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Fall On A Budget

At the beginning of October I shared my Fall 2012 Must Haves, which included eye-catching patterns & prints, faux leather, fun pants, tweed pieces, asymmetrical details, and the color de jour for Fall – Oxblood.

It’s easy to see pictures from the Fall 2012 collections and put together a mental list of all the things you want, and then give up in frustration because you can’t afford straight-from-the-runway pieces. But I’m here to tell you that we can very easily update your wardrobe for Fall without having to dip into your 401k. I promise!

I like to get one or two great new investment pieces each season – something like an updated but classic Little Black Dress, a chic new handbag, or a timeless trench – but I’ll also collect a handful of fun, on-trend pieces from less expensive stores that quickly update my looks for the season. There are great stores like Zara, ASOS, H&M, and TopShop were you can find trendy, well-made pieces each season for a steal. Read on for some of my personal suggestions & recommendations as well as a collection of great articles that’ll steer you in the right direction for all of your Fall 2012 needs.

I have to confess that some of my favorite places to shop are the Spanish retailers that I was first introduced to when I lived in Italy at the age of 21 – H&M, Mango, and Zara. The clothing is stylish and well-made, but doesn’t cost a fortune and the collections are updated frequently so there’s always something new in stores and online.
{Lace Trousers – $90 @ Zara, Blouse – $60 @ H&M & Contrast Panelled Dress – $30 @ Mango}
  • Where Do Editors Really Shop from Refinery 29 is just the sort of article that I love to read – Knowing where the most fashionable and stylish women in the fashion world shop is like being handed the keys to the kingdom! And wouldn’t you know it, along with the high-end designers that you’d expect them to mention, they also list great inexpensive shopping destinations like E-bay, Target, Zara, Amazon, Madewell, J.Crew, TopShop, JewelMint, ShoeMint, and even The Salvation Army. Great news, isn’t it?

Another lucky break for us fashion obsessed is that more and more high-end designers have been coming out with reasonably priced collections for retailer giants like Payless, Target, and Macys.

{Long-sleeve Shirt Dress in Red Geometric Print – $40 @ Kirna Zabete for Target, Long-Sleeve Satin Blazer – $60 (on sale) @ Nicole Richie for Impulse & Racquel Side Zip Bootine – $50 @ Christian Siriano for Payless}

  • Lucky Magazine’s 100 Cheap Fall Finds is a trove of fun Fall pieces from printed pants and embellished collars to chic dresses and leather trimmed jackets. In addition to featuring clothing from Luckymag.com, they included other retail websites like Romwe.com, Pixiemarket.com, Urban1972.com, Levis.com, and Ulta.com.
  • Two of the trends that I’m most excited for this Fall are printed pants and leather-trimmed pieces and luckily for all of us the fun website The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style featured fabulous recommendations for both trends –  Geometry Class & Just The Sleeves Please. So no matter what type of fashion you’re in the mood for this site has what you’re looking for!

The less expensive secondary lines created by designers and sold at department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macys, Nordstrom, and Kolh’s are great pieces to keep an eye out for.

{Left to Right: Marc by Marc Jacobs ‘Jac’ Denim Leggings – $140 @ Nordstrom, MICHAEL Michael Kors Sleeveless Cowl Neck Banded Bottom Dress – $45 (on sale) @ Bloomingdale’s, and LC Lauren Conrad Embellished Ruffle Tee – $40 @ Kohl’s}

  • Not quite sure how to approach stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, or Ross? Refinery 29 took it upon themselves to teach us how in their piece Discount Shopping – How To Shop At Marshalls where they had three different editors put together 6 cute looks under $50. Wow!
  • Waiting for stores to have announce a big sale is a great way to find the pieces you’re craving without paying full-price. Not sure just how to make this tactic work for you? Check out Sales Rack Skinny: The Subtle Statement’s Sale Shop Tactics for tips that’ll help you find just what you’re looking for in stores or even online.

Are you still in the mood for more tips, recommendations, and suggestions for updating your wardrobe, Fall dressing, and online shopping? Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Style For Hire and a series of informative posts all about online shopping.

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New York Fashion Week Fall 2012

As much as I would love to review each & every show from the Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week – a girl’s gotta sleep. So in the next few posts I’ll share some of my favorite shows, looks, and moments, and at the bottom you can find more information & links about the shows that I couldn’t review.

