Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stilletto Bookends

These would be a perfect addition to my future walk-in shoe closet, no?  $130 at giddyspinster on Etsy.

What's the Diff? Flats Edition

This is the Marais Maryjane Bow Flat.  It's $96 at Moxsie.

This is the Frenchi City of Love Ballerina flat.  It's $96 at Anthropologie. According to the site, these are an "online exclusive."

What's the diff, you ask?  There isn't one- it's the EXACT SAME SHOE. 

Which one would I choose?  The pair from Moxsie, hands down.  Because I can often get a 10-20% discount at Moxsie (they run promotions often), they always have free shipping and free returns, and Marais USA is nicer, more respected brand.  Sorry, Anthro- your "online exclusive" is only excluding your in-store customers.  People can buy the same thing elsewhere for less and with better service. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The $92 Grey Sweatshirt

This is a $92 grey sweatshirt. It's like all the other grey pullover sweatshirts in the world except it's overpriced by around $72. 

Oh, oops- Anthro is calling it "ivory."  My mistake. 

Let's examine some of the reasons this particular sweatshirt merits the bat shit crazy high price tag. 

1. Surely it's made from the softest combed unicorn fur to found in the land!

Wait, nope- cotton and polyester.

Hey, Anthro- it's ballsy as hell to price a poly blend basic over $40.

2. It's an "online exclusive!"

Right, because a plain grey (fine, "ivory") cotton/poly sweatshirt couldn't possibly be found elsewhere.  Certainly not at places like Target, Wal-Mart, or any sports store.

3.  Bet the reviews are great!

Nope.  As of the writing of this post, the item had 3 out of 5 stars, with one reviewer describing it as "itchy and feels more like cheap wool" and another saying "if you want a slouchy, relaxed fit, I would definitely size up."

Yeah, everyone I know wants their sweatshirts to be scratchy and form-fitted.

4.  But the description says it "couldn't be cuter."

Because if it's in writing on the internet, it must be true.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Frocking Friday 1

Yes, the first picture is ridiculous.  And fairly unflattering.

Outfit Details: Dress: Banana Republic; Cami: Banana Republic; Tights: DKNY; Boots: ModCloth (back in stock; buy them here); Ring: gifted

Dress it up: add statement necklace and large cuff bracelet

Dress it down: Remove tights, switch boots for simple flats

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Handbag of the Day: Daily Brights Satchel

This is the Daily Brights Satchel at Anthropologie.  It's $188 and also comes in a sunny yellow.  I like this bag as a kick for any outfit, especially all neutrals.  I especially like a pop of color when winter seems like it won't end.  It's an awesome size for someone who doesn't need to tote their entire house with them daily.  And it will work for spring and summer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Andrea Takes Chicago: one work outfit at a time!

[Note from Ellen S.: from time to time my awesome li'l sis will be contributing to the blog.  Show her some love and leave some comments, will you?]

I believe that some people go shopping so they can go to work…and some people work so that we can go shopping.

Additionally, I have always loved the idea that I can justify buying something because I can wear it to work. As though spending a ridiculous amount of money on shoes or a sweater is justified because I will wear it during the day, Monday through Friday. It makes SO much sense in the dressing room while trying on the fabulous dress you just have to have. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this philosophy.

So what do you consider acceptable to buy just because you got a new job?

Funny you should ask that- since I just got a new job! WOOT!

I have had the good fortune to always work at fairly casual places- never necessary to wear a suit or pantyhose (thank god!). This leaves me in a bizarre situation however, as I wear fairly preppy clothes even on the weekends. Somehow I end up being dressier than necessary at a business casual workplace in an effort to wear something different than on Sunday! My current (temporary) job requires business casual, which to me means slacks or a skirt, nice shoes, a sweater or blouse, etc. But there are people in the office who wear some surprisingly casual (read: ugly) outfits that often make me feel overdressed.  Baggy knit pants are really just not ok ever, but PLEASE don’t make me look at them at work. I know its time to leave this job because I have stopped bringing shoes to change into when I arrive at work in my (super cute!) snow boots, and I simply wear them all day instead because even dressed like that I’m still in the top 5 most fashionable at the office. Ellen would die if she saw it in real life. Don’t let her see you like that. It will end badly.

The new job I have (yay!) also requires business casual. The women at this office (its 5 of us, all women who LOVE SHOES!) totally notice cute clothes. Not everyone dresses what I consider “business casual” all the time, but everyone makes an effort to look nice. I think that’s why I fit in so well- our shared love of fashion but also our shared, relatively (as compared to the amount of work done) small salaries. And when I went to the Mall of America (TAX FREE PEOPLE! Top 5 happiest places on earth!) last week and went shopping “for work clothes”, I decided- I’m not an intern anymore, darnit, I’m gonna look FAB-U-LOUS.

I already have a lot of basics- which are SO key when starting a job, or just in life. Some black and grey trousers, a few collared, button down shirts in nice colors (I have one that’s bright pink, that I only recommend if your office isn’t formal at all!), basic v-neck sweaters, basic heels and flats. But lets be honest, it gets VERY boring. I try to add little details with jewelry and shoes, and fun nail colors (another thing I only recommend at casual offices), but with my body type (read: plus size but proportional, and very cleavage-riffic) it can be a serious challenge to look my age and still be professional.

Therefore, at the Mall of America, I purchased:
~A great black and white dress that has ruffles on the top, and with a big wide belt is SO flattering and comfy. Can be dressed up with metallic heels and great jewelry or dressed down with flats, a cardigan, and some very small earrings. Marked down to $89- SUCH a steal.

