8 Ways To Shop During Quarantine

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During these unusual times of stay at home orders and mandates for social distancing, we’re being asked and sometimes forced to stay away from not only people we love but also activities we love.  For many off us, shopping is therapeutic, that’s why they call it “shopping therapy.”  For others, shopping is a way we connect with our friends and family as a fun activity that we can do together.  The silver lining I see to the Covid19 crises is that it is forcing all of us to look for new ways to do the things we have always loved.  Maybe you are using Face Time or Marco Polo to stay connected to your friends and family.  Maybe you are using Zoom to have meeting with your team or, like me, doing bible studies over Zoom.  As each week passes and we become more and more aware of the things we miss from our normal lives, we are becoming more willing to think outside of the box and learn new ways of still doing the things we love.

If shopping is one of those things for you , this blog post will give you 8 ways to get creative and be a savy shopper during quarantine. Here goes:

  1.  Use Your Favorite Boutique’s Online Store:  Many boutiques already had an online presence prior to Covid19, and like us, are now ramping up their offerings by increasing their online inventory.  Some boutiques that weren’t online, are now getting there.  Shopping from a small business online is a little different than shopping with, say, LL Bean.  First of all, the very nature of a boutique is to offer exclusive items that customers can purchase without worrying about seeing 15 other people in town wearing the same item.  Using my boutique, as an example, the most we buy of a single style is 6 pieces.  Quite often it might be only 4.  As a result, there is a limited supply and once the item is gone, it won’t be re-ordered.   Thus, like shopping in store, if you see something you like, grab it! It may not be there next week.  Also, boutique owners know their products: how they fit, how they wash, what they match.  Just because you are using an online venue, doesn’t mean you can’t call that boutique up on the phone and ask questions.  Many times I have worked with customers over the phone who used our online store as a online catalog and then asked me what else I had in the store that would complete the look they were trying to achieve.  In the end, the sale was a combination of online offerings and other items that I suggested.
  2. Shop by phone: If you are savy and know the brands that you love, it is quite easy to shop by phone.  Usually, boutiques carry clothing lines that have a consistent fit.  So, that favorite jean that you love, for example, is just a phone call and shipping bag away!
  3. Use Drop Shipping: The financial burden on small businesses has led to strained cash flow and inventory shortages.  As a result, many of my vendors are offering to drop ship items directly to the consumer.  The way this works is you call up your favorite boutique to get a specific item.  If they are out of that item, the boutique can call their vendor, and if they have it in stock, the vendor can ship the item directly to you.  That way, the store owner doesn’t have to invest in inventory he or she might not sell.  It’s a win, win for everyone.  Just ask your boutique if they are offering drop ship.
  4. Shop Via Messenger: Most boutiques can be reached through Messenger, an app that allows for a private conversation very similar to texting.  Yesterday, I did a sale over Messenger with a customer.  She told me what she was wanting, and  I found items that I thought she would like.  I took pictures and sent them to her through Messenger.  She picked the items she liked, and then I called her to complete the purchase.  You can also you Messenger, oftentimes, to ask questions about products or fit for items you find on an online store as well.
  5. Shop Via Live Sales: If you don’t know what a Live Sale is, let me explain.  This is basically virtual shopping where you watch a live video on Facebook of someone showing you items available for purchase. If you see something you want to buy, you comment on the items as they are presented in the Live Sale, and the transaction is completed sometime after the video ends.  It is first come, first served, which ads an element of fun.  This type of shopping comes closest to being able to replicate shopping with your friends.  Live Sales are scheduled and so you can all get together in a group call and watch the live sale together and talk about the things you like and what you should buy.  You can also communicate with each other in the comments while the Live Sale is happening.  It is fun and creates a social shopping experience while still being safe.
  6. Shop Via A Video Chat: You might be familiar with Apple’s app Face Time which allows you to video chat in real time.  This app can also be used to shop at your favorite boutique.  Essentially, you do a video chat with the boutique owner and you can see items you might want to buy right during the chat.  That way, you can give direct feedback and ask questions like, “show me what the back of that top looks like” or “can you show me a close up of that detail on the sleeve?”
  7. Shop By Appointment: Even if your favorite boutique has limited hours or is closed for in-store shopping, many owners might consider letting you schedule an appointment to shop.  This can be done while still practicing social distancing and using safe practices like sanitizing.  Of course, you would never want to request this option if you have been exposed to sick person or are sick yourself.
  8. Personal Shopping: If you have been shopping with a specific boutique for a long time, the owner probably knows you and what you like.  In this case, it is relatively easy for a boutique to offer personal shopping services where you communicate what you are needing and you allow the owner to choose items for you.  These items can then be shipped or picked up.  Even if the boutique owner doesn’t know you, a simple phone consultation can usually produce all the info necessary for he or she to shop for you.

