Stories for: Cheap & Chic

Accessories, Cheap & Chic, ShoesAldo Discovery

I had never really heard of Aldo Shoes until I moved to New York where there is seemingly an Aldo on every corner. Not too long ago, I wandered into one of their stores in Soho on a complete whim. Not looking for anything in particular, I browsed through the racks and ended up falling in love with at least four pairs of summer sandals. Isn’t it funny that when you aren’t looking, you find so many appealing buys?

My college budget kept me from snatching up any shoes at that moment (as I had just filled my shopping quota for the month) but I made a mental note of the pairs I liked most. Now, a few weeks later, I am ready to head back to Aldo to make my purchase. After careful thought and deliberation, I have decided to go with the Landero Sandal in black. A step above your average flip flop, these adorable black flats hit on many of this seasons trends without being too over the top or loud. This sandal is a more minimalist version of the gladiator faze and the hip patent leather finish adds a chic touch. I love the slim sole design that makes walking the streets in style a cinch. The sandals come in both a traditional black and fun summer purple. A major selling point of the Landeros is their versatility. These shoes could be dressed down with denim shorts and a solid tank for a casual park day, or be worn with a summer dress and fun jewelry for a more sophisticated evening look. The best part, though, is the price. For only $40, your feet will look phenomenal and your wallet will still have money left over for what else but shopping!

Accessories, Cheap & Chic, Eco & OrganicFlip, Tumble, and Reuse

Last year, we wrote about flip & tumble, a line of cute and convenient reusable bags. We loved how you could simply roll the “24-7″ bag into a small ball, tuck them in your bag, and not have to forget them at home when you actually need them! You can do a small part to help reduce waste while toting a cute bag, so it’s win-win.

Well, flip & tumble just got even better, because they’ve actually lowered the price of a 24/7 bag from $12 to just $9! And the more you buy, the more you save. They’ve also expanded the color choices so that the bag is now available in 10 vibrant colors. I picked one up in Superpink, a bright pink shade, and I’m obsessed! The new color combinations also include sky blue straps, and for slightly more, you can also buy ones with pretty prints.

The 24-7 bags are available online at flipandtumble.com — let us know your fave color!

Cheap & Chic, FashionJust SWELL

A thrifty secret of mine?  I often turn to surf-inspired clothing lines in the summer to find affordable and stylish pieces to add to my closet.  Surf inspired clothing lines such as Roxy, O’Neill, and Billabong always feature colorful, feminine, pieces in lightweight materials that carry you from the beach to town, or even while walking around the sweltering asphalt of NYC.

My favorite new site is Swell.com, which is an online retailer of many of the California surf lines mentioned above, including some lesser known brands such as RVCA, Exekiel and many others.  Browse the dress section of this website and you’ll find some fabulous of-the-minute finds for under $100 (the only dress I saw above $100, was the Modern Amusement Chambray dress), that can substitute as a gauzy bathing suit coverup or as a cute sundress, ranging in styles from maxi to mini to babydoll in a variety of summer brights and colorful prints.

My favorites of the site are above, which are O’Neill Mango Dress, a smocked bodice, flirty button down dark chambray strapless dress, and this Blue Plate Combo Dress, which is a prairie bohemian inspired maxi dress in solid navy and printed flower patterns of azure blue.  The  Billabong Silva Dress, my other favorite, is a long, black halter V neck dress with a low back.  I like the versatility of this dress and picture pairing it with some metallic sandals, and a gold snaking arm band or bangles to dress it up for night.   At $44, it’s the chicest, thriftiest, and most economical maxi dress I have seen all summer.

Visit Swell.com and search around to find someother adorable options to stay cool and fashionable this summer on a budget.

Accessories, Cheap & Chic, ShoesBunny Slipper Bliss

Do you remember that pair of animal slippers you had as a kid? I sure do. Mine were purple and furry and shed like crazy but I loved them nonetheless. I would put them on every night as I bounced around the house, killing the final few minutes before bed. They left a trail of purple fuzz behind me that I’m sure my mother just loved but she let me wear them anyway. At some point I guess I outgrew them and they went in the basement never to be seen again.

I hadn’t really thought about those hairy slippers until recently when I received a pair of classic bunny slippers. These timeless slippers brought me back to the simpler days of nightgowns, bedtime stories, and getting tucked in. However, the bunny slippers also brought me more comfort than I was used to. These overstuffed house shoes actually make it feel as if you are walking on a cloud and you cannot help but smile at the goofy bunny face staring straight ahead as you take each step. Come bedtime, I look forward to slipping on my bunny shoes and going through the nightly routine. As a bonus, the slippers actually look adorable with a mini nightgown. Who says you can’t be stylish and comfortable at the same time? Now as I bounce around my dorm, killing the final few minutes before bed, I get a few laughs (and pets) from my friends who swear they all want a pair of bunny slippers. It must be the child in all of us.

Just under $30, order at bunnyslippers.com.

