Monday, December 14, 2009

060. Baubles, bangles, and the like.

I can't believe I've gone this long without dedicating a post entirely to Iosselliani. In one of my very first posts, I showcased a ring of theirs. Their product line continues to prosper - it's sold at Barneys Co-Op, among other high-end stores and online boutiques - and I'd really like to mention the brand more in detail.

What I really like about Iosselliani is that it pretty much stays true to form from year to year. That's why jewelry lines can be nice: they don't succumb as easily to trends. Iosselliani falls into the "trash = treasure" style category. The jewelry is a little bit raw, a little bit clunky. Often pieces are combined, and one single ring is a combination of several rings fused together. Iosselliani does not try to segregate gemstones into separate "expensive" and "inexpensive" pieces, either. One of my favorite rings is one that combines a garnet, a river pearl, and several different striations of metal together.

But pictures speak louder than words, so here are a few samples of Iosselliani jewelry:

I'm sure there's jewelry in there somewhere. (below)

Their e-store isn't currently working, but you can still purchase jewelry from their line on websites such as ShopGinny, BonaDrag, and Tobi.

Monday, December 7, 2009

059. Cruise control.

I am rather infamous for visiting online boutiques I've never heard of before and trusting them enough to purchase something there. I suppose I'm lucky in that I've never suffered any negative consequences. I have a good feel for what's good and what's bad--what's quality and what isn't.

Perhaps I'm bragging. ;) But the fact is, I am very good at estimating what size I'd be even though I'm not able to try the item on; I somehow know this without understanding how I know it.

Jewelry is more difficult because quality is difficult to assess. Unless you are buying from a known manufacturer or designer, you have to go by the stock photo and the description of the item to determine whether the purchase is worth the risk. There are plenty of relatively unknown jewelry merchants online that I'd like to take a chance on - but don't have an opportunity to because, well, I don't have the money to risk it.

I did end up getting a necklace from one website, LuShae Jewelry. It features a cluster of flowers, each containing a tiny CZ stone. (PHOTOGRAPHY MY OWN)

This greatly added to my jewelry collection because, honestly, I have no feminine necklaces - this is something I could actually wear to a formal affair. As opposed to the hummingbird skull, glass dragon's tear, and ceramic owl pendants I keep on my necklace tree. Not to mention the enormous collection of serpent jewelry I possess. This piece is milder (in color, too) but well wrought. The chain is of good quality, as is the bouquet, which is coated with 14k gold, rose gold, and rhodium bonded white gold.

Also, I ended up liking the jewelry box immensely. I know that sounds silly, but it's awesome. It is so crisp, it looks like the edges were cut with a laser. And I am all for expensive-looking boxes. I mean, nobody wants to be presented with their engagement ring in a JCPenney cardboard box, you know? But I just like fancy boxes for things in general. It shows that a decent amount of money went into each stage of production. (PHOTOGRAPHY MY OWN)

As for the rest of the website, I pass a positive verdict. I think the promise rings are pretty easy on the eyes--better than most rings on the market these days. The earrings section had a few winners, including the Once Upon A Star earrings. But I just got my ears pierced (!), so I'll have to wait before buying anything ear-related.

The Pendants section is up and down. There are some creative and unusual color/stone combinations, but there are also a few tacky designs, such as the Pave Piggy Pendant. In conclusion, I liked my choice, but it's likely that each person would pick a different piece since this collection varies significantly in style from piece to piece.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

058. Shoe shopping is always in season.

There is a lot to be said for Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Notwithstanding the fact that they are primarily knockoffs of very high-end shoes, they are comfortable, creative, and reasonably affordable. And might I stress again that they are comfortable. That actually matters to me when picking out a shoe, believe it or not.

The interesting thing about Jeffrey Campbell shoes is that they have spread to the darkest corner of online shopping boutiques worldwide. And no boutique possesses the same exact collection of shoes; in fact, each seller has a rather unique collection of Jeffrey Campbell. (This is very frustrating when you're price-comparing and only one or two stores have a particular pair.)

