Monday, January 31, 2005

Coming tomorrow...
...the week in shopping and more. Sorry for the delay.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Not so much
Having taken the GRE on Saturday, I decided to hit the Sigerson Morrison sale on Sunday and treat myself to a pair of shoes, since they were all marked down to $110. I happened upon the handbag store on Mott first and was pleased to find the entire line of Belle shoes there also. (For the newer readers out there, Sigerson Morrison is, hands down, my favorite shoe line, and was the subject of a Labels I Love back in April of last year.) I've had my eye on this pair for awhile, so I was quite excited that they had it in my size, in metallic green. However, when I tried it on, I could barely fasten the buckle, even on the last hole. Now, I know my feet are on the wide side, but I take pride in my thin ankles--and this was clearly an ankle issue, not a foot issue, as I also tried on the size 9, which was huge, and I still couldn't buckle it! Of couse, then I looked around the store and realized that they had this shoe left in every size, and in practically every color. Dumb move, Sigerson Morrison. Why tempt us with such cute shoes that fit only the boniest of feet? So, this pair: not so much.

(Never fear, I found a pair that does fit. They're metallic pink, with a pointy toe, a dainty kitten heel, and a cool ankle strap with elastic and three snaps. And I have plenty of room in the ankle, so ha!)
Project Runway recap
On this week's episode of Project Runway, the designers had to work together to create an entire collection for wear in the year 2055--the twist being that they had to "design" by reworking $50 worth of vintage clothing. I found this amusing because 1) $50 does not go very far in a new york city vintage store and 2) lots of "designers" rework vintage clothes nowadays--in fact, the concept is a bit tired by now. Anyway, Kevin was picked to be the lead designer of the group, and for awhile, things seemed to be going well, until it was determined that Kevin is not much of a leader. Enter Kara Saun, who led the group in an over-intellectualized discussion of the cohesiveness of their collection. I found this part amusing also, because if you've ever read a designer's program notes from a fashion show, you know that they tend to spew a lot of over-intellectualized b.s. Anyway, Austin (last week's winner, so he was immune) sent out a very Prada-looking ensemble; Jay, who continues to surprise me in every episode, totally flipped out over his design, but the judges obviously liked it, and I thought it was quite pretty and even elegant. But Kara Saun took the cake again with an admittedly gorgeous floor-length coat--very Mad Max. (At this point, if Kara doesn't make it into the final three, I'll be shocked.) And while everyone else sent out very deconstructionist designs, Kevin's was very austere and not at all deconstructed. Although Wendy and Robert sent out totally gross, unflattering blobs of fabric (why are either of these people still in the competition?), Kevin was "out" for not following his own orders. Personally, I would've gotten rid of Wendy, who is clearly off her effing rocker, but the producers must think she makes for good television, kind of like Omarosa on The Apprentice. But, never fear, because...

...next week, the challenge is to redesign the U.S. Postal Service uniforms, and there is ample footage of Wendy losing her shit. I am so looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Website of the week
I'm a downtown girl (and have been ever since I moved here), so until several months ago, when Olive & Bette's opened a store in my neighborhood, on Bleecker, I wasn't very well acquainted with the store. Now, whenever I walk by the store, MW has to drag me away, because there's so much cute stuff in the window to look at. And I wasn't aware they had a website until yesterday, but what a cute website it is! Much like the stores, it has a well-chosen selection of merchanidse--everything is cute and girly, but practical and not too extravagant. You can browse by designer, but since this is a boutique website, I recommend browsing by category (and you have to admire the site for the "rain check" section, featuring boots and umbrellas). Bonus: For accessories lovers such as myself, shoes, belts, jewelry and hats/scarves/mittens all have separate categories. For label whores, Theory, Nanette Lepore, Free People and Splendid are all well-represented. Some of my favorites: These Pucci-esque Tamara Henriques graphic boots brighten up a rainy day; this Tibi Batik top is great for a mid-winter vacation to a warm locale (I might snag it for my upcoming trip to Florida); I could live in this James Perse jersey cami dress all summer; I think everyone needs one unapologetically girly item, like this Free People tulle skirt; speaking of unapologetically girly, I also dig these Irregular Choice glittery pumps; and you all know I can't resist butterflies, so this Frank & Kahn butterfly sash is a must. Check out the sale section too! Of course, now that I've been to the website, I think I need to go check out the store--you know, just for "research" purposes.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Project Runway recap
A bit late--sorry--but in last week's Project Runway, the designers had five hours to make a swimsuit that could double as eveningwear. As always, there was a twist, which was that the designers then had to accompany their model (in swimsuit) that evening to a party at the Maritime Hotel in which they had to get the attention of Richard Johnson, pompous dick and writer of Page Six. Clearly, this was a task that favored Austin and Jay, the most flamboyant of the bunch. Austin, however, had an advantage, because he had a 16-year-old model who was more than happy to stick her ass in Richard Johnson's face. The name of the winner of the competition--it was down to Jay and Austin indeed--was printed in Page Six the next morning; Austin, who did have a really cool suit, inevitably won. Kara's suit was pretty lackluster, but she already had an in, having won last week's competition. What Wendy and Kevin made barely qualified as a swimsuit, while Robert pissed everyone off by comparing women to cars (and, even worse, making an ill-fitting suit). But Alexandra, who's from Miami and who should've thus had a natural advantage, got kicked off for a suit that wasn't "original" enough. Now, she kind of shot herself in the foot by flat-out saying she was inspired by Missoni and Michael Kors, but designers have always ripped each other off, so I don't really see what the problem is. I'm kind of disappointed--I thought Alexandra was pretty talented, in a no-bullshit, no-diva-attitude kind of way.

