Summer Fashions Try-On Sesh

Hey guys! I’ve been wanting to get this post up for an age. I’ve been collecting pictures from my try-ons at the mall and here at home, but I haven’t had time to edit them all and find the links and talk about them. These may seem like “lazy posts” because I’m just trying stuff on and talking about it, but I’m here to tell you, these posts take more time than pretty much any other type of post I write.

That said, I enjoy them because I really learn from them — seeing myself in pictures helps me figure out what works for me and what doesn’t and why, and hopefully it’s helpful to you too! (In fact, I recommend you do the same, especially when you’re in doubt about something.)

I edited most of these pictures this morning, and then I went out with the family for a while to run some errands and things, and now I’m going to try to link everything and share my thoughts before I have to get ready for dinner. We’re having some friends over for a cookout, so I’m looking forward to that!

Summer Try On Session with Jo-Lynne Shane featuring Nordstrom, White House Black Market, Express, LOFT, and more!

For size reference, I’m 5’5″ and usually somewhere between 135-140 pounds. I have an hourglass/curvy body type, and I’m short-waisted. I tend to run between sizes — usually a 6 or 8 in pants and jeans and a small or medium in tops.

First, I have a few dresses I tried on at Nordstrom. A lot of us have occasions coming up like weddings, graduations, etc., so dresses are a hot item right now.

This first dress is really pretty in theory, but it didn’t fit me as well as I’d hoped it would. Usually Eliza J is a great fit for me, and a sheath is my favorite style for my body type, but I feel like this needs to be taken in some through the waist. It might work for someone else, though.

For reference, I’m wearing the 8, which is my usual size in this brand, but I sometimes wear a 6 in other brands, so take that into consideration if you’re ordering. If white isn’t your thing, it also comes in a really pretty periwinkle blue, which would be perfect for a summer wedding.

Eliza J Laser Cut Sheath; size 8, $76.80 (sale price)

This coral lace shift didn’t fare much better. I’ve never loved a sheath dress on me. I’ve got an hourglass shape, which sounds ideal, but it’s actually kind of tricky. I look best in a sheath because it provides structure that enhances my natural curviness; when things are cut too straight, I look more like a brick than an hourglass, ha!

Eliza J Ruffle Hem Lace Sheath; size 8, $168

I also don’t love this floral asymmetrical sheath, although it does have more structure through the waist area than the coral lace shift dress. I feel like it still leaves me looking kind of boxy and bigger than I really am. It’s a nice quality, though, so if you like it, it’s worth a try.

Maggy London Floral Asymmetrical Scuba Sheath Dress; size 8, $138

My favorite dress of the lot was this mirage print side twist dress, although it’s more casual than the other three. The fit is really nice, the neckline is flattering, and it is such nice fabric. It’s fully lined as well.

While the quality is evident, I feel like the price is high for a dress that reads pretty casual. Perhaps it would look dressier with heels, I don’t know, but I didn’t bring it home with me even though I’m pretty sure I’d get some wear out of it. I just don’t wear dresses a lot, and with no specific occasion for it, I decided to pass.

Nic+Zoe Side Twist Dress; size S, $168 (also in plus size)

Moving on to more casual wear, this Nic+Zoe sweater is lovely, but I feel that the navy band draws more attention to my hip area than I would like, and it’s a lot to pay for a sweater that I don’t absolutely love.

Nic+Zoe Cross Roads Knit Top; size small, $158 (also in plus size)
also wearing: distressed crop white jeans (Bloomies Power Points offer) // TB Miller flip flops

This top is the same print as the dress above, I love it. The material of these Nic+Zoe pieces is truly sublime; they’re really nice quality, the fit is flattering, and the prints look like artwork. They’re definitely worth checking out if you need better quality work wear.

Nic+Zoe Mirage Ruched Tank; size small, $128
also wearing: distressed crop white jeans (Bloomies Power Points offer) // TB Miller flip flops

This next top DID come home with me, but I’m debating if I should keep it or not. I’m not loving the rear view — it’s so long. From the front, it looks really nice front-tucked, and the material is so pretty. It isn’t a soft material, though; it definitely has a rougher feel to it as these woven tops always do. For the price, though, it’s really cute. It is very thin, so I purchased a white cami to wear underneath since I don’t have one.

