Happy holidays!
Sorry I've been so slack-tastic with my posts lately. 'Tis the season, I suppose. I'm off to Chicago for Christmas, but I shall return, refreshed and renewed, on January 2nd, so please come back then. In the meantime, happy shopping!
The week in shopping
Calling all last-minute shoppers!

This week it's an international affair at Clothingline, which has British Ben Sherman and Japanese Evisu denim for men and women, at roughly 70% off (the Ben Sherman stuff is particularly a good deal). 12/19-12/22; 10-6; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Since I've been drinking and eating up a storm, I'd say this would be the worst time of year to shop for a swimsuit, but with Malia Mills' flattering swim separates at 50%-75% off, I think I can bear it. 12/20-12/21; 10-7; 263 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 16th fl.

Since you're done with all your shopping (right?), treat yourself to some fancy, brightly colored Deborah Marquit lingerie, now $20 and up. Through 12/24; noon-7 (closed Sun.); 158 W. 15th St., (6th & 7th Aves.).

Hit Poleci's first-ever sample sale for work-friendly clothes at a ridiculous 75% off wholesale. 12/19-12/20; 10-5; 414 W. 14th St. (9th & 10th Aves.), ste. 2F.

Tomorrow's the last day for Miss Sixty (plus Sixty, Killah, and Energie) for 75% off retail (that's $15-$100). Through 12/19; 10-6; Metropolitan Pavilion (6th & 7th Aves.), 5th fl.

Old school/now hot again Norma Kamali is having a sale featuring samples and stock from her various lines (for Spiegel, Everlast, etc.) at up to 80% off. Through 12/20; 10-6; 11 W. 56th Sts. (5th & 6th Aves.).
Two more sales
The News is hosting a two-day sale for downtown-girl fave Vena Cava. Expect lots of pretty holiday frocks. 12/14-12/15; 10-6; 495 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 5th floor.

I was bummed that I missed the Lutz & Patmos sale last week, but lucky for me, they're having a one-day blowout sale tomorrow; everything is $200 or less. 12/13; 11-7; 425 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 406.
Website of the week
Over Thanksgiving weekend, MW and I went to a mall in New Hampshire, where we noticed that 1) none of the girls there were wearing skinny jeans and 2) the "cool" uniform for teenage girls appeared to be an Abercrombie sweatshirt, a Coach purse, and boot-cut jeans with Ugg boots. Remember Ugg boots? Let's take a trip back to 2003: They were sold out everywhere, new pairs were going for $500 on eBay, and Nordstrom had a waiting list that promised delivery by July 2004. (Even I succumbed to buying a pair.) Fashion has since had a love affair with the Mukluk (and several other equally ugly boots), but for some reason, Uggs have always been hanging around on some level. (I suppose, you could argue, due to how warm and comfortable they are.) Ever since that day in New Hampshire, though, I've been noticing Uggs everywhere--yes, even in New York City. So whether Uggs have never gone away, or whether they're having a resurgence in popularity--Ugg just opened its first store in NYC, at 79 Mercer St.--there's no denying that in spite of how ugly they are, Uggs actually are practical. And after all the uncomfortable, unflattering, even dangerous trends out there (hello, giant platform shoes!), my inner Mom thinks it's okay to embrace them. So whether you like Uggs, Emus, Warmbats, Koolaburras, or any number of Australian boots, the best resource I've found for them is SheepskinShoes.com, a monster of a website that ships (for free!) to a gazillion countries and stocks every color and style of sheepskin boot imaginable.

I tend to prefer Emu boots to Uggs; the "Hip" boot, for example, has a wrap detail that makes it slightly more stylish.

I'm also tempted to get this Emu moccasin for days when a full boot isn't quite necessary.

You lose a lot of heat through your head, too, so there are always sheepskin earmuffs to keep it warm.

Of course, with all the 50-degree weather we've been having in NYC, we might not even need all this sheepskin stuff (to the delight of aesthetes everywhere). Let's hear it for global warming!
The week in shopping
Yes, still more sales, but we're entering the final stretch...

Diane von Furstenberg's dresses, separates, shoes, and accessories are 45%-75% off at this must-see sale. 12/12-12/15; 9-7 Tues., 10-7 Wed., 10-8 Thurs., 9-3 Fri.; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Before their masstige line hits Target in the spring, get the real-deal Proenza Schouler for (fairly) cheap. 12/12-12/14; 9-6; 120 Walker St. (at Baxter), 6th fl.

Hit three awesome designers at once in this sale featuring Leigh Bantivoglio lingerie, Tibi clothes, and Goldenbleu handbags, all for 75% off. 12/12-12/13; 10-7; 336 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 11th fl.

Time for Hollywould's semi-annual "Insane" sale: Shoes are 60%-80% off, bargain bins are $25 and up, and for those who want to avoid the insanity, there's a small selection of items online. 12/13-12/16; 11:30-7; 198 Elizabeth St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Pony up the cash for Nanette Lepore's fall line--it's roughly 50% off at this cash-only sale. 12/13-12/14; 9-6; 225 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 4th fl.

Carolina Herrera's sample sale ain't cheap, but prices are roughly 75% off. Through 12/12; 9-6:30; 9-6:30; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

At 70% off, Rogan's denim will be somewhat affordable. 12/14-12/16; 11-8; Namaste Showroom, 236 W. 27th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 14th fl.

Many basics and a few hidden gems are $30 and up at TSE's cashmere sale. 12/15-12/21; 9-6:30; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Oprah fave Tory Burch's signature printed clothes and accessories are at prices even non-socialites can afford; I'm tempted to get the ballet flats. Preview at Clothingline.com. 12/12-12/15; 10-7 Tue. & Thurs., 10-6 Wed. & Fri.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Eugenia Kim's East Village store is gone, but her hats are still around; at this sale, score them for 50%-70% off. 12/13-12/16; 9-8, 11-7 Sat.; 347 W. 36th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 502.

Vintage-inspired Secrets of Charm dresses, sweaters, tops, and more are on sale (about 65% off). 12/13-12/15; 11-6; 45 Bond St. (Lafayette & Bowery), ste. 4A.

Quirky shoes and bags by Melanie Dizon are more than 50% off at this two-day sale. 12/14-12/15; 11-7; Buckler, 13 Gansevoort St. (8th Ave. & Hudson St.).

Rafe's handbags and wallets are up to 90% off. 12/13-12/16; 10-7; 85 5th Ave. (at 16th St.), 12th fl.

Coats, dresses, separates, and more are 50%-75% off at new working-girl staple Tevrow+Chase. Through 12/13; 11-5; 416 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 313.

Jill Stuart's party-friendly frocks, tops, and other fall/winter items are 40%-60% off. 12/15-1/19; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 100 Greene St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Armand Diradourian's fancy cashmere clothing and accessories (for men and women) are wholesale and below--about $80-$500--at this cash-only sale. Through 12/20; noon-6 (closed Sun.); 160 5th Ave. (20th & 21st Sts.), 9th floor.

Treat your home to some pillows, throws, or rugs from Judy Ross--they're up to 60% off. 12/14-12/16; 1-7 Thurs., 11-6Fri., noon-5 Sat.; 41 Union Square West (at 17th St.), 9th fl.

I guess it's never the wrong time to buy a bridal gown (or your New Year's Eve outfit): gowns and eveningwear are $150-$4,000 at Reem Acra's sale. 12/16-12/18; 1-8 Sat., 10-8 Sun.; 8-7 Mon.; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

Or, if you prefer, hit Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier for gowns by Alberta Ferretti, Angel Sanchez, and Monique Lhuillier at up to 75% off. Call 212-319-6778 for an appointment. 12/14-12/16; 11-7 Thurs., 10-7 Fri., 10-6 Sat.; 110 E. 55th St. (at Park Ave.).

Cashmere accessories by Meg Cohen Design are $25-$155 at this sale. 12/12-12/16; 11-7; 920 Broadway (20th & 21st St.), ste. 905.

Fancy-schmancy semiprecious jewelry is 30%-60% off at M+J Savitt's sale; call 212-684-4221, ext. 14 to make an appointment. Through 12/15; 9:30-5; 475 5th Ave. (at 40th St.), 20th fl.

Carlos Falchi's exotic handbags are $50-$900 (below wholesale, kids) at this crazy sale. 12/12-12/14; noon-6 Tues., 9-6 Wed., 9-3 Thurs.; 411 5th Ave. (37th & 38th Sts.), 3rd fl.

MOR leather handbags by Perlina are on sale. Through 12/15; 9-6; 10 W. 33rd St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 210.

The Art Of Shopping has men's Michael Kors merch for 60%-80% off, plus denim from 7 for all Mankind, Earnest Sewn, Ben Sherman, and more. 12/14-12/20; 11-7; 62 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).
Random notes
1. I am clearly crazy, because I stood in line this morning, in freezing, 35-degree weather for an hour and 45 minutes to get into the Sigerson Morrison sale. I was disappointed at first, because I was expecting current-season merchandise (I miss the store's end-of-season "crazy sale"), but I quickly got over it when I realized that 1) digging was required and 2) everything was so cheap, they were practically giving it away. Um, so, I got four pairs of shoes and a clutch purse. They were delivering more merchandise as I was waiting, and if you wear a size 7, it's definitely worth going back tomorrow--I almost cried when I saw how many size 7 bins there were (this must be SM's sample size). For the gals in the 8-9 range, may the force be with you.

2. Sadly, I don't think I'm going to have time to do a Cheryl Shops holiday shopping guide this year. I've been a little social butterfly lately, and now, at this point in time, it seems a bit too late to run one. I should have started it over a month ago, and, believe me, I'm kicking myself for having not done so. Sorry about that. But, you know, pretty much every website in existence has a gift guide, so I'm sure you can find some ideas somewhere. (And not to gloat, but I'm pretty much done with my holiday shopping, with the exception of one or two small things. Thank god for the Internet.)
A few more sales
The lovely ladies at Find Outlet are hosting a Paul & Joe sample sale (the real Paul & Joe, not the stuff from Target), with cocktails on Friday from 5-7. 12/7-12/10; noon-7; 361 W. 17th St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Lilla P.'s awesome tees are $15 and up. Cash only. Through 12/8; 8-7 Thurs., 8-5 Fri.; 420 W. 14th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 3NW.

Lucky Fave MarieMarie has silky, wooly, dressy stuff for up to 70% off. Through 12/7; noon-9; 257 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1002.

One of my favorite designers, Jane Mayle's feminine yet cool fall/winter line is 35% off (although still on the pricey side). Through 12/31; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 242 Elizabeth St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Cheryl Shops fave La Garconne is having a fall/winter sale, featuring designs by Sass & Bide, Daryl K, Twinkle, and more.

Get 20% off fashion, shoes, and accessories for women at Bloomingdales.com when you enter code BRIGHT at checkout through 12/14 (several restrictions apply).
America's Next Top Model recap
Whoa. For the first time in America's Next Top Model history, my favorite girl won. I am still kind of in shock. To back up a bit, the episode started out with a Cover Girl TV ad and photo shoot, which CariDee rocked and Melrose choked. As for Eugena, well, I think everyone knew it was curtains for her, as I don't think she really even deserved to be in the final three anyway. This, of course, set CariDee and Melrose up for a "battle of the blondes," which might have had more resonance if Melrose were actually a natural blonde. (She's a brunette.) After a Seventeen shoot (I guess they couldn't edit out the now-ousted editor-in-chief, Atoosa Rubenstein), the girls walked in by far the most zany and artificial runway show yet. Staged in one of Gaudi's ka-ray-zy structures, the show involved goth brides, "acting," and torches. The artifice of the whole thing was enhanced by 1) the fact that the only seats in the whole thing were for the ANTM judges, and 2) the totally random, candle-holding locals, who appeared to have been pulled off the streets, were laughing through the whole thing. Um, and Miss Jay "performed" in the show as well. I was cringing the entire time, and not just because CariDee looked possessed. (To her credit, Melrose did a pretty good job, although freaking out because CariDee accidentally stepped on her gown did nothing to help her case.) Runway walks aside, when the judges went through the girls' portfolios, it was obvious that CariDee was the winner. And in the discussion, in which Nigel did everything short of calling Melrose an old bag. So, yay, CariDee is the winner--deservedly so. And for once, I'll be looking forward to her "My life as a Cover Girl" spots during the next "cycle"--which, according to the teaser, looks to be taking place in London. Cheers, mate!
Website of the week
I will admit, I am kind of fascinated by socialites. Not the Hilton sisters--they're hardly socialites in the true sense of the word--but the Upper East Side ladies, young and old, who attend charity functions, marry well, decorate their homes, throw fabulous parties, get photographed in beautiful designer clothing and so on. Of course many of today's socialites have jobs--some more superficial than others--but, really, that's not the point here. Having no true royalty (in the traditional sense of the word) in this country, socialites are often the closest thing to royals for us. And like royal families, the world of socialites is very small...which is why I find the whole Socialite Rank saga fascinating. For those of you not in the know, Socialite Rank's main feature is a weekly ranking of New York's socialites, based on visibility, press coverage, and such. It also has some of the snarkiest comments on the web, from a mixture of real socialites, PR girls, media, and regular ol' Joes. But the biggest mystery surrounding the site is the author (or authors), who is, as of now, anonymous. There has been much speculation by everyone from Radar to the Observer to, of course, Gawker, but to no avail. I must say, I am quite amused by how certain socialites are working themselves into a tizzy over this--for all their wealth and beauty, it appears socialites are just as insecure as (if not more so than) the rest of us.
The week in shopping
...and this is the week I go broke.

Cashmere sweaters and accessories are $10-$350 at Lutz & Patmos, my other favorite sweater-maker. Everything is 50% off on Tuesday, 60% off on Wednesday, and 70%-80% off on Thursday. 12/5-12/7; 11-7:30; 425 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 406.

Frenchy Catherine Malandrino dresses, coats and separates are at least 60% off at this sale. Through 12/6; 8-8; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

I'm not going to lie: Prices at Derek Lam's sale are still quite high (mid to high three figures), but fashion genius doesn't come cheap. 12/7-12/8; 10-6; 601 W. 26th St. (11th & 12th Aves.), ste. 1730.

I think I'm going to be late to work on Wednesday, because Sigerson Morrison's sale starts nice and early, and features shoes and boots for $45-$100 and handbags for $20-$150. Good god! 12/6-12/7; 8:30-7:30; 180 Lafayette St. (Broome & Grand Sts.), ground floor.

Metropolitan Design Group's sample sale used to be right down the street from my office, but unfortunately it moved to bufu Chelsea; nevertheless, it features Giles & Brother jewelry (ahem, MW), Tocca bags, stationery, home accessories, and other giftable items for 50% off. Cash only. 12/7-12/8; 9-7; 504 W. 22nd St. (10th & 11th Aves.), 3rd fl.

James Jeans are pretty darn flattering; score them for men and women, for a mere $25-$90. 12/6-12/8; 10-7, 10-3 Fri.; 500 Greenwich St. (Spring & Canal Sts.), ste. 202.

Fragments' lovely jewelry is 50%-60% off. 12/8-12/10; 1-6 Fri., 10-6 Sat., 10-5 Sun.; 110 Greene St. (at Prince St.), 8th fl.

Calypso's overstock--think boho clothing and accessories--are up to 80% off at this sale, running every weekend through January. Fridays through Sundays, 10-6; 405 Broome St.

Eberjey's pretty mesh undergarments are up to 75% off. 12/5-12/6; 9-7 Tues., 9-5 Wed.; 40 E. 34th St. (Park & Madison Aves.), ste. 610.

Lorelei (which happens to be my mom's name, by the way) makes pretty party bags for the downtown gal; here, they're up to 70% off. 12/5-12/6; noon-8; 53 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 1102.

Lauren Moffatt's sweet, slightly retro dresses, coats, and separates are 50% off and more. 12/5-12/7; 10-7; 214 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1503.

