Thursday, November 30, 2006

America's Next Top Model recap
I think last night's episode of America's Next Top Model was one of Tyra's all-time most obnoxious ones. From her "art direction" of the photo shoot to her "flamenco" with Ms. Jay, the message I kept getting was, "Hey, look at me! I'm the star of this show!" The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was putting CariDee in the bottom two just because she got out of the water early--when, at the actual photo shoot, Tyra herself yelled at CariDee for not getting out sooner. I hate to use a phrase coined by "president" Bush, but way to flip-flop, Tyra! Now, I was pretty bummed when Michelle got kicked off last week--awkwardness aside, I think she was actually the better of the twins--so I wasn't shocked when Amanda was kicked off this week. Although, if you told me at the start of the season that Melrose, Eugena, and CariDee would be in the final three, I probably wouldn't have believed it. In fact, why is Eugena still in the running? So she can dance. Whoop-de-do. I think it's because last week she used Tyra's million-dollar word: journey. Tyra loves "the journey." Oh, I'm sorry. I just had to swallow the vomit rising in my throat.

So, even though she's a glutton for punishment, I still think CariDee is going to win. (I mean, come on, how amazing does she look in this picture?) Melrose is good, but she's obnoxious, and Eugena is far too inconsistent. If CariDee does indeed win, this will mark the first time in ANTM history that my favorite girl actually wins. Which means she probably won't, but I guess we'll have to wait till next week to find out.
Website of the week
As regular Cheryl Shops readers are aware, I've had trouble finding a new pair of jeans (see here, here, and here). Thankfully, I found several pairs, one from True Religion, plus a few from Old Navy. When I read this article in last week's Times, however, I thought, well, this would've been helpful a month ago. The article is about a site called Zafu.com, in which users fill out a detailed questionnaire about body type, fit preferences, and favorite brands, then the site suggests jeans for you. The site launched in August, and while their accuracy was a bit shaky at first (an estimated 20%-50% of all jeans purchased online are returned), they're now claiming a 94% success rate. (Zafu doesn't sell jeans directly; they earn a commission of 5%-15%.) So, in the name of journalism, I gave the engine a spin.

I filled out the questionnaire, and it gave me 28 jeans that supposedly fit me best, plus an additional 78 pairs that supposedly fit me well. Now, having documented my denim struggles here, I can guarantee you that there are not 106 jeans out there that fit me "well" or "best." Also, the "best" category contains such no-brainers at the Earnest Sewn Hefner, the Joe's Socialite, and the Paige Robertson, all of which fit pretty much everyone. And the "well" category contains the J Brand cigarette jean and the AG Kiss jean, both of which I've tried on and do not fit me (it does, however, recommend the Old Navy skinny jean and the Joe's Cigarette, both of which do work for me). One nice feature, however, is that you can narrow your results by rise, fit in hip, leg style, embellishments, price, and several other categories. However, I think fewer recommendations would've been more helpful--say, 6 or 7 instead of, well, 106.

Which brings me to my other issue with the site. Now, this may be a matter of personal preference, but for a site that's supposed to be suggesting jeans based on body type--and, yes, I know some jeans work for more than one body type--why are they photographing them on models? I will admit, when I shop online, I prefer to see items shot flat or on a dress form, as opposed to on a model. Just because something looks good on a model doesn't mean it's going to look good on me, and if a model's body type is totally different than mine, who knows how things are going to turn out? Case in point:



The first picture shows someone who's probably a regular model and either has an hourglass or slight pear-shaped figure (I'm a "ruler," so this doesn't really help me). The second picture features what the fashion industry calls a "plus-size model" and what the rest of the country calls a "size 12." Again, that doesn't help me and, to be honest, I don't think the jean looks very flattering on her either.

So, while I admire Zafu.com's efforts, I'm not so sure that the perfect pair of jeans can be found through a generic questionnaire. Like dresses, when it comes to jeans, I'm a straight-up advocate of the traditional trip to the department store (or the mall, or your favorite boutique, or whatever). Finding the perfect pair isn't a science--it's an art.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Posts coming tomorrow!
I'm pooped. Please check back later!

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Cheryl Shops public service announcement (sort of)
The term "eating disorder" gets thrown around a lot where the fashion industry is concerned; if I were to generalize, it would be by average people in reference to models, many of whom are naturally thin (or are at least thin because they're not yet 20 years old). Having seen several friends suffer through eating disorders, it really upsets me to see people being called "anorexic" so readily. (Sadly, some models actually are anorexic, an issue that does need to be addressed in the fashion community.) In other words, eating disorders are a very serious thing. So support the National Eating Disorders Association and check out their online auction, which runs through December 6th and features over 100 items from jewelry to ballet tickets. NEDA is dedicated to promoting awareness and education, equal access to treatment, and support for families.

In related news, Nicole Richie has fired her stylist, Rachel Zoe. Somewhere, a starlet throws away her Clenbuterol...
The week in shopping
This is unadvertised, but Clothingline's Theory sample sale actually starts this Saturday (and runs through the 8th). 12/2-12/8; 10-4 Sat., 10-5 Sun. (see website for next week's hours); 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

One of my favorite cashmere labels, Inhabit, is having their must-see sale this week. Thankfully, it's right across the street from my office. 11/29-12/1; 10-6:30; 1441 Broadway (40th & 41st Sts.), ste. 2301.

Cheryl Shops fave Satya is moving its semi-annual sample sale to bigger digs, i.e. its new store in Nolita. If you see MW there, help him pick out a pretty necklace for me. 12/1-12/3; 10-6; 253 Centre St. (Grand & Broome Sts.).

Boho chic label Tocca has staying power (who knew?), so hit this sample sale, worth the schlep to West Chelsea. 12/1-12/2; 11-8; 542 W. 22nd St. (11th & 12th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Leggings, sweater dresses, jackets, and more are 40%-70% off at Alice + Olivia's sale. 11/30-12/2; 9-7, noon-5 Sat.; 80 W. 40th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

I love saying the name Alexis Bittar; his (yes, his) lucite and semiprecious jewelery is now $45 and up. 12/1-12/3; noon-8 Fri., noon-6 Sat., noon-4 Sun.; 391 Broadway (at Walker St.).

If you've been coveting Balenciaga's mod fall collection, you're in luck: It's 40% off. (Sorry, bags not included.) 11/30-12/15; 11-7, noon-5 Sun.; 542 W. 22nd St. (11th & 12th Aves.).

If you're still wearing Petit Bateau's tiny French tees, hit this sample sale. 11/30-12/2; noon-7; 128 W. 27th St. (Broadway & 27th Sts.).

Christopher Fischer's cute men's and women's cashmere sweaters and accessories are up to 80% off (that's $30-$150). 11/30-12/2; 11-7; 80 Wooster St. (at Spring St.).

Colette Malouf's chic hair accessories are below wholeale. 11/29-12/1; 9-7 (9-1 Fri.); 594 Broadway (Houson & Prince Sts.), ste. 1216.

Society-girl favorite Lela Rose has fall and winter samples on sale. 11/28-11/29; 10-6; 224 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 13th fl.

Frette duvets, loungewear, and bedcovers (sorry, no sheets or towels) are up to 80% off. 12/2-12/7; 9-6:30 (9-5 Thurs.); 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

After my trip to the Bridal Garden, I'm a little wary about bridal sample sales, but for the fearless warriors out there, Vera Wang's two-day event features gowns and bridesmaid dresses for 35%-75% off. 12/2-12/3; 9-5; the New Yorker Hotel, 481 8th Ave. (at 34th St.).

Anni Kuan's interesting separates for women are up to 60% off. 11/30-12/1; 10-6; 242 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 11th fl.

Digs has gift-friendly home accessories for up to 90% off. 11/30-12/1; noon-7; 115 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), buzzer 2R.

Save 20% on your $65 or more order at Rubber-Ducky.com when you enter code NOV896 at checkout through 11/30.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Object of desire
I will admit, at the height of their popularity, I owned four Juicy Couture tracksuits. (Two terry, one velour, and one cashmere, which I still wear, but only at home on the weekends.) I also had one of the tube dresses that every store in the world has knocked off. And I also had a bright magenta beach hat, which I still wear, as it coordinates nicely with my bikini while shading my face from the sun. Otherwise, I am pretty much over Juicy Couture. Or I was, until I saw this picture of Kate Moss.



Must. Buy. Now. Of course, I'm of the "everything Kate Moss Wears Turns to Gold" school of thought, but the way she styled her outfit--huge bag, low-slug belt, black opaque tights, ballet flats--is just so cool and so current. In other words, it's outfits like this that show why Kate is such a fashion icon. But, thankfully, this outfit is easy to replicate, unlike Kate's "Oh, I picked this up at a vintage boutique in London" or "Alexander McQueen made this just for me" looks. Yes, dear old Kate is wearing a Juicy Couture sweater dress; it's a mere $300 at Bloomingdales.com.



Crackhead fiancé not included.
The week in shopping
The calm before the storm. Also, please note, from now on, I won't be noting which websites are offering free shipping, since nearly all of them are.

Before you go nuts with the gifts, treat yourself to some Martin Margiela and DSquared2 at this stock and sample sale. Through 11/21; 10-7; 495 Broadway (at Broome St.), 8th fl.

Buy a Baume & Mercier watch at this special sale (prices are 60% off) and 10% goes to the Melillo Foundation for autistic children. Insert obligatory line about giving back at Thanksgiving. Through 11/20; 10-6; Olympic Tower, 645 5th Avenue (at 51st St.), 5th fl.

Betsey Johnson has party-friendly frocks for up to 60% off on girly frocks. 11/24; 9-8; check website for locations.

Denim Blitz has designer jeans for men and women in all sizes. Through 11/26; 11-8, 11-4 Sun.; 128 W. 37th St. (Broadway & 7th Ave.).

Save up to 40% on select handbags at Begeren, while supplies last.

Save 20% on almost all non-sale items at Cheryl Shops fave Active Endeavors when you enter code "thankyou" at checkout now through 12/24.

Save 50% on select merchandise at BCBG stores; see website for locations & hours.

Save 30% on select fall/winter items at Oilily; see website for locations.

Save 20% on your order at Ben Sherman when you order two or more items and enter code THANKS2006 at checkout through 11/26. Got that?

Save $40 when you purchase 3 "celebri-tees" at Famous Fashions Found when you enter code CELEBRITEE40.

Get a free 4 oz. philosophy Sugar Cookie body wash at Sephora.com when you enter code SUGARCOOKIE at checkout, while supplies last.

Get $20 off a $100 order, $50 off a $250 order, or $100 off a $500 order at Shopbop.com when you enter code GETGIFT through 11/27.

Save 20% on all orders at ShopLAStyle.com when you enter code "snowflake" at checkout through 12/24.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

MasstigeWatch!
Three quickies!

1. Style.com reports that the Roland Mouret for Gap line will hit select stores on December 1 (click on the link for details). The more I see of the line, the more I like it. I think this one's definitely worth waiting in line for. I work a block away from the Times Square Gap, so I'll be there, duking it out with the Conde Nasties. (The dresses, by the way, are already selling on eBay for upwards of $200.)

2. I'm a little behind on this one, but as everyone pretty much knows by now (although it hasn't been officially announced, has it?), Proenza Schouler is the next Go International designer. Fashionologie has a little preview here. Meanwhile, No Good For Me reports that former Perry Ellis (and current Paco Rabanne) designer Patrick Robinsion is in talks with Target to come after the dynamic duo.

3. In her weekly Critical Shopper column, Alex Kuczynski reports on the Viktor & Rolf for H&M hoopla. (I meant to cover this last week, by the way, but my job has been a little nuts lately, thus making it hard for me to post from work, then that night I had the Housing Works Gin Mingle--emphasis on Gin--which left me out of commission for the rest of the week.) I decided V&R weren't worth missing two hours of work, so I went to H&M on my lunch hour last week. I ended up getting the ribbon-print dress, the silk tap pants, and the black silk bathrobe, which I'm going to wear as a dress. (Why not? It's too chic to wear as a robe!) I decided, however, that the ribbon-print dress was really not very flattering on me, so when I went to return it, I was stunned to see that there are still a few racks of V&R merch at the store (I went to 34th & 7th). The skinny pants are still abundant, as are the angora sweaters; there were a few dresses, tees, and tuxedo jackets too. So if you're hungry for more, there are still a few tasty morsels left.
So that's why you have to check your coat at sample sales...
I tend to get annoyed when I have to check my coat (and especially my purse) at sample sales, but after reading this item in today's Page Six, it all started to make sense.

ADAM Lippes, who started the adam+eve fashion line two years ago, caught a group of four shoplifters who are suspected of knocking off sample sales all over town and selling the wares on eBay and street corners. Lippes was holding a sample sale at Milk Studios on West 15th Street Tuesday afternoon when four large women in trenchcoats came in. Mark Leffam, adam+eve design director, said, "One of our customers alerted Adam that the women were stealing stuff." When they went to the check-out line, each with one item, Lippes asked the ladies to take off their coats. One woman tried distracting Lippes by pulling open her shirt exposing her breasts and yanking open her pants while shrieking, "What are you trying to say? Look! I ain't got nothing on me!" Lippes, unfazed, insisted the women take off their coats. Inside them, he found "huge fake butts made of nylon in which they had stuffed over $7,000 worth of clothing apiece," Leffam said. Lippes and his staff kept the perps at the studio until police arrived. "They started begging and crying and went away in handcuffs," he said. At the station, police told Lippes "they found even more stuff hidden . . . elsewhere." Eww.


