Style en-US 7 Style Secrets for Women That Flatter Every Shape <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-style-secrets-for-women-that-flatter-every-shape" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="trying on clothes" title="trying on clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm happy to cast off those bulky sweaters and shapeless layers now that summer is just around the corner. In fact, I've been weeding through my closet to find warmer weather clothing this week, and one of my bad habits finally caught up with me. I'm notoriously awful at trying things on before I buy them. So, as you can imagine, there are lots of gently worn (and new) garments in my closet that simply don't flatter my shape. (See also: <a href="">20 Simple and Stylish DIY Clothing Projects for Women</a>)</p> <p>I've resolved to tighten my belt, so to speak, and buy only clothing that I've slipped into before purchase. Beyond that, I've also discovered that choosing outfits to flatter my specific body type not only make me feel good, but they also ensure I'll wear them time and time again. Here are a few universal &quot;rules&quot; to make your next shopping trip a success.</p> <h2>1. Showcase Yourself</h2> <p>If you've got it, flaunt it! We all have features of our bodies we'd like to hide. Avoid cloaking yourself in a potato sack dress and &mdash; instead &mdash; shift that focus to your best asset(s).</p> <p>When you shop for new clothes, try to choose items that <a href="">celebrate your unique body</a>. For example, if you have great legs, go for a shorter skirt that shows them off. If you work long hours in the gym for strong arms, wear a sleeveless dress. Focus on just one or maybe two of your favorite features at a time to avoid over-sharing, if you know what I mean.</p> <h2>2. Get (the Right) Fit</h2> <p>No matter your body shape or size, basic <a href="">attention to fit</a> can take any outfit from blah to better. Note that sizing is often different depending on designer or brand, so what you wear in one frock you might size up or down in another. Always try items on before buying to assess for fit that flatters. Pay attention specifically to where a shirt hits your shoulder (should hit at your natural shoulder), any areas of pulling or bunching of fabric (either too tight or too big), as well as sleeve length, hems, and waist rises. Basically, if you notice something is too long, too short, or too <em>anything</em> &mdash; you should try another size, consider investing in tailoring, or skip altogether.</p> <h2>3. Pick Up Patterns</h2> <p>What you've heard is true! There are certain patterns that work <a href="">best for certain body types</a>. Whether you're curvy, pear-shaped, petite, or long and lean, there's a pattern out there for you that will help you look your best. Petites do well with vertical stripes that lengthen, pears can shift the focus from the lower half by concentrating busy patterns on the top, plus-sized women can get away with gorgeous florals, and long and lean gals can go as bold as they desire.</p> <h2>4. Exude Confidence</h2> <p>Another less tangible (and free) style trick? Carry yourself with confidence.</p> <p>Posture is a big part of the equation and can make remarkable difference in your appearance in only seconds. If you're looking to improve your stance &mdash; check out these <a href="">easy stretches</a> that will have you standing up straighter in no time. The cheat sheet: It's all about keeping a neutral spine, an open chest, and your eyes up and looking directly at the world ahead of you.</p> <h2>5. Choose Comfort</h2> <p>It's hard to stand up straight if you're always fussing with your skirt or top. So, be sure to select fabrics and cuts that are both comfortable and appropriate for whatever you're doing. Even the most formal occasions don't need to be out-of-this-world uncomfortable. Look for fabrics that give and cuts that cover, and stay away from anything that might otherwise give way to an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction.</p> <h2>6. Accessorize</h2> <p>Accessories can help highlight your favorite features, and a perfect example of this is with belting. If you have a great natural waist, for instance, accentuate it with a skinny belt placed over a flowy dress. On the other hand, beware of those extra wide belts. Though they seem like they might mask a trouble zone, they'll actually call more attention to it. (See also: <a href="">Affordable Accessories to Kickstart Your Style</a>)</p> <h2>7. Shop Smart</h2> <p>I'm a big clearance rack shopper, but I'll be the first to admit that you can find lots of duds and end up wasting money under the clever guise of savings. If you settle for fit or form, you may find that $5 top sitting stagnant in your closet years down the line. The good news: There are many ways to <a href="">cut clothing costs</a>, so don't let the dollar signs cloud your judgement. Follow all the previous style &quot;rules&quot; even with the most enticing markdowns. That way, you won't be stuck with a closet of items that don't flatter your body and feel obligated to wear them regardless.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite flattering style tricks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Style Secrets for Women That Flatter Every Shape " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Style accessories clothing fit fashion how to dress Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:00:25 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1142121 at 20 Cute and Frugal DIY Clothes You Can Make for Your Kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-cute-and-frugal-diy-clothes-you-can-make-for-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="sewing" title="sewing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="172" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We recently covered some inexpensive ways to <a href="">update a woman's wardrobe</a>. Now? Well, it's time for the kids to get in on the fun! These projects cover the spectrum of sewing abilities from novice to expert &mdash; and many of them even use clothing you already have sitting in your child's (or your) closet. So, before you head to the donation center, check out these tutorials. (See also: <a href="">How to Save on Special Occasion Clothing for Kids</a>)</p> <h2>1. Legwarmers</h2> <p>When my daughter was born, I spent a mint on baby leggings. Making <a href="">your own version</a> out of women's knee-high socks is super simple &mdash; I wish I had found this website sooner!</p> <h2>2. Pillowcase Dress</h2> <p>This project would make use of mismatched vintage pillowcases, though many choose to just use fabric for <a href="">this tutorial</a>. It works for a variety of ages, from baby to little kid.</p> <h2>3. Pillowcase Romper</h2> <p>If you want to take this dress a step farther, check out this adorable <a href="">pillowcase romper</a>. Requires a bit more sewing skill, but can still be completed in under an hour.</p> <h2>4. Leggings</h2> <p>Those fashionable hand-stamped leggings are expensive. Making them at home &mdash; with <a href="">these instructions</a> &mdash; costs only a fraction of the price.</p> <h2>5. Stenciled Shirt</h2> <p>For more fabric paint fun, try this <a href="">stenciled shirt</a>. You can go as creative as your ability allows.</p> <h2>6. Stamped Shirt</h2> <p>This next shirt uses pipe cleaners for a neat <a href="">arrow stamped design</a>. I wonder what other shapes you could bend!</p> <h2>7. Cardigan Onesie</h2> <p>I can't think of anything cuter than this <a href="">DIY cardigan onesie</a> with interchangeable bowties. The project takes some skill, but the tutorial is detailed and easy to follow.</p> <h2>8. Suspenders</h2> <p>If you need to dress your little guy up fast, slip him into these <a href="">quick suspenders</a>. No craftiness necessary, just felt, clips, and a little hot glue.</p> <h2>9. Tutu</h2> <p>For a special occasion or just dressing up, this <a href="">basic tutu</a> fits the bill. You can also lengthen your pieces of tulle to make it a dress.</p> <h2>10. Skinny Jeans</h2> <p>Try making these bright blue <a href="">skinny jeans</a> for some fun in your kid's wardrobe. You can use a pair you already own as a pattern.</p> <h2>11. Undies</h2> <p>I can't wait to try making these fun and colorful <a href="">undies</a> once my daughter is fully potty trained. You use old T-shirts, making it a great way to use up something old to make something new.</p> <h2>12. Revamped Pants</h2> <p>These <a href="">color &quot;dipped&quot; pants</a> are a smart use for all that second-hand clothing you might have laying around. I also love how they're unisex.</p> <h2>13. Nightgown</h2> <p>The author of this <a href="">nightgown tutorial</a> promises it will come together in just 10 minutes. Just morph an adult t-shirt into a nightgown for a little girl.</p> <h2>14. PJs</h2> <p>And let's not forget the boys! You can quickly make <a href="">Little Man Pajamas</a> from a men's XXL shirt.</p> <h2>15. Shark Towel</h2> <p>We're all getting ready for those endless summer days spent at the pool. Your kid will love this <a href="">hooded shark towel</a> to dry off and relax in.</p> <h2>16. Shortalls</h2> <p>These <a href="">DIY shortalls</a> could be dressed up or dressed down. Customize them with a splash of patterned fabric.</p> <h2>17. Shorts</h2> <p>For some much-needed play pants &mdash; try these <a href="">jersey shorts</a>. They are made from old t-shirts and feature a cool bleached design.</p> <h2>18. Romper</h2> <p>Turn one of those old, neglected sun dresses into a <a href="">bubble romper</a>. Perfect for summer.</p> <h2>19. Sweatpants</h2> <p>Another great upcycle find! Use an old adult sweatshirt to make the legs of these <a href="">easy sweatpants</a>. Bonus points if you can find one with pockets like the hoodie in the tutorial!</p> <h2>20. Vest</h2> <p>Turn a plain old jean jacket into a <a href="">tribal denim vest</a>! This website has a lot of other genius projects as well.</p> <p><em>Have you put together any fun DIY outfits for kids lately? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Cute and Frugal DIY Clothes You Can Make for Your Kids" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Style clothing DIY kid's clothes Fri, 06 Jun 2014 19:00:20 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1141769 at 14 Beauty Products You're Using That Actually Do Nothing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-beauty-products-youre-using-that-actually-do-nothing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="facial cream" title="facial cream" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="183" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to stay healthy and look our best. So we troll the beauty aisle, picking up little pots of ointment, bottles of cleanser, and tubes of cream that all promise breathtaking results. In fact, the only thing that's breathtaking is the price tag. Healthy and beauty experts tell us that 90% of these products are simple soap and moisturizer in expensive packaging. (See also: <a href="">24 Places to Buy Inexpensive Natural Beauty Products</a>)</p> <p>Save your money and protect yourself from a plethora of unnecessary chemical ingredients by tossing these 14 pointless beauty products to the curb.</p> <h2>1. Foot and Elbow Lotions</h2> <p>Any lotion or moisturizer that claims to be specially formulated for one specific part of the body is a scam. Cosmetic companies would love nothing more than to see you buy a separate product for each appendage. The truth is that a good quality body lotion can be used on any and all body parts, and there is no discernible benefit to targeted lotions.</p> <h2>2. Anti-Aging Creams</h2> <p>There is no such thing as a face-lift in a bottle. The value of an anti-aging cream can be determined by its <a href="">active ingredients</a>. Most are nothing more than moisturizer in a fancy container. It appears to plump and smooth for the moment, but results are temporary.</p> <h2>3. Toner</h2> <p>Many of us have been taught that <a href="">toner</a> is an important part of a daily skincare regimen, but this is outdated advice. Toner is nothing more than a cleanser meant to remove soap residue. The good news is, most modern facial soaps leave little to no residue, so you can skip the second-cleaning. (See also: <a href="">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a>)</p> <h2>4. Cellulite Cream</h2> <p>Like anti-aging creams, we want so desperately to believe that <a href="">anti-cellulite creams</a> can smooth and tone our bodies. Unfortunately they can't. If you look closely, most of these products claim to reduce &quot;the appearance of cellulite.