Monday, March 27, 2017

Floral prints for Spring

I accompanied a friend for shopping on Saturday and I realized that floral prints are back again for spring. It is interesting how floral prints are back every spring and summer but still feel fresh every year. This year floral prints are on everything. I even saw a floral embroidered leather jacket. Bright colored, pastel floral prints are a perfect match for spring and summer.

Floral prints have this amazing ability to freshen up any outfit. Floral prints stand out but are still classy and feminine. However as with all other kinds of patterns, floral prints also take a center stage in an outfit can also be overwhelming if not done correctly.

I, for one, love floral prints. I have skirts, blouses, dresses and shoes with floral prints.I even have a floral jacket.

Here are  few ways to wear floral prints this year.

1. Wear a floral scarf.  A floral scarf can brighten and cheer up any outfit and make it spring ready. It is the cheapest and easiest way to incorporate floral prints in a wardrobe without being overwhelmed. It can be paired with a neutral jacket or chambray shirt is perfect for early spring.

2. Wear a floral blouse or sweater. A floral blouse or sweater paired with jeans or a solid colored skirt is one of the easiest ways to wear floral prints.

3. Wear a floral skirt or pants. A floral skirt or jeans paired with a neutral colored top and shoes makes for a cute outfit that is very versatile. An outfit like is perfect for every occasion from a date night to a picnic in the park. It is also one of my favorite ways to wear floral prints.

4. Wear a floral dress. A floral dress is a spring/summer staple. It looks gorgeous and is easy to wear. It can easily be worn to work with a blazer or cardigan and pumps and then to a night out with friends without the jacket. A floral dress is one of my favorite outfits to wear to summer weddings.

I tend to wear floral prints throughout the year and not just spring. Given my petite size I tend to stick to floral skirts or blouses, but that doesn't mean I don't wear floral dresses. I just wear them less frequently. 

Seeing all the floral prints in the stores inspired me to wear florals today. It is a cold day today so I wore my floral dress with my leather jacket, tights and my Frye boots. The leather jacket and boots helped tone down the floral print of the dress and give it some edginess.

How are you planning to wear floral prints this year?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Spring in my step

Spring has always always been a source of inspiration to all. As poet Gerard Manley Hopkins very aptly describes it  -
Nothing is so beautiful as spring -- 

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; 

Spring is my favorite season. Like many others I wait all winter for the advent of spring. Spring is when the days get longer and the nights shorter. Spring is when the snow melts and it starts getting green all around. the flowers bloom. I like everything about spring- the colors, sounds, scents and especially the spring rains. Even though there is still snow on the ground I take the Spring Vernal Equinox as the beginning of spring.

To celebrate the official Beginning of Spring I decided to wear a non boot type shoe. Today was the perfect day to inaugurate my new shoes that I got from Target last December.  These are a pair perfectly suited for spring. It was not very cold today. So I was quite comfortable wearing them.

I couldn't find the link to the shoes online so a photo. Not a very good one but at least it will give you an idea how they look. Its the Deanne Ghillie lace-up pumps.

The shoes are from last year but the style is still in style this year. The shoes are a lace-up style but with a zipper at the back that make them easy to put on and off. The shoes have a faux suede upper that really looks good. It is especially great style for skinny ankles or calves.

When I decided to wear the shoes today I expected them to require some breaking in today before they got comfortable. They were  quite alright right out of the box and I wore them the entire day today without much trouble. But I believe they will get more comfortable after a few wears. 

The shoes have a slight heel that make them look dressy enough for work or dinner but the less than 2 inch block heel is easy to wear even for the entire day. With my back problem I can't hear high heels so it's difficult for me to get dressy shoes that are comfortable enough, and the shoes perfectly fit the bill. However if they had a little more padding under the ball of the foot they would be perfect.

I wore the shoes with black ankle jeans but I think they very versatile and will look equally good with a skirt or dress. I can wear them casually for the weekend with jeans or shorts and for fancier occasions  and for even work.

I got a lot of compliments on my shoes at work today.

I think it is an on trend footwear that is comfortable enough that I will reach for in my closet again and again. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cost Per Wear..A Fashion Equation

I always try to save money when I buy clothes.  In fact, I am pretty cheap with my wardrobe. My clothes are mostly from Target, Kohl's or JC Penney. Most of my clothes are under $ 30. I never spend over $100 on a pair of shoes unless I have really researched about them for a long time and found that I can't get them cheaper. So it came as a surprise for my friends when I wrote the other day that I wanted to replace my $15 Target shirt with one from J. Crew that cost $98. And that that started the discussion about cost per wear (CPW) and responsible shopping and why sometimes its necessary to pay more for your clothes.

 The basic idea of using cost per wear in fashion is that the price tag of an item isn't the only thing to consider while buying it. The true value of an item in the closet depends on how often we actually wear it. An expensive item that is worn often over the years, has a low cost per wear and can turn out to be a bargain.On the other hand, a cheap item that is never worn can have a high cost of wear.

