Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Shopbop Surprise Sale: 40% Off

The weather may not be very warm right now but that isn't stopping Shopbop from starting an early Summer sale. Right now, you can head this way to browse a large assortment of merchandise that's reduced 40% off.

First markdowns usually don't start until right before Memorial Day but from what we hear the retail environment is not doing very well. We have heard that sales this year will be earlier than they have been for some time and that discounts will be much higher. We expect this 'Surprise Sale' to be the first of many.

Inside the Shopbop site, we found classic Ferragamo Varina (bow flats) for $367 from $525, Prada sunglasses are $227 from $335 and a Mara Hoffman bikini is $78 from $112. We even spotted an inflatable pool swan that's reduced to $50 from $70 and a gigantic beach ball ($138 from $200). You can earn the price of both those pool toys back with Instagram likes in no time.

This sale is only for three days and runs through Thursday. Some popular items are running low but you can expect to see lots of this merchandise continue to make it's way up the discount ranks.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wardrobe Update: Vince Camuto at Nordstrom

Vince Camuto has maintained it's standing as a winning brand at department stores. Part of the band's success is that the clothing, shoes and accessories are consistently on trend and come in a variety shapes, sizes and styles.

Although the Vince Camuto passed away not too long ago, his legacy lives on and his design team continues to produce the fashionable items that shoppers crave. This season, Nordstrom has a great assortment of Vince Camuto options. This faux wrap jersey jumpsuit is universally flattering, as is this powder blue belted shift dress.

The shoes this season are particularly on trend. Check out these suede peep-toe lace-up sandal pumps, cut-out loafers and this espadrille sneaker. Scroll below to see more of our favorites from Vince Camuto.

Online shoppers should take advantage of Nordstrom's free shipping and free returns. If only all stores were as easy to shop as Nordstrom.

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Manus x Machina: Redefining Haute Couture

In our neck of the woods, the first Monday in May is much of a holiday as, say, the first Monday in September or the fourth Thursday in November. It's Met Day! It's the time of year, when the entire fashion and art world direct their attention towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

Beyond the parties and celebrities, the Met attempts to further establish fashion as an art form in its own right. This year's theme is Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. The exhibit explores the dichotomy between handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde prêt-à-porter.

Inside, museum goers will be astounded by the cathedral structure that was erected to house the exhibit. The two floor layout, which was designed by architectural firm OMA, is essentially a building-within-a-building. Soft sculpture encapsulates the fashion vignettes, which are all accompanied by detailed explanations of process and materials used to fabricate each design. This was perhaps the most enriching part of the exhibit. (You can click here to see lots of pictures from inside the exhibit or our Instagram feed to see our favorites along with commentary.)

The exhibit's main showcase is a Karl Lagerfeld-designed, Chanel haute couture wedding ensemble that features a 20-foot train. The dress is made of scuba knit-- that's a similar material Kohl's uses for 75% of their designer collaborations. The difference is that this gown was hand molded and hand finished. The gown's spectacular details include gold, glass, crystals, palettes and gold leather leaf.

Throughout the rest of the first floor exhibit, you will find other wonderful examples of how machines have elevated the technical mastery of our most celebrated tailors. An elaborate dress from Dior's Summer 2014 collection was sewn by machine but then finished by two brodeurs, embroiderers. The underdress of the gown is embellished with clear plastic crystals, red glass sea beads and white plastic flower shaped paillettes. The finished product speaks to the proficiencies of an artist who has mastered more than just one method.

Other highlighted designers include Miuccia Prada, Pierpaolo Piccioli (Valentino), Alber Elbaz (Lanvin), Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Mary Katrantzou,Hussein Chalayan and so many more.

Downstairs, the exhibit is broken up into three significant pillars of fashion métiers, or jobs: pleating, lace, leather. Visitors are given detailed explanations about methods and fabrications.

This exhibit is less of a history lesson than any past Costume Institute instillation. There is so much information waiting to be revealed. It may take several visits to digest all the knowledge. We are just so happy that it's so conveniently located in our neighborhood.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Outnet: Extra 30% Off Important Designers

When most sales exclude almost every important designer it's extra refreshing to see a sale dedicated to discounting merchandise from the designers we love most. Right now, The Outnet is hosting a sale where an assortment of items from several popular designers are discounted an extra 30% off from their already reduced prices.

This sale includes lots of pieces from Balmain, Lanvin and Valentino. For instance, this Balmain jacket comes to $1000 from $3600, this Roland Mouret leather and crepe dress comes to about $700 from $2700 and this Alaia classic belt is $700 from $2000. There are also lots of more inexpensive options, which can also double as a Mother's Day gift for yourself or someone you love. A playful W-3 PVC bag is $75 from $205, an oversized Thomas Maier leather belt is $110 from $450, and Oscar de la Renta earrings are $115 from $290.

