Bulletin Board

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This series of posts focuses on the non-thrift-related things/topics on my mind this week. Sometimes a visual representation is literally pinned on the bulletin board on my desk. The items on the list below are sometimes random and occasionally a borderline obsession.

Here’s what’s on my bulletin board this time…

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1. Selfie

I told myself there’s no way I would ever watch a show called “selfie”, but I’m a Karen Gillan fan (loved her on Doctor Who) so I eventually caved and watched the pilot. It’s actually very funny, and obviously the leads are not bad to look at either. Some of the ridiculous dialogue that came out of Eliza’s mouth–as well as Henry’s rant about Instagram–had me laughing out loud.

2. Neal Shusterman’s Skinjacker Trilogy

I’m currently reading the third book in this series. I’m a huge fan of this author and he’s one of those writers where I’ll read everything he or she has written. If you’re into young adult/dystopian fiction, these are the books for you!

3. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Everything

I have a severe obsession with TJ’s pumpkin products right now. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I almost cried today when I went and they were out of This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar. I overcame my grief by getting pumpkin ice cream instead.

4. Bo Burnham

Bo Burnham is a musical comedian/prodigy. I’ve been listening to him nonstop. I particularly love “New Math”, “Sad”, “Ironic” and “Love Is…”. If you haven’t already, go check him out ASAP.

5. It’s Only A Play

I saw this on Sunday and had the best time – it’s too hilarious and CHECK OUT THAT CAST. The best was that afterwards I got selfies with Rupert Grint (check out his crazy makeup for the show!) and Matthew Broderick. Definitely a must-see.

 

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A year ago today…I wore stripes and blush!

Outlet “Tells”

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There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to knowing which brands are worth it while thrifting. While we know to look out for the way thrift and consignmnet stores price lower-end collections by designers such as Lauren Ralph Lauren and Michael Michael Kors, it can be tricky when it comes to outlet items. By this, I mean apparel and accessories made specifically for outlet stores, which happens almost always.

 

Sometimes even the savviest thrifter can have the wool pulled over his or her eyes, so I’ve compiled a short list here of four popular stores’ outlet “tells”, or the part of the product that gives away whether it’s an outlet piece or not. That way, when you see a cute top in a thrift store, you’ll know whether they’re trying to charge J. Crew prices for a J. Crew Factory top. This happens more often than you think!

1. Kate Spade

In the photo below, the tag on the left is from regular KS; the one on the right is from the outlet. Of course, in thrift stores or on eBay the tag won’t always still be attached (which is always the biggest giveaway since it says “our price”), but the lettering is green rather than gold.

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For non-clothing, an inverted spade symbol typically adorns bags, wallets and other accessories. The most obvious example that I could find is of the Kate Spade Bond Street Florence bag. The bag on the right is the outlet version:

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As you can see, the spade is “reversed” from the usual KS logo, below:

This is especially helpful when searching for KS bags on eBay, Poshmark and other online sites. That way you’ll know if you’re getting a fair price!

2. J. Crew

J. Crew is definitely one of the forerunners of the whole made-for-factory movement, what with even having a website just for outlet items. Factory tags have two diamonds under the name:

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In case you end up at a J. Crew distribution center or and outlet that carries a mix of J. Crew and Factory, past season items do end up on the shelves for great prices. These are usually denoted by a strike through the label to prevent returns to a normal store:

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3. Banana Republic

I actually had no idea until a little while ago that BR outlet items had a tell, but I’m glad I know now, because it’s definitely a brand that resale stores just assume is all the same (as I did).

For Factory store products, the tags have three small diamonds under the name “Banana Republic”:

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4. Brooks Brothers

Outlet-only sweaters from BB end up in thrift stores all the time. Merchandise from the Brooks Brothers outlet line is labeled as “Brooks Brothers 346:”

If your wardrobe is full of thrifted items, go and take a look at your clothing. You may be as surprised as I was to find that I had so many outlet items without even knowing it!

Finally, here’s another great article on outlet malls.

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A year ago today…Ash reviewed the controversial Rick Owens fashion show!

This Week in Cosmetics: Nail Polish

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Colder weather getting you down? Time to change up your nails! Nail polish can add that extra something to any outfit, keeping things sassy and/or classy…

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1. Michael Kors Sporty Nail Lacquer in Spotlight

This may not seem like a particularly autumnal color, but trust me, it matches anything and everything all year ’round. I own this one and can say that two coats is all it takes for opacity. Plus, the bottle is SO SHINY.

2. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Polish in Crystal Clear

I’ve tried tons of topcoats, from $5-$20 a bottle. This is under $2 and I must say it’s my favorite out of any that I’ve tried. Good ol’ Sally Hansen.

3. Butter London Come To Bed Red Nail Lacquer

I don’t have this particular shade, but I do have other Butter London colors and am definitely in love. This candy apple red is perfect for fall…now I really want a candied apple, sigh.

4. SEPHORA by OPI Nail Colour in Thyme For a Mani

This is my go-to shade for this season. I love pastels, but when fall rolls around, I dress in darker shades and like to tone it down a little. This shade is sold out, but there are a few available at this eBay link. The formula is great and I get a solid gray color with about three coats.

5. Chanel LE VERNIS NAIL COLOUR in 631 Orage

Ahoy! Chanel always nails navy (I will own one of their navy boucle jackets one day–I WILL) and this polish is no exception. Navy is another versatile color that will match any jewelry you decide to adorn your hands with.

