Archive for the 'Shopping Tips' Category

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Tales From The Racks

The Barneys Warehouse Sale ended the weekend before last in New York.  Now for those of you who don’t live in New York or Los Angeles, the uninitiated if you will, The Barneys Warehouse Sale is not for the faint of heart.  It generally last for two weeks and the deals to be had are sometimes downright criminal.  Let me put it this way, the sale is BANANAS!!!!  There are tons of people, the line snakes around and around and around and before you know it you’ve spent a couple thousand dollars you hadn’t anticipated sometime some stuff you didn’t even know you wanted.  So, suffice it to say, I hadn’t been in years (we’re talking at least 5 years), when I got an email from my friend K (I’m using her initial to protect her in case her husband should stumble across this post) on Friday, March 4th telling me about the exhillerating shopping experience she’d just had at The Barney’s Warehouse sale.

K: Have you done a blog on how to approach the barneys warehouse sale???? I came up with the list while there today.

KALYN: No, I haven’t been in years.  So no, I haven’t done a post on it. Send me your list!

She sent me her notes so that you dear readers will be prepared for the next Barneys Warehouse Sale.  Read carefully.  Yes, these are her notes verbatim!

1. Go day 1 of sale to buy must have unique high-end things (this is what allof the blogs say and obviously matters to people who are not obsessed with biggest markdowns (like me)).

2. Go the Friday before sale ends because final markdowns are implemented then. Go Friday, because by the last Sat/Sun it’s too busy.

THIS PART MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD:

3. When going on last Friday do the following:

a. If you have on a coat that day, bring a large purse that it will fit in because you have to check the big purse anyway (carrying coat around sale is a nightmare). Basically leave everything in purse (other than wallet, cell phone and a power bar (because you may be there hours – makes no sense to shop hungry – I have yet to figure out how to stay hydrated! LOL)

b. Unless it’s really cold/snowing – wear easy shoes to get on/off – totally logically but I never do it!

c. Similarly wear clothes that are easy to get on/off – Same thing, I know this, but forget after a year and show up AGAIN in boots,skinny jeans and a coat! There is a whole side debate about whether to wear a thong (this matters only if you care whether everyone will see your a##! LOL)


d. Arrive at 10am when the doors open and hit shoes first because the line for mates gets bigger as the day goes [they don't put a pair of shoes on the racks - once you find a shoe you like, you have to stand in line to get it's mate] on and everything is also picked over.  Once you have shoes you want, DO NOT lug them around clothing area (you’ll be hot, tired and possibly unable to carry everything!).  Ideally, buy the shoes asap because checkout  line is shorter in the am. Once shoes are purchased (1) check them at bag check and go downstairs to shop for clothes; or (2) if car is nearby (see (e) below) take shoes to car, then go back for clothes.

e. If you are like me and have a car in the city – drive it – leave coat in car nearby (and later the purchased shoes)- because if you are like me and went for shoes at 10am then had to meet husband at noon, you need a place to hide newly purchased shoes!  After shoes were secretly stored away, I went back for clothes at 1pm (after meeting husband) and then had trouble getting into to a cab with all the crap I bought – car would have been a huge help, but husband took the car when we met at noon.

KALYN: Hilarious! What did you get?!?!!?

K: The real part where you need to weigh in/blog is when there is the frenzy of 85-90 percent off – how do you buy only what you love or need?

My rules are:

1) Is whatever it is comfortable/does it really fit,

2) Can I wear it more than 2 seasons (not even one season),

3) Would it be worth it at 75% off (crazy discount but I am crazy (see below) or whatever your price is.  For example, I bought black leggings today that were nylon on top and then suede starting mid thigh down – they were originally $1500 and I paid $250 (worth it even if they were only 75 percent off because I hate the way most seude pants fit at waist and butt but there were comfy, are ‘in’ now but next year with a long sweater they will look like narrow seude pants instead of leggins). So, I got pair of hot (black suede) Givency boots that I think are wearable each year with the right thing, a pair of snakeskin flat brown boots that can be worn every year for 10 years, a pair of aubergine suede Lavin platform pumps that will work for years, pair of Lavin hightop sneakers that are cool, pair of Jill Sander sandles that are not ideal for me (because I hate my toes) but they are sort of a low flat wedge (if not an oxymoron) and very simple but beautiful. Got work blouses, Summer tops and somehow like 6 pairs of pants. I finally had to just leave because I needed a third arm.

Before I could respond, she sent the following:

K:

1) Don’t go alone – Take someone that you told before what your need are and who  will be honest about something that is ugly on you; ideally, take a non-shopper so said person can help carry your bags – LOL!