&quot; Big red flag. While the caffeine in most formulas will temporarily firm the skin, the only thing that can really remove those dimples is a healthy diet and some exercise.</p> <h2>5. Lip Exfoliator</h2> <p>Remember what we said earlier about products &quot;specially designed&quot; for a single body part? Rip off. Same goes for the sugar and oil concoctions now being marketed as the short-cut to soft lips. Your lips, like the rest of your body, are capable of exfoliating naturally. If you want to help it along, wash with a cloth and then apply moisturizer.</p> <h2>6. Makeup Remover</h2> <p>Makeup can clog pores, and you should never leave it on your face overnight. However, a $5-$10 bottle of makeup remover is an unnecessary expense. Simply use your regular facial cleanser to remove the bulk of the residue. If you used particularly heavy or waterproof makeup (especially on your eyes), dab a bit of moisturizer on a tissue and rub gently to remove it.</p> <h2>7. Foot Masks</h2> <p>No one likes dry or cracking feet, especially during sandal season, but if you're using foot masks, you're wasting money for no reason (and you probably feel kind of silly). Use a pumice stone to slough away dead skin in a jiffy, and then apply your regular body lotion to heels and toes before you go to bed at night.</p> <h2>8. Pore Strips</h2> <p>Blackheads are what happens when dirt and oil gets trapped in our pores. Since we've got lots of pores, it's easy to get lots of blackheads. It would be great if there were an easy way to just suck them out of our entire face at once, but there isn't. <a href="">Pore strips</a> claim to lift away blackheads, but since many linger just under the skin's surface, they rarely do. Instead, they leave the area dry and irritated &mdash; perfect conditions for acne and more blackheads.</p> <h2>9. High SPF Sunscreen</h2> <p>The connection between sun exposure and skin cancer is obvious, so we slather on lots of <a href="">sunscreen</a> to protect ourselves. If SPF 25 is good, SPF 100 must be better, right? Wrong. There is no proven benefit to any SPF higher than 30. Anything more is just a waste of money and a false sense of security. (See also: <a href="">Cheap and Simple Sunburn Remedies That Really Work</a>)</p> <h2>10. Heat Defense Hair Serum</h2> <p>In a world where hair is brushed, dyed, ironed, and curled on a regular basis, it's no surprise that it occasionally looks fried. Various serums and sprays claim to defend your hair against heat treatments, but most benefits are temporary at best. Some make your hair sticky and even more prone to breakage.</p> <h2>11. Anti-Dandruff Shampoo</h2> <p>Spotted a few flakes on your shoulder? You might want to reach for the anti-dandruff shampoo &mdash; but don't. Most of these soaps actually dry your scalp out, creating even more flakes. The best thing you can do for a dry scalp is brush your hair. Brushing redistributes your body's natural oils and sloughs away flakes.</p> <h2>12. Color-Enhancing Hair Care</h2> <p>You just spent $120 on a new hair color, and you want it to last forever. The stylist will likely try to sell you a &quot;color-enhancing&quot; shampoo or conditioner, but don't take the bait. &quot;These shampoos <a href="">have more additives than others</a>&quot; and &quot;contain a temporary color stain that's more detrimental than beneficial.&quot; The best way to keep your color fresh is reducing shower frequency.</p> <h2>13. Shaving Cream</h2> <p>They feel nice, but most shaving creams are an expensive way to help the razor glide smoothly over your skin. Look for a moisturizing body wash with lots of glycerin, and kill two birds with one stone.</p> <h2>14. Vibrating Mascara</h2> <p>Mascara is hard enough to apply correctly, who on earth would you want the stick to vibrate on purpose? This <a href="">high-cost beauty product</a> is yet another example of stupid idea wrapped up in fancy packaging, accompanied by a flashy commercial. Save your $15 and apply mascara the old fashioned way &mdash; with a steady hand.</p> <p><em>What beauty products have you found to be a waste of money? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Beauty Products You&#039;re Using That Actually Do Nothing" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Style beauty beauty products rip-offs Tue, 27 May 2014 09:00:25 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1140444 at 21 Frugal Ways to Make All Your Outfits Look Awesome <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-frugal-ways-to-make-all-your-outfits-look-awesome" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="women posing" title="women posing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking like a million bucks doesn't necessarily have to cost that much. These simple and easy tricks can be integrated to your <strong>#ootd</strong> (outfit of the day) routine to make a vibrant statement with just a few snips and clips, using the wardrobe you already have. It's all about learning to pair the right items together, figuring out unique ways to repurpose and embellish basic pieces and most importantly, accessorizing with the right colors and patterns. All of these fashion statements can be inexpensive and take only a few minutes, if that.</p> <h2>1. Spice Up Your Sandals</h2> <p>Add some flare to your plain old sandals by <a href="">cutting up a sarong</a> and wrapping it around the vamp of your sandals and around your ankles. This simple addition can spice up any plain summer or spring outfit.</p> <p><img width="174" height="125" src=" " alt="" /> <img width="174" height="125" src="" alt="" /> <img width="190" height="125" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>2. Cut It Out</h2> <p>Take an old maxi skirt that's lost its charm and cut it up to create a high fashion, <a href="">runway inspired skirt</a> by adding your choice of fabrics and ruffles.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>3. Reconstruct an Old T-shirt</h2> <p>Take an oversized T-shirt and turn it into a trendsetting <a href="">crop top dress with cutouts</a> and a twisted keyhole above the waist.</p> <p><img width="144" height="238" src="" alt="" /> <img width="144" height="238" src="" alt="" /> <img width="195" height="238" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>4. Embellish</h2> <p>Turn a casual tank top into a stylish spring fest by <a href="">sewing or gluing a strip of daisy embellishments</a> to it.</p> <p><img width="500" height="500" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>5. Decorate With Clip-Ons</h2> <p><a href="">Transform your shoes</a> with a click of a clip and instantaneously go from a day to night look in seconds.</p> <p><img width="605" height="492" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>6. Add a Belt Over a Coat or Jacket</h2> <p>Feeling a little chilly but still want to look fabulous over the coat? <a href="">Add a belt over the layers</a> to seal the deal.</p> <p><img width="404" height="605" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>7. Repurpose a Scarf</h2> <p>Turn your <a href="">scarf into a beautiful headpiece</a> and channel your inner Audrey Hepburn. Add your personal style to it by adding a bow, lace, or other frill on the top or side to complete the look.</p> <p><img width="495" height="454" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>8. Mix Up Prints</h2> <p>Think outside the box and combine two <a href="">opposing prints</a> to create a bold and sassy outfit. Some great groupings include <a href="">florals with stripes</a>, animal prints with lace, and denim with Aztec patterns.</p> <p><img width="321" height="482" src="" alt="" /> <img width="279" height="482" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>9. Pair Denim With Denim</h2> <p>Toss out the typical T-shirt and jeans look and go for <a href="">denim-on-denim</a>. You can create a nice color block effect by mixing lighter shades with darker ones and accessorizing to taste.</p> <p><img width="400" height="400" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>10. Make a Statement in Printed Hose</h2> <p>Spice up a solid colored outfit by adding a <a href="">printed pair of pantyhose</a> that becomes the focal point and stands out in any crowd!</p> <p><img width="352" height="605" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>11. Pick the Right Frames</h2> <p>Add the perfect pair of sunnies to compliment your face by <a href="">choosing the right one for your face</a> shape.</p> <p><img width="605" height="567" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>12. Add a Floral Headpiece</h2> <p>To <a href="">soften up an outfit</a> and create an ethereal look, consider adding a <a href="">floral headpiece</a>.</p> <p><img width="259" height="300" alt="" src="" /> <img width="200" height="300" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>13. Tank-Formation</h2> <p>Turn a tank into a feminine <a href="">off-the-shoulder top</a> by cutting off the sleeves and tying two knots on one side. No sewing required.</p> <p><img width="342" height="400" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>14. Add a Rope Belt</h2> <p>Use a <a href="">rope</a> or a <a href="">scarf as a belt</a> with any loose top or dress to accentuate your waistline and create the illusion of an hourglass figure.</p> <p><img width="266" height="400" src="" alt="" /> <img width="265" height="400" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>15. High-Waist, High Fashion</h2> <p>High-waist fashion has been all the rage for the last couple of years and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Say &quot;Bye Felicia!&quot; to old mom jeans by reinventing them into <a href="">high-waisted shorts</a> you can wear all summer long.</p> <p><img width="190" height="115" src="" alt="" /> <img width="171" height="115" src="" alt="" /> <img width="214" height="115" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>16. Wear Knee High Socks With a Dress</h2> <p>Remodel your short dresses in colder climates by adding <a href="">knee high socks</a> to your outfit. It's a great way to <a href="">keep warm and be in vogue</a> at the same time.</p> <p><img width="278" height="400" src="" alt="" /> <img width="267" height="400" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>17. Stack Your Bling</h2> <p>Bling at its best! One of the easiest ways to take an outfit from drab to fab is to <a href="">stack your bracelets</a>, watches, and bangles to create a killer arm party.</p> <p><img width="605" height="398" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>18. Add Buttons</h2> <p>For an extra textured design and spunk, you can <a href="">add buttons</a> to almost anything; tops, shoes, jeans, dresses, <a href="">belts</a>, and more.</p> <p><img width="237" height="200" src="" alt="" /> <img width="283" height="200" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>19. Add a Pop of Neon</h2> <p><a href="">Adding neon</a> to your outfit is a fun way to <a href="">draw more attention</a> to the rest of <a href="">your ensemble</a>.</p> <p><img width="175" height="270" src="" alt="" /> <img width="180" height="270" src="" alt="" /> <img width="180" height="270" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>20. Metalicize Your Shoes</h2> <p>Create a trendy <a href="">metallic toe cap in minutes</a> by adding spray paint to your solid colored heels.</p> <p><img width="429" height="362" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>21. Go for a Colored Blazer</h2> <p>For a more conservative yet chic outfit, go for a <a href="">colored blazer</a> rather than the typical black or grey blazer. A <a href="">vibrant colored blazer</a> can be the perfect finishing touch to a cocktail dress or act as a <a href="">transitional piece</a> to throw on after work to go on a date.</p> <p><img width="167" height="250" src="" alt="" /> <img width="225" height="250" src="" alt="" /> <img width="179" height="250" src="" alt="" /></p> <p><em>How do you make an outfit look awesome? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="21 Frugal Ways to Make All Your Outfits Look Awesome" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nayri Leanna Gregor</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style accessories fashion outfits Tue, 13 May 2014 08:48:14 +0000 Nayri Leanna Gregor 1139096 at 8 Ways to Help Your Clothes Last Longer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-help-your-clothes-last-longer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="laundry" title="laundry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've gone shopping for clothes lately, you know that making a few new additions to your wardrobe can involve dropping some serious cash. I mean, who decided that regular button-up oxford shirts are worth $45 each? And on what remote mist-covered island are monks weaving denim that makes jeans worth $155 a pair? (See also: <a href="">Refresh Your Wardrobe for Under $25</a>)</p> <p>As the price of clothing goes up, so does my interest in doing whatever I can to stay out of clothing stores. But regardless of how much you spend on your clothes, making them last longer is just a sound part of good frugal strategy. Thankfully, there are some very effective steps you can take to help keep your duds looking good and wearing well.</p> <h2>1. Buy Quality</h2> <p>First, let me stress that higher quality doesn't always have to mean a higher price tag. To help your clothing last longer, start by learning how to spot better made products. Check the fabric content, the quality of stitching, and look for reinforced seams, and dense weaves. Within the parameters of your budget, begin to consider each piece of clothing you buy as an investment and choose pieces that will last year after year. (see also: <a href="">Wardrobe Basics Worth Investing In</a>)</p> <h2>2. Rotate</h2> <p>If you're like me, you tend to gravitate toward a few select clothing items and just wear them to death. But this approach can lead to a threadbare wardrobe in no time at all. Rotate shoes, suits, jeans, and other pieces to let them air out, avoid wear and tear, and give them a break from the constant wash and dry cycle.</p> <h2>3. Treat Stains Fast</h2> <p>Stains are a part of life, but the faster you treat them the less likely they are to permanently turn your clothing into abstract art. <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0037KMI0K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Stain pens</a> and wipes are easy to use and convenient to carry in your purse or the glove compartment of your car. If you're treating a stain on-the-go, just make sure to follow the directions carefully and then pre-treat more thoroughly and launder quickly when you get home. Not sure how to treat different types of stains? Check out this <a href="">handy stain removal chart</a> from Martha Stewart Living. And for stains on clothing that are specifically grease and oil-based, <a href="">review these stain removal tips</a>.</p> <h2>4. Wash Less Frequently</h2> <p>Some items like socks, underwear, and swimwear should get a thorough washing after each use, but other items don't really need it. Instead of automatically tossing jeans, sweatshirts, and sweaters in the &quot;to-wash&quot; pile after a single wear, spot-treat any stains, let items air-dry, and fold. You can usually get three or four wears between washing.</p> <h2>5. Use Less Detergent</h2> <p>Follow the amount guidelines on most detergent bottles and you'll be sudsing your clothes to within an inch of their lives. Remember, more detergent doesn't equal cleaner clothes. On the contrary, too much soap makes it difficult to get a thorough rinse &mdash; and that makes it much easier for dirt and oils from our skin to stick to fabric. (See also: <a href="">5 DIY Laundry Detergents</a>)</p> <h2>6. Lighten the Load</h2> <p>As tempting as it is to make laundry day shorter by stuffing the washer to the brim, crammed loads can damage our clothes. First, overstuffed machines don't clean and rinse clothes as effectively. Second, when machines are packed too densely, clothes rub together constantly during the wash and rinse cycles and that wears out fabrics.</p> <h2>7. Avoid Over-Bleaching</h2> <p>Chlorine bleach is caustic and will damage nearly any fabric in the wrong concentration. Make sure to use the right amount of bleach and dilute it properly with water. Typically, bleach stains on clothing result from washing machine bleach dispensers that aren't rinsed out completely, accidental spilling and splashing, and bleach that's added to laundry in the wrong concentration. If you're unsure how to whiten and brighten safely, check out the specifics on <a href="">how to bleach your clothing</a>.</p> <h2>8. Read and Follow the Care Tags</h2> <p>It's important to read the care instructions on clothing carefully and choose the <a href="">correct water temperature for laundry</a>. Hot water and extreme dryer heat can set untreated stains and cause shrinking and discoloration in some fabrics. When in doubt, hedge your bet by washing in cold water and air drying or drying on a low heat setting &mdash; it's much less likely to damage fabric. (See also: <a href="">What's in Your Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener?</a>)</p> <p>If you need proof of how the wrong laundry cycle can chew up your clothes, take a trip to your local thrift store. Sprinkled throughout the inventory of good used clothing, you'll find the inevitable &quot;oops!&quot; item &mdash; the men's XL wool sweater that looks like it was tailored for a toddler (no doubt the result of an unfortunate machine wash-and-dry mishap). When I see these items, I can't help but cringe a little for the original owner who surely kicked himself as he opened the dryer door.</p> <p>New clothing is like anything else we buy &mdash; it represents an output of our cash and cash is essentially a token of our time and labor. With retail prices creeping up in this category like most others, caring for our clothes is really just for caring for our budgets and bottom-lines. Every good year we can get out of a shirt, a fleece pullover, or a pair of skivvies, is money in the bank.</p> <p><em>Have you had a regrettable laundry moment? What tips and tricks do you use to help your clothes last longer?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Ways to Help Your Clothes Last Longer" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style clothing clothing care fabric care laundry Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:24:16 +0000 Kentin Waits 1129221 at The Only 16 Pieces a Man Needs in His Wardrobe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-16-pieces-a-man-needs-in-his-wardrobe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man" title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If there's one thing I'm guilty when it comes to not practicing what I preach, it's that I buy way more clothes than I actually need.</p> <p>I like clothes. I like the way they make me look, and I like the way they make me feel. Still, I don't need anywhere near the amount of clothes I have &mdash; which, ironically, makes me the perfect person to tell you which 16 wardrobe items that are absolute necessities (assuming undergarments are already included, of course &mdash; because, duh) opposed to life's little luxuries. (See also: <a href="">Guide to Better Style</a>)</p> <p>Keep in mind, however, that this is coming from a male perspective, so, ladies, please edit this list mentally and replace some of the decidedly masculine items with their feminine counterparts. Or not. Live and let live, I say. Let's get started.</p> <h2>1. All-Purpose Jeans</h2> <p>Jeans are a staple of the modern wardrobe &mdash; but it's important to choose your denim carefully. Your jeans should be comfortable yet affordable. I prefer an urban-slim cut that are appropriate for the office and relaxed enough for the weekend. (See also: <a href="">How to Clean Jeans Right</a>)</p> <h2>2. Well-Cut Khakis</h2> <p>Most offices don't require the traditional suit-and-tie getup anymore &mdash; at least not in New York City media, anyway (maybe I've been in this game too long) &mdash; which means that most of us can get away with khakis from Monday to Thursday. Choose a khaki pant that walks the line between body flattering, professional, and comfortable. There are plenty of brands and styles from which to choose, but whatever you do, stay away from pleated khakis; they've never looked good on anyone at anytime.</p> <h2>3. Oxford Button-Down</h2> <p>The great thing about a traditional oxford button-down is that it can be dressed up or dressed down. During the week you can wear it tucked in with or without a tie, and on casual Fridays you can leave it untucked and layer it on top of a T-shirt for a more weekend-warrior kind of look.</p> <h2>4. Crewneck Sweater</h2> <p>A crewneck sweater lets you switch up the Oxford routine so you can keep your look fresh and dapper. Layer it on top of an Oxford for work during the week and a short- or long-sleeve T-shirt outside of the office.</p> <h2>5. Henley Shirt</h2> <p>A Henley shirt is as versatile in fall and winter as it is in the spring and summer. In the colder months you can layer it underneath your Oxford or crewneck sweater. When it gets warmer, you can throw it on top of your favorite tee or wear it all by itself.</p> <h2>6. Hoodie</h2> <p>Who doesn't love a good hoodie? I chose this as a wardrobe staple because sometimes you don't want to wear a bulky jacket that may be too warm, even if it's lightweight. The hoodie can be worn zipped up or completely open, and let's not forget about the actual hood, which lets you hide inside your own clothing when you just want the world to disappear for a few minutes.</p> <h2>7. Lightweight Jacket</h2> <p>Even summer nights can be cool enough that you'll need a lightweight jacket to warm you up. The best bet, in my opinion, is a three-in-one jacket that provides you a full, cozy parka when completely put together and a lightweight jacket when it's just a touch too chilly outside.</p> <h2>8. Heavyweight Coat</h2> <p>The three-in-one parka is a great all-purpose, year-round jacket, but your wardrobe also needs a nicer, heavier coat for when it's devilishly cold outside or for when you have to attend dressy events. My go-to is a traditional navy pea coat, which has never gone out of style and always makes you look very put together. (See also: <a href="">10 Cheap Ways to Update Your Winter Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>9. Sneakers</h2> <p>Honestly, I suggest having two sets of sneakers on hand &mdash; one for casual wear, and the other for exercise &mdash; but you can get away with only one pair of sneakers if you buy a pair that suits you in and out of the gym. Just be sure to take care of them a bit more if they're serving this dual purpose.</p> <h2>10. Navy Blue Suit</h2> <p>Everybody should have a suit in their wardrobe for interviews, specials occasions, church, and holidays. I suggest a navy blue suit because it's a color that has stood the test of time in terms of menswear (opposed to the powder blue suit, for example, and even grey at times). This also is an area where I suggest you invest. Suits aren't cheap, but some are less expensive than others. I've generally found that the cheaper the suit is, the more often you'll have to replace it &mdash; for whatever reason. Buy a nice, moderately priced suit once, and it'll last you for many years. (See also: <a href="">How to Build a Work Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>11. Brown Dress Shoes</h2> <p>Brown dress shoes &mdash; I prefer wingtips, but you can make your own call &mdash; are necessary if you're wearing your new suit, but you can also wear them with khakis or jeans to work if you want to dress up an otherwise too-casual outfit.</p> <h2>12. Brown Belt</h2> <p>Because, well, brown shoes. There's no reason an adult man shouldn't have a dress belt to match his dress shoes. Time to get with it, boys.</p> <h2>13. Black Suit</h2> <p>Two suits on this list, and they both serve a specific purpose. Where the navy blue suit is for all occasions, your black suit is specifically reserved for funerals and more somber occasions. You can wear it at other times, of course, but a black suit is a wardrobe staple that you'll be thankful you have when you need it in a pinch.</p> <h2>15. Black Dress Shoes</h2> <p>To match your black suit. Again, you can wear these to dress up jeans or khakis, but I would suggest pairing black shoes sparingly with anything; they just don't look that great if they're not worn with a suit.</p> <h2>14. Black Belt</h2> <p>Because, well, black shoes. We've already been over this, chap.