May 23, 2010

Fall Sewn Up

In a post last week I wrote about a couple of successful shopping excursions. I doubled down and stocked up again this week. I don’t want to be paying retail for new gear when emerging from Drabatical 2010 in September at the SCC Conference. I have been closing gaps in the wardrobe at a great clip lately, but do you know, completion in this matter remains much like the vanishing point of a desert horizon. Forward progress seems not to bring it very much closer in.

Yes, gaps remain in the wardrobe, and I suppose they always will, but I had spied some Fall/Winter 09 winners still on the rails, ready for adoption, and knocked down to near nothing. I promise you this is the last “look what I found”, gloat-a-thon post of the year. I have made this same solemn promise to my budget.

Back to Macy’s again. The previously mentioned ombre bandage skirt from I.N.C. has a big sister, a very sleek scuba-chic number similar to the sunnier summer one pictured here at left with two minor tweaks: Mine is black, all glorious black, and has long fitted sleeves with a nice zip detail from wrist cuff to mid-arm. After all the knock-downs, coupons and such a mere $23.76 down from $99.00.

The black crop jacket I picked up earlier still had a twin of a slightly different complexion left behind, and I think they deserve to be together come the rapture. The twin is a big, high, hot pink and represents a promise I have made to myself to shake up my color palette a tad. Outside of the odd splashy animal print I have picked up along the way, I have been stuck in a dark monochromatic rut too long. I don’t want to wind up looking like a real estate agent with a Goth heart. So, the ruffle collar flared short coat is in, lit up brightly at the same 76% off list, $23.76.

Drab mode, I took these two up the cash register and the very attractive young sales assistant, had a suggestion about a couple of other things she was sure I would like. We did not chat about particulars, but it was quite clear that we both knew that I was shopping for myself. Sometimes one needs a little encouragement to explore new territory, and bless her heart I am glad she provided it. Pictured at right is the faux-rubber mini. A bit young, yes, and a look that is a bit less reserved than I typically go to, but it feels and fits, well … wow in a word. If I ever do any Karaoke en femme, I have an outfit ready to go. $17.70.

I was hypnotized by the skirt well enough to not notice the other little black shawl collar toreador jacket she quietly insisted into my bag. 2 pieces, $40.00. Thanks Katisha!

There is a mathematical problem one is left to solve when working with separates like jackets and skirts. The solution was found in the clearance racks of JC Penney. I have said before that JCP is today a different and much more fashion forward store than the one I remember from youth. Target (love Target) has garnered a lot of publicity in style circles of late with the addition of Zac Posen and Rodarte lines amongst others to their apparel lines, but I swear to my now stuffed closet that JCP is a real competitor.

My problem has (had I suppose) to do with tops. I have not enough. The blouse is the great multiplier element, an inexpensive way to create new combinations and permutations of more expensive staple items. Theoretically, well selected tops reduce the need to acquire costly new staples. In theory I stress. Problem solved, five colorful tops, with a variety of alluring, lace and net camouflage elements, splashes of color, washer/dryer ready, comfy fits and crazy price points.

Total layout of ~ $40.00 for north of $200 worth of tops, tops that are really rich with all the elements that make dressing very special ... full sleeves, suggestive transparencies, sleek silky fabrics, cling here and there, delicate fasteners at neck and cuff. They all work with items in the wardrobe and confer much versatility. I am done. I must be.

All the math, the quantitative $ & cent stuff is in the spreadsheet here. I have been taking note of my purchases in the hopes of learning something, I do not know what, but something at some point. At the very least, being a conscious shopper should help keep things in check, yes? If you measure it, you can manage it, right?

So, yes, there have been some real quantitative wins. What I have learned of late though has more qualitative upside than quantitative. The qualitative stuff has to do with the tasty fruit of shopping well. I believe I have developed criteria for finding things. Those thoughts will appear here next week in the form of an essay (or two) that describes some of the general rules I now carry at an increasingly reflexive level when shopping. These are thoughts that I genuinely hope you will be able to take and remake in your own image, for your own image as you go about treating yourself to the odd pretty thing.

Happy dressing and everything else in the meantime.


Wendy said...

Dear Girl,

I too have found some very stylish items at JCP of late. They offer the ability to e-shop and then pick up at the store, saving explanations to the wife about why I needed more clothes. And they are very easy when it's necessary to return an item, although I've done pretty well at figuring out their sizing system.

Looking forward to your shopping tips.


Tights Lover said...

I looove the skirt, and you rock it, of course.

The financial analyst in me melts at the spreadsheet you put together. And to think, I was all proud of myself for Excel-cataloging my wine cellar. You've got me beat!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I need to shop with you, because that is my kind of shopping. Love a bargain especially shoes. Since a great pair of shoes can make any outfit look good.

Leah said...

Why do we always have gaps in our closets? Hahaha! No matter how much shopping we make, the gap seems to be endless.

I love your faux leather mini skirt... so fierce and you pulled it off so well. You've got the legs my dear friend! xoxo

Couture Carrie said...

You can borrow my shoulders if I can borrow those amazing legs, darling Petra!


Chelsea Robbins said...

that zipper backed dress is sooooo cute.


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