Personal Comfort Counts

I moved to Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I was determined to make the most of my education and my first order of business was to get an internship for fashion week. I chose my favorite brands and went to the showrooms representing the brands to inquire about employment. I was very fortunate to land an internship with my favorite denim brand. As an added bonus, a hot new pant designer was also showing there for fashion week. My job was to bring coffee, water, snacks, etc to the buyers while modeling the jeans. I worked with another intern who was a very tiny, hip skater girl from Long Beach. The day that the Nordstrom buyers were coming through was the day it all went to sh*t for me. The new pant designer felt too much attention was being given to the denim line and instructed me to put on his pants. He threw his trendiest pair in a sample size at me. I was a FULL size bigger. I really did not have a choice. I squeezed myself into pinstripe, flesh colored cargo pants with back pockets that are best described as pig nose pockets. It was a travesty. I had to walk around pretending to be peppy and hip while saying things like, “Aren’t these just amazing?” “Yes, I am so comfortable. I HAVE to have these.” All the while, skater girl looks unbelievably cute in my favorite jeans. I was certain my career was over. Nordstrom and every other buyer coming through would remember me as the girl who clearly has ZERO fashion sense. Why would anyone hire me? I might as well quit school before it starts and move home.

I did not quit school and I learned something from the experience. I swore I would never make anyone feel as ugly as I felt that day, and to my knowledge I have not. I have legitimately fit hundreds of regular women for fashion shows and I altered whatever made them feel ugly so that they would shine in front of other people. It was possibly the best lesson I learned while in school. This lesson applies to my personal life too. My tiny one hates clothes. Hates ‘em. I have drawers of darling, expensive outfits and all he’s interested in is how soft are his underpants. Oh, and shoes. He really likes shoes. We have a deal that I let him run naked whenever he wants at home and he does not fight me getting dressed when we leave home. It works for us. He has the rest of his life to wear clothes. We live in Southern California. You really do not need clothes. His current shoe obsession is with glow in the dark Native shoes. Being a stellar parent, I forgot to pack shoes for him and my mom bought him his beloved shoes in lime green. (no boring colors for this beautiful boy) We discovered by accident that they also glow! Native shoes come in a million colors, are very water friendly and slip on and off. No laces or Velcro to slow a wild child down. My favorite style is the Jefferson. At $32-42, they aren’t the cheapest shoes, but they are rugged and stylish. They are hands down the perfect summer shoe for boys or girls. My naked boy now chases fireflies at night with his glowing shoes. I should probably just get him a loincloth to go with it—if he was comfortable with it.

 

My preferred brick and mortar or online Native resources: Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com, Amazon.com, Zappos.com

 

The Perfect Skinny Jean and Words You Should Never Say

There are a couple of words/phrases that should simply never be uttered aloud. Keep this in mind as a preface.

I have worked in fashion/retail in some capacity for almost 15 years. I have experience with personal shopping, selling, event planning, hiring, training, management, and visual merchandising. I have taught students about the importance of creating a proper retail environment. I love it. I love working with a woman and watching her transformation from self doubt to self confidence. My greatest professional moment was working with cancer survivors for a fashion show and watching them strut the runway feeling sexy and womanly. This is good.

One time in my career, I was working with a very poised and proper lady and I needed to go grab some different pieces for her. I asked a colleague to check in on her for me. As I was returning to my customer, I overheard my colleague say, “Yes, those pants look great. They don’t give you camel toe or anything!” Camel.Toe. This is the most foul phrase. Why she chose not having camel toe as a selling point is beyond me. I gagged. I panicked. Would this customer put me in the same category as this other person I foolishly sent to her? Would she think I coached her on the proper usage of the phrase camel toe? Please make it stop. I later told this story over family dinner and it went in an entirely new direction when my dad did not know what that phrase meant, and my brother googled images of the phrase for him. Note, you can never unsee certain things….

