Author Archives: Jasmin James

Love Lasts Forever

For the love of fashion.

 

Ever been in love? Me too. Ever loved something in your closet so much that you thought you couldn’t be without it. Me too.

 

It's not the same sweater but it's very similar and retails for about $60. (Courtesy of Google/A&F)

Case and point.

 

My Abercrombie and Fitch sweater vest, circa 2008.

 

I bought the vest my senior year of high school and it quickly became a staple in my wardrobe. Imagine an oversized cable knit men’s sweater vest with large tortoise shell buttons and large pockets.  Gorgeous right?

 

Well of course, while Abercrombie’s brand tends to be very well made and last long (this may be why they remain #1 on the retail indexes both online and in-store), nothing last forever. At least that’s what I thought.

 

BCBG Dress/Courtesy of BCBG Max Azaria

Over the years, the pockets in the front began to weaken and the lining couldn’t hold it up any longer. I thought this was the end. Then my mother fixed it up for me (I can’t sew) and that problem was solved. Then I retired it away for a while, thinking it wasn’t in style. Lucky for me, big thick knits came back in season this season and I was able to bring it back out, only to find out that it seemed to fit me oddly. I was worried.

 

Last week, I bought a BCBG Max Azaria sweater dress and to dress it down, I thought “why not layer it?” What ensued was one of the best pairings I’ve made in a long time.

 

 

 

 

What I concluded, then, is that you should never give up on anything. Love. Or your favorite sweater.

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Stitch n’ Bitch

**Warning! This is a Shamless Plug for the MU Women’s Center. I am currently employed there and it is the best place this side of the moon**

 

 

If you’ve never been to the Women’s Center on MU’s campus, you are missing out on a cultural hub feminism, activism and liberation for woman of all shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, beliefs, backgrounds and sexuality. Its also a fun place to discover things about yourself that you may have never known. The Womens Center host several programs year round that bring women together and welcome fresh, new ideas. One of my favorites?

 

Stich n Bitch.

 

Outside of being a staple for most all feminist spaces (Most colleges/universities that have a student ran Womens Center have a Stitch n Bitch component which runs through the national StitchnBitch program), its an amazing craft space where you can crochet or knit anything you want. You can bring your own yarn and needles or you can use the large array provided a the WC, and from there, you grab a comfortable seat and stitch (and Bitch!) away.

 

You can make Scarves, gloves, hats, socks, blankets (anything!) and best of all, its sustainable because you made it. Don’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts this holiday season? Don’t want to spend an arm, leg and kidney on designer crocheted scarves? MAKE YOUR OWN. better yet, you can find really cool yarn colors in scrap bins at craft stores and make something unique and beautiful.

 

So go! Stich n Bitch!

 

Here on MU’s Campus, Stitch-n-Bitch meets every Wednesday at 6:00 in the Womens Center  (G108 Student Center)

 

*All photos courtesy of the MU Womens Center*

Tagged , , , ,

Don’t Be Afraid of the Web, Saving Gas By Avoiding the Mall (Sometimes) and Other Seasonal Advice

Think about your favorite season. Is it spring? Do you love pastels, floral prints and bright colors? Or maybe summer with zesty oranges and electric yellows?

Whatever you love, hopefully you’re ready for the bombshell that is fall. That’s right. Lurking around summer’s youthful corner is the cool breeze, crisp smell and new trends of fall. When fall rolls around, it’s important to stay grounded and focused amid all the new trends.

Courtesy of Forever21.com

If you’re shopping on a college budget, it’s also important to make the best use of your time, because multiple trips to the mall or downtown Columbia can turn into a tricky expense and a waste of time. This week, I’ll share my favorite tricks for narrowing your focus and looking amazing at an even more amazing price.

Courtesy of HM.com

First, know where to shop. Although you might feel miles away from Nordstrom, H&M and Forever 21, you can still buy cute, stylish clothes here in Columbia. One of my personal favorites is Plato’s Closet. Because we’re in a college town, online shopping — a great tool if you’re web-savvy and a huge, overpriced warehouse if you’re not — offers brands such as Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Divided by H&M and sometimes more high-end brands such as BCBG Max Azaria and Joe’s.

There are also a ton of vintage resale stores (if you’re into the more retro indie look) such as Maude V (We ALWAYS talk about them). If that’s not your style, there’s Buckle, which usually carries more modern trends and lots of leatherwear, along with other mall favorites. If you’re into the newer, 1990s retro comeback or army fatigue, Macy’s is where you’ll find it.

Madonna and Lourdes launched Material Girl in late August of 2010 — a brand that strongly re-embraces the tutu skirts, bright pink Ts and glittery leggings of the Madonna era. If you’re catering to your inner diva and have a boutique style in mind, I highly recommend Swank. With denim, tuxedo jackets, cocktail dresses, Juicy tracksuits and more, Swank is a boutique that lives in Columbia but has the spirit of the Big Apple and the Windy City breathing in every aisle.

Courtesy of TLC.com

Next, go with what works for you. As Clinton and Stacy of “What Not to Wear” will tell you, “Tailor, tailor, tailor!” Simply put, fashion is a much larger concept than what we see on E! or read in People. There are some clothes everyone looks good in. My favorite example is stripes. No matter what size you are or how tall you are, you can wear the style, and it can be tailored to fit your personal style and comfort level. The taller or thinner you are, the bigger your stripes can be. If you’re shorter or heavier, they should be thin.

Vertical stripes look best on shorter women and horizontal stripes look best on taller girls. Skinny jeans and “jeggings” aren’t for everyone because the cut of jean might not suit your body type. My advice is to try things on. If you like the skinny, washed denim look but don’t like the fit, go for a boot cut. It’ll present the illusion of a great fitted pair of jeans without obscurely contouring your shape.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Protecting your Investments

Designer jeans: $120. Lambs wool sweater: $70. Protecting your investment:

zipper jeans, courtesy of http://www.RagandBone.com ($115) *sale*

Priceless.

Your wardrobe is a huge investment.You spend time, energy and — most importantly — money on building an impressive array of denim, cardigans, suits and blouses. Yet it seems like it becomes less of a priority to take care of them and thus, all these high-priced items need to be replaced.

Courtesy of http://www.jcrew.com, Saturday Lambs Wool Sweater, 49.99 (sale)

In lieu of the upcoming spending craze that proceeds Christmas, it’s important to take some time to read the labels on your clothing and make a resolution to take better care of them so you won’t be forced to replace everything. Maintenance is not hard if it is practiced regularly. This week, I offer you a few tips on how to preserve your wardrobe.

First, washing can cause your clothes to wear faster. So don’t use fabric softener every time you wash. This can weaken the fibers and cause them to get holes or, even worse, make them flammable. Another thing to remember is denim is dyed and has been stressed already in the process of its creation. That’s why important to either buy denim detergent or dry clean your denim to extend its life.

This is my favorite Denim wash by The Laundress (www.thelaundress.com) Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use cold water. And remember, if you're not sure, be safe and use less. (less is more)

Dark denims such as black, navy or gray can be dry cleaned to protect the color. If hung up in the closet (not tossed on your bed or on the floor), jeans can last two to three weeks before needing to be cleaned or ironed again. This also depends on how often you wear a particular pair of jeans (everyone has a favorite). You can also use denim soap to hand wash your jeans.

Second, everything doesn’t go in the dryer and everything doesn’t go in the washing machine. Sweaters, blouses and tunics are perfect examples of clothing that can be ruined in the washing machine. If the tag says “hand wash,” clean out your bathroom or utility sink, run mild to warm water and use a detergent that is not too concentrated so you can clean the clothing without leaving soap in the fibers. If it says gentle, use the gentle cycle because normal agitation might be too harsh. Also, brands such as Woolite and Cheer have special formulated detergents that help retain color and tighten fibers.

Washing machines can be pretty harsh on your clothes. If the clothes are made of more sensitive material, they are more likely to rip, unthread or stretch out in the washer or shrink in the dryer.

Finally, take the time to sort your clothes. I know in college it might seem cheaper to wash things in large loads but, in the long run, you could ruin your clothes by bleeding colors, shrinking or ripping. Then you will have to invest in new clothes. If you can only do three loads, try to do at least one gentle load for your higher-end clothing and save the other two for clothing that can take a beating. If you can only do two loads, do one warm and one cold. Invest in some plastic hangers or a drying rack so that you don’t succumb to the temptation of the dryer.

Clothing is expensive, but with a little care and maintenance, you can make it worth the effort.

Remember. Being a smart consumer isn’t about rebuying and respending. Its about being responsible.

Jasmin

Your (Re) Stylist

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

All About the Benjamins’

Go here first, they take cheap, mall brands. Courtesy of http://www.platoscloset.com

In most majors cities, you can find thrift stores that sell awesome vintage clothing—this is nothing new. What is new however, the phenomenon of “cash for clothes” or the new craze of recyclable fashion. These stores are popping up everywhere and it seems like the closer you are to fashion, the better the selection is.

There are many of these chain stores across the country, but the two I’ve become most familiar with are Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet—polar opposites on the “recycle” scale but both very good for broke, young and fabulous people like myself. Plato’s is a great place to sell your old, mall “high school” attire (Aeropastle, Abercrombie and Fitch, Holister,Old Navy, Charlotte Rousse)

and Buffalo’s is a great place to step your game up, grabbing marc jacobs, Chanel and left over Alexander Wang.

The beauty is that it takes years to build a good wardrobe which means that there is always, ALWAYS something you can get rid of in your closet. Currently, 55% of my wardrobe is recycled. And I’m a pretty well dressed, swanky sort of girl. What does that tell you? This is a movement. Stop what you’re doing, clean out your closet. Take the bag to your nearest resale store. They will probably take 5% of what you bring in. That’s ok. DO NOT TAKE CASH UNLESS THEY OFFER FULL VALUE.

from Armani to A Wang to Chanel to Mulberry, Buffalo Exchange has the brands you want at a price that you won't need to sell your kidneys for. Courtesy of http://www.buffaloexchange.com

THIS IS CRUCIAL. At stores like Buffalo Exchange, they give you 50% in store credit or 30% in cash. You can see how silly it would be to take cash (Unless they are taking more than 5% of your clothes). Too much math? Don’t freak out. Just follow your heart. If you take less, you can’t buy those cute Chanel high waists….

Ok. Go change the world.

Your (Re)Cylclist

Tagged , , , ,

Eco Fashion: The Home Decor Edition

With a few sheets, you could have a beautifully decorated living room

If you’re anything like me, you want everything you own to be pretty, fashionable and chic–including your living space!
This week, I’m giving you a few tips and tricks on how to make your home, apartment or just your bedroom even more eco-fashion centric.
For starters, decorative pillows are extremely expensive. Instead of buying $37.00 Dwell Studio Pillows from Target, you can make your own functional pillow. Plus, you can coordinate even more since sheets come in all sorts of funky cool colors and patterns. And with the same sheet, you can make your own curtains and window dressings. All for under $40 bucks. That’s less than the cost of one designer pillow.

What you Need:
2 Throw Pillows (any color, you’ll be doubling the fabric so you won’t see whats underneath. Stay away from patterns though)

1 Sheets set (pillow case, fitted and loose)

*depending on how many windows you are covering and how big they are, this may change

Sewing Machine

Tape Measure

I won’t go into every detail but essentially, you’ll use the pillow cases for the throw pillows and the sheets for the window coverings. If you’re not good with a sewing machine, go to your nearest Michaels, Dry Cleaners or Seamstress (Check out the yellow pages to find those),give them your measurements and cough up about $15. That’s still cheaper than custom window coverings from a fancy home decor place.

And what about covering your walls?

the cardboard poster on either side of the bottle usually change every season, and all the department stores usually throw them away....unless someone wants them

There are endless, cheap solutions. You can head to your local department store and ask them if they have any post seasonal decorations in the back. Chances are, they do. I work at Macy’s and Perfume Pop Art is the first thing you see when you walk into my abode.And for a uniform, clean look, go to your favorite home store (for me it’s Target) and check their clearance kitchen items. You’ll see some plate chargers (they look like giant plates). Grab 4 of them. Then head to the craft store and grab some cool stamps and an ink pad. Stamp each charger with the same symbol and hang in a uniform location. At my house, they are surrounding the decorative mirror that serves as the center focal point of our living room.

These will make awesome additions to any space.

Finally, If you have a favorite pair of pajama pants or a really cool graphic tee that you can’t fit anymore or that shrunk in the dryer, those make awesome room decorators as well. Depending on how big the shirt is or how much fabric you have you can make pillows or frame the fabric for a cool work of art that is unique to your space.

Curious Doodles, a blog dedicated to DIY, shows you how below.

Last but not least, the most unexpected things can be used to decorate your room and chances are, they’re already in your room.


Ribbons and Headbands and Clips, Oh My!

Old bracelets, ribbons, headbands, fashion magazines, postcards and even feather’d hair clips can be used to pull back curtains, decorate your walls and add life to your space. I even have an old wine bottle that I use for a vase.

Now Go! Be Creative!

-Jasmin

Your (Re)Cylclist

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Halloween! Get Ready for Simon Doonan–On CLEARANCE! (and other simple, re-imaginable costume ideas)

It’s the night before Halloween, and all through the house, not a costume was chosen…no candy was out.

If you have tons of money, you could go buy these peices...or you could make your own 🙂

What are you going to do?? Halloween is literally right around the corner and with most parties taking place the weekend before, you have to have SOMETHING ready before friday….Here are some ideas.
So what happens when the Minneapolis-based retail chain — the second largest discount retailer in the world — and the face of Barneys New York unite? What about the most chic Halloween costumes ever? Last year, Doonan introduced a series of costumes for the entire family (even the family dog) that are just as fashionable as they are occasion-appropriate.
The line, which hit stores Sept. 12, 2010 had a variety of inspirations and features 14 signature costumes. The costumes range from spins on the traditional threads, such as diva witch and A-list celebrity, to more imaginative costumes such as giant candy corn (Candace Corn) and spaghetti. Perhaps the most obviously chic costume is the glamour ghost, a large sheet-like hooded dress with the words “trick or trend” stylishly printed on the front. Doonan’s clever ideas are a twist on the popular and stylish interpretation of the fame-obsessed society we live in.
Halloween is probably the only day you can wear anything and essentially go crazy. Platforms, fishnets, pink wigs, body glitter — the whole nine yards. Anyone can throw in a Bumpit, bathe in tinted moisturizer, overdo the eye make-up and be Snookie for Halloween. But not just any girl can pull off a stylish plate of spaghetti or a glowing piece of candy corn.

Check out this link to find out what’s left:

http://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=simon+doonan&category=0|All|matchallany|all+categories  Plus, since the attire is now on clearance, you can grab several different pieces of each look and make it your own.
Not into cookie cutter costumes?
Try Urban Outfitters Online. They carry a few trinkets, headbands, hats and glasses, funky tees. If styled correctly (with things you already own), they can pass as the minimalist’s perfect costume. My favorite? A headband with giant pink bunny ears. Throw on one of grams old sweaters and you’re a fuzzy bunny. Throw on a sexy leotard and your a playboy bunny. Cliche? Yes. Easy? Mos Def.

Got a bunch of Hyvee bags in your kitchen and some tape? Be the Paper Bag Princess.

Here’s my favorite!
If you’ve ever lived in a dorm, you have a dry erase board. All you need are some angel wings (you can get them as cheap as $15 since you don’t necessarily need grown up wings).Get an old, plain shirt, take it to a T-Shirt Screening place (Acme, Flying Cow) and get the Twitter logo on it. You are now TWITTER.

**if all else fails, either go get a masquerade mask or  go grab a cute Halloween T from Target–they are simple, cost less than $20 bucks and they say things like “I’m a ghost. BOO!” or “I’m a celebrity”. Corny but cute.

Happy Halloween to all, and to all and fun (safe, sexy, exciting) night!
-Jasmin
Your (Re)Cylclist
and Costume Designer 😉
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Why TOMS Rock.

Shoes For a Better Tomorrow

TOMS (Short for Tomorrow’s Shoes) is an ethical Shoe (and Clothing Company) that over the last 7 years has become one of the largest ethical brands in the world. The famous slogan “One for One” represents the entire company–for every item they sell, be it shoes or eyewear, they give that same item to children and families in need all over the globe. Mizzou’s own Liz Scafer created Sseko Designs (http://www.ssekodesigns.com/) , an ethical brand that not only gives back physically but also provides women in Uganda with work and education.

The concept, while very risky from the financial side, has evolved and has inspired more give than a million give back brands in more than 15 countries. The idea is simple–We take something like shoes, simplify it to the bare necessities (a comfortable sole and an outer lining) and we sell them for a flat price.
Then, we take the profit and buy children in need there own shoes. Cheap to make, easy to spread. This year, TOMS even patterned with high fashion label “The Rowe”, selling there classic designe with the most luxurious textiles and fabrics in the world.

While those may sell for more than $100, TOMS traditionally range anywhere from $45-$60 dollars and because they are such a versatile, comfortable shoe, the investment is both good for you feet and for the planet (they only use recycled fabrics and rubber).
So, If you don’t own a pair, go online, go inside your favorite retailer or go ask a friend. They are worth it. And with just $45, you can leave a positive footprint on the planet and change the world.

-Jasmin

Your Ethicist

Tagged ,

A Gordon Gartrell Original: The ancient art of Cropping, Cutting and Making New, Fly Sh*t


Anyone else addicted to the Cosby Show? Remember the Gordon Gartrell Original?
.

So. You’re going through your closet and you realize that even though it’s October,  you live in the midwest and its still like 90 out. Plus, if you’re a college student, you have millions of free, useless t-shirts. You keep going through the rest of your stuff and you find a Really cute sweater that you’re sure you won’t be fitting into this fall (whenever it officially arrives) and you’re thinking you’ll probs be tossing it in the goodwill bag. You also find a pair of skinny’s that are sorta out of season and a bright orange blouse that looks ridiculous on the hanger but probably looks better on….

What WILL you do? Well for starters, organize your closet. So what if it’s 90 in October. You should put all of your “nearly summer” pieces on a shelf and the rest of your closet should be in fall mode. NO Flip Flops. No Daisy Dukes (Why do you even have those?)…you get the idea. Just because it 80 doesn’t mean you should be wearing ALL of your summer finds. Sure you can layer and re-imagine those really nice summer blouses and lace but Indian Summer’s only last a little while.

Next, College T’s are perfect for in between weather like this. Grab some scissors and cut em up! Wait! Don’t get crazy. Just shark crop them a little (thats when you cut the bottom a little jagged), maybe cut the neckline and boom! Pair with some cool jewelry and your favorite toms and you’re cute and trendy. If you’re a rock star like me, you can get some fabric paint and make them sexy by adding your own spin to whatever they already say.The solution for the skinny problem is simple. Peg ’em. My general rule is to do a 2 inch fold but this will vary based on how small your ankle is and how “skinny” the jeans are.

Throw on some oxfords. Hot. The blouse can be layered since color blocking is in.

And those sweaters?

Wait until you hear this.

Take your scissors. Cut off the sleeves. Now grab the sweater as if you were putting it on, but stop right before you’d normally put your arms through. Turn and look in the mirror. You are now rocking a tubular scarf.

Now obviously, this look takes a bit of perfecting BUT. If done correctly, its sexy.

Jasmin

Your (Re)Cyclist

Tagged , , , ,

Go Green/Save Green

When we as consumers think of being sustainable, we think of buying products from companies who use green practices. Little do we know, there are a number of ways to be sustainable on our very own. Eco-fashion considers the long-term environmental and social impacts of what we wear each day. For most us, this means recycling. Instead of throwing away that t-shirt that was ruined in the washing machine, think of ways you could turn it into something else, for example cleaning rags or maybe a tote. Supporting the sustainable fashion movement is easy, and here are seven simple ways to get you started without even spending money!

  1. Wash your clothing in cold water: It takes more energy to heat the water you use to wash in hot water than in cold water.
  2. Line dry whenever possible: Line drying your clothes saves energy.
  3. Swap clothes with your friends: You already have most of each other’s clothing anyway, so why not? Organize a clothes swapping party with your friends allowing each other to browse through wardrobes to reinvent the clothing as well as yourselves.
  4. Shop your own wardrobe: Instead of buying brand new stuff each season, dig into your closet and find something you probably haven’t worn in a while. Spruce up an outfit with accessories or piece together something new.
  5. Donate to a thrift store: By donating clothing to a thrift store, you are contributing to the “closed loop” apparel cycle. The life of the clothing is extended because it will eventually be reused by someone else instead of ending up in a landfill.
  6. Experiment: There are millions of combinations within your wardrobe. Don’t limit yourself, use your favorite pieces to create a new look.
  7. Do it yourself: Learning to sew could be an intimidating task, but it is a skill that can be very beneficial. Being able to tailor your own clothing saves you money, extends the life of the clothing, as well as allows you to add your own personal touch to your wardrobe.

 

I hope these simple tips helps in getting you more interested in the sustainable fashion movement. If you have tips and ideas of your own we would definitely love to hear them!

Enjoy!

 

Dana

Your (Re)Cyclist