</p> <h2>16. Neck Tie</h2> <p>Yes, you need a tie, even if you're not the kind of person who likes to wear a tie. Personally, I hate ties &mdash; I don't like how restrictive they are around my neck &mdash; but they're necessary. When choosing your tie, even if you're only in the market for a single tie, be conscious that it should coordinate with both of your suits and have the ability to be worn with your Oxford shirt around the office or out to dinner with or without a jacket. It's a difficult task, but it can be done. Keep the color dark and the style classic, and you'll be ready for anything.</p> <p><em>What do you think about this list? Do you think these are the only wardrobe items you need? Are there any others you would add as absolute essentials? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Only 16 Pieces a Man Needs in His Wardrobe " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style men's clothes men's wardrobe Wed, 05 Mar 2014 11:24:23 +0000 Mikey Rox 1128461 at Make Your Clothing Fit Perfectly With These 10 No-Sew Fixes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-your-clothing-fit-perfectly-with-these-10-no-sew-fixes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="dress" title="dress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a bummer when your favorite clothes no longer fit right, or what was once a perfectly good piece now has a big flaw. But don't give up and head to a pricey professional, or worse yet, toss that item. There are some surefire ways to get your clothes and accessories working for you again just by using a few economical fashion fixes. (See also: <a href="">No-Sew Ways to Update Your Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>1. Tight Pants</h2> <p>Whether you bought a snug pair or put on a little weight, a tight waistline is an easy fix. Pants expanders, like <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005PH9TE6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The Button Waist Extender</a> or <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=hollywood%20fashion%20hem%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">Easy Fit buttons and hooks</a>, come in various sizes and easily fit around your existing waistband to give you extra room. You can also <a href="">make your own button extender</a> with a simple rubber band, which works great in a pinch, or when saving money on maternity pants.</p> <h2>2. Loose or Constricting Shoes</h2> <p>It's no fun when your shoes get stretched out. To keep shoes from slipping off your feet, you'll need to fill the gaps in the insole and heel areas. Try any of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001EPQ2DO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Dr. Scholl's sole inserts</a> and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00099E8W8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">heel cushions</a>, which you can layer for your desired fit. Or, try similar loose shoe solutions from <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pageMinusResults=1&amp;suo=1393304732069&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps#/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=foot%20petals&amp;sprefix=foot+p%2Caps&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afoot%20petals&amp;sepatfbtf=true&amp;tc=1393304734179">Foot Petals</a>.</p> <p>For those whose shoes are running too tight or need to quickly break in a new pair, you can purchase your own wooden <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000OB3LQ0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">shoe stretcher</a>. These devices can be found at big box retailers and shoe stores, with some models running under $20. (See also: <a href="">Best Discount Shoe Retailers on the Web</a>)</p> <h2>3. Scratchy Tags</h2> <p>If you rip out uncomfortable clothing tags, you run the risk of tearing seams, losing valuable care instructions, or not being able to resell your item someday. <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001N7HNNG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Braza's Tack-Itz</a> are small adhesive patches that cover annoying tags and don't irritate your skin. Or, for a DIY approach, cover your tags with an adhesive bandage or similar first-aid item that sticks to your fabric and protects your skin.</p> <h2>4. Slipping Zipper</h2> <p>The <a href="">key ring zipper fix</a> is a quick and easy way to keep a loose zipper up. Simply insert a key ring in the zipper pull and loop it over your button. I have even used a small hair band to do the same thing, although you usually have to loop it around the button several times.</p> <h2>5. Frayed Hems</h2> <p>Don't keep pants out of circulation due to length or a ripped hem. Removable hem tape, like those from <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=hollywood%20fashion%20hem%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">Hollywood Fashion Secrets</a> or <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=bristols%20hem%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abristols%20hem%20tape&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">Bristols</a>, is a no-sew, no-iron fashion fix that works like invisible double-stick tape to keep your hems in place at any length you desire. It's also handy for fixing ripped cuffed hems on suits and dress pants. (See also: <a href="">Use Duct Tape to Hem Pants</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pilling Sweaters</h2> <p>If all those unsightly fuzzies mean your favorite sweater just sits the shelf, then it may be time to <a href="">depill your sweater</a>. One of the cheapest ways to do this is to use an ordinary disposable razor to gently shave off the fuzz balls. You can also buy an <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000RCL050&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">electric fabric shaver</a> for $10 or less at many drugstores and big box retailers.</p> <h2>7. Popped Shirt Buttons</h2> <p>To <a href="">fix a popped button quickly</a> without sewing, try using the metal wire from a twist tie to hold the button in place temporarily. Or, you can try the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000KVZ9W8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Buttoneer</a>, which is a no-sew device that uses fasteners to re-attach buttons, although the reviews are somewhat mixed. (See also: <a href="">10 Ways to Reuse Buttons</a>)</p> <p>If you are constantly on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction due to button positioning (think large gaps between buttons or plunging necklines), try a little <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=hollywood%20fashion%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahollywood%20fashion%20tape&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">fashion tape</a>. Like hem tape, this double-stick tape will help secure your openings to act as an invisible button where you need it most.</p> <h2>8. Broken Drawstrings</h2> <p>You don't need to ditch your sweatpants or hoodie when your drawstrings get stretched out. First, remove the string entirely and knot one end to create an anchor. Attach a safety pin to the non-knotted end and thread it through the drawstring hole. Push the safety pin through the drawstring channel, scrunching the fabric as you go until it comes out the other side. Remove the pin, make another knot, and you're back in business.</p> <h2>9. Worn Soles and Heels</h2> <p>You can skip a professional cobbler and fix loafers and sneakers yourself with <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002L9AL84&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Shoe Goo Adhesive</a>, which can help rebuild soles, repair heels, or secure loose insoles. Or, learn how to <a href="">replace a worn-out heel tip</a> on your favorite pumps or boots by searching <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00487UJNY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">new heel tips</a> to find replacements that can be easily hammered on.</p> <h2>10. Tight Collar</h2> <p>If your collar is getting a bit hard to button, try <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005PF5ITS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">collar extenders</a>, which you can find at men's stores, big box retailers, and pharmacies. These cheap little items have a button that you can place in your shirt's buttonhole and a small loop to extend your shirt collar size as much as one-half inch or more.</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite economical fashion fixes?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Make Your Clothing Fit Perfectly With These 10 No-Sew Fixes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style fashion fixes mending clothes sewing Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:24:22 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1128460 at Try a Wantable Box If You Like Pretty, High-Quality Surprises <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/try-a-wantable-box-if-you-like-pretty-high-quality-surprises" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman" title="woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I like pretty things. I also like getting good deals on pretty things, which can end in disappointment if said pretty thing doesn&#39;t hold up as well as I expected. I like pretty and cheap, but not, you know, <em>cheap</em>. After receiving a number of <a href="">Wantable</a> accessory boxes in the past few months, I can assure you that the pieces are definitely not cheap in quality.</p> <h2>About Wantable</h2> <p>Wantable is a Milwaukee-based company that aims to match you with hand-picked products you&#39;ll probably love. Start by choosing one of three categories &mdash; accessories, makeup, or intimates &mdash; and take the easy-peasy style quiz. Seriously, all you need to do is move a slider to &quot;Love&quot;, &quot;Like&quot;, or &quot;Dislike&quot; to show how you feel about a style item that they give you. However, do set aside 5-10 minutes to complete this if you&#39;re indecisive like I am, as there can be a lot of items to go through. Then, for the cost of $40 for a one-time box or $36 a month if you subscribe, Wantable will send you a number of premium, boutique, and full-size products that their stylists have picked out just for you. You&#39;ll most likely get the things you &quot;Love&quot; and probably some things you &quot;Like&quot;, but never what you &quot;Dislike&quot;.</p> <h2>The Goodies</h2> <p>I&#39;ve gotten a few misses in the past, but my overall experience with the accessories boxes has been quite positive. So you can get a sense of how well (or not!) the products matched my style, here are some of the answers I gave during the quiz.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Love:</strong> Classic, Mix &lsquo;n Match, Earrings, Necklaces, Headbands</li> <li><strong>Like:</strong> Rock &lsquo;n Roll, Boho, Bracelets, Scarves, Gold Tone, Multi Tone</li> <li><strong>Dislike:</strong> Rings, Watches, Sunglasses, Wood, Skulls, Leatherette</li> </ul> <p>And these are the accessories the stylists chose for me:</p> <h3>Haven Scarf</h3> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I think if I saw this scarf at a store, I would stroke it longingly and walk away because, in my heart of hearts, I know I can&#39;t justify spending $26 on what is basically a long rectangle of fabric.</p> <p>But because I didn&#39;t buy it at a store, and it&#39;s already mine upon arrival, you bet I&#39;ll wear it to shreds! You can&#39;t tell from the photo, but there are gold and silver threads&nbsp;woven in, adding some fun sparkle to the muted colors. The smoky blue, ivory, and dark rose are great neutrals that match well with most everything in my closet. And despite its loose, open weave and delicate appearance, this scarf has held up extremely well against sharp zippers and accidental snags.</p> <p><em>Retail value: $26</em></p> <h3>Aggi Earrings</h3> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Remember when I said I liked pretty things? The Aggi earrings are so pretty. Wearing them makes me feel like my ears have wings&mdash;black and light-blue gemstone wings. The pale pink softens and completes this classy, unique piece. Love it!</p> <p><em>Retail value: $15</em></p> <h3>Zoey Necklace</h3> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I wore this necklace to my birthday dinner and got compliments from friends and strangers alike! The Zoey necklace packs a lot of punch; there might be too much going on if you wear a busy, patterned top. Wantable suggests a cream sweater, but I&#39;ve found that this necklace looks great against a bright orange lace dress, too.