How To Maintain Costume Jewellery

costume jewellery, maintaining costume jewelryCostume jewellery has a lot of selling points, chief among which is affordability. For just a few dollars you can try new styles and colours without major commitment. You can wear a different piece everyday for a month if you so choose. Costume jewellery definitely adds versatility to your wardrobe.

But then there’s the downside. We’ve all worn a necklace or pair of earrings just  once and then realised they were already losing shine or worse, they were turning green or black. This is going to happen eventually in most cases but if you take care of your pieces, you can increase their lifespan. With some of those $1 items you really get what you pay for though so it may be worth it to buy slightly more expensive costume pieces.

Either way, here’s what to do.

1. Try not to buy pieces with a lot of metal elements. Opt for plastics which still look chic. Less metal = less chance of tarnishing.

2. If you’re buying metallic pieces, aim for silver rather gold. For whatever reason, my silver look pieces have always held up better than my gold ones.

3: NEVER get perfume, creams or lotions on these pieces.

4: Don’t let your costume jewellery get wet. Make sure its off before you shower or wash your hands or face.

5. Don’t wear the pieces any longer than you have to. Put them on right before you leave the house and remove them as soon as you get back home. Wipe them with a clean, soft cloth.

6. Storage is key, especially for the metal pieces. You can get fancy with jewellery boxes or at least seal them tightly in a ziploc bag.

What tricks do you use? Let me know in the comments.

Re.Create Fashion Competition: The Details

Do you or someone you know like re-inventing clothing?  Can you get creative with cloth?  Are you convinced you have latent design talent?  Well this post is all about an opportunity to show off your creativity and make a name for yourself.

The Re.Create Fashion Competition hosted by Fifth Element is a challenge for aspiring Barbadians designers to create something new from old clothing. The deadline for entries is August 28 so don’t lag if you’re interested. Email to enter.

Fifth Element Designs, Re.Create

Publicist of Fifth Element Designs Inc. Michelle Doyle answered some of my questions about the contest.

Q:  Tell me a bit about the Re-Create contest and what prompted you to start it.

A: Re.Create is one of the four lines of The 5th Element brand, ready-to-wear clothing which is produced by Fifth Element Designs Inc.
 The Re.Create fashion design contest serves three main purposes:
i. to create an additional exciting fashion event in Barbados;  (ii) to find designers for the Re.Create brand; and (iii) to provide a business opportunity to Barbadian designers.  Among the prizes are the chance to design for The 5th Element Re.Create brand, or become the brand designer, as well as earning royalties on the sale of the design; there is also the chance to participate in a catwalk presentation in a fashion show. These prizes provide the business opportunity.

Q:  Are you targeting any particular type of designer?

A: While the  competition targets  new and young designers, the contest is open to anyone who can design; for people who are trained  in fashion and garment construction, or not trained at all. I know there are a lot of people who can design and may not have the technical ability to construct  their designs themselves, so the contest  targets them too. It also targets people who can make a garment  themselves, or can refashion a piece of clothing into another; it targets anyone who has not been trained in fashion design or in garment construction. The contest targets everyone who is creative with cloth.

Q: What’s in it for the winner?

A: There will be one top prize for the Best Design, which will be a photo shoot.
Q: What about those designers who don’t win? What do they stand to gain?
A: The prizes include the  selected design in a catwalk presentation, manufacturing of the design under the Re.Create brand, and opportunity to become a Re.Create designer.

 Q: How does this benefit the local fashion industry?

A: This particular contest offers several ways to stimulate activity within Barbados’ fashion sector. One way is that it will actually attempt to create the business of buying and selling designs, and manufacturing those designs. An important element in this entire contest is the recycling component, in which previously worn clothing, clothing people no longer wear or want, can be refashioned into a new garment. The contest also allows people who work in ‘isolation’ to meet like-minded people to channel their energy, assist them in getting their designs in the public eye/domain.It also adds another event to the fashion calendar.
Re.Create DesgnContest Rules-2

Online Shopping: What You Need to Know

Online shopping can be fantastic. You get to purchase items that may not be readily available in stores near you and you can take advantage of sales even when you can’t make it into an outlet. However, if you’re not careful, you can end with a heap of bargain-priced items that don’t fit or even worse, become a victim of credit card fraud.

Online shopping

Here are some tips to help you not only get the best items for your wardrobe, but protect critical personal information in the process.

1. Use familiar websites

Start with a website you trust rather than simply searching for “boyfriend jeans sale”. Search results can be set up to lead you astray. If you know the brick and mortar outlet or the online-only store has a solid reputation, then you’re more likely to be safe.

2. Read as many details about the item as possible.

Pay special attention to the type of fabric and whether it needs hand washing, dry cleaning or other special treatment. If you’re not prepared for that, don’t bother buying it.

 3. Know your measurements and consult each website’s size charts.

What’s a size small in one brand may be a medium in another so you need to check the charts to see how a particular retailer determines its sizes.

 4. Read the customer reviews

 This will help you to determine whether the item is true to size, colour or fit.  You’ll see why other shoppers plan to order more in different colours or why they had to return the item. After reading, you can decide for yourself whether you want to purchase.

 5. Check the sale rack first (just as you should in a physical store)

While searching sale racks can be time and energy consuming in person, it’s way easier when doing online shopping. You can get both trendy items and basics at discounted prices already sorted neatly.

 6. Be sure to check the return policy

 If you don’t like what you buy you can just return it, right? Maybe or maybe not. Some stores will impose a no-return policy on clearance stock or charge up to 25 per cent as a restocking fee. Before you check out, always take note of the retailer’s policies.

7. Be careful what you share.

If a store is asking for your social security number, that should be a red flag. The more information you share, the easier it is to have your identity stolen or other damage done.

8. Make sure the internet connection is secure.

You should never shop using an unsecured wireless network since this can make your payment information open to hackers.

Remember, the saying about if it seems too good to be true also applies to online shopping. If an offer seems too generous, it’s probably a trap. And if misspellings or other errors make you suspicious about a site, follow your instincts and go elsewhere.

9.  Check shipping costs and how much import  duties and taxes will be charged.

This is especially for us Caribbean people.  Sometimes you end up paying twice or three times the price of the item when all these extra costs are added in. You will have to determine whether its really worth it. From my experience,  clothing can cost you an arm and a leg. However, I’ve ordered lotions and body sprays from Victoria’s Secret and even with all the extras, I still paid less than I would in Barbados!

Happy shopping!

*This post was originally published on September 20, 2014 and updated July 23, 2016.*


… Not too grown up to play dress up!