Like most people I have a keen appreciation for designer luxe items whether it’s amazing clothing in my favorite magazines, stunning photos in personal style blogs or the trendy moms at the local mall. But more than anything I try to find inspiration from the finer things in life. I love scouring flea markets, Goodwill stores, clearance racks – anywhere that will allow me to get the luxe for less and I’m all over it! For the most part it’s focused around my love of fashion but it really applies to anything or anyone I may be shopping for in my life. The thrill of finding something for way less than it was originally priced is simply unmatched. But finding pieces for less can easily open us up to impulse shopping so over the years I’ve come up with a few rules of shopping that I swear by:
Don’t be afraid of the junior department. These are the stores and departments that WILL carry those trendy items seen all over magazines for way less, leaving you more money for those important investment pieces.
Find out what days they do mark downs and get there early. I take about five days out of the month (sometimes even more lol) to hit up the stores for new items and shop the mark downs. Some stores will even honor the sale if you happen to buy within a few days of the mark down.
Consider swapping with friends and family. What’s old to you maybe something your friend or cousin might have been dying to wear and vice versa.
Consider some easy DIY projects. Lots and lots of designer pieces are detail focused and can easily be recreated.
Know when to invest. I know this one may be a bit counterintuitive but I do know and appreciate that there will be items that need to be investment pieces. The criteria for me is that investment pieces have to fluidly go with just about everything in my closet and need to be easily dressed up or down. So invest in a good bag and classic must-have items like a leather jacket, trench or a good pair of boots or heels. These items will be worn year after year and never go out of style so they’re worth saving up for.
Below are some of my favorite outfits that I bought following these rules.
1. This purple dress was only $5 and I’ve been able to wear it so many different ways. 2. This outfit is a perfect example of mixing some high low pieces. The DVF heels go with a ton of different outfits and I knew I could wear them year after year. The beige wrap dress is a no brainer and only cost me $25 and I’ve had this denim jacket for years and wear it ALL the time. Same goes with the clutch. 3. I built this outfit around my favorite $6 chambray top and the entire look was under $50 including the shoes.
Hope you found these shopping tips useful
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Just like with all my jewellery I’m very picky about the watch I wear. It simply has to match with my outfit, so if I get a new outfit, I often have to buy a new watch to match. So I’ve probably got more experience in buying watches than most. I’ve almost got it down to a fine art; there’s a few things I do before buying.
Firstly, I’ll always look at one of those general online stores to look for inspiration and ask myself a few questions to figure out the type of watch I want. What type of watch will go with my outfit? Would a digital or analogue watch match best? Do I want a watch with a circular face or one with a square face? Do I want one with a leather strap or a metal strap? Once I have figured out what I want then I can really start looking.
I go through the site of every brand I can think of and look for the type of watch I want, as often online department stores do not have the full range. I often try Guess ladies watches as a first port of call. I try to narrow my search down to four or five to try on. I never buy a watch without trying it on first – sometimes the ones I think look best in the picture just look awful on me. If I can find a shop where they have everything I want to try on I find it is best to go there. Then I can try them on in succession and really compare them to each other to see which one you I like the best. I know if I went to five different shops to try on five different watches then by the time I get to the last one I’ll have completely forgotten what the first one looked like.
But once you have decided on the one, I never buy it there and then. There may be a better deal out there. I go back home and do some more internet research, and this time I look for the specific watch I want, to find the cheapest deal. I it is the same price everywhere, I always buy it from either the shop or the site of the brand. You can often get a better warranty if you buy it from the brand’s shop and they are generally more helpful if something goes wrong.
I think the last watch I bought was a Hublot Big Bang Aero, and it really was worth spending the time to get it right. I absolutely love it (and it really goes with my outfit hehe).
Replica watches many not always be as good as they seem when you first look at them online. There are many things that can go wrong with a knockoff if you don’t know where to get it from or what to look for. The store and the warranty are very important when buying a new imitation watch and it is usually a sign of the quality you are getting. Despite the fact that fake watches are much cheaper then the originals, they shouldn’t only be good for a month or two. The hundreds of dollars spent on a copy should at least offer some lasting quality; otherwise it is not worth getting one.
