When I travel, my favorite thing to bring home as a souvenir for myself is something practical that I can use or enjoy regularly. On recent trips I’ve returned home with linens, perfume and liquor bought in Duty Free, a hand painted trivet, earrings and scarves. I absolutely love reaching for an accessory to finish an outfit, or setting the dining room table, with an object that comes complete with a memory.
My plan for Germany was to replace a pair of worn out black flats with some new, comfortable walking shoes. And I didn’t mean Birkenstocks, either. I wanted shoes that worked with skirts, as well as jeans and I looked really hard in countless stores in Berlin and Potsdam for the perfect pair. Don’t believe me? Ask Quinn who was remarkably patient as I dragged him in and out of shoe store after shoe store.
While I found a couple of pairs of shoes that tempted me, I wasn’t interested in spending 175 euro for a pair of shoes. Other than my Fryes, I just don’t invest in footwear that expensive. I came home from Germany empty handed, other than a cheap white scarf. No big deal, except that I still needed a new pair of everyday black flats.
Home again, I searched online without success. Nothing grabbed me. Each time I put my crappy black shoes on my feet, I shook my head and hoped no one looked at me below the ankles. Last Sunday, as I was leaving a friend’s house after a lovely brunch, I impulsively steered my car into the town of New Paltz to check out a great shoe store, Pegasus. I trolled the sales rack and found a fantastic pair of wedges that unfortunately were slightly too large, and not at all what I needed. I kept looking.
Anti-stress shoes! Who doesn’t need that?
In the front of the shop there was a display of new arrivals and pair of flats caught my eye. They were simple enough to be versatile, yet super cute with interesting cutouts. They were available in my size and felt comfortable on my feet. They were in my budget and…they were German. Sold.
How many pairs of jeans do you own? According to the results of a recent Google search the average American woman owns 7 pairs. Personally, I have 9 pairs, but there really are only 4 pair that are in regular rotation. I think that means I could weed out a couple of pairs out, yet I hesitate to do that because each pair serves a purpose. It’s just that their purpose may not arise with much frequency.
For instance, I have a pair of Levi’s that I bought almost 15 years ago at an outlet in Maine. They’re the most “mom” jeans that I own despite the fact that they’re men’s jeans. I’m a smaller size now and they slide down my hips without a belt, but they are my official “project” pants duly spattered with paint and broken in in a way that takes years. I’ve got to keep them.
Speaking of sizes, the variety in jeans sizing is definitely evidence of the trend in recent years to flatter women with vanity sizing. I pretty there’s a range of more 5″ in waist size between my oldest and newest jeans and, while I did lose some weight, I don’t think it was really that dramatic. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were a true standard in sizing?
According to a website that I found the average price paid for a pair of jeans is $45.32. Although that number seems a little on the low side to me, it is accurate for me and the last two pairs of jeans I purchased – a Gap pair of skinnies for $20 on super sale and the Citizen of Humanity pair I picked up at Anthropologie on super sale for $65. The latter pair is my current favorite pair and I legitimately called 3 Anthropologie stores in 3 different states trying to score an additional pair in a smaller size because they are so damn comfortable. Confession: I’m a bit obsessed with them.
How much do you typically spend on a pair of jeans? The most I’ve ever spent on jeans is about $100. It was definitely a splurge, but they were on sale at Marshall’s and I’ve had them for at least 10 years. That averages out to $10 a year – a bargain for a pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans, don’t you think?
How old is your oldest pair of jeans? Do you have a range in sizes to rival the Continental Divide? Do you have a favorite pair? What is the most money you’ve ever spent on a pair of jeans?
It’s a weird February when the snow drops are in bloom and the daffodils are already 5″ high in Central Park.
Speaking of things that are a weird height, the cool guys were all wearing pants that we would have called “floods (short for floodwaters)” back in the day. Lots of exposed ankles.
In general, it seemed like people just didn’t know how to dress for the weather. I saw folks bundled up like they were visiting Antarctica and others wearing flip flops. Our technique – light layers with gloves, as necessary.
Thanks to Quinn we scored the best slices of pizza I’ve ever had in NYC in a dive-y spot across the street from the Garden. Crisp, hot, great toppings and excellent cheese. We went every day.
Although I only went once, Macy’s provided me with the ultimate score when I found a gorgeous pair of suede over the knee boots. The original price was far more than I’ve ever spent on footwear before (or any other garment, for that matter), but when Macy’s has a sale they do not mess around. My beautiful new Coach boots set me back $51, approximately 90% less than where they had started.
The Meatpacking District has changed more than any other neighborhood that I can think of in the last 20 years. There’s so much good shopping and eating and hanging out to be had there!
I’m really interested to watch the Hudson Rail Yard area develop. Lots of construction going on there these days and I’m hopeful that there will be some new cool places to stay for overnight visits.
Running in NYC is always an adventure. No matter what neighborhood I’m staying in, I can always find my way to either water or Central Park, a fact that reminds me that Manhattan just isn’t really that big.
Since Manhattan is starting to feel small to me, maybe it’s time to start exploring Brooklyn and Queens? Suggestions for exploring those boroughs?
Confession: I have too much stuff, particularly clothing. These days when I look at the two-sided garment rack which is stationed outside of the closet large enough for me to step inside of, I feel weighed down and vaguely embarrassed. It’s too much.
