Friday, February 26, 2010

Payless Designers: Spring 2010 on 34th Street

Here are my favorites from the 34th Street Payless spring designer collaborations. And a disclaimer: we are talking about Payless here, these shoes are all under $50 and not Italian leather, ok? But for those of you looking for a cute, inexpensive shoe, the Payless designer shoes are a great resource. I'll grade the comfort as Hurt/Didn't Hurt.

#1 fave: the Christian Siriano blue tennis shoe. The fact that I chose a tennis shoe is no reflection on my new lifestyle. Ok, maybe it is. But this shoe is so cute on. And comfort-wise from walking up and down the store aisle? Didn't Hurt.

#2 fave: the Siriano black patent sandal/boot. This is really a tie for #1, so it redeems my tennis shoe choice. Comfort-speaking, Didn't Hurt, and style-wise I love it the most of all the spring collaborations. It's a little funny to walk in at first as there's no support on the back of the heel, but this also means no heel blisters.

Fave #3: The alice + olivia boot I posted a few weeks ago. I tried it on, and not bad. The leather looks a little too plastic, but the fabric and the straps get a big thumbs up. These are a good mix of tough and chic. It's got a 4+" heel, so be careful, and, comfort-wise, it's on the Hurt side. Not horridly painful, but it's not comfortable. I like how it looks with jeans.

Fave #4: this alice + olivia sequin flat. It's a flexible ballet flat, so it doesn't Hurt, but I wouldn't call it comfortable. Still, I love the a+o sequin flats, and still regret not getting the black sequin flats from last year.

Fave #5: Siriano platform heels. Adorable, but they kind of Hurt. Still, I can take a little hurt for that print.

#6: not really a fave, although I liked the looks of the Lela Rose wedges. She's so consistent with her pretty, fashionable designs for Payless, and usually her comfort is the best. But both of these were awful to walk in. The cute green wedge slipped badly when I walked (to be fair, I'm probably in between shoe sizes post-pregnancy). But that dyeable special occasion shoe on sale for $10 was particularly unbalanced. I felt like I was teetering to the right. Hurt here means really don't buy.

Payless, 34th Street just west of Broadway

Payless, 484 8th Avenue at 34th Street

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Arise Africa at Fall '10 NYFW

I didn't attend many shows this season due to the baby schedule, but happily did manage to catch a few that were favorites from seasons past. One of these was the Arise Africa show. Last year the show was in one of the tent's smaller venues. This year it was shown in the Tent, the big venue, and was FREAKING FABULOUS.

A few photos from the elegant and dramatic Black Coffee collection:

And a video from the amazing Deola Sagoe (please excuse the angles where it looks like I'm standing on my head):

You can find them online, but let me quote my co-worker who also attended: "That was the best show I've seen yet." And she is no newcomer to the fashion shows.

Besides the great audience reaction, best was the flow of the collections. All three designers have enormous talent, but all were so different, and the energy from one to the next built beautifully. What an entertaining look at some impressive talent. As each year seems to top the previous, it looks like the African continent is home to abundant designer talent.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guest Blogging Billabong on 34th Street

Weekly staff post below is brought to you by Jeffrey, who skeptically reviewed Billabong for me with interesting results...

We guest bloggers are assigned to stores, and I entered Billabong on 34th Street having previously never tried on a stitch of their clothing. The surf and skatewear brand had never really appealed to me before, but I was surprised to find a variety of sweaters, jackets, and tees that were fashionable enough to keep a New Yorker like myself from looking like a California wannabe.

My favorites were a graphic tee (above) that straddles the right side of the irony line ($25 in soft, 100% cotton jersey), a pair of greenish-beige skinny pants with surprisingly nice detailing, and a cotton/polyester blend jacket that has a convincing linen-like look and feel to it (both $64.50, below).

While pleasantly surprised by the styles, the sizing proved problematic. As a man in my mid-20s, I am young enough to remember my teenage body and how much better these clothes would have fit on the old me. I try to stay relatively trim, usually fitting into a 31” or 32” waist pant. At Billabong, I had to go up to a 34” to zip the fly, although the 32-inchers fit in the waist. The fit of the tee and jacket were also off. The body of the coat was perfectly fine, but I felt like my biceps were about to rip through the seams (and the Hulk I am not). These clothes are made for young men with board-thin frames.

