Recently I had the opportunity to go to my first intimate clothing party. My friend and fellowAAU student, Lauren invited me to accompany her a clothing party being hosted by her friend Barb, to check out the Spring Collection by CAbi being shown by consultant Novelett Cotter. I must have been living in the dark somewhere, because at first didn’t realize we actually got to try the clothes on! So… much like MaryKay, this would be a “get to touch” and try-it-out kind of event. Sweet! It’s like an adult version of dress-up, except we can actually get our own copies of outfits we like.
But what is CAbi? I didn’t really know. Of course I didn’t say yes right away, I needed to see what I was getting myself into. Ugly clothes are just not something I want to subject myself to. Neither is a session of high pressure sales; it’s uncomfortable. It’s like being in a store with an over-attentive sales associate while you try on a dozen items only to find one you like. All the while the sales associate is just staring at you. No, thank you. Just thinking of the worst case scenarios worried me, it was definitely time to do my research.
Turns out a couple of minutes of looking at the CAbi website put my fears to rest. It took a bit more digging to figure out where CAbi came from, luckily that’s where Novelett came in.
CAbi stands for Carol Anderson by Invitation and that Carol Anderson’s designs used to be in Nordstrom and boutiques but she wanted more freedom to design for the buyers. With just a handful of associates and friends, she decided to start CAbi. Today they have nearly 3,000 consultants that allow women to have personal shopping experiences that include a glass of wine or three. After reading that and watching the Experience Video, CAbi looked like a fun and relaxing event. And by this point I had already checked out the clothes so I knew they had piqued my curiosity.
The Spring Lookbook is young and fresh for the most part. It has some cute cuts: nice asymmetrical angles (I love asymmetrical-love it), great flowing aspects (perfect for all body types) and interesting magnitudes of combination (versatility is important!) that can be made between pieces. I liked that they played with color and show how the clothing looked on these women not just the traditional models.
The party was held in a very nice real estate office in Wallingford; the room where the gathering was held was set up much like a meeting only there were bottles of wine, dishes of fruit, vegetables, crackers & cheese and other delights strewn across the main back table. And in the front of the room was a very large, very full, very covered rack of clothes. My first thought after seeing the rack of clothes was, “Oh this was going to be good.” And if not I could always fall back to the hors d’oeuvre and wine table. ;P
Now I’m sure that this would have had a more intimate, bonding feel to it if it had taken place in someone’s living room, sitting room, basement, garage or (if it ever gets warm in Seattle again) patio; but once we were trying things on there was a type of bonding–the kind you get when you’re standing in a dressing room and 6 ladies come out at the same time to ask “How’s this look?” So that was a nice thing about having it in the office building– a large place to try on clothes.
Because this was done as an after work event, once everyone had a chance to get introduced and have some food and wine, Novelett took us quickly through the collections. She gave us some really fun details about the garment pieces and what they were made of, how they fit and ideas for mixing & matching. One of the nicest things about CAbi is the ease of maintaining it, out of the entire collection only 4 pieces are not machine washable.
After each collection was shown it was time to have at it! The possibility of sitting at the hors d’oeuvre table was out of the question. Actually the moment Novelett said we could try the clothes on I don’t think anyone noticed that there still was a table with wine or food on it.
Though in those first minutes some of the ladies were a bit timid, others like my friend Lauren headed straight for specific garments like we were on Supermarket Sweep. Before I knew it half the women that were there had disappeared from the room. I had already asked, I mean begged, Lauren to be my beautiful model, and she really did quite an amazing job.
So we started trying stuff on. Some of the pieces surprised me because of how light and soft they were. I would expect a jacket and find a sweater, and then remind myself that it was spring. But looking at them gave the illusion of a sturdy piece so that was pretty intriguing. Anyway on to the clothes!
Lauren has the lace tee ($79) on in the above photo, even though I’m not a fan of white, I absolutely loved this top because of the bottom band and the way that it sits around the waist. I think it looked great, not just on Lauren, but on everyone that tried it on.* This particular one was too big for her, but even at just one size too big it gives a relaxed feel, something that makes it look very comfy.
