I love Net-A-Porter with their wide selection of gorgeous designer clothing and makeup, plus their outstanding sales. Not to mention, they have excellent customer service. So I was intrigued when I got an email from them announcing their new site, Net-A-Sporter. As you can guess from the title, it is all about clothing and accessories for your active lifestyle. With all of their high end clothing on the normal side of things, I really was curious how that would manifest in the sportswear.
The Net-A-Sporter collection is broken up by twelve activity types, though two of those haven’t been fully introduced yet. The categories are: Gym/Crossfit, Run, Yoga/Dance, Tennis, Swim/Surf, Outdoor, Equestrian, Golf, Aprés, and Accessories. The two categories which are coming soon are: Sailing and Skiing. I think that you can just skip the Outdoor category because it is really a huge letdown. It’s pretty much just things for a country walk, not anything too strenuous or taxing. I was hoping they might have some nicer pieces for my hiking trips that might be a little stylish. Most of the other categories have a fair selection, not overwhelmingly huge, but a decent selection. The Accessories category is just a mix of items that you can find in the other categories, like socks.
I work out four to five days a week and I like to hike and go camping for holidays. So, over the years I have bought a lot of sportswear and active clothing. But I’ve got to say, I’ve never considered paying £350.00 for a pair of trainers just because they are from Stella McCartney. And these aren’t even super high tech running shoes, but something that looks like what I had when I was in third grade (mine were blue, but surprisingly similar). Preposterous! I’m also not paying £145.00 for a pair of track pants from Live the Process. However, there are some more reasonable items mixed in with the overly high-end pieces too. Aside from the stuff that makes Sweaty Betty look like they have bargain basement prices, you will find items from Nike, Falke, and Bodysim that are reasonably priced. I’m always looking for better socks, so I might have to give some thought to picking up a pair of the Falke Ergonomic Sport System socks, even though they are £15.00 a pair. Kind of like paying more for good skin care, I always think spending more money to get good quality shoes and socks is immensely important when exercising.
So, overall I’m not overwhelmed by the new Net-A-Sporter. I guess I’m just too cheap with my exercise wear to find most of their stuff a good fit for me. I also like all of the new technical fabrics but those advances seem to be totally missing from their offerings, except for Nike, of course. I guess I’ll just have to stick with my standard exercise clothing bought from an assortment of places.
Do you have a weakness for designer clothing, beautiful shoes, and great designer accessories? But maybe you really hate paying the high prices often associated with those types of items? Well, you’re in luck because The Outnet is an outlet store that is perfect for the fashion lover on a budget. They offer great fashion items for HUGE discounts, some as much as 75% off.
The Outnet was created by the team behind Net-A-Porter and has over 250 designer brands. Their collection is as carefully curated as that on Net-A-Porter so that you are getting a great selection at outstanding prices. Sure, it’s not all from the latest collections, but for 60% off, you can probably deal with that. Since they offer more than 250 designers, you should be able to find just about any brand that you love, designers like Alice + Olivia, Charlotte Olympia, Diane von Furstenberg, Issa, Miu Miu, Temperley London, Tory Burch, and Valentino. Seriously, there are a ton of great designers to choose from. Plus, they get new arrivals every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday so there is fresh stock quite often. Since they are a sister company of Net-A-Porter, I imagine that the customer service will be just as outstanding too, with nice shipping options and easy returns.
And before you start having flashbacks of all of the horrible outlet stores you’ve ever been in before, with their out of date and ugly options, I will just say that this is not that outlet store. The selection does not seem to be made up of all of the ugliest designer items ever created, most everything I have seen while browsing it is still just as gorgeous as you would expect from the designers. The only downside is the limited selection of sizes. Since it is an outlet, not every size is available so it might take some extra searching by you to find something. However, you can quite easily search by size so that you only see the things that will work for you. Also, if you sign up for their newsletter you can select a size and they will tailor your emails for your specified size to make your shopping time more efficient.
I really like their “Dress Me” section since I’m not that great at putting things together all the time. They list different style types or occasions so that you can see some example outfits and buy the looks that you like. They have a tailored selection of the appropriate clothing, accessories, shoes, and bags so that you can pull off a specific look. It certainly makes shopping a little easier, especially on a site that has so wide a selection. I can’t wait to really take a good look around and find some deals!
And to make it even more attractive, right now they are offering free shipping. You just have to enter SHIPFORFREE during checkout.
I was so excited to see this special edition luxury beauty box from Glossybox and Net-A-Porter, that I just had to have it! It was more than the regular Glossybox at £20.00 plus an additional £5.00 in shipping. So, my real worry was that it completely wouldn’t be worth it. And to be honest, I’m not sure it was. There were only two full sized products in the box, so that was a bit of a let down, but I do really love one of those and it is certainly something I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
The box came really quickly, which is great since I had to pay £5.00 for shipping, and was beautifully presented in true Net-A-Porter style in a sleek black box with their black and white ribbon. Very stylish and lovely. Inside it held six different products, two of which were full size, and and four that were small or miniscule samples. Again there was a fragrance sample which isn’t necessarily something I was overjoyed by, but at least they had it in a clever roll-on bottle which seems much better than the normal little tubes they send for perfume samples.
ilā Bath Salts for Inner Peace; 50 gram sample size. I’m really more of a shower girl, especially since the flat we are renting now would require me to fold myself quite a bit to take an actual bath. However, if I were to ever take one, I would love to add these bath salts. I’m not sure how they work in the water but they smell divine. The package in the Net-A-Porter box is in a pretty little sachet (it came lovingly swathed in bubble wrap and a zip top bag), so you can easily smell the salts and enjoy the scent without needing to put them in your bath water. I currently have mine in one of my drawers and it absolutely wonderful every time I open my drawer. It does actually make me wish that I had a decent sized bath (or that I was a few inches shorter). The remarkable thing is that the scent is truly relaxing. It is hard to believe that a scent can have such an immediate impact on you, but they really can instantly make you feel some specific emotion. It’s pretty impressive really. Here’s what they have to say about them on the ila website:
These pampering Bath Salts are a light in the dark for those in need of greater serenity.
Himalayan salt crystals are rich in ionic minerals and trace minerals for easy absorption
Promotes well-being and restores and strengthens the bio-energy field
Softens and nourishes the skin
Sandalwood is meditative and soothing to the nervous system
Jasmine is deeply relaxing yet uplifting to the whole system
Beneficial for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis
Imbued with rich healing minerals, they restore balance to body and mind, strengthen wellbeing and revealing skin’s soft youthful glow.
Reading all of that really makes me want to try them out fully. Maybe I’ll have to try to fold myself in half to give them a true test. Since you use a tablespoon or so per bath, I think I would have enough for at least 3 baths with these wonderful bath salts, which is a reasonable sample size I think. The full sized 500 gram container can be purchased through the ila website for £49.00. Their prices can seem quite expensive, but I think they seem to make really high quality products that are worth the higher prices. If you could smell this, you would definitely know what I mean.
Joya Âmes Sœurs (Scent of Soul Mates) Roll-On Parfum; 1.5 ml sample size. I do like the smart roll-on style applicator for this scent. And it isn’t just the sample that has that format, but the regular size does as well. The reason I don’t like or wear a lot of fragrances is because they often seem to heavy and usually have at least some hint of something that I don’t like. However, I must say that this Joya scent has a really lovely fragrance that makes me feel like I’m on some exotic island holiday. Here’s what they have to say about it on Net-A-Porter.com:
Evoking memories of exotic destinations, Joya captures the delights of rich Orange Blossom and Cedarwood in a convenient travel size. This perfumed oil features a roll-on design for easy application during globe-trotting adventures.
Top notes: Tamarind, Grapefruit, Cypress
Heart notes: Rose Bulgar, Ginger, Orange Blossom
Dry down notes: Cedarwood, Incense, Amber, Sweet Musk
I would not have thought that this would have suited me at all but the citrusy notes are something that really does appeal to me. There is just a lightness to the fragrance that is gorgeous and relaxing. I am actually considering buying the full size product even. And for me, that is really saying a lot since I haven’t bought a fragrance in I don’t even know how long. It seems a little more oil based than most fragrances I’ve tried and that gives it a bit of a lasting power that I don’t always get from perfume; obviously my body chemistry wants to resist all attempts to make me smell like a flower. The fact that it is a roll on would also make this really great for travel. Though it would still need to go in your baggie of liquids, it is far less likely to spill or spray everything else.
Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF 50 Oil Free Sun Protection; 10 ml sample size. Okay, I called this sun protection but Natura Bissé refers to it as “Brightening Shield Treatment Cream” which sounds so much more upscale. But basically, it is a sunscreen that also will work to moisturize your skin, minimize dark spots and improve skin tone while protecting you from the nasty UVA and UVB rays as well. So that all sounds like one heck of a multi-tasking product. I haven’t tried this out yet because I am trying to use up my current moisturizer so that I can find something else that works better for me, but I’m also trying out the Lancome DreamTone, so I didn’t want there to be any chance of getting my dark spot correction products entangled. However, I am looking forward to trying this out. I like that it is oil free and from what I have read elsewhere gives your skin a more matte finish. Usually with these types of creams that have a high SPF you get that greasy or sweaty look, either way it is unattractive and not the way most of like to look. Plus, the oil free formulation probably means you are less likely to get clogged pores that will lead to a breakout and/or a sweaty face. Here’s what they say about it on Net-A-Porter.com:
Harnessing the power of depigmenting agent Ellagic Acid – a component of Pomegranate Extract – it fights the signs of premature aging by preventing the appearance of dark spots and minimizing existing marks. This brightening formula improves skin tone and maintains hydration levels, too.
Oil-free formula suitable for all skin types
Contains antioxidant Vitamin E
So, you can see that it does actually have some good stuff in it that should really work. I’m just always skeptical of these grand claims as to brightening and correcting dark spots. As you might have guessed, this is not an inexpensive product and you are really going to have to want to splash out to purchase it. The full size 30 ml product can be purchased through Net-A-Porter in the UK for £75.00. If you’re in the US, you can get it from Natura Bissé directly for $97.00, but clearly you’d be better off getting it from Amazon for $85.20 for the same 30 ml/1.0 ounce tube. I’m really going to have to love it and think that it is a miracle product to pay that much for that little bit of product though.
Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist; 150 ml full size. I have curly hair already thanks to nature and genetics, which means that I wouldn’t normally even consider buying these texturizing type of sprays. So, I’m quite glad that I got this one in my Net-A-Porter box. I usually just use a dab of Aveda’s Be Curly to get lots and lots of nice curling from my hair, but every once in a while it is nice to change things up and get a bit of a different look. With the Philip B mist I get a softer curl that really does look like I’ve been at the beach all day. Clearly, this isn’t a look for all the time, but when I’m going for that casual oh-I-just-woke-up-and-look-this-great look, this is perfect. The times I have tried it I have used the Philip Kingsley Maximiser spray because I MUST have it with my super fine hair to get a little oomph. And the combination of the two gives me really great volume. I think I’m going to pick a day when I will try just the Philip B mist to see if that gives me lots of volume by itself too. Since my hair is so fine in texture, it is great when I can use just a single product and not take the chance of weighing down my hair or having it end up looking crazy; bit of a double edged sword to have fine hair that is also really curly. I wonder what it would do when I straighten my hair. I might have to try that to see if it would give it a nice super soft wave but not really full on curl; that’s a look I like but have a hard time achieving. This is what they have to say about it on the Net-A-Porter website:
Gorgeous tousled beach hair is only a spritz away thanks to Philip B’s texturizing formula. Scented with fresh Coconut and Tahitian Gardenia and infused with thickening Sea Salt, this spray creates body and waves while Aloe Vera, Marine Extracts, pure Orchid and Kukui nourish your tresses. A vacation in a bottle.
