Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Less is More: Part 2

Know Where to Put Your Money

This is where your creativity comes in. A frugal fashionista has a mix of differently priced items in her closet. While this woman can find almost everything on sale, she also has a small collection of designer pieces that are on heavy rotation year-round. In her book Savvy Chic, Anna Johnson put it this way:

My wardrobe is about ninety-percent vintage and select (ethical trade) el cheapo glamour, and a precious handful of items that are the real thing. Basically I fake everything except the handbag, the coat, and the shades.

I spend the most on my purse. A well-made purse can be worn with every outfit, it adds instant class, and if I take care of my bag it will last many years.

I spend the least on non-purse accessories and shirts. I can find a cute shirt from anywhere between 30 cents to five dollars using coupons at thrift stores and shopping the clearance sections. When I'm bored with my clothes I will look for a new accessory or shirt because I don't have to spend very much. Since I already own nice basic pieces and shoes, it is inexpenive for me to update my closet with a new scarf or pretty tank top. You will be able to develop your own budget-strategy as time goes by based on your style.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Outfit #3

I love dresses.
It's so easy to put one on, and if you find a classic dress that fits well, you'll probably find yourself wearing it everywhere. At least, I hope you will! I found this one at a secondhand store for nine dollars.

Don't dismiss the feminine joy of wearing a beautiful dress; make a change from stuffing yourself into jeans every day. If you hate dresses, try wearing dress pants or skirts.

My purse and my cardigan are opposite colors: my purse is yellow and my cardigan is purple (if you can tell from the picture). Opposite colors add visual interest because they draw attention to each other.

Yellow is the opposite of Purple

Blue is the opposite of Orange

Red is the opposite of Green                                        

~ Rachel

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Less is More

Don't buy or wear anything if you don't love it.

Life is short, so don't wear boring outfits. Avoid mediocrity; wait until you find perfection. A stylish man or woman has patience. This individual only goes shopping if they need to, and if they don't find something special they simply leave the store. In other words, a stylish person has editing skills and "any old thing" will not do. This person will research before they shop, knowing what can be bought for less and what shouldn't be faked. The same beautiful pieces are worn over and over again, but the effect is never boring. This person has less clothes in their closet, but they possess far greater style.

Our culture's idea of style is backwards. If you imagine yourself being enviously fashionable, what do you picture in your mind?

Clothing drenched in expensive designer labels?

A walk-in closet filled to the brim?

Walking around a mall with ten shopping bags on each arm?

If you can afford this lifestyle there is nothing wrong with these luxuries, but the truth is you can look just as fabulous and create your own sense of style on much less. I'm on a treasure hunt when I browse secondhand stores and clearance sections; there is so much fun to be had when looking for inexpensive outfits. You won't be a fashion victim, and you will learn to develop a look that points to your unique personality and creativity.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Carmel Outfit #2

Following my personal challenge of finding a new Carmel-worthy outfit every week, I came up with this comfortable ensemble. I love cross-body purses because they make it easier to walk along the beach or carry a hot-chocolate from my favorite bakery.

Most expensive items:
Coach purse- gift
$40 blue leather heels- Easy Spirit Outlet

In-between items:
$20 high-waist jeans- Banana Republic Outlet
$15 scarf- Target

Least expensive items:
$6 sunglasses- Forever 21
$3 white shirt- Savers

This pattern of spending the most on a purse and shoes is the system that works best for me. I wear my purses and shoes very often so it makes sense for me to spend a little more and own good quality brands. Everything else I can find at heavily discounted prices. I don't usually spend anywhere near fifteen dollars on one non-purse accessory, but I loved the scarf and I knew I would wear it often. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wear A Scarf

Scarves are not just for winter. 

If you need to add a little pizzazz to your mediocre outfit, a scarf will do the trick every time. There is something especially stylish about a man or woman who knows how to wear a scarf. The right kind will draw attention to your face and compliment your coloring at the same time. If you try one on in a store and think to yourself:
"Well, I guess it looks cute,"
don't buy it.
Wait until you find an extraordinary one.

Find two or three new ways to wear a scarf. I've seen blogs titled 50 ways to wear a scarf, but I don't end up liking many of the styles displayed. Who has the gumption or the desire to wear a scarf as a tube top?! However, these blogs are great places to find inspiration.

I've been meaning to find a square piece of fabric to fold over and transform into a headband or a short triangular scarf. Perhaps you'll see a blog about it when I find one!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Location Inspiration

What is location inspiration? 
Location inspiration is a theory I have about style. I think we all have a location in mind when we think about the ideal outfit, be it the coffee shop in Paris, the beach in Miami, the flowery countryside, or the artsy farmer's market on the other side of town. The architecture, people, and moods of certain places can heavily influence the way we dress.

What does your location inspiration say about you? Does it say "The Streets of New York" or does it say "The Gym"?

