Happy Holidays from Cheryl Shops!
I don't know about you, but the holidays make me a little crazy. Maybe it's all the alcohol and rich food, maybe it's having to shop for people other than myself (I kid! That's the most fun part!), maybe it's the expectation that you be full of mirth and merriment when all you really want to do is put on your pajamas, have a glass of wine (or, um, a bottle), and curl up on the couch and watch The Notebook. So I can kind of empathize with what's happening in the Spears family right now. Oh, what's that? You haven't heard? Jamie-Lynn Spears is pregnant. That would be Britney's 16-year-old sister. And, yep, to paraphrase Madonna, she's keeping the baby.

Ladies, consider this my public-service announcement to you. Now, I know you are all smart, capable women--you're lawyers, investment bankers, writers, nonprofit administrators, doctors--but maybe you have a little sister or even a friend who needs a little guidance. If so, please refer them to this page that explains their birth-control options. Or, if you have some last-minute gift shopping to do for your girlfriends, perhaps you'd consider making a donation to Planned Parenthood in their name instead. 'Cause this abstinence-only thing that the Bush administration has been pushing for the last seven years? It's clearly not working!

Okay, now that I've aired my politics, it's time for me to take a little break from Cheryl Shops. I am headed out to Chicago soon for the holidays, but I will be back in the new year, so please come visit me soon. And in the meantime, this year's post-Christmas sales are supposed to kick ass, and, in fact, retailers are already marking stuff down like crazy. So go, shop, and be merry, but if you need a break, don't be afraid to bust out the pajamas and the wine and the schmaltzy DVDs. Happy holidays, everyone!
Worst. Finale. Ever.
In spite of her fabulous photographs and endearingly odd general behavior, I knew Heather was not going to win America's Next Top Model, but even so, I completely lost interest once she was gone (and I have a feeling other viewers did too, because Heather, who was voted "Cover Girl of the week" in every episode except the first, was even the winner the week after she left). But even before she left, it was pretty obvious to me that Saleisha was going to win, all because of one comment Tyra made, which was that she wasn't going to go easy on Saleisha just because she went to Tyra's T-Zone camp. Which, of course, meant exactly the opposite. So the episodes leading up to the finale were just as slow, drawn-out, and unsurprising as the finale itself. Bianca was obviously too bitchy to win and Jenah was too sarcastic (god forbid ANTM's winner should not be Mary Sunshine!); and while Chantal put up a good fight, she as well as everyone else knew it was curtains for her when she took out that poor dude on stilts.

Speaking of which, I know most of the finale fashion shows in the past have been staged especially for the show, but this one was particularly cheese-tastic. "Tyra Banks has arrived!" Um, because the 1,000 Chinese extras couldn't tell? Also, did anyone notice that during the final call, there were like 8 models in the entire show? Including Jaslene? I cringed the entire time.

I will allow that Saleisha's walk was better than Chantal's, but that could actually be due to the fact that Saleisha was a professional model even before the show--she's appeared on a different season of ANTM, Tyra's talk show, and a Wendy's commercial. Because there's nothing more High Fashion than a Frosty and a Double with Cheese.

So here's my question--we all have known for a while that while the winner of the show becomes America's Next Top Model, she doesn't exactly become America's next top model. She basically needs to be congenial, accessible, and somewhat photogenic. So, knowing this, why hasn't a plus-size model won yet? I know what usually happens is that the one plus-size girl realizes she can't compete with a bunch of size 2's and then subsequently gives up, but don't you think that Tyra could go a little easier on them? On second thought, I think I might have just answered my own question.

ANTM will be back in February. Thankfully, we have Project Runway to entertain us in the meantime...
The week in shopping
One. Last. Week. That is, before the after-Christmas sales start!

Going on vacation soon? Stock up on swimsuits for $80 (one-piece) or $50 (bikinis) from Malia Mills. 12/18-12/20; 10-7; 263 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 16th fl.

Lewis Cho makes feminine but low-key pieces; at this sale, they're mostly under $100. 12/19-12/20; noon-7; 225 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 701.

Hit Vivienne Westwood, Lauren Felton, and Iodice for major markdowns; prices start at $50. 12/18-12/21; 10-8; 33 Little West 12th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 213.

Clothingline still has Iisli knits, separates from AKA and Mischen, Gusto and Kooba bags, and more season-end stuff. 12/18-12/21; 10-6 Wed. & Fri., 10-7 Tue. & Thurs.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Semiprecious jewelry from Slane & Slane is now 50%-60% off. 12/19-12/20; 10-6; 48 W. 25th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 11th fl.

Sunner's cute separates, coats, and more (normally found at Barneys Co-op) are up to 85% off (think $25 and up). 12/18-12/20; 8:30-7; 265 W. 37th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 9th fl.

Argento Vivo's generally pleasing sterling-silver gewelry is $5-$100. Through 12/21; 9:30-5:30; 15 W. 37th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 7th fl.

You can reportedly score bags and accessories from Gucci, Dior, and Balenciaga for 60% off at this sale; no word as to how legit it is. 12/18-12/19; 9:30-6; 275 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 10th fl.

Find last-minute gifts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store for 20%-50% off. 12/20-1/31; call 800-468-7386 for store hours & locations.

For luxe but not-so-flashy Italian clothing and accessories, hit Ferragamo and save 35%-40%. Through 1/6; 10-8, noon-6 Sun.; 665 Fifth Ave. (at 52nd St.).

The recent freezing weather in NYC is enough to make you want to wear fur; if that's the case, hit Adrienne Landau for major savings. 12/18-12/19; 9:30-6;519 8th Ave. (at 36th St.), 21st fl.

Prairie New York's sweet tops and separates are 70% off; dresses start at $65. Cash only. Through 12/21; noon-7, noon-5 Fri.; 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 406.

Treat yourself to a New Year's Eve look from Pilar Rossi; prices are 40%-60% off (note: still in the mid three figures). Through 1/31; 10:30-6:30 (closed Sundays); 784 Madison Ave. (at 67th St.).

Armand Diradourian has a funny name but awesome gifty cashmeres. Through 12/21; noon-6; 19 W. 21st St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 1001.
Objects of Desire: party dresses
I hate New Year's Eve. There's always so much pressure to have a great time, and maybe that pressure gets to people, because everyone always seems to get shitfaced. And unless you like paying a ridiculous cover charge at a bar/club (or shelling out for a five-course meal), if you're like me, you tend to end up at a house party, which can be totally fun--MW and I threw an impromptu bash last year that I thought was going to be awful up until 7 p.m., but once I stopped worrying, it ended up being a pretty good party. Or, the opposite can happen, which was the case my senior year in college (the millennial new year, so there was even more pressure than usual), when I ended up in the apartment of a girl who totally hated me--there's nothing like ringing in the new year with a girl who thinks you're a bitch because you were the editor of a magazine that ran a story on the star of her musical, not the whole musical itself. Ahem. Anyway, at least there's one thing you can control on New Year's Eve, and that would be how fabulous you look. Here are some of my favorite party dresses, most of which are out of my price range, but, hey, a girl can dream.

The little black dress is always a smart choice for New Year's, especially because you can always wear an LBD again. This Foley + Corinna rhinestone-trim dress has a retro look that's on the trendy side right now, but my inner lazy girl likes the fact that due to the rhinestones, you don't have to worry about wearing jewelry with it.

I wore my Erin Fetherston bunny dress to my company's holiday party last week, and while I was worried that the dress was too girly for me, all of my coworkers assured me that I am, in fact, girly. I had no idea; I always considered myself more gamine. But I guess that explains why I like this ultra-feminine Notte By Marchesa lace babydoll dress.

If you are single and looking to, well, mingle, I don't know that I'd recommend a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress such as this one--women love them, but men tend to find them a bit shapeless. Then again, this strapless dress is hot and the flyaway panel will draw attention to your boobs. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

This M Missoni swing dress is totally me--in fact, I own something very similar. The knit fabric is comfy and will allow you to drink and eat to your heart's content, but there's enough sparkle to still be festive. Add black tights and heels and you're good to go.

