DIY Alterations: New Buttons

I had to post this because it’s my first attempt at using a sewing machine, and it didn’t turn into the complete fiasco I imagined it would be (thread and buttons flying everywhere). That said, if I can do it, anyone can!

The subject of this project is a Banana Republic red short trench coat from Spring 08 that had these ugly red metal buttons and cheapish red plastic belt buckle. I’ve worn it a bunch of times, but always meant to do something about those ugly buttons. In hind sight, I should have taken a before photo, so I found a photo from an eBay auction instead:

The offending hardware:

I decided to go for a traditional tortoiseshell pattern button and black leather bound belt buckle, which I found at a fabric store.

I picked out the stitches on the old buttons with a seam ripper, surprisingly without bloodshed (seam rippers are sharp!). Then lined the new buttons up where the stitches were for the old buttons and sewed them on with my sewing machine. I replaced the plastic belt buckle with the leather one and sewed it on. And…voila! A newish coat!


Not bad for a first timer, hmm?


Shoes That Run Small: Franco Sarto

Franco Sarto shoes are great quality at a very affordable price point, not to mention they come in sizes 4 and 4.5! I like Franco Sarto for reliable work shoes (modest looking shoes that are good quality, so I can wear them to death) or for trendy styles that I don’t want to dish out designer shoe prices for. They run about the same price point as Nine West, but in my experience, are much better quality.

Franco Sarto Artist Collection “Hammer” Oxford, $109.95,
These oxford pumps will look great with the menswear inspired looks this season!

The best place to find Franco Sarto in tiny sizes is and Nordstrom stores. If you find a style that you like, but the Nordstrom in your area doesn’t have your size, just ask a sales associate to search for your size in other Nordstrom stores. They will ship your shoes to your home for no extra charge. I recenlty had these Franco Sarto’s shipped to me during a sale. I love Nordstrom! also has Franco Sarto shoes, but I find that a lot of their offerings start in size 6. If you live near a Nordstom Rack store, you can find tiny Franco Sarto’s for deep discounts.

New York Nanette Lepore Sample Sale

Lucky New York gals can buy tiny Nanette Lepore pieces for sample sale prices until 11/21/08.

Here is the info from NY Magazine:

Frocks are $140 to $150 (from $335 to $595), skirts are $100 (from $195 to $295), and jackets are $190 (from $285 to $495) at Nanette Lepore‘s sample sale. Through 11/21. 225 W. 35th St., nr. Seventh Ave., fourth fl. (212-594-0012); Tues.–Fri. (9–7).

I’m so jealous!

Brand that Runs Small: Studio M Petite

The petite XS from this brand runs nice and small. Studio M is essentially the same merchandise as Max Studio, which can be found at and at Max Studio stores. However, I’ve never seen the petite merchandise online or at a Max Studio store.

Here in Los Angeles, I’ve only found the petite version of this brand available in the Macy’s petite department, and stock varies from store to store, so if you live near multiple Macy’s stores, check them all out! Unfortunately, this brand is sold online only in regular sizes on, so unless you live near an actual Macy’s, it may be difficult to track down.

One of my Studio M Petite XS items

I’ve been able to find nice silk pieces from this brand that are small and flattering. However, this brand is susceptible to this unfortunate “inside-out seam” look that is far from chic, and some of their print choices are questionable.

Studio M Hoop-Print Top,
While this top is not fashion forward, has a boring print, and has a weird “inside-out seam” empire waist detail that’s not very attractive…

Studio M Short-Sleeve Charmeuse Blouse,
…this silk top has potential!

Wrap dresses in regular size XS also work for tiny petites. I have a wrap LBD from this brand that I had hemmed, but fits perfectly otherwise. Here’s one from this season:

While not exactly fashion forward, some nice pieces can be found from this brand, and it’s worth the time to check the new season’s offerings in your local Macy’s petite department.

If you’ve seen this brand in petites anywhere else besides Macy’s, let me know!

Petite-Friendly Coats: Burberry

I love trench coats, therefore, I love the ultimate classic, Burberry. I pined for them from afar, but had convinced myself they would be too big. Then, the fantastic man in my life gave me a big Burberry box for Christmas last year (thanks babe!), and now I’m hooked.  

