Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Welcome back to Shopping Journal, a new weekly feature where Racked editors share what they're buying and where.
After drinks with a friend in Soho one night, I found myself checking in on Brandy Melville since that's what I always do when I'm in the neighborhood. The brand became an object of fascination for me when I worked at Teen Vogue, and inspired my first big story when I came to Racked.
Nothing was new because nothing is ever really new there — the Broadway flagship is still mostly stocked with impossibly soft, exceedingly neutral-toned T-shirts. I didn't see any teenagers shopping at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday, but I did see two very cool-looking adults (one woman, one man) buy sheer windbreakers (yes, SHEER WINDBREAKERS) in pastel pink that read "Malibu, California: Locals Only" (here it is in black).
Also, Brandy's doing a weird Marlboro logo parody thing now. Even without the roof-like (?) graphic, I know what they're getting at! Related: The current embroidery offerings are nowhere near the Not Your Babe or Drake ripoff highs of last year. Unrelated: The store's lone vintage rack remains a hidden gem and currently contains old flannels from Eddie Bauer and Abercrombie. (Does this count as "vintage" though? IDK, man.) —Julia Rubin, features editor
I like to tell people that I shop for a living, which considering that I work for Racked, isn't too far-fetched. Sample sales are an actual occupational hazard, which is why I follow one rule before diving into a discounted treasure trove: only purchase things that are 80% off current retail value or under $100, whichever comes first.
Sticking to the rule isn't usually a problem — until I find myself at the Oscar de la Renta sample sale. Though not necessarily my style, I am on a quest to build a grown-up wardrobe, suddenly sure I should have a closet full of Oscar de la Renta. I end up cradling a pair of black lace embroidered pumps that retail for $1,190. Now boasting the low, low price of $75, they follow my rule. But they're still too mature for me, so I tell myself that if I come back at the end and they're still there, it's meant to be.
Alas, on my way back to the table housing the shoes, a woman with an armful of cocktail dresses swooped them up. That grown-up wardrobe will have to wait.—Channing Hargrove, Racked NY associate editor
I had to go to the Veda sample sale for work this week — this is a dangerous job — and on my way, repeated that fact: "This is for work!" But then I got there, and found myself rummaging through the damage bin. There was, of course, an olive green Max Army jacket from spring 2014 (shown above), with leather sleeves and a cotton body. The damage tag said DISCOLORATION in all caps, but it looked perfect to me.
I carried it around while I finished checking out everything else and asked my friend Tracy for a second opinion once she arrived. There was, it turns out, some discoloration on the back, an ever-so-slightly faded stripe where the collar flips. We figured it once lived on a store mannequin that got a bit too much sun. But at only $50, it was too good to pass up, so now it lives on me.—Laura Gurfein, Racked NY editor
What does an uptight New Yorker with a penchant for black jumpsuits wear to a Coachella Detox Wellness Oasis? That was the question plaguing me last weekend, as I prepped for a trip to Los Angeles to hang with the Racked LA team.
Flower crowns and crochet aren't really my thing, but I decided a Pucci caftan could definitely be my thing for one day in Palm Springs. Luckily they were everywhere at the Manhattan Vintage Show — they were also close to $1,000 which is a bit much to drop on what's essentially a costume. I fell into a pile of breathtaking 1930s lingerie and thought, for a minute, that I could totally pull off a black lace nightgown on a Sunday afternoon. But then I realized my occasion shopping was officially out of control and there must be something in my closet (I don't actually have a closet, but that's a story for another day) and high-tailed it out of there before buying something I really didn't need.—Britt Aboutaleb, editor in chief
I've been on vacation all week (New Mexico! Arizona! Palm Springs!) and needed to buy some cut-off denim shorts and funky desert leisurewear for my trip. The Vintage Twin was hosting a pop-up in Soho, so I swung by last Friday. When you visit them IRL (they're predominantly an e-shop), the salespeople will help you sift through all their old Levi's and Wrangler jeans to get the right size and fit. I bought a great pair of super soft cotton cut-offs that I've been wearing for five days straight. They were pricey ($60 — I know, I know), but they'll definitely last.
I unfortunately didn't buy this caftan at Matta when I was in the neighborhood and have been regretting it ever since. It'll probably be the first thing I buy once I'm back in New York.—Tiffany Yannetta, managing editor