Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Handbag of the Day: Leather Tote

This is the Rumpled Tote.  It's on sale for $99.95 (was $198) at Anthropologie.  It's a roomy leather bag that will function well for those of you who need to carry your lives on your shoulders every day.  It comes in 3 color combos, but I think I like this tan/black one best, as it looks the most versatile.  And yes, that weird charm/keychain/thingy is removable.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Handbag of the Day: Colorblock Satchel

This is the Sloan & Alex Shea Colorblock Satchel.  It's $178 at Nordstrom. Unless you live in a cave, you know the handbag world is all about the satchel right now.  And color blocking is huge, too.  So you can participate in these trends with one sweet little meduim-sized handbag.  This bag will work well with fall colors- complimenting the more traditional darker hues and contrasting with the brights that are trending right now.  It's a great every day size, and the long strap and shorter handle options give versatility.  It comes in 3 color combos, but this one, described as "Ink/Violet/Forest", is my favorite.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A (Temporary) New Look

Yep, the blog has a new look.  For now. It's temporary because...(insert drum roll here)...

The site is getting an entire re-design!  Announcement and requisite fanfare coming soon!

In the meantime, ooohhh...look at all the pretty colors...ahhh....

What's the Diff? Gold Knot Earrings Edition

These are the Know The Ropes Knot Studs.  They are $48 from Kate Spade.
These are the Believe It or Knot Earrings.  They are $9.99 at ModCloth.

Gold knot earrings are a classic piece of jewelry with a little nautical touch.  There are real gold versions that are $200+; I stuck with some lower priced options here.

What's the diff?  Well, the Kates are more tightly wrapped knots, 14k gold plated, and 3/8 inch long.  The ModCloth versions are more loosely wrapped knots, lead and nickel-free metal, and 1/2 inch long.  Frankly, I think you could probably get away with the ModCloth version if you took decent care of them.  Ultimately though, they won't last as long as something in real gold, or even gold plate. 

Which would I choose?  It's a trick question of course, because my ears aren't pierced .  But if they were, I'd probably good with the cheaper pair; my style doesn't tend toward the preppy or classic, so these would be a fun addition but not something I'd wear often.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tights Storage

I have received a request to discuss the best way to store tights.  I also happen to be in the market for better storage myself.

If yours are in a jumbled mess in a drawer somewhere, please stop it.  It's just mean to your tights and it must take you forever to find what you need.  AND there are so many easy and inexpensive ways to organize that crazy mess.

I think your best option will come down to two things: 1) whether you have more available drawer space or closet space; and 2) how aesthetically pleasing you want your storage solution to be.

Here is pretty much what I currently do:

I have one pair per baggie in a drawer.  Each baggie is labeled with a general description of what is inside, and each baggie is closed.  The labeling helps when trying to distinguish among black, navy, and dark grey when the sun is barely out.  Keeping the baggies closed prevents the pairs from falling out.

Upsides: protection from snags, separated from other pairs, easy to find and grab what I need

Downsides: baggies do not stay put (they slide around and quickly become a jumbled mess inside the drawer), not aesthetically pleasing, extra steps to put them away (if I don't fold, roll and put each pair back into its baggie immediately after washing, I end up with a jumbled mess anyway), storage in sealed plastic may not be best for tights in the long run
Here are 6 more options to consider:

1. Tights on hangers (idea found here)

Upsides: attractive (especially if you have a range of colors), save drawer space, easy to find what you need in the same place as the rest of your outfit, tights can breathe

Downsides: extra steps to put them away (you will have to put them away immediately or end up with a mess on your bed/dresser/floor/dusty treadmill), takes up hanging space, may not be as attractive with 15 pairs of black and grey tights

If you want to do this, here's some good advice from a Vogue Australia commenter on how properly fold tights on a hanger (similar to scarves): "Fold the tights in half over the hanger (not so there is one leg on each half but lengthways). You will have the waistband of the stockings and both feet hanging over one side, and the other side will be a loop. Pull the stocking feet and waistband through the loop. Pull gently on the feet/waistband and voila you should have them hanging in a nice knot."

2. Tights in organizer cubes (found here)

Upsides:  can easily see what you have, could be stored in a drawer or on a shelf in a closet or wardrobe, could find some that match your decor, fast and easy to put away each pair in each section

Downsides: could snag tights if material is rough, takes up drawer or shelf space, may not be attractive, limited by the number of available cubbies

3. Tights in drawer dividers

Upsides: can easily see what you have, frees up closet space, fast and easy to put away each pair in each section

Downsides: takes up drawer space, could snag tights if material is rough, limited by the number of available cubbies (though they are often customizable)

4. Tights in a hanging shoe rack

This one is attractive, and is meant for over a door, but they also come in clear plastic can can hang from the bar in your closet.

Upsides: save closet and drawer space, easy access to each pair, protection from snags, could find attractive option, easy to put away

Downsides: may not be able to easily see what you have, most options aren't that pretty, may have to put holes in or scratches on a door, limited by the number of available sections

5. Tights on scarf hangers

This one is from Ikea:
This one is from the Container Store:

Upsides: save drawer space, can easily see what you have, easy to put away

Downsides: risk of snagging when pulling through loops, takes up closet space, looks slightly old lady-ish

6. Tights in plastic drawer organizer (found here)

Upsides: can easily see what you have, could be stored in a drawer or on a shelf in a closet or wardrobe, could find some that match your decor, fast and easy to put away each pair in each section, protection from snags, more options with different sized cubbies

Downsides: limited by the number of available cubbies, plastic looks a little cheap

This one is the clear winner for me. It has the right number of cubby sections for the pairs I have, I can put it in a drawer or in my closet, it's easy to put each pair away quickly, each pair can breathe, and I can easily see what I have.  I may even put small labels on some sections to help distinguish between black and navy in the morning.

Tell me: How do you store you tights?  Are any of these options appealing?

In Case You Were Wondering...

These tights DO make the model look like she has mange.  Wear lace tights with caution.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review of Commando Tights

A.K.A Tights From Heaven.

The quest to find tights that are truly opaque (not a hint of sheerness!) and truly matte (not even a bit of shine!) has been a long one. 

I have conducted much research in this area, both by trying many pairs and by reading up on what others like best.  Many crowd favorites have fallen short: DKNY, while usually comfortable and fairly matte, often have a waist band that digs in and aren't truly opaque; Wolford tights might be the cat's meow, but they are also $60+ and some are wool; Banana Republic doesn't fit me well, nor do Merona tights from Target.

Thanks to my faithful reading of Lucky Magazine, I discovered Commando Opaque Matte Tights

They are truly matte, truly opaque, and best of all, there is no waist band to dig into my skin.  They sit very high on the waist and the stretchy swathe of material that rests on my stomach and hips doesn't dig in- it just...holds them up.  So they are seamless and comfortable and stylish and warm.  And they are $34, which I agree is hefty, but so worth it.  My price per wear on these babies will be miniscule by the time Spring rolls back around. 

I love them so much, I bought 6 pairs: 2 black, 2 brown, 1 purple, and 1 red and black stripe. 

What are YOUR favorite tights?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tights By Number

It's time for my Annual Tights Clean Out And Organization.

Every September, I go through all of my tights and try all of them on.  Yep, all of them. I make sure they are still:
1. Comfortable- not too tight or too loose, not scratchy, no irriating seams
2. Attractive- no holes or runs, no pilling, not worn out, still up to date colors and opaqueness or sheerness
Here is what I discovered this year:  I forgot do this last September.

I can hardly be blamed, I was planning a WEDDING for pete's sake.  But it means my job this year has been a difficult one.

Here is a picture of my tights wardrobe, by the numbers...

Total pairs I started with: 38

Pairs I am returning because they are still in their packaging: 4

Pairs I am giving away because they are unworn but unreturnable and it turns out I am not a sparkly tights kind of girl: 1

Pairs I tossed (attention environmentalists: this is HOSIERY, people, it can't be donated if it's used): 14

Pairs I am keeping: 19

Pairs I bought: 6 (review of these Tights From Heaven coming soon to a blog post near you)

Total pairs I have for the season: 25

Storage right now: each pair, shoved into rolled up nicely in its own labeled ziplock bag, all crammed stored  in a drawer. 

(Sort of like this, only more jumbled)


Permanent storage solution I am still searching for: 1

(Either of these might work)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Farewell, BCBG Red Patent Leather Pointy Toe Flats

You served me well.  Now you are worn out and, frankly, you stink.  Just look at you, all tired-looking on the right, compared with the shiny new Kates on the left.

