classy lady(bug)

It did not take me long to incorporate my ladybug dress at work! Though it’s “spring” here, it is still cool in the mornings. Thus, I paired my dress with a jean jacket from DKNY and a Gap infinity scarf.


But back to the dress. It was, as anticipated, sack-like without a belt.

Exhibit A:


With a belt, this dress was back in action.

Exhibit B:


The belt and patent wedges make the look formal enough for work, while still having a casual print.



Dress: Gap ($22 marked down from $60)

Scarf: Gap ($15 marked down from approx. $25)

Jacket: DKNY (no price can be recalled for this one. I bought this on sale approximately 10 years ago at Marshall Fields, when it was still open)

Tights: another oldie, but I think I got them at H&M at least five years ago

Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender ($100 marked down from $350)

Belt: Urban Outfitters ($5 marked down from approx $25)

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) With dresses that have a boxy shape, consider adding a belt to create a more flattering shape and interest.  Keep one belt around your house that is neutral to help ‘shape up’ dresses that need it.  The belt I used is brown and black, so it is easily paired with different colored dresses.  I wear this belt all the time and save on alterations! 

2) Make clothes work for you! This would be a great dress to “dress down” with sandals and bare legs-outside of work.  I like to buy pieces that can go from day to night and work to weekends; this allows you to save money and have your wardrobe do double duty for you. 



The mixed prints and colors that I have been seeing in catalogs and stores really inspired me this season!  I decided it was definitely time to try out mixed prints for myself.  For my first time at print-a-palooza (okay…work), I chose two different prints but in the same color family.

Side note: I think this ensemble also answers the age-old question of whether animal print pants are acceptable at work. Does anyone else besides me think that this is an age-old question? Regardless, the answer, to me, is yes! The pants pictured here are dress pants (labeled as ‘premium pants’).  The work-appropriateness of animal print pants will vary dependent upon material, color, and fit.

Anyway, back to print-a-palooza (I cannot say it enough)! The top I wore was the same shade of navy blue as the pants and shoes; however, it had some lime embellishment along the top.  I guess, in the end, it was a little bit of a color-palooza too.  Party fun times in the office, you guys. Try it out!

Pants: Gap ($21 marked down from $55)

Top: Gap ($14 marked down from $40)

Shoes: Gap ($21 marked down from $50)

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) By now, I think you know that I love shopping sales within sales!  All three pieces were from sales within sales, though I actually got them at different times throughout the season.  The easiest way to mix and match is to look for pieces in the same color family. 

2) Mixing prints was so much easier than I thought it would be! Getting everything at the same store ensured that the colors matched.  If you are just starting to mix patterns, you can keep it simple by doing a ‘one-stop shop.’ Next time, I am going to try to mix from other stores in hopes of finding even better deals. 

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Readers, I have to be honest:  I did not know that DSW sold bags.  Therefore, I did not know that they sold high-end bags. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I came across this find at DSW.


This is a pale wine shoulder bag made by Pour La Victorie.  According to their website, Pour La Victorie bags are sold at places such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. DSW is keeping it classy!

I have seen bags and purses by Pour La Victorie numerous times in various fashion magazines. You can see where they are featured in fashion magazines here:

Anyway, let’s get to the magic that is this bag. It was in the clearance section.  I know, it is hard to believe. It was originally $300, but was marked down to $145. It gets better, though. This bag was one of the yellow sticker finds, which means it was 80% off the sale price. It ended up costing $33 with tax.


Original price of the purse = $300, paid = $33

Savings: $267

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) I normally make my way straight to the clearance section at DSW. Apparently, I just had to look around the store a little more to see what else it offered! Once I got to the purse section, it was definitely worth it to look through every single bag to find the nicer brands. The quality on this purse is great. I recommend looking through all of the accessories to find the higher quality bags that may have been passed over by others. The $145 tag may have deterred people who did not realize that the price was 80% off the list price.