</p> <p><em>Retail value: $36</em></p> <h3>Phoebe Necklace</h3> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 302px;" /></p> <p>I&#39;m usually less excited about minimalist jewelry. I thought the infinity-sign <a href="">Imagine earrings from a previous box</a> were too basic to be worth its portion of the $40 cost of the box. Well, it turned out that I got so much wear out those earrings that they now have a permanent place on my desk, where I can reach for them at a moment&#39;s notice.</p> <p>So, sure, the Phoebe necklace is a simple gold square on a chain, but I see its potential. I can layer it with other necklaces; I can also wear it on its own when I&#39;m in a hurry or I want to dial back on the accessories. It&#39;s basic and it&#39;s easy, and sometimes that all you really need.</p> <p><em>Retail value: $15</em></p> <h2>Is It Worth It?</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Wantable really delivered the value in this accessories box. Everything suits my style and they&#39;re quality pieces to boot. The retail value of everything in this box came out to $92, so that&#39;s $52 in savings through Wantable. I can&#39;t imagine buying the Haven scarf or the Phoebe necklace at full price, but I would purchase the Aggie earrings and Zoey necklace in a heartbeat. (I do have a wedding to go to in a few months; I think they&#39;ll work quite nicely!)</p> <p>While $36 a month can be a hefty expense for accessories if you&#39;re not much of a fashion person, a one-time box at $40 may be a great treat for yourself or a friend once in a while.</p> <p><em>Disclaimer: I received a free box for an honest review.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Try a Wantable Box If You Like Pretty, High-Quality Surprises" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Style accessories Wantable Mon, 10 Feb 2014 10:36:11 +0000 Amy Lu 1116895 at Best Money Tips: Fall Trends on a Budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-fall-trends-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman wearing beanie" title="woman wearing beanie" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on fall trends on a budget, surviving losing your job, and things happy couples do differently.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">10 Fall Trends on a Budget</a> &mdash; Beanies and slouchy pants are two fall trends you can get for under $50! [The Centsible Life]</p> <p><a href="">How to Survive If You Lose Your Job And Get On The Road To Finding A New Employment Opportunity</a> &mdash; If you lose your job, consider filing for unemployment and revise your resume. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="">10 Things Happy Couples Do Differently</a> &mdash; Happy couples tend to focus on what they like about each other and resolve conflicts through love, not retaliation. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="">5 Secrets of Keeping Your Daily Life in Balance</a> &mdash; To keep balance in your daily life, protect yourself from overload and know your priorities. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="">Why do We Need Health Insurance</a> &mdash; Having health insurance can save you from financial disaster should something go terribly wrong with your health. [One Cent At A Time]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How To Save Money On Your Mobile Phone Bill</a> &mdash; Using apps to save money can help you save on your monthly phone bill. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="">Take an Account Inventory</a> &mdash; Take some time to figure out all your different financial accounts and determine whether or not you can close any of them. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="">How Can I Improve My Listening Skills?</a> &mdash; To improve your listening skills, watch the speaker's body language and look invested. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="">Fall: The Perfect Time to Organize Your Clothes</a> &mdash; Now that fall is here, take some time to store your summer clothes until the weather gets warm again. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Keep Kids Busy Without TV</a> &mdash; Keep your kids busy without the help of TV by giving them arts and crafts to do. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Fall Trends on a Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style best money tips budget clothes fall shopping trends Thu, 19 Sep 2013 10:24:15 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 988366 at The Greatest Frugal Fashion Makeover Ever: Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-greatest-frugal-fashion-makeover-ever-refresh-your-wardrobe-for-25-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="wardrobe" title="wardrobe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="172" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all busy. When you're busy, it's hard enough to do basic things like eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise. Keeping up a quality wardrobe that lets you show off who you are in a fun, refined way often falls by the wayside. If money is an issue, it's even easier to let things slide, since browsing when you can't buy anything is just plain depressing. (See also: <a href="">10 Steps to Update Your Look on a Budget</a>)</p> <p>But all of us in need of a revamped wardrobe are in luck, because it's cheaper and easier than most of us think (or, at least, easier than I thought!) to refine your look and make sure you're saying what you want to say every time you get dressed.</p> <h2>Before You Shop</h2> <p>One of the best ways to revamp your wardrobe is to start with what you have. Think this is backwards? Let me show you how it works.</p> <p><strong>Analyze Your Wardrobe</strong></p> <p>Before you do anything else, look through your whole wardrobe. This means everything, including the clothes you have stashed away in the back of your closet. Look even at items that are too big or too small, as they can give you clues to what you like and don't like. Then, put all the clothes you don't like or that don't fit into one pile, and prep the rest for laundry.</p> <p><strong>Deep Clean Your Clothes</strong></p> <p>Depending on the age of your clothes, what they're made of, and your usual washing practices, you may need to do different steps here. The idea is to make your existing clothes look as good as they possibly can. Bleach your whites, and treat for armpit and other stains. Make your colored items pop and your dark items look crisp. Wisk DeepClean Power Blasts are known for helping with this project, but you can always treat stains with a Tide pen and add OxyClean to your detergent for all around cleaner clothes. (See also: <a href="">Defensive Laundry: 9 Ways to Help Your Clothes Last Longer</a>)</p> <p><strong>Revamp Tired Items</strong></p> <p>This can mean any number of things. Cover holes or stains that you can't get out with applique, patches, or handmade flowers; or <a href=";page=1">mend them</a>. Go over the stitching on boring items with a contrasting color, or add ribbon. You can even shorten or remove sleeves, change a hemline, or <a href="">restyle a T-shirt</a>. When it comes to revamping your clothes, you're only limited by your creativity.</p> <p><strong>Trade-In Time</strong></p> <p>Find a local consignment store that has items you'd like to own, and take in any clothes that you own, but don't wear, for a trade-in. Keep in mind that many consignment stores are choosy, and will only take clothes that are in good condition, made by name brands, and/or in the particular style that the store specializes in.</p> <p><strong>Host a Clothing Swap</strong></p> <p>If you like your friends' clothes, and you're all around the same size, host a clothing swap. There are <a href="">many ways to do this</a>, but the gist of the idea is that everyone comes together with the clothes that they don't want anymore and everyone gets to shop from the other closets. Anything not taken home is generally sent to a thrift store or donated elsewhere.</p> <h2>Shopping</h2> <p>Once you've done everything listed above, it's time to do a bit of shopping with your $25. It will help if you decide what you are looking for before you go, so you don't end up spending money on something you don't like or that will not be useful to you.</p> <p><strong>Shopping Second-Hand</strong></p> <p>One of the best ways to find quality clothes at a much-lower-than-retail price is to buy items second-hand. This takes some extra time and energy, as you often have to look through hundreds of items that you don't want to find a few that you do, but you can often buy several name-brand items for less than $25. Be sure to go to thrift stores when you have some extra time, so you won't feel hurried as you browse the racks. (See also: <a href="">10 Things to Look for Every Time You Visit a Thrift Store</a>)</p> <p><strong>Jewelry</strong></p> <p>If you generally feel good about your wardrobe but you just want to spice things up a bit, jewelry can be just the thing. <a href="">$25 can get you a decent statement necklace</a>, or a couple pairs of new earrings or a new bracelet. With a limited budget, you won't be able to buy a lot of jewelry or even whatever you want. With some patient searching, though, you should be able to find a piece or two that will help you say what you want to say with your clothing.</p> <p><strong>Scarves</strong></p> <p>Scarves are similar to jewelry in that they can change or enhance a look without much effort on your part. Again, you won't be able to buy many scarves or even every scarf you want, if you're on a limited budget. For <a href=";searchidx=20">interesting choices</a> (and often lower prices) try an ethnic market. African, Indian, Mexican, Native-American, and Asian markets often sell scarves in fabrics and prints that you won't find elsewhere. (See also: <a href="">Affordable Accessories to Kickstart Your Style</a>)</p> <p><strong>The Skinny Belt</strong></p> <p>A simple skinny belt, in black, white, brown, or grey, can add versatility to many outfits. Belt a shirt or a dress under the bust, at the waist, or low around the hips, for three <a href="">entirely different looks</a>. Experiment with what you like best and what looks best on your body. You may find that you like the belt worn several different ways, or you may prefer one or two. Either way, you've added versatility to your wardrobe.</p> <p>Revamping your wardrobe on a budget takes some focus and intentionality, but you'll feel better about the way you look when you're done. Don't be afraid to take your time so that you can figure out your style and what looks good on your body, and buy accordingly. Happy hunting!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite, frugal ways to freshen your look?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Greatest Frugal Fashion Makeover Ever: Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style accessories laundry new wardrobe Thrift shopping Tue, 13 Aug 2013 10:24:32 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 981038 at 8 Online Stores With Surprisingly Great Clothing Deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-online-stores-with-surprisingly-great-clothing-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="online shopping" title="online shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the quest to find fantastic clothing online without spending a fortune, there are some key discount sites that always seem to be at the top of the list (think <a href="" target="_blank">Bluefly</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">6pm</a>). While these sites are awesome in their own right, there are also some other full-price retailers offering up great, <a href="" target="_blank">regular sale selections or seasonal promotions</a> that may actually surprise you. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">12 Ways to Save Cash on New Clothes</a>)</p> <h2>1. Nordstrom: Half-Yearly Sales and The Rack</h2> <p>If timed just right, <a href="" target="_blank">Nordstrom</a> is a great online resource for finding numerous high-end brands at wonderful savings. They hold their well-known &quot;Half-Yearly Sales&quot; online for women and kids in May and November, and for men in mid-June and late December. They also advertise their &quot;July Nordstrom Anniversary Sale&quot; as a big way to save on new fall styles for the coming year.</p> <p>During last November's online sale, I nabbed a fantastic Michael Kors dress for under $50, which I wore to numerous holiday events and even to my high school reunion. The other great thing about the Nordstrom site is their online sale area, <a href="" target="_blank">The Rack</a>. It is full of good deals pretty much all year long. And don't forget they offer free shipping and returns, which is a nice bonus.