Welcome to Forever 21 where the size isn’t right, but we have everything. – Why, Forever 21 is headed towards Bankruptcy

Photo by Ken Nishimura/Los Angeles Times

Originally this was a school project. Checking clothing sizing at a major department store. I moved to a smaller town of about 50,00 people, mostly students a few years ago, so I decided the biggest downtown retailer is Forever 21. My quest for sizing differences was leading me there.

Then I saw the news. Forever 21 is on the verge of bankruptcy. News is reporting they ARE in Chapter 11, but upon further research I found they are currently ALMOST there.

Los Angeles-based Forever 21 is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this month, ideally with a restructuring plan in place, the people said. Company advisers have been working on obtaining a bankruptcy loan package that would give the retailer about $75 million to continue operations during the case, Bloomberg previously reported. – LA Times

The real question is, why are they collapsing? The economy is tanking, but their prices are cheap. They seem to be a busy store with a lot of retail goods, making mad sales.  Who hasn’t walked and bought something on impulse? From lip gloss, to hair accessories, underwear, to sportswear, they have it all.

Starting with the window display. I have been drawn in by the items I see. Put together cute outfits and accessories scream, “buy me!”. Once inside the store I can NEVER, EVER find them, or find them in my size. I had to run all the way tot he register to find one employee, who was watching the register, to help me find this dress. Then it was placed far away from the actual item making it hard to find.

Stocking new items on display, an making them easily found is a must for any retailer. We want these things, let us buy them.

The original reason I came in is sizing. This is a project, right? Being a small and petite woman currently is difficult. I don’t have a 32 inseam. Think 26-27. It’s all about clothing sizes.

EBurns and I on Stylers Panel
I’m very tiny and wear a lot of heels ( far right, Styler’s Panel Beverly Hills, 2015)

I’ll let you in on a secret. When sizing your clothes, a size small, to a size medium, goes up 2 inches, by industry standards. This means you size small 2, goes up two inches in waist, shoulder and hips. It also means your could be a size S could be a 0-6, or your medium, 4-10. Also a garment producer can leave up to 2 inches less or more in the trial run, later to be corrected by the designer.

Let’s look at the fit of these items. I tried two size small dresses. One is a lined, dress shirt in, the other tight fitting number I thought was the display dress.

Not the black dress on display, this had a curled hem, the display straight.

The shirt dress is more like a Medium, except in the shoulders. I found the sleeves extra long and the waist for too baggy for any small.

Now here’s something fun to try. Get the shirt you like in two different colors, same size. Try them on? Guess what?!

Forever 21 has actually sized these differently. I found the burgundy shirt fit more comfortably, and the white fit like and extra small. There is the possibility of stretching from trying on, but everything fit he same in the waist, chest and shoulders. One was just smaller. This is an issue of Quality Control. In retail we are generally strict about that.

I’d like to voice my opinion on cleanliness. See the dirt on the dress? Not my camera, not my makeup ,but the floor did that, when I dropped everything. It makes me feel, a slight twinge of germaphobia to go in there.

A lone rubber band, piece of lint and 21 tag mixed with dirt from every human who entered.

Lastly the cashiers. less side-eye please. Your clothes were dirty because of your dressing room, and floor. They fit terribly with bunching and over or under sizing. This customer is buying your ill fitted clothing and paying your wages. I feel your pain, but it’s retail. Considering the hell I just went through, standing in line, and dealing with ill fitting clothes, be nice.

Honestly, I feel more, buy it, try it on at home vibe, then welcome to F21. I did however find a nice brush and hair bands I need in the impulse register area.

I have to thank them for cheap and affordable accessories and make up.

My final opinion is yes, I support them occasionally. In an over all store experience, they have problems. I hope they restructure and come out winning.

Social Media Engagement with “Heathyr Wolfe”

I’m working on a homework assignment for Teen Vogue/Parsons. That’s right, your girl is always learning, and recommends you do the same. It increases your visibility as a person, or brand, and you might learn a thing or two along the way.

Our assignment was looking at our visibility status on social media platforms. How well we do, how much we are accessed, and building our brand. Luckily for me, I have been doing so for quite a long time.

Let’s look at some analytics;

Pinterest:

My boards have 13.4k followers. Excellent. Being a visual person is my forte. I am a fashion stylist at heart and love material, garments, art, and how it comes together. I am only currently at 420 engagements.  This is understandable because for the longest time I forgot Pinterest existed and neglected it. Neglecting your social media is a horrible waste. It also takes time and effort. Time to start pinning again, because you LOVE IT!!

FireShot Capture 136 - (62) Pinterest - www.pinterest.com

 

LinkedIn:

Parsons/Teen Vogue should be happy about this. I recently updated my profile stating I was taking Parsons The New School Program on LinkedIn, and the engagement went up 500%. Earlier this week it said 17 people had looked at my profile, and I believe it’s 12 per week or day. They do not state what their analytics pertain to. Either way I am going to spend serious time working on my profile on LinkedIn. I hope to find the right job to fit my career and resume.

Instagram:

I haven’t posted in a few day but today I had 11 likes, 1 comment and 2 followers. For a completely organic account, over 2000 followers is not bad. I haven’t bought a single follower. Now marketing my account I would start around 10k followers and go from there. I could definitely beef things up with a marketing budget.

 

Facebook:

On my Personal page I have a VERY high engagement and friends list of about 3000 plus friends. My Facebook Fan page has about 1500 followers. For the month of September 18th to 25th, I’ve engaged almost a third of them. Only about 175 clicked on, or commented on the articles. Commenting, interacting and staying on brand is important.

I currently reach around 4,500 plus people in engagement on Facebook. If even half of those see and reply to my profile, I am doing very well. Facebook caters to a about a 70% female demographic, so when engaging women to see or buy women’s fashion, it’s the perfect platform.

Facebook Fan Page Analytics

 

Heathyrwolfe.com:

Only 2 posts in more than a month. I have been distracted by school and various other reasons but people are interested in what I have to say. I mostly get hits from the US and Canada. Often when I write more I get a higher engagement from everywhere from Dubai, Eastern Europe and Russia.

 

Overall, I have a smaller engagement via other platforms than Facebook. As a brand, and person, I plan on focusing on buffing up my social media.  I cater to a mostly American, Canadian and often European crowd. English speakers are my number one market, and french are second. I often post in french, or other languages on Instagram and Facebook to engage with a more international focus in my social media marketing.

Branding is everything and engagement, can make or break your company. Be strong, vocal, engage and communicate.

Now I’m going to go work on my social media just for you.

Karl Lagerfeld Passes at 85. Je Suis Triste: A Fond Farewell to a Fashion Icon.

Yesterday and today, the fashion world is in mourning. Karl Lagerfeld has died and the industry will never be the same. He was a cornerstone, a foundation, of the industry.

Karl Otto Lagerfeld was a creative director, fashion designer, artist, photographer, who lived in Paris.  Born in 1933 Karl was quick to learn, and branched out as soon as possible. By 1955, after living in Paris for two years, Lagerfeld entered a coat design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat. He won the competition and became quick friends with Yves Saint Laurent, and was then hired by Pierre Balmain. He worked as Pierre Balmain’s assistant, and later apprentice, for three years. (Wikipedia)

Most importantly in the 1980s, when Chanel was antiquated and dying, he took over. He turned it into the multi-billion dollar empire that we know and love today. Insane runways in the Palais in Paris full of rockets, crystals, industrial sites. and models fighting for a change. His collections have met us at the beach and had us walk on water. Never a dull moment his runways were and extension of his personality.

His last show, 2019, Palais de Paris, Haute Couture

With his death may have shared their stories. Models like Naomi Campbell, and Karen Elson, speak warmly of him. Others, say he was a sizist and misogynist. Perhaps, he was a bit of both, he was known to be cruel at times. Karl, however, made a point of saying,

“Everything I say is a joke. I am a joke of myself.”

Karl was indeed a man of great talent. His vision and vast knowledge made and broke careers. He was known for his acerbic wit and sometimes, brutally honest personality.

Karl Lagerfeld, was one thing. Larger than life. He created, made, spoke fashion. He made the industry what we see today. He has left a legacy for us to build upon. Let us hope that we choose to do the right thing with it.

Karls Interview with Suzy Menkes on how he wants to be remembered

Beyonce and Balmain: A Coachella Love Affair #Beychella #Balmain

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I am DEAD.

For those of us who were unable to attend Coachella this year (shut up, I hate my self too) Beyoncé proved that she IS EVERYTHING. Goddess, artist and fashionista supreme. Working her bey-otiful booty for 3 hours she pretty much swept the floor with all of us. This is the only time I will ever say this: I am shook.

I’m talking fashion. Yes, Beyoncé is amazing. Yes her performance was a once in a lifetime experience, but so was her insanely over the top outfits. I was floored by the amazing, never-ending, insane, over the top outfits by Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain.

Look at this and tell me you are not overwhelmed and want to happy cry.

These designs by the house of Balmain realized are beyond the beyond. The original sketches are surreal and show the work of the talent and imagination of a true artist. Realized, they are exemplary and enduring. Sorry Jay-Z you have competition. Beyonce and Balmain are truly, unforgettable.

Didn’t see Coachella but dying for your daily tidbit. Here is one of the only decent copies of the show circulating at the moment. Watch Beyoncé and Jay-Z kill “Deja-Vu” at Coachella.

Check out that outfit on Queen B. It’s just devastating.

 

Spring/Summer 2018 Trends: Bringing Back the 80’s

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(Photo of Stella McCartney SS 2018)

This Spring it’s all or nothing. A nod to the past has brought back defined shapes and a play on colors. Put away your floral’s and head to the stores to pick up your favorite look  with an 80’s flare. Shoulder pads are in and demure is out. These looks are soft but tough. Vintage, yet modern.

Classy ladies wear pastels;

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At Tom Ford, Gigi Hadid and other supermodels, are wearing pretty pastel pink and yellow. The bold splash of color teases the eye but doesn’t dominate the outfit. Other favorites on the runway consisted of baby blue and a pale or mint green. This season has a sweet statement, with light beauty makeup, a classic closed toe heel, glitterati sparkle, finishing off the look with a splash of color.

Mix and match with a dash of color yet not overpowering. Embrace the suit jacket and boxed shoulder. Skips the nudes and head for pastels. It’s an update, with a nod to the classics, and modern update.

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In the history of fashion the 1970s were all about nudes, browns, and stylistically very much about ruffles and loose clothing. In the mid 1980’s there was a huge backlash to the constant earth tones and relaxed style of clothing  and woman embraced striking color, square figures and streamlined looks. 1980’s inspired looks are full of bright colors, animal and cartoon prints, finding their niche on the runway and back into the fashion fold in 2018.

Color me pretty;

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(Versace SS 2018)

Spring/Summer brings color back to the fashion market. This season’s statement is all about the bold and beautiful.  Often seen on the runways of Moschino, The Blonds and jewelry designer Lynn Ban, extreme color is no longer a closet trend.

Seen on 2018’s Spring collection’s we are embracing the adventurous. Animal prints, crazy cartoons, hot pink and orange, electric blues, these have come back in a totally eclipsing way. It’s time to embrace the 80’s colors but instead of being over-sized, mixing and matching, keep your outfit a focused and fearless outline. Bust out your leopard, zebra and giraffe prints. The 80’s are roaring and it’s time you caught up.

