We all have clothes sitting in our closets that we more than likely will never wear again. With trends always evolving, that polka dot dress you used to love and is now a closet orphan can be turned into someone else’s new favorite! While we seldom need an excuse to invite the besties over there’s never a better one than a Shop, Swap Party.
Send out the word and get everyone cracking cleaning out their closets and finding long lost style treasures to bring along.
Here’s my tips on how to organize and run a clothing swap party.
The first thing to start the process of your clothing swap party are invitations. Sending out invites at least two weeks prior to the date will give enough overhead time to prepare, a month before is also appropriate. It’ll give everyone time to clean out their closets and go through their goods. Limit the numbers to 5 to 10 people will help in not creating an overwhelming number of items plus it’ll keep everything organized. Creating a theme is also a fun alternative to just calling it a clothing swap party. Sip and Swap, Ladies Shop Swap Night, Swap and Sangria, there’s tons of unique names you can come up with!
Set-up and organization is key to show off a cool shopping environment. If you have garment racks and coat racks that’ll be a huge plus. They’ll enable you to be able to hang and group items together. Have a table display to neatly lay out jewelry and accessories. This will give your guests easy access and room to place the items they bring. Eliminating clutter is always the best way to throw a successful clothing swap party.
Create a fitting room area also helps and is great for our more inverted girlfriends. This stays with being organized and gives your party a fun shopping environment. Try to organize at least two full length mirrors to help when more than one person is trying on clothes.
You could even go the extra mile and set up a photo backdrop. This is easy, fun, and is always a hit with guests. There are many ways to create a back drop that fits the theme of your invitation. Think colors, balloons if needed, streamers, and anything else that comes to mind for your designated photo area.
When it comes to what food and beverages to serve, consider the clothes and accessories first, because you never want anything ruined from spills. Finger foods work best as well as non-greasy items. Be careful about liquids and types of alcohol, red wine is never a fun stain to remove. Keep your food area and clothes well away from each other. You can also make your party pot luck style which will make it easy on you with others bringing appetizers and drinks.
Limit the number of items someone can bring. A minimum and maximum number of items helps maintain the chaos of stuff being all over the place. This also goes along with the shopping process to ensure everyone gets the right number of picks that are quality finds.
All items should be in good to great condition. Be sure to not that the items your guest are bringing are still of good quality. Nothing should be faded, tattered, or basically unwearable. Vintage is always great but to a certain extent.
Take turns shopping. To avoid craziness, draw names and distinguish an order of shoppers. Having someone pick one item at a time, this will help keep things moving in a timely manner. Have this flow going for a couple of rounds then move on to fittings. Fittings will determine if you’ll keep what you’ve picked, if the item doesn’t work then simply have it put back for others to shop.
Everything not swapped needs to be either taken home or you can opt to have a donation box handy which you can volunteer to take to the Op Shop.
Once shopping and swapping is complete, gather up the items not claimed and donate them to local charity. Not only have you thrown a successful clothing swap party, but you also are doing it for a good cause!
There’s a good reason why online shopping is growing at an incredible rate and has become a huge threat to brick and mortar stores. Over the years, countless women have turned to online stores to up their style game and add more variety and uniqueness to their wardrobe. I’m just one of the women who buys a lot of my clothes online and that’s why we have launched the My Private Stylist shopping mall and added some very special and unique magic to it…more about that a bit later.
I know that many of you will be rolling your eyes and saying things like:
I don’t know my size in other brands
What if I don’t like it
How do I find things that will suit me?
I get it…I had all the same fears until I tested the waters. Sure, there were things that didn’t work out but over the time I’ve learned a lot and now have great success. So, I’m here are my fear busting, tried and true solutions to shopping online and loving it.
11 Reasons Why Shopping Online Is Plain Smart
You can find your size: This is especially true when it comes to fringe and plus sizes. Large sizes are often the first to get sold out in the stores. Actual stores in the mall or local shopping areas only have a finite amount of space, they don’t have the luxury of having a large warehouse to store product like online stores do and often they have to order in set size amounts and that means they often only get one or two items in larger sizes. Online you are much more likely to find the item in your size.
It’s easier to see everything that’s available: No need to wade through every rack. With the click of a button or an easy scroll over the page, you can see the selection they have quickly. Most online stores are also divided into sections, so you can easily locate the item or style you’re looking for. Most online stores also have a search bar where you can key in specific things your after or product code numbers.
