Making Winter Fashion Work For You

Is the weather outside frightful? Do you still want your fashion and style to be delightful? If your answer is yes, then you need to learn how to “Work for the Winter.”

Working for the Winter  encompasses the things most important to men and women when it comes to fashion; trend/note worthiness and wearability.

These two concepts are ambiguous to gender and are equally important concerns for fashion fiends of all ages, shapes and sizes. Instead of allowing these issues to ruin your winter wardrobe, let’s find solutions while also looking at some great sensible trends to incorporate into your clothing regime.

Let’s tackle the easiest obstacle first. For men, 90 percent of the time the most important thing will always be comfort and wearability. Comfort is important to me because although you may want to be stylish, the longer your days the less that fashion becomes a priority or even a topic of consideration. This is an issue for many “9 to 5’ers” and individuals with heavy workloads alike.

The most sensible solution to this problem is to strategize and create balance. If you know your day involves a large amount of walking, make a great, still stylish pair of comfortable shoes your focus. Use this method of adding a stylish piece of comfort to your wardrobe versus just removing all sense of style in your outfit completely.

2. Issue number two, trend worthiness, addresses the complex and ever-changing problem with deciding what to wear in the winter months that aren’t outdated and won’t cost you half your salary to purchase. Dresses or separates with full-length skirts are timeless pieces that provide both comfort and fashionable flare. This silhouette is a great choice for those days when you don’t feel completely your best and just want to feel relaxed and free.

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Crew, scoop, and turtle neck sweaters are must-haves this winter for men. The wondrous thing about them is that they come in a variety of styles, textures, and can be altered for any type of occasion.

Grunge and glam is a trend that seems to not have only taken over just the spring and fall fashion seasons, but rather yet the fashion world.The best way to achieve this look is through the art of layering. Leather, lace, stripes, and metal are some combinations of typically hard and soft items that when put together create grunge and glam looks.

Next, make one color, the entire focus of your outfit, and the rest supplemental. Wearing red is a winter trend that actually could help you stand out if you’re single this Holiday season. This trend’s entire purpose is to be big, bold, and show stopping.

One more conceptual and less specific tip is to remember to balance proportions. Make sure that if you have large accessories such as a dramatic statement bag, pair it with sleeker more streamline pieces like a pair of cigarette pants. Prints are a huge trend this winter for men. The key to maintaining a masculine edge in your clothing is balancing out your use of print with supplemental neutrals.

Winter can be frigid, cold, and boring or it can bright, stylish, and daring, but that all depends on how you wear your fashions. There are techniques to balancing comfort and trend-worthiness and hopefully these helped. Remember to choose one comfort focus and to infuse your outfit with a popular winter trend. Finally, instead of you working for winter make winter fashion work for you.

Thrifting 101

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The notion of thrifting for clothing is one that has been around for over a century. Thrifting first started as a merchant trade industry where travelers would sell their old clothes from the summer to purchase clothes for the impending winter season. Just like any tradition or popular societal custom, thrifting follows a cycle of social popularity to the extreme of diminishment from our point of view. But now that we are in the era of Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis, thrifting has made its way back onto the forefront of all our minds as the “it” thing to do.

“I’ve always been a thrifter. I’m glad people are getting into it, but most don’t understand how to properly do it,” said local fashion fiend Tiffany Woods.

A few of the dilemmas novices find with thrifting are: How to determine an item’s worth? What items should be purchased? What items should I pass on purchasing? Well fashion fiends never fear, the ‘Just In Style’ guide to all things thrifting is here!

Rappers, models, and even your mom are all thrifting but how do they find all these great items but you always come up with nothing? The simplest answer to that question is research. To properly thrift you have to know the market your desired stores are targeting.

Find thrift stores that are clothing-based, not all-purpose. This will cut your list of stores to visit in half for sure. Next, by researching the shops you can find out what kind of items they normally keep in stock and target for purchase. This can be found out with a simple phone call and just ask. If you can also find out if they also receive any wholesale merchandise or are purely resale. Wholesale thrift stores are the treasure trove for thrifters, because you’re getting barely damaged merchandise for a fifth of the price or cheaper.

Now that you’ve got your list of stores to visit compiled and have eliminated a few unnecessary stops, you’ve got to learn how to evaluate the merchandise. Resale clothing is one of the easiest items to decide whether to purchase or not. Simply ask yourself, “Do I like this? Does this look like a quality item despite its current price? What would this normally retail for? What will this add to my wardrobe?”

If the answers to those questions are positive, the item is quality, and it is a unique piece that would normally be expensive, you should get it. Make sure to take note of the type of fabric and look for any visible or glaring damages that are beyond simple repairs. A disclaimer I must make is to never expect perfection from any item purchased, some items are barely used but it is still resale clothing. My mantra for slightly damaged merchandise is if it can’t be easily fixed, washed, or hand sewn its not worth the work.

“I have found vintage luggage, purses, and jewelry in thrift stores. So there is something to be said for their accessories,” said Nordstrom Houston retail manager Brianna Turner. The strategy to purchasing accessories of any form requires a more skilled eye but with time spotting a great buy is a piece of cake. Simply evaluate the quality of material, think about what it would cost brand new in todays market, and estimate how many uses you could get out of it. Always purchase if quality has held up, its price is fair, and you feel you would get several uses.

Thrifting is something that takes skill, practice, and patience. Every time you go looking for items you will not always find something, but if you’re persistent you’ll find some amazing things. So get online, do some research on your local stores, and get to hunting, fashion fiends.

Keeping Fayetteville Fashion Funky and Fresh

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Kavu, Chacos, Fayettechill and many more brands are items that we see daily on the UofA campus. We know Fayetteville is most definitely funky, but is it fashionably fresh?

As a college senior, I’ve seen the “Keep Fayetteville Funky” campaign in numerous forms for as long as I’ve been here and have always wondered, “Why?” This lifestyle of funky hipster clothing has fascinated me for years, and now I think I’ve finally found a way for fashion fiends like yourselves to get a piece of it, too.

Paraphrasing the words of the infamous “The Devil Wears Prada” character Miranda Priestley, everything we wear comes from somewhere higher for fashion inspired and centered, so even when we think we’re making a statement separating us from the fashion world, our daily clothing choices actually include us.

Fashion is about going on adventures and being beyond just yourself, so why not go strutting down the runway in a pair of Chacos and a North Face? Go for it. The hipster or funky clothing lifestyle is all about embracing the true sense of comfort that clothing can create for you while also providing just a hint of rustic utility.

Incorporating this ease and comfort is attainable for anyone and doesn’t require full, aimless dedication. Purchase one item, such as a pair of khaki rope or “Jesus” sandals and let those speak to you. With trends such as grungy urban and sleek bohemian wear, it will be no problem incorporating this into an outfit that you already have. For our sleek bohemian girl who loves to thrift, you could pair your sandals with an old-school oxford, burnout tank, and deconstructed “Hannah Shorts.” This look is not only comfortable for your feet if you’re going to be on campus all day but is fashionable, just in case you bump into that guy that you’ve had your eye on in chemistry class at Starbucks.

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Before we get into some suggestions for guys, lets list a few dos and don’ts when it comes to funky fashion wear.

Do mix things up and play with patterns, textures, and color when possible, just remember moderation and editing is key. Don’t wear socks with your sandals. If you need socks for them to be comfortable, then you shouldn’t wear them. If you don’t like the way your feet look, I have the name of an amazing and affordable nail technician.

Unlike girls, whose main obstacle with grasping funky fashion is incorporating the funky into their fresh style, for guys it is the complete opposite. Men will always opt for complete comfort whenever you give them the chance, even myself! So for male readers, editing your choices of comfort wear versus streamlined fashion will be the goal at hand for you.

Guys try this outfit on for size: a crewneck sweater Fayettechill or any other outdoor clothing brand, lightly destroyed Bermuda denim shorts, and boat shoes. The crewneck provides comfort and ease, the shorts update the outfit and bring it on trend, and the boat shoes help add a sense of masculine maturity to it. Simple, yet funky and fresh.

Overall, the hipster or funky lifestyle is one that can be amazing to explore and incorporate into your closet if you do it right. Fashionistas, look at it as an escape from the daily pressures of being perfectly put together and on trend.

Hipsters, look at incorporating fashion as a way to add just a little bit of freshness to your already seasoned looks. So from now on just don’t keep Fayetteville funky, but keep it fresh as well.

