Thursday, August 29, 2013

j Crew New Arrivals Reviews + Pics of the dress I bought from the local designer

Hi everyone,

As soon as I finished my post on the transition to fall - my new arrival from J Crew arrived.

While I don't have quite as personal a relationship as Dani does with her UPS man, I think mine is becoming fond of me...

If you recall in this post, I ordered a few things to try from the new J Crew rollout. 

Patch-pocket pencil skirt
Collection cashmere V-neck sweater
Monk strap loafers


Before I start the reviews I have to say: these were all lovely items.  I didn't have one of my "WTF, J CREW!"  The workmanship was lovely on all of them, so thumbs up for that alone!

Where to begin?

Let's go with the shoes...


IRL these are less barn red than a pinot noir which you can't even really tell here, where they still have a decidedly brownish tinge.  They do not...





I sized up to a 7 at the recommendation of the VPS.  That was not a mistake from the toebox's perspective, but I kept walking out of the heels, even after putting on heavy socks.  I could exchange for a 6.5, but then I think the toe box would be tight.  A $350 shoe (even one on sale) does not qualify in my books for a heel insert.  I just don't love it enough for the price, so back it goes...

I am still thinking that these might be replaced by these below, but am reserving judgement as I am going to a bigger city on Friday with real shoe shops..


I know - they look like something Robin Thicke would wear with his black and white striped shirt.. but still...


Next on the list is the grey skirt.

Coming out of the box, this was a beauty:



The back of the skirt

So let's talk about it on:


 
 




sorry for the blur....



The issue is this - I don't think it makes me look any more fleshy than I already look... And I do like the fun aspect of the patch pockets on front (I know, I am quirky).  However, there is some debate about the sides as I am so straight up and down.  If I took it in along the sides the patch pockets would basically be right at the edge of the skirt as you can see below...


 
 I actually really liked this skirt.  I think it would look swell with boots and a sweater and jean jacket or dressed up with a blazer.  But the sides and the front - would love some opinions...

Resolution - sleeping on this one...

 The final item is the cashmere V-neck in pale pink, one of my fall colours.  It is the loveliest pale shade of pink.  The cashmere felt very nice, I must say, and I wasn't necessarily expecting it to feel that nice.





 I sized up one as I like my v's slouchy, whereas I like my cardigans to fit closer.


 

 I gotta say - I love this colour.... Love, love, love.  I have the pink floral scarf and the pink and grey botanical t on order as well.  This was definitely a keeper!

I thought you might be interested in the pale pink colour vis-à-vis other recent JC pinks - the light nectar on the left and the heather coral on the right.



Finally, a picture of the dress I bought at the little shop downtown.  This is a lot of dress, re: pattern, but is super soft jersey and will be perfect for wearing with leggings for around the house and when I am writing...And it was inexpensive and I wanted to support the young designer..


So there you go!  An honest-to-god review post.  Hope that helps some folks!  I do wish the shoes had worked, but I am staying true to my word about only keeping what I love and which is flattering.  I think the skirt will likely go back as well for that very reason and I will keep looking for an aline, which is what I probably need.

What do you think?  Hope you have a great day and stay safe out there!


 

72 comments:

  1. Hi Wendy, isn't it exciting when the delivery person brings a box?
    Thanks for these reviews. Shoes are so tricky… I ordered some Sam Edelman sandals recently, after seeing them on Lisa from Respect the Shoes.
    They arrived yesterday, but are way too narrow for my very wide hooves, so back they go. There is not point in ordering a larger size, as they will be too long.
    The point of this is that you are right to return them. It is always best to try shoes on irk. Hope you find some soon!
    The skirt is lovely, but I'm not sure this is the skirt for you. It looks very corporate to me, although the pockets make it less so. I'd say return it, but that's only because I think there are better skirts out there for you.
    The cashmere is beautiful - a great colour and fit on you. Glad you're keeping it!

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    1. Ruth - that is so funny - I was thinking about that last evening, after I had already written the post - is the skirt for my old life? am I sure?

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  2. Oh, and I love the dress from the local designer! gorgeous colours and a great style!

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    1. It is so comfy. I imagine wearing that one constantly while I am working as it is nice to NOT wear jeans while you are trying to write!

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  3. I find shoes the hardest thing to buy online - you really have to have them fit well, otherwise you won't wear them as they'll be too uncomfortable. I've lost count of the numbers of pairs that have gone back from whence they came.
    I'm not that fond of the skirt, for the reasons you've identified. I think it's a bit boxy in the cut, but I do love that cashmere sweater - the pink is beautiful and if you're already loving it I'm sure it'll be the hit of your fall wardrobe.
    Love the print from the local designer dress too.
    I have three delivery men that know me well! (DHL, post office and another courier company) If I'm unlucky enough that my husband opens the door to them, they always have quite a chat about what I've been up to (shopping wise that is).... xx

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    1. Oh Heidi - that would kill me if Barry and the guy talked about me!!!

      I think shoes are so hard and it is really bad here now that the only nice shoe shop closed. I am going away tomorrow and hope I find something good at one of the nice shops in the city.

      Thanks for you advice!

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  4. Hi Wendy! I haven't commented on your blog before, but have read it for a while (I finally joined the rest of the Free World and opened up a blogger account! Although we have interacted via email before as I purchased a skirt from you off of JCA). I was very curious to see your review of the pocket patch pencil skirt as it is one of the new roll out items that I was drawn to but was not in any of my local stores and hasn't seemed to receive a lot of attention in the blogosphere (I would opt for the navy version for myself as I have a No 2 pencil skirt in the gray). I think the skirt is adorable, and I actually agree with you in that the front packets are flattering (on your body type, I can see how they may not be on someone who is more pear shaped. I also have slim hips so I think the skirt will work on me), but it seems a little large on you. Have you considered going down a size? I've also read many times in your blog that your wardrobe needs have changed since you are no longer in the corporate world (in fact, I think the reason you gave for selling the skirt I purchased from you:). I am not sure if I would personally get this skirt if I didn't have a job that required business attire (but that's me! You know your wardrobe needs better than I, certainly). I love pencil skirts but would not to wear them on my days off or on the weekends. I think you are making the right call returning the shoes. For that price, they should fit like a dream and that style seems very popular this year so you will likely find a pair that fit you better. I love the V neck. It looks very luxe and that color is a dream. I'll be curious to hear what you decide about the skirt...

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    1. 312JCGirl - welcome! Glad this review helped! I think you are right - the other skirts I have for fall and winter - the tory burch, a marc cain, the factory black merino (which I forgot to post a review of and will try to do so tomorrow!) are all comfortable and more in keeping with a casual life - wool, but stretchy! I think I would have to size down as well but then worry that the patch pocket might poof! But I think that as much as I love this, it is likely taking the lonely journey back to Lynchburg Virginia with the shoes! Thanks for the wise counsel!

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  5. I am surprised after last week's picture, that I like the skirt very much. I will admit that it looks a bit big but I find that a-lines just make that widening through the skirt even less flattering when you are smaller on the bottom. And the pockets are fun and less businessy . I'll have to see if it comes in petites. And of course the combo of very pale pink and gray, well you have me at hello!

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    1. Thanks Teacups! I really love the skirt, but think it is probably not the right one for me! I may look for a similar version colour-wise as I love the combination and I do love skirts with tights and boots in fall!

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  6. shoes and sweater - no-brainer decisions. I thought the idea of the skirt is cute, but I don't think it does anything for you. I'd love to see light gray wool slacks with the pink sweater...

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    1. Thanks Fred! I love the colour combo, too and think it was a worthy contender, but it needs to be perfect!

