i ♥ resale: Elite Repeat

In honor of Earth Day last year, I posted a roundup of consignment and resale clothing shops in the Twin Cities. We are fortunate to have a broad selection of choices – each having its own niche in the market.

As we mark Earth Day tomorrow, I’m celebrating practicing sustainable consumerism with the first in a periodic series, I ♥ Resale, featuring local consignment shops.

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elite repeat

Elite Repeat is a gem. Located on Randolph Avenue at Hamline in St. Paul, the shop celebrated its 40th Anniversary last fall. After 18 years as an employee, Melissa “Missy” Auran took ownership of Elite Repeat in 2014, and she has brought a fresh eye, tone, and energy in her new role.

Elite Repeat features “designer and on-trend clothing and accessories.” The consignment portion of the shop has recently been augmented with an increased selection of new jewelry, scarves, and “giftables,” many of which are Minnesota-made.

Elite Repeat’s selection is appealing to women of all ages and styles – classic, contemporary, trendy, and couture. You will find higher-end mall brands like JCrew, Talbots, and Banana Republic, all the way up to Burberry, Prada, Chanel, and St. John. They also have a nice selection of outerwear, athletic wear (think Athleta, Lululemon, and more), accessories and handbags, and shoes.

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Melissa Auran

“Customer service is really important to us – it’s how we distinguish ourselves. We want Elite Repeat to feel like a boutique – and we want people to feel good when they are here, whether they buy something or not.”  ~Missy Auran

Elite Repeat is very selective in what it accepts for consignment: “Items need to be in excellent condition and current [3 or less years old, unless a timeless designer piece],” according to Missy. “We have a very large and loyal consigner base, and we are always looking for new consigners – from teens to grandparents.”

This makes shopping easier – I know when I do a personal shopping session with a client at Elite Repeat that the clothing will be like brand new. And the staff is careful about not overcrowding the racks, which can get overwhelming and frustrating. If you are looking for a particular item, they will bring out any extra stock for you.

The staff regularly refreshes displays and creates an appealing, relaxing environment to shop in while featuring their offerings.

Once a customer told Missy, “This is the one store where I can shop together with my mom. At the mall we have to shop in separate stores to find what each of us likes.”

Elite Repeat has a fabulous selection of dresses, workwear, and casual pieces.

Elite Repeat reliably has gorgeous shoes – from casual, like these on trend for summer espadrilles, to drool-worthy high end designer brands.

Handbags range from good quality mall brands to designer, like the Kate Spade one on the left. They are always in excellent condition and reflect contemporary styles.

A portion of the shop features “giftables,” many Minnesota-made. You will find lotions, house decor, accessories, and more.

Missy’s first job in retail was at Dayton’s! Elite Repeat just started carrying Bygone Brand Apparel’s homage to the historic department store’s iconic logo. You can find memories of Elite Repeat’s original concept of couture consignment in decor like these vintage department store hatboxes.

giving back

For a second year, Elite Repeat is celebrating Earth Day (tomorrow, Saturday, April 22!) by giving a portion of the day’s sales to plant trees in the community through Friends Of The Parks And Trails Of St Paul And Ramsey County.

The shop also holds a food drive two times a year in conjunction with their seasonal clearance sales in July and February. Shoppers receive 75% (instead of 50%) off all items with a food or cash donation to The Food Group.

And Elite Repeat supports organizations like Dress for Success, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, and Operation Glass Slipper by donating all unsold merchandise at the end of the season, and consigners receive the tax donation slips for their items. Consigners can also donate their earnings to an organization of their choice.

when you go

You will receive a warm welcome and a great selection of new-to-you clothing at Elite Repeat. As Missy says – and I couldn’t agree more, “We want people to wear what makes them feel good!”

 

 

3 myths about wardrobe consulting

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Saint Paul Magazine recently published a feature article about nancy dilts wardrobe consulting (fabulous article – super exciting!!), and for the last few weeks I’ve been getting the question, “Have you had tons of phone calls since the article?” The honest answer? No.

It makes me a little queasy to say that here. But it’s true, and frankly, I didn’t expect to get a huge increase in calls right after the article. Not because the article isn’t amazing or I don’t think my work is important or worthy – I KNOW it is.

Being in this business for several years, I also know that my clients don’t engage in my services impulsively. And that’s ok. In fact, for my work with clients to have the most impact, they need to be ready – ready to embrace feeling good and open to stepping outside of their comfort zones to accomplish that.

Some things that hold people back, though, are just plain myths.

myth 1: it’s too expensive

My tagline is “style for everyday: new to you – true to you.” New-to-you refers to my focus on practicing sustainable consumerism.

A lot of my clients have never shopped consignment before working with me. They are floored when they realize the quality of clothing they can get at 1/3 or less than retail prices. Even when you factor my fees into the overall investment, you are still spending less than you would on fewer items of retail clothing, and without the guidance, support, efficiency, and success you gain when working with me.

Here are some numbers to make it real: during a 3-hour personal shopping session at a consignment store with a client, we found 28 high quality top brand/designer items to rebuild her wardrobe – including two pairs of boots, two pairs of shoes, and a belt – for $300. I looked up the retail prices of each item, which totaled at a whopping $1,900.

The client had selected my True To You Style service package, which includes a 3-hour Wardrobe Consult in your closet, personal Style Guidelines and a digital “lookbook,” and a 3-hour personal shopping session for $525.

By working with me, she invested $825 overall, less than half the retail cost of the clothing alone.

myth 2: i can do it myself

Sure, you can do it yourself. But this I know: it will take longer, it will be harder, and you won’t have the same results.

When I tell clients we will get through their (typically-sized) wardrobe in three hours, they are amazed. I know from personal experience that going through your own wardrobe by yourself takes at least twice that long. The emotional energy required and sheer number of decisions to be made make it much more difficult to do solo. I also help clients create new outfits with the clothes they already own, adding energy and increased function to their wardrobes.

Clients are also completely certain that we will never spend a full three hours at one store when personal shopping or find more than 2 or 3 items. Most of the time, clients find as many as 20-30 items in a 3-hour personal shopping session, unless they choose to purchase fewer. And those are items that fit well, reflect their personal style, go with other items being purchased or items at home, and – best of all – make them feel excited about how they look.

myth 3: i’m not worth it

Women often put themselves last. We are inculturated to feel like it is frivolous to spend money or time on ourselves. We feel our needs are not worth as much as others’ needs. Some of us simply don’t have very much time to spend on ourselves because of the demands of work and life. I often hear women say they won’t address their wardrobes until they have accomplished some other thing, like weight loss or getting in shape.

Here’s the kicker: being intentional about how you dress – right now, as is – helps you to accomplish your other goals. Scientific studies show that when you feel confident in how you are dressed, it has a positive psychological impact, allowing you to have greater success overall. We are all worth taking care of ourselves, no matter where we are in our journeys.

the myth-busting truth

I’m a busy girl on a budget too, so I know about making choices with my time and my dollars. I also know that taking care of yourself, including how you are dressed, is an essential part of your overall wellbeing.

When you work with me, this is what you gain:
  • Assistance in identifying your current personal style and embracing it
  • Objective and supportive guidance in making your existing wardrobe more functional through purging things that don’t work, reimagining ways to wear the items that do, and identifying gaps to be filled and items to be replaced
  • Effective and efficient shopping support for rebuilding your wardrobe to meet your current needs in an affordable way
  • A closet full of clothing that WORKS for your body and personal style, instead of an overwhelming clutter of items that cause frustration
  • A better understanding of how to put clothing together to make intentional, polished outfits that reflect your personal style and suit you
  • Positive, honest advice and feedback and open communication (And even some laughter!)
  • Countless hours of precious time and energy saved
  • Renewed confidence and joy in your appearance and feeling your best

Working with me is about so much more than the financial investment or feeling like you shouldn’t. It’s about taking care of your outer self, which is really about taking care of your inner self too. It’s about having someone who can help make daily dressing SO. MUCH. EASIER. Which allows you to live your life feeling good about how you look, right now, today.

Today is a perfect day to start the process of feeling great about how you look.

I always ask new clients how they learned about my services. I won’t be surprised at all if for the next year, and beyond, I hear, “I saw you in Saint Paul Magazine, and I’m finally contacting you!”

What’s stopping you from connecting with me today? Because really, today is a perfect day to start the process of feeling great about how you look.

 

new outfits without leaving the house – or spending money!

February is a great time to look at your closet intentionally. There’s still a good 6-8 weeks left before we can consider spring (bizarre, climate change driven 50-degree days in Minnesota aside). Taking a fresh look at ways to help your winter wardrobe feel more inspiring and prepping your wardrobe for spring are something you can do right now to fight off winter doldrums.

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A big part of my work in practicing sustainable consumerism is to help clients make their existing wardrobes more functional. Most people regularly wear only about 20% of the clothing they have in their closets. For real.

