Friday, February 29, 2008

Zappos No Free Next Day--What's Up?

My lovely mother-in-law gave me a $100 gift to Zappos for my upcoming birthday, so I just bought the yellow Camper Helena pumps I'd had my eye on.

I had a little surprise at checkout, however. Free shipping, but no free overnight shipping! I was excited about ordering my shoes today so they'd arrive at my door on Monday, which is the actual date of my birth. Now they'll show up on my porch while I'm on vacation. When did this no-more-free-overnight-shipping situation happen?

Endless still has free overnight--I wonder if that will last. (Piperlime has free shipping, but not free overnight shipping.)

Fellow shoppers, close-to-instant online shoe gratification may be becoming a thing of the past. Say it ain't so!

Some Days It's No Picnic at The Mall...Returning Online Purchases: Gap--Bad; Sephora--Good

I took that lunchtime trip to The Mall the exchange my Petite khakis at the Gap. Things were going well. They had my size in every single color of the rainbow khakis (I decided against yellow), and off I went to the register for my quick-and-painless exchange--only to discover the receipt was no where to be found. The Gap employee would not do the exchange without it.

I figured I left the receipt in my trunk, so I hauled my booty back to my car. No receipt. I called the store. Do I really need to drive all the way home to look for my receipt? Yes says buy-the-rules Gap employee.

Twenty minutes later the whole deal was done, but I was a little annoyed. Sure, it was my own fault for forgetting the slip. But for an even exchange you'd think they could cut me a break.

I almost didn't feel like walking halfway down The Mall to the escalator and halfway down The Mall again to get to Sephora for another return. But I'd been carrying an unwanted Sephora cuticle trimmer around in my purse for a few weeks. I'd ordered it on and I was unsatisfied with its performance--it wouldn't cut through warm butter. I'd long ago tossed the packing slip. I wasn't even finished with my explanation and the friendly-and-helpful Sephora employee was dashing off to check the price. In two minutes I had a card in my hand with my store credit. Happy happy. I love that store and its liberal return policy! (I also love it because it's full of makeup. It's like a continuous girl party where everyone tries on cosmetics and says, "Oh, that lip gloss looks great on you!" to one another. If they served cupcakes and cocktails I would move in.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Gap: Petite vs. Ankle

As mentioned in a recent post, I ordered Gap kahkis online so I could get them in a Petite size. They arrived today (hooray for fast shipping!), but they're not good. I love the colors, but I don't like the Petite cut. Unlike Ankle length pants, these Petites are not just shorter than regular Gap pants, the cut is adjusted, including a shorter rise--that's too short for me. The rise on the regular khakis was perfect when I tried them on in the store. Everything about them was perfect except that they were a good four inches too long. I don't need Petite--I need Ankle.

So tomorrow on my lunch break I'll take them back to the store, my $6 shipping charge experiment a failure. But I plan to leave the store with two pairs of regular khakis. And I will roll them up, and look all J.Crew catalog-y. Keep your fingers crossed that they have some good colors left in my size in the store. (Who know--I might come home with yellow!)

Back to the store you go camel toe khakis and weird white jacket.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Love a Frame Clutch

I got my most recent eBay item in the mail today (record time shipping--there will be positive feedback given right after this post). In preparation for my upcoming birthday trip to Florida, I got a cute white leather vintage frame bag. In Florida it's always summer, right? So I a bright white bag will work in March.

This goes on the good eBay purchase list for sure (and oh there have been bad ones). It's clean and in perfect shape, doesn't smell weird (a hazard of vintage), the leather is as buttery as it looks in the picture, it's the perfect size, and it was $20.50.

I'll use it when Cheapy takes me out for a non-cheap dinner in South Beach. And just maybe the white contrasted against my skin will make it look like I have some sort of a tan (but I doubt it.)


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Response to a Comment: Is Material Girl Shallow?

The other day I got the following comment on my post about a lunchtime shopping trip:

I stumbled across your blog, and wanted to say that I'm truly sorry that you haven't discovered so many of the beautiful things in life that exist outside of department stores.

If you allowed yourself to expand your world, these things wouldn't mean anything to you.

I hope you try to experience other things that are out there one day. There's a lot in this world; it'd be a shame to miss it by surrounding yourself with meaningless objects.