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  7. OK I'm in the " I just don't get monk's shoes corner" so I shall remain shtum on them but I think you look wonderful in the blue dress and the baby pink, I envy the fact that you can wear it, I look really washed out in that shade.

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    1. Hi Tabs! I laughed out loud at your shoe comment! Barry loved them, but they don't fit and I have no faith that the next half down would do it. They were lovely irl. I think the blue dress will be my dress of choice on those days in winter when I wake up and it is grey and chilly - that and pink lipstick and baileys in the coffee will do the trick!

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  8. Oh, too bad about the shoes, since they're lovely and right for both skirts and pants...I have gotten to the point where I only wear certain brands I trust (too bad they're all pretty and pretty $$$...cough...Chie mihara...)
    I love this shade of pink on you! Great choice, and I think the pocketses accentuate the squareness of the skirt- a stunning subtle grey otherwise. I like W.F. Fred's suggestion of pants!

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    1. Hi! I finally did try on a pair of Dani's chie's so I actually know what I like height-wise! I agree on being sure about what you buy for shoes - for me - comfort is now the complete key, as is looking like I am still in the game!

      The pink has been a surprise - I was wearing on brighter shades of it and in fact, think I can wear most shades of it quite well it turns out (after avoiding it for many years!), but the pale with the red hair and colour on the lips makes me look healthy. I am all for looking healthy! thanks for weighing in!

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  9. I think monk shoes would be a great style for you! But I agree, bad fit means no go.

    The sweater is lovely on you and I love the blue dress. It's somehow really bold without being overwhelming. I can understand the appeal of the skirt, but even aside from fit I don't think it does a lot for you - it's a little too "square" for you, both literally and figuratively.

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    1. Abby - you are right - I need a swoop down below! I will be curious to see what the designer comes up with for fall - the summer was her "Spanish" collection - I think fall is either france or Italy, but I can't recall which!

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  10. Sorry about the shoes. Agree with Fred, plaid would look lovely with your sweater. Talbots, not sure why I'm stuck on them at the moment has a lovely pair for a bit over $100 minus $25 off. They are brown based however. Was looking for grey so I passed.

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    1. Thanks BB! Funny - I actually got a Talbots catalogue yesterday - will have to take a look. I definitely need grey, so am going to keep searching! I just wish J Crew had free returns! Thank god one thing worked - it's like paying $25 for the right to try on clothes! ;-)

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  11. I think that pink sweater would look great with the Eaton plaid gray trousers. Actually I think that pink sweater would go with absolutely anything. It's really pretty. Sad the monk strap shoes didn't work out for you, they are cute. The skirt is very cute too but I think the fit is off somehow. It may be a touch long on you too. Thanks for the reviews! And I'm glad you found a keeper in there.

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    1. HI Cate - are the eatons lined? I wondered. I was a bit sad about the shoes - they were lovely.

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    2. I can't remember if they were lined, sorry.

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    3. no worries - I will check with the VPS!

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    4. I( dont think they are lined.
      I reviewed them Wendy.

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    5. HI Ina! I forgot - am going back to check! thanks!

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  12. I like it all! Do you have oxford shoes? I'm looking for some ( well, not really; I'm waiting for a blogger I like to find them and post about them), but those monk straps have that guy vibe too. Sweater is great--yay-- and I really think the skirt is cute, but if it's not a love then don't keep. Funny, I always thought that the straight up and down in the hip area ladies had it easy; I struggle to not accentuate my curvier ones. And the dress colors are lovely!

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    1. I do have a pair of brown oxfords, but their quality is so-so, so am waiting to find a better pair. Yes, I am resolved skirt is going back as well! I think all body types are a challenge to dress if one wants to dress well - it just takes stamina and determination!

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    2. Lane, I've found really well made ladies oxfords and brogues at Lands' End Canvas (they used their men's higher end shoemaker) and Brooks Brothers sale (comfy but both pairs ran large) in past couple of seasons. So if waiting for a blog post gets long, would eye there. Will of course keep my peelies out for you as well.

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    3. Really? I hadn't thought to look there. Thanks,A

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    4. I love and own and wear a lot of oxfords from Cole Haan, Fluevog and Frye. They make a lot of styles in women's sizes.

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  13. That dress is so gorgeous and very Wendy!
    The pale pink is divine. I think I need to buy that for a certain blonde-haired daughter of mine beginning Uni, pale pink on redheads and blondes is just the best. This way I could see my UPS bf too, what's he even been up to? Did the kids get a proper use of the new swimming pool this summer? We need a proper chat!
    I am very surprised that I like that skirt but I understand completely all of the arguments against it. Still, it looks like nice quality. Too bad about the shoes but fit is everything!!

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    1. That is so funny - Barry still keeps talking about your UPS man and his swimming pool! I do like the skirt too, but not sure I will wear it enough. It is really quite lovely IRL - very good quality, fine finishing, etc. Oh I can so see your Miss in that pale pink, too! She has that gorgeous Gwynie colouring!

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  14. The pink looks divine on you Wendy!
    I also really like the dress,it is very you.

    The skirt doesnt do anything for you and like other said it looks like its for the corporate world.
    Too bad the shoes didnt work out,because they fit your style very much.
    Love your style wednesdays:)

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    1. Sorry,its already thursday.
      I meant love your style posts!

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    2. Ha! You know what - I had to stop and think - is it Wednesday or Thursday? that's what state I am in!!!I will keep searching for the perfect elusive grey skirt! It is awfully nice however and I think it would look so great on many!

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  15. GREY's ANATOMY WMM, I had the same confusion as originally saw this post last night when it still was technically "Style Question Wednesday." Remember, it must be love! And there are lots of skirts on some rack. I think your jumper could also look fab with skinny black pants and a dainty fun necklace or bracelet - the ballet class vibe in reverse - with Kikis of course.

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    1. Hey GF - have just the pants! Yes, I do love the skirt, but it doesn't pass the other questions fully, so back it must go. I wondered about trying it with a couple of other things, but then realized I was trying too hard! ;-) You know when you are trying too hard...

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  16. Just weighing in to add to the confusion! I really like the skirt but I understand if it is not the one for you. I love the the pockets and it would look smashing with boots and tights. That being said with your new comfort factor rule, are you going to wear it? If not maybe you could find something similar with some stretch. I'm sure I helped to make it clear as mud for you!

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    1. HI SC! I think it would look smashing with boots and tights as well. It is quite comfortable actually - I sized up purposefully so it did not have the JC pencil skirt fitted feeling. I really need an a line I think though for the look I am going for. Will keep looking! thanks for the muddy advice! ;-)

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  17. The pink sweater is gorgeous on you, definitely your color and it does look so soft. I'm amazed that those J.Crew shoes cost $350. Their prices are crazy these days and you are right, a shoe that expensive should fit comfortably right out of the box.

    Now I am a bit cautious to give a negative opinion since you said you were sensitive to comments but I'm going to say it anyway. The skirt is not nice IMO. The zippers look a bit cheap and I don't know if it is a problem with the zipper or that you just didn't close it all the way on the one pocket but the way it is partly open looks bad. Plus I think the pockets are spaced too far apart. They give an illusion of a wide space in between them that is unflattering. I would send this one back. You can find something better but do you even need another pencil skirt in your closet at this point?

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    1. Hi xoxo - do not worry about sharing the advice - when I ask for advice I REALLY want advice and appreciate it! I think the zipper thing was me - I had had it open and forgot to close it all the way.

      I went back up and looked at the picture and I get your point about the pocket spacing - I think a few inches closer might have made it better!

      And you are right - I really do not NEED a pencil skirt at all. I really need a casual skirt, so I need to be patient and keep looking! thanks!

