Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sale Haul + Sale Musings + Sale Reviews

This week marked my first Anthropologie Sale Day [title case] in about one month since returning from my travels!  You might be surprised to see that my haul is more reasonable than it has been in the past.  I admit that I've been a little bit OFF since returning from my travels---my outfits are still adorable, but I haven't felt like taking nice pictures for the blog, or doing laundry, or cleaning my room, or doing dishes, or...well, you get my point.  I believe in not forcing myself unnecessarily in situations like this*, so the resulting first-world squalor I'm living in is seeping into my head and poisoning my mind, and perhaps that explains why I purchased a relatively normal amount of clothing this time around.

* Except for the laundry/messy room/dishes, which really need to get taken care of ASAP.  Accepting volunteers.

Realistically though, I think two things happened simultaneously that have contributed to the size of this week's haul, which I hope will remain similarly small in the months to come:

1. Money.  With the semester coming to an end and my funds dwindling, I had to take stock of my shopping budget.  I won't get my first paycheck until the end of September, so I need to make my (large) tax refund and my salary advance last until then.  My parents are able to help me out in a pinch as well, but I still need to set a more careful dollar limit on my shopping.

To that end, from now until June my Anthropologie budget will be limited to items I currently possess that I return, an Anthro gift card (THANK YOU BOYFRIEND!  Happy Anniversary to me!), online poker winnings (that I actually withdraw from my account---doesn't count if the money sits offshore), and Weight Watchers income.  In June I'll recalculate based on how much rent I end up paying.

2. Discretion.  All the sale shopping I've done this year has given me a better sense for the items of clothing I really like compared to the items that I buy because they look good (or because they're cheap) but later regret.  Fortunately, I don't take the tags off anything until I'm REALLY ready to wear it, so when an item languishes for months in my closet, I have a decent sense that it's because I'm not crazy about it.

Doing fitting room reviews also helps with the discretion point; I can get a sense for which clothes jump out at ME and which clothes inspire MY lust before sale fever hits and I get disproportionately influenced by popular opinion.  For example, I tried on the popular Pom Flower Shift a few months ago, and as much as I respect it, it just does not flatter me.  I knew this, so when it hit sale this week I did not feel the usual, "Ohhh, a popular item went on sale!!  Must love it!!" and instead remembered that it didn't really work for me.

Very pretty piece, but doesn't do much for me in person.

For those of you with consistently reasonable sale hauls, to what do you attribute that self-restraint?  Would love to get different takes on this!

So, without further ado, the purchases...
Sale Purchases - 4/5
Descriptions and reviews:

1.  Great Dots Maxi Dress ($40): This maxi dress is still available in most sizes online.  It originally went on sale a few weeks ago for $80.  I was severely tempted, especially after reading Laura's glorious review.  However, I noticed that all of the sizes were still in stock late into the debut sale day, which generally seems to be a sign of poor sales and a harbinger of a quick second cut.  Anthro will never reduce an item again within two weeks of its debut to sale, because they'll have to give price adjustments to all the savvy shoppers who bought the item right away.  (At least I'd imagine an item sells the most within a week of new reductions while it's still fresh.)  Anyway, my gamble paid off because just a few short weeks later (was it only three weeks?! or four?) the dress got a second cut!  Frankly, I suspect that it will get YET ANOTHER cut soon, since it's STILL not selling well, but I'm willing to pay $40 for this just to have it in my hands and be done.  (Plus, the difference from $80-->$40 is less than from $40-->$30 or $20.)

I love this dress.  The fabric is light, it's fully lined, and it feels delicate, graceful, and vintage.  I didn't like the cowlneck, which draped down and exposed the underlining in a weird way, but the cowl tucked into the top (as Laura suggested) and it looked great that way.

Untucked.  Not a huge fan; the undertank looks like the undergarment/liner that it is.

I tried this dress on with very high shoes, but I think there was enough space for this to work with slightly smaller heels, although maybe not flats.  I worried that the dress might cut my gut in the wrong way, but it was very comfortable at the waist.  One online reviewer mentioned a pregnant-looking belly (believe me, I am the QUEEN of this problem) but I didn't have that issue at all.

I took my normal size six and it was a perfect fit.  So happy to be diving into the maxi dress trend!  Hope this one doesn't languish in my closet...

2. Camera Obscura Chemise ($40): Mich's review of this chemise put it on my radar, and I was floored when I tried it on.  I am VERY picky about the chemise-as-daywear thing, but this has "dress" written all over it.  I found the piece to be comfortable but still structured enough to escape the "loungewear" category.  The polka dots are just adorable and the bodice is sexy and flattering.  I had to size up to a medium; the small fit, but it was tight around my modest bust.

3.  Dipped Hem Mini ($40):  I spotted this months ago on sale and loved it, but couldn't find my size.  I finally spotted it again at Chelsea Market and bought a size four.  I later tried on a size six at a different location and preferred the four; both felt fine around the waist, but the six seemed to have too much extra fabric for my frame.  I like this skirt; it's a "mini" skirt, but it's not obnoxiously short.  It hangs a few inches above my knee, and its fullness adds a nice touch of class and maturity to a typically young style. I like the brown accent at the hem; adds some nice interest and can be styled as either a romantic or a tough feature.  Incidentally, this seems to fill the slot in my wardrobe that I had been hoping the Field Skirt would fill---an easy, pull-on, elastic-waisted, neutral skirt---but I found the Dipped Hem to be more flattering for me.  Since this is an older item, I'm very much hoping it gets a second cut within the two-week price adjustment period.

4. Field Game Cardigan ($get ready to hate me): While waiting for my returns to ring up, I almost forgot to visually scan the back counter of the Chelsea Market Anthro for interesting not-yet-restocked returns.  I'm glad I did, though---I noticed the Field Game's telltale stripes, lace details, and gold buttons sitting there, nicely folded and still in the original shrink-wrapped online purchase bag from over a year ago.  I nearly squealed when the SA told me it wasn't on hold for anybody and brought it over.  My very own Field Game Cardi!  Unfortunately, it is a size small (I usually take a medium, and this cardi seems to run small as it is), but I nabbed it up anyway for the bargain-basement price of ten dollars.  Yes, $10.  To give you non-Anthro lovers a sense for how crazy this is, should I ever decide to part with this cardi, even after wearing it for months or a year, I feel confident that I could sell it for at least $50, probably close to $70, as long as it stays in good condition.  That's how much of a steal $10 is.  In fact, it rang up for ten CENTS, but the associate manually entered $10.  I'm not complaining!  And I may try to trade it for a larger size...I'm just worried about getting stuck with a counterfeit.  Regardless, finding this classic Anthro piece was a thrill!

The new skirt and cardi passed the "I want to rip the tags off right away" test.  Here's what I wore today  Sorry for the terrible lighting in my therapist's building.  (Also wearing: black molded and melded tee from anthro, steve madden boots, jcrew factory earrings, childhood secrets necklace from anthro).  True story---walked by a street photographer while wearing this outfit in SoHo as he took a picture of someone else.  If my cardigan had been chartreuse, maybe me?  Probably not.  Anyway.

5.  Pleated Dotted Swiss Skirt ($20): I usually can't handle Forever 21; the layout and dizzying range of quality (and---mostly---lack thereof) overwhelms me.  But I made an exception and found this skirt.  The size medium fits comfortably and I quite like the piece; let's see if it gets any wear or if it's relegated to the back of my closet as a cheap but unwearable thrill.

And now, the returns:
Returns - 4/5
Not much to say here.  You may recognize a few of the pieces as items I thought I was "definitely" going to keep (blazer, tweed skirt, blue dress) (here and here).  Well, after months went by and all of these items went unused, I realized I'd rather part with them and use the money for other things.  I was able to put the dress on hold for one of Roxy's readers, which was a great reminder that the items I feel lukewarm about are making someone else's heart pound, and shouldn't I feel that way about all the clothes in my closet?

You may recognize the Falling Petals Top from my review.  Before I left for Israel, I sent my friend Stephanie (pictured here and here) a list of a few items for her to buy on my behalf if they hit sale while I was gone.  Fortunately, it was a relatively uneventful two sale days (and I actually found myself with internet access on both days, so the suspense did not kill me).  This top was on the list, but once I saw the receipt I thought twice about it.  I still think it's adorable, but for me right now $40 for a top is the exception rather than the rule.  Back it went.

Overall, after factoring in my new purchases and my returns, plus my gift card, I have $350 to last me from now until June at Anthro.  (Plus Weight Watchers and poker.)  I think I can do it!  Do you?

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