Thursday, October 12, 2006

Buying a Coat

It's that time again for me: I need to buy a winter coat. I have a full length mink with a sable collar that I don't wear anymore because of guilt. I also, regretably have a long lightweight cashmere camel coat that I adore, but the moths have gotten to it (I bought it back in 1993, I think, at Filene's in Washington D.C., but it is still ultra chic) so it's time now to get a new coat. Coats are like cars for me: I get one I like and I keep it as long as I can until it wears out (my 1998 Mercedes 300 diesel is still going strong and looks great - I hope I have it for another 8 years - but that's another story). I've decided that I will probably buy a Burberry trenchcoat when I go to Washington in early November. Why? It's a classic (ooo, one of my favorite words); it will work as a raincoat as well as a warm coat (it gets cold here in northern Arkansas, for a few days every year maybe even down to 0 degrees F, but boots, scarves, shawls, and good gloves keep me sufficiently warm - and it's not as if I hang around outside here. The Burberry should be great to wear in Seattle at Christmas and most places in Europe. If I go skiing, I'll probably borrow someone's down jacket since that isn't something I would wear where I live. So, here is my wise advice about buying a coat.
If you live in the northern US, you should consider a coat a major expenditure and budget accordingly. I suggest that the colour of the coat should be camel or navy or black or taupe -whichever is most becoming on you. Some people can get away with a red coat if they have dark hair and complexions and most of their wardrobe is based on neutral colours.
In the southern US, a coat is still important, but if you live in Florida, southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, make sure that your coat is a lightweight one. I suggest a very lightweight cashmere for Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and northern Florida where it can get cold (suddenly, and with wind, too). In southern Florida, try a lightweight raincoat - the trench, of course, is the classic.
You will have to take into account the time that you spend outdoors, and I don't mean engaging in winter sports which require different coats altogether. If you live in New York or Chicago and take the bus or subway and walking several blocks is a part of your day, get a heavy coat. If you take taxis or own a car, lightweight cashmere or a Burberry with a warm liner, and great shawls will suffice.
Shop carefully for a coat, and buy one that you plan to keep for several seasons. Cheap coats will not look good after one season, and a coat is something that in some climes people will see you wearing almost every day. If you knew that you had to wear a dress everyday or several times a week, you'd go for a real knockout, wouldn't you? So think of your coat the same way.
Make sure that your coat fits!
If you're buying it while wearing lightweight clothes, get a larger size than usual. If you wear business suits or jackets regularly, be certain that your coat will fit over your suit jacket (you don't want to have to carry your suit jacket to work while you're wearing your coat).

Be prepared to spend more than you think you can: you are not buying a dress or suit! Amortize the wearing of your coat and see how much it will cost per wear. For example, if you wear it 150 days per year for (a very conservative) 3 years, a $1000 coat will cost approximately 2.20 per wear. Compare that with the amount of times you wear a favorite outfit and you may be surprised at the cost. The longer you keep the coat, the less it costs!
Shop judiciously, and prepare to shop for some time. The biggest mistake most women make is buying the first coat that fits and is in their price range. Find one that makes you feel chic, sexy, stylish, elegant, any or all of the above, because you are going to be wearing it often!

If you are unsure about style, go to websites such as Saks and Neimans, Bloomingdale's and other upscale stores online to find a great style.
For unique handcrafted fashionable jewelry, see Cluny Grey Jewelry with pieces from the new Fall Collection.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Products for Hair and Skin

I love trying new (and not so new) products. Two that I've found lately are "Big Sexy Hair" and Aveeno's Continuous Radiance lotion that adds colour to your skin. I have no idea how long "Big Sexy Hair" has been around, but since Clinique stopped selling the styling spritz I've used ever since I found it in Spain 3 or 4 years ago, I've been looking for a volumizing replacement. While strolling through a mall in St. Louis about 2 weeks ago, I found the bright red can and was intrigued by the title. Guess what? It works. And that's saying something for me now that my hair has grown past the middle of my back. It's hard to make hair that long "big", but the product added the volume I need - especially around my face - and built great body. I'm just hoping I'll be able to find it locally.
I bought the Aveeno lotion just to try another of their products. At a Saks recently as I looked through all the wonderful and wonderfully expensive cosmetics at the counter, a saleswoman came up and said, "You have the most beautiful complexion! [I loved that she didn't even add 'for your age']. Whatever you're using, keep on using it."

I smiled and said, "Thank you." I really wanted to tell her, but didn't, that for the last 15 years at least, I have used nothing on my face but Purpose soap and Aveeno lotion (the first Aveeno lotion before anyone knew it existed). My super-dry skin all over my body has responded very well to the Aveeno, but it has kept my super-sensitive face from breaking out and me from repeated visits to the dermatologist for rashes.
So I tried the Aveeno Continuous Radiance without realizing that it is basically a tanning lotion. I love it though. I do not have rust coloured hands (I do put regular lotion on them first) or heels and my legs have a nice, well, radiance, that surprised me. This is definitely one product that I will keep around - especially when I get that mid-winter lackluster skin on my body which has been covered too long by several layers of clothes.