Alice + Olivia's sequined minidresses are ubiquitous for a reason--they're simple, they're flattering, and they're accessible. I like this pink one especially, because its color is a nice change from basic black and the warm tone will look good with a range of skin tones.

Of course, all of these dresses are way out of my New Year's budget, so I'll probably end up doing what I usually do, which is buy something at Forever 21. This beaded dress is chic, simple, roomy, a little girly, and, most importantly, $35, so if I spill red wine on it, I won't be heartbroken. Sold!
The week in shopping
Sorry I went AWOL toward the end of last week--holiday parties were calling my name. But here I am, back to guide you through the last two weeks of shopping before Christmas. Brace yourselves!

Proenza Schouler's clothes and accessories were $325-$3,500; they're $80-$875 at this markdown-tastic sale. 12/13-12/14; 9-6; 120 Walker St. (Centre & Baxter Sts.), 6th fl.

Diane von Furstenberg. Need I say more? Okay, how about up to 75% off? Through 12/15; 9-6 Tue., 10-7 Wed. & Thurs., 9-5 Fri., 10-3 Sat.; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Not dirt-cheap but always full of unique pieces, Showroom Seven has Sue Stemp, Issa London, and other super-hip labels at wholesale and below. Through 12/15; 9-7; 498 7th Ave. (36th & 37th Sts.), 24th fl.

California-cool Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent and Oprah fave Adampluseve are up to 80% off. 12/13-12/15; 8-8 Thurs., 10-8 Fri., 11-7 Sat.; 145 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Mulberry's well-made, non-flashy bags and clothes are up to 70% off. 12/12-12/13; 10-7; Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 5th fl.

Get gussied up for the holidays with Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Judith Leiber, and Rena Lange for up to 85% off. 12/14-12/16; 9-6:30; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Girly Eberjey lingerie and swimwear is 50%-75% off. 12/11-12/12; 9-7 Tue., 9-5 Wed.; 183 Madison Ave. (at 34th St.), ste. 610.

One of my favorite jewelers (and a CFDA Fashion Fund winner), Philip Crangi's jewelry is about 75% off. Ahem, MW. 12/13-12/15; 11-7, noon-7 Sat.; 147 W. 29th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 5th fl.

Iisli and Tory Burch are 60% off (yes, including the flats) at Clothingline. 12/12-12/15; 10-6 Wed. & Fri., 10-7 Thurs., 10-4 Sat.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Colette Malouf's mega-chic hair accessories are at least 50% off. 12/12-12/13; 9-7; 594 Broadway (Houston & Prince Sts.), ste. 305.

Chic wares from Cass Guy and Burwell are 50%-75% off. 12/12-12/13; 9-7; 265 W. 37th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 21st fl.

Trendy Yaya Aflalo and Love Yaya separates are at below-wholesale prices. Through 12/14; 10-6; 80 W. 40th St. (at 6th Ave.), 7th fl.

Castle Starr's current collection is 50% off. 12/12-12/13; 9-6; 275 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 10th fl.

Elijah and James Coviello are up to 50% off wholesale. 12/11-12/13; 11-8; 213 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 903.

Fresh Ink's men's and women's denim is up to 80% off. 12/12-12/14; 10-6, 10-5 Fri.; 264 W. 40th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Lola Hats are $45-$140 at this cash-only sale. 12/11-12/13; 10-7; 535 8th Ave. (36th & 37th Sts.), 20th fl.

You know the Vera Wang drill: Wedding gowns for 30%-70% off; crazy brides abound. 12/15; 8-5; New Yorker Hotel, 481 8th Ave. (34th & 35th Sts.).

Bargains abound at the Calypso outlet store, like Tufi Duek dresses for $50! Through 12/23; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 426 Broome St. (Lafayette & Crosby Sts.).

Eugenia Kim's funky chapeaux are up to 70% off. 12/12-12/15; 10-8, noon-6 Sat.; 347 W. 36th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 502.

Wendy Mink's precious and semiprecious jewelry is up to 80% off. Hello, gifts! 12/13-12/15; 4-7, noon-5 Sat.; 65 N. Moore St. (Greenwich & Hudson Sts.), 2nd fl.

Men's and women's fall/winter clothes are 30%-50% off at Diesel. Through 12/21; 1 Union Square West (at 14th St.), 135 Spring St. (at Wooster), 770 Lex (at 60th St.).

Blumarine's resort line is roughly 70% off (still in the mid three figures) at this one-day-only sale. 12/17; 10-6; 37 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 9th fl.

Outerwear from Kenneth Cole Reaction and Chaus is mostly under $100. 12/11-12/14; 10-6; 519 8th Ave. (at 36th St.), 6th fl.

Hit Project Runway alum Emmett McCarthy's EMc2 store for 20% off dresses, 30% off coats, and 40% off shoes. 12/14-12/16; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 240 Elizabeth St. (Prince & Houston).

Take mom to St. John: Signature knits are more than 50% off for her; free cocktails for you! 12/13; 10-8; 665 5th Ave. (at 53rd St.).

For the streetwear enthusiasts out there, Ecko, Cut & Sew, and Zoo York are up to 75% off. Through 12/31; 9-9, 11-7 Sun.; 655 6th Ave. (at 21st St.).

Chloe & Reese dresses are 30% off. Through 12/13; 4-8; 330 W. 38th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), loft 1004.

Gerard Yosca's designer jewelry is 50%-70% off. 12/11-12/13; 10-6, 10-1 Thurs.; 39 W. 38th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 7th fl.

Buddhist Punk, Religion, and Emilio Cavallini are $150 and under at this sale. Through 10/14; 10-6; 230 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 13th fl.

Pomegranate Gallery's fancy jewelry is 50% off. 12/13-12/16; noon-8 Thurs., noon-6 Fri.-Sun.; 133 Greene St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Dorian Webb's semiprecious jewelry is 60%-70% off. 12/12-12/14; 10-6; 259 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 801.

Perlina's leather handbags are now under $100. Through 12/14; 9-6, 9-3 Fri.; 10 W. 33rd St. (5th & Broadway).
Cheryl Shops...new Soho stores
Four notable new stores have recently opened their doors in Soho, just in time for holiday shopping. Here's what's worth your time...and what's not.

MNG by Mango
In the former Kate's Paperie at Broadway and Prince is Spanish retailer Mango's long-overdue (if you ask me) first NYC store--for some reason, they started rolling out stores in California and the Midwest before finally coming east. Regardless, this is a very exciting development, because I love Mango. Their prices and quality both fall somewhere in between H&M and Zara, and the clothes are trendy without being fashion-victimy. I am also a big fan of their shoes, which are made in Spain, although I was a bit sad to see a pair that I bought while on vacation in Europe this fall--hopefully I won't be seeing them all over the city. The store itself is all black lacquer and mirrors--very 70s disco revival--and, thankfully, way more spacious than its fast-fashion neighbors. When I was there last week, Mango had a lot of sparkly dresses, tops, and accessories, all perfect for the holiday party season.

Madewell's actual two-level store at Broadway and Broome ran into construction delays, but until it opens early next year, you can score the line in a temporary shop in the old Scoop store at Broadway and Spring. An offshoot of J.Crew, Madewell is aimed at a younger, more fashionable customer--think J.Crew meets American Eagle with a little Urban Outfitters thrown in. And while prices are mostly under $100, quality is definitely up to J.Crew's standards. There are some great tissue-weight wool sweaters, gorgeous riding boots that give Frye a run for their money, and simply cut jeans in nice-looking washes. The store is a little densely packed, but in a cozy way. Stop by this Saturday between 3 and 7--Ultragrrrl will be spinning songs to get you in a shopping mood. Of course, the clothes are so cute, you probably won't need much arm-twisting.

You know how they say brand loyalty no longer exists for people of my generation? I beg to differ--this might be a condition of being raised in Chicago, but I am a loyal Crate & Barrel customer. So I was extremely excited for the arrival of CB2, C&B's younger, more modern sibling, and I was not disappointed. Everything is fun and colorful, and unlike its big sister a few blocks north, housewares and furniture are fully mixed together throughout the store. Prices are a bit more expensive than, say, West Elm, but the quality is much better. And unlike West Elm, CB2's employees are engaging and helpful (must be the Midwestern roots). I have my eye on the white leather bed; let's hope Santa is extra-good to me this year.

Muji, the "Japanese IKEA," arrived last month with a healthy dollop of hype--too much hype, if you ask me. I know I'm not a fan of the whole Japanese-minimalism thing, but the store is incredibly drab and dull. Like IKEA, Muji sells all manner of household items, although I didn't see much in the way of furniture; unlike IKEA, however, the prices are not cheap. Like, you're better off taking the bus to Jersey or waiting for the Red Hook store to open. In fact, they had a lot of acrylic organizing-type things that I think might even be cheaper at the Container Store. There are also clothes at Muji; I found them to be kind of boring, on the small side, and, yes, expensive. In fact, according to my coworker, all the price tags have the prices in yen--and apparently there's quite a markup. So I don't think I'll be going back to Muji anytime soon, but thankfully there are enough new stores in Soho to hold my attention!
The week in shopping
With so many great sales recently, I've been doing a lot of shopping for myself and not so much for other people. This week is not going to be much of an improvement.

One of my favorite designers, Derek Lam, is roughly 75% off. Need I say more? 12/6-12/7; 10-6; 601 W. 26th St. (11th & 12th Aves.), ste. 1750.

Another one of my favorites, Alexander Wang, has jackets, dresses, and knits for low-to-mid three figures. 12/6-12/9; 307 Thurs., 10-7 Fri.-Sun.; 210 5th Ave. (25th & 26th Sts.), 2nd fl.

Anna Sui's dresses are $130-$164 and tops are $84 at this sale; my coworker JL went today and got three dresses! 12/4-12/14; 8-9:30 a.m., 11:30-2:30 p.m., 4:30-7 p.m. (yeah, I don't get it either); 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Prepare for long lines at the Theory sale at Clothingline. Fall clothes, shoes, outerwear, and accessories are up to 60% off. 12/3-12/8; 10-6, 10-7 Tues. & Thurs.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Simply luxe lingerie and loungewear from Araks is heavily discounted; keep an eye out for $10 and $15 bins too. 12/6-12/7; 8:30-7:30 Thurs., 9--6:30 Fri.; 137 Grand St., 5th fl.

Lambertson Truex shoes, bags, and accessories are up to 80% off. Yowza! Credit cards only. 12/5-12/7; 9-6:30; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Hanky Panky, my thongs of choice, are $10; sleepwear is $18 and boy shorts are $14. I'm there. 12/4-12/7; 9:30-7, 9:30-1 Fri.; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Botkier's Harley, Cairo, and Sophie bags, plus one-of-a-kind samples are up to 70% off. 12/6-12/9; 10-7, 11-6 weekend; 70 Greene St. (Broome & Spring Sts.).

Cheryl Shops fave Nanette Lepore has feminine dresses, pants, and shoes for $75-$355 (were $165-$825). Through 12/7; 9-6; 225 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Catherine Malandrino's ultra-chic coats, sweaters, dresses, and more are about 60% off (think low three-figures). 12/5-12/7; 8-8 Wed., 10-8 Thurs. & Fri.; 145 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

You can't go wrong with Alice + Olivia's streamlined pieces, which are now about 60% off. 12/4-12/8; 10-7; 80 W. 40th St. (at 6th Ave.).

Score bags from Jill Stuart, L.A.M.B., Love Collection, and others for 50% off. 12/4-12/5; 8-8 Tues., 8-6 Wed.; 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Fall Generra clothes for men and women are 50% off. 12/5-12/7 and 12/10-12/14; 9-7 (closed Sat. & Sun.); 275 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 5th fl.

Nieves Lavi's pretty prints and silky frocks are mostly under $100 at this incredibly well-priced sale. 12/4-12/7; 9:30-5:30; 234 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 9th fl.

Cheap Monday is even cheaper: jeans are now $30-$70 and jackets are $100. 12/5-12/7; 10-7; 495 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 5th fl.

Tevrow + Chase makes work-friendly clothes that are now in the low hundreds (at least 50% off). 12/5-12/7; 9:30-5:30; 416 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 313.

Feminine Tocca coats, dresses, candles, and more are up to 80% off--worth the schlepp west. 12/6-12/7; noon-7; 542 W. 22nd St. (10th & 11th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Rafe’s Bleecker Street store is no more, but his handbags remain, and now they're up to 70% off. 12/5-12/7; 10-7; 85 5th Ave. (at 16th St.), 12th fl.

Alexis Bittar is a man, and he makes groovy jewelry, which is now 70% off. Cash only. 12/7-12/9; 10-7 Fri., 11-6 Sat., 11-2 Sun.; 147 W. 15th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

If you look like Giselle Bundchen, hit Rosa Chá for tiny swimsuits at $40 and under. Cash only. 12/6-12/7; 10-7; 52 Walker St. (at Broadway), 5th fl. (212-966-5110); cash only; 12/6 and 12/7 (10–7).

Because it's apparently never a bad time to buy a bridal gown, Saks has Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, and other tony labels for 50%-70% off. Through 12/5; 10-8:30; Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Ave. (49th & 50th Sts.), 3rd fl.

James Jeans are $90 (cords are $75 and minis are $25) at this sale. 12/4-12/6; 10-7, 10-2 Fri.; 500 Greenwich St. (at Spring St.), #202.

Going on vacay soon? Hit J Rosen for Vix Swimwear, Lisa Curran, and beachy accessories. Cash only. Through 12/14; 9-8 (closed weekends); 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 510.

Cute women's shoes are under $50 at the Matt Bernson sample sale. 12/5-12/7; noon-8; 434 Greenwich St. (at Vestry St.).

Frette's ultra-plush linens are up to 70% off. 12/8-12/12; 9-6:30, 9-5 Wed.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Lauren Merkin's cute bags are up to 70% off. 12/4-12/6; 11-7; 231 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 201.

Hats by Tracy Watts are 60% off. 12/6-12/7; 11-7; 305 W. 20th St.(8th & 9th Aves.).

Gift-friendly Italian cashmere from Portolano at wholesale prices (plus leather and silk too). Fab. Through 12/21; 10-6 (closed weekends); 15 W. 37th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 11th fl.

Linda Derector's stock of vintage eyewear is 50% off. 12/4-12/9; noon-7 (closed Mon.); 211 Mott St. (at Prince St.).

Yaya Aflalo and Love Yaya's luxe knitwear are wholesale and below. Through 12/7; 10-6; 80 W. 40th St. (at 6th Ave.).

Hollywould's fall collection is up to 40% off. Through 12/15; 11:30-7, noon-5 Sun.; 198 Elizabeth St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Hayden-Harnett clothes, bags, accessories, and outerwear are 30%-80% off. 12/4-12/6; 11-7; 16 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 501.

Have a drink and buy some shoes from Eileen Shields for 65% off. 12/5; 5-7 p.m.; Grape & Grain, 620 E. 6th St.

Nolita boutique GirlCat is hosting a multi-designer sale, with Ananas handbags for 7-% off, plus Delman shoes, Yoanna Baraschi tops, and Belabumbum lingerie. 12/6-12/9; 9-8, 10-7 Sat.; 167 Elizabeth St. (near Prince St.).

New store Blue & Cream is already having a sale with Jenni Kayne, Twelfth Street, and other hot designers for 50% off. 12/3-12/9; 11-7, 11-8 Fri., 10-8 Sat. & Sun.; 1 E. 1st St. (at Bowery).

All manner of fur and accessories from Adrienne Landau is about 65% off. 12/4-12/5; 9:30-6:30 Tue., 9:30-6 Wed.; 519 8th Ave. (35th & 36th St.), 21st St.

Fall Kooba handbags are 50%-60% off. 12/4; 11-2; 141 W. 36th St. (7th Ave. & Broadway), 6th fl.

Alain Mikli's designer eyewear is $45-$95. 12/4-12/7; 9-5:45, 9-5 Fri.; 264 W. 40th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Downtown-gal handbags are 50% off at Felix Rey's sale. 12/6-12/7; 11-7; 611 Broadway (Houston & Bleecker Sts.), ste. 838.

Autumn Cashmere has gifts galore for under $200. 12/4-12/7, 12/10-12/14; 9-7 this week, 10-6 next week; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 924.

Current- and past-season dresses and tops from Mara Hoffman are about 65% off. 12/6-12/8; 10-6, 11-6 Sat.; 120 W. 28th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Resurrection rarely has sales, but you can take 15% off their entire stock (including Katy Rodriguez's line). Through 12/24; 11-7, noon-7 Sun.; 217 Mott St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Qi Cashmere has knits for about 60% off ($200 and under). Through 12/7; 10-7; 224 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1008A.

Glam Pilar Rossi gowns are 40%-60% off (still $600 and up). Through 12/10; 10:30-6:30 (closed Sun.).; 784 Madison Ave. (at 67th St.).

LAI animal-skin bags are roughly 50% off--and go up to four figures. 12/4-12/6; 10-6; 12 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 403.

Bags from Adrienne Vittadini, Hype, and Rampage are under $100 at this sale. 12/5-12/6; 8:30-6:30; 320 5th Ave. (32nd & 33rd Sts.), 9th fl.
A sample sale etiquette reminder
Ladies, please. When you're going to a sample sale, leave your boyfriend at home. When in the chaotic, free-for-all sample sale environment, men get that deer-in-the-headlights syndrome that renders them completely frozen, and they just get in the way. Annoyingly so. And I hate to say it, but many of them have the tendency to stare at the various women disrobing in order to try stuff on. Do you really want your man ogling other half-naked women? If you need someone to tell you how you look in clothing, bring a female friend (or at least a gay one), who at least will give you an honest opinion--because you know your guy is going to tell you that you look great in everything (and if he doesn't, maybe it's time to DTMFA). So, leave the bf behind, then model your purchases for him when you get home. Thank you.
Fashion Week Daily reports that Target's next designer accessories collaboration will be with Joy Gryson, the namesake of Gryson bags. All we know so far is that the line will hit stores sometime next year, but I expect more details (and photos!) will leak out after the press preview on December 12th.

And not to be outdone, WWD reports that in February, Gap will debut a line of shoes designed by Pierre Hardy. The shoes will be a very affordable $78-$98 at a select 75 or so Gap stores and will include this awesome gladiator sandal, pictured here. Pierre Hardy shoes normally go for upwards of $500 at stores like Barneys, so I am quite excited about this one.
Cheryl shops...Inhabit and Y-3
'Tis the season, so I hit two sample sales today. First up, I went to Inhabit on my lunch hour. The sale used to be right across the street from my office, but this time it moved to an off-site location on 37th Street that was sadly just as crowded as the usual one. However, the deals were so good, the sale could've been in a barnyard for all I care. Cotton sweaters were $40, cashmere was $60-$100, and while some styles had only small sizes left, there was still a ton of merchandise when I was there at 1 p.m., which leads me to believe that the sale might be extended. Stay tuned...

After work, I headed to the Y-3 sale, and while I love me some Yohji Yamamoto, I found the sale a bit disappointing. For the ladies, tees were a reasonable $40 and pants were a not-too-bad $60, but to be honest, the selection of Y-3 at the recent Billion Dollar Babes was way better. And a lot of the merch was a bit on the old side--I know this because I saw a pair of pants that I bought two years ago. If you're a guy, however, the selection seemed to be a bit more varied, especially in the shoe department. So if you really love Y-3 or if you're a dude, the sale runs through 7 p.m. tomorrow at 610 Broadway.
Cheryl Shops...Boston (briefly)
I didn't shop too much in Boston last weekend because I was busy visiting with my friend and her new babies (what up, LJ!), getting drunk with MW's family, and, oh yeah, freezing my ass off due to the antarctic-like temperatures. But whilst out and about, I came across two somewhat sad bits of information:

1) Jasmine Sola, Boston's answer to Scoop, is closing. According to The Beantown Bloggery, this was announced a month ago; the chain had been purchased by New York & Co. back in 2005 and had been bleeding money since. The silver lining is that they're having a huge clearance sale, and as of last week, everything in the stores was 30%-50% off. If you're in the market for jeans, I saw current-season True Religion, J Brand, Earnest Sewn, Citizens, and basically every premium-denim brand a girl could ever want. They also had a lot of cute accessories (I got a tote bag and a scarf) and the smaller store on Newbury Street had a ton of shoes. I'm kind of sad to see the chain go, but now I'm wondering what will take up its valuable Newbury real estate. Boston readers, care to weigh in?

2) My favorite Boston brunch spot, the Greenhouse Coffee Shop in Harvard Square, has also closed after 30 years in business. According to the Harvard Crimson, rising rents were to blame. Hopefully it won't be replaced by yet another bank. In the meantime, if anyone has any good brunch recommendations for Cambridge, I'm all ears...
Guilty Pleasure: Hollister sweatpants
Whenever MW and I head out to the burbs, we like to go to the mall. Mundane, yes, but you never realize how much you miss malls until you move somewhere like New York where, this time of year especially, shopping involves schlepping around outside in inclement weather, then sweating once you get inside the stores because you're wearing 8,000 layers and a heavy coat. But I digress. I also love going to malls because I like to observe teenagers in their natural habitat--it keeps me young. And nowadays, the teens are flocking in huge numbers to Hollister, which is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch and virtually undistinguishable from its parent company, except that its clothes appear to fit tighter and cost about $10-$15 less. Also, Hollister stores are darker and the music is louder, if you can believe that. So I spent most of my time stumbling around and bumping into things, blindly grasping at random racks of clothing until I came across the sweatpants. If you've been to a college campus (or a suburban mall) recently, you'll know what I'm talking about--low rise, slightly cropped, but worn bunched up right below the knee. Often they say "Hollister" across the butt. Yes, they're kinda obnoxious. But oh my god are they soft. They're a regular ol' cotton/poly blend, but the way they're washed to achieve such divine softness must be an industry secret guarded with secret passwords, iron padlocks, and a pack of angry Rottweilers. Of course I bought a pair. So did MW. I am a little upset with myself for not having bought another. Then again, now I have something to look forward to next time I go to the mall.
This is a few days late, but if you haven't checked it out already, Racked has hi-res images of the upcoming Loeffler Randall for Target collection, and I must say it looks a lot better than I had originally thought. I especially like the woven bag. Of course, being $50 and under, everything in the collection is synthetic, and thus I'm not sure how I feel about the shoes--I'll carry a fake leather bag, but the shoes are bound to make one's feet a sweat-fest. The collection hits stores December 30th.

And speaking of Target, I hit the Salem, NH location last weekend and snapped up the bunny dress and the sparkly turtleneck from the Erin Fetherston Go International collection. While everything appears to run a bit small (I had to go up two sizes in the dress to accommodate my boobs), the quality is a lot higher than in recent collections (particularly Alice Temperley's). The coats and jackets are super-adorable too.

I also picked up the Monroe clutch from the Hollywood line; it's really well made, and it will be perfect for the upcoming holiday party season. The shoes are indeed gross, although I thought the red shoe with the bow on the heel was not bad, but, again, synthetic shoes kind of skeeve me out. I'll stick with getting my Hollywoulds at her twice-yearly blowout sale.
The week in shopping
Four weeks till Christmas and now the craziness really begins. Due to the sheer number of sales, I will not be linking them. For further information, I suggest Google.

