Elizabeth and James Yumi Top – can we love it for less?

Despite all of my best efforts to make Summer last forever, this week it looks like Fall is on its way.* So I guess it’s time for me to start confronting the realities of the changing season by consoling myself, like I always do, with wardrobe purchases.

*Although it is admittedly hard (hard, but not impossible) to complain when the weather is a perfect 85 degrees and sunny with a breeze everyday.

One thing I’ve been trying to purchase for a while now is a peplum top. What’s a peplum top? This is a peplum top:

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And this one is looking pretty fierce paired with printed pants and purple pumps.

Sadly, much like my efforts to stall the coming of Fall, my efforts to add a peplum top to my wardrobe have so far gone unrewarded. That’s because finding the right peplum top is quite the challenge. If the peplum starts too high it makes you look preggers. If the peplum starts too low it makes you look hippy. Ideally the peplum would start right below your ribcage, emphasizing the narrowest part of your waist. For whatever reason that has been incredibly difficult for me to find – but I am undeterred!

Today I fell in love with the gorgeous detailing on this peplum top from Elizabeth and James:

Elizabeth and James Yumi Top – $365

The embroidery makes it look like leather without all of the sweating and chafing that comes with actual leather and I am dying over the asymmetrical hemline of the peplum. Now the price… the price I could do without.

So I did what I always do when I come across something I love, but can’t afford – I set off across the internet in search of a suitable substitute at a reasonable price. Join me in evaluating my finds, won’t you?

Tinley Road Vegan Leather Peplum Top – $98

Let me start by saying that there is no such thing as “vegan leather.” It’s not anything leather if there are no cows involved. Vegan leather is a fancy way of saying “plastic.” And therein lies my problem with this top. Otherwise I really like the notched collar and center seaming detail on this one.

Topshop Flower Embroidered Peplum Top – $76

This one is a fairly good overall replica of the Yumi top. My concerns = the floral motif (because I am not a 13 year-old girl) and the low level and full volume of the peplum (because I do not want to look like I put a tutu over a tank top). But still, this one’s a serviceable option.

Express Peplum Shell Top – $40

This is our least-expensive option so far and one that’s basically one-tenth the price of the Elizabeth and James top. I call that a good deal. And I do like the cut-in shoulders. But while I complained about the tutu-like nature of the peplum above, I’m afraid this one swings too far in the other direction and will end up just looking like a stretched out yoga tank.

ASOS Top with Extreme Peplum – $35

Hey look! This one’s even cheaper than the last. And I definitely like the open, scooped neckline of this top. (I take issue, however, with them calling this top “extreme” as though it will be jumping out of a helicopter and snowboarding down a mountain while on fire at some point during the day.) What I miss, however, is the fun embroidery of the original E and J top.

And so, along those lines, I present our final top that I think combines the best of all of the above:

INC International Concepts Sleeveless Lace Peplum Blouse – $44

Let’s check off the boxes, shall we? Cheap? Check. Scoop neck? Check. Lace? Check. Peplum appropriate in both location and volume? Check. Not made out of plastic? Check.

I think we have a winner kids! This top looks adorable with a brightly-colored pencil skirt as shown above. I also envision it looking totally a-mah-zing over a pair of BCBG leather and knit leggings I bought last winter with some knee-high boots and a cozy sweater layered over top. But what do you think??

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Lulu Lemon Hot Spell One Piece – do we love it?

It’s Friday kids! Hoo-freakin’-ray!! I’m so happy it’s almost hard to be judgmental – I said almost.

But before we get to the judging, I ask that you indulge me for a few paragraphs while I wax rhapsodic about yoga. Specifically hot yoga. I know I’ve mentioned my love of yoga before, but that was in the early days of both this blog and my yoga practice, so I thought it was time to revisit that love.

