Only One Thing To Sale About Cyber Monday: La Garçonne Has 15% Off


La Garçonne,  maîtresse of the Polished Tomboy guild, is having a Cyber Monday sale. 15% off with code CM15REG.

Oh, and they have cool stuff for men too.

Their goods are expensive, but so elegantly chosen and displayed, I can browse their site without heartache at what I can no longer afford.  And what wonderful, extravagant gifts, for someone.

 

Affiliate links may generate commissions.

The Original Sturdy Gal Turns 80, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:03


80th Birthday Party Celebration for a Sturdy Gal

We rolled straight from a lovely, small, simple Thanksgiving into a birthday party for the original, iconic Sturdy Gal. My mother’s younger sister turns 80 this year, and her 3 sons and their wives organized a surprise dinner for her with 65 guests. It was just wonderful. My aunt was toasted and honored, for her generosity, her caring, her intelligence, her competence. Stories ranged from the ditch she dug recently to get at a couple of broken pipes, to her games of “Sardines” with great-nieces and nephews, to those times she took in lonely family members and fed them, well. Really, an occasion of joy and wonderment, for someone wholly deserving.

My love to you, Aunt L. Long may you thrive and inspire.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals, In Moderation


I usually eschew gift sets, but make an exception for collections of tea

I usually eschew gift sets, but make an exception for collections of tea.

Today begins the American season of winter holiday shopping. Some of you may venture into stores.

I’ll wave to you from my long-suffering sofa. I probably won’t even start Christmas purchasing for another week, if we’re honest. But some of you, nay many of you, are probably way more organized.

For you, then, to whom I bow, some online sales for these next few days. Which I refuse to speak of as Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday because, what are we, bandits and robots? Come on commercial America, where’s the holly jolly genius in our copywriting now?

I’ve organized these into categories: Charity,  Retailers We Know And Love, Interesting Brands I Have Worn And Talked About, and The High WASP Home.

Charity

This belongs to Zappos. Today through Monday Zappos will donate 10 meals per order placed on Zappos.com to Feeding America. If you need a new pair of Stuart Weitzman black satin pumps, or shoes for your ever-growing children, now is the time.

Retailers We Know And Love

6PM: 15% 11/27-11/28. Red Gravati cap-toe ballet flats anyone?

J. Crew: 30% off regular 40% off sale items 11/26-11/30 Code HOLIDAY. I wouldn’t mind a gold-ikat patterned tee, not at all.

Gap: 50% off site wide 11/27-11/28 Code BLK Friday 11/29 Code GIFT. Fleece footie jammies for your new niece or nephew? No? Not even in a penguin pattern?

Neiman Marcus: My favorite large department store – must be that yearning for Imaginary Texas.

Shop the Designer Sale for up to 40% off select Finer Apparel, up to 30% of select Men’s, Handbags and Ladies Shoes and up to 25% off select Intimate Apparel, Cashmere and Children’s at NeimanMarcus.com! Offer valid 11/28 at 8am CST – 11/29 CST

Interesting Privilege[d] Brands On Sale

Alexis Bittar: AKA the source of  this bracelet. Shop Black Friday Steals at Alexis Bittar.

All Saints: AKA the source of my biker jacket and sequin skirt. 20% off 11/28-12/01, Code: THANKS

Mara Hoffman: AKA where I might to buy my next bikini but they also sell killer beach towels – which make a nice present for those in warm climates. 25% off sitewide code blackfriday14 11/28

Narciso Rodriguez: AKA The best LBD ever. 40% select fall/winter merchandise Code NARCISO40

Brooks Brothers: AKA secret source of great handbags. 15% off + free shipping 11/27-11/29. I bet a young woman you know really needs a gorgeous, classic pebbled red leather hobo for under $300.

Karen Millen: AKA thank you for this budget “bandage” shift. 30% Off at Karen Millen US. Thursday, November 27 – Monday, December 1. Use promo code KMCYBER1 at checkout. Plus get Free Shipping on All Orders. Exclusions Apply.

Whistles: AKA a British version of J. Crew, I think. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. 30% sitewide, men & women.

The High WASP Home

Anthropologie: The mass market retailer that does that best job at a High WASP home. 25% off on EVERYTHING Black Friday. Code HOLIDAY25

And for china and glass of all sorts:

Wedgwood: Black Friday Event at Wedgwood.com – Save 20-40% Off 150+ Specials PLUS Free Shipping Over $39+. Free Gift Wrap through 11/30.

Royal Albert: Black Friday Event at RoyalAlbert.com – Take $10 Off $100+, $20 Off $150+, or $30 Off $200+. Free Shipping Over $39+ and Free Gift Wrap through 11/30.

Royal Doulton: Black Friday Event at RoyalDoulton.com – Take $10 Off $100+, $20 Off $150+, or $30 Off $200+. Free Shipping Over $39+ and Free Gift Wrap through 11/30.

And finally, the tea. Thanks goodness for tea. I raise my cup of Rooibos, and hope you get to put your feet up today and relax. Anywhere in the world you might happen to be.

Teavana: Black Friday Sale! 40% off Holiday Best Sellers at Teavana.com. (Valid 11/27 from 9:00am EST to 11/30 at 11:59pm PST)

 

Affiliate links may generate commissions. I may update this post Monday, if new sales are announced. I am always honored and tickled when you choose to make a purchase influenced by this blog. Spelling corrections courtesy of @kidchamp, the dryad of accuracy.

Happy Thanksgiving, American Style, To You And Yours!


Thanksgiving-Menu-2014

Winter Holiday Traditions Of One High WASP Family


High-WASP-Holidays

Somewhat surprisingly, the winter holiday traditions of my High WASP family were not strictly related to wealth. At least not to its consumption. Nor did they resemble Downton Abbey, except in the candlesticks and changing for meals. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so we’ll slow down, and take a reasonably well-organized stroll through High WASP culture.

High WASP Childhood Thanksgivings And Christmases

Let’s first give money its due.

☆ Abundance, And The Beauty Of Good Design

Mom always set holiday tables with silver candelabra, at least as I remember. Tripartite, twisted, and not a little wobbly. Also Grandma Nina’s table linens. It was important that we know the source.

I imagine we shared with any non-poor-and-of-Christian-origin family the Christmas morning gasp at piles of presents under the tree. High WASPs are not so much about abundance, but hand-wrapping, with ribbon, in tasteful paper. Lights were white, ornaments shiny, tree, real. Signs of wealth were subtle, but there. Imagine four blonde children in matching nightgowns, slippers and quilted bathrobes. Precision haircuts. We were tended to.

I always think of rich little children wearing fur tippets, but none were required for California. I did wear a red velvet coat and white gloves to San Francisco.

The tending was in itself an artifact of privilege. As, I suppose, was the overall level of sparkle. You’ll notice when I talk about this stuff, how conditional becomes my voice.

☆ A Broader View

Wealth brought us the world.

  • Travel. We went places for Christmas. Swimming in Hawaii,  Jamaica, Mexico. Skiing in Idaho and the Sierras. Or to our beach house, where purple tables and persimmon countertops laid bare my mother’s Artsy leanings.
  • Objects. Our decorations came from multiple generations and several different countries. Grandmama’s Latin American travel with her Austro-Hungarian oil executive second husband yielded all kinds of weird stuff. To say nothing of the many alcohol-themed ornaments saved from her days as a gay socialite in Springfield, Massachusetts.

My father inherited paintings of his ancestors, but nothing so frivolous as ornaments.

How Do You Move Beyond Money To Make A Family Holiday?

If you listened to my family, you might hypothesize that the High WASPs of yesteryear never celebrated anything. My mother rarely told holiday stories, my father, never. No family recipes, no talk of the “old country,” no anecdotes of Thanksgiving and Christmas past. Maybe it’s because those holidays weren’t fun in old High WASP families. Fun required summertime, an escape from the nanny or time alone in a hayloft.

Perhaps as a result, my mother invented our winter holidays, out of the brown California hills.

1. She cooked

My mom cooked, the first woman in three generations of her family to do without servants. Turkey, and homemade giblet gravy. Worcestershire sauce was the secret ingredient. She baked apple pie. Our most memorable kitchen was in, wait for it, a 30-room mansion built at the turn of the 20th century by one of Levi Strauss’s nephews. Imagine glass-fronted cabinets, a walk-in pantry, and a, what do I call it, a pre-kitchen? The place where the servants must have staged the meals as they fed the scions of one of America’s great emerging fortunes? We kids still gagged at lima beans, no matter where prepared.

2. She said things to validate that we were a family

My mother used her school acting experience to reinforce and validate our family. She performed for us. For example, in all our tall-ceilinged houses, my mother always said, and, most importantly, always remarked upon how she always said, “This is the most beautiful tree we’ve ever had.”

