virus is on track to being contained (with a current Rt value of ~0.99, but it was at one time as low as 0.75) in the state. So, more and more, I’ve been daydreaming about going grocery shopping in person again. And more ambitiously, I’ve even considered attending a close friend’s wedding in September, which will require air-travel. (I decided against going, but the 24 hours during which I allowed myself to trip-plan was fun/escapist.)

I feel ambivalent about all of these new (or are they old) yearnings, because the fight is far from over. Like many of you, I am still trying to figure out my new normal.

One pre-COVID activity I plan to add back to my routine in the near-future is taking blog photos: my photographer is a family member who takes social distancing even more seriously than I do, and we’ll do these mini photo shoots in or around the home to minimize risk. I’ve made some fun purchases in the last few months, so I hope to have new fashion content to share here soon.

Quay My Girl Sunglasses (near-perfect dupe here) || Zara Buttoned Vest Dress (past season; size XS) || J. Crew Sophie Open-Front Sweater-Blazer in Ivory (size XXXS; reviewed here) || Saint Laurent Paris Small Sac de Jour (reviewed here) || Cole Haan Abbot Booties in Stormcloud Suede

Have a great week, everyone!

J. Crew Sophie Open-Front Sweater Blazer // New Lightweight Sweater-Blazer

The  J. Crew Open-Front Sweater-Blazer has been a bestseller since its debut last fall, and I was happy to see the jacket updated and offered in pretty pastel colors for spring. The “new” sweater-blazer is constructed from a lighter cotton/polyester/wool blend (compared to the all-wool composition of the original) and has 3/4 sleeves, which are great for showing off fun cuffs and colorful layers. The fit is “relaxed” so your normal size will comfortably accommodate two thinner layers.

The sweater-blazer has quickly overtaken cardigans as the ultimate business-casual piece (imo), and will also transition easily for weekend wear with a basic tee, jeans, and sneakers.

Banana Republic Soft Pleated Long Trench in Blue Gray (size XSP) || J. Crew New Lightweight Sweater Blazer in Subtle Pink (size XXXS) || c/o Ann Taylor Tie Neck Ruffle Blouse (size XSP) || Saint Laurent Classic Small Sac De Jour Grained Leather Bag in Fog (reviewed here) || H&M Super Skinny Low Jeans in Dark Gray Denim (size 24/30) || Miu Miu Taupe Pumps (past season)

J. Crew‘s buy more, save more event is still live, so you can take 40% off your purchase (With code NEWNEW) if you buy 4 or more items at once. Here are my picks:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Review: J. Crew Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer

I had previously ranted about oppressive office air-conditioning, but after a space has been cooled or heated within a few degrees of your preferred temperature, you can likely bridge the gap with layers. I always keep a few oversized wraps and knit blazers in my office, as I am barely an endotherm, and having those at the ready has proven useful.

I especially like J. Crew’s collection of sweater-blazers, as I find them affordably-priced and reasonably-made. I now own the Open-Front Sweater Blazer (my favorite of the mix; reviewed here), the Sophie Open-Front Sweater Blazer (reviewed here), and the Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer featured in this post (last seen here).

I was initially extremely excited about the Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer, as the length made it feel extra cozy, but I have found it more difficult to style than the original Open-Front Sweater Blazer, which works better with a wider range of bottoms. With the longer style, I find that it had an unwelcome truncating effect when worn with culottes or midi skirts. It clearly pairs well with fitted pants, though, and can be styled casually with jeans or for work with wool trousers.

Additionally, unlike the open-front sweater blazer, which is 100% merino wool and knit on (what feels like) a smaller gauge than the other J. Crew sweater blazers, the Juliette collarless sweater blazer is a cotton/polyester/wool blend, which is more lightweight but feels cheaper in material. At the right price, though, I do feel it’s a piece worth owning as it opens up additional outfit possibilities.

The Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer is considered a perennial style thus has been excluded from nearly all store-wide promotions, but the retail price of $148 is reasonable compared to like styles. Seasonal colors do go on sale, though, and become eligible for additional discounts.

The fit as designed is loose, so if you are petite, consider sizing down as the small difference in length between sizes is meaningful when one is short. The style in size XXS measures 33.5″ in length, and has 23″-long sleeves.

You can find the Juliette Collarless Sweater-Blazer, currently available online in six colorways, here.

