Six Tips for Buying Maternity Clothes

When it comes to buying maternity clothes, take the following information to heart in order to ensure you get the best look, feel and value for your pregnancy and postpartum needs. Whether you’re buying maternity clothes online or in stores — or simply going through the closets of formerly pregnant friends — knowing what to look for, why to look for it, and considering your changing needs will enable you to create the right wardrobe for flattering you throughout pregnancy.

TIP 1: Size Matters

Women are often told to choose maternity clothes in the same size they wore pre-pregnancy, but it’s not as simple as that. First, not all maternity clothes are designed for pre-pregnancy sizes. Most, but not all, of them are, so it pays to do a little research on the brand or to try on the items. If you can, read the labels on maternity clothes to find out if they’re pre-shrunk and how they base their sizing.

Keep in mind that as your pregnancy progresses, your weight may, too. Consider the following three women:

My friend’s wife, let’s call her Girlfriend #1, went through her whole pregnancy without gaining any weight but she was 30 pounds overweight to begin with.

Another girlfriend, let’s say Girlfriend #2, who was at her ideal weight when she got pregnant, had already gained 20 pounds in her first trimester. She’s in her second trimester now and not gaining weight as rapidly.

During my pregnancy, on the other hand, I put on over 50 pounds.

Each of us women will have different needs for buying maternity clothes.

Girlfriend #1, for example, was able to buy maternity clothes based on her pre-pregnancy size, and didn’t have to make any maternity purchases until later in her pregnancy when her belly “popped.”

Girlfriend #2, on the other hand, had to find maternity pants and bottoms in her first trimester. She’s also able to buy maternity clothes based on her pre-pregnancy size, because her weight gain is mostly in her belly.

I was a size 8 when I got pregnant, but went up to a 10 and then a 12 by the time my daughter was born. I have an hourglass body type, so I have full breasts and wide hips. During pregnancy, they both got much larger, and I simply couldn’t fit into size 8 maternity clothes. Where my body changed and filled out required me to size up.

TIP 2: The Fit Can Flatter — or Fail

In an effort to minimize buying maternity clothes, and worrying that what fits them now won’t fit them later in pregnancy, many women will make the mistake of buying sizes that are too large, or buying men’s clothes or plus-size clothing. Avoid this because you’ll end up with maternity clothes that are too loose and baggy and don’t have “give” in the right places. Unless you’re buying a maxi dress or A-line sheath, loose, baggy maternity clothes are unflattering. Even if you’re plus-size before pregnancy, you still want to invest in buying maternity clothes, as opposed to larger plus-sizes, so you can enjoy the specific support, comfort and fit of clothing made for pregnancy.

Choose high-quality, well-made maternity clothes with any of the following features that ensure a flexible, stylish fit:

  • Ruching (gathers): on the side for maternity tops; on the waist for maternity bottoms
  • Patterns or all-solid colors that create a slimming effect
  • Extra length in the torso for shirts, tops and dresses
  • Adjustable waist bands, such as drawstring
  • Extra-long torso to provide complete coverage as your body grows
  • Empire waist tops and dresses

TIP 3: Fabric is Important

When buying maternity clothes that you hope will last through several pregnancy stages, choose high-quality, well-made items. Ideal maternity clothes will be made with strong, stretchy material that will grow with you, so they’ll stay snug, flattering and supportive as your body changes.

Look for: Breathability, softness, durability and stretch are the things to look for in high-quality, comfortable maternity clothes. Natural fabrics such as cotton, modal, and bamboo will be soft and breathable — helping you with those pregnancy hot flashes and itchiness that are so common. Blended jersey made from those natural materials together with Spandex or lycra deliver the stretchiness, support and shape retention you need to accommodate your body as it changes.

Avoid: Maternity clothes should NOT be “permanent press” or “wrinkle-free.” Recent articles have shown that such fabrics are treated with chemicals like formaldehyde that are dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. You should also avoid synthetics like polyester that hold heat to the skin and any clothing with dyes that rub off when you hold them. These fabrics can make you very uncomfortable and what’s the use in buying maternity clothes that are too hot or itchy to wear?

TIP 4: Essentials Are Worth the Investment

A common complaint about buying maternity clothes is price. When you shop to save, you generally encounter lower quality collections. Poorly made maternity clothes fall apart quickly in the wash, shrink or don’t retain shape after laundering, pill and fray, slip down over your belly, ride up, make you too hot, and itch. Instead of shopping for quantity, shop for quality.

Determine your budget for buying maternity clothes, then set aside at least 75% of it for acquiring new, high-quality, essential pieces that will be the foundation of your daily wear. Some everyday favorites worth your investment are:

  • Basic maternity tank tops, camisoles and t-shirts
  • Maternity jeans
  • At least one maternity dress
  • A pair of black, dressy slacks
  • Maternity leggings

Combined with items from your regular wardrobe, these maternity essentials will take you through the seasons and stages of your pregnancy in comfort. Change layers as needed by simply adding sweaters, wraps, jackets, scarves and accessories from your regular wardrobe.

TIP 5: Build on a Strong Foundation

Before pregnancy you wouldn’t dream of going out of the house with a poor-fitting bra, so don’t do it now! Maternity lingerie is an important foundation for looking and feeling your best. Without the right bra, your tops and dresses aren’t going to look as great as they could and you’re going to be quite uncomfortable. Because breasts grow and change throughout pregnancy, women are often confused about how and when to buy a maternity bra — sometimes so much so that they skip it or put it off as long as they can.

Don’t.

Instead, get yourself one or two really well-made maternity bras as soon as you need them — say a t-shirt bra and a dressier bra, or a t-shirt bra and sleep bra. High-quality bras can be underwire or soft-cup (if underwire, look for a really flexible underwire that’s been approved by lactation consultants). They’ll be made from a very stretchy but shape-retaining material that allows for the extra cup-room you need as your pregnancy progresses. As for your rib cage expanding and needing a larger band, you can get bra extenders to solve this problem if it arises for you.

High-quality maternity bras aren’t cheap. But these are your breasts, ladies. Treat them with care throughout pregnancy (and breastfeeding) and you’ll avoid suffering more pain, aching, and problems than are necessary and you’ll be looking and feeling your best.

TIP 6: Experiment with Maternity Accessories

I’m not talking scarves, jewelry and bags, I’m talking about abdominal support belts, maternity belts, belly wraps, “BellaBands” and support hose.

After buying maternity clothes and wearing them for a little bit, women complain about:

  • Belly panels that fall down
  • Maternity pants that fall down
  • Maternity pants or panels that irritate their belly buttons
  • Maternity tops that don’t provide enough coverage or ride up

Because other women have faced these maternity clothes challenges, there are now a plethora of mom-invented maternity accessories to help you. “BellaBands,” for example, are supportive, stretchy abdominal bands that you can wear over your unbuttoned pre-pregnancy pants to make them last longer, or over maternity pants to help hold the belly panel in place and provide extra abdominal support. BellaBands also help cover your abdomen if you’re wearing tops that are too short to cover your pregnant belly.

