Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another reason to love eBay--Enid Collins bags

If you've never heard of Enid Collins, your handbag education is sorely lacking. Enid Collins was a Texan who designed a range of bags during the 1960s. She started off with a wooden box bag, later branching out into a more standard canvas tote bag. They were produced until her company was bought out in 1970.

I first encountered masses of Enid Collins merchandise a few years ago on eBay. At that time, the prices were pretty high, so I slaked my thirst for whimsical beaded bags by buying stuff from Lulu Guinness and Isabella Fiore. At $125-$300 a pop, the Lulu and Isabella stuff was actually competitively priced; plus I could check out the condition for myself.

(The Lulu Guinness picnic-themed bag on the right is a sample of the kind of thing I was buying.)

However, a recent scan of eBay offerings shows that Enid Collins bags are worth another look. Prices appear to have dropped considerably; I suppose the hard-core early-adapters have already stuffed their closets with EC treasures and moved on. Either that, or fashion has moved on, (as it always does) and whimsical bags look way too 2003, now that everyone is carrying great big, slouchy, bohemian-inspired, luggage brown oversized bags with lots of little outside pockets.

But if you're in the mood for whimsical ... something to carry when you're on your way to a girls-night-out Margarita fest wearing your Miss Trish of Capri sandals with the gold seahorses, you could spend $425 at Neiman Marcus on the bag at the left,

or pick up an Enid Collins, or even a knock-off, pictured on the right--for less than a tenth of that. And what could be better than that?

For more on Enid Collins, CoolOldStuff has a ton of information, plus good, clear pictures.

Karl, Karl, Karl.

When you get to a certain age, you develop a tendency to stick your fingers into your hears and go "la la la I can't heeeeeeear you!" when the fashion magazines start trying to convince you some loathesome trend is worth having.

Such a trend is the Extremely Enormous Bag. I can remember a time when I was obsessed with carrying wee, teensy little bags, so I remember the horror of having to chose my cosmetics by their size. As in "Who cares that this powder is too light and makes me break out--it fits into my bag!"

But this! Imagine trying to find your car keys in this. It's like someone took a black hole from outer space, turned it inside out, and sewed on a handle. Not to mention that it looks like a Hefty Trash Bag.

Not that a Hefty Trash Bag isn't called for here. I'm sure the model would love to crawl into one and hide her shame, which, for the record, is comprised of: a jailbait/schoolgirl/Pr0n-style little black jumper, a pair of white fingerless elbow-length gloves, a pair of black pleather over-the-knee whore boots, and a bad hair day.

Frankly, Karl, it's time you sent yourself--or more likely, your assistant--back to the drawing board. I give this monstrosity two fingerless-gloved thumbs down.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Welcome to my Netflix Queue

I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only person who watches movies and television programs for the clothes.

I mean, right now, I'm bingeing on the Ian Carmichael Lord Peter Wimsey series, enjoying the stories, of course, but freaking out over the tailoring. Joke would love it.

But now I hear that That Girl is out on DVD.

Does anyone else out there remember swooning over the opening credits? Especially the dress with the parasol?

I've got to see this. And get my daughter to watch it with me. (I'll let my husband watch, too. Even though he has told me that as a boy, his love was pretty much equally divided between Ann Marie in That Girl, Jeannie in I Dream of Jeannie, and Samantha from Bewitched.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Why I Love eBay (With a Cautionary Note)

How do love eBay? Let me count the ways. I use eBay to:

1. Complete my mother's and grandmother's china patterns, both of which were discontinued at the dawn of time. I like to avoid purchasing things at Replacements. I can get stuff from eBay at a tenth of the cost.

2. Continue forcing my daughter to dress in a mother/daughter style. If I buy a Lilly Pulitzer skirt for me and matching dress for my daughter, and she has the nerve to outgrow hers when mine still fits fine--I pick up the same dress for her in a larger size on eBay.

3. Pick up rare, hard-to-find, or otherwise interesting Hermes scarves. eBay is a great source, and some of the sellers there are incredibly knowledgable. (N.B.: Don't buy anything from China. Or that says "Made in Italy." Or that claims to be made of "seta." Hermes scarves are manufactured in France and are made of "soie." Or "silk." Not "seta." Oh--and if you see a bunch of listings for, say, the popular "Rocking Horse" pattern? Or the "Bubbles" pattern? Stay far away from that seller.)

4. Discontinued cosmetics. Because Badger keeps turning me on to products that get discontinued. Like this cleanser.

5. Idiotic tschotkes for my house.

6. Jewelry. Which, admittedly, I don't buy often. But I love to look.

But ... this is how not to sell a piece of jewelry on eBay: get your mother to model it:

Something tells me this thing is going to go for a song.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Little Box of Beauty

Chicago's Oak Street is a short stretch of ground that caps off the madness that is shopping on Michigan Avenue.

One way of thinking about it is as a beret on a giraffe. Say Michigan Avenue is the giraffe's neck. You're walking north on Michigan Avenue. After you encounter a branch of every department store you've ever heard of: Nordstrom, Saks, Lord and Taylor, Marshall Fields, and Bloomingdales, plus every specialty store: Gap, Victoria's Secret, Talbot's, Disney, American Girl, plus every flagship store: Apple, Nike, Ralph Lauren, plus every designer: Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Armani, Chanel, Max Mara ... you hit Oak Street, the little beret at the top of all that long, long neck. The stores are smaller (but still off -the-charts expensive): Tod's, Hermes, Prada, Yves St. Laurent, Barney's.

And then, as a shining oasis of affordability, there's Bravco.

Bravco is one of those stores that cosmetic fanatics know about. Even if they're not from Chicago, they'll have heard of it. It's that good. If it's a super-expensive French hair care line, or a weird brand of cake mascara, or a makeup artist line, you can find it at Bravco and the upstairs store, B-too.

I ran in there today between two church services (what better way to spend my off time than at a veritable temple of makeup?)

I bought my zillionth bottle of Simple Solutions Ultra Copper Firming Serum (which may or may not be doing my skin some good--but I'm not willing to find out by using it on half my face to see whether it works. I don't want to end up like Two-Face from the Dick Tracy comics.)

I also got a bottle of Kerastase ultra-gentle, ultra-expensive Bain Miroir color-protecting shampoo. I had vowed to go back to Pantene. But the Pantene color-protecting stuff leaves my hair very weighed down. And honey, my hair can take a LOT of product. I've got semi-permanent color all over my head, with highlights and lowlights and a glaze on top of that--my hair is so chemically treated, it's a cross between Whitney Houston and Courtney Love. On any given day I've got Kiehl's silk groom, and Bedhead styling gel and Frizz-Ease in it, just to keep it looking healthy. Three products? No problem. But the Pantene stuff drove me crazy. It made my hair feel yucky and dirty.

Oh, and I bought two tubes of the Single Greatest Mascara in the world. Thickens my all-but-non-existent lashes and really is waterproof. I figure I should stock up; it's too good, and that means it's going to get discontinued any second now.

That's all, folks!