searching for spring

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In my continued efforts to strongly encourage Spring to come to Chicago, I’m trying to wear bright colors as much as possible. Admittedly, I don’t think this strategy is working…but I’m trying nonetheless. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, so I’ll leave you to the photos, readers!

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Dress: Issa for Banana Republic ($14 marked down from $130)
Blazer: Forever 21 ($25)
Tights: Target ($8)
Shoes: Marshall’s (approx $20 marked down from approx $100)

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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I’ve said it once, I will likely keep saying it: shopping “off season” is a great way to find pieces at good prices. This dress looks spring/summer colored to me, but definitely works in winter too. If you don’t find something in the first store you go to, try not to be too dismayed! Lots of times I “strike out” in a store. Gap is having a great winter sale now, as is Ann Taylor. Stock up on winter pieces now and you might find that a lot of the pieces could easily transition into spring and fall.

2) Time is really at a premium for most people. I always go straight to a clearance section in a store and check out the prices and pieces. If the prices aren’t great, they likely won’t get better elsewhere in the store, so move on! 5-10 minutes tops is about all you need to scope out a store. I typically do 1-2 stores in an outing, but it all depends on how you shop and want to shop!

I’ve been reading some comments asking about how to find deals, so hopefully these tips help, but I would love other people’s feedback too! What are your speed shopping tips?

Thanks for stopping by, lovely readers! I appreciate it so much!

trailblazing blazer

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Readers. Friday was a big victory for my Fashion Huntress work attire. I was able to figure out how to wear a sweatshirt at work. Stop it. Hold the phone. Shut the front door. This is happening and it’s a thing. Here is the criteria that I thought made my sweats work appropriate:

1) The sweatshirt was a blazer

2) The blazer had elbow patches (so legit)

3) It was worn with fancy heels
Speaking of victories, I found these Moschino heels on consignment last week. They potentially need some re-soling love, but they are still in great condition. A sweatshirt with Moschino heels? At work? It’s like pretty much 90% of my fashion dreams came true in one day.
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Blazer: H&M ($11 marked down from $15)
Denim shirt: Forever 21 ($20)
Pants: Ann Taylor Loft ($2.50 marked down from $60)
Shoes: Moschino via consignment ($24 marked down from approx $400)
Necklace: (gift, handmade)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I had some serious reservations about consigning shoes. However, I decided to not even give it a second thought after I found a few great pairs. When I’m looking at shoes on consignment, I always look at both shoes from all angles, especially the heel, toe, and sole. Most shoes can be re-heeled and re-soled.  However, if they’ve worn down too far, it might be tricky to fix them. You can tell if a heel is worn down too far if you can see metal in the heel tip or if the fabric of the shoe has started to wear around the rubber/plastic heel. At that point, re-heeling will not fix all of the issues.  With re-soling, I look to ensure that the shoe doesn’t have any holes in the sole. Lastly, I take an alcohol swab and just clean out the inside of the shoe once I get home- voila! Ready to go!
 
2) Mixing high and low is always one of my favorite ways to dress up my casual or lower priced pieces. Fret not, if designer pieces are out of your budget (they are definitely out of mine!), then check out vintage, consignment, and charity shops. In many resale-type shops, they have a section labelled “designer.” If the prices seem high, consider going elsewhere. I typically don’t think that $100-$300 is a good price for a designer dress in a resale shop, though I’m guessing this is regional and prices may vary by location. Check out shop ratings near your house by using yelp.com or look at online shops like ebay.com.
Anyone else have resale shoe tips?
I hope everyone is having a good start to the week! Happy Monday!

reflecting on (watercolor) reflections

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I’ve been thinking about reflections these past few days- both what we see in ourselves and what we see in others. While I’ve had some unfortunate interactions this week, I’ve had many more interactions that remind me of the kindness of those around us. In reflecting on what I see in so many others, I remind myself to let go of those that leave me feeling drained.  Hopefully, as a result of letting go, I can reflect the same kindness that I’ve received for those who need it. What better way to reflect than sitting quietly in a windowsill while wearing a watercolor reflections dress? I’m not sure how this directly relates to fashion, but I do know I always feel better when I’m wearing a great dress (that I found at a great price).

