Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Spring in Your Step - Tempting our Wallets with New Releases

Happy Thursday!

Ah - you know it is not spring where I live.  In fact, we got a dump of 35 cm of snow over night.  Sigh...

But in other parts of the world, Spring has well and truly sprung and the retailers want us to embrace their vision of spring and hop to it please. 

Many of the online retailers have released their new things, some of which have caught my eye, others of which have scared me with their lack of quality materials and pricing.  Lots of pictures in this post, but not a lot of love or hope, save a few items which I assume will be of good quality.

J Crew:

I still love to take a gander at the new j crew releases.  Old Habits die hard and J Crew does have the best of the web sites to whip one into a fury, I think!

Some things caught my eye:

The Dree Dress in Stripe:

Dree dress in stripe

This dress looks promising, but it is silk (and you know how I fare with silk) and it is expensive and I have had lousy luck with the placement of the waists on most J Crew dresses in the last few years.  They seem to be vying with my breasts for placement!

I also really liked the melon jacquard dress below.  This would be aspirational dressing at its worst, as I cannot think where I would wear it, but you know I do love me some bling!  I could do a Kathy and wear my jean jacket with it.  And I do love the melon colour!  But...

Gilded dot brocade dress

There were other things to like, but what I really liked was just too darn expensive (see further down!), so here is what I am actually thinking about because of the sale:

Lightweight Bermuda Shorts

I love the lighter cotton of these and the length and am looking at navy for summer.  I would normally not consider buying shorts in March, but they are on sale for a good price and I find that the classic colours almost never go on sale later or are all gone in my size:

Lightweight bermuda shortLightweight bermuda short


The other thing I am contemplating is the Downtown Field Jacket in Navy.  I need a new spring coat for bouncing around - all of my coats are dressy for spring.  I know some of you have it and would like your thoughts, since it is on sale for $125, which I consider to be a good price!

The downtown field jacket

What I was most disappointed about was the prices.  Even with the 25% -30% off, J Crew has just gotten crazy expensive.  All of the really nice prints are in the $400-500 range.

Embroidered silk skirtCollection No. 2 pencil skirt in shadow floral

I always compare these to my dream skirt that got away, the 2008 Giverny, which was silk, lined in cotton I believe and $150.  The skirt on the left is $400, the skirt on the right is $576.  Again, at these prices, I will buy better quality elsewhere, but how disappointing. 

A cotton dress for $430 Jcrew?  Really?  It is lovely, but what am I missing?

Collection painter's rose dress

Banana Republic:

Oh Gosh, I wish they would get a nicer website.  Is it just me?  Banana Republic suffers from the exact opposite problem from J Crew, whereby the clothes on the website seem uninspiring, but look much better in person.  They also use too much polyester, which may be fine in the spring, but when things get humid around here, watch out!

Still a couple of items look promising:

If I could wear orange on top I would buy this cotton shift in a heartbeat!

Orange piped v-neck sheath

The Monogram Belted White Sheath:

BR Monogram Belted White Sheath

Kate Spade

Kate Spade has gone too trendy (or maybe I have gone less trendy?).  Nothing in the new releases would work for me, save a white linen-tencel dress and I already have a white linen dress.  sigh...

Tory Burch

The only thing which really caught my eye was the Gene dress: 



Brora

Saving my cheddah if I buy due to exchange rate, but...

Linen-Cotton Cardigan in Kingfisher




Washed Linen Shift Dress




Herringbone Linen Skirt




Lands End

I really liked the skirt below, but at 100% poly, it is likely not going to work for me...I am noticing a LOT of poly everwhere this year!



Women's Pleated Skirt


Eileen Fisher

Love this flowy, short skirt in ink:


This dress doesn't appear to have been released yet, but I think it would be the perfect summer dress for me:


Garnet Hill

I have yet to order from Garnet Hill but do like some of their things quite a lot, like the retro cap-sleeve dress:


Retro Cap-Sleeve Knit Dress

One of these essential summer sundresses: I amthinking the green would be lovely!



Or this Eileen Fisher Dress:

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Ballet-Neck Dress

Nougat London:

How about a lovely blue dress with embroidery?  Even the lining is cotton!


Or a silk cotton blouse?


Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers spring items impressed, more so than their winter offerings, which are a little too preppy for my taste:

Sleeveless Shift Dress:

Navy

Okay - absolutely classic!

And how about this silk rose print dress?  I might wear it to the races, darling!

Blue-Green

How about a gorgeous pale gold dress to the wear to the royal christening this summer?

Black

and hat, natch...

Black-Natural


If I had to give a prize, I would say the Brooks Brothers has won my heart in the new releases lottery...

Oh I know - all very dressy, but one can't get over the habit of thinking one will be invited to VERY important events all at once...


THING I HAVE NO BUSINESS EVEN THINKING ABOUT BUT AM THINKING ABOUT ANYWAY

Like, for instance, this Elie Tahari skirt:

VERA SKIRT



So how about you?  Any of the new releases from any of the companies catching your fancy?  Or are you like me and wondering why some of the clothing is just getting so darn expensive and of such cheap or man-made material?  And I highly recommend that for those of you who live near a JC Penney, that you get yourself there ASAP if you like trendy little items, as Joe Fresh is absolutely ripping off J Crew, but with much better quality IMO!

SO as of this moment, I am contemplating the downtown jacket on sale and maybe a pair of shorts and that is it.  That would be April's budget blown, but could be worth it if the quality was good!

Sorry for the long post - once I started looking I had to share my thoughts.  Am I the only one not absolutely mad over this spring's pickings?

Have a happy Thursday and Stay Safe Out There!



72 comments:

  1. You're right about J Crew prices! Although on sale things aren't too bad. I can't comment on the field jacket, but it looks like a classic for a good price.
    I like the look of those Brooks Brothers dresses.... And the Brora cardigan.
    Here in the Antipodes there aren't a lot of good online stores so I might have to see if Brooks Brothers ships here.

    Have you ever checked out Cos? OT sure if they are in N America, but they are a Swedish brand that have some lovely basics and good quality knits.

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    1. HI Ruth - I have never even heard of Cos, so will definitely take a look! If I may be so bold - have you been in the Antipodes forever or are you are a recent arrival? A place that has always intrigued me!

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    2. Hi WMM - I've been here since 1999, so sort of recent arrival. We spent a year in Sydney in 1995/96 recovering from an earthquake where we used to live. We liked it so much that we applied to emigrate.... It took a few years, but we finally moved here and are now childed and mortgaged! So probably here for another decade or so....although hubs is an Austrian mountain man, so pines for snow and cold!

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    3. hi Ruth - that is so neat! it just seems so exotic to me! WHat are the temperatures like there these days?

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  2. That should read 'not sure'... Damn iPad!

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  3. I agree with ruth,COS has nice basics,they are actually the "better" brand from H&M.

    Prices are crazy at the crew,when i put all my wants in the virtual shoppingbasket,i was shocked how much it was.
    Prices seem to be higher with every rollout:(

    I have the downtown field jacket and really like it.The one thing that surprised me was that it doesnt have stretch,so def dont size down.
    You can see my review here.

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    1. Thanks so much Ina - that is good to know that it is TTS so I will be careful.

      I had the same experience with my virtual shopping cart - you definitely have to get promo items and THEN another 30% off for so many of the things and that darn hummingbird skirt has never shown up as far as I can see!

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    2. I have this jacket too and have gotten a lot of wear out of it ( as my mum would say). It is not water resistant as even fog seems to dampen it, but it looks polished over jeans, pants, skirts. I wore it to fly down here layered over cashmere and a T. Those prices are madness. I got a blue rose lightweight knit dress from T.Bahama with a cowl neck; the print is similar to the BB one.

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    3. Thanks Ina and Ruth for the Cos selection. Do you know other Euro brands that have good basics? I just want v neck tops and a few tanks.

      I have almost no shopping choices here, but I'll be in Munich this month, hopefully, so I could check things out there. I wish there were more Uniqlo stores in Europe!

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    4. selection = suggestion.

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    5. Abby,there are two COS stores in munich.
      Try Marc O' Polo,that is another store with a lot of basic pieces.There are a couple of those stores in munich too.
      HTH

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    6. I want to shop in a store calle Marc O'Polo - that's like a name I would come up with!!!

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    7. I love Marc O'Polo, it's very much like my darling Lacoste IMO. Pricier though.

