O Black Sweater at Marshalls, Where Art Thou

The other day, Nurse V mentioned that she needed clothes for an upcoming vacation, and asked if I would help her shop. She really had to twist my arm, as you can imagine, and we wound up at Marshalls in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Center.

Now, when it comes to brand-name discount stores, shopping at that Marshalls means seriously kicking it old school. It makes browsing at the Upper West Side Loehmann’s that I know and love looks like amateur hour. At Marshalls, there are only a few racks organized by designer, and almost no neat endcaps displaying merchandise in that spare, boutique style that makes you want to buy something.

No, this Marshall’s offers up endless racks of clothes divided into the most basic categories. Shirts. Sweaters. Pants. Small. Medium. Large.  Not for the faint of heart, was this Marshall’s. Luckily, Nurse V and I were up to the challenge. We patiently went through each rack in Nurse V’s size, evaluating every piece of clothing.

Once my friend had a decently sized “definitely coming home with me” pile as well as a a reasonable “maybe” one (many items successfully found by me, I’m just saying), I went in search of a little something-something for myself.

Gold buttons like the ones on the sweater I left at Marshalls.

I am bad at taking camera-phone pics in dressing rooms, so I don’t have a picture of the Magaschoni sweater from Marshalls. Just picture a very plain, long-sleeved black sweater, crew-neck. The gold-button detailing at the shoulder was made from buttons that looked like these. It’s the best I could do.

Which was when I happened upon a black crew-neck Magaschoni sweater. Simple and elegant, it was plain except for a row of gold disk-shaped buttons running from the chest to the shoulder. It looked fabulous on. It had been almost $200 and was now a reasonable $50.

Continue reading

Crisis in Denim Contemplates Letting Herself Go

Lately, I’ve been thinking about letting myself, well…how shall I say it?

Amy's Bread Pink Frosted Cake

I would eat an entire one of these in one sitting, if I could just bring myself not to care about fitting into super-cute clothes. It’s delicious. Plus, it’s pink, like my blog. Photo courtesy of Amy’s Bread.

I’ve been thinking about letting myself go. Really go to seed. As in, drop that Abs Attack! class and let my only exercise be the walk from the couch to the freezer for a gallon of Edy’s Slow Churned (Light ice cream ceases to be “light” when you eat one dozen servings over the course of as many hours, bee-tee-dubs.).

I mean, here I am, pushing middle age. Single. We all know it’s right about now that gravity really starts to gain the upper hand anyway, so why not let gravity do its thing (exert its saggy forces on my body), while I do my thing (eat a tub of ice cream the size of my head all in one sitting)? I’d never have to have a denim crisis when my cropped Paige jeans felt snug. Instead, I’d just pull on my fave elastic-waist jeans.

Well, here’s my reason: Continue reading

Friends and Family Sales: You’re One of Us Now

The other night when I stopped in at Loehmann’s on my way home, a friendly lady at the entrance handed me a coupon for 20 percent off everything in the store. Sale stuff. Non-sale stuff. Expensive shoes. Cheap shirts. Purses. EVERYTHING.

Baby chicks sale sign

Browsing on Pinterest for a “sale” sign I came across this, and thought it was super cute, and somewhat relevant. A little.

Apparently it was their friends and family sale. All stores seem to have these periodically and I’m not sure why they’re called that, but I’m always happy to consider myself a friend—even a relative—of anyone having a sale.

Meantime, as I roamed Loehmann’s, I found myself doing that thing that I’m sure we all do (I’m curious– do you do it to?)… that thing where you’re constantly calculating, and doing it so quickly it becomes automatic. Everything I saw I said to myself “Oh! But it’s not that price! I’d be getting another 20 percent off!”

At one point I even saw a gorgeous brown leather Michael Kors skirt and said “Oh, it’s not really $600. It’s another 20 percent off!”(No I did not even let myself think about letting myself consider thinking about trying it on. Yes it was beautiful. I can’t find a picture. You’ll have to take my word for it.) Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions, Crisis in Denim Style

Frye boots, Bordeaux color

Maybe this will be the year these gorgeous Frye bordeaux-colored boots (their color name, not mine), magically land in my closet.

Being Jewish brings with it many burdens (the guilt! the guilt!), not the least of which is having to mark not one but two new years (the regular January one, and Rosh Hashana), which means not one but two sets of resolutions to break and feel guilty about later.

