Cyber Monday Splurge a.k.a. The Last Pair of Shoes

I almost made it through the post turkey day shopping chaos without buying anything just because it's on sale. Almost!

It was a pair of cute leather congnac booties, with an additional $25 off their already reduced price that I could not resist.

The Jessii boot by Steve Madden was originally $130, and I got them for under $80. Fifty dollars is a very persuasive reduction, and of course I wish they were less, but it has become tremendously difficult to find leather boots - that I really like - for $50 or less. Even at TJMaxx, I'll pick up a cute boot, look at its $50 price tag, then read its "All Manmade Materials" stamp inside! If my desire for a leather boot means occasionally paying a little more, I think it's worth it.

The boots also mark the twelfth pair of shoes I've purchased this year, so if I'm going to be true to my New Years Resolution, I can not buy another pair until January. It's only one more month. I can do it.

Did you make it through the biggest shopping weekend of the year without damaging your bank account, or did you find some sales just too good to pass up?

"I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable."

I am never without a quest to find the perfect 'obsession of the moment' - a shoe, a hat, a coat - as soon as I find and purchase it, I almost immediately realize there is something else I must have.

Right now, it is a black velvet blazer. Rich, dark, and soft. Something with versatility to go from day to evening. The J.Crew/Banana Republic/Victoria's Secret options are beautiful but at $118 (sale), $152, and $98 (sale) they are a bit more than I want to spend.

The Urban Outfitters Silence and Noise boyfriend blazer is a little better at $78, as is their Urban Renewal one at $58.

Newport News has four velvet jackets, all $70 or less, and all of which have a weird detail that I hate: Patch Pockets, Satin Lapel, Charmeuse Accents, Bell Sleeves.

Forever 21 has a jacket for $30, but I fear an F21 version will be lacking in quality than can not be overlooked on such a piece. $30 is my ideal price point, but I'd probably go higher if I really loved it.
Clearly there is no shortage of black velvet blazers this season, but will I find one I love in both style and price?

And anytime I think about wearing velvet, I think about George Costanza. Jump to the five minute mark and enjoy!

Where can I find these damask print tights?

Whilst browsing the polyvore pages I spotted these uber cool metallic damask print tights. Sadly they are from Oasis, a european store which, as far as I can tell, doesn't offer its goods to the USA.

So I began searching everywhere I could think of to find, if not the same, than an equally awesome pair I could get here.

At Anthropologie they have a pair that is very subdued as prints go, a black opaque tight with a black design that is equally spaced around the leg in quadrants. They are $18.

Emilio Cavallini has a pair called the Damask Boudior Tights, which I prefer to the Anthro ones because of their bold, contrasty, all over design. They come in both red and black, and are $22.

Ebay has these leggings, which are rather unimpressive, but I'm including them because I found so few options.

And that's it! That's all I could find after checking F21, Urban Outfitters, ModCloth, Free People, Hue, and a bunch of others.

So if anyone knows where I can get the awesome metallic damask tights, I'd love to know!

Sea of Sequins

It seems that you enter a single store this winter without be bombarded by sequins. Every possible surface that could be affixed with a shiny plastic disc, has about 100.

My magpie like tenancies cause me to covet nearly everyone of these glittering items, and I keep telling myself I need to resist.

I did allow myself a $13 indulgence with this sequin beret by the California Hat Co., but I now know that Forever 21 has a similar hat for $7.80. Darn.

Here are another 20 items all equally saturated with sequins, hand picked from the millions out there. Needless to say, I want them all.

Plaid Strapless Dress

I purchased this cute plaid dress from American Eagle last fall, with the knowledge that it would need some work before it was wearable. So it sat in my closet, collecting dust until I finally took the initiative to transform it into something I could actually wear.

Strapless things which rely on structure rather than stretch are always tricky for me, because I have to buy a size up to fit my bust and then take in the waist. Fortunately, alterations are something I feel comfortable doing myself, partly because of years of experience, and mostly because the dress was only $13 (so if I managed to completely botch the job I could get over the loss pretty quickly).

In addition to taking in the waist, I also needed to shorten the dress about 4". The original hem line had a really beautiful blind hem, but since I struggle with those, I just did a regular hemline in pink thread, so it felt like it was showing more intentionally.

The final issue with the strapless plaid dress is the fact that it is a winter dress. So here are some thoughts on how to warm it up!
Red pumps from Nine West, gold shrug from H&M, necklace by Daisy Fuentes at Kohls, and trying out some navy socks with my heels!

red plaid dress, turquoise blazer, pink flats
My love affair with turquoise and red continues with this corduroy blazer from TJMaxx. Pink flats from bakers and the super trendy mulit chain necklace are what I'm wearing today!

This is one of those instances when I was looking at a fashion magazine where they throw pretty much anything on and it somehow looks good and then I try to emulate that and it sort of fails.
The satin bell sleeve button down with the peep toe pumps (both from kohls) were making me feel the sexy librarian vibe, so I threw on my glasses that I never, ever wear.

Motorcycle Jacket

My $20 motorcycle jacket from Target has arrived!
What I like is, as faux leather goes, it has a believable appearance. I like that it has a full lapel on both sides so you can zip it all the way to the top, or leave it wide open, and the lapel will adjust.

On the down side, the jacket isn't lined, so I'll have to wear lots of layers if I don't want to wait until spring to wear it. It's also shorter than I thought it would be -- it looks short on the model, but I know she's about 6" taller than me, so I was surprised when it hit my waist at the same spot.

Styled it really quickly for a photo - love it with the endless scarf and gloves, pretty happy with the mustard cords, but the suede fringe boots don't work at all.

Also put together two more looks with a lovely polyvore collage.

I also noticed that Express has a similar jacket, and that they stopped making their leather jackets out of leather and cleverly renamed them (Minus the Leather) Jacket. Funny, this didn't seem alter their prices much. Their "leather" jacket is lined and does come with a fun detachable fur collar, but for $118 is it worth it?


Socks with heels. Socks with boots. Socks over tights. Socks with sandals. Socks with flats.

Do you let your socks play a main roll in your outfit? Would you wear them with your peep-toe pumps? How about bright, printed, and fishnet socks?

With tights, I would answer a resounding 'yes' to everything, but with socks I feel a bit more reserved.

I think I'd like to be a bit more experimental with my socks, and my toes might end up being a little less cold this winter.

Layered Cardigans

Layered Cardigans, originally uploaded by LyddieGal.

I've been seeing layered cardigans in magazines and catalogs lately, and have been wanting to try it. This is my most successful attempt, because both cardigans are pretty thin, and I opted for tights over pants.

Previously attempts yielded rather lumpy looks, where it just felt like there was too much fabric. Magazine models with their super thin limbs can pull off the chunky knit in multiple layers, but not me!

I feel these cardigans work because the deep v on the navy cardigan keeps the lines long, the cropped (and rolled-up) sleeves expose the arms and balance out the very covered neck, and the tights, rather than pants allow for a clean line.

I may have gone overboard with three patterns in one outfit (I blame my recent Ugly Betty marathon), but they are all fairly neutral, as patterns go.

Lucky Mags website has some cardigan layering suggestions, which are very different than my own, so you could check those out too.

Asymetrical Hem Top (or dress)

grey asymmetrical top, black leather boots

I am always more likely to take a chance on something if it's $10 or less; that way, if I wear it once and decide I can't pull it off, I don't feel guilty about it.

I found this top at TJMaxx and thought it's uneven hemline could be really cool as a dress, however it is somewhat of an ambiguous length - probably meant to be a top, but since I'm so short it's almost long enough to wear as a dress.

Rather than wait for next summer to figure it out, I decided to winterize the dress by putting a long sleeve shirt underneath, thick knit tights and knee high boots. With my leather jacket on I was practically sweating.

I really like it as a dress, but I need to think of some other ways to wear it, both now and during the summer.

It's kind of like saving money, only it's spending money

Great news, the faux leather motorcycle jacket at Target is on sale for $19.99! As if $30 wasn't a good deal all on it's own.