Next week (or, rather, this week), the designers have to work together to create a collection. Heh, heh, work together.
The week in shopping
Yes, you can still shop in the snow.

Sale of the week: It almost sounds too good to be true, but Design Boutique has Citizens of Humanity, AG, Paper Denim & Cloth, Joe's, Joie, Blue Cult, Sweetees, C&C California, and more jeans and tees for 60&-90& off. Sadly, the sale is cash only. Through 1/27; 10:30-7; 60 Grand St. (Wooster & W. B'way).

For the dudes (with a tiny bit of women's shoes and sportswear), hit the John Varvatos warehouse sale, where his sleek clothes, shoes, and accessories are 60%-80% off. 1/25-1/28; 8-8, 8-noon Fri.; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Elizabeth Charles' selection of clothes by Australian designers is 50%-75% off. Through 2/14; noon-7:30, noon-6:30 Sun., closed Mon.; 639 1/2 Hudson St. (Horatio & Jane Sts.).

The excellent Steven Alan has men's and women's clothes by Mayle, Twinkle, Inhabit, and others for up to 50% off. Through 2/15; 87 Franklin St. (at Church), 465 Amsterdam Ave. (at 82nd St.).

I remember my old roomate being outraged by the markup at Beyond the Bosphorus (compared to what everything cost in Turkey), but their exotic, Middle-Eastern-influenced hand-woven kilims and pillows are now 50% off. Through 2/10; noon-7:30, closed Mon.; 79 Sullivan St. (at Spring St.).

For the bespoke admirers among us, Charles Tyrwhitt's sleek men's and women's shirts are $34 and up at this sale--up to 70% off. Through 1/31; 377 Madison Ave. (at 46th St.).

A quite promising-sounding sale, Nancy & Co has clothes and accessories from Kooba, Paul & Joe, and more for 30%-75% off. Through 2/28; 10-7, noon-6 Sun.; 1242 Madison Ave. (at 89th St.).

Again for the dudes, Union Square pioneer Rothman's has Ted Baker, Hugo Boss, Canali, and more for 30%=70% off. 1/28-2/13; 10-7, noon-5:30 Sun.; 200 Park Avenue South (at 17th St.).

Olive & Bette's has Nanette Lepore, Trina Turk, and Ella Moss at 70% off. 1/25; 9-7; 155 W. 72nd (at Columbus), ste. 406.

Sacco shoes and accessories are up to 60% off. Through 1/31; visit website for locations and hours.

Support emerging designers and get up to 70% off at 30Vandam's winter clearance. Through 1/27; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 30 Vandam St.

Get 20% off your purchase at Bloomingdales.com when you enter code FF4PCD through 1/29.

Save up to 75% at Pottery Barn's online sale.

Get a free lipstick with a $50 purchase at Benefit through 1/28. Enter code FGPL for Psychic Love Match (garnet red) or FGIL for I Think I Love You (sparkling pink nude).

