April Golden Tote Review

My April Golden Tote came in last week! With May’s tote day coming up on Monday, it was now or never to get the review out.

This was another all-keeper tote, thanks to my stylist KB and the awesome expanded style profile on GT’s site! Take a look at the goods:

Chosen: Draped Jersey Tank.
This was huge on me, and I actually sized down. It was unwearable on its own, but I like it with a belt.

drape neck black jersey top golden tote draped jersey tank golden tote black draped jersey top

Chosen: Blue Batik Dress.
I really liked the fit of this dress and was excited to find that it was long enough to cover my tall frame. This will be an excellent patio brunch dress now that the weather is finally warming up here in Chiberia!
blue and pink batik dress

Closeup of the print and the add-on Inner Circle necklace:
golden tote batik print dress and inner circle necklace

Surprise: Miss Love Sheer Panel Tank.
I thought this would be a disaster, but it was surprisingly flattering! The fabric is super interesting and the sheer hem has a frayed end that gives it some edge. I like the way GT pays attention to details.
miss love black tank with sheer panel
Not bad!
sheer miss love black tank with circle print fabric
Fabric closeup:
fabric closeup black miss love golden tote tank

Surprise: Lumiere Ethnic Print Tunic.
I love this! It almost works as a dress on me, but I prefer it as a tunic. It’s kind of billowy, but I like it with a belt. It has a cross stitch style embroidery and buttoned placket that keeps it from being another generic black top in my very dark wardrobe. I can’t wait to wear this to a cookout! It would also work well unbuttoned and unbelted as a swimsuit coverup if I were the sort of person who went out in the sun.
black lumiere ethnic trim tunic lumiere embroidered trim tunic golden tote
Embroidery detail:
embroidery closeup lumiere tunic dress golden tote april 2015

Lumiere Geo Print Sleelevess Top.
I really love this, It’s the kind of thing I wear pretty often to work. It fits well and the fabric is of good quality.

lumiere triangle print tank lumiere navy  geometric print sleeveless top

Honey Punch Damask Print Blouse.
Into it. The fabric is nice and heavy on this blouse and it is a nice transition piece for this fake spring I’m dealing with. I’ve already worn this one.
honey punch damask print blouse in ivory
And I have a few more add-on accessories.
Mother of pearl Delicate Drop Necklace.
delicate drop necklace
It’s reversible!
reversible mother of pearl delicate drop necklace

Birds of a Feather Wallet.
black and white bird print clutch wallet golden tote april 2015

Turquoise Step Into Spring Shades.
blue step into spring shades

Tan Rimmed Sunglasses.
tan rimmed sunglasses

Tortoiseshell Favorite Wayfarers.
golden tote favorite mirrored sunglasses in tortoise

And that’s my tote! I am soooo excited about how well curated these last two totes have been. There’s a lot of cute stuff coming up in the May sale, although I will probably skip this month because I’m trying to clear out my overstuffed closet. More on that soon.


March Golden Tote

Due to a website makeover, GT launched a little late this month. I just got my March tote today, but it was completely worth it. I mean, I was really blown away, every single item was a keeper! I credit this to Golden Tote’s new profile that is so much more customizable (much closer to the stitch fix profile). There are fields for your measurements, body shape, proportions, etc. There are also 5 options to select the types of clothing you typically wear:
Golden Tote style profile selection
As you can see, I went with Edgy and Trendy, which are a much better fit for me than the broader style options under the old website. You also choose what types of occasions you typically dress for (work, lounging, night out, casual weekend, etc).

There’s even a dedicated space for comments that will automatically attach to every tote rather than re-typing them each time (where you risk forgetting to add them while in a frenzy to checkout). For my comments, I wrote “I prefer darker colors and am kind of gothy. I’m tall so I need longer hemlines on shirts and dresses. I also love prints, especially in black or dark blue!” I tried to keep it simple, but to the point. I guess it worked, because as you’ll see in the review below, my stylist KB took my recommendations very seriously! Thanks, KB, I owe you one.

