Spring 2021 Shoe Trends

Here in Wyoming, our toes are itching to get out of all of our closed toe boots that characterize our winter months. A little sunshine and warmer temperatures, and you’ll see us digging out those summery shoes – even if it means cold feet! And when the summer shoes come out, it’s time to start thinking about the latest shoe trends and whether some new shoes might be needed for the season.

In this blog post, I wanted to share some of the most wearable shoe trends for Spring 2021. You can watch my Wednesday Wardrobing Video here for more info and a live explanation of these trends.

  1. Woven: This trend is defined by the fabric and or fiber used to create the straps of the shoe. Natural fibers such as woven fabrics in neutral tones are an important trend in shoes this season. I love this trend because any flesh toned shoe is effortless to pair with clothing, as they will work well with most items as long as the style of the shoe is a correct choice for the outfit. Since natural fibers do tend to be more casual, keep that in mind as you are making pairing choices. Also, some natural fibers are warmer and some are cooler. Consider the tone of the fiber as you are putting your outfits together and keep it consistent: cool with cool and warm with warm.
  2. Animal Prints: Those animal prints will just not go away, and you’ll continue to see them on shoes this season. Whether it is an all over animal print tennis shoe or just a touch of animal print as an accent, leopard, cheetah and zebra prints are strong for the season.
  3. Funky Tennis Shoes: We love our comfy tennis shoes, and they continue to be a strong trend. Keep them funky and as a statement piece in your outfit to stay edgy. An example would be the all over animal print tennis shoes pictured here. When wearing a shoe as a statement piece, keep the rest of your look toned down and let the statement piece be the true star of the show.
  4. Platforms and Embellishments: Platform bottoms are coming on strong in shoes. If you don’t know, platforms are an obviously thick sole usually between 1 to 4 inches in height. The wedge styles pictured above qualify as platforms. In addition to the thick sole, these shoes also have metal studs as embellishments, another key trend in shoes this season.
  5. Outdoor: I honestly had a chuckle when I came across this trend. Here in Wyoming, the capital of the outdoor shoe, what we consider outdoor and what style trend setters consider outdoor are not the same! But for the sake of language, I will stick with the term. What shoe trend bloggers called the “outdoor” trend is really Birkenstock sandals or shoes that look like Birkenstocks. I even saw one picture of a gal wearing turquoise fuzzy socks with red Birkenstock sandals and a skirt! That is a bit too edgy for us conservatives here in Wyoming, but the basic concept of a Birkenstock sandal is something we can definitely get behind, bare footed, of course.
  6. Mixed Metals: Shiny metals are a key trend in clothing this summer, so it is not surprising to see that trend in shoes as well. Look for metals like copper, gold and pewter to be used in shoe designs. What I love about metal tones is they are neutral and are easy to pair with a multitude of looks.
  7. Loafers: If you want a comfy summer shoe, look no further than any of the multitude of loafer styles that are popular this season! These shoes are characterized by no lace or fastener and by the fact that they just slip on your feet.

All of these styles work very well with the ankle length trend. Make sure your hemline hits an inch above your ankle bone for the correct look. Try loafers or tennis shoes with dresses for a younger looking style. Wedge sandals have the added bonus of elongating your legs and so are an excellent choice for dresses or shorts.

Spring 2021 Trends That A Wyoming Girl Would Wear

I mean no disrespect by my title. Some of the season’s trends like feathered skirts, exposed bralettes and exaggerated stand up collars will be worn by someone, just not here in Wyoming. And to you I say, “go for it and rock it.” If we Wyoming girls stretch out towards the edgier trends, we look like a transplant, and Wyoming folks are suspicious of transplants…we’re scared you might try to change our way of life, which we love. So, this blog is really about the latest Spring 2021 trends that I will likely see on the streets of Casper, Wyoming and the ones that I have bought for my store. That is in no way to characterize Wyoming women as un-trendy; on the contrary, our version of trendy is just mountain west trendy as opposed to New York or California trendy. And there is a difference. So, here you go…my top ten Spring 2021 trends that we will wear:

  1. Button Down Oversized Blouses (top and bottom right). I think “slouchy” might be an appropriate term to describe the trends of 2021. The oversized blouse trend includes both longer button ups as well as blouses that literally look a couple of sizes too big. These comfy blouses are perfect worn with oversized jeans like girlfriend jeans or leggings. To keep from looking shapeless, do a front tuck, tie or twist with your blouse into your jeans so that the front of your jeans shows.
  2. Belted Waists (top middle): Last season was all about the tie front details on blouses. This season will highlight the waist with belted details and peplums that show your shape. If your belts have been gathering dust in your closet, this is the season to pull them out, dust them off, and start belting your blouses, dresses, coats and whatever else you can find that looks great with a belt.
  3. Tie Dye (bottom middle): This classic “do it yourself” fashion saw us through much of 2020. I listened to a podcast this morning, and the host talked about wearing tie dyed jogger suits all last year while she was quarantined at home. There is no slow down to this look for 2021 so keep wearing your tie dye pieces that you bought last year.
  4. Wide Legged pants (bottom left): Another style trend that is continuing from 2020 is the wide legged pant. Yet another “slouchy” style, this pant trend screams comfort and ease. As with the oversized blouse and jean trend, you have to balance the wide legs with a tucked, belted or tailored top that comes in at the waist. This will keep you from looking boxy.
  5. Sheer styles (top middle): Sheer fabrics will be a key fabric trend this season, lending to a light and airy option for tops. You’ll see everything from chiffon to mesh and peek-a-boo tanks.
  6. Floral Prints (top left): The print trends for the season are definitely feminine with floral prints taking center stage. Look for all over floral tops and dresses as well as floral prints on jackets and accessories.
  7. Khaki: This color and style will be significant this season. Look for khaki pants, especially trouser styles as an important way to wear this look. Pair khaki up with chambray or dark denim for a classic style.
  8. Oversized Jeans: Yet another “slouchy” trend this season is the oversized jean trend. We’ve seen variations of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” jeans for several seasons now, and this style looks like it will continue to be strong. Look for distressed styles with holes and patches.
  9. Cream or Ivory mono-chromatic outfits: Head to toe white, ivory or cream is a lovely look for special events, as it exudes class. Look for all white dresses as well as ivory top and slack sets.
  10. Cut Outs: We saw cut outs begin with the “cold shoulder” trend of several seasons ago. It has morphed into cut outs occurring any where on a garment, including the neck. midriff, side, and shoulder. This added detail has one purpose: to show skin and draw the eye to a particular part of the body. Be sure your cut out items are focusing the eye on a part of your body you love.

The season’s trends are in direct relation to Covid19 and the political unrest of 2020. As we are still coping with many of the restrictions and complications from the pandemic, our lives feel smaller, somehow. The slouchy styles embrace a more casual, stay at home lifestyle and allow us to hide any extra weight we might have gained last year. They are the equivalent of comfort food…pieces you will love to put on that make you feel relaxed. The softer, feminine floral prints and sheer chiffon fabrics remind us of gardens and carefree days, something we are all missing. The focus on white, ivory and cream signals purity and innocence, things we worry might be gone forever. And in the midst of all of this we have tie dye, an iconic reminder of the turbulent 70s but also a style that signals freedom from constraints.

I’d love to hear the trends you are excited about. If you’d like to watch a live video on this topic, tune into my weekly Wednesday Night Wardrobing videos where I discuss the latest trends as well as fashion know how. Tonight’s video can be seen in our VIP Facebook group. It will air at 6 p.m. MST. You can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/events/174482441137123

Spring 2021 Top Fashion Colors

Picture from Pantone.com

That Pantone chose Ultimate Gray (or Pandemic Gray) and Illuminating Yellow as the 2021 colors of the year says so much about the psyche of our nation and world as we still face an alarming death toll from the Covid19 Pandemic while cautiously and anxiously hoping for brighter days. It has always been interesting to me how colors in both fashion and design often mimic the political and social climate from which they come. This spring’s color palate is both earthy and exuberant, indicating a need to feel both grounded and hopeful.

Perhaps it is because I am a Wyoming girl with strong roots in this state (my dad’s family homesteaded here) or because I am a mountain girl dreaming of backpacking next summer that this season’s key colors remind me of a field of lovely spring wild flowers. I’ve seen open fields in late June adorned with flowers in these same bright pinks, oranges, yellows, blues and purples. And yet, there is also the toasted coral and rust as well as the warm tan and olive that remind me of the forest floor layered with pine needles and organic matter that cushions my feet as I walk across it. For me, there is no place more serene than the mountains, and after 2020, I am looking for serene wherever I can find it. I am excited about both extremes in the color palate for spring 2021, as I too am finding myself seeking both grounding and hope.

As you plan your spring wardrobe, I hope you will add colors from both categories this year. All of the top colors in the picture above can be used for tops or as accents. “Raspberry Sorbet,” “Illuminating Yellow,” “Green Ash,” “Mint,” “Cerulean,” “French Blue,” and “Amethyst” will all pair beautifully with “Ultimate Gray” or “Inkwell.” For a warmer palate, choose “Burnt Coral” and “Rust” and also “Marigold,” and pair them with the lovely “Desert Mist” tan or even the warm olive “Willow.” The easy to wear “Buttercream” also makes a lovely choice as a neutral bottom and would be especially pretty with “Burnt Coral” and “Desert Mist.”

To see examples of these colors, watch my live Wednesday Wardrobing video tonight at 6 p.m. MST. To watch, join our VIP Facebook Group called Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas.

Closet Clean Out Step 4: Organize Those Accessories!

Once you have taken the time to get your clothing organized by using my 3 step closet clean out process, you might now be ready to take on those unruly accessories. If the goal of a cleaned out and organized closet is ease of dressing, then we cannot claim success until grabbing the perfect necklace, scarf or shoe is also just as easy as grabbing the top and bottom. The process for organizing your accessories is very similar to the one I taught you for your clothing. Here are the steps:

  1. Organize by color: When you put your outfits together, you are building a “color story.” In most instances, you choose a neutral bottom color and then pop it with a top and layer. Your accessories are just an added layer in that palate. Thus, to make grabbing the correct accessory easy, your most important organization strategy is to separate them by color.

Take necklaces, as an example. For many of us, our accessories are in basket or drawer that we have to dig through to find what we need. I suggest, instead, finding a way to hang necklaces in your closet on some type of multi-pegged hanger. You can buy a wooden peg coat rack, as an example, if you don’t have a ton of jewelry to organize. If you have more, look for a peg board or closet addition that has multiple pegs. Then, take all of your necklaces out and begin laying them out on the bed. Put all the like colors together using the colors of the rainbow as a guide (ROYGBIV: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

2. Organize by length/shape: Once you have an accessory category separated by color, the next step is to put them in order from shortest to longest or smallest to biggest.

