wooly loopy returns

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I don’t know about any of my fellow bloggers, but one of the comments I hear most frequently is, “oh, I LOVE THAT! ….but I could never wear it.” I always like to explore this with others when I hear it. What specifically stops you from wearing something? Shoes, certainly, have limitations for many people. However, clothes often do not. The response I hear most frequently is, “oh I don’t know…I just don’t wear ‘fun’ clothes.” Anyone, and I mean anyone, readers, can wear ‘fun’ clothes! This wooly loopy vest is no exception. I was a little stumped on how to style it when I found it, but I decided to try it out because I loved it. To me, clothes have no limits (well, there are some limits, I suppose), but fashion is about self-expression. So get out there and express yourself!

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Knitted sweater vest: Anthropologie ($24 marked down from $150)
Top: Ann Taylor Loft ($5 marked down from $60)
Pants: Calvin Klein via Costco ($14, retail for $70), can also be found at macys.com
Boots: Rocket Dog via Marshall’s ($20 marked down from $90)
Necklace: vintage via resale ($6)
Bracelet: Lulu Dharma, thrifted ($1, retails for $190)
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) One of the top tips for finding steals is to look through the clothes that others look past. This vest was a great deal; I’m guessing it’s because many people passed it up due to it’s somewhat confusing styling possibilities. This type of item is the item to bring home and attempt to style. If you can’t figure out a way that works for you, then just return it! If items are final sale and cannot be returned, you can always attempt to style it with items in the store that are similar to what you have at home.  Side note, the wooly loopy was last seen here:
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2) If you’re looking for winter boots, this is the time to get them, readers. Boots are becoming clearance items quickly, given that we are nearing the “end of winter” (though I doubt that slightly). I’ve found that places like Marshall’s, DSW, and TJ Maxx have their boots in their clearance sections. So, just go straight to the back of the store and bypass the non-clearance items! You’ll find the best deals with the red tags at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, and yellow stickers at DSW.
Anyone else finding sale boots lately? Thanks so much for stopping by, readers! I hope everyone had a good weekend!!

nifty nails

Can we get real about something for a minute, readers? Nail decals and nail art. I’m a fan. Neither are super easy for me to apply (probably because I don’t have super steady hands) but, I LOVE jazzy nail art and don’t always feature it here on my blog! Close up, sometimes they struggle, but from afar, they totally work. I decided it was time to share some of my favorite nail art and decals from the past few months…

Nail decals:

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 Some of my nail art (I’m no pro, but I do try!):
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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I tend not to wear a full set of nail decals (so much effort, for real), so I end up keeping one set for a while and using them various times. They have a surprising number of nail decals at the dollar store, for, you guessed it, a $1! I’ve found that to get them to stick well, you need to use a base coat.  Once you’ve applied the decal, be sure to apply top coat. 
2) For nail art that I do by hand, Pinterest is where it’s at for tips! For example, I tend to use either a pin or a toothpick for polka dots and other art. There are a ton of nail brushes and pens that also make nail art much easier than freehand with a standard nall brush. Check out Pinterest and nail blogs for more tips! 
Anyone else have nail art tips? I’m leaving this one to the nail pros! Thanks so much for stopping by, readers! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

board game blues

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“WOW! That dress! You look like a board game!” -my friend, Eve
You know, readers. I’ll take it. I guess it sort-of does look like a board game. And with the comment coming from a close friend and confidante, I think this dress simply must be the board game blues. Minus the blues. All the fun.
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Dress: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $120)
Denim shirt: Forever 21 ($20)
Tights: Apt 9 at Kohl’s ($7 marked down from $12)
Shoes: thrifted ($8, unclear what they retail for…)
Necklace: Juicy Couture charm from bracelet and Kohl’s necklace ($5 marked down from $24)
Bracelet: Juicy Couture (many years ago!)
Ring: Banana Republic ($5 marked down from $40)
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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) As you all know, additional markdowns on sale times are where it’s at when sale shopping. Most stores have these types of sales about two times per month, if not more. I always check my emails and stores’ homepages to see when the sales are. Banana Republic normally takes 40-50% off their sale items, as does Ann Taylor Loft. J Crew will also occasionally take 20-30% off their sale items. So it’s always worth checking your favorite stores to snag the best deals. This type of sale shopping is how I found this dress for a such a great price!
2) I will often find a great sale item that’s in a different size than my own. I used to bypass these items, and I’ve now realized what a mistake that can be! I bought this dress, pulled out a tape measure, some pins, and pulled in both sides of the dress in approximately 10 minutes. If you are sewing by hand, I would think this type of alteration would take about 30-45 minutes. With a sewing machine, it just took 10 minutes! I’m not a master seamstress, readers. This type of alteration is a super easy fix. So, think twice before you pass something up based on a slightly “off” sizing issue. I do, however, bypass most items that flat-out cannot be altered or that are significantly off in sizing.
Anyone else do basic alterations on their own? I know many of you out there make your own clothing! I would love some basic tips for amateur seamstresses like me! Thanks so much for stopping by, readers!

