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Posts Tagged ‘Classiques Entier’

Söfft 'Fiorella' Pump, Dark Purple suede. Also available in grey (and black. Which you do not need).

This year, my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale trip was minimalist.  In the past I went in with the attitude of, “that’s a great price, I’ll take it.” Sometimes this veers into a “I’m sure I’ll find a use for it, at that price”  attitude.  These days I’m economizing, set a strict budget, and only wanted purchases that I couldn’t live without.  It helps me to approach a sale with the test: “I love it so much I’d pay twice that.”  I can make do with what I have as far as pants, suits and extra thingies (bras, scarfs, necklaces).  So I was only considering wardrobe-transforming pieces: shoes, maybe a blouse.

I bought three things.  First, Sofft suede pumps (above).  These are so killer comfortable, it’s almost funny. The lady next to me was buying the “Reva” snakeskin-print zippered cage shoe  and practically yelling, “It’s that old lady brand! They are so comfortable! Buy these!” If you wear a lot of heels, or (even more importantly) don’t wear heels because because you think they’re always painful —  Please go try some of this brand.  The heels are not-too-high, but sculpted with angles and curves that make them not-too-clunky.

Franco Sarto 'Stage' Bootie, Smoke-colored Calfskin

I also liked these Franco Sarto booties. Usually I hate heeled booties. I think they look fine under pants, but on their own they have that creepy “WTF high-heeled ankle-less boot/shoe?” vibe. There’s a wrongness about them.  I don’t know if I’ll keep these — I need to try them on with my pants and see how wearable they are.  The heel is 3 1/4, which makes a 9-hour workday feel pretty long. But the smoke color is killer and if they work, they would be a major wardrobe upgrade to all my fall/winter pant looks. 

 

Burberry Taffeta Down Puffer Coat

I spent quite a bit of time with Classiques Entier Tops, I often find really pretty, flattering tops that go well with any a suit and also work well dressing up jeans or cords.  I didn’t see much I liked that was on sale: a pretty print in a very difficult shade of green was discounted, but much of the purple line was not.  Um, no thanks guys.  I can’t do mandarin collar or that faux-tux-front look at all, which ruled out a bunch.  (Although now I’m looking at the website and see a lot of stuff I missed — maybe Tacoma had a scant selection? ) I tried on a puffy cashmere boatneck sweater that was super cozy but made me look like a purple cashmere boat. But the Classiques Atelier line has totally different stuff online than in the store, so I can’t show you a picture. I ended up with one top (picture coming soon).

What I didn’t buy: No pants, no leather jackets, no skinny jeans, no batwing tunics.  Some jackets were cute, but I’m not in the mood — Seriously I have enough jackets.  In a more flush mood I might have considered this plaid Burberry jacket, which I think is hellishly cute.  But I have a very similar coat in brown that is four years old and doing just fine.   No real incentive to buy the Burberry.

There were a ton of gorgeous boots — Mostly tall ones; very, very few short “Little Black Boot” types.  I will post the Julie and Jennie report soon and we can talk about what a person wears the boots with (skinny jeans? Does that require tunics? Can you just tuck regular jeans into the boots?)  I might go back and see how I feel on a different day (I need to take my kid to get the right size shoes — this is the only time we buy Geox for boys).  For now, I’m happy with the minimalist thing.  Anyone else?

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Thinking of buying a Little Black Dress? Think again:   

Tadashi Shoji Woven Bodice Silk Chiffon Dress, New Navy

Since I took such a strong stance against black, I thought I’d better follow up with some spectacular alternatives.  I think any uber-dark color is superior to black, but right now my favorite is the Little Blue Dress. 

I know they say every woman needs a Little Black Dress.  But seriously, please.  Do we? Do you? how often do you wear a cocktail dress? If it’s less than once a year, maybe you’re better off buying something fresh next time you have a cocktaily-type thing to attend.  It’s depressing (trust me) to try to resurrect a ten-year-old black dress that, let’s be honest, you “settled” for in the first place — because at least it was black, and therefore supposedly being safe, stylish, and versatile. The only problem being that you (and by “you” I mean “me”) don’t like it much. Why wear something you don’t like much because it’s black?