In our necklace example from above, depending upon the length of your pegs, you may be able to fit 2-4 necklaces on a single peg. Put the longest in the back and then work your way forward to the shortest. This will allow you to see what you have even when you have several necklaces hanging together.

3. Lastly, organize your accessories by type. You can choose casual and dressy, heels and flats, satchels and duffels, neck scarves and long scarves, etc.

Continuing with the necklace example, put your casual necklaces together and your dressier necklaces together, all the while keeping them in their color and length order. You might have a peg with blue dressy necklaces organized from shortest to longest and a peg with blue casual necklaces together organized by shortest to longest. A helpful benefit of doing this is you will instantly be able to see what can be easily layered and worn together.

For earrings, you can easily organize by both color and type. I have a jewelry chest that has a drawer with boxes. I have organized all my earrings by color within these boxes. This same chest also has drawers with larger boxes. I use these for my bracelet, necklace and earring sets so they always stay together. I also have a top portion where I put all my gold and silver “every day” earrings.

An ingenious way to organize your scarves is with a scarf hanger. This is essentially a grid of metal circles all joined together and attached to a hanger. You can put your scarves on the circles using a slip knot, and when you are done, you can clearly see what scarves you have. I also recommend organizing scarves by color and length. If you have a lot of scarves, you might want to consider getting a separate scarf hanger for each type of scarf: short, long, and shawl.

I love to organize my shoes with an inexpensive cabinet I found at Target that has rows of boxes, each one big enough for one pair of shoes. I have my summer and winter shoes separated so I know exactly where I need to go to find the shoe I am looking for. I can also use the rows of boxes to organize by color, starting on the far left with red and moving right and down through the colors of the rainbow.

Purses can also be organized by color and size. They work well standing up, so if you have any shelves in your closet that are good for folded things, these will also work well for your handbags. Follow the same principles: first organize by color and second organize by size so you have your smallest purses on one side and your largest purses on the other.

Once you have everything organized, stand back and take stock. Are there any accessories that just stick out like a sore thumb? Maybe 95% of your necklaces are neutrals but there is one in neon, as an example. Ask yourself if you have anything to match that necklace. Chances are, you may have bought it for a specific outfit that you might not still have. Do the same with your scarves, shoes and purses. The ideal closet is organized not only around color but around colors that look good on you! If you have things in there that are not serving you, get rid of them! When you do this, getting dressed in the morning is a breeze because everything you have matches everything else you have.

My last tip for the perfectly organized closet is to create a space where you can hang your outfit for the next day each night before you go to bed. A logical place in on the back of your closet door because it will allow you to have enough space to see both your top and bottom. Don’t just pick out a top, bottom and layering piece; pick out an outfit that will make you feel great, including the perfectly matched accessories!

If you’d like to see me explain this process in person, watch me live tonight at 6 p.m. in our VIP Facebook Group.

Re-Fill: Step 3 To A Closet That Makes Sense

pearsonphoto2018_010

So here is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and this is why you have faithfully gone through Get Organized: Step 1 To A Closet That Makes Sense and Refresh and Renew: Step 2 To A Closet That Makes Sense .  Now, you are truly ready to take advantage of your newly organized and cleaned out closet.  If you would like, you can join our VIP Facebook Group, Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas , and watch my videos explaining the process.  I will be airing Step 3 live this Wednesday at 6 p.m.  You can get entered to win a $20 gift card to our stores by watching all the videos and commenting with your biggest take-away.  

The goal for today’s time spent in your closet is to create a “Buying List” where you will record all the things you need to shop for in the future.  I recommend that you carry this list with you in your purse for those unplanned shopping days.  It will keep you on track to purchase the things you need, and, as a result, you will be a smarter shopper who avoids bringing items home that have to be eliminated in your next closet clean out!

Please grab a piece of paper and divide it into 3 Categories:

  1. Basics I Need
  2. Items that Need Matches
  3. Trends I Want To Buy

BASICS I NEED:

This section of your list should include all the core basics that are missing from your closet or need to be replaced.  Basics include solid neutrals such as grey, black, white, tan, navy, brown.  Take a moment to take stock of your sleeved and sleeveless tops, jackets, skirts and pants.  Are there any that you didn’t pull out but that are wearing out? If yes, write this down on your list.  Other items in this category might be classic prints and fabrics like Hounds-tooth,  tweed, some basic plaids, etc. Also consider your layering pieces.  Are there any jackets that need basic tops to complete them? Do you have any basic slacks that lack a coordinating blouse or top? Do you have a good white blouse? Do you have a basic black dress that can be dressed up or down? Do you have a nice pair of black work slacks? What about your shoes? Do any of these need to be replaced? This step should produce the biggest portion of your list because these are the core items in your closet that work back and forth with everything else.  These are the things that you should spend more money on and focus on getting quality that will last.

ITEMS THAT NEED MATCHES:

This section of your list is for all those printed items that need a match to make them work.  Is a there a jacket that you don’t wear enough because you don’t really like the top that goes with it? Write that down.  Is there a printed skirt that needs a top to match?  Maybe you eliminated a top that you always wore with that skirt in steps one or two of this 3 step process.  Now you need to replace that top.  Write it down on your list.  It is also helpful to take pictures of any printed items so when you get to the store you can remember what colors are in the print.  Better yet, however, is to set some time aside to go “match shopping” and bring all of your items with you so you can see not only how the colors work but also how fabric textures and styles work as well.  Try new items on with your old items and see how they work together before you buy them.