Sure, you are both the same color and shape, with gold hardware.  But you also have this:

And this:

So it is time to say goodbye.  You were there for me, for years, when I needed you most.  You added a pop of color to an otherwise boring outfit.  You let me walk for miles without blisters.  You garnered many compliments.  But now it is time for you to go to the shoe heaven in the sky, and let the spritely Kate Spade pair jump in and take over.  You will be remembered.

Handbag of the Day: Perfect Medium Overnight Bag

This is the Medium Weekend Carry-On Bag in Brown.  It is $195 at Adeleshop on Etsy.  I love it because it looks well-sized for a short jaunt and the two strap/handle options maximize its versatility.  It's a beautiful shade of brown; I like the red tones in it and the simple silver-toned hardware. It looks much more expensive than its price, as do all of the items in this shop.  I recommend you check it out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Hunt for Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats...


The Kate Spade Eryn in Vintage Red Patent.

I know you have all been impatiently awaiting the conclusion of this all-important saga, and I am pleased to announce that unless these don't fit or the color is weird in person, it is over.  Whew!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

eBay Resellers & eBay Buyers: Are You Freaking Kidding Me?!

I am going on record as saying I do not support the crap that people pulled with the Missoni for Target collection yesterday.  Buying insane amounts of stuff in order to resell it is not ok.

The number of Target shoppers who are now reselling the merch on eBay- for jaw-droppingly astronomical prices- should be ashamed of their shady and dishonest behavior.

The whole (style) purpose of Target's designer collaborations is to make creative and interesting design available to everyone.  When someone buys a $39.99 blanket at Target for the sole purpose of re-selling at a Buy It Now price of $275 (I kid you not, that is what is happening), they are undermining the ability of people to access stylish pieces at affordable prices.  They are putting these items out of reach of the very people they were designed for (i.e., pretty much everyone).

You know what else is inaccessible to most people?  High end designer clothing.  So now the cheaper versions at Target are being made as unreachable as the real deal. 

You know how much a real Missoni scarf costs?

This one costs $245:

This one is $155:

If you are a brand whore (and I am the last person to fault you for it), your lust for all things Missoni is understandable.  It's Italian, it's colorful, it's iconic.  But why would you buy the Target version on eBay when you can spend the same amount- or in some cases, less- on the real thing?

The fact that in many cases eBay resellers are charging the same prices as Nordstrom is just sickening.

But you know what?  They wouldn't do it if it didn't work.  Clearly, enough people are making money on this shady BS to make it worthwhile.  If eBay buyers would stop buying it, there would be no demand.

If you don't walk away from the over-priced merch and the related hysteria, this will continue.  So I do not support the people buying this stuff on eBay, either.  I don't give a damn about Target's profit margins.  But I do believe in style at all price levels and the ability of people to take part in good design regardless of their budget.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Missoni for Target Experience- And My Haul

Missoni, people.  MISSONI.

I have never been as impressed with a designer collaboration as this one.  Target, WalMart, KMart- everybody's doing it now, and with pretty mixed results as far as genuine quality, value, and aesthetics go.  Only Felix Rey for Target came close for me, and that was a very limited collection of handbags.

To everyone who did not arrive before the store opened or did not have their fingers on the trigger button at 12:01 when the online stuff showed: snooze = lose.  The media attention alone was enough to tip everyone off that this would be wildly popular.  But the widely-publicized stories about the NYC Pop Up store selling out in 30 minutes should have been another giant clue.  I will say that the website being overloaded for hours is total BS; only Target can be blamed for this obvious lack of planning.

7:55 am: The line at the Emeryville store was at least 50 people deep when I arrived for the 8:00 am store opening.  Was later told people got there as early as 7:00 am to get in line.  I rejected a cart, knowing it would just slow me down (and I have a tendency to use them as battering rams).

To everyone who doubted I'd need to get there early: HA HA.

The reality was that you couldn't be in two places at once; the collection was scattered around the store.  Unless you shopped with teammates, you had to prioritize.

Knowing this would be the case, and having reviewed all of the pieces online last week, my strategy was to beeline straight for the shoes.  I would grab my size in both pairs I wanted, and get out of the way for the rest of the salivating masses.