Register at the new Daszign.com and get 20% off your order through 1/27.

Juicy and C&C are 40%-70% at Bop.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sorry again
My sincere apologies for the dearth of posts this week. I am still suffering from The Cold That Won't Go Away, and I've been fastidiously studying for the GREs, which I'm taking on Saturday. (D'ya like my big, fancy, 50-cent words?) So unless I contract the flu within the next few days, I promise postings will be back to normal next week.

Also, I still haven't watched this week's Project Runway, but I will post a recap as soon as I do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Website of the week
I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me to help them find something, and many times, the item is something a celebrity has worn. Now, I am always happy to do this because I'm glad to put my research (i.e. shopping) skills to good use, and I like a good challenge. Unfortunately, sometimes I come up empty-handed, but I recently stumbled upon a website that might be able to help. FamousFashionsFound is a website where you can buy clothes and accessories as seen on your favorite celebrities. Yes, it's a bit Us Weekly, but it's fun, and they carry a bunch of smaller, indie labels, so it's a great way to discover new designers. You can shop in all manner of ways--by tv show or movie, by magazine features, by category, by designer, or simply by star. Star-wise, the site is heavy on Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston (oh, how it pains me to say her name), but more fashion-forward celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Selma Blair are represented as well. Great new labels include T-shirts by Ladies of the Canyon, belts by Elegantly Waisted, and Lily McNeal sweaters. I'm especially a fan of this Lily McNeal belted cardigan, this Lotta tunic (as worn by Jessica Simpson), and this Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent velvet jacket, favored by Gwyneth, Jessica and others. Items ship via FedEx or UPS, and returns are accepted within 14 days. To read more about the founders, click here. It's not as cool as having your own celebrity stylist, but it's close.
The week in shopping
Sale of the week: Yes, it's time for Sigerson Morrison's semiannual "crazy sale"; this weekend, bags and shoes go as low as $50 and $110, respectively. Good luck and godspeed. 1/22-1/23; 11-7 Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 28 Prince St. (at Elizabeth St.).

While you're in the neighborhood, fashion-forward Erica Tanov has Orla Kiely, Antipast, Megan Park, and the house label for up to 60% off. 1/22-1/23; 11-7 Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 204 Elizabeth St. (at Prince).

Anni Kuan womenswear is at least 60% off ($30 and up) at this cash-only sale. 1/21; 10-6; 242 W. 38th St (7th & 8th Aves.), 11th fl.

The excellent Flight 001 is taking 25%-70% off their stylish travel accessories. 1/21-2/12; 11-8:30, noon-6 Sun.; 96 Greenwich Ave. (12th & Jane Sts.).

Nicole Miller's bright, colorful fall collection is 50%-75% off (prices are now $125-$500). Through 1/22; 780 Madison Ave., 134 Prince St.

Take 50%-70& off women's apparel, lingerie, bags and jewelry from indie designers at Showroomaccess.com's clearance sale. 1/22-1/23; noon-8; 17 Little West 12th St. (9th & Washington), buzzer 224, ste. 250B.

The awesome Design Within Reach is opening a new store on the Upper West Side. Stop by on 1/20 from 6-9 for the grand opening, with free champagne, hors d'oeuvres, raffles and more. 341 Columbus (at 76th St.).

While supplies last, get a lovely makeup bag filled with samples when you spend $75 on beauty products at Nordstrom.com.

It's time for the "Me Spree" at Cheryl Shops fave Girlshop.com: Get 20% off everything on the site--even sale merchandise! Through 1/23.

Check out Vintagecoolthings.com, a former Cheryl Shops website of the week. They've added a ton of groovy merchandise, including accessories, hats, coats and more.

Take 20% off a $100 order of new spring merchandise at Danskin.com when you enter code fitness2005 through 1/31. Plus, all $75 orders get free shipping.

For my Chicago readers, Isabella's $10 bin is back (only in the store). 1101 W. Webster, Chicago.

Save $20 on an $100 order at Figleaves.com, a former Cheryl Shops website of the week. Plus, get free shipping on all orders.

Get up to 50% off C&C California, Rebecca Taylor, Vince, and more at ShopLAStyle.com's winter sale.

Spend $150 on beauty products at Bergdorf's and get a sample-stuffed makeup bag for free through 1/29. Also in stores.

