Frugal and Fab

In one of my earlier style diary posts, I wrote about how Olivia Palermo’s outfit inspired mine that day. 

And it all started with this H&M cheap and chic find from the sale rack for only $15.  In the above picture, I’ve winterized the classically cut sheath with tights, booties, a hat, cardigan and belt.  (For outfit details see earlier post).

As you know I try to never wear an outfit the same way twice.  It’s my somewhat ineffective way to keep myself from getting bored of my clothes.  How do you keep from getting bored of your fashions?

I constantly need to edit and update my wardrobe.  Perhaps it is a side effect of working in retail.  After all, there is constant temptation by the latest, newest and more fashionable items.  You’re constantly in want of what’s new and suddenly the old clothes sitting in your perfectly fine closet at home just don’t seem good enough or enough period.  But really, before I worked in retail, my personal obsession has always been fashion.  I’ve always struggled with being satisfied with the overflowing closet already at home.  It’s so easy to tire of what’s in your closet, isn’t it?  Aren’t you always craving the next new thing?  I never understood how people could stand to wear the same thing over and over, year after year.  My husband wears out his clothes until he bores holes through them and even then, he’ll practically throw a fit if you try to convince him to stop wearing it.  I. do. not. understand.

To keep my budget in check and to keep the inevitable boredom from setting in, the personal styling challenge helps keep things interesting!  Here are a couple more ways that I’ve worn the same dress throughout the past year.

For work, I’ve paired the dress with my black blazer as well as my more summery white blazer (also from H&M).  It’s pictured here.

I got these crazy white/black heels while on a trip to Shanghai, the black biker cuff was from Claire’s of all places, and the purse was a gift that I’ve since given away.

For the summer, I took the same dress and color palette as the first outfit except I switched out the winter accessories for bare legs, sexy stilettos, a BCBG suede belt and then ditched the cardigan.

I find this dress to be so versatile and am happy to report that I’m not quite done with it yet.  I can do so much with the black and white graphic print.  Add a pop of color with the accessories, purse, shoes or cardigan and you have a bolder overall look.  Layer a shirt on top of the dress and convert it into what looks like a graphic skirt – in fact I think that will be my next fashion move.  This $15 investment is going a long way!

 

 

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I wore this outfit to work and got so many compliments on my necklace.  People kept asking me if I had just bought it at our last jewelry trunk show.

That’s when I sort of had to giggle to myself as I meekly responded with a mysterious “no…”  I didn’t want to disappoint and seem like a traitor by having shopped elsewhere so I kept my un-lipstick-ed mouth shut.  But by the third time that I was asked, I couldn’t keep the cheap secret to myself and found myself whispering “Forever 21” to a shocked colleague.  I loved the expression on her face so much that I felt compelled to continue whispering, “It was only around 20 dollars” (while covering my hand over my mouth as if I were releasing top secret information).

I love mixing high and low brands!  I think it’s all about how you mix it up and style it up.  The rest of the outfit includes:

  • Zara blazer (around $49)
  • ruffle tee shirt from TJ Maxx (around $20)
  • jean skirt by Brooklyn Industries (bought on sale for only $15)
  • leather and fur boots by In & Out (yea like the burger)
  • designer purse that I brought to work not pictured here

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This post is about one dress and one purse, both frugal and fab.

I noticed after purchasing my work tote at a Korean boutique that it was a replica of a Balenciaga tote that Olivia Palermo carries.  The Balenciaga bag looks like this.

I love Olivia Palermo’s style so it’s not surprising I was drawn to a similar bag.  Below are my outfit posts with a replica bag that I didn’t even realize was a replica.

In the above picture I’m wearing:

  • dress and blazer – H&M (about $50)
  • belt – vintage ($20)
  • shoes – Aldo ($60)
  • purse – from a Korean boutique (about $80)
  • necklace – from a Korean boutique (about $20)

  • dress – H&M ($50?)
  • hat ($30)
  • belt ($20)
  • shoes – Aldo ($30)
  • tote – bought from a Korean boutique

I loved how this polka dotted dress had such a vintage feel.  I saw it on a mannequin at H&M, immediately did a bee-line towards the dress and charged the $50 faster than you could say “frugal and fab.”  I was so excited to start styling it that I styled the two outfits pictured above as soon as I returned home.  I can imagine also wearing it with brown boots and belt.  It’s a great transition dress that works at the workplace as well as outside of it.  What do you think?

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I may be giving away all my secrets here but anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog knows that I’m a big believer that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look like one.  I love deals.  And with a trained eye, a love of sales, and a skill for styling, it’s easy to pull of a frugal find as a fab look.  Once a season, I pop my head into H&M, my dirty little secret, in search of cheap trendy finds.  I bought this mermaid palette dress this week for only around $50.

