Shopping is always fun! At least for me. I can go into places I love and spend hours trying to pick the items that fit into my budget, or spend minutes paying for everything when I’ve forgone the budget. My record story to this day...I walked into Michaels, the arts and craft store, 15 minutes before they were closing. I definitely knew what I was grabbing, yet other things found their way into my cart. Not long after I was at the register with over $130, in less than 15 minutes, at an arts and craft store 😮.
Imagine the challenge when I give myself the task of selecting a few pieces to curate a collection for a season/theme. I tend to keep them within 6-8 pieces, yet when I look at the shopping cart I have over 20 items 😳. I hear the little voice “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.” 😆
So here’s what I do to bring y'all these special collections:
1. Narrow in: I look at the purpose of the collection and ask myself a few questions. Does the season matter? Are there colors/trends I should stay away from? What is my ultimate goal for this collection? Once I answer these questions, I look at my cart again and most definitely end up removing some items. I have a few things that are a must! The piece has to be versatile, unless it’s for a very specific collection that doesn’t allow for it, like if I ever do a gowns collection or something super specific like that. This doesn’t always mean that I can wear it to work and then to happy hour. It does mean that I can wear it to different occasions that are not in the same category. Perhaps it’s a special event and a night out, or dressed down to a movie night and then dressed up to work. I also look at pieces that match with each other, as well as with items from my previous collections.
As I shared in my blog “BYSALWAYS”, growing up I found myself buying different styles/pieces to end up with a closet full of items that did not match. Nobody wants that! Now, I’m not saying that all of my pieces match with each other, that’s a whole ‘nother level of commitment. What I am saying is that you can go from one collection to the next and easily match several pieces. I don’t know about you, but I shop a few pieces at a time, and having the peace of mind that when I shop again I will still be able to use what I have in my closet without feeling like I need a new wardrobe is...well peaceful & comforting.
2. Get the opinion of someone I trust: I didn’t study fashion, nor do I have the best history of it. If you haven’t read it, this boutique is the fruit of my passion for finding my style and sharing those pieces with everyone that can relate. With that in mind, once I have narrowed down my pieces I share them with someone I trust will give me honest feedback. Someone who may be into trends, yet also understands the importance of having a unique style. Sometimes it’s a person that’s close to me, other times it’s a fellow boutique owner. By doing this I get to hear their thoughts, replace/remove a piece if I have to, but most of the time I just get a confirmation that my collection is doing what it’s intended to do😊.
3. Add a “surprise” item: I’m sure (at least I hope so I don’t feel alone lol) you all wish you had many different closets to go with the many different styles you have. If that’s the case, then like me, you probably always end up with random pieces that may not match your wardrobe. I’ve kept this concept but made it less extreme. In each collection I pick an item that feels like the odd one out, yet it still meets all of the criteria above. For example, on a business casual collection I launched, I added velvet tights. Now, some of you won’t get away with wearing tights to work, I know I can’t. However, these tights were so comfortable! Thin enough to be worn in most weather, yet thick enough to seem like velvet skinny dress pants. You know I wore them to work with a cute sweater and my boots...and no one could tell they were tights 💃🏽. Lately I’ve gotten a little help with this task. I want to make sure that the item is outside of the collection while fitting in, you see how difficult this task is? Now, after I’ve gone through steps 1 & 2, not to mention the pre-work of deciding the collection theme itself, my perception can be a little clouded.
Sooooo, I’ve recruited someone whose opinion I trust 1000%, who I know will always be honest with me, who supports me and this vision, and just as important, has a different fashion sense than I do...my husband 💏. For the past two collections he’s picked one item that may seem random, yet fits right in. This has become one of my favorite parts of the process. He picks the items without knowing anything about the collection, after he’s picked a few I tell him a little more and then we decide which of his items is the winner. I’m thinking eventually I’ll create a “John’s Picks” collection and show them all together 🙌🏽.
Now you know my process and my hope is that you enjoy owning and wearing each piece, as much as I enjoy putting them together.
Mercedes Ninoska 💜