Month: March 2011

Closet hunters

At the risk of outing myself as a person of questionable TV-watching taste, I have to say that my current favourite show (when not watching a Till Debt Do Us Part rerun or waiting for the new season of True Blood to start) is A&E’s Storage Wars. For anyone not familiar with this particular brand of reality TV, here is a quick breakdown of the show’s premise: it follows a bunch of folks who (apparently) make their living bidding on and re-selling the contents of storage lockers abandoned by their owners. Every episode focuses on 3 or 4 auctions, and the ensuing “contest” to see who scored the best deal. The kicker is that the bidders can’t investigate the contents of each locker before the auction starts; all they get is five minutes, after the locker is opened, to scope out the general “lay of the land” – no touching, or peeking into boxes, etc. Often, especially when the storage locker is chock-a-block full of random containers, the people will choose whether to bid or not based on their gut, or other random criteria. In one episode, a guy bid on a storage locker no one else wanted simple because it was full of small, uninteresting-looking boxes that would fit into the truck he had with him that day; he found over $1,500 in cash taped to the back of a (worthless) painting found in the stash.
The show is a combination of spectator dumpster-diving and Antique Roadshow; on another recent show, one bidder went with his gut on an unprepossessing locker and ended up with a $12,000 miniature grand piano (an old manufacturer’s sample from back in the day). I can’t say that I’ve ever been all that interested in antiques or (with some exceptions) vintage items, although as an enthusiastic bargain-hunter I love stories about Van Goghs found at garage sales. And it’s precisely that bargain-hunting instinct that’s tickled by a show like Storage Wars. I love the idea that, for a relatively small investment, a smart and/or lucky bidder can end up with a veritable treasure. I also like the fact that it takes a good eye, and some general knowledge, to recognize a treasure in the midst of useless junk. And I really like watching what I call the “joy of the pay-off” – realizing that you got something pricey (or even priceless) for pennies on the pound.
But, best of all, I love imagining a version of show that would involve abandoned closets rather than storage lockers. The possibilities could be endless … and glorious. Who knows when you might stumble on a vintage YSL bag, or some cool Bakelite jewelry from the ‘50s, or even a piece or two from last year’s runways? And you might learn a thing or two about fashion (and history) in the bargain.

Hmmm … The Closet Hunters – has a certain ring to it. What do you think? And, since we’re on the topic, what programming suggestions would you share if you were ever stuck in an elevator with a TV exec?

Twice as nice

Despite my (mostly deserved) reputation as something of a shopaholic, I have only very rarely bought multiples of the same thing. So perhaps it was my current “eating for two” mentality that pushed me into doubling up on my recent purchase at Nine West. That, and the “40% off the lowest ticketed price” sale. Oh, and the bling; never underestimate the power of the bling on magpies like me.
But, seriously, how cute are these?

In my (further) defence, flats are a never-more-practical-than-now choice for me. Things are a-hurting these days that never used to hurt before, and I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time wearing flats in the coming months. Might as well ease the sorrow of parting from my beloved pumps with a few pretty, new pairs, no?
Your turn: Ever bought multiples and, if so, did you later regret it? Or have you ever regretted not buying more than one?

Three ways to Marc

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “one item, three ways” post, but my recent find – a floral Marc Jacobs shirt – was too good an opportunity to pass up. The print and colours are cute and perfect for accessorizing. And its price – a cool $12 – inspired me to do a new take on this exercise, and put together three outfits under $100 each. Because, yes, great style doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.

Outfit #1: $51
Pants, Thyme ($30); flats, Joe Fresh ($9)

Outfit #2: $79
Belt, Holt Renfrew ($35); skirt, Old Navy ($10); shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo ($22)

I could also wear this look with slouchy boots, which would bump up the outfit cost to $101 but increase its wearability, seeing as how spring is definitely playing coy with us this year.
Outfit #3: $92
Cardigan, Banana Republic ($35); skirt, Zara ($25); shoes, BCBG Girls ($20)

This is another look that would work well with boots … these  ones perhaps:
And, oh yeah, the reason this skirt is quickly turning into a mini …

The good thing is that (hopefully) I’ll still be able to wear all these looks in a year – and if I can’t, well, the damage (to my wallet) wasn’t that great!