Monday, May 30, 2011

What's the Diff? Housewares Edition

These are the Bird House Salt & Pepper Shakers.  It's $19 at Pottery Barn (marked down from $24).

This is the Plenty of Spice to Share Shaker Set.  It's $21.99 at ModCloth (currently sold out but you can sign up to be notified when it's back in stock).

What's the diff?  Well, the shakers in the PB set are ceramic and the tree is cast-metal.  The ModCloth version is all ceramic.  The price is so similar, I'd say go with the one you prefer aesthetically.  For me, I'd go with the PB set.   Not only does it look higher end, based on what I know of the products from each site, PB products are better made and last longer. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Size Banana

[Disclaimer: if you don't understand the words "farce", "humor", or "sarcasm", stop reading now.]

I was talking with my friend S today about how certain brands seems to have size inflation.  Yes, like grade inflation.  Vanity sizing is abundant and making things even more confusing for women to buy clothes.

The Gap is one of the worst offenders- a size 4 pant fits what is a more standard size 8 body and then stretches, eventually fitting more like a 10 or 12.  WTF?

This makes buying clothes online particularly crap-shootastic.  And I am sick of it.

The conversation/ranting/chest pounding about numbered sizes not being standard has been had.  But no real solutions have been offered.  Women are offended by what certain numbers seem to imply and the clothing industry has made ZERO effort to standardize anyway.  Even jeans, which you'd think would be easier given the standard waist sizes, aren't easy to buy. 

My solution?  Introducing the new Fruit & Animal Sizing System (FASS).

Why not start with something women have been conditioned to identify with?  Most women know whether they're considered an apple or pear, a sexy panther or a fluffy bunny.  Surely going further couldn't possibly be more damaging- and won't be nearly as confusing.

And it's just as random as the numbers.

Pygmy Hippo: formerly size "small".  Can't be offensive because if you are that skinny, who cares what animal you are?  You obviously have no body issues because being skinny makes everyone happy.

Banana: formerly a size "medium".  Inoffensive because who doesn't like bananas?  Implies that you are curvy, but in a slim, carrying your own wrap kind of way.  And yellow is so cheerful.

Apple: formerly a "figure flattering shape".  Meant to conceal your tummy and emphasizes the waist.  Apples are healthy and contain more vitamin C than oranges.  Take that, citrus.

Orangutan A, B and C: formerly European sizes "1, 2, and 3".  These clothes are meant for people that everyone knows are skinnier than them anyway. 

Pear: formerly a "curvy on the bottom shape."  Typically used for bathing suit and pant shopping, now this size spans the gamut from tunics to flip flips. Because you will obviously need some support for that itty bitty waist and round thing in your face.

Snow Leopard: formerly size "large."  Everyone knows snow leopards are strong and powerful.  Can't catch a goat on the side of a mountain if you are the size of a pygmy hippo.

Turtle: formerly "plus sizes".  Inoffensive because it's obvious that you want to hide your curves under oversized polyester tunics and baggy jeans and don't want any of the same options that Pygmy hippos, bananas, or Snow Leopards have.

Watermelon: formerly "petite sizes".  Because you are just so short and cute and hopefully seedless.

Please note the FASS is an evolving system.  With time, I hope to encapsulate every possible shape and size so that buying clothes is not only easier, but way more fun.  And obviously less confusing than numbered waist/inseam/rise measurements could ever be.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shop This Place: uptomuch on Etsy

I spotted this Cumulus Coud Ring featured on If Style Could Kill the other day and knew I had to see more.  The steel rings in this Esty shop called uptomuch are aggressive, playful, and industrial.  The perfect counterpoint to flowy tops and nude or blush tones.   And they are well priced, too.

Here are are a few more I love...

The Bifurcated Bud Ring ($42):

The Sun Sprocket Grip Light Ring ($38):

The Polyoptic Ring ($48):

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Shopping Ban: Challenge #3

Challenge #3 hit just as I was smirking at yesterday's success.  The Anthro tag sale was disappointing, at best, so I was able to turn my nose up and walk away from it without glancing back. 

But just as I was set to ignore the smell of commerce wafting though my computer screen, the Kate Spade sample sale was announced.  Via email, Facebook, and Twitter.  (on To Do List: familiarize myself with unsubscribe feature.)

