Not All Cold Shoulder Tops Were Created Equal!

I have found my go-to cold shoulder top, and I’m so excited about it,  I wanted to share it with you!  Sympli has added a new top to their line called the Nu-glimpse top, and it is the perfect cold shoulder top!

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Nuglimpse Top By Sympli available in store or online 

Why so perfect, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!  As I have watched a myriad of women try on various shoulder exposing tops at the store, I have noticed that not all cold shoulder tops are created equal.  Some are too big in the shoulder, causing them to fit poorly on the arm or droop. Some make it impossible to wear a bra which means fiddling with a strapless bra or bandeaux (just kill me now).  Some show so much shoulder, women feel a bit naked and too exposed.  This is why I love this top from Sympli!  It has shoulder cut outs that are the perfect size, giving you the cold shoulder look, but in a way that any woman can wear.  I also love that this top does not show your bra, eliminating the hassle that so many cold shoulder tops pose. Best yet, it has a slight a-line cut so it doesn’t show any extra weight you may be carrying at the waist.

What is also amazing about the Nuglimpse top is that you get all of the other wonderful features of Sympli – no wrinkles, no fading and no stretching out.  This top will look this black and this great 5 years from now.  With Sympli, you just wash in cold water and hang to dry.  It dries wrinkle free, and you are off and running! The use of 12 oz weight fabric instead of 9 oz weight, means that the fabric drapes rather than clings to your body.  It really does look amazing on.  The fact that it is the number one selling line in our 5,000 square foot store is a testament to this.

There is the issue of price, however.  Sympli is not inexpensive.  This top retails for $124, but when you calculate cost per wear, it really is a great value.  If you just wore this top 1 time a week for a year, you would only be spending $2.58 per wear.  Given the fabric’s longevity, you will have this top for much longer than a year so the cost per wear goes down the longer you own the top.  Considering the fact that it is black, it will work back into your wardrobe easily.  Given that it is a mid-hip length hemline that pairs with any bottom, the styling opportunities are endless! That $124 doesn’t seem so costly now, does it?  That is the magic of cost per wear! Spending more on a really great item ends up costing you less than spending less and having to replace the item in six months because it has pilled, lost its shape or shrunk.  And as always, Fashion Crossroads offers a great layaway program too!

So, that’s my product review of Sympli’s Nuglimpse top.  It is my favorite cold shoulder top in my own wardrobe, so I am unashamedly recommending it to you!

Making Rose Quartz Work In Your Wardrobe

With Pantone’s announcement of Rose Quartz as the color of the year, you may be wondering how to wear such a soft and gentle shade of pink.  I am dark haired and look much better in bolder colors.  As a result, I usually avoid pastels.  What I love about this shade of pink, however, is how well it pairs with darker shades like brown and olive green as well as with creams and whites.  

  
When pairing Rose Quartz with olive green, it is essential that you stay consistent with either warm or cool tones.  Rose Quartz it usually a slightly warm color, so you will also want to choose a color of olive that is also slightly warm.  Avoid strongly warm greens that have a predominate yellow undertone.  The other fantastic aspect of putting Rose Quartz and olive green together is that the pink adds a feminine aspect to the more masculine olive green, especially in utilitarian or military themed items.  Military continues to be a strong trend in spring so you should see plenty of military vests, tanks, and light jackets out there.  Try putting a Rose Quartz tank under them!

Rose Quartz is also beautiful with creams, khakis and browns.  Apply the same advice of matching the level of warmth, and you can’t go wrong with any of these colors.   You can also pair Rose Quartz with its counterpart color of the year Serentity blue.  This feels less earthy to me than the other choices, but remains a viable option.  What I’ve done here is to put an ice blue blouse under the Rose Quartz sueded vest and then pop the two with with a Serentity blue purse.    It’s a nice combination with both soft and strong elements.  

  So have fun this season exploring these new colors.  You may just find your new favorite ! 

Key Trends for Fall 2016

  
Of the many trends I noticed dominating styles at market this fall, the most consistent were fringe, suede, southwestern motifs, military jackets, plaid shirts and the color merlot.  You can see all of these trends reflected in the picture above and the way you can combine them for smart fall style this season.  The key accessory is the floppy hat and beanie.  

1. Suede and Fringe

Suede and (faux suede) was everywhere at market.  Often combined with fringe, suede and the seventies are a strong influence in fall fashion for 2016.  Look for suede especially in vests, dresses and on handbags.  I saw everything from saddle brown and light tan classic suede colors to blush pinks and merlots.  Embrace this trend as a child of the seventies by combining fringe and denim, headbands and bohemian tops and dresses.  Wear a floppy leather look or sueded hat with these styles for a modern version of this seventie look.  Avoid head to toe fringe to keep the look fresh.  Pair fringe with other sueded pieces but restrict the fring to one clothing item or accessory.  

2.  Southwestern Motifs

Southwestern prints are still dominating fall like they did for spring.  Find them combined with fringe, in sweaters and on tops, and, of course, on handbags.  Take this sweater as an example.   With its southwestern diamond print in merlot and grey and its fringe bottom, it combines several key tends in one style.  

