Author Archives: Erin @ Loop Looks

About Erin @ Loop Looks

A Chicago Loop Girl Goes To Work

Making jeans shopping less painful with American Eagle Outfitters Denim Experience [sponsored]

•• Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall - Shopping

Yes, this is another sponsored post. I was given a $50 American Eagle gift card as part of my relationship with the Quality Blue Community to try out buying jeans online via American Eagle Outfitters and then write about it. I honestly jumped at this chance since my new job means a lot more jeans and, well, I only have about three pairs I can wear!  Of course, all opinions are my own.

In fact, you’ve actually heard some opinions about the jeans themselves when I wore them for the first time here.  I bought them online from the American Eagle website using their new “denim experience” that aims to give you as much information as possible about their 14 styles of jeans, including videos of their models wearing them.

ae-denim-experience-2

Of course, it would be even more awesome if they showed every day people wearing the jeans, but models it is. So, here’s an every day person wearing their jeans.

Gray moto jacket with white tee, skinny jeans, and pink heels

Jeans – c/o American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Jacket – Ellen Tracey via Macy’s (similar) | Tee – Be Good Clothing (same) | Shoes – Jessica Simpson via Poshmark (similar)

After perusing all the different style and color options I ended up ordering the Skinny Jean in Medium Indigo and the Skinny Jean in Clean Rinse, both in size 6. I appreciated that they give leg opening measurements, too, because I happen to know that anything under 12” is going to be too tight on my calves.

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I ended up not liking the Clean Rinse option so I decided to exchange it for a size 4 also in the Medium Indigo. Shipping and returns are free on AEO jeans which is a nice perk!  The only measurements they don’t give and I wish they did are actual waist in inches and thigh measurements. Of course, I don’t know if any denim company that gives thigh measurements but us girls with athletic thighs sure could use them!

The exchange seemed to take a long time, though. Much longer than it took to ship the original order. So, I would suggest that if you think you’re between sizes and you can afford it, order them all at once and send back whatever you don’t want. Turns out I’m right between a size 4 and a size 6 so now I have skinny-day skinny jeans and bloated-day skinny jeans. Ah, the joys of being a woman! Still I’d definitely order jeans from American Eagle Outfitters again. Especially since they’re typically under $30 a pair!!

On the plus side, as a woman you get to wear amazing shoes and get compliments all day from random people about how much they like them. And, yes, that really happened when I wore this outfit to work.

Gray moto jacket with white tee, skinny jeans, and pink heels

  

Poshmark versus thredUP Review

•• Shopping

After several years of trying to sell clothes I no longer want via Poshmark I decided that I wanted to try another online service: thredUP. I figured now is the perfect time to start getting my closet ready for fall (and, let’s be honest, hopefully make some money to buy some new fall clothes pay off my credit card).

poshmark-vs-thredup

I requested a free bag from thredUP in which I placed the clothing I wanted to sell and then loaded it up with the following items:

  • 4 dresses (Gap, Maggy London, Ann Taylor)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (Steve Madden, Anne Klein, and Eric Michael)
  • 1 vest (CAbi)
  • 2 skirts (The Limited)
  • 5 tops (J. Crew Factory, The Limited, Express, C&C California, NY Collection)
  • 1 blazer (Eyelash Couture)

Total items: 16

ThredUP is different from Poshmark in that instead of you selling the items on your own using someone else’s platform, you send your items to thredUP for evaluation and immediate pay-out. For the items they accept they pay between 10 and 40% commission and in most cases you don’t have to wait for your items to sell to get your money.

However, if your items are evaluated and thredUP determines they don’t think they can re-sell them, you don’t get your items back unless you pay $12.95 up front to have them shipped back to you.

Of the 16 items I sent here’s how it broke down:

Accepted:

  • Gap Casual Dress
  • Anne Klein Heels/Pumps
  • CAbi Vest
  • The Limited Casual Skirt
  • Steve Madden Flats
  • C&C California Short Sleeve Blousethredup_bag
  • NY Collection Long Sleeve Blouse
  • Express Long Sleeve Button Down
  • Maggy London Silk Dress
  • Ann Taylor Summer Dress

Not Accepted:

  • J. Crew Factory Store Long Sleeve Button Down
  • Ann Taylor Summer Dress
  • Eric Michael Flats
  • The Limited Skirt
  • Eyelash Couture Blazer
  • The Limited Sleeveless Blousethredup_dress

The total payout for the 10 accepted items? $54.52 or an average of $5.45 per item. ThredUP shows you the list of items they’ve accepted with a link to each of them in their store so you can see what they’ve priced them at. Doing the addition myself I found that my payout is 32% of the total of what they are charging for all 10 items. So, it definitely falls into the 10-40% range.

I admit I was surprised that they also didn’t list the items they didn’t accept and why until I emailed them to ask. And even then the only information I got about why they weren’t accepted was that they were either “Un-clean/stained” or “Off-Trend Item”. The un-clean/stained one makes me curious since I take really good care of my clothes and looked over everything I sent. One of the items they marked with that was a pair of $100+ shoes that I only wore three times!

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that you have to decide in advance if you want to pay the $12.95 to get your unaccepted items back. If your bag didn’t even end up being worth that much you could easily lose money on sending items to thredUP! And what do they do with the items they don’t accept? According to their FAQ: “garments that are not purchased by thredUP are distributed to various organizations and a portion of the proceeds are donated to Teach for America and other charities or partners.” And, no, you cannot claim them as donations on your own tax return. 

So, what are the main differences between Poshmark and thredUP?

ThredUp

threduplogo

 

  • Currently no cost to send items to thredUP
  • Can send both women’s and kid’s clothes
  • thredUP takes care of listing, selling, and shipping
  • No waiting for an item to sell before you get your money (for the most part)
  • Must wait 14 days to cash out
  • Have to pay $12.95 to get unaccepted items returned
  • Payout amount varies by item (mine averaged to $5.45 per item accepted or 32% of the total of what they want to sell the items for.)

Poshmark

poshmarklogo

  • Women’s clothes only (although people list kid’s clothes they’re not supposed to)
  • You control the price and you know in advance what you’ll get if it sells at that price
  • You can decide if you no longer want to sell something since it never leaves your own closet
  • Requires you to take photos, list and manage your items
  • Requires some community interaction and marketing of your items to  get them to sell quickly
  • Some items languish in your Poshmark closet without ever selling
  • Items under $15 Poshmark takes a flat $2.95 fee. Above $15 they charge 20% of the sale price
  • Poshmark provides shipping label but you’re in charge of shipping the item once it sells

So, would I use thredUP again? Honestly, I’d probably use it as a second step between going to a brick and mortar consignment or resale store. I’d take my clothes to the brick and mortar store, see what I got for them, and whatever wasn’t accepted there I’d send to thredUP since I was probably going to donate it anyway. Yes, I’d probably make more money trying to sell items on Poshmark and yes, I could keep it local and get a tax write-off (although I’ve yet to have enough donations of any kind in one year to be more than the standard deduction). But, if I’m really busy and want the convenience of putting items in the mail and getting a check thredUP is out there.

What do you do with clothes you no longer want? Have you used thredUP or Poshmark?

  

Red and Black is Back

•• Casual Friday - Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

After my latest Stitch Fix when they sent me a top with a red and black pattern (that I sent back because it was too big), I decided it was time to re-wear my red and black plaid tank that I bought last fall. So far I’ve only ever worn it with my faux leather pants with a cardigan or a blazer although I’ve also been meaning to wear it with my red pants.

But, the red pants are in the dry cleaning pile so here it is with black jeans and a red camisole.

Plaid print shell with black jeansTop – Langford Market (similar) | Camisole – The Limited (similar) | Jeans – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Payless (same)

I know, man. I’m SO original.

I actually bought this exact same top for my mom last Christmas and she wore it out for our birthday celebration in January with a red pencil skirt and black knee high boots. It looked great!

Admittedly, I’m having some trouble coming up with other ways to wear this top. I’m open to suggestions!

Plaid tank top with black jeansP.S. I don’t mean to match my outfits to my dog, I swear!

 

  

Aerie Helps You Buy a Bra [sponsored]

•• Shopping

So, yes, this post is sponsored. But, I mean, if you’re a woman and you’re reading this you probably wear a bra, right? And if someone offered you $50 to write about something you wear every day you’d probably say yes, right? So, if you hate sponsored posts or you hate bras (or both!) feel free to skip. Otherwise, read on for bra buying tips from Aerie. 

For years I only wore bras from that place that claims they’re someone’s secret. You know who I mean. Yet, I never felt like I was getting the best fit and the underwires tended to poke out after awhile.

Then I moved on to buying bras at stores like Kohl’s and Target but there are SO MANY OPTIONS and, really, who likes trying on bras? But, try them on you must. And that’s why Aerie came up with some infographics to help you figure out what kind of bra you need. The full infographic discusses the different types of bras and their purposes, facts about the life span of a bra (it’s shorter than you think!) and how to tell if your bra fits you correctly. In fact, it’s this last bit of information I’m sharing with you.

mini_3 (1) This infographic told me that those bras from VS did NOT fit as there was always a gap in the cup! I personally have not tried the bras from Aerie but I’m planning on it after this post. They also have a pretty cool campaign where they try to show real women wearing their products instead of just models all the time. In fact, if you’re brave enough you can take a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram in an Aerie product and tag it with #AerieReal you might appear on their website! Am I brave enough to try it? Well, assuming I follow the above guide and pick out a cute bra that actually fits, I just might!

  

Stitch Fix Review #8

•• Shopping

I recently ordered another Stitch Fix  (<– that’s my referral code so if you use it I get a $25 credit) and specifically asked for white jeans and more casual tops. Also, after my last one I asked the stylist to review this here blog so she could get an idea of what I already own so I didn’t get items that already duplicated clothes I had in my closet.

Well, I didn’t get my white jeans and the stylist said it was hard to pick out items that I didn’t already have, but I did get some fun tops!

stitch-fix-review-august[1]

So, what exactly did she send?

Item #1 – Just Black brand Jake Slim Ankle Length Jean, $88

These were soft and stretchy and I liked the dark color and that they weren’t super tight on my ankles, but they were WAY too small in the waist (serious muffin-top going on) and they were a tad too short. I may only be 5’4″ but my inseam is something ridiculous like 31″. I know, right?

Clearly these got sent back.

Item #2 – Daniel Rainn brand Paulina Graphic Print Lace Detail Blouse, $68

stitchfix-top-1[1]

 

I debated about this top. At first I liked it. I liked that it was different than items I already own. I liked the lace at the top. But the more I looked at it the more I felt that it just made my top half look really square and it started to remind me of the housedress/apron things my grandmother used to wear.

So, it went back.

Item #3 – Pomelo brand Priya Arrow Print Knit-Back Tank, $54

stitchfix-top-2[1]

 

Another top that I debated on for a day or two. I even took the tags off and wore it around the house. I loved the print and that it was really comfortable. Unfortunately, the bust darts on the side were too low on me. and that made the armpits too droopy.  If the shoulder straps were shorter I probably would have kept it but after wearing it around for a bit I realized it was too big.

Also, I decided that the $54 price tag was a bit too much for what was essentially a polyester and jersey top.

Item #4 – Three Dots brand Nevin 3/4 Sleeve Leopard Print Sweatshirt. $74

stitchfix-top-3[1]

You guys, I LOVED this sweatshirt. LOVED it. However, it felt a tad bit too small for how I like my casual tops to fit. So, I did what any good shopper does: I asked if I could get another size. I’d found it online so I knew it was in stock in the size I wanted SOMEWHERE. I just needed to know if Stitch Fix could get me the sized I wanted so I could apply my $20 styling credit.

