Dilemmas: Stuff I'd like to get from the General Economy

Been a long time since we did a "Dilemmas" post.  In this case it's not really a matter of choosing which one to get, but whether to get something at all - or get all of them :)

  • Oak NYC houndstooth scarf, $7
  • Frye Paige dark brown boots, $200
  • Rag & Bone top, $45
  • Free People sequined vest, $23
  • Random Japanese lace skirt, $30
  • Kookai striped sweater, $27
  • Anthro skirt, $45
  • Tulle pencil skirt, $20

Mayle retrospective - I thought her sample sale was coming up, but as it turns out, the sale already happened a year ago.

So it's kind of unclear whether Jane Mayle is really truly out of business for good, because the lease on her store's retail space was supposed to have ended in February, but the site is still functional, and when you visit it, it's still advertising this huge sample sale, to end all sample sales, which happened April 24-25.  Last year.  It's a weird time-warp feeling to flip through the lookbook and sigh wistfully at all the beautiful things I missed out on:

Whatever the ultimate fate of the brand, I wish I could have been there.  Her clean-cut yet easily romantic silhouettes is everything we ask for at Wearability.

10% off all Moop bags for their birthday.

Moop is one of those etsy sellers that caught my eye early and held my interest over a long time.  I was delighted to see that they're offering a discount on their very well-made, sturdy bags.  They are the opposite of "fussy," with simple lines and a straightforward practicality.

Now the only challenge is figuring out which style and color combo to choose.  Below you can see the Market bag, the Porter, the Messenger, and the Letter Clutch, among others.  Shop at their etsy shop.

A Test of Efficiency/Efficacy: Diary of sh*t I bought in the last 4 months.

Posted simultenously to stephanie.posterous.com

I feel like I'm spilling all my secrets. 

Don't think for one minute that, with all my mooning about beautiful shoes and things, I somehow lose track or control of my spending or, as I've heard some people say, "have nothing to show for it."  Au contraire, I know exactly where every penny has gone and try to make purchases through careful deliberation (doesn't always work, of course).

I definitely make mistakes - I'm still a fledgling shopper, still learning the ropes, still buying things I regret later (or immediately).  I know it will take some time, but what I'm really working towards is developing my taste, my ability to quickly assess fit, style, quality, and value--understanding what I like and what I don't like, what works and what won't, slowly getting more confident making this assessment, and slowly becoming faster at it.  

I've come a long way in the last few years--it all started when I realized that I was a) buying pretty stuff I didn't wear and b) not wearing it out of laziness, defaulting to jeans and t-shirts, and, even worse, c) not wearing it because I lacked confidence/self esteem.  I realized I didn't wear half the stuff I bought because I did not like calling attention to myself.  I have been very lucky to have always worked in offices that allow a lot of room for creativity.  I realized that if I could work up the nerve to pull off some of the stuff I bought, and get used to the attention it would bring, perhaps that gumption would seep into other areas of my life.  I also realized that it would be fun to to approach style as another form of self-expression.  As Garry tells me, "wear it and hold your head up!"

I digress.

