Tag Archives: Ann Taylor

Of Preps and Sloanes, Neiman’s New Bargain Stores, Nautical Notes

Hello, happy Monday!

We begin with an intriguing story from the far side of the pond, this one from the student newspaper at Oxford. Published Friday, “Sloanes versus Preppies: the rise of upper middle class cool” is just as it sounds, the piece examines similarities and disparities between the groups.

“Two social groups of upper middle classes have particularly captured the imagination of thousands, prompting the production of numerous books, articles and aspirational clothing. They are the British Sloanes and the American Preppies.”

For those not as familiar with Sloanes (originally Sloane Rangers), the term became popular in the 80’s. Princess Diana is frequently referenced as an example, there were also Sloane Ranger Handbooks, not unlike TOPH.

“Exclusive, wealthy and well-connected, Sloaneys and Preppies may seem superficially similar in their lifestyles. However, scratch the surface and you quickly realize that the conservative and intellectual bunch of Preps is miles away from the “casually cool” set of Sloaneys from Kensington and Chelsea.”

Marta Szczerba’s story delves into many facets of life, including how each group spends free time:

“For both Sloanes and Preppies, sports and second homes are an integral part of the lifestyle. Sloanes love entertaining in country homes in Suffolk, having lunch dates off King’s Road and play tennis or lacrosse. Kids probably had ponies when they were little (which have since been traded into Mulberry bags). Holiday destinations include Scotland, Cornwall, south of France and Monaco.”

“Don’t look for Preppies in the city on the weekends. They are not there. They go to the country, to their second home to cook, go antiquing, nap, recharge batteries and socialize in country clubs. They are sporty and with a natural competitive streak, but their preferred sports are, well, clubby. Golf, sailing, tennis, squash, polo, biking, fishing are sports preps adore.”

We enjoyed the comparison of fashion styles between the two groups, here is a bit of that perspective:

“Preppies scorn the messy look often worn by Sloanies. As the True Prep handbook states, “Sweat suits are for sweating. You can try to get away with wearing sweats to carpool, to pick up the newspaper, or to drive to the dump, but last time you were at the dump, the drop-dead-attractive widower from Maple Lane was there, too.”

This one is a fun read, if so inclined here is the full story.

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On the heels of our post about factory outlet stores and the merchandise they carry, word that Neiman Marcus is opening yet another line of discount stores, different from the existing Last Call stores.  The new stores will be called Last Call Studio; the Times has the story:

“The new Studio stores will carry lower-end products, bought directly from vendors, not the scuffed but still new pair of Manolo Blahniks (as high as $1,995 at Neiman’s) that can show up at Last Call stores (for about two-thirds as much). “

“A prototype of the Studio store in Dallas looks more like a career-wear store — an Ann Taylor or a Chico’s — than it does a Neiman Marcus or an outlet store. Clothes are simple and conservative, and muted colors like black, taupe and pink reign.”

Matt Nager for the NY Times

Last week we mentioned customers can now shop Last Call online; the Times story notes that Nordstrom Rack is also available online. We would caution anyone heading to the Rack online – the selection is fairly limited at this point, presumably it will be expanded as the days go by.

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Next, a few nautical notes we think our treasured readers may enjoy. The first is a line of sailcloth bags we weren’t familiar with from True Wind USA.

The company’s bags are made in the USA, and they are super-durable.  We like the Classic Tote Bags, but there is a great selection of sizes and styles.

Next, with apologies to any of our Facebook Fans who may have seen our mention already, the nautically inclined chair from Halo Styles caught our eye.

Keeping with the signal flags theme, Nautica is shooting next summer’s catalog, and sharing pictures as they go.

Click here to see the photos on Twipic, or on the company’s FB page to take a peek at the upcoming styles.

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There has been all sorts of chatter about the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection that launches in the spring (most recently we posted about it here and here); we wanted to let everyone know there are a number of additional places to see more photos.

  • Above we see pictures from Jamie at Furbish Studio, she has scads of amazing photos showing many of the eclectic color combinations, her description of the new line is perfect:

“…it was the perfect match of dorothy draper meets the sorority house meets jonathan adler meets delight.”

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We close with today’s Pretty in Pink and Green.

The Polka Dot Yoga Tote is just now in the shop, from the ever-so-talented Candi, who also does our Ribbon Flip-Flops and other accessories.  (Can anyone help a dopey Princess who can’t seem to figure out if “polka dot” is one or two words….?)

