Friday, September 21, 2018

Everlane Stretch Denim Review

Recently, I stopped by Everlane’s pop up Denim Counter in Chicago with my sister. It was a super cute how they had redone the place, which used to be a South Central Bank. It was painted all white with the Everlane logo on the outside. When my sister and I rolled up, there was an Intelligentsia truck right outside with complimentary coffee and tea, which was a nice touch. I’ve waited a little bit before publishing this, as I wanted to see how well they hold up after washing. 

Now, on to the jeans. I picked up 2 pairs of the Ankle Jean in a high-rise, a mid-blue wash and the mid-rise pair in black.

In terms of the materials…
For Blue/Washed Black: 87% Cotton, 12% Elasterell-p, 1% Elastane
For True Black: 77% Cotton, 17% Modal, 2% Elastane, 4% Polyester
Had to do a little research here, as I had never heard of Elasterell-p. Elasterall-p is just polyester. Elastane is Spandex.
The materials ratios are pretty comparable to what I’ve seen for stretch jeans in the market (for reference, Uniqlo’s is 87% cotton, 9% polyester, 4% spandex; Paige’s is 54% rayon, 23% cotton, 22% polyester, 1% spandex). 

In terms of the stretch… they are stretchy, but not as stretchy as some of my Paige denim pairs (I have the stretchier styles in the TRANSCEND line) and not as stretchy as the Uniqlo stretch. With that said - they’re comfortable, forgiving, and the denim is roughly mid-weight and of high quality. I can only compare it to the denim I already own, which in some ways is not apples to apples. If I had to rank in terms of stretch, it would be Paige > Uniqlo > Everlane… but that is absolutely not a bad thing. It depends on your preference for stretch in denim. I see the Everlane jeans replacing/upgrading some of my Uniqlo jeans. I prefer a less stretchy, more denim feeling jean, something a little more hardy for the winter months. 

High rise in mid-blueribbed merino wool in heather grey, Rothy’s pointed flat in leopard

In terms of the fit and cut I tried on both the high rise and the mid rise at the Denim Counter. I’m 5’2 and consider myself long in the torso. I tried on the high rise and it came up to cover my belly button - really leg lengthening. The midrise just comes up to just below. The jeans are slim throughout the leg, and give my ankles just enough breathing room. The ankle cut’s inseam is perfect as well - they look like a regular length jean on me and look cute with a single cuff too (for reference, the inseams on all the ankle cuts are 26.5in). I typically wear a 25/26 in jeans. In Everlane stretch, I wear a 27. If buying sight unseen, definitely use the sizing chart on the website which is accurate to the true fit! 

When wearing them out and about, they don’t have the weird seam twisting problem that I get in the leg with Uniqlo jeans (which always causes me to adjust over and over again during the day). For the record, I don’t get this with my Paige jeans either. They hold their shape after multiple wears and make me feel slimmer when I wear them, however I do feel like they make my butt look a little flatter DUE to it being a less stretchy stretch jean. 

In terms of the price The jeans I bought were $68 a pair. To me, they seem like a great value as I’ve bought jeans at higher price points that feel on par in terms of quality. The fit is just right, the denim feels good. I’ll probably pick up another pair in the washed black at some point! 


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Spring/Summer '18 Additions

Wanted to do a quick post on what I've added to my closet this S/S. 

Recent Additions:
(note, all are on sale right now!)
* Strappy Knit Midi Dress in Navy Stripe - love the side slit on this dress!
* Open-Front Sweater Blazer - lovely, medium length coatigan with a structured collar; perfect for dressing up scrubby work outfits. I love multi-season pieces like this!
* Floral Tie-Front Dress - wanted to add a cute, feminine dress for summers in the office and for parties
* Sleeveless V-Neck Flare Dress - in the opposite vein, I wanted to upgrade my Old Navy basic black dress in a dressier fabric
* Black Bomber Jacket - living in Chicago, I probably have more jackets than most. This one looked so cool and badass, and I feel cool and badass wearing it. Bonus inside pocket too.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Signature Scents?

Do you guys have a signature scent?

