Sunday, April 5, 2015

stitch fix: box 7, review 3:: boo, hiss.

as i said in my previous stitch fix reviews, it's safe to say i will never, ever be a fashion blogger. or, you know, someone who takes decent selfies. this fact really only bothers me when i'm blogging about stitch fix. round three of awkward, poorly lit, dirty mirror selfies!

once again: stitch fix is a clothing subscription service. you fill out a style profile, specify what you like and aren't interested in receiving and set budget limits. then, they pair you with a stylist, mail you 5 things as often as you want, pay for what you keep and mail back what you don't want. if you keep everything, they give you a discount.

there's a $20 styling fee for each box that, if you buy something, you can use towards that item. this styling fee is my struggle with stitch fix. if i'm going to spend a substantial sum of money on something, i really want it to fit well and really love it. but i also don't want to lose my $20 per box styling fee. i often find myself trying to justify keeping what came in spite of fit or prices that are higher than i'd pay otherwise because it feels like i'm throwing away the little spending money i have each month.

i've had mixed success with stitch fix, and this month was particularly 
frustrating. at this point, i haven't decided if i'll go another month or not. everyone says that the magical thing about the service is that it gets better with time, and sadly that hasn't been my experience.



if you sign up with my referral link, i get a small credit towards my fixes (that i would, of course, appreciate.) but, this is all paid for with my hard earned dollars, and my opinions are my own. it seems silly to say that, especially as my reviews aren't all sunshine and rainbows, but there it is.

number one: moon collection amy embroidered skirt $78. 
this skirt is not something i'd have picked off the rack. the length, color, fabric and pattern are things that i know i'd have a hard time with if i brought this skirt home and tried to put together a whole ensemble. having said that, i was fairly pleasantly surprised when i put it on. the embroidery is cute and if i could find a shirt to pair with it (my summer go-to is a solid color v-neck t-shirt, which wouldn't work with this), i might have bit the expensive bullet and kept it. after all, it's almost my birthday.
but i don't have a good shirt, and the top/ waistband did this weird thing that made me look... bubbly? i'm not sure how else to put it. see the weird little bubble and then indentation where my finger is pointing? i don't normally look like that in, well, any of the clothes i own. but that made it easier for me to not have to justify the price tag. 
verdict: returned.

number two: kut from the kloth dayna skinny jeans $88.
never in my life have i paid this much money for a pair of jeans. even for designer jeans, this felt steep. 
the fabric had a nice stretch, and it was really soft. these were far more comfortable than my current pair of thrifted jbrand skinny jeans, and though the hem is rather long, i don't mind.  but when i sat down in these once and then got up off the couch, they were already too baggy in the bum. for $88 they need fit like a glove, not just for 5 minutes outside of the box (/ dryer.)
verdict: returned.

number three: skies are blue zade roll top tab $54.
this was, i think, an attempt to make up for the tie-front shirt in my last fix. however, i've said again and again that i want things that i can wear to work and that are well-fitting. this, being translucent and super boxy, fits neither of those specifications. i like the idea of this fabric- lightweight, interesting texture, white- but it had a lot of threads hanging off it in addition to how see-through it was. no, thanks.

my stylist suggested this would be great for work or the weekend. i think we have different ideas of what's a good thing to wear to work.
i did like the little split back detail. 
i call this "the tent effect." actually, my mom coined that phrase when we were traveling in india and trying to find well-fitting kurtas. finding kurtas, or shirts made from anything other than stretchy fabric, that fit across both mu bust and torso can be a challenge. unless well tailored, a shirt that fits my bust has a good 5-6 inches extra around my torso. this shirt isn't doing me any favors in that department. subtitle: how i gained fifteen pounds when i put on this shirt!
verdict: returned without a second thought.

number four: collective concepts esten button-up sleeveless blouse $54.
i was hopeful for this one when i pulled it out of the box. i like navy blue, and i know how to wear it. plus, this top looked like it would be a good spring to summer sort of thing, and the fabric is definitely dressy enough to wear from 9-5. 
 then, i put it on. this is my best disappointed face.
there's room for one more of me in here.
dry clean only. whomp, whomp. even if it fit, i'd have sent it back for this reason. i can't manage to do  normal adult things like bring checks to the bank, or remember to get stamps. there's no way, ever, that i'd manage to bring things to the dry cleaners and then pick them up again. 
verdict: returned.

number five: bancroft cambridge metal cuff bracelet $28.

i'm not sure how i left 'bracelet' as an option i'd like to receive on my style profile. (i've opted not to receive bags, earrings and necklaces as well as things made from leather or pleather). when i received my first fix ever and it had a huge, bauble necklace that i'd never wear and never pay the price tag for, i went in and edited my preferences to say that i'd rather five items of clothing instead of jewelry. i tend to wear simple, classic things and rarely change from my standard silver hoops or pearl earrings, simple silver necklace or coin pearl. (i have one exception: my jones market beaded necklace). i had a photo but can't find it now, and my package is sealed up with all of my returns, so you'll have to do without. i didn't like it anyway- it looked like a belt, and the clasp was a belt buckle.
verdict: returned.

