Wednesday, September 28, 2005

America's Next Top Model recap
So, this week's episode of America's Next Top Model was the famed makeover episode, in which there's always at least one model who cries, one who complains for not changing her look enough, and a handful who are utterly transformed into glamour goddesses. Cassandra, the beauty queen, fell into the first category--I knew we were in for a fun episode as soon as Tyra said, "Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby," i.e., taking Cassandra's long, brown locks into a cropped blond 'do. She cried a lot, and to be honest, I'm not sure she looks that much better (she certainly does look "edgier"). Nicole and Jayla got thicker, longer extensions, although neither of them complained; they made my fave gal Kim's hair red, and I'm not too sure about it (maybe golden highlights would've been better). Bre...they didn't do too much with, and she didn't really complain about it, but she kind of did. And apparently they gave Diane highlights, but I couldn't really tell. Coryn, Lisa and Nik got lightened up; Coryn looks incredibly striking (eyebrows were also thinned out), Lisa looks less fugly (but still photographs well--more on that later), and Nik still looks like nothing interesting in person but, again, photographs well. (Hmm, a trend among these three?) DSL gal Sarah got an "edgy" shorter haircut (she loved it), Ebony got long, Brandy-style braids (she loved 'em), and my favorite makeover, Kyle got rich, chocolatey brown color--and it was such a transformation that when they were done, I was like, "Who's that?" Well done.

The girls' task of the episode was to create, with $500, a look that reflects their new "look," the amusing part being that this challenge was hosted by James St. James, the former club kid who wrote Disco Bloodbath, which was eventually turned into the movie Party Monster. Yeeeah. So, Lisa, who is a stylist by profession, easily won the competition...then proceeded to boss everyone around, telling them how to pose and what to wear, and, overall, being incredibly annoying. And then the girls had a photo shoot in which they chose a partner...and they both had to wear the same outfit. I thought this was an interesting challenge because they'd never done anything like it before, and it required neither crazy wardrobe nor crazy hair and makeup. Cassandra, Coryn, Kim, Lisa, Nicole, and Nik were the "winners" and while it was down to Diane and Ebony in the end, Ebony got the boot for being lackluster. Granted, Diane's been lackluster too, but instead of getting rid of the plus-size gal the easy way, the judges decided to keep her on for a few more weeks. As for Ebony, I don't feel too bad for her--as I said last week, I think she's far too ambitious and driven to be a model; she should go to college and become one of those idealistic do-gooders, because armed with her "Don't get it twisted" motto, I think she could actually do some good in this world.

Next week, Kim and DSL get it on, part deux.
Fashion Week roundup
My, how time flies! London Fashion Week is already over (here's Suzy Menkes's roundup, in case you're interested), and now we're in the thick of Milan Fashion Week. And already the heavy hitters have shown their spring collections. Here's Cathy Horyn on the disaster-in-the-making that is Milan, basically because the city has produced only two new stars (Marni and DSquared2) in the last 10 years, versus at least five from Paris. Cathy also spends about 150 words on Anna Wintour (love the snarkiness, Cathy!) before delving into Prada's thought-provoking collection and grazing over Marni, Emporio Armani, and Pucci. Suzy Menkes jumps on the Miuccia Prada can do no wrong bandwagon, while also praising Pucci and Marni. Of course, you can read more reviews at WWD (which is currently down at the moment, so I can't link directly to the reviews) and see photos at Style.com.

Also, in case you've been living under a rock, Kate Moss has been dropped from her campaigns with H&M, Burberry, and Chanel. She's also been spotted in Scottsdale, Arizona, where there's supposedly some big rehab clinic. How does everyone feel about this? Like, should Kate go to rehab, go through the motions, then make another "comeback" (her second) and go back to being a kickass supermodel (and still indulge in occasional gak-fests)? Or should everyone just butt out and let her do her job (which, by all accounts, she's had no trouble doing thus far), and turn the other cheek because, let's face it, a lot of people in the fashion industry like to powder their noses? This is what the comments are for, dear readers. Discuss.
Website of the week
I will admit, I am a huge sucker for cosmetics packaging. While I count Nars as my favorite makeup brand, I love Paul & Joe's girly pots and tubes, and I'm convinced I look oh-so-chic pulling a Chanel lipstick or compact out of my purse. (Um, and I do!) But, really, no cosmetics line today beats the look of vintage makeup. Case in point: My terribly chic grandmother had a green mosaic compact-and-lipstick set from the '30s that was about half the size of a deck of cards and elegant beyond words. And she knew I admired it so much, before she passed away, she put my name on a piece of masking tape and stuck it to the back to make sure I ended up with it. (I did, and while the set is too dear to me for everyday use, I take it out every once in awhile to look at it. And the bright-red lipstick still works.) Picking up on this sentiment, makeup artist Gabriela Hernandez created Besame Cosmetics, a simple line of vintage-inspired makeup in ultraglamorous casings. Not only are they highly ornate and jewel-like, the containers are small enough to fit into your tiniest clutch, but they still carry full-size product. The shopping portion of the site is simple--shop by item (there are only nine or ten items). I want to order the Enchanting Lipstick, in a bullet-shaped container the size of a pinky finger, in Merlot, which appears to be an ultra-flattering brownish red. The Boudoir Rouge comes with a powder puff in a reusable container. And I think both the Vanity Case and the Trio Gift Set are an excellent introduction to the line. But beyond the products, the site fosters a sense of community for vintage lovers, with letters from one "Margo," vintage tips, and a rather extensive selection of links to shops and other online resources for vintage fans. So it all kind of ties together--we wear vintage (or vintage-inspired) clothing, put vintage furniture in our homes, and even do vintage-inspired activities, like knitting, playing ping-pong, and eating fondue. So it makes sense that we vintage-lovers start using vintage-inspired cosmetics. After all, beautiful packaging makes putting on your makeup every morning a little more tolerable.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The week in shopping
Alvin Valley makes a damn fine pair of pants, so score some for yourself for a mere $129-$189--plus skirts and jackets for 50%-80% off--at this sale. 9/28-10/2; noon-6; 632 Broadway (at Bleecker), 6th fl.

If you're a working lady, hit Cinzia Rocca's sale, where suits and outerwear are $150-$600. Cash only. 9/28-9/29; 10-5; 525 7th Ave. (at 38th St.), ste. 1610.

Got pricey taste in furniture? Attempt to save up to 70% at Cassina's warehouse sale, where you can find designs by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 9/30-10/2; 1-8 Fri., 10-6 Sat., 11-5 Sun; Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 W. 19th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Hit C. Ronson for terry dresses, sweaters, and more on sale. Through 9/30; noon-7; 239 Mulberry St. (at Prince).

Books, jewelry, and more are 25%-50% off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store. 9/29-10/30; call 800-468-7386 for store hours and locations.

Phi clothing and accessories for women are up to 95% off (that's $25 and up). 9/30-10/2; 11-7 Fri. and Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 71 Greene St. (at Spring St.).

Chelsea pet haven The Barking Zoo has dog coats for 50% off. Through 10/15; 11-8 weekdays, 10-6 Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 172 9th Ave. (at 21st St.).

Save 10% at Target.com when you enter code TCTENSEPTSAV through 9/28.

It's a "private sale" at Lord & Taylor, but, of course, here are coupons, as usual.

Hey, it's also a private sale at Bloomie's! Hit either Soho or 59th St. 9/29-10/1, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Use code MISSEDYOU934 at checkout to save 15% at Bluefly.com through 10/8.

Already, it's time for a fall sale at Banana Republic; save up to 40% for a limited time.

Spend $600 on a pair of Manolo Blahniks at Neimanmarcus.com and get this free signed print, online only.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

America's Next Top Model recap
Cycle 5 of America's Next Top Model started out with a bang--a two-hour episode that at times felt like The Real World and at times felt like...America's Next Top Model. The first half of the two-hour episode was devoted to narrowing down the 36 semi-semifinalists to 20 semifinalists and, finally (ha!) 13 finalists. As you'd expect, this portion of the show was filled with many girls acting crazy and crying as Tyra, wide-eyed and head tilted, nods, with that "I feel you, girlfriend" look, which really means, "crazy girls equals huge ratings." The 20 semifinalists walked in a runway show, and the 16 non-semifinalists were forced to watch them--which seemed like cruel and unusual punishment to me, since most of them were just sitting there crying. After more "I feel you, girlfriend" one-on-one interviews with Tyra (many of which felt like promos for Tyra's daytime talk show), they narrowed the bunch down to 13 girls. Cue more crying and "I'm going to be a model no matter what--it's my destiny"-type proclamations.

In the second half of the episode, the girls were given a bizarre where-the-stars-live tour of Hollywood by Robin Leach, who then escorted them to their new home, an ugly '70s-era split-level house that's decorated to look like a department store. Because that's where models really live. Anyway, the girls' first test was to walk in a Life & Style magazine fashion show; some of the girls are not so bad, but one girl walks like a dude and another fell--twice (more on them later). The next test was to "pose like a superhero" on cables with...crazy wardrobe, hair and makeup! Yes, it's not an ANTM episode without a totally outlandish photo shoot. While most of the girls seemed to be nailing their shots, more than a few turned out some pretty bad photos, although I felt the judges were pretty easy on them for the most part--Nigel Barker, J. Alexander , and Jay Manuel are back, and instead of Janice Dickinson, '60s supermodel Twiggy is there to provide former-model feedback. I think I'm definitely going to miss Janice's bitchy--but often accurate--opinions, but Twiggy has that model-godmother thing going on, which is kind of nice for a change. Ashley, a Florida buyer, was the first to go, for no good reason other than that's she's too pretty and the judges felt she was kind of bland. But pretty. Right. So here's my assessment of the remining 12 contestants:

Bre: is young (19) and a Harlem native; at times, I think she kind of looks like Eva (cycle 3's winner), which could count against her. Also, she's a bit sassy, which is fun.

Cassandra: is from Texas, a former beauty pageant queen and young (19) but short (5'7"). Since she publicly defended George W. Bush on national TV, I'm loathe to say anything nice about her, but I will allow that she photographs well. But I think she's going to annoy the hell out of everyone (read: this season's Yaya).

Coryn: is really striking, and she's had a hard-knocks life, which we all know Tyra loves. The King Tut eyebrows need to go, but after that, I think she'll be a serious contender.

Diane: is this season's plus-size contestant, but she's not all "I'm big and beautiful, woo-hoo!" like, oh, Toccara was. But we all know what happens to plus-size contestants on this show. Still, she seems cool--like a girl you want to have a beer with.

