Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mix Apparel - slub cotton cardi

I am a believer in you get what you pay for.

Occasionally, there is an exception to this rule.

Today I found one exception.

A long sleeve cardi in the Coles Mix Apparel range.


In black & in white

In 100% cotton with a slub finish.

No hanger appeal, but it does have body appeal.

This is a casual cardi you can throw on at the last minute when nothing else is handy. In fact, I'd keep one in the car & another near the exit door at home.

Stylewise is has a number of pluses:

1. 100% cotton

2.  It has texture - a slub look. This helps to hide any wear & tear such as pills or pulls. 

3. The slub look replicates the look of a linen knit - a more expensive look.

4. It has a deep vee front - the vertical lines of the vee are slimming.

5. It has buttons at a close distance from each other, so when it's done up, it doesnt gape open.

6. It has serious vertical lines when you leave it open - slimming city.

7. It has long sleeves but feels light - a perfect layering piece over a top & under a jacket.

8. The button holes are nicely finished

Conclusion: Check it out.
I bought it in black.

The Mix site is calling it a "tie front cardi"...that is an error, it is a button front.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Glittery camisole face-off: Sussan v Dotti

Recently a reader noticed that Sussan and Dotti had made camisoles in the same glittery fabric, but at widely differing price points. 

Naturally she was annoyed as she had purchased the more expensive version (in two colours) and couldnt see any material difference between the tanks in each store. 

Yes, she had her receipts, but she had worn both of them and the were no faults on either of the items.

So I jumped into an investigation (naturally), to compare quality, price and value for money.

Exhibit #1: The Dotti tank

Reduced from $30 to $16 each in three colours.

The binding at the neckline is cut along the length and the stitching on the binding isnt evenly placed.

Stitching is uneven

Exhibit: #2: The Sussan tank

Currently $60, not reduced.

The binding on the neckline is cut along the width of the fabric - a much cleaner finish than the Dotti version.

Currently only the black one is in stock.
At the beginning of the season, they had produced it in the gold as well

My thoughts:

1. In the black version, identical fabric used by both stores This is contrary to what it looks like in the photos which were shot in very different lighting situations. This is not an unusual situation on the high street as there is generally no exclusivity in fabric purchases from the mills. 

There are however, style differences in the tanks.

2. The cut on the Dotti tanks is narrower than the Sussan cut.

3. The Dotti shoulder straps are thinner (less bra friendly) than the Sussan version.

4. The neckline on the Sussan is higher & has more coverage of the decolletage.

5. The sizing on the Dotti is smaller. Hard to fit most of the average Australian woman population.

6. The binding around the edges of the neckline & sleeves is finer and much better worked on the Sussan version than the binding on the Dotti version. Sussan binding is cut on the width, Dotti binding is cut on the length - a much messier look.

7. Dotti has 3 colours, all reduced, while Sussan may have reduced the gold version (I cant recall). The Sussan black version which is currently in store isnt reduced.

8. The Sussan version is longer, although both versions have sufficient length so you dont expose your tummy every time you lift your arms.

9. Stitching on Sussan is even and spaced evenly. Stitching on the Dotti is not straight and not spaced evenly.

Now, how to you weigh all this up?

The Sussan tank will suit a more mature figure as it has better coverage, isnt skimpy & more generous width.

The Sussan tank is made better, for sure. The binding around the neckline is one of the first things I notice and on the Dotti tanks it's horrible. Mind you, some people dont notice this type of detail and if you're out in the evening with dim lighting, this is even more the case.

For you regular readers, can you recall me raving on about cost per wear (CPW)? Well it becomes relevant, again.
Right now. How many times do you plan on wearing this?

Say once per week, for 20 weeks, as a minimum?
Then Dotti CPW = 80 cents
& Sussan CPW = $3.00

If you plan on wearing it for 5 years, then
Dotti CPW = 16 cents
& Sussan CPW = 60 cents

And dont laugh at the thought of wearing it for 5 years. Why shouldnt we expect a lifespan of 5 years?

If you are a quality girl, then Sussan may win out because you value its better quality more than extra cost.

If you are a cheap & cheerful girl and you think the tank will have a short lifespan in your wardrobe, then Dotti may win out.

Reader's Options:

Option 1. Status quo. 

This can be interpretted in two ways. Firstly as "suck it up princess" or secondly as "quality is remembered long after price is forgotten". Take your pick, depending on whether you are a "cheap & cheerful girl" or a "quality girl" respectively.

Option 2. Approach Sussan and bring their attention to the Dotti item. Ask for a refund so that you can purchase the Dotti versions. 

While Sussan does have a policy of honouring change of mind returns (which this essentially is), the return needs to be within 14 days of purchase and the item needs to be unworn. 

If these conditions are not met, any refund (or credit) is purely discretionary and a matter of maintaining customer goodwill.

It will help if you have your receipt and as short a time frame has elapsed as possible (ie: do it sooner, not later).

You may also have to prove the items exist in Dotti - take photos, use this blog post if you like. May also help if you speak to a manager in the Dotti store nearest the Sussan store & get their number so Sussan can check with them directly. Thankfully, Dotti has heaps of stock in the tank, in all sizes and colours, even though it is reduced heavily.

If Sussan only offers store credit (rather than a refund), even that may be OK depending on how often the reader shops at Sussan.

It may also help to bring the request to the local store in writing, with the Dotti proof attached (eg: photos and contact details of the Dotti manger).

Sounds like a pain?

Well, it is, but it may also be an interesting exercise in standing up for your position and negotiation skills practice.

I think of it in terms of "no pain, no gain".

BTW - Dotti has a peplum top & a top with cap sleeves in the same fabrics. They obviously had much larger production with the fabric than Sussan.

Good luck & let me know how you go.

Witchery Madison Capsule Collaboration Nov 2012

Here are my thoughts on the Witchery/Madison capsule collaboration.

Released Nov 20th 2012.

Consists of seven pieces 

Sizes: 6 - 14. (Witchery's other clothes are now made to a size 16).

Currently the web site has no "product details" for any of the items, simply a general description. My comments are based on me playing with the items in store today.

The blazer: $230

On the hanger, looks lovely.
Lined arms, unlined elsewhere.
A microfibre with a good hand & weight - looks expensive
3 buttons on each sleeve with faux button holes

Great for: Petites (it's not a long jacket)
Great for: Hourglasses
Great for: Rectangles (the lapel curves create curves)
Can work for apples, but keep it open

Not good for busty girls: The fabric is quite thick & combined with the lapels, there is too much happening up top, which will compete with the girls.

Contrary to promotional photos, this has a closure at the front, in the form of a silver hook/eye closure. This looks out of place IMO. It's too obvious & too little for a jacket of that weight. It just looks cheap. A covered press stud would have worked better IMO, but would have made it more expensive. I'd remove the  hook/eye as the weight of the lapel will keep the jacket front in place IMO.

My concern: Sometimes depending on how the fabric is woven, this fabric develops pulls very easily.
You can spot fabrics like this, which pull easily, after a couple of weeks on the shop floor OR after a day of wearing. If the fabric does pull easily, it is very hard to prove it isnt a wear & tear issue (no entitlement to refund) and that it is in fact a production issue (where you may be entitled to a refund).

My suggestion: Wait a couple of weeks to see how the fabric wears on the shop floor. If you decide to buy it, wear it for a few days immediately, so if there is a problem, you can take it back asap & the "wear & tear" factor hasnt had time to set in.

There is no fabric composition on the web. Am sure it will be updated soon. Fabric is a triacetate viscose. 

The scarf print pant $129

100% viscose, washable

There is no fabric composition on the web. Am sure it will be updated soon.

Avoid this if you are a pear or an apple as the gathers at the waist & tapered ankles will emphasis the hips/thighs.

Great for: Hourglass, rectangle & busty types.

Probably a bit too much fullness at waist for petites (petites should wear items close to the body).

Split neck Shell Top: $100

100% silk in off white (rather than cream), a good quality fabric

Well seamed (French seams, so no visible overlocking) & nicely & evenly stitched.

Cut in at the waist & well placed darts

The keyhole front closes with the silver hook/eye - not the best look for such a fine blouse.

Flattering shirt tail hem (more flattering than hems cut straight across)
Longer back than front (good to hide the bum)

There is no fabric composition on the web. Am sure it will be updated soon.

Suitable for petites although may be a touch long
Will suit most others except apples.

My concern: A bit see through - wear a nice lacey bra & (if at work), a cami

Open placket shirt: $100

100% silk in off white (rather than cream), a good quality fabric

Well seamed (French seams, so no visible overlocking) & nicely & evenly stitched.

The placket has concealed buttons except for the top button.

Flattering shirt tail hem (more flattering than hems cut straight across)

Longer back than front (good to hide the bum)

There is no fabric composition on the web. Am sure it will be updated soon.

