Happy April Monday, all! Today, I am going to share why I changed how I shop?
I realize that for the past three years, many of us over 50 and beyond have been changing our styles, clothes, and lifestyles.
We have been experimenting as if in a science lab with seeking the right mix of what we want to tell the world about us in a new stage of life.
I, for one, left a professional office world and came home to work. I felt a need to be more casual, but now I think I took it too far.
The lifestyle I currently lead warrant a casual chic look that I am now sharpening in my overall wardrobe.
That means that how I shop over 50 needed to change, and here is why….
WHY I CHANGED HOW I SHOP OVER 50: BACKGROUND
Before I dive into why I changed how I shop over 50, let me share the outfit of the day.
There is only one new piece in this outfit and that is the JJILL ESSENTIAL COTTON STRETCH PANT in the fern color…comes in five colors.
The look paired nicely with the UGG® Alameda Sammy Slip-On Sneakers in Seashell Pink that I bought at Dillard’s in the past two years…the shoe is still being sold in six colors.
I start with this to exhibit how I want my nice casual style to look. It does reflect my adjectives of polished, approachable, joyful, current, and creative.
When I began blogging over 12 years ago, I quickly learned that the audience wants to see outfits I put together…lots of outfits.
It is the same for most fashion bloggers and now that Instagram is around, it requires even more styles and different looks.
I think this is the mindset that sucked me into fast fashion at the time. Inexpensive clothing I could style in many different ways.
There are bloggers (mostly younger ones) who purchase a mass quantity of clothes and return them over and over again.
San Antonio is a large city with a small town mindset.
I see people I know in the retail industry often at events and in their stores. I did not want to be that person who was always returning outfits just to look different on the blog.
Of course, there are wonderful brands who occasionally supply clothing for the blog, and that is so helpful.
But, this is honestly how I got drawn deeper into cheaper, fast fashion selections.
As I near turning 70, I have known that how I shop needs to change.
WHY I CHANGED HOW I SHOP OVER 50: MOTHER-OF-THE-GROOM
My son’s future wedding and shopping as mother-of-the-groom has been the biggest catalyst to change how I shop.
I saved the money and was ready to look for special outfits for the wedding and events surrounding.
I desired high quality designs which made statements; yet, fit in with the rest of my wardrobe built on certain colors and style adjectives.
This took me into higher end retailers and boutiques to seek the styles I desired.
Spending a great amount of time in the finer retailers had me assessing the fabric quality and fit like never before.
I pondered more in the dressing room as to why a garment might be worth the more expensive price and I always ask…What else can I do with it after the wedding? What will the cost per wear look like?
I returned to shopping local boutiques and discovered unique designs.
I now have three colors of that blue dress above which is a washable Italian silk used by an Italian designer. I still have not seen anything like it at a mall.
Elizabeth’s Boutique in San Antonio is my favorite, but there are others which I like as well. These boutiques are less expensive than most of the high end retailers.
My experience working with a free Nordstrom stylist has been incredible.
It is the perfect way to receive quality customer service and have someone show you new ways to style a look.
Working with their stylist, is another new way I will shop after the wedding especially when a special event or trip arises.
Through this event shopping, I also was introduced to Tuckernuck dresses. I like them, but they do run small and I would prefer a place to try them on.
I have helped my daughter and daughter-in-law with their wedding dress selections. These decisions are not firm just yet.
But, I do want to add that one experience was a nightmare and one was incredible.
Let me start with the positive...Saks Fifth Avenue.
We actually found a gown at a very reasonable price. It arrived within four days of the order. We also had to return it, but it was such an easy pleasant return.
The other experience was Neiman Marcus. We ordered the dress early February. I paid a huge fee to have it shipped quickly so she could wear it to another event.
We did not see the dress until mid-March…after two calls to customer service with no answers, and three attempted deliveries to a car wash…you read that right…three times.
If she did not live in a small town, she would not have the dress right now.
To their credit, they did lower the price of the dress considerably to account for all of the trouble. But, I was upset when I made those calls.
I do not believe, however, that I will shop at Neimans again.
And that makes me sad because it Is a Texas business that I wanted to support.
Now, you may be thinking…well, if you are going to begin to shop higher end, standout pieces won’t that limit how often you wear them?
Tish Jett writes, “One of the greatest compliments a Frenchwoman can receive is, ‘I love you in that dress.’ She doesn’t care that her friends or co-workers have seen her in the same dress or suit or jacket on many occasions. She looks and feels comfortable, confident, and chic, and it shows. It is more likely that she changes her accessories with each wearing.”
This is exactly the mindset I want to have about adding some of these special pieces to my wardrobe. The fit and feel of the styles I have been adding is so great that I do not care if I am seen in them often.
I want to shop for me less and with more purpose and intention of what is added.
Now, I am not going off the budget cliff here like this dress above… with a price of $1300… it’s not in my closet.
But, I have gone from not wearing dresses at all because the fast fashion ones just did not work, to adding several to my closet at about $150+ each because the higher quality ones fit and feel better.
I will continue to shop my favorite mid-range retailers….Chicos, JJILL, and Talbots…though these purchases will be fewer and with more forethought of where I have wardrobe needs.
However, the only affordable fashion retailer I can think of that I am impressed with at this time is JC Penney’s.
I have gone into Kohls twice recently and Old Navy once in an attempt to do dressing room posts for you.
The fabric quality and fit was so bad, I just could not show the pictures online. Just know, I will keep trying to find affordable fashion options for you.
The wedding shopping also took me into some excellent designer fashion consignment shops and that is where I found the rehearsal dinner shoes.
I will always stop by those types of retailers as well as Marshalls.
But, basic thrift shops have changed since the pandemic and are not what they were…I will write more about that later.
Trust me, I will continue to shop for you and to go to places where I notice you shop with my shopping links.
But, how I shop has changed. I now am one of those shoppers who look to occasionally add quality, higher end fashion pieces to my wardrobe.
After I blow the wedding budget, those purchases will occur less often….but it will be fun to look for them.
HOW I SHOP AND A CAUTION FLAG
I shared with you a local retailer Fiesta Feet. I like their shoes, and their mission to help an orphanage in Mexico with proceeds.
But, sadly they are a very small retailer and just cannot handle too much online business. Apparently, they fall behind with deliveries.
If you live in San Antonio and see one of their pop up shops, then by all means check them out. But, for online, I caution that at this time, there seems to be problems with getting product out.
I know they are apologetic of the shipping delays.
Before I close, please know that I will continue to bring you options in slideshows and dressing rooms that will be across all price points.
But, for my personal shopping, I will be doing things a bit differently now….how I shop has changed.
You may see more styling from my closet and different ways I use the new purchases.
Your thoughts are welcome….thanks for being here……have you changed how your shop?
By Pamela Lutrell
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