Becoming Her Own Person

I flung the soft white rayon blouse behind me; it’s Bohemian printed tassel floated in mid-air as it descended down into the growing pile of clothes in the middle of my twelve year old daughter’s bedroom floor.  Next came the vintage wash boyfriend jeans with their patched holes and cuffed bottom.  Grumbling to myself, I threw them with extra force, gaining some satisfaction when they crash landed into the pile, scattering it.  “Just wait until she comes home and sees this mess.” I thought to myself, smiling at the thought of her shocked face.  “She’ll treat her clothes differently after she cleans this up.” Last, I grabbed the long fringe sweater that, together with the cute shoe boots, completed the outfit.

It had all started innocently enough.  Looking for my daughter’s ballet clothing and shoes, I had opened the closet when I couldn’t find them.  As I surveyed the clothing, empty bags of chips from after school snacks, old school papers and other various bits of trash, a red hot fire began to grow in my brain.  Obviously, she had just shoved everything that was on her bedroom floor into her closet, closed the door and happily told me she had completed her weekly chore of cleaning her room.

But as I began tossing all of her stuff back onto the floor, I started to notice something.  On the bottom of the pile were all of these clothes that I hadn’t seen her wear in months. Worse yet, they were her cutest clothes, the trendy ones I had been especially fond of buying for her school wardrobe.  After all, being a boutique owner, fashion trends are my life.  I took great pleasure in seeing her dress in hip styles.  When had she stopped wearing these outfits, I thought to myself?  Lately, all I’d seen her wear was tee shirts and leggings.

I was still annoyed and perplexed when I picked her up from school later that day.  We chatted about school, as I laid in wait for a good time to mention the surprise waiting for her at home.  When the opportunity arose, I pounced.

“So, you forgot to get your ballet bag out for me.” I said, pausing to allow my daughter to think about where I might have looked for it.

Suddenly, the dawn of recognition spread across her face.  Shock and fear resonated from behind her eyes as, wide eyed, she asked, “So….did you go looking for it?”

“Yup.” I said it matter of factly, letting the “p” sound have extra emphasis and enjoying every minute.  I watched her face change as a myriad of emotions played across it then watched as she looked down and began twiddling her fingers.  “Any guesses what I found?” I added sweetly.

“All the stuff I shoved in my closet?” She answered, sheepishly.

“Yup.” I said again, again emphasizing the “p” sound.

“Sorry mom.  I didn’t want to clean my room so I just put it all in there.”

“Hmm, what do you think I did with all of that stuff?” I asked, smiling sweetly and looking over at her with my eyebrows raised.

“Threw it all away?” my daughter said, almost sounding hopeful.

“No… I put it all back on your floor where it started.  You can tackle the pile when you get home.”   We drove in silence for awhile.  She, I’m sure was thinking about the mess I had made, and I was trying to formulate my next question.  “Why, may I ask, were all of the cute clothes we bought you for school at the bottom of your closet?”

“I don’t like those anymore.”  She said, looking straight ahead.

“What do you mean you don’t like those anymore?” I responded with irritation.  “Do you know how much me and your dad spent on those clothes?  You liked them when we were shelling out all that money.”

“You liked them.” She said it quietly, still staring straight ahead.  “You talked me into them.  They just aren’t my style.”

I didn’t respond right away.  My mind went back to that day in Justice when we had done her school shopping.  Both my husband and I had just loved that cute Bohemian outfit with the boyfriend jeans.  She looked adorable, and we probably had forced it on her a bit.

“Well, what is your style then?” I asked, genuinely curious.

“I like sportsy stuff…you know Champion, Nike, and brands like that.”  She answered, looking over at me.

“Oh, okay.  Good to know.”  I said, and then changed the subject.  But as she continued talking about her day, I thought about style and how important it is as an expression of self.   My daughter was becoming her own person and trying out different styles and personas was all part of the adolescent exploration of self.  And, this was just the beginning of that process.  So she may not be like me and like dressing in the latest fashion trends, but I can take solace in the fact she will become who she was meant to be, an individual all her own.

 

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!

Lace Up Detailing

One of the hottest new summer trends is the addition of lace elements on tops and dresses that add interest and detail to the neck, back and front.  My favorite part of this trend is its freshness.  While exposed shoulders have been around for a few seasons in various forms, lace embellishments are new for this season.

One of the most important benefits to this trend is that these simple lace designs draw the eye upward and keep it focused near your face.  When you have one of these tops on, no one will be looking at your legs or feet!  Additionally, the trend adds a feminine touch that is delicate and beautiful.  It is almost like adding jewelry to your top.  The lace details act in much the same way a lovely necklace adds interest and focuses the eye.

If you find the neck or back to be too plunging, you can always use fashion tape from Hollywood Fashion to secure the neckline to your skin so it will stay in place.  We carry this line of fashion emergency fixers at Fashion Crossroads.

Just remember ladies, this season is all about showing some skin.  Whether you are bearing your shoulders in a cold shoulder top, showing skin with cut outs, or drawing the eye upward with lace detailing, you are highlighting the area around your face and neck and keeping beautiful you at the forefront and center!  That, my dears, is the WHOLE point of fashion!  Happy shopping!

What is A Shirt Dress?

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

One of the big trends in dresses this year is the shirt dress. Although it can take a few forms, a shirt dress is an elongated shirt.

My favorite version of this style is the button down,  like the one pictured to the left.  What makes these little beauties wonderful, is you can open them up and wear them as a long vest or keep them buttoned and wear them as a dress.  The versatility of style gives you more bang for your buck.

The high low hemlines (shorter in front and longer in back) are still popular, giving these dresses some interest at the bottom.  It’s trendy right now to wear a “shoe boot” style shoe with dresses.  I’m not fond of the heaviness of an actual shoe boot with a dress, but there are many styles of open toed sandals that mimic the look of a shoe boot without feeling so bulky and weighty on the foot.  The one the model is wearing in the picture above is a good example of this.  We have similar styles in the store that accomplish this same look, like the ones pictured here from Yellowbox.  Don’t hesitate to wear suede in the summer.img_3345

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

The other style of shirt dress is a pullover style.  Again, it looks like an elongated collared shirt, but it doesn’t open up with buttons and thereby can’t be worn as a vest.

This style is usually offered as a mini dress, making it harder for everyone to wear.  If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a short dress, don’t hesitate to add skinny ankle jeans or even leggings with this style.  It will still look just as cute.

Again, you will want to pair this style of shirt dress with a “shoe boot” sandal to keep it really trendy.  Otherwise, a great flip flop and hat could make this the perfect summer run around town look.   It would also be a wonderful vacation item, as you could use it as a dress and swimming suit cover up.

It’s snowing here today, but writing about these dresses makes me long for warm summer days.  I know they are just around the corner!  Give one of these styles a try this year.  I think you will love how you look!

What Is A Waffle Top?

One of the big trends this season is the waffle top.  It took be a bit by surprise because here in Wyoming, waffle tops are something we wear in the winter and not the summer. We call them thermals.  But, the powers that be in the style world have decided to fly in the face of tradition and saturate the market with waffle tops for spring!

The descriptor “waffle top” refers to the fabric.  It’s a bit hard to see the texture of these tops in the pictures above, but if you were able to zoom in, you would see that they have raised, nubby fabric.  If you have ever bought a thermal tee to keep warm, you can compare the fabric to that.  Of course, the spring waffle tops are not as heavy as what you might expect from a typical thermal top, so you can still wear them without getting hot.

The benefit to textured fabric is that the more body a fabric has, the less likely it is to lay against your figure and expose all of your lumps and bumps.  Heavier fabrics are more figure flattering that lighter weight ones.  Texture also helps draw the eye away from figure problems like muffin tops.  This is because the sheer weight of heavier fabrics pulls them downward, creating a better drape.

The nature of the waffle fabric lends these tops to pair best with jeans or casual bottoms.  Wearing them to work would be like wearing your thermal to work.  I’m guessing your boss might frown on that.  But, for a casual weekend, these tops make a great, trendy choice.

The two tops pictured above are available on our online store.  If you want to know more about other important spring and summer trends, check out my blog post 5 Key Summer Trends.  

A Day In The Life At Market

One of my favorite parts of my business is market.  If you love clothes like I do and have an eye for fashion, market is like being a kid in a candy store.  Booth after booth line isles in huge convention centers filled with every type of clothing you can imagine.

I thought my readers might like a closer look at what a day at market is like for me.