12/6–12/8 Stock up on party frocks at Betsey Johnson's sale--everything is up to 80% off. 12/6-12/8; 10-8; 263 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Who doesn't love cashmere? Get all kinds of sweaters and accessories for up to 75% off at Autumn Cashmere. 12/6-12/8; 9-7, 9-6 Fri.; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 924.

Paper Denim & Cloth jeans for men and women are a mere $55. 12/8-12/10; 8-9 Fri., 10-9 Sat., noon-8 Sun.; 72 Greene St. (at Spring St.).

Hit three great designers in one fell swoop: children's clothes from Lucy Sykes, contemporary clothing from Alex Gaines, and baby knits from Egg by Susan Lazar for roughly 60% off. 12/6-12/8; 10-6; 230 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 9th fl.

Lauren Merkin's supercute bags are 40%-70% off. 12/5-12/7; 11-7; 231 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 201.

Alvin Valley's awesome-fitting pants are $129 and $189 (that's 60%-80% off) at this sale, also featuring clothing for the rest of your body. Through 12/9; noon-6; 555 7th Ave. (39th & 40th Sts.), ste. 304.

Prices on exotic-skin handbags and accessories are wholesale and below at LAI's sale, so go get your society lady on. 12/5-12/7; 10-6; 12 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 403.

Super-hip designers like Orla Kiely and Issa are 60% off at Showroom Seven's sale. Through 12/15; 10-7 (closed Sun.); 498 7th Ave. (36th & 37th Aves.), 24th fl.

Outfit yourself for your next tropical vacation at the J Rosen sample sale, featuring swimwear and accessories from Vix, Lisa Curran, Bella Brazil, Havaianas, and more. Through 12/15; 8-8 (closed weekends), 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 510.

For that instantly artsy look, hit Issey Miyake, where select items are 40% off. 12/7-1/31; 802 Madison Ave. (at 67th St.), 119 Hudson St. (at N. Moore St.).

For the fur lovers out there, Adrienne Landau has scarves, jackets, and more for 50%-75% off. 12/6-12/9; 10-7, 11-3 Sat.; 519 8th Ave. (at 35th St.), 21st fl.

I prefer Cosabella, but many swear by Hanky Panky's thongs; those, plus camis, loungewear, and robes are $10-$30. Through 12/6; 9-6 Tues., 9-4 Wed.; 381 Park Avenue South (26th & 27th Sts.), ste. 920.

Is it me or is there a Frette sale every other week? This one features bedding, towels, loungewear, and home accessories for up to 70% off. Through 12/7; 9-6:30, 9-5 Thurs.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Sequin's fun costume jewelry is up to 70% off. Through 12/7; 9-6; 234 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 10th fl.

Happy shopping!
America's Next Top Model recap
I think last night's episode of America's Next Top Model was one of Tyra's all-time most obnoxious ones. From her "art direction" of the photo shoot to her "flamenco" with Ms. Jay, the message I kept getting was, "Hey, look at me! I'm the star of this show!" The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was putting CariDee in the bottom two just because she got out of the water early--when, at the actual photo shoot, Tyra herself yelled at CariDee for not getting out sooner. I hate to use a phrase coined by "president" Bush, but way to flip-flop, Tyra! Now, I was pretty bummed when Michelle got kicked off last week--awkwardness aside, I think she was actually the better of the twins--so I wasn't shocked when Amanda was kicked off this week. Although, if you told me at the start of the season that Melrose, Eugena, and CariDee would be in the final three, I probably wouldn't have believed it. In fact, why is Eugena still in the running? So she can dance. Whoop-de-do. I think it's because last week she used Tyra's million-dollar word: journey. Tyra loves "the journey." Oh, I'm sorry. I just had to swallow the vomit rising in my throat.

So, even though she's a glutton for punishment, I still think CariDee is going to win. (I mean, come on, how amazing does she look in this picture?) Melrose is good, but she's obnoxious, and Eugena is far too inconsistent. If CariDee does indeed win, this will mark the first time in ANTM history that my favorite girl actually wins. Which means she probably won't, but I guess we'll have to wait till next week to find out.
Website of the week
As regular Cheryl Shops readers are aware, I've had trouble finding a new pair of jeans (see here, here, and here). Thankfully, I found several pairs, one from True Religion, plus a few from Old Navy. When I read this article in last week's Times, however, I thought, well, this would've been helpful a month ago. The article is about a site called Zafu.com, in which users fill out a detailed questionnaire about body type, fit preferences, and favorite brands, then the site suggests jeans for you. The site launched in August, and while their accuracy was a bit shaky at first (an estimated 20%-50% of all jeans purchased online are returned), they're now claiming a 94% success rate. (Zafu doesn't sell jeans directly; they earn a commission of 5%-15%.) So, in the name of journalism, I gave the engine a spin.

I filled out the questionnaire, and it gave me 28 jeans that supposedly fit me best, plus an additional 78 pairs that supposedly fit me well. Now, having documented my denim struggles here, I can guarantee you that there are not 106 jeans out there that fit me "well" or "best." Also, the "best" category contains such no-brainers at the Earnest Sewn Hefner, the Joe's Socialite, and the Paige Robertson, all of which fit pretty much everyone. And the "well" category contains the J Brand cigarette jean and the AG Kiss jean, both of which I've tried on and do not fit me (it does, however, recommend the Old Navy skinny jean and the Joe's Cigarette, both of which do work for me). One nice feature, however, is that you can narrow your results by rise, fit in hip, leg style, embellishments, price, and several other categories. However, I think fewer recommendations would've been more helpful--say, 6 or 7 instead of, well, 106.

Which brings me to my other issue with the site. Now, this may be a matter of personal preference, but for a site that's supposed to be suggesting jeans based on body type--and, yes, I know some jeans work for more than one body type--why are they photographing them on models? I will admit, when I shop online, I prefer to see items shot flat or on a dress form, as opposed to on a model. Just because something looks good on a model doesn't mean it's going to look good on me, and if a model's body type is totally different than mine, who knows how things are going to turn out? Case in point:

The first picture shows someone who's probably a regular model and either has an hourglass or slight pear-shaped figure (I'm a "ruler," so this doesn't really help me). The second picture features what the fashion industry calls a "plus-size model" and what the rest of the country calls a "size 12." Again, that doesn't help me and, to be honest, I don't think the jean looks very flattering on her either.

So, while I admire Zafu.com's efforts, I'm not so sure that the perfect pair of jeans can be found through a generic questionnaire. Like dresses, when it comes to jeans, I'm a straight-up advocate of the traditional trip to the department store (or the mall, or your favorite boutique, or whatever). Finding the perfect pair isn't a science--it's an art.
Posts coming tomorrow!
I'm pooped. Please check back later!
A Cheryl Shops public service announcement (sort of)
The term "eating disorder" gets thrown around a lot where the fashion industry is concerned; if I were to generalize, it would be by average people in reference to models, many of whom are naturally thin (or are at least thin because they're not yet 20 years old). Having seen several friends suffer through eating disorders, it really upsets me to see people being called "anorexic" so readily. (Sadly, some models actually are anorexic, an issue that does need to be addressed in the fashion community.) In other words, eating disorders are a very serious thing. So support the National Eating Disorders Association and check out their online auction, which runs through December 6th and features over 100 items from jewelry to ballet tickets. NEDA is dedicated to promoting awareness and education, equal access to treatment, and support for families.

In related news, Nicole Richie has fired her stylist, Rachel Zoe. Somewhere, a starlet throws away her Clenbuterol...
The week in shopping
This is unadvertised, but Clothingline's Theory sample sale actually starts this Saturday (and runs through the 8th). 12/2-12/8; 10-4 Sat., 10-5 Sun. (see website for next week's hours); 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

One of my favorite cashmere labels, Inhabit, is having their must-see sale this week. Thankfully, it's right across the street from my office. 11/29-12/1; 10-6:30; 1441 Broadway (40th & 41st Sts.), ste. 2301.

Cheryl Shops fave Satya is moving its semi-annual sample sale to bigger digs, i.e. its new store in Nolita. If you see MW there, help him pick out a pretty necklace for me. 12/1-12/3; 10-6; 253 Centre St. (Grand & Broome Sts.).