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    8. Hi Abby, not sure if there's one near you, but Comptoir des Cottoniers can be good too, for basics. Also APC and Agnès B. pricy, but great quality. Petit Bateau is also great for tees.

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    9. Thank you, Ruth. Sadly we have none of those stores here :( I think there might be a Petit Bateau in Lausanne (I'm in Zurich). I'll be in Paris for a day over Easter, and of course they have many lovely stores, but it won't be a shopping day. If I go to Munich, I'll have time to look around.

      Ruth, you're in Australia, right? I think you're similarly deprived of mid-range clothing retail there. I find that having such poor access to the clothes I want helps me shop less, but it also ends up meaning I spend more of my vacation time shopping than I'd like to. Do you ever feel that way?

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    10. I visited Cos last night - I quite like it! and xoxo - I love Lacoste as well! SO interesting, all of our challenges to find nice mid-range priced clothing...While I live in Canada - I live in a place where the there are two nice boutiques full of very expensive clothes and the rest are cheap places with all of the same stuff.

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  4. The exchange rate is horrible for us just now, how I miss the olden days years and years ago.
    Hibernation should be ending in a few weeks times, hmm, wonder who I want to be this year?

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    1. Well I will wait in great anticipation! I am just so picky these days and need so little that what I want to buy from now on I REALLY want to have in my wardrobe - either filling a gap or something that I will adore wearing..

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  5. Ok, I'll admit it...I did order the cut out hobo and the short sleeve chambray shirt from J Crew, you just don't find a lot of short sleeve button ups anymore. I love the clothes in garnet hill they just never seem to fit me well. Not sure why, but brooks brothers is struggling a bit here. They have closed our local store. My fav of you pics was the BR white shift but that is a disaster waiting to happen.

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    1. BB - you made me laugh! I LOVE that purse! I missed the chambray shirt and I bet you will get a ton of use from it! I am with you on the BR white shift - it is wonderful in theory, likely less so in Wendy execution!

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    2. BB, no admissions required ;-) I have that short-sleeve chambray shirt from seasons past and a firm staple, also great for tossing over tees and tanks in spring.

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    3. My work is done and my flight doesn't leave until 7:40PM. It's gonna be one long ass afternoon. Oh well, guess I'll peruse the Internet. Or take a nap.

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  6. I love that Eileen Fisher skirt you showed. I ordered from Brooks Brothers for the first time recently, some sandals from their sale section and the quality is excellent at a fantastic price. From J. Crew, I only truly loved things that were more than $300 (one dress is $800), so I know what you mean, that is crazy. I've been composing a letter to Mickey in my head and need to write it down, about the pricing but more so about the dress lengths.

    I may live south of you, but it is most definitely still winter here. This is the coldest March I can remember. I think we had 2 nice days. I just heard the salt truck driving by >sigh<

    I think your picks are good. I have a Factory downtown field jacket in olive color, but I've seen the retail blue one and I like it a lot. I can't own two of the same coat or I'd buy it :) It's not the darkest of navy, but it's a nice and useful color, I think.

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    1. Hi Cate - I haven't checked the factory online store - will do so as I always liked the green as well. I am just so sad that the things I really want start at a minimum of $375. That is a huge change in pricing in the last few years and I guess is simply the product of popularity, but they have sure lost some lustre in my eyes because of it!

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  7. I like your picks, most especially your outfit for the royal christening, that hat will be be fabulous on you.
    I have a couple of things from Brora I am planning to buy at some point but other than that I couldn't be less thrilled, those prices at JCrew are ridiculous. Did you notice the fit looked awful online on some of the models? How are those garments going to hang on real people?

    I liked a few things at BB but again with the short-short skirts. I love the ink blue EF skirt, I haven't seen that, looks like a good basic!

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    1. Dani - I never notice the short-short, as nothing is ever short-short on old me!!! I was just really sad about the prices. Even the porcelain paisley of last summer was soo much better priced that these things. I was shocked by the fit of things I tried on when I was in JC. I think there are very few amazing figures out there that can withstand that onslaught of an unflattering cut. I don't mind doing a bit of nip and tuck on a good quality timeless piece (like my new ralph lauren dress for example) but I refuse to do that because of poor construction. Some of the tees that I looked at in the store actually had small holes on them, as did a cashmere sweater that was hanging in a sale rack at the back. I may start buying 2007-2008 on ebay!

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    2. Dani, there's a decent white linen safari jacket in BR that made me think of "your" Brora twin, until I got up close for the heavy poly lining - eesh.

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    3. GF - that almost made it to the list till I saw the poly lining - i had a pair of JC linen trousers with a poly lining and they were murderous in the heat

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  8. ROUND-UP Thanks for all the picks - and pans - WMM. I just saw that BB dress yesterday en route back from bank and confirm it is very short - wouldn't event hit knees on me. I have the exact field jacket and it is a favourite, will be big in my spring rotation. It is a bright navy as cate notes and TTS IMO too. The chest pockets also aren't too bulky. (Not a particular issue for me but some of the past JC fields have been a bit pocket prominent both up top and hips - which I do care about ;-) That Nougat dress is beautiful, but pattern placement would be like headlights pour moi.

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    1. WMM, just a side note that the BR US site is better, more outfit features, search capability etc. They are working on bringing comparable up here, but has to do with how Gap's three core brands are managed internationally.

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    2. GF - thanks for review - YOU KNOW I don't need bulk chest pockets! Funny on placement of embroidery - I was excited as it would make me look like I had hips.

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    3. Oh and PS - knew about difference with BR site - thanks. The BR site just leaves me cold - I will give kudos to J Crew for making us excited!

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    4. I had to go back and check dress lengths. The Brora linen shift is 91cm, which is 35 inches. The Brooks Brothers shift is 36 inches. I think both are a bit short for me at 5'9". I'm trying not to buy as many short dresses these days. Maybe the Brora linen shirt dress would be a better choice. It comes in at 105 cm, which is 41 inches.

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    5. xoxo Thanks for the BB comparison. Almost certain I spotted that dress yesterday new in store (it's right next to where I had an appt. so was just zipping past). Only 5'2" but it looked relatively short and I don't like fussing at work re. reaching file cabinets, A/V etc. Do appreciate that BB dresses/ skirts usually have a better hem allowance than many.

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    6. I definitely cannot wear short dresses and skirts at work either. It's entirely possible the measurement listed in the website copy is incorrect. If you found it short at 5'2" it is definitely too short for me!

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    7. My gosh - that is short!

      Funny - I was raving about the too big arm holes to my 21 year old daughter and she said that all the girls her age love them and wear bateaus over their bras. huh. WHo know? Not me!

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    8. That trend started last summer here. They also wear the bandeaus with the see through shirts..not nude, hot pink. I can't even stand it when my bra strap peeks out accidentally.

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    9. BB - I know - I feel so old-fashioned

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  9. WMM , For casual pieces check out the gap . They have some easy cotton sundresses you can just throw on and the colors are great! They may not be the best quality but easy everyday pieces. You must go to a shop, colors and prints just not showing well online. Happy Spring!!!

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    1. Thanks Anon - forgot the Gap - will check them out - closest one is 2 hours away - usually have to order online,but at at least the returns are simpler!

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  10. I haven't seen one thing I'd want - not here, or even window shopping on Worth Avenue in Florida, which is maybe the most expensive street ever. So, it sort of seems that money is not the object - just don't like the Spring lines at all. Will be wearing the summer version of my winter uniform it seems.

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    1. Kathy - I think there are some seasons that are just not for us. However, if we do get invited to the royal christening, we are going to have to up our game!!

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  11. That is a lot of snow Wendy. You must be piling it up to the roof by now. We were supposed to get an "Alberta Clipper" last evening but so far nothing. It may have just clipped on over to Saskatchewan and totally missed us.

    It's no secret that I love Brooks Brothers and I had to break down and order some things from the Black Fleece line, they should be arriving this week. I am also trying that navy shift dress when it gets to the store. I love their Loro Piana fabrics and the linings for LP have always been Bemberg Cupro, which are delightful.

    The orange and blue dress from J.Crew is striking and caught my eye as I love blue and orange together but it would likely be too overwhelming for me. I think a print like that has to be on a garment that fits like a glove or it can look dowdy and like you I have not had great success with J.Crew dresses the past few seasons. I think the elastic waist on the silk stripe dress would be a disaster on us busty gals so you're better off without it.

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    1. Agree on the JC dresses. I was so disappointed with the navy scalloped dress as it fit beautifully, except in the arms holes. sigh.. I will just be saving money this summeer! :-)

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  12. ok, so it's not just me, I was afraid my lack of interest was due to hormones or something.

