Petite Fashion Challenge #13: Stylish for under $100

This month’s Petite Fashion Challenge, hosted by Really Petite (thanks for hosting!), was to put together a professional outfit for under $100, with bonus points if you included shoes and accessories in the price. I managed to meet the challenge, shoes and all!

I’m including two photos, but they’re basically the same outfit. I got these beautiful argyle-knit cardigans from New York & Company several weeks ago, and I’m enjoying trying to figure out how to wear them. I couldn’t decide what looked best here, so I thought I’d include both and ask for opinions. What do you like better? Blue or Yellow? Tucked or untucked?

Outfit Breakdown

Cardigans: New York & Company Pointelle Argyle Pattern Cardigan in Olympic Blue and Yellow (yellow is sold out online now). Originally $49.95 each, but on sale at buy one, get one half off, and I also had a 30 percent off coupon, making each one $26.25.

Skirt: Banana Republic pencil skirt. Found at Goodwill for $5; total cost with alterations about $20.

Tank top: Old Navy Jersey-Stretch Tank in Russian Navy, $10.

Pumps: Payless (old), $20.

Earrings: Cracker Barrel, of all places, approximately $6.

Necklace: Gifted, $0.

Total outfit cost: $82.25.

I had a great time with this challenge. I know I try to shop smart, price-wise, but I never really think about how much an entire outfit costs. Because I’m a college student, most of my clothes are inexpensive, but I guess it all adds up! A fun learning experience. Can’t wait for the next challenge!

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Remixing: School day to school board

Today was a difficult day to get dressed: I had to sit through a day of classes then attend a local school board meeting on a work assignment, all with an inch or so of snow on the ground and even more in the air. How to go from put-together casual to professional with minimal effort? My solution: A basic top and sweet accessories. Just a plain Forever 21 black turtleneck sweater, with a super pretty, multi-strand, multi-color New York and Company necklace and matching earrings.

The outfits:

For the school day, skinny jeans and my favorite black boots, which are not as waterproof as I would like but still functional.

For the school board meeting, Banana Republic slacks and my favorite black wedges (heels would have worked better with the slacks, but, again, snow). I also swapped the big, colorful earrings for plain studs.

I loved both looks today — neither was complicated, but both looked sharp and pulled together, which is impressive on snow days, when half the campus is in sweats — or, worse, leggings as pants — and rainboots. Cheers.

How to wear Oxfords? (And a happy ‘first!’)

I’m a shameless complimenter. If I like something a stranger is wearing, I always make a point of saying so. In a restaurant? Sure. Elevator? Why not? Walking across campus? Always. Even if I’m on the phone? Yup.

I’ve been doing it for years, but I’ve never been complimented by a stranger before. Last week, it finally happened! I was walking across our campus quad, and a girl broke off her phone conversation to tell me she liked my outfit. It completely made my day — it was nice to be on the other end of something I always do.

So, the outfit. I bought a pair of Oxfords a few weeks ago, partially because I needed flat-yet-formal shoes to run around in while reporting but mostly just because I wanted a pair. Unfortunately, I did what I always do: I bought a “trendy” item, then got home and realized I had no idea how to wear it. I turned to the internet for help and came up with the outfit below.

Most of the “How to wear Oxfords” articles I read said to wear them with “feminine clothing,” to balance the menswear feel of the shoes. Doesn’t get any more feminine than a dress, right? I added a floral necklace, too, and tights for warmth. I really liked the end result — it was super comfortable, and I didn’t think it strayed too far from my usual look. I test-drove the outfit while I was home on winter break, hence the “in-my-backyard” photo, and wore it on campus for the first time last week. I’ll definitely wear this again.

Last night, I broke out the Oxfords again for a party. I was really tired of wearing jeans and boots everywhere, but it was too cold and raining for a skirt and bare legs, so I went a little crazy and tried to put together a shorts-and-tights outfit for the first time.

I had to send a picture to my sister before I actually wore this out in public (“Is this an outfit?”),  but she approved, and I was decently happy with it as well. I’d go with a fitted t-shirt in the future — this one was essential to the party’s theme — but the concept works. It was great to wear, too — I felt like I was dressed up enough to be at a party, but it was super comfortable, too.

Do you wear Oxfords? I put these outfits together, but I still mostly have no idea what to do. Let me know how you wear yours! Cheers.

Missoni for Target flats! Worn three ways.

I know I’ve been saying that I was working up to a big post, and this is it!

I’m sure you all followed the big Missoni for Target fiasco earlier this week. If not, in a nutshell, the collection went on sale last Tuesday and was basically sold out both in-store and online by the end of that same night. So. Everyone went a little crazy, to say the least.