In overall impact, the main difference to the other silk shell is that this one has a more relaxed feel especially with the shirt style opening & fewer darts.

Suitable for petites although may be a touch long.

Will suit most others except apples.

My concern: A bit see through - wear a nice lacey bra & (if at work), a cami

Bomber jacket: $190

100% viscose, fully lined with elastic collar/hem.
Modern digital print

The web site says "silk fabrication"...I think this is wrong.

My concern: This is probably the most fattening of all seven pieces. The gathered waist & the high collar & the fact that it is a short piece, all scream short. Be careful.

The stretch pencil skirt: $130

A stretch viscose of decent thickness so it sucks in all your bits & pieces.

A knee length style, so not good for petites & apples.

Has a centre panel which helps the "slurp" factor (hard to see the centre panel in the photo due to the print).

The spliced scuba dress: $150

This is very very Stella McCartney, but they have done a great job.

Navy & black - sophisticated colour combo which the Aussies often dont "get". Follow our French sisters, who do get it.

Very impressed with the stretch fabric - thick & well, "slurping" to suck you in.

The black panels on the sides are slimming.

The shoulders are quite cut away and its very fitted, so make sure your foundation garments are perfect.

If you are a rectangle, I'd add a dark belt or (if you want more oomph), a bright belt.

My concern if you are a pear is that it will slim your bottom (good), but it's cut will also slim your top (bad). Ideally you want something to minimise the bottom AND emphasis the top.

Busty types will need to try this on to see if the coverage at top is sufficient.

Great for hourglasses
Probably too long in the body for petites.

Which of these items appeal to you?
Which of these did you buy?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Same, same but different - it's the little things that matter

At Coles, the Mix Apparel line has produced three silk look tank tops for SS 2012 in the same fabric. 

The three tanks look similar and they have a similar vibe.

But each one has unique details which can make or break a body type.

Style #1: Plain front, plain back, straight hem

The simplest version - the most versatile, but also the least "trendy".

Style #2: Plain front, zippered back, lower back hem

This is is better than #1 for a big bum because:

a) the Back hem is lower; and
b) The back vertical zip creates a vertical line

The zipper is heavy as it is quite long - check your back view to ensure the back isnt clinging to your backside (making it look even bigger).

Trendy - the back zip is a Celine inspired detail.

Style #3: High neck, zippered front, shirt-tail hem with side slits

The higher neckline is not ideal for large busts. If a busty figure wants to wear this, you must wear it with the zipper open, so as to break up a large chest area.

The zipper is a visible feature of this style because it's at the front & centre. Three consequences here:
a) The metal on the zipper should flatter your complexion. 
b) The zipper may create limitations as to the jewellery/scarves/neck/head accessories you wear with it. Make sure there are no unintended clashes.
c) The centre front zipper creates a vertical line - avoid this if you have a small bust.

This style is longer than the other two styles so petites should stay away from it.

The shirt tail hem & the side splits are good for a big hips


Same, same but different.
The little differences make a difference.
If you dont have an eye for the little differences, then take someone on your shopping trip who does.
This is important.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Found: A little black dress

We all know that when we are desperately looking for a piece of clothing or an accessory, we dont find it.

One of the "rules" for being well dressed is the buy the items that work for your lifestyle when you DONT need them. 
That way you will have them when you DO need them.

Today I found a little black dress (LBD) that may suit a wide cross section of shapes & complexions. And it is affordable.
It was at Target for AU$59.

Fabric & care

It is a fully lined polyester chiffon hence it is easy to launder.


For an average height woman, it is knee length.


It comes in sizes 8 - 18.

Black - too harsh?

For those with fair complexions, the dress has cut outs at the neck & back, so the black is broken up & doesnt overwhelm.

Bra friendly?

Even though it has a halter style front & back, the straps are thick and the waterfall ruffles add width at the shoulder straps. So yes, it's bra friendly.


It has absolutely no horizontal lines. 
The waterfall ruffles on either side and at the centre front form vertical lines. Hence it is slimming.


This dress is not a tight fit - it is loose and floaty. It hides all manner of (body) sins.


I dont expect this to generally appeal to a younger demographic because its not short & tight. I'd call it elegant & so its appeal is more for a mature woman who appreciates an understated look. 

Cover up?

The only downside is that if you want to cover your upper arms, this may not be the dress for you. Unless of course you use a cardi or a wrap.