Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Check Out the Overnight Shipping Deal at Amazon's Shoe Store

Endless is paying you, the shoe consumer, $5 to have your shoes delivered overnight. (Zappos, have your heard about this?)

I have yet to browse and thoroughly check out the selection. After a click or two I can tell you they offer more than 400 styles of boots.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stuff I'm Sick Of, Stuff I Dig

I've been to the mall several times recently and I'm always scoping out my favorite online sites. Here are a few things I'm really tired of and wish they would go away:
  • Things referred to as babydoll or trapeze: If you read my last post, you'll note that I have just recently purchased a babydoll dress. I have also recently taken said dress back to Macy's. I got it home and tried styling it a number of ways and it just wasn't doin it for me. It looked ridiculous with boots, too cumbersome with jackets and sweaters. I've been lending out my old maternity clothes lately. I don't need regular clothes that make people wonder if I might be five months along.
  • Skinny pants: I'm fairly confident these are going away, but I inadvertently grabbed several pair off clearance racks over the weekend. They looked cute and normal on the hangers. They looked simply horrifying on me. Who can wear these, I ask? The 5 foot 10 and leggy fantasy Material Girl.
  • Tunics: One day when my dreams come true and I'm 5 foot 10 and leggy with tiny perky boobs, I'll have a wardrobe of tunic-y tops that look just fab on me with my skinny pants. For now I feel the tunic must be stopped. Will designers please come up with something else?
Here are a few things I'm digging and/or excited about:
  • Fall: Leaves changing, crisp breezes, boots, sweaters, jackets. How I love me some fall wardrobe items. Perhaps a fitted jacket or slim cardigan over one's tunic or trapeze dress might be helpful.
  • Shirt dresses: My second Material Girl post went on about a shirt dress from the Gap. I'm in love with the shirt dress, a style I always thought I couldn't pull off. I have two; I must have more. It's so flattering. It's so versatile. Long live the shirt dress!
  • Wegdes: I'm so happy to see so many comfy comfy wedges in stores and online. I'm not good with heels (stupid knees!) but I can handle a three-inch wedge, especially if a platform is involved. My boot of choice for fall will be a versatile black leather wedge boot which I have yet to locate. However, the search is officially on.
  • Wicker, straw and rattan bags: Thanks to vigorous eBaying, I've suddenly got a small, lovely collection of vintage handbags and clutches made of wicker, straw and rattan. These bags are the one reason I'll be sad for fall to come. Fall leads to winter, and for winter have be in the drawer until spring.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Huband Hated My Outfit!

Friday night my husband and I hit the mall about 45 minutes before the start of movie we were seeing. Then he told me he didn't like my outfit, and--this was the wine talking--we should go buy me a new one. He was interested in a short purple babydoll dress in the window of Forever 21. No way I was going for something that cheap when he had a buzz and a credit card. We headed to Macy's.

I ended up with a cute blue shirt dress from Macy's house brand INC after a mini Material Girl fashion show and a lecture from the old lady who worked there that men aren't allowed in the dressing rooms. I'm generally a big fan of INC--they can be a little too trendy but you can often find some of-the-moment items along with wardrobe staples (like the great trench coats they just got in)--and they are pretty well made. And the great thing about shopping department stores like Macy's is that something is always on sale.

Since I only had about half an hour to shop, I found myself back at the store on Saturday morning. (My husband said it was like he brought a junkie to an opium den. Whatever.) My Saturday morning finds included three more INC items. I got a black and white patterned jersey babydoll dress with a bubble hem--trendy but very flattering on. I also bought two pairs of shorts, a leopard print for my more '80s moments (seen on the model above whose legs are longer than my entire body) and a knee-length pinstripe pair with sewn a in grosgrain belt detail.

After that I hit Sephora to stock up on a few of my fav Stila products. For other Stila fans out there, they are currently having a 20% off sale on their vintage line.