As for my boutique, Fashion Crossroads, I am offering all of these services to my customers.  My online store can be found at www.fashioncrossroadsinc.com.  I have been working very hard while my store is closed to in-store shopping to add new merchandise, and I have expanded our online inventory greatly.  Additionally, I am here Tuesday-Saturday 12-5 for shopping by appointment, personal shopping or phone shopping.  I am offering free shipping on orders over $100 or alley way pick up.  Also, I just recently launched a weekly Live Sale every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.  You can see my most recent Live Sale here: 4/1/20 Live Sale.  The next one is scheduled for next Wednesday night 4/8/20 at 8 p.m. To watch live, join our VIP Facebook Group called Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas.

Hopefully, this blog post has opened you eyes to ways you can shop that you might not have tried.  During this time, your favorite boutique needs your support!  I encourage you to reach out to them and find out what they are doing to make shopping accessible to you.  If you would like to watch a video with more ideas on this topic, check out my latest YouTube video Ways To Be A Savy Shopper During Quarantine.

pearsonphoto2018_031As a brick and mortar business of 45 years, we’ve only recently added an online store to our mix of offerings.  Today, I am writing this blog post amidst the Covid19 outbreak, and we are having to get creative to still reach you, our customer, in order to allow you to shop while still protecting yourself.  Many of you have shopped with our stores for years and prefer an in store experience because we have always offered knowledgeable staff and excellent customer service.  And, frankly, its just nicer to shop face to face, especially when you are shopping with a local store where the owner is almost always in.

You may be unfamiliar with all of the ways you can shop from us that don’t require you to leave you home.  I wanted to take a minute today to write this blog post for you who fall into that category.  Maybe you are a Boomer and uncomfortable with online shopping or perhaps you just didn’t know we have added an online store to our business.  So, let me tell you what we are doing to help you out.

Many Boomers are on Facebook and love it for the way it helps them keep in touch with their families.  Facebook is also a great platform for “virtual shopping.”  If you are unfamiliar with this term, it essentially means watching a live or pre-recorded video on your favorite business’s Facebook page where the owner or staff member shows you items that are available for purchase and includes the sizes and prices.  Virtual shopping can be almost as good as going into the store because it allows us to tell you about the product….how it fits, what the fabric feels like, what the washing instructions are, and show you, via video, any details like embellishments or embroidery.  You likely know how your favorite brands fit, and this allows you to buy an item without trying it on with more confidence.  Video does a good job of representing the color and texture of the fabric, so there are few surprises.

In response to the outbreak, Fashion Crossroads is offering regular virtual shopping videos on our Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas VIP Group Page (to join, just click this link.” The reason we chose our group page to host these videos is because as you watch the video while its happening, you are able to type in the comments any questions you may have.  For example, you may want to know what we have that matches an item.  While I am doing the video, I can see your comments and answer them right then.  You also can take that opportunity to let us know you would like to purchase the item so we can set it aside for you.  The transaction can be easily completed over the phone and then we can ship the item to you or you can use our alley way pick-up, and we will hand deliver it to your car.  We ship all orders over $100 for free.  We pre-schedule most of these videos so you can know when to tune in.  For example, we are doing a Wednesday Wardrobing video each Wednesday night at 6 p.m. that focuses on new arrivals.  Click this link to see our latest video on the new Sympli arrivals, as an example.

Another opportunity for shopping remotely is using our online store at www.fashioncrossroadsinc.com.  One thing that we do differently is that I do most of the modelling.  The reason for this is so you can see the items on a real person and have more confidence in how an item will fit.  I am not 6 foot tall and a size 2.  I am 5’3 and a size 6-8.  Hopefully, you can relate to me a little better than to a professional model.  We also shoot multiple product images and close-ups so you can get an accurate sense of what you are buying.

