Death by Elocution-Inspired

The simplest outfits are often the best outfits. It’s hard to keep this in mind when whatever is trending is the opposite of simple, but when I look back at outfits that I’ve worn and felt really good in, the uncomplicated ones come to mind first.

That being said, Death by Elocution has been a major source of not just style inspiration, but wardrobe editing as of late. Her account is a great reminder that, if the cut is good on you and the fabric is high quality, you don’t need all of the bells and whistles of trend pieces.

Who or what is your style inspiration these days?

Shopping for Closet Staples

After a long period of editing and purging, I’m able to finally get some clear perspective on my wardrobe. The items that aren’t a good fit and/or are made of fabric that makes me uncomfortable before I even get to the office are almost all gone (almost, I’m still a sentimentalist, people). The items that I love and feel great in are finally getting the attention they deserve, and I’ve even rediscovered some old favorites.

As I pay closer attention to the clothes and accessories that I continuously go back to, I’m noticing something else – some of these items are in serious need of replacing.

First up is the convertible black vegan Deux Lux bag. This is my go-to running-around bag. It may very well be the most versatile bag I have ever purchased; not only did it come with two detachable straps (a short chain one for a dressier look and a long faux-leather strap for cross-body use), it’s also expandable. I bought from Gilt or RueLaLa ages ago and it’s held up remarkably well. I would keep using it if it weren’t for the fact that the synthetic fabric that it’s made of has started to peel at the edges.

img_3682img_3686img_3685

Don’t think I haven’t thought about coloring those spots in with a Sharpie to get a few more months out of it.

Then there’s camel driving coat I bought from Forever 21. Initially I wondered if it was my style, but now I don’t know how I would live without it. I wear this coat everywhere. It’s a great weight, a perfect layering piece, and a really love shade of camel. I do wish it had pockets (the ones you see are just for show), so there is room to improve on this one. I thought for sure I would be able to replace it with a lovely J. Crew version, but I think this is the first season in an eternity that they haven’t offered a coat like this. I’m keeping an eye out for one on Poshmark or even eBay, but no luck just yet.

img_3344img_3678img_2422

The bottom line is, now it’s time to invest. I love these things, I wear them constantly, I want to find upgraded versions that I know will last so I don’t have to keep replacing them every few years.

Thankfully, I enjoy the hunt for these things almost as much as I enjoy the actual item. Shopping for essentials is miserable for a lot of people, but not me. Give me lots of options and let me agonize over each and every detail until the people in my life are like, ‘just buy it already!’

Yup, this is going to be fun.

Farewell, Patricia Field

Recently I learned that Patricia Field’s store was closing. Pat Field may be best known to the world at large as the costume designer for Sex and the City, but her store has been a New York City mainstay long before Carrie and her crew roamed the streets of NYC.

Patricia Field has been in business for 50 years, but they’ve only occupied this space on the Bowery since 2012 (according to one of her many helpful and friendly employees). The current location is two floors worth of kitschy-chic fabulousness – costume jewelry with doll heads, an insane collection of affordably-priced sunglasses, brightly colored wigs, vintage shoes and apparel, clutch bags featuring big googly eyes for only $18, and so much more. In hindsight, it’s probably better that I never went in before now, I probably would have gone broke shopping there over the years. The prices are ridiculously reasonable, but there is so much sparkle that a magpie such as myself could never possibly have enough.

There’s so much more to Patricia Field’s store than I could ever put into one blog post. As I perused the delightfully cluttered mirrored shelves and tried on custom millinery items, an employee stopped a drag queen on his way out of the store, “no one ever recognizes me out of drag,” he remarked, clearly surprised. But that’s the kind of place it is. Even though I’d never been to her old shop in Greenwich Village, at that moment, I felt nostalgic for it.

Pat herself was nowhere to be found, but I probably would’ve just geeked out and had a major internal battle about whether or not it’s appropriate – or totally dorky – to ask her for a selfie. As I write and re-write this post I just feel like a total fangirl. So here are some photos from my visit. Hopefully they will inspire you to make your own pilgrimage before the store is set to close in early 2016.

Felt like Scarlett O’Hara when I realized I’d put it on backwards

Much better

Perhaps a more pared down version? Nah

I was torn about the shirt until a member of the staff (who also happens to model some of the clothes on the website) told me to cuff the sleeve, “I always do a cuff” he told me. Done!

Having fun with the fun house mirrors in the dressing room

Only $25 for these over-sized button-style earrings?! I had to have them.

And, finally, I will leave you with the most recognizable piece in the whole place, the Carrie necklace.