Cult favorite Phi has sexy, seasonless womenswear for up to 90% off (though most items are more like 70% off). 11/30-12/1; 11-7; 71 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Hello, fabulous: Costello Tagliapietra’s beautiful jersey dresses (and much more) are 60% off. 11/28-11/29; 11-5; 80 W. 40th St. (at 6th Ave.).

Ultra-chic workout and casual pieces from the Yohji Yamamoto-designed Y-3 are about $100, give or take. I'm there. 11/28-11/30; 10-7; 610 Broadway (at Houston St.), 3rd fl.

Zero + Maria Cornejo's smart, season-defying pieces are now on sale. 11/29-1/7; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 807 Greenwich St. (at Jane St.).

Lovely, incredibly well-made sweaters, dresses, and coats are an amazing $99-$199 at Ports 1961's one-day blowout. 11/29; 11-6; 601 W. 26th St. (11th & 12th Aves.), ste. 875.

Always one of my favorite sales, Inhabit cashmeres are 60%-70% off. 11/28-11/29; 9-6; 252 W. 37th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 17th fl.

CFDA fashion fund recipient Rogan has men's and women's clothes for $20-$150. 11/30-12/3; noon-8; 91 Franklin St. (at Church St.).

Be & D's luxe bags fetch big bucks at Bergdorf's, but at this sale, they're $50 and up. 11/27-11/29; 9-7 Tue., 10-6 Wed. & Thurs.; 35 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 10th fl.

I have one Abaete dress, and I always get compliments on it when I wear it. Hit this sale and score one for yourself, for about 75% off. 11/29-12/3; 10-7, noon-7 Sat.; 560 Broadway (Prince & Spring Sts.), ste. 509.

I don't think a 30% discount is going to help much at Iris, but if you like shoes by Marc Jacobs, Chloe, or other fancee designers, hit it. 11/28-1/30; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 827 Washington St. (at Gansevoort St.)

Nor will 40% go very far at Stella McCartney, but again, worth a look. 11/28-1/31; 11-7, 12:30-6 Sun.; 429 W. 14th St. (9th & 10th Aves.).

Charlotte Ronson's sweet clothes and accessories are 60% off. 11/28-11/30; 10-6; 1071 6th Ave. (at 40th St.).

Cashmere, cashmere, and more cashmere: TSE. Need I say more? Okay, Tsesay will be representin' also. 12/2-12/6; 9-7; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Thread Social makes dresses for all occasion; here, they're roughly 60% off. 11/29-12/1; 9-9 Thurs., 11-7 Fri., 11-5 Sat.; 26 W. 17th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 301.

Jeans are buy one pair, get the second for 50% off at Cantaloup's holiday sale. Through 11/30; 10-7:30; 1217 3rd Ave. (at 70th St.).

Go for that quintessential Kept Woman/Upper East Side look with deeply discounted clothing, shoes, and handbags from Valentino. 11/27-11/30; 9-6:30, 9-5 Fri.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Who doesn't love girly stuff from Tracy Reese? Get your fix for about 65% off. 11/27-11/29; 8-8, 10-6 Thurs.; 145 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Anya Hindmarch (of "I'm not a plastic bag" fame) has bags, shoes, coats, luggage, and other accessories from the fall line for 65% off--probably less than what you'll pay for the crappy canvas totes on eBay. 11/29-11/30; 10-7; 416 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 317.

This and every weekend through the end of the month, Belly Dance Maternity is taking 15% off its stock, including designer jeans (Citizens, Serfontaine, etc.). 12/1-12/2; 11-6 St., noon-5 Sun.; 548 Hudson (W. 10th & Charles Sts.).

Hipper-than-thou Nolita boutique I Heart has Vena Cava, Isabel Marant, Sonia Rykiel, and other coveted designers for 60-85% off; current merchandise is 25% off. 11/30-12/2; noon-8, noon-7 Sun.; 262 Mott St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Kier + J's cult-fave cashmeres are under $100 at this nice sale. Through 11/30; 9-5; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Another one of my favorites, Satya, has semiprecious, yoga-themed jewelry for up to 80% off. 11/30-12/2; 10-8 Fri., 10-6 Sat. & Sun.; 95 Christopher St. (at Bleecker St.).

Lee Angel's jewelry and accessories are 80% off, and there's a $5 clearance bin. 11/28-11/30; 10-7, 10-4 Fri.; 524 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 6th fl.

Flashy Italian handbags from Carlos Falchi are 50% off. 11/29-11/30; 10-6; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 7th fl.

Bridal gowns in December? Why not! Hit Amsale and save up to 70%. 12/1-12/2; 9:30-4:30 Sat., 11-4 Sun.; 625 Madison (58th & 59th Sts.).

Greenfinds has Alice + Trixie, Chelsea Flowers, and Fortyx for under $100; 5% of sales will be donated to an environmental charity. 11/30-12/2; 11-8; 201 Mulberry St. (Spring & Kenmare Sts.).

Christopher Fischer's cashmere sweaters and accessories are $30-$150 at this sale. 11/28-12/1; 11-7; 80 Wooster St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

You don't need to be able to pronounce Uluru to take advantage of their luxurious pieces at 60% off. 12/2; noon-7; 60 N. 6th St. (Wythe & Kent Aves.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Feminine knit dresses, sweaters, and accessories are $25-$135 at Elizabeth Gillett's sample sale. 11/29-11/30; 10-7; 242 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 9th fl.

Get a party dress for up to 75% off at Vivienne Tam. 11/28-12/2; 9-8 Wed., 9-7 Thurs., 9-6 Fri., noon-5 Sat. & Sun.; 578 Broadway (at Prince St.)., 7th fl.

Costume and semiprecious jewelry from Ben-Amun is 60% off (now under $100). 11/28-11/29; 11-7; 246 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 12th fl.

Neo-preppy looks from Barking Irons are half-price at this sale. Free drinks on Friday from 6-9! 11/30-12/2; 10-9; 161 Bowery (Delancey & Broome Sts.), 4th fl.

Cullen and Whim cashmere sweaters for men and women are a super-affordable $20-$125 at this sale. Through 11/30; 8-6; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1016.

Dresses and tops from April, May and Little Joe by Gail Elliott are up to 85% off. Wowza. 11/30-12/2; 9-7 Fri., noon-6 Sat. & Sun.; 611 Broadway (at Houston), ste. 613B.

Gold and diamond jewelry from Tam Tran is anywhere from 50%-75% off (now $100-$1,500). 12/1-12/2; 11-7 Sat., noon-5 Sun.; 148 W. 24th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 9th fl.

Luca Luca's sexy fall clothes (plus accessories and jewelry) are up to 80% off. 11/29-12/1; 9-6, 10-5 Sat.; 19 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves), 4th fl.

For the fashion-conscious pooch, New York Dog has canine clothing and accessories for 80% off. Dogs are welcome. 11/28-12/1; 8-8; 133 W. 25th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), ste. 9 East. - Sample & Stock Sale

Meg Cohen's cashmere scarves, hats, and gloves are about 50% off at this gift-friendly sale. 11/27-12/1; 11-7; 920 Broadway (20th & 21st Sts.), ste. 905.

If you like chunky semiprecious jewelry, hit Echo Of The Dreamer for one-of-kind pieces for $15-$320. 11/27-12/15; 10-6 (closed Sat.-Mon.); 242 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 14th fl.

Samples and stock from Back Fashion Cult are 60-80% off retail (now $60-$480). Through 12/15; 11:30-7 (closed weekends); 320 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 9C.