Lord & Taylor coupons.

Get free shipping on a $150 order at Bop when you enter code SALESHIP through 1/19.

Bluefly's semiannual Blue Sale starts 1/20.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Posts coming tomorrow
Due to illness (mine), I'm postponing the week in shopping until Tuesday. Don't worry--you're not missing anything.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gratuituous Marc Jacobs post
As regular Cheryl Shops readers know, I worship at the altar of Marc Jacobs (or, more specifically, Marc by Marc Jacobs, which is more in my price range). Since most of his fall merchandise is on sale now, I've been waiting for resortwear and spring with bated breath. Lo and behold, I received an e-mail today from eLuxury.com announcing the arrival of the spring Marc shoes. Now, I am also quite the shoe lover, so to say this was good news is the understatement of the year (thus far). Anyway, these shoes are so bright and colorful and fresh-looking, I want to buy them all. But my top three favorites are: 1) the wicker wedge sandal, a new spin on the wedgie with a cute print; 2) the ballet flat, a comfy staple in a totally adorable floral print; and 3) the espadrille, which, although I cannot stand when people try to make espadrilles stylish, doesn't even look like an espadrille, so it's okay. In fact, it's more than okay--it's kickass. The best part about all of these shoes is that they're $200 or under--I think the espadrille, at $185, is an especially good deal. The wedge is going to be the hot shoe this summer (trust me), and knotty, crafty-looking accessories were all over the spring 2005 runways. So I'm going to order it in green, and I know it's going to be my favorite shoe this spring. Um...is it spring yet?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Project Runway recap
I've heard from several readers that they miss my America's Next Top Model recaps now that the season is over. I enjoyed writing them but felt they were kind of self-indulgent. But, hey, if you guys like 'em, I'll keep at it. ANTM doesn't return until March, however, so in the meantime, Bravo's Project Runway will have to do.

In this week's episode, the designers first picked their model for the week, then learned they'd be making a made-to-order bridal gown for her. Inevitably, some models were easier to work with ("something with a low V-neck in front and in back") than others ("it needs to be covered in diamonds", "roses, roses, roses"). Kara Saun (why is she the only designer called by her first and last names?) made a really classy, sexy gown and won; Austin's was totally cracky, but Nora, whose immaturity has heretofore overshadowed any talent she might have, got kicked off for compromising all of her design sensibilities in order to please her (admittedly demanding) "client". As loopy as he is, I like Austin, although his designs are a bit costumey. Then there's Wendy, who becomes increasingly more annoying as the show progresses (in this episode, she turned out to be completely two-faced). And I think Alexandra, the quiet blonde from Miami, might be a dark horse in the running--there's no drama with her, and she turns out really cool stuff week after week. That leaves Jay, who is a drama queen but keeps impressing me with his range, and then I tend to get the other two brunet male designers confused (never a good sign).

Next week, the designers have five hours to make a swimsuit. Drama and bitching are sure to ensue...
Website of the week
With Cheryl Shops, I try to write the best blog I can. This means lots of hours performing "research" (i.e. shopping), surfing the web (i.e. shopping), and reading (i.e. shopping). Speaking of reading, I enjoy other fashion blogs' unique points of view, and while there are many things I'd like to change about Cheryl Shops, I think I do an okay job. But when I came across the blog Stylephile, my heart sank a bit. Covering both NYC and L.A., it has up-to-the-minute sale updates, new products, and a groovy retro-kitsch design. Of course, it also has the media muscle of entertainment trade rag Variety behind it, which helps to explain the many daily updates and the super-professional look. Um, not that I'm drawing any comparisons there. The Stylephile's writer is unnamed, but her voice (or voices) is casual and conversational--informative but friendly. Now, please don't ditch Cheryl Shops altogether; I think Stylephile will be a nice supplement. But Stylephile deserves props, and I'll be the first to give 'em when deserved.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The week in shopping
This week, I have three words for you: Nolita shoe sales. Sigerson Morrison's biannual "crazy sale" is in effect (I believe shoes are either 40% or 50% off this week), and now Hollywould and Geraldine are joining the fray. Wear easily removable shoes and don't take all the 8 1/2's, ladies.

Sale of the week: Hollywould's ultra-girly shoes are 60%-80% off at their famous Insane Sale (not to be confused with S-M's aforementioned "crazy sale")--the discounts get deeper as the week progresses. 1/12-1/15; 11:30-7: 198 Elizabeth St., (at Prince St.).

The oft-overlooked Dosa has very feminine, silky tees, camis and slip dresses in the $30-$100 range. 1/14-1/16; 11-6; 394 Broadway (at Walker St.), 6th fl.

Everything at the excellent Geraldine (read: shoes by Narciso Rodriguez, Marc Jacobs, Viktor and Rolf, and more) is $189 and under. Through 1/23; 11:30-7:30, noon-6 Sun.; 246 Mott St. (at Prince St.).

You still probably can't afford anything there, but Pratesi's robes, slippers, linens, and such are 20%-50% off. Through 1/31; 10-6, closed Sun.; 829 Madison Ave. (at 69th St.).

Frency cobbler Robert Clergerie's wedges, Mary Janes, boots, heels and more are up to 60% off. 1-6, 10-7 Thurs, noon-5 Sun.; 681 Madison Ave.

I've never heard of this store, but it sounds like my kind of place: Diane T. has clothes and accessories by Rebecca Taylor, Sigerson Morrison, and Marc by Marc Jacobs at up to 50% off. 1/12-2/12; closed Mon.; 174 Court St. (at Bergen St.), Cobble Hill.

Salivate, sneaker freaks: Classic Kicks has footwear from Nike, Vans, and Pro Keds and clothes from Lacoste and Puma for 50%-70% off ($15 and up). 1/13-1/17; 11-7; 298 Elizabeth St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

I have a feeling the PETA people are going to get all up in my business for this one, but Pologeorgis furs are a very pleasing 60% off. Call 212-563-2250 to make an appointment, not harass them. 1/12-1/18; 143 W. 29th St. (at 7th Ave.), 8th fl.

My friend May, crusader against Asian stereotypes (I mean that totally affectionately), will be overjoyed that rather racist housewares store Saigoniste is closing. They do have pretty nice merchandise, however, and everything is up to 80% off. Through 1/23; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 186 1/2 Spring St.

Century 21 is having its winter clearance sale, with prices up to 75% off their already reduced original prices. With that much of a discount, they're almost paying you to take it away. 22 Cortlandt St. (Church & B'way).

Cooking-related goods are up to 60% off at the WIlliams-Sonoma online sale.

Take up to 50% off items at American Eagle's clearance sale.

Bloomingdale's is having a home sale with savings of 15%-50% off (as is Macy's).

Select merchandise is 30% off at Chicago's own Active Endeavors.

Click here for Beautyhabit's January specials.

Save up to 75% at Rubber Ducky and get an additional 10% off your order when you enter code TAKE10 at checkout through 1/23.

Neiman Marcus' Last Call sale officially starts 1/12, with savings of up to 65%. Plus, enter code LASTCALL at checkout for free shipping on a $150 order.

Woo-hoo, Lord & Taylor coupons.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Cheryl Shops resort shopping guide
Somewhere between the fall and spring collections, designers tend to bust out "resortwear" or "cruise collections," geared toward those who head toward warmer climes this time of year. Since the weather is crapola here, this makes perfect sense. However, while some people can afford to jet off to Antigua or St. Maarten for weeks or months at a time, some of us, um, go to Florida for a long weekend. But wherever you go, you're going to need five basics. So here they are, in two price levels: Turks and Caicos (pricey) and Mexico (budget).

Ruffled bikini
Turks & Caicos: It's a bit gauche and more than you probably want to pay for a swimsuit, but as soon as I saw this Juicy Couture bikini, I knew I had to have it. The white eyelet will look great with a tan, the ruffled bottom (with cheeky Juicy logo across the butt) is flattering, and it even comes pre-accessorized with a pearl belt.
Mexico: Lucky's full bloom bikini (top sold separately) is a similar style, but in color for those afraid of white.

Pareo
Turks & Caicos: You need something to drape around your hips for quick trips from your private cabana to the beach. Enter Vivre's ultra-luxurious beaded silk pareo.
Mexico: J.Crew's paisley pareo (third item) is a slightly more modest--but still cute--version.

Tube dress
Turks & Caicos: I bought a Juicy Couture tube dress last year for my trip to Roatan and I wore it every day--over my bikini, out to dinner, wherever. This year's tie-dye tunic is a great spin on this new staple.
Mexico: This dip-dye dress is a bit darker but, at $30, an excellent deal.

Tunic
Turks & Caicos: Like the tube dress, you can throw this Nanette Lepore tunic over your bikini and head to lunch, but the embroidery gives is a slightly dressier feel.
Mexico: Newport News' chiffon tunic is sheer, but with gorgeous embroidery that, at $24.99, is quite a good deal. Throw it over a cami and denim skirt and head out to the disco.

Jeweled sandals
Turks & Caicos: While you can be barefoot everywhere, sometimes you don't always want to be. Enter Hollywould's Tikiman thongs, which put a little bling on your feet, but in a subtle way.
Mexico: Yellow Box's Victory sandal incorporates beading from this season's must-have moccasins.

Straw tote
Turks & Caicos: You need a bag to tote your sunscreen, sunglasses, iPod, trashy novel, and so on. Give a semi-ironic nod to your borough (Manhattan, I'd presume), with Kate Spade's borough bag, a basic straw tote with a twist.
Mexico: You can't go wrong with this very classic straw tote from Newport News.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Buy it
I can always count on someone in my family to get me a Sephora gift certificate for Christmas. So with this year's card, I got the Star Struck palette, figuring I could toss it in my travel makeup bag as a standby. But the palette comes with a nice little booklet of tips by makeup artist Mally Roncal (she does Beyonce's makeup), so I decided to give the palette's "Rock Star" look a whirl on New Year's Eve. MW thought I was going for a Goth look, but I must say, it turned out pretty well. And by 2:30 a.m., after about seven hours of dancing and drinking, my smoky eyes still looked damn good (they were captured on film for posterity by MK). Now I can't wait to try the "Old Hollywood" look included in the booklet. So, the Star Struck palette has earned a spot not in my second-tier makeup bag but on my shelf in the bathroom. A prominent one.
Website of the week
In true Cheryl Shops fashion, I'm starting out the new year with a shoe website, and with a nod to my hometown of Chicago. While searching for a pair of round-toe wedges I saw Lindsay Lohan wearing in Us Weekly (okay, you can all laugh at me now), I came across Josephine Online, the Internet home of swanky Chicago shoe boutique Josephine. Now, I often complain about the fashion selection in the Windy City being way too conservative (and, for the most part, it is), but Josephine is like an oasis of high fashion footwear. (And bags.) You can shop by style or by designer; designers include well-known favorites like Christian Louboutin, Sigerson Morrison and Alexandra Neel, as well as new (to me) designers Rickard Shah, Brian Atwood, and Chisenefrega. Some favorites: This Hollywould pewter ballet flat looks so comfy; this Brian Atwood lace pump is undoubtably sexy; I am drooling over this Christian Louboutin green pump; and this Strenesse D'orsay pump is sexy but comfortable enough for everyday wear. The best part? There are sale shoes dispersed throughout--for up to 60% off (I have my eye on this Michel Perry pump and this Stella McCartney sandal). As an added bonus, the owners are super-nice; you can read about them here. Chicago girls crazy about shoes? Sounds familiar...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Cheryl shops...Fifth Avenue
Yesterday I didn't have to work, so instead of doing something totally constructive, like laundry, I decided to go shopping on Fifth Avenue. I live downtown and work in Times Square, and rarely venture above, so I estimate it's been at least four or five months since I've been up there (so I apologize if any of what I say is old news). Overall, I was a bit disappointed; even though it's barely a week after Christmas, I felt like a lot of the merchandise was picked over. But such is the paradox within sale shopping: Shop early, get a better selection and pay more, or shop later and get slim pickings but at a greater discount. One more thing: Who are all these people who don't work during the day? Housewives? Tourists? Hookers? I couldn't believe how crowded the stores were.

My first stop was Saks. I saw no sale bags whatsoever on the first floor, which was disappointing, because usually you can find Miu Miu and Kate Spade and such. I skipped the American designers on the second floor. The third floor (fancy designers) had a big clearance rack, where I found some very nice tweed Alexander McQueen pieces (a skirt was in the mid-$200s) and some Balenciaga. On the other side of the floor was a rack with some Marc Jacobs, Chloe and Stella McCartney. All sale merchandise is at least 40% off; you get to take an additional 40% off previously marked-down items. On the fourth floor, shoes were marked down twice and the selection was still pretty good. The fifth floor had good shoes--Marc by Marc Jacobs, Belle by Sigerson Morrison, etc.--and sale racks throughout. The good news is that if you haven't had your fill of ponchos yet, there are a lot there. The bad news is that the ponchos are ugly as sin.

