Archive | October 2012

Shopping Smart

Shopping is an art.  Like any art, it needs practice.  Becoming a smart shopper takes time and the development of skills – skills to add the right purchases to your wardrobe instead of wasteful catastrophes.  Here are some tips you can use on your next shopping venture that will help clear the jungle in the fashion retail world.
!Set Goals and Objectives:  Being specific is the key.  Once you complete a wardrobe inventory, you will be better able to jot down exactly what you need to get.  This is just like creating a grocery shipping list.  Consider writing down not only what item or items you need but also the dollar limit you would be willing to spend.  This will reduce the chance of impulse shopping or of buying the first item that comes close to what you want – but is priced higher than what you would normally spend.
! Don’t be rushed: Pick a time when you won’t be rushed andwhen sales people will be available to serve you.  Weekends and weekday lunch hours are overwhelmed by shoppers.  Moreover, give yourself enough time to shop.  Haste really does make waste.
! Know Fashion Trends:  Familiarize yourself with specific style names, such as paisley, double-breasted, fitted shirts, sarongs and bolero jackets.  When you can communicate effectively the salesperson will be better able to help you find what you’re looking for.
! Dress Appropriately:If you plan to purchase evening attire, remember to wear or bring along the appropriate undergarments and shoes.  If you plan to purchase a suit, bring the shoes and shirt you’ll be wearing.  When shopping dress comfortably and be sure to wear comfortable shoes with flexible soles so you can last a long time.
! Shop Alone:  This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s the wisest.  When you shop with a friend, not only do you have the friend selling you but the salesperson too.  If, in an relationship where both parties need to have input in the final decision, put the selected items on hold and bring your partner back to ok the purchase.  Men, consider doing your wardrobe shopping yourself so you can determine your own best look and the right fit.
! Try it on:  Since humans make clothing, each piece will vary slightly.  Further, sizes are not standardized in the apparel industry so they will vary by brand as well.   High priced clothing tends to be generous in size.
!Know the return policies: For regular priced as well as sale items at stores.  Most stores have liberal policies when it comes to regular-priced merchandise, but there may  be some limitations for sale items.  Ask the salesperson how many days you have to return an item and whether you’ll get your money back or receive a merchandise credit.
! Purchase shoes in the afternoon: Since feet expand as the day goes on, a better fit is possible in the afternoon.
! Try off priced, second-hand, factory outlets, catalogs, and the Internet for bargains and convenience:  Off-priced stores like Marshall’s, and TJ Max often purchase consolidated sale merchandise from department and specialty stores and pass the savings on to consumers.  These stores also carry manufacturers’ overruns, which are quality goods and great buys for consumers.  Manufacturers’ overruns are apparel items that were over-produced and undersold.  Manufacturers sell these items to discount stores or in their own factory outlet stores.  Catalogs and the Internet offer substantial product information and are convenient for purchasing and returning merchandise.
! Realize that designer, bridge,better and moderate priced merchandise offer value depending on what your needs are:  Be aware of the different levels of workmanship and detail at the different points.  The costliest garments generally offer the most superior workmanship, high-fashion styling, and the best all-natural materials.  However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule.  In some cases you may be paying hundreds of dollars more for the brand name alone – so don’t be fooled.

The Value of a White Shirt

A white shirt is simple, clean and makes a confident point about you.  As part of your work attire, a white shirt is essential for men and women.  On your time, a white shirt makes a striking statement with jeans as well. So consider building your wardrobe of white shirts, its always a classic that is part of each new fashion season.  Here are some tips:

– Choose clean tailor lines,

– Opt for fabrics that have body such as 100% cotton or cotton poly blends,

– For men, consider button down, tab, or traditional collar varieties, preferably long sleeve, and,

– For women, start with a basic collared shirt and go from there preferably long sleeve, as well.



Get Together After Work and Look Good!

So some of guys in various departments work are going to get together after work or over the weekend to watch a football game or go out on the town.  What are you going to wear?  One thing to remember is that you don’t want to overdo it dress wise or drink wise.  It will just get the rumor mill churning at work.  Here are some tips for what to wear:

  • Consider khaki slack in fine cotton twills, double bleated or plain front.  These go with anything all year long.  You might also consider pant in an olive cotton twill to mix and match with your casual wardrobe.
  • Crewneck or V-neck sweaters in cotton, acrylic, or wool in classic colors such as hunter green, navy, camel and gray.  A soft yellow is also nice.  Avoid baby blue.
  • Try tartan plaid shirts in short or long sleeve, in blue, green or red and navy combinations.  Button-down pinpoint oxford shirts in white, light blue, pink and cream (for some complexions) complete a shirt collection for outside the office.
  • Try turtleneck or mock turtleneck tops, long or short sleeved and crew neck knit tops besides the classic polo style.  If you choose 100 percent cotton consider the shrink factor when you pick the size.  You don’t want to look like the incredible hulk busting out of his shirt when it’s worn.
  • Slacks, in pinwale cotton corduroy or tropical-weight wool gabardine styles, in navy, charcoal gray, black and brown are nice as well as jeans in black for hitting the town at night.
  • If you’re going to wear jeans don’t put on your favorite ones with the holes in the knees, have a nice pair for wearing out.
  • Entertaining a client then you might want to put on a sport coat over your polo shirt, or sport shirt.  A navy or black blazer can top most every pant possible.  In Warmer climates consider raw silk or linen jackets in light tones such as crème, wheat and muted patterns.
  • Make sure your shoes are in good condition whether they are cowboy boot or deck shoes.  Cordovan, camel, or brown loafers (with or without the tassels) are good choices for evening.  Forget the high-top sneakers.
  • Make sure that if you wear pants that have belt loops that you wear a belt, whether they are jeans or otherwise.
  • Just as important, make sure that the clothes you’re wearing for evening or for the daytime football game, fit.   There is nothing worse then looking at a man that is in a pair of 32’s when he should be in a size 40.  You never see the belt buckle.  Key point:  Pants are to be worn at the waist!!
  • Forget the gold chain around the neck and on the wrist as well as the fancy watch.  What it communicates is that all your money is on you and not in the bank.

