secret agent stripes

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Let’s face it. I’m clearly not a secret agent (are you so surprised to hear this??). But, as my friend pointed out, from these photos, maybe I could be a secret agent- hiding in the shadows under a bridge. Frankly, the fact that it’s above 15 degrees in Chicago means that I’ll be hiding in the shadows, hanging in the sun, basically anything outdoors- as long as weather is permitting. So, I guess that means that I’m a secret agent sneaking up on Spring in these photos…making sure She’s here to stay.

“We’ll pay you handsomely, but you see, don’t steal our sun.” -The Thrills, Don’t Steal Our Sun
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Sweater: Banana Republic ($7 marked down from $80)
Skirt: Soprano via Nordstrom Rack ($20 marked down from $60)
Shoes: Lula Townsend at DSW ($12 marked down from $79)
Tights: Target ($8)
Necklace: gift
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) You guys, you won’t believe this. I saw this sweater online over the weekend still marked at $60 on sale. What? I paid $7! Unclear what is going on there, but I’ve seen this quite a bit with stores like Banana Republic and Gap. I know some people can find amazing steals online, but in those stores, I tend to find way better deals in the store. If you have the time, my recommendation is to check out the stores’ clearance section. It’s worth your while to save significantly more!
2) This sweater is definitely what I consider to be a transitional sweater. It’s not too thick and it’s very bright. I decided it worked perfectly on a day when the weather really wasn’t spring, but w3asn’t quite winter. I pack away a few sweaters every spring because they are simply too thick for spring.  However, I generally keep my thin sweaters out at least until summer, because you can get away with wearing them past winter. I think an easy way to transition this look into full-on spring would be to ditch the tights and add strappy sandals. Easy as that, you guys!
Anyone else keeping out their sweaters a bit longer? Loving a peplum sweater?
Thanks for stopping by, readers! Happy Monday and wishing you all a great week!

rockin’ resale

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I absolutely love a good resale/charity shop, readers. I really do. The shop I went to most recently was called “Wings” in the Chicago suburbs.  Charity shops mean you can shop and know that your money is going to a great cause at the same time. Perfection, right? This particular shop’s profits go to local domestic violence shelters. The staff was so friendly, and they were running a promotion that allowed for additional discounts on their clothing.  As with many charity shops, this place was all about the “dig.”  While digging, I found this great Michael Kors dress priced at $10…and then 30% off. I mean, what more can I say? My shopping heart was happy on so many levels.

If you want to know more about Wings, you can check out their site here .20140322-184003.jpg20140322-184048.jpg20140322-184059.jpg20140322-184037.jpg20140322-184025.jpg20140322-183952.jpg

Dress: Michael, Michael Kors via resale ($7, retails for $140)

Necklace: Pam Hiran via Anthropologie ($15 marked down from $60)

Belt: Old Navy ($1.99 marked down from $7)

Long-sleeve tee: H&M (approx $10)

Leggings: Old Navy ($10)

Boots: Express ($20 marked down from approx $70)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) This dress came with a matching belt, but I set that matching belt aside and opted for an animal print belt in brown. The brown in the belt matched the brown in my shoes, so I liked the coordination the belt swap offered.  Swapping out belts on dresses is a really easy way to change-up a dress and get more use out of it. I’m thinking of wearing a hot pink belt next time and maybe knee-high boots and tights. Easy as that, it’s a whole other outfit with the exact same dress!

2) Resale/charity shops were really intimidating to me when I first started going to them. I think I just felt like I didn’t know how to get through the racks and find the pieces that I thought were worth trying on! Well, I’ve overcome that hesitancy simply by trying to shop more and more resale shops. I like to start at the back of the store and work my way up to the front. I search through all the racks with my sizes, and literally just go through piece by piece fairly quickly. Pants are so hard for me to find, I generally skip the pants section, as well as the sleepwear sections. I know plenty of people who can find pants resale, but it’s generally been too time-consuming for me! Lastly, always ask yourself, “would I buy this full price? Or am I just getting this because of the price?” …hopefully that will help manage the “this price is great, I’m getting it” effect.

Anyone else like shopping resale? Any other tips?

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

strong and small

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Do you ever have those days that come full circle? My day started out with my feeling super strong, then feeling super small….and then feeling super strong again. I guess that is to say that I started my day feeling as though I was proudly representing myself, only to turn around and make myself small. It’s so interesting what situations bring out feelings of, “I’ve got this! I am doing great!” and what situations bring out feelings, “I don’t have this. I have no idea what to do.” So how does it come full circle? And how did it come full circle that day? …by reminding myself of the adage, “just do you.” Oh yeah…just be me. I can do that.  And then I was back to strong again. I’ve totally got this.