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  18. I have to say I agree with xoxo about the skirt. The sweater looks divine on you, love the color. Shoes have to be comfortable otherwise they are useless. The dress is very you, I am sure you'll wear it a lot.

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    1. thanks AJC! I think we are reaching a consensus today!

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  19. Hi Wendy,
    Trying to catch up here after our summer break. I do love the shoes, but I do think for that price they have to be perfect.
    I love the skirt and the pockets look super, but I was wondering if you would not get tired easily of this fancy detail... I love, love the young designer dress. It looks lovely, and it would be totally my colors :-)
    It looks also very easy to wear nearly all year round.
    Take Care
    Steph

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    1. thanks Steph! I appreciate the advice!

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  20. Cute sweater and *very* cute dress! You always look so great in blue. Sorry the shoes didn't work out.

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    1. Oh well - there is ALWAYS another pair of shoes!!!

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  21. Hi Wendy,
    The pink sweater is a winner, but I can't say I am a fan of either the skirt or the shoes. I think the pockets on the skirt are awkward, and the shoes... well, I am with Tabitha on those. Lace-up oxfords might be a better bet. The blue dress looks very pretty on you, so vibrant!

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    1. HI Louise! I think I may just stick with the loafers I already have this fall and hold out for another pair of short boots instead. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind on that! I definitely did NOT love the shoes enough to try and make them work!

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  22. Oh the sweater is gorgeous! I'm glad you are keeping one item! The shoes are lovely but I hate I'll fitting shoes. And the colors on the dress are gorgeous!

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    1. thanks Laura! I actually did find the cashmere a bit nicer than last year's so am taking that as a hopeful sign! No more cashmere for me now till after Christmas and the Brora sale!

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  23. Wendy, did you say that you have flat feet? My husband does and he likes his monk straps because he can fit insoles in and has more control over the arch tightness with that strap.

    I have the opposite problem - an arch so high that I sometimes have to re-arrange the laces on shoes so that they don't press on my arch.

    And to continue my tangent, why don't well all learn these things about our feet at a younger age? I now know that I need an insole with serious arch support and my feet, knees, legs, etc., are a hundred times happier.

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    1. Abby - that needs to be a whole post on its own!!! There are so many things I feel I don't know! Plus, the mass market now doesn't help with that!

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  24. WMM,
    I love the grey and pink combination, too, but have to chime in and say that I think the skirt looks a little(wince) frumpy on. However, I think it is because it is far too long on you in that cut. if it were shorter and could be worn with tights and boots it would be cute. I just don't know if the sweater would hide the pocket detail, or worse, get caught on it. I have certain pieces I can't wear with knitwear for that reason.
    Love the blue dress- fresh and comfortable.I agree with you. I like menswear shoes, but at that price point there are so many options at Saks Fifth Avenue- from Tods to Tory to Ferragamo, that it seems crazy to buy a shoe that doesn't fit perfectly.

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    1. Hey KNityarns! I have to agree with you - the boots/skirt combo is for me a very specific one - it is either shorter or longer. Hard to do it at a certain length!

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  25. I wholeheartedly concur with your verdict your honor, LOL. Love the sweater (you'll keep it forever) and the dress (an Impressionist wonder). The pockets in the skirt make you look heavy in the middle, sorry. I am also looking for an A-line skirt this fall with a good drape. Hang on to your wallet, it seems there will be better and cheaper choices down the road. The past summer has been brutal to most US retailers. It seems people (even teenagers) are not buying clothes, shoes and bags. People are buying things for the house, cars, phones, tablets. Saks, Nordstroms, Macys, Abercrombie, have disappointing results. Interestingly, GAP and Old Navy are doing well (not Banana) as well as the Urban Outfitters group including Anthro. I am curious to know how Jcrew is doing but numbers are shrouded since they went private.

