Tag archive for "last chance"

Classic Style, Outfit Inspiration, Spring/Summer Style, Steal vs. Splurge, Style 101, Style Files, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Luxe Look for Less

No Comments 16 July 2015

Black gap shirt, black Kate Spade statement necklace, blue and black windowpane plaid midi skirt, yellow heels, and Kate Spade Gatsby book clutch

Ladies, I have champagne and caviar tastes on a beer and pizza budget. Without even trying I can and will always like the most expensive item on a rack, no matter if I am shopping at Goodwill or Barney’s.  It’s a frustrating talent!  Over the years I have learned a few tricks to prevent my bank account from being in the red while keeping my closet stocked full of fun, stylish, and functional clothes.  First and foremost, know your personal style.  Knowing who you are clothing wise will keep you from bending to every fashion whim and will help you narrow down the brands and retailers who cater to your aesthetic.   Once you’ve defined your style palate, stalk the brands, both budget friendly and budget busting, who carry clothing and accessories that speak to your fashion sensibilities.  Screen shot these items or make a Pinterest board of your must-haves so you are armed with examples of what you like when you go shopping.  Even if you cannot afford those covetable brands, you at least have colors, prints, and silhouettes you can look for wherever you shop.

Black gap shirt, black Kate Spade statement necklace, blue and black windowpane plaid midi skirt, yellow heels, and Kate Spade Gatsby book clutch

I was browsing the Kate Spade website the other day and nearly swooned when I saw this skirt.  Alas, a $250 polka dot midi skirt is not in the cards for this teacher, no matter how glorious of a skirt it might be. Imagine my happiness, then, when I found this windowpane plaid midi skirt for $20. Granted, it is not the same quirky print nor does this skirt have the same quality fabric or construction, but it does have the same bold color scheme as my dream skirt, has the same feminine lines, and will allow my children to eat and for us to keep the A.C. on during the warm summer months.  The take away here is no matter how small your budget might be, you can still allow yourself some dream browsing on more expensive retailer websites and then let that dreaming inform your shopping at retailers that you can actually afford.

Black gap shirt, black Kate Spade statement necklace, blue and black windowpane plaid midi skirt, yellow heels, and Kate Spade Gatsby book clutch

Windowpane plaid is a bold, somewhat masculine print, so while I wanted it to take center stage I also wanted to bring in a few feminine touches to play off the skirt’s silhouette and to provide a little balance.  I chose to pair it with a black top with feminine cut sleeves and accessories that compliment the blue and black print while bringing in a little pop of color to keep things fun!

Black gap shirt, black Kate Spade statement necklace, blue and black windowpane plaid midi skirt, yellow heels, and Kate Spade Gatsby book clutch

This is a look that can easily work for both work and play.  Depending on your work environment the pops of yellow could be switched for black heels and if accessories are frowned upon the skirt’s print adds enough interest to keep things from being too bland.  Outside of work, use accessories to add some color and play up the quirky nature of the print.  Cobalt blue has been a really big color trend this year, but it’s a seasonless, timeless color in my book, so the garments you pick up during the summer in this color scheme will still work in the fall and winter making your money stretch even further!

Black gap shirt, black Kate Spade statement necklace, blue and black windowpane plaid midi skirt, yellow heels, and Kate Spade Gatsby book clutch

Style Notes: Gap shirt (old; similar) / Maitai skirt (spring 2015; similar) / Jinny Kim heels via Last Chance (old; love) / Kate Spade clutch (gift; love) / Kate Spade bangle (old; love)

Classic Style, Outfit Inspiration, Reviews, Spring/Summer Style, Style 101, Style Files, Trend Studies, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Wardrobe Essentials: A Well-Made,Versatile Handbag

No Comments 03 July 2015

Gap white eyelet top, H&M black midi skirt, Kate Spade glasses bracelet, and Dove Gray Jordana Paige Cora bag

There are a couple of things I believe every well-stocked closet should have.  A crisp white blouse, especially for spring and summer, a feminine cut skirt, or two, and a classic but functional handbag.  While there are certainly a few more items that make the wardrobe must-haves list, a great top, skirt, and handbag make for a strong place to start and can be accessorized to transition from work to play.

