Wardrobe Consulting Logo

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber Monday or Cyber Week? And Other Miscellany

I heard on the news yesterday that Cyber Monday was a great success. Some retailers are extending their deals through the week, begging the question...when does it end? Will Cyber Monday become Cyber Month?

Just to reiterate - if you're taking advantage of all the online deals to buttress your wardrobe, make sure you know what you're looking for, or can gift the items you can't find a place for in your closet.

Good news for all you Triangle shoppers - I've heard reports of a new store opening in January or Febraury. It's called Rene Michele Boutique, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us.

Are you heading for the ski slopes, or somewhere cold for the holidays? You can still be chic when dressing warmly. Think woolen mittens and matching scarves, fun hats or bands that keep your ears warm, and a great pair of ski pants or long underwear. A great pair of boots can't hurt, either, with some nice thick socks!

Stay tuned for more...later this week we'll have a holiday shopping guide!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buyer's Remorse?

Some of you are probably looking at your purchases from yesterday, and wondering what the heck you are were thinking, and if you have someone you can gift whatever item is making you feel guilty. I meet so many clients who have purchased an item, on sale, and then found it didn't work with their wardrobe the way they thought. Common sense tells us to return it or gift it, but because it was such a great deal, we have a hard time letting go. It's almost like a badge of honor to have gotten an item of clothing on sale when it's a great price. So there it sits, in their closet, taking up space (with the tags still on) and waiting for someone like me to come along and say things like 'why do you still have this' and 'if you've never worn it, was it really that great of a deal?'. Either way, that item of clothing likely reminds you that you made a bad purchase, and it makes you feel guilty.

For some shoppers, it's a reason not to shop - that worry that about making another bad purchase. For others, it's a simple nuisance, and although they feel a little guilty, it won't stop them from making another impulse purchase in the future. Black Friday is the day that the guilt of buyer's remorse will make or break you. Different than Cyber Monday, you can actually see and feel the energy of shoppers around you, who are competing to get the best deals before the stores run out of whatever you need.

Buyer's remorse takes on another form, and it's the 'one for you, one for me' mentality. With so many good deals in front of you, it's hard not to get some shopping in for yourself, too. It's easy to use Christmas shopping, a time when you're looking for a great deal on the Christmas presents on your list, to find great deals for yourself. And the reasoning sounds something like this 'wow, what a great scarf. And so soft. That's a great gift for (insert name of friend or relative here). But it's such a great deal, and if I get one for myself in another color, no one will notice, right?'. Sound familiar?

Buyer's remorse typically sets in when you look at your closet and think to yourself, did I really need that? The answer for most is no, you didn't. But you wanted it, so you bought it. I'm here to tell you there's nothing wrong with that. Over the years I have told clients to go shopping with a plan. It really does cut down on those errant purchases, and it reduces the buyer's remorse.

My advice: if you know shopping causes you to buy impulsively and feel guilty after, take a list of the things you are looking to add to your wardrobe. And stick to it! It's not a good deal if you can't wear it or gift it...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Does Your Bra Fit? How Do You Know?

When you think you have heard everything about a bra fitting......

I recently had an opportunity to interview Kathy Bartholomew, a fit specialist for a company called Essential Bodywear. She has been fitting women of all sizes since 2011 and boasts that the company has sizes from 32A to 50H. I expect your eyes have just widened at this point. Never heard of a 50H? I've always known bras come in a variety of sizes. The H was a surprise, though.
Kathy told me about the number of women who she sees wearing the wrong bra size, and Kathy herself has a few goals. She wants to take that statistic of 85% of women wearing the wrong bra size and personally fit you so you no longer have neck, shoulder or back problems. She finds that most women want comfort and disregard getting the correct fit, let alone making sure the breast tissue is properly in the cup and not pulling at your pectoral muscles. Oh my, not the pecs!  
As a stylist I make sure that my clients are wearing bras that fit properly because it makes all the difference in the world of how clothes fit and hang on the body. I do recommend that clients get fit every six months because as we know through weight loss or gain, pregnancy or the ever lovely menopause, our breasts change. Eventually they go south, and Kathy has an answer for that as well. Essential Bodywear has bras that are made for seniors whose breast tissue have dropped.
Kathy has several clients who swear by her bra fitting and recommend the entire experience. She offers her bra fitting services in the privacy of your home or hers, and then there are the bra fitting parties with girlfriends. If you decide to host a party, you get free bras if she sells $800 or more. The company also offers holiday style bras, sports bras and underwear. Kathy started with the company after she finally found a sports bra that she could wear while horse back riding. She told me she got tired of bouncing!

Nancy is full of tips and quirky statements and it's really hard not to appreciate her sense of humor. We are talking about breasts, right?

* To put on your bra properly, put your arms through the arm holes by learning forward and reach behind your back to clasp the hooks. I said what? What if you can't reach behind your back. Nancy recommends either grasping the top or bottom hook and take your time and it will help. No one has ever told me that you will stretch out the band if you buckle it in front and twist it around!

* Once you have gotten the bra on, bend over and pull your breast tissue up and from the side and fit it into the cup of the bra. Believe me, it works!

* Use a mild detergent like Ivory liquid, and never Woolite, to hand wash your bra in cold water. If you opt to wash it in the washing machine, use a lingerie bag and the hand wash cycle. 

* Never hang a bra by the straps or band. Lay flat and mold cups with a towel. This sounds like a lot to dry a bra, but it makes the bra last so much longer.

* When storing your bras, don't fold the cups into one another, and use socks to keep cups molded when packing for travel.

As I mentioned Kathy has a few quirky sayings that I would be remiss if I didn't pass along. Kathy believes she can take anyone from saggin' to braggin'! But I like this one....posture counts and boobs shouldn't bounce!

Kathy offers gift certificates for the holidays and swears that spouses love picking out bras for their wives. I'm thinking Sid wouldn't know where to begin. I vote for a sports bras.

Next time you have the urge to go bra shopping, be sure to check out what Kathy has to offer and take her up on a good bra fitting. I know I'm gonna! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Calling all men...what are you wearing on your feet this fall?

No different than many of my women clients, I often get questions about what shoes are appropriate for particular outfits. After wandering around SRI Shoe Warehouse, I came up with some fall style men's shoes sure to fit for a business, business casual or weekend wear ensemble. Take these tips and see if you have something that is similar in your closet.

* Black is alway dressier than brown. Your shoe should match your belt or at least be in the same general family.

* If you are wearing a suit for an interview, board meeting or event, go with black. A brown lace up will do the trick with a navy or charcoal suit.

* Make your first dress shoe purchase a glossy leather versus an exotic material.

* An elongated toe box is more classic and less trendy and will be there for the long haul. I am not referring to pointing toed shoes, though, guys!

* The sole of your dress shoe should be at least a quarter of an inch thick and preferably leather not rubber. Rubber is easier to find, but leather wears forever.

* Just like a great fitting pair of pants or a suit, if you find a brand that fits your feet and feels comfortable, look for another style made by the same manufacturer.

* Buy the best quality shoes possible as they will be there for the long haul!

Did I hear you ask about classic loafers?

* Bass Weejuns are still making their mark and living strong. While at SRI, I came across some navy, low sheen, metallic Weejuns, which were very nice. SRI does carry the ever-so-popular classic cordivane color which is safe, but let me tell you how to wear the navy. (much more fun)

* A navy Weejun pairs well with the colors grey, brown, camel, khaki, stone, hunter green and aubergine and of course any shade of denim. A loafer is best worn with casual pants and business casual attire but not shorts. Yes, I know there are a lot of you men out there that would wear a Weejun with a short, but that's what got us ranked 75 for worst dressed in a recent GQ poll about Raleigh! Opt for a soft leather driving moccasin that has a rubber sole for shorts please!

* Try pairing a loafer for business casual with a button down or crew neck, pullover sweater, henley or vest for fall layering with a casual sports jacket of either a sueded cotton, tweed or corduroy. Match your socks to either your shoe or pant.

Boots, the cold weather favorite

Boots, whether they are men's or women's, have made a huge impact in our lifestyle wardrobes. Only for a select portion of the population do we find men wearing cowboy boots, but the Chelsea boot has become a common theme in most men's wardrobes. Selecting a boot regardless of the brand, for example Frye, Bass, Cole Hahn or Teva, is a daunting task. Give thought to these questions before buying a boot:

* Black or brown? Brown tends to be a little more relaxed in look and equally as versatile as black.

* Distressed or smooth? Either way looks better over time the more they are worn.

* Buckles or grommets? Choose either adornment, but not both, and remember sometimes less is more when it comes to details.

* Rubber or leather sole? Decide whether this is a weekend wear boot or possibly for business casual work. Rubber soles remind me of work boots, so leather is a best bet.

Think long term when buying a boot. Boots are now considered season-less and guys, they can take any boring jean and t-shirt and offer instant appeal. Boots can be dressed up or down and worn with most anything except a tux. Then again, if you are attending the CMA's, then a tux and boot would work just fine.

A final note.....did you know that 90 percent of people have feet that are two different sizes?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apricot Lane!

Triangle area fashion mavens are no strangers to great boutique shopping, and just in time for the holidays, Apricot Lane is opening at North Hills. Apricot Lane is known for their celebrity inspired and branded apparel, and their advertising promotes their stores as having fashion forward, quality clothes for every budget. I'm all for it! Dressing well shouldn't break the bank, and another boutique to shop is great for area fashion.

Speaking of not breaking the bank, look for great deals throughout the month. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, of course, great times to shop great deals, but as one might guess from the holiday decorations that are up already at area locations, like Crabtree Mall, retailers are looking jump on holiday sales. It's worth a trip to the outlets in Mebane and Smithfield to see what they have to offer. Be sure to take your holiday shopping list - outlets generally have a fair amount of stores that sell things you don't generally find anywhere else.

Back to Apricot Lane...I'm hoping they will carry some Sanctuary pieces, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Gentle Fawn has to offer. The store at North Hills opens on November 9, same day as the new Bond film, so maybe a trip to the movies for some glamorous inspiration from the always fashionable Bérénice Marlohe, and then some shopping? What do you think?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Layering - How to Do It Right

Layering is something everyone talks about when the weather gets colder, and some nail it, and some don't. Wardrobe Consulting is here to help. With the recent low temperatures here in NC, the flooding in NJ from the hurricane, and snow in the Rockies, it's a good time to discuss how to layer so you're not too hot and not too cold.

Everyone knows that coming in from hot weather to cold air conditioned air is something we just have to deal with in the summer. It works that way in winter, as well. We come in from the cold to the nice warm heat, and in some offices the heat is dry and too hot. The solution required for the winter months are layers that stand on their own, which is tough to do with ultra-light fabrics that gape and hug in some interesting places, but provide warmth.

When thinking about what you are layering, start with the foundation garments. If the bra strap is going to hang out, maybe that bra you're thinking you might need to replace isn't the best one to wear that day. If you are thinking colored tights, like your favorite ones with the tiny little hole on the calf, they may not be your best bet if you are not wearing boots or something that will cover what will eventually become a bigger hole. While we're on the topic of colored tights - if they have stretched so much that the coloration looks different in some visible places, it's time to think about getting some new ones. I know they are hard to shop for and it's hard to find a pair that fit just right, are the perfect color and aren't too binding, but when layering, it's crucial to have foundation items that look right no matter what you layer over top of them. For guys, the raggedy, beat up Fruit of the Loom undershirt you love, you know, the one with the frayed collar that everyone will see, is probably a great candidate for replacement in this case.

If necessary, think about what you are wearing as your base layer to think about your foundation garments. Your base layer is the fashion forward outfit you can strip down to if the temperature turns out to be blazing hot in your office, the doctor's office or when you come into a house heated to 70 degrees when it's 30 degrees outside. The temperature change is likely welcome, but sooner or later, you'll want to start taking layers off so you don't sweat. This should be a fairly lightweight layer, things like a light cotton sweater with quarter length sleeves, or for guys, a short-sleeved polo or a button down with sleeves you can roll up.

When we talk about layering, it's mostly about keeping your upper body warm. Layering your lower body just doesn't really work unless you're planning on wearing long johns or some other kind of figure hugging legging to retain warmth. If you do happen to live in a cold weather environment where long johns are required to ward off frostbite, make sure they fit correctly. Having something that bunches and gathers under your pants or skirts will make you look bulky and likely cause discomfort.

The rest of the top layers should be easier. A sweater for guys, or a nice tweed jacket, and then an overcoat, like a nice trench. For women it becomes a lot about balance. Some women like to layer so the longest layer is the foundation layer, creating a visual rise with each layer. Some women like to layer so the longest layer is the first one removed, creating a different look with the removal of each layer.

Some final tips:
  • If you worry about any problem areas, choose fitted clothing and not tight clothing. Tight clothing, even under layers, highlights problem areas or creates new ones.
  • Wear your slimmer clothes underneath. For instance, a fitted shirt layered under a loose cardigan made of a lightweight wool or cashmere, layered under a lab or tweed jacket. Then a longer pea coat or trench to wear outdoors.
  • Fluffy and bulky do not layer well. Anything that looks like it adds weight to your frame probably doesn't need to be layered except in a minimalist way, like a performance shirt designed for warmth underneath.
  • Remember your colors - not too matchy-matchy. Layering colors that match tend to make the layers disappear.
  • Use belts, scarves and other accessories to add dimension to your layers. Don't go overboard, though. There's no need to look like you wore everything in your closet that day - just add a couple simple touches to finish the look.
Do you have layering tips? I'd love to hear them!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn