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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Late to Breakfast (at Tiffany’s!)

I’ve been late to the party on a lot of movies. I didn’t see “Titanic” until 2006; I didn’t see “Lord of the Rings” until weeks before “Return of the King” came out; I still haven’t seen the complete “Star Wars” series. Since I got my Netflix account a year ago, though, I’ve been trying to fill some of the holes in my “movie education.”

Here at school, every other girl in the dorms has a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” poster. Two of my three roommates have them! After 2.5 years of looking at her pearls, updo, sunglasses, tiara, giant cigarette and whatever else, I finally decided to check the movie out for myself a few nights ago. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very different from what I thought it would be, in a good way. I liked it a lot — I laughed, I got sad, I fell in love with the characters.

And, of course, like every other girl in the dorms, I fell a little bit in love with everything Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly wore. The dresses! The coats! The skirts! The jewelry! She always looked beautiful, but she made it look so effortless. I just wanted to steal her entire wardrobe.

The next morning, I woke up feeling completely inspired. I took a cue from a simple outfit from the movie that I couldn’t find a picture of because you only see it for a short time: the day she goes to the library with Paul in that awesome reddish pea coat, she wears a polo tucked into a pencil skirt. I didn’t quite want to go all the way to a pencil skirt for my campus job, but I at least put on a formal skirt.

It’s a shamefully amateur attempt, I know, but it made me smile, and all of my coworkers loved it, too (“What are you dressed up for?” “Oh, nothing, just saw ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ last night!”). I don’t think anyone would look at this outfit and say, “Oh, totally inspired by Audrey Hepburn,” but I think I got the overall concept I took away from admiring how she dressed: You don’t need to wait for a formal occasion to break out your formal skirt, and even a basic day should be an opportunity to dress up a little. If Holly Golightly can dress up to go to the library, I can dress up to go to class.

Belatedly, a Valentine’s Day post

Sorry for the lengthy absence! It’s been a crazy two weeks — traveling, schoolwork, work-work, sporting events, bad weather, the usual. But, don’t worry — I have some good posts coming up! I have a few new sweaters and nail polishes and styling tricks to show off. Stay tuned.

Before I get to the good stuff, though, I have to post my Valentine’s Day outfit, just because I liked it. It’s nothing crazy, I didn’t go full-out heart-spangled, but I never pass up an opportunity to dress for a holiday, even in college, so I had to go somewhat pink and flouncy. I tried to tone it down with brown accessories, and eventually I added a light gray cardigan, too. I don’t think I’ve ever belted this skirt before, and I’ll do it again, for sure — I really like the shape it creates.

Look at that flawless hand heart. You’re impressed.

I had a low-key but fun Valentine’s Day; four of my friends and I had  “Singles Awareness Soiree,” where we baked cake, watched a movie and laughed a lot. Overall a great night. How did you celebrate? And at what age do you think I have to give up dressing up for holidays? 😉

Boots and Skirt and Boots and Skirt and Boots and Skirt…

One of my friends taught me the secret to beat-boxing: Just say “Boots and Cats” over and over. It sounds ridiculous, but I dare you to try it. Go ahead. Try.

So, if Boots and Cats works, Boots and Skirt can work, too, right? I don’t know. Seeing as there’s really not a non-silly way to beat-box, might as well go with it.

Today I did that thing were I got tired of wearing jeans and was determined to wear a skirt, regardless of what the weather did. Lucky for me, it turned out to rain all day. Awesome.

Proof that I took this first thing today: If you look closely, you can totally see my retainer. Awkward.

Wearing white tights on a rainy day was not a good call, but the outfit worked, for the most part. I picked this sweater up on clearance at Target a few months ago, and I love it — it’s super soft, and it’s a great dress-up, dress-down piece. I like wearing it like this for college, but I can see myself someday attempting to wear it with a pair of brown slacks for a job. I really want a light blue collared shirt to wear under it, but the tank works for now.

What do you guys do on days when you just don’t want to wear pants, but the weather isn’t quite cooperating? I have to figure something out — I’m predicting a rainy spring here because we’ve had such a mild winter. Missouri weather is always a challenge. 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.

Dressed-up Plaid

I haven’t outfit-posted in a few days because I’ve been sticking to basic gym-shoe-accommodating things in hopes of getting my somehow-injured foot back in shape. Today I reached the foot-injury stage of, “Well, this is going to hurt no matter what shoes I wear, so I might as well wear shoes I like.” So, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I bought two button-up plaid shirts at Old Navy last week, and they’re just perfect for winter — warm without being bulky. I’m not sure if they’re flannel or what (the receipt says flannel, but it’s debatable), but they’re great. The shirt’s cheap ($15-ish, depending on the sale you get — I couldn’t find them online, sorry!) and available in about a billion colors, and it fits really well, too! I also appreciate that the sleeves stay rolled up when you roll them, because I typically push my sleeves up to my elbows, anyway.

Yup, we've got saloon doors in my basement. You're jealous.

I’m so hooked on the skirt/tights/boots combo. I skipped my brown boots in favor of gray ones to avoid looking too cowgirl, which was probably a good call, and dressed up the whole thing by keeping my hair and earrings nice. I love this look — you’ll see this again soon. Cheers.

Shirt: Old Navy flannel something? sz XS. Still in stores, but not so much online; similar here. Skirt: Old Navy (old). Tank: Old Navy (old). Tights: Target. Boots: Payless, old, but similar here.

Boots, Skirts and Fuzzy Socks

I’m back, guys! We’ll see how long it lasts. New Year’s Resolution: Blog. Right.

Seriously, though, I’m going to try to start this up again. Why not? I’m home on winter break, so I have some free time to write and actually dress nice. I’m starting my stress!job again next semester, so I’ll need this blog for sanity’s sake again. And, an even more compelling reason to make this good: I finally took the leap of showing this to someone in my “real life.” My little sister and I read the same fashion blogs, so I made the decision to let her in on mine. Have to keep it cool so she doesn’t laugh at me too much 😉

Today’s outfit started with a pair of boots. If you guys have been reading my blog from the beginning (which, okay, you probably haven’t, but let’s roll with that), you know that a) I have a pair of black knee-high boots that I adore and b) I have absolutely no idea how to wear them with anything other than skinny jeans. I think the problem is the attitude of the boots. They’re kind of tough, if you will — I’ve had more than one friend refer to them as my “hooker boots,” which is never a good thing — and I don’t know how to wear them with skirts or dresses. So, I wanted a pair of “softer” boots, wearable with skirts and dresses, and I wanted them to be brown, because I’ve never had brown boots. After a long search, I found my perfect pair at Target.

They’re tall but slouchy, brown but not cowgirl. I love them.

Once I had the boots, it was no time at all before I learned to wear them with skirts and tights. It just feels easy, you know? Today’s outfit is one of my current favorites (and my fashionista sister liked it, too!). I picked up this sweater with the skirt-tights-boots combo in mind. I like the way the off-white in the sweater pairs with the off-white tights.

I think I might go with my lighter denim skirt next time, just for a better contrast to the navy sweater, but it works for now.

Just for kicks: A confession, and a thought. Confession: I wear fuzzy socks under my boots. Why not? They’re warm. They’re soft. They’re comfortable. They keep my tights from getting too worn out. And, you know, no one can see them, so no big deal, right?

So here’s the thought. I do this. My friends all do this. Everyone I have talked to who wears boots has confessed to doing this at some point. Do any of you do this? And, more importantly, do you think there are famous people who do this? I can’t get the thought of Kate Middleton or Kim Kardashian or Katy Perry or some other celebrity walking around with fuzzy socks in her boots. Crazy or not, it makes me smile. Cheers.

Boots: Target Mossimo Kailey Tall Boots in brown, sz 5 1/2 (also available in black, gray, taupe and navy). Sweater: Forever 21 Patterned Knit Sweater, sz S. Skirt: Old Navy (old). Tights: Forever 21 (old). Socks: Old Navy Chenille Cozy Socks (Stripes out of stock, but star-patterned socks here).

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