loving leaves (aka cozy layers)

IMG_2440

With the significant temperature drop in Chicago, I’m all about cozying up in sweaters, big scarves, and keeping it simple. If you haven’t gotten enough of my fall photos, there’s still more to come. We’re so lucky to have had a long fall here, as many years it seems to fly by straight into winter. So, I’m loving leaves, fall colors, and cozy layers. (And hot cocoa) (And fun size chocolates) (and that I wore those shoes as part of my Halloween costume).

IMG_2443IMG_2441IMG_2444IMG_2439
Sweater: Gap ($7 marked down from $65)
Top: Forever 21 ($20)
Pants: Ann Taylor (approx $15 marked down from approx $70)
Scarf: gift
Shoes: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from $100)
Necklace: Jenifer Lopez for Kohl’s ($5 marked down from $32)
IMG_2438
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I love taking pieces and re-working them (if you haven’t already noticed this about me). This is the same denim top from my last post, and the same necklace. Check it out in the photos below:
IMG_2405IMG_2408
With pants and a sweater, the top and necklace look completely different. Basic pieces (denim tops, black pants, statement necklaces) can easily be worked into all sorts of looks. And, of course, you can get long lasting basic pieces for great prices that will last! For denim, I love Gap and Forever 21. For real, the quality of Forever 21 and Gap denim tops is kind-of unreal. I should have worn holes through my denim by now, but they look the same as they day I bought them. You can find Gap denim on sale for about $10-$20. Forever 21 denim may go on sale, but I rarely see it on sale, so I often buy it via a thrift store (about $3-$5) or in their actual store (about $20). 
2) Gap is having one of their “clear the floor sales.” Almost everything in the store is on sale, and the sale section is an additional 50% off the sale price. You know what I’m going to say, right, readers? This is the time to go, if you’re in the market for denim, sweaters, or scarves! It’s the “end of fall” in retail world, so most of what is on sale is end of summer and early fall clothes. Scarves were about $5-$10 and sweaters were around $7-$20. There was even some denim on sale for around $20, which is about as low as I generally see it go. 
Anyone else rotate their favorite pieces? Have tips for re-working items? Thanks so much for stopping by, readers! I appreciate it so much!

classically custom

IMG_1795

There’s something about the idea of a custom dress that just sounds regal and fancy to me. I envision a tailor bustling to a local castle in a horse-drawn carriage armed with endless fabrics, needles, and gold threads. …clearly I’ve had limited experiences with custom dresses previously, as my vision of them involved a castle.

Anyway, when I was approached by eShakti regarding trying out one of their custom dresses, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. So, I picked a dress, then I pulled out my tape measure, measured myself based on the categories listed on their website, and voila! My dress arrived a week and a half later, and readers, this dress fits like a glove. I don’t want to oversell it, but seriously, it’s magical, so I don’t think I can even oversell it. People actually stopped me on the street to ask about my dress. Apparently, custom dresses are where it’s at. No castle required. I’m loving this new experience in a classically custom dress. Thanks,  eShakti for showing me your ways.
IMG_1796IMG_1800
IMG_1797IMG_1798
Dress: c/o  eShakti
Necklace: Kohl’s ($5 marked down from $32)
Cardigan: Banana Republic (approx $15 marked down from approx $70…few years ago)
Shoes: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)
IMG_1799
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) eShakti can be found via the following modalities:

Their website, Facebook, and Pinterest

Their pieces are very affordable, especially given that customization is only $7.50 per piece. I found the quality to be excellent- and there are so many pieces from which to choose! Additionally, your first customization is free and you can receive $25 off your first order. You can also make specifications on some pieces regarding the style of the piece (sleeves, no sleeves, etc). The customization measurements were very straightforward, and I was able to easily measure myself (seriously, I’m not flexible). You will need a flexible tape measure to measure around yourself, but other than that, it’s easy peasy. Lastly, readers can get an additional 10% (combinable with other offers) when entering ‘thefashionhuntress’ under your coupon code when you check out- good now through October 5th.
2) In the past, I was hesitant about online shopping because I was not able to try things on. Clearly, customizing pieces makes this a non-issue. Additionally, I’ve found that so many sites now have great zoom features and enable you to really see what the piece is like. I highly recommend using the zoom feature to look through online purchases prior to purchasing, and readings the reviews. Because most online shops don’t edit customer reviews, you’ll get a good idea about fit, quality, etc.
Anyone else have experiences with customization? Any feedback? I hope everyone is having a good start to their week! Thanks so much for stopping by!

back to basics

IMG_1641

As much as I love my pattern mixing (which is a lot), sometimes it’s good to get back to basics. I managed to again take off my mint heels (see last few posts), and slip back into my favorite black and white animal print heels. You really cannot go wrong with a black and white look (especially in animal print, of course), especially on a gray day. We managed to sneak in these photos right before it began to rain, though my hair is really showing the humidity. Does anyone’s hair do well in 85 degrees and 90% humidity, though? If I could make a hat work at work, I’d be seriously tempted to do so these last few days. Hat or no hat, frizzy hair, and all, I’m getting back to basics today.

IMG_1636IMG_1640IMG_1638IMG_1639

Dress: Michael Kors via resale ($7, retails for $140)
Blazer: Forever 21 (approx $15)
Shoes:BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)
Belt:Urban Outfitters ($5 marked down from approx $60)
Elephant necklace: J Crew (gift)
Gold necklace:vintage via resale ($6)
IMG_1637
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) As you all know, I’m a huge fan of short sleeve blazers. I have a few and they are all neutral colors (black, black/white, cream). I tend to find them via thrifting or at places like Forever 21 or H&M. I’ve found that my Forever 21 blazers have really held up over the years. The most I’ve had to do to any of them is re-attach a button. I do wash via the “hand wash” cycle of the machine, which seems to help with reducing wear and tear. You really don’t need to spend much to invest in a couple of short sleeve blazers ($5-$20) that will last years. Short sleeve blazers are also a nice option in fall and winter when layered over long sleeve shirts like button downs and long sleeve tee shirts. 
 
2) It’s funny, even though this is a “summer” dress, I almost prefer it in winter! Here is how I last wore this dress in winter:
20140322-183928.jpg
I’m thinking of maybe adding a pop of color to transition it to fall, perhaps with colored tights or a colored cardigan. As you can see, a simple sundress/summer dress is very easy to transition, especially when it’s a basic cut and color! Now is a great time to look for fall staples or host a clothing swap to find pieces to transition your summer dresses.
Anyone else prepping their clothes for fall? Happy Monday, all! Thanks so much for stopping by!

limitless pattern layering

20140523-211925-76765036.jpg

We’ve had a few hazy and rainy days here lately, which has led to some cool looking “hazy photos.” You know where I’m headed with this, right? I’m a total dreamer at heart, and I love the hazy/dreamlike pictures my photographer, G, captured here. Hazy rainy days always feel like a day to cozy down and dream. …though, let’s face it, rainy days are normally spent at work. Oh well, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about fashion and photos, among other things (like winning the lottery and buying up the newest Burberry collection). In this hazy and rainy day look, I layered three different patterns, because, why not? Fashion is completely limitless and certainly can involve a lot of dreaming.

20140523-211925-76765876.jpg20140523-211926-76766595.jpg20140523-211927-76767794.jpg20140523-211927-76767016.jpg
Denim top: H&M ($20 marked down from approx $40)
Pants: Jones New York at TJ Maxx ($17 marked down from $74)
Shoes: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)
Tassel necklace: DIY
Ring: Trip to Venice, Italy, many years ago
Bracelet: (gift)
20140523-211924-76764272.jpg
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I used to shy away from trying to find pants at places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, because I feel like I don’t know my size when it varies from brand to brand. However, I’ve found that it’s not really all that hard to go through their pants selection and guess your size range. I usually look through 1-2 sizes up from my “standard” size and 1-2 sizes down, and then pick out pants from there. This may sound time consuming, but I’ve found that you can manage looking through those sizes in about a half hour. I’ve found that it’s definitely worthwhile, because the pant prices there can be really affordable (<$20). So, if you used to be like me, maybe give it another try! I also know many people who shop the “teen” section and find pants that fit adults without any issues- you just need to potentially size up a bit. 
2) Speaking of pants, I love shopping for pants (and basically anything else) at Nordstrom Rack. I received an email the other day about their rewards program and “points days.” Umm, what? So, I looked up their “points calendar” and saw that their point system has special days when you earn additional points. You can find the points calendar here.
Additionally, remember that Nordstrom and Nordstrom Racks are two of the few stores that allow you to have their “card” but you can choose that it’s either a credit card or a debit card, for those who don’t want to open another credit card. You do need to have a card to earn points, but you can open a card via their debit system, which is a great option for those not interested in their credit card. You can find information about both of the cards here.   
Anyone have feedback or tips for shopping for pants at stores that carry a variety of brands, and therefore have various sizes to look through? Thanks for stopping by, readers! I appreciate it so much and love your comments and tips!

tentatively without tights

Readers, I don’t want to say it. But I’m going to. I’m already missing tights season. I know, I know. I lamented about cold weather for post after post and now here I am talking about tights. It just really goes to show you, the grass is always greener, right? I guess the moral of the story here is stop looking back, stop looking forward, and appreciate life as it happens. And appreciate tights when you can wear them. Sigh. Easier said than done. For now, I’m going to take it day by day and be grateful of this wonderful weather and sun…because I know I sure will be missing it come fall.

20140527-145051-53451201.jpg20140527-145050-53450377.jpg20140527-145053-53453324.jpg20140527-145051-53451840.jpg20140527-145052-53452571.jpg20140527-145049-53449736.jpg

Top: c/o American Fashion Fox *

Skirt: Soprano via Nordstrom Rack ($16 marked down from $60)

Stone necklace: gift

Tassel necklace: made it!

Shoes: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)

Bag: Peter Pilotto for Target ($3 marked down from $40)

20140527-145049-53449118.jpg

Fashion Huntress tips:

1) The Peter Pilotto collection still has a few pieces at Target via online and in-stores. I found a few pieces in the clearance section in the actual store; so, you can check out your local store, if interested.  If you want to go online, just google “Peter Pilotto for Target” and it should pull up what’s left of the collection online. I wanted to include a link, but it didn’t work, sorry, readers! I was surprised to see a number of pieces left, as I figured it was long gone! Per standard trend, the prices in the actual store seemed lower than online.

2) As you all know, I started my foray into online resale shopping when I was collaborating with American Fashion Fox. I found the quality to be great and the zoom featured allowed me to easily look at pieces “close” up. I highly recommend online resale that has a zoom feature to really look at items, or stick with a trusted site that ensures high quality pieces without any damages on their items. I LOVE digging through resale shops, for real readers, but my caveat is that it can get pretty time consuming depending on the shop, and I normally don’t leave with more than 1-3 items per visit. As a result, I do think online is a good way to have someone else dig and pull out the gems for you to then sort through. 

Anyone else still seeing the Peter Pilotto collection in their local stores? Did you like the collection and did you think it was good quality? Thanks so much for stopping by, readers! I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

*please note that I received this top from American Fashion Fox, but I have no financial or other relationship with this company, and all opinions are my own.

step on the gas (aka shirt dress gone shirt)

20140429-113909.jpg

Readers, I know how to drive, but I spent many years not driving. One of the joys of living in an urban area is that you can survive without a car. Recently, I started driving more and found myself not feeling all that comfortable behind the wheel. I mean, I can get the car from point A to point B, but that was basically the extent of it. Don’t even get me started on the expressway (aka a terror of people moving at insane speeds or a complete parking lot). Anywho, so, last weekend, I took a car control class; the bf and his dad are instructors and gently encouraged me to come on down. On the days approaching the class, I kept thinking, “…I’m going to really embarrass myself out there.” So, I get to the class, and it’s a full day event. The instructors teach a small class, and then you hop in your car with an instructor and take it out to a mini course that is wet down with gallons upon gallons of water. The goal is to learn how to get your car out of control and then bring it back under control.

At first, I was super timid and basically refused to get my ABS brakes to turn on. At the “stop light” exercises, I would chicken out, go slow, and then try not to run things over (mostly cones). After the lunch break though, I busted out my gym shoes (unheard of in the world of the Fashion Huntress), put my hair in a ponytail, ditched my coat, and got out there and just hit the gas, then hit the breaks, then hit the gas, and tackled the course. And you know what? I had fun! I went fast! I didn’t embarrass myself! I’m even going back for the next class! There’s something about trying new things that is very empowering. I’m not a racecar driver, but I can officially drive with some confidence, and I know I’m going to feel more and more confident over time. First sewing, now driving? What’s next? Okay. Well, this is fashion blog, so let’s bring it on home with fashion. Today, I wore a dress as a blouse. I layered on greens, blues, and yellows, and added patterns and prints and animal print shoes. I mean, why not? Why not try a new outfit? Why not try doing something different? Why not step on the gas? Worst case scenario? You drive over some cones, or you go change your outfit. Let’s do this.
20140429-113944.jpg20140429-113931.jpg20140429-114116.jpg20140429-114208.jpg
Shirt dress/shirt: Gap ($22 marked down from $60)
Pants: Ann Taylor Loft ($2.50 marked down from $60) (yep. 2.50)
Cardigan: Banana Republic ($15 marked down from $110)
Scarf: Gap ($15 marked down from approx $25)
Heels: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)
20140429-114131.jpg
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) Thin shirt dresses can definitely be worn as tops. If they are a little bulkier, I recommend wearing the shirt dress with a skirt. For less bulky tops, you can tuck the shirt dress right in to your pants and make the dress into a blouse. This is a great way to get more use out of your dresses. Here you can see how I wore this dress as a dress versus the look today:
Image
2) If you’re not already a member at DSW, I definitely recommend signing up. You get coupons for your birthday, and accrue points to earn additional gift cards. I’ve already gotten a few gift cards, and I’m not there all that frequently, so it shows you that it’s not that hard to accrue points. My strategy for DSW is to start one half size down from my shoe size, in the clearance section, and then go from a half size down, to my size, to a half size up (all in the clearance section). The sizing there is so varied, you can often find shoes slightly up or down from your standard size. Don’t forget that the yellow sticker isn’t on the signs, but it means 80% off the sticker price. I’ve found some real gems there for around $10! 
Anyone else have dress/shirt tips?  Hope everyone is having a good start to the week! Thank you so much for stopping by!

mad about magenta

20140423-134223.jpg

Readers, I found myself reaching for a sweatshirt this morning. Let’s face it. This whole winter weather in spring thing is kind-of a downer. On the other hand, it’s sunny. So, I had a mini talk with myself while getting ready:

“Self. You can’t wear sweats today to work. It’s not okay to violate a dress code just because it’s cold out. I know, I know. You want to stay in bed and stay warm. But you can’t do that either. You need to just go ahead and pick out a grown-up outfit. I know, I know. Times are tough. Now. Get moving. Oh, shoot. Now you’re late. Goodbye, Starbucks. I’ll miss you. GAH! Go go go! Oooo, that jacket looks FAB! Alright, day, let’s do this!”  I think that monologue says it all. Another day, another look, always just trying to make it work, right? Toss on something bright, a fun pair of shoes, and head right on out that door to take the world by storm all over again.
20140423-134159.jpg20140423-134214.jpg20140423-134206.jpg20140423-134131.jpg
Jacket: Gap ($25 marked down from $130)
Top: Ann Taylor Loft ($14 marked down from $60)
Pants: Gap ($8 marked down from $50)
Heels: BCBG via DSW ($11 marked down from approx $100)
Necklace: Mango store in Spain many years ago
Bracelet: J Crew ($10 marked down from approx $40)
(nails: Parka Perfect by Essie)
20140423-134122.jpg
Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I saw this jacket many months ago, and figured it wouldn’t even make it to the sales because it was so cute. But lo and behold, it sure did. The funny thing is, it took months go on sale. I think I initially saw it in November? So, it just goes to show you. Most things really do go on sale eventually. There were very few winter items left, but the Gap sale continues, readers. If you are interested, most items were marked down to at least $20. 
2) It seems like many of us remain in areas that are still experiencing fairly cold weather. It’s remained in the 30s here in Chicago. It really makes spring dressing challenging! I’ve decided to stick with winter brights, as a result. This jacket is probably a “winter jacket” but the bright color really made it work for a spring look. I then added another bright to the look with the lace top. Together, the look is “spring” but still layered and warm. 
I would really love anyone else’s tips for how to dress in this really odd transition time! This is unseasonably cold, even for Chicago, so I feel a bit lost some days!
Thanks for stopping by, readers! Your comments, tips, and words of encouragement always make me smile.