This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Loft.
You don't have to ask me to play dress-up twice.
In fact, this time, I'd only breezed through half of the invitation to attend a LOFT Shopping Party, when I hit reply with an emphatic YES.
When I went back and read the details, I was even more enthralled than I was during my quick skim of the event. I was invited to participate in a challenge to quickly pull three holiday looks from the LOFT racks and make them work on my curvalicious body, for my crazy life. And the irresistible buttercream on the cake was that a stylist would be there with me, taking the sparkly clothes I was sure to pick and make them into a fabulous outfit. And did I mention the sassy mama photographer who documented it all?
Kittens, from the time I stepped in to the store and for the hours after the event that I petted the pretty things I brought home, I was in heaven. It was more than shopping, more than dressing up. It felt like this shining moment in front of a mirror when I got to look like me...but better.
It could have been the sequins, but I felt radiant. It may have been having someone slide my shoes on my feet, but I felt pampered. It may have been the fact that the nice lady stylist looked me up and down and asked if I was a size 4 (*snicker*), but I felt like I could be happy if these were the only clothes I ever wore again.
OK, that is an exaggeration. I need to wear these clothes with many of the other clothes and pretty much every pair of shoes in my closet. But I can't help but gush about the all-too-quick hour I spent at LOFT.
Racks of racks: Here I am with the stylist comparing boob sizes. Yes, it always starts with boob talk.
My challenge was to find three holiday looks -- a Perfect Party Outfit, Office-to-Party Outfit and a Casual Holiday Outfit. I was surprised how many clothes I saw that I wanted to try on. I've been an Ann Taylor kinda grrrl since I started my career, and purchased many, many suits, skirts and other separates, and even gala formal wear at a trusty Ann Taylor Outlet when I was just starting out (LOFT was formerly Ann Taylor LOFT, just to drive home the explanation). I still wear some of those clothes because they are classics I can work up or tone down according to my job, mood, and style at the time. But the clothes on the LOFT racks seemed more...me -- younger, trendier, and less preppy than I remembered. I am sure I could put together an outfit for my mom at LOFT, but I was too busy loading my arms with fancy tees and skinny jeans and party dresses for myself.
Here's my disclaimer: Casual is relative, lady friends. When I saw the blinged-tank and fitted chocolate bomber jacket, I knew that would crank up my my "I just stopped by for a little caroling" look up to "Check out your Secret Santa, rrrrrrr." Since I wear heels nearly every day, I felt safe rationalizing that choice.
She's like Rachael Zoe, but nicer. And cooler. And funnier. And less monotone. And not being eaten alive by a nasty fur vest.
On to my Casual look. Copper sequined tank with what the stylist called a "sloppy tuck" into boyfriend jeans. A sweet little belt with a gold bow. Delicious leather jacket with jeujed up sleeves. Bangles galore and brown booties.
The Casual Outfit.
I admit, I've been apprehensive to try booties. I am short and I felt like they'd cut off my leg and the illusion that I am Heidi Klum height with gams to match. But these were so comfy and I love them paired with the comfiest jeans on the planet. The LOFT manager who told me the boyfriend jeans are like denim yoga pants wasn't kidding. Plus, I took them in a petite a size smaller than I expected (owww!).
This cas look is a little rockered out to match my Joan Jett hair, and I think it would work great for a date (but only one I'm really excited about...you have to save the cutest clothes for that tier of boys, right?) or a night out with my grrrlfriends. I'd love to have New Years Eve plans that called this kind of outfit rather than a freezing-cold formal dress or drawstring pants and slippers.
The Office-to-Party look is a bit elusive for me since those kinds of plans usually require me to walk from my desk in dining room to the fridge where the Bombay Sapphire is freezing patiently until the festivities begin. I knew I wanted it to be a dress, my choice for nearly every opportunity I have to meet colleagues in person. As soon as I slipped on this gorgeous houndstooth shift, I knew it was the right choice.
Here's the key, it fit beautifully and the frayed ruffles and deep v-neck still looked a little sexy without going to the Tiger-mistress place. We paired it with tall boots, my own silver snakeskin heels by Nine West, and black bag and scarf in complementary animal prints. I love that the whole look is wintery but not bulky and covered up.
A well-made dress will do wonders for any body -- we all (*cough*Forever21*cough) know this. This is one of those dresses, and it is so simple and sassy that it almost seemed too easy to throw on. I think we should all forget that nutters shoulder pad trend that's back in style and buy a shift dress like this that we will look phenomenal in forever and ever.
The stylist helped me narrow down the Perfect Party Outfit choices to three dresses. I fell in love with a fuschia empire-waist party dress but when I saw this brushed gold scoop-neck number, it had to be it. When the stylist worked her magic, sweeping me up in a cloud of glittery goodness and leather, I just stood in awe of how she took a little dress and made it into a wonder. I'm not kidding. It was glorious.
The dress is gorgeous and still understated up close, and she offset those precious Laura Ingalls Wilder ruffles with a hard-lined black leather belt, cinched to define my waist. I kept on my tall boots and we added a black choker with a vintage twist. I wore my own cocktail ring. And then I melted into this beautiful gold and white wool coat. Do you see the flattering waist and sweet retro buttons and exaggerated collar? It was so fun to wear and it the perfect answer to the sleeveless dresses that somehow flood the racks during the coldest months of the year. This is a statement outfit and truly perfect for a party (although, I would be compelled to wear it to the grocery store, to be honest...it's that hot on).
After I slipped off the clothes and kissed them tearfully goodbye, I found many more clothes in the store that I loved. I bought a very pretty plum knit dress to wear for a TV segment in San Francisco and several decorated tees to wear under jackets and cardigans. There was a lot to choose from, and I would love to see LOFT ramp it up even more with some rocker-inspired skirts and shoes to match.
And because this mama's in charge of being her own Santa, I did buy one of these complete looks for myself. Which one?
It's your guess! And your guess is your ticket to a kickass contest LOFT is hosting as a part of their national Shopping Party events.
You can win your very own $200 Ann Taylor LOFT gift card for a shopping spree certain to spark the same light in you.
Here's how you can enter:To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me what LOFT look works for you and which one you think I bought- or you may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. The contest will begin at 12/10/2009 and will end 12/25/2009. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.
- No duplicate comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
- This giveaway is open to US Residents aged 18 and older
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
- You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- Please see the official rules here.
Single mamas, mamas in the same old low-rider jeans you've had for too freaking long, dating ladies, gentlemen friends who adore how the women in your life light up when they feel like they look great -- I don't care who you are, frankly -- now is your chance to get in on this LOFT loveliness.
Enter the contest! I insist. Get in this dressing room with me right now!
Now, here's how you get your very own 20% off coupon simply for being Sassafrass readers. Click here. Print. Snip. Redeem. Check it. It's good through 12/31. Get on it.