Couture Cheapskate is 50!

Fifty posts old that is!

So in honor of Couture Cheapskate's milestone, I am picking the 5 things I have written about over the last seven months that I think each of you out there reading this should buy...if you haven't already!

  1. Black Bandage High Waist Skirt -- It shouldn't really be a surprise seeing how I have posted this entry twice.  I also know others who have bought this skirt and have been equally satisfied.  So it is not just in my humble opinion but I will say I told you so!
  2. The Most Amazing Belt Ever -- Since buying the original black, I have bought another in animal print and another in red.  Such an easy way to take your outfit from basic to polished.  Plus, you get so many options for a very inexpensive cost.  Wear at your waist, at your hips and everywhere else in between.
  3. Buy These Boots Now and Save Them For Later -- These boots have been the footwear to many CC posts.  I will also tell you that every time I wear these boots, people always swear they are designer.  So I stand behind them 2 months later as a solid CC find.  I have worn them dressy to casual and have been super comf every time.
  4. Dramatic Ruffled Sweater -- I just think this sweater is really cute and hits the CC nail right on its head.  You get an interesting detail that makes the sweater a little more special and a lot more stylish than your average v-neck.  Not to mention it can go daytime to evening for maximum versatility.
  5. Fall Firsts: Perfect Tight -- What can I say?  I love this tight especially because I have been looking for a pair just like them for the last year...finally.  Tights can be a love / hate relationship so to find a pair you love really is an accomplishment and something worth celebrating.
So there you have it, my faves from the first 50!  Thank you for reading and all of your positive support. 

Looking forward to the next 50 on the cheap and chic!


Fall Firsts: The Perfect Tight

So every Fall comes those dreaded rituals where you know cooler temperatures are inevitable.  For me, the two things that indicate Fall has fallen are:

1.  The first time I turn on my heat
2.  The first time I wear tights

I have to be honest, I love tights, however, I also love warm weather and am a bit blue when I know tight weather is here to stay.  Much to my delight the new pair of tights I broke out yesterday ended up being the exact tight I had been looking for unsuccessfully all last season.

Donna Karan Hosiery The Signature Collection
Perfect Opaque in Black
$18 at barenecessities.com

It is hard to capture the essence of a tight so I will tell you why I am so excited about them for the upcoming cold weather.  They are totally opaque and a uniform black all over.  What I don't like about certain tights is how in some areas they stretch and are lighter than in other areas.  These are totally black all over.  I would say like a legging but they are more thin like a nylon?  They have a bit of a sheen which I like as well.

The only thing I can say is I can feel myself falling in love with them and when I get this feeling I know I have a winner.  So you ladies out there looking to replace your hosiery for the season, I recommend giving these a try.

I wish I could take credit for discovering these but it was my Sissy (sister-in-law) who made the find.  I am forever grateful to her and you will be too!

CC Tip:  Size up.

Cobalt Blue Pumps: Bold & Basic

Last year I fell in love with a pair of shoes my brother and sister-in-law gave me for Christmas.  They were a stunning cobalt blue suede pump.  I was shocked how much I wore them and how they went with everything in my closet. Cobalt blue is the perfect pop of color to any otherwise neutral outfit.  So get your blacks, greys and navies ready for a bright burst of blue coming their way!

Not the pair I have but very similar and equally versatile
Pompadour Pump by Charles David
$124.95 at endless.com

I guess I am not the only person who discovered last year just how complementary a pair of cobalt blue shoes can be to a woman's wardrobe because now they are popping up everywhere!  So lucky for us CCs, we can find a cobalt blue shoe at every price and every heel height to add into our shoe repertoire.


L to R:  "Celebrity" Flat by Mojo Moxy To Buy   
"Lorita" Flat by Nine West To Buy
$59.95 and $68.95 both at endless.com

Although neither flat is just a basic, my opinion is anytime you do a flat it should be a little fun.  And since ruffles and feathers are two hot trends, why not incorporate them onto your footwear?  Not only will the cobalt blue color jazz up your black skinny pants, the extra detail will make your outfit that much more stylish.  Cool color + interesting detail + stylish comfort = total CC dressing.