Some colors are on sale; mine is the Pink 2, and it’s not on sale, but there are a lot of good ones to choose from in the sale section.

Kut from the Kloth Jasmine Top; size small, $40-68
also wearing: distressed crop white jeans (Bloomies Power Points offer) // TB Miller flip flops

I wanted to like this plaid top, but it’s cut kind of wide. I do like the print, though, and the length, but the price was a deal breaker.

Sanctuary Mod Short Sleeve Boyfriend Shirt; size small, $79
also wearing: distressed crop white jeans; size 30, Bloomies Power Points offer // TB Miller flip flops

You’re probably wondering why I even tried all of these on when the prices are higher than I wanted to spend. I didn’t really look at the prices, to be honest. I often shop in the Point Of View department at Nordstrom — they typically carry nice mid-priced apparel, and I like all of these brands, so I just started grabbing them as I saw things I liked, but for some reason the prices seem really high to me this spring.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem spending this much on a top; but I have to love it, love the quality, and know I’ll get a lot of wear out of it.

I also knew the Half Yearly Sale was coming up, and I was hoping more of these pieces would be included. They still  may go on sale, though, later in the season. I’m going to keep my eye on those Nic + Zoe pieces.

Next up, I tried on some shorts and tops. These shorts are by Kut from the Kloth, and they’re a nice mid-length. I also like the cut and the rear view. Two thumbs up for these!

I also like this red top, but I think I’d wear it with white jeans and wedge sandals and a statement necklace for a more dressed-up look.

Kut from the Kloth Catherine Boyfriend Shorts; size 8, $69 // Bobeau Bubble Sleeve Tee; size small, $49.50

These linen shorts are also super cute. I typically don’t wear elastic waist shorts, but these are cut in a flattering way, and they have external rear pockets, which I find more flattering than the kind that are on the inside — or no pockets at all. For size reference, I’m wearing a small and they JUST fit. I might size up, but I fear the leg opening would be too wide. I should have tried the mediums on in store but I was running out of time. At any rate, I’d say they’re TTS; if you’re in between, you probably want to try both.

I would recommend sizing up in this tee. I like how it has no boob pocket, but it does have a curved hemline, which isn’t my favorite. It works okay with a front-tuck, but I feel like it’s a little snug. I would probably prefer a medium.

Caslon Slub Crewneck Tee; size small, $19 // Caslon Linen Shorts; size small, $49

Moving on to White House Black Market!

WHBM is running a site-wide 30% off sale this weekend, which doesn’t happen very often. If you’ve had your eye on some of their pieces, now is the time to grab them!

I tried on their Bermuda shorts for you all who like longer shorts, and they’re really good. I know the camera angle is weird, and the lighting in their dressing rooms is horrible, but I think you can get the gist. Also, these are on sale this weekend!

I typically wear an 8 in shorts, even in brands where I wear a 6 in their jeans, but the 6 fit perfectly in these. From experience, this brand will stretch out some, so definitely go with your smaller size.

WHBM Bermuda Shorts; size 6, on sale for $49 + 30% off
also wearing: LOFT pointelle flare sleeve sweater; size small, $49.50 + 40% off

I think these embroidered cropped pants are really cute for those of you who like that look. This top is fun too. I didn’t tie it in the back, but it’s a great little detail. I tried on an 8 in these since they didn’t have the 6 available, and they seem to fit fine, but I’d be afraid they’d bag out. I typically take a 6 at White House Black Market.

WHBM Embellished-Hem Straight Cropped Jeans; size 8, $99 + 30% off // WHBM Bow Back Tee; size small, $49 + 30% off

I also really like these utility ankle pants, and they’re on sale as well. The fit is really nice, and they make a nice alternative to jeans. These fit well in my usual size 6.

Unfortunately, I just went to order them and found out the sizes are depleted, but they had a lot in the store when I was there last week, so I may try calling around to see if I can find them.

