Sunday, December 24, 2006

After Christmas Sales!

Judy's Book, the deal site that posted Christmas Shipping & Return deals earlier this month, is now being helpful (as usual) with a list of After Christmas Sales.

Says the site:

"Stop buying the Sunday paper - Get all the details on After Christmas sales right here! We're updating this list as stores start posting their holiday sales information, so please keep checking back. We will be adding to this list every day."

You can find this continuously-updating chart of sales here. Feel free to put it on your blog and share it with friends!

Happy Shopping! And Happy Holidays to everyone, I'll see you here after Christmas, when we can all discuss what goodies we received!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Gabriela~

I'll admit- I'm the kind of girl who, if you're my friend and wear my shoe size, might have to try on those adorable new shoes you just bought. And naturally, as I'm slipping my feet into your cute soles, I will artfully suggest that I might borrow them from time to time.

This exact instance is what led me to discover how unbelievably comfortable Bandolino's "Gabriela" leather pumps are. These shoes are great for work, but also stylish enough to be dressed up for evening. My friend had worn them previously and couldn't stop bragging about how great her feet felt, while ours were all smarting by the end of our evening out. And now I know she wasn't exaggerating at all.

This is a great product from a quality brand that I've always loved. The shoes are available on Zappos for an affordable $46.95 and come in Black or Medium Brown. Natural materials will keep these shoes holding together for a long time - a great investment, an amazing shoe.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

When a Shoe Tries Too Hard

A...a bow... and a strappy thing? Really? I am sorry, my friends, but I do not understand these shoes:

Can anyone tell me why they're $127.00?

I much prefer these from Payless, for only $17.99:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shipping & Return Guides

Just after I mentioned the ease of internet shopping in my previous post, Judy's Book came out with a guide that should be helpful to everyone this month.

Here is a chart of online shipping deals from popular stores. (Free Shipping, codes, Spend $x for Free Shipping, etc.)

Here is a chart of return policies for holiday gifts purchased online. (Return by x date, 30-day returns, Free Returns, etc.)

I think this was a great idea and very helpful! Thanks, Judy's Book.

The Real Deal

How to Find the Real Deal During the Holidays

During the holidays, shoppers are bombarded with discounts, reductions, free gifts with purchase, limited time only, steals, deals, and sales. In the craze of specials, it’s easy to lose sight of what qualifies as a good price on a necessary item. What is a bargain? How does a smart shopper remain objective under pressure; how do you conserve money when you need to buy the perfect gift?

Here are some guidelines I’ve gleaned from my favorite vice, shoe shopping:

1) Know what you want when you go in.
Having a solid, specific idea of what you’re looking for allows you to focus in on your gift. Every detail helps: what brands are preferred? How much are you willing to spend? Looking for shoes for a friend, I limited myself to under $100, black, no peep-toes, and work-appropriate- these were her prominent needs. Though I allowed myself wiggle room to fit her personality, having parameters really freed me to narrow the vast options of shoes available, and I wound up with three excellent choices for her, rather than hundreds.

2) Would I have paid full price for this item?
Often a deal seems to be, or is blatantly advertised as, “too good to miss.” These words are enticing, yet deceptive. An easy way to judge for yourself is to ask if you would have paid retail value for the item. If you didn’t want it twenty dollars ago, what’s the new appeal? The person you’re shopping for deserves a present bought for the thought, rather than the cost. If they didn’t need Tommy Hilfiger wedges at $68.99, they won’t love them just because they’re $28.99. If you wouldn’t even consider the item at full price, miss it.

3) Could I admit that this was on sale?
This guideline is also known as “the shame factor,” and it goes hand-in-hand with the previous rule. It’s very simple: when you hand the present over, if you can proudly boast to the recipient, “And they were only $19.99!” then it’s a good deal. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that we spent very little on a gift. If you would be mortified for your gal pal to find a hidden price sticker on the back of the box, then it’s possible you bought the item for the price sticker in the first place, rather than for the pal.

4) Apply the Love/Want/Need test.
The Love/Want/Need test is my personal measurement of how desirable a product is. Loving an item is the first step- for me, a shoe has to be eye-catching and unique, creating an urge to buy on top of an aesthetic appreciation. Next I decide if I want the shoe. Often I adore the concept of a shoe, but I know it isn’t my style or wouldn’t fit in my wardrobe. And third, it’s most rewarding to shop when you can convince yourself that you need the item. Is it practical? Do you have a specific outfit or event already in mind to put the shoe to use? If the item you’re considering passes all three of these tests for you or your friend, it’s guaranteed to be a great gift.

5) Avoid the best of the worst.
Sometimes we shoppers, considering ourselves thrifty, get bogged down in racks and racks of clearance or 75% off. After sorting through handfuls of clothes and shoes we would never buy, an amazing item turns up and you rush to the register! The problem is, after looking at so many unappealing things, the item we found wasn’t amazing, but merely the best in a batch of poor options. The way to avoid buying the best of the worst is to take the item, take a stroll to where the full-priced items are, and place your merchandise among the rest. Now, in comparison, are you still excited by it? If it’s still your favorite piece in a price-blind array, you’ve lucked out on a fantastic deal.

6) Know the product.
You can find out a lot about a sale by asking the right salesperson a few simple questions. How long will the discount apply? If it goes until March rather than ending at Christmas, it might be disguising itself as a holiday sale. Find out the item’s original cost- be wary of fake “actual value” numbers on tags- a salesperson can tell you if the shoe ever sold for $200, or if it’s been “marked down to $99” since it walked in the door. Also, find out if those shoes will be on sale again. In October I passed on a pair of boots because the salesperson admitted they’d be on sale again in January- for further discount.

7) Walk away.
This is wisdom imparted by my father, and I always shop by it. If the sale isn’t ending in 24 hours, look at the item carefully, and then walk away from it. Do other shopping and then come back, or better yet, go home and come back another day. If it’s something you really love, its allure will survive distance. Stores are usually happy to put items on hold for you. If the sale is ending shortly, you can buy the item but leave it in the bag, with the tags on, with the receipt. Wait a few days, and then take it out again and think about what you paid. You can always make a return. But when you can, it’s invaluably constructive to test yourself and leave it behind.

8) Use the internet.
I’m sure this is preaching to the choir, but the internet is the ultimate mall, with the best deals. I can search for the brand and model of the shoes I’m coveting or compare them to similar items by price, size, or color. During the holidays, stores can sell out of popular items, but it’s easy to find whatever you need online. It’s the most diverse source for every style and need; there’s something for everyone. And don’t worry: during the holidays, there’s more free shipping than you can shake a credit card at, so it’s no extra cost. Online stores are on top of getting your purchases shipped on time, and will even help you calculate a send-by date. No hassle, no leg work, no long lines. Just remember: all of the above guidelines still apply!

I hope you have Happy Holidays and a Smart Shopping New Year!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Eye of the Beholder

Remember back when I was jolted out of temporary blogger hibernation by the ugliest vest known to shopping? I cautioned you all to be wary of descriptive tags - if the item is marketed by its assets, and its assets are 'faux fur reversible vest', then you don't even really have to look at the piece itself, or see the price tag, to know better - move along, nothing to wear here.

Well, my friends, I have stumbled upon yet another fright in four words:

Sparkle. Pleated. Bubble. Skirt.

We know one of those four is okay on its own: skirt.

Otherwise, what a mess this is! It looks itchy- like that material you wore for your dance recital costume, or your grandmother's lamé shawl. And I know, I know, some of you like bubble skirts - every store has them, it means someone is buying them. And yes, gold has been very popular lately, and I like gold, but the expanse of sparkles, folds, and then those buttons? Too much. Even for a year of metallics; even for the holiday season. I know what this skirt reminds me of - it's like a potato sack trying really, really hard.

And yet? Some people, somewhere, are going to buy the rest of these out. And that's why I'm such a believer that beauty is in the eye of the beholder... because seriously, there is no other explanation. (There are various exceptions to eye-of-the-beholder justification, like Uggs and mini-skirts - I just don't want to see it this year, okay ladies? And we can put the leggings away for good. And the jumpers. I want to still believe in your good taste. Let's not make this into an intervention.)

