Nov 072014
 

IMG_3053.JPGFull disclosure: I am not affiliated with Fabletics, although I think I can put a link here that would give me a referral fee.

This is another tip from the locker room. Well, not technically from the locker room, but the actual exercise studio. One of my co-sweaters (an inverted triangle with a high hip) was wearing this really cool top that created an X at her waist in the back. It was so flattering! That is how I learned about Fabletics, the subscription site for quality athletic wear, (Kate Hudson, founder). Before I even went to the site, I was ready to sign up; because if I buy the clothes, I will look like Kate Hudson when I’m exercising, right? 😉

Seriously, folks, it is the ease and affordability, the automation factor, if you will, that appeals to me.

How it works:

For as little as $25, you can get your first complete outfit when you become a member (mine was $35). There’s a little quiz that’s actually building your profile, then they give you recommendations. Unfortunately, the quiz isn’t detailed enough to for everyone to receive recommendations as spectacular and specific as my friend did; I still needed to know what works with my silhouette and proportions. And be warned: once you go through the quiz, the clock starts ticking and you have one hour to shop and join. I don’t know that failing to finish in the allotted time precludes joining later; I just would have done the quiz after looking around rather than first if I had known.

(Fabletics referral link)

Here’s where the automation comes in (the fine print):

  1. Shop Your Outfits – On the 1st of each month, we’ll send you outfits selected just for you and your workouts. Complete outfits start at just $49.95 for VIP Members, a savings of up to 40%.
  2. Buy or Skip – Purchase the outfits you love, or if nothing catches your eye, simply skip the month by the 5th.
  3. Accrue a Credit – If you don’t make a purchase or skip the month by the 5th, you’ll be charged $49.95 for 1 member credit on the 6th. Each member credit can be redeemed for 1 outfit — use it to shop anytime.

Honestly, exercise clothes are a great candidate for automation: they are less complicated to fit, they need to be replaced more often, and I just don’t want to have to put alot of creative effort into being appropriately dressed at the gym. (But I do try to be well-dressed everywhere I go.) I don’t plan on buying every month (nor does anyone else I talked to), but at these prices I could see getting a new outfit once every two or three months.

I hear the quality is good. When I experience it for myself, I will confirm. Btw, there are a ton of reviews on the Fabletics site, so I have a feeling I am a little bit behind on this one.

Oct 032014
 

So, October is a natural time to take stock of Winter gear and buy anything you have been unable to get thrift or clearance. If you have to pay real money, you might as well get the best selection. My list:

Ivory leather winter gloves – size 7
(If I can’t find ivory, I will go for a bright.)
Casual segment, knee-high boots – size 9
(These have to have a functional outsole, because it snows here, and need to have some color that is light enough to relate to my hair).

If I have to pay top dollar for each of those things, I will not have enough, so I am going to be checking out eBay.

And there is a big sale at The Rack this weekend. Thankfully, my birthday is in October – I can spend real money, if I have to. What are you needing to be ready for Winter?

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Sep 132014
 

So. The temperatures have begun to dip. Schedules are changing. I have learned how to identify clothes that do not fit. Sleeveless dresses and short-sleeved pants with tee-shirts are not going to cut it for long.

After my first (and very successful!) personal shopping expedition this week, I hit the stores for myself. Nothing but exhaustion and frustration! Apparently, although my weight is in something like the 25th percentile, my calves are in the 60th percentile. 🙁 At Maurice’s, we heard a great explanation of the problem with bootcut jeans: they sell both a boot cut with an hourglass shape to the lake and a boot cut that is straight and doesn’t come in at the knee.

Helpful tip: if your legs are short, you want the boot cut that doesn’t come in at the knee. This is because the eye always slows at a curve and a fast, unbroken line gives the impression of greater length.

Second helpful tip: try Nordstrom’s True Fit finder. What’s your perfect fit? Shop Jeans at NORDSTROM. Plus, get free shipping and free returns on every order. Shop Jeans at NORDSTROM and find your perfect fit. Plus, get free shipping and “>

Ultimately, I did find some pants. But I was beginning to consider:

  • Buying pants too big and taking the waist in.
  • Buying pants that fit tight in the thighs, and putting in a gusset.
  • Building pants from scratch.

Before panicking, it would be wise to visit Buckle.

Aug 292014
 

So, I have completed all of the assignments that have to do with the artistic and scientific principles of an aesthetically pleasing look; now I am in the putting it together stage. And still working on my own wardrobe.

I have done some hair style design plans, some color analyses, some facial themes analyses, including a plan for use in selecting glasses, and several body line analyses. Message me for availability and prices. Tomorrow I am doing a closet audit; shortly, I will move on into personal shopping. All the while, I am thinking of ways to put my own personal stamp on my professional practices.

As we close out August, of course, my thoughts are on fall, and fall wardrobe. I have already started cutting up T-shirts. This weekend, if you’re not doing anything better, is a great time to start working on switching over your clothes. Or have you done it already?

And if you, like me, need clothes, there’s always shopping.

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Aug 222014
 

Is it just me or does it seem like schools are starting earlier and earlier? I have seen lots of “first day of school” pictures, but we still have some time. I don’t know anyone in Spokane who starts in August.

Which means this weekend the stores will be packed.

Still in serious need of clothes, I looped thrifting in with another errand today and found a pair of jeans. I wasn’t looking for skinnies – I really wanted a straight leg but on me, straight is skinny; I need a “boyfriend” fit, I think, to get a straight look. (Last weekend, I discovered Eddie Bauer boyfriend jeans, but I can’t see spending don’t have the $$. Yet.) Sometimes you have to buy what you can find and work creatively with it.

Habit is a useful tool for automation. I have a habit of buying a pair of jeans in August. What kind of jeans did I find that fit over my thighs without being way too big in the waist? Actually, in this case, Inc, the Macy’s brand.

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  • Aug 152014
     

    So, it is the middle of August, and I need just about everything! What is the logical thing to be shopping for right now? Jeans, I suppose. It is, after all, BTS.

    For the budget-conscious, shopping Kohls makes alot of sense.

    Since starting this blog, I have often wished I knew what jeans to recommend to fit the various body types. Recently I heard that LC Lauren Conrad fits a wide waist and smaller legs well. Then I was racking my brain. What about the inverse?

    Face palm. JLo?

    Aug 122014
     

    For quite some time, this question has been in my mind:

    are you a builder or an editor?

    (Not that I really know what that means. Usually it pops into my mind in conjunction with the idea that I’m getting rid of some article of clothing but I don’t really have anything to replace it in my wardrobe.)

    So, the way I see it, each proclivity – building or editing, shopping or biffing – has its problems. And either could wind up with nothing to wear. Most wardrobe advice seems to come from the angle that we all have a closet stuffed full of clothes and nothing to wear, but that is not the case for me or for most of the people I have talked to about it. I had somebody tell me recently that if we were to do a closet audit she would have to go shopping first or there would be nothing to audit!

    So, how much is a reasonable amount to spend on clothes? In Dave Ramsey’s budget worksheet, 2 to 7% is the suggested amount. Even with our moderate income, I have been spending less than that. Actually, I have not spent enough For some people (builders), the budget should be taken as a limit; for others (editors), it needs to be a minimum. You can live on less for a season, but perhaps it shouldn’t become a lifestyle. If “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2), why do I want to settle for scorched earth?

    My suggestion: if possible, budget 2% per person, up to 7% for a family. Beyond that, creativity and economy can be employed to stretch the budget around the number of kids you have. Chances are, if you are consistently spending too little, your wardrobe isn’t really working for you.

    Jul 312014
     

    Traditional time management advice is heavy on the concept “delegate”. Cuz we all have an army of minions just waiting to do our bidding, right? It is possible, and undoubtedly beneficial, to hire people to do certain things that you don’t don’t have the skills or desire to do – people like wardrobe organizers and personal shoppers, for example 😉 (I should say that if when I reach the stature of budget to actually go to a retail store and spend real money, I am going to try the free personal shopping service available in NORDSTROM stores.)

    It is also possible to automate alot more things now. One great example: Amazon Subscribe and Save. I have become quite accustomed to having my Charlie’s Soap “Laundry Powder” 2.64 lbs (FFP) delivered every other month to my doorstep.

    How do you automate the essential tasks you just don’t want to do?

    Jun 232014
     

    One thing I learned the hard way from costuming:

    If the person doesn’t fit into ready-to-wear sizing, is easier to build it from scratch.

    It is something to consider. If I have to, I can sew a simple dress for myself, but typically it would be less costly and quicker to find one used. Some actors, due to their body type and proportions, are just extremely difficult to fit off-the-rack. (It is challenging for almost anyone these days to fit into tiny-waisted vintage clothing, which is the majority of what low-budget childrens community theaters own.)

    You probably know your own proportions all too well, but if not, you could try what I did a couple of times this last year:

    1. take your measurements
    2. find a size chart for a common retailer in that size range
    3. compare the measurements to the size chart

    Do you fit easily onto an off-the-rack size? Honestly, it is easier to fit a perfect size 24 than a size 6 with a 40 inch bust. Or an 8-year-old with a 30 inch waist. No offense or anything.

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    Mar 062014
     

    To finish off this week talking about shopping frustrations, I found this post in my archives. Unlike previous re-runs, however, I found this one in “private”; I think it has been published previously, but not on this blog!

    Browse related books.

    When was the last time you went shopping for clothes and were able to thoroughly exhaust your possibilities? Were you thoroughly exhausted? Sometimes, by the time I’ve looked at everything, I’m too bushed to even try on! (Now that’s efficient!)

    Recently, though, I’ve developed some skills. I can cruise through a rack, sometimes through a whole store, in minutes, and I’ve increased my chances of finding what I need.

    You can do it too.

    Dressing for clothes shopping includes wearing a simple top which you can try things on over and slip-on shoes, if possible.

    Choose your destination carefully. Before you even get to the store consider:

    • Does this store stock a good selection in my size? This one gets me all the time. For example, the Eddie Bauer outlet doesn’t even offer their outlet label in XS. If less than half the offerings are in my size, do I even want to expend the energy to drive out there, get out of the car, pick through everything, and so on? No. If possible, concentrate on stores where your size is in the middle of the options, rather than at one end.
    • When thrifting, look for stores that organize the racks by item and size. Hopefully, in your area, as in mine, this is becoming common practice. My favorite thrift store even puts things on the rack in color order.

    What to look at first? Especially if you are likely to run out of time (as in running into nap time), prioritizing is a must!

    • Is there one item which, if you had it, would make it easy for you to get dressed everyday? If so, start there.
    • If you are shopping for more than one type of clothing – for example, jeans and a jacket – look first at the one that takes the greater effort to try on. You can always try a jacket on without getting undressed.
    • Shopping for something to wear with one specific item is not really efficient. Better is to have a comprehensive wardrobe plan where the pieces you like to wear work easily together.

    Three intense scanning techniques:

    1. Narrow down the colors you are looking for. This is how I was able to shop the entire Old Navy store while my hero was waiting in traffic to get out of the parking lot. I only wear a handful of colors: pink, peach, aubergine, and neutrals; and color is the easiest thing to scan for.
    2. Look at the length of the items hanging on the rack. With longer t-shirts and longer shorts in style now, they will obviously be easy to spot amongst the many items you are not interested in. (Although more challenging, petites can use this technique in reverse.)
    3. If it feels icky to the touch, don’t bother trying it on. This has to do with learning to recognize the feel of the fabrics you like to wear. Knowing I will never wear a polyester blouse, no matter how beautiful the color or pattern, has saved me literally hours in fitting rooms.

    Perform fitting room triage. Once you have made your initial selections, prioritize your fitting room energy:

    • Is there one item which, if it works for you, will be the only one you buy? Try that one first. You might be done just that easily.
    • Try your favorite selections first.
    • But don’t make yourself get totally dressed in between. For example, try all the bottoms, in priority order, then all the tops.

    Advanced technique: Carry a tape measure with you. Learn some measurements that will make or break the fit of a garment; for example, I won’t bother getting undressed for a rise that measures anything less than 9 inches.

    Just because we don’t have time to do the leisurely shopping we’d like to do, doesn’t mean we don’t still have to be dressed every time we leave the house. I sincerely hope these tips will help you to shop more efficiently.