Remember, you have one week left to enter the Cinéma Femme contest! Here's a little something to get you inspired. (No, you don't have to write the dialog in French.)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Edited to add: I happed to pass by Talbot's today and stopped in to check this out. What the picture doesn't show (ahem!) is that there's some metallic threading in the pattern, which I happen to like. The fabric is very intricate overall, and this jacket is a piece that would carry an outfit. The buttons are, as I feared, disappointing, but could be replaced. With the 30% discount and some Appreciation Dividends that have been languishing on my account for a while, I could land this baby for under $200. They're holding one for me while I mull it over, will post pics if I decide to get it. (Note to Duchesse - the plaids do match.)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
While wasting more time goofing around in Polyvore last week, I put together this montage. Then I looked at it and thought, there's a story there, somewhere.
In fact, there's a scene from a fabulous little French movie that hasn't been made yet. But I'm too lazy to write it, so let's have a contest!
Here are the rules:
1. Write a 1-2 minute scene inspired by the montage above in the comments by 6am PT on December 8. One entry per person, please.
2. I'll pick my favorite.
3. Winner will be awarded a $25 gift card from L'OCCITANE EN PROVENCE!
C'mon you budding screenwriters, I know you can capture l'essence of this picture in the inimitable fashion of French cinéma. Remember, just a short scene, so make every sign of ennui count!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Dear Mr. and Ms. Retail Giant,
I know times are tough. People are sitting on their wallets, and even though you've been wooing us with discounts and free shipping, we're just not falling for your charms the way we used to. We know you're hurting: Saks sales are down 16%, Neimans and Nordstroms down almost 30%. Sure, it's the economy, but some of you aren't helping yourselves with some of your business practices.
Like what?, you ask (if you're smart).
Well for starters, customer service. Especially at the upscale end. At brunch last Sunday with a group of friends who are regular shoppers at Neimans, Saks, Nordstroms and designer boutiques, the topic turned to service. The number one complaint was that your Sales Associates, your ambassadors to the public, don't know your merchandise. They don't know what colors and sizes will be available from the Spring collection, even though the information is available on the corporate website. They tell us "no, that bag will not be available in the medium size," only to get it in the following week, and sell it to someone who just walked in the door. They tell us, "it's never been available in that color" and won't do a search even though someone we know bought one last week in the Chicago store. They don't always seem to be interested in being, well, helpful. They heave a heavy sigh when we ask to see something in the display counter. They look around and talk to their co-workers while we're waiting to ask a question. They don't offer to show us something similar that might interest. They act like they're doing us a favor just being there. So when we do find someone who gives good service, we stick with them. We ask for them, and pass their names along to our friends. I know we're all not spending like we once did, but especially now, the difference between making a sale or not could boil down to that person with your company logo on their name tag. You can't afford for them to be snooty, uninformed and apathetic.
When it comes to your e-tailing effort, for the love of Pete, will you PLEASE LOSE THE FLASH PLAYER. Yes, I raised my voice a bit there. We know it looks slick and edgy and you want to show off your hotshot web design team but it makes navigating your site more difficult, and for those of us who might want to recommend something to our friends or blog readers, makes it almost impossible to share your product pictures and direct links. You're missing out on some free advertising, and who's crazy enough to pass on that in this economy? Keep the flash for the zoom and pan feature, but give us pictures we can grab and post. Worth a thousand words, remember?
And a note about your pictures, I can't count the number of times I've posted a picture on my blog with the disclaimer, "this actually looks much better in person." I'm not a professional photographer, and I know that trying to keep up with the merchandise is a daunting task. But maybe showing in natural light, showing the item from different angles, I don't know. But I think some e-tailers get it right, like Neimans and J.Crew; check out what they're doing.
If you've read this far, thanks, and I'm always available if you need any more feedback.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Chanel jacket from Luxury-shops.com
I've periodically searched ebay and online consignment stores, but never can find the right combination of colors, size and price that would tempt me to buy. And when it comes to LA consignment stores, forget it. Apparently you have to know the secret handshake just to get on a waiting list for one, which invariably command prices in the low four figures (before the decimal point).
So I've decided to forgo the impeccable tailoring and the lovely little chain sewn into the hem, and look for some jackets in my price range in fabrics and designs which pay homage to the iconic Chanel style. I'm on a hunt for something I'll call "Chanel-esque."
Starting at Net-a-Porter, I found this Milly jacket:
The styling is there, and the tweed-ish fabric, but ultimately it just doesn't excite me, and at that price I need to be in serious lust.
Another Milly jacket:
Again, it's a situation where the basic elements (styling, fabric) seem to be right, but it's just not grabbing me.
Next, on to Nordstrom, where the only thing I found was this Semantiks jacket, which seems like a bargain after the Milly's but the styling is just missing something, and I remembered I'd seen this up close when it first came in and that the fabric looked kind of cheap.
This J.Crew jacket has great styling and bouclé fabric, but neither the black or white versions interested me, and I don't think this is the right yellow for my coloring. It's also not available in Petites, and I'm only willing to go the alteration route if it's true love.
Then there was this one, but I think the combination of the horizontal detailing and my already ample bust would not a chic silhouette make.
Yesterday as I was going through my e-mails marked for deletion, I noticed this:
Now, a few years ago I had several Ann Taylor items in my wardrobe. Their quality was good for the price, especially considering their frequent sales, and amongst the conservative pinstripe suits (which worked well for the office at that point in time), one could find some cute and stylish jackets and sweaters. But these last few seasons the clothes just stopped appealing to me. Everything either seemed very boring and lifeless, or too Yacht-Club-wannabee™ or else overly clingy and cut in such a way as to make wearing a bra impossible. Plus, they kept cutting back on the styles available in Petites (both online and in stores), so I'd pretty much written them off. But what the heck, I thought, I'll just have one last look before I give up completely. Lo and behold...Now we're getting warmer.
