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Posts from — November 2010

My 10 Fashion Rules

Who are you? What do you like? And, more importantly, does what you like look good on you? Let’s face it: the cute, sexy, comfy factor of certain outfits sometimes blinds us to what really looks good. Sick of hearing my husband say, ‘You’re wearing that?’, I finally asked him why he didn’t like said outfit. Turns out all those cute, flowy dresses and tops really make me look like…ummm…thick. Of course, he didn’t say that, he actually said, “I just think you look better in more fitted dresses.” You know what, he was right!

Obviously the following are MY rules, you’ll have your own. But, by having them, you can streamline your shopping and truly buy clothing that not only looks good on you but fits well and complements your figure.

1. I only buy what I really love. Sometimes I fall in love with an item that just doesn’t look good on me. So, I guess my rule is that I must love it AND it must look good on me. I know the styles that really flatter my figure and try to steer clear of clothing that doesn’t.

2. I never buy immediately. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to a saved online shopping cart only to wonder why I selected the items I did.

3. If I obsess over an item, I buy it. If I can’t get something off my mind, I buy it (even at full price), end of story. I’ve never regretted a purchase made this way, and surprisingly, I don’t obsess over many items.

4. I ignore sizes. I’ve been shopping with family members who refuse to try on anything bigger than their “size” even if their “size” doesn’t fit. Who cares what the tag says? Get over it. As I said in this post about finding clothing that fits on ebay, sometimes I even size up!

5. I alter almost everything. Love the skirt but it’s too long? Have it altered. Jeans: I have some hemmed to wear with flats and some I leave long to wear with heels. No matter how much you spend on something, if it doesn’t fit right, it won’t look as good as it could. Alterations turn so-so fitting items into rock stars!

6. I always look for the discount. I buy 90 percent of my clothing online. Before I buy, I seek out discounts. Most of the big retailers offer free shipping and free returns (or you can return at the retail location). Some only offer free shipping at certain times. I subscribe to the online retailers’ email lists to ensure I know about current discounts. In addition, sites such as RetailMeNot and Indigo Acorn offer updated lists of discounts in alpha order. Or, Google search the name of the store + discount.

7. I’m not a clothing snob. I feel just as comfortable wearing a dress from Wal-Mart as I do carrying a Tory Burch handbag. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to look good. However, I don’t like to wear items covered with logos, it’s just not me. I prefer someone notice something I’m wearing based on the fit and style rather than based on who made it.

8. I invest in the classics. On the other hand, there’s a reason designer items are priced the way they are. The quality is amazing. One of my first designer purchases was a black, cashmere Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. That was 10 years ago. I still wear that dress. I have no problem spending money on classic, well-made items that will last me a lifetime.

9. I love accessories. In a future post, I’m going to show you how accessories can make a plain tee shirt and jeans crackle and pop! If your budget is tight, look for accessories to fill in your wardrobe holes. A wide belt can dress up a cardigan; a statement necklace can transform a black sheath dress; a scarf can bring life to a tee shirt and jeans.

10. I always do my research. People wonder how I know so much about designers, trends and fashion. Easy–I’m passionate about it. I read magazines, I study websites, I look for inspiration and I experiment. No, I don’t spend hours trying on items in my closet to see what mixes with what; but I do plan it all in my head! And, I rip out pages from magazines and keep an inspiration book. My favorite magazines are InStyle, People Stylewatch, Allure, Vogue, Marie Claire and Lucky.

What are your fashion rules?

November 30, 2010   4 Comments

Ebay: How to Find Clothes That Fit

A healthy portion of my wardrobe has been purchased on ebay. Many people are hesitant to buy clothing via auction–don’t be! It’s a treasure trove of great finds, from vintage jackets to designer dresses. And, you can always resell an item that just doesn’t work–either back on ebay or at a consignment store. Heck, I’ve made some mistakes. But, for the most part, I’ve had great luck getting designer deals. That’s because I do my homework. Here are some tips for checking the fit of an ebay item:

1. Know your measurements. Don’t do this yourself. You must have someone well versed in body measurements, such as your local tailor or seamstress, take these measurements. On ebay, most vendors will list measurements allowing you to figure out whether or not the item will fit you. Forget about size. Even if you always wear a size 10 in J. Crew, you may be bidding on an item from a couple years ago when sizes were less consistent.

