Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Printed Pants for Work, Play and Errands

Most of this year's fashion trends have me wincing--it's like designers chose the worst trends of the 80s and 90s (ummm hello neon, burgundy, and acid-wash jeans) and decided that those trends should all make a comeback all at once. No thanks. I've actually seen neon, burgundy, and acid wash jeans all well-done, but the majority of people and things should not sport these trends, in my opinion.

However, one trend I've really gotten on board with is printed and/or silky pants. You're telling me I can wear basically pajamas to work and not only is it not frowned upon, but I actually look fashion-forward? Count me in!

This trend can be tricky, so I've put together three outfits I'd love to wear featuring a couple pairs I"m lusting over right now.

Printed Pants for Work, Play and Errands

Since this trend already rides the line between high fashion and the sweats you wore to the library every day in college (oh the shame...), it's important to keep everything else chic.

For Date Night:  I'd sweeten up the boho factor of the printed pants with a bow-top tank, feather clutch, and some cute wedges.

For Work: Close-toed shoes dress both pants up a little more, and the cheery color of the top makes early-morning  meetings not quite so painful. Top it off with a tough-yet-ladylike leather jacket to show you mean business (har, har)

For Running Errands: I'm a fan of these booties because they're super comfortable (uggs!), stylish, and easy to slip on. I'd sport this slouchy tank for Saturday morning cool and a blue Baggu bag to liven up the otherwise-neutral outfit.

What do you think? Will you sport this trend this season?

Printed Pants for Work, Play and Errands by mjchirpich-1 featuring patterned pants

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Weekend Wishlist: Basement Livingroom

Big news folks! This weekend I hit the 50,000 views mark :) I know that's peanuts for a lot of blogs but for my little corner of the internet I was pretty proud. So thanks for stopping by!

As long-time readers know, I'm in the middle of a renovation. I moved into my boyfriend's house recently, right after their basement flooded and the (super nasty) carpet had to be ripped out. Since my boyfriend owns the home, he's taking it as an opportunity to update some things.

I've already bought the below couch (secondhand but practically brand new for $300!), and here's the direction I think we may go for everything else. The walls are a light grey, with a working fireplace that is the grey color of the map background (the fireplace is directly opposite the couch).

Weekend Wishlist: Basement Livingroom

The place needs to stay masculine since I live with four grown men, but I will introduce my side of things through photos, pretty acrylic lamps, sconces, and little accents that boys never add and I can't live without :) I'll also add prettier pillows, but haven't tracked down ones I like that work all together yet.

What do you think of this moodboard?

Edit 8-28-12: Wouldn't this dress have been a great inspiration pic for this board??

My Personal Guide to Closet Classics

Last post I touched briefly on splurging on classics. Which made me ask myself, what do I consider my own closet classic? What are the staples that I reach for on a weekly, if not daily basis? Well Meghan, I'm glad you asked (yourself), because I've put together a little collection of my own classics.

I'm Glad I Exist's Guide to Closet Classics

Here are the lucky 13 pieces that I would buy if my closet were completely empty.
1. Dark Wash Bootcut Denim. This fit looks great on everyone, unlike other styles such as skinny or wide-leg jeans that look better on specific body types. The bootcut is universally flattering, and the dark wash is always slimming. Avoid whiskering--tacky, dated, and adds visual weight. My go-to brand is the junior's line Jolt--fits my curvy booty well, with the perfect amount of stretch.
2. Striped Tee. I only recently started falling in love with stripes, but now I've fallen hard (recent purchases include a striped dress, long-sleeve t, maxi, and tank). I'm partial to classic black and white stripes, but hey, to each their own.
3. Gold-Rimmed Grey Druzy Studs. I'm so happy druzy is a trend this year. I snapped up a similar pair of studs last spring and wear them nonstop. They're just as versatile as a diamond or plain gold or silver pair, but have a little more pizazz. You can easily find them on
4. Skinny Leopard Belt. Or any belt ever, really. Adds a subtle pattern to any outfit but is really neutral.
5. Black Leggings. Some people hate them, but I'm all for leggings (as long as you cover your ass--leggings aren't pants ladies!). Like I said last post, buy ones that will last through the year, but not too expensive because they'll inevitably develop holes.
6. Feminine Dress. Sometimes a girl just wants to feel like a lady, and I think it's important to have a dress for that occasion. I have my go-to dress (are you sick of hearing about this one yet??) that I wear when I want to feel feminine. Lace, flowy skirt, a hint of cleavage, and mine's peach--this dress is womanhood defined.
6.5 LBD. The pictured dress is actually a two-fer, because it represents another closet staple: the Little Black Dress. I constantly dress mine up, dress them down, and wear them until they can no longer be called black. I'd call this a fairly universal staple, and because there are so many options I like to find LBDs with special detailing (like unique hems) but ones that can be worn belted, unbelted, with scarves, etc.
7. Black Blazer. Much like the LBD, the black blazer is a fairly universal staple because you can dress it up or down. Wear it to work with a pencil skirt, or to a concert with a slouchy tee. Again, with so many options, look for unique details like the interesting lapel on the one pictured.
8. Grey T-shirt. I'm obsessed. Subtly sexy, all the time, and so comfy it's like you're wearing pj's.
9. Comfy Pumps in black and nude. Duh. Wear with everything, from work to play. I love the Corso Como Del pump. It's pricey but so comfortable that it's completely worth it. Much hotter on the foot, too!
10. Floral Scarf. Instantly makes a so-so outfit of skinny jeans and a tee look pulled together. I like black-based florals because I mix patterns with my b&w striped tees.
11. Black Pencil Skirt. Goes with every top in your closet. Search around until you find a flattering fit; pencil skirts can look good on everyone, but not all skirt (even of the same pencil style) are cut the same way.
12. Grey Maxi Dress. Much like stripes, I'm a recent convert to maxis. I bought a grey maxi at the start of the summer and have worn it a probably unhealthy amount. Again: grey is subtly sexy, and because it's a long dress you can play with a lower neckline or tighter fit without looking trampy.
13. Quality pair of black leather boots. I bought the older version of these Vince Camuto boots on super sale, and they look so amazing with everything I own (including everything pictured here!)

So there's my lucky 13 closet staples--what are yours?

I'm Glad I Exist's Guide to Closet Classics by mjchirpich-1 featuring vintage style t shirts

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The True Lesson of the Three Bears

EDIT 11-16-12: I seem to be getting a lot of blog traffic from this post, so for those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! Stay a while :)

Everyone know the story of the three bears, right? Goldilocks goes a-thievin' from a poor little bear family and is for some reason super bitchy about which porridge she steals. One's too hot, one's too cold, but she takes a hankering for the baby bear's porridge and deems it 'just right'. Putting aside the completely narcissistic slant of this weird fable, I think it has lessons to teach us about fashion.

Take this cute girl at a festival. We could track down a similar outfit at stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Target....

But let's be real. Those leggings would snag after one wear, and the sweater would pill in the wash immediately. Too Cheap.

 We could go the opposite route, and buy everything from designers/stores like Madewell, Dolce Vita, Alexander Wang, and Free People:

And this is lovely, but really. Is it necessary to spend over double the cost of the whole first outfit on one pair of leggings? I think no. Too Over-priced.

Therefore, let's channel our inner Goldilocks and decide where to spend and where to splurge in order to achieve our 'Just Right' combination of items:
The contenders:
While I loooooove the Dolce Vita dress above, I personally can't justify the cost of that dress when there is an equally pretty option for a sixth of the cost.

Although I would never ever ever pay $450 for a pair of leggings, experience has taught me that I shouldn't pay $6 either. I wear and wash my leggings enough that I now buy high enough quality that they last a while, but not so much money that I'm pissed when they eventually develop a hole in the crotch.

Admittedly the fabric and cut of the designer-label cardigan is much nicer, but grey cardigans are enough of a staple item that you should always be able to find a decent-quality one, usually on sale if you dig hard enough. This BR cardigan is 25% off and will do the job well.

I am admittedly not a 'purse person,' so take this advice with a grain of salt. My trick is to find a bag with good-quality leather, but it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. I've had bags from Shopko (or JCPenney, or Herberger's, or...) last a long long time, and they're alllllways on sale!

Leather boots are one of a few items that I feel are a justified splurge. If you get good boots, the cost per wear is ridiculously tiny because you will wear them a lot, for a long, long time and be able to resole them as needed (versus cheaper boots that aren't worth that resole cost and must be replaced quicker). I also think that a quality pair of boots can elevate an otherwise very cost-efficient outfit.

As for jewelry, I don't think there's a hard and fast cost rule, as long as you check out the hinges, clasps, and chains to be sure that they won't fall apart soon after purchase!

What about you? Where do you splurge, and where do you save?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Mix and Match: Chandelier Earrings

Since becoming more aware of my closet and personal style, I've come to realize that I'm very, very picky about jewelry. So when I saw the below earrings online, my heart jumped a little.

Ain't they purty? You better believe they are on their way to me. And since I like to use items in my own closet for inspiration, I thought they'd make a good subject for my next Mix and Match post. 

Running Errands
I'm pretty in love with all the items in this collage. I think the Stylemint dress is a perfect LBD--easily dressed up or down, with just enough unique details to make it stand out in the crowd. I want those Loeffler Randall booties like you wouldn't believe, but because I believe in actually affordable yet stylish fashion I offer up a pretty alternative with the DV booties. Finally I topped it off with a dainty-yet-badass horn necklace that echos the spikiness of the earrings, in a less obvious way.

Party Time
In real life I have absolutely NOWHER to wear these fun sequin leggings....but I think they'd be a really fun going-out look, with the white polka dot oxford knotted at the waist and the bow sandals for a little subtle sexiness.

 Art Attack!
Personal secret: Sometime I shop in the maternity section, even though I'm nowhere near pregnant. Like anti-pregnant. As in what Representative Todd Akin believes happens in cases of 'legitimate rape' K getting off my soapbox now...
ANYWAY. Found this fun printed maxi on sale at TopShop. It's maternity, which basically translates to 'super comfy with elastic waistband.' I'd rock it fo sho, and pair it with this fun Tibi top (horrendously expensive but amazing...possible DIY?) With all that print and pattern and business I kept the shoes simple.

Dream World:

Ok story time. I've been searching high and low for the perfect black leather jacket. And when I saw this laser cut one, I swear my heart stopped for a secon. Isn't it gorgeous?
Ok another story time: as soon as I started putting this post together, the first thing I thought of to pair with the earrings was this Tibi maxi. I'm on a Tibi kick. I think the soft, flowy, unstructured-ness of the dress is so pretty contrasted agains the spike earrings and shoes and the tough-yet-feminine floral-cut leather jacket. It's love. And apparently love DOES cost a thing, because this outfit would set you back $1,326. A girl can dream.....

Which look was your favorite?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Weekday Wishlist: Statement Jewelry

This week's Wishlist is dedicated to the gamechangers: the pieces of jewelry that have the magical ability to make an outfit, to take a simple tee from blah to beautiful, a basic maxi from lame to luxe, a boring button-up from so-so to get the picture.  These are my recent picks:

Find them here:

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Fashion Face-off: Leather Booties

Can you tell which one cost...

$100? $129? $285? $495?

I think it's pretty easy to tell which costs $90, but a lot tougher to guess the most expensive between the other three! Although I have undying love for the Rag & Bone Harrow booties, I may just finally pull the trigger on the $129 pair...

Sources: Diba Flap Jack, Rag & Bone Harrow, DV by Dolce Vita Java, H by Hudson Horrigan

Update! Found another lookalike: The Steve Madden Quesstt, $159

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Official I'm Glad I Exist Guide to Smarter Shopping

Since I'm saving up for several big-ticket items right now (a car and then a puppy!), I need to be careful with how I'm spending my money. As a result of living on a student budget for so many years, I've become a Super Shopper and thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks of how to get the best deal on clothing items you really want and/or need.

1. Start with a list of items you want. 

This can be generalities (I keep a list on my iPhone) or very specific (I've had my eye on this pleated skirt from the Loft). Nerdy as this may be, I use my own tips from my post on organizing your closet to decide what makes my list.

2. Google the shit out of that item. 

Seriously. If I know I love a certain product that is sold by multiple vendors, I will troll the Internet like nobody's business to find the best deal. Which leads me to point three.

3. Use shopping sites. 

I'm on an embarrassing amount of shopping sites, including Hautelook, My Habit, Rue La La, Ideeli, Gilt, Joss & Main, and One Kings Lane. I only sign up for ones that I know have carried or are likely to carry the lines I'm interested in, and I've scored some great deals on products I'd been eyeing for forever. Which naturally leads me to point four.

4. Deliberate if you're not sure. 

Maybe I'm cheap (or, more likely, just broke), but I rarely pay full price for clothing items. If I'm not willing to pull the trigger the minute I see it, I will wait and watch for the best deal to come along. My Pinterest board Shopping Spree is a constantly-rotating collage of items I'm debating, either because I can't afford them at that particular moment (ahem....Free People Destroyer boots) or because I don't feel justified in spending the listed amount. Reasons for 'not justified' range from 'I've already blown my budget for the month' to 'it's stupid they're even asking that price' (coughAnthropologiecough). This leads me (sensing a pattern?) to point five.

5. Put dollar signs on specific items. 

I do this for items I really want but can't justify paying the current price for. For example, I love these $80 Loft leopard print wedges, but for a variety of financial/personal reasons I can't see paying myself paying more than $40 for them. So I tag the Pinterest image with the list price, then add a comment with the limit I've set to remind myself. This way, when they are 40% off (last week!) but not 50%, I remind myself that I set that price for a good reason, and slowly step away from the credit card. That said, see number 6:

6. Buy when you find the best deal. 
We've all been there--found our dream item, but waited too long to pull the trigger and it sold out. Heartbreaking. So the 'best deal' doesn't necessarily equate to 'cheapest'--pick the price you're comfortable with and stick to it. If it sells out before then, you probably didn't want it bad enough if you didn't buy it earlier. If it drops in price to what you're comfortable with, yay! The other option, of course, is:

7. Buy when you can't handle not having it RIGHT MEOW. 
This recently happened to me with this Mikkat Market peach piece of heaven. I tried to wait for a sale, but it was selling out quickly and its loveliness just taunted me until I caved and paid full price. And I haven't regretted it for a minute because it's currently my favorite clothing piece I own. So if you're dying over a piece, and can afford it, go for it!

EDIT: Although I highly recommend going through Mikkat Market, I can't in good conscience NOT post this: the peach and mint versions of my dress are available at Sosie, and the peach is on sale. 

8. Shop what you know during sales. 
Sales are obviously a great thing, except when you get distracted by the theoretical money you're saving and buy a bunch of stuff you don't really need (thus defeating the whole money-saving bit). Case in point: I recently put in a big purchase to Old Navy because I got suckered in to their 25% off sale and hadn't yet written this post to refer to/restrain myself by (heh. So modest). So I ended up getting a bunch of cheap items that I was only kind of interested in (well, except for the gingham goodness). THEN Mikkat Market restocked my (more expensive) peach dress in other colors. So here's a (super ghetto) graphic representation of my dilemma:

Know what I did? Returned the pieces I wasn't in love with (including a black dress that I thought was only ok but filled a gap in my closet for a versatile LBD), and bought the black version of the dress I already knew I love (and fills that gap in my closet much better) plus these earrings I've been ogling, all for roughly the same price.

9. Understand that quality < quantity. 

Old Navy and Forever 21 are alluring in their trendiness and cheap pricing, but they tend to fall apart on me quickly. Understand that 5 cheap Old Navy items that you only kind of love are more expensive  in the long run (both in cost and environmentally) than 1 beautiful, well-made dress and pair of earrings that you'll wear to death. Unless you find the rare gem, that Old Navy piece that you love AND can wear to death. Score! 

My last piece of advice is the most important, in my opinion:

10. Only buy things that make you feel happy, sexy, pretty, or another positive emotion. 
As stated here, even though I love fashion and shopping, I always need to remember that clothes are not important enough to get me down. If you're stressing about money, STOP SHOPPING! Get creative with your closet instead. If you gain a couple pounds, instead of getting bummed about your too-tight jeans, wear a great bra that shows off your ample boobs--and hit the gym, because (at least for me) exercise makes you happy AND healthy. And that's a win-win in my book.

So that's the official I'm Glad I Exist Guide to Smarter Shopping! Hope these tips helped! Anyone have tips they want to add? Anyone disagree with my ideas? Let me know! :)