Posts tagged ‘net-a-porter’

April 26, 2013

Dress for the part. But what’s the part anyway?

Miu Miu ciré pencil skirt — can it be worn at work?

My favorite fashion shopping website is Net-a-Porter — I think by miles it’s the most functional, appealing and the one with the finest curatorship of clothing among all.

Net-a-Porter used to have a workwear section, dedicated to clothes and looks fit for the office, but that should do no wrong in a fashionista’s eyes. Plenty of Roland Mouret and Victoria Beckham there, a bit of McQueen and Stella — tailored stuff mostly, structured totes and pumps. I looked for the section now, and it’s gone, they only have now vacation and wedding “shop by occasion” sections. But the existence of the section is unimportant; what matters is… what is adequate workwear after all?

Can those McQueen cropped metallic honeycomb-lace pants be taken to the office?

Here’s why I’m saying this: where I work, people dress very badly. If they wear suits — men or women alike — those suits are usually very plain and sometimes, straightforward cheap. Cufflinks for guys are unthinkable — we have meetings with customers or suppliers from different companies and they always come to those wearing what seems to be their finest, while our representatives have the practical simple plastic buttons doing the job of keeping their pulses covered. Should I come to work decked out in VB in such a scenario?

I don’t posess anything designed by Posh Spice, but I do own a burgundy silk pencil skirt by Lanvin that is perfectly office-friendly according to Net-a-Porter’s workwear rules and cost me only a 100 USD (thank you Century 21! I love you!), and I wear it to work like nothing else mattered. And it doesn’t to me, but to my colleagues, it’s like I’m the idiot who really dresses up for work, or at least that’s how I feel. Maybe they’re thinking “oh my good, she looks so chic” as they stare at me. I don’t know.

What is it to look professional, and more: how much of yourself should you compromise in that task? Because it’s not just about the type of fabrics and cuts and shapes that are allowed, there’s a quality issue there and a taste factor that are both very subtle, counterintuitive even — you can’t be really too tasteful at work, you can’t colorblock even if it’s Roksanda Ilincic who’s doing it for you, and God forbid you’ll wear tailored beehive McQueen pants, even though they’re basically black with a dash of gold.  Is it even good to be noticed at work by your impeccable, somewhat sartorial tastes in fashion, and anyway — should you care?

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November 9, 2012

Virtual shelves and our propensity to buy expensive clothes

This scene wouldn´t have happened in our days — Vivian would have had net-a-porter

I have recently developed a theory about designer e-commerce and our propensity to buy expensive clothes: I think the internet makes us more comfortable purchasing items from tried and true, high-quality brands than we would should we follow our “normal”, physical world inclinations to such indulgences.

Firstly, the internet is far less intimidating than fancy, shiny stores with tons of security and two huge guys in black suits and sunglasses suggesting you might be regarded as a delinquent as you may or may not be allowed to enter the whimsical insides of a Prada store — and if you do, you also may or may not receive the approving nod of the salespersons in place, a doubt that provokes great fear of reliving the dreadful experience Julia Roberts had on her first day shopping on her movie Pretty Woman — without having Richard Gere on hand for a next day redemption splurge.

Secondly, and I think this is my most interesting breakthrough, the internet does not provide the sense of cut, quality and detail one achieves by physically experimenting with many options, online, realtime, pun intended. Thus, a respected, though expensive brand offers a guarantee that what you see is what you get: I definitely feel more safe about how a purchase will fit me and about the quality and detail of the fabric if the item in question is Stella McCartney and its measurements correspond to mine, then if I buy from a fast-fashion shop, even though I do buy a lot of stuff from the latter — if in a real store, not a virtual one. There is a reason why they are cheaper: not only that they copy designs and use materials of (usually) lesser quality, but also the fact their cuts are much more industrial and less supervised and their finish idem.

Last, but not least, it is rather rare to see a big red lettering outside a Gucci store shouting “SALE – 80% off” — not so much on net-a-porter. So why not spend a few extra bucks — a few, maybe not so much — and instead of buying three items of lesser quality, get a great pair of shoes for about 150 bucks? I often subscribe to that sentiment.