</p> <h2>2. Ralph Lauren: Sale Area and Private Sale Events</h2> <p>Far from being a site to peddle cheap wares, <a href=";ab=global_sale" target="_blank">Ralph Lauren's sale area</a> does offer some decent savings, especially for babies and children. Seasonal promotions make sale items even more affordable, as additional savings are tacked onto a large selection of already reduced merchandise. They also have private sales during the year that offer up to 40% off, plus an additional 15% using a sales code, which they promote through mailed invites to previous customers. As a nice touch, all gift orders have complimentary <a href="" target="_blank">gift packaging</a>, consisting of a handsome signature Ralph Lauren gift box.</p> <p>During the last private spring sale, I stocked up on some newborn clothing gifts for several friends, all well under $20, complete with pony emblem and fancy gift box.</p> <h2>3. Piperlime: Girl on a Budget and Sale Area</h2> <p>Besides free shipping and returns with no minimum order, this beacon of the Gap empire is a gold mine of name-brand apparel, shoes, and accessories. Launched in 2006, Piperlime's trendy boutique setup showcases a number of picks from well-known industry stylists. The <a href=";departmentRedirect=true#department=136" target="_blank">Girl on a Budget </a>area displays the site's best picks by category under affordable dollar thresholds. Additionally, <a href="" target="_blank">Piperlime's sale area</a> is always well stocked with deals on high-end brands and savings on chic, affordable names, like Tinley Road, Pim + Larkin and Hive &amp; Honey.</p> <p>Piperlime also often mails out regular discount codes for returning customers. The men's section has apparel and shoe sales areas as well. For now, the kids area is just shoes, but here's hoping it expands to apparel one day.</p> <h2>4. Lands End: On the Counter</h2> <p>Think beyond plain khakis and sensible polos, and you can hunt out other stylish basics for the whole family at <a href=";tab=8&amp;page=1&amp;pageSize=12" target="_blank">Lands End's On the Counter</a> sale area. A limited number of discounted items are placed for sale in this area each Saturday. On Monday, if the items are not already sold out, any remaining items are marked down an additional 25%. As the week progresses, further discounting takes place, including another 50% markdown on Wednesday and finally 75% by Friday. Things go quickly, and there are limited sizes and styles, so not many items make it until Friday. If you play your cards right with this version of discount gambling, however, you can hold out for almost unheard of savings.</p> <h2>5. Shopbop: Sale Area</h2> <p>If you haven't checked out <a href="" target="_blank">Shopbop</a>, make sure you first get comfortable because you will need plenty of time to explore the thousands of tops, slacks, dresses, shoes and accessories.</p> <p>Normally this site is not for the faint of heart, as they carry many luxury brands and high-end, boutique labels, which are by no means bargain shopping. However, they are one of the few online retailers that always has one of the most plentiful sale sections (as in several thousand items), which not only offers some amazing deals, but also remains continually stocked year-round. Additionally, they offer seasonal promotions that slash already discounted sale items even further. Another plus is that Shopbop also has free 3-day shipping on any order.</p> <h2>6. Anthropologie: Sale Area</h2> <p>It's hard to believe Anthropologie has been around for 20 years, but the grown-up version of Urban Outfitters certainly offers unique clothing choices, often with a vintage feel.</p> <p>Score some great finds under the <a href="" target="_blank">Anthropologie sale area</a>, which is analogous to the bountiful sale racks found in their bricks and mortar stores. Oftentimes, you can find items discounted up to 60%. Time it during seasonal sales as well, like mid-summer or after the holidays, and you can score some amazing bargains with a greater inventory selection to pick from.</p> <h2>7. Outlet</h2> <p>Yes, this is for kids only, but the latest (and tenth) site under the name is dedicated to clothing and shoes for babies, toddlers, and kids sizes 4-14. Check out the site's <a href="" target="_blank">Look Outlet</a>, which always seems to have decent options. Things like kid's Crocs for 30% off and Carter's clothes and pajamas for as much as 60% off always seem to be available here. They also have a seasonal section where you can stock up for the coming year with massive discounts on off-season items. All the sites have now lowered their free shipping threshold from orders of $50 to $35, which is also helpful.</p> <h2>8. REVOLVEclothing: Sale Area</h2> <p>Launched in 2003, this online shopping boutique carries over 500 trendy designers and luxury names for men and women. While this doesn't always equate to bargains, head to <a href=";n=s&amp;HPsource=Sale" target="_blank">REVOLVE's sale area</a> and you can easily score something chic for a fraction of the full retail price. The sale area is extremely easy to navigate with search options by brand, date of markdown, percentage off, size, color and price range, which allows you to really narrow down your search in the sea of options. The site also has a great fashion blog to boot. Finally, <a href="" target="_blank">free shipping and free returns</a> with no minimum order is an added bonus.</p> <p><em>Where do you find the best sales and discounts on clothing online?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Online Stores With Surprisingly Great Clothing Deals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Style clothing deals discount shopping online shopping Mon, 08 Jul 2013 09:48:32 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 980308 at 8 Ways to Buy Jeans on the Cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-buy-jeans-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="jeans" title="jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There was a time &mdash; mostly when I was in high school and college &mdash; that I would drop serious coin on new jeans (ironic, because I had no money in those days). The average cost of my jeans back then was about $70 a pair, but I&rsquo;ve spent upwards of $120 on premium denim in the past. As I&rsquo;ve gotten older, however, my affinity for the trendiest clothing has waned. Now I try to shop smarter, buying long-lasting, classic pieces that neither go out of style so quickly nor cost an arm and a leg. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">10 Steps to Update Your Look on a Budget</a>)</p> <p>The jeans I buy now are more function than fashion (although the latter is still important to me). With that in mind, I have to scour every sale, clearance rack, and bargain bin to find jeans that <a href="" target="_blank">suit my budget and my taste</a>. Cheap jeans are out there, for sure &mdash; you just have to know where to look. Thus, here are eight places that I frequent when I&rsquo;m on the hunt for new jeans.</p> <h2>1. Warehouse Sales</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve been to two warehouse sales &mdash; one at the legendarily expensive Barney&rsquo;s New York, the other at Housing Works, which is essentially a high-end thrift shop.</p> <p>Barney&rsquo;s annual warehouse sale runs for about 10 days and begins with already steep discounts on designer clothes, but if you wait until the tail end of the sale (this goes for any warehouse sale, by the way) you can score normally expensive duds for up to 90% off. The pickings will be slim at that point, but there&rsquo;s still a little something left for everyone who doesn&rsquo;t mind digging through a chaotic mess of clothing. Personally I enjoy it, and my passion and dedication awarded me a pair of $400 jeans for $40.</p> <p>The Housing Works sale wasn&rsquo;t focused on designer clothing &mdash; although there are lots of great items in the mix &mdash; but rather a hodgepodge of second-hand items. This sale provides customers with big brown paper bags that they can fill to the brim for $25. I got mine for $10 with a Groupon, however, making my takeaway even better. I found an amazing pair of jeans at that sale that I looked up online afterward that originally retailed for $150. Not bad for an hour&rsquo;s worth of work. If you&rsquo;ve ever been to a warehouse sale, you know what I&rsquo;m talking about.</p> <h2>2. Discount E-Tailers</h2> <p>As someone who likes shopping but also saving money, I&rsquo;m always looking for new ways to save. I frequent <a href="" target="_blank">discount e-tailers</a> like <a href="" target="_blank">JackThreads</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Gilt Man</a> because of their diverse selection of items, but I&rsquo;ve recently discovered <a href="" target="_blank">20Jeans</a>, another discount site (primarily for men, mind you) that sells designer jeans (and shorts, too) for $20. I recently copped a pair of dark denim that I fell in love with upon first wear. An amazing fit at the right price is the recipe for making me a return customer.</p> <h2>3. Thrift Shops</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve been a fan of thrift shops since my early teens, visiting my local shop almost weekly with my friends to nab newly added items. What I love most about thrift shops is that there are a wide range of sizes and styles from which to choose, <a href="" target="_blank">which is not always the case</a> if you&rsquo;re shopping new clothing. I can&rsquo;t say that I&rsquo;ve purchased jeans from a thrift shop (I may have &mdash; just can&rsquo;t remember for sure), but I have purchased pants including corduroy, camouflage, and snow pants at thrift shops. I didn&rsquo;t spend more than $7 on any of them.</p> <h2>4. Outlets</h2> <p>Outlets are already discounted fairly steeply compared to their full-price retail counterparts, but there are two tricks that I like to employ to land even better deals. The first is visiting the customer service center and picking up a coupon book &mdash; most outlet malls have these &mdash; and the second is timing my shopping trip to coincide with a holiday or end-of-season sale. I see this tactic as three times the savings, which means that I stock up on three times as many new jeans.</p> <h2>5. Clearance Racks</h2> <p>I don&rsquo;t mean to be biased against other retailers, but I think the Gap always has a good selection of jeans in its clearance rack. So I can personally recommend that store. Otherwise, any store I go into, I head straight for the back where I rummage through the clearance racks to find a new pair of pants, the price of which has been dramatically slashed.</p> <h2>6. Yard Sales</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s a bit harder to find the perfect pair of jeans at a yard sale because of the limited selection, but if you do stumble upon a pair that you have to have, you can be sure that this will probably be the cheapest pair you&rsquo;ll buy. I&rsquo;m talking $5 or less. Depending on your area (city folk drive harder bargains), you may even be able to walk away with a new pair of old jeans for less than $1. Schedule a ride around in your town on a Saturday and Sunday and see what you can find.</p> <h2>7. Friends &amp; Family</h2> <p>Did somebody say free jeans? That&rsquo;s right &mdash; if you have a nice friend or family member getting rid of clothes, you can score new jeans at absolutely no cost.</p> <p>I clean out my closet twice a year, and before I send my clothes to charity I always give my friends and family the first look. Usually they take my whole stash, which I prefer. Not only am I giving the items to those I love, but the process saves me a trip to the thrift shop to drop off my donation. You can also consider a clothes swap with your friends or family where you each clean out your closet and offer up the unwanted items to each other. Everybody wins in that situation &mdash; as long as you like each other&rsquo;s style and wear similar sizes, of course.</p> <h2>8. eBay</h2> <p>If you really have a passion for designer jeans &mdash; and I know some of you reading this do &mdash; eBay may be a good option for you. Selection runs the gamut from top-of-the-line trendy denim to classic faves to vintage finds, but in theory they can all be snagged for the lowest bid. Some of the listing have &quot;Buy It Now&quot; options, which may or may not be a good deal, so I recommend sticking to traditional bidding while minding your budget. There&rsquo;s no point in going bid-crazy and paying top price for a pair of jeans you could have bought for less at the mall, after all.