Wednesday, February 29, 2012 have a fabulous leather skirt. (Could also be entitled: Demystifying personal shopping - Part 5.)

You may remember reading that I picked up this fabulous 3.1 Philip Lim caramel leather skirt earlier this season and have been wearing it with black mostly.  
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I want to wear it into spring and don't really know what to put with it besides the obvious white T-shirt to lighten it up for spring.  Enter Personal Shopper Amy Swartz at Nordstrom!  A really great personal shopper knows her store inventory and can all sorts of options to work with a favorite item you already own, marrying it with all sorts of unexpected pieces to create whole new look.  That's just what I need for this skirt.  Something fun and unexpected.  

My appointment was right in the middle of February school vacation week, so I brought my own personal photographer (9 yo daughter) and her assistants (5 yo brother and sister) along for counsel.

Here's what Amy had ready for me...

And some of the looks with the skirt and lovely Yves Saint Laurent navy patent wedges.

Here's a casual look with silk tee and denim skirt.

Another casual look with a Vince Camuto striped top.

Another Vince Camuto silk top...a bit more reserved.

Navy is always good with caramel.  Here's a silky top from Parker.

And another fun, colorful top from Diane Von Furstenberg.

A cream silk tee, from Joie, always looks good.

This was AWFULLY frumpy and the color was horrid on me.

A crochet tank from Vince that I've had my eye on for a while.

This jacketed look from Elizabeth and James is pretty hot.

Can you believe all the combinations that Amy thought of for one great skirt?  So, which ones do you like?  Which should I get? ~ LB
Unless otherwise noted, photos are Lisa Bida's.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

W2WW News Flash - Piperlime Sale on Pumps through February 27th.

Rarely do I open all of the numerous retail emails I receive.  But this morning, I received one from Piperlime, announcing 20% off all pumps through tomorrow night (enter code 'PUMP' at checkout).
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I couldn't help myself.  I'm in the need some of neutral pointy-toe pumps, and found these Kate Spade ones:
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This is a great opportunity to get that pair of snakeskin or print pumps you've always wanted too.  Calvin Klein snake ones - a little over $100 BEFORE the discount.
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How about these Nine West print ones?  $75 BEFORE the discount.
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Nothing better than surfing shoes on a Sunday morning. ~ JH

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Demystifying personal shopping - Part 4.

And now, the part we've all been waiting for!  Please welcome guest blogger, Amy Swartz, manager and personal stylist at Nordstrom in the Natick Mall.  As you may recall, Lisa and I just had an appointment with Amy. Amy gives us an overview of the top 5 things to expect in a personal shopping appointment.  Thanks for blogging with us Amy! ~ JH & LB
Thought personal stylists were just for socialites and celebutantes? Not so! Stylists are resident experts at all things fashionable—from knowing who’s wearing what to knowing how to put it all together. They can help make your shopping experience easy and a lot of fun, with personalized attention and advice that’s tailored just for you. In the fourth installment of this series I wanted to go over the “Top 5 Things to Expect in a Personal Stylist Appointment”: 

1.     A full room stocked with goodies and looks upon arrival - When you begin your appointment, the personal stylist will take you to a dressing room where you will be able to look at the clothing, shoes and accessories they have selected for you to try on. If the sizing isn’t working, they will be the one going back and forth to the racks to get a different sizes, colors or styles, while you can sit and relax. Something that can help the stylist when selecting items is sending them pictures or a list of what you’re in need of prior to the appointment. Jen and Lisa do a great job of this. Jen even sends me her Pinterest link so I know EXACTLY what she’s feeling for the season.

  1. Time Efficiency/Personal Service – When you first arrive to your room, the amount of merchandise can be overwhelming, but keep in mind that items get weeded out as the appointment progresses. The selected merchandise has been taken from departments all over the store based on what you have communicated to your stylist. I often let my customers know that it would’ve taken them hours to navigate the store and pull items, let alone put it all together. It is our job as stylists to know where everything is, so let us do the grunt work! If the promise of all that schlepping doesn’t entice you enough, how about the fact that someone is there to only talk about you and how these clothes look on you? It's all about the customer during the appointment and sometimes a girl needs that. And it’s great during the holidays when time is of the essence; you can email them your holiday shopping list, and within hours, all of your holiday shopping is done and while still drinking coffee in your bathrobe!
  1. Getting the right stuff and finding the right fit - Who doesn't want clothes that flatter them? I think this is one of the keys to style that is hardest to achieve. We are really at the mercy of trends and the shape of clothes is part of those trends. Personal Stylists can choose things for you that fit your body well and flatter your own shape. So if you have a particular body issue that you are having trouble with, they can pick things out for you that you didn't know would work for your shape. Having an unbiased person helps you get out of ruts and step outside of your comfort zone to get beyond body image issues. Once you’ve established that partnership with your stylist you will begin to feel a sense of trust with them. They can pull things that you may have never pulled in a million years, but somehow it looks fabulous on!
  1. Work within your schedule and budget (plus it’s free!) - We have stylists here at Nordstrom seven days a week, from store open to close. You tell us when an appointment works best for you and we can accommodate. The service is complimentary and the amount you choose to spend is totally up to you. We work with customers with all ranges of budgets. During appointments we will always try our very best to stay within a specified budget, working towards achieving the best possible value for items you may purchase.
  1. By the way, it’s not just for women anymore - As of the January 2012, Nordstrom in Natick has four stylists based out of the men’s area. Whether it’s for your husband, father, boyfriend or son, let’s be honest ladies, all of the men in our lives could use a little shopping help. Men’s stylists are a godsend! They can set these men up for every aspect their lives as well as assist with ordering made-to-measure suits, dress shirts and ties. They’ll be so happy you sent them here they may even come home with a little gift for you!
At the end of the day the stylists and the Personal Stylist department at Nordstrom are here to help make your shopping experience less of a chore and more of an adventure. Just ask Jen or Lisa! Please feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in hearing more about the program or are interested in booking an appointment. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 are dreaming about a white blazer.

Spring is around the corner, my obsession with a white blazer is bigger than ever.  I really don't know how I got obsessed with this, but I think it started with this Pinterest post I saw last year:
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I thought it was a fun, chic, travel-to-Europe-and-be-cool look.  I wanted to be that girl.  So, off I went, in search of a white blazer.

I found one last summer at Ann Taylor.  It was a cotton sateen, cute jacket, on sale for $99. Great way to test out the look.  It kind of looks like this:
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I wore it with a matte metallic tank underneath, AG Ballad jeans in a mid-wash, and nude strappy heels, long gold pendant necklace.  Loved it!  Great for a casual night out.

This year, I also wanted something a little more dressy, a little longer and found a great one at the W by Worth show:
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While I eagerly await its arrival, I've been thinking about ways to wear it, so that it doesn't scream 'Miami Vice'.  I put some inspirational items on my Pinterest board, but thought I'd share them here.

The 'column of black' underneath is a great idea, with either chic flat or great heel:
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Ok, it also helps to be Kate Moss.  Just saying.

Anyway, another look, over a dress:
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Or, with lighter shirt, skinny black bottoms and cute cheetah ballet flats:
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Items that are current potential partners for my white blazer include this white lace t-shirt, with a slight scoop neck, from W by Worth:
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To be paired with skinny dark pants...
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Or how about a pair of leggings?  In leather?  That I just happened to find on sale?  I know, crazy, but they are really fantastic!
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With pointy-toe heels.
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Very sharp outfit, for the long transitional season we have here in New England.  How would you wear a white blazer? ~ JH

Sunday, February 19, 2012 need white pants.

Who doesn't adore white pants!? They are crisp, classic and for those of us who live in New England, a sure sign of better weather ahead.  Now that Spring is officially here at retail, there's a million choices out there to satisfy your every white pant whim.  But where to start?  The well-outfitted closet has a selection that includes:

Boot Cut Denim - for heels and wedges.  
Skinny leg - for ballet flats and sandals.  
Trousers - for heels and going out.

Here's my take on the best fitting ones out there:

Boot Cut

White Denim Boot cut from J.Crew.  The fit on these are great...not to low.  Classic and perfect with heeled pumps or sandals, nautical sweater or denim shirt.  Done! $98.
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Citizens of Humanity, Amber Santorini Mid-Rise Boot Cut, $164 at Neiman Marcus.  As versatile as it is universally flattering, boot-cut denim is a wardrobe essential. These Citizens of Humanity jeans capitalize on that leg-lauding magic with a slightly higher rise, which beautifully contours and conforms to your waist.
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Skinny & Cropped

AG White Stilt, the perfect skinny leg white denim for sandals.  $175 at Calypso.
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Michael Kors does a great job with pants.  I like these lightweight ones with a hint of stretch.  $79.50 at Nordstrom.
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From the Gap, 1969 always skinny flood jeans for $45.  Remember when flood pants were a bad thing? 
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J. Crew says that the Cafe Capri is its "cream of the crop capri".  Crafted in crisp, clean cotton, with a hind of stretch.  $89.50.
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BCBG Carrie Flare Leg, $110 at Bloomingdales.  Pair with a silk top for a great night out look.
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Classiques Entier Maxella Wide Leg Stretch Trousers.  $168 at Nordstrom. Ok, how amazing would these pants make a girl look?
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Hello lovely Cafe Trousers from J. Crew, $89.50.
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Last note:  W by Worth has a fantastic pair of lightweight cotton pants called the 'Nona' that come in white and lots of fun colors.  $199, available from Heather Steele at W by Worth in Wellesley, MA. Jennifer and I both have a pair, and love them!  

Happy shopping for white pants! ~ LB

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

W2WW News Flash - Atrium Mall J.Crew to move across the street; Atrium Gap to close.

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In a move that we knew was on the horizon, the folks at the J.Crew in the Atrium Mall, Chestnut Hill, MA confirmed that they will be closing their location at the Atrium shortly and moving across the street to the Chestnut Hill Mall.  Yeah!  No more underground parking and fear of the ceiling falling in!  

Gap at the Atrium is also closing at the end of February and will not be opening a new door at the Chestnut Hill Mall.  The manager said Natick and Wellesley are close by and the company didn't feel like they needed a Newton location.  Could be some positive news for the future of the Wellesley Gap! ~ LB

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Demystifying personal shopping - Part 3.

Holy cow.  That was so much fun!

I arrived at Nordstrom in the Natick Mall at 11:00am on Monday, all ready.  Skinny jeans in bag?  Check.  Snake skin pumps?  Check.  Lisa en route?  Check.

I found Amy Swartz, the stylist with whom my appointment was, as I turned the corner from the elevator, we hugged, and she took me to the dressing rooms in the Collection section of the second floor.

This is what I found.  Dozens of outfits, all in my size, all waiting to be tried on! Outfits hanging,

shoes, accessories, handbags lined up in front of the mirror,

and more outfits!  Look at all those skinny, black cropped pants!

90% of the items that came home with me I would have NEVER picked up from the rack!  That's the beauty of personal shopping.  Amy hit the ball out of the park!  

The Highlights

I don't own anything green, so this was a stretch.  But a great one!  Put a white tank or camisole underneath, tuck in (yes, tuck in!) to white pants, and I have a fabulous cocktail party/dinner outfit.
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Next up, a jacket from Milly.  Cute over navy pants, cute over white pants, cute over jeans with a navy tank underneath.  Love.  Would have never picked it out in a million years.

Another great jacket, by Elie Tahari, over the most fabulous pair of black skinny pants by Rachel Zoe.  Those are my own snake skin pumps too.  And I will replace the fabric belt with a 'hard' belt, probably a matte black leather one.

I also picked up a couple of transitional sweaters (great for layering well into May here in New England), a couple of my favorite tank tops to refresh ones I have, a cute black jersey dress, the white Tory Burch cropped jeans I wanted, and this cute set of gold, hammered bangle bracelets.  They were too cute to leave behind, and for $38, a deal.
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The Low Lights

And, for all of those clothes, there were definitely 'low lights'.   One thing to keep in mind about personal shopping is that not everything in the room will look fabulous on you.  I can't believe I'm even posting these photos. Here's a sample of what I will NOT be wearing this spring.

Drab, grey blazer.  Weird cut in the front.  Very bad.

Really bad Tory Burch dress.  Frump central.

What's Next?

While I knocked quite a bit off my spring shopping list, there are still some holes to be filled.  The appointment was a little too early in the season to look for non-tee-shirt tee-shirts, so I'll be on the lookout for those later in March, early April.  I tried on several pairs of neutral wedges/espadrilles only to find my foot is 'in between sizes' - how can that be?!?  So bummed.  There were so many PERFECT pairs in the room.  

And, of course, other 'must have' items have come to light.  Great orange cork wedges?  Did I know I needed these?  Not until I tried these on.  A small part of me is grateful that they didn't fit.  Another part of me is already adding them to my mental 'to search for' list.

Stay tuned for a Part 4: our first guest blogger! Amy will offer her inside view as a stylist on the finer points of working with a personal shopper.  If you're curious how personal shopping works and looking for inside tips on styling for spring, this is one post you won't want to miss. Thanks to Amy for a great morning!

Off to unpack the shopping bags.  He-he-he. ~ JH
Unless otherwise noted, photos are Jennifer Houston's.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Demystifying personal shopping - Part 2.

I'm a couple of days aways from my personal shopping appointment at Nordstrom.  I sent Amy an email of the things I'm interested in finding.  It includes:

A pair of white Tory Burch cropped jeans (I already own a pair and want another.  They are just terrific pants to have in New England for the longer transition we have to spring.)
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A pair of skinny, cropped black pants - not jeans.  To go with my new white blazer that's coming from W by Worth.  
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With the W by Worth lace trim t-shirt to go underneath.  
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Kind of like these:
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    A jacket outfit, or or a jacket to be paired with navy pants.  Casual summer tops - I'm in desperate need.  I'm always on the look out for the non-t-shirt t-shirt.  Something a little different than the thousand 'tissue tees' out there.  I'm not sure that that is yet, but I'll let you know when I find it.

    I would like a new dress for dinners out, meetings, etc.  And I'm always looking for layers for transition - sweaters & scarves.  I'm heading to Paris in April and need to be prepared.  Finally, for shoes, I'm looking for a neutral wedge, an everyday espadrille with a little height, and maybe a colored heel.  I'm a little crazy about these right now, but what on earth would I wear them with?
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    In addition, I like to bring some things I already own, usually packed in an LL Bean tote bag, that I'd like to work with.  I'm planning to bring/wear:
    • A pair of snake skin heels that I love to wear in the spring with both pants outfits and dresses.
    • A pair of skinny jeans for tops that I'll be trying.
    • A pair of ballet flats.
    • (If it arrives in time) That new white jacket from W by Worth to build outfits around.
    Lisa will be joining me, and we will be taking photos so you can see what personal shopping (at least at Nordstrom) is all about. Stay tuned for Part 3 after my appointment on Monday! ~ JH