Monday, December 31, 2012

The J Crew pricing game

The J Crew pricing game is exhausting... it is the "game" where you, the customer, try to score the best possible deal on clothing. I have both failed and excelled at this game. For instance, I failed a few months ago when I hastily bought the lilac cafe capri wool pants for $79.99 plus discounts on final sale. Had I waited just a month later, I would have easily found my size in multiple stores for substantially less. In addition, I have yet to wear the pants!

With that said, I did make a nice score a few days ago, courtesy of an Internet return. I bought my first J. Crew Hacking Jacket in mint, size 6 (my regular blazer size). The total for my internet purchase was $90, which I thought was a fair price for a great quality item. Problem was, I didn't LOVE the fit of the Hacking jacket, which runs longer than the Schoolboy blazer. AT 5'3, that extra length made a big difference. In retrospect, a 6P probably would have worked perfect, but I didn't want the hassle of the return/reship. The size 6 fit "OK."

However, when I saw the item in store this weekend for less, and they had both a size 4 and a 6 on the sale rack, I had to return the Internet purchase. In the end, I paid $70 for the jacket and the size 4 fits much better. Again, a 6P here would have been ideal, but the 4 gives me a better silhouette and a better price!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Post Christmas sales

I hit the mall the day after Christmas (Happy Boxing Day!) and was able to pick up some terrific deals. I took advantage of the Banana Republic 50-percent off reduced items sale (plus extra for cardholders), which was going on yesterday morning until 1pm. I was able to finally score the blazer I was waiting to grab on sale. It was the last one in the store and coincidentally, in my size!

I would say that the orange textured hacking jacket runs a little loose and for the first time in a while, I would have considered sizing down. However, as I mentioned, this was the LAST one in store. Also, to get it for $49 (marked down from $150) I wasn't about to be difficult.

I also checked out J. Crew. Alright, MULTIPLE J. Crews (one of the best parts of living in New Jersey -- there are least five J. Crew stores plus an outlet all within a 20 mile radius and clothing in our state is tax-free!). I picked up the pink herringbone capri pants for $20! Again, an item where I bought my normal size 4 but might have been able to size down. Since the smaller size was not in store, I grabbed the one I had. I also grabbed the black polka dot sequin tee for $43. I actually bought the ivory one a few weeks back for about $50 and it was crazy for me to buy TWO. However, I figure that I will wear the black one next holiday season, but I will wear the ivory anytime I feel like it during the year.

I was extremely excited to find an in-store pop-back of the mini-ram bracelet! I missed out on it during the summer because I waited too long for a sale. It was terrific to get a second chance at it and it was only $40.

Lastly, the two tartan plaid perfect shirts in my size on sale. I found them to run a smidge tight in the chest, as evidenced by the button. I thought this was odd being that I chose my normal size in perfect shirts. However, as people often say, J. Crew is not always consistent with sizing.

Have any of you raided the after-holiday sales or are you shopped out? Admittedly I am a bit shopped out but I didn't want to sleep on some of these items and regret not purchasing them later.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Awesome Christmas gifts!

I won't favorite gifts were the ones that weren't a surprise -- they were the ones I specifically asked for. Family members can have varied gift giving personalities in that some wish to give gifts to please the recipient, while others believe in other philosophies. While all all sentiments are appreciated, I personally dislike "surprises" and my husband made me happy letting me in on the gift giving.

The hubby bought me this beautiful baby pink Tippi sweater from J. Crew, which was on sale when I, err  HE bought it, and also this terrific enamel bangle bracelet from Henri Bendel.

Hope you all received some great gifts and enjoyed some down time with the family!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Target finds

I've been spending quite a bit of money in Target these past few months. The thing about Target is you never feel like you are spending money, because you are getting such great "deals" .... and then comes that $150+ credit card bill!

That said, my Target bill is usually the one I don't mind paying. Using the Target card saves you 5% instantly when you use it, and that savings does add up.  I always know I was able to stretch my dollar. I tend buy not only cosmetic and health items, but also grocery items, and of course... CLOTHES!

To be honest, that is probably how my bill gets to be over $150. Whenever I go to Target, it is usually for, I don't know, Christmas wrapping paper and lights, or hair dye and shampoo. And then I pass the clothing and think, "Oh, for $15 that is cute." It's a disease, I tell you!

At any rate, here are a few of the cute fashionable items I have picked up at Tar-JAY in recent days.

I love these two plaid pocket skirts from Merona. They run a size small in my opinion so consider the next size up. Also, I wasn't a fan of the button/strap on the waist of the skirt so I carefully seam-ripped it off both items.

I also picked up another Merona blazer in Orange (aka J. Crew modern red). I was lucky enough to find this on clearance for $24. These blazer are knockoffs of the J. Crew schoolboy blazer, which I obviously love. I already own the grey tipped version of the blazer and the blackwatch plaid version. I already had a linen blazer from J. Crew Factory in modern red, but it is my favorite color and the wool-like material on the Merona version made it different and helped me decide to buy it.