It does, however, explain why this skirt is on sale at Bluefly - but it's still $99.99, which is waaaaay too much for a skirt that closely resembles one I used to have for my Barbie, and even that was back in the 80's. I don't care if it used to be $210.00, whoever dreamed of not only making this disaster, but then selling it at such a price is out of their mind (I'm looking at you, "Walter"). And if any of you even think twice about buying it, you are going to hand over your credit card and your keyboard, and you, me, and your closest friends and relatives are all going to sit down and have a little talk, mmk? Because we love you.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sale Agony

Sale Agony: the tragic side to holiday sales that no one talks about. That is, when your favorite stores start featuring huge discounts on all of your favorite merchandise- namely, that which you've already purchased, at full retail value.

I am suffering Sale Agony tonight over the Nordstrom's discount of my beloved, gifted "Seanna" shoes by Linea Paolo.

Originally, my lovely laced-up ballet-style slingbacks were $89.95. I purchased them for approximately $58. Online at, you can now be a fellow proud owner of my shoes for only $44.90 -- with free shipping* to boot! *(On orders over $100, for a limited time- not that this is a huge bonus - regular shipping is always a reasonable $5 despite weight.) Only a few months after my purchase!

This reminds me of the skirt I splurged all of my savings on one year in High School - a beautiful, long red and pink and black wrap skirt from Charlotte Russe- and the same week, when I went into the store, it was on a sales rack for $20! Of course I had already worn it and taken off the tags.

I suppose the moral of the Sale Agony is that if in my (or your) infinite shopping wisdom, it was deemed worthwhile to spend a higher amount on the item we were coveting, then it remains that the item was worth purchasing at the time at that amount- no matter how cheap it gets.

Now I'll just cross my fingers- as I did so long ago about the skirt- that everyone won't be seen around wearing it, now that it is such an impossible deal to turn down! (Not you, of course. You can buy my shoes. I do suggest however, if you want to buy this shoe, the Walnut and Ivory shades are just as lovely as my patent Black!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Judy's Book

A shout out to a new site I've stumbled upon: Judy's Book. is one of those online sites where contributors post deals from around the world wide web to share with others. I've been spending a lot of time there in the past week. It's a useful source to look for deals and to seek discount codes for checkout while you're shopping for holiday presents online.

It's heavily based on a share-system, where it really takes everyone's input and posts to comprise a thorough shopping site for all deals, sales, freebies, and specials. That's basically why I thought I'd put up a quick post here - if everyone participates, it can develop into a truly incredible resource for those of us who are big online shoppers.

Also available but in development are popular devices such as blogs and articles and reviews, to which all users can contribute (much like, which everyone already loves).

But Judy's Book expands from cosmetics to apparel, shoes, travel, outdoor gear, kitchenware and more. It's always worth popping on to this site to run a quick search, to see if that popcorn maker you're eyeing is on sale somewhere you'd never think to look, or to find out what code you can use for free shipping on it.

The best part of Judy's Book, which I've reserved until last, is that you can actually make money by becoming a member. To inspire contributors so that the site can function as an indispensable tool, commissions are offered on certain deals that you help to promote through the site. It's easy and self-explanatory, calling on skills we're already cultivating as bloggers and connoisseurs of shopping.

Check it out and help enhance a beneficial, shopper-friendly website. Plus, you're spending enough time and money on everyone else this month- earn some cash on the side and pick up a little something for yourself. You deserve it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Four Me, For You

There are several purchases I've made since last we spoke (four to be exact), and I've neglected to mention them here. But as they now grace my arms and feet on a regular basis, and serve to round out my closet, and since I do try to include you all (because shopping is a team sport!) I should show them. So I will.

First, the "Stella" shoes in Lipstick Red mentioned in this post from oh-so-long-ago.
Can anyone believe that I've wanted these shoes since July 26th and just got them during the Veteran's Day sale? I can't. I must really be learning to control (or at least detain) those impulse buys.

Second, a boot (I cannot find a picture of) by Apostrophe, called "Grace." I would never shop at Sears (in fact I try to avoid it altogether), but for the fact that a) they were 40% off, and b)I bought the same pair years ago and they held together through two rough years, which is more than I can say for many of the so-called upscale shoes I buy.

Third, a new purse! You'll never believe this (it's been a whole post full of eye-openers, hasn't it?) but I have had the same purse on my arm almost every day since I got it for Christmas last year. So I needed a new one! As much as I love shopping, and favor accessories to boot (pun intended), I am not a purse girl. Purse shopping is excrutiating to me. It just needs to be the perfect look, and weight, and width, and shape and color... I don't fall in love with purses very often, one detail is always just wrong. So when I find a purse to love, I snatch it up! Such was the way with this beauty, from Nine West:
I was actually very close to purchasing a Kathy Van Zeeland bag, and I was eyeing a few others, and then I fell in love with this one, and it was even on sale. I always feel fortunate to covet things I can actually, guiltlessly afford.

Fourth, these "Grannie" boots from Dillards were actually a present from my stepfather. Unaware of the black lace-up "Grace" boots I'd just purchased and hadn't even worn yet, he saw these and said they were just "me," so he had to buy them. He was so spot on! A much more chic version of the "Grace" boots, I considered returning the Sears version, but decided that they were cheap enough to keep both (especially considering one had been a gift).
Gianne Bini, Italian leather, yum.

Now you're all caught up with my closet. Anyone else buy something (or four things) fun that you want to share with me?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Faux Letter Word


Well I've been in quite the posting funk, now haven't I? Personal concerns aside, I have really missed this space. I must stop reserving all of my scathing fashion-related comments for my cat, because quite frankly, she's sick of me. "Save it for species who actually wear clothes," she seems to say with those yellowy eyes. Don't be jealous, Josh, it doesn't befit young kittens of your stature.

While I am not yet sure of the frequency of updates I can promise (yet), I am just had to re-emerge from my torpor to bring you this riddle: What single item is, by its own definition, the most heinous fashion grievance? What mere concept of style can make a girl's blood curdle, the notion of which offends those of us who take trends (even animal print) seriously?

Four words:

Faux. Fur. Reversible. Vest.

Faux! Fur! Reversible! Vest!

There's maybe one word in that little choo-choo train of denotative wreckage that's allowable, and we all know it's fur. And still! But everything else is really pushing it, if we're talking taste (and when aren't we?).

Without further delay, I bring you:
Is it a vest? Is it a potato sack? Has a rabid animal escaped from the nearby forested area and is now attacking this poor, presumably tiny model with its bulky beast body while the photographer clicks away, blithely unaware of her impending doom?

Even at 33% off... please, my dear friends, if you're not too affronted by me forcing this grotesque sight upon you, take my advice. Stay away.

I did it for your own good.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Temporary Pause

Temporary Leave of Absence

Computer problems + possibly quitting job + moving = time out on the blogger lifestyle.

I'll try to continue sporadically updating, especially concerning my situation. Shoot me an email if you'd like me to let you know when I'm back up and fully functional.

Thank you for your patience!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Vacation Reading

Let's just face it. It's not really fair to consider vacation reading as reading; it's a time for cheap indulgence of the imagination, for letting your mind be as lazy as your body craves. Despite the fact that I have several unread novels that I bought this summer, when I was going away for a mini-vacation to the beach, I did not grab the heavy hardcover and get some serious thinking done. It wasn't going to happen for me. But what better time for me to finally bite into this (last?) month's Vogue (which I actually bought for my last trip on Labor Day, shuttup I'm so behind everyone, but at the time I ended up reading Vanity Fair on the plane instead)?

But imagine my chagrin when that sole piece of reading I dragged along with me, (weighing down my beach bag, already almost a thousand pounds because I somehow manage to overpack just for a trip from the hotel room to the beach downstairs) wasn't enough. Despite all the heft, even the September Vogue couldn't get me through two days on the beach. Suddenly, I was left with nothing to do but crisp under the harsh Floridian sun with visions of tights and booties dancing in my head.

This was when I stumbled upon an issue of Vive at the hotel. Vive is a local women's magazine covering local events and- wouldn't you just know it- fashion. And this was their seasonal issue as well, so I got to settle in with something to get me through the end of the day. Now, Vive isn't a mass-marketed, widely-known publication. Even down here I had never heard of it before. But what I found that I liked about it was that rather than reading about such-and-such sample sale in Cali., or who's who in Manhattan boutiquing, or, ahem, fashion week, I merely got to enjoy news that was actually relevant to me and my area. I learned about Miami shops I'd never been to, new shoe lines displaying in stores I could reach by car, and, importantly, that a Sephora is opening at City Place- alas, in February 2007. Isn't that hideously far away from now? It also had great advice on things like... how the hell does a Floridian fashionista pull off seasonal trends, such as layering, in this weather that does not bend to any designer's whims?

