July 19th, 2014

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I sent my passport away a few weeks ago to get it renewed two years ahead of its expiration date; I’d simply run out of pages. So while almost everyone I know has left the country for their summer holidays, I have been California bound, nose to the grind.

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The upside to all this, though, is that for once I am in one place to actually follow up on any leads on summer sales, especially as discounts go from 30 to 40 then even more in some cases for shoes.

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So as the Fedex guy continues to crack jokes about the packages piling up at my door,

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I’m happy to say that my restless feet have been replaced by happy feet.

Is this wrong?

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July 14th, 2014

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I’m officially banned from looking at any more texts or emails from my sales associates. But this morning, a very clever person texted me a video of a sale jacket so I can better see it in motion. And as I said all those years ago when I first found out what the Internet was, technology will be the death of me! So with fashion and sales season still on my brain, today’s entry will include some “Runway to Reality” pics of some pieces I have not yet posted.

This is that 14P navy dress with a matching cutout jacket in the same tweed but in black (Karl always loves mixing black and blue!):

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One of my favorite tweeds from this season was this navy blend done in an interesting tiered dress:

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BTW, if you want a massive inferiority complex, do a collage of yourself against a stick-thin Glamazon half your age. But these photos are a good reality check for me to see how something should be fitted. And anyway, when I was in my early 20s I could not afford to buy Chanel. Isn’t that always how the universe works?

I can’t find a runway photo of this jacket, so here it is as displayed on a six foot tall mannequin…

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and then on me, a good 9 inches shorter…

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Out of all the photos I’ve posted in the last few entries and today’s, my favorite two items were actually not featured. I’ll save them for the next episodes of The Chanel Jacket Diaries :D .

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As summer sales dwindle down, my living room is starting to look like a makeshift boutique, divided in two by an imaginary line for things that have to go back to the stores and things that will be added to my Chanel collection. And then there’s a tiny section for things that have to be cleared out of the closet to make room for new purchases. It is a vicious cycle that I go through twice a year. The only difference this time around is that I actually found almost everything on my wish list in my size. I don’t know if that means it was a very unpopular season so things lasted till sales, or the pieces I liked were really off the radar, or maybe I just got to my network a bit more effectively this time around. It’s half science, half luck, this sale shopping thing.

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A few years before–maybe 3 to 5 years ago, I would get a call from the boutiques to come in and peruse things privately. Very civilly I would go through racks and pull a few items. Then with economic and corporate policy changes in recent times, inventory became decidedly more finite and I was left to fend for myself against the now very public pre-sales chaos. Now, I’m as competitive as the next person looking for a deal and I do enjoy a good chase, but time is not on my side and it’s the one commodity that I can’t leverage in the battles of the sales. As such, I learned to become more organized; I’d build an excel spreadsheet to remind myself of what/where/how much each item is very early on in the season, giving myself plenty of time to edit and revise the list down to a tighter wish list as time went on. Then when the time came, I’d submit my list to my network of sales associates and the hunt goes into full swing. Ladies and gentlemen, pre-sales is no longer a quiet perk for loyal customers. It is now both a marathon and a sprint for die-hard fashionistas: you have to have a lot of stamina to keep up with the texts/emails/calls from stores around the country/world as well as the speed to grab the items in that small window of opportunity. Texting becomes your best friend, but a fast yes is what gets the job done.

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Total insanity? Yes. Adrenaline rush? Yes. Time consuming? Yes. Fun? Yes, and no.

About three years ago I decided that sales are both a blessing and a curse. The whole mentality of the chase can make you buy more things than you need, and the stress that comes with it distracts you from rational decision making. That’s the down side. The up side is that you do get a substantial saving in many instances, at least 40% off–here in the US anyway. But for the sake of what’s left of my sanity, I decided that I had to take a completely unemotional approach to sale shopping. This is where photos come in very handy. As you can tell, I take lots of selfies trying on my wish list items. I study these photos pretty much the whole season (along with any photos of the items as they are featured in magazines, blogs, etc.), so by the time sales come, I feel like I’ve lived in them for months already and the nervous excitement is almost all gone. Unfiltered comments from friends and family also help me make my final cut. Just because I am in love with a particular tweed does not mean all of my trusted advisers will greenlight the item. They may point out that the fit is unflattering when I’m too blinded by the buttons to notice anything else.