The striped sweater is called “The Flirt” ($89) why I’m not sure, but it was just too adorable-very girly. I thought it was shaped well in the v-cardigan style, the ruffles were super cute and the cross striping gave her the illusion of more curves. I don’t know what it would do to someone who already had ample curves in the waist area though, it’s definitely not shown on anyone who wasn’t model size on the website and I didn’t see anyone at the party try it on. I didn’t think to ask at the time either.
In this third photo Lauren is wearing the crochet sweater called “Teacher’s Pet Sweater”($108) it has a beautiful large diamond crocheted pattern open pattern on the back. This sweater looked absolutely amazing on her with the burgundy top she wore that evening and it went perfectly with the CAbi skirt found in the next photo. In that photo she is also wearing the “One Button Cardi” ($89) which wasn’t one of our favorites-though I love the color, and the “Floral Bubble” ($74) top with flowers on the left side it had sheer shoulders making it interesting for us to get creative with bra straps. But I definitely loved the way the bottom of this top gathered. And then there is the floral skirt.
I love this skirt, it’s called the “O’Hara Skirt” ($89), the floral print, cream base and the details of lace along the hem and waistband really appealed to me. But the length is too long for my liking, even as we watch longer dresses and skirt sashay down the catwalks for Spring, my barely 5’6″ frame hates feeling cut off right below the knees. Still that didn’t stop me from asking Lauren to try it on, it looked fantastic on her and along with the Teacher’s Pet Sweater she ordered it. So even though I hated the length while loving the color and style I’m still taking credit that she found it. She told me later that she wouldn’t have tried it on if I hadn’t asked.
Which I actually ran into a similar situation and I’ll tell you about it…. in just a bit.
I tried on a few jackets and tops the first one I tried was the yellow Daisy Jacket ($148). Maybe it was the size (too big) or what I had tried it with (the Liberty Blouse ($74) trust me it was cute), but the jacket just wasn’t working with my completion. The blouse on the other hand very cute, though it does *not* work as a dress. (Daisy Jacket & Liberty Blouse are not shown)
So once we got past that little jump of color… I dove into a sea of unknown territories. Seriously, I was a bit scared.
As I’ve said before– I’m not into the color white, I think it’s challenging to pull off. Some people are meant for it, others are not. I’m one of the not meant for it. Above I have on the“Ruffle Up Jacket” ($128) and the Cluster Tunic ($79). This linen jacket is really fun to look at-I just really liked the one sided ruffle and is more of a light beige color than the white that is showing up, but even with the interesting one-sided ruffle and the edgy angled front (to see it open click on the link- It’s hot.), my biggest complaint is that it comes in that color. If it was available in say a navy blue or even a rich purple, green, etc I would have loved it instantly.
Originally, I was dying to get my hands on the red & white striped Forget Me Not Tank ($59), because the stripes were varied in width and spacing and I thought it might be flattering.. you get the picture… It wasn’t. But I had tried it on with the white jacket shown above, theGabrielle Cardigan($118) and I really liked the way that jacket looked or so I though. The striped tank was making it hard to tell, clearly my composition skill failed me in pairing those two. I had to find a top to put on under it: something else, anything else. The only other top in the restroom at the time was this “Printed Surplice Tank” ($54) and oh gee I though I had just found the loudest garment out there.
I was worried but I tucked it into this super cute basic and classy skirt and it turns out it looked super cute, or at least Lauren & I thought so. It’s amazing, not in 100 years would I ever have pulled this top off of a hanger, model or out of a closet on my own.
When we got back to the room, I talked to Novelett about my experience with the “floral” tank and it was kind of cool to hear that others have felt the same way when she’s recommend garments to try on or they’ve pulled them off on a whim. Guess I need to take more “color” risks in my shopping habits.
Going to the CAbi party was fun, I didn’t buy anything but not once did I get that uncomfortable feeling like I was supposed to and there are definitely a few pieces that I would enjoy wearing over and over. And a few more that I missed out trying on–I’d go back to another party to finish trying them on