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    1. Thanks Marie - I believe I can have the best of all worlds! Once I find the world... :-)

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  26. Hi WMM! I received the monk strap shoe yesterday. I immediately disliked the color when I opened the box. You are right....wine colored and no variations in the leather, making them look manufactured from some kind of non leather material. This made them look cheap to me. So if the barn was painted burgundy, then faded, I guess you get Faded Barn. I ordered my normal shoe size....not my normal J. Crew size, because that changes with every pair of JCrew shoes I order. The shoe was at least 1/2 size too big and very wide. Advise to size up would have been ridiculous in my case....I don't wear an 11. Geez. So much for Customer Services' advice. Right back in the box and off to the B&M for return today. I ordered these shoes also and they are FANTASTIC!

    http://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/Frye-Anna-Leather-Oxford-Cognac/prod160570099/?ecid=NMALRFeedJ84DHJLQkR4&ci_src=14110925&ci_sku=prod160570099skuCOGNAC

    Frye Anna Leather Oxford. LOVE them! My normal size fit wonderfully, comfortable from very first wear, soft supple gorgeous leather and a leather and rubber sole which I like because I live in the Pacific NW and it rains alot here. Masculine but very feminine on the foot (ei..didn't make my foot look huge!) They are reviewed on Life is Short...Buy the Shoes. Check it out!

    P.S. Send that skirt back. Keep the sweater and add a colorful scarf or necklace.

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    1. Aye aye captain! Love those shoes - loved them on Audrey Bella! I think one of the spots I am going to tomorrow might have frye...hmmm..

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  27. I might be the only one that likes the skirt. With the right sweater or jacket, it can be a great casual piece.

    I am not liking the very pale pink sweater, on the other hand. Light colours are tricky to wear, IMO.

    I try never to buy shoes online unless I have tried them on first. Sizing up never works for me because I have an M width foot and skinny heels.

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    1. Hi Rose! I think you could rock the skirt. I like it on me okay, but I am not in the love camp. I agree you have to be careful on shades. I have lots of rich shades, is nice to have a more neutral shade too!

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  28. Love the pink sweater on you but I've given up on Crew cashmere . They seduce you with the colours but the quality is so disappointing. The skirt looks a tad big . The dress screams Wendy and it looks like a winner.

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    1. Hi Marsha, I liked the cashmere on this one surprisingly. After Christmas, am ordering the tea rose brora cardi. Love that colour!

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  29. Hi Wendy, I quite like the skirt, but would like it better without the zippers. I must say, I think you should head over and get the oxfords that Stray Cat linked to - they are gorgeous!

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    1. I am going to search a Canada store to avoid duty. I do think they are lovely!

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    2. WWM.....I bought the Frye shoes online from Nordstrom. My store didn't carry them so I ordered them online. I don't know what Nordstom charges to send to Canada...because of their cost the shipping was free to me. I hope you are able to find them! I've been searching for a couple of years for really nice oxfords and have had no luck....either too cheaply made or bad sizing. I'm so happy I found these! I'm going to wear mine with skirts as well and pants and jeans.

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  30. I am behind on blog reading. Funny, as I bought the same pale pink vneck cashmere, and I bought the same zipper pocket skirt - but in Navy. I think it is a fun skirt that can be worn fun ways (I am no longer working either) with tees and denim and fun sweaters. I do think you may have needed to size down too. The monk shoes are very nice, but NO SHOE is worth a bad fit. Ever. LOL You will find others.

    Did you ever put the book you mentioned to me in the blog? I have to go back and look.
    ;D

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    1. Oh gosh - you are right! Will try to post on colour this Sunday!

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  31. I love the shoes! Are you normally a 6.5 in J.Crew shoes? I vary from 7-8 depending on the width/material of the shoes (7 in Darby loafers, 7.5 in Valentina patent pumps, 8 in Viv patent flats) and am trying to figure out what size I'd be in these sexy monk strap loafers (swoon!).

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi! I am a 6.5 in ballet flats, and I would say try your loafer size first as they are roomy for sure!

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