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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2, 4, 6, 8? I certainly don't appreciate...

the variation in women's clothing sizes!

Everyone in the fashion blogging community knows how impossible it is to know one's size across brands (and within brands the consistency and qc just isn't always there!). That's part of why I appreciate style bloggers and the reviews they do for the community. It can make it so much easier to take the guesswork out of which size to try on it what brand... questions like, does it run large or TTS are always tough to interpret since there is no standardized sizing.

You may have seen the New York Times article "One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10" detailing this lack of standard sizing. (thanks for the link Clara!)

What I thought was especially neat in the article was the graph they made of various fashion labels/designers and their bust/waist/hip ratios for a size 8. Well, I think of myself as a size 4. But look at the variation there are among Anthropologie, J.Crew, Ann Taylor Loft, Anna Sui, etc for a Size 4

[click on the image to download a copy of the graphical size 4 chart of the brands listed at the end of this post. Graphical size charts for sizes 0-14 are available for download at the bottom of this post]

The NY Times article mentioned there is a company that is putting full body scanners in malls, taking your body measurements, and giving you a print out of what your size will likely be for different stores/brands within the mall. Certainly, this is a useful tool to help with the variability across brands! (although not so much for variability within a brand).

Since there aren't a lot of these size scanners out there, I thought I'd compile a few size charts for y'all of some of the brands Anthropologie carries and a few other brands I like. Unfortunately, Anthro doesn't give different size guides for its in-house labels (although we all know they seem to have very different sizing standards). If you know of any size charts for brands that could be added here, let me know (send me a note: lorispeak [at] live [dot] com). Hopefully this could be helpful to some of you out there.

To use the size charts, you need to know your bust, waist, and hip measurements. Knowing these things is also super helpful if you buy clothing on ebay or from fellow JCAs or the EA Trade Market. Most sellers are quite accommodating when asked to provide these measurements.

If you don't have a tape measure, use a string to get your measurements and then use a ruler to measure the length of the string. See instructions on how and where to take your bust, waist, and hip measurements here.

You can download a copy of a compilation of these various brands' size charts here:
Click here to download the full size chart

Since I already had the data compiled, I thought it might be nice for some people to look up their size according to their size of one of their body parts. For instance, I know that I have large hips, and they're often the limiting factor for skirts. So I could use just my hip measurement to see what size I am across the brands. Analogously, my cousin often has to buy dresses that can accommodate her larger chest size, so using the size chart by bust size may be more helpful for her.

note: for the only following three size charts, half inch measurements were rounded down. so if a brand's size 0 fits up to a 35.5" hip, I put size 0 under 35"
Click here to download size chart by bust measurement
Click here to download size chart by waist measurement
Click here to download size chart by hip measurement

Graphical Size Charts

Click here to download Size 0 graphical size chart
Click here to download Size 2 graphical size chart

Click here to download Size 4 graphical size chart

Click here to download Size 6 graphical size chart
Click here to download Size 8 graphical size chart
Click here to download Size 10 graphical size chart
Click here to download Size 12 graphical size chart
Click here to download Size 14 graphical size chart

Brands listed: Anthropologie (general), Leifsdottir, Anna Sui, Eva Franco, Tracy Reese, Corey Lynn Calter, Ella Moss, Nanette Lepore, Twinkle by Wenlan, J.Crew, Ann Taylor Loft

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What I love right now...

1. New Patisseries in my hood

BTW, if you're in Seattle, the goat cheese and tomato tart at Ines Patisserie is delish.

2. Hubby learning to multitask

3. Walking/running with the Budzor

4. Surprise notes

5. Non-tight-wearing weather

6. The photography and tips at iheartfaces. (I learned how to create a watermark-specific brush in Photoshop! See below for results)

7. Grace Harbor Farms Guernsey Honey Yogurt. SO amazing. Apparently milk from Guernsey cows is sweeter and has more beta-carotene than other milk. All I know is that I had a bowl for dessert... Ev asked for a bite, and then proceeded to serve himself 3 bowls full.

(You can buy this in the Seattle area at these locations or through your Full Circle farms grocery box).

8. Mint green

I've found a new love of mint green (which I'll admit I always thought was turquoise-ish). This love played out in two of my outfits last week! Pardon the pic positioning as I didn't actually look at the pics before running out the door!



Yeah, so you're like 'where's the mint green?' And I'm all like, 'I got your mint green right huuuuuuurr....'

A BIG shout out to Kim at Anthroholic for posting about this Lauren Conrad trench at Kohl's, and for advising me on the fit!

