Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Closet-Bound: The Beautiful Clothing Conundrum (Personal Styling Session with Kelly McPheters, Nordstrom Stylist)

**Edited version: UPCs added to items that were un-notated in earlier version of this post.

Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday night!  I hope your week is going well.  I'm supposed to be writing about the use of data in school settings to inform decision-making, but instead, I'm totally procrastinating.  To my credit, I feel like I've been working pretty non-stop for way too many days in a row (I barely noticed that it had turned from April to May over the weekend and when I got a notice on Monday morning from HR, telling me I hadn't submitted my time sheet, my thought was, "You mean the work week ended?")

Good times, right?

Just a quick note regarding the giveaway - it seems we haven't heard from Avagreyson.love, who won the Nordstrom giftcard.  If we don't hear from you by tomorrow at noon, we'll be going ahead and redrawing a new winner.  So write in, Avagreyson.love!  Please email kathryn[dot]prettythings[at]gmail[dot]com.  Thanks!

There are times when I get sort of obsessed with an item of clothing...to the point that it obscures my judgment.  This happened to me this past winter, when I got sort of fixated with the Nanette Lepore Mermaid Jacket.  It's gorgeous.  And beautiful.  And super flattering.  I think, actually, that Tien could rock the drama of it.  Probably Ashely, of Anthro Girl too.  I couldn't.  I brought it home and it hung in my closet for months.  Every couple of weeks, I'd pull it out and try to put it together with something, and for some reason, I found it...not right for me.

Does this ever happen to you?  I call it the Beautiful Clothing Conundrum (okay, all right, I just made that up a few minutes ago.  But it works!  And I'll call it that from now on, really).  You know, when you love a piece of clothing so much and it's so lovely, but for some reason, it just hangs and hangs in your closet, because if you're very honest with yourself, it just doesn't belong in your life?

When I finally resigned myself to the truth of this conclusion, I decided that I needed to take it back and find some stuff that did belong in my life and in my closet (I also had a dress, similarly lovely, similarly unwearable, that I was returning too - whoohoo, Nordstrom return policy!).  I gave Kelly a call, made an appointment, and took a time-out after a very long stretch of work (ugh, deadlines...).  Sorry about the way I look in these photos - I literally had only 4 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours, when I took these photos.  Why did I go shopping instead of taking a nap?  Seriously, do you have to ask that question?  Which energizes you more?

So, for those of you who have never done a personal styling session with a Nordstrom Stylist, this is sort of how it happens.  Before you go, you make the appointment, and if it's your first time meeting with the Personal Stylist, you'll chat a little by phone or email, about the kind of thing you're looking for, why you're shopping (is there an event?  Revamping your wardrobe?  Is it time to shed your college-era clothing and trade up for more age-appropriate wear?  Do you just want a little update? You get the idea...)  Kelly knows me now, so when I arrive, she's usually already pulled a bunch of things she thinks I might like.  This time was no different - when I got to Nordy's, Kelly had pulled a super fun selection of clothing - a mix of items from TBD, Savvy, and even on-sale Via C (there's no affording that stuff otherwise - at least, not for me).  She usually has one or two Leifsdottir items in the mix, knowing how I love that stuff, and look, if I'm going to buy Leifsdottir, quite frankly, I'm going to earn points for them (yay, fashion rewards!) towards Nordstrom Notes.  Here, I'm wearing the Coming and Going Skirt in blue, sold out at Anthropologie's website, but available at Nordstrom, as the Vintage Dots Skirt.  I love this skirt!  So fun and cute!  Bye-bye Mermaid Jacket, hello, skirt!  On top, I'm wearing Leifsdottir's Carnation Garden tank, and the center photo above shows the lovely details of this piece.  The only thing is, it's $148...which is approximately $100 more than the Molded and Melded tee ($48), which is pretty similar to this one.  Okay, but it doesn't end there - Kelly pulled out this Haute Hippie Cardigan (in photo at right) which made me want to laugh and clap my hands!  How goofy-geek-chic is this outfit?  Seriously? I know it's not for the faint of heart, but I really love it!

This is Ted Baker's "Porcari" dress that was so fabulous on the hanger, I couldn't wait to try on.  The construction is so amazing - take a look at on the pleats on the sleeves!  Only thing is - you have to have no tummy to wear this - if you look, you can actually see the indentation of my belly button!  Boooo!  Beautiful, but unforgiving.  Still, if you have the figure of a prepubescent model (and good grief, woman, eat a sandwich if you do!) then go for it.  I think I had on the size 0 (equivalent of US 2), but I'm not sure, so if you want to know, I'll ask Kelly.  Just leave a comment or email me.

Here are two different Elizabeth and James dresses (both on sale).  The one on the left is the Draped Silk Jersey Tank Dress.  It looks quite different on the model (click the link to see what it looks like on something with more of a straight-up-and-down boy figure) - the skirt is much more drapey on her than on me.  Still, it's a really fun, sassy dress, but I'd certainly not be able to wear this, unless my husband and I decided to go carousing in Vegas or something.  Which is highly unlikely, what with the 9-month-old baby I'm still nursing.  The dress on the right is the Double Layer Tank Dress, in a size 2.  I had issues with this dress - couldn't figure out how to get the top layer to drape properly, and Kelly had stepped out to look for a t-shirt I requested.  There was an interesting detail up the side, with buttons that kind of catch and loop the dress up a little - click the link if you want to see a close up of that.  Pass on both of these.

This darling little jacket is a blazer by Twenty8Twelve (item #L42111 - no longer available on the website, so feel free to call Kelly if you want to see if she can hunt one down for you - 619-295-4441) that was from the Via C sale rack.  I'm wearing it in a size 4, and it's a little hard to tell from my phone's camera, but it has the wonderful, blue sheen to the otherwise grayish fabric.  Interesting, detailed little blazers like this are my favorite thing to throw on and wear when I have a work event requiring a suit.  So easy to pair with a pair of black or gray pants, or a pencil skirt, natch.

Here is Leifsdottir's Summer Voile Tank, also known on Anthro's site as the Vintage Lace Chemise.  And it really does look like it!  It's very pretty, but I turned to Kelly and said, "I look like I'm wearing the top half of a nightgown."  She had to agree, but we both concurred that this wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  Still, there were things I'd rather spend money on, so it was a pass for me.  I think I'm wearing a 2 in this one.  

Oh, this dress!  This beautiful, beautiful dress...it eludes me!  It was on its second reduction ($299, reduced from original price of $750(!) UPC# 667112836493).- and that's the only reason I could even consider it, as it's by Moschino Chic and Cheap (not!).  It's no longer on Nordstrom's website, and this dress here is the closest thing I could find to it.  The one I'm wearing is an Italian size 40, which is a US 4, and was a bit big on me.  I needed a size 2, which Nordstrom was out of, even after a companywide inventory search (sob!).  Looking at this photo, I keep wondering if I should have just bought the 4 and had it altered to fit me...I love everything about it.  Such a great, versatile dress - equally appropriate for work or a night out, with a simple swap of shoes, jewelry, and topper.  Not to mention the flattering shape and the gorgeous print!  Kelly said there were a few bigger sizes left in the company, but no smaller sizes.  Oh!  It's just so sad... (I need to get the style number for this dress from Kelly - will update later).

This is the Ted Baker "Orchid Print Floral Dress" ($325, UPC# 5051670453080) - really pretty print on a lovely, smooth satiny fabric.  There are very nice pleats that start at the neck and extend down over the bodice, lending shape and interest.  It's not on the website yet, so another for which you'd need to call Kelly or your own favorite Nordstrom sales associate.  

Okay...so, Kelly's colleague, Colleen (another Nordstrom Personal Stylist) suggested this jacket for me - it's from Open Ceremony, and it's the cutest reversible jacket I've ever seen.  Yep!  It flips inside out.  How cute are the little tails on this?  Note that they button up, if you're going to wear the gray side out.  There's also a hood tucked into the collar, and the khaki-side is actually sort of rubbery, like a rain jacket.  Which is what this is, I think.  Open Ceremony is a little rich for my blood (this jacket was priced at $690), but it was fun to get to try it on.  Another which isn't on the website.  UPC# 429483222325...wow, I look tired...

Haha, Kelly had me try the Haute Hippie sweater, Leifsdottir tank, and long pearls with a pair of gray skinny jeans from J Brand - the outfit on the left made us laugh (in a good way).  "Can't Buy Me Love" anyone (one of the best Patrick Dempsey movies ever, btw)?  I think I had a very similar outfit back in 8th grade!  We swapped out the sweater for the jacket - another easy outfit, though the photo isn't taken at a very flattering angle (we were struggling with the lighting).  

This is Nanette Lepore's Ghost Ship pencil skirt.  It reminds me a bit of Anthro's Acting Out Skirt and also Leifsdottir's Draped Tulip Skirt.  I liked the ruching detail, as well as the exposed zippers that run up both sides of the skirt.  Pulled down, the skirt is an interesting take on the pencil.  Pulled up, well...Nanette, you tease, you...

Kelly thought I'd enjoy seeing this Liz Palacios necklace (look at the darling little lizard on one of the flower petals!) and matching earrings.  So pretty, with a bit of fun!  The earrings are asymmetrical, with a tiny lizard clinging to the leaf on one, and a dragonfly, with folded wings on the other.  So clever!  These didn't go home with me, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing them anyway.  Again, not on the website - the necklace has sold out since I was there last week (!!) but the earrings are still available - $42.90, UPC# 726500391393.  If Kate wasn't in her grab-and-pull stage (ouch!), I'd be all over these earrings.  But anything dangly is fair game to a 9-month-old, and my earlobes would be really mad at me if I were to expose them to danger that way.  


  1. Your writing is so clever, Carol, it cracks me up! I love reading about your personal styling sessions - makes me feel like I have my own PS too! I love the different mix of things that Kelly pulled for you - I think my fav outfit is the blue dotted Leifsdotter skirt and white top. Gorgeous and FUN!

    I must have the deets, though, on the Twenty8Twelve blazer! Adorable and versatile, a total hit in my book. How much? Is is light or heavy? I love wearing blazer, but honestly, sometimes I run hot in my office, so a thick one is no bueno for me.

    I was jonesing to head out to Anthro today and check out the new sale stuff - DH gave me the night off and picked up the kids from daycare and fed them dinner! But alas, I made the responsible choice and went to the gym for a workout instead of shopping. Look at me - I'm growing up! LOL!

  2. What did you end up getting? I hope you felt re-energized after your session! The blue skirt was my favorite item. You look fantastic in it!

  3. I loved reading this review! The Nanette Lepore Jacket is really darling--thank you for thinking of me. I really like the Leifsdottir skirt on you. Very pretty. Too bad about the dress. It does look really good on you, but it would need some alteration. I hate it when I find something that's lovely, but can't find it in my size.

    I want to know what you ended up taking home, too.

  4. You have a wonderful body for clothes (I'm straggling to say this in the least inappropriate way)- clothes hang off you in a very aesthetically pleasing way. I especially like the Vintage Dots skirt on you. The reversible jacket is very cute, but $690- holy cow! Also, the Moschino dress is just beautiful- I'm not sure if it's the angle of the photograph, but this dress doesn't look too big on you. You look lovely!

  5. @Michelle - thanks, I'm glad you liked the reviews. =) You should really do a PS session - it's such fun! Come down to SD, and you can come see Kelly with me and Kathryn one of these days! The Twenty8Twelve blazer is pretty light, not heavy at all. It was still a bit pricey even on sale (I'll email you the price), but I prefer to wear cute separates instead of matchy-matchy suits (which make me think of corporate suit-types, bankers and such). I highly recommend it - give Kelly a call to see if she can find anymore in the company. She'll be happy to help you. Just tell her you're a friend of mine. =) And I am in awe of your self-control (gym over Anthro sale!). You're a stronger woman than I am, that's for sure...

    @Jeanne & Tien - I was totally recharged after my session, it was great! I ended up getting the blue Leifsdottir skirt, the Twenty8Twelve blazer, and the Haute Hippie sweater - couldn't resist the '80s/'90s throwback stuff. =D

    @Tara B - aw, you're too nice. Hahaha, I actually sometimes think the very opposite - that clothes don't really want to hang on me the way I'd like them to. But you know, I think it's partially Kelly's skill at picking things that'll look at least decent (if not fabulous) on my body-type. Yeah, and as for the reversible jacket - hahaha, it's totally out of my scope of possibility in terms of purchasing power. As I mentioned, it wasn't Kelly that pulled it for me but a stylist I don't normally work with. I really really wish that Moschino dress had fit - from far away (in the photo) you can't really see that it's just a little loose everywhere. In real life, you could see it. Sigh. So sad. =/ But thanks!!!

  6. Carol - thanks! Also, don't worry about the Moschino dress. Honestly, it just doesn't wow me like the green Beda dress on you. Out of all the reviews you've done lately, that's been my fav. Forget the Moschino dress and just get the green Beda!

    Choosing the gym over the a sale was a tough choice, but in the end, I do need to look good in the clothes I buy, right? ;-) My body and energy level are definitely showing the effects of carrying and delivering two babies. I think I was the oldest in the Step class by about 15 years, but when they came to the Abs/Thighs workout and there was a lot of focus on your core, I stood strong while the young'uns wobbled. Nothing helps you focus your core like birthing some babies, right? LOL!

  7. Okay, I just added UPCs and prices on some of these items, in case you're interested in tracking them down. By the way, I asked, and Kelly is totally willing to take your calls, and have things shipped to you, if you ever need something.

    @Michelle - you crack me up. Yep, birthing babies will both focus your core and obviate it simultaneously. =D It's the crazy miracle of life...

  8. Oohh, I wish I could've been there with you and Kelly to play with all those fun toys! The Moschino dress stopped my heart. And I WISH I was small enough to share that Vintage Dots Skirt with you. Love, love, LOVE. Aaaaauuuugggh this post is FUN! Asdfghjkl;...!

  9. The blue Leifsdottir skirt is so cute on you! I was hoping you got it. Great choice!! Fun too!

  10. I meant *struggling*, of course. Not "straggling".
    I straggle --;

  11. Carol, that Leifsdottir polka dot skirt looks awesome! I'm glad you got that! The blazer and the striped sweater (love me some Can't Buy Me Love!) are also great buys! Thanks for these reviews!

  12. Ooooooooooooooh.........Ghost Ship skirt is to die for!!! I love the ruching.

  13. Hi Carol- Thanks for the mention! I was so happy/thrilled/suprised! I loved reading about your "personal shopper" experience- so fun to watch you play dress up! I am so behind on my blog reading (obviously), but always love reading your cleaverly written one.