Simply put, yoga has changed. my. life. How? Well first of all, it’s helped me lose weight. And more than that it’s helped me get and feel healthy from my head to my toes. But second of all, and more importantly, yoga has connected me with an inspiring community of fellow yogis helping me to form some amazing friendships with people I would never have met without it. There is almost nothing better than the feeling of moving and breathing as a class  – when you can feel the energy from those practicing around you pushing you to do more and be better.*

*And yes, I realize how cheesy and new age-y that sounds, but it’s true. And I don’t care what you think anyway because I’m so very enlightened from all of the yoga. So there. 

And if you are lucky enough to live in Nashville you are lucky enough to live near Hot Yoga Plus. Each and every person at that studio – from the awesome instructors to my phenomenal fellow practitioners –  has helped me to be not only a better yogi, but a better person. So if you are one of those lucky folks, get thee to Hot Yoga Plus ASAP. You might struggle through some of the postures, you will definitely sweat through all of the classes, but you will never, ever regret it.

END OF RHAPSODIC WAXING

Back to the judging – which is ironic because one of my favorite things about practicing yoga is the lack of judgment you feel from the other yogis while you practice. This is in stark contrast to say, the YMCA or any other gym I’ve ever been to where I always felt like someone was watching/judging me at all times. But if someone showed up to the yoga studio in this, I’m not going to lie, there would be LOTS of judging:

Lulu Lemon Hot Spell One Piece – $88

Yoga, as I’m sure you’re aware, involves a whole lot of bending and stretching. And when you bend and stretch, a lot of things move around. Like, for example, your boobs. And the bottom of your shorts. In this thing, there’s not much room for error in either of those areas. So let’s take a look at this one piece in action:

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Let me be clear – I cannot do this. But if I could do this, I would not want to do it in this outfit. And I’m pretty sure the person on the mat behind me wouldn’t want me to do it either (unless that person is a disgusting pervert). I generally practice in some sort of tank top and capris or leggings. But if your practice is so inhibited by that amount of cloth on your person, you can wear a sports bra and shorts. That is completely respectable (provided you do not spill out of that bra and shorts like the Michelin Man). There is no reason to dress like a hoochie.**

**Aside: I love Lulu Lemon. I own a great many of their products and have been very satisfied with all of them. So Lulu, if you’re reading this, please do not be mad at me. I just hate this one thing you made and I hate it a lot. Perhaps my hate could be lessened and/or eliminated with some free merch.***

***But no pressure.

So far an informal polling of my fellow female yogis has resulted in a unanimous thumbs down to this latest Lulu creation. But what do you think??


7 For All Mankind The Skinny Jeans – things I’m loving for Fall

I have, on more than one occasion, noted this blog is called “Do We Love It” and not “Things Shea Loves and/or Hates and Tells You About.” And that’s still true. But I have also, on more than one occasion, been asked by friends how I make my wardrobe purchasing decisions – or in layman’s terms – why do I buy what I buy. So being the selfless soul* that I am (ha!), I thought I would start sharing my thought process on some of the new pieces I’m buying for Fall 2012.
First up:

The What: 7 For All Mankind The Skinny Jeans in Wildflower Print

The Price: $189 via Piperlime (In my defense, I bought them using a 20% off coupon so they were actually around $150 for me.)

The Why: I’m sure you all remember when we previously discussed printed pants. Since that time, the idea of printed pants, especially a printed jean, has really grown on me. Which is a good thing because now they are everywhere. So naturally this means I became obsessed with having a pair.

From the get-go I had my heart set on a floral pattern. And at first I contemplated a pair in a more subtle, or neutral palette, like so:

Level 99 Janice Lace Skinny – $125

And those are, no doubt, very cute. But ultimately I decided there’s no point in buying a pair of printed jeans that no one can tell is printed. Still, I was hesitant to pull the full-color floral trigger. But while the pattern is bold and they are plenty colorful, the 7’s are still ultimately made up of a pretty neutral palette of navy, tans, dark purple and a little bit of army green. I thought they could potentially be both versatile and awesome.

