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The winter jacket Germans love to wear

I moved to Germany almost a year ago and have been silently studying their fashion taste. Sneakers and cropped skinny jeans have been a staple for majority of the year, but with the addition of chunky turtleneck sweaters, leather backpacks and a bold lip color for the colder weather. But now that most days are near freezing temperatures, the main thing you see most Germans wearing is a long, puffy parka.

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A common stereotype among Germans is that they purchase clothes for utility rather than looks. An interest in fashion still exists, but you’re more likely to meet someone who will convince you that a coat is not worth it unless it keeps you warm and dry. This is absolutely true among most people here, but something I, as a winter clueless Texan, can’t grasp. I gravitate towards peacoats and pieces with interesting details but not much thickness or a lining. I joke about people around here looking like giant trash bags in their puffy black coats but they’re much warmer than I am and spent their money well. I know I will grow tired of my Mango coat I purchased last year, which is already losing buttons and pilling along the hem.

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I typically see masses of black and olive green on the streets of Cologne, but it makes me happy when I see someone wearing color in the middle of January. I don’t understand why we reserve color for the warmer months, when it’s most needed during winter. Alright, yeah, it’s COLD. It’s GRAY. Doesn’t mean you need to be too, friend.

I often see the people of Cologne wearing Wellensteyn, a trusted brand found at Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf, a department store in Germany. Their coats have a range of styles and utility, and even come in larger sizes, which I always appreciate. Though the price is a band-aid I would be reluctant to pull at first, I’ve learned that spending more on items that provide comfort and well-being, like a mattress or shoes, is completely worth it. It only takes so many days of letting my Mango coat dry on the balcony to convince myself to finally buy a proper winter jacket.

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Do you prefer fashion over functionality? I think a marriage between the two is ideal, but not always easy to find. It all depends on our personal preferences and regions. I just spent a weekend in Paris and noticed the people preferred long thin coats worn open to show their outfits, and then returned to Germany and saw everyone bundled up in parkas and short thick coats in the freezing weather. Totally different mindsets!

Stay warm and happy holiday shopping!

Thank you for the inspiration, Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf!

Zaful review: Pointed ankle boots

I am on a review roll, please bear with me.

Zaful is an affordable clothing site with trendy unique pieces. Similar to Dezzal, the site is focused on providing clothes from new designers without a middleman, as is claimed at the bottom of their “About Us” section. I was impressed with the site’s shoe collection since finding timeless shoe selections on most fast fashion sites is becoming a chore. I am not in the market for furry sneakers, thanks.

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I picked these pointed ankle boots with elastic sides because they resemble a pair I’ve had my eyes on at Zara, BUT MAN DID I SCREW UP. I wear a size 40 and the closest size available is 39…but I got them anyway. They, well, they hurt, but it’s not the shoe’s fault. I put a lot of faith into them fitting since I sometimes wear a 39 at Primark, Zara and H&M. But no, these are true to its size.

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The shoes arrived within three weeks, which has been the average shipping time for foreign goods I’ve reviewed previously. They were shipped in a standard box with what I assume is the design label’s name, “Nuo Mei Deng,” which I actually didn’t know before they arrived. The name is not listed anywhere on the product description, but it wouldn’t have affected my decision anyway.

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Everything was appropriately packaged with foam inserts to maintain the shape and wrapped in soft packing material and plastic. The shoes were completely unharmed from shipping and are exactly as they appeared on the website.

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The heel is exactly 8 centimeters, as listed in the description, but something I wish I had paid more attention to. I didn’t think the heel looked that tall in the photo, but it’s quite high in person. I’m probably just a wuss.

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I wore these shoes briefly around my apartment and for these photos, and they immediately started to crease. This is expected with leather, but there is a part on the front of the shoe that curves up near the elastic part when I put them on, but it may be because my foot is curled inside of it and therefore distorting the shape.

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I have short legs, so I appreciate the length these boots add to my legs and feet, and how slimming the ankle is. I aim to add more timeless pieces to my wardrobe, and can see these staying in style for years…if they fit. Man, what was I thinking?

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Boots: c/o Zaful
Sweater: Forever 21
Skirt: Forever 21

If you’re new to Zaful like I am, check out their Facebook page and Instagram feed for giveaways and style inspiration!

Sammydress review: Mustard and black and winter white

I have been actively searching for more dark mustard pieces to add to my wardrobe. I used to hate the color, but much like my love for guacamole, which I also hated as a kid, I have developed an extreme taste for it.

