Besides the J.Crew boots I got as a gift, almost all of the shoes I own are worth around $20. Lots of Payless, Famous Footwear, DSW, Old Navy, Target, etc. So that might be why I'm being gunshy about these Banana Republic Shirley Open-Toe pumps, $49.99. They used to be $130, and with a 20% promotion BR is running (enter EXTRA20 at checkout, valid until New Year's Day) they go down to 40 bucks. That's a good deal for some well made leather mary janes, right? Especially since I don't already have a good pair of practical, serious black pumps. I think I need to just buy these already before they sell out of my size.
In other news, related only by the fact that I saw both these things at the mall today, The Limited is doing a spot-on knockoff of the Marc by Marc Jacobs gold quilted clutch that I blogged about after Thanksgiving. I was so, so tempted to buy their Quilted Satin Purse/Clutch since it was only $9.99 and came in an adorable shade of purple, but resisted. While I love purple, it goes with a lot less colors than gold (is there a color gold looks bad with, besides perhaps orange?), so I would chose it over the MJ one maybe 1 in 10 times.
I saw this at J.Crew and totally thought it was a clutch, but it makes a bit more sense now that I see it's a "jewelry traveler." On sale for $24.99, it's only available in black and spearmint online, but in the store they had a lovely pink and light blue. The satin fabric is so luxurious looking that you could definitely get away with shoving your cash and ID in the zippered pockets and carrying it as a clutch. Sure, it would be a pain in the ass to untie it and roll it open every time you want to check your cell phone, but otherwise it's adorable. Oh, and you can get it monogrammed for just $10! I was going to do a pre-Christmas post on really thoughtful, personal gifts, like custom stationary or made-to-measure dresses from the Etsy seller Miss Brache, but then by the time I got my act together it was 3 days before Christmas--way too late to order something specially made. But if you know someone with a January birthday, or if you're a freakishly incredible boyfriend who's already thinking about Valentine's Day, then I think this clutch, specially monogrammed with your loved one's initials, would make a fantastic gift. And if you also put a few necklaces and bracelets in the pockets? Holy shit, she would freak! Even if they were cheap, from Forever 21 or whatever, she'd find it adorable you went to the effort.
A sidenote on J.Crew: what is with their war on the waistline? I swear, every top and dress in that store is baggy beyond belief. I'm all for size inflation, but why is their medium loose enough to fit a woman pregnant with triplets? Tailor, J.Crew, tailor! The hourglass is classic and flattering; the balloon is not.
A few final things: I covet Daisy Lowe's vintage polka-dot dress, as modeled in her recent profile in the NYT style section. Based just on this dress, I'm excited to see the cute nighties and kimonas she claims to be designing as part of an upcoming line of pajamas.
Bill Cunningham is, I believe, the street style photographer for the NYT Styles section, and he's this adorable 80-year-old man with silver hair and a Brooklyn accent. He sometimes narrates audio slideshows of his work for the site, and his latest is Frosted, about Christmas style on Fifth Avenue and the Bergdorf Goodman windows in particular. They really are incredibly beautiful and intricate; if you're in New York right now, run, don't walk, to Fifth Avenue to see them before they are taken down! If you aren't in New York, watch the audio slideshow-- Cunningham's enthusiasm is enchanting and contagious. I want him to be my style godfather.