July 31 OOTD: Beach Babe

I’ve recently quit my job, and as of next week will actually have some beach time and an ability to go out into the sunshine during the week. If you look at me, you’d have no idea it was the peak of SoCal summer – I’m so darn pasty.

So, here’s a cute beach outfit that also translates well to a glam pool party — looks super luxe.

A DAY AT THE BEACH

BATHING SUIT: Myraswim Enzo One-Piece in Vanilla – $120 AUD

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Hi-cut and with a bustier detail to keep the girls looking perky and… less like headlights, this classy white suit is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Pop on a pair of shorts and wear out like a tank top, tight jeans if you’re going beach-to-clubbing, or just a traditional kaftan or cover-up to complete the look.

COVER-UP: ASOS Design Slinky Glam Long Sleeve Plunge Beach Dress in Rust – $51

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Holy moly, how cute is this dress? I don’t advise blowing a huge budget on cover-ups, though I do think good swim items (specifically bathing suits) are worth the price tag. That said, every cover-up I’ve ever owned has taken a ton of punishment. If I put things on after the beach, light colors get dingy, and it’s difficult to wash items with a lot of beading or embellishment. If I wear things in the sand or poolside, the sand itself is harsh, as well as chlorine and sun – you get regular bleaching punishment. Of course, if you don’t plan to actually go in the water… worry less about what you wear 😉

SHOES: Steve Madden Bandi Platform Wedge – $89.95

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Cork for sand, easy slope, not much that will chafe… and very CĂ´te d’Azur. You can wear these all day with no pain – the straps are textile, not anything that’ll sweat.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Enjoy your suntime funtime – I know I will!

July 30 OOTD: Sassy Florals

Sorry for my absence – despite best intentions to post twice a day to get this blog up and running initially, real life called. I’ve quit my job and am tying up loose ends.

That said, what this has meant for me is a deep dive into fashion magazines I’m behind on reading, a schedule for how I will fill my days, and a reinvigorated focus on the things I love and am personally trying to accomplish.

Yield: The Florals. I absolutely love the continued presence of big and bold florals we’re seeing across the board, with Gucci and D&G and others. I was ripping out page after page today from Elle to tuck into my sketchbook because this ish made me SO HAPPY. And this mother-daughter post from one of my favorite Instagram accounts (Mrs B.C.) was so darn cute.

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Elle Magazine… June (?) 2018

But, because most of us don’t have a few K just laying around to spend on Dolce and Gabbana, here’s the hot summer rose look for less.

Casual Floral Outfit for Summer

TOP: Rebecca Taylor Silk Blend Floral Blouse – $129.97

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Admittedly on the pricier end of the spectrum for a casual outfit, I think the material is worth the splurge. When looking for something that follows a trend, most of the dupe items you find will be polyester, which frankly doesn’t breathe in the dog days of summer. This is cool and breezy.

BOTTOMS: 7 For All Mankind Distressed Denim Skirt in Montreal – $134.99 (or 40% off retail with code – $80.99)

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I am totally in love with this skirt, and 7FAM jeans are my favorite, by far. This isn’t too short/high, but is youthful enough to be a really good multi-purpose piece – wear to brunch or daytime activities with your boyfriend, or throw on a blazer and sleek blouse and ankle boots for a night at a bar. At the time of prepping this post, there is a 40% off code on Off5th, but these sales are not infrequent – if you miss this, you’ll catch another. Plus, 2% cash back on Ebates.

SHOES: Adidas Cloudfoam Advantage Sneaker – $44.97

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These Cloudfoams land on my Wardrobe Essentials list. Unbelievably comfortable and versatile as just a general daytime shoe.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Shopping Therapy: The Psychology of Stuff – Part 2

All opinions are my own, and I’m not at all a psychologist or any sort of expert — in fact, I’m wholly unqualified to express this opinion (but express it, I will). This piece is simply a very unofficial exploration of an idea.

The first part of this opinion piece laid out the issues with compulsive shopping and the psychological motivation and impact of our relationship  to owning things, and my teensy-weensy hypocrisy in telling you to shop less on a blog essentially about shopping.

I love shopping. It’s a joy and it makes me feel good. I like having enviable pieces and seeming well put-together (well, on days that I put on makeup, at least). I’m guilty of being a bit of a self-indulgent fashionista.

But I strongly believe that there is a way to shop without being problematic, psychologically or spatially.

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Let’s avoid hoarding, please.

To avoid the psychological and other trappings of too much stuff, shop with strategy. It’s important to take inventory of what you have, how many items you can match each item with, and really ascertain what you need. Sale shopping is great and all, but if you’re buying things simply because it’s on sale instead of shopping for what you’d always intended on getting, you are spending too much. End stop.

That means items  in your closet will probably lean more toward classic than super trendy. Said items tend to be in more universal, earth-toned, neutral, or dark colors, since brights by nature tend to be a bit more limited in how they can be used in outfits. That means that you have to commit to the care of your pieces and select items with good stitching and durable, quality fibers (and yes, this is a time and energy investment).

I have a few tips I use when shopping:

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Realistically, this logo is owned by the producers and studio affiliated with The Purge Franchise. But it’s so appropriate to #4’s timeline. Consider this appropriate credit.

  1. Have a shopping buddy. When I see something I like, I send my best friend a screenshot, photo, or a link to the product and ask her opinion. Her first question almost always is, “Do you need that?” or “Will you wear that?” (e.g. today she saved me from a moderately awful pair of leather Cole Haan loafers that were on sale for $25 during Amazon Prime Day… but they were silver. Some women can own that shit- on me, silver shoes, if they’re not formal sandals, make me look like a geriatric disco dancer, and frankly wouldn’t fit into the scope of what I feel comfortable styling for myself to wear. I wouldn’t know how to make these look good.
  2. I rarely, if ever, purchase items I intend to keep forever. I have a few legacy items – a couple of specific coats, a few luxury handbags that I know won’t depreciate, some jewelry. But, many of the pieces I select I look at with an eye for resale, which helps me amortize costs over the estimated length of time I think I’ll keep the piece, and also forces me to be much more selective about what I’m willing to spend.
  3. I try to be patient and wait for the pieces I’m eyeballing to go on sale. I know this is super problematic for the longevity of brick and mortar stores, but if Macy’s is going to give me 12% cash back on Ebates and multiple coupon codes, as well as a flash sale on that sweater that’s been on my wish list, you can bet I will refuse to pay full price in store (hey, stores- can you offer those 15-20% discounts for first time shoppers in store, too, instead of just on the online email registry?).
  4. Seasonal purges: get rid of items in your closed every three months.
    • If you haven’t worn it in a year or more, let it go.
    • If you have multiple versions of an item, let all but one go. For example, I recently kept my husband from going buck wild at a Hugo Boss outlet and trying to buy two gray-striped dress shirts. We recently purged his closet at my insistence — because he has the whole master bedroom closet, and how is that fair? — and I discovered he legitimately has 4 different gray-striped dress shirts in excellent condition. On the flip side, he called me out for having way too many beige sweaters about five minutes before I received a delivery of yet another beige sweater. That went back to the store really fast.
    • If you have name-brand items, consider selling clothing via Poshmark and handbags via eBay or through consignment services. Cash is a soothing balm to the hurt of letting your closet babies go. OR…
    • …If you have good-quality in good condition, please consider donating seasonally-appropriate items to the less fortunate. Research the best non-profit in your area for the donations and support a cause that’s important to you. This, too, is a balm for letting your closet babies into the world.
  5. When shopping in person, I try not to enter a store just to “look.” This is what I call my Target dilemma – going in for toothpaste and deodorant and coming out with a full cart of stuff that I suddenly am sure I need as I see it. No, instead I go in with a specific idea of what shopping need I am trying to fulfill when looking for clothes. It’s a mental grocery list.
  6. Beware of fake “sales.” It’s a well-known retail strategy used to promote urgency in the buyer… and frankly, as much as I love HauteLook, this is largely their flash sale strategy (with a few notable exceptions, mostly for beauty products). I haven’t really found much that I can’t find statically on the Nordstrom Rack site (and the NR Clear the Rack events sometimes reduce these further).
  7. Don’t rely on your credit cards, even if you’re getting a pricier item. This is just general life advice – don’t put anything on your card that you can’t pay in full at the end of each month. Save for those items you’ve been eyeballing, instead. And having said item sell out before you get to buy it is actually a blessing in disguise, as it forces you to be more frugal in creative in finding an item of similar quality and worth of use. FOMO is all in your head – missing out on these is more money in your pocket, money you didn’t need to spend.
  8. Learn how to care for various types of fibers and fabrics. Cashmere, silk, leather, suede, rayon, cotton, polyester, etc. all require different, specialized care. You’re aiming for quality, classically inclined pieces that aren’t likely to go out of fashion soon, so it’s important to treat your investment pieces with care and respect for two reasons- 1) so you don’t look grubby, and 2) in case you elect to resell and/or donate items from your closet. Shave the pilling from your sweaters. Figure out how to treat that oil spill on your silk cami from dinner the other night. Get rid of the period leakage from your premium denim. There are tips and tricks to all of these things – they just require a bit of time and commitment.
    • Fringe benefit? This helps psychologically reset your disposable “fast fashion” mentality that if something is no longer good, you have to replace it. You don’t – sometimes a half hour repair project will get another year or more of use out of an item.
  9. Don’t exceed your budget. Seriously – be honest with yourself about what you can afford and don’t exceed it. Once you go down a slippery slope of “well, I will just spend less next month,” it’s seriously unlikely you’ll actually balance your accounts the following month. Most of the time, it just means you make yourself more and more comfortable with passing off the deficit in your budget to the following month, which can cause a balance to grow.
  10. Outlet shop on holidays. Go early in the morning, beat the rush, sign up for VIP coupons, and try to take advantage of specials (but don’t spend money on what you don’t need, even if it doesn’t cost money).
  11. Get comfortable with thrifting. I’ll fully admit that I am squeamish and a little prissy about used clothing and shoes, especially after reading this article about that oh-so-familiar thrift store smell that I’m especially sensitive to. But there are some good/well curated consignment stores in Southern California that don’t have that Goodwill-smell and specialize in higher-end attire. I’ve had some great successes doing this. Once again, don’t buy what you don’t need (with one small exception – if you see an exceptional item that you think can easily be resold for a profit, take the chance. Just be realistic about resale value).