 Look for grey to be the new neutral for fall and give black a run for its money as the go to basic.  Additionally, grey looks amazing paired with melot which is the color of the year from Pantone.  

Military Jackets:

Seperating itself distinctly from the previous two trends, military is the utilitarian trend of the season and is expressed in one key piece – the military jacket.  I saw some companies combining southwest motifs with miliary which was a unique twist, but military jackets are a key piece that you will want to have in your wardrobe.  Don’t feel you must have the trend represented by a army green jacket.  I saw very cute styles in black, grey and tan as well.  A great military jacket paired with a beat up boyfriend jean and lace up boots is a killer look for a casual outfit.       
Plaid Shirts:

Plaid is officially a key trend.  You will need to buy yourself a cute plaid shirt to pair with boyfriend jeans this season.  Wear a benie and puffy vest with this look for a fun casual look for a cold day.  The strongest plaid trends is reds or burhandy plaids, but I also saw lots of black and white versions as well.  Keep it cool by wearing your plaid shirt tied around your waist for a fall day when its not too cold.  Again, wear this look with lace up shoe boots.    

Details Make the Difference

I love clothes. I love the artistic nature of design – how the combination of different fabrics, textures, colors, and other design elements come together to create something beautiful. As a detail person, I notice the small things. As a store owner and buyer for fifteen years, I’ve come to realize that the details are often the difference between a cheaply made product and a quality product.

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Take as an example this beautiful crochet inset on a tunic from Multiples. It adds a handcrafted element to an otherwise ordinary tunic, creating an ethnic feel that helps separate it from less expensive competitors. It is a beautiful detail that will look delicate and pretty on a woman’s arm.

If you examine the picture closely, you can see that the crochet is weighty and not flimsy. Yet another element of quality, the sheer thickness of this crochet makes it clear that corners were not cut in adding this detail.
These types of added design elements divide out the ordinary from the unique. You either won’t find them on less expensive labels, or, when you do, they will seem cheap and mass produced.

The next time you are wandering through your favorite specialty store or boutique, stop to appreciate the details on the clothing you find. They truly are a work of art.

Dressing Your Body Shape Part III – The Individual Shapes

This article recently appeared in Live Well Wyoming

If you’ve read my last two articles, you know your body shape and a little more about how to use the illusion of color and shape to your advantage.  Now it is time to discuss how to dress each shape.

If you are a Straight/Rectangle body type, your top goals are to add length to your torso, hide a large rib cage, create the illusion of a waist, and draw the eye to your legs.  Dresses that fit the shoulders and fall loosely to right above the knee are a great choice.  Add tights and slim boots to emphasize the legs for fall.  A deep v neck will elongate your neckline.  Avoid belts and choose items that suggest a waist but don’t emphasize one.  Other good choices are a longer jacket with a short skirt or a loose fitting jacket with straight legged pants.

For the Pear/Spoon body type, you will want to draw attention to your upper torso, add width to your shoulders to balance wider hips, hint at your waist without cinching it, and de-emphasize your lower body.  Empire waist tops and dresses are a great choice for you.  Choose necklines that are wide like the boat or cowl because they will add balance to your hips.  Choose flared skirts rather than straight.  Other good choices for you are ¾ length jackets over shorter skirts as well as tops that hit just below the waist rather than at the hips.  Choose darker colors for the bottom.  Avoid belts or emphasized waists unless you have an open jacket over the top.  Use accessories to draw attention upward.

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The top goals for the Hourglass body type are to emphasize your waist and curves as well as to avoid oversized clothing.  Choose fitted styles with darts or defined waists.  Wrap dresses are your friend because they show off your waist and bust.  Choose top styles that allow room for a generous bust and blouse your tops to help provide balance.  Mid rise pants are more flattering on a larger rear than those that hit at the waist.  Just be sure to wear a shaper to avoid the muffin top that mid rise bottoms often create.

Inverted Triangle body types should draw attention to their hips and legs, work to slim their shoulders and de-emphasize the upper torso.  Low slung waists or loosely draped belts are a great choice for you.  Deep v neck or round necks will slim your shoulder area.  Shorter hemlines or straight pant legs will draw attention to your legs.  A longer jacket with a short skirt is also flattering on this figure as it serves to elongate the upper torso.  This is a great body type for leggings and longer tunics.

For the Oval/Round body type, the top goals are to elongate the neck, downplay the middle while elongating the upper torso and drawing attention to the legs.  Try loose fitting jackets or tops over slim legged pants or narrow skirts.  Choosing tops and bottoms of the same color with a jacket over the top that is a different color will elongate your torso and draw attention away from your middle.  Make sure the monochromatic portion is darker than the over jacket or top.

The Diamond body type should draw attention to a spot above the waist, add width to the shoulders, and draw attention away from the hips and thighs.  This is another body type that works well with empire waists.  Wider necklines and cap sleeves will make the shoulders appear wider and balance out the hip area.  Flared skirts allow room for full thighs.  Tunic tops over slim legged pants also work well for this figure type, especially when they are the same color.  Hemlines that fall just below the knee are also good for this figure type.  Avoid tops that hit at the hips or outfits that emphasize your waist.