Now, it's not like I'm rushing out to subscribe. The editorials look like something I can do using only MS Paint and a camera-phone, and the writing/editing is mostly what I could produce in A.P. English (12th grade, not 11th, granted). In fact, most of the style information and fashion news were things I can pull out of my hat on my own. But I'm now definitely willing to open my magazine experience up to new, smaller publications if they have special appeals- like covering my own county, demi-celebs I may actually run into and my favorite local malls. It was perfect 'lite' reading for the sand and sun.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shopper's Gratification

At the height of control over my instant gratification urges, I can now inform you that, at long last, I own this.

Of course, it's still summer here in SoFla. So I haven't touched the thing yet. But let me tell you, the moment it dips below 90 degrees here, I am SO in it.

Let's just hope this brand of impulse control does(n't)(??) extend to the coat, boots, and purse I am eyeing!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Are You Out There?

A few of you have contacted to ask where the Style Bard has gone! Well I thank you for your concern.

I am, seemingly, alive and well. Just in a time of transition (we all go through these), working more hours per week than ever before, plus trying to follow everyone else's fashion week blogging without getting too jealous of their ability to be there in the tents in person. This is the most closely I've ever paid attention to Fashion Week, and I have to confess, it's a little overwhelming- not only to seek and see the collections posted, but to also try and take in what the bloggers I revere have to say about them all.

Today I am here to regale you with tales of my latest fashion crisis: over-dressing.

I have to confess, I absolutely envy every woman I see who manages to look sexy and pulled together, yet like she's not even trying. I just cannot do it. I envy the cotton top and denim bottom that make a woman look amazing- and yet like she can take you in a race, on the spot. Because she's comfortable, too. That bitch.

When I actually get a chance to shed my work uniform, I tend to choose to go somewhere upscale. Or at least somewhere you might be expected to dress as such. Lately I haven't been wasting my precious free time sloughing around thrift stores, flea markets, Starbucks, or even the movies. None of my old local haunts. (Besides, I feel old at many of these places, compared to the teenage majority. Apparently I am a grown up now. Or something.) Even when simply dining out, I don't want to go to any chain that resembles my own places of employment. It has to be somewhere nice.

And everytime I leave the house I feel the need to dress 'up.' As though to show the world that I can, too, look good outside of my work apron and ponytail. My attempts to dress become a memo: Dear World: My hair is long by the way, and curly! I actually do not smell like fried food. And also, I have a waist and hips. Thank you for paying attention. Love, Bard.

For someone to whom style and appearance is so important, work can really crush my spirit. And also to incite it to enormous overcompensation. Because when I go out, everything has to be perfect. Makeup, outfit, accessories, shoes! and even scent. A long, full shower of scrubbing, and shaving- no unsightly body hair anywhere please, (gross).

Yesterday I was invited to join a friend at a local dive for some drinks, and getting ready took over an hour once I got home from work. For many people, 'jumping in the shower' to meet someone is a hasty process ending in jeans and a tank of some kind. Not for me. It involves changing earrings. It involves eyeliner. It involves laundry. And all of this so that I can look 'casual' or the ever-elusive 'effortlessly chic.' Effortless, my foot. By the time I met my friends they weren't sure I was even coming anymore. And of course when I arrived, the other women were in a) jeans and a black top, or b) jean skirt and a green halter top. I was also in a denim skirt and a white GAP tshirt. That took me for-ev-er to put together. I just have issues.

Yes, I like to look good. My clothes express the aesthetic of my personality; I put myself out there before I even say hello. I believe firmly in the importance of a first impression. Hell, I like to be complimented. And I enjoy my reputation as someone with a sense of style.

But there is a line and I fear I tend to cross it. When I went to a wine-tasting last week everyone was in very casual daywear and I was in my nicest black trousers and a silky top. I didn't mind standing out when Sexy Corporate Hunk was nearby, but when I wanted to just dip in and grab a taste of the accompanying bruschetta, it was the women in sensible shoes, khakis and clean, casual tops that beat me to the bread line.

It's a top and some bottoms, Bard. Why does everything have to be a high-heeled humdinger of an ensemble for you? I must be trying to overcompensate. For when I'm lazing around in my pajamas or a robe at home. Or when I'm sweaty and running around at work in ugly sneakers. But in the fashion industry, it's always the designers who dress down in blacks, the makeup artists who wear barely any at all, the hair stylists who have their hair in a bun. Everyone simple, simple, simple because they have nothing to prove; they flaunt their talent elsewhere. Why must this Bard feel unsettled in her appearance at this point in her life? Why does she feel the need to impress perfect strangers with her color coordination abilities and balance in 4" boots?

I do not know, my friends, but I'm working on paring down. Quite frankly, I have better things to do with those hours lost in my closet. Like getting back into gear with my beloved blog.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

eBay Shoe Update

Opposed to the shoes of the previous post, check out this little update:

Recognize the shoes? That's right, they're from my 'sole risk' eBay post. What do you think?

I wore them with this, a little foray into some of this year's recent trends:

Babydoll dress, Forever 21. Gap tshirt. Simply sheer tights. I wore my hair up in a semi-neat bun with a little headband. I'm not sure the entire look is 'me', but it's very playful and I had fun in it tonight.

As you can see, the shoes are a tad big, as I'd feared:

But I think some tights with more substance will take care of that. Otherwise, I have not been persuaded away from shopping on eBay! I just... won't wear them if I have to walk a whole bunch. I'm going to call these, 'under the desk' shoes.

Style Disaster ~Clunky Shoes~

Please tell me when and why I bought these chunky, clunky black shoes- and who permitted it:

I was cleaning out my closet at my mom's house for Goodwill and came upon these waaaay in the back. I have absolutely no memory of buying or wearing these. Which probably explains this:

$39.95?! Are you kidding me? Thankfully the tags were still on. That means maybe I realized the error of my ways the moment I got them home, and never wore them. That means there are no photos out there. Except this one.

How unflattering do they make my legs? And I actually tend to think I have nice legs. How could a shoe do this? Who made this shoe?! Goodwill might actually give them back.

Despite the fact that I did go through a thick-heeled black shoe phase in late middle school/early high school, let's just pretend one of my sisters bought this shoe a long time ago and somehow it found its way into my bedroom over the years. After all, the Elder Sister is at least 3" shorter than me, so that makes waaay more sense. As far as 'sense' and these shoes can be associated.

Crime against fashion, that's all I have to say. Now let's all pretend this never happened.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Labor Day

Hello and Happy Labor Day!

(Or, more recently, Happy Tropical Storm Ernesto-survival Day... ahem, whatajoke... if you're in my neck of the woods.)

Just an announcement that I'll be taking a mini-vacation back to Upstate New York (with the outlet malls of wonder, remember?) through Monday, so have fun and be safe (and be stylish) in my absence.

I'm sure I'll return loaded down with armloads of last season's bargains and lots of great stories. In white shoes? Maybe, maybe not.

I've been a little slow with the updates lately, I'll admit, but I've got a few posts lined up, so see you next week!

Hmm, now how am I going to pack all of my beauty products so that I don't set off every security alarm at the airport...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Worth Repeating

From a makeup blog I enjoy, I am pretty nyc:

"Fall Commerce

kim | 20 August, 2006 20:18

As you are leafing through the tonnage of the fall magazines, making your lists and getting the look just so, think about this: fashion and beauty are businesses helmed by creative and financial masterminds who have figured out how to bring out your most primal ache of desire. Mostly by putting skinny, naked, shiny people in ads, but it's perhaps a little more complicated than that. In any case, just remember the people on their yachts who own those yachts only because people have bought a million of their dresses and shoes because they are so talented at tapping your innermost desire for, well, more. So this season don't just be in fashion; have style.

I can't enforce those ideas enough! Thanks, Kim.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~INC Sweater~

What can I say? It's beautiful.

And it happens to fit beautifully and feel luscious. Which I know, because after carrying it around Macy's for a generous amount of time, I did try it on.

I also finally got to see Angela's winning outfit from Project Runway firsthand. It was all right; I wasn't a big fan of the shirt. I would wear the grey trousers if they weren't so ubiquitous right now, and so identifiable.

The real kicker was this picture, featured right on the front page for, mocking me for not purchasing the coveted sweater while I had it in my hands this weekend:

As if to say, "Bard, doesn't this soft, cozy, form-flattering sweater look great on tall curly-haired brunettes?" Yes,, thanks for pointing that out! Any generous readers out there? I wear a size medium.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Project Runway S3E6

Last week's episode which sent Bradley home was fairly plain to me, with the expected loser being dismissed and everyone's champion, Michael, taking his first win. So I completely neglected to add my own comments to it; the episode spoke for itself and I was looking forward to moving on.

Which brings us to this week's episode.

First, I've got to admit that when it initially aired, I fell asleep. (I know! I was tired! My bed was comfy! Don't stone me!) But I left my tv on Bravo, and so when the episode aired about five million more times during the night, it influenced my dreams. I dreamed the entire episode- some, in the first half, as it had happened when I watched it. The second half was narrated by the television, but my mind created everyone's garments, since I hadn't seen them completed before konking out earlier. In the end, in my dream, Robert was kicked off. Interesting, hm?

Then I woke up and the last fifteen minutes of the show were on (which, believe me, had me really disoriented at first, due to the fact that it was the middle of the night and I had just been dreaming the same premise, thinking I was already watching it). So I got to see the breath-holding moment wherein Kayne was spared and Alison was sent home.

Alison! What? How?! I really thought she was one of the most talented designers, and I don't see how the judges overlooked that fact. Not only is Alison consistently making beautiful garments, but the dress that led to her booting actually looked much nicer on the mannequin, and help me but I want to blame the model. Actually, I wish Alison had stuck with her initial vision- I liked where the colored paper skirt was going. But I have to take her word that it wasn't working. However, do the designers' previous efforts not factor in at all when they're on the chopping block?

On America's Next Top Model, at least progress and potential are considered! On America's Got Talent, the judges keep the big picture in mind throughout the many reprisals of the contestants- overall, do they deserve one million dollars? Overall, hasn't Alison consistently demonstrated more talent and potential than almost any other designer?

Stolen from because I'm lazy, but isn't her dress rather cute in this picture? I think, if not the model, it was the hair-bow that did Alison's dress in.

Vincent, who was spared by some twisted god (or judge's) mercy alone, managed to slip by with a dress which showed no eye for style, no personal flourish (or fleurchon), and no construction skills. It was barely clothing at all, as the model couldn't take a step in the thing. At least Alison really worked that paper! Despite what the judges had to say about Kayne's garish piece, Vincent's alone looked truly like an art camp's ( Paris... for 6 year olds?) construction paper project.

I completely understand why Laura began lashing out at Vincent when Alison got kicked off. How could the troll of the designers cause the Princess to be sent home? That's not how fairy tales work, damnit!
I felt this way when Santino remained on last season during the makeover episode, when his jumpsuit was attacked by Kara Janx and fellow designers, and it was revealed as being taped and glued together- much too late.
I just really wanted to see Alison's collection go to fashion week. I'm kinda gonna have to hold on to this disappointment for awhile until Vincent gets his dues and is thrown out on his ass. He'd just better not make it to the final four, or I will be seething.

The winner- okay, okay, okay, okay- I do love Michael. It's kind of like a contagion in the blogosphere, if you can't tell. And while I was ecstatic to see him win last week, because he so justly deserved it, this week his back-to-back win (accompanied, of course, by the revelation of his little wallet-note-mantra to win, and aren't we all so moved and if we hadn't already been drooling over the boy, wouldn't we be now?) felt less rewarding. And with the fondling of his wall of fame Pam Grier outfit... it's almost too much, it's like a bias for Michael. He was the invisible underdog and won our love, but now he's so prominent and pampered that I.. sort of fear for his future. We can't be too easy on him or Michael-the-neglected-and-underrated, the prodigal designer that we fell for, will be compromised.

And by the way? Jeffrey should have won. Sorry, but yes. This was truly Jeffrey's moment to shine, with a beautiful, wearable, creative, but oh-so-personalized garment. It was colorful, it was unique, it stood out amid the rest of the, well, trash. I don't think Michael's lovely-but-bland dress should have won, when Jeffrey went out on a limb and put his crazy, bitter, tattooed heart into his gown- and actually pulled it off! I shared his pain every agonizing second in the room with Michael just after the win. The Prodigal Designer seemed stupefied by his own self-fulfilled prophecy, while Jeffrey could do nothing but sulk in the glow of Michael's glory. I desperately hope Jeffrey gets one win and has his own day to shine before he gets sent home, or else he might carry this resentment for Michael all his life (especially once we all get to see Michael win it all, because he's going to).

What can I say? At least Robert and Kayne were spared. More bitchy, flamboyant conspiring and designing, please! Carry on.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Sole Risk

I confess: I kind of hate shopping for clothes and shoes online. Rather, I adore browsing online, and I am perfectly willing to make purchases online, but when items involve sizing, I must have had the chance to try the item on in person at some point before I'll risk ordering it. Is this paranoia? Or an admirable, alert wariness? Buying items- especially shoes- in person can be enough of a deliberation. But when you haven't had the chance to parade around the entire shoestore to make absolutely sure that they're comfortable (and to make sure you didn't miss a different cute pair)? It's asking for trouble. This bard's mother always insisted on making that second trip around the store before a pair of shoes could be considered for purchase. (Or a third.)

And what happens when shoes are the object at hand (or foot!) and there's no return policy?

Well. Usually this would be a certain no-no.

Alas, the bard, she fell for these lovely shoes on eBay.

Like any lovestruck fawn, she pranced about her item of attraction for awhile, dancing in indecisiveness about the next move. I thought I must.have.these. to go over tights for Fall. Not that I live somewhere that gets cold. Not that I own tights. But come on, we all read the glossies! Tights are happening and they will happen to you. Ahem. So. For the spectacular Buy-It-Now price of $22.99 with shipping and handling, I decided- throw caution to the wind! Dismay your mother and defy her rules! Buy these shoes!

And I did.
But with one little promise to myself (that I share now with you): if these do not fit, if they are scratched, if they are mussed or messed up in any way and I regret buying them? I will never again buy non-returnable clothing or shoes via 'www'.

Only time will tell how this little, one-time-only test turns out, and I will be sure to let you know.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Secret ~Tide To Go~

How have I not written about Tide To Go wand yet? I practically worship the thing (no, really. Tide To Go- Tide Wand, to me- is a portable stain remover that costs about $4 at CVS. I keep one of these handy tools in my purse at all times and it has saved me from the utter destruction of favorite clothing more times than I can count. Because I am a hopeless klutz. And I know that if you're not, there's certain to be at least one in your circle of friends and immediate family.

The instructions say to 1) Remove excess residue from stain. 2) Press the tip onto the stain several times to release some stain remover solution onto the stain. 3) Rub the stain gently across the stain to remove it.

My only concern, sometimes, is in the pressing-down action itself (#2). We all know to dab, dab! the stains on your delicate beloved clothing! Or else you can set the stain further! When you actually want to be lifting the stain out. So, for fear that I will damage my stained clothing, I usually apply the pen and release the liquid on the outside of the actual stain, and then use the tip to guide the liquid over the area from the outside in. The packaging also warns against leaving a treated stain in direct sunlight, and if thats necessary, then to remove any excess solution with a napkin or cloth.

The other day, I reached into my bag and (to my dismay!) discovered that the top was off of the wand. Oh no! I thought, worried for the inner liquid contents. It's dried out, it's GONE! Take this red wine away from me right now! My mother was with me at the time, and due to the sheer alarm on my face, went out the next day and bought me a new one as a gift. It's always good to have a backup. It's also always good for people to understand the urgency and importance of the Tide Wand.

I first encountered it last Thanksgiving at the residence of a family friend where we always gather to celebrate the holiday. My sister managed to get a pen streak across a pair of my light green trouser pants, a favorite pair, during Scattergories. The ink was dark blue. It was horrible! I was instantly upset, when lo and behold, the matron of the household rushed to her own purse and grabbed her Tide Wand- the first I'd seen. She was so perfectly confident in its ability to remove the stain- did I mention it was DARK BLUE INK?!- that I used it with utter trust, though bated breath. I pressed the wand down, covered the marred area, and let it dry. Ten minutes later, my pants were dry and the stain was nearly invisible (unless, I admit, you are specifically looking for it). The pants remained wearable, and in ten mere minutes, you'd never know anything had happened. I was instantly hooked, forever convinced. It took me another few weeks to locate the pen in my own local CVS, because it hadn't been released everywhere yet at the time. The first time I actually found it, I literally yelped with excitement, much to the shock of my shopping companion of the time.

Since then, I have personally used the wand to remove ink stains from pens, red wine from my clothes, and pomegranate martini- yes, with real pomegranate juice involved- from my white blouse (this one was hailed as a miracle even by the young male bartender serving us- it also convinced him not to make a rule against me drinking dark liquors). These are just a few of my tales (and all of this just since last November).
Most recently, I was wearing a new pair of Citizen jeans out to a hungarian restaurant where- brace yourself- there was by some gross happenstance a mysterious, disgusting, dark brown gravy-sauce underneath the tabletop. So when I, unwittingly, crossed my legs under the table like a young lady should, my knee went directly into this goop. And it wasn't for at least an hour, when we went to leave, that I pushed my chair back and noticed this hideous, already-drying stain. On.mynew.pants! I was very upset, tease if you must, but I was almost in tears. I was thinking of suing the owners! Or writing a mean worded letter to the local newspaper. Or to Zagat's! They should mention this in their restaurant guide, don't you think?! Instead, while the waiter came over and tried to apologize and soothe me (and to keep me from freaking out the rest of the patrons with my dirge-like wails of woe), I whipped out my pen and began to furiously work at the knee of my pant. I'd never tried the wand on denim before, so this was a real test. I was also rather worried about the solution removing the dye from a pair of pants that had yet to be washed for the first time, but it had to be done. In the end, the wand removed most of the stain. It took a full drying of the pants and a second application to remove the rest (at least, you can't see it without your nose against the fabric, looking past the outer threads). But it worked, and it really saved the day for me (and probably for the owner of the restaurant, heh).

The Tide Wand is an absolute 'must' for any fashionista worth her Jimmy Choos. How can you claim to love your clothes if you don't maintain them with 24/7 vigilance against their possible destruction? Like a boy scout, be prepared! I think the Tide To Go should find a nook in every kitchen or laundry room, and in every woman's purse. Not only will it repeatedly cover your ass in precarious spill situations, but the wand will make you look like an absolute magician in front of those who haven't caught on to its miraculous abilities yet. You'll wow and impress friends by always saving the day when stains seem iminent- at restaurants, parties, meetings.

And don't forget, this goes for you, men, too! Maybe you can't have it on your person at all times like the ladies, but try keeping a wand in your desk drawer or glove compartment. It'll not only keep you neat and tidy, but trust me, the ladies will notice that you make an effort to take care of things that matter to you.

And of course, for such a cheap price and such ready availability, it will always make a thoughtful little extra gift. So go buy one!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Project Runway S3E4

I've missed posting about the last few Project Runways- I've been too busy reading up on threads and theories on BPR, and throwing my comments at their pages instead! (So... addicted...) But though the temptation to lose myself among hundreds of comments on their site was mighty, I decided to get back to my own blog to talk about the episodes. And what better episode to cover than that of the coveted kicked-off contestant conspiracy?

Well, the cat's out of the bag, and may I just say: sew in peace, Keith. I'm personally quite heartbroken over his departure, since he was providing me much needed eye-candy and bitchiness this season. But rules is rules, and as far as rules go... day-um, Keith, was there one you didn't break or did you just decide to go whole-hog? I loved wondering what truncation would get him booted, it was a delicious debate at BPR, but when Tim Gunn came on and rattled off not one... not two... but THREE infractions, I couldn't help but giggle and shake my head. And all of this after we see Keith price-haggling at Mood and blithely confessing that he likes to tweak rules when he doesn't believe in them. From the outset, I loved Malan and Keith the best, and we all see how far my support gets a PR designer. But tonight's episode made me much less sad than when Malan was kicked. With Keith you just have to cluck and sigh and say, 'oh, you' and let it be. (Let it be noted that I felt that way originally about last season's Santino, but then his act wore more and more thin, and he seemed quite fake by Fashion Week. As far as Keith goes, I am proud that whatever he was and did and said, he was truly himself right up to his too-soon end.)

With Keith and Malan gone, Michael is my new favorite- but only as of this episode. Quite frankly, we've never seen much of him before now. He's been speculated as a Top 4 by numerous assessments, but I never gave him much mind. Until- and this was my favorite moment of the entire episode- he was rolling around on the table in the design room, whining to Angela 'nooo nooo' about 'her' 'signature' rosettes. The Little Sister was watching with me, and she cannot stand Angela, and frequently interrupts any of her comments with 'NO. SHUT UP', so I'm glad someone on the show was representing those sentiments. Of the rosettes, Little Sister merely said, 'What, you learned this on the first day of design school and can't let it go?' I feel more like maybe she was practicing her rosetting while missing the lecture 'The Importance of Sketching in the Design Process.' Uck, Angela, you'll have to learn to sketch to win this! Get over yourself, it's a competition; you bend to it- and not the other way around! (Have we learned nothing from Keith?!) And Uli, that goes for you, too: learn to work in groups. Your personal preferences do not matter here.

Speaking of Uli, not that she could have possibly known, but has anyone noticed yet that she stole Keith's model (to steal his advantage, or something) just before he gets kicked? Ouch.

As for the contest itself, I think that the winner and loser were chosen fairly. While I liked Keith's design more (and I think it would have added to the episode's drama to have the poor, stranded Alison and Jeff win despite the loss of Keith), Angela's was ultimately more sellable and wearable. This happened in the Banana Republic contest, too. The more innovative designs that would win other challenges aren't always appealing to the broader market. As for Bonnie? Well, it really could have been her or Robert, and I like Robert more- he's shown far more personality. As designers they both rather sucked at this challenge. I hated Robert's more, but Bonnie's was just... wrong all over, shamelessly wrong, not merely executed wrong.

And then, still, I wonder why Robert's and Bonnie's were chosen at ALL by the Macy's rep. I mean, I rather liked some of the sketches presented better than those two. In the sketch, Bonnie's cowl neck was over-sized and less boring, and the rest of the shape was slimmer and more feminine. Vincent: 'I hear that brown will be the new grey' ... WHAT? As a designer, you are to be decreeing trends, not overhearing them. That sentence alone would have lost the vote from me, buddy.

Well, Bonnie's gone, I won't miss her, and now Bradley doesn't have to shave his beard. Which is probably good, because I sometimes wonder if it's only there because it contains his magical design powers! That must be it... because otherwise, it just looks scruffy, and I've taken to imagining that Bradley could actually be handsome (and stable) under that disguise of facial hair and crazy.

To summarize: Keith is gone, Bonnie is gone, Angela won (what?!), and Michael is the Style Bard's new favorite. Alison, if it must be a woman. She's just too damn hard not to like. If you don't already love her against your will, check out this recap at FourFour.

Monday, July 31, 2006

At Work With Style ~2~

It's been awhile since I regaled you all with my tales of restaurant fashionability. To wit, because working in a restaurant is one of the most unglamorous professions, and sends me scuttling for the shower the minute I get home, every day, even when I showered just before work. But this is not to be an entry about my grossness, I promise. I actually wanted to just add another tidbit for how to stylize a work uniform. And, exciting news, I have wireless! As some know, I have been wheedling, begging, and bribing dialup to get posts to you guys since about the beginning of May. That's a long time! But now, at long last, I have speed again. Hopefully this will allow me to go back to a much more regular posting schedule, so here goes:

Lately, I have been taking cues from medical tv shows about how to dress up my work clothes. Medical shows, you say? But what could waitressing and bartending possibly have to do with cutting people open, save for those mini-defibrillators that restaurants lately added for the safety of their customers?

Well you see, as mentioned at I Am Fashion, shows like Grey's Anatomy always looks suspiciously stylish! How do people who work 24-hour shifts and have their forearms plunged into peoples' open wounds always look so bright-eyed, well-made-up, and gorgeous? One trick I noticed (beginning on ER, then Scrubs, then Grey's) was the layering of shirts, to customize and differentiate characters' bland uniform outfits (scrubs). They use varying lengths- long or 3/4 sleeves- and bright colors. It keeps them looking fresh. Such as:

Although I never know how Izzie's scrub tops always look fitted, to give her a defined bust and waist. Girl's got curves, but I've seen and worn scrub shirts, and they're mighty square.

In fact, having worn scrubs at my summer-long Animal Hospital stunt, I can honestly say that it was actually the most disgusting job I've ever had, filth-wise. Which only adds to the falseness and perplexity of how clean, sharp, and pretty everyone looks on TV. I have to say though, the staff of Dr. House's small and efficient team on House is the best-dressed at all times. Too bad I can't wear pumps and skirts to work and throw a lab coat over it and call it a day. I wish. I swear, my next job will be one where I can wear heels and my hair down.

Not only does layering keep your look fresh, but it keeps your clothes fresh, too. I don't know about you guys and jobs you've had that require uniform, but I find it hard to work several shifts a week on the two outfits provided to me, and no, I'm not running up my water and electric bills doing laundry 4 times a week. So yes, putting a shirt under my uniform shirt keeps it cleaner, longer.

So all in all, tip #2, colorful layering adds brightness and creativity to drab uniform.

I have been gathering up some information and thoughts for a third and much more in-depth "In Work With Style" about the restaurant industry, so look for it!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One for the Money, Two for the Show

Oh, Nordstrom's, how you tease a poor girl so with your sales and semi-sales and preview sales...

This Bard was tempted, she was persuaded, she was seduced, and she spent a little money today (thought not too much and not without some elbow grease). You see, this was the third trip made to Nordstrom's since the sale began. Naturally, the Bard wouldn't dare let weeks go by and grubby little mitts steal her rightful sale shoes. (Naturally, the Bard addresses herself in the third person to avoid taking blame for all of her expenditures.)

But today, the real magic happened, and all of the sizes and prices fell into place- three Nordstrom locations and goodness knows how much gas money later.

One for the Money

I fell in love with this 'Westport' wallet the minute I laid eyes on it. I actually salivated over the burgundy, but my purse is a soft black leather, so I had to get it to match.

Two for the Show

I actually adored this shoe in the walnut color, but in the end I realized that I never wear browns. There was a time when I was prancing around in the ivory version of the shoe, but it's not white, it's cream, and I have so few cream-colored wardrobe items to match it. I knew I needed to be practical- and thus, purchased the black (as I usually do). I love this 'Seanna' shoe because it's got all of the great aspects of the ballet shoes, without being flat, which I notoriously abhor. They look ready to go en pointe with the grommets and that cutesy bow!

This shoe is so great because it's a heel but it comes off as casual. The shade of red will pass off as a neutral-chameleon, for the rare occasions when I wear brown or other colors in my autumn palette. When I went up to buy it, I was told it was part of the sale for $39.90, but it's actually not on sale at all and $59.90. Which isn't bad, but I decided to hold off and concentrate on the sale for now, and buy shoes I can buy anytime later. But my mind keeps coming back to it... I kind of fell in love. I promised the shoes that I would even wear stockings with them. That's true love, I tell you what. So maybe I'll go back...

Three to Get Ready

A close runner-up to the previous two was this more-expensive 'Princess' by Stuart Weitzman. I couldn't find the patent red in my size, so I kind of gave up. I can't drop that much money via the internet, once I've had time to think about it. I can only impulse-spend it, and therefore, the red patent shoes were out. I loved them, though. And their sisters, in patent black. And their cousins, with the peeptoe and the 50's pinup style heel. But I'm not quite ready to blow $139 on them right now.

Now go, cat, go! ... to Nordstrom's. Because the sale ends on the 30th. Perhaps this Bard will see you there... as she makes absolute sure she didn't leave anything behind! And now she's wanting a belt...

But if I don't get back in time, at least the Macy's sale starts on the 27th. See you all there around the boots 'n' belts!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Happy Medium

I've been teased because I have a shopping pattern which weaves between fashion stores such as Neiman and Nordstrom, and thrift stores. In one week I begged my sister to accompany me to the slightly-farther Boca Mall, and then down 441 to hit up all the Think Thrift!'s and their ilk. I slum it; I love to. Discoveries are much more exciting that way, albeit less frequent.

Last night my friend M. (often mentioned here as a shopping cohort) was also accusing me of this behavior. But then she relented to point out, "Actually, it's the only way to do it. If you want original style." Basically, you either spend a lot of money to be unique, or none. If you want things that very few people have access too, digging through bins might be one way to do it. Or saving up for a long, long time.

Below I are two outfits that I've worn recently which demonstrate how I use both high- and low-cost shopping to find my style. Nothing exciting, but things I happened to have photos of on my camera.

First, this is a simple pairing of Seven For All Mankind jeans, retail value, and an Express silk camisole found in a thrift store at a steal for $6.00. Not pictured: $5 Payless black and white peeptoe slingbacks. Sorry the photos are pretty terrible.

Second, these Citizen jeans, retail value, are paired with an Arden B shirt-dress acquired at a steal for $9.00, and the butterfly belt was 2.99 at a generic thrift store. Not pictured: Tommy Hilfiger platform sandals, retail value.

The moral here is: Bard, clean your room! Obviously.

But honestly, many of my favorite pieces and outfits come from unlikely sources, so it's always great to keep an open mind and duck into those out-of-the-way road-less-traveled places to see if you, too, can fall in love with a garment from the wrong side of the tracks. At the very least, they'll make your glamorous purchases look even more fantastic in comparison!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Charm Bracelets~

I actually need a new, simple gold everyday bracelet (because my new watch is two-tone and I only wear a diamond-accented silver tennis bracelet everyday, so my wrists look metallically unbalanced). And I want a pearl ring to go with my pearl set from Mother's Day.

So why am I looking at, and loving, these dressy-kitsch charm bracelets?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fashion - TV and Film

Okay, let's just knock this out, shall we?

Project Runway

I'm watching, loving, and probably going to have to write about this, like everyone else.

- I <3 Malan. (Yes, I heart him, so back off haters!)
- I loved Keith's dress, and believe he rightly won.
- Heidi's hair looked fantastic up there on the rooftop.
- As always, I lovelovelove The Gunn.
- But... "another Santino" boy? Nooo! You don't need crazy ratings-boosting drama. Let's cut him next week, mk?

And in case you've been trapped in an attic, cave, or box, whathaveyou, and therefore haven't gone here yet, stop making out with your brother or cousin (I'm looking at you, every VC Andrews character ever) and go to Blogging Project Runway.

The Devil Wears Prada

Yes, I watched this again tonight. The Bard clan got together and did a little fashion overloading as a family (aw). The second viewing allowed me to tune out the dubious plot and just enjoy the couture!

- Emily finally grew on me this time and I loved her.
- Still haaaated Miranda's rants! They are both unjustified and unlikely. This time, knowing what she was going to say already, it stood out even more that they warp her character.
- Christian Thompson is simply not cute enough in the movie. In the book, I feel as though Andrea is more understandably torn between the men in her life. I want to be empathetic to her dueling desires as she grows, matures and discovers new wants and needs. But it just isn't happening when all I can think is, "Noooo! Look at his hair - can you not see his hair?! And he looks FORTY!"
- And what about Miranda's friends and family? Is it just me, or are they horribly underdeveloped to the point of seeming like an after-thought? Maybe there was more direction with them in some versions of the moviescript... but maybe not.
- We all agreed that while Andrea dresses fabulously, sometimes the repetitive black and high-end ensembles really age her in an unflattering way. I wished she would wear some colors and be flirty and youthful!
- My favorite part was when Nigel summarizes my love of fashion in a way that I hadn't even grasped until seeing the movie, as "art that you (well not you, obviously) can live in." I love to think that this kind of beauty, romance, couture might be createable and obtainable. That worlds we can imagine, dream of, and crave can be manifested.

Family conversation, post-movie:

Bardling 1: "So... [the Style Bard] wants to be Miranda?"

Bardling 2: "No. She just wants the free couture."

Bardling 1: "Sooo... she wants to be Andrea?"

Bardling 2: "Nah, she just wants the free clothes."

Bardling 1: "So she wants to be Emily?"

Bardling 2: "No! shejustwantstheclothes!"

Frankly, I want all of it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Martha's Vineyard

Apropos of nothing, except that I finally caved and bought myself a Black Dog tshirt, joining the echelons of New Englanders who sport them like a Members Only badge of status, some pictures of my recent trip. This year, I brought a digital, so I actually have photos. Last year I had to buy a horrible disposable Kodak.

Perhaps some comments in the upcoming days on the fashion trends of Martha's Vineyard during their busy holiday weekend. Let me preface by saying: Polo, polo, polo! And, of course, white.

Another photo. They're worth a thousand words, don't-cha-know?

One more...

...and another. Three thousand! (Ha-ah-ah...)

