NAS Part 2 - K/R Leather Jacket and Houndstooth Blouse

This Halogen leather jacket made it as one of Angie's recommendations with the caveat that the leather is not butter soft. It's supple, but tougher feeling than some others. What do you think of the style/fit?

I love the houndstooth blouse. My only reservation is that is't a teeny bit too large in the shoulders. The smaller size was far too tight in the bust area. Is it ok? Or should I return it?

TIA for your help!!!

P.S. Will someone please nag my son and get him to mow the lawn?


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My NAS Loot: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I'm a little embarrassed to show you all that I purchased, because it's a lot. However, I've thought long and hard over the past year about the gaps in my wardrobe, i.e. the items I often wished I had rather than things I occasionally had a hankering for. Each one of these items fit my criteria in some manner, so I know that I'll get a lot of use out of the things I'm keeping. I'll have to keep looking for replacements for the items that didn't work out.

Since this shopping expedition had a big price tag for me, I'd appreciate honest feedback on the pieces. I don't want to hang on to something that isn't quite right.

Without further ado...

The Good!

(1 & 2) Miss Sixty Asymmetrical Soft Shell Jacket - When I ordered this, I worried that I wasn't going to be happy with it because it's not lined. The lack of a lining is not a problem in this case. The interior is nice and furry/fuzzy. The fabric is very stretchy making it comfortable to wear. It's also smooth, so lint probably won't stick to it.

I LOVE big collars and asymmetry, so am thrilled with this purchase!

(3) Trina Turk 'Rai' Print Silk Blouse - I love this shape on me. It balances out my pear figure nicely and feels cheeky. Love the stripes and bold colors. The only thing I'm concerned about is how snug it is over the hips.

(4) Lafayette 148 New York 'Audrey' Silk Blouse - Earlier in the year I bought a Banana Republic silk blouse in a very similar color. I ended up donating it because I couldn't keep the front closed over my bosom, even with fashion tape. This fits better and the fabric is much nicer, I think. Only one concern: it's tight over my hips so the front edges pull apart at the bottom.

(5 & 6) Lafayette 148 New York 'Melodic' Tweed Jacket - It's purple tweed with metallic threads. I've died and gone to heaven. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

(5 & 6) Lafayette 148 New York Stretch Wool Pants - I bought these in both eggplant and loden. I also have a black pair that I wear all the time. They're my favorite pants. The fit is great at my waist and down through the crotch area, which is usually impossible to fit on me. It doesn't look quite right in that area in these photos, but I think that's because I'm standing funny.

Two downsides to these for me: they're not lined and this is the unhemmed length. I wish they were 1/2-1 inch longer so I could make a deeper hem in them. When I'm hem them, I can only take up 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch before I'd be violating the law of PPL.

(13) Me Too Leopard Print Shoes and Cole Haan Air Monica Shoes - I've been looking for the right pair of animal print shoes for a long time and finally found them. They're comfy too! I also needed a pair of black shoes for work. I liked the two tone version of the Air Monicas better, but needed black, so picked those instead. These are REALLY comfy!

The Bad (?)

(7) Halogen® Ballet Neck Stretch Modal Tee - very long, which might be good for tucking, but very thin and the neckline is too wide on my narrow upper body. I had hoped this would be a good layering t-shirt for me, but am not really sure whether I should hang on to it or return and look for something better. I also bought black and teal.

The Ugly - well, not ugly, but Disappointing...

(8- 12) John Carlisle Leather Moto Jacket - This is the one item I was dying to get when I first saw the NAS catalog. Teal is one of my favorite colors and it looks good on me. Unfortunately, the leather jacket is a lot thinner than I expected, I don't like the look of the lining and the fit isn't right. It flattens my bust line, cuts off the circulation from my upper to my lower torso (i.e. tight in the hips) and bulges out at the back. Le sigh.


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Jeans - Keep or Return

I've been looking and looking and looking for jeans. I bought 3 pair today. Should I keep or return them?


