Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Moda Operandi: Met Ball-Worthy Gowns at 70% Off

While most people are worrying about what they are going to wear for New Years, we are more interested in scoring a gown for the Met Ball on sale. This year, the event will take place on May 4 and the theme will be 'Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion.' Chairs include, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Wintour, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Chinese actress Gong Li and businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch.

We strongly suggest you get shopping now if you plan on shining as bright as the stars without spending the equivalent of a full wardrobe. Zac Posen's gowns are always a big winner at the annual event and the construction of this box-pleat nude gown makes it a huge contender. Sure, it's nude, which is a bit bridal but the right accessories can make this dream dress work. The current price is $2610 from almost $9000. (Here is the black short version for $1720 from $4000 and a pink one for $1480 from $2700.)

You can bet that the asian theme will render red the most popular color on the steps of the Met -- and it won't only be the red carpet. The lines and the floral macrame of this Giambattista Valli gown will fit the theme perfectly, without being too literal. The discount price is $7000 from $11,800.

The passing of Oscar de la Renta has made waves in the fashion industry and you can be sure insiders and stars will want to pay homage. You too can pay tribute in this jacquard silk two-piece dress that's $2000 from $4800. This rose print dress is an Oscar alternative that's priced at $1390 from $4790. Over here is a sexy Antonio Berardi lace and knit gown that's reduced to $1525 from $4300.

Granted, none of these dresses can be considered inexpensive but we always suggest arming your wardrobe with two gowns that you can throw on at a moment's notice. There are few things worse than needing a gown and having to spend full price because it's the wrong time of year. If there's any chance you're going to the Met Ball, or any-like event, get your dress now. June will be the next time you see discounts this high.

As Seen on Fox 5's Good Day NY

Here is a list and the links to all the great discount fashion find I mentioned this morning on Good Day NY:

1. Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jackets for Men & Women are now $50 from $70

2. Gap In-Store is now 60% off already reduced merchandise
Marino wool sweater is now $16 from $54
Marino wool Cardi $18 from $59
Floral sweatshirt $6.40 from $40
Sequin sweater was not on sale in the store but manager price matched the website and gave the 60% off $14 from almost $60

3. Athleta is offering an additional 20% off reduced items for a savings of about 50% sale ends 12/31
Half Zip Running Top I paid $47 from $89, if I got it online it would have come to about $35 online
High Tech 'Drifter' leggings $36 from $79

4. J Crew is offering 40% off reduced merchandise for a savings of about 50%
Tassle necklace $32 from $78
Kid's gold and navy tee $15 from $38
Elephant skirt (No longer online) $32 from $68
Women's jeweled top $32 from $88

5. Most high end designer clothing is 60% off at department stores but the discount on shoes and handbags vary. Barneys NY has the best prices for shoes right now.
Lace Manolo BBs are $309 from $789

Gucci is even offering 50% off most merchandise.
Rainboots (no longer available online) $130 from $260

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stores that Offer More than Shopping

New York is one of the best shopping destinations on earth. Whether you're a tourist or are staycationing, you're bound to hit the stores this holiday season. Even if you have your kids in tow, there are lots places you can shop and have loads of fun without even spending a ton of money. Here is a list of some of our favorites:

H&M Time Square
Sure, almost every mall in America has an H&M but how many of these retailers offer a multi-media runway? When you walk into the mega-store head, you need to the right up the stairs to the second floor. There you will be greeted by a runway lit with multi-colored LEDs, a live DJ and a working camera. I personally like to give the kids a $20 shopping budget and allow them to model their creations. After strutting your stuff, your image will be displayed on a large flat panel screen in the store and emailed to your account to share with friends.

Saks Fifth Avenue's Beauty on Five
Walking around the stores for hours can be tiring. You can easily add a bit of energy and beauty to your day if you head to the fifth floor of Saks. Here you will find several beauty concessions. A brow bar finished by Blink Brow Bar and makeovers offered by Trish McEvoy. Our favorite, however, is the Paint Worskshop by Nails Inc. Ladies (and men) can make an appointment (212-940-4251) or walk up to get an entire assortment of manicures, ranging from gel to ornate nail art. The basic express mani is reasonably priced at $18 and the 'Material Girl' manicure is $30 and comes with a bottle of polish, which would usually cost $14 alone.

Toys R Us Times Square
Shopping at Toys R Us should be enough stimulation for a child but toys in a toy store isn't enough when you're in Times Square. The giant ferris wheel is destination worthy on it's own. The 60-foot centerpiece features 14 custom gondolas, including a Barbie car and an M&Ms boat. The line could be long at this time of year but you are certain to get a nomination for Mother of the Year if you make this an after school playdate. For just $5 a person, you can't go wrong.

The Shops at the Plaza
Great food, good shopping, salons and even a place for the kids to play! The Plaza food hall is a concept of Todd English and is so much more than your average food court. There is an assortment of artisan pizzas, burgers, seafood and, yes, caviar. We must say, the food is very good, and much better than most would expect. The shopping isn't exactly stellar but the Douglas Hannant boutique is worth a browse and the men's boutique, Angelo Galassois, is quite decadent. Beauty buffs can also indulge in the Warren-Tricomi Salon. Regardless of whether you're with a child, you have to go to Eloise at the Plaza. There is a place for children to host their own tea parties, they can play dress up in 'Eloise's closet' and send the NY enigma notes. That girl is always busy, busy, busy.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Best Sales for the Guys

Markdowns for men's clothing and accessories always come a bit after women's. Here is a brief overview of current sales for the guys. The discounts range from about 30% to 60% off. It doesn't seem as if any store is offering insane discounts but it's still early in the markdown season for men's merchandise. We did the heavy lifting and sifted through all of the best shopping for men. You can find our full roundup below.

Clothing and shoes are 60% off and accessories range from 60% to 70% off. We are unapologetic about the fact that we are done with $1000 spiked sneakers. We suggest opting for a more subtile form of luxury. There's really no reason not to pick up a pair of Havaianas for $9 from $26. This white check Saint Laurent sweater is a bit more seasonal and priced at $359 from $890.

East Dane
If we had to send a hesitant male shopper to any one site it would be to East Dane. It's easy to shop and the styling suggestions are unintimidating. Right now the discount ranges from 30% to 70% off. We suggest steering to the 50% off section if you're looking for a great pair of jeans or casual weekend wear. The 60% and 70% sections are good if you're looking to buy some warm weather clothing for vacation or you're adroit enough to look ahead enough to next summer. Here's a Rag & Bone sweater for $62 from $125 and J Brand jeans for $84 from $170.

The Bergdorf men's store was recently rebranded as Goodman's. One thing that remains the same is the markdown, which is up to 60%. These Jimmy Choo biker boots are both rugged and luxe and are priced at $836 from $1200. This Alexander Wang sweatshirt is a good deal at $260 from $650 and a Brunello Cucinelli cashmere overcoat is always an absolute classic.

Mr. Porter
Hey men, if you're really looking for some decent savings and love wonderful customer service than Mr. Porter is the destination for you. The all-men's site is offering savings of 30% to 50% off and there are still some great items from which to choose. This Faconnable overcoat is $750 from $1700. How about that's Canali shirt for $140 from $270?

Most men love shopping at Nordstrom because of their no hassle customer service. We can't argue with that. Take note that Nordstrom boys can save from 30% to 60% off. Moncler is just a bit too much for many men but a Duvetica puffer does the same and is much more understated. It also goes on sale. This one is priced at $615 from $1025. Patent Valentino oxfords are $527 from $1075. Yup, there are socks too, 3 for $20!

Saks Fifth Avenue
It seems as if the Saks man might be able to save even more than the Saks woman. Many clothing and shoes styles are priced 60% off. Your girlfriend might be jealous that you can snag these Nicholas Kirkwood ankle boots for $320 from $890. Don't miss this classic Gucci sweater which is now $450 from almost $1250.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Your Rx For Holiday Recovery

The holiday season comes with high expectations; the perfect decorations, the perfect foods, the perfect family (ha!) and the perfect gifts. There is no earthly way not to feel disappointed. That’s why we take matters into our own hands and always spend the day-after indulging in a serious session of retail therapy.
We have just the right place to shop. eBay’s largest luxury seller, Linda's Stuff is hosting a huge handbag sale. The assortment has just the right items to offset your holiday defeat.

Say, your holiday dinner didn’t turn out as you intended after days of planning and cooking? An Hermes bangle for $399 should be able to help you to turn that frown upside down. So your dinner bombed and your in-laws called you inadequate? Arm yourself with a red Celine Luggage tote ($2700) and show them.

Now that we've solved a few of the more common issues. We can dive into the more complicated scenarios. Your husband tells you that he found someone younger? Your son says he's dropping out of med-school to live out his dream of playing the harmonica and travel with a festival band? And your daughter says he she is going to marry "the guy." These are not little problems and few things will make you feel better. Naturally, this 30cm Hermes Noir Crocodile Birkin bag with Palladium Hardware can lighten the blow.

This Linda's stuff sale includes 415 items in a large range of prices that are sure to brighten most anything the holiday hits you with. The best part is that it's not an auction and every purchase is accompanied with instant gratification. We wish we could say the same thing about eggnog.

Sponsored Post

Where To Shop After Christmas

Black Friday is for the amateurs. Real shoppers sharpen elbows for the day after Christmas. It's the time of year where you can still find a rather good selection of merchandise that's highly discounted. Over the course of the week you'll also find great opportunities to pounce on hard-to-find items that may get returned.

Below are some of our favorite post-Christmas shopping destinations. Share your favorites in the comment section below.

1. Saks Fifth Avenue
Starting Friday morning from 8am until noon, Saks will be enticing shoppers with discounts for a total savings of up to 70% off. So set your alarm clocks, because after the clock strikes noon the additional savings ends. The sale has already started online, which means that you don't even need to get out of bed to participate in discounts. An adorable Kate Spade 'HELLO TOKYO' bag is just about $100 from around $300, a Duvetica puffer is $510 from $850 and Stella McCartney zipper-detail sweater is $321 from $1070.

2. Net-a-Porter
Luxury e-tailer, Net-a-Porter, already started their second markdown and some items are reduced up to 70% off. Starting this evening, you will notice that a lot more merchandise will be reduced to that 70% off mark. Purified brand creepers are $222 from $740, Aquazzura disco studded booties are $388 from $1295 and an Opening Ceremony top is $142 from $475.

3. Manolo Blahnik
Manolo Blahnik usually starts their first markdown immediately after New Years. The discount is normally 33% off but if you can wait three weeks, prices get slashed to 50%. Then, right when you think your winter blues can't get any worse, Manolo starts their February clearance sale where shoes are discounted up to 75% off.

4. Ralph Lauren
When Ralph Lauren slashes up to 70% off we've been known to raid the Rhinelander Mansion for cashmere sweaters for ourselves. The best part is that most of the leftover men's stock is a size XS, which is just perfect for us. Just be careful, prices in the store don't always match up online. So you might be better off just staying at home and shopping on-line. We found a Black Label cashmere sweater that comes to $350 from $995, classic riding boots with a chain detail are $527 from $1250 and a small Ricky tote is under $700 from $1960.

5. Barneys New York
Early on Barneys started out having the best markdown opportunities. At this point, it's losing a bit of headway as other stores move past the 60% discount. Their biggest advantage is their fashion lusty inventory. Marni ankle boots are $319 from $790, a Marissa Webb coat is $319 from $800 and a black and white Maison Martin Margiela sweater is $650 from $1625.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Your Guide to Which Retailers Price Match

Online stores are increasingly making it more difficult for customers to price compare. In order to make it impossible to shop around, designers often make slight variations of the same product. These product varieties are even more important in online retailing where a customer can shop hundreds of stores at one time.

In honor of the holiday sale season, we searched out a item that is ubiquitous throughout the retail scene. We consider this item our contrail. (Yes, we are getting scientific today.) 3.1 Phillip Lim's $1100 'Totes Amaze' bag can be found on more than a dozen online retailers. Now that sale season has started, however, the price ranges from $440 all the way up to the original retail price.

