Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ask and I Shall Answer

Dear Caroline,

This morning I was on the subway and the woman who sat down next to me had what was, in my opinion, the perfect handbag. She had her headphones on and was reading a book. Also, she did not look that friendly. I really wanted to ask her where she got her bag, but then a number of thoughts crossed my mind: "It is probably from 4 years ago and I can't get it anyway," and, "She won't tell me 'cause she wants to be the only one with the perfect bag," and also, "She will think I'm crazy for even speaking to her as it breaks the NYC subway 'no talking to strangers' rule." By the time I had pondered all of these thoughts, she had gotten off the train and my perfect bag was gone. What is the etiquette for asking strangers where they got their bag, shoes, etc.?


Glamorous Girlfriend (aka AS)

Dear Glamorous Girlfriend,

You absolutely should not let anything get in between you and your perfect handbag! Ha, just joking. The truth is, this is a tough one. First of all, she's wearing headphones, which is code for don't bother me. Secondly, you're on the subway, which as you mentioned is not the ideal venue for striking up conversation with your fellow public transport comrade. But my rule of thumb for getting label information off of a stranger or semi-stranger should hold true in this scenario as well.

Flattery gets you everywhere.

True, it is hard to tell someone their handbag "suits" them when bags don't flatter us as much as our actual clothing does, however this rule can be altered for the situation.

Approach number 1: "Excuse me, that's literally the coolest bag I've seen in a long time."

Approach number 2: "Wow, that bag is hot. Is it [INSERT NAME OF MOST EXPENSIVE DESIGNER HERE]?"

Approach number 3: "What an original bag, where'd you get it?" Note here that the "word" original will hopefully insinuate to her that you wouldn't even dream of replicating her unique take on the world, you are merely gathering journalistic evidence of stylish New Yorkers.

Accompany these statements with a little wave to grab her attention, and repeat as/if necessary.

Can you tell that I want you to approach her? Show her you like her bag. When it comes down to it, I think we girls need to spend less time giving each other the up and down, and more time giving each other props. So even if she doesn't divulge the bag maker despite your best efforts, you will make her day.

Anyway, I'm sure we can get our heads together (and our online search skills) and find that bag for you.



Write to me! Ok, ok, up until now I haven't really responded to my comments in this open-forum manner. But from now on I will, mos def.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Victoria Keen sample sale

My friend TM suggested this past weekend that I need to get ahead of the sales - I need to share the weath of knowledge sooner rather than later. But how am I supposed to be a better resource than DailyCandy and MUG? Well, there is one shining bit of info. that I think I have over the other online resources: the Victoria Keen sample sale.

See that photo of me to the right? I'm wearing a Victoria Keen dress. VK is the grown-up hippie's answer to the modern day; I hope this is enough said. Get yourself over to her sale. She's earthy but up-to-date and all of her production happens over in Bklyn. Werd, ya heard?

Victoria Keen sample sale
Friday, March 24th-Sunday March 26th: 11am-8pm

357 Layayette Street bt. Bleecker and Bond

Be there or be square.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hey Baby, You Got to Remember, I'm Forever 21 (God Bless!)

Well it took me about a year to figure this one out, but apparently the owner of Forever 21 is big time into religion. So much so that he's placed the words, "John 3:16" on the bottom of his company's shopping bags. Check out this USAToday article from October 2005 covering the topic. It qualifies Don Chang, the founder and owner of Forever 21, as "deeply religious" and it also quotes some sociologist who says, "'Americans are more accepting of overt religiosity these days, and corporations are good at figuring out how to do it with a light touch, one that's not going to scare off unbelievers...'" Oh really?

Friends, I am no atheist, but this scares me. It is especially odd that the purveyor of what my friend RC last night called the "slutty, go-out clothing store" is trying to send a Christian message.

Girls, go get your freak on tonight, but be sure to repent in the morning.

According to my brief Google search, there is actually an apparel retailer in malls around the country that specifically sells Christian-themed gear targeted to the teenage demographic. Though I cannot relate to a strictly-religious lifestyle, it is somehow an easier pill to swallow when the company is flat-out honest about its message and mission. It's the subliminal messaging that I find creepy, to say the least.

