Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sample Sale Report: Elie Tahari October 2011

Note: I showed up around 1pm on a day when it was raining and I had no problem getting in the door without a wait in line. There was a wait behind a few people at the second floor check in but that was because the people working there are ridiculously bad at their jobs. And so over it. More on that later. I had to wait behind one person for the women's dressing "room".
I stepped out for a bit to wait for someone and re-entered around 2:30pm-3pm. There was again no wait at the door to the building but a wait for check-in. The wait for the women's dressing room was longer.

Sorry, darlings, no pictures this time. I had my camera but they were adamant about checking EVERYTHING at the door, bags, jackets, EVERYTHING. I don't carry a wallet because my purse is already very small. Needless to say, it was a hassle to find somewhere to carry my money and I didn't even bother taking anything else out though I ordinarily would have tried to carry my electronics, ID, etc. The promise of controlled chaos was definitely met. The aisles were very tight in the dress section. Basically only two people could just fit in one aisle and there was a lot of pushing. Not out of aggression but out of practicality. I finally made my way to the dressing room with an armful of dresses.

I went for patterns and color but I think in general most of the styles were fairly generic. The necklines were either round and conservative or a deep-V. Most dresses were fitted at the waist and then either A-line or pencil skirted. There was a lot of black, a lot of patterns, and a few striking but conservative shades, classic red lipstick red, royal purple, navy blue, etc. The skirt section was a little disappointing as the amazing fit of the Tahari skirt I purchased a few months back is what motivated me to trek out into the rain. None of the skirts were very appealing. They were mostly black or beige and the cut and fabric weren't anything special. I did find something with an interesting pattern on my second trip but unless they restock, I wouldn't suggest going to look for skirts. The knit section is embarrassing. It's of worse quality than the kind of thin knits you find a TJMaxx. The shoe section was fairly classic. if I wore pointed toe, kitten-heel, slingbacks I would have been in heaven. There were a lot of dress shoes and disappointing casual shoes. I didn't see a lot that was really practical. The bags were awful. Huge and clunky and hideous.

The dressing room wasn't too bad the second time around once I got used to it. Forget modesty, get through it quickly, own your time in front of the mirror, and hang up your things once you've finished trying them on. The main problems were overcrowding, lighting, and mirror time but I wasn't too bothered. One woman was determined to steal one of my dresses, repeatedly asking me if it was mine and eyeing it suspiciously.

Sizing was an issue, as I mainly had to eyeball pieces marked "ALL SIZE". I did pretty well. Out of maybe 15 items I only had one that was far too tight and one that drowned me in fabric. Men's sizes are kind of ridiculous. While I was there they only had size 50 and up in stock.

The service at the sale was terrible. I'm sure they just hired attractive temps. Everyone seemed like they couldn't be bothered to do their minimum wage jobs while at the same time they managed to be breathtakingly condescending and rude. The check in and check out was absolutely ridiculous. Three people spent 10 minutes looking for 1 umbrella.

Despite all that, I did walk away with pieces I'm very happy with at a slightly more wallet-friendly $305.

Leather dress:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review of Zoya's Cynthia with Swatches

I'm so sorry, my dears! I don't have a straight swatch of Zoya's Cynthia for you. I applied it, got bored with it in 2 days, tried to embellish it with a gold French manicure and then just gave up and switched colors. These first two pictures as as true to life as I could get but there are plenty of good swatches available...I should know as I looked them up before purchasing. I shot in natural light FYI.
The color appears a bit more green than it was in actuality. I would describe the color as a navy blue if you just glanced at it though it was really more of a very, very dark teal. There was something sexy and understated about the color but it just wasn't working for me. I would have liked it to be a little less dark so you could tell it was blue because most of the time it just looked like off-black polish as you can see in the following pictures.

Application wasn't terrible on my left hand but when I went to do my right hand it was not working at all. I would say the formula is pretty good. 2 coats opaque, 3 coats to fix mistakes and clean up any blank patches. I do think that application could have gone better as I haven't had any problems applying polish to my right hand recently with the formulas I've raved about.

Would I repurchase? Maybe. I don't think the color is very unique and the formula didn't impress me but Zoya, Essie, and O.P.I. polishes all hover around the same price. If I had another Zoya coupon I might repurchase. Otherwise, I'll just stick to the similar Essie and O.P.I. colors I can pick up at the drugstore. The Essie Winter 2011 collection seems to have some nice blues. I'm looking forward to trying them out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review of Essie's Lady Like with Swatches

It seems like everytime I write about a nude or pink shade lately it's to express my surprise at how much I like something I always passed over because I disliked the color or thought it wouldn't be flattering. That is kind of the case for Lady Like, a muted, dusky pink shade from Essie's Fall 2011 collection. Kind of. I have moments when I catch a glimpse of my nails from the corner of my eye and my gaze is drawn by as I marvel at how chic and mature my hands look with their new manicure. At other times I look down and I feel a little depressed at the understated color and the way its coolness ages my hands and makes them look dry and muted in color and tone as well.

