Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Lo Shopping: Los Angeles edition. Club Monaco and J.Crew FTW

It's election day in the States today. I dropped off my absentee ballot while I was in L.A. Tomorrow we will have a new Speaker of the House.

Speaking of Los Angeles (okay, that was a stretch) I didn't have time or the budget to hit any of the fantastic boutiques on 3rd, Beverly, Abbott Kinney, etc. I desperately needed some basics, like one pair of jeans.

Clothes in Europe are a slimmer cut. What is a 6 in America is a 10 here (seriously) and most stores do not go much higher than than.

Having a limited budget forces me to pay attention to every single thing I buy. Even when my financial situation improves I will continue to do so.


What is going on with this store? Patrick Robinson is a very talented designer. I do not understand why the clothes looked so awful and the fit sucked. I used to have excellent luck with their jeans. This time no dice. The fabric felt and looked cheap and none of the styles fit.

I know they are opening one in Milan and Rome soon. We'll see what they'll sell here. Maybe I've aged out of the GAP? Then again, how can you age out of classics? The GAP has been struggling for years. They're getting slammed on the lower-end by H&M/Zara and on the higher-end by J.Crew.

That said, I went to the Gap Body section in their store at The Grove. Hands down one of the best places for yoga pants, cotton panties (much better quality than Victoria's Secrets) and PJs.


I went to the one on Robertson. Friendly, helpful and generous with the samples. I finally tried the Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak after hearing so many people rave about it. Blogger Afrobella also said it was a great product for black women with natural hair. Worth every single penny. It's an excellent conditioner.

I interned at the flagship NYC store during college. I've always loved this store, especially for cosmetics, shoes, housewares and bedding.

I stuck to my list and stayed on the first floor. I wish Bobbi Brown sold her cosmetics in Rome. New color lipstick for me, her Blackberry. It's a pretty plummy color and the closest I could get to a discontinued Trish McEvoy shade. I almost got sidetracked at the Chanel counter but remembered they sell Chanel all over Rome.

The J. Crew of Canada. I can't find any of the dresses I bought online for a photo so believe me when I say I scored. I wore one of the dresses, this Jackson Pollack type print, to a drinks a friend hosted for me at the Avalon pool bar. I received so many compliments on it. Several women said they were going to buy the dress. I have a particular shape, it's hard for me to find things that fit. I always find well-cut, fashionable (without being too trendy) clothes at Club Monacao. Their color palette is not as wide as J.Crew but I think both stores do Modern Classic well. Club Monaco is more Pradaish while J. Crew is preppier.

J. Crew

I have worn J. Crew since it was catalog only, then became a regular at their first retail store in NYC's South Street Seaport. The founder was from Montclair, NJ and the clothes used to have a very East Coast, outdoorsy prep school vibe. I've seen the brand struggle when they tried to be too fashion forward and when it because super popular. First Lady Michelle Obama has definitely increased the brand's profile. When her daughters wore J. Crewcuts (the online store for children) to the Inauguration, so many people went online it caused the site to crash. At J. Crew's 3rd Street Promenade store I finally found a pair of jeans. They fit perfectly. There were so many things I wanted to buy but remembered I have to pay rent.

Stuck out here. I did buy some tights and a sweater but their clothes seemed too business casual to me and kind of boring. I used to find great dresses there but that was over six years ago.

FRED SEGAL on Melrose
Went to look for a turban but all they had were headbands. The clothes in this store are too fabulous for mere mortals as myself. I went into the shoe department. There wasn't a pair under $500. Even when I have money I will never spend hundreds of dollars on a T-Shirt. I go through white v-neck T-Shirts pretty quickly. I'll stick with J.Crew and Club Monaco's.

However, it's a great place to buy gifts, books, candles, stationary etc.


Anonymous said...

Oooh, I always love a good shopping post, mainly because I'm NOT ALLOWED to buy anything (besides socks and undies) that wasn't from a thrift store (that's been my rule for the last 18 months just because I'm not making enough money to justify buying new clothes, and believe me, I've never looked more fashionable). However, I might have to check out Club Monaco...maybe...

I hope you're having fun in LA. I moved away 2 years ago, and I don't miss it for a second (except for the weather, perhaps). I certainly don't miss the people!

gibber said...

"Lucy?!!! I can't find my white button down shirt from Fred Segal!!!"

you know what movie that's from! :)

J.Doe said...

The clothes sizes in Italy definitely are for slimmer people than those in the US. In the US I wore size 14. (It sounds huge but then I'm a tall girl). in Italy I wore XXL. That's extra EXTRA large, or size 52. I felt like a beached whale. Especially when most stores didn't even carry those 'big girl' sizes.

coco cooks said...

I have never , even in my skinny days, have really been able to shop in the Gap and such stores.My shape doesnt work with their clothes. I went to school with Patrick t Parsons Paris way back in the day. Love to see how he evolved.

This Time Now said...

J.Crew for suits and coats, Gap for their jeans (I'm all legs and their jeans have the longest inseams) Club Monaco I like for accessories. Bobbi Brown, is great but here in Asia they do not have foundation that is darker than ecru. LOL! So I knew ahead of time to buy my foundation in the States. Sounds like you had a great time shopping! I'm getting a new wardrobe when I hit the States again but will stick with the classics. I'm traveling light from now on.

P.S. I really do believe that Gap will fall in the next five years. They are nowhere and all over the place at the same time, except for those jeans.

Nicole said...

Oh it's been awhile since I've visited. I started reading you when I was expating in Asia and now I've made my first move to LA. I am an Italophile, and let's just say that I had to come here and experience LA living for myself. Your blog gives great insight---love how you compare Rome to LA, and I loved reading of the thoughts in your head upon revisiting. I want out but I'm trying to give it a shot. But why???? Would you ever move back, really? Even for the shopping and career prospects? I'll be reading to see where you turn up next.

foosrock! said...

Why on earth would the Italians, Kings/Queens of fashion allow anyone to open a GAP store there?. I mean, they've got Benetton for freak's sake!. Me no understand!. That's like opening a Starbucks there!!!!!. Makes zilch sense!.
Banana Republic is cheap cheap and cheap, and I don't mean their pricing.

What about H&M?. (prices are ways more reasonable than Banana cheap Republic)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Anon - L.A. was interesting. Very productive for work but I'm glad to be home. Maybe you can check out Club Monaco during a sale (so you won't break your rule.)

gibber - I love CLUELESS.

j. doe - It's not just in Italy. I remember trying to fit into the French label Agnes B. Their biggest size barely fit on me.

coco cooks - I was so excited when he got the GAP job. Maybe next season's clothes will be more interesting.

TTN - Bobbie Brown sells in Asia? I hope she expands to Europe at some point. She has great colors. Not sure what will happen to the GAP. I agree the brand is all over the place.

nicole - good luck with your move. I will write more about the whole L.A. vs. Rome thing once I can get my thoughts together.

foosrock - I think Bennetton skews very young, so GAP could do well here if they stuck to well made, moderately priced basics. The market here is very high and very low with few stores in the middle. I don't do well at H&M or Zara. Their clothes on me look cheap. I'm short and curvy. I need clothes with structure. Sometimes I can find a cotton summer blouse or something but in general I'm trying to avoid "fast fashion". The clothes don't last.

p.s. Nice Foofighters photo.

Liane Spicer said...

I've worn VS cotton undies almost exclusively for the last ten years and I've watched the quality plummet to near-nothingness. I still lovelovelove their lace waist boy shorts, but I'm in the market for a new brief brand so I'll trot over to Gapbody and snoop around.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Liane - Since moving to Rome I don't put my clothes in a dryer so you would think the VS cotton panties would last longer. Nope.

I bought the underwear with a Gift Certificate from a friend. Now I know not to shop there.