Goodnight Moon

I'm not referring to the bedtime story.

I'm fed up with ill-fitting, unflattering jeans that are prone to exposing more than I ever intended them to. I don't mind being called "cheeky" but I don't want the nickname to be a literal comment.

You know what I'm talking about. If you have to constantly tug on your jeans because they are migrating South without taking you with them. If you're perpetually shifting in your seat in a desperate attempt to cover your ass; literally. If your pants only feel like they're pulled all the way up when you're sporting a camel toe. If you can't take a full breath without your gut spilling out of your waistband. If the prospect of bending down to pick something up off of the floor is more terrifying than a shower in prison. If you can identify with any of these statements it's time for you to admit that you're no longer the teenager most jeans are built for and marketed towards. It's time to step away from the low-rise, ladies.

For me this has been a long time coming. I thought that some significant weight loss and getting fit would resolve all my denim dilemmas. But the fact is that because I'm in my 50's my body will always be rounder and less toned than when I was 30. When I walk with my crutches I don't want to stop every 20 feet and pull my jeans up, and when I'm wheeling around I don't want to back up so far in my seat that I back out of my britches.

So I went through my closet and donated every girly, junior, low-rise, too tight in the rear, too loose in the gut pair of jeans I owned. That left very few pairs - too few by Nashville standards. At the very least I wanted to acquire a crisp, white pair and a dark wash companion.

A quick trip to the thrift stores was a waste of time. The next step up the clothing chain yielded a white and dark wash, Michael Kors and DKNY respectively. Unfortunately they didn't fit any better than the ones I had just discarded. My last resort was the Opry Mills outlet mall. I had bought jeans from some of the major names like Old Navy and Gap before. I felt confident I could just waltz in and get what I came for.

Wrong.

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The jeans that had served me well were a thing of the past. The styles that worked for me had either been discontinued or redesigned - to sit even lower on the body! Mid-rise or even natural waisted cuts seemed to have disappeared.

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You can't really see it but every Calvin Klein style in the photo above says it sits "below the waist". Now, none of us want to wear the dreaded "Mom jean" but every style I came across barely covered my assets. Okay, I had clearly outgrown the well-known brands. Time to think outside the box.

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I had never shopped at Chico's before. I thought them to be too "old" for my taste and too pricey. But the sign above pulled me into their store, and a trip to their fitting room won me over.

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Finally, denim for grown-ups! No fading, acid-washing, whiskering, or distressing. No body parts suffocated, sausage encased, muffin topped, or mooned over. Just classy jeans in a contemporary cut that fit!

They need to be hemmed, of course, even the "short" length tends to be too long for me. As far as price goes, they were buy one, get one 50% off, which made them comparable to the Gap and several other stores in the mall. I couldn't resist and promptly snatched up a white pair as well.

Goodnight, moon. Go back to the night sky where you belong. Mine will stay stylishly encased in the indigo of my new jeans.

Don't Buy That Yet

If you've been a regular reader of Spashionista Report you know that I love a good bargain and I hardly ever pay retail for anything. Now, it's obvious to any smart shopper that you go for the places, sites, and items that are on sale. But did you know that there are actually optimal months, even days of the week, to buy certain things? No? Well, let me clue you in on a strategy that can save you lots of money. Let me elevate your retail IQ.

• January is filled with post-holiday sales, clearances, and closeouts.

• February is the best time to buy winter shoes, boots, socks and tights. Lingerie is typically on sale as Valentine's Day approaches.

• March is denim discount month. Buy your jeans now. Small electronics like DVD players and iPods see a price drop this month as well. If you need luggage this is the month to pick it up.

• April brings us big spring clothing sales, especially women's and girl's dresses and shoes. Computers can also be had for less this month.

• May sees a resurgence in lingerie sales as well as athletic clothing and shoes. Swinmwear begins to be marked down while inventory is still plentiful. Jewelry is deeply discounted for Mother's Day.

• June heralds in the men's clothing and power tool sales in honor of Father's Day.

• July is a prime month to buy a bag or a swimsuit. Men's shoes go on sale, too.

• August ushers in all the back to school sales - which include sales tax holiday weekends in some states. Coats and cosmetics can also be had on the cheap.

• September sees another big price decrease for jeans. Fall fashions are unveiled at sale prices, and gardening supplies are on clearance this month.

• October is the best time to do some early holiday shopping. The weekend before Halloween typically sees big sales on clothing and computers.

• November marks the cornucopia of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales - which are starting earlier every year. If you're going to take advantage of have a list and a budget with you before you dive in. If you need a sweater this is the month to buy one.

• December brings the lowest toy and children's clothes prices yet along with the usual holiday sales. After Christmas holiday decorations are deeply discounted, as is any inventory that didn't sell by December 25th. The last week of December marks the lowest clothing prices of the year.

Need more help? According to ShopItToMe.com, a San Francisco company that analyzes more than 750,000 sales items a year from more than 200 online retailers:

• Mondays: Shoppers can save nearly 50% on men’s and women’s dress pants, and about 55% on sunglasses.

• Tuesdays: Expect to save more than 40% on men’s apparel.

• Wednesdays: Shoppers save about 40% on shoes and children’s clothes.

• Thursdays: Save 36% on handbags.

• Fridays: Pay 42% less for jewelry, belts and scarves.

• Saturdays: Lingerie (37% off) and jackets/outerwear (51% off).

• Sundays: Swimsuits (52% off).

There is a bit of fluidity in these categories that may vary from region to region within the US, but this should give you a framework to start shopping more strategically and intelligently.

sale-tickets

Fashion Friday: Christmas Day In The Morning

Early next week many of us will be celebrating Christmas in one form or another. Some of us will stay home to open presents and spend time with our immediate families. Others will invite extended family members over for the day. Some will go to religious services or less casual family functions. No matter how you celebrate I've got a great outfit for you.

Christmasday

If you're just lazing around the house, maybe cooking Christmas breakfast, you should still look cute. Start with a pair of flannel leggings - these have a Christmas deer pattern. Top them with a "Mistletoe" novelty knit, and pad around in these ivory cable knit slouch booties.

If you're hosting or visiting family try this Blue Canyon Christmas Snow Town Tee over a great pair of jeans with red Bronx brogues. The outfit is comfy enough to play with the kids and cook Christmas dinner without being dowdy.

Finally, if your plans are more upscale Santa has you in mind. How about a McQ Alexander McQueen knit and lace sweater dress and a pair of red Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal-embellished suede ballet flats?

Naturally, before you leave the house you'll need to add a coat to the second and third outfits if weather demands it . In my opinion outfit number one is strictly a stay-at-home ensemble.

However you celebrate, I hope Santa has left you wonderful fashionable goodies underneath your tree!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

It's A Cinch To Pinch Those Pennies

Last week I promised to share with you where I found the bottoms in this picture.

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I got these jeans at a thrift store for $4.98. In fact, I purchased everything you see below at one of three thrift stores I periodically pillage.

For my fellow disabled Spashionistas and anyone on a tight budget or a fixed income secondhand stores can be a boon. You're letting somebody else pay full price for a garment that has the potential to make you look fabulous when you score it for a lot less money. There are obvious downsides to the thrift store experience. You have to be willing to wade through a sea of so-so clothing to find that rare piece that's perfect for you. You also have to be willing to have it altered if it's a close fit.

Take these jeans, for example. These happen to be Nine West and fit me perfectly except for the length.

Given the fact that I'm on the short end of petite I expect any pants I find are going to be too long. I paid $6.98 for the jeans and another $9 to have them hemmed (you didn't really think I could sew, did you?). For around $16 I have name brand jeans that fit like a glove. The Westbound Petite I'm wearing in the photo above, along with a pair of Old Navy Sweetheart Jeans purchased for $5.98, are the only pants I've bought that didn't need to be taken up.

Other notable summer tops include the pink One World ombre  for $3.99; the RXB turquoise embellished tunic, also $3.99.

The black and white "mystery"  label-removed tunic for $2.98.

The gorgeous Ilyse Hart LTD black pencil skirt with white lace looks like a million bucks but only cost me $3.99! The third black and white item is a Sangria dress that I purchased for $5.99.

Fall picks start with the Sarah Arizona Petite dark sage top for $4.99 and the Worthington Petite black wrap top at $3.99.

This Ann Taylor Loft grey fringe wool skirt with appliqued flowers was a steal at $8.98.

Winter clothes are hard to find secondhand. This is especially true for sweaters that can't be altered and tend to arrive at the thrift store stretched, snagged, or pilled. When I find a great sweater I pounce on it. Take these two for instance. The white is a Raphaella angora/lambswool blend for $7.98. The pink Valerie Stevens is cashmere and set me back $10.99.

By my calculations that's a total of $84.81, including the $9 alteration fee, for 13 items. That averages out to $6.52 per piece. Is there any sceneario by which this does not qualify as awesome?

Please excuse the quality of these photos - I lent my photography rig to Vogue magazine. They promised to have it back in time for this shoot but, well, you know how that goes!

What's your best thrift store/charity shop/consignment boutique find?

Fashion Friday: Très "Shic"

C'mon, you knew it was coming, didn't you?

Take one outfit, four methods of perambulation, eight different shoe styles and four bags courtesy of Shi by Journeys, and what do you get?

Can't-miss fabulousness and on-trend, whimsical "Shic" no matter how old you happen to be!

The outfit is comprised of basics; straight-legged dark wash jeans, detailed tank top, and a neutral structured jacket perfect for everything from back-to-school to casual Friday. All can be had in a wide range of styles and prices. The accent here is on how the various footwear and bag choices change the tone of the overall look. I don't own any of these specific items (yet. The Nahla high-heeled boot is calling my name!) but I have scored all these styles from Shi via my fashion angel Matthew Bretherick. You can go for the sneaker option and look casual yet put-together. You can opt for the oxfords and channel your inner preppie. If you're feeling girly go for the more delicate flats. When the summer heat abates break out the boots. Finally, note that all the bag styles have shoulder or crossbody length straps and two have handles for even more versatility.

In short there are, what, 32 possible combinations with the pictured accessories alone? Imagine how many more you'll find when you visit Shi, either online or in person!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!