Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quite Possibly the Perfect Girl Day: Sex (and the City) and Shopping

A few days ago I was worried I would be going to the Sex and the City movie all alone. Then I found I had many co-workers who were almost as excited about it as I was. And last week my company instituted "summer hours" out of the blue whereby the office closes at 3 o'clock on Fridays. Suddenly there was an opening day matinée in my future with my office girlfriends!

I had to plan my outfit. I started with the shoes. I'd been waiting for the perfect occasion to debut these sequined Tahari slingbacks my sister bought me for my birthday:

I paired them with black cropped pants from the Gap and this Philip Lim top Cheapy bought me in Miami, also a birthday gift.

An oversized black and white vintage clutch I got from an eBay seller in Australia completed my outfit. (It was big enough that I could fit my makeup bag and my Entertainment Weekly issue devoted to Sex and the City which I've been reading for several weeks gearing up for the movie.)

The outfit was good; the movie was better. It was wonderful. It was satisfying. It was just right. It I'd see it again tomorrow. (And oh--the outfits!) I'm still excited about it (which is partly why I'm blogging it 5 a.m.). Choosing the matinée was a good move. There was a nice crowd, but there were plenty of open seats. When we came out, the line for the 7 p.m. showing was huge--down a hall and out through the lobby. The theater had a concessions cart set up selling goodies to the ladies in line. And there were a lot of ladies--nary a Y chromosome in site.

Eight of us saw the movie at The Mall, and afterward three of us hung around. And of course we went shoe shopping. I picked up this pair of J. Vincent animal print heels at Dillards, MSRP: $180, sale price: $29.99. This is the actual shoe on my actual foot complete with a few lovely bug bites (bugs find me delicious) and my lavender pedicure.

Next we headed off to Victoria's Secret--my friend had a free undies coupon. I don't believe I've been inside a Victoria's Secret store since the '80s. It was very busy and lacy and sheer and it scared me just a little. A bought some briefs which were five for $25. They look just like this on me:

As were were browsing undies, I found that one of my shopping companions had never been to Sephora! We had to remedy that. Plus I had new shoes and new undies--some new makeup in my bag would make it a shopping trifecta! Sephora is the ultimate girly place to shop, perfect for my day of everything girl.

I'd been going to The Mall Sephora store for ages, and shopping at the tiny Benefit diplay, and I always wondered why they didn't have a bigger selection of Benefit products. So I asked a Sephora sales person (the same one who recommended the perfect shade of Laura Mercier lipcolor to me) and she walked me over to a giant Benefit display on the other side of the store. I had no idea it was there. I bought Dandelion face powder that's the most lovely shade of pink for my fair skin. It's a fatastic blush color for me.

To top off my perfect girly day, we had some food and a round of cosmos. Because who could go to see Sex and the City and not have a round of cosmos? I bet there were a record number of this ubiquitous pink cocktail served on May 30th. I was already buzzed on the movie and the shoes and the makeup and the drink made me over-the-top joyed out. Spending two hours and fifteen delicious minutes with Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, and a few hours at The Mall with real girls...ahh, it makes me so glad I don't have a penis.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My eBay Search for Vintage Dresses

Long-time readers may have gathered that I get into buying phases. There was the sequins phase. The clutch phase. The sweater chain phase. The enamel flower pin phase. eBay makes quick work of collecting anything. Lately I've been focusing on vintage dresses. I love my plaid one (that I got hemmed seven inches) and my flowery one (the jacket is great).

Last night I won an auction for a darling pink dress that also comes with a matching jacket.

I've found that for vintage dresses, I do better saving favorite searches of entire stores. The pink dress is from Nova Vintage, the plaid from Violettville Vintage, and the floral from Timeless Vixen. (To save full-store searches, you need to click on the seller's name in an item listing to get to their profile, then click on Items for Sale. Once there, you can save the search. I can't find another way to do this.)

I like these stores because they have small inventories and all the items are well chosen, well photographed, and well measured. Note about buying vintage clothing online: You gotta have measurements. Vintage sizing is way different than current sizing. But it's really easy to know if something will fit when you've got bust, waist, hips, length and shoulder-to-shoulder measurements (and sometimes more). That really takes the risk out of buying items that are often non-returnable. (Nova Vintage will accept returns for clothes that don't fit if you send them back in seven days--always check for return policies in item listings. I've found most sellers to be very reasonable when it comes to returns.)

In addition to store searches, I also do category searches. I put in "dress" then filter to "vintage" then pick an era. Once that list is up, I'll add and "M" to "dress" in the search field to narrow down the list. The smallest vintage offering I can fit into is what most sellers consider "M." Those ladies in the '50s and '60s had tiny little waists. Or girdles. Or I'm just too thick in the middle. It's probably a combination of all three, but it seems that the busts are usually a good ten inches larger than the waists in these dresses. That's not so in Material Girl's figure. If I had a 26-inch waist I could have a dynamite vintage dress wardrobe in my closet.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rompers--I Don't Get It

The other day an eBayer paid $102.50 for this vintage '80s romper. There were 23 bids. Just had to share that. Cause I don't quite get grown women in rompers (although lines like Rogan for Target and Old Navy seem to).

Friday, May 23, 2008

One Stop, Four Stores: Brillant Move for the Gap

Check this out: Go to the website for the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy or Piperlime, and you can shop at all four of the stores at once, and shipping is seven bucks for your whole order. You just click the tabs at the top of the sites to go from one collection of goodies to another.

So I can get myself some shoes from Piperlime, go to Old Navy and pick up some new flannel shirts for Cheapy Jr., then click over to the Gap for some super-on-sale jeans for Cheapy, and checkout all at once. So cool.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trying on Rogan for Target's Go Collection

I finished up a big project at work today in the early afternoon so I decided to take the rest of that day off and hit Target them the gym. (Conveniently, Target is practically right next to my gym.) Recently the latest Go collection was released from guest designer Rogan Gregory. (Read about his eco-friendliness--and view his formidable facial hair--here.)

Rogan's collection was released about a week ago (and it didn't seem as picked over as the Jovovich-Hawk offerings I perused at the same Target store the day after they'd come out). I like the overall look of the collection. The colors are mostly soft and muted or black (with a random yellow or bright blue thrown in), lots of animal prints and lots of linen. Here are a few things I tried on.

The zebra top was, of course, way too long for me. It's one of the many items I've tried on in my lifetime that I would have purchased had I been taller. Interesting details in the buttons--they are distressed metal with a random hot pink one--something that only you would know was going on if you wore the top buttoned--fun! (There are lots of surprising buttons in this collection.) The blazer--also too long or I would have taken it home. It fit nicely and I love the leopard fabric showing through the light gauzy fabric--what a subtle way to do animal print.

I had to try on the black romper--how can one resist a romper? (I remember the light purple one I had in eighth grade. It had flowers embroidered at the neckline. I always wore it over a green polo shirt. It was wonderfully hideous, and, unfortunately, captured in a number of photos. I wore it the same year I cut my own bangs within an inch of their life. Actually they were only about an inch long. Thirteen--not my most attractive age.) Well I seriously thought about buying this romper. It fit pretty well. But I decided I am indeed too old to wear such an item of clothing, even if it's not purple. The linen babydoll dress is a nice fabric. I'm so over billowy babydoll silhouettes, though. Not a good look on me. (It does have pockets, however, which is groovy feature in a dress.)

These two silk dresses are the same cut in different fabrics. I carried the leopard print one too and from three different trips to the dressing room before deciding against it. Every time I try on something silk at a store it seems to be static crazy. It was so hard to tell how this dress would drape because it was stuck to me. (I've had this problem in Macy's a few times. Stores must be super electric. The last silk dress I bought was fine once I got it home.) Also note that these models are tall. These dresses hit me at the knee.

I dig these striped items--but not on me. I'm always a sucker for a wrap dress, but this linen number was cut weird in the shoulders. It was a tad line-backer-ish on. And the mini skirt was not so mini. This might have worked well if I had been able to try on the correct size, but this item was almost sold out. (The belt is striped linen on one side and animal print fabric on the other.)

It's hard to tell in this image, but the halter dress above is a black-on-black zebra print. They didn't have my size (note: these run really small), so I hit a computer in the Target and purchased the dress right there in the store before I left. Target is offering free shipping for purchases over $50, which I took advantage of as I also ordered a pink with gold stitching Issac Mizrahi dress that was sold out in my size in the store as well. It's really much prettier in person than in this picture and I had to have it. (I'll miss Issac's dresses when he's done with Target. )

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SJP On Vouge--I Couldn't Help But Wonder Why They Chose This Cover Shot

Beautiful photos of Sarah Jessica Parker (with Chris Noth) inside the mag--but this cover--it is not good.

Sorting Out My Storage Issues: Pottery Barn Kids

You may remember a while back when I posted pictures of the mess that is my dressing room.

We'll I've been doing a bit of closet purging and rearranging. I've moved all my jackets to Cheapy's spare closet, gave some things away, and sold a few vintage items at our garage sale last Saturday. I've also started a "for consignment" pile. But, as usual, I'm also acquiring things (shoes, accessories, new dresses, etc.)--so something's gotta give. I need more storage. And it's Pottery Barn Kids to the rescue.

I've been trolling the Internet for quite a while and decided that the PBK Cameron wall system (or small parts of it) are just what I need.

I just ordered a cubby unit, which is four cubes, as well as an art cubby. I'm quite excited about the latter. The art cubby has an long open space on the bottom and a number of long narrow shelves--perfect for kids drawings as well as trays of jewelry. Now I'm looking for so long flat cookie-sheet-like trays that can go in the shelves. I'll line them with fabric covered foam and fill them with necklaces, bracelets and the like. Once I get it all together I'll post some pictures. I'm very anxious to get things organized and put away--it will make my morning accesorizing happier. No more spilling cigar boxed full of bracelets and untangling necklaces. Hurray!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Born Flats Part Two

I decided to get the Born Osprey flats in black, too. (They were cheap at

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shoe Shopping at

It's been a slow month here at Material Girl HQ. I've got a few trips coming up this summer so I've been trying to chill on the shopping so I have a little dough left in my discretionary fund to enjoy some east and west coast sartorial spending.

But here's the thing about visiting New York--a girl needs comfy shoes. I can't walk around the city and enjoy browsing shops and street vendors if my feet hurt. My feet are not used to such...use. Here in the Midwest there's always a place to park. We drive everywhere. The most walking I do is around The Mall, but even then I usually plan my shopping outings for one end of The Mall or the other--more efficient, less walking. At the outdoor shopping center, I've been known to drive from Anthropologie to DSW which it not really that far, but I figure I gotta stop at my car to pop things in the trunk anyway...

Where was I...oh yeah--comfy shoes for walking around New York. I had recently purchased a pair of black pointy flats by Born that were on clearance at DSW. They were awesome on my right foot. The left foot, however--ouchy. The arch support in the right shoe somehow got all lumpy and it was quite unpleasant as I tried them out walking about my yard. I gave the bottoms a good diaper wipe cleaning (diaper wipes are good for many tasks--someone at Anthropologie once told me they use them to clean schmutz off of clothes) and I returned them.

But I kept thinking about them so I searched for them online and found them at, which is now owned by Zappos. doesn't have free shipping unless you spend $100, and their return policy is not nearly as liberal as Zappos' (you only have 30 days to return and you have to cover return shipping), but this allows to offer deep discounts. (I found that the 6pm site is not nearly as easy to browse as Zappos.)