Goodbye until next time!

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Filed under nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, True Prep & TOPH

Ralph Lauren’s New Home, George & Bar at Houston Fashion Week

Hello and greetings on a day filled with fun and surprises.

We begin with the announcement of our True Prep & Official Preppy Handbook Giveaway winner….

The lucky lady is Southern Sweetie Katie!  We used Random.org to pick the winner; the number chosen is actually for one of the additional entries Katie received for sending someone else to the contest.We want to thank everyone who joined in the fun, we admit being amazed by the number of entries.  If there were to be an award for the best effort in getting others to add entries in her name, that would go to Courtney. And the most delightful comment on Courtney’s behalf comes from her mother, Kathi, we were in stitches when reading this:

“My darling daughter, Courtney Rounds, has begged and pleaded with me to leave a comment. I’ve gently reminded her that a true preppy does not beg or plead. I fear having to remind her does not speak well of my influence during her formative years. I did try. Her nursery was green and pink. Her name, Courtney Elizabeth, offered numerous acceptable nickname opportunities. Her bedtime stories alternated between select readings from my well worn copy of “The Preppy Handbook” and Shel Silverstein. I was properly supportive when she pledged a well established sorority. From an early age she could immediately recognize her monogram. She knows that there is no such thing as too many Sperry’s, plaid shorts or headbands. She has never had big hair. She never will have big hair. Courtney Rounds has a Proper Preppy Princess Pedigree. She is, after all, the progeny of a Preppy Queen and an aging frat boy.”

Courtney’s father is equally creative, here is his comment:

“Courtney is to preppy as Nietzsche is to pietzsche.”

Honestly, we have more fun doing this kind of thing, we try to be restrained so it doesn’t become tedious, but the Fun-o-Meter was peaking in the red zone on this one.

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Next, a few quick tidbits we are overdue in mentioning, with linkage should any of the stories hold appeal:

1) Following a June story in the Times on the popularity of ‘heritage brands’ the Journal ran a similar piece at the end of September, “Is LL Bean Driving the Runway?

“Besides the re-emergence of L.L. Bean and Pendleton, other vintage brands such as Stetson, Woolrich, Levi’s and Britain’s J Barbour & Sons are having second comings, either independently or collaborating with high-end runway designers.”

We love the illustration accompanying the story, “The Heritage Hipster Matrix“.

Wall St. Journal

2) Speaking of heritage, we offer this from the Yale Daily News:

“This November, American heritage clothing brand Gant will open a new store at the corner of York and Elm streets, almost 60 years after it opened its first store in New Haven.”

We have offered a number of post drooling chatting about the upcoming Gant womenswear line, it is wonderful to see the company opening a store back where they first started in 1941.

3) Women’s Wear Daily reports on the new Ralph Lauren women’s flagship store in the city.

Grand in scale and luxurious in its decor, the new store opens to the public tomorrow.

On the Upper East Side, the new digs are across the street from the recently reopened men’s store in the Rinelander Mansion (Madison & 80th).

The new store is also where shoppers will find the brand’s Home Collection.

4) Houston Fashion Week had its share of celebs on hand, including a rather famous set of grandparents.

 

Bob Levey/Wire Image

 

President and Mrs. Bush were in the audience for the Lauren Pierce show, granddaughter Lauren’s eco-friendly line, making its debut at HFW.

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Yesterday we updated you on Talbots‘ next celebrity model, today we have news that Heidi Klum is replacing Naomi Watts as Ann Taylor’s newest face.

Ms. Klum appeared in the retailer’s holiday campaign last year, but Page Six says she is ‘replacing’ Ms. Watts.

Thank you again to everyone who entered the contest, we are thinking we may need to do a similar project next month….hmmmm, that’s a thought to ponder.  Until next time, we hope you enjoy a lovely day!

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS: Ralph Lauren Interiors: Robert Mitra/WWD

 

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J. Crew to Open Online Outlet Store, US Open Styles Revealed

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Friday!

Today’s first bit of news probably qualifies as Friday Fun, albeit not in the wacky genre, more of the “Oooh, this could be fun” kind of news: J. Crew announced yesterday they are going to open an online outlet store in September. Elizabeth Holmes at the Journal broke the story:

“”The New York-based clothing retailer is gambling that it can expand sales without cannibalizing demand for more expensive merchandise at its mainline stores. Apparel companies typically locate outlet stores in out-of-the-way malls, forcing customers to drive long distances to get access to the discounted goods. J. Crew is among the first to risk selling outlet gear over the Internet.”