P.S. I got the silver Vince Camuto shoes the other day. They are just as beautiful in person, but I fear the heels are too high for me. However they look divine with my blue dress so I'm still mulling over whether or not to keep them.

Friday, July 27, 2007

eBay Advice from Fashionista

Our friends at Fashionista recently posted a nice list of eBay shopping tips. Enjoy!

Bust a (Shopping) Move

I've been a Bust magazine subscriber for quite some time now. It's a cool magazine--I like many of the columns such as Wendy McClure's "Pop Tart," I like their extended section of book reviews, and I enjoy the indie/DIY vibe, although it's not quite what I'm into. The main reason I get it, however, is for the "Bustshop" ad section, including "she commerce, services and more."

The current issue (Aug/Sept featuring a lovely, butt-kickin Rosario Dawson on the cover) included nine pages of ad with nine ads to a page (that's 81 ads in all for my fellow English majors. I've got a calculator right here in my PC).

I thought it would be fun to pick out an ad on each page of the current issue Bustshop and give you the lowdown:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

Remember these Vince Camuto beauties that were sold out everywhere in my color preference and size?

My friends at Zappos sent me a happy email today to inform me they had gotten a pair in just for me! So of course I bought then. I imagine they'll arrive tomorrow, so we'll see how they do in person once I see them and give them a test drive. If they don't pass, I'll simply take advantage of the free return policy and send them back before my husband even notices the new cardboard box.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Perfect Boot I Cannot Have

It seems the item-out-of-my-grasp will be a recurring theme here at Material Girl HQ. Here's my latest shopping trial: I've found what just may be the perfect boot, one I've been on the lookout for for ages, trolling Zappos and Amazon, cruising any shoe department I happen by. I speak of a grey boot. One with a walkable heel. A lovely neutral that can go from season to season and match anything. If you ask me, grey should me the new black in footwear. The ubiquitous black boot is so dull. Don't get me wrong--it has it's time and place and every woman should have a black boot in both knee-high and ankle in her closet. But wouldn't it be nice to have a beautiful grey boot to wear with, say, a black dress, thus getting away from the black-from-head-to-toe without being too bold (with, say, a red boot).

But, alas, grey boots are hard to come buy. I've had my eye on two pairs I've found on Zappos. (They are currently sitting in my shopping cart). One, by Jessica Bennett, is a suede, not-quite- knee-high boot with a black wedge heel (currently selling for $129.02). I'm just not wild about suede. And I don't think I could wear grey suede in the spring. I like them but I don't love them.

The other pair is a ruched Jeffrey Campbell ankle boot (currently selling for $146.95). I love them and my husband hates them (not that his opinion matters all that much, but he does pay the AmEx bill). Plus an ankle boot with a skirt, I fear, would make me look shorter. And they are a bit '80s.

Then one happy Saturday the Anthropologie catalog arrived in my mail slot. And there it was: arguably the perfect grey boot. I love the distressed brown-grey leather, the stacked heel (not too high), the lacing up the back, the shape of the toe. I'm in love. My two issues: My discretionary fund is not currently able to support a boot purchase of $278 plus tax and shipping; and they are on backorder until early October.

[Material Girl sighs...]

This is a sad sad development in my shopping life. At least four times now I've been ready to take the plunge, halfway through the check out procedure. After all, they don't charge your credit card until they are ready to ship the product--I could always cancel the order between now and October. What if I don't order them now and I they sell out in 8.5? Fellow shoppers, what would you do?

Monday, July 23, 2007

eBay 101: Favorite Searches

Whenever people comment on my outfit or an accessory and I say, "I got in on eBay," they often ask me how I manage to find all the stuff I find.

One easy way to locate cool fashion bargains on eBay is to set up some favorite searches. For example, say I'm interested in skirts from Anthropologie in size 6. Note: Skirts are much safer to buy from an eBay auction than pants. It's really hard to gage how pants will fit from measurements given in an auction description unless it's something you've tried on in the store or you know the line really really well. But with a skirt, you just need to know your waist measurement and have an inkling of the styles that work on you, and you're good.

