Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trying to put my finger on "Jersey Couture"

It would be all too obvious to make fun of this new TV show on Oxygen, but I feel like I need to say SOMETHING.  So here it is: call me naive, but how in the WORLD do their customers afford the gowns they buy in this store?  One woman bought a dress for a wedding (as a guest, not the bride) for $999.  Another mom bought her young teenage daughter three different dresses (2 for proms, one for a wedding) that cost - if I am recalling correctly - a total of around $3,000(!)(?).  I guess I am a communist, but this really threw me.  Particularly because none of these people ever balk at the prices.  I mean, can't your daughter wear the same dress to the wedding and one of the proms?  And then they all buy matching new jewelry too! 

Monday, June 28, 2010

T.J. Maxx - 57th St.

Is 57th Street the new discount destination? T.J. Maxx opening at 57th and Eighth, around the corner from Daffy's. Watch out Union Square.

~nancy brenner

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Report from the Front: LEGO Rockefeller Center

Lucky wide-eyed tourists and even jaded New Yorkers stopped in their tracks to watch workers on the night shift finish flourishes to the flagship Fifth Avenue store. Pop-art colors, mosaics, a giant green dinosaur and Big Apple special edition LEGO re-creations reflecting the famous sculptures surrounding Rockefeller Center and the ice skating rink will be a must see for Lego purists. Also, all fun seekers from 8-80 -- even for fashionistas headed straight for Saks Fifth Avenue -- may be tempted to help LEGO build the biggest apple in the Big Apple (a giant 15 footer)!

The times when the public can help build the 15 foot Big Apple model:
  • Tuesday, June 29: 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, June 30: 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Thursday, July 1: 8:00am - 3:00pm

 A store so new, you can still smell the paint fumes!
~nancy brenner

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 24: Zara's semi-annual sale

I'm not sure if I hate this store or not, but who am I to keep information to myself?
Tthe big Zara Semi-Annual Sale begins tomorrow, June 24th. All spring/summer clothing, shoes and accessories are on sale in all departments - women's, men's and children's. Store locations can be found at, and the sale will continue until stock runs out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gird Your Loins: Report from Catherine Malandrino

Long lines for "early" entry into the edifice, the elevator, bag check and dressing rooms. Gilt go-getters expected a more expedient process. experience. If you are a petite, this is a chance for you to find flirty tops  for $80 at size zero or petite (usually $300 and up in the stores). A must if you are a Malandrino fan who will love the $150 feminine frocks. Have patience and come with a small cross-body bag to avoid the check-in and check-out lines. Also, walk up the four flights to avoid the elevator line.
123 West 18th Street.
~nancy brenner.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Layering Nirvana at Only Hearts

Delicious Camis in Brights are HOT at Only Hearts and are the #1 requested item from sample salees: Report from the Front.

Doors opened at Noon today at 230 Mott Street for these and other items, such as the above pictured July 4th dress perfect for a BBQ.  If you've been eyeing their pieces at their Columbus Ave. store or online, move quickly before best deals disappear.

~nancy brenner

Lingerie La La Land at Natori: Report from the Front

Sorry you missed the La Perla sale?  Don't be.  The Natori line is insanely priced and you'll wonder two things:  can I buy enough underwear to avoid doing the laundry ever again and why did I ever pay $50 or more for underpinnings?  Sheer shopping giddiness ensued at this sale where bras were $4 and $8, panties for $8, bodysuits for $5 and so on and so forth.  Josie Natori underpinnings that sold for hundreds are $20.  Don't berate yourself for being sidelined by an untold number of sample sales this week.  There is a new shipment coming in. Be prepared to sift through this one - it's worth it. Communal dressing room.

Today only
104 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor

~Nancy Brenner

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Affordable Champion Exercise / Rocker Shoes‏

The GS loves when she gets spontaneous helpful shopping tips from her friends, such as the one she received today:

It was only a matter of time but Payless now has the “Shape Up” equivalent shoes from Champion. Plus, they now have their version of the “Fit Flop”.

