Raffinata's Fashion Blog

I LOVE Spring! May 13 2014, 1 Comment

Is it just me, or does everyone else rejoice when the weather gets warm enough I can put on my open-toed shoes again?  I love the feeling of freedom it gives me, when I can comfortably wear sandals of any kind - flip flops, wedges, strappy heals, you name it, I have them and I love them!  Today, the weather is supposed to be pleasant, so I put on a pair of my favorite comfortable wedges to wear with my Springy chiffon skirt.  The wind hasn't died down yet, so my toes are colder than I wish, but it sure nice not to be wearing socks and pants.  I feel freer and more carefree in Spring and Summer and I think it is because I have shed all of the required layers of Winter.  No coats, no long pants, no bulky sweaters or jackets.  Just me in light weight clothes and the warmth of the sun!  Welcome Back Spring!

Quality January 23 2014, 0 Comments

My husband has been the sole bread winner for our family for our entire married life. For most of the first five years of our marriage, he attended college and I stayed home and raised our children. By the time he graduated, we had three children ages 3 ½ , 2 and 6 months old. While he was in college our budget, especially for clothing, was slim to none. I had learned how to make do with what we had, or do without. Our children usually wore hand-me-downs from cousins, I sewed little dresses for the girls, and I occasionally bought the absolute necessities on a rare occasion. When I made purchases, they usually came from Walmart or other discount department stores. Shortly after my husband graduated, we purchased and moved into our first house. We lived in a nice neighborhood, filled with families of similar age and size as ours. We were still the younger couple, for the most part, but not by much. The summer after we moved in, my kids needed some summer clothing and a friend of mine told me about a big clearance sale at the Gap. I remember being reluctant to even walk into the store, since it was clearly out of my price range, but since I had always loved the Gap’s style, I hesitantly walked into the store. I was completely blown away when I saw the cute little clothes all marked down to a price range I could afford. One of the first things I immediately noticed about all of it was the superior quality, especially compared to the clothes we had previously been purchasing when needed. As my children wore the clothes I discovered even more significantly how much better the clothes, including the fabric they were made of, were. Shortly after I went on my shopping expedition at Baby Gap and stocked up on all of my kids’ summertime needs, my sisters hit a big sale at Walmart and bought gifts for many of the nieces and nephews, my children included. The things they bought were cute and inexpensive – very similarly priced to the things I had just bought at Baby Gap. At first glance you could tell a little difference in the quality. But the big surprise came when we did two things – put them on the children and washed the clothes. The Gap clothing were well made, well designed, well cut, and of high quality fabrics. When the children wore the clothing, they fit them well and comfortably. When washed, they maintained their shape and the colors didn’t fade quickly. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered that the clothing from Walmart were made from cheap fabrics, poor design and cut and badly constructed. When put on the children, the Walmart clothing fit poorly. The shirts were too short and too wide, the skirts were too short and too wide and both just hung awkwardly. When washed, the original fit problems were acerbated. The clothing shrunk up strangely, and the colors faded quickly. In the end, the new little outfits from Walmart had to be quickly demoted to “Play clothes” due to the inadequate quality. The Gap clothing were worn over and over and eventually passed down from child to child, and then to cousins when all of our children had grown out of them. I learned a very valuable and cost saving lesson - When making purchases, more then the price on the price tag must be considered – especially when budgets are tight. One quality piece of clothing may last longer than several cheaply made pieces of clothing. Particularly when money is tight, it is essential that the items we purchase last a long time, and do their job well. With this life lesson in mind, the way I shop has changed substantially from that day on.


Let's Talk About Fit! January 22 2014, 0 Comments

For those of us more conservative Fashionistas, the question of “Fit” comes with a lot of questions. There seems to be a constant quandary as to what is appropriate fit and what is too tight. I personally, am a big fan of a more tailored look. Even in casual wear, proper fit is essential especially for those seeking to dress modestly, for several reasons:

 

  • Too big or baggy actually defeats your efforts at modesty. How? You may ask. I have seen many people who are attempting to avoid wearing too tight of clothing err too far the opposite direction and end up having their shirts, in particular, so loose that every time they move, they actually reveal more than if they were wearing something form fitting. For layering basics, this is especially true. The purpose of a camisole or layering shirt is to provide additional coverage that your outer shirt is not providing. For this reason it is actually more modest to have your layering basic form fitting. By wearing it that way, when you bend or move, the neckline on your layering basic stays in place and the bottom section is able to remain tucked in, which will ensure that you have the needed coverage you are seeking.
  • A Tailored piece can flatter your figure without needing to show skin to look good. More skin is not always better. Knowing how to dress, while keeping yourself properly covered is the key.       A tailored blouse and skirt will out-class any mini skirt and tight sweater.
  • Avoid purchasing your pre-teen daughters shirts that are oversized. I have seen mothers do this to avoid the form-fitting styles as well as to try to save money. I completely understand the intent behind this, but often times, the oversize shirts end up falling off the little girls shoulders, gapping at the neckline or other such things and in the end, the little girls are less covered, and less modest. Purchase things that fit them and you properly through the shoulders, neck, etc. If money is a huge issue, then provide layering camis that fit properly to wear under a bigger shirt. Often, you can extend the life on those beyond the usual year between sizes, simply because they can be worn smaller than a normal shirt.

 

Proper fit is very important for all body types, but especially important for those in the bigger sizes. Wearing too tight of clothing emphasizes rolls and ripples, but wearing tent-like clothing makes you looker bigger than you really are. Also, for those who are uncomfortable with their body size, modest attire is actually more flattering. Instead of showing off a flabby midriff, or wearing short “Daisy Duke” shorts that emphasize large thighs, a properly fitted knee length pencil skirt and elegant tailored blouse will emphasize feminine curves. The longer lines of the pencil skirt will actually make you appear longer and thinner, rather than shorter and heavier. In addition, keep in mind that buying the correct size is important. Avoiding buying a size 16 does not make you a size 6 – you are the same size regardless of what the tag on the inside of the clothing says. So purchase the size the fits your body; that neither drowns nor strangles your curves and don’t worry about the number on the tag. I have seen many size 16 women who look like a size 10 because they know how to dress correctly. Unfortunately, I have seen too many size 10 women who dress in such a way they look like a size 16 because of the way their clothing fits.

 

One last thing to remember: If you have previously been heavy but have lost weight, don’t be scared to admit that you are smaller and buy smaller clothes. I have shopped with several friends who once wore XL or bigger and now are actually a Small or Medium and can not seem to allow themselves to admit it, and continue to purchase clothing in Large or bigger- several sizes bigger than their body currently is. Enjoy and embrace the new you! Reward your hard work at getting to a healthier size and show everyone how beautiful you are!


Raffinata's first Blog Post! January 22 2014, 0 Comments

I am so excited to be writing my first ever blog post! As the owner of Raffinata, and by the nature of my business, I am required to stay on top of the latest fashion news, trends, colors, etc. I absolutely love the topic of fashion and the fashion industry, and my favorite part is learning how to take the latest trends and mesh them with my personal conservative lifestyle and beliefs. Though it is a challenge to do so sometimes, I enjoy it. As I blog, I will share my personal insights as well as any new information I glean through my reading up on the latest fashion industry’s trends and my interaction with people within the fashion industry, such as vendors, manufacturers, designers and such. Enjoy!