I had never been to a Kohl's before. We didn't have any near me when I was growing up, and I never seem to come across them. It's also not like me to seek out a celebrity fashion line.

By the time I decided I wanted to try this coat, the coat had already sold out in smaller sizes online. I didn't even realize the smallest size in the line was a size 2! Calling around to the nearest Kohl's, I found the smallest size they had was a 4, which I thought might be too big on me. Also, since it's a celebrity line, I worried about the quality. So I gave up on buying it.

But this coat haunted me with it's beautiful unusual shade (for a trench coat) and feminine detail that didn't consist of ruffles at the hips (whih makes me look waaay wide). Finally, I asked Kim how she liked hers. When I heard the size 2 fit her well, I knew the 4 would fit ok since Kim seems to run smaller than me in Anthro clothes.

I was decently impressed with Lauren Conrad's line. I liked the styles of the items I saw at the store. I didn't try on anything else, since I was only there for the coat, but I really like this coat! The pretty flowery lining is a nice touch. And the fact that this detail carried over to line the pockets was a wonderful surprise. It's also the perfect weight for a Spring coat! I may keep an eye on her line in the future.

See the coat on Kim here.

Tuesday OOTD specs
Anna and Frank silk green shirt sz S (thrifted $4) similar here
H&M mustard yellow cardigan sz 6 ($20) similar here
Banana Republic cream wool mini skirt sz 2 (thrifted $) similar here
Banana Republic calf hair belt (thrifted $4) similar on sale here
grey tights
Brown Franco Sarto knee-high boots ($25) similar here

Wednesday OOTD specs
Lauren Conrad Trench Coat size 4 ($55) on ebay here, or similar here, here
Xhilaration lace cardigan sz M ($10) still available here for $10 and other colors for $7!
H&M big pocketed skirt sz XS ($15)
Anthropologie Tellicherry Belt ($15)
black Kirkland tank sz S ($6?)
black tights
black talbots t-strap pumps (thrifted $8?) similar here, here

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Here's to reusing and recycling!

Early on my parents instilled the value of recycling and reusing items. In fact, one of the children’s books my mom used to read to my brother and I was about recycling. It was called Lots and Lots of Pippindots
(pippindots were supposedly the recycled plastic beads that come out of the recycling process and could be used to create various things like plastic wood, etc. If you’re wondering, my mom got this book because she was working for a chemical company that was developing a recycling process.)

There are lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but seeing as this is a style blog, I thought I'd focus on one way that's close to my heart. This may be obvi to many of you, but I love thrifting or upcycling. Thrifting is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint! Think about all the resources that go into a clothing item. How is the fiber made, dyed, constructed? How far does it travel before reaching a retail store?

Did you know:

The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.

It takes almost 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just ONE T-shirt

If you are someone who likes to follow fashion trends - be it the 'color of the moment,' wide leg jeans, and maxi skirts for that 70's trend we are seeing - consider visiting your local thrift stores. Many trends are fashion revivals of a certain time period. So you can satisfy your fashion itch using less energy and natural resources. As an added benefit, thrifting is often cheaper than buying new clothes, and often supports a charity. Check out my guides on shoe shopping at thrift stores and what to wear while thrifting.

Patagonia has this online tool where you can look at the carbon footprint of some of their products. For example, a pair of their shorts travels 10,105 miles and generates 3.2 lbs of CO2. I'm curious about the carbon footprint of a pair of Chloe or Forever21 shorts.

I'm not saying you need to thrift all your clothes or that clothes thrifting is for everyone. If thrifting ain't yo thang, you can still reduce your clothing carbon footprint by renewing the life of the clothing you do own. Did a shirt lose a button? Rather than toss it, sew on a new one.

Take a quiz on your clothing's carbon footprint

[stepping down from soapbox...]

And here's my Earth Day outfit. If I'd thought about it more, I would have worn my thrifted "Save the Earth" belt from this post. This was also attempt #2 at dressing down a pencil skirt with a t-shirt. See attempt #1 here.

It was also the first day I went TIGHTLESS in like, forever. It's supposed to get up to 60F tomorrow! That's practically steamy!

Earth Day OOTD Specs
Threadless giraffe t-shirt ($20)
Ann Taylor Loft wedge sandals (thrifted $8)
Chunky wood and woven necklace (thrifted $3)
BCBGMaxazaria tan cardigan sz S (thrifted $6)
BCBGMaxazaria grey skirt sz S ($5)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

omg craigslist happy dance!

