Wednesday, February 24, 2010

eShakti Dress Review and Giveaway

The lovely folks at eShakti sent me this dress to review, and, as you can tell from the photos, I'm smitten. It's a lightweight cotton voile, so even though the skirt is lined to make it flouncy and full, it's a bit too breezy to wear just now. And I AM BUMMED. (I can't seem to find the dress anywhere but here on the site, so snap it up, you size 18s! Stock rotates frequently on eShakti.)

eShakti carries sizes from 0 to 26 and you can customize the fit of your dress, from arm circumference to hem length. The dresses are all reasonably priced, and so cute they'll make your head spin. I had a lot of trouble settling on this one, but in the end my dual loves of red and full skirts won out.

Now for the good part: eShakti is letting me give away TWO $15 gift cards! Here's how you enter:

  1. Do one or more of the following: fan eShakti on Facebook or sign up for their newsletter.

  2. Leave a comment on this post with the following information: Your favorite dress on the site, which way you'll be following eShakti, and A VALID E-MAIL. Comments without a valid e-mail in the comment will be disqualified.

  3. Cross your fingers!

Enter by midnight CST on Sunday, March 7. I'll draw a winner at random the following week. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Good luck, everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carissa Rose Winner

And the lucky, lucky winner of the Carissa Shirt is ....

Kati! Congrats, my dear. You're going to LOVE this shirt.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for more giveaways soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

PB&J Review

When PB&J Boutique approached me to do a review, I jumped at the chance. I wasn't familiar with many of the brands they carried, but the site had so many fun and funky on-trend items it was still hard to choose. Comfy loungewear, cozy knits, and darling dresses abounded, and all at fantastically reasonable prices.

In the end, they generously sent me this Green Dragon Chocolate Rib Tunic and let me tell you, friends, I WANT TO LIVE IN IT. I put it on and immediately felt like one of the stylish gals from my Athleta catalog. The kimono sleeves are roomy and flattering, the knit is tight and beautifully made, and the overall cut is flattering without being too snug. I love the v-neckline and slimming rib details along the sides. I opted for a size large, and probably could've done a medium ... but with tunics, I always err on the side of too big since they can be belted. I am quite sure this tunic will become a fall and winter staple for me.

This particular tunic is on sale and going fast, but do take a peek at the other garments from the Green Dragon line of products.

PB&J is a small operation, but expanding, and has really appealing policies for online shopping, including free domestic shipping and free returns with a preprinted UPS label. And if that doesn't tempt you enough, just put in the code "pretty" when you check out for an additional 10% off. There's no minimum sale, but the code will only work on non-sale items, and is valid until 6/1/10.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carissa Rose Giveaway: UPDATED

**Per below, you've gotta sign up for Carissa Rose e-mails to enter, and Carissa just let me know that their system is having trouble kicking out passwords. Your entries are fine, and you're signed up! Not to worry, and please keep signing up and entering!**

I've sung the praises of the Bratique Helene blog before - which you'll see has changed names along with its parent company, to Carissa Rose. And now I'm EXTREMELY excited to announce that Carissa Rose Designs is partnering with Already Pretty to give away one of their signature Carissa Shirts. How cool is that?

For those unfamiliar with this amazing brand, the shirts and dresses are designed for women with full busts. Although ladies who are both well endowed and small-of-waist adore these products, the line is designed to flatter any body type that includes large breasts. Is that you? Then get in on this action!

Here's how you enter.
  1. Sign up to receive e-mails from Carissa Rose. You MUST do this to qualify.

  2. Leave a comment on this post with the following information: What color Carissa shirt you'd love to own and A VALID E-MAIL. Comments without a valid e-mail in the comment will be disqualified.

  3. Cross your fingers!

Do all of this by midnight CST on Monday, February 15. I'll choose a winner at random later in the week. This giveaway is open to everyone, including international readers. Good luck to all!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Karin Jacobson Leather Cuff Winner

Congratulations to ...

Selene! Sometimes it DOES pay to enter late. Congrats, lady, and I'll be in touch.

More giveaways soon, so stay tuned!

Review: Biased Cut Custom-Tailored Shirts for Men

The lovely gents at Biased Cut approached me several weeks ago about plugging their wares for Valentine's Day. The company offers custom-tailored men's dress shirts in an array of colors and styles, and they looked fab online ... but I make a policy of only plugging stores and items I've selected myself, or sampled in person. So I said, hey, how about Husband Mike orders a shirt and reviews it instead?