Calculating the cost per wear of an item is very easy.  It can be figured out using simple math: Divide how much an item of clothing costs by the number of times it is worn.

For example, if you spent $100 on a dress, and you’ve worn them 20 times since buying it, then the cost per wear is $5. But a dress that was $10 worn once has a CPW of $10. So the cost of wearing the cheaper dress is more than that of the more expensive dress.

Classic wardrobe pieces are often ones that have the best cost-per-wear.  Because these are pieces that never go out of style they can be worn for years.

To take the example of my chambray shirt. My shirt from Target lasted me little less a year with regular use. And now that I can't wear it anymore. So this time I have decided to get a higher quality version from J. Crew that I expect to last for more than 5 years with regular use. So the cost per wear turns out to be the same but I get to wear a better constructed higher quality item.

My Frye boots are another item that I paid more upfront but has a low cost per wear because of the quality. The added advantage of the boots being that it allows my feet to breath and are way more comfortable than the fake leather boots that are destroyed in a year.

The items in my closet with the best cost per wear are-
1) A pair of Levis lightly distressed distressed jeans that I got on clearance for $2.99 at J.C Penney. It fits me very well and is as comfortable as sweatpants. I never wore distressed jeans before and was surprised how versatile it turned out to be. The CPW is in cents and I am still wearing it.

2) My leather jacket from Nordstrom that I paid about $100. I have lost count of how many times I have worn it. I wore it atleast 3-4 days a week for 2 years. After a few years break I am wearing it regularly again. It is still in good condition and has a lot of wear left in it. I think the CPW is less than $1 and is decreasing every time I wear it. 

Cost per wear should not be used as a justification to buy expensive things that may land you in debt. Neither does it mean that we need to buy only designer or expensive items. The key word to remember here is quality and quality can be found a any price point. But the truth is that most of the time there is a co-relation between quality and price.

For me, Cost Per Wear isn't so much about a formula as it is a philosophy that I am trying to embrace: to buy less but better quality stuff that I feel good about wearing. If I am spending a ton of money on a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes or purse, I try to make sure they are good quality and would last a long time. More importantly however is that they should bring me happiness every time I wear them, so that I reach for them again and again. Not just the closet I think this is a philosophy that is applicable to all aspects of our lives.

Have you ever calculated the cost per wear of any item? What are the items in your wardrobe with the best CPW?

Friday, March 17, 2017

A very versatile Chambray Shirt

We had a team lunch outing today. I wore my dark wash chambray shirt with my black floral skirt, fleece leggings and black boots.

A chambray shirt is one of the best fashion investments a girl can ever make. If I had to pick one of my closet favorites, my chambray shirt would be at the top of the list. Chambray shirts are so comfortable and versatile. It’s  a awesome basic and unlike most items in our closet, it can work for all 4 seasons depending on how it is layered. And let’s not forget about the fact that they are super versatile. 

Every girl should own at least one or if you take my advice at least two. The chambray shirt is one of those special pieces that is both multi-functional and comfortable.

I own three chambray shirts that I can’t live without: one in a darker wash, one in a lighter wash and  a polka dot one in a lighter wash. I reach for both repeatedly time and again. I wear the darker wash more for fall and winter, while the lighter wash is perfect for spring and summer – but the truth is that they can both be worn all year long.

Chambray shirts can be found at any price points everywhere from J Crew to Walmart. My favorite places to get chambray shirts are the Old Navy and Target. Old Navy always has some design of the chambray Shirt in the stores. But it's available everywhere. Actually my polka dot chambray is from Costco. 

The chambray shirt is so versatile  because it’s a neutral like denim and can be worn with all colors and patterns.  They can be dressed up or dressed down.  They can be worn out shopping on a weekend or worn to an office or to a dinner. A chambray shirt looks equally good tucked into a pair jeans as it does tucked into a floral skirt.

In the Spring and Summer they can be worn with pants, jeans, skirts or shorts.  In Spring chambray shirts look great layered with a lightweight cardigan or jacket. They can even be layered over a top or dress to keep warm on those cool spring and summer evenings. I really like a chambray shirt layered with a maxi dress for outdoor evening events in summer. A chambray shirt even works well as a cover up for the beach or pool.

In the Fall and Winter this shirt can be worn layered with sweaters, vests, jackets or cardigans.   I mostly wear mine layered beneath a sweater with a skirt and tights for most part of the year.

For me a my chambray shirts are a real workhorse and I have never regretted purchasing any of them. But I noticed that the one I wore today is wearing out and is on its last legs. I think I will save up to get a high quality J Crew one this time. It might cost more than what I normally pay but I think it will be worth it.

So what is that one piece in your wardrobe that you find yourself reaching for again and again?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Return of an old favorite pair of boots

As  a part of my challenge I decided to wear an old pair of boots that were once a favorite. They are a pair of Clarks Malia Poplar boots. But I have been wearing them less these days since I got my Frye boots.

First a brief description of my Clarks boots. Amazon describes the boots as  "Leather upper with buckle detail for added appeal Side zipper closure for an easy on and off Fabric lining Ortholite cushioned footbed for added comfort 12 1/4 inch boot shaft height 2 inch heel with a manmade outsole." Some additional details - The shaft measures approximately 14" from arch. It is has a heel height of of about 2 inch. The boot opening measures approximately 15" around and features two straps with oval buckles.

I wore these boots at least 3 days a week for 2 years. And they still show no signs of any damage and look almost like new. These are very comfortable boots. The footbed has a memory foam cushion and comfortable, with good arch support. They are comfortable to wear  all day and the leather is attractive and soft. I got the shoes for less that $100 on amazon and for the price they are amazing.

The only thing I don't like in these shoes is that the boot opening is too wide for me. That was the reason I stopped wearing them once I got my Frye boots which fitted my narrow calves. I wish they made them with narrow calves.

But now with my ongoing challenge I decided it is high time to start wearing them again. 

It was snowing this morning so I applied a little  mink oil to my shoes to waterproof them. I wore my shoes the entire day and I even spent a considerable time on my feet with ease. 

After coming back home I just wiped them with a soft cloth and there was no signs that they were worn in the snow.

Friday, March 10, 2017

An very busy week.

I had a very busy week. A coworker resigned and I am covering her work till a new person comes. So I have been very tired by the time I reached home. Hence the lack of posts.

The first few days were fun trying to figure out how to get her work done. Now I am just tired. I hope  her replacement is here soon.

The only ray of sunshine in my week was the weather. We are having an awesome stretch of unusually warm winter weather.

This week I got a 10 off 10 coupon from Boston Store in my mail. Unfortunately the coupon is good just for 3 days on regular and sale priced items only. That excludes the clearance, black dot and yellow dot sections, which are my favorite sections to shop at Boston Store. 

I went to the store today after work to use the coupon. I found a dress I liked. Unfortunately  the coupon didn't work on it and I didn't want to spend any money. So I hung it back on the rack. I finally got a pair if earrings. 

Then we went for dinner at Cheescake Factory. I had a sandwich and my favorite Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. That alone made all of my tiredness disappear. Why is it that the unhealthiest foods are the tastiest. 

I was planning to take it easy this weekend. Just stay at home and relax and order takeout. But you know what they say about plans. A friend of mine from New York called and told me that she will be here for the weekend. So now we are making plans for the weekend. I hope the weather remains warm and sunny.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How many pairs of shoes are enough?

I continued with my spring cleaning today. When I was arranging my shoes my husband came into the room, took a look at all the shoe boxes around me and said that I have too many pairs to shoes and I should get rid of a few pairs before I get anymore.

My first reaction was surprise and disbelief . I never thought of myself as a shoes person and I don't have too many pairs to shoes. Indeed I always thought I rarely bought shoes and didn't have enough. So I started to count how many pairs of footwear I have. To my surprise I found I have more shoes than I ever expected. I was expecting around 15-20 pairs but found that I have almost double. I have 39 pairs.

My shoe inventory is:
4 pairs of knee high boots- 2 brown, 2 black
2 pairs of ankle boots- 1 black, 1 brown
1 pair  rain boots
1 pair snow boots
4 pairs of sneakers - 3 converse, 1 vans
1 pair of running shoes
3 pairs of low heel pumps
3 pairs of casual summer flats
2 pairs of wedges
3 pairs ballet flats
6 other pairs of flats including loafers, oxfords and boat shoes
2 pairs of heels that I use maybe one a year for holiday parties where I don't have to walk more than a block
And the rest are flip flops for the beach and home.

DSW, Ross and TJ Maxx are my favorite stores to buy boots and heels. I can get good quality branded leather shoes for less than half the retail price. I have a pair of Frye boots that I paid 120 dollars. The same is available at Macy's for 300+. I hope to have it for a long time. I normally pay less than 75 dollars for my boots.

For shoes that are trendy Target is the best place. Latest styles at low prices and most importantly they fit me well. They look good and allow me to try out designs that I wouldn't  want to pay too much for.

I also buy shoes from Kohl's and Costco. Most people recommend thrift stores for brandes and designer shoes at Walmart prices.  But I can never get shoes at thrift stores because I wear Size 5. But if you wear common sizes thrift stores are a treasure trove.

Maybe I am a shoe person. I just didn't realize it till now. It's amazing how we keep on discovering new things about ourselves all the time.

How many pairs of shoes do you have? And how many pairs are too many? And what are your favorite stores for shoes?

Floral prints for Spring

I accompanied a friend for shopping on Saturday and I realized that floral prints are back again for spring. It is interesting how floral pr...