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.

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!

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

 

How Do I Wear Raw Edge Jeans

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A new and important jean trend is raw edge jeans.  If you are unfamiliar with this term, it simply means the bottom edge of the jean where there would normally be a hem is left unhemmed and has a raw edge.  All of our jean companies are jumping on this trend band wagon, so to speak, from our young contemporary jeans like Silver Jeans (pictured above) to our more missy jeans like Jag Jeans and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

In fact, let me stop right here and digress a bit.  Ladies, here is a great fashion tip that will serve you well.  Every brand has a target demographic.  You can get a sense of this by looking at the age of the models that the company uses to picture their product.  The missy lines will generally target women aged 45 to 65.  You will see this reflected in both the way they picture their product and in the features.  For example, NYDJ and Jag Jeans make their jeans with a regular rise (comes all the way to the waist), something that appeals to women over 40 because of our tendency to have a muffin top.  So, if NYDJ and Jag are producing a trend like raw edge jeans and they target a missy customer, you can feel secure that you can wear the trend without looking like you are trying to be a teenager.  This is a great tip for age appropriate dressing.

Once you have determined if a trend is something you should wear, the next hurdle is to figure out how to wear it.  If a trend is new to me, I pay close attention at market to see how other buyers and vendors are wearing it.  If I want to see pictures of the trend in action, I will google “how do I wear….”  and then click the images tab.  A search like that will usually lead to a plethora of pictures answering my question.  In fact, a search like that just might lead you to this blog!

In the picture above, you can see me wearing my raw edge jeans from Silver Jeans.  All the raw edge jeans that we have in the store are cut to an ankle length (an inch above the ankle bone).  This length works great with ballerina flats or Converse tennis shoes in the summer and perfectly with shoe boots in the winter.  When wearing shoe boots, you want the raw edge of your jean to hit the top edge of your shoe boot.  If the jean goes inside the boot, you not see the edge, defeating the whole point of the trend.  If the jean goes outside the boot, it may be too long for you.  Getting the right length is one of the most challenging things about the ankle length trend, but it really matters, so hold out for the right length for you! Too short looks odd.  Too long looks like you are preparing for a flood.  Smile.

Get out there and try some raw edge jeans this season.  No telling how long the trend will last, but it’s a fun twist on your basic jean and will make you feel trendy, a confidence booster to be sure!

How To Wear Velvet In The Day

One of things that trips us up sometimes is when a traditional way of looking at a fabric gets turned on its head by a new fashion trend.  This is the case with velvet this season.  Traditionally, velvet has been a dressy fabric, reserved for special occasions, holiday parties, and lounge lizards…smile.  (Don’t ask me why, but I just had an image of John Travolta singing “ah, ah, ah, ah…staying alive”).

Well this season, velvet has emerged as an every day fabric that can work for cozy weekend, work and date night.  Those of you who still think of  it as dressy only, may be struggling to figure out how in the world to wear this new trend.  The answer is really very simple: pair it with a casual fabric like denim.

Let’s face it, while the head to toe velvet active wear jogger is trendy right now, most of us (uh, um) older ladies are not going to go for that.  We can still do velvet, however, by toning it down and mixing it up.  For example, pair a velvet kimono with beat up boyfriend jeans and shoe boots.  Wear a velvet top with dark denim skinny jeans and boots.  Pair a velvet tailored jacket with a classic button down blouse, black slacks and heels.  Do you get the picture?  You have to re-think your old way of seeing velvet.

The truth is, this luxurious fabric is fun to wear.  What is not to like about velvet, unless you are like one of our employees who is wierded out by the fact that if you brush the velvet one way, it’s soft.  But, if you brush it the other way….yikes.  She is just skipping the trend all together.  If you have texture issues, you might want to join her.  For the rest of us, however, velvet is a wonderful fabric and should find a place in our wardrobes this season!

Amping Up Your Plaid

39Button up plaid shirts were a huge trend last fall and winter, so you probably purchased one – at least I hope you did.  This season, manufacturers have re-invented the plaid shirt by adding new details such as a contrasting back, like the one in the picture.  This one from Tribal Sportswear has a pretty floral print, capitalizing on two trends for the season – florals and plaids.  I also have plaid shirts in the store with solid backs as well as blouse tunic plaid styles with uneven hemlines.  If you didn’t get into the plaid trend last season, jump in now!

So what do you do to amp up your plaid shirt from last year that doesn’t have all these fun details?  I love adding a vest over a plaid shirt.  A basic button down blouse works great with any kind of vest, and plaid will coordinate with many fabrics including fur, leather and down.  The key to combining a vest over a blouse is to choose a complimentary color to your plaid.  A tan fur vest, for example, will work beautifully over an olive green, red, burgundy, or brown based plaid.  A silver grey puffy vest would be great over any plaid that has white in it.  I paired a vintage black leather and fur vest today over my olive green and rust plaid shirt as an example.  22281821_10154937840438085_4171428333840452733_nYou can even choose a vest with a little embroidery.  Keep in mind the rule for combining prints – both prints need to have the same colors.  If they do, you can get crazy and put a paisley printed vest over a plaid shirt.  The Tribal plaid is a great example of how to do this.  Get courageous and have some fun with your clothing!

Discover Sympli – Easy Dressing For Every Body.

What do you get when a woman gets frustrated over the fact she can’t find a simple tee that really fits and flatters?  Well, you get Sympli.  Jan Stimpson’s quest to find a tee led to the creation of a company designed around women’s bodies and fit.  Indeed, the women behind Sympli “shape each garment on multiple women and spend countless hours designing, tucking, pinning and repinning…flattering fit is an evolution and [they] don’t cut corners.”  What is the result of all of this effort?  A garment that fits where you need it to and doesn’t cling where you don’t.  Honestly.

In fact, Sympli is so passionate about creating a product that any woman, no matter what body shape, can wear with confidence, they stand against the unreasonable expectations the fashion industry places on women.  Supporting a Canadian non-profit that helps women overcome eating disorders is just one of the many ways Sympli is taking a stand to encourage women to love their bodies.  The other is creating a product that really fits and flatters, from a size 2 to a size 24.

If you have never tried Sympli, I encourage you to come down to Fashion Crossroads this weekend for our trunk show.  Our Sympli Rep Charlotte has been with the company for over ten years, and will be in the store with the Spring 2018 Sympli samples as well as some in stock samples.  We have stocked the store with new Sympli in preparation for our event, so there are many new items to try!  Best of all, we are having a trunk show party on Sunday from 11-5 p.m. that will be catered by Grant Street Grocery.  Join us for great food, a little wine, and in store modelling from 12-4 p.m.  All in stock Sympli will be $10 off for the entire trunk show, and any Sympli purchase will get you registered to win one of two free Sympli tops to be given away on Sunday.