March 31, 2009

The Spoils of Estalking: F/W 2k6 Anna Sui Peter Pan Dress

Two Fridays ago, I confessed that I was in love with a few dresses that got away. Among them was an Anna Sui dress from F/W 2006 that had what I consider to be the ultimate peter pan collar.

Soon after that entry I decided to run an ebay store search and randomly came upon the dress, two sizes below what I typically wear, but for a good price. According to the listed measurements it seemed like it *could* fit. So I contacted the seller to make an offer, rationalizing that if I got an even better price on it, then I could just take a chance.

And they said yes, much to my surprise! So I got the dress on Friday.

Well it basically fits. Except it is SO SHORT! I do not have the gams to pull off such a mini. I am going to try to creatively layer until I come up with a magic dress lengthening strategy. You can see the apprehension in my face. Also pictured are my new Delman flats! And a special guest spot by my extra dusty mirror!

March 30, 2009

Delman Wonder Flats In Navy and Gold Suede: RIP Pitt Basketball 2k9

Another Pitt-inspired purchase arrived today, just one mail call day short of our now-defunct Basketball season. No matter. These are cute enough that I will wear them all year to illustrate my school pride and fashionable fandom.

Delman Wonder flats in a navy and gold suede combo:
Thanks to Jessica Faintlymacabre for selling and shipping them to me from Canada!

March 27, 2009

DIY-Inspired Maison Martin Margiela Jewelry

I was browsing the sale content on Eluxury (since their current promotion offers an additional 40% off bags and accessories) and came upon a series of Maison Martin Margiela jewelry items that appear to be DIY, recycled, or recession-inspired. I can't quite figure out which. The prices are not very recession-friendly (even on sale, with 40% off) . I wonder if on some level, Margiela's pieces are manifestations of the pressure to "go green?" What do you think? Are they being tongue in cheek about DIY fashion or about the global economic downturn?

Regardless of the motivation or the meaning behind the pieces, the recession-unfriendly pricing means that I intend to make my own version of the can tab necklace. This statement necklace looks so grand, despite the mundanity of the found objects that assemble to form it! I don't drink much soda or beer (in cans, anyway) so I will need to collect the tabs in various sizes toward this project, somehow. I made many a paper clip necklace in my youth so I will pass on that one. And I'm just not sure of how I feel about the cork necklace. I think it would be difficult to not look like you were essentially wearing "garbage."
If the bow on this bow cuff was made of metal, I would actually consider purchasing it (for the right price)! The bow might be metal, but I can't quite tell. It looks like just a regular gift wrap bow, though.

I will keep you posted on the progress of my DIY can tab necklace... though it might be a while for me to accumulate all those tabs without drinking the liquids in the containers that have them!

March 26, 2009

Marc by Marc Jacobs Serena Shauntung top: Pitt Pride OOTD

Ok, I realize this is a little stupid looking. I don't care. I have to teach a class today and don't feel like I can wear an Oakland ZOO tshirt and be taken somewhat seriously by my undergraduates.

Though this might not be any better.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Serena Top with Lauren Moffatt skirt

I hope my outfit AT LEAST ends up being lucky! GO PITT!

Consumed by Chloé

I can't quite pinpoint the origin of this resurrection but, my long-standing obsession with all things Chloé feels more intense than ever. The issue is, I haven't had much time to follow the design house closely so my interest lays mostly in past season pieces. Pieces that occasionally show up on ebay and occasionally are within my budget. But most of the items are relegated to that category of "the ones that got away"... or to be more accurate, the ones that have never been affordable enough to be mine. But I still love all things Chloé. And if I were impossibly, disgustingly wealthy, (in addition to taking on many deserving philanthropic endeavors) I would take weekend trips from Pittsburgh to Paris, swathing myself in all things Chloé. My wardrobe for such a voyage might look like this:

To be fair, all things but the bracelet and umbrella are Chloé. You will notice that in my fantasy travels, it is fall weather. This is no mistake.

This year, I sold my first Chloé purchase, which was also my first high end designer purchase: the Chloé Tracy. You can still see it in my blogger profile avatar. I haven't bothered to come up with something else.

I sold my only Chloé bag because it was impractical for my needs. It was a huge bag with thick gorgeous leather, but the straps were too short to wear as a shoulder bag. Longer straps could have made the size manageable. Before selling, I contacted the manufacturer to see if they made a sling or messenger strap that I could buy to attach to the bag, increasing its functionality (like Chloé eventually did with the classic Edith bag). No dice. So I said goodbye. Maybe I'll find a place for a Chloé bag in my life (and in my budget) again. Until then, paper dolls it is!

March 25, 2009

Recent Outfits: Dressing For SPORTS

It can be a challenge to stylishly represent one's fandom for their favorite sports team. Every year I encounter this issue during Steeler season and more recently, I've encountered it as my love for Pitt Basketball has grown. As a lifelong Pittsburgher, I am generally at home dressing like a yinzer on Steeler game days. But style self-consciousness takes over when I am faced with the decision to sport Pitt gear in public, (non-grocery store or dog walk) contexts. But as a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh, with a Pitt alumni family legacy I feel compelled to show pride for my school.

Honoring our status as a number 1 seed in men's bball and a number 4 seed in women's, I found a way to still feel like myself. I've maneuvered around this dilemma by turning to my well stocked closet for items that are in the color families of blue and gold. These are what I've come up with, so far:

Marc by Marc Jacobs Dresses (Alessandra Pussy Bow, Pleated Ruffle, and Kaleigh, respectively)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Bags (Owl convertible clutch and Quinn)
Chie Mihara tstraps and Very Volatile pumps
Wolford tights

Although these outfits happen to be fall appropriate, they allow me to support my team while looking like myself at work. Besides, I tend to dress for cold even when the weather is in transition.

To that end, I bought this navy Marc by Marc Jacobs Serena Shauntung ruffle bib top that should arrive tomorrow, in time for the games this week!

Now I just need something gold to pair with it!

March 24, 2009

Discount Spotting: Jessica Kagan Cushman Bangles poster, Thegreyfox mentioned that she found some Jessica Kagan Cushman bangles in the jewelry display counter at her local TJ Maxx. Intrigued and envious, I headed to my nearest store, at the Waterworks to investigate.

Sure enough, there were bangles to be found. And they had been deeply discounted from their $125+retail price.

Though I didn't find bangles emblazoned with my most coveted phrases, "Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue," from the Green Acres themesong and "I want to be the girl with the most cake," from the Hole song, "Doll Parts," I did find a few cute ones.

"Vodka Martini. Shaken, not stirred."
"Are we having fun yet?"

I left behind quite a few (duplicates of what I bought along with ones that referenced buddy list deletions and Spanish phrases unfamiliar to my). But now, I'm as consumed by the notion that I need to search every nearby TJ Maxx as I was during the Great Wolford Frenzy of February 09! I guess I'll hit up the Waterfront next!

March 23, 2009

Soleful Shopping: Negotiating Men's Footwear

Editor's note: Chris is a fantastic dresser and smart bargain hunter. When he offered to guest blog about a recent purchase he made, inspired by my early entry about the Yoox sample sale, I was happy to oblige him because I just love his style. Although I've discussed his recent purchases, like the Fiorentini + Baker boots shown here:
I am excited to give him a forum to discuss the nuances of men's footwear. xo, Jesspgh
I've had a number of conversations with friends about what makes a great formal men's shoe. Lace-up, leather sole, and a heel are a few of the basics to consider. While the debate over derby blucher vs. balmoral oxford has arisen - I'm not an Oxford man, as it turns out (at least not balmoral oxfords) - long-term investment issues matter more than the finer details of facing and tongue. When weighing how long a pair of men's formal or dress shoes should last, especially given the cost, durability and shape matter most. Buying shoes is like a negotiation, the big stuff matters first and then you arrive at the details.

Derby Blucher on the left, Balmoral Oxford on the right

A quality pair of men's shoes should always have a leather sole. Leather should also be featured through most of construction of the heel. The best places for a shoe to have rubber is along the back edge of the heel where your foot lands first during your step. Both the leather sole and the rubber bit can be easy to replace by a cobbler when either the sole gets worn out or excessive wear leads to an angled heel. While I respect their attempts at making dress shoes comfortable, Geox and Ecco shoes seem too comfort-oriented to be formal enough to be a wise long term investment. They're just not for me.

No shape has lasted longer than the standard round toe. And because of this, no shape will last longer into the future than a quality pair of round toe shoes. They're always in style. Great shoes are supposed to last forever and pointy and square-tip shoes will remind others five years from now the date during which you did your or worse, the late 1990s. So for these reasons, I avoid such highly-stylized brands such as Schmoove, Tsubi and Paul Smith. Don't get me wrong. I have made mistakes and bought shoes that already look horribly dated. Too many fussy time-specific details make the shoes feel inappropriate in fancy social situations. For these reasons, pairs of black square toe Via Spiga and square wingtip Kenneth Cole shoes sit in my closet, collecting dust: too nice to get rid of, too dated to be worn.

The details make the shoe. Lack of fussiness matters. It's important to be selective enough to end up with simple-looking shoes. Recently, designers Rachel Comey and Heutchy have left their successful labels (Theory and Marc by Marc Jacobs, respectively) and both are creating fantastic men's shoes. Their minimalist looks reflect an attention to detail through selective application of what looks great (not to mention, timeless) on a man's foot: cap toes, simple lines and perfect leather.
The facing serves as the detail on these Heutchy shoes.

The cap toe rules on these Comey shoes.
Both of these shoes sold out on Revolve Clothing in my size before I could swing a purchase.

Recently, though, I had my day. I decided to take advantage of the Yoox sample sale, Jess posted about, and buy a pair of Maison Martin Margiela 22 bluchers last week.
The design house has been acclaimed for its avant-garde aesthetics and here the deconstructed details of the sewn-on facing and cap toe fulfill my requirements for those shoe components that consume me. They were cheap, given what they were supposed to cost both on Yoox, initially, and at retail. Now I've got a pair of shoes with great design details that are simple and classic enough to last as long as I want. And I expect for them to last me forever.

March 20, 2009

Friday, I'm In Love: Some Things That Got Away

Generally, the constraints of a tight budget for frivolous consumption mean that I often intentionally avoid browsing the non-sale sections of etailers. This is to the benefit of my savings account but often to the detriment of my closet. Though I've discussed estalking before, and posted items for which I am perpetually hunting, I remain consumed by my assumption of the infinite possibilities for online shopping. As such here are some more pieces that got away:

alice+olivia Jabot dress
I had this in my Bloomingdales cart months ago but it sold out before I could check out. It popped up again on Gilt just yesterday but same thing happened.

I didn't even know this existed until a week ago. LOVE it but can't find a good price.

Anna Sui dress from Fall 2006. The perfect Peter Pan collar!

Every Friday I am going to start showcasing items that I've fallen in love with, most of which I've already missed. Only Ebay estalking or random trips to outlet stores would produce chance purchase opportunities. The Cure captures the spirit of the moody, bittersweetness of discovering something you would have loved to have, but that already got away from you. On Friday, I'm In Love.

March 19, 2009

SALE ALERT! Sample Sale

Sometimes it pays to be scouring shopping websites in the middle of the night. My friend, Blueyesbecky from discovered (prior to the Daily Candy email, and prior to the publicity it got on Make Up Alley and The Purse Forum), that Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses from the last few seasons were selling for as low as $35 on Yoox with most priced around $60!!

So I started to click around to see what else was for sale! A lot of the things I would have bought were sold out by the time I looked, but there are still deals to be found!

Sadly, I was snoozing and lost out on these items:

Balenciaga bag for $130

The Marc by Marc Jacobs Mia lace dress that Blair Waldorf wore on Gossip Girl for $50.
There are mens and children's items included in the sale, too. It can't hurt to look. The only bummer is that the sale pages do not remove items that have sold out, so you are forced to see what you missed when you search by brand or category.

Recent Outfits and Chris's End of Season Find: PS by Paul Smith Coat

The weather has been warm in the afternoons, but chilly in the evenings for the last few weeks. As a result, I've been trying my best to squeeze in as much of my colder weather wardrobe as possible, within reason. I love fall and winter fabrics, colors, and layers, and I've already professed my love for outerwear in many posts here. But the warmth has meant more dog walks, more lingering outside in the yard, and more time basking in the sun! Here are some recent outfits, including a recent buy Chris made at the end of season sale at Moda, the mens clothing boutique in Shadyside.

PS by Paul Smith coat

I found this Anna Sui dress on ebay, new with tags, for an amazing price! It is from the fall 2007 collection. I love the peter pan collar, even though I layered over it here.

Zara plaid dress on left and Zara red coat on right.

Green DVF on St. Patrick's day. Old Navy hoodie and cords with Sperry topsiders on the right.

March 18, 2009

Harem Pants

Harem Pants. They are everywhere. But you will not find them on adult me. I wore them in the early 90s. I was probably around 11 at the time. And I have to be honest. I LOVED them. They were silk and billowy, and adorned with a paisley print.

Now Anthropologie and Forever 21 (to name only a few of the mass, chain retailers) are trying to sell them to me again. Anthro actually has a WHOLE section dedicated to harem pants, some of which include the increasingly popular "drop crotch." The drop crotch phenomenon is a detail that I have affectionate rebranded as, "dumps like a truck." And I don't mean the type of dumps Sisco discussed in "The Thong Song."

screen grab from Anthro's website
Note the "view all harems" link!

I have yet to see these look "right" on someone who is not model-tall and model thin. And even when they look "right" they are still just off in a fashion victimy sense. My 5'3", fairly-stout body + drop crotch/harem pants = a catastrophe of hilarious proportions.

Perhaps it is fashion un-forward of me, perhaps you will argue that "we all said that about skinny jeans," perhaps it will betray my age to be so unwilling to revive this aspect of late 80s/early 90s style. Maybe it makes me seem out of touch? But as god is my witness, I will never wear harem pants again!

March 16, 2009

Seeing Double, Sometimes Triple: So Nice I've Bought It Twice!

My friend Dina from the fantastic fashion and beauty blog, Eye4Style made a recent entry about wardrobe duplicates and it got me thinking about the things I've loved so much that I had to return for seconds. Her post featured a visual of the iconic Louis Vuitton Speedy in its many incarnations over the years. Bag collectors often buy multiple pieces from a collection in different color and shape variations.

Motorcycle and Turnlock styles in multiple shapes/colors

There are a few reasons to engage in this type of consumer indulgence. Repeat purchases are smart buys if you find something that fits you perfectly, or if you fall in love with a piece that will transcend trends but perhaps not last forever. Shoes are a good example. Lots of people have bought and rebought their favorite pair of sneakers or their comfiest ballerina flats. While soles can be replaced with the help of a capable cobbler, certain shoe uppers just aren't able to last forever and continue to look great. You can only polish for so long.

Shoes by Theory, Tory Burch, and Marc by Marc Jacobs

It doesn't surprise me that the bulk of my multiples are footwear. My first items I recall buying in duplicate (or in this case, quadruplicate) were pairs of Converse Chuck Taylors. I bought them in different colors (black, navy, pink, white), different heights (high top, low top), and different rubber trims/captoes (black vs. white). Since then there have been a few new shoe favorites added to my multiples roster.

Items in multiple colors or colorways will add versatility to an otherwise safe wardrobe. When I develop an ensemble that I really like to wear, changing the color of a component piece enables me to repeat it more often without becoming bored. I have the same cashmere boyfriend cardigans by Cece  in six different colors. Over the last few seasons, I picked up my favorite Marc by Marc Jacobs dresses in multiple colorways when they've popped up on sale.

Liza and Alessandra Pussy Bow (what a tragic name)
If it is something that you just totally love, available for a competitive price, then multiples can be a safer bet than introducing something entirely new to your closet. I don't even like to think about the number of risk purchases I've made that have sat with tags still attached, gathering dust. But I love my multiples!

When I found good deals on merino wool Design History cardigans at TJ Maxx, I bought them in three colors. I also do this with tshirts and corduroy pants. The American Apparel deep V in 50/50 blend and the JCrew Matchstick cords come to mind. Staple pieces like these see a lot of wear. They are able to last longer and stay nicer if I have a few in the rotation.

What types of garments, shoes, and accessories have you bought in multiple?

March 12, 2009

Well Heeled: Triple Strap Snap Mary Janes by Jill Stuart

Sometimes all it takes to remind me to browse the sale pages of etailers is that they merely exist. Alyx of the hilarious LolFed clued me into a sale occuring at so I was off to look.

Pittsburgh-based Chick Downtown had an unsavory reputation according to members from The Purse Blog and messageboard forums. This rep was corroborated by their Better Business Bureau rating, but when I heard that Kim, formerly of Pittsburgh's South Side Works Shopping Center's Karma Boutique was joining the team, I became optimistic that their variable customer service would become more consistent. While I haven't gone back to the brick and mortar store recently, I decided to take a chance by making an online order with them. The decision was easy when I saw these gorgeous triple strap, snap, mary jane pumps by Jill Stuart.

They style name is Tricia and they feel higher than their stated 3.5 inches, but I am a heel wuss. The color is called ink but in person they are more of a gunmetal gray. By using the code, "ADD40" for an extra 40% discount, they ended up being 75% off retail! I ordered them in the evening on March 10th and got the shipment notice yesterday. Since they only had to travel across town, they greeted me early this morning! Maybe if I am still feeling lucky, I will make an in-person visit to Chick Dahntahn soon!

Edited to update that the shoes arrived with lightning speed and they are just as beautiful in person! Hopefully this boutique, which has gorgeous stock and a variety of names that include just about all of my favorite designers, will do what they can to ensure that my positive experience becomes standard protocol for all their customers!

March 11, 2009

Fussy Details: Consumed by Superfluous Bows

A while ago, when I first made my style diary I was faced with a question about "Style Type." it was so vague and yet so broad that the only thing I could think to include was my love for fussy details. In a way, a superfluous bow is the quintessential fussy detail. And you will find them all over the items I covet, some of which end up in my wardrobe.

When this purple Marc by Marc Jacobs bow watch popped up in the Ruelala sale a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to use my account credit to fund it.

When I was faced with the opportunity to buy the Alessandra Pussy Bow dress in an additional colorway, the unique superfluous bow proved to be decisive in my justification.

Here are some items with bows that have consumed me even though they are many seasons old!
Erotokritos and Mayle dresses:

And in my opinion, the PERFECT bow pump for a special occasion:
Christian Louboutin Very Noued

One of my favorite qualities about bows are their timelessness. I remember one of my first adult encounters with the most superfluous, fussy, unnecessary bow, adorning a vintage tie-neck blouse. It was a dollar and it was made of the thickest, most oppressive polyester fabric I've ever encountered but I wore it to death in the dead of that summer because it had short sleeves and a bow. I got a thousand compliments on it and would probably wear it today if I didn't become so fussy about fabrics. I am sure if I could write a book length entry on my fashion love affair with the bows I've worn, but I will spare you.

All of this is to say that bows are fancy without pretense. They are whimsical without automatically being infantalistic. Although some of the bow dresses I posted are girlish, bows adorn with sophistication just as often as they adorn with twee. If you haven't already, why not give bows a chance?

I am equally enamored of ruffles, which are essentially the bow's messier cousin. In an upcoming post I will examine the ways in which ruffles have consumed me. My friend over at Style Tribe already talked about these important subjects. Check it out!


Related Posts with Thumbnails