WHBM Utility Skinny Ankle Jeans; size 6, $89 + 30% off // WHBM Bow Back Tee; size small, $49 + 30% off

Back at home, I tried on a few things that came in the mail recently.

These eyelet chambray shorts are cute, but also almost sold out. See all Gap 3″ City Shorts for other patterns.

Get 40% off your GAP purchase through Monday with code MEMDAY plus an additional 10% off that and free shipping with code BEST.

I’m wearing my usual size 8, and they are none too big in the waist, but you can see from the rear view that the leg opening is a little too wide for me. This is always an issue for me with this style shorts — thus why I wear denim shorts so much! They have a lot of nice colors and patterns, though, if you like this style.

Gap 3″ City Shorts in Eyelet Chambray; size 8, $44 + 40% off
also wearing: Madewell whisper cotton v-neck tee; size medium, $19.50

Every summer I end up ordering a couple Old Navy tanks because they’re so great for throwing on with shorts for casual wear. This EveryWear Striped Scoop-Neck did not disappoint, and it’s a steal for $6.50.

FYI, the entire Old Navy store is on sale this weekend, plus get an additional 20% off (no code needed) and free shipping over $50.

Old Navy EveryWear Striped Scoop-Neck; size small, $6.50
also wearing: AG Hailey denim shorts; size 29 // TB Miller flip flops

I ordered this Slub-Knit Tee Dress in tall because Old Navy dresses tend to run so short, and I love the length. Unfortunately I ordered my usual small, and it’s rather snug. I need to reorder in a medium tall because I think I’d really like it in that size. It comes in a TON of colors and it only $13.50 this weekend.

Old Navy Slub-Knit Tee Dress; size small tall, $13.50

For a more dressed-up look, this belted flare dress from Ann Taylor is really nice. The quality is lovely, it’s so comfortable, and it’s fully lined. I don’t love this style on me, but I can see how it’s flattering — at least from the front and side. Not sure I’m loving the back view. I feel like I need to tie the belt higher; it’s sitting below my actual waist, but if I tie it higher, it throws off the proportions. #shortwaistedproblems

Get 40% off full-price styles and an additional 60% off sale styles at Ann Taylor this weekend.

Ann Taylor Belted Flare Dress; size small, $119 + 40% off

This is another one of those dresses I wanted to love but I can’t quite get excited about it. For one thing, it’s fully lined, which is nice, but it makes it feel heavier and also dressier than the style and material convey. It’s also very body-conscious, which I feel it’s flattering to a point, but it doesn’t give me much breathing (or eating) room. I wonder if I should try to size up and see if I like it better in an 8.

Ann Taylor Faux Wrap Knit Dress; size 6, $118 + 40% off

I really like this flare sleeve top, and it’s nice for work wear — especially for women who are cold natured or don’t like to bare their arms. It’s 40% off at Ann Taylor, and I’m wearing a small.

Ann Taylor Lacy Flare Sleeve Top; size small, $59.50 + 40% off
also wearing: Paige Verdugo ankle skinnies; size 30 // TB Miller flip flops

This yellow top is fun — I think it would be cute layered under a denim jacket. It also comes in blue.

Ruffle Neck Shell; size small, $49.50 + 40% off
also wearing: Paige Verdugo ankle skinnies; size 30 // TB Miller flip flops

I ordered this white dress from J.Crew when I ordered the red espadrilles, thinking they’d be cute together. I love the espadrilles, but the dress notsomuch. What is it with the arm hole opening!?! It’s also rather stiff and uncomfortable. I ordered a 6 and an 8, and I honestly can’t remember which size I was wearing in these pictures. At any rate, they’re both going back.

Get 40% off your J.Crew order this weekend with code GETAWAY.

J.Crew Denim Shift; $88 + 40% off // J.Crew Seville Espadrille Wedges; $128 + 40% off

Moving on to Express… I’ve been asked for some more affordable pants for work wear, so I placed an order from Express when they were running a sale. These stretchy skinny pants fit really well, but the material definitely looks and feels cheaper than the brands I’m used to (Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, etc.) That said, they’re on sale for $55, which is a pretty good price for dress pants.

