Thursday, October 28, 2010

GAP is the new Black

In my very first blog post, I shared my triumph in finding the perfect pair of skinny jeans. Since then, I added to my closet a pair of gray skinnies purchased at a sample sale and a pair of Paige ankle length skinny jeans, but felt that my wardrobe was still lacking a great pair in black. Yes, adding a pair of pants to the wardrobe of a girl who spends more time in leggings than anything else probably seems a little pointless, but I was on a mission nonetheless.

My quest would always begin at Bloomingdale's: I would go in every so often and try on a few pairs, but each time they just never fit right. Too much of a jegging (I shudder to have to say that word, blech), or not enough of a skinny leg. I was frustrated, but never in too much of a hurry because, as a someone who lives in leggings, I was not in a rush to find the perfect pair. Little did I know, however, was that I would find the Holy Grail of skinny jeans at none other than this little retailer known as The Gap.

If you have been flipping through the fashion magazines this fall, or noticing bus stop advertising, you probably are aware that The Gap has revamped itself yet again. They have heavily advertised their new black work pant, as well as the denim legging. At first I was deterred by the term "Denim Legging" thinking it was just another euphemism for "Jegging." But, as Gap's Friends and Family rolled around, I realized I was terribly mistaken about the new Gap denim. In fact, I was so wrong, because these jeans are so right!

They are the perfect blend of stretch and structure. Color and comfort. A lot of pizazz for a little price. Okay so black pants can't really have pizazz per se, but these are most definitely a kick ass pair of skinny jeans. And the best part, they retail for only $69.50. Even better: The Gap is almost always having a sale or promotion, so there is a chance you can purchase a pair for as low as $35.

Sure, I had to go a size up (a girl's gotta accommodate for larger thighs: accept it, own it), but because they are stretch, I had no issues with the waist being too large. So after fruitlessly scouring department store racks I have now learned that if you are searching for black skinny jeans, you do not need to look for a designer label to provide the fit and style that you crave. If nothing else, it is another good reason to mind The Gap.

Friday, October 15, 2010

On A Shoestring

Just because this blog is dedicated to style on a budget, and I cringe at the thought of paying retail for almost anything, it does not mean that sometimes when I flip through a magazine or read another style blog, I am not envious of the items I can not afford. I could rattle off a laundry list of my most desired pieces, but would have to forfeit months of rent to buy any of them. These would include:

Hermes Collier De Chien
Proenza Schouler PS1 Bag
Alexander Wang Rocco Duffel
Almost any pair of Givenchy shoes
Miu Miu loafers either studded or leopard
Loubutin booties

The point is: if I had endless sums of money, there are things I would snap up in a heartbeat, and there are many days that I dream of not having to crunch numbers to keep my monthly budget out of the red. But alas, this is not the case. Instead, I try to drive home my position that when it comes to lack of money: a little extra thought goes a long way.

It was the Bloomingdale's semi-annual shoe sale: buy two or more pairs and get an extra 20% off your purchase. I had found two great shoes, a BCBG patent wedge, and Betsey Johnson spectator Mary Janes.

There was only one problem: the Mary Janes had THE ugliest choice of laces. They were a black and white satin ombre, and they made the shoes look incredibly cheap and tacky. But instead of deciding the shoes were unfit to buy, thereby forfeiting my extra discount, I took some time to brainstorm.

Have you ever been to M&J Trim? Go. It is amazing. It is the kind of store that makes you wish you could sew. Unless you do sew, well, then it is a mecca of crystal, applique and ribbon, oh the glorious ribbon: M&J has an almost infinite selection. With this tidbit of knowledge, rather than hastily tossing the shoes aside, I decided to purchase them, and throw the laces out instead.

Now not only do I not have hideous ombre ribbon shoelaces on my funky Mary Janes, I have a multitude of alternatives. I purchased a few different options, black with white trim, black with gold, thin, thick, velvet, satin, and all for a total purchase price under $5!!



Under $5!!

This little discovery is part of the same theory that sometimes you have to alter a garment to make it not only fit your body, but fit your style too. M&J is a great source of products and inspiration that can instantly turn plain into perfection. Atrocious into awe-inspiring. Fine into fabulous. (You get the picture.)

So, if you have not yet figured it out, my point is this: do not overlook something that may only be just shy of amazing, because alterations are almost always an option. And this argument does not only apply to clothes, as clearly demonstrated here. It is all about looking beyond the obvious, something anyone on a budget has to challenge themselves to do every time they go shopping. Sure, even I get sick of constantly having to play mind meld with my clothes to feel like I'm changing up my style; and yes, sometimes I just want to walk into Barneys and--without remorse--buy something I find intrinsically cool, but that is not an option for me.

So there you have it, yet another example of how powerful the creative mind can be. And even if you do not have an item in your wardrobe that needs a little alternation or sprucing up, making a trip to the Garment District may help feed your creativity. Just take a stroll on 6th Avenue between 34th and 40th street, and you are bound to be inspired; because with a well-trimmed budget, your wardrobe will not seem like it is hanging by a thread.

You can find
M&J Trim at 1008 6th Avenue

~~Thanks to my guest editor Kendria for all her help on this post! Check out her blog Random Acts of Kendy for great stories, including one about me!~~