Turns out they could! So, I sent back the small and have a medium on it’s way to me. I’m so excited to wear this top this fall with jeans, skirts, scarves, etc.

Item #5 – Street Level brand Jamie Animal Print Folded Clutch, $48

stitchfix-clutch[1]This was the first time I’ve gotten a bag in my Fix and this one is freaking adorable. It also comes with a detachable cross-body strap (which I love). I only own one smaller cross-body/clutch bag and I got it for free from The Limited years ago. It’s slightly dressier and I thought this one would be perfect for going out to festivals or brunch or whatever. The snap is a bit tough to use but I’m guessing it will loosen up over time (or maybe I’ll pay someone to replace it with a magnet). And for $48 I thought it was a good deal considering what I’ve spent on purses in the past.

So, in the end. I kept TWO things from this Fix! I think that might be a record.

Do you agree with my choices? What item(s) do you like?

 

  

SIA: Textured Neutrals

•• Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

Happy Monday!

I’m actually writing this post on Friday (yay for Friday) because this weekend I’m going to be busy. So, let’s pretend it’s the future and I’ll you about my weekend.

I went up to Benton Harbor, Michigan and stayed in a house with some friends and then we went to run the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon & Galloping Grape 5K. I stuck with the 5K distance so I could enjoy wine and pool time instead of worrying about running 13.1 miles.

But before I did all that, I wore this outfit.

Lace shirt with black pencil skirt and brown bow belt Top – Banana Republic Outlet (similar) | Skirt – The Limited (similar) | Belt – Target (same) | Shoes – DSW (similar) | Necklace – The Limited (same)

This was another instance where I put together an outfit (based on this pin, actually) and realized after the fact that it fit with the Style Interpreting Art theme since Salazar chose a painting with neutral colors for this week’s inspiration.

 “Blackboard” by Winslow Homer

Of course, since my office is freezing and I sit between two air vents. I had to wear a cardigan for most of the day.

Lace tee with black cardigan and brown accessories

Lace shirt with brown bow belt and black skirtThis outfit is a great example of how swapping out just a few pieces can create an entirely different look. The shirt and the belt are exactly the same as in this outfit with my pink skirt but adding black and brown instead of pink and pearls takes it from girly to….well, I wouldn’t say tough but definitely tougher. Also, I liked that the strappy wedge sandals took it down a notch and made it feel slightly more casual.

Linking up with Fashionably Employed More Pieces of Me | On the Daily Express

  

Adventures in Photos

•• Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

With my hair short it’s always a bit of an adventure when I take photos after work. If I go to the gym at lunch or ride a Divvy bike home I never know what it’s going to do. Take last Friday for example.

striped-shirt-floral-pants-1

Shirt – Old Navy (similar) | Pants – Gap via clothing swap (similar) | Shoes – Sole Society (same) | Necklace – JF&A Show (similar)

I swear to you I did NOT straighten my hair. I went to the gym, I got sweaty, I used a blow dryer on it, and the curl just fell out. My natural curl fell out of my hair. I don’t even know what to say about that.

So, I promise you all I did to my hair before I took these pictures was run a brush through it. However, AFTER I took the pictures, well, see for yourself.

loop-looks-photoshop

Of COURSE the picture I liked the best had a random bug in the dead center of the lens. Of course. And I wasn’t standing far enough way to get the tripod shadow out of the frame. PicMonkey and my minimal photoshopping skills to the rescue.

I actually think it turned out quite well! I really liked the outfit, too. My favorite pants with one of my favorite shirts and my new favorite shoes? How could I go wrong?

striped-top-floral-pants-2

  

Where to find me today

•• About Me

I have a Stitch Fix item review I need to write but haven’t had time. So, instead of reading that post today, here’s where you can get your Loop Looks fix for the time being!

Getting the Most From Your Little Black (or other neutrally colored) Dress - Guest post on Librarian for Life and Style

Closet Consultation Inspiration - LocalLux was inspired to write a post about being bold and beautiful based on my latest closet consultation.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an outfit featuring my favorite pair of pants!

