Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, in which WMM buys a dress from Sylvia and Ralph and shoes from Tory

Oh, the joys of a budget and a spring list....

Thanks to the above, and the gentle reminders by you all, I was on the straight and narrow vis-a-vis shopping during my trip to New York City.

It was hard!!!!  For some reason I forgot that NYC is the shopping capital of the world (or at least my world!)

I did not exceed my budget and I got the dress and shoes that I wanted for spring.

I also got a scarf and bracelet from J Crew that I will show you tomorrow, both of which I snagged on the secret sale.

What I have discovered: when you are on a budget and sticking to a list, you are VERY picky.  "Is THIS what I want to spend my money on?" you ask yourself, time and again.  In the old days, I would have quoted my friend Admiral Farragut and cried "Damn the Torpedoes!" and bought whatever I wanted.  But no, that is not how you build a thoughtful, affordable wardrobe, is it? Especially if you are thinking of making a major life transition in the coming months...

Given my price point for a dress, I decided that the best place for me to go (since I was familiar with the brands down there) was Macys.  Oh yes, and I had a Macys coupon too.

After wandering around, husband in tow, I settled on the Ralph Lauren section, since Ralph and I have historically done all right in Spring and Summer together.  And that is where Wendy met Sylvia.

How to describe Sylvia?  She was a tall, good-looking southern woman of an unknown age who looked like Gayle King to me, only Gayle King when she is wearing her glasses.  Sylvie spotted Barry and I browsing in the racks and was like a heat-seeking missle.  "Barry!" she cried "You go sit on that leather chair!"  He did as he was told!

"Wendy - size!"  It wasn't a question, but a command, though her voice dripped honey.  I gave her the size and she was off.  And the onslaught began.

I think I tried on 40 dresses.  Oh that is an exaggeration, but only a slight one.  They just kept coming.  Who knew Ralph was so frickin' prolific? And they were accompanied by skirts and jackets and blouses.  At one point, Sylvia brought me a slinky tshirt and said (and I am not lying "it's time to bring sexy back!"


He is smiling because Sylvia is working for him and he knows she will make the sale..
 Some of the dresses never left the dressing room, which we will not discuss because really, do you want to hear a grown-ass woman cry?  No?  Some left the dressing room.  "Barry!" Sylvia would say "Do you like Wendy in this dress?  Doesn't she look beautiful?"  And he would say "yes!", because, well, he isn't stupid after all.  And then on our way back to the dressing room, Sylvia would say, conspiratorially: "I think he would like you to buy two dresses..."  As if!!!!!

Finally, we settled on a dress that I would never have picked out without Sylvia, a cherry red shift, which I think I would have avoided because of the red hair.  "Wendy!" Sylvie said "Did you not see Jessica Chastain in red?  If she can wear it, so can you!".  Well, Sylvia was right.  We won't discuss the jacket she also talked me into which I returned the next day, since it was not on the list and I didn't love it but that is a whole other story for another day, about how we get sucked into buying things in our lives that we don't mean to!

On the website:

Lauren Ralph Lauren Petite Dress, Sleeveless Crew-Neck Shift
here

And on me:

Holding Spring Purse and wearng new shoes, see below!
I did not own a red dress, as I think I thought I couldn't wear red well because of my ruddy complexion, but even this picture does not do the dress justice.  It makes me look healthy.  It is a cotton shift, very comfortable.  Simple and elegant.  Dressed down with a jean jacket (shout out to the sisters!), dressed up with a blazer or nice cardigan!  I would not have thought of it as a neutral, but in fact when I got home and started looking at what I already had in my closet, without even looking at my spring and summer items, I see there are lots of possibilities and it is a nice piece to own. It is nice as well as I associate red dresses with the promotion/education of women around heart and strokes. It was even on sale as I had a coupon, so I picked it up for $100!  I am contemplating having the sides taken in a bit below the waist and would love your thoughts on that.

So even though Sylvia scared me, she did really well!