I reference this story because I had to put my word loathing aside when I found the perfect pair of skinny jeans. They are by “Rich and Skinny”. I find “rich” an offensive and tacky word. The only time you should utter it is in regards to food or the saturation of a color. I have actually avoided this brand due to their name. Now that my ivf prep and baby weight is gone, I found myself in a delightful situation of needing smaller pants. My finances are not quite as delightful, so I headed to Nordstrom Rack. I found the Rich and Skinny Schoolboy Cuff jean marked to $59.97 from an original retail of $154. They are perfect because of the stretchy fabrication, but not so stretchy that they cling unnecessarily, mid rise, the dark wash, and the slightly loose calf. If you are a curvy girl, you do not want a skinny jean that says “legging” or “ultra skinny” unless you plan to wear them tucked into a boot. When a skinny jean is a little straighter, it is much more flattering, especially when paired with a dark wash. When I put these jeans on the first time, my husband asked me when I got so skinny. THAT is a phrase I can never hear too much!

rich and skinny 2 rich and skinny

Today’s Denim, a Fit Experiment

 Katie: I’m sorry.  I know this is serious.  I am listening to you, but I just need a moment to process the fact that I need to gain weight.  That is the nicest thing anyone has ever told me.

What I had just heard from my ivf doctor was, “You need to gain weight in order to maximize your chances  for a successful ivf transfer.  Blah blah blah blag too skinny.  Blah blah blah blah need more meat on your stomach.”  It might have been the greatest moment of my life.  Should I send a group text or let people know one by one that for the first time in my ENTIRE life, someone thought I needed to gain weight?  I am not too skinny.  I am normal by all accounts and regularly feel that I need to lose 5 pounds, but for one moment in life, I was too skinny.

The next month I split my beloved Joe’s jeans which leads us to today.  I could not rationalize spending  $150 on jeans that were a size bigger than normal and might not even fit afterwards if ivf worked and I became pregnant.  What to do?  Head to the Gap.  Premium denim was a rare thing 10 years ago, but now every mass marketer has it.  Status denim forced the change of denim the specialty stores offered and brought me back to a store that I had not stepped foot in for probably 10 years.

We all have our favorites, and different vendors all have different fits, but there is no longer a need to spend a huge fortune on denim, if you do not want to.  I was pleasantly surprised by what the Gap offered, and today I will also show you what Banana Republic, J Crew, Gap, and Urban Outfitters offer for a more reasonable price.  My darling model is my sister-in-law, Anna Goeschel.  She is athletic in build and tall.

Banana Republic. Our basic call out was that we would have preferred to have the pockets closer together.  If you want your tush to look smaller, look for pockets that are slightly angled and close together.  Banana offers a nice wear-to-work option in denim.  All denim styles shown were $79.50 and 89% Cotton, 8% Polyester, and 2% Spandex.

Sizing: runs more generous than premium denim lines.  Anna went down 2 sizes from what she wears in other denim.

Boot:

BR BOOT BR BOOT BK

Curvy:

BR CURVY BOOT BACK BR CURVY BOOT

Skinny:

BR SKINNY BR SKINNY BK

Gap: Gap usually fits me very well and they had the widest variety of styles.  Anna was pleasantly surprised by how well she liked some of the fits.  Gap is the most economically priced as well.  All styles were under $70.  I felt the back pockets, washes, and details were more updated than what Banana Republic offered, but not as wear to work friendly.

Sizing: Runs a little more generous than premium denim lines.  Anna went down 1 size.

Always Skinny: $69.95.  98% Cotton, 2% Spandex

GAP ALWAYS SKINNY GAP ALWAYS SKINNY BACK

Curvy: $69.95. 98% Cotton, 2% Elastane

GAP CURVY GAP CURVY BK

Perfect Boot: $69.50.  79% Cotton, 20% Polyester, 1% Spandex

GAP PERFECT BOOT GAP PERFECT BOOT BK

Real Straight: $69.50. 79% Cotton, 20% Polyester, 1% Spandex

GAP REAL STRAIGHT GAP REAL STRAIGHT BK

J Crew has the priciest denim, but had Anna’s favorite fit.  For me, it runs a little long.  I feel it’s best for a taller customer, but they do offer petites.  They only have skinny denim right now, but the shape of both offerings is right on trend.  The washes were a nice, flattering dark wash, but were light enough to look more current than the curvy wash at Gap and all of Banana Republic’s washes.  All denim is $125 and 93% Cotton, 6% Polyester, and 1% Spandex.

The sizing runs smaller than both Gap and Banana Republic.  Anna wore her regular size in comparison with premium denim lines.

Matchstick:

J CREW MATCH J CREW MATCH BK

Toothpick:

J CREW TOOTHPICK J CREW TOOTHPICK BK

Urban Outfitters offers their private label brand, BDG, at a very economical price.  The average is $58, but they often run pricing specials.  Colored denim continues to be huge, and a blue wash is a safe way to venture into the trend.

Sizing runs similar to premium denim lines.

URBAN URBAN BK