Archive | March, 2011

Triumph or Tacky?

31 Mar

This week’s edition of Triumph or Tacky? is going to be a double-header! It will focus on the ring from the Week 5 challenge and the fedora from the Week 6 challenge.

If you recall, I bought this rose quartz-style ring from Aldo to wear on my trip to Mexico:

Aldo

 

Overall I’m quite happy with this purchase and everyone I showed it to also seemed to like it! Here’s the big question though, how did it hold up to sun, sand, sea water, and sunscreen (say that three times fast!)? Well, given that it’s a plastic ring some degree of wear and tear was to be expected:

Honestly, my original thought was that it would melt in reaction to the sun and sunscreen or it would end up completely scratched/destroyed by the sand. I was pleasantly surprised that with the exception of some scratches it held up really well and even has a more vintage vibe to it now! It has survived well enough to be worn again another day! I’d say this qualifies as a triumph!

 

Now what about the fedora?

Old Navy

 

As much as I love this fedora not everyone felt the same way. Some people I polled thought that it looked too masculine. Also, after having some friends over one night we discovered that it looks awesome on my husband! I wanted to post a picture of him in the fedora but I think that he’s a little shy about being featured in my blog so I don’t have a picture for you unfortunately. Trust me though, it looks really good on him!

Although it is a masculine hat (and again looks better on my husband) I still happily wore it down south:

The Aldo ring shows in this one, it's a little hard to see with my pasty skin though...

 

Over the course of our vacation, and after perusing some local shops (did you really think that I wouldn’t do at least some shopping?), I actually came across the cutest hat! This one is definitely ultra-feminine and has more of an old-school vibe to it:

My husband was sweet enough to purchase it for me and we came up with a compromise: I got the new hat and he got the fedora!

Here’s the hat on me:

Attempting my best 50's catalog model pose

 

Even better, the new hat actually came in at $15 US so even though it isn’t technically part of the SpendThrift Experiment it still follows the rules. I think that this is definitely a triumphant purchase!

What do you think?

Week 7 Challenge

28 Mar

I have finally returned from my vacation (which BTW was amazing, I love Mexico!) and am ready to take on another fashion challenge! I’m really looking forward to it too, I feel like the weeks leading up to my trip were so busy that my blog didn’t get the attention it deserves. I’m now feeling refreshed and am ready to rectify the situation!

So what have I decided on this week? Well, over the course of my vacation I had plenty of time to do some fashion research (aka reading magazines on the plane and beach) and I have decided that I would like to tackle this spring’s floral trend. I think that being in the tropics really got me in the mood for florals and all things bright and tropical! I was really drawn to D&G’s Spring 2011 campaign ads:

I especially like the third dress from the left in this one:

So this week’s challenge will be to find a floral dress! Hopefully the weather here warms up soon so that I can actually wear it sooner then later without having to layer a sweater/jacket and tights with it (I’m still in shock from going from +30 C back to sub-zero termperatures!).

Wish me luck!

Week 6 Results

19 Mar

I fully admit that I neglected my blog this week. I really meant to write at least one other post but I ended up getting completely sick so I chose to focus on getting better for my trip. That meant a lot of time in bed and not much time in front of my computer so I apologize!

Next week I will also be absent from blogging but at least I have a much more festive reason for it, I’m leaving for Mexico in a matter of hours! So what does that mean for the SpendThift Experiment? Well, it’s going on hiatus for a week. The Week 7 challenge will begin on Monday the 29th leaving me with one less shopping day for that challenge. It’s a price I’m willing to pay for laying on a beach for a week 😮

So how did I do for the Week 6 challenge? Well after some serious shopping (thankfully right before I got really sick) I managed to find a great fedora at Old Navy:

Old Navy $14.50

I found it in the menswear section and I really like that it’s a darker brown colour. I wasn’t really a big fan of their women’s fedoras since they were a much lighter straw colour but they were still cute. I know that this hat isn’t nearly as nice or as well constructed as the Banana Republic hat that I fell in love with:

Banana Republic $50

But it’s still a fun hat and will hopefully hold up to the elements. It’s also much more affordable coming in at $16.39 with taxes:

That leaves $3.61 for the SpendThrift Savings Bank!

And how does the fedora look on me?

You’ll have to excuse the creative license that I took with this picture. As I mentioned I’ve been sick so I look like something the cat dragged in (and then proceeded to drag up and down the stairs several times). I promise that I’ll take a much better picture (aka one where I’m not deliberately hiding my face) on my trip and will post it when I get back.

So what do you think?

One last note. There will be no Triump or Tacky? post this week but there will be a double post the week after for both the fedora and the Week 5 challenge ring.

Now I’m off to pack my bags! See you all in a week!

Week 6 Challenge

13 Mar

Wow, I can’t believe that I’ve already been conducting this experiment for 6 weeks! It’s crazy how quickly time flies!

At the moment I am in Mexico mode  since I’m a person who loves to travel and I get very, very excited about upcoming trips. Usually I use a trip as an excuse to go out and buy a new wardrobe but alas, since my pockets are still empty I don’t really have that option this time. That’s not to say that I’ve been an angel about this trip though, I have to admit that I was a little bad and ran over to Old Navy one day to pick up some “basics”:

My Old Navy splurges

 

In my defense I was completely out of flip-flops! I know that doesn’t mean that I had to buy 5 pairs but really they’re sooo cheap! Plus they pack well and I won’t care if I need to leave a pair behind (just keep justifying it to yourself Mel, *insert Raine eye roll here*). I don’t really have any excuse for buying the tank top and skirt… except that I did need a new black tank and the skirt is really comfy…hmm, and now I do need a grey tank to go with the skirt…

I have been thinking about things that I want/need for my trip and how I can incorporate these into this week’s challenge (like the ring from last week). Obviously, buying Old Navy flip-flops or a grey tank top for under $20 doesn’t really constitute a challenge (I could easily do both for under $20). Finding cheap sunglasses really isn’t that difficult either. So, after doing some window shopping yesterday I have decided to focus on finding a new hat!

You see I’ve been wearing the same floppy hat from GAP for years:

 

My much-loved hat and bag from GAP, these must be at least 10 years old!

 

As much as I love this hat (and the matching bag, I really dig the whole safari vibe they have going) I feel like I am now ready to branch out and buy a new chapeau! So that will be this week’s challenge (I promise that this will be the last accessory challenge for a while, I’ll be going back to clothing after my trip!).

When I was out shopping I saw a few floppy hats similar to ones that have popped up in the Marc Jacobs spring 2011 campaign and the Chanel Resort 2011 runway show:

 

Marc Jacobs

 

 

And I saw a really great one at Banana Republic:

 

I do love these hats and they do offer really great sun protection but what really caught my eye were the fedora’s:

 

Lacoste

 

Especially the ones at Banana Republic, I just love how Banana Republic does the whole safari trend:

Banana Republic

 

I want this particular hat from Banana Republic so badly! I even tried it on in the store but it’s out of my price range:

 

Banana Republic $50

They were even having a big sale yesterday and were giving out 50% off coupons but 1) the hat would still be over my budget, and 2) buying something ahead of actually declaring my challenge would of course be cheating!

I am hoping that I can find something similar that is of good enough quality to stand up to the rigours of my trip and still be intact enough to wear this spring and summer.

So the challenge is on! Wish me luck!

Week 5 Results

13 Mar

I have done my shopping for the week and now it’s time to show you what I bought! If you recall, this week’s challenge was inspired by rose quartz rings that I found online. I was particularly interested in finding one with yellow gold. So here’s what I found:

 

I got this ring at Aldo and it came in at a very affordable $9.04! That leaves $10.96 for the SpendThrift Savings Bank!

 

 

In terms of rose quartz rings I didn’t find that much out there. There was one at the Bay that was way out of my price range ($120) and another at Ardene that was very affordable ($4.50) but definitely looked cheap. I would recommend looking online if you want something similar that is more high-end or  is made of actual metal and stone (the one I bought is pretty much all plastic). All in all though I’m happy with the ring that I found and I hope that it stands up to the sun and surf of Mexico 😮 I’ll let you know. I think that I’ll wait to do my “Triumph or Tacky?” post after I get back from my trip.

All things considered even though I didn’t find many rose quartz rings I did notice a lot of pretty yellow gold costume jewelery out there in rose tones especially at Aldo:

 

Aldo

 

 

And these aren’t even the best pieces that I saw! Unfortunately, they don’t sell all of their products on their website but if you like the look of yellow gold with natural stones in soft pastel tones they have some really beautiful products right now.

