Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shop Smarter: Secret No.1

Know quality. If you educate yourself and have a good idea of what you are looking for, you won't end up disappointed AND your purchases will last longer. Remember, quality over quantity.



(With that said, I should tell you that I am the person who buys the expensive toilet paper. Yes, that's right. why pay less for a painful experience down there, when chincy toilet paper only means using MORE squares per application. Think about it- a person uses LESS sheets per use when the quality is STRONGER and softer. I think how people view toilet paper says a lot about their shopping personalities. LOL. It's true, my friends!...but let's talk clothing.)




Here are some quality markers:

Styling
Fit
Fabrication/Durability
Price
Consistency

This list is similar to our Perfect T-SHIRT list from last week, but here's the thing: the order of importance is up to you. Styling/Fit always comes first in my mind.


Styling is what makes the item jump off the rack. How does it hang? What makes the lapel unique compared to other jackets. Is it a run of the mill sweatshirt or a motorcycle inspired sweatshirt? Does the sleeve have tucks and gathers or is it capped? Style gives the outfit a flavor. OVER stylized outfits can tend to look corny or like a costume.


Fit is how the item conforms to your body. Every company in the USA uses a FIT MODEL, someone who's body type are the proportions that they make their clothes to. Larger sizes are just a ratio of the initial fit model. Think about how a DELIA's outfit would fit \very differently from a J.JILL outfit. One uses an early adolescent female fit model, the other uses the matured, perhaps even menopausal, female figure. In the USA, there are no laws or regulation about SIZING standards, thus each company makes their own. This leads to what is known as VANITY SIZING, common among companies targeting a youthful shopaholic. Vanity sizing sizes clothing with numbers smaller than the actual size, in order to flatter the size 6 customer who leaves with a size 4 pair of pants feeling pretty darn good about herself. Bottom line: know how clothes fit your body properly and avoid squeezing into things because of the size it says on the tag. (We will discuss this more in posts to come.)


Fabrication is what composes the fabric of the item. Fabrication is legally required on each garment sold in the USA and is listed like food ingredients, in order or largest amount to smallest of fiber content.


Some fabrics are cheaper than others. Some are more expensive. Companies cut corners by blending cheaper fibers into more expensive fibers. Some materials react differently in the wash than others. Some expensive materials are more costly and/or rare, but less durable. Sometimes, certain fibers are sourced from more expensive countries, ultimately driving UP the cost of that item. Certain fabrics is appropriate for one type of item but not another. Think about it- I definitely would pay a lot of money for a great wool coat, but I'd really rather not buy wool blend dress pants in the spring because they wont last for the summer months. Sometimes items end up on the sale rack merely because the fabric chosen wasn't appropriate for the seasonal shopper. (This can be a great opportunity to purchase on sale and save for later.)
Side note: before manmade fibers were created, people swam in WOOL bathing suits. Can you just imagine selling a wool bathing suit in the store nowadays? HA!


Price is often an indicator of better quality. Expensive fibers cost more. Higher quality control takes more time/costs more money. Faster production (to put out the trends FIRST ) costs more, if a company does not want quality to suffer. Fashion production has a holy trinity- cost, quality and speed. When producing a garment, only two can ever be achieved. Do the math: if you want a QUALITY garment produced FAST, the price skyrockets. If you want a QUALITY garment produced at a good COST, the speed slows down.


Consistency is a mark of good business. Whether the target customer is a wealthy socialite or a bargain hunting suburbanite, peoplel return for service when they know what to expect. Consistent style, fit, fabrication, price, or maybe customer service. We all have favorite haunts- clothing stores, restaurants, hair salons. Why do you keep going back? Some thing there is always consistent.

Pictured Coat (above) from gap.com .


Friday, December 4, 2009

The Essential T-Shirt



Every season I find few of those amazing essential pieces and this week, I found winter's perfect T-shirt as Target in the maternity section of all places! No, it won't make you look pregnant. In fact the only thing maternity looking whatsoever about this T is that is is super long- perfect for layering under countless outfits this winter! I bought in in every color on the rack.

Criteria for the perfect T-Shirt:

1. First glance. Check!
How great does it look on that hanger? This Liz Lange T is a burnout material that is both stylish, but not soo burnt out that it will only last 5 washes. It comes in bright white, soft grey and deep pink ( pink threads woven with subtle black threads- very nice.)

2. Fit.  Check!
A good t-shirt need to fit longer rather than wider. This particulaer T is extra long, falling midway down the bottom when fully stretched. The armholes need to be cut high enough to make an attractice cling across the bustline. V-neck or crew depends on your body type and preference. For example, I have narrow shoulders, making V-neck an ideal choice to visually enhance them.

3. Feel. Check!
The fabrication of a great always includes a goood blend of cottonm, preferably 60% or more. I prefer my T's preshrunk, but in this case, cost wins that argument. Such a deal.

4. Price. Check!
Only $12.99 online and currently reduced to HALF-PRICE in target stores NOW.

Check out this Perfect Layerable T-shirt at here !!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Heaven's Shine Down: New East Ave Boutique Opens

I get so excited when I see something fresh happen for Rochester fashion! Savvy shoppers out there NEED to check out EYE CANDY on East Ave ( http://www.eye-candyclothing.com/ ).

Opened by graphic designer Nadine Hall of Penfield, Eye Candy has bold, simplistic atmosphere. The walls are bright and colorful, allowing the clothing to take centerstage against them. The music was quirky in that indypop way that make you want to nod your head to the beat while you shop. I must also add, when I went in the heat was ON and I heartily appreciate the warmth when I'm standing in the dressing room in my underwear!

Best of all, Nadine was attentive without imposing that irky obligation that you MUST buy what you opt to try on. Therefore, I purchased!! Yes and I wholeheartedly plan to spend a nice chunk of my next paycheck on the Recession denim that I tried on but could not afford this week.

Oh, you know we are all checking the pricetags, holding our breath, at places like this. FEAR NOT for the little black dress for under $100 is with you. Clothing options included a sundry of pieces for under $100 and a few just over. Men's clothes, naturally ran a little higher, but the basic tops for men and woman alike were $40-$50. The men's section was fitted with some decent outerwear; the woman's was not. (I did find this peculiar. And you know I love my jackets.) Instead, the woman's had a feisty show of holiday dresses and pieces that can be mixed and matched. Is this tactic a sign of inexperienced buying or a smartly targeting the demographic? I'm prone to think the former, but time shall tell. Time shall tell.




Recession denim, currently at Eye Candy (Pics from Jeans.com/RecessionDenim). Penguin shirt, below (pic from http://www.originalpenguin.com/Shirts).


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Start with Structure

Whether its building a house, a haircut or an outfit, STRUCTURE is the first step. With clinging jersey knits continuing to gain popularity, this art principle continues ring true.

Here are some suggestions sure to structure the body better in your latest trendy outfit:

1. Express Lined Camisoles

Love handles- you just cannot have them. Express lined camisoles are long lasting and have superb spandex, making anyone's flab a bit firmer. And, they can easily be tucked in and keep you insulated in the winter.

2. Control Top Pantyhose

When an ensemble does not work with the camisole, shear control top pantyhose do the trick, even under dress pants and jeans. Hanes makes a great version that make you forget you even put them on, Hanes Barely There. These target both the love handles and a less than perfect behind. 



















3. Leggings

Tunics. T-shirt dresses. Legging Jeans. Legging Dress Pants. Capri Length. Calf-length. Full length. Everywhere we turn there are legging. A good rule of thumb: if born before 1970 and/or weigh more than 150, leggings are not for you. Middle aged women tend to look stuck in a past decade and ladies beyond a thin frame tend to look unkempt donning this popular trend.

Leggings are comfortable, casual or dressy and relatively inexpensive to replace. But in this case, do yourself a favor: ONLY purchase leggings of quality material that is not transparent. IF purchasing legging  jeans , be aware that only a unisex long, lean body type ever looks spectacular in them. When it comes to legging dress pants, a little spandex goes a long way. Finally, these pants are NEVER to be worn with natural waist shirts (think fingertips and longer). For some dresses, consider replacing leggings with solid black tights.

I have a love/hate feeling about leggings. They've been so good to me, but they can never be a part of a professional office wardrobe. And, as the babydoll shape fades out of popularity, it's to be expected that leggings will finally be replaced by fabulous tights. On the other hand, the eighties trend continues to carry on the skinny pants/legging styling. So, stay on the lookout for more professional versions and be prepared to spend a little extra to get a cut and quality that make your body look its best.











Featured: American Apparel Leggings. Photo from store.americanapparel.net

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spring 2010 Sees Bold Bursts of Orange

The Spring 2010 runway has already revealed that orange, borderline-lipstick-red is a common color being used by designers. This trend lends itself, although is not limited to, the tribal theme emerging among the New York designers.



(Left to right, top to bottom: Luella, BCBG Max Azria, Phillip Lim, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Paul Smith Woman. Photography from style.com )

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Shoulder, Please

To the relief of woman with petite shoulders everywhere, the Spring 2010 Pret-a-Porter Runway is choc full of shoulder emphasis...a welcome contrast after the last year of cocoon wrapped outerwear! Have a peak:




 
 

Top to Bottom: Nicole Miller, Oscar de la Renta, Temperly London, Oscar de la Renta
(Photos from style.com)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Online Steal

I can't tell you the countless number of times that I have filled up an online shopping cart, just to walk away from my computer. Not this time... if you love designer clothing and a good bargain, check out http://www.giltfuse.com/invite/galdieriandrea . As always, enjoy the treasure hunt!

(I'm eagerly awaiting the French Connection sale, just three days away.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fashion Week

Fashion week was this past week. Will be posting trend analysis and opinions soon! To start getting some ideas of your own, I recommend style.com . It's a thorough site that even posts backstage pictures of hair and makeup.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thread Fashion Show

Things were happening at the Thread Fashion Show this past Saturday. I went for the evening backstage, as a stylist, and thoroughly relished in the 1940s glory of the hair.