7:59 am: I shot past the shrieking women snatching sweaters and dresses, picked up both pairs and got out of the damn way.  I tried them on a few rows away from the melee (people, I am not exaggerating- this was like a somewhat more civilized version of the Black Friday rush), and they fit perfectly.  Success!

Then I could wander the store, relaxed, and take in the rest of the scene.

Women were grabbing stuff indiscriminately from racks and shelves.  Carts were piled high with clothes and luggage and bedding.  There were women asking others if they'd trade sizes with them, and a few groups- clearly bound for eBay- dividing their spoils like pirates at the end of a fruitful village pillaging.

The store was cleaned out in 10 minutes flat.

There were some who looked genuinely pleased with their finds.  I posed for one Target employee who was taking pictures of customers, holding up my two precious boxes with a gleeful grin.

Others looked stressed.  "I wanted TWO suitcases! I am shopping for four women and two men!" one woman wailed.  Another was chattering nervously on her phone, to someone who clearly expected a better performance from her.

As I browsed the media storage baskets, women across the aisle were scooping up barrettes and make up cases like they'd never seen such things before.  I took two baskets for cute bathroom storage and moved on.
Some of the stuff really didn't live up to the hype.  The eye masks, while cute, were stiff and scratchy.  The handbags looked cheap and bland.  This particular store didn't get scarves, so I didn't get to assess those.  The hats, housewares, and clothes looked decent.

Since I saw several employees making their way through the crowd with carts of more shoes, I knew a second lap around the store would be in order.  That is when I picked up the makeup cases- a large one for me and an smaller one for li'l sis- and the demitasse cups and saucers set that also comes with tiny spoons.

Soooooo, this is my haul: Two pairs of shoes ($29.99 & $39.99), two make up cases ($9.99 & $24.99), two media storage baskets ($7.99 each), and the demitasse set ($39.99).

Gratuitous shoe pic:

I did see a few things I considered picking up: a vase, a bedding set, a candle.  And I saw some things I really wish I'd been able to grab: a carry on travel bag, some pajama pants, the gorgeous blankets.  But ultimately, I knew what I came for, had gotten those things, and picked up enough extras to call it a day.

Plus, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Non-Neutral Coats & Jackets Time

If you don't already have a neutral coat or outdoor jacket, stop right there.  Remember neutrals?  Black, navy, grey, taupe, tan, chocolate, white, ivory?  (Yes, your olive green coat counts; it's a pseudo-neutral.) They go with everything.  Yeah, if you don't have one of these STAPLES, you clearly need to stop reading about fun colored coats and run out and get a neutral one.  You know, for EVERY DAMN DAY.

Ok, then.  Now for those of you who already have neutral outerwear, you are officially ready for one of the most fun parts of fall: selecting a coat in a fun color or print!

Here are some suggestions:

1.A bright solid color, like red or yellow or purple.

This is where I advise you to consider how much you can really afford on a piece that may not stand the test of time.  Sure, yellow is hot right now, but next year it probably won't be.  So unless you are certain this purchase is one for the ages (you know, like your trusty khaki trench), don't splurge here.

If you truly love red or yellow or purple, you might be able to wear this all season, with everything in your wardrobe.   This is what people are talking about when they say something could function as a neutral.  Red isn't a neutral color, but for you it could be. (That is not to say you don't also need an ACTUAL neutral in your arsenal, for those of you who should be SHOPPING FOR AN ACTUAL NEUTRAL COAT instead of reading this.)

Old Navy Wool Blend Peacoat ($59.94):

This also comes in bright green and some fun plaids.

Guess Wool Ruffle-hem Coat ($148):

Also comes in a fabulous aubergine, for the purple-lovers in the audience.

2. Prints

A little print goes a long way here.  Since this is something that goes over the rest of your outfit, choose prints carefully.  They should be somewhat neutral (yes, cheetah and zebra prints count) or perhaps a little subdued. 

Plaid and hounds tooth are classic prints, and in neutral tones, are just as versatile as a solid neutral piece. So, you might consider investing more in such a piece if you love it and it fits really well.

