Skinny Belts

They are everywhere.  You can’t watch a commercial, flip through a magazine or window shop without seeing these this season.  I, for one, need to buy a few.  I am a belt person.  (Really I’m an accessories person, but that’s for another day.)  Always have been.  My collection of belts is interesting.  I have one I bought at home in South Dakota that is a wonderful wide brown leather with a big silver Western buckle on it.  I love it.  It was from a consignment store.  It is over a decade old and it still is in fashion.  I have all kinds of mid-range belts for those pants that are too loose in the waist, but fit in the hip.  (Some of you are lucky enough not to have this issue.)  But I don’t have a ton of skinny belts. 
These belts top off any “sexy secretary” look.  A fitted cardigan and a pencil skirt?  Perfect.  Skinny jeans and a preppy sweater that hits right at your midsection?  Adorable.  Sheath dress and long cardi?  You nailed it.
You may think to get the basics, brown or black.  But I say, have some fun with it!  Get a metallic or a fuchsia.  Top off your look with a little fuchsia lipstick and you’ll look dynamite!
Here’s the look from the Loft this season.
LF21002M
Where can I find skinny belts on the cheap?  The Loft has leather belts for approximately $30 each.  But you know that’s more than I typically spend on a shirt.  Payless shoes has two for $13 and it is also BOGO time.  But these are leopard print and black.  I found a skinny silver chain belt at Maurices for $15.  Everyone in the sticks has a Maurices close by, right?
Skinny Snake Chain Belt - maurices.com
Good ole JCPenneys has a set of two metallic belts for $17. 
Mixit® Womens Belt, 2 Metallic
I also found this belt there on clearance.  Look at this cutie!  It looks like multiple skinny belts!
Clearance! MNG by Mango® Belt Trio
It was originally $40 and it is on clearance for $12.
If you find any better skinny belt deals, let me know!  I’m on the hunt!  I’m looking for color!!

Falling for Fur

I simply cannot get enough faux fur lately!  It is everywhere.  It was everywhere last season, it still is everywhere this season and it may be the only reason I have to look forward to winter.
Last year I made an amazing find by purchasing an infinity scarf from Ann Taylor Loft made of faux fur.  It was on clearance (of course) at the end of the season.  And it has countless uses.  Wear it with a vest, it looks like the vest has a fur collar.  Where it with a sweater, the sweater looks like a fur collar.  Where it with a jacket, well, you get the idea.
Wearing it creates just a little bit of drama and fun in a season full of bleakness.  Plus, it is warm! I think everyone should have just a little bit of fur in their lives.  So whether you indulge in a pair of gloves with fur edging (very low risk) or booties with fur tops or you go all out with a faux fur coat or sweater vest with hood (see below), enjoy the fun it brings to your winter looks!
Picture from the Loft this season-
LF21003M

To Be Or Not To Be

Practical, that is.  My next purchase for a pair of shoes needs to be something practical.  You just can’t push a stroller around very comfortably in high heels.  I’m not sure how Gwen Stefani does it.  So I vow to make my next pair of shoes something stylish and yet practical.  I’m in need of just some basics to get me through the winter.
I’ll hit the web first to see what is out there for cheap chic. I’ve stubbled upon these at Target.com-
Women's Mossimo® Varana Platform Shooties - Taupe
Love in a shoe.  These are $30 from Mossimo for Target.  Love, love, love.  Practical?  I think not.  Stroller worthy?  Nope.  (Sigh.)  But you have to love a nude shootie.  They would pretty much go with everything.  Okay, time to move on.  I have a closet full of shoes that only get worn a few times a year.
BUT… Target is currently having a sale, buy one, get one 50% off.
Let’s see what else they have…
Women's Mossimo Supply Co. Khadeja Suede Bootie - Taupe
These are quite nice.  Now these are practical.  I can slip these on and take my baby for a walk.  These are also from Mossimo $30.
Now, with this sale, I could purchase them both for $45.  Not to mention if I spend $50, I’ll get free shipping.
Hm…maybe I need to go find something else that is “practical.”  On second thought, let’s see if I can find a shoe that is a compromise of both.
MkLuk Msc Kloe Wmn Wedge Shoes Olive
Here’s one.  It has a pretty substantial wedge but will be walk-worthy when pushing a stroller.  And these MkLuk Msc Kloe booties are errily similiar to these booties by Betsey Johnson. 
Roan Wedge
Target’s price-$30.  Betsey Johnson’s price tag- $140.
I can’t seem to decide today.  Maybe I’ll keep shopping and see what else is out there and for what prices.  Stay tuned.  To be continued…
p.s.  Spell check isn’t working, so I apologize for any misspelled words!

Weekend Getaway

Check out this weekender bag from Target I just found-
Bueno dark purple weekender
$40 from Bueno.  Too adorable.  Who wouldn’t want to pack their jammies, an outfit, toothbrush and hit the road?  Remember when it was cool to pack all your overnight things in your gym bag?  Not so cool anymore.  We aren’t highschoolers anymore.  It’s time to get a grown up bag.  One that you can be proud to shuffle from car to hotel room.  This bag says sophistication and fun.  I’m trying to think of reasons to have a getaway this weekend just to buy this bag.  🙂
Wherever you’re off to this weekend, find yourself a stylish bag like this one!

Yet Again at a Yardsale

Never underestimate what you might find at yard sales.  This past weekend I managed to yard sale with all my kids.  This is no easy task, especially if you might actually want to purchase something.  It was citywide sales in town, so there were lots to pick from. 
Here is my helpful yard sale 1,2,3 for beginners.
First plan of attack is to read through the descriptions on the maps of the yard sales.  Highlight the items that interest you.  Then re-read and find the sales where you’ve highlighted more than one item.  These are worth going to first.  Lastly, note the times on each.  Some will open early, some not until the exact time specified.
While reading the descriptions on this outing, I stumbled upon what I thought may be a typo.  The word was coach.  Hm.  Did they mean to say, couch?  Or is this really the brand name Coach?  Definitely worth a stop to find out.
I arrive at this particular yard sale on Saturday.  Typically Saturdays are whatever is leftover days.  Things are picked over, and either too expensive (why they didn’t sell in the first place) or half price!  Since I wasn’t really sure this wasn’t a typo, I didn’t put it into the must stop first on Friday sales. 
I saw there was a pile of purses on a table as I walked up to the yard sale and upon closer inspection, I came to find TWO Coach purses sitting on top!  Both in excellent condition.  I don’t think they have hardly even been used.  One in a bright blue patient leather and the other in a patchwork of autumn colors, also in patient leather.  I couldn’t believe my luck. 
Final purchase price- $50.  For both purses.  Some days even I am amazed at my ability to find bargains.
Now I have two new fall purses without the big sticker shock!!!

Indian Summer

Indian Summer season can cause some headaches when choosing what to wear.  Are sandels still appropriate?  Can I still wear shorts?  Maybe you have just packed away all of your summer things when the cool weather first hit.  Now what?
Shoes can be tricky.  Although the question on whether or not to wear sandels is becoming less and less an issue when there are so many runway looks with sandels and tights.  I try to tone down my sandel wearing once the cooler weather starts.  But when the warm Indian summer days bring temps back into the 80s, I like to wear some fun athletic shoes.  No, not your basic running shoes, but something that is fun and easy to chase kids in.
I also take it easy on the shorts.  If you’re wearing a long sleeved blouse with a pair, that can be acceptable.  But by now whatever summer tan I had on my legs is lost and therefore if it gets really hot, I’ll hit the capris.
Another thing to consider is to dress in layers.  The same tanks that carried you through the dog days of summer can now be worn with a loose vest.  Or throw on a scarf overtop a tank and it will pass for more of a “fall” look than middle of summer.
Here’s a picture of a look from Ann Taylor Loft.  Just a simple summer dress with a scarf.  Looks a little more like Indian summer instead of just plain summer, doesn’t it?
Petite Strappy Knit Dress

Wrong, wrong, wrong

I enjoy watching what the major department stores come out with for ad campaigns for each season.  I find it so amusing to critique them simply because some really resonate with me as a shopper and some just fall flat of creating any intrigue for me to explore what they have on their racks.
Case in point, each year the Macy’s ads are the same.  Around Christmastime they run their “red” campaign, which makes sense because it is Christmastime and that is there “color.”  But how many of us run around day to day in head to toe red?  Secondly, their fall ads this year were disappointing.  Everything in black.  Gee.  That’s really exciting. All the major designers are pushing color and they come out with an all black ad.  I count on Macy’s as the “fancy” department store of the Midwest.  Nordstrom’s, Bergdorf’s, Bloomingdale’s- none of these are out here and none of them would be in my price range anyway.  But on a splurge (or a good Black Friday sale), occasionally I can afford something from Macy’s.  I wish that I felt compelled to shop there this season, but not after that ad campaign.
Then there is JCPenney’s.  (Sigh.)  This can be a shoestring budgeter’s haven.  Many a time I have purchased some wonderful buys there for less than a cafe mocha.  But their ad campaign this fall almost left me in tears.  Everything red and leopard print.  Who dresses this way???  Yes, animal prints are always hot for fall.  But their ad campaign looked very three or four years ago.
This leads me to Sears.  The Kardashian line…hm.  I’m not sure what average American woman wears clothes like this on a daily basis.  Generally just Kardashians.  But the next time I need a dress that is painted on and entirely too short, I know just where to turn.
Here are a few people who hit it right this fall:
1)  Kmart.  Yes, I know it is linked to Sears, but whatever.  They are still two separate stores.  And they know how to turn a girl’s head.  Lots of boho, fashiony cheap buys in their fall ads.  I also like their slogan, “Money can’t buy style.”  So true.  It also can’t buy taste.  And Kmart online is an awesome place to find shoes and boots!  However, I’m not impressed with their Sofia Vergara line.  I love her campaign that promotes dressing like a woman “You are a woman so dress like a woman.”  But if I wanted to dress like a hooker, I’d by something from the Kardashian line.  🙂
Here is a link to Kmart’s blog.  It is fabulous!
http://fashionblog.kmart.com/2011/09/fall-essentials-boots-sweaters-accessories/
2)  Kohl’s.  Once my least favorite store, they are at least doing a good job of promoting their Jennifer Lopez line.  It has me curious.  I’m also a big fan of their other celebrity lines.  Now if only they could dispose of all the junior garbage that is polyester hot pink and zebra print…
3)  TJ Max.  Perhaps it is simply because I’m a fashionista and their ads pull me in with that word.  But I haven’t been to TJ Max in years.  And now I’m ready to see what treasures I can find.
There it is.  The flops and the finds for the fall ad campaigns!

Fall Fashion

Okay, here it is.  This is what I think are the top five MUST have style items for fall that I’ve been reading/seeing and am actually going to apply to my real life.
1)  A leather or suede skirt.  Yes this reminds me of junior high, but done right, I think this is definitely something I can work into my wardrobe.  Pair with a fun blouse and some high heeled oxfords, penny loafers or boots and you’re back-to-school.
2)  Colored corduroys.  Now I’m resorting to elementary school…  I reminds me of the corduroys and shirts outfits my mother bought me in the third grade. But I’m so tired of neutral pants.  And sometimes patterned pants can be tricky.  Here’s a change that makes a statement without having too much angst about what to pair with it.  Burnt orange cords + ivory or grey sweaters = one happy fashionista.
3) Anything lace.  Lace seems to be everywhere.  It screams Victorian but pair a lace top with a tweed skirt, oo la la!  Coco Chanel baby.
4)  Cropped pants.  Gotta love showing a little bit of shoe before the snow flies. And they will work wonderfully with boots when the snow hits.  A little Audrey Hepburn but with a modern twist, these are a must-have.  Here are a pair from Ann Taylor-
ASE1035M
5)  Pantyhose.  Yes, you heard me say it and you heard it here first.  I’m not sure if it is the whole Kate Middleton craze or if people are just coming to their senses, but let me tell you, if you want to wear a skirt in the Midwest in winter, you better own a few pairs.  Last year it was tights, tights and tights, which I still love and will wear.  But this year pantyhose will throw a little twist into the mix.
And there you have it!  The top five pieces that you’ll want to own this fall to put a little drama into your brisk weather wardrobe!

In a Funk

This week I have just been in a fashion funk.  It happens.  When you’re moody and don’t have a lot going on, the funk strikes.  And it is so hard not to just show up to places when you’re in a funk in your pajamas!  But I will NEVER do that (unless I’m sleepwalking). 
If I leave the house without jewelry (wedding ring excluded), you can bet I’m in a funk.  I have a hard time finding the “right” thing to wear and I’m just throwing on clothes to cover all my parts and I’m out the door.  These are the only days you’ll catch me in jeans and t-shirt.  Mom apparel.  I-give-up apparel.
I’ve decided I need to prevent these days from happening.  Here’s my plan. 
1)  I experienced a mishap the other day in which cell phone landed in toilet.  Let me give you a tip, electronics do not like to swim.  Perhaps this will lead to the inevitable Smart Phone switch up.  If it does occur, then I can connect to my readers 24/7.  AND… I can get an app that lets you take photos of your clothing and create virtual outfits.  These virtual outfits would be such a blessing on funk days.  In a rush?  Quick, pull out your Smart Phone and click to see what you need to put together today.  Genius.
2)  Perhaps I should pull together a few funk day outfits in advance from my wardrobe to throw together in a pinch.  Perhaps I can avoid the t-shirt and jeans uniform and (gasp) avoid the workout capris and men’s t-shirt uniform that ONLY SHOULD BE WORN WHEN WORKING OUT! 
With these ideas as an arsenal, I should be able to pull myself together and… maybe even pull myself out of my funk!

Serendipity

I found what I didn’t know I was looking for.  And did not find what I was looking for.  (Surprise!)
My sister is celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary this winter.  And I am “matron of honor” for her vow renewal ceremony.  This is a tricky outfit situation.  I need to find a dress (black by suggestion) that is formal, but fun and also not too bridesmaidy.  As this dress will most likely be worn on only one occasion (my stay-at-home life does not call for too many formal gowns), I’d like to find a bargain.  Best place for bargain formals-that’s right, GOODWILL!
The trick here is that I have to find a specific color, so I’ll need to make several trips to many different Goodwill’s between now and the actual event to find just the right dress.  And if I don’t, there is another dress I’ve been eyeing on the JCPenny’s web site that I believe falls under the prom category, but as it is black, it also looks sophisticated enough for those of us who really need to be in the misses category.  And it definitely is fun!  (Visit JCP.com and type in Morgan & Co. Beaded Cross Back Dress to see for yourself.)  The only drawback with option two is that it is $90.  Too much to spend on a one-time dress.  So, while I wait to see if it goes on clearance, I’ll shop the Goodwill’s!
There I am searching for a formal black dress that was not to be found on this particular day.  As I dove through the four isles of dresses, I also hit the blazer racks which sat just perpendicular to the dresses.  And I found some wonderful purchases!

Favorite purchase of the day- a cream brocade blazer with a faux fur collar.  This will be so lovely at Christmastime and pair so nicely with my new winter white dress pants!
Other blazer purchases:  simple light purple tweed and a new-with-tags black blazer with extra buttons and fabulous shaping darts.

Dresses purchased:  a white JCrew sundress, mint green sundress, a purple print wrap dress, and a new-with-tags grey satiny dress with blue and pink flower print on the bottom!  Perfect for a summer wedding or other dressy occasion.

And a red satin shell I’ve been looking for!

All for under $40!

Finding treasures that I did not know I was looking for, serendipitous!

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