J. Crew

The company is having an exceptional year, reporting an 87% increase in profits yesterday, even as most apparel and accessory firms continue to struggle in These Difficult Times.  But with the economy entering a challenging phase, Mickey Drexler, J. Crew’s CEO, noted that customers are remaining price and value conscious:

“There’s a big world out there that’s playing the low-price game or lower-price game,”

Mr. Drexler’s comments came during a conference call with stock analysts; not everything he shared was considered good news by Wall Street.  From MarketWatch:

“… analysts said some of J. Crew’s fall merchandise also has been too edgy and not resonated as well with its customers. The company also may have been hurt by increased competition from rivals from Ann Taylor Stores… to Talbots that have also offered embellished tops and other looks that are similar to J. Crew’s offerings, analysts said.”

The “too edgy” comment in the MarketWatch story is interesting, as we have chatted for some time in this space about the company’s change in direction and Crew’s vocal disdain for the word ‘preppy’.  Another analyst quoted in the story referenced “…some fashion missteps”.  For more on the retailer’s dislike of the preppy appellation, click here.

IOHO an online outlet is a wise move in many respects. Bargain hunters will be pleased to know the company plans to include those items currently made only for factory outlets, things not available at regular J. Crew stores. Here is more from yesterday’s WSJ story.

“J. Crew, like most specialty retailers, manufactures merchandise specifically for its factory channel. It’s a different model than that of many apparel manufacturers and department stores, which use their off-price channel to liquidate excess merchandise.”

But operating an online outlet can also have negative fallout, cheapening the brand; it’s no secret some shoppers prefer a little exclusivity, something that makes them feel special, not items that “just anyone can get.”

For those interested in the new site, WWD reports the address will be Factory.com; it is expected to go live in September.

Does this mean shoppers at ‘regular’ J. Crew stores will see less aggressive markdowns of the kind now underway, the “Extra 20% off” Final Sale? (The sale ends this Sunday, use promo code OURTREAT to receive the additional markdown.)

J. Crew Final Sale ends 8/29/10

Crew’s identity challenges seem evident in two pieces shared in “Cooper’s Picks,” the pint-sized version of the popular Jenna’s Picks.  First, we show a $395 Girls’ Shearling Vest, very much like the women’s version.

J. Crew

Call us crazy, but the vest seems a bit over the top for the Young Miss at your Palace. We contrast that with the $138 Grey Flannel Blazer, its lines and details more akin with what we used to think of when hearing the name J. Crew.

J. Crew

One can make a strong case there is plenty of room for both items at the store and that old fuddy-duddies like yours truly are trapped in the past while the fashion world moves forward, we respect that stance, and remain intrigued by seeing how things fare in future months.

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Also on today’s hit parade, the US Open parties are underway all over the city, Nike’s was Wednesday night, with a solid cast of tennis celebrities: Maria Sharapova, Bar Rafaeli, Rafa Nadal, and Roger Federer, to name only a few attending.  With Nike hosting, everyone was able to preview the looks featured on players sponsored by the sportswear giant.

Below left we see Ms. Sharapova in her US Open togs, a deep blue or purple dress with tuxedo styling, especially the lapel; on the right, Nike’s image of the dress via Rich at Down the Line Tennis.

Rafael Nadal was in black with neon green accents, while Mr. Federer’s style remain constant, below he is in deep navy blue.

Below, the competitors at a news conference after the event.

Al Bello/Getty Images for Nike

The Open launches on Monday.

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Our final two tidbits are definitely Friday Fun:

  • Cynthia Rowley is now offering designer Band-Aids. They come in chi-chi boxes and also actually help a good cause, one dollar from each box sold (at $10) goes to a fund to help high school and college students interested in design.
  • The other item is definitely in our You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, featuring members of the Anti-Prep Wall of Shame. Behold the Jersey Shore Halloween Costumes.

What do you think? Is a Jersey Shore costume something we need to consider here at the Prepatorium? Should the Consort consider an evening as the Pauly D Situation? Do weigh in, your opinions matter a great deal. (Note we didn’t say they counted, heh-heh-heh, insert evil Princess cackle here.) These are available for pre-ordering at Costume Craze.

With that, we send wishes that everyone enjoys a weekend full sunshine and smiles.

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

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Filed under Friday Fun, preppy, The AntiPrep, You Can't Make This Stuff Up

J. Crew’s New Store, You Can Help Scarlett O’Hara

Hello-hello!

Today we are hopelessly disorganized all over the map, lots of things to share, although in abbreviated form. We begin with a look at J. Crew’s newest men’s-only store.

Robert Mitra/Women's Wear Daily

The new store officially opens today, and Women’s Wear Daily (subscription req’d.) was invited in for a sneak peek.

Robert Mitra/WWD

As with the other men’s shops, the Liquor Store (located in a former bar) and the Soho store, this location pays homage to the site’s original purpose; a bank in this instance, including a lower-level vault now used to show accessories.

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Speaking of J. Crew, there are a number of recent stories and blog posts circulating about Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT merchandise looking similar to J. Crew pieces.  The always-on-top-of-things Lauren at Fashionista first posted about it last Friday, noting Ann Taylor’s efforts to update its merchandise mix:

“…many industry insiders we’ve spoken to about AT’s reformation have noted: “They’re trying be J.Crew.” Evidence of this marketing scheme can be found in the retailer’s newfound preppy-meets-glam aesthetic.”

The Frisky also delves into the topic in this post yesterday.

“We, along with other fashion insiders and shoppers, have noticed that Ann Taylor and Loft have been looking a lot like J.Crew. All three retailers seem to be targeting the same group—women who want a tasty and stylish stew of Parisian, preppy, and urban chic.”

Can you pick which is which between the asymmetrical leather jackets?

Via The Frisky

How about with the sleeveless black shirtdress? (Sleeveless day dresses for fall and winter? Really?)

Via the Frisky

Are you able to determine which retailer did each necklace?

Via The Frisky

To view all of the comparisons that the Frisky’s Annika Harris put together, click here.

We aren’t completely clear on how recent the phenomenon really is, as this Minnesota Monthly blog post notes:

“But have you seen the new Ann Taylor Loft fall catalog? Good gracious. I got one in the mail last week and all I could think was this is total rip-off of J.Crew. Right down to the ruffled shirts, statement jewelry, and model poses.”

The author notes that she is a Crew loyalist. The date for this post? September of last year.

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Next, a topic near and dear to TP’s shrunken little heart, Gone With the Wind.

Remember this dress worn by Scarlett O’Hara when she goes to visit Rhett in jail?

Famously whipped together from Miss Ellen’s green velvet curtains that were still hanging at Tara after the war, the dress is now in desperate need of repair.

Via Art Daily

As is this frock, referred to here at the Prepatorium as “The Hussy Dress”.

Via Harry Ransom Center

(This is the one Rhett threw at Scarlett when she didn’t want to go to Melanie’s party!) The gown worn by Vivienne Leigh for her wedding scene to Charles is another gown needing restoration.

Via KXAN-TV

These, and two more gowns are housed at the Harry Ransom Center at UT-Austin, where a campaign is underway to raise funds for restoring and repairing the gowns.  These all came to the Center when the University received the David O. Selznick archives, a massive collection of materials. Click here for more donation information.

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We leave you with two reading recommendations, should either topic prove appealing. The first is from the fabulous Reggie Darling, a marvelous look at two different fashion (style declarations, really) looks from the sixties.  We believe readers will recognize both names defining those styles, one being Lilly Pulitzer

Courtesy Reggie Darling

and the other, Marimekko.

Via Fashion is Spinach

The uppermost image is of Mr. Darling’s very own nineties-era Lilly swimsuit, complete with the Lilly signature within the pattern.

Via Reggie Darling

We have our own issues with the two design aesthetics, as we can frequently be found in Lilly, while also creating Tilly’s bed (well, one of her three beds) from an iconic Marimekko print.

With Permission of Tilly T. Dog

We think you will enjoy Mr. Darling’s post, it is a delightful read.

Our other suggestion for an online visit involves the inimitable Preppy 101, as she is hosting a splendid giveaway showcasing this incredible Cat Studio “America” towel, as well as these Nico and LaLa luggage tags.

Along with a few other goodies, like the Lilly Dress Magnets

.. and iPhone Covers.

Click to pop in for a visit at Preppy 101, even if the contest holds no interest, reading the posts is always a bright spot in the day.

With that we say adieu until next time!

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About That Royal Wedding & a New Fashion Icon

Hello-Hello!

What a lot of things are going on today, many of them wedding-related. As GAM (Great Aunt Molly) would say, “Goodness Gracious Sake’s Alive!”

We begin with the continued speculation about an engagement for Britain’s Prince William and longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton.

PHOTO: PA via The Telegraph

It all started when author Tina Brown wrote a blog post speculating on the possibility, primarily because two dates in the Royal calendar were “mysteriously blocked out”.  The Prince and Ms. Middleton have been seeing each for more than 8 years in a mostly-on-but-sometimes-off-relationship. Below we see the couple on January 15th at the Prince’s helicopter training graduation ceremony.

Marc Giddings/AP

No doubt you have also heard discussion of the topic as most media jumped into the story with both feet.  Now there is word via a “well-placed source” that announcement of a betrothal is “wide of the mark” according to this People magazine story.

Here at the Prepatorium we generally look to the Queen Bee for updates on the topic, she seems to have an inside edge.

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Next, news that Ann Taylor will add wedding gowns to their merchandise mix. Below we see a dress from the collection.

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

The story in today’s Journal is from one of our favorite writers, Elizabeth Holmes, and it looks at the growing number of retailers now offering wedding dresses.  Ms. Holmes also has a blog post that sheds light on her insight into the topic of wedding gowns:

“Figuring out how much to spend on my upcoming wedding is something I’ll be puzzling through for the next few months.”

Below we have an image of a gown on Ann Taylor’s site, we think it might be the one shown up above in the photo accompanying the Journal’s story.

Ann Taylor

Selling at $495, here is a portion of the retailer’s description:

“An arresting strapless gown in tiered silk chiffon. Shelf bra with boning at chest. Hidden side zip with hook-and-eye closure. Fully lined. Please note, due to the delicate nature of the fabric, some mild fraying may occur when the gown is dry cleaned.”

Other stores mentioned in the story that are adding bridal gowns include White House Black Market; below we show their Limited Edition Gown, retailing online at $498, available in July.

The Journal story explains something many readers already know:

“Executives at these companies say women have been buying wedding dresses at their stores for years, even though their dresses haven’t been marketed as such.”

Anthropologie announced in March they are getting into the wedding gown business.

Courtesy Anthropologie via InStyle

Wedding gowns will run from $750 to $5000.

J. Crew was an early entrant into the wedding and special occasion venue, the company has done extremely well in this area; the Crew wedding boutique opens May 27th on Madison Avenue.

J. Crew

Ms. Holmes closes her blog post with a question:

“… brides-to-be, would you consider wearing a wedding dress from a mall store on your big day? And for those who have made the trip down the aisle, are you happy with the amount you spent on your big day?”

One contemporary wedding phenomenon we’re not in step with? The “bridal sneaker”.

The Lovely Bride

Above and below, shoes from The Lovely Bride, specializing in such footwear.  (With apologies to our Facebook Fans for the repetition.)

Indeed.

Back to dresses, we wonder if gowns with sleeves will ever return….?

Above we see Ivanka Trump in her custom Vera Wang gown, shortly after the wedding fashion writer Cathy Horyn wrote about the topic in a blog post:

“Did she think Ms. Trump might start a trend with her sleeves? “She might very,” Ms. Wang said. “Nothing would make me happier. I’ve been doing strapless dresses for 15 years. It’s tiring.”

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In News You May Have Missed, we have one more fashion tidbit: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is evidently a fashion leader as well.

From the country’s propaganda/press office:

“The reason is that the august image of the Great General, who is always wearing the modest suit while working, leaves a deep impression on people’s mind in the world,” it said.

“To sum it up, that is because his image as a great man is so outstanding.”

Not only can you read the original story in Canada’s Nation Post, they also have a follow-up story detailing ways men everywhere can get the look, including the dictator’s special shoes for those needing a bit of a boost.

The National Post

There you have it.

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We close with today’s Pretty in Pink, the Fendi laptop sleeve.

Courtesy Fendi via Sybarites.org

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More Fashion Week & Please, Stop Calling It Burberry Plaid

Hello-Hello and welcome to a Wednesday!

Today we share lots of little tidbit and pictures, many of them from the doings at New York Fashion Week.  First, the Ann Taylor presentation, the first time Annie T has done a show at Fashion Week.

George Chinsee/WWD

George Chinsee/WWD

The review in Women’s Wear Daily referenced the company’s ‘new direction’:

“… the affordable, working girl’s retailer is serious about its new attitude and willing to put its money where its mouth is.”

ann-taylor02ann-taylor07

The palette was neutral, with none of the bright colors we adore.  Many of the pieces in the presentation are available now, a huge distinction from other firms showing in New York last week.

ann-taylor11ASE6512M_outlg404x746

Those items not already in stores are scheduled to drop before the holidaze holidays.  Back to the presentation, WWD wrote about the notables in attendance:

“… so a gaggle of Ann Taylor-clad celebrities were wrangled to sit front row. Jennifer Esposito, Vanessa Williams, Mena Suvari, Gretchen Mol, Kelly Rutherford, Kelly Bensimon, Laila Ali, Katherine McPhee and Amanda Bynes came prepped with pro-Ann spiels, some which actually sounded sincere…”

The WSJ’s Heard on the Runway blog has more on what is driving the changes at the company:

“…Ann Taylor made a name for itself on women’s busines suits that were popular more than a decade ago. But it failed to evolve beyond those pieces,  slipping into a staid and dowdy style.”

We’re not convinced it has all been frumpish, but there is definitely an issue with the merchandise mix in recent years. We would contend that for those needing proper apparel in the workplace the company managed to keep some basics in the stores, pieces one could build a look around. Back to the show:

ann-taylor20

George Chinsee/WWD

Additional thoughts from Heard on the Runway:

“Ann Taylor stepped up its styling game for Thursday evening to give its pieces more of a high-fashion aesthetic. The brand added feathers and pom poms to its so-called ”power sandal.” The overall presentation was at once edgy and sophisticated, prompting a collective “That’s Ann Taylor?” among audience members.”

The next pieces are a bit more formal, possibly the perfect look for upcoming parties and celebrations:

ann-taylor15ann-taylor30

Overall the styles had a more contemporary look, we hope the company is able to rebound and capture the younger shoppers it desperately needs.

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Next, some quick looks at lines we haven’t been able to showcase, like our beloved Oscar de la Renta.

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

He really is a master.

oscar-de-la-renta13oscar-de-la-renta42

If there is a designer who better understands what flatters the female figure we don’t know who that might be.

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The few items we have in our walk-in by Mr. de la Renta have worn beautifully, timeless designs we are always happy to put on again.

George Chinsee/WWD

George Chinsee/WWD

This party frock caught our eye.

George Chinsee/WWD

George Chinsee/WWD

Sigh.

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Now here’s a sharp turn, from Oscar de la Renta to Sears and Kmart.  At Fashion Week.  Seriously.

Below, tops from the Kmart spring line for next year.

Giovanni Giannoni /WWD

Giovanni Giannoni /WWD

Below left, another Kmart style, and on the right, pieces from the Sears 2010 spring line.

kmart12sears04

The WWD review was complimentary:

“… a fine example of high-fashion trends interpreted for the mass market — everything under $40 at Sears and under $30 at Kmart. The body-conscious attitude of late showed up in slimmer silhouettes for the professional look — pencil skirts and dresses with a belted waist.”

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On the retail front we have word that Vera Bradley plans to open three more stores this year, in addition to last week’s Cincinnati opening. The new shops are slated for Palm Beach, opening Nov. 13 at the Gardens, and Tysons Corner, scheduled to open Oct. 16.

Samuel Hoffman/Journal Gazette

Samuel Hoffman/Journal Gazette

The company will also open and an outlet store at the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora.

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One last note, this one on Burberry: it would seem we are requested to cease calling it Burberry Plaid, instead referring to it as Burberry Check.  That suggestion comes from none other the label’s Creative Director an Christopher Bailey, in a recent profile in the New Yorker.

“And he hates when Burberry’s signature print is referred to as plaid: “People keep saying to me it’s a plaid, and I’m like, ‘No, it’s a check!'”

Indeed.

Tomorrow we’ll have loads of looks from the Burberry Spring 2010 Collection, being shown at London Fashion Week. On that happy note, G’Bye until next time!

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Budget Prep, SATC Wedding Gown Update, More Preppy Sales

Hello-Hello and Happy (oh-so-happy) Friday! We hope your weekends are going to be filled with fun and frolic, relaxation and perhaps even a break from the chaos of daily life.