That gave me a pretty good laugh. And it makes my sample sale mania seem much, much less crazy.
Cheryl Shops...the Steven Alan sample sale
So, yes, I was joking earlier in the week about not going to the Steven Alan sample sale. I always try to go to this one, not only because Steven Alan is one of my favorite boutiques in NYC, but the sale is one of the best places to get cool, indie, downtown-type labels at usually quite reasonable prices. Today was the first day, and I headed over after work. The sale is huge, with two floors, but you have to buy stuff on each floor--you can't make one big purchase at the end, which was kind of annoying, but ended up working out pretty well for me in the end. The first floor has a lot of Steven's famous button-down shirts (for guys and girls), as well as some men's stuff and a lot of women's jeans (Rogan, Trovata, Habitual) and sweaters (I found a cute thin-striped cashmere sweater for $35--nearly 90% off!). The lower level had more Steven Alan shirts, plus racks sorted by designer, most of whom I'd never heard of, although I did recognize Alice Roi (lots of gorgeous sweater dresses), Christopher Deane, and Alex Gaines. There were also a few Anna Corinna bags, but since my City Tote is finally en route to me, I managed to refrain. I was tempted to get a gorgeous cropped bouclé wool jacket from Christopher Deane (it was just $50), but I stayed focused on my mission, which was actually to get a birthday present for MW. And I did, but since MW reads this, it's going to have to stay a secret until next week. Anyway, the sale is definitely worth checking out, but be prepared to spend a lot of time (there's a lot of merchandise!) and effort (some digging might be necessary to unearth the best deals). The sale runs through Sunday, at 87 Franklin Street (between Broadway & Church) in Tribeca.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

America's Next Top Model recap
I'll admit, I was a little sad to see Anchal leave on last week's America's Next Top Model, especially after the ridiculousness of last week's challenge--Tyra really outdid herself on that one. Asian/Southeast Asian girls are really underrepresented on that show (as well as in the modeling world in general), and while Anchal didn't have a "runway" body, she had a totally gorgeous face and I thought she photographed pretty well. Unlike Jaeda, who finally got a long-overdue cut tonight. In this week's action-packed episode, the girls had an acting lesson, wherein we all found out that CariDee once tried to kill herself. Yikes. CariDee, however, is a fighter, and she kicked butt in the challenge, winning herself a guest spot on One Tree Hill. The girls also found out they'd be traveling to "the fashion capital of Spain," Barcelona. (And thus came my favorite part of the episode, when Tyra, grasping at straws, said Spain was home to Custo Barcelona, Balenciaga--the namesake designer, not Nicolas Ghesquiere, whose mortorcycle bag was shown in the photo illustration for our benefit--and...model Esther Canadas!) MW and I took a trip to Barcelona a few years ago, so the scenery is bringing back fond memories for me. Anyway, after dinner with some Spanish male models, the girls found out they'd be filming a Secret commercial in Catalan, the crazy-sounding weird Spanish dialect native to Barcelona. Everyone but Melrose and, strangely, Eugenia, sucked; Jaeda totally flipped out; and I don't know what happened with CariDee exactly, but she looked kind of retarded. Like, literally, she looked retarded. For dramatic tension, I'm sure, she was in the bottom two (the lesson: don't let Tyra down!), but I'm kind of over the twins and I'm now rooting for CariDee. Although, from next week's scenes, it doesn't look like that episode will be a cake walk for her either...

Next week, go-sees in the big city (is it really the fashion capital of Spain? Wouldn't that be Madrid?) and a photo shoot that's sure to anger animal-rights activists!
Website of the week
My dear acupuncturist*, JL, is leaving tomorrow for London and Paris, so I sent her a list of where to go shopping. She already knew about Topshop, which is actually deserving of the hype. But as I was compiling my list, I realized that while, yes, British clothing stores are awesome, their shoe stores are possibly even better. One of my favorite Brit shoe stores, Office, was a past website of the week here at Cheryl Shops. Of course, Topshop sells shoes too, but unfortunately they don't ship to the U.S. Yet. So in the meantime, there's Neet Shoes, a site that sells a small but focused collection of, well, neat shoes. I love British shoe stores because unlike most American shoe stores, which sell a lot of basic, tasteful styles in neutral colors like black and brown, the Brits know how to have a bit of fun with their footwear. Take, for instance, this Lisa boot. It's black, rounded toe and with a sturdy two-inch heel, but the paneling at the ankle is a clever way to disguise the elastic gussets--and it's unlike anything else you'd see in the States.


I'm generally not a big fan of pre-slouched slouchy boots, but this one has such interesting detailing, with the suede cuff and the drawstring, that I don't even mind.


I never thought I'd want a pair of teal and metallic blue knee-high boots, but I'm finding this style absolutely irresistable. I have no idea what I'd wear with them, but that's never stopped me before.


Of course I love the Imogen flat because it has a butterfly on it, but it's the first pair of butterfly shoes I've seen that hasn't looked totally slutty. In fact, they look rather smart.


And their "party shoes" definitely live up to the name--I love the mermaid-like look of the Adriana flat, and the heel is suitable for all-night dancing and schmoozing.


Now, I have good news and bad news. Bad news first: As anyone who reads the newspaper knows, the dollar is not exactly strong right now, and exchange rates aren't in our favor. In fact, it's almost two dollars to the pound. So while these shoes are quite reasonable for the Brits, they're in the $125-$250 range for us. But the good news, other than the fact that you'll have the coolest shoes ever, is that shipping is a flat rate, so you can order as many pairs as you want and not get charged extra for it. Well, except at customs. But, hey, it's still more affordable than a trip to London, right?

*If you need an acupuncturist referral, e-mail me. JL kicks ass.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The week in shopping
This week is a doozy. Thank god I just paid my AmEx bill.

Um, hey, so, Steven Alan is so not worth going to, so I suggest you stay away, okay? Thanks. 11/16-11/19; 8:30-8 Thurs. & Fri., noon-7 Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 87 Franklin St. (Church & Broadway).

Time to throw elbows: Dolce & Gabbana (plus D&G and D&G Junior) for men, women, and children is up to 70% off. 11/17-11/19; 9-6 Fri., 10-6 Sat., 11-5 Sun.; 85 Spring St. (Broadway & Crosby), 2nd fl.

Adam+Eve makes great knitwear and great sportswear too. 11/14-11/17; noon-8; 450 W. 15th St. (9th & 10th Aves.), 4th fl.

Araks makes the most luxurious cotton lingerie I know; bras are $5-$35, camis are $5-$25, undies are $35, and swimsuits are $30-$100. I'm there! 11/16-11/17; 8-8 Thurs., 9-6 Fri.; 52 Walker St. (Church & Broadway), 5th fl.

Sexy, well-cut clothes and accessories from Barbara Bui are up to 90% off. 11/15-11/17; 10:30-7; 115-117 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Etro's luxe Italian coats, separates, and accessories are 85% off. Through 11/14; 10-6; 37 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 9th fl.

Miguelina's feminine boho-chic clothes are roughly 60% off. Think velvet, silk, brocade. 11/15-11/17; 11-6; 20 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 6th fl.

Nicole Farhi makes chic yet interesting clothes for men, women, and children; score them for up to 85% off at this sale. 11/17; 10-6; 14 E. 60th St. (5th & Madison Aves.), 2nd fl.

Ports 1961 makes classic yet cool clothes that are great for work; score them at up to 90% off at this sale. 11/16; 10-6; 601 W. 26th St. (11th & 12th Aves.), ste. 875.

Artsy-chic downtown girl clothes from Mint are at least 50% off. 11/16-11/17; 9-7; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 508.

Aeffe has Gaultier, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, and other covetable designers for at least 60% off; this sale usually features true sample sizes (4's and 6's) and lots of crowds. 11/15-11/18; 10-6, 11-5 Sat.; 30 W. 56th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

Yigal Azrouel is a master with jersey; score his pricey dresses for a mere $130 and skirts for a bargain $65. 11/14-11/16; 9-7, 9-5 Thurs.; 225 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

This week, Clothingline is hosting a Kooba sample sale, with their trendy leather bags at 60% off. Check out Clothingline's site for a preview. 11/14-11/17; 10-7 Tues. & Thurs.; 10-6 Wed. & Fri.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Silver and gold jewelry from celeb fave Me&Ro is up to 75% off. 11/16-11/17; noon-7 Thurs., 10-7 Fri.; 13 Crosby St. (Grand & Howard Sts.), 2nd fl.

Shoes from Cynthia Rowley, nancy nancy, and Nancy Geist are $80 and up. Through 11/17; 10-6:30; 307 7th Ave. (at 27th St.), ste. 2307.

Starlets love Cesare Paciotti's sexy shoes, and now they're 60%-80% off. 11/14-11/15; 10-7; 833 Madison Ave. (at 69th St.).

Vivienne Tam's chic, Asian-inspired women's line is up to 75% off. 11/15-11/17; 10-8 Wed., 10-7 Thurs., 10-6 Fri.; 550 7th Ave. (39th & 40th Sts.), 20th fl.

Trendy costume jewelry from Ben-Amun is 50%-60% off. 11/14-11/16; noon-6:30; 246 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 12th fl.

