Refresh and Renew: Step 2 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense

pearsonphoto2018_010I hope you have enjoyed your newly organized closet! If you missed joining me for Get Organized: Step 1 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense, you can read my blog post about how to do that here or you can watch my YouTube video on the process here.

I performed step 1 on my own closet via a live video in our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Facebook Group last Tuesday.  To watch that video, join the group here.  It felt good to get things organized, and I eliminated about 15 items that I knew I would never wear again.  They were cluttering my closet, and having the extra space feels good! Heck, now I have the room to buy more…smile!

For those of you who are ready for step 2 in creating a closet that makes sense, this week’s step is called refresh and renew because we are going to take a hard look at what you kept.  I am guessing there were some items that you didn’t pull out because you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of them or because you rationalized their value in your wardrobe and the potential that you will…someday…wear them again.  I know you did this because I did the same thing.  This week, I have challenged myself to wear some of those “sacred cows,” as I call them.  If I can create an outfit that I like with them, they get to stay, but if not, they have to go.

As I have analyzed the top 10 rationalizations I used to determine which items to keep, I think they are probably some of the same ones you use too.  For me, these are the main arguments for hanging on:

  1. I might lose weight and be able to wear this again.
  2. If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered I would wear it again.
  3. This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?
  4. I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value.
  5. I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day.
  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.
  7. I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming!
  8. This is a classic that never goes out of style.
  9. I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight.
  10. I just bought this item last year, so it is a waste of money to get rid of it.

Do any of these excuses seem familiar? Building from this, I think we can create a list of corresponding questions that will help you evaluate what you kept to determine if those items really do need to stay in your closet another year.  So, here is what I want you to do: go through your closet and gather up all your “sacred cows” (the items that you have probably considered letting loose before now but always talk yourself out of) and every other item you did not wear in 2019.  Take them out of your closet into another room and then, one by one, answer the following questions for each item:

  1. I might lose weight and be able to wear this again. Is this item either my current size, ONE size bigger,  or ONE size smaller than I wear today? If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  2. If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered, I would wear it again. Can I take this item to a tailor in the next 10 days? If the answer is “yes,” put this date on your calendar and keep it.  If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  3. This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?  If the item is still in fashion and you still love it but haven’t worn it in a year, you need to evaluate why.  Take a minute now and try it on.  Maybe there is just a fit issue that you don’t like.  Perhaps it clings too much in the wrong places.  Maybe it is itchy.  Maybe it drains the color out of your face.  If you discover any issue with the item that has been keeping you from wearing it, it goes.
  4. I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value. This one is tough.  We tend to attach sentimental value to items we wore for special events, and we hold on to them for that reason.  For me, the decision to keep these items is really about space.  Do you have the space to hold onto items that you will probably never wear again? If the answer is no, it goes.  Is there another place that you could store them, say perhaps a cedar chest? If the answer is yes, move it.
  5. I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day. So I am particularly bad about number 5.  I had dresses I hadn’t worn in more than a year (and that I didn’t wear on my last beach vacation) that I was saving for my next beach vacation.  I had a hard talk with myself and they ended up in the “donate” pile.  After all, part of the fun of a vacation is buying something new for it.  Do you know for sure that you are taking a vacation or having a special event in 2020 that you would wear the item to? If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.  Do you already have enough “wear around the house” or “painting” or “cleaning” or “camping” items? (I’m guessing your answer will be “yes.”) Are any of those worn out? (probably yes again.) Consider adding these items to your comfy group after you have thrown some others out.
  7. I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming! Yes, hoarding coats and sweaters when you live in a state that has 6 months of winter seems to make sense, however, how many coats do you really need? Let me help you out: 1 long dress coat, 1 3/4 length dress coat, 1 casual coat, 1 sport coat (like a skiing jacket), and 1 spring coat.  Okay, okay…maybe you can add 1 trendy coat, but I’m giving you that one, coat hoarder….I’m speaking to myself here.  Coats are especially needed by the poor and disadvantaged, so that is even more incentive to get rid of them.  As far as sweaters go, if you didn’t wear it last year….guess what….it goes.
  8. This is a classic that never goes out of style. Another particularly tempting rationalization for me is the “you should never get rid of a classic” argument.  Well, here’s what I know about clothing from having been in this business for over twenty years.  Even when manufacturers and designers bring back a classic like the blazer, they change it just enough to make the older ones seem out of date.  The changes are small things like length, number of buttons, collar style, sleeve length, etc., but they are just enough to cause your “classic” item to become “vintage.”  Here’s my rule for “classic pieces:” if you haven’t worn it in the last TWO years, it goes.  Oh, and just in case you need to know what items qualify as “classic,” here is a list: blazers; solid collared, button up blouses; layering pieces like tanks, turtle necks and light weight sweaters; suit skirts in neutral colors; slacks in neutral colors; basic black dresses.
  9. I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight. Okay ladies, I’m going to be in your business a little here.  Pardon me.  I have your best interests at heart, I promise.  Our bodies change as we age.  At 48, I am going through this very thing myself.  There are certain aspects of my body that will never look the same as they did five or ten years ago.  I am a BIG advocate for staying active and healthy, however, I am also realizing that I need to let some expectations about my body go.  Size 4 may be gone for me…I don’t know.  I’m working on it to see.  But, I definitely know size 2 is out, and I don’t want to work that hard to get back there any way.  If it is too tight or too small for me to get into, it goes.
  10. I just bought this item last year, so it is a waste of money to get rid of it.  We ALL make buying mistakes.  Who knows why we do it? Maybe we were influenced by a shopping partner or we were in the mood for something new or out of the box that day.  Whatever it was that caused us to buy it, we have questioned that decision ever since.  As an example, I pulled a pair of floral wrap pants out of my closet during the first step of this process that I just bought last summer.  I wore them once and then passed them up the rest of the season.  Why? They really weren’t me.  If it’s new, but you keep passing it by for other things when you get dressed in the morning, it goes.