We have tried to make your online shopping experience as easy as possible.  When you get onto our website, you will see a menu at the top listing several categories like “tops” and “bottoms.”  If you click on these menu items, you will be shown all the tops and bottoms we have available on our online store.  If you scroll down a little on the homepage, you will see our “featured collections.”  These are organized by brand or style to help narrow down the choices for you.  Once you click on an item, you will see all of the photos we have taken of that item as well as a detailed description of it that includes information about the item and how it fits and feels.  We also include styling information to help you choose matches so you can create an outfit.  We then tell you what our customers love about the brand and any specifics you need to know.  Last we include the fabric content and washing instructions.  You will also see the sizes available.

If you aren’t familiar with online shopping, let me take a minute to explain the checkout process you can expect…don’t worry, it is easy.  From the item screen, just click on the button “Add it to your Cart,” you will be taken to a shopping cart page that will tell you the total before shipping and also offer you our payment program through Sezzle that allows you to pay in 4 installments that are interest free and still get your items shipped right away.  It will calculate your payment amount for you, so you know exactly what to expect.  To make your purchase, click the button labeled “Check Out,” and you will be taken to a page where you enter your contact information and have the opportunity to apply any discount codes like our current STUCKINSIDE promotion that gets you 20% off a purchase of $100 or more.  To get your discount, just type the word STUCKINSIDE in all caps into the box labeled “Gift Card or Discount Code.”  Next just click the button that says “Continue to Shipping.”  Our website will calculate the shipping and taxes for you.  Orders over $100 ship free.  Next click the “Continue to Payment” button and you will be taken to a screen where you can enter your credit card information or choose our payment plan through Sezzle.  Last, just click the button labeled “Pay Now.”  That’s it.  We will receive a notification here at the store that an order has been placed, and if it is within our regular business hours, we will start packing it right away.  Often times, we ship out the same day.  And, as an extra precaution, every outgoing package will be sanitized before it leaves the store.

It is still us helping you.  I am modeling the clothes and am the one writing the product descriptions.  It is Elizabeth or I that pull your order and pack them.  Every step of the process goes through our hands.  We will even write you a personal thank you note so you know who packed your order and that we appreciate your business.  If at any point in the process you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 307-237-9221 and we can answer your product questions or help you with the ordering process.  When you order online from us, you have 30 days to return the item either by mail or bring it into the store.  This gives you plenty of time to receive the item and make sure it is exactly what you want.  If you have a Rewards Card with us, just let me know that in the notes with your order, and I will be sure to apply your points for your order onto your Rewards account.

So you see, it’s still shopping with Fashion Crossroads…just in a slightly different way! I encourage you to give one or both of these shopping methods a try.  This crises shall pass, and when it does weddings, graduations, trips and much more pleasant things will all be waiting for you.  There is no need to have to wait until them to get prepared!

5 Steps to Embracing Trends And Still Dressing Your Age

pearsonphoto2018_031As a boutique that focuses on career clothing for women aged 30 and over, I often get asked if wearing the trends means a woman is dressing too young.  My emphatic answer is a resounding NO! I have ladies in their sixties and seventies that keep up with the trends while still always looking age appropriate.  I think there is a misconception that at a certain age, you should stop worrying about being trendy.  I totally disagree.  We’ve all seen women who looked like they were dressing too young, and these experiences cause us to worry that we might be doing the same thing.  But, the key is not to avoid the trends; the key is to wear the trends appropriately.  Here are my 5 tips for embracing the trends while still dressing your age.

