Friday, July 18, 2008

Heat Wave

Hello again to all of you in cyberspace. The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising, we're having a heat wave. That's no excuse to lounge by the air conditioner when your fave fashionista has been hitting the pavement in search of hot items that will give you the most BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!

Do you secretly covet the preppy old money look? Nothing to be ashamed of, as these clothes have stood the test of time. My take? Skip the overpriced Ralph Lauren/Lacoste polo shirts. Instead head to SoHo and Uniqlo on lower Broadway where I found fabulous waffle weave polo shirts on sale for $5.90 down from almost thirty bucks. This Japanese owned retailer is always spot on with great sportswear and these tops are going fast so get moving. They also have them for men but only small sizes are left.

Practically across the street between Broadway /Broome is Pearl River Market a terrific Chinese department store. Savvy shoppers should grab the cotton (very vintage-looking) floral print slides, a steal at $3.00. A few more coins will net you darling satin brocade ballet flats in pretty colors that will work right through early fall.

Moving uptown we made a pit stop at Forever 21 - always good for a quick look-see. This go round I snagged a black/white vinyl coated cotton print satchel. OK, so no one will mistake it for a Prada, but I'll wear it with my blk/white Carolina Herrera sheath dress and voila, Crap and Couture! Also noteworthy were the abstract printed airy cotton swingy skirts. Perfect with a simple tee for those dog days.

Some of my best bargain hunting was done further afield… Old Lyme, Connecticut to be precise. A girl's got to get away sometime, n'est pas? Anyway, I found a fabulous consignment shop called Treasures. And while I could have furnished my whole apartment with this shop's very affordable and fabulous furniture etc (yeah right, like I'd actually spend money on anything I couldn't wear), I naturally zeroed in on the RtW and accessory section. In addition to a charming vintage enamel flower pin and some statement making silver cuff bracelets there was also a gorgeous leopard muff in pristine condition and a steal at $125. Before you get on your soap box and place a call to PETA, remember, this cat died a long time ago and I'm just as vehement when it comes to protecting endangered species. Unless you beat me to it, I just might have to make another trip to Old Lyme. So, buy fur in summer? My fashion rule number 1 is that a smart shopper never buys in season only, when some of the best buys are found year round. Tip: When looking for a fur coat, check out your favorite thrift shops in late Feb/March for the best deals. That's how I snagged a vintage Donald Brooks cross-dyed mink jacket for the price of 15 Starbucks lattes. On an entirely different note, let me throw in a bit of culture. While in Connecticut, I stopped off in Guilford, also home to many great resale shops and boutiques, and checked out the Greene Art Gallery at 29 Whitfield Street. Here I fell in love with some marvelous new works, particularly the landscapes in oils and watercolors. The prices won't break the bank and the quality of the pieces was very high. Worth checking out.

Sometimes you really can get something for nothing and don't we all love that. My latest coup was found at the Duane Reade drugstore on Fifth Ave and 43rd street, where I happened upon their Skin Wellness Center (actually many of the larger Duane Reade stores have one). Who knew? What happens is this. You sit down and a technician – in my case a pro named Maria- runs a fancy schmancy gadget over your face, analyzing the skin while you look at the enlarged results on a computer screen. In my case the pics resembled nothing so much as my ostrich skin handbag, but not as supple. Maria then ticked off the results, oily t-zone, dehydrated, sun damage, yada, yada, yada and then handed me a bunch of skin care product samples geared to my skin type. The whole process takes less than five minutes –perfect for a quick lunch hour fix- and best of all there was no sales push.

Here's something that's strictly for the guys although he might have to wait till fall for these hot items – Michael Jordan's latest collection of cool sneakers. My favorites are the Jordan PHLY Legend in white/varsity red/cement gray, and his Jordan Blasé in baroque brown/hay/lt bone. And here's a tip for you girls. If your shoe size is less that an 8 ½ you can get the Jordan "look" from his kids footwear line. I plan on getting a pair to wear with my black Italian designer pantsuit and hitting the pavement in stylish comfort.

If you have any comments, I'd love to hear from you, until next time, C&C.

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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row