When I get married, my Ferragamo pumps will be my “something blue.” No, I’m not here to start “the dress” debate again – these shoes are in fact cream and gold, not blue and black. However, scribbled in blue Sharpie on the sole of each shoe is the number 150 (my “something blue”).
I purchased these Ferragamo pumps for $150 in Madison, Wisconsin at Bop* about a year ago. Bop is the brick and mortar store that gave birth to the online retail giant Shopbop. Countless articles of clothing used in Shopbop photo shoots or returned to Shopbop for flaws and defects eventually made their way to Bop and went into the deeply discounted damages bin. As if this treasure trove weren’t enough, Bop held a legendary sale twice annually with items up to 90% off, the Maxwell Street Sale.
The morning of my first Maxwell I arrived early, but there was already a line of about twenty girls on the sidewalk in front of the store. If you’ve ever been to Madison in the winter (below zero temperatures, high winds, and mounds of snow), you understand the dedication required to stand outside for more than ten minutes. When the doors finally opened, a select number of patrons were let in and the frenzy began. I’m all for a good deal, but normally retail chaos is not my scene. However, on this particular February morning, I was reeling off the energy and enjoyed the ride.
It goes without saying these Ferragamo pumps were by far my biggest steal of the day given that they retail at a whopping $525. Yes, some may shutter at the fact these shoes have the purchase price plastered across the soles in bright blue, but I embrace my victory and my future “something blue.”
*Sadly, at the end of 2014, Bop closed its doors. While Shopbop will continue to live on in the World Wide Web, Bop’s departure from the local retail market marked the end of an era for the women of Madison, Wisconsin. R.I.P. BOP.
I’m so excited to celebrate the first day of spring with a spotlight on the spring look book from one of my favorite boutiques: Encore.
Encore is an upscale clothing boutique in the heart of downtown Athens, Georgia. When the owner of Encore, Nikki Grant, published their first official look book in the summer of 2012, I was absolutely blown away. Nikki took the quaint charm of her little southern boutique and raised the bar with high quality photography, skilled models, and impeccable styling of the boutique’s apparel and accessories. Encore’s look books truly set it apart from the numerous boutiques in Athens.
They recently published their Spring 2014 look book, which was shot by photographer Logan Potterf on location at The Hill, a neighborhood owned by Lee Epting of Epting Events. Some of their top spring looks were selected and styled by Nikki and her team and modeled by the stunning Mercedes Bleth.
I chose three of my favorite ensembles from the look book that feature some of the hottest trends for Spring 2014.
Spring 2014 Trend: Try a NEW Look
Spring is all about renewal. This spring try a new look – something boho chic like this ensemble. The key pieces that make this look are the brightly colored and patterned maxi skirt and the beaded bracelets by local Athens designers, Chic Sisters Designs! Remember, local always looks good on you!
Spring 2014 Trend: Floral
This is my favorite outfit from the look book because it pairs an ultra feminine and spring inspired floral pattern with a wardrobe basic: the white blouse. When a new season rolls around, it doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Use the staples you have in your closet in combination with investing in a few key pieces that are on trend for the season, like these Line & Dot shorts!
Spring 2014 Trend: Fringe
Fringe is my favorite new and exciting trend for Spring 2014. This versatile sheer fringe wrap by Ellison is aptly styled with a classic denim short in the look book. This piece would also pair perfectly with a pant, a skirt, a dress, or even a swimsuit. I could see this transitioning to fall as well – the possibilities are endless!
This post is mainly for my Mad Town ladies, however I want to use this post to illustrate my philosophy that you should never pay full price for anything.
You don’t have to sacrifice style to buy clothes on a budget. You can still build a wardrobe of name brands and designers without breaking the bank. It just requires a little effort to get a big reward. In the past I’ve given you tips like shopping members only sites such as Hautelook and Rue La La, and recently I highlighted how shopping consignment is a great option. Dedicating the time, effort, and patience to finding a good deal can be tough, particularly if there’s a specific item you’re looking for. I am always looking for a great sale because I refuse to pay full retail for anything. Ever. I’ve worked in both wholesale and retail settings, and I know how much retailers mark up items. If you knew too, you would never pay full price for anything either! The minimum markdown at which I will buy an item is 30%. Anything less than that is a mind game. If you see a 10% off sale, turn the other way. You’re hardly going to save anything, but some people will see the word “sale” and pounce.
All this rambling brings me to an amazing sale for ladies in the Madison area. Many of you around the U.S. are probably familiar with the online retail powerhouse Shopbop. What you probably didn’t know is that the brand originated from a small brick and mortar store in Madison, Wisconsin called Bop, which is still in its original location near the heart of downtown Madison. Bop carries a variety of the same full price apparel found on Shopbop. However, for the ladies of Mad Town, Bop is also an island of “misfit apparel” from the Shopbop site. The back right corner of the store is dedicated to worn, damaged, and defective merchandise returned to Shopbop at a fraction of the retail price. The upstairs is also a haven for good deals. The stairs themselves are always lined with discounted shoes and handbags and the racks runneth over with marked down apparel.
As if this weren’t good enough, twice a year the boutique holds a super sale: the Winter Maxwell Street Sale with select styles 30-90% off. Yes, this is one of those sales where girls line up outside the door well before the doors open, and it is a complete free for all once you enter the store. There is also a limit to the number of ladies than can shop that sale at a given time, so others are left in the cold (literally) and allowed to enter in a one-in-one-out exclusive club type manner. This type of frenzy is the reason I typically do most of my shopping online, but this particular sale is worth the chaos. I am going to show you why with 6 items for a serious deal!
SPLENDID BOUCLE SWEATSHIRT
Sale Price: $25.00
This item is currently available at Saks Fifth Avenue for the full retail price, $98.00
JOIE MOSELLE SWEATER
Sale Price: $50.00
This item is currently on sale at Nordstrom at 40% off for $154.80
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG GADIE TOP
Sale Price: $50.00
This item is out of stock but was last on sale at Revolve Clothing for $155.00
SALVATORE FERRAGAMO VARA LOW HEEL PUMPS
Retail Price: $450.00
Sale Price: $150.00
I could not find this exact pair, but the same style and color are currently available at Shopbop for the full retail price, $450.00
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG CADENCE STUDDED LOAFERS
Retail Price: $298.00
Sale Price: $50.00
This item is currently on sale at Shopbop at 50% off for $149.00
MILLY DEMI OVERSIZED CLUTCH
Retail Price: $375.00
Sale Price: $50.00
This item appears to be sold out at all online retailers I can find, but it was last seen at Shopbop for the full retail price, $375.00
The total retail value of this merchandise is $1,777.00, and the total savings is $1,402.00!!
ATTN MEN: If you haven’t yet, it’s time to start shopping for Valentine’s Day. Why not give a gift that gives back to you? The gift of lingerie. Ladies love it and so do you. Sounds like a win-win. But lingerie can be expensive (welcome to the world of women’s apparel), so you’ve got to start shopping now to snag a good deal. Well, today I’ve got one for you: the Hanky Panky event on Rue La La. Need a little help deciding what look is best for that special lady in your life? Don’t worry, I’ve got some suggestions for you! But, you better hurry! This event ends Sunday, February 2, and sizes and styles are selling out quickly!
For more suggestions on Valentines Day gifts, check back next week for my Valentines Day Gift Guide for Gals and Guys!
BABYDOLLS and CHEMISES
Got a girl with a booty? I recommend the Bliss Pink Lace Babydoll + G-String Set.
Got a more busty lady? I suggest the Red Lace Chemise.
Each are available at the Rue La La event for just $49.90!
BRAS + PANTIES
Both thong sets are on sale for just $35.90 at the Rue La La event, and you can buy the Pink Kitten Bra for $35.90 or the Mosaic Print Bralette for $25.90!