I shouldn’t shop on luxury fashion websites (and other things I learned at the Mr. Porter men’s fashion event)

You guys loved James’ last post – in fact, it’s the most-linked post on this blog – so much, that I decided to promote him from boyfriend to unpaid intern. If he plays his cards right, I might even give him his own blurb on the About page

This week, he’s writing about another event that I only somewhat dragged him to: a Mr. Porter men’s fashion showcase at Soho House. Not a shabby venue, right? Read on to see if the free drinks were worth it this time.IMG_1670.JPGI’m not sure “fashionable” would be a word someone would use if they were asked to describe me. “Curmudgeonly.” “Sarcastic.” “Bearded.” Those would be words people would use, but probably not “fashionable.” And yet I’ve been to two Chicago fashion events in the last month, so what the heck is going on?


So, when Hollie asked me if I wanted to come with her to what she described as a “men’s fashion show … or something” I was basically like “Umm, no. What? Why?” But then she told me it was at Soho House (which Hollie gushed about in a previous post) and I screamed and immediately canceled my other plans for that night because the freaking Soho House looks like this:soho 5Image via Curbed Chicago, because come on.

The event ended up being the Mr. Porter fall/winter men’s fashion event. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Porter (I wasn’t), it’s basically the menswear version of the luxury fashion site Net-a-Porter. Mr. Porter is also the name of a rapper who used to be in D12, so if anyone went to the event expecting that they were out of luck.

Anyway, I was so excited to go to Soho House that I didn’t really look too much into the Mr. Porter brand. If I had, I would have seen where the site says “Designers available include Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Raf Simons, Lanvin …” Now I’m no fashion expert, but I know Kanye says “Lanvin thousand dollar tee with no logos” in Illest Motherfucker Alive, so LOL no, I can’t afford anything on Mr. Porter.

Like, for example Hollie and I are going to Key West this month, so I thought about buying new swim trunks. Here’s an example pair from Mr. Porter:

mr. porter wtf trunks$250. BYE!

Hollie and I clearly weren’t thinking straight that night, because we showed up to Soho House at least 15 minutes early. Pretty sure it’s a cardinal sin to be anything but fashionably late to these kinds of things, so that was strike one. But it also meant we had to sit around awkwardly until more people showed up.

IMG_1671.JPGWhat else is there to do in an empty room but take pictures of all this cool shit?

And this is where I first noticed the photographer.

The event also had a connection to Modern Luxury (a publication I don’t think I’ve ever even opened, but it looks like it weighs about 25 lbs.) so the magazine had its own photographer. A photographer whose job was to apparently avoid taking pictures of me and/or Hollie. I mean, we were literally the only people there for about 20 minutes and he didn’t take one single picture of us. But you know what, it’s my own fault for not wearing a fucking scarf or a $3,600 cardigan with a beaver fur collar.

An update from Hollie about this: The fact that the photographer took a photo of the couple on our left, checked us out, then immediately took a photo of the couple on our right makes this way more ridiculous. I mean, I was wearing Prabal Gurung, for goodness’ sake … could the photographer tell it was from his Target line? Also, my not knowing how to properly spell “Gurung” until I consulted Google is probably a sign that we shouldn’t be in those pictures, at the event, or even at the Soho House, in the first place.

You can look through the pictures of the event yourself and see who did make the cut. I did some internet stalking and it seems that the vast majority of people in these pictures worked for either Mr. Porter or Modern Luxury, so that explains that I guess. BUT WAIT, Hollie and I actually did make it into one photo. Look here, do you see us?!soho house mr porter 1

No? OK, how about now?soho house mr porter 2

If you’ve read my other post, you know that free booze can solve a lot of these problems, and this wasn’t any different. Unlike the last event, this booze was real with free drinks from Chicago-based Koval Distillery. But when you get free drinks, you end up with huge lines like this.IMG_1666.JPG

The moral of the story here is I should have never been at this thing. I mean, I went to Old Navy three weeks ago and dropped about $100 on so many clothes I could barely carry them into the apartment by myself. We did get a $50 gift card to Mr. Porter for showing up that night, but when the cheapest pair of underwear on the site costs $25 the site’s not for me (btw the most expensive pair are $205).

But the night wasn’t a complete loss because then we went to Little Goat and split a “Fun & Crispy Chicken Sandwich.” Honestly, if you’re in a bad mood, just have some fried chicken. If that doesn’t solve your problem, then you clearly have larger issues in life.IMG_1662.JPG IMG_1245.JPG

Hollie says I need to end these posts with a question, so has anyone else ever been to Soho House? More importantly, is anything better than fried chicken? The answer to that is yes, chicken & waffles are better.

If you’re considering spending $65+ on an Afternoon of Bridal Luxury, don’t.

Because I work part-time in the wedding industry, I get invited to a lot of wedding-related events, and most of them are pretty great. I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat macarons and drink champagne all day?

Well, after eating nothing but macarons for four hours and drinking a shit-ton of champagne with nary a restroom in sight, I’ve certainly changed my tune.

afternoon of bridal luxury

I’ll admit, I was pumped as heck to get an invite to CS Brides and Modern Luxury’s Afternoon of Bridal Luxury, partly because I really do love the Chicago wedding industry and the friends I’ve made in it, but also because I am way too cheap to ever pay $65 for a ticket, not including fees.

The last time I splurged on something for $65, it was a pair of coated denim Rich and Skinny (lol) jeans that I thought were black, but realized AFTER I ripped the tags off that they were actually GREEN, so you can understand my hesitation. Also, I make $1 per day at my job, so I take splurges very seriously, especially when they determine whether I eat like a queen or eat Ramen noodles for the next two weeks.

So did I want a free ticket to get “access to the wedding walk, which will include cocktails, champagne, bites and sweets, as well as one canvas swag bag to retrieve gifts from each boutique and vendor along the way and a final luxury swag bag with tons of unique gifts and special offers from bridal vendors across the city”?

Hell. Yes. Where do I sign up?

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OK, so it turns out that before I could actually begin my Afternoon of Bridal Luxury, I’d have to wait in line. A lot.

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In fact, this turned out to be a recurring theme throughout most of the day.

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And when I wasn’t waiting in line, I was drinking champagne and devouring bite-sized treats (macarons, specifically) from some of the city’s best bakeries.

(By the way, today I learned the difference between macarOns and macarOOns, and I’ve got to say, I had no idea.)

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But before I get too far into the event review, let’s first talk about logistics.

The day begins at Spiaggia, everyone is early because EXCITED:

Meet at Spiaggia on Michigan Avenue, pick up a canvas tote bag for all the goodies we’re promised along the way, drink champagne, eat cake, eat this random piece of avocado/egg/grapefruit toast.

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The day continues, sugar-shakes commence:

Travel on foot to various Gold Coast shops, look at things that cost a ton of money, and pick up swag along the way. Aside from a free pair of Kate Spade earrings (which is why the teeny store pictured above was SO CRAMMED), swag included business cards and more macarons.

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The day ends at the Waldorf Astoria, have eaten so many sweets that the smell of couture cotton candy actually makes me gag :

Hours later, when you’ve visited all the stores full of things you can’t afford (like those $900 Lanvin loafers, that $3,600 feathery thing, and that $3,800 green onyx and turquoise bracelet), you go to the Waldorf Astoria and pick up your “luxury swag bag,” which was basically this:

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OK, I’ll admit, there was some pretty stuff to gawk at along the way:

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But was the day worth it?

Save for some of the cooler elements – hip Owen + Alchemy juice mixed with champagne, commiserating with other folks who also had to pee super bad during the walk, getting two mini bags of Garrett’s Popcorn and delicious sliders at Gibson’s Steakhouse, and receiving a coupon for BOGO fro-yo at Forever Yogurt – you should totally save your money.

If you’re thinking about buying a $65+ ticket to an Afternoon of Bridal Luxury, don’t. Go to Kate Spade, buy yourself a pair of $40 earrings, spend the rest of your money on prosecco and macarons, and head over to BHLDN to stand in this little room stuffed full of wedding magic.

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Have YOU ever gone to an Afternoon of Bridal Luxury, or do you know anybody who has? Do you think spending a day waiting in lines is tolerable if (and only if) you’re simultaneously drinking and eating sweets? Do we have any engaged folks in the house?

Afternoon of Bridal Luxury partners, participants and vendors: Bagable Gifts, Dennis Lee Photography, The Flower Firm, Cagen Music, Elizabeth Grace, Fig Media, Kate Spade, Nüage Designs, Shutterbooth, Spiaggia Private Events, The Flower Firm, Belle Vie Bridal Couture, Dimitra’s Bridal, Ultimate Bride, Vera Wang, Bella Bianca, Belle Vie Bridal Couture, Buccellati, Cadella Med Spa, CH Carolina Herrera, David Yurman, Davis Imperial Cleaners, Dimitra’s Bridal Couture, Gibson’s, Kate Spade, Le Colonial, Lester Lampert, Spiaggia Private Events, The Perfect Setting, Thompson Hotel, Vera Wang, Ultimate Bride and Waldorf Astoria Chicago.

I kind of don’t know what Chicago’s Soho House is, but it’s making me want to redecorate my whole apartment

I’ve never been one to truly plan my apartment design, and that includes deciding where to hang things – I’ve been known to slap pictures up willy-nilly and call it a gallery wall – and that also includes figuring out what to buy.

Is it a color I like? Buy.

Is it a bargain? Buy.

Does it look like it might have been owned by someone’s grandma? Buy immediately.

But sometimes I find myself looking at room inspiration pictures, and I’m one second away from lighting a match and starting this whole apartment decor thing from scratch. Like today, when I was reading up on the Soho House Chicago (which I kind of don’t really understand, but I’m 99 percent sure I want to be a member), I had a hankerin’ to have a giant garage sale, sell all my belongings – a bit less drastic than burning them, right? – and design an apartment that emulates the space.

All 108,000-square-feet of it. In my kind of small-ish Wicker Park three-flat.

Totally do-able, guys. Just take a gander at these pictures (and refrain from hugging your computer unless you’re in the privacy of your own home).

soho mainsoho 11soho 3 soho 6 soho 1 soho 10soho 5soho 4 soho 9soho 8soho 7soho 2Images via Curbed Chicago and this really interesting Crain’s Chicago article

So what is Soho House – or, as its members call it, Soho – anyway? I kind of don’t know, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to join. It’s for creatives, guys. It’s a private club with public restaurants, a rooftop bar and pool, a 40-room hotel, spa, screening room and gym ALL IN ONE. And it looks like that.

What’s not to love? (OK, other than the membership fee.)

You can see other lovely pictures and learn more about Soho House Chicago on its website. Anybody want to scope it out over pizza next week?

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