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!

Oscar Sunday!

Happy Oscar night, everyone! One of my favorite nights of the year, mostly because I love seeing the dresses.

I saw six of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, so I had seen enough to have opinions as to who should win. I was pretty happy with most of the results — “The Artist” was my favorite, by far, so I was thrilled that it won.

The dresses were lovely this year! It’s hard for me to remember all of my favorites without looking at them, but the ones I remember most are Jessica Chastain’s, Natalie Portman’s and Ellie Kemper’s (though I had to look her up to figure out who she was!). I don’t remember too many horrendous fails, either, which is good.

I dream of someday snagging an invite to the Oscars, but for this year I contented myself with throwing a party at a friend’s house. I demanded that it be a formal event — my guy friends were told that it was okay if they wore normal clothes as long as they added a tie, but I would love for them to wear actual suits. And you know what? Every single one of the five who came to the party did. How blessed am I to have friends who will dress up to sit on couches and eat cake with me? That’s a better prize than any Oscar.

Practicing my red-carpet pose, with my Oscar for Best Reporter. Someday.

Not-so-casual Friday

I finally did laundry for the first time in a month, which is alarming on so many levels. How did I accumulate so many items of clothing that I can go a month without washing anything and still have stuff to wear? And how am I fitting everything in my itty-bitty college room?

Most college students take “My clothes are dirty” as an excuse to wear old t-shirts and sweatpants. Given that I have to maintain a semi-professional appearance all the time for my work, though, for me it means more dresses and “nice clothes” than usual. When my casual jeans got too dirty to keep wearing, I went as long as I could wearing dresses and skirts, but Friday I had to pull out my nice jeans, which require heels because I still have not had them altered. Heels on a normal college day! People were judging so hard.

The challenge became finding a top that was casual enough to not look ridiculous on campus but nice enough to wear with heels. So, I went for nice but basic: just a turtleneck sweater in a rich color. I even threw on that snakeskin belt I got for Christmas and had no idea how to wear, which is exciting — now that I’ve worn it with an outfit other than the one the saleswoman put together for me, I might be able to actually wear it on a sort-of-regular basis.

Do you ever think to yourself, “WHERE DID ALL OF THESE CLOTHES COME FROM?” I know it’s totally #firstworldproblems, but really. It’s embarrassing. I’d love some advice on how to execute a closet purge so I can have more space and feel better about myself. Cheers.

Mixing textures: Flowers and snakes

Ann Taylor and Loft are stores on my “Get used to so you can dress like a grown-up” list, but I’ll readily admit that they intimidate me. The first time I tried to visit Ann Taylor, I didn’t even make it in the door — I saw nothing but neutrals and suits and promptly fled.

But I couldn’t avoid it forever: I received several Ann Taylor pieces for Christmas, and I had to make the trip to return or exchange the ones that didn’t fit. I was left with an item I could handle — a beautiful gold bangle — and two that I liked but had absolutely no idea how to wear: a cream floral-textured pencil-ish skirt and a skinny faux-snakeskin belt.

I asked the saleswoman for some help picking out tops that would work with the skirt, and we ended up with two turtlenecks, one burgandy, one coral. I really like the turtlenecks; they’re soft, which is always great, and they have elbow-length sleeves, ideal for push-every-sleeve-past-my-elbows me. Here’s one of the outfits we finally came up with:

I don’t think it’s perfect — I wish I could find some burgandy tights to swap for black, and it could use a necklace — but it’s a step in the right direction. If you have any other ideas on how I could wear either of those items — the skirt or the belt — they would be greatly appreciated! Cheers.

Sweater: Ann Taylor Petite Elbow Sleeve Turtleneck, sz XS (Not available online, final sale in stores — similar here, with long sleeves). Skirt: Ann Taylor Petite Snow Flower Lace Skirt, sz 2P. Belt: Ann Taylor Perfect Skinny Watersnake Belt, sz XS. Tights: Target. Shoes: Payless Dexter Karma Pump, sz 5.

Wedding Day!

Taking today off from the Color Rotation for a special occasion — my aunt’s wedding! I’m excited, not only because I am extremely happy for her but also because it’s my first wedding. Crazy, right?

I had been a little concerned about not knowing what to wear, but it became a lot easier when I found out it was a Black & White themed wedding. I bought the perfect black dress at Macy’s over Christmas break, and today’s my first chance to wear it.

I loved this dress from the moment I tried it on. It’s just so adult looking, isn’t it? The fit is beautiful, the length and sleeves make it appropriate for formal occasions, and it’s got a super cute black belt, too.

My mom picked the shoes — faux-snakeskin peep-toe heels. Love it.