Two things you can do to help your wardrobe be more functional are to “shop” in your own closet and to purge. Clothes languish for a variety of reasons. These reasons fall into two categories – “unrealized potential” (shop) and “time to let go” (purge).

shop your closet

Clothes that have unrealized potential
  • items you aren’t sure how to wear, or have only one way of wearing
  • you got tired of it, so stopped wearing it
  • items that need repair
  • things you forgot were there

Approach your closet like you would shopping at a store. First, actually look at each item; our eyes tend to pass things by because we are so used to seeing them there. Look at your clothes like you are seeing them for the first time. Then think about how you could wear each item in different ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:

pair colors in new ways

Try putting colors together in ways you haven’t before. Combine neutrals with bold, saturated colors or pair two bolds. Wearing saturated colors near your face will give vibrancy to your complexion. Pantone’s colors for Spring 2017 are an appealing mélange – use them as a guide to brighten up winter outfits as we make the slow transition to spring.

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pattern mixing

When mixing prints, one should be smaller while the other is bold – two prints of the same size compete rather than complement each other. Finding prints that share a common colorway can help pull them together. Mixing textures with prints adds dimension as well.

mix it up with accessories

Intentionally change things up with your scarves, necklaces, belts, and other accessories. Take a look at all the different choices you have – it’s so easy to grab the same accessories day after day or ignore them altogether. Be deliberate about wearing different items, tying scarves in different ways, and adding polish to your outfit with accessories.

less clothes, more options

Clothing it is time to let go
  • impulse purchases that just don’t work
  • items that no longer (or never) fit well
  • things that are outdated, worn out, or damaged beyond repair
  • pieces you used to love, but don’t feel quite right anymore
  • items you like the idea of, but just don’t suit your personal style

Purging your closet can feel daunting before you begin, but the freedom and lightness it brings are completely worth the effort. Clearing your closet of items you are no longer wearing lifts a burden of guilt, allowing you to see – literally and figuratively – the potential of the items that do work.

Many of my Wardrobe Consult clients feel like they have a brand new wardrobe with less clothing in the closet and without buying a single item. When we work together, we have a running conversation: “When did you last wear this?” “Do you actually LIKE it?” “Does it make you happy to wear it?” “Why do you feel like you need to keep this?” Answering these questions honestly creates the ability to let go.

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Bonus: you can even earn money by consigning clothing that is five or less years old and in good condition. Consignment shops are accepting spring clothing now, and some will even store cold weather garments until the fall.

If your purged items are too old to consign but are still in decent condition, donate them. You will help someone in need with clothing that otherwise would be hanging unused in your closet. Items that are damaged or worn beyond repair or very outdated should be recycled.

 

 

 

#resist

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This past week has been filled with fear and chaos. Our nation, and the world, is in turmoil. Frankly, I’ve been reeling since the election. It shouldn’t be any surprise where my politics lie – I worked in the environmental field for almost twenty years before launching my own business, which is focused in part on practicing sustainable consumerism. Human rights and environmental responsibility are values I strive to uphold in all aspects of my life.

How can I talk about embracing your true self in my work if I don’t do the same?

Until now, I’ve been careful about keeping politics out of my work. I have friends, family, and clients who hold different views than me, and I respect that the right to differing views is a critical element of our democracy. But we’ve entered something altogether more alarming than differing views. People’s fundamental human rights are at stake with the recent actions taken by our nation’s new president.

I feel that it is inauthentic for me to stay silent when each day brings more concern, disbelief, and truthfully, outrage. How can I talk about embracing your true self in my work if I don’t do the same?

We must stand up for what is right. We must resist divisiveness, hatred, and exclusion in favor of practicing tolerance, kindness, and compassion for those in need and those who are different from us. And we must take action through our actions.

We must take action through our actions.

For some, that means daily calls to our elected representatives. For others, protesting in public spaces. And for others, it is through quieter, local actions to help those affected by the recent executive orders that are marginalizing groups of human beings in our nation and in the rest of the world. And some will do all of the above. Whatever choice, we must do something. Otherwise, we are complicit in our silence.

share your resources

One way you can resist is to be generous with what you have. What resources can you share with others?

Of course, monetary donations to organizations representing those affected are a great way to help. But there are other ways as well.

Volunteer your time. You may have just the skill, and definitely the people-power, a non-profit organization needs.

And something that immediately comes to my mind is to donate the clothing you are no longer wearing. There are many local organizations giving immediate help to people in need – my December post, The Gift of Giving, lists some Twin Cities organizations.

the power of numbers

How can we band together to create more impact?

I LOVE this idea from Tim Mazurek on his blog, Lottie + Doof: throw a party for friends, where instead of bringing a bottle of wine or other gift for the host, they bring whatever dollars they can to donate to your chosen organization. Together, they raised $750 for Planned Parenthood and got to spend quality time with good friends. Check out more great party ideas at Lottie + Doof.

Think about ways you can collaborate with others – together we can make bigger change.

speak up, and listen

We must not be fearful to speak up. We must not let hopelessness keep us from taking action. Every small step collectively makes impact.

