January 29, 2009

Since I already broke that ban...

I tried to rationalize that the ban was still in tact after buying the Steeler hat (deadstock from the 80s and very inexpensive). But after a trip to the Galleria, I was tempted by Anthropologie, where I bought a lovely slip, on significant discount. I can say with certainty that my post-holiday no-buy has ended. And I have officially started developing (albeit, slowly) my wardrobe of Ought Nine.

My purchases have been modest in volume and in dollar amount, which reflects my continued unease over the global economic crisis. I intend to curb my spending drastically when compared with the shopping patterns I exhibited in 2008, fostered in 2007, and developed in 2006 (when my price threshold for genres of products/things increased exponentially from where it was in years prior). I expect to more than make up for my pre-holiday sale gluttony. It should be easy as I haven't come upon many newly released pieces that I desire.

I guess I should reveal my first non-foundation garment clothing purchase of 2009:

I was browsing bluefly the other day. My junk email filter doesn't catch their solicitations so the emails function as they were intended: to remind me of the site's existence and to make it easy to click an image which opens their web page. I noticed a Tibi dress from a few seasons ago that looked like an updated version of one of my favorite vintage dresses.

I shrank out of the vintage one and if I ever figure out how to make a too-big dress smaller with my xmas present sewing machine, I will certainly move it back into the repertoire. But the Tibi dress was ready now.
This Tibi style featured a red and white colorway rather than the vintage dress' shades of green and purple, but the neck tie, the 3/4 length sleeves, and the psychedelic paisley print evoked my old standby perfectly. I even liked the length on this one more! The only problem was the price point on Bluefly. Even with coupon codes and click-through discounts, I wasn't comfortable buying an expensive, and admittedly kind of silly-looking dress in These Troubled Times. I closed the browser and forgot about it.

Then one day I decided to browse ebay, as I often do when I am bored or on a break from work. On ebay, I found the dress in one of the sizes I consider to be mine (I somehow wear three Tibi sizes, depending on the silhouette). I ended up winning the dress with a snipe bid for an obscenely low price. I got it today and although I could have taken my smallest of the three Tibi sizes in this style (and this is the largest), it fits better than the vintage dress.

I think it will be fun with black tights, my leather hoodie, and a statement cuff. I will post an outfit once I have styled it to wear outside!

January 28, 2009

More dust-biting

Thanks to http://www.eye4style.com/'s post on fashionism for the tip.

Magazine to fold:Link

Domino magazine will cease publication, it was announced today
by Charles H. Townsend, President and CEO of Condé Nast. The final issue will be published in March 2009. “This decision to cease publication of the magazine and its website is driven entirely by the economy,” Mr. Townsend said. “Although readership and advertising response was encouraging in the early years, we have concluded that this economic market will not support our business expectations.” Domino was launched in April 2005. The magazine’s current ratebase is 800,000. Condé Nast, a unit of Advance Publications, includes twenty-three consumer magazines, Condé Nast Digital, the Fairchild Fashion Group, Parade, the Condé Nast Media Group, and the Shared Services Centers.

Active Endeavors Website closing

I admit I saw both of these coming but that doesn't make the official news irrelevant. I suppose my buying habits are being influenced significantly by the reality of the economic moment. My Saks sale binges in November feel so distant and remote from how I feel now about buying. Though I guess the holiday shopping season enables consumption habits to increase significantly.

January 22, 2009

The Ban Is Broken

In the name of the Steelers impending trip to the Superbowl, and after weeks and weeks of lamenting how "fans can't see that I'm also a fan when I am wearing my coat on game days," I got a throwback Steeler winter hat.

Now it was only $7 so I could technically still feel like my ban hasn't been broken. A winter hat is a practical item that I will use for years and years to come. But this particular purchase was definitely frivolous. I still intend to not buy anything fancy from now until the trip to New York City. Chris is going for a conference and I am going because I found a cheap flight. I hope to do some shopping and perhaps some wedding attire browsing while we're there.

This ban business sure is easy when there are signs of the economic times everywhere you read/look. It also helps that the great epic sales of 08 have spoiled me from wanting to spend more than 30% retail on any item. I don't really have very many "wants" right now. The few times in the last few weeks that I've filled online shopping carts, I've had little trouble convincing myself to close the browser and say goodbye.

But when brick and mortar stores are closing their local outposts forever, it can't hurt to have one last hurrah! In the future I will post a eulogy for the Homestead Waterfront Filene's Basement, where I acquired a few key, beloved closet staples. They aren't closed just yet so I want to make sure my eulogy is comprehensive and reflects adequately the entire arch of time I've spent there. On Friday I'd will go to Filene's Basement to pillage before they ship our closing store's stock to another location. Maybe the Fall 07 See By Chloe dresses will be under $100!?! It's bittersweet to think about what it means to be a Pittsburgher in this particular moment of history.

January 21, 2009

Retail Deathwatch

There are lots of local closings announced in my shopping neck of the woods.

Filene's Basement at the Homestead Waterfront is closing in February.
Macys Furniture Store in Century III Mall is closing.
Old Navy in Century III Mall is closing.
And I've heard that many stores at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall are also closing.

The East Liberty Target project is on hold until the company is ready to expand (probably not until the credit crunch alleviates or the economy picks up again).

And while I am only one lonely consumer, I do not think it is a coincidence that so many closings are occurring as I approach nearly 35 days of not buying anything for myself that wasn't food or drink related. I'm certainly not the only person who has curbed their spending amid news of the economic downturn, layoffs, and hiring freezes. I will update soon on some of my current Ebay wants that might lead to ban-breakage. But they are arguably necessities and buying them gently used or highly discounted via ebay is infinitely more frugal than buying brand new or full retail versions.

I want to see if I can go more than two months without buying frivolous things. My mid-February trip to NYC gives me a firm event to look toward.

January 13, 2009

Another one bites the dust: La Redoute US

Although I've been staying true to my post-holiday shopping ban (hence my silence around the blog), I have been window shopping and occasionally checking ebay for the usual suspects of estalked pieces. I've found nothing but in my browsing, I decided to revisit an inexpensive site that I always enjoyed but rarely shopped from: La Redoute US.

The (at least in today's post-supermodel world) iconic Parisian models they used, the collaborations with fascinating French designers (Christian Lacroix and Manoush, to name a few), and the constant slew of coupon codes kept me coming back. Because of fit issues the few times I placed orders I rarely purchased anything but I liked knowing they were out there.

Sadly, it seems they no longer are. I went to visit their website to see if there were any new designer collaborations or sale items and found this:

Maybe it is old news but I was surprised, nonetheless.

A few quick searches led me to this:


I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by the closing of online or brick and mortar retail establishments in the wake of a global economic crisis. Still, it makes me wish I had bit on a few more orders when I had the chance.

January 08, 2009

For those of you NOT minding your January budgets...

The Saks.com sale is now an unprecedented 80% off! I wonder if it is happening in stores, too? Can't hurt to check!

If everything on the website was in stock and I WASN'T minding my own budget, I would purchase the following:

Miu Miu pumps that look like something a post-apocalyptic escort would wear.
And Dior Homme Driving shoes for Chris.

A bright Juicy Couture raincoat for Spring.
And yet another Tibi dress from the incredible Fall 08 collection.

A simple charcoal gray v-neck sweater by Theory for Chris.

And I'd throw in some 80% off Louboutins and fancy La Perla underthings.

Sadly and gladly, most of the items I'd want are already out of stock and because I believe in shopping destiny, I will not be conducting any livechat product searches or item locaters this time around. I do wonder, if things are 80% off on the website, can you imagine the markdowns at the Saks Off Fifth Outlets?! Enjoy the epic sales but be wary of Sale Goggles!

January 07, 2009

Shopping My Closet and Saving My Budget

Since it is a new year, I heartily enjoyed the epic sales of Fall 2008, I have taken it easy since mid-December when I wrapped up my xmas gift shopping. I've only bought 2 plane tickets to NYC (for a mid-February conference my fiancé, Chris is attending), food, and materials for my bathroom which Chris is remodeling himself.

He's further along than this now but it was already taking shape here.

I'm not feeling especially consumed by anything specific, online or in stores. My estalking habits have decreased for the moment. And my desire in general to shop is low.

This usually happens after the holidays, but the feeling is significantly more pronounced this year. After all, the overindulgences typical of the holiday season must be tempered by a staid January. My typical post-holiday consumption dry spell was reinforced by the news coverage of the recession, layoffs, etc., and my enormous winter weather gas bill. After tallying the costs of the renovations I was offered more than sufficient reasons to shop my closet and be thankful.

Some recent outfits comprised mostly of 2008 finds.

That said, I am anticipating anxiously the launch of Net-a-Porter's outlet site, called Outnet. I don't know when it will occur but I am interested in seeing if a few items from their notoriously lame sales end up dropping further in the outlet context. In the meanwhile, I'll continue to shop my closet.

January 03, 2009

Outfits of the last two days

In an effort to better implement this whole "separates" business, I am posting some outfits of the last two days. Because I am currently remodeling my bathroom, you see quite a mess around me. I promise this is not usually the case.

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If I hit the lottery and had a time machine: Winter White Edition

It is time for a new edition of my coulda-woulda-shoulda shopping regrets. I call it rearview fashionism: looking backward while thinking fashion forward. In other words, this series is lamenting what my closet could have been.

It has been quite chilly lately. And although I have a plethora of street pashminas and a few clutch cashmere numbers, I long for a scarf that will stay put without an annoyingly bulky neckknot. If I could go back in time with lottery money I would purchase the Kyle Scarf by Mike and Chris:

Though they're pretty simple, the slouchy drape is difficult to replicate. I haven't found an adequate knockoff and I've searched through pages and pages of "button scarves" on etsy. Sadly, the financial woes that have hit this line might mean I will never acquire what is now a hard to find piece.

If I could go back in time to Fall of 2006 and buy this Alexander McQueen dress, I absolutely would.
I would put myself through months of ramen noodles and cancel cable for this dress. I fell in love with it immediately and thought it would make the perfect wedding dress for me. I am not really into standard, strapless, white, taffeta fare. I love the antique look of the ivory tulle and its juxtaposition with the gothic victorian lace details. And I would wear it again and again and again to my anniversary dinners and fancy parties.

While I'm on the subject of alternative wedding dressing, I wouldn't kick this other McQueen frock out of my bridal suite:

Granted, it is much simpler and something similar could probably be found for less, I find the subtle print and the muted color tones to evoke exactly what I am looking for in a dress for The Big Day. It is definitely re-wearable, too!

This strapless Marchesa dress has stunning beadwork and although I personally wouldn't wear strapless because of my ample bustline, I would adore a cap sleeved version of this.

So I guess for this item I would need a time machine, winning lotto tickets, and a franken-dress maker.

Finally, this Burberry dress would make a beautiful, interesting, and versatile statement and I could wear it on the big day and days to come.

But the chance to purchase it and everything else in this post has come and gone, save for estalking on ebay. Who knows, though. Maybe when Net-a-Porter launches its outlet called "The Outnet" this Spring I will be offered a fashion reprieve for one of these dresses?!

Maybe this bodes badly for the plans I have to make but the mere thought of hunting for a conventional wedding dress makes me so very sleepy. I'd love to hear about how other traditional and non-traditional, fashionable ladies dealt with the dress conundrum for big days!

January 01, 2009

Outfit of the FIRST Night!

As I prepared to leave for the evening I toiled, as I often do, over what to wear, even though my NYE didn't include a great deal of party-hopping. I was only headed to two locations, both of which were the homes of friends. Earlier in the day when I revisited my previous post, I noticed that none of my favorite outfits of 2008 included pants. And only two had skirts. When it came to special occasion dressing, I was consumed by dresses all year long.

In the spirit of resolutions and new beginnings, I opted to forgo my instincts: A special night doesn't NEED to include a special dress. Instead I resolved to concoct an outfit from separates. I have many beautiful tops, skirts, and pants that see the walls of my closets far more than they see the sun or moonlight. Though I prefer spend NYE swathed in something that sparkles and and is more over the top, I narrowed the field down to a high-waisted Tibi skirt with a Nicholas K sweater, opaque tights, and Steven by Steve Madden Director pumps.

I was about to put on my coat when I realized I HAD a previously unworn skirt by Lauren Moffatt that sparkled plenty!

I quickly swapped it out, saving the Tibi for a future memorable outfit of separates.

I had a great time at both parties and I am sure I will remember this combination of pieces with the same fondness I reserve for my New Years Eve dresses of yore. Happy New Year!


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