Tag Archives: fashion blogger

Shoppers Cast Your Vote!

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When you go shopping, you want to feel good about your purchase, right?  You also want a helpful sales person or customer service associate available if you need assistance.

Recently, the results from the National Retail Federation Foundation/American Express Customers’ Choice survey were released.

Here are the top ten:

  1. L.L. Bean
  2. Overstock.com
  3. Zappos.com
  4. Amazon.com
  5. Lands’ End
  6. New Egg.com
  7. JCPenny
  8. QVC
  9. Coldwater Creek
  10. Nordstrom

The survey, which polled 8,167 consumers asked, “Thinking of all the different retail formats (store, catalog, internet, or home shopping), which retailer delivers the best customer service?”

So my dear Fashion Sensei Readers, this is my question to you today.  Who would you choose? (It doesn’t have to be anyone mentioned above.) Who would you vote as having the WORST customer service?  Be sure to leave a comment.

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Filed under Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, personal shopper, Shopping

Fashion Sensei Says…

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Happy Friday!

It’s been some week here in the Sensei household, I was sick,  then my oldest was sick, followed by my youngest who spent the past two nights throwing up…  I need to find the number to call in for a mom’s personal day.  If anyone knows it, let me know! 🙂

 

That’s A’lotta Bananas!

Yesterday I went to Banana Republic to redeem a $50 customerbr627649-01viv01 appreciation card that my husband so graciously gave me.  It’s a long story how he got the card, but the long and short of it is, B.R. couldn’t find a pair of pants that they tailored for him for several weeks, so they gave him the card.

Anyway, I can’t believe how low some things are marked down.  I purchased $339.20 worth of merchandise for only $79.15.  When you take off the $50 discount card, my total bill was $30.17!

My best deals were a pair of jeans for $14, reg. $89 and a black sweater from the fall collection for $9.74, reg $79. I almost felt a little guilty…but then I came to my senses! 🙂

Banana Republic is having an extra 25% off today online if you want to get in on the sale, but there was a much better selection at my local store.

Fashion Royalty

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So let’s talk about Michelle Obama.  Beautiful at the inaugural address in Isabel Toledo, stunning in Jason Wu at the inaugural balls- but what I want to talk about is the amazing dress she wore to the National Prayer Service on Wed.  I did some hunting and it turns out that the 50’s style dress with an Asian inspired print, was designed by ex-surfer Tracy Feith.  The first lady  bought the dress at the ultra chic boutique Ikram, in Chicago.  No doubt that if there are any of these $720 dresses around, they have been snatched up by now.

There is some good news for those of us who do not have the budget to buy a $720 dress, Feith has been tapped by Target to design a collection for their GO International line and will make it’s way to the stores on May 17th.

Now That’s Hot!

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The temperature here in MI is supposed to take another dip tomorrow, so if you see me walking around in one of these, don’t be alarmed.  At first I thought these were some kind of new snow suit.  Turns out, they are sleeping bags by Lippi Selk Bag

 

From Fashion And Back

January 22nd kicked off the exhibition of British designer Hussein Chalayan at London’s Design Museum.  The exhibition will include a retrospective of his experimental and conceptual designs spanning the past 15 years.

His collections are not only art, but encompass technology, philosophy, anthropology and much, much more.  The video above includes a moment where a model literally steps into a table and walks off with a skirt; a crystal and LED lit dress; and magical dresses that literally transform before your eyes.

If you are in the area, this is a must see. If not, here are some links that you can experience some of the incredible and inspiring moments from his collections and learn more about this exceptional art and fashion visionary.  First, a sneak peak of the exhibition from Telegraph.co.uk,  a video retrospective of his work from style.com, an article from Telegraph.co.uk revealing more about the artist/designer and finally a link to YouTube for a collection of videos from his runway shows.

That’s it for today guys, have a great weekend!

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Filed under Art, Fashion, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, London, personal shopper, Polyvore, YouTube

Free Cosmetics

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As part of a class action settlement, some of retail’s biggest names such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue have begun dispensing some $175 million worth of free cosmetics and you can get yours too.

First, click on this link to see which stores near you are participating and what they will be giving away. 

Next, boogie your butt on down to the mall today! Even though 990771_l this free cosmetic bonanza last’s 7 days, I just returned my local mall and the free cosmetics were going fast.  Some items were already gone when I arrived at my local Nordstrom.  I cued up in a line of about 30 people to receive my free mascara from Lancome.  There is one catch, you only get one item.

As I understand it, you are limited to one item period.  But I spoke with one woman in line who had gone to each of the four local participating stores.  She said “I spend a lot of money on this stuff.  They are only giving out sample sizes and I don’t feel guilty about going to each store.  We should be suing the lawyers who got this settlement!” 

