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.