Kitten Heels

L to R: Closed Toe Velvet Heel at gojane.com To Buy
"Tamana" Pump by Jessica Simpson at endless.com To Buy
$18.00 and $69.00

A kitten heel could be my favorite heel height.  You get the lift of a high heel combined with the comfort of an almost flat.  You look polished and feminine without sacrificing a lot of comfort.  This style and heel height will work well into your professional wardrobe as sky high heels may be too much in some work environments.  But don't leave them home on a Friday night either! Kitten heels can be equally chic for an evening out.

High Heels

L to R: "Serena" Pump by ZiGiny To Buy 
"Odette" Platform by Calvin Klein To Buy
$79.95 and $128.95 at endless.com

I will be the first to tell you there are more exciting cobalt blue high heels out there but I wanted to show two options that are realistically wearable and versatile.  I like the Calvin Klein platform pair because the platform adds height and but does not sacrifice comfort because it lessens the heel shaft.  These are the shoes to break out when you need not only a pop of color but an eye-catching outfit.  I like these two pairs because they bring the show stop but are still classy.  To see more funky or daring options, see the CC Tip below.

I had to add these Shooties because I love them and think they are an option if you are looking to really diversify your shoe collection and want to do something different.

  "Dole" Pump by Plenty by Tracy Reese
$99.00 at endless.com To Buy

Any of these shoes shown above should work back to the black pants (full and skinny legs), jeans and leggings in your wardrobe.  My favorite option is a flat or high heel back to a medium wash boyfriend jean.  I would steer clear of two things with cobalt blue shoes: dark denim and tights.  Not enough and too much color contrast.

I would say investing in a cobalt blue shoe is the same as investing in any other basic shoe color, except that it is more fun and more eye-catching.

CC Tip:  Endless.com is a user friendly website if you are looking for a specific style, brand or color shoe.  You can search by all of the above and keep narrowing your options until you have your perfect shoe selected from thousands of options across multiple price ranges.  Plus they usually offer free overnight shipping and returns as well great sales

Hint:  Some of the shoes shown above are actually 30% off the full-price! 


Spooky Treat AND Fall Candle Magic In One!

The end of October is quickly approaching and with that can only mean one thing...Yankee Candle is putting their Halloween candles on sale!

One of my favorite scents no matter the time of year is their Candy Corn Candle and you can only get it once a year, so when it goes on sale 50% off it is the perfect time to stock-up!

Candy Corn Medium Jar
$9.99 at yankeecandle.com

I know sometimes people don't like to buy seasonal candles close to the end of the season because they figure they won't use them.  If this is your concern, then buy the votive for $1.  Or...you can buy a medium jar for half off now and save it for next year when everyone else is paying $20 bucks.  Although, like my philosophy candy corn shower gel, if you want to burn the candle now and don't get through all of it by November 1, you won't mind the sweet scent out of season.


Day #4 and #5 of Couture Cheapskate Abroad

Sad...my Mexican vacation is officially done and gone.  Nothing all that exciting to report during the final two days except that we made it home safe and sound sporting a little late Fall tan.

I did want to share a couple things that those traveling over the next few months will enjoy on any upcoming trip no matter where your travels take you.

Two Beauty Buys:

  1.  Clean & Clear Morning Burst In-Shower Facial:  I am trying to be a million times better about putting sunscreen on my face and when you add the salt water from the ocean, chlorine from the pool and sweat from sitting out in the sun for most the afternoon, your face is quite the cakey mess of goop.   I love the microbeads of this cleanser because they make you feel like you are really getting in there and wiping the grime away leaving your skin exfoliated and smooth.  Even better is that at Target you can find travel size bottles for around $1.  To Buy
  2. fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish:  While this is not a product I actually brought with me on the trip, I couldn't help but mention it because the sand in Cabo reminded me of brown sugar.  Which of course in some sick way just made me crave sweets?  I know most people do not have opinions on sand but this was seriously the best sand ever!  Sand is a natural exfoliant albeit not always the least abrasive.  So if you are looking for a suitable and luxurious alternative, try the Brown Sugar Body Polish.  It is the perfect trifecta: natural, sweet and invigorating.  To Buy
Having a week off to do nothing but eat chips and pico de gallo, when I wasn't eating, my nose was basically buried in a book.  I page-turned through 2 books pretty quickly and thought I would offer them as a recommendation for anyone who wants a quick, fun and painless read...where you don't really learn anything and are okay with that. 

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

This book is by the author who wrote In Her Shoes and if you didn't read the book, you may have seen the movie starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette.  It's the story of 2 former BFFs who reconnect and go on a road trip.  Very far-fetched and corny, but you will get through it very quickly which is all we really want from a vacation book, isn't it?

Last Night At Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

So I guess I was on a kick for authors who have had their books turned into movies.  This book is by the same woman who wrote The Devil Wears Prada and like Prada, this book follows along the same lines of dropping pop culture references and a plucky, too-good-to-be-true heroine.   You will not feel like a rocket scientist after reading but you will probably find yourself relatively entertained.  The perfect poolside reading.

So there you have it!  A recap of all things Couture Cheapskate vacation.  In case you were curious, the model and I did not wear any of the same swimsuits (thank goodness) and I only had 1 margarita the whole trip.  My tropical drink of choice was half pina colada and half strawberry daiquiri.  Apparently this is called a Miami Vice?  I never knew?

I am happy to be home and hunting for more Fall fashion.


Day #2 and #3 of Couture Cheapskate Abroad

I would like to tell you all has been smooth sailing from here in Mexico, but that would be false. 

So far we have had:
  • a dead wave runner a half a mile offshore in the Sea of Cortez
  • what we think to be a baby shark swimming in our swim area
  • me being stung by a "yellow fish" on my foot
  • a kayak malfunction which resulted in a beach full of mocking applause when we righted ourselves
And worst of all...having a model show up to the pool wearing the miniature version of the same neon yellow bikini I was wearing.

In general, I try not to be too over the top with my swimsuit choices, but I figured why not be a little more fiesta than usual in a different country where no one knows me.   As much as it was margarita salt in the wounds that the odds she and I would be at the same pool in Mexico, on the same day in similar versions of the same neon yellow bikini, I had to hand it to the model's Couture Cheapskate ways. 

You see, she and I both know Victoria's Secret is the best place to get fun and affordable swimwear off-season.  And while she looked like she stepped out of the pages of the catalog and me not so much, we both have what I perceive to be great taste!  Although mine being much more modest.

Thank goodness there were two pools where we could each be Queen of The Neon Yellow Bikini and avoid any awkard fashion run-ins / potential side-by-side comparisons.


Reason To Splurge #2 -- DVF Wrap Dress

I live for all things Diane von Furstenberg mainly because I never met a print and a knit I didn't like but also because her legendary wrap dress is a fashion icon for a reason.

DVF "Jeanne" Silk Jersey Wrap Dress
$325 at Bloomingdales

Why It Is Worth The Investment:  There may not be any other silhouette that is as flattering to a woman's body than that of a wrap dress.  The v-neck and tie at the waist lengthen your torso and accentuate your waistline for maximum femininity.  Generally the prints used are in patterns that camouflage your areas of concern and flatter everywhere else.  Diane designs for a woman and not a stick thin model so her clothes make you feel feminine and powerful.  That being said, her clothes run small so size up at least 1 to 2 sizes.  Last but not least, the knit dresses are super comfortable and make the perfect non-wrinkle item to toss in a bag or travel with.  I have tried wrap dresses from other designers and I swear to you, nothing beats DVF.

DVF "Justin" Silk Jersey Wrap Dress

How You Can Keep Your CC Status:  I am not one of those people who collects clothes with the notion that one day I will pass them down to my future kids or they will be collector's pieces but I steadily find myself building a DVF wrap dress collection.  Mainly because the dresses are timeless and last forever.  Some of mine I have had for 4+ years and they still look brand new after 16 seasons of wear and tear.  Even though the prints are bold they also withstand the test of time. Diane's prints run from classic to funky so pick a fabric that represents you and will for years to come.  For me it is animal print and neon yellow.  What I also love is the fabrication can be worn 4 seasons and in all climates.

Side note:  Every Fall, DVF does an animal print wrap dress.  Men love it.  I have no idea why but every time I wear mine, some gentleman will comment on how he likes my dress.  And I really think he is being sincere and not a slime bucket. I think it is the perfect combo of sass and class.

You will have your wrap dress for decades and 10 years from now, when you take it out of your closet it will still be the chic icon it is today.

