Monday, June 10, 2013

New In: Striped Dress and Forman Mills Store Review

I recently scored this cute black and white striped dress for $14.99 at Forman Mills here in Philadelphia.  This dress is right on trend, and it fits me perfectly! What I like most about it is that the length is not as short as many dresses (it hits just a little above the knee).  

I met up with a friend after making this purchase, and she told me she had never heard of this store. Until then, I thought everyone in Philly was aware of Forman Mills, with its bright yellow buildings and obnoxious radio jingle.  So, I thought I'd do an article about it.  For those of you who don't know, Forman Mills is a discount store that has several locations in Philly.  I think they also have some other locations in the Northeast U.S.  They sell a little bit of everything: men's, women's, and children's clothing and shoes, accessories, and some housewares.  I remember hearing that they originally used to sell close-out sweat suits and that their business grew from there.  These days, Forman Mills is something of a bargain-basement version of Ross or Marshalls.  

They have a pretty large selection of junior's and misses clothing.  Most of their junior's clothing consists of very random unknown brands, along with some of those inexpensive brands you might see occasionally at department stores such as Derek Heart or Energy.  They also carry closeout items from stores and occasionally designer items.  Some familiar names I saw at Forman Mills during my latest trip are: Forever 21, Rue 21, Gap, Old Navy, Aeropostal, Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, Mossimo, Kenneth Cole, Limited, Reebok, New York and Company, Guess, and Calvin Klein.  

Their selection is hit or miss.  The store is very large and packed with items.  It is one of those stores where you must look through everything in hopes of finding a few standout items.  I saw quite a lot of cute things this past visit, but more often than not, I leave empty-handed.  That's why I don't go there regularly.  when I do stop in, some deals I commonly find there are: 

Their full-price juniors items-They tend to be just slightly cheaper than other stores but still just as trendy and cute.  These items aren't such a great savings, but like my new dress, they are a fun buy and not at all expensive.        

Basic Tees and Tanks-Forman Mills carries a very large selection of tee shirts and tank tops.  Their full price for these items is low, making Forman Mills a good place to stock up on basics.  The quality of these items varies: some are absolute junk, but many of these items come from well-known mall stores.  It is a good place to check out if you are looking for tops of certain shapes or colors to complete an outfit.  For the most basic tees and tanks, Forever 21 is probably still the least expensive, but Forman Mills is a close second, and they offer a lot more variety.

Lingerie- They sell a mixture of cheaply made bras and panties, better-known brands, and store brands.  The best deals I have ever gotten in Forman Mills have been in the underwear department.  Check the sale rack! In the past have gotten Renee Rafe bra & panty sets for $1...yes, both the bra and panties for $1, as in 50 cent bra, 50 cent panty!!! Here is a picture of a past panty haul.    

Hello Kitty Boy Shorts-$1
Zip up bandeau bras- $1 each
Pink, Hot Pink and Orange bra and panty sets-$1 per SET!
Black floral bra-$1, matching thong-$1

Shoes-They have a small shoe department, and usually don't have anything good, but sometimes I magically catch something I like that is both my size and on sale, so it makes it worth a look.  During my trip last week, I spied these Madden Girl t-strap heels in my size in 2 colors, they were on clearance for only $2.99 a pair!  The bargain hunter in me longed to buy them, but I am trying to be more selective about what I buy these days, and sadly, they just do not fit my lifestyle at the moment, so I left them behind.  

So for all my Philadelphia and surrounding area bargain hunters... Forman Mills is worth a quick look.  If you take the time to sort through it, you can find the occasional great deal! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bargain Brag: Urban Sale Haul

I recently placed my first-ever order on  I used to find great deals at Urban Outfitters in Boston and San Francisco, but here in Philly, it is very rare for me to shop there, although I do browse online once in awhile.  

Generally I prefer to buy clothes in-store rather than online, in order to check out the fit/quality and avoid paying shipping charges.  I only order online if I can get free shipping (or if shipping is very low).

While shopping the Memorial Day sales online, I happened to find quite a few things on Urban Outfitters that I liked (enough that I qualified for free shipping).  However, I decided that I should save my money, and I ended up walking away from my cart.

When I checked back a few days later, the prices had dropped down even lower after the holiday!  I decided to go ahead and grab these deals before they were gone. 

Skater Skirt with Faux Leather Trim

This pretty white skater dress features a textured fabric and mesh panels in the back. 

Mint Green scuba drop waist skirt

This black scuba skirt is the same as the mint. I got two since this was a super deal.

Acid Wash mini with slight high-low hem. 

So, how do you feel about online shopping? Love it or hate it? What good online sales have you spotted lately?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Hermes-Style Bag

In the early spring I decided to invest in a new everyday handbag.  I knew I wanted a something structured, square-shaped, and simple.  Then, I recalled a classic designer bag with a lock.  A quick Google search let me know that the bag that I was thinking of was the Birkin bag by Hermes.  I had seen it a million times, but I didn't know anything about this bag, or that it was one of the most expensive and exclusive handbags out there!  Oh, so that's why I'd seen it dangling from the arms of celebrities so often. 

(Celebrity pictures from Google Images)
The real thing.

Apparently there was even an episode of "Sex in the City" devoted to the Birkin.


I wasn't loving the Birkin for status symbol purposes.  I just really liked its elegant shape and cute lock!  Once I realized that the Birkin was only a couple tens of thousands of dollars out of my price range, I started searching Ebay for something with a similar shape and style.  There are plenty of Birkin knock-offs online.  I could have bought one with that was an identical shape, but I went for one with a slightly different design than the actual Birkin.  

Pictures of my bag with and without flash.  The bag is pretty matte in normal light, not shiny as it appears with flash.

 I liked this particular bag because it didn't have the flap that locks.  While the flap is probably the most distinctive feature of the Birkin, it is just not practical for heavy everyday use.  I didn't want to leave it flapping open like the celebs, or play around opening and closing it every time I wanted some lip gloss.  So, I chose a style with a zipper opening at the top.  

This bag was about $37 including shipping from China on Ebay.  For this price, I expected the quality level to be fair.  When I got the bag, it seemed really nicely made.  The material did not seem cheap or junky.  It seemed like a quality bag! I was pleasantly surprised.

Until further examination, that is... The bag had this weird overpowering chemical factory smell.  Have you ever had anything that smelled that way before?  I've gotten some shoes like that in the past, and the smell never went away.  I also noticed the inside lining had not even been sewn properly and had holes in the corners.  I was really annoyed, since I loved the appearance of the bag.  I also knew that if I wanted a refund they would make me pay to ship the item all the way back to China.  I decided I was not even going to deal with the seller.  I let the bag air out for about a week, and luckily the weird chemical smell went away completely.  My sister stitched up the lining and everything has been great with the bag ever since.  

I really do love my bag, even if it is not top quality.  Although I am happy in the end, I guess you get what you pay for... Next time I'll certainly shell out the $10,000-$150,000 for an authentic Birkin bag :-)