this month, stitch fix was 0/5. i'm a little disappointed as i've asked them not to send anything that is dry clean only, and have had them send ill fitting shirts on several occasions, each sent back with a note about how the fit does not work at all for my body type. the jury is out as to whether i'll do this again next month. i really like the idea of someone helping me figure out what to wear and when, but this feels like a struggle. 

anyway, enough of my pouting. my next post will be entirely devoid of whining, i promise.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

phul bazaar: sari bari quilt year three


i just finished my third sari quilt for auction on sunday and put it in the mail on monday. (i really do need to start working on quilts that, when finished, remain in my possession!)

this quilt, along with i'm guessing close to 30 others, will be auctioned off as part of a fundraiser for an organization called sari bari. sari bari works with women in the red light districts of calcutta to provide them with quilt, bag and blanket making as an alternative to prostitution as a means to earn a living. we were fortunate enough to visit sari bari in the fall of 2011, and let me tell you- these are some sweet, talented, funny ladies!

i still harbor a not-so-secret desire to move back to india and, if possible, find some way to work with sari bari. as that's not an option probably ever right now, i love being able to participate with other quilters across the US in this fundraiser!  funds raised from this year's quilt auction will be used to help women with school fees for their children, to bring more women onboard with sari bari and other initiatives. (you can read more here.) the auction will be on ebay the first week of may.

this year's quilt reminded me very much of my first walk through a flower market in chennai, tamil nadu. the red and yellows are marigolds, the whites and light greens jasmine flowers, and the bright blues are stacks of pigment for the festival of holi, welcoming spring and celebrating the triumph of good over evil. i finished this one with two days to spare, and am happy to report that unlike last year the washing machine did not eat this quilt!




my previous quilts for sari bari are here:
happy holi! quilt, year two

and one more sari quilt i made for a friend here:

Monday, March 9, 2015

stitch fix: box 6, review 2 :: return of "i am not a fashion blogger"

as i said in my previous stitch fix review, it's safe to say i will never, ever be a fashion blogger. or hell, even someone who takes and shares halfway decent selfies.

so, anyway, here we go again: stitch fix is a clothing subscription service. you fill out a style profile, specify what you like and aren't interested in receiving and set budget limits. then, they pair you with a stylist, mail you 5 things as often as you want, pay for what you keep and mail back what you don't want. if you keep everything, they give you a discount.

there's a $20 styling fee for each box that, if you buy something, you can use towards that item. i don't have an extra $20 just floating around each month to spend on nothing, so this part, especially when i don't like the items in my box for reasons i said upfront i knew (pants length, fit of particular items, patterns), makes it a bit of a struggle sometimes.

as i said before, i've had mixed success with stitch fix, but i do like it enough to keep trying. i don't think i'll ever get the magic box (where you keep everything), but that's ok. i like the things i've kept and do wear them often.

if you sign up with my referral link, i get a small credit towards my fixes (that i would definitely appreciate!) but, this is all paid for with my hard earned dollars, and my opinions are my own. it seems silly to say that, but there it is.

here's what i got in my box today. initial reaction in order of how things are stacked: hate it, hate it, might like it but why is it crooked?, love it, hope it fits.

and now, in very different orders:

number one: dear john marson wide leg denim trouser ($78)
i'm not sure why stitch fix feels the need to send me denim in every box but so far we're at 0/6. some people pull their pants out of the box and they fit like a glove. though that has not been my experience at all, i remain optimistic.

wash was perfect. they're boot cut, almost flare (my favorite). they were a little long, but i can hem. but the rise is several inches higher than i like, and girlfriend won't do high waisted jeans. they make me uncomfortable. i was, however, impressed that these fit well everywhere that counts. 

bad photo, yes? verdict: returned.

number two: olive and oak jessenia tie front top ($48). 
when i saw this coming, i hated it immediately. i even got a little mad that they'd waste space in my box with something i would never, ever wear.

then, i tried it on. the fabric was pretty great- soft and light. tab sleeves were surprisingly nice. the colors and the pattern are something i'd definitely wear. however, a tie front shirt? NOPE. even the idea of it makes me feel like a farmer or like i should be sitting at a 1950s soda fountain counter.

