Fitness Apparel – Save or Splurge?

Hello all! Summer has been flying by, and I have been SO busy with friends, family, and doing my best to keep in shape. Every year I try to do a few 5k’s and the occasional 10k or Half Marathon. During my recent closet clean-out I noticed I was in desperate need of new exercise duds. I have two schools of thought on this. One, I am fine with the cheaper stuff for gym time and shorter runs. Two, for heavier training and longer runs I invest in higher quality training gear. I thought I would list some stores and online sites where I deal-hunt for you readers.

A) I need clothes that I don’t care about for the gym…
Thrift: Goodwill, Salvation Army
These are my go-to places for super cheap workout t-shirts. My local Salvation Army in particular has rack upon rack of t-shirts to choose from. I don’t find exercise bottoms at either, unless I happen to have realllly good luck.

B) I need a specific workout item without running up my charge cards.
Bargain Shop Chain Stores: Target, Old NavyKohls
These are the three I buy from most often. I have found that Old Navy carries bottoms that have the thickness I desire (no see through). Kohls has their own brands as well as name brands that are often on sale (and even better coupon deals if you have their store credit card). Target is good for just about any basic workout item. A couple staples I like to buy there are plain v-neck fast wicking cotton C9 tees, and sports bras (for non-running workouts).

C) I need something to hold up through long workouts…and I want to look good.
Specialty stores for running/workout clothing: Road Runner Sports, Fleet Feet (Chicago area)
Fleet Feet has locations around the Chicago area, and I believe Road Runner Sports is a larger chain. I chose these places over other chains like Dicks Sporting Goods or Sports Authority because I KNOW they will have what need when I go. These are the places to go when cost is not a concern. I usually head there for specific high quality brands as well.

D) I’m just kinda browsing to see what deals are out there…
Online shopping: Running WarehouseThe Clymb
Running Warehouse, as the name implies, is geared towards runners but I think anyone can find a good deal on shoes or clothing here. Obviously the best deals are on liquidation items that have limited quantities and sizing. RW offers quite a bit on their site, and if you already know your sizing it can save you a drive to the store. Their shipping policies are also quite reasonable. The Clymb offers steep discounts on exercise/lifestyle clothing, accessories, outdoor gear and a myriad of other stuff. Downside: It is one of those deals where you have to sign up and receive rotating sales notifications via email.

What places do you shop for workout gear? What items do you splurge on, and where do you save?

JCP for you and me!

JC PenneyDesperate for some new clothing, I decided to head to JC Penney (JCP) last weekend. In spite of several botched attempts at change I have always been able to find good deals. Their Worthington line of clothing in particular is where I get the most bang for my buck on office/work clothing. There are some positive changes that JCP has made with the additions of M.N.G. by Mango, Joe Fresh and Sephora goods in select stores. Also, I find their home goods to be just as good (in some cases better) than what I can get elsewhere at the same price level. So when you’re out getting a start on holiday shopping this year don’t pass up Penny’s!

Quick Update:
One of my favorite fashion bloggers The Budget Babe has posted about Jonathan Adler’s new line of home products at Penney’s. Find the post here, and follow her blog!

For your consideration…

Two websites for shopping that I don’t always remember to check, but usually surprise me:

1) Lands’ End – Canvas: Cute, good quality basics given a stylish update. Even better when they have a sale! I bought this red knit dress from here that is SO cute and comfortable.

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2) Aerosoles.com – big thanks to The Budget Babe for reminding me of Aerosoles! Whenever I buy a pair of their shoes I usually end up wearing them out. Finding shoes that are cute and comfortable don’t always go hand-in-hand, yet somehow Aerosoles manages to surprise. When my feet hurt, I can’t focus on anything else. Granted, some of their options can appear granny-ish. Upon further browsing, I find there are plents of gems to be had. This pair has a bit of a “retro” feel, and I’m obsessed with finding a pair of yellow sandals for summer!

All things Gatsby

In high school I never was required to read Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” (*gasp* I know.) Now that Baz Luhrmann (one of my favorite film directors) is rolling out his lush version of the film, I finally picked up my paperback copy and read the story. Long before my reading this past weekend I have been a fan of “roaring 20’s” pop culture and style. Including doing an art history report on Erté, one of the most famous of Deco artists. flapperstyle

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Featured books: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald )

Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity and the Women Who Made America Modern (Joshua Zeitz)

Beaded Dress by Aidan Mattox. I bought this half price, after waiting and scouring BlueFly for-ev-er. Sadly, I don’t believe this exact dress is available but if you want to splurge they have many other beautiful designs. I will also include links to Haute Hippie (definitely more expensive), and LuLu’s. They all have 20’s-esque party dresses from time to time. Unless you are costume shopping, I find that 20’s-style clothing is something you just have to keep your eyes open for. Whether it is online or in store. Originally I saw, tried on and subsequently fell in love with the Mattox dress in a Nordstrom. However I didn’t buy it until I hunted it down on BlueFly.com. If you have a specific brand in mind EBay sometimes can be a blessing (just be sure it is a trusted seller).

There are SO, so many 20’s makeup tips online. Included here is generally what I use. Google and YouTube are full of helpful tutorials (there are many talented makeup mavens out there)!

Lip – I find Berry, or Wine reds look more “vintage.” Below: Revlon lip balm stain in Crush. Honorable mention goes to Revlon lipstick in Black Cherry and Wine With Everything. Cheek – below I have MAC Tenderling. It is a neutral rosy shade. Honorable mention to MAC blush Pinch Me (a brighter rose). Eyes – below I have Maybelline Full’N Soft waterproof mascara in Very Black. The three shadows are: MAC Print (dark satin grey), MAC Quarry (neutral mauve-grey) and Sephora brand shadow in Red Wine (matte). Honorable mention to Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk, Tough as Taupe, and Edgy Emerald. Vintage bag, drawing, etc. courtesy of myself.

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Rainy Day.

Aside from reading a good book, I love spend a rainy day with a cup of tea and browsing the web. A couple of years ago I came across this online mecca of Asian fashion yesstyle.com. Seeing what styles are offered in other countries interests me, even more so if I can try some things out myself! Yesstyle is certainly not lacking in the amount of products they offer, and it can be overwhelming at times. I have ordered from the site once, and the quality vs. price of the clothing was what I would expect. None of the fabric felt too thin, but their sizing does run rather small across the board. Petite persons will benefit from this, but limited sizing options might make buying anything other than accessories hit-and-miss for others. My delivery arrived via DHL, which was frustrating as they would not leave the package at my apartment office. (I can not say how they are with returns since I kept all the items I purchased.) One final note – they apparently have a retail store in San Francisco, CA. If anyone has visited there, how was it?