As you can see by the photos, it was a little too grey outside to get to sport that teal bikini I was recently bragging about. But I did get to wear it in the hot tub, at night. But the D&G sunglasses came to much use and got many compliments! Which, one night at a bar, prompted my comment to a guy in a D&G belt that they'd make adorable accessory babies.

I managed not to spend a lot of money. Other than the tshirt, I bought myself a little statuette of a boy holding a heart, some cheapie trinkets from Sheila Allen's (now an "everything under TEN DOLLARS!" store, while last year I definitely bought a nice bracelet from there, alas - as I remarked to my mother, it's now probably the only chain on MV where you can buy many things for less than $10 unless you're just stopping for lunch). I also bought little items for my family - and a copy of the Sweeney Todd libretto/book for only 25 cents at a second-hand store!

PS, the Black Dog shirt I bought was accidentally a kid's "medium" instead of an adult medium... whoops. It fits, but is tight. Take a look at this helpful sizing chart if you want a good laugh at my expense.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Carnivale Results

Naturally, my Carnivale week falls just before the 4th. And naturally, I decide to head out of town spontaneously to MV. So of course I'm late posting results my first time hosting. Oh, well. But here they are at long last anyway!

I asked: In what clothing and accessories would you like to be buried?

Most people, like Shoelover and Maria at The Runway Scoop, unsurprisingly followed suit with simplicity and grace, with white sheaths or plain gowns; uncomplicated.

However, Designer Ella of Kiss Me, Stace said (and I loved this): "I want what I can’t wear alive. I want painful, painful, painful and fabulous shoes!" She features a pair of Blahniks (loverly) that must be seen.

Many people, Clothesaholic included, took the opportunity to delve into different aspects of the post-death preparation, which was fascinating to read and great of them to share (everyone has such different views on the process and its formalities). She writes, interestingly, "If the funeral happened in winter (which would be better lest thousands of acres of bone-dry Nevada brush go up in flames with me) I could be wrapped in my beloved vintage fur coat for an extra Nordic touch." No one else (not even the Bard, tsk) considered the season (the Bard being exempt, of course, because she's in Florida and we lack for seasons here).

Scarpediem at Shoesense tickled me with this: "Ah! Frozen in a glass casket? Now we're talking! In that case...I must, MUST wear a dress, since I so rarely wear one in real life. [...] So, it's formal, you say, but am I not in the most formal of situations? Really, people. I believe we must preserve decorum even when we've gone to meet our maker. Maybe especially then."

It's important to put your two cents in with your loved ones. And to ask them, as well, I'm sure. As Linmayu, Fashion Outlaw, states (and gave me a jolt and made me laugh), "I should probably make the dress myself ahead of time and keep it stored for the day when I'm going to need it. It would kinda suck if I were to die right now and had to be buried in *anything* that I currently have in my closet."

I had a ton of fun with this topic, and I can't wait for the next round.
Thanks to everyone for participating and for your kind encouragement!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Shoppers Beware (and Happy 4th!)

Beware: if a model looks this bad in the clothes, you know they aren't worth it- especially not the original $68.00.

And of these shoes.

This message brought to you by blogger, Bard, and the letter F (for fugly, natch).

On to brighter topics! I will be leaving you all until the end of the week, flying (and bussing... and ferrying) to Martha's Vineyard for the holidays (but keep an eye on the site for the publication of my Carnivale replies). I hope everyone who celebrates will have a lovely Independence Day. I know that no matter what kind of day I have, it will be spectacular largely in thanks to finally purchasing my very first little white dress. On sale at Macy's from $158.00 to $39.00. May it be the first of many, and may it be an omen of more perfect (affordable) dresses to come.

I also changed my stripes (again!) (look ma, how flexible I am!), and bought a teal bikini. Teal! And a lovely patterned Ralph Lauren sarong to go over it. Usually I stay with solid neutrals in my bathing suits, and usually I buy 'em cheap. So this was a biiig change, and I love it to death.

Be on your best buying behavior while I'm away, don't do anything I wouldn't do (or else you simply must email and tell me all about it), and see ya soon!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

"Pssst. Are my horns showing?"

Hated the book. Forced myself to read the book because I can't not finish things that I start. Stopped reading the book at intervals to both preserve sanity and to text C. to make fun of it.

Anticipated the movie a great deal.

Loved the movie. It was kind of like... what Weisberger wishes her book was. Like, the general concept except with talented writers and a lot of money behind it. I mean, sure it was a chick flick and yes, the plot is still somewhat silly and formulaic, and as with everything I lay eyes on, I already have precise calculations on what I would have done differently to improve it, but I also really enjoyed it.

Actually, I will say that I like Weisberger's Miranda better mostly because Streep just talked... kind of... a lot. For someone who's supposed to be a Class 'A' Bitch. I mean, us devils don't just expostulate that much. Brevity is the soul of wit, and also cutting. But then, in balance, Andrea was all blahblahblah whinewhinewhine talkTALKTALK ack! The book? Yeah. It drove me frickin' crazy. If I wanted to be an insider on some twit's mindnumbingly boring seesaw of personal crises, I would just hang around outside the movieplex and watch the prepubescents loiter and wait for their mommies, not go inside of it (or pay a heft of money to do so).

I kind of worry that if Weisberger wrote the book after her own experiences with Wintour, blahblah, etc, then she might really really relate to Andrea and she also feels she depicted herself truthfully and fairly as the heroine of the book and somehow, deep down, the success of this Hollywood film justifies her experiences and her diligence as, yknow, a real writer. I worry. I do. But be that as it may, mostly I hope she just feels very, very lucky. The Devil is Hollywood, dear. And your soul is toast.

(Don't worry, Weisberger. I would sell out, too. And then write the next great American novel. Ha, hahahahaa...)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Are you there, Kristen?

Bell. Listen, woman. It's really quite difficult to defend your style (see comments, here) when you go and get yourself fugged every other month. Please, for me, for all of your straggling, loyal advocates who will give you a few more chances, who continue to insist that you've got a style all your own deep, deep down- and it's good! - check the mirror twice. Or fire your stylist. Or get one.

Consider yourself warned.

Meanwhile, an update on the post mentioned above (thanks, Designer Ella). It seems the petites have been heard!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Carnivale of Couture

I've been thinking and thinking about Carnivale topics. In fact, I did not wish to ask the incomparable Manolo to participate before I had a few good ideas, so that I would not be caught blank on my big week. Then the problem was that I had so many things I wanted to discuss with everyone that I couldn't settle on just one.

But at last I've decided to just dive in with a bang and go for the most obscure, macabre, out-there topic of all the topics I wanted to discuss. Because that, dearies, is how we do it when we are indecisive over here at Style Bard.

Carnivale participants: In what clothes and accessories would you like to be buried?

I know. I know. I'm so horribly gruesome. But here's the story. A few weeks ago, when I went to City Place and found those adorable sunglasses, I jokingly said to my companion M., "If I die today, bury me in these sunglasses." I guess I basically mean that, in theory, I would want to be buried in all of my favorite pieces put together in one extraordinary, to-be-frozen-in-time-and-memory ensemble. So I could look the best, ever and if I were, you know, alive, I'd feel incredible too. Okay, give me a break, it's an expression, 'to be buried in' -- I know. Mwuahahaha.

Other than the sunglasses, I'd wear my beloved Irregular Choice shoes from London, my thigh-high white tights, and if/when I ever find it, if it were before this hypothetical day, my perfect white dress (if not, a backup would be that beautiful lingerie renaissance dress from Victoria's Secret). I would also wear my Rose Theatre ring, my parents' wedding rings (now divorced) on their silver chain as a necklace, annnd mmm, those earrings my mom gave me that are now lost (well, they're in the house somewhere). Everything has meaning, and in my head it all goes together pretty well.

I'm not even sure I want to be buried. It's not really about that. If it helps, think of the prompt as something more along the lines of, if you were Snow White and bit that poison apple and had to be frozen in a glass casket until the man of your dreams came to find you preserved in exactly that way (except all of your friends and family are there, too), what would you like to be wearing? Like... a day all about you, where everyone you know will see you and you are the center of attention- like your wedding day, except without all of those horrible fashion constrictions of tradition.

What purse, shoes, articles of clothing, makeup, will you be memorialized in? And it doesn't have to be something you already own- it can be anything. At all. Imagined, sentimental, seen on the runway, in a movie, or envied on that skinny girl at the cafe... what would you wear to be frozen in time?