So now it’s time for your opinion! How do you think I did in this week’s challenge?

 

 

 

Flattery or forgery?

11 Mar

I read an interesting article from CTV news the other day:

“Burberry, Louis Vuitton sue companies over knock-offs”

Three Canadian companies have been caught selling knock-off Louis Vuitton and Burberry bags and are being sued by the fashion houses for up to $3 million in damages for trademark and copyright infringement. According to the lawyer representing both Louis Vuitton and Burberry this could be the largest anti-counterfeiting judgment in Canadian history.

A shop assistant displays a fake Louis Vuitton bag at a store in Beijing Wednesday April 19, 2006. (AP / Greg Baker)

A shop assistant displays a fake Louis Vuitton bag at a store in Beijing Wednesday April 19, 2006. (AP / Greg Baker) CTV News website.

 

Reading this article and speaking to friends has really gotten me thinking about knockoffs in the context of this experiment. I myself have never bought a fake bag but I almost unknowingly bought a pair of fake Louboutins once on eBay (I know, I know, I should have known better. $200 for “new” Louboutins should have struck me as sketchy from the get-go, I did cancel the transaction once I figured it out though!). I have friends who have bought fake Prada wallets, Burberry bags etc. One of my friends even had a coworker who would go to New York periodically to buy knockoff bags and would then set up shop in their office selling them to other employees!

So how do I feel about knockoffs? Well, it’s a tricky and complicated subject. I personally do not agree with purchasing blatantly fake products. Not only are you not compensating those who made the originals, but knockoffs can be of very low quality and can even come with health risks. The CTV article mentioned how knockoffs are unregulated and  that especially those coming from countries like China don’t follow the same consumer product safety standards as legitimate goods. For example, fake perfumes have been found to contain high urine (seriously? yuck!!!) and alcohol levels  and some clothing items have been found to contain toxic dyes and flammable materials. Just reading about some of this stuff has definitely made me rethink ordering that bag from China for the Week 4 challenge!

The other side of the issue deals with the accessibility of fashion to the masses. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a $1000 bag or pair of shoes and can you really categorize something as “luxury” if everyone can afford it? Part of the whimsy of fashion, especially high fashion, is related to the exclusivity of products. Does this mean that the ordinary Jane or Joe is not allowed to follow trends or that they just have to “save their pennies” until they can buy the real thing?

Of course everyone should be able to follow whatever trends they want but I think that it has to be done in a way that is respectful to those who come up with designs in the first place. Accomplishing this can be tricky though. Every season stores come out with their own versions of the popular trends. You may not be able to purchase a designer dress made of the finest silk or a hand crafted bag but you can usually find a similar product inspired by the original.

When does a product cross the line from being inspired by a trend to being a complete forgery though? Some products out there like those mentioned in the CTV article are of course obvious fakes but what about products sold by stores or websites like ASOS that capitalize on recreating the most popular designer styles out there? ASOS has received some flak for its very-faithful-to-the-original recreations but they are constructing the items themselves from higher quality materials at least. I think that sometimes it’s a tough call.

In terms of the SpendThrift Experiment I would like to make it clear that I am not out to find fakes or knockoffs. I’m looking for pieces inspired by the trends that I like. I like to think of it this way: when I was in Amsterdam I went to the Van Gogh Museum. I love Van Gogh paintings and I bought a beautiful bag (sold by the museum shop) with a print of Almond Blossom San Remy 1890:

 

Obviously this isn’t the same as buying a real or knockoff Van Gogh painting. It’s more a way of enjoying something that I could never possibly afford in a respectful way. That’s what I hope to accomplish with this experiment.

I’d love to hear your opinions though. How do you feel about fakes and knockoffs?

Triumph or Tacky?

8 Mar

Sadly, this week’s post isn’t a real “Triumph or Tacky” post since I didn’t end up finding a bag for the PS 1 extra large leather travel bag challenge and therefore, couldn’t show it off. I did consider printing out a picture of the bag and just carrying it around with me (seriously, I think the bag is that fabulous!) but that would have looked a little crazy now wouldn’t it? I would have looked especially crazy soliciting opinions on the picture or pretending that I really was carrying the bag  (please sir, you can’t sit there, my bag is occupying that seat) and I think that I’m a little old to have an imaginary “friend” (plus my imaginary Louboutins might get jealous…).