Old Navy Plaid Coat ($79.94):

Larry Levine Houndstooth Plaid Coat ($179.99):

Anthropologie Pansy Corset Trench ($198):

I am obsessed with this in red, but the print version is a good example of a somewhat subtle pattern, with the neutral background and somewhat graphic flowers.   If this print size works for your proportions, it could be a good choice.

3. Color blocking

As hot a color blocking is right now, color blocked coats are surprisingly hard to find.  If you love them, keep in mind that this really is a trend, it will pass, and your coat will soon look dated.  So don't spend a lot on this.

Here are some way over-priced examples of color blocked coats.  Seriously, don't buy any of these.  If you happen to find something under $100, go for it.

Etro Colorblock Toggle Coat (was $595, nla):

Etro Faux-Fur Colorblock Coat (people, it's $4,040, don't bother):

Handbag of the Day: Aqua Satchel

This is the Happy Guppie Satchel.  It's $57.99 at ModCloth.  As you may have guessed by the price, it isn't real leather.  Good news for those of you who do not like to eat or wear animals.  Since I am an eater and wearer of animals, this one isn't for me, but I can appreciate the delicious color and contrasting hardware, adjustable strap, multiple pockets, and adorable scallop details (I just CANNOT get enough scallop details).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why Fashion's Night Out Is Total BS

Tonight marks the third Fashion's Night Out, an invention of Anna Wintour and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. It's basically a bunch of retail stores collaborating to encourage people to shop- and therefore stimulate the suffering retail sector of the economy. 

It's total BS.

I like a party as much as the next girl, and I heart an event that pairs free drinks with sparkly things.  Here's the thing, though- this is not really a party.  It could be construed as a fundraiser, since some participants are donating some percentage of their profits to charities, but even that isn't the main point of the event.

People, this "party" isn't being thrown for us, the consumers.  It's being thrown for the very retailers who invited us.  They are celebrating their fervent hope that they will increase full price sales in exchange for a glass of bubbly.

By participating, you are telling Wintour that she was right- if they call it a party, you will come, and you will spend.  Even though you know damn well that as desperate as retailers are, there WILL be a sale.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Handbag of the Day: Pleated Box Clutch

This is the Sondra Roberts Pleated Box Clutch. It is $88 at Nordstrom, and also comes in black, white, and ivory.  I love everything about this clutch, from the tricolor pyramid clasp, to the twist in the pleats, to the perfect hold-in-your-hand-at-parties size and shape.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In case you were wondering...

This is my (extremely highly somewhat unrealistic) wishlist for fall...

Proenza Schouler PS1 Large Leather bag:

I near hyperventilation whenever I see this bag.  The size and shape are perfect for every day use, the color is ideal for fall and winter, and the leather is delicious.  Plus, it's pretty much an icon in the handbag world.  Too bad it's $2k.

Bubble Necklace at The Moma Store

I love how it looks delicate but is also so substantial.  And frankly, it will go with everything.  But it's $115 and I have several statement necklaces that already don't see the light of day enough.

Pansy Corset Trench at Anthro:

Actually, this one might make it home with me.  Click the link to check out the awesome corset detail on the back.

Kate Spade New York Eryn flats:

These also might make it home, since I have been searching for the perfect pair of Red Patent Leather Pointy Toed Flats for ages and at this point price is no object.

Kate Spade New York Randi Too Rain Boots:

I am forever on the lookout for feminine, but functional, rain boots, and these are IT.  The ribbon detail, slightly contured shaft, and 1 inch stacked heel give them a girly vibe.  But they are rubber and vinyl, making them waterproof and therefore useful during the upcoming wet season.

What are you wishing for- or getting- for fall?

Friday, September 2, 2011

What's the Diff? Necklace v. Earrings Edition

This is the Cute Cut-Out Bird Necklace.  It's $10.98 at ASOS.
These are the Trending Topic Earrings.  They are $9.99 at ModCloth.

Yeah, more birds, people.

Aside from one hanging from your neck and the other from your ears, they look identical.  For the extra 99 cents you'd pay for the necklace, you are getting iron and zinc alloy (yes, inferior to the white gold plated brass and surgical steel posts of the earrings).  Although with free shipping, ASOS might actually win in the price department.

So which would I pick?  I'd pick the earrings because they are higher quality for a lower price.  But since my ears aren't pierced (a long sordid tale you don't want to hear), it's moot.