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To my mind, a lot of the psychology about compulsive shopping can be combatted by associating pleasure triggers/relief from letting go of these items, as well. This can be done through rewards (altruistic or monetary), but it also means that those rewards can reshape your perspective on the purchasing side, as well.

Clothing is something you should try to use regularly, for as long as is reasonable, in my opinion… but it’s not something you should remain committed to if the passion’s faded. This isn’t a marriage. If a hotter young thing, a sensible choice comes along to replace your existing piece, REPLACE IT. No piece of clothing likes being stuck in the depths of your closet forever.

July 20 OOTD: Brunch with Friends (under $150)

Look cute and stay cool for a mimosa brunch out with your girls this summer! Better yet, all these pieces are super affordable and effortless.

OOTD WHEN YOU’RE DRESSING TO EFFORTLESSLY IMPRESS YOUR GIRLS AT BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH:

TOP: Laundry by Shelli Segal Ruffled V-Neck Blouse – $29.99

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Easy and not fussy, the slight lace ruffle detail on this gives it some added panache and takes it out of simple t-shirt territory.

BOTTOMS: Tahari ASL Flora Striped Tiered Shorts – $27.50 (with last call’s 50% sale)

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Confession: I’ve always loved skorts. And this piece isn’t quite a skort, but it’s close. Gives a little oomph to an otherwise simple stay-cool outfit. Plus, it’s slightly naval-themed and beachy, perfect for sipping some champ at a beachside venue in Malibu. Side note: get Ebates. At the time I’m writing this, LastCall has 9% cash back!

SHOES: Ugg Elena Platform Wedge Sandals – $79.97

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Classic UGGs might be hideous (albeit comfy) but they really do craft a great shoe – every pair of heels, booties, and such that I’ve bought from UGG have been excellent and lasted me quite a long time. These wedges in particular are super cute – with a gentle slope, you won’t lose your step after a bottomless Sunday.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Happy brunching!

Shopping Therapy: The Psychology of Stuff – Part 1

All opinions are my own, and I’m not at all a psychologist or any sort of expert — in fact, I’m wholly unqualified to express this opinion (but express it, I will). This piece is simply a very unofficial exploration of an idea.

“Our relationship with stuff starts early,” says Christian Jarrett in an August 2013 edition of The Psychologist, a publication of The British Psychological Society. “The idea we can own something something… is one that children grasp by the age of two. And by six, they exhibit the ‘endowment effect,’ placing extra value on an object simply by virtue of it being, or having been, theirs.” Moreover, this fosters the beginning of what appears to be cyclical mentality: children place extra value on what is there, but “With ownership comes envy. When youngsters play with friends, they soon discover other people’s toys they’d like to get their hands on.”

Cute Snuggle Teddy Bear Young Joy Girl Kids

Women’s (and Men’s) fashion and lifestyle magazines carefully nurture and cultivate this mindset of envy that has been fostered from youth. You need to get this new Prada bag. You need to find the latest floral trend. Fanny packs are out, but belt bags (a wholly different product altogether) are the next big thing – so get your Gucci one now before the trend is done.

All of these things are geared to make you feel as though you’re not good enough, not stylish enough, not cool enough unless you have the next big thing that your neighbor can, in turn, envy. I’m guilty of this too, of course– I begged my husband for years for a Burberry trench, and asked for a Louis Vuitton Keepall for our first wedding anniversary. I have eagerly devoured subscriptions to Elle and Vogue that I don’t even remember signing up for (nor do I think I pay for- it might be magic). One of my greatest pleasures is pulling out one of the 49 initial pages of ads and sketching new colored frocks and imagining purchasing a $4,500 skirt for no reason whatsoever and wondering why Kendall Jenner is so popular.

But the reality is… this is just stuff. As an affirmed shopping lover, I also am well aware that my love of things is both a sense of expression and a lodestone. The more you collect, the more options you have to mix and match your style, but… the more room you have taken up in your home. If you’re a luxury buyer, you can probably walk into your closet and realize you’re sitting on the mortgage for your house. And slowly, as our closets grow and we outgrow our space because we don’t let go, we begin to verge dangerously on a hoarding mentality.

Jarrett argues that this is correlated to self-esteem: “our things embody our sense of self-hood and identity.” He suggests that “how much we see our things as extensions of ourselves may depend in part in how confident we feel about who we are.”

More than that, for some, acquiring things goes beyond simple self-esteem. We’ve heard of shopping addiction, also known as compulsive buying disorder. This is a repetitive behavioral addiction characterized by a circuit of behaviors: a feeling of anxiety or arousal when thinking about shopping, an urge to shop/buy, relief when purchasing, and subsequent guilt. These behaviors mimic a drug addiction, causing the sufferer to spiral into cravings, disregarding the adverse effects of giving in to these urges.

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Per Addiction.com, “someone who is a compulsive shopper becomes psychologically dependent on thoughts of shopping, the process of shopping, and the euphoric (or trance-like) feeling that comes from buying. For some, spending sprees temporarily quell difficult feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem, anxiety and/or stress.” As someone who admits to liking shopping too much, I get it. I truly understand how easy it is to try to fill a hole, emotionally or spiritually, with stuff in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses and feel better about oneself.

Please don’t judge me too hard for referencing Goop, but despite Gwyneth’s endorsement of “Jade Eggs for your Yoni” (NSFW) and her love of steaming her vagine, the site also has some really accessible and smart lifestyle tips that make the few sillier (and disproportionately newsworthy) suggestions worthwhile. There are a number of articles on Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, and one post in particular that implements some of these lessons into minimizing your closet. “Very few of us,” it reads, “have the necessary hard heart to part with items that often have sentimental value– or worse, cost a lot of money, yet still carry their tags with the promise of a ‘some day’ outfit.”

Succinct and concise, I can’t think of a better way to put our emotional attachment to things, and specifically the things in our closet. The prospect of “what if” (What if I need this in the future? What if one day this style comes back? What if I want pass along this battered-to-hell Coach bag with no real value off to my children?) keeps capitalism hale and healthy and brings another generation into disposable fashion habits. Let me tell you a secret: you don’t need this stuff.

I know it seems a bit hypocritical that I’ve started a shopping and style advice blog, and am advising you not to buy too much. I’m hopeful that you’ll see repetition in my suggestions, and that you’ll take my advice on ways to shop for items as frugally as possible. I hope that you see the amortized value of a few quality pieces as more worthwhile than lost of fast fashion.

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Check out this sweet Canadian wartime propaganda poster! Still applies today.

I hope that waiting to finalize a purchase becomes a part of your process. I hope that the waiting period has the same intended effect as Brady Laws, that require gun buyers to wait to purchase a guns in hopes of avoiding more crimes of passion– consider this a time to avoid crimes of fashion. Sorry, was that tasteless? But seriously, think about everything before you compulsively buy.

So, how does one enjoy shopping without developing a dependence on stuff for self esteem or instant gratification? How does one avoid becoming a hoarder? What’s the smart way to shop?

…I’m totally the cliffhanging jerk that tells you that Part 2 of this post will be published this time tomorrow.

 

July 19 OOTD: Work-to-Date Double Duty

The Proposal was a solid rom com. I mean, I barely remember more than the initial premise (though I can’t suspend my disbelief about Ryan Reynolds being a secretly rich publishing assistant-slave, which, to be blunt is absurd– the only thing comparable to killing oneself as an entertainment assistant is being a publishing assistant, and I don’t recommend these career choices for anyone who’s not passionate. Live off the trust fund, Ry Bear, trust me).

Um, segue, sorry. I barely remember more than the premise, as I said, but god knows I remember Sandra Bullock owning the SHIT out of a tight black pencil skirt that hit just below her knees, with a blazer fitted to perfection. Oh my god and strutting around in those pencil thin stilettos- for some reason this outfit, with bitch-boss Bullock, struck me so hard as one of the sexiest outfits I’ve ever seen, and it jarred me.

I hadn’t previously ever thought of a power suit as sexy… just something to level the playing field with the men. But suddenly, power suit had a whole new meaning- it owned Bullock’s femininity in a way that, I felt, gave her an advantage. I never advocate dressing for a man (or woman or non-binary identifying partner- I love everyone here!), but I DO advocate wearing something that makes you feel gorgeous, powerful, and incapable in walking in any other way but a confident strut. And yes, that translates well to a hot date after work.

