’tis the season for buying gifts. for yourself. as you are well aware i’m sure, november is perhaps the most anticipated month to shop because (let’s say it all together, now…) BLACK FRIDAY. except that over the past few years retailers have decided to begin launching their annual sales days (sometimes a week+) early to break that spending seal. while the old version of me would definitely get carried away this time of year, buying up things that i truly have nowhere to wear (where am i going with a sequin dress? trader joe’s?) just because they were being offered at a discounted price (and looked dang cute on the model!), the current version of me is really trying to be more prudent with my purchases. A PRUDENT PURCHASER IS WHAT I AM, YOU HEAR?! maybe not always, but you know, i’ve definitely made some progress.
my system for dealing with this itch to consume is to throw a bunch of things in my online cart at the start of the season and then slowly prune said items until it’s only filled with things i really need. define “need.” exactly, i technically don’t need anything, but there have been a few things that have popped up on my radar throughout the year that i realized i could simply sit on until the big event transpired –notably a new purse, a pair of boots, a new bathing suit, and a pair of jeans i’ve wanted for months. the closer we inched toward black friday, the longer i was willing to wait to get these coveted items at a lower price. between black friday and cyber monday (and a bevy of miscellaneous sales in between), i managed to snag quite a few pieces off of my wish list. while some were exactly as i hoped, a few others left me less than enthused. and though the sales might have ended for now, i highly anticipate a resurgence of discounts as we near christmas/new year’s. so fill your online carts now and watch the promos roll in next month. in the meantime, here’s a run down of what recently arrived at casa de rivera.
p.s. *i’ve denoted all cyber week purchases with a asterisk.*
mango shearling collar jacket (small -ordered in black) || my love/hate relationship with jackets continues but i’m too cold in the winter to go without a few proper pieces to get me through our coolest months. SO i decided to embark on a quest to find at least one (hopefully two or three) pieces of cozy outerwear. sherpa is definitely having a moment (as it often does every season) and after seeing an intimation of this jacket on every style influencer on my instagram feed, i decided to see what all the fuss was about. i settled on this mango version with an oversized collar and zip-front with a faux leather exterior. while it’s not my normal aesthetic (where are the puff sleeves? the ruffles?), it does fill a void in my closet and is a great layering piece for cooler temperatures. it also comes in a brown leather/tan sherpa combination but black and white better suited my existing wardrobe. i find it to fit true to size with enough wiggle room to layer over a light knit or tee.
gap shaker-stitch balloon sleeve sweater (small –ordered in cozy brown) || if there’s one thing we know about gap -it’s that they’re killing it lately but more importantly, it’s that they’re going to have a sale. to kick-off the black friday madness, they ran a promo for 40% off PLUS an additional 20% off if you used their app (which of course i downloaded). i was able to snag this sweater (that i already own in cream or “chino beige”) in brown AND the faux leather pants (see under the “misses” category) for $65. i just can’t resist a bargain! in all honesty, i love this knit so much. it is surprisingly warm and the balloon sleeve gives it the feminine touch i need. i’d say it runs true to size but i suppose you could size down if you want a more fitted look.
madewell zip-top transport crossbody (ordered in english saddle)* || i’ve alternated between the two same purses for upwards of a decade. when the twins were young, i used my giant carry-all tote almost like an extended diaper bag, throwing in rogue diapers, snacks, bottles, you name it. then as we entered toddlerhood, i transitioned back to a bag that madewell actually no longer makes! it’s medium sized with only a magnet closure so occasionally things still slip out if its knocked off its resting point. this bag has been loved over the years and i knew once black friday sales hit, my NUMBER ONE item on my holiday wishlist was a new purse for yours truly. now that the twins are 2.5, i need less and less when we venture out. therefore mama was ready for an even smaller tote, one that i could wear comfortably across my body to be hands free during a target run or a visit to legoland. something more upscale than a belt bag but not so cumbersome that it feels like i’m carrying a third child. with that said, i decided upon this bag in the classic camel shade.
