Archive | April, 2011

Week 11 Results

30 Apr

This week’s challenge was to find one of those staples that everyone should have in their wardrobe, a pair of black dress pants. If you recall I was inspired by some Theory pants that I saw online:

Theory Max C


So how did I do? Well, I managed to find not one but two pairs of black dress pants! They aren’t quite as high-end as the pants from Theory but they were a steal at $10 each at the Jacob outlet store! Now I know that I broke the SpendThrift Experiment  rules since with taxes my purchases came to a grand total of $22.60 but I’m willing to take a $2.60 hit for the benefit of having two pairs of dress pants (I will adjust the Savings Bank accordingly). I’m also happy because they are both slightly different in terms of style and fit.

Here is the first pair:

Jacob $10

And here is the second pair:
Jacob $10

 Please pardon the wrinkles on the pants.
Now you will notice that the pictures above are just of the pants and not of me wearing the pants. That’s because in my moments of savouring my victory after I purchased them I decided to take them to the tailor to be hemmed (one pair for heels, the other for flats) and was completely oblivious to the fact that I needed to take pictures of me in them first (which you think I would have realized since I remembered enough to take pictures of the pants themselves).
In my defense I have been ridiculously busy and I haven’t quite been thinking straight. This past week I was painting my kitchen cabinets (let me reiterate here what a nightmare that has been), was trying to get some school work done, had something VERY exciting happen (I will elaborate more on that in my post tomorrow), had an amazingly fun royal wedding sleepover with one of my best friends (sitting in front of the TV wearing your pajamas and a tiara while drinking champagne at 6am on a Friday morning is fantastic!), oh and had my laptop completely messed up by some crazy computer virus!!! This last one has been a huge source of stress since ALL of my files are on my laptop (and of course I haven’t backed up anything in weeks…PhD candidate does not automatically = smart) so I’m feeling a little disoriented trying to work on my blog on another computer. Oh well, ces’t la vie and unfortunately these things happen (fingers crossed that my tech savy husband gets my laptop up and running again soon though)!
What I will do is post pictures of me in the pants on Tuesday in a Triumph or Tacky post and will put my usual “How did I do?” poll there. That way I can see if everyone agrees with my opinion of how I did on this week’s challenge!
Big news tomorrow so stay tuned 🙂

Triumph or Tacky?

27 Apr

It’s time again for my (supposedly) weekly edition of Triumph or Tacky?! I know that I still haven’t gotten around to writing Triumph or Tacky posts for the Week 8 white dress shirt challenge or the Week 9 ballet flat challenge but I promise that I will get to them soon! Although I have worn my ballet flats once I still haven’t gotten a chance to wear the white dress shirt yet so I will report back once I’ve worn the shirt and after I’ve worn the flats a few more times (so that I can adequately comment on their comfort).

So how did the Week 10 PS 1 Extra Large leather travel bag challenge work out? Well, if you can look past the fact that the Mossimo bag that I got is considered a knock-off I think that the challenge was a success! So far all of the votes are that I did great and when I brought the bag to a party I also got some good reactions!

Bag Mossimo, "dress" Sirens, jeans American Eagle, boots Aldo

Now you may notice in the photos that I am wearing the “dress” that I was supposed to return to Sirens after the Week 7 challenge. Unfortunately, I completely forgot and by the time I remembered it was too late to return it. Just to keep things honest I have removed $18.08 from the SpendThrift Savings Bank to compensate for this.

My attempt at a "fashiony" pose

Also, I’m not sure that I’m wild about the fact that I paired my riding boots with this outfit but in my defense we were going to a party at a friend’s place out in the country where we would be spending a lot of time outside so they seemed appropriate at the time. I think that this outfit would be much cuter with a funky pair of wedges.

Now back to the Mossimo bag. I actually found it quite interesting that no one I showed it to seemed to be particularly bothered by the fact that it is considered a knock-off. I suppose though that unless you’re really interested in fashion (or trademark infringement) you really wouldn’t notice or care. Also, I know many people who think that designer items are ridiculously overpriced to begin with so they would probably think that the knock-off version is a real “steal” (pardon the pun).

