April 28, 2009

Full skirted spring jacket beauty: Jillian Lewis

The gals over at Fashionism posted a beautiful coat recently photographed on Beyonce. I am not usually a "omg must have what celeb has" kind of gal but this coat was really something.
That hemline. That fabric. Those cuffs. All of it was simply stunning. I remembering wishing I could have seen it closed on her. And I wished I could have seen it from the back.

Eventually ATDOW posted that it appeared as though Jillian Lewis of former Project Runway fame designed it, or at least something quite similar. And as a result I got to see some specs on approximate price, how it could look from behind, how it would look buttoned, etc.

A less expensive looking version was for sale on Searle NYC's website, for a MINT. $1498, to be exact. If this one is $1.5k, I can't imagine how expensive Beyonce's would be!!

They're both gorgeous but when you have the immediate reference photos handy, it is obvious that one is of significantly higher quality. The additional ruffle layer and the color and finish of the fabric on Beyonce's are indicative of an even heftier price tag than the Searle garment above, which is still quite lovely.

I wonder what the Forever 21 version will look like once the inevitable trickle down economics of fast fashion spring into action? I have to be honest. If it looks half as nice as either of these, I might break my moratorium on buying F21 clothing. Just this weekend I broke my moratorium on F21 shopping, by accumulating four of their finest superfluous, Blair Waldorf-inspired headbands.

Sadly, I will have to let the Jillian Lewis version pass me by because even if the economy yields a space for epic spring sales, this coat would have to be at least 85% off to be justifiable.

April 25, 2009

In Honor of the NFL Draft: Outfit Fandom from the Consume or Consumed Archives

Here you can see me wearing one of my earliest sport-fandom inspired outfits of the day. It is in honor of my first true sports love: The Steelers. Although my look matches that of my dad and little brother, you can see how I've styled it to be my own through the assistance of accessories.

In this case, turquoise jelly shoes, white tights, and a pink plastic telephone coil belt.

I hope the Steelers draft some promising offensive (and defensive) lineman. Glad to hear Hines Ward is here for another 4 years (poised to retire as a Steeler). The Pens won in the playoffs. Yay Pittsburgh! Yay for more chances to be an expressive and fashionable fan!

April 22, 2009

Seasonally Inappropriate Dressing: Recent Outfits

Although spring has sprung, you wouldn't know it from the recently chilly high temperatures in the 40s and the buckets and buckets of rain. Just a few days ago it was 70 and sunny. Still I find myself reaching for clothes in colors, shapes, and fabrics more appropriate for fall than spring.

The only somewhat spring outfit I've worn recently was this ruffled white and lightly patterned dress:

I still paired it with darker colors.

Outfit details:
1. Marc by Marc Jacobs dress and bag, Cece cardi, Volatile shoes.
2. Tibi skirt, Benetton dress shirt, MBMJ Dr. Q Huge Hillier Hobo bag and captoe shoes.
3. Shoshanna jacket, Steven by Steve Madden Director pumps (knock off of Chloe), Marc Jacobs Patchwork Stam.
4. Tibi floating feathers dress, MBMJ shoes and Fools Gold Faridah.
5. MBMJ Serena top, Hand made (not by me) bird skirt, Volatile shoes.
6. MBMJ white ruffled paisley print dress, Gray Chie Mihara t-straps, Design History cardi, Longchamp tote.

April 21, 2009

Hypothetical Shopping: A Review of the Outnet

Since the Outnet launched, as examined in my previous post, I have browsed their stock to determine whether the site lives up to months and months of hype. My conclusion is that, much like parent site, Net-a-porter, the stock selection is quite beautiful but the prices are still comparably high. Most competitor department stores had the same pieces for less money months (or in some case, a year) ago. Pieces from seasons past still populate the pages, with only moderate discounting. The ranges of discounts span from 30% off to a rare but impressive 80% off.
These pieces were among the most deeply discounted at 80% off retail. The dresses (by Chloé on the left and Marc by Marc Jacobs on the right) were already sold out. The Nina Ricci jacket was still available at the time of my browsing.