How to Shop Online, Style Genie, My Private Stylist, Style Genie, Ann Reinten, Image
Gain styling insights for the season/collection:Retail websites often show coordinating pieces when taking product photos. Often online retail stores will also release look-books with each season or each collection that showcases all the pieces styled in different ways, this is a great way to gain styling inspiration for pieces that you’ve been eyeing.
Be the first to know when new stock arrives: Once you fall in love with a brand sign up for their newsletter that way you’ll get new collection alerts sent straight to your inbox.
Gain discounts and special offers: If you sign up to a brand’s social media pages or newsletters, you typically get a first-customer discount. You will also be the first to know when things go on sale, and you may even get exclusive access to special deals. I love the fact that when you add an item into a Wishlist many companies will email you when the item goes on sale.
No need to get in line: Have you ever waited for ages at a register or not be able to find someone to serve you? Exactly. Need I say more?
You can forget traffic and car parks:Shop in the comfort of your home, on the way to work or snuggled up in bed. You simply can’t beat the convenience of shopping within the comfort of your home. No lines, no traffic, and no stress.
You can find the brands that suit your shape and personality:The internet has boundless possibilities for any specific style or size. Whether you’re a retro fashion lover or a plus size fashionista, there are many online fashion retailers that cater to your needs. All it just takes is a little bit of searching. Google is your best bet, of course. But you should do your research with bloggers too. Seek out bloggers with the same style and shape as you and track down their go-to online shops.
Get to the trends first:Trends tend to show up first in online shops before it appears in your local stores. Be the trendsetter and nab those trends online ASAP.
Dress differently: Shopping online allows you to dress uniquely, since you avoid wearing what everyone else is wearing from local brands. Sourcing wardrobe pieces from online also allows you to wear brands from all around the world.
Shop when you want to:Shopping hours are unlimited. You are no longer restricted to shop hours and can shop whenever the mood or the need strikes. Convenient shipping options also allow for some rush shopping on occasion.
How to Buy the Right Size
The most common reservation women have shopping online is getting the right size. It’s not that difficult – trust me!
Know your measurements: Ask one of your friends to take your measurements and store the information in the notes area of your smart phone for handy access. Then always check them against the measurement/size specs of the garment you’re interested in.
Know the measurements of garments you own and like best: This is a great guardrail measurement to have when it comes to online shopping, especially when it comes to length. Measuring the length that works best for you is best so that you can compare them with your possible online purchases.
Read the size information: Sizes vary from store to store so it is vital that you read the size information every time you shop online. Shopping on websites from other countries also entail some measurement conversions at times, so be mindful of that as well. I tend to buy mostly from Australia, the USA or the UK and have learned the following size conversions works.
If you are Australian: buy the same size garments from UK items and one size down from US stores
If you’re in the US: buy one size up from Australian and UK stores
If you’re in the UK: buy the same size from Australian stores and one size down from US stores.
Look at the model: If the item is on a model look for information on the size she is wearing and her height: This detail is important so that you can gauge whether that garment will work for you, comparative to your height and build.
When in doubt, buy 2 sizes and return the one that doesn’t work: Sometimes by the time you buy an item, receive it and need to return it for another size, it’s already out of stock. Buying two sizes guarantees that you have the item you want in the correct size for your shape and style.
How to Make Sure You Like (and Wear) What You Buy
Even if the size is right, there’s still that slight possibility that you may not like it when you receive it and look at it in person. Here are my tips to mitigate that eventuality:
Know which fabrics you like best: There are certain types of fabrics that you feel comfortable wearing, it’s good to know what these are so you can avoid buying something that you don’t even want to wear.
Know what suits you by getting a personal style program with My Private Stylist: To discover the styles that suit you best it is good to enlist a professional opinion. Much like shopping with your best friend, My Private Stylist will be the online shopping buddy you need to make sure that you’re maximizing your online shopping experience and getting the best finds that fit your personal style and your body type.
Watch the video: If there is a catwalk video available, watch it to get a feel for how the garments move: The flow and the drape of certain styles can’t be reflected in a photo sometimes. This is why a number of online shops have a video look book or catwalk/runway video accompanying their collection releases, so that you can see firsthand how a garment moves and flows on a body.
Shop Smart: Just like shopping at a regular store, it’s smart to think about what you already own to make sure the garment you are buying goes with at least 2 or 3 things you already own. This will help you avoid impulse buys that may end up as closet orphans.
