Helen’s Shopping Routine

Helen in Rachel Comey Jumpsuit

Meet Helen. A San Francisco mom with a really endearing fashion blog that simply documents what she wears. There’s no intellectualizing about clothes, no lengthy discussions about Isabel Marant and no ersatz editorials with her brooding into a camera. I find her blog refreshing — her daughter is also beyond adorable — but it always leaves me wanting know more. That’s why I reached out to her and asked her several questions about how she shops, where she shops and what’s on her radar now. (Click on the pictures for outfit IDs.)

How do you start each season? Do you create a list of things that you want to buy?

I don’t think I’m that organized in terms of shopping. For me it’s my kind of my hobby where I can kind of relax. It’s something I enjoy doing so I don’t put too much thought in it. If it’s online shopping, it’s more impulsive, or if i want to go to the store and see the item, then it’s definitely more planned. It’s half and half I guess.

Where do you like to shop online?

La Garconne, Net-a-Porter and also The Outnet because there are some really great designer pieces you can get at discount. I also shop Yoox. Then there’s ebay, The Real Real. I also love this site called Le Catch.

I’ve noticed that you have so many great designer pieces and you purchase them when they are discounted. Do you track items until they go on sale?

It depends. If it’s something I think will not last until it’s on sale, I tend to splurge. But if it’s something that I think could be either more seasonal, I tend to wait for it to go on sale. But sales at big department stores are great places to get discounted designers. Like Saks or Neimans or Barneys. Especially around the holiday time on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and if you’re really patient you wait until Christmas. If it’s something that’s individual and not mainstream, I would hold off, but if it’s something that you think a lot of people would be interested in, too, then I would go ahead and buy it.

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Do you have a favorite department store.

Barneys is my favorite because they carry a lot of good designers andup and coming designers. In terms of sales, Saks and Neiman Marcus definitely have great sales.

You mentioned up and coming designers. Are there any new designers you like?

I’m more into Celine. It’s is classic brand but now I’m super into it. I used to only buy their accessories, but now I’m into the clothing. But I can’t always afford Celine, so if I see something that looks like a Celine runway piece but it’s by Zara or H&M trend, then I grab it. I noticed last season that Zara had so many knits that were so similar to current season Celine, so I bought a few sweaters.

Are you a big fan of Zara and H&M?

I would never wear head-to-toe Zara or H&M, but i definitely like to mix and match because they sometimes do have a really good pieces. I loved the Isabel Marant for H&M capsule collection. I got some great pieces like a tuxedo blazer that I still wear today. I also like ASOS.

I find that site overwhelming.

Yes. It is overwhelming, so I usually pick key words. For example I may want a peplum top or a maxi sweater dress so I will search and see what comes up. But you definitely have to have something in mind when you search. I also love COS.

Are there certain places you go to for particular items? Is there a certain place you like to shop for knitwear?

There’s a sweater that I’m obsessing over that I still can’t find. It’s a Celine oversized grey turtleneck sweater and I love it and I can’t seem to find it. So if I can’t find the actual sweater I tend to go to ebay. There’s also this other great site that I love that’s called Vestiaire Collective. I think it’s a European site, but it’s like ebay. People post stuff and then Vestiaire verifies the authenticity and you can either bid or buy. I’ve found some really great pieces.

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What brands do you like for denim?

Right now the denim designers that fit me the best are Acne and Frame Denim. So I just usually go to whatever site that carries it.

What about good basics? Do you wear a lot of basics? I feel like you wear a lot of cute eclectic pieces. You aren’t a plain t-shirt kind of girl.

I like things oversized and long, so I tend to gravitate towards t-shirts that are more tunicy, but I use t-shirts as a layering piece underneath. But I don’t really have a go-to place for good basics. So no, I don’t really wear a lot of t-shirts, unless it is a sweater that’s cropped and I don’t want it to be too short.

Do you think you shop any differently now that you are a mom?