The odd thing is that at night under indoor lighting my nails go right to a camel/iced coffee color. I don't hate the color but I don't love it and it might be upsetting if you really want the color of Ladylike in the bottle on your nails regardless of the lighting.

Application was decent. It wasn't as great as some of the other polishes in the collection but it evened out by around 3 coats.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

H&M Fall 2011 Conscious Collection: Thoughts

Pictures available at

I do not have pictures for you, but I have a report. I trekked out to H&M yesterday in the middle of my insane Immunology catch-up study session to get 1 thing using that coupon for 25% off 1 item. Of course I instead got 2 dresses and a skirt (still coming out to under $100) including the really adorable skirt you can see in these ad campaigns for the Conscious Collection. I love, love, love it. It's perfect for fall and strikes that balance (difficult for a large floral print) between feminine and fashionable and Hawaiian and tropical. I'm just in love with the colors, a rich rusty mahogany, burgandy red and a peachy, yellow cream. It makes me think of apple cider and magnolias if that makes any sense at all. Essentially, if you want a good staple fall skirt that still keeps it interesting, I recommend heading over to H&M to check it out. I also like that it feels pretty sturdy, like a good longterm investment, which is not how I would categorize the majority of my purchases from H&M.

I also tried on the dress from the collection in a similar fabric but though it fit I wasn't in love with it. The tight waist, rounded hips and low back are gorgeous. In fact, everything I was loving on this trip made me feel like an old-fashioned screen siren. I do not know what suddenly got into the designers at H&M but they'll hear no complaints from me. However, I do think that if you're petite or have anything but a washboard flat stomach the cut of that skirt isn't going to do anything good for you. Also, it's constructed so rigidly that sitting and then standing is going to be a bit of problem. If you're going to a cocktail party where you'll spend the whole evening standing though, go for it, because it's a gorgeous dress. A for design, B- for construction.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Currated Looks: Nanette Lepore meets Forever21

I'm trying something out. I'll search the interwebs to come up with looks (if you ask for something specific like a party outfit, or something for a job interview I'll focus my search) and report back to you with chic, wearable, and reasonably priced finds. For this first one I wanted to go a little bit high end mixed with the fabulousness of Forever21 but let me know what you think. I can always find better bargains if that's what you're interested in.

Option 1: I like this look because it feels luxe and fashionable without trying too hard. The apple earrings are adorable. The dress is a simple sheath which should flatter a lot of body types and that pin and bow detail keeps it from being boring. It's also a bit forgiving if you've got a slight belly pooch. I love the blue high heels or the cream ones. They both feel young and fun but the shape and material keep it subdued and appropriate for anything from work (if you're in a creative but business-oriented industry) or a wedding.

Option 2: This option is both more formal and edgier. The suit has so many lovely feminine details from the cut of the lapel to the buttons to the flair of the jacket and the detailing on the skirt. I also love the color. I'm not a huge fan of brown myself but the richness of this chocolate truffle color would look gorgeous against medium/tan skin or very pale skin with a rosy flush. The necklace is edgy and very much on trend with what I've been seeing from small-scale designers. The delicacy keeps it feminine and the gold complements the brown. The shoes are just a suggestion as any black pumps would do but I like the shine of the fabric and I think the bow helps soften the sharpness of the suit and the necklace.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Christian Dior Spring 2012

Christian Dior Spring 2012 (photo credit

Christian Dior Spring 2012 (credit

Christian Dior Spring 2012 (credit

Christian Dior Spring 2012 (credit

I just thought I'd share some of my favorite looks from this collection without really going into why I love them. I just have a thing for girly, ethereal fabrics, clean design and silhouettes, and black and white.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

25% 1 Item at H&M Stores in the US

Just found out about a great coupon from theskint. You should follow the newsletter/website if you don't already. You can print out a coupon from H&M for 25% one item of your choice provided you purchase in store and that store happens to be in the US. I'm not a fan of everything H&M produces and personally I think the quality hasn't risen in proportion to the prices but every once in a while I find something really special that I wear so many times it seems like there's nothing else in my closet.

Here's the link.

Happy shopping!

Sales to Skip (Week of October 3)

The Hugo Boss Sample Sale running until Friday. Skip unless you are a guy, want to collect menswear, need business attire, or are planning on going to a job interview or a wedding. The menswear section was a vast multicolored array of crisp, clean tailoring and polished looks. The womenswear section was a sad rack of shiny, dull, or damaged clothing mainly in sizes 4-6. I ended up with two skirts in size 4 at $45 each and ended up choosing to go home with only one once I got to the register.

Benefits to going to the sale if you are not a guy and not accompanying a guy? Well, the showroom is pretty gorgeous to the point where I almost wanted to sit down with the mannequins. I don't know if it was the environment or how well-dressed they were but they seemed almost real. Maybe it was the hallucinations setting in after trekking through the vast unknown space between the showroom and the nearest subway station. The other benefit...or detriment? The changing room overlooks the water...and the highway. I'm about 90% sure that no one can see you from their cars or the Hudson River but it made for some nice photographs.

