Sunday, December 21, 2008

Barneys Again

As I had to get a final Christmas present yesterday (for one of my sisters-in-law), I thought I'd make a pit-stop at Barneys. The reductions are the same as they were last week, but the publicity means that most of the good items had long gone. Again, I had mild regrets about not picking Marion up last week, especially when I saw what little was left. In Mayle, mainly Cecilia tops, one Yves in a size 8, one Kaori, size 8 (at over $200 less than I spent for a dress I have yet to wear). Several Sabbias, Gias and lots of Ebba dresses. No Enikos, no knitwear. It was a small rack but it looks like they may have started bringing in Mayle stock from elsewhere--more Cecilias, for instance.

They have started reductions on some holiday 08, but only at 40% and most items appear to have already sold out. No size 8 or 10 left in Theodora, only one Zora (I think a size 0) and not on sale. The pants are reduced and I have my eye on the size 10s when they go down further--hopefully after I return. I suspect that by Jan 9, little will be left though. Maybe by then resort will be in my price range, although there isn't that great a selection and it is all black/putty--none of the pretty lavender pieces.

So, that's my NYC shopping finished for the year. I'll be in London within the next 48 hours and have too much last minute packing/cleaning/grading to do to find any time for commerce. Furthermore, the icy streets and temperatures make me want to stay inside and read the NYT.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mayle at Opening Ceremony

Just a brief note--they have spring/summer 08 Mayle stock at the Opening Ceremony sample sale in New York. It is cash only and according to they have dresses, including in size 4. I can't make it with grading and my upcoming flight, but it might be worth checking out. I doubt that they will have much in my size as OC LA seems to only stock size 0-6.

I am going to check out Barneys before leaving for the UK so I'll report back on what I find.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New York Oddities

I just finished grading one class--finished, that is, if you don't count the 10 students (out of 38) who didn't hand in a final. At least two are really great students so I suspect they are falling victim to their own perfectionism.

Before I go to bed, however, I just wanted to record the great dinner I went to on Tuesday night. My friend, Michael, is a historian of sexploitation cinema whom I met several years ago when he discovered that I was writing about Doris Wishman and femininity in sexploitation. I admire Michael as a scholar, but as a person, he's even more impressive. He has gathered together a group of sexploitation, softcore and early hardcore directors and stars/former starlets. Along with his equally amazing wife, Alison, he has befriended forgotten talents and helped make their work available on dvd and through the occasional screenings at Pioneer, Anthology and other NYC/East Village institutions. He is also Doris's biographer and they were great friends.

Tuesday night's gathering included Michael, Alison, director Joe Sarno and his wonderful, beautiful wife/actress/collaborator, Peggy Steffans Sarno, aka Cleo Nova (amongst other pseudonyms), all of whom I have known for years. I also got to meet Jamie Gillis, an AVN Hall of Famer, and Carter, a director whose last name I can't remember, but whose work is evidently very impressive. Jamie's girlfriend, Zarela Martinez, owned the restaurant and is a celebrity chef of some renown. Everybody was so interesting and smart, making it a relatively late night for me to trek back to Brooklyn. As I walked through midtown to the F, it was nearly midnight, but it was both warm and snowy, with Christmas lights ablaze. Despite the end of the semester stress and the struggle to get everything completed before I leave for the UK (and the terrible pain I always feel about being parted from my cats), this was a wonderful stolen moment. The city showed another side to its beauty, a misty, gauzy, gothic haze, where consumerism, religion, industry and media all combined into something specifically New York. And I enjoyed the wonderful pause it offered after reuniting with old friends, and their histories of what now appears to be a largely innocent erotica--something that, again, seems quintessentially New York.

And, on another note, Steven Alan is now vastly reduced. $39 cashmere hats and $59 shirts. If time permits, I'll try to get into the Nolita branch and get one more shirt to take home with me.

Christmas shopping

This week's shopping has been for others. Yesterday, I went to Banana Republic with Evan to get him some clothes--my parents wanted me to get his present as the deals are still better here, despite changes in the exchange rate. They had a deal where you spend $125 and get $50 off. He managed to buy 7 items for that--quite a difference from my shopping. I also got some adorable items from Baby Gap for my new niece. If I was less suspicious/wary, I'd have got some of them for my hoped for future child, but that will have to wait.

I haven't been back to Barneys this week--it is clear that somebody purchased Marion and my scouring the 7th and 8th floor on Saturday was all in vain. I doubt there will be much more in the way of reductions--even then, they'll likely be on items like Kaori that I already own (and for which I paid over $200 more than Barneys is charging). I had hoped to get the leather Billie Doux from shopbop, but they sold out before reducing it one more time. I'd like a Jeanne bag, but again, I'll wait and see if they go down further.

V.O.D. sent me their list of Mayle stock. They have some deals on fall items that are sold out elsewhere but they only have the small sizes. I'll post what they have soon--right now, I have to get back to grading!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Off to England

While I am not leaving just yet, I did finally get my ticket home for Christmas yesterday. Even with the now strong dollar and weak oil prices, there was only a little change out of $800. Given that this same ticket used to be around $400 a couple of years ago, this price indicates the airline industry continues to run its business in a baffling way. Still, it could have been worse. My 8.45 am flight had sold out so I had to get the 7.45, which only had two seats left. Leaving earlier would have more than doubled the price to over $2,000, so I acted just in time. I'll just be more tired by the trip which means I'll sleep better (hopefully) and have less jetlag once I get to London.

Ironically, the stronger dollar doesn't thrill me. I doubt the sales in London will rival those in NYC, although I might be able to find some of the small European lines that barely make it to US boutiques. I'm interested in seeing if I can find some Heimstone, Isabel Marant and others. As usual, I'll scout Topshop for deals (it is far more hit and miss than most Americans realize--you have to plough through many designer knock offs no better than Forever 21 to hit gold). I want to see what COS has to offer, and rely on my dear friend Sarah to show me what some of the boutiques and smaller designers are doing these days. But in the back of my mind, I'll be thinking about Mayle discounts.

I am annoyed with myself for missing out on Marion in Barneys but wonder if I wanted it or another piece of Mayle for $139. Sure, it fit beautifully, but it was a dress that I didn't originally tag as necessary or even remarkable. And I am sure black wool will pick up Peeps's fur. I'm not sure I need another black dress either, unless it is stunning like Melia or the Lily-type dress from resort. I just hope it went to a good home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Retail Therapy

Feeling down yesterday, I took myself off to the shops. I'm not alone in finding shopping a way to escape my troubles, even if it doesn't solve anything in the long term. I can be who I want, I can enjoy the distractions the merchandise offers, the fantasy of other lives while getting out of my thoughts. These are, of course, the same escapes alcohol, gambling, drugs and other addictions offer so I'm not saying I'm proud. I don't think I am addicted to shopping--I don't just buy anything for the adrenaline kick, but I am aware I have more clothes than many of my friends and maybe I do have a problem. I am, however, able to stop and frequently do.

That said, yesterday was tough and the New York Times was even extolling the once in a lifetime sales (maybe because their ad revenues are falling?). I needed to get more Christmas presents and so I headed out in the torrential rain (without an umbrella--I was so stuck in my mind). I had not realized it was raining). My main destination was the Lutz and Patmos sale. I've never owned anything by them and assumed all they did was cashmere. Certainly, the sample sale was advertised as luxe cashmere and according to, they had cashmere hats for $25 and scarves for $50. I need a new hat, my mother would like a cashmere scarf and I figured I could get some really good presents at those prices. I'd also read that there was an amazing sale at Marc Jacobs with men's cashmere sweaters down to $50. All these reports came on blogs, from people who reportedly had got these deals.

If it all sounds too good to be true, it was. Lutz and Patmos was dead--nice staff, empty room (three staff, two customers, including me). It didn't even occur to me until after I left that this was insane. The reports of cheap luxe cashmere were also wrong. Hats were $40--and all were merino wool. Scarves also $50 and all merino. I scoured the sale and found next to no cashmere--only samples in a lurid orangey yellow or beige with odd cuts, chain detailing and a decidedly momsy look. The Barneys cotton/wool pieces were nice in a thrift-store way but way too itchy for me (like my mother and father, I am allergic to lanolin so most wool is out of the question, hence my cashmere fetish). The deals were good, but I didn't trek to the outposts of the Meatpacking District in pouring rain to get a wool sweater for $150. I ended up getting a cashmere/cotton spring sample sweater in black with puffed dolman sleeves and a scoop neck for $50. It was reminiscent of a sweater I had in school in the 1990s. I also got a cotton/alapaca sample sweater dress with beautifully croched short sleeves for $75, again in black. It looked lovely over my Steven Alan sweater and while it may be a little short, it will work well with leggings or even draped over a mini skirt.

