Buy Curious: Sample Sales, '60s Style & Why We Hate Bras A Little Less

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This week, Buy Curious doesn't get naked, but we do strip down to our bras for a startling revelation. We scour the web for some '60s mod tops. Plus, sales, sales, and more sales! SHOP TALK Emeryville Shopping Bonanza Music, shopping, and beauty collide at “Hollywood Shop Til’ You Drop,” a national roaming sample sale billed as “the hottest shopping experience.” We’ve never been to one, but the organizers promise networking with the “industry" (whatever that means...perhaps Mary Kate & Ashley will debut a new line?), hot DJs and dancers, and a “huge selection” of clothing, handbags, accessories, jewelry, and art. When: Sun., March 11, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: The Hilton Garden Hotel, 1800 Powell St., Emeryville Trunk Show at Magnet: Go Dutch! Stop by Magnet Saturday night to snap up gorgeous, modern handbags by Dutchy, an up-and-coming label launched in 2004 by Berkeleyan Audree Halasz. Best of all? They’re all half-price! Can’t make it? Shop the online sale here. When: Sat., March 10, 6-10 p.m. Where: 2508 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley Go Green & Look Hella Cool In One Easy Step We’re not sure if Foreign Cinema is still as madly popular as it was a few years back, but here’s a good reason to check it out, regardless: two dozen Bay Area designers will sell their clothes, jewelry and crafty house wares there on Sunday as part of a Guerilla Fashionista event. Every little thing is eco-friendly—and ten percent of sales will benefit Literacy for Environmental Justice. When: Sun., March 11, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission St., San Francisco Jeremy’s: Cheaper Than Ever We know, we plug Jeremy’s an awful lot. It’s just that there are few other discount East Bay boutiques that tempt us with flirty Tory Burch and Diane Von Furstenberg dresses for $79. And the shoes? Hot diggity damn! This weekend it gets even better—everything’s 30 percent off! When: Sat., March 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. & Sun, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: 2967 College Ave., Berkeley. kasilmar07.jpg Because Those Jeans You're Wearing Are So 2006 If you’re a denim connoisseur, you may be familiar with Kasil denim. Made in Los Angeles by designer David Lim, Kasil is known for its attention to details, custom washes, and tendency to show up on the arses of the rich and famous. This weekend, Azalea Boutique in SF hosts a Kasil Trunk Show and Lim himself will be on hand to dole out “expert advice.” Magic 8 Ball says: Bring plastic. When: Sat., March 10, Noon-6 p.m. Where: 411 Hayes St., San Francisco You’re in Luck Thankfully, you don’t have to subscribe to Lucky magazine to enjoy the discounts the super-shopping mag offers each month. These sales require a trip across the bridge, but hey, the money you save on fabulous finds will surely make up for the pricey toll. Here’s the lowdown: **Church Street Apothecary: Save 20 percent on items throughout this all-natural beauty shop. Where: 1767 Church St., San Francisco **Candy Store: Take 20 percent off any product, including clothing from Lilja and Miele, pillows, cards, and more. Where: 3153 16th St., San Francisco Maneater Threads: Save 20 percent on purchases through their online store, including duds by Burning Torch, Mara Hoffman, and Young Fabulous and Broke. Enter “Lucky March” at checkout to redeem the offer, through March. Where: Online **My Roommate’s Closet: Save 50 percent on new arrivals from Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, tops from Tory Burch, and denim from Sass & Bide. Where: 3044 Fillmore St., San Francisco FASHIONANALYSIS: STYLE NEWS & VIEWS ‘60s Overload? Apparently, not a lot of people went shopping last month, according to this AP article, especially at middle- and low-income stores like Wal-Mart and the Gap. Brands like Chico’s, Bebe, and the Limited also reported sluggish sales, but higher-end stores like Nordstrom and even Target (no doubt thanks to their ever-revolving designer roster) saw their sales surpass their estimates. According to one analyst, part of the problem is that fashion has become “too commoditized,” as trends like 1960s mod prints, trapeze shapes, and geometric mini dresses are offered everywhere and at every price, and not everyone’s hip to join in on the trend. Buy Curious did a little hunting ourselves and found similar ‘60s-style baby-doll tops spanning a range of prices. Which would you spend your hard-earned cash on? Target: Xhilaration Short-Sleeve Flutter-Sleeve Top,$14.99 Banana