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The Bargain Shoppers Bible

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The art of bargain shopping is an art envied by many, but mastered by few. This skill is one that requires logical thinking, prior planning and most importantly budgeting. With tons of retail stores having continuous sales and constant price markdowns. There are three main commandments you must take into consideration when bargain shopping: quality, utility and longevity.

The first and most important step in the bargain shopping process is identifying the quality of the clothing. When looking at an item, examine the inside tag and identify what kind of material the garment is made of. Your goal is to try and get an item that is 100 percent of one material, such as cotton. Try to avoid polyblends if possible. Usually this is an indicator of a synthetic material and that is never what you want in a clothing item. Synthetic items usually have poor wear quality, such as fading, considering how many times you wear the garment. This is a great indicator of price versus value when purchasing an item. If you feel that the quality of material and the number of wears it would provide are minimal then you definitely want to avoid spending a lot of money for that piece.

Commandment number two dictates the recognition of the usability of the items that you want to purchase are for your current wardrobe. When you define usability you can’t just think of now, you have to think of long term use as well.

The final commandment consists of evaluating an items trend worthiness and longevity. When the price of an item is large and you’re trying to determine its worth, you should evaluate the novelty of the piece and the usefulness that it will provide. Also, if possible, you should consider when and where you would wear this item. Furthermore, ask yourself will you be able to wear this item next year. Sometimes the most popular of item may look amazing but might not even be in style next year. Items with extreme enhancements and design are direct indicators of what some refer to as “one time wear” garments. You should never overspend on these items because they will never return a profit. The best bet when looking to purchase garments that are on trend and currently popular is to search for what I call the “Forever 21 Quick Pick.” These quick picks are items that will be in every store in tons of variations with ranges of quality from high to low, as well as in a range of prices depending on what exactly you want out of the item.

Bargain shopping can be complicated only if you make it that way. An important factor that resonates throughout all the commandments is a thorough knowledge of your current wardrobe and moreover an understanding of your personal style and what direction you would like to go in the future with it. Also, bargain shopping is one of the best ways to try new styles and reinvent yourself. A helpful hint would be to establish relationships with the retail help in your favorite stores so that you can get the inside scoop on when the largest sales are and maybe even possibly receive an additional discount. Relationships are important in any field of life even when shopping.

How to Pack Smart and Stylishly

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For many students, packing is an issue we face on a regular basis. As a travel maven, I will venture to provide you with an efficient set of tips to simplify this unavoidable obstacle.

“Packing for a trip out of town is the most daunting task,” said Brianna Turner, senior psychology major.

Whether you are planning a visit to another city, attending a festival or just going home for the weekend, packing and choosing clothes to wear doesn’t have to feel like a job.

Packing for a trip is all about perception, and we all know the age-old saying “Perception is reality.”

One of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing for a trip is not having an itinerary or even an idea of what may take place on their journey. The most important step in packing is preparation. To the best of your ability, get a clear idea of what you’re going to be doing so that you make sensible clothing choices that will fit your environment.

For women, this is a huge issue, so the easiest way to solve this problem is to bring a majority of semi-casual outfits. The best bet for men is to dress up more than you usually do.

Weather is also a large contributing factor in the packing process and should be regarded as such. The best way to prepare is to look at the full forecast in your expected destination from several sources to create an accurate account of what the possible weather outcomes could be.

If you’re still unsure after checking the weather, then bring one or two outfits that will work in different weather conditions. A nice, dark denim jean is always the best choice if there is a chance of rain.

The best way to decide how many outfits to pack for a journey is to count the number of days, add one night or mingling outfit, and lastly one extra for just-in-case situations. For a three-day weekend, five outfits will suffice if you’re prepared properly. Also, no more than three pairs of shoes should be brought, preferably two if you can do so.

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The most versatile way to prepare for a trip is to bring one item from several separate categories of dress. Ladies, a dress, skirt, blouse, T-shirt, jacket and pair of jeans are all you need to be fully prepared for a trip.

To be more specific, for the weekend of fall break, a fitted skirt, nighttime dress, sheer blouse, tank or camisole, v-neck T-shirt, light jacket, dark denim jean, and a-line or daytime dress are a great set of choices.

In the area of shoes, a black and brown pair of heels and one pair of flats can create a light load when packing. If you’re expecting cooler weather, swap out either pair of shoes for a nice pair of boots.

