This + That: Questions Answered, Problems Solved

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Hello 2018 and welcome back to The Sandbox Blog!

As much as we love to inform our customers and inspire you to try new products and styles, our team must also be inspired by what we are sharing. This is why The Sandbox blog is only written when we feel we have something new to share that isn't redundant. Who wants to repeat the repeated, and who has time to read the repeated?

Time is one of our most prized possessions — once it's gone, it's gone. So our goal is to keep the blog interesting, informative, and inspired. In our first of several blogs to come this year, we’re sharing a culmination of Questions Answered, Problems Solved, and a Style Tip for the new year...

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What Should I Wear on My Legs?

For women trying on dresses or skirts, the “leg” question is a hot topic at our dressing rooms. At The Sandbox we’re fans of the "bare leg" for skirts and dresses during the summer months and even, at times, in winter. As women age, yes, we may have varicose veins, loose knees and splotchy skin, but that shouldn't always prevent us from going bare! Pantyhose for summer events can be hot and uncomfortable.

Enter: Leg makeup. It works much like foundation does on your face to conceal flaws. These products have really improved over the years! They’re easier to apply, last longer, don’t rub off on your clothes, and you can wash the formulas off in the shower with soap and water.

Drug stores and some makeup counters carry spray or lotion. (Spray is trickier to use, so we recommend the lotion as a first choice.) Match your own skin if you want to blend with the rest of your body tone or go slightly darker for a tanned look. Keep in mind if you go for a tanned look, try to match the rest of your exposed body as best you can. You will need to smooth the product out with your hands and wash your hands afterwards. For newbies, or for a less opaque look, mix half and half body lotion and leg makeup (making  it easier to blend) until you get the hang of it.

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Sally Hansen Air Brush Legs is one that we have tried and find it works great! If bare legs are not in your vocabulary for summer, a good quality sheer hose like SPANX in the color nude is the next best choice.

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How do I Prevent (and Fix!) Pilling on My Clothes?

What we know for sure is that most fabrics pill if they are subjected to normal wear and tear. Even more expensive clothing will pill in high friction areas like under the arms, around the collar, between the legs, etc. For clothing to never pill would take the most extreme level of care, and even then, it will happen to some degree. BUT we have a few tips and advice to be aware of when washing and wearing your clothing, as well as maintaining it.

1. Choose jewelry and accessories carefully. On smoother knit fabrics such as polyester or blends, a rough chain or pendant will cause friction and catching, resulting in rough patches and pilling. The same goes for purse straps or bags that rub against the fabric.

2. Pay attention to other items that will cause friction. Seat belts, coat zippers, and jacket linings that are not smooth will cause pilling. Also be aware of what you are layering over these knits. If they are of a rougher nature, that friction between the two fabrics will also cause pilling.

3. When washing clothing make absolute sure you are not overstuffing your loads. This alone will cause pilling as the garments are being washed against each other. Keep more delicate, smoother knits together with like colours, delicate cycle, wash inside out, and hang or lay flat to dry. Never wash jeans with lighter weight fabrics as the roughness of the denim will not only cause pilling but will breakdown less tough items.

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4. Fabric shavers are your best friend. On the maintenance front, a fabric shaver can work wonders. It's much like an electric razor with a round, rotating head. It has a spinning blade and a guard that keeps the shaver from actually cutting into the fabric. Its precise depth of cutting can remove those tiny balls. A fabric shaver sends the pills it picks up into a built-in compartment that you can remove and empty out when it's full.

These gadgets can make worn-out clothes look brand new, and feel completely smooth again. When choosing a shaver it's important to choose one that has multiple settings for different densities of fabric as well as higher RPMs so the blade will cut cleaner with less chance of tearing the fabric. Practice on old clothing until you get the hang of it, and make sure not to press on it as may cause fabric to get caught it blades. Juanita has been using a clothing shaver for over 20 years, and swears by it to keep classics looking fresh!

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Why doesn’t The Sandbox carry 100% cotton or linen clothing?

There are quite a few reasons that we have chosen not to purchase these fabrics for our store. First and foremost, 100% cotton does not stretch and we LOVE stretch. The older we get the more comfortable we want to be, and cotton, unless blended with other fabrics or Elastane, simply does not meet that requirement for us.

Another reason is that cotton is high maintenance. Not only does it wrinkle easily, it must be ironed after washing. If you are anything like us, your iron has not seen the light of day for years, and steaming just does not give the crisp look cotton should have. Same goes for linen — it wrinkles easily and looks best when ironed.

Cotton also loses its shape very easily, so it doesn't have the longevity of many other fabrics. An out-of-shape cotton garment does not look good, especially if it has also shrunk.

And a much as we LOVE the look and feel of linen, it does not sell. Every time we bring it back into the store, there it sits, until it's on sale. That may be a great deal for our customers, however it does not pay our bills. So from a business standpoint, not a wise choice!

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Style Tip for the New Year: Never buy a boring coat

Unless the sole purpose of the coat is for function and warmth, (i.e. walking the dogs, outdoor work, sitting by a campfire, long car rides, etc.), opt for one with some style and interest!  As outerwear, coats and jackets should reflect our personality and style. Very often when we go out in public, the people we interact with along the way only get to see our overcoats. If you are trying to make an impression of any kind, your coat is the first, and at times "the only" style impression you get to show. Make it count!

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Purchasing an "unboring" coat does not necessarily mean spending big money either. It means looking for interesting details, (like zippers or buttons), colours, and styling that calls your name.

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Closing Time: Why do The Sandbox staff give customers a 15-minute “reminder”?

If you’ve been at The Sandbox near closing time, you’ve likely heard one of us give a 15-minute call out as the clock approaches the end of the day. When you’re in the shopping/trying on zone, this reminder may come as a surprise —we get it! No one likes to feel rushed. But as much as we appreciate the loyalty of our customers, and are here to serve them as best we can, we also respect our employees.

Anyone who has worked in the retail industry knows that an eight hour day, on your feet pretty much the whole time, while walking on concrete, is tiring! So although we are grateful for that "tiredness", when the day comes to an end we look forward to our personal time. We expect our staff to be fully engaged for their entire shift, but do not expect them to stay any later than what they are scheduled. They have families, friends and lives outside the Sandbox, and we honour that!

So if you require a lot of assistance or think you’ll want to try on a lot of items, please come in to the store well before our closing time to ensure that your aren't rushed at the end of the day. During open hours, we are happy to help as much as you need. :)

Stay tuned for more questions, answers, tips, and other fun stuff in The Sandbox’s upcoming blog posts. Happy 2018 and as always, THANK YOU for staying connected with us!

Colleen Tait