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Glitter for Another Generation: Long Live Limited Too

July 24, 2015

Limited-too

Better get used to seeing this again.

Yeah, that’s right. Limited Too is reportedly making a second go at life. As someone who grew up in the 90’s with two sisters, Limited Too was THE place to shop. It was the mecca of glittery clothes and impractical furniture (yes, I did have an inflatable chair). It was the ultimate destination for birthday presents (but only for close friends. So so friends got body wash from Bath and Body Works). 

I can only imagine what the conference room sounded like when they were having the come-back discussion.

Exec 1: “Hey, remember Limited Too? 90’s kids loved that”

Exec 1: “You know where all those Limited Too loyal kids are now? Having kids of their own”

Exec 2: “Jackpot! Lot’s bring it back”

In honor of the return of Limited Too, here are some very Limited throwback pictures to get you through your Friday. Long live Limited Too…because we all know Justice didn’t really do it justice.

Those catalogues. photo from here

You know you remember this

Just your typical mall scene circa 1990-whenever. Pic here.

*sooo fabulous* (pics from here). And those pants on the right…I totally had those, in silver.

Do you remember your favorite Limited Too outfit? Comment  below; I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Friday!

Bucky

Let’s All Dress Like Boys

July 19, 2015

For most people not directly involved, Men’s Fashion Week in New York usually slides by under the radar. It is a week that often lives in the shadows of the much hyped women’s wear weeks. This, however, is truly unfortunate. The world of menswear has so much to offer, not only to men, but also to the way we view women’s clothing.

As I was clicking through Tommy Ton’s pictures from Men’s New York Fashion Week, I found myself thinking, “Omg how fabulous…I want that!” So, in honor of all the great men’s wear out there that could and should be adopted into every woman’s closet, I picked out some of my favorites. Enjoy!

All photos were shot by Tommy Ton for Style.com. See all 254 shots here.

The white tee is never old…especially when it gets a holographic pocket face lift

Easy tees, boyfriend jeans, jumpsuits…what else could you want?

This guy is totally rocking the floral jumpsuit…and I think I could too.

THESE PANTS.

I could pretty much switch the head out on photoshop and put my face in this picture.

So chill yet so refined

Can we all be friends and call ourselves #thePACK ?

I need his shirt. On my body. Like, now.

A bunch of guys on their smoke break talking about art gallery openings, or my pack of friends chatting about brunch? No one would ever know.

If these pics don’t make you feel inspired to add some menswear to your wardrobe (beyond your boyfriend’s sweater that you only wear on weekends), I don’t know what would. The secret to shopping trendy menswear is to buy designer brands. Barney’s always has a good selection. If the idea of spending a pretty penny on men’s clothing (for yourself) freaks you out, YOOX also has a great selection at discounted prices. Now, let’s all go dress like da boyz.

Happy Shopping!

Bucky

Benefits of a Cold Summer

July 16, 2015

I am from the deep South where summer starts in early May and where the chances of a 70° Christmas are very likely. I absolutely love heat and humidity. Every time I traveled during the summer somewhere cooler I always naively chalked up the cold weather to a front moving through or unseasonable temperatures. I couldn’t fathom a place that never got above 75° in the summer.

Then I moved. I now live on the same latitude as Chicago. The first year we had a nice, relatively hot summer. This year is a different story.

As I write this, I am wearing a long sleeve cashmere sweater, running leggings, and socks while sipping on hot tea. I even have the sniffles as if I’m coming down with a cold. The outdoor temperature is reading 55°. The high today (it is only 7am) is predicted to be just under 70°. For many people 60° is ideal. For me, 80° is an ideal indoor temperature (as long as there is airflow) and 89° is an ideal outdoor temperature….hence the sweater and socks.

As a way to cope with this unwelcome weather situation, I’ve made a list of benefits to having a cold (anything under my ideals I deem as cold) summer.


5 Benefits of  a Cold Summer:

1. It provides an excellent opportunity to utilize and grow your cashmere collection

2. You can exercise outdoors during the summer months. You can even attend events after low impact exercise and still look like a normal human being because no real sweating has occurred.

3. You can sleep with the windows open (although, I did this last night and I now feel like I am coming down with something…)

4. Energy bills are greatly reduced (provided you don’t turn on the heat)

5. You truly appreciate any time you have somewhere warmer. Complaining about the heat/sweating/etc is not even on your radar anymore.


Even though I am moderately chilly right now, I cannot complain. I was fortunate enough to have a couple weeks to escape back South and enjoy the heat. It was a blissful two weeks of sweat, beach, and a house with a thermostat on 80°.

Warmest wishes (literally) and- to all my Southerner friends who find their new homes a little too cold- hang in there; you’re not alone!,

Bucky

The Evolution of Mary-Kate and Ashley

June 16, 2015

Most people can’t legitimately claim that they’ve been famous since their first year of birth…and then there’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They scored their first acting job at six months and have managed to grow up in the limelight without many of the adverse affects that plague child stars.

It’s really quite impressive how they went from this:

to this:

 

And in case you haven’t been following along with general fashion news, (or missed this blog post) that last picture is from this past month when the girls won Women’s Wear Designer of the Year at the Annual CFDA Awards (read: big f-ing deal).

So just for the fun of it, here’s a fun little chronological look at MK and Ash through the ages.

Full House:

Every child in who grew up in the 90’s watched Full House. It was THE show.

Moving on to the Movies:

To Grandmother's House We Go.jpg

At some point during Full House, Mary-Kate and Ashley started filming movies. Insert collective mind blowing to every 90’s child who thus found out ‘Michelle Tanner’ was in fact two people.

How the West Was Fun.jpg

Billboard Dad.jpg

They seemed to like the whole movie thing (do what works, right?) because that continued on for a while. Clearly, they were the hottest name in tweens.

The Fan Club:

What is any successful 90’s actress/icon without a fan club? (answer: nothing). Butterfly clips, tattoo chokers, tube tops…this picture is totally worthy to sit beside my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper.

The Awkward Years = Conquered:

Maybe it’s to the credit of a great PR team and some amazing stylists, but MK and A somehow seamlessly avoided the whole awkward teen gap. It’s like they jumped from 15 to 19 in one fluid motion.

The College Year:

It was as if turning 18 and later going to college (if only for a year) gave the girls permission to let loose from the PR clutch and be themselves. Enter: the boho years.

Defining Style:

mary kate and ashley fashion intro

After a while of wearing every single article of clothing they could find (usually all at once), the twins finally found their style. Around the same time they launched their label: The Row…which, in my opinion, is one of the most wearable high fashion lines available.  (picture credit)

Currently:

A look from the Row’s Spring 2015 line. As someone just a year younger than the twins, it blows my mind to think that they started this line a mere year after graduating high school (for me. it would be two years for them…but still). (photo creds)

My hat really goes off to these two ladies. They have worked hard to get where they are. Yes, I’m sure they’ve received a lot of help. Yes, they do have quite a bit of money to work with. However, at the end of the day, it takes quite a bit of stamina to grow up, discover yourself, and pursue your passions in the midst of every paparazzi on Earth.

What are your thoughts on the dynamic duo?

Cheers,

Bucky

My Top 3 Mottos for Work

June 8, 2015

Many of you have probably arrived at this post because you know me, others may have ended up here by clicking on the opening banner on my website, while some of you either follow along regularly on the blog or just stopped by for the fun of it.

If you’re in the latter half, and have no idea what website I’m referring to and probably don’t have much knowledge about what I do or who I am- this next paragraph is for you.

I am an entrepreneur fashion designer who sells women’s clothing primarily through my e-commerce site: www.lesliebuchanan.com. While I don’t usually get too personal on this blog (what I make for dinner isn’t nearly as personal as my successes and failures) I do want to write a post about my experience with my company.

My label, Buchanan, has been around for a little over two years (if you count the first several months of purely conceptual business plan activities). Looking back over the last 24 months, I am amazed at how much the business has changed. Yes, the key components from the business plan are still consistent (high quality clothing, limited production runs, etc) but other pieces have been added while still others have shifted (sustainability movements and target markets, respectively).

One of the first revelations I had was: If it’s not working, or it doesn’t feel right- try something else.

I started off making high end clothing for a very small target market. It was fine, but quite honestly, it wasn’t me. I was catering to a very specific customer, and while that isn’t bad, I spent most of my days realizing that no one around me would ever be able to afford my clothes. In fact, I remember having a horrible conversation during a Women’s Group at church that started with a woman asking me what I did. I replied that I was a women’s clothing designer. The woman then started telling me about how she just received a catalogue in the mail that had shirts for $60! She was clearly appalled as she told me this story and I spent the 2 minutes praying that she wouldn’t ask me how much my shirts were. Luckily, she didn’t.

That’s when I realized: I couldn’t make ‘affordable for everyone’ clothes, but I could make ‘much more affordable than I was’ clothing.

It wasn’t that I was just jacking up prices and taking advantage of people. I was just buying very nice expensive fabric. But I soon realized, that people didn’t really care. Nor did they want to take care of expensive fabric (usually it’s a dry clean only kind of world). Buying more affordable fabrics allowed me to produce more affordable clothing. Which in turn, ended up increasing my sales. That was great, except then I felt like I had turned into a mass producing monster spewing out lots of new clothes into the world. Which lead to my second revelation:

I care about the environment and I have the power to change my industry

In my heart and my own life, I was living by the principle: buy less and buy better. In my work, however, I was encouraging others to buy more, more, more! (Although, I do feel like I was successful in making better quality clothing). At some point, I was either going to go crazy living a double standard, or I was going to change some principles of my business.

This caused me to sit down and ask myself the following: what do I really want out of this company? What do I want this company to be? How can I help others with my work?

While my original business plan had the answers to these questions all along, I had written them in very political ways. You know the kind: sweeping statements of truth that were perfect for a banker’s approval, but less great for daily remembrances of self. So, when I answered these questions a second time, I dumbed them down and gave them an almost motto like feel.

  1. My clothes should make women feel empowered. Empowered—> confident, beautiful, comfortable, proud of who they are and how they look.
  2. My manufacturing processes should be as environmentally friendly as possible.
  3. I will not produce anything that I would not want in my own closet.

Words are great, but without actions, they are simply words. Here’s how I have, and how I plan to continue forth fulfilling these objectives.

1. Clothes that empower. It’s hard to feel empowered wearing something that doesn’t fit. I make a sample garment in my size and test it out for about a week before I make any duplicates. It’s also difficult to feel special when you are wearing the same thing as five million other people. That’s why I produce limited quantities. The chance of you wearing the same Buchanan piece as someone else is slim to none. You were not mass produced, so why should your clothing be?

2. Environmentally Conscious. My main resource is fabric. I knew that if I wanted to make advances to being an environmentally caring company, I needed to pay attention to where I source my fabric from. Many fashion houses have fabric that they over ordered and are ready to simply throw away. I jump in and buy up that fabric. I also look for natural fabrics whenever possible. It’s not much, but it’s something. I take care to craft clothing that is high quality and will stand the test of time. Additionally, I never recommend a customer buy something unless they ‘absolutely love it’. Do I lose sales that way? Absolutely. But the garment always gets sold to someone who does love it. Better to be loved and worn than to sit in a closet forever and then head to the landfill.

3. The Golden Rule of Clothing Design. I understand that everyone has different tastes, but if I wouldn’t want my own clothing in my closet WHY would I even think of selling it to anyone else? If the quality isn’t good enough for me, it’s not good enough for you. If the fit isn’t right for me, it’s not going to be right for you either.

I have a corkboard right above my computer at work where I have printed out this picture of my 3 mottos. I opted to write ‘fashion design’ instead of ‘Buchanan’ because I feel that the whole industry could use a little more of this.

Fashion Design Mottos

As my company continues to change, as I’m sure it will, I have these reminders to keep me on track. This Fall I’m going to take my mottos to the extreme. Essentially, my Fall collection will be a capsule collection of ‘the season’s greatest hits’. And I don’t mean trendiest hits, I mean- ‘these are the only 10 pieces I will need to have in my closet all Fall long’. I should be rolling Fall out around August, stay be sure to follow along on the blog, on Facebook, or on the website to see the new pieces. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. You never know until you try though.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I always love feedback.

-Leslie Friedman Buchanan (aka to frequent visitors of the blog: Bucky)

The Great Spinach Dip Experiment

June 4, 2015

Several days ago I went a little crazy with the spinach purchasing at the grocery store. I had already used used two bags in every way possible, so now I had to come up with some new recipes or risk losing my last bag (not an option). The first possibility that popped into my head was spinach dip. Of course! I’ll make spinach dip and use up a lot of my spinach.

There are, however, a couple small problems with me making spinach dip:

  1. I have no idea how to make spinach dip, let alone how to make it vegan
  2. I have no idea what even goes into spinach dip
  3. I don’t know if I can say that I’ve ever actually eaten spinach dip
  4. I don’t even know how you serve it…hot? cold?

Clearly, spinach dip hasn’t made a lot of appearances in my life. But boy was I hellbent on making the stuff this week.

After a half hour of researching recipes, I concluded that I was just going to make it up (not a new idea on my front). The resulting dip was super light, fresh and delicious. I have no idea if it actually tasted like ‘real spinach dip’ or not, but whatever. Ironically, ‘real spinach dip’ is mostly other ingredients with only some spinach in it. Here’s a little step by step with pictures:

Step 1: Gather ingredients

20150603_170619

I used: a whole 10oz package of spinach, one small onion, about 1/4 cup of soymilk, and 5oz of cashews. I soaked the cashews for 20-30 minutes prior to soften them up (dispose of water before adding to mixer).

Step 2: Process that business

20150603_17062620150603_170948

Left—> Everything above went into the food processer and this was the end result. Note- you can’t put all the spinach in at once. I gradually added it until I finally ran out.

Right—> I read that a lot of people will use water chestnuts in their dip to give it a crunch. I thought celery would work well, so I chopped up a couple stalks and hand mixed them in to the final product.

Step 3: Give it a friend

20150603_171527

Originally, I had bought a baguette from the store to go with the dip. I don’t usually have bread in the house, however, and after two days that was ancient history. After returning home from the store (again) only to realize that I forgot to purchase another baguette (yes, you aren’t the only other person that does that) I decided to go homemade. Making your own bread is easy; I’m just lazy. I literally used the recipe on the back of the yeast package.

Step 4: Eat!!

20150603_17185020150603_171907

Do these coasters look familiar?? I made them from our wedding invitations back in 2013. Here’s the original blog post.

20150603_171857

So delicious! It ended up making a lot, but it was definitely worth it. It would be really great to have at a party as a healthier alternative to traditional spinach dip (which, according to my research, is full of stuff like mayonnaise. gross)

And, in case you were wondering…I served it cold. Smile Happy munching!

Xoxo,

Bucky

CFDA Fashion Awards 2015

June 2, 2015

The ultimate odd couple award show was held last night—have you seen the pictures yet? They always prove to be highly amusing. I’m referencing the CFDA Fashion Awards (Council of Fashion Designers of America). It’s really the only show that people really wear want they want. It’s also the only time you’ll see almost every man with a woman taller than him. I call it the odd couple awards because of quintessential pictures of designers with their models. You have tiny men, larger women, and curvaceous women all paired with your average amazon super model who is sporting the designer’s clothes. I particularly like these photo shoots when the woman is a designer because she is usually also wearing her own clothes. So you get to see what it looks like on someone 9 feet tall and someone 4 feet tall. Clearly those heights are exaggerated, but with the Olsen twins clocking in at 5 feet it’s not far off. Enjoy some of my favs from the event:

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For these pictures and more…visit www.Style.com

And in case you are wondering who the winners were….

Womenswear Designer of the Year: Ashley Olsen & Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row

Menswear Designer of the Year: Tom Ford

Accessory Designer of the Year: Tabitha Simmons

Swarovski Award for Womenswear: Rosie Assoulin

Swarovski Award for Menswear: Shayne Oliver for Hood by Air

Swarovski Award for Accessory Design: Rachel Mansur & Floriana Gavriel for Mansur Gavriel

Huge props to all the winners- they absolutely deserve it. At some point I need to do a whole  blog post just on the Olsen girls. They really are a fascinating pair. Until then, Happy Tuesday!

xoxo, Bucky

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