The Champion shoe is only $39.99 and I got mine from Sketchers for over $100. And their Fitflop is only $25 (versus $50 for the pair I paid).

They work really well for me but to be honest, since I still go to the gym, not exactly sure how effective it really is. In any case, wanted to pass it along to you girls.

Here’s the link to the shoes:

Ben-Amun Sample Sale Devotees Get White Glove Treatment: Report from the Front

Beyonce, Leighton Meester and Rhianna have all been spotted sporting the funky line. If you're a regular Ben-Amun devotee, designer Issac Manevitz and his wife Regina are on hand to help you select your baubles, unravel a pearl necklace or even shorten a too long bracelet in a matter of minutes. Manevitz actually pulled out his tool kit in the midst of Ben-Amun addict mayhem - this is a designer always cares about treating his customers like jewels, even if they don't grace the pages of Vogue or In-Style. If you can't make it to the showroom, which you really should to discover one-of-a-kind treasures, bracelets starting in single digits - check out their facebook page where they have an item of the day offer for a green resin ball necklace going for $35, originally $180. Collectible looks range from the popular coins, to military to resin to crystal and everything in between.
  • Coin bracelet $58, reduced from $145
  • Hanging star pin, $24-$60
  • Military hanging pin $30 from $75
  • Yellow and red bracelet $10 from $25
  • Crystal chain necklace $48 from $140
~nancy brenner

Even Friends & Family Line Cut at Shoshanna: Report from the Front

Experienced shoppers sidled up to the $50 sample sale racks faster than Lady Gaga flipped off photogs at the Mets game. Finds include the one shoulder frock in cobalt or cherry red retailing at Bloomingdales for $305 selling for $50; the rainforest floral sheath retailing at $360 and already sold out at the Neiman Marcus site except for a size 8, here for $150. Cover ups could do double duty as dresses on a sun-drenched city afternoon - a deep V-neck cover-up retailing for $220, a cutwork lace cover up for $255 and a floral one for $240, selling for $75 each. Real finds if you want your assets to look as fabulous on the beach as they do everywhere else.
241 West 39th Street
4th floor

~nancy brenner

Monday, June 14, 2010

Loreley Williamsburg: Good World Cup Watching

It is rare that I am one of the first people to try a new and extremely hyped restaurant, but seeing how it is the World Cup and my friend is a real live German, I agreed to go to the new Loreley in Williamsburg on Sunday. We were on a quest to get a seat for the Germany/Australia game, and indeed we did.  We were the first people there at 11:50 a.m. and got the best table in the haus.  Unfortunately, our friends were not so prompt, and we were forced to give up our empty chairs to others before they arrived.  But it was a great time nevertheless.  The food was just as good as the Manhattan location as was the service (I don't envy the waitstaff at all).  And while it's not a huge place, the layout is more open than the Manhattan location. There's also a great outdoor patio with tables and umbrellas, and the bar opens up right onto it.

So if you are going during the next few weeks to watch the World Cup, here are some tips:
1. Show up 2-2.5 hours before the game starts if you want a seat.  Bring your whole crew or else they probably will be ass-out (literally).
2. Get ready for someone in your party to hand over a credit card, so that you can't dine-and-ditch.  Apparently after the US/England game they got majorly stiffed, and so now this is a requirement.
3. Get your haircut like the guy in the picture.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bigger Sizes in at Change of Season, Boutique Outlet

New items from: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD RED LABEL, MARGIELA, GALLIANO...are in - and some of them in sizes 10-12.  Glory glory!

Change of Season, a boutique outlet
341 East 9th St.  NYC

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Girly Girls with Great Gams Go to Tracy Reese: Report From The Front Preview

Today's To Do: DvF or Tracy Reese? Samples are $50 at Tracy Reese including current line pieces. Best buys are simply WOW dresses that retail for over $300, and some sparkly ones for over $400. Do your homework as one shopper eyed a leopard print dress online and was able to zone in on it faster than a New York minute on the sample sale racks (those tied with a bow). Sample sizes seemed smaller and shorter than usual and many shoppers tugged at zippers to try to make them fit. Recession weight gain or smaller sample size models? Note that Dillard's is having a fab sale on the lower priced, but equally original line, Plenty by Tracy Reese Carmen style priced at $52.50. Scope out before you go and Patient helpful staff and kudos to fellow shoppers who readily swapped dresses and offered picks that didn't suit their coloring or size.

~Nancy Brenner

Friday, June 04, 2010

Consignment Shop Virgin: Report From the Front - Michael's Consignment Shop

Don't be intimidated by the steps leading to this high-end consignment shop nestled along the ladies-who-lunch brand flagship stores on Madison Avenue. With labels like Hermes and Chanel, I expected to see a few older women hauling heavy purses, with brand names so expensive, that I had only admired them at Bergdorf as if visiting an exhibit at the Met.

Michael's is a bustling interactive high-end, cool-girl exhibit with sparkly St. John, Milly, and Balenciaga in the mix. All ages and social strata have discovered the joys of cash for clothes that were using up valuable NYC closet space - the solution to an instant Gilt-gone-wrong finale sale purchase, or sample sale finds that seemed too cheap to pass on. There are many regulars here who are both buying and selling. One lamented the Prada coat that was there only a few days before - and "walked away." Her tip: if it's a beauty, buy it - it's unlikely you'll spot it twice. Fingering a Missoni, she said, "what's there to think about? A Missoni speaks for itself." Another regular suggests googling consignment shops in upper-crust neighborhoods for best selections and noted there were several nearby.

If you own any designer names - from the big leagues like Chanel to Louboutin, or the the Bergdorf 5F ones like Milly, Diane von Furstenberg, Shoshanna or Nanette, this may be your sample sale salvation. Tips for consignment shop virgins: Call in advance to determine which brands they accept. Bring in current season only. Make sure to mothball or store your winter goods and bring them back in the Fall. Prepare yourself for rejection. Cute or crazy? The ladies at the shop will decide. That oh so hot Louboutin color that you waited five hours to buy at the sample sale, but can't stand in for more than a nanosecond may not make their carefully curated cut. Merchandise is typically priced at 1/3 of retail, and then you can expect half of the profits - although prices are marked down if they do not sell. One source so far has discovered $300 this season from a recent closet cleaning.

If you're in buying mode, check out their eveningwear upstairs- for this category of merchandise it's unlikely you'll find better prices, unless you're married to a Saks sales associate. Pause before blowing multiple c-notes for Blahniks as some seem more shop-worn than gently. Happy Hunting!
1041 Madison Avenue @ 79th Street

~nancy brenner

Thursday, June 03, 2010

June 16 -- Second Chances: Shoshanna Sample Sale

If you missed the first Spring/Summer sale, bolt to this one for prices better than the Bergdorf's 40% off sale. Not for novices. This is for serious shoppers who can navigate a showroom sale with only their credit card, cell and the ability to hold their own at the mirror with fellow Shoshanna addicts in various stages of undress. June 16, 10am 
231 West 39th

~nancy brenner

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Autumn Cashmere: Ward Off Office Chill with Cashmere

Novelties for $75 or cotton pullovers for $35, hoodies for $45. Nothing higher than $105 for men. No competition, no excuses. Women one-of-a-kind knit dresses for $105. Cotton samples for $45 or cashmere for $75, with stock going for $95 - the cashmere sequin leopard sweater pictured retails for over $300. Look for orange tickets for best prices. Manageable crowd. Check out whowhatwear to see which favorite celeb is wearing the popular brand.  231 West 39th Street. ~Nancy Brenner