Friday, February 27, 2009

Layer It On

Now some of you may be chomping at the bit to wear your new Spring styles, but the weather in your area is just not cooperating with you. We are not all blessed to be living in Sunny California or the tropical South. If this is your dilemma then you will have to resort to the trick of layering. Not only will this allow you to break out your Spring wardrobe, but it will also allow you to look trendy as well! You can layer not only your short sleeved tops and camis, but your dresses and skirts as well. Just think proportion and use many thin layers where appropriate instead of one heavy layer. This will keep you comfortable and will look more flattering as well as fashionable. Also, varying the length of the sleeves of your layers adds interest and depth to your ensemble and keeps it from being frumpy. Here I show two simple ways to layer to start you off.layered 019
First is a short sleeve knit top, originally from Target I dug out from Spring storage. I layered it over a three quarter length sweater from Wet Seal paired with a pair of jeans from American Eagle Outfitters. For colder weather a thin turtleneck can be worn as an other layer under it all. Another option would be a fitted jacket over all.
This same concept would work with a cami in place of the knit top and/or a long sleeve tee in place of the sweater. The options are endless!
Next is a dress option, but don't limit yourself to dresses. Spring skirts and yes, even dressier dresses can be layered and worn this way!
layered 036

I loved this dress from Target and hated it when I had to pack it away for the Winter. Well, no more is it in a bin! Here I have it layered with a long sleeved tee from Newport News, a short sleeved cardigan from Target, a belt from Charlotte Russe and stockings from Sock Dreams. With the multiple layers I was warm and toasty even with the chill breeze. Now I am certain you have many perfect layering pieces already in your wardrobe to help you bring those Spring pieces into bloom. If not they can be had for a song on clearance racks and online as stores clear out their Winter merchandise and stock it with those Spring temptations we all want. Check out the in-line links as well. For I have searched for items that you can layer with and some of them lead to the actual garment featured in this article! Now go out and face the weather in warmth and style.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Art of Accessories

Many of us just throw ourselves together and go out the door. It is a fast paced life we lead and we have little time many mornings to think much about what we wear. That is unfortunate because many an outfit can be enhanced by the judicious use of accessories. Of course the reverse can also hold true. Accessories can make or break an outfit. Too many can overwhelm and take all the focus away from a coherent whole. If you are prone to over indulgence in this respect then do as the great Coco Chanel did and just look in the mirror and take off one item before leaving the house. This will help prevent you from being overloaded with jewelry and/or scarves.
This Spring is a wonderful time to indulge in the accessory styles that were sweeping the runways. Of course we will not be so crazy and over the top as many of the designers were but quite a few of the offerings were very wearable indeed! So here are some of our picks that fit the new trends but are budget friendly and will allow you to have more than just one!


The style most wanted this season is the hobo bag. Its slouchy look wears well with the boho stlye that is one of the trends. Both bags shown here are from Forever 21:

Angelica Hobo $24.80

Mocha Hobo $24.90


Necklaces this season are large and statement making and bracelets are chunky and beaded. These are so easy to overdo so you may want to only wear one. If you do a very large necklace, forego a bracelet and viceversa or you may look a bit like Cleopatra!

Minuet Yellow $28.00 from

Wood and Metal Bracelets from Forever 21

Tomatillo Necklace $22.00 from

Desiree Bracelet $5.80 from Forever 21

Bead Necklace $6.80 from Forever 21


While you may not think of them as such, yes shoes can be accessories. Especially when they are worn to accent your outfit. This season sandals are in and the semi-chunky heel in wood is a stand-out along with the ubiquitous wedge heel and for an exotic look turn to python which was seen in everything from shoes to bags to belts. Also new are the architectural heels, but since they are not budget friendly I have not show any. If you want to see some moderately priced ones Victoria's Secret has some in the $100.00 range that are cute. Now here are some looks from Nordstrom that are sure to get your mojo rising!

These cute wedges by Sbicca for $29.90 are perfect for boho styles.

A python print sandal makes everything sexy! By Me Too for $38.90 on clearance!

Great with casual or semi-dressy style is this sandal by Steve Madden on sale at $46.90

This is shown here in red, but click through and check it out in the gold. The color is PERFECT for all your Spring styles! By Star Ling for $39.90
All these shoes are on clearance and will go fast, there are also tons of other cute styles that follow the new Spring trends. I highly suggest you check them all out. I just need a sugar daddy or to win the lottery. So many shoes and so little money!

Hair Accessories

What can be more refreshing than flowers in the hair? Many runway designers did just that. Tucking a bloom in sweetly coiffed tresses. You too can achieve that look with these items shown here:

Flower Barrette for $4.50 from LadyRayCello

Flamenco Silk Rose Barrette $10.00 from Shopbonnin

Brown Flower Hairpins $8.00 from Seaglassvintage

Belts and Scarves

We all have a tons of these from seasons past that can be put to good use for this season. If not I urge you to check out the many clearance racks for these items. They are so expensive to buy. Think thin for the belt and if you have snake or python all the better! Wear it over a cardigan or dress. You probably also have many lovely scarves that can be reworked, I know I do! They can stand in for belts or twisted make great head bands. Of course the classic way is to tie at the neck. If you need a new infusion here are a couple offerings that won't break the bank!

Snakeskin belt from Gluegungeisha

Hand dyed and stamped Silk Scarf $12.00 by HandmadeByRebecca

I hope I have inspired you to look at your accessories in a new light and the next time you get dressed to add that extra something to make your outfit go from everyday to extra ordinary!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Check It Out

Another trend for Spring that was seen on the runways was checks. Now I am a big fan of checks of all sorts. I really love ginghams, but the way the designers styled them gave me pause. Junya Wantanabe has given us this look that would almost work if it wasn't so over the top.

The floral top is best left to a pair of jeans and the skirt to a little cami. Of course this is Style On A Shoestring so we are going to do this on a budget. Now Anthropologie shows us this trend a bit more affordable and wearable:

They pair this with a cute pair of brown crop pants, neutral sandals and a skinny belt. Now we can still do better with this blouse from Wet Seal:
A total bargain at only $19.50 and it has a self belt.

Now for a look at shoes. I mentioned neutral toned sandals. These Steve Maddens fit the bill and at $49.99 are not too bad for designer shoes:
You can get them at Cutesy Girl
Also available are these cuties:

Now THESE totally up the sex appeal of any outfit and are $24.99!

On to pants. Yeah, yeah. I have heard that crops are passe and a certain style guru hates them. Well, they were all over the runway and I bet you have a closet full of them. I also saw quite a few pants that were rolled up and it looked very cute as long as the pants were straight leg pants. Once they started rolling pegged or tapered pants all bets were off on whether it was going to be flattering on most figures. So to pair with your checked blouses I suggest cropped denim, twill, khaki or brown pants. They will go with many other things in your closet and you will get years of wear out of them. These from Delia's
may be just what the fashionista ordered!

The navy are only $9.99 and the putty are $19.99. Buy any 2 and save 25% each. What a deal! So now you have an entire new outfit for under a hundred smackeroos (with money to spare!) Looks like you can now splurge on a nice restaurant for lunch with the girls after all your shopping.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Prints, Patterns and Color, Oh My!

Spring really is just around the corner! I have the proof. I found this beauty blooming in my garden yesterday.Narcissis
So looking at the new Spring styles I was struck by the beautiful prints and colors. It was very overwhelming at first. How am I going to incorporate them into my current wardrobe? What do I need to do make my old stuff look new? How can I do this on a budget? First off was to see what silhouettes are "in" and see what I currently have that will replicate those looks. Usually I can make new pairings of what I have already to match what is in style. Then maybe I will pick up a patterned floral blouse and a few chunky beaded bracelets such as these:

Blouse from Charlotte Russe

Bracelet from Tilly's If you are crafty you can make this bracelet yourself with beads and ribbon.

These can add a springtime look to pants, capris, shorts and skirts without breaking the bank and make me feel like I have a totally new wardrobe if switched around properly. Many of the new items I am seeing right now have either a painterly feel or boho feel to them. Not a lot different from last year, though I am seeing them in more softer colors. This will make it easy for those of you who bought those styles last year. You can easily restyle them for this year with new accessories. Maybe add a new belt or a new pair of shoes. Think a little more cleaner lines not so messy as before. Forgo some of the the new runway pants styles however. I feel they are not flattering for the average woman, so unless you are a size 0 I would stick with a straight leg jean and/or trouser style jeans instead of the strangely shaped pants that make you look like you are carrying a load.

Christopher Bailey (of Burberry Prorsum) what are you thinking!? Do you hate us?
When looking for shoes, the wedge heel is still in and neutral toned high heel sandals abound. This lovely pair from Nordstrom on clearance adds a welcome pop of color


I hope these items have inspired you. I know they have me. Like that lonely little flower in my garden, I have turned my face to the sun and am ready for warmer days!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thrift Store Style

As touched on lightly in the last article. Thrift stores are great places to find fashionable clothes and accessories. That said they can be treasure troves or they can be a big waste of time. It all depends upon the store and how you go about it. First off, it makes a difference on where you go. Thrift stores in large affluent urban/suburban areas have a better selection of goods than those in smaller rural areas. This may mean a bit of a drive, but if you plan it right it can make a big difference and a larger savings. I do my monthly grocery shopping in conjunction with these trips so as not to waste gas. It also pays to have a game plan. Have in mind what you need. New jeans, a sweater or a dress for a special occasion. This will help keep you from impulse buying. Also remember if you do see something that looks amazing and you just have to have it, does it work with your current wardrobe? It is not a bargain if you have nothing that it will work with. Now here are a few rules:

  • Look for classic styles. It may be hard to find the current trends in a thrift store so stick to the tried and true. Sheath dresses, white blouses, cashmere cardigans and designer straight leg jeans are always in style.

  • Make sure your choice is in good repair. Check for stains, rips, tears and signs of obvious wear. If you are handy with a needle or sewing machine a simple separated seam can be repaired as long as the fabric itself has not shredded. When looking at jewelry check for loose or missing stones in settings and for worn out findings. Shoes should look almost new and not have worn down heels or missing insoles. I personally, only buy shoes if they look unworn.

  • If possible, try it on! Many thrift stores do not have a return policy, so it is best to find out if it fits before you purchase it.

  • Stay away from those 80's styles! I know they are nostalgic, but you do not need those tapered, pleated pants. Trust me. They will only make your butt look fat.

  • Now that you have a your game plan and rules you can maybe grab a few friends to join you and start shopping. The most important thing to remember though, is to have fun! None of this is worth it if you can't have a laugh.
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