TRENDS I WANT TO BUY:

Make sure you leave some room in your closet for current trends that will keep your wardrobe updated.  Take some time to read trend reports (I’ll have one coming in the near future), and identify your favorite trends of the season.  Write these down so the next time you are shopping, you can pull out your list and remind yourself what you need to look for.  Trendy items can be less expensive because they are the most likely to come and go quickly and won’t need to stand the test of time.  Just keep in mind, the lighter the fabric, the more it will show your figure flaws.  Usually, the thicker (not stiffer) the fabric, the better the drape will be and the better job the item will do of disguising extra weight.

So that’s it.  You’ve made it!  Wow! Great job! I’d love to hear your feedback on your biggest “ah ah” moments from going through this process.  And now…happy shopping!

Next week, I’ll be adding a bonus step focused on getting your jewelry, scarves, handbags and shoes organized too!

Refresh and Renew: Step 2 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense

pearsonphoto2018_010I hope you have enjoyed your newly organized closet! If you missed joining me for Get Organized: Step 1 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense, you can read my blog post about how to do that here or you can watch my live video from my weekly Wednesday Night Wardrobing video from last week here.

I performed step 1 on my own closet, and it felt good to get things organized.  I eliminated about 15 items that I knew I would never wear again.  They were cluttering my closet, and having the extra space feels good! Heck, now I have the room to buy more…smile!

For those of you who are ready for step 2 in creating a closet that makes sense, this week’s step is called refresh and renew because we are going to take a hard look at what you kept.  I am guessing there were some items that you didn’t pull out because you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of them or because you rationalized their value in your wardrobe and the potential that you will…someday…wear them again.  I know you did this because I did the same thing.  This week, I have challenged myself to wear some of those “sacred cows,” as I call them.  If I can create an outfit that I like with them, they get to stay, but if not, they have to go.

As I have analyzed the top 10 rationalizations I used to determine which items to keep, I think they are probably some of the same ones you use too.  For me, these are the main arguments for hanging on:

  1. I might lose weight and be able to wear this again.
  2. If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered I would wear it again.
  3. This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?
  4. I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value.
  5. I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day.
  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.
  7. I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming!
  8. This is a classic that never goes out of style.
  9. I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight.
  10. I just bought this item last year, so it is a waste of money to get rid of it.

Do any of these excuses seem familiar? Building from this, I think we can create a list of corresponding questions that will help you evaluate what you kept to determine if those items really do need to stay in your closet another year.  So, here is what I want you to do: go through your closet and gather up all your “sacred cows” (the items that you have probably considered letting loose before now but always talk yourself out of) and every other item you did not wear in 2019.  Take them out of your closet into another room and then, one by one, answer the following questions for each item:

  1. I might lose weight and be able to wear this again. Is this item either my current size, ONE size bigger,  or ONE size smaller than I wear today? If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  2. If I would just take this to a tailor and get it altered, I would wear it again. Can I take this item to a tailor in the next 10 days? If the answer is “yes,” put this date on your calendar and keep it.  If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  3. This is still fashionable, and I still love it, so how can I let it go?  If the item is still in fashion and you still love it but haven’t worn it in a year, you need to evaluate why.  Take a minute now and try it on.  Maybe there is just a fit issue that you don’t like.  Perhaps it clings too much in the wrong places.  Maybe it is itchy.  Maybe it drains the color out of your face.  If you discover any issue with the item that has been keeping you from wearing it, it goes.
  4. I wore this item for my anniversary with my husband so I should keep it for sentimental value. This one is tough.  We tend to attach sentimental value to items we wore for special events, and we hold on to them for that reason.  For me, the decision to keep these items is really about space.  Do you have the space to hold onto items that you will probably never wear again? If the answer is no, it goes.  Is there another place that you could store them, say perhaps a cedar chest? If the answer is yes, move it.
  5. I might need this for a party, vacation, or special event some day. So I am particularly bad about number 5.  I had dresses I hadn’t worn in more than a year (and that I didn’t wear on my last beach vacation) that I was saving for my next beach vacation.  I had a hard talk with myself and they ended up in the “donate” pile.  After all, part of the fun of a vacation is buying something new for it.  Do you know for sure that you are taking a vacation or having a special event in 2020 that you would wear the item to? If the answer is “no,” it goes.
  6. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this any more, but I could wear it around the house or when I go camping.  Do you already have enough “wear around the house” or “painting” or “cleaning” or “camping” items? (I’m guessing your answer will be “yes.”) Are any of those worn out? (probably yes again.) Consider adding these items to your comfy group after you have thrown some others out.
  7. I can’t have too many sweaters, vests and coats; I live in Wyoming! Yes, hoarding coats and sweaters when you live in a state that has 6 months of winter seems to make sense, however, how many coats do you really need? Let me help you out: 1 long dress coat, 1 3/4 length dress coat, 1 casual coat, 1 sport coat (like a skiing jacket), and 1 spring coat.  Okay, okay…maybe you can add 1 trendy coat, but I’m giving you that one, coat hoarder….I’m speaking to myself here.  Coats are especially needed by the poor and disadvantaged, so that is even more incentive to get rid of them.  As far as sweaters go, if you didn’t wear it last year….guess what….it goes.
  8. This is a classic that never goes out of style. Another particularly tempting rationalization for me is the “you should never get rid of a classic” argument.  Well, here’s what I know about clothing from having been in this business for over twenty years.  Even when manufacturers and designers bring back a classic like the blazer, they change it just enough to make the older ones seem out of date.  The changes are small things like length, number of buttons, collar style, sleeve length, etc., but they are just enough to cause your “classic” item to become “vintage.”  Here’s my rule for “classic pieces:” if you haven’t worn it in the last TWO years, it goes.  Oh, and just in case you need to know what items qualify as “classic,” here is a list: blazers; solid collared, button up blouses; layering pieces like tanks, turtle necks and light weight sweaters; suit skirts in neutral colors; slacks in neutral colors; basic black dresses.
  9. I can’t fit in this anymore, but I will use it as “motivation” to lose weight. Okay ladies, I’m going to be in your business a little here.  Pardon me.  I have your best interests at heart, I promise.  Our bodies change as we age.  At 48, I am going through this very thing myself.  There are certain aspects of my body that will never look the same as they did five or ten years ago.  I am a BIG advocate for staying active and healthy, however, I am also realizing that I need to let some expectations about my body go.  Size 4 may be gone for me…I don’t know.  I’m working on it to see.  But, I definitely know size 2 is out, and I don’t want to work that hard to get back there any way.  If it is too tight or too small for me to get into, it goes.
  10. I just bought this item last year, so it is a waste of money to get rid of it.  We ALL make buying mistakes.  Who knows why we do it? Maybe we were influenced by a shopping partner or we were in the mood for something new or out of the box that day.  Whatever it was that caused us to buy it, we have questioned that decision ever since.  As an example, I pulled a pair of floral wrap pants out of my closet during the first step of this process that I just bought last summer.  I wore them once and then passed them up the rest of the season.  Why? They really weren’t me.  If it’s new, but you keep passing it by for other things when you get dressed in the morning, it goes.

