Monday, December 12, 2011

I HATE Being Cold

Ok, FINE. It's winter. We get it. I was wondering when it was going to start getting ridiculously cold.

Let me put it you straight: I am a born and raised, dyed-in-the-wool, biscuit eatin', moonshine drinkin' Southern girl. Transplanted to Northeast (and sometimes central!) Ohio does not agree with me during this time of year, which is why I was so pleased when our Indian summer became a later and later fall (hello tailgating in flip flops...what could be better than that?) I guess it just goes without saying that I'm one of those girls who is constantly freezing. I have never understood how people could wear the skimpiest fall jackets, capes that bare your arms, and short peacoats (excuse me girlfriend, are your legs not freezing?!).

I'm here to tell you ladies, that wool is the answer. And not just any wool. It's the "they just don't make 'em like they used to" wool from your favorite vintage consigner! Wool, if taken care of appropriately, can last a VERY long time, and the mecca of vintage, eBay, has just released a fashion app that makes shopping for your mod favorites even easier!

With scrolling functions that allow you to search by decade, I was enchanted by wedding dresses from the 1920's, floaty florals from the 60's and 70's, and AMAZEBALLS vintage jewelry and bags from Hermes to Halston. And the coats!!!

My new winter coat is from the 1960's: dark, heavy, navy wool with an asymmetrical closure. This is the warmest coat I have EVER owned (I'm looking at you, JCrew) by far, and it's so unique and stylish in a throwback way. I love the fact that it's super long and super comfy, but I also cannot get enough of the fact that it looks slightly Russian in a way. Now all I need is a fur hat and I'm set for a Cleveland winter!

How do you stay warm and cute during the long dark winter?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Target Begins ReSelling Best Sellers from Designer Collection

I for one have NO SHAME when it comes to buying cheap clothes- in my opinion, fashion is where ever you find it, whether it be the girls (or boys!) department, a thrift store, or the retail mecca for all things value and design-based: Target.

Target recently re-released their designer collections in which designers ranging from Temperly, Erin Featherston (die!), Zac Posen and Proenza Schouler developed dresses for the discount retailer. If you remember, these dresses caused mass panic last year as every fashion and budget-conscious chica hightailed it on over to Tar-jay to trample one another for the last coveted Rodarte.

Clearly I've been living under a rock, because even though I knew the textiles were being re-released, I didn't have a release date. Imagine my disappointment when I walked in to Target to find the selection picked over. Panic-stricken, I immediately sent a mass text to my army of shoppers- girlfriends, sisters, sisters-in-law, and basically every female in my rolodex. I HAD to have the green/aqua Thakoon shift dress! Sold out online, I quickly went into panic mode.

THANK GOODNESS for my sister-in-law, Maria, who was able to score the frock at her local story (thank you Mar!). Let me just tell you- this dress is everything I hoped it could be. Paired with my nude Dolce Vita wedges, it looks mod, modern, and just right for spring. Now all I'm missing are the perfect accessories (looking at you, Marni!)

Were you able to snag any of the re-released dresses? How do you plan to accessorize them for spring?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hat Attack

I must admit, I'm kindof having a hat moment. It's spring, the sun is shining, and we're planning to go to the Kentucky Derby this year (very excited for my first foray into everything Derby). My vision of relaxing in the stands as a perfectly groomed southern belle sipping my mint julep has made my search for the perfect hat go from happy shopping to borderline obsession...

Sidebar: Some girls maintain that "I just can't wear hats," "my head is too small" and "they just don't look right on me." I actually used to feel the same way, but as time has gone by and I've gotten more comfortable with myself and how I look, I've come to realize that ANYONE can wear ANYTHING. You just have to have the confidence and the attitude to make sure that YOU are wearing the hat, and that the hat is not wearing YOU.

I began my search for the perfect hat with the king of all millinery, Phillip Treacy. You simply can't talk hats unless you include his couture designs- worn by the likes of only serious fashionistas (see: Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga). From cooky to haute, I envision the woman in a Phillip Treacy hat strolling the streets of Paris or on her way to a major gallery opening like le Centre Pompidou.

Not wishing the good folks at AMEX to begin harassing me for my first-born child, I continued my search onto something a little closer to my price range. Note to future Derby attendees- anything called a "derby" hat is immediately $200-$300 more expensive than it needs to be. I knew I wanted something with an extremely large brim- you gotta own it!- and I mentally referenced the large brims as seen on Kim Kardashian in the opening frames for Kim & Kourtney Take New York.

Just taking a peek into some of the high end shops in our town featuring my coveted Tory Burch flats led me to a gorgeous hat- sleek, large-brimmed, black and decorated with flowers to match my dress- not old lady looking at all, and very chic. All for the low low price of $325. DISLIKE.

At first I was hesitant to buy something without trying it on (my head really IS small), but since I was not pleased with any of the local options, I hit the web. had some fun, affordable options, but as I continued my search, I quickly realized that I couldn't allow myself to buy something so pricey I could only wear once - cost per wear is a mathematical barometer that I live by! Eugenia Kim is another favorite hat designer of mine, but her expertise is city-chic fedoras and newsboy caps, not the oversized, lady-like look I was going for.