Things were smooth sailing. The music was hot, the models were spunky and I am pretty sure every person in the room (guy and girl included) walked away with a crush in the austere model Brandon Boyer. The clothes?? I am sure a few ladies fell in love with the red riding jacket, as well. Fall classic!

Next year, I would love to see this show in a venue with a bit more panache. And, it would be great if some other local vendors were involved. More clothes would prolong the length of the show and that was one area for improvement.


(Photographs Courtesy of Mike Ford)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thread: Burglary and Fashion Show

Have you heard? Thread (located on South Ave) is hosting a fall fashion show at Tilt Nightclub on Saturday September 12. The theme, Outlaw, speaks to the recent burglary at Thread a few weeks ago...and perhaps the edginess of this fall's fashion as well? Can't say I quite find the fashion this fall pushing any boundaries. Either way, the fashion show couldn't have been aimed at a better week, considering Rochester's Insider Magazine did their best version of a fall fashion preview this week and Thread was in every shot.



The Insider spreads had potential to be more interesting but stayed predictably commercial, with a Walmart-appropriate friendliness. Could this be because the inventory was limited to the whopping THREE  Rochester clothing boutiques that promote a general interest in the skate/street culture? Why didn't they contact Krudco for some pieces...at least for some shoes? (I wish that they'd hire me to style those shoots...they are less than interesting. That said, I DO honestly appreciate the beautiful backdrop of Veneto's exposed brick wall).

I don't mean to be a Negative Nancy, but my last point of contention about those Insider spreads: nowhere did it clearly state where any of those clothing stores could be found or contacted OR who styled the shoots.
Keep it comin', Rochester, but let's step it up.



 

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Quest for Eyeglasses

For goodness' sake, you'd think you could find a decent pair of eyeglasses in this city! That was my initial thought, after my new puppy devoured my frames. I set out to find a new style.

The truth is, you can find a decent pair. Sure, finding the ideal pair, much like the ideal haircut, requires a bit of searching but if there is anything Rochester has in abundance, it's some great frames. I've recently gone from East to West Rochester checking out the frames. Here are my top recommendations:

1. Eye Openers.
Located on Monroe Ave in Brighton, you will find unique frames and attentive service. It's best to book and appointment in advance. Take advantage of their annual "Garage Sale" the first week of August. This unadvertised event is highly sought after, as designer frames are on clearance for as low as $30. One downfall is that they have mainly daytime hours.

2.Our Village Optician
Located in small town Brockport, home of SUNY Brockport College, "Lee Lee" carries an incredible variety of frames from dozens of different venders. Best variety, by far, including Coach, for the brand snobs out there (NOT my style to advertise a brand blatantly, but thank the good Lord that the world is full of diversity!). Downfall: ONLY daytime hours and you can only order frames Monday-Thursday, when Lee Lee is working...ahhh!!! It's like they are trying to lose business.

3. One Hip Chic
Located on Park Ave in Rochester, this is a true boutique. The atmosphere, presentation and selection of frames is well thought out and the most unique in the city. You want some funky frames? This is the place. European, Bob Dylan-esque, retro flare, or just plain unusual. One Hip Chic is the most fashion forward shop of the city, and its surrounding area. You will also pay the most!! (Completely worth it.) Bonus: clearance rack in the back. There really is nothing truly negative to say about this place. Keep in mind, the selection is targeted....you won't find anyone else in the city with the same pair of glasses if you purchase here, but this means the selection is limited, as well. Hours are decent; prices are $250+.

4. Empire Vision, Brockport Location
This is the best chain store in the area. Why Brockport? The Buyers/Merchandisers target this location with trendier frames, due to the immediate college population in the area. Absolutely worth checking out, especially if you are budget minded.



So, where did I end up buying some new frames?  I found the perfect shape at Our Village Optician, but the color didn't sell me enough to spend $334 dollars on one frame (lenses included). Instead, I found and equally funky, albeit a bit less unique, pair at Stearling Optical of Henrietta in TWO colors and bought them both for a great bargain. This August special included getting $100 off your first pair of glasses and 50% your second pair. Both frames (lenses included) came out to be $342,  just $8 more than the pair I had deliberated over in Brockport!! Yay for me!!

Sure, I could have hooked my husband up with a new pair of glasses instead. But after all that research, I deserved a couple different pairs to go with my ever-evolving wardrobe. This time, it was ok to be selfish.

Fashion in Rochester?? August 24, 2009

So, here we go: my simple thoughts, ideas, discoveries and suggestions about Rochester style, music and art as it relates to fashion.

Rochester. Great place to live. The general job fields here revolve around education and  hospitals. Here I am, post college, newly married and finding life in Rochester. But, very little fashion (or, so is seems).

I am no fashionista. I am a displaced fashion major in love with inspiration, history, color, style, texture, silhouette and a good buy. I am a twenty-something year old, semi-hipster with some solid indie rock in my ipod and a love of learning. My favorite childhood game was dress-ups and I never really grew out of it.

My goal: to get an intelligent discussion about Rochester fashion into an open forum. 
(That's right Emily Shearing. I said intelligent.)

Awesome. Thanks for checking me out.

~food.for.thought

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