Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

I want



Has the recession dampened my desire for fine stationery?

Apparently not.

$12.50 (top) + $6.99 (bottom) + whoknowshowmuch shipping. Should I?


Read Full Post »

Financially, GAP Inc., like many retailers, isn’t doing so hot. The WSJ says it will report a 10.5% decline in sales. But in terms of style? I think the Gap brand is this year’s Retail Comeback Kid.

Way back in the day, I remember wanting a pair of my very own Gap khakis (if only because I was slightly smitten with the hat-wearing, line-dancing cowboys in the TV spots). One of my favorite pieces is a tweed trumpet skirt from the Gap that I purchased in 2005.

For the past couple of years, however, Gap’s designs have been lackluster and uninspired. It’s a brand for the basics, yes, but basic doesn’t mean boring. I can get a plain white tee for $10 at Old Navy – why would I pay $10 or $15 extra at Gap?

Still, I always held out hope that Gap will come back. After seeing the clothes, I think it has. Under the direction of a new head designer, the clothing seem so much nicer – I was happy to see more details (ribbons, bell sleeves, ruffles, etc.), bright colors, and a wider selection of petite sizes (so important!). Then there are the deals of up to 60% off.

The combination of better design, suitable sizing, and consistant quality led me to make my first Gap purchase in more than 3 years:

  • 3 pairs of pants (including a pair of khaki’s) $30 each – I had originally ordered one pair. As soon as I tried it on, I knew I had to buy more. The fit is slimming but not skin-tight. I promptly ordered 2 more pairs. I’d purchase these pants at the full $54.50 price, but the discounts just means that I can stock up. 🙂
  • a party dress $25: Red? Is my weakness. Fortunately, I managed to refrain from also ordering the other color. I shall wear this to my anniversary dinner in February. Must keep the magic alive, no? 😉
  • a sweater $22: It’s a not-so-basic sweater in basic black. Love the 3-quarter sleeves and the grosgrain ribbon keyhole in the back. See what I mean about Gap bringing back the details?
  • The total came out to around $145.*
  • For the entire holiday season I think I spent around $250 (including the Gap purchases above).

After a full weekend of shopping, I’m DONE for the next SIX MONTHS. Now that I’m all stocked up on basics and beyond, I’m going on a much-needed shopping hiatus.

Besides, the torrents of deals will taper off – it’s just not sustainable marking things at 60%-70% off. After all the Fall & Winter inventories are cleared off, retailers are likely to be conservative on Spring merchandise. Maybe this is my way of rationalizing my purchases… but still. I don’t think we’ll see comparable sales come March.

*If you sign up for a Gap newsletter, you will receive a $15 off $75 code until Jan 31, 2009. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a free shipping code for non-Gap card users, so I had to pony up for the $7 shipping.

Read Full Post »

The sales got me!

I’ve been pretty good at resisting temptation for the past several weeks. But this weekend, I went out and shopped!

My acquisitions included a sweater dress ($20), three pairs of tights ($18), a pair of pants ($30), a buttoned top ($5), and a turtleneck shell ($16). All of the items were good quality and heavily discounted, and they are either 1. wardrobe basics, or 2. cute and colorful – i.e. stuff that I will be wearing over and over again.

I had forgotten how fun it is to shop. >_<

Read Full Post »

I already took care of my big present to Mom & Dad, but there are a bunch of smaller things / stocking stuffers that I realized I need to get for an unexpected family get-together.

So I headed to Marshall’s. I was given $100 in gift cards to review it’s holiday offerings. Marshall’s, like other discounters, usually have different selection of goods at different locations, and the inventory can change rapidly. I visited 3-4 different Marshalls within a 60 mile radius (can’t say I don’t do my diligence!).

I looked for Christmas cards, tights, boots, a white elephant gift for the office holiday party, and some sweaters to tide me through the winter chill.

The Goods
The shoe department was very well-organized by the shoe style, then by size. There is also a clearance rack where shoes are discounted even more than they already were. I saw some gorgeous Nine West pumps discounted to $19.99. There is a good selection of boots from Cole Haan, Guess, Nine West, etc., although the size availability can be hit or miss depending. Overall, I was really impressed with the concept of Shoe MegaShop. Marshall’s will be one of the first place I go to buy quality shoes at a reasonable price.

The clothing section are organized by the designer or by style of clothing. It gets a little tiring searching through SO much stuff, but if you are patient, you could be rewarded by a $30 BCBG dress that retails for $220, a $50 Calvin Klein sheath that retails for $200, and a $25 sweater that’d cost $50 at a department store. Patience is key. The clearance racks are organized by size.

In some stores, there are the fragrance counters and skincare aisles. Lots of great ideas for stocking stuffers (body scrubs, hand washes, lip gloss, etc.). I also love the stationary / desk organizer aisles. Crane cards for $5? Yes please! I stocked up on some last-minute Christmas cards. A couple of the Marshall’s I visted also had the CUBE, a separate section of the store that has more trendy items. (They have a contest for $2,500 in shopping… and I entered. Crossing my fingers…).

The Service
You won’t find the service at Marshall’s that you’d get a high-end department store, but if I wanted the high-end experience, I wouldn’t have gone to Marshall’s in the first place. My experience at the check out counter and with the store clerks walking around the floor has been fine – the service was professional, if a bit rushed (but it’s right before Christmas – can’t blame ’em!) and the clerks were knowledgeable about the layout of the store.

