Purse Fetish? Let Me Count The Ways!

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I love handbags!  If you think about it, a purse is a girl’s best friend.  What else do you have with you wherever you go that can always be counted on to have everything you need right when you need it?   A quick inventory of my purse demonstrates my point. Wallet, hand gel, brush, hair spray, makeup, Tylenol, allergy medicine, planner, tissue, sunglasses…no wonder my kids and husband are always asking me to produce what they need out of my magic bag.

I’m an organization freak, so my handbag either needs to have compartments or I use various small bags to keep everything handy.  I love it when my handbags have a key finder (long cord attached to the side of your purse that attaches to your keys), since keys are notorious for hiding so well you have to take everything out to find them.  A key finder allows you to just find the cord and then run your hand along it until, eureka, your keys are at the end.  Ingenious.

Another essential for me (and every other woman I know) is a handy cell phone pocket so you can get to your phone before it stops ringing.  Since my world is on my phone, I need to be able to find it…FAST!

Aside from those few necessities, I choose a handbag based upon what makes my heart sing.  If I am going to carry it every where I go for at least six months at a time,  I want to love looking at it.  I move in phases between carrying neutral purses that go with everything to carrying a handbag that is truly eye catching and makes a statement.  My go to statement purse is Anuschka.

My mom and I discovered this brand exactly the way every woman should discover a purse…we saw another woman carrying one, and after we had oohed and awed over it, asked her the name of the brand.  We have been selling these little beauties ever since. And when I say selling, let me just tell you that we have already sold 30 this year.  At an average price of $150 to $400 in a town of 55,000, that is no small accomplishment.  But the reason they sell so well is because they are truly the perfect combination of beauty and function.

Let me explain.  First of all, they are hand painted with beautiful designs in everything from landscapes and florals, to abstracts and nature.  After 12 to 18 months of use, a print is retired. Once this happens, it is never used again.  At this point, your handbag becomes wearable art. No one will ever be able to get your specific handbag again. Second, the leather is second to none.  It just gets softer and softer over time, making you want to hug it just to appreciate the utterly smooth lusciousness.  No kidding.  But my favorite thing about Anuschka is the attention to detail on the inside of the purse.  These handbags have the most well thought out insides of any purse line I have used or seen. The pockets are well placed and appropriately sized, making them utterly useful.  Often, Anuschka will add built in wallets and divider pockets that appeal to type A personalities like mine.  And, especially in their larger bags, they throw in little extras like coordinating make up bags and sun-glass cases.

Believe me, this is a purse to have a fetish over.  Just ask any Anuschka purse owner you know.

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!

How Old Is Too Old To Wear A Romper?

One of the most common questions I get is the “Am I too old to wear a….?”  Let’s face it ladies, one of the most challenging things about fashion is figuring out how to stay trendy without dressing in an age inappropriate way.  Let me just say at the beginning of this blog that I flat out reject the idea that if you are wearing current trends and are past forty, you are dressing too young.  I don’t believe the problem lies in whether you wear the latest trends; I believe the issue is in how you wear them.

Let me explain.  Each trend will have an edgy side and a more conservative side.  Take the two pictures at the top of this blog as an example.  On the left is a romper that I would wear, and I am 45.  I wouldn’t wear the one on the right, however.  That choice doesn’t come from which I think is cuter because I love them both.  I would choose the one on the left because it is a toned down version of the romper trend.  It has a tank style top that is bra friendly; it has an adjustable draw string waist with a blousy top that will hide figure flaws; it is in a beefier fabric which is less flimsy; and it has slightly longer shorts because of the crochet detailing on the bottom.  My post forty legs just can’t do short shorts.  If I wanted to add another conservative element, I could put a white button up cardigan or denim jacket over my arms for coverage.

The floral romper on the right would perhaps be better suited for a woman in her twenties or even thirties.  With the chiffon fabric and shorter shorts, it will require nice legs.  The addition of the cold shoulder element further limits this romper because the more edgy trends you combine in one outfit, the younger the look becomes.  In other words, its okay to wear a romper if you are over forty.  It might not be the best idea to wear a chiffon romper with little flowers and cold shoulders that require you to wear a bandeaux as a bra.  Do you get my drift?

I use this same logic when I am considering any trend.  Is there a way I can wear the trend while still keeping the look conservative enough to be appropriate?  I can tell you that I have rarely skipped a trend altogether.  Only two “um…not only no but hell no” trends come to mind: short shorts and mini dresses.

So if you are like me and over forty but still want to dress in the latest trends, don’t despair.  You can stay fashionable and stylish well into your sixties and seventies.  The key is keeping it classy!

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.

 

Five Key Summer Trends

I’ve just returned from market week in Las Vegas.  While there, I saw several key trends repeated over and over again across many manufacturers.  I wanted to take just a minute to highlight them to you.  These are the key trends for summer 2017, you will want to look for and buy.

  1. Embroidered denim:  I saw a lot of denim embellished with large and colorful floral embroidery.  Floral prints are a huge trend too (see below) so this offers a way to make denim seem special while highlighting an important trend.  IMG_3889
  2. Off the Shoulder Tops:  It is all about bearing your shoulders this season. The total off the shoulder style looks great on, and is a wonderful summer look.  Don’t let fear over how to wear a bra with this style dissuade you.  Use a bandeaux (bra like cami) to make this style wearable and comfortable.  IMG_3890
  3. The One Shoulder: I also saw a lot of tops that had an asymmetrical one shoulder design like this little number in yellow.  Again, a bandeaux cami will solve the problem of not being able to wear a bra.  IMG_3894
  4. The Collar: Everything from dresses to tops were embellished with a collar style detail that goes all the way around your neck.  My guess is it won’t be for everyone, but the style looks really cute and it is new and fun.  IMG_3892
  5. The Floral:  Floral prints were everywhere.  If you are a girly girl at heart, this is your season.  Gone are the military and utilitarian styles, and florals are queen.  You’ll see everything this season from small petite prints like the one above to larger and bolder floral prints.