Sunday, March 31, 2013

Notes from Bonnie's Desk: The Dress Decade

Yellow, Calvin Klein, size 4, sundress, it jumped out from the dress wall as I was straightening during Spring Fling Saturday. It was added to the pile of dresses to try on after closing. So many beautiful dresses and oh so tempting to someone like me, who believes this wardrobe staple deserves more accolades than it receives.
In a workshop I love to teach, Closet Chaos to Closet Confidence, attenders are instructed to purge their closets of unloved clothing. After the purging process, they are encouraged to fill in wardrobe gaps, especially the dress gap. Why? Dresses are the great “go-to” piece of the decade, quickly edited with accessories, heel heights, jackets, cardigans and belts. One dress can go a long way, all the while making a statement for the wearer.
And then there’s the fabulous party/cocktail dress on the sale rack that fits like a charm….and it’s NOT black. If ever there was something that made listeners stop and take note, it was when I made this statement: “No wardrobe is complete without a couple of great looking cocktail dresses, so for heaven sakes, buy the dress you found on the sale rack, that you love, that fits wonderfully, even though you don’t have an event on the horizon, because you WILL need it and when you do, you WILL already own it.” It was permission given and written down, like a hall pass from the teacher…”yes, she has permission to buy a dress she doesn’t need, just in case.”
Ask Betsy about this. A few years back we were shopping the sale racks at Macy’s and the party dresses were deeply discounted. She tried on a  dress that fit beautifully and was very affordable. However, it was after the season and she “didn’t need it” so she didn’t buy it even though I warned her that she would have regrets, and to this day she still does.
Because shopping for the perfect dress when you must have one is not efficient. It’s too stressful, too demanding and usually too expensive.
Shopping for dresses should be on-going, therapeutic and sensible. Dresses are plentiful and a good value in stores everywhere from consignment stores to regular retail. Even prom dresses can be found at consignment stores like Forever Young in Lilburn, where an entire floor is dedicated to formal wear, long and short, simple to extravagant but all extremely affordable.
Of course I tout shopping resale, because that’s my life. The dress walls at both Finders Keepers locations are an array of beautiful colors, textures, fabrics, designers and styles at extremely affordable prices. As a shopper, one must be willing to try on many, even those that may not have great hanger appeal, to find a dress or 2 that add pop to a wardrobe. Of all the dresses I tried on that evening, I only bought one, the yellow Calvin Klein. Embrace the fact that it takes continual additions to have a wardrobe that is ready for any of life’s events and go shopping often and only buy what you love. Chaos will give way to confidence and with confidence comes peace. We all need more of that!
Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this week’s email for the coupon for 20% off one regular-priced dress, my Easter gift to you. (Not on our email list? Visit our website to sign up:
Bonnie Kallenberg

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Big Red Ball: A night out for a great cause (from Bonnie's Desk)

My introduction to 50cents.period was about 2 years ago at a “red party” hosted in Avondale Estates, right around the corner from my house. I had heard a little bit already about the mission of the organization and wanted more information. We were to wear red and bring a checkbook, in case the presentation led us to contribute to this cause. Lorrie King, the founder of 50cents.period, spoke to the group of 50+ women in red, about her work, mostly in India, to improve the lives of women by starting with the girls.
Girls in developing countries often live in poverty and I was aware of that fact. However, what I did not know until this meeting is those girls are not allowed to attend school the week of their menstruation cycle unless they have the necessary sanitary supplies AND basic restroom facilities at the school. Lorrie and her team found in their travels in India that both are rare and have been on a mission to raise money for and awareness about this problem via this not-for-profit that was birthed in DeKalb county. Many women in our community have embraced this effort with their time, effort, and donations. In a short time, more girls can attend school because sanitary supplies are given to those who need them, at school, and very basic restroom facilities with safe water have been constructed at a few schools and more are in the works.
However, there are many girls in areas where 50cents.period has not reached. They miss a week of school a month and often deal with a stigma that their menstruation makes them unclean and is a curse. Once they fall behind in school, often they drop out and either get jobs to help the family or get married very young and start having babies, perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Basic women’s health education is another piece of Lorrie’s mission in developing countries. By educating mothers and girls about their bodies and health, stigmas will vanish, empowerment can take hold and the lives of a generation of women in India will change, forever.
Last Friday was International Women’s Day. It was also the day chosen for a fundraiser for 50cents.period, “The Big Red Ball”, hosted at the Decatur Courthouse.  It was a formal event and we all got to dress up and go out on a Friday night! Big Band Atlanta played dance music, the Stilleto Dancers performed, Sun in My Belly Restaurant laid out a lovely buffet and various businesses and individuals (including Finders Keepers) sponsored the event. Lorrie spoke. You can’t “not give” after Lorrie speaks about the work and mission of 50cents.period. She is changing the lives of women for the better, one school at a time, in one town at a time, one package of 8 sanitary napkins at a time.
You see, a package of 8 sanitary napkins costs 20 rupees, which is about 50 cents in U.S. currency. Most girls require 3 packages during their period.
For $1.50 you can guarantee a girl will remain in school for a month. By supplying this very basic need, a girl will be given a chance to live a life different from her mother’s. Education is the key that unlocks the door to possibility, to hope, to empowerment. Women empowered will change the lives of the next generation for the better. This is doable!
If this information has pulled at your heartstrings, as my first encounter with this cause did, please go to their website  to find out more, to consider giving, and to join the effort to change the lives of a generation of girls.