• The Invisibelt helps keep pants up while retaining a seamless look (so you can wear t-shirts and snug tops without a belly panel outline glaring through).
• Abdominal support belts can provide relief for an aching lower abdomen, back or pelvis.
• Maternity support hose helps prevent swelling and hides leg veins that often appear during pregnancy.
• Belly wraps are worn under maternity clothes to help lock in moisture from your belly creams or oils (making their application more effective at preventing stretch marks) and protect your maternity clothes from staining.

Cold Weather Clothing Tips

Think About Your Activity Level

A backcountry hike or cross-country ski trek is going to turn your body into a convection oven through constant activity, while riding a lift will be more of hot bursts with cold intervals. Think about whether your activity is aerobic or stop-and-go before you get dressed.

Layer Your Clothing

If you layer correctly, you can enjoy your activity longer and not have to concern yourself with feeling cold or even hot. Regardless of your budget there are ways to accomplish this. More on layering below.

Choosing A Base Layer

Sometimes the “warmest” long underwear isn’t what you need. If you are engaged in a high-energy, all-out cardio sport, go for a lightweight wickable base layer that will keep you dry. Otherwise, a midweight base layer is great for most purposes. Only in really cold weather or when you’re fairly inactive (e.g., camping expedition) do you need a heavyweight base layer.

Add A Mid-Layer For Warmth

Mid-layers add insulation to help retain heat that your body creates, and are worn between the base layer and outer jacket if needed. Examples of insulating mid-layers include a fleece vest, a down sweater, or a synthetic insulation jacket..

Wear An Outer Shell

Wear an outer shell jacket (over your mid-layer) to shed water and snow. Layering will give you more versatility in your activities without being reliant on the weather. Outerwear that is waterproof with increased breathability will be more adaptable and can help transfer moisture away from your body to keep you dry and protected from the elements.

Ventilation

When you perspire from high-energy activity, moisture builds up inside your outerwear. Jackets and pants do not insulate well when wet. Look for core vents on jackets or thigh vents on pants. Regulating your interior temperature will help you stay dry and comfortable.

Connect Your Outerwear Pants To Your Jacket

A jacket-to-pant connect system keeps out snow and cold, especially on those heavy powder days. As well as sealing out wetness, a connect system will prevent the snowskirt on your jacket from riding up. This is a great feature for snowboarding or skiing. All EMS Jackets with snowskirts feature a jacket-to-pant connection. Another great option is a snow bib.

Make Sure It Fits For Your Lifestyle

When you try on layers, a jacket or pants, do yourself a favor and move in it – raise up your hands, bend over and touch your toes, squat as if you are fixing your boots. Think about what you want the outerwear to do – cover every inch of your skin in freezing weather; let you bend your knees to ollie or reach out to grab a hand hold while still offering total coverage and protection.

Respect The Sun

We all wear hats and gloves, but don’t forget about your eyes. It’s not uncommon for skiers without protective eyewear to burn their eyes. Sun damage can be just as strong on cloudy days. Always wear sunglasses or goggles with UV protection, and wear sunscreen and lip balm. Your headgear will also help protect you from the sun.

Keep Your Feet Warm

How many times have your feet been way too cold? Wool or wool blend socks are great natural insulators, even when wet. For most cold-weather sports, wear wicking liner socks and midweight synthetic socks. Make sure you fit footwear with heavier socks for more warmth. Footwear that constricts your foot will constrict your blood flow and cause your feet to be cold. You may also want to consider gaiters to keep snow/water from coming over the tops of your boots.

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Why smart clothes, not watches, are the future of wearables

Why are we so fixated on watches and bands? The wearable tech market is full of fitness-obsessed products for workout-loving people with thick wrists and deep pockets. No one in the industry wants to admit it, but the wrist is probably not the best place to stick a bunch of sensors, and activity tracking may not even be the best use for all those sensors. If we want wearables to become truly wearable, companies need to start looking at the clothes we wear every day of our lives. And if we want those wearables to be truly useful, we need to think beyond step counting and create tech that gives actionable suggestions to improve our well-being.

Forget bands, make more smart clothes

Although the idea of smart clothing has floated around for a few years, little has come of it, until now. Big-name companies like Samsung, Google, OMSignal, Hexo Skin, and Under Armour have begun thinking about ways to make the clothes on your back as smart as the phone in your pocket. Since most wearables are fitness-focused, most smart clothing so far has followed in those footsteps with incredibly accurate fitness metrics and detailed analysis of workouts. Thankfully, many companies are beginning to think beyond gym rats, and the smart clothes they are working on may be the future of wearable tech.

No matter your age, gender, or fitness level, you have one choice every day: wear clothes or get arrested for indecent exposure. This is why smart clothes are wearables for everyone. Slipping on a smart t-shirt or hooking on a smart bra in the morning doesn’t require any extra effort. You don’t have to change your behavior to suit the tech.

The main problem with current fitness bands and smartwatches is that they’re so conspicuous. Yes, they’ve improved lightyears from the bulky monstrosities we tried to wear a year or two ago, but they’re still something you have to take off, charge, think about, and put on each day. Imagine if your coat, pants, socks, or shoes just did all this for you. You wouldn’t have to work out to take advantage of the benefits of wearable tech. Since you wear clothing all the time, making the fabric that covers your body smarter would make it easier than ever to keep tabs on your overall wellness without forcing you to go to the gym, or wear anything that you wouldn’t normally wear.

Wearable tech is at its best when it isn’t obvious. That’s why smart jewelry that’s not overly futuristic, gaudy, or bulky — and smartwatches that look like actual watches — have such incredibly strong appeal to your average person.

Endless varieties of smart clothes

Smart clothes are even more normal looking, and they’re much more easily customizable than other wearables. After you’ve got the sensors down, you can easily incorporate them into any type of clothing without a hitch. It doesn’t take much effort to create 20 different color options and styles for a smart shirt, but manufacturing more than one finish for a smartwatch is a huge operation. Already, smart clothes are available in more styles, colors, and varieties than other wearables.

Just look at OMSignal’s many fun smart sports bra patterns and color options or Samsung’s recent wearable prototypes, which include a belt that lets you know when you’re packing on the pounds, a very stylish business suit with NFC buttons hidden in the cuffs, a golf shirt that tracks swings, and smart workout clothes. All of these devices are brilliant wearables, not because they share the same tech as your average fitness tracker, but because they don’t look like tech.

It’s a dream shared by many, including the founder of Google Project Jacquard, Ivan Poupyrev. During Google I/O 2015, Poupyrev showed off a new way to weave touch panels to into conventional fabrics, using old-fashioned textile manufacturing processes. Google’s yarn has a conductive metal core that’s mixed with conventional fibers and can be dyed any color. Google is working with Levi’s and other companies to make its dream of high-tech clothing come true using traditional techniques.

