Tag Archives: Budget Fashion

Splurge vs. Save: Fashion’s New “It” Shoe!

So many have tried to ignore that flat, comfy shoes are having a major moment right now in the fashion world but to be honest I don’t know why.  After so many years of torturing our feet for the sake of the beautiful heels we all long to wear but can only keep our feet in for 10 minutes, we all should be embracing the opportunity to become full fledged members of the ‘Flat Pack’ crew.

With that being said, let’s take a look at mandals with character that are giving us options with a little dazzle and bling.  Afterall, why wear just plain old Birkenstocks when we have so many sparkly options right?  Now the more important question is: Do you Splurge vs. Save?


L to R: collection PRIVEE Embellished Triple Buckle Flat Sandals ($650.00) vs.  ZARA Leather Bio with Jewels ($99.90)



May: Emerald!

Happy Birthday to all of you you Taurus & Gemini’s born in the month of May!  May’s birthstone is the stunning emerald gemstone.  What’s even more amazing?  Your birthstone is also the Pantone color of the year.  So shine bright all year long and make everyone else green with envy with one of these stunning birthstone baubles.

So start the year long celebration of your birth now and check out the following envy inducing pieces I’ve picked out to help you do it in style!

May Birthstone Bauble BoardTop L to R: Cara Couture Woven Bracelet/ Burberry Cuff links/ DANNIJO Bracco Earrings/ Ela Rae Sosi Hand Chain/ Nocturne Reem Bib/ Baublebar Collar/ Baublebar Earrings/ Baublebar Clover Earrings




#CSMStyleTips: Economical Fashion is Trending!

Cheap Fashion BoardAn overarching theme that has dominated the runways as of late is the idea of economical fashion.  The recent runways stand as proof that all you need to tap into the momentary trend is a little creativity and not a maxed out credit card.   At  Sydney fashion week showgoers were using props like a McDonald’s cup to pose for the street-style photogs emulating a piece from Jeremy Scott’s fast-food-inspired collection for Moschino.  Chanel’s supermarket sweep of a Fall show convinced us that even grocery carts can be glamorous (especially if they’re being pushed by Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, and Joan Smalls).   Same goes for Anya Hindmarch’s luxe “Have a Nice Day” bags modeled after those handed out at convenience stores.  Other pocket friendly styling tricks I would highly encourage giving a whirl too include pinning a violet to our furs à la Fendi and securing our ponytails with dollar-bin scrunchies like Dree Hemingway did in Trager Delaney’s latest lookbook or even adding a bit of pizzazz to an edgy ensemble by wearing a bandana.  Anyway you look at it, now is the time to take advantage of high street’s departure from the dreamy and luxe and wear your sandals with socks (remember this one?)




April: Diamond!

Happy Birthday to all you Aries & Taurus’s!  April’s birthstone is the stunning diamond gemstone.  It is the hardest gemstone and is definitely one of the most valued.  After all, Marilyn didn’t just coin the phrase “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend” for nothing right?

So start the year long celebration of your birth now and check out the envy inducing  pieces I’ve picked out to help you do it in style! P.S. Yes I picked out budget friendly diamond options because why not be unique and debit card friendly too right? xo

Diamond Board


Top L to R: Firecracker Bib/ Conifer Cluster Studs/ Nail Ring/ Ella Personalized Bangle/ Winged Ear Cuff/ Spiked Lily Necklace/ Stripe Friendship Bracelet/ Silver Wave Ring Set



The Glass Slipper Project

GSP Logo

This time last year I decided to finally start crossing off items on my bucket list of goals and experiences I’ve wanted to accomplish and have.  Like a lot of people I always try to pull from my bucket list every year when New Year’s eve rolls around and the infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” start to become the buzz phrase of the day.  So near the top of both lists was to do some volunteer work.  As weird as this may sound you would assume that deciding to do volunteer work should be simple as pie.  But for me it wasn’t because I really wanted to give of myself and my talents and knew that I needed to find an organization that would allow me to do so.  Upon the recommendation of my best friend I discovered the phenomenal work of The Glass Slipper Project.

The Glass Slipper Project is an organization that gives away free prom dresses and accessories to high school juniors and seniors in the Chicagoland and other surrounding areas.  The unique and stand out experience that this organization provides for all of the girls they help is so awe inspiring.  GSP creates a “boutique” like feel by enlisting volunteers to work as personal shoppers who give each girl a personalized shopping experience by helping her find the perfect dress then ushering her throughout the “boutique” to find the perfect fashion accessories (handbag, shawl, jewelry, shoes and make-up).

Volunteer PicI volunteered last year as a personal shopper and helped 3 beautiful girls find that perfect look that they will have memories about for the rest of their lives.  It was such a fulfilling experience to be able to bring so much joy and excitement into these girls lives that it reminded me of why style and fashion are so important to me.  It’s not simply because of the stunning aesthetic of artful design that is brought to life by fabrications and texture but it is the idea that style and fashion aide to give all of us a renewed confidence and echo so loudly CSM’s mantra of, “Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”.  

I will be returning again this year to GSP as a personal shopper volunteer and would love to see you all there too!  Visit their website to get more info and details on different volunteer opportunities and boutique dates as well as more information on submitting donations.  They are a 100% volunteer based organization that relies on the donation of dresses, shoes, jewelry, make-up and purses as well as monetary donations.  www.glasslipperproject.org




Splurge vs. Save: Fashion’s new “It” bag is a bucket!

Amongst the fashion pack a new handbag is dubbed the “it” bag of the season.  Generally these highly sought after beauties are overnight sensations that pack a punch with a multi-thousand dollar retail.  This past fashion month the style elite must have taken myself and the rest of the 99.9% of the faithful who worship at fashion’s altar into consideration because not only is the new “it” handbag only $495 dollars it’s from a relative unknown.

Founded in 2012, by Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel the New York-based brand, Mansur Gavriel is making waves as fashion’s new darling.  The brand creates simple, functional, leather bags in three silhouettes—a tote, a pouch, and a bucket style.  Each bag is made in Italy with Tuscan leather with no conspicuous branding which is a save for a discrete gold-embossed label.  The duo do offer an option to give some personality to your handbag by offering the ability to customize the lining with fun, bright colors.  The bucket has been crowned fashion’s most covetable bag due to it being sold out everywhere and is being carried by the likes of Eva Chen, Miranda Kerr, Garance Dore to name a few.

So what do you think, Splurge vs. Save?

Bucket Bag Board

L to R: Mansur Gavriel Leather Bucket Handbag ($495.00) vs.  BAGGU Leather Drawstring Bucket Bag ($140.00)


March: Aquamarine!

Happy Birthday to all of you Pisces and Aries style mavens!  Your birthstone is the Aquamarine and naturally is the shades of cool water.  The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded.

So start the year long celebration of your birth now and check out the following envy inducing pieces that I’ve picked out to help you do it in style!

Aquamarine Board

Top L to R: Potpourri Bib/ Lagos Bracelet/ Alexis Bittar Cocktail Ring/One Kings Lane Ring/ Rumba Time Watch/ Nak Armstrong Hoop Earrings/ Bijou Gem Necklace


8 Tips to Score Big Outlet Mall Shopping!

With internet shopping becoming more and more popular we often forget about the amazing savings to be had shopping actual brick and mortar stores.  Living in Chicago we have such great access to a number of different outlet malls but most notably we are within minutes to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago.  They’ve just recently added Burberry to their collection of designer outposts and will be new neighbors to the likes of Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch, Ermengildo Zegna, and Trina Turk just to name a few.  So with such an impressive top-tier assortment of designers to shop at this outlet mall it’s best be prepared with key tips on how to both effectively and efficiently shop so you will guarantee that you score big.

  • Develop a shopping game plan:  Be sure to check online before embarking on your shopping expedition for information that can help you determine your shopping game plan.  Some outlet mall stores offer discounts that aren’t advertised so if you’re curious about a particular store, call them up and ask what discounts they are offering—you may be surprised to learn that stores are offering 60% or more off of already reduced prices.
  • Dress comfortably:  Comfort is key! Pick an outfit that’s comfortable and definitely wear layers that slip on and off easily so you can speed through dressing rooms.  The same goes for shoes:  Choose walkable, comfy footwear that’s easy to get on and off.
  • Arrive Early-Or late:  The best time to avoid crowds and long dressing room lines is early in the day or later in the evening–between 10 a.m. and noon, and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.   I highly, highly recommend trying items on.  Often times it’s final sale so it’s best to be on the safe side and try things on.
  • Do some research:  Enter an outlet mall armed with some money know-how.   This means doing a little research beforehand about how much designer pieces actually cost at retail, so you’ll know if you’re really getting a bargain at the outlets.  Also, keep in mind that some merchandise at outlets are actually made for outlets and factory stores, they aren’t all leftover from what you saw last season in stores, so keep that in mind.
  • Be flexible:  While you might have a set list of items you are specifically looking for based on the great research you’ve done, be flexible.  While outlets do have both current as well as past season merchandise it’s best to be open and flexible in your search because if you are too rigid in what you are looking for you might miss out on that great pair of Fendi heels that are now 80% off original retail because your heart was so set on finding a pair of Miu Miu heels.
  • Move from front to back:  The biggest clearance items and deepest discounts are always located in the back of the store, so be sure to start your hunt there.
  • Double or triple up on savings when you can:  Outlet merchandise is already discounted by 25% to 65% and many stores offer special promotions and coupons throughout the year to help you save even more.  For instance, Premium Outlets has a VIP Shopper Club with additional store savings.  By using all of your savings options, you can compound your discounts and get killer deals—there’s no shame in bringing your calculator or smart phone to make the math easier, I actually highly recommend this!
  • Throw buyer’s remorse out the window:  Don’t wait —that YSL dress will probably be gone tomorrow.  Merchandise in the outlets sell faster than in regular department stores, so don’t let a hesitation keep you from that next wardrobe building piece!

Two female friends with shopping bags having fun while shopping in a mall, close-up on bags




Pastel Pink Coat: Rock or Stop?

Street Style Trend-Pink Pastel CoatOne of the most notable street style trends that graced the tents and the concrete jungle pavement streets of New York City was a pastel pink coat.  At first glance I dismissed the overwhelming number but when it seemed that every notable street style photog from Phil Oh to Tommy Ton were snapping their fair of show goers donning the pantone I couldn’t ignore it relevancy anymore.

While this pantone dominated the Spring/Summer 2014 runways of many designers such as Antonio Berardi and Temperley London to name a few, I haven’t quite yet warmed up to this color.  While it might not be my cup of tea there is no denying it’s viable street cred, so what do you think? Rock it out or just  Stop it?

P.S. because I know that you’re just as leery about investing too heavily in trends as I am I’ve picked out my top 3 budget and pocket friendly:

River Island Pink Coat Picks

L to R: River Island Faux Fur/ River Island Moto Jacket/ River Island Wool Blend Coat


February: Amethyst!

Happy Birthday to all of you Aquarius & Pisces!  Your stunning birthstone is the Amethyst.  Celebrate the anniversary of your birth with the perfect birthstone bauble.  Your birthstone amethyst is said to strengthen relationships and give the wearer courage.  At one time, only royalty could wear the amethyst stone.  Ancient Greeks thought that the amethyst guarded against intoxication.  Another fun tidbit is that the word amethyst is derived from the Greek word “amethystos” which means sober.

So start the year long celebration of your birth now and check out the following envy inducing pieces that I’ve picked out to help you do it in style!