  1. Keep it classy: If you are over forty-five, you may want to avoid plunging necklines, too short of hemlines, spaghetti straps and overly tight fitting clothes.  These, more than anything else, can make you look like you are dressing too young.  If mini-dresses are in, for example, this doesn’t mean you avoid them altogether, but it may mean that you look for a longer rather than shorter mini dress and wear it with tonal tights to avoid drawing attention to the hemline.  If you love skinny jeans, wear them, but choose a longer top that covers your front and rear.  Use jackets and cardigans to cover problem areas and make the look more conservative.
  2. Choose the more conservative version of the trend: Every fashion trend has a scale from edgy to conservative.  As an example, consider the cold shoulder trend that we have just seen come and go.  As a buyer, I saw everything from the whole shoulder and half the arm to just a small sliver of the shoulder being exposed.  The latter of these would be the more conservative version of the trend.  Staying away from the edgy side allows you to wear the trend while still making it appropriate for your age.  As a general rule, the older you are, the more conservative you should go.
  3. Wear the trends correctly: Being knowledgeable about how the trend should be worn is key.  Oftentimes, a trend is dependent upon the other items in your outfit being the right style to pull it off.  As an example, right now the trendy hem length in bottoms is an ankle length (an inch above the ankle bone).  This style needs the right type of shoe to make it work.  If you are short, ankle length bottoms work much better with a little heel or wedge.  It is also important that the bottom hits you at the right place on your ankle.  Too long or too short, and the pant looses its trendiness and just looks strange.  Another example is the long, printed blouses that are trendy this season.  A long blouse worn with bootcut jeans will look strange.  You need a skinny or slim bottom to help balance out the volume of the top. To be sure you know how to wear a trend, ask your favorite boutique sales staff to educate you or google the trend and look a images.
  4. Let the brand help you decide: If you shop by brand, paying attention to the marketing images that company is using can really help you decide if the label is appropriate for your age.  Are you 50 but all the models for the brand are 20? That would be an indication that the target market for the brand is a bit younger than you.  If this is the case, you can go back to tip number 2 to be sure you are choosing the less edgy pieces from that brand.
  5. Pay attention to what other fashionable ladies your age are wearing: We can learn so much just by being observant.  Do you have a friend who dresses well that you admire?  What is she wearing? How do your clothing choices compare? Perhaps you’re in a rut with your style and need to freshen things up a bit.  Either your friend or a trusted boutique can help you transition into a trendier wardrobe that is age appropriate.

I hope these guidelines help you and encourage you that being trendy is not just for the young and thin.  Staying up with the times helps us feel beautiful and stylish.  There is no age limit for that!

For examples and more detailed information on this topic, please watch my video How To Embrace The Trends And Still Dress Your Age

What Trends To Buy Now And Wear Next Fall

When you are making your spring purchases, it may be helpful to know what will be trendy for this coming fall so you can buy with an eye to what will transition into the next season.  After all, that is just smart shopping.  Fortunately, many of the strongest trends for spring will also be important for fall.  If you think carefully about your color choices, you will be able to make spring purchases that will carry over.

Top Fall Trends To Buy Now:

  1. Printed tops: From beachy to polka dots and stripes, printed tops are a great way to add a pop of color to your neutral bottoms.  Since there are several carry over colors from spring to fall like mustard, navy, pink, and wine, if you choose your top styles carefully, you should be able to wear them this fall too.  This adorable leaf printed tank could easily be paired under a grey blazer and worn with black slacks for fall, as an example.  IMG_5685
  2. Printed bottoms: look for animal, camo, and herringbone to be key prints for fall bottoms.  As you are shopping spring and summer, you will see many of these same prints, but in lighter colors.  Keep in mind how you might be able to transition your purchases now into fall later.  Grey animal prints, for example, are season-less and can be paired today with a grey tank and next fall with a grey sweater.
  3. Colored denim: I saw everything from mustard, olive green, wine, and even pink for fall, so this is a trend you will definitely be able to carry into next season.  Obviously, some of the more summery colors like mint won’t work, but if you buy a mustard or pink jean now, you will most definitely be able to wear it next season.
  4. Colored blazers: Just as a rainbow of colored denim was a key trend, I saw this same idea in blazers.  Again, thinking forward, if you buy a color like denim blue, mustard, or pink, you will be able to wear it now while it is colder and then use it again when the leaves start to fall.
  5. Embellished jeans: The market was flooded with all kinds of embellished bottoms for spring and summer.  See my spring trends blog post for more info.  This trend will continue to be very strong into fall.  Look for raw edges, painted designs, and embroidery to grace the bottoms of jeans.  Again, since everything is about the ankle length right now, the ankle jeans you buy now will most definitely be wearable in the fall as well.  The great thing about ankle length bottoms is they are season-less!
  6. Teddy Bear Coats: This trend takes nubby fabric, like you might find on a teddy bear, and applies it to an over sized, zip up coat body.  The most popular color that I saw was teddy bear brown, see below.  We saw this trend be strong for this past fall season too, so if you bought one, you will definitely be able to wear it next fall or if you find one this spring that you like, you can feel confident that this trend will continue.  IMG_5689
  7. Wool Dress Coats: I am doing the happy dance on this one! While I love my down coats for warmth, I have missed the classic wool dress coat!  They are back for next season.  Now is the time to shop for coats, so if you find a wool dress style you like, buy it and put it away for next season.
  8. Vests: Here in Wyoming we love our vests.  They are so versatile, and a very handy extra layer when it is 2 degrees.  They will be fashionable next season, and I saw everything from down puffy vests to suede vests to menswear inspired styles. Vests are 3 season items, working for spring, fall and winter.  Thus, they are always a great investment.
  9. Shoe boots: Because the ankle length bottom is so strong, shoe boots continue to be an important trend in shoes.  I saw quite a few printed shoe boots, especially in animal prints.  Again, these are a great transitional style that will work now as well as into the next season.
  10. Polka Dots: The dots just keep going and going.  There is no slow down in the pre-occupation of designers with polka dots.  Again, a black and white dot top will work well for spring and fall.  Another great choice, would be a navy and white or mustard and white option.  These are colors that will transition easily into colder weather.  Wear white with them in the summer and then choose navy or black in the winter.

Spring 2020 Fashion Trends For Women

As I sit at my desk to write this trend review, the snow is softly falling outside, coating the barren tree limbs just outside my window with a white blanket.  As I look over the top of downtown buildings from my loft, steam is rising in multiple places in a Dickensian scene.  It seems a bit strange to be thinking spring, but the store is full of new spring arrivals and bright pops of color, and March is only a few weeks away.

Having just returned from market in Las Vegas, my mind is filled with the new colors and styles that will be dominating fashion for this upcoming season.  I always feel excited to see the seasons change, even when they change faster in the store than they do outside!

pantone 2The spring/summer color palate is a combination of bold, bright colors and earthy neutrals. From bold Flame Scarlet on the left to Biscay Green (mint) on the top right and Orange Peel (tangerine) in the middle, these colors will have you feeling cheerful and flirty.  And, since balance is the key to life, you’ll also be able to choose from Chive green, Saffron, Cinnamon and Lavender on those days when earthy colors suit your mood better.

 

After looking through some trend reviews, it’s pretty easy to see there are some trends that will likely never make it to Wyoming.  Things like Bermuda short suits, hot pants, corsets, blazers and bra tops, or feather shirts are just a bit too edgy for us out here in the west.  There are other trends, however, that I feel confident we will see here on our streets.  The following are my top 10 trends for spring:

  1. Ultra feminine dresses: This will definitely be a season of dresses.  Look for everything from ribbed sweater mini dresses to classic shirt waist styles and all over floral maxi styles.  Other dress trends you will be seeing are all over 60’s wallpaper prints, tiered dresses, and ultra feminine touches like ruffles, peplums and frills.
  2. Tie waist pants: Look for these especially in striped linen or linen looking fabrics.  Many of these pants have a ruffle detail at the top of the waist and then a belt that you tie in front.  Because of the focus on the waist, you will want to pair these pants with solid tuck in tops or cropped tops that don’t hide the waist.
  3. Gauchos: Again, by in large, the trendiest styles have horizontal stripes and can be found in a variety of fabrics.  The trick with a gaucho is to balance out the wide, cropped leg with a tight fitting top.  Tuck in tops or cropped tops are also good choices here.  For shoes, try a wedge sandal with a bit of a heel.  Adding length to your calf will help you pull off the wide leg.
  4. Neon: Even though neon colors were not included in the Pantone color forecast, they are everywhere in the market.  Think highlighter colors.  Use these as pops of color.  Maybe a lime top under a black blazer, as an example.  Neon colors also work great in scarves and accessories.
  5. Raw edge, embellished, clipped front bottoms: Everything is about the ankle pant right now, so designers are drawing attention to this trendy length by adding fun details at the hemline.  Look for everything from embroidery, stones, raw and un-hemmed edges to clipped front details (as if someone clipped out a square from the front of the pant at the hemline).  Remember, to make an ankle pant work, it should hit you an inch above your ankle bone.  If you are short, it helps if you wear a wedge sandal or something with a heel to elongate your calf.
  6. Jean jackets: From colored denim to vintage washes, the jean jacket has been re-imagined in all its glory.  Pair them with dresses, striped pants, gauchos….the sky is the limit.
  7. Floral printed and vintage wash denim: This season, denim is playing a strong role again, but the washes have lightened up with vintage washes taking center stage.  If you’ve been only buying dark denim, this is the season to work some lighter denim into your wardrobe.  Also look for floral printed denim, especially in jean jackets.
  8. The Front Tuck: With the emergence of the over-sized sweater last season, you will now be seeing light, over-sized sweaters paired with everything from skirts to pants.  What makes them trendy is the “front tuck” or simply tucking one part of the hem into your waist and letting the rest fall out.  This trick tames the over-sized nature of these tops.
  9. Polka Dots: We’ve seen this print be strong now for 2 seasons, but I especially love it as a spring/summer trend.  Polka Dots just seem happy to me.  Black and white is, by far, the most common way to do this trend, but I’ve seen it used with other color combinations as well.
  10. Color Blocking: Take two or three colors and put them together in geometrical squares, and you have a color blocked print.  This trend was also strong for fall and winter 2019 and continues to be strong for this spring.  It brings a bit of the “mod” to this season, and is a clean and bold style.