Gap white eyelet top, H&M black midi skirt, Kate Spade glasses bracelet, and Dove Gray Jordana Paige Cora bag

I’m really loving eyelet this season as it adds some interest to an otherwise plain white blouse, which means you don’t have to spend too much time worrying about accessories.  In this case, I skipped a necklace and chose a quirky bracelet and statement belt to round out the look.  Eyelet also helps keep things cool on those steamy summer days, which in 115 degree heat is much needed.  Here, I styled it with a lacey bralette, but to keep things more work appropriate just put a white tank underneath for a little more coverage without adding too heavy of a layer.

Gap white eyelet top, H&M black midi skirt, Kate Spade glasses bracelet, and Dove Gray Jordana Paige Cora bag

I’m a sucker for a well-made handbag.  When I was younger I used to buy all my bags from lower priced and lower quality sources thinking I was saving myself a ton of money on something that just needed to carry my wallet, some gum, and phone.  The thing about lower priced items is that you usually pay for what you get, so while the initial investment might not have been such a hit to the wallet I wound up spending more on handbags by going the cheap route than if I had just saved my money and purchased a higher priced bag that would last several years rather than several weeks or months.  With age comes wisdom, so I’ve learned over the years that saving for pricier shoes and bags is always a good idea as they will hold up over time and if purchased in classic colors and silhouettes will withstand the test of trends.

Gap white eyelet top, H&M black midi skirt, Kate Spade glasses bracelet, and Dove Gray Jordana Paige Cora bag

There are a lot of great looking bags of even greater quality in the $100-$200 price point, which I believe is a reasonable place to start when looking to get into a higher quality bag.  Again, the initial investment might seem a bit rough, but if you skipped the weekly latte you’d have your start up money in less than a year!  Obviously, all the big name handbag designers have bags that make a $100-$200 bag seem like something my daughter could buy on her allowance, but even those designers try to make handbags within a lower price range to create brand loyalty with the hopes you will some day purchase a $1000+ bag. If you’ve ever looked at designer bags within this $100-$200 range you know that while they are of good quality and in interesting silhouettes and colors, they are often really small and so lose a lot of functionality.  If it’s quality, functionality, and personality you are after then there are some amazing independent designers out there who are really cornering the market on affordability and practicality.  One of my favorite indie handbag designers is Jordana Paige.  Ladies, Jordana understands women; she totally gets that we are looking for quality, sophistication, and versatility in bags and has set about granting our every wish.

Gap white eyelet top, H&M black midi skirt, Kate Spade glasses bracelet, and Dove Gray Jordana Paige Cora bag

I’m carrying the Cora here, which is the working mother’s dream come true.  It’s large enough to hold all the day’s necessities and even has a pocket designed to hold your tablet for those days you are on the go or when you need a little back up entertainment for the kiddos!  Even better, the front pocket detaches from the bag and transitions into a clutch for those evenings you are able to fit in a little extracurricular activity or two!  Talk about thoughtful design!

Gap white eyelet top, H&M black midi skirt, Kate Spade glasses bracelet, and Dove Gray Jordana Paige Cora bag

Now through Saturday, July 4, 2015 Jordana is offering 40% select bags.  Enter code USAST at checkout:

Cranberry Quinn: $83.40 (reg. $139)
Cobalt Quinn: $41.39
Pearl Bella: $41.39 (reg. $69)

Style Notes: Gap shirt (spring 2015; similar) / H&M skirt (old; similar) / Loft belt (spring 2015; love) / Julianne Hough for Sole Society shoes via Last Chance (summer 2014; similar) / Kate Spade bracelet (summer 2015) / Jordana Paige Cora handbag c/0 (for 10% off enter Coupon Code ST915 at checkout.  Expires 9/1/15)

Classic Style, Outfit Inspiration, Reviews, Spring/Summer Style, Style 101, Style Files, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing

Summertime Fun with Shabby Apple

No Comments 18 June 2015

 

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, and brown Loft belt

Summertime means a few things to me: catching up on reading, swimming, buckets of ice tea, visiting  family and friends back home, picnics, and BBQs.  We are headed to IN in a couple of weeks and will spend most of our evenings on my parents’ back porch grilling and eating with family and friends, watching the kids run around the backyard, and playing a rousing game of croquet.  Of course, the perfect summer picnic or backyard BBQ requires an adorable frock that’s comfortable, easy to move in for all those fun backyard games, and appropriate for the occasion.  When Shabby Apple sent me this gingham print dress I immediately thought of IN and all the meals and fun to be had outdoors!

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

I can’t resist a feminine cut dress and it doesn’t get much more feminine than a gingham wrap dress.  The tie at the waistline adds definition and creates the illusion of a narrow waist while also making this a simple dress to throw on and head out the door.  If the backyard festivities include a dip in the pool this dress would make a great coverup so you don’t have to waste precious time changing at the party.  If you have little ones, you know how quickly you need to be pool ready once they see the water!

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

Stylish simplicity is the key to feeling unencumbered while enjoying those backyard games, so keep accessories to a minimum.  Here I let the print take center stage and only added a belt at the waist for a little extra definition.  The embellished slides add visual interest as well, but are also great shoes to kick off and take off running through the grass for a game of tag.

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

If you get a little steamy cooking over the grill or the competition gets a little fierce once the games begin, throwing a head wrap or headband in your hair, especially if you have shorter hair and can’t put it back in a ponytail, is a great way to stay cool and look chic.  It’s also a great go-to accessory when getting out of a pool to look pulled together, even if your hair is a little limp!

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

Shabby Apple Praline dress, red sunglasses, embellished Target slides and brown Loft belt

Want a little more summertime fun inspiration?  Check out my Pinterest board, Summertime Fun with Shabby Apple, for yummy recipe ideas, decor inspo, and of course, fabulous fashion!

Style Notes:  Shabby Apple dress (c/0; spring 2015) / Target sandals (spring 2015) / Sunglasses (old; love) / Nordstrom headband via Last Chance (spring 2015; cute) / MAC Diva (spring 2015) / Essie Groove is in the Heart (spring 2015)

This post brought to you by Shabby Apple. All opinions are 100% mine.

Classic Style, Outfit Inspiration, Spring/Summer Style, Style 101, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Shopping for Summer Staples

No Comments 30 May 2015

IMG_7670

During one of Loft’s recent promos I picked up a few summer staples that can double as work pieces once school resumes in August.  Since it will be in the triple digits when we start back up, finding clothes that can mix in with my existing wardrobe and leave me feeling cool and put together are always on my style radar.  One of my favorite purchases has been this retro inspired tropic floral cotton tee.  The print is super cool while the t-shirt cut makes it easy to style up for work, date night, or brunch or style down for a summer BBQ, bike ride, or stroll through a farmer’s market.

IMG_7683

Here I chose accessories that are in keeping with the tropical feel of the shirt’s print but that also add another layer of sophistication.  The gold statement necklace and the gold bracelet each have an almost tribal quality that plays off the exotic florals and the brown belt adds a little more dimension at the waistline without deviating from the color scheme and overall vibe of the look.

IMG_7667

I’m all about summer whites and brights, but something about the earth tone palette of this look seems refreshing.  What looks are you into as we head into summer?

Style Notes: Loft shirt (spring 2015; purchased at 50% off) / H&M skirt (old; similar) / Loft belt (spring 2015; purchased at 40% off) / Anthropologie necklace (summer 2014; similar) / Rocksbox bracelet (similar) / Julianne Hough for Sole Society shoes via Last Chance (summer 2014; similar) / Marc by Marc Jacobs bag via Last Chance (old; similar) / Essie Baby’s Breath (spring 2015; similar) / Mac Rebel

 

Loft is currently offering 40% off of tops and sweaters and 50% off sale online and 50% off all products in stores.  Below are some summer staples I’m loving! Happy shopping!

Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Style 101, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing

Winter Whites

No Comments 26 February 2015

tan faux fur scarf, white dress with brocade print and sheer sleeves, black tights, and gold metallic heels

A little white dress can seem a lot more intimidating to style, or wear, than a little black dress.  Since lighter colors attract light they aren’t as naturally slimming as their darker hued counterparts, so when shopping for a white dress that can be worn year round look for something that is off white or cream colored rather than a stark white.  A softer white won’t seem so out of context in the midst of grey winter months, will be a little more flattering to your figure, and ego, and will play off your natural skin tones a little more kindly than the crisp white of summer.

tan faux fur scarf, white dress with brocade print and sheer sleeves, black tights, and gold metallic heels

I picked up this white dress at an end of season sale a few summers ago, but because of the sheer long sleeves, cream toned print, and delicate beaded waistline it easily crosses over from a spring/summer frock to a fall/winter staple.  Helping it make the transition from warm to cold weather is as simple as adding some black tights and wintery accessories.

tan faux fur scarf, white dress with brocade print and sheer sleeves, black tights, and gold metallic heels

The faux fur stands in for my usual statement necklace and adds an unexpected detail that lends a bit more of a bohemian feel to the look without skewing too far from my personal style.  The light tan and creamy tones of the faux fur help draw out the cream tones of the brocade print.  In the summer I would trade in the scarf for a floral crown or a braided crown to keep that ethereal, boho feel.

tan faux fur scarf, white dress with brocade print and sheer sleeves, black tights, and gold metallic heels

When I first conceived of this outfit I thought I would wear my black ankle boots to add a bit more of a rebellious feel, but when I tried to execute that look I just didn’t feel comfortable.  The boots looked okay and would be killer on someone with a little more height, but they weren’t doing me any favors in the context of this outfit, so I went with my trusty gold metallic kitten heels to add a little height and to keep from feeling totally out of place in this style.  While they are decidedly more girly than the shoe I thought I would go with, they are a little beat up and play off the tan tones in the scarf and the cream in the dress.  The end result is that they add a bit of offbeat femininity, which I’m kind of digging in this look.

tan faux fur scarf, white dress with brocade print and sheer sleeves, black tights, and gold metallic heels

Style Notes: Anthropologie dress (summer 2013; love) / Nordstrom scarf via Last Chance (winter 2015; similar) / Old Navy tights (old; similar) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar)

Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Outfit Inspiration, Style 101, Style Files, Trend Studies, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

No Comments 02 February 2015

grey sweatshirt with embellished collar, pink floral print midi skirt, and silver metallic shoes

January was a very long, very stressful month.  So you know, no pressure February, but if I have another four weeks of what last month dished up I will curl into fetal position and really lose my mind.  I’m cautiously optimistic that this month will fare better than last, so I decided to go with a few closet favorites to kick off the first work week of the month and try to set the tone for a smoother next few weeks.  I bought this floral midi skirt on major sale last summer and have worn it once-twice a week since.  Even though the underlying color may seem summery, it’s definitely a piece that transitions from season to season depending on what you pair it with.  The oversized muted black, grey, and white floral print helps tone down the bold pink and makes it easy to match the skirt with some more cold weather appopriate tops, as seen here and in this look from the fall.

grey sweatshirt with embellished collar, pink floral print midi skirt, and silver metallic shoes

When I last wore this skirt a coworker told me she loved it because it seems so comfortable with it’s quilt like texture and fit and flare silhouette.  I think she thought she offended me with the quilt comment, but truly this is one of the most comfortable pieces I own and her comment actually made me think to try pairing the skirt with this grey sweatshirt.  Thanks to her compliment, I’ve managed to style a work appropriate outfit that is essentially a sweatshirt and quilt…talk about true comfort!  What I love about this cozy sweatshirt, is that while it does add comfort to a look, the rounded shoulders, narrow cut and embellished collar add some sophisticated femininity to keep things from reading too casual.

grey sweatshirt with embellished collar, pink floral print midi skirt, and silver metallic shoes

Style Notes:  Loft sweatshirt (old; similar) / ASOS skirt (summer 2014; love) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar) / Kate Spade purse via Last Chance (old; similar; budget friendly)

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