The results
I got three bags of cookies and several body scrubs, a Kors by Michael Kors sweater for my aunt, a pair of Nine West suede pumps for myself, a box of Christmas cards, and a pair of Cole Haan tall boots for a cousin who is obsessed with Cole Haan, which retails for over $400. I also snagged three scented pillar candles and some decorative napkins – will make that into a last-minute gift basket as a hostess gift. I spent around $170, or $70 out of pocket, but now, my Christmas shopping is done!

Read Full Post »

Buy what you love

Ever since I’ve adopted “Buy what I love” as my shopping mantra, I’ve become a much pickier shopper.

Exhibit A: This month, I visited FOUR different Banana Republics, checked out three Forever 21’s, ventured through two Macy’s and J.Crew’s, traipsed through a Ross and an Ann Taylor Loft’s, and bought… basically nothing.

Exhibit B: When I see a $59 BR shirt marked down to $22, the first thing that I think about isn’t “such a deal! Must have it!”. It’s also not “do I need it?” Because, let’s be honest, I will never truly NEED a silk/cashmere blend from Banana Republic. Instead, my first thought has become “Do I love it?

I’ve found this philosophy (actual philosophers, please do not stone me for ascribing the lofty title of “philosophy” to a shopping belief) to be surprisingly liberating.

No need to feel guilty over paying for a $300, full-priced coat if it’s something you love (and if it’s affordable). On the same token, I’m freed from the nagging feeling that if I did not grab that shirt (which is in a nice color, and fits pretty well, even though it’s cut a little long… and the color isn’t quite right against my skintone… but it’s only $20) on the sales rack, I’m missing out.

If a pair of shoes is half a size too big, if the shirt sleeves feel a bit funny, if the dress looks gorgeous on the top but falls awkwardly on the bottom – I do not buy them. This way, I will have the funds AND the closet space to buy clothes that I love – clothes that I look and feel great in.

There are so many great sales this holiday season. Sometimes, it is a little hard to walk by aisles and aisles of 50%+ off clothing. But you know what they say: true love waits. 😉

Read Full Post »

Yay me

I passed on a red $7.98 swing jacket at Ann Taylor Loft because the color was a little too orange on my skin tone, I already own a jacket in a similar style, and just because it was cheap did not mean that I have to have it.

When I walked out of the store, I felt as if I’ve earned the Orange Belt of Savvy Shopper-dom.

Or something.

Read Full Post »

Louboutins calling!

No, I did not purchase a pair of these lovely pieces of footwear brought to life by the visionary Mr. Christian Louboutin.


But I think I might put it on my list of things to do before I turn 30. That will give me a little more time to save up!

If you own a pair of Louboutins – how much do you love them? Are they worth the hefty price tag? Did you buy them to celebrate a milestone in your life?

And most importantly… are you afraid to ever set foot on the ground because the shoes are just too beautiful?! 😉

Read Full Post »

So far, I’ve contributed to the retail economy $9.65, by buying two packs of Christmas cards. But, I may spend much more before this weekend is over.

Okay, here’s my dilemma: should I get something that I want but do not need?

Namely, should I buy the Calvin Klein pillows and down alternative comforter for $112, including taxes & shipping? I think I’d be getting a really good deal, and the reviews have been great, and I have been wanting a new comforter for a while now.

But I don’t need new pillows or a new comforter. But I want them. It wouldn’t be too self-indulgent to get them, would it?

Maybe I will wait until Sunday to decide.

Maybe this can be my Christmas present to myself?

Read Full Post »

Thank you, Marshalls!

The nice folks at Marshalls gave me a gift card a while back for me to review the new Marshalls Mega Shoe Shop. I FINALLY got a chance to go this Saturday, and, wow.

Let me just say I rarely watch America’s Next Top Model, and I’ve never used Ms. Banks’ go-to word, but when I saw this pair of Nine West heels? I thought, fierce!

These are no dainty Cinderella slippers. These gorgeous heels, I imagine, are made to stomp all over town.

But on to review the actual store – all the shoes are organized by the shoe, then size. Everything’s clean and organized, although when I went it was a little crowded. Great selection of shoes from a variety of brands (including more upper-end brands such as Cole Haan and Sergio Rossi).

I’ve realized that many brands such as Nine West, Steve Madden, Tahari, Jessica Simpson, Calvin Klein, etc. can be found at discount stores such as Marshalls, Ross, or DSW after a while. (A quick google found that the Nine West’s I got first debut in Fall 2007, full price at $80). However, if you see a pair that you really really love, and you have feet that falls on either side of the spectrum (i.e. sizes 4.5-6 or 11+), I’d advise you not to wait for them to come in to a store.

Shoes in those sizes are much more limited in quantity than the “middle sizes”. Fortunately for me, I got my shoes in the right size, and… guess how much they were?

…. under $20 plus tax!! (I used my gift card).

So if you are looking to buy shoes, Marshalls would be a great place to check out. Incidentally, they also have a wide selection of boots right now. I’ll have to exercise utmost discipline not to visit every weekend.

Read Full Post »

I won’t actually do it…

But I’d really like to own this pair of ankle boots from Cole Haan. Never mind the $395 price tag.

Apparently when the economy’s bad, I really want to buy shoes. (Who am I kidding, I always appreciate nice shoes. But the economy’s a convenient scapegoat right now). I’d wear this with black tights, a shift dress, and a thin croc belt.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »