Recently I had some time to kill, and a Bath & Body Works gift card to burn. I snapped up a bag full of body wash, but then I realized I still had more than an hour until I was meeting friends for sushi. So I decided to poke around Kohl’s and J.C. Penney to see if they still had any of the Derek Lam and Pearl by Georgina Chapman (of Marchesa) pieces on clearance.
Well, I definitely hit the jackpot. Obviously these designer collaborations didn’t go over very well at the Southridge mall. It really pays to wait around here. I immediately spotted the maxi dress that I had been admiring at Kohl’s, marked 80% off. Score! It was $18, original price $88. At J.C. Penney, I grabbed two dresses – one for $10 and another for $20 (originally $70 and $110). The lace overlay dress, shown above, actually feels kind of Dolce & Gabbana-esque.
I didn’t like any of them enough to pay full retail, but I love them for the clearance prices. It’s great to have cute dresses that you didn’t spend much on, so you can wear them without panicking if someone spills something on you. I just wish I would have had the Derek Lam one last weekend for the Jimmy Buffett concert.
I resisted and resisted the urge to shop the sales this season, but then I found a few gems that were too good to resist.
Last week, online retailer MyHabit featured a sale with clothing and accessories by American designers. I don’t often check sales during the day, but fortunately my husband was paying attention. Jason Wu handbags were included, at a fraction of their retail price. He snagged an orange and blue mini Daphne bag for less than half the current sale price at Neiman Marcus. Of course I love that it’s orange and blue: Illini and Chicago Bears colors. And it’s a stylish way to jump on the current mini-bag trend without spending a fortune.
I was tempted to grab the larger size Daphne bag too, because it was also an amazing deal! But I resisted because I recently added a patent leather Cambridge Satchel to my collection, which was half price through Gilt Groupe.
Sometimes I actually shop in stores, too. On a recent trip to Neiman Marcus Last Call, my husband found a pair of red Alexander McQueen ponyskin punk skull peep toe pumps hiding behind the jewelry counter. Last pair, in my size, extra 40 percent off. They’re simply too amazing for words. I’ve never seen McQueen heels sold at a price that low. What a find! Too bad I’m not going to make it to New York to see the punk exhibit at the Met.
No this is not a post about the movie. I want to tell you about my recent jewelry purchase. First though, some background information. For weeks (more like months), I was obsessed with the YSL Arty Ring. I read on the Purse Blog forum that it was being discontinued, and of course I decided I had to get one before it was too late! I found plenty of them for sale online, but before taking the plunge I figured maybe I should actually check one out in person. My friend Sara told me the Arty ring is huge and would dominate my hand…not ideal. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any store in Chicago that carries them. I guess I should have tried to get one in Paris. After growing frustrated, I decided to pass. Instead I snagged this great deal from the Outnet — an Alexander McQueen Swarovski crystal-embellished skull ring. The turquoise color is gorgeous, and it is definitely a conversation piece. But the best part is that it cost much less (and is more my style) than the Arty ring.
I attended the Kentucky Derby Party at the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee this year with my husband and a few friends. It was really fun to see everyone so dressed up (a rarity for this town!) I had to coordinate my outfit around my Derby hat, which is black, white and red, so I wore my gold Chanel skirt with a black cashmere tee and my dark red patent leather Lanvin heels. My friend Amy made an adorable seersucker dress that she paired with a vintage hat. My husband Dirk wore his new seersucker blazer. We had a great time and I even picked the winner! Hooray Orb!
Spring in Milwaukee is pretty much nonexistent. You would think I’d be used to it by now, but this year feels just depressing. I think it’s because last year was unseasonably warm. This year, all we seem to get are dark days, tons of cold rain, sleet and snow. Yech.
So what in the world am I supposed to wear when the calendar says April, flowers, pretty pastels, but the weather is freezing and dreary? Pretty much the same stuff I’ve been wearing since um, October…winter coats, scarves, sweaters and boots. I’m ready to revolt.
But this cold weather does have one slight upside. I can wear my new furry Coach “Bea” heels out to dinner tonight, which I thought would have to stay in my closet until fall. I bought them a couple of weeks ago during the Goodwill sale at Boston Store. If you donate clothes for charity, you get coupons for an extra 15 to 20% off anything. Most coupons never work on Coach, so I was really excited to spot these in the clearance room. Regular price, $278. My final price, $60. If you are interested in this style and happen to wear a size 6 like me, they are still available at Nordstrom.
I enjoy designer collaborations, and I generally see them as a good thing. I think they can be a win-win for stores like Target and H&M, as well as the designers when executed well. They bump up the style quotient of the store and hopefully introduce more people to brands like Proenza Schouler and Margiela. These stylish pieces at affordable prices allow more people to get a taste of the fashion industry.
However, the designer and corporation still need to be aware of quality issues and not compromise on materials/construction. In 2010, I purchased a satin tuxedo jacket in the Zac Posen for Target collaboration. I love the piece. Honestly, it was one of my favorite designer cheapies ever. It looks great with jeans and it has really cute details — navy trim, fabric covered buttons, etc.
I wore it a handful of times but not excessively. Maybe a half-dozen times, tops. A few months ago, I pulled it out of my closet and noticed in horror that the seams in the back were completely coming apart. The fabric was wrecked. Torn, shredded, a total nightmare. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, it’s not like I gained tons of weight and ripped it, Incredible Hulk style. Seriously? I took it to my tailor and she said it was a lost cause. She told me the fabric was basically like a big ribbon and it was bound to fray and fall to pieces eventually.
I know the jacket wasn’t that expensive ($49.99), and I guess I shouldn’t have expected it to last forever, but wow. I was pissed. I’m still angry at Target and angry at Zac Posen, or whoever approved this mess. I’m also embarrassed. Shouldn’t I know better than to buy some cheap piece made in who knows where? It really made me question if I even wanted to buy any of the Prabal Gurung for Target pieces. I did get a few, and I really like them, but how they hold up remains to be seen.
I’m still hoping that this jacket can be saved, but it will probably take a very creative miracle. Maybe some of it can be salvaged and transformed into something more fabulous.