Wardrobe Consulting Logo

Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Places to Shop on a Budget

I know you all know how much I just love Zappos, and I recently wrote about 6pm. I shopped a lot locally for the clothing the models wore at the book shoot, and I do wholeheartedly support shopping locally. Sometimes, though, you have a budget in mind for what you're shopping for, or you just can't find it in your local area. You know, that perfect party dress that you may only wear once, or the conservative interview attire you hope to only wear during the interviews at the job that allows business casual. Or maybe you find it crazy to spend over a $100 on a pair of sneakers you wear infrequently, like my tennis shoes. I haven't seen them in a while!

I recently came across a wonderful site, Sierra Trading Post. Mostly for outdoor gear, I was pleasantly surprised to discover they carry brands like New Balance tennis shoes. I checked some other sites, and Sierra Trading Post offers some pretty good discounts, even when not on clearance. I know you know that living in NC we don't get a lot of winter weather, but this is definitely a site I'll use to stock up on some bad weather gear and tennis shoes to run around in.

As much as I hate to say this, but with the kids having just gone back to school and Labor Day coming up, we are about to hear a lot about the holidays, so get ready! I use gift cards a lot for people who are acquaintances or that I do work with occasionally and they've done an outstanding job, or who I know prefer a gift card to specific stores. I know a lot of managers use gift cards as rewards for employees who they may know only in a work context.

I found a great gift card website, GiftCardGranny, and they buy, sell and exchange gift cards. I might even use it for myself. If I buy a $100 gift card for $65, and buy something I may wear a couple times this year at 40-50% off, then I've made a purchase that would have otherwise cost me $120-$150 for $65. If you take care of the item, you can sell it on consignment in January or February, and may get your original investment of $65 back. How great is that?!?!

Free stuff is also good...don't forget to comment on our FaceBook contest, too, about whether you change clothes after work, whether to relax, keep them clean, or to do another activity. The contest comes from me laughing at the idea of my mom making me change out of my good school clothes and into something she didn't mind if I got it super dirty. Now we're all so busy going from one activity to another, I wondered if we had the time or inclination to do that anymore. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Flash Was Poppin'!

My book...after all the pretty words were edited, discussed, and edited again, I got to move on to my favorite part. Can you guess what that was? You're right! The shopping and the pretty pictures. How did you know?

Setting up for a book shoot is harder than it looks or sounds, just so you know. First, you find the models and the photographer. If your photographer knows a fantastic location after hearing what the book is about, roll with it. If not, finding a location is key to presenting the picture in your mind's eye. We're not even to the hard part yet.

There are also such nitty gritty details as lining up hair and make-up for the day(s) of the shoot. Making sure you have enough rolling racks, hangers, shoes and accessory boxes is smart, too. After deciding on your models, it's time to figure out what they are going to wear. That's the hard part. While I was writing the book, and then during editing, I had a mental picture of how I wanted to use the images to illustrate what I was talking about.

Have you ever been shopping and can't find what you want? Try shopping on a deadline because you have models, photographer, location, and hair and make-up artists coming. There's some pressure! I did finally get what I wanted to find, and everything worked perfectly.

Hopefully, you've seen some pictures on Facebook and Twitter - if not, you'll just need to wait for the book to come out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Opportunity to Dress Up?

Some people hate dressing up in black tie garb, and I know for sure that tuxes are referred to as 'monkey suits' by some. Are you one of them, or do you know someone who would have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to any event that requires a tux? Stay tuned, I'm about to show you how you can wear nice clothes and do good in the world.

I was flipping through Wake Living magazine to show someone my most recent article, and noticed that it's ball season again. And every ball has a great cause. The Big Bad Ball on Sept 29 supports the Hospice of Wake County. The Fur Ball is Oct 7, supporting the SPCA. The Paint it Pink Gala is Oct 25, supporting breast cancer research and awareness. The Raleigh Round-Up is Nov 9 and supports the American Cancer Society's Raleigh Office. Starting to get the picture?

I'm always torn - do I go to the ball because it's worthwhile to support the cause, or because it's fun to dress for black tie events? The answer is a little of both. I donate auction items regularly to causes I believe in, and attend the galas I want to and have time for. The opportunity to wear clothes I normally don't get to wear is also appealing to me.