Ebony: is the youngest of the bunch, and she's a bit on the crazy side--she has a motto, which is "Don't get it twisted." I don't know, she seems too smart and ambitious to be a model. But that could be her strength.

Jayla: totally reminds me of Norelle, my favorite girl from cycle 3. I think she's really cute, and I bet she can look both "pretty" and "edgy." Um, and I like her haircut. And she's got a model name already.

Kim: is my favorite, for reasons I can't really explain, but look at her profile--how can you not love a girl who lists both US Weekly and The Economist as her favorite magazines? So, she kind of looks like a dude (she's a lesbian and has already made out with Sarah's DSL) and she certainly walks like a dude, but I think she's really cute and unique-looking.

Kyle: has a hilarious Michigan accent, which reminds me of summer. More importantly, she's nice and tall (5' 10"), although I have a feeling she's going to get those "too commercial" comments from the judges, on account of being bubbly and blonde.

Lisa: kind of looks like she got hit with a bag of fugly, but she photographs really well, dresses cool, and seems to have the favor of the judges already. She's kind of old (24) and short (5' 8"), but I bet she'll stick around for awhile.

Nicole: was already getting on everyone's nerves by 8:15, so god knows what's going to happen in the next few weeks. I think she's really pretty--she looks like my coworker Heidi--although we know how the judges feel about "really pretty."

Niki: is the one the judges have already pegged as the "secret weapon." She photographs well, and she seems to have a pretty even disposition. At the same time, I don't see a ton of personality. But that can change.

Sarah: is young (18), blonde, and in possession of some very huge DSL (which lesbian Kim had the pleasure of kissing already). She's also the one who fell (twice) on the runway. But even if she learns how to walk, I have a feeling that those DSL are going to come back to haunt her--cue the porn star comments.

So that's my non-mathematical handicapping of the contestants. In next week's episode, the girls get makeovers at Louis Licari, and we can assume at least two girls are going to flip out about their makeovers. My money's on Cassandra for one...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Website of the week
Just to warn you, this post is going to be a sentimental one. So, this morning Federated Department Stores, owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, announced that, as part of its acquisition of May Department Stores, they're turning everything but Lord & Taylor into a Macy's, giving them a ridiculous 950 stores nationwide, in every major market (except, I think, Jacksonville, Florida). May owned a lot of ho-hum department stores--Kaufmann's, May, Robinson's--but also St. Louis' Famous Barr, Boston's Filene's, and the Midwest's Marshall Field's. It was widely assumed that Federated would turn all the May Co. stores into either a Bloomingdale's or a Macy's; the surprising Lord & Taylor announcement came last week, and until late yesterday, the fate of Marshall Field's was in question. Personally, I was rooting for Field's.

Being a native Chicagoan, Marshall Field's holds a special place in my heart. It was always my and my mom's first stop at the mall, and I have fond memories of weekly lunches at Greener Fields, the restaurant at the Oakbrook Mall Field's, which I'd attend with my mom and my grandmother. We always had the same waitress, a lovely British woman named Terri, who must be 80 by now but who, at last count, still waitresses at the Field's restaurant, which is now located in the basement. Because I was a picky eater, I'd always get a fruit plate with a side of bacon, and Terri never gave me any trouble about it. Every year at Christmas, I'd get a Mistletoe bear and a mug, a vast collection of which still resides in my parents' kitchen cabinet. My first Swatch watch, my first pair of designer jeans (Guess, of course), and my first non-training bra (Calvin Klein) were all purchased at Field's.

The store went through a rough patch, being bought by Dayton-Hudson, which became the Target corporation, then sold their entire department store arm to May Co. But instead of sinking into mediocrity, Field's stepped it up with top-notch merchandise--the famed 28 Shop carries Gaultier, YSL, and Armani, among others. Elsewhere in the store, you can find Prada, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture, Thomas Pink, and Citizens of Humanity. It's no Neiman Marcus, but Field's is certainly more on par with Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's than it is with Macy's. Furthermore, the landmark State Street store in downtown Chicago carries a ton of tradition: The building itself is gorgeous--it has a Tiffany mosaic ceiling--and was built in 1852. The State Street clock is a landmark and adorns everything from mugs to Frango boxes. Every year at Christmas, thousands of families line up to have lunch in the Walnut Room, which houses the several-stories-tall Great Tree. And back in the day, the store's famed Frango mints were made in the basement. It's likely because of this rich history and tradition that the Chicago Landmarks Commission recently awarded the store Landmark status. (More on that to come.)

So, I'm in a bit of a weird place, given my love for Field's and my current day job, as a copywriter for Macy's, which--aha!--is owned by Federated. Having such a strong national presence will certainly be good for business for both Macy's and macys.com, but Chicagoans have already made it clear that they're not going to welcome Macy's with open arms. There's also the mediocrity factor--as I noted before, Field's is more on par with Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, and while I do take pride in the company I work for, I'm not quite sure that the Field's customer is going to go for the One Day Sale, $19.99 Everyday Values, and other hallmarks of the Macy's business. I understand and appreciate Macy's for what it is, but what it is not is Marshall Field's. (Want more evidence? Read these.)

Which brings us back to the Landmarks Commission. Landmark status will allow the city to legally fight Federated on everything from signage to structural changes. And let's not underestimate Mayor Daley, who, paranoid about terrorist attacks, famously tore up the runways of the Meigs Field airport overnight, to the bafflement of pretty much everyone in the city. Sorry, Federated (um, and please don't fire me), but I hope Marshall Field's fights back. And on that note, I'd like to declare Fields.com website of the week. Shop now, because by Q1 2006 (that's February for you non-business people), it'll all be gone. Or not...
America's Next Top Model starts tomorrow!
I just watched the America's Next Top Model "where are they now?" episode, and let me tell you, I am psyched for tomorrow night's premiere. It starts at 8 p.m. on UPN (that's channel 9 in NYC), and it' s going to be two full hours of pure, unadulterated bliss. Of course, my DVR is busted and I have an acupuncture appointment until 8, so I'm going to have to run home, and I'll probably end up missing the first half hour, but I'll do my best with tomorrow's recap.

As for last season's contestants, a surprising number are doing quite well! Brittany is signed with Next in Los Angeles (and appears to be making a nice living for herself), Brita (the first girl to get kicked off) is a swimwear model in L.A. and is already on a billboard, Christina is modeling in San Francisco, Lluvy is also modeling in California, and even Rebecca, who was one of my early favorites, is modeling for a small agency in NYC. Tatiana, Kahlen, and Keenyah are also in NYC; the former two are trying to get signed (please, Kahlen deserves to be working!) and Keenyah is doing the actress/model thing. Brandy, Michelle, and Noelle are also trying to get signed; Tiffany's doing some hair modeling; and, strangely, the only girl not profiled was Sarah. Oh, and, of course, there's Naima, who won. And I'm sure we can all look forward to annyong "My life as a Cover Girl" spots from her during the upcoming season.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cheryl Shops...Daryl K at Barneys
Since last week was double points week at Barneys (arguably my favorite store on Earth) and because I just got promoted, I decided to treat myself to a mini shopping spree at good ol' 660 Madison--primarily to check out the new Daryl K/Co-Op collaboration. Yes, it's remarkable what I can justify in the name of "research." (Brief history lesson: I discovered Daryl K's 7th Street shop in 1999, my first summer in NYC, and promptly fell in love. While her pants--rivaled only by the also-now-out-of-business Katayone Adeli--give you long, lean, rock star legs, she also makes ultra-flattering jackets and superlight cotton jersey tops. Her company was bought by the Pegasus Apparel Group, which then ran it into the ground, a.k.a. bankruptcy. In the past few years, she's reopened her Bond Street store and produced a very limited collection.) The collection is on the 7th floor, directly to your left when you come off the escalator. But--happy surprise!--not only are they carrying the Co-Op collaboration label, they're also carrying good ol' Daryl K, her signature collection! I was so happy, my eyes welled up with tears. And seeing this obviously had the same effect on many of my fellow fashionistas, as the two racks were ransacked (lots of smalls left; I saw one size large). Thankfully, I found one pair of pants in my size, and they are soooo gorgeous--a molasses-brown stretch velvet, styled like a sailor pant, from the collaboration collection. I also scored a heather-gray short-sleeved jersey top from her signature line. There were two styles of trousers from the collaboration line--the pair I bought and a pull-on pair, both in velvet. Top-wise, Daryl's all about the super-flattering cotton jersey, tricked out with all sorts of cool, figure-enhancing gathers, bands, and seams. There was a leopard-print shrug, two Prada-esque cashmere-blend sweaters (on the basic side, but very well-fitting), several slinky cotton jersey tunic tops, and velvet blazers to match the pants. Her signature line was almost all knits--she has a weird knit pant that looked really long (only size small left), an awesome cotton jersey skirt that looked pleated and kind of Grecian goddess (unfortunately a bit too constricting for my mortal booty), more cotton jersey tops, and some kickass blazers made from a stretch double-knit cotton (yes, even knit blazers). I'm still thinking about the blazers; maybe I'll go back and get one. Well, um, maybe not--prices are not terrible, but they're, well, for those of you who remember her two distinct lines, somewhere between Daryl K collection and K-189. But since I'm trying to adhere to the "buy less, spend more" way of shopping, well, let's just say I'm doing pretty well this fall.
Fashion Week roundup
By now, London Fashion Week is already underway, but here's what happened during the rest of New York Fashion Week. Cathy Horyn loved Narcisco Rodriguez and Michael Kors, interestingly juxtaposed praiseworthy reviews of J. Mendel and Anna Sui, and now offers a final review, in which she takes a big dig at Anna Wintour (yay, Cathy!) and once again praises Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein. Plus, Eric Wilson on new designers. And Suzy Menkes also praises Costa, as well as Ralph Lauren and Zac Posen (whom Horyn almost always gives a hard time). Here's a ton of behind-the-scenes gossip from the Daily.

And, oh yeah, the UK's Daily Mirror declared war on Kate Moss with two days' worth of articles and photos of the supe powdering her nose. First, I'd like to say a big ol' duh--for anyone who's read Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women (a highly recommended read), this is probably not big news. Also, as sick as this is going to seem, it just proves that Moss is the best working model today. Why? Because she even makes doing drugs look hot.
The week in shopping
My apologies to anyone who went to the Auto sale last week--I had the dates wrong, which I didn't find out until I went to the store on Saturday. So, once again, they've got home and fashion accessories from Dwell, Missoni, Etro, and more for up to 80% off. 9/22-9/25; 11-7 Thurs. and Fri., noon-7 Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 803-805 Washington St. (Horatio & Gansevoort Sts.).

Ro's awesome handbags, wallets, and travel bags are $22- $180 at their usually by-appointment-only store. 9/21-9/23; 4-8 p.m.; 150 W. 28th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), ste. 801.

Take 20% off wacky shoes at Beverly Feldman. 9/24; 10-6; 7 W. 56th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

Blame e-mail: Papivore is going out of business, and its hand-painted notecards are $1 and up. 9/24-9/30; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 233 Elizabeth St. (at Prince St.).

Property's ultra-modern furniture is 20%- 60% off. 9/23-10/2; 10-6 weekdays, noon-6 weekends; 14 Wooster (Canal & Grand Sts.).

Nancy Cohen's semiprecious jewelry is up to 75% off (normally $125-$800). 9/23-9/24; 11-7 Fri., 10-4 Sat.; W New York, 541 Lexington Ave. (at 49th St.), 2nd fl.

Save 10% on your Target.com order when you enter code TCTARGETDSGN through 9/21.

Need to stock up on undies or excellent knockoff shoes from Victoria's Secret? Use code FASHION05 at checkout through 9/25 for $15 off a $100 order, $30 off a $150 order, $75 off a $250 order, or $150 off a $500 order.

Oh, how we all love Lord & Taylor coupons.

Finally, check out Cheryl Shops fave Kakkoiimono, a.k.a. Vintage Cool Things. The lovely Ellen has amassed quite a collection of vintage round-toes, wedges, T-straps, boots, and more--a great way to update your fall footwear for less.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

