I am The Fashion Detective. | Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC -ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I am The Fashion Detective.

One of my favorite games is fashion detective, and there are several versions of my game. One is when I spot something in a magazine or on a person and I try to figure out who makes it and how I can get it or something that looks like it for less. This week I got to play my game with a big payoff :)

My most impressive finds this week were at Nordstrom Rack. Sitting on the regular clearance dress rack I found this $2595 Dolce and Gabbana dress - ticketed for $29.97. It was completely unmarked (no branding or markings) but it looked quality so I took it home to play fashion detective. My hunch paid off! I had a feeling it was D&G, Valentino or the like. After five minutes of Googling lace 3/4 sleeve designer dresses it finally popped up! I tried it on and I'm guessing it's a size 4/6. I can just get into it but because there is zero stretch to the lace I should probably wait 5 lbs to wear it.

It was details like this that told me I was on to something...

The slip dress alone is pretty impressive.

The zipper detail told me I had found my gown :)

I also found this $1135 Christopher Kane black Swarovski crystal detail crepe dress for just $34.97. Crazy! This had tags so it was much easier to Google the image with the brand and find the dress. Also a size 4 and it looks so tiny I have not even bothered to try it on yet. No clue why this one was marked so low if they could easily look it up from the SKU on the inside tag - but I'm not complaining :)

It's been a busy couple of weeks and it's so nice to take a moment to catch up.

I left off the night before the new TJ Maxx Runway store opened up in Livingston, NJ. I'm a morning person so getting there at 8 AM for the grand opening wasn't a big deal for me. When I walked in the DJ announced something about giftcards, so I asked an employee what he was talking about. Turns out they had 25 $25 giftcards hidden all around the store and he ever so helpfully pointed me in the direction of the cross-body bags. Before I could ask why, I noticed a winning ticket hanging by them.

After I scored my winning ticket, he told me it was once per customer so I stopped looking for more and headed to the Runway department.

I was greeted by a huge display of gorgeous designer bags. Too bad the price tags were not as impressive as the selection.

Of course my eyes zoom in right to the blue YSL. Don't get me wrong, I would happily take any of those for the right price but the blue...

....was $2000 plus tax :( Thanks but no thanks. So I looked around and admired the Stella, Fendi, Guccis, Celine, Longchamps, Valentino and Jimmy Choos. All equally overpriced - most were barely 30% off retail. I didn't see a single bag sell in the two hours I was there waiting for the Rack next door to open. Maybe if they gave away $1000 giftcards...

The rest of the Runway department wasn't all that exciting. And because it was all brand new they didn't have any marked down merchandise, which is usually what I purchase at TJ.

I spent 30 minutes trying to decide what to buy with my giftcard and they didn't have anything at the jewelry counter (I'm on the hunt for a new ring - my old ones are too big or too small) so I checked out blow dryers and finally choose one after Googling reviews. I headed to the insanely long line and spotted Skullcandy headphones for $20 so I put down my hair dryer and purchased the headphones for my son who needed them for school. Things we do for our kids...

I finally headed next door to the Rack and looked around and didn't see anything special. I did spot this $168 Katu 'Anne' clutch and I had a feeling...and I was right. It was a penny :)

After the Rack I headed to the DSW next door but they really only have their designer goods online so there was nothing for me to buy. So I took a quick selfie and walked out. This is my new $25 thrifted coat that's just so interesting that people keep stopping me to ask about it. It's made out of polar fleece so it's sooo comfortable - and a great indoor/outdoor jacket. From a design perspective it has a lot going on but it's fun and different...and only 25 bucks :)


I skipped thrifting last week, but the week before I did pretty well. I found these three designer dresses for less than $30 total! They had the Red Valentino priced at just $8 - insane!

I think this is my first Phillip Lim piece that isn't from his Target collaboration.

Phillip Lim

 Can't say no to Red Valentino for 8 bucks!

Red Valentino

I think the sleeves may have been cut off of this DVF sheath but it's still pretty cute :)


I scored this NWT $86 Ooh! La La! Couture tutu dress for $10 - now both of my girls have coordinating dresses :)


My last highlights were pretty bad so when I saw an opening at Loreal so I jumped at the chance to have my hair fixed. It was a Balayage class run by Celeb colorist Nancy Braun - she's did my hair a couple years back at a Loreal seminar and she is amazing. This time I wasn't lucky enough to be a demo model but under her supervision my stylist fixed my mess by brightening it up around my face and breaking up the solid color at the bottom with some lowlights. I'm happy to say that I feel like myself again.

At Loreal, they always give you free hair products when you model :)

After the class I popped into the Rack at 14th street - here is my super blonde selfie :)

And for the first time I scored penny items at that location :)

First I found 4 dresses...

Then I found a bunch of earrings - 35 pairs :) These are mix and match earrings - some were missing from the cards but for a penny who cares?

I also found some great BCBG pieces which are always marked super-cheap. 90% off retail or better cheap!

I was sad to have missed the capes at the Tamara Mellon sample sale and I've been thinking about one ever since. This is a cape/peacoat hybrid that I couldn't resist for $40 from $388. I had to size up to the medium because the small pulled badly across my bust and I'm not all that busty.

Wish it didn't get so linty.

They had a couple $20 fur vests but the black and white one fit better. The beautiful brown one (which was more my color) had a cute hood but a boxier cut. Did I mention it's an XS? I still can't believe I can get into extra-smalls again.

This $598 leather and faux-fur jacket was also only $40. They had a couple $1000 leather coats for the same price but they looked cheap. This one seemed more interesting.

I spotted this Tracy Reese dress and I remembered seeing it months ago and I was hoping for a penny. It came up $29.90 which I figured was still pretty good for a $395 dress :)

How cute is it layered with the white top on the runway?

So last Sunday was a really good day for me. And then Monday was even better...

I went back into the City for a haircut at Bumble and Bumble. I probably didn't need the cut but I went crazy booking model appointments because I was so unhappy with my color. However, after having the color fixed I probably didn't need the cut but I didn't want to cancel at the last minute. On the subway that morning I decided (at the last second) instead of going back to the Rack, that opened at 10, I would go to the Rebecca Minkoff sample sale that opened at 11 for a few minutes before my 11:45 Bumble appointment.

I got there and there already was a dozen women waiting in the freezing cold rain. They took pity on us and let us in 10 minutes early. I was doubting my choices (and my sanity) until I walked in and saw.....


They had $20 & $50 samples! I grabbed a bunch as quickly as I could and ran to my hair appointment. An employee told me they would be restocking the samples but by the time I got back there after my appointment I had missed it :(

So this is what I got in the morning...

The Beau embossed snake clutch (NWT!) $50. I love the rosegold and the rocker chic vibe.

The $295 Love crossbody bag has the look of a Chanel boy - for a fraction of the price! Mine has a few dents in the leather but for $50 who cares?

I've been lusting after the $495 large studded Affair for a while - also feels very Chanel. And again, got mine for $50! The chain was coming apart - nothing a little glue couldn't fix :)

Already fixed and ready to wear :)

Last but not least, my new $20 Honey clutch. I couldn't find an stock pic so here is a different Honey so you can get an idea of size. It's funny - last year I didn't have a single clutch other than my mom's vintage one that I "borrowed" from her years ago. Now I have a pretty nice collection :)

I also may (hint hint) have picked something up for my next Instagram giveway :) Stay tuned!

And I promised extras - so here ya go! I picked up these regular size Affairs in gold and silver. These bags retail for $425 - asking just $90 shipped each in the US.

ETA silver is pending

You can see some dents in the leather on both bags- nothing serious.

The gold is just starting to come off in a couple spots - nothing too serious and only noticeable up close.

Interior shot

Here it is in pink so you can get an idea of size. They actually had the pink at the sale but I didn't take any because I thought gold and silver are more neutral.

Back to Bumble and Bumble...in the model program they try to use your natural texture which really doesn't work for me. I got a good cut but I always walk out with a head full of product. It's super crunchy and messy, which is so not my style. Regardless, it was a good thing I kept the appointment and went into the City that day because Rebecca Minkoff was soooo good!

The following day I got greedy and went back because I was told there would be more samples. There wasn't :(

I put up my crunchy hair (that I still couldn't wash because I don't like to wash my hair for several days after color), bundled up in my $24 boxy wool H&M coat, H&M hat & scarf (free last year with my grand opening giftcard, as was the dress underneath), $13 Spanx from Burlington Coat Factory (cheapest place to buy Spanx tights), My $15 Barneys NY thrifted moto boots, my $15 (75% off @Century 21) Ralph Lauren sunglasses and my favorite Balenciaga from Nordstrom Rack.

I'm also wearing my $5 Nordstrom Rack studs and penny spike bangle paired with one one my Chanel 75% off ones.

After the Minkoff fail I went to the Rack (again) and picked up some penny shoes and a dress :)

I also rechecked the BCBG rack and found this adorable $20 petticoat that I plan on wearing either over or under a black dress. Also an XS :)

I've been on a penny roll recently LOL. Love this $128 Rebecca Minkoff bracelet!

More penny bracelets..

Literally another handful of penny jewelry; including this Kate Spade enamel 'Boys Make Passes at Girls in Glasses' bracelet ($88) and Elizabeth and James black rhodium Meadowlark coil ring ($175).

I have such old lady hands...

Picked up tons of dresses too :)

Most of them don't work for me but I have a problem leaving stuff for a penny LOL.

There was tons more but I just don't have time to take pics of it all LOL.


I stopped into TJ Maxx to see what was new and I noticed they had their first round of markdowns on designer shoes. I was actually surprised to see they had sold so many of their Rockstuds at $600-700 a pop. These flats went down to $359 - too bad they were a size too small and still $100+ more than I wanted to spend.

They had tons of beautiful shoes - these booties caught my eye but when I turned over the Choo and spotted the $649 sticker I just walked away. Almost made me regret skipping the Jimmy Choo sample sale this year...


After TJ I popped into Burlington and it was a good thing I did. They had another round of markdowns and I scored this $595 Cut25 by Yigal Azrouel leather trimmed trench coat for just $29.98! I noticed it last time but it was $50. Glad I waited :)

I also grabbed this Theory dress for $19.98 in both size 4 and 6 but I think I'm going to take them both back because the cut isn't so special and I have 100 LBDs.


Last but not least, this is my Sephora VIB haul. I was lucky enough to be given a code by a friend (I'm not VIB as I don't spend $300+ on makeup/beauty anymore) and picked up another Dr. Jart BB cream - I've been scraping to bottle of my last one LOL. I had to get to $50 for free shipping so I added a Sephora glossy lipstick (Secret Affair) and a couple hair ties. I tried the lipstick and it has a weird smell and it's not as great as the one I got last year (Royal Wedding, a sheer cherry red).

Closeup of Secret Affair - it's a sheer pink-y red. Pretty, I wish it wasn't as sheer and the smell is driving me nuts. Anyone else think Sephora's lipsticks smell funny? It may have to go back...

And that's all for now! I feel like bargains are in the air - can't wait to see what the next few weeks bring. The designer pre-sales have started so the good stuff (at heavy discounts) is coming!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Shoppinggal :)



  1. LOVE the Dolce and Gabbana. I bet the color is stunning on you as well! And all the dresses...so pretty! You will be stunning.

    Don't feel bad at all about skipping the Choo sale, the shoes were only okay and they were still pretty pricey, $200 for plain shoes, $250 for embellished shoes (including flats! whaaat), and $375 for boots. No samples or markdowns for damaged shoes. I only bought two pairs even though I went both days. Hunter boots were marked down to $100 the second day so I grabbed a pair, and I gritted my teeth and paid $375 for the only pair of shearling moto boots in the entire place on the first day. A bargain but not a steal.

    And wasn't the Minkoff sale AMAZING?? I dropped by every day (it's in the neighborhood). I definitely bought the most on the first day, but by the third day, the sample table was gone and they replaced it with 3-4 damaged/overstock tables where bags were marked either $50 or $100, and the that was pretty good. The $100 bags were all pretty much in perfect shape, but were still too pricey for my taste. The $50 bags might have some small marks, but if you looked you could definitely still find good stuff. I had to stop myself from buying too much because my apartment is only 400 square feet, haha.

    I get such a visceral pleasure out of seeing people save money, and you are just so darned good at it it's like watching an artist at work. Thanks for sharing. Love reading the blog!


    PS - let me know if you got my email re: Tory Burch. It's totally cool if that's not up your alley, but I thought I'd ask. And I'd definitely pay you a finder's fee! But feel free to refuse :)

    1. Thanks for your kind words Victoria :) I read up on the Choo sale and I saw they didn't have samples this time so I feel much better. I'm pretty stocked up from the Tamara Mellon sample sale and my new pair of Rack Loubs so I'll just wait till the next sale. Did you go to the Louboutin sale? I heard it wasn't so great this time around. I only went to RM the first two days and the first day was amazing. I'm a little sad I missed the overstock towards the end of the sale but honestly I have dozens of Minkoffs and how many do I really need LOL. And I know the feeling - I lived in a NYC studio for 14 years - I used to hag bags from the wall on hooks and I put up shelves high up for bag storage.

      I didn't get your email - please resend and make sure you spell shoppinggal with 2 Ps and 2 Gs :)

    2. Oops! I totally sent it to the wrong email haha. Let me know if it goes through this time.

      I didn't go to Loub because I heard they weren't letting in anyone not invited. Alas, I have no connections to the fashion world so that wasn't an option for me. I will eagerly anticipate any Loubs you can score for me at the Rack (and pay you for it--as a freelancer myself I know how much it sucks when people expect you to work for free!)

      You definitely got the best stuff at the RM sale, so you didn't miss out by not going back. I mostly just picked up stuff for gifts--I bought 5-6 bags but only one was for me. These New York apartments are pretty sad, at least we get great sales!

      Btw, in the future, let me know if I can send you updates on sales or anything that's going on the city, since I live here. It's only fair--you gave me the scoop on Tamara Mellon. Most amazing sale ever. Hope I've paid you back at least a little with the tip on PurseForum about Burlington Coat Forum becoming slightly classier haha :)

      I'll definitely be hitting Bvlgari, Mont Blanc, J. Crew, and Tory Burch (none of those are really my brands, but they're good for gifts.) I'll let you know if anything ends up being a super deal, and let me know if you're looking for anything specific!

  2. Ok I'm majorly envious of the lace dress. And I regret skipping the RM sample sale, I'll make sure to go to the next one haha. I've been wanting a gold clutch just like the one you got! Also, please tell me about the penny finds? I never even knew there was a thing like that until I started following your blog. What where when how??? Also if you decide to sell the pink clutch let me know :) I'll pay more than a penny haha but not a lot though cuz I'm mucho poor. Ha!

    1. LOL - it is a stunner. Don't kick yourself about RM - realistically if you weren't there the first day, first hour, you didn't get anything really good anyway. I'll teach you all about penny finds when we finally meet up :)

  3. Is the silver bag still available? :)

    1. Kathy the silver is pretty much sold (she's coming to get it on Thurs) but gold is still available :)

  4. Darn:( I really liked the silver but it's okay! Btw if you ever decide to sell the fur vest, please let me know! It's so cute! You always find the best deals! :)

    1. They had more vests - but I'm not sure if there are any left. Call the NYC 14th street Rack and they can ship it to you for $8. They were on the BCBG Rack and they only had size XS. Good luck!

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