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January 16, 2021

How To Shop Simone Rocha x H&M on March 11

It's official! Spring is coming soon, and in addition to warmer weather, there's a fun new fashion collaboration to look forward to. If you've been living in jogger pants or loungewear thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there's inspiration for more stylish (or dressy) days ahead. Fast fashion retailer H&M has announced their next designer collaboration, and it's with Simone Rocha. Mark your calendars and set your reminders for the big launch day! Simone Rocha x H&M debuts on March 11. #SimoneRochaxHM

Bookmark this page now to shop online on March 11.

Read these tips from H&M on how to shop. 

Returns of items purchased online are not accepted in stores, only via mail within 30 days. Purchases are limited to one if each item per person.

Simone Rocha x H&M lookbook preview

Known for her voluminous silhouettes, Simone Rocha was named British Womenswear Designer of the Year at the 2016 British Fashion Awards. Using her Irish heritage as inspiration, her creations include beautiful ruffles, voluminous tulle, floral blooms, pearl details, fancy necklines, and edgy tailoring. 

What's the Simone Rocha x H&M collection like? According to H&M, we'll be able to shop "delicate tulle dresses, tartan tailoring, beaded shirting, cable knits, outerwear such as trench coats, and signature accessories like sparkling jewelry and pearl-embellished shoes. The entire range comes in Simone Rocha's identifiable and poetic color palette that mixes cream, pink, red and black."

The icing on the cake? It's for the entire family! The collection includes Simone Rocha's signature womenswear, alongside menswear and childrenswear, marking the first time she has designed pieces for the whole family.

I'm sharing some shopping tips for how to shop Simone Rocha x H&M. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I strongly encourage you to shop online and not in stores, but I'll be sharing tips for both. The priority is to stop the spread by staying home whenever possible.

simone rocha x H&M lookbook images

The Online Strategy (The Preferred Way to Shop)

1. Bookmark this page now and learn the lookbook. Once the entire lookbook is released, study it carefully to select your favorites, get outfit inspiration, research the sizing, choose colorways, and check the prices. 

2. Play favorites. Make a Pinterest board, list, or collage of your favorites to help you stick to your budget and prioritize your potential purchases.

3. Know when and how to shop. In the U.S., these collections launch online in the morning at a designated time. Bookmark this page now to shop on March 11. In the U.S., they usually launch online at 7 AM EST. The website has crashed in the past, so be extra prepared by using more than one web browser, mobile device, etc. Refresh your browser often and have patience. Expect some glitches and be persistent. Remember that patience is key.

4. Save your info. As the time to shop online approaches, log onto hm.com and have your checkout and payment details saved ahead of time. Clear your cart of any old items in order to streamline the checkout process. This reduces the chances of having your cart emptied of any out-of-stock items before you can complete your order.

5. Click quickly. Shop your top pick(s) first and submit your order right after placing in your cart. Do not shop and fill up your cart. Why? Once an item is in your cart, it's not reserved for you. In order to avoid an item being removed from your cart because it's already sold out, you need to click quickly and complete your order! That's why I create a prioritized wish list and try to buy my top picks first. Online purchases are typically limited to one item per style per person. 

6. Stay social. Check social media channels such as using #SimoneRochaxHM for up-to-the-moment shopping updates, product info, and to connect with other shoppers. 

H&M store

The In-Store Strategy 

1. Know where to go if stores in your area are open.  Plan your shopping well in advance. Be ready to wear a mask and stand in a physically distanced line. Stay home if you are sick! Use the store locator to find the stores near you that'll stock the collection.

2. Phone it in. Be extra prepared by calling your local store the week before the launch to confirm if they'll carry the collection and ask them exactly where/how you should line up to shop.

3. Be an early bird. You know what they say about the early bird. Stores open at 8 AM (instead of 10am) on launch days. I've found in the past that if I arrive by 4 AM or earlier, then I'm able to get into the first or second shopper group. 

4. Play the waiting game and respect the line. Store employees will pass out color-coded wristbands to the first 420 people in line. They do this several hours before the store opens, with each shopper group consisting of 30 people. Each group of 30 shoppers is allowed ten or fifteen minutes in which to shop the collection in a secure and sectioned-off area of the store. They are strict, and with good reason. The time slot goes by really fast, with employees calling out the time at five minute intervals. In between the shopper groups, employees rapidly replenish the merchandise in five-minute intervals. Fitting rooms may be closed due to COVID so be prepared NOT to try anything on.

