Archive | May, 2011

Mirror Mirror on the Wall. Shopping of the Future?

30 May

In 2010 the New York City Macy’s store kicked off Fashion Week by installing the Magic Fitting Room Mirror.  This mirror offers shoppers the chance to digitally try on clothing without stripping down.  The mirror produces images of yourself in your selected items and gives you the opportunity to change colors and sizes.  Need a second opinion?  No problem.  The Magic Mirror allows you to upload the digital images of yourself to Facebook and Twitter to ask friends and family for their opinions.  Another huge perk is that you can receive a text telling you where to find the pieces in your new outfit.  Seems pretty interesting, right?

This concept is definitely appealing to retailers.  No more messy dressing rooms to clean up after, no more bringing out-of-place merchandise back to the proper place, and no more long lines at the fitting room to manage.  But looking at this product at the consumer level, I’m not so sure how appealing this service is.  It is definitely cool and would be interesting to try, but I can’t imagine this taking over.  Maybe tweaking the technology to create an interactive online shopping experience or as a piece of  a technological art museum.  I just think that this mirror takes away the experience of shopping.  Yes it is more convenient but you lose the thrill of seeing how the garment lays and moves with you.  That is something that technology can never replace.

Connecting Retailers and Customers Through Seamless Social Media

30 May

Branding is how all businesses differentiate themselves from each other.  Consumers are influenced by what they hear, see and are told about a brand and social media is the most effective way to communicate your brand image.  A unified representation of yourself across all outlets ensures that your audience is receiving your desired message.  Blogger Krista Peck from Fashionably Marketing Me uses Hobo International as a prime example of this seamless use of social media.  When Hobo relaunched its website it also revamped its Facebook and Twitter accounts to communicate its new image.

Retailers using social media is extremely important when it comes to maintaining customer relationships.  So much of the shopping experience happens after shoppers go home.  They get opinions on their purchases and talk about their experiences.  With everything happening online retailers and designers need to have a social presence to monitor conversations happening around their brands and products.  Companies like Nordstrom do an excellent job at responding to all posts, both negative and positive.  Bottom line is that we all are living our lives online and retailers need to learn to communicate their brand images via those social media outlets so they do not miss out on potential audiences and can manage any potential crises.

Photo Credit: Popai.com

Professional Style: How to dress professionally without losing your sense of style

22 May
As my school year comes to an end and my internship with Nordstrom is starting in early June I have to start thinking about ditching my jeans and tennis shoes for pencil skirts and heels.  Just because I am supposed to dress more professionally does not mean that I need to give up my style.  I started thinking about what I would wear to work and wanted to put some ideas together.  I like the idea of mixing standard “professional” pieces like pencil skirts and blazers with feminine touches like ruffled tops and dresses.  Adding trendy accessories like neutral earrings and classic Mary Jane heels, which I am obsessed with, keep professional wear youthful.  I think clothes are an expression of ourselves, and we shouldn’t stifle that just because we are expected to dress professionally and conservatively.  You can still play and have fun with patterns, jewelery and feminine touches.  Look out world, here I come!

Spring 2011 on a Budget

15 May
Spring fashion is all about dressing up and having fun with your clothes, which can be hard on a college student budget.  It also can be hard living in Oregon, where we don;t get the chance to have as much fun as other sunny states like my home, California.  Either way, as a broke college student living in overcast, I still like to play with spring style.  There are a few staples that I have recently added to my wardrobe that helps me keep my closet looking fresh without breaking my bank or being too over the top in Oregon weather.Nude Pump

I’d been looking for a nude pump for a while.  I found a ton that I loved, but none that I could afford, until i found a pair in Target.  All of my friends tried the last pair in the store on, and no one fit into them except me.  It was like our own game of Cinderella.  We took it as a sign and I of course had to get them.  They are obvious knock-offs of Steve Madden’s Bevv heel but for $29.99 I couldn’t say no.  I wear them with black mini-skirts or jeans and I absolutely love them.

Floral Skirt, Dress, or Shorts

Obviously floral is a huge spring trend.  There are tons of ways you can incorporate this into your closet.  I chose a tight dark floral skirt from Wet Seal to wear out at night.  Other options are floral dresses you can wear with either boots or sandals, or high-waisted loose cotton shorts paired with strappy sandals. 

Feather Earrings

One of my favorite aspects of the hippie 70’s trend is feather accessories, but mainly feather earrings.  I’m not a huge fan of clusters of feathers dangling from people’s ears, I kind of think they look like they are trying to fly.  But a one colored simple feather earring can ad a little bit of easiness and to an outfit. 

Spring Staples by DanaNicholson featuring fringe handbags

My New Obsession, and the Future of Trend Forecasting

8 May

I just signed up with Polyvore, an online fashion network that allows you to create visual representations of outfits.  The site literally gives you access to everything you can dream of to create the ultimate visually appealing view of your favorite looks.  I’ve only been a member for five days and I have already made about seven looks, or sets as the site calls them.   It has quickly become my favorite past-time.  Instead of watching old episodes of Gossip Girl I know create looks that I think the characters would wear.  Kind of creepy I know, but if you are in to styling then this site is definitely for you.

Blair Waldorf
The site gives you the chance to browse galleries with literally thousands of pieces to create any look you want.  You can search for a specific piece by using the search bar, or you can browse certain trends and pull our favorites.  Once you find a piece  you like you can either just create a set or add it to your favorite’s closet to work with it later.
Spring Colors
What I like most about Polyvore is that it gives me a chance to explore not only my own creativity but gain inspiration from other people. I see the site more of a fashion social network because it shows people to look for and most popular sets in a news feed type of thing.  It gives me a chance to follow other members whose style I like.  The site lets me connect to groups that I like, like stores and designers, to meet people with similar fashion tastes as me.  I also can gain contacts and ask for advice on my sets.  The community aspect of Polyvore allows people to create trends and try out different styles.  It is basically a community of people who like to create fashionable looks and learn from each other, and as a student, it is my number one priority to learn and refine my skills while I can.  If you are already on Polyvore check out my sets and connect with me, DanaNicholson.  If you are curious about pursuing a career in fashion I would check it out.

Brand, More Than Just a Label

1 May

As a public relations student I spend a good portion of my time learning about personal branding as a way to stand out to potential employers.  It took me a long time to figure out what how to brand myself, which sounds a little bit like I am trying to sell myself, but I guess that it what job hunting is in a some strange way.  I found this post from Dan Schawbel’s blog “Personal Branding Blog” from blogger David Trahan.  Trahan discusses the lessons he learned about personal branding from New York Fashion Week.  As a fashion enthusiast I paid attention.  Like Trahan I believe that style plays a big role in defining an image.  “After all, my style is an important part of my personal brand image.  It’s something that can express who I am as an individual” (Trahan).   In his post Trahan suggests a set of six questions to ask yourself to help develop your personal brand via fashion.

1. How do my clothes portray my personality?

I like to consider my style dressed-up casual with touched of femininity.  My daily clothes mainly consist jeans, flat chestnut boots or ballet flats, some sort of sweater or cardigan, and sometimes a scarf depending on the weather.  I love lace, bows, and ruffles, and I try to incorporate those styles into my wardrobe in a soft and understated way.

2. What do I think about other people’s clothes?

My friends are always asking me to borrow clothes, so I take that as a compliment to my style choices.  I think that if other people want to borrow my clothes that they like the clothes I own, and how I put them together to create an outfit.

3. What do other people think about my clothes?

Other people think my clothes are cute and stylish.  Mainly they think I can put together an outfit well.  My friends and family told me that I am their favorite shopping buddy because I give them my opinion and help them put together outfits so they don’t have to do it themselves.  My sister told me yesterday while shopping for an outfit for a Baptism that I was her little fashionista and that she didn’t know what she would do without me.

4. Whose style of dress do I like?

My style icon is a fictional character, as sad as that is.  I am absolutely obsessed with Blair Waldorf‘s style from Gossip Girl. She is classy and elegant while stile being modern. 


5. What style of dress is appropriate for my job?

Considering I don’t have a professional job yet, this question is kind of hard to answer.  As a student, casual is the most appropriate style of dress, but I don’t believe in wearing sweats to class unlike the majority of my classmates.  As a future sales intern with Nordstrom I plan on dressing in business casual.

6. If I could wear anything to work today, what would I wear?

If I were going to a professional job today I would wear gray dress pants with a matching fitted blazer, black pumps, and jewel toned silk blouse with either a bow around the neckline or ruffles down the front.  I think this outfit is professional while still being young and demonstrating my own personal style.

Given my answers to Trahan’s personal branding questions I would say that my style brands me as clean, put together, classic, and feminine.  At least that is how I hope I am seen.  My personal brand will be exemplified through my clothes mainly because it is the first impression people people get from meeting me.  It is clear that I take pride in my wardrobe and I hope that translates into my work.