“Respond intelligently, even to unintelligent treatment.” Lao Tzu

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Dress: Eliza J via consignment ($20 marked down from approx $140)

Sweater: Sleeping on Snow at Anthropologie via consignment ($16 marked down from approx $200)

Tights: Target ($8)

Shoes: Lula Townsend at DSW ($12 marked down from $79)

Necklace: (gift, from Anthropologie)

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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I almost passed this dress up because I couldn’t think of how to winterize it! When I added a knee length sweater, however, I realized how easy it was. If you’re in a shop and you see something you like, but aren’t sure how to wear it, just grab something in the store to try on with the piece in question. Additionally, if I’m going dress shopping, I normally wear leggings so I can picture how the dress will look with tights.

2) As many of you know, I’m a big fan of consignment…as long as I like the shop! When shopping for this dress, I overheard someone asking for a markdown on a piece because it had makeup on it. Interestingly, the salesperson apologized profusely saying it never should have gone to the floor with a mark on it. My advice is two-fold: first, always double check everything, no matter where you are! Secondly, most nice consignment shops sell pieces that are highly scrutinized. You can look online to see what type and condition of clothing a consignment shop accepts. I’ve never seen a mark or snag on anything in the shop I frequent, so research well and you shouldn’t have any issues. If you
do, tell the salesperson right away, and you can gauge their reaction. In this case, it was very clear the salesperson was embarrassed to have missed something and was quick to resolve the issue.

Anyone else have consignment feedback to share?

Happy mid-week, readers! Thank you for stopping by!

radiating red (aka just enough of a good thing)

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I don’t know what it is, but lately I haven’t had much to say in my posts. I think the winter blues have sunk in due to a lack of sun and endless snowy cold days. It’s hard to feel fashion inspiration when you’re wearing a floor length down sleeping bag (ie my coat) and Uggs- day in and day out.

I really dug down deep today and busted out the best pattern mash-up I could muster up. Initially I thought that this was my “too much of a good thing” look, but I decided it was just enough of a good thing, especially in the midst of a dark winter spell. In chatting about fashion and weather throughout the day, I remembered that sometimes we bring our own versions of sun to the day, in whatever form that takes.  When we bring our own sun, we end up bringing just enough of a good thing- a sympathetic ear, smile,  cupcake,  good belly laugh. All just enough of a good thing. For that reason, I call this my radiating red look.

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Denim shirt: Forever 21 ($20)

Cardigan: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $70)

Pants: Gap ($8 marked down from $55)

Scarf: Express ($7 marked down from $35)

Shoes: Banana Republic ($12 marked down from $110)

Necklace: (gift)

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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) Gap has a great sale right now. I happened to have been stalking these pants in stores, and finally found them on clearance. Interestingly, each pair of printed pants was a different price, so look through all of the pants you like to get the best deal. I saw some pants marked down to about $5-$10!

http://www.gap.com

2) I really red-ed (clearly not a word, but go with it) up this look. However, I think it would also be nice to change up the look by wearing less red, and adding a simple black, blue, gray or cream sweater. Even though printed pants can seem less versatile than solid colored pants, think about wearing your printed pants differently (and more frequently) by either color clashing, color matching, or adding a neutral tone on top. 

Anyone else have printed pants tips?

Happy Monday, all! I hope everyone had a good start to the week!!

nod to the nineties

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As you probably all know by now, I’m a fairly nostalgic person. So, when I put this outfit on, I knew I was drawn to it because of its 90s feel. As my girlfriend put it, it’s my “90s coffeehouse look…maybe Phoebe at Central Perk or Blossom hanging out.” …that pretty much covers it.

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Dress: Nordstrom Rack ($20 marked down from approx $45)

Sweater: Gap ($12 marked down from approx $55)

Leggings: Limited (approx $10 many years ago!)

Boots: DSW ($15 marked down from $50)

Necklaces: (gifts)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) I’m normally big on belts. I rarely layer bulky/flowy pieces without a belt. But, in the interest of ‘change it up 2014,’ I decided to try something different and ditch the belt. I ended up liking the look. Though, for the record, I kept a belt in my purse all day in case I changed my mind! One way to change up looks is to add a belt, remove a belt, change your tights, change jewelry, etc. All of those changes would change this look and allow for more usage of the dress and sweater as one outfit.