I loved the simple graphic and textural treatment which looked like leather attachments.  I made it work double-time by pairing it with a more more casual and conservative tie-front cardigan – I work in fashion so I can get away with a little more flamboyant work wear.  And later in the evening, I was able to take it off for a NYC showroom cocktail event with Vince (the brand).  The sweater (shown below) with ruffle detail is also from this week’s H&M stop.  And I’m looking forward to wearing it with many of  my dresses, jeans and pants.  It will be a wardrobe staple and lessen the duty of my other black, more traditional cardigan.

The above outfit cost $150 without the purse.

Speaking of H&M, I also pulled from my closet a pair of H&M pants that I once purchased during a fashion crisis where I had stained my pants and had to quickly run to buy a new pair.  After having just viewed the Vince women’s contemporary collection where they rolled up the khaki pants, I was inspired to roll up my own pants for a fresh new look.

I made capris out of what were originally long, skinny pants.  From there, I took a swingy, striped A-line tank with bow detail (Necessary Objects $14.99), studded black heels and accessories and my favorite go-to Chanel purse which perfectly fits my everyday needs.  For a fraction of the price, I pulled off a very Sinclaire 10 look.

I love that for $14.99 I got such a special tank with exposed zipper back (very on trend), large bow and interesting cut.

When I wear feminine items like bows or florals, I always like to toughen them up with a contrasting detail or two.  Here I pair the look with a chain, biker-inspired cuff.  The above outfit cost less than $100 without the purse.

Below, I’m wearing the same suede BCBG heels from one of the above outfits (bought on sale for $60).  But this time, I’ve got on a Tahari skirt (bought at TJ Maxx), a H&M blazer and black cami.  The skirt has a cool 2layer look that can only be appreciated in person.

The necklace is Banana Republic (gift) and purse is Chanel (gift).  I put the belt on to cinch in the blazer even more.

What made me fall in love with the blazer was its puff shoulders.  Shoulder focus was all the rage last season (which is when I bought this cheap H&M find).  The above outfit was less than $150 without the purse.

If you’d like to be featured in my blog’s next “Style Stalker” feature, leave me a comment here with your url of outfit postings and if I like your style, you could be my next featured fashionista!

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Do you ever go shopping, suddenly realize you absolutely NEED something you weren’t even looking for and immediately envision a hundred different ways to wear it?  I’m sure it’s simply a shopping rationalization.  “I must have this.  It’s such an investment piece.  I can wear it a hundred different ways making each wear only $.10 per wear!”  Well this past week, I popped my head into Zara purely out of a mixture of boredom and curiosity and found myself magnetized to a simple striped skirt.  It was light and flouncy, perfect for summer and classic in color so that it would withstand the test of time (er so I figured).

I see great pieces everywhere all the time.  After all, you can’t avoid window shopping in NY as the streets are filled with tempting creations at every street corner.  You inadvertently shop whether you meant to or not!  But this find was SPECIAL.  It had the power to transform and become many different looks.  So it was without much guilt, I hurried over and prepared my $30something odd dollars knowing I was immediately expanding my wardrobe tenfold with just one frugal and fab purchase.

Here are some of my initial outfit ideas.  This first one would be great for a work day.  I just got a new job working in-house for a major retailer (running their marketing, PR and events) so I can get away with being a little more fashion forward in the workplace. I actually interviewed in this Forever 21 jacket (clearly a Fall 2009 Chanel knockoff) which is now paired with suede frilly booties, pony hair Emanuel Ungaro leopard printed tote that I bought on consignment and new Zara skirt.

This second look is more summery with the white patent leather sandals (CK thrifted) and short sleeve ruffled blouse (also from Zara).  I’m proud to say this outfit costed only about $75 head to toe.

The outfit below is made up of a Forever 21 short sleeve bow blouse, Holland and Holland cashmere sweater shirt, Storets skull tote, and jeweled flats from Chinese Laundry.  I see this as a comfortable go anywhere (errands, work, brunch) outfit.

And lastly, this is a revised version of the outfit I just wore this weekend to dinner with a friend and meetup with friends on a Sat. night.  Here, I’m wearing the Zara skirt with a Eugenia Kim hat that I bought at a sample sale, Forever 21 tank, Express chain necklace, lace clutch, and sky high stilettos from Fergie (bought at TJ Maxx).  Don’t you love a deal?

What’s your favorite look?

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I tried to attend the Zac Posen Target pop-up store in NY and even scurried over in the rain 2 hours before close only to disappointingly find that they had sold out of everything and had already closed up shop!  That’s when the light bulb went off.  I’ve never done the fashion flip where you make a profit off of popular but limited edition designer clothes by buying then immediately re-selling online.  But I’ve been inspired to do so by other fashionista friends who finance their shoe fund this ingenious way.  The thought of shopping to make money always sounded enticing and I’m excited to report that I’m now a proud eBay seller with 3 brocade zip dressses being sold online.