but, stitch fix, you do get mad props for, on your first attempt at a button down shirt, winning in fit. i have a very hard time finding shirts that get the shoulder/ bust/ body ratio right. either it fits everywhere up to my bust and then strains at the buttons, or fits my bust and is rather tent-like elsewhere. (the life of a small but curvy person. can i get an amen?) i can't find shirts in regular stores that fit this well. (it may not fit quite as well in the front now that i look at the photos, but still. props.)
this was a little bit of a bummer to receive because there's no way i'd ever try and wear this to work and my style profile says i'm mostly interested in work + things that can do double time (work and home).

i already walk the line often between 'is she going camping, or is she going to work?' and, well, this wouldn't be doing me any favors in the 'trying to look like an adult' department. 
verdict: returned.

number three: market & spruce margerie dot & stripe open cardigan ($68). 
 heart eyes for days. y'all, this is a fitted open cardigan. FITTED, i tell you. i don't look like i'm swimming, it has enough structure that i could dress it up and it has stripes AND polka dots. i haven't taken it off since it arrived.

the price is, yes, a little steep. however, i had some credit from a friend that signed up using my link, so with my style credit it brings it down to a price i'd pay for a knit cardigan.
verdict: keep keep keep.

number four: 41Hawthorn harriet houndstooth print dress ($64). 
when i saw this coming, i basically made up my mind not to like it. sneaky stitch fix and this 'try everything on' business. i was about 95% send it back until, again, i tried it on. hubs said he liked it, too, so now i'm about 60/40.

i had asked for a dress or two to try for our final mad men party in april. this wouldn't work so much as i couldn't fit a crinoline underneath it, but it's rather cute. the fabric is soft, the dress is lined (!), and it would be perfect with pockets. the fit is pretty great- it turns out fit and flare dresses work much better on me than shift dresses. the top front is a little plain, but the back is fun. i don't even mind the contrasting zipper. the only thing that annoys me is that the houndstooth is on a slant. 

so why can't i decide? i feel like there's not much to it for the price. i don't know. the jury is still out on it.
 i can't decide if i'll keep this, but if i do, here's how i'll wear it.
verdict: unsure. 

and, number five: collective concepts maisy geo print dress ($88).  
i liked the fit of this dress quite a bit (another fit and flare, i believe), and thought the style was fun without being boring or over the top. this was another dress i might could wear for our mad men party, but at $88 there's no way i like it nearly enough to justify spending that much money on it, even if i had liked the pattern.

the shoulders were a little poofy, the sleeve hem was gathered a bit and with the pattern it felt a little... grandmotherly. definitely mad men, but less glamorous 1950s betty draper mad men and more megan does weird things in LA with aspiring film stars mad men.
verdict: returned.

so, there you have it. another round of poorly lit iPhone photos taken in a full length mirror of me posing awkwardly in clothes sent to me in the mail. ha.

will i do it again? yes. i'm already looking forward to what comes next month. 

and here's my link again to sign up should you feel inspired to do so.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

more on holi

these might have been better suited as videos rather than .gifs, but here they are anyway!

happy holi 2015!

remember when i posted last year about my nepali friends organizing a holi festival for us?

this year, sadly, our friend pursu is living in ohio. we organized our own festival and dragged our nepalis to a park near their house, called and called and called them until they showed up, and then ensured they went home nice and colorful. one of the representatives of the global bhutanese community of colorado told us that he would make sure to make next year a "very big party!" i'm already looking forward to it. :)

so, friends, happy spring from those of us who rang it in in one of the most fun ways imaginable. now, i've got to go clean the purple dye out of my bathtub.
he's my very favorite.

dear ramu looking rather tie-dyed.

when i asked for people to please throw powder at me for photos, i had quite a few happy volunteers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

stitch fix : box 5, review 1


confession: i've jumped on the bandwagon, both with stitch fix and now with blogging about it. just what the internet needs, right? another stitch fix review. but, i enjoy looking through other bloggers' reviews, so i figured why not?

first, what is it? : stitch fix is a clothing subscription service.  you fill out a style profile, specify what you like and aren't interested in receiving and set budget limits. then, they pair you with a stylist, mail you 5 things as often as you want (i get mine once per month), you pay for what you keep and mail back what you don't want. if you keep everything, they give you a discount.

there's a $20 styling fee that, if you buy something, you can use towards that item. the part i missed when i signed up was this: the styling fee is not a one-time thing. you have to pay it with each box. i don't have an extra $20 just floating around each month to spend on nothing, so this part, especially when i don't like the items in my box for reasons i said upfront i knew (pants length, fit of particular items, patterns), makes it a bit of a struggle sometimes.

i wanted to blog about my experience because i feel like most stitch fix reviewers around the internets are 100%, totally crazy about stitch fix and, well, i'm just not. it's fun to get a box of clothes picked for me, and it really does feel like christmas when i see that fedex delivered my goods. however, i've had mixed success with the items they've sent. 