2. Size up rather than down. I do this all the time with mini skirts, even off of ebay. Stores like Ann Taylor Loft and J. Crew are featuring tons of mini skirts that are just too short for my taste. However, I’ve found that if I order one size up, I can sit the skirt on my hips and it hangs low enough to be comfortable. Then, I have it altered to fit in the hips. This works for most items: pants, skirts, dresses and even jackets.

3. Know the cost of alterations. Some alterations are more expensive than others. The cheapest: taking in a waist or hemming a skirt/dress/pants. Factor these costs into what you are willing to pay. For example, that size 12 leather jacket is cute, but if you generally wear a size 6, you’ll pay a fortune to have it altered and even then only so much can be done. One size too big is generally easy to alter. It’s much harder to make something bigger or to take it down more than two sizes.

4. Try it on. I wrote about this in my last how-to-use-ebay post.  If you’re looking for current items from a particular brand, say J Brand jeans, go to a retail store, try on the item and mark down the size and style. I buy most of my jeans on ebay and found that Citizens of Humanity is very consistent with sizing. J Brand is not. And, with jeans, the stretch plays a factor. If the jeans are a thick, stiff material, size up. You’ll have to ask the seller for details about that.

5. Know your size. If you generally take a size 4 in Gap skirts, you can pretty much bet that a size 4 will fit you. Of course, sizes are inconsistent so you always have to check measurements. My size varies with different retailers, so I keep a list and check it when I see an item I want to buy.

Of course, size isn’t everything. Sometimes something will fit perfectly and just not work for you. That’s why it’s important to be selective with what you buy online or on an auction site and with what you pay.

November 29, 2010   1 Comment

Game Day–Go Noles!

Big Game: Florida vs. Florida State

Our family is firmly divided. My sister and her family are Gator fans; we’re Noles!

November 27, 2010   Comments Off on Game Day–Go Noles!

A Little Post-Black Friday Shopping

I skipped the Black Friday crowds to stay home and decorate the house. All that’s left to do is get the trees up and decorated. However, with my sister and her family in town, I won’t skip shopping today. I like this outfit because it’s loose and comfortable, but also easy to get on and off in case I want to do a little “one for you, one for me!” shopping today.

Denim Shirt Dress from Gap (old). Similar shirtdress here

Belt from Gap (0ld). Similar belt from Anthropologie here

Boots from Banana Republic bought on ebay last year. Similar Steve Madden boots here

Bracelets: Vintage Tortoise Shell Bakelite bought at Rennigers’ Antique Flea Market. Similar Tortoise Shell Bakelite bracelets here on ebay

November 27, 2010   3 Comments

Break Out the Sweats!

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Happy Thanksgiving Magpie Readers! Hope you have a day filled with scrumptious food and loving family.

While I would love to be wearing comfy sweats to Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a fashion don’t! But, this outfit is the next best thing. It’s very similar to the one I’ll be wearing today.  The pants are super stretchy so I can sit comfortably through a very large meal! The top is loose and flats are a must.

November 25, 2010   2 Comments

Holiday Outfit Ideas: Rose Red

Personally, I never find it difficult to dress for the holidays–one advantage of my attraction to all things shiny, velvet and jeweled! I put together several outfits for the holidays and will post each one separately.

This outfit is perfect for a work event. Simple and elegant.
Take off the necklaces and switch out the jeweled sandals for black pumps
and you can wear it during the day.

Magpie Styling Tip: Layer several bling-y necklaces together to give an otherwise plain outfit some pop.

Top: Ann Taylor Classic Wrap Top, no longer available in red
Pants: Paris Gordon Crepe-back Silk Katherine Pants. I’ve had these for six years and have worn them with a million different outfits. They have a slight sheen but not so shiny that you
can’t wear them to work.
Necklaces: Shorter one: Banana Republic Garland Necklace from last season. Similar here.
Shoes: Ann Taylor Jeweled Heels from last season

November 22, 2010   Comments Off on Holiday Outfit Ideas: Rose Red

Holiday Casual

Holiday Casual
Holiday Casual by FLWritergirl featuring a wrap sandal
I’m on a tear this weekend! This is my first polyvore set. Several of you have asked for holiday outfits so I took some photos and am going to put together some sets. This outfit is so simple and it shows how you can layer a sequin tank top over a plain white button down. It add polish and is perfect for a casual holiday get together. I like to add a little bit of color to outfits. So, I added the red sandal. I might add a red bracelet as well.

November 21, 2010   Comments Off on Holiday Casual

Outfit Copy Cat

I love Jessica Quirk’s blog What I Wore. I saw the outfit she posted on her site and realized I had all the elements to copy it! I added a little twist of my own with a caramel-colored belt and booties.

Top: JCrew Navy and White Gingham Blouse (bought last year)
Cardigan: Gap Olive Cardigan, bought in-store with 30% off!
Belt: Ann Taylor Loft
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind Zoe Flare Jeans, Similar Here
Booties: J Crew Cadogan Bootie in Toffee, bought on eBay

November 21, 2010   Comments Off on Outfit Copy Cat

Weekly Loves! Anthropologie

When it was time to decorate my office, I went straight to Anthropologie (and Renningers!) for unique, vintage items. I know I’ll find a treasure, whether clothing, jewelry or decorative items.
Here are my current favorites!

I love the color and the unique suede pom poms. 
I’d wear these with tights, a cute denim skirt and a slouchy sweater.

The next is the Haute Skirt.
Simple, classic and hip. This skirt would look awesome with a black turtleneck and a camel belt.
Love that you can wear this with velvet pants for the holidays or jeans for a night out.
Again, love this color. It’s a great way to wear color but it’s very neutral.

I love that this Mantle Dynamics dress is very Angelina Jolie.
 And, of course, Anthro always have some kitchy, odd items.
A doily on  necklace?
And, this necklace is just plain spooky!

November 20, 2010   Comments Off on Weekly Loves! Anthropologie

Pop of Color

All photos by Michelle Stromberg

Do you feel pressured to wear more color but don’t feel comfortable dressing in it head to toe? To me, color is great but not necessary. There are plenty of celebs (and us regular folks) who manage to look pulled together and stylish in a wardrobe of neutrals. Jennifer Aniston comes to mind. In fact, nine times out of 10 I reach for black. There’s a reason women the world over stick to black as a wardrobe staple: it looks chic, it’s slimming and it goes with everything!

My advice: Rather than wear colors that don’t feel comfortable to you, add little pops of color to your outfits with accessories. Ann Taylor Loft has a super cute fuchsia flower belt right now. Wear it with a black skirt and chambray button down.
And, I love these Amrita bangles (only $68 for 30 bangles). Add a colorful vintage brooch to the neck of a halter as I did in this post; or to the pocket or breast of a blazer. Another way to add color: Wear a patterned scarf or carry a colored purse.
If you’re intent on incorporating color, experiment with a darker palette of navy, plum and deep red. I love the look of navy with black, now a fashion do! Also, consider grey instead of black and camel instead of brown. Both look fresh but are still neutral.

Here’s how I worked color into a plain black dress (albeit a leather dress, see below for the story of the dress–there’s always a story.) By the way, neons and bright color accessories like these were shown on the Spring runways.

My Diva Pose:)

The Outfit Deets
Dress: OK, the dress is the DVF Della dress in leather. I first wrote about it here. But, it was just a tad (actually more like 5 tads) out of my price range. So, I stalked it and when I finally got a coupon for the DVF Friends and Family sale, I combined the discount with a store credit that I’ve been holding onto for a year, and pounced. I’m glad I did. It’s a classic wrap style, not too short and even though it’s leather it’s not crazy leather–meaning it’s subtle, not slutty. I know I will wear this dress for years.

My Fashion Rule.
Not only that, but one of my fashion rules is that if I can’t stop thinking about an item after a couple weeks, then it was truly meant to be mine! Trust me, this really works. I’ve saved must-have items in my virtual shopping cart and forgotten about them the next day only to go back and think, “Why did I even like that?”
On the flip side, there are items that I just can’t get off my mind, and I’ll plan endless variations of how I’ll wear those items. And, that happens less frequently than you’d think.
Shoes: DVF Eva Suede with Silk Ankle Wraps in Citron. I know this seems like an impractical color but it really isn’t. I will wear these shoes like I would a neutral shoe, with both blacks and browns.
Bangles: Luc Kieffer Paris Bangles bought on eBay. I love that they are chunky and bright.

November 19, 2010   Comments Off on Pop of Color