What's even nicer about this sale is that there are more than 1000 items listed. If you have an hour, you can truly get lost browsing through all the interesting merchandise. If you're short on time, personalize your sort options. When you find something you want you need to be sure of your purchase because all sales are final.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Best Sales this Weekend: Asos, RL, Bloomies and More

It's practically May and long weekends aren't too far away. It's time to start reevaluating what you have from last year and identify those items that you know you'll need until the weather is legitimately warm.

There are several sales going on this weekend. Be sure to browse the Asos sale section for a pre-summer re-fresh, Bloomies is hosting a shoe sale, Coach is offering 25% off for Mother's Day and Ralph Lauren has some serious discounts. We've highlighted some of the best and also pulled some of our favorite items that you can buy now on sale.

Asos- Save up to 80% off
The Asos outlet is where to begin your seasonal shopping when you are avoiding Zara. Some standout items include, a See by Chloe star blouse that's reduced to $187 from $400 or this cloud print blouse that's $150 from $400. Both are light but will work great with jeans while it's chilly. This Frankie Morello sweatshirt is reduced almost 80% to $127 from $623 and Markus Lupfer flat sandals are $204 from $560.

Bloomingdales- Shoe sale: save up to 25% when you spend $500, 20% when you spend $250 or 15% when you spend $150
You would have done better had you made your purchase during friends and family but if you spend $500 it's the exact same discount. Some of our favorite items for Spring include these rainbow espadrilles from Kate Spade that are $160 from $228 (before the additional promotion), these Celine-esque slides that are priced at just $195 or these classic Giuseppe thong sandals.

Coach- Save 25% off Mother's Day Sale. Use the code MOM2016 at checkout.
The timing couldn't be more perfect. Mother's Day is around the corner and the Coach collection is more popular than it has been in decades. Be sure to check out some of the new style bags. We really like the Swagger that comes in an array of bright colors and it's just $350. The classic cross-body saddle bag ($550) can be customized with you're mother's name or just add a simple MOM to the front. Before you check out be sure to take a browse through the ready to wear. We were quite surprised.

Ralph Lauren-Save an extra 15% on items already reduced up to 50%. Use the code PRIVATE16 at checkout.
Ummm, who doesn't need a personalized Polo when they are $60 from $98? (They should all say Mad-Spy on the back. Don't you agree?) We understand if everyone doesn't want our name on their back but this denim dress is quite agreeable at $160 from $245, as is this canvas field jacket that's $100 from $200.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Best Sample Sales: Jill Stuart, J. Adler, Choo & Sandro

Sample sale season is about to get very busy. There are 100's of sales scheduled for May and figuring out which ones are worthy of inspection takes a critical eye. To help you sort through the madness, we put together a list of the most deserving sales. Let us know if you think we missed anything spectacular.

Jill Stuart/ Jill Jill Stuart
Jill Stuart may not be as well known as Donna Karan but she ranks up there with some of America's great female designers. Grab a bit of classic Americana fashion at her sample sale which takes place in her actual showroom-- which is always a good sign. Prices for the designer's main line starts at $35 and top out at $240 for evening dresses. Most of assortment is sample sizes 2/4s but there are some other options for non-models. Be sure to check out the boots that are priced $125 to $225. There is a lot more options from the contemporary line, Jill Jill Stuart. Skirts are all $100 and day dresses are $120.
Through Friday, April 29
10am-7pm daily
201 West 39th Street (btwn 7th & 8th)

Jonathan Adler
Lifestyle guru, Jonathan Adler was just named the creative director of Fisher-Price Baby and we can't wait to see what playful ideas he has to bring to the playroom. Those of us looking to channel our inner child through design should check out the designer's two-day warehouse sale. The inventory will include brand-new merchandise including furniture, rugs, lighting, pillows, and accessories at discounts of up to 70% off retail prices. We are told that the Capri table lamp will be $200 from $350, the Electra vase will be $50 from $150 and letter pillows will be $25 from $145. Parking is free and delivery is available at an additional price.
Friday, April 29 & Saturday, April 30
9am-5pm daily
The Bronx: 885 E 138th St Btwn (Walnut & Locust Aves)

Jimmy Choo
The Jimmy Choo sample sale is somewhat of a nightmare. There are lines, waits, hoarding, chaos-- everything we despise about sample sales. The one redeeming quality is the great pricing. At the last sale, shoes started at $200 and topped out at $375 for boots. We suggest avoiding the sale all together on Tuesday and taking a peak around on Wednesday afternoon if you're really that curious.
Tuesday, May 3 though Thursday, May 5
Tues 11am-7pm, Wed 8am-7pm, Thurs 8am-4pm
Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (bet. 6th & 7th Ave.)

Sandro & Maje
Sandro & Maje are always a favorite for those who want a mid-priced fashion option with French flair. It's chic and casual at the same time. At past sales, the discounts weren't great but the assortment was quite nice. We suggest holding out until the last days to snag the best prices.
Tuesday, May 3rd through Sunday, May 8th
Tue—Sat 10am—8pm, Sun 10am—5pm
Sample Sale 260: 260 Fifth Ave btwn 28th & 29th st.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Get Your Waiting Shoes On: Manolo Sample Sale

Ladies get your waiting shoes on. The Manolo Blahnik spring sample sale is Wednesday, April 27 and is open to the public, according to a tipster. As is tradition, the second floor salon of the Warwick Hotel will be the site of the event.