Chaiken's work-friendly separates are 50% off. 11/14-11/15; 8-8 Tues., 9-noon Wed.; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

Rebecca Taylor's clothes don't fit me, but I still love them nonetheless; they're at least 50% off at this sale. 11/16-11/17; 8-8; 336 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 11th fl.

Cashmere, cashmere, and more cashmere: get it at White+Warren for $85. 11/15-11/17; noon-6 Wed., 8-6 Thurs., 8-noon Fri.; 80 W. 40th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Triluxe Showroom has a fashionista-worthy selection of J.Lindenberg, Allegri by Victor and Rolf, and Georgina Gina for 50%-80% off. 11/16-11/19; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 270 Lafayette St. (at Prince St.), ste. 1504.

Figure-forgiving Lafayette 148 clothing is a whopping 80% off. 11/17-11/18; 9-7 Fri., 10-6 Sat.; 148 Lafayette St. (Grand & Howard Sts.).

Save 15% at Cheryl Shops fave Satya's brand-new Nolita store for two days only. 11/17-11/18; 11-7 p.m.; 253 Centre St. (Grand & Broome Sts.).

Get free ground shipping on everything at Cheryl Shops fave Ravinstyle when you enter code freeship06 at checkout through 11/24.

eLUXURY has a lovely beauty gift with your $85 purchase; enter code GIFT at checkout while supplies last.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Website of the week
Even though it's slightly warmer this week, the heat is on full blast in both my office and my apartment. By early afternoon, my nose starts to get itchy, and I have to slather lotion all over my hands immediately after I wash them. The worst part about indoor heat, however, is that it dries out my mouth. In winter, I become a lip balm addict, using it at least once an hour while I'm awake (at nighttime, I've been known to slater Aquaphor all over my mouth before going to bed). Thankfully, this year, I've discovered KissFix.com (formerly LipMedic.com), a website devoted solely to lip balm. You can shop by brand, flavor, size, ingredients, containers, color, and basically any other lip balm characteristic you could think of. Even more helpful, most balms feature user reviews.

While I'm not a fan of lip balm that comes in tubs (hello, germs!), I might make an exception for this Badger Sleep Balm, a nighttime lip balm that contains soothing, sleep-inducing ingredients.


In spite of the nasty name, Chicken Poop is a best seller and has a lovely lavender scent.


Another unfortunate name, the MoistStic (I hate the M-word) is minty and features vitamin E and tea tree oil to soothe chapped lips. In other words, come January, I'm really going to need this stuff.


And, this doesn't really solve my dry-lips problem, since it would probably make me want to constantly lick my lips, but this Lemon Mousse Ganache for Lips sounds absolutely delicious.


Shipping is just as cheap as the lip balms (average orders cost $1.80-$3.50) and arrives within 3-10 business days. Which is excellent, because in the case of dry lips, sooner is definitely better than later.
To the anonymous commenter who suggested I try Old Navy skinny jeans...
...thank you! While running errands last weekend, I stopped in Old Navy on a whim. Their special edition skinny jeans were on sale for $24.50, so I thought why not? and decided to give them a whirl. Holy cow. I kid you not, these jeans fit way better than most of the $200 pairs I tried on at Barneys, Bloomingdale's, et al. In fact, they're so great, I got a pair in black too. The nice thing about them is that "regular" length is more like ankle-length on me, so they're perfect for wearing with flats or tucking into knee-high boots. This is the dark-wash pair I bought; the black-wash pair has back besom pockets, and I can't find it online. But for those of you who've been balking at paying three figures for a trend that's not going to be around for too much longer (or for one that isn't ultra-flattering), give Old Navy a try. Seriously.

Speaking of denim, for the label lovers out there, Bluefly has some notable new arrivals--earlier today, I spotted both the Earnest Sewn Harlan jean and the Joe's Cigarette jean (my second-runner-up in the skinny jeans search).
The week in shopping
From now until Christmas, get ready for the marathon sample sale season. I will, of course, be posting sales here every Monday night, but to prepare yourself, check out the Shophound's sample sale tips. Now, onto the sales...

Jimmy Choo's highly coveted shoes, boots, bags, and various leather goods are 60% off and up. Through 11/8; 9-6; Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Fight off the fashionistas at Earnest Sewn's sample sale, where jeans for men and women are $60-$85. 11/8-11/11; 8-8, 10-5 Sat.; 72-76 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

The Denise Williamson Showroom, sometimes a good sale and sometimes an iffy one, has Trovata, Rag & Bone, and Sass & Bide, for men and women, for 70% off. 11/9-11/11; 9-7, noon-6 Sat.; 119 Mercer St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), loft 2S.

Brave the hordes of aspirational hipsters at A.P.C.'s Williamsburg sale. 11/10-11/12; noon-7; 33 Grand St. (at Kent Ave.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Museum-like vintage store What Comes Around Goes Around has select merchandise for $10-$200 (yep, those are sale prices, kids). 11/9-11/12; 11-8, noon-7 Sun.; 351 W. Broadway (Grand & Broome Sts.).

Cheryl Shops fave Boucher has precious and semiprecious jewelry for 15%-35% off. Through 11/12; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 9 9th Ave. (Little W. 12th & 13th Sts.).

Trendy (but nice) E.D.E. Studio bags are up to 80% off. 11/8; 6-9 p.m.; Surrey Hotel, 20 E. 76th St. (5th & Madison Aves.).

Delman shoes: Good enough for Marilyn Monroe, good enough for you. Plus, they're wholesale and below. Through 11/9; 10-7; 730 5th Ave. (56th & 57th Sts.), 8th fl.

Ted Baker London's British (duh) clothes for men and women are $60-$450. Cash and checks only. 11/8-11/10; noon-7 Wed., 11-7 Thurs. & Fri.; 215 Park Avenue South (17th & 18th Sts.), ste. 2001.

Luxe, California-inspired cashmere sweaters from Alexander Wang are a mere $50-$150. 11/9-11/11; noon-6; 210 5th Ave. (at 25th St.), 10th fl.

Ghost is reportedly closing shop; feminine dresses and separates are 60%-70% off. 11/9-1/31; 11-7, noon-5 Sun; 28 Bond St. (Broadway & Lafayette Sts.).

DDC LAB has denim & sportswear for men and women for 80%-90% off. 11/8-11/11; 11-6; 7 Mercer St. (Canal & Howard Sts.).

Monica Byrne's vintage-inspired eveningwear is 75% off and more. 11/8-11/11; 10-8; 199 Lafayette St. (at Broome St.).

It's First Call sale at Neiman Marcus; save up to 40% and get free shipping on a $150 order when you enter code FREESHIP through 11/13.

Save 10% at Cheryl Shops fave The SkinStore.com when you enter code FALL10F at checkout through 11/14.

And, if you wear a size 7 shoe, head over to Clothingline, which has Michael Kors sample-size shoes this week (plus Free People). See website for details.
Sales and more coming Tuesday night
The good sales this week don't start until Thursday anyway. But please check back tomorrow!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

MasstigeWatch!
There are so many happenings in the world of masstige, they warrant a second post this week! So I'm going to get right to it.

The big news is that the Viktor & Rolf for H&M collection drops next Thursday. As suits the wonderfully wacky designers, you can preview the collection in a wonderfully wacky Flash-enabled minisite at H&M's website. The offerings range from a $10 bra to a $349 wedding dress; everything is pretty typical Viktor & Rolf--kind of retro secretary meets turn-of-the-century French prostitute. In other words, I don't think the line is going to sell out in an hour like Stella McCartney's last year, but there are some cool pieces. The skinny pants look great, I love the black-and-white underwear, and for those who can pull it off, there's an ultra-sexy tuxedo. Here are some of my favorite looks.


















Like a starlet who's three hours late to an industry party, the Gap is getting in on the masstige game with 10 dresses from Brit designer (and It Girl fave) Roland Mouret. Three are part of Gap's (RED) initiative, with 50% of their sale prices going to the global AIDS initative. You can preview the entire collection here, and while I found the sketches somewhat unimpressive, the actual dresses look pretty cute on Lily Cole et al., below. Now, here comes the catch: The line will be sold mostly in Gap's overseas stores; a very limited number will be available in select NYC stores only, at some point later this month (the dresses hit the racks in Europe on Tuesday). I have my eye on the gray shirtdress (which, on my frame, will need a belt).


Target, no stranger to masstige, now has an exclusive line designed by Rafe, featuring $19.99 clutches and evening bags to $49.99 hobos and doctor's bags. The good news, for Rafe fans at least, is that the bags are very, well, Rafe--buckles, stitching, zippers, hardware. The bad news is that they're PVC (although for $50, did you expect leather?). Still, I think this doctor's bag is pretty cute.


Finally, this isn't really masstige per se, but the Thursday Styles section had a really interesting article today on what's become of Helmut Lang. To make a long story short, Prada bought the line, Helmut quit, Prada sold it to Link Theory (parent company of, yes, Theory), and they hired husband-and-wife team Nicole and Michael Colovos, who, coincidentally, left the label they started, Habitual jeans. However, instead of the high-fashion bastion of minimalism that Helmut Lang was in the '90s, the new direction for the label is "contemporary," i.e., it will now be sold next to Theory, Vince, and their breathren in places like Scoop and Fred Segal. So far the designers appear to be remaining true to Lang's aesthetic, but--sacre bleu!--they're cutting the skinny jeans to flatter more bodies, a move that's sure to alienate all the size-0 high fashion tastemakers out there. What will be interesting to see is whether the revamped line translates to the "contemporary" customer. In other words, is the girl who buys the boot-cut Max C trousers from Theory and the cute blouses from Marc by Marc Jacobs going to be into Helmut Lang's minimalist, androgynous, ultra-modern look? It's anyone's guess. While I definitely appreciate Lang's legacy, I, for one, prefer to look like a woman.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

America's Next Top Recap Episode
Okay, seriously, what's up with the ANTM recap episode when there are still seven girls in the running? Don't they normally do it when it's down to the final three? Is this just a way to stall until sweeps week? I'm going to be really pissed if there's another one later in the series. However, after sitting through the whole thing, I'm happy to report that Jaeda actually has a personality, and I kind of love CariDee for having farted on camera. Next week (god willing), the girls fall down and stuff. Fun! Also, how airbrushed is this picture of Tyra? I love how she has a doctor come on her talk show to prove her breasts are real, but girlfriend can't take a photograph without having it Photoshopped to within an inch of its life. Who needs to be America's Next Top Model when you can have your own personal retoucher?
Website of the week
Historically speaking, cashmere has been both expensive and frumpy. Case in point: My very first cashmere sweater--which I was very excited about, because at the time, it seemed so luxurious and grown-up--was a black V-neck that I got for Christmas one year when I was in college. It was from Lord & Taylor, and it had a rather boxy, unflattering cut that did nothing to enhance the luxury of the yarn. (However, I was carrying around an extra 15 pounds or so--yes, I actually did gain the freshman 15--and I didn't mind hiding behind a shapeless sweater.) I had that sweater for years, until the underarms became threadbare and multiple moth holes got the better of it. In the 10 or so years since I got my extra-special present, cashmere has become less of a luxury and more typical, almost essential. Those shapeless cashmere sweaters are still sold at the big departments stores, but now you can snag one for about $80, or even less once the winter clearance sales come around. Even Wal-Mart, god forbid, has gotten in on the cashmere game, although their $50 sweaters (yes, I've been unfortunate enough to see them up close) are made, as one would imagine, of the crappiest cashmere available. And I'm sure Wal-Mart still managed to screw various goat farmers, yarn spinners, and sweater factories along the way regardless. I digress--my hatred of Wal-Mart deserves its own post. So, while prices have gone down and cashmere has become less elusive, several companies have emerged in recent years to give cashmere sweaters a more youthful and fashion-forward look--these aren't your grandmother's cashmere sweaters. White + Warren and the ultra-pricey Lutz & Patmos are two labels that come to mind, but my favorite of these new cashmeres is Inhabit, a company I stumbled across two years ago; their showroom is directly across the street from my office, and their sample sale was the rare one I attended after being handed a flyer on the street. Inhabit uses earthy, neutral colors that look good on everyone, and their sweaters are constructed very interestingly, with diagonal panels and wrap-around seams, draping techniques usually reserved for woven garments, and unfussy details like inside-out seams. But aside from their semiannual sample sales, their sweaters are somewhat hard to find, and I've only seen them in a handful of small boutiques, like Steven Alan. But, thankfully, you can now shop directly from Inhabit's website! The selection is somewhat limited, especially for those of us used to the bonanza that is their sample sale, but the styles offered are timeless, in Inhabit's own chic way.

The fine-gauge draped cashmere sweater is probably their most recognizable style (I own it in red), if only because Nicole Richie has been photographed in it. It's a much softer, less grandpa-ish take on the cardigan, and it drapes beautifully.


Here's an updated version, in a longer silhouette. I think this would look great belted, with leggings and boots or skinny jeans. I can only imagine how soft and luxurious it is.


This cashmere wrap cardigan has some of the seam detailing I mentioned earlier, making it the most flattering wrap sweater around.


A lot of the styles come in cotton too--perfect for spring and summer. The prices on these lightweight styles are a bit easier to handle too (this isn't Wal-Mart, so the sweaters don't come cheap, my friends). Inhabit's sweaters aren't what one calls "affordable luxury" (one of my least favorite oxymorons of all time); just luxury with good design. And I'll take a pricey, flattering, luxe cashmere sweater over a boxy, shapeless, $80 one anyday.