Archive for Shopping

Black Friday Sales

I started to compile a list of black friday sales.  Then I got several lists through other bloggers.  So, since I’m still a small-fry in the blogging world, I figured the best thing to do would be to consolidate:

General Sales via Racked

More General Sales via The Budget Babe

Plus Size Sales via The Curvy Fashionista

More Plus Size Sales via Garner Style

I’ll update this post as I find more….

Inspiration Monday for Thanksgiving Week

It’s hard NOT to love a short week at work.  Not only is it, well, a short week, but it ALSO means no one cares what I wear to the office.  Thus my ability to participate in this weeks Inspiration Monday.  This weeks Inspiration was this picture:

Now, I admit that I don’t have a lot in the way of that kind of neutral; they just aren’t great colors on me.  And I realized when I went looking that, uhm, I didn’t have a SINGLE stripped shirt.  (I ordered one on clearance about a week ago from J.Jill but it isn’t here yet.)  So my interpretation is a bit loose.  However it’s VERY me; my colors, my style, and totally comfortable.

The boots were a fun find yesterday at Avenue; marked down and then 40% off that, so they came out to $36.  Plus the styling on them is fun and a little butch.  Instead of trying to hide the inside zipper, they matched it with an OUTSIDE zipper and some neat straps.  Fun!  They aren’t even a little leather, but since I only can wear boots for about 3 months out of the year this was about all I felt comfortable spending on a new pair this season.

I bought myself an early christmas present today, though.  As you may have noticed, I love bags, but I’m a bit of a cheapskate.  I’m not about to pay multiple hundreds of dollars, let alone THOUSANDS of dollars, for something that is going to get tossed around, sit on the floor, and otherwise beaten up.  However I’ve had two things I’ve been thinking I wanted to get lately:

  • A purse that was predominantly black and white; check, houndstooth, zebra, something…
  • A green purse
So I was unbelievably excited today to find this purse, on sale at Kate Spade for 60% off it’s original price.  Combined with a 15% off coupon for joining the mailing list, this clocked in at $108 including tax for a $295 bag.  I am VERY happy with that deal.  It should be here next week!

 

Join us! Click the Spotlight stillbeingmolly Covered in Grace WatchOutForTheWoestmans inspmon_XJdT71_zpscbf30840

Sympli Trunk Show

I went to a trunk show for Sympli/Sympli Grande today at a local boutique.  Sympli is a canadian company that makes clothing in sizes 4 to 3X; The regular range is 4-18, while the plus range is 0X to 3X.  The difference between an 18 and a 0X is pretty mild; mostly it’s a difference in cut.  The Grande sizes are cut more loosely and have a higher neckline, which as you will see isn’t necessarily a good thing.  The fabric is the same for all of the items; a relatively heavy-weight very stretchy polyester.  This is the kind of thing you can roll into a ball, stuff into the bottom of a suitcase, pull out 6 months later and have it looking perfect again with just a shake.  It certainly wouldn’t ever fade.

The collection includes skirts and pants.  I tried the pants from the Grande line and they were insanely loose (think: room for a diaper), so in the pictures you will mostly see me with the size 18 slim cut pants.  They fit like a pair of loose leggings; body skimming but not  too tight.

The first outfit was a 3X top.  As you can see, it’s a bag; no shape, high neckline, and over all not flattering.  This top has a number of details that are hard to see in the picture, but fitting so loose it wasn’t worth trying to get a picture of.  I tried on a 2X and it pretty much fit the same; no real shape, too high a neck to be flattering on someone with my kind of chest.  After that I decided I needed to drop down to some of the smaller or straight sizes.

The second top was a size 18 (the top of their straight line), and probably the best looking.  I LOVE this color, and the buttoned neckline was relatively flattering.  Still, there wasn’t a lot of detail otherwise.  The outfit itself just didn’t do it for me.

The remaining items and outfits are below.  Most of these are in a size 0X or 18 top, which would be a bit small in general but was what they had to try on.  The pattern is pretty similar; most of the items are fit and flare of some type (which admittedly is a good look on me), with different detailing around the bottom. Several items had detailing across the chest (such as the bright blue, which has a couple of odd seams in strange places, like right across my boob), but the nature of the styles (tone on tone, no contrasting colors) means that the differences are pretty subtle.

In the end, I didn’t buy any of the items.  I could get any of their styles in the available colors, but there were 3 primary problems.

  1. The line was simply too expensive.  The least expensive piece I tried on was the pants at $114; the tops were $150+.  That’s more than I can afford to pay for a single piece right now, particularly one that is distinctive enough that the cost/wear* will end up fairly low.
  2. They had very few pieces immediately available, and nearly all of those were in black; you had to order what you wanted, pay up front, and get it in “4-8 weeks, more if you want it in a color other than black”.  That’s kind of a long time to wait and have that money tied up.  Plus since it’s essentially a custom order you end up hoping that you picked the right size AND that the shape is flattering on you.  If it isn’t, well…..
  3. I felt that the pieces don’t fit my life or style right now.  I’m really trying to create a signature style for myself, and I don’t think this fits with that look.  I’m sure that I could make these items work, but they didn’t call to me.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*Cost/Wear: Cost per wear is a way of deciding whether to buy something expensive.  For example, I have a pair of black Josef Seibel mary jane style shoes that I paid $150 for about 6 years ago.  However in the intervening years I wore them, on average, 3 days per week for 5 months out of the year.  That’s around 360 wears, making the cost per wear under $0.42.  On the other hand, $150 is too much to pay for a piece that is extremely distinctive and not entirely my look.  I might wear maybe ten times, putting the cost per wear at over $15 per wear.

