Hooray for Summer! While the official start of Summer is still a few weeks away, now that we've gotten through Memorial Day weekend many tots are dreaming of long days, warm nights, and months off from school. Kids aren't the only ones looking forward to a break from their daily routines — for some parents, the warm weather is a perfect opportunity to loosen the reins on their house rules. Whether it's later bed times or the opportunity to have a meal without a vegetable on the plate, we want to know where you're willing to look the other way this Summer!
Brigham Young University's star basketball player Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team for breaking the school's code of conduct regarding premarital sex. And while some may find BYU's stipulations shocking — no foul language; abstain from alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and drugs; no gambling, use of pornography, and homosexual behavior; no beards (?) — I actually attended a private college with similar rules ("dancing" is still listed as a no-no in our code of conduct), so I know there are other strict schools out there. Ready for more surprising collegiate sex rules?
- Students of the opposite sex aren't allowed to talk or interact outside of a "chaperoned" area. — Pensacola Christian College
- Members of the opposite sex can only visit each other's dorm rooms during certain hours and in certain areas. — Point Loma Nazarene University
- Members of the opposite sex cannot be alone in the bedroom on or off campus. — Liberty University
- Dating couples aren't allowed to do more than hold hands (one hand, not two). — Clearwater Christian College
- Students aren't allowed to be alone in homes or apartments with the opposite sex. — Ozark Christian College
Did you attend a rules-heavy university? What was your experience?
Rules are meant to be broken. That was the battle cry of a generation of rabble-rousers who questioned authority and challenged the rules set by the generation before them. A new study published in the latest edition of Child Development finds that the freethinkers may have been right. According to the findings, rules that require tots to restrict their personal identities are not only the ones they are most likely to disobey, but ones they probably should break. Unlike moral rules (like those that forbid stealing and hurting others) that wee ones tend to view as binding, those that prevent a child from expressing themselves are most likely to be broken as early as 4-years-old.
Here are five rules parents make that I think should be broken, what are yours?
- Turn off your light and go to bed, don’t read.
- Clothes must match before you leave the house.
- Don’t question your teachers/authorities.
- No dessert until dinner's all gone.
- Don’t play with your food.
I don't know about you, but I happen to think the weekends are for breaking the rules. Whether it's splurging on an extra piece of pizza or sleeping till noon, I let myself indulge — hey, it's only two days, right? To all of you who are still planning your weekends, do tell, what rules do you plan on breaking?
Prior to meeting his parents, your boyfriend’s been keen on telling you just how well he thinks you’ll get along with them. But when the actual meet and greet happens, your high expectations are no more.
When you introduce yourself to his mom, she’s quick to let you know that she’ll only allow you to call her by her surname and that she’s an absolute stickler for manners; she's also more than happy to point out when you’re not following her rules. Your boyfriend's brother's girlfriend calls her by her first name, which makes it clear that this is personal, so how would you handle this?
After bringing you our Top Ten Rules For Shopping Online, we're going to give you a few reasons for doing so in the first place. Now, let us preface this by saying that pulling together the examples you see below took all of ten minutes (three of those we spent wondering how these fit) and so take this as a completely uncontrived set of discrepancies in online shopping. Discrepancies we think you should be aware of if only because it won't be like this forever (yes, waaay too good to be true) and because it illuminates why shopping online is exciting (and yet resourceful) in the first place. The five, below.
1. The Season-less There are certain items that are season-less and ordered and reordered a million times over. Now, one site's season-less might be another site's "we'll give this a try" and so you'll necessarily find vast discrepancies. Denim is often caught in this battle. The Acne A Pant, below, is an example. The A Pant by Acne is stocked and restocked by many stores, both online and behind the bricks, so you'll always find it at full price somewhere. That said, if a site (or store) buys a size run and the jeans don't move, well, that's grounds for a markdown. Simple as that.
2. The Coveted Remember when Beanie Babies went from high-stakes eBay gambling to sitting-in-my-aunt's-basement? Well, that's the basic principle behind this reason to shop online. When an item is 'coveted' then retailers will break some of the mark-up and mark-down rules in its light. Because we're online, we can see the different value judgements retailers make on such items. Handbags are commonly treated this way and below, a perfect example. This Derek Lam handbag is marked down to a mere (relatively speaking) $495 when the same bag is online elsewhere at full price. Now, we set out to write this without calling names but we will say this: there's a reason for this discrepancy and it's that eLuxury probably sells a boatload more designer handbags than Shopbop--they've no need to mark down because, in their world, that handbag is still coveted. (Also note the bags are titled as medium and large respectively but are actually the same bag when you look at the measurements and non-sale retail prices).
3. The Inconspicuous This reason for shopping online references those items that get lost in the shuffle. They are neither IT Bags nor memorable catwalk frocks, most often they are just plain 'ol contemporary items that come and go with the seasons. First, note how vastly different this Alexander Wang dress appears on the two sites. The color, title, fit, and texture do not match whatsoever--even though they are the same exact dress. This is why it's important to check out the same item on multiple sites, with or without the cost differences. In the end, once you get past the visual discrepancy, you'll notice that the markdowns are one hundred dollars apart. Although that might not seem like much, the world of online shopping is riddled with these discrepancies and, in the end, those differences add up.
4. The Long Overdue This reason is one that is more difficult to keep up with but important nonetheless. There is a method to moving inventory and it usually follows the frequency of new deliveries. In the most basic sense, for every box you are shipped, you should be moving a a box out through the shopping carts. Because this is impossible to make happen seamlessly choices are made as to how to finally get rid of inventory that has been sitting on the site, even at 50% off, for a long time. The Phillip Lim skirt you see below, as far as we remember, was part of Holiday 07. Why it is still online in multiple places is amazing to us, especially with a secondary offense of the Inconspicuous (which we describe above), staring you in the face. Many items, long overdue, stay online (they do in the stores too) well beyond their seasonal allowance. As a general rule, if it shipped more than six months ago, you'll probably be able to find it for next to nothing and it's likely to be peddled for vastly different sale prices.
5. The Basic Mark Up Observe the Miu Miu flats below. You're probably wondering why we're calling out a mere 66 dollar discrepancy. Well, take a closer look. Those flats are not even on sale. Yep, that's just the basic mark-up. The way it works is that designers set the wholesale costs and retailers, as a general rule, multiple that number by 2.25. That means they make 50% on the sale of a garment (with the extra .25 going towards shipping costs, etc.). This is, however, completely suggested and some stores will mark up by 2.5 or 2.75 if they think the item will sell for that much. Voila--you've got yourself a sixty six dollar reason to shop online.
OAK, who threw quite a party to celebrate the return of menswear and the Capsule trade show, is now having a huge sample sale. If you can't make it over to their Brooklyn and Soho locations, you can still find those markdowns online. From Staerk to Opening Ceremony this summer's duds are sharp and worth a late-summer investment. We happen to think the way OAK shoots products for their site is quite revolutionary. From our days working in e-commerce we know that the most important thing, above all, is to depict the garment as realistically as possible. That means thinking about scale, color, texture, fit, and movement in one single picture. In addition to this cardinal rule, you want to make sure that the consumer can relate to the product, can see themselves wearing it. That means booking models whose look fits your identity as a site. OAK, in our mind, wins on both accounts. They're shots show the garment in motion (and in additional views, stationary), giving us a real feeling for what the garment really looks like in 'real life'. Secondly, they leave the model's faces out of the frame, encouraging us to imagine wearing the garment and leaving out the kind e-commerce celebrity factor that sites like Shopbop thrive on. They book girls with, let's face it, 'ideal' proportions but we happen to know that these gals are not signed girls. That means they are not necessarily 5' 11" and size zero. They might be slim, they might be leggy, but they sure aren't emaciated nor are they super-human tall. In other words, shop on. This is an online sample sale we wholeheartedly endorse.
Dating can feel like a chore if you're with someone who's not meeting all your expectations. Since no one likes to settle, knowing if your potential mate can meet your needs is important to decipher as soon as possible. I've always had my own check list, so to speak, of what I like in a man but AskMen.com has concocted their own list of common first-date "tests" women use on men to see if they're worthy!
To see what they are, read more
The list has been a long time coming and best to post just in time for the fall deliveries. Our love for online shopping has been growing as the seasons pass. What used to be a candle here, a pair of jeans there, is now our 90% dedication to buying all things online (from moisturizer to beach towels), and, if you're a regular Coutorture reader, you'll notice that our posting relies heavily on e-commerce widgets and references as a result. Part of Coutorture's plight, from the get-go, was to be an editorial site that really reveled in the process, from sewing machine to storefront (this is where the network comes in--we couldn't possibly do that alone) making for more educated fashion consumers who can do without all the dumbing-down and recycled opinion. That said, we'd like to cover our top-ten rules for online shopping. As a couple of fashionistas who've been honing this skill for some years, we've learned a thing or two along the way and thought it might be useful to share our shortlist.
1. Look when you're not looking. Make your favorite e-commerce site a bookmark and check it once a day to see what's gone on sale and what's new. Check out new e-commerce sites, ask your friends which sites they prefer, or just generally surf what's being sold online. You'll notice patterns, you'll be able to fall in love with things before you need them, and you'll just generally make better decisions because there's less pressure and more time.
2. Know what looks good on you. One of the common complaints people have about shopping online is not being able to try on items. If you're shopping for clothing start with the silhouettes and brands that you know suit your figure. There's no shame in playing it safe, especially when you first start out.
3. Shoes and handbags: your safety net. If you still feel a little strange about the prospect of buying clothing you've never seen on your body, start with handbags and shoes. These items are much easier to gauge online because, chances are, the mannequin's elbow and foot aren't all that different than your own.
4. Buy sale items at your own risk. Sale items are usually non-refundable and, therefore, are a greater risk. That said, finding I-can't-believe-I-found-this-for-a-hundred-dollars items are a dime a dozen online (we're talking like a sample sale from the gods) so we suggest you just weigh your options. Make sure you have a reliable consignment shop nearby (Tokyo 7 is our NYC pick) if you should purchase something you're not crazy about. Chances are, you'll make nearly as much as you spent.
5. Get a second opinion. If you find something you like online, locate the same item on other e-commerce sites. Shopstyle.com is one site where you can cross-check the same item on many different sites at once. One of the unfortunate things about shopping online is that color, size, and texture can sometimes be misconstrued (this is getting better, don't worry). Cross-checking items you want to purchase will help you get a sense of their actual properties and may even help you find something for less than what you found originally.
6. Read the fine print.Reading item descriptions is important to understanding the garment. For example, if a garment is 'fully lined', you can be less weary of it being super-sheer or, for Fall clothing, too light. Descriptions will tell you if something is of high or low quality, imported or domestically made, eco-friendly, or dry clean only: all considerations when buying a garment.
7. Buy big. If you're in between sizes or just generally unsure of fit, for the most part, we recommend buying the larger of two sizes. As long as you know a good tailor, and the garment allows for it, things can always be taken in or up. There's not much you can do with a too-tight frock or pair of trousers, so better to play it safe and go big. The only exception to this rule (which obviously doesn't apply to shoes in the first place) is denim. Women constantly buy their jeans too big. Denim stretches out. Jeans never, no matter how many times you stick them in the dryer, shrink. This is a common misconception and leads to, unfortunately, many less-than-perfect denim booty's.
8. Be your own private detective. When you're shopping with your friends on the weekend, keep an eye on items in the shops (most will be online). If you remember seeing something you liked online, try it on for size. If you're mad about something you see online, go find it in the department stores. The e-commerce option will almost always be in better condition and offered for a better price.
9. Remember your editorials.When you see something in a magazine, a website, or e-commerce splash page, take a look at how the items appear in the editorial. One of our favorite things to see editorialized are jeans. OAK put up an editorial this summer with a pair of high rise Acne jeans. We took note, we checked out the different colors available, we banked that information for when we might need a pair with a similar rise and fit. Point is, it's better to do a little research so you can make educated decisions. That's part of the reason clothing is editorialized in the first place; it gives consumers a context and allows them to see the garments in a different way.
10. Learn from your mistakes. It's absolutely okay to make mistakes and buy things you aren't quite in love with once they arrive on your doorstep. First of all, we firmly believe that those mistakes will be fewer than the one's made at a sample sale or H&M binge, and second of all, you can always (unless it's on sale) return your items. It's not complicated at all and doesn't require a two-hour trip uptown or anything. Just pack it up and send it back. Simple as that.
Now you can enjoy your Sunday brunch without feeling the need to flip the table over and hit the stores because (no matter how early you arrive) they will be packed. Shopping online makes for better decisions, and, makes it feel like everyday is your birthday (This package is for me?!). To us, there just couldn't be anything better.
I fear we might be heading into a grave age: The Death of Common Sense. Perhaps I've suspected for a while that we're living in too-touchy times, where a sensible or proportional response is lost without bells, whistles, and six or seven exclamation points, but I think it's entirely possible that we've begun deferring personal judgment and common sense in favor of an arsenal of black and white all-or-nothing rules.
See what you think. In this month alone:
- Robyn Hooker, principal of Kent Gardens Elementary School in Virginia, has ruled that students can no longer play tag during recess. Hooker determined that the game of chasing, dodging and yelling "You're it!" had gotten out of hand, and had in fact become a game of "of intense aggression," much more intense than the tag she remembers. One parent said of the ruling, "We are regulating the fun out of normal childhood activity. In our effort to be so overprotective, we are not letting children be children."
- At Cove High School in Texas (a school where half the students have at least one parent deployed) suspended a student for answering a call from his father — who is serving in and calling from Iraq — saying the student had violated the school's no-cell-phone policy.
- In Colorado, an eight-year-old received a three-day suspension for sniffing a Sharpie marker. The principal says that she didn't want to see the event escalate and assumed the boy was "huffing" or inhaling dangerous fumes from the marker.
Are these instances where rules were necessary and rightfully enforced? Are we walking the balance between discipline and discretion?