This sample sale is a bi-annual highlight for shoe lovers. As you can imagine, the wait time can be worse than a passport agency. Personally, we prefer the boutique sales even if prices are a bit more expensive. Those who are up for the Manolo sample sale challenge should read our survival guide.

We expect that prices will run along the same lines as last season. Plain shoes, including leather, suede satin, and printed fabric start at $125 and go up to $150. Shoes with embellishments like glitter and studs were priced $175. Boots started at $200 for basic versions and went up to $400 for over-the-knee styles.

Over the past few seasons the assortment has been dwindling. Manolo Blahnik & Co. recently added a fundraising component to their overstock strategy. A sale to benefit Arethusa Farm Scholarship Fund for University of Connecticut Agricultural Studies. A good amount of stock that would show up at the bi-annual sample sale has gone to the, so called, farm.

Remember, the sale is only one day. That's a good indication that there will not be much merchandise. If you attend the sale, please keep us all posted in the comment section below.

Manolo Sale Sample Sale
Wednesday, April 27
Sale opens: 11am
The Warwick Hotel
54th Street and 6th Avenue, 2nd Floor
Cash only!

Monday, April 25, 2016

50+ Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Flowers and chocolates are the most classic way to celebrate Mother's Day. This year, celebrations of moms occur on Sunday, May 8 and we couldn't be more excited to be the beneficiary of pampering and praise. The first thing you have to know about Mother's Day is that moms don't want you breaking the bank to say, "I love you." They also don't want a thoughtless card with a scribbled signature.

Finding the perfect gift can take a bit of determination and thought. In order to get a jump start on the task (and give some hint to loved ones) we compiled a Mother's Day guide of over 50 items that are sure to inspire even the most impaired of gift givers.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Grand Opening: Flying Tiger (the Almost $1 Store)

We've been saying for years that the Upper East Side needs an old-fashioned dollar store. Sometimes you get what you wish for and other times your dreams are answered with interest.

This week, Flying Tiger opened at 1282 Third Avenue (@ 73rd Street) and we are officially addicted. Flying Tiger is a Danish concept store that's focused on offering customers useful items that are also beautifully designed. The best part, is the prices. Nothing in the store is priced over $20 and most everything we saw was under $10.

Flying Tiger is set up in a maze configuration of themes. This layout coupled with the low displays, allows customers to easily explore the gardening center, office supplies or arts and crafts projects without going up and down traditional aisles. For instance, among the youthful desk supplies are pencils with wooden clown heads ($1), folders with a strawberry print cover ($2) and giant mushroom shape erasers ($1).

Stocking up in the art supply section will make you the number one playdate in the neighborhood. Large blank canvases are just $4, brightly colored no-spill paint cups are $4 (for a set of 4) and a rainbow pack of acrylic paint is also $4. There are glow-in-the-dark paints ($3) and create your own puzzle kits ($1). Along the same theme but in a different section are DIY string cards ($3), packages of mini markers ($2) and sets of blow markers ($3).

Shoppers will be tantalized by the dress-up section were colorful wigs are $5 and funky party glasses are $4. There is a wall of brightly colored greeting cards that are 2-for-$1, gift bags ($1) and wrapping paper. In one of the kitchen set-ups there are brightly colored silicone colanders for $2, cheeky cheese graters are $2, and an apple shape scrubbing sponge is also $2. Stoneware salad plates, coffee mugs and bowls are all $2 each. There are about six different themes and prints. It's going to be hard to have a party and not buy real serving ware to match the theme.

You can click here to browse through lots more pictures of what Flying Tiger has to offer: electronics, bathroom accessories, organizing necessities, party supplies, exercise equipment and everything else you need and didn't know you needed. State News and Gracious Home better take note because when you spend $100 in Flying Tiger, you will have more than one bag to show for it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The IT-It: Aerin's Rose de Grasse

The world is generally divided into two types of people: those who love fragrance and those who get a migraine from walking through a beauty department. Those who fall into the latter category can click away, swipe left or do whatever the kids do when they are done reading. If smell ignites a spark into your inner soul then Aerin Lauder's Rose de Grasse is a direct connection to heaven.

Launched in Spring 2015 at this fragrance has slowly caught the attention of perfume lovers. Rose de Grasse continues to sell out almost as quickly as it comes into stores. The scent is a beautifully blended rose fusion that results in the perfect balance of fruit and musk.

We can list all the ingredients but it's more important to know that it makes men (and woman) stop in their tracks. Wearers are often stopped in the street and one expert fragrance reviewer said, "This beautifully blended floral is the kind of scent worn by a complex woman who inspires men to create great works.”

If we didn't already own this perfume, it would be on the top of our wish list. Shoppers should be sure not to confuse Rose de Grasse ($185) with Aerin's other fragrances. This premium product comes in a white opaque bottle and is currently only available locally at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.