2) Sweaters over dresses. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, this is a brilliant strategy for getting more uses out of dresses (that I take no credit for). I last featured this dress as a dress:

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I loved this dress as a skirt, however, and it was good way to winterize an otherwise warmer weather dress. I haven’t found many dresses that can’t be layered/styled into skirts, so give it a try with your own dresses!

How does everyone else feel about layering without belts? Is it a fashion do or a fashion don’t?

Happy Sunday, all! I hope everyone had a good weekend! Thank you so much for stopping by!

snow falling on flowers

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I’m pretty much over winter these days. But…when I saw the snow falling, I basically had no choice but to roll out there and take some blog photos. I ended up loving these photos, so I think it was totally worthwhile. However, now that I’ve captured the photos, Spring is welcome to come immediately to Chicago.

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Top: Banana Republic (approx $7 marked down from approx $35)

Cardigan: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $70)

Scarf: Limited ($7 marked down from $35)

Necklaces: (gifts)

Shoes: Lula Townsend at DSW ($12 marked down from $79)

Hat: Target ($12)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) Lately, I’ve been all about florals in winter. I think florals can bring a lot of color and joy to winter days. The top featured here is quite thin, so I wore it with another top underneath and a cardigan. I like to think through what I generally consider more of my “summer and spring” clothes and basically just layer them up for winter wear. With layers, you can get a lot more usage out of your clothes, so pull out some of your summer clothing bins and look through them!

2) This is one of the best times of year to invest in sweaters. I have seen a ton of sweaters lately that are marked down to $10-$25. Even I will look at a sweater this time of year and think, “well…how much am I really going to wear this in January and February?” But then, inevitably, at the beginning of next winter, I will be dismayed by my lack of sweaters. So, this year in the spirit of planning, I’m grabbing up sweaters for next fall and winter. I have found the best selections at Gap, Banana Republic, Limited, Express, and Ann Taylor. 
Anyone else stocking up on winter clothes for next year? Where are you finding the best pieces?
Thanks for stopping by, all! Wishing you warmth and a good end to the week!

loving leopard (rings)

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Speaking of “new version of you” in 2014 (see last post), I found a really interesting ring at Express the other day. It wasn’t really my “usual” style, but something about this leopard ring really spoke to me. I’ve seen a ton of animal cuffs, necklaces, and rings in the past, but haven’t really found many that I loved…until last week. Side note, that’s not entirely true. Basically all of the animal jewelry from Chopard is really up my alley…but not really in my price range (har har, understatement of the year). Anywho, this leopard ring spoke to me at Express (it was saying, “rarrr, buy me”). And buy I did. The ring and I have been living happily ever after, reciting one of my 2014 mantras:

 “…and though she be but little, she is fierce.” -Shakespeare (rarrr)
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Top: Banana Republic (approx $10 marked down from approx $45)
Tank top: Banana Republic (gift)
Pants: Ann Taylor Loft ($2.50 marked down from $60)
Necklace: (gift, handmade)
Ring: Express ($6 marked down from $35)
Shoes: Rampage via Marshall’s ($16 marked down from approx $40)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
 1) Express has been having some great sales lately; when I was there last week, the sale was 40% off their sale section. One of the things that I don’t love about Express is that their sale section is literally in boxes that you have to dig through. I’ll be honest, sometimes that has stopped me in the past, because it seems really time consuming digging through boxes.  However, I’ve found that you can still get through the boxes pretty quickly because there’s a lot of repetition in the boxes. The jewelry section, however, is really easy to get through because it’s generally just 1-2 sale racks. So, if you’re not in the mood to go through boxes, check out the accessories.

 
2) I wasn’t entirely sure how to wear this giant ring, but decided to just wear it like I would wear any other jewelry. Statement jewelry can be worn as the “statement” of the outfit, or along with other matching pieces. In this outfit, for example, I wore gold studded shoes and a fairly bold necklace. With all the pieces together, the gold throughout the accessories was very coherent.  Another option would be to keep everything else simple, and have the ring be your “standout” piece.
Anyone else have suggestions for statement rings? Animal jewelry?
Happy Monday, all! Thank you so much for stopping by!