 Get your own here

Outfit Post: Feeling ’50’s

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>The weather pretty much everywhere has been crazy lately so when I woke up to see that temps would be in the 80’s last Friday I decided to bust out a skirt. This skirt actually almost went out with the consignment items because I can never decided what to wear it with (I have a seriously problem with wanting things to match), but V encouraged me to hang onto it. 

One of my steadfast rules is: when in doubt, go with a plain white tee. The shoes and necklace are how this outfit really came together for me (back to that compulsion to coordinate) and now I kind of love it. Well played, V, well played.

Here’s the outfit breakdown:

T-shirt: Theory – I own far too many white t-shirts and yet I feel like I never have enough. I’d never thought of wearing this one tucked in before because it has a high-low hem and button details along either side in the back, but it’s suddenly much more versatile in my mind.

Skirt: Club Monaco – This skirt is almost a decade old. I bought it when I got my first job out of college thinking that it was a great “business casual” piece and I totally planned on wearing it with a very structured “shell” with a portrait neckline from Ann Taylor LOFT. My how things change…

Necklace: Old Navy – Up until a few months ago I didn’t even realize that Old Navy sold jewelry. Then my sister’s friend Melissa showed up to a family function wearing a pretty peach statement necklace and I knew my jewelry armoire was destined to get much more crowded.

Belt:
Anthropologie – To be honest, this skirt is too big in the waist. If I take the belt off it drops to my hips and looks kind of terrible (very Oz, behind the curtain info here, I know). While this belt does not match as well as I would like it too (who knew this matching thing was so crippling), I think it certainly goes. Just, please, don’t tell me that I can “pull it off”/”get away” with it because that drives me nuts.

Shoes: Cole Haan – I have always loved the look of an oxford, but the last time I remember them being in I was wearing bowling shirts and very pronounced pinstripes (Junior High fashion in the 90’s, what can I say?). Needless to say, I am a much bigger fan of the current interpretation. Wearing these oxfords with a circle skirt or pleated cropped pants (yes, pleated, I have narrow hips, it’s allowed) makes me feel like a young Hayley Mills.

Second Time Around – Consign Me Up!

Shopping bags going out instead of coming into my apartment.

After months of procrastinating (okay, it’s been over a year) I finally put a few dozen items up for consignment. Dresses, bags, shoes, and separates, if they weren’t my style (regardless of how good of a deal I got on them or whether or not they might someday make a great Halloween costume) out they went.

There are two consignment shops in my town, but one has so much inventory that you can’t even see what they have and the other only takes appointments from 10AM-4PM on weekdays and, since I’m not a socialite, those hours don’t work for me.

Instead I wound up bringing my items to the Huntington location of Second Time Around consignment. I found them one evening when I was early to meet a friend for dinner (When does that ever happen? Obviously this was fate intervening) and as I browsed I heard the sales girl very politely inform a young woman that they would not be taking the Louis Vuitton bag she had brought in because it was fake. This can be a touchy subject, but the salesgirl handled it in a kind, yet firm manner and I knew this was the kind of place I wanted to deal with.

In addition to their stellar customer service, which they’ve been providing for 40 years, they have 45 locations in 12 states, tons of press clippings and positive reviews online (for most locations, sorry, Forest Hills) so I feel like they are a reputable company. Plus, they were also featured on Bravo TV’s Fashion Hunters. Sure, it was a 1-season-wonder, but it was on Bravo and I take that sh*t seriously.

This is how it works:

You’ll need at least three pieces to start an account. STA allows you to either set up an appointment or drop your items off to be reviewed (you can also consign online, here’s how, but be forewarned that the unwanted items are donated, not returned to the consignor).

Once they decide what they’re going to take they research the items and mark them at approximately 30-40% of the original retail value and if the item sells the profit is a 60/40 split (“luxury” handbags are a 50/50 split). You can keep your earnings as a store credit (which entitles you to an additional 10% off) or request a check (checks under $100 must be picked up, but checks over $100 can be mailed to you) which is available on the 1st of the following month. If your items don’t sell in 3 months you have 1 week to pick them up or they will be donated to charity.

Not content to just collect, I felt compelled to create a spreadsheet that would take what I originally paid for the item (because I’m crazy and I keep records of everything) and subtract what I make back to see if I can get out of the red and back in the black. While I’m not taking into account the old shopaholic Price Per Wear equation (cost of item/times worn), some items were gifts and others were sample sale finds, so I’m optimistic. Either way the items are doing more for me at STA than they were piled up in the corner of my apartment.

So far I’ve sold one item, a fringed black leather Kooba bracelet bag, and made $38. Five of the 36 items are AllSaints and the salesgirl informed me that they have a customer who comes in on the regular asking for the brand, so I’m just hoping that she and I are the same size. All in all I feel like I’m off to a strong start, but I’ll still keep my fingers crossed that it keeps trending that way.