Fall Shopping Guide: Flat Black Patent Leather Boots
I have a major weakness for boots. I have a lot of them. I justify owning so many pairs, because in winter, they're pretty much all I wear. And while I probably don't need to buy another pair per se, there's always room for more. I don't own any patent leather boots, which is a shame, because if you think about it, they're perfect for inclement weather--patent leather is waterproof and much easier to care for than regular leather. So here are several great options for a flat black patent-leather boot. Think of it as the fashionista's snow boot.

My dream boots are these delicious Lanvin ones (they're sold out on the Barneys website, but still available at Kirna Zabete!). I like that the zip is in the back, and the detailing at the toe will prevent your feet from looking like weird, shiny flippers (it will also make your feet look smaller, counteracting the shiny, reflective nature of the leather).

These Burberry boots are a bit shorter in height, but if you ask me, 14 inches is the optimal length for tucking in pants, or for wearing with longer, knee-length skirts. Also, for $650, not too awful price-wise.

These Miu Miu boots are very similar to the Lanvin ones, in that they have detailing at the toe, but this pair has a more ornate wingtippy look to them. They also get bonus points for covering the knee--not a look that everyone can pull off, but easier than true thigh-high boots.

I like the petal-like detail at the top of Pelle Moda's Hansel boots. And for those of you who freak out about wearing totally flat boots, these have a tiny little wedge heel, for just a bit of a lift.

These Bless boots from BCBG are totally clean in their styling, and the shorter, half-length zipper gives them the look of a pull-on, but if you're wearing these over pants, allows you to adjust the hem without getting all bunchy.

Do you ever see a pair of shoes and think, "Where have you been all my life?" That's how I felt when I came across 8020's Jackie boots. The ingenious thing about them is that they look flat, but actually the three-inch wedge heel is concealed. So, yes, these are technically not flat boots, but when they look this hot, do you really care? Best of all, they're only $200, which I feel is an exceptionally good deal.

At a mere $110, the Chinese Laundry Tabb boots are the least-expensive boot featured here. They're simple, but they can hold their own against the above boots, and on a practical note, they have a rubber sole.

I guess these London Fog Wales boots are technically rain boots, but as far as rain boots go, they're quite chic. They're also totally waterproof, which is reassuring.

Another one of my favorite styles is Steve Madden's Swoop boots. I have somewhat of an aversion to zippers on boots, so I like that these are a pull-on style. True, the leather does not look like the highest quality, but for $150, I think they're a good deal.
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Leopard-Print Scarves
Count me among the many who worship at the altar of Kate Moss. She is my number-one style icon and by far the person whose outfits I try to emulate the most. So when I saw a photo of her earlier this year wearing a black blazer, dark flare-leg jeans, brown moccasins, and a leopard-print scarf, I set to work recreating her look. The one piece I have yet to acquire, however, is the leopard-print scarf. Gauzy, pastel-colored scarves were a dime a dozen this summer, but finding a more substantial leopard-print scarf like Kate's was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Thankfully, it's fall now, and luxe cashmere scarves are out in full force.

Kate's actual scarf is this Stephen Sprouse for Louis Vuitton number (I've seen her photographed with the red version as well). It's also a collector's item, because Sprouse has since passed away. All things considered, $725 is not awful, but the good news is that you can get something very similar to this for a lot less.

This Roberto Cavalli fringed shawl is, well, technically a shawl, but you could probably get away with wearing it as a scarf. Plus, it's Cavalli, and if there's anyone who does a good leopard print, it's him.

Etro's animal-print scarf is not really an animal print, but I think this is a tasteful option for those who find leopard print a bit too...wild.

Leave it to Kitson to have a leopard-print scarf (they also have similar versions in bright pink and blue), but this one is 100% cashmere, and therefore pretty luxe. The colors look a bit too vivid to me, but that might just be the photography.

Here's another Cavalli leopard scarf. The shape is wrong, but the price is better and, again, if you want leopard, he's your man.