We start today with the Sun-Times and a nifty little story they ran this week, Preppy on a Budget. The column is accompanied by a fun slide show called Preppy Shopper. The story by Jessica Sedgwick showcases several shops unique to Chicago as well as national retailers. From their slide show, the Spiegel signature stretch seersucker jacket.

g040209shopprep3_cst_feed_20090402_13_46_17_1112-400-300

“Those who enjoy rocking their inner Blair Waldorf (“Gossip Girl” queen bee of prep) might think the only way they can get that look is by spending big bucks. Not anymore.”

Collage Courtesy SunTimes.com

Collage Courtesy SunTimes.com

“Retailers such as Kohl’s, Old Navy and even indie-minded Urban Outfitters are unleashing affordable preppy pieces — many adorned with sailor-inspired buttons and crisp seersucker stripes…”

Also showcased in the story, the Unisa TammyLee Ballet Flat at DSW.

And these Chaps Madras Shorts for boys are only $18 at Kohl’s, originally selling at $30.

Chaps Kohls.com

Chaps Kohls.com

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Other ‘preppy style’ retailers are discussed at length in an excellent story in yesterday’s Times;  it surveys the competitive terrain at midlevel stores like Ann Taylor and Talbots.

The always-insightful Eric Wilson (a big favorite of TP’s) wrote the story:

“… mainstream retailers like Ann Taylor and Talbots have been hiring new designers and sprucing up their looks to appeal to modern women who are now shopping for style within their means.”

As these stores become “recession destinations,” shoppers are discovering that they aren’t as fuddy as they used to be.”

Here is an Ann Taylor Jacket with contrasting trim.

AnnTaylor.com

AnnTaylor.com

The jacket is now on sale at $69.99, but with the additional 25% discount the retailer is offering, the price is about $52.

Mr. Wilson’s story focuses primarily on Talbots, Ann Taylor and the new Liz Claiborne line from Isaac Mizrahi. The writer’s perception of the inside of a Talbots store makes for a fun read:

“Walking into the Talbots store on Madison Avenue, with its festive red painted door, homey décor and piles of melon-colored cardigans, bamboo prints and safari suits, the change is only beginning to become apparent. You might think that Michael Kors and Tory Burch had wed in a year-round Christmas superstore.”

And when considering the Talbots Sale is now offering an Additional 25% off reduced prices, you know there are likely to be possible purchases under the red awning. Even ‘wear now’ basics show significant price reductions, and that is before the additional 25% discount.

Talbots.com

Talbots.com

A good example of the price cuts is Talbots Pima Cotton Crew Tee, on sale at $8.99, in 21 different colors.

The Times story is a fascinating read, well worth a little investment of time, but we want to know your thoughts…? What is making you buy… or not? Has Talbots updated its inventory, do you like what they are offering? How about Ann Taylor? TP is just dying to know your thoughts on this topic.

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Hayden-Harnett fans may want to scoot into their Online Sample Sale running through April 5, with bargains like the Margot Eyeglass Case at $10, reduced from$30.

Hayden-Harnett

Hayden-Harnett

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Then we have one more preppish retailer offering price reductions, Brooks Brothers. The company is doing their Preferred Customer Event, taking 25% off prices if one uses their Brooks card or Brooks MonsterCard Mastercard, 15% off for other forms of payment.

Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers

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We have an update for those fond of Sarah Jessica Parker’s wedding gown in Sex and the City.

PHOTO: Diane Cohen/Courtesy Everett Collection

PHOTO: Diane Cohen/Everett Collection

There is (was) a shortened version of the Vivienne Westwood dress available.

However, the shortened version selling at Net-a-Porter was gone almost as soon as it went up on the site.  But do not despair of owning this version, one merely needs to get in touch with Dame Westwood and be willing to part with about $9,900.  BTW, the release date for Sex and the City 2 has been announced; ask your social secretary to mark you as “busy” on May 28, 2010, if planning to see the film its first day in release.

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On a lighter note, two young gentlemen have a new take on an old, and much-maligned medium: the Jello mold.  Well, no one actually says the “J Word,” in all honesty. A NY Times story looks at the phenomenon and its creators, Sam Bompas and Harry Parr. (Below, the Madrid airport and aircraft in jelly.)

Photo: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Photo: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The wizards creating these masterpieces are definitely products of an ‘Old School’education, having attended both Eton and University College, London; they refer to themselves as ‘jelly mongers.’

On that creative note we shall take our leave! Happy weekend dolls!

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