In the beginning your body changes so much and you try to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and I’m still trying to. I just gravitate towards the more loose fitting things. I’ve never really worn fitted stuff, but now I rarely wear anything fitted. I don’t wear a lot of heels unless it’s a special dinner. I’m really into sneakers right now. I’m rotate between my Adidas Stan Smiths, my Isabel Marants and my Golden Goose sneakers. Now I have my eyes on the Saint Laurent court classics in black and white. Those are on my list of things I want right now.

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What else is on your list?

I really want to get the Celine bum bag or fanny. I saw it in eggplant and now it is sold out and I’m super bummed i didn’t jump on it. They also have it in white and black, but I’m waiting for the burgundy to come back.

Do you have relationships with sales associates at stores?

I do. I think it’s important to have a good relationship with a sales person, especially during sales. I have a great girl in LA that works at the Barneys in Beverly Hills and i think we just bonded because she used to live in San Francisco and she’s a mommy, too. We follow each other on Instagram. She’s my go-to person and I will contact her with pictures of things.

Where do you shop in San Francisco?

There’s a boutique near me called Elizabeth Charles. I know the owner and she carries a lot of great designers. She has Isabel Marant, but she also has interesting, new designers. There’s also Curve. They have locations in New York and LA, but I think the buyer for Curve is really fantastic because they buy pieces that are specific to their store.

What do you invest in and what do you skimp on?

I invest in good accessories like a nice handbag because that’s a piece that will last a long time, especially if you buy something that’s timeless. That’s why I was so into Celine, because there bags were really well done and they have great silhouettes. I also invest in good coats.

Did you buy a coat this past season?

I got a good blazer. I got it when we went to Paris and we discovered the Celine outlet. It was a navy blazer with pearl buttons. For me that was something really special and timeless. Right now I’m trying to find a good pair of vintage Levis. Those are hard to find, because you have to scour different stores and try them.

What type of Levi’s are you considering?

I want something with a higher waist, straight leg, and a light wash.

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Do you shop vintage and thrift?

I think it takes a special talent and I don’t have it. I’m not good at it. I wish i had friends that were experts because I would just go with them. I get overwhelmed.

What are you thinking about in terms of shoes?

I dress more casual now so I’m interested in flats or something with a kitten heel. I recently bought a pair of burgundy sling backs by Rochas. It was a splurge, but there were such a beautiful color and I can dress them up or down. I don’t tend to look for specific designer shoes.

What’s your favorite thing to wear right now?

That’s so hard to say. When the season is changing I always tend to wear some sort of hat like a beanie. I love beanies and usually a beanie with a big pom or a fur pom or a huge knit pom. I love a good beanie. I think most of my outfits tend to incorporate hats.

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How often do you shop?

That’s a dangerous question. I tend to look online everyday, but as far as actually buying things, I probably buy things weekly, but it depends on how big the purchase is. I definitely shop more during the holidays because there are so many great sales going on.

Any other items that are on your radar?

There’s a new designer from San Francisco called Tempest and Bentley. Her line is all about sweaters and they are very unique. She has this longer sweater that’s asymmetrical at the bottom. So that’s something I’m looking at. It’s not for spring but it’s just a nice piece to have. I’m obsessed with my Janessa Leone Klint straw hat. I just can’t seem to take it off. For Fall I’m eyeing clothing by Lemaire.

Where do you shop abroad?

In Paris I love to go to Colette. I love the outlets. only recently discovered the Celine outlet and it’s worth the 75 minute train ride. It’s an outlet center so they have a lot of other high end designers. They have a Maje and Sandro outlet there. If you go to Paris, go to the the outlets first and then shop for the latest season.

  • http://www.disneyrollergirl.net Disneyrollergirl

    Love this, I could read these Q&As all day! We have a Celine outlet in London too (well, near Oxford). I don’t know anyone who buys full price Celine, they all go to Bicester Village!

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