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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.

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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

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.

Spring Upon Arrival

24 Apr

Living in Eugene, Oregon doesn’t always mean that I am able to take full advantage of the spring season’s fashion trends.  We get the occasional warm day, but most of the time it is either cold and sunny, or cold and rainy.  Either way it is just plain cold, which means that the cute sundresses hanging in my closet will have to wait until I return home to the California sunshine this summer.  However, even though I can’t take full advantages of trends directed towards warmer climates doesn’t mean I don’t know about them and do what I can to incorporate them into my wardrobe.

Vibrant Colors and Color Block

Bright Colored Top From Forever21

Spring is always known for bright colors, but this season designers are taking their colors to a whole new level.  Combining unexpected colors are making people realize “Oh, pink and orange DO go together.”  It is a fun and fearless trend that allows a chance for fun creativity.  Part of the fun in being in being a girl is experimenting, and this trend gives us a chance to show our personality, and to play with our clothes.  InStyle Magazine suggests to combine three colors maximum, and to always make sure that the most flattering color is the one closest to your face.

Sometimes in Oregon it can look a little silly to be in bold combinations of colors when it is gray and overcast outside.  My advice is to take this trend with a grain of salt.  Instead of mixing and matching tops and bottoms, choose one and then accessorize with bold colored jewelry.  This way you can still be trendy, with out feeling uncomfortable or over-the-top.

70’s Revival

70's inspired blouse from Vero Moda

An updated version of the clothes my mom wore in high school is now popular? I never though I would see the day that my mom got teary eyed over a pair of platform heels and bell-bottoms.  Personally, I kind of like to pick and choose what I would wear from this trend. I am all for flowing, bohemian blouses and rompers, but I just don’t understand the appeal of jumpsuits and chunky platforms.  Maybe it’s because I am too short to pull off a jumpsuit, or maybe it is because it reminds me too much of my mom.  I think mixing pieces that follow the revival with modern pieces is a good balance.  I love wearing sheer hippie inspired blouses with cut-off shorts and sandals on a sunny day, and if I’m feeling it, I may stick a flower behind my ear.  However, a full-blown, 70’s from head to toe outfit is just a little too much for me.

Lace Accented Babydoll Top from ASOS

Lace

This is by far my favorite trend of the season, and I hope it sticks around for a while.  I think that lace gives the right touch of femininity to any outfit.   Lace tops, lace dresses, or even an accessory accented with lace automatically draws me in.  I love that the lace can be sheer in some places to give a little bit of sexiness without being too exposed.

Full Lace Dress from ASOS

It has to be the right kind of lace though, it can’t look like I made a dress out of my grandma’s tablecloth, and it cant be so textured that you loose its delicacy.

The thing I love the most is the fact that I can dress it up, or dress it down. A black lace top in general already looks sexier for a night out, but add a colored bandeau, black skinny jeans, smoky eyes, and sleek pumps and you’ve got the epitome of sex appeal.

On the other hand, white lace dresses, soft pink blush, wavy curls and a bow headband (total Blair Waldorf style) can be absolutely adorable.

Floral

“Florals for spring.  Groundbreaking.” This line from film “The Devil Wears Prada” says it all. We all know that April showers bring May flowers, and that spring is the time for everything to come back to life after the long dreary winter.  There is no exception when it comes to our wardrobes.

Floral Dress from Nordstrom

The floral trend breathes some life back into our closets every spring.  This season there are two different floral trends: the soft, romantic, more country type floral, and the sleek and bold floral patterns from the East.  I love the floral trend because there are so many color pallets and feels to the clothing.  Prints could be pastel, bright, or deep, and can be printed on an array of materials, everything from sheer fabrics to satin.  I love how you can portray any time of image with this year’s floral trend.  You can be cute and country with a pastel floral sundress and denim jacket, or you could be mysterious like a Japanese geisha with a satin, jewel-toned maxi dress.  Either way it keeps you looking fresh and youthful.

 

Men’s Inspired

Men's Inspired Women's Suit From Ann Taylor

This is the trend I hope sticks around long enough for me to take advantage of when I enter the professional world next year.  I love blazers, I love dress slacks, and I love putting a feminine twist on a traditionally male dominated look of the business suit.  I don’t have the body type for wide legged slacks, but traditional dress pants and pumps is a classy look for any professional situation.  I love when a suit tailored for a women’s body is given some feminine touches.  As a girly-girl I love ruffles, frills, and bows.  I think that as long as it is done tasefully, both can paired with a men’s inspired professional look.  I also love the idea of jewel toned silk or satin shirts underneath a fitted blazer.

On a more casual note, the men’s inspired trend now includes boyfriend fit jeans, cardigans, t-shirts, and oxford style shoes.  Basically, anything labeled as “boyfriend fit” means that it has a looser fit.  Much like in men’s inspired business apparel, men’s inspired causal wear should still have a touch of femininity.  Accessories like decorative scarves, embellished headbands, and ballet flats add to the contract of gender mixing styles.  I would say that I have adopted this trend the most in my own style, since it is the most causal and I can wear it with pretty much any weather scenario.

Obviously I didn’t cover everything since trends are ever evolving.  As long as the basics are understood then you can strategically keep up to date will fashion trends.  Like I demonstrated in my descriptions above, not every trend is for everyone, that’s why there are so many.  Find what you like and what works for you.  Just because it is in magazines doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Take risks, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously. The best thing about fashion is that it is open to interpretation.