So how do you feel? Do you think you are actually more inclined to purchase designer clothes on the internet than in actual stores made of brick and stuff? Are your reasons similar to those I have exposed here?

July 30, 2012

The Quest for the Yellow Blazer

Here am I, back from a long time off wandering about Paris and Edinburgh like a maniac and then not having time to write to you friends. I should probably write a post about some (almost) under the radar things to do in the City of Lights, or perhaps develop into good writing some of my feelings regarding medieval fortresses, royal murder, the mists of Avalon and bagpipes (those feelings are all of the highest form, I can assure you). Instead, I have a headache and I bring you, my fellows, the Quest for the Yellow Blazer.

It began online, during one of my almost daily sessions of torture on net-a-porter. A splash of mustard attracted my eyes and my heart followed with a bang into which it almost forever faded, except I still needed it in order to purchase a blazer or, in fact, anything, so ultimately it kept on beating as usual:

Dear blazer, why oh why is my size sold out? And why the effin´ why are you so effin´ expensive anyway.

I then decided it was the concept that mattered. Yeah, screw Rag & bone. Screw that blazer. I needed a yellow blazer. A perfect yellow blazer, not necessarily a designer yellow blazer one I would find and buy and have if it was the last thing I would do.

Second stop was Stella McCartney. But that was too much for my already tortured budget, consumed by a, well, fairly budget consuming trip. It doesn´t hurt to look, though, so here it is:

This is a slightly yellow-er alternative from the previous one, or so it seems from their pictures.

I later learned that the Outnet has also a nice version of this lovely, summery version of formal attire (OK. I know we are well into summer now. Pardon me for being so late with this comeback… this post should have been posted about a month ago!), by ALC:

I decided, however, I wanted to go for a real low cost alternative. Enter Zara, H&M, and Topshop. Literally: I did enter A LOT of H&Ms, Zaras and Topshops, in a few different countries I might add (that´s when I realized their collections are fairly homogeneous all over the world), and found a few exemplars, some that in fact leave the arena of blazers and enter other coverup categories:

Amazingly, at the time of my search I did not find any exemplars of nice yellow jackets or blazers at H&M. I see they have two interesting alternatives now (I tried to publish their pictures as well. For some reason, I can´t get their links to work, so click here to find out how those H&M yellow blazers look like):

Well, among all the choices before me, I finally fell for this option available from Topshop. It is a mustard yellow, more suitable for seasons less bright than summer, even though the rolled up sleeves kind of put a hold on that thought (yeah, as a matter of fact, it totally puts a hold on that thought, but I still love the color and think it´s more wearable than bright yellows):

My idea is to play up the summery hue with some daring color-blocking, particularly those accessing the nature of the ideal warm, sunny days that should come with July and August: clear skies and the remnants of the lovely colorful spring flowers can be emulated through the use of this jacket combined with hot pink shoes and a perfectly blue, light and flowy dress. A neutral bag, perhaps with a more discrete print bringing some of the colors of the look together would be a nice finishing touch. Something like this:

 

(forgive the price of the purse. i tried to go for more affordable items when it came to the shoes and dress; it´s just that this bag illustrates so beautifully the look I was trying to convey. take in the inspiration if you enjoy it in any way)

So, do you share in my obsession with yellow blazers? Do you find my Yellow Blazer Round-Up any useful? What is your summer fashion craving this year (if you could name a single one)?

May 11, 2012

Thoughts concerning a contemporary lady´s approach to fun

Have disappeared for a while. I am bored.

I have begun this blog out of absolute boredom, and now I realize a bored person cannot say anything that much interesting anyway. I am not saying I do not truly find the subject of femininity important — I do, and I do think there is room for developing some thoughts about it a little outside of the box.

So if I am bored and I am a woman and this is a blog about femininity, we may take this as an opportunity to tackle the matter of leisure, excitement, and the female. Classically understood, the equation girl + fun equals shopping + design + beauty. At times, colorful and creative alcoholic drinks and art shows can be added to the right side as well. And chocolate.

