Tips for Buying Quality Clothes for Your Wardrobe

Ever wonder why some clothes are so expensive?

Well, of course the answer is quality.  But, you already knew that, right?

When you go shopping do you pay attention to the prices, the quality of the garment or are you an impulse shopper?  If it looks cute and it fits, buy it, right?  Well, let’s think about that.  Have you ever bought a winter scarf, just to find that you’re purchasing another scarf the following year?  Why?  Is it out of style?  Does it just look old?  – And it’s only been one year.  Did you check the quality?

Quality checking while you are shopping will actually save you money on your wardrobe in the long run.  Although you may spend more money, the old adage that you get what you pay for is very true with clothing.  So this year when you search for a new scarf, because last year’s shrunk after one wash, or the dye faded, or it just didn’t store well, try this quality check:

Cashmere Scarves

Cashmere Scarves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find two scarves in the same department store.  For example, two cashmere scarves.

Be sure one is a moderate price, let’s say $25.  And the other is about $100 or higher.

Hold each scarf in separate hands and feel the fibers in the material.

The more expensive scarf will feel softer and denser with consistent thread hairs.  This label probably states 100% cashmere.

The cheaper scarf will most likely feel like coarser hairs.  This is because the cheaper scarf; although labeled cashmere, is most likely blended with other fibers.  The label could say 100% cashmere blend.  The key word here is blend.  Because this scarf is blended with other fibers, it is cheaper.

Let’s look at one more final reason that one cashmere scarf is more expensive than the other. The best cashmere items are made from the finest hairs handpicked from Mongolian goats in the Spring.[1]  You’re paying more for finer quality hairs in the expensive scarf.  On the other hand, we may never know where the coarser hairs in the cheaper scarf came from.  They may even be synthetic.

So this year, if you go out to buy a scarf and want a good quality that will last several years, consider purchasing the more expensive scarf.

Want a few more tips for checking the quality of clothing while you shop:  Try these additional tips:

  1. When buying a wool jacket or sweater, squeeze the wool tightly with your hands for several seconds, like you are trying to squish it all together.  If the material is smooth when released, then the quality is expensive and will last longer.  If the material remains bunched up and wrinkly, then you might be getting another jacket next year too.
  2. If a pocket is fake, or super skimpy, the manufacturer may have cut corners to save money on material.  If you don’t have a place for your cell phone, or perhaps car keys, this item may end up just hanging around your closet and not get much use.  You would be better off purchasing an item with useful pockets.
  3. Most clothing that is fully lined is a better quality.  If a lining does not completely cover the inside of a garment, then by the same time next year, you will most likely see the lining ends showing through the front of the garment and you’ll probably be buying another one of these items next year too.
  4. The width of the material left around the seams is a telltale sign of a quality garment.  If the seams lie flat on the inside and there is enough material left for alterations, you have a quality garment.
  5. Hem stitching should not been seen from the outside of the garment, unless it is intentional in the design.
  6. If you pull the seams, the threads should not be loose, or see through.  If they are, then perhaps the garment will not hold up in the washing machine too many times.  Also, weak seams can become crooked over time.
  7. For trousers, is there at least two inches left in the hem for alterations?  If so, then this may be a quality item worth custom fitting.

So with these tips, and your next shopping trip, you just may start transforming your closet into a custom wardrobe of your own.


Shopping Tips for Buying Clothes

Clothes by Emporio Armani, one of the most lux...

Clothes by Emporio Armani, one of the most luxurious and famous Italian fashion houses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fall is a great time to go shopping!  Fashion designers love the Fall too – because you are shopping for all of the designs that are shared during Fashion week. Top designs from these shows present the colors of the season, the length of our skirts, the width of our trousers, materials, patterns and many more fine tuned designs.  Fall is a big shopping season for both designers and consumers who are done with the summer colors and want something new.

Believe it or not, we as consumers, really do drive the fashion industry.  Either we buy it, or we don’t. If blue was a big color during fashion week, then you will most likely see blue in your local department store.

Now, as the consumer, you have an opportunity to respond to designers by either buying their ideas or passing by the rack that does not catch your fancy.

Below are some great tips to keep in mind when you head out to shop for your Fall wardrobe this year.

  • Printed designs catch the eye and tend to make certain areas stand out.
  • Flowers tend to enhance areas.
  • Horizontal stripes widen areas.
  • Vertical stripes will elongate your body.
  • Solid colors tend to be more slimming and tend not to accentuate certain areas.
  • A darker background color and big pattern will provide a slimming effect with a distraction – this can hide body flaws.
  • A solid dark color will provide a slimming effect and focus will be on your face instead of your flaws.
  • If you would like to make your hip and thigh area look smaller, go with a solid color bottom and a printed top.
  • If you would like to enhance your bust line, select a pattern that is bright with a busy pattern on the top and a darker bottom.
  • V-neck cuts give smaller chests a boost.
  • Ruffles accentuate the bust area.
  • If you have a wide waist area, gathered fabrics in a solid color reduce the appearance of a thick waist.

Happy shopping!!

Hemlines and the economy


Image via Wikipedia

Does the economy affect hemlines?

Have you noticed that in the past few years, the style of clothing has changed, specifically with the hemlines of women’s dresses and skirts?  Only a few short years ago, I remember moms complaining about short skirts and shirts that show tummies when their teens would leave the house.  Was it a Brittney Spears or Beyoncé influence or was it correlated to the economy? In the nineties businesses were booming, jobs were lucrative, shoppers were buying everything in sight.  Both male and female shoppers spent a great deal on their wardrobe, which included current trends, fads, building a diverse wardrobe, emulating superstars and replacing old items.

If one looks around in their department stores now, shirts are long, tank tops are long, skirts are long, and clothing is loose fitting.  Clothing seems to be all business and back to basics. Perhaps the length of hemlines is affected by the economy.  Do we care less about our appearance in a poor economy?  Do we spend less on our clothing in a poor economy which results in a less fashionable look?

In the past, economists believed that hemlines were shorter when the economy was booming.  Women went with a shorter hemline to show off their silk stockings[1], which was a sign that people were spending more money on textiles and had more money to spend.  Hemlines were longer around the time of the great depression, perhaps to cover the fact that people could not afford silk stockings.

In the sixties, miniskirts were everywhere, people would be daring and buy new things.  Perhaps it was a sign that the economy was lucrative.

Today, with the longer hemlines, one could argue that it is not a significant factor in the economy due to the fact that textiles cost so much and the more material that is used to create one piece, the more expensive the item of clothing will be.  But one could also argue that people are replacing basic pieces in their wardrobes and not concerned about the extra accessories as basic pieces are needed for job interviewing and it could be a sign that things are tough when everyone buys boring basics and does not expand their wardrobes to include fun fads.

When consumers begin to expand their wardrobe and start buying extras to keep up with the fads and not just basics to replace worn out items, then they are investing in their wardrobe again, and economic times may be improving.  So perhaps it is true that the hemline theory, which states that shorter skirts are a sign of good economic times[2], is accurate.  If not, I think I’ll just go with the casual day theory and it’s a new world order for the fashion industry.

Archived article: Fall 2012 Fashion Must Haves

Fall is a great time to layer your clothes and add textures, but what’s in for Fall 2012?  As we transition into the colder months, our wardrobe also makes a transition.  Not only is it a great time to clean out your closet, it’s a great time to add new pieces and update your wardrobe.  As we add scarves, boots and jackets to our wardrobe, we can also add some flare.  And flare is what Fall 2012 is all about.

The bold colors from the summer are being carried over into Fall 2012.  Colored jeans are all the rage, but, for the Fall, camouflage patterns and prints are being introduced.  

If that’s not your thing, how about a glossy vinyl skirt or jacket?  Maybe you prefer good old fashioned leather instead, but this year, black leather is big.

I have put together a list of my top ten essentials for Fall 2012.  My top ten list is based on my research of current fashion as well as my personal opinion of what I, as a consumer would wear.  Although a glossy vinyl skirt may not make its way into my closet, a black leather jacket and boots are a definite.

Here’s my top ten 2012 Fall Fashion Must Haves List:

  1. Glossy vinyl jacket  or slicker
  2. Graphic design sweater or blouse
  3. Printed trousers/jeans
  4. Black leather
  5. Minimalist color block items
  6. Body contour dress
  7. Lace skirts and dresses
  8. Puffy vest or faux fur vest
  9. Skinny heel booties
  10. Gold jeans

Yes, gold and metallic is coming back; however, only the gold, not the silver.  You may see a lot of black and gold displayed together in stores this Fall.  Gold brocade enhances the solid black colors that we tend to gravitate towards in the Fall.  Enjoy shopping.

Tips for Shopping for a Swimsuit

Signaturealamode suggests these tips when shopping for a swimsuit:

Allow plenty of time to try on different styles

When shopping for a swimsuit, allow yourself extra time.  This is probably the one item of clothing that we like to shop for the least.  The more you know what you like, the easier it will be to select a swimsuit.  You may wish to read my article on How to select a swimsuit before you go shopping.  This will help cut down on the time you spend searching all the styles on the racks.  However, shopping for a swimsuit when you are rushed can only led to regret if you do not have time to try on the swimsuit you select off the rack.

Do not go shopping hungry

If you go shopping for a swimsuit while you are hungry, you will tend to stop and eat at the mall.  Perhaps you’ll indulge on junk food.  Then, every swimsuit you try on will give you a disappointed feeling as your tummy feels stuffed.  You’ll find something wrong with every suit as you are only focusing on that bloated feeling if you have overeaten, or perhaps just devoured fried dough and icecream at that kiosk that smelled so marvelous across from the store.  Eat before you leave to go shopping and you’ll have a more successful trip when trying on swimsuits.

Don’t shop for a swimsuit if you are in a bad mood

If you’re having one of those self-loathing type of days, don’t try on swimsuits.  You’ll only get cranky and spend a lot of time hating everything.

Try on sizes too big for you

Start by trying on swimsuit sizes that are too big for you, swimsuits tend to run small.  Also, remember that some styles will not work for you no matter what the cut style.  When you start with a size larger, you can then realize where you need more or less coverage, then work your way down to a size that makes you feel great.

Check the labels

If a swimsuit has more lycra, you will get more coverage and control.  The thicker the fabric, the longer the swimsuit will hold its shape.

Try new styles

You may surprise yourself and look great in something different from your norm.

What are the staple items for a Spring Wardrobe?

Spring is a good time to clean out our closets.  We tend to discard clothing that we no longer wear or clothing that does not fit us anymore.  When you clean out your closet this Spring, keep in mind that there are essentials that every girl should have in their closet for Spring.

Spring is a good time to take inventory and replace worn out items as well as thin out your closet of clutter.  As we leave the cooler months of Winter, we seek light weight clothing and lighter colors. Basics for Spring include transitional clothing that we can wear to work, after hours, to weddings, baby showers and also be prepared for those “Spring Showers.”

The staple items I feel all women should have in their closet for Spring are:

  1. White short sleeve blouse
  2. Camisole
  3. Neutral color t-shirts
  4. Khaki pants
  5. cardigan or jacket
  6. High heel sandal, peep toe pump or espadrille
  7. cotton skirt
  8. Straw handbag
  9. Sundress
  10. Cropped pants
  11. Flat sandals
  12. Evening cover up
  13. Evening clutch
  14. jeans
  15. Denim skirt
  16. Trench coat

A white short sleeve blouse is a classic piece that can be worn for many occasions.  One can pair this blouse with a lightweight cotton skirt and be dressy for work, attend a luncheon, or even a PTA meeting.  A classic look for spring is a lightweight pair of jeans, a white shirt, a lightweight jacket and high heel sandals.  This is a classic look as well as transitional for leaving the winter months.

As we leave the winter months, we tend to wear more lightweight clothing, so too should our colors change.  Lighter colors are brighter and make us feel cooler as the warmer months approach. Light colored t-shirts paired with a cotton skirt can look professional with the right accessories, or casual with a denim skirt or cropped pants.

A classic sundress for Spring is very versatile and can also be worn for many occasions such as weddings or baby showers which tend to be abundant in Spring.  This time of year we can dress up our outfits with high heeled sandals which are great for weddings and peep toe pumps are ideal for the workplace.

On the cooler Spring days, we can keep warm with a cotton cardigan.  Caridigans look professional with skirts as well as slacks and can replace the heavy business suit jacket that goes along with your winter wardrobe.

Khakis are a great pair of trousers to have in your Spring wardrobe as they are lighter than wool or knit pants that we are leaving behind with winter.

An evening cover up over a sundress and an evening clutch can dress up any skirt or sundress for more formal occasions.

A lightweight classic trench coat is ideal for those rainy days we tend to see in Spring.  Shorter lengths are ideal for Spring.

So when you do your Spring cleaning of your closet this year, feel free to use my above checklist to see what you may already have and what you may wish to add to your wardrobe.

What type of necklace do I wear with a little black dress with a v-neck?”

Questions from readers:

“What type of necklace do I wear with a little black dress with a v-neck?” 

Signaturealamode’s response: Stay away from big and chunky if it is for a formal event.  An elegant look with this type of dress is a pendant style necklace such as a thin chain with a quartz, diamond, or birthstone.

Please feel free to post specific questions in the Readers Questions section. Not sure what colors are in this season?  Need help matching styles?  Many questions found in this blog are from the terms people use to search this blog and from readers.

Please remember, these answers are the opinion of the blogger and not representative of brands, designers, or businesses mentioned in this blog.  Thank you for reading.