I had my eye on the collection all summer, and when the lookbook came out I knew that if I got nothing else, I had to have the ballet flats. Missoni is all about bold, bright zigzag knits, and I’m more of a basic solids-and-stripes girl, but I figured I could handle a pair of shoes. Plus, everyone needs a crazy pair of shoes, right? So I had one of my friends, who works at Target, keep an eye out for me, and when the collection finally arrived he was able to snag a pair in my size.

I was so thrilled to get them! The colors were not exactly what expected, and they’re a little more low-cut than I usually wear, but I love them. Also, I had no idea how fashion-savvy my coworkers were until I wore them to work right after I got them and was swarmed by at least four people, much to the bafflement of our male supervisors. That was a good laugh.

Anyway, because colored shoes are so far outside my usual dressing habits, I knew I had to start wearing them right away. I also wanted to try to wear them in as many ways as possible, because a lot of the time things like colorful shoes become items I wear once a month, with the same shirt every time. Ready?

Tuesday, I kept it simple. I had a tank top in the exact color of one of the zigzags, and threw a black cardigan on to keep it school/worksafe, which picked up the black zigzag, too. Opted for cuffed skinny jeans to show off the shoes!

Wednesday was even easier. This plain black dress is one of my favorite items of clothing, because it’s cute and simple enough to be the perfect backdrop for whatever crazy accessories I choose to throw at it. Also, how delighted was I to discover that I had a headband that matched a zigzag in the shoes? So delighted.

Thursday was my most work-friendly outfit with the shoes. Again, I tried to keep things mostly simple up top to balance the shoes. I wanted to wear this with black slacks, but the only pair I have at school right now are tailored for heels, so that was no good. But it still works!

So there you go, one pair of multicolored zigzag shoes, worn three ways. I have several more outfits planned — when I first got the shoes, I thought I would be in trouble because I didn’t think I had many items in appropriate colors, but in the past few days I’ve come up with tons of combinations of what I have, combined with black and white and gray.

I had hoped to wear the shoes at least five days in a row. Unfortunately, I have learned the unhappy lesson that even with its colors and zigzags, Missoni for Target is still nowhere close to Missoni. Check out the soles of the shoes after three days of simply walking around a college campus:

Seriously. It’s disappointing and pretty much unacceptable, and if I didn’t love the way they look I would take them back. But I do, indeed, love them, so after class today I took them to our local shoe repair shop to get proper soles (then walked home barefoot, to the amusement of the repair man). I’ll have them back next Friday, at which point you can expect to see them again. Terrible soles and all, I’m so glad to have them in my closet! Cheers!

Did any of you manage to snag Missoni for Target items? What did you get? What do you think?

Remixing (Like a boss)

Hello beautiful people! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sorry. You know I love you. It’s just that time of year: the last few weeks of school. If all goes well, I’ll be heading home May 8. If not, May 11. Worst case scenario, May 13. Let’s hope for the 8th, right? I need to get out of here! I love my school, but the papers and projects and general drama are dragging me down.

I haven’t been blogging for two reasons. The first is, as I just said, the crazy-business. The second is that I just have not been dressing well lately! It has rained here for almost a week straight, and I just cannot bring myself to dress well in the rain. It’s been a parade of solid tanks and black cardigans, solid polos, lazy things. After going most of the semester sans hoodies, I’ve had two hoodie days this week. I’ve barely even worn necklaces or earrings. I did manage a super cute Easter outfit, but was too busy celebrating with friends to get a picture. So, I guess I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t been proud of what I’ve worn. I’m sorry!

But, I made up for it big time yesterday. Yesterday was my last real shift at my job/class, so I wanted to dress up even more than I usually do. I took advantage of the cloudy-but-not-rainy day and broke out the pencil skirt I bought in February. Topped it with my cute LOFT blouse and a cardigan for warmth, and finished it off with a belt and wedges (can’t run around my job in heels!). The end result? I think I managed what I’ve been working toward for months: Dressing like a grown-up.

And then! I work 12-hour shifts, and I knew I wouldn’t last the whole time in a pencil skirt, so I threw a pair of jeans in my bag. Untuck the shirt, belt the cardigan, and you have a whole new outfit!

I am seriously so proud of both of these outfits. The ruffly blouse, the pencil skirt, the belted cardigan — all looks that I would never have tried on my own, and a definite step out of my usual dressing habits. But I’ve been so inspired by my favorite petite fashion bloggers — Jean at Extra Petite, Kelly at Alterations Needed, Jess at Stylepint and Kileen at Cute and Little are my current idols — that I wanted to try some things that I thought they would wear. I’m sure they’d look a billion times better, with colors and accessories and actual heels and the like, but for a college kid, it’s not a bad start.

I wish I lived somewhere I could wear outfits like this to work every day. Maybe next year!

Skirt: H &M. Belt: Macy’s (came with the dress from this post). Blouse: LOFT. Cami: Forever 21. Cardigan: LOFT. Jeans: Target. Wedges: Payless.