Employ a Genie: My Private Stylist now has not only a shopping mall but an amazing garment assessment tool we call Style Genie. All you need do is select the item you like, click ‘Assess with Style Genie’ and answer the questions. So simple right? In a few clicks she’ll tell you if the item suits you, how to style it (yes, specifically for you), and if it’s not recommended you’ll learn why by looking at the Garment Insights. I’m chuffed about what we’ve created and it’s a first in the fashion world. It’s literally like having a professional stylist and personal shopper right beside while you shop online.
With all these benefits and the Style Genie right by your side, online shopping definitely trumps offline shopping any day, any time.
Here’s a short video I’ve made explaining how the Genie works.
If you enjoyed this week’s feature please like it on Facebook or Instagram or leave a comment/question below. Thank you. Ann Reinten AICI CIP
In the sea of fast fashion and ever-changing trends, it may seem that spotting quality garments is a daunting task, but if you know what to look for and you keep a keen eye out, you’ll soon spot them.
Check the Label
Before heading to the checkout, check the labels on the inside of your garments. While it’s easy to assume that all natural fibers such as 100% wool, cotton, silk, and cashmere are always the way to go, synthetic fabrics also have their own benefits. Polyester, rayon, or blended fabrics sometimes have the benefit of being wash-and-wear as well as being easy to maintain. However, natural fabrics can always be relied upon most especially when it comes to cold weather clothing. Wool sweaters will stand up better than knitwear made of acrylic fibers.
Checking fabric labels will also help you discern whether the fabric the garment is made of will suit your purpose. Synthetic fibers like Lycra is the best for athletic wear, while natural fibers are best for dressing for the weather. Blended fabrics are very common these days, and for good reason but try and look for at least 80% natural fibers to ensure the best quality possible.
Hold the garment against the light
Unless a piece of clothing is expressly supposed to be sheer, it’s worth holding it up to the light and inspecting it for flaws and transparency. While all the lovely ladies below purposely wore these outfits (go figure), there’s nothing worse than finding yourself exposed when do didn’t mean to. Cheaper fabrics are often thin and contain many minor flaws.
Loose threads and uneven seams are a no-no
A quick close look at a garment can reveal loose threads and uneven seams, which is always a tell-tail sign of low quality. Look inside the garment and gently pull the seams apart and if the seam pulls apart it means the stitch tension was too lose or the stitch length too long. Likewise stitching can be too tight or close which can cause buckling along the seam. Either way the garment’s seams will be weak and likely to tear open after just a few wears.
Also look at the hemline; uneven hems are one of my biggest peeves.
Look for lining and well made button holes
Closely stitched and reinforced button holes are signs of good workmanship and while it may be a trend that some items are unlined, a lined garment improves the look of the garment, slides on more easily and will hide lumps and bumps if the garment is a little on the small side.
Another quality sign is the addition of extra thread and a button and also indicates that the manufacturer, brand, or designer cares about future wear.
Matched Patterns at the Seams
When buying a piece of clothing with a pattern or print, take the time to double check whether the patterns match up when it meets at the seams. This may seem trivial, but it is precisely this sort of detail that separate poor quality from good quality garments.
Zip and Unzip
At times, something as simple as a zip can make or break a garment. When trying on something, pay close attention to the ease that it zips and unzips. A quality garment will also have a quality zipper and closures that make getting in and out of the garment an easy task. Scrutinize the alignment and placement of the zipper as well.
Lastly look at how much seam allowance the garment has. Better quality labels have seam allowances that allow for letting the garment out without compromising the garment. The seams are also better reinforced. Skimpy seam allowance especially when teams with poor over locking is a recipe for a wardrobe malfunction.
There you are. Next time you hit the stores you should be a little wiser.
If you enjoyed this week’s feature please like it on Facebook or Instagram or leave a comment/question below. Thank you. Ann Reinten AICI CIP
With fast fashion seemingly taking over the world, quality in all things taking a back seat and pollution destroying our planet it’s time for each of us to seriously consider what we can each do to stop the decay.
From the melting ice caps, receding glaciers, horrific Asian pollution and the destruction of The Great Barrier Reef to name a few, it’s easy to see the impact of global warning and to blame many industries such as oil and coal but few realize that the clothing industry that is the second biggest polluter.
We may not think of the environmental impact of fashion, but it can and does have a significant effect on the environment especially given the amount of water needed to manufacture garments. It’s time that we, as consumers, become more conscious of how our personal fashion decisions can affect the environment and fashion industry.