One of my favorite places to dress for is Carmel-by-the-Sea. The fun part about this place? You can pretend you are snobby and rich, cool and artsy, or you can pretend you are a frumpy tourist fresh off the beach. Pretending to be a tourist gets old fast, so every week I like to make a game of seeing how many nice outfits I can make that are "Carmel-Worthy." This is a great exercise because it forces me to be creative with what I already have, and often I will find a new way to wear something, which is the ultimate way to save money. My best outfits include my classic pieces paired with both cheap and "expensive" accessories. The expensive-looking accessories make the rest of my outfit look put-together, and in this outfit I can get away with five-dollar sunglasses and chunky plastic jewelry.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Organize Your Purse

Does it seem like you spend half your life rummaging through a cluttered purse? I became tired of wasting time looking for car keys and lip-gloss. Here's how to organize your purse:

Step 1: 
Dump everything out of your purse. Throw away old gum wrappers, napkins, binder papers, and clean your wallet of old receipts and empty gift-cards. Make a pile of things you need in your purse: keys, wallet, pens, beauty items, etc. 

Step 2: 
Organize your small beauty items by placing them in a pretty zippered bag. I like looking at the beauty collections on Sephora's website that come in cute little bags, but I wouldn't end up needing half the items in those collections. A cheap and efficient solution? Make your own beauty-bag! Be sure to pick a zippered pouch that is pretty because you will feel happy every time you open up your purse.  

I tend to be low maintenance when it comes to make-up, so most days I only have my two-favorite lipsticks and a lip-gloss in my bag. My other beauty-bag essentials include: a small comb, tweezers, small scissors for bang-trimming "aha!" moments, Advil, gum, frizzy-hair conditioner sample, a small mirror, and an on-the-go concealer stick for those surprise acne emergencies. It might not be a bad idea to include a Swiss-army-knife. A sewing kit is also a smart addition when a button pops off your favorite shirt. 

My purse only needs one extra bag to contain the clutter, but if you have a lot of items to carry you might need two or three different bags to organize your things. Perhaps you could use a bigger pouch to hold your cell-phone, keys, wallet, and snacks (so you don't ruin the lining of your bag with crumbs), and another pouch to hold your pens, pencils, and miscellaneous necessities. 

Step 3: 
To keep your bag well-organized and clean, look through it every night to throw away unneeded tissues and to reorganize your necessities if necessary. It only takes a few seconds and you will save time later by doing so.

Now that is beautiful!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Turn a Vintage Handkerchief Into a Lavender Sachet

I found a beautiful vintage lace handkerchief in one of my old purses, but it had a small stain on it so I decided to be creative. I cut off the ruined part and turned it into a lavender sachet to put in my clothing drawer. To make one you will need a handkerchief, scissors, thread, a needle, pins, and dried lavender (also cute ribbon, buttons, or beads if you want to decorate it).

I cut off the square corners of lace to make a cross shape, and then cut off two sides to make a rectangle that could be folded over to make the sachet.

(I managed to cut off the stained part of the lace in the second step!) I moved the smaller pieces of lace to the side, and then folded the large rectangle of fabric in half so the two sides of lace were touching each other. If you wanted to decorate, embroider or sew things to the fabric now would be the best time before you make the bag. 

I sewed two sides, the left and the right, to make a little bag. Make sure your stitches are small so the lavender does not fall through. Use pins if you need to. I did not have to sew the bottom because the fabric was folded over, and I did not sew the lace together at the top because I needed to leave an opening for the lavender.

I then turned the bag inside out and used a thick embroidery thread to sew a drawstring around the top of the bag just underneath the lace. You can use larger stitches for this part. The plan is to pull the drawstring closed after you put the lavender inside to make a little sachet.

I became very involved in this project and forgot to decorate the fabric before I turned it into the bag, so I added my decorations afterwards. It was a little trickier but I didn't have too much trouble. I sewed two of the lace corners I had cut off earlier to each side of the bag. You can use white thread if you don't want your stitches to show. I personally enjoyed the coral embroidery thread with the lace.

When you are ready, put the dried lavender into the bag. I used a spoon to shovel it in.

I pulled the drawstring tight, knotted it, cut off the extra thread, tied a sweet ribbon around the top, and sewed on a cute little button to finish off the bow. Place in a clothing drawer or give the lavender sachet as a gift.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Personalized Cork-Board

Cork-boards are flexible art frames. I appreciate how easy it is to pin my favorite post-cards, quotes and accessories onto my board without leaving holes behind in the stucco. You might already have one of these boards in your house (covered in random telephone numbers and old notes) that is just waiting to be transformed. If you want to turn a cork-board into a personalized work of art there are some guidelines to consider.

1. Find a cork-board with a black or white border. Have you noticed how a painting often looks more beautiful in a frame? The same concept works with a bordered cork-board. The board will look more "dressed up" and the items you choose to pin to the board will have more importance. 

2. Only pin things onto the board that make you happy. It can be anything you want. A few of my favorite choices are a pair of vintage lace gloves, a big velvet bow, and a vibrant blue and white polka-dotted business card that caught my eye in a boutique located in Carmel-by-the-Sea (I couldn't afford anything else in the store!). I even saved my last leopard-print "thank-you" card to put on the board because I loved the pattern so much.

3. Find some cute pins to compliment the theme you are going for. I have black and white pins to match everything.

4. Never, ever pin work-related telephone numbers, frantic reminders, and old addresses of the one person you meant to write a letter to but never really had time. That's what your planner and address book are for. Your new cork-board is a work of art that is there to inspire you and make you smile. 

5. Don't cram too many things onto the board, leave some space so you can appreciate each object.