Lately, I have perceived a slight distinction in this, say, traditional-feminine-magazine approach to women having fun, and it sort of goes like this: anything that qualifies as charming is girly. So, femininity has turned into pampering and attention to detail, particularly where design is concerned. Even the traditional realms of ladyhood such as beauty saloons have suffered an extra dose of new age femininity, now announcing extras such as cocktail hours or being decorated by renowned designers – Maria Bonita, a “brazilian” salon in NYC, offers free caipirinhas accompanying a wide variety of treatments — click the link and enjoy the Gilt City offer (ending real soon).

I find this a very interesting move for a number of reasons. First, it approaches ideal feminine to ideal masculine, as the subject becomes less relevant than the aesthetics involved in presenting it: no longer a matter of luxe, either, a characteristic I dare say was rather masculinely treated not a long while ago unless when related to fashion. A luxe car can be sold to a man in a way and to a woman through an entirely different strategy, but the object of publicity is no longer mostly a masculine crowd and must be taken into account even in early product design stages. Same will occur with restaurants and bars, hotels, and a wide variety of social events.

Men are, however, still seen as ogres in their hearts. A fine example of this basic feeling towards the gents is this guide to male feet grooming presented by the weekly journal edited by masculine e-boutique MR PORTER, featuring notes such as “if the skin in your soles is tougher than an elephant´s hide, seek the services of a professional” — try to find a same sort of direct, harsh advice directed to women; it is sort of unthinkable that a chic lady that purchases Louboutins for her feet would need advice related to the thickness of her sole´s skin or the need of eventual nail trimming and prepping before choosing to wear a pair of sandals.

Credit: Red Carpet Fashion Awards

There is, however, a line that still separates feminine and masculine aesthetic as well. A range of colors, an approach to light, a choice of lines, and a level of boldness in mixing it all — I will dare say again, the feminine encompasses it all. The masculine is still limited by its own, characteristic (another daring comment) stiffness. A critical evidence supporting my argument was recently provided by  Mr. Marc Jacobs in the recent edition of the Met Gala: no one, and I say this confidently, has yet truly sold the concept of men wearing dresses to either a male or female crowd. And if Marc Jacobs is one of those who are trying and failing, I am not optimistic any of the others will accomplish that deed anytime soon.

May 2, 2012

My fashion routine

Well, as none of you could possibly know (since this is my fifth post), I have a daily fashion routine which painfully instigates me to buy things like a mad person — I do not surrender to these sordid impulses however, since they are, well, sordid, and as previously mentioned, would turn me into the equivalent of a mad person. This routine is actually well represented in my “fashion” menu, but let us go through the details:

The Outnet: every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I check for their new stock. From Fridays to early Mondays (how early depends on where you are in relation to NY or London), they usually will offer additional discounts that may reach extra 40% off selected items. This is an amazing website for those who live in any side of the pond, as they have the US site taking care of the Americas and the International site, catering to eastern hemisphere fashionistas. Import taxes aside (you should check on those before ordering anything if outside of the EU or the US and Canada), it may be an honest worker’s (hello, Labor Day!) chance to purchase that McQueen dress for 10% of its original price tag.

In its first two years, the Outnet has held insane birthday sales that would basically give away incredible designer pieces worth over 1500 US dollars for… one dollar (or euro) plus shipping on the first birthday sale, and two dollars (or euros) with COST FREE shipping on the second birthday sale. This year they did not entertain us with a third lavish fashion party, no. Well, I must say I did get as lucky as hell with those mad giveaways. Of course I also did work hard for it: as in none of the cases the website announced the starting time of the sale, in both years I basically spent the night awake and set for running towards my computer the second I got their email announcing it was finally on. The first sale was on a first-come first served basis, and I was lucky to purchase a Miu Miu dress after less than 2 minutes had gone by from the moment I received their message containing the link to the sale. I spent the rest of the night trying hopelessly to score a second bargain, as the website basically crashed from all the incredible audience it got all at the same time. Second sale was more organized: they randomly distributed up to 2000 tickets to anyone who signed up for the sale. I signed up with about 100 emails. Yeps. Got two tickets which developed into a Calvin Klein Collection dress and an Alexander Wang winter coat. That’s a way to vamp up your closet!