Sustainable fashion is a design movement that is quickly gaining ground, its goal is to create a self-supporting system within which the manufacturing of clothing has less impact on the environment and is socially responsible. Starting in the 90′s, pioneered by brands like Patagonia and Esprit, sustainable fashion has become a permanent part of the fashion industry and today many other brands such as H&M are starting to emulate them.
A great deal of creativity and resourcefulness is being put in to create clothing and fashion that are equally trendy and sustainable. Gone are the days when ecofashion gets a bad rap for looking bland and boring, brands like Amour Vert (a Gwyneth Paltrow), Svilu (an award-winning industry insider favorite), Freedom From Animals (chic vegan leather accessories), and even celebrity designers like Stella McCartney.
“I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment. For every piece in every collection, I am always asking what have we done to make this garment more sustainable and what else can we do. It is a constant effort to improve…”
It’s easy and all you need to do is remember 4 R’s.
Reducing your ecological fashion footprint is less about not buying and more about thoughtful consumption. It’s a matter of being more conscious of your purchases. Even when you’re not buying from a sustainable brand, thinking about your purchase will avoid creating more waste. Impulse buys create more waste since it is something that you don’t use again and end up throwing.
Shopping at thrift/vintage stores and consignment shops are also great ways to reduce your negative environmental impact and support ecofashion. You’ll be amazed at the finds you’ll discover at these places. Consignment stores are especially great for finding great brands and trendy pieces at a fraction of the cost. Meanwhile, thrift stores and vintage shops are treasure troves of unique pieces that are sure to give your ensembles more character.
I’m sure when you clean out your closet, you’ll find quite many items you haven’t worn recently or your style has outgrown. Instead of tossing them, think of ways to give them a new life. Repurposing clothes and accessories are a great way to minimize your environmental impact. Instead of throwing out an old tee why not make it into a produce carry bag? All you need is creativity and Pinterest is chock-full of ideas on how to repurpose clothes and accessories. Another noteworthy site to take inspiration from is P.S. I Made This. Erica Domesek, the brainchild and creative behind the site takes everyday items and fashion items and marries them with current trends.
Editing your closet, creating a capsules and really knowing what works with your style are all effective ways to reduce and even avoid needless consumption. Few women take the time to explore all the outfit possibilities waiting to be discovered within their wardrobe while complaining of nothing to wear.
Recycling clothing is one of the best ways to support ecofashion. H&M is a pioneer in this regard with its effort to recycle unwanted textiles. You can drop off any of your unwanted items into any store, and you receive a discount coupon.
You can also organize a fashion swap party with your friends. You know what they say, one woman’s trash is another one’s treasure. Swapping gently or never used items with your friends and family is a great way to spread the word about conscious consumption.
These may seem like small ways to help support our planet and ecofashion. However every small step will add up and eventually make a real difference.
Every single choice you make about fashion reverberates through the industry. Making simple and thoughtful choices about how you consume fashion has more impact than you think.
To paraphrase Stacy Flynn of EVRNU who I recently had the pleasure of meeting, if one person can do so much damage with buying one t-shirt that same person can also make a positive difference toward strengthening the sustainable fashion movement. 700 gallons of water is wasted to make one T-shirt. This statistic seems exaggerated but it is 100% factual, and that is a sad fact of fashion consumption.
We are what we wear.
It’s a sobering fact that fashion is intricately intertwined with our personality and everyday life. Perhaps armed with knowledge about sustainability, we can all move forward and make more responsible decisions that will honor both our love of fashion and our planet.
If you enjoyed this week’s feature please like it on Facebook or Instagram or leave a comment/question below. Thank you. Ann Reinten AICI CIP
Christmas is both a fun, busy, and hectic season for everyone. All the gift shopping, holiday parties, and family reunions are all enough to make your head spin. Thankfully, the great company and quality time with your loved ones more than make up for all the holiday-induced stress. The other light at the end of the tunnel of the busy holidays are all the crazy deals and massive sales that start on Boxing day.
These sales for some an annual can’t miss activity with some even holding all-night vigils to ensure they are first in the door. For others the sales can be overwhelming, intimidating and hard to navigate. No problem – here’s a cheat sheet just for you. Use this as your guide for what to do and what not to do to be successful at scoring those deals and keeping your head cool and sane during the post Christmas sales season.
Save your beauty sleep. Lining up in the dark and the cold, it’s really only worth it if you want to get things like TVs and fridges, where they have limited quantities on sale.
It’s true there are masses of amazing sales on Boxing Day, but savvy shoppers can avoid the crush. Big stores have sale strategies to keep people in store, and they don’t put all the stock out on day one – so you can rely on offers right through January.
Online shopping keeps you sane and has the merit of allowing you to find garments easily, in your size and have them shipped to you.
Shopping online for post Christmas sales can make you privy to special discounts retailers only offer on their websites. These online-only sales can often save you extensive amounts of money on certain products, and some retailers even offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount, which can result in even more savings. In addition, some deals may allow you to obtain a discount on a certain product when you purchase another product, which is perfect if you want to purchase several different items.
Make a Game Plan
Know what elements of style and color suit you best. This will prevent mistakes and disappointment and will definitely save you time during the Christmas sales . The best way to do this is to invest in a personal image consultation which will give you a sound platform of knowledge based on your size, shape and age. If you don’t have the money to spend on a professional My Private Stylist will ensure you purchase the right purchase and PretaStyler will find them for you.
Evaluate your current wardrobe.This will help you in knowing if there are any basic pieces you need, or any basics that are worn and need replacing. Knowing what you have and knowing what your upgrades you can make to your personal style is extremely important when shopping the sales.
Create list and set a budget.Determine what you want and how much you have to spend before you shop. Making a list will help keep you on track and prevent you buying something you’ll later regret.
Find all your loyalty cards. Especially if you’re buying up big, you wont want to miss out on any credits toward future purchases.
On the Day
Wear shopping friendly clothes. Avoid high heels, heavy coats, umbrellas, lots of layers, lots of buttons, zippers and belts and anything difficult to get on and off. Separates are by far and away the most efficient way to dress for quick changes.
Wear attractive, well fitting underwear.We all feel self-conscious in those little rooms sometimes, with bright lights and big mirrors and with salespeople sticking their head in every few minutes without also seeing ourselves in ugly underwear. Also, wearing seamless underwear will make you look better when trying on clothes.
Take a notepad and smart phone. A note pad to write down the items you have placed on hold and what store there were in, you’ll be amazed how quickly you will forget where you left things on hold. This notepad will also come in handy if you’re on a budget and needing to compare prices between items and/or stores. Water to keep hydrated – shopping is hard work!
If you’re hitting offline stores use your smart phone to take photos of yourself in different outfits to better see and evaluate the styles and colors that look good on you.
Maintain your energy level. Drink plenty of water and remember to have lunch.
Keep your cool and polite. If you choose to go shopping at peak bargain times be prepared for long waits; be it for a parking spot, a fitting room or to purchase an item. Others are just as frustrated as you so this is the perfect time to exhibit some style in the way of courtesy and friendliness to other shoppers and retail staff.
Think of others.Especially when it comes to how you leave the fitting room. Pick those clothes up off the floor, place them back on the hangers and take them out with you – no one wants to step into a fitting room filled with clothes from the last occupant.
Check the laundry instructions. A bargain can quickly turn into a dud if you can’t afford to clean a ‘dry clean only‘ item?
Ask yourself, should I spend that much? Consider the value of the item in terms of how much you will wear it. Garments/outfits such as basic pieces and everyday suits deserve more of your wardrobe dollars than high fashion or trendier items and things you will seldom wear.
Can it be dressed up and down?Will it co-ordinate with at least three other garments or outfits already in your wardrobe? Can it go from day to night? Consider the versatility of the item and weight that against its price and quality.
Think ‘outfit’ not ‘garment’. Buy all your accessories and coordinating pieces at the one time if at all possible or put them on hold. Waiting to come back later to purchase them is taking a big risk that they will still be there.
Organize for any alterations to be done immediately. In-store alterations are usually great value and good quality. Fit is the most important thing when it comes to style, so necessary alteration are an investment that will definitely pay off in dividends.
13 Things to Yourself Before Handing Over Your Money.
Does it fill a need in my wardrobe?
Do I really love it and does it make me feel great?
Does it fit my lifestyle?
It is a classic piece (will last you for years)?
It is well made and a good fabric?
Does it go with at least three other items in my wardrobe?
Is the quality consistent with the other things in my wardrobe?
Do I now have to buy other items such as shoes so that I can wear it?
Is good workmanship evident? Look at the seams, buttonholes and hemline.
Can I look after it in the way that the label recommends?
Do I like the style more than it likes me?
Is this a long-life classic item, a medium-term fashionable garment or a short-lived fashion fad?
Ask yourself: ‘do I love it madly or need it badly’ if the answer is no – put it back.’