I’ve been really into perfume lately, though throughout my life I hadn’t been a fan at all. 

My first perfume was Clinique Happy (who else had this??!). I remember when my mom bought this for me in my early teens, and I felt so grown up putting it on. The scent itself reminds me of adolescence, super citrusy at the beginning and throughout the day mellowed out to a warm floral. I recently smelled it again and all I got was Pinesol! After that, I never really dedicated myself to another perfume. I could never find one that I liked enough to commit to a WHOLE bottle, but had a ton of little samples that I’d use on and off. 

There are 3 near and dear to my heart as of recent.

I got really into the CLEAN line of scents in my early 20s through a sample set from Sephora (which had White Woods, Skin, and Rain). My favorite was CLEAN White Woods, which will always remind me of the holidays. I wore it religiously during the winter months. It’s a spicy/sweet, bergamot-y, warm smell - which was perfect for Chicago winters. It’s definitely a unisex smell. Unfortunately it's been discontinued, so I've been SPARINGLY using what little left I have!

Glossier You (10% off via this link)
Late last year, I bought my first full sized perfume since my teens! I fell in love with a sample of Glossier You and sprung for a full size which I’m already half way through. I totally bought into the whole ‘skin smell enhancer’/'smells different on everyone' marketing, but it is true to its marketing. I love that it’s not a perfume that screams out ‘I’m wearing perfume.’ Officially, it’s a relatively straight forward perfume with only 4 notes (amber, musk, iris, pink pepper) and it comes off really comforting (?), warm, and slightly floral on me. It’s worn itself well into all my coat sleeves now and is my everyday scent. 100% will repurchase when I’m in New York City in July.

This was my second full sized bottle of perfume - ever! I picked this up on my recent trip to Paris with my family and the bottle on my dresser is a nice little memento of the trip. I had been eyeing a bottle of À La Nuit (Jasmine soliflore), but unfortunately they no longer carry it in brick and mortar stores. The shop assistant suggested Fleur D’Oranger to me instead (Orange Blossom). It’s a gorgeous, heady, white floral that reminds me of summer. It dries down to a spicy vanilla. 

There’s a great documentary on perfumery from the BBC that I highly recommend on YouTube that I watched to learn more about perfume. It’s in 3 parts - the first part follows the development of a commercial perfume. The second part follows a perfumer that captures scents of places (think cities, bookstores, etc). And the third part looks into a group of students at one of the top programs that teach perfumery. 
I rarely leave the house without spritzing on Glossier You or Fleur D’Oranger nowadays. Let me know of your go-to scents in the comments!


Friday, March 9, 2018

What I Wore This Month #2

Whew. Today was my last day at work. It was bittersweet, but in a weird sort of way, I feel relieved. For the first time in 2 and a half years, I am not on any sort of project timeline. I'm not under the gun for any sort of delivery. I feel like I can breathe finally. I will miss my coworkers and friends, but I was absolutely getting burned out there.

I start my new job on Monday and will be traveling to Milwaukee for a week's worth of training. I'm really excited, but wish I had taken a few days off between jobs to just relax.

Here's what I've been wearing this month:
1. T-Shirt from Uniqlo / Old H&M Camel Scarf / Paige Jeans / Everlane Street Shoes
2. Loft Sweater / Paige Jeans / BP booties
3. Joie Blazer / Grana Silk Shirt / Uniqlo Smart Style Pants / Calvin Klein pumps (SO comfortable)
4. Uniqlo mock neck shirt / Uniqlo cigarette Jeans / Uniqlo braided belt / J Crew coat / Allbirds


Friday, February 9, 2018

What I Wore This Week #1

Only got dressed 3 times this week due to inclement weather. No shoes since all I was wearing was snow boots anyway! Most of my outfits this week were driven by my need to feel cozy in the mornings. It's been a cold and snowy week in Chicago. Apologies for the dirty mirror.

