Trending: Rebranding Existing Stores

Isn’t interesting how certain stores can thrive for a while…and then one day…almost disappear into nothing?  Let me name a few stores and I bet you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Gap.  J.Crew. Abercrombie & Fitch.  So, yeah, those are definitely still around and well known.  However, at one point in time, your responses to those brand names may have been a bit more enthusiastic.  Not so very long ago, these were the “cool kid stores”.  And now, these three brands are struggling to make it in a very different shopping climate.

A & F Quarterly, Christmas Issue 2000: A Very Emerson Christmas [Abercrombie and Fitch] by Weber, Bruce
Once upon a time, all the coolest and most elite were shrouded in Gap, A&F, or J.Crew.  But times have changed.  It’s interesting to read about what these brands are trying to do and also just to ponder why this is happening…and I think there are a myriad of reasons to be quite honest.

These brands rose to popularity at a time when it was cool to wear brands.  Logo tees were it and your status had to do with that A&F polo shirt, those Gap painter’s jeans, or that J.Crew jacket.  These things were synonymous with “the in crowd”.   Now, we are living in an era where it’s cooler to wear things from a thrift store or handmade from Etsy than it is to go drop cash at the local Gap.  It seems that now people not only care more about styles than about brands (like whether it came from Target or J.Crew, no one cares), but also where their clothes originated from.  There are more people who want to know where their clothing was made and how it was made.  Ethical fashion is becoming more, er, fashionable.  And another thing…when these stores were “in” (think of the show Friends when Joey said: “damn Gap on every corner!”) there really wasn’t Zara, Asos, or H&M in the United States.  Not to mention that when Target rebranded themselves as THE place to shop for in-style clothing, that delivered a near deathly blow to many of the stores who had little to no competition prior to this.

These retailers aren’t taking this lying down.  Abercrombie actually went so far as to delete their entire Instagram feed to start over again with a new image.  JCrew hired the former fashion director of Madewell to give their clothes a new lifespan.  Gap has struggled with logo changes gone awry, missed trends, and  general lackluster overall choices…only time will tell whether they can change the downward trend in sales and survive the new era of shopping and style choices.

So far, seems like JCrew has done an amazing job of keeping things fresh and even channeling Gucci a little bit in their new line!  My bet is they will have no problem coming back from decline with bright flying colors.  The other two…we will have to see won’t we!

Have you looked at the Abercrombie website recently?  I looked out of curiosity and it definitely was different from the typical look I would expect from them.  My take on their new site is that they are trying to hit a lot of trends all at once, and figure out who they are.  I get it.  We all go through awkward phases sometimes…and hopefully they’ll come out of it with a new and fun identity!

Happy Monday
Katy

 

On Basics…and Boyfriend Jeans

Hey it’s Wednesday!  That means it must be time for fun with BASICS right?!  You are quite correct!  Today for “Basics…Anything But”, I’ve come up with three looks for a style of denim that is most likely somewhere in your closet, and if it’s not, maybe it should be: the classic boyfriend jean.  I decided to do each of the looks with a different pair of this style of denim, because even though the boyfriend fit is pretty standard, of course there are some of variations on this theme.  Some fit more like a classic baggy pair, like you maybe could have actually stolen them from your boyfriend, and then there’s the more slim fit skinnier boyfriend pair.  (For those of you who have super skinny boyfriends, obviously.  Just kidding.)  There’s also usually a relative amount of distressing on these jeans, but it can range from the slight to the crazy trashed look of say, the One Teaspoon Denim.

THE JEANS:  Okay, so I used three quite different pairs.  One is a vintage men’s pair of Levi’s, another a distressed women’s pair of Levi’s, and then finally, a more classic Gap pair.  I feel like I can’t talk about boyfriend jeans without mentioning the original, Current/Elliott, who came out with this style and caused an explosion in denim years ago.  Theirs are an awesome investment piece if you are looking to buy a pricer pair, OR you can sometimes find them at places like Nordstrom Rack, Off Fifth, and TJ Maxx or Marshall’s at a lower price point.  Other places to find good boyfriend jeans are Gap (seriously one of the best places I’ve found to get good ones!), One Teaspoon (they’re pricey but adorable), thrift stores, Cotton On (great price!), and Old Navy (more bargain prices).  How much you spend really should depend on how they fit you and also how committed you are to this style, whether it’s something you want to just try out and wear occasionally or you want to invest in a good pair you are going to wear more often.

Let’s get going!  There’s a lot of ways you can rock the bf jeans, but hopefully if this is a style you have been stumped on or maybe bored with, this will get your creative style juices going!

DON’T MESS WITH ME, I’M PREPPY
This look is a really fun one I think because it’s a little bit preppy, and a little bit tough!  It’s nice to take something like polka dots and toughen them up a bit!  For this look I used slightly distressed Gap boyfriend jeans (they call them “girlfriend jeans” right now there, but they’re a slimmer fit than the traditional pair.  I love using lace tank tops as vests, and this one from Zara is just perfect for that!

Jeans HERE, blouse HERE, vest HERE, loafers HERE, necklace HERE. (these are all just similar pieces to what I’m wearing).
THRIFTY TIP:  Loafers are a great thing to look at thrift stores for!  These one’s I thrifted and they are PERFECT for only $20!  If you’re a polka dot lover, this is also a pattern that’s a great thrift find!  This top I am wearing is a brand new, with the tags on Free People sheer blouse…marked at $88, and I paid $4 for it at Goodwill.
SWAP IT OUT: A plaid shirt would be super cute with this look.  You can switch out the polka dots with plaid and the loafers for booties!
CRAFTY DIY: If you can’t seem to find a sleepless lace top, you can always get any lace top you can find at a thrift store and cut the sleeves off!

I’M WITH THE BAND
I love this look because it’s a total “I feel so cool” outfit!  I used a super distressed pair of Levi’s for this look and a bunch of thrifted stuff…it’s a fun one :)

Jeans HERE, shirt HERE, kimono HERE, booties HERE, necklace HERE. (style suggestions based on this look!)
THRIFTY TIP: Kimonos are a great thing to hunt for in the ROBE/NIGHTGOWN section of the thrift stores as I’ve mentioned before.  Also, the link above the the American Eagle Outfitters jeans is a great denim steal!
SWAP IT OUT: Instead of a band tee, use a patterned or plain tee and put a denim or plaid button down over it and wear it open.  Totally changes the look of the outfit, but still super cool!
CRAFTY DIY: Get some awesome jeans at the thrift store and distress them yourself!  HERE’S an awesome post on how to do it!

MY BOYFRIEND’S NOT BOHO BUT MY OUTFIT IS
For this last look, I used my vintage Levi’s that are my most baggy boyfriend fit.  One of the tricks to wearing the baggier styles is to make sure that the top you are wearing is not too long or oversized…otherwise your outfit will just be way too baggy overall!

Jeans HERE, booties HERE, top HERE.
THRIFTY TIP:  These jeans are like the classic thrifted boyfriend jeans.  I really recommend checking the mens section for the smaller sizes to achieve this look!
SWAP IT OUT:  A puff sleeve top would be adorable with this look too.  Add a vest on top of that, and you have a whole new look!
CRAFTY DIY: Make your own white turquoise necklace!  Just buy a strand of beads and string them and you’re golden!

I love boyfriend jeans.  Bell Bottoms are my total go-to, but boyfriend jeans have a relaxed cool vibe to them that is just fun to mix in sometimes!  Hopefully you’ve got a pair and this will help you jazz them up a bit, but if you don’t have a pair, maybe there’s a link in here that will get you looking at finding the right pair for your body!

Happy happy Wednesday, hope your week is rockin
Katy

On Getting a Bargain

I love to shop.  I bet you didn’t know that did you?  :) I love to bargain shop, thrift store shop, grocery shop…you name it, if it involves shopping, I’m probably in, and very excited about it.  Now obviously, I think it’s totally worth it to spend full price on certain things or even spend a lot on things if they’re investment pieces or things you wear the heck out of  (like my Minnetonka boots or my Show Me Your Mumu bells).  Nothing beats finding exactly what you want…in the fit or fabric you want, right?  However, what’s even BETTER than that?  Finding exactly what you want at a thrift store or on sale!  I got contacted by ThredUp (the ever so lovely Sasha Agent recommended me, bless her!) to collaborate with them…and I really didn’t know what kind of clothing site it was!  I checked it out, and BOY was I surprised.  Now I honestly try to be very careful what I recommend to you all.  If someone offered me free stuff and I wasn’t crazy about their shop, I’d decline it.  Because it most definitely means a lot to me to be able to say with certainty that what I’m recommending to you is something that I would actually buy or wear myself…not just “oh hey look free stuff!”  But if Sasha says it’s good, trust me, that girl knows her shizz.

You guys.  There is SO MUCH stuff on ThredUp, and the bargains are PLENTIFUL. I saw SO much stuff…Free People, Madewell, JCrew, Gap, and even high end designers at a FRACTION of the cost.  You can search by your size which makes it SUPER easy to shop, and so many of the prices were under $20.  It’s so great, it’s almost overwhelming!  Naturally, after searching through the site, I agreed to collaborate because this is kind of like thrifting for brand names, but online.  It’s awesome.  I highly recommend if you’re looking for that perfect JCrew button down…check ThredUp first!

So here’s what I came up with.  They gave me $30 to shop with.  And that’s EXACTLY what my outfit cost.  No joke.  Okay, it was $30.48 to be exact, you caught me, but I’m SERIOUS YOU GUYS, this shirt is from Madewell and the skirt is pleated silk from Gap.  The pieces are gorgeous, and I’m SO excited and proud to show you that YOU TOO could get your very own entire outfit for $30!  Is that not SO COOL?  By the way, I’ve got an invitation code for you too.  If you use it, you get $10 off your order, and I’ll get $10 too…honestly I’m more excited about you getting $10 off though fyi :).  Click HERE to shop and get $10!

Shopping is much more relaxing when you know you’re getting a bargain!

Happy weekend all you gorgeous babes
Katy

 

All About Boyfriend Jeans

The last day of my Week of Denim is a Friday, obviously, and I really think it calls for a great pair of vintage boyfriend jeans.  Like most girls, I’m kind of always on the hunt for amazing jeans…even though I have a lot of pairs that I love.  I rarely find new pairs that can rival what’s already in my closet, but occasionally the stars align and it happens.  When it comes to boyfriend jeans, the best pairs I’ve ever found are from Gap.  Weird, right?  I mean the best two pairs I’ve ever owned cost less than $20 each. I mean, of all the expensive pairs of jeans I own, those Gap ones are just as great.  I even had someone once ask me if my jeans were Current/Elliott (which I love), and I was like, um, no these actually were on sale for $15 at Gap.  I’m pretty sure I saw a cloud of dust she ran outta there immediately in the direction of the store.

Regardless of all my amazing pairs, I have been wanting a pair of true vintage Levi’s.  The kind I always see on Instagram that are that perfect light wash and are hand distressed…the holy grail of vintage boyfriend jeans.  They are super hard to find around where I live because there’s just not that many places to get great vintage here.  On my recent trip to Venice (California, not Italy!), I found them!  I was headed towards a vintage clothing shop that had great reviews on Yelp, when I happened upon another one on the way.  I had to pop in because it looked interesting.  It was way better than interesting.  I’m pretty sure that this was the best selection and prices of vintage clothes that I’ve ever seen.  Vintage graphic tees for days, vintage dresses, and JEANS.  I cannot wait to get back in there.  It’s a place called Gotta Have It, and you gotta go there.  It was the first of three vintage stores I went to there, but next time I go, I’m planning on stocking up there on shirts and jeans.  Needless to say, this is where I found my vintage Levi’s for less than $50.  Score!!

 

Excuse the blinding sliver of midriff that escaped in this photo.  Obviously Edward Cullen has nothing on my midsection these days.

Oh, and ps, that’s my awesome new necklace from Mountain Soul Jewelry hiding in that second picture. :)

The thing about boyfriend jeans is that they’re kind of the anti-jean.  They’re the comfy pair that doesn’t make you have to suck in your gut or gear up for squeezing into them.  They’re the pajama pant of jeans.  And once I feel a little thinner, I’ll probably just wear a white tank with them and feel like I’m channeling Jennifer Aniston’s cool easy vibe.

I’m going to go put on my new jeans and feel super cool now.  Happy Friday!

Katy