- Determine what your size really is – no REALLY IS! We all joke about the fact that we are a size 10 at Ann Taylor and a size 2 at Eileen Fisher, so how’s a girl to know? Measure honey, measure! Get the following measurements documented…petite, regular, plus, height, weight, bust, waist, hips, inseam – get it all down before you even drive to the mall. Match your numbers with the online size chart by store so you know what to pull off the rack in advance.
- Determine what stores even appeal to you. The best way to do that is to sign up for their emails – you can always unsubscribe! But you won’t know if you don’t monitor! Watch the emails, the sales, the styles, the age of the models. It is a digital world, feed your inbox for inspiration.
- Determine what colors appeal to you. Look around your house as if you were a guest! Look at your paint colors, your upholstery, your curtains, and your artwork. These are things that no doubt you chose because you were attracted to them. Are any of those colors showing up in your closet? Grab inspiration from your home – you’ll be amazed at how much work you have already done selecting tones that reflect your taste.
- Determine what fabrics are right for you. Some women despise wool, linen or even spandex. Make a mental note of some of the favorite things in your wardrobe and why they are your favorite. You will be surprised how often it is all about the fabric more than the style, color or fit! If you were to shop for fabric alone you would be touching, stretching, folding and crumpling the swatches – you need to do the same thing when interviewing a new piece of clothing. Do you want washable or are you okay with more luxury fabrics that require dry cleaning? Know that answer in advance before you whip out your credit card. I can’t tell you how many silk blouses sit in women’s closets because they know if they wear it, it will cost them $8 dollars to dry clean it! Or on the other end – they have quantities of cotton shirts that never see the light of day because the last thing they want to do is haul out the ironing board. Look for no-iron fabric!
- Determine which tailor is not just local, but qualified! The local dry cleaner may be able to handle a skirt hem, but think twice before you place your Burberry raincoat in their hands! Why do you need a tailor in your little black book? Do you really think one size fits all? A size 8 is not a size 8 from two different designers. The arm length on one size 8 woman could be inches different on another size 8 woman. Nothing looks worse than a woman dressed to the nines but only half her hands are showing. The rule of thumb for sleeve length is the jacket should end just below the wrist bone not the knucklebone! Your pants should be hemmed according to the shoes you are going to wear with them. Don’t think you can wear your ballet flats with a pant hemmed for a heel – folding or dragging bottoms is just not an option – even for your casual jeans!
- Determine what you already own! Do you know what you have, can you see what you have, and do you wear what you have? Pretty basic questions but so often women will just go out to shop – without a list, without a clue! They are planning to fail because they failed to plan. A very basic strategy…even for groceries!
- Determine what your budget is. Pretty sure there is a number your credit card is going to be comfortable with and a number your card is not going to be comfortable with. Let’s play the honesty game with yourself in the privacy of your home as opposed to in line at the register. Assign a general price to each category that you are willing to spend and multiply out the number of items you need. Take that number and add 20% because you probably low-balled it. Then, here is the kicker – wait for a sale or scour the web for a coupon and save 40%. Your credit card will be glad you pre-planned on its behalf!
- Determine what is worn out from last season and plan ahead. We know in New England that our boots got a workout this year with 50 feet of snow. Add those new boots to the budget now and plan in advance. Shop now for boots on sale and shop summer pre-sales for boots. Don’t shop for boots the first day it snows because the retailers really are not your friend – they will charge you the max!
- What size?
- What stores?
- What colors?
- What fabrics?
- What tailor?
- What do I own?
- What is my budget?
- What do I need to replace?
Don’t want to tackle the list alone? Outsource your style!
Doreen Dove empowers women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image. She is an image consultant, personal stylist and professional speaker. Her extensive background in all aspects of retail has uniquely qualified her to work with women of all ages and professions, coaching them to personal style success. www.DoreenDove.com.
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The Gift of Style-
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* The previously noted Foot Issue Post will ‘step in’ a week from now. Stay tuned next week where you will learn more than just how to spell B.U.N.I.O.N.S.