2) This bag is not a ‘standard’ color, but I have a hunch it will match a bunch of different outfits- including that lace dress I posted about last week! A lot of the spring looks are featuring all sorts of patterns and colors that are not exact matches. Consider trying different colors and patterns to create a fresh spring look.

To see more of these bags (alas, full price), here is their website:

Back to reality…

After spending a week in Disney World with my family, I am back and ready to work (and shop) again! There was not a deal to be had in the happiest place on Earth, but I loved every minute of it!


Epcot photo credit goes to my brother, who has an amazing eye!

And, of course, a Disney post would not be complete without a Walt Disney quote:

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”

Thanks, Walt! Onwards and upwards, my fellow huntresses!

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The intrigue of peplum

I have loved the look peplum since it first started appearing on the runways and in magazines. My challenge with peplum is what it ends up looking like when actually on me. I tried on numerous tops before I realized the tricks to making peplum work are in the shape and fabric. For example, tops that have a small ruffle or a ruffle in fine/thin fabrics seem to lose the intrigue of the shape.  As a result, they end up looking weirdly baggy and shapeless when on my body.

I was not looking specifically for a peplum top, but then I found this gem:


In the Nordstrom rack clearance section, I picked up four different tops in my size. Three were ill fitting, but this Sorano peplum top fit perfectly.

Original price of the peplum top = $36, paid = $9

Savings = $27

Fashion Huntress tips:
1) If you are going to try peplum, look for a top that has a clearly defined shape and ruffle. You can also look for peplum tops that are made from substantial fabric, which can help you avoid a flimsy fit.

2) I tried on four tops and found one that fit well. When shopping somewhere that has various designers and brands, you may need to try on more tops than you would at a store that solely carries their brand. Don’t give up!

Side note: If you’re not a ‘digger,’ look at my “Ask me!” section where I offer advice for avoiding digging when fashion hunting.

How I Wore It…grey leopard pants debut

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I decided to give the grey leopard pants a spin this weekend at a family get-together. I paired the grey pants with a grey and cream top that matched the pants exactly. With the colors being the same on the top and the bottom, I was able to pair a striped top with the patterned pant. It is still a little chilly here, so I added a spring coat to the ensemble when I was outside. With the rest of the outfit being two neutral colors (gray and cream), the pop of color was a welcome addition to the outfit.

Pants: Ann Taylor ($20 marked down from $88)

Top: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $45)

Coat: Gap ($46 marked down from $110)

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) If you cannot find a matching top or bottom for another piece, bring the item you are trying to match with you to another store. I did not have a solid or print top to match the pants, so I brought the pants with me to stores until I was able to find a matching top that was on sale. Before buying patterned pants, I like to think of three tops that will match them. If you cannot think of a few matches, then it might not be worth it to buy the pants- unless you do not mind wearing them less frequently.

2) When wearing patterned pants, I like to find a top with a pattern in the same colors, or a solid colored complementary top. With these pants, I plan on wearing a cotton coral top or a lavender lightweight sweater, when I am not pairing them with the gray and cream top.

Spring pants bandwagon!

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Let’s face it: finding work appropriate and properly fitting pants can be a real challenge. I normally have to tackle pants looking oddly baggy or too tight in the back. Sometimes I tackle the dreaded ‘fit through the leg, but weird gap in the back’ around the waist. Maybe it is just me, but I have a feeling other working women experience this too. Thus, when it comes to work pants, I do not find many opportunities to find a real steal in terms of price- I just want a pair that fit. That being said, there are a couple of stores where I have been able to find pants somewhat painlessly. Once I know the ‘fit/style’ and the size in a store, I can generally tell if the pant will fit before I try it on, because it is the same pant every time. In these stores, generally the only modifications are the color and fabric.

I wanted to get on the colored pants bandwagon this spring, so I hit up my local Ann Taylor. I found a pair that was on sale (same size and style as I always get), though not heavily discounted. The ‘vineyard green’ jeans were originally $88, marked down to $59. Eh.

While not appropriate for work, I did find the exact same jeans in a different color. That is right, readers, grey leopard print. These were the same pants as the green pants, except for the color. The salesperson told me that the prices vary based on when they came out in the season. Therefore, the leopard pants were marked down to $20 from $88. That is more like it.

Original price of the green pants = $88, paid = $59

Savings = $29

Original price of the grey leopard pants = $88, paid = $20

Savings = $68

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) It is easier to find work pants on sale if you look throughout the season in stores you know have pants that fit you well. Buying pants off-season is a good way to snag way better deals than what I did with the green pants. Buying spring pants in spring means that you are probably going to spend more.

2) The colored jeans ended up being work appropriate because they are completely solid and do not actually look like jeans. I was pleasantly surprised to find jeans that ended up looking appropriate for work.

3) Different colors in the same style of an item may be tagged at different price points, so check out all of the colors and look for price differences. The grey pants are not work appropriate, but for $20, they were a steal and cute for weekends.

does fancy have to be synonymous with expensive?

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Generally speaking, I think that a lot of cheap jewelry looks, well… cheap. There are a number of places to find good quality jewelry at a decent price when on sale. I will write about some of those finds in upcoming posts. This post, however, is about my favorite thing: hidden gems that look fancy but actually are not fancy at all (in terms of price). The earrings pictured here are from (wait for it)…Forever 21. Not only did they come from Forever 21, but also I recently realized that Forever 21 has a $1-$1.50 jewelry section. The jewelry that comes on pink/light coral backed holders seems to be around that price point. In the megastore near me, there is a rack with this jewelry, while the rest comes on cream-colored holders. I have worn these pale turquoise earrings probably 30+ times in the past few months and get compliments on them every time. $1.50, people. $1.50. Sold.

As a side note, these earrings have not lost a single rhinestone! My sister had a pair of Chanel sunglasses (LOVE, so beautiful!) that lost so many rhinestones that they had to be sent back twice before she gave up. I am just saying, yes, you generally get what you pay for, but occasionally you can find a hidden gem.

Original price of the earrings: $1.50, paid $1.50

Savings? With this price point, no sale hunting needed.

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) If you are adding a piece that is trendy but not great quality, do a mix of ‘high and low’ pieces. Coco Chanel was a master of this strategy! Otherwise, the whole ensemble can end up looking not so great. (Bear in mind that even high-end pieces can still be very affordable if you are dedicated to “digging,” as we call it in my family…I’ll blog more about that later).

2) Who cares whether it was a low cost accessory? I just love some pieces, regardless of where I got them.

The beginning


It all started on one of those frigid and gray days in February. I stopped in our administrative office to grab some supply or another when we began talking about my shoes. I can basically talk about clothes, shoes and accessories all day, everyday, so this was not unusual for me. While there, my friend Mary Lou said to me, “You really like fashion. Why don’t you do something with it?” It wasn’t the first time I had heard this, but it was the first time I didn’t really have an answer. I do love fashion. Maybe it’s time to start doing something about it! And thus, the Fashion Huntress was born.

Some people joke about sale, clearance and vintage shopping being their exercise. For me, this is no joke. I am a healthcare professional and, many days by the end of the day, I need to move around and clear my mind. Though really, my love of fashion and style came long before I was a professional. It got serious, however, when as a young professional just starting out post graduate school, I realized I basically had no work-appropriate clothes. Or if I did, they were what I could afford when interning: mostly poor quality. I found that the issue was two fold: it’s hard for young professionals to find high quality clothing at a reasonable price point, and there’s a lot of really dull work clothes that were “professional,” but not really that interesting to me. As the years have passed, I’ve been able to find my voice and personality in my clothing, while also managing to still pay my bills…and even buy groceries.

This blog is about finding deals and steals that are good quality, versatile, and professional. It’s also about finding your voice and style in a work-appropriate way, while also having attire that can transition into different settings and contexts. Most importantly, this blog is about having fun, relaxing, and realizing that it is completely feasible to look good, feel good, and not blow your budget.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. I appreciate your patience as I begin blogging my adventures in fashion and style in the real world (as opposed to the dream world of owning everything in Vogue magazine).


Melissa Ann

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