In These Shoes: Ecote Tall Suede Fringe Boots

Dear readers, as this is my last post before the holidays (not to fret, I'll be back the first week of January!), I thought I'd leave you with a special treat. With all the gift guides and fall shopping guides, I know I've been low on shoe posts lately, but hopefully this will make up for it. So, I've been obsessed with Diane von Furstenberg's Penn fringe boots ever since they came down the runway last February. They're in line with that whole urban-bohemian Isabel Marant vibe, and they look like something Kate Moss would wear (an instant win in my book). And in spite of the fact that they're $650, these boots are sold out nearly everywhere (Shopbop being the one exception, although they're out of my size in black). Of course, this makes me want them even more. Desperate, I started Googling black suede fringe boots and lo and behold, I found this very similar pair by Ecote at Urban Outfitters on sale for $34.99. That's right, $34.99. They are real, actual suede, and while the fringe isn't nearly as thick as the DVF version, I feel like at that price, you really have no cause for complaint. They even get bonus points in my book for the very tolerable 2.5-inch heel (as opposed to DVF's 3.75"). If there were ever a no-brainer featured in this category, I think these boots would be it. Seriously, go buy yourself a pair—they're Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year rolled all into one! And on that note, see you next year!

The last round of December sample sales in New York City

Okay, people, if you're not done with your holiday shopping yet...well, good luck and godspeed. If you are, thankfully the few sales this week are quite conducive to self-purchasing!

Through 12/21
In case you missed the Adrienne Landau sale earlier, the company is having another fur blowout, with fur jackets, accessories, and home items. 10-6 T, 10-4 W; 519 8th Ave. (35th & 36th Sts.), 21st fl.

Through 12/21
Anna Sheffield's Bing Bang jewelry is one of my all-time favorite lines, and you can score it for 20%-80% off at this sale. Noon-8; 153 Lafayette St. (Grand & Howard Sts.).  

Through 12/21
Miha's ready-to-wear is up to 90% off. 10-7 T, 10-5 W; 330 W. 38th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 1202.

Through 12/22
De Grisogono fine jewelry for men & women is up to 70% off. 10-7; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Through 12/27
Expect lots of neon, mesh, and other questionable hipster gear at the American Apparel Flea Market, but, hey, it's up to 90% off. 9-9 (closed 12/25); 766 6th Ave (25th & 26th Sts.).

TheFind Guest Post: Cold Weather Doesn't Stand a Chance Against These Puffer Vests!

I remember when puffer vests were really big in my middle school years. I wore those things like they were going out of style... probably because they were. But like most fads, what once was old is new yet again, and sure enough - fifteen years later - the puffer vest has re-emerged has a must-have in the fashion world as well as the snowboarding slopes. These modern takes on the sporty vest fit so seamlessly with our winter wardrobe because they have that utilitarian vibe without being overly functional. Don't get me wrong - these down-stuffed little numbers are definitely cozy, but with a more lightweight feel comes easier layering potential, and more fashion freedom to incorporate these vests into your outfit without overpowering the rest of your look. After all, if you've ever owned a puffy coat or vest, you know how easy it can be to drown in all the comfy puffiness... or look like an astronaut, thanks to the metallic silver vest my mom made rock in 5th grade. So my only advice is to be mindful of bulk when it comes to shopping for the perfect warm layering piece for winter!

From left to right: Penfield Stapleton Tweed Vest, Calvin Klein Hooded Packable Down Vest, J. Crew Excursion Quilted Vest.

- Alex Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: What I Want

A confession: Throughout the holiday shopping season, I practice a method I like to call "something for you, something for me." Yes, I shop for myself during the holidays, but considering the amazing sample sales and deals out there this time of year, can you blame me? That said, I don't buy myself everything I want—after all, I need to save some things for this post! So here's what's on my holiday wish list (heavy emphasis on wish).

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: What I Want

Top row:
I have what I call a Fashion Holy Grail list, and one of the key items on it is a Rick Owens shearling jacket, just like this one. It's more than my mortgage payment, but, oh, what a beauty.  Rick Owens biker jacket, $3,200

Fact: I love me some mollusks. This octopus diptych was for sale on One King's Lane a few weeks ago, and although I missed it, I'm keeping an eye out should it ever reappear—it would be perfect for above my bed. Silver-Framed Blue Octopus Diptych

A year ago, I sniffed the special-edition Dior J'adore L'Or then promptly forgot about it until I recently smelled it again in a duty-free shop...and fell in love all over again.  Dior J' Adore L'Or Essence De Parfum, $110

Middle row:
This pink silver ring looks pretty and delicate from far away—and it is—but up close, it's a bit kinky! I like it. Delfina Delettrez silver ring, $210

No pair of shoes this fall has inspired such lust in me than this blue velvet lace-up pair from Loeffler Randall. I am watching them like a hawk lest they go on sale.  Natane Lace-Up Stilettos, $595

A recent trip to the Rag & Bone sample sale led me to this revelation: I will wear pretty much anything of theirs. Seriously, everything they make just fits me well. And I think if I owned this sweater, I'd wear it constantly.  Rag & Bone Montgomery Crop Sweater, $175

Bottom row:
I've been looking for a leopard-print haircalf tote forever (specific, I know), but I think this one by Maje might just be the winner. Maje leopard tote, $840

This is like a fashion version of the ironic hipster tee. Cheeky! A.P.C. Fashion Is for Losers Tee, $35

Finally, I saw this necklace back at Dannijo's fall/winter presentation in February, and I've been lusting after it ever since. It's such a strong piece, it's an instant outfit-maker. And a very memorable one at that. Dannijo bib necklace, $995

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Gifts That Give Back

While I still maintain that the best way to support a charity is to make a direct donation, these items make great gifts for anyone on your list, and they give back to worthy causes.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Gifts that Give Back

Top row:
Designed by Ed Ruscha (one of my favorite artists!), this benefits the Art Production Fund. Art Production Fund towel, $95

This peace pillow is from a collaboration between CB2 and Bawa La Tumaini, a fair trade organization that empowers impoverished Kenyans. watu kwa amani 20" pillow, $40

100% of the proceeds from these skinny jeans benefit City Year, a national service organization. J Brand City Year 811 Jeans, $144

Middle row:
Crafted from Vietnam War-era scrap metal, proceeds from this bracelet generate income for artisan families in Bali's Naphia Village. ARTICLE 22 peaceBOMB Arm Bangle, $40

25% of the proceeds from this cheery orange silk-modal scarf benefit the Nancy Davis Foundation for MS.  Donna Karan Erase MS Scarf, $295

100% of proceeds from the sale of this woven bracelet go to the FECHAC Foundation to support its Expanding Children's Development Program in Mexico. PROJECT PAZ Woven Bracelet by Sara Beltran for Dezso, $65

Bottom row:
Everyone knows (and loves) TOMS shoes, and now they've added sunglasses—each pair purchased help TOMS give sight to one person in need—through medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses or sight-saving surgery. TOMS striped sunglasses, $145

15% of the proceeds from this colorful tote benefit Indego Africa, which supports women artisans and entrepreneurship in Rwanda. Nicole Miller Indego Africa Tote Bag, $60

There are several high-profile celebrities that created mugs for Zrike Co.'s "Whatever it Takes" campaign, but George Clooney's is my favorite, and 20% of proceeds go to his charity of choice, the 21st Century Leaders and CARE International. Zrike Co. Whatever It Takes George Clooney Mug, $15

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Aging-Hipster Husband (or Boyfriend)

He never wants to grow up, he loves having facial hair, and he never crosses the East River if he doesn't have to. Here's what to get your Gen X (and proud!) significant other.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Brooklyn-Dwelling Husband (or Boyfriend)

Top row:
While wearing designer goods isn't totally his style, this merino wool V-neck sweater undoubtedly is. Bonus cool points for the Goth McQ logo.  McQ by Alexander McQueen V-neck sweater, $113

He thinks coffee-table books are so not his style, but he'll love the trip down memory lane courtesy of this book. the indie rock poster book, $25

He'll never have to use his always-ill-fated open-the-beer-on-the-countertop trick as long as he has this handy iPhone case.  iBottleopener Bottle Opening iPhone Case, $20

Middle row:
While he'd never admit he needs help with such a manly endeavor as growing a mustache, this book should make the process easier (and more fascinating, sigh) for both of you. The Moustache Grower's Guide, $11

Keeping his business cards wrapped in a rubber band in his pocket just isn't cutting it anymore. Upgrade him with this snazzy case. NAMU Stingray Business Card Holder, $110

These socks are made of hemp. Heh heh heh. Happy Socks - Grey with Blue Hemp Recycled Socks, $12

Bottom row:
Playing Angry Birds will be so much cooler (and probably easier on his hands) with this retro iPad cabinet. iCADE iPad Arcade Cabinet, $80

Honestly, any guy, from about 5 years to 50, would likely appreciate this epic Star Wars book. May the Force be with you! Star Wars: The Blueprints Limited Edition, $500

True whiskey acolytes know that melting ice waters down their tasty beverage; these ingenious whiskey stones keep his drink cool without altering the taste. WHISKEY STONES GIFT SET, $20

Even more December sample sales in New York

Through 12/15

Hit Loro Piana at up to 80% off, party dresses from Pamella Roland and others for up to 80% off, and exotic leather goods by Tardini at this multi-designer sample sale. 10-6, 10-4 Th; 37 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 9th fl. 

Through 12/15
For small-footed ladies (6, 7, 8), Farylrobin shoes and boots are $20-$100. noon-7 T-W, noon-6 Th; 200 Park Ave. South (at 17th St.). 

Through 12/16
Always one of my favorites, the Haute Hippie sample sale offers up to 70% off their glam-bohemian contemporary line. 9-6; 336 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 460. 

Nanette Lepore dresses are $145, skirts and sweaters are $95. 9-7; 225 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 4th fl.

Jane Post outerwear is 50%-80% off. 10-6 T, 10-7 W; 240 W. 37th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 6th fl.

James Jeans—all styles from skinny to flared, colored to corduroy—are 50%-75% off. Samples are $15-$50, stock is mostly $80-$90. 9-7:30 T & Th, 10-5:30 W; 500 Greenwich St. (Spring & Canal Sts.), ste. 202.

Fun costume jewelry is just $5 and up at the Lee Angel sale. 5-8 T, 11-7 W-Th, 10-5 F; 524 Broadway (at Spring St.), 6th fl.

Long lines, lots of crowds, but up to 75% off womenswear at DVF, with new merch arriving daily. 9-6:30 T, 10-8 W, 10-7 Th, 9-5 F, 10-3 S; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Eugenia Kim's chic chapeaux are up to 70% off, with chunky wool turbans for $35. 10-7, 10-6 S; 347 W. 36th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), ste. 501.

Fancy-lady shoes by Roger Vivier are on sale. 10-7 W, 9-6:30 Th-Sa, 9-5 Su; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

One of my favorite new designers, Kaelen, is taking 50%-75% off her fall and spring collections. 5-9 p.m.; 11 W. 25th St. (Broadway & 6th Ave.), 7th fl.

Battle the well-dressed hipsters at Rachel Comey's sample sale, where clothes, shoes & accessories for men and women are up to 60% off. 5-9 Th, 10-6 F; 268 Mulberry St. (Houston & Prince Sts.).

Exotic bags and accessories by Carlos Falchi are up to 80% off. 9-4; 1450 Broadway (40th & 41st Sts.).

Chatecaille makeup and skincare (normally found at Bergdorf Goodman) is on sale. 10-6; 584 Broadway (Houston & Prince Sts.), ste. 1111.

Suiteshop Showroom's sample sale is taking up to 80% off labels like Pencey and Lauren Moshi. 10-7 Th-F, 1-4 S; 110 Greene St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), ste. 410.

Helmut Lang and Theyskens's Theory are up to 65% off. noon-8 Th, 8-8 F, 10-6 S-S; 139 5th Ave. (20th & 21st Sts.), 2nd fl. 

I'm contemplating ditching my company holiday party to score 60%-90% off Suno, plus Carlos Campos, Dieppa Restrepo, and Illesteva. 11-7 F-Sa, noon-6 Su; 76 Wooster St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Tucker dresses & separates are $50-$250. 9-7 F, 11-7 Sa, noon-6 Su; 355 W. Broadway (Broome & Grand Sts.).

Best for last: Proenza Schouler clothes and shoes (no word on bags) are $82.50-$1035. 9-9; 495 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 3rd fl. 

TheFind Guest Post: Warm Up to a Good Cause with Scarlett Johansson's Neff Beanies

Scarlett Johansson is probably most known for her girl-next-door appeal, even in her most glamorous moments on the red carpet. She's the celebrity you want to hate (because your boyfriend has this huge crush on her) but you just can't, because she just seems so darn... real. Ugh! And if you thought it was hard enough to hate her as it is, she's now putting her celebrity platform to good use with a collaboration with Neff Headwear to fight cancer in the name of cold-weather wear. Scarlett has teamed up with the sporty brand to create two specially designed beanies, available only at Zappos, with a fraction of the proceeds going to City of Hope - one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers. These cotton beanies are not only just about the coziest stocking stuffer you can hand out this year, but they truly are the gift that keeps giving - up to 5,000 purchased beanies are matched with a beanie donation to City of Hope's cancer survivors, while every purchase after that earns City of Hope a 10% donation. Hats off to that, Scar-Jo!

- Alex Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Best Friend Forever

She has enough dirt on you for years of blackmail, but that's not why you should buy your BFF a present. She deserves something awesome because she is awesomeness personified. And, hey, giving her a date with Ryan Gosling is probably not an option.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Best Friend Forever

Top row:
Your BFF is a stone-cold fox, so what better gift to give her than a foxy lady T-shirt? Girl Fox Tee, $30

Because you don't judge her for her guilty pleasures, she can listen to Katy Perry to her heart's content on this cool headphones. WeSC:The WeSC x Bing Bang Headphones, $100

Because she will play this game with you and be the only one to give you a real challenge.  Assouline Books Fashion Game Book by Florence Muller, $35

Middle row:
Your BFF has never met a statement necklace she hasn't liked, but this Pam Hiran collar is truly radiant—just like her! Brilliant A-Ray Necklace, $60

While this NARS palette seems almost too beautiful to actually use, your BFF will know exactly what to do with it. Nars Hanamichi Kabuki Eyeshadow, $65

She's your favorite mani-pedi partner, so why not commemorate the occasion with this festive set?  Deborah Lippmann Three Times a Lady 3-piece Nail Lacquer Set, $35

Bottom row:
You'd get her a PS1 bag if you could, but in the meantime, your bestie will still love rolling out this fancy towel at the beach. Proenza Schouler Beach Towel, $145

Because she knows what song this line is from: "What's that you've got on/Is it Comme des Garçons?" Comme des Garcons leather zip around wallet, $100

And while she'll gladly participate in a cheese-fest with you, fondue is that much better when served in a ceramic bunny. Shinzi Katoh Dip-Hop Hit Fondue Set, $50

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Gruff but Lovable Dad

He's just as hard to shop for as Mom, but maybe even worse, because when you ask your dad what to get him for Christmas, he says, "Oh, don't get me anything, I have enough stuff." And yet he always seems to appreciate what you get him. Dads are awesome, aren't they?

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Dad

Top row:
Replace Dad's Timex with a Nixon, a line of watches that come in classic styles but unexpected materials. Nixon Gunmetal Watch, $350

This year's totally fail-safe Dad gift: Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, $18

Because his current system of duct-taping a flashlight where he needs one is not always the best, Dad would appreciate this go-anywhere LED torch light.  GorillaTorch LED Light, $26

Middle row:
Fact: Dads like hats. This is the style that mine prefers, in a timeless, English-countryman style. Lock & Co Hatters Herringbone Tweed Flat Cap, $140

If your dad gets as upset as mine does when the local grocery store stops carrying his beer of choice, then perhaps he'll appreciate a beer-making kit. Home Brew Kit, $15

My dad is hopelessly devoted to Old Spice, but if yours appreciates the finer things, he should love this set featuring one of my favorite manly scents in the world.  Acqua Di Parma Colonia Gift Set, $120

Bottom row:
Do you know any dads who don't love gadgets? Didn't think so. He should get a kick out of this cool handheld scanner. VuPoint Magic Wand II Portable Scanner, $100

True, that trip to Starbucks may be a highlight of his day, but after he starts making his own espresso, he'll never want to go back. De'Longhi Lattissima Plus Espresso Machine, $500

Win-win: This compost collector creates nutrient-rich soil for Dad's garden, and its odor-resistant design means Mom won't complain about the associated odor. FRESH AIR COMPOST COLLECTOR, $30

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Hard-to-Shop-for Mom

If your mom is like mine, I find the best approach is just to ask her what she wants for Christmas. But if that's not your style (totally understandable), here are gifts that any stylish mom should love.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Mom

Top row:
One thing my mom has instilled in me is a love of slippers; I feel almost naked without them when at home. Considering her cookie habit as well, I think she'd approve of these. Late Night Cookies Slippers, $59

My mom likes a colorful bag; this one is cool enough for you to borrow.  Botkier leather satchel handbag, $495

Moms are some of the only people who I feel can get away with wearing a cape. This one is cozy but fashionable too.  Toga Pulla Cape, $462

Middle row:
Some people consider candles to be an impersonal gift (and they can be), but these feature the delicious scents of Ladurée, and the box is adorable. A Christmas Enchantment Set, $100

This fur cossack hat is so chic, your mom won't care about ruining her hairdo. GLAMOURPUSS fur hat, $229

L-Atitude is an awesome curated site that has a lot of great jewelry from around the world—meaning the big, dramatic stuff that moms like.  Blue Tassel beaded necklace, $41

Bottom row: 
These stackable mixing bowls make cooking fun and save space too (not that your mom's gargantuan suburban kitchen doesn't have room to spare).  Nest 8 bowls, $50

If your mom was bummed about missing Missoni for Target, get her the real deal—these hand towels are a lot more affordable than you think! Missoni Home - Homer Hand Towel, $23

Your mom taught you everything you know about fashion—or at least that there's no competing with French women, right?  Parisiennes: A Celebration Of French Women, $50

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Dorky Brother

He's managed to hook up every electrical device in his apartment to his computer, he can fix yours in under a minute, and, yes, somehow this is cool nowadays. Here's what to get your tech-geek brother.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Tech-Geek Brother

Top row:
When his skateboard is his main mode of transportation, you can at least make sure it's stylish, with this deck designed by Liz Goldwyn.  Liz Goldwyn Limited Edition Skateboard Deck, $200

Sadly, these Lucha key covers are sold out on CB2's website, but hopefully you can find them in stores—and hopefully your bro will no longer confuse the top lock with the bottom! lucha key toppers, set of two , $5.95

If your brother is a true hipster-geek, chances are he rides a fixie. Not that there's anything wrong with that, or this book.  "42x12: the cult of fixed", $30

Middle row:
Rob Pruitt's Mickey Mouse tee subverts the classic, making your bro look both lovable and smart-alecky. Rob Pruitt You Are Mickey Tee, $100

He's never met Star Wars-themed merchandise he hasn't liked, which means he should love one of these alarm clocks. Lego Star Wars Mini-Figure Alarm Clock, $44

File under things I can't explain: Why guys think ray guns are so cool. Brace yourself for the onslaught of Facebook photos of him posing with it. RAY GUN SCULPTURE , $150

Bottom row:
Because he's probably never cleaned his apartment, perhaps this robot is a good idea, at least for his desk (where he spends all his time anyway). Mini Robot Vacuum, $26

One small accessory can do a world of good for his style. This bungee-cord-esque bracelet shouldn't be too much of a stretch.  MIANSAI rope bracelet, $60

Or you can just call a spade a spade with this LED-powered belt buckle (the message can be changed, FYI). LED Belt Buckle, $20

More December sample sales in New York

Through 12/7
Gift-friendly items from Lalique, Judith Leiber, Hearts on Fire, and Michael C. Fina are on sale at Soffier Haskin. 9-6:30 T, 9-5 W; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.)

Through 12/9
Pono's artsy jewelry is up to 80% off. 9-6; 132 W. 36th St. (Broadway & 7th Ave.), 8th fl.

Through 12/22
The Showroom Seven sale features up to 60% off Issa London, Odd Molly, Charlotte Ronson & more, plus free drinks every night after 5 p.m.! 10-7, 11-6 Sat (closed Sun); 263 11th Ave. (27th & 28th Sts.), 3rd fl.  

Beyond Vintage's spring and early fall collections are 30%-75% off. noon-7; 275 West 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Gryson & Olivia Harris bags are up to 70% off, with prices starting at $50 for samples. 9-7; 180 Varick St. (King & Charlton Sts.). ste. 916.

Luxury furs are on sale at Giuliana Teso. 10-6; 224 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 205.

Handbags & accessories are up to 70% off at Lauren Merkin, with prices starting at $25. 11-7, 11-4 Sat.; 231 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 201.

The sale I'm most excited about this week:  Current/Elliott, Joie & Equipment are 50%-75% off. 9-7 T, 10-8 W-Th, 10-7 F, 10-4 Sat; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Hanro underwear, loungewear & sleepwear mostly in sample sizes (XS and S for women, M for men) is up to 75% off. 8-6; 358 5th Ave. (34th & 35th Sts.), 7th fl.

The other sale I'm very excited about this week: Yigal Azrouel and Cut25 for men & women. 10-7; 225 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 5th fl.

Previous seasons are 60%-90% off and current season is 20% off at the United Bamboo sample sale. 11-7; 217 Centre St. (Grand & Howard Sts.)., 6th fl.

Indie labels Billykirk, Vanishing Elephant, Chronicles of Never, and more are up to 75% off at the Timothy Heenan Showroom sale. 9-6 (elevator stops working after 4 p.m.) 247 Centre St. (Broome & Grand Sts.), 7th fl.

Gift-friendly scarves can be scored at the Bindya sample sale. 10-7, 9-6 F; 49 W. 38th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 9th fl.

Stock up on knits at Splendid and Ella Moss—women's, men's, and kids' merch will be available. 8-7 Th, 8-5 F; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 12th fl.

Samples are $28 and up on brands like Citizens of Humanity and Goldsign at the  Simon Showroom sample sale. Cash only! 10-7; 95 5th Ave. (at 17th St.), 3rd fl.

Lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear, and loungwear is 50%-70% off at Cheryl Shops fave Eberjey. 9-7 Th, 9-4 F; 40 E. 34th St. (Park & Madison Aves.), ste. 1215.

Samples and stock (everything from summer sandals to winter boots) are $40 and up at Matt Bernson. Cash only. 11-6; 20 Harrison St. (Hudson & Greenwich Sts.).

Linea Pelle bags, belts, and wallets are $200 and under. 10-5; 362 5th Ave. (34th & 35th Sts.), ste 901.

Ippolita jewelry is up to 70% off retail. 10-6 F, 10-8 Sat, noon-5 Sun; 111 E. 59th St. (Park & Lex).

Ralph Lauren for men, women & children is on sale at Soffier-Haskin. 9-6:30, 9-5 M; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

TheFind Guest Post: Geek Goes Chic With Rebecca Minkoff for eBay!

There are few things in life that excite me as much as an affordable designer collaboration. But what's even more exhilarating than the promise of new affordable designer creations from my favorite big-name couturiers is an online-only designer collabo. That means I have just as much of a chance to get my hands on the goods as any other stylista - as long as I click quickly - plus I can avoid the pushy crowds, insane lines, and demolished displays of the stores. What's not to love? The Rebecca Minkoff @ eBay collection brings the designer's edgy chicness to our favorite bargain-hunting site in the form of rocker-inspired tech accessories! iPhone cases, iPad skins, wristlets, and more, this collection boasts the same studded embellishments and neon details that we love from Rebecca Minkoff accessories, but with an eBay-friendly price range, with goodies ranging from $28-220. Peep the selection while it still lasts on eBay's Fashion Vault!

- Alex Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Teen/Tween Sister

Her iPhone never leaves her hand, she always posts the latest memes on your Facebook wall, and someday she'll run her own Internet start-up. Here are tech-savvy gifts for the teen or tween girl in your life.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Your Plugged-In Sister

Top row:
Give her this retro headset, just like what you used to gab on as a teen...minus the iPhone, of course. Pop Phone Handset, $35

Derek Blasberg's tongue-in-cheek book is actually a smart guide to etiquette for the modern girl. Classy, $17

More empowering than buying a new scarf? Learning how to knit one! (And, hey, maybe she can start an Etsy business one day...)  Wool and the Gang wool scarf, $95

Middle row:
Overdoing it on eye makeup is a rite of teenage passage; this kit should give her plenty to work with. tokidoki 24 Karat Skate Deck Eyeshadow Palette, $39

USB hubs tend to be dork-oriented (not that there's anything wrong with that), but this one is fit for a tech goddess.  Aphrodite USB Hub, $46

With a stack of these bracelets, she'll look like she's in the band, not with it.  Guitar string bracelets, $10

Bottom row:
She might not yet be ready for Proenza or Wang, but this tee lets her dip her toes into the high-fashion waters.  Rodarte blue t shirt, $155

Because she spends more time on her hair than anyone else you know, she'll easily master this new clip-free curling iron set. Amika Clip-Free Curler with Travel Set at, $115

She was born this love Lady Gaga, that is. Listening to "Edge of Glory" will sound that much sweeter on Gaga-endorsed headphones. Black Heartbeats by Lady Gaga High Performance Headphones, $150

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Other People's Kids

I don't know about you, but my friends have been popping out kids like there's no tomorrow. Thankfully, buying presents for kids is almost as fun as buying presents for yourself. These may not be the next Tickle Me Elmo or whatever other sold-out present parents are paying quintuple for on eBay, but these seem pretty cool to me.

Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Other People's Kids

Top row:
Every native New York City baby needs a onesie with the major tourist attractions, if only as a public service.  MAPTOTES New York City Icon Onesie, $30

Baby shoes are cute, but these socks—perfect for pre-shoe-wearers—may be even cuter. LUCY'S SOCKS - SET OF 6, $26

This elephant (there are other animals available too) can be heated in the microwave and also smells like lavender. Um, can I have one too?  Aroma Home - Elephant Hot Hugs Hottie, $26

Middle row:
Should the kid remain attached to his or her blankie until adulthood, this Pendleton blanket is so cool, it would be completely understandable. Pendleton Muchacho Baby Blanket - Sapphire - Zd632, $80

I don't know exactly what this thing does, but it's reportedly educational, and it will at least keep the kids away from your iPad. ViNCi - Touch Screen Mobile Learning Tool for Toddlers and Young..., $479

The Stacrobats has a clever name and bright colors, and it's won a bunch of awards. Also, it looks fun!  Stacrobats Soft Colorful Children's Activity for Stacking..., $51

Bottom row:
I find a lot of kids' clothes to be a bit twee, but this organic cotton tee manages to be cute and silly at the same time. MASALA TEES Humpy Kholy Kids Tee, $35

Considering knowing Mandarin helps your child get into preschool, perhaps it's never too early to start learning the periodic table of the elements. PERIODIC TABLE BUILDING BLOCKS, $40

I know many children under the age of 3 who are totally sated by the ol' iPhone, but this dancing lion speaker takes it to a whole other level. DANCING LION SPEAKER, $70

This week's sample sales in New York

Theory womenswear is up to 65% off. 11/30-12/4; 10-7 W-F, 10-5 S-S; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.
J.Crew merch for men, women, and children is up to 60% off, and word is that they're restocking daily! 11/29-12/3; 10-8, 10-6 Sat.; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).
Derek Lam's fall-winter line is heavily discounted. 11/30-12/1; 10-6; 76 Mercer St. (at Broome St.).

Current-season Be&D bags, shoes, and accessories are up to 80% off. 11/29-12/1; 9-7; 260 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 8th fl.

Stock up on gifts for me (and maybe for you) at Alexis Bittar's sample sale. Cash only. 12/2-12/3; 125 W. 21st St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Cool labels like Veda and Surface to Air are 20-40% off at the Archetype Showroom sample sale. 12/1-3; 10-7; 676 Broadway (at Bond St.), 2nd fl.

Shop Botkier's online sample sale from the comfort of your own home (or office) and save up to 60% on classic styles; like them on Facebook for an extra 10% off. 11/30-12/2; starts at 9 a.m. at

Samples are $40-$180 and overstock is 60% off at Nicholas K's sample sale. 11/30-12/4; 11-7 W, 10:30-8 Th, 11-8 F, 11-9 S, 11-5 Su; 809 Washington St. (Gansevoort & Horatio Sts.).

L.A.M.B. and Harajuku Lovers bags are on sale. Credit cards only! 11/29-12/1; 1-8 T, 10-8 W, 8-6 Th; 347 W. 34th St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Amanda Uprichard's party-friendly silk dresses are $70 and blouses are $50 at her sample sale. 12/2-12/4; 10-6; 5 Rivington St. (Bowery & Chrystie St.).

Baggu bags make excellent stocking stuffers; stock up this weekend. 12/3-12/4; noon-5; 242 Wythe St. (at N. 3rd St.), #6, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Save up to 75% on Lela Rose clothes & accessories. 11/30-12/2; 8-7 W, 9-6 Th, 9-5 F; 224 W. 30th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 14th fl.

Theory menswear is up to 65% off. 11/30-12/3; noon-8 W, 8-8 Th-F, 10-6 S; 139 5th Ave. (20th & 21st Sts.), 2nd fl.

Gift-friendly Autumn Cashmere sweaters & accessories are up to 75% off. Through 12/2; 9-7; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1111.

Fancy Frette linens start at $15 at this sale. Through 12/1; 9-6:30, 9-5 Th.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Treat the man in your life to some Gilded Age clothes & accessories for 60%-75% off. 11/30-12/3; 10-7:30, 10-4:30 Sat.; 580 Broadway (at Houston St.), ste 912.

At Shipley & Halmos' first men's sample sale, shirts are $75 and blazers are $175. 12/1-12/3; 8 Greene St. (Canal & Grand Sts.), 2nd fl.

Current- and past-season apparel, accessories & home items are up to 80% off at Lisa Perry. Through 11/30; 976 Madison Ave. (at 76th St.).

Black Friday alternatives: Small Business Saturday & Giftly

Is it me, or has Black Friday gotten a little bit out of control? Traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season—and by association, the day on which retailers historically started to make a profit, hence the name—Black Friday is now about midnight store openings, insane crowds, and, in some unfortunate cases, trampling and riots. Now, I am not one to turn away from a bargain, but is schlepping out to the mall at 2 a.m. to buy your loved ones $40 cashmere sweaters and $199 plasma TVs really in the spirit of the season? The last few years, MW & I have spent Black Friday playing Wii with our nephews, and a few hours of family bonding over Rock Band and Mario Kart are worth more to me than any door-buster. Plus, as The Shophound helpfully points out, you've got a month until Christmas, so why hurry?

One shopping endeavor I can definitely get behind is Small Business Saturday, an American Express–sponsored event that, you guessed it, encourages you to patronize locally owned businesses. Meant as an alternative to the big-box-focused Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, now in its second year, serves to remind us that when we all shop small, it makes a big impact. You can become a fan on Facebook to find participating businesses near you, and if you have an American Express card (seriously, the best credit card ever), you can register to receive a $25 statement credit when you use your card at a small business. Added bonus: You won't have to fight the crowds at the mall, or even go to a mall period.

Another way to stick it to the Man shop consciously is to send a Giftly to everyone on your list. In case you missed my post last month, Giftly is a new site that allows you to create a virtual gift card for up to three locations of your choice, and since you can use it anywhere, it's a great opportunity to support local businesses! The site has a ton of fun gift suggestions, with more to come in the following weeks, but I have a personal predilection for Splurge-Worthy Shopping, which the lovely people at Giftly have created just for me, er, you. Really, it's for my favorite three stores in NYC (those are my "Quip Tips" at left), and while I spend half my time telling you about sample sales, these are the rare places at which I will gladly pay full price for something special—and I think any New Yorker would be happy to do likewise. But speaking of deals, starting tomorrow, every Wednesday is Giftly Wednesday, and when you spend $20 or more, you'll get $20 toward your next purchase. Because if you're anything like me, your real Christmas shopping happens in the middle of the week, at work, on your lunch break. Perfect timing, no?

In These Shoes: Aldo Qualheim boots

My friend LC works at a celebrity weekly magazine (the best one, in my opinion) and last weekend was rocking what I thought was a pair of Isabel Marant Forbes boots. Once I wiped up my drool, LC informed me that the boots were, in fact, from Aldo; they were featured in a recent issue and now nearly every woman in the office has a pair. "It's embarrassing," she said. Not really—the Qualheim, aside from being a dead ringer from the Forbes, is nearly perfect in that it has a very manageable 2.75" stacked heel ("So comfy," LC confirmed) and has a downward angle at the ankle and an elongating almond-shaped toe—making them flattering to wear with skirts—with an opening wide enough to tuck your skinny pants into as well. The best part? They're a mere $100 (and yes, they're real suede), which means you can buy both the cognac and black colors for much less than what one pair of the Isabel Marant boots would cost. Magazine editors—they're just like...well, you know.

TheFind Guest Post: Stay Warm in a Street-Chic White Scarf

One of the things I'm loving now is the Winter Wonderland ready white scarves that I keep spotting everywhere. Celebrities like Kate Moss and Zoe Saldana have already been seen wearing white cashmere scarves with their matching white pea coats or freshening up the look of a classic black overcoat. A white scarf in cashmere, wool, or cotton can make any winter or fall outfit look and feel its most decadent in texture all season. Smooth finishes and alluring graphic prints or embellishments can keep the look cool and trendy. Check out my four finds! Your fit to find one that's right in your price range, too. Old Navy's Sequined Sweaterknit Infinity Scarf will have you bundled up in sparkles for a fraction of the others. My personal favorite, the We Are Owls Poster Printed Cashmere Scarf is cute, cuddly, and undeniably cool, Bottega Venetta's handmade Knitted Wool and Suede Scarf is the ultimate in scarf luxuriousness, and Malene Birger makes a Chunky Wool Knit Scarf is brag-worthy with just a few hints of color.
- Mira Torres

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Recommended Reading: Hot Fashion Bloggers

So, yesterday Women's Wear Daily profiled several top fashion bloggers—Bryanboy, Fashion Toast, Style Bubble, The Glamourai, and The Man Repeller—and while the article was probably meant to show how influential these bloggers are (most state monthly page views between 1.5 and 4 million) and give some background color on each, it's spawned several interesting discussions on the subject. Fashionista did some follow-up reporting with most of the subjects, questioning how the bloggers disclose what they received gratis and/or how they are paid for their coverage. (One blogger sends copy to partners for approval, a journalistic no-no, but then again, I'd hardly call personal style bloggers journalists.) Jezebel's Jenna Sauers does an even deeper dive, questioning the validity of the traffic stats in WWD's article and wondering where on the objectivity scale these bloggers fall.

While my traffic is nowhere near that of the bloggers above (inflated numbers or no), and while I don't have top designers plying me with free clothes, I do receive my share of swag, however I always disclose when I'm writing about something I received for free, and like several of the bloggers in Fashionista's article, I don't write about things I don't want to cover. (That means, yes, I have a bunch of unused swag sitting around. Look for a giveaway soon.) That said, my blog is a business, albeit one that, fiscally speaking, pretty much exists to support my shoe habit. And like all businesses, it's about relationships—in my case, with fashion houses, stores, PR reps. (Having worked in magazines for many years, I can tell you, there is definitely not a strict separation of church and state there either.) Unlike many fashion bloggers, I have a journalism degree, and while I definitely don't hold myself to the strict objective code that, say, newspaper reporters adhere to, I don't think that necessarily makes me untrustworthy. Then again, I don't think you're coming here to read an unbiased take fashion—I think (at least I hope) you're here because you like my taste and what I have to say. Fashion bloggers may not be the New York Times, but thinking of us as the op-ed pages may not be a stretch.

MasstigeWatch: Versace for H&M, Mary Katrantzou for Topshop & Rory Beca for Forever 21

Saturday is the big day, folks: Versace for H&M hits stores, and much like last year's Lanvin collaboration, there are rules. Basically, the first 280 people in line at each store will receive a bracelet; braceleted folks will have 15 minutes to shop, after which the merchandise will open to the masses. (Note: This only applies to the women's section—men have free reign.) You are allowed only two of each item (presumably to prevent eBay reselling). There's a list of stores carrying the collection on the H&M website; it looks like all NYC stores except Harlem and the northernmost Soho store will have the goods, and while opening hours aren't available for all locations, the Rockefeller Center store will open at 8 a.m. Good luck, or as Donatella would say, Get ooouuuutt!

In less frenzied but arguably more exciting news, British designer Mary Katrantzou has created a 14-piece capsule collection for Topshop, which hits stores in February. Grazia previewed the line and reports that it's full of her signature placed prints and sculptural silhouettes. I am quite pumped for this one—I still have several pieces from the Christopher Kane collaboration on steady rotation in my wardrobe, and like much of what I buy at Topshop, they're very well made considering the price. I will of course post more images and exact dates when I have them!

Finally, Rory Beca's latest collection for Forever 21 is now available, and while the best look appears to be sold out online (the black dress with the side cutouts), I wouldn't mind taking home this beaded T-back tank for a mere $17.80. As for the rest, there's a definite '80s inspiration (I guess that's still happening) but there are some flirty ruffled party dresses and flirty tops, and definitely 'tis the season for those.

November Sample Sales in NYC

This week marks the start of sample sale season, i.e. the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, but pace yourself—Christmas is still five weeks away!

Giuseppe Zanotti shoes—which have the honor of being the footwear I was married in—are up to 80% off. If I were a betting woman, I'd bet this would be an awesome sale. 11/15-11/6; 9:30-6; 381 5th Ave. (35th & 36th Sts.), 2nd fl.

Three hours is really all the public needs to clean out The Row's sample sale. 11/17; 4-7pm; 632 Hudson St. (Horatio & Jane Sts.).

Bring cash to the Thakoon sample sale, where amazing deals abound. 11/17-11/18; 8:30-6:30; 270 Lafayette St. (Prince & Houston Sts.), ste. 1005.

The lovely ladies at Vena Cava and Dannijo are teaming up for a Friends & Family sale. 11/17-11/19; 9-6 Th-F, 11-5 Sa; 457 Broome St. (Greene & Mercer Sts.), #2F.

Shoes, clothes, and accessories are on sale at Loeffler Randall, one of my favorites. 11/17-11/19; 10-8, 10-5 S; 525 Broadway (Broome & Spring Sts.), 4th fl.

I am cursing the fact that the Elizabeth & James sample sale is over the weekend (when I'll be out of town); stock and samples are up to 80% off. 11/19-11/20; 10-6 Sa, 10-4 Su; 1384 Broadway (37th & 38th Sts.), 18th fl.

Fight the hipsters at the always-excellent Steven Alan sample sale; word on the street is that men's button-downs are $78. 11/17-11/20; 8:30-8 Th-F, 11-7 Sa, 11-5 Su; 87 Franklin St. (Broadway & Church St.).

Cashmere sweaters start at $80 and cotton sweaters start at $50 at the Inhabit sample sale (which, sadly, is no longer right across the street from my apartment). 11/16-11/17; 10-6; 320 W. 37th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 14th fl.

Who doesn't love Rebecca Minkoff? Find her ever-expanding range of bags, shoes, and clothes at steep discounts (which tend to increase as the sale goes on). Through 11/20; 4-9 T, 10-7 W-S, 11-5 Su; 14 W. 14th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

M. Patmos and Leroy & Perry are up to 70% off, with prices starting at $25 for knit sweaters, tops & accessories. 11/17-11/19; 11-7 Th-F, 10-6 S; 425 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 406.

Twinkle by Wenlan is 40%-60% off. 11/16-11/18; 10-6; 545 8th Ave. (36th & 37th Sts.), 17th fl.

Samples start at $15 at Anna Sui's sample sale; stock is 40%-80% off. Through 11/18; 8-9:30, 11:30-2, 4-6 daily; 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 6th fl.

Stock up on undies at Hanky Panky's sample sale: thongs are $11 and boy shorts are $12. Through 11/18; 8:30-8 T-W, 8:30-7 Th, 9-1:30 F; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Downtown-friendly labels like Clu, Cheap Monday, and Common Projects are on sale at The News Showroom. 11/17-11/19; 10-6; 495 Broadway (Spring & Broome Sts.), 5th fl.
  Nanette Lepore, a runway favorite of mine, has discounted her girly line. 11/15-11/17; 9-7; 225 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 4th fl.

Otte NY, one of my favorite boutiques in the city, is having a sample sale, with prices up to 85% off (the store carries Phillip Lim, Vanessa Bruno, and Rag & Bone, to give you an idea). 11/16-11/17; 11-6; 37 W. 26th St. (5th Ave. & Broadway), ste. 305.

For the good-hearted folk starting their actual holiday shopping, White + Warren sweaters make great gifts—cashmere basics are $100. 11/15-11/16; 8-7; 80 W. 40th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 3rd fl.

Ali Ro's womenswear is up to 65% off. 11/16-11/18; noon-5:30 W, 9-5:30 Th, 9-3 F; 530 7th Ave. (at 38th St.).

Stock up on statement-making jewelry and accessories for 50%-90% off at Tuleste Market. 11/16-11/17; noon-8:30; 157 Ludlow St. (Rivington & Stanton Sts.).

Cute contemporary sportswear by Charlotte Ronson is 50%-70% off at this usually-promising sale. 11/16-11/18; 10-7; 1071 6th Ave. (at 41st St.), ste. 301.

Classic looks from Max Mara are up to 70% off. 11/15-11/16; 10-5:30; 381 5th Ave. (35th & 36th Sts.), 2nd fl.

Lauren Moffatt is up to 70% off; bring cash if you're spending $250 or less. 11/15-11/16; 8-7 T, 9-7 W; 214 W. 29th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1503.

Stock up on party dresses—they start at $50—at the Thread Social sample sale. 11/15; 11/16; 9-8; 26 W. 17th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), ste. 301.

Find vintage samples and current stock for up to 75% off retail at Vivienne Tam. 11/16-11/18; 9-8 W, 10-7 Th, 10-6 F; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 11th fl.

Get your sexy on at Barbara Bui, where women's clothes by the French designer are up to 90% off. 11/19-11/20; 10-7 Sa, 11-6 Su; 115-117 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.), lower level.

Jewelry, watches, accessories, and fragrances are discounted at the Bulgari sample sale. 11/19-11/22; 9-6:30; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).
Vivienne Westwood's clothing and accessories are hard to find in the U.S....until now! Through 11/20; 9:30-6; 20 W. 36th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 6th fl.

Soffier Haskin has reduced prices on all of the Giorgio Armani lines at his sample sale. Through 11/16; 9:30-7:30 T, 9:30-5:30 W; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).
Exotic bags and accessories are on sale at Beirn. Through 11/18; 10-5:30; 12 W. 57th St. (5th & 6th Aves.), 8th fl.

TheFind Guest Post: Relaxed and Gorgeous at Home with Gaiam Sweaters

In the freedom of your own home, as tempting and cozy it is to stay wrapped up in a leopard Snuggie all day long this winter, it would only be unfashionable and unquestionably impolite to answer the door wearing the kitschy thing. But you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, or tune into the outdated and overdone panache of the velour jumpsuit (a la reality TV housewife stereotypes) in order to stay both comfortable and courteous when sitting at home as unexpected guests drop by or that cute UPS delivery boy comes knocking on the door for your signature. Gaiam has you covered with not only high quality, casual luxurious sweaters that will keep you warm but that are incredibly chic. The entire new collection is right on time for the Holidays as they’re not just an amazing wardrobe staple to get for yourself but incredibly practical and perfect to gift to the ones that you love. Here are two of our favorites: The Gaiam Pointelle Knit Sweater and the Gaiam Zippered Dolman Sweater.
- Mira Torres

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Fall Shopping Guide: Red

Confession: Last spring, I went to see a psychic. It was, overall, a pretty awesome experience, and call me gullible, but I really felt like she was communicating with certain people in my life who've passed on. One of the bits of advice they conveyed to me was that I should wear more color, so since then, I've made a concerted effort to expand beyond my usual black-gray-white-camel-navy palette. Thankfully, the runways are on board with this too (does every designer go see a psychic too?), and for fall, the most prevalent color was red. Now, red is a pretty powerful color; for one, it's seductive. I've found it to be pretty empowering, however, so while it seems like an obvious choice for nighttime (and it's still a good one), why not try wearing it for day?

Winter in New York is long and cold and long, and by the time March rolls around, you're so sick of your winter coat, you can barely stand the sight of it. I can't guarantee you won't tire of this adorable bell-skirted Miu Miu coat, but it's a much better bet than the typical basic black wool number.

There is nothing practical whatsoever about this Matthew Williamson feather skirt, but it's fabulous enough to qualify as a wardrobe secret weapon. (And, yes, unless your name is Serena van der Woodsen, I'd recommend saving this one just for nighttime.)

I think Kate Middleton has been photographed in a shorter, blue version of this Issa dress, but isn't it better in red? Again, probably better for nighttime, due to the plunging neckline and back cutout, but a perfect example of how restraint can be sexy.

If you don't want to make quite such a statement as with the above pieces, I recommend investing in a layering-friendly red jacket, like the beautifully draped silk Becky jacket from Rebecca Minkoff. You can throw it on over everything from an LBD to jeans and a tee for an instant pick-me-up.

Fashion insiders have been raving about Equipment's silk blouses for several seasons, and having just bought my first, I am now 1) addicted and 2) bent on snatching up as many as I can. Their signature blouse in fiery red looks like a no-brainer to me.

I recently bought a brightly colored maxi skirt; not only did I get a ton of compliments on it, but I felt incredibly elegant and cheerful in it. In fact, I'm convinced I had a good day yesterday because of it. Mine is blue, but I'm considering this Rag & Bone red maxi skirt too—it's airy silk chiffon and a bold dose of color.

BB Dakota's Richie Jacket is arguably just as cute as the Miu Miu style above (okay, maybe it's a little less refined) and while it might not cut it in February, you can at least wear it now, especially since the last time I checked, we're having September-ish weather in New York.

I have a red skirt that people stop me on the street to ask where I got it (for the record, Zara, last spring). This Allie pleated mini from Alloy is just as fun, and you can get away with wearing it to work, as well as at night.

ASOS has quickly become one of my favorite places to shop online; the vastness of their products means you can pretty much find anything you're looking for. Case in point: they have pages upon pages of inexpensive red dresses, but this Lanvin-esque '40s-inspired dress is my favorite; it is, for lack of a better term, classy. And isn't that how you should feel when wearing red?

Sample sales of the week: Tracy Reese, Shoshanna, nOir & more

It's crowded, dirty, and clogged with tourists, but the Garment District is home to some of the best sample sales in NYC, which is why I'm lucky to work there. Here are 5 sales I recommend hitting this week.

Party season is fast approaching, so hit Tracy Reese for one-of-a-kind samples, $35-$50, and stock in sizes 0-12. 11/9-11/10; 9-7; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 11th fl. 

Another great source for party dresses (and bikinis): Shoshanna's sample sale, where both are up to 75% off. Be prepared to wait in line—this one tends to be popular. 11/9-11/10; 10-6:30 W, 10-6 Th; 231 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 422.

A fabulous party dress is nothing without costume jewelry, so hit the nOir sample sale for costume jewelry at up to 75% off retail. 11/9-11/11; 10-7; 350 W. 38th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 5th fl.
Kara Ross's exotic skin and leather handbags (including party clutches—you need one of those too!) are 50%-80% off. 11/8-11/10; 10-6; 225 W. 37th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 15th fl. 
And most importantly, you need shoes! Butter, Something Bleu and Bettye Muller samples are $60 and stock is $100 for shoes, $220 for booties, and $260 for boots. Cash only! Through 11/9; 10-7; 307 7th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.), ste. 2307.

TheFind Guest Post: Check Out Kate Spade's Cheeky Holiday Apparel!

The best thing and the worst thing about the holiday season (aside from all the shopping mall chaos, of course) is that practically everyone you know is having a party. That means plenty of festive cocktails (yay), awkward forced conversation with people you'd rather not run into (nay), and the undeniable need for a different festively adorable outfit for each fête (yay and nay). Luckily, Kate Spade's brand-spanking-new Holiday 2011 apparel collection boasts plenty of gorgeous separates that manage to subtly hint at the spirit of the season and look totally cocktail-party-ready without screaming "Christmas!" Mix and match bold silky blouses with satiny swing skirts, short-sleeve sweaters with pretty feminine details like rhinestone bows or ruffles, or wear your party pride loud and proud courtesy of the "Spike the Punch" sweater. Switch up different pieces to create a series of outfits that look totally different without needing a celebrity-size wardrobe budget, or if you're really into self-gifting, splurge on a sweet cocktail dress that you may just love enough to wear all party season long!

