Sweet and Sassy Top

I bought this top last fall and reallllly regretted not sharing it with you all because it is so fabulous. When I finally went to wear it, this top was no longer available and no post could be created. Sads.

I thought the ship had sailed for this gem, but I thought wrong.

After not having set foot into a store in over 25 days, I was elated to notice this little beauty hanging on the rack ready to rock for spring.

Embellished Chiffon Top
$39.90 at Express stores and express.com To Buy

This top is super figure-flattering and super versatile.

It doesn’t wrinkle and is perfect for hiding any trace of what could be perceived as a muffin top. No clinging either! The pleating under the embellished detail creates a silhouette that lies flat to the body so to avoid any visits to the ever-dreaded Maternity Land.

The top works well on its own with a pair of slim jeans or under a blazer for a more work-appropriate look. Really you could just about pair it back to anything in your closet and probably be okay. Tuck it into a skirt a la the model below for a more blousy effect.

With all that being said, what I love the most is the sheer chiffon sleeves. The sheerness gives the slight impression of sexy without being too overt; perfect for date night or dinner at a hot spot.

The rhinestone and stud combo keeps the top from going too precious.

So if you are like me and like things that are both sassy and sweet, don't miss adding this top to your collection for spring.


Celebrity Inspiration: Orange and Turquoise Jewelry

Last month I shared how combining bright tops and jewelry in creative color combinations can give your wardrobe a fresh feel but still be weather appropriate.

One of my favorite red carpet ladies is Kyra Sedgwick. Her looks are always glamorous but true to her Boho style. She generally starts with a simply elegant gown and layers in eclectic and colorful jewelry.  Her look always projects effortless style that is both simple and interesting.

Such was the case at this year’s Golden Globes when she paired a beautiful orange gown with gold and turquoise jewels.

Photo of Kyra Sedgwick by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

I am going out on a limb here and assuming most of us are not walking the red carpet in the near future. So how do we achieve Kyra’s simple elegance in our everyday life?

Start with any orange top whether it be a cashmere sweater or basic tee:

Ballet neck sweater
$59.50 at bananarepublic.com To Buy

I love this sweater for two reasons.  First, the color is Caribbean coral.  How amazing does that sound?  Second, it is ballet inspired which is the newest trend sweeping through fashion.  I also love this sweater from Loft because of the flattering ribbed detail and zipper back.

Now just add in turquoise earrings and a wrist of coordinated gold and turquoise bangles:

Golden Simulated Circle Drop Earrings
$10.99 at Amazon.com To Buy

Textured Bangle Set
$5.80 at forever21.com To Buy

Synthetic Turquoise Stone Metal Bangle Bracelet
$21.99 at Amazon.com To Buy

I love a wrist of mismatched bangles but personally, bracelets drive me nuts when I am at work because they clank against my desk when I type.  So if I was using this combo as an inspiration for a work outfit, I may stick to an elastic bracelet that will cling to my wrist.  Or I could just do earrings and a ring.

Fashion rocket science?  Not really.  But just a little inspiration for when we feel like spring but the weather says otherwise.

Celebrity Inspiration: Orange and Turquoise Jewelry


Second Chance At Love

Remember how I loved these only to have my heart broken because they didn't come in my size?

Well now I have a new love and they are these:

Cut-out Mini Wedge
$55 at victoriassecret.com To Buy

Seriously?  How cute?

As soon as my self-imposed shopping ban is lifted, these will be in my life.  Definitely in the fuchsia / orange combo with potential opportunity for the black as well.

So cute with a black jumpsuit or knit dress as well as my warm weather suits.

Cross your fingers they don't sell out in my size by March 1st.

I can't handle another broken heart.


Spring '11 Trends: 70's Shoes

The last few Springs have been all about the gladiator sandal and Tough Girl shoe.  Like fashion sometimes does, whatever was in style last year, of course the exact opposite is in style this year.  The footwear for Spring seems to draw inspiration from the 70's woman who is part flower child and part lady who lunches.

Lots of wedges, espadrilles, lacing and cut-out details.  Clog-inspired shoes will make a major statement as will the shade of nude and wooden heels.

Try a fun orange polish for your pedicure to complement your 70's-inspired footwear.

"Y'all Come Back Ya Hear?" Nail Polish
$8 at Ulta and amazon.com To Buy

Spring '11 Trends: 70's Shoes


Birthday Goodies

Two treats arrived in my inbox for my birthday.  Naturally just to be polite, I had to take them up on their offer.

Treat #1:  Free 3-in-1 philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake shower gel with any purchase

Here is what I bought (as I already discussed here).  I have to say it makes for a nice look when paired with Stila Kitten eye shadow and my new favorite eye pencil.  The red lip gloss is pretty and sheer.

Stila Make Me Blush Set
$20 at sephora.com To Buy

CC Tip: To receive this offer, sign-up to become a Sephora Insider.  As an added perk, when you shop with Sephora you will receive free samples with most purchases and be eligible for deluxe samples.

Treat #2:  Receive $15 off a $60 purchase at Piperlime and free shipping.

For around $50 I bought two pieces of jewelry that I am certain I will wear frequently.

Hive & Honey Octagon Link Necklace
$19.97 at piperlime.com To Buy

I like this necklace because it is the best of both worlds: part statement necklace, part long chain.  I love smokey stones because they work with black and brown.  This necklace is funky but classic enough to work with the more refined pieces in your wardrobe.

Pave Pyramid Stud Earring by Juicy Couture
$48 at piperlime.com

I have been coveting these earrings since Christmas and finally decided to pull the trigger as a treat for my birthday.  The jewelry I wear most often is usually a combo of gold metal and clear rhinestones.  This combo just works with so many outfits and the sparkle is just the touch of polish any outfit needs.  For pyramid studs, these are ladylike and dainty...with an edge.

CC Tip: Sign-up to receive emails from Piperlime and receive an introductory offer for enrolling.  Plus their daily emails are a great resource for fashion that is affordable, stylish and realistic.  It is one email from a retailer that I look forward to receiving.


Spring '11 Trends: Wooden Jewelry

I am not going to sit here and tell you Wooden Jewelry has ever been something that I coveted or obsessed over.  However, now that I have done some research, I kind of like it.  Wood is more fashionable than I ever gave it credit for.  Who knew?

And best of all, it is relatively inexpensive and surprisingly can be found at quite a few retailers.

Some of my favorite pieces include:

Wood Bead Bracelet with Rhinestone Sphere
$16 at lorisshoes.com To Buy

I am sure you are probably thinking I just like this bracelet because there is a rhinestone involved.  And to that I would tip my hat and say, "you are correct."  But what I would also tell you I like about this bracelet is that it is quite simply a good basic.  It can be worn alone or mixed in with the other bangles already in your collection.  It adds a touch of glam to an otherwise natural combo.  An easy piece that adds a refined and natural polish.

Boho Glam Chandelier Earrings
$5.80 at forever21.com To Buy

Basically ditto everything above but if you have been reallllly studying the fashion sets at the end of each entry for the last month, you know I have been loving these earrings but in the red version.  But what I figure is for $12 total, why not buy both colors and have 2 pairs of earrings that are going to work beautifully with all the items in your Spring wardrobe?  I love the contrast between the feminine rhinestone encrusted chandeliers and the earthy brown stones.

Wood You Be Mine Necklace
$14.99 at modcloth.com To Buy

Where do I begin?  Is it the seasonally appropriate hearts? Oh come on...we all know it is the clever word play in the title of the necklace.  Besides all the usual suspects, what I also like about this necklace is that it is a basic that incorporates a trend but is not overkill.  So easy to throw on with a coral sundress or floral tunic.  So yes wooden necklace, I would be yours.

If none of these options here or below are up your alley, Coldwater Creek and Target have quite a few affordable wooden options.  Perhaps some of my favorite are from Kenneth Jay Lane  at Overstock.com including this bangle and this necklace; so bold yet so versatile.

Despite being a skeptic at first, I guess this is the beauty of wooden jewelry: it is surprisingly versatile and fashionable despite its humble beginnings.

Click on links for jewelry in this set...all under $30: K. Amato Golden Leaf Ring - Max and Chloe, $30, Hive & Honey Wood Curved Bangle Bracelet, $26, Wood Bead Bracelet with Rhinestone Sphere, $16, Wood You Be Mine Necklace, $15, Olive N Figs Sterling Silver Abstract Daisy Wood Dangle Earrings -..., $9.99, Forever21.com - Accessories - Jewelry, $5.80, Vibrant Tribal Bracelet, $4.80, Forever21.com - Accessories - Jewelry, $4.80, Wood and stone necklace | Coldwater Creek, $9.99, Amazon.com: Genuine Organic Maple Wood Leaf Dangle Earrings: Jewelry, $16, Amazon.com: Genuine Organic Cherry Wood Circular Dangle Earrings with..., $16, Amazon.com: Genuine Organic Maple Wood Wings Dangle Earrings: Jewelry, $16, Wood Bead Necklace - Jewelry - French Connection Usa, $12, Wood bead torsade necklace | Coldwater Creek, $9.99, Wood bead cluster bracelet | Coldwater Creek, $9.99, Forever21.com - New Arrivals - Accessories, $6.80, Tribal Inspiration Necklace | Forever 21, $6.80, Amazon.com: Wood Earrings on silver 925: Jewelry, $4.90


Couture vs. Cheapskate: Orange Coat

Can you guess which coat costs $540 vs. $33?

Coat A


Coat B

To see results, click here.

Awesome Watch Bracelet Thingy

Every now and again, I will purchase something and know that I nailed it.

Such is the case with this purchase. 

I am just not sure how to describe it. 

Is it a watch?  Is it a bracelet? 

I don't know which it is but I know it is awesome.

Square Case Rhinestone Wrap Watch
$24.99 at urbanoutfitters.com To Buy

Okay.  By title I realize the intention of this piece is a watch but in-person it is so much more.  The metal chain wraps twice around your wrist making it look part bracelet and part watch.  The face has a pave detail and the side of the watch is wrapped in rhinestones, creating an elegant and original wrist concoction.  Perfect for evening attire or during the day when you want to add an element of glamour to an otherwise casual look.

I also love how it slides up and down my wrist and looks so cool and interesting.  So unique.

Looking for something more casual?  Try these basic wrap watches.

Double Wrap Rectangle Watch $14.99 To Buy
Basic Wrap Watch $34 To Buy
Both available at urbanoutfitters.com only

Whatever this thingy is, it is a piece that is sure to garner many compliments and inquires on its awesomeness.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from your friends at Couture Cheapskate!

One of the CC originators created this set from Forever 21 and all the pieces are $30 or less!  Score!

Like the little CC she is, she picked pieces that will all transition from V-Day into Spring.  All together, a Valentine's Day festival of fashion, individually, the perfect pop of color in Spring's hottest shade.  Her inspiration was one of her favorite designers, Valentino.

How appropriate!
red romance



Make-Up Jackpot

To say I strictly buy my cosmetics at department stores versus drugstores is not entirely accurate.  Quite frankly, I am a product junkie looking for anything and everything that can influence my beauty routine.  The reality is I rarely have any success buying any make-up at a drugstore because you really can't try it out ahead of time. So most times these purchases end up never getting used and either passed on or in the garbage.

Well, I don't know if this is a sign of a changing tide but I hit the jackpot with 2 new cosmetic items that are amazing and wallet-friendly.

Maybelline Expert Wear Trio in Green Gardens
$4.79 at drugstores and Ulta To Buy

I know it is hard to tell how pretty these colors are on a screen but trust me when I tell you it is a must to check this trio out in person.  The top color is definitely pink not purple as it appears in the image.  It is soft and delicate and makes the perfect base for a feminine lid.  It is so sheer you can barely tell it is pink.  The green lid section is both green and pewter at the same time; shimmery yet subtle.  The crease color is a cross between forest green and turquoise.  It adds depth and interest completing an eye that is subtle for daytime wear or can be turned up for evening.

As cheesy as it sounds, this trio reminds me of colors you would see in a watercolor painting or romantic pink flower.  But there is something about the shades when applied that is modern and funky, not girlie and prissy.  So interesting and unique and most likely beautiful on all eye colors.

Despite being beautiful both in the case and on the lid, one of the best features of this product is it does not crease...all day.  Like for over 12 hours all day.  There is also a step-by-step procedural on the back of the case in case the imprinted shadow is not enough instruction.

And if you were wondering about what to wear for eyeliner, then proceed to the #2 item in my jackpot.

L'Oreal Extra-Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner
$6 at drugstores and Ulta To Buy

So this eyeliner is billed as the look of a liquid eyeliner with the precision of a pencil.  I know most people don't like pencil eyeliners because they find them difficult to apply.  I can vouch for this pencil when I say it applies smoothly and is very easy to use.  I have sworn by one black eye pencil for years and I might have found its less expensive replacement if this pencil continues to impress.  Not only is the color intense, but it stays in place and doesn't smudge.  L'Oreal says 16 hours and I would say that is an accurate estimate.

I can't believe I found both these products in one trip.  If you thought I was passionate about the perfect tights I bought last Fall, these two products rank right up there.  I can't encourage everyone enough to stop at their local drugstore and see for themselves.

You will feel like you hit the make-up jackpot too.


Two Major Launches: MAC and DVF

Thursday, February 2011 was an important date for me.

No.  It is not my birthday or anniversary but the day Wonder Woman and DVF launched new lines!

M.A.C. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Lipstick in Russian Red To Buy
Wonder Woman Bulletproof Makeup Bag $30 To Buy

I don't remember a whole lot about Wonder Woman except that I had a costume.  I am sure I was drawn to the metallics and studded bracelets.  Anywho, flash forward a few years and I can break-out my Wonder Woman inspired cosmetics to bring out my inner save-the-world ferocity.  Russian Red (shown above) is the go-to red lipstick for every celebrity and make-up artist on the planet.  I also think the Valiant Eye Shadow Quad is fierce and filled with basic neutrals for those more subdued super heroes.  Not sure how to use the make-up colors?  Then keep all your cosmetics safe in the blue metallic bulletproof make-up bag.

Diane von Furstenberg Home

DVF "Animal Garden" Bedding
$105 to $345 for Bedding

By now it has been fairly well documented in Couture Cheapskate my love for Diane von Furstenberg.  Now instead of just wearing her print, I can decorate my home in her signature vibrant colors and graphic print.  It is very modern and very bright...perfect for those dull rooms that could use a little style.  While I am not personally sure how to work any of these items into my home...yet...my personal fave is the "Urban Jungle" bedding and the "Sandstone" double old fashioned glasses. 

So February 10th is all things 3-lettered abbreviations.  I have one for these 2 collections: FAB.



I am firm believer that you have treat yourself every now and then, so what better day than Valentine's Day to show yourself you really care.

So here are some Bring Your Own Valentine's Day Present ideas or as I like to say for short, BYOVDP.

Stila Make Me Blush Set
$20 at sephora.com To Buy

A Stila blush and 2 lip glosses for $20 is quite the deal.  The names of the lip glosses are Hugs and Kisses and the blush features a heart design.  I am a softie for anything cute and affordable, what can I say?  The perfect colors to achieve that "I am so in love" glow on Valentine's Day or any other day of the year.

philosophy Sweet On You Set
$24 at Sephora and sephora.com To Buy

What would a holiday be without an appropriately selected philosophy scent?  The Sweet On You scent is reminiscent of heart-shaped conversation candy...sweet, sugary and delicious.  It is literally sweet on you...get it?

Lindt Dark Chocolate with A Touch of Sea Salt
$3 at Walgreens

So my husband originally bought this for me as a birthday gift from Walgreens, and honestly, I kind of held it against him...until I tasted it!  I have had the $10+ versions of this combination and this $3 bar really measures up.  It is delicious.  The perfect couple:  salty and sweet.  Hits both cravings at once and the dark chocolate makes the flavor even more rich.

Jean-Michel Cazabat Murita Ballet Flat
$240 at endless.com To Buy

Okay, so these flats are $240 so not quite CC but super cute nonetheless.  And what better way to express your sentiments to the world than through footwear?  If you only wear them one day a year, they will last forever so you will really get your money's worth.  So they are sort of CC?

If you prefer to go the more standard jewels or clothes route, check out this Valentine's Day assortment from Piperlime.  It will make your heart go aflutter.

So go ahead and shower those you love with gifts galore but don't forget to BYOVDP too.

Spring '11 Trends: Floral Tunics and Wide-Leg Jeans

Last year it was "Boho Chic."  This year it is "Boho Glam."

Don't ask me what the difference is, I just know that I want in.

Two of the founding members of Team Boho Glam are the floral tunic and wide-leg denim.

Women's Pintucked Blouson Tunic
$27 at Old Navy and oldnavy.com To Buy

Gap Vintage flare jeans
$69.50 at Gap and gap.com To Buy

The best part of these two trends are that they are easy and relaxed.  No high-maintenance styling or standing in front of your closet asking yourself, "how do I wear this?"  Just throw them on and go. 

Even better?  Both pieces are comfortable and work with any body shape.  A tunic is flattering on anyone.  If you want to give it a bit more shape, belt it with a skinny belt around the waist or tuck into your denim.  For the denim, pick a wider flare that is in proportion to the size of your hip.  It will create a flattering balance customized to your shape.

Skinny laser-cut belt
$24.50 at Gap and gap.com To Buy

The rest of your outfit is a springtime breeze.  Add natural accessories like a wooden necklace or straw bag for a more Boho look.  Chandelier earrings, sparkling bracelets and a chic ring take your tunic and jeans from casual to glam.

Magid Diamond Bracelet Tote
$33 at endless.com To Buy

Boho Glam Chandelier Earrings
$5.80 at Forever 21 To Buy

Boho Chic.  Boho Glam.  Who knows?

All I know is that this trend is fun,easy and comfortable and will be a staple in my wardrobe this Spring.

Spring 2011 Trends: Floral Tunics & Wide-Leg Jeans


Spring '11 Trends: Coral

In my humble opinion, the easiest and fastest way to incorporate Spring trends into your wardrobe is through THE color of the season.

For Spring 2011, it is all about the color coral.

How I love the color coral...let me count the ways. 

For starters, it is a hue that can be flattering on skin tones of all types.  If your skin tone is more cool, then pick a coral that is closer to pink.  If you are more of a warm tone, then an orange shade is your coral of choice.

Coral is also the perfect complement to some of my other favorite colors: hot pink, teal, navy and gold.  Is there anything more beautiful than a coral stone trimmed in gold?  Or a coral sundress with turquoise beads?  Of course not.

Coral Flower Stud Earring
$24 at piperlime.com To Buy

For instant gratification, add a coral blouse, necklace or scarf when the weather is more chilly.  Switch to coral sundresses and sandals when the weather turns warmer.

And for that in-between weather that seems to linger too long, this canvas peacoat from Old Navy will be the perfect pop of coral you need to get you through.  (Bonus...it's only $45)

Canvas Peacoat
$44.50 at Old Navy and oldnavy.com To Buy

If the color coral is not your thing, try it in your accessories or cosmetics.  A coral handbag and manicure is equally chic yet neutral to work back to the other items in your closet.  And this is how you know coral has officially arrived..the World's Most Amazing Belt is also available in coral.  Tah-dah!

Covered Buckle Skinny Belt
$19.90 at The Limited and thelimited.com To Buy

Spring '11 Trends: Coral


Nothing Says Blizzard...Like Spring Sandals

One of the things that is so hard about living in the Midwest is when the tempting and fresh Spring fashions hit stores, most likely there is a foot of snow on the ground and warm weather seems like an idea and not an actual thing.  So you can buy it now but not wear it for a months...unless you are going on Spring Break.  And if that is the case, take me with you.

So if you are a lucky Spring Breaker, here are a couple sandals that would like to come too.

L to R: Glittery Suede Rhinestone Sandal $25.90 To Buy
Metallic Faceted Bead Sandal $18.80 To Buy

L to R: Stud Embellished T-strap Sandal $15.00 To Buy
Strappy Woven Buckle Strap Sandal $24.00 To Buy

BTW, my husband just sent me a picture from San Diego where any of these sandals would be perfect with all of my casual capris, shorts and sundresses.  It made me so jealous.  But here at home, these sandals remain on my wish list because they are the perfect combo of glam and casual, fun and function. 

And of course for $30 or less per pair, they will fit nicely into my closet until our weather catches up with California's.


Valentine's Day Gifts: $30 and Under

I don't consider myself an overly lovey-dovey person, but I do find myself drawn to Valentine's Day merchandise, probably because red is my favorite color and I love hot pink.

So here are a few of my favorites where each item is $30 or less.  The perfect price for the Valentine in your life, or treat yourself to something festive but still usable all-year round.

My personal favorites come from Sur La Table and American Eagle...I mean how cute are the bird dish towels and scarf with mini pom-pon fringe?

Click on the link below the image to view all items in the set, where to buy and price.

V-Day 2011

Celebrity Inspiration: Jules Cobb

Who is Jules Cobb, you ask?


Only one of Florida's most famous realtors...in Cougar Town.

If you are not watching this show, you should be.  It is actually very funny.  And once you get past the title that offends some, you will see a smart, relatable comedy that has great taste in wardrobe.  (Bonus, the decor in Jules' home is eclectic, funky and almost a scene-stealer.)

Often times I find Jules' outfit cute and easy to imitate.  Such is the case from last week's episode when Jules broke out her nautical stripes and jeans.

Granted there is nothing stylishly earth-shattering about this outfit but the point is to work with what you have or make a minimum investment for a cute, fresh look.  Which let's face it, we could all use a little fresh right now.

I started with this henley from Old Navy because it is only $9.50!  I know it is not an identical match to Jules' but it is less than $10 and I like the button-detail.  It feels a little more stylish than a basic tee.  Add your favorite denim bottom and a great gold necklace. 

Women's Slub-Knit Henley
$9.50 at Old Navy and oldnavy.com To Buy

One gold chain I have been eyeing for some time is the 100 Good Wishes Gold Dipped Beaded Necklace.  The concept is simple.  One hundred beads on a gold chain and one wish for each bead.  Like any CC piece, we want multiple options so you can wear it single or double layer.

Search online for multiple price options from $70-$100

And as far as footwear and the rest of your jewelry?  Creative freedom.  Jules likes to wear really hot platform heels but I don't think that will work for most the ladies reading this, so I featured some gold flats.  Of course, brown boots would work too.

Side note:  One of my favorite Jules Cobb outfits of all time included this shirt and cobalt blue pumps.

Celebrity Inspiration: Jules Cobb