Back to the point. So I get on eBay, and type "Anthropologie skirt 6" and click on search. When the results come up, the top of the page will say, "38 items found for Anthropologie skirt 6," followed by "Save this search." Click on "Save this search" and you'll get a box with a few choices. The default is "Email me daily when new items match my search for 6 months."
And your friend eBay will do just that.

So every morning as I eat my breakfast I check my Hotmail for what's new with all my saved searches. I can breeze through a dozen of them over a bowl of oatmeal. I click on the ones that interest me, and save them in My eBay. Later I'll see what auctions end today and read the description carefully to decide whether I want to bid.

So simple; so easy. eBay is genius.

eBay 101 is an ongoing series.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm Not a Plastic Bag

Have you heard about the Anya Hindmarch I'm not a Plastic Bag canvas tote frenzy? These totes, being released in limited editions around the world, are causing a Cabbage Patch Kids-like reaction from consumers--those who want to be chic and green and those who want to make a little green.

I read that they released 20,000 for sale at an NYC Whole Foods and they went in a matter of hours for $15 each. And customers stood in long lines for hours to get them. Then they were immediately all over eBay. They're fetching upwards of $100. I've seem some bidding go as high as $250 (the same price some guy sold a copy of the new Harry Potter book for on eBay a few days ago after an online retailer accidentally shipped books out several days before the official release for the book).

So I ask you--what's so great about this bag? I'm all about not acquiring more plastic bags. I carry two cloth bags in my purse at all times and I have a trunk full of Trader Joe's shopping bag to reuse. It's pretty rare I bring a new bag into the house. But I don't find this Anya bag particularly cute or fashionable. It seems all one has too do to create a buzz is to make something limited edition. In six months I predict that all the people who shelled out a hundred buck for this may feel as silly as all those people who collected Beanie Babies. I'd take one for maybe $35. Yikes--the bandwagon is starting to call to me--jump on...jump on...jump on...

Blame It on the Rain

In recent years I've been slightly obsessed with rain boots. After all, it's going to rain at some point, and I feel I should dress my feet appropriately for the occasion. My pedicured toes should not be subjected to cold, wet rain puddles. My leather boots should not get spots from the downpour dousing them.

So I've searched all over the place for rain boots. They're pretty easy to find--I've seen them everywhere from Delia's to the J. Crew catalog. I've found, however, that there are several common problems with rain boots. First, they can be really smelly. It's this weird bad rubber smell that is simply unwearable. Second, those big wellies types generally have pretty obnoxious patterns and are quite big and unwieldy so they're hard to style. And third, they're rubber so they can be kind of sweat-making on your feet and legs--and who wants to be dry on the outside and wet on the inside.

Happy to report I've found the perfect pair. They are aroma free, solid in color with a matte finish (unlike the super shiny versions your often see), and they have a nice lining that, even against bare skin, does not give you sweaty dogs. They are the Tretorn Plask boot, and they make me excited when there's precipitation in the forecast. If there's a slight chance of a light shower, I'm so wearing these. A little pricey (currently on sale for $116 on Zappos), but the most chic you're ever going to find in a rain boot and the most comfortable pair of footwear that I currently own. I could go on a five-mile hike in these babies and be happy (and stomp in puddles while I'm at it). Plus I got red ones and everyone says I look like Wonder Woman when I wear them. (They also come in green, brown and black in the knee-high style. I'm considering a bright yellow ankle boot version so I can stomp in puddles while wearing pants--the tall boots only work under skirts. I don't really own anything yellow. It's the one color I really cannot wear. I look fairly sick when I put on anything in that color family. But I think I could get away with it on my feet. I'm also interested in finding a mustardy yellow shoe, perhaps a sling-back wedge.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Banana Republic Online Sale