5. Preparation is key (but first, coffee). I bring a blanket/pillow, cozy jacket, phone charger, water, and healthy snacks to stay energized and comfortable while in line. Bring coffee if needed. I have seen people camp out overnight in tents to be first in line for these collabs. Stock varies widely from store to store, with flagships in metropolitan areas carrying the best selection.

6. Bring a buddy. A healthy family member, friend, or significant other (ideally from your household) might be able to help you get the pieces you want and help you make purchasing decisions. "Divide and conquer" should be your strategy! Arrange to meet in line at the same time or go to the store together (with masks and hand sanitizer) so you're not cutting in line and you can be in the same shopper group for maximum teamwork.

7. Check for go-backs. If your favorite pieces disappear from the racks in a flash, be courteous, be patient, and don't be afraid to ask employees and other shoppers to politely trade to get what you want! Just respect the rules and limits that they have in store. Stay at least six feet away from shoppers as much as possible. Limit your time socializing and shopping in the store to reduce your exposure to the virus.

8. Know your limits. There are quantity limits per person on these collections (it's 1 item per style in stores and 1 item per style online) to prevent buying in bulk, and the return policy time frame is shorter (6 days for purchases made in stores). Be aware of these restrictions in order to prevent any buyer's remorse. 

9. Persistence pays off. These collections are not restocked, but you can still score your favorites. If you don't find what you want after the launch, check back for returns in the coming days, as many shoppers take items back to the store. Accessories can't be returned for hygiene reasons, so select them carefully. Don't forget to check the customer service desk and clearance racks for returns. Call your local stores to ask what they have in stock and use #SimoneRochaxHM on social media to buy/trade with others.

10. Consider main line Simone Rocha instead. With high resale prices after the launch, you can likely buy main line Simone Rocha on sale for less. 

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.

Get inspired by Simone Rocha:

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October 16, 2020

UGG Classic Ultra Mini Boots Review - Leopard Print

Attention, shoe lovers! Boot season has arrived and it's time to get your cozy footwear wardrobe ready for fall. I've always favored ankle boots for their versatility, so when UGG introduced a new style of its beloved Classic boots this season called the Classic Ultra Mini, they instantly caught my eye. They retail for $140 and are perfect for your work from home looks, your loungewear days, or pretty much any fall or winter day. The extra low shaft height makes them chic enough to pair with slouchy socks, denim, bike shorts, knitwear, bodycon dresses, sweatsuits, cropped trousers, leggings, and joggers.


February 20201 update - I scored a pair of UGG Classic Ultra Mini boots in the hard-to-find mustard seed colorway as seen below. They run slightly big, so I added an UGG sheepskin insole to make them perfect for wearing barefoot. The low shaft makes them ideal for transitioning into the spring months, while the neutral shade pairs well with denim, grey joggers, and all of the printed leggings that I wear. They're practically like slippers, except that they keep your ankles warmer. As you break them in, they become easier to slip your feet into. 

UGG Classic Ultra Mini Boot mustard seed

UGG comes out with new colorways each season, and inventory changes rapidly, so if you see the perfect shade of pink or lavender, don't hesitate! Sometimes they discontinue a colorway, so shop them while you can. 

January 28, 2021 update - Shop the newest colors:

 

Joan Smalls and Emily Ratajkowsi have been spotted in the chestnut version. #legsfordays

UGG classic ultra mini emily ratajkowski joan smalls

January 8, 2021 update - These are selling out quickly:

December 28, 2020 update - Shop new colors before they sell out:


The new
UGG Classic Ultra Mini has the same comfort and plush sheepskin of the UGG Classic Mini, but with a more leg-lengthening fit. My favorite version of the Classic Ultra Mini is this leopard print ($150), which is sure to be a best seller in no time. I bought a pair in my usual UGG size, and will be sharing my thoughts on fit, sizing, and quality in this review.

UGG Classic Ultra Mini boots leopard

Appearance 

The leopard print style has a cowhair texture, making them more dressy and elevating them from the twinface sheepskin (suede) that you find on Classic UGG boots. The topline is slightly higher in the front than the back, while the rest of the construction is similar to the Classic Mini boots. I prefer the lower shaft height because I'm petite, and I find them more flattering to wear with skinny jeans. I can appreciate how they show just a flash of ankle when worn with cropped denim and no socks.

