Archive for July, 2012

July 29, 2012

She Who Hestitates….

It got away

Despite my reputation as something of an impulse-buying, immediate gratification kind of girl, I am actually fairly deliberate in my purchases.  Especially when it comes to more expensive items, I am far more likely stalk the coveted item online, visit in a store if possible, and assess the potential for long-term love by seeing if a little time makes me love it just as much as I did at first sight.  Through the years this has left me with some good near misses and a few pretty sizeable regrets.

For example while I love the Louis Vuitton Theda bag, after years of seeing dozens of knockoffs I am very glad I passed on the Multicolore craze.  Ditto at least one pair of shoes every season.  You know the ones – so achingly gorgeous and a dead cert to be just plain aching as well.  Or that one trendy piece that is so in style everyone has one and the specialness is gone before the stores do their first markdowns.  These I look back on and then smugly congratulate my own self-control. 

On the regret side, well most are relatively minor.  The pricey silk maxi dress in the wild print – as fab as it was it wouldn’t have gotten all that much wear so I think I will get over it.  And that gorgeous and dramatic black top I resisted, I have several black tops so the regret faded easily.  But others are a bit tougher – those fabulous Jimmy Choo mid-heel sandals this season, for example.  I am always on the hunt for really great mid-heels but they seemed a bit extravagant when I started my spring/summer shopping and I held off.  By the time I decided I really would get a lot of wear out of them, they were gone; snapped up by wiser shoppers than I, so much for self-righteous frugality.    

But there are the BIG regrets that rather annoyingly stick around.  For example, two timeless evening bags have slipped my grasp and I rue the day I let them pass by.  The first, a silver Chanel mini flap bag I stumbled upon in the downtown Portland, Oregon Nordstrom’s Chanel boutique of all places, featured in a case in the doorway.  I was  killing a few hours before a flight at the time and thought “I LOVE that, but this is a silly time to buy it, I can get it when I get home” – idiot!  And even more regrettable was passing up the Louboutin black mink ball bag from two years ago – that I regret even more because I happened upon one at Saks on sale and I had a momentary lapse of frugality and passed it up. Every time I start planning an evening outfit I think of those bags.  Foolish foolish girl. 

For the deliberate among us the post-crash retail world is treacherous.  Hesitation is going to lead to disappointment more times than not. Retailers are keeping their inventories low – so low that if you delay you run a really good risk of missing out!  Remember the good old days when you would find something you really loved in a store but thought “It’s a bit too expensive, I will just wait until it goes on sale”?  Well, those days are long gone!  And if something does go on sale you had better be there the first day.  I was at a recent end of season “event” and the disappointment factor on what was left was really high.  What a bunch of junk, in un-wearable sizes and unbearable colors.

Even on pre-season sales one needs to get in on the first days.  I got a pretty frustrating lesson in this recently.  I stole a few minutes to hit the Nordstrom Anniversary sale preview on their website opening day.  I found a few good items for myself, and more importantly a pair of shoes that would be perfect for my bridesmaids – a good color, right style and unbelievably reasonable price.  But I really wanted to check with the B-maids to see if they were going to work.  So I did, which since I have been so busy took a few days.  Sadly, when I returned to the site to buy them – they were down to size 5’s and size 11’s.  Worse yet, Nordys isn’t planning on doing a reorder.  Drat drat and double drat. Yes, I know, with their great return policy I really should have just ordered them on the spot and returned them later, but its such a nuisance.  What WAS I thinking?

So now I am scouring online for a good replacement and trying not to ponder not only how perfect those would have been, but those darned Jimmy Choo’s as well.  Lessons learned and next time I have an “ah ha” I make sure that coveted item doesn’t become yet another “one that got away”!

July 25, 2012

THE White Dress – Part Two

Hello all – first let me apologize for being out of touch for sooooo long.  What can I say? Between my real job, getting a nasty summer flu, and needing to plan and host a rather sizeable baby shower for a very good friend somehow June and July have run away without me!  I can’t even use the wedding as a true excuse, as my beloved wedding planner, Christie,  at Christie Rose Events (christierose.com),  has that so organized that all I do is provide my input on what I do and don’t want, like or need, show up for a few appointments and let her get on with making things fabulous.

The wedding items that are my main responsibility – all things fashion, of course – are, after a few nerve wracking months, well in hand at last!  While the wedding party’s attire has come together nicely, my dress…well I guess *something* needed to be stressed about and it certainly was a bit trying there for a bit.  Let me catch you up….

As I wrote back in February I had done that first salon appointment, tried and rejected quite a bit of advice and renewed my vision.  In early March, armed with an updated inspiration board, Christie and I headed off to one of OrangeCounty’s premier bridal salons.  It was lovely – dozens of simply amazing dresses, many available in my size, some meeting some of my key critieria, and each more beautiful than the next.  But as I looked at dress after dress and worked with their terrific sales team, my spirits began to sag as still nothing was jumping out at me and yelling “YES!!! I am YOUR dress!!!!” 

Holy Moly.  I began to wonder what on earth was wrong with me – I know I am super picky but this was getting downright silly.  As I sipped champagne and we looked at my inspiration pictures, even the salon staff was in agreement, they didn’t have what I was looking for, but they DID have a great idea.  They sent me to Shelley Vann, proprietress of Dressing Up, who specializes in custom bridal and eveningwear design and alteration. 

So I sent Shelley my inspiration photos and an outline of what I was going for, and what might work in terms of shapes, style, etc.  Since I didn’t have a concrete idea of what I wanted I didn’t want to squelch her ideas by over-defining things.  Shelley and I conversed via email and I looked forward to seeing what she came up with at our face to face appointment. 

And then it happened.   The ah-ha moment.   Two days before my appointment I was watching a TV show and there it was – the perfect dress.  It had the right shape, joyous movement, and it was different.  My fiancé was watching as my jaw dropped, and my eyes got teary.  He immediately said “That’s it, isn’t it?” and I could only nod I was so overcome.  The catch – the dress was a one of a kind, for that show only, and designed for a six-foot-tall, size-two model with no chest.  Sigh….  But now I did have a vision, so I tracked down a photo of the dress and I was ready to meet with Shelley, fingers crossed that she could make magic happen.

At our first appointment we looked at the sketches Shelley had come up with and while Shelley helped another bride, my wedding planner’s concerned eyes met mine – there were three good concepts, but each was very similar to something I had already seen and not loved.  Even Shelley wasn’t totally excited by them.  I held up a finger and when Shelley came back to us I pulled out the picture of THE dress and asked “what about this?”  Shelley began literally dancing and jumping around!  Here was an idea to get excited about.  We spent the next hour sketching, discussing fabrics and construction, and how we could adapt this concept into a dress that would work for me. 

And so the adventure began.  I spent a very hot Sunday afternoon selecting fabrics at a downtown Los Angeles fabric wholesaler in the fashion district – not the swankiest place in the world, but the one place to find things like satin in over forty colors, along with every other bridal and evening fabric, trim and notion imaginable.  I have made several appearances at Shelley’s workshop – a fascinating trove of sewing materials, and all things wedding from twenty different veils to countless petticoats – for fittings.  And there are more to come.  

And the dress…well you didn’t think I was going to spoil the surprise did you?  Of course not, so let us just say it is coming along well.  Really well.  So I have been able to move on to more momentous bridal decisions and obsessions – like shoes and accessories… stay tuned!

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