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Desire: The “Extra Credit” Barney’s New York mailer

barneys-ny
Every once in a while, you get these catalogues in the mail that are just absurd fantasy objects. The winter one was exceptionally brilliant because it was more like unisex luxury gift ideas: housewares, jewelry, art objects, high-ass high-end jackets, dishware, etc. My roommate and I playfully picked out our favorites, as if we’d be able to afford giving each other a $775 vase. However laughable the prices are, these little (expensive) print catalogues are little fantasy trips down Luxury Lane, like a dreamy departure from dreary lower middle-class working life. What can be even more fun is purely sizing up these excruciatingly expensive goods on aesthetics alone.

“Who cares about the price tag? That shit’s ugly!” I find myself exclaiming. Well, what I did with the newest mailer, “Extra Credit,” was select my favorites for your consideration, and hopefully you’ll play along at home. You can see what I picked and be all “Gross” or “Preach.” Here were my earmarked favorites for you to consider (or maybe for Barney’s to offer as a miracle spring gift):

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Grommeted loafers?! How about these ones from Saint Laurent? I’m not too keen on “loafers” in general, especially basic black ones that look like shoes Frank Wheeler would wear from Revolutionary Road — footwear that would solicit a firm stamp of approval from Arthur Miller. But these punk things up a little and go for a paltry $795.

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Photographed for the catalogue in a much darker blue, closer to a navy with deep brown braided-leather ties, these at least give you a hint of their appeal. They’re called “nubuck drivers,” and though the idea of “driving shoes” kind of makes me want to hurl, with the temperatures warming up, I can almost feel the simple pleasure of wearing shoes without socks. And it’d be nice if my little piggies were cradled in these $495 beauties from Tod’s.

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Naturally, these images don’t really capture what would, I’m sure, be luxuriously-appointed details. But what I found a couple months ago, eagerly shopping along Walnut Street for a decent briefcase, is that they’re really hard to get right. Simplicity, sometimes, is the most elegant fashion statement. No need for pomp and flash when you have quietly subdued but extraordinary accessories like a Les Essentiels de la Vie briefcase that goes for a mere $1,250 (the Rag & Bone one’s pretty fly, too, and way more “affordable”).

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Fantasizing about weekend trips has begun! To the beach or lake or mountain house, it doesn’t matter — we can almost smell the fresh air. It can sound a little silly, but a weekend bag really does function beautifully: couple pairs of shorts, shoes, some towels and toiletries. Give yourself a little room, and you can even toss in a tablet and some books. Back in the day, when I worked at Club Monaco, I used my discount to buy an expensive black one, a mix of nylon and leather, that I’ve used countless times. It’s a sound investment (of course, I’d probably shoot for one under $300, but that’s not what we’re doing here) if you can pull it off. And this Saint Laurent one is drool-worthy. Those zippers and dangling details would catch my eye on a handsome traveler on the train. Cough up a cool $2,500 for one, and don’t eat or drink for five months!

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Sunglasses season! These Oliver Peoples beauties caught my eye and, online, they come in a much greater variety of price and color. A classy tortoise is the way to go: timeless, handsome, masculine and elegant. The lighter ones seem to be for the mildly braver and bolder gentleman, but the dark numbers will never, ever go out of style. You’re only a crisp $495 away from finely framing your face!

P.S. Though we have a Co-Op in town, you won’t find many of these luxury goods in-house. You’ll have to go to New York, Brooklyn or Boston to touch and feel this magic. It doesn’t hurt to dream, does it?



Dita Von Teese brings “Strip Strip Hooray” to the Tower this week

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Betty Grable. Sahji Pearl. Jane Russell. Lili St. Cyr. These names elicit visions of what glamour used to look like, from a time when lingerie was more than just seductive nighttime attire. While an assortment of gorgeous dolls (and drag queens) do their best to uphold that classic vibe, no one manages to illustrate or embody the beauty of burlesque like Dita Von Teese.