And then I visited Tory Burch.  This was a completely different shopping experience.  You enter through the orange laquer doors and you are transported into an elegant pied-a-terre, decorated by someone with very distinct and beautiful taste, with lots of laquer, green velvet walls, chinoiserie, brass tables, etc.



Yes, those are marble logs, and yes, I did touch them, because well, when was I going to see marble logs again?

And the staff speak to you in hushed tones.  Would you like a water?  A cappucino?  What are you looking for?  I did notice that on the floors, none of the racks carry  sizes larger than medium.  Oh you can get larger, but they must "bring it up".  I tried on at least 6 pairs of shoes and then hit the pair - Sally wedges:

SALLY WEDGE



And in real-life:



 I liked that the logo was not gold.  These were also wider in the front and narrow at the heel, so they fit me like a glove.



Yes, those are my pasty white legs.  Soon time to dig out the self tanner.  I was wearing tights when I bought them and they still fit perfectly.

I did try on a couple of dresses, just to see, but I found none were flattering on me.  That was good luck, considering the price and the one long sleeve silk jersey did not feel nice to touch so I did not even try it on.

Of course, I thought I should show a couple of outfits, a la Dani or Ema, just to show that I can do it!


This is a lighter palate with the heather flax cardigan, some lovely summer beads I own and maybe the little flower pin...

And with my little faux leather blazer, which is the same colour as the shoes:


These are more early Spring looks - I will play around with other lighter cardigans and jackets and belts when things warm up.

So here is the finale of the spring budget (keeping it real!)

Purse: $160
Dress: $100
Shoes: $280
J Crew Purchases: $70
Tiffanys: $125 (not on list.  oh well - a girl has to live)

Total: $735
- consignment/paypal income: $200
Grand Net Total: $535

And now there will be no more purchases until late April/May.  Which gives me a LOT of time to think of what I need for summer!

So what do you think?  I am very pleased with my spring wardrobe purchases.  They feel special because they are limited and the shoes in particular are a dream to wear.  I think this whole "buy thoughtfully and buy less" thing is making me very happy because it is making me think very hard....

Have a Happy Monday and stay safe out there!

UPDATE!  Dani's guest blog over at Brora is up today!  Go take a look here - it is wonderful!

57 comments:

  1. I smiled through your whole post, Wendy...partly because we are on the same thinking of making meaningful purchases and sticking to my list and because I bought a very similar pair of TB wedges called Nadine. The logo is smaller and in metal. I have the same color as your new shoes and I wear those shoes so much that the CPW is close to the $1 mark. I teach so I'm on my feet a lot. They are comfy. So comfy that I bought a black pair. Have you smelled the leather? It's perfumed! I'm not joking. At first I thought I was still in a TB haze but I had my husband smell them and he confirmed what I thought! It's a great touch.

    Your posts of thinking and articulating your shopping has inspired me to stay on the straight and narrow too! Even more so now that there is someone like you I can look to for moral support; when the J Crew sale sirens scream my name or that promotion is just too good to pass up. I will stick to my list and if I miss out on something I like that is not on my list, well...life shall go on and there will be something else to covet very soon.

    Your dress looks divine and goes great with your hair and skin tone. I would try belting the dress first before you take it to a tailor. Dont forget that scarves make another outfit with that dress! Please post pix. I love your ideas and OOTD post.

    PS: you're going to wear those TB shoes most of Spring and Summer. They literally go with everything!


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    1. Thanks Wendy! You are right on the belt and scarfs! I was feeling pleased, as these were things in my upstairs closet, my closet is so tiny that my belts, shoes and scarves are in another room! I also like a shift since as i continue to love weight it can be more easily adjusted than a fancy dress! I think you are so right on the TB shoes - I cannot believe how comfortable they are already! The first night I wore them in the hotel room with socks to make them more comfy and it worked!