target a new day slim fit casual t-shirt (small –ordered in white & black) || after deciding to keep the aforementioned sherpa jacket, i realized that my current wardrobe is void of basic tees. i wrote more about it here, but basically for $5, you can’t beat this tee.
vuori halo performance crop (small –ordered in black & pale grey heather) || hi, my name is shawna and i’m addicted to vuori workout tops. per the recommendation of a couple friends, the latest top to enter my fitness wardrobe is their halo performance crop. guys it’s like buttah on your body. it is so dang comfortable! it has a subtle v-neck that makes it so flattering on the decolletage and removable cups for modesty (always a plus!). even with my long torso, it isn’t so cropped that it doesn’t pair perfectly with my high-waisted leggings. i ordered it in the pale grey heather and black but it comes in a rainbow of additional colors, too. i found the small to fit perfectly so stay true to size! while i’ve never tried lululemon’s version, i must say, the vuori style would be pretty hard to beat!
j.crew drapey ruffle-collar button-up shirt (2) || my original intention was to grab this top when it inevitably went on sale during black friday, but after throwing it my online cart weeks ago and watching it be excluded from every promotional sale, my hopes of purchasing it at a discount dwindled. as sizes began to sell out, i just bit the bullet and bought it at full price. i have seen it on a few people and it is so dang cute and i think it’ll be a great piece for the holidays -paired with the aforementioned faux leather pants, and of course all of my favorite denim. i also think it’ll be adorable under overalls.
gap modern crewneck long sleeve t-shirt (small –ordered in white & black) || coupled with these tees, i also ordered a long-sleeve version from gap to bolster my basics collection. i’ve had a few similar tees from gap over the years, but my goodness is this current version a HOMERUN. you guys, if you need a long-sleeve tee to wear on its own or as a layer under a jacket/sweater/puffer/blazer, GET THIS ONE. and a back-up in another color. it is so buttery and stretchy and LONG (long torso-ed gals rejoice!) and flattering and at around $20 (because gap is never not having a sale), you really can’t go wrong. i find them to run slim but not tight, go with your true size for a closer fit or size up if you want a more relaxed look.
citizens of humanity horseshoe jeans (25 –sized down, ordered in sonnet)* || i didn’t think i needed a fourth pair of my beloved horseshoe jeans, but then i saw a few people wearing the black style and well, one thing led to another and somehow they jumped into my shopbop black friday order. of course they were exempt from the promotional, but did that stop me? no, no it did not. i occasionally chat with one of the owners of freda salvador (nbd) and like me she also has strong affections for the horseshoe style. she recently ordered the black pair as well and refers to them as her “dressy jeans” and that’s what i’m using to justify this latest purchase. i needed a pair of “dressy jeans” for all of those date nights. lol. perhaps they will be the catalyst we need to actually get out of the house every now and again. i don’t usually gravitate toward black jeans but there’s something about this silhouette that is making me change my tune. i wear my black faux leather pants so often that it’ll be nice to have a second option. they’re surprisingly really versatile as evidenced here.
something navy smocked puff sleeve top (small)* || over the course of the last year or so in pruning my closet to contain only the pieces i absolutely love, i had gotten rid of a classic chambray top. with a growing desire to create canadian tuxedo, i set my sights on finding a “shawna-style” replacement (aka, something with a ruffle or a bow or a puff-sleeve, obvi). i immediately landed on this smocked version from something navy. after eyeing it for a month or so, i was happy to discover it, too, was part of the shopbop black friday sale. i managed to get it for half of its original price! having never ordered anything from something navy, i was a little leery of its potential quality (or lack there of) but i was pleasantly surprised by how substantial the fabric is and the construction overall. aside from the adorable peplum hem and puffed shoulders, the real winning detail is the back! it’s partially open with a bow-tie around the bra-line. it’s one of those kind of tops that will be versatile enough to wear all four seasons. i’ll pair it with my black horseshoe jeans and faux leather pants now and with white or stone denim in the spring/summer. and of course with any and all washes of denim at every opportunity in between. because canadian tuxedos can be worn any day of the year.