- Alex Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Fall Shopping Guide: Fisherman Sweaters

As you may have guessed by now, there's a preppy undercurrent running through this season's Fall Shopping Guide. This is kind of a full-circle situation for me: the suburban Chicago area where I grew up was incredibly preppy, and while I rebelled against it in my youth, I've found myself gravitating toward the classics as I age. Appropriately, preppy influences turned up all over the fall runways, but often in interesting ways. Isabel Marant, for example, took the preppy-classic fisherman sweater and paired it with more fashion-forward elements like tribal-patterned jeans. Marant's version is the primary inspiration for this post, although, as you'll see, there are more fashion-forward versions out there, as well as very similar classics for a lot less.

Show me a woman who does not love Isabel Marant and I will show you a liar. Okay, maybe not quite, but, really, I don't know anyone who doesn't love her effortless cool-bohemian separates. I say effortless, because you can even wear a head-to-toe look by her and not look like you're trying too hard (or trying at all). Everything that she sends down the runway, I want instantly, hence this post. I probably have not worn a fisherman sweater since I was seven, and yet now I want this one so badly. It's not too bulky or boxy or literal; it's just right.

Joseph Altuzarra is one of the most-watched up-and-coming New York designers; the fact that he took a fisherman sweater—and a turtleneck version at that—and made it undeniably sexy proves he's worthy of the hype.

Brooks Brothers, a preppy staple, seems a pretty obvious place to find a fisherman sweater, but this one by their Thom Browne-designed Black Fleece line takes it to another level with mother-of-pearl buttons and grosgrain trim.

The Brits tend to call fisherman sweater aran knits; this style from, yes, Burberry's Brit line, is a sleeker, streamlined version, with a hint of cashmere for extra luxe.

Haute Hippie's fisherman sweater refines the classic with feminine pointelle stitching along the sleeves and in merino wool, which will likely be quite a bit softer than the usual lambswool.

Cut25's version makes it a bit more fashion-forward with chic dolman sleeves and leather trim at the neckline. This is a great option for those who don't want to look too traditional; it's younger and more fun.

J.Crew seems like a pretty obvious place to find a fisherman sweater; ironically, I found this one not on their own site but on Net-A-Porter. Still, it's probably the most similar to the Isabel Marant style above, and at $98, it's a pretty smart buy.

Even more wallet-friendly is Topshop's aran cable sweater, now on sale for just $50. According to the reviews, it has a rather boxy cut, but I'd be more concerned about its nearly all-acrylic fabric content than anything else.

Confession: I love the Land's End Canvas catalogue. When I saw this sweater in the most recent version, I ripped out the page so I wouldn't forget to order it. I love how traditional and boyish it looks, but a word to the wise: this line runs huge, so size down at least once. Still, there is something incredibly comforting about a slouchy, cozy fit.

Sample Sale of the Week: Surface to Air

Before the sample sale craziness truly kicks in next week, I suggest hitting the Chelsea Market for the Prive's Surface to Air sale, where the super-hip French label for men & women can be had for 60%-80% off. Next week: I'll list a whole bunch o' sales, so stay tuned. 11/2-11/3; 10:30-7; 75 9th Ave. (15th & 16th Sts.).

TheFind Guest Post: Your Inner Bad Girl Will Love These Spiky Pumps!

The fashion world seems to never tire from updating the classic pump. From chunky platform soles and architectural heels to leather, suede, and sequins in every shade of the rainbow, it's basically impossible to get sick of a style that's constantly getting revamped! And while you may already have a substantial collection of standard go-tos like black and nude, plus a couple fun shades and sparkly pairs to switch things up, this season's pumps are ready to embrace the rough and rugged in the form of spike embellishments! Sure, we've already seen our share of studs and moto-inspired shoes... but spikes are a whole new ballgame. Lady GaGa would certainly approve, but do you have the guts to rock spike-studded pumps? I love the way the girly platform heel and the bad-gal inspired spikes provide the ultimate sexy contrast, but they're certainly not for the demure dresser, or the faint of heart! What do you think - super-chic, or too extreme?

From left to right: Sam Edelman "Roza" Spike Pump, Rachel Roy "Chrissto" Pump, and Ruthie Davis Spikette Deluxe Platform Pump.

- Alex Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Fall Shopping Guide: Platform Loafers

When I was a child, I always got a new pair of shoes for back to school. These were usually penny loafers—I grew up in a very preppy area—and year after year, I would barely wear them. Eventually my mom wised up and started buying me shoes I'd actually wear (like Keds), but over the years, I've found myself pondering loafers and why they never worked out for me. I think I found my answer: the heels weren't high enough! Thankfully, this season the classic loafer has been updated with a sexier shape and a sky-high heel, complete with platform. It looks like I've finally found the penny loafers I'll want to wear.

Opening Ceremony's Laetitia penny loafers take the standard penny loafer shape and elements like pinked edges and two-tone coloration, subtly upgrading the look with a stacked heel and a sturdy lug sole. It's a classic, modernized just enough to be irresistible.

Nicholas Kirkwood is currently the object of my shoe lust, and when you look at the dangerously sexy beauty of these tasseled platform loafers, it seems pretty obvious to me. They look like something a librarian who's secretly a dominatrix would wear (a rich librarian-dominatrix, that is), and isn't that reason enough?

Yves Saint Laurent's Tribute pumps are a classic in their own right; here, they've been married with a tasseled loafer for this quirky yet smart take on the trend. I love the contrast between the spindly heel and the fusty fringe; they're like a grandpa with a hot young wife.

There are so many awesome styles at this price point, it was hard to choose three favorites, but every time I look at Frye's Naiya Kiiltie loafers, I can't help but smile. They're kind of nerdy-cool, and I especially love that they come in navy (as well as three other colors)—a good pair of navy shoes is hard to find.

It's almost hard to believe these Quinn platform loafers are from Banana Republic, but then again, they fit in with the chain's classic, work-friendly vibe. With the hidden platform, they're kind of a platform entree for people who think they're not platform people.

As I've noted many times before, I'm a huge fan of Pour La Victoire shoes, so their Larkin is sure to be a winner. Their shoes are always comfortable and well constructed, and while I'd probably go for the black or brown leather, I love that these come in red patent too.

Speaking of styles that come in an array of colors, Nine West's Abalene is available even in faux exotics, although I prefer the faux croc (pictured here) to the faux snakeskin (kind of cheap looking). With a 4.25" heel and a 1" platform, these are also one of the most sturdy styles pictured here.

For those of you reading this story and thinking platform loafers aren't edgy enough for you (and can't afford the Nicholas Kirkwoods above), meet Buffy from Charles David. It's obviously still a loafer, but studs along the sole add a downtown finish.

With traditional pinked edges, a sturdy heel, and a lug sole, Mia's Nolen loafers are a pretty solid choice for their price ($59), so long as you don't mind the fact that they're synthetic.