 

 

Doesn't quite work does it?

 

 

I have to say, I’m pretty bummed out about not being able to accomplish my goal but of course I have to face the fact that I won’t always be able to find a similar item to every article that I covet and I can only work so many miracles with $20. I think that the real issue is that I am choosing current/future trends but am stuck shopping in the past (aka sales racks). Oh well, that’s the reality of things!

That being said in the Week 4 Results post I asked you to vote on whether I should order a bag from China to meet this challenge using my now more robust budget of $40:

 

Ebay $31.47 CAD

 

 

or if I should stick with the rules and revisit this challenge at a later date. Well, after a grand total of 2 votes (one being my own to make sure that the poll was actually working…hmm, I think that my readership may be decreasing, I may need to work on the entertainment value of my writing) I have decided to listen to my dedicated reader and revisit this challenge faithfully following the rules at a later date.

I haven’t decided when I will try again but it should be some time in the next few weeks. In the meantime I think that I need a bit of time to lick my wounds and rebuild my confidence!

 

Week 5 Challenge

6 Mar

After last week’s disastrous challenge I am ready to move on (for the time being at least until I revisit the PS 1 bag challenge, sigh). I have to admit I’m feeling a tad beaten down after the last two challenges so I am going to be a bit kinder to myself this week. This week I am going to focus on finding a ring.

Why a ring you ask? Well I have a little secret to back up my reasoning for choosing such an item (of course if you know me this is the worst kept secret ever, lol): I am going to Mexico! Yay! I don’t want to wear my engagement or wedding rings and risk losing them in the ocean or pool so I figure that this is a perfect opportunity to find a fun little piece of costume jewellery.

Wait a minute (I can hear your thoughts right now), how can a girl who professes to be so broke possibly afford a trip to Mexico? Has she been lying to us this whole time? Did she finally get a job? Win the lottery?

Well, I cannot under normal circumstances afford a trip to Mexico, no I haven’t been lying about my meagre funding, unfortunately I haven’t gotten a job yet, and no, I didn’t win the lottery…BUT I did win this trip!!!! I entered a contest that a travel agency was holding through Facebook and I won! Don’t worry, it’s completely legit, I did all of my homework of course 😮 We leave in 2 weeks and I’m so excited!

Now, enough with the gloating (sorry!) and back to the challenge! Since I am in a much sunnier mood these days I finally feel prepared to welcome spring. I have been dreaming of everything tropical and jewellery with tropical-inspired stones has been catching my eye. The stores are also now stocked with spring clothing and I have felt myself drawn to khaki greens, bright oranges, blues, and soft pinks. For some reason I really seem to have an eye for the soft pinks these days so I have decided that I would like a rose quartz ring.

I haven’t decided the exact style yet. Here are some inspirational pictures though:

 

Moonlight Mining $48

 

Georg Jensen €160

David Yurman $1700

Normally I’m drawn to silver/white gold settings but I actually feel like I’m in the mood for yellow gold . I think that the contrast of pink against gold is really beautiful. Quick disclaimer: I fully realize that I will not be getting real gold for under $20, the best I can hope for is a ring that won’t turn my finger green!

Joolwe $329.99

Marie-Hélène de Taillac $2050

I know that these rings aren’t pink quartz but I really like the style of them:

Ariella Collection $72

I’m not sure how yellow gold will compliment my skin (it will probably look much better with a tan). I’m also not sure about the actual size/weight of the rings. I have skinny fingers so really chunky rings just look ridiculous on me. We’ll see what I find though!

Week 4 “Results”

5 Mar

I have to start off by apologizing for my lack of additional posts this week (just a heads up, there is more apologizing to come…). It was a very long and busy week and I have been completely exhausted. I’m still feeling wiped out so you are forewarned in case this entry comes off as nonsensical at times (or I continue to use hoity-toity language).

If you recall, this week’s challenge was to find an accurate representation of the highly coveted (at least by me) Proenza Schouler PS1 extra large leather travel bag (in Saddle). In case you have forgotten what this beauty looks like here is a picture to remind you:

 

So how did I do? Well first of all I am disappointed to tell you that I have not received my actual PS1 bag from Proenza Schouler yet. Obviously, it MUST still be in transit somewhere but I will be sure to take lots of pictures when it arrives, lol.

