Currently Coveting…

I curse my expensive taste in handbags!

When I received a very nice email from the folks at Loeffler Randall informing me that they were about to launch a new handbag collection, I really didn’t think twice. While I am a huge admirer from afar at their funky shoes, I like my handbags more on the classic side, and I assumed their new line would be too uber-trendy.

Then I saw these two bags:

http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=54956824

While the bag to the left has a definite rocker vibe, I believe it is executed in a fashion that could remain timeless on the arm of the right woman. If you embody the idea that red is a neutral (which I do) the bag on the right has limitless possibilities.

I am smitten.

The price on these puppies makes blush the Kate Spades I usually buy through a special sale on the sale, and Loeffler Randall items do not quickly get marked down. So I shall merely covet these beautiful babies from my computer screen, and live vicariously through anyone who makes the splurge.

Triple Workout Styling

Here it is. A compilation of what I decided to wear to my spin+spin+barre workout at Biker Barre today.

To the left is a great to and from the gym jacket, or in today’s case, what I wore to recovery breakfast with spin sister Monica of Blue Print for Style in the air conditioned Ted’s Bulletin so that I wouldn’t freeze from my sweaty workout clothes.

For the workout itself, the No Limits Tank from Lululemon provided the support, freedom and inspiration I needed for today’s mental and physical challenge.

What two hour and 45 minute workout would be complete without a Sweaty Band to keep your hair out of your face? That mine has pink skull and crossbones on it just makes it more cutely fierce. I swear, it doesn’t move out of position at all.

And barre socks are totally a must for me. I don’t tuck barefooted. I like that this pair has a little message to remind you that if your legs are shaking, you are doing something right.

It all worked so well that I am already signed up for the same adventure next Saturday.

Hope to see you there.

jubilee

In January and July of each year, SimplySoles holds its three-week Jubilee sale. A gambler’s sale, the way it works is the first week, select items are 30% off, the second week they are 40% off and the third week, remaining items are between 50-80% off. It’s a great way to score an investment shoe at Nine West prices, unless of course, you are cursed with the ever-so-common size 8 foot like I am, in which case your dream shoe is almost always sold out by the third week.

Usually my approach to Jubilee is to roll the dice the first week of the sale under the premise that if the item(s) I covet is still available the second week, then it was meant to be. Rarely do I risk the third week, though in January I did wait and scored the Stuart Weitzman Tango for a mere $67.00.

My friend Adrienne is more daring than I am. She waits until the last week and more often than not, ends up with shoes by Bettye Muller, Butter and Dana Davis at highway robbery prices. But this July’s sale, her patience paid off greater than normal dividends. In fact, she said she feels like she’s stealing shoes from Kassie by getting the deals that she got.

The catch is that Adrienne can afford to wait. She has a size 11 foot.

By her own observation, many of the shoes she picked up in this week’s haul were the last remaining shoe of that style. Thus they were marked down the entire 80%. She didn’t have to worry (like I do) about the little “1 remaining!” alert next to the sale price because of her confidence that not a lot of other size 11s are out there competing with her. As such, on Tuesday, the beginning of the third week of Jubilee, she bought six pairs of shoes. The original price of all would have totaled $1062.00. But when you calculate the sale price and subtract the $50 “sole saver reward” she used, her total came to $242. That’s over $800 in savings!

So next time you large-footed friends of mine lament your shoe size, I’m going to remind you of Adrienne and the benefit of sales that us average-footed women never get near. I would posture that savings like this is worth the few hundred water ski jokes you’ve had to endure over time.

 

sale on the sale

J. Crew did it to me again. They know when I’m weak. This long sticky summer has me beat down, and therefore I was more susceptible than usual to the additional 40% off all sale items offer even though usually by this time of year, I’m planning fall and winter purchases instead of scooping up summer deals.

But with temperatures soaring in the 100s, my favorite season seems eons away, and I’m tired of being hot. So much so that I broke a major rule of mine and bought shorts from the said sale. I hate shorts. I hate the way I look in them and after a few years of trying, I finally gave up. But I have been lured back in by the pictured versions for $21. I went with one 4-inch inseam and one 5-inch because I just wasn’t sure, and 3-inch seemed too I’m twentysomething and haven’t had babies yet.

I also had to have the orange version of the beige espadrilles I have been living in this summer, thanks to my friend Laura who initially pointed them out to me. The flat espadrille might be a little too much like Toms in practice, but I hate flip flops and need something to run to and from the pool in this summer.

I’m not usually a tunic-wearer, but have discovered them this summer as a great way to cover-up from unwanted sun rays in a manner that is easy breezy and not as stifling as hiding under a towel. Both those pictured here will work great with my fuschia bathing suit.

Of course, if my track record with J. Crew holds true, I will end up returning half of my purchases (the half that weren’t final sale, that is) though I hope that at some point, my retail luck changes. Maybe, just maybe, all six items will work. And I’m sure that once I’m totally geared for the dog days of summer, fall will surely make an appearance.

 

all the news that’s fit to print

Yes, I have been missing in action. Well, not missing in a dropped off the face of the earth sort of way. But I didn’t spend any time during the week of Chelsea doing any writing that is worthy of sharing (I blame the heat) and this week has been a dizzying cascade of work, kids, camp, heat and stress, all without my daily dose of Biker Barre to keep me sane and balanced.

