adventures at the district sample sale

my finds from the District Sample Sale

In a continuation of a week of DC fashion firsts, I hit the annual District Sample Sale (DSS) last night. ¬†For the uninitiated, DSS brings together a number of high-end boutiques who offer their goods at discount prices in one big location complete with music, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and oh – the real purpose is to raise money for charity.

When DC Celine said that I had to go with her and that I furthermore had to buy a VIP ticket to allow me an hour of access before the masses were let in, I of course did what she told me. (Though I would not cut the line to join her at the front because I was afraid someone would impale me with a stiletto.)

I was warned to dress in something that would allow me to try on items absent a real changing room, so I wore a pencil skirt (my big goal was to score some jeans and I figured I could shimmy them up under the skirt or as least under enough of the skirt to be respectable) and a blouse, but more importantly, a pretty bra (do I ever wear any other kind?) in case I really wanted to take off the blouse in front of hundreds of strangers to score the object of my desire.

Luckily, it didn’t come to that.

In the end, I walked away with a hammered cuff bracelet and two fantastic necklaces from Queen Bee Designs and a wrist full of leather wrap around bracelets from Fornash. (I promise photos of these items on me when my poison ivy clears up.) I did not try on any jeans, and the only top I tried on, well, I did it over my blouse and there’s photographic evidence of it on DC Celine’s instagram feed. I had to try it on not because I was really interested in purchasing it, but because I was so curious about the construction. Imagine an off the shoulder sweater that’s tunic length. Then imagine sewing a bra into the neck of the sweater. With step-by-step instructions from the helpful Muleh sales associate, I figured out that you first put on the bra component, then you tie the sleeves around your waist. Yeah, no 42-year old mom is going to find use for this item, but it was fun to try.

Lessons learned? If you’re going to the DSS, go with a kick ass woman who clocks in at close to six feet tall and can wear Union Jack skinny jeans because you (or rather she) will get noticed. As I was forewarned, do not hit the food and drinks until afterwards as it’s hard to balance shopping with treats. Have a plan, but have fun too. You probably won’t score exactly what you come in expecting to find, but you may discover a hidden gem.

Fall Fashion Finds

Fall Simply Soles Wish ListWho isn’t dreaming of fall? As I have previously established, it’s almost all that I think about. As if the Sweat Ceiling 2011 weren’t enough to send my daydreams in the direction of crisp October afternoons and brilliant foliage, I had to go and get the Simply Soles Fall Preview Catalog. I believe I previously referred to this catalog as “shoe porn” but it’s so much more than that. They sell purses. They have accessories. Jewelry. And I want it all.

I play this game with myself sometimes. I go to a favorite online store, put everything I want in the shopping cart, just to see how much the grand total would be if I could indeed buy everything. (Let’s just say when it comes to outfitting my fall wardrobe, I am in love with more than a mortgage’s worth of precious finds from the latest Simply Soles catalog). The way this game plays out is that I negotiate with myself. After putting together the “dream shopping cart” of everything I want, I go back through and ixnay the items that are too much like something I already own. I think critically about what outfits I could pair with the items in question. I don’t always look for versatility. But if I am making an investment, I want it to fit in my wardrobe without requiring additional purchases. The said good(s) should enhance my “look” and of course, I love something that I know is unique. I don’t want to be in an elevator in the Dirksen building sporting the same something as someone else, unless that someone is Adrienne (whose office is in the Dirksen building and who seems to share my taste in Chie Miharas). Of course, there is the matter of budget too. I have a cap. If I want to exceed the cap, I have to cut elsewhere, and/or go seek additional revenue. Imagine that for a formula?

While a picture is worth a thousand words (and all my favorite items look so pretty when pictured together) I do have to briefly expound upon each of my new true loves. First, the footwear. The Bettye Muller Treat in Platino might be my new favorite child. I actually own this pump in buff (the palest pink) and when I bought it, in my on-line review I wrote that I wanted a pair in every color. Two is a good start. As for the Frye boot, it is the perfect shade of distressed gray. I have been cruising for a tall gray riding boot, but nothing struck me as quite right until I saw this beauty. And I know a Frye boot will last forever, which immediately gives this item frontrunner status. The orange Dana Davis is the wildcard here. You know me and my pop of orange. I want to wear it with jeans, a structured blazer, and a great scarf.

Speaking of, does anything say fall more than the perfect scarf? While I usually opt for solids, this Orla Kiely acorn print in my favorite neutral hues has definitely caught my attention. And the Fornash necklace would work with just about every item in my fall wardrobe. (I have already tried it on mentally with everything hanging in my guest room closet where off season clothes wait to be worn.)

But really, the crown jewel of my list of needful things is the Isabella Fiore satchel. This bag screams autumn. It is busier than my usual handbag choices (I can see those of you who have seen my neon orange Kate Spade Scout rolling your eyes) but this bag has both the structure I like and the space I need.

While negotiators hole up in their partisan hovels, taking our economy to the brink, I am going to be playing my own budget game, but with less severe worldwide consequences. And if I reach a stalemate with myself, I might even resort to eeny, meeny, miny, moe.