Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shop it: Gilt City San Francisco Warehouse Sale

When people ask me what I miss about New York, I say my friends, followed by restaurants that deliver. (Ok, you can order a pizza or Chinese food here, but that's about it.) But a flurry of recent emails hitting my inbox reminded me of a third thing I miss: sample sales. Will I ever again experience the thrill of finding a runway sample that fits me perfectly for 80% off? Maybe...Gilt City's Warehouse Sale is coming to San Francisco this weekend and promises Helmut Lang, Paul Smith, and other top designers for women, men, kids, and the home, with prices at up to 90% off retail. The one (tiny) drawback is that tickets are $10--Friday night and Saturday morning are sold out, but Saturday afternoon is still available--but, let's be honest, I'd gladly pay that much for the opportunity to claw my way through the racks and dig my way through the bins, all in search of some buried treasure. Plus there will be refreshments, snacks, and mini spa treatments from Exhale (oh, Exhale, I miss you too!). I've got my ticket; now if only we can convince Thakoon, Rag & Bone, and Alexander Wang to come out West...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fall Shopping Guide: Fancy Sweatpants

Confession: A few years ago, I saw a photo of some French woman wearing a black boyfriend blazer with gray sweatpants and pointy-toe lace-up boots on a street-fashion blog, and she looked so cool, I had to replicate the outfit. At least, I tried. The end result was that I looked like I had a one-night stand and borrowed a blazer and a pair of sweatpants for the walk home. Sweatpants were back on the runway for fall, and unlike my earlier American Apparel foray, these styles were much more elevated and luxurious looking. Fancy pants, if you will. (SG, that one's for you.) Maybe now that I'm a Californian, my style is literally going soft, but I'm willing to give luxe sweatpants a try.

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What immediately makes sweatpants seem more luxe than actual sweatpants? Leather! In theory, leather sweatpants seem like a hard sell--in pant form, leather is, more often than not, tight. But in practice, these Alice + Olivia sweatpants are perfectly logical. Think about it: Those snug leather pants you usually buy tend to stretch out after a couple wearings, so why not try an already relaxed style? (These are nearly sold out, but here's a similar style by Elizabeth and James, on sale too.)



Fancy in a more girly way, these 3.1 Phillip Lim crystal-encrusted sweatpants are for women who live in neighborhoods with "Upper" or "Heights" in the name. They are lovely, but I would worry about spilling on them, and those crystals are certainly not machine washable.



Rick Owens has been making luxe sweatpants for years, so one can assume he knows what he's doing when it comes to this slouchy merino wool pair. The shape is certainly a man repeller, but it's not like you were planning on picking anyone up in sweatpants anyway, were you?



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These Haute Hippie embellished sweatpants have an intricate beaded and chain design, which reminds me of those little belts you wear when you take a belly-dancing class. (Um, ok, am I the only one who's ever taken a belly-dancing class?) Of all the styles featured here, I think these would look not totally out of place in, say, a bar.



BCBG's Neta Sweatpants are so intricately designed, they almost don't qualify as sweatpants, but lo and behold, there's an elastic waistband and banded ankle cuffs. Still, their look is so haute, you can probably get away with wearing them to work--even if your office is like a fashion show.



I don't know why these Rag & Bone sweatpants are $350, other than the fact that they're made by Rag & Bone, which makes me immediately want them anyway. I'm going to assume that, like everything else R&B makes, the fit is immaculate, and that's reason enough for me.



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What's even better than Current/Elliott's leopard-print skinny jeans? Current/Elliott's leopard-print sweatpants! Think about it: Same supercool print, but in a much more forgiving silhouette. I am going to buy a pair, put them on Saturday morning, and not take them off all weekend.



I tend to be a bit wary of faux leather because, like all synthetic fabrics, it makes me sweat like a mother effer. So I would approach these BlankNYC faux leather sweatpants with caution, however I really like the just-slouchy-enough silhouette and nicely tapered leg. BYO baby powder.



These Zara velour sweatpants are a tenth of the price of the Rag & Bone style above and look a lot like them, so do you even need to think twice? (I don't; I already ordered a pair.)


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fall Shopping Guide: Boxy Coats

For the first time ever, I don't think I'll be buying a new winter coat this year. In a way, I'm very excited about this--I've always hated winter, particularly those long, long months in the first of the year. But it's also a little bittersweet, because I love coats. I feel like your coat really sets the tone for the season, and you almost have to love it, because you wear the hell out of it for four or five months. I also love seeing coats on the runway, and for fall, it was all about a menswear-inspired look with a double-breasted, somewhat boxy silhouette. I may not actually be investing in one of these beauties, but please buy one and allow me to live vicariously through you.

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I feel like I'm constantly featuring Stella McCartney here, and for good reason--she's one of those designers who manages to be directional and yet totally wearable. I'm a sucker for camel coats, and her boxy peacoat is a great-looking update. I love the super-wide lapel, which counters the shape with a nice softness.



Vionnet's boxy tweed coat is a bit more fashiony, with interesting-looking stripes in a quietly glamorous metallic thread. Bonus: It will be easy to find in a coat room at a party. 



Thakoon is one of my favorite designers (I confess, I will truly miss his twice-yearly sample sale), and while this plaid coat from his Addition line isn't for everyone, I completely adore it. It has an almost grandpa-esque vibe, but his clothes are always cut so well, the end result will be nothing but feminine. 



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I am a flag-waving Steven Alan fan, yes, but I particularly loved his fall/winter show, which was all about slightly boxy, totally borrowed-from-the-boyx looks. And since I was shopping the show while I was there, it's a quite convenient that one can now purchase from it, especially this double-breasted felt coat, which might be lightweight enough to actually wear here. 




Speaking of the runway, I also remember this wool check coat from Trina Turk. While her presentation had a '70s vibe, this style is almost a little '80s with its oversized silhouette. It also looks incredibly warm and sumptuous, which is an important quality in a coat.



Of course, if it's menswear you want, a safe bet is AllSaints, which is a British company and thus totally boss at tailoring. Their Berta coat features a custom-made glen plaid fabric from Mallalieus of Delph, which sounds like a Game of Thrones character so, hey, sold!



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This military-inspired double-breasted coat, at $78, might just be the most expensive thing for sale at Forever 21. That said, it seems like a pretty good bargain, and I like the slightly unconventional olive color. 



Speaking of unconventional color, I can speak from experience when I say nothing fights seasonal affect disorder like a bright red coat. I had a Marc Jacobs one for years that, to this day, makes me smile when I think of it. This ASOS double-breasted coat has a rich burgundy shade that's deep enough to cover up winter grime too. 



Of course, if you've made it this far and price is an issue, I have a few simple words of advice for you: Just go to Zara. Seriously. There are so many great coats there, you'll probably end up buying more than one, and considering this lovely double-breasted wool coat is $60, you can almost afford to get one in each of its four colors (although I'm partial to the green), which is one for every month of winter misery. Sounds like a silver lining to me!