Monday, October 17, 2011

Yes, Paola, I remembered the sugar, or, the $#*! I bought yesterday.

In my report about yesterday's shopping trip to Neiman Marcus, I should really focus on what I didn't buy. Or what I bought that I didn't expect to buy.

I love shopping on line, but a trip to a brick-and-mortar store reminds me that you really have to try things on. Even if you know the designer really well.

Have you ever watched How Do I Look? It's a reality show on the Style network. A woman badly in need of a makeover tries on three sets of clothes picked out by a professional stylist as well as two of her friends. It's cheesey and formulaic, but it can be educational. Watch a few episodes and you'll start believing that you should only try on clothes you hate. The women on the show always seem to fall in love with stuff they despised when they saw it on the hanger.

That's because you can't tell whether a garment will flatter you by looking at a picture. Or by looking at it on a hanger.

Case in point--yesterday I headed straight to the Lafayette 148 section, because I love the line. The clothes are made from gorgeous fabric. They're beautifully made. And best of all, they come in a range of sizes.

I tried on two jackets, and they looked completely different on me.  The one I bought

is slimming. The one I didn't buy (which I liked better, but can't find on line) was cobalt blue. I adored the color. It's fashionable again for the first time since 1986. It's all over the place this fall. But the jacket buttoned so high on the chest that it gave me the dreaded Bolster Bosom. I looked like I was trying to smuggle a dachshund through customs.

I picked out this black pencil skirt, too, in the newly-fashionable just-below-the-knee length. Not exciting, but useful. And slimming. And the fabric feels great. (Let's hope that it doesn't make me look like my mother.)

Then I lost my St. John virginity. I've always summarily dismissed St. John. Not only is it crazy expensive, it's way too Old Lady for the youthful likes of me, yo. But the sales associate dragged me over to the St John sales rack and grabbed this black knit jacket with grommet trim, and it looks fantastic on. The picture doesn't do it justice. Really.

(Obviously it's time to make the down payment on my retirement community condo.)

OK, shoes! Zappos has made on-line shoe shopping so easy ... but sometimes, you really need to see and touch the merchandise.

I tried on two pairs of boots. First I tried on a pair of Chanel ankle boots. I didn't really like them. I only tried them on because they were the last pair in the store, the sales associate was pushy, and what the hell, you know? How often do you get to try on a pair of Chanel boots?

I can't find a picture of them anywhere so I can't show them. They were black with a low, chunky heel and some quilting. All that was to the good. But they had one of those Chanelesque capped toes covered in black velvet. It looked ... well, I don't want to harsh on the Chanel capped toe, but velvet? On a boot? Is stupid.

Then I fell madly in love with these Elie Tahari black suede beauties.

And fell down dead when I checked the price and discovered that for boots at NM, they're actually not that expensive.

There's not a website anywhere that does these boots justice. They are far more luxurious and far less ho-bag than you'd think. The suede is so soft. They're actually comfortable (for a pair of stilts.) The snakeskin trim is subtle, and the other side of the shaft features tiny laser cutouts.

I know. Super high heel, perishable suede--with holes in it! Perfect for winter in Chicago.

If I'd bought these boots, I'd have worn them on maybe half a dozen occasions. When Chicago promised neither to rain nor snow, and the rest of my outfit was worthy.

Impractical? No occasion to wear them? I didn't care. I was going to buy them.

But then I tried them on and discovered that I couldn't get them zipped over my calves. But I'm consoling myself that at least I didn't buy them on line, only to have to ship them back.

Whew! The only thing more tiring than trying on clothes is blogging about the process. But let me, your invisible internet friend, beg you not to desert brick and mortar stores. Let's hear it for brick and mortar! And pushy saleswomen who trap you in a dressing room and bring in stuff you wouldn't ordinarily try on, i.e., every single thing I bought yesterday.


  1. Thank you, Paola, for asking the question that needed to be asked. Now, two more: you bought that black dress without trying it on?! So?!
    #2 What about the makeup?


  2. I hate lusting for boots and then having them not zip. I've given up on boots. But those are really lovely!

  3. You've done well on your shopping trip. I would love to see you in the skirt and jacket. Perhaps you'll be able to have someone snap your picture for us.
    St. John does some very elegant jackets, I think the secret is not to buy the matching skirt and then you'll avoid the mumsy effect.
    I think that jacket would look great with jeans.

  4. Carol: I know--but I couldn't have tried it on without flying to New York. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that it fits, because it will break my heart to have to send it back. I ordered a boatload of stuff on line last weekend, so I think this post is written in reaction. And makeup will be a later post. I bought some yesterday, but I'm also expecting a package. I need to get my lipsticks in a row before posting!

    Hostess: Agree about the jacket working with jeans. With all the grommets, it can go a little punky if you work it right. I'll be wearing the skirt, jacket, and a black silk shell to a very la-dee-dah luncheon tomorrow. I'll see if I can get my lunching partner to take a picture.

  5. I think St. John, done right, can be great. And this looks like done right to me. Enough that I'm tempted...

  6. Good.
    You can multitask.
    Not that I doubted it ...
    Now we can all move forward without hesitation as I understand we have a lot to experience as soon as packages hit the Buxom's stoop.
    And I can't wait.

  7. Great post, Poppy. And I'm glad to see you're back.



Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.