The key fashion trends for this season are still focused on elongated tops, sweaters and jackets over slim legged pants.  This is good news for almost every body type on this list.  If you have wider thighs or calves, just choose a straight leg style rather than a slim leg style.  You will still accomplish the same look.  Choosing the right clothing takes a little practice but is a skill that can be mastered.

How to Take Care of Quality Fabrics

How to Take Care of Quality Fabrics

Better quality clothing costs a bit more, but if you care for it correctly, it will last for years. First, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions. These are not suggestions. The manufacturer knows the fabric better than anyone and their recommendations are there to help you get the most from your garment.

Many companies will ask you to wash the garment inside out in cold water. To avoid pilling (balling of fabric), you will want to make sure not to wash your garment with anything rough such as a towel or a garment with beads, sequins, stones, etc.. For extra protection, you can buy a garment bag. This is essentially a large lingerie bag that is made from a mesh fabric and zips closed. These bags will protect your items from being twisted in the washing machine or from being rubbed by other fabrics. If you don’t have one, we sell these at Fashion Crossroads.

If the manufacturer recommends hand washing, follow the instructions. Usually, if you have a newer washing machine with a hand wash cycle, you can use your machine instead of your sink. Again, you might want to use a garment bag. Buyer beware: washing a garment when it is recommended that you do not wash it, voids the guarantee and most stores will not take it back under these circumstances. There are dead giveaways that an item has been washed in a machine.

You can preserve the color of your clothing by adding a quarter cup of vinegar into the water and turning the garment inside out. The vinegar helps set the color. This is especially helpful with black cotton or denim pants.

The biggest enemy of quality clothing is your dryer. Usually we recommend that you hang higher quality clothing to dry. This will keep it looking its best for much longer. if the garment will stretch on a hanger, lay it flat to dry. You can usually get away with throwing the item into the dryer for a quick 10 minute cycle to soften the fabric and remove the wrinkles. Adopting this practice will also greatly reduce shrinkage and pilling.

Some manufacturer’s do not recommend that you dry clean your clothing so be careful about assuming that this is always okay. Again, read the washing instructions.

To save time, I create a separate laundry basket for my good clothing that requires special care. I can do a whole load of cold water wash at the same time if I make sure to separate out any items that have beads, stones, sequins, etc. that could catch or rub other fabrics and any items that require hand washing. I separate my light and dark colors, turn everything inside out and add a 1/4 cup of vinegar. When the clothing is washed, I hang the items or lay them flat to dry. You can also purchase a wooden drying rack at a home goods store that will fold up when not in use. If necessary, I put some of the items in a wrinkle reduction cycle with steam and then hang them or fold them immediately. Using this method, I am rarely disappointed in how my clothing performs.

Wyoming Wearable Fall Fashion Trends

As always, fall beckons us with cooler nights and mornings and the occasional snow storm.  If you haven’t geared up for it yet, rest assured, that cold weather is coming.  The tunic and legging combo or skinny jean and long sweater are still key trends for this season.  Wear them with boots, and you’ll be ready for the snow to fly.  Dresses and mini skirts can be worn with tights for a warmer option this year, keeping the look on trend.  But in case you wanted to add a few new trends to your wardrobe, here is brief overview.

 

Heavy Knits

I am probably the most excited about the return of heavier knits this season.  We saw some push back against chunky, heavy sweaters last season so all of the sweaters we had in the store were light weight.  They were great for layering but not so good for warmth.  This year, chunky is back.  And, let’s face it, if we have another winter like last year….we will be glad.  You can make chunkier knits work by pairing them with smooth fabrics.  A thick turtle neck, for example, looks great with a smooth pencil skirt and tights.

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Tribal Sportswear

Fur Embellishments

Fur will again be playing a big role as an accent on vests, coats and sweaters.  This is good for us because faux fur has been very popular for several seasons, especially in vests.  The good news is your faux fur is still in style and you’ll be seeing more.

50’s and 60’s Glam and Mod

If like me, your fashion icons are Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, then you will love the feminine, tailored silouettes this year.  You don’t need to don your gloves and cinch your waist, but you can definitely relish in the shift dress and boots as well as the coat dress with the defined waist.  Juxtaposed to this are the highly geometric prints that characterize the mod trend this season.  Fancy a funky, bright print?  This trend is for you.

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Tribal Sportswear

90’s Rocker

With all the moto jackets and shoe boots with buckles out there this season, it is not surprise that the rockers from the 80’s and 90’s are feeling right at home this season.  Use these pieces as accents and sparingly, or you might just look like a throw back.  Still, its fun to channel our inner rocker every now and then, right?

Soft Pastels

Winter white, ice blue, petal pink….are winter colors this year.  Whether its a petal pink belted wool coat or a wool suit, these colors are a surprising twist in our palate this season.

Animal

The fashion gurus keep touting “Animal is back.”  I’m wondering when it left?  I’ve seen animal prints take a strong role in fall fashion for several seasons.  But, just in case you need to hear it…animal is back.

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Tribal Sportswear

Need some more inspiration, come in a browse through our beautiful new fall collections!  You’ll love what you see.