It’s good to have resolutions large and small to cover all aspects of your life. I mean, sure I have big resolutions that involve vowing to be a better person, one who smiles and says ‘excuse me’ to the fellow subway passenger with her bag on a seat rather than one who gives the scowl of death and wishes she had one of those handbags that is also a set of rings that is also a weapon until said passenger sheepishly moves her bag (even though it is COMPLETELY against New York City subway etiquette to have your bag on a seat during rush hour when people are STANDING, I’m just SAYING.).

What I’m getting at is that I like to start the new year with some smaller resolutions as well. Not personality-changing ones, necessarily, but sartorial ones that will make getting dressed in the morning more efficient and pleasureable; resolutions that will keep me from spending money on things I don’t need, while helping me enjoy the ones I already have.

So here, in no particular order, are my top Rosh Hashana resolutions, Crisis in Denim style: Continue reading

White SLAP Watch Me Silly

I’m pretty certain that the day I decide to wear a fabulous off-white sundress will be the day I spill a quadruple venti nine-pump mocha (with skim milk, of course) all over myself. Needless to say, I have tended to shy away from the white-jeans trend, I have only one white blouse, and I don’t even own a classic white t-shirt. I did wear a fancy white dress on one fateful day, but I can’t say as that turned out real well.

White SLAP Watch

The white SLAP Watch I bought Mom. I want one tooooo….Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.

However, inexplicably, I have become a hugundous fan of white watches. In fact, as soon as one caught my eye, I started noticing them on wrists all across the city. Then, around that time, Mom announced that she wanted a white SLAP Watch.

Permit me just a moment to explain. Last year, Mom and I discovered SLAP watches in a little boutique in Maine. We each bought the all-black one with the all-black face, no numbers, and orange hands. I love mine, especially since I’m a sucker for solid neutrals with just a smattering of color.  If you don’t look too closely, it looks like a watch I might have purchased at the MOMA Design Store. Mom got into the whole mix and match faces and bands thing which is one of SLAP’s hallmarks, so I bought Mom a white SLAP watch.

Now I want one (insert super-annoying whiney voice here) and am searching for the slightly Continue reading

Hunger Wins Out Over Barney’s Warehouse Sale

Last Wednesday I was abducted by aliens.

You scoff. But really, what else would explain why, finding myself in Chelsea with an hour to kill, I chose to eat dinner instead of going to the Barney’s Warehouse Sale? (The sale ends today, having been extended for one more day.)

I even got past the first security guard and was about to check my bags and make a beeline for the racks.

Then, I heard a voice of admonishment. This time it was not my Really Irritating Internal Voice (RIIV). It was, in fact, my stomach growling.

That’s when I realized that even the most battle-hardened shoppers have their limits. On the outside the Warehouse sale seemed fairly tame on this mid-week eve. But I’ve heard tell tales of elbows thrown and punches narrowly ducked, and I realized: There was no way to do the Warehouse Sale on an empty stomach.

So I admitted defeat, Yelped the nearest sushi bar and ordered some maki.

I guess it’s easier to just say I was abducted by aliens, than to admit I couldn’t brave the Barney’s Warehouse Sale.

Sartorial Literary Moment: Molly Ringwald’s New Novel

I’m just going to put it out there: I own the deluxe “Everything’s Duckie” edition of the 1986 Molly Ringwald movie Pretty in Pink. It is, I would say, in my list of top five—no, make that top three—favorite movies of all time. So it’s with tremendous interest that I see that Molly Ringwald has a written a novel.

I need you now, like I needed you then…

Now, I’m fully aware that of the Molly Ringwald oeuvre, Pretty in Pink was probably not the most popular. To a lot of 80s teens, the redhead will always be Claire Standish, the rich girl who pouts her way through detention in The Breakfast Club. For most, I think she was the overlooked Samantha Baker, whose parents forget her birthday in Sixteen Candles.

But to me she was—and will always remain (high five if you get my reference here)—Andie Walsh in Pretty in Pink. Continue reading

Part Purse, Part Jewelry, Part…. Weapon?

At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to make an appearance at some fancy event where there was someone that for whatever reason we wanted to punch. We haven’t acted on this because we are not violent people, and also because in prison you don’t get days off to go to Nordstrom, which makes doing time very unappealing.