      We can go through this together! I think having the budget works better for me than the list, although the list really makes you focus. I absolutely committed to not spending more than $600 on clothes for Jan-Feb-March and into April. I am still cleaning out! It is a really good feeling!

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  2. Sorry, the TB wedges I have were called Natalya not Nadine.

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  3. I love the red dress on you, you look gorgeous! And the shoes are going to be the perfect foundation for spring.

    Yay for your discipline, you will be my inspiration to take heed of the torpedoes!!

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    1. Oh I wish I could say it was easy! I am finally becoming a recessionista just when the recession is pretty much done! Maybe I was a sequesterista?

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  4. I love the inside of Tory Burch shops, they are so they glam as are you in the new red dress, it's perfect on you.

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    1. Thanks Tabs. It's not like the gorgeous red dress that you (and I) like, but since I have no place to wear THAT kind of red dress, a nice cotton shift makes a lot more sense!!

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  5. Fabulous dress, and shoes! I love them together. The red is great on you!

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  6. BEST DRESSED WMM, what a great, strong choice that channels Coco, Jackie, Audrey, Mobama's White House portrait...As someone else has suggested. I would try a tan, cream or white belt above your natural waist and below your rib cage - if you want to try some additional definition. If you do decide to eventually tailor the dress slightly, it should probably be a small taper from the hip area to the hem. Your tailor should also be looking carefully at the back of the dress for fit, and also whether there is a single middle seam it is possible to slim the silhouette from or if it needs to be done from the two sides. (Shoes and bag look very happy together.)

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    1. Holy Toledo - I will need to print this out if I take them in! :-)

      I am going to hang on another month or two before any alterations - just in hopeful case!!!! Am off to pick up my peacock jacket that now has bracelet sleeves this a.m.

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  7. Ah, you are in such a great groove!

    Love what the dress does for your complexion, and yes, I would get it taken in a bit around the waist/hips/thighs. The wedges look great on you too. I love the outfits that you've created - very "you."

    I started shopping a lot differently after I worked retail for a year. I never realized how helpful sales assistants could be! I love your description of Sylvia. I have a dress from Nordstroms that is perfect for attending weddings and that I never would have looked at had the sales person not brought it to me. Oh, I miss Nordstroms!

    Amazing how effective this budgeting has been for you (combined with some fatigue regarding over-shopping).

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    1. HI Abby - I think you are right on about having a good sales person. Sylvia was a bit over-the-top, but she brought in things that she thought would suit my body, as opposed to some folks who just would have brought in anything!!! I am definitely tailoring it but will wait a few weeks since I am losing weight and don't want to do twice! To be honest, holding myself to a budget has been the only way to get off the shopping merry-go-round. It forces a thoughtfulness that I lacked! It is still hard to resist the sales sometimes, but it is quite pleasing to know you are happy with your purchases!

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  8. Hi WMM. I just started following your blog and wanted to say "hello". Congrats on your spring purchases. The dress and shoes are such flattering and versatile purchases. I'm inspired by your disciplined approach to shopping.

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    1. Thank you so much! Don't be too inspired! You should have seen me last fall and earlier this winter! I am a definite work in progress!!!!But it is fun to work it through with like-minded folks who are always so helpful with their thoughts and encouragement!

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  9. Congrats on your new purchases - all are fabulous choices!! The red dress is so versatile and will go with so many things! I am inspired by your discipline in sticking to your list and budget.

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    1. Hi Louise! Now I am going to have to sit on my hands and stay home for another 6 weeks and be a good girl!!!!

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  10. Oh my gosh that dress is gorgeous! You are working one of my absolute favourite colour combinations here: red and tan! Those Tory wedges are excellent, love the tonal logo and really they are a perfect neutral and shape. You are going to get so much wear out of them.
    Wow you know what you went to the shopping mecca of the entire world and not only did you buy two really great items you were able to stick to your budget, way to go! That takes plenty of resolve, especially with Sylvia. ;)
    The red is really flattering on you, I am very fond of both red and pink on redheads.
    Aren't the TB boutiques so gorgeous? I've only ever been in one once but I was with my MIL who was not in the mood for it, too bad as I could have stayed in there all day.
    Thanks for the link over to the Brora post today, you are a darling!