Suitable for all hair types
Leaves hair bouncy and soft
For fine hair creates lift, volume, and texture; for thick hair creates definition, texture, fullness and bounce
Reading that reminds me that I should mention the gorgeous smell. I’m sure it is the gardenia and coconut but it really reminds me of being on the beach in Hawaii. They have definitely gotten the scent of Maui down perfectly. I almost felt like I should put on some sunscreen! Aside from evoking such memories, it just really has a nice pleasant smell that was even around by the end of the day. You can find this at Net-A-Porter for £22.00 for the same 150 ml bottle. It is a bit cheaper at Amazon where it is only £19.57, plus they don’t charge for shipping so that is the better way to go.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum, 5 ml sample size. Okay, I should probably start off by saying that I want to try this because after looking at the price for the full size 50 ml bottle, it is highly unlikely that I am going to actually buy it for myself. However, if I use it and start to look so much younger and fresh faced, well, I might be forced to change my tune. When I first started to use serums I thought it seemed like something beauty companies had dreamed up to make us all pay even more money for the elusive promise of looking younger. However, I’ve been using the Lancome serum for a year now and I have to say that there really is something to it. I can tell when I don’t use it and it definitely does make my moisturizers work better. I’ve also tried a couple of other serums along the way and I’ve softened my cynical attitude towards them as a result. The Elizabeth Arden Prevage serum is, much like others, designed to protect your skin against damage and signs of aging. Here’s what they have to say at Net-A-Porter.com:
Guard your skin from environmental damage and signs of aging with Elizabeth Arden’s serum. Powerful antioxidants including Idebenone protect against free radicals while dramatically improving the look of your complexion.
Infused with a soothing blend of Green, White and Yellow Tea
Dries to a matte finish
I don’t know what Idebenone is but they act like everyone should know it, so I feel a little uneducated. So, naturally I looked it up but there’s no real evidence to suggest that it does anything when applied topically for anti-aging. Interestingly, it was originally formulated as something to fight against Alzheimer’s and also for neuromuscular conditions. That’s quite an interesting range of uses. In any case, I haven’t tried it so I can’t really judge it at this point. What I can judge is the price. For the full size 50 ml bottle you will pay a shockingly high £160.00 at Net-A-Porter or £136.00 at FeelUnique. Either way, that is way more than the Lancome Génifique that I like, so it is going to have to be stupendous whenI try it for me to want to pay that much more. Skin care is one of the few ares that I will spend a bit more because without good skin care your makeup, no matter how expensive and expertly applied, won’t look its best. We shall see.
Ellis Faas Mascara E401; 8.2 ml full size. Mascara can make such a huge difference in your appearance, even if you practically have no makeup on it can give you a pulled together look. If it is good mascara at least and doesn’t get all clumpy and make you look ridiculous instead of polished. I like Lancome’s Définicils mascara for a light coverage that looks very natural and just accentuates your lashes without getting them too over the top. For that more over the top super lash look, I like Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara. Those are the two mascaras that I buy regularly and keep coming back to, no matter what else I try. But now there’s a new mascara in town and it has won a spot in my makeup kit. If you want a subtle look it can do that but if you want the big lash look it can also do that too. It looks sort of unassuming because it doesn’t have anything that super special with the brush. In fact, the brush, which seems to be where most mascaras differentiate themselves, appears to be nothing special at all and looks like what we’ve all been using for years and years and years. Though when you really look at it, you can see that there is a bit more to it because it has a spiral design and seems to have more bristles (I’m not really sure what to call them) that are very tightly packed together. I think this is probably what allows it to give your lashes such great volume and curl. Though, the formulation of the mascara also seems a bit different to me too. I can’t really put my finger on it, it is maybe thinner. I think it seems like it could be a creamier mascara because it glides on and layers beautifully and doesn’t seem as prone to clumps as some mascaras that I have used. It definitely looks more moist when compared to the mascara from either Benefit or Lancome. Here’s what they say at Net-A-Porter:
Fuller, longer, more voluminous lashes are just a stroke away with Ellis Faas’ versatile mascara. The slim, pointed brush lifts and separates, while the creamy pitch-black formula glides on smoothly and evenly. One sweep creates a natural, wide-eyed look while two or more coats offer a glamorous finish worthy of any red carpet – or important date.
Elongated wand for easy, precise application
Formulated with natural Carnauba Wax
Maybe it is the carnauba wax that makes it so nice. I don’t know exactly but I do like it. I also like that I can pretty much get two different looks out of this one mascara too, which is definitely not possible with the Lancome and is only possible with Benefit if you have a super light touch. The other nice thing about the Ellis Faas mascara is that it gives you great curl, even without the eyelash curler. I often forget to curl my lashes before I put on my mascara but this makes it far less necessary. It really seems to give that perfect curl to your lashes that will have your eyes looking fabulously open and glamorous. This is definitely something that I will be buying again when I run out. I think it will replace my Benefit mascara probably because this does the same thing only better, I think. I’m going to give it a bit more time testing it out though before I decide. I will have to see how it stands up to my long party on Friday night here in NYC. You can buy this at Net-A-Porter for £20.00. If you are in the US, you can find it at Sephora for $34.00. I like this so much I might try some of the other Ellis Faas products, I especially like the look of the foundation pens.
So, all in all, I think that despite the higher price of £25.00 for the Net-A-Porter special edition box that I have come out okay on it. But as always we’ll have to see how the numbers stack up:
Ellis Faas Mascara, full size: £20.00 value
Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist, full size: £22.00 value
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Serum, 5 ml sample: £16.00 value
Natura Bissé Diamond White SPF 50, 10 ml sample: £25.00 value
Joya Âmes Sœurs Roll-On Parfum, 1.5 ml sample: £3.00 value
ila Bath Salts for Inner Peace; 50 gram sample: £4.90 value
Total Value: £90.90
Wow! I definitely got my money’s worth out of this box. The crazy expensive sample values for the the Elizabeth Arden and Natura Bissé seem shocking, don’t they? I did my math more than once on those because I just couldn’t believe that those little tiny products were worth so much. But the two full sized products, that I do actually like, really made this box a great value. And I’ve found a wonderful new mascara that is so good I’ll certainly be getting it again.
I thought I should do a quick follow up to my earlier post about getting a dress for my upcoming holiday party. I got all of the dresses this week, really quite quickly since I had all of them by Wednesday and I only ordered Saturday evening or Sunday morning. I always feel like when I order stuff like this, it should come in better packaging, but really they were all in little boxes, and only John Lewis even included a garment bag with their dresses. In any case, they all arrived and looked remarkably wrinkle free. I think that certainly bodes well for me since I will have to pack them up for the flight to New York.
It’s funny how the things you think you will like really well, sometimes turn out to be truly horrible when you put them on. I had thought that the red dress by Damsel in a Dress from John Lewis would be my top choice but when I put it on it quickly became apparent that it was the least attractive and had some real quality issues for me. I’m not sure if it was a one off problem or if this dress is just sewn poorly, but it had large clunky seams in the lining that were visible in very unattractive places when the dress was on me. The worst one was probably this big seam right across my boob. Yeah, that is not a look that anyone wants. I knew as soon as I saw that, that this was not the dress for me. But it also made me look kind of thick around the middle and more dowdy than I would like. So, it was out.
The black dress from Pepperberry fit well enough but the back is super plain and somehow just seems blah. Plus, there’s some tucks under the breast area that make for a bit of an unattractive chest look. And even though I was never a fan of the included broach and had planned to replace it, I was amazed at how totally cheap-o it was. It wouldn’t even stay clasped and kept falling open. If they hadn’t had it affixed to the dress with a plastic cord like you have on a price tag (clearly to be removed when you wear it), I would have lost that broach for sure. So, this was not the dress for me either.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the other three were all great. They all looked really nice on me and were even comfortable. I tried them on for Dave and my mom and neither of them could help with the final decision sadly. Though, my mom did raise some good concerns about the cool jumpsuit from Phase Eight. It looked really nice on and the pants are very full and definitely look like a long skirt, plus the two tone effect if very flattering to the figure. In any case, my mom pointed out that going to the bathroom would require the buddy system since it zipped and buttoned at the back and I couldn’t get it myself. So, for that reason alone, I decided I would have to pass on the jumpsuit. But I do really like it and if I weren’t worried about the bathroom thing I think I would have gone for this because it is very comfortable and flattering.
So, all of that means that I am left trying to decide between the black DKNY wrap dress from Net-A-Porter and the purple Kaliko dress from John Lewis. The difference in price is quite big – £150.00 more for the DKNY dress, but I’m trying not to let that be the big deciding factor for me. But in the back of my mind I keep thinking why spend so much because it isn’t like I’m going to wear this a lot. Sometimes I am too practical for my own fashion good. I think I really like the Kaliko one best because it is a lovely vibrant purple and the sheer part that covers the arms and drapes down the back is very cool looking, plus it looks quite nice on me; makes me look curvy without too much chest emphasis. However, it does only come to about my knee. Dave thinks that makes it look less formal but I’m not sure how formal I need to be for this event. The black DKNY dress looks really nice on with the long sleeves, ruching at the waist and the deep v-neck it is definitely figure flattering. Since it is made of a soft jersey material it is very comfortable too. But it does have a big slit up one leg that comes to mid-thigh area. Is that too high for me? I don’t know.
The good news is that I have just two dresses to decide between now and I’ll be taking the rest of them back this weekend. So, now I just have to decide if I want to wear the cool purple dress or the long black dress. This would have been much easier if only one of these had looked good and been comfortable. I might end up flipping a coin! LOL
We found out a few weeks ago that Dave’s company is having a formal black tie holiday party this year at their headquarters in New York. While it is nice to have the trip back to New York and see some friends and family, now I’m faced with the dilemma of what to wear. I’m not into formal gowns and currently have exactly zero things in my wardrobe that would even remotely fit the bill. So, naturally this means shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I’ve spent a couple of weeks looking at various dresses and styles and trying to determine what would work best for me. Problem is, I just don’t know. Over the weekend I decided that I would order a bunch of dresses and try them on in the comfort of my own home where I could compare them to each other and try them on with heels (even though they won’t be the right ones). This should allow me to see which things work and which don’t. Plus, I can have Dave give me an opinion and my mom (via Skype) can weigh in with her thoughts.
I ended up ordering five different dresses to choose from: two dresses from John Lewis, one from Net-A-Porter, one from Pepperberry, and one from Phase Eight. To be truthful, the “dress” from Phase Eight is actually a jumpsuit, but with really wide cut trousers so they look like a skirt. I just wanted to see how it might stack up against the other things. They’ve all got their own pros and cons, I’m just hoping that one of them works for me. My guess would be that the very simple black dress from Net-A-Porter is probably going to be my best selection. Here are the five candidates:
As you can probably tell from the photos, they are all quite different, so hopefully at least one of them is the right choice for me. I have a feeling that I will have to discount the Kaliko dress from John Lewis (£79.20 today, though over the weekend it was £99) since it is short, as well as the Phase Eight jumpsuit (£96 today, though over the weekend it was £120) for not being formal enough. Though, I do really like the look of both of them. As I said though, the simple black DKNY dress from Net-A-Porter (£250) is probably the best candidate. But then again, I really like a pop of colour like that red dress from Damsel in a Dress at John Lewis. The dress from Pepperberry was my safety choice because it is quite simple and low cost, plus their clothing is made for a girl with a bigger bust so you can always wear a decent bra too. Who knows though, maybe I will be super surprised and they will all look great on me. I am picking up the John Lewis dresses today and the Net-A-Porter dress might be delivered today as well as the Phase Eight jumpsuit. I don’t think the dress from Pepperberry has even despatched yet, but it should be here by the end of the week.
Of course, after I pick the dress then I’ll have to find the right shoes and jewellery to go with it. And what will I do with my hair? And I’ll have to figure out the right makeup look to go with it as well. The party is the first week of December, so luckily I still have some time to get this all figured out. Since we will be in NYC the entire week before, I feel confident too that I can always find anything that I might forget or want to change, and it will probably be a lot cheaper than here. I’ve been toying with the idea of waiting to get shoes until I get to New York but that seems a little too risky somehow. I guess it will just depend on what I can find here. Wish me luck because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need it!