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Aside

From a shopper and outsider’s point of view, JCP (JCPenney) has struggled with identity over the past two years. Figuring out what they want to be and who exactly they want to sell to. One could say that JCP has … Continue reading

2014 changes.

Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve posted. I feel like I abandoned you! Don’t feel blue, I’m still here, just going through a bit of change. So many things have happened, some good and some bad, but always moving forward (I hope).

For 2014, I want to change this blog up with an inclusion of video chat. Look at it as a video diary, where I’ll speak about a topic that I’m interested in or something that’s been on my mind. I’m really excited about this and have been constantly getting ideas that I’d like to bring to you.

A few ideas that I’ve been jonesing to chat about are…

1. Being a conscious consumer (you wouldn’t believe how much stuff a single person goes through…and where does it all go?)

2. Becoming comfortable with emotional vulnerability.

3. My own journey forward (with hopes you all can relate, too)

…and so much more (I’m literally have brain flatulence…but I promise some cool conversation)

…P.S…I’ll still include product reviews to appease the masses.

My hope is to keep you thinking about your own self and your own life (and A LOT about how we communicate and interact with others) by giving you some information from my experience and ideas. I’m not trying to get all emotional on your asses, but truly, why the hell not?

Now, just let me get used to being in front of this computer camera, and we’ll be in business for sure! I’m excited!

Take care ya’ll!

Not so Lands’ End

I got the chance to peruse the new Lands’ End Canvas fall collection inside my local Sears store. I came away completely impressed with what was available. 

When you think Lands’ End, forward-fashion doesn’t immediately come to mind. You think monogrammed school backpacks, canvas tote bags, turtlenecks, and preppy-mom apparel. 

For about a year or two, Lands’ End has launched a more modern, tailored collection called Canvas. The fit and fabrics are different and geared more toward an trendy urbanite that loves his/her coffee runs, concerts in the park, and gallery openings at dusk. 

The men’s collection screams dapper New Englander with durable flannels, slim chinos, and oversized sweaters that demand to be worn on a blustery day. The outerwear is great with duffle coats and puffer vests. You can really feel the quality in the fabrics and the price point is quite great. The styling could be compared to that of J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Signature L.L.Bean. I would even go as far as to say the quality exceeds that of J. Crew. 

What really stuck out to me was Lands’ End’s new push to reincorporate American-made apparel into the collection. Canvas’ new denim in American sourced and manufactured. The denim is strong, tailored, and ready to become your go-to pair, either for work or play. The price-point is a great value at $98. Allen Edmunds shoes (also American-made) have made their way onto shelves in the Canvas shop with exclusive styles just for Lands’ End. 

With Sears reevaluating their sales pitch, Lands’ End would be a shop to heavily invest in, in my opinion. It’s trusted by customers and backed with a warranty that’s nearly best on the block (Guaranteed. Period.) One suggestion would be to give Canvas its own shop…Perhaps a pop-up in NYC, Boston, or Chicago, or a store-front where people can experience Canvas without having to venture into their local Sears. Keep heading in this direction! Bravo Lands’ End! Check out the collection at canvas.landsend.com

Back to Basics

Everybody is familiar with the saying “back to basics.” Major corporations use the saying countless times when things get a haywire and business sags. Let’s incorporate that into your wardrobe. I’ve heard well-known stylists always referring to keeping things basic. So what does it actually mean to go “back to basics,” in terms of wardrobe?

Basics are that of quality, simple pieces. They don’t have to be insanely expensive, but you do pay for higher quality. My list of basics consists of well-fitted jeans/khakis, a nice shoe/sneaker, tailored shirts, slim polos and t-shirts, timepiece, eyewear, and bag to hold daily needs. Throw in some fun socks, undies, and seasonable outerwear. Color choice is always important, but remember that when you re-wear, people will remember a strong color. My advice is to keep it simple. Leave the bold statements for occasions (ie. wear that blood red polo once every other week). 

I’m curious why people invest on an item that they only wear on occasion? Your daily-wear should be where you spend your money. Whether you wear khakis or denim on a daily basis, invest in what you wear consistently. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on one pair of pants, but invest wisely in a brand that’s known for quality and fit and that works with your frame. Get to a tailor to have shirts darted, legs tapered (if you so choose), and waists cinched. EVERYTHING looks better when it actually fits your body frame. I cringe when I spot a man walking around in a suit that’s swimming on his body. Oversized-shirt ballooning out of ill-fitting pleated trousers, pant legs nearly swallowing up round-toed (ugh) shoes. Yes, some people don’t care about how they look. I give you props…ish.