All items have the same volume and variety of photographs from NAP. The fit guide and measurements for each garment are also included in the information. I was glad to see this as it remains one of the best aspects of the parent site. Most items tend to be priced at 50% off retail. Other than the comparable frill-less, editorial free design the bulk of the site seems like a redundant addition to the Net-A-Porter brand if, like me, you were familiar already with the now-defunct sale section, complete with disappointingly stingy discounting.

But this site's surplus of older seasons stock might be an asset to some. If you are looking for a now-rare piece that you regret missing the first time around, the site can be useful. Unfortunately (and fortunately), I have an iron clad memory for basement sale prices and cannot bring myself to pay a penny more than the lowest discounted price of yester-season. This useless skill makes it nearly impossible for me personally to actually shop The Outnet.

But I can hypothetically shop. My hypothetical shopping cart includes this Tibi dress that sold out when it dropped to 80% off on Saks.com. It is 50% off on The Outnet.
And this beautiful, surprisingly modest Dolce and Gabbana frock, which I would wear to the late spring/early summer weddings I will be attending in the next few weeks.

I would also buy these seasonally inappropriate dresses by 3.1 Phillip Lim and Viktor and Rolf, respectively.
I am already eager for fall as evidenced in my stubborn, seasonally inappropriate recent outfits of the day. My next entry will document the seasonal inappropriateness!

April 16, 2009

Net-A-Porter and The Outnet: A brief introduction

Despite the economic downturn, some etailers continue to diversify and expand. One such online boutique is the famously stocked, famously edited, and famously expensive Net-A-Porter. Net-a-Porter carries a range of premier and mid-level designers, many of whom were not previously available to purchase online. They house the official online boutique for Chloé, though you can often find better sale prices on the websites of luxury department stores.
Still if you are searching for a specific piece or just eager to browse beautifully selected stock with accompanying in-house editorial, NAP is your website. They take careful measurements of every garment, and have unparalleled information on fit. This is crucial in an online shopping context since you cannot try on merchandise and sizes are so variable even within the same line. They take gorgeous photos from various angles so you know exactly what you are buying. And because of their excellent reputation and customer service, they are among the most respected etailers in the luxury shopping business and in fashion news coverage.

The items that sell out at full price on NAP are fodder for fashion writers in the blogosphere. The original content on Coutorture, one of the first online fashion website networks of which I am a member, looks to NAP's inventory as a barometer of trends in shopping and style.
If you have ever placed an order (even for a sale item) with NAP you know why they are regarded so highly. The iconic, decadent packaging of black tissue, hard black boxes, and lightning fast shipping are reminiscent of the meticulous customer service from a department store shopping experience of yesteryear.
They recently launched a wedding boutique that was the exclusive carrier of Carrie Bradshaw's Vivienne Westwood wedding gown from the Sex and the City Movie (which sold out in minutes, despite its hefty $10k price tag).
And today, they launched their affiliate outlet website, The Outnet.
Months ago, with much hype and anticipation, Net-A-Porter announced that they would soon launch an outlet website where discount designer shoppers could find decent prices on ex-NAP stock. Well, today that website went live. In addition to carrying moderately discounted stock that was previously housed on the sale page of NAP, www.theoutnet.com includes a Flash Sales page which promises to eventually have "Going, Going, Gone" sales of incremental discounts that correspond to the time the item is available for sale (aka, the longer something is available, the deeper the discount will become), 72 Hour Pop Up Sales (inspired by Gilt, Hautelook, Ruelala, and their ilk), and Giveaways of merchandise. Now that the background of NAP and the context of the Outnet have been established, I can hypothetically shop the Outnet in tomorrow's entry. I'll see what kind of deals are available for savvy shoppers.

April 14, 2009

More Trompe L'Oeil Details Via Etsy and Eley Kishimoto

Since I posted about the Moschino Trompe L'Oeil pieces I've been hunting for something to add to my closet. And a few stylish friends have enabled the process with their tips! Laurenhockey alerted me to this Etsy "Tennis" dress with an embroidered trompe l'oeil belt and buttons from seller, Encouragementaward.

I kind of wish it had sleeves and was available in another color. But I think it is pretty great as is!

