Tuesday, November 24, 2015

unexpected retail surprises

Tailoring, meaningful details, and nice fabrics.  Fine fragrances and quality ingredients.  These two groupings of descriptions are usually reserved for luxury brands.  Over the last few years, some companies have tried their hands at elevated products - Abercrombie & Fitch offered Ruehl No. 925 for nearly 5 years, while American Eagle spun their classier, grown up Martin + Osa.  Both brands targeted the "after college crowd" and featured luxe leathers, tailored fits, and fine fabrics, but neither found traction in the marketplace.

Lately I've noticed some brands stepping up their game.  While the products aren't competing with what luxury houses stock, they are definitely stepping up their game and capturing my interest.  Here's a few that I'm really loving:

Elixir white link

-- Bath & Body Works features a pocket collection from NYC's famed C.O. Bigelow apothecary.  I'm loving their Elixir White - crisp with citrus notes of bergamot, grapefruit, and mandarin orange, with a peppery, spicy twist.  Just a tiny bit goes a long way, making mounds of suds and leaving behind just a hint of fresh fragrance without overpowering.  And at only US$10 a tube, what's not to love?!  Pairs really well with Tom Ford's Venetian Bergamot or Oud Wood.

AEO Cotton Parka

-- American Eagle offers a surprisingly beautiful and well done jacket in their AEO Cotton Parka, and at just US$199 (with discounts and offers featured throughout the Christmas season), I couldn't be more impressed.  Waxed cotton canvas, a treatment usually seen in luxe brands like Filson and Barbour, with military inspired patch pockets, quilted lining and interior pockets, function storm cuffs, and both zippered and button closures, this jacket is sure to keep you warm.  The faux fur lining is eco conscious and removable as well.  Even better than the price - it's machine washable and easy to care for.  

Mrs. Meyers

-- Target and Whole Foods (and many other places) offer Mrs. Meyer's candles, and I'm loving the Crisp Iowa Pine.  Imagine fresh cut Christmas tree, with a dash of clove and cedar - so fresh, so clean, and perfectly Christmas.  All of Mrs. Meyer's candles are soy based, burning cleanly for up to 25 hours.  And at just under US$7, you can afford to burn them throughout the day.  I love popping a candle into a gift basket for any occasion, or even on it's own as a small thank you token.

Quality doesn't have to break the bank.  What're some affordable products you're loving at the moment?

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