Most things considered I think that this challenge was a success (again, if you overlook the knock-off factor) and I am happy to report that the horrendous chemical smell that the bag is emitting is slowly dissipating over time! I’ll let you know how the bag has held up to wear and tear at a later date and if the smell has completely gone away (I’m really hoping it will!).

On a final note I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful and insightful comments on my vanity sizing post! I plan on replying to everyone as soon as I can, unfortunately it’s been a crazy week (tip: never paint your own kitchen cabinets, it is the most tedious, infuriating DIY project ever!!!) so I’ve been neglecting my blog a little bit. I really love the discussions in response to the post so thank you again for your comments and to IFB for featuring the post!

Week 11 Challenge

24 Apr

This week I have decided to continue on my quest for wardrobe staples and will focus on trying to find a pair of black dress pants. Now this was a tough decision for me to come to, not because I don’t need black dress pants (I really do, I honestly don’t own a pair of black pants that aren’t made of denim or corduroy), but because I absolutely HATE shopping for pants!

Theory Denison Teach $255

Shopping for pants has to be one of the most frustrating experiences for me (as I know it is for many other women). Finding the right fit is sometimes next to impossible since I often have a hard time finding something in my size and if I do find a pair that I like the waist is usually too big and the legs are too tight!

On top of that being on a tight $20 budget means that there isn’t much money lying around for tailoring and to be honest I hate even having to hem pants let alone get the waist taken in (plus I always have that debate as to whether I hem pants for heels or flats…unfortunately I can’t afford two of the same pair of pants right now).

I’m going to try to find the best quality pants possible on my meager budget which means that it will be a long week of traipsing for trousers in many, many, sales bins (and probably the racks of a few thrift stores). I’m really digging some of Theory’s dress pants right now so I’m going to use them as inspiration.

Theory Max C Tailor Original $245

Wish me luck 😮

Week 10 Results

23 Apr

Once again it’s time for my weekly challenge results post! If you’ve been following this week’s PS 1 bag challenge you may have sensed a bit of a lead up to this moment since I did tell you that I had something up my sleeve. You may have also been a little suspicious after my post on Wednesday.

So did I do it? Oh yeah, I did it! I managed to get my hands on one of the controversial and much talked about Mossimo bags from Target!

First, here’s a reminder of what the beautiful PS 1 Extra Large leather travel bag looks like:

PS 1 Extra Large leather travel bag

And now here is the Mossimo messenger bag:

Mossimo messenger bag

Now in my defense I don’t go out specifically looking to buy complete knock-offs but I was very curious about this bag since it has gotten so much attention. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the option of visiting a Target store to see it in person (at least that will change beginning in 2013 when Target starts opening stores in Canada!) but fortunately my parents were in Florida and managed to track a bag down for me (thanks Mom and Dad!). Better yet my parents gave it to me as an Easter gift so it ended up costing me nothing and leaves me with $40 to put in the SpendThrift Savings Bank!

Now since this bag is so controversial I know that some people will disagree with the fact that I have one. But I really wanted to get my hands on one so that I could evaluate it and see if it lives up to all of the hype surrounding it. So here’s my critique of it:

First of all I’m actually surprised that my parents were able to find one. You would think that with all of the attention that this bag got and the fact that Proenza Schouler expressed their disappointment in Target selling this bag that Target would have taken it off the shelves. Well obviously Target didn’t really listen to them or care because almost a month after all of the brouhaha the bag is still available for purchase. On top of that it was on sale!

Regularly it costs $34.99 but my parents got it on sale for $27.99. Maybe Target is trying to move the merchandise out of their stores by discounting it? Really though, you’d think that they would have just taken the bags off the shelves. I guess that revenues won out over business relations for this one.

In terms of the look of the bag itself I would say that it’s a cute bag and it does look remarkably similar to the PS1 bag (well the picture of the bag at least, I have also never seen a PS1 bag in person). I like the colour of the bag that I got (cognac) and with the exception of a few scratches the faux leather looks pretty good.

The smell of the bag on the other hand is horrendous! According to the tag inside the bag it is made of “non-leather material” and whatever this material is it stinks! I sincerely hope that the smell fades over time because it’s strong enough to give me a headache.

Functionality-wise the bag does have a lot of pockets: one in the front, a zippered one in the back, a zippered one inside, and lots of slots inside for cards and a cellphone.