Republic: Shirred coopneck tee, $44 Anthropologie: Yellowthroat tee by Language, $78 ShopBop: Ella Moss Lola Printed Top with puff sleeves, $99 BUY CURIOUS GETS PERSONAL Why The Bra Is No Longer My Enemy I’ve recently found myself in the throes of a hate-affair with The Bra, preferring a fitted cami beneath my clothes rather than a shoulder-biting, boob-smushing, rib-cage ravaging device. The affair began back in September, when I threw out nearly every bra I own, determined to build a comfortable new collection. (The bra banishing began one day at work, when I was so frustrated with my ill-fitting garment that I surreptitiously yanked it off while at my desk and tossed it into a drawer. I shared my workspace at the time with three men.) Yet the replacements I bought were hardly any better. They fit me fine in the dressing room, but within a few weeks they inevitably became unbearable. What was I doing wrong? I’d been measured at specialty shops several times, so I figured that wasn’t it. Or was the torture of wearing a bra, I wondered, simply akin to that of having to shove a cotton bullet between one’s legs five days out of the month? Simply part of being a woman? Still, I concluded—screw that! I’d simply go without whenever possible. Then, two weeks ago, an ad on Craig’s List caught my eye. “We’ll pay you $50 for trying on bras and giving us honest feedback about style and fit. You’ll also walk away knowing what bra size and style is perfect for you!” I was particularly drawn to the part about “honest feedback”—how cool that I’d be getting paid to vent to someone about how much bras sucked! And, perhaps, find one that didn’t? The company, Zafu, launched a Website last year that aims to match consumers with the perfect-fitting pair of jeans—a notoriously tricky task. Seems they’re now out to demystify the bra-buying experience. I show up at Zafu’s ultra-hip Emeryville office building (the requisite converted factory) wearing my “best fitting bra,” as instructed. (Underneath a shirt, of course). My choice was a stretchy white Calvin Klein underwire that, while borderline comfy, was a bit too big. Size? 36B. An amiable fitter I’ll call Kitty took a dozen measurements (including, for no reason I can fathom, my inseam), then tossed me the first of many bras I was to model and slid the dressing room's canvas curtain shut. Five minutes later, I was anointed a 32C. A C! To think that I’ve always considered myself fairly flat-chested—well, hah! Apparently, I’d long overestimated my band size and underestimated my bust. “So you’re telling me that I’m both thinner and larger-chested than I’ve always thought?” I asked, incredulous. She nodded and explained that when the band size goes down, the cup size goes up. Who knew? Then she expertly plucked another bra from the hundreds hanging on several metal racks. All told, I tried on about a dozen from various labels ranging from Victoria's Secret to Wacoal to my old standby, Calvin Klein. With each, I’d assess fit, style, how it looked beneath a tank top, and whether I’d keep it if I’d ordered it online. One bra looked much like the training bra I begged my mom for at age 12. Kitty and I laughed. Another, with braided straps and a Heidi-like design made me feel like yodeling. Kitty tapped out careful notes on a computer and offered helpful insights along the way. I’d like to think I did, too. For instance, I had a terrible time finding a bra to wear with my wedding dress, and suggested Zafu offer up that particular service. (I actually wound up freeing myself from my wedding bustier before the night was over. I did so in the bathroom, alone—not, as I’d have preferred, in a steamy stairwell encounter with my brand new husband. Then I accidentally left it stuffed in a plastic bag beneath a table at the reception. Whoops! A nice surprise for the janitor, no doubt!) By the end of the hour-long fitting Kitty felt more like a shopping buddy than anything else. I was kind of hoping she’d give me a few of the bras I’d tried on to take home, gratis. No dice. My burning questions now is this: Should I spend the $50 on a high quality bra or two, or perhaps add a new pair of sandals to my closet? I mean, I’ve gotten kind of used to the whole concept of going braless. Then again, now that I’m a C, I just don’t know if I can get away with that anymore… --Lauren Every Friday, Buy Curious dishes on the hottest fashion trends, news, and sales in the East Bay - and we want to hear from you! Tips? Suggestions for things you'd like to see? Questions for Buy Clueless, our advice column? Send it all to us. Email BuyCurious[at]EastBayExpress[dot]com

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