I finally settled on a plain black number from for a very reasonable price (inset). My plan is to head to Michaels for ribbon and flowers and to use very strategically placed pins so that after the derby, my new favorite hat can double as beach protection. Now all I need for the derby is the perfect open-toed black shoes, gloves, and clutch! Check back for a future post to see the entire look!

But now that I've opened Pandora's hat box, I'm a woman obsessed- cadet hats, skoodies, fedoras, even the classic sporty ballcap for Saturday afternoons running errands have entered my vernacular. What are some of your favorite hat styles for spring?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sample Sales, Minus the Hair-Pulling (see also: serious online shopping addiction)

After I moved to Cleveland from San Francisco in 2005, there were many things I missed. The absence of fast food joints on every corner, perennial sun, a book-reading vegan-eating culture, architecture, public transportation, designated “meditation” areas in the parks, great museums and nightlife…the list goes on and on. But one of the biggest things I missed was the SHOPPING! I lived in the Upper Haight, which on weekends turned into a mecca for style-starved teens, tweens, and the moms that want to look like them. It was there I discovered great brands like Volcom and Deer, and bought my first pair of way-too-expensive jeans (Sevens). Don’t even get me started on the great boutiques, incredible retail shops, and AMAZING vintage- I still get misty whenever I hear about Decades Two.

So what’s a Midwest transplant to do? Get down with online sample sale sites, of which I am now a seasoned aficionado-, however, note that membership is required, so if you want to get on these sites, you typically either need a referral or get stuck on a waiting list. Since these sales are limited, I’m now competing with all of you out there, so pay attention!

The best sites for sample sales (in order of amazingness):

1. Gilt Groupe- This site has major designers (think: Erin Fetherston, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang) on sale, along with jewelry boutiques and typically some stuff for the house and children. iPhone app available to let you know when sales begin. Sister sites caters to a younger, less expensive clientele with more of a hipster aesthetic (think Michael Stars, Lux, Faryl Robin), and GiltMan is a great resource for the boy with a serious tennis shoe addiction (Creative Reaction and Puma, anyone?). There’s also another site, JetSetter, that has sample sales for limited runs of vacation packages, including hotel s. Full disclosure: I’ve purchased items from all sites except JetSetter, and have not had any problems with shipping or customer service. One thing to note: all jewelry sales are final. I was not aware of this, however, the fabulous people at Gilt gave me store credit for my earrings. Don’t let the name fool you- at prices like this, you won’t feel gilt-y for splurging! Today’s special: Herve Leger- master of the ‘make you look skinny’ sheath dress!

2. Ruelala- Similarly to Gilt, this site has boutiques that go on sale once a day. The selection isn’t as good as Gilt, but they sometimes do have really great brands, such as Juicy Couture, Tibi and others. Categories: Women, Men, Home, and sometimes you get vacation deals.

3. HauteLook- This site used to be a lot better, but they changed the format. Hit or miss now- brands are not as great and it takes a REALLY long time to get your merch- be prepared to wait a full two to three weeks. Not the place to go if you need a dress for tonight, but good stuff if you can wade through the crap. SOMETIMES they will have really great brands or a Decades Two boutique, but that’s not very often.

4. Ideeli- This site does have nice brands every now and then, but the one time I ordered anything it took almost an entire month to get. Also, they have this thing called “front row access” where you can pay to see the sample sales before anyone else. I don’t, since there are so many other great options out there, and by the time I’m allowed access stuff is usually picked over. Hit or miss.

5. Beyond the Rack- Selection is so-so, but sometimes they will surprise you with a full line of Chanel handbags. Get there early to decide if you really want it. Doesn’t update boutiques as often as some of the others.

6. Editors Closet- Brands are OK, don’t update selection that often, and only feature 2 boutiques at once. One I check every now and then when I’m bored, but I don’t rely on it.

The shame of it is, as much as I love online shopping, these sites feature jeans and sunglasses- a LOT! And those are two things I’m just not comfortable buying without trying on. But for dresses, tops, and jewelry, as well as cute home accessories or a gift for the guy, I’m ALL about an online sample sale.

And if you ARE in town, follow @secondcitystyle. They have a weekly update for sample sales in NYC, LA, London, Hong Kong, etc. Check them out when planning your next rendez-vous to the Big Apple!

What about you guys? Where do you go for online shopping with amazing deals?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tranny Couture at Payless

For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by drag queens. We had one in our town when I was younger, and before I knew that ‘she’ was a ‘he,’ I thought she was the baddest thing since LipSmackers. Then there’s my deep and abiding love for Dolly Parton. What can I say? I like caricatures, and if a man can look that amazing in a skirt, well, you gotta admire that. No one ever said 6 inch heels were easy.

