Tricks and Traits, volume 2

Standard

Piggybacking on some tricks I blogged about, one of the greatest things that you can ever do when you shop for deals is to learn to build relationships and build them consistently.  The many times I hung out at Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, and Pacific Place in downtown Seattle; and all the stores I frequented in Bellevue Square, Redmond Town Center, and Auburn Super Mall led me to meet many people behind the cash wraps who have helped me build networks upon networks that I possibly would never have imagined.  These networks provided me with a wealth of information and connections that opened my eyes to the retail world and how that world functions in the consumer industry.  To give you an example, if I didn’t check on the frequency of sales and updates on clothing in Banana or Kenneth Cole, I wouldn’t have met the store managers and district managers who helped me understand the business and clothing, specifically:

  1. The types and quality of clothing that typically goes on sale
  2. The types and quality of clothing that are being marketed heavily
  3. The types and quality of clothing that are not being marketed heavily
  4. Upcoming fashion trends, cuts, styles, and price guidelines
  5. What types, cuts, and quality of clothing that either stays in store or are shipped to Racks and Outlet Malls
  6. Featured events, sales, and markdowns, and where to find them
  7. Other general information, which includes basic information about their particular brand of clothing versus other products and brands, tailoring, etc.

Building upon these listed items, you have essentially a great handle on where to shop, when to shop, how much to pay for it (given the actual value of the clothing based on tailoring, cut, cloth, etc), and most of all, someone to give you a personal helping hand along the way.

More importantly, the relationships being established becomes more than knowledge of where to go shopping.  They serve as one of the foundations to which you can build upon as a source of knowledge, and is available to be an external resource on keeping up with trends, price values, and other factors that you think are valuable to you.

And what is more valuable than people giving you a plethora of informative advice?

Advertisements

Kenneth Cole Worlds Finest Ornament Slip-On Shoe

Standard

I have to hand it to my man, Kenneth Cole.  I absolutely love his shoes.  Very modern, sleek, stylish, comfortable, and best of all, they fit well with any outfit.  Thanks to Shopittome.com, I received a Sale Mail that pointed me to the latest sales on the brands that I love.  Check out this tight KC shoe on sale at Macy’s.

Kenneth Cole Worlds Finest Ornament Slip-On Shoes

Kenneth Cole Worlds Finest Ornament Slip-On Shoes

Ok, how can you not go wrong with this? This is not your dad’s slip-on or your grandfather’s. It’s sleek, modern, and so in style. When you’re looking for any clothing piece, the general guidelines are that you want something that will be versatile, and Kenneth Cole pulls it off well.  Want to look polished?  This bad boy can go business as usual in the daytime and is an excellent addition to the water cooler Olympic discussions.  Pair this up with some dark Diesel jeans, crisp button-down collar shirt, and a black Banana Republic Pinstripe 3-button blazer, and this baby will turn heads in a swanky bar at night before you can order your scotch on the rocks.  As my man Mikey put it, “single malt, as long as it’s not a blend…”

The Rat Pack will be so proud of you.

A great outfit (or a new look)

Standard

Express.com has some decent sales going on this time of year, and I’m going to show you an outfit that would look great for this coming fall.

Express.com’s 1MX Shirts

Express 1MX Solid Shirt

Express 1MX Solid Shirt

Express 1MX Summerall Stripe Shirt

Express 1MX Summerall Stripe Shirt

Here are two shirts that look great and are definitely versatile for your wardrobe.  Cotton/Spandex material that is a modern fit for all body types with pointed collars, single lined button barrel cuffs, rounded shirttail, and is machine washable for normal wear and tear.  This modern style is contemporary enough for a classic look. Notice the pant selections for each shirt.  The solid white 1MX shirt can be combined with both the gray or black pants for the office, or wear it on the weeknights with a pair of nice, dark flat-front denim jeans. The dark striped-shirt can be worn with solid black, off-black, or pinstripe pants for the office, and worn with dark denim jeans on the weekends.

1MX Shirt Solid: $49.50
Colors: A LOT!
View this Express shirt

1MX Shirt – Summerall Stripe: $59.50
Colors: Black, Ruby, White
View this Express shirt

Express.com’s Producer Pants

Express Cotton Producer Pant - Solid

Express Cotton Producer Pant - Solid

With the two styles of shirts mentioned above, the next step is to find great pants to match. This solid cotton Producer Pant by Express is a complimentary pant to the shirts. Flat-front pants are great for average heights and slim builds, while pleated pants will accentuate heights of the “vertically-challenged” folks.  This is Express’ signature pant line, and the comfort value is great.  I highly recommend it.

Price: $49.50
Colors: Black, Caravan, Marsh
View this pant at Express

Shoes and Accessories

What really makes or breaks the outfit are the complimentary accessories that you combine with your attire. How you “accessorize” your outfit is by looking at the patterns, colors, and shapes of your wardrobe, and letting your accessories offset and accentuate what is lacking with your outfit.

Express Sleek Buckle Belt

Express Sleek Buckle Belt

For example, the outfit I chose above is very modern, sleek, crisp, and clean. So to match the accessories with the outfit, I chose a sleek buckle belt that is formal enough for a work outfit, yet stylish and casual for denim attire.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Guyding Light

Kenneth Cole Reaction Guyding Light

Next, I chose a selection of black shoes that will accentuate the look I’m trying to create. Most designer slip-ons (not necessarily penny loafers) have that modern look, so I am going with my trusty Kenneth Cole shoes to enhance the style of the outfit. Choose between a square-toe or pointed-toe shape, but for this outfit, I would stay away from cap-toe shoes, as it doesn’t match the overall look.