Well, for now, anyway. And that’s just fine too. This is my ‘strong and small and back to strong’ look…aka how to ensure people stare at you as you pose for photos demonstrating your super hulk strength.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde
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Top: Forever 21 ($20)
Pants: Gap ($21 marked down from $55)
Boots: Express ($20 marked down from approx $70)
Necklace: gift
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I am the first one to say, “oh, you can mix and match just about anything!” …these pants seem to be the exception for me. I’ve had a really hard time changing my top from anything other than a navy blue top or a denim top when I wear these pants. I would love other people’s suggestions if you have them! Some pieces are just flat-out hard to mix and match. On the other hand, I really like them, so I decided to get them regardless of their “inflexibility.” If you find something you love, but it doesn’t really “mix-up” all that well, that’s okay too! Not everything can be heavily rotated in a lot of different ways.
2) Patterned pants are definitely still being shown a lot for spring, so it’s time to bust out any pairs you may have had from last spring or summer! You can find patterned pants just about anywhere these days, though I tend to see them most frequently at Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. Prices range on patterned pants, but I generally try to find them on sale for <$20. Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy all have days where everything in the store is on sale, or when they have a “pants sale.” Signing up for their emails is a good way to find out about these sales. If you don’t want a ton of emails in your inbox, you can also just look on their website to see what their sales are for the day. 
Anyone else loving printed pants? Have any that seem harder to mix-up?
Thanks for stopping by, readers! I appreciate it so much!

mysterious mermaid (aka homage to ariel)

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Maybe it’s because I’m a water sign (oh yeah, I read my horoscope daily, you guys), but I’m really drawn to and soothed by water. I like rainy days, pools, baths, puddles, the ocean…well, you get the idea. Anyway, so when I found this mermaid skirt I knew my aquatic mermaid dreams were about to be realized in grown up form. I mean, yes, my real dream is to rock an Ariel Disney pajama set, but, I settled for a really close second mermaid inspired ensemble too. I don’t know…maybe it’s the water…the colors…the sparkles…but mermaids seem so elegantly mythical and mysterious, singing their siren song. And who doesn’t love humming Part of Your World and toe tapping to Under the Sea with Ariel?

Well, we all know that when I get to story telling about a piece that I’m totally swooning dreamy eyed about fashion. My storytelling has me imagining what Ariel would look like all grown up, wearing heels, parking
her car, and headed to another day at the office. This is my homage to my favorite mermaid, Ariel, and all the other mythical mysterious mermaids from days passed.

“I guess I’m an underwater thing…there’s a sea secret inside me…” Tori Amos, Liquid Diamonds

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Top: Banana Republic ($9 marked down from $65)

Skirt: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $90)

Sweater: H&M (approx $20 marked down from approx $40)

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

Tights: gift
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I’ve been really impressed with Banana Republic upping their game lately. Sometimes, their clothes can seem a bit repetitive to me, but lately, their stuff has been so creative and different. They still have all of their old faithfuls, which I do love, but also some new pieces that look unique and very chic. Additionally, their sales continue to be great at change of season (aka now). I purely shop in their sale section…of course, when there is an additional markdown on their sale items. I don’t find the online sales to be as good as in store sales, but maybe others have had better luck than I have!

2) Monochrome gives you a lot of flexibility for patten mixing. In this look, the top, skirt, tights and shoes were all different patterns, but the black and white kept the look really coherent. The top had a tiny bit of neon green at the collar, but that was the only accent color in the look. I kept my jewelry very simple, though to be honest, I was tempted to rock a giant neon green necklace. Ha! Maybe next time…

Anyone have monochrome outfit tips? Love monochrome? Not loving it?

l’wren

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I don’t normally feel too compelled to hop up on my soapbox (…okay, not entirely true), but I felt compelled today to share my thoughts on a very sad subject: the loss of L’Wren Scott. As I pulled on my sweater today, I couldn’t help but see her name on the tag. She will be greatly missed, and her legacy will live on.

I share in everyone’s sadness in her passing. Having worked in mental health just shy of a decade now, I have seen the impact that depression and other mental health conditions can have on individuals. Of course, without knowing L’Wren, we cannot know what prompted her actions. What we do know is that untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide in the United States.  We also know that depression affects 1 in 10 Americans.  I do urge anyone suffering from depression to seek help, or to speak up if the care you are getting is not sufficient/helpful to you.
If needed, you can find help here, among many other places: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
We’ll be back to our regular programming tomorrow, folks. Thanks for reading.

