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Net-A-Porter on the Cheap

Outnet.comNet-A-Porter has beautiful clothes, no doubt about it. The prices, however, just about take your breath away. So what were the Net-A-Porter powers-that-be to do in the era of the Recessionista? Create an outlet store of course! The Outnet, an offshoot of Net-A-Porter – think Saks Off5th and Neiman’s Last Call – recently opened it’s portal on the world wide web. Free returns are a bonus; the prices may still cause a mild arrhythmia, but they are 30%-70% off the retail price.  A shopping tip for those of you not yet hip to the outlet store shuffle, a lot of the items are going to be a few seasons old so shop with purpose by looking for classic pieces that will stand the test of time.  If you’re still trying to figure out how to afford your first pair of Louboutins, this may be a site to bookmark. Just like any other outlet store, it’s likely that there will be frequent markdowns for slow moving merchandise.  Viva la outlet!

SAMPLE SALE ALERT!!!!

Kier+J sweater

WHAT: Kier+J Cashmere Sample Sale

WHY: Um … great cashmere (cashmere blends, wool, silk blends and fine cottons) at really really low prices, like $25 per sweater.  Designed in Paris by Junichi Hakamaki, former assistant to Tom Ford, and sold state-side.  The collection is made up of light-weight knits in a range of styles – funky sweater coats, beautiful wrap dresses, henleys, tanks and  cardigans – all at a fraction of the cost. Junichi’s designs are for the modern discerning woman, this is not your grandma’s cashmere!

WHEN: 5.18.2009 – 5.22.2009, Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm (while supplies last)

WHERE: 21 W. 39th Street, 2nd Floor (between 7th & 8th Avenues)

How To Be Enduringly Chic

ChicJackie O. Catherine Deneuve. Kate Moss. Iman – they all have that certain je ne sais quois. No matter the moment, dressed up or dressed down, these women are all enduringly chic. What is it about them? Essentially, they’re all classic dressers who can make a white t-shirt and jeans look like a million bucks. What do they know that you don’t? They know that when building a wardrobe, it’s important to invest in quality pieces that will be long lasting. Shopping for the thrill of the deal can be intoxicating, but the high wears off when January’s steal of the month still has the tags on it in September. Additionally, deciding that you will never spend more than a certain dollar amount on one item, may mean that you limit yourself from buying some truly great pieces that will stand the test of time and take your wardrobe from good to great. Focus on fit and quality over price. 

To create an enduringly chic wardrobe, you need to:

(i) Build a great foundation with classics;

(ii) Invest in an array of shoes and boots to help to dress up or dress down an outfit; and

(iii) Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

Before you go to the store, do a little shopping in your closet to help you figure out what you really need versus what you’ve decided you would like to have. Shoe shopping is a great way to illustrate my point. How many times have you found a great pair of shoes, worn them to death and wished you’d bought a second pair? If you find a pair you like, let me repeat this, if you find a pair you like (unless it’s a classic for the maker and you know they’re going to issue it next year), buy 2 pairs. It may seem like a lot up front, but I promise you this will save you a lot of headache on the backend. Shoes are an accessory and accessories can make or break your outfit!

It’s A Wrap

 

DVF Julian Dress

DVF Julian Dress

What goes around comes around … Wrap dresses, need I say more?  Diane Von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress took the fashion world by storm when it hit the stores in the early ’70s. DVF’s wrap dress was such a success that it landed her on the cover of Newsweek in 1976 where she was proclaimed to be the most marketable designer since Coco Chanel.  Almost 40 years later, her wrap dress is more popular than ever. To be enduringly chic, every woman should own at least 1 wrap dress. What’s great about wrap dresses is that they wear well and pack well.  You can dress them up or down for just about any occasion.  The genius of the wrap dress is that they’re sexy, stylish and look great on every figure.  In the winter months, wear your wrap dresses with black opaque tights and boots, funky wedge heels or platform sandals.  And as it gets warmer, pair them with your wedges, platforms or flip-flops depending on your mood and the occasion.  Although, DVF is the Queen of the wrap dress, there are many many designers out there making great wrap dresses.  Remember Kara Janx’s kimono wrap dress (she wore it on an episode of Project Runway and Michael Kors told her the design was better than anything she’d shown them on PR)?  Heading to St. Barth’s or the Hamptons, check out Calypso’s Julia dress.  Looking for something that will work in a more conservative work setting, try DKNY.  And if you have a figure more suited to custom-sizing and styling but a budget more befitting an off-the rack purchase, try eShakti.

Trust me, if you don’t already own a wrap dress or two, this is one purchase you will not regret!

 

 

 

 

The Building Blocks of Style

 Underpinnings.  I’m not talkin’ ’bout your granny’s undergarments, I’m talkin’ ’bout lingerie made for today’s active woman.

Yummie Tummie Basic-T with slimming panel

Yummie TummieBasic-T with slimming panel

Lingerie that lifts, smoothes and supports works miracles; little bulges will disappear and clothes will skim over your hips perfectly.  If you’re not a believer in the holy church of all things shapewear, that’s just because you haven’t yet benefitted from the miracles it can perform! Yummie Tummie and Spanx really do work wonders.  No time to get to the store but in desperate need of a little nip&tuck? Dig out a pair of control-top pantyhose , they’ll do the trick in a pinch (cut out the legs if need be) …   As we age, bodies change and so do bra sizes; go to a department store with a sizeable lingerie section.  I’m partial to Bloomies on 59th Street in Manhattan – get sized to insure your foundation is rock solid!  Most of us haven’t been properly fitted for a bra since mom took us eons ago … Ladies, a good fitting bra will lift the girls and position them just right –  no more muffin top, no more sagging boobies and no more bra strap cuts.  Now to preserve your new brassieres, never ever put ‘em in the dryer.  Rotate your them on daily basis (i.e., you wear the same bra each Monday but no other day of the week) to prevent the arms (the sides for the uninitiated) from getting stretched out.  And lastly, invest in a good quality full slip as well as a half-slip to insure your dresses and skirts skim your hips just the way you want them to.  

“Slip?,” you asked perplexed, “that’s something my granny wore.”  You’re right, she probably did … who says we can’t learn from those Grand Dames - back in the day those ladies were suga’ sharp!  Take a page from history and include it in your lingerie drawer.

 

 

 

 

 

Motorcycle Bag Anyone?

The first-ever Balenciaga outlet opened in New York at Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets a few weeks ago. Balency who you ask? Ball -n – c -aga of course!  Dont tell me that you dont remember the IT bag of 2005!  All of the celebrities and models were carrying them – it was as if the Olsen twins didn’t leave home without one of the coveted bags dangling ever so precariously off of one of their skinny little arms.  You remember, they were those super cool big slouchy bags with the lariats dangling from them.  The house of Balenciaga is about far more than bags, but let’s face it few of us are traipsing around decked out in haute couture from head-to-toe.  But you never know, now that they’ve opened an outlet store, you too can be AbFab if you can get yourself to Woodbury Commons – it’s just 50 miles from 5th Avenue and well worth the trip for 40% off retail on ready-to-wear, bags, accessories, and shoes.   

 

Woodbury Commons, 498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley, New York, 10917 (845-928-2006); daily (10–9). 

Shop In Your Closet

dream-closet-domino

You’ve got a closet full of clothes and you never have anything to wear, right?I’d be a rich woman if I had $5 for every time I’ve heard that lament!  To make your mornings easier, spend a few hours this Spring “shopping” in your closet.

  • To start, donate anything that you haven’t worn in the past two years or that doesn’t fit. Then, arrange your clothes by garment type (sweaters folded with sweaters, pants hanging next to pants) and each garment type by color. Once organized, your closet will resemble a boutique.
  • Now, you are ready to shop. Think about what you will wear to work, your day-to-evening transitional outfits, working-on-the-weekend clothes, and of course your date and weekend outfits. Mix and match your jewelry, shoes and bags into the outfits. Doing this will save you time getting dressed and prevent you from purchasing something that you already own.
  • As you begin to grow your wardrobe, stick with the classics; integrate trends into your wardrobe by buying one interesting item or a few accessories each season.
  • It doesn’t matter how much or how little you spend on your clothes, all essential staples should be altered to a perfect fit by a professional tailor. Revive items by having the pants hemmed, waists taken in, sleeves shortened or buttons changed.

Navigating the “Trends”

imagesWebster’s defines “trendy” as ‘very fashionable’ or ‘up-to-date’. Some take this definition to heart and believe that in order to be fashionable each season, and there are now four seasons — Resort, Spring, Pre-Fall (these clothes hit stores between May and July, filling the gap left when Spring runs dry and Fall is still being produced) and Fall — they must buy the latest and greatest. Keeping up with the trends, like keeping up with the Joneses, is not for the faint of heart. Many who follow the trends believe they must incorporate all of the latest trends into their wardrobes; it’s a never ending pursuit. Unless you’re born with a bank account like the Rockerfellers and a bounce-back figure like Heidi Klum, maybe just maybe this not the best line of thinking to employ. Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky. Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy. Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your wardrobe. Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt. Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on. If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks. The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone. Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love. And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg. So without further ado, check out my tips to find out what’s HOT for Spring 2009.

London Calling …

 

Topshop SoHo

Topshop SoHo

Kate Moss’ much anticipated Topshop opens today in SoHo. By all accounts, having Topshop in NYC will help to satisfy the hefty palets of New York’s Recessionistas.  Their British counterparts are dumbfounded by the mania surrounding the opening of what many consider to be a mid-budget fast-fashion chain store that can be found on most London high streets. Young fashionistas on this side of the pond , however, are clamoring to buy the unique London street clothes the waif-ish Moss and her designs for the store have helped to make more popular than ever.  Just a little FYI, a credible UK source told me that the prices in the US will be higher than in the UK.

