Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It all works out in the wash ...

David Meister Dress
So, you've read my previous post (hopefully) about selling to the online consignment store #ThredUp. Well, they accepted (and paid cash up front) for 15 items I sent and are consigning two higher ticketed items for me. Yes, its true they paid me only $103 for all 15 items which works out to less than $7 an item. And I can see how some people would get really angry about that (you can view some reviews about ThredUp at ). But I am not.

To tell you the truth, I used my experience with ThredUp to pay closer attention to what I purchase and what earns (that's right, EARNS) a place in my closet. Let's look at a few reasons why I am not angry about getting less than $7 an item on the clothes ThredUp bought from me:
  1. I cleaned out my closet -- My closet should be a reflection of me but lately that reflection has been pretty ugly and cluttered with JUNK (remember, one woman's junk is another woman's treasure)
  2. I made money -- albeit not a lot but more than I had with clothes sitting in my closet that I never wore or if I had donated them to the charity thrift store
  3. They did all the work -- sent me a bag, photographed my clothes, took payments (on consignment orders), shipped the items to buyers, marketed my items to hundreds of thousands of shoppers
  4. Online transparency -- I actually got to see how much my clothes were listed for (honestly, the prices they charged for some high-quality stuff like #JuicyCouture and #AnneKlein were really reasonable and they didn't make much more than $7-15 dollars on each of my items anyway -- so its not like they gave me $1 for a #Talbots skirt and sold it for $100, far from it) and which items sold 
  5. Consigning made simple -- I got to control the price of the consignment items (see photo above of my only remaining consignment item)
  6. Store credit -- About what I said before about being more careful about what goes into my closet of reflection ... well, I used my store credit to really concentrate on buying high quality items that were timeless pieces
A few things I didn't like about selling to ThredUp:
  1.  I had to pay $12.99 to get the clothes they didn't want back. Of course I didn't have to pay anything to ship the clothes to them so maybe that evens it all out
  2.  The suggested retail prices for items was a bit too hard to believe -- I suppose its from the tags with the brand new items but I know I didn't pay $398 for the cute white dress (photo above) by #DavidMeister at #Neiman Marcus, it was more like $250-$300
  3. The processing time for them to go through your bag of items is a little long -- it took them more than a month to go through and post my items
  4. They don't contact you to let them know they received you I had to send an online form asking if they got it or not to which they replied they got it more than a week prior
Let's face it, ThredUp is a business to make money -- they provide a service and get paid for that service (i.e. providing sellers a place to show their wares and buyers a medium to purchase from many sellers). First of all, no one is going to pay you 50% of your purchase price for pre-worn clothes. It ain't gonna happen no matter how well you took care of them. Clothes are like cars, they depreciate 80% as soon as you remove the tags and wear it once. Secondly, no one values your clothes more than you do so you gotta let it go emotionally. That #BetseyJohnson tutu skirt has been in your closet for 5 years, you don't want it (or in my case should NOT wear it), so let someone else love it. Finally, think about the buying aspects. If your clothes are cheaply bought, so are someone else's and then you can go buy other people's clothes for cheap. Like my grandmother always said, "it all works out in the wash."


Monday, June 6, 2016

Time is money ...

I recently went to #Nordstrom Rack just to purchase some inexpensive sandals. As many of my readers know, 95% of the time, I choose quality over quantity and have no problem dropping good money for well-made goods. This just happened to be one of those 5% times where I needed a cheap pair of sandals quickly for a weekend away.

I didn't have time to wait for a cheap pair from Amazon and my foot is really difficult to fit shoes to properly so I needed to try them on. Besides, I had a $20 coupon for Nordstrom Rack and wanted to use it. I searched that shoe section for an hour trying to find something that fit my foot, was not made in China and that was under $50. I got two out of three (under $50 and fits really well, still made in China). I also found a cute pair of black flats for $40 as well

Here is where it gets interesting. The shoes (each cost approximately $39) less than $80 for both and I had a $20 off any purchase coupon. So, my purchase price went down to $60 for both. I found the same two pair of shoes for $15 cheaper each on #Amazon (with free shipping). So, did I spend the time, fuel and effort to take the shoes back so I can order them on Amazon or is my time worth more than $10?

This is a question I ask myself often. Do I go to three different grocery stores and spend an hour clipping coupons so I can save $20? Well, I don't know about you but my time, at least according to my tax records, is worth about $30 an hour and I have better things to do with my $30 an hour than trek around town to save $10. In case you are wondering, I ended up not taking the shoes back. So, the moral of the story is this, do you spend more time (which is money) trying to save money when you really only break even? And a second thought, do you know your real worth enough to know when wasting your time to save a buck really is wasting your money?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I'm a snob ...

I was recently called a snob by a "friend" who found my taste in clothes "snobbish." Now, I could have countered her quip with something like "I'm not a snob, I just have good taste." But I refuse to make excuses for my 5 top beliefs about clothes, which are:
  1. Quality will always win over quantity (cheaply-made clothes have no place in my heart or against my skin)
  2. I do not follow trends and fads (the grunge look and bell bottoms may be back in style but they will not be in my closet)
  3. I will not be influenced by celebrities ( I don't care what Kim Kardashian wore to the Met Gala)
  4. I will not be a walking billboard for designer brands (in other words, I won't be wearing "Juicy," "Nike," or any other words across my ass on a pair of sweatpants and even if I LOVE a designer, I will not be wearing Chanel's "CC" or the Nike swoosh if it is bigger than a dime anywhere on my body)
  5. Fast fashion is for my wardrobe as fast food is for my waistline (i.e. not good at all!)
That said, let me explain the reason I was called a snob. I found a nifty website called which links luxury consignment boutiques online so I can just shop in one place. It's a step above in luxury than which I profiled a few weeks ago. #Snobswap has the largest selection of luxury designer goods online from consignment shops across the nation. For example, I recently saw some pre-owned Jil Sanders sandals (originally a few hundred dollars when they are brand new) on sale for $75 which would have been a steal had they not been so worn. And they have a great selection of my favorite designers: Catherine Malandrino, Betsey Johnson and Diane von Furstenberg.

As with any other store, you can sometimes get good deals on both #SnobSwap and #ThredUp but then sometimes you don't. You have to read the descriptions of each of the items and you do have to do your research (e.g. a #Hermes purse will run you a thousand dollars or more USED, but they will last forever -- a zombie Apocalypse wouldn't hurt these purses; on the other hand Louis Vuitton has not been very kind to me in the past in the wear-n-tear department).

Anyway, because I was shopping on #SnobSwap instead of #ThredUp, my friend called me a snob. Well, I guess I am! Aren't you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I'm not dying for beauty ...

I don't wear much make up but when I do, I don't want to wear something that will cause me to have cancer later on in life. So, I've started checking out all my skin care and make up items at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database almost religiously (

Needless to say I have thrown away about $300 worth of facial cleansers, moisturizers, lotions, toners, make up, hair care, sunscreen and other skin related items. I simply was uneducated on what exactly is in the products I slather on my skin and hair.

I'm all for the phrase "beauty hurts" when wearing shoes that are too tight for a little while or a dress that is a bit snug for an hour or two. But I draw the line at "beauty kills" (whether that be killing me or killing animals some companies test on)!

So, in my quest to be beautiful while also being a responsible and compassionate human being on planet Earth, I have found just a handful of safe products to refill my beauty and toiletries shelves.

Skin cleanser
Threw out: L'Occitane Foaming Facial Cleanser
Restocked with: MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser

Threw out: Jergens Daily Moisture Dry Skin
Restocked with: Alaffia Everyday Shea Butter Lotion

Threw out: Covergirl Lash Exact  Mascara
Restocked with: Jane Iredale Longest Lash Thick Mascara 

Threw Out: LancĂ´me Rouge Absolu

Threw out: Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo

Powder (facial)
Threw out: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Powder 

Bottom line: I will endeavor to stick to only products tested by the EWG's Skin Deep team and that has a rating of 4 or less.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'm turning Parisian!

I recently read the book, How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, by three fabulous ladies named Anne, Audrey and Caroline. I think I love them already. I had only gotten to page 8 when I realized I am already 95% Parisian. The title of the page is "Things you won't find in her [a Parisian woman] closet." I read the list carefully, taking a mental note of what was in my own closet, and I only have one item described (it has a * beside it below and I only have one pair because the Bollywood in me comes out every now and then). So, I guess that makes me 95% Parisian and 5% Bollywood, not bad for a backwoods girl from Alabama.
  • Three-inch heels. Why live life half way?
  • Logos. You are not a billboard.
  •  Nylon, Viscose, Polyester and Vinyl will make you sweaty, smelly and shiny.
  • Sweatpants. No man should ever see you in those. Except your gym teacher -- and even then. Leggings are tolerated.
  • Blingy jeans with embroidery and holes in them. They belong to Bollywood.*
  • UGG boots. Enough said. 
  • A skimpy top. Because you're not fifteen anymore. 
  • A fake designer bag. Like fake breasts, you can't fix your insecurities through forgery.
Can't wait to read the rest of this delicious morsel!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Equal Opportunity Accessories ...

No, this designer will not be at #LHW but it is a cool hat don't you think?
I am so excited about London Hat Week Oct. 6-12. The schedule will be announced May 20 (Friday) and I am giddy thinking about who will show designs. But it got me thinking, why does London get all the fun? Where is the New York Hat Week or Milan Hat Week? Is it too much to ask for other countries to host a hat week? And while we are on the subject, where is the Shoe Week? Or Purse Week? I mean let's be fair to all accessories right? Well, until that happens, check out #LondonHatWeek at

Friday, May 13, 2016

Etiquette is contagious ...

This is pretty complex but its worth studying.
The little "b" is for bread = your bread plate in on the left. The little "d" is for drinks = your drinks are on the right.

