Coach Legacy Duffle

Coach Legacy Duffle

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This bag is a great example for me of “shopping your closet.” I purchased it about 2003 or 2004 at a Coach outlet while visiting my grandmother in South Carolina. At the time I spent what I considered a fortune on the bag, and when I brought it home I felt guilty about spending so much money on it. In addition, the bag couldn’t hold the (at the time) large camera that I carried around with me daily, so the bag was sadly folded away in the back of my closet where it stayed for the most part. Fast forward to this spring when I was sadly attending my grandmother’s funeral and this was the first bag I reached for since I had such warm memories of my many trips to visit her.

Ever since then this bag has been back in a frequent rotation. It is too small for a daily commuting bag, but PERFECT for a weekend bag. The best feature is the adjustable strap so I can wear it as an under the arm pocket-book, or extend the strap to wear as a cross body bag.  Here is the lovely Michelle Williams carrying a very similar vintage-looking bag.

It doesn’t look like Coach is still making this bag, but here are two similar bags: Legacy Leather Large Duffle and Coach Classic Leather Duffle.

What bags do you find when you “shop your closet”?

 

Serious Clog Action: No. 6 Clogs 5″ Leather Buckle Boot

No. 6 Clogs

Any longtime TBB readers know that I’ve been longing for a pair of No. 6 clog boots for going on over three years now, but I was struggling with a serious case of sticker shock. I came close to purchasing a pair last spring, but just couldn’t pull the trigger. But FINALLY they are mine! I discovered a used pair on EBay in my (rare) size, and after a last minute furious bidding war I won the auction, and the boots were on their way from Berkeley, CA to my apt in Brooklyn, NY. Stay tuned for a detailed review, cobbler feedback, and clog sizing info!

Shopping for Quality, Ethics, & Cost per Wear

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One of my 2013 resolutions was to buy less cheap/disposable “fast fashion”, and focus on classic, quality items that last forever, and preferably are either second-hand or made in the USA, or some form of non-sweatshop labor. I started thinking about  this after reading about a number of horrific sweatshop fire related deaths in Bangladesh, and reflecting on how my shopping purchases could be contributing to the problem.

I could help (ever so slightly) by changing my fashion consumption in this case,  by thinking of my clothes and purchases in quality/ethics/cost per wear mode, instead of lots of cheap/disposable clothes that were most likely made in a sweatshop and would be thrown into a landfill in a year or so. Plus I like the idea of purchasing things made in the USA and supporting American workers, and the return of manufacturing in general to America.

Once I started going through my closet I was happy to discover that many of my favorite items are already made in the USA, such as most of my designer denim, which I also usually purchase second-hand as well, so double bonus! For new brands though, I discovered pretty quickly it is harder that I thought to find out who manufactures in the USA and who does not. Some companies hide this info on their website and you have to call and give an item number, or the only way to find out is to find the actual item in the store and check the label.

James Perse & Splendid are two brands I have already been buying and am (for the most part) happy with the quality. They are mostly made domestically, but you do have to check the labels since some are made in China. I shop the contemporary section of TJMaxx for both and usually have good luck finding pieces for about $20-$40.

American Apparel: I love the “basics are hip” vibe, and the comfy clothes also with a mission statement that I am totally on board with. However the sketchy/racy ads are a bit much for me, and make me feel a little skeevy. Plus the quality seems to have gone down the past couple years. I’ve bought some pieces recently where the zipper broke after a wash, or the stitching was ripping out after one or two wears. I think AA will be my place for  basics, such as tank tops and socks, but I’m not in any hurry to try any of the more expensive items.

Everlane: I haven’t tried Everlane yet, but think they will be next on my list. I don’t think they make all their products in the USA, but all seems to be ethically sourced and well thought out, which is good enough for me. I think I will look into a silk blouse and cashmere cardigan to wear to work, and a classic t-shirt and men’s french terry for the weekend. I recently read Gretchen’s Everlane review for the classic t-shirts and she was happy with the quality (and spot on with her previous post about quality and expectations). I’ve seen similar good review on Everlane from Cup of Jo, and Les Anti-Modernes.

