The name itself evokes a dreamy, blissful state. While shopping for fashionable clothing and eye-catching jewelry may not make all our dreams come true, it can help!! Finding that perfect dress or blouse or accessory actually can be a step to reaching goals, to building a confidence-enhancing wardrobe, and to creating special occasions! “Create the occasion for the dress!” declares my savvy sis-in-law. This could be the motto for this popular Los Angeles boutique. I’ve been to Polka Dots and Moonbeams, located on 3rd Street in West Hollywood, a few times this year since my sis-in-law re-introduced me. Each time, I came out completely satisfied with my unique finds, and I can’t wait to pay another visit very soon!!! See just how satisfied I was last time. Two bags full!! ➔➔➔
The Polka Dots and Moonbeams concept is to bring the latest, newest designer collections together under one (adorably adorned) roof. It’s a one-stop-shop! Polka Dots & Moonbeams buyers stay on top of the trends, carrying such brands as Hudson Jeans, Milly, Hale Bob, Tarte, and Bailey 44 to name a few. The boutique carries a perfect mix of well-known designers as well as less mainstream brands. I am confident when I walk into Polka Dots and Moonbeams that when I walk out, I will leave with pieces I won’t dismayingly spot on others. Not only does the boutique carry just one item in each size, but the clothing itself is not what one can find at the local mall by any means. As cited on their website, “Our customers come in whether they are looking for the special piece or the whole outfit.” That’s true for me – I paid a visit at the beginning of summer looking for any ‘new and exciting summer pieces’ as well as later in the summer for a first date outfit. 🙂 On both of these visits, my finds were fulfilled thanks to Polka Dot’s expert shopper, Lorin. Lorin is one of the fashion savvy people who just look at you and know what will look good on your body-type. Lorin now knows me by name, knows my likes and dislikes, and knows me!!! It’s to the point where I simply walk in the door, excitedly chat with Lorin and mosey around while Lorin briskly picks up piece-upon-piece for me. It makes me feel so . . . . Hollywood!!! I completely trust her judgment as I find pieces waiting for me in the dressing room that I would never pick up myself but look surprisingly flattering on. Check out me modeling a sampling of my purchases below ➔➔➔
Grading Girl gives Polka Dots and Moonbeams an A+ for fabulously unique, fashion-forward finds, expert, friendly fun fashion advice, and reachable prices. Whether you need one eye-popping necklace or a dress for that wedding next Friday, you will find what you’re looking for at this trendy boutique in the heart of West Hollywood. Ask for Lorin and tell her Grading Girl sent you. 🙂 Bonus . . . Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore, Eva Mendes, Reese Witherspoon . . . to name a few . . . have all been spotted shopping here!!
I’ve been working out at the gym since college and have yet to come across a better piece of exercise apparel. These yoga pants are universally body-friendly for women of varied shapes and sizes. Over the past few years, I’ve donned a couple pairs from other brands but I always come back to my go-to gear from Victoria’s Secret.
I’m getting friends and family hooked on these! Just tonight, two of my friends who asked me where I get them had on pairs of their own! I love to share the wealth when I find something I can truly stand behind.
Where can one get these?! Order them by phone through the Victoria’s Secret catalog. These are NOT exactly the same as those carried in the Victoria’s Secret store. I’ve tried the store styles on and, while nice, not quite as many colors are offered; additionally, the store version fits me higher on the hips.
What is truly unique about these is that they are offered in 4 inseams: 30, 32, 34, and 36. Additionally, they come in XS – XL. One of my friends who just purchased her first pair is fairly tall and the other friend is rather short. The pants flatter both equally well because of the different inseams. I don’t like my pants too short, and having a few inseams to choose from ensure the length is just right. To further my point, I convinced my choosy mother, my impeccably-fashioned sis-in-law and my hard-to-convince colleague to try these. I can vouch that these pants flatter women of varied shapes and ages. And did I mention how comfy these are?!
Let’s not forget what else makes these difficult to pass up: they are priced modestly in comparison to the average workout pant, $29.50 or two for $50.00 (at times, on sale for as low as $14/pair). New colors and styles are offered each season so many of these are placed on clearance fairly regularly. Plus, Victoria’s Secret always offers money off with a minimum purchase . . . that alone offsets the shipping cost. Despite this lower price, quality is not compromised. I own some that I’ve had for years – the stretch still holds and the cotton maintains its durability. Btw, these are officially called “yoga pants” but I wear them for both strength training and cardio. Yes, they stretch seamlessly for yoga, but they definitely hold up for more rigorous exercise.
Grading Girl gives these pants an A+ for economical style, versatile color choice and flattering shape.
For the record, because I’ve been asked, 31 of these pants live in my closet. Mind you, I’ve purchased them over the course of the past few years . . . and a girl needs her colors . . . . umm . . . am I obsessed?!
My Favorite Designer!!
No, GG has not gone French! While I’ve studied 7 1/2 years of French, my site would not be complete without me raving about my very favorite fashion line. I can’t say enough about this line!! BCBG’s Max Azria has been my favorite designer for six years . . . and counting. It all started with a little red velvet halter dress I purchased for a wedding in 2003. This dress fit like a glove without hugging too tightly; moreover, it was comfortable and spawned many a compliment. Since that first fateful find, I’ve purchased (and received gifts of ) many BCBG dresses, shirts, sweaters, pants, shoes, and handbags. I wear BCBG pieces, on average, three times a week. BCBG is my go-to apparel when I’m pressed for time and don’t have a chance to answer the infamous “What Shall I Wear” question – I know that if I grab a BCBG piece, I’ll look polished and refined. I even attribute BCBG to one of the bonds between my sister-in-law and me. I became very excited when I discovered we shared BCBG as a fave; today, scavenging a local BCBG boutique is a staple activity we share whenever I’m in town to visit.