This Karen Zambos Vintage Couture scarf is knit, so it will be a little cozier for winter. I also like that the leopard print is a bit more abstract; like the Etro scarf above, it's an alternative to the classic leopard print.

This Urban Outfitters scarf is a bit more sheer than I'd like (it's linen, so it's more of a summer scarf) and the color is a bit darker, but it's nice and long, so you could recreate the Kate Moss multi-wrapped effect. Also, the price--$28--is not at all bad.

I like Michael Kors, because he makes things like leopard look classy. This merino wool scarf is knit, but, all things considered, it's pretty subdued.

My favorite scarf (aside from the original Vuitton) is this Tolani pashmina. It's apparently a celeb favorite, and if you search, you can find it in other color combinations. I'm not totally wild about the variations in color, but it's pretty darn good.
Cheryl Shops...the Lewis Cho sample sale
A quick word on the Lewis Cho sample sale: Go! I went today on my lunch hour; the sale is in a tiny but well-stocked showroom on 36th Street, and there were maybe five other people in the 20 minutes or so I was there. There is a lot of merchandise, and most things were available in all sizes (2-8 or S-M-L). Skirts and pants are $30, jersey tops are $35, and silk, dresses, and sweaters are $50. I got a drapey jersey skirt and a striped jersey top; so as not to blow my clothing budget for the month, I had to talk myself out of a Swiss-dot silk blouse, a supersoft sweater dress, and a drapey jersey tunic. It's definitely worth checking out, and tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day. The sale is at 225 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), suite 701, from 11-8. Once again: Go!
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Purple Coats
I wrote about purple in last year's shopping guide, and, well, for those of you who like purple, you're in luck, because it's definitely the must-have color of the season. (A fact confirmed by my parents, who reported seeing purple everywhere when they were in Italy last month.) Still. And while last year I showed everything from gloves to dresses, this season I'm focusing solely on coats, because, well, I'm in the market for a new coat, and I like to stand out in the winter--I am not only easier to find in a crowd, but finding it in the coatroom of a party will be that much quicker. Because the thing I perhaps dread most about winter is the oh-my-god-someone-left-with-my-coat paranoia of pawing through countless lookalike black coats at the end of a drunken evening.

The ultra-luxurious Mallory wrap coat from Ralph Lauren is made out of goat suede and thus completely impractical, but then again, if you're spending $5,000 on a coat, is practicality really your primary concern?

At first glance, you might say the same thing about Moschino's ruffled silk coat, but it's actually filled with goose down, making it quite warm. (But, then again, it's silk, so you'd best be sure it's not snowing when you want to wear it.)

People often ask me what designers I'd wear if I had an unlimited clothing budget; one of my answers is always Jil Sander (currently designed by Raf Simons). This coat is just dreamy: richly colored, understated, beautifully tailored, and topped with a quietly luxe chinchilla collar (hence its nearly $6,000 price tag). Hey, a girl can dream.

Over Labor Day weekend, I went into a Dillard's store for the first time ever, and I must say I was quite impressed; it reminded me of the late great Marshall Field's. I was surprised to see a lot of great designers and brands, too, like Miss Sixty, who made this coat. It's a sweater coat, so it's kind of cheating, but for my readers over on the West Coast, this would make the perfect winter coat for you.

I've been toying with getting a toggle coat for awhile. On one hand, I think the style is too preppy for me, but this A. Cheng toggle coat is purple, and the empire-waist fit is feminine, not boxy, so I think it's a surprisingly wearable update of a classic.

Another update of a classic silhouette is this Soia & Kyo military coat. I love the oversized ball buttons, and the longer top-of-the-knee length is key for keeping your legs warm in the winter. I also like the deeply saturated hue.

I bought a winter coat from Urban Outfitters several years ago (I wrote about it on this very blog) and then saw it on approximately one in every five women under the age of 30. You run a similar risk in buying this Florrie coat, but the fit looks flattering and the price is right.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying your winter coat at Forever 21, but this Annette coat would, worn with layers, probably work for this in-between time of year. It's ladylike, but in a kind of ironic way (this is Forever 21 after all).