I always look forward to Alice+Olivia because I can see myself in all of their clothes and their presentations are always bright, pretty and fun. This season the outstanding looks were showcased on a dramatic black & white rug in a chic Baroque-style sitting room – a busy, but interesting background for the pieces.

From separates to cocktail frocks to full length gowns, there’s a little something for everyone. I love the black, white & grey tweed and wool outerwear almost as much as the glitzy dresses – always the highlight with everything from brocade florals to sleek n’ sexy black to glamorous sequins, feathers and faux fur. Tres chic!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been hooked since Rachel Zoe’s very first show because not only are her looks right on trend, they’re flattering and wearable – I even bought this coat after eyeing it for over a year. This season was no exception and her first runway show was all about the swinging 60’s in London with a splash of rock n’ roll – a common theme this week.

The looks were fun, sexy & playful with faux fur & leather, pantsuits, velvet, pleating, double-breasted buttons, sequins & over-the-knee suede boots. I’ll take one of each please!

{Tom & Lorenzo and Black Studded Fashion agreed, you can also read her post-fashion week interview with Harper’s Bazaar here}

Milly is another show that I look forward to because I know that some of the pieces will end up in my closet  (at this point I should say thank you to my gorgeous & stylish cousin Heather for turning me onto Milly – definitely a defining moment!). And Michelle Smith did not disappoint this season, the show was full of fun colors, interesting patterns and quirky silhouettes.

Adorable double-breasted coats, gloves in black, leopard and blue, sheer tights, turtlenecks, A-line minis, sheer blouses with contrasting collars, petal skirts, flashes of neon, retro-style cocktail dresses, wide belts and pointy-toed pumps.

The grey petal dress with the pockets worn over a black turtleneck and gloves {above right} was definitely my favorite look – Can’t you just see that walking down the street?

Diane Von Furstenberg’s show was sexy and powerful, the DVF woman she celebrated this season was glamorous and sophisticated in bold colored body-worshipping dresses.

I loved the short sleeves paired with opera-length gloves, the belted coats with slim pants, the colorblocking separates, the ankle-strap heels and the sweet prints. The minimal makeup and side-parted hair were the perfect finishing touch.

{Check out this video from FabSugar to see these gorgeous clothes in action!}

If you live for elegant ladylike looks, you’re probably a fan of Victoria Beckham’s classic designs. This season was all about preppy curve-hugging jersey and sporty form-fitting outerwear, paired – interestingly enough – with cute combat boots & thick socks.

This season also marked the first show for Victoria’s lower priced collection called Victoria by Victoria Beckham – Which according to Net-a-Porter was entirely sold out before even getting online. These dresses are simple and pretty, not overly complex or intricate, just basic shift and drop-waisted frocks that you can dress up or down.

{See the video from the Victoria Beckham show here and check out a video of the designer hanging out with Anna Wintour here}

Rachel Roy took the elements as her muse and showed a collection in deep, earthy colors and fun, modern silhouettes. I especially liked the shades of purple used for the last portion of the show, the brightly colored cropped gloves, Oxford booties and wide belts on the coats and separates.

Carolina Herrera’s show was everything we’ve come to expect over the years – glamour and sophistication, with a splash of decadence. She showed everything from wool A-line skirts to cropped boleros to belted strapless dresses to silk screened ball gowns to swoon-worthy gloves, shoes & accessories.

The colors and fabrics were beautiful and interesting while the silhouettes maintained their usual classic and ladylike flair. I especially loved the black & white striped print with the bright florals splashed across. Gorgeous.

{You can find more pictures from this show here}

If you’re in the mood for a little prep J.Crew was the show for you this season. This collection was all about separates and layering, each look had a handful of interesting components that could be worn separately or together. And while there were more bright colors and fun prints than in years past, the basic J.Crew asthetic was present throughout.

{You can also check out a video of the show here.}

Patterned sweaters, jewel toned & printed pants, traditional outerwear, plaid and stripes, dresses for work and play and cute cropped sweater coats. How adorable is that blue tweedy look on the right with the orangy red turtleneck?

The 3.1 Phillip Lim show was primarily black, white & grey with splashes of camel, burnt orange and aqua here and there. But above all else, these clothes were oh-so-wearable. Not only could I picture these looks walked down the New York sidewalk outside, I’ve seen versions & variations in the closets of all the chic women I know. Bulky sweaters, chic suits, cigarette pants, tunics, turtlenecks & sweater dresses galore.

Was it innovative and ground breaking? No, but in an economy like this one women prefer to buy classic, well-made pieces that can be worn season after season, rather than something that will be out of style in a few months, and that’s where this collection steps in.