I’ve defended my consumerism with numerous excuses – I lost weight and needed clothes that fit, I must have to different wardrobes to meet the needs of both my day and evening jobs, I rarely pay full price for anything and many of the pieces come from consignment shops or clearance sales, I consign my clothes a couple of times a year…
Whatever. In a world where too many have nothing, I have too much.
But, I’m feeling stuck. My avenue for consigning my clothes has hit a dead end since the store I previously worked with is no longer selling clothing. The idea of exploring other options overwhelms me right now and finding an alternate sales venue feels impossible in my current, crazed life. Maybe you have a suggestion?
Since I haven’t been able to dispose of my clothing without feeling as if I wasted money with my initial purchase, I’m working to commit to not buying new garments. Even when the sale is tremendous and the item “perfect,” I’m walking away empty handed. Buying new things isn’t filling me with joy right now, so why bother?
As weeks in a new year quickly move along, I feel myself trying to get another angle on lightening my load. Maybe It’s time to take an afternoon to make a few piles of clothes which I am willing to weed from my wardrobe, no matter the cost. You know, sorting everything into categories such as Not Worn in a Year/No Longer Fits or Flatters/In Need of Tailoring or Cleaning or Repair and then being relentless.
The idea of actually doing this is growing more exciting than formidable and I’m almost there. I’ll let you know how it goes.
You know I’m not much of a follower, preferring to blaze my own trail when it comes to shopping. It doesn’t matter if it’s groceries (I still haven’t been to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) or clothing – you’ll not see me waiting in line to get into the newest retail spot. As a matter of fact, these days I seem to do an awful lot of my shopping online because I simply don’t have the time to drive to the mall and poke around looking for deals or something in my size.
But, despite the recent snow, it’s spring and I’m going on vacation in a few weeks which means my wardrobe needed some refreshing. Having gotten my run in early, my afternoon opened up and I decided a few hours of solo recreational shopping would be the perfect way to relax and prepare for a busy week and my upcoming trip. Off to Colonie Center I went.
My original intention was to hit up Macy’s and troll the sales rack for leftover winter items that might transition into spring, but since I started at LL Bean,* I decided to pop into Nordstrom Rack on my way. That was probably the best decision I made all day.
I don’t have much familiarity with this store, having only been here once or twice before with the boys looking for sneakers. Since I’ve been jonesing for an off the shoulder dress for spring, I headed immediately to the dress racks, focusing first on current, full price items. After coming up empty, I moved on to the discounted racks where I absolutely filled my arms (12 things!) with dresses, tops and an indulgent item or two. I’m a big believer in getting undressed once in the changing room and trying everything on in one fell swoop.
So? How did I do? I went home with 6 (!) dresses, 2 tops, 1 super cozy cashmere sweater and a gorgeous jacket for a grand total of… $290! Considering that the sweater and the jacket alone combined for $144, I’d say that my shopping expedition was a great success. According to the sales receipt I saved $1190 so I guess I did all right.
Cute Betsy Johnson with a swingy 60s vibe.
A wrap dress to replace a different wrap dress. It’s a wrap!
Super sweet, well made cotton dress.
The piece de resistance – fits beautifully and has a deep blue lining that makes me happy.
Where do you scratch your itch to shop? What do you have your eye on for spring or summer? And – have you seen any fantastic off the shoulder dresses around?
*For the first time ever, I exercised the lifetime guarantee offered by LL Bean and asked them to replace a backpack that had shoulder straps that were shredding and tearing off. They lived up to their promise without hesitation.
You may not know this but I’m kind of a fashionista, if fashionista means a person who is interested and excited by fashion. I’ve been into fashion for as long as I can remember with my first favorite outfit consisting of matching stretchy pink lace undergarments that I would happily reveal to any visitors. I think I was three.
The spring fashions that I’ve seen so far this year have thrilled me more than any I have seen in years. The “new bohemian” look is screaming my name and I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate a few key elements into my wardrobe. Because, that’s what stylish people do, right? They never buy the whole package, preferring to collect a couple of pieces that acknowledge a trend without getting lost in it. Below are a couple of my favorite looks from March’s InStyle, an outstanding issue, by the way.
What are you and your closet craving this year?
Sunday morning I ran NYC. Our hotel was on East 43rd Street between Second and Third Avenues, a neighborhood with which I don’t have much familiarity. My plan was to head north on Second and then cut through the park on 65th to head over to the west side. From there, the plan was nonexistent – I was going to just wing it.
Second Avenue has some nice rolling hills and I was quite taken by the East 50s. I could live there for sure. I took 64th to Fifth Avenue and found myself facing the Central Park Zoo. What a beautiful building it is when approached from the east! One more block north and I was running west, towards Tavern on the Green. I ran up Central Park West with an eye on the Dakota swathed in scaffolding until I reached Strawberry Fields and headed back into the park.
I threaded my way through the park until I reached Columbus Circle, turning east on 59th making my way back to Fifth Avenue. I ran on the east side of the street to maximize my view of The Plaza. What a building! I started to realize that my run was becoming a “greatest hits” of NYC landmarks. Oh my God, this is such a wonderful way to see the world, this running thing.
It was somewhere around 8:30 and the streets were blessedly empty. I window shopped at 6 mph, taking in the fabulous displays and getting increasingly more excited about the new season’s fashions. Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Tiffany…I practically got a contact high from all that beauty.
I continued south with my eyes on the Empire State Building before turning east to make my way back to our hotel, now with my eyes fixed upon the Chrysler Building. In less than an hour, and just over 5 miles, I had feasted my eyes on some of the most stunning architecture in the world’s greatest city. What a wonderful way to start the day.