Overall, the clothes, while surprisingly fashionable, were not good on a man of my shape. I ended up looking much stockier than I believe myself to be, but am convinced I could have pulled these off if I had a very slim build. In essence, the clothes are more sophisticated than the customers they are fit for, and I mean that in the very best way.

That said, I will definitely be going back to check out the wide variety of sneakers (GREAT selection of Vans) and the glass cabinet filled with some very smart looking Nixon watches.

Billabong, 112 W. 34th Street @ Broadway

Monday, February 22, 2010

Massive Sonia Rykiel Pour H&M Post

Baby Herald can bring a big sigh of relief as there won't be any scary matchy-match dressing in our near future. I just didn't like the fit of the big striped sweater ($49.95).

The dress looks OK on the left, but really it looks like the picture on the right. Too baggy.

Bought the leggings ($9.95) for the baby, and OK, maybe just a little matchy-match. I got the scarf ($24.95).
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The dress (with pockets!) I wanted to buy for Baby Herald, and the yellow skirt ($17.95) I couldn't resist.

All the bow tops were great fun. $34.95, $39.95, and $24.95.

There's perfectly crystal-adorned Rykiel...

and then there's wacky Rykiel. Here's what I call the big rock dress and the pile rug vest ($49.95).

I love the tote ($3.95 and 30% goes to charity) and picked up the adorned, cross-body Rykiel bag ($24.95) for a friend's 6 year-old daughter. Her dad said "She's going to love all the stuff on this purse."

My husband gave this jumpsuit ($69.95) a thumbs down.

I loved it in the dressing room, but it looked a little goofy at home. If the rear view was a little tighter, I would have fought for it, but it hangs sloppy back there. I was surprised that the medium in this jumpsuit runs really long and fit a little too baggy all over, not just in the rear. Some of the Rykiel sizing was confusing. I'm tall, and currently not exactly back in pre-baby shape, so I thought the medium would be a tight fit. Nope. But other mediums fit fine, like the very adorable "bodycon" dress ($49.95). And I'm not a big fan of "bodycon," mainly because I'm sick of reading about "bodycon."

This pink skirt also surprised me, tiered ruffles are usually not my thing, but this wasn't bad at all ($49.95) Suspender-like ties are attached.

After making a big dent in the Herald Square store, I walked down 34th to our other H&M at 7th Avenue. There wasn't as big a selection, but I did see the trompe l'oeil bow sweater in black and pink, and found the black and white striped sweater in a large ($29.95).

I want to keep it, but the large is really large. I thought perhaps it would be OK with leggings, but it's cut too big all over. I'll be returning it with the jumpsuit. But that doesn't mean I didn't think the collection was a success. As a whole I thought it was fun, full of Rykiel stripes and garnishes, and reasonably priced. The jackets, in particular, feel solid, fit perfectly boxy, look very Rykiel, and are a great deal for the price ($69.95).

Herald Square, 34th & Broadway

, 34th & 7th Avenue

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bally Sale at Soiffer Haskin

Because I live in Brooklyn, it's not often I'm down on 34th Street on the weekend. But Saturday was full of Sonia Rykiel at H&M Herald Square and Bally (prices, left) at Soiffer Haskin at 33rd & 8th, so I had a good Saturday morning tour in the district.

I'll post my Rykiel pictures on Monday, but if you were really interested, you've already been. I'd bet on there still being some of the shoes, perhaps scarves, and maybe a few sweaters in the store tomorrow. Also there was a rack full of the jumpsuits at the Herald Square store and the H&M at 34th & 7th. And if you were coveting the Sonia dolly, it looked like no one was taking her home on Saturday.

It's definitely worth a drop by the Bally sale, too (pics above). I often view these Soiffer Haskin sales as drawing from the older, monied, suburban set. And Bally is no exception. But don't overlook this sale because you think you're too young or not conservative enough. You wouldn't kick any of this stuff out of your closet. There are some gorgeous wedge sandals, spectators, booties, and beautiful flats, and a couple of interesting belt styles ($50-$125) and jackets. I doubt the belts will be around for long, but I'm still going back for the final days when it's all discounted even further. Last day of the sale is Wednesday.

Update on Monday: Further reductions taken today!

Tuesday Update: Last day of the sale is tomorrow. Final markdowns up to 90% off.

sale at Soiffer Haskin, 33rd St just west of
8th Ave

Friday, February 19, 2010

For Future Teenager-Tormenting Photos

I never, ever, ever thought I would subject a daughter of mine to mother-daughter matchy dressing. Then I saw the Sonia Rykiel pour H&M girls collection online. I don't think I can be held responsible. Warning: I may go a little crazy tomorrow morning on 34th & Broadway or 34th & 7th Avenue. Both our H&Ms are carrying the line. Beware, Arm Baby.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jezebell is on 34th Street

These are Steven by Steve Madden and come in fuchsia, a seriously bright blue, and black, but I prefer this Jezebell in brown. I know the hipster kids have been wearing the oxford for a while, but I'm happy to jump on the bandwagon a little late. They read very 80's but the clean leather look is a classic. And if $99.95 is a little steep for your taste, I would say go to Bakers Shoes and get one of these for $49.95:

But they haven't opened their new store on 34th Street yet! Bakers Shoes should be back on the block soon, and the new location will be just down the street from the old location on 34th between 5th & 6th.

Steve Madden, 41 W. 34th just off 6th Ave.
Bakers Shoes, coming soon
to a new location on 34th Street

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Kardashian Invasion

Post today is Intern Craig's debut! But I'm just going to call him Craig. Thanks, Craig!

Brace yourselves, Ladies and Gentlemen, because the new miracles on 34th Street are Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe. Head over to Bebe to see the new Kardashian collaboration with the popular retailer. The line debuted Tuesday under the watchful eye of fashion’s elite at Bryant Park, but the line hit the shelves earlier this week. Love it or hate it, this line is pure Kardashian. It is meant to accentuate a woman’s natural assets while having that “I am about to club hop in West Hollywood” vibe.

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First, is the One Shoulder Shimmer Dress. It retails for $119.00 and is made from a rayon/spandex blend. In any other fabric, this dress would be perfect but the super shiny material comes off a bit cheap. The small cutout doesn’t overpower the design and allows the dress to be trendy, not trashy.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicNext, is the Side Shine Dress, which sells for around $100 (The dress sold out online so I do not have the exact price). This dress is cut so oddly. It clings to the stomach, which makes our model (who is very thin in real life) look rather pudgy. I think a dress like this would only work on someone who is very confident in her appearance or built like a toothpick.

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Finally, my favorite piece: the Belted Wrap Dress. Everything about this dress was perfection. I loved the contrast of the long sleeve with the short hem. There might be a bit too much cleavage for the average woman, but a little adventure never hurt anyone.

There are pieces found online that aren’t in the stores, and the items that are in stores are going pretty fast. The line is perfect for the demographic and I think it’s going to be a success for the sisters.

Now walk a little further down 34th Street and you’ll see Kim Kardashian promoting her new fragrance that is sold exclusively at Sephora.

The website says the notes include: Mandarin, Honey Suckle, Orange Blossom, Pink Jasmine, Tuberose, Sensual Spice, Lush Gardenia, Jacaranda Wood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla Orchid, Sexy Musk, Creamy Sandalwood. The gardenia is definitely the strongest of the bunch while the vanilla and musk create a very romantic scent. Sephora is also promoting “The Kim Look” with a variety of Sephora brand products, like a volumizing mascara, smoky eyeshadows, and a lip plumper. By the time we investigated the makeup selection, it had been thoroughly picked over. Judging by the fast rate that all of these products are selling, it is safe to say that the Kardashian name sells exceptionally well.

Approach these stores with an open mind and perhaps you might find your inner Kardashian! Spend wisely and I shall see you back on the street soon.

Special thanks to my model, Sara Mavec!

Bebe, One West 34th Street at Fifth Avenue
Sephora, 130 W. 34th Street btwn Broadway & 7th