UGG Classic ultra mini boots leopard



UGG classic ultra mini boot leopard print

Quality

The uppers have nice, rich color and a consistent print. One disadvantage is that this style is harder to clean because of the cowhair texture, so that's something to be mindful of before purchasing. I always use a suede protector on my UGGs, but will refrain from doing so because these uppers are made of different materials. (They do come pre-treated with a water repellency treatment like many other UGG styles.) I plan to spot clean these as needed with mild soap and water. I also plan to wear these indoors and will not wear them in the rain. (My go-to UGGs for rain are the Palomar sneaker and the Birch boots.) 

Given the lower shaft height, these are more optimal for warmer climates than colder ones, and they're also ideal for transitional seasons. If I lived in a cold climate, these would likely get a lot less wear. In my area, it's warm enough that I'm able to wear sandals year round.

Sizing and Comfort

For my feet, the Classic Ultra Mini boots run true to UGG's Classic sizing. I prefer to wear them without socks because the wool blend lining is so cozy. These do take some effort to pull on because of a small top entry, so the rear pull tab is especially helpful. The uppers are also more rigid due to the cowhair construction, but I expect them to break in nicely over time. An advantage of the lower shaft height is that it makes them easier to take off. 

Fit tip: If you have a high arch or are between sizes, I'd size up. It's better to have them too big than too small, and you can always wear them with socks if they are on the big side.

Shop UGG Classic Ultra Mini boots:



This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.

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September 11, 2020

UGG Tasman Slippers Review

The UGG Tasman slipper is UGG's best-selling slipper, and as an avid footwear buyer, I think it deserves its own blog review. The Tasman is not your typical sheepskin slipper. It's constructed on the same Treadlite sole as classic UGG boots, so not only is it comfortable, it's also durable and suitable for wearing both indoors and outdoors. Since the holidays are coming up, it's a thoughtful gift idea. Furthermore, it's available in a wide variety of colors and sizes for the entire family, with classic chestnut being the most popular version. The casual slip-on style looks right at home with a robe or loungewear, but it also styles well with casual denim, joggers, or leggings. The signature Tasman braid embroidery at the ankle gives it a unique and recognizable boost of style. Slippers with style? UGG nailed it. 

UGG Tasman slippers black


This new UGG Tasman in leopard print is my favorite and sure to be sold out soon. You can never go wrong with anything from UGG in leopard print. Their new Neumel boot in leopard is amazing, too. 


If you wear a Women's US size 5, I have one new (without box) pair available. Email me to purchase. info at thekeytochic dot com


Fit and Sizing

The Tasman slipper runs true to size. It does stretch up a little bit with wear since the uppers are suede. Additionally, the sheepskin insoles flatten a little bit with wear, making them more roomy.  In my opinion, the Tasman feels much better when worn barefoot, as the lining and insole are made of the plush wool sheepskin that UGG is known for. If you are a half size, then I'd size up rather than down. They are easy to slip on, although I have to use my finger to help get my foot in without collapsing the back of the heel. Comfort tip: you may have to get used to the feeling of the trim at the lower back area of the heel, but that varies by person. If you are a Women's size 5, 6, 7, or 8, then some of the larger Kid's sizes will fit, and the bonus is that the UGG Kid's slippers are slightly lower in price.

UGG Tasman slippers bougainvillea pink

Quality

If treated well, the Tasman slipper will be a long-wearing investment that should outlast several seasons of regular wear. At $100, they aren't an impulse buy, but they are certainly worth the price. The uppers can be treated with a suede protector if you plan on wearing them outdoors. To keep them clean, use a suede brush, and avoid harsh cleaning products that might harm the dyed suede. The lighter pink, blue, and green Tasman slippers show stains, dirt, and scuffs much more easily than the grey or chestnut ones. The black Tasman slippers show dust, lint, and hair more than the other colors, which is easy to remedy with a link roller. 

UGG Tasman slippers aqua mint


Below, shop some of the latest colors of UGG Tasman slippers.




This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.


Love UGG footwear? See my UGG Fluff Yeah review.

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September 8, 2020

Deckers x Lab K-ST 21 Low Sneakers Review

Leave it to the team at Deckers x Lab to create a performance athletic shoe that not only turns heads but is so innovative in design and materials that it compares to nothing else on the market. If you haven't heard of Deckers x Lab, it's a new label from Deckers, the parent company of UGG, Teva, Hoka One One, Koolaburra, and Sanuk. (So you know this label will have both comfort and style.) I was sent a pair of the fancy new K-ST 21 Low sneakers by Deckers x Lab and I'll be sharing my thoughts on fit, performance, and style in this review.

