Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crazy Banana Sale

So, I know that Banana Republic is ubiquitous, but it's also a super easy choice when you need modern work basics. Right now they are having an AMAZING sale. Like, suit jackets that were $150 are now $39.99. Run, do not walk, to this sale, either at the store or online at bananarepublic.com.

Seriously, the suit pants are like $60. They are usually over $100.

All hail recession pricing and retailer desperation.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recessionista Round Up

A few tips, hot off the presses:

Hot Tip #1: Leggings are not pants.
In an effort to save cash, many women are wearing their leggings as pants. If you tell me that it's for a reason other than budget, I will be ill. If I see one more woman's arse in her leggings, I am going to lose my shit. Treat all leggings as tights and wear them under your skirts and dresses, as god intended.

Hot Tip #2: If it doesn't button across your chest, it doesn't fit.
I know, I know- you found such a great deal on that crisp white button down and you can't wait to wear it with everything you own. It fits your shoulders, your waist, and only pulls a LITTLE across your bust.
I sympathize but I still don't want to see your middle button pop open at work.
Do everyone a favor and 1) buy a shirt that fits, 2) buy one that fits your bust and get it tailored for your shoulders and waist, or 3) stop buying button downs. I don't wear them for this very reason and I have never once had a problem finding appropriate clothes for work.

Hot Tip #3: Shoe Pavilion is going out of business.
If you have one near you, go already.

Hot Tip #4: Sigerson Morrison is designing (cute!) shoes for Target. Anya Hindmarch is designing (really cool) handbags for Target. And Issac Mizrahi has some (great) dresses at Target. Converse One Stars are (rockin' it) at Target. Do I really need to say more?

Hot Tip #5: Smart Bargains has some amazing deals on some really lovely designer handbags and clutches right now. Like Via Spiga, Cole Haan, and Charles David.

Hot Tip #6: If you need to buy yourself a little happy, Overstock has hundreds of rings for under $100. Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Colors We Love

We heart red, black and gray. Not only is it a classic color combo, it is seasonally appropriate and flattering on a lot of people.

This outfit is on a fabulous woman who graciously allowed me to post her image.

Outfit details: the dress and shoes are from Chadwicks, I didn't get the details on all of the rest...

Why is works: the red near her face draws the eye upward; the line where the red meets the gray is well placed to emphasize a small waist; the length is modest but still shows off her legs and the fabulous shoes. The tights ground the outfit and keep is seasonal. LOVE the shoes- they are suede if you couldn't tell...

What it needs: it doesn't need much...I might switch the short necklace for something longer.

Dress is up: a large cocktail ring and chandelier earrings would be fab.

Dress is down: lose the tights and swap the shoes for wedges or flats.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I don't think any further discussion about this abomination is necessary. Except this: If you own this purse, destroy it immediately.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Shoe Diva!

Most true shoe lovers never really need shoes- we are prepared for all contingencies with a variety of delicious footwear options. So, buying shoes is more of a sport or hobby than an exercise in filling any gaps in one's wardrobe. But "need" is a relative term, and some of us NEED to be entertained by shoes, shoe discussions, shoe critiques, and, most importantly, shoe shopping.

Enter Shoe Diva.

Last night at Macy's was the semi-annual Shoe Diva event, a wine & shoe-shaped cookie-filled event with a fashion show, a free shoe drawing and free totes with any purchase of the requisite amount. Twice a year, Macy's actually provides enough sales people to ACTUALLY help you try on and purchase shoes, which is why this is the only time I can stand shopping for shoes there. I'm a Nordstrom girl, people.

I walked away with two pairs of shoes that I am in love with. Seriously, actual love.

The first are the Cole Haan flat boots in black patent leather. Don't lie, you know they are awesome. The words from my boyfriend's mouth: "Those are pretty hot." If you can get that from a flat boot with Nike Air technology, rock on sister.

The second are the BCBG Catilda, also in black patent leather. I am so not hiding these under pants, people. Bring out the black tights and a dress and these are some of the hottest shoes to ever grace my tooties.

The women at work are going to hate both of these shoes by the end of winter because I am going to wear them pretty much every damn day.

And now I have an extra $50 gift card for Macy's just burning a hole in my pocket...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recessionista Round Up

It's that time of the week, people. Your recessionista round up this week is a list of pieces to consider if you don't already own them...

1. Wide leg trousers or jeans
Don't lie. You know you've thought about it. If you don't already own a pair of wide leg trousers or jeans, GO TRY SOME ON. In the right size, with the correct rise, they will probably be fab. The idea is that by balancing your hips with a wide leg, you will appear longer and leaner.