I recently went out to dinner with some girlfriends to a relatively nice restaurant (cloth napkins, three courses, charger plates, etc.). I used to think that I was at a stage in my life where nothing shocked me but apparently I have a long way to go. I guess I just don't understand how people who can afford to buy $1,000 purses can't afford to have some basic table manners. My friends did some of the most uncool dining things ever: drank out of another person's water glass, used the wrong silverware, snapped at the waiter and left their cell phone on the table. I took the opportunity to help them with their dining skills :-)
  • Drinking out of another diner's glass: Look at the photo above of the two "ok" symbols using your hands. If you notice when you make the "OK" symbol with your hands, the left hand makes a little "b" and the right makes a little "d". Use this trick to remember that your bread plate is on your left and your drinks are on your right. 
  • Using the right fork (or spoon, or knife): I can't help you with this one except to say study the graphic above to emblazon it in your head which utensil to use. You should use the outside utensils first working your way in, usually. Sometimes the restaurant will throw you a curve ball and serve salad at the end of the meal. But trust me, if you are in a high quality restaurant with trained staff, they will always take away utensils you don't need or supply you with ones you do (e.g. lobster hammer or escargot tongs) when you need them.
  • Calling for the server: Never snap, yell or wave at a server! I don't care if you're in Applebees or the Ritz. If you are in a place like Outback Steakhouse, simply raise your hand (not like you are in kindergarten and have to go to the bathroom). If you are in an upscale establishment, trust me, you need only look in your server's direction and they will come to you. Servers in high-end restaurants are trained to pay attention to their table and read your cues (cues like the fork and knife together to the top right of the plate, they know you are finished).
  • Where to put your cell phone: You are out with friends because you want to spend time with them. So spend time with them, not your phone. Put your phone in your purse or pocket and perhaps check it the next time you go to the restroom. If you are at a work dinner and maybe you have a sick child at home you can keep your phone on vibrate in your lap or pocket then excuse yourself from the table to take the call in a quiet place (where you won't disturb other diners with your conversation -- most likely outside) if you feel it vibrating.
I'm not trying to be difficult but having proper table manners is not about you, its about showing respect to your fellow diners. If you don't care about your fellow diners then go ahead and display those horrible manners. But if you do care how people watch you eat, brush up on basic etiquette (I suggest

After that experience, I'm seriously considering whether or not to dine out with these friends ever again or meet up for drinks only in the future.

Monday, May 9, 2016

VA Gold Cup virgin ...

One of the very few good things about #VAGoldCup May 7 -- this awesome bagpiper.

I went to the Virginia Gold Cup this weekend with some lovely friends. It was my first Virginia Gold Cup and I was excited to see all the beautiful hats, great horse racing and spend quality time with friends in a beautiful central Virginia setting. I went to the #VAGoldCup this year because I couldn't get to the #KentuckyDerby. Wow, was I disappointed! I didn't think my expectations were too high. Here is what I expected:
  1. Civilized people enjoying a day of horse racing 
  2. A beautiful setting in Virginia with nice facilities
  3. Ladies and gentlemen wearing their finest clothes and accouterments
This is what I got:
  1. 90% of the attendees were in drunkfest, relive-my-intoxicated-college-days mode. I can't tell you how many vomit puddles I had to maneuver around all day. And as for the horse races, I don't think anyone watched the races until the winners were announced and they could cash in their bets. I thought it was going to be a great day because there were police and state troopers and attendants to help guide you through the gates and park -- that was just a facade. And if there were civilized people in attendance they must have been in hiding because even the corporate tents on Members Hill were full of loud, tipsy people. I felt like I was back at a family reunion in my home state of Alabama during NASCAR season.
  2. I like tailgating as much as the next person but when there is just car upon car wedged in tiny little parking spots and people crammed together like sardines coupled with cheese and meats baking in the hot sun for hours and drunkards not handling their liquor well, the smell is atrocious. I couldn't believe people brought their little children to this kind of thing! I will forgive the event sponsors for the muddy mess (it rained the entire night before) as it wasn't their fault but I do not forgive them for the horrific state of the port-a-potties (I felt sorry for the tents and tailgaters whose assigned spots were near these big green stink bombs). When you put that many drunk people in one place, you better have an army the size of Sparta to patrol the potties! 
  3. There were very few ladies and gentlemen at this event but plenty of trashed juvenile girls and boys in the best outfits $20 could buy at H&M. I've not seen so much spandex and polyester in one place since I last visited Wal-Mart's Halloween costume display. I understand you don't want to get your $500 #Gucci dress destroyed at a big muddy field but come on, put a little effort into the ensemble. The hat contest, not even judged by any real fashion pros might I add, was a joke (Anna Mott at #FashionattheRaces would be appalled)! And worse, I was absolutely flabbergasted that I saw more boobs and butts hanging out of clothes than I have ever seen at the club on Friday night. I thought I was really risque by wearing an animal print plunging neckline dress but my outfit was as tame as a week old kitten compared to many.
It wasn't 100% bad -- still it wasn't worth the time it took to drive out there and the effort I expended to get my fashionable ensemble just right. A few of the good points were:
  • There was a great bagpipe player and a drummer both in full Scottish costume entertaining at one corporate tent
  • I met a few really nice people
  • I got to spend time with my friends and people watch 
  • Some of the hats and outfits were really nice
  • I got asked about a dozen times for people to take their photo with me and my gorgeous hat and parasol
  • It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day
  • The horse races were very well coordinated (better than the outfits)
I understand that its not Ascot and that people want to have a good time but VAGoldCup shouldn't advertise it as some premiere horse race with all these hoity toity events if its just a booze-fest. Advice to other #VAGoldCupVirgins, take all the money you would spend on a great outfit and the tickets to the event and spend it on booze while hosting a backyard barbecue and watch the horse races on pay-per-view on your home TV.

Monday, May 2, 2016

#FridayFashionFind 2 -- the purse

I was meeting a good friend of mine for tea at Union Station in Washington DC (@UnionStation_DC) and was killing some time milling around the shops in the train station until she showed up. Not intending to buy anything, I perused the Accessorize shop (@Accessorize_USA) and found this precious little pleated square clutch purse that goes perfectly with my Marchesa Voyage dress for the @VAGoldCup I highlighted last week. I also found this fabulous glittery square purse for a charity gala -- Fashion for Cure To Support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society -- I'm off to this week. I love getting #FridayFashionFinds even if I do forget to post it until Monday :-)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ted, say it isn't so?

It's cute but has a shadowy past!
I like Ted Baker designs -- clean simple lines. I like classics. So, imagine my surprise when I was at the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship Fashion Show last weekend at Bloomingdales and found the cutest little Ted Baker equestrian hat (navy blue wool felt). It was great and actually reasonably priced for #Bloomies, $65. And since 10% of the purchases for that day went to the #GFFN scholarship fund, I figured it was just meant to be.

You know that old phrase that says "if it looks too good to be true it probably is"? Well, this was too good to be true. Since when did Ted Baker start outsourcing his London designs to China? If I wanted a Ted Baker Made in China hat (or any other piece of clothing) I would buy just that but I wanted a Ted Baker Made in London hat. 

I read an article (it was dated back in 2009 but seems nothing has changed much since then, read it here ) that many luxury brands have laid off a sizable amount of their local workers and outsourced to China where they pay a fraction of the wages. And yet, their luxury name brand prices have risen not fallen with the cost savings. Exactly how does that instill pride of ownership and trust from consumers? Some luxury brands that are either noted in the article or that I have seen with my own eyes with "Made in China" tags:

Louis Vuitton
Dolce & Gabbana
Ted Baker
Etienne Aigner

Thank you Fendi and Gucci who still make things in Italy; Betsey Johnson who keeps it real in the USA (find other quality stuff made in the good 'ol US of A at @MadeInUSAblog); and Christian Louboutin who still delivers from France. Thanks be to the luxury gods for some honest brands!

Back to my point, many Chinese companies are really good at making knock offs (great article on it here Hold on, I'm not a proponent of piracy or fake luxury items. Now, when you take someone else's designs and make knock offs, that's stealing and I don't like stealing. But do you know what I hate worse than stealing? Lying! When a  luxury brand makes me think I am paying $1,000 for that handbag because a skilled Italian craftsman has hand stitched it using techniques passed down from five generations, when in reality the luxury company paid a Chinese worker $10 to make the purse and still charged $1,000, that is lying! It's also called greed and I don't like that either.

Now don't go thinking I'm a "Murican" snob and only buy from the USA. I do buy things made in China and when I do, I try to buy from companies who pay their workers decent wages. I try to be an informed consumer and not buy from companies that game the system to boost profits while hurting others. Not going to do it, wouldn't be prudent (yeah, I did just link former President Bush with a fashion blog ... I'm good that way).

How do I "wear with pride" when I know I've cheated some Chinese guy/gal?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Prepping for the new season ...

I am so excited when the new season is right around the corner. I don't know about you but I am so ready (well, almost ready, I need to lose about 10 more pounds) to shed these thick winter garments and get into lighter frocks. But I have the dilemma of small closets (I also believe in a limited wardrobe like the French). So, I have the challenge of cleaning my closet once a year of things that I bought on a whim (yes, even clothes-minimalists like me can be persuaded into buying unnecessary stuff).

Enter ThredUp  -- its a new way to thrift shop. Normally I don't like those FaceBook pop up ads but this one actually proved useful! I am a firm believer in recycling clothes. ThredUp gives me the opportunity to thrift shop from my house in my PJs. First, I pack up all my stuff that I don't want (NOTE: it has to be like-new, clean, within 5 years old) into this handy-dandy green polka-dotted bag (see the one above) sent to my doorstep for free and the postal carrier picks it up. Then, whatever they buy from me goes to a credit account for me to shop on the ThredUp store.
I'm not doing free advertising for ThredUP or anyone else, I just think its a pretty cool idea. Because: 

1) the company sends you a free bag to fill (trust me, I filled that bad boy to the brim!)
2) they buy what they want or what they think they can resell (if its a really expensive item they consign it for you instead of give you $$$ for it up front)
3) they either donate the unwanted items to a charity or you pay $12.99 to get the unwanted items back. The only reason I paid the $12.99 to get the items back is because when you choose the "donate to charity option" with ThredUp, the company gets the tax write off to charity instead of you. I'd rather donate any unwanted items to the charities I choose.

So far, this process has worked pretty well! Yes, look for those #AnneKlein shoes on #ThredUp in the next month or so (not worn much because I have a Fred Flintstone wide foot and those are normal width).

Friday, April 22, 2016

#FridayFashionFind 1 -- the dress

I'm counting down to the Derby. The best way to do that is to prep your ensemble! First of all, you must pic outk the best dress as your foundation piece. This fabulous dress is a silk animal print mini from Marchesa Voyage. Found it at Secondi Consignment Shop (at Dupont Circle in Washington DC. Cute flouncy, tiered skirt, deep V neck and cap sleeves. Now, let's accessorize! Next week, I'm shopping for the perfect purse and shoes!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Inspiration from Oz ...

Anna Mott, Racing Fashion founder, and Kate Peck, Myer Ambassador.

It's less than a month before the @kentuckyderby and I have found enough inspiration from Australia to last me weeks! Anna Mott, former CEO of Racing Fashion website, you are my hero! You see, from the photos (all from  Australians KNOW how to dress for the horse races. American's could take a few pointers from our Aussie friends. I'm terrified that when I attend the #KentuckyDerby, #VAGoldCup or #Preakness that there will be more people dressed like they are going to run the track (instead of the horses) than they are to stylishly watch the races. I'm going to stay optimistic though. So, every Friday, I'll share my #FridayFashionFind with you as I slowly build my race day ensemble!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Finally inspired ... by shoe accessories!

netting, feathers and sparkle make these shoe accessories from Mila Fashions all the rage.
I'll be honest, I haven't written a blog in a few weeks because I have been completely uninspired by the latest fashions. I mean I really TRIED to get inspired. I checked some of my favorite sites searching high and low for some talent and umph. I was disappointed by:
  • PopSugar -- PS was just talking about Atheliesure wear (I dread working out, what makes you think I want to talk about my workout clothes like they are an evening gown?) 
  • Harper's Bazaar -- HB posted their best dressed of the week list (note, #10 Sara Sampaio looks like a rouge Office Depot hole puncher got after her dress)
  • Elle -- The only thing Elle wanted to talk about was painted and bedazzeled sneakers (UGH!)

Then I was at a launch party tonight for Arts For Autism (a charity in DC that raises awareness for autism -- I saw the silliest, yet most inspiring thing -- shoe accessories are making a comeback and I am thrilled! These aren't your mom's old bows or flowers you clip to the toe of your shoes, nope these are ankle wraps and lace ups. OK, they had a few toe clips too but they were chic and stylish, not "cute".

And if that isn't inspiring enough, the same brand that makes these super cool shoes accessories also rents shoes. Yes, you heard it right, they rent shoes -- just like Rent the Runway!

OK, I'm officially out of my fashion trend slump.

Monday, March 14, 2016

E-bay shopping guide ...

Sergio Rossi shoes I got on E-bay.
Catherine Malandrino dress on E-bay.
 Now that I'm over 40 and looking to put a child through college, I don't have the disposable income I used to have for clothes. That said, I don't skimp on quality! Well-made clothes don't come cheap, not should they, but to accommodate my budget I've been having to get a bit more inventive on how and where to get my quality clothes. Throw in the fact that I'm a single mum with a house and dog, a full time-job, a part-time job, a blog writer and I volunteer for various charities and I don't have the time to "shop around".
One way to solve my problems? E-bay. There is no shame in buying quality made clothes off E-bay or at consignment stores. A few tips:
  • Have a budget -- if you know you can't spend more than $50 a month on clothes, don't bid $49.99 on that Ann Klein pencil skirt (you know there is probably shipping involved). And if you don't win that skirt with an auction bid you can live with, trust me, there will be another one for sale soon.
  • Buy the basics then build on them (great article about the basics here by Vicki Archer) -- white shirt, little black dress, black trousers, neutral/solid colored jacket, black shoes. Having a solid quality foundation for a wardrobe is the same as having a solid quality foundation for a building.
  • Ask questions -- if an item is priced very low and the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. You can gauge the authenticity of most items sold by individuals (its a whole different game when you are dealing with companies who sell things for people as a business) by asking questions like:
    • What did you pay for the item?
    • Where did you purchase the item? 
    • When did you buy the item?
  • Account for shipping charges -- some E-bay sellers offer luxury goods for very cheap but then hike up the shipping charges to make up for the low prices (it does not cost $50 to mail a pencil skirt in a bubble envelope from California to Florida).
  • Mind the measurements -- just because you wear a medium in one brand doesn't mean you always wear a medium. Ask for the measurements of the item before you buy.
  • Look for the tags -- people who are selling the real thing know that you want to make sure its the real thing so they show the original tags, boxes or packaging of the product. If it doesn't have any kind of  tag or packaging, be wary.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Winter hat season ...

The winter hat season is almost over but I thought I'd show you some of my favorite felt cloches I wore this winter. I'd love to see some photos of my lovely readers in their winter hats!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Shoes and gloves and mags, oh my!

Rarely do I find my new favorite things in one single store. I usually find my new favorite things in a multitude of different types of stores. But strolling through Old Town Alexandria this week, I ran into The Shoe Hive. Not only do they carry one of my favorite new designers @KikiLynnUSA but they were having a sale!!! Sales often bring out the best in me and my shopping at @theshoehive introduced my new favorite things:

New store: The Shoe Hive -- luxury shoes, purses, hats and a splash of clothing items like (Kiki Lynn and Sundry)
New accessories: Micheal Kors pumps and Hestra Gloves (@HestraGloves)
New read: Capitol File Magazine (@CapitolFileMag)

Oh and another new favorite thing found at the same time -- Salon Amarti (also in Old Town Alexandria). You know you got a good hairstylist when you turn heads walking down the street and get a date with a gorgeous guy within hours of having your hair done. Thank you Mimi at @SalonAmarti !

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fashion show versus fashion week ...

DC Fashion Week occurs twice a year in February and September (Photo by ICDesignz).
There is a distinct different between a fashion show and a fashion week.

A fashion show is simply an outlet for a designer to show their new collection (anywhere between 15-50 different outfits or pieces). A fashion show can also be an event where many designers get together to show their styles to a general audience. Additionally, fashion shows can be fundraisers for charities such as, but not limited to, the Humane Society, cancer research or homelessness awareness. As a general rule, anyone who purchases a ticket may attend a fashion show.

Fashion Week is something altogether different. It is quite exclusive and serves a very unique purpose -- to show designers' collections to major store buyers and major magazine editors first. If you look at the four main Fashion Weeks -- New York, London, Milan, Paris, (along with some of the smaller ones -- Hong Kong, Quebec, Houston and Los Angeles), you will of course see the mainstream celebrities in attendance but you will not (usually) see the Jane Does of the world sitting in the audience. This is a selling event and the average Jane Q. Public is not necessarily the primary audience for these events. Of course, Jane Q. Public will eventually see some of the styles from the fashion weeks' catwalks in their favorite retail stores. Fashion Week styles are like getting to eat the cake but not getting an invite to the party.

Want more info on fashion shows in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area? Read my article in the Fairfax Woman Magazine here (page 34).

Monday, February 29, 2016

Gloves: A #LeapDay fashion tradition ...

Lavabre Cadet is one of the oldest couture glove makers in the world.

Causse Gantier is fabulous glove maker!
Happy Leap Day everyone! Yes, its that day (which only comes around every four years) where ladies can propose to men instead of the other way around. You've got the ring, you're dressed to impress your (hopefully) soon-to-be fiancé, and you've popped the question. He said yes, yay! Now on with the wedding planning (which is another blog altogether).

But what if he said no? Since this tradition of women being able to propose to men on #LeapDay has been in existence for hundreds of years, you better believe there are some consequences to deal with if a man says no. Something about Hell having no fury like a woman scorned. Legend has it that if a man refuses a marriage proposal on #LeapDay (also known as #BachelorsDay)  then he has to buy the spurned lady 12 pairs of gloves -- one for each month of the year -- so she could hide her shame (mainly her left-hand ring finger). During the middle ages, there were apparently even laws that governed this tradition. So, if I see lots of ladies wearing gloves tomorrow, March 1, I'll show extra kindness toward them.

History lesson courtesy of

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dress the way you want to be treated ...

I'm sure what I am about to say will offend some people and I'm sure it will do nothing to change their minds but here goes. My mother's best fashion advice to me was to "dress the way you want to be treated." We live in a society today that dresses more for comfort than for respect. To me, dressing well is not meant to be seen as me "keeping up with" the Jones' or the Kardashians or anyone else. It's not meant to show my wealth or good taste or to outdo anyone else. To me, dressing well means I want to portray a good image to our society, to respect those around me. Don't get me wrong, I am known to let comfortable clothes win out in the right circumstances (I don't work out in heels or wear a ball gown to the ballgame) but appropriate clothes at the appropriate time tells the world "I care about contributing to this society and its occupants." I recently traveled to Atlanta via airplane. Now, the airline industry has made traveling so laborious and downright unpleasant that I hate flying anywhere. Here is the typical sequence of traveling by air nowadays:
  • stand in line for 30 minutes just to use one of the kiosks to check in
  • stand in line again to drop off your bags
  • walk all the way around the airport to get to the security check in
  • stand in line 30-60 more minutes to go through security
  • remove every piece of metal from your body or risk pat down
  • gather all your possessions as well as re-dress yourself after security
  • wait again for the flight at a gate where there are not enough uncomfortable seats
  • take 30 minutes to board the plane because half the people before you don't know how to pack a carry on bag properly or don't want to check their bags (who can blame them -- it usually costs money and adds an extra half hour to the journey) and spend 15 minutes shoving it into a too small overhead bin until a flight attendant demands they check it
  • finally sit in your assigned seat and find your seat mate is not the standard 18.5 inches wide (the width of most airline seats between armrests) and takes up half your space
  • flight time in cramped uncomfortable seats for anywhere between an hour and a day
  • de-board the plane only to have to walk another mile to the baggage claim (no seats while you wait)
And that is why no one wants to dress up to travel anymore! Wearing heels in those long lines is excruciating and wearing anything of value just begs your seatmate (which for me is usually a crying toddler) to spill red juice all over it.  But to wear PJs or work out clothes to travel in? Oh Hell no!!! Come on, have more respect for yourself and others than that. Find a nice but comfortable dress like the one in the photo above and pair it with some simple accessories. I wore this ensemble to and from my Atlanta destination (yes, you can wear an outfit more than once) and got so many compliments. Plus, I was treated better by not only the airline and TSA staff (most of which have seen plenty of horribly dressed people in their lifetimes) but by passengers too.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The only 7 words you want to hear today ...

The #AbFab Movie is coming July 1st ... 

That's right. The Absolutely Fabulous Movie, starring Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders, will be released July 1 according to the BBC. And before you go correcting my grammar, to the cult that is #AbFab, #AbFab is only one word -- sometimes, its the most important word of the day! 

I loved watching the AbFab series on BBC America around the turn of the century (the 2000's that is). And loved it even more when they gave us a few more episodes in 2012 after a decade hiatus. Now, after four years, we get the #AbFabMovie! Of course, this got me to thinking. While the ladies of AbFab are absolutely fabulous (and funny) to watch, we really don't want to mimic their styles today do we? Let me explain:
Patsy (Joanna Lumley, 69) always wore Chanel suits and her hair in a french twist with too much lipstick and heels. I don't remember an episode without her dressed this way. Do you really want to stay in a style rut the rest of your life like Patsy? There is something to be said about sticking with the classics but everyone needs a little updated style boost now and then, right? Joanna's off screen "normal" style is very classic but updated as you can see in this photo right. Thank goodness she doesn't adhere to her character's stagnant fashion sense! 

Eddy (Jennifer Saunders, 57), on the other hand, is always chasing the latest fashion trend, never satisfied with what she has. Of course, there is merit to wanting to be up-to-date and fashion concious but Eddy takes it a bit too far all the time. Contrary to her crazy #AbFab character Eddy, Jennifer is very elegantly style (most often in darker colors though) yet still trendy as seen in this photo left. 

So, what I am saying is that we should all strive to be a style maven who is one part consistent Patsy, one part trendsetting Eddy, one part classic Joanna and one part elegant Jennifer. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

DIY Valentines Day ...

I'm old enough to know that I can't always depend on a significant other (SO) to buy me a #HappyValentinesDay gift every February 14. So, I usually just buy myself something. This way, it's just a bonus if the SO gets me something. This year, I'm giving something away for this romantic holiday. My lovely blog readers will get the chance to win this funny but insightful book by logging onto my #Amazongiveaway. I mean, who doesn't love fashion and style coming from one of the most romantic cities on earth (Paris of course)? And if you don't win the book in my #Amazongiveaways go ahead, buy it for yourself, you deserve it! Just think, a Valentines gift that didn't die like flowers, make you fat  like candy or that you didn't have to sacrifice sleep for like "appreciation sex"! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale ...

Yes, I was one of those who got out and battled the madness that was the Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale Saturday (Feb. 6). It was a bit crazy but relatively well organized and definitely well attended. I will say that for a girl of size 12, you need to get there early (it started at 9 a.m.) to get anything in your size. By the time I got there at 11 a.m., the only things left were size 0-4. I did find a few things that caught my eye. The Kiki Lynn (yes, that is Kiki herself showing us her super cute shirt dress with handkerchief hem) checkered dress above is fantastic and does wonders for ALL figures! I bought it in a camel color though because I try to steer clear of patterns and stick to solids so its easier to mix and match ensembles. I know many of you say you would never pay "boutique" prices but this event was a perfect time to buy great clothes (many from local DC designers like Kiki) at reasonable prices. I got the @KikiLynnUSA dress for only $60! The only bad part about the sale, it only comes around once a year (usually in February) so you have to wait another 12 months!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The slob life ...

Now, don't expect me to share many things like this below because I like to write my own thoughts in this blog. But when I run across something that slaps me in the face with shame, I tend to pay attention. The recent article in The Telegraph (out of the UK) is a stark reminder that we might have evolved as a country to be the biggest superpower in the world, but Americans are still seen as slovenly when referring to fashionable appearance.

I have been known to slack in my appearance every now and then -- when I'm sick, in a hurry, in a bad mood, [insert any other reason here]. Just because I can offer an excuse doesn't mean its the right thing to do (i.e. to disrespect people and establishments because I am lazy or tired or whatever). Bottom line is my mom was right -- dress how you want to be treated.

Trust me, you need to read the article in private (not on a crowded train like I did during rush hour -- I scared a lot of people with how hard I laughed, out loud) and in its entirety. It's long but funny and totally worth it. Sadly, it speaks some truth to both American and British standards of today.

Kathy Burke and Harry Enfield as Waynetta and Wayne Slob.  Credit: BBC

Friday, January 29, 2016

99% junk, 1% treasure ...

I absolutely love thrift store finds that are classic yet trendy. I wish I had found these boots myself but alas, my friend Gina was fortunate enough to snag them at a great store in Merrifield, VA, called #UniqueThriftStore. The only problem with shopping in thrift stores is sifting through 99 pieces of junk to find the one piece of treasure. I just don't have the patience :-) Just wondering if others will share their thrift store treasure hunt best find with me below?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why do we wear what we wear?

Came across this book, Fear and Clothing, by Cintra Wilson and was kind of intrigued. So, I thought we (me and one lucky blog reader) might read it together. All you have to do to enter the drawing to win a free copy is visit here: #Amazongiveaways

After you read it, we can compare notes (and trust me, Wilson has some pretty awesome observations about why we wear what we wear, no spoilers here though!). And maybe we can even swap style secrets :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Very stylish upcycling ...

Courtesy of Upcycle Magazine

Courtesy of Upcycle Magazine
Ever wonder what to do with those old worn out jeans? UPCYCLE! Upcycle magazine has some great ideas on what to recreate with old clothes. I seriously hate waste so the coasters and quilts out of upcycled denim jeans are great ideas.

And if you need a bit more inspiration, Seattle Opera's costume design team came up with some pretty bright ideas on how to recycle denim too!  Watch this video for more creative ideas! HERE

Friday, January 15, 2016

Happy Hat Day!!

I fear I have but one head in which to wear a hat on #NationalHatDay, January 15. Little is known about the origin of Hat Day (which is always Jan. 15 apparently) but do we really need a reason to wear a hat? I think not. But, if you are someone who needs a reason, here are 5:

  1. Hats keep you warm -- its a proven fact that more heat escapes the body through the head than any other part of the body (although my family swear all the hot air in my body escapes through my mouth -- I talk a lot). Why do you think babies are always wearing hats?
  2. Hats can make you look elegant, unique. Why do you want to look just like everyone else?
  3. Hats cover your hair when you have a bad hair day. I have those often!
  4. Ladies who wear hats with veils (a fancy hat) don't have to worry as much about make-up. I'd save tons of money on make up!
  5. Everyone looks good in a hat -- even pets! Just Google "photos of pets in hats" for some great proof! For those who say you don't look good in a hat, you just haven't found the right hat. Keep looking.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Insta-snap-quick-tweet meets the step back ...

It's rare to find me still for very long but when I am, I sit down with a nice cup of tea and read. Sometimes I like long reads like Edith Wharton. Sometimes I like short reads like a magazine. Today, was a magazine day. I had just picked up a copy of the Fairfax Woman Magazine (my friend Oda Solms does a fabulous job publishing not only this monthly lifestyle magazine but two sister magazines -- Alexandria Woman and Southern Maryland Woman -- as well; all free and available at stands at the Metro train stations and in select shops throughout the DMV) and delved into the pages.

But this wasn't just reading for fun. You see, I write an article now and then for this publication and I specifically wanted to read what I had written, again. Yes, I know, I read it several times over while I was writing it but that is proofreading. This was just reading it for fun, to read it with the eyes of another. That is what helps me be a better writer, to look back on what I wrote and read it not with a critical eye but to see that I had done my job to educate or entertain the reader. I think I did just that but you can tell me what you think. So, sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and flip through this link (pay special attention to page 34).

I think in this day insta-snap-quick-tweets, we lose sight of stepping back to look at things. This kind of attitude can be applied to any aspect in your life -- relationships, career, even fashion. I've been known to try on what I thought was a cute outfit only to look at it from my sister's eyes and promptly put it right back on the rack. When you step back and look at yourself and your actions from a different perspective (i.e. trying to see it from someone else's eyes/viewpoint) it can sometimes mean changing or improving for the better. Of course there are also times when I see things from others perspectives and I still think their opinion is madder than the mad hatter. You still need those crazy viewpoints though ... keeps you sane and makes for great laughter :-)