advice from a fake consultant

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On Dressing For Success, Part One, Or, How Much Is Armani, Anyway? October 24, 2008

Filed under: Fashion — fakeconsultant @ 10:56 am
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So you’re the Governor of a State…but the next thing you know, you’re running for Vice President. The boss says you gotta bling up the ol’ Governor clothes—and the next thing you know, you’re having to explain how you can be the common “hockey mom” from Wasilla and how you can be clothed in more than enough money to buy Joe The Plumber’s house…both at the same time.

In the interests of telling the story fairly, I decided to conduct my own online shopping experiment.

Let’s head over to Saks and Neiman’s…and Bergdorf and Goodman’s to boot…and let’s just find out exactly what you would need to spend to look fabulous—and what you should probably be avoiding if you really want to project that whole “woman of the people” kind of thing.

That’s right folks, today, we play “Joe The Personal Shopper” for Sarah Palin.

Now I’m not one to deny a person a bit of bling when they get the chance (even though I think a $150,000 clothing allowance might make more sense for a “Vice Beyoncé” than a Vice President); so let’s be nice and buy our hockey mom a nice outfit for each of the seven days of the week…and just to be sure we’ve covered all the bases, let’s buy her three evening dresses.

Let’s be really nice and give a decent budget…I’m thinkin’ $4000 for each of the “daily outfits”, and, what the heck, let’s give her $5000 for each of the fancy dancin’ dresses. Total: $43,000.

That’s 66% off the “McCain” price.

I realize this will require sacrifice. For example, we will have to keep the cost of a pair of shoes to under $1000…and I realize that means she will have to cut back to Jimmy Choos and Dolce&Gabbanas…but these are tough times, and we must do what we must do.

Can it be done?

Can we stay within our budget…and still put lipstick on…the delicate flower of femininity that is Our Dear Sarah?

I say we can—and I’ll prove it.

You know what looks great on a candidate?
Timeless, elegant, stylish?

Saks has a fabulous outfit to get us started: from the Armani Collezioni, the “Rose Taffeta” Jacket—a vision in dusky bronze with a large rose pattern, three buttons at the carefully topstitched waist…and a delightful ruffled collar. Saks has combined the jacket with a basic black “Techno Cady Skirt” (which creates a “wrap” effect, despite the fact that it zips…). Now I know this is polyester…and not silk…but the two, together, are a bargain at $1950. Combine them with a basic black pair of Jimmy Choo “Patent Pumps” from Bergdorf-Goodman (at only $650) and we are on our way to getting a great look going.

We still have $1500 left in our budget for this outfit—so let’s buy Sarah a purse.

Bergdorf’s has the lovely “Arad Convertible Leather Clutch” by Jimmy Choo…and at $1575, we are only 75 bucks over our $4000 outfit budget.

If you are dressing “Caribou Barbie”, there’s nothing wrong with an animal motif…and who doesn’t love Prada…and Neiman’s has just the thing: the Prada “Animal Texture Jacket and Skirt”, combined with the Prada “Ribbed Sweater” ($1465, $560, and $595 each, respectively). The skirt is short enough to raise the temperature of even the coldest Conservative, and the jacket’s double-zip front and big “funnel” collar should keep even Rush Limbaugh’s eyes “up here…”

The jacket and skirt are Italian made, from polyamide…the sweater is also Italian, and made of wool and cashmere.

Here’s where we get some money back. The same Jimmy Choos that she can wear with the Rose Taffeta Jacket are perfect for this outfit as well.

And since we saved on the shoes…we can afford to splurge for a nice bag…so how about the Jimmy Choo “Patent Tote”? It is nice, featuring a black iridescent finish, a very bling-y gold shoulder chain—and of course, that Jimmy Choo nameplate. At $1795 it’s a bit expensive (the ensemble’s total is $4415), so for the next outfit, we’ll need to save a bit of cash.

We are, just for the record, $490 over budget to this point.

Now here’s where we save some money….and we do it on evening wear. Sarah is wearing her hair down these days, suggesting a bare shoulder look will be perfect for her. Bergdorf’s has, for only $995, the “Metallic Tweed Dress” by Lela Rose. Lapis metallic thread, bare shoulders, a black belt creating an Empire waist, and a length that comes to just above the knee…the look is simple and exceptionally elegant.

Mated to the dress: the “Patent Trim Coat”, also by Lela Rose: it’s navy and black tweed, with a big fur collar that lays mostly flat. The coat falls to the same “just above the knee” length as the dress…and it’s, again, a bargain at $1495.

I found the best shoes, ever, for this outfit. Neiman’s has a delicious pair of Manolo Blahniks, the “Something Blue Satin Pump”. Cobalt in color, 4 ¼” heel…and there’s a crystal brooch on the front that exactly makes up for the lack of accessorizing on the rest of the ensemble. $945…and absolutely to die for.

The perfect bag? The Christian Louboutin “Patent Square Bow Clutch” at $875.
Just go see it and you’ll see I’m right.

Our total for this first of our three evening outfits?
$4410…which is $590 under our $5000 budget.

We were $490 over, we saved $590 here…so as of now, we’re $100 under budget with 1/3 of our shopping done.

“There is no one left to dress”

Attributed to Cristóbal Balenciaga

The next outfit mixes Dolce&Gabbana with Armani to great effect. We start with the D&G “Tartan Check Jacket” from Neiman’s ($2450). It’s a classic, with black on black tartan pattern, suit jacket style, and wool and nylon construction for a appropriately “close” fit…and perfect to mate with the D&G “Metallic Tank Top” in shimmery silver ($595, at Saks). Complete the look with Armani’s “Classic Flannel Pants” (from the Collezioni). They’re made of Angora, Italian wool, and Spandex…again for the great fit…and Saks is practically giving them away at $615.

Finish the look with D&G’s “Erin Wide Slingback” with its 4” heel, in black, imported from Italy…and only $395.

The Jimmy Choo Patent Tote is perfect for this outfit, which means we save big by not needing another bag.

The total? $4275…which means we are again $175 over budget.

This next outfit, from Neiman’s, is the best of all.

You could not look better showing up for your first day being in charge of the Senate than if you were wearing Oscar de la Renta; and this combination of the “Caribbean Ombré Cardigan” and “Silk Shantung Pants” is absolutely fall-tastic. ($2150 and $1190, each, at Saks.)

The cardigan mixes blue, gold, green and brown Italian cotton and silk, the slacks are Italian silk of shimmering gold; and a $250 Cognac “Skinny Leather Belt” (again, Saks…), also by Oscar de la Renta, finishes the look.

This outfit is perfectly suited for the blue-green D&G “Carla Leather Pump” (Neiman’s, $415)…and if you’re a woman with a…reputation…the perfect purse might be the Jalda “Python Original Clutch” (again, a steal from Saks at only $490).

At first glance, this purse seems to be an odd choice—but after a bit of reflection (pardon the pun), it’s easy to see how the metallic silver snakeskin finish (with an interior that perfectly matches the shoes) is the perfect “non-match match” to the shimmering gold silk slacks.

The total of all this is $4495…which means we are now $670 over budget, with half the shopping done.

So at this point, let’s recap where we are, and set up for part two:

The Republicans paid $150,000 to dress Caribou Barbie while at the same time McCain is telling us that he knows how to cut wasteful Government spending.

I think they could have been much smarter about how they spend their money, I think 7 outfits for daily wear, each valued at $4000, and three “evening wear” ensembles, each valued at $5000, would have done the job–and done it for less than 1/3 of what has been spent…so far.

We are halfway through the process of choosing those outfits, and we are $670 over budget.

With that money we have shopped for Prada, D&G, Oscar de la Renta, Jimmy Choo and Armani, Manolo Blahnik…even Christian Louboutin and that crazy Jalda Python Clutch—and so far, we’ve found fairly good value for the money.

We have three more $4000 and two more $5000 outfits remaining to buy, which means if we can come in an average of $140 under budget on each one we can meet the goal.

I have a lot of research to do to get ready for tomorrow, so if anybody needs me I’ll be having a look at some of the most impressive clothing available from an American atelier today.

Wish me luck…I’ll need it.