Archive for the 'Shopping Tips' Category

Oh No, I Lost My Mojo!

I thought I’d lost, or at least seriously misplaced, my Sample Sale Mojo. Now anyone who knew me back in the days when I was practicing law, knew that I knew how to find out about the most selective sample sales.  Not only did I find out about them, I knew exactly how early to arrive for a choice spot on line to be one of first in the door!  I knew when new merchandise was going to be put out, I mean RackedNY had nothing on me.  Ask my friend Adrienne, she still remembers the Jimmy Choo sale we went to years ago where we pretended to be magazine editors and shopped to our hearts’ contents the day before the sale opened to the masses.

Well, one of my alltime favorite designers started doing sample sales last year.  I’ve been out of town for the past two sales, but when I got the notice about their Summer sale I noted it in my calendar. I got up at 6:53 on the appointed morning (I am NOT a morning person, but my husband can attest to the fact that I will get up at the crack of dawn and function normally for a sample sale).  No, I did not leave my house then.  Mistake No. 1.  I got dressed, checked my email, ate a little something and then I left at 7:30 to be online by 8 am.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the sale and the line was literally, I KID YOU NOT, a full city East-West block and half of a city North-South block.  Shocked does not fully capture my emotional state.  I was in disbelief.  Really?  For a sample sale? The people at the front of the line (let’s say the first 100) must have arrived around 4:30 am.  As I walked towards the end of the line and passed the sea of people who would be waiting in front of me I couldn’t get over how young they all looked.

I arrived at the end of the line – yes, my spot was around the corner in the middle of the North-South block.  I stood there for 5 minutes and then walked right past the horde I’d just passed and got myself back on the subway to go home.  As I walked back by these youngsters anxiously waiting to spend their hard earned dollars on half-priced merchandise, it dawned on me that I am truly Une Femme d’Un Certain Age. My husband was shocked that I was back so quickly; he hadn’t even left to go to the office yet.

I sat down at the computer to start my day and then I got a text from Adrienne (aforementioned Jimmy Choo sale partner-in-crime).  She works near where the sale was being held.  I’d sent her a text telling her that I was leaving because the line was too long. Her text said that the line wasn’t long at all.  Seemed odd to me, but she too is [ahem, was] a Sample Sale Maven.  So, an hour and a half later, I got back on the train to get on line yet again.  Mistake No. 2. I don’t know what line Adrienne saw, but the people who had been directly in front of me when I stood in line were still in line and still had at least a 2 hour wait.   I just kept on walking this time.

Now, I know this seems a little crazy . . . But, you have to understand I LOVE this designer and while I’ve been fortunate enough to own a few of his pieces at full price, the idea of things being a fraction of that cost was totally alluring to me. Not enough to stand in a line for hours in the rain mind you.  So, I did what any self respecting former Sample Sale Maven would do in a situation like this.  I waited until the sale was no longer front and center on all the blogs and daily magazines.  I waited until folks had moved on to the next best thing.  And then, I went. No line, no craziness on the selling floor, friendly shoppers in the dressing room and yes, GREAT prices. Was it worth it?  Definitely.  Will I venture out again for another sale?  Not likely.  Once was enough. But, I got my mojo back.

1st Dibs!

Working from home and having an online business means that I have very little time to get out into the streets to shop – window or otherwise.  Aside from Pinterest, one of my favorite online past-times is to window shop on 1stdibs.  1stdibs says they’re the world’s number one marketplace for the most beautiful things on earth from antiques, vintage watches, mid-century modern furniture, estate jewelry, fine art, fashion and fine homes around the world.  I can’t speak for whether or not they’re the world’s number one market place for the most beautiful things on earth, but they do have some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  So, if you’re in the mood for a little retail therapy and don’t have time to get to the mall or 5th Avenue, let your fingers do the walking and head on over to 1stdibs.

So Much To Do . . .

Exactly how I’m feeling about my holiday shopping!  I’m not usually this disorganized.  Unfortunately, I waited until the last minute to do my holiday shopping and I’m paying for it now.  In fact, I’m usually on top of things and have at least thought about the gifts I want to buy and where I’ll be purchasing them.  Alas, this is not the case for HOLIDAY 2011.  Oh well, there are still 3 more shopping days.  Do you do your holiday shopping throughout the year?  After Thanksgiving, starting on Black Friday? When?  What are your best tips for successful (i.e. stress-free) holiday shopping?

 

 

A Little Monogram In Your Life . . .