Noble Biomaterials makes CircuiteX technology, which creates the conductive components in smart garments. These threads “ultimately allow for the ‘detection, transmission and protection of electrical signals’ within smart clothing.” explains General Manager Bennett Fisher. “Once the sensor is inside the clothing, what you’re wearing becomes a sensor.”

Clothing+ is a Finnish company working on integrating technology like this into clothes for sports and medical applications. “People are more and more interested in understanding their bodies and making choices based on data,” Mikko Malmivaara, one of the founders of Clothing+, told us. And as this interest grows, Malmivaara noted, Clothing+ determined that the “clothes we wear are the best way for any device or data system to interface the human body.”
Although it may be a while before Fruit of the Loom starts selling smart boxers at K-Mart and Victoria Secret kicks off a marketing campaign for the Dream Angels smart bra, tech is slowly making its way into our clothes, albeit in small ways. Ralph Lauren sells a smart tennis shirt by OMSignal, Tommy Hilfiger has a solar-powered jacket, and Joe’s Jeans recently made a pair of skinny jeans for women that have a special pocket for charging up your iPhone 6 on the go. High-tech accessories like purses and backpacks that charge your gadgets on the go are already popular among the tech-savvy populous.

Smart underwear is the way to go

Funny enough, the gateway drug of the smart clothes world was fitness clothes, but a more logical choice is perhaps the most intimate one of all: underwear. Most people wear underwear every day — unless you like to go commando — and it’d be an easy way to get people started with smart clothing. In fact, if you didn’t want to wear tons of smart clothing or spend the money on techy clothes, you could get along just fine with a collection of smart socks and underwear.

Your underwear is also the most logical place to wear sensors that monitor your vitals, as it’s the clothing that’s in closest contact with your skin. A smart bra can measure breathing, heart rate, and muscle tension to determine a number of health and wellness metrics like stress level, activity, anxiety, and so on. Same goes for a pair of smart boxers, socks, or an undershirt.

Current fitness bands try to get all that data from your wrist, which is a tricky spot for certain metrics, especially muscle tension and breathing rate. Activity tracking at the wrist isn’t always the most accurate, either. Even popular fitness trackers like Fitbit exaggerate step count and can misread enthusiastic hand gestures for dozens of steps. Right now, the accuracy of fitness bands is at the mercy of each company’s algorithms and companion app. That doesn’t have to be the case. Most researchers agree that placing trackers on your hip or foot would offer more accurate measurements than wrist-based fitness trackers and smartwatches, so why not stick all those sensors in your socks or underwear?

Fitness companies who make smart clothes are already jumping all over that idea. OMSignal and Sensoria have smart bras and smart workout shirts that can be worn under regular clothes or at the gym, Sensoria makes a pair of smart socks with an attachable sensor and conductive thread, and Hexo Skin offers several smart shirts that are similar to those from OMSignal and Sensoria.

The next logical step is to put this tech into normal underwear and clothes to track wellness metrics instead of just fitness. After all, not everyone is a gym rat, but most people would like to know how they’re doing, if they’re stressed, and how much exercise they’ve gotten.

Taking wearables out of the gym

OMSignal’s cofounder and CEO Stephane Marceau paints an incredible picture of a future in which everyone wears smart clothes that give them actionable feedback when they need it most. The company currently has a series of smart sports shirts for men and it just launched a smart sports bra for women, both of which track your typical fitness metrics of steps, distance, calorie burn, and heart rate, as well as many other unique measurements like breathing efficiency, fatigue levels, and how much effort your body is putting into your workout.

The most exciting thing about OMSignal’s tech is that the data it garners from all the sensors in its clothes can be used for more than just workout analysis. Its next big project is tracking users’ emotional wellness with biometric data like breathing, heart rate, and muscle tension. When you’re stressed out, your breathing becomes shallow, your heart rate increases, and your body tenses up. OMSignal’s smart bra or shirt can recognize all these physical changes in your body and alert you via a push notification to stop, breathe, tune into yourself, and be mindful of your emotional state, thus improving your mental and physical well-being.

The company also hopes to enter the medical side of wearable tech with its smart clothes. In the future, pregnant women might be able to share their baby’s heartbeat with OMSignal’s app via the data captured by the sensors in its smart shirts. People with heart conditions or other medical issues could be alerted to physiological changes and warning signs before an emergency strikes. Smart clothing could notify you, your loved ones, and even medical personnel that you’re in need of help.

The possibilities are endless. Smart clothing has the potential to break wearables out of their fitness funk and make them go mainstream. If wearables are ever going to take off, they have to be fashionable, look like normal clothes and accessories, and do more than tell you your step count.

 

The True Cost of Cheap Clothing

In order to better understand how the clothes we buy impacts our world, I’m going to attempt to walk you through the lifespan of a typical “Fast Fashion” item, like a shirt from a store like H&M, as we try to calculate the true cost of disposable clothing.

THE BURDEN ON FARMERS

The story begins with a poor farmer in the plains of Cambodia who produces the world’s cheapest cotton. Yesterday he was delivered his new cotton seeds, loaned to him by the bank that represents the seed company. The farmer can’t plant just any cotton seeds, since only those genetically modified to produce super-dense crops can provide the yields he needs to reach his quotas. In order to reach these yields, however, it’s going to involve a lot of chemical spraying. Using a backpack-mounted sprayer, the farmer coats each of his fields weekly with a mixture of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, all sold to him by the same company that sold him the seeds. These are the same chemicals that, as proven in court, have caused diseases such as jaundice and cancer to the farmer as well as two of his children. He doesn’t make enough money to afford the growing list of chemicals he needs to kill the resilient pests in his fields, let alone health care for him and his family. Eventually he loses every last dollar buying his children’s medications, which, astonishingly, are sold to him by the same company that sold him both the seeds and the chemicals.

With his debt and the health of his family becoming more and more overwhelming, the farmer begins to understand why 250,000 farmers in Cambodia have reportedly committed suicided – most of which by way of drinking the very chemicals that caused their health problems and debt cycle in the first place. Nevertheless, despite all of the hardships and a never-ending cycle of poverty, the farmer manages to produce his cotton quota. It wasn’t without plenty of literal blood, sweat and tears. It never is. This cheap cotton is eventually purchased at record-low prices by large textile distributors who weave it into cheap fabrics that are then sold in extreme bulk quantities to low-end super-retailers like H&M and Zara.

THE BURDEN ON GARMENT WORKERS

This super cheap cotton is then shipped to Dhaka, Bangladesh where it is received by a factory owner who employs 5,000 sewers, 85% of whom are women. These women make roughly $2 a day, for 12 hours of sewing work. There are growing cracks in the walls and every day the workers fear that the building might come crumbling down, as it did last week in a neighboring town. A thousand garment workers were killed that day, even after voicing concerns about the structural stability of the building. Every day this factory produces 180,000 shirts, and dumps 20 million litters of chemicals into the local water supply, which has been causing record levels of disease and birth defects in the local community.