I asked another woman in line how she knew about this and she said that a couple of her co-workers came back from their lunch break with several bottles of perfume. 

As I left Nordstrom, the trash cans were overflowing with the paper bags holding the free cosmetic.  Why?  Well, it appears that they were stuffing it in their purses and making a bee line down to Macy’s to get more free stuff.  While the rest of the mall was deserted, women could be seen wearing a path from Nordstrom to Macy’s and I saw another woman giving directions to another shopper to Neiman’s and Saks.

So if you want to get in on the giveaway, I suggest you check it out tonight. 🙂

P.S. Thanks Shannon for the tip!

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The "Mini Trend": Is Bigger No Longer Better?

While reading the Sun this afternoon, I stumbled upon an intriguing concept emerging from this recession, the “mini trend”.

In an effort to continue marketing to the “recessionista” crowd, the mini trend has emerged as a way of appealing to style junkies whose bank accounts are quickly becoming tapped out.

Instead of purchasing a full outfit that embodies a current trend, those who want to look stylish, but no longer have the cash (or more likely, the credit line to buy a full outfit), may instead buy one item from the trend.

This is hardly a new concept.  As women grow older, they look silly in a head-to-toe trend.  Not to mention, those fashions were not made for our more, shall we say, mature bodies.  So, in order to look hip and young, we buy the “in” belt, shoes or handbag.

But then I got to thinking, is America changing the way we think about ourselves and how we spend our money?  Are we becoming more introspective?

Money magazine has declared “Super Size Is So Over…”  While they are referring to the actual size of things like the Mini Cooper and the decline of “Mc Mansions”, I’m beginning to wonder, are we really changing our opinion that bigger is better?

The king of luxury, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld was recently quoted in the New York Times as saying:

“This whole crisis is like a big spring housecleaning — both moral and physical… Bling is over. Red carpetry covered with rhinestones is out. I call it ‘the new modesty.’ ”

Could this recession be changing the way we think about ourselves and how we spend money? Or is the downsizing that many of us are experiencing a short lived fad to get us through, until we can go back to our more free spending ways?

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Filed under Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, News, personal shopper, Recession, retail, Uncategorized

Japan FW TYO Spring/Summer 2009: Day 2

Day Two at Japan’s Fashion Week brings strong shoulders, more “ice cream cone” pants, HISUI seems to have a bone to pick with us, doll clothes, Cousin IT wigs, more ruffs and some ass kicking 80’s.

First up are the decidedly strong shoulders from designer Akira Naka.  For women who have the weight of the world to balance, this collection calls to mind a certain eighties business suit jacket look.

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AKIRA NAKA

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Of all of Tuesday’s collections available for review, I would have to say that support surface was my favorite.  We have fall 2008’s “it” pants back for an encore and a really lovely modern interpretation of the bold shoulder.  I would feel much more comfortable wearing this sort of shape than a set of linebacker shoulder pads as seen in the above collection from AKIRA NAKA.  One thing is for sure, invest in a great pair of oxford shoes!

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Designer

Norio Surikabe

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Like mintdesigns yesterday, HISUI seems to have been inspired by skeletal features.  Is it a commentary on the pressure to be thin?  I’m not really sure, but the first dress in this collection also brings a fish like skeleton to mind.

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Designer

Hiroko Ito

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Oh Né-net, what can I say?  All I could think of was what would Michael Kors say if this came down the runway for him to judge?  Look number two looks like a modern day Depression Era costume (hmm, intentional?) and just in case we didn’t get it, Raggedy Ann and Andy are holding effigies of themselves.

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Designer

Kazuaki Takashima

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Aguri Sagimori had some very interesting uses of the ruffle, which seems to be a popular trend.  I especially liked the white blouse below with the tuxedo-like tail.  That sort of tail was very popular in the mid to late eighties.

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Aguri Sagimori

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Slightly similar to motonari ono yesterday, Kamishima Chinami has its own interpretation of the ruff and an intriguing take on the popular bold shoulder.  It’s a really lovely collection.

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Designer

Chinami Kamishima

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Finally! There’s no need to wonder what you and your man will be wearing on your next date night.  Take a little inspiration from the sexy punk collection by designer Ato Matsumoto.

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Designer

Ato Matsumoto

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Photo Source: Japan Fashion Week Organization

Stay Tuned for more of Japan’s Fashion Week in Tokyo!

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Filed under Accessories, Beauty, blogging, Business, Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Week, Hair, Japanese Fashion, Metro Detroit, News, Photography, pop culture, retail, runway, Shoes, Style, Trends

Japan FW TYO Spring/Summer 2009

The home of trend setting fashion, Tokyo Fashion Week hit the runways yesterday.  The exciting spring/summer 2009 collections are rolling out this week in Japan and judging by the photos taken yesterday, Japan’s best designers are sure not to disappoint.

Designers Hokuto Katsui and Nao Yagi from mintdesigns, embodied the spirit of spring with a runway lined with umbrellas while models wore creative interpretations of the spring staple; the raincoat.  Instead of the traditional rain hat, the ladies were topped with a curious choice of animal bones.  One thing that was consistently cute, were the fantastic rain boots.  Not too high and well paired with a pair of striped socks.

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Designer

Hokuto Katsui / Nao Yagi

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Mikio Sakabe seems to have taking inspiration from the 60’s through the 80’s with the platinum wigs, large bows and futuristic silver hues.

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Designer

MIKIO SAKABE / SHUEH JEN-FANG

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I have to say that my favorite from Takumi Hatakeyama’s collection is the burnt orange bell sleeve dress.  The shape of the sleeves and cut of this dress makes this creation so wearable and chic!

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Designer

Takumi Hatakeyama

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After not appearing in at Tokyo’s Fall Fashion Week, I was so exited to see mercibeaucoup in this spring’s lineup.  I always love the creative spirit conveyed in Eri Utsugi’s designs her fantastic use of color.  If only I could get away with wearing that adorable striped stocking confection or those fantastic tights with the little balls on them.  Alas, this old broad would look a wee bit silly.  One other thing to note, it appears that the maxi dress will still have it’s place in next spring’s wardrobe.  So, don’t cast yours aside yet.

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Designer

Eri Utsugi

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This collection by Motonari Ono recalls a strong influence from Queen Elizabeth’s reign with the high ruffs, rich embroidery, and the modern interpretation of “trunk hose” once worn by men.  I think it’s just beautiful.

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Motonari Ono

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Designer Ritsuko Shirahama appears to be enamored with the bombasted hose as well, as seen below in green.  The three tiered skirt is also quite lovely, but may not be that easy to walk in.  I would also be remiss in not mentioning the eighties inspired high and side ponytail.  If you are old enough to have worn this once, be well advised to keep your pony rear-facing.

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Designer

Ritsuko Shirahama

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Finally, fur fur’s collection seems to have a very strong nature and earth goddess point-of-view.

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Designer

Aya Furuhashi

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  Stay tuned for more on Japan’s Fashion Week in Tokyo!

Photo Source: Japan Fashion Week Organization

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Filed under Accessories, Beauty, blogging, Business, Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Week, Hair, Japanese Fashion, Metro Detroit, News, Photography, pop culture, retail, runway, Style, Trends

Fashion Lesson # 20: First Impression in 1/10 of a Second

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For today’s Fashion Lesson, I wanted to share with you a fascinating and eyebrow raising book that I have been reading, The Power of Body Language by Tonya Reiman.  Ms. Reiman is a renowned body language expert, consultant, motivational speaker and appears weekly on The O’Reilly Factor. 

In her book, she explains the power of our body language in social relationships (romantic or otherwise) and business interactions along with the silent power they hold over our success and happiness.

While I found some of her supporting research to be somewhat controversial, it certainly grabs your attention and provokes you to think twice about what sort of messages you may be sending out unexpectedly.

First Impressions

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According to Ms. Reiman, others make their judgments of us within 1/10 of a second upon meeting usOne tenth of a second?  That’s less than the time we can bat an eye lash or flash a smile!

Which brings me to the focus of our Fashion Lesson for today.  If others make judgements of us this quickly, we have some preparation to do before, we have a chance to make our first impression.

The Top Ten Things That Turn Them Off Immediately 

(There are seventeen in the book, but I don’t want to infringe on her book rights, so I’ll let you get the book to see them all.)

  1. Scratching your head
  2. Nervously biting your lips
  3. Raising your eyebrows incredulously
  4. Shifting in your seat
  5. Crossing arms or otherwise displaying superior, conceited, or overbearing body signals
  6. Looking distracted and losing concentration or attention
  7. Looking down or avoiding eye contact
  8. Standing rigidly in place
  9. Keeping your hands in your pockets
  10. Not using any hand gestures

The Secrets To A Favorable “Snap Judgement”

Gather Information

Before an interview or social engagement, do a little legwork.  Find out what the dress code is for the company you are interviewing with.  If you can, try to find any personal bias’ the interviewer may have.  As we saw with The Great Debate: Wear or Go Bare, some managers still expect women to wear hose.  You wouldn’t want that to get between you and your dream job.

 

 

Also, if you are going to a social engagement, find out what the dress code will be.  You want people to notice you, not to be distracted by your inappropriate wardrobe choice.  Reiman also suggests women wear an outfit that exposes the “Suprasteral Notch” which is the area between your collar bones. 