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Sammydress gave me the chance to pick a few items from their website for review, so I immediately chose this semi-trench coat piece. I say “semi” because it’s not a true trench coat, much less a coat. It’s unlined, and is made from a thin faux suede material. It’s extremely soft, but would need to be layered with a sweater for any kind of warmth in Fall.

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I especially like the drape front, but wasn’t sure how to tie the belt. I always resort to a bow because I am an uncreative asshat. I didn’t expect this coat to have any actual structure, but it actually looks interesting when belted or left open. At $18.84, it’s an easy piece to wear when you want the layered look while shopping or running errands without feeling like a sweaty mess if you’re stuck in a warm city.

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I also chose this striped black scarf despite already having an extensive scarf collection. But not a black one!

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It’s thick, it’s cozy, it’s long and it’s only $8.47. This is the only piece I received that had an odd smell, which I have come to expect when ordering from Sammydress. It was fine after a quick wash, but I highly recommend washing all your items before wearing them.

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Coat: c/o Sammydress
Scarf: c/o Sammydress
Pants: J.Crew
Top: Zara
Boots: Michael Kors

The third item I picked is a white dress, which I planned to wear with the trench and scarf but it completely covered up the playful hem.

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This is the closest I have come to a “knee length” dress from Sammydress being long enough for me. In my past reviews I have had to layer a skirt underneath, or just completely gave up and wore it as a top. I felt comfortable enough to step outside and take photos, but I think I will need to buy a slip and wear it with thick leggings and taller boots if I want to venture anywhere besides my neighborhood.

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Because it was too cold to take my jacket off outside to show more details of the dress, here are a few photos showing the sleeves and back of the dress.

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I noticed that flared sleeves are currently a rising trend, but I doubt these will see much sun now that Germany is entering Winter temperatures. I find them fun nonetheless. It’s like a little circus tent for my forearm.

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I had to wear a white undershirt because the dress is not completely opaque, and for added warmth. I can slip this dress over my head just fine, so the button closure is useless for me, but I appreciated the look of it, as well as the oxford shirt-style detail on the back.

The dress is only $16.46, and also comes in red, which I am tempted to buy for the upcoming holidays. I dig the flouncy skirt a lot, despite it being an inch or two too short.

Dress: c/o Sammydress
Jacket: American Eagle
Scarf: Zara
Boots: Urban Outfitters

Having worked with Sammydress a couple times before already, I’ve noticed that the shipping times have decreased. I went from waiting three weeks to almost a month for my item to only a week or two. If you live in Europe, expect to pay taxes to receive your items since the EU charges a fee for ordering foreign items. This has nothing to do with Sammydress or any other Eastern clothing store, just your region.

If you’re curious or interested in seeing more from Sammydress, check them out on Facebook for their main page and their promotional site where you can enter contests and see the latest items added to the store. If you order anything, be sure to show it off on their website under #Buyer’s Show. I’m adding my photos there too!

Dezzal review: Kenviky Peacock Dress + FAQ

My Dezzal reviews have been my most popular content in the last few months, which has resulted in more comments and emails than I have ever received in my nearly four years of blogging. I wanted to clear up any confusion people may have about my previous Dezzal reviews (which will be listed at the end of this post) and answer a few questions I receive often.

Dezzal is a new clothing website that features collections created by primarily Asian clothing designers. Many of the items are different from what is commonly found in the Western clothing market, yet there are still a lot of questions about the validity of the company and the clothing quality. I can only speak from my personal experience.

  1. Do the clothes smell bad when they arrive?: Everything I have received smelled fine. A few items were wrinkled, and I had one dress with a few stray threads that were simple to cut off without ruining the piece. The clothes had a department store smell, as if it came from Macy’s or Dillard’s.
  2.  How is the quality really?: I was honest in my review about each of my items being the quality I expected from the fabrics they were made out of, but I can best compare it to the Zara Trafaluc items, or J. Crew.
  3.  Why should I trust your review if Dezzal paid you?: Dezzal emailed me asking if I would like to review their website. I agreed, and was paid a small sum. Despite writing about being annoyed by their sizing charts and multiple listings for one item, they approached me again soon after and asked if I would like to review their clothes. I picked the three dresses shown in my review, and was not limited with how honest I could be. I am amazed they even asked to work with me again after critiquing the website, but I admire that they did. I only received the clothes, not actual money.
  4. My clothes arrived yesterday and nothing fit and the quality was terrible. I tried to return them but can’t! Avoid Dezzal everyone!: My blog is not a forum for your troubles with a website. I am also not customer service for Dezzal. It’s unfortunate that there are people who have had a difficult time with the store, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen to everyone. And since I do not work directly for the company, I do not owe anyone an apology on their behalf. I will delete comments written in caps warning others to not shop at Dezzal. Don’t waste your time.
  5. You’ve got to be kidding, that looks awful on you: Don’t be an asshole. Tell me how I can improve the look, don’t resort to being shallow. I’m sure you’re better than that.

You don’t need to approach this blog with your guard up. I am too much of a nobody blogger to screw you over, and will probably insult myself and the companies I work with before you can. With that said, let’s talk about how my thighs suffocate in the Kenviky Peacock dress.

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Kenviky Peacock Long Sleeve Dress: $64.99

I’ve abandoned my irrational dislike for Pinterest and started using it regularly, and I’ve noticed this dress getting pinned a lot. This is the first dress I’ve seen that makes a peacock print look elegant and work friendly, and I was excited that Dezzal had a size that matches my measurements, even if it’s XL, which is more realistic than the 3XL items I had to choose in the past.

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I should mention now that I did not edit these photos beyond resizing them and some light cropping. I took photos of the dress in natural night to show the colors and craftsmanship better.

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This dress is a true emerald green, but the fabric has a slight sheen to it which gives it a glittering aqua tone in direct sunlight.

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It also has a cinched elastic waist detail and a velvet collar with gold embellishments and two button closures in the back.

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The dress is also fully lined, but that’s where the trouble begins. Despite the outer shell of the dress being a true midi length on my 5’6″ figure, and fitting fairly loosely, the lining is extremely tight and much shorter than the rest of the dress.

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It’s such a big tailoring difference that it almost feels like a mistake. The skirt part of the lining is not attached to the dress so I could easily remove it and wear a slip. However, the top half layers are completely sewn together and stretches across my chest so tightly that it looks like I made a crap attempt at bandaging my boobs.

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The sleeves are also too tight at the top and make me feel like one stretch away from bursting out of this dress Hulk style.

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This of course makes it nearly impossible to fasten the collar buttons by myself. I could barely bend my arm, much less reach around behind my neck.

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I think I may use this dress as a measurement for weight loss, but for now it’ll just look pretty in my closet. I will first attempt to attach a new skirt lining to see if it improves the fit, and maybe try a few different bras to see if it helps with the bust line. It’s such a shame that my linebacker body doesn’t quite fit in it, because this is truly such an elegant piece. I never thought I’d gravitate towards a peacock print!

I’d recommend this dress to those with a small bust line and narrow hips. At $65, I think it is one of the more affordable and unique items at Dezzal. The dress is exactly as it’s shown in the product photo, and I find it suitable for work and a night out. It’s not a warm dress, but it’s nothing a long coat and tights can’t fix.

My previous Dezzal reviews: The website, and Dress 1, Dress 2 and Dress 3.

Straight into Fall: Sammydress review

Since I am currently living on a part-time salary in good ol’ Deutschland, I can’t say no to companies when they contact me asking me to review their clothes. I mean, they give you money to spend on their website, it’s one of the most fun parts about blogging.

I picked a dress, bag, rings and a bitchin’ Shiba Inu cap at Sammydress.

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The patch is perfect and just as expected, and the cap is adjustable. It has an embroidery of the words “Hachi-ko” on the back, which is backwards and best read in a mirror. Odd stuff, but it adds to the quirkiness of the hat.

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I’m beginning to realize that I navigate towards this dress type a lot. I have several others like it in my closet, BUT THIS ONE IS PLAID. Germany and I have Fall on our mind, so I chose this girly piece to layer.

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Perhaps my least favorite part about shopping at Sammydress is having to filter the clothes by size 4XL to 5XL. The sizes cater to petite figures, so of course this dress still had its downsides. For starters, it’s too short. Thankfully the weather is in the upper 60’s at the moment so tights are commonplace.

But it also had this weird opened gap at the bottom of the buttons that was too revealing for my taste. I also didn’t like the button closures on the arm, so I removed those two buttons and sewed them to the end of the skirt.

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It also ties at the waist, and I couldn’t think of a style to tie it in besides a bow, but I’m not feeling it. I may remove it and replace it with a belt because I really do like this dress.

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I paired it with a denim moto jacket to give it a somewhat summer feel.

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The bag was perhaps the biggest disappointment. What can you expect from a $6 satchel though?

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I like the style, but the craftsmanship ruins it. The material arrived wrinkled, and the corner of the bag is caving in. It doesn’t quite have the same clean look as the product photo. I would also prefer a longer strap, or at least the option to remove this one and add my own. It’s too long to wear as a shoulder bag but too short to wear as a crossbody.

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I was much more impressed by the rings. They come in a variety of sizes and actually feel durable. I’ve bought my share of rings from Forever 21, Primark and H&M, and these are rather similar, if not a bit nicer.

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Dress: c/o Sammydress
Bag: c/o Sammydress
Rings: c/o Sammydress
Cap: c/o Sammydress
Jacket: Gap
Shoes: Sam & Libby

As I mentioned in my previous reviews of low-cost fast fashion sites such as Sammydress, it’s a realistic option for those wanting to refresh their wardrobe on a limited budget. I highly recommend measuring yourself and comparing it to the size charts for the items you’re interested in, and to remember that the quality may suffer a bit. I made a few quick fixes to make this dress more wearable and I am absolutely terrible at alterations, so it’s possible.

Thank you to Sammydress for sponsoring this post.

Dezzal, an updated review: Dress 3

This is the final dress I am reviewing for Dezzal.com, a new clothing site with modern designs. You can read my first two dress reviews here and here.

This is the only polyester dress I picked, and that came back to bite me. It’s a beautiful design, but the sleeves were too narrow and tight. My boyfriend’s mom fashioned a new sleeve from the fabric of the old ones, which were a 3/4 length. She did a wonderful job, but it was a shame to have to alter it since the overall Asian feel of the design is what drew me to it.

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The dress is fully lined and has a textured material. It also has pockets, but they are awkwardly sewn on the front part of the dress instead of near the hips. However, there are thoughtful pleats on the sides of the dress that keep it from resembling a tent. It looks like a shift dress from the front, but has more shape when viewed from the side and back.

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I rarely button-up shirts or dresses to the top, but I thought it was necessary for this dress. It fits snug against my neck, which was pretty uncomfortable by the end of this shoot. But much like the other two dresses I picked, this one is very loose but feminine and doesn’t sacrifice style for comfort.

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I paired it with a simple pair of black flats and fox earrings as a nod to Japanese culture.

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Dress: c/o Dezzal
Flats: Steve Madden
Earrings: Aeropostale

To wrap up the week of reviews, I have to say that I was a bit too hasty with my initial review of the website. While I still think it’s odd to list a US size 8 as a 2XL, I have to take into consideration the different body sizes from culture to culture. I was skeptical in the beginning so I’m glad I had a chance to try the clothes.

Dezzal’s selection is still out of my current price range (though they’re having a Flash Sale at the moment!), and figuring out measurements and crossing fingers hoping that the order will fit may be stressful for some. But here in Cologne I felt like I stood out among the sea of women in H&M and Primark clothes who all start to look the same after a while.

Thank you to Dezzal for sponsoring this post.

Dezzal, an updated review: Dress 2

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This is the second dress I received from Dezzal.com, a website I reviewed a few weeks ago and had my doubts about based on the size range of their clothing. Dezzal let me pick items from their website to review so, yeah let’s do this.

Alright, this is the softest dress I picked, and the most forgiving. I have to admit there were times when I felt a bit like I was wearing a Muumuu, but it has a pleating in the back and is sewn in towards the waist, so my shape isn’t completely lost.

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I was drawn to the floral embroidery, its bright colors and pattern reminding me of Mexican peasant dresses. This is something that my teenager self would have totally rejected, but feels so exotic to wear in Germany. I’ve dealt with a few problems since moving here concerning the color of my skin and hair, so to wear a dress that pays a slight homage to my Mexican American heritage feels good.

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My only problems are with the frayed edges of the dress. It’s consistent on all the hems, but I had to cut a few long stray threads and a small part of the collar looks sloppy. It wasn’t something that a few scissor snips couldn’t fix, but for being $132.99 I would have expected a cleaner hem.

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I paired it with statement earrings and lace-up mustard flats since the design is rather large. To add even more shape to the look, I wore a jean jacket when it started to rain.

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Dress: c/o Dezzal
Shoes: Zara
Earrings: H&M

As for the packaging, my dresses came in thick plastic bags with a ZIP LOCK. I mean, I can totally reuse these.

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I’m used to receiving clothes in disposable thin plastic with adhesive, so this was a bit of a luxury. The dresses were folded neatly inside but needed ironing and steaming when removed.

tl;dr Dress is soft and wide, which allows room for ample burrito eating and field twirling, but has a delicate hemline.

Thank you to Dezzal for sponsoring this post.