No matter if is made of steel or has gold platting, every watch will show deterioration in time but the period it takes for it to turn into a bad looking timepiece is very important. Wearing a fake watch everyday for two months should not result in it becoming faded and ugly and if this may happen, it should be covered by the warranty agreement. Always read it carefully so that you know what to expect. Usually, a store that guarantees their products for a long period of time is confident that they are good enough to last at least that long. Those that only offer a 30 day warranty and the state of the watch is examined by them are something to avoid.
Of course, the aspect of the replica watch is not the only thing you need to worry about and the movement can sometimes be quite troublesome. If you notice anything wrong with it as soon as you get it, be sure to contact the store and get your money back or another model. It usually takes some time for the movement to break down so anything which is less than perfect from the start is not good.
In conclusion, the store should offer a long warranty period for fake watches because there are plenty of products out there that can create a bad image. Replica watches can be a great investment if they look and work properly.
There’s a great choice of plus size evening dresses out there, but finding ‘The One’ takes time and careful consideration over what suits your body type. As party season rolls back around take the guess work out of dress shopping and check at our guide to dressing to suit your shape.
If you, like Kate Winslet and Jennifer Lopez, are biggest around the bottom and thighs, then your body shape is classified as a pear. Proudly display your slimmer upper half in a dress with a fitted top, whilst keeping the waist down a mystery. An embellished bodice or low neckline will draw attention up and away from the hips, whilst an a-line skirt will skim over your widest part and balance your proportions. Avoid tight and stretchy materials as these can make you look bigger than you are, and dresses which flounce at the bottom will add volume where it’s not needed.
Lucky hourglass ladies boast the most envied body shape. Out at the chest, in at the waist, and then out again at the hips, you join fellow hourglasses Nigella Lawson and Scarlett Johansson. Dresses were made to show off your womanly curves so there is little that you won’t suit, but to make the most of your figure, opt for a fit and flare dress that cinches at the waist and flutters outwards at the hips. A busy upper half will throw your body off balance, whilst skirts that cling too tightly can make you look bottom heavy.
V shaped or ‘strawberry’ figures are broader up top than at the hips, creating an inverted triangle shape. If this sounds like you, you’re in good company; strawberry shaped celebrities include Jennifer Saunders and Catherine Zeta Jones. The aim of your evening dress should be to add width and volume around the hips, creating a more balanced look. Dress with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt will flatter and create proportion, whilst a dress with one strap will help to narrow your broad shoulders. Off the shoulder straps will have to opposite effect so avoid these, as well as sleeves with frills or puffs.
Straight up and down? You have a classic rectangle shape, just like Cameron Diaz and Fern Britton and you should look for evening dresses that add definition and curve. Starting from the top, a halterneck or slash neck will look great on you, as will an embellished bodice that can help to break up your linearity. Any skirt style will suit your long, lean legs so feel free to add drama with a floor sweeping gown or go glamorous in a seductively short number. Dropped waists and dresses with no shape will emphasise your boyish frame so these are best avoided.
It’s a common sight in many stores this time of year: a confused man sulking about the jewelry counter looking alternately terrified and hopeful. Shopping for jewelry can be intimidating for anyone, but especially for men who have no idea what they are looking for. Check out some basic tips to shop smarter for the gift that will make her holiday season merry and bright…
Pay Attention to What She Needs
Just like with electronics or tools, smart shopping for the right piece of jewelry starts with research. A few weeks before going to the store, gather clues by paying attention to what the lady in your life wears.
- Does she typically wear silver or gold? Look for pieces that match the metal she wears most often.
- Does she always wear a watch? If so, a bracelet may be less desirable than earrings or a necklace.
- Is her current jewelry small and understated, or large and sparkling? A large cocktail ring isn’t a good present for someone who only wears pearl studs, and a small pendant won’t be exciting to someone who wears statement pieces.
- And finally, avoid the rookie mistake of purchasing post earrings for someone who doesn’t have her ears pierced!
Differences between Precious Metals
The three most common metals used in fine jewelry are sterling silver, gold (and white gold) and platinum. Sterling silver is the least expensive of the three and is also the least durable. It is a beautiful metal, but can scratch and tarnish easily. Sterling is a better option for earrings and necklaces than rings for this reason.
Gold is more durable, and also more expensive. Yellow gold is perhaps the most classic precious metal for fine jewelry. White gold is actually yellow gold plated with rhodium, which means if the piece is worn daily it may need to be re-plated occasionally to maintain its luster. White gold is an excellent choice for a gift of fine jewelry for a woman who wants a durable piece but prefers the color silver to gold.
Platinum is usually the most expensive of these precious metals. It is also the most durable and requires the least amount of maintenance (making it a popular choice for wedding rings). Platinum is also very “pure,” meaning it is usually 95 percent platinum, with only five percent of the composition made up of other metals. This makes it very hypoallergenic and an ideal choice for someone with sensitive skin.
There are essentially two options for acquiring the gift once you decide what to look for: shopping in person or online. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Shopping in person allows you to see how a piece sparkles or changes color in the light. You can also get a better sense of scale to avoid the surprise of a piece being much bigger or smaller than it appears in a picture. However, shopping anywhere during the holiday season can be an ordeal with crowds, traffic and pushy salespeople steering you towards more expensive items.
Online jewelry shopping provides a huge selection of choices. It is also convenient if you have a particular stone or style in mind, as you can simply search for “sapphire ring” or “gold circle pendant” and find hundreds of options at your fingertips. Respected online jewelry sites will have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and offer free shipping on returns. Shopping online can have disadvantages however, for someone who is very unfamiliar with jewelry as there is not a salesperson on hand to provide suggestions and information.
Consider all of these points before braving the jewelry counter or making a hasty online purchase. Armed with research and knowledge, you can be more confident about choosing a gift that will make her grin!
-Philip J Reed, on behalf of Aston Royal
Stylist Melting Pot
Edited by Clutch 22
This week’s edition of Links a la Mode includes a variety of style tips, collectively helping us all achieve wardrobe domination. Dirty Laundry gets creative with monochromatic colors, we have a juicy American Apparel shopping tip from The Coveted, Capitola Girl introduces us to new wooden accessories for summer and Vulgar Moon even shows us how to look good in sweatpants. Be sure to check out all the links and feel free to let us know which posts are your favorites!
Links à la Mode : May 28th
- A Typical Atypical: How to wear the fashion of the eclectic makeup style of the the Dresden Dolls
- Agent Dreamer: An interview with Izzy of The Dandy Project
- Capitola Girl: Modern wood designs for summer accessories
- Decline Designs: Defining your personal style, part two – the essentials
- Dirty Laundry: Monochromatic style exploration
- Fashion Grail: A few modifications for one of Sienna Miller’s go-to looks
- Fashion Matchmaker: Fashion at the Cannes Film Festival
- Felicia Sullivan: Score ten amazing summer pieces for under $100
- Pop Your Fashion Pill: 4 DIY necklaces in 30 minutes using safety pins: No scissors, pliers or hooked used!
- Retro Chick: Showcasing Kristinit for this month’s Ethical Design Spotlight
- Style Symmetry: Eyeliah celebrates her 1,000th post with a snazzy reader giveaway
- The Coveted: Who Knew? Over 50% off American Apparel deals on Amazon
- The Demoiselles: Translating boyception – how they perceive our style
- Unfunded: The many ways to play with ShopStyle ranging from shopping to blog content
- Vulgar Moon: How to enjoy the comfort of sweatpants while still looking good
- Style on the street: My outfit and a style advice for the next Fall-Winter
- Yes Please Mademoiselle: Introducing french label ‘The Kooples’.
- Felicia Sullivan: Score ten amazing summer pieces for under $100
- Super Kawaii Mama: Creating an Everyday Glamour Girl Makeup Look – a video tutorial.
- Fun, Flat Broke and Fabulous : 7 Questions to ask yourself before you buy.
- Independent Fashion Bloggers: Essential WordPress Plugins for Fashion Bloggers