The Stylish Five: Major Deals On Maxi Dresses ($25 & Under)!


While preparing for my long-awaited summer vacation, I’ve been scoping out dresses since they’re just so easy to wear & coordinate with all of my favorite summer shoes. However, I know that maxi dresses are a big part of summer fashion & I wasn’t always a big fan of them on me- worried about the length since I’m on the shorter side & concerned with extra volume where I certainly don’t need it.

The shopping fairies have been on my side lately since I recently picked up 2 stylish maxi dresses, which inspired me to surf for some more suggestions online.  This includes the Speechless animal maxi dress ($23.99) from Kohl’s, which brings out the wild side of any Style Darling, especially when paired with metallic gladiator sandals or patent leather platforms. Next, the tie-back knit maxi dress ($24.99) from Charlotte Russe is perfect for paying homage to a Grecian-inspired look, as well as showing off your taste in accessories with a studded belt, stacked bangles, or glittery dangling earrings. I love the simplicity behind the Mossimo Supply Co. drawstring waist maxi dress ($24.99) from Target, as well as the summer-friendly hue, which will match with any nautical-inspired pieces like a canvas tote or boat shoes.

For my plus-size readers, I was so excited to find the garden goddess floral maxi dress ($24.80) from Forever 21, which makes a colorful & stylish statement with nude sandals & a patent clutch for a date night by the water. Lastly, I’m always a fan of classic black & white prints, especially the Love, Fire chevron stripe printed side slit tube dress ($19.99) @Loehmann’s, which will stand out in the crowd when coordinated with cork wedges, a beaded necklace, or studded envelope clutch.

Which maxi dress is more your style? Where are you shopping for maxi dresses this summer? For more posts on affordable fashion, check out cap toe pumps from Payless, my latest bargain purchase of summer dresses, Taylor Swift’s leggy look in London, & little white dresses inspired by Angelina Jolie & Kerry Washington! Happy Styling!

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Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: Pick Out Polka Dots For Spring!


In keeping an eye on the latest spring trends, with all the florals, stripes, neons, & pastels in fashion, I’ve been seeing a consistency presence of polka dots in all items from clothing to accessories. I’m a big fan of polka dots for their classic appeal to any age. I even wore polka dot tights with a polka dot dress & polka dot scarf to work this week. Although it seemed a little overkill, I removed the scarf once I entered the building. Since recently starting a second job, I’m surrounded by plenty of feminine details, including  modern cuts on dresses, flouncy fabrics for accessories, & bold color combinations on separates.

I wanted to select some of the best pieces that are both fashionable & affordable for your spring wardrobe. This includes the polka dot faux wrap dress ($40.00) in orange from Dress Barn, as well as the polka dot sandal wedge ($29.80) from Forever 21 & GOjane‘s pointy toe polka dot pumps ($26.95). Other stylish accessories include the striped polka dot lightweight scarf ($9.99) from Charlotte Russe & the Lulu by Lulu Guinness ring leader bow clutch ($35.00) from JC Penney.

I’d like to also suggest timeless pieces to wear with basics like dark denim jeans, a black pencil skirt, a crisp button down shirt, or a bright, ruffled tank. You can wear the Dr Denim snap high waist skinny jeans ($49.88) from ASOS with any number of toppers like a leather jacket, boyfriend blazer, or embellished cardigan. The Express polka dot peplum tank ($29.90) in gray is also available in a nautical-inspired blue / red combo for a dressy casual look with skinny jeans or a denim mini skirt.

Also, try the Rampage polka dot mesh peplum top ($26.99) from Loehmann’s with edgier bottoms like liquid leggings, a leather pencil skirt, or cropped metallic pants. Another option for a more polished look is the Elementz a-line skirt ($17.99) from Macy’s with a scoop neck tank or three-quarter sleeve pullover. To wear polka dots casually, there’s also New York & Company‘s Spring Street polka dot poplin shirt ($31.46) in blue & a more feminine option is available in pink to wear with a white skirt, linen pants, or lace shorts.

How do you like to wear polka dots? Do you prefer black & white polka dots or do you like to wear unexpected colors? For more on polka dots, check out a recent post in The $100 Challenge, various price points for polka dots stockings, & lastly, spring-ready polka dot pants! 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!

9/26/2012 Darling Of The Day: Olivia Palermo- Casual Chic Is Layered With Luxury!


It’s been hard for me to decide which celeb look to feature, but I’ve been loving everything that I’ve seen reality star Olivia Palermo wearing, which is why I featured her twice in the last post for Top 10 Celeb Sightings, where she rocked some Burberry duds & an ethereal Valentino gown. However, when I spotted her latest layered look while shopping & hitting the streets, I knew that this spin on classic style would be perfect to share with readers. Naturally, I’m recreating this look for both women’s & plus sizes to enjoy, doing my best to find complimentary pieces since it’s such a versatile & anytime ensemble.

So to start, look to the left & you’ll find the pieces to create a curvy reimagining of this street chic outfit.  First, I headed to Forever 21, which helped me I find the plus size sequined yoke contrast top ($22.80). I loved the resembling details with the purple & black contrast in Olivia’s top, giving a blousy feel, as opposed to a heavy knit sweater.  Also, the rockstar jeggings ($28.00) in medium wash from Old Navy helped to complete the bottom half, especially when on a budget & they’re available in sizes 16-30.  However, it was hard to find a two-tone leather jacket with multiple textures, but pieces like leather should be an investment, one that will last for many years, thus paying you back, which is why I’m happy to share the DKNYC leather & ponte motorcycle jacket ($189.00) from Zappos.  This is a classic cut, adding an edgy feel to any feminine look.  Of course accessories can be found virtually anywhere, but I added New York & Company‘s ribbon bib necklace ($24.95), which is currently on sale for Buy One, Get One FREE.  In addition the square sunglasses ($3.80) from Forever 21, Kelsey Dagger ‘Charley’ pump ($59.95) available @DSW, & Jennifer Lopez gold-tone hammered button stud earrings ($12.00) from Kohl’s are the perfect finishing touches, playing off the different textures.

Now, for the look on the right, I like the refreshing hue of the August Silk round neck pullover ($24.99) from Loehmann’s, especially since it can be mixed with other office-friendly pieces like a pencil skirt or be worn with a sequin mini for a date.  Also, @Forever 21, I found the hooded moto jacket ($24.80) & braided collar necklace ($12.80), which only enhance the casualness of the whisker wash skinny jeans ($41.40) from GOjane.  Normally, I don’t recommend a light wash jean, but these pieces really add a modern feel to an 80’s-90’s looking wash.  Lastly, I added the posh Mossimo gradient smoked lens sunglasses ($16.99) from Target, must-have Charlotte Russe pointed toe gold pumps ($32.50), & Dana Buchman gold-tone texture button stud earrings ($14.00) from Kohl’s.

Which pieces are your favorite in recreating this look? Where would you wear this? Do you like Olivia’s choice of accessories? For more posts from Darling of the Day, be sure to check out Olivia Munn’s KMart dress, colored jeans worn by Kate Middleton & Christina Hendricks, & LBDs copied from Anne Hathaway’s press appearances! Happy Styling!