Sunday, January 31, 2010

Madison Avenue Real Estate

Madison Avenue is one of the very few commercial blocks in Manhattan where many stores aren't open on Sunday. Sunday evenings happen to be especially quiet. That's why we were surprised to see such action at Giorgio of Palm Beach, where an overnight move was taking place.

The Palm Beach-headquartered men's store has been occupying the old Krizia store, on Madison at 66th Street. At the present time, the new Giorgio store looks like it is more fitting for a sample sale than a place that sells hand-made yellow and aqua men's suits for several thousand dollars. The new location, on the South/West corner of Madison at 59th Street, has exposed ceilings and warehouse lighting. Seems peculiar, huh?

Over at the old Krizia/Giorgio location, we hear that the J. Crew is opening it's first brick-and-mortar weddings and parties concept. Brokers say the space has 1,850 feet on the ground, a 1,200-foot basement and the asking rent was $900 a foot based on the ground floor.

Further up the Avenue, we noticed that the orange plywood has been removed from the much anticipated and long-waited Herme's men's store. Selectism reports the boutique will officially open February 9th. It will be the first Hermes store solely dedicated to men.

Plywood has also been removed from the the new concept, In & Out Beauty. The Switzerland-based company currently has stores in the Middle East and specializes in beauty products that focus on basic skincare, anti-aging supplements and "slimming" treatments. We anticipate that the store's opening will coincide with Fashion Week.

The fancy children's store, Bambini, has become another victim of the economic downturn. The European-like boutique closed at the end of the year. We hear that the space will be taken over by the fancy children's brand, Mona Lisa, which partnered with Spring Flowers at their location on Third Avenue.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conran Shop Closing Sale

The Conran Shop is closing after 10 years under the 59th Street Bridge. Don't worry too much, the housewares will be relocating in April to the inside of ABC Carpet's flagship on Broadway and 19th Street.

Before the big move, The Shophound reports that the store is liquidating furniture, home and desk accessories, textiles and tabletop accoutremonts at up to 75% off. The store closes March 31st, so as the date approaches inventory will slim.

Before you sprint over to First Avenue and risk falling into the river you might want to keep in mind that Conran has a warehouse sale twice a year with the same discount. There is even the same markdown online and we are pretty sure that shipping -- on most items-- is less money than cab fare these days. We have a feeling that prices will dip as the closing date approaches.

The Conran Shop
First Avenue @ 59th Street
Sale ends March 31st

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Temperley London 75% Off

Temperley London is hosting an in-store sample sale where pre-fall 2009, autumn/winter 2009 and past seasons will be marked up to 75% off. The below tunic, which we love, was $1095 but will be reduced to $330. On their website it's still $438.

The sale starts Thursday, Jan. 27th and runs until Sunday. If only Alice would do another collab with Target.

Temperley London New York
453 Broome Street, 2nd Floor
Thursday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 31
Thur. 8am to 8pm, Fri & Sat. 11am to 7pm, Sun. 12pm to 6pm

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sold Out: Chanel's Classic Jumbo

Luxury companies have found themselves in quite a pickle ever since consumers decided to halt discretionary spending. In the case of Chanel, the answer to navigating a choppy economy is simple: Raise prices and bring production to a pace that creates mass demand.

Starting February 1st, Chanel will be raising prices. How much? As usual, it depends on with whom you speak. A sales person from the SoHo Chanel boutique said the increase is just $50 to $100 on classic style bags. A sales person on Madison, however, said that a Classic jumbo caviar leather bag is going to $2995 from $2650. That's closer to a 15% increase. Other experts are quoting a 20% rise.

Let's put the price increase to the sideline for a moment because it's nearly impossible to even get a classic jumbo-sized Chanel bag--and yes, that includes the popular Reissue/2.55. A sales person at Saks Fifth Avenue says they have a waiting list with a few hundred people. The Chanel boutique on 57th Street says their waiting list has between 30 to 35 people listed.

Even second-hand stores have seen a run on Chanel bags. Decades II, located in Los Angeles, has an email list of customers that is quickly growing. The popular West-coast boutique gives customers a 30% discount on Chanel bags that are "new" with tags. The sales person that we spoke to was vague but suggested that the email alert list isn't quickly filling the needs of all who want a bag.

Even on eBay, Chanel jumbos are in high demand. Most successful auctions for new bags closed at about $3000. That's about $350 more than the current retail price.

Does all this lack of demand have you dreaming of snagging a quilted purse of your own? Don't worry, we already did the legwork. Below is pricing information and inventory status of Manhattan stores carrying Chanel. Please note, our contact person is not necessarily the source of the information provided.

Madison Avenue Chanel
Betsy 212-535-5505
Price: The jumbo in caviar will be $2995 from $2650.
Inventory: Nothing. Nothing. Really nothing. We can put your name down. A jumbo size caviar black bag with silver hardware has a waiting list of 6 people.

SoHo Chanel
Erma, Store Director 212-334-0055
Price: I believe the increase is about $50 to $100 on medium classics, large classics and jumbo classics.
Inventory: We don’t have any classics in basic colors in stock at all right now. We have bags in a bright colored silver, turquoise, copper pink and jersey. The list is 30 to 50 people long for each color, style and size.

N15 @ 57th St. Chanel
Erman 212-355-5050
Price: The price is going up a bit on Feb 1st.
Inventory: We have nothing at the moment. Nothing. No colors no sizes. All the boutiques have been sold out since Christmas and haven’t had a single shipment. The wait list depends on the bag. There is a long wait list for the jumbo size in caviar, about 30 to 35 people long.

Elmira 212-940-4347
Price: We don’t’ know exactly how much the price is going up, probably a few hundred.
Inventory: There are no jumbos in popular colors. Yesterday we found a large black bag with gold hardware, which was $2425. We have a jumbo in beige, brown, and fuchsia color.

Bergdorf Goodman
Barbara 212- 872-2858
Price: We don’t know exactly how much the price increase will be but expect it to be about $200 to $250, depending on the bag.
Inventory: Right now, we only have a beige bag that’s $3095 going up $500 after Feb 1st. Yes, there is a list. There are seven salespeople here and everyone has a list of four to five people. We usually get two or three bags at a time.

Lisa 212-705-2856
Price: We heard the price is going up about 20%.
Inventory: We don’t have any classic bags and we have a list of people 100 people waiting for a jumbo bag 100 people and about 80 people waiting for the large size. It’s crazy, in the past month we have had only 10 bags come in.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ports 1961 Now 75% Off

Late Friday, we got a tip that Ports 1961 was clearing out their winter merchandise with a 75% off discount. This type of markdown makes us run faster than Apolo Ohno skates 500 meters.

The lickity split trip downtown was well rewarded. We found several tops that were just about $100, dresses-- even evening dresses-- were all under $200 and magnificent coats were about $300. There is still a fine assortment of merchandise but sizes are starting to sell out. Larger sizes are much more abundant than 4s and 6s but there's still a selection of skinny, at least for now.

Our advice, be at 3 Ninth Avenue at 10:59am!

Alecia: 917-475-1022

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Barneys Consolidation

In two more days Barneys will be boxing fall and winter merchandise and stocking it away for the Warehouse sale. Most leftovers are 75% off and when it reemerges on unorganized racks in an overcrowded event space the discount is usually much less.

KISS (Keep it simple stupid), if there's an item you like, grab it before it's more money and repeatedly trampled over. The sale ends Saturday, Jan. 23rd. Get moving!

Gucci Bags at DSW

Yeserday we posted about Gucci bags being sold on the DSW website. We failed, however, give you the link.

Click here to see Gucci bags @ DSW online. There are still some left!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DSW's Gucci Bags

We all remember the hysteria of DSW's Gucci Sale this Summer, right? Well, Gucci shoppers will be happy to know that the DSW relationship didn't end there. Most recently select stores received a shipment of Gucci bags.

What's even better is the sale is online! Now you don't even need to fight through the crowds of 14th street or even live near one of the select DSW locations. There are currently a variety of denim floral print totes, a black denim tote and signature leather embossed hobo. Prices range from $200 to $400.

Interestingly enough the small, medium and large floral print totes are the same price ($199). Seems like a perfect summer beach bag to me!

Neiman Marcus Last Call

I found this little treasure in my inbox today:

Hi Lila,

I wanted to send you some scoop on our final sale of the season, Last Call.
It begins tomorrow 1/21 and runs through 1/27. Savings are in all areas at 55% to 70% off. We have amazing assortments of Women's contemporary, Men's Sportswear and Ladies Shoes. Plenty of 'treasures' to find......

Tell your bloggers to come to Paramus!
Thanks Lila!

Turnbull & Asser Winter Clearance

There has been much talk about the details of a men's shirt since the Wall Street Journal published an article, this week, highlighting the subtleties that constitute a quality men's shirt. Men, and women, who appreciate bespoke tailoring may already be familiar with the intricacies ranging from cuff to collar and yoke to gusset. They are also familiar with the cost of such quality details.

Turnbull & Asser is best known for classic English tailoring and has dressed the Prince of Wales and Winston Churchill. More contemporary clients include, Sean Connery and Christian Louboutin (do you think he lines his suits in red?). As one might expect even off the rack merchandise is pricey. Shirts can easily run above $350.

Exceptionally good shoppers, however, know that the store has a great sale twice a year: January and July. Discounts on Winter merchandise is currently 50% off while some items are even reduced more. In the past we have seen $100 shirts and $50 ties.
There is still an abundant amount of merchandise and the same runs until the end of the month.

We are completely intrigued by this shirt making video on the T&A site. It's footage of their shirt factory and although the video drones on it's impossible to stop watching.

Contact: Michael 212-752-5700

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saks’ Orphans Ship Out

At the very end of the season, Saks Fifth Avenue ships all their left-over sales merchandise to eight major Saks locations across the country. Starting Thurs. Jan. 21st, geographically blessed shoppers can sift through racks of the season’s orphans. The sale usually only lasts a few weeks and discounts typically range from 70% off to 90% off.

Even though the sale isn't slated to start for two days we are sure that the racks are out. Try to find a trust worthy sales person to presale or stash your consolidation babies.

Participating stores include:
• Manhattan, NYC
• Atlanta
• Beverly Hills
• Boston
• Chevy Chase, D.C.
• Chicago
• Houston’s Galleria
• San Francisco

H Williams and Krizia Sample Sale

We've noticed that it's increasingly more difficult to find an interesting pair of shoes. And when you're going to plop down several hundred dollars or even a grand do you want to have the same shoe as every other fashion wannabe?

All year we've been looking for something that's not a red soled heel or a ballet flat with gems and we think we've found the perfect alternative. H Williams collection, designed by Heather Williams, retails for $350 to $995, includes a wide range of styles including zippered booties and gladiator heels. The line is made of exotic skins like python, suedes and Italian leathers. Since her debut in Fall '09 Heather's shoes have been showcased in Glamour, Italian Vogue and Gossip Girl.

More than feeling lucky to have been alerted to H Williams, we are ecstatic that the introduction coincides with a sample sale. H Williams footwear has teamed up with Krizia womenswear for a sample sale where most items will be discounted 60% off. Flat riding boots, which retail for $895 will be $380, an eggplant metallic python bootie that retails for $1,200 will be $495 and a very high suede bootie with cut-outs will be $350 from $820.

On the Krizia side most items are also 60% off, jackets will range from $278 to $572, dresses $62 to $442 and coats $324 to $854. We are a bit disappointment that the discount isn't more. In prior seasons, we have seen Krizia merchandise reduced 70% to 80% off. In the past, we have walked away with $600 shoes for $50.

The sale runs until January 24th but starts Wednesday evening with a Prosecco and VIP viewing. (Remember the days when VIPs got champagne?)

H Williams and Krizia Sample Sale
805 Madison Ave., @ 67th St
Wed, Jan 20th to Sun., Jan. 24
Wed. 5pm to 8pm, Thurs. to Sat. 10am to 6pm, Sun. 12pm to 5pm

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Victoria's Secret: A Plastic Surgeon's Nightmare

Once in a rare while a very mainstream item becomes a cult sensation. In this instance, women who normally wear the finest undergarments-- La Perla, Eres, Guia la Bruna and Marlies Dekkers-- have been opting for Victoria Secret's Miraculous Bra ($48 to $52).

This bra doesn't only promise a big rack but will enhance your female assets -- the top, not the bottom-- two full sizes and add maximum cleavage. That is a serious promise. Online, a 34A in every color and pattern is back ordered until April. There was no way we weren't going to check out this thing.

To better research this uplifting sensation, we took five ladies and hit Victoria's Secret. Oh yeah, the Miraculous bra is a Miracle on steroids. At first glance the undergarment looks like any other seamless bra. It's not until you pick it up for closer examination that you realize the cups are more padded than a private room at Bellevue.

After browsing, each woman took their respective bra back to the fitting room and within moments the ladies were squealing like school girls meeting the Jonas Brothers. "Oh. My. God," "This is amazing," and "I don't know if I can go out looking like this," were only some of the initial reactions.

Here's a closer look of what our bra testers had to say. Sorry, there's no pictures.

Wendy Whoppers: "This is how I looked when I first got married," Wendy cooed after looking down at her reestablished cleavage. After four children, Wendy admits that she has considered seeking the assistance of a plastic surgeon and is very excited about the extra boost. Ultimately, our doubly blessed friend decided that her husband may not appreciate his wife sharing such similarities with Pamela Anderson.
Verdict: She passed on the bra today but we have a feeling she will be back.

Anita Blond: "I can't believe I have something. I've never had anything. I even have cleavage," said Anita, who has never required much support. Anita doesn't think that the Miraculous is an every-day accessory but admits that some dresses look better when they are filled in the right places.
Verdict: She didn't buy the bra on the spot because she didn't have her $10 off coupon. She will also be back!

Boopsie Steel: "I'm getting this," Boopsie declared without hesitation. I can wear this with tank tops, sequined blouses, dresses. "I don't think I'm ever not wearing this," she said.
Verdict: Do you need to ask? We are surprised she didn't buy more than one.

Sandy Wilde: "Oh, my gosh. I look like a Barbie," Sandy giggled. Afraid that her sweaters would stretch out, Sandy said she would stick to wearing her prosthetic chest on Saturday date nights.
Verdict: There were only two bras left in her size so she decide to take it to "be on the safe side."

The conclusion of this little experiment is as plain as the mounds on these women's chests. Dr. 90210 better be careful because this Miraculous bra adds a quite a bit of oomph to the bosom and without any recovery time.

Manolo Sale: Take 2

Last month, we reported about Manolo's first markdown. We also warned that the early discount--1/3 off-- was just the start. Well, Monday marks the first day of the "real" Manolo Blahnik sale.

We are told that the savings will be 50% or better on the fall/winter collection and "some alligator designs." Last year, the price point started at $185 and went up to $400. The alligator pumps were $1500 from $4100.

We suggest attending the sale right away if you're looking for shoes in the under-$200-category. Popular sizes go fast and the boutique shopping experience is much better than breaking a heal to get access to the secret sample sale. Try to avoid the store between the hours of 2pm and 3pm, that's when they close to restock.

Manolo Blahnik Sale
Starts Monday, Jan. 18th
31 West 54th Street
Mon-Fri. 10:30am to 6:00pm, Sat 10:30am to 5:30pm, Sun. 12pm to 5pm
The boutique will close from 2pm to 3pm to restock when necessary

Thursday, January 14, 2010

MLK Holiday at the Outlets

The upcoming Martin Luther King holiday weekend has come to represent the end of the end. Most stores are taking their final markdowns so that sales people can concentrate on selling the high-margin current season merchandise. The same happens at outlets where the inexpensive becomes a bargain.

On Monday, we will be heading out to Woodbury Common for our annual Martin Luther King holiday shopping spree. Yes, it's been nine consecutive years that the Spy team has headed to Harriman, N.Y. for what we believe to be the best shopping week of the year. To prepare for our pilgrimage North, we called some of our favorite stores to get a preview of what's in stock.

Look for us on Twitter [LilaDelilah] on Monday. We'll leave you a verbal trail of our shopping trappings.

Bottega Veneta:
There is no MLK discount but bags are an additional 30% or 60% off depending on the style and season. Ready-to-wear is an additional 75% off outlet prices but the sales person warned that the pickings are slim. In stock now: a shopper tote from winter '08, in green red for $680, including all discounts. There are also some exotic bags like a python draw string tote for $2400ish or a Sloane bag in pink python, which is under $1300.

Bags are currently 10% to 50% off outlet prices. Clothing is discounted an additional 50%. The ready-to-wear at Chloe can go down as far as 90% but most of the merchandise left by that time isn't even worth that. The store currently has four "good" racks, according to a sales person, but we are still dubious.

Dolce & Gabbana:
Most of the inventory in the store is from Fall 2008 (is that considered vintage?) and is reduced an additional 60% off. "There’s a lot here," says the shopgirl and we can't wait to see.

Giuseppe Zanotti:
You always have to be careful when shopping at outlets because sometimes times the prices are more expensive than a normal boutique sale. Giuseppe is one of those boutiques. We are told the outlet has a $99 and $150 section of shoes. (Those are good prices.) Other shoes are 50% off retail. (Not a buy-worthy markdown.)

The sales at the Prada outlet have been a bit sketchy these days. It almost seems as if the brand is having a bit of an identity crisis. We discount, we don't discount. Who can figure it out? Well, the outlet is running a "promo" on ready-to-wear where dresses, skirts and pants are an additional 40% off and all other clothing is 20% off. Normal outlet prices are 40% off retail.We are anticipating prices to range from 50% to 65% retail. Not particularly newsworthy considering the last markdown in boutiques is usually 70% off.

On Saturday, the YSL boutique will have a one day sale where all clothing will be an additional 50% off. Unfortunately, that won't be much use to us on Monday. If there's an item you have in mind, however, the YSL salesman told me they will presell it on Friday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mikimoto Sample Sale

Mikimoto's popular semi-annual sale upon us once again. Like last season, the sale will take place at Soiffer-Haskin where prices were 40% to 70% off. Expect to find lots of south sea pearls and opera length strands. A majority of the jewelry usually retailer between $4,000 to $10,000. So, you do the math.

Remember to keep a discerning eye. If you find truly inexpensive jewelry it is because Mikimoto manufactures a collection of pearls for jewelry stores like Kay and other lower quality jewelry retailers.

Most jewelry collectors look forward to this sale. So try to go early but don't expect the Mikimoto royal treatment. One reader, from last season, commented that shopping for jewelry at Soiffer-Haskin is like going to a supermarket for diamonds. "I wish they could at least give out a jewelry box for my $2,300 (buy price) diamond and pearl pendant. Instead, it is in tiny zip lock bag and a cheap looking Mikimoto blue pouch in a typical Soiffer Haskin brown bag."

Hey, most women will take jewelry any way it comes: silver platter or paper bag. Thank you!

Mikimoto Sample Sale
Dates: Sat., Jan 16 to Wed., Jan. 20
Hours: Sat-Tues. 9am to 6:30pm, Wed 9am-4pm
Location: Soiffer-Haskin, 317 W 33rd St (@ 8th Ave); 718-747-1656
Details: CC only. All sales final. No exchanges. No returns. No strollers. No children under 12.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Retail Therapy: Lauren Solomon

Some people know how to put together an outfit and other's really know how to rock it out. Lauren Solomon is the David Blaine of styling. She's sexy and makes all kinds of fashion magic happen around her. Her most recent project was styling our favorite New York housewife, Jill Zarin for season three of the Bravo network sensation. Good-bye Roberto Cavalli track suit, helloooooo Chanel tweed.

What's best about Lauren? She knows how to find a great deal. Donna Karan for 95% off? She's done it. Ferre for over 96% off? She has it. And she's not afraid to shop for the cheap stuff like, H&M and Zara. I think we found a soul mate. Read on and tell us what you think.

Your most prized deal?
I have a few stand out deals. I found an amazing snakeskin knee-length fitted jacket from Donna Karan Collection that retailed for $6,000, which I bought for $300. It is sophisticated, yet edgy and can be worn to an interview or a night out. Most recently, at a sample sale, I found an Ferre jacket that retailed for $12,000 and I got it for for $500. The jacket's beading is the most insane thing you’ve ever seen-- it weighs around 10lbs. Fab!

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
I have one big purchase regret in my life. A few years ago, before I started earning money, I found a vintage Chanel bag. It was made of hard plastic and was small and square like an old music cassette. It was-- by far --one of the most unique pieces that I have ever seen. I was drooling over it for days. By time time I decided to go back and buy the bag, it was gone. I still think about it all the time. I will never make that mistake again. (Ha!) If you love an item and it is one of a kind you should get it.

For Spring your are looking for a great deal on what item?
Everything! I always look for great deals. I can spend hours sifting through racks to find fabulous stuff for great prices. You just need to have a good eye. (Editorial note: and patience). I have personally created a balanced wardrobe of basics that I slightly update seasonally. I update my wardrobe by changing the accessories. One-of-a-kind vintage pieces are a great way to add a fresh look to your existing wardrobe. I also love to go to the garment district and buy trimmings to really personalize a garment.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Have fun! If you don’t feel good in a garment you won’t look good. It’s all about your attitude, confidence and energy. Fashion should visually express who you are as an individual. Another great tip is to mix and match expensive pieces with inexpensive pieces. Anyone can wear an entire outfit from H&M or Zara with a Chanel cuff and look like a million bucks. Some of my secret shopping haunts include, the vintage garages in Chelsea and the young designers market in SoHo. If you look closely you can basically find that same merchandise that's being sold at Bendels but for a quarter of the price.

What's your biggest weakness?
I love most anything fashion-- shoes, bags, costume jewelry...hats!

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
Cosmetics. There’s nothing like buying a fresh Nars bronzer or a new scent. Sometimes, I try to practice restraint and leave an item for a few hours and really think about it. If it's still on my mind hours later I will go back and get it. Most of the time, I forget about the item within a few minutes. I wish that were the case with my Chanel cassette purse. (Ugh!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bloomingsales Season Ending Sale

Bloomingdales is closing out the season like Lindsay Lohan at a bar. Bottoms up!

Shoes that have already been discounted 50% to 60% are an additional 50% off. We saw Chloe wedges, YSL heels and a scattering of other non memorable brands on the super sale rack.

Making our way across the fourth floor, we found the best deals in what we like to consider the young designer boutique. A rack of Brayen Reyes winter merchandise is an extra 50% off already reduced price for a total savings of about 80% off. A black and white reptile print dress is $379 from $1895 and lime silk dress is $300 from $1495.

Over on the additional 40% off rack, we found Lisa Perry black and white wool dresses with a final price of $386 from $1595, a Lela Rose top was $395 and now $98 and a Jean Paul Gaultier frock now $200 from $795. There are even Herve Leger dresses mixed in for under $440.

Further across the floor, the more established designers are heavily discounted as well. Marc Jacobs is a further 40% off already reduced prices. A black and white floral print silk dress was $995 and is now $360 and a gorgeous turquoise wool coat is about $600 from $1800.

The pinnacle of our shopping afternoo, however, was found in the Chanel boutique. A long cashmere cardigan with gold tirm and double-C buttons was $1,000 from $3,000.

On second thought we may have been more amused by the Agent Provocateur "accessories," which are now 2/3s off. A leather and brass "Ruxandra Cuff" was $290 and is now "just" $100. Sweetheart, Valentines day is about a month away. It's never too early to think ahead!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Robert Clergerie 50% Off

For some reason we always thought of Robert Clergerie footwear as delicate dainty shoes. Today we spotted a 50% off sign and ran in to check out the discount.

We're not sure if we may have been mistaken by the overall Clergerie aesthetic but what we saw was not dainty or delicate. As a matter of fact, most of the shoes and boots could have easily been mistaken as orthopedic. Was this a collection gone wrong or have we been mislead by a fancy logo?

Taste aside, the Madison Avenue boutique has discounted their entire winter collection 50% off. Winter loafers, boots, sandals, heels and flats are all marked down by half. Most shoes retail for under $500 at full price and high boots-- the best looking of the batch-- we still under $1000.

While on the topic, can someone clue us in: Is this normal Clergerie or a design experiment gone terribly wrong?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gap x Stella McCartney Discounted

It was just about 60 days ago that pint-sized fashion crazed toddlers --and their parents--were clawing over Stella McCartney's shrinky dink designs for Gap Kids. Now the Stella collection is being phased out like a club-kid hitting 40. The merchandise has already taken a markdown and is now being discounted an extra 25% off, for a total savings of about 60%.

There is a huge selection of merchandise at the Gap Kids on Third Avenue and 86th Steet. That MJ military jacket is $52 from $128, a silk flower applique dress is $41 from $98, tights that were $14 are now under $6 and a cashmere leopard sweater was $88 and is now $36.

With prices this good you can let your child's real fashion genius come alive. There is some sale merchandise available on Gap online but you have to sort through the general sale merchandise and prices aren't as good as they are in the store.

As a side note, Crew Cuts (Madison & 88th) is having a huge sale. In addition to marked down prices there is an additional 20% off already reduced merchandise, which adds up to about 50% off. We found some cute classic J. Crew tee shirts for $10 and floral headbands for under $5. Who knew you could have so much fun for under $100?!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Retail Therapy: Veronica Webb

Veronica Webb has been captured on the pages of almost every major fashion magazine, including Elle and Vogue. She has walked the runway for major companies such as Chanel and Victoria's Secret and was the first African-American fashion model to have a contract with a major cosmetics company when she signed with Revlon.

Veronica most recently co-hosted Bravo's "Tim Gunn's Guide" To Style where she helped several fashion challenged women undertake a wardrobe makeover. Now she is unveiling her shopping secrets on Madison Avenue Spy. We love a women who hangs with Azzedine Alaia but isn't too shy to shop at Zara.

What's your most prized "deal?”
A classic piece like a trench, cardigan, shift dress, pea coat in a luxury fabric and a couture cut and a great price!

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
I have a no regrets policy in fashion and in life. Make a decision and own it.

This season you are looking for...
Quality and great color.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Going to visit my great friend Azzedine Alaia in Paris once a year.

What's your biggest weakness?
Handbags. Secret sources for a fix? Zara and Isabella Fiore.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
These days? Only something you need in an emergency!

Chuckies Sale

Chuckies has discounted their winter season shoes 50% off. Upstairs, at the Madison Avenue location, you will find a wide assortment shoes and boots. Sizes are limited but there is a great selection of Chloe shoes, Lanvin flats, Miu Miu heels and several rhinestone encrusted footwear.

This Winter, Chuckies introduced men's shoes to their store. It seems as if it's been a slow start because there is a great assortment of men's shoes, boots and loafers on sale. If you know a man looking for a new spiffy pair of shoes this would be the place to send him.

Unlike department stores, all sales are final. So make sure to try them on and our shoe rule is not to buy anything that hurts in the store because 30 blocks down the road you're sure to get blisters.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Zara Sale

Zara's semi-annual sale is underway and most items in the store are 50% off. These Zara sales are known for being a bit of a mess-- lots of damaged and shop warn merchandise.

The good merchandise usually goes quickly. So if you see any of the Balmain "inspired" shoes, don't put them down. At $179 they were a bit pricey but are sensational for just $90.

If you're looking for one of the limited edition Zara 1000s, a high heeled sandal with criss-crossing metal chains, you can find them at the Zara on Lexington 59th Street. The shoe retails for $229 and hasn't showed up on eBay yet. Considering they are still in stores and not on eBay we can safely call this marketing venture --a limited flop.

All In Agreement

New York Magazine's, The Cut, agrees that department stores secret markdowns may be a way to protect their vendors' egos:

So maybe stores are dealing with the ongoing recession like a celebrity in rehab. Sometimes it's better to get the hard part over with in private rather than splashing it all over the headlines, so you can emerge from hiding with a nice facial and expensive new clothes and everyone thinks things are just great even when, maybe, they're not.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves... and we tired.

A Better Mickey

Before our cartoon tears hit the proverbial floor, Racked followed up our story about the Disney store closing with a report about the new store. The new location will take over part of the Virgin Megastore space on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets.

The new 25,000 square foot retail space will feature technological advancements inspired by Steve Jobs, including a new theater, where visitors can see Disney movies, TV and publishing in a “new way,” according to Crain's.

The Times Square Disney Store will be operated by Disney Consumer Products, unlike the former Fifth Avenue store, which was operated by Disney Parks and Resorts. This means that the costume that you're 5-year-old picks out will likely cost under $50 and the merchandise will resemble what would be expected at a suburban mall store.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Department Stores Hide Markdowns

Shoppers are all waiting for department stores to officially take another markdown. Signs in stores and online at Saks and Bergdorfs read, "Save up to 60% off." As we've been browsing online and in stores, however, the numbers haven't been adding up.

Take Bergdorf Goodman as an example: The sale merchandise from the third floor is all consolidated into one section of the floor with signs above every rack stating that markdowns are up to 60% off. We first found a Gautier dress that was $495 to start but reduced to $149. Math may not be our strongest skill but isn't that 70% off? Then we found a Peter Som jacket reduced to $389 from $1,295. Again, that's 70% off.

Before you grab your gloves, scarf, hat and coat-- let us warn you that most merchandise is 60% off and what's left is not part of the season's highlights. Shoes at Bergdorf are still just 30% off. A sales person says another markdown is still over a week away but even with the modest discount there isn't a great variety of styles.

Over at Saks we found a similar situation. The sale is advertised as up to 60% off but we found Jil Sander pants for 65% off. At Saks online we found a Brian Reyes dress reduced closer to 65% off along with a Dior dress, an Akirs sweater and Alexander McQueen leggings. All the shoes, in Saks, were discounted 60% but most styles aren't worth the closet real estate.

Why would stores markdown merchandise more than they are advertising? Perhaps it's backlash from last year's sales. Department stores got so much heat from suppliers that they are nervous to discount their merchandise. With the new collections filling store space, there isn't much of a choice. So be sure to look carefully at the prices. They may be better than advertised.

As a side note, we hear that the Saks men's 9th floor consolidation sale is getting another markdown on Friday. We wouldn't be surprised if women's collections were officially reduced to 70% off too.

Good-Bye Mickey

It's official, the Disney store has closed their Fifth Avenue location. Construction workers today, were busy removing logos and taking apart inside displays. Tourists outside hovered in amazement and continued to take pictures in front of the former store.

We last heard that top mice were shopping for a new location on Broadway in Times Square. We expect that the new location will drive more traffic and become a much more exciting experience now that Steve Jobs has a seat on the board of Disney and is redesigning the store's image. Get ready for some serious sci-fi character shopping

Now it's time to say good-bye
to all our company
M-I-C see you real soon
K-E-Y because we like you

Petit Bateau Sale

We have been anxiously waiting for the Petit Bateau sale. Last year we stocked up on sale pajamas to use as kid's birthday presents and gifts when most items were 50% off.

This year, we are saddened to report that the sale is not nearly as good. For one thing, this season, there was only one style of girl's velour pajamas and they are just 20% off or $46. The regular cotton pajamas are 40% off and now range in price from $28 to $29 depending on size and style.

Very few items are 50% off. We were able to dig up a little girl's pink wool coat that was $250 reduced to $125 and one style of white undershirt that was still almost $20 for two pair. Take a look for yourself, the sale is online too but the selection is more limited than the store.

Better luck next year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scoop Winter Sale

Happy New Year!
We are so excited to start 2010. We just got back from a wonderful vacation and are quite shocked from the Arctic air. When it's this cold outside there's only one thing to do-- stay warm in stores.

Our first item of business was to follow up on a tip we got from Dapper Homme. The special agent reports that Scoop is having an amazing sale. We quickly scurried over to 74th Street Scoop store to see what deals exist uptown. As usual, Dapper was dead on.

Most sale items are an additional 40% off the last markdown. The women's section was well picked through but we were still able to find a Phillip Lim 3.1 sequined mini skirt reduced from $550 to $160. A $1,020 Missoni skirt was reduced to $540. A Soyun cardigan that was $458, is now $167. A very cute $526 Smythe jacket reduced to $120. The best deal was a $395 See By Chloe sweater-jacket, which was reduced to $95. Not bad, huh.

Again, the women's merchandise is not very good but there's a great selection of jeans, pants, sweaters and shirts for men. Either gender, at 85% off it's worth a look.