And we must listen. Not to the rhetoric, but to the underlying reasons behind what drives people to believe what they do. That goes for all of us. If we seek to truly understand each other, perhaps we can find common ground to resist those who are threatening permanent harm to our nation.

ndwc turns 3!

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woo hoo!

The beginning of November marks the 3rd Anniversary of nancy dilts wardrobe consulting. In the world of entrepreneurship, this is a. big. deal. So many small businesses and solopreneurs don’t make it to see this anniversary, because it can be a long, slow haul to success. I’m here! ndwc is going strong and growing – year three has been a good year. And I’m PROUD.

I’m here! ndwc is going strong and growing – year three has been a good year. And I’m PROUD.

We’re always afraid to talk about anything other than the successes, but aren’t the challenges what we learn from most? Starting my own business has been a huge exercise in personal development – I’m out of my comfort zone much of the time with some of the business aspects of my work and am constantly gaining new skills, ideas, and perspectives as a result.

Being an entrepreneur definitely keeps it fresh! Sometimes it’s completely overwhelming – so much so that I have Dory’s mantra from Finding Nemo on repeat in my brain: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

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why I keep swimming

Even when things are challenging, I can’t see myself doing anything else. This work is my calling. Helping others to feel great about how they look through dressing intentionally and with confidence. Practicing sustainable consumerism for my work and sharing that model with others to have positive impact on the world. It is so gratifying.

Even when things are challenging, I can’t see myself doing anything else. This work is my calling.

gratitude

Of course, even solopreneurs can’t do it all on their own. I am so thankful for the support I’ve received (and still do) from so many people. My husband, in countless ways. Dear friends who have championed me and lifted me up when I’ve been down. Colleagues that have gone the extra mile to help. And especially clients, not only for their loyal patronage, feedback, and referrals, but particularly for the joy they bring me in our work together.

what’s next?

I’m continuing to offer all of my services and am thrilled at the response to my new A Year of Style service package – the deeper relationship that is the core of this service is what it’s all about for me. And be sure to watch for new ndwc services in the coming year!

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choosing a handbag

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reader request

A client recently asked me to write a post on handbags. She said, “How do you choose a handbag? Write a post on that! I never know what is the best thing to carry.” That’s because there are so. many. choices. And you have to find the one that is right for you.

Handbags, like accessories, are very personal choices. You can follow trends, but what works for one person may be disastrous for another. When choosing a handbag, think carefully about both style and function.

Here are some guidelines to help you select something you will love.

match your activities

What kind of handbag you carry says a lot about who you are. Back in my college days, I prided myself in not being a “purse girl.” I had a leather book satchel that I loved, and if I wasn’t going to class, I grabbed my wallet and headed out. If my college self could see me now…

There are so many choices for handbags. Being intentional about what you carry not only meets your needs, but also expresses your personal style, which feels great.

I have a 2-3 different handbags for the warm season and for the cold season. I also have a couple of small dressy handbags, one a deep purple and one black, for the rare occasion that I really dress up, and one formal clutch. Each of these are classic in design so that they won’t go out of style, since I use them so infrequently.

For the everyday handbags, I like to have slightly different sizes for different needs. As I said, I tend to fill up my handbags – I like to be prepared for whatever might come up, like weather (small umbrella and sunglasses), stopping for groceries (fold-up reusable bag), minor injuries (I once was without Bandaids when my then 3-year old daughter had a major crash and required many of them – I’ve carried a little first aid kit ever since! Mom guilt.). I have to be careful not to get a handbag that is too large, or I will fill it up and be lugging around too much weight all the time!

I like multiple pockets on the inside and outside of the bag, so I can put my phone and keys in a handy place, zip my wallet into a safe place, store my sundries without them making a mess. Pockets are a high priority for me, so I make sure any bag I select has them. I hate rootling around in the bottom of the bag to find something.

I’m currently looking for a high quality crossbody bag that isn’t too sporty or too small to use when I’m working with clients. During personal shopping sessions, carrying a handbag along with the clothing we collect for try-ons can become cumbersome.

Different bags serve different needs – embrace your lifestyle and find something that fits it well.

When choosing your own handbag, really think about what its purpose will be. Is it something you’d like to use as a work satchel/tote? A larger, structured leather tote is a great choice for you. Something to throw on while you’re out and about with the kids? A crossbody or hobo-style shoulder bag could work well. Something for traveling frequently? Again a crossbody or a large tote with a smaller handbag for once you arrive. Or something to make a bold style statement? The sky’s the limit!

Different bags serve different needs – embrace your lifestyle and find something that fits it well. Otherwise, you will feel frustrated. Choose a color or pattern that appeals to you (it does not have to be black or brown!) and make sure it feels comfortable to carry it. I’ve had purses that constantly slid off my shoulder – talk about feeling frustrated! I rarely choose shoulder bags because of this.

Sources: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

pay attention to size

In terms of function, make sure the bag is large enough to hold everything you must carry, but not too large. A bag that is over- or under-filled can look wonky. If it is a crossbody or shoulder bag, make sure the strap or handles are the right length to fit your body comfortably.

If you are a petite person, you want to select a bag that does not overpower you. Choosing a smaller bag will look more balanced and be easier on your back.

invest in quality

It is worth it to spend more on a handbag that will last. I can be kind of hard on my handbags. I take care of them, but I’m always accidentally banging them into things, I tend to carry a lot in them, and they get regular use. I don’t like to change bags with every outfit, so I tend to use the same one for weeks at a time, which can lead to faster wear and tear. Higher quality construction holds up better to my clumsiness and to regular use.

don’t be afraid to have fun

Black and brown are very functional colors, but don’t be afraid to branch out! Handbags do not need to match your shoes, and a statement color can add polish to your outfit. Red is a gorgeous statement color that goes with almost everything. Burgundy and rich jewel tones are great for fall, and summer brights add a lot of fun to outfits in the warm seasons. There are also so many beautiful shapes, prints, patchwork, appliqués, embroidery or embellishments that make handbags true works of art. Choose something that speaks to you, and carry it with confidence.

shop new-to-you

I buy all of my handbags new-to-you. That way I can buy higher quality without blowing my budget as well as know I am practicing sustainable consumerism. I find amazing handbags at consignment stores – there is always a great selection, varying from mall brands to high-end designers, that are barely used – if at all.

New-to-you online shopping venues thredUP and the RealReal have a great selection of good quality handbags. Both websites provide photos, dimensions, and item specifics and are very accurate in reporting the level of wear of their products. Handbags are final sale on both sites.

In the Twin Cities, Fashion Avenue is a great place to find high-end designer bags at ~1/3 their original cost. Think Kate Spade and Coach on up to Chanel, Prada, and more. A personal shopping client recently found a gorgeous burgundy (a fall trend color) Longchamp shoulder clutch there.

Elite Repeat (St. Paul) and Nu Look (Minneapolis) consistently have lovely designer handbags, and Turn Style (multiple locations) has a wide range of more affordable to designer bags.

3 outfits for transitioning to fall

The shift to fall clothing is always hard for me, and I can get a little irritable (my husband might say a lot…). The weather is still warm, but it’s September, school is in swing, and it doesn’t feel overly summery anymore. What to wear? It’s too hot for true fall clothing – fine-gauge sweaters, blazers, big scarves, booties and tall boots – but sundresses and shorts don’t feel right either.

Here are three outfit ideas to help ease the transition. Adapt them to your personal style using these basic guidelines.

shift from summer brights to neutrals and darker colors
wear cropped pants and jeans – cooler, but suggest fall
use lightweight silk scarves to add polish, but not warmth
replace sandals with close-toed shoes like flats, mules, and sneakers – still great for warm weather, but not too summery

Almost all of the clothing in these outfits is new-to-you. I’ve included where I purchased each item to give you a sense of the breadth of selection you can find when shopping consignment. Practicing sustainable consumerism rocks!

pair a summer dress with straight-leg jeans and flats

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Dress: Second Début | Straight-leg Jeans: Turn Style | Flats: Elite Repeat

This darker summer dress works great as a tunic over straight-leg jeans, giving it a little more mileage before I put it away. This makes me happy, because it’s one of my favorites. I can even layer a lightweight long cardigan over it and switch out the flats with booties as the weather gets cooler.

add a classic silk scarf to a short-sleeve tee and culottes

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Scarf: Second Début | Shirt: Turn Style  Culottes: Second Début | Mules: Elite Repeat | Belt: J Crew – US made

Neutrals work really well for fall transition. Add a pop of color with a silk or faux-silk scarf – they are lightweight and comfortable – and all the rage. For tying ideas, see this post. Open-heeled mules are on trend as well and add polish. My Cole Haan pair from Elite Repeat were a score – brand new and 85% off the retail price!

wear a lightweight jacket over a cami with cropped jeans

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Scarf: Second Début | Jacket: Turn Style | Cami: Intimissimi | Cropped Jeans: Turn Style | Sneakers: ThredUP

For casual, pair fun sneakers with flared or wide-leg cropped jeans. Add a fitted lightweight jacket – over a cami to stay cool – and a neckerchief. I typically shop at local consignment stores to be able to try things on and to support our local economy. Occasionally, I buy through online consignment venues like thredUP if I can’t find something. I had been looking for a pair of classic Adidas sneakers for awhile and couldn’t pass them up when I found them!

your turn

What are some ways you manage the fall transition? Share your outfit ideas (and pics! 🙂 ) in the comments below.