As of December 22, the retailer, Nordsrom is offering the tote for the least amount of money, at $339.98. International site, Ssense is just two cents more $440. ShopBop and Neiman Marcus tie for most expensive retailer with a markdown price of $770, or just 30% off. Our experiment was to see which retailers would honor Nordstrom's price with the least amount of hassle. Just for good measure we asked all the stores if they'd match Ssence's price too.

Since it's the week of Christmas, we also got a great indication for retailers' customer service abilities. Our findings were that larger companies answered calls relatively quickly but not all e-tailers were keen at price matching. Although Shopbop offered the highest pricing, the site promptly offered to adjust the cost to meet the deal offered by Nordsrom. Neiman Marcus also promptly answered our call but politely declined to match Ssense's price because 'it is an international site' but did offer to match Nordstrom.

Saks Fifth Avenue also offered to match the price given by Nordstrom but we would first have to pay full price and then wait 10 days for a supervisor to authorize a credit for the difference. It feels unsettling that the operator at Saks was unable to guarantee the price adjustment. We would suggest skipping this policy as it can easily put a gift giver in a precarious situation if the price were not adjusted as anticipated. On the other extreme, Net-A-Porte makes it a flat policy not to price match.

Even though Scoop and Ssense both offered competitive pricing both retailers did not reasonably answer calls. We disconnected the call with Ssense after more than five minutes on hold and Scoop didn't even have an operator answering phones. Callers were asked to leave a message and wait for a return call. None of those scenarios are comforting to a pressured and stressed shopper.

Below is the raw data to our Totes Amaze shopping experiment. We removed many of the stores that carry the bag on Far Fetch, because of the large assortment of variances that apply to working with a small independent international stores. We would love to hear about your holiday shopping experiences in the comment section below. Have you found retailers to be naughty or nice?

Site Price Time on Hold Answer
Shopbop $770 >1min Will honor the Nordstrom price
Ssense $440 <5min p=""> No answer
Net-a-Porter $550 >1min It's our policy not to price match.
Neiman Marcus $770 >1min Will not price match Ssense but was transferred to a supervisor would price match with Nordstrom
Nordstrom $439 >1min Ssense is international website and we can't price match.
Saks Fifth Avenue $660 3min We would have to pay full price now and would later be credited the difference pending manager approval.
Scoop $576 >1min No operators. Only voice mail.

Bergdorf Goodman's "2nd Markdown"

Bergdorf Goodman just started promoting their "second markdown" today. Wait. Before you get excited from the "up to 60% off", you have to look more closely at what's being offered.

Sure, there is still a great assortment of handbags but that's because the discount is still just 30% off. So we are going to skip over that, for now. The same goes for shoes, which are still only 30% off. Pass.

Lets sink our teeth, or wallets, into where we can find the deals. Clothing? Um. Nope. Almost all the designer merchandise is still just 40% off. Maybe the contemporary designers? Nah, most of that selection is still 40% off too. The only merchandise that's 60% off seems to be summer clothing from last season. For instance, Halston Heritage strapless optic print gown that's $173 from $495 and this Michael Kors print one piece bathing suit for $69 from $199.

This 2nd markdown, could be a good opportunity to get some last minute beachwear for winter break. If you're looking for discounts on this season's merchandise, however, we suggest you head to Barneys.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Your Guide to Online Shopping Deadlines

The holiday shopping season is quickly coming to a crescendo. Most online stores are offering 2nd day free shopping but you might want to take note of these shopping deadlines if you're adverse to cabbing to midtown.

Get it there: 2nd-day air is $18
Deadline: 12/20 at 2:00PM EST
Gift Wrapping: Free black box and black & white ribbon
Discount: Up to 60%

Bergdorf Goodman
Get it there: 2nd-day free shipping with the code BGGIFT
Deadline: 12/19 at 11:59AM CT
Gift Wrapping: Free silver box with lavender ribbon
Discount: Up to 40%

Get it there: Standard shipping is free
Deadline: 12/22 5:00PM EST
Gift Wrapping: $5 white bottom and black top with elastic bow
Discount: Up to 60%

Get it there: Free standard shipping
Deadline: 12/19 5:30PM EST
Gift Wrapping: Free, sale items come wrapped in tissue paper but full priced merchandise is eligible for their iconic matte black boxes

Get it there: Free shipping
Deadline: 12/21 11:59PM EST
Gift Wrapping: Not available on all items but the $2 gift set includes a gift box, tissue paper, a silver ribbon and a gift tag
Discount: Up to 60%

Saks Fifth Avenue
Get it there: Free shipping with the code HOLIDAY
Deadline: 12/22 6:00PM EST
Gift Wrapping: Free black box with snowflakes, red bottom and red ribbon
Discount: Up to 70%

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Barneys 2nd Markdown

Barneys started their second markdown today online and in stores. Most sale merchandise is now 60% off. There is still a wide assortment of fall/winter shoes, bags and ready-to-wear. Another markdown may come but most of the stuff you want will be gone by then.

The Barneys markdown is great because it includes an impressive assortment of shoes and bags too. A Mark Cross bag is $1200 from $3000 and a Givenchy Obsedia is $1200 from $3000. Among the shoes there is Prada riding boots $600 from $1500, Saint Laurent creepers are $439 from $1100 and suede Manolo BBs are $240 from $600.

Among the clothing we found a red draped Lanvin dress for $879 from $2200, a Givenchy sweater is $619 from $1550, a Carven sweatshirt is $159 from $400 and a Thakoon Addiction hooded cape is $399 from $990.

There should be one more markdown before the season comes to a close but there are usually not many desirable options. Shop now for the prime assortment, shop later for the irresistible prices.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Roger Vivier Sale

Roger Vivier's seasonal sale is usually a well kept secret that's only accessible to customers who have previously shopped at the boutique and paid full price. This year, however, most anyone can take advantage of the Vivier sale.

A large assortment of classic and updated Viviers are 30% to 40% off. The sale started on Black Friday but there is still a large selection of styles and sizes available. Basic flats come to about $450 from $600 and boots that normally retail for $1100 and are reduced to $660.

You can buy shoes on-line via their e-commerce website but the discount is only available in the boutique. You can see pictures from our sale hunt right this way.

Edouard 212-861-5371

Saks Begins Second Markdown

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Everywhere we go there are sales but we are still waiting for more. Today, Saks Fifth Avenue granted our wish and kicked off their second markdown, which brings yesterday's discount of 40%-- down to 60% off.