LLBean: Although the Bean has been outsourcing much of their manufacturing they do have a whole “Made in the USA” section which is worth exploring. Happy to see my beloved Boat & Tote made the list!

What Made in the USA brands do you like? How to decide between quantity/quality? Does the type of labor that went into creating your clothes ever factor into purchasing decisions?

New Winter Jacket: Eddie Bauer Stadium Coat

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Outfit
Jacket: WeatherEdge® Superior Down Stadium Coat by Eddie Bauer
Boots: Frye – old (similar here)
Jeans: J Brand – old (similar here)
Sunglasses: Cheap pair I bought at a Brooklyn Post Office (!) but someday when they break I am going to replace them with these.
Hat: Uniqlo Heatteach (Men’s)

Ever since the temperatures dropped here in NYC (and let’s face it, even before then) I’ve been dreaming of a new winter parka that would work for both cold and wet weather. I have a great puffy coat from Soia & Kyo, (wearing in this post) but it is really only for cold/dry weather, since the nylon is instantly soaked in the rain and it doesn’t have a hood. I also have some great rain coats, but can only wear them in the spring/fall since they aren’t warm enough for winter. What I needed was a jacket that could combine the best of both.

After much searching of parkas high and low I finally stumbles across the WeatherEdge® Superior Down Stadium Coat from Eddie Bauer. Once the decision was made that this parka was *the one* my boyfriend was kind enough to step in and buy for me as an early birthday present. Very generous since my birthday isn’t until March!

I’ve been wearing the jacket for about a week now in all kinds of weather and so far I’m really happy with it. I love the big giant hood, and the faux fur looks so real I joke that it confuses my cats. Pockets are giant and well placed, and the zipper is a good quality. The most interesting thing about the coat is how the color changes depending on what kind of light I am in. It is officially called “Coffee” but with indoor lighting the coat looks army green, outdoors it looks like a brown/taupe. I really wanted an army green parka, but I am actually enjoying the color change since it is fun to check the different colors in all the places I go.

Only a few complaints, first I do wish there were some side “hand warmer” pockets included in the patch pockets. On really cold days I feel that wind tends to blow upwards inside the coat, but I think if I adjust the side tabs that will fix the problem. I could also use an extra inch on the sleeves, but I do like the rest of the fit, so I am glad I didn’t size up from my Small.

Other than that I love this coat and plan to wear it for years to come.

(The runner up to this coat was the Acadia Down Coat from L.L. Bean which also made Kim France’s list of non-awful parkas.)

A Maine Inspired outfit

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I love Maine, but since I moved to NYC I haven’t been able to make the trip up as much as I would like. Luckily I have some Maine time planned for 2013, but in the meantime I am also enjoying wearing an outfit that makes me think of Maine, even if my feet are firmly planted on the island of Manhattan.

L.L. Bean Sailor’s shirt in Navy/Cream: such a classic. I love this shirt so much I also ordered it in cream with navy stripes.
Gap 1969 denim shirt: I can never decide if I like this shirt. It is really fitted and a little too short in the torso, so I am finding it to be better for layering under shirts, instead of wearing by itself.
Gap Skinny Cords: Always one of my favorite pair of pants to bring out each winter.
Eastland Seneca Camp Moc Chukka Boot in Tan: My most recent Ebay purchase, I love these throwback shoes since they remind me of the shoes my classmates had growing up. SImple & classic, and I plan to wear them now for years to come.

Perfect outfit to eat some steamers & lobsters, while drinking a Geary’s Pale Ale!

 

2013 Fashion Resolutions

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1) Buy only second hand leather products.
2) No impulse purchases. Plan, plan, plan! I like this advice from {Step-Brightly} on how to shop without overspending, via TrendHungry.
3) Try to buy as much Made in the USA clothing as possible.
4) Buy only clothes & shoes that fit perfectly. Even if it is a great deal, don’t be tempted to buy a wrong size. I will never be able to “make it work”.
5) Organize drawers and closet. Put together a donation bag at the end of every season.
6) Embrace minimalism. Better to have a closet full of a few things I love to wear and fit perfectly, instead of clothes I never wear and don’t really love.

