Category: Fashion

5 Tips for Shopping a Sample Sale in NYC

When you live in New York City, it’s bound to happen eventually. Against your better judgement, you will decide that it’s absolutely necessary to attend a sample sale for one of your favorite brands.

Anyone who knows me can imagine that the sample sale environment is not my cup of tea. I don’t possess most of the characteristics required to be a good sample sale shopper: I’m anxiety prone, I like to take my time, and above all I’m incredibly indecisive. But when I saw that my all-time favorite lingerie brand, Hanky Panky, was having a sample sale at the Chelsea Market, I couldn’t resist. I figured, it’s just lingerie, how complicated or intimidating could it be?

Hanky Panky Modal Set

A couple weeks before the sale, I saw a deal on Gilt City to pay $10 for one-hour of early access to the event. I was sold. In the fine print of the voucher, I noticed a note: bag and coat check will be required. I’m guessing this is a pretty standard practice to prevent theft at sample sales. I quickly decided I didn’t want to have to deal with that. I would bring only what I absolutely needed: my pocket-sized credit card case, my phone, and a reusable shopping bag that could easily fold up and clip to my belt loop. My first tip for successfully navigating a sample sale: avoid the bag and coat check, be a man, and use your pockets!

Hanky Panky V Kini

On the day of the sample sale, my Gilt City voucher allowed me to gain access at 11:00A, but I’d still resolved to arrive by at least 10:30A. My second tip for successfully navigating a sample sale: arrive at least half an hour before the doors open. I arrived around 10:20A and was number six in line. I was feeling both accomplished and incredibly nervous. Everything had perfectly fallen into place, but would I be able to hold my own once the doors opened?

Hanky Panky Leopard Tank

 

Finally, it was 11:00A, the moment of truth. They checked my voucher, and I whizzed in, past the bag and coat check and line that was forming there. My plan had worked! I beelined for the bin of small v-kinis and literally started grabbing one in every color. I continued to the bin of extra-small boy shorts and the racks of small tanks and chemises with the same approach – grab one of everything. The employees were looking at me like I was crazy, offering me bags left and right to hold my loot. I, of course, had no intention of buying forty pairs of underwear or a dozen tanks, but I figured it was best to grab now and decide later. My third tip for successfully navigating a sample sale: if you see it and there’s a 1% chance you might want it, pick it up, and don’t put it down until you’re ready to make your purchases.

Hanky Panky Chemise

I survived my first lap without a hitch, but as I made my second round, things started to heat up. Every inch of the space was mobbed, and you had to shove your way in to each rack and bin. It was time to assess what I had, return what I didn’t want, and head to the checkout line. My fourth tip for successfully navigating a sample is to be sure to check the payment methods that are accepted – this particular sale accepted cash and credit card, but some may be cash only!

I left feeling excited and empowered – I’d successfully conquered my first sample sale with a total savings of $215 off retail! Despite the anxiety and insanity, it was totally worth it, and I’d absolutely be willing to brave another sample sale again. If you’re scoping out sample sales and planning to attend in the future, I’ve got one last piece of advice. My fifth and final tip for successfully navigating a sample sale is to note that you may not be able to try items on, as we were not at Hanky Panky.

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Inside Yogasmoga

Nothing in New York City ever starts on time. At least that’s what I thought until I discovered the Yogasmoga popup events at the South Street Seaport. When I arrived at the free class with Erika Bloom Pilates, I was ten minutes late, embarrassed, and flustered. I signed in, threw down a mat, and quickly tried to regain some Zen as I began my Pilates practice. At first, I’d been skeptical of doing Pilates in the midst of the concrete jungle, but there was one particular moment during the mat work that changed my mind. We were on our backs doing some bridges, the breeze off the river was washing over us, and as I gazed up between the high-rises at a perfect blue sky, I felt bliss. Needless to say, by the end of the class I was on a high and wanted more than ever to learn about the brand behind the event. I struck up a conversation with a couple of the girls representing Yogasmoga, and the next week, I found myself in their NYC Headquarters.

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Image c/o Yogasmoga || Free classes at the South Street Seaport

Katherine Bacino, Yogasmoga’s New York Community Coordinator & Editor of Rangoli, the brand’s community platform, served as my leader and guide throughout the HQ. There, I met members of the Yogasmoga team, previewed the upcoming fall collection, and got a taste of what’s in the works for the brand in 2016, all while experiencing just who Yogasmoga is.

Katherine started with the basics and explained the story behind the brand’s name. Yogasmoga comes from a Hindi colloquialism that combines a base word (like yoga) and a rhyming word (like smoga). The meaning is “yoga and the things that go with it.” Yogasmoga is not just a brand for yogis. It’s a brand for those who embrace the principles that go with it: joy, energy, and balance.

Yogasmoga our-mantra-of-innovation

Image c/o Yogasmoga || Ft. Carbon 6 Vivacity Long Sleeve Tee

Next we moved on to the upcoming fall collection, which embraces the theme “unrestricted movement.” The motif reflects the brand’s belief that activewear should hug and support the body without compressing or constricting it. This idea immediately hit home. I recently got into a discussion with my dance group about how uncomfortable and unhealthy activewear can be that promises to slim your stomach or slenderize your thighs, leaving lines and indentations on your skin. Instead, Yogasmoga aims to celebrate the natural shape and curves of the body with the mindful design of their fit and fabrics. I’m particularly excited for one of the prints in the upcoming fall line called “Topography.” To create this design, Yogasmoga used a technique called bodymap printing. Typically, patterned fabrics are cut for the desired garment at random, which means the print appears on each article of clothing in a different way. With bodymap printing, the pattern on the fabric is specifically designed to suit the garment and the part of the body on which it’s worn. So, Yogasmoga’s Topography print leggings highlight the line of your waist, curve of your thighs, and muscles in your calves.

Yogasmoga shop-helix-new

Image c/o Yogasmoga || Ft. Carbon 6 Run Jump’N Twist Crop

Finally, the moment of truth arrived. It was time to actually test out the clothes! The minute I slipped on the first pair of leggings, I experienced just how awesome this apparel is. The fabric is rich, mobile, weightless, and just feels good on your body as you move. I’m also completely smitten with the Topography print in the upcoming fall line. It’s a feminine and flattering work of art. I can’t wait to get my hands on a style from the new collection! If you’re having trouble deciding which piece of Yogasmoga apparel to try first, check out the company favorites or some of my own:

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Image c/o Yogasmoga || Ft. Carbon 6 Vivacity Crop

For those in the NYC area, check out the full list of free popup events that Yogasmoga is hosting at the South Street Seaport now through September. Then, follow Yogasmoga on social media, and stay tuned this fall for a series of live panel discussions with the brand. Finally, hold your breath! There’s rumor of a brick and mortar Yogasmoga store opening in NYC next year!

CRAVE: Second Edition

Crave, a verb:

1. To long for; want greatly, desire eagerly

2. To require; need

A few months ago I debuted the first edition of CRAVE with a compilation of my virtual hoardings. You know all those pictures, articles, and posts you Like on social media? What happens to them? How many articles have you Liked and actually read? Did you ever buy that great new product you Liked? Most times, the answer is no. So, I began periodically reviewing my likes and bookmarking the information in a folder called Cravings.

In this edition of CRAVE, I’m sharing some of my latest cravings from a Saturday of shopping around New York City. A couple weekends ago, I was hosting some out-of-town company. We walked through the park, hopped onto the subway, and ventured out onto the streets of Soho with one destination in mind: The Reformation. Coincidentally, we’d both been eying dresses from the sustainable LA-based boutique. Next, I suggested we shop for accessories at Erica Weiner, a Brooklyn-based antique and vintage-inspired jewelry brand with a shop on the edge of Little Italy. After that, we let or instincts guide us and roamed based on the flow of the crosswalks. This landed us at our final destination: a below-ground shop with an interesting window display and a name we couldn’t resist: Fair Folks and a Goat. As we explored the wares, I was reminded of that spark you get when a store window catches your eye, you wander inside, and touch, feel, or taste things as opposed to just reading reviews or looking at images on a screen. It was then I realized how much I’d been craving a shopping experience offline.

Not in NYC, don’t worry! All of these retailers are all available online as well.


THE REFORMATION

Image c/o The Reformation

Image c/o The Reformation

Pining for… the perfect LBD to take from day to night? Head to The Reformation and check out their collection of ribbed stretch jersey shift dresses. I opted for the Arly Dress in black. No matter which style you choose, it can easily be dressed down for daytime with flats and a crossbody or dressed up for nighttime with wedges and a clutch.


ERICA WEINER

Image c/o Erica Weiner

Image c/o Erica Weiner

Yearning for… a unique conversation piece to wear to your next event? You need a Heartbeats necklace by Erica Weiner. I wore my Heartbeats necklace featuring the Talking Heads lyric “This must be the place” to a garden party a week after purchasing it, and nearly every person I chatted with that night remarked on the necklace and the quote.


FAIR FOLKS AND A GOAT

Image c/o Herschel

Image c/o Herschel

Longing for… the most functional bag to carry in the city or on your next trip? Let’s start a movement to revive the fanny pack, which has now been rebranded by Herschel as the hip pack. If you’ve ever lived or traveled in an urban environment like NYC, you know it’s essential to have a great bag that is functional and fashionable. I typically turn to my crossbody or occasionally a backpack, but I have to admit, the hip pack is the most aptly designed for pedestrian, city life.

Still craving more? Check out CRAVE: First Edition!

Book Review: Worn Stories by Emily Spivack

I was staying with friends in Astoria when I came to New York City to search for my apartment. After a boozy brunch, we wandered to PS1, the MoMA extension in Queens for art too modern for the Midtown Manhattan museum. The gallery was in transition and only two exhibitions were open, so we spent some time browsing the gift shop. It was there I discovered Worn Stories by Emily Spivack.

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PS1 Gift Shop, October 2014 ,Worn Stories by Emily Spivack

Worn Stories epitomizes the intimate relationship we have with our clothing that is so difficult to articulate. Instead of composing a novel or stating it outright, Spivack prompted individuals – from personal friends to fashion industry veterans – to simply select an article of clothing they couldn’t part with and tell the story behind it. The collection of sartorial memoirs could easily serve as a character study of diverse, fascinating individuals. However, the focus of the highly personal tales and recollections remains on the clothes.

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Photo Credit: James Ryang

“… when one of the sleeves ripped off, it reached a point where I felt like I couldn’t wear it anymore. I had a friend named Guy who was a painter in Tel Aviv. He’d been doing a series of paintings of everyday objects, so I commissioned him to make a painting of the shirt… When he was working on it, I’d get emails like, ‘Karuna, this shirt, it’s killing me. So simple and yet so complicated!’” – Karuna Scheinfeld, VP of design at Woolrich

The role of clothing in the stories and in these individuals’ lives emphasizes the significance of our apparel to our core being. Our clothing is not just what we wear, it’s who we are. Not in the sense that wearing a particular label makes you better or more elite – in fact most of the articles of clothing selected for Worn Stories are quite mundane and ordinary – but in the sense that our clothing is an extension of ourselves.


Emily Spivack is the creator of Threaded, the Smithsonian’s fashion history blog. She is also a public speaker, teacher, creative spirit, and the author of Worn Stories (which can be purchased here.) For more worn stories, visit the ongoing project here

NYC Life: Street Shopping

One of the unique qualities of New York City is the prevalence of street vendors. To New Yorkers, it’s completely commonplace to see people selling anything and everything, from food and drink to apparel and accessories on nearly every sidewalk and street corner. Some people outside NYC may associate these sellers with counterfeit bags and knockoff sunglasses (yes, these do exist), but there are countless vendors who make honest income from street sales.

Although I’m unphased by street vendors, I don’t regularly buy goods off the street. Sure, I’ve picked up a bag of onions from a produce stand in a pinch, browsed interesting art outside Central Park, or been unable to resist the scent of those sweet, crunchy candied street nuts. But the other day, I made my first official impulse street purchase of something most people might consider quite strange: makeup.

In preparation for writing this post, I did my due diligence on the makeup brand I purchased, Makeover Essentials, and I was stunned by the negative reviews regarding the selling approach. Maybe I’ve become desensitized to individuals selling product on the street in NYC, but I wasn’t misled about this product in any way, and I wasn’t pressured or conned into purchasing it. In terms quality, the Makeover Essentials products are not on par with high-end department store makeup brands (Bobbi Brown, Lancome, Trish McEvoy, and the like). However, if you’re looking for an alternative to premium beauty brands but want a step up from drugstore products, I would recommend Makeover Essentials. Read my detailed reviews below, and check out the brand for yourself!


24/7 Makeover Portfolio

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Retails for $59.99, Compare to Bobbi Brown Nude Basics for $80.00

The 24/7 Makeup Portfolio includes mascara, eyeliner duo, and two palettes, Sunrise and Sunset. Each palette contains pressed powder, cheek color, shadow trio, and lip duo. I was really impressed with the mascara. I’m a stanch user of Lancome’s Definicils mascara and usually scoff at other formulas and brush shapes. The eye pencil was a bit dry and harsh as-is, but this was easily remedied using the handy lighter hack. Not all of the eye and lip colors were right for my skin tone, but overall, the hues were fairly neutral and flattering, went on smoothly, and paired well with each other. The brushes that come with the palettes are low quality, but I apply most of my makeup with my fingers, so this was a non-issue for me. The vegan leather portfolio holds everything nicely and feels and looks great.


Shimmer Powder Brush Bronze

Retails for $29.99, Compare to Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick for $46.00

Retails for $29.99, Compare to Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick for $46.00

I was really excited about the design of the self-dispensing bronzing brush, however this bronzer was too shimmery for my taste. I would liken it to Bobbi Brown’s shimmer brick and would recommend using it as a blush as opposed to an overall face bronzer.


Lunar Lip Color Kit

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Retails for $29.99, Compare to Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Palette for $39.00

I’m typically not a fan of “pot rouge” style lip color, but the colors in this kit were ultra-creamy and went on smoothly and seamlessly. The hues are fairly sheer but are ideal for everyday or paired over a bold lip for a touch of sheen. I would also easily use these for a dewy, balmy cheek tint.