The Happiest Place On Earth Part One: Classics Forward

No, not Disneyland. Stein Mart, of course.

I can't think of a better store to focus on to bridge the Budget and Occasion sections of BODS. I've been shopping here for years and the reasons are simple. Their selection is varied, sophisticated, and fashion forward. Their customer service rivals that of Franklin, Tennessee's Shi by Journeys. Their sales undercut that outlet malls and, in some cases, the discount stores.

A friend of mine had been recommending Stein Mart for quite some time before I actually took her advice and had a look for myself. I had believed their stock to be stuffy and matronly. It was just something I'd heard, but my friend's wardrobe certainly didn't fit that description. Then I started paying attention to who was making the disparaging remarks; they weren't exactly style icons! I was hooked after just one trip.

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These are a few of my most recent finds that will see a lot of use in the coming months and years. The charcoal grey wool coat on the left is a Jessica Simpson lined with leopard print. The fur collar is detachable, adding to its versatility. I apologize for the cropped shot but, rest assured, you will see more of this coat in future posts as the weather goes from cool to freezing. Two of the three pieces on the right, the boots and skirt, are also from Stein Mart. Pencil skirts are in this fall and as they are a classic shape that suits my curves and never go out of style I'm snapping them up when I find those that fit well. This petite sized, fire engine red panel skirt is the perfect length and color for fall and beyond. The knee-high boots are quite a coup for me. Not only are they deep purple suede - my favorite color - they are cut generously enough in the calf for my not-so-skinny legs. I find it extremely difficult to find over-the-calf boots so I was ecstatic to find these.

None of these pieces were on sale, meaning I paid the full Stein Mart price for them. However, "full price" usually means a savings of 30-70% off of retail. Because all three of these pieces will get a considerable amount of wear, not just this fall and winter but for some time, it makes the "per-wear" value worth every penny!

Even though by now I can maneuver ever aisle of the store like an old pro I wouldn't have two of these great garments were it not for the store's most valuable asset; its employees. I want to introduce you to a few very special sales ladies next week.