Up to 75% off and $5 shipping?  Who was I to resist?  Seriously people, WHO?

Especially since this baby was only $89 (marked down from $225):

So, I caved and got it in a delightful shade of yellow called goldenrod.  Can you blame me? 

The question on everyone's mind is now, of course, whether this is my May cheat item or if the Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats will also make it into my cart before the month is up. 

And people, I just don't know.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's The Diff? ModCloth v. Anthro Edition

In some shocking news, ModCloth has had some eerily similar pieces to Anthro's offerings lately...

Exhibit A:  Daphanie Dream Dress ($99.99)

Look familiar?  That's because Anthro has the Pangaea Silk Dress ($99.95; was $298)

Exhibit B: Club Red Dress ($49.99; out of stock but you can sign up to be notified of when they have it again)

Anthro's Fountain of Youth dress is available in green or navy stripe ($128)

Exhibit C: Mist You Much Top ($44.99)

The sleeve shape and ruffles alone scream Anthro, as does the muted color.

Exhibit D:  I have seen so many versions of the Guava Juice Top ($29.99) at Anthro, I can't even begin to list them all...

As if more evidence were needed, here is Exhibit E: Playing Cards Top ($24.99)

Anthro's Summer Stripe Tee (which I love and have in all 3 available colors) ($48)

Monday, May 16, 2011

I am over the royal wedding...

...but this is awesome.

May Shopping Ban: Challenge #2

The lure of a sale. Not just any sale, but a mega sale.  Like the  Nordstrom half yearly sale, for which I may or may not have taken mornings off from work to attend during the week when stock is still high and customer traffic low. 

Or the upcoming, semi-annual Anthropologie Tag Sale tomorrow, May 17.  Their biggest sale. With huge mark downs on a huge number of items.

This is like crack for an Anthro addict like me.  The key to overcoming this challenge will be to avoid it entirely, or to have ONE item selected as my cheat item, so if I find it on a great discount, I can snap it up (relatively) guilt-free.

Whether I can stick to the May Shopping Ban is one thing.  What I have started realizing about my shopping habits is another- and much more thought-provoking- thing entirely.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Hunt for Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats: Another Possibility

Since I know you have been anxiously awaiting an update on The Hunt for Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats, here it is: another contender has thrown its hat pointy toed goodness into the ring shopping cart.

This is the Nine West Naughty Leather flat.  They are $49.95, making them the cheapest option so far.  The deep red is lovely.  They also have the best pointed toe I have seen in some time;  not too long with a hint of curve, making it less severe than other pointy toed shoes.

I have some reservations, however.  They appear shiny, but not patent.  Deal-breaker?  Possibly.  Dull red is not for me.  I also have a hit-or-miss history with how Nine West shoes fit, particularly their flats.  Given the good reviews and free shipping, they could be worth a try, though.

What do you think of these?

Monday, May 9, 2011

WTF?! Monday

My friend E Dub just sent me a link to Violent Lips, a site selling terrifying shocking temporary lip tattoos.  

Here's one:

Yep. They are heinous.  I believe my exact reply was "GROSS what would that ever be good for besides warehouse parties and raves?"

In an attempt to be a TEENY TINY bit less intolerant of things I hate on first glance, I perused the website for more information.  I came up with a product page, with each offering more disturbing than the last, and a SNORE-ing blog.  Oh, and for 4 minutes and 38 seconds you'll never get back, check out the instructional video.

I stand by my initial reaction.

The Hunt for Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats: Contenders

So far, there are 2 contenders for my next pair of Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats.  Frankly, I am relieved that there are any at all.

First up: Kate Spade New York Elaina
They are the prefect shade of red, a great non-witchy pointy toe, and are flat enough (they have a 1/2 heel, which I can probably get over).  They have a feminine, almost delicate vibe enhanced by the neat little bow.  They are also $225.

Next up: Fitzwell Vanessa III
These are also a fabulous shade of red, have a (most likely) non-witchy pointy toe, and are also flat enough with their 1/2 heel.  These have a more adult, retro feel with the higher curved sided and deeper hue.  They aren't made of real leather, which is a big hit against them.  Then again, they are only $59. 

