Friday, July 22, 2016

#Nsale: Tory Burch Ashlynn Riding Boot vs Aquatalia Olita Riding Boot

Colour: almond in TB ; espresso in Aquatalia
Fit: TTS
Value for money : both pairs of boots are made in Italy with high quality finishes. Excellent for the price 

Fit on calf: I have the skinniest south Asian legs you can imagine. My calf circumference is 12.5" to 13". Needless to say, the holy grail of boot shopping for me is to find knee highs that do not look like waders or gumboots.

Shaft height: TB boot has a high outer leg and low inner leg shaft. This helps with an illusion of good fit on the legs. The shaft height is long, though. I am 5, 2.5" and the boot was encroaching on my knee cap. By contrast, the Aquatalia boot stopped right at the outer edge of my knee cap and, moreover, the leather is soft, so it won't bite into my knee when I'm walking.

Both boots are snug on the feet, even with regular cotton socks.

Design: I love a good espresso colour, so Aquatalia is leading on that front. Also, the toe box/top of the foot is a touch more sophisticated and elongated in the Aquatalia. 

Both boots are lined inside in soft padding and fabric:


Tory Burch

I like the whipped leather stitching around the TB logo

I like the etched leather heel panel and the elastic panel on the Aquatalia boot is very neatly done. I also love the buckle on the ankle.

And here's the real check on the fit: the side view. The Aquatalia boot hits it out of the park for me and my chicken legs. 

Look at that! 

...aaand look at that....

Here's the only con: the leather on the Aquatalia boot is softer than the TB. And it is creasing right at the top of the shaft.
The TB boot also will have its fair share of creasing, once worn:
Mid shaft creasing.

For me the Aquatalia Olita boots are the best thing ever. The TB boots are so well made and attractive, but, ultimately, made for a bigger body type than mine.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Collection French Tweed Jacket

Size: 0
Colour: Spicy orange multi
Item #F1590
Overall recommendation: thumbs down. 

Fit: the jacket fit TTS to small. I got a 0, which is my regular size in outerwear and jackets I want to be able to close over my bust with ease.

Pros: cropped, nice depth of neck opening

Cons: this jacket sheds like crazy. This is my carpet and floor from just putting the garment on. 

The more I moved, the more flotsam and jetsam it released. By the time I packed it away, the floor was covered in debris. The shirt I layered under it was also covered. I was shocked - it was quite farcical.  I spent a good ten minutes vacuuming the floor and my calf-hair (not to be vacuumed) rug, after tryin this on.

Second con: the fringe ring around the shoulder seam, and the fringing in general gives the jacket a touch of bath mat, as opposed to sophisticated Chanelesque piece. I didn't like the buttons. The colour was odd, though also luminescent in the right light.

This is not the jacket to lust after if you want a wardrobe investment piece. I'd recommend the cheaper but better constructed FringyTweed Jacket in its place (#F1586).

This jacket was on proper sale two days ago. Now it's showing full price again. Avoid falling for pricing games. 

Note giant back ripple if I button it all the way. That speaks of excess fabric.

Back looks fine when jacket is open

Inside lining, satin trim and inner breast pocket

Dress-maker giant hooks, for a hidden hook and eye closure

The braided trim

Sleeve opening, with evidence of flotsam settled on shirt underneath. Notice that the jacket has cropped sleeves, leaving the whole shirt cuff to show underneath. I like that.

I was sad, but happy for my wallet, to see that this jacket was a total bust. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Keil James Patrick scalloped Oxford and Fortunate Sailor bracelet

You may recall the time when JCrew introduced us to KJP. It's always so much fun to discover "approved" designers and brands through La Crew. So I started keeping an eye on KJP, occasionally following them on IG, and bookmarking Sarah Vickers' blog. 

Well, Sarah just posted about their 4th of July sale (use "MadeInAmerica" for 25% off your order), and I had to revisit the site.

Most of the time, the scalloped Oxford shirts are sold out in my size. This time, the blue stripe and the paris pink were still available, so I ordered. Using their size charts, I placed a bet on the XS. I wear 0 in JCrew and am busty for my general build. 

I also ordered the Fortunate Sailor knot bracelet, which I have long admired from a distance, also in XS. I love that they have measurements and measured bracelet sizes, running the gamut from XS to L. 

My items shipped almost immediately on Thursday, and arrived on this gigantic box, with very distinctive branding:

Inside this behemoth lay:

That's the obligatory free sticker promised with every order these days. And look at the cords tied in sailor knots! 

Closeup of a sailor knot.

I opened the packages and the details of the presentation were just delightful. You can feel the desire for perfection, in each perfectly folded layer of tissue, and the boxes so artfully lined with maps, in keeping with the nautical theme. 

The bracelet box, lined with a map of Martha's Vineyard.

The shirt box, lined with a map of "Sounds and Approaches".

The beautifully printed tissue in which each piece was wrapped. 

Closeup on inside cover of shirt box.

The bracelet is lightweight, but well made. It is woven leather, coated in a lovely gold paint. It is held together by a leather loop and metal anchor. The fit is quite exact, which is a complete and utter rarity for me - the only other time a bracelet fits me this well is when it's custom-made gold jewellery, made to order in Pakistan. I also love the anchor-hinge closure system. It is actually manipulable with one hand, freeing one from having to seek help from husband or bystander in the process of getting dressed and decorated. ;)

Nestled in its box.