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magical metamorphosis (aka cozy cocoon)

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For me, it’s flat-out bad news when I say, “Well, I’ll just try this on” in a store …because you know that at that point, I’m probably going to get the item in question. This DVF dress caught my eye the other day and I knew when I decided to “try it on” that it was going to become mine.

Exhibit A:  (my usual text to a girlfriend/sister/mom, “I’m going to get this, right? I HAVE to!” dressing room selfie)
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But really, you guys, can you blame me? Look at this magical metamorphosis/cozy cocoon of a dress! The sleeves are so billowy and gorgeous, I felt like I was a butterfly about to take full butterfly form and fly away. …if you haven’t already figured it out, my feelings about fashion run deep…especially when I start storytelling about a specific piece (ie how I felt like a butterfly in the dress). I guess I just like the idea of a transformation- both in life and in clothing. How magical is the thought that we can be whatever we want, and that our clothes can be a representation of that process? As a card I received many years ago says (and remains on my desk all these years later):
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 …I sure will…and if I’m doing it in a fabulous dress, all the better.
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Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg via Nordstrom Rack ($115, paid $70 with gift card, marked down from $365)
Tights: Hue via Filene’s ($3 marked down from $13.50)
Boots: DSW ($15 marked down from $50)
Necklace: Nadri via Nordstrom Rack ($14 marked down from $50)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) Speaking of transformation, this dress really tones down with a cardigan, as you can see in the photos.  To me, this dress is much more “evening out” then “office ready.” But, with the cardigan, it really took on a different feel. I think a lot of “evening attire” can become office-ready with a cardigan (buttoned up or open), and/or other layers. This is a great way to get more use out of dresses that otherwise wouldn’t get as much wear.
 
2) You all know that I generally really search for the perfect deal.  However, some pieces are worth spending a bit more if you love them and will truly wear them. For a lot of us, regularly buying dresses that are over $100 is really not an option (especially not a full price option for $365!). But, I do believe that investing the $100+ for a dress you will wear forever, or the black heels that won’t go out of style is definitely worthwhile, if it’s an option for you.  The other option is to go vintage/resale/consignment for even lower prices.  Sometimes, stores will still price designer dresses over $100, but I try and avoid those stores- as I think that price point is too high for resale. Resale, for me, for a good designer dress is around $50. I tend to find much more affordable pieces slightly outside the city (Chicago), and I suspect this is the same elsewhere- same quality, same designers, just better prices.
 
I hope everyone had a good start to the week! Happy Monday and St. Patrick’s Day! Thank you so very much for stopping by.

happy in hand-me-downs

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Hand-me-downs can sometimes get a really bad rep (old, used, ill fitting, and/or out of style clothing). However, since I was a little girl, I’ve gotten some pretty rockin’ hand-me-downs. In the 90s, it was Doc Martens, overalls and flannel skirts. Once we all grew up a bit, it became more about heels, skirts and dresses. So, you can imagine how I happily welcome any and all hand-me-downs in my life. This skirt is no exception. My sister gave it to me…and then after the post pics said, “could I borrow that back sometime?” Ha! I’m telling you, I’ve gotten lucky! This is my “happy in hand-me-downs” look.

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Top: Gap ($7 marked down from $50)

Skirt: Hand me down (Odile via Bloomingdales)

Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft (borrowed)

Tights: Forever 21 (years ago, maybe  $5)

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

Necklace: Tiffany (approx $125)

Ring: Forever 21 ($5)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) This skirt truly embodies the definition of a “full skirt.” Believe me, it looks even bigger in person. To wear something of this proportion at work, I paired it down with a button down and cardigan. Wearing this skirt in the evening is so easy, but making it work professional is a bit more challenging. My advice is to go conservative on top is you’re going to wear a skirt of this volume. (But, don’t forget to twirl around in your office and have some fun too).

2) Gap is having another one of their sale-sales. All items were 30% off their sale prices. I generally see these sales on Tuesdays and Wednesdays- though they are on the weekends sometimes too. Gap, to me, is known for similar items to be priced at all different prices. Some of the button downs were marked down to $45 (from $50), while others were marked down to $7-$8 (from $50). I’m guessing that the “more popular” patterns don’t get reduced all that much, but I loved all of the ones that were further reduced. Always look through all of the sale items; sale prices vary so much, it’s worth your while to check it all out.

Happy weekend, all! Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope everyone has a good start to the week!