Okay, that’s it.  These are the top 10 rationalizations I have made (and I’m guessing you have made) and my answers for them.  If you need some more motivation or emotional support in this step of the process, join me while I apply these 10 questions to my own closet in a live video on our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas group page on Facebook on Tuesday, January 14th at 10 a.m.  To watch the video, ask to join the group by clicking this link.

Or, if you want to watch my video explaining this process, you will be able to see that on YouTube or our Fashion Crossroads Facebook Business Page on Saturday, January 11th.

See you next week!

Get Organized: Step 1 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense 

pearsonphoto2018_102It’s a New Year.  How about a New You? With a year full of possibilities ahead, why not shake off that dead weight? I don’t know about you, cleaning out the old and bringing in the new feels like a great way to start the year.  That’s why I am doing a “New Year New You Challenge.” Want to know more? Read on…

There is something about getting organized that is so refreshing.  Shedding clutter makes me feel lighter, what about you? One of the most important places to get organized is in your closet.  We all know the frustration of searching for an outfit in the morning and pulling out item after item that is worn out, too big, too small or out dated.  Ugh.

I have a three-step system that I use every year in my own closet that is very effective in weeding out the items that I don’t wear and identifying items that require a match or another item to make them work more efficiently in my wardrobe.  I also find that when I take the time to apply these three simple steps, when I am finished, I can clearly see what I have and what I need.  Suddenly, I see new outfit options that I hadn’t noticed before because everything is organized in a way that makes sense.

This blog post is the first in a series of three Make Your Closet Make Sense tutorials that will take you through this process, and hopefully, have you feeling lighter and de-cluttered as well as excited about your closet and shopping opportunities again.  I’ll be recording a video of today’s blog post tomorrow and putting it on both our Fashion Crossroads Facebook Business Page as well as our YouTube channel.  This way, you can read about it in this blog and then watch the video.

So let’s dig in.

First, do me and yourself a favor.  As you complete the following steps, if you come across an item that you KNOW you will never wear again, pull it out now.  Don’t get bogged down yet in trying to decide about those scared cows…you know, the things you just can’t seem to let go of even though you haven’t worn them in 3 years.  We will deal with those in our next video.

Now, down to business.  The first step is to organize your closet by type.  First, separate your tops from your bottoms.  Put dresses in a separate section.  Now, organize your tops by sleeve length – short, ¾ and long.  Next, separate your tops by type.  Within the sleeve length grouping, separate the collared blouses from the pull overs.  If you have more than one season in the same closet, also separate summer from winter within each of the groups.  When you are finished, you should have your sleeveless tops grouped together.  Next should come your short sleeve tops and then your long sleeved tops, summer together and winter together.

