Today's Everyday Fashion: Kohl's Review

Kohl's ELLE and Elie Tahari lines

Dress  /  Trench  /  Dress /  Dress

I headed to Kohl's last night to check out two recent clothing line launches - Elie Tahari for DesigNation, and the ELLE Limited Edition Runway Collection. (My friends at ShopStyle asked me to share both lines on the blog, but all ideas for this post, opinions and editorial decisions are solely my own.) I wanted to see the lines in person before sharing them with you guys so here's what I found:

  • First up, the two ELLE dresses above - cobalt and black and white. I loved the overall fit, ruffles on the shoulders and pockets. The cobalt dress had a slightly faded look to it; I liked the vibrant black and white fabric better.
  • The ELLE trench with black piping is a soft material with an empire waist. I have the belt tied behind me in the photo. I really like this style, it reminds me of my trench with black sleeves that I wear to death and it looked great paired with the dress.
  • Next up is an Elie Tahari dress. The mesh panels on the shoulders are very sexy - who knew showing just a sliver of skin could be so provocative? The fit was fabulous on this dress, which made it look a lot more expensive than it is.
Kohl's Elie Tahari for DesigNation

Sweater  /  Leggings  /  Top  /  Pants  /  Jacket  /  Dress

  • You can master layering in one step with this two-in-one Elie Tahari top. The print on the shirt is upside down skyscrapers. The pants/leggings (also Elie Tahari) are a soft scuba material with an elastic waistband - thicker than traditional leggings and ridiculously comfy.
  • I think this graphic Elie Tahari top would look great with slimmer bottoms like black skinny jeans. The pants were a size too big for me, but I loved them so much. You could wear them around the house as sweatpants, or you could dress them up with heels, especially with loose pants being a big trend right now. Talk about versatile!
  • The Elie Tahari motorcycle jacket is a lightweight suede material and would look good tossed over just about anything. The floral dress is by Vera Wang and I immediately thought of it for an upcoming vacation.

Have you seen these two lines at Kohl's? What was your experience? Which items do you like the most? Check out more favorites I found online, below!

Kohl's Fall 2014 picks

Coat  /  Top  /  Pants  /  Top
Dress  /  Dress  /  Dress  /  Leggings
Shoes  /  Sweater /  Jacket  /  Cardigan

Today's Everyday Fashion: Myths of Outlet Shopping

Inspiration: J.Crew

Inspiration: J.Crew

Camel blazer, distressed jeans and leopard pumps

I tweeted this article "The Myth of the Maxxinista" about a month ago and wanted to share it here, too. It's a myth I've talked about often on the blog. The article states that 85% of merchandise in outlets is made specifically for the outlets - meaning, you aren't getting a discount or markdown on regular brand name items, but rather a lower-quality item made to sell at a lower price. Banana Republic, Gap, J.Crew outlets are a few examples. Even TJ Maxx and stores like Nordstrom Rack or Saks Off Fifth do it, although at those stores you'll find brand name discounts mixed in, too. 

What does this mean for us bargain hunters? I don't think it means boycotting the outlets, but rather it means being careful shoppers. When we shop we often experience brand name blindness. When we see brands we associate with quality like J.Crew, we instantly assume "this is a great item!" outlet or not. Or the opposite - we write off stores like H&M or the outlets altogether, because "that place is so cheap, yuck!" We experience brand-blindness based on advertising, prices, peer reviews, or a singular personal experience. I think instead of focusing on the brand so much though, we should commit to putting on our blinders a little and evaluating each individual piece of clothing. Forget the brand for a moment and ask, "How does the fabric feel? What is the construction like?" (See this DailyWorth article on "How to Identify Quality Clothing" for more ways to evaluate.) I've had non-outlet J.Crew items completely fall apart after one wear. And I've purchased 100% leather items at H&M that lasted a decade. Brand equity only goes so far in my book. You probably wouldn't like a bad song just because your favorite artist sings it, and you shouldn't be willing to buy every top just because it comes from your favorite clothing brand, outlet or not. 

Which brings me to today's outfit. I recently ordered this camel blazer from J.Crew Factory using a coupon code. I'm looking for a camel blazer I'll wear and love for many years, so part of me hesitated to buy a staple piece like this from an outlet. Just because it's J.Crew brand, I'm not going to assume it's high quality. At the same time, just because it's from the outlet, I'm not going to assume it's *not* quality. Instead I'm going to evaluate the blazer with little thought about the brand, in either direction. Overall I really like the fit and fabric, but the buttons seem a little loose. Aesthetics play a role as well, and evaluating whether I'll actually wear it is important to me. I may opt for a slightly lower quality item at times, because I like the overall look more and wouldn't want a higher quality item that would just sit in my closet. I'm planning to do an in-person comparison of the quality and aesthetics of the Banana Republic blazer below before making a final decision (if I track down a coupon I should be able to get the Banana version for a similar price).

What brands are you most loyal to or stay away from? Or what stores have surprised you - either by finding quality in a lower-end store, or items from a trusted brand that didn't hold up to your expectations? 

Blazer: J.Crew Factory, $83
Sweater: H&M, old (similar, similar)
Jeans: American Eagle, $33 (similarsimilarsimilarsimilarsimilar)
Shoes: Banana Republic, $60 (similar, similar, similar, similar)
Purse: Emma Fox c/o Ross, $60 (similarsimilar)
Approx. dates: Sweater is 8 years ago. Jeans are 4 years ago. Purse and shoes are 2 years ago. Blazer is new. 

Camel blazers and coats

Today's Everyday Fashion: Sneakers

Inspiration: Shop Bazaar email

Inspiration: Shop Bazaar email

Cowl neck dress with cognac leather jacket
Macy's Bar III cowl neck dress with Sperry sneakers

Sorry heels, but I'm having a moment with sneakers this fall. They aren't just for jeans and a t-shirt, either. Today's inspiration proves you can make them work with a cute dress. I added my favorite leather jacket to the look, and instantly pictured this outfit for sightseeing on a city vacation (of course it will also work for running errands around town, too). More cute sneaker options and sneaker inspiration below. Would you ever wear sneakers with a dress/skirt? 

Dress: Macy's, $24 (long sleeve versiontop version)
Jacket: Banana Republic, $150 (similar, vegan)
Shoes: Sperry/Macy's, $45
Purse: Karen Millen, gift (similarsimilar, similar)
Necklaces: My Stella & DotMy Stella & Dot
Earrings: My Stella & Dot
Approx. dates: Jacket is 4.5 years ago. Purse is 2.5 years ago. Dress and shoes are recent.

Sneakers under $100
Inspiration: J.Crew

Inspiration: J.Crew

Inspiration: Express

Inspiration: Express

Inspiration: J.Crew

Inspiration: J.Crew