Check it out! MODE was featured in the November issue of Entrepreneur Magazine – pick up your copy or visit the link to check us out online! https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/283954
If you are lucky enough to have the benefit of casual Friday at your workplace, we know the joy that this can bring to the end of a workweek. Casual Friday can mean many things to many ladies and we’ve seen it all. We are here to help you find that perfect spot between “just another day at the office” and “I look like I just washed my car” on this day of casual fashion!
Tip #1 – find a great fitting and great looking pair of jeans. With so many offices offering to give to charity on a “jeans day”, put your awesome denim on for a great cause. Even if you are leery of putting on some jeans for this day given your profession, there are many washes and styles that could easily mirror (and out fashion) some of the dress pants out there. When in doubt, go with dark, colored or even black denim.
Tip #2 – make it snappy casual with a fun top, layered with a blazer. This is one of our favorite combos as it gives that business feel but in a snappy look to compliment your jeans. This look can take you from casual, but right into the board room or important meeting without feeling like you are well underdressed. Even the most casual tee can be layered with a blazer for that perfect mix of casual and classy.
Tip #3 – casual can mean changing up your everyday shoes. Try something fun with your look and give your feet a casual break as well. Now, don’t go as far as adding on your lawn mowing tennis shoes, but do add some fun casual loafers, ballet flats or boots to your look. All of these can give your feet a fun look while keeping it office appropriate.
Tip #4 – have fun with your accessories! Going casual does not mean you need to skip the sparkle! Adding on some statement pieces with a more casual look is often just what you need to add a perfect balance to the outfit.
Tip #5 – If you are one of the lucky ones to have a casual environment everyday, use these tips to change up your look as we know we all get into a rut with our style. Have fun making a statement with your casual fashion look!
With a new season upon us, we are right there with all of you in our enjoyment of fun new colors, looks and styles. We understand the need for new and love the looks, but we also know that many gals stick to a good budget and we also know that fall fashion can take up some space in our closets. So IF we had to choose only a few things, these are our suggestions for essentials for the fall.
1. A chunky sweater! Always cold? Grab the one with a great rolled neck or cowl neck. Get too warm? Go for a lower crew neck option. Both option is fantastic and this look is a perfect late fall and winter go to. Given the chunky weight, you can often go without a coat or all an easy layer of a vest.
2. Speaking of vests, this is our #2 essential. Vests offer something for everyone, regardless of your height, size or style preference. Many designers have been bringing in some fun looks with a variety of colors and even pocket style. Layering the look with a vest allows you to add that extra warmth, but not too much. Pair with your favorite necklace or a scarf and you have an easy look that can be worn with multiple pieces in your closet.
3. The classic turtleneck is our #3 essential. We love the various styles which include lighter fabrics, soft fabrics and with some detail. Don’t just use this as a layering piece, find one that is a fun color or offers a staple color but that you can wear alone.
4. A fun but functional winter hat. There are so many great styles and options out there, but when the winter wind starts, we need our ears covered and to keep the heat in. We also need to keep our fashion forward look, so keep an eye out for something that works well with your style, adds some fun to your outerwear, won’t destroy your hair and keeps you warm.
5. Jeans! Of course we need to mention our favorite piece and we all know this is an essential. When looking at jeans for the winter, think about your shoes. As our clothing styles change, so do our footwear favorites. If you are a boot wearing beauty all fall and winter, look for a good jean that will work with whatever style of boot you have. If you plan to tuck them in or cuff them, just make sure they are a good length and also a weight that will work inside your tall boot. Another thing to look out for is a new style such as a flare or boot cut!
Mix, match, layer and have fun with your style this season!
We were inspired this week by our friends at the TODAY Show as they were highlighting #WearWhatYouWant as they kicked off their TODAY Style. If you have not heard of TODAY Style, check it out (http://www.today.com/style) –we totally dig that it is about “Real bodies, real budgets and real inspiration – that’s our message and our mission. Forget the “rules” and join us in celebrating style choices that make you feel your best. We want you to look in the mirror and love what you see.” Their message and mission is so in line with ours as we are “Helping Women Shop Differently” at our MODE locations.
So in honor of the fun that the TODAY team had this week wanted to share some of our ideas on #WearWhatYouWant
- Skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans or flare jeans – just do it! We recently had a new customer tell us that she left our store with skinny jeans for the very first time. You see, she wasn’t interested in trying anything besides some accessories because she wasn’t feeling too amazing about herself and her body at the time and was simply in one of our stores to take part in a VIP party that her friend was hosting. Our team pulled some items for her, including skinny jeans and her reaction was amazing. In her own words “I walked out of there feeling like I was finally going to be able to walk into work, go out to dinner with my boyfriend, or attend a function feeling pretty again. All because the employees took the time to make me feel special, build up my self-confidence, and find clothes that flattered my body.” To our amazing new customer, we say #WearWhatYouWant because you are amazing and looked amazing in those new skinny jeans!
- Age doesn’t mean a darn thing! Ladies, we often hear you say “I’m too old to wear that” but we are here to tell you – No Way! If you love it, wear it as style has no age limit. We love it when women are willing to try something new and embrace what they love instead of letting their inner voice hold them back. If you want to wear over the knee boots, a blanket scarf, sleeveless tops, we are here to help you find a style that you love and feel comfortable in as you rock the look!
- It’s your hair, we don’t care! Ladies, listen up! We are too often caught in our trap of what we have always done or what we’ve been told to do with our hair. Many of us long for the looks that we see on others, be it a fun pixie cut, cute wispy bangs or a bold and beautiful fall color. Here is the deal, it is YOUR hair and life is too darn short to not go for it. When we say #WearWhatYouWant why not try something new with your hairdo?
We’d love to hear what you’ve been wanting to wear and if you have tried it. Let’s encourage each other and “Forget the Rules” this week!
Ladies, it’s that time again! Time to rotate your wardrobe for another season. Along with rotating our wardrobes, we also need to pack up some of our favorite summer footwear. One of the best parts of unpacking our summer wardrobes again is having a fun and functional wardrobe waiting for us from the previous season. Shoes need to be ready for you the following season too, so we wanted to share some easy tips on refreshing your summer shoes so they are like new next season.
- Cure the stink! We love our ballet flats, but some geographical areas do not allow for those cute flats come snow season. We also know that the summer colors need to hibernate until next season. Summer heat can add to sweaty feet, but fear not, we have a solution. Place a tea bag in each shoe for 3-4 days. Let them sit and follow up with a light dusting of baby powder. Fresh as new!
- Have a pair of shoes that you didn’t wear much as they ended up being too tight? Try this – place a Ziploc bag filled with water (zipped of course!) inside each shoe and place the shoes in the freezer. This will stretch the shoe slightly and come next summer, you can hop, skip and jump in these almost new shoes!
- Spruce up your favorite pair of canvas shoes by popping them into the washing machine. Wash them on gently cycle in cold water. Let them air dry and make sure they are completely dry before packing them up for the season.
- Finally, get some extra use out of your favorite rubber flip flops. Place them into a gently cycle on cold in your washing machine with just a dab of detergent and a small amount of vinegar. You can also put them in a small garment bag if you don’t want them to flop all over the washer basin.
On a cloudy Tuesday, I visited with a customer about the weather, her plans for the weekend and the pile of jeans, tops and accessories which I was ringing up. Pausing to look up from the point of sale screen, I saw tears creating a wet sparkle in the eyes of my customer. She softly said “Thank you. I work at the YWCA and I want to say thank you. What you did for the women with your denim drive – you will never know what that meant to our guests.” “You are most welcome,” I said “MODE loves giving back.” Later in the day as I was helping another MODE shopper, that customer suddenly pointed to the Organization of the Week sign on the counter and stated “I want to donate to that. I love that MODE is always giving back.” Two separate customers in a day. Two lives touched and through those two lives, countless others.
Why should a company like MODE, participate in community events or give back to those in the community? Loyal customers are born out of an effort to involve our MODE businesses in the needs of our local communities. Besides the new customers that we meet through our acts of kindness, the immeasurable feeling of goodwill when we give, and the eventual financial benefits as we grow our businesses — what other long lasting seeds are planted through giving back?
- Giving back builds new connections
We can all pinpoint a time when we first met someone who would become a dear friend or a trusted mentor. Many times these relationships are found at a local community event and cultivated through conversations of working together in our communities. Stepping into the community by giving back gives us a reason to get out from behind our counter or away from our desk and into the community we live in, so that we might meet those filling a community need.
- Giving back creates a team with purpose
As business owners with an extreme focus on ensuring our businesses grow, we often forget that building a vision of doing good will rally our teams and encourage them in their own quest for living intentionally. Everybody desires something bigger than themselves to work towards. Giving our team members the opportunity to experience that “feeling” of doing something good, creates a team that respects one another and their leader in a new and profound way.
- Giving back builds trust between your business and the community it serves.
Just like the examples I shared above, everyday we come in contact with strangers that walk through our business doors. As we help women shop differently at our MODE locations, we work to build an environment in which women not only feel comfortable shopping for something that makes them feel good but also gives them a place to come for community! Creating relationships with community non-profits and community organizations with a purpose of giving back, drives that term “differently” to a whole new level. Showing our customers that we not only care about how they feel but we also truly care for those who may never become MODE customers, builds a bridge of trust between our businesses and the communities we serve in.
In 2012 at our first franchise convention, I brought in the first guest speaker that MODE Franchise Convention would see! Bob, the owner of the local Breadsmith store was our featured guest. A franchisee himself, I wanted invited Bob to come and share with our small group why he is constantly donating loaves of bread, coupons, gift cards and gift baskets and also to share why he never says no. Any group that asks for a donation receives a gift from the Fargo Breadsmith with a resounding “You bet we can do that!” Was this something that the franchisor mandated? Was this something he was trained to do? “No, it is not mandated!” he said. “I give because the community gives to me.” Each customer that walked through his doors was giving their time to shop in his bakery. He couldn’t help but give back.
My hope is that you can see why giving back is so important at MODE and why we will keep giving back locally and globally!
Live generously and Get Your MODE On!
If you are like us, we L-O-V-E scarf season! Scarves are cozy fashion accessories that allow us to stay warm and look amazing – what’s not to love?! Today we are bringing you some great ways to style the popular blanket scarf! You may have seen these in some of our stores or have noticed other women rockin the look. Too often we think “I don’t know how I’d wear that” when we see something out of our normal look. Well, take a peek at the many ways you can wear this versatile scarf! From a traditional look to doubling as a top, you choose whatever way makes you look and feel amazing, MODE girls.
Last week we talked about fashion fixes and ideas for the tall girls, today we are excited to bring you some tips and advice for the short gal. We hear many of the same complaints or feedback from our shorter gals that we do from our tall gals – it’s hard to tailor some of the great fashionable pieces to a specific height or frame. You know we love helping women shop differently at MODE and along with that comes some ideas to make you feel your absolute best in clothes you love.
- Let’s talk denim first! At MODE our designer jeans can often run long, but never fear, we have many great options. First off, find a pair that works for your body – don’t let the length get the best of you. Hemming can keep the great shape of the jeans and the stitching can often be matched so they look like they were made that length. Avoid cuffing them as an easy option, this can often give your legs a shorter look.
- When looking at denim color options, go for darker denim. Dark denim tends to elongate the legs and can give legs a longer and slimmer look.
- When boot season arrives, ditch those dreams of tall boots and go for some shorter boots or booties. Shorter boots will help to lengthen the look of your legs.
- For those beautiful flowy long sleeve tops, try cuffing and tucking them at the elbow. This will break up the sleeve, eliminate the issue of a sleeve that may be too long and also emphasize your great shape.
- Add some layers to lengthen your torso. This is as simple as adding a long fitted shirt under a sweater or a great accent tank that can pop out from under the sweater!
Short gals, don’t let your proportion stop you from trying something new, exploring a variety of fashion styles and feeling beautiful in whatever you want to wear!
In most cases it’s just sheer perseverance; remembering there is no get rich quick scheme; you need to drink a lot of coffee! If asked why some business owners succeed and why some do not, those are the three things that I say are keys to success. Since its National Coffee Day I had to post something little on this blog! Coffee and jeans people, it’s all about #coffeeandjeans
We love all of our MODE Girls and are always so happy to help women shop differently in our stores. We often hear from our tall girls that they have “Tall Girl Problems” when shopping for clothes. Rest assured, “tall girls” there are no problems with being tall and in fact, we have all sorts of tips to help you feel more comfortable in any look. Here are a few that we absolutely love:
- MODE is “Home of the $40 Designer Jean” we know our jeans and the millions of way to wear them! For jeans a touch too short to appear intentional, cuff them and add a fun heal. Try out a stiletto with a strap to add some extra fun shoe flare!
- Two words: Skinny Jeans! These are a tall girl’s best friend. If you are holding out on trying them on, do not delay any longer. The skinny jeans add so much awesomeness to a tall frame. We also love that skinny jeans can be both dressed up or worn as a casual look.
- Loud prints, patterns and fun tops are a great way to take any attention off of your long legs if you are self-conscious about them. Breaking up your look with a different color on top and bottom can also help to decrease and elongate your look.
- Opt for a waist length coat or fun vest this fall. These pieces will add more proportion to a longer torso and breaks up the outfit a bit.
- Two fun options that taller girls can embrace with confidence are statement pieces and over the knee boots. Don’t be afraid to test out some statement necklaces, scarves or a fun pair of over the knee boots!
- Our final and favorite tip for tall girls – embrace your height! Confidence is beautiful and we want you to know that YOU are beautiful!
Pet hair, don’t care! That’s the motto that we have to live with some days as pet owners. It’s the cold hard truth, as a pet owner (or fur mama) we know that many times, those we love tend to leave their mark on our clothes, our furniture and our worlds. Instead of stressing out about the hair/fur that can often become an accessory in your wardrobe, we’ve decided to share some easy ways to minimize it instead.
- Run washable clothing with pet hair on it, through the dryer on air dry before washing. This will shake off much of the hair, trap it in the lint trap and give your wash cycle a good opportunity to just clean the clothes. Remember to immediately clean out any hair trapped in your lint trap, you don’t want that hair to stay in there!
- If you wash a number of clothes with hair on them in the same cycle, add a ½ cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle. This will relax the fabric and release the hair a bit easier.
- Do not overload your washer when filling it with hair covered clothing. This will allow for the items to move more freely and the hair to go down the drain when released.
- Using fabric sheets or anti-static spray can help decrease hair cling and makes it easier to remove it from your clothing.
- If you don’t have one of those great sticky rollers, use your kitchen gloves. Get them damp and rub them over your clothes which will create static and cause the hairs to cling to the gloves.
Finally, remember that pet hair happens! Do your best to keep your important clothing pet hair free, but be sure to snuggle up on your furry family members when you can as well!
We love our jeans at MODE and we love the feel, the look and the color of a fresh new pair of jeans. So we get as sad as you do when our jeans start to deteriorate, fade, tear or pill. Any of these options makes for sad day when our favorite pair starts getting into the “slightly worn” section of our closet. Even with our amazing designer jeans at MODE, we know that the care we give to the jeans really can extend the life of them. Today we want to share some easy tips to get some additional “newness” out of your favorite pair of jeans.
- If you are looking to preserve the color on your jeans, consider washing them less. Don’t get all grossed out over dirty jeans. Unless you have spilled on them or did your workout in them, consider letting them live a little without washing after every use.
- When you are ready to give them a good wash, consider a few things:
- Turn you jeans inside out before washing and be sure to have the coldest temperature water.
- For those with more time on their hands, consider washing your jeans by hand. By washing, we really mean soaking as scrubbing them down is not a necessity and can add to deterioration of the jeans. Brush if you must to get out any pesky stains or debris that may have been collected on your jeans.
- Do NOT dry your jeans. ALWAYS Air Dry! Notice our intensity on that point? This is so important in the process of extending the life of your jeans. Hang them over a drying rack or on a hanger if needed, but let them breath to dry. Keep out of the sun and give them some time. If you cringe at the idea of the crunchy feeling of air dried clothes, you can simply toss them into the dryer once they are dry on air/fluff or the lowest heat for a FEW minutes (just a few, don’t get wild now).
Enjoy your jeans, love up on them like they do on you and when it is time for a new pair of jeans, you know where to find us. We will always be the “Home of the $40 Designer Jean”
MODE Cedar Rapids was recently featured in the GO Cedar Rapids “GO CR Blog” where the author perfectly captured the culture, style and MODE mindset. Check out the full post here: http://www.gocedarrapids.com/blog/mode-cedar-rapids/
Labor Day weekend is upon us and for many, this holiday signals the unofficial end of summer. We know it may be sad to say goodbye to our summer days and our floppy hats, but we know there is a treat ahead. This special time of the year brings us fall fashion and fall colors! We can officially start talking about our new boots with skinny jeans and our favorite shades of fall as we sip our ever so tasty pumpkin spice lattes. MODE Girls, we are eager with delight this season as you have already seen some of the colors arriving in our stores. The beauty of olive green, blush, navy, grey and even camo are filling our closets and hearts with glee!
A few other colors to be on the lookout for include: mustard yellow, clay, a bold lilac purple, taupe and a bold red. One things we do see is that some of the fall colors mirror a few of the hot colors for spring 2016, which means that they can be easily mixed together with fun jackets and layers as you update your wardrobe for the fall.
Go out and capture what is left of summer and when you are ready for the fall, know that you have some great color options waiting for you this season.
Going “bright” may be just too much for some girls to handle. We get this and we know that some of you are delightfully comfortable in your neutral tone zone. This can be an easy way to sort a closet, maximize your dollar when shopping and not appear too bold in your fashion sense. Again, we get this, but we have an easy way to add just a simple touch of color to even the most neutral look. Two of our favorite are purses and shoes.
Let’s start with purses! Regardless of if you gravitate towards the handbag, clutch, cross body or tote, adding a fun color or a pop of a print can be just the right amount of color. Some of our stores recently received some amazing prints with great fall colors in them. A few of the colors included in the patterned pieces are not staple colors in many wardrobes. The beauty of the color pattern is that they will tie in perfectly with a neutral look. Some of the green, grey and navy tones that are so popular in the fall look great with a fun fall pattern.
Shoes can be just as fun and easy to add dimension to a look. We are seeing beautiful colors this fall and even some amazing prints in ballet flats, heels and boots. So many shades complement each other we love seeing a simple outfit look go glam with the right pair of colored or printed shoes.
This leads us to the challenge for you…not feeling like you need to match your shoes and bag! No, MODE Girls, your shoes and handbag does not have to match, in fact that way of thinking can result in a huge waste of money. Think of all of the possibilities you are missing out on if you are not combining a print and a color, or two colors! A neutral outfit with a pop or combo of these pieces may be just what you need as you fall in to Fall!
At MODE we love our basics and essential pieces almost as much as we love our $40 designer jeans. We’ve also noticed that our customers love being able to find those pieces in our stores as well. Luckily our MODE stores all offer essentials in the form of camisoles, tanks and t-shirts that provide amazing options for all types of looks. Today we are going to focus on the ever so amazing t-shirt and why we love it.
Basic t-shirt: ok, this one is a given, ladies. A great pair of jeans, an awesome fitting tee and a bunch of great accessories. We are talking classic, cute and comfortable. The tee, slightly tucked in the front paired with your favorite bracelets, necklace or scarf give the all around on point look.
Basic t-shirt: paired with a layering piece. You’ve seen our love for our friend the blazer and it’s cousin the cardigan, but pairing those two with the basic tee adds a fun new variety to the look. A blazer or cardigan can often be used to warm a look up or add more of a business casual look. Now taking these pieces matched with a great pair of jeans and a tee can also be a perfect combo for a casual look. Another reason we love this is that you can mix the colors a bit. One example is a printed blazer or a fun colored one can be paired with a great grey or white tee and can add just casual touch you are wanting. Again, spice it up with a fun necklace and you are set.
Basic t-shirt: with patterns, pockets and prints. This is a fun one we are seeing lately in our stores. A basic tee with some colored stripes and a pocket with a different fabric. It’s still your basic tee, but with a bit of a twist. These are great as they can be worn alone and offer the option of pairing with a colored jean or legging for a fun yet dressy look, or worn in the two ways listed above.
However you look at it, the basic tee is here to stay and we are thankful for that. Spruce up your fall wardrobe this year with these options that won’t break the bank.
Trudy Claassen, manager of MODE Cedar Rapids was recently featured by the Professional Women’s Network of Eastern Iowa. With a background in fashion and a heart for customer service, Trudy provides each and every customer with an unbeatable experience! Check out the full feature below!
Recently I had the opportunity to brave a North Pacific forest trail as a part of my morning workout. This got me thinking about how life is so intertwined, as this run held so many similarities to the choice individuals make when they blaze the trail of business. It’s important to point out that I am by no means a fitness expert. My somewhat ADD mind is quickly bored by any length of physical activity and therefore running or participating in gym activities for any length of time is a rare occurrence. On the other hand, the outdoors calms my sprit, allows clarity of thought, and quite frankly gives me constant change and unpredictability. Today, this led me to choose to put on my running shoes and find a trail to forge.
What does running have to do with business? Let me draw the analogies that took flight in my mind as I ran through the pines today.
- When choosing the path of small business ownership remember there will be many surprises ahead. Choosing a new running path is like choosing a business: you may know the name or style of business, you may have the perfect concept or choose to join an existing franchise model, but like a new trail, you have no idea of exactly what lies ahead in your personal business journey.
- When starting out, have the end in mind. I knew this path was 1.75 miles and would finish by the clubhouse. The end to me was finishing the loop and coming back to the lodge with an activity completed. The same principal follows when building a business. What is your end goal? Will you build to sell, stay small and dedicated in your market, or franchise your model? Where do you envision ending your business journey?
- When in doubt, follow the lead of others. Illustration: I was about half way through on my trail run when I was suddenly filled with self doubt: “Should I be out here alone? What if I take the wrong fork in the trail? What if I chose a path that was above my skill level”? It was then that I heard two experienced runners coming up behind me. I stepped aside, allowed them to pass and gladly followed their lead! There is no shame in finding business owners that are more experienced than yourself, reaching out to them to ask questions, then follow in their steps of success.
- When ready to give up, push yourself to press on. The path I chose this morning was much hillier than anyone had told me! Being from North Dakota where we run on un-ending flat lands, I was suddenly overwhelmed by what was ahead. I was not anticipating a run up and down hills, around rocks and over streams. How often as business owners do we say “If I had only known this would be so hard, look this way, or cause this change in my life?” In times like this, we are given two choices: we can turn back or move forward. Today I moved forward, pushing myself to finish strong!
- When finished, stretch your muscles. In physical activity this means a floor mat and a cool down. In business this means stretching the muscles of the mind through learning, listening and reading.
Get Your MODE On!
How could it be that time already? We ask ourselves this very question each year, in addition to: where did the summer go? Is it back to school already? I feel like we just started the summer? I planned on saving for back to school shopping and here it is upon us! If you are asking yourself those questions, we have you covered. We’ve heard it all and we are also in your world, so let’s look at some ways to make back to school shopping a touch easier this year.
- Take stock in what you already have! Yes – take those fall totes out and do an inventory! This is especially important if you are following a budget. You may have packed some fall items away and forgot about some of the amazing pieces you have.
- Make room for more! Clean out that closet, ditch and donate pieces that no longer fit, no longer serve a purpose and are simply taking up space. (hello prom dress from two years ago – it is time for a new home!) – this will also help with your budget as you can consign or sell these piece to add to your shopping fund.
- Outfit plan with your current pieces. Have a great cardigan that you love but rarely wear? Can you envision it with a new color underneath or a fun new pair of colored jeans to spruce it up? Plan to be on the lookout for something to add to that piece.
- Make a list! Yes, lists aren’t just for the grocery store. This will keep you on task so you don’t find yourself at the end of the day saying, wow – I got all of this great stuff but didn’t get anything that I had to have. We know you may venture off of the list (duh – we love shopping as much as you do!) but keep it as a good reminder of those pieces you have to have for certain events or upcoming school year necessities.
- Go bold. Try it out girls – be a bold, beautiful you this year and try a new color, new style or even a whole new look. Cut your hair, try a new jean style, update your color pallet, whatever works for you – make it yours and yes, you can even do this on a budget!
Wishing you an enjoyable back to school shopping season. We can’t wait to see you at MODE!