The one upside to this whole apocalyptic recession/economic crisis/we're all going to the poor house thing is that it seems like every major retailer is freaking out, too. They're doing everything short of giving their clothes away for free in order to convince customers to buy there clothes; every day, I get bombarded with emails that scream 30% off! Free shipping! $20 off your purchase! The clothing world's panic is the shopping world's gain, I say. Take, for instance, Barneys, a department store whose website I never even browse because I know it's all out of my league. But they are having an incredible sale right-- I'm talking slashing hundreds of dollars off the price. Here are a few (well, more than a few) of things that are suddenly a lot closer to my price range:
I know Velvet for their dresses at Anthropologie, which are always simple but impeccably designed, with super soft fabric. That same easy-to-wear yet classy vibe is evident in their Odelia Dress, $49 (formerly $152). The criss-cross fabric on the bodice is both flirty and flattering, and I'm currently obsessed with any color of green that is close to "peacock", even if Barneys is calling this teal.
$89 is a lot to pay for a belt, in my opinion, but this Eugenia Kim Skinny Tiger Belt, formerly $185, is way too fierce not to be included. I'm dying to wear this over a simple black cardigan to make a "Don't mess with me" statement. Then I'd want to wear the black patent version over a pretty light pink dress, and the hunter green version with jeans and a tucked-in, perfectly tailored button down. You just can't go wrong with a brass tiger belt buckle.
These next two Splendid dresses are very similar, and both marked down from $149 to $49. The Floral Tank Dress, left, is the sort of dress that you can throw on and it'll float you through an idyllic summer's day. The subtle floral print gives it a vintage vibe, and the shape is universally flattering. The Waterlily Dress, right, is a little bit dressed up with the darker color and cap sleeves. This one is more appropriate for fall or winter (with a lot of layering). I particularly love the bit of pleating at the empire waist and sleeves, as it adds sophistication to a fairly casual dress.
Also from Splendid, this purple and navy open cardigan is formerly $79, now $19--that's like Old Navy pricing! It also comes in cream/navy stripes and charcoal/navy, both of which are a bit prison uniform for me. This purple version is nicely grown up take on stripes, and the open front is very relaxed and bohemian. I'd want to take it to work and leave it in my desk for those mornings when the air conditioner is on full blast, right on top of my head.
Speaking of work attire, Theory's Bi-Color Dress, $89 (formerly $295) is as chic as office wear gets. The classic high-waisted skirt combined with a boldly colored top is a guaranteed head turner, but it's smartly demure enough to stay business casual appropriate. Plus, pockets!
If you're going out at night and you want to bring your A-game, you could do a lot worse than this light green Ella Moss Smocked Dress, $99 (formerly $319). The beautiful silk fabric means guaranteed sexiness, and the gathered waist and shoulders give it a distinct goddess vibe. Plus, smocking means there's a little give, so you can get dessert and not worry about your dress showing off your food baby.
I am desperately lusting after this Ella Moss Faux Wrap Dress, $49 (used to be $166), which also comes in blue with black/brown and black with orangeish red/brown. I'm digging the plum/marina/black combination for its unpretentious elegance and how totally comfortable its shape looks. I also like how it's a faux wrap dress, because when I wear real wrap dresses a breeze always comes along to expose way too much of my upper thighs to the world.
If you're not totally broke by now, there are a few more options over the $100 mark. For instance, I gasped when I saw Marc by Marc Jacobs paillete heels for $109, marked down from $445. The silver peep-toes and the gold pumps are both fabulous beyond words and perfect for the holidays. But, to be honest, the paillete-covered shoes I'm really going crazy for are these Miu Miu Mary-Janes, $349 (marked down from $865, but still). I could write sonnets to that scalloped heel cap and peek-a-boo layered toe covering--it's like synchronized swimmer meets Vegas showgirl, with a hint of sexy librarian. Marry me, Miu Miu!
Ok, fantasy over, back to more practical clothes. This Co-Op Barneys double-breasted coat, $239 (formerly $398) might be cute enough to make me stop praying for spring to arrive. The double-breasted cut and waist sash is reminiscent of a classic trench coat, but the turquoise color (almost peacock!), bracelet sleeves, and wool fabric makes it more Jackie O than Carmen Sandiego. It also comes in black, but c'mon: always go for the green.
I love pleats, even if I'm constantly scared of ruining them: there's something so pleasingly ordered and prim about pleats, plus it's super fun to spin around so they spread out. This Rag & Bone Pleated Dress, $299 (formerly $495) has that exact "I'm so together that even my dress doesn't dare get out of arrangement" look that I love with pleats. Plus, the slightly scooped neckline and black accents on the waist and shoulders are pleasingly grown-up, skillfully avoiding the possible "Catholic schoolgirl in a pleated skirt" connotations.
As I was contemplating pleats, I stumbled upon this Accordion Pleat Dress by Barneys New York. It isn't on sale, it is by no means a steal or a deal, but I was so taken with its mint green silk, pleated so precisely, and its gorgeous cream ribbon belt that I had to include it. I always wanted to ask the crowd what the heck is up with this mannequin's weird conehead. All I want to do is wear this dress to a spring wedding at the Plaza, and then drink too much champagane and disgrace the pleats by sloppily making out with a groomsmen in the coat check room. Is that too much to ask for? Oh yeah, and the price: $1,295. Ouch.
I want to finish with this Prada Royal Calf Rosette Clutch, marked down from $1,060 to $319. If I'm doing my math right, and I'm probably not because I haven't taken a math class since high school, that's 70% off! Sure, $319 is still a lot for an envelope sized piece of leather-- but it's calf leather, lined with satin, with perfectly formed rosettes, in a color they call "mirtillo," which I think is maybe Italian for blueberry. If I owned this, I would love it so much I'd sleep with it under my pillow at night.