How to Stretch Your Fashion Dollar. Style Series At B-Chicago. Carol's Chicago Spring/Summer Must Have List

Carol Calacci presenting tips at the Style Series wearing Nougat dress from B.

Here’s what you missed if you could not make it to the Style Series at B last night. Carol Calacci, co-founder of Second City Style presented tips on how to stretch your fashion dollar and showed perfect examples of items on her "Chicago 2008 Spring/Summer Must Have List" available at the boutique.

B Model Deidre wears an alternative to the Little Black Dress,
this Roger Perry dress that Style Series attendees adored.


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How to Stretch your Fashion Dollar

Saving money on your wardrobe does not mean buying everything on sale or having to settle for low-quality clothing. Stretching your dollar and your wardrobe can be achieved by making smart decisions and only investing the items you really need. Save the bargains and sales for new trends. Purchase an item because it expresses your own personal style…not just because it’s a trend!

Make a list so you will be less likely to stray off course. Just like going to the grocery store, if you stay focused you won’t impulse shop.

1. Shop your own closet. You may already have some of the items on the list. However, fit is most  important. Do a little research work. Try things on. If your ‘perfect’ black pants are no longer so perfect, they will need to be replaced or altered. The proper underwear can do wonders for the way clothes fit. Additonally, if you notice items you never wear, get rid of them. Take note of what you actually do wear in a given week and make a list. Fill that frustrating void in your wardrobe where you "wish you had" something: maybe it’s a short jacket, a long sleeve blouse, or a dressier t-shirt.

2. Set a budget. Use the handy list you just made and jot down how much you think each item may cost and how much you will be willing to spend for quality on the item. Consider cost per wear. If you are going to wear an item every week, or even several times per week, like a jacket, it may be worth it to spend extra on something that is high quality and designer styled. A $500 jacket you wear 50 times costs $10 “per wear”. A $200 jacket that you only wear two times costs $100 per wear. You’ll feel better about how you look when you wear a high quality item that you love. I have also found designer garments in a classic style holds their value because they so well designed. Shop at boutiques like B-Chicago which offer helpful (and honest!) advice and service and you’ll never need to pay for a wardrobe stylist.

3. Keep the base of your wardrobe classic. The good news is that vintage looks were all over the runways for fall, and designers are always influenced by the past. So buy classic styling. Try something that has style from a particular era, like a 40’s blouse or the 60’s shift. These vintage classics, if the style and fit is right for you, will never look dated and you will treasure them for years.

4. Find your own personal style.
This may be a tough for some, but remember that closet you just shopped in? What did you see a lot of? What are you drawn to? Also where do you want to shake it up? Think of the colors, motifs, and shapes that you are personally drawn to, no matter if it is “in style” or not. One good thing about getting older, is that you know what you like. You may realize that you’ve always liked animal prints. Or you may see that you need an animal print! Or you may need some color in that monochromatic safe closet!

5. Wear things over and over! You don’t need one in every color. Instead, change your accessories. Keep your life simple! Fewer items and finer clothing is better. Challenge yourself to recreate a new look with what you already have. Give yourself a time frame like it’s fun a game. For example, try to put together a new look within an hour!

6. Be prepared each season! Life is so much easier when you know you have everything you need to wear in your closet! Creating a budget and making a list will make the process easy!

Invest in items from your "Must Have List" however, there are no set rules. You may find a great deal on a trench coat, and then splurge on a bright handbag. Or maybe you don’t need to spend much on a casual skirt, so spend more on the trench!

Look pulled together while walking down Michigan or Fifth Avenue! Think about how many people see you when you are out and about. Remember the "Shop Cops" – Second City Style’s fashion police may be watching! You don’t want to wind up on Second City Style as an example of what not to wear!

2008 Spring/Summer Must Have List
1. Blouse or Tunic (white recommended)
2. Cotton t-shirt or tank
3. Pants (lightweight wool or cotton trousers, neutral colors)
4. Jeans (dark denim, trouser cut is a good option)
5. Jacket (a great fit for your body type)
6. Cardigan
7. Trench/Rain Coat
8. Casual Skirt/Shorts/Capris (one is all you need – suit your body type!)
9. Dress (cotton is great for Chicago humidity, shirt dresses look professional)
10. Little Black Dress (for weddings and special occasions)
11. Tote Bag (Avoid paper shopping bags – get it together!)
12. Walking shoes (Nix the white athletic shoes or flip flops for the street!
Not only are they ugly – flip flops are dangerous!)
12. Closed-toe pumps
13. Sandals (heels, platforms, flats or wedge to suit your needs)
14. Scarf (can become a top, belt or wrap)
15. Proper Foundation (strapless bra, smooth nude colors, Spanx)

Trend List 2008 Spring/Summer
(purchase a la carte, a la your own style)
Try to limit these items to a few, unless it fits your budget or it can cross over as an item on the "Must Have List!"
Shot of Bright Color (from a wild shoe or sandal to a handbag or t-shirt)
Belts (from thick to thin can convert a dress, tunic or blouse to be more flattering,    dressy, or business-like)
Floral/Geometric/Abstract Art Prints
Safari (dresses, shirts, jackets, shorts)
Statement Necklace
Cuff Bracelets
Patent Leather Accessories
Gladiator Sandals
Maxi Dresses
Clutch Bag
Full Skirts

—Carol Calacci
1117 W Armitage
Chicago, IL 60614
Sale on Now! Get 40% off on most Spring/Summer items!

1 thought on “How to Stretch Your Fashion Dollar. Style Series At B-Chicago. Carol's Chicago Spring/Summer Must Have List”

  1. Carol is spot on! Bright colors, belts, statement necklaces, gladiator sandals and maxi dresses are all SO on trend right now. The great thing is that you can find them in all price ranges from luxury to discount. I absolutely love my maxi dress from H&M.


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