2) Here is tough one – What to do if there is something you love love love but it’s not practical? Ideally, allow yourself one splurge item. I saw what I thought was loose cut navy blue short sleeve silk dress with a deep front V and leather bar close strap at top. Turns out it was a shorts thing – so a very dressy one piece, but shorts. Loved it! Is was like $400 down from a few thousand. I didn’t get it because did not know where I would wear it – honestly, it shouldn’t have mattered; now that I am home, can see that I totally would wear it multiple times this Summer!

KALYN: Well you’ve made me think I should try to stop by at some point this weekend since I’m going to be in the city!

Stay tuned for my adventures at the Barney’s Warehouse Sale with K’s rules in-hand, and a few of my own!

[image courtesy of shoeyorkcity]

Shop ‘Til You Drop!

The biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), is only 2 days away!  Are you ready?  Do you know what you’re buying for the friends, family and colleagues on your list? They say the sales are going to be even better than ever this year  . . . here are some sure-fire tips to help you make the most of your Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday is to Black Friday what  yin is to yang.  So, if the stress of Thanksgiving dinner is all you can handle this weekend, no worries. There will be deals galore on Cyber Monday.  Check out sites like CouponCabin and RetailMeNot to find out about even more special offers and bargains before you let your fingers do the typing.

Kalyn’s Black Friday Shopping Tips:

  • Know your budget;
  • Create a list of who you’re buying gifts for, how much you plan to spend on each recipient, and what you’d like to get for each one;
  • Come up with a shopping strategy so that you maximize your time at the mall or online;
  • Keep your list with you while shopping so that you can check off your purchases as you go; and
  • Keep all of your holiday receipts in the same envelope.  And, remember to ask for gift receipts.

Happy Shopping!

[image from softsailor]

Spotlight: reFINEstyle

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Megan Masoner, the genius behind reFINEstyle.com.  What you ask is reFINEstyle.com? It’s an online auction-based marketplace for new and pre-owned luxury apparel and accessories (with prices up to 70-95% off retail).  How is it different from eBay you ask? Keep reading …

Why reFINEstyle?

It’s about timing really, finding the “ungettable” get at the right moment (the right price/right time). The easier a customer can locate what they covet, the better. When a shopper creates an account on reFINEstyle.com, she provides her size and favorite designers, so during the shopping experience her preferences display first. There is no digging and no searching. More importantly, I think customers are looking for convenience; desktop shopping enables someone looking for great deals to “check” for new merchandise at their favorite shops more frequently – a customer is more likely to shop multiple times a week if they can skip the drive.

One word to describe reFINEstyle?

STEALS!

What was original vision and goal for reFINEstyle?

I realized that too many of my friends were getting rid of designer clothes with no return. The opportunity was there [a simple, easy and hassle free solution just needed to be designed] … and so reFINEstyle.com was born.

How is reFINEstyle different from other online auctions?

Custom preferences make shopping for designers you love, in your size, a breeze! Plus, the site’s easy navigation, low fees, and boutique-like environment set us part.  Shoppers can find over 800 premier brands categorized by new arrivals, designer, season, style, color, price, size or condition.

Also, all of our merchandise is 100% authentic. We hold our sellers to the highest standards – we have a zero tolerance policy for fakes or replicas. Unique to our listing approval process is a 24-hour review period, where the reFINEstyle team double checks inventory prior to activating listings. Our aim is to help provide consumer confidence in our marketplace.

Describe your typical reFINEstyle fashionista.

The reFINEstyle fashionista is an everyday woman who appreciates great fashion at a great price.

Where do you hope to see reFINEstyle in 10 years?

I’d love for reFINEstyle to be the largest premier online marketplace for luxury fashion nationwide. Great deals, great products, and a trusted authentic marketplace.

Any sage advice for women with similar aspirations?

Be enthusiastic and always stay motivated — don’t allow yourself to be overly discouraged. Remember that not every day results in a business ‘home run’.

Was there a Plan B?

Nope….that’s a bit candid but true! I’m a big believer in betting big, and just going for it! Whether it’s a start up, or an existing business, there is a “core” product or idea which makes that business go. If you have a concept that not only you, but people whom you respect, believe in —- it’s a good bet that it is probably a good idea – stay focused.

One wish for reFINEstyle?

Continued success and longevity.

Now let’s get personal . . .

Megan Masoner of reFINEstyle.com

First major splurge? My MW diamond chronograph watch.

What would those close to you say is your favorite personal item to wear?