We've definitely missed the V-Day window, as the custom shirts take two to three weeks from order to delivery ... but, as you'll see from HM's review, you might want to consider a shirt from Biased Cut for another gift-giving occasion.

* * * * *

If you think about the guys in your life, or - if you are a guy yourself and you are being reflective - you probably realize that your button-down dress shirts don't fit very well. Go pull out that picture from the wedding this past summer. You'll see what I'm saying.

Dress shirts are like pop music - designed to fit most tastes. I am picky about my shirts in the same way I am picky about my music. For me, they must have a certain style of collar, a certain thickness so that the shirt lays well, and not pooch out in the stomach or in the back. For me this means that I need an athletic fit shirt. I usually get a JC Penney brand Stafford oxford. EVERY OTHER OFF-THE-RACK SHIRT HAS TOO MUCH ROOM IN THE BELLY. They make me want to wear a cumberbund to compensate.

So here is me jumping at the chance to review a free custom-made dress shirt from Biased Cut. They have a dozen or so styles of shirt to cover whatever taste, but I went right for the traditional white:

The Perfect White
$85. Medium weight poplin.
No pocket.
Central pleat back.
Shown with spread collar and button cuffs (You can get French cuffs if you would like)

The first thing they have you do is have you upload your measurements on many parts of your body. This is a lot more sophisticated that looking for a 44/45 sleeve with a 16 1/2 neck. Easy enough to do with Sally on the tape measure. I puffed up a bit so I could grow into the shirt if I needed to.

My perfect collar, though many styles are offered.

Two weeks later, I get a nicely-boxed white poplin shirt in the mail. I put it on and I look awesome. No poochiness in the front or back, the neck fits just right, and the materials are very high quality. I felt kind of classy.

The leap from Stafford to Biased Cut is pretty steep. Having worn a custom-tailored shirt, I immediately felt that I could not go back to my old shirts and I did the math in my head: I will pay up to $75 for a zipper cardigan; I'll pay $300 for hand-cobbled shoes. Why wouldn't I pay $85 for a shirt that fits me perfectly?

It looks like I lost 15 lbs, just from eliminating the poof in front and back.

My most surprising realization after putting back on my old Stafford stand by? The sleeves are too big and roomy. Maybe that is the trade off with an athletic fit shirt that the sleeves are built for muscles, but it looked sloppy compared to my custom-made dress shirt.

My old shirts had extra roomy arms that made for a sloppy look.

My suggestion, if I could really make a shirt custom-made for me? Replaceable collars. I am tough on my collars. The rest of the shirt may be in good shape, but the collar soon turns to gold. If I could send my shirt back in to Biased Cut for a collar replacement, I would completely commit to a custom-fit shirt every time.

* * * * *

Would your man/brother/dad/best friend shell out $85 for a custom dress shirt? If not, how about $55? Biased Cut is offering $30 off just for creating a fit profile online! You'll have to collaborate with said man on getting those measurements - the perfect fit requires accurate numbers - but I still maintain these shirts would make great gifts. Especially since many men balk at spending big money on their clothes.

Thanks to Husband Mike for a great and thorough review!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reality in Style - Discount and Sizing Update

My dears, I just got this e-mail from Reality in Style proprietor Denise, and I think you'll be just floored when you read it:

Hey Sally! Your readers are awesome & Rachel & I soooo appreciate their feedback. I just contacted our marker/grader & told him to mark & grade the Bob for an X-Large. Hopefully we will have them in stock within the next 2 weeks. This dress has been running small ... much smaller than the rest of the line. So no one should feel bad about having to order an X-Large--it really is the dress size, not them!

Also, because Rachel & I are so grateful to you & your readers and feel so bad about those readers who love the style, but are unable to afford it--we have changed the discount code so that your readers will now get 45% off all of our items! If any of your readers already ordered (I will check), we will credit them the difference between the 25% and 45% discounts. Because we are not in stores yet, we were able to switch it. We want people happy and starting to wear our line!

Additionally, Rachel and I are going to sit down & re-evaluate the pricing of the line. We need to cover our costs--which will hopefully decrease as we get bigger and at this point in time any money we make is going right back into the company. Again, we are listening to your readers as they are our target audience!

Rachel and I are also going to review the line and our 4 new styles that we are working on to see which items would be flattering on size 16 & 18 women (I hate the term plus size!). My sister is a size 14 and she wears a large in the Claude dress. But again, we will hire models in sizes 16 & 18 and see which looks are the most flattering.

Talk about a vendor who listens! Thanks for your great and honest feedback, everyone, and thanks to Reality in Style for adjusting to the needs of women who love their products.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reality in Style Dress Review - UPDATED

Please see newest post for more info!

When one of the co-founders of Reality in Style contacted me, I knew immediately that good things would come of the relationship. Lovely Denise explained that she and her business partner had set out to create a clothing line that was designed to flatter all shapes and sizes using top-of-the-line, soft, wearable fabrics. Furthermore, they hired women of multiple age groups, heights, and body types to model their clothing on their shopping site, and it was SO refreshing to see lovely, classic duds worn by a few women who were older, shorter, or curvier than the average model.

I asked to see a garment or two in person so that I could write a proper review, and was sent the gorgeous Bob dress from their current line.

I loved the twist front-detailing, but worried that it might actually emphasize my tum instead of downplaying it. Not so! The twist is at once forgiving and eye-catching. The jersey knit material is heavy, supple, and drapes beautifully, making this dress as comfortable as it is flattering. Great details like subtle ruching at the shoulder seams and a sexy deep-v neckline make this a truly gorgeous garment. And I loooooove this sophisticated shade of dusty purple (described as "gray ridge" on the site).

I generally wear a size 8 dress, and had to trade in the medium I was initially sent for a large ... so I imagine that much of the line is cut on the small side. But the large fit like a glove, and could probably work for sizes 10 and 12 as well. (See newest post for updated sizing info.)

Reality in Style garments are a wee bit on the expensive side and may qualify as "investment pieces" for many of us, myself included. Price points on these pieces higher because the clothes are meant to be worn in heavy rotation for long periods and are, therefore, constructed sturdily from high-quality materials. Additionally, the creators of the line sourced patternmakers, marker/graders, cutters, and factories in New York so that they could oversee the process from start to finish. They also hired multiple sizes of fit models so they could be sure that the clothing would be flattering on diverse figures. You may balk, but your dollars are supporting admirable business practices and will bring timeless, high-quality duds into your wardrobe. Just sayin'.

I am truly in love with my Bob dress. It's lightweight enough to make a great spring and summer dress, but the long sleeves mean that I can pair it with tights to take it into fall and winter as well. It's as comfy as any of my formless sweater tunics and 50 times as flattering. This dress is an outright winner.

That's all well and good, I hear you saying, but what's in it for YOU? Well, Reality in Style is offering 45% off their gorgeous wares for Already Pretty readers! Just enter prettyreality when you check out to receive the discount. (UPDATED from 25% - see newest post for more info.)

And if any of you lovely folks live in Las Vegas, the company will be hosting a launch party and trunk show on February 20 where you can get the duds at wholesale prices! Drop me an e-mail at if you're interested and I'll send you the deets.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Karin Jacobson Leather Cuff Giveaway

I am SUPER excited to be partnering with my dear friend Karin Jacobson for a giveaway from her fabulous new line of leather jewelery! Karin gave me one of these wide leather cuffs to review a few months back, and I just adore it. It's soft and supple, but still very edgy and I've loved incorporating it into outfits. And now you can

Karin's whole leather line can be found in her online shop, including some darling Valentine's-themed pieces, but we'll be offering one of these wide bubbles bracelets to a lucky winner. They come in silver, gold, black with black hardware, and dark brown with brass hardware:

Are you drooling yet? GOOD! Here's how you enter.

  1. Do one or more of the following: Follow Karin on Twitter, fan Karin Jacobson Design on Facebook, or sign up for her newsletter (bottom right corner).

  2. Leave a comment on this post with the following information: Your chosen cuff, which way you'll be following Karin, and A VALID E-MAIL. Comments without a valid e-mail in the comment will be disqualified.

  3. Cross your fingers!

Do all of this by midnight CST on Sunday, February 7. I'll choose a winner at random the following week. This giveaway is open to everyone, including international readers. YAAY!

Can you see my cuff peeking out there on my right wrist? And see how happy it's making me to wear it. I'm sure you'll feel the same should you win this fabulous piece.

P.S. Did you miss the jewelry makeovers that Karin and I did? Check them out here!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bead Dreamer Winner

And our lucky The Bead Dreamer winner is ...

ChristaLouWho! Big time congrats, kitten, and I'll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and keep your eyes peeled for ANOTHER fun jewelry giveaway shortly.