Some exceptions: If you are really short, these will likely make you look shorter. If you are really short-waisted, a high rise with a wide leg will look pretty damn 70s.

Remember that extremes are hard to wear. If you go with a slightly flared or wider leg, you will get the effect of the wide leg without having to "pull off" a super wide leg look. Proportion is important, in case I wasn't clear.

A warning about embellishment on pants: the less subtle it is, the cheaper and likely more juvenile the look.

2. Leather jackets
Chill out, I'm saying put it on your Christmukkahkwanza list.
Retailers will be begging your bf/cousin/mom to take their merch off their hands, so help them out by giving Santa a head's up now.

But seriously- a leather jacket, your favorite scarf, and jeans- you know you want to. Not to mention the mileage you'll get out of it during the week.

3. Evening clutch
I know I keep repeating myself, but if I see one more woman carrying her tote/giant hobo/diaper bag into the bar at night, I will lose it. So if all of you carrying your hideous backpack-sized monstrosities would get out of my way when I am trying to order a damn martini, I will shut it.

There are super cute and functional clutches at EVERY price point, so don't even tell me you don't have the cash. I got a really great black satin one from Target for $15 and it holds an iPhone, keys, credit cards, cash, and lip gloss. Okay!?

4. Lucky Magazine
I know it's not a piece of clothing, but get over it.
By far the best magazine about shopping and style, so if you are looking for fresh ideas, this is is the one for you. I don't agree with everything in each issue, but 90% is still an A.

I think you can get a subscription for $12 or $15 right now...

5. Long cardigan.
Be careful with this one. The chunky cable knit looks great on the 6'3", size 2 model, but on most women they look revolting. Consider a thinner knit, in a color you rock, with a long, lean silhouette. Belt it if you do the belt thing. Keep it unbuttoned for the best elongating column effect. And pay attention to length- this is one time when mid-thigh or longer is actually a good thing. Just above or below your hips means you're just wearing grandma's cardigan from the 90s. This is basically a dress in cardigan form.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Price Tag

All of you recessionistas, trying to score stylish clothes at bargain prices, we are going to talk about the most dreaded part of shopping...

At the risk of sounding like Sophia on Golden Girls, picture this:

You are browsing in a store without any particular goals in mind and happen upon The. Best. Jacket. Ever. Now that you think if it, you've been needing a transitional jacket for the season, to wear when the temps drop but it isn't truly COLD yet. And this one is the perfect shade of gray/red/chartreuse that will go with literally everything in your closet. You pull it off the hanger, try it on, and it fits like a dream.

Then the day of reckoning must come- you must view...THE PRICE TAG. $300.

Your reaction: It is $300?! I can't believe this store actually carries stuff that expensive. And I've never paid $300 for any item of clothing before, why and EARTH would I start now?

Let's discuss WHY, ladies and gents. Or at least why you could and should consider it.

Price Per Wear
Price per wear is something you may have heard a lot of stylists and others in the industry talk about. It may sound like an excuse for buying ridiculously priced clothes. It is actually a good way to decide whether you should pay for any article of clothing at pretty much any price point above Old Navy.

The jacket you just found is $300. You are planning to wear it every day from now until it gets really cold and you have to switch to your pea coat. The means if today is October 15 and the temperatures will be super cold by December 1, you have about 45 days to wear it.

$300 divided by 45 days is $6.67 per day. Shut up, I can do math.

This is where you have to be honest with yourself. Will you REALLY wear it every day? Does it REALLY go with everything? Is the weather REALLY going to be perfect for this jacket until December 1?

If answering yes to these questions still doesn't help, ask yourself whether you'll be able to wear it another season. Will you be able to wear in the spring or next fall? If so, your price per wear just dropped dramatically.

If you can wear it in the spring, let's say another 60 days, then...$300 divided by 105 days is $2.85. And that's a price per wear that I can live with.

So, now that you know how this is done, a few observations:

1. Be honest with yourself or your calculation is meaningless.
I have tricked myself into thinking that I will wear something more that I actually will in order to justify a purchase. Don't do it! Be honest about how useful and versatile something is. Black evening jacket- check and check. Hot pink floor length gown- unless you are a transvestite, probably not so much.

2. If you can't afford it then it doesn't matter.
If you are going to go into debt or not eat because of a purchase, you can't afford it. So even if the price per wear is 40 cents, that $2000 trench is not a wise purchase.

3. Don't let the initial price tag scare you.
This might seem obvious given all of the above, but it is worth repeating. If you find a fabulous dress for $300 and you can wear it 3 times (i.e., you have 2 weddings and an engagement party this year), then your cost per wear is $100. Considering that most dresses you'd buy for these occasions are at least $100, that is a fantastic price per wear for something awesome. And now that you've found the dress for all three parties, you can focus on the fun part: accessories.