As I said, I keep close tabs on my credit card statement, the wad of receipts in my wallet, and the accumulation of "stuff" around my room.  I thought it might be a good exercise to do a recap/roundup of what I bought in the last few months, much of which you may have seen on this blog, along with my thoughts on each item.
April: Some may remember I gave up shopping for Lent.  As soon as Easter came, I bought stuff. A crapton of it.
  • Yellow bag: My first real-leather handbag.  From Marshall's. Besides being a steal, I use it almost every day.  Definite winner.
  • World According to Jess "crossword" case: It is a fantastic overnighter.  I love the separate compartment on the bottom for shoes.
  • Black hoodie, gray sweater, blue top from the Gap: The hoodie replaced one that was falling apart and will come in handy as soon as autumn hits.  The gray sweater I ruined in the dryer - but at least it was only $10 and may make some cozy armwarmers.  The blue top I absolutely love.
  • Shoshanna floral print dress: Huge mistake.  It is sized a true 4 (as opposed to the generous sizing at most chain stores), so I can't even zip it up.  I can't decide if I want to donate it, resell it, try to alter it to fit me, or lose a crapton of weight.
  • Franco Sarto clogs: I love them.  They were totally affordable, the grommets on the side add edge to any outfit, and they are so versatile!
  • RSVP silver sandals: They served their purpose (my friend's wedding).  At $13, does it really matter if I ever wear them again?
  • Frye lace-up boots: One of my most expensive shoe purchases to date.  I like them a lot, but still can't figure out how to wear them. (Help!)
May: This was a month of scouring eBay and traveling.
  • Cotton "tropical toile" sundress: I bought this dress from the fantastic Moule in the Pearl District of Portland, a fantastic purchase from an amazing retail store.  It was a one-of-a-kind sample, made either by Rachel Mara or Michelle Mason (the designer later decided to turn the design into a top instead of a dress).  It has a balloon-y silhouette, is light as air, and I love everything from the pattern of the toile to the black bands that define it at the top and bottom.  The icing on the cake was that it was heavily discounted, and there's no sales tax in Portland.  Score.
  • Black fedora: a random buy at the Saturday Market in Portland.  I like the way it looks/fits but have not figured out where on earth I can wear it with a straight face.
  • Vintage Selby loafers: From one of my favorite sellers on Etsy.  At $10 they were a steal, and I love the extra-long tongues and little gold hardware.
  • Vintage striped secretary blouse: It was also a steal, but it's a bit shapeless.  I need to figure out how to wear it without looking like a referee or a flight attendant.
  • Random jewelry: All purchased on eBay.  You all witnessed the deliberation over the owl, but the blue orchid was an unexpected find, and I was surprised at how much I love that splash of blue against everything.  The bracelets are fine, not super excited about them.
  • Custom pencil skirt from Louise Hedley: I was disappointed with the purchase and ended up giving the Etsy seller neutral feedback (she was very nice/lovely to work with but the color and fit was just not what I expected based on the item description).  Haven't worn it out but maybe one of these days.  Not worth the $ at all.
June: Showed a bit more restraint this month.
  • Plaid "farmer girl" shirt: I can't for the life of me remember the name of the designer even though I chatted with her for a few minutes at SF's Indie Mart.  She very cleverly cuts off the sleeves of things and arranges them in flower patterns on the chest.  I was debating between this and a vest made out of a repurposed blazer, but Garry was right that I would wear this more.  I do, and I love it!
  • Eva Brann cream crochet cardigan: It was the one thing I wanted to buy in all of Beacon Hill when I visited Boston last month.  The preppy, yacht-club style of New England does not jive with me.  I was surprised to find this unexpectedly romantic piece at Boutique Eskil.  It was expensive, but it's beautiful, you can't go wrong with a pretty white cardigan, and there's no sales tax in Boston.  Score.
July:  So far.  This does not include the sh*t I ordered last week from Anthro.  Including the enchanting dark bouquet dress.
  • Look from London plaid tights: The only thing at Jeremy's SF worth buying.  Sushmita and I thought Jeremy's was like a big, disorganized, and appallingly expensive version of Ross.  There were very few good deals to be had, and the selection was awful.  But I salvaged the day with this quirky find - they are super comfortable and lots of fun (and not pricey!).
  • Emily Katz "wish" top: One of the very few things I was moved to buy at the giant DIY flea market that was the Renegade Craft Fair.  Not only was this sample hugely discounted, but I got to chat with Emily herself for a while.  I'll be featuring her in a later post.
  • Elie Tahari snakeskin sandals: You already know all about this one.  They fit all right, but one major negative is that the slingback slips so easily off my heels.  I don't know if I should try to return them, if I just need to break them in, if I should get some kind of heel insert, or if I just need to totter around like a deer in them.

Stuff I just bought on sale at Anthropologie

I really need to stop, but when prices are this good, and I have free shipping as a member of Anthro, wild horses can't stop me!  If anything doesn't fit right, I plan to return them to the brick-and-mortar store.