    I have seen the orange/blue JC dress in person and you do not want it. The orange is very very orange, and there's a poly lining. I saw it in a store window on a cloudy day, not bad, went inside and needed sunglasses.

    Elie Tahari things go on sale a lot, Saks is a good source.

    And it's not as if we're required to buy things.

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    1. Fred - you kill me! "and its not as if we're required to buy things!" - you are so right! I thought maybe it was just me too! I KNEW that orange dress would be too orange! Ah well, I do have lots and since I am wearing so little, should not be an issue for summer! (wait that sounded like I was going nudist or something!)

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  13. Hi Wendy,

    I would totally wear that orange and blue dress, but I'd never buy it for that price! I really like the blue dress with embroidery, though it's a bit on the fancy side - but beautiful and a nice cut.

    Pastels seem huge this spring, and I am deeply not a pastel person, so it looks like my dollars are safe for now ;)

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    1. Funny Abby, I was just thinking same about all the mint, apricot and pale yellow. But there is a fair amount of navy around too (perennial nautical) so I am not 100% home free ;-)

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    2. Yes, the navy is always there to get you :)

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    3. I am not a pastel person either, but the navy can be my ruination...

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  14. I just went to the Brooks Bros website to check out the Black Fleece line, as xoxo had recommended some of the clothing. The model looks like she's 12 years old! I kept thinking I had the children's line or something. I couldn't tell about the clothing because it looked like a young teenager trying on her mother's clothes? Curious if anyone else noticed that.

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    1. Well I had to go check :) She doesn't look pre-teen young to me, but she definitely is swimming in some of those clothes!

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    2. I am a stalwart BB shopper, and was surprised at how juvenile some of their offerings are. They are not always staid, but are generally work appropriate, and this year saddened me, because I felt they were sheep like in joining all of the other retailers in trying to pander to teens.

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    3. I've shopped Brooks Brothers for years and Black Fleece increasingly each year since it first came out. I'm 27 and preppy and I don't find the clothing or models too young. I recently ordered a couple of sweaters, a button-front shirt and a blazer from Black Fleece. Maybe the long sweater is a youngish item but the rest are pretty classic pieces that I can wear to my conservative office job. I'll put up reviews when they arrive and see what you all think. The quality is what draws me in, Black Fleece fabrics and construction are really top notch.

      I stopped looking at models a long time ago. Some of the ones on designer runways are literally not old enough to drive and I used to find that off-putting but now I just ignore it.

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    4. XOXO- I agree with you and find the Black Fleece sophisticated. It is more the full skirted Mini-mini dresses and skirts in the regular line that I am surprised at. I don't look at the models either, but (I am older than you) over the years I felt that BB really skirted the trends and still delivered smashing identifiable pieces. I feel like they are at an in between phase right now.

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    5. I think that's why I have always liked all of your blogs because there are pictures of real people wearing the clothes like real people would. Maybe I lack imagination when I look on the clothing sites???

      I was just in H&M this a.m. with daughter after an appt and almost bought a maternity dress. that could be a sign...

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    6. KnitYarns, I haven't bought nearly as much from regular Brooks Brothers the past couple of seasons and I think you're right that they are at an in between phase. I've bought almost nothing from J.Crew either, I don't know what kind of phase they are in but it clearly isn't working for me.


      Wendy, sorry for being such a thread hog today. I can't help my fingers, they are possessed!

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    7. XOXO-- I think YOU should be the Black Fleece model! Smashing!!

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    8. xoxo - I LOVE it when people are thread hogs! You all know so much more than I on these subjects and I always learn something!

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  15. OOPs , lost my comment. WMM- Great that your are branching out. I love the Tory Burch dress and your Nougat picks. I agree with WFF that Tahari- which- caveat- also has many different price/quality lines is always on sale at Bloomingdales or Saks. I am your height and those Brooks Brothers dresses would be short on me. I really miss when BR stopped making quality items. As a matter of fact, that is when I turned to J Crew!

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    1. I love Tahari, too and have a few nice pieces by him. I don't know folks - I think it is time to start our own line.

