Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shoe Confessional

Forgive me wallet, for I have sinned. I may or may not have purchased these Jimmy Choo pumps at the out of control Saks After Christmas Sale.

Oh hi ladies. Why thank you, you are looking lovely today as well.

Despite the pricey brand name, I paid only 35% of their original retail price (at $187 after tax, you can do the math). These snake print beauties are proof that even a gal on a budget can snag designer goods for mass retailer prices. These Steve Madden snake print platforms retail for $190 (I am not endorsing this particular pair, I just went to and typed in "snake" for a comparison). And yes while they are on sale for $120, the fact that the full price was more than I paid for made-in-Italy-will-last-forever-and-are-way-chicer shoes serves as evidence that it is easy to overpay for mediocre quality.

Behold the Noizey. Who comes up with these ridiculous names?

Now I can't claim to be the best bargain shopper out there, and I won't lie and say that every purchase I have ever made was the right one, but I can safely say that sometimes it is worth avoiding purchasing mass quantities of fast fashion in order to put that money towards an investment piece. With a LOT of patience (you are gonna need it to wait for the final sales, dig through messy piles, and put up with the crowds of crazy bargain hunters exemplified in the video below) and a discerning eye, you too can make out with some drool-worthy designer goods for a fraction of the retail price.

Original video posted on

Here's how!

End of Season Sales
For After Christmas, Saks had up to 65% off shoes (75% off Women's RTW), Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys 60%, Bloomingdale's at 75% off. Stalk the prices and you are sure to get your goodies at a low price if you wait it out. If you can't find what you want, it just wasn't meant to be.

Prada shoes I had my eye on for months. 75% off at a Saks After Thanksgiving Sale

Outlet Shopping
For those of you near to Woodbury Common, I find it is the most promising outlet mall I have shopped at. While a few shops have closed since I last visited, most of the high-end retailers have outlets there: Dior, Valentino, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, YSL, even Reed Krakoff is slated to open this summer. (Full store listing can be found here.)

Creatively staging my Chanel shoes because to me they are a work of art.

Discount Retailers
I scored Lanvin suede boots for $250 (retail price $1500) at the Upper West Side Loehmann's. While I don't usually have the best of luck in these types of stores, knowing a score like that is out there means I will be sure to check back in periodically as they receive merchandise frequently. I have also found shoes at Century21 but the crowds there are pretty hard to deal with and their dressing rooms are a nightmare. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

You've seen this pic before but damn...what a great purchase!

Discount and Flash Sale Websites
Reduced price designer goods just a mouse click away over at The Outnet, Gilt, Rue La La, Hautelook, ideeli, and Amazon's My Habit. While I haven't purchased items from these sites (yet?), I know plenty of those who have. Echem, Jose.

Always remember it is important to focus on pieces you will wear forever and make sure you would love the item at full price too, not just because it is happens to be a certain percent off. While a deep discount on a designer item is always great, if you don't need it, won't wear it, or don't love it, you can (and will, trust me on this one), as my mother always told me "go broke saving money."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ball Dropping Beauty

It happens every year: December rolls around and I am forced to think about how I am going to spend New Year's Eve, aka my least favorite holiday...ever (a very close second place goes to Halloween). I can't help but dislike a night that, while worthy of celebration, gives bars and restaurants a reason to overcharge and overcrowd, and tourists swarm the city, hogging all the cabs. There is pressure to have an amazing time when more often than not the evening turns out to be just like any other night out, if not worse because you paid $100+ for an open bar and had to elbow other party-goers just to drink the same amount you would have had you paid per cocktail. Bitter? Me?

I miss the days when I would be excited to stay up late, watch the ball drop, then go to bed immediately after. You know, back when I was young enough that it was socially acceptable to do just that. However, despite my aversion to the over-hyped holiday that New Year's Eve has become, that doesn't mean I will not celebrate in the most glamorous way I can. Because if I am going to be out eating/drinking/dancing, I might as well look like the giant Waterford crystal ball that drops in Times Square. (And you should too!)

Note: Shimmer and shine can easily be overdone, so follow these simple steps to stay sassy yet classy. (Read: More like a looker, less like a hooker)

Glittering Nails
Of course manicures are my one of my favorite accessories, and metallic or glitter digits are the way to go on New Year's. Want to turn those gilded nails into a glitter-tipped french? Why not? Nail polish is a great way to go a little overboard, just as long as you keep your nails short. You want fingers that look festive, not like weaponry.

An image from my tumblr. ::shameless plug:: vs. Dagger Nails from

Suggested (and cheap!) nail polishes from my massive personal collection:

Clockwise from Left: Wet 'n Wild Kaleidoscope, Color Club Gingerbread, Milani One Coat Glitter in Gold Glitz, Milani Jewel FX in Gold, Orly Rage, Orly Luxe, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Celeb City

Up The Ante With A Little Bling
Bags, jewelry, and shoes are a great way to add sparkle to any outfit. Keep the clothes simple and let the accessories take the spotlight. These glitter shoes as suggested by Refinery29 are inexpensive and if I weren't on a shopping diet I would be very tempted. Someone please buy them and send me pictures.

I am planning on adding some gold, sparkle, and shine to my own outfit with a fabulous minaudière gifted to me by my wonderful mother.

This little jewel box will be getting its own dedicated post soon enough.

For your dancin' feet...

American Eagle Loafers, Zara Court Shoe

...and arm candy on the cheap.

La Regale Mini Clutch, Zara Metallic Clutch

Shimmering Makeup
Your face is a canvas screaming to be painted. (Okay, maybe mine just screams. Yours may use its indoor voice.) I love me a metallic smokey eye with a sultry nude lip or a soft glimmering lid with a bold pout. Be sure that if one area is emphasized, the other should be more toned down. And liquid liner is a must whether in black or metallic. Hell, even some glitter is appropriate if you choose more subtle accessories. My bold & beautiful picks below:

NYX Gold Liner, Shu Uemura Gold Shadow, Nars Schiap lipstick, MAC Ruby Woo lipstick

A little sequin can go a long way. I prefer mine on a blazer or a skirt. Quirk it up with something more casual like a chambray shirt à la J. Crew's Style Agenda.

Sparkle & Charm
If you don't want to invest in any new items for one evening (hey, I totally get it), you already possess something as bubbly as champagne that you can bring for free...your personality! As much as I dread December 31st, I know I will always celebrate the new year with a smile. The cost is zero and the reward is priceless. (How's that for a little end-of-2011 cheese?)

Cheers to a fashionable yet sensible 2012!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brooching The Subject

When Yves Saint Laurent said that "Fashions fade, style is eternal," I am almost certain he was talking about brooches. Oh, just indulge me, would ya?

Although some may say that brooches are for grandmothers and ladies who lunch, I want to prove them all wrong. Because, in fact, brooches are timeless, ageless, and perhaps one of the simplest ways to add interest to a blouse, cardigan, blazer, or coat. They can be classic, edgy, or whimsical. They can sparkle and shine. Don't believe me? Let me show you. (Even if you did believe me, you had to know that was coming.)

Modern Cocktail

Taking pictures of myself is nearly impossible so I apologize profusely for the ridiculous quality of the photos you are seeing. Theory blazer, Gap Jeans, Nine West Shoes.

Office Polished-tics

Animal pins and prints are fashion-friendly and office-safe. Nanette Lepore sweater, H&M skirt, Lauren Ralph Lauren Belt.

Lady with an Edge

Sadly my rhinestone spike bracelet and suede booties didn't make the pic. Imagine they are there to toughen up the look (more so than that bitch face I seem to have on). Waiter! There's a lizard on my shirt! American Apparel top, Dior pencil skirt.

Do I look like your grandmother in any of those pics? You know what? Don't answer that.

Additionally, there are many other great reasons to get pinned:

"Bye Bye Birdie" is a great musical. In High School my mom tried out for the mayor's wife but Goldie Hawn beat her to the part. True story.

- Keeps your bra strap from slipping down your shoulder if you place the brooch just right. Or you could just tighten the strap. Either way.

- Fear your artfully placed sweater or blazer is going to slide down your shoulders? Make sure it doesn't by securing both pieces together.

Photo Credit

- You are automatically suitably attired for those last minute charity luncheons and impromptu bingo parties.

- Brooches are great conversation pieces. Especially if they are super awesome like my colored bees (pictured below). Buzzzzzz. Gets attention at the office and cocktail parties. If you like attention that is.

While I sourced my brooches from many places (6th Avenue, a neighborhood yard sale back in 1990-who-knows-when, and my grandmother's jewelry box), eBay is the PERFECT place to satisfy all your pinning needs.

Grandma's Tiger vs. Your Tiger (Rawr)

Grandma's Bees vs. Your Bee (almost identical!)

My Yard Sale Find vs. Your Ebay Find:

6th Avenue Shop vs. Faship's Ebay Shop:

And now that we're going steady...

I tried to take a pic of myself decked out in grandma gear but I was way too frustrated with self-portrait photography to deal with it. So imagine it right...

HERE's time for couples shuffleboard!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hook, Line, and Sweater

Despite another 61 degree high today, predictions indicate that starting tonight, New York City is finally going to see some seasonably appropriate weather. (Why yes, I am quite preoccupied with the temperature these days, thanks for noticing!) Thankfully that means it is finally sweater time, are you ready? Let's get cozy!

