Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some of My Favorite: Shopping Friends, Mall Stores, J Crew Dresses for Spring

I have a few friends who are truly my favorite shopping partners. These are the kind of friends I can leisurely wonder around with and browse boutiques or hit a hard-core, dig-through-everything-on-sale outlet stores. They're the ones who hand me something over the dressing room door and it's always cool and fits just right and I like it better than anything I took in with me. And they may even rationalize a purchase for me so I don't have to do it myself: "I know you don't have anywhere to wear that, but it looks so good on you and it's on sale!" (It's lovely to have someone talk you into something you want.)

The trouble is that one of these friends lives in Manhattan, one lives in Brooklyn and one lives in Colorado. I don't live in any of those places. (I'm happy to audition local fellow shoppers--say the word, ladies.)

My Brooklyn friend visits here frequently so I get to shop with her a few times a year. I just had a day of boutiquing with my Manhattan friend. And last week I got to hit the mall with my Colorado friend. (We emailed about where to shop. Me: "What are you up for? Anthro? Shoes?" Her: "The Mall sounds good. Unless you think that would be lame." Me: "Are you kidding? The Mall is my favorite place!")

We parked by Macy's and walked past the oh-so-hideous prom dress department (dear god--I was never happier to not be a teenager) and hit all my favorite places to hit in The Mall: Gap, Banana Republic, J Crew and Sephora.

I gotta tell you, fellow shoppers, the Gap these day: bad. I don't know what's going on there but I find it ill-fitting and tuti-fruiti. It's all wrong. I have not liked a thing in the Gap the last few seasons. Banana, on the other hand, seems to be hitting all the right notes with me. (See recent posts on several Banana dresses I've purchased lately.) I've loved the color palette, the shapes, the fit. And I've really been wild about the sale prices. (I recently got a blue silk disco-vibe dress there for $23.99. During my latest Mall visit I grabbed an uber-oversize faux pearl necklace for $5.99)

But J Crew...I love you most of all. I've been hitting their final sale online fairly hard. (Oh the sweaters!) I've been scouring the in-store sale racks regularly. (Took home a black with touches of gold thread wool/cashmere pencil skirt--love it!--for $20.99. It cost me more than that to get it hemmed.)

My recent J Crew score was the papaya-hued version of the dress shown below in light pewter. (I don't see the orange-y one online). Good with both heels or flat sandals and a cardigan.

There are few other J Crew dresses I'm smitten with. (I love love love dresses.) The simple linen dress below is made special with a dash of metallic, a defined waist and a bow detail. (I heart bows--I'm girly.)

And so you don't think this post looks like a casual version of the Oscars (what was with the white/ivory/cream thing Hollywood?) here's a lovely bright (papaya!) with similar features as the above--a defined waist and a bow--but with a more squarish neckline and in cotton.

And back to white...I'd get married all over again just so I could wear this tulle and organza wedding cake of a dress. I am a sucker for tiers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Faryl Robin from DSW Online: Stacked Coupons

I'd had my eye on a pair of Faryl Robin t-straps that I'd seen at Shoetopia a million times but had never tried on because they were $209 (and no matter how much wine Cheapy had before shopping, that would never fly--even taking into account that this shoe style is called "Doobie." Shoetopia is next to our fav restaurant so 95% of the time I'm there, he's with me.)

But look how cute these are. I love the shape of the heel, the animal print lining, the fact that the t-strap is askew. And I wish you could see the eggplanty color in person.

Last Saturday we met my friend and her boyfriend for dinner at said fav restaurant, and we scheduled in a few minute pre-food for shoe shopping. My friend found two cute pairs of shoes each on sale for $25 (a great first-time visit to the store). I tried on the asymmetrical Faryl's a half size too small because they were sold out in 8.5. Sad. (If you like these shoes and you don't wear size 8.5, they come in both bordo and black and are now on sale on Shoetopia's site for $104.)