Accessories can also weigh down a bag if not picked out properly. Bring two necklaces, one bracelet and one accent ring that are versatile and interchangeable with your chosen outfits and can fit whatever mood your occasion calls for.

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Guys have it so much easier in the packing department, although sometimes the real issue they have is not packing enough for the occasion. Being too casual for your trip home can be a flaw when preparing for a trip as well.

For men, although the variety in pieces that you bring is not so broad, you should still bring the same number of outfits. A blazer or jacket, two button-downs, a polo shirt, two pairs of jeans, one casual pant and a v-neck T-shirt are a great versatile combination of pieces to bring on your trip.

The only rule men need to remember with shoes is to make sure they can match whatever you wear. Boat shoes, sneakers and boots are the best bets in packing for any occasion. Accessory-wise, all you need are a watch and hat that will go with a majority of what you’re bringing.

Although these suggestions may seem very restrictive and make you feel limited, they really aren’t. In normal instances, fashion gives us no barriers. Instead of looking at packing as torture, consider it a challenge.

Self-expression can be done on a big scale or a small one; just remember that if you truly know your style, it will be seen in anything you wear.

Cracking The Code to Costumes

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Cracking the code to Halloween costumes is very simple; all it takes is an adequate balance of reality and fantasy. Halloween, in its traditional form, is a time when people dress in extreme costumes and allow their alter egos to walk the streets. Even though self-expression and exhibitionism is encouraged during this holiday, every good thing can go bad if pushed too far. These simple tips will push you to venture to find new and innovative ways to make your Halloween attire all that more special.

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The usual concept of Halloween costumes in the girl world is simple: Take any occupation, animal or insect, and make it as sexy and seductive as possible. Cady from the movie “Mean Girls” said it best when she said, “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In girl world, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” For many college girls, this is their view as well. Normal Halloween costume choices are sexy bumblebees, cops, nurses and cheetahs. All of these outfits expose excess amounts of skin, incorporating fish nets and extremely high heels.

This Halloween, focus on making your costume something different instead of just your sexy alter ego. Some creative costume ideas are Beyonce’s baby bump, one of Rihanna’s many crazy outfits or even Bella from the Twilight series. The concept of dressing up for Halloween was not created so that sex appeal could be displayed without abandon. Sex appeal comes from within and will shine through regardless.

Reinvention of the normal sexy outfit is not as hard as it seems. The easiest recipe is to think more in terms of fashion than of sex. In the example of a bumblebee costume, most would purchase just a leotard and tights. Instead, I suggest finding a tulle skirt with tons of layers, not wearing the tights and adding a spicy red heel. The tulle will add drama and flair to the outfit, your legs will be shown off without the tights and the heels will add a rebellious spunk to it all.

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In the other extreme, most of the time “the gorier, the better” is the token choice for guys in the costume department. Although being scary is fun, after a certain age costumes need a level of maturity added to them. For the most part, being directly scary is simple because of its comfort and accessibility. This year, venture from your comfort zone and try something new and fresh. Some costume ideas to consider are a vampire Justin Beiber, Bob Marley back from the dead or Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.”

Refined, more mature costumes for guys are definitely the direction to go. These costumes can even make you stand out from those at parties who are still living in the past with their costume choices. Also, it may just be the catalyst for a meeting between you and someone special that night.

For those guys who still want to be a kid for a night, I suggest you go completely retro. Costumes like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a Street Fighter character or even an original Power Ranger are some great picks from the vault of old costumes past. To reinvent these and pop some life into them, take the basic themes about them and replace them with fashionable pieces. Consider dressing like Ryu from the Street Fighter video game series; instead of the normal martial arts uniform, wear a white denim vest, white jeans or ecru khaki pants, and a black statement belt. This is a great, mature way of thinking outside of the box, and also it can be very cost-efficient when working on a college budget.

Halloween is a time to be innovative, unique and unconventional. Being different only takes a little bit of thought and preparation and will make anyone the star of a party. So browse Pinterest for inspiration, Google some pictures, go in the back of your closets and make fashion work for you this Halloween.

Coming to College Couture

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Transitioning from the everyday high school clothing wearer to a college fashion fiend can be a struggle, but with research, dedication, and sense of self, defining your college style can be achieved.