I then stopped at H&M, where I found an incredibly cute pair of gold metallic kitten-heel pumps for $20. Otherwise, there's a lot of black and red stuff, much of it marked down to ridiculously affordable prices. And I spotted several Karl Lagerfeld dresses still in stock.

Next was Gap's Love accessories store, which I wrote about here a few months ago. I was expecting exclusive stuff, but they just have all the bags and scarves that the regular stores carry, and the store is tiny. I was not impressed.

Then I went to Henri Bendel where, for the first time in history, I didn't have to run the cosmetics-counter gauntlet--I was only approched by two salespeople on the way in and none on the way out! (Maybe they only work in droves on the weekends?) There's some Juicy Couture on sale for 60% off on the second floor, but the racks are kind of a mess, so patience is required. I'm not the hugest fan of Bendel's because I find the layout very confusing, but since there were very few people shopping there, it wasn't a huge problem. I checked out "La Lingerie," their new lingerie section, which takes up the entire thrid floor and, well, totally kicks ass. There's a huge private label setion, lots of obscure (and expensive) Italian and French lines, and even lingerie from designers like John Galliano. The fourth floor is a bit of a mess, but there are racks and racks of sale merchandise with everything from C&C tees to Givenchy ready-to-wear. Everything is 60% off.

After a $2 bottle of water, I hit Bergdorf's, where Luella Bartley bags are on mega-sale (I believe they were 60% off, but I'm not entirely sure). They had a pretty good selection of designer shoes--Jimmy Choo, Prada, Marni, Marc Jacobs--but they were only marked down once, as were the shoes on the 5th floor (Marc by Marc, Sigerson Morrison, etc.). The 5th floor had a lot of sale clothing as well--Joie, Theory, Marc by Marc, DKNY, etc.--but, again, only one round of markdowns. My advice is to go back in a week or two for the real markdowns. As for the designer stuff, I didnt' check out the other floors because 1) Bergdorf's is under construction and it's a bit of a mess, and 2) to be honest, the store still intimidates me a bit.

Then I hit my favorite store, Barneys, where, again, I wasn't too thrilled. Although I guess that's a good sign for Barneys--the less sale merchandise they have, the better they're doing, right? Anyway, I tend to prefer the 18th Street Co-Op store, where I can almost always find something to buy.

Dragging ass, I hit Bloomingdale's, where there was very little sale merchandise to speak of (again, probably a good sign, especially since Bloomingdale's is owned by my parent company). There are some good shoe sales on the fourth floor, including Belle by Sigerson Morrision, Chanel, Marc Jacobs and more. I tried on an awesome pair of cork wedge sandals by, strangely enough, Anne Klein, but they didn't quite have my size. So I left Bloomie's empty-handed as well.

Five hours later, I headed home with my H&M shoes...and that's it, sadly. But it was a lovely day and I got a lot of exercise. Which, we all know, shopping is always good for.
The week in shopping
Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday. Chores and a very distracting thing called LimeWire got in the way. But I am back, armed with lots of posts for this week. Virtually every store in existence is having some sort of clearance sale, so for the bargain hunters out there, sharpen your claws.

A.P.C. is like a French version of the Gap, but better (and, yes, more expensive). Their men's and women's winter collection is now 30%-50% off. 1/5-2/2; 11-7, noon-6 Sun., 131 Mercer St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

My neighborhood store Verve has shoes and bags by Kooba, Orla Kiely, Isabella Fiore, and more for 20%-80% off. Through 1/31; 11-8, noon-6 Sun.; accessories, 353 Bleecker and 282 Columbus (at 73rd), shoes, 338 Bleecker.

Or, if you prefer to shop for shoes in more of a madhouse setting, the 8th Annual Shoe-Inn features shoes for $25-$100 and boots for $50-$150. Designers include Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Via Spiga, Sigerson Morrison, Pucci, Cynthia Rowley and more. 1/5-1/11; 9-6:45 weekdays, 10-5 weekends; Parsons School of Design, 560 7th Ave. (at 40th St.), 2nd fl.

The pride of Boerum Hill, Butter has clothes and accessories from Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens, Rogan, and more for a very nice 50%-90% off. Through 1/31; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 389 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

Lilith's Parisian fashion is 30%-65% off. Through 1/31; 11-7, noon-7 Sun.; 227 Mulberry St. (at Spring St.).

I used to live right across the street from Focus Paris on a rather random block in Murray Hill. But I must say, they do a damn good Birkin knockoff. bags, jewelry, scarves and more are up to 70% off at their sample sale; plus, spend $50 and get a $25 gift for free. Through 1/8; 10-6, closed Sun; 17 E. 37th St. (5th & Madison).

For the fancy lingerie-lovers, Lingerie on Lex has Aubade, La Perla, Lise Charmel, and more for 30%-75% off. Through 1/30; 10-7, 11-6 Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 831 Lexington Ave.(at 63rd St.).

Armani Casa's bed and bath accessories are up to 50% off. Through 1/18; 11-7, noon-6 Sun., closed Mon.; 97 Greene St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

If you can afford it, ABC Carpet & Home's Annual Winter Tag Sale means pricey home furnishings and accessories are up to 75% off. 1/6-1/23; 10-7; 888 Broadway (at 19th St.).

Around the block from Chez Cheryl, Shelly Steffe's clothes are 30% off. Through 1/31; noon-9, noon-6 Sun., closed Mon.; 34 Gansevoort St. (at Hudson St.).

Fancy toiletries store L'Occitane is taking up to 75% off faves like shea body lotion and lavender perfume. Through 1/18; check website for store locations and hours.

The Conran Shop's post-holiday sale means discounts of up to 50%. Through 1/16; 11-8, 10-7 Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 407 E. 59th St. (at 1st Ave.).

Felissimo Design House has home and fashion accessories for up to 80% off. Through 1/8; 11-6, 11-8 Fri., closed Sun.; 10 W. 56th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

For more of a traditional look, The New York/New Year Antiques & Fine Art Festival has jewelry, fine art, Chinese pottery, and more from the 1900s to the 1950s. Admission is $12. 1/7-1/9; 1-9 Fri. & Sat., 1-6 Sun.; Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Ave. at 67th St.

Clothes and accessories for men and women are 25%-40% off at Kenneth Cole. Through 1/12; check website for store locations & hours.

Norma Kamali is still getting rid of her archive, now for less than $100. Through 1/31; 10-6, closed Sun.; 11 W. 56th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

Save up to 50% at former Cheryl Shops website of the week CB2.

Intermix is having a sale, although apparently not on the website.

Save up to 50% at West Elm's online sale.

Save 40% on select place settings and more at Not Neutral.

Take 10% off of your order at recent Cheryl Shops website of the week Vogue Handbags when you enter code VH10.

Select styles are 50% off at Steve Madden.

Save up to 60% at one of my favorite websites, La Redoute.

Save up to 50% at former Cheryl Shops website of the week Figleaves.com.

The exchange rate is not going to work in your favor, but Net-A-Porter has stuff you can't always find in the U.S., and it's up to 60% off.

Fall and winter collections are 30%-40% off at Cheryl Shops fave Bop.

Clothingline still has Ben Sherman, Evisu, Three Dots, Mavi and more, now at even further reductions.

Loehmann's Red Star Clearance is in effect through 1/10; save an additional 40% on clearance items.

Get a free scarf with a $200 order from Diane von Furstenburg's spring collection at Neiman Marcus.

Crate & Barrel's year-end furniture sale is in effect. Check out the stores for the best selection.

Get a free illuminating powder foundation sample with your order at Stila through 2/6.

Select items are up to 40% off at Built By Wendy's winter sale, in stores and online.

If you slacked off on the gift-giving, Red Envelope has gifts for up to 50% off.

Loftworks is having post-holiday clearance sale on items by Joie, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and more. 100 Lafayette St.

Check out Girlshop's sale and clearance pages and save up to 75% on items by small indie designers.

For cool Scandinavian furniture that's a step up from IKEA but still affordable, Bo Concept's sale features accessories and floor samples. 1/8-1/31.

Recent Cheryl Shops website of the week Mytights.com is having a sale with items up to 30% off.