Thursday, September 23, 2010

Please check out the new venue!

Hello dearest readers!

I've been a terrible blogger lately, largely because I'm feeling the economic pinch and am unable to justify shopping, so talking about shopping is kind of depressing.

I started a new blog, wicked snarky, where I talk about fashion I hate, journalism failures and other things that amuse me and/or piss me off. If you like to laugh or appreciate a good dose of sarcasm, please come on over and become a follower or subscribe to the feed!

I'll probably pick this blog back up at some point but I'll be pouring my energy into the other for now. Give us a follow, luv ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Digressions on Thrifting

Are thrifty genes are inborn, or do our early experiences have more of an impact on whether we're splurgers or penny-pinchers when we grow up enough to have our own spending money? For some (like me, presently, with an unemployed partner), the thrill of the bargain hunt is mitigated by the downer of necessity, but for others there is just an excitement in digging for treasure and getting it at an amazing price.

When I was a little girl, visiting my grandparents' summer place in the middle of nowhere Connecticut, my greatest joy came in trips to (what was to me, at the time) the most amazing place on earth: The Victorian House, a ramshackle old Painted Lady with an incredible series of rooms packed to the brim with every kind of knick-knack, kitchen item, old book, vintage fur, enormous carved highboy, broken doll, old postcard and vinyl record an estate sale could produce, plus a fabulous little squash-faced Pekingese who always manned the counter. I could amuse myself for hours in the costume jewelry or book section (here I found my first copy of Desiree and learned that my namesake was Napoleon's first love...) and spent many long hours tentatively brushing my fingertips over inlaid furniture and shining sterling tableware.

As the child of a single parent schoolteacher with conservative-- perhaps even 'tightwad'-- purse-strings, I also learned very early on that several hand-me-down or used-clothing-shop outfits were far superior to just one new outfit. It took me many years to release the resentment I felt at the time to be forced to be so much less fashionable than my (rather wealthy) peers, but I now realize that I learned skills that the girls whose mothers spent weekends in Bloomingdale's would probably never acquire (whether they'd ever have the financial necessity for such skills is another matter, but they say money can't buy happiness anyway, right?).

I see homes decorated with the latest from Pier One and Crate and Barrel and it's not that they're not lovely, but it seems to me that they are entirely lacking in personality. There are no special items lovingly lifted off a dusty shelf and polished to reveal their beautiful potential; no fascinating old objects of dubious origin but obvious perfection for the room; nothing with any fond memories attached. In these beautiful, sterile places, no old friend would ever possibly inquire "but, my dear, where did you possibly find that stunning wicker sphere set displayed in that fruit bowl!?" No, indeed. Ditto for the latest Ann Taylor dress or Tiffany necklace. Cute, but anyone could put it on... I prefer a little inventiveness, a touch of the unique, which may take a bit of rooting to find, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tell us about your own thrifty roots!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Look for Nearly Nothing: Pink Minidress a la Elizabeth Hurley

Having been rather obsessed with pink lately, and always on the lookout for cute summer dresses, I found Elizabeth  Hurley's outfit at Valentino quite divine:

(Just a word to the wise, though; if you're not Elizabeth Hurley, bubble hems and ruffles on enormous boobs will probably not do you any favors.)

In different light the dress looks purple, but this orchid-y hot pink interpretation was the picture I was working on. So, for your clearance shopping pleasure (most are on final sale!) here are the very cutest, cheapest little pink minidresses out there:

Aren't they stunning? And soooo cheap.Sweet.

Liz paired her lovely floaty dress with some (vaguely metallic) leopard-print platforms. Leopard goes with everything and is a fantastic counterpoint to the brightly-hued dress. Check out these inexpensive (under-$35) versions (also mostly on clearance so limited sizing is an issue):

I kind of love those slutty ankle-strap ones, from a site I've never heard of called MakeMeChic... They are  'coincidentally' only still available in my size (6.5). It's like a sign, right??

I trust you can find your own clutch or use one you own (I have a leopard pony one with optional chain that I picked up at a church yard sale) but in case you want some inspiration, some of the options reminiscent of Liz's nude exotic-skin clutch, all under $40:

Enjoy these picks & let me know if you end up purchasing any of them!

Happy shopping for the look for less!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Please Meet TattooAnnie

I promised a special little something to my 100th follower over on the Twitter a while back, and while that didn't exactly create a stampede to the ol' poorly-updated blog here, I did sign in today to the pleasant surprise of that milestone. Thank you to fellow Etsy seller TattooAnnie for being my 100th lovely regular reader! Previously blogging about her time as an American new to Japan at Akarui Days, TattooAnnie is currently crafting beautiful jewels, hair accessories, buttons, etc. in the TattooAnnie Etsy shop - like these delicious bobbies in some of my favorite colors:

While she could surely do more than justice to her own version, TattooAnnie wins a pair of custom-made chandelier earrings in her choice of colors and finding style (and gigantic-ness). Examples of my own work here of course...