Now do the same thing with your bottoms. Start with shorts and move to capris, ankle pants and long pants.  Then, within each group, separate by fabric.  Put your denim together, cottons together, slacks together, etc.  Then tackle your skirts, and organize them from shortest to longest.

I bet you feel lighter already! One more step! Now, within each group, organize them by color using the acronym ROYGBIV.  This stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  Group like colors together.  For example, your pink tops will go next to the reds and your turquoise tops will go next to green or blue, depending on what hue the turquoise is.  Put your black, white and brown at the end.  Group your ivory and cream after white.  Next come the tans and browns.  Last, put your greys after the blacks.

Now, go have a glass of wine! You did it!

You have a week to enjoy your newly organized closet.  Watch for my next blog post and video called Refresh and Evaluate: Step Two To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense.  In these tutorials, we will take a look at what you have and figure out what you need to get rid of and what you need to keep.

If you would like to see this process up close and personal, join me as I apply these steps in my own closet.  Oh the horror.  To watch me suffer as I have asked you to suffer, join our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas group page on Facebook and tune in on this coming Tuesday.  I’ll be doing some fun giveaways at the end of the week. To get entered to win, watch my personal “Get Organized” video and then comment on your biggest “ah ha” moment in the comments.  Someone who does this will win a free Mixology bath bomb from the store.

Happy organizing!

 

How Old Is Too Old To Wear Boyfriend Jeans?

Before we get into that all important question of how old is too old to wear boyfriend jeans, I feel we need to start by defining just exactly what a boyfriend jean is.  Lately I’ve noticed that if jeans are rolled at the bottom, everyone calls them boyfriend jeans.  I’m pretty sure, however, there is a fundamental difference between a true boyfriend jean and a slim legged jean that is rolled. Curious about my presumption, I googled “how to wear boyfriend jeans.”  I always browse the pictures that come up first because I can learn a lot just from paying attention to how women are wearing “boyfriend jeans.” What I determined is that some sites differentiated between the two types and some did not.

howtowearboyfriendjeans4So here’s my take.  A boyfriend jean is by nature your boyfriend’s jean. What I mean by that is the look should be slouchy, like you are wearing men’s jeans.  The important thing to remember when trying this style is that the slouchy style of jean requires a slim fitting top or tee to balance the whole look.  Avoid legs that are too wide to roll.  You definitely don’t want to try to roll a boot cut jean.  The resulting roll will be too big and too sloppy (see the top pic on the right).  Stick to straight or narrow legged styles that have a beat up or distressed look and a slouchy fit.  The bottom of the roll should hit your leg at the top of your ankle bone or one roll shorter.  Too long and it looks like you are waiting for a flood.  Too short and it looks like you are wearing capris.

A slim legged jean that is rolled is an equally cute look. I liked this picture from howtowearboyfriendjeans4 because it shows several types of rolled jean looks.  The true boyfriend jean is the one on the top right because it has that worn in and looser fitting look.  All of these styles were considered boyfriend by this site, but as I have already argued, I’m not sure I would agree.

So, now that we have that clarification, let’s talk style and age.  Any one can wear a clean, slim legged jean that is cuffed to an ankle length.  This is a timeless style that can be dressed up or down.  Remember that with an ankle jean, you always want to wear some type of heel, even if it is just an inch high.  A little height from your shoe will help the ankle length seem intentional.

As you start to get closer to the true boyfriend, slouchy, beat up jean, things get a bit more tricky.  The simple truth is the more “distressed” the jean is (the more beat up patches and holes) and the slouchier it is (loose fitting, almost oversized), the younger the jean will be.  In my opinion, women aged 60 and over should maybe avoid wearing very distressed and slouchy jeans.  This does NOT MEAN you have to avoid this trend!  Opt instead for patched holes or minor abrasions.  Ladies in their 40’s and 50’s can pull off jeans with holes, but the holes and distressed patches need to be placed appropriately-like at the knee rather than upper thigh, as an example.  Also, women in this age bracket might want to avoid large holes in their jeans.  The whole knee being blown out, for example, is too young of a style.  Ladies in their 20’s and 30’s can go for it; wear distressed all you want!

Be prepared! You will pay top dollar for your already worn out jeans!  For women in that older category, this will be annoying! Just remember, the trend doesn’t work if the jeans look like the beat up places came from lots of wear. This trend is about the jean looking like it is new and intentionally distressed!  And, I have to add, my boyfriend jeans are MY FAVORITE jeans to wear because they are so comfortable.

