Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gift box? How dare you!

Since the Los Angeles Times saw fit to ask about the possible demise of hipper-than-thou Kitson, I thought I might share this Kitson Holiday Tale. (12/31: The L.A. Times just updated their blog, and removed mention of Kitson as possible retail casualty. Hmmm.)

For those of you not acquainted with the Kitson empire, it began on this little street called Robertson. Back then, Robertson had fallen out of favor as a shopping drag, although celebs still frequented places like The Ivy, where they could pretend to eat, and Les Habitudes, where they could pick up a dress for their fourth wedding. There were other haute hangouts, but the street itself was not the happenin' ave. of recent years.

Then Kitson opened. At first it seemed a pleasant enough place where you could pick up Fresh cosmetics, Creed perfumes, Antoni+Allison tees, Burning Torch cashmere and loads of naughty novelties. It didn't have much in the way of clothes in those days; it was more about accessories and beauty products. It was fun and didn't take itself too seriously.

Their first holiday season (this was 2000 or so) I decided to pop in for some last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. The place was fairly packed, and I found myself stepping over small dogs and stacks of pricey merch in equal measure. I grabbed a Blue Marlin hoodie for a very picky guy I needed to buy for, and made my way to the Paul Frank table where women were scooping up ugly monkey pajamas for their nearest and dearest. Despite the crowd, we were all playing nice.

Then, above the din, came an etremely agitated voice from the back of the store.

"Hey, all I did was ask for gift wrapping! You didn't have to throw it at me!"

The store became silent, and all eyes were on the line of people at the register where the woman at the front of the line was going at it with the man behind the counter.

"I didn't throw it at you!" he yelled.

"Excuse me, all I did was ask for gift wrapping! I spend thousands of dollars a month in this store! This is no way to treat customers!" she countered.

Nobody dared move a muscle. This was not your run-of-the-mill retail contretemps: this was a defining moment.

The woman then turned to the other shoppers, pleading her case. "I have all these gifts for people, and all I did was ask for them to wrap them and he throws this box at me and says do it yourself."

"That's it," yelled the owner "get out of my store!" The customer picked up her bags and her Paul Frank poster and swept through the store, horrified, humilated. And then, in a commercial climax, the owner shouted after her, at the top of his lungs "You are BANNED FROM THE STORE! Do you hear me? Banned! " He turned to his sales associates. "Did you see her? Remember her---she is banned from the store!" The associates nodded meekly and resumed ringing up huge profits.

Not long after this happened, Kitson was on all the hot lists. It was a Robertson Renaissance. Coincidence? I think not.

Sure, much is made about the fact that the owner of Kitson is a marketing whiz. He is. He pretty much started the whole paparazzi chronicling celebrity shopping sprees. He'd call the tabs and the mags and let them know who was in his store. The photogs would show up and snap away as A to D Listers exited the boutique with bags full of Kitson booty. Suddenly, The Ivy wasn't the only place to snap celebs. It wasn't long before other shops followed suit and had stalkerazzi on speed dial.

But really, I believe it was that December afternoon when Kitson became an A Lister in its own right. No longer was it this cute little store---it was now an exclusive boutique. You had to know the rules to shop there: it didn't matter how much you spent; it's how you spent it. The rest of us, for our part, stood there wondering how exactly one gets "banned from the store." Was it the unmitigated gall of wrapping paper? What if you wanted a bow? If you committed any of these crimes, did they post your photo in the store window, announcing to the world that you were on their Least Wanted List? How long before former child stars, hoping to revive their careers, showed up and asked for gift tags just for the notoreity?

I admit, when it was my turn to pay, I was pretty nervous. By this time the owner was in the back storeroom, still in a huff. I could feel the eyes of other shoppers on me when the associate rang up my Blue Marlin and asked "is this a gift?" The pressure was on. Big time. I didn't know what to say. I froze. "Is it a gift?" she asked again. "Can it be?" I asked. "Sure," she answered "I can give you a gift box." I flinched, squeezing my eyes shut and hoping one of those sharp corners didn't hit me in the face. Nothing. When I opened my eyes she had politely placed a gift box and bow in my bag. No flinging. No screaming. Just a concerned sales associate, hoping that I had my neuroleptics with me.

