The Stylish Five: Maximum Style With Maxi Skirts Under $25!


Maxi skirts are a summer staple, & they’re especially perfect for any size when transitioning your wardrobe from season to season. While fall fashions are hitting stores, right now is the best time to invest in summer must-haves like maxi skirts. There are so many online right now available in all sizes & styles for such great prices & today’s post features designs for under $25! To start off, I wanted to take a look at celebrities in maxi skirts, rocking their chic street style & making memorable red carpet appearances to inspire some maxi skirt envy. This includes Miranda Kerr, Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Lopez, Emma Roberts, & Beyoncé.

Miranda Kerr, Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Lopez, Emma Roberts, & Beyonce in maxi skirts.

I couldn’t just pick five styles, so I went with the following affordable picks, which are perfect for that weekend barbecue, a lunch time picnic in the park, or night out for frozen yogurt with the girls.

The Stylish Five - Maxi Skirts for Under $25

SHOP: 1. striped maxi skirt ($19.99, was $30.00) in black / neutral @Dress Barn (shop here for plus sizes), 2. jersey side-slit maxi skirt ($15.00, was $29.94) in black (available in sizes XS-XXL) @Old Navy, 3. tribal maxi skirt ($17.00) @ASOS, 4. Mandala print skirt ($22.90) in plus size @Forever 21, 5. tribal maxi skirt ($17.99, was $19.90) @Wet Seal, 6. starburst maxi skirt ($15.99, was $21.90) in plus size @Wet Seal, 7. Worthington slit maxi skirt ($19.99, was $36.00) in savannah @JCPenney, 8. a.n.a. maxi skirt ($19.99, was $42.00) in plus size in scuba blue @JCPenney, 9. chevron maxi skirt ($12.99, was $29.99) @Lolli Couture, & 10. chevron maxi skirt ($16.99) in plus size @Rue21.

Where do you like to shop for maxi skirts? Have you been wearing these styles all summer long? Which print is your go-to favorite? For more posts, check out Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s new ad campaign for Paige Denim, how to restyle a bridesmaid dress for beyond the wedding, a look at Eva Mendes for Estee Lauder, a summer dress ensemble for any size under $100, & the latest red carpet looks from Karlie Kloss & Nina Dobrev. Happy Styling!

The $100 Challenge: Styling A Summer Dress At Every Size!


I’ve been thinking about fun & transformative ways to get the most out of my summer wardrobe, always looking for upgrades in staples like dresses, jewelry, & accessories at an affordable price. Lately, I love playing with color against my favorite classic pieces, which is the inspiration for this most recent Style Darling Daily post for The $100 Challenge. Since the dress below has so many possibilities, I couldn’t help picking out a few extras to get the most out of summer style for all shapes & sizes.

The $100 Challenge: dress ($30.00) in black / white @Old Navy, heels ($25.00) in lemon @Charlotte Russe, hat ($12.90) in white / black @Forever 21, studs ($8.99) @Francesca's, & clutch ($14.75) in ivory @Dress Barn.

SHOP: 1. dress ($30.00, was $32.94) in black / white @Old Navy (available in sizes XS-XXL), 2. heels ($25.00, was $28.99) in lemon @Charlotte Russe (available in sizes 5.5-10), 3. hat ($12.90) in white / black @Forever 21, 4. studs ($8.99, was $14.00) @Francesca’s, & 5. clutch ($14.75, was $29.50) in ivory @Dress Barn (also available in peach & black).

Affordable extras include neutrals, texture, & sensible alternatives to keep your looks fresh & playful this season. I love mixing up my jewelry from day to day, even when I rotate essentials like a favorite dress from week to week.

Affordable extras: jacket ($34.95) in light beige & plus jacket ($34.99) in light beige @H&M, bracelet ($5.99) in gold @Romwe, sunglasses ($5.99) @ModCloth, & sandals ($12.90) in coral @Wet Seal.

SHOP: 1. jacket ($34.95) in light beige & plus jacket ($34.99) in light beige @H&M, 2. bracelet ($5.99, was $8.42) in gold @Romwe, 3. sunglasses ($5.99, was $19.99) @ModCloth, & 4. sandals ($12.90) in coral (wide width available for $10.99, was $14.90) @Wet Seal.

Where are you shopping for this season’s best bargains? How do you like to style your favorite summer dresses? What patterns or colors do you love to wear now? For more stylish posts, check out the latest red carpet looks from Rachel McAdams & Karlie Kloss, where to get a figure-friendly Calvin Klein dress for less, Taylor Swift’s fashionable 1989 music videos, ankle strap sandals inspired by Jennifer Lawrence & Michelle Monaghan, & jewelry must-haves from Express. Happy Styling!

Fabulous in 4 Ways: Floral Leggings for Day, Work, Date, & Weekend (Dedicated to Kristen)!


This has been a season of leggings, especially for those us who have been feeling the sweet consequences of the holidays & blizzards in the north-east. However, that’s no reason to get lazy about your style, especially when leggings come in all prints & patterns. Floral leggings are a stylish play on stretchy bottoms & the possibilities of outfits are endless, thanks to my friend, Kristen, who came to me with this idea. In my latest Fabulous in 4 Ways post, instead of styling just one pair of floral leggings, I sought out four must-have & affordable pairs to wear for day, work, date night, & weekend looks.

When headed out on daily errands, coffee with the girls, or planning your next dinner party, floral leggings work, allowing for a mixture of textures to enrich your daytime look.

Day look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($24.99) in multi @Bluefly, sweater ($24.90) in navy / orange @Forever 21, boots ($55.00) in taupe @ALDO, bag ($25.16) @Chic Nova, & stud earrings ($5.00) in gold @Wallis.

Depending on your office environment, floral leggings are also a possibility for your work look. When it comes to casual Friday or a business casual dress code, try leggings with a mini dress, boyfriend cardigan, or long blazer.

Work look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($14.69) @Lord & Taylor, sheath dress ($17.80) in black @Forever 21, ankle booties ($19.97) in grey @Nordstrom Rack, tote ($17.99) in black @Shoptiques, & necklace ($8.74) @Target.

When it comes to date night, instead of a classic LBD, try floral leggings with some metallic detail, which instantly dresses up your look. Pairing them with a pop of color & luxe accessories is the perfect way to dress to impress.

Date night look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($14.00) @Boohoo, blouse ($28.27) in red @Romwe, boots ($25.99) in black @Shoes.com, clutch ($21.99) in gold @6PM, earrings ($9.80) @JC Penney, & necklace ($8.74) @Target.

I love weekend looks because they present a combination of casual & chic. If you’re going to a B&B, traveling to a vineyard for a four-day weekend, or reading a good book & drinking hot chocolate, layering cozy separates in lightweight fabrics can transform the way you enjoy your down time.

Weekend look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($10.00) @H&M, blouse ($19.99) in pink @MANGO, cardigan ($12.95) in black @H&M, ballet flats ($11.99) in black @Wet Seal, tote ($21.00) @Shoptiques, stud earrings ($6.93) @Express.

Do you dare to wear floral leggings? How do you like to style them? Would you wear floral leggings on a date or to work? For more stylish posts, check out Megan Fox & Felicity Jones’ latest red carpet looks, Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2015 Couture collection, how to wear the fringe trend for spring inspired by Scarlett Johansson & Heidi Klum, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s street style for less, & affordable ear cuffs & front to back earrings from Nasty Gal & River Island. Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Sweaters On Sale For Under $20!


What I love about this time of year is not only the varieties of hot chocolate, but the major clothing & accessories sales hitting stores to sell those winter duds to make room for spring & summer designs. My biggest must-have items are sweaters to wear not just for now, but definitely for next fall & winter as well. I sought out some of my favorite retailers to see the best deals on the most stylish sweaters. The best part is that each one is under $20!

The Stylish Five - Sweaters Under $20SHOP: abstract sweater ($19.99) @Wet Seal, stripe sweater ($13.96) @Joe Fresh, patterned sweater ($14.97) @Old Navy, shawl collar sweater ($10.00) @H&M, & lace cardigan ($15.88) @LOFT.

These are perfect for wearing on cozy at-home snow days with fuzzy socks & some hot chocolate, when headed out for brunch in skinny jeans & ankle booties, or to the office in a pencil skirt & patterned tights. What’s your favorite kind of sweater? Are you a cardigan girl? Have you been shopping the big winter sales?

For more stylish posts, check out how to wear an affordable statement necklace in 4 ways, Jennifer Lopez’s press your for The Boy Next Door, Natalie Portman’s Dior look for less, & the complete red carpet galleries from this year’s Critics Choice Awards & Golden Globes. Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: Fall Wardrobe Inspiration from Returning TV Favorites!