A purse that doubles as a piece of jewelry that doubles as a weapon.

However, this handbag I saw the other night while browsing in Loehmann’s may make the temptation hard to resist. See, I found this evening bag that was designed to be carried not by a strap or handles, but by a knuckleduster. That’s right, the clasp was made of one of those rings with multiple loops that slips over three or four fingers at once and binds them together.

Now, I love rings, but the knuckleduster is not a trend I much care for. I’ve seen some more delicate designs that look interesting in the display case, but the idea of wearing something that limits my dexterity makes me anxious.

However, if you like that style of jewelry, this handbag is definitely for you. It’s perfect if you’re at a cocktail party and you want to hold your glass of wine with one hand and, um, punch someone with the other. Or you could just put the weapon bag down and use that hand to grab yourself another drink. You’ll feel much better.

What I Bought–I Mean Did–on My Summer Vacation

Now I’ll give the long-awaited answer to the question: What did I end up buying on vacation?

The answer is: Wait for it…

Nothing.

Yes. I’m just as shocked as you are.

See: There were a couple things I contemplated, but I found myself mired in an existential discussion with my Really Irritating Internal Voice (RIIV), about whether I actually wanted to have these things, or whether I just wanted to buy them. This is, of course, a broad and, may I say, extremely tiring question. I mean, I certainly didn’t want to buy something just to buy something. On the other hand, some of my most-worn items are ones I bought on vacation or at some other time when I just felt like buying something for the pleasure of buying something.

Anyway. First, I almost bought a ring. It had a simple, gold-plated base and a round piece of red/pink sea glass. It was not at all expensive and Mom was like “just get the effing ring,” though she said it more politely because she’s a mom. But it was only the second day of vacation. What if I found something I liked more?

Over the next day or so I did think about the ring, and planned to go back for it, but I got too busy doing such vacation-y things as lying down, reading, drinking wine, eating, and lying down again.

Gone fishing - Herringbones Design Shop

The shop where I almost bought (yet another) bag. I may call and ask them to send it to me. Will I like it as much now that vacation is over?

In a different store, on the last day, I found a super-cute fabric/knit tote bag, with all my fave colors (black, maroon, olive, grey), and lots of little pockets inside. It was a great end-of-summer bag, and everyone knows you can never have too many bags. But again, doubt raised its ugly head. Did I want THIS bag? Or did I just want to go home from vacation with a souvenir?

I decided to ignore my RIIV and “just buy the effing ring.” But, when I returned to the first store (stay with me here, I know it’s getting confusing) the ring had been sold. Suddenly, I really, really wanted it. “And you’re sure you don’t have one in back, right? What about online? The Portland store?” The saleswoman was fairly unsympathetic, conveying a kind of “you snooze, you lose” attitude which seemed fair enough, since the day before, when I had been about to go back to the store, I had actually fallen asleep.

However, now that I’m home I find myself thinking about that bag. I’m even considering calling the store, giving them my credit card, and asking them to send it to me. The problem is, will I like it as much, now that vacation is over?

Shopping Rule #436: Everything Looks Better on Vacation

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library

What to Buy on Vacation? How About Everything. 

A friend once mentioned something in passing about wearing her “vacation dress.” I figured she meant a dress that she had bought FOR vacation: Something cute yet comfy, that would, in fashion-mag parlance, “make the transition from day to evening.” But no. She was talking about a dress she had bought ON vacation. Something she would probably not have purchased had she not been rested, relaxed, and in a shopping mood.

You Can Tell Me: Share Your Favorite Vacation Purchase

This little exchange popped into my head yesterday, since I happen to be on vacation. And you know you’re on vacation in a New England beach town when you go a-browsing in a shop you would give little more than a haughty sniff to back home and fall in love with absolutely everything in it. Flowered skirts. Earrings with smiling whales.

Even non-clothes: A red ceramic butter dish with white polka dots? Love! Birdhouses made of wine corks? Sure–years of trauma wrought by my viewing of The Birds— totally a thing of the past.  Even placards with such inspirational quotes as “One day can bend your life” (though not surprisingly I read that as “A single day can END your life” which makes more sense).

All this to say I am on vacation and a little antsy to treat myself to something.

Tell me about a piece of clothing you bought on vacation that you probably would never have bought at any other time.