Sylvia Heisel--normally worn by Madonna and Elizabeth Hurley--can now be yours for $25-$200 (that's roughly 90% off). 11/28-11/30; 10-6; 214 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 302A.
Weekend shopping links
As you know, the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, traditionally the day upon which retailers start making money (although that is certainly not the case nowadays), but now the day on which big-box stores try to usurp each other with outlandish promotional stunts, all in an effort to kick off the holiday season and end up on the local news broadcast. I am not one to wake up for a 5 a.m. mall run, but if you are, BlackFriday.info is one of the more user-friendly sites listing all the early-bird specials.

Citysearch also has a New York-centric listing of Black Friday events.

But if you like to take your time, I highly recommend picking up this week's New York Magazine, which features an incredibly thorough and well-edited selection of gifts, including an always-useful 100 under $100.

The following Monday is what's now known as Cyber Monday, so expect nearly every website to be offering some sort of deal, particularly free shipping. As for sample sales, next week is going to be a doozy (think Y3, Inhabit, Valentino, and more to come)...
It started to trickle out piecemeal last week, but Erin Fetherston's Go International collection for Target is now officially live. And, um, it must be either selling out fast or rolling out slowly, because there's not a lot available online at the moment. Did that awkward extended commercial during last week's The Hills really move that much product? And, moreover, are women still into that dressing-like-preschoolers aesthetic? I'm not huge on the tiered ruffles, flounce hems, or Peter Pan collars, but there are some great standout pieces: I like this cardigan and mini ensemble and, somewhat inexplicably, the bunny dress. I'm going to hit the ol' Target in Salem, Massachusetts this weekend; I'll let you know if I have any success. In the meantime, did anyone else buy anything from the line yet?
Cheryl Shops...Billion Dollar Babes
I decided to lift my four-year boycott of the Billion Dollar Babes sale because, well, I was plied with a VIP invite. Apparently you can still shell out for a platinum membership and be the first to hit the racks (yes, that means paying to shop), but VIP got me a 5 p.m. entry on Friday night, and that was good enough for me. The sale was crowded, but not unbearably so; however, there were some pushy-ass women there who appeared not to be fluent in sample-sale etiquette, which led me to conclude that if you're say, a super-professional woman or idly wealthy and don't have time to hit all the sample sales yourself, going to the BDB sale makes sense. After all, they gather a lot of designers (most of whom host their own sales as well) all under one roof, so you can kill a whole flock of birds with one stone. Last weekend's sale has Tibi, Y-3, Tree, Carlos Miele, and a lot of lesser-known designers like Rachel Mara and Vanessa Barrantes, so I can at least give BDB props for an interesting mix. But while prices were significantly below retail, they weren't quite typical sample sale prices, and therein lies the rub: Billion Dollar Babes is not a sample sale; it's a shopping event. They have cocktails, makeovers, sweepstakes, and corporate sponsors; you're not stripping down to your undies in some designer's Garment District showroom. There is very little hunting involved, and I don't know about you, but I, for one, love the thrill of the hunt. But then again, I'm not so sure that I'm BDB's target customer. I feel like if you work at job at which you can't sneak away for an hour to hit a sample sale on your lunch hour, you don't have time to dig through bins and racks of samples, and/or you want the sample sale experience without all the drudgery, then maybe BDB is for you. Also, if you live in any city other than New York--BDB regularly holds events in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and other sample-sale-challenged cities--it might actually be worthwhile. But I think I've gone to my first, and last, event. I take my shopping far too seriously.
The week in shopping
The calm before the proverbial storm, I'm almost scared by how few sales there are this week--so you know next week is goign to be a virtual hurricane. Brace yourselves...

Anbar Shoes is holding a special one-day sale featuring 10,000 pairs of shoes from BCBG, Delman, Stephane Kelian, and more. 11/24; 11-5:45; 60 Reade St. (Broadway & Church Sts.).

Bring out your inner jet-setter with fancy Gianfranco Ferre clothes for, oh, about 70% off retail. Through 11/20; 9-5; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Before you start shelling out on presents for other people, why not treat yourself to something first? Now through 11/26, enter code GETAJUMP at Cheryl Shops fave shopbop.com to get $25 off a $150 order, $50 off a $300 order, $100 off a $500 order, and a whopping $250 off a $1,000 order. Hello, Loeffler Randall Matilde boots!

Not to be outdone, Pink Mascara has a similar offer: For $20 off a $150 purchase, enter code SAVE20 at checkout; use code SAVE50 for $50 off a $250 purchase; and SAVE115 for $115 off a $500 purchase. Offer is good through Sunday.
Cheryl Shops...the Lutz & Patmos sample sale
I made a quick trip to the Lutz & Patmos sample sale today after work, and I would highly recommend stopping by tomorrow--it's the last day of the sale, and everything is getting marked down to 80% off. There's a lot of current-season stuff, as well as past-season, and I was surprised by how many non-cashmere items were for sale--there were a lot of cotton and Modal pieces, all with L&P's creative seams and draping. Prices ranged from mid $200s for the newer sweaters to under $100 for the older and the non-cashmere pieces; with the further markdowns tomorrow, bargains will abound. I should note, however, that the majority of the pieces are size smalls, which is L&P's sample size (I'm usually a medium, though, and can fit into the smalls without a problem). I ended up with a short-sleeved cardigan for myself and a present for a recipient who shall remain unnamed, as she reads this blog and I don't want to ruin the surprise!

Tomorrow I'm going to hit the Yigal Azourel sale, time permitting, and for the first time ever, the Billion Dollar Babes sale. Hey, it's all in the name of investigative journalism.
America's Next Top Model vs. Project Runway
So, does anyone else think it's a coincidence that the challenge on America's Next Top Model last night--the same night on which the new season of Project Runway was debuting--was a very Project Runway-esque situation in which the contestants had to serve as muses to FIDM students, then parade down the runway in their respective creations? The difference between the shows, however, is that while Jenna's punk-rock getup clearly would've won on Project Runway, Saleisha and her Halloween costume took the prize on ANTM. Gross. Of course, the low point in the episode came when Tyra told the contestants they were all going to China--Yay! Ninjas! (wait, aren't they Japanese?) Screaming! Jumping up and down! Chinese lions! Gongs!--except, that is, the girl who's going home. Which turned out to be the long-past-her-expiration-date Ambreal, who nonetheless took it like a champ. Also, I'd like to know how the "green" theme of this "cycle" is going to work with their trip to China, home of lead-based paint.

As for Project Runway, I think everyone was a bit worried that the show had jumped the proverbial shark, but with the exception of Tim Gunn's catchphrases sounding almost like a parody now (I expected him to throw in a "Where's Andrae?" just for old time's sake), I think this season is going to be awesome. We have Elisa, the kooky earth-mother hippie; Christian, the cocky kid straight out of design school; Ricky, the gay Mexican lingerie designer; and Chris, the crazy-costume designer. And while I supported Rami's win, I worry that he's going to be a one-trick pony, and that everything he designs is going to have that goddess-like draped look. I was much more intrigued by Victorya's tent dress, which was very Lanvin-esque, and so I'm keeping my eye on her this season. I just hope the show is as good the Bravo website--if you're in need of procrastination tools, I highly recommend checking out all the blogs and interactive features there--but based on the first episode, I say so far, so good.
Fall Shopping Guide: Long Shoulder-Strap Bags
I love watching early-'80s movies for nostalgic purposes (I was a child then) and because I love the wardrobe, the hair, the makeup...all of which is, somewhat scarily, making a comeback. But what has struck me most recently is the streamlined, long-strap look of all the handbags. There's been a lot of talk recently about "the death of the It Bag" and I am definitely behind that movement. After all, what's the point of dropping $2k on a handbag, only to see every other woman on the street carrying a knockoff she bought from a street vendor? I think the more understated shape of the long-strap bag fits in beautifully with this less-flashy way of accessorizing, and what's great about these bags is that you can carry them on your shoulder or wear them across the body for a more practical approach. But for the bag snobs out there, fret not--luxury handbags are still some of the best options around, but the cleaner shape and less outré details mean you can wear your bag without it wearing you.