Probably my large hoop earrings. I wear them almost every day. They’re half gold and half sliver with diamonds (and you can reverse them!).

Is there one item do you transport from handbag to handbag?

YSL Lip Gloss

Silver or Gold? Gold

Flats or Heels? Flats

Gloss or Lipstick? Gloss

PC or Mac? PC

Books or Magazines? Both!

Favorite TV show? Gray’s Anatomy

Manicure or Au Natural? Manicure

Blackberry or iPhone? Blackberry Bold!

Favorite Blogs?

Jan Showers,Venz edits, Nonsense & Sensibility and The Now Stylebook

Favorite city to visit? VEGAS!

So, as you do the changeover and clean out your closet to make room for your Winter clothes, think about selling some of your items on reFINEstyle and getting a return on your initial investment. Learn more about reFINEstyle here.

[questions adapted from GIGS]

Is Your STYLE in Balance?

Supermodel (and mogol) Heidi Klum is a woman after my own heart!  Last week she retired from Victoria’s Secret, inked a deal with Ann Taylor and launched Heidi Klum for New Balance, an active womens fashion line available exclusively through Amazon.com. The line features fashions that “look edgy and fashionable while still feeling comfortable.” It’s like she read my mind.  Unless I’m going Uptown for a Ladies Who Lunch date, I’m a Downtown girl who wants to be fashionable yet comfortable.  I’ve been making my own ensembles cobbled together from a little Lululemon, Target (pronounced Tar-gey) and a bit of addidas thrown in. Heidi’s no dummy, she proved herself to the masses during that first season of Project Runway (not to mention her line of Birkenstocks), and has clearly seen women like me running errands in our “souped up” workout clothes.  So what does she do?  She partnered with New Balance and created an edgy line of affordable active wear that women are going to scoop up. GENIUS. Check out her new line here.

[images from Amazon]

[A-4]

APART Invites PYS Readers to Save $$$!!!

The folks at APART have been kind enough to extend a 20% discount to all Possess Your STYLE readers.  Now, I know you’d really save money by not shopping, but since it’s Fall and your wardrobe likely needs a boost or two, check out APART to see if they have something that tickles your Fall trend fancy.  Just enter the code FALL at checkout.  Happy Shopping!

Be APART of Something Beautiful

APART is making it’s US debut this month.  Be APART of Something Beautiful is their slogan … If you’re looking for chic clothing with a Euro flare, APART may be for you. Popular in Europe since 1977, APART has now come state-side. I stumbled upon their website today.  I’m liking what I see. And hey, who doesn’t want to Be APART of Something Beautiful?

[image from APART]

My Fall 2010 Must-Haves . . .

Fall is truly my favorite season!  I love the crisp cool days of September and October. It’s the perfect time to wear chunky knits, warm wool and cashmere, great hats, cool boots and lots and lots of texture.  For me it’s all about layering and pairing unlikely duos – I’m seeing myself with this fabulous Alexander McQueen kimono jacket, a pair of jeggings, hiking boots and a leopard print fur hat.

Review: Shoes of Prey

Shoes of Prey, an Australian bespoke shoe company, was kind enough to send me a pair of their platform pumps for review.  I went for the snakeskin platforms below (honestly, I hadn’t seen the hot pink fish skins above …).

Although Shoes of Prey is a bespoke shoe company (more about that in a minute), the shoes they sent me were not specifically made for me.  I chose a pair from what they had in stock in my size.  This is an option they offer, but if you’re going to go for broke, I say do it in a style that’s befitting you and only you!

So, what is a bespoke shoe company you ask?  It’s simple.  You get to design your own shoes. You choose from 7 different kinds of shoes – ballet flats, wedges, ankle booties, round toe pumps, platform pumps, pointy toe pumps, and gladiators. Then you choose the leather you’d like (for example, you could go with green snakeskin and then choose a silver or gold leather for the heel), the toe, the back, the heel height and any decorations.  The shoes range in price from $180 -$280 (ankle boots are $330) and come in an large range of sizes, US womens 3 to US womens 11.5.  If your foot is very wide or very narrow, Shoes of Prey will work with you to get the sizing just right (the additional sizing may cost extra). Oh, and they’re based in Australia so, shipping is a little bit higher – $25, but they do free returns and will work with you to make sure your shoes fit properly (and yes, if you are not happy with your bespoke shoe and have not worn it, Shoes of Prey will take it back).