It might not have a chinchilla collar, but Delia*s Kelsey belted peacoat has a totally adorable mod drop-waist silhouette and--this is key--a Thinsulate lining for added warmth. Currently on sale for a mere $99.50, I think it's a can't-miss bargain (and, if you're still not sold on purple, it's available in four more neutral colors).
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Tan Convertible Bags
I am always looking for a new bag. As soon as I find one, I'm happy for about a week, and then I start looking for another one. In some ways, I think I just like the thrill of the hunt; in others, I'm still looking for the perfect bag. The closest thing I've found is the Anna Corinna City Tote; I love mine, and still use it, but I also get tired of seeing it everywhere (I feel like half the women in NYC own one). Also, my City Tote is black, and I'd really like a bag in tan (or beige, or camel). I like the option of carrying my bag on either my forearm or my shoulder, so I'm focusing on convertible bags (or, I should say, multi-strapped ones). I'm not sure that any of these will be The One, but here are some strong contenders.


I love the YSL Muse bag, but it's been knocked off everywhere, and, well, there is something a little bit conspicuous about the big Y on the side. This Rive Gauche bag is a bit more understated but, sadly, just as expensive as the Muse, even at Bluefly.

I always love Chloe bags too, and the Heloise satchel, with its broken-in look and detailed straps, is a strong contender. However, whenever I've picked up Chloe bags in the store, they tend to be heavy--and that's without anything inside. I love a sturdy bag, but not one that requires weekly massage therapy in order to carry it.

This Burberry tote has a very classic look, and I was surprised to find that it was one of my favorites. Love the color, love the styling, love the size...and while $1,000 for a bag is nothing to sneeze at, it almost seems like a bargain compared to the previous two bags.

I was going to include this Malababa Filomena bag with the $$$ ones, but now it's on sale, so yay for that. I like how it kind of looks like an old-school briefcase (there was recently an article in Lucky on this). The divided inside looks very organization-friendly as well.

This Silverlake tote from The Sak reminds me of the Burberry bag above, but with a slightly less refined look. The tote shape is definitely work-friendly, but the color is a tiny bit darker than I'd prefer.

For all the $80 khaki pants it sells, you have to admire J.Crew for branching out into more luxurious fare, like this Jamie bag. It's not all tricked out with bells and whistles and hardware, but the pleated shape is sophisticated, and the tassels keep it from being boring.

I've found Jessica Simpson's shoes, while cute, to be completely uncomfortable. This Aer satchel is not bad, but I'm a bit wary of the tacky signature on the bottom, and, for those concerned about this sort of thing, it's not leather.

If you're going to go faux-leather though, I think this vaguely Marc Jacobs-y Melie Bianco satchel is a more stylish option.

But why not spend a little bit more and get a real leather bag? This Gap leather satchel is simple but roomy, and I think that, for the price, it's an incredibly smart buy. Looks like Patrick Robinson is making some positive changes after all!
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Buffalo Plaid
I was in high school during the height of the Grunge era, and so Doc Martens, thermals, and plaid flannel hold a very special place in my heart. Part of me keeps hoping for a grunge resurgence, but seeing is how fashion is still fixated on the '80s, I think we're still several years away from that. Still, with all of the crazy stuff that's going on in the world right now, I think there's something comforting about plaid flannel--think of it as the fashion version of macaroni and cheese. Yet for all of its coziness and, yes, even its lumberjacky connotations, I think there's something polished about buffalo plaid, a simple two-color pattern. And to prevent it from veering too far into Grunge territory, these pieces interpret the pattern in everything from well-tailored jackets to feminine ruffled blouses. Let's call it post-Grunge.

If you're going for haute hunter, no one reinterprets classic American pieces like Ralph Lauren. The Klondike jacket is based on a hunter's jacket, but, pattern aside, that's where the similarities end. Beautifully tailored, it will turn anyone's figure into a va-va-voom hourglass.