CC Tip: DVF wrap dresses always go on sale eventually so keep tabs on the patterns you are coveting. If your exact size is not available, you can always go up or down a size and adjust the tie at the waist.  If given the choice, I always size up.


Hola! Me llamo es Couture Cheapskate!

Originally I thought I would not have internet access in Mexico, but phew, I do and can therefore keep everyone posted on Couture Cheapskate's fashion adventures in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I was worried about not knowing enough Spanish to get by and have found myself in a couple situations where not sharing the same language has created a mini-barrier.  But rest assured, not enough of a barrier for the international female faux pas.  Circa 10 minutes after check-in, the female concierge asked me if I was pregnant in perfect ingles.

I am not. 

I will say I was wearing an outfit that invites the question: leggings and oversized top. My husband and I agreed maybe she was just showing precaution before suggesting rough, adventurous physical activities i.e. ATV tours and zip lining.

She was polite enough to then say "I'm sorry."  I would love to tell you this has not happened to me before, but it has.  This adventure has reminded me it always impolite in any language to ask such a question no matter what someone is wearing.  Dios mio.

CC Tip:  Leggings and oversize loose tops can be a fashion trap.  Although super comfortable, not flattering and potentially can be perceived as maternity clothes.  Yikes.


Dramatic Ruffled Sweater

I get more compliments on this sweater than any other new piece of clothing I added to my wardrobe this Fall.  To be honest, I know why.  It's amazing.

Side Ruffle V-Neck Sweater
$49.90 at The Limited and thelimited.com
To Buy

What I Like:  When the CC Crew hit the mall a few weeks ago, two out of the three of us bought this sweater because we could not get over the value.  It is a lot of sweater for less than $50.  First of all, the ruffle is nice and full.  It does not look cheap or hang weird in real life.  Also, for being merino wool, the fabric is soft and even for people who have sensitive skin like myself, it does not itch.  The v-neck is flattering and feminine.  But watch out!  It is cut a little low, so it is perfect if you want to be a little risque.  Opt for a cami underneath in a professional environment or if you are more busty.  Luckily The Limited sells camis dyed with the same color to match perfectly.

What I Wear It With:  Like most everything I buy, I want most of my tops to work back to black pants as well as denim.  Such is the case with this sweater.  The sweater is more fitted than it looks in the picture so I recommend pairing it back to a more full bottom.  It is a great top for when you want to look polished but not necessarily dressed-up.  Looking forward to the holidays...this sweater is a great option for Thanksgiving and holiday parties.  Stick with just earrings for jewelry because the ruffle is enough drama for one neckline.

Believe me, you will get quite a few compliments.  I always think a sign of a good CC find is when I wear something to work and people try to guess the much more expensive designer as they did with this sweater.

CC Tip:  On the hanger this sweater looks a lot bigger than it really is when on the body.  Stick with your usual size.  This could be a sweater you own in multiple colors i.e. I think I am going back for the black.   


Spooky Sunday Treat For A Good Cause!

Sometimes it is hard to find time to do all the charitable things we would like, but by purchasing one of these spooky shoes, you are highlighting a fashion trend that never goes out of style...helping others.

For those of you who have not seen the TOMS shoes commercials, TOMS was founded by a contestant on the TV show The Amazing Race.  When Blake Mycoskie traveled through Argentina on the show, he was moved by the local children who had no shoes.  To help these children, he developed TOMS, a company that for every pair of shoes sold, the company would then donate a pair of TOMS to a child in need.

 Beaumont Skull Velvet Slip-on

For those of you who find velvet and skulls a little much for your feet, there are other skull options that although still spooky are a little more friendly ghost than scary goblin.

Both shoes $95 at Cusp.com

These shoes may not be the most fashion forward item in your closet, but guarantee every time you put them on you will feel good knowing some child across the globe has a pair of shoes because of you.  So why not add a little festivity to your footwear that not only makes you feel good but gives back as well?  It certainly is a better alternative than spending a pretty penny on a cheap and tacky costume that you will never wear again. 

Better yet, make them part of your costume and say you are dressed as a contestant on The Amazing Race. 

To read more about TOMS and their movement, click here.


Couture vs. Cheapskate: Camo Flats

Can you guess which pair of camo flats is $225 vs. $50?

Pair A


Pair B

To see results click here!