4. Price Point Shoppers- listen up.
You know who you are. You won't spend more than X on a jacket and Y on a dress. This is short-sighted. The $300 jacket might be more than you've ever spent on anything before, but just how great ARE the jackets you bought for $40 at H&M in the past? And did you REALLY wear that printed sundress you found for $20 all summer, like you said, or did you wear it once and shove it into the back of the closet? That's $20 per wear people, and that is not a bargain for a short cotton shift.

This where honesty kicks in again. Sometimes more expensive pieces have a much lower price per wear than cheaper ones. This cannot be ignored when you shop, especially when you are bargain hunting. The price tag is one factor to consider, but your price per wear is the other.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Recessionista Round Up

News Flash: Top Ten Tuesday is out, Recessionista Round Up is in.

1. Save Yours Pants! Try Zakkerz
What are they? Directly from the website: a temporary pant roll-up wrap used to hold pants that have been rolled up to a shorter length for flat shoes.

They are great. I have used them while commuting to and from work and they really do keep your pants rolled up and off the ground while you wear your commuting flats (note that I did not say "your ugly commuting running shoes). I have also used them when it is wet outside and I just didn't want my pants dragging in any gross puddles.

For $27-31 for a full set of 4 (2 for each pant leg), you are spending a little to prevent having to buy new pants and from looking bedraggled.

Please note that these are primarily for commuting, not as an alternative to actually getting your pants tailored to a proper length.

2. Host a Clothing Swap!
Gather several friends and puts everyone's closet rejects out for the others to try. That red dress that is too long might be perfect on someone a bit taller. And her tiny tees might not fit over her bust but they could be your ideal weekend uniform.

The more friends the better, to have a larger range of sizes and styles. You can do a more focused swap, too, such as accessories only or evening/party dresses.

Free, aside from the vino I suggest having on hand.

3. Do a little online research. There are lots of sites that compare prices for you- here are a few:

Online research will cost you nothing but time.

4. Try something different. Scoured the Target racks 10 times this season already? Try out stores like Kohls or Sears. They get less press than Old Navy and the like, but might have what you're looking for with a price tag you can stomach.

5. I have said it before and I will say it again: Shop during a sale. And when you buy full price, keep an eye out for a subsequent mark down. Many stores will give you a price adjustment within 14 or even 30 days of your purchase.

Now, who do we know with store discounts?

Let's Talk About...

Sexy clothes in the office.

Sure, I COULD stand here on my soap box and criticize, chastize, and berate those of you showing STOMACH (are you freaking kidding me?!) at the office or more than a little thigh.

But I will not.

I will, instead, take the high road and merely guide you, you lost little lambs.

The fact that I even find this post necessary is already disturbing enough. Just because you found your inner recessionista and you can shop low-budget with the best them doesn't mean the discount clothes don't have to fit. For god's sake.

Here are my mandates- I mean, "suggestions":

1. Any stomach is too much stomach. This means you should be able to do your entire job without showing any stomach. Yes, this means you should be able to reach a file above your head without flashing your (ubiquitous) butterfly tattoo to anyone.

2. The same goes for bum. If I could even POSSIBLY see any part of your arse, your pants/skirt/dress is too short or sits too low on your hips. Seriously, unless you are a plumber...well, you know.

3. Not so high on the thigh. Every office has a slightly different take on skirt length, but they are all in the same ballpark: don't show too much thigh. If you are concerned about your bum being covered when you sit or bend, then your skirt is too short. Period.

4. Lose the stripper heels. I heart my heels, but if they are too high (over 5 inches), too loud (hot pink with silver trim), or too cheap (hello, clear plastic or anything that lights up), then they do not belong at the office.

5. Under no circumstances should anyone be able question whether you are showing too much cleavage. If you have to ask, then it's too much. A low(er) v-neck is fine if a) you wear a cami underneath, or 2) it doesn't show cleavage. If you need a number, I'll give you a 1: that is, 1 inch of cleavage is your absolute max.

I will repeat: If you have to ask, then it's too much.
6. Super tight is not attractive. Your body hugging LBD might score you shots at the local dive, but come ON. Are you really trying to get promoted that way? It's trashy and beneath you, so just stop it immediately.

If you haven't figured out the difference between fitted and tight, please just tell me and I will be most happy to enlighten you. A few guidelines, in the meantime: It is too tight if a) you can't breathe, b) your circulation is cut off, c) you are afraid of seams ripping when you move, or d) people cringe when they see you.

I know this might seen obvious to many of you. There are so many women who dress inappropriately, however. Too sexy is just as bad as, if not worse than, too sloppy, too trendy, etc.