And, if you still haven’t done so, take this moment to vote for your favorite outfit from July!

  

Embrace the Awkward

•• Casual Friday - Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

I recently read a blog post where the author was mocking the “awkward style blogger pose.”  Pretty sure she meant this one.

cargo-vest-pink-gingham-1

Blouse – J. Crew Factory (similar) | Vest – Old Navy (similar) | Belt –gift | Jeans – c/o American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Heels – Bandolino (similar) | Necklace – Express (same)

Hey, I’ll own it. I feel like a dork just standing there. Plus, the wind blows my hair in my face. So, awkward style blogger pose it is.

cargo-vest-pink-gingham-3

This outfit, as much as I loved it, was also a bit awkward. I recently ordered these jeans for an upcoming post I’m doing with American Eagle Outfitters. I ordered a size six and they fit perfectly in the legs but are a little big in the waist. So, I wore a belt. And, no, not the belt you can see.

Yes, I’m wearing two belts.

cargo-vest-pink-gingham-2

I also have (bike) helmet hair.

Just keeping it real. Real awkward.

And in the interest of keeping it real, I totally stole this outfit from Atlantic Pacific and I’ve actually worn it once before but it never made it to the blog. I wore it on a Friday at my old office but it felt too casual. I admit I’m thrilled that I can wear this to my current office and feel just fine.

  

The Limitless Closet Consultation

•• Closet Consultations

Recently Lia, the community manager for the new LocalLux marketplace, contacted me to ask if I would do a closet consultation for her friend Staci. Well, of course!

closet-consultation-loop-looks

Staci works in HR for a large corporation and her dress code is very similar to mine before I left my last job. The other thing we had in common? She LOVES The Limited! In fact, I would say 90% of her closet is made up of items from there. A girl after my own heart, for sure.

Like a lot of women, Staci buys items that she loves on the hanger but when she gets them into her closet she gets in a rut of wearing them the same way over and over again or, in some cases, isn’t sure how to wear them at all.

For example, this beautiful and unique patterned blazer.

magenta-paisley-jacket-four-outfits

Staci had always worn it with black until I pointed out that there are so many other colors in the jacket: magenta, pink, gray and even yellow!

Then there was the navy gingham blazer that she just wasn’t sure how to wear.

navy-gingham-blazer-four-outfits

This is just a sampling of the outfits we put together with this blazer. She loved the pink and gingham so much that I got a text later that week that she wore it to work and got a ton of compliments!

We also addressed a polka dot skirt she’d recently purchased from Banana Republic.

navy-polka-dot-skirt-four-outfits

Finding items to pair from her closet was easy because she almost literally has something in every color under the sun. Yet, she was stuck in a rut of thinking that colors had to match exactly in order to be worn together. I helped her see that colors can be in the same family and still look good together.

orange-blazer-outfits

mint-blazer-outfits

Then there was the question of pattern versus texture. At first she was hesitant to mix patterns with textures but we quickly vaulted that hurdle.

navy-tweed-blazer-three-outfits

Next, we tackled pairing neutrals with other neutrals and pairing yellow with color.

tan-blazers-three-outfits

yellow-blazer-outfits

Finally, the outfit that made her giddy was, appropriately, when I paired her pink blazer with her beautiful slate gray polka dot dress.

pink-blazer-two-outfits

Staci was so excited to see her wardrobe in a new light. Because she shops at the same few stores it was actually very easy to pair pieces together. Stores and designers tend to create pieces that can be mixed and matched easily. Although they put outfits together on the mannequins that doesn’t mean they need to be worn exactly that way. Which I think we proved here in Staci’s closet consultation.

Oh, and after I left Lia texted me to say they’d color coded Staci’s closet so she could more easily find pieces to pair with one another.

closet-consultation-pics

Overall it was a very successful closet consultation! And if you want one of your own, you know where to reach me!

Linking up with Fashionably Employed More Pieces of Me | On the Daily Express