Enough about the site, I know you want pictures. Here they are. For reference, everything shown is a size medium.

Embroidered Trim Top (chosen item)
golden tote navy embroidered trim notch neckline sleeveless topgolden tote navy embroidered trim top side view golden tote navy embroidered trim top stitching detail

So flattering and the embroidery makes it look much higher end than it is. I could wear this in so many ways, and I’m glad that I went with  the navy option since I already have a ton of black.

I also got the Tiny Cube Necklace which I’m wearing in all photos. I think it’s adorable and I will undoubtedly be wearing it a lot.
delicate tiny cube blue gold necklace golden tote

Pineapple Top (chosen item)
pineapple print sweatshirt in black golden tote pineapple print sweater offset crewneck neckline

Oooooo, yes. I think this is so fun and cute. It’s nicely heavy, the offset neckline detail is fun and the bottom hem curves just slightly downward, which is very flattering.

Potter’s Pot High-Low Tie Waist Dress (surprise).
potters pot high low v neck black white geometric diamond print dress potters pot high low tie waist black op art print dress
This print is kind of like an optical illusion, but I think it’s cool. It’s full lined and has a nice weight to it. I also liked the lower back because I always need a little extra coverage in the back. No flashing, thanks!

Love Stitch Tassel Tank (surprise).
Love Stitch Tassel Tank Golden Tote Love Stitch Tassel Tank Black And White Mandala Print

I. Loved. This. It’s very much something I would buy for myself, and the twisted front detail is very flattering (although it doesn’t look it from the pictures). Trust me, it works IRL and the drape looks amazing. The crepe fabric is opaque so I don’t need a cami underneath (big plus in the summertime) and I adore the mandala-esque print.

Lime & Chili Diamond Hacci Top (Surprise).
lime and chili diamond hacci top with tassel

I was NOT SURE about this one. The dolman cut scared me and I didn’t know what to make of the pom poms. Once it was on I found it very flattering and different!

lime and chili diamond hacci top details
This has so many details and I’m terrified of cleaning it for the first time, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

lime and chili diamond hacci top tucked
It also looks cute tucked into a skirt.

Speaking of which…

Kerisma Black Skirt (surprise).
kerisma skirt too small
Cant. Breathe.
kerisma skirt texture kerisma skirt texture closeup

This was at least a size too tight, which is a shame because it’s made out of really nice, thick sweater material. I’m going to hang onto it for another month to see if my latest diet will help me squeeze into it, but if not it will get traded or given to a friend. A classic black skirt is too useful to let go to waste!

Cool and Casual Tank (chosen item).
orange naked zebra split neck twist front tank orange cool and casual tank naked zebra

I know I told them I love dark colors, but every now and then I pick a bright color and I actually love orange as an accent. This foldover detail is very flattering, although it doesn’t look it in these photos, much like the black and white printed tassel top. What is it with twist front tanks that doesn’t translate to two dimensions? I also love that it’s a little longer in the back to give me the extra coverage my awkward torso needs.

Promesa Jersey Dress (surprise).
promesa jersey cap sleeve t shirt dress in navy promesa jersey dress in navy side slitpromesa jersey dress keyhole slit back promesa jersey dress in navy

This is a cool twist on a classic jersey t-shirt dress. The cap sleeves have a slight structure to them, there’s a sneaky thigh slit on one side and a cute keyhole back. This is a surprisingly grownup version of the classic tee dresses I used to love and I can see myself wearing this for many different occasions.

So yay! The March tote was everything I wanted and then some! My December and January totes were sort of hit-and-miss (I never did review those thanks to megaschoolcrunchtime, but you didn’t miss much), so I’m really excited to get so many things that I loved this time around. The new site is great and the style profile system has made it easier to get a true personal styling experience if you customize your profile the right way. I can’t wait for the April Tote to launch, it’s dropping on April 13, 2015. Hopefully I’ll have a review on that one, too!