Kenneth Cole New York Join The Club

Kenneth Cole New York Join The Club

Adding a buckle on the shoe will definitely compliment the belt and make the outfit a more polished, modern look. Finally, adding black or silver cufflinks from Kenneth Cole and Reaction and watches from Giorgio Armani and Kenneth Cole will round out the entire wardrobe for you.

Kenneth Cole New York Join The Club: $220.15
Get it Zappos.com

Kenneth Cole Reaction Guyding Light: $107.10
Shop Zappos.com today!

Trendsetters

Standard

After posting my tricks and techniques blog about fashion, I got a surprising email (and a fairly quick one at that!) from none other than shopittome.com, stating how they want me to send them my information to be a part of their Trendsetters team. How cool is that!

Well folks, what better way to help guys get on board in fashion and get marketed for it! I just sent my information and now I’m waiting on them to get back to me. I was told if they had my information by end of this week, my blog can be inserted by next week… Can’t wait! I already inserted their little badge of honor on my site to show how trendy I am 🙂 Again… can’t wait!

So I guess there is my 15 minutes of fame, huh? Back to the drawing board!

Tricks and traits for shopping great deals, volume 1

Standard

Every now and then, I’ll share some tricks and techniques on how to get great deals for clothes and accessories. Finding great deals take some detective work and memory, especially if you are shopping in person versus online. I’ve come up with a handful of online sites where you can find quality clothes for all budget levels, and then we’ll discuss a few tricks to get you started.

  1. Shopittome.com — one of my favorite places to shop. It is a free site that functions as “your own personal shopper” (as they mentioned in their web site), where you can sign up to receive deals online for a lot of brands, including Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Tom Ford, Bulgari, Cole Haan, Christian Dior, Burberry, and more. You check which brands and retailers you want to receive emails from, in which this site will email you deals that they have scoured based on your preferences. You can also choose the frequencies of your emails as well, which is fantastic. 2 THUMBS UP!
  2. Bluefly.com — I also like this site for it’s overall quality value. Similar to shopittome.com, Bluefly is an online discount retailer of designer brands at discount prices.
  3. Zappos — A great shoe site.
  4. Shoes.com — Another great shoe site.
  5. Armani Exchange — Enough said!
  6. Saks Fifth Avenue
  7. Kenneth Cole
  8. Kenneth Cole – Reaction
  9. Endless.com
  10. Banana Republic
  11. Shoebuy.com
  12. Nordstrom
  13. Brooks Brothers
  14. Macy’s

One trick that I have found helpful in finding great deals is to conduct comparison shopping. This means exactly what it says, but in this case, you are not just comparing for prices; rather, you are comparing for prices in relation to quality, value, style, cut, and so forth. You are conducting your own research on what you think is best for you based on these elements, with the underlying concept that your research is going to result in the best possible long-term value and investment for you money. You want the BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.

Here’s a scenario: you are looking for a pair of brown cap-toe oxfords for work, and you found them in multiple places: Old Navy, Macy’s, Kenneth Cole, and so on. Which one would you choose and why? Do you pick the shoe from Old Navy, or the selections from Macy’s or Kenneth Cole? Are you always going to take the lowest price possible, or are you going to compare the actual value of the shoe based on the quality and investment value of that product? While the answers really depend on your shopping habits, budget, and personality (to name a few), again you should always think about the long-term value and investment of anything you buy.

Another “trick” that I have used that has helped me tremendously is consistently paying attention to which stores have the best sales and which stores have them consistently. Using comparison shopping as a model, you can find the stores and products that have sales and compare them to other products and stores that have the same, if not similar, product. Try visiting one of your favorite stores for a few months and see what products you find are on sale most often and which ones do not. I remember visiting the downtown Seattle Banana Republic store quite frequently after work, checking out which products are displayed, which ones would be on clearance, what sizes are more likely to be on clearance, and how often such products go on clearance. And oh, the many outfits I have bought for very cheap. The things you see and the knowledge you gain by paying attention in one store will pay off in another, and after that it’s a snowball effect from there. Your eyes are going to open to new things. Kind of like the Matrix, but less freaky LOL.

Trust me, it pays off quite well.

Another virtual dressing room

Standard
Armani Exchange Designer clothing

Armani Exchange Designer clothing

ARMANI EXCHANGE is one of my favorite web sites when it comes to clothing. Armani Exchange features a virtual dressing room style that lets one mix and match tops and bottoms to their heart’s delight. Unlike Express, Armani is able to provide top and bottom configurations instead of shirt and tie matching. However, one thing that I wished Armani would have done is to put more of their modern button-down shirts in addition to their knit tops and tee shirts. I think that having more selection in their “dressing room” would give their site a more well-balanced appeal and value, especially if one is trying to coordinate a nice shirt-jeans casual attire.

Nevertheless, I think it’s still a great site that emphasizes quality modern attire, and a very helpful way to dress yourself online without having to try them on.

Express.com’s New Shopping Feature

Standard

EXPRESS FASHION just recently launched a newer style guide for their men’s line of shirts and ties.  This style guide features a color coordination and mix-and-match structure of their shirts and ties, which is a good start for those that are not color- and fashion-inclined folks.

Express Men Shirt and Tie Fashion

Express Men Shirt and Tie Fashion

While some may even question the quality of their shirts, I think this site is really good at actually making guys aware of the kinds of color schemes and patterns, and giving them more opportunities to identify what colors work well with each other, what colors don’t, and how accessories such as ties can influence the shirt’s appeal.

Kudos to you, Express!