Monthly Archives: May 2012

Shopping on the interwebs

Earlier, I claimed that my friend Stephanie can find anything online, and I confidently stand behind that claim. The internet offers many great fashion resources from designers to bargains, and today she shares some great advice to help you maximize your online shopping experience.


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Shopping designer labels with Tammy

I’m so sorry, everyone! Here is the video of my discussion with Tammy that was supposed to be in my last post, but I was experiencing technical difficulties.

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Shopping designer labels

I’m starting out this series on shopping strategies with a discussion on shopping designer because I think it’s always a great idea to begin by drawing inspiration from the designers, who often work with high quality materials and turn out magnificent pieces.

Even if your wallet doesn’t yet contain enough cash to take home a designer piece, familiarizing yourself with designers’ work has many benefits.

One, you get a feel for high-quality craftsmanship, which will help you recognize quality workmanship at various price points. Two, you learn whose work you identify with, which can help you when trying to create a wardrobe that reflects a cohesive style.

So check out Tammy’s advice for shopping designer pieces (and forgive my nodding bobblehead; I’m just trying to soak up all the juicy advice she’s throwing out there!).

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Shop smarter, not harder

Okay, so now that we’ve figured out the elements of building a B.A.S.E. wardrobe (remember: body-appropriate, age-appropriate, situation-appropriate, and expense), it’s time to go shopping!

If you’re one of the people who shrieked with delight upon reading the word “shopping,” you might be in the minority. While some of my friends love to shop, many find the thought unpleasant and overwhelming.

So this week, AIS is going to give you some shopping strategies to help you navigate and conquer the world (or at least the mall).

Tammy, one of the best trend spotters I know, will help me kick off the week by discussing shopping for designer items. Next up, Stephanie (a.k.a. The Woman Who Can Find Anything Online) gives us tips for navigating the wild world of internet shopping. Finally, I’ll wrap up the series by giving you my best strategies for mastering the mall trip, thrift shops, and discount stores.

Happy (really, I mean it!) shopping!

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It’s in the bag

“I used to buy good shoes; now I buy good bags. They make me feel more confident.”
–Marc Jacobs

The cost-per-wear concept has paid the greatest dividend for me in the bags I carry.  I’m a busy girl, and prefer not to go through the hassle of changing my bag every day, so it’s imperative that I have one that plays nicely with all my clothes.  Recently, I had to replace an old favorite—a B.Makowsky creation purchased at a steal of $90 at T.J. Maxx that had lasted me almost three years (carried every day, it had a cost-per-wear of a mere 8 cents)!!

I loved the B.Makowsky so much that I decided to look for another one, and scored again at T.J. Maxx–a red beauty for $140.  I was a little nervous about it working with my entire wardrobe, but I’ve been carrying it for a couple of weeks now, and it meshes with everything quite nicely.  Even if I only use it on weekdays for the next three years, the cost-per-wear will be under 18 cents.  Not to mention that it adds serious polish to whatever I pair it with.

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Cheap = Expensive

“Lo que es barato sale caro y lo que es caro sale barato.”

(What is cheap ends up being expensive and what is expensive ends up being cheap).
–Cuban expression often quoted by Audrey Hepburn

Need some real-life examples of the cost-per-wear concept? This weekend, scroll through the archives of two of my favorite blogs–Jessica Quirk’s blog What I Wore and Kelly Framel’s blog The Glamourai–for some inspiration. Two ladies with wildly different styles (and clothing budgets), they both embrace this concept and wear certain items regularly.

My favorite item that Jessica rocks repeatedly is a beautiful pair of House of Harlow brown woven wedges, while Kelly Framel incorporates an Helmut Lang tuxedo blazer in many of her outfits.

Jessica Quirk of What I Wore

Kelly Framel, a.k.a. The Glamourai

While both of these pieces might make a dent in a girl’s wallet initially, they more than pay for themselves over time. In fact, Kelly’s so pleased with her blazer that she says, “At $575, it’s not exactly cheap, but after having seen how useful it’s been in my own wardrobe, I’d happily pay double!!”

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You don’t need a bigger closet

“Elegance is refusal.”
Coco Chanel

I’ve been in people’s closets that held items they had not worn in five years (sometimes longer)! When building a wardrobe, don’t hang on to clothes you no longer wear just because you paid money for them at one time or another. If you keep a well-curated closet (in other words, a closet edited with intention), you will have a more accurate idea of what pieces you have and how they can interact. This can help you save your clothing budget for pieces that will truly add a lot of value to your closet.

I know it’s hard to part with certain articles of clothing, though (after all, they’ve seen us through some crazy times!). What I find helpful is to move the items I’m considering “editing” out of my wardrobe to a different closet for a period of time (perhaps a month or so). If I don’t miss them during that time, they go in the donation bin, and it doesn’t seem so difficult to part with them. However, if I’m constantly visiting the other closet to retrieve something, I re-consider keeping it.

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You get what you pay for

“Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice the woman.”
Coco Chanel

When building a wardrobe, think quality instead of quantity. This is sometimes difficult and requires forethought and discipline. You need to put some thought into what pieces you need to build a cohesive wardrobe, and the discipline to not succumb to a weak moment and purchase random items that don’t fit into your plan (not to say you can’t ever buy a piece that you weren’t planning to, just evaluate whether or not it truly flatters your body and fits your current life situation).

This is not a “quick fix,” but over time, your wardrobe will consist of fabulous pieces you can rely on for a variety of situations.

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Be prepared for any situation

“I have heard with admiring submission the experience of the lady who declared that the sense of being perfectly well dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquility which religion is powerless to bestow.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay, so I meant to do another video to chat with you about some of my thoughts on how dressing appropriately for the situation you find yourself in can really boost your confidence, but life happened this week, and my video didn’t (insert wistful-slash-frowny face here).  So I am just going to write a few suggestions that have helped me (I’ll keep it short and bullet-pointed; after all, it is a sunshiny Saturday afternoon and the beach is calling).

  • When shopping for pieces to build your wardrobe, consider your lifestyle and the types of situations you find yourself in most frequently.  If you’re the koala keeper at your local zoo, you may not need a closet full of cocktail dresses.  However, if you’re an event planner, that may be exactly what you need.  If you work from home, a collection of smart denim would be a great wardrobe base, but if you only get to wear jeans once a week, you probably don’t need 17 pairs.
  • It never hurts to call a friend and ask what they’re wearing to a particular event to get a feel for the level of formality that said event warrants.  However (and I’m begging you here), don’t use this tactic as a crutch, unable to get dressed until you hear from said friend.  When I’m out and about, nothing pleases me as much as seeing other people dressed in their own style.  If everyone had the same style, how boring this world would be!  Just make sure it’s your style, and not a complete lack of style.

Invest in a few quality pieces that can work for a variety of situations (check out posts on Rachael’s blazer for inspiration), and you’ll never (well, perhaps rarely) find yourself without something to wear again.

If you have any further tips on this topic, please share them!  I’d love to hear from you!

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