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Feisty Fashion Girl: Thoughts on Style, Shopping & Clothes


by Josi Wert Javinsky

Hey Guys! Welcome to the first installment of Feisty Fashion Girl. I'm a girl who has always loved fashion but has held fast to my own strong opinions at the same time. My philosophy is DO NOT be a slave to fashion but use it to your advantage! Fashion can be overwhelming - almost to the point where you think " Why Even Try " but I'm here
to break it down for you, take out the scary parts & help you look like you "get it" but aren't a total victim to fads. It's all about making fashion work for your body & your lifestyle.

In lieu of a 340-page hilarious yet poignant memoir, I will give you a brief lowdown on me: Born in 1964 and coming of age in the '70's and '80's I have seen my fair share of fashion, and have taken mental notes all along the way. The one thing about me....I have an opinion. I always think it looks Good or Bad! That's why, after running the Midwestern Urban Outfitters ( circa '90-'94 : remember Twin Peaks, Grunge, Doc Martens anyone? ) I had no problem becoming a buyer for my very own store in Uptown, Minneapolis. I owned JOSI WERT from 1996-2007 and learned a lot along the way which I will share with you here.

This week I bring you my top Do's and Don'ts of Shopping for Clothes:

1. DO Wear Underwear

Now this may seem elementary to most of you but I assure you there are women out there that don't. And I'm not just talking about the after-workout girl either! There are a bevy of Betty's out there that have just sort of decided to forgo the undies and although that is a (very!) personal decision, you still need to wear them when trying on clothing! If not for yourself , then think of the next person to try on the item. Also, nudity tends to fluster salespeople. ( Not me so much but my "girls" were always a little freaked out by it...)

2. DON'T Have a "Mission Specific"

The worst thing to do is to walk into a store with a permanent picture in your head of what it is you need/want. This never ( or rarely ) works. The customers who did the best in my store agreed to try things on that we suggested that they admitted they would have never in a million years tried on and so, in effect, kept an open mind. If you get a knowledgeable salesperson...let them pick! They know how the stuff runs, fits, wears etc. You've got nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I'm skeptical too and think only I know what's best for me, but when I've lightened up a bit and let the salsegirl have the reins - it's worked for me too!

3. DO Use Your Gut

I have many customers who would attest to this: I talked them OUT of buying something. My basic intuition is really good and so is yours, especially when you are looking at yourself in the mirror. Now, after you've opened yourself up to the possibilities of what the salesgirl has to suggest, YOU have to make the final decision on whether it comes home with you or not. I have asked my customers, who were "hemming and hawing", these questions and you should ask them of yourself: Do I see myself reaching for this item in my closet? A lot? Once? Am I going to buy it just to please the salesgirl who is going crazy telling me how good it looks on me?

What I try to do is to picture myself, at home, the other items in my closet, the things I like to wear that make me feel good and then I can usually see if it would be a good addition to my wardrobe. Normally, no matter how helpful the salesperson is , he or she will NOT talk you out of buying an item. I sometimes did that so as not to see this item being returned to me a couple of weeks later ( better to keep it in the store! ). I knew my customers well and if I thought they were really stretching themselves to like something, I would direct them out of it. Because, truly, it sucks to go home with an item and the next time you take a look at it you do the old "What was i thinking?????", right?

4. DO Mix High and Low
OK, girls. This is a big theme with me. I love me some high fashion but then again I love looking high fashion for LESS. Now, there is an art to this and I will probably cover it more in future articles, but the main thing to remember is that, first of all, the root of all fashion (high end or low ) is hair, nails and skin. I'm no beauty editor but don't you agree that looking clean and classy gets you farther in life? I've seen women with the highest end clothing on and I can't "buy it" because of their 3-inch nails, 3 pounds of makeup and fried hair - you know what I mean?

Clean and classy wins every time. If your hair is neat, your nails are clean and you do the less-is-more thing in the make-up area, then the fashion world is your oyster. I have a friend who can afford anything she wants. We met up for dinner one night and she had on black pants and a white blouse. Looked gorgeous. I commented on the blouse, it was so cute. Turns out the blouse was from Target and the pants were Prada! Well done, well done! I love this whole idea and use it a lot. Old, new, cheap , expensive: there is a place for all of them and the best place is mixed up all together! So onward to your Marshalls, your TJ MAXX and your beloved TARGET. Just know when to mix it in with the good stuff, and carry yourself with a bit of class and you will having them all "buying it"!

5. DON'T Drunk-Shop
Probably, 'nuff said. But, I have seen the drunk-shop in action and it is not pretty. Actually sad, sort of. My shop had a bar right next to it so on certain nights and on some weekend mornings, we would have the pleasure of helping happy, slightly-tipsy moms all the way to drunken-sailors! And let me tell you....ALL of them found at least one thing to buy, if not much more ( when you're tipsy everything is SOOOOOO CUUUUTE!!!!!!) but I can't speak for what happened once they got home and woke to find the array of items they just Had to Have the night before! But I'm guessing they weren't all that psyched.

So from my experience, even though the thought of shopping can be a sobering experience sometimes, let the activity itself be your drug! I can honestly say that finding the right thing has immediately changed many a girl's mood from fright to bright! Me included!!!!!

Editors note: Coming soon--Feisty Fashion Girl's very own blog right here on MomTalk.com. Keep an eye out for fashion tips from an expert.

Categories: Fashion & Beauty, Just for me, Newsletter,

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