All the best,

Thanks for your comment, Ameryn. For the record, however, I am well aware that there is a world beyond retail stores. There are many many things I love, enjoy and apppreciate including but not limited to the following: watching my three-year-old observe the world and watching movies that make me laugh or cry and visiting other cities small or large and being with my friends and chatting with my family and practicing yoga and going to work and riding in helicopters and hot air balloons and cooking and eating and tasting wine and collecting rocks and seashells and visiting galleries and museums and pondering politics and seeing the leaves turn to fall colors and hearing a new baby cry and smelling it's fuzzy little head and really loud thunderstorms and learning a new fact or a new word or a new idea.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying a lovely skirt or a beautiful pair of shoes as one goes through life. We all must get dressed every day. Why not make it an enjoyable endeavor and an act of self expression? Fashion is an art and I appreciate it. Beyond sewing on a button, I couldn't imagine creating a garment. I'm in awe of those who do, just as I'm in awe of a writer when I finish an amazing novel. My blog is for fun. It's a way to further enjoy and share two of the many things I love--shopping and writing.

So, Ameryn, please don't judge a Material Girl by her cover.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Shopping Shipping Injustices: The Gap

Today I decided to buy a pair of the new pink and the new light blue khakis from the Gap. I'm going to Florida for vacation next week, and I figured these pastel trousers would compliment Miami well. Trouble is that (as I mentioned in a previous post) they only come in regular length in the store. If you're petite or tall you have to order online and pay for shipping. It's only $6 when you shop on

But I was thinking about this--why should I have to order my clothes online just because I am not of average height? That's not fair! The Gap should carry petite and tall items in their stores. (Their sister store Banana Republic finally started carrying petite and their line fits me so well.)

While my ire was still up, I decided to voice my opinion. I called the Gap's customer service number. Here is a close facsimile of our conversation:

Gap: Gap online customer service--how may I help you?

Material Girl: Hello Gap. I'm going to purchase some khakis from your website because you don't carry petite sizes in your stores. I feel it is unjust that I must pay shipping charges, however, simply because I am 5 foot 2. Would you consider waiving the shipping charge of $6 to make me, your loyal customer who talks about you on her blog quite often, happy?

Gap: No. We can't do that.

Material Girl: Do you have any future plans to carry petite and tall sizes in your store and thus discontinue this injustice?

Gap: I'm going to put you on hold, Ma'am.

Interlude of obnoxious-and-loud hold music for approximately 2 minutes.

Ma'am, we do carry petite sizes in some of our large flagship stores, but we have no plans to carry them in other locations at this point. And I confirmed that we cannot waive shipping.

Material Girl: I'm sorry to hear that. Thank you for checking.

Gap: Is there anything else I can help you with today, Ma'am?

Material Girl: No thank you. Goodbye and have a Gappy day.

I'm thinking of starting a one woman email campaign. Perhaps if I bug them enough they will reconsider this retail strategy of theirs. I've have engaged in such campaigns before and hold myself at least partially responsible for dark chocolate M&Ms, the reemergence of the Jell-O pudding pop, and getting a Sephora in my Mall--so it just could work. Feel free to join me fellow not-of-average-height shoppers! If we all bug the Gap, they gotta change their ways.

And we can also work on Old Navy who some time ago removed all their plus size clothing from their stores, making it online only. A plus size friend of mine was both annoyed and insulted by this, as if Old Navy was saying to their plus size customers: "We want your money, but we don't want you in our stores." And who needs to try on clothing more than a plus size woman? Size 2's have a much easier time of it when it comes to how clothing fits them. Size 22's need a fitting room and a selection.

Gap corporation--throw me a bone here. Clear out a few dozen of the 10 million pairs of jeans you carry and give me a tiny little section of pants and tops that fit me.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday Afternoon--The Gap and Anthropologie

Sometimes I think I'm in a shopping rut, that I should find some new stores. But the familiar relaxes me, and I needed some Saturday afternoon Material Girl time, so I headed to my favorite Gap location which is just a few stores down from Anthropologie.

I wanted to hit The Gap to try on the colorful khakis. And I love the pink ones. They were sold out in my size, but I tried on the yellow just to test the fit. I've been in a yellow mood recently even though I'm certain it's a color I should never wear. In pants, though, it wouldn't reflect in my face and might not be bad. The Gap's colorful khakis for spring, however, only come in regular length in store. I'll purchase a pink petite pair online. (The light blue is nice, too.)

I did come home with this white jacket from The Gap. But it's weirdly shaped and I'm taking it back. (It looks much better on the model than on me.) Anthropologie does the nautical jacket thing in a much more flattering shape.

I also bought this top at Anthropologie (which I'm wearing right now) only in a really flattering rosey red color, not the yellow pictured, although I really dig this tumeric shade (just not on me).

To satisfy my sudden jones for yellow, I've been searching for a shoe. Last night I found one on Zappos.

This is the Camper Helena in in Banana/Cuarzo and I decided I must have them. I have a pair of Campers in the Helena style in green sans instep cutout and they're a favorite--cute, unexpected color, and very comfy. I wore them walking around New York during a 12-hour work day over the summer and my feel felt fab. These may be my birthday present to myself. (Although, fellow shoppers, we should treat everyday like it's our birthday--as long as we're easy on the cupcakes.)

P.S. I wore my new You by Crocs wedge boots (mentioned in my last post) while shopping and they were great.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lunchtime Shopping Trip: Boots and BCBG

My friend Suzanne and I took a bit of a long lunch today to hit The Mall. She was in the market for some snow boots (it's snowy and icy here in the Nati), and I'm always happy to come along for shoe-shopping moral support.

First we hit Macy's shoe department. She didn't buy anything, but I bought a pair of You by Crocs Sidecars boots--a black suede wedge boot that is so comfortable and was so on sale. They are currently $229 on Piperlime; I paid $74 at Macy's.

Suzanne bought these Ugg Classic Cardi boots at Dillard's (in gray). I tried them on--very warm. They can also be folded down to mid-calf height.

On the way out of The Mall, we popped in BCBG Max Azria (which just opened last November to my delight)--there was a darling blue and white pinstriped day dress in the window. It had a beautifully drapey collar (and pockets!) so I had to try it on. The dress was not flattering on me, but I did leave with a 75% off jacket--originally $289, I paid $80-ish. It's a black asymmetrical nylon number with a hood that I'd love to show you but I can't find online.

If you'd like to check out their sale items, click here.

Below are a few dresses from BCBG that I love.

This beige dress is so cute for spring--it's simple but the bow is a nice detail. And this is a dark enough beige that it won't wash me out.

Love love love this and I know it would look good on me with that waist design.

I'd be plaid-to-be-alive in this embellished strapless tulle.

And I'd love to wear this to an Oscar party. (Instead I'll be on my couch in sweats under my big yellow blanket.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Rainbow at the Gap and Brights at Banana

The Gap is getting happy with the colors for spring. The khakis are practically Roy G. Biv. Thankfully there is no orange. I think I could wear the pink, but the others I'm not so sure about.

Speaking of orange, Gap's sister company Banana Republic has gone there in the form of a lady coat.

And if you don't want to get lost in a crowd this spring, how about a hot pink or bright yellow dress?

I don't think I could ever get enough of a tan to wear either of these. What do you think, fellow shoppers? Are these brights a refreshing change after winter months in a cocoon of darks, demin and down? Or are they a bit much? Is the next step day-glow? (Help, I'm having a flash back to 1984.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The One Thing (Besides Boots) That Gets Me Through Winter

Lately (for the last few months) I've been complaining about winter/longing for spring. It's not just because I want to wear sandals. The cold weather and my hair do not get along. All day long I fight the static. I curse the static. I dread the static. The static keeps coming back like a no-good boyfriend.

I'm not into the rubbing dryer sheets on my head thing. Static Guard smells weird and I don't really want in my hair clashing with the Aveda products. Instead I lightly spritz my head with my Evian Brumisateur Mineral Water mister and that does the trick--bye-bye static.

I've spied an Evian Brumisateur in Samantha Jones' medicine cabinet in a Sex & the City episode. J Lo had it in her toolbelt in The Wedding Planner. I have it in my bag, in my travel bag, and in my bathroom at all times.

In addition to the magical static busting, it's lovely to mist your skin (it's intended use) with Evian during those dry winter days, and it's refreshing anytime. In a pinch, you can wash your hands with it. And I guess if you were stranded in the dessert you could spray it down your throat (although that situation has not arisen).

I Never never never get on a plane without a travel size bottle, and I never go shopping without it. (Trying on a pullover sweater without a Brumisateur in my bag is unthinkable.) This is a pricey ($15 for the 14 oz. bottle; $16.50 for 3 travel size) yet essential staple and I don't leave home without it (and my AmEx).

What I've Been Up to on eBay

If you're a loyal Material Girl reader you know I have a bit of an eBay problem. Lately, however, I've been trying to reform. I'm not bidding on things I don't love just because they're cheap and no one else bids on them. I'm doing my best not to buy 87 of the same thing. (I tend to run across something I like, and a month later I suddenly have a collection.) Most of all, I'm trying not to blow too much money on eBay items so I have enough left in my discretionary fund to buy the shoes, clothes and bags I want (and thus keep Cheapy from freaking when my AmEx bill comes).

This month I've won eBay auctions for a couple item from the same Canadian seller. (The drawback: no PayPal--I've had to send checks which really slow things down, along with the over-the-boarder shipping.)

First I got this 1940s Whiting & Davis bakelite handled bag. When I was in my friend Donya's wedding in October, one of the guests was carrying this bag (given to her by an older lady she knew) and I coveted it. I stared at it, sneaked a caress or two, and, for a brief moment, contemplated grabbing it and running off. I didn't end up going the purse snatcher route--I opted for eBay. Four months later I found it. The auction ended at $32 for this bag, which is in perfect condition.