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(Photo LA Times)

Having lived through the 80’s as a child, I missed this playful era of fashion. It means dusting off a dated era and adding an update that makes gives it a contemporary look. Looks that are simplistic, yet eye catching in their statement. Shoulder pads are making a comeback the right way this time, and print’s with color are inspiring and acceptable again. Streamlining your look makes it easy to find an outfit in your closet, no more messy mix and match. Floral’s and 90’s inspired grunge, have given way to much stronger use of colors, even in pastel.

Color, no matter how you wear it is in, and the 1980’s style has a very strong foothold.

It’s a Jolly old time to shop for gifts. DO’s and Don’ts for Buying for you special someone.

(This was an article I wrote for someone else. but was never published.

I do hope you enjoy my gift guide)

great-gift-buying-advice

It’s the Holidays! Trying to find a gift for your significant other today is extremely difficult. Gift guides are everywhere. There is a great deal information out there and what to buy for your significant other, it becomes a ‘job’. According to figures derived from a national survey completed by the HuffPost, the average couple spend up to $300 on their partner.  Here are 3 tips for taking a daunting project, and making it easy to do;

Do’s

  1. Make it from the heart. Always think about the person first. It’s not about what they need, it’s about who they are. Don’t buy an impersonal gift.

 

  1. Customized gifts for your significant other makes people happy. Every girl loves jewelry. Or get a customized watch or cufflinks for him. If you are married get your rings engraved to commemorate a special moment you shared.

 

  1. Experiences mean more to people than things often do. Want to really surprise your love? Get tickets to Paris. Go hot air ballooning in Napa. Or just go simple and local. A 15 minute  romantic walk alone with your hunny during the holidays madness. An experience,  like no other,  means you love them AND want to spend time with them.

There are lots of right gifts to buy for your special someone, but what about the wrong? This leaves the problem of finding what you want.

Stay away from boring basics.  Instead, put a gift card from her favorite store under the tree with card telling her you will take her shopping. Perfume and lingerie bought by you for her can be difficult to get right. Why not, make her own custom perfume at a perfumery. Ask the sales girl for help to get it just right. If you want to get lingerie, don’t go low end. Try La Perla or Cosabella for great lingerie that fits. It’s available online, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

For him, tie’s, socks and tools are a huge no-no. There are better ways to say, “I love you”. In today’s market, boys want toys.  If you are unsure what to buy him, try nice clothing. A custom tailoring appointment for your favorite business man, buying him custom jeans, even shoes.  Men in the U.S. spent $26.2 billion on footwear in 2016, an increase of $2.4 billion since 2014, the Boston Globe reported. There is a serious market for shoe’s and it’s the one thing you know he will he love. Often the best policy is to ask what they want. They may just answer you.

The best holiday gift you can give your significant other?  Listen to what they say, what makes them truly happy and seeing them smile.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Glass Magazine Chanel Editorial – Summer 2017

What do we love? Chanel. Who else do we love? Glass Magazine. Why?

Recently I have been making friends with the people over at Glass Magazine. By friends, I actually mean Facebook and Instagram friends. This of course will be remedied by me being awesome in their proximity and vice versa. Life goals people.

I’m especially enjoying the work of the Stylist, who works with Glass regularly, Katie Felstead. She is genius and makes everything from modern, edginess too romantic styles look brilliant. You know I don’t give accolades to other Stylist’s unless they are balls out amazing.

Back to this amazing editorial. Chanel is one of those amazing labels that every country understands. Say Chanel anywhere in the world (except maybe the deep amazon, though maybe there too) and it’s recognized as a brand with integrity, quality that costs big bucks.

Glass Magazine produced a wonderful Chanel editorial shoot that’s soft, beautiful and sexy. Giving us the sense of a gentle and delicate Chanel woman.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

PHOTOGRAPHER / TURKINA FASO
STYLIST / KATIE FELSTEAD
MODEL / SARA DIJKINK @ Premier
HAIR / PAUL DONOVAN
MAKE UP / PORSCHE POON
MANICURE / NICKIE RHODES-HILL
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT / PASCAL HUBNER
CASTING / PAUL ISAAC

Pulman hotel / London 2017

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