I give Shoes of Prey a B+.  The shoes are well constructed and have a nice heel pad in the insole.  Mine were a little big in the heel, so I inserted the toe-pads that were provided which helped to push my heel all the way back and minimized slippage.  I vacillate between shoe sizes, it’s crazy but in some designers I’m a 7.5 US and in others a 9 US (I know, it killed me when the salesman at Bergdorf’s suggested I try a 9 a few months ago, but the shoes I got were fierce so size, smize!).  I say that to say, that in Shoes of Prey, I’m probably a 7.5.

My platforms were comfortable to walk around in, but I was walking on carpet. I truly believe that the true test after you purchase a pair of heels is:  ”What do your feet feel like after you end up standing on concrete or marble for an hour or two?”

That said, I absolutely LOVE the idea of being able to design my own shoes … My problem is I’ll come up with what I think are the perfect pair and then have shoe envy when I see another pair that are even HOTTER than the ones I created.  I guess I need to let my inner Disco Diva out of her box!  I’m still thinking about the green snakeskin with the gold heels ….. decisions, decisions, decisions!

FYI  – Shoes of Prey sent me these shoes for review only, the shoes will be returned to them after this post. This review is purely my opinion; it is a non-compensated and non-sponsored review.

Giveaway: The Paris Apartment

So, you’ve been planning your trip to Paris in your head for at least the past 6 or 7 weeks now, right?  With visions of macarons, cafés and the flea market dancing in your head . . . Now, all you need is the Keys to The Fleas iPhone app to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck while shopping in Paris! Claudia Strasser of The Paris Apartment, and creator of the Keys to The Fleas iPhone app, is going to give one of my lucky readers the Keys to The Fleas – pretty nifty, mais oui?  Leave a comment below telling us why the Keys to The Fleas are a must for you and the winner will be announced next week!


Adventures in Paris III: Shopping!

No trip to Paris would be complete with out shopping.  Yes, we made it to the obvious – Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Anne Fontaine and the like, and they’are absolutely beautiful stores with fabulous merchandise to be had.  But, I have to tell you my most favorite place to shop in Paris is Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt, a.k.a. the Flea Market!  Call me crazy, if you will, but once you’ve been there you’ll know why I love it.  For some reason, we don’t have flea markets in the U.S. like they do in Paris or even London for that matter.  Leave it to the French to one-up us on junk, but they do and they do it sooooooo well.  Whatever your heart desires is there for the taking and then some.  A Birkin bag?  A Kelly?  Vintage Pucci, Channel, Cacharel?  Beautiful costume jewelry, fabulous fur coats, fantastic furniture to outfit every room in my imaginary country home; you name it, and it was there.  Prices were pretty good.  I found that speaking French and exhibiting my knowledge about a particular designer was helpful in dealing with vendors.

While we were strolling through the Marché (and there’s lots and lots and lots to stroll through), I saw an Asian woman who’s face was so familiar to me that I began racking my brain to figure out how I knew her (I’ve been in Europe and randomly bumped into friends before, so I really thought this was no different).  Then I heard her voice.  Her voice was so distinctive that I had to chuckle to myself. It was Vera Wang.  Yes, Vera Wang and her husband were spending the afternoon shopping in Clignancourt.  But I digress.

There are not enough hours in a day for me to explore all that Clignancourt has to offer, but you best believe I tried my best!  If I lived in Paris, I would be there every weekend for a few hours exploring, learning and building relationships with vendors (the Marché is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays).  My most wonderful find?  Une autre Brazil! (Another Brazil).  This one is carmel colored instead of Black, but she’s just as versatile.

I have wonderful visual memories of Clignancourt, but I have to admit I was sooooooo excited to be there again that I forgot to take pictures.  I meant to.  I really really did.  But I didn’t.  Yes, my camera was in my bag.  I just got caught up in the moment.  You’ll have to go for yourself and experience the thrill that is Clignancourt!  Enjoy these pictures courtesy of Vogue.com.

And when you go to make sure you find everything you’re looking for, take Keys to the Fleas with you.  Keys to the Fleas is a new iPhone App launched by Claudia Strasser, the voice behind The Paris Apartment.  The app is $1.99 and is an insider’s guide for navigating the Paris flea markets – it includes maps, shippers, Métro stops, bus routes, hours and local haunts where you can kick back and admire your treasures over a café au lait!  I didn’t get to use the app because it launched a few weeks after we got back, but you best believe I’ll have it with me the next time I go to Paris! (Oh, and by the way, it’s the first in a series of guides on the flea markets of the world – Morocco here I come!).

One more installment from my Adventures in Paris will hit your inboxes with pictures of some of my favorite places and things . . . À bientôt!

In Fashion News This Week . . .

