Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In the Army Now

The military trend is everywhere this fall. It has been on the runways and celebs are embracing it in droves. Some of my favorite style setters have been seen wearing the basic military jacket.

photo credit:

Jackets have also been seen in all of the major fashion mags. Of course the jackets they are showing are designer with price tags in the $300 - $700 range.

Have no fear my frugal friends. There are some great sources for military jackets at prices that will fit your budget. Your best sources are military surplus sites and stores. Online you can find lots of jacket options at Supply Sergeant.  You can also do a search in your local area for military surplus stores. In the DC area there is Ranger Surplus.

Below are options from Supply Sergeant, side by side with designer options.

Left - Rag & Bone: $475, Right - Supply Sergeant: $29.99

Left - Marc by Marc Jacobs: $300, Right - Supply Sergeant: $29.99

Supply Sergeant even has a close out section with jackets as low as $9.99!  Many of the jackets also come in short, which is great for women. Using a belt can make the jacket look more fitted, just like Olivia Palermo does in the photo above. Military sites and stores also sell lots of other items such as pants, bags, t-shirts, and pins. Using these great bargains, make the look your own without breaking the bank.

UPDATE:  I found a great military jacket during one of my thrift store trips. It was only $7 and has a button out lining!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thrify NYC

As part of our trip to New York, my sister and I decided to avoid the big department stores and shop the thrift and vintage store route. It was an adventure and we couldn't lose. Great style at bargain prices!

We both scored some great items. Keep in mind we stayed on the Upper East side. This worked to our advantage because the women of the Upper East side like to donate their barely used, "I'm bored with that", "I've been seen in that" clothing to thrift stores and charities.

The first day, we hit a Goodwill store that I had heard about. It took some digging, as most thrift stores do but my sister found a vintage 1960's Harris Tweed coat, in blue and purple hues for only $19.99!  A new one can cost over $300. I found this vintage, like new, Coach Willis bag.  It is in perfect condition.

My apologies for the picture quality. A better camera is in my future.

Day two we hit some of the charity thrift stores. There are four within a three block stretch on 3rd Avenue. I saw some good items, tons of designer shoes that were too small for me, Burberry trenches that didn't fit, an Armani coat that was priced a bit high, a Marc Jacobs bag that showed too much wear, and a vintage Etienne Aigner purse (not my style) that still had its tags! My sister walked away with a great wool jacket and a cashmere sweater for less than the price of a nice dinner.

On day three we went back to the Goodwill store to look for some vintage t-shirts. We didn't find any that we liked but we both walked away with a great menswear vest. Menswear is still in this fall and I'm excited to incorporate the vest into my rotation.

As we were headed toward the register, my sister spied a silver mesh bag. As she picked it up I said, "That looks like a Whiting & Davis." I have a long love affair with Whiting & Davis, going back to the days when I used to look at the one my mom has owned since the 50's. Luckily, now it's mine. They are known for their metallic mesh evening bags. As luck would have it, I was right!  The bag was not vintage but a current style and in brand new condition! Of course I couldn't leave without it.

My bag looks just like this one. It's currently selling for $120 - $150.  I got it for only $7.99!  Thanks to my sister and the ladies of the Upper East Side! 

We left the city on Sunday with a vintage winter coat, wool jacket, cashmere sweater, a vintage Coach bag, two wool menswear vests, and a Whiting & Davis bag for less than $150. That is the current price of just the Whiting & Davis bag.  Score for the sisters!!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

A Bit of the Big Apple

I returned last night from a weekend trip to NYC with my sister. Unfortunately, we were not there for fashion week but our weekend included lots of fashion.

We attended an amazing exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibit titled, "Notorious and Notable: 20th Century Women of Style" was a feast for the eyes. It included jewelery and gowns worn by many amazing women of New York from 1800s to present. There were so many beautiful pieces I can't show you all of them. Two of my favorites were a diamond, platinum and pearl necklace owned by Edith Bouvier Beale and a gown called the "Tissue of Diamonds" owned by Lauren Bacall.

Before Edith Bouvier Beale became notorious in Grey Gardens she was a well known socialite, model and cabaret performer. She once owned this beautiful necklace.

