One Sweatshirt, Five Ways

I never thought I would give into this sweatshirt-chic trend. I’ve been known to give one of my closest friends a hard time for wearing her hooded sweatshirts wherever she goes and then lamenting that she gets mistaken for being underage even with two young children in tow (which is accompanied by dirty looks by judging eyes). Personally, the hooded sweatshirt definitely has its place, namely, at the gym, in the house, and dog-walking but not much else (I may also allow for very quick errands). I can’t see why you can’t just switch out a hoodie for an actual jacket. However, I came across this sweatshirt-style sweater on the Club Monaco website and was completely captivated by it. It didn’t have a hood (if it did, I would have given it an automatic “nay”) but the alligator motif gave it this dressed up feel that I could most certainly get used to. I also love that the hem is slightly longer in the back:

Club Monaco Belle Sweatshirt

I know many of you are thinking, OK, well how do I wear this? And how versatile can it possibly be? I know you are asking this, because I was asking myself the same questions. So I came up with a few ways to style this sweatshirt, both for the office and for the weekend that didn’t include a trip to the gym (I also did a similar post for Forbes Style File a few months back, if you are interested in checking it out, see here).

Keep in simple. Winterize this look by adding some tights and/or boots:

Club Monaco Belle Sweatshirt /Zara Pencil Skirt / 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel / LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Adena Pumps / Urban Outfitters Bracelet / Forever21 Rings 



With leather (or faux leather) pants:
 Alice + Olivia Zip Front Leather leggings (check out this faux front leather pair) / Aritzia Spencer Wool Coat / Aldo Chism Wedge Sneakers / 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel / Topshop Rings / Aritzia Hat



J.Crew Factory Fringe Necklace (similar) / Sleeveless Button Down Blouse (similar here) / Club Monaco Rachel Pant / Jean-Michel Cazabat Sage Wedge Booties (similar) /  Zara Basic Suede Shopper Tote (similar) /  Michael Kors Runway Watch MK5076 (Silver) / Topshop Rings

With denim flares:

J Brand Lovestory (Dark Vintage, size 25)(also love it in this color) / Express Graduated Spike Necklace /
 Urban Outfitters, Aldo Bracelets / Botkier Charlotte Clutch (Black)(cute alternative here) /  Topshop Rings / Coach Letty Wedge Boots (similar here).

This Club Monaco Belle Sweatshirt goes for $98.50, and it’s lovely, but I would certainly wait for a sale (if you have a student card/email you can get 20% off). There are tons of other great alternatives right now, as well. As an added bonus, when this trend passes, you can always where it as a cover up to the gym (which is what I plan on doing).

And of course, this post would not be complete without a recap:

Layer upon layer, upon layer

In the past, you may have noticed that my outfits don’t involve much layering. Other bloggers do it well, I, on the hand prefer a more minimalistic look and have never had a desire to put much effort into layering other than throwing a crew-neck sweater over a button-down. However, now that I’m moved back to a much cooler climate, layering up is essential and it’s about time I’ve learned to be more creative with it:

DSC07027 DSC07037 DSC07021_2
C by Bloomingdale’s Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater / J.Crew Keeper Chambray / Paige Premium Denim Peg Skinny (similar here) / Loeffler Randall Matilde Boots / Le Chateau Shield Ring / J.Crew Wool Cashmere Coat (more recent version here).

Do you have any fun, creative ways to layer without looking like a crazy person?

Review: J.Crew Petite Icon Trench in Wool-Cashmere

I have been looking to replace my wool-cashmere J.Crew coat for a few years now. I’ve had it since 2005, and even though it’s held up well over the years, it was starting to show some rips and tears, particularly in the pocket area and in the lining around the vent. I’ve patched up the pockets for the most part, but I thought that it was time that I gave in to purchasing a replacement after putting it off for the last two years.

I love that J.Crew’s Icon Trench now comes in wool-cashmere, and not only that, in petite sizing as well! There are three colors, none of which are black, but colors that can be treated as neutral nonetheless (burgundy, navy, and tan). I decided to go with burgundy (Cabernet) which is a classic color that is popular every fall/winter season but is having its moment right now. For sizing, I decided to go up one size from my usual 0P. The biggest reason for this is based on the sizing of my old J.Crew coat which is 0R (purchased before I was familiar with J.Crew petite sizing). 0R fits well, even though the waist hits a bit too low, but it is extremely snug when worn over a blazer. I like to have a little extra room for thicker layers just for comfort. Also, knowing that J.Crew’s petite sizing fits a bit smaller than regular sizing overall, it just made sense to go up a size if I wanted to be comfortable with multiple layers. This of course, was just a guess and all this logical reasoning could go out the window once I tried it on…



….and I was wrong. I should have kept with the 0P. The overall length fell right at the knee so the length wasn’t too overwhelming, but the waist fell a little lower than it should (although I am very short-waisted). Even though the coat felt good, it didn’t look good. It was just too big around the rib cage and waist, especially without the heavy layers underneath.  You can see the flap sticking out in the back of the shoulders, even though it isn’t all that obvious here, but it should lay fairly flat against the back:


    The color is heavenly though.  I tried to keep the color as true as possible, but the actual color is a bit darker than the indoor shots show and less purple than it appears in the outdoor photos. The stock photo below is probably the most accurate depiction of the color:


The wool is nice and smooth, and…that’s pretty much all the good things I have to say about it. I mean, it’s a nice coat, I was just hoping for more given it’s regular price of $325 (I used my 25% off code for this).

The sleeves are a good length, not that bracelet-length stuff J.Crew has been playing around with the last few seasons. But, I really wish there was an option for Thinsulate. The Icon Trench is a nice light fall coat, but I can feel in the weight of it that it wasn’t going to be anywhere near as warm as my old J.Crew coat with Thinsulate.

The thing that bothers me the most is the A-line cut. With my old J.Crew coat, I actually had it slimmed so the A-line was almost completely eliminated. I was hoping the shape of this trench was going to be straighter, but it’s not. And slimming a coat is not cheap. The A-line shape is even more pronounced when I tie the belt tight, but here it is with and without the belt tied:




The coat has no inner pocket and its lining is polyester (no surprise there) but it does seem to be made really well. Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. If you live in a climate where it doesn’t get super cold and you like the A-line shape, or the A-line shape isn’t as pronounced you than it is on me, then this is worth a try (on sale). Otherwise, I think it should be skipped unless on super sale. I think I might exchange it using the red phone in the store for 0P just to try for size, but it will probably still have the pronounced A-line shape that I dislike so much.

Anyone else try this coat and was happy/unhappy with this? Love to hear what you think!

Right now you can get 25% off your order of $150 or more online at J.Crew using code STYLE25.