Okay, that’s it.  These are the top 10 rationalizations I have made (and I’m guessing you have made) and my answers for them.

If you want to watch my video explaining this process, you will be able to see that this Wednesday in our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Facebook Group here.

Get Organized: Step 1 To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense 

pearsonphoto2018_102It’s a New Year.  How about a New You? With a year full of possibilities ahead, why not shake off that dead weight? I don’t know about you, cleaning out the old and bringing in the new feels like a great way to start the year.  That’s why I am doing a “New Year New You Challenge.” Want to know more? Read on…

There is something about getting organized that is so refreshing.  Shedding clutter makes me feel lighter, what about you? One of the most important places to get organized is in your closet.  We all know the frustration of searching for an outfit in the morning and pulling out item after item that is worn out, too big, too small or out dated.  Ugh.

I have a three-step system that I use every year in my own closet that is very effective in weeding out the items that I don’t wear and identifying items that require a match or another item to make them work more efficiently in my wardrobe.  I also find that when I take the time to apply these three simple steps, when I am finished, I can clearly see what I have and what I need.  Suddenly, I see new outfit options that I hadn’t noticed before because everything is organized in a way that makes sense.

This blog post is the first in a series of three Make Your Closet Make Sense tutorials that will take you through this process, and hopefully, have you feeling lighter and de-cluttered as well as excited about your closet and shopping opportunities again.  I’ll be recording a video of today’s blog post tomorrow during my weekly Wednesday Night Wardrobing Live Videos broadcast within our VIP Facebook Group, Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas.

So let’s dig in.

First, do me and yourself a favor.  As you complete the following steps, if you come across an item that you KNOW you will never wear again, pull it out now.  Don’t get bogged down yet in trying to decide about those scared cows…you know, the things you just can’t seem to let go of even though you haven’t worn them in 3 years.  We will deal with those in our next video.

Now, down to business.  The first step is to organize your closet by type.  First, separate your tops from your bottoms.  Put dresses in a separate section.  Now, organize your tops by sleeve length – short, ¾ and long.  Next, separate your tops by type.  Within the sleeve length grouping, separate the collared blouses from the pull overs.  If you have more than one season in the same closet, also separate summer from winter within each of the groups.  When you are finished, you should have your sleeveless tops grouped together.  Next should come your short sleeve tops and then your long sleeved tops, summer together and winter together.

Now do the same thing with your bottoms. Start with shorts and move to capris, ankle pants and long pants.  Then, within each group, separate by fabric.  Put your denim together, cottons together, slacks together, etc.  Then tackle your skirts, and organize them from shortest to longest.

I bet you feel lighter already! One more step! Now, within each group, organize them by color using the acronym ROYGBIV.  This stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  Group like colors together.  For example, your pink tops will go next to the reds and your turquoise tops will go next to green or blue, depending on what hue the turquoise is.  Put your black, white and brown at the end.  Group your ivory and cream after white.  Next come the tans and browns.  Last, put your greys after the blacks.

Now, go have a glass of wine! You did it!

You have a week to enjoy your newly organized closet.  Watch for my next blog post and video called Refresh and Evaluate: Step Two To Creating A Closet That Makes Sense.  In these tutorials, we will take a look at what you have and figure out what you need to get rid of and what you need to keep.

To watch my weekly Wednesday Night Wardrobing live videos where I will explain in more detail each of the steps, join my Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas VIP group page on Facebook and tune in tomorrow night at 5 p.m. MST.  I’ll be doing some fun giveaways at the end of the three part series which I will explain in tomorrow night’s video.

Happy organizing!

5 Tips For Avoiding Confrontation When You Need To Return An Item

She walked in angrily and responded with a short tempered “no” when I asked her if she needed help finding anything. Moving from rack to rack like a butterfly landing on a flower, she stayed only a moment and then moved on to the next rack. Something was definitely bothering her, so I decided to try to break the ice with some chit chat and asked her how her holiday celebrations had gone. She opened up right away and told me about having both kids and their families home for Christmas. We talked about my having just come back from visiting my mother in law and how we had made the difficult decision to travel despite Covid because her health has been poor this year. My opening up about my life helped, and pretty soon we were chatting about 2020 and how difficult it had been. Eventually the conversation trailed off, and after a comfortable silence, she said,

“I’m just really trying to cool off right now.”

I responded, “Oh, are you having a bad day?”

“Yes.” She said and then continued. “My son bought me a top that is too big, and I just found out the store won’t even give me an exchange because I don’t have the receipt.”

“Wow…,” I said, honestly surprised. “Not even a store credit?” I asked.

“Not without the receipt,” she emphasized.

“Hmmm, that is surprising, “I said, trying to be sympathetic. “Most people don’t give receipts with their gifts unless it is a gift receipt.”

“Exactly,” she responded. “I will never shop at that store again, and I am going to tell everyone I know.”

This whole conversation got me thinking about what we in the industry not so affectionately call “Returns Week From Hell.” The week after Christmas is a stressful one for retailers, as customers bring back presents that were wrong or they didn’t like. Sometimes they even take out their frustrations over wrong gifts on us. There have been times when I have ended the day in the hole, which feels pretty discouraging. To be honest, I understand where this business owner was coming from. Most of us have multiple sales and promotions before the holidays. Without the receipt, it is impossible to know if the customer bought the present on sale or at full price. Without this information, it makes it really hard to know how much to give as a return, exchange or store credit.

Still, in my opinion, it is better to loose the $10 from a sale price than to loose a customer. I’m pretty sure that small business will never see this customer again, and she spent almost $200 in my store yesterday. What is worse is that her only form of retaliation is to tell everyone she knows about this experience. This may mean a rant on social media or just conversations with five to ten friends. This is short term thinking on the part of the small business owner. Long term thinking always preserves the relationship with the customer. To me, it just isn’t worth it.

With all of this in mind, I thought it may be helpful for me to write a blog with some suggestions that might help you avoid getting angry at a business over a return gone wrong.

  1. Call ahead and find out what the return policy is. A simple phone call can give you valuable information to help avoid a confrontation. If the business requires a receipt, you can consider if you want to tell your family member that you need to return the item, and see if he or she saved the receipt. Most businesses will also accept a credit card statement as well. In my store, if you know the date and amount of the sale, we can look up the receipt.
  2. Be nice. You know the saying that you get more with honey than with vinegar? It is especially true during return week. Understand that retailers are already stressed, especially this year. Ask to speak to the owner and explain your situation. Show that you also understand their position as well. Ask if there is any compromise for the situation. Only the most hardened business owners will say to “no” to this type of approach. Try to avoid threatening behavior. I know there has been times I have dug my heels in with a hard no simply because the customer was abusive and it pissed me off. Just saying….
  3. Be aware of credit card laws. Credit card companies require us to refund to the same credit card that was used to make the purchase. If we don’t follow this rule, they can deny the return. If you are bringing back a present that was purchased with a credit card, make sure you also have the credit card number that was used to make the purchase. If you don’t have it, be prepared to receive an exchange or store credit instead of a return.
  4. Don’t shoot the messenger. Often times customers get angry with sales people when a return doesn’t go as expected. Recognize that employees usually don’t have the authority to over-ride a store policy. If you are dis-satisfied, try to avoid taking it out on someone who can’t change the rules. Ask to speak to a manager or owner instead.
  5. Ask for a store credit. If you cannot find an item you wish to exchange on the day of your return, ask for a store credit or gift card so you can come back on another day. I know that I want my customers to be happy with what they have purchased and not feel pressured to get something just for the sake of doing an exchange. I am always happy to accommodate them with either a gift card or store credit.

Returns don’t have to be a negative experience for you or the small business. As with everything in life, a spirit of kindness and cooperation is a huge help in resolving disputes. We all need each other. You don’t want to have to shop online for everything you need, and small businesses cannot survive without customers. Actually, a dispute is an excellent opportunity to forge a great bond. Some of my most loyal customers were made when I went out of my way to make sure they were happy with a situation. Happy returns!

Tips and Ticks For Choosing The Best Jean For Your Body

Of all the bottoms on the market, jeans are probably the most complicated to buy. Very few other pants offer so many choices in fit. Buying a single pair of jeans requires you to make a myriad of choices. Do you want a slim fit to loose fit like a boyfriend jean? Do you want a low, medium, high rise or the ultra high “mom jean?” What inseam length do you need? Do you want a skinny, straight or bootcut? Do you want an ankle jean, petite or regular? Do you want a light, medium or dark wash? And on and on….

Honestly, it reminds me of ordering coffee at Starbucks….”Can I please have a grande, vanilla, almond milk latte or would it be a grande, almond milk latte with a shot of vanilla? It gives me anxiety. I’ve seen customers get equally flummoxed at trying to tell me what they want in a jean, and I don’t blame them.

In this blog post, I will try to demystify jean buying and help walk you through making the best jean choice for your body.

  1. Let’s talk fit…Right now, jeans can be purchased in a variety of fits from slim fits that hug the body like a legging to looser fits that look like you are wearing your fella’s jeans. There are also wide legged, high waisted varieties that look like they stepped right out of the seventies. Choosing a fit is about your desired level of trendiness and your body shape. The trendiest jeans styles this season are slim legged ankle jeans, loose fitting and beat up boyfriend jeans, and wide legged culottes. If you are shorter, I would avoid the wider legged styles, as they are trickier to wear and can have a tendency to make shorter people look dumpy. If you have thicker legs, you may want to choose straight leg or wide leg styles with a little more room in the thigh and calf to avoid looking poured into your jeans. Boyfriend jeans work on anyone, but do take some know how in pairing them with tops and shoes. If you want a middle of the road fit, I recommend choosing a straight leg style with a slimmer fitting leg. This is a great look that keeps your jean trendy without requiring a lot of thought on how to wear it.
  2. So many rises….trendier jeans right now are high waisted, even higher than you would probably think of as a high rise jean. Generally, if you just want a great fitting jean, a regular rise is your best bet. These jeans will come just over your belly button and should fit right around the smallest part of your waist. Regular rise jeans are the most flattering because the high rise helps to hold in extra pounds around your middle. Lower rises that sit an inch below your belly button or lower don’t do much for helping your figure. Ultra high rises take some know how to pull them off, like a cropped top, as an example. Whatever you choose, just be sure to sit down in any jean you try on before you purchase it to make sure it doesn’t roll or continually slide down. A sign you have chosen the right rise for your body is that you won’t have a large gap in the waist.
  3. How do I figure out what inseam I need…one of the trickiest parts of jean buying is the multitude of inseam lengths out there. A typical regular length jean has a 33 inch inseam. A petite jean will be more like 29 inches. A typical ankle jean will have a 27 inch inseam. To figure out your inseam or to measure a jean, just use a tape measure from the crotch of the jean to the hemline or from your groin to your ankle. Your inseam will depend largely on whether you are short or long waisted, but generally, women under 5’2 will need a petite jean and women over 5’5 can do a regular rise jean. For us poor devils, me included, who are in that 5’3-5’5 height range, we are just stuck with cuffing a jean that is too long or getting one hemmed. It’s a huge bummer, but the good news is that the ankle jean works quite well for us. If you are particularly long legged or near 6 feet, you are unfortunately going to have to find tall jeans, which can be a TALL order, he he.
  4. Let’s chat about leg opening…you can readily find skinny, straight and bootcut styles in pretty much any jean brand you choose. A skinny jean is usually about 5 inches across at the hemline. A straight leg style will be more like 7 inches across. And, a bootcut style will be somewhere around 8 inches, depending upon the brand. Generally, women who have thicker legs will prefer a bootcut style because it will offer a roomier leg and thigh. The other option is a boyfriend cut jean that is meant to fit loose. If you have thin legs, you will probably like how you look in a skinny jean because it will show off your great legs. If you are somewhere in the middle, or, as I mentioned previously, just want a good all around jean, you will probably gravitate to a straight leg jean. A lot of it also depends on foot wear. If you like to tuck your jeans into tall boots or cuff your jeans, as an example, a skinny jean is what you want. If you want to wear your jeans over sturdier shoes, a bootcut will be a better choice.
  5. It’s all about the wash…from vintage washes that are light to dark denim washes that almost look black, you can buy jeans in just about any shade of blue you want. Vintage washes tend to lend themselves to summer and lighter colored tops. They do look lovely paired up with cream sweaters in the winter, however. Dark denim washes are usually dressier and can be worn from casual to dressed up casual. Medium blue washes are considered “go to” washes in the industry because they go with everything. Fading along the front of the leg can make a thick thigh appear thinner. Whiskering and distressing are all a means of adding eye-catching details to the jean or making them look already worn. There are many ways to create these effects including chemical washes, sandblasting, scraping using ruler-sized files, grinding with actual stones, and lasers. Right now, these elements along with colored washes in everything from wine to mustard, make a jean trendier. The cleaner, un-embellished jean, on the other hand, can be worn for years to come. What you choose is all dependent upon what you want out of your jean.
  6. Look at me….the bottom of your jeans is pretty important right now. From fringed hemlines to embroidery and sequins, the hemlines of jeans are taking center stage. You will find clipped hems which are shorter in the front and left unhemmed, multiple layers of fringe, bows, ribbons, and just about anything else you can imagine gracing the bottoms of jeans. These details add to the jean’s uniqueness and are a fresh twist on that basic of most basic items that we all love to love…the jean.

Happy jean shopping! Don’t get flummoxed. Now you can talk jeans like a BOSS! And, if you want to hear me talk about this in person, just join me on my VIP Facebook group called Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas tonight at 6 p.m. Watch here: https://www.facebook.com/events/884895962279917

10 Tips For Making Your Online Holiday Shopping Safe and Successful

The busyness of the holidays and now Covid-19 might be causing you to do more online shopping than usual this year. With the explosion of websites and online stores in the last two years, the market is over-saturated. The options of websites to shop from can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to shop small even from your computer. If you are like me, I hesitate to give Amazon any more market share than it already has, so this year, I have been intentional about shopping directly from the brand rather than going through Amazon. In this blog post, I will share some of the things I do when shopping online to ensure a positive experience.

Look for the padlock and word “secure” in the website address. Avoid websites that do not have this.
  • Don’t get fooled by a bogus website: This time of year scammers abound, and consumers really do need to be aware of some of the common ways to spot a bogus website. Did you know that the “s” in “https” means “secure.” Just looking at the website address in your browser window can tell you a lot. Google, for example, will put a padlock in front of the website address to let you know it is secure (see the picture above.) You can click on the padlock to see more information about the website’s security. Also, the website name can give you a clue as well. Scammers often try to mimic a brand name with just a few changes like substituting one letter such as “AmazOn.com.” Additionally, at the bottom of a website, you should find some logos that indicate it is secure. These include DigiCert, Verisign, or Symantec, as examples. If you click on these logos, you should be re-directed to a site talking about the website’s security. If it takes you somewhere else, beware. Lastly, scammers often come from countries where English is a second language. if you notice a lot of grammar and spelling errors, you might want to use the other tips I have shared here to validate the legitimacy of the website
  • Read the website return policies: Some websites have ridiculous return policies that are too short and charge re-stocking fees. The intention is to make it so difficult to return that you just give up and keep an item you don’t really want. If you are buying clothing, as an example, a website should offer a 30 day return window. The policy should be easy to find and understand.
  • Know the last day to have your item shipped and still have it arrive before Christmas. Right now, the typical shipping time is taking about a week. That means that time is running out to get your packages in the mail if you don’t want to pay 2 day priority shipping rates. As I did my own Christmas shopping this year, I noticed just about every site warned of shipping delays. This year especially, it is important not to wait too long. Also, keep in mind, some businesses close on certain days, so if you order it Saturday night, it might not be shipped until Monday morning, even if you choose 2 day priority shipping. The business hours and days should be clearly listed on the website so you can verify days it is open.
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  • Don’t hesitate to call the business: I remember one year, I was buying a gift for my husband from a well known brand. I was shopping online and just didn’t feel confident about the fit from the description. I called the business to get more information. As I was talking to the representative, it was obvious he really had no idea how the item fit. The benefit of shopping small for the holidays is that when you call the business, you are much more likely to get the owner or an employee who knows the brands they are selling as well as how they fit. You can get crucial information by taking this extra step. I know in my stores, we go out of our way to help customers over the phone including measuring the item, trying it on ourselves, and suggesting other items that will pair well and complete the purchase. I have had more than one sale that included exchanging pictures back and forth on my cell phone to help a customer feel secure about the purchase. It is something a small business can offer you that a large brand cannot.
  • Does the website offer a payment plan?: Let’s face it, payment plans give us more buying power. Nowadays, it is common for websites to offer them. My website, as an example, uses Sezzle which breaks the total purchase price up into 4 easy, interest free, installments. You still get your purchase shipped the day you order it, but you can pay the balance in installments, which is easier on your budget.
  • Use PayPal or a virtual credit card number: As someone who has been unfortunate enough to have my credit cards compromised several times during past holiday seasons, this year I am trying some new methods to keep my accounts secure. I am using either PayPal or virtual credit card numbers that my credit card company supplies me automatically when I am making an online order. This happens via an extension that I added to my browser. The benefit of these virtual credit card numbers is that they are not my actual account number and can only be used once. It has given me a much more secure feeling about shopping online this year.
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  • Use those promo codes: Pay attention to the header on the website which is the space above the picture as well as the slideshow at the top. Any deals the retailer is offering should be listed there. Most offers come in the form of a promo code that you enter on the checkout screen. You can also install extensions on your browser that will search for promo codes automatically. Capital One has just come out with one of those tools. They are very helpful and have saved me money on various purchases that I didn’t even know were on sale.
  • Beware of overly high freight and fees: Unfortunately, some businesses play games with consumers. Some retailers make up for a low listed price and undercutting competitors by adding the loss into their shipping and handling rates. I have been burned before by choosing the lowest listed price for an item only to discover that the merchant added exorbitant freight and “handling” charges at the end of the sale, wasting my time and making me frustrated. If you live in the same town as the store you made your purchase from, you can usually choose a free in store pick up option that saves you from having to pay freight. Now during the pandemic, most stores are also providing contactless pickup options as well. My boutique, as an example, has a handy alley where we receive our freight deliveries. We have turned this into an alley way pick up option where customers just pull up and wait in their cars for us to bring their purchases out to them.
  • Organize your emails: Once you’ve made your online purchase, the borage of emails begins. You will usually receive an order confirmation email and then various shipping notification emails. When you are buying more than one package at a time from various websites, the emails can get a bit overwhelming. What I do for myself is create a folder in my email inbox entitled “Christmas.” I then move all of those emails into that folder. If a package doesn’t arrive or has an issue, I can easily go and find all the order and tracking info I need. If everything ships okay, then when Christmas is over, I just delete the whole file. It is a snap and makes managing the emails so much easier.

Following these tips will help make your holiday shopping not only safe but also successful. After all, online shopping is supposed to make this season easier, not more difficult. If you’d like to get more information on this topic, you can watch me in a live video discussing it tonight around 6 p.m. MST. I do weekly Wednesday Night Wardrobing videos that offer tips and tricks in our VIP Facebook Group called Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas. To watch, join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fashioncrossroadsinc.