Merry Kitson to all...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bye, Tracey. (sniff)

"An end of an era has come, as I will be closing my store by the end of 2008. Thank you for all your love and support throughout the years, and I look forward to our paths crossing again. Love and blessings, Tracey."

This is not just another glitterati emporium biting the dust, this is Tracey Ross. Tracey, and her eponymous boutique, is an original. Tracey is known for discovering new talent---no, making new talent. The boutique is an Incubator of It, as I wrote in toutie in 2005:

"Trends start at Sunset. At the west end of Hollywood's most storied boulevard is an L.A. landmark where stars are born: Chloe, D Squared, Stella McCartney, Sass & Bide...all found fame at the Tracey Ross Boutique. Tracey scours the globe for the chic and unique, making this the place to shop for what's going-to-be hot. Visit her website for a taste of the Tracey Ross Experience---you won't get the celebrities lounging on daybeds, but you will get sublime style."

And now, going, going.... Another victim of the economy, as Tracey herself says in this Los Angeles Times post. (Same article cheekily asks if "Kitson is next." I'll have to tell you my Kitson story in another post...)

Say goodbye and save 50% on selected items. Also, check out Tracey's farewell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Tulle

Tulle's claim to fame is outerwear around $100. Beautiful, vintage-inspired coats and jackets at prices that are always affordable. I recently featured two of their coats in a Recession Dressin video.

Now their exceptional pieces (including separates and dresses) are yours for HALF OFF, for two days only, December 12 and 13th.

Holiday dressing? How about this shimmer satin overlay dress for $42.50? (Retail: $85.)

And a velveteen babydoll jacket to go with for $58.? (Retail: $115.)

Got a vintage clothing lover on your gift list? This coat is a perfect choice for $78.! (Retail: $155.) Can't you just see them pairing it with long gloves and a (faux) fur hat?

And then there's the old holiday standby, the sweater. Boring? Not from Tulle. This chunky, double-breasted sweater (available in ivory and black) is an anything-but-basic to wear all winter long. Just $47.50 (Retail: $95.)

Guy-gifting? Tulle's new menswear line, Cloth Logic, is also half off on December 12th and 13th. So how about these:

Not too fussy, with just enough detail (back belt, contrast hood) to make it stylish. Only $65. (Retail: $130.)

This patch pocket coat is another winner at $65. (Retail $130.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Purveyors of all that is hip, haute and happening, Ron Robinson is giving you 30% off TODAY ONLY (11/30) with code RON30X3. We're talking APOTHIA here, dears. You'll want to stock up on hard to find/hard to resist fragrances from the likes of:

By Kilian

Nouveau Paris

Saffron James

Czech and Speake

and more... Perhaps you might do a little gift shopping for someone other than yourself, hmmm? Yes, well there are deeply cool objets that will be deeply appreciated, even by the impossible-to-please. (If anyone is interested, a Missoni throw would do nicely with my new couch...Oh, and an Assouline coffee table book is always a welcome present...) You can't go wrong at Ron.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heaving with savings!

Yes, I've told you once, and I'm going to tell you again: CHECK THE FORUMS. Positively HEAVING with coupon codes and holiday sales. HEAVING.

Here's one of the sales:


At 40% off, perhaps a splurge is justified... Here's what I have my eye on:

Create and post your own outfits at!

Recession Dressin': Clothes

Just to let you know that a new Recession Dressin video is now on You Tube, featuring knockout knockoffs of Missoni, Herve Leger and more.

The $66. Herve Leger-inspired bandage dress from Epic is, just that, epic. Work it.

And speaking of the Herve Leger bandage dress, check out this golden oldie:

Those were the days. People, those are real supermodels. Talk about a bumper crop of beauties! Karen Mulder, Tatjana Patitz, Eva Herzigova, Claudia Mason...

Bring them all back. Please.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Someone Stop Me Tuesday...

Um, did they cancel Thanksgiving this year? I mean, I've learned to live with Back to School in July and Halloween in August, but the Christmas season now begins at the end of October? I love Christmas, don't get me wrong, and the longer we celebrate, the better. Still, I find myself almost wistful for signs of Thanksgiving in the stores, on the streets, on the sites... Everything is decked out in red and green---no orange, no gold.

Sure, it's economically expedient to stretch out the shopping season, especially in these times, but we give the Pilgrims the bum's rush? Seems a real shame, for all of us. Just because there's no real money in cornucopias... We can't even sit down to a proper Thanksgiving feast anymore because everyone is packing up to head out for the Midnight Madness sales at the mall.

Fine. More pumpkin pie for moi.

If you're looking for a way to spend more time at home and hearth, you might be interested in the some great online deals (many beginning now) on gifts. I know playing bumper cars in the mall parking lot is a holiday tradition, but maybe that's one tradition we can do without this year.

So, a reminder to CHECK THE TOUTIE FORUMS for the latest sales and coupon codes. They are packed with some fabulous deals. For example:
$50. off $250.
$100. off $500.
$250. off $1000.
$500. off $1500.

Use code THANKS2U

Ralph Lauren

Use code HOL2008 for 30% off until Dec. 8

Tulle One Day Sale --Everything HALF OFF on 11/28

and, for the kiddies...

Fao Schwarz

Use code BFSALE for 20% off $120. or more 11/26-12/1!

Tons more in the forums.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Times are tight...but so is this site! Through November 19 (EXTENDED THROUGH NOVEMBER 30th!) save HALF OFF all new items at Nicchia. Gorgeous duds from M Missoni, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vera Wang and more await. Looking for that most-wanted Loeffler Randall ruffle blouse? It's here, at half off. At the very least, pick up a pair of Citizens of Humanity bootcuts for $84. A steal.

Here's a sample of the goodies:

Create and post your own outfits at!

Introducing Hayden Harnett Footwear!

You love their bags. You love their leather accessories. You love their clothes. Now... LOVE THEIR BOOTS! (That's a declarative, not a command. How can anyone resist?!!!)

Hayden Harnett "Zelda" boots, $595.

Take 25% off any boot order with code booty. This code valid November 15-20.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shoes on Sale!

Seems fitting this post should follow Carrie Bradshaw...and a flaccid economy. In any event, a couple of luxury retailers are having shoe sales: Bergdorf Goodman has a small selection of Dolce, Stella, Tod's and more discounted 30%. Foot Candy (yes, please!) just announced their Fall Sale, with 30% off Manolo, Jimmy Choo, Casadei and more. Saks has a lineup that includes Chloe, Brian Atwood, Marc Jacobs, Ferragamo and more at up to 40% off.

If you checked the toutie forums daily, you'd already know this. I'm just sayin'...

Now, here's some shoe porn:

(As always, click on image, then click on link for the site.)

Create and post your own outfits at!

For those of you (like me) who need it just a little cheaper, you can find the looks for less in the Recession Dressin' Shoes video.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bleak Chic

It Sucks in the City. According to a recent article in TheNY Post, "the luxury business is heading to the poorhouse". With the dire economic developments of the last few months, free market honchos are now in free fall. Firms are in line for bailouts, buyers, or just going bust. There's Hermes belt-tightening going on all over The Street: no more bench-made shoes, It bags or designer attire. Time to make do. As a result, sales at stores like Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are down 10-15% in October, while discount stores like Wal-Mart and Costco actually posted modest sales gains. Gasp.

Conspicous consumption is definitely out; bargain buys are definitely in. Not only should you shop Target and Kohl's, you should brag about it. That's right, when people stop you and admire your discount threads, you should tell them how much (or little) it cost. It's the New Etiquette. It's Envy for Less. It's BLEAK CHIC.

With designers like Vera Wang (for Kohl's) Isaac Mizrahi (for Target) and Norma Kamali (for Wal-Mart) creating value lines for penny pinchers, there are some amazing finds under $100.

Check it out:

Create and post your own outfits at!

Don't forget to tell them where you got it!

Hey, what happened to (f)Ugg's?

Ugg boots?

So sad. So sheep. So five years ago.

Right, because you never owned a pair. You weren't tucking your Juicy Couture terrycloth sweatsuit into Ugg boots. You weren't tucking your low-rise Sevens (is my thong showing?) into Ugg boots. You weren't buying them in Baby Blue and Sand and Black---you weren't buying them at all. That was all the other fashion victims.

And you're just not the victim type.

Fair enough, no fugly fads for you... But have you seen Uggs lately? You might actually like them.

Wait a minute, with the exception of these:

Ugg Classic Tall in Gold, $180.

A little too Hollywood?

These Uggs are decidedly lacking in fUgg. Trust. Roll over for links and notes. To click on link, click on image first, then link:

Create and post your own outfits at!

Couldn't you just see Ali MacGraw in Love Story wearing the Sandra?

Create and post your own outfits at!
Ugg means never having to say you're sorry...

Create and post your own outfits at!

Not even sorry about wearing Uggs when you're a guy:

Ronnie Wood

Ben Affleck

Source: Daily Mail

I think Ben would look better in the Gold...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Top Shop Sale

Ever since Top Shop opened their virtual doors to U.S. shoppers, Anglophiles, ex-pats and fashion-forward femmes are rejoicing. We can look just like Kate (in our fevered imaginations, anyway) and we can do it for almost no money at all.

Check out the sale section for some amazing deals. Here are some of the pieces that caught my eye-what's left, anyhow. (Roll over items for notes. To click on links, click on item, then click on link.)

Create and post your own outfits at!

But why limit yourself to the sale? Top Shop is all about value! That's why London shoppers mobbed Top Shop this week when the Kate Moss Christmas Collection was unveiled:

Source: UK Daily Mail

So, now that we've rationalized more spending, check these out: (Roll over items for notes. To click on links, click on item, then click on link.)

Create and post your own outfits at!

Total for everything here? A little over $2300. Not bad. In love with Kate's Galliano-inspired gowns...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Don't Forget the Forums!

For those of you who don't know about the Toutie Forums, you're missing out on a smorgasbord of savings. Merchants and readers alike are invited to post news of sales or discount codes. This week, for instance, we just added sale news for W Hotel Store, where you can save up to 80%. Very interesting for those of us who love Calypso fragrances and candles---they're half off!

All Calypso scents were $55., now $26.99. Who doesn't love Mimosa?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Recession Dressin'

Episode Two of Recession Dressin': Bags. Unlike the lookalike/inspired-by shoes featured in the Shoe video, most of these bags are faux leather. But they're also under $100. Melie Bianco especially is known for the high quality pleather she uses in her creations, so you'll still look fab.

The secret is to pulling off "recession dressin" or "value attire" is to mix---high/low, old/new, classics/trends---go on, add some spice. The value bags featured in this video are available in a range of bold hues, so that could be the colorful accent in your outfit. It's all about balancing the elements. While no one is bound to criticize a women for wearing high-end from head to toe, it usually lacks imagination. Just look at those women who always wear all one designer from head to toe: it's boring. People like Kate Moss became icons for mixing flea market finds with high-end apparel, vintage with modern, sidewalk with catwalk. It's infinitely more interesting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Recession Dressin'

Just uploaded a new video---actually the first episode in a series---on Recession Dressin'. Check out the shoes from Louboutin, YSL and Dior---and how to get the look for a lot less.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


The new "Leggings...and how!" video is up on You Tube:

Love them or loathe them, this video is about how to make the best of them. All the outfits were styled by Michelle at (use code toutie for 20% off $100. or more), so it's worth a look. Those of you who shop South Moon know what I'm talking about: they really know how to put colors together for a look that is fresh and fabulous.

Key word in this video is: coverage. The rule you must always obey? D.D.V. (Don't display the _____.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hayden Harnett 20% off $300.

Another visit from the Retail Fairy: Hayden Harnett is giving 20% off purchases of $300. or more with code fallingfast until October 7.

Don't wait too long to scoop up one of their gorgeous bags or some of their equally beautiful clothes.