 This issue of ‘Just In Style’ is all about preparing to attend college. I will cover everything from the packing, decorating, and shopping stages of transitioning so you master your “Coming to College Couture.”

 Although High school fashion is all about fitting the trends and conforming to what society and the popular people feel you should wear, college fashion is completely different. College is the time where you can explore different types of style, experiment with your look, and ultimately discover who you truly are.

 Creative expression is one of the most therapeutic forms of personal growth so I encourage you to use your choice of fashion in college as a way to do so.

 Over-packing for college is probably one of the biggest yet most common mistakes a freshman student can make. The frame you must take on is that you don’t have to pack for a full 16 weeks of school but instead pack for the current season that you’re walking into. The safest way to pack is to bring a majority of universal items that can be mixed and matched with anything.

 Focus your attention on bringing a majority of tops and signature items and less of your attention on how many jeans you wear.

 Also, remember that you can make trips back home so you don’t have to bring everything with you at once. Trunks are an essential packing tool because they provide both width and depth so that you can maximize the number of clothing pieces you can bring. Also, when packing and deciding what shoes to bring make sure that you pack the basics first and then you can add more.

 Research will be your ultimate resource when preparing for the college culture and environment you are joining when entering a college setting. If you’re planning on rushing a fraternity or sorority using those contacts to find out what clothing trends and pieces you should bring will always be helpful.

 Orientation will be a great time to get a scope on what the entire city has to offer fashion-wise and to get feel for what the weather will be like. In addition, visiting the local boutiques and fashion districts in the area are the best and worst places to shop when visiting and also get an idea of what to pack. They are the best because you’ll get direct examples of what the trends residing in your city, but the worst because since it’s local everyone will shop there so you take a chance at purchasing an item that everyone else already has.

 Now that we’ve set the groundwork for research and packing we can get to the really fun part, going through the ‘must-have’ items you should bring as a freshman to college. So, let’s start off with the top items that women should purchase for college.

 Crop-tops and sheer sleeveless blouses are must-have items for the everyday college attire. The great thing about these tops is that you can buy tons of these in numerous colors and styles and because their thin and sheer they will pack easily and not take up much space.

 Leather and embellished shorts are also popular items that women should definitely add to their wardrobe. In the land of accessories turbans are also an item that can be bought in numerous styles and are a great go-to item when you are having a bad hair day.

 Tank-tops and t-shirts with embellishments on the pocket or sleeves such as leather, tribal, or animal prints are items that will be popular to bring with you to college. Printed and design-based blazers are new items that can be mixed and matched with a number of bottoms and worn from day to night.

 Leather pants, light stone-washed distressed jeans and ripped shorts are all bottoms that you should bring into your closet for the upcoming college season. Other than boat shoes, which most guys own by now, signature sneakers with numerous creative detail are items that will add a spark to any outfit.

 Preparing for college is no easy task, so making a list of everything you want to bring or items that you feel are “definites” will be helpful. Also, do a dry run of packing everything that you think should bring and once you’re done come back to it and then edit the amount of what you brought down to a more manageable size. College is a time to find you style-wise and personally, so take risks, live life, and explore the world.

Head to Toe Fashion Statements

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The concept of finding balance within an outfit is all about making a statement. Whenever getting dressed for an event it, is so important to feel like when you walk in the room you will steal the show. The best way to achieve that feeling is by having the confidence that what you’ve chosen to wear is a direct representation of who you are and what you are about as an individual. Today is all about learning how to make a head-to-toe look versus just trying to pick one point or area of focus when coordinating an outfit.

As children, when we are introduced to the art of putting clothes together our parents usually ask us, “What do you want to wear?” But making the decision to feature a sparkly shirt as a child is very different than choosing a full outfit to wear as an adult. The transition between adolescence and adulthood can be a difficult one and finding your fashion identity is usually not at the top of any young teen’s list of priorities.

Statement pieces can be defined a number of ways. A general definition would be that statement pieces are an area of focus that the wearer would like to have featured in their outfit. My personal definition is that statement pieces are items that, when put on, shine and bring an outfit full circle or together. No matter your choice of definition, either way a statement piece is something unique, special, and perhaps even one-of-a-kind.

