Browse Month

February 2016

Reasons To Shop Online For Plus Size Clothing And Accessories

One of the things that I have come to realize is that today there are more options available for men and women to shop online than ever. There are many sites that didn’t exist back in 2004 when I started my blogs. There are many big names in plus size fashion that are making changes to keep up with the demand. Here are a few thoughts that I have on why shopping online for plus size items is a good thing.

1. Demand – The demand for stylish trendy plus size fashions has always been there. Brick and mortar stores as a whole where not meeting this need so people that where tired of being frustrated going into stores decided to go online to sell plus size clothing, lingerie and accessories.

2. Variety – Considering that a lot of the plus size websites are individually owned and operated there is a lot of variety when it comes to styles and trends.

3. Profits and Savings – In 2005 there was almost 5 billion dollars spent online by men and women looking for sizes 18 and above. With that much money at stake it’s a win-win situation for the merchant and the consumer.

4. Privacy – Unlike when dealing with dressing rooms and insensitive clients, shopping online for a plus size individual allows shopping from the privacy of your home.

5. Understanding – since the majority of sites for plus size individuals are run by plus size individuals there is a level of understanding of there audience that other sites trying to cash in on plus sizes won’t be able to match.

6. Bargains – In a lot of cases shopping online for plus size items can cost you less in the long run. Most merchants are looking for customers that will return so there will be “Online Only” deals, especially from merchants that have both an online and offline presence.

7. Convenience – if you don’t like to fight with traffic and lines at the store then shopping online is as simple as opening up your browser.

8. Sales – Unlike going to the store to try and catch a sale shopping online will give you access to sales more often which in the long run can save you a lot of money.

9. Word of mouth – With sites like EBay and Amazon it allows customers to read reviews written by other shoppers so you know if a particular product is right for you.

10. Global shopping – Shopping online allows you to shop any place that delivers to your door and with plus size shopping being global you can take advantage of some of the fashions available in other countries.

There are of course many other reasons to shop online that are specific to the shopper. It’s a good thing that in 2006 there are more options available to larger individuals when it comes to shopping and merchants are looking to fill that need.

Shopping During The Sales

During the time I have spent as an image consultant I have seen the contents of many men’s and women’s wardrobes. Very often the items that stand out are the items bought in the sales. Why is that the case? Well usually because something happens to us in the sales when we are faced with the bargain of the century. We imagine ourselves a different person, leading a different life and purchase the item that we think we will be wearing in it. Only to discover some months later that our lives haven’t changed, we’re still the same person – and we’ve not worn that sales purchase.

I can remember doing this myself in pre-image consultant days when I decided that a summer weight aqua two piece skirt and top was what was missing from my wardrobe – and my life. It fit beautifully, more to the point it was a wonderful bargain, so despite there being a loud floral print shawl adorned with purple and yellow pansies attached to the top which wasn’t removable, I bought it. Any of my friends at the time could have told you that I wasn’t a pansy woman but that didn’t stop me, after all it was a bargain. Every now and again I used to take it out the wardrobe, try it on, marvel at the great fit and promptly put it back again. As a women who can count the number of floral prints she has ever worn over her lifetime on one finger what was I doing purchasing an outfit with a huge print attached? Let alone purple and yellow pansies! Utter madness!

Since then I have realised that I was not the only one and other people make strange purchases particularly during the sales that they never wear and which clog up their wardrobe and they spend a long time regretting the impulse which caused them to spend their hard-earned cash on the wrong thing in the first place. My advice to anyone who can think of these items in their wardrobe now is to bite the bullet and throw them out – yes, gents that includes the Hawaiian shirts, the cardigans you will never wear because they make you feel like your dad! And that roll neck sweater you bought thinking it’d look cool under your suit which you can’t quite bring yourself to put on.

And ladies that coat in orange when you never wear orange and have nothing to go with it! The skirt you fell for and bought because you thought you were going to change from a lifetime of wearing trousers etc. The party outfit of chiffon and sequins when you don’t go to parties.

My advice for buying in the sales is know your colours and your style, what your body’s shaped like and how you like to be seen. Buy second items of sweaters and trousers which you’ve bought before and hammered or buy those items in a different colour-way. Avoid high fashion colours or styles as these won’t last more than a month. Go for your neutral colours – if there’s a bargain pair of black shoes or trousers which fit well then go ahead and buy them if you know you wear black a lot and they are a classic style so will be usable next year.

In fact good advice with any sales purchase is to look at the item if it’s near the end of the season for that particular purchase and think whether you will want to wear it in ten months time because the likelihood is that you will get 2-4 weeks wear out of it and then have to put it away as the weather changes and makes it inappropriate. Do this and you won’t go far wrong.

