Monday, June 1, 2009

"Big Girl" clothes

I'm so confused at what's currently happening on the MTV Movie Awards.  Actually, I'm just trying to figure out if there are animals living in KStew's hair, or if it's naturally that... sticky.  Is sticky the right word? 

Anyway, so like Miss Julia, I also have the pleasure of buying some "Big Girl" clothes as I enter the real world (and, hopefully, the same industry as Julia)!  My dad is very traditional about the whole suit thing.  Very traditional.  I guess I'm lucky that he thinks it's a rite of passage for a father to buy his daughter a nice business suit, but I ended up with two jacket/skirt/pants combos (gray and black).  

I'm very tall (about 5'10"), so I have problems finding pants that are long enough (I suppose I shouldn't complain since I don't have to get things tailored, but the flood pants look doesn't really work with suits...).  I have an even harder time trying to find jackets and t-shirts long enough for my arms... and, well, that makes suit shopping very special as you can imagine.  We looked around in the BCBG section of Dillards*, but we only found suits that worked across the way in the Antonio Melani section.

*Dillards, if you don't have it where you are, is a huge department store much like Macy's... only Macy's seems so much brighter and happier.  And they have FAO Schwartz in their toy departments, so suck on that Dillards!

I'd never heard of Antonio Melani before, but I'm definitely a fan now.  These are the "Maxine" pants, which retail for $129.  I felt bad about the price, but the quality more than makes up for it.  I really like the fact that the fabric is wrinkle-resistant, it's obvious to me that the pants were cut with an average woman's body in mind.  Very, very flattering--and, like Julia, I'm really not a pants person, but I'm looking forward to wearing these with a pretty blouse and the matching jacket.  

I also bought the matching "Charlie" skirt in both black and dark gray.  I liked the simple cut of the skirt and the length (again because I am on the "Amazonian" side of the height chart).  When we first started looking at skirts, I was immediately drawn all of the A-lines with bright, big patterns.  While I think those skirts can be appropriate for work (depending on your industry or the day of the week), my Dad pointed out that I'd get more wear out of a solid-colored pencil skirt with several different nice blouses, blazers and cardigans.  Ah, the wisdom of Dads.  I'm going to have to agree with him.  I think one of the best things you can do for yourself as a young woman is find yourself a pencil skirt that is 

1. Not a "Naughty Secretary" skirt (too tight)
2. Not a "Babushka" skirt (too baggy and/or too long)
3. Not a mini-skirt

I wish I could post a link to the matching blazers, but I honestly can't find them online.  We actually had to order the gray blazer because they no longer had it in my size.  So here ends my little plug for Antonio Melani--I definitely recommend the brand if you're looking for quality fabric that's not going to shrivel up on you after sitting on it for a few hours.  Definitely check it out if you're long-limbed, too!

Okay, moving on to the aforementioned pretty blouses:  I knew that I wanted to look in JCrew, if only because they're having their summer sale right now.  Here's the frustrating thing about posting JCrew products on this blog: half of the stuff that's in the store isn't on the website and vice versa.  For example, I found this very pretty knit-mix work skirt for $40 and a beautiful navy jersey dress... and they are nowhere on  I am perplexed.

Anyway, in exchange for my dad buying my suits, I told him that I would buy my work blouses, cardigans, and shoes.  (This is obviously not a fair trade...)  I really liked two of the blouses I tried on at JCrew (and I mean REALLY liked them), but I only walked out with one. 

I tried on the cotton ruffle tank in the color "stone" first.  The picture really doesn't do the shirt or its color justice.  It's very lightweight, but unlike 89% of JCrew's other products, it's not sheer and you won't need to wear a cami beneath it.  The color stone has a lot of blue in it--it's not quite as gray as this picture would lead you to believe.  It's a beautiful color for spring, and the shirt is extremely well made.  The only problem?  It costs $70.  I'm willing to wait to see if I can get it on sale, thank you very much!

The shirt that I actually bought was the short-sleeve stretch broadcloth shirt.  It's price isn't much better at $60, but you get more shirt for less money!  I know, I know my logic is impeccable.

All kidding aside, this shirt strikes me as being A LOT more versatile than the ruffle tank--I can at least wear it in all seasons, as opposed to just spring and summer.  And, if nothing else, it's a little more "classic" than the other tank, and it definitely appeals to the prep in me.  I love that there's a stretch in the fabric, and though you can't really tell from the picture, the collar and the sleeve both have ruffle details.  And did I mention the cut is very flattering?

As you can see, I wasn't very creative with my work blouses!  I would love to find some with bright colors and patterns, but I'm not sure where to look--help a girl out and give me some recommendations!  What are your favorite stores for "work" clothes?


Katie said...

ann taylor loft is usually a good bet - i had a friend sign up for their credit card solely on the basis that she would need a whole new work wardrobe after college. i also like banana republic (if you live near one of their outlets, it's even better), express (though be careful - i recently bought a nice shirt-dress there, and when i tried it on at home it was wayyy more fitted than i had expected - i looked more "sexy secretary" than "aspiring law intern"!), and zara is great for that european vibe, if there's one near you.

on a side note, i have been reading this blog religiously since i followed a link from your facebook group last year & i just wanted to say, keep up the good work, ladies :)

Alexandra Hepburn said...

Oooooh, thanks Katie! I can definitely see myself signing up for GAP and BR cards, so it's probably a good thing that Julia and I are planning on living together so we can keep one another in line!

I totally know what you mean about Express! I've always gone a size up in there because, like you said, all of their stuff looks one way on the hanger and another way on you! I'm not sure we have Zara in AZ (I remember it from studying in England a few summers ago), but I KNOW there are a few in NYC, so I'll be sure to check it out!

P.S. Let us know if you have any requests on posts you'd like to see! Thanks for keeping up with us!

Alison said...

I second Katie on the Zara and BR. I have a rather large butt and BR manages to not make me look like a lollipop stuffed into suiting pants.

you might want to check H&M for some shirts/blouses to wear under jackets at a better price point.

Could you post a follow up or review on the broad cloth shirt? I was inches away from buying it a couple weeks ago and I'm dying to know how it is IRL!