I love sweaters, which may sound like fashion déjà vu. The bigger and baggier, the better. My winter uniform subsists almost exclusively on the sweater/legging combination, and I am proud of it! But you don't have to be a card carrying member of the Leggings Fan Club to pull on a pinafore. Sweaters can be worn with anything: pants, skirts, even over dresses! But you knew that already. And while I have a soft spot for most sweater styles (how's that for an almost alliteration?), I have recently become obsessed with the fisherman. No no silly readers, not fisherman like Gorton's, fisherman like the sweater! Did you not see where I was going with this? I mean, I wouldn't deny that a husky country man is sexy...

I tried really hard to find a picture of an actual man fishing in a sweater but all I found was this dude with a wistful look...


Moving on! While I certainly I wouldn't put up a fight if someone gave me these lust-worthy items...

...what my heart adores, my wallet abhors!

The super budget babe might make one of these herself ....but I probably definitely won't. And if you are, like I am, challenged in the knitting department (I tried to crochet once; I have the wonky scarf as evidence), I instead have found purchasable options a-plenty at a wide variety of price points and retailers.

1st Row L-R: Bloomingdales, Asos
2nd Row L-R: MICHAEL Michael Kors, Zara

3rd Row: J. Crew
4th Row L-R: Gap, Asos, Topshop

- Note the color blocking and raglan sleeve on the Zara sweater. One can never get enough of a raglan sleeve. $80

- J. Crew: Can't mess with a classic...or a sale! $78

- I keep eying the Gap sweater on-line and in stores. Not to mention I have a rewards certificate burning a whole in my pocket. And while I can't find the image to prove it, I'm pretty sure it was worn in a Lucky magazine fashion spread. $60

- The brown Asos is great if you prefer a looser fit. Nerd glasses optional, but strongly encouraged. $55

- That cute Topshop in the gorgeous blue is on sale for $30. 'Nuf said.

- More "I keep having issues with these damn .gif files" (can someone help me with this please?) picture-less links. Because we all know I love men...erm, men's sweaters: L.L. Bean $129. Or if you prefer to wear women's clothes, head on over to Lands' End for this version $89

Remember to balance out the preppy with edgy accessories and/or a bold manicure.

See anything you like? Now is the time to reel that sucker in.

Ed Note: You are right, you did see the fisherman sweater in Fall 2010 magazine issues! But always remember, personal expression knows no trends. Not to mention that recycling is always in style. Green is the new black, right?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A-Hood Of The Game

I know you don't need me to tell you this, but it is raining today in New York. It also reached a high of 61 degrees here in Manhattan. And did I mention it is December 6th? But you aren't here for a weather report, you are here for a fashion report!

Now I didn't bring up the weather because I lacked something to blog about...

image courtesy of spinedoctors. Don't ask.

...I brought up the weather because I walk to work. While my commute clocks in at just under a mile, that means that for a good 20 minutes of walking (well you try navigating the sidewalks faster than that!) I am exposed to rain, shine, sleet, snow, or even hail. That in mind, my commuter fashion is dictated by the day's weather conditions. I have rain boots, snow boots, insulated rain boots, raincoats; I am most definitely prepared.

Myself, like many others, know how important it is to own stylish outwear in order to avoid feeling completely un-chic in defense against the elements. There is fashion before function, function before fashion, and the best of both worlds, functional fashion! (Note how this differs from fashionable function because the fashion part is much more fun.)

Scene: I am walking to Midtown today in my raincoat, rain boots, and umbrella. With each step I take, I notice how my hair curls and frizzes and poofs with every step I take. Pensive look. Light bulb. I need a raincoat with a hood!

Today was one of those light rain/heavy mist type of days. Those days where an umbrella seems like too much (and certainly adds to the already crowded sidewalk), but without one you end up covered with a thin layer of dewiness and might-as-well-not-have-blow-dried-after-my-shower frizzy hair. It was then I realized that perhaps this was nothing a little head protection couldn't fix.

And while I may be dreaming of this little number...

Burberry Brit Zip-Off Hood Raincoat at Bloomingdale's $750 reality we could all use something a little more budget friendly.

So without further a-dew, let us check out some some well-priced, topped-notch city-slickin' slickers!

From top (L-R): Cole Haan Packable Raincoat (olive color on sale for $237), Vince Camuto Zip Front Trench $148, Asos Selected Park $300, Asos Plastic Rainmac (on sale!) $68, Platinum Utex $128.

I also liked this Anne Klein one from Macy's marked down to $100, but I couldn't seem to figure out how to post the image.

Looks like another wet one tomorrow, so add a personal touch with a belt or a scarf (maybe a great pair of gloves?), and let mother nature know you are not afraid of a little precipitation. A lot of precipitation...and wind...well that's another story blog post.