doen enna short (small) + lazuli top (small –purchased in songbird toile)* || i own this set in white and i wore it mostly as separates near the end of summer but it’s so versatile (and adorable!) that i figured it couldn’t hurt to add the same set in this pretty blue toile print. even better was the fact that i was able to score the pieces at half off during doen’s thanksgiving sale. they usually run sales twice a year and while you have to act quickly (i literally had another top in my cart and it disappeared before i could check out!), it is definitely worth waking up early to take part of the savings. the set is final sale (so it’s always a gamble), but i can’t wait to save it for warmer temperatures! it screams take me on a european vacation, no? (this season of white lotus is making me want to fling my body to italy stat).
anthropologie classic wrap belt (one size –ordered in brown)* || guys, i belted a LOT of things in the mid-aughts. tunics, dresses, jackets, you name it, i was cinching it with an oversized belt. i wore more belts around my waist than i ever did laced through belt loops on my hips, lol. it was the times! we belted everything! then we all gave our waists a break and for a few years (thank goodness). but i’m here to tell you that i’m back on the belting train thanks to my newest black friday purchase. i have a few dresses that are just a hair big around my mid-section so i was on the lookout for something to snatch that waistline. this belt has proven to be PERFECT to create that hourglass shape i often aspire to create. it’s one size so it can fit a variety of shapes and i love that it’s genuine leather for a luxe feel. i wore it with my doen dress on thanksgiving and it was the perfect accent piece to a very autumnal vibes outfit. it comes in a variety of colors so you can pick one that compliments your wardrobe best. i think it would be cute wrapped around a thick long cardigan or blazer to create shape on an otherwise billowy silhouette.
gap high rise faux-leather vintage slim pants (26 –ordered in espresso brown) || i tried these on at the store a couple months ago and they pleasantly surprised me (in a good way!) but i couldn’t justify buying them at the time. then i thought about how often i grab for my beloved black pair and well, the sale pushed me over and i decided it might be nice to have a second faux leather option, especially once consistent cold weather hits. chocolate brown is having a moment this season so i decided to jump on board and ordered these in the rich brown shade. when they arrived, unfortunately their fit was not as good as when i tried them on in the store. with fast fashion, even though you order the same garment in the same color and size, the quality and fit can still vary from piece to piece. while they fit in the waist, they were bunchy in the legs making the fit unflattering overall. just goes to show you that your first instinct is usually the right one.
vuori mindset jumpsuit (small –ordered in black) || shawna -0, shawna’s long torso -1. my amble trunk struck again this time thwarting my activewear jumpsuit dreams. i had been eyeing this jumpsuit for i think three months(?!) and finally decided to order it on a particularly trying day of parenthood. while she was better than expected when she arrived (is it weird to refer to the jumpsuit as a “she?” don’t answer that), the lack of length through the body ultimately rendered it just uncomfortable enough that i knew i couldn’t in good conscience keep it. the fabric is definitely thicker than i anticipated but that could be a plus if you’re looking to have a piece that can function for both workout and non-workout life. the back detail is gorgeous (kind of a webbing effect) and a tad bit saucy. it’s 7/8 so it came right about to my ankle but if you’re on the shorter side, it could be full-length or slightly long. i found it to fit true to size in every other area so i’d still stick with your normal size unless you’re tall then maybe size up? i’m fearful that in sizing up it would be too big. ANYWAY, this is one of those cases where just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for you. it would be adorable under a denim or leather jacket if you want an effortless school drop-off or pick-up look.