Tuesday: Topshop Sweater, Uniqlo Jeans
Wednesday: Uniqlo OCBD, Old Navy cardigan, Uniqlo Jeans
Thursday: Uniqlo Sweater, Old Navy jeggings
Shoes: Not pictured, but Ugg snow boots (which true to their name, are uggly but SO functional - have had these snow boots for 5 years now and they are still going strong!)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Recent Wardrobe Additions, Trunk Club

Have you ever used Trunk Club or Stitch Fix? There are bunch of these ~styling~ services out there, but these 2 companies seem to be the most popular. I tried out Trunk Club recently, choosing them since they were associated with Nordstrom. They have a 'Clubhouse' location in Chicago, which is this very fancy place north of the Merchandise Mart. Open bar, little fitting rooms everywhere, comfy couches... overall very posh look and feel.

I wanted to try this out since I've been wanting a wardrobe refresh, specifically around my wear-to-work clothing. I work in a casual workplace, and tend to lean more casual. I find myself wearing jeans and a t-shirt pretty often throughout the week, and wanted a few pieces to 'adult' it up every now and then. The process was very cool - I walked in, was promptly directed to the bar (for a prosecco), and my stylist found me and ushered me to my own fitting room area with a rack full of clothes. If there's a Trunk Club clubhouse near you, I highly recommend trying it out (my referral link here)!

In the end, I spent WAY more than I expected (my fault, since I set the price limits at the start...), but am so pleased with my new pieces. A lot the headache of pulling clothes in my size, assessing whether something looked better on the hanger vs. on me, and walking around in a shop looking at clothes that ultimately were not my style... all eliminated. The nice thing as well as that they offer free tailoring - so all my pants were able to be hemmed to my inseam.

Over the holidays, I only shopped 1 Black Friday sale: Grana's 50% off sale, which was insane. Website was SUPER laggy, but managed to snag a bunch of their silk tops, which continue to be amazing for the price. I have 2 silk long sleeve tops already from Grana, which are my ~client meetings~ shirts. That sale is long gone by now, but shop my referral link for 10% off (PS - referrals through this link net me some Grana credit).

Grana Silk V-Neck Camisole (xs) - these have been really cute under cardigans and blazers, half tucked in to jeans. I can see these having a lot of mileage in the summer. Haven't figured out the whole ~bra~ situation with these camisoles, so I've just been wearing cute bralettes underneath which seem marginally more put together than a straight up bra. 

Grana Silk Long Sleeve (xs) - workhorses in my professional wardrobe. I have a white blouse in the same style already, but I wear them so much I wanted a back up (and at 50% off...). I also grabbed a black blouse as well. I love these since there is a pleat to hide the buttons, which makes it infinitely more work appropriate. 

Overall - spent a nauseating amount of money on clothes the past 3 months, but I'm really pleased to upgrade my Old Navy jeans to some nicer ones, add a non-black blazer to my work wardrobe, and some more silk tops. My new year's goal was to age up my work wardrobe with the new promotion, new role at work, etc and Trunk Club was really able to help! 

What are your sartorial goals for 2018?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Deciem The Ordinary Review

Quick beauty review of a few items from Deciem's The Ordinary for the first post of 2018.

I first heard of this brand on Reddit and was drawn in by the extremely low prices, simple and proven skincare ingredients, and very ~scientific~ marketing. For the most part of 2017, I was on the Curology formulas to treat my acne. In the second half of the year, I made VERY good progress, to where my cystic acne reduced down to just scarring, and decided to cancel my Curology shipments and return back to my normal skincare routine. Since cancelling, I had searched for replacements for some of the ingredients that I saw the most results from during my Curology usage - namely Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid. A little bit of background on my skin before I get into the reviews: I tend to have dry skin, especially in the winter. I tend to break out on my cheeks and chin, especially around ~that time of the month~.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% - $5.80
Texture: Gritty
Consistency: Cream
Finish: A little bit oily
Repurchase: No