Unfortunately my local target only has sizes xs and xl in stock, so I had to order it online.

And in order to get free shipping you have to spend $50. I'm not going to just pay $7 to ship something if there is the possibility of getting it for free. So I thought I'd just throw in a pair of their cute boots for $30 and be all set. However the boots weren't really $30, they were 29.99, and that meant my total was only 49.98 which in Target land means no free shipping for you.

I then spent about an hour trying to find something else, anything else to buy, anything to get my free shipping! But I was stuck.

Then I remembered Amazon wishlists, and my wonderful friends and family who actually keep theirs up to date. Since Target sells many of the same things, I ditched the boots I wasn't completely in love with and got Christmas shopping done instead.

More about my new jacket in 5-7 business days.

Adorable and Affordable Little Black Dress

I make no apologies for my complete girlyness. I love bows. I love frills. I love lace. When I spotted this lacy black dress in the mark book for only $30, I didn't even go through my usual debate*, I just bought it.

It's a nice soft jersey, the waist line is accentuated, the hem falls above my knee (yay, no extra work shortening it!), the lace is super sexy, and it's got a cute key hole on the back.

At the core, it's a pretty simple dress, so I can see pairing it with a cardigan and some heavy tights or boots and wearing it casually as well.

I feel like Avon isn't on many people's radars, but they do have many trendy, affordable offerings. Check out the Ace of Lace Dress.

*My usual debate is quantifying cuteness with dollars, e.g. "Are these shoes really $50 cute, or are they only $30 cute?"

$78? Naw, I like $3.26 better.

I received an email from Kohls with a $10 Kohl's Cash coupon in it. (I would post it here for everyone, but it was exclusive to my local Kohl's).

I know this ploy. Offer me free money so that I will go into the store and spend more money than I normally would, just because I know I'm getting the $10 off.

Well, Kohl's, you don't know who you're dealing with. I found this cute dress by Simply Vera on the clearance rack. Originally $78 (ummm, it's made of polyester, what is so $78 about that?) marked down to $15.60. I had a 15% off coupon, plus the $10 - bringing my total to a nice $3.26. Can't beat that.
Now onto important matters, like the shoes, tights, cardigan, and jewelry to wear with it!
Shoes - Mia Davis T-Strap - Endless, $38.47
Tights - Mesh Dot - Urban Outfitters, $14.00
Cardigan - Textured Stripe Sweater - Charlotte Russe, $21.99
Bangle - Peacock - Forever 21, $5.80

Snag Her Style

Waiting for the T

I took this photo nearly two years ago and stumbled upon it while searching my phone for something today.

Almost not surprisingly, I still love this girl's style, the sweater dress, the skinny jeans, the mustard top (and wasn't she so ahead of this mustard trend)!

So I recreated the outfit and decided to give Polyvore a bit more of my attention. (I really prefer doing my photo collages in photoshop, but linkability of Polyvore has it's advantages)

Sadly this isn't one of my 'under $100' outfits, the darn sweater dress is $85 at ModCloth, and after that I decided it wouldn't even be worth trying - but no individual pieces are over $100 at least!

In love with studs

Studded items are in abundance lately, and I can get enough. Studs are a great way to add shine, texture and dimension to an outfit, while allowing you to indulge yourself in the 'tough biker chick' or rock star clothing fantasy.

Most studded articles are tame enough to incorporate in to your everyday attire without seeming like you're in costume - except of course for what I bought - the black leather fingerless gloves. Because they wont actually be keeping me warm in the winter, I have no idea when I am going to wear them.

All I can say is, I tried them on three times in the last month before I finally caved and bought them. When I didn't see them right away and I got worried someone else already bought them, I knew I would have non-buyers remorse if I didn't.

P.S. Add studs to stuff you've already got with these cool iron on studs! I can't seem to find them for online purchase, but I know they are in both Joann Fabrics and Michael's Crafts. To make it a super cheap buy, get yourself a 40% off coupon from the newspaper or online.