The factory owner must stay on top of his workers to make sure they are sewing fast enough to meet the deadline. The most recent order is for one million shirts at 20 cents each, but they all need to be delivered by the end of the month otherwise the brand can cancel the contract and not pay the factory anything. His investors won’t let him lose another major contract to a competing factory, but he knows that at these rates he won’t be able to pay his workers their full wage. He’s forced to give his sewers a pay cut. This month the sewers will only make $1.80/day, rather than a full $2 – which is already not enough to feed their kids and buy the medication needed to treat their diseases caused by the pollution. When the female workers attempt to unionize and demand a higher minimum wage, the owner and his male staff lock the women in the factory and beat them with their own rusty sewing equipment, including chairs, rulers, and scissors. At the cost of more blood, sweat and tears, the dirt cheap cotton farmed in Cambodia is made into dirt cheap shirts sewn in Bangladesh that are ready to be shipped and sold in America.

THE BURDEN OF ADVERTISING

The next person in this cycle of garbage and pollution is the one who’s in charge of marketing the shirt to the almighty American consumer. The Cambodian/Bangladeshi cotton shirt arrives on the slowboat from Asia and eventually reaches the office of GQ magazine. There’s a new unpaid intern in the office working on pulling product for a story called “The Best Button-Downs Under $10”. He’s been chit chatting on the phone all morning with his contact-persons at each Fast Fashion brand who is sponsoring the October issue. Out of the three shirts that are going to be recommended in this story, one has to be H&M, another placement is sold to the GAP Brands, and the intern gets the honor and excitement of choosing the 3rd shirt (but it can’t be from any brand who purchased advertising last month and didn’t re-up for the current issue). He takes photos of the sample shirts on his smartphone and texts them to his boss with some anxiously excited emojis. They debate catchy marketing titles such as “Shirts That Cost Less Than Lunch” in order to satisfy their advertisers and shareholders by convincing their readers that buying this cheap cotton shirt is as fundamental and happiness-inducing as eating a proper meal.

The photoshoot for the advertorial story is scheduled for next week, and the expert photoshop re-touchers are already on contract. The H&M shirt will get center position in the story, because they paid the most. As it turns out, the largest expense for a fast fashion brand like H&M is not producing the low-quality garments they sell, but spending on aggressive marketing campaigns to convince consumers that buying more cheap clothing will solve their problems and have them looking like happy European super models.

THE BURDEN ON THE CONSUMER

Kurt is a DJ and part-time promoter at a couple nightclubs in NYC. He makes $300 when he spins, which is a couple nights a week if he’s lucky. He has student loans and credit card debt, he doesn’t have health insurance, and he’s falling behind on the rent for his Chinatown apartment. But, despite his poverty level, he’s got access to a consolation prize that usually cheers him up. When he buys a brand new shirt at an unbeatable price, he feels like he got a great deal and considers himself happier in the short term. Although, the truth is, he doesn’t necessarily love the shirt he just bought and when he looks at his wardrobe he’s not really sure what his “style” is. It kind of changes with every season, which sometimes gives him anxiety and leaves him wondering what to wear or who he is, even though he’s got an expansive collection of trendy clothing. Nevertheless, Kurt buys the Cambodian/Bangladeshi shirt and ends up sweating through it at his next DJ performance. After a wash it’s just not the same shirt – the fit is off and the collar looks all floppy – so Kurt ends up donating the shirt to charity. He feels like he’s doing a good thing; somebody in need will get to enjoy that used, shrunken shirt. Oblivious to the truth about where that shirt originally came from and all the pain and damage that was caused to produce it, Kurt feels good about his recent donation so he decides to forgo lunch and buy himself another new shirt instead. He still can’t make rent or afford health insurance, but this one has color blocking and studs on it, and it was only $8 added to his credit card debt. This one makes him feel like a whole new man, he thinks. And if he doesn’t end up wearing it, well, he can always just donate it to a “good cause”.

THE COST OF RECYCLING

Once Kurt tosses the shirt into the local donation bin, it embarks on another epic journey known as the world’s recycled clothing system. This is another insanely labor intensive and wasteful process that uses more energy than it produces. We touched on the recycled clothing cycle a bit in our Guide to Shopping Vintage, but we will get into greater detail about this globally intertwined marketplace in another article. Long story short, only about 10% of the clothes donated to charity are actually sold to vintage, thrift, or second-hand shops for after market re-sale. Kurt’s shirt, like most, was not picked-up for re-sale by a store owner, which means after yet another entire process of shipping and handling, it gets marked as “donation” and gets dumped somewhere in a country like Haiti. Haiti receives a ridiculous amount of recycled clothing. So much, in fact, that it has virtually destroyed the local garment-making industry that was indigenous to the community. Turns out with so much free clothing being dropped into the country all the time, it’s hard to keep people employed sewing new garments. Chances are, with all the abundance of recycled clothing, not even an impoverished person in Haiti is interested in Kurt’s shirt that was worn once and shipped around the world twice. Eventually the shirt is deemed unwearable and is thrown in the garbage.

THE BURDEN ON THE ENVIRONMENT

It’s important to realize that every step in this process has profound effects on the environment. Farming, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, sales, recycling, waste management – these all require tremendous amounts of energy and release tremendous amounts of harmful bi-products on the environment.

Finally, Kurt’s $9 cotton shirt that was worn one time arrives to it’s final resting place. It sits on one of many, many giant landfills which are consuming our earth, polluting our air and water, and killing our wildlife. It is estimated that 40% of these landfills are made up of old textiles used for clothing. As it turns out, when people can wear something one time then throw it out, they do. Like napkins. At alarming rates. The average American throws away roughly 82 lbs of clothing per year…that’s 11 million tons coming annually from the US alone. And it all just sits there, somewhere, on the land, releasing gasses that ruin our planet.

IS THERE A SOLUTION?

I believe there a solution. In my opinion, it’s three fold:

1) Educate the consumers. As bloggers with the power of the internet and the ears of consumers looking for advice on buying clothing, it’s our duty to teach people about more than putting together a cool outfit. At Articles of Style we want our readers to invest wisely and develop lasting style, all while preserving the environment and understanding who they’re giving their hard-earned dollars to. Large corporations are not going to stop making cheap crap unless we stop wasting our money on it.

2) Produce quality goods. It’s on fashion brands to produce quality goods that last the test of time. Good design is meant to last, not be replaced after one season, or even worse, one wear. Clothing should never be considered disposable. This is a wasteful way of doing business and it harms every person in the cycle, from the farmer to the sewer to the end consumer. There do exist several forward-thinking fashion companies, as highlighted in the documentary, who use sustainable practices to create their garments – from organic farmers who are paid fair wages, to garment workers who are treated with care and respect, to products that are designed to enhance the life of customers rather than add the burden of storing more worthless junk.

3) Provide transparency. In the digital age, there is no excuse for a brand who produces a product to not be upfront about where and how it was made, and the conditions of those who were contracted to make it. This should be a point of pride for the brand, not a dirty secret. As a consumer, it’s our duty to ask questions and not be fooled by price tags that seam unreasonably low. There are people all around the world who are paying a steep cost in order to sell you that shirt for $9.

In conclusion, I believe it is possible for us to slow down the shockingly detrimental effects caused by this new “Fast Fashion” industry, but it’s going to take a lot more education and effort among consumers. To get started, I suggest watching The True Cost. If you’re a fashion enthusiast I have a feeling it will change your life, or at least the way you spend money on clothing.

New ‘Stealth Wear’ clothing collection protects wearers from drone detection

It may look like something out of a cheap science fiction film, but a new line of clothing developed by a New York City-based fashion designer can reportedly protect you from prying electronic eyes.

The inspiration for the “Stealth Wear” collection of hoodies, burqas and hijabs lined with “metalized fibers that reflect heat, thus evading thermal imaging technology used by drones,” came from several sources, says creator Adam Harvey – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) research, a trip to Afghanistan and, according the Air Force Times, a “particular interest to challenge authoritarian surveillance.”

“It all came together last year after working with similar materials I use for the pieces now and experimenting with a thermal camera I have on hand,” he told AF Times, adding that inspiration coincided during a trip he took last year, in which he spoke with CBS reporter Mandy Clark about his research.

“She said to me, rather matter-of-factly, that averting surveillance like this is something that happens in the battlefield, that people were using space blankets in the desert to deflect detection,” he said.

‘Leader in privacy technology’

Harvey said he worked with designer Johanna Bloomfield on material that is flexible and metalized, in order to create “ready-to-wear counter-surveillance” clothing. He showcased his designs at the Primitive London event in January, AF Times said.

Much of Harvey’s development centers around what he believes is a growing feeling of vulnerability among the American people because of the government’s – as well as local police department’s – reliance on drones for surveillance.

“The U.S. is a leader in technology, but we can also be a leader in privacy technology,” he said.

Harvey said uniform companies that have U.S. military contracts are already expressing an interest in buying some of his clothing line. He now has to work on restructuring the way the garments are manufactured; on average it takes about two weeks to make one piece by hand.

“Out of the three main pieces, the most significant is the burqa,” – a traditional outer garment worn by Islamic women that covers their bodies in public, including an eye veil – he said.

The pieces of clothing will be made in New York City, but the line is not necessarily being catered to Americans. Rather, they will be applicable “anywhere where drones are being used.” For the record, increasingly that will be in the United States.

“Wearable technology” is nothing new to Harvey, 31. He’s responsible for “Camoflash,” which debuted in 2012 as an anti-paparazzi clutch that emits a “counter-flash” of light aimed at photographers’ cameras.

“He followed that up with ‘CV Dazzle,’ a camouflage technique that combines makeup and hairstyling in order to thwart facial recognition software,” AF Times said.

Not politically right or left

At what cost this clothing technology? It isn’t cheap, according to the Daily Beast. The hoodie will cost $487.45; the hijab $561.99; and the burqa an astounding $2,278.35. Perhaps the most affordable wear: anti-drone t-shirts at $45.58 each.

“Artistically I wanted it to be an appealing garment that made sense as something that could be worn,” he told the Beast. “It’s a future-ready type garment, but it does have a practical application today.”

Politically, Harvey says his clothing line should interest people on both sides of the U.S. political spectrum.

“People see it as technology they can use in their own way,” he said. “It interests people on the far right as much as it interests people on the far left. Ultra-conservatives see it as anti-government and ultra-liberals see it as anti-military.”

Either way, the most important thing about Harvey’s clothing line is that it is anti-drone.

“While I implemented this on a fashionable level, I think this is a good way to change people’s sentiments about [drones and surveillance] and why we need to consider it before it becomes a greater problem,” he said.

Beware of hidden toxin sources in new clothes – Always wash them before wearing

mesin-cuciSeveral decades ago, the Dupont logo had the following text attached: “Better living through chemistry.” Since then, many of us have come to realize we are living worse in a toxic environment that includes chemically polluted air, water, food, so called “medicine,” and now even clothing.

Dupont had created Rayon, a synthetic fiber used for much of our clothing. So it made sense to team up with the timber industry to ensure hemp was banned in the late 1930s. Rayon and paper could continue to be made by chemically processing wood from trees without competition.

Clothing clings to skin, our largest organ. Toxic chemicals are used excessively for processing garment fibers and also for manufacturing clothes. Asian and third world countries manufacture most textiles and clothes.

But they supply American and other multinational brand name labels with those clothes to yield high profits based on cheap production in regions without even shoddy regulatory agency protection.

What’s in your new brand name clothing?

After clothes are made, they are often covered with formaldehyde to keep them from wrinkling or becoming mildewed during shipping. Formaldehyde as a preservative also adds to vaccines’ toxicity.

Several severe allergic reactions to formaldehyde have been reported. It’s no wonder. Investigations have discovered up to 500 times the safe level of formaldehyde in clothing shipped to brand name clothiers form factories in China and Southeast Asia.

There’s also the long term, negative, cumulative effect on health that is almost impossible to trace back to any source of clothing chemicals. Formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals are used to create synthetic fibers for towels and bedding. Textile toxins are hard to avoid even when you’re out of your clothes.

Another commonly used clothing chemical is nonylphenol ehtoxylate (NPE). NPE use is restricted in most regions where the big name brand clothes are sold. But there are no restrictions where the clothing factories are located in China and Southeast Asia. 14 big name brands get their clothing from clothing factories using NPE.

Wrinkle free or no-iron should be considered a warning for carcinogenic perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Teflon for pans is a PFC. Petrochemical dyes are used for fibers in those Asian textile factories that profusely pollute nearby waterways.

Dr. Richard Dixon of the World Wildlife Federation warns about the ecological impact on wildlife: “Urgent action is needed to replace hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives especially in clothing and other consumer products.” (Emphasis added).

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are commonly used as detergents in textile industries abroad that are contracted by multi-national USA and EU-based clothing companies. NPEs break down to form nonylphenol, a toxin with hormone-disrupting properties similar to BPA.

Black clothing and dyes for leathers often contain p-Phenylenediamine (PPD), which can produce allergic reactions. Flame retardants can appear in bedding and nightwear. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and dioxin-producing bleach are used by textile industries. Athletic shoes that contain cloth contain some of these toxins.

How to protect yourself

Read clothing labels and try to avoid synthetic materials such as Rayon, Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, Acetate or Triacetate as much as possible. Also avoid no-iron, wrinkle free and preshrunk items.

Whenever that’s impossible, wash and dry those clothes three times before wearing. Use only safe, organic detergents from health food stores. Also, avoid those dryer sheets to prevent clinging unless you can find them without toxic chemicals.