Then, I discovered via a messageboard this perfectly adorable Eley Kishimoto dress with Peter Pan and princess seam trompe l'oeil piping:

It also features an unfortunately astronomical price tag.
But I can dream and stalk for sales!

April 13, 2009

Monogamous Dressing

Although I have all these great new items from bday gifts and recent sales, I've spent the last few days wearing the same Marc by Marc Jacobs Claudette dress, modifying the details of the outfit with hosiery, footwear, jewelry, and bag pairings. Repeating pieces in quick succession is something I do with regularity. It isn't that I get lazy or fall into a clothing rut. It isn't for lack of fantastic options. Instead it is for the love of a new or rediscovered garment. I become fiercely loyal. I become a monogamous dresser.

You can see that the outfit I've worn the last three days is essentially the same. And if I realized in advance that I was going to blog this subject so soon after repeating this dress, I would have probably put forth more effort into mixing new colors and shapes in the cardigan, in the hosiery, even in the shoes. But even with the minor changes, the outfit felt fresh enough to pull off reruns.

Are you a monogamous dresser? What are your criteria for pulling off repeats in quick succession?

When I know I'll be encountering a range of different audiences, I behave as a secret dirtbag. I really enjoy repeating outfits, and do so often, but I try to do so strategically, based on what I know about my own social routines. This way I ensure that my clothes and accessories get the mileage that make them worth having, while maintaining the illusion of not being a dirt bag who wears the same dress for a week. Sure, there are the occasional situations where social spheres inadvertently overlap, and people see you wearing the same thing two days in a row, but usually it isn't a problem, even in a small city like Pittsburgh.

Tips for Monogamous Dressing:
*Wear a slip and/or an undershirt underneath the piece you are going to repeat (saves you some laundering time and $).
*Mix new layers over and/or under the garment to add dimension, while changing the overall silhouette of your outfit.
*Don't just switch up pieces for pairings. Switch up color palettes.
*Rotate the shoes, bags, jewelry, and other accessories you pair with the outfit to prevent boredom (for yourself and those who see you regularly).
*Plan to do this strategically. Know your contextual audiences well enough to make predictions about who will see you in various settings.
*Air out your garment in between quick, subsequent repeats when you don't have time or the desire to dry clean or launder. Don't tuck the repeat clothing into your closet. Hang them in the open and go easy on perfumes/fragrances.
*Avoid this dressing tactic if you will be in smoky situations or places with strong food smells for extended periods of time.
*Lastly, be ready to defend the fact that you DO repeat and that "this old dress" is indeed one your forgetful loved one has seen before. I swear, not a repeat day passes without Chris remarking about my "new" clothes.

April 10, 2009

Consume or Consumed featured on The Coveted!

Be sure to check out Jennine from The Coveted's followup article about the forgotten closet treasures of other bloggers. The original entry about Jennine's old but understandably beloved "rags" stimulated my thinking and inspired me to consider one of my own forgotten goodies.

This Old Rag? Our Lurking Treasures features many bloggers, including Consume or Consumed, in a vintage, home sewn dress I can't part with but also never wear.

Spring Inspirations: Soft Hues and Navy Accents

I've been consumed by the Proenza Schouler PS1 bag, lately. And I cannot fathom a more beautiful, more understated, more spring-appropriate bag than the ivory one pictured above. Repetto and Prada ballerina flats make these otherwise fussy, dressy garments by Oscar De La Renta and Moschino into casual day wear. I love the idea of pairing rich, custard ivory hues with navy accent pieces. It allows for nautical influences without being costumey or predictable.

I am notoriously clumsy so I don't often wear light colors but this spring and summer I am going to try to change that.

April 09, 2009

Recent Bday Acquisitions

Between my birthday celebration and the spate of recent sales, I have few new items to throw into my dressing repertoire.

Chris gave me the most incredible brick red, 8 hole Dr. Marten Boots. He also got me Fresh Lemon Sugar perfume, a Jessica Kagan Cushman Bangle that says, "I Want To Be The Girl With The Most Cake," From the Hole song, "Doll Parts," A steam punky book locket necklace from Etsy, and the Griffin Clarifi iphone case, which adds a macro lens feature to the iphone camera! All that on top of throwing me an amazing bday party, taking me to many different bday dinner celebrations, and generally being the sweetest fiancé!