From the same seller I got this butterfly necklace. I was very jazzed about butterflies after reading the January issue of Vogue. I spent $36 on this big, heavy, shiny piece. Now I'm working on just the right outfit. (One wrong move and I'm over the tacky line.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Birthday Shopping with My Mom for Simply Vera at Kohl's

My mom is a big fan of Kohl's. She says: "It's such a nice store--it's clean and they have good stuff." Plus her best friend Mrs. Valentini works there. During one of her frequent trips to Kohl's, my mom saw a Simply Vera dress she thought I would like, so she wanted to take me there to try it on and possibly buy it for me for my upcoming birthday. Here it is.

Today, since I was off work for the holiday, we went to check out the dress. I didn't buy it--it was not structured enough for my shape, but I loved the pattern and I thought the fabric was very nice. I did come home with a few other Simply Vera by Vera Wang for Kohl's items. Pictured below are the anaorak and printed tee Mom bought me. I also got a plain lavender tee and a black embellished tee (neither of which I could find online).

This is much ruchier in person. The collar has adjustable ruching. The fabric is really thin and light. It will be perfect for warm rainy days in spring and it could probably fold up small enough to fit in my bag.

The cotton this tee is made of is super super soft and it's thin for layering. The gray-on-gray pattern is cool. I am really into gray lately.

Overall, I liked the current offerings of the Simply Vera line. Good shapes, good colors (a lot of black and gray, but some greens, yellows and purples thrown in here and there). Compared with the Target GO lines, the Vera pieces are more expensive (although a lot of them were marked down) but the Simply Vera garments seem to be of better quality than the GO items I've tried on. Here are a few more pieces I liked. (All are clickable to the item for sale online.)

This dip-dyed cardigan is a great color. (One cannot have too many cardigans.)

This cami has beautiful detail--even on the back.

This nice, crisp pin-tucked shirt in a good pale gray is a nice alternative to a white shirt. (It was sold out in my size.)

I like the color and pattern of this ruchey jersey shirtdress. (I love me some jersey.)

There were also a few cute and highly affordable Simply Vera bags.

This canvas shopper is nice for spring and comes in three colors.

I dig this ruched nylon tote, particularly in this buff color. (It's also available in black and khaki.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Anthropologie Exchange and Something at Macy's That Did Not Suck

I hit Anthropologie today to take back this top. I finally admitted to myself that this color indeed does make be look sickly despite what the polite dressing room attendant and my mom told me.

I exchanged this kimono top for a really darling jacket. I can't find it on the Anthropologie website, but it's cut almost exactly like the one below but is minus the embellishment and in difference fabric. The jacket I purchased is brown linen with cotton ruffles on the lapels and bottom. (Can I wear linen in February? Spring, where are you? Hurray up already.) This particular jacket also came in light beige. The sizing was off between colors. My normal size fit perfectly in the beige, but I had to go up a size in the brown.

And as an addendum to my last post about the suckage in Macy's--I forgot to mention that I did find one thing I liked--a B Makowsky messenger bag in plum currently available on endless for $268. (I paid $134.) The bag is much purpler in person than in this photo and also much slouchier. I tend to like a soft, slouchy bag over a more structured one. This one has a good selection of pockets inside an out and a snazzy animal print lining and it feels rather buttery.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What I Learned on My Lunchtime Shopping Trip (or Everything at Macy's Sucks)

I stopped by Macy's on my way home for lunch today. (Macy's is between my office and my house. I drive past it daily.) I was not impressed. Kenneth Cole: What are you thinking with your color palette? INC: What is up with the icky fabrics? Calvin Klein: You have some very odd shaped sweater-y items and I'm not even sure what they are.

Maybe February is a bad time to shop, a weird transitional period as the winter items are clearanced and the spring items are trickling in. Or maybe Macy's buyers are on crack. Or perhaps the designers and manufacturers are having a collective bad season. This does not bode well for near future lunch-hour shopping.

I give you: turtleneck dresses, shiny mini trenches, hippie wear...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Purchased the Boots from

I'm happy to report that I solved my e-tailing checkout dilemma on and was able to give myself some boot love on this Valentine's Day.

The 6pm customer service people responded to my email about my proceed-to-checkout problems with the Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots approximately 26 hours after I sent it. I had to empty my shopping cart, log out, redo my account info, and start over. Annoying. But I'll take a little annoying for 49% off. (Original price--$146.95; sale price--$74.75; $6.95 flat fee shipping.)

I gotta tell you I'm fairly certain Cheapy is going to hate these boots. But I love the scrunchy '80s thing going on here, and they are the best shade of gray. (And I promise never to wear them with leggings and a Pat Benatar haircut.)