Adora, the new store opening in Manila, scored prime time real estate in the retail section of WWD today. Why is that? Because they've all the niceties of a luxury goods store (lavish interior, hang tags with four figures) but with a slight affordable-accessible slant. Our question: is this so revolutionary? Adora carries brands like Jil Sander, Marni, Missoni, and Chloe in addition to a more affordable line called Tyler (among a few others) which prices garments in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. Tyler, funnily enough, is owned by the same company that backed the store in the first place; Republic Retailers. The article goes on to say that Adora also mixes high/low by carrying Diane Von Fursterburg's lower priced line, H. Stern, in addition to handbags and clutches made locally, from exotic skins. To us, this is just a plain 'ol department store carrying everything from thousand dollar trousers to fifty dollar tank tops. If Adora supports local artisans by stocking luxurious handbags were pretty sure they wouldn't be sold for anything less than what they're 'worth' (i.e. quite a lot). We're all about finding a variety of price points under one roof, but as far as we can tell, this is isn't some rebel retail venture. It's just another place to buy a bunch of stuff when you're visiting somewhere new or when your a bored, wealthy resident in the Philippines.
Posts for July 16th 2008
The list has been a long time coming and best to post just in time for the fall deliveries. Our love for online shopping has been growing as the seasons pass. What used to be a candle here, a pair of jeans there, is now our 90% dedication to buying all things online (from moisturizer to beach towels), and, if you're a regular Coutorture reader, you'll notice that our posting relies heavily on e-commerce widgets and references as a result. Part of Coutorture's plight, from the get-go, was to be an editorial site that really reveled in the process, from sewing machine to storefront (this is where the network comes in--we couldn't possibly do that alone) making for more educated fashion consumers who can do without all the dumbing-down and recycled opinion. That said, we'd like to cover our top-ten rules for online shopping. As a couple of fashionistas who've been honing this skill for some years, we've learned a thing or two along the way and thought it might be useful to share our shortlist.
1. Look when you're not looking. Make your favorite e-commerce site a bookmark and check it once a day to see what's gone on sale and what's new. Check out new e-commerce sites, ask your friends which sites they prefer, or just generally surf what's being sold online. You'll notice patterns, you'll be able to fall in love with things before you need them, and you'll just generally make better decisions because there's less pressure and more time.
2. Know what looks good on you. One of the common complaints people have about shopping online is not being able to try on items. If you're shopping for clothing start with the silhouettes and brands that you know suit your figure. There's no shame in playing it safe, especially when you first start out.
3. Shoes and handbags: your safety net. If you still feel a little strange about the prospect of buying clothing you've never seen on your body, start with handbags and shoes. These items are much easier to gauge online because, chances are, the mannequin's elbow and foot aren't all that different than your own.
4. Buy sale items at your own risk. Sale items are usually non-refundable and, therefore, are a greater risk. That said, finding I-can't-believe-I-found-this-for-a-hundred-dollars items are a dime a dozen online (we're talking like a sample sale from the gods) so we suggest you just weigh your options. Make sure you have a reliable consignment shop nearby (Tokyo 7 is our NYC pick) if you should purchase something you're not crazy about. Chances are, you'll make nearly as much as you spent.
5. Get a second opinion. If you find something you like online, locate the same item on other e-commerce sites. Shopstyle.com is one site where you can cross-check the same item on many different sites at once. One of the unfortunate things about shopping online is that color, size, and texture can sometimes be misconstrued (this is getting better, don't worry). Cross-checking items you want to purchase will help you get a sense of their actual properties and may even help you find something for less than what you found originally.
6. Read the fine print.Reading item descriptions is important to understanding the garment. For example, if a garment is 'fully lined', you can be less weary of it being super-sheer or, for Fall clothing, too light. Descriptions will tell you if something is of high or low quality, imported or domestically made, eco-friendly, or dry clean only: all considerations when buying a garment.
7. Buy big. If you're in between sizes or just generally unsure of fit, for the most part, we recommend buying the larger of two sizes. As long as you know a good tailor, and the garment allows for it, things can always be taken in or up. There's not much you can do with a too-tight frock or pair of trousers, so better to play it safe and go big. The only exception to this rule (which obviously doesn't apply to shoes in the first place) is denim. Women constantly buy their jeans too big. Denim stretches out. Jeans never, no matter how many times you stick them in the dryer, shrink. This is a common misconception and leads to, unfortunately, many less-than-perfect denim booty's.
