Shopping: A Visit to Kate Spade Saturday

I was in New York last week, just for a fun. While New York isn’t really the shopping mecca it might have once been, since it’s pretty much just a bunch of chain stores you can find in any American city these days, there was one store I wanted to take a look at, because there isn’t one here in Philly: Kate Spade Saturday.

Saturday is Kate Spade’s cooler younger sister. The clothes aren’t so preppy and they cost a bit less than their older sister label. I’ve come to love them in recent years, both for their creative cuts and designs and for their quality and fit.

I’ve had my eye on this dress, but in dark purple, or grape. Although I’ve had good luck with the brand’s fuller skirted dresses, I wanted to try this one on in person, before taking the chance of ordering (although Saturday does offer free shipping both ways). Alas, there were just two sizes left at the store and neither of them would fit me. But, my size was available in the black, so I went with that.

Black dress . . . eh.

While the dress fit pretty  much perfectly, I didn’t get it, mostly because I really wanted purple and I wasn’t about to buy a dress I was lukewarm about. The saleswoman recommended I try the skirt, which was available in my size in purple.

Black dress. . .eh.

It was a bit tighter in the waist than I’d be comfortable wearing and a touch short – it felt shorter than the dress, although that could just be a visual trick created by the contrast between the olive green tights and the purple skirt. I could go up a size for a bigger waist and more length, but then I think I’d lose the interesting angles and cut of the skirt – it’s designed to fit on the waist, not a few inches below.

I tend to get excited about going to actual stores, instead of just ordering things online, but I do find that brick and mortar stores tend to be a bit of a disappointment. They have a smaller selection than the web and there is a greater chance that your size just won’t be in stock in the dress you wanted to try on. But, in the case of Saturday, the brick and mortar store has one advantage over the web, and that’s in the form of the very helpful and friendly salespeople working there. I know that not everyone who works retail is particularly helpful, but I had a really good experience with the two women working the shop. Both offered advice on styles to try, which I realize, is their jobs, but you really don’t always get that at stores, even if you make it clear that you want to leave with something.

Anyway, enough about the physical location of the store — here’s some important info about the online store: it’s having a secret sale until January 23. Stuff is marked down as much as 75 percent, which is pretty nuts. A few of my picks from this sale are below, including a dress I already own and bought before it went on sale (dammit). Note that the prices listed are regular sale prices, not secret sale prices.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Life changing magic of tidying up

Hello, 2015. I’m not usually one to make resolutions, since I’ve learned over the past few decades that all I do is break them. Instead, I set goals or give myself little projects to work on. On New Year’s Eve this year, I was boasting that I didn’t have any resolutions. That might be true, but I still have several things I want to tackle over the next few months. One is unsubscribing from most of the seemingly random emails I get. Another, more strenuous one is to seriously get rid of a lot of the stuff in my  house.

I’ve recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It’s a lot more interesting and . . . different from many organizing books out there. Kondo, who I think is just barely 30, claims to have three month waiting list for her services and that over the course of running her business, she’s never had a repeat customer. Meaning that, her method works.

One of the things that makes her process, dubbed KonMari by her, different from the standard organizing advice we get from uncluttering pros in the US is the concept of aninism, or belief that objects have a soul. Although I’m not really spiritual, this belief kind of vibes with me. I talk to inanimate objects all the time and believe that you should treat things respectfully.

The two big pieces of advice Kondo gives in her book are to purge your stuff first, then put it in order, and to only keep those belongings that spark joy. When you do decide to give something up, either by donating, selling or plain out discarding it, she tells you to thank it for its service to you, then send it along. I know that type of advice won’t jive  with everyone and plenty of people are going to think its’ nutso, but it just makes sense to me.

Kondo has a recommended order for purging, starting with your clothing and moving on to more emotional items, such as letters and knick-knacks. Really, for someone like me, clothing tends to be pretty emotional, so I was a bit worried about starting there. But, there were no tears, although there was some disagreement, since my POSSLQ was in the same room while I was sorting through my stuff, and let’s just say he and I disagree about some of my sartorial choices.

Life changing magic of tidying up
Most of my clothes, pre-purge

The book recommends sorting through all your clothes at once, putting them all in one area. Did I cheat? Kind of, because I split the task into two days, tackling the tights, knickers and socks on day one and the dresses, shirts, sweaters, jeans and skirts on day two. One both days, deciding what stays and what should go was surprisingly easy. There was no well, this still fits and I sometimes wear it  . . . so I guess I’ll keep it.

The idea of only hanging on to things that “spark joy” really  helped draw the line in the sand. I have (or I guess, had) a few skirts that were, eh, okay, but didn’t really fit right or didn’t really  match  a lot of things or just weren’t my style any more. I’ve been hanging on to them because they are decent skirts, a bit pricey, and there’s nothing “wrong” with them, except that they didn’t make me  happy. In all honestly, one of them I was hanging on to because it was Marc by Marc Jacobs. It was too tight in the hips and I felt self-conscious wearing it, but was keeping it because of the designer brand. Dumb, I know.

The discard pile. It looks smaller than it felt.
The discard pile. It looks smaller than it felt.

They’re gone, into the pile, along with a few dresses that were just blah or that were worn out in really weird ways. I had this lovely dress from CK that I’ve had for five years. It still fits, but I hardly wear it because it smells like gasoline. No idea why it has that scent, but it’s kinda of gross to wear a dress that smells like a gas station. Into the pile it went.

Deciding whether things spark joy or not does make some decisions a bit tricky. I’m not really a shoes person, but I have a pair of black and white menswear style brogues that I love. You could definitely say that these shoes spark joy.


But, they also hurt my feet. They hurt my feet so much that I’ve them for more than five years and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn them. I love the shoes, but I also know that it’s time to say goodbye. Bye shoes, thank you for making me happy and for protecting my feet the few times I wore you.

Up next: thoughts on the value of purging a lot of stuff at once.