As soon as we got home from our night out I set to googling the Faryl Robin Doobie and found it on sale on DSW for $139. Then I googled some more--this time for DSW coupon codes. When shopping on the DSW site, just as when shopping in the stores, you can use multiple coupons. For this transaction, I used three--one I found on the DSW site for free shipping, and two I found on coupon code sites, one for an extra $10 off and one for an extra $5. Google "DSW stackable coupons" and see what you find. Some will be expired, some with be birthday month codes--you just have to try a few and see if they work--but if you spend five minutes you can save a few bucks. And you can use them along with coupon codes you've gotten through the mail for DSW Rewards. (After my latest DSW purchase, I've got a reward postcard on the way--as well as my new shoes.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shopping in Manhattan: Part 2

I never quite finished reporting on my New York shopping. Ah, It seems like so long ago. To refresh you: I was in the city for just a few days for a conference and had just one day to shop. I got a blazer on clearance at Banana for $30. I got a gorgeous black cashmere and wool coat at Variazioni that I've been wearing to death. I also picked up a teal-with-gray-piping Tulle trench at Purdy Girl (that I since saw featured in Bust in a piece on how to dress like the ladies on Mad Men).

The next day I packed, gave my friends' keys to their doorman, and hopped in a cab to LaGuardia. And I got to the airport at 9 a.m. and found out my flight was cancelled. Because of weather issues, there was only one flight from LGA to CVG at 5 o'clock.

I called Cheapy for some sympathy about being stuck in the boring airport all day. He encouraged me to go back to Manhattan. "Have some fun; go shopping." My arm was sufficiently twisted. (And I was happy the cabs take credit cards.)

After stopping to drop off my bag at my friends' apartment, I went straight to Variazioni and bought the perfect black trench I'd passed up before. I had been having such buyers remorse. Or, I guess, the opposite of buyers remorse. Non-buyers remorse. I figured the snow storm and the cancelled flight were the universe telling me I should not leave New York without that coat.

With my mission accomplished, it was bagel time (where I saw a really hip looking girl wearing the wool/cashmere coat I'd bought the day before) and then I headed back toward the apartment. It was crazy snowing and walking around was not much fun. My jeans were wicking up snow and my face was freezing. Then I passed Infinity Shoes--that warmed me up. That had a fanstastic selection of shoes and boots--and I fell in love with Miz Mooz.

I got a pair of Miz Mooz boots in caramel. They are terrifically comfortable and pleaty.

The Saturday after I got home, I wore my new boots to my friend's wedding along with my new leopard print taffeta Banana dress.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shopping in Manhattan

Well, fellow shoppers, I've recently spend some time in what is arguable the best place in the world to shop (when sober--Vegas is the best place in the world for drunken shopping)--New York.

I didn't have much time to hit the stores (I was there for a conference), but did get a chance to make it to some Upper West Side boutiques as well as a Banana Republic.

The first shop I checked out with my friend/hostess was Variazioni which had big "up to 70% off" signs in the window. Perhaps if I'd read the online reviews of this store I might not have gone in. And it was a little weird. When we got there two of the shop employees were fighting. Like screaming-at-each-other, we-thought-there-would-be-a-actual-punches-thrown fighting. Then one of them grabbed some things and stormed out past us. O-kay.

Despite the drama there were some well-priced items and I bought as dreamy wool and cashmere coat with an off-to-the-left zipper, a big collar and Pucci print lining by Gianfranco Rossi, their house brand. (The next day I saw a really cool looking girl in the bagel shop in the same coat.) While we were there, I was forced to try on a black trench (among other things--I said it was weird) by the big-haired, purple-suede-boot wearing Russian shop girl who declared, waving her acrylic nails: "I. Have. Very. Good. Taste." O-kay.

I didn't buy the trench--which was cut perfectly for my five-foot-two frame--and I regretted not buying it.

Our next stop was Purdy Girl, which was not at all weird. The staff was helpful and not the least bit scary. (The guy who worked there even complimented my new coat, which I'd worn out of Variazioni.) I picked up a brown drapey snappy wrap cardigan and somehow managed not to buy a darling silver metallic Marc by Marc jacket and a black silk Nanette Lepore dress with an elaborate bugle-bead peacock. (They were both so fabulous. But where would I wear that peacock dress? I didn't even try it own because I knew if I did, I'd be in trouble. But, oh, I have a such thing for peacocks. And Nanette Lepore.)

Purdy Girl also had a great little trench coat--it had just come in but was already discounted. I tried it on and really didn't want to take it off. That's such a happy shopping moment. Here's the trench in red. It's by Tulle (I like a lot of things in their line, like this skirt that I may have to buy.) I got it in a turquiosey green with gray piping. The pockets are fab, the color is fresh, and there's a buckle in the back for cinching. So so cute. (And a great length for me.)

I had to fly out the next morning, so that was the end of my New York shopping.

Or was it...

Tune in next time to see how my travels--and my shopping adventures--played out.