To bid or buy it now:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130386767043

Reports have noted that this dress sold out almost immediately online so I was stunned to find that I could still snag 3 at my local Target.  The trick to finding all 3 was to stalk the area like a love-torn ex because it wasn’t until the store nearly closed and I returned twice to finally find the 3 dresses magically re-appear out of thin air (probably from the littered dressing room?)   I had to quench my squeal as I furtively snatched the sz 1, 5, and 7 while in pure disbelief at my luck.   I wouldn’t have imagined I could feel such a sense of achievement from my little Target excursion but I left feeling proud and with fantasies of making a fortune on eBay 🙂

Here’s what my local Target looked like at the end of launch day 1.  Not bad for having withstood a battle storm of raging fashionistas in search of Zac, huh?

As you can see, there weren’t many sizes left for the brocade skirt and like I said, I happily snatched all the remaining brocade dresses.




Don’t mind the toilet paper images behind the fashion…the Edgewater NJ Target is under reconstruction.

What was noticeably missing from the collection were the popular:  detachable ruffle dresses, tape dress and yellow raincoat.

Did anyone get to the pop-up store shopping party in NY and live to tell about it?  Did anyone else purchase anything from the Zac Posen line – if so, do tell!

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Don’t you love finding a designer look for less? I’m all about mixing the high and low.  For instance, I’ll wear my high-end designer purses with frugal but fab finds.  I’m no fashion snob.  I love vintage, I love discount retailers and I love stores like Zara, H&M and even Forever 21 that bring you looks for less.

I’m getting compliments left and right about this Balmain knockoff jacket that I found at Forever 21.  Everyone assumes its some famous designer and I’m always asked where i bought it.  With its quilted  black leather and silver chains you would think Karl Lagerfeld was all over this (maybe Balmain first copied Chanel?).  With a little research, I learned that the Balmain jacket pictured below (the obvious inspiration behind my F1 jacket) costs $10,770(choke).  Ehem, I only paid a mere 30some dollars.


Here I paired the F21 jacket with 2different dresses, and again with skinny pants and a tee.

Balmain knockoff quilted jacket – Forever 21, dress – Zara, purse – Chanel, studded shoes – Jlo

ruffle flower print spaghetti strap dress – Free People I think..bought it at TJ Maxx quilted Balmain knockoff jacket – Forever 21, black suede studded heels – JLo, black chain purse – Chanel

quilted Balmain knockoff jacket – Forever 21, tee shirt – Club Monaco, black pinstriped skinny pants – Zara, purse – Express

Which outfit is your favorite look?

Tell me how you would wear the jacket.  I love getting new outfit inspirations.

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Tonight (April 15-April 16th), April 18th and April 25th are marked on my calendar as Targe’t!  And for good reasons.

April 15th is the 24hr. shopping party starting at 11pm in NYC at 481 8th ave and 34th st.  (Don’t you love NY?)  I figure since my blog (just started at the end of Feb) made the over 1000 visitors mark at the start of this week that I deserve to shop and party (but who really needs an excuse for this, right?)

They’re celebrating and launching the new Zac Posen line (which is not available in stores until April 25th, another date stored on my fashion calendar.)  I can’t decide whether to check out the mayhem on opening night and risk getting stampeded on by some raging Zac-crazed fashionistas or whether to go the next day during work hours where I’ll avoid the mad rush but lose out on the excitement.  Good thing is that they are promising surprises every hour and performances by The Like and DJs Kid America, The Other Will and Luisiul.  I’ll post pictures after the event for you all!

April 18th is the much-awaited Eugenia Kim hat launch. NJ Target, here I come!  I already own 2 Eugenia Kim hats -one is shown below and the other is an outrageously large navy hat once used for a Vogue editorial (see below).  It’s so large I’ve only been able to wear it to a Hamptons polo match and to the Hamptons beach for full coverage from the sun.  Otherwise, wearing it feels totally obnoxious (albeit fashion-forward).  I bought both at a sample sale and look forward to adding another to the collection.

red, swingy mini-dress – Maggy M $26 from TJ MAXX, hat – Eugenia Kim sample sale $150, purse – Guess, heels – Fergie

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I gasped when I heard Kim Kardashian list H&M along with Gucci as 2 of her favorite shops.  “Me too!” I smiled.

Ponyhair Purse: Emanuel Ungaro, Shoes: Pour La Victoire

H&M is a great place to shop when you’re aching too add some trendy pieces to add to your wardrobe.  It doesn’t hurt your bank account and you can wear it for (just) a couple seasons guilt-free.  I’m into the blushing gre-ige color trend this spring that I talked about in my Oscar blog entry.  So to bring in the new season, I put together a couple outfits using dresses bought from H&M to achieve this new look.

dress – an obvious knockoff from the Chanel pictured in this ad

Write me and give me some ideas on how I should style the two above dresses next!

Here are a couple more shots from the collection:



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