I try to use this metric for deciding whether something is worth the cost to me.  Items that are very trendy or very distinctive can have a higher cost per wear, but only if they are a great match to my style. The Talbots sweater that you”ve seen here will certainly end up with a higher cost per wear, but given it’s relatively classic cut and it’s coherence with my style, that’s OK.  These tops didn’t have either of those characteristics.

 

Travel Clothing

Traveling for business is NOT among my favorite activities. First of all, airplanes are uncomfortable for everyone, but especially for those of us who are not petite. Then there is sleeping in strange beds (or rather not sleeping), eating out and therefore finding that a lot of the food doesn’t agree with you, and being surrounded by PEOPLE all day at the conference.*

It doesn’t help when things don’t go as planned.  For instance, I had PLANNED to arrive at my hotel, change my clothes and then go to the conference.  Of course the room wasn’t ready.  So I went in the clothing I had worn to fly, which was neither especially attractive nor actually business casual.  (Dark wash jeans, Black shirt, red casually-styled cardigan, sneakers.  No jewelry, didn’t dry my hair, etc.)  What it WAS was rumpled. So I skipped the pictures.

I did better on Thursday.

  • Black boots (Famous Footwear) with birkenstock insoles (which did wonders for my sore feet)
  • Black “Jeggings” size 20 or 22 (Lane Bryant)
  • Black tank size 18/20 (Avenue, although any would do)
  • Purple top size 3X (SWAK Joni)
  • Black tie-front bellini/cardigan size 3 (Kiyonna, no longer available)
  • Silver and purple necklace (Forever 21)
  • Purple and silver bangles (Lane Bryant)
  • Orange, Fuscia and Purple Scarf (TJ Maxx)
  • Black Coach Willis purse worn crossbody (eBay; no reason to pay full retail on this one!)
I know; REALLY crappy pictures.  What can I say; it’s hard enough in a well-lit office, but goes REALLY badly on my cell phone in a poorly lit tiny hotel room.

 

To get home on Friday, I wore the same pants with a Black SWAK Mia top and what I refer to as my Arizona Winter coat from J.Jill (2 years ago), which is one step up from a sweatshirt anywhere else.  (Its fuzzy and soft, and actually is comparatively warm.  Certainly warm enough for AZ, although I was glad that it wasn’t too cold in Denver because otherwise it wouldn’t have been enough.)

 

I did a little shopping while there and found a pair of Olive Michael Kors work trousers on clearance at TJ Maxx, so that made me pretty happy.  You”ll be seeing those soon.

 

I also visited a couple of small boutiques and tried on a line I hadn’t seen before; Sympli / Sympli Grand.  What was funny was that I came home to a note from the local plus-sized boutique that they were hosting a trunk show for Sympli through today, so I will be taking a run over to try some more things on.  The line is CRAZY expensive (150 for a tunic, 200 for a cardigan, 300 for a long dress) but the shapes are neat and the cuts are excellent.  It’s all made in Canada, not some sweatshop in indonesia, and out of fabrics that won’t shrink or fade.  I may end up getting a piece or two depending on what they still have.

 

I got home safely, albeit in a middle seat between two very broad-shouldered men, which left my shoulders aching from being rounded in the entire trip.  I took a nap, then did a couple of things before going to bed and sleeping for 11 hours straight.  I feel MUCH better today.  With a high of 64 predicted for today I can also start wearing even more of my winterish clothing.  I’ll try to get pictures both at home of what I wear out AND at the boutique of what I try on. I also received my first order from Gwynnie Bee**, so you may see some of that soon as well!

*I’m actually an introvert; INTJ if you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs categorizations. I can fake friendly and outgoing and perky really well because that is what you DO if you want to be successful in business and academia, but it doesn’t come naturally and takes a lot out of me. By the end of the day at a conference all I want to do is be ALONE!!!!

** If you haven’t heard of it, Gwynnie Bee is a new service that is like Netflix for Clothing.  They focus on sizes 14 to 24, with some items either smaller (down to a 10) or larger (28).  You pay a monthly fee and get to take out a set number of items for as long as you want; when you are done, return them and they will send you another set from the items you have chosen from their inventory.  What is neat i you get to try brands you might not have otherwise tried (Anna Scholz, Carmakoma, Eliza Parker, Karen Kane, Misook, Nyguard, and lots of others) or STYLES you might not otherwise try (peplum, leather, prints, etc) with no commitment; when you are done or if you don’t like the item, just send it back and they will send you something else.  They take care of the cleaning and care, so you don’t have to.  It isn’t cheap (3 items out at a time costs $79/month, for example), but it can be less expensive than buying things, sending them back, etc. for a new brand or one of the European makers whose shipping takes a long time, so I’m giving it a try.

 

 

Dark Autumn

Dark Autumn
Just for the record, I am head over heels in LOVE with that purse, but since I won’t usually spend $100 on a bag I can’t imagine spending over $1000.  However the color combination is inspiring me.  And I need to find booties like those!