If you want to flirt with someone, she recommends lightly touch this area to express your openness, not to mention call attention to your attractiveness. 

(Be sure to check out her Body Signal suggestions for further information on successful techniques in flirting.)

Lose Weight

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Unfortunately there is a very strong cultural bias toward our appearance and weight, especially that of women.  Tonya encourages us to reduce that bias and lose the weight once and for all. 

She backs that assertion with the following statistics:

“In 1993, a landmark Harvard study found that overweight women earn an average of $6,710 less a year than women who are not overweight-and that was 15 years ago!  Newer research has found that larger women earn at least 12 percent less than thinner women who have the same qualifications.

The Harvard study also found that obese women are 20 percent less likely and obese men are 11 percent less likely to get married than thinner people.”

(Easier said than done.  Even after having my mouth wired shut for weeks, I have yet to lose that last 10 pounds. But I’ll keep trying!)

Baby Got Back

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In her book, Reiman encourages women to wear clothing that calls attention to their bottom.  Most of us may be thinking that this is one of the last places that I want to show off, and I would agree with you.  I have one of the flattest bottoms on earth.  Who wants to see that?

But, in an equally surprising and interesting assertion Reiman notes that, “A round derriere is a powerful subconscious reminder of the rear-entry sex preferred by most primates.”

Shocking?! Yes.

Is this why your male colleagues seemed to take you seriously when you wore you latest tailored suit?  Maybe. 

Honestly, this is all too much for me to think about.

I think Reiman’s point is “show off your best assets”, but in a very subtle way.

She goes on to say that “overt sexual overtones are likely to damage your credibility in all situations other than a bar.”

So what is her fashion advice? 

To wear impeccable suits tailored to your proportions in blue, black or gray and wear a button-down shirt to once again show off the neck dimple (the open area gives an appearance of vulnerability, warmth and an air of openness minus the heaving bosoms.)

I cannot stress to you enough, that the point here is not to dress sexy.  Tonya suggests one aims for a suit or blouse and skirt that gives the illusion of a hip-waist ratio of 0.7.  According to Reiman, this will project an image of health and confidence which will translate into a strong work ethic for a prospective company.

Try to look taller.

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If you’re short wear heels.  According to research, every inch translates into 1-2 percent of higher income.

Choose your accessories sparingly.

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You want the focus on you and your personality if meeting someone socially for the first time.  Likewise when interviewing, you want the interviewer focusing on your ideas, not your twenty bangles clanging away each time you make a point using hand gestures.

In another bit of controversial advice, Reiman suggests that engaged women leave the ring at home.  She feels that a female interviewer may feel threatened because of it. 

(As a side note, I once had a interview with a woman who told me that she would still hire me even though I was involved in a serious relationship and of childbearing age.)

Groom as if you care, but not as if you’re obsessed.

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The point here is to pay attention to the details; clean hands, fingernails (no chipped polish) and clean teeth.  Also, pay attention to any strange facial hair that may arise.  That includes nose hair.  You know who you are. 

Use neutral makeup, even on your lips.

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You may love to look like one of those Merle Norman makeup models, but hold off for that first meeting.  Better yet, go in for a make up consultation and learn how to get it right.

Are you ready for her research on this one?

She cites a study of 136 people who felt that women whose makeup was “invisible” to be more qualified for a position and recommended a higher salary than those with the painted on faces.

Here’s where the research gets juicy.

Reiman warns against wearing red lipstick to an interview because according to anthropological studies, men equate it with that certain lady part during arousal.  (Where does she get this stuff?)  She goes on to say that you can get the same enticing effect with more subtleties by wearing colored lip gloss (re: glistening) without being so overt.

Perfume and cologne should be applied very lightly if at all.

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According to research, your natural smell elicits a more positive response (assuming you shower each day) from both men and women at a first meeting, rather than a strong dose of Obsession cologne.

Reiman also brought up an interesting point involving memory recall in association to certain scents.  Let’s say you decided to wear that Obsession to the interview.  When you walk in to said interview the scent recalls a painful memory of a bad breakup with the interviewer.  This may not occur to the person consciously, but may impact the way this person perceives you nonetheless.

Be conservative with your hair.

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Today is not the day to show off your new hairstyle.  Keep it neat, conservative or up.

(By the way, that was the most conservative looking woman that I could think of.)

I hope you found this information interesting and useful.  I highly encourage you to stop in to your local bookstore or library to check this book out for yourself.

Reiman provides some other very interesting and useful information pertaining to body language that I think anyone would find beneficial.

Be sure to also check out her website for more information and tips.

Photo Sources: Click on each image

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