Food for Thought: Established 1937, Has that company really been around as long as you thought?

In an eye opening article that I recently discovered thanks to Capitol Hill Style, I was surprised to find that some fashion companies may not be who you think they are.  The brand in question is Madewell, established 1937.  When a company touts, established 1937, it provokes thoughts of quality, tradition, and nostalgia in a customer.  The funny thing is, this name and trademark were purchased by the CEO of J.Crew in 2003 from a company that had been dissolved for many years prior.  Madewell was originally a workforce company, a far cry from the fashionable boutique style clothing offered there today.

The full article, by Dan Nosowitz details how he came upon the store in shock and realized that J.Crew had no part in the 50 year history that was built by his great-grandfather.  It’s a great read and will open your eyes.  Read the full article here.

How many other companies are run by their original owners or their descendants?  You might be surprised.  Levis and L.L. Bean are still in the family, but Frye boots is held by a Chinese company and Kiehls beauty products were bought by L’oreal.  Don’t get me wrong, J.Crew bought the rights to the trademark legally, but it was a bit of an eye opener for me as the daughter of an entrepreneur.

I would be appalled if I ran into an impostor Village Sub Shop (my dad’s business, started by my grandfather in Baltimore).  Nosowitz doesn’t seem angry – just confused.  He embarks on a journey to discover some family history about the company and goes on to interview one of the current lead designers at Madewell.  It’s interesting.  Check it out.

How to Properly Take Your Measurements

When all sizing isn’t created equal, knowing your measurements can make shopping and ordering clothing online a bit easier.  Do you order 2 sizes and then send one back?  Have you realized that a size medium isn’t the same across all brands?  What does size 8 really mean?  The mystery of sizing is a boggling one, but if you know your measurements, you’ll have the ultimate shopping power on your side.  In fact, most women are wearing the wrong bra size because they don’t know how to measure themselves correctly.  So grab your tape measures (or a piece of string) and let’s get started.

hot to take your measurements

What you’ll need.  A dressmaker’s tape (like this one) is perfect, but you can always use a piece of string and lay it against a ruler to calculate the length.  A mirror is helpful, as well.

Key points to remember.  Take your measurements over the undergarments that you plan to wear or usually wear.  I’ll discuss proper bra sizes in another post.  Keep in mind that certain undergarments will alter the shape of your body and can make a difference in your sizing.  Yes, I’m talking about heavily padded bras and shape wear.  We’re looking for your true size right now, so don’t worry about sucking it all in and pushing it up.  Definitely don’t measure over your clothes.  They’re bulky and it will not reflect your true size.

The 3 most popular measurements are bust, waist, and hip – in that order. 34-28-36, sound familiar, right? 

Taking your bust measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest (about nipple level) until it meets.  It should be just the slightest bit snug.  Don’t let it droop, but for goodness sake give yourself some breathing room!  This number is your bust measurement.  Take note, this is not your bra size.

Taking your waist measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist, near your belly button.  You can do a side bend to see where the natural part of your waist really lies.  Again, don’t cut off your circulation.  This isn’t a number competition.  It’s your size and you need to breathe!

Taking your hip measurement:

Wrap the measuring tape so that it falls across the fullest part of your butt.  It can be slightly above or below your actual hip bone, as we are all different.  Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor for an accurate result.  Again, your magic number is where the end of the tape meets the rest of the measuring tape.  When it comes to design and sewing, the hipline typically falls around 7 to 9 inches from the waistline.  We’re all different, so don’t worry if yours isn’t exact.  This may give you some insight into why that one dress wasn’t sitting quite right in the fitting room.  

Embrace your numbers, ladies!

You can now use these 3 numbers to compare your size to items you’re about to purchase!  You don’t have to worry about exact measurements, but round up if you’re in doubt.  A 29 inch waist would work well in a structured dress measuring 30 inches.  Otherwise you will not be able to breathe!  You might get away with a smaller size if the dress is stretchy, but too tight is unattractive, as is too big.  Usually companies provide a measurement range to correspond to their sizes.  Also keep in mind that some people have long torsos and others have shorter ones.  If you try on a dress, but the waistline seam isn’t sitting on your actual waistline, it might look a little funny.  Each brand is different, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t fit!  I have a long torso and there are simply some brands that I can not wear if they have a defined waist.

That’s it!  Take your measuring tapes and newly discovered powers and run with it!  I can’t stress enough the importance of correctly fitting clothing!  Stay tuned for bra measurements!

What’s in Your Bag?

My handbag usually ends up like a bottomless pit!  It holds everything from a wallet, my phone, keys, receipts, change, lipstick, and lactaid pills (you never know when you’re going to eat dairy!).

William & Herbert clutch

Here’s a snapshot from my line of handbags.  How much can you fit into your clutch?  It’s all about the pockets for me!  I designed and handcrafted this handbag as part of my upcoming line.  The leather is a crocodile printed cowhide – so amazing and a limited edition!  I haven’t released the details about my new collection, but if your interested be sure to come back and visit my blog, the best place for updates.

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