Insomniac Sale Picks: Structured Tops

*In this late-night feature – which will run on Tuesday and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*

Allison requested a few picks for structured tops, so here we go:



boden structured top

Boden Maggie Ottoman Top – was $88.50, now $75.22
with code 3Y9L

Confession: I don’t own any ottoman garments myself, but it sure popped up a lot as I searched for structured tops! This ribbed weave – in this case a cotton/poly blend – will hold its shape better than most knits. The wide collar gives this particular top a fun retro feel. Available in this black/ivory stripe as well as turquoise/blue stripe or solid navy in sizes 2 – 18. Size availability varies by color. This ribbed top has a very similar shape and comes in petite, plus, and petite plus sizes, and also comes in stripes.

heart print peplum

eShakti Heart Print Peplum Top – was $44.95, now $33.71
discount taken in shopping cart

Great for Valentine’s Day, but this heart print will work well beyond, too. Peplums are a safe bet for structure, and I love the cutaway hem on this top. Since this is an eShakti blouse, that means it’s available in sizes  0 – 36W AND that you can customize sleeve style and length. So if cap sleeves don’t work for you, you’ve got lots of other options!

ponte tee

Calvin Klein Ponte Top with Pockets – was $89.50, now $19.99

I was hoping to find more ponte options for tonight’s roundup, but this was one of the only ponte tops that I came across. If you’re in a cold climate and need to layer, you might lose some of the structure and detail for the time being. But worn alone, this top has a fantastic structured shape. Also has an exposed back zipper. Available in sizes S – XL. This top is sleeveless, but available in black in sizes 14W – 24W.

ottoman sweater

J.Jill Lightweight Ottoman Pullover – was $69, now $29.99

We might be entering sweater territory here, but in case you’re curious about ottoman but don’t dig the portrait collar on the striped top, I wanted to offer another option. This one comes in this pale blue as well as red, white, black, or camel in sizes XS – XL. Size availability varies by color. Also available in petite and plus sizes.

Sustainable resources for structured tops:

  1. Everlane – If you’re willing to go casual with your structure, Everlane has scuba, fleece, and knits in great shapes.
  2. Fair Indigo – Some knits – like this swing jacket, which I own and love – are nicely structured.
  3. Etsy – Leather, quilted, ponte, and more – in vintage and handmade.

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for structured tops:

  1. eShakti – You’ll find cool poplin peplums and some great ponte options, all customizable in sizes 0 – 36W.
  2. Boden – The spring collection is a little less structured, but mine the clearance for styles like this jeweled top.
  3. Talbots – As evidenced above. Search for ottoman, ponte, and doubleknit.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Reader Request: Styling Shawls and Scarves

styling shawls

Images courtesy Un-Fancy

Reader Isabel had this question:

I love to knit and am always trying new techniques/patterns and am slowly building a collection of knitted garments. Styling toques (I’m Canadian after all) and sweaters is pretty straight forward: it’s cold, so wear a toque or sweater. My challenge is primarily with shawls and scarves: how do I incorporate these into my wardrobe of jeans and t-shirts that works for a mother of a young kid and someone who is kind of lazy in the fashion department? (I’d rather knit a few extra minutes, or spend the time outside or with my family than fuss over clothing that same amount of time). In other words, how can I make my hand knits er, hip, instead of dowdy?

With blanket scarves and ponchos in high demand, this is actually a great time to work those hand-knits into your daily outfits. And I think jeans and tees are the perfect balance to shawls and scarves that may be a bit on the bulky side. As always, balancing volume (the handknits) with fitted-ness is wise, so go for slim-fitting jeans, tops that skim your curves, and figure-hugging jackets. In addition to the two above from Un-Fancy – both of which will work well with large scarves or shawls – here are a few other ideas:


Image source

This works best with a large rectangle, but you might be able to finagle a similar look from a triangular shawl. The key here is asymmetry: One half of the shawl hangs straight down from the shoulder and over the arm, the other is thrown across the body at a diagonal. This looks fabulous with a simple dress – add tights and boots for winter wear – but could also work with skinny jeans and a thin sweater.