Accessories, Cheap & Chic, Giveaways, JewelryFor Lisa, By Stella

I’ve raved about MadeByStella jewelry before, back when designer Stella Hwang was selling her lovely, gorgeous baubles on Etsy. Everything is handmade – yet remains affordable and well under $50 per piece. Stella recently expanded her site and now is presenting her jewelry off Etsy, on madebystella.com. The new site is super cute, easy to navigate, and my eyes were instantly drawn to the Lisa Necklace, pictured above. Named after the designer’s sister, it’s simple yet sophisticated, with a bit of an asymmetric edge. I love the long, layered chains and the versatility of the design. You can dress up or down and it’ll still complement your look and be pretty.

To celebrate Stella’s new website, we’ll be giving away the Lisa Necklace to one lucky reader! To enter, all you have to do is visit madebystella.com, browse around the collection, and let us know your favorite piece here as a comment. We’ll pick a winner at random in exactly a week. In the meantime, you can get 15% off any purchase there until 6/30/09 by entering the code daily15. Good luck and happy shopping!

Update: And the winner is… comment #11, Lola! Please check your email for more details and congrats! Thanks everyone for entering.

Cheap & Chic, FashionGathered Florals

Looking for some light airy tops for the summer season? Start with this gathered floral blouse by Gap. 

Done in 100% lightweight cotton, this blouse’s stellar feature is the lovely ring of decorative flowers around the collar.  It’s romantic and sweet!  To soften this look even more, it also has cap sleeves and a round neckline.  Wouldn’t this just look so fabulous with a pair of white jeans and a delicate necklace (like this Katharine Sise one)? You could also throw it over a bikini and shorts for a day at the beach.

Get yours at your local Gap store or at Gap.com.

Accessories, Cheap & ChicBelt Narrow

For a few months, I was searching for the perfect narrow (but not too narrow) belt in a cognac color with bronze or gold hardware. Last month, I finally bought one from Urban Outfitters and could not be more happy with my choice.  

The Narrow Belt, available in brown or black, is a one inch wide belt made of leather and has antique-finished bronze hardware.  I really love the simplicity of the belt, which makes it very versatile. Only a month in, I’ve already worn it with a slew of pieces from my closet.  It’s the perfect finishing touch to a slightly loose sundress, giving it instant shape and making me look more polished. I’ve also paired it with wide legged jeans and sandals.  

Best of all? It’s on sale for just under $20, so order now before they’re gone!

Cheap & Chic, FashionIn a Summer Daze

Summer is a season of outdoor parties, vacations to far away places, and poolside afternoons. Despite the agenda full of exciting activities, all too often, summer becomes an excuse to take a break from everything. Because of the feeling of freedom associated with summer, I often find myself shuddering at any form of responsibility, even dressing myself! I have literally spent an entire summer in swimsuits and flip-flops. Now as a New Yorker with real jobs to do, and people to see, I feel more inclined to look my best but I still want the effortless and casual look that summer should provide.

This season I have found the perfect dress to satisfy both my desire for low key dressing and my need to look cute. The American Apparel Drawstring Tank Dress, available in a wide variety of colors, from fun hues like deep pink, to classic black, cinches at the waist to show off your feminine charms, but billows out in all those less desirable places. Following the Greek inspired trends seen on the runway, this dress puts you in the fashion know. The Drawstring Tank Dress can be paired with gladiator sandals for a causal day look, or with pumps for a night out on the town. Chunky statement jewelry can also be added for a bold, yet easy, summer look. I recently tried on this dress in one of the million American Apparel stores in NYC and fell in love. The material is lightweight and really moves with you. The cut is flattering, and shows off those sun-kissed arms and legs. Because of the simple lines and form, the possibilities for amping up the dress with accessories are endless.

Summer should be a time to unwind. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to let everything go. Simple and easy summer style can be achieved. You can spend 10 minutes getting ready and still turn heads as you walk down those city streets. If only I could have figured this out a little sooner!

Accessories, Cheap & Chic, Fashion, Jewelry, Spas & SalonsCheap & Chic: May 2009

Cheap & Chic, FashionKindergarten Love

Do you still remember the first piece of clothing that you loved?  For me, its a toss up between two items.  One was a white, pinafore style dress that I adored in the second grade, with small yellow daisy print, a long white sash, and a lace-up ribbon back. I think this was during my Laura Ingalls obsessed days.  It was exactly the type of dress I imagined her traipsing about on the prairie, while getting into trouble.

The other, was a dark blue, elastic waist, A-line, corduroy skirt in a Liberty print (see, I was ahead of Topshop trends even in those days.)  I loved that skirt so much that I wore it for a week straight to my kindergarten class.

The MINKPINK “Dandelion Skirt” reminds me of that much beloved skirt from my kindergarten days, updated for adulthood, while still retaining those nostalgic elements of youthful charm. The same elastic waistband is now accessorized with a much cuter bow belt. The dark blue corduroy is also replaced with on-trend light blue chambray, and shortened to a cute, mid-thigh miniskirt length.   This is the perfect skirt for summer casual days, and would look laid-back cool, paired with some silver flat sandals (as shown in this picture) and a rolled sleeve white t-shirt.  At $63, you can also wear it to death an entire season, while still having some money left over to invest in some other key pieces.

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