Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bitten by Inexpensive Fashion

Much has been written about Sarah Jessica Parker's inexpensive clothing line, Bitten. Found exclusively at Steve and Barry's, the line features laid-back clothing that purportedly looks good on all body types. While some people have gotten behind the line's ethos of real clothes for real women (Bitten's sizes range from 2-22) many reviews have been catty at best. Many fashion writers are dismissing the line as a publicity stunt aimed at people who live in the flyover states who still order Cosmos when they're out with the girls.

What I haven't seen is a review from someone who has actually worn the clothes. So while this is not complete in any way, I'm taking this opportunity to do my own review of Bitten's wearability.

I'm always on the lookout for a good pair of jeans. Like a comfortable bra, this is a never ending quest. I was in love with my Gap Long & Lean jeans. I would basically buy a new pair anytime I had extra money (they are about $60). Then they started falling apart. After about a year, as with all Gap pants, they started unraveling, leaving unsightly holes everywhere.

After my Gap jeans were left in tatters, I got a pair of Old Navy Low Rise Boot Cut jeans. They were only about $25 and had a slim, flattering cut. My only problem with them is that the stretch that makes them so comfortable causes them to sag within a few hours of putting them on. Either I wear a belt or I'm stuck tugging at them all day.

This is why, when I saw that the Bitten Jeans were only $15, I headed straight over to Steve & Barry's. I tried on the Boot Cut jeans and found them to be almost identical to the Old Navy pair I owned in cut and fit. The only difference is these have a darker rinse, which dresses them up a bit. Unfortunately, another similarity is the stretch. These are even worse than the Old Navy jeans in terms of falling straight off of me. When you have a pair of jeans like that sag, you go from cute to dumpy real fast.

Another fashion staple for me during the summer is flip-flops. I wear these way more than I should, and have the tan lines and dirty feet to prove it. New York is dirty and I was tired of scrubbing the black grime off of my feet before bed. I decided that switching to a black flat would be a cute way to ditch the flops. The problem with flats though, is that when you do a lot of walking in them, they start to smell. Bad. So I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that I would probably have to burn at the end of the summer. Enter SJP.
I got these comfy little guys for $10 and I wear them almost daily.

My next excursion was right before my family reunion in Tennessee. I generally wear jeans in summer and haven't owned a pair of shorts in years. However, it was Nashville in June and I had become obsessed with the short-shorts and wedge heel look. I figured Bitten would be a cheap way to test it out.

I bought the trouser shorts ($10), but decided to forgo the boob-belt option (pictured above left on the "real girl" [bullshit] model).
The problem with these isn't the problem I thought I'd have. Instead of them riding up, they fall down just like the jeans. The shorts are deceptively not stretchy, but that doesn't keep them from practically ending up around my knees at any given moment. Adding a cute belt wouldn't help either, as these shorts are not equipped with belt loops.

I paired them with this fantastic pair of blue, peep-toed wedges for $10, which my boyfriend dubbed my "stripper shoes."

The fact is, he's just uncomfortable because I tower over him when I wear them. He says I'm passive-aggressively trying to be superior to him, which I totally am. So does admitting this fact bump it from passive-aggressive to actively aggressive?


The point is, These shoes + the falling down shorts + drinking on an empty stomach = Kona falling on her ass. A lot.

The Verdict:
For the price, you cannot beat this clothing line. The items are cute and inexpensive enough that if they fall apart, it really will not matter. The only problem is the sizing. The shoes run small (I bought both pairs in a size above what I usually wear) and the pants/shorts either run big or stretch way too much. When I went back to buy the shorts, I tried on the jeans in a smaller size. They were a little tight and had they been the first pair I tried on, there was no way I would have gotten them (hello, muffin top). However, based on my experience with the pair of jeans that fit me well in the dressing room, my guess is that the too-small pair would end up looking normal on me.

If you have a Steve and Barry's in your mall, I highly recommend checking this line out and if it doesn't work out for you, you're basically out the price of a couple of drinks or a dinner at a mid-priced chain restaurant. You've wasted your money on much worse.