Net-a-porter: well, my next step in my daily fashion routine is to go through this wonderful e-shop’s new arrivals. These will come on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and will cost you heaps of money you may not have near your wallet at this particular moment in time. They can make you smile, though.

To collect my prizes at Net-a-porter, I will wait for the months of July and December. This is when end-of-season sales will happen there. If you are strong enough, start shopping about three weeks from the sale’s first go-ahead: that’s when they usually will add further reductions + new items to the sale. Shoes and bags will begin at 30% off, going up until 70% and sometimes 80% off – however, there will be little of the bags left for you to purchase by the time prices drop like this. Clothing will go from around 40-50% off at the beginning till the same 80% by the very end of the sale.

I am now in a mad addiction for Calvin Klein Underwear, which I find very useful to buy on Net-a-porter sales (because at the Outnet you will never find your size, or the matching pair of briefs and bras). Other than that, I did buy my first Jimmy Choos thanks to their lovely job in reducing these shoes’ ridiculously high price tags.

Red Carpet Fashion Awards: so, this blog was my introduction to fashion. I used to take a look at what actresses wore at the Oscars or maybe the Golden Globes and Cannes, but that was pretty much it. I think it was through RCFA that I got to know the previously mentioned e-boutiques, as well. I guess the consistent critique with a rigorous eye for detail has sort of shaped my aesthetic, as I now abhor tights and find myself very bored at black pumps (I don’t however share in the hatred for white shoes). I also find their work very respectful, as I understand it’s hard to say someone is outstandingly not well dressed without being offensive.

The Man Repeller: now this is really good fun. I am a fan of Leandra Medine, although not necessarily of how she dresses. I don’t share in the love for bullet or eye shaped jewelry or muscle tees (these are for the thin ladies in my opinion) nor I think she always creates beautiful shapes from her juxtapositions, but I do believe she has an amazing eye for shoes and well, the girl has balls (which does explain perhaps the man repelling thing, at least in many cases). I think this is one of the most free and feminine fashion blogs around; a woman who dresses exclusively for herself, who is completely aware of her status as an eccentric, and who embraces it nonetheless. Is eccentricity a tougher path for women than for man? I just thought of that question. Well anyway, this blog is truly worth your while, as the author is a very talented and funny writer and her looks, very inspiring (although you may not necessarily reproduce them literally). She has also got me laughing a lot at myself as she described a pair of Prada sunglasses that is one of my greatest obsessions as white furniture on your face — look at me, doing my man repelling. Well I do like some out of the ordinary pieces, but Ms. Medine will take that sentence to a whole new level I cannot afford to reach (as in I don’t have enough cash to reach it and as in I don’t want to repel my boss because I need him to promote me so that I have enough cash to reach it as well).

Yeah, well, that’s it for my basic fashion routine. As for advice, well,

(i) don’t purchase anything unless you truly feel you need it AND it’s a bargain. Otherwise you — and by you I mean your bank account if you are a mere mortal like me — will not survive this daily scrutiny of web boutiques

(ii) don’t buy stuff you cannot try on and exchange later — if you do, be sure you know your size and measurements (and the garment’s) really well. Be critical of what you wear and don’t buy online a shape you never wore before (unless, again, you can return it if it does not fit). If you have particularly difficult proportions — such as breast size or stronger thighs: be extra extra careful, and perhaps opt out of purchasing items that may be ill-fitting in those areas on e-shops. I have a pair of shorts I cannot fit into after losing 10 kilos, I’m just hoping the last 5 will do the trick. They are extremely loose around the waist, and still too tight on my legs…

(iii) decide how much money you will spend on clothes on each semester (or trimester, or month, I don’t know your level of addiction to renewing your wardrobe) and stick to the plan. Look for the sales, friend, the sales. Who cares it’s last season. Everything will be last season a season from now anyway.

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