Monday, August 17, 2015

Busy Week!

I will be spending a lot of time ordering products and preparing my warehouse for the busy fall season this week. In my absence from the blog for a few days, friends will be sharing some exciting tips with you. Enjoy!

My blogger friend Ana Bogusky is helping me out with today's post.

In 2006, my husband and I and our two (now teenaged) children moved from Miami, Florida, to Boulder, Colorado, and our lives changed in many ways. 

We started becoming more aware of the environment, we started eating more carefully, we started caring about sustainability. So I began reading labels on food packaging and joined a CSA, and bought more local. As a natural progression, "Made in USA" products became important to me. Now I am reading labels on clothing, and so many pieces are made in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Turkey, etc. It turns out that only 2% of the clothing sold here is made here. In 1960, 95% of clothing sold in the United States was made in the United States. And it turns out that if consumers spent just an extra 1% on U.S. goods, it would create 200,000 American jobs. So I have decided to do my part and commit to wearing more "Made in the USA" outfits, and I post photos of them on my blog, Mrs. American Made.

Some days I just throw on something that I already know works. I am not a model. I am not a super-duper high-end fashionista. I am just a mom trying to look cute on an everyday basis. I feel like I am not easy to dress because I am petite at 5'3" and "curvy." Still, I have slowly accepted those facts and figured out some things about what to wear. I try to always remember the wise words of Stacy London, "dress the body you have." Then I get up and hunt in my closet for something that looks a bit better. A good fit is critical. Another of my style secrets is the outfit formula concept, and I do tend to stick to these formulas, so I thought I would share one with readers here:

1) Bottoms: a pair of jeans (or pants) I love 
+ 2) Top a cute well-fitting patterned top 
+ 3) a blazer or jacket that comes in at the waist

The bottoms can be comfortable, classic, and flattering. I often choose jeans, and there is a long list of denim produced in America at various price points. Some of my favorites include Citizens of Humanity, Paige Premium, Earnest Sewn, and Bullet Blue Jeans. Friends also swear by Not Your Daughter's Jeans (NYDJ) to look slimmer. Since denim is one of the things we do best here in America, all of my jeans are made domestically. Nothing like a good #madeinUSA pair of jeans! Best sure to check your tags. 

Then I choose a blazer that is appropriate for the weather. I have light summer jackets in brighter springier colors and warmer (often wool) jackets that layer well in the fall. This piece is crucial that it fits perfectly. It should button but not pull across the chest. And for me, I prefer a shape that nips in at the waist. Some of my personal favorite classic and well-cut versions can be found by Theory, Rag & Bone, Nanette Lepore, and others.

Then comes the fun part - the top can be almost anything you like that adds interest and coordinates with the other two pieces. I love a floral print, so I am often attracted to those in many colors, but blues and pinks in particular. Like animal print? Go for it. Like geometric patterns? Buy 'em. This is the piece that makes the outfit yours and shows your personality and taste. Sometimes, I go to and search #madeinUSA and narrow my search to tops to see what is available, but there are myriad options.

Then you can finish off the outfit with some accessories. I often choose a scarf in the fall or an interesting necklace, but sometimes just the right pop of color with a bag is all you need. A great way to find locally made accessories is to visit craft fairs and handmade markets. There are beautiful jewelry and leather and handcrafted items, and buying those is not only fun, but it supports our local artists and craftsmen. 

So when readers ask for advice, this is what I recommend. Use this formula and make some combinations. Try them out and make some more. And once you make a few combinations that look great, don't be afraid to repeat them. Or in the words of last week's contributor, Donna, "It's okay to wear the same outfit more than once. No one, except you, is going to notice."

Thank you so much for being a guest today, Anna! You can visit her blog, MrsAmericanMade, for more outfit ideas.

Some of my own favorite made in America brands are Covered Perfectly, Fabrizio Gianni, Clara Sunwoo, and I.C. Collection, to name a few. What are yours? Include them in the comments below.

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