The gold has shine to it, and from a distance you can't actually tell whether the whole thing is metal or not. I loved this piece and it exceeded my expectations.

The shirt, too, is very fitted and well-stitched. The fabric is a silky smooth cotton, which I think means it's a high thread count. Where it is sourced is unknown to me, but the construction of the shirt itself is all done in the USA. 

In a simple clear plastic shirt bag,....

Folds held together with two shirt clips. 

Notably, the shirt was packaged un-ironed. This threw me into doubt over whether it had previously been tried on by someone. But it was perfectly folded, so I guess not. 

I love a good crisp back box pleat. Sadly, this one wasn't very well ironed, nor was it crisp.

Mother of pearl buttons, delicately etched with anchors. They are a thin little slice each, but fully functional.

Again, I love all the little designer details, like this intensely lettered label. Doesn't leave an inch of wasted space on it - very literary, in its own way, really!

Beautifully stitched scalloped collar.

And now, the fit. The shirt is cut quite close. Thankfully, the armholes and fit on the bust are easy. I didn't feel a strain of any sort while wearing it. But, my tummy doesn't look great, though, does it? And there's odd folds on my midsection.  This isn't actually because of my waist, however. Rather, it's because the shirt is very fitted on the hips! This is a surprise because I actually have fairly narrow hips, with no real curve there to speak of. So I didn't feel that the shirt was as flattering once it was on me, as I had hoped. 

The fabric is a little see-through - you might spy a slight leopard pattern showing through from my brawr <snort>. Said item is actually printed in quite muted shades of grey and mushroom, so for it to show through means that even a tidy white undergarment would show. It would have to be nudes only that you could get by in, in this one.

However, the material is breathable. I didn't get hot or "glowy" while wearing the shirt, so it will layer nicely under sweaters. Indeed, the scallop collar will really shine then.

So, I did a hasty fold up, to illustrate how it would look tucked in, and sure enough, once the hips were released, the shirt felt and looked better.

Now, any fault you see is entirely due to my poor posture and curvy waistline. :D

The sleeves are a good length for me on the XS. Despite the wrinkling you see in the photo, the sleeves didn't feel wide or seem to include excess fabric. 

I love the concept of the shirt, and most of the execution. I might exchange for a Small to see if the fit improves. Fingers crossed, I hope it will. 

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with this proud little American clothier. They have some marvelous pieces of jewellery (I love their pearls, their belts, and many of their bracelets), and they have well stitched shirts. The scalloped Oxford line has been extended this season to scalloped Oxford tunic dresses. 

With 25% off for Independence Day, a great shipping and returns policy, and well-organized website, now is the time to check it out! 

Two thumbs up, and Happy Fourth of July, everyone! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸŽ‰πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸŽ‰πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Penelope Chilvers, Cubano Chelsea boot in Emerald velvet, 36

With a filter, but you can see truer colours below. Penelope Chilvers Cubano boot.

These boots have been in the sale section at JCrew for a while. I know that PC is huge in England, favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and Alexa Chung, alike. I searched for the higher heeled version of this boot a bit, but it is sold out in my size in the US. (Last Call and had some in sizes 39 and 40).

It arrived in its original box, containing only one sheet of tissue and no padding or dust bags. Can't tell if they were removed, but I'd guess they weren't. The shoes are made in Spain. This is code for: minimum costs to manufacturers, sizes run a little large, soles are leather but not finished very nicely. Stuart Weitzman, for instance, makes all their shoes in Spain, which is why their boots are never as fitted in my true size as they should be. Put another way, size 36 in Spain is a size 6.5 US, whereas size 36EU or Italian is a true size 6US, in my experience.  

Fit: these fit TTS. Even though they are advised to run a half size big on the PC site, consistent with the whole Spanish sizing thing, the size 36 fits me well.

Pros: beautifully made upper and the only finish issue with the sole is that the edges aren't smoothed out and the sole isn't entirely buffed somehow. The velvet is beyond reproach, as is the leather piping.
I like that the Chelsea style opening is snug, but it doesn't bend the shoes horribly when I put them on. 

Cons: a bit hard to take off. Once on, the boots don't look huge, though the shape is a touch ballooned out at the heel. That's basically the shape of them and was my main question mark before I put them on myself. 

The boot has a distinctive style. The shape is such that you feel like you should be standing at a slight tilt forward. I consciously had to right myself...

They give the sense of expensive eccentric footwear, the mark of fashion savvy mature people. I like them, though they are emerald green. I don't know if I can do justice do them though.

Notice how close to my leg the narrow shoe opening is. Love that. I have skinny ankles and legs. You might get a completely flush fit, if you're normal sized....

Best illustration of the unique shape of the boot.

Do you see the little ballooning at the heels?

See the back of the boot, almost forcing a tilt forward?

Cool stitching on the back leather pull strip and the obligatory visible name tag.

Leather piping, elastic goring, plush velvet upper.

Leather sole, questionable edges.

Beautiful orange leather interior lining. Inside is stamped the same logo as on the sole. The sides of the shoe feel a tiny bit padded too.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!