In Fashion News This Week  . . . is a new post that will appear weekly on Possess Your STYLE to help keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest in the fashion world.  Let me know what you think of it – I love to read your comments.  And if you read an article that you think others should know about, please be sure to let me know and I’ll add it in my weekly round-up!

  • The Cut reports that a Fashion Caucus was created on Capitol Hill to stifle the knock-off industry.  They’re working on a copyright protection bill that has the potential to affect stores like Forever21 and H&M.  Hmm . . .  If it passes, the WSJ reports that hot new young designers who are setting the trends that stores like H&M knock-off will be afforded some measure of protection from “The Problem of With Being a Trendsetter.”
  • Takashimaya, the venerable Japanese department store on 5th Avenue, is closing its doors in June.  The closeout sale began on May 3rd; diehard devotees began lining up at 6 am.  Racked NY
  • Kobe Bryant did a fashion shoot for The LA Times, have you seen it? AverageBro had some thoughts on it and so do Kobe’s teammates. Definitely, something to make you go, “Hmmmm ….”
  • If my post on Consignment Shops made you re-evaluate your relationship with some of your handbags, check out this WSJ article titled “Where to Go for Help After a Handbag Fling.”

The Overflowing Closet | Consignment Shops

Is your closet overflowing?  To some extent, we all have overflowing closets. Hopefully, your chaos is a little more organized than the closet pictured above.  By overflowing, I really mean do you just have too much stuff in your closet no matter how well organized it is?  Is your closet easy to navigate?  What if you needed a friend, or your spouse, to go through your closet to pack an overnight bag for you? Would he or she be able to find what you asked for easily?  Or, would it be like sending them into a labyrnith?  If it’s the latter, you’re not alone.

Believe it or not, cleaning out your closet is cathartic once you do it.  The process of culling is sometimes painful, but the end result makes the process worthwhile.  It feels great to get rid of things that no longer fit or things that you thought you were going to wear and you just never did.  It happens to the best of us.  Donating gently worn or used items is a win-win for all involved; one woman’s discards are another’s gold mine.

But, do you have some items that while you’re willing to part with, you’d feel better about letting go of if you could recoup a portion of your investment?  If so, you’re not alone.  Have you noticed the proliferation of consignment shops in the past few years?  Hello! Ebay.  Consignment shops are all over the place from virtual shops online to brick and mortar storefronts in some of the ritzier parts of town.

Consignment shops are second-hand stores that offer used goods at a lower cost than new. Many offer new items as well.   Typically, the consignment shop owner (seller) pays the consignor (you, the person who owns the item) a portion of the proceeds from the sale. Payment is not made until and unless the item actually sells. The consignor retains title to the item at all times, and can end the arrangement at any time by requesting return of the item. A specified period of time is commonly arranged, after which time if the item does not sell the owner can reclaim the item (or, if not reclaimed within a period of time, the seller can dispose of the item at his discretion).

If you decide to consign, pay close attention to the terms of consignment. Some shops take as much as 50% of the proceeds, while others will let you set your price and then add their percentage on top of your number to insure they get the commission they’re seeking.  The general rule of thumb seems to be a 60%-40% split – you get 60% and the seller get’s 40% (sometimes you can get as much as 70%).  Unfair?  No, not really. Yes, you own the item but the seller is the one working to get it sold.

I’ve done my fair share of consigning, but I must admit, I’ve gotten lazy. Finding the right shop, setting up the appointment to show the shop owner my goods, schlepping my goods to the shop (in New York traveling with more than just your tote bag is often more than a notion!), etc – these are things I no longer have much interest in doing unless I’m consigning something I paid a lot of money for.  So, what’s a girl to do?  That’s what I was trying to figure out last January during one of my seasonal closet cleanouts.  To the rescue? Julia’s Overflowing Closet. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Julia is a good friend of mine from college.  In an hour-long catch-up last January, Julia told me about a new business she’d started – an online consignment shop.  Kismet or what??!?!?

All I had to do was ship my clothes to her; she’d reimburse me for the shipping, and send me a check once my items sold. She explained that she pays for all fees associated with selling the item, she researches the item to determine the selling price, and she writes the description and takes pictures for the listing.  When the item sells, she ships it to the buyer.  To be honest, I’ve definitely thought about selling stuff on ebay, but I haven’t taken the steps to do it because there seem to be a lot of them.  Julia’s Overflowing Closet has been a godsend for me; it could be for you too.

If you’d like to learn more about Julia’s Overflowing Closet, please feel free to contact Julia directly.

Happy Consigning$$! Ca-ching!