One issue that I have is with the accessibility of the pockets. The two straps on the front of the bag need to be pulled out to open the bag and then you need to slide them through the loops again after closing the bag. It’s not a huge deal but it is a little annoying and in the Mossimo bag’s defense you would have to do the same with the actual PS1 bag. Also, the liner of the bag is pretty flimsy (but what do you expect for a discount bag) so we’ll see how it lives up to the wear and tear of use.

All in all I think that the bag is cute. If I didn’t know that it was an alleged knock-off and it didn’t smell like a chemical plant I would probably recommend buying it but because of these issues I would strongly encourage others to leave it at the store!

Now it’s your turn, what do you think of this week’s challenge?

Links á la Mode

21 Apr

I was so excited to find out today that my blog post on vanity sizing has been featured in the Independent Fashion Bloggers’ weekly roundup! Please check it out below along with many other great posts from some other wonderful fashion blogs!

Links á la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup

Things Are Gonna Change… I Can Feel It!

Edited by Jessie Thorpe of Denimology

On Monday morning, my life will change. I am having my muffin top and all of my shiny silver stretch marks removed from my fleshy, live-giving form. I’m having plastic surgery, a tummy tuck to be exact, and yes I’m talking right out loud about it. This decision has had my head in a tizzy fashion wise, sending me searching for some fashion guidance to compliment my new figure. I’ve really been inspired by nostalgic what-comes-around-goes-around fashion trends, feel good fashion and a variety of “Top (insert number here)” lists.  90′s trends seem to be popular in the fashion blogosphere; you kids are talking about sheer clothes, color blocking and threads ripped to shreds. I’m really appreciating the inspirational instruction given by all you clever e-journalists. We’ve been instructed on how and what to wear for the season, how to pamper little ol’ you and feel good about it too!

Links à la Mode: April 21st


New at ShopbopMcQ, Dsquared2, Three Dots, Monrow, DVF, 7′s, RLX, DKNY, Havaianas, Missoni, MAXAZRIA, IRO, & VPL

PS1 Plagiarism?

20 Apr

Although I’m more than a little late discussing this, there has been quite a bit of attention paid to the Proenza Schouler PS1 bag in the fashion blogosphere lately. I figure that it’s still worth writing about though since it is so relevant to my current PS1 bag challenge!

PS 1 Extra Large leather travel bag

Back when I was in Mexico a few weeks ago I noticed an article on the Huffington Post  discussing the PS1 bag and a very similar looking bag being sold at Target (gotta love resorts with free Wi-Fi, a girl still has to keep up with her fashion and gossip, even on vacation!). Apparently, several people had discovered a messenger bag by Mossimo (a brand sold at Target that also used to be sold at Zellers here in Canada) that they swore was a dead ringer (albeit a much less expensive, less luxurious ringer) for Proenza Schouler’s coveted bag. “What’s the big deal?” you may think, “Bags are knocked-off all the time!”. Well it’s more the circumstances surrounding the situation that make it a bit of a big deal.

You see, Proenza Schouler have collaborated with Target in the past creating a collection for Target’s Go International campaign. Having Target turn around and sell something that they believe is a blatant copy of one of their products (Lazaro Hernandez was quoted as saying that Mossimo even got the attitude, slouch, and weight of the bag right) has made them quite upset. Apparently, they had no idea about the alleged knock-off until Jack McCollough’s sister emailed him a photo of the Mossimo bag at her local Target store!

Left PS1 bag, right Mossimo bag

Now there has been a lot of fashion blogging and discussion about this whole situation. Some people think that the Mossimo bag is a blatant copy, others don’t. Some think that the PS1 bag itself is just a reincarnation of the classic leather messenger bag that has been around for ages. Also, some have people have pointed out that you can’t really compare a faux leather bag to the real thing, especially when the Mossimo bag retails for $34.99 and the Proenza Schouler bag retails for $2350 (on Canadian the Net-A-Porter site at least).

Many have pointed out that the people who would be willing to spend over $2000 for a bag probably aren’t shopping for accessories at Target on a regular basis. But according to the NY Times blog Jack McCollough countered this by saying “Yeah, why save up and buy ours when you can buy theirs right away?”