Opening Ceremony's buffalo plaid coat has a similarly polished look, but with more of a youthful, mod silhouette. I like the oversized scale of the pattern too.

I love the contradiction of this Robert Rodriguez jacket: The shape is incredibly dramatic and fussy; if it were in, say, taffeta, it would be a completely different look. But the soft ombré plaid mellows it out, creating a perfect balance.

This Ivy plaid shirt has a cascading ruffle at the neckline; that, plus the fitted silhouette ensure that no one will mistake you for a boy when you wear it.

This Smoke & Mirrors Flipside swing jacket is reversible, which is always a bonus. I think the plaid pattern makes it even more versatile too, because the shape is dressy enough to wear over skirts or dresses, while the plaid is casual enough to wear with jeans.

The tie-front style of this Larsen Gray flannel shirt is a nice feminine detail, but, more importantly, the shirt is made from 100% organic cotton, which is even nicer.

I saw this awesome Paul & Joe Sister plaid shirt at Urban Outfitters, but since I can't handle the store, I ordered it on the website. Sadly, I paid attention to the description, which said to order up a size; it was huge on me. So when I reorder it in my real size, I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

The Rosalind plaid jacket from BB Dakota is the kind of thing you wear with leggings on the weekend, and I am totally fine with that.

I feel like Mary-Kate Olsen was photographed recently in a shirt like this plaid tunic smock; she was wearing it with shiny leggings and outrageously high platform shoes, and she was clutching a pack of Marlboros. I think that's a perfect way to wear this roomy, grungy-chic top (minus the Marlboros, of course).
The week in shopping
Four words: Dolce & Gabbana, two floors. Two more: fall and winter. And: go now. Through 10/31; 9-6 Tues. & Wed., 9-8 Thurs., 9-5 Fri.; Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.), 4th & 5th floors.

I have a Lewis Cho blouse that I totally love, so I am going to hit his sample sale to see if I can score some more goodies. Prices are up to 80% off; dresses are $50. 10/28-10/30; 11-8; 225 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 701.

Kooba's handbags and various other leather goods are 50%-80% off. 10/28-10/30; 10-8 (closed 2-3 p.m.); 141 W. 36th St. (Broadway & 7th Ave.).

Prices are a nice 50%-75% off (think $45 for dresses, $95 for jackets) from Euro denim label Miss Sixty. Through 11/1; 10-7 weekdays, 10-6 Sat.; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

ITake up to 70% off past collections from Italian line MaxMara. Through 10/30; 10-8; 145 W. 18th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Clothingline has Kenneth Cole for men and women: clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, and more; prices are largely under $100. 10/28-10/31; 10-7 Tues. & Thurs., 10-6 Wed. & Fri.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Stock up on silk, cashmere, and leather cold-weather accessories at Portolano's sale, where prices are wholesale and below. Through 10/31; 10-6; 15 W. 37th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 11th fl.

Take up to 70% off Malo cashmere and Gianfranco Ferre clothes and accessories for women and men. Leave your cash, strollers, and kids under 12 at home. 11/2-11/5; 9-6:30, 9-5 Wed.; 317 W. 33rd (8th & 9th Aves.).

f Italian names like Incotex, Zanone, Montedoro, and Glanshirt ring your bell, score these lines for 65% off, for men and women. Through 10/31; 10-6, 10-8:30 Wed.; 135 5th Ave. (at 20th St.), 9th fl.

Anything black or orange is 30% off (clever!) at Elizabeth Charles. 10/30-11/2; noon-7:30, noon-6:30 Sun.; 639 1/2 Hudson St. (Horatio & Gansevoort Sts.).

Wave a tearful goodbye to Soho's Eurotrashy Lounge; it's turning into a Victoria's Secret. In the meantime, score Sonia Rykiel, Miss Sixty, and more for 50%-90% off. While supplies last; 10-9, 10-10 Fri. & Sat., noon-8 Sun.; 593 Broadway (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Get a new winter coat from Andrew Marc; women's, men's, and girls' coats in leather, cashmere and wool are available (plus bags too). 11/1-11/9; 10-6 weekends, 8-7 weekdays; 401 7th Ave. (32nd & 33rd Sts.).