OUTFIT TO GO FROM DESK TO DRINKS

TOP: EVERLANE SILK V-NECK CAMI, WHITE – $65

A really utilitarian piece, the material adds a touch of luxury to your outfit and makes it appropriate for a nighttime rendezvous. Tuck this into your skirt, with a gentle overhang, if possible. It will control the flutter of the hem.

BOTTOM: WEEKEND MAX MARA APLINO PENCIL SKIRT – $165

This viscose skirt basically fulfills my Sandra fantasy. It’s a little pricey but this is another versatile piece that works just as well for court or Chinese food with the boo. Imagine this with virtually any button up, or with a silk one- shoulder blouse with a bow flourish for a cocktail party… you get the point. I usually wear mine a day or two after I do a squat circuit at the gym- my butt rarely looks different but I feel like flauntin’ after all that work.

SHOES: HALSTON HERITAGE RITA SUEDE STRAPPY PUMP – $95.40

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Love this shoe in either pink or black! Retails for $159 at LastCall.com, but pretty frequently discounted (like now) for 40% off, plus 9% cash back from Ebates. Sexy but office appropriate.

BLAZER: BCBGENERATION WOMEN’S TUXEDO BLAZER – $52 — $118

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Revisiting this blazer! Wonderfully versatile and the cut is unusual enough that it doesn’t look too plain. Pull it off and bare your shoulders for your date! I’d suggest the rose quartz color for this outfit.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

REMEMBER: Balm or gloss, not messy lipstick for that first kiss!

July 18 OOTD: Business Casual Babe #2

Let’s talk bizniss some more. I work in entertainment, which on the West Coast, is frankly pretty casual. My company is boutique and I’m able to avoid the CAA business attire requirements. Even meetings are business casual, for the most part.

Frankly, thank goodness, because the days of the women’s matchy-matchy suit (especially for younger women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s) have long since passed, and there are so many ways to be expressive (and frugal) with your selections. With a few right pieces, you can rotate a number of combinations and look like you have a much, much bigger closet than you really do.

This is my second OOTD suggestion for business casual. This is the more “dressed down” option with a number of items I own and love. Check out my post here on how to “dress up” for business caz.

OOTD FOR A CASUAL OFFICE WITHOUT CLIENTS TO IMPRESS:

TOP: FREE PEOPLE TWO TIMES THE FUN CAMI – $28.99

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No, you’re not coming bare-shouldered with side boob into the office, don’t worry. This pop of color offsets a lot of light neutrals in a good way, and the racerback detailing adds a little visibility when worn under an off-shoulder blouse or sweater.

BOTTOMS: LUCKY BRAND LOLITA SKINNY JEANS IN VINTAGE PINK – $35.78

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These “vintage pink” double as a warmer, more palette-friendly khaki, perfect for spring and summer. Mostly cotton and viscose.

SWEATER: FREE PEOPLE LOFTY V NECK BOUCLE SWEATER – VARIOUS PRICES

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Unfortunately, these Lofty sweaters are largely sold out among primary retailers (retail price was $128, FYI). There are, however, many Poshmark sellers who have many sizes listed, new with tags. If you want to go with a primary seller, you can find the turquoise color here for $57.60, the lavender version here for $38.36, and black, wine, and (more) turquoise colors here for $49.97.

Three notes on this sweater purchase. First, I recommend sizing way down. Free People generally runs way too big, and though I typically wear a Medium or M/L in most sizes, the small is still (appropriately) oversized for me. Second, if electing to purchase another color of sweater besides the white I have displayed (and that I own), make sure your cami appropriately matches. I like Free People camis underneath because of their delicate round strap style.

Third and most importantly: please don’t ever pay full price for a Free People sweater if you can help it. Their clothing is beautiful and hippie chic, which frankly means a lot of loose weave that pulls easily. It requires care to last longer, and I highly recommend only ever dry-cleaning them, regardless of what the instructions on any of their sweaters suggest. I can guarantee with most FP sweaters that paying the full value will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

The Poshmark marketplace, Gilt, and Nordstrom Rack are excellent for finding FB items at a good discount (but read my post on Poshing before you go that route). I got my Lofty sweater NWT on there for $40.

SHOES: ADAM TUCKER YALE LEATHER SMOKING FLAT – $49.97

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I love a nice smoking shoe, especially one with perforated leather to make them more breathable! It’s easy to dress up or down, and this nude color complements the rest of the neutrals in this outfit really well.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Kill it at work today, yo.

July 17 OOTD: Business Casual Babe #1

The days of the women’s powersuit have passed, and there are more ways to stretch your creativity than a basic oxford and slacks.

