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.

Love the Artistry

When I go to market, the sheer immensity of choice is overwhelming.  There are an infinite number of products out there to buy.  The diversity in our world is reflected in the millions of ways we can conceive to re-imagine and design products that have existed for hundreds of years.  Consider the handbag, as an example.  Think about all of the different companies out there today making purses.  It is truly mind boggling.  From over-sized to small, from vintage to ultra modern, from classic and boxy to slouchy, from shoulder bags to cross body bags….the shapes, sizes, functions and choices are never ending.

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With so many choices, customers often ask me how I choose.   The answer is: I pick what moves me.  When a handbag stops me in my tracks as I wander endless isles of handbag booths, I buy that line.  It’s totally subjective, of course.  What stops me may not stop you, but as a buyer, I have to trust my instincts.  If it makes me say, “Wow!” there is a good chance it will make one of my customers have a similar reaction.

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Anushka is a handbag line that made me take notice.  I have to admit, I am a sucker for artistry.  Maybe the artist in me has a special appreciation for workmanship that goes above and beyond the ordinary.  I appreciate creativity.  I love lines that demonstrate some inherent quality of their creator.  Anushka handbags are hand painted by artists, and the designs are retired after a year of use never to be re-painted exactly the same again.  So, when I carry my Anushka handbag, I am wearing someone else’s art, and it is as personal to me as it was to them.  The bag I choose to carry for myself has artwork that moves me.  I love the color combinations, the subject matter, the composition.  It represents something about who I am.

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But is isn’t good enough for only the outside of my purse to be meaningful.  I am a neat nick and an organization freak.  I cannot stand the inside of my handbag being a disaster.  Therefore, I have to be able to find things quickly and efficiently which means the inside has to be as functional as the outside is beautiful.  The Anushka bag I chose for myself is “The Shopper” which has two separate interior pockets that zip closed.  Both are lined with additional side pockets to store and organize all of the random things I carry around with me everyday.

When I can find a line that meets both my “wow” needs and my functional needs, then I know I have happened upon a winner.  If you have never explored the world of Anushka handbags, we have a wonderful opportunity for you.  We are having a trunk show this coming Saturday May, 7th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Our Anushka Rep will be in the store with her sample line that will be available for purchase.  Find out more on our website.

What is a Trunk Show?

I love this open vest and capris from Sympli.  See this and more at our Trunk Show this Friday and Saturday!

I love this open vest and capris from Sympli. See this and more at our Trunk Show this Friday and Saturday!

For those of you who may not know, a trunk show is an event where a manufacturer’s representative brings his or her sample line into a store to allow customers to see the entire line.  The sample line has one of each style available for order that season.  Most samples are produced in size 6 or 8 and usually are only produced in one color even when the item is available in other colors.  This is a great opportunity for the customer to see items the store may not order.  Most lines, be they clothing or shoes, are larger than what a typical store can carry.  The store might only carry 30% to 50% of the line, for example, meaning that their customer will never be able to see all of the items available for purchase unless that manufacturer also sells online.

We are having our Sympli Trunk Show for the spring 2016 line this Friday and

This new pant called the Pivot Pant is a personal favorite and looks great paired with this vest!

This new pant called the Pivot Pant is a personal favorite and looks great paired with this vest!

Saturday.  Sympli, which is not sold online, is an enormous line.  Even though we have an excellent selection, we carry only 60% of the line.  At our trunk show, our customers get to see all of the pieces available, both in the in-stock program and in the special items that will be available for spring.  This is an excellent opportunity to actually see the item and try it on.  A customer can tailor their Sympli wardrobe to their individual likes rather than being limited to what we buy for our store.  Additionally, Sympli offers each item in about 30 colors.  At the trunk show, many of the colors available will be sampled so the customer can see exactly what the color looks like in production and hold it up to their skin and see how it looks.

Sympli is a travel knit line that offers items that won’t fade, bag or wrinkle.  The fabric is a beefy 12 ounces so it drapes beautifully rather than clings.  Both pictures on this page are examples of new looks available in the Spring line.  These items will be arriving in the store in January or February just in time for spring break vacations!  This line has quickly become one of our top sellers at the store, so if you haven’t tried it yet, this Friday and Saturday is your very best opportunity.  And, as a little extra incentive, we are offering 10% off all in stock Sympli during our trunk show!  That’s an amazing savings!  Bring a friend a get a free gift! Don’t live in Casper?  No problem.  You can purchase Sympli on our online store at http://www.Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

A Brand You Can Get Behind – Sympli

One of my great pleasures as a women’s clothing store co-owner is the ability to choose the brands that our stores carry.  We always look for quality and value, but it is a special treat when the companies we choose also have a mission that lines up with our own – to empower women.  Sympli is just such a company:

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This picture shows how Sympli can work for women of different sizes and body types. They have the latest fashion trends in classic year round pieces that work for casual or dressy wear.

“Thirteen years ago, Jan Stimpson, the owner/designer, [ of Sympli] found herself frustrated with the narrow ideals propagated by the fashion industry and this dissatisfaction gave rise to a vision: create an innovative line of clothing  that will celebrate the diversity of the feminine figure.  Thus, Sympli was born: a collection of high-quality, basics that uses a “fit formula” (including snug, relaxed and tunic) to complement and enhance all body types.  Thus allowing women of all shapes and sizes to achieve a similar look.  Today, the line has evolved to include exciting novelty pieces that allow women to flawlessly mix and match over 300 designs and 30 colors to build entire wardrobes catered to their unique sense of style. Working mothers from our community make up the majority of our workforce; working to their own schedules, they manage fluctuating workloads, whilst maintaining strong family Lives. They inspire us.”

Having sold this line now for a little over a year, I can tell you they have achieved their goal.  Sympli is a line that flatters any figure from size 2 to 20 and beyond.  They have recently added Sympli Grand which offers plus sizes as well.  The travel knit fabric used to make their clothing is 12 oz, 3 oz heavier than other companies who use the same fabric.  You can feel the difference when you take an item off the rack.  The weight of the fabric helps it flow and drape rather than cling.  It also means the tunic styles are not billowy but rather fit in the right places while allowing extra room in the places most women carry their weight.

Once women try this product on, they are hooked.  We carry a large selection of Sympli but the company also offers the ability to customize their line, choosing snug or relaxed fits and customize-able necklines and sleeve lengths.  This gives the customer the ability to choose the elements of their tops and bottoms that flatter them in a huge array of colors that compliment their complexion.

Sympli comes in an amazing array of beautiful colors

Sympli comes in an amazing array of beautiful colors

I’ve also been impressed by the longevity of the product.  We have customers that have had Sympli pieces for 8 years and the black is the same black as the brand new pieces in our store.  Best yet, care is a breeze.  Wash your Sympli by itself or with other Sympli pieces inside out in cold water and hang it to dry.  They dry quickly and without wrinkles or stiffness.

Perhaps what makes Sympli special is that it is designed by women for women.  No one knows our bodies better than us, and no one feels the frustration more than us when styles seem to cater to the young and thin.  I especially love the fact that Sympli employs women who hand sew the product in their homes.  You can count on quality workmanship with this product as well as have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a company that supports women.

This week we are celebrating Sympli at Fashion Crossroads.  All week long, anyone who tries this product on or purchases it, will be registered to win a FREE Sympli item to be given away on Saturday.  We will also have our Sympli representative in the store Thursday night for our Trunk Show and Friday and Saturday.  Charlotte has been with the company for over ten years and knows the line inside and out.  She is excellent at being able to suggest styles that will flatter any body type. We will be taking special orders Thursday through Saturday.

Don’t live in Casper?  No problem.  You can also purchase Sympli on our online store at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com.  Any online orders taken this week will also be entered to win the free item.  You can get more information about our Trunk Show happening this Thursday night at https://www.facebook.com/FashionCrossroads/events. The Trunk Show is a great time to come in and learn about the line while you enjoy wine and appetizers and hanging out with other women who love fashion!

It’s Foxcroft Week!

This week we are highlighting one of our fabulous lines at Fashion Crossroads called Foxcroft.  Now through Friday, come in and try on one of these fabulous wrinkle free cotton blouses and you can register to win a FREE Foxcroft Blouse of your choice from our store!  The winner will be chosen at closing on Friday, March 27th and notified on Saturday, March 28th.

Olive stripped Foxfroft wrinkle free cotton blouse at Fashion Crossroads

Olive stripped Foxfroft wrinkle free cotton blouse at Fashion Crossroads

I have to tell you, I am very impressed by these blouses.  I have to admit, I was a bit dubious about wrinkle free cotton.  So, I determined to purchase one myself and put it to the test!  I thought a perfect trial for such a claim would be a trip, so I packed my new Foxcroft blouse at the bottom of my suitcase (under the rest of my clothes and shoes) and waited to see how it looked when I arrived at market in Las Vegas.  To my surprise, the blouse came out of my suitcase without any wrinkles!

My next test was to wear it on hell day…Monday at the Women’s Wear and Nevada Show where we work from 9 a.m .to 8 p.m.  This very long day is spent in a tight schedule where we have a new vendor to see every hour.  I walk a lot going from vendor to vendor and I sit a lot while I’m placing my orders.  What better test for a blouse than constant up and down?  I wore it out over my cropped jeans, and it did not crease at the waist, despite the hours I spent sitting and writing orders.  Okay, so now I was becoming VERY impressed.  I even wore it a second day while I was at market because it looked so fresh and crisp!

White cotton Foxcroft blouse that I wore at market and available on our online store.

White cotton Foxcroft blouse that I wore at market and available on our online store.

The final test was to again pack it beneath my clothing in my suitcase on the way home.  By this time, I was not surprised when I took it out of my suitcase, unwrinkled.

This is a fabulous blouse and worth every penny I spent on it!  A great cotton blouse is a wonderful investment because it goes with anything and looks great under sweaters, jackets or by itself.  Best yet, it will never go out of style so it is a worthwhile investment.  I have loved my Foxcroft blouse and I couldn’t recommend this line of blouses any more.  You can purchase the same blouse I described above on our online store at

http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com.  Just look for the Foxcroft blouse.  If you live here in Casper, then this is the week to come in and give this line a try!  Who knows, maybe you could be the lucky winner of new Foxcroft blouse!

How To Care For More Expensive Clothing

One of the most important things we do in our stores is help our customers find the perfect clothing lines that will suit their fashion needs and lifestyle.  I make it a point to end the sale with a few tips on how they can care for their purchase so it will last.  One of the things I find myself saying over and over again is beware of the dryer.  The simple and unfortunate truth is the dryer is not your friend when it comes to better clothing.  8565ae51df46aafe2310f73f1f940591

The high heat of a clothing dryer is the culprit in many a washing disaster.  Heat will fade your dark colors, shrivel your rayon and cotton, melt your embellishments and twist your lace.  The problem is, we all like the convenience of being able to wash and dry our clothing.  If that describes you, follow these simple tips to help keep your clothing looking its best.

1. Turn your dark colors inside out.  Washing your dark clothing with a quarter cup of vinegar will prevent color running.  Drying your dark items inside out will help prolong your color.  To preserve your black the best, try hanging the item to dry and then putting it in the dryer for a short 5 to 10 minute cycle to release wrinkles and soften the fabric.

2.  Turn your embellishments inside out.  If you have sequins, beads, stones, grommets, etc. on any of your clothing, you will want to turn the garment inside out so the embellishments do not rub on other clothing.  This friction causes your embellishments to loosen as well as damages the other items in the dryer.

3.  Invest in a large lingerie bag.  Wash and dry all your more delicate fabrics in a mesh lingerie bag to prevent them from rubbing your other clothing and causing pilling.

4.  For most sweaters you will want to wash them in a delicate cycle (or hand wash) and lay them flat to dry.  You can put them in a short drying cycle to soften if they feel stiff.

5.  Never dry your bras.  I’m sure I am not the only one who has taken out a knotted mess when I forgot to remove my bra before throwing my clothing into the washing machine or dryer.  Always wash your bras in a lingerie bag that prevents twisting and hang them to dry.  They will fit you much better and last much longer if you do this.

When in doubt, wash your clothing on delicate in cold water and hang to dry.  Your better fabrics will love you for the extra care and reward you with a long life and many years of great style.

Necklines and Hemlines are Key

Necklines and Hemlines Are Key
One of the big mistakes women make in trying to stay young is wearing necklines and hemlines that are too revealing. Dressing past 40 should be about flattering your figure. Choose balance. If you are wearing a skinny jean with a boot, don’t wear a tight fitting top too. Choose instead to “balance” the figure revealing jean with a top that has a bit more volume. If you are wearing leggings, make sure your “uh hums” are covered by more than just an inch of fabric. Tunics should come to the middle of your thigh in the front and the back. If you have great legs, show them off with a skirt that comes to the top of your knee, not the middle of your thigh. The point is, you can still show off your figure, just not all at once.