Marc Jacobs was a bust. Sure it is 70% off but the label looks so matronly to me and has done for a while. Marc is a designer who has badly lost his way and needs to stop partying. That said, I was really looking for those $50 cashmere sweaters. Whoever posted that was lying/exaggerating. His men's cashmere was originally $1,100-$1,300. At 70% off, that is well over $300, not $50. I am not an idiot and can do math, so I chalk falling for that one up to my emotional turmoil. I also suspect all the posts about cheap cashmere came from people working the sales or for these brands to get shoppers in and then hoping that they'll spend even if what they wanted isn't there. It worked with me at Lutz and Patmos. But I would not have gotten the dress if it hadn't been so nice. The sweater will be useful but it wasn't a wow purchase.

I then headed to Saks. Basically everything discounted is still 50% off the reduced price and more stock is coming in. That said, Saks looks as dowdy to me as Marc Jacobs clothing, but they stock brands my mother likes, like Eileen Fisher. Alas, there was little of that left (I already got her a cardigan so it wasn't a disaster). I went to the shoe dept. on 5, and found more Chie Mihara stock in my size (40-41). I got a pair of ankle boots for $140. I shouldn't have done it, but they looked somewhat like the pair in the Mayle Fall 08 lookbook. I nearly got some lace-up shoes but they felt like they might rub. I also started feeling that I was escaping, not making my life easier. This is my IVF fund and I was spending it on things I didn't need. And I got no Christmas presents at all.

So, in short, sales are good but not as good as the hype. More Mayle is appearing online so there is a chance for some discounts later on--especially given predictions that the economy will really tank in January. Hopefully, I can get some items then, but I can't see any major reductions happening for a while. I think the stores are hurting, yes, but as always, the stuff that's really good sells, especially in New York.

Meanwhile, once I get the timer on my camera sorted out, I'll start posting pictures of my stash. Hopefully, that will curb my urge to spend--that is, until Mayle's resort and holiday collections are discounted.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Update on Mayle Resort 08 Arrivals

Although, sadly, it seems that Jake and some other online retailers like Satine are no longer stocking Mayle, some more resort has arrived at LaGarconne, who seem to have most of the fall styles other than Jacinthe, Hush and eLuxury, which now has the Asina and Dezra blouses. Hopefully, other stores and styles will follow and we'll all be able to get deals on these items during the spring when we can wear them with impunity!

A Throwaway Year?

It's the end of the semester and I am feeling burned out, as are my students. I can't complain about them (they are generally good kids), but like all professors, I'm swamped with emails that really point to problems I can't solve, such as the fact that all their classes now have some kind of final exam or assignment due and the students haven't left enough time to complete them all. With the current state of higher ed, I'm also having to deny admission to my over-filled Gender and Media class for next semester. None of this is fun, nor is there much gratification to be had from the pile of papers that keeps growing on my desk, despite the fact that I've handed back over 140 assignments in the last week.

I finally have my passport but realize that I probably cannot make it home until 12/22. I dread even looking at fares as they will be likely a lot higher than I want to pay. I also miss my kitties so much when I go home.

As another year draws to an end, with my final class now taught, I'm also having one of those pensive moments when I look back and realize what I accomplished and what I failed to do this year. My friend, Isabelle, wisely said that this year was a "throwaway year" for her, one in which nothing really happened. I'm assessing whether it was for me too. In some ways, I have to say it was. I failed at goal number 1: getting pregnant, a goal that was my primary motive last fall too. This likely means I failed to avoid fertility treatment, something that I am trying to set up so I can go straight into it when I return. As a girl with a fear of needles and doctors, someone who does not like taking medicine, the idea of the regimen ahead scares me but not as much as the thought that the news may be so bad that I can't even participate. The miracle I'd hoped and prayed for has not occurred, making me feel there must be something wrong with me, not just physically, but as a person. I sometimes wonder what I did in a previous life to suffer this fate.

As for work, I'm in a holding pattern at best. Research has gone relatively well: the book is effectively done (revisions are always needed), I gave two conference papers this year and published two reviews. A major journal asked me to submit a paper which I will do in the new year and I came up with some ideas for new projects that excite me, and have started working on them. So far, so good. But the job market is hideous--never believe and other sites that call education a growth area in a recession. They ignore how administrators cut teaching positions as soon as any fall in tax revenues appears on the horizon, how state legislators have underfunded higher ed for decades, despite booming enrollments which actually increase costs as tuition only covers a small percentage of education. Not to mention nobody will retire in decades as their 401Ks have been eviscerated. So, there is a chance that my holding pattern might even decline as my current position is very temporary and easily cut. I have applied for over 10 positions, but know each one had over a hundred applicants and several have internal candidates, including the one for which I have a first interview on Monday. I have no expectations that I will get the position.

I did get a lot of nice clothes this year, and may get more if I decide to jettison the grading (temporarily) and head out in the rain to the Lutz and Patmos sample sale and then onto Saks, partly to look for gifts, partly to see if there are any bargains for me (including my parent's Christmas gift for me--which looks like it won't be the Billie Doux bag on shopbop as they have yet to reduce it to my target price point). But with Mayle closing, the demand for their clothing has kept my spending high and forced me to pay more for items than I would in the past. Which, in turn, means less to spend on other sales.

So, at the close of the year, I haven't accomplished my primary goals. No baby, no pregnancy and no new job. But the book is done, I saved some money and I have my health. I don't know if this makes me feel particularly happy. Other than the health, I'd sacrifice it all for a healthy child of my own and that seems to be the one thing I can't save, strategize, economize or work hard for.

So, for next year, my goals remain the same: baby, job and book, in that order. But if I accomplish goal 1, I'd be happy to put the rest on the back burner.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oliver Postgate, R.I.P.

I just read in the British papers that Oliver Postgate, co-creator of Bagpuss and Pogle's Wood, among other of my childhood favorites, died today at 83. In the UK, Postgate and his creative partner, Peter Firmin, are/were renowned for their amazing children's programs, the like of which never could exist in the US for myriad cultural and economic/institutional reasons.

Bagpuss (pictured above) was voted the best ever children's program in England even though there are only 13 episodes. I loved it as a little girl and when we were in college, my friends and I continued to adore it. My undergrad college, The University of Kent and Canterbury, gave Oliver Postgate an honourary degree the year we graduated (that's Bagpuss in his cap and gown from that day, also shown above with Postgate). Unlike in the US, this wasn't widely promoted so when Oliver Postgate stood up to give his hysterically funny speech and then pulled out Bagpuss from a wicker basket, complete with his cap and gown, my Dad says the whole side of Canterbury Cathedral where we grads to be (or graduands in the British parlance) sat, rushed up and gasped in joy.

When I was far smaller, I watched a show called Pogle's Wood, so old that it was telecast in black and white. It was about the King of the Fairies' son who was being looked after by this older couple and his seemingly half-cat, half-squirrel friend, Tog. They lived in a wood and there was magic and witchcraft around, so it was both adorable and scary, leavened with a dose of British humor. I barely remember the show but I loved it and was always so sad when the end credits arrived--a note bearing the legend "An Oliver Postgate Smallfilm" which blew through the woods. I had a Pippin and Tog pinafore when I was 2 (and liked to think that there was some magic there if I touched the pocket) and my brother subscribed to the Pippin comic which I made sure to read.

Last year, as part of my Christmas present (along with the constant selection box, Viz annual and other small gifts), my brother Giles got me the Bagpuss anthology, a book with a soft Bagpuss on the cover and all the stories. Evan's holding it in the photo above. I'm sure many other people, 4-40 got the same gift. There is something so perfectly British about Bagpuss and the other Postgate-Firmin shows, each 15 minutes of sweetness, fair play, decency, eccentricity and humor.

So, rest in peace, Mr. Postgate and thank you for so much magic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday Shopping

In a great change from my usual Sunday routine of grading/writing, I met up with Erica ( and her husband Matthew in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill to shop. We started at the Mociun/Brooklyn designers sale which was held in a third floor apartment in a brownstone. There was a small but good selection of merchandise. I was most attracted by some prints and Sian Keegan stuffed animals but passed as I already have a lot of prints that I have yet to frame and a lot of Christmas presents still to buy. Most of the Mociun stock was in smaller sizes--I loved their t-shirts but had not brought cash with me.

We then headed into Manhattan, starting at the Steven Alan outlet on the Upper West Side. I got two cotton gathered shirts (for $49 each). They mainly had larges, and I would have bought more but I've been horribly extravagant this month and have to start cutting back. From there, we headed down to Soho, hoping to find a storefront gallery that Matthew wanted to see. As we didn't have the address and time was getting late, we ended up walking over to Nolita and up to Mayle to check resort out in person. I vowed not to get anything, yet, although I have to admit to being sorely tempted once I walked in.