totally toile (aka resale redo)

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If there’s one thing I can rarely turn down it’s snacks (generally cheese and carbs), discount shopping, naps…and toile. I’m a sucker for anything toile printed, which really is no surprise. A fabric that features pastoral romantic scenes repeatedly? Sold. The other day when I stopped quickly into a resale shop, I found a somewhat dowdy looking toile skirt that I decided I could probably turn around.

Exhibit A: That’s a lot of toile. Even for me. And that skirt style? Erm….This skirt needs some love, and scissors!
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 Exhibit B: How the Fashion Huntress “measures” and cuts to resew a skirt…
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Voila! A new skirt was born! This is my resale re-do totally toile skirt.
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Skirt: thrifted ($3)
Top: Forever 21 ($20)
Shoes: Audrey Brooke via DSW ($30 marked down from $50)
Necklace: Nordstrom Rack (approx $5 marked down from approx $20)
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Fashion Huntress tips
1) My sewing skills are basic, readers. Modifications to clothes I find via resale have to be minimal for me to feel somewhat confident that I can re-style and re-sew something. Thus far, I think the easiest way I’ve found to modify a skirt or shorten a dress is just to lay one of your shorter pieces on top of the longer piece and cut along the edge (make sure to keep about 1/4-1/2 inch for the hem). Once you cut off the excess fabric, you can then measure the shortened piece to make sure your cutting is even (though I didn’t even bother with the toile skirt, I just cut carefully).  You could definitely do this project without a sewing machine and hem the piece by hand. I used the machine (sorry mom!) because it goes a lot faster. There’s a lot of long dresses at resale shops that could easily be altered, so don’t rule those finds out!
 
2) Given that toile has an “older” feel, I kept this look fresh with a denim shirt and heels. Additionally, because the skirt is probably over 10-20 years old, the cut is not very modern/fitted. As a result, I tucked my shirt in to give the outfit a bit more shape. Play around with it! I also may try and belt it next time I wear it, though haven’t figured out what to do with the waist tie. I’d love any styling tips you have, readers! 
 
Anyone else modify/alter their resale finds? Have tips for easy alterations? Thanks so much for stopping by, readers! I hope everyone had a great weekend!
 
Btw, if you’re interested in toile, generally, here’s a nice overview of the history of American toile.

mixed musings in mustard (tights)

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about comfort levels when wearing certain outfits and stepping out of our fashion box (you know, my whole “new version of you” kick for 2014). Thus, in the spirit of “does this outfit make sense,”I wore another random ensemble: mustard tights, printed skirt, and cranberry silk top. What is it about wearing something that is out of our fashion box that is so liberating? When I put on the outfit, I thought, “hmmm I don’t know..” but wearing the outfit felt great because it was new for me. So, I could go on and on about this process or I could leave it at: sometimes we surprise even ourselves. I wish I could be more brave in general, but I guess starting with my clothes isn’t a bad start, right?

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Top: Diane Von Furstenberg via Nordstrom Rack ($23 marked down from $250)
Cardigan: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $70)
Skirt: Soprano via Nordstrom Rack ($20 marked down from $60)
Tights: Hue ($3 marked down from $15)
Shoes: Lula Townsend at DSW ($12 marked down from $79)
Necklace: Nadri via Nordstrom Rack ($14 marked down from $50)

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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) For real, my tights post is coming ASAP. But in the meantime, this is the time to buy your tights, readers. I have seen tights marked down by at least 50% at Target, Nordstrom Rack, Gap, and many other stores. It’s still cold in Chicago, so we are still wearing tights here. However, if you live in a warmer climate, just save them for when it gets cooler. I aim to spend around $5 on tights. You can get great high quality tights for around that price, especially this time of year.

2) I think the Fashion Week shows were a good reminder for me: anything goes. I, sadly, didn’t see any shows in person (dream big, right?), but all of the highlights were all over the place: pastels, florals, McDonald’s dresses, boho, romantic- the list goes on and on. All of the trends were so different and fresh, and a lot of color/pattern mixing and matching. If there’s any doubt about any of your looks, just go for it!

