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.

Circles and stripes

No outfit photo for Tuesday, because it was “one of those days” and I was too tired to even take a bad auto-timed photo of myself. You ever have those days? I’m talking “Sat in my bed to talk to Dad on the phone and promptly passed out for 1.5 hours, fully dressed, with all the the lights on” tired.

It did the cold-and-rainy thing again today, which is getting pretty old, Missouri, so cut that out. I just wore jeans and boots and one of my flannel-ish shirts in an attempt to be warm under my light raincoat.

The only notable thing I did today was accessorize my flannel with one of my nicer necklaces. I spotted it hanging with my other necklaces on my way out the door and thought, why not? It’s a little weird, but I like the contrast of the round chain necklace against the straight lines of the plaid shirt. 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.

Sweater dress’s last hurrah

Today was another one of those “It’s cold! But I can’t wear pants!” days. Still no clean tights. Still not in the mood for heels. But, I did need to look a little dressy because I had an interview for a leadership position for next year.

So, I pulled out the purple sweater dress I got on super clearance this year. It’s mostly plain, other than slightly puffy sleeves, so I like wearing it belted. The pic didn’t come out very well (backpack tripod, always), but it’s way more flattering in real life. Kept the rest of it simple with black sandals and a silver chain necklace, and my denim jacket for warmth. I love this outfit because it was so easy. Just a dress and a belt and shoes, yet it looks nice and put-together. Cheers.

I’ve noticed more people going with big pictures lately, so I’m going to follow the trend. The blurred face is even more alarming when it’s larger, isn’t it? And, three cheers for a new photo location. I was already halfway home and far from my usual spots when I realized I still needed a pic, so I stopped by the first flowery bushes I saw. Worked out pretty well.

Dress: Macy’s. Belt and sandals: Forever 21. Necklace: Gifted.

Going green for Earth Day (sort of)

Earth Day isn’t technically until the 22nd, I think, but my town apparently decided today was a good day to celebrate. We had a beautifully sunny day, and a great festival. A few blocks were closed off for vendors to set up with food, pamphlets, crafts and the like.

I kept an eye on the jewelry tables in search of something turquoise, because I’ve been looking for a turquoise necklace for a while (Okay, since Nina Garcia recommended it. I’m slowly but surely chipping away at that Hundred.). It’s been difficult finding something I like — most of the turquoise at Forever 21 is part of “hippie”-looking jewelry with feathers and such, and more simple-looking pieces at other stores have been expensive. But! I found the perfect necklace today.

The detail in this picture is not fantastic, but you can kind of tell that it’s pretty and kind of delicate, but also intricate — lots of curls and twists and nice accents. The turquoise is pretty and gives a pop of color, but it isn’t “in your face,” either. Perfect for me. And only $10, supporting a local craftswoman! Love it.

Outfit for the day? I needed something that was cute and put-together in case I ended up doing work stuff, but I also had to look casual enough to fit in at an Earth Day celebration (very, very laid back atmosphere). I kept it simple — denim skirt and sandals, and a green shirt to fit the theme.

Sorry for the awful pic — people walked in on my retake, so I had to stick with this.

I love that the majority of this outfit is old. I’m fairly sure I wore this top/cami combo for picture day Sophomore year of high school (okay, that’s four years, which isn’t a long time in real-world time, but it’s an awkward time frame). I’ve had the skirt since eighth grade, but I just started wearing it last year — I think during high school the only acceptable kind of denim skirt is a mini skirt, not something knee-length and flouncy. Now I wear it all the time.

The shoes are the only recent purchase. A “tiny find,” I got them from the kids’ aisle at Target last spring. Twice last summer, I saw small children wearing them at my job. Always a fun time. The stones are not quite turquoise — more green than blue — but when my feet and neck are so far apart, and there are plenty of clothes between, it works.

Shirt — Carson’s. Cami — Aeropostale. Skirt — Gap. Sandals — Target. Necklace — Handmade locally.

LBD — With Rainboots.

As I said yesterday, today is day 1 of my friend’s No Pants Challenge. The rules, should you decide you want to join in:

  1. No pants. No jeans, slacks, whatever. If they’re kind of pants, don’t wear them.
  2. Leggings are not pants; therefore, leggings are okay. Shorts are not pants, either, so they’re fine too. Just no more than 3 times a week.
  3. If you have to run or play sports or other shorts/pants-mandating activities, fine, wear them, but wear them while you need them, then put a dress on!

It officially begins today, April 15, and goes to the end of our school year, May 13. Let’s see how long I can make it!

Of course, the challenge began on a day when there was rain in the forecast. I kind of whined about this — “Can’t we make an exception so I can wear skinny jeans and boots when it rains?” — but I was told to “Be a woman and wear a dress.” So.

Fortunately, I have a causal dress that matches my rainboots! I added a pair of black knee-hi socks (wasn’t in the mood for tights, but I wanted something else showing above the boots), and a gold necklace and bangles to dress it up for work, and I think the end result is pretty decent.

Not the cutest thing in the world, I know, but it could have been worse, too (I could have given up and worn pants!). How do you go pantsless on rainy days? What can I do next time?

Also: I worked my ‘tour guide’ job at school today, and one of the dads on the tour told me my boots were “awesome.” Love it.

Dress and bangles: Forever 21. Necklace, boots and socks: Target.

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