Month: September 2014

Fall is Here: So When Can I Wear Boots?

Ah, the age-old question. School has officially begun, the leaves are falling and we are planning our Halloween costumes as fall gets underway (officially). We go through days where the wind is blowing and we’re left digging for our winter coats shoved back in the closet and days when we can still drive down to the shore for the day. This is all fun and good, but… when is it appropriate to wear boots?

September is a funny month in that it retains the last strains of summer yet we’re left wanting for fall, asking ourselves when we should unpack the vests and the jackets. Today, I posed the question to my friend Megan, who had a pleasingly specific answer:

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Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

After October 1st when the temperature dips below 70 degrees. 

Being that I live in the northeast where we, too, get quite the chills once fall is underway, I do not think that wearing tall boots before this time is ever OK. Unless there is a blizzard or something. If you must, put on the short boots, but stick with open-toed shoes or flats by all means possible since people (i.e. me) are still hanging out on the beach and all.

This Week’s Haul: Century 21

I can’t get enough of Century 21, the discount department store with locations throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Century 21 is sort of like a Marshall’s, full of discount designer clothing, but just… better. Unlike Marshall’s or other discount stores, it’s obviously much bigger at department store-size and they have a much larger selection of high-end brands. This week, I picked up a couple of nice accessories for fall:

Steve Madden $98 Handbag at $45

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I really like this bag because I love cross body bags (who wants to carry a bag…), I like the leopard (obviously), but I don’t think it’s overwhelming because the entire back of the bag is in solid black (with the Steve Madden logo).

Steve Madden $70 Flats at $35

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I don’t even usually buy Steve Madden stuff but I couldn’t pass up a classic pair of flats which I was lacking. I like the more demure, pointed toe as well as the patent leather. I’ve worn these a couple times already and they’re pretty comfortable too.

Michael Kors $45 Belt at $24

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The $7k a Minute Event: The True Price of a New York Fashion Week Runway Show

Reposted and Written From JustLuxe.com

The most coveted time of the year is now complete. The cameras flashed, the models strutted and celebrity faces lined the front rows of New York Fashion Week. The fashion-conscious took in the newest trends from beneath the runway while getting ready to purchase their next season’s wardrobe. However, there are some at NYFW that have already emptied their wallets—the designers. NYFW is an incredible source of profit for the city. Each year, the legendary event earns $850 million for New York, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation and reported by the International Business Times. By comparison the Super Bowl hosted at MetLife Stadium drew in half of that number. This comes to about $7,000 a minute, even more astonishing considering that shows regularly last 15 minutes. These colossal figures do not come easy. Designers at NYFW can expect to spend $100,000 to show at the bare minimum, ranging up to $1 million for prominent brands committed to presenting a true performance.

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Courtesy of Rag & Bone for JustLuxe.com

Marc Jacobs is one acclaimed designer who does not blink when it comes to dramatically showcasing his fashion. At his fall 2011 show, he spent $1 million; this year, he opted for something slightly less grandiose: a large, purple farmhouse and plushy violet runway for his utilitarian collection. Aspiring designers, however, attempt to save their pennies after sometimes committing their life savings to show at NYFW. Taking a great gamble in their spending, there is no guarantee that designers will later reap the benefits of having stores buy their merchandise and then being able to successfully sell it to customers. Dao-Yi Chow, co-founder of the menswear line Public School with Maxwell Osborne, told theHuffington Post, “In order for us to make money, we have to sell to the stores, and then the stores have to sell to the customers. All of that is a linear progression: We present; we get press; the buzz starts; the buyers come; and then hopefully the customers buy the clothes. All of that starts with the presentation.” Showing is even more imperative for designers who need a certain style of backdrop to accurately showcase their work. Ray, a menswear designer known for his Brooks Brothers collaborations, told the Huffington Post, “When I send a tie to an individual editor or a store, all they see is the tie. But here they see my world: It’s a rendering of my vision and my culture.” Venue choice is one of the most imperative assets for the branding of a label, bit it can also be one of the most expensive. Venues range between $15,000 and $60,000, the priciest being the Theater at Lincoln Center, the largest venue at NYFW. Another expensive venue includes the New York Public Library, a historical locale that commands a $50,000 starting price. Sometimes, designers can save by selecting a more obscure venue, but even this is not guaranteed. Ralph Lauren, for example, creates a unique space at Skylight Studios each season where a custom space is created after two to three weeks of labor, which does not come cheap.

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Courtesy of Shutterstock for JustLuxe.com

In the past, standard models were a bargain expense as they were frequently paid in merchandise. However, following the work of organizations such as the Model Alliance, which advocates for real payment, brands must now pay their models in monetary values. Smaller labels will pay $150 per model while larger brands will pay $200 to $1000 for a non-celebrity model. With 10 to 20 models working in an average show, this can get expensive, and some international brands will pay as much as $200,000 for all of their models. International celebrities used to line the front rows of every big-name fashion show and cost a hefty price. Today, designers rarely opt to recruit front-row celebrity attendees for their shows. If they do, their payment depends on their attendance at other shows, how much the celebrity ‘fits’ the image of the brand, how often their photos get published and how famous they are. Rihanna was paid $100,000 to attend Karl Lagerfeld’s show in 2010, one of the higher celebrity paychecks in NYFW history. A B-list fashion icon may receive closer to $15,000 or solely be paid in clothes, travel and accommodations. Backstage beauty is one of the few things that comes inexpensively to designers. A brand can actually get paid between $5,000 and $15,000 to showcase beauty products on their models. Other beauty brands, such as Maybelline, will provide their services for free as it most likely did for Lacoste this year, since it can be seen as a publicity act. Otherwise, teams of makeup artists can charge $5,000 to $100,000 per show.

3 Courtesy of Shutterstock for JustLuxe.com

Styling is another expense that can be very cheap or very expensive depending on the budget of the designer. Some designers choose to style a show by themselves, while others will hire an accomplished stylist for up to $8,000 a day for an average of two weeks. Designers can also hire a less inexperienced stylist for around $10,000. So how much does it cost to show at NYFW? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, it greatly depends on the preferences and budget of the designer. Regardless, in today’s cutthroat world of fashion, it is near impossible to showcase for less than six figures. However, from up-and-comers to established cornerstones of fashion week, a memorable show is imperative for success in the fashion business.

Plato’s Closet: The Resale Alternative

Back in the day where my day job consisted of baby sitting a large Golden Doodle and occasionally (and unfortunately) grading kids’ workbooks, I spent a lot of time selling all of my old junk on eBay. I actually ended up selling so much stuff that I soon realized I didn’t have much left (which propelled me to buy more stuff and then sell that too a few months later). However, since I joined the mythical Real World, my available time needed to list clothes, jewelry, bags and shoes has since become nonexistent. Unfortunately, the amount of old stuff lying about my house has only increased. As a result, I needed some alternatives to eBay to make some extra cash (so that I could buy more clothes).

After a short and unfortunate stint in consigning my clothes where I went through the hassle of waiting a month to see if my items sold and then returning to collect my sad earnings and sift through the store to find what was left, I decided I needed a new way to sell some stuff. I was recommended by a fellow former eBayer to try out Plato’s Closet, a teen-oriented consignment store located throughout the East Coast that gives sellers cash on the spot, a much-needed alternative to the annoyance of consigning and the time-heavy commitment of online resale.

If you want to try out Plato’s Closet, here’s what you need to know.

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Photo Courtesy PlatosClosetBountiful.com

1. They really are teen-oriented, and they’re not going to take your business casual stuff. 

This really is too bad because I have obscene amount of ill-fitting dress pants sitting in my spare bedroom, but at the same time, even if you’re not a teen, Plato’s Closet will take a lot of clothes that are geared towards teens such as shorts, colored jeans, leggings, party dresses, boots and casual handbags. Think of things you would buy at Forever 21 and this pretty much nails it.

2. Plato’s Closet doesn’t want your designer clothes. 

For big-ticket items like designer handbags or other high-end merchandise, not only will Plato’s Closet not accept them (they like stores like Charlotte Russe and Aeropostale) but you’re much better off selling them yourself online than you even would be consigning them since consignment shops take between 40 and 60 percent of the item profit.

3. The store pays you cash on the spot. 

This is a HUGE plus as most consignment shops demand that if you want your unsold items back, you have to come back to the store and try to find them among their racks of clothing, a nearly impossible and time-consuming task. However, at Plato’s Closet, you’ll know if you’re going to be collecting for your clothes in a matter of minutes. I feel that generally, I get the same amount of money for an item as I would from a consignment store when factoring in the profit that the store keeps, just without the long waiting period.

4. They don’t want your heavily-loved items. 

So if you have an item that should be a perfect match (such as a dress from Forever 21 or a stylish mini skirt) but it’s clear that it has seen better days, Plato’s Closet is probably not going to take it. However, of course it’s worth a try.

5. There’s no limit to how much you can bring. 

Most consignment shops put a limit on how many items you can bring per day (usually around 20) and they also limit the days and times that they accept items. However, there’s no limit on how much you can sell, try to contribute, or when you contribute at Plato’s Closet. This doesn’t mean that you should bring three garbage bags full of stuff, mostly because it’s going to take forever for them to go through them plus they’re not going to be very thrilled with you. However, you don’t have to meticulously count each item anymore. Usually, I bring about 20 items per trip anyway.

6. The store is not seasonal. 

This means that they don’t care if you bring fall boots in July or a summer dress in December. This is pretty convenient for those of us who have been hoarding iffy items for years. Also, this is a nice alternative to eBay sales, where as sellers, we must always be conscious of what people are currently shopping for, which makes a huge impact on final bidding price.

7. Plato’s Closet accepts jewelry. 

But unfortunately, they don’t accept earrings or other body rings for sanitary reasons. This does mean, though, that you can attempt to sell rings, necklaces, bracelets and other accessories.

 

Nomad Couture

Originally posted on LifeAboardTheTravelingCircus.com

“I don’t know anyone who breaks as many shoes as you do,” says my boyfriend, after I tell him that I broke my fourth pair of shoes this semester.

Which, may or may not be a valid observation. Studying abroad, aka traveling more than you most likely will travel in your entire life ever again within a three month timespan, takes a lot out of you, and a lot of out your… stuff. For example: I often find myself silently praying not that I have a safe flight or that the bus is on time, but instead that Please, PLEASE let my backpack make it, just one more week. That’s it. I promise I will stop drinking so much beer. 

And it doesn’t stop there with my backpack. Mostly, this applies for shoes, since those (and, come to think of it, basically everything I own) cost less than $20 and has the quality to reflect that. Not only do I just happen to break many things, but I also walk a lot and get lost a lot and lose my stuff a lot. SORRY OKAY!

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Anyway, the great thing about studying abroad is even though you started accidentally dressing like a gypsy, you’re basically a nomad anyway so it’s kind of acceptable. (“This ten-year-old backpack is so handy.” “This shoes with these ginormous holes in them are so comfortable and it’s easier to tell when it’s raining.” “I love this big ugly jacket that some idiot must have accidentally left in the dumpster.”)

Now that I only have two pairs of shoes left when I came here with literally like ten, everyone keeps telling me that I have a great excuse to buy some nice Italian leather to take home. But what I’m really thinking is I could get myself a really nice steak with that money instead, and I’m gonna need the space in my suitcase that those shoes would have taken up since I plan on taking home a hell of a lot of four euro wine.

Also, this thought process makes you see that things are just that- things. Italian leather boots are still just a pile of leather you’ll be sick of in a few months, and a beautiful patterned jacket is just something you’ll need when it rains. Instead, the only thing fashion matters for when you have no money and no space in your suitcase is if your Facebook pictures will still look okay so all your friends can be jealous of all the fun you’re having.

So now, when my shoes break at the airport during the security check I’ll actually be glad, because this means I can take out my spare pair and that’s one less thing I’ll have to carry on my back. Will I still look like a crazy bag lady when I get back home and have my wonderful closet back? Probably not. But for now, it’s kind of nice to jump in the mud puddles, get soaked in the rain, and leave clothes in the hostel that you’ve been wearing for a week straight.

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