Burberry runs pretty small…and if you buy from a Burberry boutique, the alterations are FREE! Getting my coat altered was a wonderful experience with the luxury brand, and I highly recommend the Beverly Hills Burberry boutique to anyone who’s in the area.

Burberry PetiteMy Burberry Harbourne trench, Paige jeans, Cole Haan shoes

My first trench was the classic and always available Harbourne. The Harbourne is cut to end mid thigh on a taller person, so on a petite, it will end closer to the knee. The smallest size is a US 2 (UK 4), and the coat is alterable. I had the sleeves on my coat shortened, and because I like my coats fitted, I had the chest taken in just a bit. If you live in a cold climate and layer under coats, then the width of the chest will probably be perfect without alterations. Another option is to get the trench shortened, but I kept mine near the knee.

Burberry PetiteMy Burberry Ledstone trench, Paige jeans, Christian Louboutin shoes

Burberry PetiteBurberry Ledstone trench, DVF dress, Jimmy Choo shoes

My latest acquisition is the Burberry Ledstone Trench in Military Red (my favorite color!). My favorite feature about this coat is the buttons are spaced closely together, which makes it easier to wear the coat open without a bunch of extra fabric flapping around. This coat hits me near the knee, and again I had the sleeves shortened and the chest taken in.  

Trench coats have been a chic and stylish part of a woman’s wardrobe for decades, so a Burberry coat can be viewed as an investment piece. And if you still need more convincing, here are two more stylish girls in great trench coats:

Breakfast at Tiffanys Burberry CoatAudrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Now, if only the Southern California weather would hurry up and get cold!

More posts with the Burberry Trenchcoats:
Petite-Friendly H&M Lace Skirt – I Wasn’t Sure If I Was a Lace Girl
Petite Outfit: Who Needs Sunshine When You’ve Got Burberry?
Review: The Elusive Burberry Petite

Great Resource: Revolve Clothing Fit Guide

Revolve Clothing has a great fit guide for every clothing item they carry. When you click an item you’re interested in, and roll your mouse over the tab for “Fit Guide”, it tells you what size the model is wearing, as well as how the item runs compared to other designers, and how the item runs compared to the rest of that designer’s line. I have literally spent hours scouring the site for designers that Revolve suggests runs small. 

The reviews tab is also very helpful when people who have bought that item describe the fit. Some of the designers I have found so far include: 

  Revolve is also a great resource because ground shipping is free, and if it’s still too big, return shipping is also free! This is great for people who have a hard time finding items that fit and usually are afraid to shop online. Combine this with the hundreds of fabulous options and brands that Revolve carries, and I’m a happy camper. Their sales are also to die for.

I only wish that:

  1) There was some way to search the site for items that run small, because the current set up requires a person to first pick an item, and then check the fit guide.

  2) More online sites would do the same thing!

  Check it out at

Shoes That Run Small: Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin, photo from by way of Barneys

When clothes that fit are hard to find…wear beautiful shoes! There are many beautiful shoes that run small, which is good news for those of us with tiny feet. For those of us with a small and narrow shoe size, Christian Louboutin will keep us looking chic and stylish with classic styles and that irresistible red sole.

Many of Christian Louboutin’s shoe styles run nice and small, so if you’re a size 4.5 (Euro 34.5), you might be able to fit some size 5’s (Euro 35) with a few strategically placed shoe pads. But if you’re smaller than a size 5, fear not, because Christian Louboutin makes sizes 4 and 4.5.

Christian Louboutin size 5’s are available in high end department stores and online, but that size goes fast, so jump on them quickly. Sizes 4-4.5 are available in Christian Louboutin boutiques, and are often available for special order, so call a boutique and ask! And if that’s still not small enough, you can get a custom made “last” of your foot and have the shoes specially made just for you (at a cost of about $3,000, ouch!).

Note: Patent leather styles fit smaller than regular leather styles, and stretch less, so you might be able to size a 1/2 size up if you normally wear a hard to find size.