Boho chic label Tocca has staying power (who knew?), so hit this sample sale, worth the schlep to West Chelsea. 12/1-12/2; 11-8; 542 W. 22nd St. (11th & 12th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Leggings, sweater dresses, jackets, and more are 40%-70% off at Alice + Olivia's sale. 11/30-12/2; 9-7, noon-5 Sat.; 80 W. 40th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

I love saying the name Alexis Bittar; his (yes, his) lucite and semiprecious jewelery is now $45 and up. 12/1-12/3; noon-8 Fri., noon-6 Sat., noon-4 Sun.; 391 Broadway (at Walker St.).

If you've been coveting Balenciaga's mod fall collection, you're in luck: It's 40% off. (Sorry, bags not included.) 11/30-12/15; 11-7, noon-5 Sun.; 542 W. 22nd St. (11th & 12th Aves.).

If you're still wearing Petit Bateau's tiny French tees, hit this sample sale. 11/30-12/2; noon-7; 128 W. 27th St. (Broadway & 27th Sts.).

Christopher Fischer's cute men's and women's cashmere sweaters and accessories are up to 80% off (that's $30-$150). 11/30-12/2; 11-7; 80 Wooster St. (at Spring St.).

Colette Malouf's chic hair accessories are below wholeale. 11/29-12/1; 9-7 (9-1 Fri.); 594 Broadway (Houson & Prince Sts.), ste. 1216.

Society-girl favorite Lela Rose has fall and winter samples on sale. 11/28-11/29; 10-6; 224 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 13th fl.

Frette duvets, loungewear, and bedcovers (sorry, no sheets or towels) are up to 80% off. 12/2-12/7; 9-6:30 (9-5 Thurs.); 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

After my trip to the Bridal Garden, I'm a little wary about bridal sample sales, but for the fearless warriors out there, Vera Wang's two-day event features gowns and bridesmaid dresses for 35%-75% off. 12/2-12/3; 9-5; the New Yorker Hotel, 481 8th Ave. (at 34th St.).

Anni Kuan's interesting separates for women are up to 60% off. 11/30-12/1; 10-6; 242 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 11th fl.

Digs has gift-friendly home accessories for up to 90% off. 11/30-12/1; noon-7; 115 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), buzzer 2R.

Save 20% on your $65 or more order at Rubber-Ducky.com when you enter code NOV896 at checkout through 11/30.
Object of desire
I will admit, at the height of their popularity, I owned four Juicy Couture tracksuits. (Two terry, one velour, and one cashmere, which I still wear, but only at home on the weekends.) I also had one of the tube dresses that every store in the world has knocked off. And I also had a bright magenta beach hat, which I still wear, as it coordinates nicely with my bikini while shading my face from the sun. Otherwise, I am pretty much over Juicy Couture. Or I was, until I saw this picture of Kate Moss.

Must. Buy. Now. Of course, I'm of the "everything Kate Moss Wears Turns to Gold" school of thought, but the way she styled her outfit--huge bag, low-slug belt, black opaque tights, ballet flats--is just so cool and so current. In other words, it's outfits like this that show why Kate is such a fashion icon. But, thankfully, this outfit is easy to replicate, unlike Kate's "Oh, I picked this up at a vintage boutique in London" or "Alexander McQueen made this just for me" looks. Yes, dear old Kate is wearing a Juicy Couture sweater dress; it's a mere $300 at Bloomingdales.com.

Crackhead fiancé not included.
The week in shopping
The calm before the storm. Also, please note, from now on, I won't be noting which websites are offering free shipping, since nearly all of them are.

Before you go nuts with the gifts, treat yourself to some Martin Margiela and DSquared2 at this stock and sample sale. Through 11/21; 10-7; 495 Broadway (at Broome St.), 8th fl.

Buy a Baume & Mercier watch at this special sale (prices are 60% off) and 10% goes to the Melillo Foundation for autistic children. Insert obligatory line about giving back at Thanksgiving. Through 11/20; 10-6; Olympic Tower, 645 5th Avenue (at 51st St.), 5th fl.

Betsey Johnson has party-friendly frocks for up to 60% off on girly frocks. 11/24; 9-8; check website for locations.

Denim Blitz has designer jeans for men and women in all sizes. Through 11/26; 11-8, 11-4 Sun.; 128 W. 37th St. (Broadway & 7th Ave.).

Save up to 40% on select handbags at Begeren, while supplies last.

Save 20% on almost all non-sale items at Cheryl Shops fave Active Endeavors when you enter code "thankyou" at checkout now through 12/24.

Save 50% on select merchandise at BCBG stores; see website for locations & hours.

Save 30% on select fall/winter items at Oilily; see website for locations.

Save 20% on your order at Ben Sherman when you order two or more items and enter code THANKS2006 at checkout through 11/26. Got that?

Save $40 when you purchase 3 "celebri-tees" at Famous Fashions Found when you enter code CELEBRITEE40.

Get a free 4 oz. philosophy Sugar Cookie body wash at Sephora.com when you enter code SUGARCOOKIE at checkout, while supplies last.

Get $20 off a $100 order, $50 off a $250 order, or $100 off a $500 order at Shopbop.com when you enter code GETGIFT through 11/27.

Save 20% on all orders at ShopLAStyle.com when you enter code "snowflake" at checkout through 12/24.
Three quickies!

1. Style.com reports that the Roland Mouret for Gap line will hit select stores on December 1 (click on the link for details). The more I see of the line, the more I like it. I think this one's definitely worth waiting in line for. I work a block away from the Times Square Gap, so I'll be there, duking it out with the Conde Nasties. (The dresses, by the way, are already selling on eBay for upwards of $200.)

2. I'm a little behind on this one, but as everyone pretty much knows by now (although it hasn't been officially announced, has it?), Proenza Schouler is the next Go International designer. Fashionologie has a little preview here. Meanwhile, No Good For Me reports that former Perry Ellis (and current Paco Rabanne) designer Patrick Robinsion is in talks with Target to come after the dynamic duo.

3. In her weekly Critical Shopper column, Alex Kuczynski reports on the Viktor & Rolf for H&M hoopla. (I meant to cover this last week, by the way, but my job has been a little nuts lately, thus making it hard for me to post from work, then that night I had the Housing Works Gin Mingle--emphasis on Gin--which left me out of commission for the rest of the week.) I decided V&R weren't worth missing two hours of work, so I went to H&M on my lunch hour last week. I ended up getting the ribbon-print dress, the silk tap pants, and the black silk bathrobe, which I'm going to wear as a dress. (Why not? It's too chic to wear as a robe!) I decided, however, that the ribbon-print dress was really not very flattering on me, so when I went to return it, I was stunned to see that there are still a few racks of V&R merch at the store (I went to 34th & 7th). The skinny pants are still abundant, as are the angora sweaters; there were a few dresses, tees, and tuxedo jackets too. So if you're hungry for more, there are still a few tasty morsels left.
So that's why you have to check your coat at sample sales...
I tend to get annoyed when I have to check my coat (and especially my purse) at sample sales, but after reading this item in today's Page Six, it all started to make sense.

ADAM Lippes, who started the adam+eve fashion line two years ago, caught a group of four shoplifters who are suspected of knocking off sample sales all over town and selling the wares on eBay and street corners. Lippes was holding a sample sale at Milk Studios on West 15th Street Tuesday afternoon when four large women in trenchcoats came in. Mark Leffam, adam+eve design director, said, "One of our customers alerted Adam that the women were stealing stuff." When they went to the check-out line, each with one item, Lippes asked the ladies to take off their coats. One woman tried distracting Lippes by pulling open her shirt exposing her breasts and yanking open her pants while shrieking, "What are you trying to say? Look! I ain't got nothing on me!" Lippes, unfazed, insisted the women take off their coats. Inside them, he found "huge fake butts made of nylon in which they had stuffed over $7,000 worth of clothing apiece," Leffam said. Lippes and his staff kept the perps at the studio until police arrived. "They started begging and crying and went away in handcuffs," he said. At the station, police told Lippes "they found even more stuff hidden . . . elsewhere." Eww.