I work in entertainment, which is fortunately pretty relaxed when it comes to attire. This is my first of two posts for a business casual environment – the dressier option. Here is the dressed-down post. Like a day I actually have to see people outside of my work spouses.

OOTD FOR A CASUAL OFFICE WHEN YOU HAVE TO BE SLIGHTLY FANCIER THAN USUAL:

TOP: Gap Softspun Tank Top – $16.99

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Honestly, any easy-to-tuck, drapey top will look great and is easy enough for a business caz outfit without getting fussy or losing comfort. Gap frequently has 40% off sales, so it’s usually worthwhile to wait for these.

BOTTOMS: 7 FOR ALL MANKIND SLIM ILLUSION LUXE SKINNY – $179

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These jeans are part of my Wardrobe Essentials list because they’re so damn versatile. Check out my Jetsettah post on how to cop them for cheaper and why they’re worth the splurge.

BLAZER: BCBGENERATION WOMEN’S TUXEDO BLAZER – $52 — $118

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This blazer has so many colors, go buck wild! I personally really like the garnet, gray frost, and dusty olive colors. You’re wearing black pants and a white top; you can afford a splash of color.

Downside: this is mostly polyester (boo) so you might sweat a little, but man, it’s cute.

SHOES: SPLENDID LARCHMONT SLOUCHY ANKLE BOOTS – $48.60

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Fold over the shaft to make this a true ankle bootie with a slouchy feature, and this will cause your shoes balance out the tapering of your skinny jeans. P.S. I’ve owned these for over a year and they’re unbelievably comfortable and well-crafted. Good for office-to-happy-hour.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

  1. If you want a more versatile blazer with better fabric, this Soft Joie women’s knit blazer ($178) is washable at home and should be super comfortable throughout the day… but Joie/Soft Joie is a costly brand. Think about Poshing.
  2. Daniel Wellington Classic Petite Bondi Watch- $96
  3. Vince Camuto Openwork Linear Drop Earrings – $16.97
  4. Sterling Forever Sterling Silver Roman Numeral Band – $24.97 (this is a Tiffany-reminiscent dupe)
  5. French Connection Hollis Leather Tote – $39.99

Work it, girl.

Poshing 101: Poshmark for Beginners

I’m a Poshmark aficionado. A lot of the more enviable items from my closet have come from Poshmark, and I recommend it to all of my friends. The reality is, though, that Poshing comes with its fair share of risk, despite its ad campaign promising “barely worn Louboutin heels” for $100, which quite frankly is patently misleading – you’re not going to find authentic Loubs in good condition for this price, end stop. Any $100 Loubs will be trashed, or fake.

I don’t run a boutique on Poshmark – I just sell items in my own closet that I no longer wear, to make room for cute new things. I thought I’d share my experience in navigating Poshmark waters (mostly) successfully. Here are the pros and cons of the so-called Posh life.

PROS

Please note that items marked with an asterisk will have a counterpoint in the CONS section below.

  1. You will find a lot of what you’re looking for at a discount, sometimes a very steep discount.
  2. You can search by condition and get new or used items.
  3. It will automatically run searches for your feed based on your sizes and favorite brands.
  4. It’s an easy person-to-person sale.*
  5. Unlike Ebay, the buyer pays for shipping.
  6. Most sellers are prompt with shipping, and if they are not, you have the opportunity to cancel your purchase a week later.
  7. Poshmark offers an authentication service for items sold above $500.*
  8. All communication is open – the site/app does not permit private communication.*
  9. Much of what you find will be authentic.
  10. Many/most sellers will offer bundle discounts for multiple items purchased.
  11. YOU CAN NEGOTIATE- both offers and counteroffers.
  12. For the fashionista, you’ll find much better selection than, say, Ebay.
  13. Poshmark requires you to accept your purchase within three days of receipt before they release funds to the seller.*
  14. You can sell luxury items in virtually any condition – someone will want it.*
  15. Poshmark “everyday” sorts of items (like jeans, tees, etc.) tend to go a little more frequently than on Ebay – I think there’s less of a market for everyday wear on the auction site.

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Check out my recent success – NWT, retails for $208. I count this as a win! All it needed was a gentle press to look gorgeous for work.