The delicate detail of this necklace can't be captured in a photograph. It's stunning.

This dress by designer Norman Norelle (created in 1963), is owned by Lauren Bacall. Dubbed the "Tissue-of-Diamonds" dress, it is made of black silk net over peach, crepe-back, silk charmeuse. The crystal brilliants on the black silk net were attached entirely by hand!  The true artistry and precision of this gown is staggering.

Thanks to my sister for suggesting this exhibit.  If you'd like to see it for yourself, it's running until January 3rd.  If you love fashion and will be in New York, it's a must see. Go to their website for details: Notorious & Notable: 20th Century Women of Style. The exhibition includes women from all walks of life (socialites, business women, writers, actresses,and performers) and time.

I will post more from our NYC trip soon. I got some great thrift and vintage finds!

Photo credits: Museum of the City of New York

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Gowns have Arrived

The shows on Monday included Carolina Herrera and Monique Lhuillier. These two designers are known for their stunning gowns. They are always staples of the awards season and I expect that many of their gown will be seen on the red carpet.

I had to share on of my personal favorites with you, this beaded gown by Monique Lhuillier. I love the green combined with the nude. It's sexy without showing too much skin.

The foil like treatment on this Carolina Herrera silk chiffon gown is an exciting departure from basic black.

I also love this ombre gown by Lela Rose.

You can view the full shows (as well as many others) of Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, and Lela Rose on

photo credits:

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Return of Ford!

The big news in fashion today is the return of Tom Ford to women's wear and Fashion Week! His collections for Gucci were iconic and he has been truly missed from women's fashion since he struck out on his own six years ago.

He threw a fashion show disguised as a cocktail party yesterday. His models were a who's who of Hollywood and the modeling world. Check out the coverage by Hillary Alexander.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fashion Week: Day 2 and 3 - White on a Pedestal

I'm still reviewing the dailies from Fashion Week days two and three. There are two truly recurring themes during the first three days of Fashion Week; white will be big next spring and platforms are here to stay. Almost every show I've reviewed so far has a ton of white pieces. There are tops, pants, dresses, skirts, in every style and configuration you can imagine and white is present in many collections. Lots of designers are also showing platform shoes. This isn't about making the girls on the runway appear taller. The average fashion model is 5'9" to 5'11".

Below are three different takes on the white trend. Left to right are: Derek Lam, Cynthia Rowley and Jill Stuart. Bright white is the most prevalent shade on the runways so far but I really love Cynthia Rowley's whimsical take with the burn out polka dots as well as Jill Stuart's pleating and ruffles. The shades are also a nice departure from the bright white with the dove hue of Rowley's dress and the ivory of Stuart's.

photo credits:

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Mulberry for Target

My favorite lower price retailer, Target, has done it again. Their designer collaborations are fantastic. This time they are bringing the very high end and expensive Mulberry handbag line to those of us who don't have the extra cash to pay over $1,000 for our next handbag.

Mulberry handbags are beautiful. My personal favorite is the Alexa. The British fashionista, Alexa Chung, who the bag was named for, carries it regularly.

I hoped that the Target line would include at least one bag similar to the Alexa. There are a few that are close but none that have the double buckles, braided handle and shoulder strap of the Alexa. Target has only released press photos of a few bags so far. I really like the cross body bag and the black faux patent bag. I am not a fan of the cheap looking heart shaped tag hanging from the handles.

The collection is pretty large judging by the ad below that has appeared in many of the September magazines.

All of the bags in the line retail for less than $50. A fraction of the price of the originals. I promise to post more detailed photos once they are available. The line will be released at Target stores and online October 10.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Fashion Week!

I think I just heard the angels singing. It was so hard to get through work yesterday without looking at the shows online. This year marks a new chapter in NYC Fashion Week history. The shows have been moved from the tents a Bryant Park to Lincoln Center.

Trends are set based on what is shown at Fashion Week. A few of the things I love from the first day are:

The flowy pants at the Richard Chai LOVE show.

The sleek white pieces at Christian Siriano.

The full skirts at Ruffian.

I'll post more as the week goes on.

photo credits:

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