What’s The Return on Investment on Your Wardrobe?

Today’s lunch topic was simple. Should I buy the Louis Vuitton rain boots?

According to popular savings methodology – maybe.

In the simplest form, take your salary. Now subtract your basic needs (food, water, and shelter).

Got that number?

Now you divide using the 20/30/50 rule.

Fifty percent is for long term financial goals (think 401K, a home, etc). Thirty percent is for short-term financial goals (think a summer vacation, a pretty dress, investing in stock, or having an emergency fund). Now that 20 percent, that’s your disposable income – for things like charity, your new lipgloss, and a Bumble date to Beauty and The Beast.

When you analyze your budget (ugh, I just cringe thinking of it), you can sort your finances by seven categories:

  • Kids
  • Car
  • Clothing
  • Fun
  • Travel
  • Home
  • Career

Which of these do you value your return on investment on? When you categorize your budget, you being to see that you spend where your values are.

The above categories are from my co-worker. I made different categories for my lifestyle:

  • Uber
  • Clothing
  • Alcohol
  • Travel
  • Dining
  • Make-up/Hair
  • Career
  • Charity
  • Books/Entertainment

Think does a $12 sandwich really give me a return on investment than a $2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Will you go for the Banana Republic jeans or trade them for Guess jeans?

Seriously, what is the return on investment from your wardrobe?

Well, for bloggers, it might be more because they can create a brand from their style. Your style might also signify your status and position i..e you may not want to wear yoga pants to the office.

Calculate the ROI on Your Wardrobe:

You calculate the ROI on your wardrobe by taking the cost of a piece of clothing and dividing it by the number of times worn. So, for example, I bought my first coat when I was 19 years old and you know how much it cost? $50. Do you know how long I’ve had it? Since I was 27. Do you know how many times I wore it? Well, almost every day from January 2011 – April 2011 (my first time living in Chicago). Just looking at that time period alone, the cost of the jacket was .55 cents per wear. And, I continued wearing the same coat when I moved from Florida back to Chicago, so my ROI was actually negative.

That’s not a bad ROI for my time and my savings.

Below is the coat – still in good condition years later after the original purchase date:


Other ROI Considerations:

Seriously, though you can buy cheap goods, you can buy good quality, but I think ROI is more than the cost and how many times you wore the garment. It’s also how it makes you feel, if it fits your lifestyle (don’t do lunges in a pencil skirt), and if it’s weather appropriate (I hope you aren’t wearing suede in spring).

You can apply ROI to all areas of your life including your budget. But, it’s kind of shocking when you think of how much you spend on things. Because where you spend your money and where you spend your time shows you what you value.

And based off my current purchases –  an increase in Uber’s to stay out of the cold and buying pants and coats – I value warmth and stylish comfort. To balance that, I gave up alcohol and going out to lunch.

Are you just starting to think about your finances and savings? It can be intimidating.

Financial Resources:

Mint.com – money management tool

How to be single and save for a home – advice from a Chicago entrepreneur

Bustle’s Financial Blog Series:

According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. That’s why Bustle launched Grown-A$$ Finances, a series that gets real about what millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your money should feel empowering, not intimidating.





Yes, Adults Need Bedtime Beauty Routines 

I think one step to becoming an adult is one of the most basic parts of being a kid. And that is getting ready for bed.

Somewhere in between cramming for exams in college and binge drinking on Fridays, I feel like we forget that having a nightly routine is actually necessary to our sanity, if not our health (yes Mr. Dentist, I am working on flossing my teeth). In fact, a lot of adults struggle with going to bed and actually have to prepare themselves to get some sleep.

So, I’ve gone back to the basics and taken into consideration a lot of night time routines from celebs like Khloe Karadashian and beauty and health experts like Arbonne and Mojo Spa, and I’ve created my own zen bedtime routine.

Altogether it takes about 20 minutes to get ready for bed (add 10 min for a mud mask).

I encourage you to use this as a guide and make up your own bedtime routine because you’re farce and your teeth are worth it.

I start with playing hip hop music. It helps motivate me when I clean and whenIm at work and especially as I get ready for bed. The next step is to remove my make-up. Now, for the longest time I used a cleanser, but I realized I also had to use an eye make-up remover and another make-up remover because make-up is hard to take off – east to smudge, but hard to completely remove. I use a wet beauty cleansing cloth like this Collagen Cleansing Cloth that reduces fine lines and wrinkles. This is a pretty though formula for my skin and a lot of my friends like the Beauty 360 cleanser. I remove my make-up first before showering.

Then, I take a hot shower. And, get ready to put on my facial mask. I recently started using Borghese’s mask – it was inspired by a princesss and you can get it a bourgeois price at Ross or a higher price at Macy’s.

It takes about 15 minutes for the mask to dry before I remove it. So, I move onto lotion. I’m in love with Manuka Honey body butter. It smells like honey, and I love the texture and ease of spreading it all over my body – especially in the winter  when my skin is dry. Bonus: it’s not greasy.

Next, I slip into my Victoria Secret’s kimono.

Then, with my face mask still on, I brush my teeth. I recently discovered the power of using an electric toothbrush, which you can get for under $10 at Walgreens. I’ve also experimented with whitening toothpaste, but I find that Crest and mouthwash not only smell good and refresh my mouth, but also are effective preventative treatments.

Now it’s time to remove the green face mask.


My face is now clear and ready for more treatment. It’s time for sprays and facial products from Arbonne. I start off by spraying the toner twice on either side of my face and rubbing it in.

Then, I apply the Arbonne Intensive Renewal Serum. I got the age-defying beauty line because I don’t want to get Botox but I also don’t want wrinkles. The struggle is real.

Next, I put on eye cream. I use a thicker eye cream – anti-aging eye balm -at night from Mojo Spa in Wicker Park. During the day I use a light eye cream from Arbonne.

Next in my nightly routine is Arbonne Night Repair Crème. I like it because it is smooth and easy to spread on my face and neck. I’ve also tried Trilipiderm Rehydration Night Crème. I really like that one as well because it is soothing and calming with ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and vitamins A, C, D and E.

Then, I comb my wet hair and either braid it or scrunch it. And I take generic lip balm and hydrate my lips. Note: I use to use a Mary Kay lip mask and that also helps with dry lips.

Finally, I just started using a lavender face mask that I got for 99 cents at Ross. It’s completely changed my sleep. I can heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds as I grab water.

At this point, I’ve turned off my music and I either write an article or read a book or text a boy. And then, namaste – hopefully I fall asleep.

This can seem like a long bedtime routine, and I’m not going to lie, it took awhile to get used to it and to fund and to find the right products. But, it’s helped me make my health and sleep a priority – no matter how many events I go to or how much work I have to do.

What’s your favorite nighttime beauty product?


Black. It’s not just the packaging. When I squeezed the edge of the tube, black toothpaste spread onto the matching Swiss brand, Curaprox toothbrush.

It was like that green ketchup phase. You mentally had to get over the fact that you had green ketchup on your fries.

And here I was, mentally preparing to brush my teeth with black toothpaste in the  name of cosmetology.

The marketing is a little dark like the toothpaste, but I was also intrigued by it. Curaprox launched two different black is white toothpastes in 2015.

The reason that the toothpaste is black is because it’s made from activated carbon.

So, what does activated carbon, black toothpaste actually mean?

Well, it’s natural and not harmful. There’s no bleaching necessary.

Also, it means that the toothpaste is gritty.

It also means that you’ll want to use mouthwash afterwards, because while your teeth will look more natural and white, you won’t have that minty fresh aftertaste.

Overall, I think it’s a pretty cool product. I do sometimes miss the aftertaste of my Crest Whitening toothpaste, but I do see immediate results. Black toothpaste is effective in removing my coffee stains and polishing off my pearly whites.

So, if you’re looking for a natural cleaning, let me just say, it’s more expensive, but in the words of this Amazon review, it’s “a great natural whitener.”



5 Fashion Trends to Embrace This Fall

Grab your infinity scarf, your saddle boots, and your pumpkin spice latte, because fall has officially arrived. In addition to the beautiful weather and the cozy, fireside nights, there are a few fall styles you can look forward to this season.

A Stylish Turtleneck

Turtlenecks have a bad rep over the last few years, but don’t dismiss this style just yet. E! Online cites Fergie’s turtleneck as the “it” piece that’s missing from most of our wardrobes.

“Up until recently, turtlenecks had a false reputation for being overly conservative, frumpy, and unflattering,” wrote E! contributor, Raleigh Burgan. “But when styled correctly, this cold-weather classic can transform your entire ensemble and—dare we say—make you look incredibly cool.”

Follow Fergie’s fitted, tucked-in style, and you can’t go wrong.


Pleats are another style brought to the forefront of fall fashion, thanks in part to the attachment of a notable name—fashion icon and British royalty Kate Middleton. Middleton’s fashionable pleated skirt featured in Mirror perfectly exemplifies a fall-appropriate style that is sophisticated and fun.

A classic pleated skirt like hers, in a floral pattern or dark, fall colors (think shades of maroon, navy, and reds) can be the perfect way to take advantage of those wistful days and still look flirty and feminine.


Plaid is always a good go-to for fall styles. From button-ups to trench coats to scarves—if you slap a plaid pattern on it, it’s fall-ready. If you’re really feeling bold, a Daily Mail article suggests that you can combine two pieces to really hit the nail on the head.

Binky Felstead wore a ’90s-inspired, plaid shirtdress for her appearance on the weekly British cooking show, Sunday Brunch, and fans were left itching for much more information on her style than her cooking techniques. It might be hard to find a plaid shirtdress similar to hers, but if you can, grab it and hang on tight. A cute ’90s choker necklace and a pair of black booties will complete the cozy, retro look.

Shearling Jacket

If temperatures are already dipping into the 50s in Chicago, NYU Local recommends a shearling jacket. Although they’re traditionally made with sheepskin/lambskin and wool, there are great faux options out there that can help you achieve a similar look.

A suede exterior or fall-appropriate shade of brown, red, or orange can help you easily satisfy the trend. They usually look best over a fitted shirt and classic pair of denim jeans. You can also try the coat over a pencil skirt and boots to change things up a bit.


Black leather to be exact. Jackets are the hottest commodity, but Saint Laurent’s latest line available on Lyst shows that it’s easy to achieve the trend with other pieces. You could try something like the featured leather bustier top, or put a classic twist on the trend with pair of black leather booties.

No matter how you decide to sport the style (and faux leather is always accepted). As long as it’s sleek and black, you can still achieve the chic and sexy look.

Enjoy the weather, and the fashion it brings while you can because winter will be here before you know it!

This article was written by:  Stacy Jameson

Stacy Jameson is a freelance writer and blogger based on the East Coast. She is thrilled to finally be dusting off her fall jackets. When she’s not writing, you can find her shopping or enjoying a cup of warm cider with her two cats, Milo and Chester. She’s been working on knitting her own infinity scarf all summer long.




What do you wear to Chicago Festivals?

Summertime is that time where we can finally where skirts and dresses and open-toed shoes. We don’t have to carry coats (just umbrellas) and you can actually be outside and show your whole outfit instead of covering it up buried in a coat, gloves, scarves, boots, leg warmers…..

I’ve been spending summer wearing black – but there’s nothing like the colors and the patterns and the style of Chicago summers.

So, in honor of this coveted time in the city, I’ve worked with Emily Bricked Edelson, Co-Founder and Illustrator of Chic Sketch, a fashion forward mobile app that sketches photos into Instagrammable fashion illustrations by real fashion illustrators in a matter of minutes.

She’s helped me see the beauty of summertime style from ruffles to vests to white dresses.

Edlemson shared some of her favorite trends and prepared special sketches exclusively to showcase Chicago festival season style.

“I always look at other it-girls when I’m in need of style inspiration like Olivia Palermo, Alexa Chung, or Kendall Jenner. My style is feminine with edgy touches. I’ll pair a cute dress with a leather jacket, or jeans with stiletto,” said  Edelson, “My personal style is all about taking trends, and adding a New York touch to it.”

Summer Rooftops in Chicago:

In the midwest, the one thing you will notice from Memorial day to Labor day is that Chicagoans embrace white – white pants, white dresses, white shirts.

White is summer’s must-have color. It’s perfect for a day at the beach, rooftop parties and work events.

Emily Bricked Edelson took this trend and sketched some of her favorite looks!



Chic Summer Patterns:

But a color is not the only thing that marks summer style. It’s also patterns. And one of Summer Sixteens summer fashion is the the scallop trend as part of a feminine detail on a leather jacket, and a fun twist to a pencil skirt.


Chicago Festival Fashion:

But in Chicago, while we dress up for work and rooftops, the real fashion staples are in what to wear at Chicago festivals. So, I asked Emily Edelson to sketch some of her favorite outfits and trends to wear to Chicago festivals. Below are some of my favorites, but be sure to subscribe to the Windy City Cosmo newsletter to see more chic sketches from the chic Illustrator herself.

dress 1

dress 2

Edelson is known in the fashion world and her sketches have even been displayed in the coveted 38th and 5th Avenue in New York City. Her co-founder comes from Appetizer Mobile, which has designed and developed over 150 apps for world class brands such as, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, NBA Properties, Epic Records, ZocDoc, Montessorium, Universal Music Group and Interscope Records. 

After a year of launching their start-up, Chic Sketch has been used at fashion and beauty events by global brands like Sephora and for the everyday girl via a simple app download.






Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.