Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Curse of the Black Cardigan

At any point in time, my wardrobe typically consists of about 4 or 5 pairs of black pants, three or four black jackets/blazers and, depending on the season, anywhere from 6 to 10 black cardigans. See a pattern here? I find having mainly black clothing makes life easier. Black is versatile, it can be dressy or casual, I don't have to worry about matching colors, and I can wear the same pieces over and over again and (hopefully) nobody notices. But mainly I stick to black clothing because it's safe and I don't have the imagination or courage to mix it up. Every now and then, I go crazy and buy a white turtleneck.

Anyway, having been on vacation the last two weeks, I decided that I was going to take advantage of all the current sales and try to update my wardrobe. (Plus, I have almost no tops to wear under my black jackets and/or cardigans.) Inspired by an older gentleman who shops as a sport (and is not gay!) and buys only when he finds the absolutely best deals, I was determined to do my research. I spent hours browsing retailers' internet sites and then set upon expeditions to the stores to see the actual pieces and try them on.

I started at my fallback, the DKNY store in SoHo. I had seen a pair of trousers on their website that looked great, but that did not fit quite right when I tried them on in the store. I was able, however, to find another nice pair for under $80 and a cool boxy jacket for under $140. I also found a pair of shoes at the nearby Anne Klein store for $20 bucks that looked just like a $300 Taryn Rose pair I had been eyeing! Score! So all in all, I had bought a suit and pair of shoes for under $250. Problem is everything I bought was black. That's OK, we were just starting out.

Next stop, JCrew. JCrew is so ubiquitous and the go to place for so many teeny boppers that it is really best for only basics because otherwise everyone will know you got your clothes there. I did make an exception for a black and gold print silk blouse that was only $35. It was the wrong size, but when I tried it on it fit! I also bought a wool and cashmere WHITE turtleneck sweater from their website that they didn't have in the store for $50 (although it was almost $60 with shipping). OK, so I was regressing a bit.

Next, Bloomingdales. I spent three hours here and came home with a black cardigan to show for it. (I may be mentally challenged.) However, this was a cool silk Marc Jacobs cardigan striped with this metallic threading that was $240 on the website but only $90 at the store. Can anyone really have too many black cardigans anyway?

The true payoff to all my hard work however was this beautiful silk blouse by Milly that I tried on in the store. I knew from my research that it was $96 dollars on the website (but it was not marked down from its almost $300 price tag in the store!). Of course, I ordered it as soon as I got home. See, isn't it pretty?


Anyway, I love it and it will go well with my new trousers.











I also ordered this short raglan sleeve turtleneck to go with my new boxy jacket:

















So besides a fuller closet, a somewhat diminished bank account and a blister on my foot, I came away with the following lessons from my shopping extravaganza:

1. At least for me, black is still beautiful. I can keep it simple with black pants and jackets and mix it up with the tops I wear.

2. It pays to look for sales both on a retailer's website and at the store. I found certain items marked down on the website but not in the store and vice versa. Also, especially if you're buying final sale items, you need to be able to try them on to make sure they fit.

3. Make sure you factor in shipping and handling when you order online and that you still consider it a deal after adding in that cost.

4. Shopping, if done with the object of getting the best price, is hard work. Note that I was on vacation during this time and I still only visited one store per day when I actually went out to shop. Some days, I spent a significant amount of time on the internet. For me, I think it paid off. For about $600, I was able to get a blazer, pair of trousers, pair of shoes, a turtleneck sweater, a cardigan and three blouses. (OK, I probably could have done without an additional black cardigan).

5. Know when to stop. Like with investing, you don't want to put your money into the market all at once. There is always another sale around the corner.

1 comment:

Regina said...

Nothing wrong with black...my fave non-color! Really great post. So glad you are back, so to speak! :)