And, of course, still feel free to email me your fashion risks and “does this work?” looks to thefashionhuntress@gmail.com

Anyone else take inspiration from Fashion Week?

I hope everyone is having a great week! Thank you for stopping by!!

hounding after spring in houndstooth

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In a rare bout of warmth, I was able to dash outside to take a few photos. I think we are all hoping that Spring, and the promise of the season of new beginnings, is around the corner. I’d have more to say, but I’d likely tell you all again the story of these shoes, and I will spare you all that story…instead, I’ll be dreaming of Spring…

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” -Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Denim shirt: Forever 21 ($20)

Sweatshirt blazer: Gap ($40 marked down from $70)

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

Shoes: Cole Haan Lunar Grand ($70 marked down from $400)

Necklace: Nordstrom Rack (approx $5 marked down from approx $20)

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Fashion Huntress tips:

1) For the first time, I wore mini socks with my heels instead of just bare feet. I have to say, I’m a big fan. I found a set of the socks at Nordstrom Rack on clearance; they were $4 for five pairs. If you’re going to wear the ballet flat/mini socks, I definitely recommend getting the kind with rubber on the back of them to help keep them on your feet. I also recommend getting a pair with a short toe, so that you can wear them with heels or shoes that show a lot of skin. I like the brand Hue, and they are called “no-show” socks. The mini socks are a great to wear heels in the winter without have freezing feet. Umm…why am I just discovering this now??

2) Patterned pants can be really tricky when trying to think of new ways to wear them (at least for me)! The last time I wore these pants, I went bold on top by adding more red to the look with a red cardigan and red scarf:

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This time, I went simple by keeping the denim top, but going neutral on top.  I added the red shoes this time and really did get a different look with these changes. I actually think this look is a bit more “spring” but with more of a “winter” pant. 

Hopefully these two looks will help you re-think your own patterned pants! …or perhaps make you think about getting a pair of patterned pants! Anyone else have printed pants change-up tips?

Thanks for stopping by, readers!! I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

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!

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!

california dreaming

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Hello, lovely readers and fellow huntresses! My apologies for delays on posts this week! I am out in sunny California for work and a mini vacation.

Believe it or not, I pride myself on being a light packer when traveling. I think all the years of my parents telling me, “just remember, you’ll be carrying this around with you from city to city” really sunk in and I’ve shied away from overpacking. Admittedly, there have been a few under-packing moments- including one year when I forgot to pack pajamas. But anyway, on this trip I was working and touring (and not under or overpacking!). My outfits had to transition from one activity to another and in one carry on!

Here’s how I styled my work look.

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Later in the day, I transitioned into my tourist look.

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Top: Express (approx $11 marked down from $30)
Cardigan: Banana Republic ($18 marked down from $70)
Bag: Cole Haan ($30 marked down from $300)
Red necklace: Nordstrom Rack (approx $5 marked down from approx $20)
Gold necklace: Forever 21 ($1.50)

Work look
Pants: Banana Republic ($90. Sigh. Full price. But, if you’ve read about my pants postings before, sometimes you have to just get pants when they fit and you find them!)
Shoes: Sofft at Nordstrom Rack (approx $40 marked down from approx $120)

Touring look
Jeans: Nordstrom Rack ($20)
Boots: DSW ($15 marked down from $50)

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Fashion Huntress tips:
1) I love a cross-body bag for travel. For safety, I like having my bag across my chest when traveling, and I love the weight distribution for long hours of carrying it! When I found this blue Cole Haan bag (and what a steal for $30!), I knew I would use it a ton, but especially for travel. The purse was formal enough for dinners and work wear, but also was easily dressed down with jeans. The blue is also surprisingly versatile. It added a pop of color when I was wearing black and white, and naturally looks great with jeans.

2) Light packing for travel is essential to me. I have no patience for checking bags and lugging heavy bags around! As a result, I have not checked a bag in years. I like to pack items that can be dressed up or down, like my peplum top and cardigan. I generally pick one or two accent colors to wear on my trip and then pack neutrals. I picked red and blue to be my accent colors on this trip, and then the rest of my pieces were black and white: black skirt for dinners, black pants for work, black and white tops to wear with the cardigan. Light packing while still looking fashionable is definitely doable!

Thanks for stopping by readers! One more California post to come! We stopped by a hat shop that I can’t wait to share in my next post! Have a great week-