Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top 10 Best Buys of 2011

As the music critics compile their Top 50 tracks/albums/etc. of 2011 (I recommend this one), I started thinking about my own top picks.  Like many people, I have attempted to cut back on the mindless consumption and focus on investing in quality items that I will love for years to come.  On the other hand, I am obsessed with deals and cannot bear to pay full price for anything.  Nobody takes me to the cleaners, thank you very much!  But my obsession with deals sometimes resulted in buying so-so items, just because they were ridiculously discounted.  In order to reconcile these two approaches, I made a list at the beginning of each season of the items I truly loved, regardless of price, and I vowed to stick to it.

And then I waited.  And watched.  And waited some more.  I was a snake in the grass.  Lying in wait!  Ready to pounce!  Eye of the tiger! (you get the idea...)

Until finally, one by one, they went on sale.  But by that point, I was really invested.  So I watched, and waited some more.  I needed an extra 20% off or at least some free shipping to sweeten the deal!  Well, sometimes this method failed, and I lost out on something I really wanted in the hopes of saving a few more bucks.  Or sometimes, after all that, the item wound up being disappointing or ill-fitting.  But other times, it worked like a charm.  Here are my big winners in 2011:

10.  Tibi Charlie Skirt
It was true love from the moment I laid eyes on this skirt.  Alas, it retailed for $238.  Shopbop put it on sale for $119, but I still wasn't ready to buy.  Finally, on a whim, I checked Tibi's own site, and wouldn't you know it, the skirt was on sale for $79! I snapped it up and have been enjoying it ever since.  It is a wonderful summer skirt but I plan to layer it with tights and Frye campus boots this winter.

9.  T by Alexander Wang Asymmetrical Hem Maxi Dress
I owe this one to Grechen, who declared this THE most amazing dress ever.  She was right.  Some clothes just make you feel great the moment you put them on, and this dress is one.  The jersey is soft and substantial, and it drapes beautifully.  I finally wound up buying it from I Don't Like Mondays for $119 down from $175... I eventually saw it for a bit less but I'm not too salty.  It was worth every penny!  

8.  Anthropologie Leather Circle Skirt
The leather is gorgeous and the smell! It's intoxicating... let's just say I enjoy it far more than I should ever admit on the internet.  I never pegged myself as the kind of gal who would wear a leather skirt but I regularly pair this with tshirts, button downs, and thin sweaters.  An unusual pick, but a definite win in my book.  The fact that I picked it up for $88 down from the original $228 doesn't hurt either.

7.  Loeffler Randall Draped Front Coat
I apologize for the tiny picture here but it's all I can find.  This is a super substantial sweater coat that I purchased during Shopbop's winter sale.  I have a weakness for large chunky knits and then the draped front... this is about as me as you can get.  I wound up wearing it about once a week during the winter months-- it is another item that just feels right when you put it on and looks really pulled together for work with slim black pants.  

I picked these up in the Hopper and Madewell washes a couple of weeks ago.  I am already wondering why I wasted so much money over the years buying AG, J Brand, and the like.  These fit me just as well and the denim has a substance to it that makes me think they won't fall apart after a few months (ahem, J Brand).

5.  Mother-of-Pearl "Cleopatra" Collar
I am not kidding when I say I imagined a starburst necklace like this.  I spent months looking something like it before I finally found it on Etsy for $50.  It is incredibly dramatic and absolutely makes any plain crewneck top, dress, sweater.

4.  Dream Collective Large Crystal Mountain Earrings
I entered into a major brass phase this year, both in home decor and in jewelry.  I wore 'em today, I wore 'em yesterday, and I think I actually wore 'em on Monday too.  Enough said.

3.  A.P.C. Rue de Fleurus Gray Trench Coat
Pardon the cheeseball little logo in the corner, this is all I could find.   I bought this coat for more than 50% off on eBay in a fierce bidding war that left me frantically searching for signal while on a hike (I know).  There was no way I was going to lose this one!  It is a classic with a bit of a twist (the grey versus the traditional tan), and the fit and quality are both perfect.

2.  Virginia Johnson Zig Zag Chain-Stitch Tote
I purchased this last January during Virginia Johnson's online sample sale and was initially disappointed to see how huge it is.  I considered sending it back but am so happy I didn't because I've used it on every trip since, including a weeklong trip to Maine.  The bag that makes me want to pack light is a special bag indeed.

1.  Rachel Comey "Hitch" Ankle Boots

It seems everyone out there fell in love with Rachel Comey ankle boots and I was no exception.  My dear friend originally purchased me the Mars boots at a very significant discount but after a few weeks of wearing them around I realized I was lying to myself.  They were too small.  I mean, it is just not normal to develop a numb foot after 10 minutes of standing. 

In the depths of my despair I saw a ray of hope shining through... a girl on LoGE had a pair of size 9 Hitch boots, and did anyone have an 8.5 Mars boot to trade?  It was like it was meant to be.  We traded, and my Hitch boots and I have lived happily ever after. 

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