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In the Pocket: Argent Blazer Review

Top | James Perse
Blazer | Argent (Made in USA)
Skirt | Rag & Bone Romy (Made in USA)
Shoes | Coclico (Sustainably Sourced)
     I love this outfit so much, I've already worn it twice in the span of two weeks. It feels like a very modern expression of a business casual outfit, that still expresses my personal style.
     The skirt is definitely the anchor here. It is a wool skirt (classic fabric) in a trumpet shape (classic cut), but the shorter length and thinner quality of the wool (making it seem less bulky) keep it from feeling stuffy to me. Obviously, the wrinkles aren't ideal, but I haven't had a lot of extra time for sleeping much less ironing these last few weeks. I paired the skirt with a slouchy tee shirt, rather than a blouse, to keep the look casual. This tee is also great - it is incredibly soft, which is why I have worn it already 10+ times since I got it, but still looks polished (no unfinished hems, and the scoop doesn't scoop too low). I sometimes find James Perse pieces to be overpriced for what they offer, but this one is from Nordstrom Rack, and was priced very reasonably. I've been hand-washing it and letting it dry on a drying rack, just in case the dryer somehow alters the softness, but we'll see how long this practice lasts. 
 The blazer is necessary because (i) my office is always cold so some sort of outwear is a must, (ii) it has a fun color, making my outfit a little more visually interesting, (iii) it adds polish to the aforementioned tee shirt, and most importantly (iv) it is a bad ass blazer that has pockets on the inside! Honest to goodness pockets. Multiple pockets. A pocket for your phone, with a hole for earbuds to pop through, a pocket for your pen or chapstick, a zipper pocket for a credit card or some cash, plus regular pockets on the outside which are actually large enough for an iPhone. Truly, amazing.  
Argent Blazer

It is made by Argent, a young company whose mission is to empower women through fashionable, practical, fun clothing. They are a female founded company, the clothes are made in USA, and if you happen to live in DC or SF, they have a pop-up in both cities. For reference, I am wearing the Hunter Crossover Blazer, in a size 0. This blazer fit me perfectly in the back/shoulder, right off the rack, although the arms are a smidge long. It is a cotton/poly/elastine blend that feels thick and amazing (sort of like a ponte fabric - ponte adjacent for sure), and doesn't seem to wrinkle. I haven't tried their pants yet, but there is a matching pair that go with this blazer and which I have been eyeing.
     I finished the outfit off with black flats, and boom. This outfit is in for many more wears.
Argent Work Blazer Review
Pocket Proof
Argent Work Blazer Review
What would be included in your ideal blazer? Found any good (or bad) wear-wear brands recently? 

Weekend Reading

Cardigan | Target
Dress | Theory
Shoes | Matt Bernson
 I didn't have time for proper photos this week, but here are two work looks, and some links for your weekend enjoyment. It is supposed to be hot in the city this weekend and I can't wait to get dressed. It is so rarely "hot" that the chance to wear shorts, or a cut-out dress often makes me feel overwhelmed, like I should do an outfit change in the middle of the day to make sure I get to wear all my warm weather clothes. 
 This cocktail dress is a favorite of mine, with its little cape-lette in the back. All I have to do is cover the bare shoulders with a cardigan,  and then I can also wear it to work. 
 The other outfit features a delightful pair of linen pants. I inevitably put them on in the morning and wonder why I wear them so infrequently. By the time I got home, I was reminded that it is because every time I even think about moving, these pants add another crease. I was a wrinkly mess by the time I got home, so thankfully I took these photos in the morning. 
Top | Nordstrom Collection
Pants | Halogen

For your weekend perusal:
1. Did you hear the Real Real recently raised $50 million in venture funding? Also, apparently they are opening a brick & mortar location (!) although sadly, it will be in New York. (Racked)

2. An interesting look at the CFDA Awards from Fashionista, and how almost all the nominees were men. So they ask, Does the Fashion Industry Have a Gender Equality Issue?

3. This is a bit older, but if you haven't, you should read this interview with Stacy London from Man Repeller

4. Have you ever wanted to see the cast of OITNB in jumpsuits, jumping on trampolines? Well, it is your lucky day. Also, are you watching the new season? I started it but couldn't make it through the first episode, it just isn't grabbing me. (InStyle)

5. Lastly, Walmart acquired Bonobos, and not to be outdone, (and not quite fashion related), Amazon acquired Whole Foods! People are throwing that paper around. (NYT)

Have a good weekend! 