I had originally purchased the Born flats in black, but 6pm also carried them in red, so I chose that option instead. I also found a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs platform sandals--because I need LA shoes too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Shopping: Anthropologie Plus a DSW Shoe Binge

Cheapy is very nice on occasions like Mother's Day, my birthday, etc. He always occupies Cheapy Junior for the day, hands me some cash, and send me off to have the happy day of my choice.

I was a little bummed when I started off today because it was chilly, raining, and generally miserable outside. I removed "get pedicure" from my stuff-to-do-today list because I couldn't bear the thought of not wearing socks and boots.

"Hit Anthropologie," however, remained an option, particularly because my high school friends, who I've been getting together with every few months since my last class reunion, gave me an Anthro gift card for a belated birthday gift. It was a nice and unexpected surprise. So Anthropologie was the first stop on my Mother's Day shopping trip. My goal was to find some tops for layering. I've been accumulating a good collection of cropped cardigans and shrugs lately which I've really been digging, but I've been low on light knit tops to wear under them.

Here are the three tops I got, all of them from the sale rack.

They are all soft and comfortable and all have necklines that will accommodate the zillions of necklaces I've been buying recently.

After Anthropologie, I popped into the Gap, but I really just wanted to use the bathroom. I was not in a Gap mood, and after an hour of being spoiled by the Anthropologie dressing room experience (they remember your name and really don't seem to mind getting you other sizes), I wasn't in the mood to try things on at the Gap. (The white shirts were all super on sale, by the way.) Time for shoe shopping--even if it meant unzipping my boots countless times.

And twas a good day for shoe shopping--I bought four pairs. (It's been a really long time since I bought four pairs of shoes at once. I was as giddy I a girl could be on a dreary day.) Since they were DSW purchases, I can't find any of them online except these t-straps (which I got in Natural), and I can't post of picture of them because the DSW site uses Flash so I can't copy the image. (I need to get a Mac.) Besides the Prima pumps I got a pair of Franco Sarto patent three-tone t-straps, a pair of silver Frye maryjanes, and a pair of pointy toe, patent Born flats (the last two especially for my upcoming trip to New York. I don't want to tromp around the Big Apple in flip flops but I need something comfortable and cute.) All totaled, I spend $150 on all four pairs--three were 50% off and the cheapest pair was 30%. A Happy Mother's Day indeed.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

BCBG Shoe Bargain--Lunchtime Shopping at DSW

I took a quick lunch-hour shopping trip to DSW the other day. My co-worker/friend had a pair of shoes to return and I had a $10 DSW Rewards coupon (thanks to Cheapy's wine-induces shoe shopping extravaganza).

It was one of those days, however, where once I got to shopping I had a feeling I wouldn't find anything. Shopping at DSW is sort of like shopping at a thrift store--it's very hit-or-miss, you-never-know-what-you're-gonna-get (which I guess is more a box of chocolates as Forrest Gump taught us.)

My friend had found a pair of shoes to exchange for the ones that, somehow, she couldn't walk in. (This friend strides around flawlessly on the highest and thinnest of heels--and talent I envy. Material Girl needs something more substantial at my base).

So there I was, bummed at leaving empty handed. Then I saw these BCBC t-strap wedges.

After my coupon paired with a 20% off "for a friend" coupon, I got them for $19.98. And I love them. They are tall, but they are squishy and super comfortable. They're not leather so I normally would have passed them by--PVC can get sort of warm and sweaty under the tootsies. But I had just been thinking, one, that I need some more spring/summer shoes (I'm pretty good on the boots), and two, that I needed some white footwear. These are perfect. They're sporty and they would be fine stomping through rain puddles. They're also great with a number of my summer dresses.

I found them on Amazon for around $78. And I also discovered that they come in an array of colors--I'm so tempted to get more! The red and the silver are calling to me.