CONS

  1. There is a large market for counterfeit handbags and other products on Poshmark.
  2. Poshmark is person-to-person, so corporate is not exactly friendly/helpful for resolving buyer and seller issues.
  3. Poshmark communication takes 24-48 hours and they’re often unwilling to help.
    • I received a Reiss wool blazer that had a sleeve destroyed in transit — Posh insures their mail (and this fell within the brackets of their USPS insurance), but they did very little to help me and didn’t even bother delivering on insurance, even though I thoroughly photographed the damage and the notice from USPS admitting fault (and their saran-wrap patch job). Ultimately they told me to keep the blazer and gave me a $20 credit to just shut me up, but I would have been happier with a full refund. I spent the $20 and a number of hours figuring out repairs. It’s wearable now, but I wasn’t happy with the experience.
  4. Linking to #2 – private correspondence/communication would allow for resolution of sale issues, because Poshmark itself tends to be uncommunicative.
    • For example, I received a 1-star rating from a woman who waited too long to accept/reject the package, then claimed I had misrepresented the sale, even though I had carefully listed and photographed all damage and wear and tear on a high-end pair of boots that required a shoemaker to repair. She had no recourse to return something she wasn’t happy with, and I had no way of privately rectifying an issue with a client without turning into one of those Yelp horror stories of business owners sounding cray-cray and having the buyer post personal information in a public forum.
  5. It’s been argued that Poshmark authentication services are useless- I’ve heard that their so-called concierge authenticators are not properly trained and will seize authentic bags as fake, and will vet replica bags as real.
  6. Poshmark commission rates are a hefty 20%, whereas Ebay’s are 10% (but you pay for shipping on Ebay unless specified in the listing).
  7. Boutique sellers are great if you want fast fashion, but the markup is astronomical for poor quality clothing. Poshmark allows for certain “influencers” to begin wholesaling and starting a business, but it’s unlikely more than a few of these folks turn a living-wage profit, and it requires astronomical work to maintain. Most of the goods are purchased from China, and you can find similar apparel on TaoBao and AliExpress — which in many cases are actually the sources for these items that have sometimes been marked up hundreds, even a thousand percent. No, I’m not exaggerating – I’ve seen an $8 AliExpress dress listed for $99 on a Posh boutique before.
  8. The same way you can sell items in any condition, you can buy in any condition, too… and not every seller is honest/upfront about damage.
  9. Returns are virtually impossible, despite what Posh promises. This is final sale, no matter what.

 

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Caveat Emptor: This bag is a fake. NWT for that steep of a discount doesn’t make sense (Posh takes 20% commission, so this pricing doesn’t seriously benefit the seller, and as such you should question it as a buyer). Seller has only a few “luxury” new with tag items in their Closet, and seller is unresponsive to every single query in comments. Do your due diligence – I can’t find immediate evidence online that the Celine Micro Luggage, even with specialty piping, has an orange heat stamp – most are simply stamped, most embossed with silver and gold. I could be wrong, but the authentic photo they use for the main picture and the photo of the Celine logo (see lower left photo) don’t match. Oftentimes the sale will be cancelled and you’ll be asked to purchase directly from the seller via Pay Pal or Western Union.

So how do you navigate murky Poshmark waters and come out feeling relatively good about your purchases and sales? There are a few tips/tricks I’ve picked up that help.

  1. When possible, buy new with tags. Avoid boutique purchases.
  2. When buying true consignment/pre-owned, inspect photos carefully and thoroughly. Ask the seller for more photos when in doubt.
  3. When making purchases, remember that you can’t return or exchange thing. Be honest with yourself about your sizes and know how the sizing with your favorite brands work.
  4. When purchasing and unsure about sizes, remember that you can resell! Try to shoot for brands and classic designs that you know have good resale potential – brands that sell well and often are Free People, Vince, Joie, Lululemon, Nike, etc. Free People in particular might as well be its own industry on Posh.
  5. Be patient! If you’re selling, you’re not likely to sell a lot immediately after the holidays. You might sell off your handbag collection just before the holidays. You might not sell your winter coat during the summer, or you might not sell a bathing suit in November. You may need to drop your rates a few times.
  6. If purchasing used shoes, inspect soles carefully. Purchase new insoles for yourself for arch support. Use an antifungal spray before wearing for the first time.
  7. Price drop, offer private discounts, and share to Posh Parties regularly. Share to your followers often.
  8. Price compare similar items, what you’re buying and selling. If I see the same Free People jacket, NWT, sold for $45 or $145, guess which one I am going to buy?
  9. Follow as many people who have similar taste as you as possible and share their listings when you can.
  10. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Don’t lowball the seller, which makes them unwilling to work with you. You can reject lowball offers, but if you think they are willing to come up at all, counteroffer to them.
  11. Buy off season. The same way you must be patient as a seller, it’s likely that sellers will be willing to unload off-season items to you for significantly cheaper to get rid of their stock, simply because it’s been sitting in their closet for months. I bought an authentic designer shearling coat mid-summer (when you’re melting from heat, most people don’t consider buying items to stay warm) for $150, new.
  12. Consider visiting higher-end thrift stores periodically to see if there is anything you can turn a small profit on. Some folks make a lucrative business of this, scouring a circuit of stores and professionally cleaning items to mark up and resell. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. For example, I was at a consignment shop and found a pair of Joie jeans that were slightly too small for me, but were new with original tags… for $18. I was able to sell these for $45.
  13. Try to avoid purchasing true luxury items unless you’re confident in your ability to self-authenticate via photos (see photo above). IMHO, not worth your time.
  14. “Like” items and keep them in your “My Likes” for a while. You’ll receive notices whenever prices are dropped (although someone might beat you to the punch, it’s worth it to not spend more than you can comfortably afford– remember, be frugal, not cheap).

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Like everything and monitor! Wait for the right time to buy, and hope for private offers made to you, or public price drops.

 

Poshmark is largely about social networking and getting a taste of what the market is around you. Be patient, be cautious, and do your research before buying. There is no one who wins here besides Poshmark if something goes wrong, so bear that in mind. But if you’re willing to gamble a bit, this is a great way to get things you want at a fraction of the cost.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Comfort Shoes

I’m not talking about the orthopedic insoles your grandmother wears – I’m talking about common-sense arch support.

Having flitted some of my early 20s away on cobblestones in synthetic heels, let me tell you– I have scars beneath my ankles all the way around my feet, raised pink skin that Mederma couldn’t totally save. Plus, my arches hurt all the dang time. I learned the hard way- when you wreck your feet, there’s no going back.

I got a little bit of advice too late in life: fast fashion is great and all, and you can have a closet full of the latest style, but don’t skimp on anything that separates you from the ground.

That means don’t be cheap when it comes to your mattress, your tires, or your shoes. Remember: there’s a difference between cheap and being frugal. Just because you spent a lot of money on an item doesn’t automatically make the quality exceptional. Nor does spending very little on something always indicate a poor quality item.

Unfortunately, good comfort shoes tend to run at a slightly higher price point – that’s the bad news. So that means, if you’re on the fence about spending a few more dollars on a quality shoe that provides good arch support and fits appropriately, consider these things:

  1. Are the shoes multi-purpose or do they just match one outfit in your closet?
  2. Do you think the workmanship is good – namely that their uppers are made of leather or natural fiber, their soles are well constructed, the insoles have good support, and the shoes as a whole seem like they will last?
  3. Do you think you can make them last at least one year with regular wear (i.e. 3-4 times per week)?

If you answered “yes” to the above, reframe your perspective. Amortize the cost across 12 months to see if it makes sense for you to splurge, and the number you come up with will seem much more palatable (and you can budget/save for it).

Here’s the good news – because you’re looking at brands that specialize in ergonomic design, there are a lot of similarities in styles. Research. Set up Wikibuy, Shopify, Ebates, etc. — and price compare. See if you can find the same shoe for cheaper elsewhere. See if a department store with sales will price match (Nordstrom is great about this). See if another comfort shoe brand has a similar style at a lower price point. The good news is you’ll probably find them.

Now, here’s the ugly: the shoes themselves.

Here’s what I’m betting you visualized when I said those horrid two words “cooooomfoooorrrttttt shooooooes…..”:

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Hopefully you imagined this in a ghostly voice, because this shit haunts my dreams, and I’d rather avoid wearing these in the future (if I ever begin wearing these or driving a minivan, please end my suffering, because I’ve clearly given up on life).

Truth is, the majority of comfort shoe brands (the Clarks, Rockports, Skechers, Crocs, Sorel, The Flexx, etc.) frankly do have a large roster of just-not-that-pretty shoes. It’s hard to have the proper shoe shape that is both fashionable and ergonomically sound — one thing often precludes the other. But… they’ve been trying to modernize, and they’re not just your grandma’s shoes anymore. Check out these cute digs:

THE FLAT: ROTHY’S – $145

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THE WEDGE: COLE HAAN SADIE OPEN TOE WEDGE – $180*

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*Note that setting a sale alert with Cole Haan is eminently worthwhile – they will often reduce by 40% or more. Just keep your eyes peeled!

THE SANDAL: BIRKENSTOCK MAYARI – $99.95*

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*Note that Costco actually brings in Birkenstocks periodically! They typically sell Birkinstock Arizona and Gizehs 1-2 times per year at half the retail price. I don’t recommend ever purchasing these shoes used, as their footbed tends to mould to the shape of the owner’s foot… so you’re kind of defeating the “comfort shoe” purpose if you let someone else break them in.

THE SNEAKER: ALLBIRDS WOOL RUNNERS – $95

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THE PUMP: ROCKPORT TOTAL MOTION VALERIE LUXE PUMP – ON SALE, $99.99

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THE BOOT: TEVA FOXY WATERPROOF BOOT – $189.95

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See? Nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the dreaded old people shoes… and you can’t put a price on your body’s welfare… you only get one, after all.

Aim for modern takes on classic, simple, styles that are universally wearable and you’ll be just fine.