Aug 142015
 

As promised, here is Part 2 of our special report on flash sale shopping, with the emphasis on buying brands Kate wears, or specific items she has been seen wearing.

In Tuesday’s post we spoke about the increasing competition flash sale sites are encountering, including retailers doing their own ‘flash’ specials. Below you see a graphic from Kate favorite GOAT Fashion, announcing their own flash sale just this Monday.

GOAT Fashion

GOAT Fashion Facebook

One of our favorite sponsors, Beulah London, has also offered flash sales.

Beulah London Facebook

Beulah London Facebook

We see more and more retailers using this technique to move merchandise. It’s a savvy tactic, allowing stores to go directly to the consumer without any middleman like Rue La La or Ideeli. The term has become overused in some cases; technically, a flash sale requires two elements: lower prices or a discount offered only for the event, as well as a specific, limited time frame for the sale.

After reading Tuesday’s post it might appear I think so poorly of flash sales there simply aren’t any bargains to be found at them; that’s not the case. Tuesday’s information serves as a cautionary note, reminding us all to think carefully before saying goodbye to our hard-earned $$$ or £££ or €€€. There have been, and will continue to be, savings opportunities at the sites. Some brands Kate favors are frequently (if not constantly) available on the flash sites, while others appear less often and some are never seen.

Labels I’ve not seen, and wouldn’t expect to find available at the flash sites include GOAT Fashion, Katherine Hooker, Beulah London, Jenny Packham, Catherine Walker, Moloh, ME+EM, Amanda Wakeley, Emilia Wickstead, Hobbs, Joseph, Paule KaRussell and Bromley, Reiss, Jaeger and Mint Velvet.

On to our quick review of labels Kate likes that we have seen at flash sale sites, beginning with Temperley London. As best I recall the brand has only been offered once, that was July of this year at Gilt.

Gilt July 22 2015

Gilt July 22 2015

Stuart Weitzman is seen only occasionally; this is from a Rue La La sale in April 2015.

Rue La La April 15 2015

Rue La La April 15 2015

Another rarely seen brand, Tod’s; this was a Rue La La sale sometime in the summer of 2014, unfortunately I did not keep track of the specific date.  NOTE: After publishing this post I saw that Tod’s will be on Rue La La Tuesday, August 18, at 11am.

Rue La La 2014

Rue La La 2014

I don’t think of Tory Burch clothing as a regular on the sites.

Rue La La March 31, 2015 (via Milled.com)

Rue La La March 31, 2015 (via Milled.com)

Other Kate-related labels that are seen infrequently: Aquatalia (left) and Mulberry (right).

LEFT: Rue La La Aug 25 2014  RIGHT: Gilt June 4 2014

LEFT: Rue La La Aug 25, 2014 RIGHT: Gilt June 4 2014

Max Mara is available several times a year; we show it at Ideeli (as the site was previously called) last year, and also at Rue La La.

Ideeli/Rue La La

Ideeli/Rue La La

Diane von Furstenberg products have appeared with some regularity (Rue La La is featuring the brand Wednesday, August 19, at 11am), as have LK Bennett’s. In most instances the LK Bennett events are for footwear only.

LK Bennett Gilt June 6 2015

Gilt June 6 2015

But there have been some sales incorporating shoes, clothing and accessories.

LK Bennett Flash Sale site Rue La La March 27 2015

Rue La La March 27 2015

Other brands seen several times a year include Rebecca Taylor, Hudson, and J. Brand (shown below at Haute Look).

Haute Look January 27, 2014

Haute Look January 27, 2014

And then there’s Longchamp, shown at Ideel in May.

Gilt May 16 2015

Ideel May 16 2015

Or were you looking for Longchamp at Gilt?

Gilt October 5 2014

Gilt October 5 2014

Perhaps you prefer Beyond the Rack when shopping the brand?

Beyond the Rack

Beyond the Rack August 4 2015

To say ‘frequently available’ on the flash sites would almost be an understatement. Not unlike Jimmy Choo.

LEFT: Rue La La October 26, 2014

LEFT: Rue La La October 26, 2014 RIGHT: Ideel July 20, 2015

Here’s a look at Jimmy Choo flash sale availability, along with Hall of Famers Longchamp and LK Bennett. To the best of my recollection most, if not all, of the appearances were brand specific events, items weren’t part of a larger themed event. This is not a comprehensive list; rather, dates tracked when I remembered to write them down. One other note: I believe LK Bennett has cut back dramatically on its participation in flash sales.

Word Doc Flash Sale Appearances Choo LK Bennett Longchamp

It’s great knowing you can find certain brands on the flash sites, but how good are the deals they offer? Let’s look at a Longchamp Le Pliage black bag, the large tote with long handles, a piece we know Kate carries. It is $145 at the Longchamp site. That is also the price at Nordstrom and at Bloomingdales. If shopping the Gilt sale you would have been able to purchase the bag for $119, not an inconsequential savings.

Longchamp Le Pliage flash sale Gilt

Longchamp/Gilt July 1, 2015

You will generally see large totes on the flash sites marked down to that $119 price point; the medium nylon totes are usually $90 – $99, with small size totes going for about $80. The trick is being able to snag the size and color you want before it is sold out. It can be tempting to purchase the piece in another color or size; that’s a good time to step back and consider if it’s a combination you will really use.

Next, shopping Jimmy Choo. Below you see the Cosmic in black suede selling in February 2014 for $549, about 20% off the regular $695 retail price. That was a rare occurrence, it may have been the lone flash sale appearance of the Cosmic in black suede.

Gilt February 23, 2014

Gilt February 23, 2014

You could certainly find other Choo styles on the flash sites.

Flash Sale Jimmy Choo Shoes Ideel

Ideel April 16, 2015

The discount is roughly the same regardless of who is hosting the sale: just about 20%.

Rue La La Jimmy Choo Flash Sale

Rue La La August 12, 2014

It’s unusual to find jewelry Kate has worn in the sales. Much of what she wears is from designers that don’t participate in the sales: Kiki McDonough, Mappin & Webb, Tiffany. There are exceptions, like the Kenneth Jay Lane earrings worn in New York last December.

Jackson Lee/Splash News

Jackson Lee/Splash News

They were offered in a Rue La La sale this July, at a savings of $85.

Rue La La RIGHT:

LEFT: Rue La La July 11, 2015  RIGHT: CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane

Tip #1: Pay attention to those themed sales the site runs where they aggregate merchandise under a common theme, occasionally brands the Duchess wears may be included. Some apparel/accessory examples: “Little Black Dresses,” “Summer Lights: Ivory and Beige Looks You’ll Love,” “Fierce Flats,” “Shoes From Nude to Black.” Items may also be grouped by price/discount: “Jewelry and Watch Picks Under $50,” “Calling All Kids – Extra 20% off,” “Accessories From $19.99.” It can be a good idea to explore themed sales, like Rue La La’s “The Duchess’ Style” from this January.

Rue La La January 2015

Rue La La January 2015

The majority of the merchandise was like that seen in this screen grab from the sale: nice, but not quite the same as what Kate wore.

Rue La La January 9 2015

Rue La La January 9 2015

Included in that sale: the Shilo. Oddly, the Shilo was selling for $99.99 in that Duchess’ Style event, and it was simultaneously offered at Rue La La in a separate LK Bennett sale, but at double the price: $199.99.

Rue La La

Rue La La

Tip #2: Always run a price check. This graphic demonstrates why it is so vital to smart shopping: the Aquatalia ‘Diane’ boot was selling for $201.99 at 6pm on August 25, 2014. That same day the boot was included in a flash sale at Rue La La, but at a much higher price, $349.99-that’s $148 more than the 6pm price.

6pm/Rue La La

6pm/Rue La La

Tip #3: if you see an item at a lower price than what it is selling for on one of the sites, let the site know; most (if not all) will honor that lower price. The best method I’ve found for dealing with this is via Twitter or Facebook, but I imagine it could also be done via a telephone call. Try the same thing for regular sites; in a comment to Tuesday’s post Mary noted that Overstock may also have a price-matching policy.

Tip #4: the search function is your friend. Inputting brand or item names into the search box can offer surprising results. At Gilt a search for LK Bennett brought up 187 products, including the Sledge in limited sizing and colors, priced at $199 and $219. (They really look like 2 different shoes in these photos, no?)