Statement pieces are items that you don’t mind paying a little bit more money for because you are confident that this item is going to enhance your wardrobe, add joy to your life, and be something that makes you stand out from all others around you when you wear it. By the time you’re an adult, you’ve mastered to a certain extent the process of identifying what statement pieces are and what items look great on you, but now there is a new skill to hone.

This new skill would be mastering the technique of piecing together a cohesive head-to-toe outfit that is making one unified statement. The art of making a head-to-toe statement takes more effort and understanding than just looking for one thing that looks great and relying on it to do all the work for your outfit. A head to toe statement shines in any light and every individual piece looks fabulous and amazing. Whether you start at the top with the blouse, or from the bottom with the shoes your statement will still speak volumes. The great part about having a head to toe statement look is that no matter what angle you’re seen from you will still look like a million books and more.

The first step in putting together a head-to-toe look is having a keen understanding of balance and how to have a good deal of restraint when it comes to choosing what to wear. A lot of times as young fashion fiends, we go shopping for a specific outfit to wear for an event instead of purchasing individual pieces to just have in our clothing arsenal for future reference.

This type of shopping breeds bad clothing cohesion habits. You will never learn how to put together individual items of separate textures, shapes, and palettes until you purchase each individually. A good suggestion to take note of is to not have too much of one style or themed item on. If you have on a top with spikes or jeweled embellishments, do not pick shoes or accessories with those same exact spikes or embellishments.

Pairing items together in that fashion screams immaturity and a lack of individual and personal style. I suggest a more creative approach of pairing abstract and more complex items together to show a full range of creative expression. Just because one of your pieces may not have a lot of fancy doo-dads doesn’t mean that it does not speak volumes when worn. A good way to practice this balance is to not wear all new items but instead mix and match new and old pieces.

This type of pairing forces you to rely on your true in-depth knowledge of your closet. One final thing to take note of is to step away from an outfit once put together and come back to it. Editing will be one of the best skills you can attain because sometimes our first feeling about an outfit may not be our final feeling.

Putting together head-to-toe statement looks requires thought, precision and reflection. But the more you do it the better you get at it, so get out there and start making statements today.

 

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Refresh Your Closet for the Spring Season

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With winter days and warm sunny days in our future, spring has finally sprung and it is time to do some much needed spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning is all about making those hard decisions everybody already knows the answers to, but nobody wants to say. Procrastination is any spring-cleaners worst enemy and the sooner you start the sooner you’ll be done. There are only a few words you need to say when deciding what stays and goes. Here it is: “I don’t need this!” It’s as simple as that.

The first and most important step in spring cleaning is organization. I’m a firm believer in the mantra, “How you start is how you’ll finish,” so spring cleaning should be no exception from the rule. A good structural foundation of organization within your closets, dressers, etc. should be the ultimate end goal you want to achieve by spring cleaning.

When I spring clean my ultimate goal usually is a combination of several desired end results. My top goal is always first and foremost to have more space. With more closet space you find clothes quicker and easier and if you’re a proclaimed shop-a-holic like me, space makes room for more clothes. I also have a goal to donate at least two large garbage bags of clothes to the Goodwill Donation Center. Although two is a small number, with goals like these you definitely have quite a bit of work ahead of you.

The most efficient way to start organizing your closet is to go through your closet from the most recent season that ended and start clearing things out from there. So let’s start with winter, the season that seemed like it would never end.

Go through your closet and sort through all the items that you did not wear this year.

Next, evaluate why you didn’t wear those items. The most apparent reason why a lot of people don’t wear items from year to year is because of trend-worthiness. Sometimes an item that was popular last year will not be popular this year. Before throwing the item out I challenge you to try and find some use for it, or even put a modern twist on it to infuse some utility and life back into the garment.

Another top reason why items are discarded is sizing. Fit is a major reason why clothing items aren’t worn from year to year. Whether it is that the item has been stretched from its original shape or that it is no longer flattering to your body. An additional reason why some might opt to keep a piece of clothing may be weight goals. The only note to take heed of will be that you should give yourself a realistic and attainable timeframe to be able to reach the weight necessary to have the clothing item fit better.

Diving deeper into the topic of evaluating your clothes, blunt honesty is absolutely necessary to successfully make the transition from one year to the next. Spring cleaning is just like dieting, moving, or doing any task that requires will of self and the determination to get rid of excess baggage. One thing I always try to tell myself is that letting go of a piece of clothing makes room for one more new item that can change your wardrobe.