My current wardrobe could be considered basic. I’m a big fan of denim, so I have a decent selection of jeans in styles and washes I know I’ll wear, and can match with nearly every shirt I own. Never will you see me with a pair of acid wash denim emblazoned with studs or highly decorated rear pockets. I prefer to keep things quiet. A great dark wash jean works with everything. I tend to follow the idea of “less is more”. I have stock-piles of white t-shirts because I think they looks crisp and clean with a pair of jeans and fun kicks. A great fitting colored t-shirt can be a knockout, as well. T-shirts can be played with, but try to keep the brand-screaming shirts to the tweens and teens. A well-fitted t-shirt can be sexier than even the most prestigious suit. 

Some people will argue with me about keeping your wardrobe basic, but for me, it works. Take or don’t take my advice, but please, get to know a tailor. They can work wonders. 

Sale and Run

This weekend is Bloomingdale’s Friend & Family sale! Get in and stock up on basics, especially the likes of Calvin Klein Underwear, which is already 25% off for their semi-annual sale. Nab up some Dockers Alpha Khakis at 20% off. Add the discount to already marked-down prices.

Get yourself a fresh pair of sunglasses for the summer. If you hit up the flagship on 59th street, they’re known for having a great sale section. Just know you’re bound to get lost. Bloomingdales online selection is pretty good. Sign up for their newsletter, and get an additional 10% coupon sent to you (sometimes it takes a day or two). 

 

Sale and Run

Got a few promotion codes to throw your way for some great retailers.

Banana Republic. Save 40% on one full-price item. They always get you with the “full-price item” but you can find some great shirts for spring. Plus, update your khaki’s with a slimmer cut. Their just released “Mad Men” collection is always lovely, as well as their “Monogram” collection. I might nab a pair of Adidas kicks for the summer with the 40%. Can’t beat the discount. 

Code – BRNOW40
 

Piperlime – Another GapInc. company, but they’re offering 20%-off for 3-days. Piperlime now carries a wide-selection of men’s designer duds from Lacoste, J-Brand, 7FAM, Alternative, and Jack Spade, just to name a few. The coupon also works on sale items, which gives you a damn good deal. Nab some spring t-shirts, kicks, and/or jeans. Also get yourself a new gym bag…I know a few people who could use one…Shhh.

Code – SPRING
 

Daffy’s – With its selection of European designers, you might find a more tailored fit in jackets, shirts, and pants. Use this coupon to get an extra 20% your entire purchase. Making those low-prices even lower. I’ll stop by for a new spring coat, and maybe some undies.

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If I come upon more coupons and/or promotion codes, I’ll be sure to post them! Happy Shopping!

Click, Click, Flash-sites

Flash sites have been around for quite some time, but never really clicked until recently. Of course overstock.com and ebay have been pioneers in discounting pricing, but offering designer products online at a significant discount has only recently become vogue. Most sites cater towards women and their vast varieties of wardrobe desires. Luckily, most sites are seeing the light and adding a men’s “department” for the guy who wants to dress well and find a great deal.

I’ve highlighted the more “well-known” flash sites for men and given you a rundown on their selection. Remember that these sales only last about 48hours, and first come first served. I’ve seen the best products sell out in a matter or seconds!

Gilt – For a little bit it was giltman, but recent changes have returned it to its original name. Probably one of the most known flash sites. Gilt for men specializes in a dapper man who likes beautiful and (mostly) luxurious items. Brands like 7FAM, Hickey, Burberry, and that variety are staples. Gilt has shifted from “specific” designer boutiques to a more generalized type of garment sales ie. sweaters, jeans & pants in your size, cold weather accessories, and tailored shirts, all shown with a variety of designers. Gilt in the past has offered a decent selection of accessories from Jack Spade and J. Press  all the way to New and Preowned Rolex’s. I personally enjoyed when it was Gilt Man. I felt it was a separate identity, but now it seems Gilt wants to streamline its process. Luckily, they’ve vastly improved their shipping and return policys.