So what do you do when you have black tie or cocktail obligations and a limited budget? The reality of purchasing something you may wear only once or twice is a tough for some, and if you have strong feelings about not wearing the same dress at several events during a short period of time, it can be nearly impossible. Shopping an upscale consignment boutique is certainly something you should start now to beat the rush and spread out purchases over time. Other options are hosting a cocktail/black tie clothing swap, shopping at the Junior League's A Shopping Spree, or visiting Rent the Runway.

What do you wear to black tie events? Maybe I'm way off the mark, and the average person doesn't do black tie or cocktail dresses anymore...?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ever Been to a Clothing Swap?

Clothing swaps are fun events - a little like going to the flea market and a lot like shopping in your friend's closet. In the course of my business, I have attended several. Sometimes it's to see what is out there, and sometimes to help a client figure out what they should choose. It's a great place to meet new people, too.

You know I am about to suggest you go to one, and I have the perfect one for you - the Redress Raleigh clothing swap at King's Barcade. I sponsored the fashion show last year, and these ladies are doing a lot of good things locally to promote sustainable fashion. The link to find out more, of course, is on Facebook.

It's short notice (this Saturday), but with a purpose of bringing clothes you don't wear or don't want anymore, and trade out for stuff you do want, this event can't be missed! In support of the eco theme, you will have to bring your own bag to take home all your new stuff.

The basics: go through your closet and select a couple things you're tired of or don't want to wear anymore. This includes shoes and accessories. From 2:30 until 3, Redress Raleigh is setting up the clothes on racks and tables (please have them cleaned prior to bringing them - you don't want to be the one person that brought dirty clothes to the event). At 3, the doors open and shoppers browse what's available. Just like real shopping, you don't have to leave with anything in hand, but if you see something you like, be sure to grab it before someone else does!

The entrance fee is low cost ($3), and is generally very orderly. No promises here about the orderly part, though. Typically, after the swap, the leftover items are donated to a homeless shelter or some other worthy cause. All types of clothing are welcome - men's, women's, juniors, etc.

If you think it's a worthy idea, but can't get there on Saturday, plan a clothing swap of your own with your friends. If you need help, feel free to contact me and I'll help you set it up!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How About That Hat Pin?

Bet you are already wondering why I am addressing hat pins. Do you even know where they originated from and why? I certainly didn't, but in my quest to discuss all aspects of fashion, I thought it may give you some food for thought.

The true history of hatpins dates back from the 1400's when women used to secure veils or a clothes heading called "wimples" with hatpins. It was later in the 1850's that hatpins were used to secure straw hats from falling off a woman's head, and in those days, having an uncovered head was a serious fashion faux pas. Over time, hatpins became longer and more decorative. The basic "working girl" hat pin was a black or white bead that was easily mass produced. As the trend began to grow and hat pins became more ornate to denote social standing, jewelers began designing their own in finer material including carnival glass, blown molded glass, painted, gold, silver and brass.
  • Sterling silver was one of the most popular material used with images of flowers and ladies
  • Gold hatpins were mostly given as gifts and featured gemstones
  • Brass and copper were more affordable and often highlighted rhinestones or glass
  • Natural materials were made of mother of pearl, ivory, amber or coral
  • Man-made hatpins in the early 1920's made of plastics were most affordable but not necessarily the bet choice

By the late 1890's to 1920's hatpins became all the rage when music hall actresses began replacing their bonnet strings to their elaborate hats with secured hat pins. Hairstyles were also being worn upswept and more coiffed, so the hatpin gave women the opportunity to not only secure the hat but adjust it to however they chose to angle the hat on their head. With each new era, the designs became more elaborate including the Victorian era with influences of Oriental and then later when Art Nouveau designs were inspired by nature. During the Edwardian era, hats were exceptionally large, so hatpins were often 14 inches long, whereas in the 1920's during the Art Deco movement, hats were often smaller, had layered materials and were geometric in style. I can appreciate the Art Deco era in the late 1920's and would love to be able to utilize the pins into wardrobes of today. I can see using an antique hat pin to secure a plain or solid color scarf, for instance.

So, if you started a hatpin collection today where would you display it? On a decorative pillow, a fabric bulletin board, on a hat itself or for me....a lapel. I have always loved the look of a hatpin on a lapel. I like them clustered in groups of three unless they are large in size. Anything decorative works best in odd numbers.

If you are interested in learning more about hatpins, and there is much more to learn, check out the American Hatpin Society.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Updating Your Wardrobe to Make it Say WOW!

One of the many things I do consistently with clients through the years is updating through alterations items in their wardrobe. I find that most clients have wonderful garments that with a little bit of tweaking fit into their present lifestyle. It may be a matter of a hem, a nip on the sides, a change in the collar, updating the button or removing pleats. This applies for both men and women.

For most men, the simple removal of a cuff at the bottom of a pant or tapering a jacket lapel makes all the difference. For women who have hung onto their suit jackets, simple removal of shoulder pads or updating the buttons generally does the trick. I have been known to have a client remove the sleeves altogether, taper the sides closer to their body and make it a vest. Simplifying the button color to appear monochromatic is another way of updating a garment. Just because a garment comes with a particular button or belt, that does not mean they have to be used. G-d knows, I have seen some buttons and belts on garments that have left me shaking my head or giggling under my breath!

I can't tell you the positively shocking responses I have received from clients after having their garments tailored. I use a wonderful tailor who works hand and hand with me to create new looks for clients. One of my favorite examples is from this past spring with a client who is quite petite. She has a cute shirtdress with breast pockets and a regular button down collar. The collar was very masculine and closed off her neckline. I recommended the tailor change the collar to a mandarine neckline, which visually was more feminine and comfortable. I also wanted to give the client an opportunity to wear a chunky necklace to soften the appearance of the shirtdress. Breast pockets appear best on women that are small breasted. The detail is of the flap and button is perfect.

What about dresses that are too short at this point in our lives? The quick and easy solution is to make the top into a tunic! Think in terms of what you may want to wear the tunic with - jeans or leggings? Remember to have a pair of pants on before shortening the dress. Also keep in mind that you do want your back end covered. Have the seamstress mark the garment all the way around. For some of us, our back ends may have a little more padding and may cause the fabric to creep up ever so slightly. Get my drift? Lastly, for dresses that are too short to wear but have a fitted bottom on the thighs while being fuller in the body, think in terms of a tunic style top again. Place the narrow fitted bottom on your hips and have the seamstress take the excess out through the middle out. It will change the silhouette dramatically and makes a sassy updated look.

I can't say enough about starting in your closet by evaluating each garment to see if it can be altered to fit and look better for your present lifestyle! If you have a question about an item and are not ready to part with it, bring it to your tailor and discuss the possibilities.

I'd love to see your redo's, so send me a snap!

From my closet to yours-


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Do You Need A Look Book?

A while back I started putting together lookbooks for clients. I, and they, have found this tool to be quite useful. If you haven't seen a lookbook, they are typically used by designers to send their collection to beauty editors and are images of styled outfits. 

I put together lookbooks containing images of clothing that I have coordinated for the client based upon new purchases and existing items in the closet. Many of the pictures will have the client in them, and some others with the clothes laid out on a flat surface or hung on a hanger. I also like to include with the looks some  shoes, scarves, handbags and jewelry items that work well with the look and for different circumstances, such as more or less casual. In addition, each new season I add to the book, taking existing items from other seasons to create transitional dressing options and to show how the new items in the client's closet work with what they already have. 

The overall goal continues to be one thing: when the client steps into their closet each day they know they have choices of what to wear to accompany their needed dress attire for the day, mood or weather conditions. So many of us need clothing to work with the various things we are involved with daily. Taking advantage of a lifestyle wardrobe and having the pictures to use as an ongoing reference not only provides an ease to our morning routine, but is a great time savor. How many times have you stood in your closet and tried on several outfits before getting that one combination that works and makes you feel good? Most clients report to me that they leave the book in or near their closet and simply turn to a page and begin their day. For many, it keeps them from wearing the same things over and over.

I set up a lookbook based upon your lifestyle. For example, if you work in a casual atmosphere, then we start with those outfits coordinated from day to night. After that the book goes from weekend wear to dressy. Many pictures offer multiple options of accessories. The positive feedback on the lookbooks have been tremendous.

As the season moves into fall, it's a great time to think about a closet consult and having a lookbook put together. If you are not able to shop, no worries! Most people have what they need in their closet, but don't know how to coordinate different looks to achieve other styles. 
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn