That Half-and-Half Moment

You'll know what I'm talking about if you have a knack for finding inexpensive things that look luxe. It's that moment when you feel half sheepish, half proud as another person says, "I love what you're wearing! Where did you get it?" They expect you to say "Oh, it's vintage" or cite some little-known boutique or expensive department store, and you admit with a mixture of glee and embarrassment that your find came from H&M, Zara, Forever 21, or Sirens.

Although I've had my share of half-and-half moments, I seem to get a disproportionate number when I sport these 3 items.

Item #1: The gray toque with the flower (H&M)

I wore this hat everywhere the first time I was in NYC back in February; it was so cold and I had no idea how windy it could get in the Big Apple. I think I averaged one half-and-half moment a day as people in various stores said, "I love your hat! Where's it from?" The half-and-half moments were especially acute when I was in some of the ritzier stores on Fifth Avenue.

Item #2: The white wool coat (Sirens)

Photo by Yvonne Chew

Sirens is a bit like the Canadian version of Forever 21; think cheap fast fashion and, at times, clothes with loose buttons and funny seams that look like they're falling apart before you even wear them. Given Sirens's reputation, this coat was quite the surprising find. Compliments that have induced the half-and-half moment include:
  • My former manager being flummoxed by the source and price of said coat on a day we met for lunch and window shopping. We popped into a Yaletown boutique and saw similar white coats being sold for $250, and she emphasized again what a great find she thought mine was.
  • A former intern thinking that I'd splurged on this white coat while I was in NYC.
  • A volunteer at BC Fashion Week who said, "Who's your coat by? I love it! I've been looking for a white coat just like it."

Item #3: The little white evening jacket (Target)

I wore this jacket to my toy store staff Christmas party last week. My manager and a coworker seriously believed I'd bought it in Paris. On my last night in NYC, I wore this jacket out for dinner with Mark in Williamsburg and the waitress asked if it was vintage. Um, yeah...I found it at a little vintage shop in the Village St. Paul called Le Boutique de Tar-jay. :P

Have you ever experienced a half-and-half moment? Do you have items in your wardrobe that evoke more HaH moments than others?


  1. Just goes to show that it's seldom the piece, and much more frequently how you style it. You've got the panache to make these pieces look super-high-end, lady!

  2. I had a Forever 21 jacket that *constantly* got complimented. If it hadn't faded so quickly, I would have hung on to it longer.

  3. That Siren coat HONESTLY looks like a million bucks! It hangs really well!

  4. I like both the hat and the coat. completely see your point about getting stuff that looks luxe... I tend to go through my clothes very quickly and my size changes often enough that I need to get a new wardrobe every couple of years so I can't buy the too much of the luxe stuff...

    The forever 21 coat is killer. I have always found interesting stuff in forever 21....I like the hat as well.

    The other thing I do is to try and go to cheap 'boutique' stores in NYC and San Fran. You tend to get unique stuff but for lot less.

  5. I love great finds like that! Looks so good you can't even tell whether its $50 or $500 :) Great job Lisa!!!

  6. wow, i'm so sorry! i thought i'd fixed that link ages ago, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    it's true some of my most inexpensive pieces are the ones that get noticed most often!

  7. ROTFL @ "Le Boutique de Tar-jay"

  8. Nice pieces, they are luxe looking. I get them can be a little awkward--not that I mind my cheap wardrobe. I love the pieces I wear.

  9. "Le boutique de Tar-jay"
    LOL! That was a good one, Lisa. But seriously, I wish Sirens still sold coats like that...I saw a coat similar in style to the one you're wearing in Costa Blanca(which I believe, carries a lot of the same clothing as Sirens), but the material wasn't as nice.

  10. i agree - that toque should totally be number one your list!! and that coat is from sirens??? OMG that's awesome!!!! i'm going to have to start looking there again!!!

    i have these awesome "minne mouse" red and white polka dot shoes that always get compliments - but they were from nordstrom rack in the states!

  11. Hehe that is a pretty awesome feeling! Proof that you don't need to be covered in labels to look fab... although it still does make you feel good :p


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