Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall Fashion Footwear

I can't get enough of Christian Louboutin's Toundra Fur Booty.

  • Two leather belts strap in pieced natural coyote (Canada) fur covering.
  • light golden hardware.
  • Round toe.
  • 5" covered heel; 1 1/2" platform.
  • Leather lining.
  • Signature red sole.
  • Shaft approximately 6"H.
  • "Toundra" is made in Italy
  • US$2,095

Friday, August 27, 2010

Luxe Loves of the Moment

(in no particular order, of course)

Michael Bastian for Gant

Tone on tone on tone (especially accessories like watches, belts, shoes, and sunglasses)

Slim fitting but not overly tight pants and shorts.

Lightweight cashmere vneck sweaters for those cool evenings (or frigidly conditioned locations indoors).

Gucci's over the knee brown boots and fabulous thigh length fur jackets, vests, and coats.

Donna Karan's stunning, dramatic tuxedo shirts for women (happy 25th anniversary DK!)

Prada's use of patent leather as an accessory and highlight on this season's bags and small leather goods.

Christian Dior's over the top, outrageously delicious purple suede over-the-knee high heeled boots.

Tom Ford's attention to detail and unequalled mastery of craft and creativity.

Tweed and chunky knitwear mixed with sleek, thin fabrics and high tech outerwear like Moncler's iconic offerings.

Missoni's Hotel in Kuwait, complete with Cucina Missoni restaurant.

Orange, golden yellow, khaki, chocolate brown, navy blue, and the wine/burgundy/eggplant colour families.

Free refills and fabulous service with the Starbucks gold card.

The elegance and instant style that scarves bring to any outfit.

Club Monaco's
sale rack - great clothes and accessories at even better price points.

Ryan's excitement for the brand and quality product at The Art of Shaving at The Galleria in Dallas, Texas.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Status Update: My Sears online shopping experience

So on Tuesday, I filled you in with some tips I learned over the past three months dealing with an unfortunate experience with Sears. And wanted to give an update on my status as well as some additional tips:

Sears has yet to credit my debit card account yet. On Wednesday I learned that the supervisor who was issuing my credit didn't fill out the paperwork properly, so the credit had to be reissued. I was told the process would be complete within 1-2 business days, that a new supervisor and off-line department would see to this resolution as quickly as possible, and that everything would be taken care of.

I phoned Sears again this evening, because I had yet to see the credit - only to discover that the credit had yet to be issued, as it was caught up in the off-line department still. And to make matters worse, after multiple employees were told of my situation and worked on the solution - all knowing very plainly that I had cancelled the order and expected my full refund immediately - I STILL continued to receive an email from Sears today, updating me that my parts were "back ordered and would arrive on 26 June 2010" ... you can imagine how thrilling this was.

So yet another supervisor/associate/account manager/employee of Sears is "working" on the "solution" to refund my money. Long, drawn out, dramatic story short: it's been more than 90 days since I ordered my replacement parts. It's been more than 90 days since Sears received my payment. I have canceled my order. I continue to receive emails proclaiming a "26 June 2010" delivery for said back ordered items. And I still don't have my money.

When you place an online order and follow up or make any communication with the retailer - keep a detailed log of all communication. Document employee names AND identification numbers, the time and date of the communication, the issue, action, and result, and any specific instructions or notes they may tell you.

Ask for the representative to read back to you their notes, before you end the call, so that you're comfortable and aware of exactly what they have notated on your account.

And when in doubt, know that your credit card company and the Better Business Bureau are on your side.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Online Shopping Tips

I've recently had an online shopping experience I want to tell you about.

Back in May, I ordered 2 replacement tires for my lawnmower from Sears Parts Direct. I've been very happy with my lawnmower, and living in hot, sunny Florida, it gets more than it's share of work. I needed new tires, and since I bought the lawnmower from Sears, I wanted to get the parts as well.

Within the span of a month, I received more than a dozen emails from Sears, saying that the tires were on backorder, and would be shipped on a new date.

More than a month after I ordered the tires, they had yet to arrive, and I only received an email with yet another promised shipping date.

I went on vacation. I focused on projects for work. I visited family and friends. I forgot that I had even ordered the tires.

About two weeks ago, my father was tired of seeing a lawnmower strung apart in our garage. So he went to our local Sears Parts Store, where he walked in, told the cashier our dilemma, where in just a few short minutes, my Dad was able to buy the tires IN THE STORE without waiting. Tires that were supposedly backordered. For nearly three months. And to make matter worse, the associate checked the "national inventory" and found that 398 tires were available.

As you can imagine, I wasn't thrilled. I called Sears Parts Direct to ask about my tires. They said the tires were still on backorder. I told them I wasn't happy that for nearly 3 months, Sears had debited my checking account nearly US$60 for a product it had yet to ship, and hadn't contact me in nearly 2 months to give me an update. I requested a full refunded.