Throw on some long ropes of pearls or gold chains, pull out that vintage bag et voila! Chanel-esque!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I'm not saying it's not cute. It is. But it does look remarkably like the one my parents bought for me in the gift store at Yosemite when I was ten years old, and I'm pretty sure it didn't even cost $16.50.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
In fact, we've swung to far the other way in our ME-First!, trash-talking, nothing-succeeds-like-excess, Reality TV-ized world where Bling is King, Catfights are Cool and Manners Drool, that une femme thinks it's time for a return to the aspirational ideal of Class (or Manners or Civility or whatever you want to call it). I'm not talking about a revival of that old classist ideal I grew up with which was dependent on breeding or money and enforced through snobbery, but rather one that comes from actions and attitudes; a more democratic Class that we can all work toward and achieve. A modern interpretation of Class isn't about having a finishing school education, the "right" clothes, or even knowing which fork to use (though I'm all in favor of basic table manners), but about integrity and doing the right thing. When I think about Class Acts, here some things that come to mind, as always in no particular order:
- Honoring your obligations. (showing up on time, following through with what you've promised.)
- Taking responsibility for your actions and mistakes.
- Keeping your cool under pressure.
- Graciously accepting a compliment without a qualifying statement after "thank you."
- Giving honest and heartfelt compliments.
- Being conscious of the people around you. (Holding doors for those behind you, offering to help someone struggling with packages, not cutting right across another's path.)
- Treating clerks, cashiers, janitors, bus drivers, waitresses, postal workers, the people on the other end of the 800# customer service line, and your annoying co-workers with courtesy and respect, and remembering that they're people too, not just robots serving your needs. (Also, not talking on your cell phone while conducting a transaction!)
- Dressing in a way that shows respect for yourself and those around you.
- Neither hiding your intelligence nor wielding it as a club.
- Standing up for yourself without resorting to abuse.
- Delighting in others' joys, not in their misfortunes.
- Being mindful that "there for the grace of God go I." While I believe in personal responsibility and that choices have consequences, it helps to remember that the playing field isn't level and that life throws curve balls at all of us; even those who make all of the "right" decisions can fall on hard times.
- Rather than complaining endlessly about circumstances, looking for solutions.
- Helping when you can: volunteer, donate.
My ever-classy readers...what would you add to this list?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
What: Lunch or brunch
When: week after Thanksgiving
Where: fabulous West LA location
Why: Because we're fabulous!
How: e-mail me at pseub (at) sbcglobal (dot) com, and I'll include you on the e-vite.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Fashion publicist Ali Froley, usually on her sixth or seventh designer shoe purchase by this time in the season, is on a spending freeze, forcing her to take a fresh look at the clothes she already has. "I have been recycling old things trying to make them look new again, calling them 'vintage insert-designer's-name-here,' " says Froley, who vows to buy only timeless, classic pieces once her freeze has thawed.
Strategies such as mine and Froley's work on a lot of levels, Roy-Jarboe says. "Classic pieces make sense because you can wear them over and over again. It's less wasteful," she explains. "These are scary times and people don't know how to react. So at least they can go into their closets and give their things to people who need it more right now."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Patent leather tote, $134.99 (on sale). Patent leather still seems to be going strong for fall/winter, and this bottle green is a great color that you can carry into spring.
Silk paisley oblong, $34. (This one could also be worn as a belt.)
Here's a plissé with a hint of leopard, $58.
And a wool/silk large large square, $68. Love the colors in this one!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Late yesterday afternoon, after checking out yet more motor scooters*, we decided on a whim to check out Anisette Brasserie in Santa Monica. From the moment we walked in, I had a good feeling about the place. The bar is zinc, the leather is red, the mood is relaxed and convivial, and the food...well for an hour and a half, we felt like we were back in Paris.
We started with some huitres on the half-shell (I recommend the Kumamotos, small and sweet) and an phenomenal salad of yellow and red beets with warm goat cheese. But it was my main course that really knocked my socks off: Moules frites. The mussels are small and delicate and served in a huge black bowl with a wire screen on one side so you can get at the sauce to dip slices of baguette. And the sauce...heaven! It's a very light and brothy cream sauce with vermouth and anisette. It's that anisette that really puts this dish over the top; it complements the flavor of the mussels without overwhelming. I can easily say that these were the best mussels I've ever had. The frites are light and very crispy. Both portions are quite large; I went easy on the fries but polished off the mussels, yet didn't feel stuffed at the end, thanks to the lightness of the sauce.
Mon mari ordered a chocolate mousse with Vahlrona sauce for dessert. I had a taste and it also was above-and-beyond delicious.
At the table next to us was a couple with an adorable 16-month-old boy. Chef Alain Giraud, whose previous LA restaurant credits include Citrus and Bastide, came out of the kitchen and spent several minutes playing with the little boy, which only contributed to the mood of being in a neighborhood Paris brasserie. We will definitely be going back to Anisette!
*A combination of gas prices, a desire to be more environmentally conscious and perhaps a bit of mid-life crisis have inspired mon mari get a motor scooter for his short commute to work.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Chanel-licious! $110. (I adore these but the last thing I need is more black shoes. Someone buy them, please!!!)
The Carnivore, $88.
Candy Apple, $128.
Hot Chocolate, $99.
Talbot's currently has a promotion going: buy one regularly priced item, get a second for 50% off, AND free shipping on orders over $150.