5 Tips To Choosing Clothing As A Christmas Gift

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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.

How to shop sales like a BOSS!

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It’s summer clearance sales time, and I know you are rubbing your hands together in eager anticipation of all the great deals you are going to find.  I know the routine, you plan your shopping day, pack your tote, add some water, and off you go.  But when you get there, the sheer number of overcrowded, disorganized racks is daunting.  With clothes on the floor and draped over the racks, sales shopping has quickly become way too much work.  Does this sound like you?

Let me give you some tips and tricks to make sales shopping a little easier:

  1. Have a list:  When you head out with nothing in your brain except scoring on some cheap prices, you end up buying items that, while they may be cheap, really don’t fit in your wardrobe.  Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you should buy it.  The most expensive items in your closet are the cheap ones that you never wear!
  2. Try everything on:  Take it from me, if it is on the sale rack, there is a reason.  The best items are there because they were just too expensive to begin with.  These are the real steals.  But many items are there because there was a fit issue. If you see 6 of one style on the sale rack, avoid it like the plague.  That is a true indication there is a problem with that style.  The best sales items will have only 1 or 2 left.
  3. Shop early: Get there first.  The best of the best sell right away.  Don’t wait until the racks have been decimated by all the shoppers before you go!
  4. Shop alone: Friends are awesome, but they are not always helpful when you are shopping.  We all have a bias towards what we like, and so often I see friends and family imposing their personal tastes on others to the detriment of the shopper.  Meet your friends or family for lunch after your shopping is finished and brag about all your great finds!
  5. Read your emails: I know, I know… I am bad about this too.  (I just love the gmail app that puts all the promo emails in a separate folder so I don’t have to see them!)  But, at the end of the day, your favorite stores communicate with you primarily via email.  If you want to get a jump on the sales, you have to read those emails.  As an example, all of the people on our email list are getting an email Thursday morning announcing our SECRET VIP PRE-CRAZY DAYS SALE!  If they aren’t engaged in email or on social media, they will miss out on this EPIC sale!
  6. Join the VIP Group:  Most stores will have a Facebook Group that is for their VIPs.  Most often, one of the perks of being in this group is early notification of sales.  As an example, our VIP’s were told about our SECRET VIP PRE-CRAZY DAYS SALE today.  They are the only group that gets this info early.  (If you are not a member, join here.)

Following these 6 tips should make sale shopping really beneficial to you and not overwhelming and exhausting.  It’s a great time to take advantage of discounted prices and round out your summer wardrobe.  If you are a sales shopper, be sure to join us for Crazy Days this Friday and Saturday!

How To Rock A Graphic Tee

Let’s face it; a tee shirt and jeans is just…well…meh.   But with all the focus on graphic tees right now, you may have been wanting to dig into the back of your closet for some of those old concert tees…. Lord help us!

Better yet, grab a new tee that represents your lifestyle.  The trendiest tees tell the world what you are about.  Are you a mom?  Do you love Jesus?  Are you a badass?  Your tees should make you say, “hell yeah!”  I’m a huge fan of a new one we just received that says, “My husband has a freakin’ awesome wife.  True Story.”  I don’t know about you, but my husband needs reminding of this simple fact every now and then.  Then there’s the sweet, “Always stay humble and kind.”  I’ll wear that one after my husband has taken the hint!  And, once he’s read this blog post there will be a “Bad Moon Rising” in our house!  But that is okay, “I put the She in Shenanigans,” right? Oh gosh, I just crack myself up! BTW, just click on the links to see the tees I’m talking about!

Once you have found your perfect tee that represents you, take your style up a notch by pairing it with a kimono or midi cardigan.  Don’t be afraid to mix a printed kimono with a printed tee.  The rule of thumb is to make sure that both the tee and the kimono have the same colors.  When you do this, they will look amazing together.  Take a look at the pictures at the top of this blog post for an example of what I mean.

Now add your favorite ankle jean and gladiator sandal, and you will have a dressed up casual outfit to die for.  And, you’ll be styling some of the latest trends while still announcing to the world that you are uniquely you!  For some ideas on tees and kimonos to style together, check out our tee and kimono collection on our website!

Happy pairing!

10 Key Summer Fashion Trends

Are you loving all the beautiful florals and embroidery this season?  I sure am!  2018 Spring  and Summer trends feel fresh and exciting, don’t you think?  I’m a busy lady, and I don’t know about you, but I appreciate lists that help me get the info I need quickly.  In honor of other busy ladies, here is my down and dirty top 10 key fashion trends for summer list.

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Soft Pink: Most definitely the color of the season, this peachy pink looks amazing on almost any skin type.  You’ll find it in everything, but especially in florals.  Hopefully it will make you feel beautiful; I know it does for me.  We especially like this beautiful soft pink romper that just arrived in our store.  Get it here.

 

 

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Denim Blue: Another soft and soothing color, light to medium denim blue is playing a key role in fashion this season.  It looks amazing paired up with white, sand, and grey.  You’ll often see it in sheer fabrics like this beautiful tunic with a peacock pattern.  Get it here.

 

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Long Blouses:  Blouses have gotten sheer and long this season, making them a fun new trend.  You can wear them closed and layered over a tank or open.  They pair best with slim legged pants to balance out the length.  We love the hi lo hemline on this one because it amps up the style and the soft print pairs so beautifully with vintage wash denim.  Get it here.

 

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Kimonos:  This fun new cover up trend is super versatile.  Pair them up with shorts; wear them over dresses; style them with a long tank and leggings….the possibilities are endless.  They also do a great job of figure flattery by hiding extra weight around the middle.  This is a trend any age can wear too.  We love this beautiful floral print on black.  If you do too, get it here.

