Lazy Shopping: Happy Chinese New Year!

I will admit, I don't pay that much attention to Chinese astrology, but I was born in a year of the horse, and considering some of the competition (rat, ox, snake), I think that's a pretty good sign to have. As of this Friday, January 31st, we're entering another year of the horse, and while one would hope that means good things for those born in that year, for everyone else, it simply means a good excuse to buy cool horse-themed stuff. Giddyap!

1. Long horsebit necklace, $26.95

2. She's a Lucky Gallop scarf, $19.99

3. Equipment Wandering Horse-Print Blouse, $268

4. Frye Lindsay Boots, $313

5. French Connection Hatched Horses Dress, $149.99

6. Z Gallerie "Haven't Met You Yet" Print, $129.95

Object of Desire: Hermes Picotin Bag

Confession: I've never understood the fascination with Birkin bags. Have you ever actually held one? They're boxy and stiff, and once you put all your stuff inside, they're rather heavy too. (And then, of course, this happened.) The Kelly has the benefit of coming with a shoulder strap, but I find them even more structured and fussy-looking. But last week, I spotted a gorgeously slouchy bucket bag on the arm of my coworker, and after I wiped the drool from the corners of my mouth, she confessed it was Hermès, and a Christmas present. The bag is the Picotin, and I'm now completely obsessed. Whereas the Birkin is traditional, staid, and almost too elegant for its own good, the Picotin is more casual, youthful, and relaxed. There is no zipper, but that signature Hermès lock, buttery pebbled leather, and contrast hand-stitching give it an unmistakable polish. One of the best things about the Picotin is its price; at nearly $2400, it's nothing to sneeze at, but it's on par with bags from fellow French luxury houses like Louis Vuitton, Goyard, and Chanel and has the added benefit--in my opinion, at least--of being much more understated and quiet and thus truly luxurious. An added benefit to the Picotin's under-the-radar status? Unlike a used Birkin or Kelly, which rarely can be had for less than mid four figures, you can frequently find them for around $1,000 on luxury resale sites like The Real Real, LXR & Co., or Portero. Considering my birthday is coming up soon, I'll be watching all of those sites like a hawk; any bag in that delicious blue jean taurillon clemence leather is mine, all mine.

In These Shoes: slouchy gray boots

For the first time in my life, I'm not freezing my ass off in January, and it's truly a beautiful thing. In fact, the temperature has been pushing 70 this week in San Francisco, which leaves me in an I-have-no-idea-what-to-wear situation. The short answer here is usually layers, but when it comes to my lower half, I'm discovering bare legs with knee-high boots is a good balance. My problem, however, is that I got rid of most of my boots before I moved here, so I have very few options (five, to be exact). The other day I wore a navy, silver, and white outfit with taupe buckled boots and I just felt wrong all day. I've concluded I need a pair of pure gray boots, cool in tone and maybe a little slouchy in shape. Good news: I found the perfect pair. Bad news: They're $1,250. And while I am trying to buy fewer but nicer things, I don't think these (gorgeous, gorgeous) Marsell boots are quite in the cards. Which is too bad, because with their cool, cone-like 2.5-inch heel and neutral greige color, they're pretty much perfect.

So, by comparison, these Sergio Rossi boots, at $400, seem like a veritable bargain! They're also more classic, with an almond-shaped toe, stacked three-inch heel, and higher shaft. The color is a bit darker too, which is probably more practical in the grand scheme of things.

I am also considering these Frye Deborah boots, but I worry the shape is a bit too western for this city girl, and while the 1.5-inch heel is probably the best choice for tackling San Francisco's hills, I tend to prefer something higher (especially since I live and work in rather flat areas). I do, however, appreciate the pre-aged effect.

As for budget contenders, these Zara boots are just $99.99, and in spite of the fact that they have a subtle zipper (in case you haven't figured it out by now, I hate boots that zip), they look equally sleek and sturdy. Which means not exactly slouchy, but for $100, I'm not going to be too picky.

Lazy Shopping: January Clearance Sales

Hello and happy new year, dear readers! Guess what I've been doing! Shopping! (Quel surprise.) 'Tis no time like the weeks following Christmas to score incredible deals--if you're hitting the big department stores and websites, you'll find good stuff at 50%, 60%, or even 70% off. As I've noted before, clearance time is not the time to stock up on basics--I say go for crazy prints, wild colors, and designer items that you would never pay full price for (Chloe wedges, I'm looking at you). Forget Christmas--clearance season is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

1. DVF Mae Mikado Pencil Skirt, $109

2. Lulu Frost for J.Crew North Star Bracelet, $99.99

3. Rebecca Minkoff Holographic Mini M.A.B. Covertible Crossbody Bag, $115.50

4. Chloe Heritage Buckle Wedge Sandals, $329

5. The Elder Statesman for J.Crew Blurred Cashmere Crewneck Sweater, $289.99

6. Madewell Rhinestone Festival Necklace, $49

7. Mara Hoffman Peplum Dress, $167