Even used clothing purchased from thrift stores such as Goodwill may be sprayed with some skanky chemical before they’re put up for sale. Wash and dry them at least once. Stay away from dry cleaners that use perchloroethylene. There are some that don’t.

The Toxic Chemicals Lurk in Your Clothing

You know that if you eat that sugar-filled cookie, it might spike your insulin, and if you put on cosmetics with chemicals in them, they will probably end up in your blood. But have you ever thought twice about putting on your favorite T-shirt, or snuggling into your cotton sheets?

A growing number of parents are demanding organic cotton clothing and diapers for their babies. Many don’t stop with clothing, but have furnished their homes with organic flooring or carpeting, organic mattresses, organic linens, organic window coverings etc. Are they fanatics or do they have scientific evidence to support their lifestyle changes?

Cotton has long been considered by consumers to be the most natural, healthy fabric and they have made it the most popular clothing material. It has been easy to forget that cotton is a crop and as such, it is subject to the same issues as other crops normally considered as food. The last time you drove by a cotton field, did you consider that many of the foods you eat contain a by-product of this very plant?

The cotton plant is comprised of 40% fiber and 60% seed by weight. Once separated in the gin, the fibers go to textile mills, while the seed and various ginning by-products are used for animal feed and human food. For humans this is in the form of cottonseed oil, a very common ingredient in processed foods. The cotton seeds are also used in grain for cattle, which indirectly does enter the food chain in meat and dairy products.

The concerns regarding health stem from the fact that though cotton uses only 2.4% of the world’s
agricultural acreage, its cultivation involves 25% of the world’s pesticide use, more than any other crop. Most of these are insecticides, but fungicide is another fraction of the total. Also, consider that it takes about one-third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers to grow enough conventional cotton for just one T-shirt.

In many cases, these poisonous chemicals are applied by spraying from the air, which means they can be
carried and spread by the wind and breathed by people living nearby. It probably is no coincidence that Texans near Lubbock have a high cancer rate, while Lubbock happens to be the world’s largest area of cotton cultivation.

The chemicals used in cotton production don’t end with cultivation. As an aid in harvesting, herbicides are used to defoliate the plants, making picking easier. Producing a textile from the plants involves more chemicals in the process of bleaching, sizing, dying, straightening, shrink reduction, stain and odor resistance, fireproofing, mothproofing, and static- and wrinkle-reduction. Some of these chemicals are applied with heat, thus bonding them to the cotton fibers.

Several washings are done throughout the process, but some of the softeners and detergents leave a residue that will not totally be removed from the final product. Chemicals often used for finishing include formaldehyde, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, and bromines. Some imported clothes are now impregnated with long-lasting disinfectants which are very hard to remove, and whose smell gives them away.

These and the other chemical residues affect people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Also, people have developed allergic reactions, such as hives, to formaldehyde through skin contact with solutions on durable-press clothing containing formaldehyde. Allergic Contact Dermatitis develops after repeated allergen exposure to dyes and other chemicals and metals. According to a British allergy website, small amounts of perspiration can separate out allergens through several layers of clothing, and leather shoe dyes can leach through socks.

European researchers found antimony, a fire-retardant chemical used in some crib mattresses, leaches through the mattress; they connected this finding to SIDS deaths. The livers of autopsied infants were also found to contain high amounts of antimony. Europe is moving away from flame retardants and requires them to be proven safe before use. Yet US laws require flame retardants be applied to many kinds of children’s clothing.

One study, which included an 18-month old baby, found high levels of flame retardants in the subjects’ blood. The results were two to three times the levels that are known to cause neurological damage in rats.

Though many people believe that chemicals can leach from clothing into the body through the skin, there is no research to prove this. Sodium Tripolyphosphate, a chemical used in some laundry detergents, is claimed to be easily absorbed through the skin from clothes, but this was never proven.

A chemist will say that it is impossible for chemicals to transfer through the skin from dry clothing.
Chemicals enter the skin through the process of osmosis, which requires a moist medium in order for this to occur. Studies are needed to determine if sweat or urine in wet diapers constitute enough of that medium.

Possibly the mechanism by which the chemicals enter the body is through off-gassing of the chemical which is then breathed in. There have been no real studies proving this either. The baby in the previously-cited study crawled on a carpeted floor. Carpeting usually contains flame retardants.

One thing is clear though: organically produced cotton has few of the issues of conventional cotton. Not only are GMO seeds and chemical pesticides not used, but usually the picking is done by hand. Instead of using chemicals to defoliate for easier harvesting, the organic grower relies mostly on the seasonal freeze to defoliate the plants.

Synthetic fertilizers are not used, in favor of crop rotation, which increases the organic matter in the soil. Weeds are removed and controlled by hand and by hoeing. Pest control is achieved by bringing in natural predators, using beneficial insects and certain trap crops which lure insects away.

The processing of the organic fibers uses different procedures in milling and in the textile
manufacturing. Chemical finishes for shrink resistance, permanent press etc. are not applied or are minimal, and use of natural rather than synthetic dyes are encouraged by co-ops and trade organizations.

Therefore, at this time we cannot say that the non-organic cotton shirts and pajamas you wear and the non-organic sheets you sleep on are toxic. However, we do know that their cultivation is toxic to the field workers. They have a high rate of cancer and death from suicide.

We can state that the by-products of conventional cotton that appear in our food have been subjected to toxins in their production. We can say that their production pollutes rivers and soil and causes other environmental damage.

So you don’t have to throw away all of your conventional cotton clothing just yet, unless it causes an
allergic reaction. However, we all might do well to request that future clothing and linen purchases of cotton be of the organic variety. If the demand increases, more fields will be raised organically, resulting in health benefits for the environment and the workers and residents near the fields, as well as for all of us who consume cottonseed oil in foods.

How to Buy Clothes That Fit

Are you besieged with the challenge of buying clothes because they look so adorable but then having to return them because they did not fit your figure? Not only are you not alone in this habit but it is also one that is easy to break and improve your fashion hit-rate for the future. This article provides some good tips to help you with your fashion shopping. No matter what size you are, you should always buy the right size don’t be ashamed whether your big or small, be happy with the body you have.

Steps

1. Understand clothing designs. Every garment will fit differently, because of the designer, pattern, and manufacturer. What might be a size 8 in one brand may well be a size 6 or 10 in another. This means being open-minded about the fit. Keep this in mind and bring more than one size into the dressing room.
2. Do some research. Learn what styles look best for your physique. This will be learned through trial and error; so do try on those clothes and don’t just grab and buy!
3. Try several sizes of the same clothing brand and design. Even if you thinkyou’re a different size, your eyes are better at judging what looks good than your wishes. In general, you will immediately spot the size that suits your figure best; don’t even think about the tag size after you learn this habit because shopping now becomes about your personal body size, not the manufacturer’s sizing.
4. Try a larger size for an appropriate length and width. Don’t be shy; just because it is larger does not mean it is unflattering. You can always cut out the tag if you think your less trustworthy friends are going to check. If it looks good on, and you can move in it well, that is what counts.
5. Plan on making a few simple alterations if the item is a little too big (remembering that overall, you cannot make something too small bigger).Some ways to change clothes that are too large includes:

  • Move the buttons over for a better fit. (This is one time when a smaller garmentmight become a little bigger, but not by much.)
  • Add a belt to create a smaller waistline.
  • Take in the side seams.
  • Shorten sleeves or a hemline.
6. Bring a friend you trust shopping. Ask for their opinion. It is best to have a trusted friend, who won’t be swayed by brand name or sizing.
7. Ask an employee of the store for a second opinion. Here you do need to be careful; however, as they have a reason to tell you something looks good even if it does not. First, they don’t want to discourage you from buying it and second, their job is to flatter.
8. Use a full-length mirror. This gives the best overall vision for good judgment. Only seeing parts of your body can distort your final look.
9. Be sure of the color and fabric. This can be difficult in some changing rooms which use poor or bright, unreal lighting. Ask the assistant if you can view the garment in natural light, by either a window or outdoors (they will likely come with you outdoors unless you live in a town where everyone knows everyone else).
10. Be sure a new garment coordinates with your existing wardrobe. There is nothing more time wasting and demoralizing than buying clothes that don’t work with your existing wardrobe. Either they will sit on the hanger unused forever, or you will be returning them. If you have the opportunity to by separates that go together do it at the time. If you take the top thinking you will find a bottom to match at another time, you might never find anything to go with it.

There are only 12 items of clothing men need to be ready for fall

Gentlemen, a quick overview of the clothing you’ll need to look fresh this fall, the most glorious season for dressing.

There are 12 items. That’s it.

What’s more, most of these things are basics you already have (or may need a new version of).

Only a few of them are newer looks to kick up what you’ve got.

That is because the most important thing about fall, more than what you wear, is how you wear it.

There are two key tenants of dressing for fall — varying the fabrics you wear and layering them the right way.

It’s not rocket science either — throw a cashmere sweater over a button-down, or get an interesting blazer (like this one pictured from Strong Suit) to kick it up a notch for more formal events.

Stick to colors like maroon, navy and olive. You’ll be fine.

A pair of chukka boots

This is your casual every day boot. Wear it almost anywhere.

A deconstructed or lightweight blazer

A deconstructed jacket has little to no shoulder padding or lining.

You want to go for a lightweight wool or cotton/wool blend.

In other words, it’s very casual and good for layering.

Olive will be huge. Try it on a chino.

You can’t really go wrong with this pair from Welcome Stranger, a brand out of San Francisco.

A cashmere crewneck sweater

This is for layering. You’ll love it. It’s soft and warm.

An interesting sports coat

By interesting we mean you should pick a cool pattern (maybe a plaid) or texture (perhaps try tweed). You can go with a slightly off the beaten path color too, like burgundy.

This is the jacket that separates the men from the boys..

A cardigan

When the occasion is too casual to go full blazer, you need a cardigan.

Suede loafers

Maroon and blue accessories

Bolder, darker colors are back for fall. Here’s a sampling of how you can use simple accessories like socks to get new colors in your wardrobe from our friends at SPREZZABOX.

Grab a plaid button up in the colors of the season.

You can pick up a bunch of shirts in the color of the season

Quilted jacket or vest

You can’t mess this up. And it’s a perfect jacket for when it’s too chilly for a sport coat, but not chilly enough for a winter jacket.

A pocket square.

Just do it.

No seriously. Do it.

A button boot

When you can’t wear the chukka (you’re going somewhere a little more upscale) go for these.

25 Awesome Clothing Tips No Woman Should Ever Miss

Choosing the right clothes

1. Old things must go!


This is where you should start – there’s no room for change if you don’t make it yourself. Open up your closet and take a good look ot your clothes. You should ask yourself one simple question – if you were in a store right now, what items from your closet would you buy? It’s a very simple and quite efficient game you should play once in a while. If you want to stop spending hours in front of your closet, it needs to be neat and color coordinated – hoarding clothes always leads to mess. All clothes you decide need to go shouldn’t be thrown away – donate them! That way, you’ll feel good about it.

2. Big event coming? Shop with a plan


Whether you’re getting married and you need a dress, or you’re simplyattending a black-tie event, you’ll definitely spend a lot of time searching for the right outfit. In order to be efficient and still be happy with your choice, you should go shopping with a proper hairstyle, makeup and shoes, so you can see the bigger picture. Also, don’t forget to put on some nice underwear – you don’t want to dismiss a dress that doesn’t look good on you because you haven’t paid attention to your panty line.

3. Extend the life of your cashmere


The fact something is called cashmere shouldn’t mean much, so the first step towards a long and happy life of an item made out of cashmere is purchasing a quality item. This material can be processed in many different ways, so you could easily end up with an overpaid poor quality sweater. However, there are some indicators that can show you what are you looking at. First, you should be looking for thick knitted garments, and second, try stretching it – if it pulls back, it’s a good type of cashmere. Chances are, you’ll pay good money for any quality cashmere item, so you should take care of it, which means washing it in cold water by hand.

4. Stretch new shoes painlessly


There are different ways to avoid calluses, which can really make your day difficult. Most of those problems come from high heels, right? Up until now, I’ve tried different kinds of methods, and the most effective one includes the freezer, believe it or not. If you fill a couple of freezer bags with water, place them in your shoes, and put them into your freezer to stay overnight, you’ll be able to see a huge difference in the morning.

5. Dress it up in a couple of seconds – bow tie, clip on earrings on flats


We’d all appreciate it if the days were a bit longer, but regarding the fact that’s not about to happen, you should use all kind of trick and tips in order to dress up quickly. A nice touch is always a bow tie – you can make it work with almost anything. If you don’t have any heels near buy, you could class up your flats by placing clip on earrings on them.

6. Be smart when buying a jacket


Purchasing jackets, coats and blazers has just one rule – it needs to fit your shoulders. If it’s too tight or too wide, leave it in the store, because this is one thing that’s very difficult to alter, even if you have a good tailor by your side.

7. The rules of showing skin


Speaking of rules, we should mentioned those regarding showing skin. It’s pretty simple – show one body part at a time. So if you’re showing your cleavage, pay attention you’re not combining that with miniskirts, and the other way around. Looking and feeling attractive shouldn’t be based on how naked you are. A little bit of mystery is always a nice touch.

8. Treat yourself like a queen


Beauty is connected to health more than you think. Taking care of your health starts with resting – no matter how many responsibilities you have during the day, you shouldn’t let them intervene with your sleep time. You’ve probably heard about something called beauty sleep, and you should know it isn’t a myth. So, invest in your beauty and health by encasing your bed with pure silk.

9. Make clothes work for you


You know how some people simply know how to wear the right clothes? There’s no mystery there, and actually, you could pull it off, too, by justthinking about what you’re wearing a little bit more. It all depends on how your body is built – you should tend to accent your features in the right way. For example, wearing V neck will make your torso look longer, and wearing nude pups will do miracles for the length of your legs. Embrace your shape and learn to love all its imperfections.

10. Having trouble with jeans?


You can’t have a fashionable clothing collection without jeans, but it can be hard balancing trendy ones with those which fit you perfectly. The first rule of buying jeans, no matter the type, is that when you’re in doubt regarding the size, you should always go with the smaller size – they’ll stretch after only two washes. If your daily outfit usually consists of jeans, having a glue gun is a necessity. It’s a simple way to do your stitches and hams, it doesn’t cost much and you can decorate your denim whatever you find it suitable. When it comes to altering them, make sure you’ve washed them twice before you visit your tailor. A piece of advice – all hems of your jeans should go up to the tops of your shoes.

11. Say no to makeup & deodorant stains


These kind of stains are not just unattractive, but also hard to wash. No matter how much we pay attention to avoid them, they have an annoying tendency to appear, right? When it comes to more expensive materials, I strictly advise to wash the stained part with warm water and if that doesn’t help, dampen that garment in water with some detergent. Most of new stains will come off if you just rub it with baby wipes on oil base.

12. Accessorize with bold colors


Accessorizing is what actually gives an outfit a personal touch. The way you accessorize is an important part of your style. Most of garments in your color are probably (and should be) in neutral colors, so you can combine them whatever you find it suitable. So, when you’re purchasing accessories, you should be free to get them in wild colors. Also, don’t be afraid to clash together different materials, like edgy chains with pears and feathers, perhaps. An interesting addition to accessorizing somehow everyone tends to forget are buttons – try switching a set from your garment with the one you choose. It doesn’t require any special sewing skills, and it fits any kind of budget. You should know that accessorizing rounds out an outfit, so try to find time to put on a couple of items.

13. Stock up on scarfs


Speaking of accessorizing, the classiest one you can put on is a scarf. They come in different shapes, colors, sizes, materials and forms, so you’ll be able to find a type you’ll like, for sure. It’s the fastest way to accessorize, and it can turn every outfit looking like million bucks.

14. A comfortable outfit is a must for a fun night out


If you don’t pick out your clothing items carefully, you might end up fixing up your outfit every couple of minutes, unable to have any fun at all. Start by choosing shoes which are comfy, and coordinate your outfit with them. Make sure all items fit perfectly, so that nothing is slipping. Also, experts recommend carrying a sturdy chain bag, so your hands can remain free.

15. Working with a limited budget


The hardest part of shopping is deciding when it’s enough. It’s more than easy to be carried away, but with a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to make it work. Start by making a list of items you need. Second step is looking for possible discounts, or some coupons you might have. However, don’t buy something just because it’s cheap – the chances you won’t put it one more than twice. Remember, cost-effective and cheap are not synonyms. It’s important to stick to your schedule, and make a type of agreement with yourself. Also, always pick quality before quantity. If you’re in doubt should you purchase an expensive item, make sure to check its lining – if you’re able to notice its quality, take it. A nice lining is a signature of designer clothes.

16. Check out every angle


Take your time when buying clothes, or picking out items for an outfit. Check out every angle of yourself in front of a mirror – if you feel comfortable and attractive, you’ll look that way. Besides, some garments may be see-through during the day, so check them out in a different lighting, just to make sure.

17. Open your mind


Having only one type of clothes in your closet will bore you in time. Whether it’s about accessories or clothes, try on things that you think they are cute, but not for you – you’ll be surprised at the results. Experiment with new colors and try new things with makeup. It’s not like you have to allow people to see you in something, just try it on for fun.

18. Belts are your best friend


A suitable belt can make any outfit better. If used the right way, it’ll accent your figure by making your waist thinner. So, you should find a way to make your belt pop up, and the best way to do it is for it to be in different material or/and opposite material than your garment.

19. Ever tried on menswear?


Other than being a really strong fashion statement, you should know that a suit, and all menswear in general, is more comfortable than most women’s clothes. You shouldn’t wear anything frumpy or too baggy, that’s not the point at all. Finding a women’s suit which will fit like it’s tailored has never been easier, you’ll still feel feminine, just a dash more powerful.

20. Keep a spare garment with you, just in case


Accidents happen, you can’t argue with that. No matter how careful you are, something will get spilled when you least expect it. So, have a spare clothing item nearby at all times possible. Start by taking something to your office, like perhaps a white button-down shirt, which is a classic, and it will probably be able to fit in your outfit. Believe it or not, most woman don’t have the right white shirt – it’s the same story like the one with bras, so look for a second opinion when purchasing one.

21. There’s nothing better than tailored clothes – find a pleasant and talented tailor and customize your clothes


There’s a good reason why tailored clothes cost so much – they fit perfectly. A few inches here and there make a huge difference, so don’t hesitate to visit your tailor from time to time. If you’re out of ideas about what you’d like to sewn for you, you can always alter the clothes you have bought. Make friends with a good tailor – it will make the whole process much easier.

22. S, M and L bags


A handbag is one of the most versatile and important accessories that a woman can own. There’s no such thing as “one too many” when it comes to bags and purses, but pay attention to what type is the best for you. Sure, you’ll need different ones for different occasions,so your base should contain three different kinds for starters – small, medium and large. From styles traditionally considered masculine to typical high end women’s handbags, there is nothing you can’t combine with the right clothes depending on the occasion. After that, you should concentrate on the type you use the most, which is also the type which will get worn out the fastest. That is why you should have more of them – if you switch them regularly, they will last longer.

23. Learn to handle your luggage


You can’t always hope to run into a gentleman who will carry your six bags around. So, if you don’t want to end up dealing with all that weight by yourself, learn how to pack efficiently – it can come in real handy when you’re in a hurry. Also, there’s a simple way to avoid your clothes getting all crumpled – put the clothing items in different freezer bags carefully, and place them in your suitcase. This is time-consuming, but if you need to attend an important event, freezer bags will keep your clothes clean and neat.

24. Upgrade your sewing skills


It will come a time when you’ll regret not developing these skills, so you should work on them now, and avoid any future embarrassments. There’s a bunch of tutorials you’ll be able to find online – all you really need is a sewing kit and patience.

25. Take care of your clothes


Devoting this much time to your closet is unnecessary if you don’t take care of all those clothes you’ve carefully chosen. One quality iron, a nice detergent and a couple of seconds you should devote to checking the instructions on a garment is all it takes, so don’t be lazy. There is something for everyone on this list, and the truth of the matter is that mastering some fashion basics will allow you to develop and polish up a unique style that suits you very well and let’s you stand out, but has a universally aesthetic quality to it at the same time.