Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Steals and Deals: More Great Finds

Neither rain, nor sleet nor bad hangover can keep this intrepid reporter from her fashion rounds in an effort to bring you the best stuff at affordable prices.

I started my quest at the Walmart Holiday press event. For most bang for the buck it’s hard to top this retailer’s many brands. I will personally make the schlep to Secaucus, NJ via bus from Port Authority’s terminal. Here’s what I MUST HAVE: Faded Glory’s – get this – reversible puffy jacket that comes in lots of fab colors and retails for only $15.00, or the price of two Starbucks lattes.

It's Winter, Bubble-Up at WalMart!

Another steal is Walmart’s private label zip top mini shoulder bag in genuine suede. For $14. I plan on getting it in the purple, as well as burgundy. For those dreary winter zero temp days I’ll opt for their version of the Ugg boot in black. At $12. I might even spring for the brown pair also. All Holiday merchandise should arrive in store by mid-November so don’t hesitate as at these prices the merch will fly out.

Speaking of footwear, I must let you in on a terrific secret – Payless offers some of the best looking “designer” shoes and bags specifically for this retailer. While I recently saw the gorgeous spring collections, I’m here to tell you about Christian Siriano’s Holiday offerings. They’re in store now but at these prices the shoes will blow out. I already bought his cute black/white/red print flats with gold zipper detail on the vamp. What also sold me was the gold metal trimmed heel. I know what you’re thinking – the shoes sound gaudy but let me assure you they are adorable and will go with everything in you closet right through spring/summer. The price? A whopping $29.95. There’s also a matching bag, but I prefer Siriano’s black patent shopper with detachable shoulder strap and simple chain detail on the front. With zips and pockets galore inside the pink lining, this is a versatile piece and a real deal.

Want more bang for your buck? Then why not check out the new consignment shop, Second Time Around at 1040 Lexington Avenue (www.secondtimearound.net). I took a look recently at the affordably priced items (all less than two years old), that are priced 1/3 to ¼ of the original retail. My friend picked up a chic, barely worn pair of Stuart Weitzman suede pumps for under $60 while I took note of the affordably priced range of sweaters and trousers. The merchandise changes frequently so it’s a good idea to look in often. The merchandise ranges from high end designer labels to better name brands.

When I attended Right Light PR’s press event, I wasn’t prepared for a fashion overload but that’s exactly what I got. Surrounded by a gallery full of various designer merchandise – from rtw to accessories and footwear – I was in hog heaven. Admittedly some of the collections don’t fall into my Steals and Deals category, there was more than enough to satisfy my craving for bargains. So check out the following brands:

Little Rooms (www.littlerooms.com) , is a California-based jewelry line with a unique look. From the Thornwall Collection, I fell for the clever “Cityscape” bangle available in either gold or nickel plated finish. What this is, teeny little three dimensional skyscrapers that surround the bangle and form the design. No retail prices yet but my guess is that these will retail around $75. Also cute is the “Small Radio” pendant that I found charming in the antiqued gold plated finish but nickel and sterling are also available. The design references those old ‘30s dome shaped radios and looks to be a steal since the wholesale price is only $14. Radio Stud earrings are also available with silver based posts.

Jlee Silver is a Chicago-based designer RTW collection at bridge prices. While not cheap, the quality and styling compares very favorably with other top young designer names like Alexander Wang and Jason Woo but at lower prices. I found the collection to be wearable by almost every age since the styling is classic yet with a focus on fabulous materials and unique prints. Some of the highlights from the spring collection include a strapless sheath (with side seam pockets) in silver linen, that will retail for $178. the rust leopard (or solid lilac) shift at $170. and every single one of the gorgeous tunics. These range anywhere from $125. -$148.00. For more info on customer service go to Lindsay Waldron at Lindsay-@-fashionheist.com.

While I don’t usually go gaga over tee shirts ( I get enough of them in event goody bags) I have to tell you about Trash and Luxury’s line.
I flipped over the screen printed vintage Vogue and Harper’s bazaar covers that are simply TOO DIVINE. Styles include a pocket dolman sleeved tee, a drop hem tank, scoop neck with pocket and more. The tees will run you around $60 but my personal favorite is the “Eiffel Tower Bazaar” skinny scoop tee on black ground at $50. While these may seem like a lot of money the quality of the fabrics not to mention the “look-at-me” factor makes this line worth the bucks.

That’s all for now. Coming soon: more spring fashion events C&C

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cold Comfort

I just returned from my semi-annual jaunt to Montreal, where it was colder than usual for early fall. Naturally, this meant that I had to hit even more shopping centers than usual just to keep warm. In my endless quest to bring you the most interesting fashions and trends I scoured every neighborhood and came up with two fabulous new boutiques. I have to be honest with you, both feature rather pricey clothes and accessories but in both cases, you’ll definitely get your moneys worth in terms of high style and impeccable workmanship.

Boutique Scandale at 3639 Boulevard St. Laurent (www.boutiquescandale.com), offers a very chic and modern take on the vintage look designed by Montreal designer Georges Levesque. What sets the collections apart are the unusual, simply gorgeous fabrics, often combining patterns with solids in very unique ways. I flipped for Levesque’s rust colored velvet and wool plaid draped dress that gives the impression of a two-piece frock. The closest designer I can compare him to is Vivienne Westwood because of his use of plaids and intricate construction. The boutique also carries a limited selection of retro looking shoes and some jewelry, but it’s the rtw that really stands out. If you want to stand out from the crowd and are willing to invest in great pieces, then this is the boutique for you.

Histoire de plaire at966 St. Catherine Street (www.histoiredeplaire.ca), is a brand new (only opened two weeks prior to my visit) boutique smack in the heart of Montreal’s main shopping drag. Funnily enough, the merchandise is primarily Italian and French designer sportswear with some terrific – and affordably priced, capacious handbags, elegant yet rugged suede boots and “Hermes’ faux croc belts thrown in the mix. The color palette consisted mainly of subtle shades of grey, bone, taupe and black. This store offers customers of any age basically one-stop-shopping with a marvelous selection of butter soft cashmere sweaters, knitted fur stoles and some of the prettiest, exquisitely detailed blouses I’ve seen in a long time. I wanted to snap up everything, but lack of funds and space in my suitcase prevented me from going hog wild.

As far as other fall/winter trends, I took note of some adorable trapper fur lined hats in every price range, cardigan sweaters everywhere and naturally, some of the best looking, lined all-weather boots. On a personal note, If you plan a trip to Montreal anytime soon (Amtrak offers a smooth, hassle free ride and bargain prices), check out The Bay department store on St. Catherine Street. This is the place to fine the original Hudson Bay rugged wool car coat and scarves in the brand’s iconic stripe. For casual chic, it’s had to beat the collection which includes lots more items including some wonderful throws, etc.

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row