Gilt.com

Gilt.com

At Ideel 62 results were found when searching Longchamp, 29 results for Diane von Furstenberg and 62 products for Jimmy Choo. Unfortunately Rue La La does not offer a search function.

Tip #5: Check the ‘upcoming sales’ info so you can plan ahead and be ready to pounce if need be. A quick look at Rue La La’s upcoming sales reveals that Longchamp will be offered today starting at 3pm.

Tip #6: Consider shopping the discount sites: Bluefly, The Outnet (Net-a-Porter’s discount arm), Sierra Trading Post (owned by the same company that owns TJ Maxx), Overstock and Amazon are all good options. A cursory search at Bluefly revealed Kate’s Corkswoon wedges selling at $304 (but only in size 10), as well as a medium Le Pliage priced at $77.59, in fuchsia.

Bluefly.com

Bluefly.com

Tip #7: Use one/some of the price-tracking sites that notify you when items are marked down. There are also apps that do this for your mobile devices. Here’s what Nancy shared in a comment on Tuesday’s post:

A website called camelcamelcamel.com gives historical prices charged by amazon and will notify you if the price drops by a percentage you can specify. Ebay shows historical pricing data if you check the “sold” or “completed listings” boxes on the left hand side of the screen.

Brenda and ElizaMo both shared their fondness for Amazon’s price checking tool. This is from Brenda’s comment:

My go-to price comparison site is Amazon.com. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked RueLaLa and Haute and other specials against Amazon, to find that the flash sale price is not a bargain at all.

Here’s a link to Amazon’s CamelCamelCamel, Shop Advisor is here, Lyst is here, Price Zombie is here,  and Rack It Up is here. Apps available include Nifti, and Shoptagr. If you use a price-tracking site or app, please let us know so we can include it in our list.

As is obvious, I did keep a fair amount of data for this post in the last 16 months, but not everything. My perceptions about the frequency of a company’s availability on flash sites could be flawed; if you have input please don’t be shy about letting me know.

Following are links to the primary flash sale sites in the US that we listed in Tuesday’s post. Full disclosure: many of the links use my ‘invitation,’ if you ultimately purchase something I receive a merchandise credit. Knowing the way I excoriated the ‘private club’ and ‘members only’ aspect of the sites, this may appear disingenuous, it isn’t intended to be. If you prefer *not* using these links, it is almost as easy to simply go to the sites and sign-up there.

CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES SITES:

SPECIALTY SITES:

  • One Kings Lane: offers home goods, decor, furniture, art, books & more
  • Joss and Main: also specializes in home décor items & is owned by home goods giant Wayfair
  • Zulily: specializes primarily in women’s/children’s merchandise

 

Jun 232015
 

We are back with a very few updates and a look at the history of a classic style the Duchess favors.

Our first update involves a very brief story in The Daily Mail reporting Kate and William will be attending Wimbledon next week. The information has not been confirmed. If it turns out to be true it’s unlikely there will be any announcement until the morning of the event. Should it be confirmed we will post on our Very Latest page, as well as adding it to Kate’s Calendar.

Next, the ‘mystery jeans’ Kate wore to the Festival of Polo on the 14th of this month. With thanks to everyone who shared input here via a comment or email, as well as on the WKW Facebook page, we are going to leave that topic as it stands, with no specific resolution. My instinct says they are by Topshop and the company simply isn’t claiming them, but it’s entirely possible they are from another brand. Since I wrote this we have an update: Topshop now ackowledges the jeans are their merchandise.

©James Whatling/Splash News

©James Whatling/Splash News

The company confirmed this to Monique Jessen of People magazine; more from Monique’s story about the jeans:

The confusion stemmed from Kate’s cleverly disguised waistband.

“We didn’t realize that she was wearing maternity jeans,” a spokesperson for Topshop tells PEOPLE. “An older style of these maternity jeans were sent to Kate when she was pregnant with Prince George and she is re-wearing them.”

It’s nice to have that topic resolved. Our thanks to Simon Perry and Monique Jessen of People for their tenacity on this one, many an email went winging across the Atlantic as we tried to sort out whose jeans they were. A Tip of the Tiara also to Ashley Marie for noting that I used the wrong Leigh photos in the June 14th post, and for her link to the older photos of the Leigh. (She, like myself and others, believed the jeans were this Topshop pair.) 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Next, Kate’s jeans from ME + EM. Sunday’s Telegraph has an excellent story focusing on ME + EM.

Last week, at ME+EM’s store, tucked away in chi-chi Connaught Street behind Marble Arch, the label’s founder Clare Hornby was still reeling from the ‘crazy’ impact on sales. ‘Overnight, it’s an international business – this past week 40 per cent of our sales have come from overseas; Japan, Australia, America’.

The £48 ‘Cobalt Stripe’ Breton top now has a 5k strong waiting list. The earliest dispatch date is expected to be September 23rd, but Hornby is confident her customers will wait.

Company founder Clare Hornby is also profiled in Angela Buttolph’s article. Ms. Hornby spoke about denim the Duchess has ordered from the company, the High Rise Skinny Jeans.

Hornby’s only disappointment: missing out on a head-to-toe ME+EM outfit on the Duchess. She shows me a pair of the High Rise Skinny Jeans ,‘we stitch the inside edge of pockets to the zip so they stay smooth across the front’, darker shading runs down the side of each thigh for a slimming effect.

‘She ordered these in a size 27 [inch waist]…

Below we show them in the Dark Rinse, but they’re available in a variety of colors and rinses.

ME + EM

ME + EM

The Telegraph piece also offers Ms. Hornby’s tips on “How to Dress Yourself Slim.”

One note for bargain hunters fond of ME + EM’s look: the label has an outlet page I was unaware of until today. Below we show a few items from the outlet section of the site, beginning with the Tailored Bodycon Dress in black on the left, (originally £128/$200, now £38.40/$60), then the Chunky Engineered Jumper in a cotton/cashmere blend in the middle (originally £128/$200, now £68/$100), and on the right we show ME + EM’s Fit and Flare Dress in deep peacock (originally £168/$265, now £50.40/$80).

ME + EM

ME + EM

Updating the availability of Kate’s cobalt blue Breton stripe top, the piece is now slated to ship September 25th.

ME + EM

ME + EM

Val, who has been fabulous in posting comments with updated info from her ME + EM email, notes the cobalt white version of the top is now slated for shipping on or before August 19th.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The striped tops at ME + EM offer the perfect segueway to our quick backgrounder on the style. Believe it or not, the style was initially mandated by law back in 1858. The Navy Wear Act ordered they be worn by French Navy seamen; it was believed the shirts would make it easier to spot men in the water who fell overboard, the tops became part of the official uniform for French sailors. Initially the shirts had a specific number of stripes, 21; that is one stripe for each of Napoleon’s victories.

Saint James was the first company to manufacture the shirts. Here is the Saint James Binic II sweater, released in 1889.

Wiki Fashion

Wiki Fashion

Below, the company’s factory in 1900.

Saint James

Saint James

The design became increasingly popular over the years, migrating from a nautical standard to a fashion favorite. Below, Coco Chanel wearing a Breton stripe.

Wikimedia Creative Commons

Wikimedia Creative Commons

More about the French designer’s appreciation of the style from Wiki Fashion:

Inspired by sailors, after a visit to the French coast, Coco Chanel introduced the design to the fashion world through her nautical collection in 1917. The Breton top became a symbol of haute-bourgeois loveliness during the pre-war Riviera years.

And from blogger Carly Tati:

This must have been amusing to the sailors and workers of France to see the beautiful and stylish Chanel donning what was typically a man’s work shirt in such a fashionable way.

The style remained popular with celebrities, below you see Audrey Hepburn wearing Breton stripes in 1955.

There is a photo montage here showing Pablo Picasso, Ms. Hepburn and Coco Chanel wearing the stripe. Celebrities from James Dean to Alexa Chung have been photographed sporting the style, it remains a favorite of the fashion crowd still today.

Saint James has remained in business, more from the company’s website:

Its fame is based upon a cult item of clothing “the genuine pure new knitted woolen Breton seaman’s sweater”. Originally intended for deep sea fishermen, then adopted by known seafarers, and amateur yachtsmen.

Its pure wool, pure cotton, “seashore” lines attract a large clientele on the coast, but also in the major cities of France, and equally throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan.

Below, Saint James tops being steamed before shipment and the crew of the 1997 America’s Cup contender Enterprise, outfitted in shirts from Saint James.

Saint James

Saint James

Back to the company’s history:

With such thick and tight knitwear, they are considered almost waterproof… Knitted very close to the body, this sweater becomes “the seafarers’ second skin”.

Saint James still offers the shirt today, in a variety of models.

Saint James USA

Saint James USA

In Women’s styles we show the brand’s Mediterranee ($109), the Etrille ($81), and the Minquiers 10 ($75).

Saint James

Saint James

Below, the Naval II ($135) and Naval II Rouge ($145), both are mens/unisex styles.

Saint James

Saint James

There is a Saint James for J Crew collection. This is the Short Sleeve Slouchy Tee ($89) and Long Sleeve Slouchy Tee ($90).

J Crew

J Crew

Below, the Nauplie wool sweater from that J. Crew collection, it is $299.

J Crew

J Crew

Other sites offering French-made nautical merchandise include the Brittany Boutique and the UK’s Nautical Company.

There is also a standard J Crew version priced at $39.99, with an additional 40% off that price through June 23rd at midnight. (Use promo code DAYTWO for the additional 40% off the price.)

J Crew

J Crew

Of course, similar items can be purchased at a lower price via a broad variety of online sites, as well as brick and mortar stores. Below, a women’s style from LL Bean, on sale for $22.46; it is the French Sailor’s Shirt, 3/4 Sleeve Boatneck, offered in good, basic colors. Our thanks to Laura for her comment noting these were available and Sarah’s suggestion as well.

LL Bean

LL Bean

The shirt also comes in colors some might consider more fashion-forward. These styles are also on sale for $22.46.

LL Bean

LL Bean

Other women’s styles in the distinctive stripe at LL Bean include a Quarter Zip Pullover ($29.96) and Textured French Terry Pullover ($33.71).

Lands’ End carries a women’s 3/4 Sleeve Button Boatneck in a thinner stripe ($19.99), Breton Stripe Top ($13.99) , and men’s Seaworn Indigo Stripe Tee ($24.99).

Lands' End

Lands’ End

The style is actually offered at quite a few retailers, with a broad range of prices. The trick is to find one with the fit you like, at a quality level you are comfortable with, in a price range meeting your budget.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Finally today, good news from one of our favorite sponsors, Beulah London: the company is continuing its free international shipping offer for purchases £150 and above until midnight this Sunday, the 28th.  That means pieces like the Petal Shawl in blue cashmere and rayon, flower spirits blush silk chiffon and red silk chiffon (£175, about $275 at today’s exchange rates), ship free.

Beulah London

Beulah London

There are new spring and summer styes at Beulah, in soft shades of cotton candy colors. From left to right we show the Elina Sleeveless Crepe Tulip Dress (£395, about $625) and Senna Jacket, both in mint (£345, about $545); on the right it’s the Senna Boxy Jacket in Dusky Pink (£345, roughly $545) atop the Ines Notch Neck Dress (£420, about $660), also in dusky pink.

Beulah London

Beulah London

Other pieces we like: the Dahlia Skirt with Dupioni Tie in an elegant black (£450, about $700) and Belle Pleated Chiffon Skirt (£295, approximately $465).

Beulah London

Beulah London

There are many other new styles at Beulah, click here to have a look.

 Posted by at 9:01 pm
May 292015
 

We are back a few quick updates and several retail notes of interest.

First, the latest on Kate’s schedule:

  • From all reports it seems Kate, George and Charlotte continue enjoying their time at Anmer Hall, the Cambridge’s country retreat on the grounds of Sandringham
  • The Sunday Times reported there will be more royal engagements with Prince George, quoting who say George will be “more visible over the next few months”. The article notes William & Kate realize there is “…good-natured [in him] from people”. The full story is here, but be aware it is behind a paywall, so if interested in reading the entire piece you will need to be, or become, a subscriber. (But the gist of the story is really in the first two paragraphs which are readily seen.)
  • As noted on Twitter by our friend Patricia Treble, the first family photos of Kate and William with George were released 30 days after his birth. It’s possible we are close to new family pictures being released with Charlotte.
Michael Middleton via PA Wire

Michael Middleton via PA Wire

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Continue reading »