Denim Tunic Does Triple Duty in Fall Weather

One of the things that is hard for us Midwest ladies is that during Fall, one day it is cloudy and 50 degrees and then the next sunny, beautiful and 80.  So it can difficult to anticipate your Fall wardrobe needs.  Equally challenging can be pulling together a casual look that is cute enough to wear to brunch but comfortable enough to stroll the streets as you savor the last sunny and warm days.

I think I have found the perfect piece to add to your wardrobe that can help you navigate Fall's varied temperatures while not breaking the bank.

She's Cool 3/4-Sleeve Pleated Front Dress
$21.99 at overstock.com
To Buy

I will admit...on it's own it looks a Little House on the Prairie.  But with some sophisticated styling, this dress can be the foundation to an outfit you can wear in any weather Fall throws at you.

On your 80 degree days, just do the dress on it's own with a great belt and flat.

Betsey Johnson Women's Circle Weave Mini Studded Belt
$25.99 at overstock.com
To Buy

The dress has a tie belt.  Either tie the bow of it so the loops are long and then tuck them inside themselves to basically hide it or tie it until the bow is small enough to lay under belt.  Put your wider belt over bow and it should hide.  If you want to go one step further, cut the ties shorter.

Add a flat and you are done for fun in the sun.

BP. Frankie Flat
$39.90 at nordstrom.com
To Buy

Now for the days when Fall can't quite make up its mind...a little hot, a little cold, a little sun perhaps a few clouds.

Ditch your belt and instead add a pair of leggings and a stylish scarf for some extra warmth.  If you want to add a bit more polish, try this pair of black flats that has a slight heel but a rubber sole for comfort as you walk around town.

Echo Cheetah Square Scarf
$38 at Macys.com

This scarf is in my 2 favorite colors and one you can wear with everything!  However, feel free to sub with any scarf you may already own.  Steer clear of any summer gauzy fabrics or colors.

"Naughty" Flat $49.99 at Nine West and ninewest.com

For the days we dread, when the weather officially requires we wear sleeves and we begin to get the feeling that cooler temperatures are here to stay.  Fear not!  Your denim dress can easily adjust!

To your outfit above, just add 2 things: black thermal long sleeve tee and black boots.

Long-sleeved thermal T
$15 at Gap and gap.com
To Buy

CC Tip:  Make sure tee is a bit fitted to layer nicely underneath things.

Fray Over-the-Knee Boot
$34.80 at Forever21.com
To Buy

Keep the your accessories simple.  The same gold aviators and jewelry can work with all three outfits.  Whatever you add, make sure your accessories are modern so as not to appear Fall Farm Fabulous circa 1880s.

Gold Aviator Sunglasses $5.80 at Forever 21 Gold Aviators To Buy
Pyramid Bangle Bracelet Set $3.80 at gojane.com To Buy

CC Tip:  Please be sure to unbutton dress' top buttons to look a little less matronly.

One denim dress is the solution to Fall's always changing weather.  By styling it 3 different ways, you will always have something to wear no matter how unpredictable Fall's weather can be.


Couture Cheapskate Inspires Supermodel!

If you have faithfully been following your Couture Cheapskate, you may recall my fascination over one well-dressed woman I observed in my CC On The Street --Navy and White Stripes entry this September.  Well, I don't mean to brag but clearly I am the go-to fashion resource for supermodels because check out what Clauia Schiffer was spotted wearing on the streets of Paris.  InStyle Look of the Day: Claudia Schiffer

What I like most about the nautical sweater, jeggings and tall brown boots look is how by switching your accessories you can go from street casual to Parisian chic. 

To switch-up your look...

Swap out your checked scarf for this necklace:
Hive and Honey Antique Flower Necklace
$38 at piperlime.com
To Buy

This style necklace is perfect for CC dressing.  It can dress up your casuals as evident in our supermodel's look while obviously working back to your dressier pieces.  A statement necklace takes your basic black dress, white blouse and plain tee to a more interesting level so it is worth the investment.  If you are going to spend more than usual on a necklace, I suggest a statement necklace in mixed metals to maximize your wear opportunities.

Now add a chic quilted handbag and you are straight off the Paris runway!