If you’re balking at the expense of nail polish–everyone knows that bottles dry out and you never get as much use as you’d planned–don’t worry! There are several thrifty ways to buy nail polish. For discontinued, wide-release shades, I like eBay. Polishes tend to be the same price or less than retail. For classic shades of OPI, usually reds and pinks, I check out hair salons at the mall. They often have $3 and $4 racks of brand-new OPIs that are either past season or overstock. (As you probably know, most polish companies basically release the same shades under different, clever names each year.) Similarly, I always check out TJ Maxx–they carry tons of Butter and Julep products–and even Nordstorm Rack.

Happy polishing!

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A year ago today…I picked my favorite products for “eyes, lips and fingertips!”

Brand Spotlight: French Connection

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French Connection is a brand that I’ve liked for many years now. Back in high school I started seeing it in thrift and consignment stores a lot, and I’ve always enjoyed the feel and fit of their tops and dresses (Crisp sheaths! Fit and flare!). Based in London and fairly new at 42 years old, the brand runs true to size and certainly toes the line between fast fashion and stylish, durable product:

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Either way, there’s no mistaking that cheeky “fcuk” sign. My mom actually gasped the first time she saw it on Newbury Street in Boston when we were shopping together one day. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite campaigns by them:

This whole series of ads was very cool. I like catchy sayings and interesting facial expressions in advertising; it’s a nice change from the usual.

This one is so soft and rosy and springlike. I love the color palette here–it’s definitely romantic.

Not much to say here, except you go, girl! And cute shoes.

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Finally, the current front page of the website.

Some wishlist items:

A couple of thrifted finds:

I won’t lie–French Connection is one of those brands that isn’t always on my radar, but every once in a while I think of them, and fondly. Whether I’m happening upon one of their cute bicycle-print tees at TJ Maxx or passing a well-cut dress in a department store window, I always feel like they’ve hit on something both timeless and current.

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A year ago today…Ash gave us tips for when we’re feeling uninspired where fashion is concerned!

Haul: Salvation Army Labor Day Sale

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Admittedly, this post is a little late, seeing as Labor Day was weeks ago. But Salvation Armani, as I like to call it, has sales all the time, and their holiday ones are the best–I couldn’t resist sharing my particularly good haul this time.  I hit up the SA in Chelsea 208 8th Ave and scored big time; the entire store was 50% off.

Banana Republic x Mad Men Collection Pumps in black suede, $3

French Connection Wizard Cotton Dress in teal, $3.50

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Zara Lined Pencil Skirt with Panels, $3

Parker Sheer Block Dress in black and white, $5

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J. Crew Silk Blythe Blouse in navy, $2.50

Urban Outfitters Cooperative Box Pleat Skater Skirt in black, $3

I definitely hit the motherlode. The store was small enough that I was able to go through every single rack in just about two hours. There was no fitting room, but I employed my favorite nifty try-on techniques like a boss. Success! I can’t wait to go back.

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What I Wore: Internship Style

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This is only my second week interning, but I thought I’d share a few of the outfits I’ve been wearing. I hope you find some of these tips useful, and I’d love to hear about your own interning fashion experiences! Mirror selfies are not ideal, of course. Anyway, here they are!

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I work in a big, fancy office, but I’m lucky that the dress code is relatively flexible. Here, I’m wearing a thrifted striped Ralph by Ralph Lauren shirt. This may be my favorite shirt that I own, since it’s so versatile with its navy stripes and ivory background. It pairs nicely with these lapis J. Crew Cafe Capri pants (last seen here), which I scored on sale for around $15. As for jewelry, an intern must always be on time, and this Kate Spade watch matches everything I own (from Poshmark). The striped Kate Spade bangle, spiky Stella & Dot bracelet and metallic-y Kate Spade flats are all eBay finds.

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Obviously I got down to business with this outfit. Like I said, I’m afforded decent outfit freedom in my office, but I felt very classy this day in a comfortable pencil skirt (Zara, $5 from Salvation Army) and loose Vince top ($9 on eBay). My tip for the ideal draping look is to suck in and tuck your top into your bottoms until the fabric is taut, then relax your body and tease a little fabric out on every side. Calf hair Cole Haan x Maria Sharapova flats ($22 at Buffalo Exchange) kept things interesting. The glasses are Kate Spade and were a birthday gift, and the vintage Fendi bag was my grandmother’s.

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This outfit is the most casual of the three, but looks fairly polished in person. I’m wearing head-to-toe J. Crew here, and really, can you ever go wrong with that? The top was around $20 on eBay and has served me well through several seasons since the fabric is slightly weightier than many of their regular boatneck tops. The black Minnie pants in stretch twill were one of my buys from the Distribution Center ($20). The black suede Cece flats are from eBay, and I have Dr. Scholl’s inserts in them to stay extra comfortable.

Three rules I’ve been living by:

1. With all the walking I’ve been doing, flats are a must. My mood may change in the coming weeks, in which case I’ll carry heels with me and change when I get to the office, but for now I’m feeling pretty cheery towards my extensive collection of no-heeled shoes.

2. When it comes to a carry-all bag, go big or go home. It’s not pictured here, but I have a simple black nylon tote that I use to haul around my gym stuff, lunch, water bottle and other assorted nonsense. I’m not concerned about the style too much because it’s lightweight and the only people who see it are myself and others on the subway or whatever, since I throw it under the desk the second I get to work. I usually carry that along with a pretty crossbody to hold my wallet and wear on lunch break.

3. Ironing is important. I now wear a few more wrinkle-prone pieces than I did to classes in college, and I make it a point to pick out my outfit and iron it, if needed, the night before. Even t-shirts or simple tops can get wrinkly, and it’s unprofessional. Ironing takes five minutes and provides instant and satisfying results.

Enjoy!

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