Friday, November 27, 2009

Shop Around, People

This blouse is $228.00 at Anthropologie. This exact same blouse is also at Nordstrom. For $135.90.

Had I been planning to buy this top, which I did consider for more than a second, I would have missed saving 40% by not checking other places that sell this brand. The moral? Shop around.

This Barbie Style Salon Playset is $49.95 at Amazon. It is also available at for $26.99.

I actually AM planning to buy this playset for a toy drive at work, and would never have thought that the Mattel site for Barbie is less expensive than Amazon. The moral? Let's say it together: shop around.

There is no reason, if you are shopping online, why you shouldn't check a few other places for what you are about to buy. And check for a coupon code. Any Google search for "Anthropologie coupon code" will tell you pretty quickly whether you could get a % off or free shipping.

Shopping in brick and mortar stores make it cumbersome to shop around, but online there's no excuse to pay more when a few clicks can prevent it. Happy hunting!

Handbag of the Day: Shoulder Bag

The Calvin Klein Rachelle small shoulder bag is only $98 and comes in black and something called violet whisper. The bag looks perfect for everyday over a winter coat or on the weekend so your hands can be free while you shop/drink cocoa/make merry. Plus, you'll get free shipping, so you don't even have to leave house to get it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Designer Dis: AW can bite me

The $80 tee really pisses me off.

This model is wearing the Alexander Wang Long Sleeve Pocket Tee. And yes, it is $80.

Do I see anything particularly special about this white piece of rayon(!!!)? Do I think a blind nun in the Alps sewed on the pocket by hand?

No and no.

Do I think I could find one that looks EXACTLY THE SAME in a fabric I actually want to wear, like cotton or silk, for much, much less?

Indeed I do.

This is AW's Sheer U-Neck Tee. For $75. I'm guessing the $5 price break is due to the fact that it looks like a stretched out version of the shirts I used to wear in high school gym class, only way more see-though. I just love a tee I have to layer ANOTHER DAMN TEE UNDER in order to wear it in public.

For those of you who think perhaps I am being a bit harsh, please shut it. I could dis on AW all damn day. But have I said a WORD about the $340 Henley top (which could have been borrowed from any large frat boy in the 90s)? Have I mentioned the $235 sweatshorts (are you freaking kidding me)? Have I uttered the tiniest PEEP about the $320 sweatshirt with grommets (it's cropped, people, CROPPED)?

I have not. Or maybe I have. But I don't hate everything from AW. I just think the price point is an artificial way to induce people to buy what they perceive to be exclusive, when really they are just getting ripped off. I haven't seen anything so far that looks original, super well made, or even more than slightly interesting. When you find something, lemme know.

Until then, this overpriced crap just makes me mad.

In the words of Andria C., good friend and shopper extraordinaire: only a wang would buy this tee. Guess what we think that makes you if you pony up for the rest of the line?

Handbag of the Day: Oversized Tote

Please say hello to the lexi slouch oversized tote from Calvin Klein. It's $152.60 and has a really! fun! bright blue! lining! The pleat detail keeps the look sleek, and while this is on the plain side, it could be ideal for someone who tends to go less plain on their outfits or other accessories.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lucky Mag, We Need to Talk

Dear Lucky Magazine,

I have been a loyal reader and faithful supporter for several years. I have been willing to try billowy blouses with boxy skirts (hello, added volume), slouchy shorts with heels (um, weird), and beaded necklaces way after their prime (just plain juvenile and tacky). But much of what you have suggested or taught me in the past has been interesting, useful, and not entirely against my better judgment.


The December 2009 issue is chock full of hideous suggestions and ideas that I wouldn't consider on my most desperate day of wardrobe hell. For brevity's sake, I highlight three of your most recent transgressions:

Shorts for Evening: this is a terrible idea, not least because it is just beyond weird. I don't care if the shorts are sequined and you are wearing your fanciest heels, you'll still be wearing SHORTS AS EVENING WEAR. Yeah, shorts have made a come back somewhat on the runways, but to advise normal people to do this is just irresponsible. Not ok.

Sweatpant Trousers: Are you freaking kidding me?! Are the editors blind? Please explain how sweatpants- designed for masses of People Who Just Came From the Gym or Just Gave Up Entirely- got "styled" with rolled up hems, chunky platforms and a blazer? Perhaps this was the Joke of The Issue section? No? The words that came to mind when I saw this were: schizophrenic, heavy, weird. Not words I want associated with my look, ever.

Socks Pulled Way Up Over Boots: This one can get controversial. I am on the side of Socks Peeking Out Over The Tops of Flat Riding Boots Can Be Cute. You are apparently on the side of Socks Pulled Up So High More of Your Leg Is Covered By Sock Than Boot. I find this look a little silly and also a lot stupid. And if you are already wearing tights, why the hell are you wearing socks? Just buy boots that fit and you won't have this issue in the first place.

I contemplated a break up, but I am planning to give you another chance to satisfy me in ways only you know how. Who else can provide page after page of drool-worthy bags along with good advice on how to wear (adorable!) short-sleeved coats and jackets in the winter?

