HOW I LEARNED TO EMBRACE MY INNER VERA BRADLEY

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Vera Bradley is not the hippest brand. I don’t know how much you would have to pay Kim Kardashian to carry a Vera Bradley bag. In fact, I don’t know that you could come up with any sum of money that would make Kim Kardashian carry a Vera Bradley bag.

I first realized how uncool Vera Bradley bags are after I bought one secondhand at Housing Works, in keeping with the Fashionmomix philosophy of saving money and recycling goods. I was very happy with the bag; it was inexpensive and the quilting made it comfortable. Then I wore it around a goth friend of mine. “OH, that’s a Vera Bradley bag,” she said. Her tone and demeanor made it clear;  I had committed a major fashion faux pas.

So once that bag fell apart, I forgot about Vera B. Flash forward to this summer. I was looking for a summer handbag, and nothing was the right fit. All the expensive leather bags I coveted were way above my budget. Plus they were heavy and uncomfortable for the summer heat. I kept coming back to Vera. Her bags are soft, light, and colorful, just what I wanted in a summer purse. I decided to stop being a fashion snob and buy two! After all, you’re not cool if you’re worried about being cool, AND if you’re not true to yourself. So I learned to embrace my inner Vera Bradley. Perhaps you can too someday.

WHY YOU WANT TO BE OUT OF SEASON

ComptoirSweaterIt’s March, the month when spring is supposed to arrive.  Instead, it’s snowing today.  But even though it’s gray and gloomy, there’s cause for cheer.  That’s because in-between seasons are a great time to find bargains.  Right now you can find winter/ fall clothes for super cheap and wear them right away!  Take the Comptoir des Cotonniers sweater I’m wearing.  It was 50% off at Second Time Around.  And their sales are still going on!  Plus the stores probably won’t be crowded because of the snow.  In the meantime, here’s a cute video on how to pronounce that label’s rather daunting name:    

WHAT CUPCAKES TAUGHT ME

CupcakesNever be afraid to ask for a sale price.  Never.  Be bold, speak up for the bargain rate, and guess what, you’ll usually get it.

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Case in point:  Eleni’s.  I love their cupcakes.  They taste great, they’re nut-free, but they’re not cheap.  I saw a surprisingly low price listed online for the Valentine’s Day cupcakes, so I called to order a dozen.  But my receipt showed I was charged $12 more that the price on the website.  I called and was given a $12 refund, even though the customer service rep told me the price online was incorrect (it’s still up on the site by the way).  Score!

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Then there’s my favorite clothing brand for boys – Tea.  Their prices are on the higher side though, so I always watch for sales.  But when I recently tried to buy some sweaters from their winter clearance, my online order didn’t go through due to poor wifi.  I didn’t take the loss lying down though.  I called the next day and the salesperson kindly gave me the lower prices, even though the sale was over (and yes they do follow ethical work practices).

So ask, just be nice when you do it.  People are more likely to give you a deal when they’re treated with respect.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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PRESENTING MY CASE

ThriftDo you think ‘fashion’ when you see this sign?  Most people don’t, but I do.  For those who weren’t convinced by my previous post that secondhand can be chic, I present my case:

LondonFogExhibit #1:  I found a London Fog coat for less than $25 – take that Neil Patrick Harris!

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AKExhibit #2:  Bandolino and Anne Klein shoes for less than $5 each…

 

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And Exhibit #3:  children’s shirts by major labels like Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger for less than $2 apiece.  These clothes were actually half off the price listed on the tag.  Plus I purchased all these items at Red, White and Blue, a thrift store chain that raises money for Vietnam veterans.  So you can be fashionable; charitable; save money;  and help protect the earth by recycling clothing ALL at the same time!  Now if only Neil Patrick Harris would wear a secondhand suit while hosting the Oscars, that would be really cool!

 

 

 

 

 

NEW YEAR NEW LOOK

Fashionmomix is coming back from a crisis of conscious!  It’s been so long since my last post and here’s the main reason why.  The video I shared about the Bangladesh factory disaster really made me question what I was doing.  I don’t want to encourage people to buy fast fashion that endangers workers’ lives.  So I did some soul-searching and some research.  And I’ve decided to change the blog a bit.  I am going to do my best to post only about fashion brands that follow ethical factory practices and/or are on the Bangladesh Safety Accord list.  Fortunately companies like H&M and Zara are a part of the accord, so fashion CAN be forward-thinking!  And I am going to focus more on buying secondhand clothing, because that emphasizes reusing items instead of just throwing them away.  So welcome to a hopefully Happy New Year of fashion, thrifting, and parenting fun that is ethical AND better for the planet!  Oh and the site has gotten a bit of a facelift too to look better for mobile.  Feel free to share what you think!

THANKS TAYLOR SWIFT

Taylor InstagramI was on my annual search for spring playground sneakers.  The idea every year is to find something attractive but inexpensive.  That way I’m not upset when the shoes are trashed by the end of summer after weeks of tromping through the mud.  I’ve found my pair for this season, thanks to Taylor Swift!  I was in TJ Maxx, buying minion pyjamas (no not for me), when I came across these Taylor Swift Keds for $29.99.  Maybe Taylor didn’t intend to make mom shoes, but I sure hope these do the trick when I try them out tomorrow.  I think these are last season’s Keds.  But if you don’t want to be passé like moi, I do like this year’s Keds by Kate Spade.  However, they cost three times as much, so check out your Fashionmomix economics budget first.

CLIFFHANGER PART 2

PhillipLimtopA while back I answered part 1 of my “last season” cliffhanger about 3.1 Phillip Lim‘s collection for Target.  Here’s part 2, and it has a happy ending!  This is the dress I ordered from his collection for $49.99.  It took me so long to take it out for a spin because it’s also been a cliffhanger as to when spring is finally going to get here.  I’ve finally been able to wear this dress, and it’s garnered raves wherever I go.  I went to an event where I knew NO ONE, and EVERYONE came up to me with compliments on my outfit and asked where I got it.  One drawback:  I don’t think the dress fits me so well.  But do you know the old saying, “You wear the clothes, don’t let the clothes wear you”?  This is one case in which I don’t mind that my outfit is wearing me.  Go ahead!

THEORY FOR 20 BUCKS

Theory coatThe best time for bargains is almost always an end-of-season sale.  Take January and February, when winter stuff is usually marked waaaaaaaaaaaaay down even though you still have plenty of time in the season to wear it.  I just bought this Theory coat for 20 dollars at Housing Works!  And with the Siberian winter we’re having, I actually haven’t had many opportunities to wear it.  So I’m saving this for March.  Sure the wine color is rather wintery, but it stands out nicely amidst the mostly black and grey apparel I see on the Manhattan streets.              

CLIFFHANGER PART 1

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Okay here’s the answer to Part One of last season’s cliffhanger, “3.1 Phillip Lim + Target = Fashion”? It’s a mystery not even Sherlock could solve. And as you can see from my expression above, I was none too pleased with this frumpy sweater dress. So I did a little surgery.

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And with the offending item gone, I now have an awesome sweater I get tons of compliments on!

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