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    1. Hi Dani-Queen-of-Brora! (my new name for you- I may shorten it to DQoB!)

      I really like this red and tan combo myself. I may have to build a little colour story around it by looking around at what I have already! Maybe I should take Mr. BP to NYC next time! Paris on the other hand - he and I would both be in trouble! I'd talk him into buying a crate at E. dehellerin!!!

      I was crazy about the Tory Burch boutique. I tried a dress on that was not for me but thought of you. The top is a gorgeous print with seahorses (i know - but really tasteful - it was spectacular!) the only thing I don't know is what the lining is - most things seemed cotton, silk or acetate - but you would have to check - but you might want to check into it if you like it at all next time you are in TO - on the web it is okay - IRL it was the showstopper of the place and the clerks said every woman tries it on, which I could believe!

      http://www.toryburch.com/ADELAIDE-DRESS/51121441,default,pd.html?dwvar_51121441_color=150&start=60&cgid=clothing-dresses-skirts

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  11. The dress is gorgeous on you. Perfect color red too, not too orange. I love red on redheads.
    Cognac colored shoes are the best too- so great all through Spring/Summer. Congratulations on such great purchases!

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    1. Thanks Kathy. I was worried about the shoes before I went because I quite liked them but felt that they might not fit. I have a tendency to "walk out" of most shoes I try on - can't keep them on my heels. These were perfection!

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    2. I have very narrow heels too and often have trouble with "slippage". The shoe repair man puts something in the heel to "narrow" it and it's perfect. I've stopped walking out of my shoes. It's like $5.

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    3. Are they those little silicone things like from scholls? I have tried some like that,but I find they still don't hold, but maybe I need to go to the shoe repairman rather than a DIY!

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  12. Sylvia sounds like a hoot. Good of you to return the jacket that just didn't work. Total will power. I love the red dress on you. Definitely nip it at the waist for perfection :)

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    1. Thanks Gigi - I will be nipping for sure, but am hoping I will be nipping in 2", not 1" - a girl can dream, can't she?

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  13. The red is so pretty and I love the simplicity of it. I had a pair of T.B. Revas and wore them to death. So comfy and I think the wedge gives a little height.
    Good for staying on task especially in N.Y.
    If only Sylvia did bra fitting.

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    1. Oh Marsha - she would have her hands all over the girls! Sylvia was unstoppable!!!

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  14. Oh I am so glad you got the Sallies in the Royal tan, I have the Revas in that color and they go with everything (plus the leather logo is more comgortable to wear than the metal one that sometimes digs into my feet).
    The red is a gorgrous color on you and you can't hp wrong with Ralph. Congratulations on sticking to your budge it is hard esecially in NYC!

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    1. Thanks Ema! I almost bought a black and white gingham sheath dress by Ralph, but it was too tight in the bust! I think the red is better, but I may yet order the other. I had to go up a size in chest, knowing that I would have to alter the bottom half, which is always smaller on me!

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    2. I'm going to start calling my budget, my "budge" :)

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  15. Love the dress! RL does a fabulous job in dresses and you look gorgeous in red. TB has great stores-though IMO the sales staff at the store closest to me leaves a lot to be desired. Glad you found fabulous kicks!
    Didn't have time to comment on the Tiffany post. I spent a fair amount of time there in NY as well-all on the 2nd floor. Still thinking about some of the gorgeous things I tried nearly 2 years ago. There are a pair of earrings there still haunting me-http://www.tiffany.com/Shopping/Item.aspx?fromGrid=1&sku=18385414&mcat=148206&cid=288187&search_params=s+5-p+3-c+288187-r+101287464+101323338-x+-n+6-ri+-ni+0-t+. Someday :-)

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    1. Julie - those are NICE earrings!!! I know what you mean about the TB staff. Some of them were lovely and some, meh. There was one lovely woman of eastern european heritage who was so elegant and lovely... sigh...These are really comfortable - and you know i am all about the comfort! I may order another pair in the fall if the budget allows!!!

