Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Trauma Unit

I hear it almost every day "I can never find jeans that fit my body." Finding the perfect pair of jeans is almost as stressful as shopping for a bathing suit. I remember being greeted with "Welcome to the trauma unit" upon entering the swim suit section at a department store. I had to laugh at the remark, because I knew before me was the agonizing task of selecting a swim suit. Same goes for buying new jeans. You have to be mentally prepared for the task of finding the "one". You know, the "one" pair of jeans that was cut straight from the design room with you in mind.

You walk into the store and jeans are displayed on a jean wall, hanging neatly on a designer rack, or folded ever so carefully on a table and they are screaming "cardiac arrest" at you!

So, let the jean selection process begin. If you follow a basic jean selecting technique, known as the "pick-pocket", you simply pick up the pair you like based on the design or placement of the back pocket. Sometimes the pocket technique works and sometimes it fails you miserably. Also, there is the "right cut" technique, in which you try on every pair of boot-cut, straight-leg or flare in the store. It gets tricky using this method.

Through my experience in retail, I've developed a system for finding the perfect pair of jeans for just about anyone.

My first recommendation in finding the perfect pair of jeans, is to ask a sales person that you trust! Personally, I am not going to throw 15 different styles of jeans at you, cross my fingers and hope that a pair fits. I think it's best to start with 2 or 3 jean styles that will provide an idea of what you prefer in a jean. Trust me, it doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience or one that requires heavy medication or psychiatric help afterwards.

Here are a few things I look for when helping someone find the perfect pair of jeans:

1- You want the jeans to fit tight. I offer this tip all the time and some women don't believe me. Jeans are going to stretch so if you try them on and they fit like your old comfy jeans that you've had forever - you might want to try the next size down. Jeans look better when they are fitted and you don't want that saggy bottom look. Trust me on this. And I'm not going to let you walk out of the store in jeans that are too tight!

2- You can look at the knee to tell if the jeans are the right fit. If excessive fabric is bunching around the knee, you might need a different size or style.

3- Jeans run long. They are made for people who are 6 feet tall, so if you're average in height, like me, the jeans will need to be altered (or you can just find the tallest shoes and wear those- this will also make your legs look longer - my favorite trick). Bring heels with you while jean shopping and you can get an idea of the length. If you are considering a flare jean, but alteration is required, you might lose a significant amount of fabric which means the end product is closer to a boot-cut. Skinny jeans or straight-legged jeans can easily be altered and the cost is usually around $12.00.

Now it's time to say goodbye to the trauma unit forever (wish buying a bathing suit could be this simple). Happy Jean Shopping!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shop Local

Recently, when reading a local a paper or magazine, it seems that there is at least one article about a beloved local business that has closed it's doors. Every time I hear about the unfortunate loss of a local store or business closing, I get a little sick to my stomach. To the person who owned the business, more than likely it was their life's dream that has fallen victim to the economy. They vested their heart and soul, emotional well-being, and all their financial resources into that dream. And in part, the community just lost a friend along with some of it's charm.

Besides having the the experience of shopping in a store that's either unique and quirky, and in a lot of instances both, there are real benefits to shopping local. According to the The 3/50 Project, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned store, $68 goes back into the community (whether it's through payroll, taxes or donations) If you shop at a chain it drops to about $43. If you shop online, nothing is passed back into the community.

Locally owned businesses are more likely to contribute to local charities, fundraisers and community events. If your child participates in intramural sports, chances are the team on which your child plays is sponsored by a locally owned business. Now that I think about it I've never seen Abercrombie & Fitch or Gap on the back of a little league tee-shirt.

Locally owned businesses are tailored to blend with the uniqueness of the neighborhood or community. We know our customers and we purchase product based on what they want - not what "Corporate America" dictates. In fact, we spend most of our time thinking about what our customers want and what would make them happy. Can you say that about most chain stores?

So the next time you make a purchase, why don't you stop by a local store first. In the end, we all win.

Friday, January 8, 2010

So it's that time of year when we begin transitioning from winter to spring. Yes, a new fashion season is right around the corner. It's hard to think about spring while the frigid weather wages war on our spirit, but the thought of warmer weather provides the inspiration to get our closet ready! Now is the time to find great deals on fall and holiday apparel that can easily be slipped into your current wardrobe - the perfect transition pieces - and I'm going to help you manage the change in seasons with style and ease.

Look around for incredible savings on jackets and outwear. Besides having it ready for next year, a well-chosen jacket can be worn over dresses during the earlier spring months. You know what I'm talking about - the event you are attending requires a little flirty dress, but the weather outside isn't cooperating. So, you need something to wear between leaving your house and arriving at the event. Probably the most hip jacket is, of course, leather! MM Couture has the perfect leather jacket to compliment this Yumi Kim dress. Wear this ultra chic outfit now with tights and booties and in the spring, lose the tights and wear it with a pair of funky wedges. We like the way this look creates a smooth move from winter to spring.

Knit dresses have an easy flow and charm making them an absolute required basic that should be in every fashion collection. This purple criss cross dress from Frenzii defies all odds by fearlessly bridging the seasons - in fact, it is great to wear throughout most of the year. Pair it with leggings (yes, I have a thing for leggings) and boots, a fun scarf that mingles close to your body for a little extra warmth. In the spring, sporting the dress with a pair of flats and funky jewelry will set the pace for warm weather.

If you have a wedding or an occasion that requires a little something dressier, now is a fantastic time to check out party dresses at 50% to 75% off. MM Couture offers a little black dress so simple that it easily conforms to multiple outfits and no one will know it is the same dress. You can wear it now with this grey MM Couture blazer, tights and boots. When it gets warmer, dress it up with a fun pair of heels and over the top jewelry. You could even layer a fun colored shirt underneath for an additional outfit. This little black dress really delivers the the most bang for the buck.

When you are shopping keep in mind that adding or taking away a few key pieces can create a completely different outfit. Make sure you make the most out of every piece in your wardrobe!