flygirl: 11 tips on shopping like a pro…

Fabric first — “Fabrics are big for me with ready-to-wear. I try to only buy my favorite fabrics: cottons, silk cdc, silk noil, wool, no-stretch denim. At this point, I know that if I’m buying a cheap or synthetic fabric, all bets are off. The quality is just not there.”

Know your sources — and when to splurge — “I don’t shop just anywhere, or any collection. I have a very small selection of tried-and-true stores and designers that I look to, with only a couple newbies each season. From there, I select. I’m all business with it, even when shopping for myself! And, I definitely believe in uniform dressing. At this point in life, I know what I actually wear every day, and just build on that: great coats, large, shapeless dresses, jumpsuits, high-waisted pants, cotton tees, and silk blouses. I overindulge in shoes, bags, and jewelry only.

Shop by season and score — “I always buy great coats and shoes, because with those, you can pretty much leave your house in pajamas. I’d never buy anything overly logo-ed, overly embellished, or with contrast stitching. And, look out for end-of-season sales at your favorite designer stores. Most boutiques have insane sales in January and August as we clear out for the next big season of deliveries, so you can get some serious steals on pieces you may already love.”

Be picky — “I try to only invest in what I immediately feel good in. Is the yarn or fabric itchy? Am I tugging on it in any way? Do I have to roll up the sleeves and mess with it to help it look good in the mirror? If you answer yes to any of those questions then walk away. It’s not worth it. I also want to make sure that I can think of at least three ways I can wear it with what I already own because I know if I can’t, I’ll never find a way to wear it later.”

Look close — “For sweaters, always read the tag for fiber content. Usually, natural fibers like cotton, wool, or cashmere are not going to pill as much, and they tend to breathe a bit better, too. That being said, these days a blended-fiber sweater can last just as long a natural-fiber one, and they’re more affordable. So, when buying blended-fiber sweaters, make sure to check the yarn up close: If you already see that the fibers are breaking within the stitches, that could lead to early pilling. Once you buy, always keep your sweaters folded as the yarn can stretch and misshape on a hanger.”

Remember, brights and bargains don’t mix — “When filling in your wardrobe with less expensive, dare I say cheap, fashion-forward pieces I always try to buy them in darker more classic colors. It helps make them appear more expensive

Quality is in the details —”Metal zippers last longer than plastic ones. Fabric patterns should match up at the seams. Stripes and plaids can stick out like sore thumb if not aligned, and any sloppy match-ups are a sure sign of poor quality. And, a good seam will prevent fraying and maintain quality through wearing and laundering, so be sure to flip clothing inside out to check them. Unfinished edges or unevenness can be a sign of poor quality. French seams, flat-felled seams, and bound seams are best.”

Keep it natural — “Synthetic fabrics are notorious for pilling, and can require lots of special care (read: expensive dry cleaning!). If you want your clothing to look great wash after wash, stick to natural fibers like cotton, wool, linen, and silk.”

Look for telltale extras — “When a manufacturer includes extra buttons, it’s always a good sign. It means that the designer is expecting the garment to last long enough to need some minor repairs. Spare thread is an even better sign!”

Choose timeless over trendy — “I try to avoid pieces that are overly trendy. Sometimes, the more a piece gets my immediate attention, the sooner I’ll get tired of it.”

Don’t go sale crazy — “No matter how good the deal is, if it’s something I can’t envision myself wearing I’ve learned to not fall for it! I would rather pay a little more for something I know I’ll wear for a very long time, and that’s versatile enough to mix with many other pieces in my closet — that way, you can keep it fresh again and again by just restyling.”



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