Archive for Great Buys

Reflections on style and some shopping results!

246932_10100498100389721_3514712_nSimon’s Surgeries: Update

Simon had his 2nd surgery, so outfit pics have been overshadowed by helping him get around.  He’s healing nicely.

Thoughts on Style

In the meantime, I got into a discussion with a friend that I wanted to share.  We were talking about personal style.  She informed me that mine was somewhat boring because I tend to prefer cardigans to jackets and tend to prefer fit-and-flare dresses or fuller skirts to sheath or body-con dresses and pencil skirts.  Her argument was that the latter were in style and were very flattering on “everyone”, so I should try them.

Here’s the thing.  I have tried them.  Gwynnie Bee has allowed me to try all sorts of things with no real risk.  Most recently (literally yesterday) I received and tried on a shift dress.  Then I put it in the bag and sent it back.  Even with shapewear, the dress made me look like I was all hips and nothing else.

But more importantly, I WASN’T COMFORTABLE IN IT.  I felt self-conscious.  I have the same issue with pencil skirts, and in addition I don’t feel as though I can move comfortably.

I don’t care HOW in style something is or how chic everyone says a look is.  If you don’t feel comfortable in it, you aren’t going to LOOK comfortable in it.  And if you aren’t comfortable, you sure as heck aren’t going to feel sexy, attractive, powerful or smart.

For me, that means an A-line or wider skirt.  Others may find they feel more pulled together in a pencil skirt, and that is their right.  (Chastity over at Garner Style TOTALLY rocks those, and she’s curvier than I am!) I’ll keep rocking my fit-and-flares.

On to something more fun: SHOPPING!

_9066308Remember this cardigan/jacket that was $368?  *happy dance* It went on sale for 40% off ($220.80), which is STILL expensive but a lot better.  At that point I showed it to my husband who agreed that it was an AMAZING, wardrobe-making piece.  After some negotiating about my spending money, I bought it and am spreading the cost out over a month to pay back our credit card.  I CAN’T WAIT!  This will be my perfect Arizona winter coat!

jumpers-and-knit-zhenzi-knit-cardigan-berry-purple-black_A22058_F5224Another thing I’ve been focusing on this fall is particular colors.  Specifically deep purples, plums, burgundies, wines, etc.  I’m also making an effort to buy better items, but fewer.  So I was surfing around and found this cardigan.  It arrived today and the colors are every bit as rich and beautiful as I wanted.  Expect to see it very soon now that temps are dropping below 100.  (This has the advantage of being a loose enough knit that I can wear it already…)2014-09-11_13-02-11

I used 2 different store credits I had this week.  First I had a store credit at eshakti – a dress I ordered had proven to be too tight through the hips, and they are absolutely amazing about returns, so back it went.  Instead, I bought this swing/trapeze dress and had them modify it with short sleeves.  It’s an incredibly light weight gauze in a beautiful red.  In general, I’ve been afraid of swing dresses, since many tend to look like a mu-mu on plus women, but this one has fixed pleating at the bust to keep it from belling out too much.  It’s cool, crazy comfortable, and is about to become a hot weather staple. You’ll be seeing it soon!

8f37a6253d56d7f14a08a931ebb9ad46The second store credit was with Modcloth, and this item hasn’t arrived yet.  One of the dresses I ordered had the weirdest shoulders that just sat wrong, so the dress went back and I decided to try to fill in that charcoal to gap I’ve previously mentioned.  I found this one and decided to give it a go.  Fingers crossed that it will look as cute on me as it does in the picture.  Per the comments, I sized up, so we shall see.

That’s all for now.  I hope to get back to outfit pics soon, and I am still on the hunt for the PERFECT burgundy purse (with no luck in my price range).

What have you added to your wardrobe this fall?

Stripes and Polka Dots – LOVE it

IMG_2206I’ve seen several other blog posts lately showing stripes and polka dots together, often with a big pop of color.  Each time I thought “I love that; I need to try it.”  But it wasn’t until this weekend that the last piece of the outfit puzzle fell into place.  To make it work well you need the stripes and polka dots in the same palate (in this case black and white), so it wasn’t until I found the right scarf that I could put this outfit together.

If you ever decide to follow me off to Coldwater Creek for pants, take note: they run big.  I buy 20s most of the time, whereas other brands I need a 22 or 24.  The great thing about 20s is that you can go into the store and try them on there.  Then, if you do need a larger size, you can order it online.  However my experience has been that the 22s are too loose.

I admit that there is something of a matchy-matchy thing going on with the bag, which isn’t optimal.  I need to find a good simple, plain black bag.  I have a whole cabinet full of bags and not one is a relatively simple black bag.   But I have my eye on one on LittleBlackBag.

LittleBlackBag is a really interesting site; you purchase 1 discounted item (usually a purse or jewelry) for either 29.99 or 49.99; they add around 3 additional items (although you can’t see what they are until after you purchase).  Lately they’ve had some good brands (Melie Bianco, Betsy Johnson, Kenneth Cole).  Once you’ve checked out, you can then TRADE with other people on the site.  So if you see something you want but didn’t get (or don’t like one of the freebies that was put in your bag) you can trade with others to try to get something you like better.  You don’t have to, of course, but you can often easily change colors or trade up so that you end up with a higher value bag than you started with.

This bag came from my first purchase at LittleBlackBag, and I didn’t trade it at all.  I had seen it in teal and though it looked great, but (as we discussed before) teal isn’t really one of my core colors.  So when I saw it in hot pink, which IS one of my colors, I jumped on it.  In the end the “retail” value of my bag was over $200 (although no one anywhere pays full retail prices for most of these items).  Throughout the month they periodically add new items for you to choose from and potentially trade.  The end result is a good deal on an attractive bag that came with some bonus jewelry.

Photo on 2-19-13 at 10.17 AM #2

I don’t generally shop at Lane Bryant often but was lured in by a skirt you will be seeing soon and a dress that I wanted to try on (but which, sadly, wasn’t flattering).  However that particular trip was justified all on it’s own with this scarf.  It’s black with white polka dots in a variety of sizes.  It’s very light weight, soft, and easy to wear. I never would have looked at Lane Bryant for such a thing but could not be happier with it.  Note that it is no longer available in black and white on the web site, so you’ll have to hit your local store.

This outfit makes me so happy.  I feel stylish and put together without being a fashion victim and staying true to MY core styles.  This is one of my favorite outfits since I started this blog, which is really saying something!

The Only Ten I SeeSTYLELIXIR Style Sessions
pleated poppy
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Raisin Bran :-)

IMG_1196I have a meeting today; the “University Management Team Meeting” which means it’s the hundreds of people with titles at or above Director on campus.  That meant two things:  First, that I needed to look passingly decent, and second that I was going to have to hoof it to the far side of campus.  Those two considerations resulted in today’s outfit, which I smirkingly call Raisin Bran.

Both the pants and the cardigan are in a color that Coldwater Creek calls Raisin.  The light wasn’t cooperating, but the color is a deep red/purple/burgundy color that walks the line between that and brown.  I LOVE the color; it’s warm and rich but not overly assertive.  And MASSIVELY on sale if you like the styles.

  • Raisin Cardigan – Coldwater Creek
  • Raisin Ponte Trousers – Coldwater Creek
  • Raisin bracelet – Coldwater Creek (no longer on site)
  • Raisin necklace – Coldwater Creek (no longer on site)
  • Snake-print shell – Calvin Klein bought at Marshall’s
  • Josef Seibel black shoes

I know; the shoes are boring. But they are also comfortable and practical for walking to the other side of campus, which was really the priority here.

Next week I will get Thursday Threads going again.  It fell to the wayside for the holidays, but that is fixable!


Tuesday in Purple

Today’s outfit has two things I am loving right now.  The first is the purple purse you see over my shoulder.  It’s a Kate Spade, brand new, that I got for less than half it’s current price of $316 (a great price, but still pretty expensive for me).  It’s a gorgeous purple leather and is a terrific size for ensuring that I don’t carry too much crap around with me, but can still carry what I need.  My current plan is to carry it EVERYWHERE for a while!

The second is this shirt.  You can probably see it better in the 2nd shot (head on).  This top is a varient on the Abby Twist Front Top in size 3.  The print is no longer available (although when I went to get the link I saw the black polka-dot print and am REALLY tempted).

This shirt is a favorite because the shape is so wonderful.  It can be worn to work with a tank or something under it (more on that later) or out on a date with a sexy deep-v bra. The fabric is soft, stretch, and comfortable.  The shirt itself is incredibly flattering: it has a nice “belt” just under the bust and a flowy section below it over the tummy.  The result is great curves while hiding the parts that I personally am not happy about.

I wore this top with a pair of my black Coldwater Creek Ponte Knit jeans (ubiquitous, I know, but when you find a pair of basic work trousers that look great it’s worthwhile to buy several pairs).  They remain comfortable, easy to wear, good looking, and one less thing to worry about.

One of the other really cool things in this outfit is the “tank” under the top.  It’s cool because it isn’t a full tank: It stops just under the bust.  This piece is made by an Etsy seller, GettisAccessories.  She makes several different styles of tops to go UNDER other tops – specifically a tank style with a square-ish neck called a t-let, spagetti strap, and a crop top that has cap sleeves.  In each case, there is elastic that stops under the bust to hold the half shirt down, allowing you to have some additional coverage without the weight through the middle.  The size chart follows your bra size and goes up to an XXL (which goes up to a 44DDD on her chart).  Getti has been incredibly good about communicating; While she doesn’t always have items showing on etsy, she can make any size and is willing to do custom work for an extra $2, so just drop her a message.

The final touch was another necklace done by my artist friend, Susan.  She does gorgeous wire-wrapped jewelry using real stones or ceramic pieces.

Real Girl Style Link Up

A Colorful Thursday


The sweater I ordered from Talbots a couple of weeks ago showed up, and despite an expected temperature of 98 today I had to wear it.  I LOVE it.  Looking up close, there are so many terrific colors in it that I will be able to wear it in fresh new ways for years to come.  And since it’s cashmere, it’s also crazy soft….

I wore it with a thrifted hot pink tank.  I had gotten the tank to go with a skirt I had and found, when I got it home, that it wasn’t the right shade.  However at $2, it seemed enough of a basic to keep around.  I am so glad I did.

The pants are the same black ponte knit jean-style trousers from Coldwater Creek that I wear all the time (have I mentioned that, in addition to looking good, they are as comfy as yoga pants?) Looking at the sweater however, I can already tell I will wear it this winter with dark brown jeans as well and maybe my bright red pants.  I also have at least 2 skirts in solid shades of burnt orange and burgundy that are in here, so finding things to wear with this is not going to be an issue.

For shoes and accessories, I decided to pull the orange.  I went with a set of orange bangles on my wrist as my only jewelry.  (I felt as though a necklace might be a bit busy.)  For shoes, I also went with Orange in the form of these BOC (Born Open Concept) Orange Flower Sandals.  These are available on ebay.

Because of the classic line of this sweater and the brilliant color scheme, I chose to keep my bag tame today and pulled out an antique Coach Willis.  The image (right) is of the one on their site, which has silver hardware, and they have it listed for $298.  Mine, however, is considerably older.  The hardware is brass and I got it on ebay for $16.37 plus shipping.  It’s not quite as shiny and shows it’s age in the leather, but the seams are all solid, that hardware is in great shape, and the bag itself has a classic air that makes the wear not matter.

So, now I need more colors and styles of tanks to wear under the cardigan.  I’m not entirely happy with the fit of the one I’m wearing today (it’s a bit snug around my tummy, which makes me self-conscious) so I may have to go out and do some looking.

Expect to see a lot of this cardi this fall/winter!

Favorite Frock Friday