The Rocker Chic Dual – The Best and Worst Dressed

Rocker Chic is taking over the streets of London, England this month and for Reality Chic’s first Best & Worst Dressed column it’s a dual between actresses Charlize Theron for Best and Suzanne Shaw for Worst.

For Best…

              Charlize Theron, actress Snow White and the Huntsmen



I am in love with the whole outfit. When I say love, it’s more like LOVE LOVE LOVE.

It screams, “I will so rock your Sunday brunch and look equally hot chillin’ at night.” Did I mention I love it? If the pants are too much for your personal taste, picture it with jeans. The tunic is Stella McCartney’s Striped Poplin Tunic with a very tailored yet sexy feminine look vibe. You could get so much wear out of this shirt, not just for this year but for years to come. It’s classic staple.

 

For Worst…

Suzanne Shaw, actress Rock of Ages

This picture is from the red carpet of the UK premiere of Rock of Ages. For the record, I think the whole cast might have planned to wear some bad reflections of 80’s style to the opening on purpose. Looking through pictures from the opening that’s all I could think. Some outfits were OK but everyone had a little something off. The boots, the sleeves or in the case of English actor, Suzanne Shaw, the belt (and perhaps lack of pants… I’m sorry but I’ve never seen hot pants without some sort of Gaga-esque platform shoe and cape, look anything but trashy at any red carpet event.)

The best is so… well…. off. Unfortunately, the whole outfit looks like it could have been a costume from the movie, and it would be more appropriate on a go-go dancer at a club, not exactly at a movie premiere. Maybe she was going for the two in one look, who knows, but the belt itself is the biggest offender in the crime category of “looking cheap.” It looks like the paint might chip off the buckle if you wear it too much. Yes, you need something on the waist… or perhaps pants would work.

Think how chic this outfit would have been with Charlize’s leather pants in the picture above, rocker-esque with class. If you’re thinking a little more upscale or a formal feel to it, the top could have been paired with a sleek wide leg dress pant. Sexy and classiness all rolled up into one. Both looks are far more appropriate for the red carpet of a Hollywood movie premiere.

Agree or Disagree?

 

NJ Sullivan spends days as an on air announcer for 1035 The Eagle and nights writing about the joys and tribulations of being a single parent at www.seriously-single-absolutely-attached.com.

 

Figure Out Your Cost Per Wear with this Ultra Hot Look: Colored Denim

Colored denim hit the streets last spring and while many fashion critics kind of hummed and ha’d the trend, it’s back and it looks as if these bright hues might be worth the investment.

Gap provides two fabulous styles for your rainbow inspired jean, the skinny jean:

the skinny jean...

And, the sexy boyfriend jean (a look I totally prefer with heels):

sexy boyfriend jean

Ranging in price between $59.99 and $69.99 they are definitely cheaper than some of their designer counterparts. I’ve also heard stories of smart shoppers finding similar beauties for as little as $20 which makes this trend totally worth investing in.

Looking at pictures only, it’s hard to imagine the sexy boyfriend style in the workplace, although with a little styling anything is possible. It might be better paired with a ultra feminine, fitted blouse than a blazer, to keep from looking too boxy.

However, the skinny jean version with a tunic and heels can totally fit into most work environments. Throw on a killer tunic and a pair of heels, and you’ve got business casual all the way, especially if you accessorize appropriately. A blazer and button up blouse can up the anty in the business world.

Both are perfect for casual day or funked up night looks.

If you’re the type who prefers muted tones, there’s options for you too.

the perfect match for a long or medium length cardigan

The look can add a longevity to the style as they can simply be moved to the “work pant” section of your closet after the trend has left the runway.

Now for the Cost Per Wear…

Cost is (let’s go high): $59.99

You wear it: estimate 2 times per week (minimum) through early fall (roughly 19 weeks) = 38 times

Cost Per Wear is: approximately $1.60 … less than your soy latte!

Depending on where you live and how thick your denim is, these babies might make it through the winter months as well, resulting in an extra 12 wears, dropping that Cost Per Wear to $1.20. Adding to the equation the strong possibility that they’ll be a fashion favorite Spring / Summer 2013 leaves me know choice but to declare colored jeans a good value for the Cost Per Wear.

Buy ‘em!

NJ Sullivan spends days as an on air announcer for 1035 The Eagle and nights writing about the joys and tribulations of being a single parent at www.seriously-single-absolutely-attached.com.

 

 

Baring Bellies: Can Less Be More?

JLo rocked the midriff baring shirt last year, to mixed reviews

Oh the 1990’s. The fabulous 1990’s, when everyone showed off their bellies in midriff baring shirts. Hot for the club, they are making a come back this spring / summer season as part of a dress ensemble or through individual pieces paired with pants or pencil skirts. But are they worth the investment?

Midriff tops were all over the runways. We’ve seen Selena Gomez and Katy Perry both rock them out at the Kids Choice awards. Midriff bearing beauties are definitely here for a moment or two, and if you have stellar abs that you want to show off, what better way than this. But remember, while perfect for night-time or a weekend afternoon they’re definitely a no-no in the work place… unless you get innovative and wear it under a blazer or sweater – fully buttoned.

Also, longevity is debatable. For sure, you’ll get a wear out of them this season, but fall / winter is out of the question, and depending on the style your ab flaunting midriff top might be dead by next spring / summer. So at tops you’re looking at once per week for this season as a guarantee. Based on this, let’s figure out the cost per wear.

Let’s take this one, from a dance store:

use your imagination: this would be stellar with a pencil skirt or wide legged pant

This style will go with skirt or wide leg pant nicely, and if you want to try to extend its use through the fall winter months, will totally work under a blazer or sweater. Let’s be a little weary of the creeping turtle neck, but overall it’s not bad for a shirt. Available in a variety of colors, it’s going to cost you roughly $17.

Cost is: $17

You wear it: let’s be reasonable – only 1 / week… so you’re getting 20 wears (maximum) this season

Cost per wear: $0.85 … less than a dollar!

The verdict would be it’s a cheap trendy fix, but if you’re looking at a really tight bank account (or abs that need some work) save the splurge for something better. This baby might not be around another year.

NJ Sullivan spends days as an on air announcer for 1035 The Eagle and nights writing about the joys and tribulations of being a single parent at www.seriously-single-absolutely-attached.com.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge – That is a Question for Cost Per Wear

2012 Michique Spring/Summer Collection

It’s a dilemma every fashionista must go through at least once a season. Do you splurge on that higher cost piece de resistance,  or do you save your pennies for a rainy day? There’s nothing wrong with a little spoiling once in a while. Damn it, you work hard, you deserve to have that one piece that makes you giddy to wear and stops people in their tracks as they ask you about it.

But when is the splurge worth it and when is it a fleeting fancy that is a waste of your hard-earned cash?

That’s wear your trusty Cost Per Wear breakdown comes into play and today’s victims: the Prada car shoe vs. the Michique handbag.  Which one is worth the Cost Per Wear?

 

Prada car shoe - 2012 collection: picture from gizmodo.com

I don’t care what anyone says, these shoes are fierce. Stylish beyond compare, this heel will make your leg shine. Besides your 20 somethings are meant for pulling off statement piece like these. Bold, they’ll work with anything from jeans to this season’s pastel capris, to summer dresses and skirts. You can wear it to a club or at the office with a more conservative dress. With a heel like this you can tone down the rest and let these speak for themselves.

Problem is how much life span will these fabulous shoes have? I could envision my feet loving them this season, 2 – 3 times a week. Maybe even 4 times if you factor in day and night. But after that, you’re looking at only about once every week or two. After spring / summer 2013 would they have any gas left?

There’s no denying the price is more than a little splurge – these babies cost on average $900.

So based on one season only:

Cost is: $900 (let’s work with an even number)

You wear it: 4 times a week for 16 weeks (let’s go for a high average – if you spent $900 I’m sure you want to wear them)

Cost Per Wear: roughly $14

Perhaps that’s not bad for Kim Kardashian but it might be a bit rich for the 20 something who needs more than one conversation piece in her wardrobe.

 

Michique 2012 - whispy: photo from michique.ca
This beauty is one of the new stellar pieces from the 2012 Michique spring/summer collection. If you don’t already know about Michique you need to.

 

Absolutely stunning, the handbags are handcrafted by two designers in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Kelly Ripa, from Live with Kelly, discovered them and raved so much they were invited to the Golden Globes in 2010 and to the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 (to present their bags as gifts.) Rumour has it that Angelina Jolie chose their clutch to accompany her dress at this year’s Oscars. You need to see the fierceness of these clutches, known as the Slipper Bag… but I digress.

Point is – when you wear one of these bags you are noticed. I have one and people stop me everywhere I go. Even men comment on my bag. It’s insane. Never have I owned anything that got this much attention.

This Misty bag (which also comes in orange) perfectly plays off of this season’s love of print. Own this and you can add a splash of print to the most conservative of events or workplaces. Plus, the unique, patent pending design of their bags means when you open them they stay open. Another bonus is that the inner lining is always a different color from the outside. It’s heaven.

 

I could go on about these bags for days but there’s one point that is most important, for the Cost Per Wear fashionista. The versatility. I have never owned a handbag that went with pretty much everything I own. For some reason, these incredible Michique designs are able to do that. I am not lying when I say that the bag I own has been my purse, day or night, for a year straight now. Which means the money you spend on this little splurge is so worth it.
However, to be fair, let’s break it down for one season as we did for Prada.

 

Cost is: $285

 

You wear it: 7 times per week for 16 weeks (I would like to say 14 times to split up day and night, but let’s go on the low side)

 

Cost Per Wear: $2.85 (I’m betting it’s actually lower than this because these purses are art pieces. You always want to have it with you.)

 

Verdict is – the Michique handbag is the better choice, hands down. Not only for its versatility and its ability to withstand time while still being fashion forward, but also for the fact that you can claim to be one of those who knew about them first. Trust me, it won’t be long before they are being sold on Rodeo Drive, LA or Champs Elysees, Paris. And when that day happens it means good-bye cheap high-end splurge and hello $2,000 handbag.

 

NJ Sullivan spends days as an on air announcer for 1035 The Eagle and nights writing about the joys and tribulations of being a single parent at www.seriously-single-absolutely-attached.com.

Choosing a Print that Looks Less Like Grandma (& Figuring Out The Cost Per Wear)

Cost Per Wear = Kate Middleton

$310 / 2 times = $155 per wear (pretty good for a Duchess)

Prints are everywhere this season. From shirts, to dresses, to leggings, pretty much anyone with an eye for fashion is going to make sure they have at least one piece of print in their wardrobe. The problem is so many prints have an incredibly short life span. Nothing is worse than pulling out your favorite print from last season only to realize you look like a tourist in Hawaii the next.

On one hand you’re print eye catching and a total matches to your personality but you also want to make sure it’s not going to end up in the donation bag at the end of the season.

Take this cardigan from Target:

Sure it’s cheap ($19.99 – $29.99) but it’s, well, a little dowdy. Yes, it could be good for work depending on your personal style and perhaps the odd cool summer night out, but you also run the risk of looking older than your years. Instead of being seen as the fashion vixen you might give off that “I shop with Grandma” vibe.

Cost is: $29.99

You wear it: two times per week for spring (roughly 8 weeks, so 16 wears… it seems too warm for summer)

Cost Per Wear: $1.87

Not a bad Cost Per Wear but again limited time in your closet and perhaps it might not make it past month one.

 

Now this dress from H&M is a completely different story in my books:

Ok, I’m sorry but heavenly. *sighs* *drools*

There are so many possibilities with this if you think outside the box. It’s the perfect summer dress for patio lunches in wedges, cocktails at the bar with fierce colored stilletos (turquoise or yellow would rock) or a fabulous date. Bangles and earrings will also spruce up the outfit taking it from casual day to killer night.

According to the H&M website it is actually knee length which means it could also be good work attire, depending on where it is you actually work. And picture it with some colored leggings underneath or skinny denim. It could be dressed down, making it more casual and making it wearable in colder fall and winter months. Again, depending on your at work dress code, you could rock it out there with perhaps white pants and a blazer (this is one of those things you’d have to try in the mirror to get the lengths right.)

Now, the style of the print paired with the long sleeves gives it a longevity other prints don’t have. While you may retire this for a while it will always be a good summer dress thus, you’re looking at years instead of months. Something like this would be  kept tucked in my closet and pulled out for special occasions when I want to really make an impression.

So based on one year only…

Cost is: $24.85

You wear it: once per week for Spring/ Summer (16 wears) and once every 2 weeks Fall / Winter (8 wears) – total 24 wears

Cost Per Wear: $1.03

 

The dress wins hands down. Not only does it work out to be cheaper, it also has a longer life span in your closet  – if you wore it for two years you’re looking at under a dollar per wear. And you won’t look like you share your clothes with Grandma. Victory is yours…

 

NJ Sullivan spends days as an on air announcer for 1035 The Eagle and nights writing about the joys and tribulations of being a single parent at www.seriously-single-absolutely-attached.com.

Check out Reality Chic’s Cost Per Wear every Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic: How 20 Somethings Can Figure Out Their Cost Per Wear When Shopping!

After a recent shopping trip to Target where I literally made myself guilt-sick from buying two articles of clothing I probably could have lived without, I started thinking more and more about what makes a garment worth buying and… whether I had a serious shopping problem. Turns out as I was sulking on the couch I started to think about a couple of different wardrobe/shopping dilemmas.

shopaholic

How much should you spend when shopping for clothes? Or, is it how many clothes you can get for your money? Is it about the quality? Or, is about the quantity? These thoughts brought me back to an episode I once watched on “What Not to Wear” where they discussed a little thing called “Cost Per Wear”.

Cost Per Wear is something we (especially 20 somethings who have the tendency to buy ridiculous trends and/or going out apparel) should all use when purchasing a new item. When Gen Y ‘ers ask “how do I transition my wardrobe?” I start by telling them my biggest two pieces of advice. The first being, start investing in key quality pieces that will last. The second being, save your money on trendy items that last approximately one season by purchasing cheaper clothes. So how do you know when it’s time to spend money and when not to? Well, that’s when Cost Per Wear comes into play.

Still a bit confused? I see it like this…

A 20 Something Wardrobe Case Study (working from Indiana University this week has clearly gotten to me)

Erin decided to do some shopping on Shoes.com. She’s undecided on whether to buy “MIA lace up boots” for $102.

Aren’t they gorg.?

MIA boots

The Problem: Erin normally doesn’t allow herself to spend $102 on any boot or shoe. She’s a 20 something blogger working as an entrepreneur on a startup company called Righting Style. Her income isn’t exactly thriving… just yet. As a fashion blogger, she knows there are much cheaper boots to be had in stores like JC Penney, DSW, etc… However, none of these boots are identical to the MIA’s, as perfect, or the same rusted color she’s dying (no pun intended) to have.

1/2 the price at DSW

boots

The Hesitation: Erin loves (and I mean loves) everything about this boot: the feel, the heel height, the color. She’s been looking for this style for quite some time and knows that they can belong to her in 5-7 business days if she just clicks the little shopping cart on the right hand side of her screen. She also knows that she can afford the boot as long as she buys only one item without adding four other cheaper items to her cart. But is it worth getting just one item? Or, should she go for quantity and purchase four pairs of something else? Oh, the agony!

The Solution: Erin calculates the CPW (cost per wear).

Cost / Number of times you’ll (actually) wear it = CPW

$102 / (2 – 3 times per week throughout the winter months November-February “48 times total” over approximately 2-3 years) = a rounded $2.13 per wear

The more times you wear it, the more the CPW goes down.

Worth it?  Absolutely!

Why? Erin will wear these boots so often (2 – 3 times per week) that she will need a higher quality boot to last her approximately 2 – 3 years throughout the winter months. With a CPW of $2.13, you can’t beat it!


A 20 Something Wardrobe Case Study #2

Erin has saved up some money for some serious spring fashion and has decided to kick off her shopping trip by heading to the local Kenwood Towne Center Mall. The mall has everything from Madewell and Anthropologie to H&M and Forever 21.

The Problem: Erin has a budget of $250. She knows (from past experience) that $250 can go a very l….o….n….g way especially when shopping at H&M and Forever 21, but she also has realized their quality isn’t exactly long-lasting. Yet, if she shops at Madewell or Anthropologie it’s possible that she’ll only bring home 2 – 3 new spring items.

The Hesitation: Erin has always shopped for the deals and tried to get the most bang for her buck, but after watching three of her shirts shrink after just one wash she’s trying to transition her wardrobe into more lasting quality pieces. Should she buy 2 – 3 pieces from Madewell/Anthropologie or should she get 8 – 10 pieces from H&M/Forever 21? Oh, the agony!

The Solution: Erin calculates the CPW (cost per wear).

Cost / Number of times you’ll (actually) wear it = CPW

1 item @ $125 / (25 wears over the next 4-5 years “around 6-7 wears per spring/summer season/per year”) = a rounded $5.00 per wear

madewell

vs.

1 item @ $25 / (5 wears for 1 spring/summer season before it shrinks or looks worn) = a rounded $5.00 per wear

hm dress

Which is worth it?  The higher cost!

Why? Even though they are technically the same CPW, there is a difference. You might be able to have five new spring fashion items for the cost of one, but these items will only last you one season. This means you’ll be spending more and gaining less by having to replace all of the items next year. If you invest in the higher priced item you will have one quality piece that will last at least 4 – 5 years and will be able to build on top of your wardrobe the following year rather than starting over.

1 coral color pant @ $188 / (10 wears for one trendy spring/summer season ) = a rounded $18.80 per wear

coral pant

vs.

1 coral color pant @ $15.80 / (10 wears for one trendy spring/summer season) = a rounded $1.58

coral pant 2

Which is worth it? The lower cost!

Why? You might be confused after reading my explanation for the other example above. However, in this particular case the coral pant is clearly a trendy item that might be out of style or on the “DO NOT WEAR” list for next spring. With that in mind, the coral pant is something that you should not invest in, even though it is currently popular. Being able to build a young, yet professional 20 something wardrobe requires knowledge of the current fashion trends and recognizing when you’re looking at one. Dressing like a young 20 something doesn’t mean you can’t buy a good fashion trend but just don’t spend an arm and a leg on it. The $1.58 CPW is a way better deal than the $18.80 for one spring season clothing item.

The variable cost (life of a garment) is important to calculate into the CPW. The lifetime of a garment can be determined by how long the item will be “in style” or how long “it will last”.

Look out for our “Cost Per Wear” column coming every other Wednesday!