The benefits of Vitamin C on skin are pretty well researched. It's an an antioxidant, protects skin from damage done by UV rays, boosts collagen, reduces hyperpigmentation etc etc. It was included as an ingredient in my final Curology bottle and I wanted something as a replacement in my current routine. Curology offers several formulations of Vitamin C (6 to be exact) - but I chose this one. The Ordinary describes it as a "Water Free, Silicone Free, Stable Suspension" which means there's no risk of the Vitamin C oxidizing. The first ingredient is Abscorbic Acid, and the second is Squalane. Overall, I didn't enjoy using it due to the texture and the finish. It comes out in a cream consistancy, and as I worked it into my skin, it felt very gritty, almost like fine bits of sand. The finish was oily, likely due to the squalane. I found it really difficult to get the grittiness to go away, unless I used it mixed with another cream, like Cerave PM. There was a tingliness when applied, like most Vitamin C serums. I felt like this was much less irritating than my last Vitamin C serum from Wishtrend. I'll probably finish this one off, and consider testing out one of the other 5 options on The Ordinary.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution - $7.20
Texture: Smooth
Consistency: Serum
Finish: Sticky when dry
Repurchase: Yes

I tried out chemical exfoliation in the past year, starting with CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. This solution from the Ordinary is an AHA/BHA mask, left on for 10 minutes, and then washed off. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the liquid is BLOOD red. My fiance calls it the blood mask. I usually use this once a week on Sundays when my skincare routine is a little bit longer. It's packaged in a little glass bottle with a dropper. I usually use half a dropper for my face (excluding my forehead). It is VERY tingly when I initially put it on, but subsides after the thirty seconds or so. After 10 minutes, I wash it off and follow with a sheet mask. I didn't notice anything that night after usage, but when I woke up in the morning, my complexion was noticeably brighter and my skin texture was baby soft. I definitely will repurchase, but I am nowhere near close to finishing this little vial.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - $5.90
Texture: Smooth
Consistency: Serum
Finish: Sticky if used alone, smooth when combined
Repurchase: Yes

Niacinamide is one of my favorite skincare ingredients. Again, it is a very well researched ingredient that has anti-aging properties and also helps with hyperpigmentation, sebum reduction, and acne. Similar to the peeling solution, this comes in a little glass vial with a dropper. This formulation also includes 1% Zinc, which has anti-inflammatory properties. I use this serum a few different ways - a few drops directly to the face, or a dropper-ful in my Cerave cream as a little Niacinamide booster. I've found that this helps calm my skin during a breakout, but also has helped to brighten my overall complexion. I'm about halfway through the bottle and have found that my skin is a lot less sensitive overall. My breakouts seem very short-lived and fewer in between. At the price point, I will repurchase multiple to keep one in my dedicated travel bag. It's easily my favorite product out of the 4 that I bought from The Ordinary.

Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% - $7.90
Texture: Smooth
Consistency: Cream
Finish: Silky, like a primer
Repurchase: Probably not

Azelaic Acid helps with redness, hyperpigmentation (sensing a theme...), and acne. It's been one of those ingredients that I really enjoyed when it was included in my Curology formulation, but one that I haven't been able to find an outside replacement. I was really hoping to like this Azelaic Acid and the price was so right, but it fell short in a few ways. This product felt more like an Azelaic Acid primer rather than something that was 'skincare' due to the silicone used for the suspension. It is very difficult for the product to spread around when applied, and made me feel like it wasn't absorbing properly. The silicones also prevented me from using it during the PM, as I don't like the idea of silicones on my face all night. Instead, I use this as a spot primer around my nose area, which gets quite red, and around some of my acne scarring in hopes that it'll help with the dark spots. I likely won't be repurchasing it, but if anyone has any recommendations for an Azelaic Acid cream - let me know in the comments.

Overall Thoughts
This was my first time trying out The Ordinary. I've included these products in my routine for the past 2 months now and I really like a couple of them, to the point where they've become cornerstones in my skincare routine. The price points are VERY low, despite including ingredients you'd typically find in higher end skincare. I've read more about the parent company Deciem and have heard that The Ordinary is meant to be the entry level brand, and consumers are to ladder up to their higher end (more expensive) brands and products under the Decium umbrella. I'm not sure I'll be one of those consumers, but I definitely want to explore a few more products from The Ordinary, especially because they're so cheap!