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.