Aside from Fashion Week & the general change of seasons (which marks ankle bootie & rich textures like suede time of year), September means that our favorite television shows are returning to make us laugh, cry, sit at the edge of our seats, & of course, be in awe of the characters’ styles. In a first ever on Style Darling, I’ve undertaken a mighty 10 television shows returning this season & found their most stylish leading ladies (two, in some cases), & found pieces & looks to inspire your fall wardrobe. Naturally, we’re talking something budget-friendly, yet still true to the small scree goddesses that have bloggers everywhere in a fashion tizzy!

Scandal

Scandal (airing Season 4 premiere on 9/25 @9PM on ABC) left Olivia Pope (played magnificently by the one & only Kerry Washington) washing her hands of the controversy & turmoil that she blames herself for in Washington D.C., especially because of her torrid love affair with the president. However, Olivia’s style was only elevated by such drama, sharing with viewers the importance of a luxurious coat collection, classic & statement handbags, as well as clean lines & neutral separates since Olivia is all about getting rid of the fuss in people’s lives.

Scandal inspired look.

To recreate Olivia’s style, I found the Jessica Simpson toggle double pocket coat ($99.99) @TJX.com, & paired it with chic separates like the flutter sleeve blouse ($39.95) in black @New York & Company, which is also available in white, & the studio stretch tab waist slim flare columnist pant ($39.90) in black @Express. In keeping with the character, I thought the lovely Lolita satchel ($39.00) in ivory / black @Charming Charlie was just the right touch. Lastly, for some more Olivia Pope inspiration, be sure to check out the new Scandal collection for The Limited, which hit stores 9/23!

*

New Girl

New Girl (airing Season 4 premiere on 9/16 @9PM on FOX) will surely tackle that whole Jess-Nick romance, even though the adorkable couple ended things last season. Now that Zooey Deschanel‘s character has certainly settled into her man-dwelling apartment, she’s constantly battling life with one vintage look after another, & laughter is sure to ensue. Not to mention that Jess’s girlie girl style fits right in with her job as a teacher, always conservative yet cute for partying it up after hours.

New Girl inspired look.

Just about any ’50s/60s-inspired frock will do for recreating Zooey’s on screen look as Jess. This includes the ‘storytelling it like it is’ dress ($39.00) in blue @Mod Cloth, which can be mixed & matched with other bold solids or layered with a floral cardigan. Also, try the Worthington long sleeve crew neck sweater ($19.99) in Lafayette rose @JC Penney over a classic button down shirt or with a mini flip skirt & opaque tights. Jess believes in wearing strong, yet playful pieces like this stripe high waisted full midi skirt ($24.99) in black & white @Charlotte Russe, which will only make her nerdy Durand frames ($95.00) in whiskey tortoise @Warby Parker all the sexier!

*

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project (airing 9/16 @9:30 on FOX) is one of my favorite must-see shows this fall, not just because the brilliant Mindy Kaling writes a hilarious ensemble comedy, but because the show is after the hearts of its viewers with the on-again-off-again love story with one Danny Castellano, played by Chris Messina. Yes, there’s laughter too, but I’m also super excited to see what Dr. Lahiri (Kaling’s character) will wear. She’s no stranger to bright colors, wild patterns, feminine florals, & layers of preppy chic style.

The Mindy Project inspired look.

To build a Mindy-friendly look, I found these gorgeous pieces to mix & match with other bold separates. This includes the double breasted hooded trench ($64.00) in khaki @Dress Barn (for plus size, click here), short sleeve lace dress ($108.00) in chrysanthemum red @LOFT, Merona 3/4 sleeve v-neck cardigan ($16.08) in lime juice print @Targetplaid 2-button jacket ($138.00) in berry plaid @The Limited, & berry blast handbag ($47.00) in fuchsia @LuLu’s. Of course some of these are pricey pieces, but I’ve come to believe that there are certain pieces worth investing in, like a blazer with endless color combination possibilities, or a day-to-night dress.