Asos Quilted Lock Across Body Bag
$26.96 at asos.com
To Buy

Although the Chanel version of this bag is the original and basically a dream come true...not to mention a good handbag is the one thing I can always justify splurging on...the price tag of the Chanel bag is probably more than most women spend on their entire Fall wardrobe.  If not more.  So if you can make the investment, I am beyond jealous.  For us CCs out there that want the quilted across body handbag look but also want to eat and have more than one new thing for Fall, try this bag instead.

CC Tip:  Make sure you have the US version of Asos when shopping online.

I am also loving the simplicity of one Lauren "LC" Conrad's.  An easy outfit to duplicate on your own.

Start with my favorite High-Waist Mini Bandage Skirt and add a brown silk blouse:

Both items from Express.  Skirt To Buy and Blouse To Buy at express.com.

Add the necklace and purse from above and you have another simple and chic outfit for an evening out.

CC Bonus:  Wear your new Military Silk Blouse from your LC outfit, add your Jeggings from your Navy and White Stripe outfit and you get a third polished look.  Pair with a flat for a more casual and comfortable look or add a black heel for a more dressed-up option.

Modern, polished classics are great for a mix and match wardrobe when you are trying to stretch a buck.  All of these pieces work together and maximize your money because of their wearability. 

Do not be surprised if people mistake you for Claudia or LC in your simple and chic looks.


Fall Candle Magic

One of the topics the CC Crew spent a lot of Sunday's research trip discussing was our love for all things Fall candle.  You cannot be a Couture Cheapskate and have your home smelling like a hot mess.  The reason I love candles is they are great way to incorporate a little luxury into your life without breaking the bank.  So to recap all the important scoop you missed related to the wide world of wicks, I will do my best to recreate the magic of our favorite must-have scents.

Leaves by Slatkin & Co.
3-wick $19.50 at Bath & Body Works
To Buy

Notes: golden nectar, red apple, mandarin, cinnamon stick, mulled cider spices and freshly harvested red berries

Vanilla Caramel by Slatkin & Co.
3-wick $19.50 at Bath & Body Works

Notes: whipped pumpkin puree, baked pie crust, buttery caramel, fresh fruit medley of ripe plum, crisp apple and juicy nectarine

CC Tip: Shop this weekend an take advantage on the 2 for $20 offer posted on the Bath & Body Works website.

Farmer's Market by Yankee Candle
Small jar $9.99 at Yankee Candle
To Buy

Notes:  sweet berries, juicy apple, succulent peaches and warm spices

CC Tip: Yankee Candle is having a Columbus Day sale online where 3 small jars can be mixed and matched for $15.

Pumpkin Chai by Nest
$32 at candleluxury.com
To Buy

Notes: wild pumpkin, spicy masala chai, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon

CC Tip:  This candle is limited edition for Fall.

May your home smell autumnal and your wardrobe be Fall fabulous.


Beauty Buy #4 -- Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow

Today the CC Crew headed to the nail salon for our bi-weekly pedicure and Fall's first manicure.  My Mom swears by one nail polish as she is very specific about what colors she will wear (dark only) and won't wear (no iridescence).  So today I decided to follow her sage advice and venture into the world of forest green nail color and two hours later I am quite the happy camper!

Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow by OPI
$8 at Ulta Stores and drugstore.com

Unfortunately nail color is difficult to capture in computer image but I will do my best to describe it's fabulousness via written word.  The online description bills Aragon as an emerald shade but I would have to disagree -- it is actually more of a dark hunter green.  Almost black.  What is so intriguing about the color is the way it changes color in the light.  A little sunlight will definitely make it appear more green and highlight the very subtle sparkle flecks. 

So some of you maybe asking why you would want to have black pine nails, well because dark nails are Fall's hottest manicure trend!  If you don't believe me, check out Christina Applegate.

For those of you curious, my Mom opted for a new color Black Onyx from OPI.

Something to keep in mind, file your nails short and square to avoid looking like a witch.

CC Tip:  Buy your bottle soon because Here Today...Aragon tomorrow will be discontinued as the OPI Espana retires to nail polish heaven. 


Couture vs. Cheapskate: Pyramid Stud Bracelet

Can you tell which bracelet costs $68 versus $9? 

Bracelet A

Bracelet B

To see results click here!

CC Challenge: Leggings

CC Reader Challenge #1:

" I see that many of your wardrobe suggestions include leggings, which I love. But I always worry about my butt showing. Where should the top hit your lower half? Love to know your expert opinion. "

Dear Reader,

I recall a day approximately 3 years ago when on a lunch date, I wore leggings as a pant for the first time.  I was for sure self-conscious and must admit, it took a few wears before I was used to a thin layer of black knit separating my rear end from the rest of the world.

Here are my tips for achieving the perfect "legging as a pant" look:

Tip #1: My first suggestion is to make sure you pick a legging in a thicker fabric.  As I have said time and time again, I love me some Express knits because they are thicker and therefore not so clingy and revealing.
I especially like this pair with the "moto" detailing in the inner thigh...a slimming effect that draws your eyes to the knees versus the areas you may be self-conscious about.

Sexy Stretch Moto Legging
$39.90 at Express Stores and express.com To Buy

Tip #2 Stick with tops that cover the areas you are self conscious about.  If that is your butt, then pick a longer top that covers it...see Sequin Cardigan For Every Age.  The win here is most retailers are now cutting their tops longer for us ladies to wear with our more fitted pants.  My ideal top length is shown below:

Ponte Mock Pocket Jegging
$8.80 at forever21.com

Tip #3:  Believe it or not, shapewear technology is now used in leggings.  For example, Sassybax makes a Bottom Lifting Control Top legging. I would be lying if I said I wasn't intrigued.  I think it sounds a little bit like heaven. 

Sassybax Bottom Lifting Control Top Leggings
$68 at barenecesseties.com To Buy

Check out barenecessities.com for more shapewear legging options.

So there you have have it! 

Follow 3 simple tips and you too can be a legging-wearing Couture Cheapskate fashion plate!


Black Bandage High-Waist Skirt

From the Couture Cheapskate archives circa July 2010.

I feel the need to re-post this entry because I cannot stress enough how much you will enjoy this skirt and all it has to offer. Plus now it is available in navy...Fall's emerging color of the moment.

High-Waist Mini Bandage Skirt
$59.50 at Express

A go-to basic in your closet that is a tad sexy and beyond versatile.

What I like: The “bandage” trend is everywhere on the red carpet, but let’s be honest, most women are hesitant to try anything that implies painted on. One thing I appreciate about Express knits: they are usually very thick and therefore not clingy and cellulite revealing. Enter their version of the bandage skirt. Although this skirt is fitted, it is also flattering and lays nicely over curves. I also enjoy the high waist and the hem length – just above the knee. Tasteful for either the office or an evening out. And it is machine washable so another $ave on your dry cleaning bill!

What I wear it with: This skirt is the perfect bottom for flowing, swing-bottom tops. It also looks perfectly polished with a white blouse. In colder weather, this skirt works well with tights and blazers – go for a constructed shoulder for an updated version of the power suit. Steer clear of any too tight top or anything too sexy. Unfortunately, this skirt looks best with a heel and not so much with flats.

To Buy
Express High-Waist Mini Bandage Skirt


Sequin Cardigan For Every Age

This weekend the Couture Cheapskate Crew (me, my Mom and one of my besties) hit the mall to do a little research.  Naturally as all shopping trips with the CC Crew go, we found ourselves digging through the packed racks of Forever21.  I don't think any of us expected to find a sequin cardigan that Mom, Daughter and Bestie would all leave the store having purchased.

Sequin Draped Cardigan
$19.80 at Forever21

Black cardigans and sequins are just about my two favorite things and if I can get both on one article of clothing...it is almost too much excitement for one gal to handle.  What I actually like most about this cardigan is the subtlety of the sequins.  The open-front drape and the black sequin on black fabric creates a subtle shimmer effect instead of being a spectacle of bling bling. 

The lightweight knit and longer length make it perfect with a pair of leggings (Daughter and Bestie) and a pair of jeans (Mom).  Unfortunately, it is too cold now for our leather shorts....just kidding. 

All you need with this cardigan is a basic black or white underpinning and 1 piece of statement jewelry.  I am envisioning cute black flats (Mom and Bestie) or black and pewter platforms (Daughter) for footwear.

One cardigan.  Two different age groups.  Three happy shoppers!

CC Tip:  This holiday season is going to be all about the sequin jacket so with this cardigan you get the look and have a versatile piece that can go casual to dressy year round.