Archive | August, 2011

Triumph or Tacky? Part 1

23 Aug
This is going to be a bit of a different Triumph or Tacky? post since I haven’t actually worn the shoes from my last challenge but I do have some very good reasons for not wearing them yet.
Even when I was purchasing the black ballet flats for the weeks 23-24 Challenge I still wasn’t completely sold on them.

Winners $29.99

It wasn’t that they weren’t nice, or practical or comfortable even, it’s more that they weren’t exactly what I had in mind when I started my search. Since I still wasn’t convinced that they were my “practical Paris shoes” I decided to keep looking for shoes on Sunday.
Conveniently, I was also going out for brunch with one of my best friends that day and she is always amenable to shopping so we decided to hit up an Aldo outlet store after eating 😮
Aldo was having a bunch of sales (duh outlet store!) and all boots were 30% off. I just happened to notice an array of short motorcycle boots on a shelf (you may recall my debate on this style of shoe in my last post) . My friend and I actually found three styles that we liked but unfortunately they only had one style in my size. Fortunately, they were really cute!

Aldo Halat $43.49

My initial reservation about this style of boot was that it might make my legs look even shorter and thicker than they already are but I actually think that these work and my friend assured me that they do (pics may follow in the next Triumph or Tacky? post). We both thought that they would look great with a skirt or dress, I have yet to test this theory though.
Overall though I really liked them…enough to buy them! Now here’s the catch (well two catches actually!): first, they were 30% off but after taxes they came to $43.49 which is over my $40 budget. In my defence I will point out that they are real leather as opposed to the black flats.
Second, I have decided that I will leave the decision as to whether I keep them up to you since reactions were quite mixed on the black ballet flats.
So what do you think?

Weeks 25-26 Challenge

21 Aug

I really need a new Fall jacket. I know that it’s strange to be thinking of jackets and Fall when it’s August and still blazing hot outside but my mind is already in Paris 😮 Also, Fall is my absolute favourite time of year when it comes to clothing! I don’t know what it is about the Fall, maybe it’s that the colours are so rich and the styles are so classic but I just always get excited about buying new clothes (it may have to do with that whole “back to school” mentality).

At present I own a tan trench coat that I got at Jacob years ago and although it’s in good shape (besides needing a good dry cleaning and pressing) I’m a little tired of it and want something new! Plus it has no hood and isn’t the most waterproof so I think that I need to find something a little more hardy.

I bought this at Jacob probably 6 or 7 years ago.

The other day when I was in Winners (shopping for my last challenge) I came across a beautiful Calvin Klein trench coat. It was black, had a hood, and was made of water-resistant material. Did I mention it was beautiful?

The trench I saw was very similar to this one, also by Calvin Klein


It was $79.99 which actually isn’t a bad price for a designer jacket but sadly $79.99 is double my $40 budget and they only had it in size medium (I wasn’t swimming in it but it just didn’t fit quite right, I think that a smaller size would have been perfect though). Come to think of it, it’s probably a good thing that they didn’t have it in my size otherwise I probably would have walked out of the store with it!

So the black Calvin Klein trench coat is going to be my inspiration for this challenge. Hopefully I can find something similar within my budget because I was really smitten with it and I know that I could get a lot of wear out of such a classic style!

Wish me luck!

Weeks 23-24 Results

20 Aug
This challenge was to find a pair of shoes appropriate enough to wear on the streets of Paris, comfortable enough to not leave me in pain at the end of the day, and practical enough that I don’t end up face planting on the Champs-Élysées! Although my initial thought was to find a pair of Puma-esque shoes, after some great advice and further consideration I decided to scrap that idea.

So what did I end up finding? Well, after searching many stores I opted for a pair of black flats that I found at Winners:


Winners $29.99


This was actually a difficult decision and I’m still not sure that I’m completely content with my selection. My original reservations against flats were that they tend to stretch and often cause blisters. I was worried that if they stretched too much they would be prone to slipping off or just be annoying on cobblestone streets. But in the end I quite frankly couldn’t find anything better!

It’s not for a lack of trying either! First, I thought that maybe I would find a pair of black Oxfords. I did find a few pairs at the Shoe Company but they either didn’t fit or the bottoms were so slippery that I would have skidded on the slightest wet or smooth surface. I may have been able to find another pair in the store but my shopping experience was completely ruined by the sales associate. You know when a sales associate comes up to you, asks you if you need help, you say no and then they say their name and to come find them if you need them? Yeah, well this associate did that, I said no and then she proceeded to hover directly over me the ENTIRE time! It was beyond irritating! I don’t know if I looked like I was unable to shop on my own or that I might run out with a pair of shoes but I will not be going back to that store any time soon!

Next, I thought that maybe I could find a pair of short biker boots. I’ve seen some girls pull off biker boots with skirts and dresses and it has looked really cute but I couldn’t find a pair remotely close to my $40 limit and I’m also not sure if the look would work on me since I don’t have the longest or thinnest legs (and I’m not going for an actual biker look here).

So in the end I decided on the flats. They are actually uber-comfortable and they were a good price at $29.99. Since I had a bit of money left over I splurged on some heel protectors so they might help prevent blisters and keep the shoes from slipping off:

Winners $3.99

The shoes and heel protectors came in at $38.40, so $1.60 under budget. Although everything was a good deal I’m still on the fence about the shoes. Although comfortable, they aren’t exactly the most stylish shoes out there…let’s just say I’m keeping the receipt for now!

So what do you think?

Triumph or Tacky?

17 Aug

It’s time for another Triumph or Tacky? post! If you recall, my last challenge was to find a pair of black work-appropriate sandals and I ended up finding an absolutely awesome pair at the Shoe Company:

The Shoe Company $38.13 (after discount)

I still adore the style of these shoes and I have had soooo many compliments on them! People in my office love them and I have even had a few strangers stop me on the street and ask me where I got them! So in that sense I consider this challenge a triumph!
BUT (there’s always a but in there somewhere isn’t there?) as much as I love these shoes and have been getting a lot of use out of them, they are starting to show signs of wear and tear. Notably, the patent is starting to rub off in a few places:

I actually noticed this after only wearing them twice so quality-wise they’re a little lacking. Also, just as a warning if you have bought these shoes they are a little slippery. I was walking through the mall one day and totally wiped out and the fact that I was wearing a white chiffon skirt that is on the shorter side only added to my embarrassment. Then again I am a bit of a klutz so I don’t know if I can fully blame the shoes for this one…
All in all I think that this challenge was still a triumph since I do love the look of these shoes, I just wish that the quality was a little better. I’m actually going to try some black nail polish over the areas where the patent has rubbed off so hopefully I can still get a lot of good use out of these shoes!

Weeks 23-24 Challenge

7 Aug

 After a little 2 week hiatus I am feeling refreshed and in the mood to blog and am ready to declare my next challenge!

You may notice that my next few challenges will have a theme to them. They will be focusing on classic, stylish pieces that are also practical for a girl on the go who is sightseeing and touring the city. Why am I specifically looking for articles of clothing that fall into this particular theme you may ask, and where might I be going? Well, prepare yourselves because…

Mel and her SpendThrift Experiment are going to Paris!!!

Free pictures of cities


Originally I thought that I might have the opportunity to go to France through school but unfortunately that fell through. When I discussed my disappointment with my husband he amazingly suggested that we just go to Paris anyway!

Ok, first of all who is this man posing as my husband and where is my real husband?! Second, if this actually is my husband I may need to take him in for a psych evaluation because taking your wife who is obsessed with fashion and is smitten with all things designer to the fashion capital of the world must qualify as insanity. Third, we booked our hotel in Montmartre which is conveniently located next to the department stores…there must be some catch otherwise he has completely lost his mind!

A map depicting my husband's sudden bout of insanity


In his defense I am turning the big 3-0 in November (eek!) and he did mention that this would be a great way to celebrate my transition from the 2-something digits to the 3s (not that turning 30 actually bothers me, I figure that in my 30’s I’ll eventually be able to afford to REALLY shop! The glass is half-full here!). AND he did also point out that I am still broke and that Paris=being more broke so there won’t be any money to shop while we’re there (ha! ok, he does have a point there). He also pointed out that my credit card could conveniently be left at home by mistake…fat chance of that happening! Short of posting my picture in every boutique I don’t think that he’s going to be able to put a kibosh on my shopping. HOWEVER, the closest I’m probably going to get to Chanel, Christian Louboutin, or Hermes is leaving finger and nose prints on the glass of the storefronts (sniff!).

Needless to say I am extremely excited about my trip! Now here’s my dilemma, I want to fit in while I’m there and not stick out like a tacky tourist! I understand and speak French so language isn’t a problem (of course my French accent is nowhere near a France French accent and I get tongue-tied and forget words when I’m nervous or excited so obviously no one will mistake me for a French woman…among other obvious reasons of course!). However, I would like the clothing that I wear to be chic, tasteful and practical for early October weather.

So, here’s my first challenge, to find a pair of stylish yet very comfortable flat shoes that will get me through days of exploring streets and museums while also keeping my feet intact. Obviously white tennis shoes are out:

Quelle horreur!
But I still want shoes that are comfortable and preferably black. My current black ballet flats are kind of stretched out now so they are a little loose and may not be a match for cobblestone streets, and I think that I want shoes with a bit more support and cushioning. So I think that I’m looking for something like a pair of black Pumas:

Puma Espera III $70

I say that I think that I’m looking for something like these because I’m still not positive that these are the style that I’m going for or if they will be “Paris-appropriate”. I’m also not sure if I’ll be able to find a pair of Pumas for under $40 which complicates matters a little…

What do you think? If you are fashion conscious, have been to Paris and have any input or opinions on what kind of walking shoes I should buy please let me know! I would appreciate any advice you can give!

À bientôt!