 

 

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Lace: This could be called the season of girly, with the emphasis on floral prints and soft pink.  Another important trend that supports this is lace.  From inserts, to panels, to detailing, lace is playing a starring role in fashion this season.  This fashionable cardigan combines the “midi” length that is so trendy with lace as the fabric for an amazing piece.  Get it here.

 

 

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Embroidery:  Whether is is on jeans, pants or tops, embroidery is everywhere.  It is such a fun new way of embellishing clothing, and it makes this season’s trends feel fresh.  We love this top which combines silk and embroidery and is made in Italy.  Only 2 left!  Get it here.

 

 

 

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Off the Shoulder:  In keeping with the Bohemian trends of embroidery, the off the shoulder top has made a strong come back.  You’ll find this style in tops, dresses and rompers this season.  While it does force one to wear a strapless bra, it is such a beautiful style that highlights a usually flattering feature on your body.  We love this pink and white striped combo.  Get it here.

 

 

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Twists and Knots: You’ll find a lot of your tops have twists and knots this season, either at the hemline which creates a high low style or near the bust creating a draped crop top.  This fun new detail, is flattering on most bodies because it creates draping that often hides extra pounds.  We think this navy blue and white striped number is pretty special.  Get it here.

 

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Rompers: A romper is a jumpsuit with shorts.  They are a fun alternative to a dress and can be worn to parties and weddings when you dress them up with jewelry and a wedge sandal.  You’ll find them usually in prints, like this black and white stripe and they will be combined with other trends like the off the shoulder or embroidery and lace.  We think this one is so darn cute!  Get it here.

What is Wardrobing?

For those of you who might not be familiar with the term, wardrobing is a method of mixing and matching your clothing to maximize the number of unique outfits you can create with the smallest number of pieces possible.  It is how you shop, travel and dress like a boss!  The concept is simple really, but perhaps no one has ever taught you how to do it.  That is the purpose of this blog post, and my live video coming up on Saturday, February 24th at 10:15 mountain.  You can listen in on the video by joining our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Group Page.  I’ll be giving away a Treska necklace at the end of the video.  To get entered to win, just comment on the video while it is live by telling me something you like or even asking a question.

Wardrobing is the art of combining bottoms, tops and cover-ups in multiple ways by layering the pieces and adding accessories to change the look.  I’ll be using Sympli to demonstrate this tomorrow, so let me use some of their pieces to show you how it is done.  Take a look at the pictures above: Let’s call the leggings on the left picture 1 and the cropped top on the right is picture 4.  Assuming the model is wearing pants (and not leggings) in picture 3 and 4 and the white top in pictures 3 and 4 is the same top, how many outfits can you create with these 6 pieces?

Playing Jeapordy music now…..

How many outfits did you come up with?  Let’s see if we found the same number…

  1.  4 outfits as pictured
  2. Dress over leggings
  3. Dress over leggings with crop top
  4. White top under dress without leggings
  5. White top under dress with leggings
  6. White top under dress with smock over top without leggings
  7. White top under dress with smock over top with leggings
  8. Black crop top under dress without leggings
  9. Black crop top under dress with leggings
  10. Smock over dress with leggings
  11. Smock over dress without leggings.

That’s 14 outfits with 6 pieces.  Now, imagine we added into the mix a tunic and a jacket, like the ones pictured below.  I’ve demonstrated the concept, let’s see how many more outfits you can come up with?

Honestly, just adding the jacket over the outfits creates another 5 possibilities.  If you put the tunic over the dress and leggings, you get another 2 possibilities.  The tunic with the leggings and the pants, another 2 possibilities.  Now, with only 8 pieces, you have a possible 21 options.  And we haven’t even discussed adding a few accessories like a kimono, a couple of scarfs and a few necklaces, and a belt.  This adds an at least 15 more outfits.  It’s like a puzzle, and it is a heck of a lot of fun to see how many combinations you can create.  This is wardrobing, and it is a handy little tool when you need to stretch a work budget, pack for a two week trip with a carry on, or just simplify your closet.

Want to see it in action?  Join me tomorrow, and I’ll show you how it’s done.  Be sure to join the group prior to the start of the video so you can watch.

Sympli

 

Spring 2018 Color Trends

spring-2018-color-palletteIt’s nearing the end of January, and I spent yesterday skiing with my family.  It was really a beautiful day with a warm winter sun.

Despite my fun in the snow, however, February is an absolutely rotten, no-good, horrible month in Wyoming.  There is nothing redeeming about February: it’s cold, grey, snowy and, usually, windy.  Which is why I relish the new spring arrivals at this time of year because they are a reminder to stay strong…spring is on the way.

Take a closer look at the Pantone color palate at the top of this blog post so you can see just all you have to look forward to this spring.  It includes Meadowlark yellow (which I love because that is our state bird), Cherry Tomato, Little Boy Blue, Chili Oil, Pink Lavender, Blooming Dahlia, Acadia, and Ultra Violet.  From earthy and warm to soft and cool, spring’s palate is sure to have you clamoring over at least one color.

My color crush for the season is Blooming Dahlia.  We just received our new Tribal Sportswear, and within our January collection are several pieces in Blooming Dahlia. It is such a wonderful, peachy pink.   It pairs beautifully with soft olive and navy blue, as you can see in the pictures.  Of course, it is always great with white too.  Best yet, it is a decidedly feminine color that just makes a girl feel pretty.

I would love to hear about your color crush for the season in the comments to this blog post, and in the mean time….stay strong.  Spring is coming!