So ladies, get in there, if you haven’t already, and get wearing this trend!

Reflections On Christian Dior

My husband and I recently visited the Christian Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  When I told him I wanted to go, he raised one eye brow and asked, “Really?”  My emphatic “Yes!” convinced him that arguing was futile.  I can’t blame his hesitancy; I’m in fashion and so, of course, I would be interested in seeing over one hundred dresses and suits designed for women over several centuries.  The rationale for him to go was less compelling.

The crowd at the museum, filled with anticipation, looked a bit like a New York fashion show.  This was definitely not the typical, casual Denver crowd.  One woman, in particular, caught my eye in a sporty, form fitting white dress with matching dressy tennis shoes, complete with gold accents.  Her ensemble was made complete with wide rimmed white glasses.  Men in dress shirts, slim pants, sleek shoes and scarves held the arms of beautiful women dressed in all black.  A whole group of fashionable women laughed and talked in high pitched voices, their pink, streaked and bobbed hair styles bouncing as they turned heads to chat.

With the first exhibit, Christian Dior’s classic women’s suits in black captured my attention.  The structured fabrics tailored just perfectly to accentuate the curves of a woman’s body, and the impeccable tailoring still fashionable today, made me wish I could wear one.  From these first suits to the last dramatic dresses, I wandered from exhibit to exhibit in complete awe of the beautiful workmanship and creativity expressed again and again through the decades, and always with careful attention in how to best flatter the female frame.

My favorite dresses were in a grouping of floral inspired gowns dedicated to Christian Dior’s sister who he named his Miss Dior perfume after.  One beautiful gown had hundreds of hand sewn flowers that peeked out of delicate and flowing organza so that as you walked around the dress, you could see yet another flower you hadn’t seen before.  The art work and craftsmanship were inspiring.   The most surprising piece of art work at the exhibit was a Salvador Dali bust of a woman with a french baguette on her head.  As it turns out, Dali and Dior were friends and partners in trying to challenge the traditional views of women, art and fashion.

As we walked back to the car in silence, I asked my husband what he had thought of the exhibit.  “Fashion really is art,” he mused, pausing.  “I really didn’t understand that until I watched ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ you know, how much fashion actually influences our society.”  “Yes, honey. ” I responded. “I’m so glad we went.”

 

5 Steps To A New Year Closet Clean Out

pearsonphoto2018_068

It’s a new year…the time to move out the old and move in the new!  Perhaps you’ve already made a few New Year’s Resolutions.  I like to start the year by getting organized.  I find, when I feel organized, I feel more in control and less frazzled.

One of the first places to get organized is your closet.  There is nothing worse than starting the day out with a harried rush to put together an outfit and putting on and then taking off several outfits before you decide on one.  You can make getting dressed in the morning a breeze and a pleasure with a few simple tips on closet organization.

  1.  First, each year you need to remove the items you haven’t worn in a year.  So, if you didn’t do this at the start of the winter season, do it now.  You will be tempted to talk yourself out of removing items, so don’t second guess this process. Don’t worry that you will have to get rid of anything.  Instead just separate out all of those items and lay them somewhere out of eye sight.  We will get back to this pile later.
  2. Second, separate your tops, bottoms and dresses and put them together.  This will make putting an outfit together so much easier, and you will begin to see holes in your wardrobe that you never noticed before.
  3. Third, within your tops, organize them so that the short sleeved tops are together and the long sleeved tops are together.  If you have both summer and winter in your closet, also separate them by season so the summer are together and winter are together.  Do this same thing with your bottoms.  Put your leggings, slacks, jeans together by category and season. Last finish with your dresses.  Put your sleeveless, short sleeved and long sleeved dresses together and separate them by season.
  4. Fourth, color code each section.  Do you remember learning how the memorize the colors of the rainbow with the ROYGBIV acronym?  It stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  Put each section, for example short sleeve tops, into this color order.  Keep the hues together: pinks go with reds, turquoise with blue or green depending on the color, etc.  Finish with your neutrals in this order: white, tan, brown, grey, black.  When you are finished, you should have each section organized by color.
  5. Fifth, now let’s tackle that pile from step one.  First go through it and separate out any item that is out of date, pilled, stained, torn, un-hemmed, etc.  These go in the donate pile.  Then, consider each remaining item carefully.  If it is a classic piece, like a black blazer, keep it.  If you love it and can’t part with it, keep it one more season, but if you haven’t worn it when you repeat this process next year, donate it.

Now, stand back and admire all your hard work.  You now should be able to clearly see what you have and what you don’t.  What do you notice.  You probably can quickly see that you tend to buy certain colors.  You might notice that you are really short on blouses but have a ton of pull over tops.  Or you may see that you need some more long sleeve tops.  Perhaps you have too many jeans.  When your closet is organized, it will talk to you, and you can be a smart shopper in filling in holes rather than just buying because you love it.

The other benefit to this process is ease of putting outfits together.  Now, when you choose your slacks for your work day, you can go to your jacket section and choose one that matches and then to your shell section and choose a coordinating shell.  No more searching through an unorganized mess.

If you’re feeling really industrious, why not do this with your purses and shoes too?  Believe me, it is worth the effort!

5 Tips To Choosing Clothing As A Christmas Gift

pearsonphoto2018_068

When you want to give clothing as a Christmas gift, it can be intimidating to choose something.  You want your loved one to be delighted, but how do you make a good choice?  Coming from a store owner who has been helping people choose clothing gifts for 20 years, let me give you a few quick tips in making the best possible choice.

  1. Choose the right size: Knowing the size of the person you are shopping for is best because choosing the wrong size can be misconstrued by the gift receiver.  Too big and they might assume you see them as bigger than they are.  Too small and they might assume you think they are too heavy.  Ugh!  If you can, sneak into her closet and look at the sizes of some of the items she currently wears.  Be sure to check the sizes of tops and bottoms.  Once at the store, make sure to ask a sales associate if the brand you are considering runs big or small, as there is little consistency in sizing any more.  If you don’t have access to her closet, can you ask someone close to her to do it for you?
  2. Consider color: Most of us seem to gravitate towards certain colors.  Pay attention to the colors the person wears most often.  They will likely fall into color families.  For example, do they tend to wear cool or warm colors?  Do they wear more blues and purples than pinks and reds?  If you notice a pre-dominance of a certain color in their closet, it would be wise to choose something similar.  If you feel totally unsure, you can never go wrong with denim friendly colors because most of us wear jeans.  Other good choices include neutrals like black, white and grey.
  3. Consider texture and print:  Most of us usually lean toward certain textures in our clothing choices. For example, does she have a lot of bulky, knitted items or are they more light and smooth?  Does she like prints or does she seem to prefer solids.  Again, a quick perusal of her closet should give you the information you need.  Or, you can browse through some recent pictures, paying attention to what she is wearing.  Within just a few minutes, you should be able to determine a pattern.
  4. Choose something practical:  Unless you know the person you are buying for very well, the best clothing gifts will be practical items that can be used all the time.  Cardigan sweaters, for example, are a great choice because most of us can use a sweater to put over other things, especially in the winter or the keep warm in an air conditioned office.  Other great choices include sweaters.  Tops are better than bottoms because the fit is easier.  Pull over tops are better than button up tops because of the likelihood that a button up might gap at the bust.
  5. Complete the look: Take the time to complete the look with accessories.  You will delight your loved one when you give her a top she can wear tomorrow, complete with everything she needs to wear it.  You can usually find a necklace or scarf for between $20 and $30 and really completes your gift.  If you aren’t good at matching accessories, get help from a sales clerk.

If your loved one has a favorite store in town, you can often save yourself a lot of guess work by going there.  I know at our store, we track our customer’s purchases so we can look them up and know what brands they usually buy and in what sizes.  This helps both you and the sales clerk to make the best choice.  We also offer a layaway program and allow people to buy items off layaway as gifts.  Ask about these options before making your purchase.

Another option is to buy an accessory like a necklace or scarf and then include with it a gift card to complete the look.  This is useful if you do not know the info in the previous 5 steps and can’t get it.  You don’t risk offending someone with the wrong size or style this way.

A bit of encouragement, even though buying clothing takes a little extra effort, it shows that you have put thought into your gift.  Especially when you take the time to make a good choice, your gift will show your loved one that you have paid attention to her style and tastes and she will feel loved as a result.

10 Steps To Being A Smart Shopper

pearsonphoto2018_010We love practical and easy, don’t we?  I don’t know about you, but I am drawn to 3 steps to do this or 5 steps to do that books.  Somehow, knowing there is a fairly short list of things I need to do in order to have the desired result, feels encouraging.  So, in the spirit of getting right down to it, here are my 10 simple steps to becoming a smart shopper.

But, let me warn you right off the bat.  If you are looking for quick and easy, step 1 might seem a bit daunting.  If I’m being honest, it’s a bit OCD, but I am totally convinced it will make your life so much simpler, I want you to spend the time doing it.  The “it” I am talking about is organizing your closet.  First, go through your clothing and separate everything you haven’t worn in a year.  Take it out and put it some other place for a short time.  Next, seperate your tops, pants, skirts and dresses into different areas of your closet.  Then, seperate your winter tops from your summer tops and then do this with your pants, skirts and dresses.  At the end of this step, you should have all your tops together, all your pants together, all your skirts together and all your dresses together.  Within each of those sections, you should have your summer items seperated from your winter items.  Last, organize each section by color using the ROYGBIV acronym for the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.  Complete the rainbow by putting your greys and blacks after your purples and your whites and creams after that.  No, go back to the items you removed in the beginning.  Put all your classic items like black blazers, white blouses and black pants back into your closet.  Donate the rest.  Whew….sit down and rest a bit.

Why, you ask, did I have you go through that process?  Because now you can clearly see what you have.  If you have 20 short sleeved shirts and only 2 long sleeved ones, you know you need to balance out your wardrobe a bit in this area.  If you have 8 hot pink tops and no neutrals, you may want to shop for some great basics that will work with more things in your closet.  Make sense?

This leads us to step 2: make a shopping list.  Once you know what you need to shop for, write it down on a list that you keep with you all the time.  Shopping trips happen at unexpected times like while you are waiting for an appointment or when you have a few extra minutes.  Keep that list with you so that no matter when you shop, you can check it and stay focused on what you need rather than wandering aimlessly through the store waiting for something to catch you eye.

Step 3 also requires some work, but not to worry, I have a handy video that will give you a great start.  Shopping with a color palate will focus your shopping in amazing ways.  It will help you say “no” to items that you love but are in a color that is not flattering on your skin.  It will also help you have the confidence that when you get that item home, it will go with something else in your closet.

Step 4 is to know when the best sales happen at your favorite boutique or store.  For most of the industry, January and February are sales months for winter and July and August are sales months for summer.  Early markdowns happen in December and June as well.  Start checking back frequently in late December and late June to get the first chance at the best items.  If you wait to the end of the sale season, most of the great buys will be very picked over.

Step 5 is to use the store perks.  If your favorite stores have a layaway program with no fees, this is a great way to shop early in the sale season and put the items on layaway so you can pay for them a little at a time.  Does your store of choice have a rewards or loyalty program?  Make sure you are utilizing it and maximizing your shopping budget.

Step 6 is to shop for quality and not quantity.  Nothing is a great deal if you never wear it!  Don’t buy just because it is on sale.  In fact, when you consider the cost per wear of an item, in many cases you are better off to spend more on something that is higher quality and will last longer than less on something that is poor quality and will fall apart.  Check out my blog about cost per wear to learn more on this topic.  To determine quality, look at the button holes; they should be bound and not raw with clean edges and no hanging strings.  Next, examine the seams; they should lay flat with no ripples or bumps.  Then, look at the stitching; good quality items have 8-12 stitches per inch.  If the item is patterned, look at where the pattern comes together at the seam.  Does is match or is it askew?  The higher quality items will match the pattern all the way around the garment.  Last, look at the hems; a quality hem will be double stitched and will not be visible from the outside of the garment.

Step 7 is to shop alone.  I know, I know….you’re thinking that you need that teenage daughter or friend to tell you the truth about how something looks.  Who can trust a sales associate, right?  Well, speaking from personal experience, you can trust a good sales associate, especially one you have built a relationship with and who knows you and what styles and brands you like.  The problem with your teenage daughter or friend is that oftentimes their advice to you is based upon what they feel is a good style for them.  It is difficult for them to disassociate what they feel is stylish for what actually looks good on you.  At the end of the day, you are the one who has to wear what you take home.  Shouldn’t you be the one to decide if its right or wrong?

Step 8 is to buy or the body you have and not the body you want.  We get ourselves into trouble when we do one of two things: buy a size smaller than we need because we are going to loose weight or avoid buying anything until we loose weight.  The problem with both of these lies in the same basic principle: when you feel good about how you look, you feel more motivated to do better in other areas of your life.