I guess that’s why I also love haute couture so much- it’s all about the fantasy, and although I would never rock anything totally insane in real life (I’ll save that for Lady Gaga), I love adding interesting and quirky pieces to an ensemble, and my favorite designers are those that can make ready-to-wear as fun as couture.
Enter Christian Siriano: remember him, the Season 5 winner of Project Runway? Well now that our fierce diva is well on his way with a couple collections under his belt as a major name on the design circuit, he’s branching out into merchandising his brand at lower price points- specifically, Payless! In stores now is the Christian Siriano for Payless line (see photo at right).

Although Christian has been villanized for “knocking off” Alexander McQueen’s ‘lobster claw’ shoe, they actually both hit the runways during the same season (Fall 2009). Naysayers will say it’s a case of inspiration gone too far, others will say it’s just a coincidence. Me? I just want some tranny ferociousness!

Originally, I had hoped the ‘lobster claw’ shoes would be available through Payless, however, they are unfortunately only selling the watered-down, much more commercial platform version. I know all the queens were really hoping for some tranny couture at a decent price point, but sadly, the prints look cheap (the blue version being the lesser of evils), although the shape of the shoe is still a lot more fab that you’re going to find at that price and off the rack. There are a couple of hits, such as the flat open-toed black gladiator sandal and casual Chuck Taylor-ish looking shoes. As far as Payless goes, this is very “out there” for them; I just wish that they would have gone a bit further, for the more fashion-conscious of us. But really, I’m not typically a Payless shopper, so I supposed I understand their merchandising strategy (sigh).

Reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race “Drag on a Dime,” where the contestants had to put together a ferocious look by rummaging through a consignment bin. I hope Christian made plenty of size 13’s for my girls Nina Flowers and Akashia!

Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race starts next week- set your DVR’s to LOGO TV and be prepared for some ferosh-couture!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shameless Social Climbing & Second-hand Choos

When I made this discovery, I swear I had a fashion orgasm. Rent the Runway is the latest in sites that allow you to rent couture gowns. There are also a few others, such as Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow, but RTR has the BEST selection.

Recently, I was invited to a black tie event on very short notice and I had 3 options: 1) old bridesmaids dress, 2) old prom dress (which was tight), or 3) castoffs from very generous, very tall and thin, friends (I’m practically a midget and a bit chesty- not pretty in these gowns!). Any of these options left me feeling not quite right, and certainly not ready should there be a stop and repeat- since the party was sponsored by Cadillac and Ultimat Vodka, I knew that was a likely possibility!

Now, the site is by invitation only, so I had to wrangle an invite from another girlfriend that was a member, plus hang out on the wait list for a few days, but once you’re “in”….wow. Let me just say…

We’re talking Robert Rodriguez, Just Cavalli, Proenza Schouler, Catherine Malandrino, even Christian Siriano (fierce!!). The site is broken out by occasions (‘Help! I have a hot date and nothing to wear!’) or trends (resort wear, ladylike, rocker chic, etc.) depending on where you are going and what look you are going for. You can also chat live with a stylist who can help you pick a dress, and even give you styling tips.

After I had a hot Badgley Mischka silk purple number in my hot little hand, I hightailed it right on over to, the new Bag, Borrow or Steal website, which now features jewelry, in addition to amazing bags for rent. Per my stylist’s suggestion, I snapped up some fabulous Kenneth Jay Lane drop earrings and a Judith Leiber clutch ( I always wanted one of her bags!). OK, btw, did you know that “couture” earrings equals clip-on? That kinda hurt as the night wore on, but oh well- you don’t wear a skintight silk gown, 5 inch heels and earrings the size of dinner plates to be comfortable, right? Just a quick word on Judith’s bags- very beautiful, very sparkly, very SMALL. My iphone did not fit- all I had room for was ID, credit card, business cards and lipstick. I agonized on sending it back, and even took photos so I could reference for any future ensemble-planning. (*ahem, Valentine’s Day, sweetheart!).

The result? See my pic at right- we had a wonderful evening and I felt like I was at some super ritzy Golden Globes after-party. Yes, that is me with Delonte West, my favorite Cleveland Cavalier. Shaq and Lebron were also in attendance- see girls, shameless social-climbing DOES pay off!

The best part of all this? I got to keep my garmet bag and little baggie of safety pins, double-sided tape, etc. The whole process was completely easy- they sent a backup size just in case my first option didn’t work, and also sent a pre-printed label, so all I had to do was drop it off at the post office. I also rented the dress for 8 days vs. 4 (which was more expensive by approx. $30), because I was nervous about the dress not coming in time, however, it came just as they said it would. Next time I’ll rent for 4 days vs. 8 and save the cash!

I was a little paranoid about people spilling drinks on me, but that’s what the $5 insurance fee is for. Imagine my horror when my sweetie-pie suggested IHOP at 2 a.m. I had to patiently explain to him that IHOP + Badgely Mischka simply don’t mix- I'm not sure he got it; but we didn't go. Little victories.

Now the question is- who is going to start renting hot shoes to go with these outfits? A little birdie told me that there is a site in the works. What do you guys think- is it gross to rent shoes, or would you get down with a second-hand Choo?

Friday, January 22, 2010