1. Baltic twill trench ($498, on sale for $199.95): I feel I've been waiting all my life for the perfect white trench coat.  I hope this is it.  I like the details along the bottom hem.
2. Withering frost vest ($78, on sale for $39.95): I don't really need it, but it's pretty.  I am a sucker for crochet and lace edging.
3. Levitation slingbacks ($128, on sale for $29.95!): Just this afternoon I was noting that I needed a good pair of black flats since my current ones are falling apart.  These are not quite what I had in mind (I need ballerinas with a buckle), but I could hardly believe that they were $100 off and have leather soles - the mark of true quality - and available in my size.
4. Walk-the-line gauchos ($118, on sale for $39.95): Another phenomenal buy.  I have kept my eye out for good gauchos since I saw them on a friend of mine, who is very petite, and they complemented her frame handsomely.
5. Fallon cargoes by Hei Hei ($88, on sale for $49.95): Not super cheap, and if I wait a bit they will probably go down to $25 or less, but I absolutely love pants made by Hei Hei.  They are unbelievably comfortable to romp around in on the weekends...my favorite pair of pants, so I had to get another.

Progressive Fashion At Your Fingertips



I just joined Thrillist.com (kind of like Daily Candy, but edgier/hipper i.e. a bit more annoying). I can't deny though, that they have good recommendations. They pointed me to Acrimony, a design collective/online boutique that is having its summer sale right now, with very reasonable prices 40-70% off.

I like how the fashion skates the line between experimental and wearable. It's kind of like 80sPurple.com, but even edgier.



Fashion Friday: Whatever happened to World According to Jess?

Yes, more bags.  I remember this label being huge about 5-7 years ago, though I can't recall where I first heard of it.  Back then, there were a few pieces in her line I thought were adorable, fun and playful, but a bit too much to pay for vinyl.  Curious, I checked back to see if she had anything new going on.

I was surprised to see that there were pretty much no new items added in the last few years, and every item is on sale.  When I saw the prices though, I was shocked.  $30 for what used to be a $200 weekend bag?  You can bet I'm going to snap me up a couple, but more than that, I wonder what ever happened to the designer.  Did she give up?  Move on?  Decide to focus on being a new mommy? Why didn't she ever release new designs? 

So mysterious.  Anyway, there aren't many left - check them out on the World According to Jess website.

Feeling a bit of consumer's guilt (already!)

I don't know if any of you partook in the insanity that was Gilt Groupe's final sale (parts 1 and 2), but I got suckered in.  Yup.  I was so thrilled to have something to actually put in my shopping cart that I just went ahead and bought it: a strapless black floral silk jersey dress by Shoshanna.  Original price: $340.  Sale price: $78.  Price I paid after the credit I had in my account: $40.  

A great price, I know, but then I saw that tomorrow they are having a final accessories sale, and it's a handbag that I really need to replace the $35 Guess minibag I have that has a strap that is cracking.  I could have applied my credit to that, so I feel guilty for buying something I really don't need and probably won't wear until the next wedding.

I didn't have the presence of mind to capture a picture of the dress, but it's in the print below, along w/ another strapless Shoshanna dress of a similar shape.

Dilemmas: Which boot/shoe should I buy?

I've been eyeing these Frye boots since they first appeared on the Urban Outfitters site last fall.  Now they are on major sale. (Hooray!) Question is, do I get the Ava Button boots or the Adrienne lace-ups (and if those, then in brown or in plum?).  I threw a pair of "fancy" Uggs and Charlotte Ronson's black booties for comparison.  I also like the Miss Sixty black flats and white Via Spiga sandals but probably won't get them.

Cholosoy is having a sale

One of my earliest posts was asking people which chullo hat I should buy from Cholosoy's Etsy shop, which featured some of the most lightweight, ugly-awesome chullos I'd ever seen (I got the blue-green one).

I thought I got a deal for $18.50...this weekend only, they're having an even better sale.  All hats $15!  Makes you wonder if they are employing Peruvian orphans to make these and paying them $1/day.