It is an outdated belief that black is “basic” and always appropriate.  In fact, when I think of a party packed with women wearing black cocktail dresses, I don’t think “chic,” I think “1990’s.” And no one right now — No. One. — should be going for a look that says 1990’s.   

Yes, the stores are full of black things.   No, you don’t need to buy them.  If you are shopping these days, here are my ideas.  They’ll even match all the black stuff that’s already in your closet.    

 If it’s time for a new suit — job interview, promotion, funeral — remember, black is LESS versatile and less of a sure investment. It is less flattering.  Black doesn’t easily roll into weddings or graduations.  Gray is softer.  Easier to break it up and wear the jacket with a variety of dresses. And it is just as conservative as black.  Trust me:     

Ted Baker 'Meriado' Wool Blend Herringbone Jacket, Nordstrom

If you are tempted to buy a Basic Black Pump (to go with your black-or-neutral suit or dress), don’t.  I suggest a Basic Nude Pump.  These are neutral, conservative, and if you can match your skin tone, your legs look longer (if this is too weird for you, look for inky dark blues and grays).

BCBGeneration 'Tinas' Platform Pump (Nordstrom Exclusive), $89.95, Nordstrom

  If you are tempted to buy Sexy Black Sandals — for evening, to dress up a skirt or dress for a night out, or with summery linen trousers — please don’t.  Try Sexy Textured/Animal Print sandals:   

Donald J Pliner 'Asby' Sandal in "sand," $185

 If you need a swimsuit, and think a black one will make you look smaller or even hopefully disappear, you are wrong. Consider a pretty print that makes you smile, or a color you genuinely love.  Invisibility isn’t going to happen, so be realistic: aim to feel pretty and confident so you don’t mind when they do.  Print and color can work wonders with this:   

Flower Ruffle Swimsuit, Green Candy Floral, $68.00 at Boden USA

Piped V-Neck Tankini, $69.95, Junonia

  Do not buy black flats. Especially in summer.  If you’re shopping for cute, comfy dress up/down shoes to go from work to weekend, buy them in color:Born Peony in radish, $76.50 at Zappos   

If you’re warm enough to look for pretty flat sandals — for a vacation, lunch, afternoon at the movies or museum? Don’t buy black ones. Especially in gladiators.  If you’re going to do strappy, I vote you make it gold. It’s a great, summery Romanesque look.  It adds interest to shorts or denim and easily dresses up to go with skirts and dresses:    

Kenneth Cole Reaction Glam Master in gold, $39.95

If you think a black coat will go with everything and be flattering, think again.  I love bright, rich colors for dress up and denim or pleather for casual wear:   

Jessica Simpson Satin Trench Topper, $69. Also in buttercup, ivory, orange, cobalt, iris (and black).

Light wash cropped denim jacket, $98, Banana Republic

And lastly . . . if you are shopping for Little Black Ankle Boots this fall? please buy these. I can’t afford them:     

Frye Carson Shortie in Smoke Leather, $318

        

        

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Classiques Entier ruched mesh top. Great under-bust seams. Mine is a purple and black watercolor print.

Classiques Entier ruched mesh top. Great under-bust seams. Mine is a purple and black watercolor print.

It’s still summer, but today is a rainy August Tuesday and it feels like fall.  If you live in Homer, Alaska, like my sister, it IS fall. They are even back to school already (don’t feel too sorry for her! They end in May. Like the Semester System! Which I have never been on).

In honor of proto-Fall, I busted out my school clothes today, scored on my fantastic Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Shopping Trip.  If you are still not sold on Nordstrom, my summaries are here  and here.  The clothes I really like for “chic business casual” are in the Individualist department.  Here’s what Nordstrom says about it:

 Classiques Entier® offers sophisticated designs and well-constructed essentials in luxurious European fabrics. The collection features versatile styles and current trends interpreted for the workplace. The effect is confident, stylish and feminine—with a touch of glamour.

 And also this:

Classiques Entier Atelier provides polished, feminine suiting and elegant separates to build a timeless wardrobe. Expertly crafted from European fabrics, the collection offers essential items as well as luxurious pieces to create standout looks.

 That sounds pretty pretentious but I get it.

I have this in brown and it’s my favorite top! Look, I found it in blue.  Bad news: someone put my brown one in the dryer. EEEK. It might have been me.  It kind of shrunk and I kind of cried, and my 4-and-a-half year old son (who cheers me up from crying FAR too often) tried to reassure me by saying “You can buy a new one, Mommy!” I don’t know.

I have this in brown and it’s my favorite top! Look, I found it in blue. Bad news: someone put my brown one in the dryer. EEEK. It might have been me. It kind of shrunk and I kind of cried, and my 4-and-a-half year old son (who cheers me up from crying FAR too often) tried to reassure me by saying “You can buy a new one, Mommy!” I don’t know.

Shard print belted silk dress, long cardigan, tights, open toe boots. Hmm.

Classiques Entier feature outfit: "Shard" print belted silk dress, long cardigan, tights, open toe boots. Hmm.

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Left, New Tacoma Mall Nordstrom; Right, Empty dinosaur of old Nordstrom.

After weeks of yammering about it and listening to other people’s shopping stories, today was my day to hit the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I almost skipped it. The nearest Nstrom is 30 miles and 30 minutes (on a good Freeway day) from my house, and life is busy. But I convinced myself it was worth the trip to get an entire fall/winter wardrobe at 50% off. I wear “work clothes” 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year — having clothes that fit and keep me comfortable is usually what gets me out of bed in the morning. And wearing pretty clothes that I love is one of my big motivators for going to work in the first place.

It’s a hot July day, so most of Western Washington was outdoors enjoying summer paradise like a sane person and not shopping for fall clothes. So I got a good parking space, plenty of empty dressing rooms, and lots of personal attention. And air conditioning, yay.

I stopped at the Toddler Girls’ section on my way in. I found Baby C a winter coat, winter sweatshirt, and a few long-sleeve T’s at 30-50% off; The kids section has Columbia sportswear, Tea, Pumpkin Patch, and what might be Juicy Baby but I don’t even want to know. They carry a brand called Twirls & Twigs that I haven’t seen before which are bamboo fiber and recycled fabric originals. I will post pictures soon, this stuff is worth finding (on sale).

I pulled a few kids’ clothes, had them held to think about later, and headed upstairs. All women’s departments are on the second floor in Tacoma now. I let someone “start a room” for me, and spent at least 45 minutes going through nearly every rack of clothing on the floor (some had Anniversary Sale items but were unmarked!) I skipped Narrative, Petite Focus, St. John, coats, and a few other specialty sections. In addition to the standard Workwear stuff (trousers, blouses, dresses) I decided to try on jeans, a pair of beautiful Hunter Green cords (Fall’s new neutral!) and a mess of Cute Tops. There were a few leather jackets mixed with the jeans and I decided to try those on even though I haven’t worn a leather jacket since I moved to Chicago in 1997. I chose a few bras on sale to try them on under the other stuff. We packed the room with probably 40-50 items, and then it was time to try on and see what works

I tend to over-purchase in situations like this. I tried to be as critical as possible about the clothes. When I start rationalizing, like “this wouldn’t be too bad in a pinch,” I forced myself to ask, “If I bought this now, would I look forward to wearing it on Monday? ” Or the first Monday it’s below 70 degrees, anyway. Sale prices distort my decision-making so I try not to look at them until the end. “That’s worth buying for $29” is a big no-no – so I have a “half-again” rule: Would it be worth buying for $45?

This will work

Classiques Entire wrap top with side-ruching; Semantiks tweedy trousers. All pants are too long for me.

I love the Semantiks pants at Point of View (I bought a few pairs of these last year and wore them so much they are getting worn out). This year’s had big cuffs which don’t really work on the Queen of England, so when I get them hemmed I probably won’t keep the cuff. I tried a variety of tops with each pants, but since my idea is that absolutely everything matches absolutely everything else (pants are neutral, tops are print/colored), I didn’t worry too much about mix-and-match. I decided to photograph as I went. You’d think that with a three-way mirror, you get an honest perspective from all angles, but the camera added yet another dimension of honesty. Here I am (above) realizing that I forgot to lose 5 pounds. I have to either suck it in with the pantyline or go up a size (which would be too big in the wrong places and require alterations.) 

Classiques Entier Silk/cotton/cashmere cowl-neck sweater, Semantiks trousers

Classiques Entier Silk/cotton/cashmere cowl-neck sweater, Semantiks trousers

The Classiques Entier tops were a thrill — perfect fit and great price. I got multiple colors because these things are going to rock in the winter, under suits or cardigans (but will still look cute on their own).

I tried on a cute BCBG Maz Azria wrap top with a kind of crazy print. The wrap style is really working on me, but the waist tie was too fussy. Ultimately this one didn’t make the cut — I had too many things I liked better to fit into the budget.

BCBG Wrap top wit interesting print. I liked it, but it didn’t make the cut due to budget considerations

BCBG Wrap top with interesting print. I liked it, but it didn't make the cut due to budget considerations

Time for the Cute Little Print tops. I love a bright print top with an otherwise conservative outfit (like a suit), so I wanted to find a few. Point of View has a whole mess of these on sale, organized by size. A lot of these are Sweet Pea brand. The prices are competitive but they are a meshy nylon with raw edges and the fit is really iffy and they can scratch, too. I tried a bunch on, trying to focus on shape more than print.
Prints. Don’t think too hard about prints. Just keep going.
Point of View nylon tops. Don’t think too hard about prints . . . just keep going.

I’ve been thinking that the fabric print is like the melody of a song: It’s what we notice on the surface, it might be what we call the song (“the one that goes la la la? You know the purple one with the orange flowers?”) But the cut and shape of a garment are the rhythm. They are the structure and foundation. They will make or break it. You can like the print or dislike it, but if the cut is wrong you’re just toodling along. For this reason I tried on as many different styles as I could, and decided to sort by print later. The results:

Cute, love the ruffles and buttons, but shiny and weirdly baggy

Cute, love the ruffles and buttons, but shiny and weirdly baggy

Cut not going to make up for print on this one

Cut not going to make up for print on this one

I had a point here: I think cap sleeves work here, good bust ruching. Too much going on (those are raw-edged ruffles) and the peach/charcoal colors are too weird for me

I had a point here: I think cap sleeves work here, good bust ruching. Too much going on (those are raw-edged ruffles) and the peach/charcoal colors are too weird for me

Photo taken for the good of the blog-reading public: What happens when you DONT dress a lemon right

Photo taken for the good of the blog-reading public: What happens when you DON'T dress a lemon right

Ah. Feels so nice to cover the tum in some drapey, lettuce-edged layers. Wait, am I wearing green?

Ah. Feels so nice to cover the tum in some drapy, lettuce-edged layers. Wait, am I wearing green?

This was in the maybe pile for a long time. Now I’m wondering why. Beautiful color and thats my cut, but the knit is a big old Tummy Fail

Semantiks Sweater: I held this in the "maybe" pile for a long time. Now I'm wondering why – it’s clearly a No. Beautiful color and that's my cut, but the knit is a big old Tummy Fail

Time for the leather jacket . . .

Stretch beyond my comfort zone with biker chic; Stretching leather beyond its comfort zone smushing the boobs down

Stretch beyond my comfort zone with biker chic; Stretching leather beyond its comfort zone smushing the boobs down

And then quickly panicked and went back to my comfort zone: cardigans . . .

Black leather no, brown cable hoodie sweater yes. Comfort zone, whew!

Black leather no, brown cable hoodie sweater yes. Comfort zone, whew!

And its practical! If I dont mind the Franciscan brother look

And it's practical! If I don't mind the Franciscan brother look

Liked the detail on this cardigan but it didn’t totally work. For the record this is the best my hair has ever looked in my life.

Liked the detail on this cardigan but it didn't totally work. For the record this is the best my hair has ever looked in my life.

Raspberry crochet cardigan with black ribbon tie -- Smile! You love this one!

Raspberry crochet cardigan with black ribbon tie -- Smile! You love this one!

I loved this and I did buy it. Beautiful knit, interesting stripes, good back detail for a cardigan -- love sweaters like this sitting at my desk all winter, only problem is . . .

I loved this and I bought it. Beautiful knit, interesting stripes, good back detail for a cardigan -- love sweaters like this sitting at my desk all winter, only problem is . . .

. . . for a minute, I thought this was a picture of my Mom FOR REAL. This is a Mom sweater.  A good thing if it means Im 6 taller but hmmm . . .

. . . This could be picture of my Mom. FOR REAL. I love my mom but this isn’t what I was going for. I think I might give this to my mom.

