5 Steps To A New Year Closet Clean Out

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It’s a new year…the time to move out the old and move in the new!  Perhaps you’ve already made a few New Year’s Resolutions.  I like to start the year by getting organized.  I find, when I feel organized, I feel more in control and less frazzled.

One of the first places to get organized is your closet.  There is nothing worse than starting the day out with a harried rush to put together an outfit and putting on and then taking off several outfits before you decide on one.  You can make getting dressed in the morning a breeze and a pleasure with a few simple tips on closet organization.

  1.  First, each year you need to remove the items you haven’t worn in a year.  So, if you didn’t do this at the start of the winter season, do it now.  You will be tempted to talk yourself out of removing items, so don’t second guess this process. Don’t worry that you will have to get rid of anything.  Instead just separate out all of those items and lay them somewhere out of eye sight.  We will get back to this pile later.
  2. Second, separate your tops, bottoms and dresses and put them together.  This will make putting an outfit together so much easier, and you will begin to see holes in your wardrobe that you never noticed before.
  3. Third, within your tops, organize them so that the short sleeved tops are together and the long sleeved tops are together.  If you have both summer and winter in your closet, also separate them by season so the summer are together and winter are together.  Do this same thing with your bottoms.  Put your leggings, slacks, jeans together by category and season. Last finish with your dresses.  Put your sleeveless, short sleeved and long sleeved dresses together and separate them by season.
  4. Fourth, color code each section.  Do you remember learning how the memorize the colors of the rainbow with the ROYGBIV acronym?  It stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  Put each section, for example short sleeve tops, into this color order.  Keep the hues together: pinks go with reds, turquoise with blue or green depending on the color, etc.  Finish with your neutrals in this order: white, tan, brown, grey, black.  When you are finished, you should have each section organized by color.
  5. Fifth, now let’s tackle that pile from step one.  First go through it and separate out any item that is out of date, pilled, stained, torn, un-hemmed, etc.  These go in the donate pile.  Then, consider each remaining item carefully.  If it is a classic piece, like a black blazer, keep it.  If you love it and can’t part with it, keep it one more season, but if you haven’t worn it when you repeat this process next year, donate it.

Now, stand back and admire all your hard work.  You now should be able to clearly see what you have and what you don’t.  What do you notice.  You probably can quickly see that you tend to buy certain colors.  You might notice that you are really short on blouses but have a ton of pull over tops.  Or you may see that you need some more long sleeve tops.  Perhaps you have too many jeans.  When your closet is organized, it will talk to you, and you can be a smart shopper in filling in holes rather than just buying because you love it.

The other benefit to this process is ease of putting outfits together.  Now, when you choose your slacks for your work day, you can go to your jacket section and choose one that matches and then to your shell section and choose a coordinating shell.  No more searching through an unorganized mess.

If you’re feeling really industrious, why not do this with your purses and shoes too?  Believe me, it is worth the effort!

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!

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

 

10 Steps To Being A Smart Shopper

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We 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, well, encouraging.  So, in the spirit of getting right down to it, here are my 10 simple steps to becoming a smart shopper.

Step 1: organize your closet.  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 is totally OCD, but I am completely convinced it will make getting dressed in the morning so much easier.    First, go through your clothing and separate out everything you haven’t worn in a year.  Next, separate your tops, pants, skirts and dresses into different areas of your closet.  Then, separate your winter items from your summer items within each category.  At the end of this step, you should have all your tops together, all your winter pants together, all your summer pants together, and so forth.  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.  Now, 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 unless they are out of date.  Donate the rest.  Whew….sit down and rest a bit.

Why, you ask, did I have you go through that arduous 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 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 your eye.

Step 3: shop with a color palate.  This step 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, including your accessories like purses and coats.

Step 4: 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: 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: 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 it 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: 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 most of us to disassociate what we feel is stylish for what actually looks good on someone.  This is where a professional comes in who has been trained how to help you shop.  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 it’s right or wrong?

Step 8: buy a complete outfit rather than pieces.  Nothing is worse than buying something amazing at the store only to discover that you have absolutely nothing to wear it with when you get home.  Worse yet are the various orphans in your closet that you were sure would match that pair of pants but didn’t and so just hang there…waiting.  You can avoid this scenario by buying an entire outfit from the start, including the accessories needed to complete it.  After all, good dressing isn’t just about the top and bottom you are wearing; it is about the complete look with the appropriate shoes, accessories, handbag and coat.  Not sure you agree with me?  Have you ever seen someone put a Columbia parka over a dress?  Sadly, I have.

Step 9: focus on building your basics first and then add the trends.  Make sure you have the bones of a good wardrobe – one or two pairs of black pants, a black blazer, a black skirt, and several nice blouses or tops that can work back with all of your basic bottoms.  Then begin adding other neutrals like browns and navy, all according to your color palate.  Make sure you have a nice casual coat and a nice dress coat.  Be sure you have shoes that coordinate with your wardrobe and are appropriate for dressing up or work.  Once you have this foundation, you can start spending money on trends like cold shoulder tops, embroidered bottoms, and the like.

And finally, step 10: don’t wait for sales to get your workhorse pieces.  There are items in your closet that wear out the fastest because you wear them the most.  Your basic black items are usually among these.  Don’t settle for less than wonderful on your workhorse items.  These are the things you splurge on to get the absolute best quality you can afford.  At the end of the day, quality = longevity.  The better quality fabrics and workmanship of higher priced items will hold up in the washing machine and will with stand wear much better than cheaper items.  Spend your money where it counts.  For these pieces shop in the prime season so you get the best selection of sizes and the most choices.  This means shopping in March and April for summer items and September and October for winter items.

Are You A Warm Or A Cool?

22154CB-3-Matrix-Likity-Split-Top-27120-Pivot-Pant-2-720x1080My journey with color began almost as soon as my career in fashion.  One of the most common questions women ask me is how a certain color looks on them.  “Do you think this color makes me look too pale?” or “What do you think of this color on me?” are questions I answer almost every day.  About ten years ago, I decided to invest in getting my own colors done professionally in an effort to learn all I could about diagnosing colors for my customers.  My own color analysis began with the draping of sheets over my shoulders – one silver and one gold.  This test determined the undertone of my skin.  From there, the next forty minutes were spent in holding different swatches of fabric next to my eyes and looking carefully to see if each one made my eyes bright or dull.  This process produced my color palate, and I have been using it ever since.

What I discovered about having my colors done is that shopping changed and so did my closet.  I first went through and pulled out every piece of clothing that wasn’t in my palate.  That was difficult because some of my favorite items ended up in the donate pile.  But a surprising benefit occurred too.  When I stood back and looked at my now greatly reduced choices, I could see how everything went with everything else.  I no longer had to worry about hanging my clothes by outfit.  Now, I could hang them by category and choose any bottom or top I wanted, feeling confident that they would coordinate perfectly.  Best yet, I knew my shoes, jewelry and handbags would also complete the look.  It was a revelation to me, and I have been encouraging women to spend the money to get their colors done ever since.

So, in my Fashionable Friday video series about how to dress your best, I knew I would want to do a video on how to choose your best colors.  My research into the process began with a copy of Color Me Beautiful which was first published in the 50’s and is the iconic book that places people in one of four seasons: Winter, Spring, Autumn and Summer.  I also looked the topic up online to see what modern articles were saying about color.  While I found that most new information on this topic has ditched the four seasons and now just refers to people as cool, warm and neutral, the basics of color analysis have not changed much since Color Me Beautiful was written.

There are several tests that you can do to determine if your skin has warm or cool undertones.  First, there is the drape test.  Take a piece of tinfoil and another piece of golden foil.  Remove all your makeup, and stand in front of a mirror in natural light.  Drape the silver foil around your face and then observe the following things: your eyes, your teeth, the darkness under your eyes and the smoothness of your skin.  Then take the golden foil and do the same thing.  Which ever one is better for you will make your eyes brighter, your teeth whiter, your skin smoother and the dark circles under your eyes less noticeable.  If it is the silver foil that makes you look your best, you are cool toned.  If it is the gold, you are warm toned.

The next two tests are quicker.  In the same natural light, look at the veins on the under side of your wrists.  If you are warm toned, they will appear green.  If you are cool toned, they will appear blue.  If you are still not sure, recruit a friend to look behind your ear.  Yes, behind your ear.  Look at the skin in the crease created by your upper ear and your skull.  If the skin appears yellow, you are warm toned.  If it is pink, you are cool toned.

Now the really hard work is done.  All that remains is to understand your value, either light or dark, and then get to the business of finding the best colors for you.  If you want to know more about this topic and see some examples of specific color palates, watch the video.  It really is worth your time to figure out what colors compliment your skin and avoid the days when five people ask you if you are tired or sick when you feel just fine!