What do you think of these options?  Which pair would you advise?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May Shopping Ban: Challenge #1

My first real challenge happened yesterday when I went to Anthropologie.  Fortunately, I was with a friend who is also, at least somewhat, on a self-imposed shopping ban, so we could browse together without encouraging any purchases by the other. 

Why even go in, you ask?

I like keeping up with what's new, seeing what's out there, comparison shopping, and generally looking at pretty things.  Shopping is not just a means to an end for me.  It's an experience, a hobby.  It's not my only hobby, fortunately, but it is one of them. 

So, we went in, poked around, played with some new housewares, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I did have a moment of panic when this awesome maxi dress (see it on The British Anthropologist here) was marked down a second time to $39.99 (original retail price was $158).

An excerpt of my racing mind:
OMG! $40! How can I pass that up?  It doesn't count if it's a steal, right? RIGHT?! And I can wear it all summer! And it's in classic colors! RIGHT?!

Fortunately, they didn't have my size.  Which was, weirdly, a relief.  I wasn't even faced with a real choice, so I could walk away guilt-free.

And I learned a few things.


Is straight up see through.  Def not buying at full price.


While nice leather, are so boring in person, I fell asleep holding them. 

Most importantly, I walked out empty handed without feeling like I was missing something.  A small thing, maybe, but certainly a success.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Shopping Ban: Day 1 and The Red Flats Story

It's Day 1 of my shopping ban and while I feel a little shaky, I am going strong.  This whole Not Buying Anything Thing is rough, given that Kate Spade's new summer pieces are out, Anthro keeps running huge sales, and Piperlime continues upping the ante with summer dresses under $75.

But lo!  There is an out!  A cheat item is permitted.  Phew.

My cheat item will likely be a pair of red flats.  My specifications for these flats are: bright lipstick red (nothing orange, dull, or pinkish), patent leather, pointy toed, and completely flat (no sliver wedge, no kitten heel).  They are going to replace the pair I currently have, which have been much loved (read: worn out and starting to stink).  I have an emotional commitment to these shoes like no other pair of shoes (except maybe the boots I bought in Amsterdam with S, but that's another story for another day).

My Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flat love story begins innocently enough with a pair of such red flats at a Macy's sale.  I don't remember the brand (Calvin Klein? Micheal Kors?), but I distinctly remember trying them on in front of those awful shoe sale racks set up all over the massive shoe department.  They were comfortable, delightfully pointy, and the perfect shade of red.  They were attractive and even a little sexy, which is hard to accomplish without a heel.  They were also out of my price range, even on sale.  I was between law school and my first full time real job and while these were perfect, they couldn't be mine.

I knew leaving them was a mistake, but I couldn't do anything about it.  And I regretted choosing rent and food over those shoes for years.  YEARS, PEOPLE.  For years, I kicked myself for letting them go.  For years, I searched for them or their equal. 


Until!  I spotted them.  Unassuming, they sat upon a shelf at Bandolino.  I tried them on immediately, and purchased them on the spot.  They were exactly what I wanted: bright tomato red, shiny patent, razor-sharp pointed toe that wasn't too long, a low vamp that showed just a little toe cleavage, and perfectly flat.  They were also a d'Orsay flat, so they had just a little more sex appeal than your average flat shoe.  Not only could I afford them, they were on sale and less expensive than the ones at Macy's.

The Bandolino flats (once I broke them in- ouch!), were my favorite flats for at least 3 years.  I received compliments on them almost any time I wore them, and I wore them often.  They were great for work, parties, casual weekends.  Loved, loved, LOVED them. 

They had to be sent to shoe heaven when they were scuffed beyond repair and holes were worn into the toes.  No amount of attention from the cobbler could save them.

About 2 years into my relationship with the Bandolino flats, I foresaw my future without them and I panicked.  What if it took me years (YEARS, PEOPLE) to find a replacement pair? 

A Nordstrom sale and yearing to stall the inevitable led me to the BCBG MAXAZRIA (I'm not yelling, that's how they write it) red flats I have now.  I didn't touch them until the Bandolino flats bit the dust.  Only then did I start wearing them. 

The BCBGs felt different, of course.  Like any new lover, their touch was foreign and appearance novel.  Instead of a d'Orsay cut out, they had a buckle with gold details.  Rather than a flat, shiny patent, they had a bit more sparkle and sheen.  They were a slightly deeper hue. 

