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Our woman inside: bargains and splurges

Posted by Erica Noonan, Globe West September 7, 2007 04:59 PM

NATICK COLLECTION BLOG-A-THON

I went on the hunt for best bargains and most egregious splurges. Someone had to do it.

KATE SPADE: The ladies at Kate Spade looked like they wanted to squeal, but refrained as they offered up the Maya bag from the Arabella collection. It is a large, black, patent-finished python handbag with semi -circle beech wood handles. And this super shiny morsel can be yours for only $1,495.

I am a bargain shopper so I will maybe buy the cute yellow and white striped sticky notes for $9. For the low, low price of $8, you can swipe some Spade charm via the refill paper for daily organizers (I know from experience that the paper is standard size and fits non-Kate organizers.)

TOURNEAU: But I did not know splurge until I walked into fancy watch store Tourneau. The very accommodating salesmen there showed me a Patek Philippe watch for just under $60,000. It was "preowned" -- come to find out you can trade in watches there like you do cars-- and it featured a perpetual calendar, black crocodile band, and clear case on the back so you can see it at work. The perpetual calendar is supposed to stay accurate (day, date, and month) until at least the year 2100, according to store manager Bruce Bowman, so you can feel good about handing it down as a family heirloom.

Uh, yeah, I'll take it. And hock it faster than you can say "skinny jeans are so unfair." The best I could come up with at Tourneau for a bargain was the $375 Swiss Army women's tank watch, which I've been eyeing for years.

NORDSTROM: Oddly enough, the Nordstrom splurge came in around the same price, just under $58,000 for a 21-carat deep blue tanzanite pendant surrounded by 43 diamonds. Yeah, it was pretty. Nordstrom does have some lower priced wares in its Brass Plum department, which is geared toward teenaged girls. Jeans there go as low as $42. And there was a lovely wool-blend car coat in Tiffany blue for $78.

ZARA: Although the high-end stores that opened today dominated, there are actually some real gems for people like me -- that is, thirtysomething casual clotheshorse. Zara, a Spanish clothing store for women, has gorgeous silk dresses (my fave was $79) and simple cotton sweaters ($19 for scoop- or V-neck in a zillion colors).

They also had the ubiquitous sweater dress (I swear clingy knit dresses made an appearance in half the stores I visited. The Zara version came in taupe, black, chocolate brown, and cherry red for $59.

-- Lisa Kocian

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