Dresses!

A NAS Featured Item: Blue Ponte knit. Really fascinating dress, doesnt quite work -- the cut fights me at too many places.

A NAS Featured Item: Blue Ponte knit. Really fascinating dress, doesn't quite work -- the cut fights me at too many places.

BCBG brown knit . . . didnt even need to try it on, I was so sure it would be perfect.  I bought it, but kind of wish it was a different color. This is my third brown work dress.

BCBG brown knit . . . didn't even need to try it on, I was so sure it would be perfect. I bought it, but kind of wish it was a different color. This is my third brown work dress.

Gray Calvin Klein. As you can see Im debating it.  The sleeves have sweet bows that I liked. It matches a suit jacket I have thats actually a different brand. For $80 I brought it home but I still might return it.

Gray Calvin Klein. As you can see I'm debating it. The sleeves have "sweet" bows that I liked. It matches a suit jacket I have that's actually a different brand. For $80 I brought it home but I still might return it.

I dont like this, I dont even want to like it.  This dress made me sad.

I don't like this, I don't even want to like it. This dress made me sad.

And some casual stuff . . .

These cords made me happy. Hunter green Christopher Blue Bootcuts, 45% OFF DUDES.

These cords made me happy. Hunter green Christopher Blue Bootcuts, 45% OFF DUDES.

Why I dont wear crewnecks.  Love this except the bust is going to fit even worse after that goes through the dryer.

Why I don't wear crewnecks. Love this except the bust is going to fit even worse after that goes through the dryer.

It took maybe an hour to get through it all, with the help of the saleswoman running back for other colors. I didn’t really need her to run back for other sizes, since I knew what would fit my shoulders in those brands, and everything else is cut.  If I go up a size to fit where it’s tight, it’s not going to work somewhere else., and I might as well just narrow it down.

I got rid of a lot of “No’s,” including a few things I didn’t get pictures of. I also found a perfect pair of jeans that I didn’t photograph at the time but stay tuned, I’ll be wearing those suckers all winter. I hauled everything out to be rung up, took the bras I liked over to Intimates to grab matching bottoms. I think I sorted out a few more things at the register because I knew I was going over budget. The air conditioning must have been getting to me. You know what I love? They have stools at the counter so you can sit down and drink the rest of your Diet Pepsi while they ring you up. They also helped me carry everything to the car.

Then it was to shoes. Long story short (too late!) I found the purple suede flats (pic below) which were an easy Yes. I liked a bunch of heels, they didn’t have any of the colors I liked in my size. They offered to order, but then I found The Boots. I’m falling asleep, my laptop broke and it’s 90 degrees in my house so I can’t post a picture right now . . . but let’s just say, the Cole Haan Air pumps that I love so much I married them and take pictures of them at every opportunity? These are those, but boots, stacked heel, Nappa leather, and Chocolate brown, but I swear it looks like a beautiful dark gray or maybe taupe.  Or maybe I’m just exhausted. Anyway these boots are my new boyfriend, and they demand that I’m monogamous (okay this metaphor isn’t working, but the point is $1 boots = $three shoes so I didn’t get other shoes).

Then I rushed out: Swung through Toddlers to sort and pay for the stuff I wanted for Baby C. Tried to look at handbags and hosiery but dude, if you are tired of reading this, believe me I was tired of doing it, so I gave up. I had no idea at that point whether I even needed a purse or not.

30 miles home – this time with bad traffic and lots of Cheezits. Got home, got approval from the Marital Community for the Baby C clothes, and started trying to model a few outfits before I gave up in the heat and went for my last Mike’s Hard Lemonade instead. Summary: Two trousers, two dresses, quite a few cute tops mostly long-sleeved. Three cardigans. 1 ea jeans and cords. No biker jacket; Amazing boots. Part of me feels like apologizing or explaining for buying so much stuff – but as I’ve said before, know what you can and will spend on clothes and it’s not about explaining why (to yourself or anyone else). We won’t see much of my new stuff during the summer, but come fall I will definitely have a closetfull of good stuff to get me out of bed on those cold dark mornings – and hopefully keep me out of the Target Women’s Department scrambling to put together outfits the minute the weather turns.

Either way, I’ll let you know.

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