So as I mourned my beloved Bandolinos, I adjusted to the BCBGs.  And slowly, little by little, I grew to love and appreciate them.  They could also be worn to work and parties and on casual weekends.  They too garnered compliments, though not nearly as many as their predecessors. 

Now my BCBG flats are starting to scuff, and wear down, and smell.  And so I must commence the search, once more, for a pair of Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats before the end of the BCBG flats' life. 

This leads me to my current quest: The Hunt for Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats.  My mission is clear.  I must locate and secure my next pair of Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats. And maybe this time, I will buy multiples.

What's the Diff? Flats Edition

This is the A Gloss for Words Flat.  It's $59.99 at ModCloth.

This is the Restricted Peach Patent Flat.  It's $44.95 at DSW.

They are, in fact, the exact same shoe.  So what's the diff, you ask?  The diff, my dear readers, is that DSW is offering them for $15.04 less than ModCloth, and DSW offers free shipping on orders of $35 or more.  My choice is obvious.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Shopping Ban

I just signed up for The Anthroholic Shopping Ban/Shop Your Closet Challenge. The rules require participants to not buy any clothes, shoes, or accessories for the rest of May.  Under the terms of the ban, we are allowed one cheat item.  Since I am searching for red patent leather pointy-toed flats to replace the (stinky and well-worn) ones I have now, those will likely be my cheat item if I find the right pair.

I have participated in clothes-wearing challenges like Dressember and Frocking Fridays, but I have never taken a true shopping hiatus.

I am going to track my progress here and see how I do.  I think challenges like this are probably more fun with a supportive group, so I am looking forward to seeing others' progress, as well.  Kim at Anthroholic will post weekly updates on her progress and the rest of us will weigh in too.

Want to join in?  Just leave a comment over at Anthroholic and start shopping your closet instead of the stores!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Museum Hopping

Outfit of the Day: Sunny Sunday

(Note To Readers: I am trying a few different things with this feature.  I am publishing a Polyvore set and also adding individual pictures of items I am wearing with links for where to find them.  PLEASE LET ME KNOW: do you like either or both of these additions?  A disadvantage with Polyvore is that I am not in the picture and sometimes it's more fun to see the clothes on a person.  I also can't explain anything in the post.  For instance, I don't own the $2,200 leather jacket featured in the set, but doesn't it look fab with the rest of the outfit?)

Here's what I wore on Sunday for a sunny day of strolling with S and lunch and some more strolling with A.

Outfit details: Top: Anthro (find it here); Skirt: Anthro; Clutch: Longchamp; Shoes: Ciao Bella Moxie at Piperlime (find them here); Bracelet: Hive and Honey at Piperlime (find it here)

Here's the tee in more detail:

Here's the skirt in more detail:

Here's the bracelet in more detail:
Here are the shoes in more detail:

Dress it up: Switch flats for heels, add smart jacket

Dress it down: Switch clutch for cross-body bag, un-tuck the tee.

Sunny Sunday

Ralph Lauren Black Label suede jacket
$2,200 -

$68 -

Ciao Bella flat shoes
$49 -

Hive Honey gold plated bangle
$24 -

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shop This Place: Darlingtonia Moccasin Company

Moccasins aren't my go to shoes.  To me, most of them feel a little masculine and nature-y and, weirdly, juvenile at the same time.  Because I love feminine details in my accessories, I am more of a ballet flats/booties/round-toed pumps kind of girl.  And no, I don't do fringe.  But I just bought a pair of black moccasins (with a bow and nautical detailing and zero fringe, obviously) and finding them fun to wear. 

So when I stumbled upon Darlingtonia Moccasin Company, I knew I'd hit pay dirt in terms of cute moccasins for the rest of us.  Feathers, apples, and stud details make these anything but your ordinary moccasin.  They are leather, handmade, and made to order.  And for that kind of work, $119 or $129 seems like a reasonable price.

Here are my favorites: (the one pictured above is the Blue Feather Moccasin)

Dove Moccasin:

The description says these are "for brides" but I'd wear them like any other casual neutral flat.

Rust Feather Moccasin:

I'd save these for the fall, when the weather turns crisp and corduroy starts making its way outside again.

Lime Pow Wow Princess Moccasin:

A little preppy and a lot cute, these will work well with this season's bright colors and classic shapes.