 

I’m a sucker for just about anything with my name or initials on it.  I think it stems from growing up in an era where everyone had simple names like Lisa, Jane and Amy and I had a name no one could pronounce much less spell properly.  My name was NEVER EVER on a key chain or license plate at places like SeaWorld and Disneyland.  I was lucky to find the letter “K”.  I think as a means of compensation, my mom got whatever she could monogrammed for me.  I had book bags, jackets, sweaters and overnight bags with my name emblazoned on them.  While as an adult I’m happy to have a such a unique name, I’m still in love with the idea of monogramming whatever I can get my hands on.  So, while I haven’t pulled the trigger on one of Louis Vuitton’s Mon Monogram specialities, I do go to their website from time-to-time and play around with the colors, stripe options and various initial combinations trying to figure out which I would get if I were going to buy a new Speedy bag or get a Neverfull.  What color combo would you go for?  I’m partial to purple and orange ….  

Grown & Sewn

Denim + Khaki = KAX, Grown & Sewn’s denim khaki hybrid made right here in the U.S. of A.  I discovered this gem a few months ago.  And I must say, Grown & Sewn has taken khaki’s to a whole ‘nother level.  Gone are the days of fellas looking uber preppy in their khaki’s (yes, Grown & Sewn is just for men); not that there’s anything wrong with looking uber preppy … I’m just saying that if you want to look uber cool in your khaki’s, KAX by Grown & Sewn might be the grown up version of the khaki to don.  These puppies are not cheap, prices start at $195 and go up from there, but they’re durable, 100% cotton, come in 5 different colors and are made to last. They’re an updated twist on a classic; I’m sure they would make James Dean proud.  So, fellas if you’re looking to diversify the casual Friday or weekend wardrobe, check out Grown & Sewn either online, at their shop in Tribeca or at Barney’s.  And ladies, if you’re looking for a unique gift for one of the guys in your life Grown & Sewn might be the answer.

Happy Shopping!

Treasure Trove!

Break into the New York retail market with a concept store that donates 100% of its profits to New York City non-profits to help the children of New York?  It’s too soon to tell if its a good business model or not, but Nordstrom’s, along with some help from Anna Wintour in choosing the merchandise, has set up shop in SoHo and is doing exactly that with treasure&bond.  Why? One day Nordstrom’s might want to open a store in Manhattan and they want to learn as much as possible about serving New Yorkers.  It’s a pretty cool concept and the store shines a spotlight on young and independent designers you might not learn about otherwise.  I stumbled upon treasure&bond a few weeks ago when tooling around SoHo and definitely discovered a treasure trove of goodies!  I hope the retailer from Seattle decides to make NYC a permanent home.

[top image from Stylesight]

reFINEstyle!

I discovered reFINEstyle last year.  My finger was definitely on the pulse because now it’s been “discovered” by the likes of InStyle, People StyleWatch, Teen Vogue, The Coveteur and even made an appearance on Good Morning America!  So, what exactly is reFINEstyle.com?  Well, let me refresh your memory … reFINEstyle.com is an online marketplace of gently used designer fashion and accessories. It’s the nation’s only curated collection of designer consignment available online, culled from the most reputable consignment venues across the country. What’s cool about it is that the lovely ladies behind it have taken the time to gather a fabulous collection of gently used luxury designer clothes and accessories for couture lovers at amazing prices. So, if you’re looking for something designer and new (to you) to round out your wardrobe, but don’t want to pay retail prices reFINEstyle might be for you.  Designer duds at discount prices and all from the convenience of your laptop! Click here to check it out. Trust me, your bank account will thank me.

Charm & Chain

You know I love accessories, so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Charm&Chain — an online mega jewelry store for fabulosity!  Their comprehensive and ever-evolving selection of jewelry features renowned fashion jewelry designers, such as Alexis Bittar, Erickson Beamon, and Kenneth Jay Lane, as well as emerging designers with a creative eye toward the future of fashion. Charm & Chain’s One-of-a-Kind and Vintage selections also offer a truly unique shopping experience with rare and exquisite pieces from near and far.

Charm&Chain says the site is curated based on the varying tastes of their customers; they  seem to follow the latest trends in jewelry design and they’ve got some truly amazing pieces.  A few that will make your heart flutter. Now, I just need to figure out how to travel with my jewelry!

[necklace pictured: Sequin's Cleopatra Necklace]

Metamorphosis!

