Become a Savvy Shopper

I did my bit to support the retail economy of Las Vegas, Nevada last week.  The whole family spent a day at the Premium Outlets in the North (a 30 minute bus ride/15 minute taxi ride) from the Strip.  I had loads of fun and I think we got some real bargains for everyone in the family.

My clients who are planning trips to the US often ask me about shopping in the factory outlets.

  • Are the discounts worth the special trip (many are located outside the city metro areas so you need transport)?
  • Is the quality decent?  Is the range current?
  • Are things laid out well?
  • What are the return policies?

I thought I’d share with you our recent experience so you can judge if outlet shopping is for you.   (The nearest American Premium Outlet is in Honolulu.  We’ve also been to the outlets in Hong Kong which are set up a bit differently.  Be prepared to still pay a lot of money for discounted luxury branded goods in Hong Kong!)

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Create the impression you want

I’ve worked in Asia and the US and in comparison, the workplace dress code in Australia is relaxed and casual.  Unless you work in a major city in “professional” industries where a suit is still the norm, getting dressed for work each day can be a headache.  How can you create an outfit that is professional, appropriate, comfortable yet injected with your personality?

A good place to start is to understand the impression you want to create on your clients, your colleagues and your boss.  What’s more important to you ? Projecting credibility, authority and generating respect for your expertise?  Or do you prefer to come across as approachable, friendly, collegiate?  To understand how to project your “brand” you need to know what your brand is first.  Clothing, body language and interpersonal skills  are merely tools to communicate what’s inside outside.

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Find your personal fashion style

via simplylulustyle.com

How would you describe your personal fashion style?  Classic, romantic, sporty, bohemian?  Or a cross between one or two of those categories with your unique spin?  In this digital age, there is plenty of  fashion inspiration to help you put together your look.

When I was sixteen, I used to wait impatiently for my monthly edition of Seventeen to arrive (a month out of date by the time I received it by sea-mail).  My friends and I used to drool over the clothes, dog earring the pages to replicate cool outfits.   Fast forward a few years and I’m proud to realise I’ve changed and maybe grown up a bit.  I don’t buy fashion magazines anymore (just when I can write them off as work expenses) because high fashion just doesn’t jive with my practical, busy lifestyle.  I can’t connect with those perfect models who’ve spent hours in makeup and hair only to emerge like plastic mannequins wearing stilettos on the beach.  I can’t connect with them because while they look chic and well put together, their clothes are devoid of any of their personality.

What rocks my fashion boat now is blogs.  I love getting inspired by street fashion photos and by blogs written by women all around the world who love expressing themselves through their clothes.  That’s what I connect with.  Not the idealistic perfection and professional styling, but with the personality, energy, spontaneity and sense of fun that comes through what they wear as they go about their lives.  Even though I work as a professional personal stylist, I remind myself and some of my clients that it’s wonderful to be able to show off your personality and creativity through clothes; at the end of the day however, we’re here to enjoy life not to obsess how to dress for it.

And that’s why I chose this beautiful photo from www.simplylulustyle.com  for this blog. I don’t know LuLu at all, but  came across her photo in pinterest and it struck a cord with me.    She looks so content, relaxed and carefree.  I noticed that in her first, before her outfit (which by the way is simple and amazingly chic).  And that’s what clothes should do for: they communicate and enhance what we have inside, outside.

Love everything in your wardrobe

photo via abodelove.blogspot.com

How do you feel when you open up your wardrobe each day?  Do you like the clothes and accessories you see inside?  Does each piece give you a positive vibe, maybe reminding you of when you bought it or the last time your wore it?

The emotional roller coaster of getting dressed

I had a love-hate relationship with my (rather full) wardrobe.  I used to open it with anticipation thinking, “What do I feel like wearing today?”  It wasn’t like I didn’t have plenty of choices. After trying on a few things, I’d give up and go back to something predictable.  Then I’d spend the day thinking I could have done better and it was time to do a wardrobe edit.

Clothes represent a huge emotional and financial investment for many of us. First there’s the money we spend on buying clothes.  Then there’s the time spent in the acquisition process either in a shop or online.  Finally, there’s a lot of emotional energy in making that ultimate decision – should I/shouldn’t I? For me at least, it didn’t stop there.  If I bought an item, I’d spend energy mulling over whether it was worth it and what I’d wear it with.  If I didn’t buy it, I’d regret it and then have to backtrack to the shop by which time it was no longer available. Shopping consumed a lot of mental capacity (at least for me).

Choose outfits to kick start your day

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Feel attractive and feminine

photo by Margaret Clemmer

Last week I enjoyed meeting up with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen for a year.  As we caught up on each other’s lives, our conversation inevitably turned to husbands and children.  In particular, I was struck by how she described her seven year-old daughter as a girly girl who loved everything pink, dresses, hairclips, dolls and four-legged animals.

My friend, a self-professed tomboy growing up and a highly capable IT project manager, was amazed (and frustrated) at how their different outlooks lead to frequent arguments.  What was going to happen when her daughter became a teenager?

This led me to the question:  Why do some women (or girls) feel and behave more feminine than others?  If you don’t feel feminine but want to, what can you do?

My research yielded this excellent article by Life Coach, Carol Chanel.  And I particularly like the following points

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