Everything at Express is on sale — up to 50% off, prices as marked.

Express Mid Rise Extreme Stretch Skinny Pants; size 8, $79 (on sale for $55)
also wearing: LOFT tank (old) // Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

I also ordered these ankle pants, and they’re just okay to me. Keep in mind, I never like this style of pant on me. I prefer a full-length version when pants aren’t form-fitting (more like the black ones above.) Also, the rear view is extremely unflattering. Yikes!

Express Mid Rise Ankle Columnist Pants; size 8, $79 (on sale for $55)
also wearing: LOFT tank (old) // Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

This next pair is probably my favorite, although the rear view isn’t particularly flattering in these either. It’s something about the pockets… Granted, I would probably wear a slightly longer top — I had this one pushed up so the back is visible.

I do feel that in general, cheaper pants tend to be flattening and widening, and Express is really a store geared to younger women who probably are a little perkier than the average 40-something mom. But anyway. I tried! I should get some pants from WHBM and Ann Taylor to compare.

I also found the material to be rather stiff and not very comfortable, but if you’re looking for more budget-friendly work wear options, Express is worth a try.

Express Mid Rise Barely Boot Columnist Pants; size 8, $79 (on sale for $55)
also wearing: LOFT tank (old) // Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

I also placed a small order from J.Crew Factory. I know, I’ve been on a roll! Anyone wanna come help me with all my returns???

Everything is 50% off at J.Crew Factory, even new arrivals! And an extra 50% off sale styles; prices as marked.

This striped tie-back top is really cute, but again with the arm hole openings being cut too big. Maybe it’s just me.

J.Crew Factory Striped Tie Back Tank; size small, $14.95
also wearing: Express Mid Rise Extreme Stretch Skinny Pants; size 8, $55 // Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

And for a few more random mentions…

You’ve probably already seen this sweater, but it’s really cute and I took pictures when I got it in the mail.

 LOFT pointelle flare sleeve sweater; size small, $49.50 + 40% off
also wearing: Express Mid Rise Extreme Stretch Skinny Pants; size 8, $55 // Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

I wanted to love this striped maxi dress from Nordstrom, but it’s rather shapeless, and it’s cut too low under the arms. Maybe I need a petite? Not sure, but it’s going back. If you’re taller, you might love it.

Vince Camuto Striped Maxi Dress; size small, $89

Finally, this Madewell striped tee is a great little throw-on-and-go top to pair with jeans, shorts, or skirts for casual looks this summer. I’m actually wearing it with jean shorts right now! You can find it at Nordstrom or Madewell, and it’s on sale for $29.

Canal Stripe Top; size medium, $29 (also at Madewell)
also wearing: AG Hailey denim shorts; size 29 // TB Miller flip flops

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24 thoughts on “Summer Fashions Try-On Sesh

  1. WOW!  Thank you for trying on all of these items, compiling the post, and sharing it with us.  I got tired just thinking about all of the work involved.  I hope y’all had a fun evening!

  2. Hi JoLynne—just wondering why you don’t like the curved hemline tops on yourself?  Is it a style that shouldn’t be worn with your body shape or just something you don’t care on anyone?  I have a similar body shape as yours—curvy, short-waisted.  Although I’m much shorter than you at 5’1” and have long legs for my height,
    Have a great holiday weekend.

    1. It depends on how curved it is, but the more exaggerated curved hemlines (like on the white tee in this post) really don’t flattering anyone. You pretty much have to front tuck or it’s too long, but then the back hangs down so much longer than the front, and it just looks odd to me. Sometimes the curve is more subtle, and if the length is good, it doesn’t bother me so much. Hope that makes sense!

  3. Love these try on sessions but I’m confused about the dress posts.  You love a sheath, you don’t like a sheath… just trying to figure out what you were saying!

    1. Sigh… I know. I like a sheath, and I generally look best in a sheath, but as with anything, they’re not all created equal. You just have to try them on and see. The white one at the beginning, for some reason, was not fitting quite right. And I don’t consider the one with the asymmetrical hem a classic sheath, even though I believe that is how they labeled it on the website, because of the ruffled hemline — the way it is designed, I feel it adds visual weight and hangs at an add length. I love the Nic + Zoe one.

