A Day In The Life At Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bra or No Bra?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Five Key Summer Trends

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

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

How Do I Wear An Ankle Jean?

One of the newest jean trends for the season is the ankle jean.  I know, you are probably thinking, “I just figured out what a boyfriend jean is.  Now I’m supposed to wear an ankle jean?”  When I go to market, I am educated by my manufacturers about the latest trends and styles.  I, in turn, pass that on to you.  Don’t feel dismayed, we are ALL running to catch up when it comes to keeping up with trends.

An ankle jean is just an ankle pant in denim fabric.  Ankle pants have been popular for several seasons now, but the right length is critical to pulling off this trend.  An ankle pant should hit you an inch above your ankle bone.  Any higher, and you have a capris.  Any lower, and you have a pant that looks too short.  I have found that ankle pants work better if you wear a wedge sandal.  The heel and elongation of your leg, makes the length work.  They also look really cute with a gladiator style wedge because those come up on the ankle, working in tandem with the jean to show off the style.

Different from the boyfriend jean, the ankle jean is meant to be worn uncuffed.  In the pictures above, you can see a skinny (far left), a mini boot (middle) and an ankle (far right).  Notice the shorter length of the ankle jean.  In all fairness, this jean should be a 1/2 inch higher on this mannequin, but she isn’t quite tall enough to have the inseam fall just perfectly.  This means that when you are buying an ankle jean, you need to be very picky about the inseam and where it hits you.  If you are 5’3 and under, you will need a petite ankle jean to get the right length.

This style is a great summer option that looks wonderful paired with fuller tops and tunic length blouses.  The ankle length is trendier than the capris length (mid calf) in pants right now, so choose this new length if you want to update your wardrobe.  Best yet, this new trend is ageless and can be worn fashionably by a 20 something or a 60 something.  Fashion Crossroads has just reeived new ankle length jeans from Silver Jeans and also from Jag jeans.  Happy shopping!

How To Wear A Mini Dress

The mini-dress trend is still in full swing.  Let’s be honest, only a fraction of us can wear a dress this short.  If we still have the legs to pull it off, we might not have the nerve.  If we have the nerve, we might not have the legs.  No worries!  There are still ways you can wear a mini dress and make it age appropriate.

The first, and most obvious solution, is to pair a mini dress with leggings.  The blue and white striped dress on the left would look fabulous, for example, paired with navy blue or even denim leggings.  The taupe plaid dress on the right, would look great with a soft grey. Add a cute pair of sketchers, boat shoes, or converse tennis shoes, and you have a casual style that will work great for your weekend adventures.

Mini dresses that are fuller on the bottom due to an a-line cut, like the one on the left, can also be worn over denim capris as long as they are a slim legged style that fit similar to a legging.  Remember, with a long, over-sized top, you must balance the fullness of the top with a slim leg so you don’t look boxy.  Pair this look with a wedge sandal and a colorful handbag for a punch of color.

Blouse mini dresses, like the one on the right, can be worn with boyfriend jeans that are cuffed at the bottom.  I’m particularly fond of this look paired with trendy tennis shoes and a vintage wash denim boyfriend jean.  Add a cute scarf loosely slung around the neck and a great tote for a day out shopping or on the town.

So, just because you can’t see yourself pulling off the mini dress, doesn’t mean you have to avoid buying them.  With a little bit of imagination, you can make this style work for any age or body type!  By the way, in case you want to try out the outfit suggestions in this blog, you can buy these two mini-dresses on our online store.

 

 

Fringe Me Baby

Fringe has been playing an important role in fashion for the last couple of seasons, so imagine how delighted I was to find that one of our best selling lines had brought the trend into their spring collection.  I absolutely love the new fringe group from Sympli we just received for spring!  It takes fringe to a new level of classy.

The jacket, pictured on the left, can be worn open as shown or buttoned for a modified double breasted style.  The long vest, pictured in the center, is a year round piece that looks great over white but would work equally well over charcoal grey for colder months.  The fringe tunic, pictured in the middle, offers great movement and would look stylish in head to toe navy or contrasted against white.  All three pieces add some vavoom to your wardrobe that is sure to put a smile on your face!

While I would not usually recommend two pieces of fringe worn together, I saw the jacket and the maxi skirt (not pictured) worn together during a Sympli fashion show.  The two were set off with a white tank, and the whole ensemble was just gorgeous.  Admittedly, head to toe fringe might be reserved for the more adventuresome at heart, but if anyone can make that look classy, it is Sympli!

And just in case you have never tried it, Sympli is a travel knit line with a patented fabric that won’t fade, stretch out or wrinkle.  It is designed by women for women with an amazing fit and beautiful drape.  It fits women’s bodies from a size 2 to 18 with expert design to hide our flaws and emphasize our assets. Fashion Crossroads is the largest retailer of Sympli in the Rocky Mountain States.  Find out more about the line on our website.

2017 Spring Colors 

It is always an exciting time to look ahead to a new season and as I shared in my previous blog post, new beginnings.   Even though I get a peek at the prominent colors when I go to market, the season doesn’t fully take shape for me until the new spring merchandise begins arriving in the store.  Those racks begin to fill up with a burst of newness, and the whole store gets a color makeover.  

The colors for the spring 2017 season are grounded in nature.  According to Pantone.com, the dominant color for the season will be Niagra blue (third from the left on the bottom).  In this case, dominant means Niagra showed up the most on the runways of fashion week and will be prevalent in prints and solids.  Based upon my early shipments from Elan, I am finding this to be true.  We ordered several new tops in Niagra, as it felt fresh.  It is a soft blue but with plenty of pigment to keep it from being whimpy.  

Niagra is next to Kale(to the right) which, if you have ever eaten this good for you green, you will agree is an excellent description of the color.  Kale is a deep, almost dark, green.  Lapis rounds out the row and is placed at the end.  All three colors are somewhat muted and softened and remind me of the ocean and forest.  They are all calming colors and will be a joy to wear this season.  

On the same row, you will find Flame (on the end) and Pink Yarrow (second from the left).  Both are the colors of tropical flowers and make a beautiful contrast to to their more muted partners.  They also provide some liveliness to the color palate.  These are colors that you use to “pop” an outfit.  A Pink Yarrow jacket, for example, will look radiant paired with white ankle pants.  These are also the colors to use in accessories or as layering pieces.  

On the top row, we can begin with the left and work our way to the right.  Primrose yellow is the first color, and is vibrant without being bright.  It is a warm yellow and exudes the warmth of a sunny day.  Next to it is Pale Dogwood.  This, barely there, soft pink is the perfect compliment to sands and tans, giving them color but keeping them very neutral.  You can see how nicely it pairs with its neighbor, Hazelnut, for example.  The neutral shades in the palate ground it in earthiness and are contrasted to the last two colors on the top row: Island Paradise and Greenery.  The turquoise of Island Paradise conjures memories of island vacations and the intense blue of the Carribean ocean.  It is a universal color that compliments most complexions.  Greenery is the color of the year, and you can learn all about it in my last blog post.  

Keep checking back as I give more tips and tricks in the coming weeks on how to wear and pair these colors.