A few pairs I like as of late:

Jeffrey Campbell Posh Shoe, $146

Jeffrey Campbell Michelle CT Heel in Purple Suede, $105

Jeffrey Campbell Legal Zip Wedge Boot, $185

And now, from some similarly awesome shoe designers, a further collection of commingled crown jewels of the shoe kingdom...

Tristan Blair Sarah Studded Boots, £285

Alain Thigh High Leather Boot, $286

Lovely People Piper, $140

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

057. The gathering gloom

I tend to do almost all my shopping exclusively through the internet. As a result, shopping in physical boutiques is a treat for me. I enjoy walking through boutiques because the layout of the stores are often as artistic as the clothing they sell. And I like checking out to boutiques who host promising websites online. In the past, they have almost always exceeded my expectations.

But I went to Philly to go shopping recently, and then NYC, to the lower East Side. Don't get me wrong, the shops were so fun to walk through and the people were great too. I also had a marvelous time with my fellow companion-shoppers. But very few things caught my attention, and I had to excuse some flaws in order to justify trying them on. An enormous, poofy cream blouse with a bird print that was utterly unwearable except as part of a clown costume, or a skirt with a petticoat (worn while on a stroll in the English country, alongside Elizabeth Bennett). A beautiful bright red t-shirt top with some quirky art print on it, completely, overly voluminous and an obscene $88. These things could look good on, and the red top did look good on, but I was not so delighted by it as to be persuaded to spend such a ridiculous chunk of cash on it. I would wear these things, but this is the time I should be investing in sensible pieces, not adding to my costume wardrobe. I shall not mention the endless pieces of blah that littered the rest of the hangers. Should I be investing in socks this year?*

Boutique shopping is supposed to be the cream of the crop. These little niche stores, for me, are my opportunity to browse hand-picked items. The boutiques are so tiny that they should only be carrying the most palatable wares. Why then has the experience been such a disaster this summer?

Well, I blame the ongoing 80's trend which seems not to be willing to lay down and die, even though it's been hanging on for a good three years. The cropped shirt, the oversized shoulder pads, and the boyfriend jean are all styles that push at the peripheries of fashion without becoming big enough to swallow themselves up and disappear into the void again. Sometimes things need to get big so they can then go out with a bang, not to return for another two or three decades. But it seems people have the sense not to produce these trends in huge volume. So they are never getting that opportunity to rise up, then fall down. What to do, what to do?

The best bet right now, for myself, is not to buy. I am, however, an insatiable shopper. I try not to buy, but the more I try not to, the more I fail. Instead I end up resorting to culling the best from the worst and finding beauty in it. A few considably "decent" things:

Hellz BellzThe Agent Bellz Jacket, $33.95

Not sure if the asymmetrical zip is doing anyone any favors (this comes into conflict with boobage, have you noticed), but you can't beat an 82% off sale.
Heimstone Coral Randy Dress, £175.00

I respect Heimstone. Primarily because Heimstone hates me. And anyone else who does not have a perfect body. Heimstone says, "Unless you are awesome, you cannot wear me. And even if you are awesome, you probably cannot afford me. So, I'm going to be hanging out, just to make you feel bad. And if you don't like that, you can suck it." Heimstone also says, "And just in an effort to make you feel even worse about yourself, I am going to go the other extreme and do the opposite of vanity sizing so you are too big to fit into your real size. Enjoy!" Heimstone has the classic popular-girl-holier-than-thou complex, and does not pretend not to, and I like Heimstone for that honesty, and feel cowed by it. I have a masochistic streak.

LITTERSF Crypt Walk, $80

Here's a fun little gem. Notice that it's not the shoe that's $80, which would be a real steal, but instead, the strap around the angle. Yeah, that studded black piece of leather with the chain. That piece of leather with some metal on it is $80. The shoe is probably about four times that much. But if you want to get into credit card debt, I recommend buying the set. Now, if only the website would provide a link to the shoes. This site is most annoying.