And back to reality now…and what a harsh reality it is! I come to you today with my tail tucked neatly between my legs. I didn’t want to have to admit this so early on in the experiment but, sigh, I have failed. Believe me it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I looked everywhere but sadly I was unable to find a similar bag for $20 or under. To make matters worse I wasn’t even able to find a bag for $40 or under in stores (one exception was a brown bag at Ardene but it was very cheap looking, small, and the zipper was broken; I want to stick to my budget but I also don’t want to buy something crappy that I don’t like or will never use).

So where does that leave me? Well if you recall the rules I am allowed to carry over my $20 to another week to try to find the same item for $40. Considering my lack of success in stores I think that I may only be left with one option, online shopping. This could also be a challenge within itself.

After trolling around online I found that ASOS used to have a similar bag that retailed for $125.51 US but it’s out of stock and way over my budget:

 

ASOS Leather Twist Lock Vintage Style Satchel

Likewise, Topshop also had a look-alike bag, although slightly less faithful to the original PS 1 bag, that retailed for $100 US and is also out of stock:

Topshop

I have found a bag that I think could work on Ebay, that falls within my budget (including shipping):

eBay $31.47 CAD

BUT there is a slight problem (ok a few actually besides the fact that it’s advertised as being made of PU leather which I hope means polyurethane and not smelly leather…).

First, the seller is in China which means that the shipping time will most likely be long (they estimate 10-25 days). Can I order the bag and wait several weeks to receive it (even though this would be cheating according to the rules)?

Second, do I have to continue this challenge in the coming week or can I give myself a new challenge this week and revisit this one sometime in the near future? I’ll be away for a week at the end of the month (more on that in tomorrow’s post) so that would be a good week to order the bag from Ebay since I hopefully won’t be blogging that week (sorry! vacation time=disconnecting from the world).

Third, if I do order the bag now and it comes the week that I’m away I take the risk of the post office sending it back since I may not make it within their required pick up time. I definitely don’t want to take that chance!

Finally, do I take my $40 and continue hitting the malls in hopes that having a bit more money will allow me to look in places that I may have missed the first time around in this challenge?

Since I have no “How did I do?” poll this week (frankly, I have an EFF on my hands here, ugh!) I need you to help me decide my fate. I’ll give you until Tuesday to vote for what option you like best and in the meantime I’ll start a new challenge tomorrow. I’ll tally the scores on Tuesday night and let you know!

Triumph or Tacky?

1 Mar

Once again it’s time for the weekly edition of Triumph or Tacky?! Before I get into the details of the overall assessment of the Week 3 challenge outfit I have a little confession to make. I worked from home today so I didn’t end up wearing the dress out in the big wide world. I don’t know if this qualifies as cheating on the experiment but in my defence several of my friends have seen me in the dress and my husband took the pictures for the results post (and I think that his opinion should be given at least equal or greater weight than everyone else since he has to put up with me and my fashion escapades :op). I’m attending a big meeting on Friday where I’m giving a presentation so I’ll wear the dress then and update this post if I get any big reactions to it.

On to the actual feedback regarding the challenge! Since the Week 2 challenge was pretty triumphant I was feeling very confident, perhaps a bit too confident. Although I love the dress that I found at Suzy Shier it really wasn’t the best representation of the Gucci inspiration dress. My purchase is a little too heavy on the bandeau style (ok, let’s be honest here, it’s a complete Herve Leger inspired knock-off as Lauren rightly pointed out in the comments section) as opposed to embodying the 90’s minimalist trend:

Maria Sharapova in Herve Leger Photo: Peter Kramer/AP

 

It seems that many other people also agree with this observation since the votes are mostly split between “you did great” and “not quite close enough” and one person chose the unfortunate “better luck next week” option.

I wouldn’t qualify this challenge as “Tacky” but it is nowhere near “Triumphant”. I think that it falls somewhere in the middle…does “Triumacky” qualify as a word? Hmm…probably not. Something tells me that this word is not going to catch on either, lol. Oh well, you win some, you lose some! In the end I’m still happy with the dress that I bought, I think that it’s pretty versatile, and I definitely think that it’s a great steal at under $20!