Anbar Shoes
has shoes and boots from your favorite brands (Corso Como, BCBG, etc.) for $25-$130. Through 11/8; 9-6:20, 11-5:45 Sat., closed Sun.; 60 Reade St. (Broadway & Church Sts.).

It's Friends & Family time at Steve Madden; enter code VOTEMADDEN at checkout through 11/5 for 20% off your order.

Lots of deals at Saks: The Shoe and Handbag gift card event: Use code SHOES for a $100 or $250 gift card, or HANDBAG for a $250 or $500 gift card, 10/30-11/2. Get Free Shipping on any order with code SHIPFREE through 10/29. Take an additional 20% off already reduced merchandise 10/30-11/2. Or take 20% off select jeans at the Denim Event 10/30-11/2. And don't forget free shipping when you spend $150 with code FREESHIP 10/30-11/2.

Gap is having a BOGO: Select pants are buy one, get one 50% through 11/12.

Save 50%-80% at Revolve Clothing's massive sale.

The autumn sale has begun at Shopbop!
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Bib Necklaces
I tend to give Vera Wang a hard time, because I feel like she bends over backwards so as not to send too-pretty looks down the runway. We get it, Vera, you're not just a bridal designer. Nevertheless, Vera collaborated with one of my favorite jewelry designers, Philip Crangi, to create gorgeous, vintage-inspired oversized jewels to go with her fall collection. (You can read about it here.) My favorite pieces were the big, chunky cut crystal bib necklaces, and if there's one thing I like in the world, it's huge jewelry.

Here's the Vera Wang necklace that I was talking about. It's cut glass, which is very fancy-looking, but it's strung on a cord that ties in back, which keeps it low key. And the neutral colors mean you can wear it with pretty much anything.

If the thought of wearing cut glass around your neck is troubling, Burberry's geometric necklace has more of a chunky gemstone look. It's also not quite as large. And while the price may seem daunting for costume jewelry, keep in mind that a real gemstone necklace of this sort would probably cost at least ten times as much.

And while I chose to give Vera Wang the credit for this trend, the truth is that Marni has been making oversized bib necklaces for years. This breastplate necklace doesn't have the crystal or gemstone look of the others, but I like the vaguely ethnic feel of it, and it's a great alternative for those who want more of an edge.

Anthropologie's Oberon Necklace looks like something Nicole Kidman's character would wear in Moulin Rouge--it has kind of an Indian, maharajah look to it (or, some might argue, a Van Cleef & Arpels look). With so many colors, however, coordinating your look might be a challenge.

I like this Rachel Leigh Jewelry "Millies Eating Contest" necklace (crazy name, I know), because it looks like vintage costume jewelry. Of course, one could argue that you could probably find a similar but unique vintage piece for much less, but sifting through vintage jewelry is often a tedious process, and ordering from Shopbop is generally so much easier. Also, I simply like the design.

Ravinstyle has a bunch of great geometric necklaces from Substance; this hexagon bib necklace is my favorite. The design is not at all fussy, but it's still interesting to look at. I am all for neutral colors too.

I can't really picture any of Ann Taylor's clientele wearing this statement-making bib necklace, but, then again, I haven't exactly set foot in an Ann Taylor store in years. Still, with that in mind, I picture this with a simple black sheath dress, preferably strapless.

There was another necklace at Banana Republic that I wanted to link to instead, but it sold out, so here's this one instead. The stones at first looked like shells to me, which made me think of a bohemian, summery kind of look, but the more I think about it, the more I think this necklace would look great with anything from a black turtleneck to a button-down shirt. For the price, I think it's an exceptional deal.

This mustard & sage necklace looks so Anthropologie to me; why this one is $48 while the necklace above is nearly $400, I have no idea. Still, I think it's a cute way to add some color to your look, and due to the sunny look of it, you can wear it well into summer.