Various States of (un)Dress

Dress | Tanya Taylor  (also here, one size up and $15 less)
(and here for way more, if you are into that)
Sweater | J. Crew
Shirt | American Giant
       One of the things that I struggle with, clothing wise, is being too precious with my clothing. If it is a little more expensive, fancier, or more delicate than what I typically wear, then I'll set that piece aside and tell myself that I need to save it for a special occasion. I made a resolution, last year, to do a better job wearing what I own (since it does no one any good sitting in the closet), and I have mostly been trending in a positive direction. 
     This dress is a prime example - I love the print and the open back, but it felt a little too fancy for what I wear on the weekend (and in particular the vibe of the Bay Area) and then obviously too skin-bearing for work. This dress is 100% silk, and the print is amazing. The print sort of looks like flowers but up close is more like paint splotches and I love the blue/red color palette. Also, I am wearing a 0 and it was a little big in the bust. 
       I persevered, and here are the results:

For work:
 Just a quick look at the work combo, since these photos are the least interesting of the bunch, having all been snapped quickly in the morning before work. The dress has an open back, as you will see below, so for work, I treat this dress like a skirt and layer on a sweater. With a sweater, I think this looks totally appropriate for work, both in style and in length. 
Toned-Down Weekend:
For a recent weekend the sun was shining and I felt like dressing up. However, this dress is a little revealing, and I was going to be running a lot of errands and just wanted to feel a little more covered up, and a little more casual. I first tried laying this tee underneath the dress, which would have worked, except for the cutout in the front. It bunched through the cut-out in a way that made it seem like I had strange stomach skin. Then boom - I layered the top over the dress, and knotted it in the front - like a high school PE shirt (actually, we used to knot those in the back, but I digress). The white t-shirt is a casual staple, and gave this dress more of a weekend vibe.
Worn as Intended:
Lastly, a look at the dress as it came off-the-rack. The print is even more amazing on the full view (due to the color contrast on the front), and the t-strap back basically demands excellent posture. Having worn the layer t-shirt over this dress all day, I finally took it off and just wore the dress for a bit. Obviously, no one cared or noticed and this bit of exposure therapy reinforced that I needn't care if I am over-dressed - whose to say what the weekend dress-code even is? I felt good and this dress makes me happy. At the risk of sounding like a bumper sticker, it is always good to be reminded to wear what you like, and like what you wear.
Tanya Taylor Dress
Tanya Taylor Cut-out Dress
Tanya Taylor Dress
Working on that posture.
Tanya Taylor Paint Splotch Dress
What are some of your style struggles? Do you have a favorite piece you love to dress up and dress down?

Lace

Top | J. Crew Factory
Skirt | Banana Republic
Bag | J. Crew (on sale)
Shoes | Paul Green

     This weekend was pleasantly sort-of warm, but rather windy, which meant that only pleats would do. Ruffles would actually also have been appropriate - anything to catch the wind and result in a little style drama. I often have to make a conscious choice to venture outside of jeans + tee shirt on the weekend, but it is almost always worth it. Otherwise, there is a chunk of my wardrobe that goes unworn and it is fun to play dress up on the weekend and not have to worry about the freezing cold office, or if a top shows my stomach when I raise my arms, etc.
Banana Republic Lace Pleat Skirt
I initially was going to go with a solid black top, but switched it up for this printed one, which actually went together pretty well, with the print on the top mirroring the lace on the skirt in a very subtle way. This top is from J. Crew Factory and I bought it back in 2014 at an outlet mall in upstate NY. The quality is great, as after years of washes, it hasn't deteriorated in color or texture. 
Banana Republic Pleat Skirt
So tell me, how do you dress on the weekend? Is it business as usual, or yoga-pants, yoga-pants, yoga-pants?

Zip Me Up

Yigal Azrouel Lace Dress
Jacket | Rebecca Taylor
(available here, and similar but green here)
Top | Vince
Skirt | Yigal Azrouel
The secondhand-clothing gods smiled brightly down upon me this past weekend. I was at ReLove, which is becoming one of my favorite places to shop, and found this skirt...which is actually part of a dress. The dress zips apart to become a top and a skirt, and even though the top was too large, I absolutely loved the skirt, so I bought the dress. Later, I was doing a quick search for it online, to enter the info into my clothing spreadsheet, found an old posting for it on the Nordstrom Rack website, and was shocked by the original retail price. I don't think these "original retail price" listings are always 100% accurate, but they aren't usually off by an order-of-magnitude, so I'm comfortable saying that this was probably the best deal I'll find in 2017 (the price I paid was also lower than what Nordstrom Rack was selling it for). 
Screenshot from Nordstrom Rack
The quality of the lace was basically perfect, even though the dress was used, and I love the leather trim down the front, as well as the zipper detailing around the waist. I decided to double down on texture, and paired it with this boucle/tweed jacket, which also added some shine. I felt professional, feminine, and like a total baller.
Showing the skirt texture.
Yigal Azrouel Zipper Lace Dress
I couldn't decide what shoes to wear (these were taken before work)
and ended up going with the black flats
 I guess my next challenge is seeing if I can get the top altered, without it ruining the ability of the two pieces to zip together. 
Have you had any good recent scores, or are you due for one?