The remaining small assortment of bags and shoes are still just 30% off. If you want to shop the good discounts you're going to have to sort through the clothing options. A Stella McCartney abstract zipper sweatshirt is nearly affordable at $385 from $1070, an asymmetrical Marni peplum blouse is $259 from $723, a 3.1 Phillip Lim 'Cash Only' sweatshirt is $135 from $375. If you look carefully you can still find some of this season's most iconic pieces, like the Stella McCartney squiggly face coat and the embellished Marni midi-skirt.

The sale is just online for now, but we bet that a store manager can easily make adjustments. The markdown becomes official in stores on Friday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Shopbop: Extra 20% Off Sale

Just in time for the last minute holiday rush, Shopbop is offering an extra 20% off sale items. The extra discount brings the ultimate markdown up to 75% off. Just use the code EXTRASALE at checkout.

Browsing through the 70% off section, which is final sale, we found a Jason Wu fringe moto jacket that comes to $1200 from $5200. (Perhaps it was priced too high to begin with?) A Elle Sasson long sleeve cropped blouse is $75 from about $300. Moving up the discount food chain to 60% off, there is a Cedric Charlier military inspired shirt dress that comes to $450 from $1425, a Dion Lee skirtt is $190 from $575 and a Versace sleeveless knit dress is about $530 from $1395.

The sale is only three days and ends on Wednesday at midnight. This is the best deal you can expect, outside of Shopbop's friends and family sale. If you ask us, seems like a good opportunity to plan for New Years.

Proenza Schouler 50% Off (Incl. Bags)

Proenza Schouler is offering holiday shoppers a 50% savings. The discount extends to shoes and bags, which makes this the ideal place to shop for the designer's popular PS1 and PS11 bags. The discount is also available online here.

In the boutique we found mini-PS1s in green, purple, blue, orange and yellow along with a few print and exotic skins. They are all about $650 from $1325. The exotic style is more, of course. The sale assortment of the large size comes in red, blue, green, snake and print. Those are mostly $1300 from $2600. Large PS11s come in white, belle, patent black, kelly green, embossed and brown suede and are also 50% off. You can click here to see all the sale bags available at the Madison Avenue boutique.

The sale also includes a great assortment of shoes and clothing, like these high heel booties for $525 from $1050 and tall boots are a relative deal for $648 from $1295. Check out this iconic peplum print dress that's $1225 from $2450 or a print tee is $140 from $280.

Proenza Schouler
822 Madison Ave @ 69th Street
Adrian 212-585-3200

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Walter Steiger Sample Sale

Walter Steiger's sample sales have become legend among fashion insiders and shoe lovers. The assortment is great and the prices are amazing. Usually, this sale is closed to the public and an RSVP is required. This season, everyone is invited.

Starting Monday, all shoppers are welcome to the company's showroom to browse though a variety of Walter Steiger platforms, flats, heels, pumps, sandals, booties and boots. Prices will range from $50 to $400 but get there early to take advantage of the best deal -- two pairs for just $50. As you can imagine, these go fast!

Walter Steiger Sample Sale
Monday, December 15 through Wednesday, December 17
10am to 6pm
325 Fifth Avenue @ 32nd St, Suite 38A

Sponsored Post

Gift Guide: What to Get the Brearley Girl

New York private school girls are a most interesting specimen. They have more academic pressure than most first year law students but many are more entitled than a Goldman senior VP. To watch them in their natural habitat one only need to take a ride on the 79th Street, cross town bus.

Shopping for these girls is no easy task. The bar is high but taking a step off the deep end of restraint is easier than Serena van der Woodson. Below is a gift guide that can satisfy the private school girl, from Brearley to Trinity. Click here to see the full list of gift ideas.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bergdorf Goodman 50% Off

We usually find that the discounts are better when you shop in stores but sometimes we get a curve ball. Today, Bergdof Goodman started an online only promotion where most merchandise that's on sale is an additional 20% off. No code is needed.

Most designer merchandise was already reduced 40% and the extra discount brings the total savings to about 50%. This type of savings is equivalent to a second markdown, which doesn't usually occur for another week. The discount also extends to shoes and bags.

Head right this way to snag a Givenchy jacket that's reduced to $620 from $3100. That's about 75% off. A Saint Laurent leather cape is $3740 from $7790 and Stella McCartney houndstooth-print faux fur coat is $1100 from $2295.

The extra discount also applies to bags. An Alexander Wang cross body bag that's $461 from $825, an Alexander McQueen Heroine is $1676 from $3000 and our favorite Proenza Schouler PSII tote is $1114 from about $2000.

Check out these Manolo Blahnik BBs that come to $332 from about $600 and high Prada riding boots $756 from $1350. Christian Louboutin shoes are not an additional 20% off but the Lavender Lady seems to be the only online store that has the red soles marked down.

The extra 20% promotion runs through the weekend and then disappears. Second markdown usually becomes official the week before Christmas. We suggest you take advantage of this promotion while the inventory exists.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Same Game: Who Sells It Better

Yesterday, we spent some time taking a closer look at the discounts at our local department stores. Today we are crawling the web, searching for the best deals.

One would think that  online price comparisons would be easy but e-railers purposely make it difficult. Instead of one broad markdown, most online stores individually price items according to their inventory levels. It's almost impossible to nail down a discount at destinations like Shopbop and Net-a-Porter. Generally the discounts at both sites range from 30% to 50% off. One must really try to shop like items to see the real deal.

For example, the popular 3.1 Phillip Lim OMG bag (retail $275) is $165 on Kirna Zabete but $192 on Shopbop. Print Oscar de la Renta dresses started out at $2890 but Moda Operandi reduced the style to $1360 but Net-a-Porter is selling the dress for $1734.

Take note, that Moda Operandi seems like the overall winner as it still has a really great selection of designer merchandise and most everything is 50% off.  Below is a comparison chart of Kirna Zabete, M'Oda Operandi and Net-a-Porter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Lowdown on Department Store Sales

Almost all seasonal merchandise in department stores is on sale. At most of our local shopping destinations, fall and winter clothing is discounted 40% off but the prices of shoes and handbags vary greatly.

Take note, some boutiques are offering even lower discounts than the department stores. For instance, Missoni and Miu Miu are both offering customers a 50% savings. Below is a comparison chart of Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.

This season many stores are offering additional shopping incentives. Neiman Marcus and Saks are both offering reward gift cards with a purchase. Neiman Marcus is offering a $50 gift card on qualifying merchandise for every $200 you spend. Just use the code DEC50 and Saks has a variety of spending benchmarks, which range from 10% to 30% in gift cards. Use the code DEC2014.

Here is your discount cheat sheet:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gift Ideas: Hostess & Corporate Gifts Under $200

Buying a gift for a corporate client or a hostess gift can be a tremendous amount of work. The key is hitting the right note without getting too personal. Chocolates, candles and wine are often the standard but we found items with a twist on the traditional and added a few of our personal favorites. The best part is that all of our picks are under $200.

From Top to Bottom: Nespresso Pixie $180, Brics Foldable & Packable Tote $120, Luxe City Guides Box Set $60, Cashmere Travel Set $179, Fornasetti Scented Candle $165,  Hermes Lock Perfume Spray $90

Chanel & Louboutin PreSale w/ Pics

Most stores have already started their first markdowns on contemporary and luxury lines but there are always a few brands that strong-arm all retail outlets to hold off on discounts. Starting now, you will be able to presale seasonal merchandise from brands like Chanel, Louboutin and Alaia at  40% . The official sale markdown date is December 16.

If you have something particular in mind, we suggest contacting a reliable sales person to keep an eye out for your anticipated purchase. Last season was exceptionally difficult for Chanel lovers. Very few bags styles went on sale. We are told that this season's sale stock list fsmall and only include exotic styles and some older shapes. (We bet this changes as the season progresses.) Head right this way to browse the an array of Chanel flats that are on sale and available from Neiman Marcus.

Those looking for some new Chanel threads would benefit for waiting until the end of the season to make their purchases. Most seasons Chanel clothing gets slashed up to 70% off, which in many cases is less than vintage or pre-owned prices.

Christian Louboutin shoppers can also begin shopping the markdowns at most boutiques and department stores now. The discount is 40% off. Louboutins are not discounted online, yet. You can click your way over here to see an assortment of shoe styles included in the sale and available at Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys.

Chanel Soho boutique" Nicole, 212-334-0055
Saks Shoes: Antionette 917-806-6579
Bergdorf Handbags: Bruce 212-872-8796
Bergdorf Shoes: Bill 212-872-8940
Louboutin Uptown: Marina 212-396-1884

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jay Strongwater Sample Sale

Jay Strongwater is known for his colorful enamel and 18-karat gold home accessories. His collections include an arrange of frames, perfume bottles, trays and figurines and are often adorned with Swarovski crystals. These magical confections were collected by Elizabeth Taylor and were often commissioned by Oscar de la Renta.
You can find these works of art at exclusive designer department stores. For a short time, this week, they will also be available for a deep discount at the Jay Strongwater sample sale. Expect to find a full range of the designer's merchandise for 50% to 70% off retail. For example, a Washington Grand Eagle Figurine will be priced at $3250 from $6500, a 5" x7" Colette Pagoda from will be $735 from $2450 and a Mabel Cow Mini Figurine will be $58.50 from $195.

The sample sale starts this Tuesday and will run for four days. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase a fine gift for a great price. We suggest you don't wait to long. Obviously, the most collectible items will go fast.

Jay Strongwater
Tuesday, December 9 through Friday, December 12
Tues 6pm-8pm, Wed & Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-3pm
Lighthouse International: 111 East 59 Street (Park & Lexington)

Sponsored Post

Ralph Lauren Goes to 60% Off

We are nearing the height of the holiday season and Ralph Lauren isn't wasting a moment luring customers. The designer just took a second markdown on many of his collections bringing the total discount to 60%.
We took a look inside and found riding boots reduced to $900 from $1350, a suede hobo bag with a horse bit is $900 from $1500 and a marino wool polo sweater is $54 from $145. Over in the men's department, we found a quilted down jacket for $350 from nearly $500, a cashmere sweater from Purple Label for $650 from $1295 and a custom fit long sleeve polo is $70 from $93.

For some reason, many of the prices are priced better online then they are in the store. You can always price compare from the inside the Mansion and ask a manager to make an adjustment  but it's probably easier to just come home and shop. Below are more of our favorite items:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Nancy Gonzalez & Luxe Fur VIP Sale

Just in time for the holidays, Nancy Gonzalez is hosting a sample sale where her famous exotic skin bags will be significantly reduced. In addition, the sale will also include an unbelievable selection of furs from a large assortment of top name department store brands.The sale doesn't open to the public until Monday, December 8 but Madison Avenue Spy readers have been invited a day early to shop the Sunday VIP pre-sale.

Shoppers can attend the Sunday pre-sale early by giving a $36 donation (or more), which will go to New York Cancer Center. All contributions are matched by Shelly & Renee. Please email us here if you would like to attend. Space is limited. There will be a guest list at the door on Sunday but the remaining dates are open to the general public without giving a donation.

The public days of this sale are always very popular and can be quite chaotic. As a matter of fact, every season the sale completely sells out. We suggest that serious Nancy Gonzalez shoppers should take advantage of this pre-shopping opportunity. With prices like these you can get a bag for for a loved one and yourself.

Nancy Gonzalez Sample Sale
VIP Fundraiser Sunday, December 7 from 1pm-5pm
Public Sale: Monday, December 8 & Wednesday, December 9
Mon 9am-7pm, Tues & Wed 10am to 4pm
Lighthouse International
111 East 59th Street (bet. Park & Lexington Ave.)
Cash & Credit Card. No Strollers

Sponsored Post

The Best Upcoming Sample Sales

There are so many sample sales scheduled that shopping starts to feel like a big decision rather than a leisurely activity. To help you sort through the madness, we put together a list of this week's sales that we think are worthy of your holiday season effort. Let us know if you think we missed anything spectacular.

DL & Co.
Through Holiday Season
Mon—Fri 10am—6pm
231 W 39th St btwn 7th & 8th Ave, Suite 605

Details: Forget Diptyque madness, we actually prefer the assortment of scents and designs from DL &Co. The sale includes home goods including candles, diffusers, skull candles and various accessories, all priced up to 90% off.

Sophia Webster
Saturday, December 6th through Sunday, December 7th
10am—7pm daily
91 Horatio St btwn Washington St & 10th Ave

Details: We haven't heard much about this upcoming sale but rumor has it that prices will start at $70.

Alexander Wang
Tuesday, December 9th through Saturday, December 13th
9am-8pm daily
151 Wooster St. (btwn Houston & Prince)

Details: It's been ages since Alexander Wang has hosted a public sample sale. Actually, it was August 2013! You can click over here to see full details from the last go-round. Back then Roccos were priced between $300 and $400, shoes were $175 and leather clothing items were $500.

Alice and Olivia
Tuesday, December 9th through Sunday, December 14th
Tues 9am—8pm, Wed 9am—7pm, Thurs 10am—8pm, Fri 9am—7pm, Sat 10am—7pm, Sun 10am—4pm
260 Fifth Ave

Details: The sale will include merchandise will include fall and winter clothing priced at about 60% off (to start). A checkered drop waist dress is $159 from $348, a Hand with Ring sweater is $159 from $368, a brown fur vest is $279 from $898 and a sequin tulle ballerina skirt is $199 from $440.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gift Ideas: Black and Gold Watches

Watches are fantastic gifts. Although you can access the time on their phone, a flick of the wrist is a lot most smooth than an iPhone fumble. This season, we are finding a deep attraction to the black and gold combination.

It doesn't matter if the watch is dressy, sporty or geeky-- the contrast of black and gold adds warmth to the the sleekness of black. This season, to furnish all of our watch gifts. The style happens to look great on both men and women. What's best is that Nordstrom always offers free shipping and free returns. If only other holiday tasks were as easy as shopping at Nordstrom.

Sponsored Post

Century 21 has Lots of Prada and Extra Discounts

The Century 21 flagship is stepping up its game in a major way. The discount department store and downtown institution just completed a renovation that includes an incredible in-store boutique called C21 edition. The concept has been furnished with luxury bags and accessories by vintage retailer LXR&CO.

Within the luxury boutique there is a variety of pre-"loved" Hermes bags and accessories (not discounted), Louis Vuitton rare and not so vintage pieces discounted 30% to 70% and Prada 30% to 40% off. There's also an assortments of other luxury designers ranging from Celine to Ferregamo to Belenciaga and Chloe. LXR&Co will be in the space until December and then another concept, still TBD, is moving in.

Afterwards we headed into our normal Century 21 shopping territory, starting in shoes-- of course. Among the selection you will find a very good assortment of Givenchy, mostly priced in the $200 range from retail prices of $900 and up. A pair of Prada patent pumps don't seam to be priced as attractivey but are still highly discounted at $389 from $600. Among the high-end shoes we found one lone pair of Christian Louboutin "So Kate" priced at $470.

Upstairs, within the European designer clothing, there is still a diverse selection of Prada clothing. You can click back here to see the details from our last C21 shopping trip. The puffers are all gone but much of the gingham merchandise and wool coats are still available. Mary Katrantzou dresses are an amazing deal at 80% off. One style was priced at $370 from $1570. There is also a small rack of Alaia clothing. One skirt is priced at $880 from $2245. (Click to see item detail pics.)

If you head to the back you can find dozens of designer brands discounted an additional 30% off. Among the additional discounts are eligible for Lanvin, where a breathtaking floral dress and a strapless red cocktail dress come to about $600 from almost $3000. An Antonio Berardi rack has dresses too at an additional 30% off. One such item rings out at about $500 from $2400. The same goes for Emilio Pucci, where you can walk home with a mink collar coat for under $800 from a retail price of $4000. Other extra markdowns can be applied to Jil Sander, Gaultier, Chalayah, MSGM and Acne. Pictures of all the aforementioned items and more can be found if you tap here.

We are still waiting for another Prada markdown but we were sufficiently satiated with the extra 30% off merchandise. That's not to say we won't go back again when the markdown hits 70%. Stay tuned...

Paire Discount Goes to Extra 60% Off EVERYTHING

Last week, we got word that the ultra-lux accessories online store, Paire would be hosting a huge sale where everything on the site is 50% off. If you could believe it, the sale just got better. The discount is now 60% off and even includes sale items, which would bring the discount to 75% off a selection of merchandise. Just use the code SIXTY at checkout. Don't hesitate, this promotion will not last long and ends midnight today.

Paire is widely known for its amazingly curated variety of fashion jewelry. The site includes Rodarte, Viktor & Rolf, Shourouk, as well as cult designers Bernard Delettrez, ek Thongprasert and Annelise Michelson. The also has an assortment of handbags that can only be found at Paire, such as, bags from Nina Ricci, Mawi, Shourouk and Andrew Gn.

We were so excited to still find Diana Broussard's chunky, Caribbean-like blue plexiglass-link, Nate necklace. The fashion hound must-have is about $110 from $275. Among fashion accessories you can snag a Nina Ricci bag that comes to $740 from $1850, an Anndra Neen bag is $284 from $710 and an EK Thongprasert necklace is $243 from $609.

Don't miss the sale items where you can also take an additional 60% off already reduced prices. Check out a rainbow Tom Binns collar necklace that's $200 from $450. The same goes for these Jenny Packham gold orchid earrings that come to just $150 from $302.

Don't wait, any of these items would make an amazing holiday gift and to buy them anywhere else will cost you a great deal more. And who wants to spend more when you can just get more?

Sponsored Post

Monday, December 1, 2014

Net-a-Porter 50% Off Sale Begins, For Real

Net-a-Porter really faked us out this year. When Thanksgiving rolls around the luxury site usually breaks sale in a way that feels similar to color war breaking at camp. Traffic slows the site to a crawl and it's a fight to the checkout button. It's exciting and the discounts are great.

This Thanksgiving, we got a "fake-break". Sure, there was a Black Friday sale, the site crashed, but very little merchandise was included. And then, with no notice, the discount disappeared and the sale ended.

We've been scratching our heads and stalking Net-a-Porter for the past few days. Confused. Then today, sale broke for real. Discounts are up to 50% off, but like with most designer stores most of the best items are still 40%.

There are still some good deals but you have to sift through the "racks." Below is a selection of our top 10 sale items-- in no particular order. Lets hope NAP doesn't play those fake breaks again. It really wasn't nice-a-porter.

Marni hold-plated, horn and acetate drop earrings $185 from $378

Miu Miu heeled rainboots $425 from $550

Adidas Originals in pink-purple white combo $40 from $80

Le Chameau rubber boots $60 from $120

Sacai Luck padded shell down coat $1138 from $2275

Maison Martin Margiela knee-high boots $588 from $1175

Alexander Wang architectural leather ankle boots $430 from $860

Fendi embellished tech-satin and mesh top $950 from $1900

Markus Lupper Kiss Me Quick sequined merino wool sweater $205 from $410

Sonia by Sonia merino wool sweater $168 from $335

Jason Wu shearling-trimmed wool-faille peacoat $1900 from $3820

360Sweater/ Skull Cashmere

360Sweater/ Skull Cashmere merge California chic with New York sophistication. The premier knits  can be found at top specialty stores and high end department stores and now you can snag yours for 70% off at the sample sale. Well, maybe you don't want to snag a sweater but we will always indulge in a sale.

December 2 through December 12
231 West 39th Street (btwn 7th & 8th Ave) Suite 1001
10am to 6pm Daily

Sponsored Mention

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Best Places to Cyber Monday

Chances are that you've been shopping or browsing online and offline all weekend. Nonetheless, marketers sill insist that the shopping continues full force though Cyber Monday.

Chuckle as you might, we are a stickler to tradition. Some of the discounts aren't as good as they were over the weekend. So be careful, impulse can easily overcome Monday morning shoppers. (P.S. Start with Yoox.)

Amazon Fashion
Discounts vary but Prime is almost as fast as hailing a cab from mid-town

Bergdorf Goodman
Extra 20% off already reduced sale 5F sale selection, no code needed, through December 1

Kelly Whistler
Take 20% off Monday only with code KWMONDAY

Extra 20% off sale with code BFPURSE through December 2

Mr. Porter
Up to 30% off selected styles through December 1, no code required

Michael Kors
50% off a selection of clothes, shoes, handbags and more through December 2

40% off a wide fashion selection through December 1

Shop Jeen
Up to 90% off through Monday

Get 20% off of everything with code YOOXGIVING through December 1.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving: Gobble Up the Amuze Deals

The Internet is full of discount shopping destinations but few offer really wonderful designer merchandise at great prices. Amuze is a major standout. This online flash sale site offers a varsity of authentic and brand new merchandise from the most exclusive fashion designers and prices up to 90% off retail.

Lets take a look: Starting at 9pm, Thursday, the site is hosting a huge Thanksgiving sale that includes shoes and bags, clothing for women and men. The best part is that everything on the site is an additional 20% off from Thursday at 9pm through the end of Cyber Monday. Just use the code GIVETHANKS30 for additional savings on clothing and GIVETHANKS20 to activate the discount on shoes and bags.

Check out these Valentino Rockstud sandals that are $180 from $895 and that's even before the additional discount. These Jimmy Choo leopard print boots come to just about $310 from $1375, very pretty Red Valentino dress is about $160 from $850 and Saint Laurent sneakers are $200 from $610.

Seems good? We agree. But the deal gets better. For the first 24-hours of the sale, starting at 9pm set, customers will receive free shipping. The post-Thanksgiving sale beings at 9pm on Thursday night and will run until midnight Monday. very pretty Red Valentino dress is about $160 from $850 and Saint Laurent sneakers are $200 from $610.

So, gobble ... gobble... gobble and rest assured that this type of of consumption will not add a millimeter to your waist line.

Sponsored Post

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday: Working off the Tryptophan

Once the Tryptophan wears off, it's time to take a shopping trip. After all, it's Black Friday. There's so many stores and so little patience. You will want to choose your shopping destination wisely. Here are some of the best options. If you're totally crowd adverse, great shopping is only a tap-tap away on your computer.

Saks Fifth Avenue
Prices for the shopping extravaganza will be reduced up to 60% off if you can get to the store before noon. (The discount is available online now.) an Ostwald Helgason banana dress is $321 from $535 and Alexander McQueen smoking slippers are $258 from $465. Just a warning, the early Saks crowd can be overwhelming. We highly recommend taking a break at the floor NailsInc station. On-the-spot manicures are just $18 and last forever. Contact: Fifth Avenue Club (Eric) 212-753-4000

Stock up on all your basics and hats, gloves and pajamas for the kids. Everything is 50% off in honor of Black Friday. Women's wool slip-on sneakers are $20 from $40 and girl's Kate Spade "Hi-5" mittens are $12 from $24. Banana is offering 50% off full price merch and an extra 40% off already reduced items. Athleta is offering no additional discounts, but they should!

In honor of the shopping holiday, Zara is offering 30% off everything online and in stores. A geometric wool coat is $104 from $150 and a premium leather midi-skirt is $195 from $279. Our favorite Zara store is Fifth Avenue because of the great selection of limited edition merchandise. Just don't be surprised if it's crowded with tourists.

Discounts are up to 50% off but many are even more. Online shoppers will also get $25 off every $200 spent. We suggest pouncing on those items you've been stalking since the last friends and family sale. Who doesn't want to grab this Marc by Marc Jacobs dress that's $269 from $600 or Paige Denim double zipper ultra skinnys are $200 from $270. The online discount ends Saturday but extends through Sunday, in stores.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Paire's Thanksgiving Sale

The ultra-lux accessories online store, Paire is hosting a huge Thanksgiving sale where everything on the site is 50% off. The promotion also includes sale items, which would bring the discount to 75% off. Just use the code FIFTY at checkout. Don't hesitate, this promotion only lasts a few days and will come to an end on Tuesday, December 2.

Paire is widely known for its amazingly curated variety of fashion jewelry. The site includes Rodarte, Viktor & Rolf, Shourouk, as well as cult designers Bernard Delettrez, ek Thongprasert and Annelise Michelson. The also has an assortment of handbags that can only be found at Paire, such as, bags from Nina Ricci, Mawi, Shourouks and Andrew Gn.

We were so excited to find Diana Broussard's chunky, plexiglass-link, Nate necklace. The fashion hound must-have is $164 from $275. It's available in a large assortment bright colors and Paire even has the elusive black. Among fashion accessories you can snag Rodarte leather gloves come to $200 from $400 and a Yazbukey Karl Brooch is $90 from $180.

Don't miss the sale items where you can take an additional 50% off already reduced prices. Check out these Viktor & Rolf bangle that comes to just $124 from $495. The same goes for this Isaro beaded friendship bracelet $133 from $365. The site even has specialty bridal items, like this Jennifer Behr headband and this Jenny Packham hairslide.

We deffinilty suggest shopping soon, as the sale ends Tuesday, December 2. Paire is one of those sites that you should absolutely keep on your bookmark list. It's not easy to find an online store that sells off-the-runway jewels for such amazing prices.

Sponsored Post

12 Great Places to Shop While You Baste & Bake

Nothing beats the in-store experience, When you're cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 20, however, it could be physically impossible. Shopping is the best way to break up the monotony of cooking. Stir the cranberry sauce, buy shoes from Net-a-Porter for 50% off.

Below are some of the sales we will be shopping while we baste and bake. Happy Thanksgiving!

ASOS- Black Friday 30% off code:TGIBF
Favorite item: The Laden Showroom X Paisie Wool Blend Huge Shawl
Note: Sale runs from 8pm, November 27 to 8pm, November 30

Alice & Olivia- 25% off site-wide
Favorite item: Voloshin Embellished Lace Dress
Note: Sale starts Wednesday

Baccarat- 25% off a large selection of items, including bar, tableware, decor and jewelry.
Favorite item: Grey Eye rectangular vase

Bloomingales- 50% off on a selection site wide
Favorite item: Kate Spade Wool Cape
Note: Starts Today and runs through November 29

Diane von Furstenberg- 40% off select clothing, bags and shoes
Favorite item: Black & white cocoon coat
Note: Ends Monday, December 1. All sales are final

Forzieri- 20% off season’s collections for men & women
Favorite Item: Valentino Rockstud Multi-Color Pumps
Note: Minimum $300

Helmut Lang-40% off
Favorite item: Pike Fur Vest
Note: Sale runs through December 1. Items Final Sale.

J. Crew -30% off select full-price styles and additional 40% off sale
Favorite item: Collection jeweled sash shirt
Note: November 26 through November 30. Free Shipping.

Moda Operandi - 50% off giftable items
Favorite item: Fur trim hat
Note: Runs November 27

Net-a-Porter- Up to 50% off
Favorite item: 3.1 Philip Lim Check Jacket
Note: Second markdowns are up to 70% off

Scoop NYC - 25% off sitewide and free shipping
Favorite item: Leather double faced jacket
Note: November 27 through November 30

Shopbop - Tiered promotion: 15% off $250, 20% off $500, 25% off $1000: GOBIG14
Favorite item: Jill Stuart Midi Skirt
Note: Through December 1

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sales: Gucci & Bottega Veneta

Some presales are more difficult to infiltrate than others. Gucci and Bottega Veneta are two brands that like to stagger the opening of their markdown season starting with their best customers. Some consumers are happy knowing that loyalty pays off but we are true believers of equal opportunity shopping. Here are the details:

The Gucci presale started today. Bags are 30% off and clothing and shoes are 40% off. Included in the sale are the Microguccissima, the Miss GGs, select color Bamboos, the Borsa Lady Tassel, the Soho, the Emily and more. The sale goes public Friday, November 28th. Take note, if you are shopping in the boutique you may find different price tags on the same item. There was recently a price increase and not all items have been updated to reflect the change. The online sale link is right this way: Gucci Sale.

Bottega Veneta
The Bottega Veneta presale started today for existing customers. Sales associates are "checking the computer system" to see if customers are eligible to participate in shopping the markdowns. Leather goods, like bags, wallets and belts are 30% off and clothing and shoes are 50% off. The sale goes public on December 1st and comes to a complete end on December 4th. The discounts are usually reflected online later in the season.

Gift Ideas: Bags for the Vogue Editor

When you're surrounded by gorgeous luxury items, day-in and day-out, you tend to get a bit jaded. Mass market luxury just won't do. We are taking it up a whole new level and picking bags that can even make a Vogue editor drool. Any woman who turns up her nose at these handbags deserves a pair of sequined Uggs.

From Top to Bottom:  Marni Small Bar handle clutch $1400,  Nina Ricci Lutece $1850, Maiyet Small Braided Peyton Tote $2025, Delvaux Templete GM $6300, Loewe Flamenco 30 $2150

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hey Big Spender: Indulgent Gifts

Impressing someone you love with a pricey gift is never easy. Chances are that Mr. or Ms. Lucky is extra picky too. Finding just the right item that won't be returned is like winning the trifecta. 

Here are a few gift ideas even the most jaded woman won't shear at. As always, we suggest you hold on to the receipt. And, PS, feel free to forward these ideas if you know someone you know needs some "guidance."

1. Valentino Calfskin Braided Strap Knee Boot $1845 2. Baccarat Vase $1750 3. Cartier Calibre Diver Watch $8200 4. Tom Ford Crystal Brass Ring Clutch $4900 5. Moncler Beaded Padded Jacket $1657$1657 6. Lana Spike Earrings with Diamonds $3890

Barneys Presale Begins

Barneys shoppers can begin to presale for the first markdown starting Monday. The discount is 40% across the board-- clothing, shoes and bags for men, women and children. Besides for the outstanding selection, 40% discounts make Barneys the best department store to shop for holiday deals.

Among the reduced items are Prosenza Schouler bags in several shades, like silver, blue, green and purple. Assorted Saint Laurent Sac de Jour bags, like the studded version. A small selection of Givenchy bags, like the HDG mini tote. In the shoe department, you can count on most of the Prada and Miu Miu collection to be discounted along with Valentino and Chloe.

Barneys' sales associates aren't always forthcoming with presales. If there is an item you want to secure, we suggest that you give your name and number to the respective brand associate and have them call you when the discount becomes available. You can usually expect a call within  hours of leaving the store.