Thursday, January 31, 2008

Old Navy Turns Up the Style

Have you heard that Old Navy, from which I currently buy only my workout wear and an occasional t-shirt, is launching a sexier, more fashion-forward line starting with their spring offerings? Check out these great dresses from their "Urban Explorer" collection which is in stores now and one of four new lines from ON. I'll peruse these new duds in person ASAP so I can report back on fit, style, and price for you, fellow shoppers.

I read on InStlye's website that Old Navy had a launch party of sorts with young, hip, CW-types on the guest list. Here's a party shot of impossibly cute actresses in front of a wall of denim.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Need to Clean Out My Closet: A Photo Essay

I've been reading a number of style books lately (some of which I've reviewed in this space, some of which I haven't gotten around to reviewing in this space) and everyone from Kim France to Tim Gunn seem to offer the same advice: Edit your closet.

I've been trying to do this, but it's quite the long-term project. (I think I'd need a week and half of PTO.) I've just finally unloaded the last of my fat clothes and I've recently taken 30 plus items to a local consignment shop, but I still fear that the addition of another half dozen items will cause some sort of garment explosion. I offer a tour of my dressing room--our spare bedroom which is home to my dresses, skirts, pants, jeans, jackets, sweaters, tops, shoes, boots and accessories of all kinds. (Coats live in Cheapy's extra closet. He's got two, both sparsely populated with varying shades of khaki.)

Full view of both closets. I know all of this stuff is not "soul-stirring," as Tim Gunn would put it.

In between is my earring collection, hung on two letter-size desk accessories I got from Organized Living. (I swiped them from Cheapy's computer desk. It's sort of a hopeless mess anyway. I think another trip to Organized Living is in my future.)

The dresses/pants/skirt/sweater closet. There are often sweater avalanches.

The tops/t-shits/jackets/workout wear closet. There are often t-shirt avalanches.

Three jewelry boxes. (All came from eBay. All are packed with pretty shiny things.)

Bangles and bracelets in baskets and on an old rubber stamp holder.

My vintage flower pins (a few were my mom's), buttons, and part of my necklace collection.

Bags (there is also a full dresser drawer of bags), drawers of summer shoes, drawers of belts and scarves, a stack of shoe boxes, and my rain boots. (Can't wait until it warms up so I can wear that red skirt again. I love that skirt.)

My boots live here. They are longing for more boot friends. Those flat brown Diba ankle boots are my latest edition. They make me feel all '80s happy. The Ugg boots are for yoga class only. The pink Rockports barely leave my feet on weekends--I wish I had a brand new pair stashed under the bed for when these finally bite the dust.

Who Who Who Else Thinks This Owl is Fab?

I mentioned the other day that I won an eBay auction for a giant owl necklace. Said accessory arrived via USPS today and it's pewter and brass and fabulous in a '70s kitschy kind of way--and it's BIG. I'm planning my whole outfit around it tomorrow. It looks like I'm officially into a large necklace phase. The auction for the big Carrie-Bradshaw-S&TC-season-1 beaut of a butterfly necklace I want ends in about an hour, so I'm currently waiting it out. And I've already bid on a crazy--and large--seashell necklace that's ending on Friday. (As you know, I normally don't bid until the end of the auction, but this necklace was part of a lot, and the other stuff was crappy. When that auction ended with no bids, I asked the seller to list the necklace by itself. It would have been rude not to place a bid right away.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What I've Been Buying; What I Want--A Material Girl Shopping Update

If you've visited my blog lately, you may have been wondering if there's been a Material Girl shopping hiatus of some sort--it's been a while since I've reported new wardrobe acquisitions. Well fear not--I've picked up a thing or two; I have my eye on a thing or two. Here's what I've been up to, fellow shoppers:

  • Emotionally shopping at Anthropologie. I had a long, weird, busy, meeting-filled work week, so Friday night I needed to buy something pretty. Friday was also payday (hurrah!) and Cheapy was feeling sympathetic and handed me several twenties at I walked out the door (double hurrah!) I was looking for something warm and cozy: non-ugly sweaters. There's one I'd had my eye on, black with floral accents, that was on sale on the Anthro website. They actually had it in the store on sale in my size. I picked up another on-sale sweater as well, black with a big butterfly. The store was half-filled with spring items, which are tough to think about buying right now because it's really f-ing cold. Flowers and butterflies are my way of easing in to spring.
  • Recent eBay purchases. It's rare a week goes buy that I don't have something coming in from an eBay auction. I've had a few good purchases in the last few weeks, including a cropped boxy vintage '50s metallic jacket (for spring); a vintage faux fur coat (that hasn't arrived yet); a swingy two-tone jersey top; a Rebecca Danenberg black tuxedo tail shrug; a pair of Vince Camuto studded purple sandals for $10; and a giant (and I mean giant) metal owl necklace that I had to have for some reason. It may end up a decoration rather than an accessory.
  • Things I'm watching on eBay. There are alway many things on my eBay watch list. At the top of the list is a fabulous Paul Smith deconstructed wool skirt that was up for auction but ended without a buyer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will be posted at a lower starting bid or as an Or Best Offer. I can't stop thinking about this skirt--I even showed it to Cheapy, who thinks it's totally me but costs too much. There's also a metal and rhinestone butterfly necklace that ends in a few days that I wish people would stop bidding on. (Don't they read my blog--bidding before the end is good for the seller, bad for the buyer. Stop driving up the price, people. Plus, do they know who they are dealing with? It's pretty rare I lose an auction for something I really want.) Have you noticed this butterfly thing I've got going on. I think perhaps I have a butterfly phase happening. I'm also watching a few butterfly brooches. I guess on some level I am ready for spring dressing. Either that or I need to stop watching the butterfly episode of "The Magic School Bus" with Cheapy junior.
  • Things I'm watching online. If one does not have a money tree in one's back yard, often shopping is about waiting--keeping an eye on things until they go on sale, and hoping they have your size when it happens. Remember those You by Crocs silver metallic boots? I kind of want them. But I kind of don't want to pay $289 for them. I've stumbled across a site called Shoes on a Shoestring where they're on sale for $206. They're also a "yellow tag" item, which means at the first of the month, they'll go on sale even more, and will continue to get cheaper month by month. I'm hoping they have a size 8.5 left when I deem them cheap enough to purchase. (Has Cheapy been working on my brain, you ask? Nope. But I must use my discretionary fund wisely). There's also a pair of bronze low-heeled Faryl Robin boots I want, and I'm betting they get cheaper than $150 soon on either eBay (where I recently missed an auction for said boots that ended at $15. Not happy about forgetting to bid) or Gotham City. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things I Like in the Latest Vogue

I just got my first issue of my Christmas gift Vogue subscription my mother-in-law got me. (I always read hers and she remembered me telling her I kept meaning to subscribe but kept forgetting. It's nice someone gets it when I drop hints.)

The January issue has a sunny Kate Hudson on the cover and some non-dead-of-winter looking fashions inside. (Thank the fashions gods--I'm so over winter, so so so over my cold hands and static-y hair. I want to wear sandals.)

Wackiest stuff in the January Vogue: Balenciaga knee-high gladiator stilettos--but then Balenciaga offers all sorts of wacky footwear--and green lipstick. I don't mean environmentally friendly lip color, but Kelly Green lipstick (ickstick).

Things I dig in the January Vogue: Pins! Butterflies, dragonflies, flowers in clusters on jackets and dresses. Love love love. And everything Agyness Deyn wore in her two-page spread. I dig her style. I dig her messy blond hair. I dig her drunken pattern mixing. Kate Moss. Phhhh! I'm so over everyone thinking Kate Moss is so stylish. I've actually never quite gotten that. In candid shots I think she looks pasty and messy and is always with a dude who needs to wash his hair. Agyness rocks some color and some vintage and fedoras. She's my model of choice (despite the fact the she was born when I was a sophomore in high school).

I'm off to eBay to search for brooches. I've got plenty of flowers in my collection, but now I want bugs and butterflies. I'm also thinking owls. Hmmmm.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm Blogging Instead of Emotionally Shopping

I sat down in front of the computer ready to browse shoes, but I choose to blog rather than buy. It's not easy, fellow shoppers, for today was not the best of days. I'm not feeling happy and a new pair of boots would really really cheer me up right now. I'm thinking it might be worth the wrath of Cheapy.

Then I thought about the episode of How I Met Your Mother ("I'm Not That Guy") where Lily's shopping-to-cheer-herself-up addiction is uncovered. There's this great scene in which Alyson Hannigan's character is having a dream sequence: She's lying there in a state of bliss while boots and pumps are being tossed in a big pile all around her. It was as if the writers visited my brain and stole my footwear fantasy.

In the episode we also find out that Lily's got a bazillion dollar's worth of credit card debt that she's hidden from Marshall. Cheapy thought I should learn a lesson from this. I just enjoyed the shower of shoes.

P.S. I love the way they dress Alyson on the show. She's got some adorable outfits and great boots and she always looks cute. I'm not at all a fan of her bangs this season, however. They kinda drive me crazy. I think she does a good 25% of her acting with her eyebrows. Show us the face, people! And bring back the red hair.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Crocs That Aren't So Ugly They Should Be Illegal

Like many other shoe lovers out there, I think Crocs are an eyesore. My son has a pair. In black. He's three and they're cute on his tiny feet. But once you get past about age six--ick. The bigger they get the uglier they are. Sure, you can rinse them off if they get muddy. But are a lot of adult females tromping around in mud all day? I'm sure they are quite comfy, because why else would such hideous footwear be so popular? (See also: the Birkenstock.) My Rockport boots are silly comfy and have a three-inch heel.

Crocs have come up with some better looking shoes as late (such as their ballet flat and their Mary Jane), but I was still shocked to come across the YOU by Crocs line while perusing Piperlime. They offer some very cute styles (love the Highball boots below!) with some sort of Croc-ified insides. Croc lovers who aim to up their style might be shocked by the price tags, however, but, hey, you can't put a price on looking good.

DSW Coming to an Internet Near You!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Katie's Toga Part 2

As I semi-predicted below, Go Fug Yourself tackled Katie Holmes' toga/dress/thing today. And they liked it (along with 60% of readers who took their survey).

And for the record, I posted before they did, time stamp not withstanding (I edited later in the day but actually posted before 10 a.m. est.; the Fug ladies are on West Coast time and posted at 10:32 a.m.).

I have to admit, the outfit looked much better in a full-body shot. But I still thinks it's ick.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Katie Holmes' Joan Collins Tribute

I should leave these sorts of observations to the pros at Go Fug Yourself, but I can't help but comment on this photo of Katie Holmes. Is it just me, or is she screaming, "I can't wait until I'm in my 70s so I can officially turn into Joan Collins!"? She just need to lose the tan, and get some shoulder pads and a boa.

I must admit that I've been quite fascinated by our little Mrs. Cruise lately what with her kicky haircut and classic designer duds. Happy to see her not turn into a short-skirted, cleavage-y forgoer of underwear out partying in L.A. She's all carrying $10,000 custom made Birkin bags and wearing Chanel. So classy and chic. Her photos in the latest issue of InStyle magazine are beautiful (although the interview is a tad annoying: "I respect Tom and he respects me. There is no maybe. Blah blah blah.")

So I don't understand this metallic toga she's got going (although I'm sure it cost two month's of Material Girl's salary), and her hair is not so much I'm-not-a-soccer-mom kicky but kinda helmet-y. And she's wearing a boatload of blush. (And you know, no one ever says this, but I don't think she can act her way out of a paper bag.)

We all have a miss here and there (I'm not quite wild about my Gap-meets-Talbot's outfit today and my hair's being weird) and I'm sure Katie will be back to her chic young I-married-Tom-Cruise-self for her next photo op. In the meantime, Ms. Collins should watch her back (or perhaps her closet).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Searching for Things That May Not Exist

It's a snowy day here in the hometown of the Material Girl HQ, and dressing for cold snowy days annoys me. Every time it snows I look in my closet and remember that I have no appropriate footwear and nothing appropriate to wear other than jeans.