Of course the queues will be long (i.e., lines for those of you not up on your key British phrases), with this kind of hype what else do you expect?  But, rumor has it that Pinkberry will be served to those waiting in line.  Queue up I say!

Topshop, 478 Broadway btwn Broome & Grand.

S.W.A.K.

Style encompasses all aspects of our lives.  Now, I’m as big a fan of email and IM’ing as the next Swarovski covered blackberry- toting hipster … But, truth be told, I’m a paper girl.  Yes, my bb has a calendar on it, but I prefer to write everything down. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about opening my mailbox and finding a handwritten note, thank you or otherwise, that trumps an email any day of the week.  

Clothes help to set the tone, but you can definitely up the ante on your personal brand by taking the time to write notes to friends and loved ones on personalized stationery.  British royalty are beholden to Smythson; but trust me here, crawl before you walk, i.e., make sure you’re going to actually use your stationery before you drop a wad on it. For those just starting out, check out sites like Design Her Gals, Tiny Prints, Fabulous Stationery or Minnie and Emma.  If you’re already converted and are ready to take things up a notch, for traditional notes go to Crane & Co., William Arthur, Fine Stationery or Mrs. John L. Strong.  For the trendsetters, check out the stylish designs at websites like Paper + Cup and iomoi.

Want to make your recipient smile before he even opens your letter?  Buy premade love stamps to show how much you care or let your creative juices flow and create your own stamps

p.s. I know that email saves the environment … but you can’t tie up a bunch of emails with a pretty bow and put them in a box for your grandchildren to find.

 

 

SAMPLE SALE ALERT!!!

img00047From time-to-time when I learn of great sample sales, you know, those hard to find, you hear about after-the-fact type sales, I’ll do my best to clue you in.

WHAT: Hermes Sample Sale

WHY: Really Ladies, why not?  Hermes is the legendary French luxury label know for the iconic Birkin & Kelly bags.  Hermes is having a sample sale on its womens collection, including scarves, handbags and accessories.  It’s highly unlikely that you’ll walk away with a Birkin bag,  but you’d be surprised at what you might score!  Do your homework, check out www.hermes.com before you make your way downtown.

WHEN: 3.25.2009 – 3.29.2009, Wednesday -Saturday  10am-6pm  & Thursday until 8pm

WHERE: The Metropolitian Pavilion , 123 West 18th Street (btwn 6th & 7th Avenues)

What’s HOT for Spring 2009, part 2

6. What’s great about a lot of the clothes coming out this Spring, is that there’s detail, detail detail – beautifully intricate blouses, sequin embellishment, ethnic accents, coral and turquoise stones on the t-straps of high and low sandals, ruffles, you name it.  You can find this sort of detail from high-end to low end designers – Anne Fontaine, Caroline Herrera, Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Malene Birger to the Gap, Ann Taylor, JCrew and Banana Republic.

 

 

7. Bling-a-ding-ding!! If you like metallics – this is your season to shine – silver, gold, bronze … they’re all over the place.  Dresses, tanks, anything that glimmers and catches the light.  If bling’s not up your alley, or if you’d prefer to tone it down a bit, add a bit of “WOW” with your accessories.  Find a great metallic clutch, a pair of strappy sandals or some beautiful bangles to take your uniform of dark jeans and a white t-shirt from good to great.  Metallics are here to stay – and you can always put a good metallic clutch to use!  Designers like Prada, Yves St. Laurent, Lanvin, and Zac Posen have some absolutely fabulous to-die for bags out.

 

8. April showers bring May flowers and this Spring is no exception.  Florals are all the rage and can be found on just about everything.  The most popular floral print items are dewy romantic dresses, but there are blouses, and jackets, skirts and even Capri pants.

 

9. Add a POP! of color to brighten any outfit.  Look for hot pinks, bright yellows, beautiful corals, neon greens – think of the new Louis Vuitton Tribute collection to Steven Sprouse (the Punk Glamour God who did the original graffiti bag collaboration with Marc Jacobs in 2001) with the bright roses or orange/fuchsia/neon green graffiti.  The traditional brown monogram canvas takes on a whole new persona with the bright pops of color – and so will your wardrobe with a bright pink cardigan,an  orange bathing suit or patent leather green wedge sandals.

 

10.  This Spring there’s a trend that appeals to the taste and budget of just about everyone.  If color’s not your thing, neutrals and metallics not in your budget this Spring, florals a little too girly for you and lace – even the edgy kind – isn’t to your liking?  No worries, because the staples black & white are going to be more popular than even this Spring.  If you want to look polished, chic or sophisticated and don’t have the time or wherewithal to navigate the hot new trends, you can’t go wrong with classic black and white combinations.

Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky.  Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy.  Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your current wardrobe.  Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt.  Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on.  If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks.  The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone.  Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love.  And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg.