Sunday, February 08, 2009

Introducing Shopping Pr0n

One day last spring, work asked if I'd be willing to do a TV interview to promote a big project publishing that week. "Sure," I said. I was (briefly) a theatre major in college, and I'd done TV stuff before on occasion; public speaking holds no fear for me.

What did strike fear into my heart? Clothes. Specifically: Television clothes. My office is relatively relaxed, and I'd long gotten along with nothing more formal than business casual, even for job interviews. I didn't own a suit. Even if I had owned a suit, TV clothes are a whole other ballgame -- certain colors don't work, patterns are problematic ...

With about 48 hours to pull something together, there was only one obvious course of action: Ping Fashionista Friend to say HELP. Fashionista Friend has, aside from her generous nature with advice, two rare and incredibly useful skills: she's good at explaining, in basic terms, what works and why - and she's been through a range of about 10 dress sizes in her life. Unlike most fashion mavens, Fashionista Friend can make suitable recommendations for anyone size 2 to 20. (Her range probably extends beyond even that, but allow me my alliteration.) Also, when you ask for fashion advice, her first question is "give me your measurements," and her second is "what's your budget?" Because unlike most glossy fashion mags, she can adapt to the idea of dropping less than $1k per outfit.

Consulted by IM, Fashionista Friend was full of invaluable recommendations - pants suit, hitting "at or just below the hip," splash of colour underneath, "conservative, but not black," and absolutely no matter what, three buttons not two. Her tips were so specific that I managed to find a workable outfit in less than an hour of shopping. (You can judge the results for yourself ...)

So I was thrilled a few weeks back to hear that Fashionista Friend was launching a blog. Shopping Pr0n covers all sorts of topics, from plus-size fashion to bargain buys to straight-up luxury splurges.

Right now, I imagine most of us are cutting our clothing budgets to the bone. My personal weakness is handbags, and I'm on a purchasing moratorium. But in this kind of climate, I find reading sites like Shopping Pr0n even more valuable, because it helps me make smarter choices with the money I do spend. Now that we're heading into the crunch days of one paycheck - David's job ends at the end of February - I'm trying to make sure that we only spend on things that are exactly what we need. Shopping Pr0n is fun for window shopping, but I'm also relying on it to help me get my work wardrobe into shape.