3. But nobody ever said anything about the money for the longest time

When my father’s mother died, in 1967 or thereabouts, we inherited a very old dining table. We felt, although we were not told overtly, that it was valuable. Somehow we had to be better at this table, our posture, straighter. But nobody ever said, “This cost a lot of money guys, be careful!” Such was always our way.

We spent New Year’s Eve, 1977 at the Jamaica Inn in Ochos Rios. My parents slept in a private villa, we kids had rooms. My father joked, “This is costing as much as the economy of a small nation!” And I was as shocked as though he had launched into a graphic description of last night’s sex. That should be sufficient characterization of our financial silence.

The Real Tradition Was Delayed Gratification

In fact, no matter how often we exclaimed over the tree, slurped up gravy, or danced outside in the glamorous Jamaican night, our hardest, deepest most in the bone tradition lay elsewhere.

High WASPs revere delayed gratification.

So, holidays, we waited. We waited for Thanksgiving dinner, hungry, cracking nuts in the shell with those metal nutcrackers that look like lobster picks. We waited to be let go from the dinner table. When, we wondered, might we ask, “May I please be excused?”

We waited for our presents at Christmas. Like this.

  1. Wake up.
  2. Gawp at tree. Feel joy.
  3. Make sure everyone in the family is awake.
  4. Gather in the living room in jammies.
  5. Open stocking presents, of which there will be 6-7.
  6. Stop.
  7. Go make your bed, get dressed, wait for and then eat breakfast. Mom will have set the table.
  8. Regroup in the living room.
  9. Open tree presents in a somewhat excruciating process that involves a child finding and distributing one present to each person, everyone waiting to open until all had something, then all simultaneously opening and exclaiming. Rinse and repeat for all presents.
  10. Move on to food of some sort, and playing with loot. Most often, we’d regroup on the sofa with books.

Looking back, as one does – and one must use the term “one” a lot in High WASP culture – we see the combination of delayed gratification and final abundance as a powerful drug. This explains, perhaps, my persistent involvement with luxury and indulgence, and parallel lifelong intent to fulfill contracts.

It certainly explains our enduring rule – Nothing But White Lights Unless You’re Aiming For Irony. High WASP holidays, surfing over sentiment with irony and beauty, delaying gratification as best as ever we can.

 

BTW, you all know I’m not supposed to tell about this stuff, right? But you asked. And I’m a talker.

Mothering: The Romance Novel, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:52am


I’ve been talking to some mothers recently.

I called my own.

Such an odd experience, talking to a woman who is losing her memory but retaining everything else. The voice and the expressions haven’t changed. “Hello darling!” she says. She knows she misses me, but she doesn’t remember when she saw me last. She rarely forgets she has 4 children, but I’m not sure if she knows who I am, today. A few minutes into the conversation it becomes clear that she can’t remember what she just said, but that she wants to see me, whenever I can make time.

Her memory loss doesn’t prevent me from recognizing her as my mother but the idea is drifting.

I talked to my best friend.

We raised our children together, but she went on to have 3 more than I, meaning she’s got teenagers at home. I can’t remember what it was that prompted her comment, “Of course, that’s not something we need to share with the kids,” but I responded, “Oh, as I get older I feel like I have to get more honest with mine. That I protect them with truth, not by keeping quiet.” Or something like that. I was driving, so probably wasn’t speaking in whole sentences.

In fact, I’d just finished having a conversation with my son in which I explained to him my psychology, as best I can, around pieces of advice I give him. And then explained my psychology around telling him my psychology at all. Poor child. The standards of good care shift so much as my children grow up, and I have no model, no mother’s group, no data to guide my choices. I muddle along hoping that in a pinch truth and love are the right answer.

By the way, by truth I don’t mean full disclosure. Our kids are not our late night friends, for sobbing phone calls or confessions. I mean that whatever I do tell them, whatever advice I give, I make it as true and as free of my own agenda as possible. I suppose I mean we, and our.

I talked to some young women online.

Young mothers and mothers-to-be these days are forging their own course. As it happened, my generation didn’t set the template for the future. The answers we came to, so hard won – I’m going to use the word “forged” again – out of late nights, cracked nipples, pyjama standdowns and teenage disdain, those answers may not stand. Certainly they will not stand. I guess every generation needs to choose their own ways, and often will choose in reaction to those very things we thought our experience had revealed as truth.

I am a very cerebral person. I use logic to make my way through life. (Interrupted of course by emotions I can’t control, and the river of speech with which I am afflicted. Truth.)  So I have thought a lot about bringing up my children and will continue to think about it for as long as I can.

But as time passes, time in which by default my mother ages and new mothers give birth, culture and frameworks shift. Duh, I guess, but always a surprise.

I anchor in the moment. I anchor in the blue of my son’s eyes, in the smooth skin of my daughter’s cheek, in their voices down the hall. Those might seem like superficial images, like the cover of a romance novel, but when I cast my mind’s eye over to them that’s what I see. There’s more of course, their text messages and plans, the spaces in which they live. And so on.

None of my thinking here is terribly brilliant, but even obvious stuff can feel like an explosion when it affects our particular lives.

They are short, those lives. Being a mother is one of the few inalienable loves. So I stay close to how I feel. From there I look back at my mistakes, my anxieties, my biases, my ignorance. I set my mind to work in service of my dear ones and report back when I must. That’s as true as I can get.

Have a wonderful weekend. It’s raining here, so we in the land of drought are glad.

Family Photography Shoots For Cards, And Gifts, And Art


JAMIESTREETPHOTOGRAPHY

Towards the end of 2013, for his birthday or maybe Christmas, I gave my brother a family photography session. Last he, my sister-in-law and Cute Nephew met up with the photographer, and spent the morning wandering around San Francisco’s Mission District. My sister-in-law is now working on a photo book for grandparents. Shhhh.

They’re also going to have some great Christmas cards, assuming of course that they’ve got the time to send any.

In this day of all-photography-all-the-time, you might wonder, “Why pay for images – they flit by my camera/phone lens at the rate of a million/per second, there for the taking?” A couple of reasons. First, clearly, art. Professional photographers really do take better pictures. Funny, that. Second, unposed family. You want someone who can catch all of you at once, doing the things you usually do.

I’m going to assume your family doesn’t line up in a row smiling at the light as part of their normal day?

So I thought I’d show you the work of some of the family photographers I have come to know online. For whatever reason, they are located in London, Brighton, and San Diego. Go figure. I also thought that perhaps if you, reading, know people who do good and similar work in other regions, you might add their names in the comments.

First, up, we have Cara of Bluebird and the Bear, in London. I’ve featured her other work before, but her family portraits are something else again. That little girl’s face. Don’t we want to meet her when she’s 13? And 26?

Blueird and Bear Phoography with Attitude

Twins and the look of love.

Bluebird and Bear Photography with Twins

Extraordinary bubbles. I read somewhere recently that soap bubbles have been deemed one of the top 10 toys of all times.

Bluebird and Bear Family Photography with Bubbles

Moving south, to Brighton, Laura calls some of her work at Baby Picture This, “storytelling.” And so it is. The walk in the country.

Baby Picture This Family Photography

The first of many yawns.

Baby Picture This Brighton Family Photography

Much better than putting her in a watermelon, don’t  you think?

Baby Picture This Brighton Family Photography

Finally, Jamie Street, in San Diego. Who, as it happens designed this website, back before she was listed as one of the Top 21 Family Photographers in the USA, She also these photos of Cute Nephew, and the one top the post, at their family shoot in May.

Hey little hipster!

JAMIESTREETPHOTOGRAPHY

I think I’ll go stand near a flower display and have my picture taken too.

JAMIESTREETPHOTOGRAPHY

 

I love photo sessions for their cascading gift abundance. Gift #1 – from you to beloveds. Gift #2 – when your beloveds give the resulting photos to theirs. Lotta beloveds going on.

One more idea. This time of year involves a lot of dressing up – gorgeously. Have you ever thought to hire someone to take your portrait for a holiday party – hair, makeup, dress, glittery pumps, and all? As we know, the photos from the actual venues are rarely even usable. Every day we’re assaulted by commercial images of perfect people; my wedding taught me the value of an image of yourself looking perfect, for context. Because if this woman in Romona Keveza is the same woman now writing in flannel PJ bottoms, commercial perfection can be seen as simply the Wizard of Oz, i.e., nothing without the curtain.

We’ve all got it in us.

See?  Gift, upon gift, upon gift. Feel free to contact any of these photographers, if you are so inclined.

Bluebird and the Bear

Baby Picture This

Jamie Street Photography

And, edited to add a recommendation from one of my local family members, Eric Rorer in Mill Valley. He does residential interiors and architecture as well, so if you want your beloved house featured too, he’s your guy.

 

 

No compensation has been received for this post.

7 Pieces For A Non-Rustic Thanksgiving Table: Posh, Or Nosh?


Anyone else out there with a fangirl love for table settings? Oh the crystal, oh the gilt, oh the gleam.

While I appreciate rustic Thanksgiving tables – n a hello pretty picture kind of way – my heart belongs to fancy. Or, as the British say so endearingly, “Posh.” Perhaps I have a few allies here?

But posh is expensive! How annoying! Harrumph. So, here’s a graphic for those who would be Posh, but must at least Nosh. Yes, that’s a completely dopey alliteration, and now you know why I was not a marketing executive, but let’s forge ahead.

From plates to candelabra, the look for less.

Posh-Or-Nosh-

Details:

  1. Eat | Bernadaud “Etoiles” china via Bloomingdale‘s / 16-Piece “Bianca” Beaded-Edge Dinnerware from Neiman Marcus
  2. Cut | Reed & Barton Pointed Antique Sterling Silver 5 Piece Place Setting via Amazon /  Polka-dotted flatware from Anthropologie
  3. Cover | “Chateau Blanc” linen tablecloth from Schweitzer Linens / Embroidered organic cotton voile from Coyuchi
  4. Pour | “India” Gravy Boat from Wedgwood / Polished Aluminum Gravy Boat via Amazon
  5. Drink | “Lismore” Balloon Wine from Waterford / “Palace Trellis” glasses from Anthropologie
  6. Serve | “India Covered Vegetable Bowl from Wedgwood / Hammered Stainless Steel Oval Fruit Bowl, via Amazon
  7. Light | Pair of 1930s New York silver candelabra via 1stDibs (I swear I have an identical except-for-multiple-dents pair from my family) / Pair of crystal candlesticks with drops on sale at Macy’s

And finally, a few notes on methodology:

  • Posh derives character from a few fantastic big ticket items, keeping the rest simple but elegant. Nosh gets its glamor from multiple textures and refracted light.
  • Posh loves silver, antique especially. Nosh thinks a heckuva lot can be done with well-crafted stainless steel and aluminum. We might even refer to it as aluminium, ironically pretentious for Americans, and laugh.
  • Posh can be acquired all at once, at marriage for example, or over time, as the family tires of the goods or passes them on as inheritance. Nosh always takes a while. A new piece every year, maybe two, if the year-end bonus is big enough.
  • Posh goes for striking centerpieces, either in a single flower type – tulips are good – or from sheer High WASP eccentricity, via garden foraging. My mom the Smithie always insisted on cutting her own holly. Nosh looks for color and abundance, to highlight the white, the clear and the multi-faceted shine.

You will notice that even the Nosh table costs a fair amount of money, all told. To go lower, you have to get really creative. Picnics, outdoors in California, indoors on the floor of an apartment in Brooklyn, or a young couple’s first house outside of Allentown. Potlucks, where the mismatch of dishes matters not one whit. And kitsch, do not forget our friend kitsch – go to the dollar store and buy up every ugly turkey-covered paper good you can find. I’m sure there’s a turkey candle waiting for you somewhere.

Just be sure to recycle when you’re done. Happy almost Thanksgiving, Americans, with a big wave to the rest of the world as we indulge.

Editorial note: The inimitable @kidchamp corrects me, well, correctly. I meant rhyme, not alliteration. But I’m leaving my mistake for all to see, thence ensuring my future humility.

 

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The Privilege Pre-Holiday Season Report To The Board, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:27am


Time for the Privilege Report To The Board, in which I show a few numbers, and discuss issues of strategic concern. I’ve done this before, through the years, in an effort to stay transparent. This time it’s particularly important, if only to my mental health, because the season of Buy It All has arrived. If you think shopping malls are early on the Christmas bandwagon, you should see what blogger email inboxes look like.

Yikes.

So I wanted to talk stats, money in particular, and let you know how I’m thinking I’ll approach the balance of Thought, Soul and Stuff, in the weeks to come.

The Statistics of Privilege

  • Since February of this year, when last we spoke, page views/month have dropped 30%,  from ~93,000 to ~65,000
  • Unique visitors/month have dropped 20%, from ~26,000 to ~21,000
  • 60% repeat visitors remains constant
  • Subscribers (including email, Blogger, Feedly, Bloglovin’.):  Up 9% from 2750 to 3000
  • Total posts: ~1275, published Saturday, usually Tuesday, and usually Thursday. BTW, I came down with a bug this week, in case anyone noticed the absence of a second post. I always assume it doesn’t register, you’re busy people, but I still try to hold myself to the schedule.

Strategic Issues

  • Why the drop in page views and unique visitors? I broadened my focus, as you know, and I assume that those who came just for the clothes, departed. I am also less often included in weekly links roundups on style blogs, which also leads fewer page views. Same for unique visitors. Now, as I eyeball my analytics, it appears that the drop in page views has leveled off. We’ll see.
  • Why the increase in subscribers? Hard to say, but appreciated.
  • By the way, do I mind the declines? I would always prefer to show an increase. It’s a point of pride, and a sign that I’m doing something right. However, I don’t regret the decision to broaden focus. Not an iota. It was either shift or quit, so here we are. I will try to get better at house and garden writing and photography. Thanks for hanging around.

Monetization – 2014 earnings to date

  • Affiliate links (RewardStyle, Linkshare, Amazon): ~$2200
  • Brand marketing (Uncommon Goods, Readers.com): $400
  • Ads (Beladora, Shopstyle, Sovrn): $675

Strategic Issues

I now see which posts drive earnings. I suppose I could do more of them, and make more money. But right now I balance, very carefully, the pleasures of writing and the pleasures of cash.

You might wonder, given the pretty small totals, why monetize at all? It’s a fair amount of extra work, copying the affiliate links, dealing with advertisers, etc. Point taken. Here’s the thing. Money earned is a metric. It’s a sign of impact, and writing is a solitary occupation. Your comments, and your purchases, are signs of what my brilliant psychoanalyst brother would call my “agency,” as well as the feedback loop we extroverts need to keep going.

Besides, in my retirement I confess to a new appreciation for even pretty small totals. Transparency.

The Road To Christmas

Here’s what I’m thinking. I simply can’t go into All Gift Guides All The Time. I’d have to self-immolate. But neither do I want to avoid the whole process. So I plan to write a couple of gift guides – virtual presents I’d give had I all the money in the world – a couple of entertaining and decorating posts, and maybe one CyberMonday roundup. No maximizing of income, as my monetization partners urge, but no virtuous minimalism either. The middle way.

One more thing that comes to mind. If there are any posts you’d particularly like to see from me in the next 6 weeks, let me know, either in the comments below or at my blog email, skyepeale (at) yahoo(dot) com. And if you would be so kind, please keep the discussion positive, focusing on what we Do want vs. what we Don’t. Maybe I’ll do a kvetching post later in the year, if nerves get frayed and wallets overheat. For now, let’s expect the best.

Have a good weekend.

One New Piece For The Entertaining Holidays: From Sky’s The Limit To, “Hey! I Could Get That!”


As I’ve said before, if I don’t get myself one new piece for the holidays, I’m prone to a certain wistful regret. Celebrations feel just a little more celebratory in new duds. This year, I’m thinking about a new party top.

See, I’m almost always the one cooking, if not as the head chef then as a bustling sous. And I cook with abandon. So I’ve found that the best holiday dinner outfit for me is a pair of dressy trousers, like these from J. Crew (once black is back in stock), and a festive top, which I don’t actually put on until we eat. Cook in cotton jersey – eat in silk, lace, and sequins.  That’s my motto.

In this spirit, I’ve found a few tops to covet, consider, or snap up. Your choice. We’ll start in the stratosphere, and work our way down to the land of, “Excuse me, I’m not the Queen of Sheba! At least not yet.”

Sky's-The-Limit

 

 

Here you will find fine materials, skilled workmanship, and design to the point of audacity. Art becomes fashion, right there on your body.

 

 

Festive-Under-$100

 

 

Simplicity is the key to bargain elegance. If you look for beads, eschew busy patterns, if sequins, make sure they’re straight up. Solid colors and classic silhouettes serve you well; persist in the hunt for good fit and prepare to add yet more sparkle with your jewelry.

Everything-In-Between

 

 

Fashion in between Way Too Much and Over $100 gives you all sorts of options, in pattern, in fabric, in silhouettes that mirror the offerings of the stratosphere. Often your best strategy here is to wait for a sale. As it happens, Bloomingdale’s got one starting today, with 20% off many items. You can try to find something you might wear more than once, but if you falter, these are the kinds of pieces that high-end thrift shops love to take off your hands.

 

And if you decide against a party top, well, then, there are always party shoes…

Edited: In an attempt to deal with the display issues in Chrome and IE, I have another widget below, that slideshows all my picks. Please let me know if you can’t see this either? Additional hint, Chrome on my Mac loads slowly, but it does load, in the end. My apologies for technology’s short-comings, I can only assure you that we try.

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