 The one nice dress I spotted while I was there. It was also a size four but the kind of size four that didn't fit the bust...which is always the weirdest thing when it happens because I have a small bust.

The Charles Nolan Retail Sale happening at their Meatpacking District location. I've already vented about it but essentially there's nothing to see and the salespeople are incredibly rude. Don't waste your time trekking out here either.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review of Covergirl Natureluxe SPF 15 Gloss Balm in 205 Tulip

I picked this up over the summer during one of my random drugstore wanderings (this time in KMart...the one near the Astor Place subway station has a really good selection of these). It is the Covergirl Natureluxe SPF 15 Gloss Balm in 205 Tulip. OK, yes. I got sucked in by the pretty light green packaging and all the brainwashing advertisements in my fashion magazines and the SPF 15 and the assumption that it's somehow natural/organic. So basically I'm saying "congrats, advertising and marketing teams!"

Amount: 1.9g of product
Color: Tulip: true pink/dusky rose
Benefits: SPF 15/Moisturizing/Shimmer/Light Formula
Drawbacks: Scent/Shimmer/Lack of Pigment

I tend to blather on and on so I thought I'd do a little summary before getting into my thoughts. The gloss balm is packaging in this nice sleek, slender tube that's about the length of my palm making it easy to toss in your bag but I think I'd like a bit more product for the price. In NY, when it's not on sale, it'll run you around $7-$9 which is good for a lipstick but bad for a lip balm a comparable size of which should be around $3-$4. I think the color is very pretty but it's also very sheer so it doesn't really matter which shade you choose unless you go for something in the red family which might look different from all the pinks (I haven't tried any). The color is a little bit brighter than my natural lip color (a "my lips but better" shade)which is something I've been looking for. It good for a no-makeup natural look and also makes your lips appear fuller because if it matches the color of the inside of your lips, the eye sees that entire area as your lip and your lips appear larger. Unfortunately, as it is a gloss balm it isn't so sticky that my lips stick together but my hair does get stuck to it on a windy day if I don't tie my hair into a ponytail. I love that it has some kind of SPF protection because as we age our lips age and are a good giveaway that we haven't been taking care of ourselves. They lose collagen and get thinner, and besides in winter they can really dry out. You can help with these problems by using a lip product with SPF just like you use products with SPF to protect the skin on your face. It is very moisturizing without weighing my lips down or feeling thick and waxy like the EOS lip balm I tried. The slight bit of shimmer makes lips look fuller without looking shiny and tacky or too youthful.

The drawbacks are if you want a lot of color like with a lipstick. This is very sheer. I can't even really do a swatch on the back of my hand because all you see is shimmer and a little bit of pink. Think of it as a sheer highlighter for cheeks. I would do a swatch on my lips but we all know my camera is terrible. Also, if you don't like shimmer, you probably won't like this product. It isn't too intense and it doesn't look like a frosted shade but it is there and apparent. The last thing is the reason I kept this product in my makeup kit for so long without using it. THE SCENT. It's very waxy and sweet. I've gotten used to the smell and you don't smell it once it's on your lips but I thought it was going to be as awful as Revlon lipsticks so I hid it for a long time before giving it another chance. It feels like a very young scent. I think I used to have lipglosses or balms from Smackers that smelled like this if that helps. If you want something completely unscented or have problems with waxy, crayon smells you probably won't like this.

On the whole, I recommend this product. It's moisturizing and looks natural. I could do without the scent and I'll probably wait to buy it on sale for the amount of product but I will likely repurchase it when I run out.

Update and Review of Essie's Carry On

Update on Me: Sorry I haven't been blogging as frequently lately. Life, you know. I don't think I use many makeup products on a regular enough basis to really review them. I'm getting there though so soon you're going to be flooded with reviews. Also, the boots I bought turned out to be really uncomfortable so I returned them. Sigh...

Essie's Carry On from their Fall 2011 collection is incredibly difficult to photograph. It is a red-based dark purple but sometimes it looks like the color in the bottle, sometimes it looks brown, sometimes it looks darker, sometimes it looks like a vampy purple leaning towards black. I would have been happy with the color in the bottle and instead I was left with a color I liked some of the time. If you don't already have something like this in your collection I would recommend getting it though as the formula was great. Two coats to get it opaque. Three coats to get it perfect and fix any mistakes. This is one of those formulas I like to call "self-correcting". Not too thin or thick, it just glides over the nail and eases over any mistakes, filling into the corners the way you want it to. I wore this for two weeks (had to do some touchups at the beginning of week 2 b/c my nails grow like crazy) and I was pretty happy with it for those two weeks. I think this is a solid dark nail color to get you through fall and winter if you aren't really in the mood to mix things up.
This is against my dog's fur. I don't know why put I love all my nail polish color choices when I hold it up against him. Maybe I should do this for makeup swatches so you could imagine the colors against blond hair.
This is the red/brown I mentioned. It can look even more brown than this at times.

All the shots are indoors or outdoors during the day with some kind of sunlight as all my indoor shots at night or in the bathroom came out terrible and looking nothing like the actual color. This is the purple/black I was talking about.