Window-Shopping at Shopbop.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on October 31, 2008

Though the exchange rate has improved for travelers from the States. British pricing is still a major deterrent to shopping for myself while I’m here. Expensive clothes here are probably going to have an expansionary effect on my shopping in the long run – an unintended consequence – since whenever I see a legitimately forty or fifty dollar top now, part of me is going to think that I would never find anything that good for that kind of price in Britain, so why shouldn’t I get it? I’ll still do my best to be responsible, of course. However, shopping is admittedly a small vice of mine.

In that spirit, I was browsing Shopbop’s selection of 70% off sale products – anything less and I tend not to be able to afford it – and before I’d clicked through even half of it, I’d seen so many things that I would totally consider buying. Here are the best of my picks.

The Karta dress on the left is now $93.60. I love the print and the cut – it hints at the sophistication of something one might wear to an inauguration, yet that floral applique makes it very young and a bit of a statement piece as well. Admittedly, as a final sale piece it is a bit of a risk. Those resin pieces that make up the flower look tasteful on the site, but it might sit differently on a real person? That Nanette Lepore little black dress is now $118.50, which is quite a steal. I can’t help but ooh and ahh over little black dresses, though I have more than enough in my closet. Both dresses are in shapes that should be alright on curvier figures.

Summer has, admittedly, passed, but simple tank tops like these will never be completely out of style. The Juicy tank top at the left is brightly colored and I love the details on the straps and hem. It now retails for $50.40 which is admittedly a bit much for a tank top, but is not that excessive if you go into it knowing it is still a splurge. I’ve only recently discovered that I can, indeed, wear white clothes – I’d avoided them throughout my high school years because white is usually less flattering than dark colors – and so I can’t resist that Ella Moss tank. It now sells for $35.10.

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Smartbargains Splurges.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on October 28, 2008

Selection is, at times, a little hit and miss on Smartbargains. Still, I’ve had great luck with finding a rare splurge or two through that online equivalent of Loehmann’s. I’ve bought a purse there as well as a black wool peacoat – which was also being carried in Macy’s at the time for full price but for a seasonal coat promotion that still left it a little more expensive – and I adore both of those purchases. Of course, for higher end designer stuff, it’s still going to be pricey, but there are substantial discounts all around. Even if you’ve never shopped there and are not interested in anything they have at the moment, I do think it’s worth signing up for an account there since they frequently do additional discount offers for their members.

Here are two of the things I might consider if only I hadn’t already indulged in my splurge for the semester:

DKNY Asymmetrical Peacoat, $150; Francesco Biasia Satchel, $179.

The DKNY coat looks especially nice. I have a special fondness for wool coats of all sorts, and the asymmetrical front makes it very stylish.

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My Not-so-Lazy Longchamp Sunday.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 26, 2008

I’ve mentioned my fondness for the Longchamp Le Pliage large totes before. Yes, they are so common on my home campus and amongst the young women of the greater Boston area as to be a cliche. Yes, the only reason why they aren’t as common in central London seems to be because they’re considered to be nothing better than a glorified and pricey grocery bag. Seriously, I was waiting in line at a Waitrose supermarket – an upper end supermarket chain here – only to see the well-dressed lady in front of me pull one out from her purse for her groceries. Still, two years after first meeting the Longchamp Le Pliage tote on many of my college classmates’ arms, I still haven’t been able to shake my vague desire for one. It’s just so elegant in it’s simplicity. If only it weren’t an $150.00 nylon bag. But today, I took the plunge and picked one up – legitimately – for 58 GBP. With the current exchange rate, that’s roughly $92.


Luxe Goes More Luxe.

Posted in fashion and society by bluewellesleyblue on August 26, 2008

There was an article in today’s Financial Times about the ever-increasing heights to which designers will go, especially in the Fall/Winter fashion season, to ensure that their pieces are impossible to imitate by the likes of Forever 21, H & M, and anywhere lower down the price hierarchy. When it comes to the intricate pieces backed by very costly, luxurious, and unique fabrics or detailing, there’s just no way to replicate the look without bringing up the price to a similar three or four digit range. The lace pieces from Prada’s Fall/Winter 2008 line, for example, might be vaguely imitated by other high-profile and high-priced designers, but it’s hardly going to trickle down much further than that.