JackThreads – For the casual, funky, hipster you. JackThreads caters to the “artsy” man that likes to be different in their style. Graphic t’s and jeans are constantly offered by different brands. Think of JackThreads as your Williamsburg-outfitter, with a splash of Chelsea and WeHo. Expect to see a lot of stock in WESC, Obey, and Hurley, but also keep an eye out for great sales on basics, eyewear, watches (I’ve seen the great Nixon sale!!) and electronics (eye-buds, iPad accessories).

HauteLook – Recently purchased by Nordstrom (smart move), Hautelook has recently upped the ante from the occasional men’s sale to be more on-par with Gilt. Subscribe if you enjoy perusing for “unisex” eyewear and common sales on Vince, Theory, Cole Haan and designer denim. Perfect for nabbing a cashmere cardigan, slim jeans, and boots. Can’t go wrong with HauteLook. Especially with a owner like Nordstrom, it can only get better.

RueLaLa – Another flash staple, RueLaLa and Gilt came to greatness around the time flash sites were catching on.  RueLaLa hasn’t caught up with the likes of Gilt or Hautelook when it comes to offering a men’s department, BUT when they offer a boutique catered towards men, it’s usually great! I’ve nabbed a great pair of Citizens for Humanity jeans, and a few Jack Spade bags for prices much lower than Gilt.

MyHabit – A great offering from Amazon. Usually a smaller amount of items each day, but nevertheless, superb brands and nice variety of sizes. I’ve actually purchased a few things from MyHabit and I’ve been extremely impressed. No worries about shipping costs because every item ships free. I knew Amazon would bring us a fantastic flash-site. Expect brands like Sorel, Varvatos, Marc New York and a stringent denim selection from around the world. I nabbed a great pair of Neuw denim jeans from Sydney for about 80% off. Keep an eye out for promotions. MyHabit launched in 2011 and had a year-long promotion going for 25% off their already discounted prices. Definitely subscribe.

ideeli – I remember I was told about ideeli before I knew anything about flash-sites. Mainly focused towards women, ideeli offers only a select amount of products for men. Suiting and basics is what you can expect, for example sales on CKU, (2)xist, Varvatos USA, and other mentionable designers. Expect only about 2-3 men’s sales per day, but worthy of subscribing.

Huckberry – A newcomer that specialized in products for you burly men and wannabes…A great variety of products for the “outdoorsy” guys. They handpick brands that have stood the test of time and are known for durability. Keep an eye on this site for future sales on Filson, Patagonia, and other high-quality brands.

Belle & Clive – Super-duper high-end. This fairly new flash-site is from the creators of Bluefly.com, a well-known online designer discounter. This site has only the most prestigious brand offerings ie. Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and RRL. Pricing is rather high, but the quality is there. Go here for a splurge on an item you really adore. Worthy of subscribing, even just to window-shop.

Beyond the Rack – This site was one of the starters. There sales tend to be more women-based. Decent accessory sales on sunglasses, and well-known brands. There was an article about BTR that has stuck with me. It was in regards to their pricing and how they were charging more than some department stores. I’m a tad weary of BTR.

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*Keep in mind these tips if you decide to dive into flash-shopping.

1. The best goes first. Preview upcoming sales for the designers you want. When the sale starts, click what you want and put them in your shopping cart. Most carts save the item for at least 2 minutes…allowing you time to decide as well as keeping away other prowlers.

2. Know return policies. Some sites ONLY give you store credit or take a percentage for return shipping costs if you request a refund. Know before hand.

3. Accessories go first because of the lack of sizing. You want a bag, watch or case? Nab it…

4. Keep an eye out for coupons and promotion codes. Many sites offer you discounts for special events or even credits to get you back to shopping. Gilt and RueLaLa are known for “come-back credits”.

5. Don’t underestimate the power of Customer Service. They know what’s available and what’s not. Call if you have a concern. Many times they’ll give you a credit if you’re having site trouble…hehe

6. Wait-lists actually work. You may get the item you really want within a month or two, and sometimes at a cheaper price. Don’t be blue…add yourself to the wait-list of a desired item.

7. ALWAYS price check before plunking down for an item. Google search, and price compare. Make sure you’re actually getting a great deal, and not just a 5% discount.