BCBG is an acronym for the french phrase bon chic, bon genre—or good style, good attitude. This illustrates the vibe of the line. Designed by Max Azria under the close supervision of wife Lubova, the label hosts legions of celebrity clients, 475 retail boutiques worldwide, inclusions in major department stores such as Nordstrom and Macy’s, and a slew of offshoots – including the more casual BCBGeneration (which my daughter enjoys!), the more upscale Max Azria Collection, and BCBGirls footwear. Dresses and mix-and-match separates are the brand’s bread and butter: youthful but not cutesy, easy-to-wear, and with a bit of an edge. Clients include Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, and Sarah Martineau. I personally have had the surprise pleasure of spotting two specific pieces that I own on television celebrities: Misha Barton sported the same matte-jersey pink mini dress on “The O.C.;” Eva Longoria sported my blue wrap top on “Desperate Housewives.” It’s fun to spot your own clothes on celebs! With all this famous following, you’d think the clothing would cost an arm and a leg to purchase. Not so – this is the one upscale clothing line with the midscale price tags. In fact, I can almost always scoop up a stellar piece (or two or three!) in the surprisingly stocked sales racks. Purchasing BCBG is a win-win!
On GG’s Wish List for this Season!!
Every season, I “doggy-ear” my catalog’s favorites before I head for the boutique. Here are the dresses I just bought this weekend. I’m very happy and proud to say I purchased each at Macy’s or Lord & Taylor’s @ 30 – 50% each!!!
Grading Girl gives BCBG an A+ for timeless class and elegant, easy-to-wear style. In fact, I wore a black cotton BCBG dress when I shopped for these . . . the third time this week that I donned BCBG. I see myself continuing to be faithful to this line for a long time to come. Thank you, Mr. Azria!
My Favorite Boutique
The space itself is quaint with its wall-to-wall apparel, jewelry, handbags, accessories, and miscellaneous gifts. Ladies, I have to say it’s the perfect store to visit when you have a last minute event or an outfit you need to accessorize or a small girlfriend gift you have to buy. Oh, and they have boutiques nationwide along with a comprehensive online store; so, wherever you dwell, you can indulge in Francesca’s super buys.
My Latest Compliment to Francesca’s: Last night, I had to return a dress I bought last week that was damaged with a hole I did not spot when I originally purchased the item. Well, Francesca’s policy is final sales on sale items. I was not sure that the boutique would honor my return but my concern was instantly stifled when the cashier not only accepted my return but allowed me to choose another dress at the sale price, even though the sale promotion already ended!!
Apparel ~Francesca’s has dresses, tops, bottoms, and jackets. The pieces she carries are not to gaudy, trendy, or age-specific. The four times I’ve been in the store (in the last two weeks . . . at three different locations!), I’ve noticed the clientele spanned from teenagers through 70 year-old women. The average price is $35 or less for any piece!!! One tiny complaint (no pun intended!) – Francesca’s does not carry extra-small sizes.
Jewelry ~ Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings abound. I noticed Francesca’s carries many designer copycat styles but at much low er prices. Good for every day jewelry or for a specific outfit you need to match. Jewelry ranges from approximately $3 – $50 – not a bad range.
Accessories ~ shoes, purses, scarves, headbands, sunglasses . . . it’s all here. When you go, don’t forget to look up because there are handbags bordering the entire stores on the overhead shelves. Some of the handbags are the types one can only wear with one outfit (come on, how many times can you use a shiny, bright turquoise bowler’s bag?) but there are plenty of delicious finds.
Gifts ~ The first time I stepped into the boutique, I purchased a Votivo candle in Red Currant (my favorite scent!) because I haven’t been able to find it elsewhere lately. Francesca’s sells those more exclusive items while keeping the prices down. Books, bubble bath accessories and cards keep this place packed as well.
Francesca’s has earned a raised grade from a B- to an A. It is a very fun boutique to peruse through, they have new merchandise every single week, and I never walk out of there empty-handed!!! They still would benefit in adding extra-small sizes for the teens who frequent there but many of their smalls work fine; you just have to try everything on – and isn’t that the fun of it?! Added bonus: GG loves that Francesca’s is known for frequent sales. For instance, over a recent weekend, Francesca’s offered 75% off of marked items. I scored a burnt orange tank for $10!!
A Couple of My Recent Purchases from Francesca’s:
(check out the fabulous pricing)
First T.L.C. review!
Body Language Sportswear is my latest workout attire obsession. A self-described gymrat, I arguably wear workout clothes more than street clothes – particularly in the summer; consequently, I’m constantly on the lookout for durable yet stylish sportswear. A couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to the small but lively Body Language boutique on Cedros and Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, CA. With the help of the very cheerful co-owner, I spent over an hour trying on nearly half the store and had trouble eliminating. The cuts are feminine enough to wear outside of the gym (sorry guys, they don’t have a men’s line yet) and the patterns are vibrant and rival the usual blacks, blues, and whites usually spotted at the gym. Granted, their prices may be little higher than some lines (full price pants average $80, full price short tops $40) but it is true that one gets what one pays for. They have frequent sales too. More significantly, Body Language is made with the strong Supplex material that never fades or shrinks. My older pieces still look new a year later when I’ve since literally thrown away my cheaper versions. When all was said and done, I walked out of the boutique armed with eight pieces . . . and I never looked back.
Grading Girl gives Body Language an A+ for unique style and durability!
August 2012 Update: I am a fan of BL more than ever. It’s true the items I purchased three years ago are still like new (unlike many of my favorite cotton yoga pants), their pieces are more stand-out noticeable than ever, and the personal customer service is UNBELIEVABLE!! Stop in and say Hi. You just might leave with something fashionably fun in your hands.