March Maddness

Typically during the month of March, I pull back on my shopping and use the 31 days as an opportunity to investigate what's out there and plan my Spring wish list accordingly.

Turquoise and green is one of my favorite color combos and think they look amazing together in this necklace.  Not only does this necklace resemble a $150 J.Crew necklace, it's incredibly versatile.  This statement necklace will dress-up my basics including white tees and black knit dresses.

For various reasons I have yet to wear my faux leather leggings.  I think I have worked myself up regarding the overheating issue.  The other reason is I am looking for an edgier, longer top to pair them with.  Scarf print items continue to be a strong fashion trend and I love the neutral colors of this top.  The price tag is awesome and this is definitely a top that would get lots of mileage in my Spring wardrobe.

I must confess I have yet to see these shoes in-person and I definitely recognize the opportunity for them to be a miss, but I am dying over white pointed-toe pumps for Spring. Break out the self-tanner because these pumps will match my skin perfectly right now!  White pumps are the #1 seed on my current shoe wish list.  I particularly like this pair because of the lucite heel.  Lucite has sort of been hanging in the fringe waiting for its moment...well it's here.

I have been on the hunt for a floral blazer for at least six months now.  (My life has serious meaning.)  I don't want to spend a fortune on this trend because it may be out the door.  That being said, this blazer has caught my eye and the price tag is decent.  Of course, I did not follow my own Forever21 rule and didn't try it on when I saw it and now I cannot find it in-store anymore.  The decision I am trying to make at this point is whether I order this blazer online and if so, do I order two sizes and return the one that doesn't fit?  The madness!

I sort of like taking this time in March because it allows me to determine two things: do I really like it and does it fill a hole in my wardrobe?  The third thing I consider is will I wear it now?  If the answer is yes and the price is good, then those are the items at the top of my list come April.


Floral Maxi / 3 Ways

H&M debuted their Conscious Collection this week full of green hues and tropical prints.

There were some pieces that I liked and others that I found a little expensive.

At the end of the day, this was the piece that spoke to me most:

I have this romantic notion with maxi dresses that they will instantly transform me into this glamorous, boho chic lady.  I think this tropical-inspired maxi dress can help get me to this vision.  The price is fabulous at $19.95 and is a lot of look for the reasonable price.  Best of all the dress has a nice fit compared to other inexpensive maxi dresses that tend to resemble parachutes with little to no shape.  Overall, I was more than pleased with the maxi's value.

And if you look closely the print features toucans.

After trying this dress on, I became caught up in all the styling options this dress has to offer from tough and trendy to classic and structured; chic and casual too.

Floral Maxi Classic
I think my definition of a classic outfit always includes a black blazer.  A blazer over a maxi is so polished and unexpected.  I love it.  Another fantasy of mine is wearing platform pumps with a maxi dress.  Not happening here but a must look for the more petite ladies out there.  For jewels I would keep it simple with flower studs and a dainty gold ring.  The only statement piece I would add is a geometric gold cuff.  I will admit this straw clutch is not a perfect match but the color is gorgeous and it's only $12 so why not have a little fun?  I have to say this maxi begs for two of my favorite go-to beauty products: the Laura Mercier eye pencil in Antique Jade and the Bobbi Gold Star shadow.

I call this my South Beach meets NYC glam look.  I love, love, love a tough leather jacket over a floral and feminine dress.  A white leather jacket could be the most fabulous jacket you add to your wardrobe this season.  Less heavy than the typical black leather.  As tempting as it is to go with a pair of heels, I can't get enough of this gold-plated sandal and think it works perfectly besides being a more comfortable option...especially if you plan on dancing the night away.  I envision statement earrings with this glam look that really shine when the jacket comes off.  I would probably layer a couple delicate gold necklaces too.  A studded clutch is completely necessary as is one of my favorite eyeshadow duos for a sultry eye.

Tropical Maxi Classic
We have established there are multiple ways to dress this floral maxi up but let's be real about how most people like to get down with their maxi dresses: casual and comfortable.  Can you think of any better topper for a maxi than a denim jacket?  Just make sure to keep it fitted for the most flattering silhouette possible.  I already shared with you I love this bauble bib but the hot pink version is to die for and matches the dress perfectly...and on sale!  Keep the rest of the jewelry simple such as rhinestone studs in a updated spiked shape.  The Target Lavada sandals coordinate well as does the new Bobbi Brown lipgloss in Pink Lily.  A functional and fashionable crossbody handbag is perfect for running errands so your hands are free to carry home beautiful bouquets from the market and shopping bags...or a mojito.

This floral maxi falls into the exception I can make for purchasing an out-of-season item: super cute and affordable.  However, appearances can be deceiving.  When this dress is layered with jackets, you are able to wear this maxi sooner rather than later.  I also believe a dress this pretty at such a good price may sell out fast so it is worth purchasing earlier in the season and storing it in your closet until the weather turns.

CCTip:  Always size up in maxis if you are tall.  You do not want too short of hem.  Maxis should hide your footwear.


Sundays At Target

Generally I try to refrain from buying sandals until it is seasonally appropriate because circa March 24, it is still snowing out where I live.

Why buy something that is going to sit in your closet for potentially months?

The only exception to this rule are sandals that are super cute and a bargain.

Or if you are going on Spring Break...which I am not...so I am able to invoke rule #1.

(Also available in black...which my Mom bought.)

Last year everyone did a version of this sandal and it appears the same for this year.  See Manolo BlahnikJ.Crew and kate spade.  Given all those price tags, I am perfectly happy with the $17 version from Target.  So while I may not break these sandals out for awhile, it's nice knowing I have them in my closet should the weather decide to make a dramatic change in short notice.

Should the weather dramatically change, here is an outfit using Target pieces revolving around my new sandals...nothing over $25:

Sundays At Target: Lavada Sandal
CCTip:  These sandals are not housed on the shelves in the shoe section but rather hanging on the back wall.  It took me a long time to find them.  As in multiple trips to multiple Targets.


Hot & Cold: Yellow Jacket

In January I tried on this jacket and have not been able to stop thinking about it:

I love jackets in general but I especially love bright jackets for transition weather.  A bright jacket can be mixed with your black basics for both hot and cold weather.  You can keep the same foundation pieces and just switch out the accessories depending on the season.  In this case, we are using the same bright yellow jacket and basic black dress as our foundation.

For cool weather, tights are a necessity.  Add some heavier accessories such as a statement necklace and cocktail ring and you are set.  This outfit has two pieces that I absolutely adore: the studded clutch and yes...ankle bootie.  I have seen this clutch in-person at Forever21 and the quality is pretty good for $25.  As far as the booties, I own a pump version of this shoe with the same type of heel.  People love this heel.  I love it because it is more comfortable than a traditional heel and is a bit funky for changing an outfit's look.  My go-to Bobbi Velvet Plum eyeshadow would complement this cold weather ensemble well.

Yellow Jacket / Hot

For warm weather, obviously tights are no longer required, however, a great pair of sandals are a must.  This pair combines two trends for Spring: ankle straps and metal shields.  The price tag is pretty fab for two trends.  Other than that, this outfit is kind of a recap of some accessories we have seen in previous outfits: the Alexander McQueen knock-off scarfmodern square sunglasses, a dainty necklace and of course, flamingo nailpolish.  One of the new pieces is this beautiful white bag from H&M for under $50.  Every outfit needs a great bag regardless of the temperature.  Last but not least, nothing says warm weather than a bright pink lip also courtesy of Bobbi.

If you are looking to add a little punch to your wardrobe this time of year, I recommend a bright blazer because of its versatility and four-season ability.  Besides being a great color, this blazer has a nice fit for the reasonable price tag.  The ruched sleeve is a nice touch for a lovely collection of bracelets or a statement watch.  Also perfect for us ladies with long arms.


GP + Red Booties = My Heart

She is flawless.  I am constantly in awe.  Her style is effortless.

I think we all know why this ensemble struck a chord....the red booties.  While I am convinced GP could make a paper bag look chic, this just proves a colorful shoe can take a basic t-shirt and jeans and make a fashion statement.  Add a great bag, layers of jewelry and some sunglasses and you have a stylish outfit appropriate for casual wear or the airport à la Gwyneth.

For those of us living in cooler climates, a tough leather jacket or classic wool coat would make the perfect topper for polished perfection.

GP + Red Booties


White + Pastels

Even though the thermometer outside my window still reads in the 30s, my internal clock reads Spring.

Nothing says Spring to me more than white lace and pastels.

Right now I am coveting a white lace t-shirt:

A white lace tee is just such a nice foundation for any Spring outfit.  It's simple and neutral but feels more sophisticated than a basic tee.  It's easy dressing at its finest.  I particularly like these three options because of their scalloped edges.  Not to mention white is always a perfect backdrop to colorful accessories such as the ones shown below.

Spring Pastels

You know I have been loving these shoes and think they really take the outfit up a notch but let's be real, a pair of neutral flats are way more comfortable and much more likely to be on my feet.  A yellow statement necklace has been my go-to accessory and I can't think of a better option when paired back to white lace.  I am obsessed with this necklace and its chunky size.  Another thing I am obsessed with is this mint quilted bag (only $25) and will be shocked if it does not make its way into my wardrobe this season.  Same for the clear glasses.  And how cute are these yellow earrings from Kohl's for $8?

Now let's talk cosmetics.  Bobbi Brown has a beautiful new collection called Lilac Rose.  My favorite pieces are always the glosses but I would be misleading you if I said I didn't want it all!!! This Bobbi Brown metallic long-wear cream shadow is not part of the Lilac Rose collection but it's one of my favorite go-to's for Spring.  It's just the perfect grey with a hint of sparkle.  So unique.  Last but not least, this OPI I Theodora You from the Wizard of Oz collection is a sweet, sheer pink suitable for Spring nails.

Short sleeves still may tough to pull off, so I recommend a black blazer (duh), cardigan or even sage field jacket as a topper for the white lace tee until the temperature rises.

CCTip:  Forever21 has many affordable lace top options if your budget is $25 or less.


Flamingo Tee / 3 Ways

Generally my wardrobe strategy is to select statement pieces that are versatile enough to work with my basics and can be dressed-up or down depending on my day.  Such is the case with this t-shirt.  The basic grey with pink sequins is a combo that's fun and easy to play with.

I feel like flamingos are having a moment.  I mean what's not to like?  They are pink and have feathers.  Put them on a comfy tee and add sequins?  Done.  I also feel like the statement t-shirt is an important trend for Spring.  This is great news because t-shirts are super comfy and are versatile when it comes to creating looks.

Here the flamingo tee goes classic when paired back to basic denim and a trusty black blazer. The accessories stay neutral with a black quilted bag, black kitten heels and sunglasses.  The colorful additions come from pink rhinestone studs and a festive flamingo scarf.  The scarf is definitely overkill but can't be missed for $15...maybe tie it on your handbag?  The finishing touch is my favorite Tom Ford lipstick in Flamingo.

Flamingo Elegant
Pink feathers and sequins definitely scream fun, feminine and flirty.  While this outfit is over-the-top, it's fun to see how an ultra-feminine lady may style this t-shirt.  For starters, the full skirt is the skirt silhouette for Spring.  (Easy piece to add to your wardrobe now and transition into Spring btw.)  Add a belt for extra waist definition to create a figure-flattering feminine silhouette.  While I am sure there are more affordable pink pumps out there, you have to see these Rachel Roy pumps in Flamingo leather.  With this much going on it's important to keep the accessories somewhat neutral including a giant white bag and updated cateye sunglasses.  I can't help adding a rhinestone necklace (it is my Achilles heel) and super fun neon studs.

Side note: If you have a passion for flamingos, this iPhone case is for you and every glamorous lady needs a pair of Tweezermans in their arsenal.  Why not add the Mini Slant in Flamingo pink?

Flamingo Casual

The first two looks are geared towards fashion risk-takers but let's be real about how most people wear a t-shirt.  Casual.  Until the weather warms up, our flamingo tee makes your jeans feel fun and like spring may just be right around the corner.  Again, there are more affordable pink flats out there but the adorable Rachel Roy pump also comes in a flat in the same Flamingo color.  Two major accessory trends this season are included here: the baseball cap and bucket bag.  Both inexpensive ways to update your current look.  The finishing touches are a simple scarf and Orly nailpolish in Fabulous Flamingo.

I will acknowledge a lot of this styling is a little much but you get the idea.  The price tag of this tee is definitely on the high side but you're at least getting something versatile and upbeat.  This time of year, these are the pieces you should add to your wardrobe because they are wear now and a fun nod to Spring.

CCTip:  Sign-up for J.Crew Factory's emails.  They offer great sales, first look at new receipts for insiders and inspiring styling ideas for items you may already own.


Sunny Statement

Yellow is not a great color for me but that doesn't mean I don't love it.

My solution is to indulge in yellow accessories.

I have the necklace in the top left corner and while enormous, it makes every outfit.

A yellow statement necklace is so cheerful.  Wouldn't you agree?

Sunny Statement

  1. BaubleBar Butter Bauble Bib $36 -- sold out :( sads.
  2. J.Crew Crystal and Cabochon Necklace $40  For the record, this is atop my wish list.
  3. Kendra Scott Valencia Necklace in Yellow $120  Also love this Kendra Scott option.
  4. Banana Republic Daisy Sunshine Necklace $69.50  Classic meets tribal.
  5. J.Crew Factory Stone Chandelier Necklace $64.50  This necklace is beautiful in both colors.
  6. Target Woven Stone Necklace $17  Ideal for casual dressing.
Happy Monday!


Pink Booties

I shared with you the other day how red booties had been in my heart.

I will always love you red booties...but your cousin the pink bootie has peaked my interest.

I hear many concerns about booties and how to wear them but the bootie is actually more versatile than a normal boot. First, booties are a worthwhile fashion investment because you can wear them at least three seasons.  Four seasons if you don't mind sweaty feet.  People who typically struggle with boots because of their calves or being on the petite side, the bootie is your friend.  Plus, the shorter height feels more lightweight and less bulky than tall boots.

What I love about this pastel hue and other light fabrics (such as tan suede) is they will progress into Spring perfectly with dresses, skirts and even shorts.

Spring styling options using the Elsa bootie per Sole Society.

I have never ordered a pair of shoes from the online retailer Sole Society but I like their selection and love their prices.  Last week these boots were on sale for half off so I am not sure how their sales work.  I am intrigued by their concept but have yet to see the quality in-person to assess for myself.  Solely judging from what I see online, I like the variety especially in heel height and colors. 

I feel like there is more to this story that has yet to unfold but strictly speaking online, I think these pink booties are pretty amazing.


$13 Printed Pant / 3 Outfits

Over the last year, I have acquired multiple pairs of these $12.95 printed pants from H&M:

I collect these pants for a few reasons.  Obviously, the price is fantastic.  Reason #2 -- they fit me well and bonus points for not stretching out like other inexpensive cotton pants.  Third, they are very comfortable.  And four, they are so easy to dress-up or down for running errands, going to work or a night out.

H&M Print Pants + Red Booties
H&M Print Pants + Red Booties by CoutureCheapskate1

This outfit reminds me of something Jessica Alba wore earlier this year where I became obsessed with her printed denim and red booties.  Since then, red booties have always held a place in my heart.  This pair from Aldo is a bargain at $27.50 and adds instant style to any basic outfit.  I live for t-shirts with cute pants; so easy and comfortable.  A scarf is the perfect transition accessory especially when you don't feel like wearing major jewels on a day off. Don't be afraid to mix prints.

H&M Print Pants At Work
H&M Print Pants At Work by CoutureCheapskate1

One of my go-to work uniforms includes this equation: printed pant + white blouse + black blazer.  It's so easy and works every time.  When wearing wild pants to work I try to keep everything else simple and classic i.e. basic black pumps and classic crossbody bag.  My only wild moment would be a red statement necklace for some extra color and interest.  One word of caution with this style pant in a professional environment...pick a longer blouse or jacket to cover the bum.  

H&M Print Pants At Play
H&M Print Pants At Play by CoutureCheapskate1

Last but not least, these printed pants are the perfect foundation for a night on the town.  My favorite outfits are ones that mix casual elements (t-shirt) with dressier (blazer) for a chic, not overly done-up look.  In this case, we used the tee and earrings from outfit #1 and the blazer and pumps from outfit #2.  I added a new necklace, purse and ring because I have been loving these pieces for sometime and think they deserve their moment.  (This ring is a $20 version of a $300 Saint Laurent ring.)  Besides being super stylish, comfort is key, and comfortable you shall be in this outfit.

These pants are my favorite kind of CC find.  For $13, you can create 3 different outfits with basics most likely already in your closet.  Add one or two fun accessories for a little something extra or keep it neutral and let the pants be the star.  Either way, with these printed pants, you have many stylish options for minimum investment.

CCTip:  H&M carries this style pant in basic colors as well.


Bags of Mint

I have decided a mint handbag is mandatory for Spring.

Good news for me because everyone from Rebecca Minkoff to Banana Republic, DSW to Forever21 has a mint bag on their shelves.

Note the cheapskate-version of the Rebecca Minkoff on the left-hand side.

Steve Madden strikes again!

Bags of Mint

Coach and kate spade have other fabulous mint bags but they, of course, will be more of an investment.

Which is your favorite?  Mine is a tie between the Forever21 quilted and Betsey Johnson.