Banana Republic is on board with the out-with-the-summer, in-with-the-fall sale season. (The ad below is just an image--not clickable--but it gives you the secret extra-10%-off-at-checkout code.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

eBags: (Almost) the Zappos of Handbags

Yesterday after a rather stressful drive home with a crying/yelling toddler in the back seat, I couldn't wait to slip into my sweats, grab a piece of Valrhona 85% dark, and plop onto the couch. So I walk into my closet-room and am greeted with the non-lovely smell of cat pee. The cat has, once again, peed on my gym bag. (It seems to be one of his favorite hobbies next to eating small creatures that can't outrun him and taking ridiculously long naps.)
The gym bag is in the trash; my gym clothes are in a too-small tote. I head to eBags. I really like this site. You can search by material, style, category, brand and price, and they carry handbags, athletic bags and luggage. Shipping is free if you spend over $50, and they pay return shipping.

I also like that, for most of the bags they carry, they offer photos from a number of angles, including an inside view. And--most important for me--they show it on a mannequin. It's really hard for me to visualize the size of a handbag if I don't see someone holding it, even if that someone is synthetic. They often show a model holding handbags on Zappos as well, but I really prefer bag shopping on eBags--I always seem to like their selection better and I think eBags has better prices.

It actually took me a whole hour to pick out a bag to order--they had a lot to choose from, and I couldn't decide. I really wanted the exact same one the cat stunk up, but they don't carry it anymore. But as long as I can fit a pair of knee-high boots in a gym bag, I'm cool. (The clothes I wear to the work always take up far more space in the bag than clothes I work out in--there's gotta be room for large footware, jackets, jeans, etc.)

I ended up ordering the fairly standard Nike model above, but I came close to shelling out 80 clams for the Nike Goddess of Victory Club Bag. Then I decided I'd drive my husband crazy walking around the house saying, "Honey, have you seen my Nike Goddess of Victory Club Bag? I seem to have misplaced my Nike Goddess of Victory Club Bag. I sure will kill the cat if he pees on my Nike Goddess of Victory Club Bag."

I've Fallen In!

As I was driving to work today, I looked down and realized every single item of clothing I had on was from the Gap. Ack! (Not the accessories--they came from the nice jewelry store, eBay, Macy's and DSW).

However, it was a way cheap outfit, probably under $100 for all four pieces. The jury is still out on the odd blue top that my coworker Amy also owns. The color is beautiful and the fabric is nice, bit it's very billowy and hits me in a weird spot--too short for leggings (as if I'd go there), and well below my hips. (I'm sure the Gap model is a million inches taller than I am.)

I just read on Fashionista that Patrick Robinson is a Gap designer and that they're going back to basics--khakis, demin, and such and that stores like H&M and Forever 21 are kicking the Gap's ass in sales. You may notice in the NY Post article I linked too, that they say they are focusing on the 24- to 34-year-old consumer. Hey! 39 should not be too old to shop at the Gap! Blah on you, Gap. (I really could use some nice khakis, though.)

Has anyone noticed that all the pants at the Gap seem to have gotten longer? When they started carrying petite and tall sizes online, the Ankle length Gap jeans got about 1.5 inches longer. (I measured.) That did not make the 5-foot-2-inch me happy. Why should the shorties and the tallies not be able to try things on in the store?! The Banana Republic stores have started to carry a few petite items, so maybe the Gap will soon follow suit, thus winning over the petite and tall 24- to 34-year-olds along with all the average ones.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Libertine: The Latest Go Line at Target.com (and in Stores)

The most recent edition of Lucky: The Magazine About Shopping and Style featured a Target ad showing the latest offerings in their Go line, this time by Libertine. When I checked their website right after my mag showed up, the new stuff was not yet available--but as of yesterday the Libertine line can be purchased online.

Libertine for Target offers a mix of bright-'80s-preppy-let's-play-tennis items (a hot pink kick-pleated mini skirt) along with some vaguely-goth pieces (an argyle-with-skulls sweater vest... really) and I have to say I'm not entirely wild about it. There are a few cool pieces that could be styled quite nicely, however. My favorite item is this trench. At under $40 I may have to get one before they're gone (but I wish there were other color choices--I already have a dark blue trench, although not with contrast stitching, white buttons and a modish vibe.) If you check out the line, click on Looks--they have some amusing names for the ensembles like "Libertine Malibu Maven" and "Libertine Melrose Fringe."

I preferred the previous Go line from Patrick Robinson, with it's nautical/Grecian style. (I wore his Medallion Print Bubble Skirt to work today (sans belt with a black Izod polo, an army green cotton jacket, and black platform wedges)--I really love it. It's got pockets!) And now the Patrick Robinson line is on clearance! Get is while you can--it was cheap to begin with but the sale prices make it silly to pass up. It's summery, but there are jackets, sweaters and dresses that can transition nicely into fall with some layering. I think the stuff looks better in person than online (I've checked it out in the store, however the Go items are always picked over and there's never anything left in my size so I always end up shopping for them online.) There's a free shipping deal of some sort, so there's really nothing to lose. Buy it, try it on, take it back to the store--it's like going on a mini shopping trip in the privacy of your own bedroom (which, I'd venture to guess, is a little nicer than your average target dressing room. Cause...ick.) Be sure to read the customer reviews for guidance on sizing--they're helpful. (Fellow shoppers advising one another make the wonderful world of retail even more wonderful.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Online Shoe Shopping: Comparing Prices

I'm completely in love with this pair of peeptoe lasercut slingbacks from Vince Camuto and I think they'd be perfect with a bright blue Calvin Klein '50s style dress I'm planning to wear to an early September wedding.

I discovered the shoe on Zappos. Zappos is, in my opinion, absolutely the best place to buy shoes, online or otherwise. Zappos is brilliant. Free overnight shipping. (They have a warehouse located close to UPS World Port in Louisville. Check out this link to learn about How UPS Works.) Free returns. Excellent customer service. (Talked to a delighful customer service rep on Christmas day last year.) Customer product ratings. Favorites lists. Gigantic selection of shoes that can be viewed from every angle. Myriad ways to search including, type of shoe, brand, price, color, size and heel height, among others. All around just a happy happy place to buy one's footware.

However, on Zappos they're a little more then I want to pay, selling for $138.95. And the only color they have in stock in my size is black. Black and bright blue feels a little '80s color-block-knit-dress to me. I'd really prefer silver (love silver shoes) or cream. (These come in red as well, and they're oh so fab in that color.) Time to compare prices at several online shoe e-tailers:
  • Shoes dot com carries Vince Camuto but does not offer the Flora style.
  • 6pm dot com does not carry the Vince Camuto line, which is a bummer because they have a 110% price gaurantee.
  • Piperlime, the new shoe e-tail site from the Gap, has the shoe and it's on sale for $104.99. They have black, cream and gold in my size, but not the silver that I adore.
  • Amazon has the shoe in my size in red, cream and black at $119.90. (I've actually found some excellent shoe bargains on Amazon, particularly for boots.)
  • Nordstrom carries them, and has my size in cream (but seem to be out of silver although that's what they show). They are $119.95. They also have them in icy pool, an aqua-green color that's lovely, but would not work with my blue dress. (Nordstrom offers $5 shipping for online purchases. You pay for return shipping.)
I'm finding the more I look at the Vince Camuto line, the more I like it. They've done some great heels. Check out the Filo, another lasercut beauty, and the Ruffe, a slingback I love in French Blue. There are different offerings from the line on the various websites above.

So I'm not going to buy the shoes because I really want the silver and there are no silver to be found in 8.5. I don't want to settle for cream. Gold is not great with my skin tone. I'm going to continue contemplating the red on Amazon (because a red shoe is always pretty hot), but I'll still need some footwear for the wedding. I'll keep looking. The perfect silver shoe is out there somewhere (and, let's hope, on sale).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Three-Day Boutique Sale

Yesterday I went to a sales that featured a bunch of local boutiques who had set up temp shop in an electronics store next to DSW. It was odd but rather exciting. Some of the boutiques participating had set up makeshift dressing rooms behind screens or sheets draped over things. Mostly there were a bunch of women trying things on over their clothes or just stripping down wherever. (I think it's a shopping trip my husband might have almost enjoyed for this reason. And let me say the young, blond, apparently well-to-do ladies of the greater Hyde Park area wear tiny undies and seem to be diligent bikini waxers. They also prefer their demin to be very tight.)

Here's my impression of the offerings of some of boutiques involved in this group event. (I had only been in two of the actual boutiques locations and I didn't hit all of them during the sale--I only had an hour.) Keep in mind that they were generally offering clearance merch and items from past seasons:
  • Fetish: For semi-tacky young women with lots of disposable income.
  • Soho: Lovely items, helpful staff. I purchased a great black dress by BCBG/Max Azria. I'll be visiting this boutique.
  • Suki: Funky/Quirky stuff. I little much even for me. Definitely better items in their store (although their in-store items are still a little quirky for my taste). Oh, and they didn't bring a mirror.
  • Sara Benjamin's: Too old and sparkly.
  • Femme: To girly.
  • Miss Martha: For semi-tacky older women with lots of disposable income.
  • Alligator Purse: For women off all ages with good taste and lots of disposable income. I bought two tops from them. They had some beautiful items, but their original prices were...well lets say I can't afford the window shop there. But I wish I could.
  • Demin: Very demin-y.
  • Plum Diore: Probably have great stuff in the store, but not their best items at this sale. Saw at least one item that I had also seen in Anthropologie. Helpful, nice staff. I'll be visiting their store.
  • Coco's on Madison: Again, not their best items at this sale, but their clothing sensibility seemed cool. I'll check out this store as well.
  • Arte Nouveau: Too expensive and not very exciting pieces.
I got a wrap top in a darling pattern from Alligator Purse that's got elastic sleeves. I'm going to have the elastic removed and the sleeves shortened. I'll also move a button. I purchased a great long sleeved tee with fabulous detailing on the sleeves. It's way too long so I'll snip it off. Which brings up a good piece of advice (and I know Clinton & Stacy would agree): get things tailored. It's important that your clothes fit. Whether you go to the alterations dude at the dry cleaner or a fancier venue, alterations are affordable and a great way to make and almost-there item look fabulous on you.

Friday, July 13, 2007

eBay 101: How Not to Bid

So I was watching a vintage '80s Members Only cafe jacket the other day. It was black and would have fit me perfectly. (When buying clothing items on eBay, always read the measurements carefully, especially with vintage. Vintage sizing is much different from current sizing. If measurements aren't given in the listing, click on Ask Seller a Question and get them before you bid.)

This great little jacket's starting bid was $9.99. Three or four days before the auction the bidding war began. Don't do that! Don't do it! My strategy is never to bid on an item until there are two minutes or less remaining. These bidders, who ended up pushing the price too high, are a sellers dream and a fellow buyers nightmare (or at least unpleasant dream).

If there are early bids in a eBay auction, I always check the bidding history and look at the sellers. The Members Only Jacket bidders had (0) and (1) after their eBay user names, indicating they are newbies. I generally don't bid if new eBayers are involved because they always drive the prices up too high. (The number in parentheses after an eBay user name indicates the number of feedback comments a user has gotten. My current number is (305), 100% positive. I'll talk more about feedback later.)

The Members Only jacket ended up selling for $41, which was more than I was willing to pay. The seller has a great eBay store called Hellhound Vintage. Check it out. (I'll talk more about eBay stores in a future post and list links and descriptions to some of my favorite ones.)

eBay 101 is an ongoing series.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rocking the Gap's New Shirt Dress

I hate to pay full price for anything at the Gap. (Particularly since I live fairly close to the Gap Distribution Center in Hebron, Kentucky. This is not an outlet store, mind you, but a place to pick up cheap merch from all the the Gap properties. So sometimes there are not buttons on them or the hem is ripped out or there's a little schmutz...You can spend a hundred clams and walk out of there with a huge bag of garments and accessories. If you're ever flying into CVG and have a little time, it's only and exit away from the airport.) Plus--it's the Gap. Everyone and her sister falls in. And they have sales every whip stitch.

