Welcome! Here we are in Part 3 of my Where I Shop Series where I bring you into my closet and show you the pieces I wear and tell you where I bought them.
If you remember, we’ve covered my bargain hunting at TJ Maxx and my boutique shopping and today we’re going to talk about a whole different way of shopping. I’m calling it the in home shopping experience. Several of my cherished pieces have come from this in home shopping setting so I’m really excited about sharing this resource with you.
I was introduced to the in home shopping experience by my dear friend and colleague, Marjory DeRoeck. She and her business partner, Carolyn Woodworth, have a studio in Lafayette, California where they show the Carlisle Collection four times a year.
What does “show the Carlisle Collection four times a year” mean?
The Carlisle Collection is a collection of clothes designed by one person in New York. Under the umbrella of the Carlisle Collection is also the line called Per Se, which is designed by a different designer. Per Se tends to be a bit more fashion forward than Carlisle pieces and fits a more youthful body.
When someone shows the Carlisle Collection in their home they show both of the lines. I have pieces from both collections in my closet.
Think of this shopping experience in the same way as you would a trunk show of a specific designer. Have you ever been in a store when they were having a Valentino trunk show or an Oscar de la Renta trunk show? Lots of items by one designer show up at one time for the upcoming fashion season. You place an order and receive them weeks later.
Those trunk shows happen in Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus, not in people’s homes.
The Carlisle Collection is shown four times a year. So four times a year the Stylists (that’s what they call the people who show the collection) receive big boxes of clothes. They open the boxes, pull the clothes out and display them in their homes or studios for a week.
Customers come by appointment to see the collection, place orders for the clothes they want and then wait for them to be delivered.
My first experience with Carlisle
If you knew my wardrobe history, you’d quickly see pieces I’ve carried over year after year are ones I’ve purchased from the Carlisle Collection.
I remember the first jacket I bought from the collection was in 2006. The tailoring was impeccable. All the seams on the inside were covered. It was as pretty on the inside as it was on the outside.
When I wore that summer jacket, I felt elevated. I don’t think I’d ever worn a jacket that had the quality feel that my Carlisle jacket had.
Their pieces are pricey, at least in my world. They aren’t anything like couture prices (Valentino or Oscar de la Renta) but they could be higher than ready-to-wear clothes in a department store.
I makes sense that they call it investment dressing. They’re made to last and you pay for it.
The drawbacks to in-home shopping
When you go shopping in someone’s home or studio during one of the four seasons that the clothes are shown, you only have the sample sizes to work with. The item you like may be sampled in a size 2 or a 16 and you’re a size 10. You need to take your best guess at what size you’ll wear.
You don’t go away with clothes. You get to view the items, try on sizes closest to yours, and then order them. Sometimes they will arrive to you within a week. Sometimes items are on back order because they’ve been so popular that they’re being recut. It could take weeks to get you in cases like this.
The pluses of shopping this collection
It takes a long time for their pieces to go out of style. Although some items are designed with trend influences, they’re mostly unique and quite classic in a modern way. You don’t see people on the street wearing the same thing you are.
One of my all time favorite alterations person is Joseph from Creative Alterations (1048 Brown Ave., Lafayette, CA, 925 284 5636). He does a lot of alterations for Marjory’s Carlisle customers. He says their line is so well made that they’re better than couture clothing. He says that with couture, they don’t leave enough seam allowance. Carlisle has seams in the waistband of pants and skirts like a man’s pant so they can be easily opened and let out if necessary.
Style longevity is my favorite part
As you can see in these pictures of me wearing my Per Se or Carlisle pieces, they have longevity. I still love wearing each and every piece and very often I’m getting compliments on them.
I don’t shop every season and some seasons when I view the collection I don’t really see anything that will fit into my wardrobe. But now that I’ve made a few purchases I have a lot of faith in the line. I know I’ll be wearing it for years to come.
If you have the opportunity to shop this way, I’d encourage you. And of course, if you can take an image consultant with you, she could help you make selections that will be spot on.
Are you up for a new way of shopping? Have you shopped this way and had success? Please do share!
To catch up, here are the links to the shopping series:
The Where I Shop Series: Boutiques
The Where I Shop Series: TJ Maxx