~I also got a dress that’s a little dressier, because I do go to work functions where people are in business formal. Its also two colors- a nice grey/blue satin on top with a bit of ruffle, and black bottom (this look works for me, what can I say!?). This can also be dressed up or down, and I plan on dressing it down with a cardigan as much as possible. Though at only $100, I still feel like it was a good deal.

~I found a blue and grey sweater to go with some of the basic (read: boring!) skirts and trousers that I have- it fits nicely and will transition well into spring. Less of a steal at $65, but it has cute little pockets and the board members will like how retro it is. (Yes, yes I do pander to the wealthy people who donate to us, its my job.)

~My favorite purchase that day, however, was the bronze Indigo heels I bought at Clarks for $100. I am not a big wearer of heels to work in general, but they are incredibly comfortable, Clarks/Indigos are well made, and metallic goes with everything! Plus, my collection of black heels was getting a little out of control.

Though I always have my eye out for fun work clothes, I think one of my goals this year will be to have a little more fun with my work outfits. I get stuck in a rut of sweater/pants/flats, and I think I need a little more sparkle.

Moral of the work clothes story: just because you’re at work, doesn’t mean you should look like you are counting the minutes until Happy Hour. Even though we totally are.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shop This Place: That Funky Boutique

I stumbled on That Funky Boutique in my travels through the interwebs. 

I am in LOVE with the handmade scarves on this site.  They are wool or wool blends, and are insanely well-priced.  Here some favorites:

Warm Greens Scarf ($46):

Berry Plum Pink Scarf ($38):

Vary Grey Scarflette ($32):

The fun rose pillows are also worth checking out...

Some 2011 Style Resolutions

Instead of a 2010 round up (been there, read that), I am listing a few style resolutions that are either my own or those I think a few others in the world (and by "few," I mean "most") might consider adopting...

1. I will not wear I Give Up Clothes every damn day. 

You know who you are.

People have eyes, including those who live with you.  So even though it's casual day at the Jones/Smith/Heinz residence, you can still wear clothes that fit, are clean, and don't makes your arse look like an elephant's.

2. I will participate in Frocking Fridays.

That means you wear a dress every Friday.  I am participating in this, because I love wearing dresses, being part of a fun group, and bringing my style A-game on the day most people are sliding by in jeans or their rattiest pair of office appropriate pants. 

This group can be found on Facebook.  It's called Frocking Fridays, in case you are slow.

3. I will be selective about the trends I participate in. 

Vogue, Piperlime, et al. maybe telling you clogs are the best thing since Jello pudding pops (seriously, I miss those), but they are all kinds of fugly.  Why the hell would you want fugly on your feet?  Or anywhere, for that matter?

I'm all for trying new things.  Let's just all be a little more rational this year, ok?

And Piperlime?  If Wax Leggings are the best you can come up with from 2010, what a crap year it was indeed.

4. I will not buy multiples.

I am guilty of this.  I see something I love and I buy it.  In every color. 

That's one of the best ways to have a boring as hell wardrobe.  A uniform is one thing; a replica of your outfit, every damn day, is entirely another.

Note: this does not apply to under garments.  If you find a bra/thong/granny panties that work, you buy as much of it/them as you can afford.

5. I will clean out my closet at least twice this year.

This means actually removing what doesn't fit, is stained/damages beyond repair, and worn out and GETTING RID OF IT.

A trip to Goodwill will not kill you. Nor will some space for the clothes you do wear, as well as, perhaps, some new ones.

6. I will accessorize. 

This is how others know you care- about yourself, about the impression you make, about your personal style. 

We put on clothes because we have to, but we put on earrings, scarves, and cocktail rings because it's fun, can reflect who we are, and makes an impression on others.

7.  I will try one new thing.

This is the flip side to number 3.  If you never try new things, do it.  The worst thing that happens is you have to put it back on the rack/shelf or return it.  You might find something that works really well.  Or you might not.  But the best way to revive your look is to add something fresh.  And fresh often means new and different.

8.  I will dress for the size that I am, not the size I want to be or used to be.

I see this all the damn time.

Lost weight?  Stop wearing your over-sized clothing.  RIGHT NOW.

Gained weight?  Put down those too-tight jeans.  RIGHT NOW.

In the process of losing?  Awesome.  Killer.  Wonderful. You still have to dress yourself daily in clothes that fit and flatter.  I know you don't want to buy any new clothes until you hit your goal.  That's what Old Navy is for.  Don't invest in a Burberry trench if you are certain you are going to lose 50 pounds.  But you also can't slink around in over-sized pants for several months.  So buy some clothes in your transitional sizes- and wear clothes every day that flatter your changing figure.

9.  I will shop around.

Retailers should not get one more cent from you than you have to give them for something.  The clothing industry is in no position to whine, because they've been charging inflated prices for decreasing quality for years. 

So check more than one site or store, check for coupon codes, look for something similar for less.  I don't recommend going bargain basement on every purchase, but there are times when the EXACT SAME ITEM is less elsewhere.  Don't be a sucker.

10.  I will buy it locally.

I have no soapbox speech prepared in support of buying local.  But I will say that if something can be purchased in your community for the same price and service as elsewhere, why not support your area businesses?

This doesn't take as much time or effort as you might think.  There's an adorable boutique in my neighborhood.  I know which brands they carry and I know their (pretty strict) return policy.  If I want to buy something they will likely carry, I will buy it there- as long as I know I won't have to return it. Otherwise, I am going to hit Nordstrom, where I once returned a 3 year old (unworn! with tags still on!) suit and they didn't bat an eye.