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Blog

A fashion blog about weekend style

 

Filtering by Tag: Shopping

My Best Shopping Secrets

Jessica Wagner

White Lace Dress

Ok guys! I’m spilling all! I have a few tricks I use when shopping to score high-end items at a budget-friendly price.

Exhibit A: The Little White Dress

White and lace will have you ready for springtime brunch, cocktails, picnics and all the on-coming parties in between.


Splurge // Save

Guess which dress is more expensive...

The one on the right is the save! Originally $195, I nabbed mine on sale at Nordstrom Rack for $18. Here’s how.

The dress on the left is by Self Portrait and costs $$$. I was charmed after seeing it on it-girl fashion bloggers, and parading across Pinterest… but it will set you back roughly $500 (aka not in my budget.) I put “white lace dress” on my LIST so I would remember to scout one out.

I found the dress on the right, by Romeo + Juliet Couture marked down to $35 and then got an additional discount because the zipper was broken. This same dress was originally almost $200. You guys – I mean there is no other way to shop! You can’t get a dress anywhere this lovely for that price. My rock-star seamstress fixed the zipper for a few dollars. You can’t beat it. 

1. Bargin Hunt

Now, I know barging hunting is not for everyone, but this a great option for anyone on a budget, or for someone who likes name brands at a lower price. It's an affordable way to keep up with fashion and trends. I am a born and bred bargain shopper... (my mom is the Queen, I am her heiress.) I will splurge for special occasions, or when I find something that is just too good to pass up. My advice is to be a bargain shopper. This means something different to everyone, but look for discounts, shop off-price realtors, compare prices, shop sale and outlets. It’s smart! And I know you are a smart clever girl. I also love second-hand and vintage stores (that's where I found these pink vintage Gucci mules for a steal. ) Places like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack are full of name-brand and designer fashions at a fraction of the price. It’s a great way to be able to afford high-end items. On-line sites like Poshmark are also golden for tracking down a sold-out item or high-end designer clothes and accessories.

2. Buy Less, Choose Well

AKA make sure the juice with worth the squeeze. This is becoming one of my most important guidelines when making a purchase. You want a $500 dress but only have a $50 dress budget. You either need to save up, or be uber resourceful. Most likely you will find another dress that is just as good and save you money for something better. Learn to set aside that instant gratification impulse. It's like working a muscle – you need to use it regularly to reap the benefits. Do not - I repeat - do not put that thing on your credit card. Sticking to a budget will help you shop with conviction. Impulse buys rarely leave you feeling satisfied, in fact they leave you with a shirt that doesn't fit after one wash. Saving up to earn that special item gives you time to consider where your money is going. The bottom line – invest in classics, it will benefit your closet in the long run.

3. WAIT FOR IT.

REPEAT AFTER ME: There will always be cute stuff to buy.

This a little trick I like to play on myself when I need talked down from an impulse buy, because this happens ALL THE TIME. I fall in looovvveeee with something and have to have it. (I mean every other instagram scroll or Pinterest binge puts me in a want/need/pretty please frame of mind.) With everything available on-line it’s almost too convenient. It’s easy to click “add to cart” and never look back. Practice this mantra with me guys: There will always be cute stuff. ALWAYS. That exact seemingly perfect item might not always be there, or it might go and sale, and hey, look at you saving money and being clever. I promise eventually something better will come along. There will always be pretty dresses to buy and gorgeous heels to wear. So when you’re feeling sad about not being able to afford something (or know you will get in trouble if you come home with another pair of shoes) remember these things always come back around. 

4. The Want // Need List

Keep a running list of items you would like to add to your wardrobe. Mine is on my phone so I can glance it over any time. This can include a new pair of running shoes, a retro pair of sunglasses or a cocktail dress for a beach wedding. It will help you remember what you are looking for (so don’t even try on those cute hot pink rain boots in your size that you will only wear once because they don’t go with anything.) I like to keep this list to classic capsule wardrobe pieces, a few seasonal items and maybe a trend or two. You might see you change your mind on some of the items as you wait for a deal, or they come and go out of style. 
 