The former Mrs. Marilyn Manson credits her mother for her infatuation with vintage 1940s glam. That fascination with elegant hosiery and intricate undergarments together with childhood ballet training fueled Von Teese’s ascension as the modern queen of burlesque, famous worldwide for her stunning curves and elaborate shows. But the smoldering starlet stresses that glamour is undefinable, declaring that every size and shape can be glamorous, even on a thrift-store budget. (”I was making minimum wage when I first started doing burlesque,” she notes.) The best way to develop that allure, she says, is to find what makes you comfortable, embellish upon your best features and, most importantly, dare to be different.

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Need a lesson or some quickie inspiration, sexy sisters? For the first time ever, Von Teese has taken her 90-minute spectacle, Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray!, on the road; in fact, it’s already here. And fellas, be braced: An increasing number of women have been in attendance on the tour, Von Teese says—“embracing their own level of empowerment.”

The performer isn’t only bringing her show to her common-folk fans, but bringing more of it: Her previous gigs usually featured two acts, whereas Strip Strip Hooray! boasts four elaborate sets by Von Teese herself, plus a number of additional performers. Also, it’s important to note that Von Teese does her own hair and make-up and also designs her own costumes—a huge deal in the entertainment styling world. Garments intricately studded with Swavorski crystals are sure to be among the special on-stage features sure to dazzle attendees. The others, it’s safe to say, have precious little to do with stagewear.

Oct. 9. 7:30pm. The Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St, Upper Darby.



Shoe Shopping Is Frustrating, but DSW Is Having a Sale!

Until recently, I nearly gave up on finding a pair of platform wedges. Every time I go into a shoe store I imagine that shoe designers have forgotten that many people  generally enjoy wearing heels and aren’t wearing them as a quick fix to rise five inches (although that’s a perfectly sound reason to wear them). Basically, I have a tall person bias in this situation and don’t foresee myself wearing a five-six inch heel casually. I could, but I’d much rather find a medium sized heel that isn’t, well, hideous, and finding such has grown to feel very similar to the fact that you could get a burger, fries and soda at McDonalds for under $4, but have to pay nearly $10 for a salad at Cosi. Fortunately, a heel around 4 inches is much more comfortable and wearable with the help of a platform.

I may be picky about shoes, but I don’t think I’m reaching here. So I spent an entire afternoon on the internet browsing around for a pair that meets certain requirements, or rather, avoids what I loathe in a shoe- that awful kitten heel, the bad variation of a cork/straw wedge, etc; along with an offensive price tag.

Then, the beacon of promise that is Google led me to DSW. How could I forget about DSW? It’s not like I don’t se their “Where’d you get your shoes?” commercial any less than five times throughout just one episode of Parks and Rec. Regardless, they are having a sale and there are some great options at very reasonable prices. So, if you feel my particular life-threatening shoe feels in this blog post, I hope this helps you find what you’re own shoe department is missing.

Mia Jukebox Wedge Sandal, $44.94

Mia Jukebox Wedge Sandal, $44.94

N.Y.L.A. Kino Wedge Sandal, $44.94

N.Y.L.A. Kino Wedge Sandal, $44.94

Envy Primrose Sandal, $44.94

Envy Primrose Sandal, $44.94

If any of you PW Style readers out there have a particular go-to place, whether it’s online or in-store, where you always luck out with shoes, please let us know! It’s what my sartorial needs are currently thirsting for the most, and I’m sure I am not the only one.

Also, keep in mind that if you sign up to become a DSW Rewards member, you get free shipping on any purchase over $35! Use the code “SHIPR”.

-Emily O’Neill



The Cody d’Orsay

The search hasn’t been a vigorous one, but I have found my perfect shoe for this summer- maybe even for life, because, and believe me when I say, I am in l-o-v-e.

As seen on The Man Repeller

Say hello to the Cody d’Orsay heel by 3.1 Phillip Lim. The shoe, with it’s minimally designed chunky heel and ankle strap, has such a sleek but fun aesthetic and would match any outfit effortlessly. In addition to the clear, the shoe comes in a splendid bunch of variations like camel, textured black leather, metallic silver and more. Similar to the PS1 decision-making-process-fantasy I often ponder, I don’t know which pair I’d choose. At a starting price of $595, I don’t see why I just don’t buy them all.

Seriously though- if I could, I would, and it would be so worth it.

Cody d'Orsay heels
-Emily O’Neill



Old City’s Eccentric Lost + Found

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Having grown accustomed to shopping at the same places due to convenience and a busy schedule, I felt instantly refreshed and ready to make impulsive yet excellent purchases upon entering Old City’s Lost + Found.

Located on 3rd and Cherry Sts., I entered the shop to find a multi-hued rack of flannel shirts to my left, cases of jewelry in front of me, and a plethora of scarves and bags to my right. In any other store I might’ve found this overwhelming, but part of what made shopping at Lost + Found so enjoyable and relaxing was the clean and well organized interior.

The store sells every piece you’d need for an outfit besides unmentionables. From flowing tops with bold prints to casual pieces in solids or basic stripes, there is something to fit everyone’s style aesthetic. In addition, they carry dresses for both day and night as well as a modest vintage section filled with a variety of playful and classic sweaters, as well as great coats. Most new styles start at $40 while there were two lofty sales racks with great finds.

More »



JustFab.com Is Anything But Fabulous…

In between my Sister Wives reruns, I have seen several commercials for this new website Just Fabulous. The commercial shows a series of girls fawning over shoes, handbags and jewelry that were “hand picked” for them based on their sense of style for only $39.95.  Although Just Fab caters only to women, I had to investigate because I know a good pair of heels when I see them (cough, Louboutins, cough). More importantly, what girl doesn’t want a pair of shoes for a great price?

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I went to the site, and I took the fashion personality quiz. Initially, the site shows you a series of pictures of celebrity outfits and ask which you’d prefer.  Unfortunately, all of the outfits are impractical. The way each of the girls are dressed, I wouldn’t want to raid any of their closets.

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As I progressed through the quiz, the styles became weirder.  Nearly halfway through the quiz, I was presented with these three gems.  When would anyone ever wear any of these shoes?  I was forced to select the lesser of three evils in order to progress to my hand selected shoes.

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After painfully clicking through the best of the worst, the site prompted me to register.  After making an account, I saw the shoes, bags, and jewelry hand selected for me.  I didn’t expect a selection that could compete with Nordstrom, but I was hoping for trendy, fun shoes and bags.  Unfortunately, I got a selection of cheap looking shoes and a line of bags that imitated every major designer, including the Birkin by Hermès.  Granted, the wedge boots and the lace pumps aren’t terrible, but they also aren’t something a personal stylist would have selected.

Overall, I think it’s a really cool idea to tailor a shopping experience to a person’s sense of style, rather than let the customer browse the site for something that catches their eye.  They have the right idea, just not the right selection.



Alternative Running Shoes Help Get You Back in Shape…

Image courtesy of birthdayshoes.com

Image courtesy of birthdayshoes.com

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the few three day weekends every year where calories simply don’t exist.  There’s no such thing as gaining weight, so go for that extra piece of pie or that drumstick bigger than your forearm.  Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  For the other 362 days in the year, we must resort back to working out and snacking on celery.  Like most people, I’ll do what it takes to keep the weight off, but that’s about it.

About a year ago, I saw someone wearing a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, and I was instantly fascinated. Essentially, they simulate running barefoot -something humans have done for thousands of years.  I rushed to my local running store and tried on a pair.  Needless to say, I was instantly hooked.

In the past, I didn’t mind running, but after trying on the FiveFingers, I enjoyed running.  There is a learning curve when attempting to run barefoot, so I started with short runs, around a half mile.  Eventually, I ran faster and further, and ultimately ran the 10 miles Broad Street Run in my toe shoes.

People constantly ask me if I like my Vibrams, and I can’t recommend them enough.  After running barefoot for over a year, I can’t go back to regular running shoes because they feel completely unnatural.  With every step I take in my minimalist running shoes, I can feel every slight change on the ground underneath me.  Regular running shoes feel like a chunk of rubber stuck to my foot.

Vibram sells shoes for many sports in addition to running, and there are lines sized for men, women and children. Next time you ask Santa for a new pair of running shoes to beat your New Years resolution, try on a pair of alternative running shoes.  They may completely change your perspective on exercise.



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