If luxury is what you're after, a Bottega Veneta bag such as this messenger is a smart choice--counterfeiters have a hard time replicating the woven construction, and while many people know a Bottega when they see one, they won't necessarily know what season it's from, which, if you ask me, is the mark of a timeless bag.

With its zip pockets and flapa, Lanvin's leather Hero has a bit more detail than I'm after, but the adjustable canvas strap and the army green color make it unique. The bag was also made in France, so you know the attention to detail is of utmost quality.

I know I'm going to sound ridiculous saying this, but I feel like $795 is a somewhat reasonable price to pay for this nearly-perfect Mix quilted bag from Marc Jacobs--the size is ideal, the chain strap is trendy yet forever chic, and yet it doesn't shout "Marc Jacobs!" I think this is the bag to beat.

If Marc Jacobs collection is out of the question, the ultra-soft leather bags from the Marc line are a just-as-good option. I like the retro look of the
Lovely Luz bag
--it looks like a treasure you unearthed at a vintage boutique, but without the musty smell or all the hard work.

For those of you who don't carry around your entire life in your purse (like I do), Deborah Sweeney's Owl bag is petite but packs a punch. The bow on the front is very young Parisian, Rive Gauche, Yves Saint Laurent--in other words, très chic.

A bigger, slightly more practical cousin to the above is Juliana Jabour's
cross-body hobo
. It still has the stylish chain strap, but the slouchier shape is big enough to accommodate all of your accouterments.

What I love about Target is while they spend so mcuh time and effort publicizing their Go International designers, they also have lower-priced lines from less high-profile designers, and discovering these is kind of like finding a hidden treasure. Case in point: this practical yet chic organizer bag from NYC by Perlina.

While a lot of hardware is not a look I'm after at the moment, the studs on this La Redoute bag keep its synthetic suede from looking cheap--in fact, they give it a little rock-and-roll edge.

About half of what Fossil creates makes me scratch my head, and then the other half is classic and well made. Thankfully, this cross-body bag falls into the latter category. It might not be made in Italy of the finest-quality leather, but it's sturdy, durable, and it perfectly captures the low-key look I'm after.
The week in shopping
Get out your wallets, ladies: It's a five-card week! Due to the sheer volume of sales, I'm not linking these. If you need more info, Google 'em (I have a handy Google search bar over to the right).

This year's can't-miss 7th on Sale sample sale features 30,000 items donated by Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Prada, and others, at a 70% markdown. Tickets are $20 at 7thonsale.ebay.com for $20 and proceeds go to HIV/AIDS-related funds. 11/16-11/18; 4-6 Fri., 10-2 and 3-5 Sat., 11-2 Sun.; 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave. (at 26th St.).

Foley + Corinna's coveted dresses are $95 and up, bags are $125 and up, and tops are $15 and up. 11/17-11/18; 11-6; 103 Stanton St. (Ludlow & Essex Sts.).

The News has Cheap Monday, Clu, Bruce, and other super-hip downtown labels at wholesale prices. 11/14-11/16; 10-6; 495 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 5th fl.

While you're at the news get your avant-garde on with current-season Dsquared², Maison Martin Margiela, and Sophia Kokosalaki at up to 50% off. 11/15-11/16; 10-7 Thurs., 10-3 Fri.; 495 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 8th fl.

Simon Showroom has Citizens of Humanity jeans for $40-$80, Paul & Joe (and sister) for $70-$300, and C&C California for $10-$40 at this cash-only sale. 11/14-11/16; 11-7; 95 5th Ave. (at 17th St.), 4th fl.

Hit Billion Dollar Babes for Tibi, Radcliffe, Tocca, Carlos Miele, and others, plus makeovers too. You must register at billiondollarbabes.com to get in! 11/16-11/18; noon-9 Fri., 9-5 Sat., 11-5 Sun.; 135 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

I am very, very excited about Yigal Azourel's sale--his excellent jersey dresses and separates are largely under $200. 11/14-11/16; 9-7 Wed., 9-5 Thurs., 9-2 Fri.; 225 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 7th fl.

Cynthia Steffe's chic contemporary clothes are about 75% off. 11/15-11/16; 10-5 Thurs., 10-3 Fri.; 550 7th Ave. (39th & 40th Sts.), 10th fl.

Sari Gueron's rich-hippie looks for fall are up to 75% off. 11/15-11/16; noon-7; 133 W. 25th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

Marie Marie's girly fall dresses are 30%-90% off. 11/14-11/15; noon-6 Wed., noon-8 Thurs.; 257 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 10th fl.

Swimsuits and dresses for the busty gal (I swear by them) are up to 75% off at Shoshanna's sale. 11/14-11/15; 10-6; 231 W. 39th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 422.

Fancy shoes--think Dior, Choo, and Lanvin--are on sale at Chuckies. 11/13-11/18; 10:45-7:45 weekdays, 10-7 Fri., 10:45-7:30 Sat., 12:30-7 Sun.; 1073 3rd Ave. (at 63rd St.).

This week, Clothingline has Ben Sherman and Evisu for ridiculously cheap prices--see details at clothingline.com. 11/13-11/16; 10-7 Tue. & Thurs., 10-6 Wed. & Fri.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Kill two birds with one Amex: Rebecca Minkoff bags and Due Farina shoes, both for 50% off. 11/13-11/16; noon-8; 158 Grand St. (Lafayette & Centre Sts.), ste. 207.

Luxe Blumarine is a ludicrous $60 and up at this sale. 11/13; 10-6; 37 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 9th fl.

One-of-a-kind Project Alabama pieces are 50%-80% off. 11/14-11/16; 10-5:30; TKE Showroom, 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 6th fl.

Ultra-luxe Lutz & Patmos cashmeres start at 60% off on Wednesday, 70% off on Thursday, and 80% off on Friday. 11/14-11/16; 11-7; 425 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 406.

Mint Jodi Arnold's feminine but cool line is up to 75% off. 11/13-11/15; 9-7, 9-3 Thurs. 230 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Feminine Rebecca Taylor frocks are $50-$199. Through 11/14; 8-8 Tue., 10-6 Wed; 145 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Score underwear, robes, and sleepwear from Hanro at steep discounts. 11/14-11/15; 8-6 Wed., 8:30-4 Thurs.; 40 E. 34th St. (at Park Ave.), ste. 207.

Denise Williamson Showroom has Nili Lotan, Ulla Johnson, Thread Social, and other cool-girl labels for up to 75% off. 11/15-11/17; 8:30-7:30, 11-6 Sat.; 119 Mercer St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), ste. 2S.

Vivienne Tam's Asian-inspired line is roughly 75% off. 11/14-11/18; 11-8 Wed., 10-7 Thurs., 10-6 Fri., noon-5 Sat. & Sun.; 578 Broadway (at Prince St.), 7th fl.

Miguelina's pretty dresses and separates are up to 80% off. 11/14-11/17; 11-6; 20 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 6th fl.

Lela Rose's ladylike dresses, coats, and more are about 65% off (think mid three figures). 11/15-11/16; 9-7; 224 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 13th fl.

Noir's glam costume jewelry is on sale: Rings are $25-$45, bracelets are $25-$60, and necklaces are $35-$75. 11/14-11/16; 10-7; 350 W. 38th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 5th Fl.

Nicole Farhi's men's and women's clothes are 60%-80% off. 11/13-11/15; 10-7; 14 E. 60th St. (5th & Madison Aves.), 2nd fl.

House label and vintage looks for men and women are $40-$350 at What Comes Around Goes Around. 11/15-11/18; 10-8, 11-7 Sun.; 351 W. Broadway (Broome & Grand Sts.).

Reem Acra's red-carpet-worthy dresses (and bridal gowns too) are 75%-80% off, now $150-$4,000. 11/14-11/17; 10-6:30, 10-1 Sat.; 14 E. 60th St. (5th & Madison).