The next day, I had yet to receive the refund. So I asked to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor was at lunch. So I left my number with the agent, and was told I'd hear back when they returned from lunch. No one ever called. So now I'm feeling like, not only have I paid for a product three months ago that's yet to be delivered, now no one can even talk to me about the situation and a remedy.

So I call back the following day. When I explain the situation to the agent, the agent asks "why didn't you ask for a backorder charge-back"? I'm sorry - as a luxury retail consultant, with more than a decade of retail experience, I've never heard of a "backorder charge-back"...and in more than a dozen emails from Sears updating me on my situation, I was never given the option of a "backorder charge-back".

I'm still waiting for Sears to credt my account. And they've had my money for nearly 90 days now.

I'm not telling you this story out of vengeance or spite. I want you to know what I didn't.

If you order products online:

-- familiarize yourself with the policies of the individual vendor. In my case, Sears pushed the blame to the manufacturer and has a policy that "orders cannot be canceled".

-- monitor the process of your shipment. If you haven't received your product within a reasonable amount of time, follow up with the retailer. Track shipments and progress. If you need to dispute a charge, remember that your Credit Card is on your side. They can help you block payment or recover money in the event of undelivered merchandise.

-- if a product is on backorder, ask for a "backorder charge-back" - which apparently is a temporary refund until the product is actually in stock, and then is recharged by the company upon actually shipping the product.

Be smart. Be educated. Be ware.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fit For Royalty

I'm always on the look out for natural ingredients that are healthy and easy to use. Skincare is really important to me. We all want to have great skin. We all want to discover the fountain of youth. And now you can have both. Here's the buzz:

Look for skincare containing honey. Honey has been used for thousands of years for it's medicinal powers - from being mentioned in The Bible, to preserving dead bodies in ancient Egypt, to the Buddha himself, nature's sugary elixir has passed the hands of time.

The sticky, sweet natural concoction from bees is a natural antiseptic, cleanser, and is full of antioxidants. Researchers at the University of Ottawa , led by Tala Alandejani, MD provided scientific evidence that honey can naturally kill bacteria that cause sinus infections and inflammation of the airways. Additionally, several studies have shown that honey speeds the recovery time of superficial burns to the skin, minor cuts and scratches, and also helps reduce scarring.

I know this sounds far fetched - but honey stops the clock on aging. Using skincare with honey protects your skin against oxidation and dehydration - two effects of stress, pollution, sun damage, and oxidants. When your skin is blocked from free radicals, moisturized, and protected, a more youthful appearance is gained. Think about it - honey never goes bad, doesn't need any preservatives, and is all natural. So when this ingredient is used in skin care, it helps nourish and protect. Honey absorbs impurities on the skin and in pores, so it brings a natural cleansing property and helps rejuvenate and refresh the skin. Honey also naturally soothes and calms. In short - honey makes your skin softer, look better, more youthful, more radiant.

Here are some products that contain honey:

Guerlain 'Abeille Royale' Youth Serum - US$140 for 1 ounce.

L'Occitane en Provence's Shea Butter Hand Cream - £16.50 for 150 mL.

Korres Wheat & Honey Intensified Vitamin E Anti-Aging Cream - AU$54.

Smashbox Lip Treatment SPF 15 - US$15.

Peter Thomas Roth Viz-1000 skin serum - US$65.

Mind your beeswax, leave the hive, and get some honey! Your skin will thank you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What is Luxury?

"Luxury" is an environment and state of mind we should all aspire to experience - it is a casual elegance with a reckless disregard for the impossible.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

a fashion uprising

the song of the day (because I love this movie)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sorority Style

There's a certain nostalgia that is incredibly valuable in the fashion industry. I don't just mean taking inspiration from the past, or updating a vintage look. The nostalgia I mean is the the same feeling you'd achieve in showing an Ivy League alumnus the repp stripe tie he wore in college with coordinating crested blazer. Or the same vivid feeling your Grandfather might have when he sees the Royal Marines uniform cap. It's more than just fashion - it's a sense of self, a sense of belonging, and a proud reflection.

So, too, does Lilly Pulitzer enter the fall fashion lineup with pizazz and nostalgia. Joining those iconic prints of pink, orange, yellow, blue, green, and white that have been splashing colour from Palm Beach to Pittsburgh is Lilly Pulitzer Sorority Line. Beginning with four sororities, Delta Zeta, Tri Delt, Kappa Delta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma ladies can now accessorize with pride and style. Featuring vintage inspired prints, these brightly coloured bags, accessories, and scarves are sure to bring women of all ages back to their glory days.

As if we needed another means to network, now you can easily identify your sisters from afar! Building a community, remembering the good times, and looking good are always en vogue.