j.crew scoopneck bikini top in sparkle (small) + j.crew high-cut tie-waist bikni bottom in sparkle (medium) || admittedly i am not a bathing suit kind of gal. i mean i obviously own one but that’s about it, i own one. okay, two. i’ve never really been a sun worshipper (too moley!) and aside from introducing the kids to the pool last summer, i probably hadn’t worn a bikini in two years? ANYWAY i thought hey maybe i should add a new one into my repertoire, especially with our upcoming annual getaway to the desert fast approaching. i was intrigued by the sparkly fabric of this top and matching bottoms and while the bottoms were adorable with the tie at the waist, the top was a total miss. it was shockingly small and uncomfortable (so size up!). the fabric is definitely more form than function and while it would really cute on a lounge chair, i’m afraid it would aggravate the twins’ skin if i tried to pick them up while wearing it. j.crew can do swimwear well but i think the execution of this suit just doesn’t quite hit the mark.
citizens of humanity charlotte high rise straight jeans (25)* || the quest to find the perfect vintage-looking straight leg jean continues and thanks to the shopbop black friday sale, i was able to put this highly-touted pair on my try list. i had heard such good things about this style –and now as a new fan of citizens of humanity as a brand (the makers of my beloved horseshoe jean), i was thrilled to try them for myself. jean sizing is so weird guys (as you are probably already well aware) and these days i toggle between a 25/26. i tempted fate by ordering the 25 and well while i could slide them up my body, i could not button them up. i realize i could have just exchanged them for a bigger size but i think the whole experience kind of triggered me and my old habits with poor body image so i decided that what was best for me in that moment was to simply place the jeans back in their bag and return them altogether. aside from the sizing issue, i also wasn’t a huge fan of their wash. if you do try them, i’d recommend sizing up for sure.
anthropologie forever that girl sheer lace blouse (small)* || i’ve had this blouse in my anthro cart for no joke at least three months. it looked so beautiful online but for its original $148 price tag, i just couldn’t justify making it mine. so there it sat, until we approached black friday. right before their annual 30% off sale, anthro reduced it down to $89 and with the additional discount, i was able to finally purchase it at over HALF OFF its original price. pretty pleased with my patience, i was so excited to see if the wait had been worth it. while i will say the blouse was stunning right out of the bag, once i got it on my skin, i found it to be pretty uncomfortable. while delicate, the fabric is indeed quite abrasive. that coupled with the fact that its unlined, i would have had to find a viable underlayer to make it work. a glance over the washing instructions also informed me that it’s hand wash only and in this house, that’s just not happening. so for all of those reasons i decided the top and me were not just not meant to be. HOWEVER objectively it is a beautiful top and would have been a great option for the holidays. paired with these pants! i found it to run true to size.
and what has yet to arrive
en saison boucle top (small)* || guys this might be the best dupe i’ve ever found! after lusting over this isabel marant top for months (it retails for a cool $750) i spied this incredible dupe on bloomingdale’s website as i browsed their black friday sale. it stopped me dead in my tracks. it looks EXACTLY like it but for a fraction of the cost. with the added discount, i was able to score it for under $100 -a seventh of the cost of the original. i’ve never worn anything made of boucle fabric so i’m hoping it isn’t irritating to the skin but oh my stars if it works, it might become one of my most beloved items in my closet. i can’t wait to wear it with my horseshoe jeans (all four pairs, lol).
freda salvador brooke rain resistant boots (9.5 –ordered in mink)* || it took me a long time to buy my first pair of freda salvador shoes but i pulled the trigger this year on two pairs (these sneakers and these mules) and guys, they’re worth every penny. after clearing out my boot collection over the last year, i had been wanting to add a better option for winter footwear. everyone speaks SO highly of the brooke boot that when freda offered 25% off for cyber week, i decided to buy them to try them out for myself. besides their design, what drew them to me the most is the fact that they’re suede but RAIN/WATER RESISTANT. i have such a hard time buying suede since it’s such a precious fabric. fingers crossed i love them because i could see myself wearing them a TON around the twins!0