So... I have been devouring design blogs of late as I contemplate a home equity loan or line of credit with which to supplement my already-dwindling savings in order to remodel my really, honestly, crappy little condo. If you have any experience with one or the other of the options for the loan, do leave a comment! But, to that end, the only shopping I've been doing is for carefully-planned full weeks of menus (fresh produce supplemented by my CSA share) and attempts at container gardening and de-purplifying the decor so my fiance feels less like he's moved into my house and more like we've begun a new life together. Right? But yeah, not working all that well; we'd like to renovate enough to rent or sell so we can have a fresh page to start on together.

K'na mean? Have you gone through the move-in process without the benefit of a clean slate?

Congrats Annie and Thanks to you and all of my lovely readers! Happy giveaway winning!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unbeatable Prices: Body Central

Florida-based body-conscious clothing company Body Central somehow got my name and address (Victoria's Secret, I'm looking at you!) and while generally the juniors-focused clothes are a bit on the young side for me (short skirts, destroyed jeans, etc.), they have some truly amazing deals on clothes that emulate the look of Vicky's at a much lower price, so I am not complaining about receiving the catalog.

Anything with nice detailing at VS is going to run you at least $40, especially anything corset-inspired or lacy, and dresses generally debut over $70. Not to say you can't find great clearance deals there, as I've discussed, but in general a few items will add up to $100 rapidly. Not so with Body Central, where nearly every piece is in the $15-30 range. Nearly all of the summer line is pretty darn cute, but here are my personal favorites:

Fabulous Dresses:

(my catalog says $26.50 so maybe call if you order and demand the lower price! (Source Code C5A109C)

Adorable Tops:

This picture also wins my "lovely!" award for best styling in the catalog. So summery, so pretty with those chunky bangles and the long necklace, matchy-matchy after my own heart, plus the perfect balance of the floaty skirt and form-fitting tanks (skirt available at $29.50, teal bangle, wood bangle and necklace $6 each. The whole outfit a mere $64.50!

  Ruffled eyelet-applique sleeveless blouse, $16.50

 I'm so attracted to this sequined cami but it's probably better for the less-curvy girls, $19.50

My only major issue with BC is the lack of extended sizing. Most things come in S, M, L or 1-13 or S/M and M/L. That cuts out, oh, a good 60% of the population. Uncool, BC, uncool. Voluptuous ladies like cute clothes, too! That and that a lot of the stuff is polyester (ew), but at these prices you can hardly expect organic cotton or something, right? The ever-present quandary of ethics vs. poverty, *sigh*

You'll have to let me know if you end up buying any of these, because my shopping embargo is actually going pretty well since that last spree at Vicky's-- oh yeah, and that other one at the mall-- but for all of June I haven't set foot in a clothing store or mail-ordered anything! Go me!

How do you like these picks? Have you ever ordered from BC or gone to one of their (apparently 194) stores? Let us all know what you thought, if so. 

Happy shopping, vicariously or otherwise ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Boston Proper Clearance: 3 under $30

I get the Boston Proper catalog and often cut something out and save (for someday inspiration) because I usually adore the styling, but the prices are always too high for a skinflint like me. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a few terrific sale items whilst seeking the Prada replacement last post... In addition to those cute ruched pumps, I discovered these three pieces which I just adore (there's a lot more there on sale, but it's not quite my style):

I am (of course) obsessed with the ruffles everywhere and this is no exception. Floral appliques, likewise:

Everyone loves a great LBD and this one is no exception, with uber-flattering faux-wrap ruching on the waistline and a  neckline that can't help but flatter (and leaves plenty of room beneath the straps for a real bra!):

Polyester jersey criss-cross minidress (only size 8) $29.99 ($110 off!)

There are sections for $19.99 and under and $29.99 and under and you can search any category by price, so you could luck out and find something you love that's on final clearance!

Have you ever bought anything from Boston Proper?

Happy shopping!

The Look for Less: Prada Espadrilles (Reader Inquiry)

A lovely reader linked me to these gorgeous espadrilles which she covets but can only dream of due to their (yowza) $650 price tag! o_O

I agree that they're quite delicious, especially the soft suede ruching... yummy! I didn't find a direct knock-off but I have definitely located a few different looks with similar styling.

Nine West's version is sans ankle strap, but it's the best approximation of the ruching in a wedge. Unfortunately it's only on pre-order right now and won't ship until July. If you're into instant gratification like I am, this will not do.

The Prada version shown is actually a dark pink even though it appears grey. Who knew, but they call it Dark Rose. Here's a fabulous pink wedge with ridiculously cute detailing:

I just love that shabby chic flower!

Boston Proper has a reminiscent version in a stiletto instead of an espadrille, currently on super clearance! How can you resist a sale sticker of more than 70% off?? (Sadly, only sizes 6 and 10 left):

I have to include this next pair because while they're neither ruched suede nor greyish pink, I love the color, and what a price (58% off)! They are ankle-strap espadrilles with interesting toe detailing. Related at the very least:

My favorite swap, while not precisely similar, is this wedge from AmiClubWear because they are TEN BUCKS! Woohoo!

How do you like these swaps? Would you ever pay $650 for a pair of shoes?!


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