The New Continuum of Dressing for Success: Part 3 Jeans Permitted

Yes, there are some occupations were jeans, nice jeans, are an option for work.  Nice jeans do not have holes or a lot of stitching that has seen its day in fashion.  Additionally, this category might include uniforms found in many occupations. It is imperative that anything that you wear for work is clean, pressed, without tears and lost buttons, and fits properly. Often at this stage most people don’t give much consideration to what they’re wearing or how they are wearing it and assume that anything goes, but that is farthest from the truth.  Communicating your professionalism is just as important.  In many high tech companies such as Apple or Facebook, jeans and t-shirts are common place and its ok just as long as they are in good condition for work – there is a difference!

Pants and skirts in denim and a variety of casual fabrics are the highlight of this category.  Some jobs that might fall under this category, depending on the corporate culture might include retail, restaurant, music, and the film industry where being able to move equipment and work a scene is a must.  This category does NOT exclude other dress options suggested above but permits denim.  Hence, consider hard working fabrics such as twill found in Docker brand pants, as well as some fashion alternatives such as longer skirts.

For Men: As mentioned earlier jeans and t-shirts are acceptable in a many types of occupations; however, if considering them have a good pair of jeans and several work t-shirts without writing or graphics on them. Jeans need to land at the natural waist in either a straight or boot cut leg and t-shirts need to be in really good condition and are substantial in weight so they have body and don’t show through.  Regarding the style of the t-shirt try one with short or long sleeves as opposed to sleeveless tanks.  Consider cargo pants but avoid camouflage or military-type apparel.  Consider leather jackets and vests for variety and long sleeved flannel, denim or suede shirts.  Hawaiian shirts are great if you live in Hawaii and California but be sure that they not loud and overwhelming with neon colored designs.  Regarding shoes, consider those devoted to comfort such as athletic shoes; but again, refrain from loud, highly detailed ones that draw attention to your feet rather than to your face.  As well, avoid flip-flops and sandals.

Choose pants that have a classic look with minimum detail.  If you wear a shirt with a hem you will want to tuck it in and wear a belt with a conservative belt buckle.  Avoid belt buckles that are large and ornate and save those for your time.  Light jackets are great; however, avoid “hoodies” and hats of any kind.  As well, avoid sweatpants, warm up suits and other athletic apparel, since you’re going to work, not playing baseball.  Consider bringing your gym bag with your stuff in it if that will be part of your day.

If you wear a uniform, it should fit and be clean and pressed.  If you need to provide your own shoes make sure they are made for comfort and coordinate in color with the uniform. As well, jewelry should to be kept to a minimum.

For Women: It is just as important to dress professionally at this end of the continuum as it is with more formal traditional businesses.  Seek tailored styles and avoid sexy, revealing clothing such as skirts with slits in the front and side.  Exposed midriffs and cleavage are also not appropriate as well as wearing fashions latest craze. As mentioned previously what you wear to work needs to be clean, pressed, coordinated, accessorized and needs to fit. Consider polo, crew- and V-neck style shirts but avoid halter tops. If you wear jeans consider straight legged or boot cut styles with minimal detailing that land at the natural waist.

Consider unstructured jackets such as jean jackets and cargo pants with limited detailing but avoid “hoodies” and hats.  Pants and skirts need land at the natural waist or a little below but avoid hip-hugger styles.  As well, skirts, shorts, and dresses should be no shorter than three inches above the knee.

Save the sun dresses, halter styles as well as beach cover-ups for your time.  As well, avoid sweat pants and work out apparel, even warm up suits for the office. Consider cargo pants but avoid camouflage, military-type apparel.  As well, introduce split skirts or mid-calf length types gathered, pleated or plain front in denim, leather or suede with boots or tailored flats for your office attire.  Avoid leggings, jeggings (leggings out of denim), flip-flops and very high platform shoes – period. Greek styled, gladiator sandals that go up the leg need to be worn during your time and not for work.  If you want to wear athletic shoes consider those that have minimum detail and bright colors. Have a pair for work and one for your time.

If you wear a uniform make sure that it’s clean and pressed and fits. If you need to provide your own shoes seek those that are comfortable and tailored in a color that complements your uniform.  Jewelry is best kept at a minimum and if you wear hose consider tights but avoid fishnets.

If your company does NOT have a dress policy look at what your supervisor or the owner is wearing for clues and use these categories mentioned above to help guide you regarding what works for work and you.  More detail regarding options for each will be spelled out in the next chapter.  Bottom line – realize that your appearance counts at work no matter what you do!