A market day starts early with a good breakfast around 8 am and then a taxi or shuttle ride to one of the many markets in Las Vegas.  We buyers call markets “shows” so there is the Off Price Apparel Show, the Women’s Wear In Nevada Show, the Magic Show as well as Stitch, Project, Platform and others.  Whew, I’m out of breath just reading all of those back to myself.  And it’s like that at market, we work at a frenzied pace trying to go to as many shows as possible in the span of five days.

Once we have arrived, we stop at registration to get our buyer’s badges and then wait for the doors to open at 9 am.  Security guards check everyone’s badge, scanning each one.  Once inside the convention hall, it’s a quick check of the schedule and off we go.  Because my mom and I are buying for three stores (two brick and mortar and one online), we often split up so we can maximize our time.

I head to my first vendor and begin looking through the samples.  Different buyers have different preferences for this part.  I like to look through all the samples before I sit down.  Some buyers have the manufacturer rep show them the line by hanging each item on a grid.  I feel this takes too long and since I am always pressed for time, I can speed things up by looking myself.  I know what I want, so usually I will pick the items I am interested in and begin there.  This is when it is really helpful to have a relationship with my manufacturer representative.  If he or she knows me and my store, then the buying process can happen much quicker because my rep can edit the line for me by only showing me what will work for me.

If my mom and I are buying a line together, we both pull items that we like and then go through them together.  Sometimes I will really like something that my mom doesn’t and vice versa.  If one of us feels strongly about an item, we evaluate it together.  The things we consider are sizing, fit, sleeve lengths, color, fabric, target age and ease of wear.  If the item has several negatives, we usually reject it.  So for example, I really like the print and the style of a top, but my mom notices that it seems to run small and has cheap feeling fabric with sleeves that not everyone will like.  Given the negatives, the top would probably get rejected.   This process helps us avoid making bad buys.

After all the appointments have been met, we always try to allow time to browse the show.  This is a time consuming process of simply walking the isles and looking at displays for something that catches our eye.  Usually, we are looking for something specific like jean friendly tops, for example.  This keeps us on track so we don’t end up buying something we already have.  When we see something interesting, we stop and checks line sheets or ask prices.  If the line seems like a good choice, we either sit down at the booth or make an appointment to come back.

At the end of the day, we add up units to make sure we are staying on target with our buying plan.  We use detailed sales reports to help us set buying targets or each vendor. We always allow some “open to buy” for the new vendors that we find.  If we over spend on one vendor because we really liked the line that season, we cut back on another.  It is a delicate balancing act that takes constant vigilance to avoid being over-inventoried.

After a relaxing dinner, we head back to the hotel to write orders before its time to fall asleep so we can get up bright and early the next day to repeat the whole process over again.  And that’s a day in the life at market.

Bra or No Bra?

By far, the most significant summer trend this season is the myriad of shoulder bearing tops.  Ladies, it is time to show your shoulders.  The great news is that we women can heartily accept this trend because, for most of us, the shoulders are one of our best features.  They don’t show fat, and bearing them draws attention upward toward your face rather than downward.

There are a myriad of options for shoulder bearing from the cold shoulder top that has cut outs at the shoulder to the off the shoulder top that is worn down on the arms  One of the biggest issues with tops that show the whole shoulder area is the question of a bra.  Many women are just not willing to go bra-less and, let’s face it, strapless bras leave a lot to be desired.  With all the fiddling and re-positioning that has to happen, it is high maintenance fashion.  Personally, I’d just rather not.

If you feel this way too, may I suggest a bandeau (see picture below).  These little fashion wonders are a great option.  They are essentially a spandex style strapless band that is lined and goes around your bust area.  They work as a solution for any top that cannot be worn with a traditional bra.  We have bandeaus from Nikibiki at our store that are one size and just stretch to fit.  My guess is they will not work for large busted women, but if you are an A cup to a C cup, they should work just fine.

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If you are D cup or larger, you may be stuck wearing a strapless bra to get the support you need.  I like the strapless bras that have the ability to add clear plastic straps.  These essentially disappear against your skin while still providing the stability of a strap.  One other option is to use the Silicone Cover Ups from Hollywood Fashion.  We have sold these in the store and have had great customer feedback about them.  These cover ups are silicone pads that stick to the front of your nipple area to cover it so you have the confidence to go bra-less.

Thus, don’t let the issue of a bra keep you from trying out the seasons hottest trends.  Give these three solutions a try until you find one that works for you, and make sure you bare those shoulders this season.