Tag Archive for 'Shopping Tips'

The Change Over

closet-main_FullIt’s October, Summer really is over despite what the thermometer says.  If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to pack up your Summer clothes and pull out your Winter wardrobe.  Below are a few of my savvy stylist tips to help you organize your closet this Fall.  I promise if you follow these 10 steps, getting dressed this Winter will be easier because your clothes will be in great shape and you’ll actually be able to find them in your closet!

1. Wooden hangers save the shape of clothes and make your closet neater because everything hangs uniformly.

2. Keep your blue jeans blue.  Wash your blue jeans inside out and let them air dry. Throw in dryer for 5 min to soften.

3. Back in black. Wash black garments together & use detergent specifically for black clothes.  I love Perwoll Black Magic Laundry Liquid Soap.

4. Never ever put brassieres in the dryer.  Mesh lingerie bags are a great way to prolong the life of your unmentionables.

5. Keep the girls lifted!  Rotate brassieres daily to insure that the arms don’t get stretched out.

6. Dry clean your cashmere sweaters, but do so sparingly to preserve the fibers and shape, and invest in a sweater shaver.

7. Keep jewelry neat and easily accessible in a jewelry box or jewelry organizer.

8. Prolong the life of your favorite handbags/totes/clutches by storing them in dustbags.  If your purse didn’t come with a dustbag at purchase, wrap it up in an old sweathshirt or t-shirt.

9. Store shoes on shoe racks or in clear plastic shoe boxes so that you can see what you have.  Almost all of my shoes are sorted and stored in them – so much easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re rushing in the am!

10. Organize clothes in your closet by garment type.   Shirts with shirts, dresses with dresses, suits with suits and so on.  Once you get everything organized by garment type, go back and organize each type by color.  Trust me, it’s time well-spent.

Happy Organizing!

You’d Better Shop Around …

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Frugal is as frugal does.

Are you getting ready to pull the trigger on that dress you’ve been eyeing on Bluefly? Planning to order photos on Snapfish?  Need to buy necessities at drugstore.com?  Before you click “purchase”, make sure your items are saved in your shopping cart and look around online for discount coupons.  These coupons knock off anywhere from a little bit to a lot from your purchase prices with deals that include free shipping, 10% off, $5 off and the like.  Never buy anything online without looking for a coupon first.  Simply google “[item] coupon” and websites like CouponCabin.com, Retailmenot.com, momsview.com, couponmountain.com, dealtaker.com, and gogoshopper.com will pop up – some of these sites feature over more than 1,000 online retailers.  The savings are definitely worth the extra 5 or 10 minutes that it takes to locate the coupon.  While not all of the coupons you’ll find are valid, if you persevere and are shopping at a name brand retailer – Bloomingdales, Target, Walmart, Neiman Marcus, JCrew, Saks, Victoria’s Secret,etc – you will find a coupon!   Take a moment to shop around and guarantee yourself some savings.

And you thought clipping coupons was something your Grandmother did – get with the times!

Kalyn’s Shopping Rate of Return

Is it time for a new purse? Suit? Do you need a new cocktail dress for the round of parties you’re invited to this Summer?  It may be time for something new, but for most of us the question is, “Can I really afford to buy a new XXX right now?”  I’ve come up with an equation to help you really figure out how much one of these “needed” items may cost you, I call it KALYN’S SHOPPING RATE of RETURN:

The Relative Market Value of the Item ≑ The Number of Wears Per Year = The Expected Rate of Return on Clothing Assets

Look at it like this, most of us have, at a minimum, a few items we regret purchasing. You know, those items you haven’t worn because: (i) it looked better on the hanger in the store than it does in your closet; (ii) you thought you’d lose that 5 pounds you needed to in order for it to fit properly, or (iii) you bought it in a pinch because you didn’t have something to wear, you wore it one time and each time you reach for it you put it back because you just don’t love it … So, let’s say you’re in the process of dusting your resume off and your old interview suit as well. If your old interview suit doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks, you may want to consider buying a new one that does – think of it as an investment in your future. Now, its time to do the math. If the suit is on sale for $600 and you wear it 10 times in the next year (let’s say you wear it to 4 interviews, a Bar Mitzvah, 2 luncheons, and to work 3 times because you did get that new job), the suit only ends up costing you $60 per wear. That’s as much as you spend on Starbucks in a two-week time span …  Think it over while you sip that latte.

Shopportunities!

Shopportunities!A Shopportunity is a shopping opportunity.  A good deal.  One of those deals that makes you think that tomorrow or 6 months from now I’ll regret not having purchased this dress, pair of shoes, handbag , you fill in the blank.   A shopurtunity equals beautiful clothes that fit you well at a fraction of the retail price. It’s not a shopurtunity if the price is right but you don’t love the look or the fit. Remember to keep this little nugget in mind as you hit the racks or the online sales. Our economy has taken a turn for the worst, but the economic downturn is a fashionista’s paradise.  

Yes, I know it’s Spring, almost Summer, but now is the best time to get great deals on things like furs, cashmere and leather boots because designers and stores are trying to get rid of inventory to make room for their warm weather merchandise. Right now, buying a pair of snakeskin boots when you’re thinking about those reasonably priced JCrew t-straps seems incongruous. But, when you’re at the store ask yourself , “When November hits will I regret not having gotten those boots?” Right now they’re a steal for $125.  This Fall, a similar pair might be as much as $775.  Think about it …  

So, while you’re surfing the net or doing a little window shopping, don’t forget to look for the shopurtunities!

Net-A-Porter on the Cheap

Outnet.comNet-A-Porter has beautiful clothes, no doubt about it. The prices, however, just about take your breath away. So what were the Net-A-Porter powers-that-be to do in the era of the Recessionista? Create an outlet store of course! The Outnet, an offshoot of Net-A-Porter – think Saks Off5th and Neiman’s Last Call – recently opened it’s portal on the world wide web. Free returns are a bonus; the prices may still cause a mild arrhythmia, but they are 30%-70% off the retail price.  A shopping tip for those of you not yet hip to the outlet store shuffle, a lot of the items are going to be a few seasons old so shop with purpose by looking for classic pieces that will stand the test of time.  If you’re still trying to figure out how to afford your first pair of Louboutins, this may be a site to bookmark. Just like any other outlet store, it’s likely that there will be frequent markdowns for slow moving merchandise.  Viva la outlet!

Shop In Your Closet

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You’ve got a closet full of clothes and you never have anything to wear, right?I’d be a rich woman if I had $5 for every time I’ve heard that lament!  To make your mornings easier, spend a few hours this Spring “shopping” in your closet.

  • To start, donate anything that you haven’t worn in the past two years or that doesn’t fit. Then, arrange your clothes by garment type (sweaters folded with sweaters, pants hanging next to pants) and each garment type by color. Once organized, your closet will resemble a boutique.
  • Now, you are ready to shop. Think about what you will wear to work, your day-to-evening transitional outfits, working-on-the-weekend clothes, and of course your date and weekend outfits. Mix and match your jewelry, shoes and bags into the outfits. Doing this will save you time getting dressed and prevent you from purchasing something that you already own.
  • As you begin to grow your wardrobe, stick with the classics; integrate trends into your wardrobe by buying one interesting item or a few accessories each season.
  • It doesn’t matter how much or how little you spend on your clothes, all essential staples should be altered to a perfect fit by a professional tailor. Revive items by having the pants hemmed, waists taken in, sleeves shortened or buttons changed.

Navigating the “Trends”

imagesWebster’s defines “trendy” as ‘very fashionable’ or ‘up-to-date’. Some take this definition to heart and believe that in order to be fashionable each season, and there are now four seasons — Resort, Spring, Pre-Fall (these clothes hit stores between May and July, filling the gap left when Spring runs dry and Fall is still being produced) and Fall — they must buy the latest and greatest. Keeping up with the trends, like keeping up with the Joneses, is not for the faint of heart. Many who follow the trends believe they must incorporate all of the latest trends into their wardrobes; it’s a never ending pursuit. Unless you’re born with a bank account like the Rockerfellers and a bounce-back figure like Heidi Klum, maybe just maybe this not the best line of thinking to employ. Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky. Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy. Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your wardrobe. Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt. Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on. If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks. The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone. Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love. And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg. So without further ado, check out my tips to find out what’s HOT for Spring 2009.

What’s HOT for Spring 2009, part 2

6. What’s great about a lot of the clothes coming out this Spring, is that there’s detail, detail detail – beautifully intricate blouses, sequin embellishment, ethnic accents, coral and turquoise stones on the t-straps of high and low sandals, ruffles, you name it.  You can find this sort of detail from high-end to low end designers – Anne Fontaine, Caroline Herrera, Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Malene Birger to the Gap, Ann Taylor, JCrew and Banana Republic.

 

 

7. Bling-a-ding-ding!! If you like metallics – this is your season to shine – silver, gold, bronze … they’re all over the place.  Dresses, tanks, anything that glimmers and catches the light.  If bling’s not up your alley, or if you’d prefer to tone it down a bit, add a bit of “WOW” with your accessories.  Find a great metallic clutch, a pair of strappy sandals or some beautiful bangles to take your uniform of dark jeans and a white t-shirt from good to great.  Metallics are here to stay – and you can always put a good metallic clutch to use!  Designers like Prada, Yves St. Laurent, Lanvin, and Zac Posen have some absolutely fabulous to-die for bags out.

 

8. April showers bring May flowers and this Spring is no exception.  Florals are all the rage and can be found on just about everything.  The most popular floral print items are dewy romantic dresses, but there are blouses, and jackets, skirts and even Capri pants.

 

9. Add a POP! of color to brighten any outfit.  Look for hot pinks, bright yellows, beautiful corals, neon greens – think of the new Louis Vuitton Tribute collection to Steven Sprouse (the Punk Glamour God who did the original graffiti bag collaboration with Marc Jacobs in 2001) with the bright roses or orange/fuchsia/neon green graffiti.  The traditional brown monogram canvas takes on a whole new persona with the bright pops of color – and so will your wardrobe with a bright pink cardigan,an  orange bathing suit or patent leather green wedge sandals.

 

10.  This Spring there’s a trend that appeals to the taste and budget of just about everyone.  If color’s not your thing, neutrals and metallics not in your budget this Spring, florals a little too girly for you and lace – even the edgy kind – isn’t to your liking?  No worries, because the staples black & white are going to be more popular than even this Spring.  If you want to look polished, chic or sophisticated and don’t have the time or wherewithal to navigate the hot new trends, you can’t go wrong with classic black and white combinations.

Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky.  Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy.  Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your current wardrobe.  Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt.  Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on.  If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks.  The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone.  Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love.  And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg. 

 

 

The Art of the Sample Sale

I know, we’re in a recsession and no one’s shopping.  The economy is tanking and everyone is doing his or her part to save money by staying away from the stores. Got it.  But, on the off chance that more than a few folks are trying to maximize on the economy’s effect on the retail industry, take note.  Sample sales continue to flourish, both in Manhattan and online for those of you who dont have the pleasure of living on our lovely isle.  Ever go to a sample sale and wonder why you wasted your time? Lied to your boss? Skipped lunch?  Finally got around to logging into Hautelook.com  or Gilt.com only to find that the 1 item you really wanted has “SOLD OUT” emblazoned across it?  Here’s the truth, and if cornered any fashionista worth her weight in Prada will tell you the same, there’s a definite art to sample sale shopping …. Go early.  I know, the sale is going to run for 3 days so what’s the big deal, right?  If you really want that Hermes scarf, Missoni dress, or Kooba bag you’ve got to play the game by the unwritten set of rules.

  1. Go early.  If the sale begins at 10 am.  Get there no later than 9:30 to cue up.  Diehards will be there at 8:45 or 9 am at the latest to ensure they get what they’ve come for.  Bring something to read and be cognizant of friends meeting up with you – depending on the sale (Tory Burch or Kate Spade for example) a cat fight may ensue if folks feel that your friend is cutting the line.  If it’s an online sale, set a reminder for yourself so that you’re signing onto the site just a few minutes before the sale is slated to begin.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the brand’s merchandise.  Know what is, or was, in the stores.  This way, once the sale begins, it’s just a matter of locating your item rather than browsing through racks or pages online.  Trust me, while you browse others are making a beeline for the items they’ve already identified.  This is a sure way to walk out of a sale empty-handed and dejected. 
  3. Remember, lots of sample sale places don’t have individual dressing rooms if they have a changing area at all.  Wear your nice underwear … enuf said …. and wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of to make trying stuff on easier.  
  4. Pay attention to the fine print.  Some sales are final, some take cash only, some will only accept credit cards (and certain ones at that) …. Online sales usually permit returns but instead of getting your money back, your account will be credited once the shipping costs are deducted.
  5. And lastly, and most importantly, don’t buy something for the sake of buying something.  There’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy every now and again, but if you don’t see what you came for  and/or if you dont find something that makes your heart sing – back away from the racks … Go home or back to work and try again next time, ‘cuz you know what, there will absolutely be a next time.

Ready. Set. Go – Let the Holiday Shopping Begin! (Online that is with Cyber Monday)

Black Friday.  Is the crowded mall parking lot enough to make you want to turn your car around and head home?  Do you find yourself questioning your sanity as you fight for that last pair of cashmere gloves that would’ve been great for Aunt Kay if that old lady hadn’t snatched them out of your hand? 

 

Growing up I LOVED shopping on Black Friday, it was tradition in my family that all of the women (girls included) spent the day at the mall (which usually meant 2 or 3 malls).  At the tender age of 18 months, my niece Jada, claimed her birthright and became a full-fledged member of our shopping ritual.  However, braving the madness on the Friday after Thanksgiving isn’t for the faint of heart.  It seems that lots of folks were bypassing the Black Friday sales entirely and waiting until back in their offices on Monday to kick-off their holiday shopping sprees from their computers with no lines, hassle, or stress.  Great minds think alike; this Black Friday bypass is now known as Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday is to Black Friday what  yin is to yang.  So, if the stress of Thanksgiving dinner is all you can handle this weekend, no worries.  There will be deals galore on Cyber Monday.  Check out sites like CouponCabin.com to find out about even more special offers and bargains before you let your fingers do the typing.

 

A few holiday shopping tips:

1. Create a budget

2. Determine who you’re buying gifts for, how much you plan to spend on each recipient, and what you’d like to get for each one.  A hard to please individual?  A power toothbrush is a great idea because it’s something most people wont buy for themselves.  I like Oral-B’s Triumph with Smart Guide, www.oralb.com.

3. Come up with a shopping strategy so that you maximize your time at the mall or online.

4. Keep you list with you while shopping so that you can check off your purchases as you go.

5. Keep track of your spending and receipts.  Remember to ask for gift receipts.

 

Happy Shopping!