Two Sample Sales for West Coast Ladies

I've been missing New York a bit lately--it's easy to gloat during the winter, but now that it's spring (almost summer), Instagram is reminding me about all the good things I left behind. Like sample sale season. Oh, how I miss sample sales. They are few and far between on the West Coast, but when they come along, it's like Christmas. Here's what's on my calendar.

At the Gilt City Warehouse Sale in New York one year, a fellow shopper snatched a pair of knee-high Rag & Bone boots a millisecond ahead of me, resulting in a slo-mo "nooooooo" escaping my lips. I still think about those boots to this day. Will I find a better pair at this season's San Francisco sale? There's only one way to find out. This time around, prices are up to 90% off retail on clothes and accessories from designers like Helmut Lang, Prada, and John Varvatos; there will also be free cocktails, snacks, makeovers, and a DJ, because who wants to shop in silence, hungry and sober? The event runs Friday & Saturday; Friday is sold out, but Saturday is almost wide open; get your tickets here. (And if you aren't a Gilt City member, by all means, join here.)

For my friends down south in Los Angeles (hi, ladies!), there's a sale happening next weekend that I'm so excited about, I'm contemplating a weekend trip. It's Clare Vivier's first-ever sample sale, and I have no other details except that there will be clutches (favored by every fashion blogger known to mankind), messenger bags, duffels (my current bag of choice), and "more." It's June 7-8 from noon-5 at 3249 Casitas Avenue in Los Angeles. Think I can take an Uber?

Splendid Picks for Wine Country

I've gone to wine country the last three weekends in a row--it's one of my favorite things about living in San Francisco, and considering how much I freaking love it here, that's a bold statement. Anyway, dressing for wine country is almost as challenging as dressing for San Francisco weather (an art/science that probably warrants its own post), but after so many trips, I think I finally have it down. Here's my wine country uniform:

Bracelet 1  |  Bracelet 2  |  Bracelet 3  |  Dress  |  Crossbody bag  |  Raffia hat  |  Wedges (similar)

The centerpiece of this look, of course, is the red-hot Splendid maxi dress, which just so happens to be on sale at Vente Privee now through Friday at 9 a.m. EST. (For those of you who aren't familiar with the site, Vente Privee is the o.g. private flash sale site--it started in 2001 in France and now counts 21 million members across eight countries, including the U.S., where it debuted in 2011. I'm a fan because it has a lot of hard-to-find brands, their customer service is impeccable, and American Express cardholders get free shipping!) Splendid's knits are so soft, you'll never want to take them off (this dress is no exception), and while we're at it, here are more of my picks from the sale--prices are 50%-70% off retail!

As for my wine-country outfit pictured above, stay tuned to my Instagram feed to see it in action in Mendocino this weekend. Yep, back to wine country I go!

Spring Shopping Guide: Drawstring Bags

Just like Vanessa Williams, I'm--wait for it--saving the best for last in the ol' Spring Shopping Guide. (And if you guessed that I'm continuing the '90s theme with the #4 song of 1992 according to Billboard, gold star for you.) So I'm rounding things out with another '90s throwback, the drawstring bag. Last seen draped over the shoulders of Supermodels (think Linda, Christy, Naomi) before those black nylon Prada backpacks took over, drawstring bags--often closely related to bucket bags--have that perfect, elusive combination of luxe and effortless. Which is what every bag should have, shouldn't it?

Jerome Dreyfuss's bags are what I like to call quietly luxurious--they're not covered with flashy, easily recognizable logos, but they're incredibly well made, from supersoft, buttery leather and cool finishes. They also have cool names, like the Alain Punk bag, which sounds like some French '80s pop star. Even better than its name, however, is the adjustable strap, which goes from a crook-of-the-arm 4 inches to a shoulder-perfect 16 inches.

Speaking of cool finishes, Stella McCartney gives Jerome Dreyfuss a run for his money. Now, this drawstring bag is about half the size and not actual leather, however it's perfect for the weekend or, if you carry a light load, even for the weekdays--a bonus with drawstring bags is that they tend to hold a lot more than you'd think.

Speaking of which, Phillip Lim's Scout bag has made an appearance here before; last year, I opted not to get one, but that was before I learned to pare down. I like that the metal-edged corners give it a more structured, modern shape--it's the anti-drawsting-bag drawstring bag.

Which brings me to this season's It Bag and the reason for this entire post: the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. I have one, and it was not easy to procure--I was on three different waiting lists (one of which was expecting a shipment in July!!) but thankfully not for terribly long. The bag itself is pretty stiff, which is a good thing because it won't get all droopy, and I also expect it to age beautifully. Which, for the price (which is enough to be a splurge but not too much to break the bank), it should.

Along those lines but a bit more reasonably priced is Vince Camuto's Jill bag, a nice luggage color (also available in a hot red, among others) and a more squat shape, which is better for carrying higher up on the body, if that's what you prefer. The leather is also nice and smushy, saving you much breaking-in time.

Everything Elizabeth and James does is on-trend, but in a tasteful, mellow way. This Cynnie mini bucket bag gets the drawstring shape right, but then elevates it with that big, shiny zipper. I also like the two-strap option, as well as the not-huge scale. Restraint--it's a beautiful thing.

I like the two-tone look (as well as the chain strap) of this Topshop bag, which is inexplicably $68 and actually leather.  Side note: the Nordstrom here in SF has a somewhat edited Topshop department, which I enjoy shopping far more than any actual Topshop store. Discuss.

While this section is starting to sound like I Can't Believe It's Leather, this $90 Sole Society Montana bucket bag is also, in fact, leather. It's a bit on the floppy side and has that "I'm going to Coachella" vibe, but, hey, a leather bag for under $100 ain't bad.

If you want to have fun with this trend (and really, why shouldn't you), then Baggu's animal-print bucket bag is the way to go--especially now since it's on sale (I was originally going to feature it in the mid-priced section of this post). Even though it's animal print, it's pretty neutral, and more importantly, it's just a cool bag.