Finally--the Perfect Sequined Top

Loyal Material Girl readers may remember that I've been going through a bit of a sequins phase. Finally, after many months of eBaying (some good purchases, some bad), I've found the perfect sequined top--for $15.43 with shipping. It's a vintage beauty. It fits like a dream. It's heavy with sequins and tiny pearls, zips up the back, and has mini slits on either side. And it looks great with both denim and boots and black pants and heels.

I'd vow never to purchase a sequined item again but I don't know if I could help myself. It's hard to resist clothes that are so much like jewelry. (Did any of you see the silver sequined mini dress Brooke Shields wore on Lipstick Jungle? To die for.)

Now I've just got to get Cheapy to take me somewhere fancy for dinner so I can wear this top which is now gently folder and padded with tissue paper.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Evening at Macy's--In Store and Online

Macy's is having this "Friends and Family" sale going on for which they decide pretty much everyone in the world is a a friend of Macy's or part of the Macy's family and send them cards for 20% off pretty much anything.

I hit the store at 8 p.m. (when it's generally pretty empty) to try on some dresses. I grabbed a handful and found a dressing room which happened to be filled with a bunch of other dresses that were all my size. I tried on a dozen or so and settled on a cute black cotton dress with cap sleeves and white embroidery at the hem. It was $68 after the discounts and it's a perfect little dress for summer. I can't find it on the Macy's website. I can never seem to find anything on the Macy's website.

If I go to, say, the Gap and they're out of something in my size, I can come home, go to their website, and buy it (or at least find it, whether it's available in my size or not). Every time something is sold out in my size at Macy's, I check the website and it's not there.

For example...tonight I found a Michael Kors Petites dress that I really loved. Problem was, one size was too big, one size was too small, and they were sold out of the size in between. Of course, this particular dress it not sold on Macy's website. If I want an ugly gold Michael Kors swing jacket or an ugly yellow Michael Kors mini trench, I'm in luck. Dress I decided I must have--no luck.

I found it on the Nordstrom site (have I mentioned that I can't wait for Nordstrom to open at The Mall--hurray up with that construction, already), but there would be no 20% discount involved in that purchase. Full price is $159.50 and Nordstrom's shipping is $8.

I decided to call some other locations of Macy's to find the dress. After a few minutes on (long distance) hold I talked to the very helpful (albeit monotone) Tiffany at a Columbus area location and--yay!--they had my size. And she could send it to me. For $15.95. (Isn't that outrageous?) But with the 20% off, I'm still doing better than Nordstrom. With all said, done and rung up, I saved $9 off the full price. I really hope it's fits me perfectly when it arrives--I hope I still love it. Nothing is more annoying than blowing 16 clams on shipping only to return the item.

Here's the dress I ordered from Tiffany.

So maybe it's a little derivative of Balenciaga's spring florals. But it's less weird (and I can't afford Balenciaga). And let me tell you, that "petite" model must be at least 5'7" because that dress hit just above the knee on 5'2" me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Week-long Necklace Binge

Hello again fellow shoppers. I have not posted in a week! I was not on vacation. I was not in bed with the flu. I was not not making purchases. Just busy busy. I've pretty much been too busy to shop in person, so I've been spending a lot of time on eBay while I eat breakfast and I've been finding some good cheap necklaces this week. I've bought seven new ones recently (total with shipping was about $69) which I would say is an official binge.

Here are six beaded beauties that are on their way--five from my favorite place on eBay to buy cheap baubles, Jewels n Treasures run by super nice Sally in Wisconsin who offers free shipping if you buy three or more items. The white one with the funky bumpy beads that look sort of like popcorn is from another seller.

Here's another eBay find (which I'm wearing right now). It's a great length and seems to go with everything. It's a heavy metal enameled link Monet that came with a bonus pair of Trifari clip-on earrings. (Normally I'd convert the clip-ons to a wire and wear them. I've done this to loads of old Sarah Coventry treasures. These, however, are too heavy for my ears, so you'll find that at my upcoming garage sale--May 17th--along with many other interesting vintage items I've acquired that haven't quite worked out.)