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I certainly can’t persuade any sane person to live through this, just for shopping. And I fear that today’s entry sounds like a confession of a mad shopper, but if you are an avid Chanel collector like myself, you might get me!

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The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 7
: Please disregard everything you’ve just read :D , because today’s episode is about a “demi-couture” jacket from the recent 14C season that was nowhere on my wish list. Never saw it the entire season. Not in Paris, not anywhere. I’d wandered into my local boutique last week to pick up a dress a few weeks after sales broke, and while waiting for it, I took a peek at what was left. And there it was, hanging nonchalantly amidst a sea of other shimmery jackets (the ones that apparently were left because they were too formal/expensive for the practical consumers, even here in glitzy Beverly Hills). In my size, no less.

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The frothy fabric was what drew me to it, even from the hanger. When I touched it, I knew it belonged with me. And when I put it on, I was half way out the door with the darn confection on my back! But my lovely sales associate reappeared with my dress and we did a reality check. He confirmed that, for once, I would require no alterations for this jacket. Yes, the silhouette is quite modern even if the Lesage fabric is very classic, which is a perfect combination in my book. But, but, but, he said….the silk fabric is super high-maintenance and delicate, so it will take the patience of a saint to put up with it. Beware of common things like jewelry, chairs, table corners, seat belts, and other humans who may bump into me/it and snag the heck out of the jacket. And then there is the hefty price tag. So in spite of the anaphylactic convulsions I was going into while he took the jacket from me, he counseled me to take a chill pill, sleep on it, then come back if I decided that I could not live without it. Is he not the most refreshing salesperson out there?

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Am I not the most incorrigible person out there?

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So much for unemotional strategies, organization, and evaluation. Sometimes the heart rules.

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June 29th, 2014

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I’d mentioned before that I’m more into antisocial media than social media, but Instagram has definitely gotten the best of me. Most likely it’s because it serves two large components of my personality: visualization and attention deficit. Throw all the fashion and photography elements into the mix and you’ve got me. I have finally put to good use the Instagram tutorial my bff threw at me over tea that one afternoon…

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and I can now make collages till the cows come home, all courtesy of some fabulous apps on my (very) smart phone:

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That was my attempt at Warholizing my Hermes croc Kelly. But why stop there when I can use these collages on Instagram to document my fashion history? For example, these are really fun collages of “Runway vs Reality” shots of some Chanel RTW I recently considered and/or bought during the summer sales:

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As if that were not OCD enough behavior of how I store away each collection, I even archive the looks that did not make the final buy list:

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Madness or genius? Most likely the former, but heck, when for whatever reason you need to go back and reference a particular Chanel collection, I’ll be waiting for you right here …just Instagram me @larkiedam :D .

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June 24th, 2014

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It’s been some four years since Alexander McQueen’s passing, but his eponymous label is still thriving under Sarah Burton’s guidance. I’ve mentioned before that I have forsaken all other RTW labels in order to sustain my Chanel addiction, but sure enough, each season something from McQueen will still slip through what I thought was a heavily sealed front door! Sometimes it’s a dress (wonderful wrinkle-resistant knits for travel) and other times it’s these little dustknuckle clutches that I would prefer to call art:

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It can only fit my iPhone and a flat case to hold a credit card and some cash. So it’s not the most practical clutch in the world, but how could I possibly resist this panther and skull version (juxtaposed against a malachite plexiglass case no less!)…

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It’s a perfect pairing with the McQueen silk kimono cape:

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Long live McQueen!

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