BOSS Hugo Boss is marked down to wholesale prices. Through 11/15; 9-5; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

What time is it? Time for a new watch (ha!) from Rado, Longines, Tissot, Hamilton, Calvin Klein, and Swatch for up to 70% off. 11/15-11/16; 9-8 Thurs., 8-7 Fri.; 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th fl.

All manner of sleek British clothing for birds and blokes is $55-$250 at the Ted Baker London sale. 11/13-11/16; 12:30-7 Tue., 11-7 Wed. & Thurs., 10-1 Fri.; 215 Park Ave. (17th & 18th Sts.), 20th fl.

Up-and-coming designer Hilton Hollis has coats and separates for low three figures at this sale. 11/13-11/14; 9-7; 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 705.

Ready-made punk-rock looks from Buddhist Punk and Religion are $80-$200. Through 11/16; 10-6; 230 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 13th fl.

Trick out your dog with sweaters, tees, carriers, and other accessories from Kwigy-Bo at their cash-only sale. 11/13-11/15; 9-5; 501 7th Ave. (at 37th St.), Ste. 506­508.

Yoko Deveraux makes the trek to Williamsburg worth the trip--prices are about 75% off. 11/14-11/18; noon-9 Wed., noon-8 Thurs.-Sat.; noon-6 Sun.; 338 Broadway (at Keap St.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Awesome knitwear from Susana Monaco is up to 75% off. 11/15-11/16; 8:30-7; 263 W. 38th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 13th fl.

Hit the Access Holiday Shopping Event for clothes, accessories, and jewelry. Ten percent of proceeds benefit Parents in Action. 11/14; 9:30-4; 583 Park Ave. (at 63rd St.).

Cute yet fashionable separates from Sweet Tater are $20-$50. 11/13-11/14; noon-8; 280 Mulberry St. (Prince & Houston).

Online accessories site Freddy & Ma is hosting a sale at their showroom, where prices are 60%-70% off. 11/13-11/14; 11-7; 208 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 613.
Random notes
I have one more Fall Shopping Guide post coming your way next week, then it will be back to regularly scheduled Cheryl Shops content.

As I said the other day, I decided to avoid H&M like the plague today. Which seems to have been a good idea, because according to Racked, there was at least one fistfight at Herald Square and at 50th Street, a man who said, "Bitch, if you grab that, I'm going to fucking cut you." I think that quote speaks for itself, but perhaps the reason everyone was so grabby today is because they're all aspiring entrepreneurs: There are already eight pages of listings on eBay, with the gold dress going for $700. That's right, $700. Throw in a few hundred more and you could get a real Cavalli. Perspective, people.

I haven't been doing my ANTM recaps in the past few weeks, mainly because I am starting to find the show so annoying, I can barely handle it. ANTM is now the hour I suffer through before Gossip Girl starts. Seriously. The one shining light, however, is Heather. Can we please just let her win now and be done with it? And then can next season be America's Next Top Plus-Size Model, so that they can stop feeling obligated every season to include a plus size model who inevitably breaks down due to the fact that she's plus size and competing against twelve skinny bitches? And while I'm on my soapbox, did anyone love how the entire time Tyra was showing the girls how to move (I'm assuming she put them in nude tights and leotards in order to make them look as unflattering as possible, next to her), she never mentioned her music video that she made the girls of season--excuse me, cycle two star in? And remember how Tyra told Ebony a few weeks ago that she doesn't like quitters? Um, what happened to your music career, Tyra? Or, for that matter, your acting career? I'm just saying.

Also, thank god tomorrow is Friday.
Fall Shopping Guide: Art Deco
My wardrobe tends to be a bit heavy on solid colors and stripes (which are, if you think about it, bands of solid colors). I've been trying to add in prints here and there, but I always have a tough time with it--florals are too prissy, geometric prints are too Austin Powers, and polka dots are too young. But with the '20s inspiration this fall, there are a lot of great Art Deco prints out there that manage to look sophisticated without being costumey.

I know I've been knocking Roberto Cavalli's line for H&M, but only because I know the man is capable of greater things. Take, for instance, this Deco-print blouse--his fall collection was filled with gorgeous prints like this. Why he didn't reproduce them for H&M, we will never know.

You know when you go to a party and leave your coat on the bed, then at the end of the night, it's total chaos since everyone has a black coat? With Tibi's Chrysler Coat, that's not going to happen. At least, not for you.

Matthew Williamson is a designer known for his prints, and this dress is one of the best of the Art Deco bunch. Granted, the print is not the most subtle, so I'd keep the rest of your outfit on the basic side.

This Lauren Moffatt shift dress is definitely a conversation-starter: Take a poll on what bridge people think it is. I vote for the Brooklyn Bridge.

Anna Sui is another designer who always has great prints--and she defends them (girlfriend currently has 20+ pending lawsuits against Forever 21). The simplicity of this graphic-print dress reminds me of an Mondrian painting, but in more wardrobe-friendly neutral colors.

And because I love Tibi so much, here's another great print--this time in dress form, which is not as big of a commitment as a coat.

I hope they didn't steal this print from anyone, because Forever 21's satin halter dress is pretty awesome--the pattern reminds me of the Chrysler building, but the magenta color makes it seem not so obvious.

Also cool--but in more of an everyday way--is this stained-glass-print tunic, also from Forever 21.

But if you ask me, the new Topshop can't open fast enough, so I can scoop up dresses like this one by the armload. The print at the hem is subtle enough so that print-averse gals like me can slowly work our way into it.
Fall Shopping Guide: Lace-Up Booties
We call these "shooties" at work, which makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit whenever I hear that. I prefer to call them "booties," as they are, basically, a shorter version of an ankle boot. I do not, however, advocate wearing them as shoes--in other words, with dresses and skirts--unless you have super-long, super-thin legs, or unless you don't mind suffering from stumpy-leg syndrome. I do, however, approve of wearing these booties with pants, whether you're taking the plunge on fall's high-waisted wide-leg styles, or if you're sticking with skinny for the time being. My favorite version of the bootie is a lace-up style that gives a nod to the '20s-inspired looks from the runway; and especially if you're wearing them with a wide-leg pant, a platform is in order. If you absolutely must wear them with bare legs, the lacing will create a vertical line that will help elongate the leg. And we can always use a little elongation, no?

If I had an unlimited clothing budget, I would march myself right over to Barneys and treat myself to some Lanvin. This Oxford pump, with its faceted heel and hidden platform, is practically a work of art. And, hey, it's cheaper than a Richard Prince print!

The fact that Derek Lam's Federica has an open toe pushes it into "shootie" territory. But it's a gutsy move, and my inner Edna and Patsy love the impracticality of it. Swoon.

The Eva from Gucci has a low enough vamp that even a muscular-legged gal could get away with wearing it with a skirt. And since it has such lovely detailing, it would almost be a shame to hide it under pants.

Max Studio's Cooper is a bit higher than the rest and could probably be called a true ankle boot, but with its two-tone effect, it almost looks like a shoe with an ankle sock underneath. Which is kind of weird, but with the elegant heel and spectator detailing, somehow it all works.

Speaking of offbeat shoes that somehow make it work, the Bottine moccasin bootie from Maloles definitely falls into that category. You definitely need a little quirk to pull this one off, but this is definitely not a boot you'll see on half the girls walking down the street. Which I like.

One of my favorite looks overall is Charlotte Ronson's Daria suede bootie, which has a hidden platform and a fun round toe. The price, also, is not too bad.

Definitely not a pair to wear with a bare leg, these MICHAEL Michael Kors Panama Oxfords are mega-clunky. But Kors knows all-American style, and according to the reviews, they're actually comfortable.

If you liked the Derek Lam shoe above, the Maran from Vince Camuto is a good bet at a much more affordable price. The patent leather is very winter-friendly also.

Sometimes, though, a girl just needs an everyday, no-frills black boot. I used to hate their shoes, but in recent seasons, the quality of Nine West's designs has improved greatly, and the Naso is a fine-looking example--not a shootie.