Look what I just bought off craigslist:

It's Anthro's Who's the Fairest Mirror. I had seen this in-store, but the $$ kept me at a distance. Then I saw someone post theirs on CL for $30. And, they were only a few streets down from me. WIN!

Now when hubby and I are vying for the bathroom in the morning, I don't need to use my make up compact as a mirror :D. It also goes well with our Michael Aram Enchanted Forest candlesticks. It's like I live in a big metal faux bois world.

The Who's the Fairest Mirror is still available here online for $148.

Interested in other neat branchy/tree mirrors for your home? (click on pics for more info)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mad Men dressing and my Salwar Kameez

My double life as a grad student and as a person working in the real world outside academia started last week, and it was awesome... but also exhausting. I was so excited when I woke up this weekend knowing that I slept in... until I looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:40a. Well, I guess that was kinda sleeping in...

I picked up this beautiful brocade dress at the Goodwill Glitter sale with my friend Jeanny. It has such a neat Mad Men vibe, and the color just jumps out at you. I only had to take it in at the bust a bit to make it fit. I almost left it at the sale, because I didn't know where I would ever wear it. But I found the occasion at this winter wedding in Portland, OR.

I love the built-in bow belt and the large scoop neck. I finished the look with some polka-dotted ankle socks and Target's leather Pearce Pumps.

[start vent session]
I thought I was completing my Mad Men look with a socks + shoes combo, or perhaps I was being slightly fashion-y. But a woman in the elevator who saw me decided that 'it must be an Japanese thing.' HUH? The funny thing is that I had already conversed with her, so it was obvious I had no accent whatsoever. So even if I were ethnically Japanese (I'm Chinese), it was obvious that I was American. So it being a 'Japanese thing' is just so not right. Somehow I'm always surprised when I'm mistaken for a foreigner (like when I went into a Seattle antique shop and the owner expressed surprise at how good my English was since he thought I was a tourist...). FYI, it's actually fairly common for Asian Americans to be seen as perpetual foreigners-for people to deny their American identities. Those of you who remember the 1998 Olympics may remember the headlines that read "American beats out Michelle Kwan."
[end vent session]

Winter Wedding OOTD
vintage Blue Brocade dress (thrifted Goodwill Glitter Sale $40) see similar style here or here, or here
H&M faux pearl strand necklace ($5) similar here
Target black leather Pearce Pumps ($30) buy here
Nicole Miller white beaded cardigan (thrifted $7) similar here
embroidered blue purse (gifted) similar here or here or here
polka dot socks
J.Crew head band

Below, my bestie + I tried our best to pretend like we were in some cheesy advertising campaign... perhaps for prom dresses?

I was hoping to have a vid of the dance we did at the sangeet, but I haven't been able to track down the youtube vid yet. Don't worry, I'll post it if I ever see it. But as promised, here's a pic in my first ever Salwar Kameez. I picked it up at Goodwill and embroidered the neckline and sleeves. It has since been washed and re-donated to Goodwill :D

Here's an up-close of some of the embroidery before I finished it. It was surprisingly fun and easy to learn (not that I did it super well or anything complicated, I was just amazed it came out looking like anything at all remotely resembling embroidery). There are some GREAT tutorials out there, but I really liked the tutorials at Sublime Stitchery, and I found out that my favorite stitch is the "French Knot."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The grass is greener...

on my counter!

I love when I can find functional products that somehow make my life cheerier! Ev and I had been using dish towels on the counter to let things dry a bit after coming out of the dish washer. I looked into getting an actual dish rack, but most of them took up too much counterspace and were an eyesore.

This little patch o' grass is actually marketed as a drying rack for baby supplies. It takes up a scant 10"x 10" plot, but it's perfect for the few tupperware lids and kitchen tools that need some extra drying time before being packed away in their respective cabinets and drawers.

This rack wouldn't be good for you if you need to dry all your dishes on here (I'm not actually certain that it would hold a dish plate up... I certainly wouldn't recommend trying that). But, if you have the odd cup or utensil that needs drying this would work well for you too.

The 'grass' portion is a plastic spoked insert. The spokes are actually quite stiff and hold up cups, bottles. You can also squeeze handles of things between the spokes to dry various utensils vertically.

Boon Inc. Grass Countertop Drying Rack ($18 at Amazon)

Monday, April 11, 2011

She's got lips!

Ok, so I know I promised myself I wouldn't take OOTD pics until I caught up with the backlog, but I give up. In my defense, I wanted to document the fact that I actually have lips! I wore RED lipstick today! Snap! Bam! POW!