      I also think they would all look a lot better if I’d tried them on with heels. I tried to stand on my toes in a few pictures and I thought I looked ridiculous so I gave up. Haha!

  4. Great post!  That is a lot of work on your part, but fun for us!  I agree with you that taking pictures of ourselves in the outfits is a great way to see if they really work or not.  Thanks for sharing all your finds! Looking forward to your 21 Days of Summer Fashion with Cyndi.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend – hope it dries out for you!

  5. Whew! That post involved a lot of effort!  All that trying on is work! Thanks for all the great insight. I am short waisted too- so often I try the petite version and may size up. I see the Kut from Kloth shirt does not come in petite. You could have it tailored? I really like that shirt as it looks pretty versatile. I need some every day type crop pants. I do not like to wear shorts too often but all the crop pants I find look frumpy or too dressy? Thoughts? Thanks! Julie 

    1. Yeah, I think cropped pants can read really frumpy. I don’t have a lot of luck with them, to be honest. I prefer cropped jeans in a super skinny fit — like the white ones in this post. I need to try on more, see what I can find. Again, so much as to do with an individual’s body type. They work well for some. I know a lot of women like the ones at Old Navy and Loft.

  6. I just ordered the Ann Taylor Lacy Flare Sleeve Top, thanks for sharing it.  It looks like it will be a great addition to my wardrobe.  

  7. I can see how much work goes into these type of posts. I appreciate all the details and it makes it much easier to place online orders. 

    For the record, the Ann Taylor dense twill pants are really nice for workwear. I don’t know they would be great for summer but the rest of the year, the weight is fine. Much better quality than my Loft pants, fit TTS whether I buy petite or regular length and the price at 40-50% off is comparable to other brands. (The crop summer length didn’t work for me but at 5’, cropped length tend to not look right.)

    One group I am in is all about Express lately. I shopped there in my 20’s and thought maybe I was missing something now. Thanks for trying their pants and saving me the trouble lol!

  8. I love the pink shirt! The back is a little long but a tailor could quickly shorten it to a better length. 

  9. Happy Sunday! I think one of the most important things I’ve learned from you since following your blog is that we all have our own “comfort zone” of what feels good to wear and what makes us feel pretty, and attractive. So I think about that more and more when I buy new items and whether or not I “feel” good wearing it; is it something I will want to wear more than once is a question I ask myself a lot now. (The Kon Mari closet cleaning has really helped! Thx for that book suggestion!!) You seem so at ease in certain items (like your shorts and tees and AG jeans 😉) and even though you look beautiful in most everything you show us you’ve commented that it doesn’t feel right on you. For example, I think you look great in the Express pants you tried on, but if you’re not feeling it then it’s not gonna work for you, right? ( I love the Express editor pant; it’s been my “go to” work pant for years. )

    A couple questions:
    1. I have put a couple pairs of new denim in my cart at Bloomingdales. Are distressed denim still hanging in there stylewise? Not sure if I should buy another pair as I’m not seeing it out there as much as this time last year. (Except on the teen scene).

    2. Do you have your TB Miller sandals polished by a shoe repair person or do you take them into Nordstrom for maintenance or have you not done that? My gray pair are getting so stuffed up (maybe it’s the way I walk- IDK- but the front of both are scratched and worn-the words of my mother play in my head “pick up your feet when you walk” 😆).  

    3. I’m startjng my packing list for a 2week trip to NYC in June and one night I have tickets to the ballet. The dress I’m taking is spaghetti straps with a low back and I’m thinking I’ll be freezing in the air conditioning inside. What kind of sweater or wrap should I wear? The dress is red with a tiny floral print, midi length and I plan to wear nude heeled sandals with it. 

    Thanks so much! 

    1. Yeah, that’s exactly it. Sometimes things look okay but they just aren’t “me.” As for the Express pants, I found the fit a little odd on me. They didn’t just skim the body effortlessly; they kind of tugged at the hip area and things. Also didn’t love the rear view, and the feel of the pant was kind of stuff. I think a lot of it is just my body, though. I think they’re probably a great work wear option for some.

      As to your questions:
      1. I see distressed denim hanging in — in fact, it’s getting ridiculous how ripped up some are, but I don’t wear the ones with rips all the way up the leg. The trendy “stiff denim” straight Levis generally have some rips, but not crazy, which I prefer. However, those styles don’t really work for me. I am sort of in a denim rut – I feel like the styles I like aren’t looking as fresh, but I don’t like the new styles, so I keep wearing my tried and true skinnies for now. 🙂

      2. I have never had my Millers polished but the ones I wear/wore the most are patent, and they hold up amazingly well. I also had white leather ones, and they got dirty, but I was able to clean them with a Magic Eraser. They do have some nicks, but not enough to stop wearing them. Now that I have started wearing the Makeup color in regular leather, I can see how they will not hold up like my sand patent ones, but so far, they don’t need to be touched up or anything. I have a good “shoe guy” I’ll take them to if I need them touched up at the end of summer.

      3. That sounds exciting! I would try to find a lightweight shrug that doesn’t take away from the shape of the dress. Nordstrom has some:

      Another option is a pashmina you can wrap around you if you need it. Amazon actually has a lot of those and some of the prices are really good:

      1. Thank you so much for your reply to my lengthy post! 
        1. I ended up ordering two new pairs of denim; AG ankle skinny jeans (they’ll be my first pair of AG & a pair of  DL1961 margeaux that have a tiny bit of distressing and a released hem). I wanted a couple new pairs to “freshen” my wardrobe, but couldn’t pull the trigger on the cropped flares which seem so popular now.  I’m tall, so I can pull it off with the length, but all of the ones I’ve tried on have made me feel really dorky! (Maybe they’re not meant for this 51 year old! 🤔)  I do have a pair of wide leg linen pants I bought at Anthropologie though that I love! But they’re full length so maybe that makes a difference- IDK.

        2. I plan to take my TB millers over to my “shoe guy” this week for some maintenance cuz I plan to take them to NY with me….they’re just so versatile and go with anything and everything so it’s nice to have them around & so lightweight they’re easy to travel with. 

        3. THANK YOU for the links/suggestions for wraps for my dress. I’m going to order both the Eliza J shrug and a pashmina scarf and see which or I like best w/ the dress but I can see using both quite often. 

        Your new house design looks good: fresh and clean and pretty! 🌻☀️ Not sure if you’re a fan of orange, but it looks good with navy too (pillows or accents). Fun! 😊

  10. Whew!  That’s a lot of work!  Thank you for trying on all those clothes for us.  I need to follow your suggestion to take selfies of ourselves when we’re debating an outfit.  I have a top hanging in the closet (with tags), and a selfie might help make the final decision.

    1. I started taking selfies at Jo-Lynne’s suggestion.  What a different perspective!  It is a great tip!!  I am also being more realistic about what’s in my closet & whether I will really enjoy and wear a new purchase.  Thanks Jo-Lynne!!        (I did read Kon Mari book, but needed a little extra push for some items)

  11. Thank you for trying all these items on!  I know the posts may be tedious for you, but I find it incredibly helpful to see how things fall on a “real person.”  I have said it before, but will say it again — the slouchy, scrawny models do the clothes zero favors.  I would pass on almost everything Loft carries just seeing it on the site, but on you — I want to try it!

    Now, to the nitty-gritty.  How on earth can you pass up not buying everything from WHBM?  It ALL looked so good on you!!!!!!!  And I really liked the mid-length denim shorts and cuffed denim pants.  They were so flattering and cute on you!  Buy them all, girl!

    1. Ha. I love WHBM. I can always find stuff there I love. They weren’t on sale at the time… but I did try to order the olive pants and they’re out of my size. 🙁

  12. THANK YOU!  I know that putting this post together is an awful lot of work.  I do find them very helpful!  When I am unsure of how something looks on me, I do take pictures.  I have found that to be very helpful!

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