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Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker: What We Think

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In March of 2007, The Budget Fashionista broke the news that Sarah Jessica Parker (aka Carrie from Sex and The City) was designing a line called “Bitten.” The line would be sold at discount sportswear retailer Steve and Barry’s and launched as a fashion blind item during fashion week.

The Jury is Out

First let me say, I really want to like this line and will save my full assessment when it appears in stores. However, based on the pictures, the Bitten line looks pretty uneventful. It actually looks a lot like the stuff she was hawking for GAP.

Again, I want to like this line. I really do. However, most of the people who shop at Steve & Barry’s are at the fashion 101 level. And this line seems to be more fashion 201. It has none of the easy urban style of Madonna’s line at H&M and none of the creative basic look of Isaac Mizrahi at Target. I am also pretty skeptical of the overly touched up pictures, which is usually sign of low-quality garments.

Cute Basics

That being said, the Bitten line does feature cute basics, like wide-leg khaki trousers, basic black tops, black dresses, accessories etc. — many priced under $19.95.  

But when I think of Sarah Jessica Parker, I don’t think of basics. I think of quirky style, interesting patterns, strange mixtures, etc. I’m not sure if this line will feature these elements of her “public” personal style.

And that leads me to ask this question. Is SJP’s style really her own style or that of a good stylist (hello Patricia Fields)?

Bitten Launch on Oprah

Two months after we broke the news about Bitten, the line made its public debut on Oprah. Before I write a review of the presentation of the Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker line on today’s Oprah, I want to clear up some misconceptions.

Thoughts on SJP

I like Sarah Jessica Parker, but she isn’t the patron saint of budget shoppers. She made a smart business move and has excellent PR people who know how to push your buttons to get you to buy. We do need more bargain shopping options and I am glad that Steve & Barry’s is providing it.

I like Steve & Barry’s. In fact, I was just there about a month ago, because Tobias begged me to buy him a pair of Starbury shoes.

I get the impression that many of you feel that celebrities like SJP are doing you a favor when they “design” these lines. While I’m positive SJP and Stephon Marbury care about consumers, they are producing these lines because they make money.

I also think there’s this major misconception involving fashion bloggers. We’re not necessarily “fashion insiders,” but we’re not “fashion outsiders” either. We go to fashion week, visit the showrooms of major designers, write books published by major publishers, work as TV correspondents, and shop at stores like Steve & Barry’s.

Now that this is cleared up, on to Bitten.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Bitten Line

Ask yourself if Sarah Jessica Parker’s name was removed from the line, would you still buy it? If someone other than celebrity created this line, would the line have been on Oprah?

The pros

The one thing that separates the Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker line from the other celebrity lines is that the sizing (2-22) reflects the true sizing range of America. This is why I wanted to like the line.

I also find the $20 coats to be refreshing (I will probably buy one).

The cons

But, and this is just based upon what I saw on Oprah and my discussions with people who have seen the line and work with Steve & Barry,  the line really isn’t anything new.  When Isaac Mizrahi did a line with Target, that was new. When Stephon Marbury wore the $14.98 Starbury basketball shoes in NBA basketball games, that was something new.

Conclusions

Take away sizing from the Bitten and you can get all those pieces from stores like Old Navy, Mandee, Marianne, Payless, Forever 21, etc. Plus, the quality may leave a lot to be desired. The seams appear wavy (a sign of poor stitching) and the front of the pants were bunchy on the models. Go back and watch the segment and notice how every pair of pants bunched in the front and how the seams on the pants didn’t lie flat.

It is my hope that the next batch of clothing from the line will step it up on the quality front.

But what I noticed the most was the lukewarm enthusiasm shown by the Oprah audience. I watch Oprah everyday and when the audience loves something, they LOVE it. They seemed pretty unmoved by the Bitten line. At one point, Oprah responded to a lukewarm reception of the audience to a knit dress with “Come on it’s $14 dollars.” 

Compare that to the audience’s reaction regarding the truly impressive bridal dresses by Isaac Mizrahi at Target and you see what I mean.

All in all, this line will be a success, because people still confuse personal style with that created by a stylist. People will also buy because of the continued popularity and strength of SJP’s Sex and the City character.
But again, ask yourself…if her name was removed from the line, would you even be reading this right now?

Bitten Update

Like so many celeb lines, Bitten has bitten the dust. Today, if you want Sarah Jessica Parker designs, you need to check out SJP which is primarily shoes and handbags. You can also find a few Bitten pieces on ThredUp and Poshmark.

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Christopher

Thursday 5th of July 2007

Oh I don’t remember if I had posted a comment about this already or not, but…

I am extremely against stores such as Steve and Barry’s and Forever 21. Yes, the clothing they offer is extremely affordable, but at a staggering cost in quality. This trend of disposable fashion, clothing that one doesn’t feel bad about ruining or throwing away, because they can just go out and get a replacement for cheap, is degrading to the environment.

“On Tuesday (the same day as the Theory party), a report on WNYC stated that up to 6% of New York City’s garbage output is cast-off clothing and shoes, and that the Union Square Green Market was going to create a drop-off site to help reduce this waste.”

Cher

Sunday 1st of July 2007

For the price you get what you pay for. But the size was a big factor. Not enough larger sizes and the large sizes are an XL or XXL or a 14 or 16. In what country? When women can shop at JC Penney, Sears, Newport News, Fredericks or even DOTs and Old Navy and get something that is what it says on the tag. And they need to ship more than 2 or 3 in each color.Why is there 10 sm, med, lg and 2 or everything else? Large women spend a lot of money to look cute too, I would hate to think SJP and S&B want to say they have something for every size but really don’t want us in their clothes like so many designers today.

Gadfly

Tuesday 26th of June 2007

There is no way that clothing, no matter how plain or simple, can be made for under $20 unless it is from a developing country that underpays its workers and subjects them to inhumane working conditions. There is nothing on the Bitten website that addresses this issue. All it says is that the clothing is made in “other countries” and the U.S. Are these third world factories monitored by outside independent agencies? What is the hourly wage and what are the working conditions? Do the factories have child laborers? Does the name Kathy Lee Griffen ring a bell?

Sdot

Saturday 23rd of June 2007

I have to disagree.  I love the fit of the pants, as a girl with a little junk in the trunk, it was nice to try on a pair of pants and not have to go up a size, because they are too tight across my bottom, but too big in the waist. The bitten pants fit all over.  At Old Navy, for example, the pants give me long crotch (probably what the models on Oprah had.  There are plenty of lines with pants for women built like them!  I have a boo-tay!) and the Bitten pants fit around my butt and weren’t too big in the waist.  They are a rare find.  If you are a size 12 or bigger, Forever 21 is useless…........  Some items are simular to Gap, but Bitten’s prices are more reasonable.  I would love Bitten with or without SJP.

Robyn

Saturday 23rd of June 2007

My daughter and I went to Steve and Barrys today. I was very curious to see if in fact her clothing line would fit a larger size everyday woman. After looking at the prices and the sizes I told my daughter I think I can get a few items for her. She is a size 14 and I’m a size 16. I really like most of the clothes and yes I was able to fit most of what I bought. The only thing that I have to exchange is a pair of pants. But so what, I had to bring back a $40 shirt I bought from Ann Taylor Loft. These pants were $9.98.  I spent $178. and I was able to purchase items for both of us! That is very rare. I did a lot of shopping in Target and most of the clothes did not fit me. It was rare to find a shirt I could actually button across my bust. I even have problems fitting into most items from Lane Bryant! To answer the question if SJP name was not on the line would I buy it? Yes! I would. If I knew about a clothing store where most of the items were less than $20 and, was not one of those stupid $10 stores where you can only get to wear the clothes only one season, I would be there checking it out. Like most people I like to look good everyday I step out of my house. But I can’t spend over $100 on an outfit. Honestly I don’t understand all the nay sayers. SJP clothes are very nice and are basic pieces that will go with things you might already have in your closet. If a mother and a daughter can shop in the same store and come out satisfied, that is a great thing! I read a lot about how she is doing this just for the money. Well YEAH! Wouln’t you? How do most people earn a living. They provide a service. If you had the opportunity to put out a clothing line are you just doing it to help people? No you are not. Your first thought is, I can make some cash from this. Then later on down the line you might think it could help a lot of people if your clothes were affordable and well made. But your thoughts will always go back to the same thing. Money!

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