To see some examples of these colors and styles, watch my video on our Fashion Crossroads Facebook Page.  If you read my last blog post, I finished part 3 of my 3 part closet clean out video series.  In that post, I recommended making a “trends I want to buy” section to your buying list.  This would be a great time to start that list.  For some added inspiration, check out our Latest Trends Collection on our website. 

How Old Is Too Old To Wear Boyfriend Jeans?

Before we get into that all important question of how old is too old to wear boyfriend jeans, I feel we need to start by defining just exactly what a boyfriend jean is.  Lately I’ve noticed that if jeans are rolled at the bottom, everyone calls them boyfriend jeans.  I’m pretty sure, however, there is a fundamental difference between a true boyfriend jean and a slim legged jean that is rolled. Curious about my presumption, I googled “how to wear boyfriend jeans.”  I always browse the pictures that come up first because I can learn a lot just from paying attention to how women are wearing “boyfriend jeans.” What I determined is that some sites differentiated between the two types and some did not.

howtowearboyfriendjeans4So here’s my take.  A boyfriend jean is by nature your boyfriend’s jean. What I mean by that is the look should be slouchy, like you are wearing men’s jeans.  The important thing to remember when trying this style is that the slouchy style of jean requires a slim fitting top or tee to balance the whole look.  Avoid legs that are too wide to roll.  You definitely don’t want to try to roll a boot cut jean.  The resulting roll will be too big and too sloppy (see the top pic on the right).  Stick to straight or narrow legged styles that have a beat up or distressed look and a slouchy fit.  The bottom of the roll should hit your leg at the top of your ankle bone or one roll shorter.  Too long and it looks like you are waiting for a flood.  Too short and it looks like you are wearing capris.

A slim legged jean that is rolled is an equally cute look. I liked this picture from howtowearboyfriendjeans4 because it shows several types of rolled jean looks.  The true boyfriend jean is the one on the top right because it has that worn in and looser fitting look.  All of these styles were considered boyfriend by this site, but as I have already argued, I’m not sure I would agree.

So, now that we have that clarification, let’s talk style and age.  Any one can wear a clean, slim legged jean that is cuffed to an ankle length.  This is a timeless style that can be dressed up or down.  Remember that with an ankle jean, you always want to wear some type of heel, even if it is just an inch high.  A little height from your shoe will help the ankle length seem intentional.

As you start to get closer to the true boyfriend, slouchy, beat up jean, things get a bit more tricky.  The simple truth is the more “distressed” the jean is (the more beat up patches and holes) and the slouchier it is (loose fitting, almost oversized), the younger the jean will be.  In my opinion, women aged 60 and over should maybe avoid wearing very distressed and slouchy jeans.  This does NOT MEAN you have to avoid this trend!  Opt instead for patched holes or minor abrasions.  Ladies in their 40’s and 50’s can pull off jeans with holes, but the holes and distressed patches need to be placed appropriately-like at the knee rather than upper thigh, as an example.  Also, women in this age bracket might want to avoid large holes in their jeans.  The whole knee being blown out, for example, is too young of a style.  Ladies in their 20’s and 30’s can go for it; wear distressed all you want!

Be prepared! You will pay top dollar for your already worn out jeans!  For women in that older category, this will be annoying! Just remember, the trend doesn’t work if the jeans look like the beat up places came from lots of wear. This trend is about the jean looking like it is new and intentionally distressed!  And, I have to add, my boyfriend jeans are MY FAVORITE jeans to wear because they are so comfortable.

So ladies, get in there, if you haven’t already, and get wearing this trend!

Reflections On Christian Dior

My husband and I recently visited the Christian Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  When I told him I wanted to go, he raised one eye brow and asked, “Really?”  My emphatic “Yes!” convinced him that arguing was futile.  I can’t blame his hesitancy; I’m in fashion and so, of course, I would be interested in seeing over one hundred dresses and suits designed for women over several centuries.  The rationale for him to go was less compelling.

The crowd at the museum, filled with anticipation, looked a bit like a New York fashion show.  This was definitely not the typical, casual Denver crowd.  One woman, in particular, caught my eye in a sporty, form fitting white dress with matching dressy tennis shoes, complete with gold accents.  Her ensemble was made complete with wide rimmed white glasses.  Men in dress shirts, slim pants, sleek shoes and scarves held the arms of beautiful women dressed in all black.  A whole group of fashionable women laughed and talked in high pitched voices, their pink, streaked and bobbed hair styles bouncing as they turned heads to chat.

With the first exhibit, Christian Dior’s classic women’s suits in black captured my attention.  The structured fabrics tailored just perfectly to accentuate the curves of a woman’s body, and the impeccable tailoring still fashionable today, made me wish I could wear one.  From these first suits to the last dramatic dresses, I wandered from exhibit to exhibit in complete awe of the beautiful workmanship and creativity expressed again and again through the decades, and always with careful attention in how to best flatter the female frame.

My favorite dresses were in a grouping of floral inspired gowns dedicated to Christian Dior’s sister who he named his Miss Dior perfume after.  One beautiful gown had hundreds of hand sewn flowers that peeked out of delicate and flowing organza so that as you walked around the dress, you could see yet another flower you hadn’t seen before.  The art work and craftsmanship were inspiring.   The most surprising piece of art work at the exhibit was a Salvador Dali bust of a woman with a french baguette on her head.  As it turns out, Dali and Dior were friends and partners in trying to challenge the traditional views of women, art and fashion.

As we walked back to the car in silence, I asked my husband what he had thought of the exhibit.  “Fashion really is art,” he mused, pausing.  “I really didn’t understand that until I watched ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ you know, how much fashion actually influences our society.”  “Yes, honey. ” I responded. “I’m so glad we went.”

 

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.

10 Steps To Being A Smart Shopper

pearsonphoto2018_010We 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 encouraging.  So, in the spirit of getting right down to it, here are my 10 simple steps to becoming a smart shopper.

But, 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’s a bit OCD, but I am totally convinced it will make your life so much simpler, I want you to spend the time doing it.  The “it” I am talking about is organizing your closet.  First, go through your clothing and separate everything you haven’t worn in a year.  Take it out and put it some other place for a short time.  Next, seperate your tops, pants, skirts and dresses into different areas of your closet.  Then, seperate your winter tops from your summer tops and then do this with your pants, skirts and dresses.  At the end of this step, you should have all your tops together, all your pants together, all your skirts together and all your dresses together.  Within each of those sections, you should have your summer items seperated from your winter items.  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.  No, 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.  Donate the rest.  Whew….sit down and rest a bit.

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

Step 3 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.

Step 4 is to 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 is to 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 is to 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 is 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 is to 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 them to disassociate what they feel is stylish for what actually looks good on you.  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 its right or wrong?

Step 8 is to buy or the body you have and not the body you want.  We get ourselves into trouble when we do one of two things: buy a size smaller than we need because we are going to loose weight or avoid buying anything until we loose weight.  The problem with both of these lies in the same basic principle: when you feel good about how you look, you feel more motivated to do better in other areas of your life.