So what do you think? Is this a case of copying or is it just a coincidence? Did Proenza Schouler overreact or should they be upset? I’d love to hear your opinions!

Week 10 Challenge

17 Apr

This week I have decided to revisit my failed pursuit of a piece resembling  the Proenza Schouler PS1 extra-large leather travel bag (in Saddle) from week 4’s  challenge:

PS 1 Extra Large leather travel bag

I am still disappointed that I wasn’t able to find anything inspired by this beautiful bag within my $20 budget but I will leave all of that in the past and face this challenge again with renewed vigour! I have a slightly healthier budget of $40 to work with this time and I also have a little something up my sleeve 🙂 Nothing as completely shocking or utterly fabulous as Proenza Schouler actually sending me one of their bags (I’m still holding out hope, lol) but it will be an interesting twist on this challenge.

Stay tuned this week!

Week 9 Results

16 Apr

If you recall, this week’s challenge was to find a fun pair of ballet flats and my inspiration was a collage of colourful shoes by Tory Burch. After shopping around I have to admit that it wasn’t that difficult to find affordable flats. So what did I find?

Well, I came across not one but two pairs of ballet flats!

Flats from Joe Fresh and the Shoe Company

The first pair I actually found at the grocery store, lol. They’re faux patent leather from Joe Fresh:

Now I do have some concerns about these shoes. The faux patent is very hard and stiff and the ribbon detailing that runs around the rim of the shoe is also a pretty rough material. As Erin brought up in the comments section of the Week 9 Challenge post, one big problem with cheap flats is that they scrape your heels and give you blisters and this pair seems like it could be a prime candidate for maiming my feet. The price however, was hard to resist:

They were on sale for $6.94! So with taxes they came to $7.84 leaving $12.16 for the SpendThrift Savings Bank! I’m still unsure if the risk heel damage or an investment in a new box of bandaids is worth the low price of the shoes. They also aren’t as colourful as I originally had in mind so I also found another option.

I found a second pair of ballet flats at the Shoe Company:

These shoes are also made of faux leather but they are soft and pliable. I like the fact that they’re a cheerful blue colour and I also like the stud detailing on them:

This pair was on sale for $14.99 so with taxes they came to a grand total of $16.94. Choosing this pair would leave $3.06 for the SpendThrift Savings Bank so I would have less left over but they seem to pose less of a risk of roughing up my heels.

I decided to use a “model” to show this pair off, I think that his feet are a little wide for them though 😮

So what do you think?

One last thing. I realize that I didn’t do a Triumph or Tacky? post this week but to be honest, I worked from home most of the week (and my dog doesn’t appreciate my efforts at dressing up). I’ll be writing a double post next week covering both the white shirt from last week’s challenge and the ballet flats from this week’s challenge to make up for it!

An Extra Large Sized Rant

14 Apr

I promised to start adding a few more posts to my blog besides just specific challenge posts and this is one that I have been thinking about writing for a while. I know that a lot of people out there have written about this but it happens to be a big pet-peeve of mine: vanity sizing.

According Wikipedia (so you know it’s an accurate definition, lol), vanity sizing, also known as size inflation, refers to the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing of the same nominal size becoming larger over time. This tends to occur in places where clothing sizes are not standardized.

To give an example that is commonly associated with vanity sizing consider iconic beauty Marilyn Monroe:

The Seven Year Itch, 20th Century Fox, 1955

Although accounts differ, according to her dressmaker Marilyn’s measurements were 35-22-35. She was 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall and weighed around 118 lbs. Back in the 50’s her dress size was around a US size 12 (again, some disagree on the actual number and it seems to range anywhere from size 12 to size 16), today it would be considered around a size 6! That’s quite the difference in sizing standards and shows how much sizing systems have changed over the years!

Over the course of the eight and a half weeks of this experiment I have been hitting up a ton of stores and have been trying on a multitude of garments both for the challenge as well as outside of the challenge (because it’s not cheating just to try other clothing on of course). I’ve known that many stores have been using vanity sizing for quite some time now but it has been bothering me more and more lately because of the frequency of my shopping and my exposure to this trend. Also, I find that some stores are getting much worse to the point that their sizing system is just ridiculous and nothing fits!