Pictures 1-2 : Wit and Wisdom

Pictures 4-5: Kut from the Kloth (my only reservations about these is the rise in the back. I wish they were about an inch longer. I don't plan on ever wearing them with a shirt that would expose that area, though. Is this a problem?

And, just for fun, the last picture shows why I shouldn't wear empire bodice tops. Not pretty.


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Evaluating Quality

I'll admit it. I'm a snob about quality. I know this isn't as big a deal to some people who just want to have fun with their clothes and don't mind a quality issue here and there, but I go a little crazy when I spend my hard-earned money on something and it just doesn't hold up. If there's a team for this, then I'm clearly on the team that would rather save up for a high quality garment that will last me years than the team that enjoys buying a trendy item that will only last a season or two. This doesn't always mean I'm comfortable with high price tags either. I often thrift shop or sew my own clothes when that fails me.

I'm not judging people on the other team at all, since I love to see what they wear and enjoy their creativity. It's just not for me.

On the off chance that this will be helpful to others, here's a draft list of factors I check when considering buying a garment. Am I too darned picky or what?

1. Fabrication

a. Natural fibers are often, but not always to be preferred over synthetic fibers. They tend to be more “breathable.” Polyesters are not breathable and tend to build up static, which is uncomfortable.

b. Natural fibers tend to be more malleable and will stretch out when worn. They do not always recover their original shape very well. Everyone has had the cotton t-shirt that stretched out beyond belief and the jeans with baggy knees. Consequently, it’s often preferable to look for natural fibers blended with more resilient fibers. Spandex and lycra can help garments recover their shape.

c. It’s nice to find nylon blended with some yarns, like wool or cotton because they improve the garment’s durability.

d. When evaluating printed fabrics, check to see if the pattern carries through to the reverse. If you find a pattern printed on one side and the reverse is plain white, that’s a sign the fabric is poorer quality.

e. The softer a yarn is, the more prone to pilling it will be. Softness is often due to a halo of long fibers that surrounds the yarn’s core. This is what makes it feel soft, but it’s also what pills. Consequently, you’re going to have to make a choice between softness and durability. If you love soft yarns, invest in a sweater comb/stone.

2. Workmanship

a. Nowadays, most commercial garments feature serged seams. For the most part, this is ok, especially on casual garments like jeans, t-shirts, etc. Just check to make sure all seams are nicely finished and none are left raw. (see image 1)

b. Sheer or thin garments are nicer when they aren’t serged, but are assembled using what’s known as French seams. (see image 2)

c. Seams should be smooth. There shouldn’t be any puckers. This is especially noticeable in satin garments and in stretchy fabrics.

d. If you’re evaluating a stretchy garment, the seams should have some give to them so they don’t “pop” or break when worn. This is when serged seams are preferable.

e. Regular patterns like plaids and stripes should match at key points, e.g. side seams. Sometimes, pattern mismatches are unavoidable, e.g. rounded seams like shoulders.

f. Patterns should be placed in a flattering manner on the garment. Check to make sure large polka dots and florals aren’t placed over your bust apex or you’ll be attracting some unwanted attention.

g. Buttons should be sewn on securely.

h. Zippers should open and close smoothly and not cause puckering on the garment.

3. Linings

a. Garments with linings tend to be of better quality than garments without.

b. Linings help garments fit over your body in a smoother and more pleasing manner.

c. Linings help prevent garments from catching on layering pieces worn under them.

d. Linings help garments retain their shape.

e. Polyester linings are prone to static, so make sure they don’t cling in an unattractive fashion.

f. Rayon linings are very nice to wear, but they tend to wrinkle. They’re best in skirts, dresses and pants where the linings remain concealed from view. They’re not the best choice for coats and jackets where the lining might occasionally be visible.

g. Silk linings are luxurious.

h. Coat linings should be durable. If they feel like they’re going to snag, run, etc. every time you touch the lining, then it’s not worth it.


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