Have you noticed that every couple of years, your personal style changes just ever so slightly? That dress you loved 2 years ago, while still in great shape, just doesn’t do it for you anymore. You put it on, look in the mirror and notice that something isn’t quite right.  There’s no time to change, so you head out to work, dinner or your date – and while you’re out you see someone who’s dressed exactly the way you envisioned dressing in your head but you didn’t have the right stuff your closet. And then it hits you – duh, it’s time for an overhaul.  Change is hard and let’s be honest, a new wardrobe is costly! But, there is a way to go about re-vamping your closet that won’t break the bank.

  • First, figure out the direction you’d like to head in.  Once you’ve pinned down your new style direction – The Bohemian, The Prepster, Mommy Dearest, Ms. Fancy Pants, The Rockstar, The Hipster, etc. – go through your closet and figure out which items fall into this category and which do not.  Now obviously, you cannot get rid of all of your clothes, but you know the golden rule – pull out anything you haven’t worn in two years.  Then go back through and re-assess.
  • Next, go through your shoes and accessories employing the same tactics. [Truth be told, I am an accessories whore and I rarely get rid of accessories, because accessories never become too small and they generally come back around.] However, if you have serious space constraints, then cull to your heart’s content!
  • Pack up your discards and determine which are consign-able and which should be donated. Soon you’ll have money coming in that can go towards a few of your new purchases.
  • Now, think about the 4 or 5 items you’ll need (based on what you have in your closet) that will help you begin to transform your current wardrobe to the one you desire.  For example, the trend is platform heels; are you still rockin’ your Jimmy Choo’s from 7 years ago?  If so, you my dear may need to buy a new pair of shoes or two.  I’m not advocating trendy here, I’m advocating stylish.  Now, f you work in a corporate office, 5-inch platforms may not be the most efficaious purchase.  But, there is a middle ground.  Take some time to flip through magazines like Lucky, Bazaar – the ususal suspects – to find items that will work for you and your lifestyle.
  • Armed with your list and budget, you’re ready to shop and begin your metamorphosis.

Give yourself time and know that unless you have an unlimited clothing budget, your metamorphosis is not going to happen over night ….. this process will take at least a year.  Just keep your eyes on the prize and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. New clothes are an investment in you and your personal brand. And the lightness you’ll feel from shedding unworn items will allow you to spread your wings and soar just like a butterfly.

[before dress: Karta; after dress: Heidi Merrick]

The Whimsical World of Kate Spade!

I love pops of whimsy here and there and Kate Spade never lets me down!  If you still think of Kate Spade as those cute shiny satiny rectangular bags, you’re a little behind the times  . . . The company is no longer owned by Kate and Andy Spade, but Liz Clairborne Inc. has managed to maintain Kate’s aesthethic, some argue even better than Kate Spade herself could have.

Last year Kate Spade launched its book clutch collection; they’re interpreting some of the greatest novels into cheeky cherry clutch bags.  I think I must have the I Married Adventure clutch! I learned about this book last year and was immediately smitten.  The title made me chuckle because, to me, no truer words could be used to describe marriage.  It’s definitely an adventure. Osa Johnson’s book is about the adventures she and her husband, Martin, had as photographers, explorers, marketers, naturalists and authors while studying the wildlife and peoples of East and Central Africa, the South Pacific Islands and British North Borneo during the first half of the Twentieth Century. They explored then-unknown lands and brought back film footage and photographs, offering many Americans their first understanding of these distant lands. Now this book is a collector’s item for decor enthusiasts; I’m not sure I’ll ever get my hands on a copy of the original, but I know I’ll have fun carrying this clutch bag.

If you haven’t thought about Kate Spade in ages, check out the new online store when you get a minute — great shoes, handbags, clothes and jewelry –there’s  a little something for everyone. Oh, and for the next two days Kate Spade is having a Friends&Family event, 25% off online and instore.  Shopping online? Use promo code  FFSPR11. In store? Print out this coupon (accepted at outlet stores too). Oh and fellas, there’s a promo code for Jack Spade too JACK25.

Happy Shopping!

It’s All About STYLE . . .

Now you know I am all about gadgets – I love my Blackberry, my iTouch, my iPad and the like . . . but every now and then it’s just good to put pen to paper.  The folks at Moleskin must’ve read my mind with their latest creation – The STYLE journal.  Ask any of my clients.  I arrive at their respective homes to do their Wardrobe Evaluation with my composition notebook in hand to record all of my notes about their likes, sizes, style wishes and desires.  When we go shopping, I don’t leave home without their particular composition notebook in my bag.  Two years later when we meet to revamp their wardrobes, I pull out my handy-dandy composition notebook with their name emblazoned on front.  So, yes, I think I’m switching over to Moleskin . . . STYLE journal not your passion?  No worries – check out the other journals in their Passion Line — Receipe, Wine, Book, Film, Music, Wellness, Travel, Gardening, Dog, Cat, Baby — there’s something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