So what did I do with my time off? I shopped. I spa-ed. I worked out. I ate (a lot). I drank some nice wines. I took the kids to Philadelphia. We went to a Fourth of July parade, derby car race and river raft regatta. Then our hostess in Philadelphia – my roommate from college – came down to DC with me. We shopped more. Ate more. Drank more. I introduced her to the barre-spin double. We napped. We saw Magic Mike. We watched movies at my house.

It was a good week.

In terms of my styling projects, Chani did not end up wearing the Kate Spade dress to the wedding in Charleston because while it was 105 here in DC with a heat index of 115, it was 145 degrees with 300% humidity in South Carolina and the fabric was just too heavy and clingy for an outdoor affair. She will wear it a lot this summer though, so no regrets, and bought dangly purple earrings as I recommended. She still doesn’t have the perfect shoes to go with the dress, according to what I heard yesterday, so I’m going to work on getting her into a snakeskin pair as suggested by Rosana from DC Style Factory.

Terra did wear her green dress to the wedding and paired it with a bunch of gold jewelry: stacked bracelets, necklace, earrings. Apparently there is no picture that captures the entire look though so you will just have to envision its greatness.

I got eyelash extensions and I.Love.Them. I asked my technician to give me a length that doesn’t scream hooker, and I’m extremely pleased with the results. Now no matter how hot and sweaty I get or how much I cry, my eyes are never smudgy. I’m not sure it’s a sustainable budget practice, but I plan to at least maintain them through the hot and sticky summer.

Which given the way the climate is changing, could mean until November.

men’s wear wednesday: an alternative to suits

I don’t really have a solution to offer, but wanted to make sure I express my sympathy for all the men I saw (and the many more I didn’t personally see) slugging to work through the heat and humidity on this brutal first day of summer. While I did not see a single woman wearing a dress or blouse with any hint of a sleeve, all the men I saw were already melting in their long-sleeved work shirts, even before donning jacket and tie.

There are many times that I thank the stars I am a woman, no more so than this time of year. Our professional wardrobe options are so much more vast. Let’s be honest, most men can’t carry off the seersucker suit with Trent Lott aplomb. (I think you have to be a fifth generation southern gentleman to really own it.) Lightweight wool? Sounds like an oxymoron to me, but even though I know what is meant by the term, it still sounds dreadful on a day expected to be in the mid-90s. Even if your suit is indeed of a lightweight fabric like poplin, you still have to tie a noose around your neck from 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday.

I don’t have any great ideas for changing up what professional options you have for this time of year (khakis are not the answer). But I do have an idea that is worth consideration. Since we’re never going to get a “heat day” off from work in the summer the way we get snow days in the winter, perhaps the federal government could institute a policy of “no jacket and tie days.” It could be the summer equivalent to “liberal leave” during inclement weather in the winter.

Until that time, hang your shirt, jacket and tie on a hanger and wear something light and airy for your walk to work or walk from the metro or your car. Just don’t do what the guy I saw this morning did. He had said hanger with office attire on it, but opted to walk to work in his wife-beater. And while I feel bad for all you overdressed men out there, no woman wants to see a sweaty man in a tank top.

 

fashion happenings

If there is one thing that I absolutely hate about Capitol Hill (aside from a dysfunctional Congress) it’s the utter lack of fashion commerce. (Union Station doesn’t count.)

But this week, for those of us who work, shop and/or live on the Hill, there are two style events you need to put on your calendars.

The first happens to be tonight. (Sorry for the last minute nature of this information, but remember, I’m writing a short story.)

If you wear button-up shirts or blouses and are tired of  “boob gape” – that unsightly gap your shirt makes when it pulls across your chest – you need The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens. And tonight you have your chance to pick one up. A trunk show is being held from 5:00-8:00 at Johnny’s Half Shell to feature this ingenious blouse with extra (hidden) buttons to keep you from inadvertently flashing your boss. Come check out the Summer 2012 collection, receive 20% off any purchase you make, and let yourself be enlightened by a patented technology that is an Oprah Mush Have Item of the Year. I own two of these shirts, which I bought five years ago when I was working in the Senate, and I can attest to their functionality and durability. Quality fabrics and vibrant colors and patterns distinguish them from your average blouse. If the Farm Bill ends up in a quorum call all night, you have no excuse not to drop by for 15 minutes. No one will miss you. Really.

The second event I encourage you to attend is the Periwinkle Pop-up Shop at Tabula Rasa, located on 8th Street in Barracks Row. From 11:00-8:00 on June 21st and 22nd and 10:00-4:00 on the 23rd, you can shop the wears of this popular Northern Virginia-based boutique without having to cross the 14th Street Bridge. Are you, like me, looking to supplement your summer wardrobe? Need a dress for a wedding, garden party or maybe a hot date? Like funky jewelry and shoes you won’t find on the feet of the woman standing next to you in the elevator? Make sure you drop in to see what unique items Periwinkle is offering. I definitely plan to attend, so if you are interested, let me know and maybe we can add lunch or drinks or dinner to the agenda.

I dream of a day when I don’t have to drive/metro far and wide to find the quality shopping I crave, and fashion events like these will help draw attention to the shopping deficit in the area of DC (that’s you, Capitol Hill) that needs fashion guidance the most. Help encourage more such events (and maybe, gasp, a permanent boutique) by showing your support.

Be there or be forever mediocrely dressed.