Fall 2014 Elizabeth and Clarke Review

I received my Elizabeth & Clarke order recently and thought I’d share with you. This is a quarterly subscription service, and it’s one of a handful of new companies that works directly with manufacturers and sells exclusively online. This is in an effort to provide consumers with high quality clothing with transparent pricing and a significant discount from traditional retail, sort of like a subscription-based version of Everlane (or Cuyana, or up-and-comer Brass Clothing). Can you tell I’m into the concept these guys are working with? I only really shop online anyway, so I’m ok with forgoing clearance sales and discounts if I know the full retail is actually a fair markup and not an additional, arbitrary price gouge. No more games!

It works like this: You sign up for a recurring one, two, or three shirt box and every season you are presented with five shirts that you can choose to fill that box. The more you get the more you save, with the boxes working out to $30, $25, or $20 per shirt, respectively. You select these in anticipation of the next season and don’t actually get your shirts for a couple months. This is part of how they keep costs low. The pieces are really high quality, but they are able to cut out a huge chunk of the markup by 1) limiting marketing and only selling online directly to consumers and 2) by taking in all of the orders ahead of time and only producing the EXACT amount of shirts that they will be selling. It’s actually a pretty clever business model.

If you want a more in-depth explanation about the company’s formation and some of the realities of the fashion industry, I’d highly recommend checking this post from the founders, it’s a worthwhile read.

It also looks like a lot of effort goes into each design to ensure that the pieces produced are exceptional. The card enclosed with my order explained that the designers tested over 300 fabrics to pick their stock, and for each design they test 12 different dyes, spend over 600 design hours, and create 15 different prototypes.

The downside to this service is the lack of choice. Last season I signed up for the three-shirt subscription. I chose one seasonal top and two of their seasonless staples (I couldn’t resist a nice white tee and a proper button-up). Unfortunately, that means when the upcoming season’s choices rolled around, I had already received the two perennially available basics and was stuck with the three winter selections as my only options, and I’m not sure if I like all of them. I went along with it, but I may end up downgrading to a two-shirt subscription for Spring since I don’t love that I’m supposed to get a “choice,” but really I’m stuck with the only three options that I haven’t gotten already. That is not a choice.

Anyway, let’s check out the three tops that I have from the Fall Collection!

The Bacall

elizabeth and clarke bacall draped boat neckline top elizabeth and clarke bacall bateau neckline closeup
elizabeth and clarke bacall black bateau neck topelizabeth and clarke bacall black top side view

This is my favorite of the bunch. Last week I wore it tucked in to a black midi skirt and my friend told me I was looking very Jackie O, which is highest praise in my book. I like the interesting drape detail to the neckline, and the crepe fabric is lightweight but opaque.

The Liz Lemon

elizabeth and clarke liz lemon t shirt reviewelizabeth and clarke liz lemon white tee shirtelizabeth and clarke liz lemon t shirt closeup elizabeth and clarke liz lemon fabric closeup

The shirt is very soft and the fabric has a great hang to it. The curved hem at the bottom makes it a little different from other shirts, although it might be better with an extra inch or two for my frame. I still like it. I hope they eventually update it with different colors so I can buy more! I did noticed that in spite of my height-based issues, all of the shirts I ordered fit more precisely than other shirts in this price range because sizing is offered in 00-14 rather than a more generic S, M, L chart.

The Taylor

elizabeth and clarke the taylor off white blouse
Untabbed sleeves vs. tabbed sleeves.
elizabeth and clarke the taylor long sleeve button upelizabeth and clarke the taylor tabbed sleeve blouseelizabeth and clarke the taylor mandarin collar closeupelizabeth and clarke the taylor material and pocket closeup

This classic, white button-up has internal tabs to keep your sleeves rolled up if you like. I also LOVE the way this cut is fitted enough to curve in toward my back, but still loose enough not to cling around my stomach. I feel like I’m forever compromising between those two cuts whenever I buy a button up. This one also has a really thoughtfully designed curve to the hem (and it hits me at a better place than the Liz tee).

All in all, I’d say this box was a big hit for me since the quality is great and so is the value. But as I mentioned earlier, I may downgrade my subscription depending on which designs are offered after my Winter box arrives. I’ll keep you posted.