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  16. hello wwm, i love that j crew field jacket too. love the color. and i adore the bb sleeveless shift. that would be my go to dress all summer long. if i had somewhere to go to that is. anyway, i love all your pics but like you hate all the crazy prices. xo

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    1. HI Janet - I am looking for same style, just cheaper and machine-washable - is that too much to ask? heehee, I think it is!

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  17. I've been on a buying hiatus. But my heart belongs to Lilly Pulitzer, so I'll probably end up buying something from them in April or May. I really like that Tahari skirt!

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    1. Merry Wife - I can never find Pulitzer around here - must check where they ship! I just love that sequined skirt, too - reminds me of a painting! But honestly, I can't justify it as I would need to be wearing it ALL the time!

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    2. Lilly Pulitzer is hard to find around here too. I usually wait for whatever I want to end up on eBay. :)

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  18. I love the Downtown Field Jacket, it's been on my list forever, but I could never catch it on sale or if I did, not in my size, then I wasn't sure about the olive color that it was issued in previously. Finally, all of the stars aligned last week and I bought the Factory version, in navy, in my size, on sale with an additional coupon for less than US$60. And I love it. It just looks crisp and dandy :)

    I am really enjoying seeing the new JC catalog images. And I agree with you, not sure what it is about JC, but they do give me the gimmes! I am priced out of everything that I loved though, and none of it was practical for my daily life anyway, so I am better off this way.

    I also agree with you about BR - I was just over at their site this morning thinking "If only they had better models or better styling or *something*" - glad to see it's not only me.

    I love that Eileen Fisher skirt. It's simple, but with a bit of something special in the shape/drape and seaming. EF hasn't appealed to me in general, but I do like that skirt.

    The print on that Elie Tahari skirt is lovely, but nearly $400 for poly? I get that it is bedazzled poly, but still.

    Finally, have you looked at Talbots? I know that, for me, their cuts can be, well, not very modern, and I'm sometimes sized out, but they have some skirts (full! and full-length!) and dresses in cotton that I will be investigating further :) They also have a sheath dress that reminds me of that Tahari skirt, except that it is in silk and half the price. Another retailer that I'm looking at again is Loft. I've been avoiding them because of their love of poly and obsession with banded tops with dolman sleeves. But they seem to have tempered that design a bit and have made a return (at least in some cases) to cotton and linen. They are always offering some promotion or another and are now shipping internationally as well.

    Sorry for the long comment, I've been noodling on Spring for a while now so thank you for the post!

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    1. Thanks - you know - I haven't look at Talbots at all for awhile. In fact, I think I forgot about Talbots! I will have to look! And you are so right about the sequin skirt. My one weakness in life (wait, I can't forget wine, chocolate and George Clooney!) are prints that look painterly. I am sure that is why I loved the Giverny so much! I haven't checked out the Loft, as they don't ship to Canada, though that may have changed as I found out this a.m. that Zara now ships to Canada. So there is hope! I think I will check out the factory site for the coat as well as other retailers. I actually saw a cute fatigue version at H&M in the window this am, so may also check that out! Thanks for the great comment!

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    2. Paula - thanks for the heads up about Talbots! I got a caatalogue right after you posted! How serpendipitous is that???? I saw the dress and two others that might make a summer list!

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  19. Hi WMM! I am so sorry to hear that you have gotten more snow, as I know how much you are looking forward to spring! It is warm and sunny here today, with increasingly warmer temperatures predicted for the weekend so spring has definitely arrived for us.

    I have found many items during my online shopping travels as of late that I am quite smitten with...mainly from Tory Burch, Brooks Brothers, Vince, Ralph Lauren, and LL Bean Signature. Not too much from J.Crew, but I did just get the Liberty perfect shirt in June's Meadow floral and absolutely love it. I have quite a bit on my spring/summer shopping list, but that has a lot to do with the fact that they are our predominant seasons here, and I will still be wearing clothing from my list come this October, too. :)

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    1. FFM! I am so glad you got that print it is so pretty! I bit today and ordered the sunny yellow ballet flats. I watched them all last summer and I have the nicest sundress from Esprit that I they will be perfect with, as well as my blues. I am quite happy given the price. I have to check out LL Bean Signature - I keep forgetting them!!! I did check out Talbots - Paula posted on them and then poof! Suddenly the catalogue came in the mail. There are a couple of possible keepers when the sales get a bit better!!

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