This Trophy Bag, $678. in Violet (available in assorted colors) is the ultimate prize:

This Estelle peacoat, $425. in Dark Teal is a dashing basic:

Monday, September 29, 2008

$100. off $300. at BCBG

Well, the chunky deals keep coming: $100. off purchases of $300. at BCBG is today's offering.

"Receive $100 off your purchase of $300 or more! Enter code: FALLCHECK08 at checkout Full priced merchandise only
*Offer ends 11:59 PM EST 10/26/08. $100 off promotion only valid with minimum US $300 purchase before tax on full-priced merchandise. Not valid towards previously purchased merchandise. Full value of the offer will be forfeited upon return of merchandise. Discount will be applied at checkout on when promo code: FALLCHECK08 is entered. Entire order must ship to a single address. "

These jewel-tone patent heels ($275.) are gorge:

And this wool coat ($438.) is a keeper:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

30% off Blonde LA

A quick post (and pick me up) courtesy of Amber at Blonde LA. Knowing how stressed the country is about the economy, Amber is doing her patriotic duty and giving us all a little relief with a 30% discount at Blonde LA. Just enter code WELUVU at checkout. Offer ends Thursday, October 2nd.

This Cynthia Vincent sweater ($402.) is an Amber fave! Looks like it may already have sold out...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cheap Shot

Thought I'd post about more lookalikes. Why? Well, the way things are going that may look like a dollar bill, but really, it's only fifty cents.

Let's begin with these Dior "Extreme" sandals. Blazing. And yes, the price is a bit extreme at $780. But you don't go to Bergdorf for bargains...

So, here's a reasonable alternative (and get used to those) from Steve Madden. $59. 95! These are available at South Moon Under. Use code toutie for 20% off $100. or more.

Nobody does a wedge boot like Loeffler Randall. And if you have the money, you should definitely scoop up a pair of Matildes ($695.) while they're still there at Shop Emily Grace. Use code toutie for 20% off.

Or, you can save yourself about 500 bucks with these wedge heel boots from BCBGirls ($160.) at Lori's Shoes. Use code toutie for 20% off.

Pretty close...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cole Haan $50. off $250.

Until September 28, get $50. off a purchase of $250. or more at Cole Haan. Use code CHFALL at checkout.

These multi-color suede, patent and metallic leather slingbacks ship 9/ my house.

Cole Haan Air Celeste slingbacks, $225.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Dru's

It's nice to see one of those chronic underachievers finally get it together.

Tiffany Chantra interned at Coach, then went on to earn a psych degree from Harvard. Then she went to this design school---what was the name?---oh yes, Parsons. While there she was approached to create a line of shoes for designer Kim Phan. The following year she launched her own line, Dru New York.

About time. Yeesh, she's already 26 years old.

Two years in, Dru New York is an unqualified success. (Plenty of fawning press mentions, including Glamour, In Style and Elle.) Dru flats are a staple for fashionistas, ranking right up there with French Sole and Delman. Tiffany likes to infuse her line with a bit more wit and attitude; her shoes are more downtown than uptown. She can take a basic and make it unforgettable.

Have look at what are sure to be this season's must-haves at Lola y Maria:

Dru New York "Alicia" flat, $124.

Dru New York "Deb" metallic flat, $124.

Dru New York "Steph" lace up riding boots, $330.

Use code toutie for 20% off!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cheap Shot

MCL by Matthew Campbell Mixed Sapphire ring , $350.

Matthew Campbell ring toutie blog


Guy and Eva multi color cocktail ring, $28. (Use code toutie for 15% off)

Really, it was a choice between the statement jewelry, and the credit card statement. (The minimum payment won this round. )

The Matthew Campbell ring is nothing short of breathtaking. It reminds me of the universe unfolding in a burst of sapphires. I'll be back.

Until then, there is some consolation in the many fashion jewelry alternatives (faux-sure) offered by Guy and Eva. Nothing there is over $100., and you can use code toutie for 15% off.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Butter London

I tend to get stuck in a rut when it comes to nail polish. I might experiment with a new shade or two, but I always come back to the same three choices: OPI Mother Road Rose, Essie Ballet Slippers and a red from Chanel.

Mauve. Pink. Red. I'm. Every. Woman.

Actually, I'm not in much of a rut lately, since I stopped wearing nail polish altogether. Too many visits to Whole Foods finally convinced me that what you put on your body can have as much of an impact as what you put in your body. ( I gave this a lot of thought as I was eating my chocolate-covered Goji berries. ) And since most nail polish is made with formaldehyde (that's right, embalming fluid) and a ton of other toxins, it didn't seem worth it.

Sure, there are a couple of formaldehyde-free lines out there, but none of them did it for me.

Until now.

Butter London is non-toxic nail care with a British accent. It's simply brilliant. Their "3 Free Lacquers" are free of formaldehyde, toluene and DBP---nasty stuff. The lacquers are heavily pigmented, so the colors are deeper, richer and more vibrant.

And what colors! The butter London palette is the perfect combination of chic and cheek.

butter london nail polish

La Moss, $12. "Vampy and full of red wine, just like its inspiration."

butter london nail polish

Bezzie Mate, $12. "This colour will remind you of a night in with the girls, gossiping, giggling and enjoying an intense burst of fuschia pink."

butter london nail polish toutie blog

Diamond Geezer, $12. "Proper platinum, silvery and shiny. It's finger-bling that sparkles like the real thing, but doesn't cost it!"

I'm officially obsessed.

You can find the bestselling shades of butter London at Beauty Intuition. And you can save 15% on your purchase with coupon code toutie.

Me, I'm gonna get 'em all---Come to Bed Red, Diamond Geezer, London Underground, Queen Vic, Royal Ballet, La Moss and Bezzie Mate.

Seems a shame they don't have Chocolate Covered Goji Berry Binge, though.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The $28 Fall Dress

The Go-to Frock for Fall?

No, it's not Ella Moss or Rachel Pally. Or even Splendid or Velvet. It's...

Hanes! That's right, same place you can buy the six pack of granny panties, also known as briefs. Or, as Hanes calls them "panties that don't misbehave." But enough about my underwear...

I admit, I buy the lounge pants, hoodies and long sleeve v-necks here. (They have cute boyshorts, too.) I'm impressed by the quality--the cotton is soft, but the material is not flimsy. The garments hold their shape nicely, wash after wash. And the price is right. Sure, it's not as trendy as another (American) apparel maker, but for me, Hanes has an enduring appeal.

They make great basics.

But the new cowl neck dress is anything but basic when it comes to style. Available in Heather Grey or Black, the dress has an empire waist and a pleated front and back. It's comfy cotton, with just a touch of spandex for shape. It's ideal for layering. You can wear it as a top with leggings and skinny jeans, or wear it as a dress with all the great colored hose this season. Best of all, it's only $28.

The Heather Grey dress is a perfect canvas for all the hot fall colors---purple, orange, fuschia and yellow. Of course, basic black always works. This would be great with my favorite Rachel Comey booties:

(Roll over images for links and notes. To click a link, click on the image first, then click on the link.)

Create and post your own outfits at!

Or, like I said, it's the perfect dress for going crazy with color:

(Roll over images for links and notes. To click on a link, click on the image first, then click on the link.)

Create and post your own outfits at!

That reminds me, I gotta check out what Fruit of the Loom is doing for fall...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shofolk shoes

Just some of the many great things to come out of Portugal:


Photo: Ono Ono Fried Dessert Dough

Deep fried dough sprinkled with sugar. (The word "donut" doesn't do it justice. )

Cristiano Ronaldo

Photo: Flynet/ UK Telegraph

Deep fried footballer


Shofolk shoes!

Okay, technically speaking Folk is a U.K. brand, but it's the Portuguese touch (just like in desserts and football) that makes it extraordinary. Shofolk (the footwear division of Folk) shoes are handcrafted by Portuguese artisans from natural raw leathers. They have a wonderfully quirky yet elegant aesthetic.

One look at the Shofolk "Antoine" and you've found your ideal boots for fall:

Shofolk shoes toutie blog

What's not to love about the patent leather cap toe and heel, the stacked wood sole, the strap detail with silver closure? The boot is exquisite, insouciant and mine!

Get yours at Buy Definition ($398.) Use code toutie for 25% off!