Happy sales shopping!

Breaking Free From Shopping New

If you are used to being able to go out and get something anytime you want regardless of the price, you may be a slave to shopping new. If I need a vase for my party Friday night and I head right down to the local department store searching for a size and color that will fit the arrangement, I am not saving myself any money. Your creative juices are flowing because you are creating a thing of beauty, but you expand your creativity to include doing it for less. Break free by strolling into the thrift store, resale shop, or garage sale. You may be surprised to find items not found in any store currently that could be fashioned inexpensively into a one of a kind dollar special. It can become an actual treasure hunt for potential.

We are not avid garage salers out at the crack of dawn waking up potential patrons so that we can get a look-see at what might be of value, but it is fun to be out on a Saturday morning stopping by potential gold mines. Garage sale shopping, like anything else, is in need of moderation. To simply accumulate things for the sake of “someday” is a money drain, but if you are looking for filling needs for pennies, you are on the right track.

One morning, we zipped around at one sale that had three different patrons displaying their goods. I didn’t have any one thing in mind as I browsed. I came across a vase that stuck in my mind for several minutes. It was the perfect shape for an arrangement I had purchased for an upcoming anniversary party. I did not want it galvanized as it was, but I looked beyond the color and examined the texture and shape. It was perfectly suited for my arrangement.

I took it home and rinsed the galvanized metal with vinegar so that it could be spray painted. A can of basic spray paint is no more than a dollar. After a few coats, it looked as if I had spent $15 when in reality it cost a mere $2, paint included. This is one of hundreds of stories that exist when we focus on an item’s potential use. Re-purposing makes us landfill responsible while putting money into our pockets.

Break the one-tracked mindset of looking at items for their surface value and start to looking at their potential. Extend this to clearance isles and other places you travel. You will be keeping more of that hard earned cash then you ever thought possible and break free of pouring money into the local department store.

Tips for Sale Shopping

I remember when I was growing up, venturing up to Oxford Street most years on 27th December and waiting for the stores to open, it was part of Christmas week traditions for our family. A chance for us to get out of the house after a few days all being sat round together, to look for bargains. The initial 2 hours of sale shopping was usually followed by a cake and hot chocolate around 11am (as if we hadn’t already eaten enough… !). I am sure some of you can identify with that habit and excitement whilst others recoil in horror at the thought. It really is a ‘Marmite’ situation!

Nowadays of course, the sales begin long before Christmas. When I ventured to the shops at the weekend to get the last few gifts, there were many temptations for myself! Whether we like the ritual of conscious sale shopping or not, most of us like a bargain and most of us have bought things we later regret, whether it be that discounted coffee maker (my parents!) or the heavily discounted designer jacket.

Certainly when it comes to clothing, it’s easy to be coerced into buying something because it is ‘cheap’. However, it is very expensive if you then never wear it! You are not alone if you have items in your wardrobe with the labels still on, many of my clients do. So here are my top tips for making sure you make wise purchases in the sales if you are going rather than ending up with items that in reality you will never ever wear.

They might not be rocket science points but most people won’t have considered them before coming back laden with bags!

    • Look in your wardrobe before you head out, we all forget what we have lurking in there. It’s disappointing to come back with something that is a carbon copy of something you have already. Yes black trousers are versatile but do you really need 5 pairs?
    • Identify items in your current wardrobe that you don’t wear and would like to. If it’s because they don’t go with anything, think carefully about what they would go with so you can look for those clothing items, accessories and shoes.
    • Make a list of 3 things you want to look for and decide in your mind how many more you’re prepared to buy so you have something to aim for.
    • Set a budget, how much are you prepared to spend?
    • Visit shops that are a higher price bracket than you would usually go to. Often the discounts are heavier and you’ll get a higher quality item. Remember the cost per wear equation. If it’s a staple such as a nice jacket that you’ll wear to work several times a week, it’s worth spending a bit more on it so it remains looking good.
    • Don’t be swayed by sales assistants or even others in the changing room. They can’t always be trusted. If you know you suit charcoal grey much better than black then stick to that.
    • Unless you are really sure, buy from shops where you can return items, especially if you want to check out how they combine with existing items in your wardrobe.
    • If it’s an item in an accent colour i.e. a colour other than black, brown, grey, navy or white then think about what else it will go with in your wardrobe. Avoid buying a load of tops or shirts that only go with black trousers or jeans. If you are doing that and are female, make sure you have some accessories/shoes to match it so your outfit looks well thought through.
    • Ask yourself if you really like each item you are considering buying. Would you consider it if it was full price?

If you are female, wear clothing that is easy to remove to try things on, tights are usually a good option as you can put trousers over them and skirts over them to check dresses and skirts work.