8. Be your own private detective. When you're shopping with your friends on the weekend, keep an eye on items in the shops (most will be online). If you remember seeing something you liked online, try it on for size. If you're mad about something you see online, go find it in the department stores. The e-commerce option will almost always be in better condition and offered for a better price.
9. Remember your editorials.When you see something in a magazine, a website, or e-commerce splash page, take a look at how the items appear in the editorial. One of our favorite things to see editorialized are jeans. OAK put up an editorial this summer with a pair of high rise Acne jeans. We took note, we checked out the different colors available, we banked that information for when we might need a pair with a similar rise and fit. Point is, it's better to do a little research so you can make educated decisions. That's part of the reason clothing is editorialized in the first place; it gives consumers a context and allows them to see the garments in a different way.
10. Learn from your mistakes. It's absolutely okay to make mistakes and buy things you aren't quite in love with once they arrive on your doorstep. First of all, we firmly believe that those mistakes will be fewer than the one's made at a sample sale or H&M binge, and second of all, you can always (unless it's on sale) return your items. It's not complicated at all and doesn't require a two-hour trip uptown or anything. Just pack it up and send it back. Simple as that.
Now you can enjoy your Sunday brunch without feeling the need to flip the table over and hit the stores because (no matter how early you arrive) they will be packed. Shopping online makes for better decisions, and, makes it feel like everyday is your birthday (This package is for me?!). To us, there just couldn't be anything better.
Many women, this beauty enthusiast included, cannot be convinced to add another layer of product to their faces. The beauty industry makes a mint off marketing another layer of products to us that we don't need. That said, the one layer that is essential in any woman's regime is SPF. Each day we're exposed to the sun's harmful rays and within minutes irreversible damage can be done to our skin if it's left unprotected. We're not just talking about the SPF found in your moisturizer or foundation. Within a matter of minutes, that "adequate" sun protection can fade away and be rendered ineffective after a minimum amount of sun exposure or sweat. The best method of protection is periodic reapplication throughout the day and, fortunately, companies have begun to realize the need for portable SPF protection.
One spritz of Camille Cosmeceuticals NY's Oil Free Sunblock SPF 30 offers oil free sun protection in a cooling spray. The lightweight formula utilizes apricot kernel oil and vitamin E for moisturizing and titanium dioxide for it's natural sun protection qualities. Perfect for dry to normal skin types, this spray is best used poolside or for those sweaty summer activities.
Peter Thomas Roth's Instant Mineral SPF 30 offers mineral SPF protection in a convenient matte powder with brush applicator. Using this product as your touch up powder this Summer ensures your skin will be well protected from any potential sun damage. Network Partners Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains and She Finds recently also sang the praises of this innovative product.
Whether in spray, lotion, or powder form, keeping some SPF in your makeup bag is a wise choice. We realize the smell of Coppertone on one's face isn't exactly an attractive quality, but we are far beyond those days. The new fad, we say, is looking like you're thirty five when your fifty--no plastic surgery needed. Check out our other picks of portable sunblock below.
This morning we were reminded what Dooney & Burke put out before those blinding monogram knock offs. Our network partner, Fops & Dandies, discovered the structured, preppy bags Dooney & Burke used to produce at a flea market in Brooklyn. These bags remind us of the vintage clutches and bags we've inherited from our mother's and grandmother's wardrobes, that we're sure, in their time, were variations of a more expensive handbag, but surely nothing like the gross knock-offs we know now. In fact, what's nice about them is that they're kind of brand-less; just simple bags for the gal who might not want (or can afford) the latest exotic skin tote bag. Visit any flea market or vintage store and you'll surely find a bag like this, even if it's not a vintage Dooney & Burke. Just like a pair of classic Ferregamo loafers, there are some vintage staples that are neither hard to find nor difficult to incorporate in one's wardrobe. Although we think 'vintage' is not the empire it was a decade ago (thanks to Uniqlo, American Apparel, Topshop, and H&M), we still appreciate the fact that there is something to be had for less than fifty dollars that will spark up your wardrobe in a pinch.