That gave me a pretty good laugh. And it makes my sample sale mania seem much, much less crazy.
Cheryl Shops...the Steven Alan sample sale
So, yes, I was joking earlier in the week about not going to the Steven Alan sample sale. I always try to go to this one, not only because Steven Alan is one of my favorite boutiques in NYC, but the sale is one of the best places to get cool, indie, downtown-type labels at usually quite reasonable prices. Today was the first day, and I headed over after work. The sale is huge, with two floors, but you have to buy stuff on each floor--you can't make one big purchase at the end, which was kind of annoying, but ended up working out pretty well for me in the end. The first floor has a lot of Steven's famous button-down shirts (for guys and girls), as well as some men's stuff and a lot of women's jeans (Rogan, Trovata, Habitual) and sweaters (I found a cute thin-striped cashmere sweater for $35--nearly 90% off!). The lower level had more Steven Alan shirts, plus racks sorted by designer, most of whom I'd never heard of, although I did recognize Alice Roi (lots of gorgeous sweater dresses), Christopher Deane, and Alex Gaines. There were also a few Anna Corinna bags, but since my City Tote is finally en route to me, I managed to refrain. I was tempted to get a gorgeous cropped bouclé wool jacket from Christopher Deane (it was just $50), but I stayed focused on my mission, which was actually to get a birthday present for MW. And I did, but since MW reads this, it's going to have to stay a secret until next week. Anyway, the sale is definitely worth checking out, but be prepared to spend a lot of time (there's a lot of merchandise!) and effort (some digging might be necessary to unearth the best deals). The sale runs through Sunday, at 87 Franklin Street (between Broadway & Church) in Tribeca.
America's Next Top Model recap
I'll admit, I was a little sad to see Anchal leave on last week's America's Next Top Model, especially after the ridiculousness of last week's challenge--Tyra really outdid herself on that one. Asian/Southeast Asian girls are really underrepresented on that show (as well as in the modeling world in general), and while Anchal didn't have a "runway" body, she had a totally gorgeous face and I thought she photographed pretty well. Unlike Jaeda, who finally got a long-overdue cut tonight. In this week's action-packed episode, the girls had an acting lesson, wherein we all found out that CariDee once tried to kill herself. Yikes. CariDee, however, is a fighter, and she kicked butt in the challenge, winning herself a guest spot on One Tree Hill. The girls also found out they'd be traveling to "the fashion capital of Spain," Barcelona. (And thus came my favorite part of the episode, when Tyra, grasping at straws, said Spain was home to Custo Barcelona, Balenciaga--the namesake designer, not Nicolas Ghesquiere, whose mortorcycle bag was shown in the photo illustration for our benefit--and...model Esther Canadas!) MW and I took a trip to Barcelona a few years ago, so the scenery is bringing back fond memories for me. Anyway, after dinner with some Spanish male models, the girls found out they'd be filming a Secret commercial in Catalan, the crazy-sounding weird Spanish dialect native to Barcelona. Everyone but Melrose and, strangely, Eugenia, sucked; Jaeda totally flipped out; and I don't know what happened with CariDee exactly, but she looked kind of retarded. Like, literally, she looked retarded. For dramatic tension, I'm sure, she was in the bottom two (the lesson: don't let Tyra down!), but I'm kind of over the twins and I'm now rooting for CariDee. Although, from next week's scenes, it doesn't look like that episode will be a cake walk for her either...

Next week, go-sees in the big city (is it really the fashion capital of Spain? Wouldn't that be Madrid?) and a photo shoot that's sure to anger animal-rights activists!
Website of the week
My dear acupuncturist*, JL, is leaving tomorrow for London and Paris, so I sent her a list of where to go shopping. She already knew about Topshop, which is actually deserving of the hype. But as I was compiling my list, I realized that while, yes, British clothing stores are awesome, their shoe stores are possibly even better. One of my favorite Brit shoe stores, Office, was a past website of the week here at Cheryl Shops. Of course, Topshop sells shoes too, but unfortunately they don't ship to the U.S. Yet. So in the meantime, there's Neet Shoes, a site that sells a small but focused collection of, well, neat shoes. I love British shoe stores because unlike most American shoe stores, which sell a lot of basic, tasteful styles in neutral colors like black and brown, the Brits know how to have a bit of fun with their footwear. Take, for instance, this Lisa boot. It's black, rounded toe and with a sturdy two-inch heel, but the paneling at the ankle is a clever way to disguise the elastic gussets--and it's unlike anything else you'd see in the States.

I'm generally not a big fan of pre-slouched slouchy boots, but this one has such interesting detailing, with the suede cuff and the drawstring, that I don't even mind.

I never thought I'd want a pair of teal and metallic blue knee-high boots, but I'm finding this style absolutely irresistable. I have no idea what I'd wear with them, but that's never stopped me before.

Of course I love the Imogen flat because it has a butterfly on it, but it's the first pair of butterfly shoes I've seen that hasn't looked totally slutty. In fact, they look rather smart.

And their "party shoes" definitely live up to the name--I love the mermaid-like look of the Adriana flat, and the heel is suitable for all-night dancing and schmoozing.

Now, I have good news and bad news. Bad news first: As anyone who reads the newspaper knows, the dollar is not exactly strong right now, and exchange rates aren't in our favor. In fact, it's almost two dollars to the pound. So while these shoes are quite reasonable for the Brits, they're in the $125-$250 range for us. But the good news, other than the fact that you'll have the coolest shoes ever, is that shipping is a flat rate, so you can order as many pairs as you want and not get charged extra for it. Well, except at customs. But, hey, it's still more affordable than a trip to London, right?

*If you need an acupuncturist referral, e-mail me. JL kicks ass.
The week in shopping
This week is a doozy. Thank god I just paid my AmEx bill.

Um, hey, so, Steven Alan is so not worth going to, so I suggest you stay away, okay? Thanks. 11/16-11/19; 8:30-8 Thurs. & Fri., noon-7 Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 87 Franklin St. (Church & Broadway).

Time to throw elbows: Dolce & Gabbana (plus D&G and D&G Junior) for men, women, and children is up to 70% off. 11/17-11/19; 9-6 Fri., 10-6 Sat., 11-5 Sun.; 85 Spring St. (Broadway & Crosby), 2nd fl.

Adam+Eve makes great knitwear and great sportswear too. 11/14-11/17; noon-8; 450 W. 15th St. (9th & 10th Aves.), 4th fl.

Araks makes the most luxurious cotton lingerie I know; bras are $5-$35, camis are $5-$25, undies are $35, and swimsuits are $30-$100. I'm there! 11/16-11/17; 8-8 Thurs., 9-6 Fri.; 52 Walker St. (Church & Broadway), 5th fl.

Sexy, well-cut clothes and accessories from Barbara Bui are up to 90% off. 11/15-11/17; 10:30-7; 115-117 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Etro's luxe Italian coats, separates, and accessories are 85% off. Through 11/14; 10-6; 37 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 9th fl.

Miguelina's feminine boho-chic clothes are roughly 60% off. Think velvet, silk, brocade. 11/15-11/17; 11-6; 20 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 6th fl.

Nicole Farhi makes chic yet interesting clothes for men, women, and children; score them for up to 85% off at this sale. 11/17; 10-6; 14 E. 60th St. (5th & Madison Aves.), 2nd fl.

Ports 1961 makes classic yet cool clothes that are great for work; score them at up to 90% off at this sale. 11/16; 10-6; 601 W. 26th St. (11th & 12th Aves.), ste. 875.

Artsy-chic downtown girl clothes from Mint are at least 50% off. 11/16-11/17; 9-7; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 508.

Aeffe has Gaultier, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, and other covetable designers for at least 60% off; this sale usually features true sample sizes (4's and 6's) and lots of crowds. 11/15-11/18; 10-6, 11-5 Sat.; 30 W. 56th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

Yigal Azrouel is a master with jersey; score his pricey dresses for a mere $130 and skirts for a bargain $65. 11/14-11/16; 9-7, 9-5 Thurs.; 225 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

This week, Clothingline is hosting a Kooba sample sale, with their trendy leather bags at 60% off. Check out Clothingline's site for a preview. 11/14-11/17; 10-7 Tues. & Thurs.; 10-6 Wed. & Fri.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Silver and gold jewelry from celeb fave Me&Ro is up to 75% off. 11/16-11/17; noon-7 Thurs., 10-7 Fri.; 13 Crosby St. (Grand & Howard Sts.), 2nd fl.

Shoes from Cynthia Rowley, nancy nancy, and Nancy Geist are $80 and up. Through 11/17; 10-6:30; 307 7th Ave. (at 27th St.), ste. 2307.

Starlets love Cesare Paciotti's sexy shoes, and now they're 60%-80% off. 11/14-11/15; 10-7; 833 Madison Ave. (at 69th St.).

Vivienne Tam's chic, Asian-inspired women's line is up to 75% off. 11/15-11/17; 10-8 Wed., 10-7 Thurs., 10-6 Fri.; 550 7th Ave. (39th & 40th Sts.), 20th fl.

Trendy costume jewelry from Ben-Amun is 50%-60% off. 11/14-11/16; noon-6:30; 246 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 12th fl.

Chaiken's work-friendly separates are 50% off. 11/14-11/15; 8-8 Tues., 9-noon Wed.; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

Rebecca Taylor's clothes don't fit me, but I still love them nonetheless; they're at least 50% off at this sale. 11/16-11/17; 8-8; 336 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 11th fl.

Cashmere, cashmere, and more cashmere: get it at White+Warren for $85. 11/15-11/17; noon-6 Wed., 8-6 Thurs., 8-noon Fri.; 80 W. 40th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Triluxe Showroom has a fashionista-worthy selection of J.Lindenberg, Allegri by Victor and Rolf, and Georgina Gina for 50%-80% off. 11/16-11/19; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 270 Lafayette St. (at Prince St.), ste. 1504.

Figure-forgiving Lafayette 148 clothing is a whopping 80% off. 11/17-11/18; 9-7 Fri., 10-6 Sat.; 148 Lafayette St. (Grand & Howard Sts.).

Save 15% at Cheryl Shops fave Satya's brand-new Nolita store for two days only. 11/17-11/18; 11-7 p.m.; 253 Centre St. (Grand & Broome Sts.).

Get free ground shipping on everything at Cheryl Shops fave Ravinstyle when you enter code freeship06 at checkout through 11/24.

eLUXURY has a lovely beauty gift with your $85 purchase; enter code GIFT at checkout while supplies last.
Website of the week
Even though it's slightly warmer this week, the heat is on full blast in both my office and my apartment. By early afternoon, my nose starts to get itchy, and I have to slather lotion all over my hands immediately after I wash them. The worst part about indoor heat, however, is that it dries out my mouth. In winter, I become a lip balm addict, using it at least once an hour while I'm awake (at nighttime, I've been known to slater Aquaphor all over my mouth before going to bed). Thankfully, this year, I've discovered KissFix.com (formerly LipMedic.com), a website devoted solely to lip balm. You can shop by brand, flavor, size, ingredients, containers, color, and basically any other lip balm characteristic you could think of. Even more helpful, most balms feature user reviews.

While I'm not a fan of lip balm that comes in tubs (hello, germs!), I might make an exception for this Badger Sleep Balm, a nighttime lip balm that contains soothing, sleep-inducing ingredients.

In spite of the nasty name, Chicken Poop is a best seller and has a lovely lavender scent.

Another unfortunate name, the MoistStic (I hate the M-word) is minty and features vitamin E and tea tree oil to soothe chapped lips. In other words, come January, I'm really going to need this stuff.

And, this doesn't really solve my dry-lips problem, since it would probably make me want to constantly lick my lips, but this Lemon Mousse Ganache for Lips sounds absolutely delicious.

Shipping is just as cheap as the lip balms (average orders cost $1.80-$3.50) and arrives within 3-10 business days. Which is excellent, because in the case of dry lips, sooner is definitely better than later.
To the anonymous commenter who suggested I try Old Navy skinny jeans...
...thank you! While running errands last weekend, I stopped in Old Navy on a whim. Their special edition skinny jeans were on sale for $24.50, so I thought why not? and decided to give them a whirl. Holy cow. I kid you not, these jeans fit way better than most of the $200 pairs I tried on at Barneys, Bloomingdale's, et al. In fact, they're so great, I got a pair in black too. The nice thing about them is that "regular" length is more like ankle-length on me, so they're perfect for wearing with flats or tucking into knee-high boots. This is the dark-wash pair I bought; the black-wash pair has back besom pockets, and I can't find it online. But for those of you who've been balking at paying three figures for a trend that's not going to be around for too much longer (or for one that isn't ultra-flattering), give Old Navy a try. Seriously.

Speaking of denim, for the label lovers out there, Bluefly has some notable new arrivals--earlier today, I spotted both the Earnest Sewn Harlan jean and the Joe's Cigarette jean (my second-runner-up in the skinny jeans search).
The week in shopping
From now until Christmas, get ready for the marathon sample sale season. I will, of course, be posting sales here every Monday night, but to prepare yourself, check out the Shophound's sample sale tips. Now, onto the sales...

Jimmy Choo's highly coveted shoes, boots, bags, and various leather goods are 60% off and up. Through 11/8; 9-6; Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Fight off the fashionistas at Earnest Sewn's sample sale, where jeans for men and women are $60-$85. 11/8-11/11; 8-8, 10-5 Sat.; 72-76 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

The Denise Williamson Showroom, sometimes a good sale and sometimes an iffy one, has Trovata, Rag & Bone, and Sass & Bide, for men and women, for 70% off. 11/9-11/11; 9-7, noon-6 Sat.; 119 Mercer St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), loft 2S.

Brave the hordes of aspirational hipsters at A.P.C.'s Williamsburg sale. 11/10-11/12; noon-7; 33 Grand St. (at Kent Ave.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Museum-like vintage store What Comes Around Goes Around has select merchandise for $10-$200 (yep, those are sale prices, kids). 11/9-11/12; 11-8, noon-7 Sun.; 351 W. Broadway (Grand & Broome Sts.).

Cheryl Shops fave Boucher has precious and semiprecious jewelry for 15%-35% off. Through 11/12; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 9 9th Ave. (Little W. 12th & 13th Sts.).

Trendy (but nice) E.D.E. Studio bags are up to 80% off. 11/8; 6-9 p.m.; Surrey Hotel, 20 E. 76th St. (5th & Madison Aves.).

Delman shoes: Good enough for Marilyn Monroe, good enough for you. Plus, they're wholesale and below. Through 11/9; 10-7; 730 5th Ave. (56th & 57th Sts.), 8th fl.

Ted Baker London's British (duh) clothes for men and women are $60-$450. Cash and checks only. 11/8-11/10; noon-7 Wed., 11-7 Thurs. & Fri.; 215 Park Avenue South (17th & 18th Sts.), ste. 2001.

Luxe, California-inspired cashmere sweaters from Alexander Wang are a mere $50-$150. 11/9-11/11; noon-6; 210 5th Ave. (at 25th St.), 10th fl.

Ghost is reportedly closing shop; feminine dresses and separates are 60%-70% off. 11/9-1/31; 11-7, noon-5 Sun; 28 Bond St. (Broadway & Lafayette Sts.).

DDC LAB has denim & sportswear for men and women for 80%-90% off. 11/8-11/11; 11-6; 7 Mercer St. (Canal & Howard Sts.).

Monica Byrne's vintage-inspired eveningwear is 75% off and more. 11/8-11/11; 10-8; 199 Lafayette St. (at Broome St.).

It's First Call sale at Neiman Marcus; save up to 40% and get free shipping on a $150 order when you enter code FREESHIP through 11/13.

Save 10% at Cheryl Shops fave The SkinStore.com when you enter code FALL10F at checkout through 11/14.

