Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Surprisingly Versatile Skirt

Lately, I just can not get enough of this skirt.  You wouldn't think that a red pleated knit midi skirt would be the most versatile item in the world, but I have found so many ways to wear it.  You can see the other blogged outfit featuring this skirt right here.

I wore this particular outfit to work and then went home and changed into a black lace top for my husband's office Christmas party.  I should have grabbed a picture of that outfit.  It would have made a great day to night post.

You can bet your buttons that I'll be wearing this on Christmas day.  It's so festive and comfy (yay! elastic waist!).  If I can rouse myself from my post dinner stupor, I'll try to get some outfit photos.


Blazer - Vintage, Goodwill
Blouse - Odille, Goodwill
Skirt - Vintage, Goodwill
Boots - Vintage, Cheap Thrills
Necklace - Coldwater Creek
Belt - Vintage Goodwill

2011-12-16 detail

Sunday, December 18, 2011

$50 Professional Wardrobe - Thrifted

If you read last week's You Search, I Answer, you know the drill for this week, the only difference is that this week's post is entirely thrifted!

If you are trying to build a professional wardrobe on $200, you really have two options.  The first is to shop mass-market retail, the second is to buy your wardrobe second-hand.  This week I present to you the second hand version.

For me second-hand shopping extends beyond just the thrift store.  It's any type of venue were you can purchase pre-worn items.  I encourage you to explore all your options.  Look for second hand clothing at:
  • Thrift Stores
  • Resale Shops
  • Consignment Stores
  • Flea Markets
  • Vintage Stores
  • Yard Sales
  • Estate Sales
  • Clothing Swaps

When you're shopping second hand, you should be looking for the same types of items:
  • Blazers
  • Cardigans
  • Blouses
  • Button-Ups
  • Trousers
  • Pencil Skirts
  • Flats
  • Boots
  • Accessories
One thing you should look for in second-hand clothing is quality.  Chances are that for less money you can buy something of higher quality than you would find in the typical mass-market retail store.  When I'm in a thrift store or resale shop, I generally look for "nice" brands, ones I can't afford to buy often at full price.  I also find that vintage items tend to be of a higher quality than newer items.

Once again, I have taken six pieces of clothing, two pairs of shoes, and two belts (all from second-hand sources this time around), and made ten outfits, two weeks worth of work outfits.  I tried to use items similar to last week's post, just to prove that you can dress well and thriftily.

Last week's total for the professional wardrobe purchased retail was $191.59.  This week similar items purchased second-hand ring up at a sweet $51.50.  That's a $140.09 difference! 

$200 Wardrobe 1

Black Blazer - Ann Taylor, Local Thrift Store, $3.00
Maroon Cardigan - Worthington, Local Thrift Store, $4.00
Floral Blouse - Odille, Goodwill, $3.50
Button-Up - Banana Republic, Consignment Store, $5.00
Trousers - Banana Republic, Resale Shop, $10.00
Skirt - Vintage Oscar de la Renta, Goodwill, $4.00
Brown Boots - Vintage Joan and David Couture, Goodwill, $8.00
Black Boots - Nine West, Goodwill, $6.00
Brown Belt - Goodwill, $3.00
Black Belt - Vintage, Goodwill, $2.00

Total $51.50

$200 Wardrobe 2

Outfit 1 & 2

$200 Wardrobe 3

Outfit 3, 4, & 5

$200 Wardrobe 4

Ouftit 6 & 7

$200 Wardrobe 5

Outfit 8, 9, & 10

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thrifted Fair Isle

When David saw this outfit he said, "Look at you in your 60s outfit."  I'm not exactly sure I'm channeling the 60s, but I do feel pretty classic in this outfit.  Maybe 60s collegiate. 

Does everyone recognize this sweater from my Thrift Finds of the Week?  I thrifted it on Friday and wore it on Sunday (shhh...I don't always post in chronological order).  That's a pretty quick turn over for me.  I also wore the belt on Monday, the cream blazer on Tuesday, and the velvet blazer today.  The J.Crew blazer needs to be dry cleaned otherwise I'd have a 100% "wear within a week" ratio.


Sweater -J.Crew, Thrifted
Lace Tank - Banana Republic
Skirt - Vintage Ann Klein, Thrifted, Altered
Boots - Vintage, Thrifted
Belt - Flea Market

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Catalog to Kara: J.Crew, Again

What is it about J.Crew?  So classy, so chic.  So expensive!  Since I can't buy J.Crew at full retail, I must instead ripoff recreate outfits from the website and catalog with clothes I already own.  This week's outfit is similar to last week's

Prim jacket + unexpected shirt + mussed hair = unequivocal coolness.

I recreated this look to infuse my work wear with a little attitude.  So how did I do?  Lady-like jacket? Check.  Striped button-up?  Sadly, un-check.  I would love to have this top, but at $110, no thanks!  I'll stick to my striped tees instead.  Dark skinny jeans? Check.  Messy pony?  Nope.  Ironic smirk? Nope, again.  I'm smiling like a total cheese ball.  Oh well, I had to make it my own, didn't I?  How many question can I ask in one paragraph?  Eight, apparently.


Jacket - Express, Thrifted
Striped Tee - BDG, Urban Outfitters
Skinnies - BDG, Urban Outfitters
Black Boots - Vintage
Necklace - Vintage

I do have some brand new J.Crew coming straight from the website.  Got to love birthday gift certificates.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!  My new purchases should be in next week.  I can't wait to share them with you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EBEW - Sequins + Sparkles

Sadly, you are currently viewing one of the few spangly pieces I own.  My life has so few occasions that call for spangle, I've just never invested in any.  The glitter pieces I do own must do double duty, work wear and fun wear.  Granted, I didn't wear this to work (a little too "night on the town"), but this top easily transitions to a professional setting with the addition of trousers and sensible shoes.

Today is a momentous occasion though.  It's the first time I'm worn leggings as pants.  It's only be a fad for, oh I don't know, forever.  Welcome to the 21st century, Kara.

2011-12-13  c

Velvet Blazer - Coldwater Creek, Thrifted
Tunic - Simply Vera, Kohl's
Leggings - T.J. Maxx
Boots - BCBGeneration, Dillards
Bracelet - Antique Mall

Sequins + Sparkles | Everybody, Everywhere

Monday, December 12, 2011

You Search, I Answer: $200 Professional Wardrobe - Retail

This week's "You Search, I Answer" is based on the search term "200 Dollar Professional Dress Budget".  There are two ways to go about building a professional wardrobe on a $200 budget, through retail shopping or through second-hand shopping.  Today, I'll focus on retail shopping and leave thrift shopping for another post.

To build a professional wardrobe on the cheap, you need to buy a few neutral basics and a few pieces with personality to mix and match.

I've compiled a list of essential items for a professional wardrobe (with my recommended sources):
  1. Neutral Blazer   (Gap, Loft)
  2. Colorful Cardigan   (Target, Old Navy)
  3. Print Blouse   (Kohl's, especially Simply Vera)
  4. Button-Up   (Old Navy, American Eagle)
  5. Trouser Jeans   (Gap, Old Navy)
  6. Straight Skirt   (Target)

$200 Professional Wardrobe

American Eagle Outfitters ruffle shirt, $40
Black jacket, $21
Old Navy wide leg denim pants, $35
sweaters, clothing, women : Target, $20
Wet Seal flat heels, $8.99
Wet Seal bow shoes, $15
Dolce Vita elastic belt, $17
Dorothy Perkins tan belt, $8
Simply Vera Vera Wang Watercolor Tank, $9.60
Target:Merona® Collection Women's Waldon Tweed S..., $17

Total $191.59

With six pieces of clothing, you can make at least ten outfits. That's two weeks of work outfits.

$200 Professional Wardrobe

Outfits 1 & 2

$200 Professional Wardrobe

Outfits 3, 4, & 5

$200 Professional Wardrobe

Outfits 6, 7, & 8

$200 Professional Wardrobe

Outfits 9 & 10
Next week, I'll be sharing the $200 Professional Wardrobe - Thrift Version.  So be sure to check back for that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thrift Finds of the Week

My husband was out of town duck hunting, so I took the opportunity to stop in on one of my favorite thrift stores.  I'm glad I did, because I picked up some great finds.


Black Velvet Blazer - Coldwater Creek, Thrifted, $4.00
Cream Blazer - Casual Corner, Thrifted, $3.50
Fair Isle Cardigan - J.Crew, Thrifted, $3.00
Yellow Belt - Vintage, Thrifted, $0.50
Beige Blazer - J.Crew, Thrifted, $5.00

Total $16.00

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fall 5 Piece French Wardrobe - #2

It's already December and I have only purchased two of my 5 pieces for my Fall 5 Piece French Wardrobe.  I finally bit the bullet and bought those red jeans I've been talking about.  I had my eyes on a pair at Urban Outfitters, but happened to find a pair at Old Navy.  Without further ado, my red jeans!


Sweater - Gap
Blouse - Vintage Liz Claiborne, Goodwill
Jeans - Old Navy
Boots - BDBGeneration, Dillard's
Bracelet - Urban Outfitters



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