Lastly, I was shocked to read on Gigis Gone Shopping that the Neiman Marcus/Target collection was 50 percent off! That was shocking being that the collection just debuted Dec. 1 and the price slash decision was made less than 3 weeks later. I am however not surprised that the items weren't selling -- they were priced WAY too high and some of the items were, frankly, not very cute. I know people have said this over and over, but let me attempt to say it in a clear, concise way that the Target execs can understand: IT'S NOT THAT TARGET CUSTOMERS DON'T APPRECIATE HIGH FASHION, IT'S THAT TARGET CUSTOMERS APPRECIATE DECENT QUALITY FOR A DECENT PRICE. The reason that high fashion designers become popular is that their stylish products have a high quality to them. Tory Burch makes terrific leather shoes that I don't mind paying $195 for. However, I do mind paying $24 for a plastic thermos with an awful print* because her name is on it. If Target is going to sell kitsch, then price the kitsch at cheap prices.

(* Truth be told, I am thinking about getting the lunchbox with the same awful print because now it is half price!)

With all this in mind, I reconsidered the collection with all items priced 50-percent off (which is what they should have been priced at from Day 1). Here is what I bought:

After seeing this on Gigi, I decided to buy the Proenza Schouler graphic sweatshirt.  A small part of me thinks the design is ugly, but in an eclectic way. I think I bought this for the label and the price. I am not a fan of the U-shaped cut (hem in front of sweatshirt is higher than back) but for $14.99, the material is super soft and I think I will wear this around the house or to run errands. I was surprised to take a Small as I usually lean towards size Medium tops.

Surprisingly I feel the same about the Rag & Bone mens' sweater, which is now $34.99. It is kind of ugly but I sort of like that for what it is -- a men's "boyfriend style" wool cardigan. It's black and gray wool, so it will blend in with most outfits and it does appear to be well-made. This is the one item I was interested in when the collection debuted because I don't have an item like this in my closet. I think this will be good to throw on top of a T-shirt and jeans, or even over pajamas.  I was able to buy the last size Small -- most of what was left was size Large and XL.

Have you all found any good items at Target lately? Have you bought from this NM collection, or do you hate it? Please share!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shearwater boots for LESS

I always thought about a pair of Sperry Shearwater boots from J. Crew but the $98 price tag was too steep. I know LL Bean makes a comparable version, but even their price is above $60. This is why I couldn't pass up these at my local TJ Maxx.

They are Lauren by Ralph Lauren boots and they cost me $49.99. They have been terrific to wear to work this week with all the rain. Although I love my "welly" boots, these are a great option for when you want to slip something on fast and easy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Trying out Talbots

I don't typically shop at Talbot's. I think some of the items are cute but the regular retail prices are insanely high to me. Good quality, so I suppose you get what you pay for. But when there is a super-sale, it is worth checking out.

Apparently Talbot's is not doing well and has closed several stores in 2012. I was unaware of their financial woes until walking past a Talbot's in a high-end mall in New Jersey where I live. The store was marked down to 50% off of sale price plus an EXTRA 10 percent! Talbot's is currently offering 40-percent off in all stores, but stores that are closing down are liquidating the items at a cheaper price.  I bought this Tweed jacket for just $54 and this Tuileries floral skirt for just $24.

I visited another Talbot's store in a nearby mall -- a store that was NOT going out of business. I was able to take advantage of 40 percent off store-wide (including sale items) and was able to pick up this green suede Equestrian clutch. For $24 I was pretty happy about the purchase. It will go great with the green in the tweed jacket!

Do any of you shop at Talbot's? What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 17, 2012

J. Crew Holiday Sale

I'm loving (and hating!) the 30-off store/sitewide sale going on at J. Crew. I've grabbed quite a few items knowing that sales like these are few and far between.

I wanted some holiday socks so I got both of these "fair isle" print socks on promo and love wearing them with my PJ pants and under boots.

I scored this jeweled brooch after reading about it on Gigis Gone Shopping. I received so many compliments on it! I was on the lookout for a brooch and this was exactly what I had in mind.

I am a huge fan of J. Crew corduroy pants. I wanted the dusty blue matchsticks but, alas, they weren't available in my size in any store in my state. I settled on the bootcut cord style in a similar blue color. For $20, I'm not complaining, but I do need to get them hemmed.

Lastly, I am LADY JACKET obsessed! I saw this blue tweed lady jacket for $149 plus discounts. I had to have it! Love love love love love!

Did YOU buy something during this recent promo?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the clutch

So with all the holiday parties and dinners coming up, I realized I didn't have, and could use, a nice clutch purse. Truth be told I do have a very nice (and expensive) black leather designer clutch that I bought a few years back through a consignment company, but it is almost "too nice" for some of the events I plan to attend. I also have a black snakeskin clutch but it is too narrow to hold my basics and really is just for formal events to hold my car keys. Lastly, I bought the safari cat clutch from J. Crew this summer, but that wouldn't work for what I needed.