I am so excited for the spring of grunge, as evidenced in the outfit I assembled to try on my Docs.

Ruelala.com held a final sale boutique with items from many different designers.

I selected this Shoshanna jacket, and the MBMJ Claudette dress (to be featured in my upcoming monogamous dressing post). Chris got a sport coat and sweater from the men's MBMJ boutique.

Hautelook had a sale of vintage sports merchandise so I grabbed shirts representing Pitt and the Penguins. And Old Navy, along with Gap and Banana Republic held their 30% off friends and family promotion.
I stocked up on basic tshirts and flip flops. Bloomingdales held its private sale.

I got an amazing deal on a Marc by Marc Jacobs Dr. Q Huge Hillier hobo in Tan, as well as some sale hosiery.

I am so excited to wear all my new goodies!

April 08, 2009

Consumed by Trompe L'Oeil Moschino Pieces

This week, a long-forgotten obsession of mine was resurrected. I've already mentioned time and again how the clothing genre of coats generally consumes me. My love for cold season clothing and the firm belief that outerwear is often an overlooked component of dressing combine to fuel further my position. Add this to the fact that the weather dipped into undeniably winter-coat-appropriate territory, and it seems fitting, despite the calendar date, to devote an early spring entry to coats. But I'm not interested in just any old coat.
I distinctly remember gripping Chris's arm while screening Kill Bill Volume 1 in the theater, back in 2003. It wasn't from the gore or the violence. It wasn't during any especially climatic moment in the non-linear plot. Instead my visceral reaction came when Daryl Hanna's character, Elle Driver, appeared on the screen, walking down the hospital hallway, dressed in the most incredible trench coat I had ever seen.

I didn't know who made it. I didn't know if it was a designer piece. I just knew that I had been studying Lacanian psychoanalytic theories about the gaze and trompe l'oeil, and that coat symbolized the possibility for two of my seemingly disparate interests, critical theory and fashion, to merge.
Eventually I learned that Elle Driver was wearing head to toe Moschino, from the collection depicted in the above, early-2000s ad campaign. But I never put forth much effort toward tracking down a piece to call my own, and my memory of it quickly faded... Until now.

Thanks to an outfit post by the always adorable and stylish, Lindsay of Janey Powell, I was reminded of my desire to locate one of the incredible trompe l'oeil pieces from that particular Moschino collection. Lindsay is fortunate enough to actually own one!

I had no idea there was a DRESS!!!!! Isn't it incredible?! Obsession: Resurrected, and Expanded. It now includes the coat, the dress, the gloves, and everything else that happens to utilize this "trick of the eye." Lindsay alerted me to the existence of a bathing suit, and while I couldn't pull it off, I am VERY interested in knowing more about the dress with the tricky bow detail, to the right.

Does anyone know anything more about this collection or these pieces? I can't seem to locate the year in which they existed. While Kill Bill was released in 2003, the 2003 and 2002 spring runway collections for Moschino on style.com don't feature these looks. Regardless, I have something new to track down and I have a feeling that I will need to muster all my shopping karma to make it happen.

April 01, 2009

Lovers of All Things 90s: Present Haul and Kurt and Courtney in Sassy!

Lately, and for the last few months, I've felt consumed by all things 90s. So you can imagine my delight when I saw that the website, I Heart Daily posted a flashback entry about Sassy Magazine's 1992 cover article on Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love!! They have a pdf of the article itself AND an interview with Christina Kelly about her experience conducting this interview for Sassy in the early 90s. You should definitely check it out!

This entry was aptly timed for me, as I received some fantastic bday presents from Chris to help me nostalgically revive my 90s style.

Brick red Doc Martins and a Jessica Kagan Cushman "I want to be the girl with the most cake," bangle referencing the Hole song, "Doll Parts." Also pictured are a few of my other winnings: A book locket necklace from etsy seller, birdsnbeez that nods in the direction of steampunk (without going over the top, imo), and Fresh lemon sugar perfume. Thank you Chris!


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