Lucky Mag, you and I are meant to be together. Please stop including weird/stupid/lame/insulting advice in your future issues, and I know we can go the distance.

Yours truly,
Ellen S.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Frame Flapover with Two Straps

This is the Marisol bag from Hobo and it's pretty cute. It's also on sale for $139. It comes in maple and sorbet (a somewhat less versatile, but pretty, pink). Its unusual shape and cute dot detail are fun, and it looks like the perfect size to be worn as a crossbody. This bag was originally $278 so it's pretty much a steal for under $150.

Gift Watch 2009: Apres Ski Boots

You heard it here first: just because a girl doesn't ski, doesn't meant she shouldn't have furry, warm apres ski boots to hang out in the lodge/at home/just because they're awesome. So, these are on my list this year.

The Sporto Chelsea boot, above, is one I considered for more than half a second. They are cute in a slightly ridiculous way and they're waterproof. Check. But they also have a (small) heel and a somewhat masculine rubber tread. I don't live in Chicago, people (sorry, li'l sis). And I wonder how practical they'd be if I actually DID end up putting them on after skiing.

I thought I kind of liked these:

But are they TOO utilitarian?

The North Face Janey is in the running:

Hello, laces up the back!

And I'm into this Merrell boot:

A little interest on the side, a lot of snuggly around my feet.

Thoughts? Musings? The recent cold weather has me dreaming of snuggly shoes, but I don't think these are appropriate ALL the time. Use some discretion, I'm asking nicely this one time. I'm talking to you, ladies who think these look cute over jeans or with a freaking mini skirt.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Leather Bowler

This Bowler Bag from Joe's Jeans is $98.90 and comes in five colors. The eggplant is seasonally appropriate- and very now- but I also like it in black. I love the fun shape, useful size, and simplicity of the bag. And the bag is a steal, considering the design details it features, like protective feet and interior pockets.

Outfit of the Day

Details: Top, Max Studio. Jeans, Nordstrom. Booties, BCBG Max Azria. Necklace, Banana.

What it was for: Sunday bridal shower for a friend.

Why it works: I am calling this Tasteful Rock Chic. The blouse-y, feminine top balances the skinny jeans, as well as the rocker-ish vibe of the the boots, necklace, and jeans together. Black shoes with black pants lengthens the leg- and sometimes, that's just what needs to happen.

What it needs: Frankly, nothing.

Dress it up: Was already pushing it for a brunch event in the burbs, people.

Dress it down: Switch high heeled booties for flats, lose the necklace.

This picture is a testament to how necessary a new camera is in the fiance's life, no?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Recantation: A tale of lust, woe, and ultimately, salvation

It is SO a word.

Merriam-Webster defines the word recant as "to withdraw or repudiate (a statement or belief) formally and publicly" or "to make an open confession of error."

I am hereby dedicating my recanting (recantment? recanterizing?) to E Dub and all others who tried to persuade me that I was wrong. Because people, I was wrong.

Since I so rarely err* I feel I owe it to you, my loyal readers, to tell you something I thought I'd never ever say: Denim leggings are awesome.

The story goes something like this:

I was browsing my way through Piperlime's Fall top trends and happened upon the denim leggings section. Ready to make fun of the first pair I saw, I started looking more closely at what was being offered. I saw a chance to wear long tunic tops while balancing my lower half with something fitted! The ideal way to wear jeans tucked into my favorite boots! The best way to stay warm while wearing a short dress!

I was in love. And the pair I decided on? Was from Juicy Couture. One of the girliest, most obnoxious purveyors of overpriced useless crap. And yet, the side zippers and sleek lines called to me.

So I ordered them in blue. And considered, just for a moment, ordering them in black, too. But alas, I did not order both colors, a mistake I would realize only when it was too late.

I received them and tried them on at work. After all, if they didn't fit, I was going to have to stuff them back into the box and coax the UPS guy to pick up my return the next day anyway.

I put them on and lo! Long, slim legs! Streamlined silhouette! Happiness in a pair of pants! I already had visions of the floaty tunics I haven't been able to pull off before entering my life once more. I was high on pants, people, and I needed more.

Like any drug, I needed Just One More Time.

So, I trotted home and went back to the site of my happy find. And the black ones were sold out. As I soon discovered they were at EVERY OTHER SITE I SEARCHED as well. And surely we all know my online shopping prowess by now?

I lamented my cruel fate.

So, I called Piperlime and spoke with a chipper customer service rep who cheerfully told me that they were in fact out of my beloved and didn't know when or if any more would become available.

Still jonesing for a hit, I checked out all the major retailers of these overpriced, I mean, DELIGHTFUL designer wares.

And who should come through but Bloomies? To say that angels sang would only be a slight exaggeration. ** And guess who had a 20% off code sent to her just today? And guess who snatched those babies up so fast and whipped her Visa out so quickly, the superinterhighwaynets could barely process my order fast enough?

How does this tale end? Well, there should be more Outfit of the Day posts, first of all. And secondly, there will obviously be a postscript some time describing how my beloveds in blue and black are faring with me.