Some individuals call red lipstick a man-repeller. Ev wasn't so much repelled as... well shocked. I mean, he knew I had a mouth, but I guess he never expected to see it quite so well.

The lipstick is NYX in Snow White. I read somewhere that its blue undertones make this red quite wearable on Asian skintones. For reference, I'm NW20 in MAC.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE NYX lipsticks because 1) they are super cheap. Especially if you buy them in multi-packs from makeup ebay sellers. I bought mine from Joy's Cosmetics on Ebay, and 2) the lipsticks have great color and are super smooth to apply!

Here it is in some other lighting at brunch! This certainly isn't an everyday color (for me). But, it was fun to wear out with friends on the weekend, or I could see using it if I ever got all glam and went out at night (wishful thinking, lol).

excuse the dark circles... and no I'm not naked, lol.
OOTD Specs
Gap jean shirt sz XS (thrifted $4)
Vintage blue pleated skirt (thrifted $4)
grey sweater tights
Xhilaration raspberry pumps (thrifted NWT $7)
Charlotte Russe feather headband ($5)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Spring brings new things

Thank you everyone for your sweet welcome home wishes to Budddie! We are so happy to have him back! Budz hasn't quite "turned the corner" on his recovery. He's being a trooper though, and he's still on pain meds and antibiotics. I'm hoping his pain and side effects miraculously evaporate this week. Cross your fingers with me!

Along with all the new growth popping up in the yard, Spring has brought some additional new happenings around here... err... around hair... lol. yes. omg I just went there.

So you know how I've been trying new things with my hair? Well I noticed my hair was starting to dry out!!

So I tried out hair pickling (that's what husband calls it) or hair salad-making (that's what my bestie calls it). LOL. They're referring to the fact that I've been putting the components of a good salad dressing on top of my head.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: Supposedly, this helps strip the hair of any product residue and smooths the hair follicles. Cool! I filled an empty contact solution bottle with half water and half apple cider vinegar. In the shower, I squirted a bunch on my scalp and massaged it into my hair roots for a minute before rinsing, and then shampooing my hair as normal.

Results: Wow. My hair got really smooth and shiny after it dried. Also, my hair did NOT smell like vinegar (much to hubby's sadness, since he was so excited I was 'pickling my hair'). I have naturally straight hair, but this made my hair lay super straight on my head. In fact, I thought it was too straight and flat. So, I immediately wanted to curl it again. But, the darnedest thing is that even though I've washed my hair since then, my hair has not yet been able to hold a curl like it did before the vinegar rinse... Has anyone else ever had this happen?

I think this would be great option for people who use a lot of product and want to add shininess to their hair. Maybe just don't use it if you want to curl your hair?

Olive Oil treatment: So I read that this type of treatment would be especially helpful to replenish dry hair. I was a bit skeptical about adding oil to my hair which naturally gets really oily if I don't wash it... but I thought I'd give it a try. Ok. So the actual recipe I looked up called for 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of honey... acckk! I wasn't ready to take the leap of faith needed to put sticky honey in my hair.

What I did: I took 2 TB of olive oil and put it in a plastic baggy in a cup of warm water (to heat the oil). I then used my hands to massage the oil into the ends of my dry hair and up my head. I stuck all my hair into a shower cap, and I hopped into a hot bath for 15 minutes to let the hot air from the bath heat the oiled, cap-covered hair. After 15 minutes I showered, and washed my hair a couple times to get the oil out.

Results: Not as startling as the vinegar treatments. But, my hair tips no longer look dry! I think my hair is back to looking healthy :D woohoo! Now if only I could get it to hold a curl again.

Now, my non-hair related new Spring thing...I've accepted a part-time job at a start-up! I'll get to use my research skills in an industry I happen to also be quite interested in. Sounds fab right?

I had initially been looking for an industry position to try out this summer (for a comparison to academia), but this opportunity came up and I couldn't pass it up! I start next week!!

Ok and now an admission: I've stopped taking ootd pics until I make my way through some of my backlog. This outfit was from over a month ago. It was the first time I'd worn my hair in braids in a long time. Everyone told me I looked like Pocahontas.... for realz. O_o

Outfit specs
Deletta unknown name tee sz S ($20)
J.Crew Tivoli boiled wool cardigan
Eze Sur Mer top sz S ($30)
Lucky Brand jeans size 4 (thrifted $8)
Nicole Winchester Leather Riding Boots ($100)
necklace (gifted)