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!

Time machine

I got dressed in a hurry today, just throwing on a cardigan over the first semi-decent shirt I grabbed. At some point in the day, though, I thought about the shirt I was wearing and laughed when I realized it’s one of the oldest shirts I own.

I am not entirely positive, but I’m pretty sure I bought it back in eighth grade, when Hollister was just starting to get popular and everyone wanted to be wearing their clothes. I don’t remember what made me choose it at the time, and I don’t think I wore it much for the first several years I had it, either. It’s grown on me lately, though — it’s simple, but I like the color and the detail around the neckline.

Having the same item of clothing for seven years is not remarkable if you’re an adult buying quality, investment items, but when you’re still wearing a $20 Hollister shirt that you bought at 14 when you’re a few weeks shy of your 21st birthday, it’s amusing.

I only have photos from college on my laptop, so I couldn’t find any really old pictures of this shirt, but I made the even funnier discovery that I actually wore it the day I moved into college as a freshman.

One shirt, two totally different looks. Then: Lace cami, short shorts, flip flops. Now: Cardigan, jeans, wedges. My favorite part? Aside from having grown out my bangs, my hair is pretty much the same. Love it. Cheers.

Keeping things simple (and weird!)

I had another skirt-and-boots combo and a trip to the mall planned for Thursday, but after ice skating and walking 9 miles Wednesday, I woke up with a beyond-sore ankle and both plans went out the window. I’m not a doctor, and I’m not an injury-prone athlete, so I could think of only three potential “cures” for my ankle: 1. Ibuprofen. 2. An afternoon of rest. 3. Comfy shoes.

Because I’ve never mastered the art of dressing up your Converse, I ended up keeping my outfit simple: just jeans and a t-shirt, plus a cardigan for warmth. I reached for my favorite school t-shirts first, then thought I’d step it up to a solid color, before finally settling on something more fun: my Keep Austin Weird shirt.

I picked this shirt up last summer, when I was in Austin, Texas for a workshop. I had seen the slogan all over town, but I wasn’t sure what it meant. Turns out, Wikipedia says, “Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance  to promote small business in Austin, Texas,” and it’s become an idea the people of the city embrace, too — they like the city’s “weird” culture (and I did, too!). The small print on the shirt reads, “Support your local businesses.” I’m not a huge “message T” person, but I like this one. It supports small businesses and makes a great conversation starter. Plus, you know, everyone needs a good tie-dye t-shirt in his/her arsenal.

Also, I did end up getting to two stores, and I managed to pick up some pieces I’m looking forward to turning into outfits. Stay tuned! Cheers.

T-shirt: Outhouse Designs Original Keep Austin Weird Tie Dye Shirt, sz Youth L (adult version here). Cardigan: Target Merona Womens Essential Cardigan Sweater in black, sz XS. Jeans: Levi’s 524 Boot Cut, sz 1 short (shortened).

Finally joining the Color Brigade!

One of my favorite fashion blogs is Cute & Little, by Kileen. Kileen is one seriously stylish person — I’m always impressed by the beautiful outfits she puts together! Even her casual days are worlds more sophisticated than my dress-to-impress days. It’s amazing.

Kileen runs the Color Brigade. I’m not sure exactly what the history of it is, but it’s a weekly feature on her blog. Here’s the challenge: Wear an outfit that combines at least 3 colors (patterns count as one color). I always love the outfits, and I’ve been meaning to join in for months. But every week Monday rolls around and something happens — I oversleep, I have to wear something specific for whatever reason, I get lazy and wear something basic. You all have seen my struggles with color.

This week, I was determined to do it! I woke up Monday ready to go… and realized I had woken up late and still needed to finish a homework assignment before getting to work. So. That ended up being a uniform polo day.

But today, today, I finally did it!

Oddly enough, this outfit started with the gold tank top. It was a work day, so I was aiming for black and gold, and I had planned to wear the tank top with a plain black skirt and a black cardigan. But I had my plain black skirt on the same hanger as this tiny-floral patterned one, so I thought I’d switch it up and make it more interesting. Then I spotted this pinkish cardigan next to my black one and guessed it might work with pink flowers in the skirt. I ran it by my roommate, just to make sure I didn’t look dumb, and she approved it. Ta dah! My first Color Brigade outfit.

Close-up on the skirt pattern. I don't know why it's so brown here! It's a black skirt with pink and gold flowers.

I wish I had had the time to put some more effort into this outfit, and to take some better pictures, but it’s not a bad start! Here’s hoping I can pull it off again next week. Cheers.

P.S. — No posts over the weekend because I traveled home and had occasion to make some questionable fashion decisions — I refuse to put effort into looking nice for dentist appointments, because nothing good comes out of dentist visits, and I may or may not have broken out the old letterman jacket while attending an event for my high school. Whoops. But, I managed to throw on an uncharacteristic amount of color for my drive back to school! Look at this. I had a bright green shirt that matched a stripe or two on my beloved Missoni flats, and coordinated with a tank top in another shoe-stripe color. Not a black cardigan in sight, either 🙂 Maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Not even college names on t-shirts can escape the retouching tool of my Internet paranoia.

Did you forget how to wear color?

I’ve had a busy week with some uninspired outfits, so I haven’t been doing regular outfit posts. Looking back at the past few days, though, I noticed a trend: I wore almost no color this week.

Monday: Gray top and jeans, though points for trying with the pink shoes. (Outfit originally posted here)

Tuesday: Black top, jeans, black sandals.

Wednesday: Black tank top, gray cardigan, jeans, pewter shoes. (Flashback: almost the exact outfit I wore in one of my first posts, back on March 8!)

Thursday: Hard to tell, but the cardigan’s navy with black detailing. Still, dark cardigan, black tank, jeans, black shoes.

And today I’m in my black uniform polo for work. Ack! At least I’m rocking my Missoni flats today for some color.

Seriously! I do wear black a lot because it’s a school color and I work for my school. Still, there’s no reason to go a whole week with barely any color! I might need to start up Colleen’s Color Rotation Challenge again just to get out of this boring pattern. I think I stick to neutrals because they’re easy, but I know color can be just as easy, too — I like wearing color, when I remember to! Here’s hoping I can get a better color spread next week. 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?

Everyone’s a princess today

Everyone’s been asking, “Why is the whole world so obsessed with the Royal Wedding? Who cares?” I’ll admit, it is not remotely relevant to our lives. But I am a huge Anglophile — I have this grand dream of moving to London after I graduate — so I do care. Not enough to get up at 4 a.m. to watch, to be sure, but I care.

And honestly? Even if you don’t care, everyone should watch it just for how beautiful everything is. Kate was gorgeous, most of the royals were very well dressed, and London itself was just breathtaking in all the shots I saw. I had the privilege of visiting Westminster Abbey when I was in London two years ago, but to see it all polished up and wedding-ready today was a treat.

Anyway, with the wedding on my mind and the most beautiful weather we’ve had in a long time, how could I not wear a dress? I stayed at home for most of the day, so I didn’t want to waste one of my favorite dresses, but even in a simple one I felt pretty as a princess.

The dress has the same story as most of my dresses: Saw it on Forever21.com, thought, “I want that,” and bought it the next time I was in a store. I love the sweetheart neckline and the flouncy skirt, and it ties in the back, too. I wasn’t comfortable wearing it on its own walking around campus, because I’m not a fan of super-thin straps (and exposed bra straps, ugh) in an academic setting, so I tossed on my white cropped cardigan, too. Finish it off with my fave Target wedges and I’m good to go. Looking at it here,  it probably could have used a necklace, but I wasn’t sure — can I wear a silver or gold necklace with pewter shoes? Is combining metallics allowed? Always a struggle.

The one issue with this dress is that it’s super young-looking (My roommate said I looked like a 12-year-old. Thanks.). Any ideas on how I could mature it up? I thought wearing the wedges instead of flip-flops was a good call, but I’m not sure what else to do.

Aren’t those lilacs so pretty? They just bloomed across the pathway from my dorm, and I love walking past and smelling them. Springtime 🙂

I’m not going to have a post tomorrow, because I have a very important audition that’s going to last all day, and I’ll likely just be in shorts and a t-shirt. Wish me luck — see you Sunday!

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