Wednesday, June 16, 2010

White hot

This post is long overdue. I can list out my excuses for the tardiness, but I am going skip that and get right to the point.

Summer is finally here and what a way to start it with the "Sex and the City 2" movie. I am a huge Carrie Bradshaw fan just about as much as her alter ego Sarah Jessica Parker. They both have an amazing sense of style (thank you, stylist Patricia Field) and the courage to put together pieces creatively- which results in one thing and one thing only- CB's and SJP's super-stylish self which many women try to emulate.

When Carrie walked on to the screen on memorial day weekend, she raised the bar on my favorite summer staple- the white dress.

Carrie's original dress, a vintage Halston, was of course out of this frugalista's price range. I frantically searched all over for this new, chic white dress which could live in my wardrobe beyond a mercurial summer and transition well into the fall. Finally, I found an identical one at ASOS. It's almost the same as (oh ok, it is exactly the same as) the vintage Halston, but didn't Karl Lagerfeld say "Imitation is the best form of flattery." ? There are several reasons I love this dress- it looks right out of the seventies, but in a good way, it's clean lines call for fabulous accessories, it is made out of matte jersey which is the most universally flattering fabric ever! All these elements make it fresh and new and versatile and an obvious favorite of this frugalista.

I am sure the diva that lives in each one of us is also lusting for CB's gold, glitter Christian Louboutin gold pigalle heels and the fabulous gold Chanel clutch. While it is a great on screen look, I question the practicality of sparkly, gold pumps and chose to tone it down a little, with pale, gold pumps by Jessica Simpson available at Macy's. These step in for a basic, neutral pump and lend itself perfectly to all seasons and all looks. I liked the versatility of this gold, snakeskin wristlet from Express over the hardcase clutch Carrie totes. While Carrie's chunky necklace is quite nice I personally prefer the simplicity of a thin gold chain multistrand necklace such as the one below from forever21.

Last but not the least, Carrie's sunglasses are classic Aviators, which some of you may have already or can indulge in this pair from Forever 21.

Summer and dresses go hand in hand just as white and summer go hand in hand. A white dress should be everyones wardrobe staple. While in the past I've always been a fan of the standard summer faithfuls- eyelets, swiss dots, seersuckers, this year they all seemed blah. Here is your new and improved white dress. So "Carrie on" ( I just couldn't resist the pun) in this fabulous ensemble, inspired by one of the most stylish women around while channeling your inner frugalista.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Everything's comin' up roses!

This is the second consecutive year that I'll be spending Mother's day with my mom. (We live on different continents). This particular mother's day is also special because it's my first. This has inspired me to put together a list of fun gift ideas for all moms.

What I am in love with this season is the abundance of floral details in accessories. Whether floral prints or pins flowers are a sure crowd pleaser. With this is mind I've curated these items as my favorites gifts to give and to get this mother's day. I love handmade objects. There is something so special about them, so you'll see a lot of my finds come from my favorite site-

For the mom who loves baubles I love the glitzy flower bib necklace from Icing by Claire. If you think your mom deserves some spa like R & R surprise her with handmade carnation soaps $8 and the chryanthemum bath sponge also $8, put them together in the spa cosmetic pouch with the adorable flower pin and ribbon detail for $15. The Chrysanthemum sponge comes from the store Francesca's collection. I discovered this store while on vacation in Dallas, Texas. They have a variety of adorable clothing and accessories- all unique and one of a kind. Their website is equally promising and that is where I discovered this gorgeous bath sponge which is almost too good to use in a bath!

If your mom is an earth mother, how about the farmer's market tote from Sandbox studio on It's durable fabric, soft shape and gorgeous appliqued roses will let mom tote her earth friendly finds in style. Also for the eco-conscious, the fun and flamboyant pin from Tootsnap treasures on It is made with repurposed vintage fabrics and pins and can be used as a hair accessory, brooch or to glam up  last seasons handbags.

You can charm mom with the handmade peach flower charm handmade by glassbeadtresures on for her favorite charm bracelet. Priced at just $6, you can actually get a few adorable ones or throw in a vintage charm bracelet to really round out the gift. Since pins and brooches are back in style this spring , Beedeebabee's felt rose pin fits the bill. With it's classic rose appearance and rich creamy color, it may just be the perfect addition to mom's accessory drawer or the touch of spring her dresses need this season. 

And finally, the super cute Kisslock purse from Icing by Claire with it's multi color rose appliques is perfect for mom to bring to all the graduation parties, weddings and showers she may be invited to this summer.

So skip the bouquet of flowers and try one of these rose embellished beauties instead for a gift that will last for a long time!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

(St)ripe for pickin'

When I saw nautical stripes on Spring 2010 runways, I thought "no way". I associate nautical stripes or sailor stripes with a slightly grown up audience. Besides, aren't they usually a part of resort collections from all and sundry, typically emerging in stores around december? However, these runway images from Rebecca Taylor changed my mind about these crisp, clean and classic wardrobe staples. Inspired by these two looks, I set about to create budget versions of the same.
What is new about the nautical stripes, is not the stripe or the silhoutte itself, but the pairing with soft, feminine skirts and girly accessories. The key to pulling off this look is keeping it simple. Here are my versions of the two looks.

For the casual look, I love the soft tee in a classic blue & white, paired with the smock waist skirt from Old Navy. I added the denim wedges, which are casual yet chic and pull together the fun and flirty look. Shoulder bags are back and so very appropriate in this girly look. In lieu of the flower pin in the runway look, I chose this songbird pendant necklace from Forever 21.

For the chic but sophisticated look, I love this faux wrap skirt from J.C. Penney in charcoal with a red and white stripe striped sweater. I chose cobalt as the accent color in this simple peep toe platform from Target. I have to admit, the hardest thing to find for this look was a floral printed clutch. But I found several lovely ones on, my favorite handmade goodies site. The soft, punchy floral print of the clutch keeps this look from being too sophisticated. I added a simple yet sweet multistrand necklace that picks up the gold and blue tones of the clutch print. I love the floral espadrille in the runway shot. There were several super- cute from Roxy and Kensie girl at, Macy's and but they were all fairly expensive and would have cost me most of my $100 allowance.

Add one of these classic, stripe tops to your wardrobe now and wear it for the rest of the year. Whether a flirty skirt or denim shorts or even your white jeans for high summer and with darker jeans and boots in the fall/winter this trend is bound to become your favorite for this season.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of spring dresses!

What is it about that first spring day, when the mercury hits 70F (that warrants a dress in the North East), life suddenly seems so much better that you must have a pretty dress and perhaps some open-toed footwear to match? While last spring/summer was all about the maxi this year, the hemlines are rising. And while one may wear a maxi (I surely will wear the ones from last year) the possibilities are endless this spring. To reinfuse my wardrobe, my quest for the perfect spring dress began in earnest.
While dresses of all shapes and lengths are important this spring what makes this year exciting is the variety of floral prints. To me, florals are synonymous with LIBERTY prints; just the way COLGATE is synonymous with toothpaste or ESCALATOR is synonymous with a moving staircase. Imagine my delight when I saw a television commercial announcing that LIBERTY of LONDON was doing a collection of their famous prints for TARGET! I love TARGET! Now here is a store that clearly understands the needs of a Fashionista + Frugalista. Clearly, a 5 minute drive to get a Liberty print anything seems more economical than a Trans-Atlantic flight. So, you see, that is money saved already!

Sure enough, Miss M and I headed over dutifully to our "Tarjay" and right there on the main pad, in all their colorful glory were the LIBERTY print dresses. Now, I've always known Liberty-like prints to be small, tightly packed colorful floral. Some may refer to these as Ditsy prints. I was quite intrigued to see, darker ground colors as well as different scales of florals and whimisical prints (a.k.a conversational prints). In just a couple of basic silhouettes and two lengths (midi and a maxi) the designers at Liberty let the prints speak for themselves. Neutral ground florals and dark ground whimsicals were the stars of this capsule collection. The dress I picked out for myself - a peacock feather print, black ground print, smocked bodice with ruffled tiers. The Isis print dress is modestly priced at $29.99 I thought it was worth it for the print.

This great dress, can be dressed up or dressed down. Paired with a few basics and a few spring must haves, this dress is very versatile. Few basics that I thought would go great with this pretty dress- a cardi, a jean jacket, metallic sandals (flats or wedges), a peep toe shoe or a ballet flat in a fun color. As for jewellry and othr accessories, with a print that speaks volumes, it is perhaps best to keep them simple and minimal. I particularly like the wisp earrings at Forever 21 which pick up the feathery detail of the print, as well as thin metallic bracelets stacked on one wrist. Both of these items, of course to be worn seperately and not together. I love adding a pop of color with a clutch for a night out or a date and a satchel or shoulder bag for work, shopping or day time. I realise, my outfit choices topped $100 but some of you may have these basics in your wardrobe already, in which case just add the dress and enjoy!

As for me, my pursuit of the sundress continues. I much prefer a splash of Liberty on my accessories such as a wallet or a soft scarf. How has your pursuit of a spring wardrobe worked out? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Doing what I do best (or so I'd like to believe)

For a while now, I’ve believed that blogs mourn the loss of personal thoughts. Facebook, Twitter and blogging have enabled us to put our thoughts out there for everyone to see almost as fast as our brain can come up with them. My impression of blogs changed, radically, when my childhood friend started writing a food and (beautiful) photography blog. This led me on a search of blogs I like. Turns out there is a blog out there for just about every single like or dislike, hobby, craft, occupation, parenting, relationships you name it! Clearly, I am a newcomer to this world. However, now it is as if I have opened Pandora ’s Box.

Recently, I had a baby and I added the title of “mom” to the various roles I already have. Clearly, I am not the first or the last to do this. But, humor me, because every first time mom thinks that she is the first one to go through what she is going through. My husband and I instantly fell in love with and are currently obsessed with our creation. Therefore within seconds of her birth we started toying with the idea of me becoming a stay-at-home mom. Six months into it, I can tell you that it is the hardest but most rewarding job I’ve ever had. After all, a dimpled, toothless smile that lights up your life totally beats money in the bank, a promotion or a bonus check. Staying at home through the winter and what so far has been an awful spring brought with it several challenges. Here I was, cooped up at home, with a tiny infant. If I said I did not question my decision to be a full-time mom, I’d be lying. I had given up not only my paycheck, but what had been my identity for seven long years. After all, what we do for nearly ten hours a day ( more than that for some), becomes a huge part of who we are. I missed my friends- having lunch in my office or may be just even having lunch on some days, missed the happy hours, the water cooler chit chat. Add this to the raging post partum hormones, I can hardly say I was the picture of happiness. Finally, a dear old friend of mine suggested writing a blog. Get in touch with the outside world and stay in touch with things that matter to me. But, what would I write about?

I asked myself the above question every single day. Recently, when the sun shone through the clouds, bringing with it some warm weather and glimmers of hope for me the answer was as clear as that particular, sunny day! Fashion! Now, those of you that know me know that my training is in fashion; my work experience is in fashion. But, I would like to believe that I am not an uppity fashionista. Spending lots of money on NYC rentals and later on “growing up” and turned me into a “frugalista”. I realize I am not alone in this boat. So, I have decided to attempt to write about fashion on a budget! I have always loved those “Splurge vs. Save” columns in magazines. Or how to “put together a look for under $100”; except sometimes I want to look like a million bucks for even less than that. So, I put my style hat on and try to let me clothes and accessories do (some of) the talking for me.

Fashion will come and go, but style is forever. And it is possible to be stylish on a budget. This is what I would like my blog to demonstrate.