It boggles my mind to imagine that there are people who can follow the soaring prices that accompany special touches like Fendi’s gold-tipped fur or Balmain’s chain mail. Department stores probably don’t stock many individual units of pieces like that, but there are still “long waiting lists” for exorbitantly expensive, very distinctive, but also quickly dated pieces. Luxury like that is probably timeless, but with fashion moving as quickly as it does, buying a piece like that is putting quite a bit of stock in a trend.

Of course, having disposable income like that is something very few people – and fairly few fashion bloggers – can really imagine. I do hope to eventually become the type of woman who can afford to have a Chanel 2.55 in her hard-earned collection. (I’d say the Birkin because it suggests an even higher level of career success, but at this point, I still don’t get all the fuss made about that bag. This is probably blasphemy.) Whether as an attorney or a tenured professor, if I work hard I might be able to hope for that. However, it’s one thing to be able to invest in one two or three thousand dollar bag after years of self-made career success. It’s another thing entirely to be able to buy a 24 karat gold-dipped fur knowing it’ll easily fall out of style with the turning of the season. More power to the people who can afford that level of ostentation. No doubt it’s people and budgets like that which ultimately drive much of the glamor and weight behind the fashion industry, but it’s something that has little to do with mere mortals like you and I.

Pictures from Article linked in The Cut.

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Not Saying It’s a Better Magazine, But…

Posted in fashion and society by bluewellesleyblue on August 18, 2008

… It was refreshing to see that Cosmo Girl’s fashion pages, editorials, and the like drew primarily from brands and price ranges that would actually be affordable to your average high school age girl. I do prefer Teen Vogue when it comes to fashion magazines geared towards the younger set – I don’t buy these, but I do read them when I have some time to kill at a book store – but plenty of the things featured in Teen Vogue are not exactly priced with anyone resembling average in the pocketbook in mind. Expensive things are not inherently bad or unaccessible, even when one is a college student of fairly modest means, but one does have to regulate their spending habits a bit to afford them.

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Highly Recommended: Kenneth Cole New York.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on July 14, 2008

At this rate, I’ll always have a soft spot for Kenneth Cole New York and Kenneth Cole Reaction bags. I’m not a very big accessories person. While I do dabble a bit in things like headbands and scarves, I tend to always go back to my favorites. When it comes to bags, I do have a moderately large and middling pricey collection relative to my budget, which is very modest, but it’s comprised entirely of things I obtained in my first year and mostly on massive sale. Both my black bags – a work, school, or interview tote and a small bag I usually carry with me to parties – as well as my wallet are slightly older Kenneth Cole bags from Ebay. While the styling is pretty simple and doesn’t scream edgy or the more feminine style I usually go for in clothes, I find many of their bags very attractive.

Ebay is an excellent source for Kenneth Cole bags, though their sale prices are not bad either. When it comes to Ebay, Kenneth Cole things aren’t too sought after and so the prices rarely climb too high. In general their sale prices are a bit too high for my budget, though if it’s a middling or small splurge, I would say it’s a pretty dependable one. Pictured above is a basic black leather hobo on sale for a little over fifty percent off at their website.

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One Wise Splurge: Workaday Heels.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on June 30, 2008

As an impoverished college student, I’ve become a very quick study in what I can and what I can’t get on the cheap when it comes to clothes, shoes, and accessories. Anyone who has walked a day – or even an hour – in cheap heels quickly discovers that when it comes to wise splurges, a good and solid pair of working or interview heels is a must. Now, cost does not always correlate with a longer wear-time before one’s feet start crying bloody murder, but in general, going for a higher-quality pair will save you a great deal in terms of pain and blisters in the future.

A splurge in heeled shoes need not involve more than a hundred dollars. These are the BCBGirls “Betsy,” and though it’s a lower heel than most of my friends would be interested in wearing, it’s a solid shoe that let me walk in Boston for a good two or three hours before my feet seriously think of complaining. Sticker price was $90 though I didn’t pay quite that much.

Friendship with lady luck could yield an even better steal of a deal. I am duly jealous of the friend with the sixty dollar Marc by Marc Jacobs heels from a Houston DSW.

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