What's in Store: Macy's, Zara, American Eagle, Lululemon
Since I end up shopping a lot, I thought it might be helpful to give you guys an overview of what catches my eye in various stores, so you can plan which spots to hit up and which to pass over. I'll be doing this repeatedly as the season continues, so stay tuned! My mission was to show things that will get wear past winter and also look more expensive than they are (e.g. good value for the mulah).
Macy's isn't always the first spot I think of to shop for clothes, since I generally shop for individuals and thus gravitate toward lifestyle or specialty stores over department stores. However, I did park just outside of one and spotted some cool stuff on my way to the mall proper.
My favorite of all has to be this BCBG tuxedo jacket, which is very lightweight and very stretchy - perfect for festive indoor wear that still might necessitate some child wrangling or serious family couch time. The drape of the material also makes it feel expensive-stretchy and not bag-out-stretchy. It's already gone from the Macy's website, but here it is at Nordstrom. I am wearing a size M.
I also really liked the look of this Free People Clean Vegan Jacket and gray fur vest, neither of which are currently online. Boo.
Zara made it really difficult on me as a recovering jacket hoarder, but that means a really fun selection of toppers for normal people.
My favorite item of all is the caramel colored faux suede draped jacket, which is - ahem - also gone from the web, but my store had several. It's around $100, unlined, feels really nice on the skin, and looks good zipped and unzipped. This is the size S.
I also loved the Long Double Breasted Wasitcoat, Suede Effect Trench Coat, and this blingy Chain Belt. When I styled in a department store setting, women always asked me for shiny belts to dress up their LBDs for the holidays, and we never had any on hand. This one is thin enough to pull double duty as a chunky chain necklace, too. Get this edgy, deco-ish one while the gettin's good... great gift that can be used right away on NYE.
For kids, I was most attracted to things that will make them presentable while still being comfy for them to wear this winter and beyond. The gray jersey shortalls and dress would be super cute layered with long sleeves and tights right now, then can be paired with pastels come spring. All the boys' stuff looked like cute, comfy basics, but I really liked these $40 Basketball Sneakers with Zip. When I was a kid, I was constantly outgrowing my shoes, so I feel like moms can appreciate a goes-with-everything option, and the zip entry here will help get the rug rats out the door in the morning.
I felt like the men's section at Zara was chock full of fantastic, long, furry, dramatic statement parkas - which I love but don't feel are safe bets as gifts. Instead, I gravitated to a couple mid-light-weight smart casual layers that can dress up a tee shirt and jeans for most of the year.
My favorite is actually the Wool Bomber Jacket, which features an inner zip pocket that's great for travel. This is also made in navy. I also really dig the faux leather version - I am very particular about faux leathers, but the perforations on the Perforated Jacket keep the faux looking luxe. Finally, the lightweight option is what they call a Zippered Jacket, a zip-front cardigan in a lightweight wool blend that looks way nicer than my picture and feels good to the hand (I hate blends that feel like they will catch fire because of all the acrylic content).
I didn't have tons of luck at American Eagle - I know it's a Junior's brand, but a lot of the looks at my local store came off looking cheap. The men's basics were fine, but nothing stood out as a special item. For women, however, I did really love the Soft & Sexy Waffle top. To me, this is a killer, comfy, easy-breezy top that fits and flatters without having to be all skin tight. I felt like I was in a Free People top for double the price. I would definitely have bought one for myself if I wore long-sleeved tees. For the bottoms, I was pleasantly surprised by the new Skinny Kick fit. The knee is indeed skinny enough to be really flattering, even without heels. I do wish they had an understated version in terms of washes and stitching, but teens will probably be happy with the more trendy distressing. Shown here in 6 short.
My favorite manly item from Lululemon actually got poor reviews from the hardcore Lulu guys, but I stand by my opinion since I have the ladies Urbanite Blazer and love it. It's the Nonstop Blazer (far right photo), which for me is the equivalent of a kick-butt dressy windbreaker. Reviewers complained that it's too light, but it's supposed to keep you cool and sweat-free. Good for warm climates, travel, casual wear with jeans. I also really liked the herringbone textured PrePost Jacket (good to transition from gym to casual wear), and the City Sweat Duffle with wooly textured sides (looks SO much cooler than most nylon bags, with the Lulu functionality that made me a fan).
Last but not least, my favorite items for the ladies! My favorite item here has to be the &go City Trek Trouser, which combines the cut and hand of a dress pant with the ventilating properties of a hiking pant. I would have taken a pair home if they had my size in black. These would be a cool gift for a gal who bikes to work, takes long walks at lunch, requires mobility (e.g. a photographer), or just likes to be comfortable. Shown in dark fuel, sizes 6 and 4. I also really liked the Rest Less Pullover (despite it clearly needing hemming on me), because it's another fab transitional piece that can be worn casually. The Fluffin Awesome Vest is a fairly standard Lulu vest, but the colors are really pretty in person and also jives with the rose and coffee colors predicted to be big in Spring 2016.
That's it for today! But I still have stores like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and more to hit soon.