A sale alert: the Petit Bateau Classic Crew Pullover pictured above (the photos don’t do it justice) with a nautical twist is now 75% off in two colorways (I own both) at Shopbop. The quality is very reasonable for the price. It is now final sale, though, so proceed with caution.

J. Crew Open-Front Sweater-Blazer

J. Crew announced on Monday that West Elm’s Senior Vice President of DesignJohanna Uurasjarvi, will be joining the fashion retailer as its Chief Design Officer–a role left unfilled after Somsack Sikhounmuong resigned in September of 2017.

I’ve long been skeptical of the shift away from brands having a creative director, since it must be difficult trying to put together a collection without having someone with a creative vision at the helm. It remains to be seen if Uurasjarvi can find a way to plug (the many) holes in J. Crew’s sinking ship, but we must have hope.

It is curious, though, for J. Crew to name a CDO mere weeks after putting out word that it is planning to “relaunch” the brand in September, since the CDO will have close to no input on the upcoming collection. Still, Uurasjarvi’s resumé is impressive and I hope she will be given time to acclimate. (It would be unfortunate if she were brought on board only to be used as a scapegoat should the relaunch go poorly, her history with Jim Brett notwithstanding.)

Random ruminations aside, I am a little concerned about all of the speculated changes for the “relaunch.” After all, my work wardrobe is heavily J. Crew (though Ann Taylor has been mostly reliable in recent years on the workwear front) and I don’t want the quality to fall off a cliff nor do I want the design to veer (even more) weekend casual. Sure, the Open-Front Sweater-Blazer I am wearing in this post isn’t particularly awe-inspiring, but it is so comfortable, practical, and affordable (fit leans relaxed so size down if a loose fit isn’t for you). I’ve come to depend on J. Crew for a work staple like this, so I am trying really hard not to panic shop and buy the Resumé Dress, No. 2 Pencil Skirt, and Martie Pant in every color lest these styles be selected for retirement.

I had a weekly shopping update scheduled for yesterday but at the eleventh hour pulled it as new designer sales keep popping up. Will try to rework it tonight (or tomorrow night) so that it becomes manageable in length, hopefully before everything sells out.

In the meantime, check out Net-a-Porter (sale styles now up to 70% off; prices vary quite a bit by region, so I would recommend that you compare prices across the U.S., German, and U.K. sites), Burberry (no further discounts, but some sale styles are restocked in certain sizes), SSENSE (Up to 70% off select designer styles), Moda Operandi (the designer sale is now up to 70% off; use code TAKE15 for an extra 15% off), Revolve (new styles have been added to its summer sale), Saks Fifth Avenue (designer sale now up to 60% off), Tibi (end-of-season sale) and Neiman Marcus (select sale styles are further discounted).

Happy shopping!

Fall Pairing: Sweater Dress + Tall Boots

In cooler weather, battle-scarred veterans of harsh winters know to dress in cozy, peelable layers (with some exceptions); the irritation of freezing one minute then overheating the next is all too familiar to those who work outside the home. While current temperatures (low-40s to high-50s) do not necessitate puffer jackets or Uniqlo Heattech, this temperature swing introduces enough uncertainty that starting the day in multiple layers is sensible.

As I spend most of my day indoors, I start with a sweater dress paired with tall boots (worn with wool knee-high socks) that have elastic panels. In recent years, soft, drape-y sweater-jackets/sweater-blazers/long cardigans have been my choice outerwear for fall. And I wrap myself in a blanket (usually printed) scarf when I have to go outside. This outfit can be adapted for winter with the addition of a heavier overcoatHeattech t-shirt(s), and fleece-lined tights (an especially cold-intolerant friend will not leave the house without wearing at least two pairs at once).

A sale alert: from 9PM to 11PM EST on 11/5/18, take 40% off any one item (except UGG Australia products) at Victoria’s Secret with code SAVE40VS. Shipping is free on orders over $100 (no code needed), or on any order with code FREESHIP. VS allows up to three codes per order, so do check out “today’s offers” to find the optimal combination for your order.

I’d recommend the Cozy Jogger (so soft; if this had pockets it would be perfect), Embellished Lace Bodysuit, Total Knockout Tight, and Lightly Lined Wireless Bra (my favorite “everyday” bra).

Happy shopping!

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