just go shopping

Kiskadee Renovation Sale

If you live in the DC metro area and you like unique, cozy sweaters, fun boots and amazing clothes in general, you should find your way to the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria for Kiskadee’s renovation sale. They are literally closing their doors for three days to get a facelift for spring, and according to store manager Sarah, the fewer goods they have on hand before the renovations, the better. Winter items will be up to 80% off, and trust me, I dropped by yesterday, there is still good merchandise to be had. Department stores may be hocking bathing suits, but it’s not too late in the season to pick up your new favorite sweater. After all, there is still a lot of winter left on the calendar.

Starting Saturday, January 17th and running until the 24th when the tarps and painter’s tape will come out, pop by to shop the sale of the year.

Just don’t take the items I’m eying.

retail therapy, reward, procrastination

I bought a few things this week. I declare none of my purchases entirely superfluous; with one exception, I spent on a need-to-have-basis. Let’s start with my greatest online weakness: Everlane.

I feel like Everlane was a big secret I wasn’t in on until about six months ago, so let me enlighten you. You can read about this internet retailer’s philosophy for yourself or I can summarize: they believe in transparency in production and pricing. On the webpage of each item they sell, if you scroll to the bottom, you will see delineated the true cost of the materials, production, and transportation. They add up those figures for the math challenged to attain the true cost of the item versus the Everlane price versus what the average retailer would charge. (I typically use J. Crew as a comparison.) Everlane is where I now buy all my t-shirts. $15 for a short sleeve t-shirt is $5.00 less than full price for the same at the Gap. And these shirts wear well, wash well (no pilling, my biggest pet peeve) and they are not see through. I repeat, they are not see through. (Okay, maybe see through t-shirts = biggest pet peeve.) After a closet purge this week, I ordered a black long sleeve t-shirt (my first from them) and because my favorite season is almost upon us, the Fall Seed Stitch Raglan in navy. (Justified because I essentially shrank my J. Crew version of this sweater last winter.)

Before you click over to Everlane and go crazy stocking your closet, think of the starving artist who referred you. I get a reward if you found them through me, so help a writer out and email me for an invitation if you plan to make an Everlane purchase.

While I was doing the closet purge, I put to one side all my wool pencil skirts for a couple of reasons. One, it’s still too damn hot. Two, I’m not entirely convinced they fit, but I’ve had enough rejection this week and thus wasn’t in the mood to find out. I’ve been wanting a midi-length pleated skirt, but usually find them too voluminous to be flattering on me. Try, try again, I say, and this colorblock skirt was on sale at Nordstrom so if it works and I love it, I won’t be racked with fiscal guilt. I can wear it now and later. Dress it up or down, but let’s be honest, I’m mostly going to dress it down.

Rounding out my flurry of retail activity, after a particularly grueling day of researching, writing, and sending agent query letters, I splurged on a new lipstick, this Bobbi Brown beauty in Lady Ruba. I know, I need another lipstick like I need another agent rejection, but I’m a sucker for a bright lip color, and they had me at limited edition.

Whereas the internet often encourages impulse shopping, I was thoughtful in making my purchases and now I just can’t wait for the UPS guy to come. And not just because he’s easy on the eyes. Though there is that.

Hive on the Hill

There are no fashionable women’s shoe stores on Capitol Hill unless you want to make the trek to Union Station, and who shops at Union Station except passersby and Hill staffers on their lunch break?

That all changes for one brief and shining weekend (as in, this weekend) when the Old Town based boutique, the Shoe Hive, comes to Tabula Rasa on Barack’s Row.

Beginning tonight from 7:00-9:00 with a cocktail reception hosted by my favorite Alisons, DC Celine and Wardrobe Oxygen, and running regular hours through the weekend, all sorts of wonderfulness will be available. From shoes to handbags to jewelry and other accessories, they promise to have something for everybody. Need gifts? Walk away from Amazon Prime for one night to support a local small business. Looking for the perfect holiday shoe? Maybe you will find it here. While I have never actually shopped the Hive since I usually make my big shoe purchases from SimplySoles, I’m impressed by the photos I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook of not only new arrivals in their actual store, but the goodies they are busy unpacking on this side of the river. And they are super responsive on social media, which feels like good customer service to me.

Who knows? Since I already indicated to the Hive-ess that my feet take a size 8, maybe I will find a happy birthday to me present.

men’s wear wednesday

Gentlemen, are you tired of reading or rather, skimming my blog for tidbits of juiciness like the words nude or milf? Do you wish I didn’t spend so much time on women’s fashion, my dress dilemmas and don’t wears that clearly have no relevance to you unless you are willing to share them with the woman in your life?

Fret no more.

In an attempt to continue my effort to make the world (or our little slice of it in DC) a more fashionable place, I have advice for you too. And dearest female readers, don’t avoid Wednesdays just because they will be tailored to the guys. I know you’ve had the experience of dressing up for an event, looking at what your husband or boyfriend was wearing, and cringing inside because his ensemble looked like it came from the (dirty) laundry basket not from an actual hanger in his closet. Or maybe you’re tired of the khaki-pants-blue-button-down uniform so omnipresent in DC. At the next BBQ, perhaps you can get him to wear something other than cargo shorts and a t-shirt from college (a note to the guys: just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s vintage).

Ideally, just like my women readers do, my male readers/skimmers will reach out to me with a wardrobe dilemma. Since I didn’t decide on this post until last night, today’s advice for those guys who hate to shop or don’t know what to look for is this: hire some help. A personal stylist such as DC Style Factory (who will start by auditing your closet and compiling a style profile) is well worth the investment. Or did you know that you can call (or email) Nordstrom, tell them what you need, your size and your price range and they will make an appointment for you to come in to a dressing room already full of items for you to try? No scouring the racks for outfits you don’t know how to put together or searching to find what section of the store carries the items you need. By the way, this service is free.

And so is my advice, so take it or leave it, but if you leave it, don’t say I didn’t tell you so the next time your significant other looks you up and down and lets out a heavy sigh. It might be because she can’t wait for you to get those clothes off, but not for the reason you think.

do as I say (and as I do)

https://i1.wp.com/www.pics-site.com/wp-content/uploads/Lady-Gaga-Meat-Dress-10.jpgThis morning I got an email from my friend Rayanne. The subject line was “Dear Chelsea Chronicles” and the message included a fashion question. At first I thought that I had accidentally published my last post sans the great photo I was still in the process of tracking down of Seersucker Thursday and my super long hair. But it turns out she just wanted my advice. Minutes before I was about to take Dear Chelsea Chronicles live, here I was getting a question from another friend who values my advice.

Her timing was almost impeccable. An email yesterday would have yielded inclusion in today’s post, but regardless, the continued requests are making me look forward to including Dear Chelsea Chronicles as a weekly entry. And for the record, while I answered Raye’s question right away, she did indeed provide fodder for next week’s edition.

Then at lunch I talked to my friend Tom (although he isn’t necessarily in my demographic) about adding a weekly feature called Buy This! where I highlight one recommended item to buy. The item might be something that is on super sale. It might be an investment piece. Maybe something I already have and love. Or covet. Whatever the case, so many women tell me they want to go shopping with me that I consider this my own way of virtual shopping with all of you, but without the hit my budget would inevitably take if we hit the stores in person.

The conversation with Tom was still a bubble in the air when another mind-reader made herself apparent. I got an email this afternoon from my friend Kasey recommending a regular Style This! feature where YOU, my readers, send me an item, and I style it for you. (It looks like I am going to be getting well acquainted with polyvore after all.) I love it. A challenge. Bring it on.

But please, don’t ask me to style a meat dress. Or sweatpants.