How To Do Shop Smart Shopping.
July 17th, 2008
Your Investment Strategy
SHOP SMART BUY LESS, BUY BETTER
This step in the wardrobe building process is important: Clothes take up real estate. And salary. The key is to buy less, better ,and buy clothes that will work together. Filling your closet with well-chosen, good quality, versatile pieces will enable you to “work” your wardrobe by mixing and remixing.
The result: Endless combinations that don’t require an endless supply of clothes.
Buy the best you can afford on your budget. You’ll go home with fewer items, but they will be of better quality. This is especially important when purchasing items worn every day-coats, shoes handbags-the better the quality, the bigger your return will be. In general:
• Clothes in season less fabrics are the best investment. They can be worn most of the year, and pack well. The best are lightweight knits.
• Don’t buy the color of the moment if it makes your face look drab or your body bulky. Wear it as an accent strategically placed.
• If a color gives you a glow, and makes you smile with approval, incorporate it into your wardrobe mix. Not only will you feel best wearing it, it will become a mark of your personal style.
• One very good quality item can upgrade almost any outfit.
• When you find a brand that suits you, in the future.
WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD A WARDROBE
• It takes time.
• It takes focus.
• It takes Patience.
• It takes work.
• It takes restraint.
• It takes self-knowledge.
• It takes a budget.
• It takes boldness.
• It takes enterprise.
• It takes commitment.
The goal: To broaden your closet with wardrobe enhancers (well-chosen items that go with other clothes in your closet and expand their possibilities immeasurably). Among the enhancers of choice: A smattering of shirt and blouses (to go under jackets and spruce up skirts), sweater sets and other bright knits, and tailored separates that take the pressure off the single suit that helped you soar through your early years with flying colors .
How to Buy a Work Outfit
SHOP SMART: THE JACKET
A jacket is professional in appearance and pulls and outfit together. It is also a good way to add color, pattern, or texture to your wardrobe mix. Shop for jackets that complement your suit bottoms. This will give your wardrobe more mileage. If in doubt about mixing things up, a safe bet is to wear all black as a base.
Black = Sophisticated, urban. It’s the most versatile.
Navy = Classic but difficult to match with other shades of navy.
Gray = Serious business.
Beige = Sleek, skillful, and friendly.
Red = powerful.
Year round: Lightweight wool, worsted wool, and wool crepe.
Summer: Cotton blends, seersucker, featherweight wool, linen blends.
Fall and winter: Wool, wool blends, cashmere, corduroy, gabardine, tweed, suede, velvet.
Pattern: Solid, pinstripe, plaid, tweed, houndstooth.
SHOP SMART: SHIRTS
A change of shirt will change your look. Your closet should contain about at least five tops. Be sure to buy colors or patterns that complement on their own.
• Shirt sleeves should hit the base of the thumb, and extend about a half an inch beyond the sleeve of the jacket.
• There should be enough room in sleeves so you can move your arms comfortably, but not too much that sleeves get bunched up when worn with suit jacket.
• When buttoned up, you should be able to breathe comfortably and there should be no hint of your undergarments or nipples.
• Straight hem: Can be worn untucked in casual environment.
• Fitted: Crisp and clean, feminine style.
• Rounded collar: Delicate, traditional.
• Spread collar: Best worn outside jacket for splash of style.
• Button-down collar: Man-inspired, down-to-business, sporty.
• Collarless: Creative, independent.
Cream = Sophisticated, feminine, approachable.
White = Crisp, classic, down-to-business; wardrobe basic.
Black = Sharp, powerful, assertive.
Monochromatic = Clean, contemporary, elegant.
Fabric: Those with stretch add comfort.
• Cotton: Clean, crisp.
• Silk: Formal, conservative, dressy.
• Jersey: Easy upkeep, comfortable.
SHOP SMART: KNIT TOPS
Knits can introduce color and texture, and when worn as a sweater set provide a feminine alternative to a suit jacket. The lighter the weight the more sophisticated the knit, but beware of sheerness, which is never right in the workplace.
Quality is determined by how pure the yarn is and how tighter the knit, the higher the gauge. A one-ply sweater will be a lighter weight, but tighter-knit than a two-ply sweater. An eight-ply knit is very heavy and loosely knit, and more sporty than a one- or two-ply knit. The lighter the weight, the more likely a knit is to shrink, so dry-clean only. Lighter shades take less dye so softer in feel than draker colors, which use stronger dye.
Fit: Should be fitted, but not tight; too baggy can look sloppy.
• Everything about a turtleneck depends on its fit. Anything oversized or baggy is too casual for the office.
• One-ply cashmere is light and more versatile than thicker plies.
• A flat knit is dressier and more versatile than a ribbed one. Worn under a suit jacket, however, the ribbed knit creates a tailored, sporty look.
Fabrics: A top quality merino wool or cotton knit is superior to a poor quality cashmere, which will easily pill and droop.
Color: A sweater is a perfect way to add a dash of color to a neutral suit, whether the season’s trendy shade or one that has always suited you.
Twinset = Classic, feminine.
The black turtleneck = Edgy, urban. Has attitude.
V-neck = Preppy, casual.
SHOP SMART: SKIRTS
A straight, black, knee-length skirt in lightweight wool a clean waist-no belt loops-is acceptable in even the most conservative settings. It is slimming, can easily mix with other wardrobe items, and can dress up or down.
• A slender heel keeps a knee-length skirt from looking overly sensible .
• A fuller skirt looks best with a fitted top and flatters most body types .
• Straight = To the point, classic, smart.
• A-line = Sensible, friendly.
• Bias-cut = Dressy, sexy.
• Pleated = Youthful, flirty.
Fabric: Should not be heavy or stiff but have a soft drape.
• Lightweight wool: Seasonless, versatile, can be paired with any other teture.
• Jersey: Lightweight stretch fabric best for spring, summer, and early fall.
• Cotton : Ideal for spring, summer, and early fall.
• Silk: A more dressed-up look, appropriate for spring and fall.
• Knit: least versatile option . Both light and heavier weaves are acceptable. Best to purchase with a matching top.
SHOP SMART: PANTS
Fit: Use a three-way mirror. If you have a panty line, invest in a thong. Try on panty with the shoes you plan to wear with them to ensure they break softly no top of your shoes. If you are short, avoid visually. Avoid pants that tug against tummy or things-try a cut with pleats, a fuller leg, or fabric that drapes. If a waistband is casing waist, avoid belts, or wear with tops that are just loose enough to camouflage. Pockets should not pull. Tailors can remove troublesome or visible pockets. Fabric should drape smoothly over the hips to the floor, without pulling or bagging. A fabric that has stretch can make pants more comfortable, fit the body bet
From – Dress Smart for Women