Alas, Jacinthe had practically sold out in the lavender/tan. I had no idea that my favorite dress would be equally loved by Mayle's customer base. It only came in 0-6 and ran small. The lavender was a gauzy fabric and I loved it. I wonder if the tan wouldn't work against my fair-pinky skin, but maybe I was just trying to make myself feel better. It also came in the paisley, which I loved, so I hoped that would work, but that dress did not come in sizes larger than a 6. It was a big disappointment, but, again, I don't really have $600 spare to spend on a single dress right now. Erica tried on a few things, including the Mirabelle dress in black which was beautiful. I tried on Asina, which was nice, but the white cotton bib hung stiffly and distorted the soft drapery of the top. I loved Melia, which is a lot shorter than it appears in the lookbook and was underwhelmed by Jemeen. It runs very big and the fabric feels a little flimsy, even cheap. I think I would get it on sale but I'd need a 6 or even a 4. Astrid is beautiful--I didn't try it on but it evidently runs large as well.

I also tried on Hera and the other black lace blouse from holiday (nobody was paying attention to that rack--clearly resort is more wearable, prettier and, of course, new). Hopefully that means discounts. I loved Hera, but it is nearly $600. I hope I can get it on sale. Along with Zora, and maybe the dress pants, I think that would be all I need from holiday. For resort, I'd like Melia, maybe Asina and the black Mirabelle. I'd also be interested in the Dazra top in black but I didn't try it on. Much of the collection comes in multiple fabrics--virtually everything is available in plain black. There are also some more pieces from holiday, including Zora in persimmon. It is all very lovely--except Betto and the Phoebe top which are very disappointing in person. The sweatshirt fabric is too heavy and the navy blue looks like the denim-look sweatshirt/jersey fabric used to make the denim look-alike leggings sold in cheap clothing stores. I was very surprised. If they were in regular cotton, these could have been lovely.

The sandals currently on display are all samples--the real thing should be in soon. They are a reissue of an earlier cork-heeled t-strap wedge. They are also remaking an ankle and knee high boot, evidently square-toed with an oxford detailing. The sandals are $295, the boots will be around $500 and $800. She decided against remaking the clogs, which is a shame. I have a pair and they are pretty and comfortable. All the accessories this season replace sweaters--there are none for resort or holiday, so Aiko was one of the last.

As we left Mayle, Erica and I mused about what would be reduced. I think there will be another sale, especially as all fall and pre-fall has been packed away (although I think it can still be ordered online). I think Betto will be left, and Jemeen, and maybe some of the separates. Certainly nobody tried on the romper!

I left Erica and Matthew at their subway stop. I really enjoyed meeting them--and I hope I didn't talk and walk too much, or monopolize their afternoon. It was so great to meet somebody whose work and taste I've admired afar from a long time and find out that they are just as lovely, smart, stylish, interesting and creative in person. It was, in short, a really great afternoon and one I hope we can repeat sometime in the not too distant future.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My current Mayle favorites from Resort

Thanks to Christina, I've been able to copy some images. Here they are--if I was wealthy, I'd get them all.

Resort is up online

This blog wasn't supposed to be devoted solely to Mayle. My obsession will be temporary and other aspects of fashion/life will be featured. But right now, I'm in love with the Betto dress in gray and the Jacinthe dress (the lavender dress I've been obsessing over). I also love the Asina top. The lookbook is up on Mayle's site. I love Jacinthe although I think it might make me look pregnant and really hope I can get it.

I didn't make it to Mayle today--and it may just be as well. I decided to check Barneys stock first as they currently have better reductions. They have yet to receive resort--which gives me hope that eluxury may get more Mayle in soon. They have no further reductions on Mayle, but have received another Yves dress in rose (size 6, I believe), and they have several more Enikos in Ivory Paradiso. I suspect they are consolidating stock from elsewhere. Lots of Ebba so I assume I can get it in black at least for around 70-80% off--that is, if I still want it. Curiously they seem to have sold out of all Mayle sweaters--they had a lot of Riri and Jeanne in black last week--all pilling. Holiday doesn't seem to be selling, other than Zora. I suspect it is because it is all in black and doesn't include the beautiful blouses like Hera and Athena.

Other than that, I went to the Inhabit cashmere sample sale. It wasn't as great as last year when I got 8 sweaters for $400. Almost all the cashmere was $80. It was mainly the same sale stock up on their website, although there were a couple more styles and, curiously, fewer colors than online. I got a black fitted round neck cashmere sweater that I'll wear until it falls apart, an oval necked navy sweater and a very soft gray cardigan with very long sleeve, pointelle detailing and cropped at the back (I wish they didn't do that but it is beautiful otherwise).

Sorry about the lack of images here. I cannot work out how to copy images from the Mayle site.

Update: Impulse has some more resort in--so hopefully eluxury will follow. I borrowed their image of the Betto dress. They also have the Dezhra blouse and some accessories.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trickling in...

As part of my early morning procrastination (I have 40 papers to grade today...), I checked out eluxury to see if Mayle's resort collection was in. As luck would have it, two dresses are now up there--the Melia in white and the Jemeen, both shown above (the store will also have these in the black and white colorways). I love both of them, especially Melia. Of course, these are not the two on my must have list, which makes me realize I am going to have to get them from the store, maybe even at full price, or just pass on them entirely. Having seen these two dresses at eluxury, I think I'm going to want a lot from resort, but of course, I can't afford it if they aren't going on sale. If eluxury is only taking two pieces, this is going to be a pretty limited collection, although I hope other pieces trickle in. I think these are classic Mayle dresses with beautiful detailing. Nobody else has anything from resort (yet?), although I'm hoping Hush isn't the only online retailer to carry it. I expect LaGarconne will get a fair amount in, but we know that we'll have to wait for years for any discounts.

I was a bad girl last night. After working all day, I decided to check ebay. They had a pair of Mayle Vita pants in size 8 with an auction ending soon. I got them even though another person bid just 24 cents less than my maximum bid 15 seconds before the auction ended. I tried them on in Bird last summer--they were a tiny bit tight but looked great. I just didn't want to spend over $100 on an item that didn't fit perfectly. At a shade under $70, however, they are an incentive to get back into better shape (and they fit, just the button was a little tight on the waistband).

There's also the issue of what I will wear the most--I love my dresses but in the winter I need sweaters and basics, like Steven Alan shirts, while in the height of summer, I have to get cotton dresses. Most of my Mayle frocks are silk.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back in town

I spent part of this Thanksgiving weekend in the Berkshires with Evan's family. As people would be traveling from Boston, Long Island, NYC and upstate New York, we picked a neutral spot, gathered at a hotel and ate at a restaurant. All in all, it was good fun--and didn't involve any Black Friday shopping.

On returning to New York late Friday, I met up with my dear friend Jenny who now lives in D.C. after a decade in Salt Lake City. I love having her close by as weekend trips are easy and we get to see a lot of each other. It was a cold weekend, but we wandered around Williamsburg, Nolita and Soho, saw Synechdoche, New York and ate at her favorite Mexican spot in the Lower East Side. Even though I shouldn't have really taken the weekend off, it was a lot of fun.

Jenny is not a big clothes shopper, but I did find ways to end up in Jumelle and Mayle (of course). Jumelle has the new Mayle bags--a tiny version of Jeanne with a long double chain strap and a larger version of Jeanne (I think it is the Agnes) with a thick braided leather strap with chain woven in. I loved both of them--the larger one was particularly suitable for me as I carry so much around the city. Whether I can afford to get it remains to be seen. They also had the fold over bag in a white "lace" cut-out leather. It's basically a rectangular purse with a zipper at the top.

Mayle was extremely quiet on Saturday afternoon. Granted it was late (6 p.m) but we were the only people in the store. It was all pretty picked over--although the Votivo candle was burning away again. Most of the paradiso items had gone and the stock looked very limited. I saw a black Aiko in large and wished I could have swapped it for my medium as I'd love the extra length in the sleeves. Resort arrives on Wednesday (they are shut today and tomorrow, presumably to restock the store and update the website). I put my name down for the lavender dress (at $595), the gray/putty cotton dress (around $560-595) and the black and white top (about $440). I am now more into resort than holiday but want Hera and Zora if possible. I noticed several names down for the dresses and tops--but not overwhelming numbers. I have to start playing the waiting game--watching for bargains--as I cannot sustain the level of spending from last month, especially with Christmas coming up.

I finished my shopping with a look in Steven Alan--Erica, they have your hat on sale--and then walked over to Red Flower to pick up Gardenia shower gel.

Overall, I noticed few people in stores on Saturday. Maybe it was the brutal cold but I think it was more the economy. I suspect there will be a few more Mayle reductions Wednesday--but there is little left that I really want. If Ludovine in birdseye goes down further or they finds some size 8 or 10 pants, maybe. Or if a sable Aiko in large suddenly appears. But basically, I'm now waiting for the reductions on holiday/resort.