If the items you’re going through were weather appropriate and they fit, you must ask yourself the question of why you didn’t wear it. Following that, you must also evaluate why you still want to keep it. Sentimental value is not a label that can be put on every item you don’t want to throw away or else its meaning is null in void.

To help alleviate this transition from old items to new, or in other words moving from one year to the next, I suggest you get some practice using the skill of organizing the items you plan on donating or giving away to family, friends, or donation centers.

Spring cleaning is an art of give and take, and is a constant tug-of-war battle between who you were, who you are, and who you want to be. This purging process is tedious and taxing. The last tip I will give you is to take your time sorting and break your closet into small more manageable chunks. If you stay dedicated to spring cleaning before you know it summer will be here and you’ll have room in your closet for a brand new style definition of you.

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Lay It On Thick When Layering This Winter

While Arkansas’ ever-changing weather has our wardrobe disheveled and our ability to make weather-appropriate clothing choices damaged, winter is still among us. With cold and windy temperatures in the near future, the default choice is often to grab that oversized jacket and run out of the house. My challenge for you this season is to learn the art of layering. This winter, I encourage you to not just layer, but lay it onhick.

Layering seems like one of the easiest things for ladies to do, but actually, because of the vast options that the retail market provides, it removes the boundaries that every fashionista needs. The most popular mistake made when layering during the winter is combining clashing patterns. Most don’t see the error within their outfit until they have left the house, and at that point it’s usually too late to go home and change.

Editing is the most important tool you must use when layering clothing. The best way to properly edit an outfit is to take a picture of it from the neck down and evaluate how you truly feel about the pieces together, instead of looking at yourself in the mirror wearing the outfit. This is the most effective way to remove personal bias or denial of the incompatibility of the pieces from your decision. Another way to edit an outfit is to lay the clothes down on a color-neutral background, such as black or white, and use the same evaluation technique as per the photo evaluation.

Texture is another key component in your arsenal when taking on the task of layering clothing. I personally am a texture enthusiast and believe that if it doesn’t feel good when you touch it, it usually won’t translate well when you put it on. Keeping that in mind, I suggest combining different textures. When you combine different textures, you get the same result as if you were cooking a gumbo or stew. With gumbo, the different ingredients are what make the dish great, and the same result comes about when combining textures in an outfit.

Understanding dimension is the next piece to the puzzle that is layering. The proper execution of dimension is the art of using things that taper close to the body and things that flow and breathe as well. The last thing you want to do is look like you’re trapped in your clothing.

A great outfit that uses good execution of dimension and texture is a chiffon pilgrim blouse, corduroy pants, a wool pashmina and knee-high leather riding boots. This outfit contains tons of different textures: chiffon, which is sheer and airy; corduroy, which is fitted and ribbed; wool, which is thick and warm; and leather, which is edgy and weather-resistant. The dimensions in this outfit are plentiful, too: The straight-leg pants pull you in; the blouse is light and breathable; the boots create a separation between your legs and feet, which either can make the wearer look taller or shorter; and the pashmina adds width, which is scary to some women, but actually, because of the combination of the scarf with the skinny pant, it actually creates an illusion that the wearer is smaller.

Since the options for men are less, the art of layering is a lot more simple. Texture is not as important for men’s fashion, although it is a component nonetheless. The dimension and shape to aim toward whenever layering clothing is the martini glass: broad shoulders giving an illusion of a muscular composition, and a small waist.

An ideal men’s layered outfit would be a tweed or herringbone blazer with defined shoulders, a cashmere shawl-neck sweater, khaki chino trousers and distressed leather combat boots. The textures in this outfit are abundant: The tweed has lots of ridges and feel, the sweater is soft and light, the pants are comfortable and breathable, and the leather is rough and controlled. The dimensions are very simple: The blazer provides width; the sweater provides length and height; the pants, although relaxed, add to the height; and the boots create a sense of edge.

Layering is a limitless journey with endless choices and a plethora of combinations for the wearer. All you have to do is remember the key tools to executing it properly: editing, texture and dimension. If you keep those in mind, nothing can stop you from looking great, not even the weather. Now, get to layering, and lay it on thick!

 

mens layer pic