And, if you wear a size 7 shoe, head over to Clothingline, which has Michael Kors sample-size shoes this week (plus Free People). See website for details.
Sales and more coming Tuesday night
The good sales this week don't start until Thursday anyway. But please check back tomorrow!
There are so many happenings in the world of masstige, they warrant a second post this week! So I'm going to get right to it.

The big news is that the Viktor & Rolf for H&M collection drops next Thursday. As suits the wonderfully wacky designers, you can preview the collection in a wonderfully wacky Flash-enabled minisite at H&M's website. The offerings range from a $10 bra to a $349 wedding dress; everything is pretty typical Viktor & Rolf--kind of retro secretary meets turn-of-the-century French prostitute. In other words, I don't think the line is going to sell out in an hour like Stella McCartney's last year, but there are some cool pieces. The skinny pants look great, I love the black-and-white underwear, and for those who can pull it off, there's an ultra-sexy tuxedo. Here are some of my favorite looks.

Like a starlet who's three hours late to an industry party, the Gap is getting in on the masstige game with 10 dresses from Brit designer (and It Girl fave) Roland Mouret. Three are part of Gap's (RED) initiative, with 50% of their sale prices going to the global AIDS initative. You can preview the entire collection here, and while I found the sketches somewhat unimpressive, the actual dresses look pretty cute on Lily Cole et al., below. Now, here comes the catch: The line will be sold mostly in Gap's overseas stores; a very limited number will be available in select NYC stores only, at some point later this month (the dresses hit the racks in Europe on Tuesday). I have my eye on the gray shirtdress (which, on my frame, will need a belt).

Target, no stranger to masstige, now has an exclusive line designed by Rafe, featuring $19.99 clutches and evening bags to $49.99 hobos and doctor's bags. The good news, for Rafe fans at least, is that the bags are very, well, Rafe--buckles, stitching, zippers, hardware. The bad news is that they're PVC (although for $50, did you expect leather?). Still, I think this doctor's bag is pretty cute.

Finally, this isn't really masstige per se, but the Thursday Styles section had a really interesting article today on what's become of Helmut Lang. To make a long story short, Prada bought the line, Helmut quit, Prada sold it to Link Theory (parent company of, yes, Theory), and they hired husband-and-wife team Nicole and Michael Colovos, who, coincidentally, left the label they started, Habitual jeans. However, instead of the high-fashion bastion of minimalism that Helmut Lang was in the '90s, the new direction for the label is "contemporary," i.e., it will now be sold next to Theory, Vince, and their breathren in places like Scoop and Fred Segal. So far the designers appear to be remaining true to Lang's aesthetic, but--sacre bleu!--they're cutting the skinny jeans to flatter more bodies, a move that's sure to alienate all the size-0 high fashion tastemakers out there. What will be interesting to see is whether the revamped line translates to the "contemporary" customer. In other words, is the girl who buys the boot-cut Max C trousers from Theory and the cute blouses from Marc by Marc Jacobs going to be into Helmut Lang's minimalist, androgynous, ultra-modern look? It's anyone's guess. While I definitely appreciate Lang's legacy, I, for one, prefer to look like a woman.

America's Next Top Recap Episode
Okay, seriously, what's up with the ANTM recap episode when there are still seven girls in the running? Don't they normally do it when it's down to the final three? Is this just a way to stall until sweeps week? I'm going to be really pissed if there's another one later in the series. However, after sitting through the whole thing, I'm happy to report that Jaeda actually has a personality, and I kind of love CariDee for having farted on camera. Next week (god willing), the girls fall down and stuff. Fun! Also, how airbrushed is this picture of Tyra? I love how she has a doctor come on her talk show to prove her breasts are real, but girlfriend can't take a photograph without having it Photoshopped to within an inch of its life. Who needs to be America's Next Top Model when you can have your own personal retoucher?
Website of the week
Historically speaking, cashmere has been both expensive and frumpy. Case in point: My very first cashmere sweater--which I was very excited about, because at the time, it seemed so luxurious and grown-up--was a black V-neck that I got for Christmas one year when I was in college. It was from Lord & Taylor, and it had a rather boxy, unflattering cut that did nothing to enhance the luxury of the yarn. (However, I was carrying around an extra 15 pounds or so--yes, I actually did gain the freshman 15--and I didn't mind hiding behind a shapeless sweater.) I had that sweater for years, until the underarms became threadbare and multiple moth holes got the better of it. In the 10 or so years since I got my extra-special present, cashmere has become less of a luxury and more typical, almost essential. Those shapeless cashmere sweaters are still sold at the big departments stores, but now you can snag one for about $80, or even less once the winter clearance sales come around. Even Wal-Mart, god forbid, has gotten in on the cashmere game, although their $50 sweaters (yes, I've been unfortunate enough to see them up close) are made, as one would imagine, of the crappiest cashmere available. And I'm sure Wal-Mart still managed to screw various goat farmers, yarn spinners, and sweater factories along the way regardless. I digress--my hatred of Wal-Mart deserves its own post. So, while prices have gone down and cashmere has become less elusive, several companies have emerged in recent years to give cashmere sweaters a more youthful and fashion-forward look--these aren't your grandmother's cashmere sweaters. White + Warren and the ultra-pricey Lutz & Patmos are two labels that come to mind, but my favorite of these new cashmeres is Inhabit, a company I stumbled across two years ago; their showroom is directly across the street from my office, and their sample sale was the rare one I attended after being handed a flyer on the street. Inhabit uses earthy, neutral colors that look good on everyone, and their sweaters are constructed very interestingly, with diagonal panels and wrap-around seams, draping techniques usually reserved for woven garments, and unfussy details like inside-out seams. But aside from their semiannual sample sales, their sweaters are somewhat hard to find, and I've only seen them in a handful of small boutiques, like Steven Alan. But, thankfully, you can now shop directly from Inhabit's website! The selection is somewhat limited, especially for those of us used to the bonanza that is their sample sale, but the styles offered are timeless, in Inhabit's own chic way.

The fine-gauge draped cashmere sweater is probably their most recognizable style (I own it in red), if only because Nicole Richie has been photographed in it. It's a much softer, less grandpa-ish take on the cardigan, and it drapes beautifully.

Here's an updated version, in a longer silhouette. I think this would look great belted, with leggings and boots or skinny jeans. I can only imagine how soft and luxurious it is.

This cashmere wrap cardigan has some of the seam detailing I mentioned earlier, making it the most flattering wrap sweater around.

A lot of the styles come in cotton too--perfect for spring and summer. The prices on these lightweight styles are a bit easier to handle too (this isn't Wal-Mart, so the sweaters don't come cheap, my friends). Inhabit's sweaters aren't what one calls "affordable luxury" (one of my least favorite oxymorons of all time); just luxury with good design. And I'll take a pricey, flattering, luxe cashmere sweater over a boxy, shapeless, $80 one anyday.
Target's newest Go International collection has landed, featuring designs from my former neighbor, Behnaz Sarafpour. (Seriously, I used to live in the same West Village apartment building as her, and after the one time I tried to strike up a conversation with her in the elevator, I think she kind of thought I was a stalker. But I'm not, I swear!) The collection is very "holiday," with a lot of lace, velvet, and jewel tones. Behnaz's style is very feminine--it's a bit too delicate and girly for me, to be honest--but there are a few cute pieces. Here's what I like.

This cropped jacket is very ill-fitting on the model--try not to pay too much attention to that--but the boxy, cropped fit will look great on the tall gals out there. I've found that these collections run small, so to make sure it fits in the bust (um, unlike the model), I'd recommend sizing up.

This satin mini comes in jade, which is a color you don't see very often. I like it, but due to the micro-mini length, I'd wear it with opaque tights. Good for holiday parties, definitely.

I absolutely love this georgette shirt. Not only is it 100% silk (not bad for $30), but it looks like Chanel--and in fact reminds me of a Karl Lagerfeld blouse I own already.

The accessories for this collection are pretty awesome. There are several frame evening bags, but I think I like this brocade purse the best. It looks vintage, which is always a plus.

I got really excited when I saw these elbow-length suede gloves, but upon closer look, they're actually synthetic, not suede. Still, for the vintage-coat-lovers among us, long gloves are a must-have, and they're hard to find at an affordable price.

So, while I'm not as excited about this collection as I was for Paul & Joe, there are definitely some cute pieces. Maybe I'll wear all of them at once and head over to my old building, just for old time's sake...
The week in shopping
Shelly Steffee's awesome, wearable clothes are 60%-80% off at this two-day sale. 11/4-11/5; noon-9 Sat., noon-6 Sun.; 34 Gansevoort St. (Hudson & Greenwich Sts.). (noon–6).

Mara Hoffman's supercute dresses, hoodies, coats and more are 50%-80% off. 11/3-11/5; 10-7 Fri. & Sat., 11-6 Sun.; 181 Orchard St. (Houston & Stanton Sts.).

Score a new coat at the Andrew Marc sample sale--men's, women's and girls' leather coats are up to 60% off. 11/5-11/12; 8-7 weekdays, 10-6 weekends; Penn Plaza Pavilion, 401 7th Ave. (at 33rd St.).

Private-label cashmere sweaters are 25% off at Henri Bendel. 11/4-12/24; 10-8, noon-7; 712 5th Ave. (56th & 57th St.).

Shelly and Renee have a promising-sounding sale, featuring big-ticket designers like Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Blumarine, and more for up to 85% off. 11/2-11/15; 10-6; 140 W. 57th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 9th fl.

Got a bun in the oven? Get some cute clothes from Cadeau Maternity for $50 and up. 11/2; 10-7; 256 Elizabeth St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Fancy British gifts and accessories from Penhaligon's and Kim Seybert are up to 70% off. 11/5-11/7; 9-6:30, 9-5 Wed.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).
America's Next Top Model recap
After a several-seasons-long hiatus, Tyra brought back the "sexy episode" on last night's America's Next Top Model. And while the show started out on the right foot with a Tyra-plays-photographer shoot and lessons on how to be sexy by, of all people, Dita von Teese (seriously, how did they get her to be on the show?!?), it quickly went downhill when the models' challenge was to strut down a dining table in G-Unit slutswear while modeling agents had a dinner party. What? Melrose won the challenge, as she's been doing a lot lately, and even though she's kind of annoying, you have to admit she's good. I'm betting she'll be in the top three. Anyway, the show really sank to new depths of disgustingness when, for the main photo shoot, the girls had to pose for a faux bodice-ripper cover with...Fabio. Okay, maybe if the photos were supposed to be campy, I could possibly see it, but the photos were actually supposed to be sexy (since when are bodice-ripper covers actually sexy anyway?), a premise that was vastly unachievable due to the nasty, lecherous presence of Fabio (who's got to be pushing 50 by now--ewww). I had to hide behind a pillow when it was time for him to pose with Anchal, and I think I threw up a little in my mouth when Melrose started to flirt with him. Gross, gross, gross. Seriously, how did they go from Dita von Teese to Fabio in one mere episode? Poor Brooke, a girl so wholesome, I didn't know her kind even existed in this country anymore, had major trouble all throughout the "sexy" episode and ended up getting sent home. Even worse, she had the audacity to mention that that night was her high school graduation--and I think Tyra was going to blow smoke through her nostrils at the mere suggestion that there could be something more important in life than her show. Oh, the nerve, dear Brooke!
I'm having trouble with blogger...
More posts coming tomorrow (hopefully)!
Website of the week
I'm fond of saying that since we New Yorkers don't have cars, we need to carry nice handbags. After all, where else are we going to stash all our stuff? In winter, of course, this statement expands to include coats. I love handbags, but I especially love coats, because when you're out and about for the next five or so months, it's often the first thing people notice about you. In other words, in winter, coats are the ultimate expression of your personal style. (No pressure, right?) Like handbags, however, a good coat can be pretty pricey (if you don't believe me, take a look at, say, Searle's website, where even down jackets run into four figures)--especially if you're like me and you like to buy a new coat every year, which can become a pretty expensive habit. So that's why I like to buy vintage coats--unless they're big-name designer vintage, they tend to cost way less than a new coat, and of all vintage items, coats tend to remain in pretty good condition (probably due to people like me who buy a coat and wear it for only one season). Vintage coats also have that "they don't make 'em like they used to" level of craftsmanship and luxury. But instead of hitting any random vintage store, I suggest Scivago, a website devoted soley to vintage coats from the 1940s to the 1980s. The site has a small but focused collection (just three pages) of coats--everything from no-name trenchcoats to luxe furs. Unlike a lot of vintage sites, the photography is well-presented, and the thumbnail pages include all measurements and a short little description, saving you click-through time. If you're into the mod look (a favorite outerwear look for me), you can totally hit the jackpot here. And I personally believe that wearing fur is a personal choice, but if you're one of those people who makes an exception for vintage fur, there are lots of options.

Despite the styling, this double-breasted coat is both mod and pretty classic. It has a cool chain detail in the back, however, that gives it a unique look.

This awesome coat is faux persian lamb, a.k.a. astrakhan. Vintage faux furs are a million times nicer than new ones (you'd think it would be the opposite, what with new fabric technology and all); I have a faux astrakhan jacket that I get so many compliments on--and people refuse to believe it's fake.

Of course, if you want a totally unique look, you can go for something like this rainbow-striped suede swing coat. I could see Drew Barrymore wearing this.

Okay, so, I own a few fur coats, all of them vintage. I wear them so rarely, however, because I worry that people are going to throw eggs and paint at me and tell me what a horrible person I am (totally ironic, of course, because I'm vegan, well, and I'm not a horrible person, I swear). So, anyway, if I had any balls, I'd buy this sheared mink and leather-inset coat and wear it everyday. It has to be so warm, but unlike so many fur coats, it has a streamlined look so you won't look like one big ball o' fur.

Like buying a coat on eBay (but without the anxious bid-watching), you can pay via Paypal, and your coat will arrive within a few days, via Priority Mail. And with this freezing weather we've been having, that's just soon enough.
Special sale alert!
Cheryl Shops fave Net-a-Porter.com is having a special promotion with 50% off select merchandise now through 9 a.m. Monday morning. Click here to shop the selection--all items are already marked down, so no special code needed. They've got everything from Missoni and Chloe to T-Bags and Tibi, plus it's actual fall merchandise that won't go on permanent sale for a month or two, so shop now! (I, by the way, have my eye on this sexy crocheted Tibi dress, at right.) You're welcome.
The great skinny jeans search: update
Wow, Thurday's post on my skinny jean anxiety drew a record seven comments from everyone from MT in Austin to my sister in the 'burbs. And I'd like to thank everyone for their suggestions. I headed over to Saks after work on Friday and found a somewhat harried salesguy named Bobby who nonetheless humored my request for dark, not-too-tight and not-too-stretchy straight-leg jeans. I tried on Sevens (which used to fit me and no longer do), Paiges (good fit, but run small, and I'm not going to pay $200 to size up), Rock and Republics (eh), AG's (run big but unfortunately give me bubble butt), Siwys (terribly odd-fitting), and Earnest Sewns (these just don't fit well). I tried on a promising-looking pair by Citizens of Humanity (the Ava, I believe), but sadly, they didn't have one left in my size. The runners-up were the Chelsea and the Cigarette, both by Joe's Jeans--the Chelsea is skinner and the Cigarette is more of a straight-leg, but both are cut more generously in the thigh, and even when I sized down in the Chelsea, I still had a little room. (The Chelsea is first below, the Cigarette is next.)

Either one of these pairs would've worked were I not a super-picky girl. However, I found a pair that I liked the most, which was both the first pair I picked up and the last pair I tried on, not to mention the most expensive. It's the Johnny by True Religion, in an ultra-dark rinse with a narrow straight leg.

My jean is 99% cotton 1% elastane, but the denim is heavier, so I barely mind the stretch. The funny thing is that Bobby convinced me to go a size down, since they'll stretch half a size with wear (and my usual size was a bit baggy on me). But the best part is that even though they're rather tight (I know, the irony), they're incredibly flattering. I've always been a fan of True Religion (especially the non-stretch kind!) too, which leads me to my conclusion about jeans: Stick with the brands you know and like.