If only I'd heard about this site yesterday...
...it totally would've been Website of the Week. For those of you who are Fantasy Football widows this fall (which, as I recently learned, also includes my sister, LW), it's payback time. The best idea I've seen in awhile is Fantasy Fashion League, a woman-friendly version of the super-dorky male pastime...except instead of football, it's all about designers and awards shows (the Oscars, of course, being the equivalent of the Super Bowl). You form leagues of six women and conduct a "draft" to choose what designers, jewelers, shoe makers and such you each want on your "teams," and then you get points based on mentions in the media (as in, "Kirsten Dunst wore a Chanel dress, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Harry Winston jewelry"). It costs a mere $18 each to join, and each league's winner is entered to win a $1,000 shopping spree at Zappos.com. Um, and checking out what Catherine Zeta-Jones wore to the Golden Globes is way more fun than counting how many receiving yards Randy Moss scored in last week's game. (MW would like everyone know that he's proud to have Randy Moss on his Fantasy Football team, and also that he told me about Fantasy Fashion League in the first place.) Anyway, the fashion season's first big "game" is the Emmys on Sunday, so if you're going to join the league, you've got to have your draft party before then. (Yeah, ladies, there's a party involved in it too!) So read the women's sports pages (i.e. the Sunday Styles section), browse the September Vogue (I haven't even cracked mine open yet!), and get in the game!
Object of desire
As you all know, a girl can never have too many pairs of shoes, and that idiom has, within the past few years, been extended to include boots as well. In last year's Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide, I told you all to buy equestrian boots. That trend was a bit slow to catch on last year, but this year, flats boots are all over the place. I am happy to hear this because 1) I like to wear short skirts, even in the winter, and I feel like a hooker if I wear a mini with high-heel boots, and 2) in my old age, I'm gravitating more toward flats. Also, I'm sticking with the boho-chic look for fall, so when I got an email from Saks with this Jimmy Choo flat boot in it, well, let's just say I had to sit on my hands so that I wouldn't buy it. While $900 is a reasonable amount to pay for, say, a new refrigerator or a couch, I can't bring myself to spend that on a pair of boots. (Well, I can, but I'm not going to.) But isn't it lovely? The perfect, caramel color...a rounded pointy toe...a subtle tassel for a boho-chic finish...soft suede that's sure to get a nice, slouchy shape with wear. Alas, they will not be mine. But you can be sure I'll spend all season looking for the perfect knockoff.
Fashion Week update
Well, ladies and gentlemen, Marc Jacobs's show was on Monday, and by all accounts, it was a hit. (And in a moment that made MW oh so proud, the Penn State marching band kicked it off.) Here's Cathy Horyn's overwhelmingly positive review. See also raves from Suzy Menkes. And here's Suzy on de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, and DKNY and Narcisco Rodriguez, Roland Mouret, Bill Blass, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and others. And, of course, reviews for everything at Women's Wear Daily (more kudos for Marc). I'm off to try Style.com--the site was overloaded all afternoon, presumably by everyone checking out the stellar Marc show. I want to see every last glorious outfit for myself!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Website of the week
Whether you've been reading Cheryl Shops for years, months, or weeks, you probably know that I love a good shoe site. And I do. I'm also quite familiar with most of them, so I was surprised--pleasantly so--when I came across Solestruck. Created for women who love stylish footwear but not high prices, Solestruck blends a chic-boutique feel with, as they put it, online convenience and warehouse selection. Which translates to a lot of cute, trendy shoes at affordable prices. Brands include Chinese Laundry, Dollhouse, Jeffrey Campbell, Rocket Dog, and Seychelles--the selection reminds me a lot of Jasmine Sola and Thom Brown, two Boston-based fashion chains that don't take themselves too seriously. You can shop by brand, or by style (choose from everything from "bohemian" to "special occasion"), color, or trend, which is then subdivided by hue, design, details, and "time away" (a.k.a. occasion). And before I get into my favorites, I'd like to note how grateful I am for the fact that you don't have to click through a million pages--even if there are 500 pumps or 200 styles by BCBGirls, they're all on one page. Also, when you look at the product pages, notice how that, through the magic of Flash, you can roll over the thumbnails to get views of the shoes from all angles. Genius! My picks for fall include this BCBGirls T-strap pump, a fun round-toe style in a wear-with-everything metallic color; I saw this ruched Dollhouse flat in Boston, and I'm glad I now have a second chance to buy it; for those of you still stuck on pointy-toe boots, this Mia boot has a cute kitten heel and a cool ruching detail along the instep; this Rebels embellished pump is a great alternative for those of you who love the embellished trend but aren't too hot for flats; this Rocket Dog boot looks like a Frye and is a third of the price; and I think this metallic flat is surprisingly cute for Steve Madden. Also, deserving of special mention is the brand Seychelles, which gets better every season with their designer knockoffs. To wit: The Shameless is a, well, shameless Marc Jacobs knockoff; I also like the Illicit, the Girlie Man, and the Bonnie & Clyde, which has already been featured in several websites and magazines. So, we've got cute shoes at great prices, which is great in and of itself, but as icing on the cake, all orders ship for free, you have 365 days to make a return, and there's no sales tax. Now I think you can officially call me Solestruck.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fashion Week update
It's early yet--Fashion Week started on Friday--but already Cathy Horyn has coined the priceless term "ishness" and declared the end of irony in fashion. Suzy Menkes gives more straightforward appraisals of DVF, Luella Bartlett, and others, points out the newsworthiness of Project Alabama, and slightly mocks the certainly mock-worthy Tommy Hilfiger. Of course, WWD has comprehensive reviews of pretty much every show thus far. Want to judge for yourself? Style.com has full slideshows of each show.
Cheryl Shops...the real Filene's Basement
Even though I go to Boston several times a year (MW's family lives there, as do several friends of mine), I am, as a bargain shopper, ashamed to say I've never been to the original Filene's Basement on Washington Street downtown. So I went up to Beantown last weekend to visit my dear, dear friend JM, who recently returned to the U.S. after three years in Honduras and is now starting grad school at Harvard (my girl's wicked smaaaaht)--and I decided to do my shopping ambassador duty and take her on a whirlwind shopping tour of her new home. Newbury Street, Charles Street, Prudential Center...blah blah blah. JM wanted to go to H&M, and since Filene's is right down the street, we decided to check it out. I was preparing myself for boredom--after all, I grew up with a Filene's Basement 20 minutes from my house, and I never saw what all the fuss was about (personally, I prefer Century 21 or Loehmann's). But as I discovered, the real Filene's Basement is nothing like the chain stores it spawned. To begin with, the store is literally in the basement of Filene's proper, and its concrete floors and boxes-on-tables merchandising make the chain stores look fancy by comparison. But I took that as a good sign. I was also afraid that the merchandise in the Basement was going to be rejects from the store--i.e. Liz Claiborne blouses and tapered-leg Levi's. Wrong again--I spotted Balenciaga, Marni, Chloé, and Prada on the racks (okay, there was also some Liz Claiborne, but the store has a bit of someting for everyone, and you can't fault it for that), and many of the items still had their original hang tags--from Louis Boston (like the Jeffrey of Boston), Barneys, and Bergdorf Goodman. So that's where that stuff goes. They had a ton of clothes, great handbags, lots of perfume, a huge home-accessories area (including good-smelling, ginormous pillar candles for $3.24), and to-die-for shoes. I had to talk myself out of a four-inch Alexandra Neel stilletto that was marked down to $75. Which brings me to the genius of the real Filene's Basement: the "Automatic Mark Down System." Every price tag has a date on it, and throughout the store hang placards with the dates and corresponding markdowns--after a certain number of days, an item is automatically 25% off, then 50% off, then finally 75% off. (If it doesn't sell, it goes to charity.) Granted, I don't shop at the local NYC Filene's Basement very often, but I don't think their markdown system is that organized (or that cool). JM and I didn't buy anything, but now that she's down with shopping in Boston, she said she's definitely going there with her this-weekend visitors, her old college roommates. As for me, the Basement is going to be my first shopping stop next time I'm up there. Sorry, Newbury Street, but I've got a new favorite.
The week in shopping
I adore Auto's semi-annual yard sale for both ambience and merchandise: save 25% on Missoni linens, 40%-50% on Etro bedding, and discounts on their other unique fashion and home accessories. 9/15-9/18; 11-7 Thurs. & Fri., noon-7 Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 803-805 Washington St. (Gansevoort & Horatio Sts.).

White + Warren's colorful, cute cashmere sweaters are 50% off. 9/14-9/15; 8-6; 80 W. 40th (at 6th Ave.), 3rd fl.

Crazy gift emporium Fredflare.com has fun, funky clothes, accessories, home items, and more for up to 90% off. 9/17; 11-5; 175 N. 10th St. (at Bedford Ave.), No. 3, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Handy with a needle and thread or soap and sponge? Score samples, irregulars, and damaged clothes at Eileen Fisher for 40%-50% off. 9/17; 10-7; 314 E. 9th St. (at 1st Ave.).

Score a stylish, Italian-made Francesco Biasia handbag for 50%-75% off at this cash-only sale. Through 9/14; 9-6; 320 5th Ave. (at 32nd St.), ste. 1100.

Have you, like Diddy, recently parted with your watch? Score a new or pre-owned one by David Yurman, Chopard, or others for up to 70% off at Tourneau's sale. ID required; no cash or checks. Through 9/15; 9-6:30; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

If you're a Barneys cardholder, score double points through 9/18.

Enter code TCSEPTSAVETE to save 10% on your Target.com order through 9/14.

Lord & Taylor is having a shoe sale this week; click here for additional-savings coupons.

Because the Upper West Side is fancy, their street fairs offer more than socks and funnel cakes. To boot, Olive & Bette's is having a sidewalk sale, with Theory, Tibi, Free People, and other cute clothes for up to 80% off. 9/18; 11-6; 252 Columbus Ave. (71 & 72 Sts.).

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Masstige Watch!
If I went to the gym more often, I would've told you earlier, but because I'm incredibly lazy and read this on another blog...Stella McCartney's fall/winter collection for Adidas is now in stores (more specifically, the Adidas store at Broadway and Houston, which happens to be across the street from the Soho branch of my gym). You can preview it here; select items from the collection are already on eBay too.

And for those of you waiting for Stella's H&M collection, word is it drops November 10th. Read all about it here.
Websites of the week
I tend not to write about other blogs a lot, because while I am proud, for the most part, of Cheryl Shops, when I look at other blogs, I often see things that I could or should be doing on Cheryl Shops, and then I start to get all low-self-esteemy. But after reading today's Times article on fashion blogs (in which Cheryl Shops is, by the way, not mentioned--it's okay, I'm dealing with it), I decided to check out the competition. (Okay, sorry, I guess they're not really competition per se, because everyone approaches fashion blogging in her own, unique way, but I have an inner Type A girl, and sometimes she comes out and gets all OCD on me.) Here are my (brief) takes on the blogs mentioned in the article.

I am Fashion, written jointly by a 19-year-old Londoner and an 18-year-old Chicagoan, is the first blog mentioned and scores a photo of one of its writers. I like that they tend to post longer entries, and the design is simple but nice. You can tell, however, that the writers are young, but they both have fresh, very conversational voices.

Blogdorf Goodman has a very clever name and lots of gorgeous photographs, but not much in the way of text. Kind of like Flaunt.

Fashionologie is one of my favorites of the bunch--it's extremely well-written (I'm guessing the writer is actually a writer by profession) and definitely has a strong point-of-view.

Kiss Me, Stace has an adorably girly design, ads (money for the blogger!), and a heavy focus on shoes.

Shoewawa is a far more comprehensive and well-reported shoe site, friendly to both U.S. and U.K. readers. And it's somehow related to The Bag Lady, which is a former Cheryl Shops website of the week. Small world, eh?

The hilariously named Now Smell This is one of several beauty blogs mentioned in the article; as you can guess, it focuses on fragrance. Obsessively. Check out their list of new and upcoming fragrance launches and exhaustive database of perfume reviews.

Beauty Dish is an amusing blog written by an Avon lady. It's also sponsored by Salon.com, so of course it has good exposure. There are kind of a lot of irrelevant posts, but some are pretty funny.

Fashion Addict Diary is the most celebrity-focused of the sites mentioned. It kind of reminds me of Go Fug Yourself, but it's not as funny. Which is probably the point.

The article also mentions Splendora and Flypaper, Bluefly's blog, but I don't think either of these are really worth looking at--both have very short, snappy entries that are obviously edited for consistency, and both are owned by corporate entities (presumably to drum up business). So, yeah, ehh.

Closet Therapy is my other favorite; it's written by a 24-year-old Angeleno in a very conversational yet authoritative tone...and, yeah, okay, it kind of reminds me of Cheryl Shops...if I had photos and a pretty design.

i am pretty nyc, another beauty blog, is also a bit on the bare-bones side, which makes me feel better about Cheryl Shops's design (or lack thereof). It's written by a makeup artist/writer, and contains many useful beauty tips. Which we all can use.

Okay, so after reading all of these blogs, I've decided Cheryl Shops needs a trip to the ol' dermatologist, so to speak--not for a full-on facelift, but maybe for some Botox or a bit of collagen, figuratively speaking, of course. (Hey, I don't need that stuff yet--I got carded two weeks ago!) So sometime in the following weeks, expect a Cheryl Shops makeover. Or as the Fab Five would say, a "make better."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cheryl Shops...Upstate
Due to last-minute change of plans (and the fact that we were out of town nearly every weekend this summer), MW and I decided to spend our Labor Day weekend shopping. (Yes, it was even MW's idea.) Saturday we headed up to Woodbury Commons, one of my favorite places in the world to bargain-shop. I started out with a bang, scoring a gorgeous bra at La Perla for 70% off and a two-tone velvet short-sleeved blazer by Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent (yep, the same one Jessica Simpson has) at Last Call Neiman Marcus for $70. Then I hit a dry spell. BCBG, Gucci, and Theory were all out of control. Space (Prada and Miu Miu), Dolce & Gabbana, and Barneys were still too expensive; Chanel, as usual, had very little merchandise (how does this store stay open?). The store that used to have Celine, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, and other various LVMH brands now just has Celine and Pucci (all of which is still not marked down enough). New additions (since the last time I've been there, at least) include a Michael Kors store, a Sean John, and, coming soon, a Juicy Couture. Also new to me was the American Apparel; as you all know, I'm a huge proponent of American Apparel (well, for the fact that they provide a fair wage and good benefits for their workers, not for the fact that owner Dov Charney is currently being sued for sexual harassment by several former employees). The stock at the outlet is irregular or flawed, and while I saw a bunch of tees with holes in them, I scored five tanks and tees for a sweet $30. Finally, MW and I hit the Gap outlet on a whim; surprisingly, MW scored a pair of his favorite-style jeans for $19 and I got three pairs of work-friendly pants for $70 (all were from last fall's stellar collection, which I liked but which obviously didn't sell too well). Exhausted and in a shopping daze, we headed to our hotel...which was conveniently located next to a Target.

The front-desk lady at our hotel recommended we hit the Palisades Center, down the highway, for dinner. We took a trip down nostalgia lane and ate at the Cheesecake Factory (which was my favorite restaurant when I was in high school), which, let me tell you, is quite the hotspot. So while we were waiting for our table, I checked out the mall, which I had never heard of and which is freakin' huge--in addition to regular mall stores (Lord & Taylor, the Gap, the Body Shop, etc.), there's a Home Depot, a Target, a BJ's Wholesale Club, a Barnes & Noble, a movie theatre, and countless restaurants...and a roller coaster, a carousel, and a ferris wheel. So, of course, we had to go back on Sunday when all the stores were open. MW sat in the food court and conducted his nearly three-hour fantasy football draft, and I shopped. My observations:

1) NYC needs an all-purpose crafts store. I spent nearly an hour in Joann Etc. (a craftier version of Joann Fabrics) and scored cool, cotton/wool blend yarn for a ridiculous $5 a skein (it would be twice that at a yarn store in Manhattan).

2) I am way too old--in mind and in body--to shop at Hollister. Abercrombie & Fitch, on the other hand, had really cute stuff and pants that would accommodate my thighs.

3) Most of the stores at the Palisades Center cater to teenagers--trendy (Forever 21, Rampage), preppy (Hollister, the Gap), or trash-tastic (Wet Seal, Rave). Refreshingly, there are several teen-oriented plus-size shops.

4) I hate all the little carts all over the place, and the people who work there are obnoxious. Really, I am happy with my cell phone provider. So leave me alone and let me shop in peace.

5) I hit Forth & Towne, the new division of Gap Inc. geared toward older women. It's a lot like Banana Republic price-wise , but more classic and traditional style-wise--in fact, I felt like I was in Ann Taylor at times. We're talking "classic-rise" trousers, here. The accessories are nice, though. And I'm sure it will be a hit with the over-35 demographic being targeted. But for me, I'll be sticking with the Gap.

6) Speaking of the Gap, I got a cute pair of trouser-style jeans for $20. This being my fourth pair of Gap pants of the weekend, I've come to the conclusion that Gap pants fit me extremely well. Gap, please don't change your fit model. Thanks.

So that was my weekend of shopping (tax-free, I might add) upstate. But I'm glad to be back in the city so I can start shopping for fall. Speaking of which, I'm already hard at work on the Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide, so look for it sometime in the next two weeks. (Next week is New York Fashion Week, which is going to take up a bit of my time.) Ah, the weather is cooling down, and soon it'll be time to bust out the wool and cashmere. Hayfever aside, fall is, to me, the most wonderful time of the year.
The week in shopping
Showroom Seven has Imitation of Christ, Luella, Orla Kiely and Erickson Beamon clothes and accessories on sale. Through 9/18; 10-7; 498 7th Ave. (at 36th St.), 24th fl.

Head to the fifth floor at Saks this weekend for "the Contemporary Scene," where you can score free hors d'oeuvres, makeovers, and, most importantly, fall clothes.

Score this cute leopard bag filled with 11 high-end samples when you spend $85 on makeup and/or fragrance at Neiman Marcus, 9/9-9/16.

Speaking of Neiman Marcus, they've got a new Last Call section on their website, where you can save up to 65% on original prices.

Get free shipping with your $150 order at eLuxury.com through 9/26.

Save 10% storewide at former Cheryl Shops website of the week SkinStore.com when you enter code NEW10 through 9/20.

This weekend is friends & family weekend at Club Monaco--save 30% 9/8-9/11.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cheryl Shops will return Wednesday, September 7th
Sorry for the delay--I'm suffering from "back to work after long weekend" fatigue. Please check back late tomorrow (or early Thursday) for fresh new postings. Also, if you haven't yet donated money to the hurricane relief effort, check out Go Fug Yourself, which has one of the most comprehensive lists of charities I've seen (yes, pet-rescue charities also). Okaybye.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Websites of the week
I've been watching CNN for the last two hours, and I'm in a state of near-shock over what's going on in New Orleans--people dead in the streets, starving babies, raping and pillaging, sniper fire--and since the leaders of the U.S. government are busy seeing Spamalot (Condi Rice) and stating the obvious (W), well, it's time that we, as U.S. citizens, chip in and help. Instead of treating yourself to a pair of shoes or whatever during tax-free week, send that $100 to someone who really needs it. Here are several options:

Red Cross
Americares
Operation USA

Sorry to be such a downer, but I can't think about shopping right now. Regularly scheduled posts will return next week.