Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nanette Lepore Holiday Sample Sale - perhaps in too much detail

I rarely miss a Nanette Lepore sample sale. Nanette Lepore clothing is beautifully made with charming, interesting details, and though not cheap even at sample sale prices, is worth every penny. This one just ran for two days, and I stopped in after work on Tuesday. Am including a couple of items from the last sample sale, which was just a few weeks ago.

No photos of the actual samples, sadly, because the dressing room is a communal one, and taking pictures would have been rude. I did borrow this one below from as I couldn't find another picture of this coat online.

By the time I got there, it was gone in that striking gold color--too bad! I did try it on in a very pale silver (or maybe it'd be more accurate to call it a pearl grey with sparkling silver threads running through), which came with a belt. It was appealing on the rack, but sadly, I had the classic petite and pear fit issues. It was too loose in the shoulders and waist, and flared out too much at the hips. I also wasn't a huge fan of the way the material felt--though eye-catching, it felt itchy.

It's just as well, as I already have a formal evening coat. But this would be such a lovely, sparkly one to slip over a glamorous party dress!

These, reading left from right, are the Gemini Jumper/Dress, Scorpio Skirt, and Capricorn Jacket. What is with the astrological names, I know not. Nanette Lepore probably couldn't do boring if she tried, but these are wool pinstripe suiting pieces, minus the dress. I love pinstripes (pinstripes, as my friend likes to say, are for winners), but they skew so professional/office that it takes more than astrological names to make them whimsical. I tried on all four pieces, which seem to be the same material--and WHAT MATERIAL IT IS.

First, the dress. The material had such a beautiful and flattering drape & flow to it, and even though the dress reached almost to my ankles, I was surprised at how (relatively) tall & slim I looked in the mirror. Maybe it was the vertical pinstripes? However, the awkward length and low V-neck meant I couldn't wear it regularly at work, and the more I looked at the peplum, the less I liked it. On me, it hit at just the right place to obscure my waist, and like most pears, I'm fond of my smaller waist and prefer clothing to define it. The novelty of looking very straight up and down had just distracted me for a while.

But the material was so lovely that even when I regretfully put it aside, I picked up the other items in it to check them out. Maybe I could enjoy the texture & drape without the peplum.

The pants--well, I should have known better. They don't even come in petite sizing. If it had just been a matter of length, I would have been willing to shell out for a simple hem as I have very few pairs of pants (I live in skirts/dresses), but the pairs I tried on bagged too much in the waist and legs, which is costlier to fix. Also, the material that was so compelling on the dress seemed thinner/flimsier on the pants, and the samples I tried on were unlined. Major VPL issue.

The pencil skirt, even in 0, was just a little too big at the waist, which I'm ok with. I rarely tuck in shirts, so I don't mind wearing skirts lower than the natural waist. However, I have to get things that fit my much fussier hips, and in this case I must be just in between sizes--the side view of the 0 showed way too much curve for work, but the 2 made me look shapeless and frumpy. Would be a great not-so-basic work skirt on someone with a bottom half just a little narrower or a little wider than mine.

Finally, I tried the blazer, which didn't work out either. It hit my hips at a length and angle that made them look even wider than they really are (possibly fixable), and the waistline missed the spot, too (probably not fixable). And at $195, a blazer should fit and flatter.

So, failure all round, as I can't afford to buy clothing that only fits so-so, just for the material. The tags all read 96% wool, 4% lycra; note to self, must look for other, hopefully better-fitting, items in that blend. Incidentally, these also come in black, but I think the grey shows off the soft sheen and drape of the material better.

Eve's Top is a sweet silk blouse with a back zip. Tops that zip up (at least, Nanette Lepore's) fit so much more sleekly and flatteringly. The neckline was interesting and the color pleasant, but that horizontal seam hit me in an odd place. Was relatively deeply discounted at $60 (most other tops were $95), but that seam was a little "select breasts, insert strikethrough". Given the extent of the discount, it could possibly be a sample issue and not a product issue, though.

The Melange Dandy jacket is half sweater, half blazer. It's a heavy knit with suiting details like padded shoulders and a structured shape. They came in multiple colors, too--black, a couple different shades of brown, purple, etc. Fit snugly. I really considered this as a cozy option for more casual workdays, but though the pockets were adorable in person, on me they were a little too much. Plus I think these were going for $195, the blazer prices, and not the $95 sweater prices, and $195 is out of my budget for a casual faux? blazer.

I tried on the Tickle Me jacket in black (not available online, but this blue shows the details better anyway), because I actually have the matching Seduce Me skirt, and it is one of my favorite items of clothing. It has cute buttons on the back, is a professional but pretty black/white tweed with the subtlest hint of silver, and hugs my waistline & hips perfectly. I also saw at the sample sale that Seduce Me also comes in red and purple, but though they're equally flattering, the inset detailing is less appealing. I think in black, the inset adds just enough interest, but on a skirt that's already a striking red or purple, it's too much.

Anyway, I would have loved the jacket that went with the skirt, so I could wear them together as the Most Gorgeous Suit I Have Ever Owned, but it was not to be. The OK: sleeves were much too long, but look like they're meant to be scrunched up a little, so that was fine. The band in the back was a nice detail, and probably very waist-enhancing. The not OK: Waist too big and low, hips magnified, side view showed a lot of pouffiness in the back AND made me look with child, the set of the pockets was too wide apart and bulky. So, no.

So, did I actually take anything home?
I've been looking for an off-white/light neutral top to pair some brightly colored skirts with, so I did buy one piece--a cream-colored, lace-trimmed silk blouse that zips up the back. It was between that and another silk blouse that was a deeper champagne color. I may or may not have tried on both twice, because I am obsessive. I actually preferred the warmer look of the champagne one, and the thicker, softer, more lustrous silk. Sadly, it had two odd details: a not-quite bow at the neck that might look ok over a blazer but looked silly when not, and a ruffled panel at the back that pouffed out oddly. If positioned higher and more loosely, it might have suggested curves, but put where it was, it just suggested a hump. I have many "figure flaws", but that is not one of them.

If I bought it, it could only live under blazers and sweaters, so I went with the other, lighter-colored one. Picture to come.

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