Kansas City fashion blogger offers advice, shares deals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For some people, their creative outlet is painting. For others, it's music. For Jess Afshar, it's fashion.

Growing up in California, Afshar didn't have a lot of opportunities to expand her wardrobe. Her family's tight budget constraints wouldn't allow it. Then, she joined the Air Force to help pay for college. She spent six years wearing an Air Force uniform, only able to dress casually on the weekends.

Now she lives in Kansas City with her husband and her son and works as a web user experience architect at a digital marketing and advertising agency.

Making her own money, Afshar takes full advantage, scouring good deals on designer items and expressing herself fully, through clothing, accessories and shoes.

"It's pretty much something that if I could get paid in shoes, I would," laughed Afshar, describing how important fashion is in her life.

But it's more than just a personal love for Afshar.  She shares her style with others, hoping to inspire women everywhere to find their inner-fashionistas.

That's why she and her best friend, Gita Woosley, who lives in San Antonio, started Mimi and Chichi, an online fashion blog.

"Originally when we worked together, people would ask us all the time for fashion tips or they would ask us what would you wear with this," Afshar said.

Naming the site after their beloved pets, Mimi the cat and Mon Chichi the Pomeranian, Afshar and Woosley launched their blog in 2011.

They aim to update every weekday and post pictures of their outfits with descriptions of the designer and often, where they bought the pieces.

"Our dream is to one day move to New York and pursue the blog full time," said Afshar.

In addition to showcasing their personal style, Afshar and Woosley also promote and attend local fashion events.

They also offer tips and advice for anyone who may not be fashionably-inclined.

For example, one basic piece of advice from Afshar: invest in good quality basic pieces like a blazer or a black dress.

The quality of a garment matters more than how many clothes hang in your closet, she said.

"Spend money on a really good blazer or really nice black dress but from there you can style it with cheaper items."

For example, one look inside Afshar's closet shows she loves designers like Michael Kors and Chanel. How can she afford their clothing?

"I wish I could buy things full price, maybe one day, but I usually stalk the sales like the semi-annual sales at Saks and sales at Nieman Marcus," she said. "Luckily for us in KC, we have the Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack so I go by there a lot too."

She also gets great deals at T.J. Maxx as well.

"They're still expensive to me, like a couple of hundred dollars, but when you think about the quality and how many times you can wear it, it's a really good investment," said Afshar.

Afshar is also a big fan of mixing and matching pieces. She'll pair a tweet jacket with ripped shorts and a t-shirt. She says this allows her wardrobe to stretch further and allows her to get more use out of her investments.

Ideas she shares on Mimi and Chichi.

"I hope it gives people inspiration for styling their own outfits," said Afshar. "I hope it gives them ideas on how to mix or match pieces."

To be inspired, visit www.mimiandchichi.com

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