What I Wore: Reality

wardrobeoxygen2Top: Modcloth via Poshmark (similar) | Skirt: Etsy | Bag: Novica | Necklace: Argento Vivo (similar)

Allie, why is there only one picture?  I could say less is more, one photo is all that is needed to capture the effect of the look but yeah, that’s not the truth.  The truth is that it was hot as crap this day and I was tired and grumpy and all that was as clear in the photos and the print of this Ankara maxi skirt.  Karl took about 40 photos, and going through them first round, I deleted all but five.  From those, I ended up editing three and loaded them into WordPress.  then seeing the three together I looked miserable.  And hot.  And oh, I had boob sweat in one and upper lip sweat in another.

WO2I considered deleting all of them and not having this post go live, but the thing is the outfit is a lot of fun and I really enjoyed wearing it and it read far better in person than standing in the middle of the street.  It deserved to be seen, so I kept the one photo where I don’t look as though I want to kill my photographer, cry, pass out, or vomit.  This top I got on Poshmark; I was looking for a tee to replace this one and it popped up.  Not an accurate description, but I loved how it looked and loved it even more in person.  I wear it often, it’s a great concert top with a pair of jeans, but I also like it with skirts.  And this skirt, you’ve seen it before in this post and this post and it’s great for summer because it’s stiff cotton and doesn’t touch my legs, leaving plenty of air flow.  And pockets!

So yeah, real life gets hot and sweaty and can get me grumpy.  The right clothes can help but sometimes not enough to get three to five decent shots of them!

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Bucketfeet | Everyone should have a piece of art in their closet

by Jasmin Briggs

Hi everyone, WO2 intern Jasmin here! On Wednesday, July 20th I had the opportunity to attend the DC grand opening of Bucketfeet, a shoe company based in Chicago. It was founded by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein in 2011 after they met each other in Argentina. Their collection of footwear features designs from thousands of artists across the globe. This gives artists a chance to expose their art to the public and receive money for their work. Bucketfeet’s mission is to, “create a brighter world by sparking conversations that bring people together, create mutual respect, foster shared understanding and, thus, build a better world.”

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

Originally Alison was supposed to attend the event, but she’s currently on a cross country road trip with her family and said I could go in her place. This was my first time covering an event for a blog and I was a little nervous at first. I think I was also the youngest person there, so that didn’t help my nerves, but for the most part the event was very fun.

Being the rookie event blogger that I am I arrived 20 minutes early and I was the first one there. In hindsight that was probably best because I was able to take pictures of the storefront, store interior and products before it got too crowded with guests. When I saw the storefront I was in awe. The artistry and creativity of the storefront mirrored the theme and aesthetic of the brand so perfectly. It was unique and stood out from every other storefront on the block. The storefront design was created by a local DC artist named, MasPaz.

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

The interior of the store was even more impressive. It was more minimal compared to the storefront, but it looked similar to an art gallery. The walls of the store were white, but they were adorned with samples of the footwear and art work inspired by the footwear. The sample shoes were placed on shelves around the store and were divided into men’s, women’s and kids. Next to each shoe was a description of the person who made it and their inspiration behind the shoe. This reminded me of how museum‘s and art galleries put descriptions of the artists and theme of the piece next to their work. I think this helps people realize that art is dynamic and doesn’t come in one form. Shoes are a form of art and there is a story behind each one. When you see people walking down the street in Bucketfeet shoes their feet look like a moving canvas.

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

There were also display tables around the store that showcased shoes, laces, socks, wall décor and sketch books. I think the display tables did a good job of tying in the theme of the brand and promoting a creative environment.

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

After walking around the store and taking pictures more people showed up and before I knew it the event was packed. People were mingling, enjoying the refreshments and looking at shoes. You could hear thirty different conversations at once, but it made the event feel lively and social. The bar was pretty standard and was equipped with water, soda and white wine, but the main attraction was the hors d’oeuvres. I had a chance to taste the mini chicken and waffles and the caramel macchiato bites. There was another food option, but I didn’t have a chance to taste it. The sales associates were on their feet the whole night showing customers shoes and getting different sizes. They were really friendly and engaged in conversation with you as you tried on shoes. People were responding positively to the brand and several people left with shoes, including me!

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

Before I left the event I had a chance to interview one of the co-founders, Raaja Nemani.

Me: How did you come up with the name for the company?

Nemani: Aaron (other co-founder), started customizing shoes in college and when he would make custom shoes for his friends he called it Bucketfeet, so when we met we decided to keep the name?

Me: Very cool, so is that how the company came about?

Nemani: Aaron had just moved to Argentina to work as a photographer and he ended up living there for 3 ½ years. I quit my job in 2008 and I backpacked around the world for a year and a half and I traveled to thirty countries and visited every continent.

Me: That sounds amazing, I hope to do that one day.                    

Nemani: Then I met him in Argentina and before I left he customized a pair of shoes for me. Those are the shoes I wore, they sparked all these amazing conversations. The idea was that there’s a different story, place and person behind every product. We could spark more conversations and bring people together, teach people about different parts of the world, different people and art is a great platform to do that.

Me: So it’s a way of bringing the world together?

Nemani: Yea! Exactly

Me: How do you decide which artists will design the sneakers?

Nemani: A few ways, Aaron, my co-founder is our chief artist, so he looks through a lot of the art and the artists and their stories. Our product team thinks about how the art will work on a shoe and from a commercial stand point and then we also ask consumers to vote on the products and the art they like best. So we take all that data and make our selection.

Me: So if someone wants to submit a design, how would they go about doing that?

Nemani: Just go to our website, there’s a link you can click to sign up and give your info then you can start submitting art.

Me: How do you want your customers to feel when they wear your products? What mindset do you want them to have?

Nemani: I want them to feel like they represent something and there’s a story behind the product. You will get asked about the shoes because they stand out and when you do you have something to say. You can talk about the person, the story and what it means. I think that’s really powerful in bringing people together and making the world a little bit better.

The entire experience from the venue, to the atmosphere, food and people was phenomenal and I highly recommend that people visit the store and see for themselves. The products are so unique and everyone should have a piece of art in their closet!

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How I Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2016If you’re a reader of multiple blogs, you must be SICK AND TIRED of reading posts about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Thing is, it’s a great sale, my favorite one of the year.  Also it doesn’t hurt that Nordstrom has free returns, free shipping no minimum, and carries a great variety of sizes, styles, and pricepoints.  The sale opens for the public tomorrow.

I usually peruse the NSale and write a roundup of what I find to be the absolute best deals, separated by category. But when the sale launches, I will be likely on some lonesome highway with my child saying for the 50th time, “Are we there yet?” Since I won’t be able to do a round up, I’m going to share how I go about making my roundups and how I shop myself for this sale.

At the top of Nordstrom’s site there will be a link to the sale and likely a link for Women’s Sale. If not, click sale, then choose women’s. Since the sale isn’t available at the time of posting this my directions may not be exactly accurate, but are a gauge on how to blast through all this merch.

Wardrobe Oxygen - how to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary SaleThe next step I do is reorganize what I see. At the top of the items, you’ll see a field that says, “Sort by Featured.” You don’t want this. Featured means the stuff that Nordstrom WANTS you to buy. The more pricey stuff, the popular stuff, the eye-catching stuff. Maybe you want that, but most likely you want deals that work for YOU. So click that field and change it to, “Sort by Price: low to high.” Yeah, that’s more like it. Now it’s easier to stop at your maximum pricepoint (for a sale like this, my cap is $200, for example, so I can easily stop when I get near that number and not be swayed by a super cute $245 thing).

how to shop the nordstrom anniversary sale by wardrobe oxygenNext, sort by size. There’s nothing worse than admiring something, click to buy and find out your size isn’t available. Nordstrom lets you pick more than one category; in the screenshot you see the size categories I always choose (and as a heads up, Nordstrom will remember this and next time you visit will have those sizes at the top for you).

Wardrobe Oxygen - how to shop the nordstrom anniversary sale onlineIf this is still too much for you to handle, you can now narrow down categories. For example, I don’t want hosiery, swimwear, or sleepwear. The categories are sort of odd, so if you think you may want something in it might as well include it.

shopping the nordstrom anniversary sale with wardrobe oxygenIf you wish to narrow more, you can do a forced stop with price. This will help get the pages to a manageable number (in my mind that’s fewer than 100 pages). Now, it’s time for scrolling!

I scroll pretty quickly through the pages, if something is worthy it should catch my eye without much effort. If it does, I right click and open in another tab and keep going. I don’t start looking at what I opened in another tab until I’ve gone through at least a half dozen pages.

Unfortunately, a lot of pieces in the NSale are brought in just for the sale so they don’t have reviews. But if they do, read more than the first page. Read all the reviews and the ages of the reviewers because what gets 5 stars from a 21 year old may get 2 from a 40 year old. Read all the descriptions and look at all the photos. Note the laundry instructions, whether it’s lined, what fabric it’s made of. If it passes muster, put it in your virtual shopping cart.

When you’ve reviewed all the open tabs, go back to the main one. Scroll through another half dozen pages, read the tabs you opened, continue. This sounds monotonous, but I’ve gotten it down where I can do this shopping not just for me but for all of you in less than an hour. Be picky. The NSale is good, but it’s not like Chanel for $50. If you don’t need it and if the price isn’t awesome, move on.

If there’s any other categories you wish to peruse, follow the same steps. Once you’ve fully examined all you need to examine in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, head to your virtual shopping cart.

Now is the time to get real. Like real real, so real.

That neon pink backless dress is to DIE for and it’s 45% off, but girl where are you planning on wearing it? And what bra do you own that will work with it?

Yes, those skinny jeans are an amazing price, but you still have three pairs from last year that are perfectly good.

You have been wanting a sparkly top for going out, dressing up suits for cocktail parties, and such but this one is a crew neck and you know you’d feel better with a lower neckline.

For the things you KNOW you don’t need, delete them. For the ones where you’re not sure, save for later. If they’re gone by tomorrow they weren’t meant to be. Life is telling you what you didn’t want to admit. If it’s still there, seriously consider why you hesitated. Remember, no dress will change your life.

Review and review, thinking about the wardrobe and lifestyle you currently possess. Be realistic, don’t get drunk off discounts. Only when you’re honest with your body, your wardrobe, your lifestyle, and your budget can you begin the payment process.

When your purchase arrives in the mail, keep the box. Unlike many retailers who send items in bags, Nordstrom has nice sturdy boxes that are perfect for shipping items back. As you unwrap items, be careful and stuff the plastic and tissue in the shipping box. This way, for any items that may not be right you can carefully return them. I also use the extra plastic and tissue as padding to keep returns from sloshing around, and I figure they can (hopefully) recycle the stuff with their other items in the Returns Department.

I have a vintage train case where I keep all packing slips, mailing labels, and invoices for online purchases. Nordstrom has clear descriptions on their packing slips, but if you may not recall what an item is (for not everyone is a dork like me and can look at a sweater in her closet and recall the brand, style name, and year it was purchased without seeing the tag), write descriptions that make sense to you on a Post-it and stick it on the packing slip before you put it in a safe place.

Since Nordstrom has a relaxed return policy, there’s no need to try things on in a hurry. For me, when I get a package in the mail I use it as part of my post-work and commute decompression time. I grab a glass of ice water or a La Croix, head up to the bedroom, open the boxes, give a quick look, maybe try on some if I’m up to it, but at least put away the packing slip, unbox, and put the new items either on top of my bureau or on hangers in a separate part of my closet. This way they lose some of their wrinkles. I usually try on immediately the things that look at first glance to be hideous or spectacular. If hideous, I can often pull up to the knees or over the head and immediately know it won’t fit and take it off before the struggle and the reflection sadness. Put back in plastic, stick right back in the box. The awesome I’ll try, and if it’s awesome… I still put it with the other items. Everything needs two tries, especially if you’re tired, hot, stressed, or wearing the wrong bra the first go-round. And all try-ons should be done while completely sober and with a shiny clean mirror.

Do NOT take off the tags until you have put on for your first wear. You have on the shoes, the belt, the bracelet and you’re ready to walk out the door. Only then do you pull those tags. And me personally, I put those tags in that train case, paper clipped to the shipping label in case there’s a defect. Nordstrom will take some items back without a tag, but it’s just good practice for all online shopping.

Finally, when someone says, “Omigawd I LURRRVE your dress!” Smile, say thank you, and tell them how cheap you got it at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and how Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen helped you find it! Happy shopping!

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