And so, E Dubs, et al., this one is for you. You were right and I was wrong. I owe ya one. And now I am going to make sweet, sweet love to- ahem, outfits with- my new reason for living.

*This may or may not be true.
**May have just been my fiance's sighs of relief that I was no longer whining/bitching/sniffling about how life isn't fair and why me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shopping Quotes

And now, for your periodic dose of nothing-in-particular, I give you three of my favorite shopping quotes:

I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.
-Sex and The City's Carrie Bradshaw

Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.
-Bo Derek

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.
-Tammy Faye Bakker

Sale Alert

In case you live under a rock/in a cave, there are A LOT of sales going on right now. For me, that means I can get started on my Channuka/Christmas/Kwanzaa shopping. The current Nordstrom sale is pretty great, for starters. And the sale I just hit at Max Studio was pretty awesome. If you are like me, and like to spread out the holiday shopping, you might consider checking out some of these sales. Happy hunting...

Handbag of the Day: Leather Hobo

This Bend-and-Bow hobo is $168 and comes in raspberry, grey, and blue. I love the simplicity of this bag, which makes it sophisticated and easy to wear. I also love that it can be worn as a cross body or a shoulder bag. The burnished hardware is a nice contrast to the super shiny hardware found on a ton of bags this season, too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Italy, Revisited


I'm really just revisiting Italy by (finally!) posting pictures of what I bought for myself in Florence, Land of Delicious Leather Goods Available by the Truckload.

The blue clutch is from Il Bisonte. The Florence store had so many bags I wanted, ultimately I stuck to the sale section and picked up this little gem.

I bought the purple handbag at a fab handbag store that I literally stumbled upon while searching for leather jackets. The bag is convertible three ways and I got a deal cut for me since I ended up buying a second bag for my li'l sis (can't post it or I'd ruin the surprise for her; suffice it to say that it's a totally different look and the leather is awesome).

The handbag sales woman recommended an amazing leather jacket shop, Massimo Leather, from which I purchased not one, but TWO leather jackets (pictures forthcoming during an Outfit of the Day). The really nice shop owner cut me a deal since I bought two. If you are going to Florence, GO TO THIS STORE. And ask for Massimo.

Last stop: Shoe store recommended by Massimo. Fab boots under 100 euro procured. Score!

And the shopping trip would not have been nearly as successful if I hadn't followed the Best Shopping Advice from Li'l Sis EVER: go alone. The sales people will bargain with you more freely if you aren't with someone. This seemed especially true for women, but I have no way of knowing what it's like for a dude...

Sigh. The mall just doesn't look the same any more.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stylish Office Supplies

Since style at the office isn't limited to what we wear, I thought I'd discuss some stylish (and a couple of not so stylish) ways to add some personality to your daily gig.

I will preface this by saying that I checked out several big box stores for fun stuff and came home empty-handed. So, while I heart Target, et al., they weren't doing it for me in this arena.

First, a few rules:

1. A little personality goes a long way at the office. You can be a zealous sports fan/cat lady/dog lover at home, but at the office, just a few choice items will do. As with any accessories, choose one or two pieces as your focus, and the rest of what you have can be basic. For example, a cat of the month calendar and some cat-themed sticky notes are fab. Those plus a cat stapler, cat pen, cat mousepad, cat magnets, and cat folders will mark you as more interested in cats than your job. And while that might be true, there's no need to advertise that to your boss.

2. Remember that you are at work. Sticky notes with snarky quotes are fine if they can exist in mixed company, but do you really want your supervisor to see that file with the "File This Under U for Useless" note on it? Ditto for anything religous or even mildly sexual.

3. Fun and unique does not equal kitschy. I think glitter pens with fluffy tops can make any woman look juvenile and take away from her being viewed as smart, capable, and worthy of being taken seriously. No matter how relaxed your office environment is, avoid all things Hello Kitty or anything that looks like you might have loved it in middle school. (Miley Cyrus fans, I'm looking at you.) Tow the line between fun or a little silly and just plain frivolous.

On to the shopping!

I may or may not have just dropped $80 on office supplies at Galison. Their selection is great, their prices are good (a few items- the exact some ones- were lower here than at other sites I checked out), and I even found a %15 off coupon code (thank you, Google). I'm particularly keen on the holiday gift card and tag sets and the way you can shop by theme or collection, so you can coordinate your supplies if you wish.

See Jane Work is another source for cute, unique supplies. Check out the magnetic birdie paperclip holder, fun pencil cups, and the animal tape dispensers. The Pulling it Together blog is entertaining and useful, too.

I also found Sorting with Style in my search for fun supplies. You can shop by style or collection here, too, which makes it easy to find what you like. I'm currently obsessing about the leaf paperclips and the (dog) bones paperclips.

Handbag of the Day

Kidding! Seriously, have you READ my blog?

THIS is the Handbag of the Day:


Ok, ok, I'll stop. Here it is:

This Lucky Brand Foldover Tote comes in ultraviolet, tan, and black and is $169. I like the angled pleats detail and the fact that it can be folded over to be used as a clutch makes it really versatile. A fun, floral print lining doesn't hurt, either.