When thinking about what clutch to buy, I thought a gold color would be nice for the holidays. I liked this "python" bag from Michael Kors (above) but decided the price was too high for an item that wouldn't get much use. (Remember, I already have an expensive clutch, and I rarely use that one!) I did like that it was flat to fit under my arm, and I liked the gold animal texture. I searched the web and found this gold croc clutch on for $17. It should be arriving in the mail any day now.
After buying the gold, I kept thinking back to the polka dot invitation clutch I saw on sale at J. Crew. It was marked down to $70 before sale and discounts, and ended up costing about $44 total. I might have been able to get it cheaper if I waited, but I decided that $44 was a good price. I think I will wear this one year round. I think I will start using it for going out to dinner because I don't really like placing my handbag on restaurant floors. The clutch could go on the table, or the chain strap could fit on my chair.

Lastly, I spotted a lone black Vero clutch at J. Crew Factory. As you know, the Factory has had some great deals lately. So although I don't need ANOTHER black clutch, this one (see below) has gold hardware, is a bit roomier than the aforementioned snakeskin clutch, and best of all, came out to cost just $33.

What are your thoughts on clutch purses? Will you use one during the holidays? What are your thoughts on these items?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

J. Crew Final Sale Items

I can't resist an extra 30 off sale at J. Crew. I always seem to find something I can wear for the right price. It's funny how much more appealing a shirt, for instance, looks when it is only $20 compared to say $70. I grabbed all the following items at what I considered to be terrific bargains.

I bought a tissue turtleneck tee in Gallery Green, which according to Beach Chic Style is the new color of 2013. Win win for me because I love that deep rich color of green. Also, a quick side note on these turtlenecks -- they are thin enough to be comfortable in a heated room, yet thick enough (at least in dark colors) to not be too transparent. I bought my first turtleneck tee from J. Crew in 2009 and I still have it and wear it. They definitely last, and for less than $12 it was a steal.
In another nod to one of my favorite bloggers, I took the advice of Beach Chic Style and bought the Colorblock Top in Navy. I had liked it a week ago when it was $50 plus additional discounts, but I liked it much more for $20! The material is heavier (great for this time of year) and I like the zipper in the back. I don't own any tops with a zipper in the back. I don't like that my ponytail was caught on it in the dressing room, but I suppose I can try to be careful.

Also I picked up the Postage Stamp Navy Tweed Blazer, as seen on Summer Wind. This is a different style blazer for me as I tend to gravitate toward Schoolboy-like and more traditional style blazers. However, I decided recently that I wanted a few Chanel-esque blazers to jazz up my jeans for weekend wear.  That was why I recently bought the Lady Jacket in Berry Pink.  I think this one is also terrific, especially for about just $40.  Unfortunately, my usual size 6 was not available in any area stores so I settled on the size 4. I allowed the SA to talk me into buying it. It isn't terribly tight but I will have to avoid throwing baseballs while wearing it!
I also picked up the Zebra Enamel Bracelet, which was marked down. I admired a similar version of this bracelet on Bauble Bar, where it is currently sold out. I figured that the Bauble Bar bracelet would be cheaper at about $30, but actually the J. Crew version (with the sale discounts) came out to about $40 and it is quite stunning. Not an everyday bracelet, but I did wear it to dinner last night and couldn't stop "playing" with it!

I picked up another pair of Bubble earrings in lilac. These are currently on the website for $29.99 However, I was able to get them with the extra 30 off by ordering in store over the phone.

Lastly, I picked up the Green Red Plaid Flannel Shirt from Old Navy. I had eyed this shirt in store and when I found it was sold out online and almost sold out in store, I grabbed it. Just $19. I need another plaid flannel shirt like I need a hole in my head, but I technically do not own any red shirts and it screams holiday season.

So that was what I bought this weekend. I was able to shop with my husband, who I am proud to say bought two shirts from the sale section of J. Crew for about a total of $42. He seemed surprised to see the final price. Meanwhile I was happy to see him buy some nice new shirts. Win-win!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

J. Crew blog copy cat looks

I had to grab the Factory tartan skimmer pants after seeing them on so many blogs I love. Although I already had the tartan holiday perfect shirt, there is something about the pants that are a little more fun. Tartan seems to be all the rage this season, plus I can't imagine that I wouldn't want to wear it at this time next year. I was able to get them for a great price. Also grabbed a pair of toothpick blue cords from factory. The blue color is more of a retro jade, which is a color I apparently can't get enough of.

 Also was excited to grab the "lady jacket" (I even love the name!) after seeing it on some of my favorite blogs. I think for me this is something I want to wear with jeans, to get the whole "dressy meets casual" look. I think it will become a classic piece that I can also pair with pants or skirts to look extra dressy at the right occasion. Couldn't be happier about the price -- $70!