 

hiring a personal stylist – no way, not for me – or IS IT?

Client Insight
“I have had very little or any practice or any interest in paying attention to fashion stuff. It’s just not part of my identity, and I have prided myself on that. Hearing the news is more important to me than paying attention to my clothes! It’s more important to be with my child than to go shopping for me. It just truly does not matter. But at the same time, it DOES matter to me.”

Wardrobe consulting? Really? I can just do that myself! Besides, other things are way more important than how you dress.

My first career was in environmental education. What the heck does that have to do with wardrobe consulting? A LOT. It led me to my current work and is the foundation for my passion for embracing personal style and practicing sustainable consumerism.

In the world of non-profits and work focused on the “social good,” fashion is not the first thing people think about. I know all about mission-driven work; the focus is on just that – the mission.

No one cares about how you dress, right? Sometimes it’s even considered to be trivial or vain to care about it. But guess what – it’s not.

Fashion is a part of the bigger world of style. And STYLE is super important – for everyone – because personal style is how you show yourself to the world. It’s what makes you YOU. It’s how you show the inside you on the outside.

Let’s face it –no matter your field, your outer appearance is the first thing people see, and it says something about you. We draw conclusions from what we see. It’s human nature to do so. That is important, but not really the main point.

Here’s the point: feeling good about the outside helps you feel better on the inside, because you are being true to yourself. 

“Fashion doesn’t only express who you are to others but also to yourself. Psychologists have coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe how clothing alters the mood and mind-set of its wearers.” – Ben Barry, Chronicle of Higher Education

Feeling good about how you are dressed helps you feel good overall. It helps you feel confident and lets the awesome person that is YOU shine. It allows you the time and freedom to focus on the things you feel passionate about in your life – your work, your family, your creativity, you name it – and to express yourself authentically while you’re at it!

Client Insight
“It’s like your nicest china – you never use it. You go through your whole life and never use it – it’s sad. I just wear the same things over and over. It would be nice to be more intentional and to celebrate who I am – to show who I am through my clothes.”

but…personal styling?

It’s not for everyone. You have to be in the right place for personal styling. And when you are, it can mean all the difference in the world.

When I say “being in the right place,” I mean that you are ready to take steps to care for yourself. It does NOT mean that you have to have all the answers figured out – do we ever, really? You are, however, open to the possibility of feeling great about how you look and willing to expand your idea of that. Again, you are ready to feel GOOD.

Client Insight
“Mostly I’ve ignored grappling with my image. I reacted instead when things were getting worn out. I hate to shop. Putting it on the calendar makes it a priority.”

Working with me means having someone in your corner as you take those steps towards embracing your actual, beautiful body – not denying yourself until you have the idealized, fictitious body our culture tells us we should have. It means having a partner in the journey, giving guidance and support all along the way to help you find your personal style and clothes that work and that you love.

For some folks, it may not be about body image as much as it is about the prioritization of time. It is more efficient and effective to work with a wardrobe consultant, saving precious time for other important things, but still being attentive to taking care of yourself.

Client Insight
“Having a buddy makes it a thousand times better most of the time. You get vastly more done in less time, plus you actually do it! It’s the work of prioritizing what you have to do, even though you don’t want to do it. You are so much happier later.”

Working together, my clients and I accomplish ten-fold what they would on their own. I bring efficiency, effectiveness, humor, and best of all, empowerment to the process.

A Wardrobe Consult for a typically-sized wardrobe yields a closet purged of items that no longer work (and are literally hiding the ones that do) as well as tens of new outfit combinations in just three hours. A Personal Shopping session (2-3 hours) results in multiple outfits and the knowledge of how to wear them instead of a frustrating, demoralizing, and fruitless search.

I take the mystery out of knowing what sartorial choices are best suited for your personal style and body type. We all have different strengths and skills. Just like I greatly benefit from others’ expertise in running revenue projections (My eyes instantly glaze over. Seriously.), others are completely overwhelmed by figuring out how to put outfits together. It’s just not their thing, even though they want to look good.

In my business, I still think of my work as mission-based. I support people in finding the clothing that will help them feel good, so that they can get on with their amazing lives. Without the stress of a non-functional wardrobe. Without the frustrations of shopping unsuccessfully. And WITH the confidence that comes from knowing you look good and feeling like your outer self reflects WHO YOU ARE.

Client Insight
“I’m deciding to get help. I’m prepared for the day better if I feel like I look like I want to. And that enables me to be the rest of who I am.”

*Client Insights used with permission.

Earth Day everyday: a resource guide to shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities

guilt-free style: practicing sustainable consumerism – part 2

Today we celebrate Earth Day. This month’s posts honor the tenets of Earth Day by exploring how we, as clothing consumers, can reduce our impact on the environment in practical, doable ways and feel great about how we look at the same time. Read on – knowledge leads to action.

I heart resale

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy.

In my last post, I discussed the human rights and environmental implications of the manufacture of most new clothing today. Super cheerful stuff (NOT), but extremely important.

So what do we do about it? Here’s my formula for feeling good about how we look, AND feeling good about what we buy.

We can practice sustainable consumerism with our wardrobes (and the rest of our stuff, really) by:

  1. Maximizing the functionality of your existing wardrobe.
  2. Shopping new-to-you whenever possible when purchasing clothing.
  3. When buying new, shopping ethically.

Below is a resource guide for shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities – use this as a tool to take action as a sustainable consumer. We are fortunate to have many, many resale shops here, making our choices for new-to-you clothing easy to find and wide in selection.

Resale shops range from non-profit/charitable organization thrift stores to upscale couture consignment shops. Thrift stores have wonderful finds and are economically the most beneficial, but require more searching and patience.

Consignment/resale shops do the editing for us, selecting high-quality, up-to-date garments that are in good condition before putting them on the sales floor. The price point at consignment stores is typically 1/3 or less of the retail price, creating an affordable way to purchase better-made, longer-lasting garments while keeping those garments in the use stream – rather than the waste stream – at the same time. Most shops also carry accessories and jewelry, handbags, and shoes in good condition.

This list gives a good overview of the wide range of consignment/resale shops in the Twin Cities. If you have a favorite that isn’t on the list, please do include it in the comments below. I’ve organized the guide by primary stock categories, typical price range (remember – 1/3 or less of retail prices, so $ means many items are under $10!), how the resale process works, and whether it’s an independent shop or a franchise.

In upcoming posts, I will feature specific stores to give a closer look at the shops I typically choose for my clients and why. I’ll also discuss where to shop ethically when buying new. If you have a favorite consignment/resale shop or ethical brand you’d like to see featured, comment below!

shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities: a resource guide

women and men

Clothes Mentor (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $ – $$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale Process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Elite Repeat (St. Paul)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore (St. Paul)   facebook page

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore Designer Consignment Boutique (Eden Prairie)   website

Women’s sizes 0-3X | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s, Children’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Second Début (St. Louis Park)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

Style Encore (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-4X | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s, Children’s | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

high-end/designer/couture

Fashion Avenue & Fashion Avenue 2 (Edina, Wayzata)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – Couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

June (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes XS – L | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Mona Williams (Mall of America)   website

Women’s sizes 0-14 | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Rodeo Drive (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-18 | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

eclectic/vintage

b.  (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Streetwear and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Independent shop

Buffalo Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Mall brands and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store trade| National franchise

Everyday People (St. Paul)   website

Women’s 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Funky and vintage | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

My Sister’s Closet (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ – $$$ | High-level brands, designer, vintage | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

teen/young adult

Gina+Will (Minneapolis)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-3X, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

NTY Clothing Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 1-19, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Plato’s Closet (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-20, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store trade | Minnesota-based national franchise

children

(Children’s sizes only)
Children’s Orchard (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Kid’s Carousel (Eagan)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Once Upon a Child (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

(Children’s sections)
Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ – $$ | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Kid’s sizes 2T – 16 | $ | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

Choose-to-Reuse

what’s the story of our clothing?

guilt-free style: practicing sustainable consumerism – part 1

On April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. This month’s posts will honor the tenets of Earth Day by exploring how we, as clothing consumers, can reduce our impact on the environment in practical, doable ways and feel great about how we look at the same time. Read on – knowledge leads to action.

what’s the story of our clothing?

Do we really know? Who makes it and where? How are those workers treated and paid? What resources are used in its manufacture? What pollution is created as a result? What are the real costs of transport, including energy use? What happens to clothing when we throw it away?

the true cost graphic

the true cost

Frankly, it’s a lot easier to live without knowing the answers to these questions, because they are grim. There IS hope, however.

A few weeks back I participated in a panel discussion following a screening of the powerful documentary The True Cost, which grapples with these ethical issues surrounding the fashion industry and, particularly, “fast fashion.” The film is a wake-up call to the industry and consumers alike. The way we produce our clothing today systematically supports the violation of human rights of garment factory workers as well as takes an enormous toll on the environment and human health.

Hosted by the department of Apparel, Merchandising, and Design at St. Catherine University, the screening was attended by ~200 people, and an interesting discussion with film director Andrew Morgan, myself, and a professor of philosophy at St. Kate’s delved into changes that must occur in the fashion industry’s practices as well as consumer behaviors.

My contributions addressed specifically the latter – consumer behaviors. The tagline for nancy dilts wardrobe consulting is “style for everyday: new to you – true to you.” I launched this business because I want to help others feel great about how they look AND to share the model of practicing sustainable consumerism.

the grim part

We want to feel fashionable and attractive by staying current with our clothing. And we want inexpensive clothing. Fast fashion is the culmination of those demands, providing new trends at an affordable price – for the consumer, that is. The true costs (thus, the title of the film) of creating our clothing are hidden.

Fast fashion has utterly changed how we perceive clothing and fashion. Trends are now weekly, rather than twice a year (Fall and Spring), causing a fevered desire for new things constantly to feel in style. And clothing is so inexpensive – and cheap in quality – that it has become considered to be a disposable item. It only cost $5.99, so who cares if I wear it only once or twice? I’ll just get a new one.

But we should care. Though WE are not bearing the actual costs of this approach, other human beings and the environment are and at an enormous cost. Workers in developing nations who manufacture most clothing today are paid pennies a day and work in conditions that first-world nations, including the United States, would never allow.

Practices utilized to grow cotton and to create other fibers for our clothing and to manufacture garments pollute the environment and impact the health of surrounding communities. Billions of garments are manufactured annually and are transported around the world to consumers like us, who wear them just a short time before throwing them away and moving on to the next item, continuing the cycle.

“There was a time, not too long ago, when well-made clothes were standard, available in catalogues, malls, and chain stores. Sweaters were often hand-knit, jackets were tailored and lined, and dresses had blind hems. A look through a JCPenney catalogue from 1990 shows that most clothing was still made in the U.S. as recently as 25 years ago.
What’s changed since then, in addition to products’ quality, is consumers’ expectations about price. The cost of clothing was in a period of deflation for almost 20 years before edging up more recently. That drop was largely the result of the globalization of the fashion industry and the movement of garment manufacturing from unionized shops in the United States and other developed countries to low-wage factories with few environmental regulations, most of them in Asia.
Americans also buy a lot more clothing than they once did, on average 64 items and more than seven pairs of shoes per year—double what they bought annually in the 1990s.” –Elizabeth Cline, The Atlantic

In the last few years, the unethical practices of the fashion industry have been exposed by the deaths of thousands of garment workers in building collapses and fires, and the call for change is sounding. There are several startup ethical brands, and some high-end designers are shifting towards ethical manufacturing and transparency in their practices. A cohort of journalists, filmmakers, and activists are advocating for systemic change as well.

The supply and demand relationship between the fashion industry and consumers is like the chicken and the egg dilemma. Who needs to act first to make change – the industry or consumers? We grappled with this in the panel discussion at film screening.

I believe both must happen and that the power of numbers can drive change. We see this with other human rights issues; when enough people will no longer stand for something, change occurs.

Howard Zinn quote

the hope part

Consumer behaviors, if in significant numbers, CAN drive industry practices. If enough consumers shift away from supporting unethical practices, the industry will be forced to respond. By becoming aware of the real impacts of our purchasing choices – and acting accordingly – we can reduce demand for fast fashion.

How do we do that? We can’t wear the same clothes for the rest of our lives!

Here are three action steps you can take with your wardrobe to make the shift to sustainable consumerism:

  1. Maximize the functionality of your existing wardrobe.
  2. Shop new-to-you whenever possible when purchasing clothing.
  3. When buying new, shop ethically.
buyerarchy of needs

Graphic by Sarah Lazarovic: Source

maximize your existing wardrobe

Most of us have too many clothes in our closets, many of which we never wear. Purging ill-fitting, outdated, and worn out items is the first step in making the clothes you already own more functional. These items bog down your wardrobe and make it hard to even SEE the possibilities with clothing that does work. Less IS more. Read posts about making your wardrobe more functional here.

shop new-to-you

Shopping new-to-you is the most practical, and effective, way to be a sustainable consumer. Keeping high-quality clothing in the use stream reduces waste as well as demand for the manufacture of new clothing. It is also economically more feasible at 1/3 or less of retail prices, allowing consumers to purchase higher-quality garments that will last longer at affordable prices.

shop ethically

Sometimes we must buy new. When we do so, investing in high-quality pieces that last in both construction and style is a must. There are many brands selling ethically made clothing, and yes, much of it is expensive. By first shopping new-to-you, your budget will allow the purchase of fewer, but enduring, high-quality new items.

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy.

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy. The story of our clothing can change, and we can be a part of that. Watch The True Cost. Become informed and then share that knowledge with others. We, together, can make change in our consumer practices, one new-to-you garment at a time.

Stay tuned for my next post – a resource guide for shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities and shopping ethically!