</p> <p><em>Have you scored great deals on jeans? How did you do? What suggestions do you have? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Ways to Buy Jeans on the Cheap" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Style budget clothes jeans pants Wed, 22 May 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Mikey Rox 974211 at Build a Work Wardrobe for Any Job on a Budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/build-a-work-wardrobe-for-any-job-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="wardrobe" title="wardrobe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="182" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations on your new job! Finding regular work in the current economy is hard. What else is hard? Building a decent work wardrobe when your first eight paychecks have to be diverted to cover other costs. Luckily, there are a number of ways to create appropriate work ensembles without breaking the bank. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">12 Ways to Save Cash on New Clothes</a>)</p> <p>Take a cue from my sister-in-law, Missy, who estimates that she's saved $40,000 in clothing costs over her 30-year career as a nurse by wearing her uniform at work instead of street clothes. Yeah, I know. Most people cannot get away with wearing surgical scrubs and white clogs on the job. But wearing a uniform, even one that you create, will save you time and money.</p> <h2>If Your Company Provides Free Clothing, Wear It!</h2> <p>My friend Spence lost 150 pounds. As anyone who has lost or gained a lot of weight can tell you, having to repeatedly buy clothes to fit the New You gets expensive fast. Luckily, Spence works at a record store where the dress code is decidedly casual. Even luckier, Spence's employer provides free store T-shirts and hoodies to his employees as a form of cheap advertising.</p> <p>During his 18-month journey from size XXXL to size L, Spence only had to worry about replacing his pants and his underwear. Every time he went down a size, he just got seven new shirts and a hoodie from work. When Spence finally got to his target weight, he wanted to burn his work T-shirts on a pyre, not out of victory, but because he was so sick of wearing the same thing every day. That said, what made Spence's weight loss especially sweet was that he could afford to buy some really nice shirts for his skinnier self with the money he'd saved by wearing store logo shirts for a year and a half.</p> <p>My doctor's wardrobe hack is a combination of Missy's and Spence's strategies. While many doctors no longer wear the iconic white lab coat at work, my personal physician still wears a lab coat not out of tradition, but out of frugality. Since no one can see that she's wearing inexpensive T-shirts or sweaters under her lab coat, she never has to buy the matching jacket to her dress pants. Patients just assume from her bottom half that she's immaculately dressed from head to toe.</p> <h2>Buy a Few Nice Pieces and Own Your Look</h2> <p>Albert Einstein famously wore the same outfit everyday. So did Steve Jobs.</p> <p>One of my best friends works for a major museum. His job is to procure funding from high wealth individuals and corporations for museum exhibits and programs. Following Einstein's lead, my friend wears a &quot;uniform&quot; to work every day at his arty job. His work wardrobe consists of:</p> <ul> <li>A tuxedo</li> <li>A raincoat</li> <li>Three identical grey suits from Brooks Brothers</li> <li>Seven identical white shirts</li> <li>Two pairs of black shoes</li> <li>Four different black ties</li> </ul> <p>In addition to making the process of getting dressed in the morning completely hassle free, the wealthy people he hobnobs with have no idea how many suits he actually owns, although I don't think anyone would guess that his work wardrobe consists of only eighteen garments.</p> <p>If this minimalist system sounds extreme, ask yourself this: &quot;Who else wears a grey Brooks Brothers suit, a black tie, and a white shirt to work every day?&quot; Yes. That's right. Donald Draper.</p> <h2>Share a Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>There's a group of PR executives I know who are always seen in the background of red carpet photographs wearing the latest fashions. Initially I thought that their sartorial splendor was a perk of their jobs &mdash; that their clients or fashion designers were giving them free clothes. Then one of them let me in on their little secret.&nbsp;In real life, publicists must spend a huge chunk of their salaries on up-to-the-moment work clothes.</p> <p>To reduce their clothing costs, a group of four publicists, who all wear the same size, share clothes. Every three months, the four get together for drinks and pore over fashion magazines. They decide what the signature, &quot;must have&quot; items are for that season, and each of them buys one or two garments or accessories. They take turns wearing the different pieces, so none of them is ever photographed wearing the same thing twice. At the end of every season, <a href="" target="_blank">they sell off the &quot;expired&quot; clothes</a> to recoup some of their wardrobe budget.</p> <p>Obviously this is the extreme version of closet swapping. Anyone who has ever shared clothes with a sibling or roommate knows this. But, what's interesting about the PR ladies is how organized they are about their clothes. Not only do they not buy anything that's not super-wearable for work personally, but they don't buy anything that's not usable by at least three other people. At any point in time, each of the publicists only has to pay &frac14; of the cost of a designer wardrobe, and store &frac12; the clothes they would otherwise have to store in their homes.</p> <p>To replicate this off the red carpet, host a clothes swapping party at your home every three months and get some new to you clothes for free.</p> <h2>Inherit a Wardrobe</h2> <p>Just as there are always people coming into the job market, there are always people leaving it.</p> <p>When my lawyer left the big firm he was working for to start his own boutique law firm, he donated all of his Armani suits to charity. He didn't want to wear the clothes he'd worn to a job he'd hated. He's hardly the first person to change his clothes when he changed his job. Ask your friends and family and ask your community via for hand-me-down work clothes.</p> <h2>Or Borrow One</h2> <p>When my friend Erin was first hired at an advertising agency, she didn't have the wardrobe to match the company culture. Luckily, her then-pregnant supervisor liked Erin so much that she allowed Erin to borrow her non-maternity work clothes for six months. The supervisor didn't have to muck about with two different sets of clothes while she was pregnant and nursing, and Erin was able to borrow a professional work wardrobe for just the cost of dry cleaning until she was able to save up enough money to buy her own clothes.</p> <h2>Black Is the New Cheap</h2> <p>My friend Hilary, a New York based film producer once told me, &quot;People only notice your accessories when you're wearing black.&quot; Although her shoe/handbag/scarf/jewelry collection costs more than a car, she buys most of her clothes from Target and Banana Republic.</p> <p>Even if you lack Hillary's flair (and budget) for accessorizing, an all-black wardrobe is still a good way to cut clothing costs. Along with not showing dirt, black clothes also hide a multitude of design flaws. Even with poor finishing and uneven stitching, black clothes just look more expensive than their colorful counterparts. Can anyone really tell the difference between the $14 black T-shirt from K-Mart and the $84 one from Barney's? No. The key is to choose black items with simple, classic lines that are cheaper knock-offs of more expensive items.</p> <p>To keep blacks from fading quickly, turn the clothes inside out before washing them in cold water. Then, air dry.</p> <h2>Keep It Clean, Affordably</h2> <p>My cousin's only gripe about being a police officer is that his wool uniforms are expensive to dry clean. For many people, the most expensive part of their <a href="" target="_blank">wardrobe is the upkeep</a>, and not the original purchase.</p> <p>If you are on a budget, try to choose clothes that don't have to be washed often, and take steps to keep your work clothes as clean as possible. For example, don't eat spaghetti for lunch. Here are a few more wardrobe maintenance tips.</p> <ul> <li>Did you have play clothes as a child? Get back into that habit. The second you get home from work, change into your &quot;inside pants.&quot; Not only will you probably be more comfortable, but you will save your work clothes hundreds of hours of wear and tear if you don't wear them around the house.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hang up your clothes! Contrary to popular belief, piling your clothes on home exercise equipment will not keep them wrinkle-free. Shake or brush your clothes out before putting them away. Keeping your clothes free of cat hair, dandruff, and crumbs will help prevent moths from chowing down on your favorite garments. Inspect clothes for stains and spot clean immediately to keep the stains from setting and to deter bug snacking.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Although it's counter-intuitive, if you are sweaty, wear an undershirt or dress shields that will absorb the moisture, so you won't have to clean your jackets and sweaters as often.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Also, washing in cold water and <a href="" target="_blank">air-drying clothes</a> will extend the life of all your garments, regardless of the color. (Lint is the evidence that your dryer is eating your clothing.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Invest in a heavy iron and learn how to iron your own clothes. It's not that hard. And if you talk on the phone with a friend or watch TV while you do it, ironing isn't as terrible as everyone makes it out to be.</li> </ul> <p><em>What is your best trick for building a cheap work wardrobe?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Build a Work Wardrobe for Any Job on a Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style budget wardrobe designer clothing work clothes Mon, 29 Apr 2013 10:24:33 +0000 Max Wong 973635 at 10 Ways to Acquire Cheap Formal Wear <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-acquire-cheap-formal-wear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tuxedo" title="tuxedo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Prom and wedding season are just around the corner, which means that if you have a teenager who plans to participate in that annual rite of passage or friends or family getting hitched this spring or summer, you'll be in the market for formal wear before you know it.</p> <p>Formal wear can be expensive &mdash; especially if you're renting several times a year &mdash; so it might not be a bad idea to invest in permanent pieces that you can wear over and over. How can you score a good deal on a tux or a gown? Lots of ways, in fact. Here are 10 of them. (See also: <a href="">To Buy or Not to Buy?&nbsp;Criteria for Thrift-Store Clothes Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>1. Craigslist</h2> <p>There are two ways you can &quot;shop&quot; for formal wear on Craigslist. First, scour the Clothing and Accessories listing in the For Sale section of your area. My quick search for this post produced results for a tuxedo blazer and pants for $55 and another listing for a blazer for $40.</p> <p>The other way you can use Craigslist to find exactly what you need in the formal wear department is to post a listing detailing your needs. Savvy sellers aren't just listing on the site but also searching for those posts that they can fulfill with what they have.</p> <h2>2. Thrift Shops</h2> <p>Most <a href="">thrift shops</a> have entire sections dedicated to formal wear, the bulk of which are gowns for girls and women. These dresses end up at thrift shops for various reasons, the most likely of which is that the previous owner didn't want to wear it again. Men's formal wear, on the other hand, is a bit harder to find because men tend to hold onto their tuxes since, for the most part, we're not compelled to go to every event in a different getup. Nonetheless, there are great formal wear finds for both sexes in the thrift shop, especially if you're looking for something out of the ordinary (powder-blue tux with ruffled shirt, anyone?) or perhaps even vintage.</p> <h2>3. Consignment Shops</h2> <p>Consignment shops are similar to thrift shops in that the clothing is previously owned, but unlike a thrift shop, these clothes aren't just tossed out. Instead they're put on sale by the original owner who will take a cut of the sale while providing a percentage to the storeowner for selling the clothing in their store. Thus, consignment shops are great for finding low cost formal wear that's more current in terms of style and in better shape than thrift shop finds.</p> <h2>4. Hand-Me-Downs</h2> <p>If you don't mind wearing your big brother or sister's hand-me-downs, you can score big in the formal wear department.</p> <p>If the items don't quite fit, you can have the pieces tailored &nbsp;(which you can also do with pieces you find on Craigslist or in the thrift shop, too). Since you're saving so much dough on the outfit itself, this expense shouldn't be a big deal. And ladies, if the gown isn't quite what you want or isn't necessarily your style, get creative and think of ways you can change it by making it shorter, removing straps, or embellishing with sequins, beads, or other design elements. You'll probably need to enlist help in this area, but, again, you can justify it since you didn't put anything out of pocket initially.</p> <h2>5. Discount Retailers</h2> <p>There are plenty of retailers that have reduced-cost formal wear, like Burlington Coat Factory, for instance. Additionally, some of these discount retailers have occasional sales that offer steeper savings or buy-one-get-one offers.</p> <h2>6. Go Halfsies With a Friend</h2> <p>When your favorite discount retailer has a can't-miss buy-one-get-one sale, try to find a friend who's also in the market for formal wear. If you can both benefit from a tux or gown of your own, you can split the cost and walk away with new duds that are, essentially, 50% off.</p> <h2>7. Garage and Yard Sales</h2> <p>If you're looking for formal wear at a garage or yard sale, be smart about the sales at which you stop. If it's hosted by 20-somethings trying to make rent by selling off some inventory, you can almost guarantee that there won't be any tuxes on the rack (although there may be gowns), and if you don't want to wear your grandpa's tux, skip the senior center sales, too. Your best bet is to stick to family-oriented sales; mom and dad may have owned formal wear at one time, but since the arrival of kids, simply can't fit into those duds anymore or just can't get away.</p> <h2>8. Piecemeal It</h2> <p><a href="">Find the shoes at a thrift shop</a>; grab the shirt at a consignment shop; tie and vest at discount retailers; and the blazer and pants at a yard sale. Eventually you'll have a full outfit for which you may have paid less than you thought possible.</p> <h2>9. eBay</h2> <p>As I did with Craigslist, I searched eBay for formalwear specifically for this post. For men, there were tons of very affordable new and used choices in an abundance of styles for every black-tie occasion. The same applies to women's formal wear. In fact, I was surprised at the level of quality for the low cost. I thought <a href=";var=&amp;hash=item2ec55b2f69" target="_blank">this green pleated dress</a> was particularly pretty and well priced. I have no affiliation with that listing, by the way. It's just a great example of the inexpensive selection that eBay offers.</p> <h2>10. Barter or Trade</h2> <p>Does a friend of yours have formal wear that you need or want? It doesn't hurt to let them know that you're interested in the pieces and offer to <a href="">barter or trade</a> something of yours for it. My mother always told me that you'll never know the answer to something if you don't ask &mdash; and the worst thing they can say is no. If they say yes, however, you can add a great gala ensemble that'll make you look like a boss without ever breaking open your wallet.</p> <p><em>Have other ideas on how to snag cheap formal wear? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Ways to Acquire Cheap Formal Wear" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Style affordable weddings formal wear gowns prom tuxedos Tue, 26 Mar 2013 10:00:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 971380 at Staying Fit and Beautiful in Mind, Body, and Wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/staying-fit-and-beautiful-in-mind-body-and-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Woman performing yoga exercises outdoors." title="Woman performing yoga exercises outdoors." class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many of us, looking good is one of the reasons we work at keeping healthy and fit. Unfortunately, sometimes our fitness regimens leave us looking (and sometimes feeling) less than our best. For example, indulging after a demanding workout can cause you to put on extra pounds. Chlorine from the pool can wreck your hair. Not eating and drinking well enough for exercise can lead to unnecessary pain and ugly grimaces.</p> <p>Over the years, through experimentation and observation, I have discovered ways to look good during and after workouts <i>without </i>overspending, obsessing, or sabotaging my fitness goals. Here are techniques that may inspire you to get fit and stay beautiful. (See also: <a href="">5 Hair Conditioners You&nbsp;Can Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>Get a Workout-Friendly Hairstyle</h2> <p>Talk to your hair stylist about what works best for you. Mine stylist happens to be an athlete and is sensitive to my desire to avoid exercise-induced bad-hair days. Women may get an easy-to-handle style or keep it simple with long hair that can be put in a ponytail while men may opt for the <a href="" target="_blank">bald look</a> or go for the buzz cut.</p> <h2>Avoid an Overuse Injury</h2> <p>Having suffered an injury that caused me to limp rather than run or walk gracefully, I learned that some simple precautions can keep you looking good after strenuous workouts. Build up exercise intensity and duration slowly, stretch before and after workouts, and get plenty of rest so that you can recover between fitness sessions. This formula may mean that you need more time than anticipated to <a href="" target="_blank">run your first 5K</a> or get ready for epic events.</p> <h2>Protect Yourself From Pool Chemicals</h2> <p>Chlorine in swimming pools didn't bother me as a kid but has wreaked havoc with my outer beauty as an adult. Here are a few ways to protect yourself.</p> <ul type="disc"> <li><b>Hair (including </b><a href="" target="_blank"><b>color-treated hair</b></a><b>)</b>: Before getting in the pool, wet your hair, lightly apply conditioner, and cover with a swimcap; rinse, wash, and condition afterward.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Skin</b>: After swimming, <a href="" target="_blank">apply a moisturizer</a>. Vegetable oils (such as olive oil or castor oil) may work well for you and are a cheap choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Eyes</b>: While in the pool, wear snug-fitting goggles. I use Barracudas but recently read about the Swedes brand as an inexpensive yet effective option.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Feet</b>: While showering before and after entering the pool, wear shower shoes to protect feet from fungus. (I wear an old pair of Crocs with textured soles.)</li> </ul> <h2>Wear the Right Clothing</h2> <p>You may be concerned about how you'll look in front of other people, especially if you have many pounds to lose. To look great no matter what you weigh, recommends <a href="" target="_blank">black bottoms, which are slimming for both men and women</a> along with light-colored tops for women. Also, make sure your clothes are <a href="" target="_blank">close fitting or semi-fitted (but not too tight) to prevent chafing</a> and help keep your clothing from getting caught in exercise equipment, whether a jump rope or bicycle.</p> <h2>Snag Inexpensive Fitness Apparel</h2> <p>Special fitness apparel can be pricey, but you can find discounted clothing in the off-season at your favorite specialty retailer, including REI. Year round, Target offers the C9 by Champion line of technical clothing at great prices. You may also be able to pick up bargains at off-price or non-traditional places; for example, I have found inexpensive sports bras at Rugged Wearhouse.</p> <h2>Avoid Too Much Sun</h2> <p>Too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn in the short term and cancer in the long run; neither are pretty. To avoid getting too much sunshine, plan your outdoor exercise by noting the hours of least UV exposure on weather forecasts. Generally, this approach will translate to working out in the early morning if you are a <a href="" target="_blank">morning person</a> or early evening if you are a <a href="" target="_blank">night person</a>.</p> <h2>Use the Right Sunscreen</h2> <p>If you exercise outdoors during hours of strong daylight, find the sunscreen that works best for you and doesn't irritate your skin. For most purposes, spray-on sports versions work well for me. However, I use &quot;no tear&quot; types on my face to avoid burning when the sunscreen inevitably runs into my eyes.</p> <p>To save money in this area, buy inexpensive but effective brands or find your pricier favorites on sale.&nbsp;Consumer Reports mentions that <a href="" target="_blank">Target's house brand is the cheapest and highest-performing sunscreen</a>.</p> <h2>Take Safety Precautions</h2> <p>An accident can cause scrapes, broken bones, or worse. Be mindful of your surroundings, wear safety gear, and consider working out with friends so that you can take care of each other. These steps can help avoid mishaps or minimize their impact.</p> <h2>Skip the Makeup as Often as Possible</h2> <p>If you typically wear makeup, avoid applying your usual on days devoted to exercise. You&rsquo;ll save money on supplies and still have glowing skin from improved circulation.</p> <h2>Update Your Wardrobe Inexpensively</h2> <p>If you keep exercising, your body may change, and you may need to replace certain clothing items. Rather than hit the mall to resupply your closet, shop at <a href="" target="_blank">thrift stores to find better-fitting clothes</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">swap clothes online</a>, or find cheap ways to <a href="" target="_blank">revamp your current wardrobe</a>.</p> <h2>Bring Your Own Water and Water Bottle</h2> <p>Carry and drink water to avoid the ugliness of dehydration during and after your workout. Rather than pay $1-$2 for bottled water from a vending machine or tempt yourself to stop by the convenience store to grab a sports drink (with extra sugar you don&rsquo;t need), bring your own supply of water in a <a href="" target="_blank">water bottle</a>.</p> <h2>Eat Well</h2> <p>A good diet is the foundation of fitness and beauty.</p> <p>Eating well is key to having enjoyable endurance workouts, such as long bike rides or strenuous mountain hikes. While you don't want to consume too many calories as a reward for exercising, you also don't want to skimp on your nutritional needs. Make sure you eat enough and bring snacks for extended outings to keep feeling and looking good.</p> <h2>Carry a Change of Clothes</h2> <p>After exercising, you may be tempted to go to public places where your fitness apparel isn&rsquo;t appropriate. To look your best, bring along a change of clothes or cover-up to be presentable in all types of situations.</p> <h2>Measure Progress With a Tape Measure, Not a Scale</h2> <p>Your body changes as you start exercising but differentiating between muscle and fat gain may not be easy if you rely solely on a regular weight scale. A cheap way to determine what&rsquo;s happening to your body is to track progress in key areas, such as your waist and hips. Notice whether you are losing inches, and adjust your exercise and diet regimen accordingly.</p> <p>You shouldn't have to choose between keeping fit and looking good. A frugal approach can help you achieve your goals for both.</p> <p><i>What are your best frugal fit and beautiful tips and advice?</i></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Staying Fit and Beautiful in Mind, Body, and Wallet " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Style frugal beauty frugal fitness makeup Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:24:35 +0000 Julie Rains 969857 at