When I ran the idea past Brown-haired Shea, she wisely pointed out the 7’s are a pretty bold statement piece and I might not be able to get as much wear out of them because they would be so memorable. That caused me to pump the brakes a little. While everyone loves to have a signature look, no one wants to be the girl who wears that same pair of pants all the time. Maybe the price was a little too steep for something I could really only get away with wearing once or twice per month.

But I capital-L loved them. And the more I thought about them, the more they reminded me of another purchase I had made earlier this summer with spectacular results:

J.Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt –  currently on sale for $90 (although I practically stole mine for under $40 at an earlier summer sale)

This floral pencil skirt has been a wardrobe all-star for me this summer. It’s a bold pattern, but on a classic shape. I’ve worn it five times this summer and not once have I repeated what I wore with it. And off the top of my head I can think of at least three other ways I can wear it. This skirt, like the 7’s, is memorable, but versatile, and that makes it a winner in my book.

Here are a few ways I’m already envisioning working these memorable pants into my Fall wardrobe.

Floral leggings for work

The How: First I should admit these “skinny jeans” are tight. And I mean tight as in “really snug leggings”, not tight as in “off the chain.” (Although they are also tight like that, too.) I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wear these to my office, even on a casual Friday. But if you work in a more creative or lenient office environment, they sure would look swell paired with a navy blazer, loose cream-colored shirt and brown knee-high boots (all of which I already own – hooray for wardrobe recycling!!).

Floral leggings at night

The How: I’m picturing this look as a fun date-night outfit (This is assuming I ever have a date again, ever. Which given the man-situation in Nashville is not looking likely. Am I right Nashville ladies???) I would leave the blouse un-tucked and the leather jacket open. Throw on some platform pumps and add the delish orange clutch that pulls out the same color in the pants, and you would be one stylish chica.

And finally,

Floral leggings for winter

The How: This is how I envision wearing my sassy pants on a cold day come Winter. The top picks up the purple in the pants and you can never go wrong with a classic navy peacoat. Plus I think I’m also loving a mid-calf, lace-up flat boot as a casual wardrobe staple this Winter. I’ll let you know if (who are we kidding) when I buy some.

So that’s why I bought a pair of floral skinny pants for Fall/Winter 2012. But lest you think I plan to pack these beauties away until the leaves start to change, I plan to wear these in the near future with a navy blue t-shirt, long pendant necklace and gold flat sandals. I can also wear them with a loose chambray shirt and my cowboy boots. Or one of my five hundred cream-colored lace tops and a pair of ballet flats. Moral of the story: bold statement pieces CAN be a versatile addition to your wardrobe. Buy what you love, love what you buy.

*And just because I AM such a selfless soul, I’m giving you a chance to weigh in.


Open shoulder tops – do we love them?

I am not a girl of many talents. I mean, there was an absolutely ZERO percent chance of me ever qualifying for the Olympics in any type of athletic event whatsoever.  And while I was a fairly proficient piano player back in the day, and I like to think my singing voice is slightly above-average, I have never been under any illusion that I might one day perform at Carnegie Hall.

But one talent I do have is the ability to remember what I and/or other people were wearing on random, non-specific days. I’m not talking about remembering what your senior prom dress looked like, or what you wore to your college graduation – that’s easy.*

*And if you forget, there are most likely pictures to remind you.

I’m talking about what I wore on the day I had my kindergarten orientation. (Pink shorts, pink and green plaid short-sleeved button-up shirt. Until I puked on them. Then I changed into an identical pair of shorts in navy and the same shirt, but white with a butterfly pattern. Until I puked on them, too. Then I stayed home and wore pajamas.)

Or what I was wearing the day I met Brown-haired Shea. (Black pencil skirt, short-sleeved blue button-up top with my tan blazer and snakeskin sling backs)

Or what I wore to Opryland on a church youth group trip in tenth grade. (Walker High School homecoming t-shirt, black with white piping Umbro shorts, my purple and green Sauconys and a black and white polka dot ribbon tied around my ponytail. That’s right kids – I have always been a fashion icon.)

Sadly I have yet to find a way to make money from this particular talent.

Now I do NOT remember what I was wearing on my first day of high school. But I DO remember what the girl (Her name was Starla. #ofcourseitwas) sitting behind me in freshman English was wearing. Probably because it looked almost exactly like this:

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Except it had flowers on it. Of course it did. Because it was 1993.

But the shirt above is not from 1993 – it’s from now. And these open shoulder tops have been popping up all over my fashion radar lately reminding me of both Starla and my youth so I thought we should take a look. Now as a broad-shouldered gal myself, I have a natural aversion to anything that makes me look even more like a linebacker than usual. Even itty-bitty Lauren Conrad looks like she could kick some ass for the Green Bay Packers when she wears one:

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So these tops automatically make me nervous, but maybe that shouldn’t always be the case. Let’s start with the potentially good, like this Ella Moss shirt:

Ella Moss Girl’s Best Friend Top – $98

Now this shirt is not horribly offensive. It’s a great color. And the overall voluminous shape is pretty cute paired with shorts or skinny jeans. But the shoulder cut-outs seem so unnecessary to me. What is their purpose? Is there a sweaty shoulder epidemic sweeping the nation? Are men everywhere eschewing boob cleavage for shoulder cleavage and no one told me?

Or how about this one:

C&C California Cold Shoulder Tee – $48

Again, good color. Otherwise cute tee. But it looks like she survived an attempted sleeve-mugging where the assailant was too weak to rip off the entire sleeve, gave up, and ran away.

Maybe this top from Equipment is better:

Equipment Nixie Open Shoulder Top – $208

Nope. It’s not. If I’m paying over $200 for a shirt, I want the entire sleeve, thankyouverymuch.

But at least that one gave us more sleeve than this monstrosity:

Marla Open Shoulder Top – $84

Seriously shirt. You can either be a camisole, or you can be a poncho. YOU CANNOT BE BOTH.

As you can probably tell, I am a firm ‘no’ on open-shoulder tops. You know who does love an open shoulder? This girl:

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But what about you???


Black & White Striped Dress – how to love it (a Pinterest re-do)

I don’t know if you kids have noticed, but for the latter part of June and the early part of July, America has been on fire. And I mean that both literally in terms of Colorado, and figuratively in terms of the temps everywhere else. Usually those of us living below the Mason Dixon line have the market cornered on extreme Summertime heat. Not this year:

That’s a 106 over Nashville. One HUNDRED and six degrees. That is a lot of degrees.

Let me just say that it is very hard to dress for one hundred and six degrees because you are immediately going to sweat through anything you put on. So both I and the dying grass in my front yard were super-excited for the rain and the break in temps that came with it this week. Now I can finally wear clothing that covers more than the bare minimum that is appropriate in public! Maybe even something with sleeves! Maybe even something like this dress:

J Crew dress

J. Crew Striped Dress (formerly, but no longer available at theoutnet.com) – $63

What a cute little knit dress!! And had the temps in Nashville not been equivalent to those on the surface of the sun, I would be living in something quite similar this Summer.

As you probably already figured out by the title of this post, I discovered this dress on Pinterest. And someone had styled it like so:

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I don’t like this. I especially don’t like the pair of pantyhose someone fashioned into a scarf. I mean, I’m all for reusing items in your wardrobe, but this is a step too far.

Instead, I would reuse the dress and make it work across several seasons. How? I’m SO glad you asked. Here’s how I would wear that dress in our now moderately-climated Summer:

Striped dress summer

I am currently obsessed with bow belts. And I’ve always been obsessed with mixing patterns. Here I’m doing it by treating the black and white stripe as a neutral and adding a fun tribal-inspired wedge. I pulled the pink from the shoe to add a pop of color with the bag and I suggest wearing your hair up to show off a fab pair of gold hoops.

But as I’ve sadly been reminded by the flurry of e-mails from retailers in the past week announcing their new arrivals, Fall is just around the corner. (Insert frowny-face here). Let’s take a look at how I would roll this dress over into Autumn:

B&W Stripes for Fall

I love the idea of punching up a casual outfit with a fancy accessory like this gold bib necklace. And you can never go wrong with a classic denim jacket like the one here. *

*Unless you are pairing it with more denim on the bottom. I don’t care how many times magazines and stylists try to convince me it’s okay – denim on denim is NEVER okay.

And finally, because I was so judge-y about the Pinterest look above, here’s how I would wear this dress come Winter:

B&W Stripes for Winter

Even though Winter is my very least fave season, I think this might be my very most fave look. I do love a good black and brown combo and nothing ties the two together better than our old friend leopard print. Add in the always versatile turquoise earrings and the handbag I would sell my soul to own and you have one killer look for cold temps.*

*Which I’m starting to think we may never see again. But just in cases.**
**Name that movie and we can be friends.

So are you kids enjoying the recent cool down? Or do you long for the days of sweaty hair on your neck and legs that stick to your carseat? Try looking at the pieces in your wardrobe with a new eye towards transitions and you’ll be ready no matter what the weather fairy brings. Happy almost Friday!!



Benson & Clegg Skull and Crossbones Tie – do we love it?

Real life and my real job have once again interrupted my real love – this blog. My sincerest apologies. Now, where were we…

I have never really been a fan of the skull and crossbones motif. Why? Maybe because I’m not a pirate. Or a rock star who wishes I was a pirate:

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I didn’t even love skulls on this Alexander McQueen scarf* that started popping up on everyone from the Olson twins to Lindsay Lohan in the past year:

Alexander McQueen Silk Skull Print Scarf – $295

*Although damn if my girl Nicole doesn’t make a convincing case for that scarf being awesome:

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ATTS (that’s “All that to say” for those of you who are not Brown-haired Shea and don’t automatically understand my abbrevs), there was no reason for me to love this men’s tie when I recently came across it on Pinterest:

I don’t know who this guy is. I don’t know where he’s from, how old he is, or what he does for a living. I don’t even know what his face looks like. But what I do know is that he is magical. Because despite all odds against it, he has made stuffy English tweed + a preppy, striped oxford + a skull and crossbones tie add up to a SMOKING HOT look. Seriously guy. I love you. Call me.

Am I crazy or is this tie awesome?

Benson & Clegg Skull and Crossbones Tie – $95

I’m thinking this maroon one would rock with a gray suit and a black and white gingham shirt. Or you could add it to your hubs’ traditional navy suit and blue oxford shirt for a subtle, but unexpected cool factor. But what do you think?


Tory Burch Pom-Pom Resin Necklace – do we love it?

We all remember these pom-poms from high school:

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But do you also remember these pom-poms from preschool and kindergarten?

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I would wager a lot of money that each of you brought home some sort of craft project decorated with these that your mothers lovingly displayed on the refrigerator no matter how ugly it was.  God bless our Moms. And PTL* for stainless steel appliances that mean we will have a valid excuse not to stick such hideous creations on our own refrigerators some day.

*That’s “Praise the Lord” for those of you who are not Brown-Haired Shea and might not already know what that means.

Well Tory Burch apparently remembers them because she’s put them all over her 2013 Resort collection – including on this necklace:

Tory Burch Pom-Pom Resin Necklace – $695

That’s right kids – Tory is charging $700 for something that looks like you could have made it during kindergarten craft time. What’s so sad about this is that if you look past the pom-poms (which I admit is hard to do), this is a fabulous necklace. Here’s a closer, but sadly also tinier, look at it:

It would be SO amahzing sans poofballs, don’t you think?

If this were just a case of a random pom-pom necklace I stumbled across at the mall I wouldn’t be so concerned. Appalled and maybe a little horrified, but not concerned. But this is Tory Burch – women’s wear style taste-maker and trendsetter. Once she starts gluing a few pom-poms to necklaces someone else will add a few more and, if we don’t stop them, before you know it someone will be making a necklace comprised solely of pom-poms….

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Oops. Too late.