I did receive my box from Odessa. I love Ludovine although my original preference for birdseye remains. Aiko is great--and very soft--but the sleeves run short. I may have skipped getting it had I known, but I do like it very much all the same. It runs true to size in the body but not the sleeves.

I am in love with my Yves dress. I'm wearing it now and taking advantage of the relatively balmy 53 degree weather before we plunge back into arctic temperatures again.

I'm going to pop into Mayle on Thursday to see if I am so in love with the dresses that I can't wait. I'm also going to head in for the Inhabit cashmere sample sale. I hope they have more interesting stock than they have for their online sample sale. I have to think gifts, however. My mother wants a red or blue scarf and I'd like to see if there is anything there for Dad, Evan or my brother Dominic and his wife, Cara. But I have my eye on the crewneck sweater with three buttons on the shoulder and the shawl collared round neck cashmere sweater for myself.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Even though I have pretty much vowed to limit my shopping, I just checked out net-a-porter to see if they have come to their senses and reduced their old Mayle stock further. After all, most of it is nearly a year old now and clearly it didn't sell last holiday/resort season, nor this summer, and it likely won't sell in a recession. Well, the news is that they did make some adjustments. These are truly pathetic (hence the title of this post). They marked down their remaining spring 08 items from 25% off to 30% off and added the Itali camisole (why it was never on sale defeats me).

In the infintessimal event any of their staff sees this: these items won't sell at this price. There is new Mayle in store and much of it is more desirable. I'd get Tana and even another Pina in white, but I'm only prepared to pay 20-30% of retail at this point as I'd rather get resort 08 items than resort 07. Plus, there is a recession on. Saks reduced their stock to nearly 90% off this week (pre-sale) and while I didn't shop there, many of your customers did. They don't have the money and, if they do, 30% off a year old item isn't going to tempt them to spend.

Also on the please get real list: LaGarconne (items that are a year old or more should be on fire sale, not 30% discount). You could sell these now if your prices were reasonable (instead of having to store them), but those of us who might buy may have spent our money elsewhere by the time you realize that they are dated and drop prices to a realistic level.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Just a quick note here. The assistant in Barneys told me there were rumors that Jane Mayle was being courted by several design houses, particularly Cacharel. Whether there is any substance to this, I don't know, but it could be interesting. Whatever happens, it won't be her house and so the designs will likely not be Mayle as such, and may not have all the details we've come to expect/love.

Barneys Update

I made it to Barneys yesterday afternoon, amidst a smattering of snow. Given the reductions--50% off, with some items far less--it was surprisingly quiet. I made my way straight to the Mayle rack and after picking up a few items, I was immediately helped, had a room, and could wander around. This should reassure you that there will be stock left tomorrow. I've waited longer on a weekday afternoon in the past. It's worth looking in, Susie. I think they have 2s although I didn't see zeroes. You may want to call first, but I had to restrain myself not to spend too much more.

I was surprised by what they had at 50% off: two Yves dresses in rose, one in a 4, one in a 10; many Riri cardigans and Jeannette dresses in black (I'm not impressed as they were already pilling badly); Hilaire and Ebba (black) in what appeared to be all sizes; Sabbia top, again in all sizes; lots of Kaori, seemingly all in 8s for $80 less than I spent at Mayle; Odette in tweed, size 8; Marion in 8; Claudie in M and L (it runs small and is very flimsy--I was not impressed); Cecile in black; Gia camisoles in blue (a lot of them); Emmanuelle jacket in 10 (runs very small and is quite short--I estimate this 10 was a 6 or small size 8); the sequined Miho tank in what appeared to be all sizes; Ninon cropped cardigan; Ludovine in birdseye and one size 6 Eniko in Ivory Paradiso. There were likely been more items in the back stock room (I was asked if I needed things that weren't on the rack). There may have been more items that were being tried on but it didn't look like there was that much interest in Mayle. In fact, many people weren't buying at all, other than upstairs where the jeans area was busy but possibly less crowded than most Saturdays.

I tried on Odette in tweed. It is far more lightweight than the self-colored version. The tweed has a lurex stripe that looks like it is starting to unravel. It doesn't drape quite as well as the plain coat either. In fact, at angles it jutted out making me look a little pregnant. That said, if it gets slashed in price (say, to $200), I might consider it. And I wouldn't be surprised if it does. There just weren't that many people shopping.

As I was there, I also tried on Theodora (in black) and Olympia from holiday. Both run small--Theodora is really small. The underskirt is quite straight and I needed a 10 for sure. The sleeves are also a little tight at the cuff. It's beautiful but not a must-have in black. Olympia is nearly sold out at Mayle with only a 2 and 4 remaining (at $740, it is also the most expensive dress in the holiday collection). Much of the detail is lost in the look boook picture--the bodice is heavily gathered, the top has three functioning buttons at either side (you need to open them to put it on) and there is black lace lined in nude forming a small peplum. It has details reminiscent of vintage high-end clothing, is classical and beautiful, but I don't know how much I need another all black Mayle dress. I suspect neither will sell out at full price at Barneys so I will keep an eye on them. Even without sleeves, I needed a 10 in Olympia. If I am going to invest in anything full price, however, it will be the lavender dress from resort. I think resort is ultimately more wearable than much of the holiday collection.

From Holiday, Barneys have Zora in putty only, the leather jacket, Eunice, the black slightly flared pants and Gaia, the black jersey cropped pants with the ruffled front panel, black Zeta top (which may have been the best seller as they only had one left) and, I think, Justinian. They should get resort in after Thanksgiving although nobody seemed that certain (Christine at Mayle said Barneys would get it for sure).

I got Yves for $343 with tax--more than I wanted to pay but I knew it was the last one. I needed an 8 but can work with a 10. It runs true to size and I am only a 10 when the items are tiny (like Theodora). I also got a pair of J-brand skinny jeans for $39, reduced from $168. There are tons of jeans on markdown upstairs--I tried on some Stella McCartneys for $69 but they were a horrible fit. Most of the stock seems to be on second markdown, making these discounts as big as the final discounts from summer. Other really nice items on sale included some Hanii Y dresses and coats that looked more like Marni, some delicate Lyell tops that may have tempted me in past years but will likely be dressy and fragile enough to warrant further markdowns, and some Sissi Rossi bags in beautiful washed leather that I'm definitely stalking. Before Mayle vanishes forever, though, I want a Jeanne bag in the loden green, and maybe a Billie Doux in black (it is a very large bag, perhaps too large).

The selection, in short, was so good that I skipped the Steven Alan sale. I'll either go to the outlet or check it out online (if they ever put the outpost back up). Right now, however, I've got to put a limit on my spending, especially if I am to afford Zora (a must have), Hera and that lavender dress from resort. I am also interested in more resort and holiday items, but I am very lucky to get all that I wanted from Fall. If there are more markdowns, I'd like the ivory paradiso top, but that's about it.

Other than feeling guilty about spending all this money, my final thought was sadness at the state of the economy. Barneys didn't reduce stock to this level in the summer. Despite advertising (up to) 70% off, Mayle went down to around 50%, as did Lyell, before the warehouse sale in August and only a few brands got the big cuts. By then, a lot of the stock was picked over. I don't think Mayle sells as fast at Barneys so a fair amount was left in the summer, but it was a lot more expensive than Mayle, eluxury, and other retailers and not things I had to have. For Barneys to be the cheapest place for Mayle this early (other than Odessa), things must be bad. If the cuts are this deep in November and the shop was relatively quiet (especially for a Saturday), the economy may be worse than even pessimists like me have thought.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Beginning of the End

I noticed on Wednesday that there were no Votivo Redcurrant candles burning when I went into Mayle (although I some of their smell still pervaded the store). Today I noticed their ecommerce site was down. Whether this means their brief foray into online sales is over or that there was just too much change in the stock for them to keep the site updated I don't know. But it is a harbinger of things to come.

I got my Mayle top from Ebay. Evan had to go to the post office as it came when we were teaching at our respective schools. My top is lovely--I'm waiting for the creases to drop out before photographing it.

No Odessa package yet, however. How greedy can I be? Five new Mayle items this week--four new, one gently used--and I want more! I have to admit I want to snuggle in my Aiko cardigan while it is still freezing out. I wore Odette today--and it is warm. I think I should have got the size 6, not the 8, however. Still, coats aren't meant to be completely snug. I am not as big as I think I am, it seems.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mayle Sale Report

As Susie suggested yesterday, the clothes are going fast. I just got back and can report that it looks like there will be no further reductions because they won't have anything left to sell. Holiday is already blitzed: Theodora has completely sold out in Persimmon and in the black (there were very limited numbers in Persimmon). Thea in Putty is also sold out and another black dress (not Hera) has also sold out. Another beauty (whose name I don't have) has only one size 2 and one 4 left. There is only one Zora top left in 10 (which I would have bought had I not vowed to purchase only sale merchandise). Most of the pants have gone, as have the skirts. I don't really know if they have enough stock to stay open until February and anticipate that even with the recession, there will be few discounts. I also noted that they weren't burning their signature Votivo Redcurrent candle--just a faint smell was left, which really made me feel this was the beginning of the end. I may never actually purchase anything from there again, and if I do, it will be in very limited amounts.

I got there shortly after they opened at noon, and there were already three people in the changing rooms. The manager confirmed they were very busy yesterday--many styles (including practically all the blouses) are completely sold out. I got Odette in navy (really more an air force blue) in size 8, Aurelie in black, size 10, Kaori in 8 (Tama was too high necked and very 1970s so it looked a bit drab) and the last size 8 Eniko in Paradiso--10 had sold out. I tried on Ebba, and I really need a 10 as the skirt was tight in the hips so I passed. I also tried Helen in persimmon--I need a 10--this runs a little small but it is lovely and I know I won't own it because it will sell out; Zora in black, size 10 (last one--lovely and I hope I can find it on eluxury); Hera in size 8--lovely but $595 is a lot for a t-shirt fabric dress; Thea in black--I definitely need a 10 and doubt I'll buy it as it will sell out and the detail is lost in black. I also tried Zeta, the glittery top with the t-shirt underneath which may be the softest item ever. It ran big--a 6 was ample--and I would have bought it, Hera, the black lace blouse with the ties and Helen if they hadn't been full price (all are Holiday 08).

Judging from the pictures, Resort is beautiful too--there is another putty dress that I've got my eye on, a black and white fluttery blouse and the most beautiful lavender and tan dress.

I will post photos later--I have to find the right cord to download my photos to my laptop. But I am sitting here in Odette right now, wishing it was warm enough to wear Eniko and Kaori. The fabrics this season were of a very high quality--the textured silk used in the Paradiso dresses was heavenly and doesn't come across in photos. It has a vintage Asian upholstery feel--and I mean that in a really positive way.

Also, the manager mentioned that Opening Ceremony in LA may have some of the resort left, along with Satine and maybe Fred Segal/Ron Herman.

Addendum: From my memory, this was what was left and on sale (I'm using the lookbook to list this). Aiko sweater in black, rose and tan; Satchi jacket in Paradiso (I nearly got this in an 8, the biggest size left--it is a little like a motorcycle jacket, a little like a blouse, but ultimately it wasn't me); Miho top; Mitsuko top in black and ivory paradiso, Ayame sweater in black and tan; Mitsu dress in ivory paradiso and black; Veva in black; Aurelie top; Marie-Laure pants; Ludovine coat in black and birdseye; Olympe coat in black and natural; Odette in Navy (but very limited sizes/stock); Tama dress (8 is the biggest); Ninon cardigan in black/white and tan/white; Loulou sweaters in ivory, black and rose; Riri cardigan in rose and ivory; Marion dress; Cecile blouse in black; Jeanne sweater in ivory and rose; Emanuelle jacket (although I think this isn't on sale); Liliane dress and Laetitia skirts in rose and black.Ebba and Hilaire aren't on the floor but they do have them in the back.

Most of these are not available in all sizes. All the plaid (Yves dress, Mitchi and Mariko tops) are long gone; all the Eden print items too. No Odette in black or tweed. No scarves left. No Claudie tops, Belda coats, Odile shearlings, Sabbie tops, Reiko dresses, Mura sweaters, Yumi vests, Boukris pants, Annelise pants, Harumi blouses, Kiyoko dresses, Fabienne vests, or Amandine skirts.

I can't remember whether they had the Berengere jacket.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Wait

Right now, if I wasn't swamped enough with grading and writing, I have several errands that I have to do that are incredibly time sensitive. I have to get a new (UK) passport so I can go home for Christmas. I also have to get photos for said passport and even in NYC that's not easy. Today I spent most of the morning googling and calling and got virtually nowhere, which seems odd in a city of immigrants and visa holders. Our passport photos are not the same as American ones. Plus they have to be signed by a fellow UK or Commonwealth citizen, so I'm asking my dear friend Isabelle if she can sign them tonight (as a Canadian, she is qualified to say I am the person in the photograph).
Then I have to wait to see if my passport gets back to me in time for me to book a ticket and go home.

I'm also getting emails about sample sales. Some--Fillipa K, Cardigan, and Steven Alan--are of some interest but I am trying to keep focused and concentrate on Mayle. They aren't making it easy. Every other store seems to have started markdowns but I have finite cash and there's finite Mayle left. So I'll pass on the others, and hope Mayle at least has 40% off postcards or emails coming my way fast.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Mayle!

So Susie confirms what I had initially been told--Mayle will have another, final collection for resort! It ships in December. I'm hoping this means a lot more reductions on Fall. It seems like the coats are flying out of stores, but the dresses are not, likely because the coats are a better investment and relatively a lot cheaper. I'll confirm this when I pop into Mayle on Monday.

So, no sign of my ebay package (which worries me a little as it was mailed from Manhattan on Wednesday). I ordered Ludovine and Aiko from Odessa, both in black, as my extensive web/store searching suggested I may not get either as cheap. I'm a huge fan of cardigans and coats and likely don't need that many more but with NYC weather, I wear them all the time and it means my older coats--like my beloved Mayle peacoat--will last longer as I can rotate them in and out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A little Mayle

Yesterday, my old friend Jan was in from Wisconsin and as it was a miserable and damp day, we ended up hanging out in Park Slope. Towards the end of the afternoon, we ended up in Bird where Jan sat down and I tried on clothes, specifically Mayle. I realized the Ludovine coat in birdseye is completely adorable, if very light weight and now I want it! Odette is gorgeous too (and very warm) and on my list of must-haves on sale. I tried on Thea in black (they don't have putty). I like it a lot, but wish it was in slightly heavier fabric (I wonder why it wasn't in glazed cotton as I think that would be a great combination). The Zora (I think) top with lace from holiday is lovely but really light weight (it is the same silk as Thea, but Thea is lined) and the lace is so low that some may feel immodest wearing it. No markdowns yet but Jan says she thinks the coats will all go on sale as they have a lot of Ludovines left.

Today, after a long day of teaching I headed to the Housing Works sample sale. I got home only to check and find out that this event was happening and had Mayle at 50-75% off. So I put my boots back on and went into Manhattan even though I was tired and wanted to do anything but shop. Basically, the sale was for a great cause (Housing Works is a charity for homeless people with HIV and those at risk of homelessness). But the clothes were disappointing. All that was left of Mayle (and maybe all they had) were a few pieces from summer: about three Rosamelina dresses in 4-6 which were always too hippy-ish for me (although I tried it on, just in case and found my assumption correct); three Anna Claudia in 4-6 (too small). Both were (I think) $250 or $300. They also had one Mia in size 6 for the same price, a Delaura top in blue for $165 in size 8 and some of the white peasant top with black trim whose name I can't remember (Zhazra?), again 2, 4, 6. I nearly got Delaura but she wasn't so great that I could justify it with sales coming up. I left empty handed.

So I did some searching and Odessa have Mayle for 50% off--and, Susie, they have Veva in all sizes for, I think, $280! They do mail order and are super-fast with shipping. I got two pieces from them in September and recommend them highly. I may order Ludovine tomorrow and maybe a cardigan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mayle auction win

So I won my Mayle auction. I admit I fell foul to the frenzy of bidding. The top was posted for around $40 and it seemed that I was one of two people interested. Most Mayle hasn't been moving on ebay recently--a combination of the economy, old and less inspired styles and maybe too high prices. So I thought I could likely pick it up for a song--especially as it was a size 10 and the smaller items seem to go fast. This top was nice, if not stunning, and at sub-Club Monaco prices I felt I couldn't let it go.

That was until an hour before the auction ended. Someone else had bid it up to $62, but as that's still very cheap, I hung around. Three minutes before it ended, I thought I'd just go up by another $5 and it would be mine. It was not to be. The other bidder evidently bid it up to $102, clearly figuring nobody else would go that high (fortunately they must have assumed that was enough). After a couple of failed bids, I won it with a bid so high I thought I'd be way over the top, but I won it by 75 cents. I'm waiting for it to arrive now and hope it is worth the $103 plus postage I paid, especially given that it is probably only a matter of days now before we get some more substantial reductions on Mayle. I'm probably going to hold off on the coats until/if they are 60% off as I have several, including 3 Mayle and 3 Lyell. But I may get a couple of dresses at 40% off if it looks like they'll sell out. Tama has to wait to 60% off because she is over $700. This is particularly the case as I am most interested in Thea, Theodora, Helen and others from holiday/resort.