Easy, Casual New Year’s Eve Outfit & Makeup

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We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a delicious meal at a local restaurant, cocktails, and then rang in midnight watching fireworks from our Brooklyn rooftop. In the sprit of keeping things easy and casual, I wanted my outfit to reflect the same.

Outfit
Jacket: H&M tuxedo jacket
Top: Sequined sweatshirt. This is my go to fun top. I love that the sequins make it look fancy, but I feel like I am wearing a comfortable lounging sweatshirt. Mine is silence + noise from Urban Outfitters, but there are many options out there.
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind, The Skinny. From my local consignment store, $40
Shoes: Frye Allie Softy Pump, beautiful but 100% impractical. I could barely make the 4 blocks to the restaurant and back.
Bag: Thrifted bag from a Queens consignment store

Makeup
Tinted Moisturizer: Clinique BB cream, I’m still on the fence about the BB creams, but this shade does match my skin well.
Mascara: Benefit They’re Real Mascara, I used to use this as my everyday mascara until I realized it made my lashes a little too over the top. Perfect though for special occasions when you want to look like you are wearing fake eyelashes – something I have never been able to master.
Lipstick: MAC Hot Tahiti, a vibrant pink/red, but still feels like a natural color.
Blush: NARS The Multiple Riviera, I really like this shade on me, but I would never overpay for “The Multiple” tube again since I never use it for eyes or lips. Next time I will stick to a blush only.
Eyeshadow: Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in r.s.v.p, I got this free once from Sephora and I have loved it ever since and will happily pay for a new pot when this one is gone. A great sparkly shimmery champagne shade.
Cover up: Benefit Erase Paste, almost done with this pot and looking for a new cover up. Need one that lasts and lasts and lasts. Any suggestion?
Nail Polish: OPI Birthday Babe, I’ve had an obsession with silver nail polish that has gone on for about 10 years now. It never changes even if the trendy nail color is something totally different. This shade is easy to apply, dries quickly, and has just the right amount of frost.
Chapstick: Duane Reade generic brand. Don’t leave home without it!

My outfit from New Year’s Eve 2012

What did you wear for New Year’s Eve?

May fashion resolution for 2013? Embrace minimalism! Have fewer clothes that I love more.

And some fireworks!

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Marc by Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Medium Tate Tote

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I am on an eternal quest for a lightweight every day bag, and have a new find to share. Recently I ordered the Marc by Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Tate Tote in black to use on my daily commute, and I couldn’t be happier. It now has a spot in my permanent commuter bag rotation, right next to my Longchamp Le Pliage.

My commute to work takes about an hour each way and involves a crowded subway, a couple transfers and walking on either end. I learned pretty quickly that while leather bags are beautiful and long-lasting they are sadly much to heavy to carry back and forth from work every day. I need a giant bag that is both lightweight and can carry all my daily stuff, which is basically what suburban people would keep in the trunk of their cars.

I had seen this Marc by Marc Jacobs bag online a couple of times, but it wasn’t until I saw it in person that I realized the size and shape are perfect. The nylon is strong and sturdy, and so far is wearing very well. I went with basic black, but my second choice was the Quartz Grey which is a lovely mushroom-y taupe. The oversized letters are nice, but with black on black subtle enough to not feel like I am being ostentatious with loud logos.

The center of the bag has ample room to hold my leftover lunches, iPad, make up, wallet, water bottle, and all other larger items. The outside side pockets keep my subway pass and phones right up front for easy access. It also has two patch pockets and an inside zip pocket that I use for all my lip glosses and keys. I was worried that the straps would be too short to easily pull on my shoulder when wearing my winter puffy coat, but turns out they are just the right length. The best part is that I ordered through Piperlime and was able to apply all my Gap discounts and ended up getting about 25% off.

What is your favorite lightweight/commuting bag?

 

Wish List: Army Green Parka with Fun Fur

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Top row: 1 // 2 // 3 (sold out)
Bottom row: 1 // 2 // 3

On my winter wish list for the second year running is a warm army parka. I’m looking for one that is made out of (water resistant) heavy duty fabric (not nylon) in a rich shade of army green. It should be super warm, but with a preferably removeable lining so I can also wear in the fall. Fur must be fun, not real. I want it to be military inspired, but still look like a girl while wearing.

What jacket is on your wish list?