Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the World Online Shopping

Despite the world not ending on December 21st, some places you ought to check out for sweet discounts on clothes or shoes or accessories:

ASOS - This strictly online retailer gives out codes that allow you to redeem discounts on top of already discounted items. Plus, the ASOS-branded clothes and accessories are really good (meaning stylish and of better quality than those lumpy blue sweaters in clearance bins) for the price. I love shopping here because I get the silhouettes and styles (like those carrot trousers which I ended up altering and wedge sole loafers) I can't find in Forever 21 or H&M or the Gap or other mass retailers. The final reason: shipping and returns are free!

eBay - I highly recommend this site for those aggressive on getting the best deals. The site is chock full of anything you need or want. Case in point the smartphone I acquired over the summer, the Zero + Maria Cornejo bias cut shorts (which I adore because it's so unique!) and spring wool blazer (its fabric is very lightweight and the style very distinct), and the vintage Coach briefcase. Next on my list is a below market price BlackBerry PlayBook.

Aloha Rag - This site is more pricey than my previous recommendations. But, if you have a penchant for luxury goods that are under-the-radar (such as Maison Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons, et al.), this is the site to go. Now, the strategy is not to buy full priced items--that'd be the end of your finances!--instead wait for their end of the year sale, which discounts select items up to 80% off. Another perk is that US shipping is free during the aforementioned sales event, and if you're not in Hawaii or New York, the item is tax free! The only deal breaker is that returns for sale items cannot be refunded; you only get store credit.

Hollister - Now I already blogged about the jeans I bought in this store, and I must say they are my favorite pair insofar. I think the only reason to shop at Hollister (other than getting your fix of dark retail spaces) are the discounts on jeans, considering they're very comfortable and feel reasonably well made. Now, they don't advertise often about the sales, so it's important to check Hollister's website when the seasons change. Sometimes, the discounts online also apply to the brick-and-mortar stores. Which means you get to take advantage of the discounts without paying those silly shipping fees.

Share in the comments for more places you'd recommend for bargain shopping!

Welcoming the New Year

Here in Pacific Standard Time, it'll be 6 more hours until the clock strikes twelve. Before the cheering and the popping starts, I just want to take the time to review what happened throughout the year, and thank God for the accomplishments, the blessings and also the growth that I went through as an individual.

Through thick and thin (and there were a lot of those moments), I am grateful to serve a true and mighty God. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have survived this year without his guidance and lots and lots of help. Which reminds me of this verse from John 10:10, saying "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [pertaining to Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

And "to the full" means just that--He is more than enough!

Things to Be Thankful For:

1. Finally graduating without any loans to pay for! When I started college, the main concern was how am I gonna pay for it? Guess what: God provided for everything; He made sure that my parents can pay for not only me, but also my siblings' college education. How awesome is that?

2. Completing a small business consultation on top of a 9-month long internship. Small business consulting is a royal pain, and don't let anyone make you think otherwise. However, I am very thankful that I went through this rigorous and mind-bending experience because it made me think of what I want to do as a career. My internship also enhanced my personal career "compass" by giving me real-life experience working with accounts, clients, customers, creatives and fellow co-workers.

3. Getting my first paid job as a peer mentor! I've done a year's worth of unpaid internships, and any other paid gigs I had weren't really regular sources of income. So, this experience changes everything. It feels so good to get paid!

4. Reducing my closet clutter and replenishing it anew. I've always put a disclaimer that I am a huge price sensitive shopper. I love looking for bargains if I get the chance. Well, this year (actually just this month) I get to exercise my purchasing power and pamper myself with a shopping spree. Hey, it's a reward for toiling the rest of the year, y'know. Also it feels super satisfying to be able to clean out your closet from ratty clothes that you've been wondering when to replace, and be able to replace them with shiny new (well, not always because I love me some pre-owned items) things!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Collection of the Moment: Maison Martin Margiela + H&M

I know the collection landed last month, but I just want to post this weird avant-garde campaign video, shot by Sam Taylor-Wood. My friend called it fashion epilepsy. Don't we all get that once in a while?

In other related news, the New York Post reported that sales of Maison Martin Margiela for H&M isn't going so well. This means H&M has excess inventory available in retail stores up to now. Not sure if the avant-garde aesthetic really titillated the masses. I mean, have you asked your aunt if she's heard of Margiela?

Then again, H&M intended to produced more items for Margiela compared to previous collaborations. This is to address complaints that inventory for H&M's collaboration collections was not enough to satisfy demand.

If this is the case, then I am eyeing that deconstructed biker jacket that Jamie Bochert wore in the video. Let's see if it'll fit me. Ha!

Splurge of the Moment: Hollister Jeans

You might be asking why I should consider Hollister a brand to splurge over. Quite true. It's a pretty pedestrian brand compared to, say, Balmain. However, after becoming a reformed shopper with strict expense guidelines, shopping for clothes and accessories has become a splurge. Plus, I justified this purchase because I really needed to replace my (accidentally) paint-splattered H&M jeans that's fading on the thighs and swiftly losing its shape.

I actually never shopped in Hollister before. In high school, only the cool, pretty kids shopped at Hollister and its East Coast sis, Abercrombie & Fitch. My family never had the luxury to get into those barely lit, pungent retail establishments because my mom says it's just a bunch of hype (she is an accountant, which might explain her cynicism against marketing hoopla).

Her other argument: my taste in clothes will change in the future. Ergo, there is no need to spend a lot on high school clothes.

Fast forward five years. I saw that Hollister was having a sale on jeans, so I grabbed this opportunity to--finally--step into one of their retail stores. I kinda wished I went inside when I was younger because I literally couldn't see anything inside. I had to turn on the torch on my phone to read the tags.

And like the old fart that I am, I complained to one of the sales associates that the store is too damn dark. To think that they're also selling magazines compounded my disdain for this over hyped store.

Trying It On

Before stepping in the store, I researched online which style and color I want exactly. I know that I'm going to buy something that isn't black (too many black pants), but I want the color dark enough so I can wear it to work. I couldn't choose between their skinny fit and their super skinny fit, so the only way to find out is by visiting the store.

Once I paid the store a visit, I headed straight to the jeans counter and rummaged through the super skinny stack. To my surprise, they still had my size in the wash that I wanted (it's called Rinse). When I tried it on, the waist was pretty snug but not too tight. The legs, meanwhile, took me by surprise. Unlike H&M's skinny jeans (which gets too tight around the legs), Hollister's super skinny fit is loose enough to be deemed skinny but also comfortable enough that I won't keel over from blood constriction.

The material is also worth mentioning. It definitely feels like a rugged pair of denim. Although it has 2% of elastane in the fabric, the stretch isn't obvious when worn. It really feels like I'm wearing the denim from the good old days. Further, the construction is decent enough for my taste. Though the hardware (like the button fly) could be a tad heftier in my opinion.

Road Testing

I only wore the pants once so I can't really comment on its durability. However, I can attest that the pants are quite comfortable compared to my H&M skinny jeans. In addition, the snug fit around the waist was a nice feature because that means I don't have to wear a belt. I'll report more about the jeans once I get a couple of week's worth of usage. Right now, all I can say is these jeans are doing pretty darn well for the price!