Tales From The Racks

Like many New Yorkers, it’s rare that I spend my weekends in the city.  To an outsider this probably seems crazy, it certainly did to me when I first moved to New York.  But, New York is a fast-paced city and getting away for a few days over the weekend, can help to change one’s perspective and has been know to add years to one’s life.  That said, my interest in re-visiting the Barney’s Warehouse Sale was peaked after my email exchange with K.  As the fates would have it, it just so happened that we were going to be in town for the final weekend of the sale.  I had too much to do Friday afternoon to even think about making my way to 17th Street.  But, I figured I’d stop by on either Saturday afternoon after brunch or Sunday first thing in the morning.

After a couple of glasses of wine at brunch fellowshipping with girlfriends, I was feeling quite nice.  I called my husband to see if he wanted to meet me at the Barney’s Warehouse Sale but unfortunately, he was still on the conference call he’d been on when I left the house that morning. So, I took my happy self to Chelsea to see what K had been raving about.  I had her list in my head and on my Blackberry.  I arrived to a sea of people and what was clearly controlled chaos. Undaunted and a bit inebriated, I made my way to the Women’s section, going against K’s first piece of advice — well really, I’d flaunted a number of her rules starting with don’t go on the final Saturday/Sunday of the sale, go at 10am when the doors open, so really what was the big deal about going to the Womens’ section first, rather than shoes I thought.

There were people everywhere and the line for the dressing room was so long that I knew I just have to hope stuff was going to fit.  Because I was coming from a brunch meeting, I had on heels and one of my more expensive handbags; typically a no-no for this type of chaotic shopping situation.  But, my nerves were calmed and I was in some sort of zone.  I made my way through the racks and yes, I had a big plastic bag that I dragged around, like the one pictured below, with all of my goodies.  And no, it was no where near as clean or neat as the picture above – I’m convinced that the only reason I didn’t turn myself right around when I walked into the madness was the 3 glasses of wine I’d had prior to arrival.

I perused the racks, chatted with salespeople and shoppers alike — sales people?  Yes, they have to have someone there to try to maintain a semblance of order.  And two hours later I emerged a few hundred dollars poorer and 4 pair of pants and 2 dresses richer.  And believe it or not, everything but one pair of wool pants that I paid $30 for fit – I’m giving these to K, she deserves them after all that blogging she did for me last week!

Now since my husband hadn’t been able to meet me there, I’d promised to scour the racks for him too.  But, after the quiet battle I’d waged in the Women’s section, engaging in combat in the Men’s section was not happening in my world at that particular moment.  I got home and told him he should definitely try to get there first thing Sunday am and follow K’s rules to the “T”.

Sunday morning at 9 am I was awakened to an unexpected question, “What time do we need to leave to get to the sale at 10 am?” WE?  I’d done my tour of duty.  Well, almost.  Yes, by 10:30 am – less than 18 hours later – I was back at the Barneys Warehouse Sale.  This time, I was able to employ K’s rules in their entirety.  I was that assistant she spoke about — the one who you should bring to carry your clothes and give you an honest opinion.

We started in men’s suiting.  The racks you see pictured above are exactly what it looks like.  Now here’s an interesting fact, while there is a dressing room for women that’s nothing more than a closed in space that you have to stand in line for ages to enter, there is no dressing room for men. None at all.  How can a man buy a suit without trying the pants on?  Unless it’s a designer he’s bought time and time again and the exact same style to boot, he’s strippin’ down to his skivvies to see what does and does not fit.  Suffice it to say, we left the suit section with 2 suits and made our way over to shirts and blazers.  Bags full, we then hit accessories – scarves and hats and the like. We stood in line and then repeated the whole shebang upstairs where men’s denim and casual clothes were housed.  Three hours later we finally left the store with three large shopping bags and enough items to round out my husband’s wardrobe for the next two seasons, and a fabulous handbag for me, and all at the cost of a good suit at retail.  We immediately left the store and went to our favorite tapas bar Boqueria to decompress from the experience.

Would I do it again?  Yes. But, not any time soon.  Cocktails before-hand? Absolutely! And K? Well, quiet as its kept, she’s thinking about flying to Los Angeles to partake in the chaos that will soon be taking place in the City of Angles when their sale begins.

Click here for a list of K’s rules for shopping at the Barney’s Warehouse Sale.

[photos courtesy of NewYorkmag.com, LA Times blog, shoeyorkcity]