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Caring For Our Kids

Fashion finds for moms

You don’t have to give up style. Photo: courtesy stitchfix.com

If you are like I am, shopping is a luxury, and the times I can escape my hectic schedule for a few hours alone are rare. More often than not when shopping, I have some if not all of the kids with me, and I race through a store, frantically trying on a few things, and either leave with nothing, or end up buying something I didn’t love because I was rushed or someone was having a meltdown.

Recently, I have found some better options that help busy women shop and update their closets while saving time. Here a few of my favorites.

Stitch Fix: This company is headquartered here in the city, and their website gem is an easy way to update your wardrobe. Start by simply completing a profile so the stylists can get an idea of your style, size, and budget. You can choose to receive a box of clothing and accessories every month or whenever you want. Each box contains five items, which can be anything from dresses to jeans to a handbag. Your stylist is different every month so you are guaranteed variety, which could work in your favor or not. You pay for what you like and send the rest back. The service is $20 per month, but if you purchase one of the five items, that $20 goes toward your bill. If you happen to love everything in the box, you get an extra 25 percent off your total. Returning items is easy — they provide a prepaid return envelope that you can drop at any post office (stitchfix.com).

Boon and Gable: Also San Francisco based, this company is currently getting its app up and running. The idea is similar to Stitch Fix, but instead of items arriving in a box, personal stylists arrive at your door. Similarly, you first complete a style profile on their app, which includes detailed questions about your lifestyle, tastes, and what you typically spend on clothes and accessories. The app lets you choose a convenient time for the stylist to visit — I chose naptime. You can be very specific about what you want your stylist to bring, for example, a dress for a cocktail party or something to spice up your everyday outfits. I had a great experience — I felt as though my stylist understood my style, my budget, and what I was looking for. She brought shoes, accessories, and a great variety of options, and it only took one hour. You don’t pay for the stylist, you pay only for what you buy, and what you don’t want is returned for you. I was pleasantly surprised about the reasonableness of the price points. The stylist does the shopping at major department stores and local boutiques. There is no pressure, but you may find yourself like I was trying hard not to buy it all. The best part is while you are on the go, if you see a pair of shoes you love or a dress you can’t live without, you can take a picture and send it to your stylist, and she can bring it on her next visit. The company is currently in a private beta, but you can sign up for the waitlist and get early access at boonandgable.com.

Rent the Runway: This company is based in New York, and in the few short years they have been in operation, they have grown dramatically. I was one of the first few hundred to try them, and have been a loyal customer since. Whether you are looking for a dress for an upcoming gala, school auction, or special something for a night on the town, they have it all. They offer designer dresses, jewelry, and handbags for all occasions, and the rental is just a fraction of the retail price. The dress rentals range from $50–$200, which is quite reasonable given the designers offered. You can rent the dress for either four or eight days, and it includes a free back-up size or a second style for just $32.50. After your event, you simply mail it back in the prepaid envelope and the company handles the dry cleaning. Another plus about this site is that there are many reviews, which include customer photos, so you can see exactly how the dress looks on others (renttherunway.com).

I am a big fan of anything that allows me more time to spend with my family and doing what I love. I do love shopping, but these days, shopping for myself just isn’t high on the priority list. These great websites allow busy moms to stay current in their style while saving time.

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Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children. She was formerly a television producer in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. E-mail: [email protected]

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