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    2. Julie- My friend bought and returned them, because they tarnished terribly, and were difficult to clean. Pretty, but I am sure you could find a less costly version- $750 is so much for silver.

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    3. thanks Knit Yarns! I love the look and you're right - for the price - which is high, I'm sure I could do better. Tarnishing is unacceptable! My $40 silver earrings never look bad. How disappointing for your friend.

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  16. WMM,
    You made wise and wonderful choices that are multi seasonal and flattering. I especially like your outfits. Good job!

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  17. You did really well!!! I find it hard to shop in NYC because I am overwhelmed by choices-- there must be a service for that-- and you found what you needed at a good price. Yay!

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    1. You know I would love to be a personal shopper - GF - we have outr business!

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  18. Sounds like a wonderful shopping trip!

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  19. Lovely dress! I love the colour and the red/tan combo is great. Macy's has great customer service!

    Good for you for staying on budget, I had to do that on my last trip and I'm planning out my purchases for my upcoming Chicago trip. I'm also factoring in what can't be shipped internationally (or things that cost a lot of $$$$$ to ship) .... time to do an evaluation!

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    1. It is hard, because you get so picky! I have never been to Chicago - is one the list!

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  20. You do look radiant in your new dress. It does come through in the pictures. You wouldn't be a woman if you didn't buy something extra. Just curious, when you returned the jacket did you hope like hell you didn't see Sylvia?

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    1. OH BB!!!! She was there!!!! While I was waiting in line for my return, she came to the counter to do something else. I couldn't look at her and then I did. And she just smiled...

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  21. Oh WMM...you look so beautiful in your new red dress! I also love your new Tory shoes. Definitely money well spent on both items! I'm also so pleased to hear that you were able to stay on budget, and that your are enjoying life off of the shopping merry-go-round. It really is such a nice feeling, and I completely agree with you that sticking to your budget makes you a lot pickier about the items you even consider spending your money on. Oh, and I also love the TB boutiques. I am fortunate to have one in our local mall, and try to visit it anytime I go shopping there.

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    1. FFM - you are so lucky! A TB boutique is to Macys, like a really good Champagne is to a $4 bottle of wine - you just feel so darn special visiting it!

      It does need a bit of a nip and tuck, and it will get it in the next few weeks, but am very happy with the red and I love the shoes! Watching your pennies does make you pickier for sure!

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  22. I absolutely LOVE this dress on you!!!!! And, those shoes are super adorable!

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  23. Love the dress on you and think you will be able to taper it down perfectly. I don't wear red often but I probably should. My dad is not a big fan of red and I guess that is why it is not my first choice. I too have the TB reva flats in the same color. I just got them recently and they go with lots of things. May have to try the wedges next time. Great shopping and tremendous restraint!

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    1. I think I am going to have to look at those flats, SC! I think they are so pretty! I find the wedges supremely comfortable, which says a lot as I have such wretched feet!!!

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  24. Okay it's late and the first evening of day light savings but it just came to me who you remind me of! Susan Sarandon, does anyone else think they resemble one another? It took me the longest time to figure this out.

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    1. Thank you Anon. SOmeone mentioned that a couple of weeks ago. I don't see it myself, but I will take the compliment!!!

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  25. Hi there,
    I first would like to thank you for visiting my blog!
    Yes when shopping on a budget you tend to be very picking. The good side of this is that you end up with things you really, really like and you really, really feel comfortable and good in... The red dress suits you very well! I love this tan/red combination... Now, we just can wait for the sun...
    Take Care
    Steph

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    1. Thanks Steph! Much appreciated!!!

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Kindness is a virtue...