* NOTE: I would mention that my biggest beef with Anthropologie right now, besides their completely unnecessary site redesign, is the fact that they keep advertising multiple outfits with this one particular pair of knee socks. The socks are adorable. In fact the socks are even more adorable than anything else on the site. But is there a link, anywhere, so that I might purchase these socks? No, there is not. For this reason, Anthropologie, you should be ashamed of yourself, for you have lost a considerable amount of business.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

056. Not (Bona) Dragging my heels when it comes to this one...

Who knew Bona Drag had a blog? It's definitely one worth scrolling through, half eye candy snapshots of the items at the store and half adorable anecdotes about the owners' lives. Go here to see it:

Friday, July 24, 2009

054. Announcing...

Do yourself a favor and check out Hayden-Harnett's Fall/Winter '09's definitely worth the time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

053. Resolution.

I couldn't get myself to post here for the longest time. Finally, I realized that I had been resisting posting because it is such a laborious task. I have a habit of writing profusely, but when it comes to clothing, I experience great difficulty putting my thoughts into words. It's incredibly hard to explain why I like a particular piece of clothing. My fascination derives from the visual and tactile experience. Trying to describe the sensation of tweed on skin, or how the combination of chartreuse and lilac makes me feel, is terribly difficult. It's like trying to explain what makes a person charismatic. These sorts of things must be experienced directly and cannot be entirely captured in words.

So from now on, I'm sticking with more pictures and reducing the verbiage.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

052. The Unbearable Softness of Cashmere.

I am so glad to have stumbled upon I don't have a lot of time available anymore to browse the web, and this nifty site does the work of locating interesting designers, websites, and sales, for me, without flooding me with an excess of posts. About three to four new links are posted a day, which is perfect for me.

The best site they've linked me to thus far is that of Julia Lintern, who is a structural aerospace engineer turned designer. Her latest tour de force of designer genius is her Lia Lintern collection. Not only does she express her precision-based work ethic through a collection of truly splendid cashmere coats, she manifests her economic brilliance by marketing said coats at an affordable price point. It's hella hard to find affordable cashmere, let alone a full-blown cashmere coat. J.Crew - a mass retailer - sometimes charges $200 a cashmere cardigan. And yet some of these coats cost as little as $600.

Adding to the coats' appeal is the website's shocking offer to CUSTOM MAKE a coat for you, AT NO EXTRA COST. As the website explains, "Lia Lintern designs coats that [are] made to fit and flatter the female figure. So, that's why S, M, and L just don't cut it. . . . All you have to do is fill out the order form and provide us with 3 important measurements: your Bust Measurement, your Waist Measurement, and your Hip Measurement."

Finally. Couture (well, approximately) for under $1,000. Have we traveled back in time?

This coat is the epitome of elegance!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

051. Exploration.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, every once in a while, I Google (well, Yahoo!--I don't actually like Google all that much) Heimstone. I figure one of these days, it's going to go on sale somewhere on the web at a low enough price that I can afford it. Thus far, I haven't been successful. Oh well, I will keep trying.

Anyway, although I didn't find any Heimstone this time around, during my quest, I discovered a number of boutiques that I'd never seen before on the Web. I have an enormous folder of bookmarked boutiques - probably over 200 in total - so I'm always shocked to find new ones. By now you'd think I'd know about them all. What number of people know about them, to the extent that they make a profit? I suppose most also have a material location in a city, too, which is where they make the majority of their sales.

But because Heimstone is a pretty good representative of the type of clothing I like, I got linked to boutiques that carry not only Heimstone, but a wide variety of other clothing that is germane to my own preferences. Here's a sampling of clothing from the boutiques I discovered during my Heimstone search.

Wesc Miss Ellie Leather Jacket in Almond Brown, $452

Hazel & Jaloux 3/4 Sleeve Button Up Top in Taupe, $74

Sissi Rossi Knotted Shoulder Bag, $657

Sretsis Sparkling Dress, $151

Vena Cava Shiva Dress, $275

Clu T-shirt Dress, $133

3.1 Phillip Lim Lace-Up Tunic Dress, $76.75

Geren Ford 3 Snap Belt, $45.50

Heimstone Targa Dress, $199.50

Finishing, of course, with the Heimstone...oh, how I wish I could again afford $200 dresses! Law school is both a blessing and a curse.