Favorite part? Definitely the t-strap platforms. Come to mama!

Details details details! Marc Jacobs is always a bit eccentric in his presentations and this year was no different. Bundled layers, dramatically exaggerated silhouettes & unconventional mix and matching were the order of the day. And hats that Dr. Seuss would have been proud of. Can’t forget those.

But looking beyond the showmanship and styling you found some really fabulous pieces perfect for Fall – I especially liked the pairing of slim, cropped cigarette pants with bigger proportions on top, the large buttons on the coats and the elaborate pilgrim shoes.

The looks that Tory Burch showed were effortlessly chic and wearable, I could see myself in virtually everything. And as much as I adore seeing the artistry and showmanship of designers like the late Alexander McQueen, there’s something comforting about seeing a collection that can translate easily to real life, and that’s something that Tory Burch excels at.

While the separates, skirts, dresses and perfectly tailored outerwear were to die for, I couldn’t help but drool a little over the extras. Opera-length gloves, structured handbags, lace & patterned tights, floral appliqué collars and low-heeled T-straps.

{You can read Modelinia’s review of the show here}

Zac Posen’s Japanese themed collection was filled to the brim with hip-hugging dresses, jewel toned separates and sumptuous outerwear. His clothes are dramatic and glamorous, you choose this brand when you want to make a statement the moment you walk into a room.

{You can see a video of the runway show here.}

While Posen’s clothes can seem more like art at times than something you’d actually wear – the flared skirts and cut-out bodices were incredibly flattering, as were the gorgeous metallic ankle-strap heels.

Oh Oscar! The Oscar de la Renta show was a fun and youthful twist on his usual prim and proper fare. Shorter hemlines, cheeky color combinations ,and mix n’ match patterns gave the show an interesting twist. The looks were Winterized by adding bulky knit wraps, cropped tweed coats, lace and brocade jackets and even floor-length dusters paired with evening gowns.

The booties and twisted ribbon pumps paired with subtle fish net stockings were divine, as were the jeweled headpieces, brooches and crystal adorned outerwear. I thought that the exaggerated boatneck collars were exceptionally flattering and loved the pale blue – almost reminiscent of Karl’s Spring 2012 Couture collection.

{Need more Oscar? FabSugar & The Fashionista have you covered – both featuring Arizona Muse’s amazing silver Cinderella ball gown}

A post on New York Fashion Week would hardly be complete without a mention of DKNY. The show was all about downtown cool and as usual black was the main hue – this season with touches of dove grey, cranberry and navy. The cropped outerwear paired with an  A-line mini skirt was an especially fun and flirty silhouette, that still managed to be a little bit business.

The highlights were the thick leather belts, high collars, opaque black tights, booties & ankle-strap heels, gorgeous handbags, sweet floral prints with harder pieces, brights paired with black and tough biker girl leather edges added to outerwear. I would wear virtually any of these pieces, can’t wait for them to hit stores!

The details and extras were really well-chosen for this show, I loved everything from the shoes to the accessories to the cuffs and collars added to the jackets & coats.

{You can also see Tom & Lorenzo’s photographs & review here.}

What can you say about Michael Kors? The man himself is a legend (Studio 54 ring a bell anyone?) and the brand that he’s created is know for its clean lines, flattering styles, and all-American appeal. And while last year’s big 30th anniversary show was quite the success, this year’s show was hardly a let down. The chic country girl in the big city styles were fun but practical – MK’s MO.

The red & black checks, grey wool, black & white flannels, thick knits and dramatic leathers and furs created a backdrop for the story that MK told and the looks were finished off with gloves, skinny belts, thick socks, t-strap heels, clogs, lace up boots and chunky Mary Janes.

{FabSugar has additional photos of the Michael Kors show here or you can see full runway show on GQ Fashion.}

And last but hardly least is Prabal Gurung, one of  the most anticipated shows of the season – the Twittersphere (oh how I hate that word) BLEW UP after the new ad campaign with a dark-haired Candice Swanepoel was released and the hype for his Fall 2012 show increased steadily until the big day. From blacks to brilliant cobalt to white to shimmery gold, the looks ranged from severe with dramatic cutouts to youthful with crazy prints.

I thought that the satiny finished trousers were extremely chic and I can’t wait for the multi-strap heels to hit the stores. I’m also predicting that many of these frocks will appear on the red carpets this season. I wouldn’t be able to resist if I had access to them!