I saw the sleeveless persimmon top in Jumelle on Tuesday night before I went to The Sea and Cake. It is a lovely shade of orange and the detailing is beautiful, especially the embroidered trim. That said, the style of this one is not for me--but it makes me want Helen and Theodora all the more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More The Sea and Cake

Last night's concert couldn't really have been at a worse time--late at night during the semester crunch and the day before I teach for nine hours. That said, it was worth every hour of sleep I missed. I wasn't surprised that they played a lot of songs from their new album, Car Alarm (which I got on vinyl at the concert), but I was surprised and pleased to hear so much from Nassau. One of the many things I like about TSAC is how meticulous they are, and how much they are artists, which means a concert involves delicate tuning and retuning at the start of each song. Last night, they were more playful between songs than they have been in the past, with Sam Prekop even shouting out "Prewitt" when Archer Prewitt was adjusting his pedals a little too long. They smiled, laughed at some of the sillier things said by the crowd and had broad grins on their face when someone shouted out "Obama." (I don't think that was because they share a home town). Archer Prewitt even teased the audience, stating that they'd retired "The Biz" when someone called out for it--and then they played it about four songs later. Other crowd pleasers included Parasol. Sam Prekop had his lyrics on cards, which was so amusing given how perfect their music was otherwise. I was very close to the front and able to see how meticulous their guitar/bass/drum work was, and how much of a trance Archer Prewitt falls into when he plays (most of the time, his eyes are shut). Eric Claridge is such an underrated member of the band that I wanted to give him a special shout out--people screamed out how much they loved Sam, and John (McIntire), but nobody shouted for Archer or Eric...

Evan was a sport and went with me even though he is no fan--that I can't comprehend. The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a great venue--the stage is high and people didn't seem to cluster at the front, but maybe that's more to do with the band playing. I had a really great view. And five hours of sleep.

On other news, some more Mayle reductions--just a few pieces on sale at Barneys for 40% off (mainly belts, a few tops and Eniko, but she is only in 4 and 6 online). It really is time for Jane Mayle to put fall on sale--and I recommend ELuxury does the same. And LaGarconne for that matter. As for netaporter, those 70% reductions are *way* overdue!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


While waiting for Mayle reductions and checking in on my auction on Ebay I saw a dress I've seen up there several times. She's black, Mayle and seems a little unwanted--possibly because she is a few years old and has that bias-cut chiffon feel from the early 2000s. But now she's under a $100 she might find a home, maybe with me. The issue is, do I really want this or is it just that itch to buy, specifically to buy Mayle, that I want to scratch. I am being patient--any day now, I will receive an email stating Mayle is up to 40% off Fall. Or one that says pre-Fall is now 60% off (when I will get Ebba in blue (as pictured above), if there are any left in size 8--I doubt I need a 10 in a backless dress with an A-line skirt). I may even plunge for Eniko so I can get the paradise coloring, and who knows what else. So, in the minus column, that's $100 plus shipping towards something I really want and love as opposed to plunging for something that's just uh. So I just talked myself out of the unwanted dress. And I may lose my other auction too. Who knows. I realize I have to wait it out and despite my claims of being good at deferred gratification, the deferral has been getting to me of late.

There is too much uncertainty out there right now in my life. What will happen with the job? Children? This damn book? And, of least importance, what Mayle from Fall and Resort/Holiday will wend its way home with me? But I feel surprisingly calm--it's as though I realize I can't control all or any of these things. Before I buckle down to work, I'm basking in the love of my cats. Peeps is snuggling up to me on my left while Blue snoozes on my right. The sun is shining perhaps a little too hard on my computer. I get to see The Sea and Cake tonight--and pay for it with a lack of sleep (I teach at 9 am and won't get home until after midnight, so with an hour commute, I'm definitely looking at 6 hours sleep top). I have a pile of final papers to grade--first drafts--two job letters to write, a chapter to edit and some lectures and exams to print up. But somehow it will get done. Especially if I sign off now and try not to disturb either sleeping cat.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Sea and Cake

This fall is proving to be a great season for music, if not for shopping. I picked up tickets today for tomorrow's The Sea and Cake concert. Along with Stereolab, they are my favorite band. I saw them twice last year, the second time in Greenpoint when they were amazing. I wonder if the atmosphere there and its Polish influence reminded them of their hometown, Chicago, as they seemed inspired. Greenpoint reminds me of Chicago and the concert was in an old Polish working men's club. They sold books of Sam Prekop's photography, which I regret not buying in retrospect. Most of the band are artists too, and I am planning to get an Eric Claridge painting once the tour is over. I'm sure the last thing he needs right now is dealing with emails about commissions. His Cat and Chair painting is shown above--I love his style and the little cat reminds me of my naughty Blue, seen here in a rare moment of calm snuggling on the couch.

As for clothing, I am bidding on a Mayle shirt on ebay. Or, rather, I should say, I've been outbid and am trying to be patient and bid again near to the deadline so I can get it for less.

I'm counting down the days until Mayle goes on sale, although I am so sad that this also brings me nearer to her shop and line closing down. I am obsessed. I have so much work to do and yet I browse the online listings checking sizes (most don't stock 8-10 but those sizes appear to have sold out on her holiday items), looking at the details and wondering if I should just go for Thea, Theodora, etc. for full price. Then my conscience and intelligence kicks in. I cannot afford to spend thousands on items that may go on sale anyway. After all, the pieces that come up most often on ebay seem to be from resort/holiday '07. Let's just hope there are sale items for me, Erica and Susie--and the pieces/sizes we want--at the prices we want to pay for them.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I am pretty good at impulse control, partly because I was raised to believe in the value of deferred gratification. Right now, however, I am impatient. I want the election to be over--I do not trust the Republicans, nor do I like them. I fear they will steal another election, try to create some last minute scandal today or find some other way to maintain power. I cannot vote as I am not a citizen, and even if I could. my vote would have little value as a NY resident. We're all so blue that we get no campaigning--when I was in NC the other week, I was shocked to see Obama ads and asked my friends not to fast forward through them. Of course, they are in a battleground state and are quite jaded.

I'm also impatient to shop. I haven't bought anything for over a month--no clothing at all in October (although I think that was the case last year). While the bigger brands and stores have started reductions, the smaller labels I favor are always slower to bite--justifiably so given their smaller production runs and smaller profits. But I'm craving some of the Mayle items, a couple of Inhabit sweaters and some LD Tuttle shoes and boots. I'm aware that others might be too, and just want to have these items in my closet. I hate the scrum and the adrenaline that accompanies it but don't have the pockets to pay full--or near full--price. And, sorry, but 20-40% off just doesn't do it for me. For an item I love, maybe 50%, but it's the 60%+ discounts I really need.

Ebay also failes me. Any Mayle pieces I love--and there are few of them--are offered in tiny sizes. There is little in the 8-10 range. And most of the offerings have been older DVF style items from the early 2000s and/or highly over-priced--a used coat for $500+ is not going to sell. Maybe tough times mean people are keeping their clothes, not selling them after one or two wears.

And I am staggered that Net-a-Porter is still trying to sell Mayle from a year ago at 40% off. Nobody is biting so why not just cut it to 60-70% off and sell it--they'd have money and wouldn't have to store things that clearly are not going to sell now if they've been up there for a year. At 70% off, I'd get the Tana dress, the pants from Resort 2008 and maybe Josefina and a white Pina as I love my black one so much. But if they don't reduce their stock soon, that money will go to other Mayle items--more recent ones, and likely cheaper too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mary Kate and Ashley

As my friends know, I'm a little obsessed with these girls. When they first started at NYU, they had a class just down the hallway from my office. Everybody saw them and reported back that they were sweet, beautiful and tiny--ethereal beings. My friend Anna and I had initially confided our Olsen fascination in each other about two years prior to that, at a Feminism and TV conference. We agreed to meet outside their seminar room as their recitation for the Language of Film class was getting out, pretend to peruse a noticeboard, and get a look at the girls.

Of course, they were skipping class--something I later read about in US Weekly. And they skipped the next week too. I don't think they ever returned to the sixth floor of 721 Broadway. I missed them, the most egregiously when they sat outside my office during my office hour just outside my sightline. The grad student in the next office came by excitedly after I left--assuming I had seen them. Of course I had not.

Yesterday they were signing their Inspiration book at Barnes and Noble. I considered going--I assumed it was an evening event and I teach at 9 am so I wasn't sure I could fit it in. Evan thought I should reconsider, but I then discovered it wasn't a reading--as initially advertised--but a signing with a crazy list of 9 rules, including obligatory purchase of the book. As that $30 will be put towards sales tax on a Mayle purchase, I passed.

I'm still dreaming--literally dreaming--of Mayle's holiday collection. I've obsessed over certain dresses in the past--the black jeweled dress from holiday '07, Margarita and Mariya from fall '07, Lilly from Summer '08 and a blue dress whose name escapes me from spring '07. Rarely has there been a Mayle dress I lost--and I have always waited for the sales. Whether it is the beauty of this collection or the knowledge it will be among her last, I'm seriously considering stumping out full price for a couple of these items. The last time I did that was for a pair of her chambray blue clogs (fall '06, I believe) from her last season of shoes. Those sold out in my size the day they came in--I was called, went, purchased (with Chris in tow, as always seems to be the case with really big purchases). Those were $440, and the economy was better. I'm hoping that I don't have to do that with her holiday line--after all, there is also resort, and I want to get as much Mayle as I can while it is still available, including those old pieces that slipped through that may occasionally appear on ebay.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mayle Holiday Collection

I just got the mail that the Mayle look-book for the holiday collection is up online. Lots of black and off-white again, with persimmon. It is so lovely. I am so hoping I can get the persimmon blouse, dress and at least two other dresses. Why oh why is she going out of business and can my bank account withstand the onslaught of my final Mayle purchases? I daren't even look at the clothes because I want so many of them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I've just had a whirlwind week. Besides the large pile of midterms, the book editing and the job applications that I have to get in the mail this week, I went to North Carolina to give a talk at my friend Amanda's university. Last Friday I flew out, and returned at the crack of dawn on Tuesday, taught my three classes yesterday and now have to do the bulk of the week's work today.

It was great to get out of town nonetheless. I love NYC and would hate to live elsewhere but a change was nearly as good as a rest. Amanda has an enormous and beautiful house and a lovely family, including a beautiful two year old daughter, so it was a radical change of pace. I got a fair amount of work done, worked out Sunday, and came back hopefully ready to finish all the work at hand.

All this has meant no shopping. I went into Bird on the way home from JFK and the Mayle coat I love fits me in a 6, so a 6, 8, or even 10 will work if and when it goes on sale. This is a frustrating time of the year. The weather has turned so the fall clothes can be worn now, but they are not yet reduced. I'm just hoping that the credit crunch lets me get the Mayle I want for at least 60% off as I can't afford it at full price. If only it wasn't the last season--I suspect many other customers feel the same as me and I dread the rush and adrenaline that marks the sale period. I was a good girl and resisted the 40% off Mayle pre-fall last week. Even though I want the blue Ebba dress, I'm going to wait until it is 60% off or more or skip it entirely.

Above photo courtesy of Nicholas Thigpen, staff photographer of the East Carolinan--my friend Amanda is on the left, I'm on the right looking pensive in Mayle's Pina dress (resort '08) and a gap cardigan.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I have been trying to save, not because of the economy, but because there are things I want to do in life that may involve big expenditures: having children, buying an apartment. If I do the former (which I hope I do, and I hope it will be soon), I want to be able to work, but not feel that I have to take on every talk or every opportunity to bring in just a few more dollars. Work is erratic here, and I want something more stable--but things are not looking great. None of this has anything to do with the economy. Rather, it is related to those fads that grab academia and place certain areas on a pedestal at the expense of everything else, including ability. In my area, new media and Asian film/TV are the fetishes. The fact that few scholars work in these areas and maybe few students want to study them is irrelevant. Deans want these areas and they aren't specialties of mine, so like many others, I am up against this crazy wall.

Of course, this would happen at the same time as Jane Mayle's final collection is in stores. I am doing what I did last fall, in the hopes that the results will be the same. I am staying away from her boutique while monitoring sales of her clothing online. One pet rant--and somewhat irrelevant point here--is that online boutiques--like Jake, LaGarconne, Totokaelo, Hush--all resolutely refuse to stock over size 8 (at least online), so even when they have deals, they are in sizes that my 5' 10" frame would only fit if my bones were surgically removed. Eluxury and Net-a-Porter are the exceptions, but the latter has no current Mayle and refuses to reduce year old stock to a price point that would make me buy.

Returning to my point, my favorite items at Eluxury are still available, save one coat that I hoped had my name on it, so I am hoping for a good score at Mayle this winter. It's the end so I will go into savings if necessary. But after that, I feel that it will be a lean period for me. Time to return to my closet, to scour for those last sale pieces of Mayle and to hunker up for the lean period that follows. Although I hope, in my case, to be in a situation that leaves my body far from lean.

I'm actually really good at not spending money. Oatmeal, eggs, cheap fruit, beans, tortillas and rice can feed me well, while other than clothing, I have no major extravagance (of course, if I add up what I spent there, I'd be horrified). I don't need or want the cabs, spa treatments, alcohol that consume so many New Yorkers' budgets and I bring my own lunches and make coffee at home. Evan is the same. We're not so much cheap as we just don't want to waste money--we were both raised that way. There is actually something perversely easy about living on a tight budget--it's the middle range that kills me because then I do splurge. This way isn't always fun, but I can do it for a while. Especially if it brings me something greater, like a child.

Maybe it's the fall weather, but I feel right now that there are more important things in life than shopping/fashion. Family, hopefully babies, friends, pets, and finishing the book. I think the recent years have taught me a lesson in attitude adjustment. And with my dear Peeps mewling and crawling on my lap, it is time to return to writing while hugging a particularly fine and soft kitten (pictured above).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Madonna and more Stereolab

It has certainly been a crazy week for concerts. Madonna made it three in less than ten days--all the more dizzying when combined with the cold/flu virus that knocked me down for the week. After window-shopping with Chris on Saturday (I avoided all my haunts as I don't want to be tempted), we made our way to MSG where we had surprisingly amazing seats. Even though we got the cheapest tickets possible, we were near the front--just four flights up--and were right by stage left.

The concert was great--the company even better--although too many new songs and unimaginative greatest hits (interestingly this would be similar to my sole complaint about Stereolab, although Chemical Chords is infinitely better than Madonna's new album). For 50, she is amazing--jumping rope, dancing in her barely there leotard. Hell, for 20, she'd be in great shape. All in all, a great night, but not transcendent like Stereolab (who were not as transcendent either as they were when I saw them in 2000 in Pittsburgh, but I digress).

Whenever I see Stereolab, I love them more. I listen to them constantly and want to find new music. When you've been a huge fan of a band--as I have with them--since 1992-3, there isn't much new to find. I've lost a few items--the Turn On side project, for instance, and a couple of 7 inch singles, but I really got to a point when I thought that was it. Then last night, Evan presented me with the Japanese edition of Chemical Chords--the three extra tracks are among their best. So I had those, the tour 7 inch I got last week. And then I decided to search myself, only to find the 1999 The Underground is Coming ep. Not only do I have more Stereolab, but it is incredibly good--and it features Mary Hansen (RIP) and comes from to my mind, their greatest period--the Dots and Loops/Cobra/Microbe Hunters Chicago-era. I doubt I'll ever find this much of their stuff that I didn't previously own again, at least without a new album/compliation release.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend with Chris

So I may have a cold, but it is getting better. And tonight, my dear friend Chris comes in from Dallas. We are going to see Madonna tomorrow--it has become one of our rituals--along with eating at Eatery on 9th Avenue, shopping (for him) at Macys, although I will pick up tights in bright colors, and generally gossiping about Project Runway, Posh Spice, clothes and life while giggling like best girlfriends as we go.

We went to see the Spice Girls together in New Jersey in February and had a blast. Other great memories include buying Mayle shoes the day they came into the shop with Chris advising me on the color and him throwing a pair of my shoes away after telling me how much he hated them (they were worn out beyond repair). If I go anywhere near Mayle with him this time, I know my bank account will take a hit, so best to avoid it and shop there when he comes into town during the winter sales.

Whatever happens, it will be great fun. Any time with a friend as dear as Chris is always to be cherished.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heimstone dress

So I have spent too much this month. That I know--there's a credit card bill I have to open and I know I charged about $1,000 (I pay them off in full, but that is a large chunk of change). I just got two shirts from Steven Alan's outlet--a hair under $200 for the two. Then there's the packages from the Gap, the baby clothes for Charlie, cardigans for me, and Giles' Christmas present. I also got that Mayle dress from Ebay. And I am supposed to be saving for fertility treatments, accupuncture, even IVF. I want a baby more than all my clothes. Yet I've been shopping like crazy because I still love clothes and because I want to fill this hole where a baby should be.

Even then, I am tempted by this Heimstone dress. It's in an LA boutique, it's in navy blue and it is beautiful. It's on sale, but it is still over $200 which is a lot for a dress I've never seen at a time when I am supposed to be economizing and when I want to get some of the last Mayle pieces.

What to do? Maybe disable the internet or at least stop surfing clothing sites while I watch TV.

I have a horrid cold now but at least most of my grading is finished.


As I write my book, I keep coming across reminders about just how much of my life I've spent on this--and how fast time flies. Yesterday I found vet bills from 1996 filed in with old photocopies from the Moving Picture World (1916-7), and was shocked to find Peeps was a mere 4 lbs when she was a year old cat. Now she's a robust 13.1 lbs. I'd assumed she'd reached her full size by her first birthday. Then I looked at the date for some files I was using--May 2000. I could have sworn it wasn't 8 years ago.

So finishing is going to be good. But there's the echoes of those older drafts, wasted years and paths not taken. I think this is why people write fast. And of course I keep thinking that I should have been trying to have babies then--had that happened, I would have been able to conceive with greater ease. It's the topic I go back to at all times. Let's hope finishing the book can coincide with the start of a new life. It would be a perfect coda to finish a far from perfect, if too ambitious book, with a perfect baby, all Evan's and my own. For that I work, pray and try to keep memories of a more fertile but very single state out of my head.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to the Grind

With school out for the Jewish holidays, last week seemed full of promise. I was planning to work hard, see Stereolab, and work my way down my list of things to do. As it turned out, Remy was sick, Evan was stressed and the big scary unknowns in my life loomed larger than ever. Capping the stress of last week, a job was advertised at NYU, in the department of my dreams. Having worked there with some success, I had always hoped that the next job to be posted would be something in my area. I was therefore stunned to see that there was a job--nobody in the department had mentioned that this was even in the pipeline--and that it was not really in my area. Dream 1 crashed. I have also been trying to get pregnant for some time and this month it was clear something was not right. So my other big dream seems to be collapsing around me.

So, rather than crush myself under all of this, I decided to work on the book as that is all I can control. I thought that the chapter I was going to rewrite needed minimal work. I was wrong. That said, I think I can see how to pull it together.

So the vow for this week is to stay centered on the book. I am going to try to keep jobs and babies out of my mind (not so easy, granted. I have to go into work and babies are alas everywhere--that is, everywhere except in my life).

Sunday, October 5, 2008


One of my favorite bands, Stereolab, was in town this weekend. I'd planned to go with my friend Amy and finally made it to Irving Plaza to get tickets on Thursday lunchtime. I'd had some bad subway delays so I made it to the box office a little later than I'd hoped--and was a bit annoyed about that--but I was rewarded by the sight of Tim Gane exiting a tour bus, followed by Andy Ramsey, Joe Watson and some roadies carrying in equipment. I was super exited already, and then I saw Laeticia Sadier, who was taller than I'd thought (I estimate she was at least 5' 10'' like me) and unbelievably beautiful in the flesh. As I stood in line to buy tickets I hoped I hadn't blown it and waited for too long. I had to have been staring at her.

Inspired by seeing the band unpacking, I got tickets for both Thursday and Saturday (I would have gone for Friday night too but Evan and I had plans). As I left, I saw Laeticia one more. This time, she stopped, looking at me quizzically in case she knew me. I called her by name, she responded and I told her I was a fan. That I had everything by Stereolab, offering my ipod as some feeble proof. I told her she was beautiful (actually, I think I said that twice), that I knew a friend of Simon's and had been backstage when they last played NYC at Town Hall. I blabbered. I wasn't the professor who had to go home and grade, finish writing her book and take care of work. I was a fan who had lost control of language. She was graceful, sweet and kind. She stood and listened to me as though I was saying something worthwhile. She never tried to rush away to continue setting up (hell, they were busy). I think she even suggested I come over and speak to Simon but, like I said, my brain wasn't working.

The shows were great, even though the sound mix was off at times (not their fault and I've read Irving Plaza has terrible sound). I was near the front on Thursday and near the middle on Saturday. I'd have liked them to play longer and didn't agree with all their song choices--could have done without Eye of the Volcano and would love to have heard more from Cobra and Dots and Loops, for instance. And I cherish it--and them--all the more for being such nice people.

I hope they carry on touring and recording for a long, long time. They are the soundtrack to most of my life. It's scary that it is 14 years ago I cycled to the CD store on Shepherd just south of Alabama (in dear Houston, TX) in 90+degree heat to pick up Emperor Tomato Ketchup and sat with my kittens listening to the new Mars Audiac Quintet. Or that I went into Earwax in Chicago 11 years ago to get my Dots and Loops LP on white and green vinyl. Or that I picked up Transient Noise Bursts With Announcements over a decade ago from a record store on Portobello Road. And it was 14 years ago I saw them for the first time at Lollapallooza in Dallas on a day that started off blisteringly hot and saw torrential rain--fortunately after Stereolab's set--that soaked me to the ski (like everyone else), so much so that I put on my new glow in the dark Stereolab T shirt to keep warm. They were a second stage band and the reason I went. I don't see how those years can have passed so fast. But their music still sounds as great as ever.

Other than that, it was the week of the sick cat, or rather, week 2. Remy is now eating but she has a new oesophagal tube for supplemental feeding and drugs. Alas, it appears blocked and that means yet another visit to the Animal Medical Center. Poor Evan is massively stressed out over this. Hopefully she will recover soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The dress fits!

My first ever ebay clothing purchase fit! Granted it is a bit scratchy (as I expected--it's 50% mohair) but it is the right size. I think I can manage the itch factor with careful layering. After all, a knit dress isn't for summery days. Evan commented that he liked it, and then said he liked the Anahi top I was wearing and asked if that was new--which it is. Like Lina, it came from Portland, OR, which makes it three pieces of Mayle from that city this week. Strangely enough, I couldn't have found any of them in NYC, where Mayle is only stocked in about three places other than in the store itself (Bird, Jumelle and Barneys). Fall 07 items sold out here a long while ago.

I'm struggling with the book this afternoon. Some parts of this chapter are a mess. I have to get back to it but I wish I hadn't given up caffeine, albeit temporarily, as I need the hit it gives me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trying to finish things up

So today was supposed to be an intensive day of writing, following my nine hours of Wednesday teaching. That was until I woke up with a slight temperature, slight aches in my limbs, sneezes, a slightly sore throat and the kind of foggy head that made me slightly unsure whether something was wrong or not. As I took my temperature I realized something was up--my temperature was 98.1 not (as expected) around 97.2. Because I sometimes think I have more control over the world than I really have, I took my temp again, and again, and as I watched it yo-yo from 97.2 to 98.2 via 97.6 and 97.7, I realized that the slightly sore throat last night was not from teaching and inhaled chalk (a usual Wednesday ailment) but a mild virus/infection of some kind, which screwed up both my temps and my work plans--at least for the morning. I am not going to let the day pass without putting in the required 4-6 hours of writing, although the 8-10 hour day I'd hoped for isn't going to happen. But then I am starting to realize that I have to stop striving for perfection.

So, I've had my third decaf of the day. The cats are snoozing, I've typed in a couple of pages of corrections and feel that the day won't be a total bust. I also got to see some adorable kittens at the local pet store/animal shelter. One cage had six babies--two tabbies, two gingers, two calicos. Another case had two torties and their black brother or sister. One of the torties hid at the back and I asked her to come forward--to my delight, she did just that.

Now I am praying that this mild infection thing will soon pass. I don't need my temps screwed up or to have anything mess up these next few precious days--because they are the most precious of days. I've had infections like this before and they haven't bothered me in the slightest (and they have passed quickly) but when a girl is monitoring her temperature every day, these things matter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I won my auction

So I can add the Mayle Lina dress from pre-fall 07 to my collection. It's a knitted dress in navy with great buttons up the sleeve. I just hope a medium fits.

Here's a picture of the dress, borrowed from Impulse's blog. I just hope it fits and isn't scratchy. It would be a great fall option and work well for those lazy, not so dressy autumn days.


Recently the demands of my book have kept me away from the stores. I set myself a deadline--finish the book by the end of October--because it has taken up enough of my life and I want to move on. So that has meant staying away from shops. It has not meant staying away from shopping. During a couple of breaks from writing last week I ordered a pair of Chie Mihara sandals from Ped Shoes (a mere $99 on sale--about 70% off); Mayle's Vera coat from Fall 07 and Anahi top from Spring 08, both 70% off, and a dress and cardigan from the Gap--along with 3 babygros for my new niece (she'll be a week old tomorrow). Photos of my finds to follow, once I find my camera charger...

So much for economizing. I am currently waiting on an ebay auction for a Mayle dress. Having watched some bidding last night while viewing Gossip Girl, I doubt I will get it. I'd buy it for the list price ($150) but I am not going to go crazy and bid up to $200-300.

I blame some of this on Jane Mayle. Why did you chose to leave the business? In a summer of stress and disappointments, her clothing has been my major oasis. Sad, I know. But maybe one day I'll be buying those babygros for myself and wiping spit off my gap dresses. A girl can only hope and pray.

Meanwhile, it's back to my auction.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First post...

I've been tentative about this blogging process, but decided to start if for no other reason than it will allow me to catalog my clothes for insurance purposes. Maybe that will force me to realize the value of the items already in my closet and keep me away from temptation, especially when I should be finishing my book or cleaning my bedroom.

As my camera is not charged, this post will be sadly unaccompanied by pictures. I will, however, start posting some of my favorite outfits--and their accompanying stories--sooner rather than later.

Let it be said that all the good names for blogs have gone, usually to people who post once, if at all.