*

Revenge

Revenge (airing 9/28 @10PM on ABC) is returning this fall & Emily Thorne (played by Emily Vancamp) is back & stronger than ever in her plot against the Graysons. I love that her style recalls the effortless ease of a modern day Grace Kelly, with a luxe twist on casual wear. She wears plenty of neutral colors & no-fuss separates so that she can easily slip into scheming mode with the movers & shakers of The Hamptons setting. I love watching out for the designer pieces on this show, especially on additional key characters like Victoria (Madeline Stowe), Charlotte (Chrsta B. Allen), & Ashley (Ashley Madekwe).

Revenge inspired look.

When I started assembling these pieces, I realized that they have various uses, for both day & night, as well as creating looks from season-to-season. While most of our lives won’t be centered around law-breaking revenge schemes, the closest we can get to the fabulous life of Emily Thorne is recreating her style with the colorblock roll sleeve shirtdress ($109.99) in cream puff @Ann Taylor, MOD.lusive ruched sleeve long cardigan ($42.00) in white @Nordstrom, v-neck blouse ($24.95) in powder beige @H&M, & true slim chino pants ($44.99) in khaki @Land’s End.

*

Nashville

Nashville (airing 9/24 @10PM on ABC) is the kind of show that not only inspires music, but also fashion. Southern style is loud & clear with this show, especially when it comes to an edgy look & a splash of rock ‘n roll. The show’s leading ladies Rayna James (Connie Britton) & Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) are constantly at odds, but one thing is clear, they know how to dress. I was especially inspired by the flashy stage looks & modern casual separates that can be jazzed up for a night of music. The last season ended with both divas in trouble, both professionally & personally, but I can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen next.

Nashville inspired look.

For Rayna’s all-American look, I choose the Harper denim jacket ($54.50) in dark wash @GbyGuess, classic rise slight curve slim jeans ($24.90) in extra shade @Levi’s, & Calimesa tie dye loop scarf ($24.00) @Francesca’s, which can be worn with a sequined tank, graphic tee, or cropped top. Then, to channel Juliette’s playful & sexy stage look, I found the sequined tailored dress ($69.99) @Mango Outlet & Michael Antonio ‘Mains’ booties ($29.94) in black @DSW, which makes for a great night-out outfit that can also be accessorized with bangles & drop earrings.

*

2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls (airing 10/07 @9PM on CBS) combines two of my favorite things: cupcakes & fashion! The comedy’s stars Beth Behrs as the preppy / fashion forward Caroline Chaning & Kat Dennings‘ loveable bad girl Max Black make for the perfect modern day odd couple, just trying to get back. Caroline is always neutral clad, doused in pearls & body conscious dresses, whereas Max’s fashion sense takes on a tougher city vibe in bright primary colors & boots, with a touch of menswear inspiration.

2 Broke Girls inspired look.

For Caroline’s look, I was excited to find the Casual Couture by Green Envelope long sleeve surplice jersey top ($29.00) @Bluefly, Jcolor casual pants ($24.00) in khaki @YOOX, & Madden Girl Getta pumps ($39.95) in nude @Zappos. Also, for Max’s style, I loved the Joe Fresh boyfriend plaid shirt ($24.99) in navy @JC Penney, Juicy Couture knit skinny jeans ($36.99) in black @Kohl’s, & buckled strap slouchy boots ($34.90) in black @Wet Seal. Each piece is fall-ready & great for layering for a day out with the girls or a casual chic dinner with friends.

*

The Good Wife

The Good Wife (airing 9/21 @9PM on CBS) keeps raking in the Emmy awards, especially with a constantly compelling performance for the show’s lead, Julianna Margulies as the powerful Alicia Florrick. Her wardrobe includes power suits & strong jackets, much like Scandal‘s Olivia Pope. In Alicia’s world, there’s no room for floral or fussy pieces. She’s all about structure & strength, so edgy embellishments  have no place among the clean details & clean lines.

The Good Wife inspired look.

Start building a professional wardrobe like Alicia’s with strong-shouldered jackets that have unique details & cuts. These will look great with any go-to pair of trousers. As toppers, I picked the ANNE KLEIN Single Button Houndstooth Blazer ($129.00) from Lord & Taylor & H&M‘s fitted jacket ($49.95) in gray mélange. Also, an easy way to complete the look is with the Roz & Ali smart fit trouser pants ($34.50) in black @Dress Barn, which are also available in straight leg, plus sizes, & petites.

*

REID EWING, SOFIA VERGARA

Modern Family (airing 9/24 @9PM on ABC) is a comedy must-see, especially because of the show’s female leads. When it comes to style, of course there’s always a cute outfit on Sarah Hyland’s character Hailey, but the real sex-pot changing the look of a stay-at-home mom is Sofia Vergara‘s Gloria. Gloria often steals the spotlight from her family members, especially when it comes to showing off her curves in wrap dresses, V-neck tops, & skinny jeans.

Modern Family inspired look.

Straight from Sofia Vergara’s collection for KMart, including the longsleeve wrap tunic ($19.99) in red, faux wrap dress ($29.99) in animal abstract, & embellished blazer ($39.99) in white. Since Gloria is always seen in high heels, I knew a classic, yet sexy black pair of platforms would do the trick in recreating the look, which is why I found the Fergalicious holler back shoes ($23.98) from 6PM.

*

Elementary

Elementary (airing 10/30 @10PM on CBS) is a modern day New York City-based take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories & what’s extra awesome about this version is that the science-minded Watson is played by kick-ass actress Lucy Liu. Instead of John, she’s a Joan who develops an intense partnership with Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller) while they’re soling crimes all over the city. Aside from her brilliant mind, I love her on-the-go style which often includes dark, layering pieces, always with a chic pair of booties.

Elementary inspired look.

To achieve Joan’s chic style, I picked the Dantelle open pleat front cardigan ($39.00) in ebony @Nordstrom, leggings ($34.50) in black @J.Crew, tulip back knit blouse ($14.80) in silver black @Forever 21, canvas utility jacket ($39.94) in arugula @Old Navy, knit infinity scarf ($12.00) in black @Target, & Qupid cuffed side-zipper chunky heel ankle boots ($42.99) in black @Charlotte Russe.

*

Hart of Dixie

Hart of Dixie (2015 on The CW) is the last show that I’m sharing & it doesn’t have a set premiere date since star Rachel Bilson, who plays the quirky city doctor Zoe Hart, is expecting her first child & filming seems to be halted. However, I love her character’s edgy side with dark, modern cuts in tops & leather shorts, as well as dark colors in mini & maxi dresses. She’s an accessories queen with chunky necklaces, embellished details, & the highest heels in sandals & booties imaginable. Also, it’s hard to ignore Lemon Breeland, played hysterically by the one & only Jamie King. Lemon’s style is true to the Alabama debutante ladylike way. She loves florals, sparkle, & vintage-inspired looks with a bold lip & finger curls.

Hart of Dixie inspired look.

To get you Zoe look, try getting inspired with the Liz Claiborne long sleeve blouse ($30.00) @JC Penney, hue leatherette leggings ($48.00) in black @Nordstrom, faux leather moto jacket ($39.80) in black @Forever 21, & Jessica Simpson Adriana mixed -media ankle booties ($94.99) in charcoal @Saks Off Fifth. For a classic Lemon look, you’ll love wearing the Joan Vass wavy sequin crewneck sweater ($47.25) @Neiman Marcus Last Call, scuba midi skirt ($42.50) in peach dusk @New York & Company, Bare Necessity plain pointy heels ($21.30) in fuchsia @GOjane, & No Business Like Show Business dress ($30.99) in poppy @ModCloth.

*

Which show are you waiting for? Which character do you think is the most stylish? Which returning fall shows did I leave out? For more stylish posts, be sure to check out Fashion Week runways from Carolina Herrera & Michael Kors, my newest Target dress purchase, textured jackets from Alice + Olivia & Dress Barn, & Altuzarra’s new collection for Target! Happy Styling!

Luxury Look-Alikes For Less: Red Peep Toe Pumps by Jimmy Choo Vs. Merona by Target!


As I get  back into the blogging swing of things, my search continues for designer look-alikes, especially when it comes to classic pieces. Shoes are always a favorite item to hunt for when clicking around the world wide web, & I came across varying designs of red peep toe pumps, which are naturally a perfect pop of color with a LBD, polka dotted separates, a chic denim look, or for a cocktail affair.

Neiman Marcus - Jimmy Choo peep toe pumps in red $625.00, Target - Merona peep toe pumps in red $29.99.

Obviously when you hear the name Jimmy Choo, dollar signs come to mind, which I’m sure is worth the investment if you have that kind of cash available. I found the Luna peep toe pumps ($625.00) in red from Nordstrom that are likely staples in any A-listers shoe collection.  However, at only 1/4′ less in height, the Merona peep toe pumps ($29.99) in red from Target are just as chic & won’t set any Style Darling back in cost.

For more affordable shoe shopping, check out favorite stores like Payless, DSW, Forever 21, H&M, Wet Seal, Express, TJ Maxx, & GOjane! Happy Styling!

2013 Black Friday Style: Watch Out For Cold Weather Accessories!


‘Tis the season for cold weather accessories, & they always make for a great gift for the holidays. However, if you’re looking to mix up your outerwear look, but love your classic coat, changing up your hat, scarf, & gloves will do the trick! I’m a big fan of scarves, wearing them with my coats & coordinating them with my tunic sweaters & other essentials.

Avenue - Metallic Headband $12.00, Zara - Short Faux Leather Gloves $25.90, Charlotte Russe - Ruffled Open Knit Scarf $12.99, LOFT - Pearlized Gem Embellished Hat $34.50, & Kohl's - Croft & Barrow Ombre Animal Fringed Scarf $9.99.

Some suggestions that break that break the conventions of neutral cold weather accessories include the following: metallic headband ($12.00) in camel @Avenue, short faux leather gloves ($25.90) in navy @Zara, ruffled open knit scarf ($12.99) in rust @Charlotte Russe, pearlized gem embellished hat ($34.50– use code ENJOY for 40% off) in pale berry pink @LOFT, & Croft & Barrow’s ombre animal fringed scarf ($9.99) @Kohl’s.

I’m such a big fan of patterns when it comes to scarves, especially polka dots or houndstooth, which is why I also wanted to feature these other accessories for more shopping fun: Aeropostale, Wet Seal, Ann Taylor, QVC, Joe Fresh, & Urban Outfitters. Happy Styling!

2013 Black Friday Style: Fashionable Flats For Your Shopping Frenzy!


Whether you’re spending the holidays with family or hitting up the stores in search of the biggest & best deal, you’re definitely going to need a fabulous pair of shoes to help you along the way, which is why I’m happy to feature flats as a part of my 2013 Black Friday Style series. Having so much retail experience, I can tell you that flats are a stylish lifesaver to the working woman’s feet. I’m most inspired by details print & pattern, texture, shine, & menswear inspiration, which are essential ingredients to make any holiday season all the more special.

Forever 21 - plaid flats $16.80, GOjane - glitter flats $23.80, H&M quilted ballet flats $9.99, Steve Madden - patent KINGG flats $41.98, & Payless - Christian Siriano smoking flat $26.99.

Shop these: bold plaid flats ($16.80) in red multi @Forever 21, chain-ge glitter flats ($23.80) in gold @GOjane, quilted ballet flats ($9.99) in beige @H&M, patent KINGG flat ($41.98) in fawn @Steve Madden, & Christian Siriano crimson smoking flat ($26.99) in black @Payless.

I know I’ll be breaking out my most comfortable & stylish flats this weekend (working the 2nd job!), thinking about all the ways that I can style my flats with leggings & tunic sweater, blouse & skinny jeans, & a cardigan & A-line skirt with tights. How do you like to wear flats? Which style is your favorite?

For more suggestions on must-have flats, check out these picks from White House Black Market, LOFT, Nine WestCharlotte Russe, Kohl’s, Wet Seal, & Tilly’s. Happy Styling!

Fabulous In 4 Ways: An Old Navy Graphic Tee For Day, Weekend, Date, & Cocktail!


There’s so much going on in fashion right now & all of the latest spring styles have been hitting retailers, which means that it’s time to consider how you can revamp your wardrobe for the upcoming season. One trick that I recently experimented with was how to dress up a graphic tee for more than just a day look, which is the inspiration behind my latest Fabulous in 4 Ways post. I’m always drawn to pretty t-shirts with fashion-related designs, something Parisian, or a classic Hello Kitty print, however the watercolor-graphic v-neck tee ($14.94) in lodge khaki from Old Navy caught my eye for its modern look over a neutral hue. I’ve decided to share how to style this top for day, weekend, date, & cocktail, ranging in price from $83.52 – $133.48.

For the day look, I loved bringing out fun colors like the 1969 always skinny jeans ($21.99) in lemon meringue from Gap & pairing it with the Christian Siriano Camile bow flat ($26.99) in dark green from Payless. Of course there’s always dark denim as an option, but I loved the neutrality of the tabbed sleeve jacket ($22.50) in Olive from Wet Seal. For an extra splash of style, I picked the 1928 jet-tone filigree teardrop earrings ($5.00) from Kohl’s, which will dress up any casual look & even work with a sheath or LBD for a night out on the town.

When you’re headed away for the weekend, consider comfortable options like the Mossimo Supply Co. bootcut denim ($22.99) in dark wash from Target. To add some extra height to this already casual chic look, I love the basic longline cardigan ($12.80) in black from Forever 21, which gives that boyfriend-sweater menswear look, especially when paired with the Michael Antonio Mallory bootie ($24.99) in black from Piperlime. Lastly, the tribal style bangle set ($7.80) in gold / dark brown from Forever 21 highlight the colors in the graphic tee & bring some extra personality to the whole ensemble.

On the flipside, experiment with this graphic tee, or any printed top for a cocktail look with the feminine skirt ($29.95) in black from H&M & edgy Jacquez jacket ($24.98) in jet black from G by Guess. To contrast the softness of the watercolor butterflies, I choose Charlotte Russe‘s spiked zip-back sueded pumps ($38.50) in black, which complimented the two tone chevron statement necklace ($12.90) from Windsor Store.

A date night look is the perfect opportunity for dressing up a graphic tee, especially when there are options like The Limited‘s silver & rose gold sequin jacket ($49.99) with the faux leather moto leggings ($39.80) in black from Forever 21. Sexy accessories for this look include the sparkling geo drop earrings ($4.80) in black / gold, also from Forever 21, as well as the patent faux leather pumps ($23.95) in black from GOjane, which have been recently marked down.

For more posts on affordable fashion, check out how to find the best bargain-priced pink jeans, look-alike floral Stella McCartney pants as seen on Diane Kruger, clearance heels & flats from Target, winter white looks inspired by Nicole Richie & Taylor Swift, Lauren Conrad’s latest Kohl’s collection, & Christian Siriano’s newest designs for Payless. Happy Styling!

Basics For A Bargain: Monochromatic Looks To Brighten Up Any Season, Wardrobe, & Budget!


It’s not often that I wear monochromatic looks, but when I do, it’s usually either black or gray. These are go-to colors that I know I can always mix & match with each other, especially when I’m headed to work & am looking for something chic & fluid to wear. I was inspired by monochrome outfits during my last photo shoot of pictures of myself to post on Style Darling (see the all-green sweater & pants look, for example).

Since I started covering Runway Rundown here, I noticed the dominance of monochromatic designs, especially for the 2013 runways. This includes Calvin Klein Collection with a multi-textural caramel look, Michael Kors‘ lemon yellow duds, Elie Saab‘s cobalt crush, Salvatore Ferragamo using neutral beige, Christopher Kane‘s all-white ensemble, Bottega Veneta‘s brick menswear-inspiration, & BCBG Max Azria‘s flowing black separates.

Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Elie Saab, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christopher Kane, Bottega Veneta, & BCBG Max Azria.

Taking a cue from the runways, there have been plenty of color-on-color red carpet apperances. Celebrities who’ve donned monochromatic looks include Michelle Williams who attended the New York Times Arts & Leisure Weekend event in head-to-toe black with a belted mini, tights, & suede booties. Fashion icon Alexa Chung breaks up her nearly-monochromatic look in an oxblood turtleneck by Versus & leather zip-up mini with lasercut flats. Country songstress Taylor Swift went for a more mature look in a custom-made all-white suit by J. Mendel at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Victoria Beckham looks nothing short of amazing in her nude sheath dress design with Brian Atwood pumps. Lastly, back in 2009, Penelope Cruz dazzles in a three-piece scarlett suit by Bottega Veneta at the London premiere of Broken Embraces with two-tone strappy sandals.

Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, & Penelope Cruz.

Now that we’ve seen what’s going on inside the pages of our favorite magazines & who’s wearing what on the runways, I wanted to show how anyone can wear a monochromatic look without breaking your budget. What’s great about finding identical tones is the crisp & clean look that it creates & that’s where you can have fun with accessorizing with a sparkling scarf, baubled cocktail rings, bib necklaces, embossed handbags, & so on. In these looks, I have included at least one accessory, but it’s simply a suggestion & option to really bring the look together & in most cases (except for the teal look) still fits within budget.

First, I’ve been thinking about coral, ever since a post from The $100 Challenge where I featured a coral dress for the holidays, but I just love the softness of the color, which is perfect for any skintone. It instantly adds some natural rosiness to your cheeks & always looks feminine. The studded Peter Pan collar shirt ($22.80) from Forever 21 already has some built-in detail with the gold that helps frame your face. This matches perfectly with Target‘s Mossimo ankle pant ($27.99) & the sueded uber platform pumps ($12.50) from Charlotte Russe, which have just been reduced from their original $32.50 price. Lastly, I fell in love with the art deco-inspired spike triangle earrings ($8.77) from ASOS, which add a rose gold luxury to such a relaxed, yet sophisticated outfit. Also, if you want to break up these pieces to create a trendy or unexpected look, mix things up with dark denim skinnies, cap toe ballet flats, a silk boyfriend blazer, or metallic belt.

I’ve also been seeing a neon opportunity for your wardrobe for quite some time now. Of course, this color is to be worn confidently & with caution. We all want to look so good we stop traffic, but this look with highlighter yellow or electric lime tones could almost guarantee such a result. It all started with the a.n.a. perfect skinny corduroy pants ($17.00) from JC Penney that I spotted sometime before the holidays, but now they’re marked down & I’m excited to see how these might be worn for the rest of the winter & into spring. I paired these with the boatneck banded bottom tee ($29.90) from Express & Forever 21‘s faux suede pumps ($29.80). While any gold, white lacquered, or lucite jewelry will enhance this look, Alloy‘s Zahara neon necklace ($19.90) was just irresistible, thanks to a search on ShopStyle for matching accessories. Also, for more ideas on how to wear these pieces, consider other neutrals like charcoal, black, & navy, as well as classic patterns like polka dots, houndstooth, & plaid.

Coral, Neon, Teal, & Fuchsia.

I found myself a little troubled when looking for coordinating pieces for my teal ensemble- ones that wouldn’t make me go over budget, but… I did. Sometimes that happens when you find absolutely must-have pieces. I just adore this color (on me!) & think it’s a bold way to reinterpret greens & blues since it falls so beautifully in the middle. While checking out the newest arrivals @New York & Company, I found the satiny pleated from belted blouse ($29.95), which instantly made me think to find a skirt. Then the Grace Elements teal skirt with yoke ($24.99) from Loehmann’s was a perfect fit, especially if you’re trying to refresh your work wardrobe. For an extra fun touch, @Steve Madden, the Intrude pumps ($34.99) are just what this look needed to add some texture & despite the myth of material, these can be worn any time of the year. Finally, the Croft & Barrow jet bead hoop drop earrings ($12.00) from Kohl’s put the look just a bit over $100, but you can always keep this affordable by wearing favorites that you may already own like diamond stud earrings or something in silver.

My final look goes out to my plus-size Style Darlings because I think a berry tone is perfect for any shape & any woman. I shopped Wet Seal‘s plus section to find the 3/4 sleeve belted blouse ($18.99) on sale, which comes with a detachable belt, perfect for wearing over a cardigan or jersey dress to help enhance your curves. To keep this look balanced & figure-flattering, the roz & ALI stretch colored jeggings ($19.99) from Dress Barn helped complete the bottom half, especially since they’re available in sizes 14-24. I found the Rocket Dog Monica flat ($24.94) @DSW, which would also help dress down a shirt dress, work if paired with a denim skirt & sweater, or contrast a ruffled blouse & dolman top. My final piece to this looks is the neon metallic teardrop earring ($5.80) from Forever 21, which would sparkle for a date night in an LBD or look cute with a mod shift dress.

Do you wear a monochromatic look? Which colors are you most drawn to? Do you prefer matchy-matchy pieces or like to contrast with colorblocking? For more from Basics For A Bargain, check out posts including outerwear inspired by Kate Middleton & Gwen Stefani, pointy toe heels as seen on Mandy Moore & Miranda Kerr, & how to copy separates looks like Kate Hudon & Kristen Stewart! Also, for more affordable looks under $100, check out a sleek black & silver cocktail look, building with black textured accessories, & how to wear a leopard wrap dress! Lastly, be sure to click on over to Color Me Style for the latest trends in yellow with some help from Emmy Rossum & Kim Kardashian, all-black looks like Jennifer Lawrence & Kate Moss, & black & white ensembles like Jessica Alba & Julianne Hough! Happy Styling!