22 December 2007

idle(prattle): holiday spirit

I was picking up some last minute gifts yesterday. After dealing with several traffic jams, parking lot mishaps, and just a overwhelming presence of people, I found myself very grumpy, in the check out behind a woman who had on (close your eyes and imagine) -- bright red leather loafers, red & green plaid pants, a red turtleneck and an ornate sweater with a Christmas tree and a snowman on the left & right sides. Nice. I tried to divert my attention elsewhere, but my eyes kept drifting back to her....like a magnet.

I didn't want to be rude, so I just looked down. Then I started to feel her looking at me. So I looked back up.

HER:   Look at the line of people behind us!  
*Turn around to see that I am no longer the last person. There are now at least 20 people behind us*
ME: Hmmm. Looks like we got here at the right time.
HER:    I know! There are so many people out this time of year!  
ME: Yeah. It is kind of hard to have Christmas spirit, having to deal with all these people.
*She taps my arm in agreement, one of the tree ornament bells on her sweater jingles and an angel gets its wings* 
HER:  That is so true! It is hard! 
ME: ...*blank stare*...

Thank goodness it was time for her to go to the next register. Correct if I'm wrong, but I thought Christmas spirit would have automatically come with and built into, the red & green plaid pants. No?

19 December 2007

design(mode): kai milla

Knotted Caftan
I was looking through the Vivre 2007 gift catalog and saw this Knotted Caftan and One-Shoulder Jersey Top both by designer Kai Milla. They are very simple, but still caught my eye.

One-Shoulder Jersey Top - front & back views
Now through Dec. 31st, if you buy any Kai Milla, Vivre will contribute 10% of each sale to the Name Campaign—an effort to raise awareness of the Northern Uganda conflict, in which over 20,000 children have been abducted from their homes over the last three years.

I decided to do a little research on this designer and she has a background as a graphic designer and her signature is comfortable architectural draping. She is also the the wife of Stevie Wonder.

Below are eight looks that I liked from her Spring 2008 show. I like them for their simplicity and  monochrome details. I wear a majority of solid colors, as opposed to patterns, so I instantly liked the overall collection. Plus, I feel like they are wearable straight off the runway, to the office and afterwards.

photos from vivre and elle

14 December 2007

idle(prattle): jeffrey

I got this postcard from Jeffrey in the mail a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to scan it. Laziness.

That's it. On the other side is my address and their return address.  Here is what went through my head,

There is no date or what is actually on sale.
*flip it over*
There really is no date on this thing.
*flip it back over*
What is actually on sale?
I know its not the whole store.
I hate them.
And you know what, this postcard is kind of cheap looking.
Why is this so cheap?
No colors, no graphics, thin paper.
I mean the store isn't cheap, but they send me something so cheap?
They want to me come in and spend my money and they send me this cheap little thing?
*put it down on the table*
*30 secs pass*
*pick it back up*
I guess it fits in their minimalist, black & white style.
I guess that's kind of cool...'we're having a sale. you're either in or out'
And they don't have a lot of sales do they?
And they were nice enough to let me know.
You know i should go ahead and stop by.
Just in case i am getting this late.
You can never know.
It might be the whole store!
Where are my car keys?

I guess the moral of the story is who knew that so little could create so much. Or maybe I am  bi-polar. Only when it comes to shopping though.

11 December 2007

idle(prattle): thrift shopping

Mrs. Fashion wrote a recent post {"Role Reversal"} that inspired this post. She asked if readers have noticed the trend of how a lot of charity shops are no longer for the poor - instead the middle class folks, therefor the prices have gone up and really don't always serve the people truly in need.  Basically, have you noticed a role reversal between poor and rich shoppers and their destinations? It made me think about one of my recent shopping experiences...

While on holiday a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a thrift shop's grand opening banner and made a mental note to make a visit. Leaving my boyfriend behind at the house because in his own words, - "I'll only hold you back."  So very true.

Once inside, I noticed a sign that said one paper bag full of clothes for $5. I asked for full clarification from the clerk (one must know the rules of engagement.) and he said that I could fill it up with clothes, shoes, handbags, belts, anything in the store. Ok, so I made my first walk through and picked up three dresses. Made my second round and picked up a clutch, five belts and two shirts. My third round, I got a shopping cart and started to seriously consider the pants.  The fourth round, I got a second brown bag and asked the clerk if they took credit cards. On the fifth pass, I discovered the skirts and offered styling tips to the woman trying on a sweater in the corner. Seriously.

So, there I am in a shopping haze, throwing everything that remotely caught my eye into my cart. It was a liberating feeling...I paid my $10 cover and could grab whatever I wanted. The only thing that I passed on were the shoes. Reasoning that - one: they would take up too much room and two: I am not too keen on second hand shoes. Maybe except for boots because I always wear socks with those.

I am back at the skirt rack when my hand lands upon an Armani charcoal grey wool skirt. I grab it and look quickly around as if anticipating hoards of women waiting to fight me for this skirt. None do. I don't even look at the size. It is mine now. I bury it one of the bags, just in case. This discovery gives me a second wind, and I score some Michael Kors pants with the tags still on,  along with a YSL and cK shirt for my boyfriend, a Ralph Lauren sweater for my dad and blazer for my mom.

I position myself behind a rack in the back to take inventory and do some serious packing. An older woman wearing a Christmas applique sweater approaches my cart and immediately I become very territorial. Instead, she tells me that the proper way to fit the most items in these bags were to roll not fold them, and that I could just steam them out later. With with advice, I ended up with just enough room for another two skirts and tops, which I pickup up on the way to check out which felt like the walk of shame.  Here I am, trying to scheme to fit the most clothes in my bag, which is filled with the most random (however, prized) stuff.  I really thought the clerk was giving me the stink eye. I paid, carried out my bulging bags and tried to ignore the clothes that I didn't see displayed on the sidewalk.

I try to reason to myself that I donated my money to the charity even though I prevented another woman from having a classic, tailored pencil skirt that will never go out of style. Right? In the end, I walked out with approximately: 3 dresses, 5 belts, 1 killer navy blue clutch, 2 pants, 3 sweaters, 27 tops, 13 skirts, 1 blazer, and 1 vintage dark green knee length wool coat; all shamelessly packed into two brown paper bags. How? I do not know, because once unpacked back at the house since the paper bags began to tear, took two big garbage bags to transport.  I am told that in times of stress, that one is able to come up with creative solutions.

Thinking back, I don't think I was the only one who was theoretically out of place. First, the location of the shop. It was across the street from a golf course and spa. Second, one of the ladies around me kept saying that she was just browsing and she really didn't need any more clothes before she cleaned out her closet. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but the truly needy don't have this mentality. And finally, (the coup de grâce) during my brief sweep through housewares, I overheard two women comparing the boarding schools they sent their children.

I like thrift store shopping because of the hunt and finding that one of a kind item to fit my style. There are a few thrift shops that are still the essence of charity shops and they are located in the neighborhoods they need to serve. Because of the location, the price ceiling is minimal.  For the others, you will consistently bump into hipsters and stylists browsing through. My only hope is that since they have raised their prices more money is going to the charity. I can only hope. I did look at the normal price of the clothes that i bought, and shirts are going for $2 and skirts for $3.  I made out major and admit I am greedy. However, I still try and remain positive that the thrift stores that find themselves in the better neighborhoods are positioning themselves to make more money off the people who can afford to give and giving back to those who need it most.

05 December 2007

front(lines): green luxury

There is a new study by the World Wildlife Fund stating that the luxury industry is not being green. The WWF report argues that luxury brands are "slow to recognise their responsibilities and opportunities vis-a-vis global warming & ethical trade and [urge] celebrities who help sell the brands to sit up and take note.” The WWF-UK environmental group looked at the world's 10 largest publicly-traded luxury firms and ranked them A to F (best score to worst score). The highest score was a C+ and the ranking was based on reports by the companies themselves to the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIEIS) and on media reports collected on the companies by a Geneva-based research house, Covalence. Here is how they ranked:

   [1] L'Oreal : C+
   [2] Hermès : C+
   [3] LVMH : C+
   [4] Coach : C
   [5] Tiffany & Co. : D+
   [6] Swatch : D
   [7] PPR : D
   [8] Richemont : D
   [9] Bulgari : F
   [10] Tods : F

You might not be familiar with some of these companies, however some own the brands that you probably are more familiar.
  •  L’Oreal: Guy Laroche, Kiehl’s, Lancôme, Paloma Picasso, Ralph Lauren, Shu Uemura, Victor et Rolf parfums, Vichy, Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics, Diesel Perfumes
  •  LVMH:TAG Heuer, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior, Celine, Donna Karen, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Thomas Pink, Le Bon Marché, Sephora, Guerlain
  • Swatch: Breguet, Omega, Calvin Klein, Rado, Hamilton, Longines
  • PPR: Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga
  • Richemont: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Chloé, Montblanc, A. Lange & Söhne, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume et Mercier, International Watch Company
  • Tod’s:Tod’s, Hogan, Fay
To learn more about the study and brands, WWF has launched a website called Deeper Luxury. To read the full report click here and for tips as to what you as a consumer can do, click here and here.

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