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Big Day Downtown: the L-A edition

August 30, 2010

You may recall Ally’s Big Day Downtown earlier this month and her excitement over seeing her name in an ad.  It would seem that we’re bookending the month of August with our Big Days.

L-A: Dudes, I am in the lousiest of moods lately. I didn’t get a job I wanted and I’m still waitlisted for a program. I’m trying to be onwards and upwards and susie sunshine about it all, because you know, white girl problems are not that bad. When life gives you lemons, you make platitude pie or something like that.  On the other hand, what do you do when life offers you $100 to spend in Downtown Halifax?

yesss! $100 for me!

You say, “oui! sign me up!”

It took awhile to get my big day downtown organized because Ally and I had hoped that the stars would align and Mercury would be in retrograde (aka. our schedules line up and Ally can make it in from the suburbs), but such was not the case. So one of my favourite shopping buddies  – J.Lau – came along for a Saturday of shopping.  My original plan was to hit as many stores and get as many sales as possible. Then I thought of two things:

1. How much more stuff do I really need? (I am in serious need of a closet purge).

2. I am always harping on and on about buying some quality pieces and I am in need of a good pair of jeans.

I’m not just talking about any pair of denim. I’m talking about a pair that look really frigging fantastic when you wear them. I want “premium denim” gee-dee-it.   So, we visited a few places: Biscuit, Renaissance and Foreign Affair in search of such a thing.

Actually, I didn’t try on any denim in Biscuit. I was blindsided by cute dresses.  There were so many of them! I mean, really, seriously cute dresses. But here’s the thing: I buy dresses and then rarely wear them. I am weird like that. I think it’s lingering subliminal self-consciousness about my knees. I was told by a classmate in grade nine that I have funny knees. I don’t even know what that means. Does anyone have nice knees? (other than bees?)

So we left Biscuit sans denim and sans cute dresses, and headed down to Barrington to check out Renaissance.

While I was completely tempted to buy myself some Chuck Taylors, I tried to focus on my denim mission. They’ve got jeans, but jeans are a finnicky thing. You can try on a million pairs before you find the right ones. Which meant leaving Renaissance empty handed.

Next stop: Foreign Affair. I was hoping that I’d find something in my size on their sales racks. Because who doesn’t want to find premium denim at 70% off? (answer: no one!)  I did find some great deals, but alas! My legs and those jeans weren’t playing well together.  Don’t worry, I’m not still walking around with a Visa in my pocket.

With a full wall of denim, it shouldn’t be surprising that I found jeans that fit, but let’s face it:  finding jeans that fit can be a bitch. Manufacturers of denim seem to think we can all fit into skinny jeans and straight legs.  Some women can and that’s awesome. I am not not one of those women.  It shouldn’t be asking too much to find jeans that fit over my hips, but more often than not it is.  As I complained that I couldn’t fit into jeans because of my hips, the fantastic sales associates knew just what I needed and they totally hooked me up with jeans that fit my curvier self.

Jeans that fit! Jeans I like!

Remember how I said the staff was fantastic? Well, that’s sales associate Lindsay pinning the legs of my jeans. Why is she doing that? Because Foreign Affair hemmed my jeans for free and they were ready for pick up by mid-week (I bought them on Saturday).  Which was nice, because I’m the sort of person who would put off going to the tailor. Complete laziness, I know, but when I buy jeans I just want to wear them. I have ruined the bottoms of many a pair of jeans by walking on them. I’m taking a gamble on this hem: I can only wear these jeans with heels. We’ll see how long that lasts before I give in, wear flats and walk on the hem.

The jeans pretty much ate up most of my $100. Actually, you could say they ate up all of my money. But when they gave me the visa, they didn’t say anything about having to keep it under $100. Downtown Halifax gave me $100 and the only rules were: spend it downtown and write about it. Check and check.

I rationalized it this way (I am very good at rationalizing spending): I used $72.50 out of the $100 to pay for the jeans. That left me with $27.50 to spend on other things and I used my own bank account to cover the remainder of the cost of the jeans. Because they were totally worth using my own money.  Seriously. The jeans are CJ by Cookie Johnson – a brand I had never heard of before last Saturday.  After describing why the other jeans I tried on didn’t fit, they whipped out the Grace bootcut style and BAM! Jeans that fit! Jeans that look good! Jeans that are actually comfortable the first time you wear them! Jeans that cause me to overuse exclamation marks! In fact, J.Lau thought they might be the best pair of jeans I’ve ever owned (and she’s a very honest shopping buddy. She’s also seen all of my jeans).  A quick note about the brand: they are designed by Cookie Johnson, wife of Magic Johnson and her jeans are Oprah’s favourite. While Oprah’s opinion has never factored into any of my purchases, I am in agreement with her on these jeans. They were worth every penny.

While I was in the change room, J.Lau spotted boots that she is in love with:

J was smitten with the pink rainboots.  And I was told that those of us with heftier calves can expect a larger calf version of Hunter boots to arrive at Foreign Affair this fall (a good thing, since my rainboots are now busted and don’t keep the water out).

Since I had $27.50 leftover, I decided to browse the jewellery that was marked down (70% off!).  I hit the nautical jackpot there:

The necklace is equal parts ridiculous and awesome.  I promise that I will refrain from wearing it with the nautical stripes.  I also found a pair of earrings that match. Since J. Lau is such a good shopping buddy, I got her a pair too:

It really wasn’t all that generous of me, since I was able to buy J.Lau’s earrings with a toonie:

At the end of the day, this is what my haul looked like:

This challenge (spend money downtown) might have been our easiest yet.  Finding fabulous fitting denim and something nautical made for a great day downtown.  Even if you don’t have the magic DHBC visa (although, they are going to be giving cards away to lucky non-bloggers – you just have to be a fan on facebook or follow Downtown Halifax on twitter for details), you can still drink, eat and shop your way through Halifax’s downtown.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 2:25 pm

    Great idea using the Big Day Downtown money to go towards quality jeans! I always mean to buy a good pair of jeans, but I haven’t yet. Oddly enough, I tend to love how Old Navy jeans fit me more than anything else I’ve ever tried on.

    • L-A permalink*
      August 30, 2010 2:32 pm

      I’ve been wanting to buy myself really good jeans for awhile, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. And I wanted to hit up a store that we missed on Ally’s Big Day.

      I haven’t tried Old Navy jeans in a few years, but the last time I did, they didn’t work out all that well for me. I’ve had luck finding Michael Kors jeans – either at Frenchy’s or at an outlet – and they seem to fit me fairly well.

  2. Intern Krista permalink
    August 30, 2010 2:37 pm

    Ah, jeans. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on premium jeans that have worn through while my Old Navy ones just keep on ticking.

    • L-A permalink*
      August 30, 2010 3:02 pm

      I think that’s why I haven’t made any sacrifices to get my hands on a pair of premium denim before now. I should try Old Navy again…I gave up on them awhile back because I didn’t like the fit.

  3. August 30, 2010 3:28 pm

    Also, it used to be that I couldn’t wear Gap Jeans at all. But ever since they introduced the new line, there are some styles that I could wear.

  4. allygarbs permalink*
    August 30, 2010 7:09 pm

    LOVE this, L-A! So sad I missed out on toonie earrings. The nautical necklace is so you. Drinks in your new jeans soon?

    • L-A permalink*
      August 31, 2010 9:37 am

      Yes! Drinks in my new jeans! I wore them AND the nautical necklace out for drinks on Saturday. Even though I wore a blingy necklace and a satiny top, I was definitely not wearing the right bar clothes for Argyle Street. That place gets crazy and full of “oh honey, nos”.

  5. Allene! permalink
    August 31, 2010 1:20 am

    Oh man! I have the same trouble with jeans– I have hips, and they do not. I was in New York with my mom in March and we went to Bloomingdales (le sigh), and she suggested I try on these jeans that Oprah recommended, and lo and behold, the Cookies fit me too! It was definitely the most I’ve EVER spent on jeans (even with Bloomingdales’ generous 15% off for new shoppers), but it was so worth it. I love them and they are awesome.

    In other news, have you heard about the website It claims (CLAIMS) to be able to dress any body type– you just input your measurements and it finds things for you! You can even turn off the sizes so you don’t have to know what size it’s giving you. I haven’t ordered anything from there yet because Pants From The Internet seem risky to me, but it’s an interesting concept I think!

    • L-A permalink*
      August 31, 2010 9:35 am

      I’ve kind of given up caring about size. Mostly because they measure waist size and jeans that could actually fit my waist would be crazy high mom jeans. Not cool. They sit on my hips and I have a lot of hips. The depressing thing is that all these “premium” denim folk won’t even try to make jeans that fit me. I’m in this no-woman’s land of not small or straight hipped enough for one “regular” sizes and not quite plus size either. Which is why I am delighted with the Cookie Johnson jeans. I could even get into the skinny jeans! I didn’t even think that would ever happen. (they didn’t look as good though).

      I’ll have to check out…but I’m also a little wary of Pants From The Internet. Skirts and sweaters I’ll do, but not pants (unless I’m buying a duplicate of a pair I already have).


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