Try new trends and fabrics In 2011, men’s military style will evolve into varying versions of rock-star and biker looks, while for women, the casual bohemian trend will continue to migrate from LA. Cool beige hues will be hot—particularly with sandals and heels. But the gold standard on 2011’s color palette will be, well, gold. However your style evolves in the New Year, dress with conviction.
With cotton prices rising dramatically, synthetics will likely have their strongest growth since polyester’s disco-era heyday. Consider faux-leather outerwear—new embossing techniques and softening treatments offer realistic texture and feel with pricetags that are far more comfortable than the real thing.
Shop smart The fashion industry was ill-prepared for the recession; brands overproduced, retailers overbought and now there’s substantial excess inventory. This year, skip the sale section and try one of the emerging online “member’s only” discount sites (don’t worry, membership is limited only to those with valid email addresses), like Gilt Groupe, Tobi, Modnique and Jackthreads.
Stress less (know your return policies)
Best: Nordstrom has a “no time limit” return policy that uses an on-product “sticker receipt” barcode to look up purchase price, so you don’t need to hold onto your paper receipt. Nordstrom can also find your item by searching the purchaser’s full name. Known for good customer service, Zappos offers free shipping on returns within 365 days with no receipt necessary.
Worst: Target limits your annual refund to $70 per year, within 90 days of purchase, if you don’t have the receipt (a driver’s license is required, however). Returns beyond $70 annually without a receipt become store credit. Worse, your refund is only worth the item’s current price. Best Buy also restricts returns with a 30-day limit and only 14 days for electronics. There’s also a 15 percent restocking fee—even if it’s still plastic-wrapped, the item was defective or your uncle is Steve Jobs.
Get in shape, for clothing’s sake You don’t need another reason to get in shape—health, self-confidence and general attractiveness should suffice—but let’s be honest, your favorite anything looks best when you’re fit. Need more motivation? Buy a new pair of running shoes or new workout tops; the monetary investment and style-upgrade should help you hit the gym beyond January 2. Nike’s Pro Hyper Cool line is perfect for Las Vegas’ high temperatures with all the technical features of compression tops, but not the “got your tickets to the gun show?” tightness.
Help Others Adopt a variation of Bill and Melinda Gates’ buzzy Giving Pledge. In the Gates’ version, billionaires donate at least half their wealth to charity. Even if you’re not stacked with cash, you can do the same with clothes. I’m fortunate to have clothing beyond my needs; so in 2011, I’m committing to give the majority of my clothing away. I’m donating to Opportunity Village, but other deserving options include Safe Nest, Shade Tree, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, Goodwill, the Salvation Army and religious nonprofits such as Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and Calvary Downtown Outreach.