{Purple DIARY has some more great photos here and the runway video can be viewed here}

{Source, Source, Source & Source}

If you’d like to see more shows there are full New York Fashion Week summaries here and here, or you can see photos or videos of the individual shows here: Tibi, Tracy Reese, Christian Siriano, Jenny Packham, Karen Walker, Chris Benz, Naeem Khan, Betsey Johnson, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti and Elie Tahari.

All the designers really out did themselves this year. The creativity and artistry of the collections and the presentations really blew me away. Stay tuned for the street style and front row looks, then it’s off to London Fashion Week. Also – Be sure to keep an eye out for Moi Contre La Vie’s post-Fashion Week Giveaway!

*** Please note that I do not advocate the use of fur in fashion and personally make an effort not to wear/carry fur, exotic skins or leather. I believe that in this day in age there are many beautiful alternatives to these products which are cruelty & animal-free and should be utilized in their place.

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NYFW Spring 2012 Round-Up

DKNY Spring 2012 Collection

New York Fashion Week for Spring 2012 showcased some great trends and standout shows. Lots of brights and florals, which is to be expected for Spring, as well as some beautiful neutrals, interesting lengths and lots of pants.

Phillip Lim (3.1) was cool, refreshing and minimal, a picture-perfect mix of airy cuts and beautiful hues.

The King of Cool Girl Clothes, Alexander Wang, showed a collection that was a little bit biker chic in the Sahara. I can definitely see his BFF Erin Wasson wandering around NYC in these clothes!

Can you get the designer? If your first guess was Alice+Olivia, go treat yourself to a shopping spree! This collection was very retro-inspired and contained cute separates, including the newly launched shoe collection

Bill Blass's show was very nautical and very standard spring. Navy, black and white, with splashes of red and yellow. I liked this look because it's a great combination of the white pants trend, stripes and polka dots!

Francisco Costa has got his CK shows down to an art and I foresee another year of beautiful young things - Eva Mendes, Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone to name a few - wearing his designs at every opportunity.

Diane von Furstenberg's show was fun and flirty, lots of color and prints, lots of flattering silhouettes.

The DKNY show was full of smart, chic, wearable looks. These ads last season were some of my favorites and I liked how this show seemed like a seemless continuation of the looks for fall.

Jason Wu tweaked his tried & true formula a little with this collection, trying out some new fabrics and slightly different cuts. But among the edgy were the oh so Wu pieces we know and love!

After a classic show last season to celebrate his 30th, Michael Kors was off on Safari for Spring. Khakis, animal prints, crochet, fringe and gladiator sandals in muted tones as far as the eye can see.

Milly delivered vibrant splashes of color and bold prints, retro cuts and great accessories, including scarves, sunglasses, bags and shoes.

Peter Som's collection was, as per usual, absolutely wearable. It featured great prints and florals, but my favorite was this muted zebra-head print with a cobalt belt and bold black accessories.

So far I've liked Rachel Zoe's line, nothing groundbreaking or wholly innovative, but she's producing consistently good collections. I find myself especially impressed by her suits, cute and modern with great touches like this bright blue blouse.

 And from Harper’s Bazaar, here’s a NYFW Spring 2012 Trend Report with some great pictures from the shows.

Though I don’t have the time (or, I might add, the energy) to review each and every great collection shown this year, I would like to share a couple of my personal favorites.
 

I adore L'Wren Scott, every season she shows amazing, flattering silhouettes. Sleek, sexy and confident, a modern woman who can take on the world!

Milly my love! Has anyone seen PanAm yet? I feel like half the collections this season are inspired by that era and its chic formality.

I'm having a 60's moment - which may or may not influence my Halloween costume - and this Mia Farrow inspired Erin Fetherston collection was right up my alley.

Christian Siriano showed brights and nauticals, which are pretty traditional for Spring, but I thought that this was a fresh, juicy spin on them.

To me this is what Spring is about, bursts of color and flowy lines. Vivienne Tam was right on target with this jumpsuit!

The most fun show to watch? I highly recommend checking out the video of the Marc Jacobs extravaganza here.

And don’t worry boys, I didn’t forget about you. TLo has a great reviews of the DKNY Menswear show here, Nautica’s rooftop show here (that’s just for you Colin!) and Perry Ellis here.

Perry Ellis Spring 2012 Menswear Collection

Note: Most photos & videos are from Style.com. Check out last season’s NYFW here.

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