Friday, April 17, 2009

{Such A} Winner of the Redkat Contest and Krimson by Kwame Trunk Show Details

Congratulations to 5chw4r7z, the winner of the first-ever Redkat Contest. Bob wins a lunch with myself and Kwame Jackson, season one finalist on The Apprentice. We will be dining at McCormick and Schmicks downtown. 5chw4r7z selected the Malibu as his favorite tie, and says,

"The blue plaid just make me think spring, short sleeve shirts and afternoon drinks downtown."

Even if you didn't win the contest, you can still meet Kwame in-person and view his entire collection of elegant silk ties. Local clothier Corwyn Apparel is hosting a trunk show featuring Krimson by Kwame. Attendees are encouraged to bring a gently-used necktie for donation to Career Gear, a national charity that helps outfit poor and underprivileged men obtain business apparel. Each donor will receive $10 off their entire purchase by bringing in an unwanted tie. A portion of all sales from the evening will also go to benefit the charity. So come to the trunk show to meet Kwame and buy yourself (or the significant man in your life) a gorgeous piece of neckware.

When: April 23, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Bankers Club of Cincinnati
511 Walnut St # 3000
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 651-3660

Cost: Free

Thank you to everyone who entered my contest. I love seeing your feedback and I enjoy knowing that you find my tips, tricks and fashion trend watching interesting. I welcome any suggestions as to fashion and beauty-related topics you'd like to see on Being fashionable isn't always as simple as it seems - believe it or not this Kat has had her fair share of don'ts - but as the memorable ad slogan goes, "You've come a long way, baby." Email me directly or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

{Such A} All tied up and the first Redkat Contest!

Recently I was questioned by a male friend about the right way for a man to coordinate a tie with a dress shirt. My first answer was, "Easy. Solid shirt and a patterned tie. End of story." My friend was unimpressed with my answer, which spurred me to wonder...could there actually be more to it than that? Happily (and you'll see why at the end of this post) I was half-wrong with my simple answer. Yes, solid/print is a win but what about stripes, plaids, prints? Here are a few basic rules I've crafted based on my research.

• White shirt -anything can go with a white shirt. It's the same idea as a blank canvas...any color of tie will work.
• Color match - if you have a blue shirt, go for a navy tie, yellow shirt, darker yellow tie -- you get the idea. If you go tonal, you can't go wrong.
• Solid shirt/Print tie - think about the complimentary colors that you know of - a blue shirt with a crimson tie, a creme shirt with a brown tie, a pink shirt with a red, blue or yellow tie. If you aren't sure what are complimentary colors, try taking a look at color wheel.

Now we get into what I used to think was the complicated matching, with print shirts and print ties. But really, it's a simple process.
• Striped shirt - stand back from the shirt and determine what color is the main color. This is the color that needs to be most prevalent in your patterned tie. You also need to make sure your pattern works with stripes. If you happen to have a striped tie with a striped shirt, follow the ratio of 2:1 and go for a tie that has stripes twice the width of your shirt stripes.
• Plaid shirt - same as with a striped shirt, you will need to step back and evaluate which color is the main color in the shirt. You'll want to pick a tie with this same prevalent color. If you choose a pattern of dots or boxes for your tie, you want to make sure that they are larger than the check pattern on the shirt.

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm spending an inordinate amount of time talking about men's ties. I am holding my first blog contest, and the topic is ties! See, I told you there was a happy reason for this post.

Kwame Jackson, former contestant from season one of the Apprentice has designed a line of men's neckties called Krimson By Kwame. Polkadots, paisley and gorgeous stripes -- these ties are serious neck-candy for men. Kwame will be in Cincinnati to show off his ties as part of a trunk show on April 23rd with local clothier Corwyn Apparel.

But, if you'd rather just "do lunch" with Kwame, then enter my contest. Simply visit Krimson by Kwame and pick your favorite tie. Vote using the comments at the bottom of the post. Include the name of the tie and the reason why it's your fave. The winner of the contest will meet and have lunch with Kwame, as well as be invited to the trunk show on April 23rd at the Banker's Club.

My fave? The San Francisco. Why? It's an elegant dark red paisley tie that I would absolutely figure out a way to wear...I'm thinking maybe as a sash to dress up a simple shift? In any case, it's my favorite Krimson by Kwame tie -- what's yours? Contest ends on April 17th!

An update a day keeps the (fill in the blank) away! WE Lead today, so it will be a great day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

{Such A} Recessionista Shop n' Swap

This past Sunday, despite the grey dreary day, I ventured north to the wilds of West Chester for the Cincy Chic "Recessionista Shop n' Swap". Held at the West Chester Conference Center, the event was billed as a fabulous day of fashion, shopping, games and prizes. Armed with four items marked for giveaway, in I went to try my hand at swapping.

First, a few words about my items. I chose to take only four things, thinking that if I took too much, check-in would take forever, and if I took too few, I'd have no swapping power with the rest of the recessionistas. My four items were chosen because 1. they were fashionable and 2. they didn't fit anymore. My fingers were crossed that two dresses, a white button-down and a cream tulip skirt would amount to moola for me.

Score! I traded my items in and received $100 in swap cash. Swap cash, for those not initiated in the lingo, are dollars that you spend strictly on items in a clothing swap. Donna Spiegel from the Snooty Fox evaluated my items, and initially offered me $80 in swap cash, but then upped it to $100 when she noticed that one of the sundresses was a Tori Burch. Yes, I swapped a Tori Burch -- see #2 above as to why.

With my cash in hand, I started browsing the items on the rack. Snooty Fox volunteers were busy tagging and hanging all the swap clothing.The items were supposedly hung by size on specially created racks, but after a few minutes I could tell that the semblance of sizing order wasn't going to last...I watched one rather large woman take an armful of clothes and move them from the size 14 end of the rack, down to the zeros. Above the clothing, shelves held a variety of accessories including shoes, hats and purses.

Selection varied throughout the course of the day, but for the most part it was so-so. As Amy Storer-Scalia pointed out, "For a free event, you're going to get all types of clothes". I did find items that I wanted, but ironically I got them from a friend who also came to the swap. Here is what I wound up with:
1. Miu Miu Dress
2. Forever 21 black/white cap sleeve shirt
3. Red satin cami with white lace inset at neck
4. Black/white spaghetti strap top
5. White House/Black Market Black Pinstripe Pants
6. Forever 21 Aqua tank with front lace panel
7. An ugly black Coldwater Creek short sleeve shirt (see below for the why)
8. A fab pair of crimson platform heels (DID NOT FIT!)

Outside of the swap, there were oodles of great clothing, jewelry and handbag vendors. My personal fave, Missy DeGroot was there from DeGroot Handbags with her purses, as were Miche Bags and Paolo. I know I saw at least three tables loaded with sparkly jewelry - necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Finally, the clothing. Snooty Fox of course represented with treasures culled from their area stores, but other local boutiques included Splurge, Miss Martha's Dress Shop, Missy and Jack and my new favorite -- M641. I had the pleasure of chatting with Ina (@M641 on Twitter) who is clearly going to become a good friend...not only is she extremely friendly and knowledgable, but her fashion advice is top-notch. At her request, I purchased a rather ugly, shapeless black Coldwater Creek short sleeve shirt. Pin a brooch her, add a swatch of fabric across the middle and voila! You have a beautiful spring shirt. I would've never thought to dress up the shirt to make it wearable and cute. Hopefully Ina will be able to offer tips to Redkatblonde readers again soon.

Rounding out the list of who's who at the Recessionista Shop n' Swap were Kelly Long, a certified financial planner and Kristen Monroe of Qfact Market Research. Kelly shared frugalista beauty tips including asking your stylist to touch up only your regrowth if you get your hair colored, "I only ask her to touch up my roots when they start to sparkle!" Kristen was there to find respondants for one of her market research surveys -- each of which pays you for your time. Sign up. Make money. Go shop!

At 4pm we were treated to a fashion show emceed by Constance from WB64, and DJ'ed by Brian from Q102. Each model strutted an outfit and handbag supplied by a participating Shop n' Swap vendor. I saw lots of cute things, but yikes! Some of the items were, well, total splurges and not recessionista at all. Me being me, I still loved them and will probably still purchase them. Clearly I'll be doing a few market research studies to pay for the cute hoodies I saw from Elizabeth's Closet!

My take? Go to shop and swap events, and go often. Take your middle of the road items for swap and prepare to find good wardrobe building basics, as well as a few attention-getting pieces. If you can't find a shop and swap locally, grab a bunch of girlfriends, buy a bottle or three of wine and trade clothes with each other. Everyone comes out ahead!

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