Deckers K-ST 21 Low sneakers for women


Appearance and Performance

It's immediately apparent that the K-ST 21 Low looks different from most sneakers due to the extended sole. According to Deckers x Lab, "the plush, angled heel catches you and immediately transfers downward energy into forward momentum.The heel also is the first point of contact to a wide platform (aka sole) resulting in unstoppable stability. The heel immediately rocks you into the midfoot where it is amplified by our who’s-the-nutter-who-came-up-with-this? Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system. The Carbon Bow transfers the energy into the toe box. This roll completes the rocker, sending you off into your next step." 

Designed to propel your stride, these shoes merge a light, athletic feel with extremely responsive movement. At $199, these are priced higher than most athletic shoes. Are they worth it? I recently wore them for a HIIT workout, inclined treadmill walk, and for an outdoor walk in the park. I noticed that in my HIIT movements, these shoes felt super responsive and helped me to glide through my cardio circuits. As much as I love exercise, performing skaters, jumps squats, plank jacks, and one-armed burpees is rarely enjoyable, but these shoes helped propel me through the most explosive plyo movements. My beloved Hoka One One Cliftons (as amazing as they are) didn't feel this good. Verdict: these are an investment, but if you're an active person looking for an unmatched performance shoe, this is it. The difference between these and most sneakers is dramatic.

Deckers x Lab K-ST 21 Low sneakers for women

I was initially skeptical that the long angled heel would be awkward for walking, but after a walk in the park and a few miles on the treadmill, I quickly appreciated their thoughtful design. I didn't even notice the angled heel when these were on, and they felt better to exercise in than traditional athletic footwear. It's like my feet were gliding. Another advantage of the K-ST 21 Low sneakers was that my feet felt noticeably less fatigued after my workouts. I even spent and extra 15 minutes on the treadmill. (That rarely happens!) There's so much technical design and innovation with the K-ST 21 Low that it helps to read the shoe's description.

According to the Deckers x Lab e-commerce site, features include:

Anatomic, gender specific medium width performance running last

Cordura® ballistic nylon and Matryx® upper for unparalleled durability and light-weight breathable foothold 

Adjusting fit lycra tongue and toe box

Under Foot Geometry: 120 - 80 - 100 mm, 4.5 mm drop, 16.5 - 21mm stack height 

Xponent+ Midsole featuring IM EVA foam and Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system 

Extended angled heel with Meta-Rocker geometry that delivers an uptempo and propulsive ride

Sticky rubber outsole for active grip


Deckers x Lab K-St 21 low soles



Materials and Fit

I found the K-ST 21 Low to run true to size. I wore them with thin cotton/poly blend socks, thick cotton socks, and also barefoot. All variations were comfortable, with no uncomfortable overheating or slippage. My feet stayed securely in place and there was less strain and impact on the ball of foot area. Just like with the other shoes I reviewed from Deckers x Lab, there's thick padding at the back of the heel which ensures you'll never get blisters when wearing them. There's no break-in period. These shoes are comfortable from the very first step. As far as materials, the uppers are both breathable and lightweight. No sweaty feet here! Bonus - these shoes come with an extra set of insoles. One pair of insoles is PU plush memory foam, and the other is EVA memory foam with low compression for a shock-free experience. 

Deckers x Lab K-ST 21 Low sneakers

Design notes: The geometry specs are printed on the shoe. The angled sole has a smooth, firm feel when pinched with your fingers.

Deckers x Lab K-ST 21 Low sneakers

From a fashion and design perspective, these are futuristic, sleek-looking sneakers. There's a mesh panel on the sides, a bit of animal print texture, and just the right amount of white on the soles to break up the all-black uppers. There's even a gap between the sole and the uppers near the arch of the foot. 

Modern looks, versatility, comfort, and performance-based construction are what the K-ST 21 Low sneakers achieve. They'll pair well with my printed leggings, slim joggers, runner shorts, and my casual fashion looks. I'm looking forward to putting many more miles and powering through many more HIIT workouts in these shoes.

Deckers x Lab K-ST 21 Low sneakers outfit review

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links. I received these shoes courtesy of Deckers x Lab.

See more from Deckers x Lab and read my other Deckers x Lab shoes review here.

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July 14, 2020

Deckers x Lab KO-Z Snpr Low Wedge and X-Scape NBK Low Shoe Review

Seven days a week you can find me working out in my Hoka One One sneakers. Whether it's a bike ride, a walk, kickboxing workout, weight lifting, or HIIT session, I always look to my Hoka One One Cliftons for maximum cushioning and superior comfort. So when Deckers (the parent company of beloved footwear brands Hoka One One, UGG, Teva, Koolabura by UGG, and Sanuk) reached out to me to introduce their new Deckers x Lab label, I was intrigued. I've nurtured a passion for footwear since my days in elementary school, when purple Converse Chucks were my go-to shoes. Fast forward to adulthood, where comfort and quality take precedence, and Hoka One One dominates my activewear.

A little background information about Deckers x Lab:

Deckers Lab is the brainchild of Jean-Luc Diard, the founder of Hoka One One. Deckers calls Deckers x Lab "a label rather than a brand", therefore, they are not limited to one type of product or application. Innovation in comfort and performance is a key value of the brand. If you're familiar with Hoka One One, Teva, or UGG, then you know that comfort is their specialty.

I received two pairs of Deckers x Lab shoes: the X-Scape NBK Low (a sleek and modern-looking sneaker) and the KO-Z SNPR Low Wedge (a slip-on sneaker and recovery shoe hybird).

X-Scape NBK Low
Unboxing

While unboxing, I was immediately impressed with the packaging and attention to detail. The box is minimal on the outside, yet printed with eye-catching industrial-style details on the inside. 


the X-Scape NBK low sneaker in white/light grey

Appearance and Performance

The X-Scape NBK low (retail $160) is a performance sneaker with the look of a lifestyle sneaker, and the feel of UGG slippers. I wore these out grocery shopping, for a HIIT workout, and for a walk in the park (with a mask of course). While the ball-of-foot cushioning does not match my Hoka One One Cliftons, these are excellent for walking, low impact exercise, and everyday wear. The neutral grey and white colors are both classic and versatile, and match a lot of my activewear. Note the lack of conspicuous logos/branding, giving these sneakers a high end feel with a slightly industrial-meets-quiet luxury vibe. The underfoot geometry specs are actually printed on the outsole. Every part of this shoe demonstrates comfort and attention to detail, from the padding in the heel counter lining to the printed honeycomb soles, and the perforated uppers.


Decker Lab X-Scape NBK low soles



Materials and Fit 

The X-Scape NBK low is made of nubuck leather lined with looped wool (like terry cloth but softer) for amazing warmth and comfort. I wore them both barefoot and with thick socks on a warm summer day. I'm pleased to report that there was no breaking in and no blisters. They fit well both with socks and without, but I think they feel better barefoot because of the soft, breathable materials. The insoles are removable and there's an internal H brace support. Once you put these on, you won't want to take them off. Deckers x Lab managed to merge the comfort of their UGG slippers with their Hoka One One sneakers for the best of both worlds. The icing on the cake - these have the signature Hoka One One Meta-Rocker construction, which propels the foot forward and makes walking a breeze. I envision wearing these with both activewear and casual everyday looks, since the silhouette and color scheme are versatile. 




KO-Z SNPR Low Wedge

Appearance and Performance

The KO-Z SNPR low wedge (retail $120) is a slip-on sneaker with all the easy vibes of a slipper. It's the perfect shoe for travel, since it's effortless to slip on and off. The toe shape is part ankle boot, part sleek sneaker. Like the X-Scape NBK low, it also has a looped wool removable insole. The neutral colors blend with a lot of my wardrobe, and while slip-on styles are not my favorites, this one has the added benefit of a wedge which adds about 2" of height. Just like your favorite UGG boots, this shoe has a water repellent treatment, making it perfect for the fall and winter months. In true Deckers Hoka One One form, there is Meta-Rocker geometry which makes them so easy to wear and so hard to take off.

Deckers Lab KO-Z SNPR low wedge


Materials and Fit 

The KO-Z SNPR low wedge is made of EcoTan cow suede, with a wool interior, EVA foam midsole, and a rubber sponge outsole. Comfort is a consideration of every part of this shoe, form the way your foot feel against the insole to the way it propels your foot forward and cushions the impact. As far as fit, I found these to run narrow when the insole is in place and I wore them without socks. For a looser fit, I removed the insole and it was perfect. So if you have wide feet, I recommend going up in size. Fortunately, these do come in half sizes. 

Deckers Lab KO-Z SNPR low wedge


Deckers Lab KO-Z Low Wedge

There are currently six styles of shoes for Men and six for Women on the Deckers x Lab site. As they expand the label, I'll be keeping my eye on new styles and future innovations.

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made.


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