Image source

This is the tie I see used most often for blanket scarves, but you fold them into a triangle before tying so it’ll work great with triangular shawls. Since wearing a scarf or shawl this way places a ton of fabric right near your face and neck, I’d recommend wearing your hair up and doing fitted clothes all over if you can.

blanket scarf 1

Image source

Yep, belting giant scarves is a thing right now. The addition of a duster or long blazer makes this look feel less overwhelming. Also make sure to use a medium or thin belt – wide belts tend to look odd over huge scarves. I’ve seen belted scarves over maxi dresses, but personally prefer the look with jeans as shown here.


Image source

OK fine, this is a ruana. But consider the other elements – heeled ankle boots, slim boyfriend jeans, fitted top – and swap in a large shawl.


Image source – tutorial there, too

This is some pretty advanced scarf-wearing, but I think it might look a little less funky with two scarves of the same color. Or even in the same color range. Click the link above for a tutorial on the tie. This is cute with the jacket and button-front, but could also work with a sweater dress and boots or a simple sweater and jeans.

Hopefully some of these will work for both hand-knit scarves and shawls! Need more ideas? For a cornucopia of scarf-tying inspiration, check Mai Tai’s Picture Book.

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Lovely Links: 1/22/16

Weekly Kitty:


First seen on Instagram

Jane pairs a tweedy top with a leather midi skirt – love the results.

This video shows how plastic bottles are recycled into textiles (via YLF).

Blogger and designer Rommy creates handbags, headbands, and bowties that look remarkably like sugary treats. Donut purse, anyone?

Stephanie is ever so elegant in her pale gray maxi dress. Also looking Goddess-like: Beck in black and jewels.

Kjerstin addresses the complex question, “How can you love and accept your body if you’re also trying to change it?

“The New York Consumer Affairs Board recently conducted a study titled ‘From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer’ that tells us something we all kind of already knew from browsing the CVS and Rite Aid razors: women’s products cost more than similar products for men.”

Anh styles her ruana with understated elegance.

Don’t mind me, I’ll just be sitting over here lusting after this Prairie Underground dress.

Brilliant: How to Groom Without Grooming Products

On I shared info on some of spring’s best designer collaborations and talked about when to consider replacing your clothes.

Love the details on Rochelle’s bodycon bordeaux dress – that drape back is stellar.

Fabulous local designer Samantha Rei is opening a studio in the North Loop, and holding a sample sale/open house this weekend!

“Slenderness is part of the beauty standard for most cultures. But part of the reason the pressure to be thin in East Asian culture is so suffocating is because it’s assumed to be a natural given. Terms like ‘Asian-metabolism’ and ‘Asian skinny genes’ point toward the expectation that being slender comes effortlessly (and biologically) for people of Chinese, Taiwan, Japanese, Korean descent.” (Disordered eating discussed)

Katha mixes red, black, and a happy houndstooth dress into this fun winter outfit.

Now that’s a world I’d like to see.

I worked with designer Jenni to create a mixed metal version of her Cone Spiked Necklace. We both loved the results. A lot.

An (Abridged) History of Red Lipstick (This is my favorite – in shade 44.)

Totally stealing this idea: Olive jacket, white pants, and black shoes and top to bracket and complete the look. Fantastic.

On GoDaddy, I wrote about what the “exposure” pitch means to freelancers.

“… being on a diet is like being in a bad relationship. Diets lure you in with the promise of great things. Diets are unkind and tell you that you’re lazy, ugly, and have no self-control, but you don’t notice, because diets disguise this unkindness as care for you and your well-being. Diets cause you to withdraw from other aspects of your life, such as spending time with friends and family … But, perhaps most significantly, diets are scary to give up, because the idea of being without them is terrifying.”

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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