here a shop, there a shop

Craving spring and summer and hope, I ran down to the Greenmarket at Union Square early Saturday morning. The bustling activity was the perfect antidote to a night spent watching the deserted streets of Cambridge and Watertown. I had meant to pick up some spring-y flowers for the terrace, but it's still a little too early, and since it's gotten chillier again, probably it's as well that I didn't. I came home with a treat - a small bottle of real heavy cream, by which I mean the stuff that has NOT been ultra-pasteurized. Why anyone would go to the trouble of seeking out organic cream and then buy something that has had all the goodness boiled out of it - beyond me.
I'm sipping my Sunday morning coffee now, made nicer with real heavy cream and even nicer by not having the TV news on.


I haven't exactly been on a shopping diet, c'mon, I've got plenty of stuff to wear, some of it even in sizes that fit me, I don't need convincing to shop or not to shop. It's more that very few things have jumped out at me. The few things that have caught my attention - caught someone else's first. Example: Old Reliable Banana Republic. They've lurched onto the Artificial Fabric Bandwagon. Even the word "cotton" in a description can't be trusted. One thing I do grab whenever I see them in my size are the Gap's 100% cotton hipster panties, also known as Friends of the Working (at a Desk! at a Desk!) Girl. If you order 5 or more, the price drops dramatically. I ordered 5 or more. I received 2 emails, each reporting that one of my hipsters was unavailable. Then I got a pair of panties. Then I got the shipping confirmation, telling me all 5 panties and my 2 shirts (same shirt, 2 sizes) had shipped. Then I got an email that one of the shirts had not shipped, consolation prize: a 10% discount code. Frankly, with BR throwing 35 and 40% discounts around like favors from a float, 10% doesn't thrill. Then the other shirt didn't ship - another 10% discount code. I'm ordering, by the way, because the panties don't show up in the stores and the shirts were sold out. Moving on, another pair of panties arrived today, and - still curious about the shirt - the unavailable shirts were back on the site, with a 35% discount code, so I placed a new order. Both sizes. I'm not frantic about this, but if the shirt arrives in a size that fits me, and I like it, I'll probably keep it.

What else?

My saleslady at the LaurenRalphLauren department in Bloomingdales called to remind me of some great sale or other. Shortly afterwards I arrived home with: 100% black wool 2-button blazer, after all the markdowns, including my second all-time favorite sign to see on a clothes rack - 50% off lowest price - it was $50, from $250, and it's still $199 on the Ralph Lauren website. I strongly suggest following this for a %off sale promo.

A $90 cotton paisley blouse followed me home, mom, so can I keep it? $14.50! What is my first all-time favorite sign? Of course, 75% off lowest price. The blouse is great with jeans, the sleeves are nowhere near as puffy as the picture would make you think. With a full skirt, the blouse is a little too Pioneer Girl for city life. I'm seeing more than the usual component of faux-western-influences in the various Ralph Lauren brands this spring. I bet it wouldn't be difficult to find a picture of the 5-year-old Mr. Lauren in a rootin' tootin' cowboy suit. Perfectly tailored, of course.

I also came into few gorgeous silk blouses, heavy weight, almost satin in texture. Too good to throw out, but completely unwearable, said the friend who was cleaning her closet. Hmmm, said I, what if we took out the shoulder pads? (yeah, that old) Here's what happens when you hoick out shoulder pads: the shoulder seam falls somewhere the middle of your lateral triceps and your elbow. I rescued a couple of these sad babies. When I tried them on at home, I noticed that the entire blouse was cut very full, and so on one, I pinned a dart from the center of the shoulder seam, wide enough to move the shoulder/arm connection to where it should be, and tapering at the boobage. I continued the dart down the back of the blouse. The width and length of the dart needed some adjustment, but finally I had it. With the shoulder seam in place, the side seam needed only a tiny adjustment under the arm. The tailor is working on the blouse now, and if something worth wearing turns out, I'll consider fooling around on the others. Cuts were fuller when the blouse was made, I guess, and manufacturers were more generous, so there's room to work.

I'd love a pair of navy linen pants. My usual source for something that's so basic that creative designers can't be bothered is the Brooks Brothers Factory Store. I didn't get there the last time I was at the outlet mall, because I was so annoyed to be holding a coupon for the JCrew Factory Store that I couldn't use. I couldn't use it because I couldn't find anything worth buying. They had rearranged the store, but it only looked enticing from a distance. When you got up close enough to touch the fabric and read the labels.... So I felt gloomy and just went home, gave the coupon to a harried lady with a bored little boy. This experience was particularly dispiriting after learning that the Ralph Lauren factory stores honor a 15% student/educator discount and a 15% military discount, both of which apply to everything in the store and can be stacked.  Well, I hope to get back to Brooks Brothers soon....

YES, THE PRICE IS $890!!
I didn't think much of the Mondrian-ish cashmeres in the last J.Crew rollout, but as the prices began to drop this one became more appealing.

When I saw this version of a colorblock pullover, at about the same time J.Crew marked down its version, the die was cast.

And a pair of heavy linen gray slacks (Elie Tahari), very tailored, found on a flash sale site, was just what the cashmere pullover called for. The purple stripe is more gray in real life, and the camel stripe is more pinkish beige. The bright pink is still bright pink. The sleeves are "bracelet length." It looks boxy in my picture, but it fits well on. None of this is a problem, but it's worth knowing if you want to check out the JC sweater. The sweater has disappeared from the website, but as usual may reappear.

That seems to be it for the spring hunting season.  So far. We'll be heading for New Orleans in a week or two, and the thought of a music festival always makes me worry about my feet. Sorry, music lovers, but I can't get carried away on heavenly sounds if my feet are killing me. 

16 comments:

  1. The sweaters reminding me of the Creatures of the Wind broken stripe caught my attention but I've decided no more hunting except a couple pairs of jeans and a denim shirt for me. Husby will be pleased.

    Speaking of worry about feet, maybe also a couple pairs of Crewcuts suede bucks or MacAlisters.

    New Orleans! Oh there will feasting I'll be envying.

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    1. hi, Tiffany Rose, I tried on what seems like gazillions of denim and chambray shirts last summer, finally got 2 from Urban Outfitters, same shirt/different sizes - over tee, not over tee. I've stopped thinking of UO as a kids' store since I found my Liberty print wedge lace-up espadrilles there, and they have great sales, too.

      Oh, if only I could wear Crewcuts shoes! Envying....

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  2. WFF, great post- rushing off to work, so I can't fully enthuse. I have an end of season RL wool blazer form about 2 years ago from a Bloomies sale. They are wonderful. I love you purchases, and I am happy you used your tailoring skills. I have made blouses into shells- which I prefer under cardigans. I am not a BB factory fan, because I usually-like JC vs JCF - do better at the regular shop on sale. I like the colors of the colorblock...

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    1. Thanks, Knit Yarns! I stalk the different RL brands with some regularity, and of all my great scores, the RL stuff has worn the best and given me the most pleasure.

      The remade blouse is supposed to be ready on Wednesday!

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  3. The sweater looks really pretty. I haven't been a fan, but I like what I see in your pic. Nice RL scores. I'm impressed :)

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    1. Thanks, Gigi! the pursuit is half the fun.

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  4. Here is possibly a dumb question-- is the RL factory store like the JC one with different stock from the usual line? For years, I went (rarely) to the JC factory store and thought things looked "off", until realizing that everything was indeed different from the retail/catalog. Duh.

    I got a pair of Caravan linen pants 2 years ago ( sale for $30) from JC that I love-- they are not tailored and rather loose fitting. I doubt they will make an appearance this year.

    Impressive that you can envision those silk blouses in another style and achieve a wearable result! "Sighing" over the tailors you must have.

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    1. Hi, Lane - so, the RL factory stores. They differ from one outlet mall to another, but by and large you will find a good assortment of knit cotton polos in various styles, and sportswear across the various brands. A lot of the sportswear is overruns, a lot is recognizable as last season's, and - my favorite - odd assortment of merch from the "fancy" RL stores with original tags. Really cute stuff for little kids, if you happen to be shopping for the right-sized little kid.

      The tailor and I always argue over whether something is even possible. Usually I win.

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  5. Love your clothing scores! The RL paisley shirt would look cute with a mauve or grey skirt as well.

    Hope you will post photos of the food when you hit NO. A visit there is on my bucket list.

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    1. Thanks, Rose! I'm feeling better equipped for NO, a pair of lace-up wedges from London Fly arrived yesterday and are heavenly and have rubber bottoms. Perfect for Jazzfest.

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  6. You should hire yourself out as a shopping companion. Very envious of that blazer.

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    1. Hi, Trish, this is why I sometimes post sad stories about quests hat failed. Think I'm about due for another such.

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  7. It is good thing I am leaving on vacation because I want to run to Bloomingdales now and I have no budget for even a great sale at this point. Great score!
    I love my coffee with heavy cream too, I subscribe to what I think of as French Way: better to have a little bit of something truly delicious than a lot of deprivation food.

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    1. Hi, ajc, I order coffee with heavy cream instead of dessert in restaurants, The same people who are chowing down on rich cakes and mousses are shocked that I would dare to ingest even a tablespoon of cream. Of course I sometimes have to explain to waitstaff that half-and-half is not heavy cream.

      My dad liked his (hot) coffee with a little cream and a blob of vanilla ice cream.

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  8. Yes everything looks better with pink esp the Mondrian I know also what you mean about the shoulder pads, once I start tinkering with a piece, I never stop and then end up donating it anyway. Im at that level with a Trina Turk dress, love the material but something very weird about where the shoulders fall

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  9. I love Trina Turk's prints, but would be intimidated to start fussing with her fabrics because there's almost always a little stretch. I find vintage in good condition is easier to work with, things stay where you pin them.

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