When I think too much about it all, I end up feeling like the character Ann Bishop Mullany in the movie "Sex, Lies and Videotape." Remember how she was all kinds of depressed from, quite simply, the weight of the world? At least that's how I remember the story of the flick. My point is, if one thinks too much about the political, social and religious affiliations of the retailers he or she frequents, one may never shop again! We wouldn't want that, now would we? Nay, we have to keep the economy chugging, so we might as well pick the certain companies to which we absolutely can no longer give money. It sounds like Forever 21 is that company for me.

As my best friend KHQ would say, "THERE, I said it," and on the 11th anniversary of my 21st birthday no less.

Guess I'm all growns up.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bitch and Swap...and Shop

Yesterday morning over breakfast at Ciao for Now (12th between Avenues A & B - don't worry, I'll write something about this place, my absolute favorite, soon) I commented to friends that the burden of maintaining a blog about shopping is that I have to be doing it...a lot. Those of you who know me well might have a nice little chuckle to yourself right now that it shouldn't be that hard for me. But my dears, in fact I do like to do other things on the weekend besides hit all the latest sales. For example, I like to attend Bitch and Swaps!

If you've never experienced the Bitch and Swap you've likely had me tell you a story about one of the now many that I have attended. In a nutshell, a woman invites her friends over for an afternoon to swap old clothing. Specific rules of the swap differ according to hostess, but the general idea is to bring items of clothing, books, household goods that are still in good shape but no longer your taste or no longer fit you, for example.

Yesterday HR hosted a small swap (5 of us total) to which I brought two xtra large Pearl Paint bags of clothing, shoes, etc. The idea of the swap is if you take anything, you should try to leave with less than what you came with. This achievement means a big pile of clothing ends up going to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. At yesterday's swap I obtained the following items:

  • 5 paperbacks

  • A waist-length, black coat from Club Monaco

  • 4 tank tops

  • 1 pink sleeveless Club Monaco Tshirt

  • Quite a good haul, but the true beauty of this swap was what HR introduced me to afterwards - Beacon's Closet. We went to the one in Park Slope, but there's a store in Williamsburg as well (Brooklyn, people, Brooklyn). The tagline is, "Buy Trade Sell," and this place has it down to a science. You walk straight to the back with the items you want to sell where there is a counter with about 3 women taking bags. They tell you how long it will take to review your stuff and in the meantime you can shop around the store, cruise 5th Avenue, or just hang and wait. You have the option of taking back the clothing they won't buy, or you can dump it in a big black trash bag that's going to a local charity. As for the stuff they do buy, here's the rub: the store tallies up the value of your lot (how it will price the items once on sale) and you are entitled to 35% of that amount in cash OR 55% of that amount in store credit. You can also mix it up and buy a little something there and receive any difference in cash.

    I had a good lot, and was entitled to about $40 in cash or $60 in store credit. I "bought" 2 skirts and received $25 in cash. A number of years ago I tried selling some clothes to Tokyo 7 on 7th Street in the East Village. They wouldn't take anything and I could have sworn they laughed as they reviewed some of my items. Beacon's Closet, you have won my patronage and you've helped Brooklyn score 1 more point in the Pros and Cons list I have running in my head.

    So there you have it, that's what I do when I can't shop - I manage to get my fix nonetheless.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006


    I have a love-hate relationship with all things metallic (note the word "metallic" will be used in this posting to refer to anything gold-, silver- or bronze-colored or toned). I love metallic shoes, I now hate metallic handbags. I wasn't always this way. A few years ago I bought a metallic bag from Newport News when the material was hot, hot, hot. Everyone was carrying metallic bags and I wanted in on the action. Now every Tom, Dick and all of 14th Street is selling metallic, half-moon shaped purses with big chain-link straps.

    I had been wondering who on earth would actually purchase these street-seller specials when I began spying them on my commute to and from work (my office has moved uptown and I now have the lovely pleasure of using public transportation every work day). Women of the working world: please stop perpetuating this trend and thus supporting the makers of metallic products! The material has become so widespread everything comes in a metallic option - handbags, shoes, belts, scarves, shirts, pants - and apparently the age-range of acceptable metallic sportage runs the gamut of 9 to 79. The proliferation makes the material so un-special, I am now in the hate phase of the relationship.

    The question now is: Will the trend ever fizzle out? It's lasted a number of years so it definitely has some staying power. Why? Because of its eye-catching quality, my friends. We are only human, after all, and if we don't have a bunch of feathers to fluff up and stick out for a night out on the town, the next best thing is some something shiny.