I ask you fellow shoppers. Do the following exist?
  • Cute snow boots that work with non-skinny jeans. Yes, there are plenty of furry/fleece-y knee high snow boots out there. These are great if one is in Utah skiing or on some such wintery vaca. I merely want to walk to and from my car, keep my feet warm, and look moderately stylish doing it. Material Girl does not do skinny jeans. I possess too much T&A (that's tummy and ass) for them, so tucking jeans into snow boots is not an option. Here's what I want: I cute pair of shortish boots, perhaps a little faux fur, ankle-ish height, that won't look weird under my bootcut or flare Gap demin. I also want a little bit of a heel--a wedge would be nice. I perused Zappos, Piperlime and Endless this morning and I found only one pair that could possibly work, the Marisa boot by Maxine of Canada, but they seem to only exist in size 10. (If you wear a 10, and share my snow boot desires, the black suede version pictured is nicely on sale on Endless--snap them up.)
  • Tights that don't give me a muffin top. That T&A I mentioned above? Let's just say the A is tad firmer than the T; the T is a little swishy here and there. And the top of tights--they're just too tight. I look at tights when they come out of the package and the elastic always seems more the appropriate size for my ankle than my midsection. I don't want to wear a soft jersey dress and make myself bulgy underneath. And why do they always stop north of the navel? I prefer to wear my skirts lower on the hips, and it's not attractive to have tights going six inches above the top of a skirt. I really love the look of tights, particularly with shorter skirts and boots. I love to wear skirts in winter but I hate chilly breezes whooshing up my bare legs. I ask you fellow shoppers: Can you give me a recommendation for tights that won't squeeze my tummy like Mr. Whipple on a roll of Charmin? I've got several months left of winter and I'm tired of choosing between jeans and goosebumpy gams.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Vacation, the Holidays and My First 08 Shopping Quest

Greetings and happy new year fellow shoppers! Did you miss me? I've been off work for the last two weeks and when I'm out of my routine, I don't seem to get anything done (laundry, exercise, yoga, blogging). Alas, the more I have to squeeze in, the more I seem to accomplish. This is why Material Girl needs a job. If I was a stay-at-home mother I'd never take off my PJ's.

One thing I have managed to accomplish these last two weeks is a little shopping. Some was mandatory holiday gift shopping. But when one is shopping for others, one cannot help picking out a few items for herself. Christmas shopping brought me a novel (The Flawless Skin of Ugly People), a Nike workout tee from Dick's, and a flannel shirt from the Gap (which I'm living in).

I also spent some Christmas money on a camel two-button blazer at Banana Republic ( love that they carry petite items in the stores now). And I hit Antropologie to buy myself a few items--a metallic shrug, a velvet skirt with beaded lace applique that I'd had my eye one (don't know where I'll wear it and I almost decided to take it back but my mom talked me out of it--it's not often I find a beautiful skirt that fits so well), and a scarf (which is the last thing I need, but it's so soft and pretty and pink and drapey and it was 30% off). This is such a great time of the year to shop--sales, sales, sales!

(Incidentally, I saw a number of the sweaters I declared ugly on Anthropologie's clearance racks. Sometimes I am so very wise.)

I've also identified my first shoe buying goal for 2008--a great pair of black pumps. I've identified this as a gaping hole in my shoe wardrobe. I've got tons of boots and sandals, but no basic black pumps that will go with everything (such as jean and that velvet skirt). Cheapy, however, says I'm not a "pumps kinda girl." What that means exactly I'm not sure. I've currently got my eye on a pair of Cole Haan Nike Air patents pumps that have a nice sturdy-yet-high heel. (I strive for both comfort and style, ladies. One cannot feel good in an outfit if one sports cruel shoes.) I love the shape and the shine and the height. Of course I'll keep you posted on my quest for the perfect comfy pump.

Speaking of shoes, don't forget to check out DSW soon--their winter sale is still going on with up to 80% off (although the triple reward points promotion ended on New Year's Eve).