Not only are specific sizes being given a lower number or letter by stores but some seem to be phasing out smaller sizes altogether by shifting the label number down but the size of the garments up!

New Yorker

Now just to emphasize here, this rant isn’t against people of any specific size since I believe that beauty isn’t defined by a number on a tag, it’s a rant against clothing manufacturers and their skewed ways of trying to sell more clothing. As you can tell from my pictures I’m far from being a waif (no one has ever said “OMG here comes Mel, quick step aside! Her protruding hip bones may hook and maim you!”) and it’s really disturbing that the clothing in some stores is just made too big now! On top of that shopping just takes longer since there is no consistency in sizes from store to store.

Case in point, about a month ago I was in Smart Set looking for a challenge outfit and I noticed a sales rack with some cute dress pants. After holding up a pair of supposed “size 4” pants that looked enormous I figured I would take a chance and try on a pair of size 0 pants (I still fail to comprehend how something can be a “size nothing”). I tried them, they were still way too big! I mentioned this to the sales associate who apologized for not having any size 00’s…that’s when I just had to laugh. Seriously? If a zero means that something doesn’t exist does a size double zero have that negative number effect where the two zeros cancel out to create a positive number that says someone actually exists?

A few weeks later I had the same experience at the Jacob outlet, I could not for the life of me find a dress that fit! I’ve also noticed this “up-sizing” trend with some clothing at Banana Republic and Club Monaco and many, many other stores that previously had sizes that used to reflect some type of reality. I still think that Old Navy and Bluenotes win the awards for most skewed sizing though, the amount their sizes have increased is just ridiculous!

Now I know that my weight and measurements have stayed relatively constant over the past few months (if anything they may have increased a little…) but I worry sometimes about what I’m going to do in the summer when I up my running schedule and naturally tend to shrink a little. At this rate I may end up with a whole Hello Kitty wardrobe from the kids department, lol!

I think that retailers need to go back to basics and come up with a logical standardized sizing system. I’m all about making people feel better about themselves but vanity sizing should not be the answer. I know that there is a lot of attention these days on the obesity epidemic and I’ve done some reading up on all sides of the debate since my PhD research has a connection with obesity. Yes people are getting larger but just ignoring it by increasing physical clothing sizes and decreasing the defining numbers is just masking the problem. I know that the obesity debate can get very heated and can be controversial and my comments aren’t meant to offend anyone. I just think that people need to be accountable for themselves and they also need support from the environment around them.

For example, sometimes people just don’t notice that they’re putting on weight until they try on an old pair of pants or dress and realize that they’re tight. If this bothers them they may be motivated to look at their lifestyle and make some positive changes by tweaking their diet or excercise routines. On the other hand, if sizes in stores keep going up and these people are shopping for new clothing they may not have any indications to make changes since they are still fitting into their normal size or even a smaller size than before. They may wake up one day discovering that they have put on a lot of weight and never realized it!

Now this may not bother some people and again beauty comes in all sizes but I think that just shifting sizing upwards is an unhealthy trend. If we as a society are concerned about obesity then we need to stop this size distortion and face our reality head on! Does the number on an article of clothing garner an emotional reaction from some people? Of course! But it should not define them or their worth and I think that’s where the real problem lies. We need to start accepting ourselves and the reality of our sizes and shapes. Clothing manufacturers can support this by coming up with a system that translates across the board as much as possible and at the same time make clothing available for people of all sizes on both ends of the spectrum and in-between.

Just my two cents 😮

Week 9 Challenge

10 Apr

Continuing on my quest to equip myself with wardrobe basics I’ve realized that I need some new shoes for spring that are practical but also cute. Winter boots just won’t cut it anymore and although sneakers are fine at school they’re  way too casual for a future office job (plus the whole professional work outfit + running shoes look is just awful!). So, for this week’s challenge I’ve decided to focus on finding some ballet flats that could potentially get me to and from the office stylishly!

I already own one pair of black flats but I think that it would also be nice to have a pair in a fun colour! I came across a whole bunch of great options by Tory Burch that I love (and also got my first introduction to Polyvore):

I think that these shoes are really fun and they’ll serve as a great inspiration for the week. I’m not sure what colours I’ll end up finding but I’m hoping that I can find something bright and cheerful! Wish me luck!