However, the new Gap Solid French Cuff Shirt Dress (they don't capitalize it, but I think they should) is totally worth the $69.50. First, it fits very well. Second, it's so so versatile. You could style this baby myriad ways. Also I was worried it would sell out in my size.

I wore it to work today with camel leather and wood platform heels from Diego di Lucca. (And get this ladies: They were free. That's right--free! $100 bucks at DSW + 80% off on clearance + two $10-off Reward coupons = free shoes! Look at their website--the sale's still going on. And, as I've demonstrated, they are literally giving stuff away. Even in 8.5 which is a popular shoe size.) For accessories, I chose a wooden beaded necklace I got an antique mall for like a buck and diamond studs in the ears. (I think one must be wary of over-accessorizing. One bold piece is quite enough, particularly on someone 5'2'' as I am.)

I've been using my latest vintage straw bag acquisition this week. It's actually straw covered in black vinyl and was a steal on eBay.

Other ways to rock the Gap shirt dress:
  • partially unbuttoned with a tank or printed tee underneath and flip flops with minimal accessories, perhaps a delicate belt of the chain variety.
  • over jeans. (The Go Fug Yourself ladies won't approve, but if the proportions are right I think it can work. And please--right now--bookmark Go Fug Yourself. Unless you're against smart writing rife with witty pop culture references commenting on photos of the rich and famous looking pretty darn crappy. And what's not to like about that!)
  • under a jacket or sweater with tights and boots, taking it nicely into fall. You could also pop a tank over it with a thin belt as shone in a recent issue of Lucky the Magazine About Shopping & Style. (They added the "& Style" starting with the recent issue with Nick Lachey's new girlie on the cover.)
  • open as a longish jacket. So very Bea Arthur or Janet Jackson in the late '80s.
And forget about the thin little belt that came with it. It's dumb. Style it with a different belt (or even a scarf) around the middle each time you wear it and you never have to wear the same outfit twice. (Today I wore my oh-so-versatile wide patent leather stretch belt. A steal for $30 at Macy's.)

I word about shopping online for black items: If the same item is offered in another color online, use that for reference. It's really hard to see the styling of black items on the Internet--they just don't photograph very well. And sometimes the black garments simply look like ass. But if the white or beige or light blue version looks good, the black will be good in person.

Welcome to My Blog, Fellow Shoppers!

This is my first Material Girl post. Thanks for stopping by.

I started this blog because I love shopping. I'm a women; I gather. But even more than the actual buying of the stuff, I love the hunting for the stuff. I'm all about online retailing. I'm an eBay addict. I practically have the inventory of Zappos memorized.

I tend to get on kicks and collect things. Here's a list of some of the clothing and accessory items I have amassed en mass or am in the process of collecting:
  • vintage enamel flower pins
  • vintage sweater chains
  • leather clutches
  • straw clutches
  • straw handbags
  • rain boots
  • vintage clip-on earring I convert to wires
  • celluloid jewelry (not the best)
  • boldly patterned faux wrap matte jersey dresses (I'm never allowed to by another one of these)
  • thick plastic and Lucite bangles, vintage and new
  • new dresses with a '50s party dress vibe (kind of Lilly Allen lite. She so rocks that silhouette.)
There are more, but I don't aim to bore. Needless to say, my closet is exploding. (My closet is actually in a spare bedroom, so the whole room has turned into a closet--earrings and pins hang on the walls, shoes are taking over the floor space. You get the idea.)

In this space I'll share news of my shopping adventures, the trials and the triumphs. (Sometimes it's no picnic at the mall.) I'll mention good sales, both in stores and online. I also put together some good links of shopping sites and fashion blogs I enjoy. And I'll talk about the things I'm currently obsessed with, hunting for, or sad I missed.