I guess, for me, I -could- actually wear it any time I want to. Though it might be a little... Haute... for just any day (the way I am picturing it) and it wouldn't have the same emphasis on the street as, well, 'captured for all eternity'.

What about you? Please feel free to email me with your answer or a link to your blog, or if you don't have a blog, leave your answer as a comment.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yaaaaar, mateys, a new game from Bluefly!

Me first?! As far as I know, no one else has mentioned this (yet). I've always played the little competitions at, trying to win purses or shopping sprees or other ways to further plunder the already-discounted site- and I've never won (of course, 'cause I would've told you). But this is the first time that I've noticed a game going on before reading about it on one of the many fashion blogs I peruse daily. So, dear readers, as far as I know, a first look: Luxury Loot, or "Louis Vuitton Treasure Chest and Much More" at

Wish me luck! I will also cross my fingers for you. And if you win, please think of your sharing, caring Style Bard. And excuse her if you receive an email as The Style Bard shamelessly uses your address to win some free plays. She welcomes you to spam her back as well!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

For Father's Day, my sisters and I got my stepfather a huge bottle of Belvedere. I realize that between this and my Mother's Day present, everyone will think we're lushes. Oh well.

A late post, I know, but I just decided to share it since I did have a Mother's Day spot. And because this, my dears, is way, way more stylish than any tie.

And a reminder: I'm hosting Carnivale of Couture this week! So keep an eye out in the next day or so for my topic! See ya there.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Also known as buyer's remorse. Except that I generally use that phrase to refer to when I buy something and then get it home and regret having bought it, not for when I didn't buy something that I wish I had. Erg. Anyway...

Now that the big secret was out that Nordstrom's was having its sale- see previous post- my stepfather actually invited me to go shopping with him today. Oh, who am I kidding, I generally invited myself. But since I was working all night and missing the big cookout, I thought it'd be nice to spend some time with him. And also, hey, I can't pass up a shoe shopping trip (I have a problem, I know. But I'm admitting it, okay?).

We both walked out empty handed- but I did spend a good chunk of time circling, trying on, and considering one pair of shoes. These:

BCBGirls 'Toom' ankle boots, on sale for $54.95.

I loved how they felt- even though I've been obsessed with buying my shoes half a size bigger these days for comfort room and Nordstrom's didn't have them in half a size up- and I dug their Urban Cowgirl look. I could afford them, but did I want to spend the money on something that I did not need in particular when I have so many things that I do need to spend my money on? Namely, bills and my college loans. And possibly my upcoming trip to Martha's Vineyard. I generally teetered between loving the shoes and doubting myself, then I put them on hold so that I could get my stepfather's credit card (not for him to buy them, but so that he could get points or whatever the hell those cards do when they don't discount your purchases further). And then when I found him he was ready to go, so I just walked out without them. And now I really regret it.

So, with all the optimism in the world, I looked for them online when I got home, and not only are the shoes only $32.90 online, but naturally they're only available in a size 5.5. Obviously. Because that is the only thing that could make me feel worse about not buying them- finding out they might have been cheaper than I originally thought, and also that they are less accessible. What? Not fair.

I might stop in tomorrow just to check, but the ones I'd had on hold were the last pair, so I doubt that I'd be that lucky. I've learned my lesson, and that is to buy it immediately and chance the buyer's remorse - at least that way it's the kind that happens when you get to own the damn shoes! Hmph. If anyone needs me, I'll be sulking over here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


A matter came up in the previous post's comments that I felt was worth adding in its own post. The beautiful, soft, shiny lipstick Nivea Pearl & Shine is actually only sold in the UK.

" The Style Bard said...
Oh my god.

I was about to answer that 'I've been looking and I haven't been able to find it, which is why I'm scared now that it's halfway gone' but then I decided that this answer wasn't thorough enough, so I began to poke around online, and I'm realizing (and dreading) the seemingly certain truth, which is that my sister must have obtained this new product while she was in London. I believe this might only be sold in the UK. That's why it hasn't been smattered all over the US beauty pages for the lipcare gem that it is!

It can, however, be delivered worldwide through this site:, thank god.

6/15/2006 11:59 AM"

Unrelatedly, I went shopping for several hours the other day at one of my favorite malls, and I only bought a few things at the Semi-Annual Bath&Bodyworks sale. To wit, concentrated room scent sprays in Fresh Linen and Moonlight Path, some White Tea and Ginger body lotion, and Oli anti-aging cream reduced 75% from $75 to $18.75, which is amazing because I've been looking for a good preventative wrinkle treatment. I would have a product image for you, but their website at is so flash and music and crazy-artsy that I can't even load the damn thing to promote their product to you. Oh well, Oli. But I will inform you of how well it works after I finish out the week using it in my pre-bed routine. We'll see if it has any effect on my pre-frown-wrinkles.

Overall, I do think I behaved very well on my shopping trip, though doing so left me without any exciting shopping triumph stories to share. I did notice my beloved Pucci wedges on sale at... Saks, I believe? for $174. It was very tempting. I tried them on and everything.

I just find it utterly hilarious, though, that when I informed my mother that it was Nordstrom's twice yearly sale right now, she literally, audibly gasped and said, "We know; we didn't tell you; we didn't want you to know!" as though she and my stepfather could keep a shoe sale at Nordstroms from me. For shame, mother. For shame.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright...

At last, this tiger changes her stripes.
I'm not against change; at the very least, I can be flexible. Experimental, exploratory. Sure, I go through the normal stages: denial (I do not need to change!), doubt (my ways have always been good to me, right?), bargaining (I'll bend a little, but I'm not straying far)...but then I can change, and change thoroughly. I believe it's healthy for growth. And yet--and yet, boy, was I surprised when I found myself trying something new with my lipsticks.

Typically, I am a dark-lipstick girl. I have always been, though once in high school I tried lightening the color and darkening the lipliner (but don't ever, ever tell anyone that I used to do that! This stays between you, me, and the 'nets). Lately, I've been framing these far-from-fearful symmetrical lips with the classic- Revlon Coffeebean. And then I top those darker shades off with some kind of gloss, either a Chapstick or the Rosebud Salve, something along those lines. And I know better- that I shouldn't get too dark with the coloring of my lips- why? Because I believe that my lips are a little small, maybe, and darkening them will only make them appear more thin (though the gloss on top does help). But watching my mom experiment with radical colors, especially in pink, especially in the 80's, must have permanently scarred me. Small lips are better than fuschia!

So when I was going through my sister's makeup bag and discovered Nivea Pearl & Shine- a pinkish, muted hue- I'm not sure what inspired me to try it on me, other than my cat-like curiosity.

But I love it. This lipstick goes on soft and smooth, produces that much-sought "natural" effect, but leaves a definitive pink tone on your lips. Not only is the subtle 'baby girl' color complimentary to my skin tone, but it's also pearlescent, as the name boasts, and it does indeed shine. I am completely smitten.

Granted, I continue to wear my Coffeebean, especially at night. I wear blush and lipstick at night, for the most part, and my eye makeup changes to match. But in the daytime, when I'm just wearing my MAC Hyper Foundation to make my cheekbones glow, I love the soft color on my lips far better than the dramatic wines I'm usually attracted to. And I think the pink and shine even makes my lips seem soft and round, the way I'd like them to be. I have since learned that there's Vitamin E and jojoba in the stick, which is why they feel so lovely with the Nivea on.

Maybe I'll begin to try some new pinks on my lips- hell, I bought that blue mascara- and, my Smashbox foundation does compliment dual makeup personalities- it's already a wet-and-dry, for lighter powder coverage in the daytime and a sleek, full coverage in the evening. But even if I do bend my habits, break the mold, broaden my makeup horizons, I know that Nivea will always be present in my kit from now on, and it will be highly recommended to my friends. My (stolen) stick is about half gone and I'm already becoming restless about refreshing it. What if I run out?!

I guess it's easier to experiment in the safety of your own home, or when the samples are sitting within your grasp in your sister's bag. But I certainly broke character to try something new, and learned that my stripes, colors, and products can change, and even improve. I look forward to my next great, accidental, out-of-the-comfort-zone discovery. It's like a toad turning into a Prince- and if the only way to come by these little lifechanging surprises is to kiss a few frogs, at least I've got some great lips now to kiss 'em with.

Now I just have to figure out... how did I get from tigers to frogs?