the point, in part, is to have someone pick things for you that are kind of a stretch- you know, the things you wouldn't tend to gravitate toward in the store or that don't match everything already hanging in your closet. or, if you're me, things that help you look more like a well-dressed adult and less like you're going camping.  however, turns out i'm a little opinionated. with my limited budget and preference for about how things fit, i haven't felt the same magic warm fuzzies as everyone else. maybe these cool lady bloggers report slam dunks because they're less picky and have bigger budgets or something. i don't know for sure.

i like the service enough to keep trying a new box each month, but i haven't reached the point where my boxes aren't joy with also some disappointment mixed in.

anyway. if you sign up with my referral link, i get a small credit towards my fixes (that i would definitely appreciate!) but, this is all paid for with my hard earned dollars, and my opinions are my own. it seems silly to say that, but there it is.

excuse the poor photos, awkward hair, bad lighting and funny backdrop. safe to say i could definitely not pass as a fashion blogger. now, without further adieu: 

number one: pixley paloma dot print back cutout knit top ($54) in black and white.
i thought i'd hate the fit of this the second i saw it coming, given it's pleated at the neck. however, when i tried it on the fit didn't bother me at all because the fabric draped rather nicely. this shirt was soft, comfortable, had cute little details and, tied with my most favorite thing ever (stripes), it had polka dots.
i knew i wouldn't keep this one, though, because of the cut outs on the back/ shoulder blades. don't get me wrong- i love me my yoga muscles. but i stated in my style profile that i want things that are timeless, and while the print of this one fit, the back cut outs definitely did not. if it weren't for both the price and the cut outs, i'd probably have kept it. 
verdict: returned

number two: liverpool colleen straight leg jean ($78) in dark wash.
the denim was soft, the wash was great, the pockets were in the right place. the price, for a pair of designer jeans, seemed fair. the idea that someone could magically find me a pair of jeans that fit from miles and miles away seemed too good to be true. (they sent a pair last month that, if they had been blue and not black, i definitely would have kept.)
which brings me to the fit. i keep leaving feedback that i don't want ankle pants, and my stylist didn't send me those this time around (i've received two pairs in previous fixes), but instead sent petite ones despite my having specified i'm not interested in petite sizes. i'm not sure how it's possible to be 5'2" and not be petite, but i'm not. these pants, with a 28 inch inseam, are case in point. 

(puppy beds to the right. you're welcome.)
if i wore them on my waist where they were supposed to sit, they were about 2-3 inches too short. if i wore them lower, where i like to wear my pants, they were just about long enough but then did this weird baggy thing around the fly and my thighs. (that's at least an inch, maybe two of fabric folded over in the photo below.)
verdict: returned. rise: too high. inseam: too short. please, stitch fix, trust me when i say i am not petite.

number three: 41hawthorn solana colorblock cardigan ($68) in navy and peach.
i thought i'd hate this one when i saw it coming. i gave it a shot and tried it on and to my surprise, the color blocking seemed less awkward than i initially thought. however, it was itchy, dry clean only, the buttons pulled funny, the color blocking didn't line up in the front and, for $68 it was far from perfect.

really, with that color blocking? it looks like a mistake.

number four: desires hampstead sweater ($64) in off white and teal.
this one i really liked. the shoulder seams are a little wide and it was a tad shorter than i'd prefer, but i think i can fix the length with a little blocking. the color is perfect and the buttons on the shoulder are an adorable addition. i pulled the tags off with the intention of keeping it though the price is more than i'd like, but then noticed there was a small hole under the arm. 

i emailed stitch fix customer service to see what they could do and am hopeful because they are so very fantastic. i'm not kidding when i say they are the reason i have stuck with this service despite my disappointment with my earlier boxes. stay tuned.

verdict: keep, but waiting to see about the hole under the sleeve to see if i can exchange it.

last, item number five: la made ida striped dress ($98) in navy and white.
i had visions of wearing this dress to work tomorrow with tall brown boots, a brown belt and a mustard yellow scarf.

i wanted to love it. i really did. out of everything, i was most excited about seeing this on my shipment list. the stripes, the color, even the fabric were spot on. it wasn't too thin, wasn't too clingy or too short. the price was steep, but i specifically requested this item so i can't fault stitch fix for blowing my budget. the big bummer, though, was how weirdly the stripes fit across my bust. i checked with the google to see if maybe there was something that i'd missed about how it fit other people, but nope. i'm the only one.

 i'd have maybe bitten the bullet and bought it if it weren't that the stripe situation made the dress feel dumpy. i tried it with a wider belt to see if that would make a difference, but that made it gather in the back and pull funny across my bum while not fixing at all the situation in the front.
frown face to match the frowning stripes. 

verdict: returned.

so, there you have it. a very non fashionable, not-cool-lady-blogger take on stitch fix.

will i do it again next month? yes. am i a little sad about this box? yes, but in part it's because really all of these things were very close to working, but just didn't quite cut it.
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