5. EDIT

Clean out your closet on the regular, not once a year. If you can’t keep up, at least try to edit down each season. I love to donate, and recycle. Let your closet breath. It will also help showcase your current style, as whatever you were wearing a couple years ago might not represent who you are now. Sites like Poshmark or Ebay are great resources for selling your gently used name brands. (Shop mine here!) I set the money I make aside to put back into my closet. Sort of like a one in – one out idea. Move on if doesn’t fit anymore, you only wore it once, or toss if it is damaged (stains, holes.)  I could write a whole post on this (maybe I will!) as it’s an area I think a lot of us struggle with. (A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!) Also, this helps you see what you love and what gets the most airtime. Those are the pieces that cue you in to your favorite style and what you should emulate.


A couple other quick tips…

-Know the brand and their return/shipping policy. 30 days is pretty standard, but on-line can be different. If you are on the fence, bring it home and see how it looks. Put in on with the shoes and the bag. (I do this all the time – I don’t buy it and then I can’t stop thinking about it /talking about it and end up getting it anyway.) I rather have the option to return it, if it doesn’t work out.

-Try on a zillion things. (Although this can be a gamble – everything looks good or nothing works lol.) It never hurts to give something a try. I think this is how I find a lot of my favorite unique items. Snap a pic in the fitting room! It’s like having another set of eyes.

-Share. Borrow. Find a friend who wears the same size shoes and you just doubled your shoe collection. Swap clothes. I borrow from my sisters all the time and it really saves money. There are sites you can rent clothes from as well. Especially when you want something new for vacation or a special event. You know all your girlfriends have pretty wedding guest dresses hanging in their closet waiting to be worn again.

I hope some of these help, as I get asked this question fairly often - how do you afford to buy new clothes all the time?! The answer is I am a fox when it comes to clothes. (What kind of animal are you when shopping? Comment below!) I literally shop like a frantic animal on the hunt!! I have a tight budget. I don’t always stick to it – but I am honest about everything I buy to keep myself accountable. (Who doesn’t like to splurge on something nice that they just looooove?! ) I enjoy nothing more than curating the perfect outfit for any given occasion. It’s my “art.” If you are like me, this is the way to go (and if you are paying attention I am happy to share anything in my closet!) I guess what I am saying is, if you love to shop you have to practice smart shopping habits in order to maintain a fresh dream closet to actually choose from. Buy from ethical fashion brands, shop local and invest in the classics and know simple in always in style.


Outfit Details:
Dress: Romeo + Juliet Couture (sold out, but was here, love this one) Hat: Old (love this one) Shoes: Vintage Gucci Pink Logo Print Mules (similar here) Bag: Jessica Simpson Lorelei Clutch (similar here) Watch: Old (also love this one) Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Baci

SHOP THE POST | CLICK LEFT & RIGHT ARROWS TO EXPLORE

What are your favorite shopping tips!?! Share in the comments below!

{Sun} Flower Power

Jessica Wagner

Free People

I have a scattering of favorite brands I like to shop, and one of them, without fail, every season, seems to encapsulate the girl I want to be and inspire my wardrobe choices.

Who is that girl?

“She’s a free sprit; a style risk-taker; on-the-go and of-the-moment; fearless and full of life; a wanderlusting lover; a bold force, a beautiful soul.” – Free People 

With so many choices on where to shop, discovering a favorite brand of clothing is a bit like biting into your favorite comfort food. Soul-satisfying. Clothing can provide a nostalgic or even sentimental pleasure. (Remember this post here?) Do you have any clothes that give you a calm, satisfied feeling? For me it's Free People (right after my dad's homemade spaghetti sauce, because, somehow I also always end up wearing it.) 

I first learned about Free People through my sister (meet her here.) Kelly works at Anthropologie, another treasured spot of mine to shop, and sister store to Free People. (Along with Urban Outfitters and BHLDN.) Probably four of my all time favorite places to score finds, for their vintage feels and creative lines. I am always looking to these brands to inspire, as they encapsulate an aura I want to have. Images of femininity, courage, and spirit come to mind. As they so eloquently put it…

“…a girl who is smart, creative, confident and comfortable in all aspects of her being, free and adventurous, sweet to tough to tomboy to romantic. She likes to keep busy and push life to its limits, with traveling and hanging out and everything in between.”

In other words, this is a brand for free thinking individuals. It’s a great quality and relatively affordable. Some department stores, such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, have created in-store concept shops, which in turn provide the quintessential “Free People” experience. (Sadly one is not located near where I live, so shopping escapades are done on-line – mostly with success and if not, easy returns.) 

Some of my current favorites from their fall look book: quirky hats, mixing prints and bold lip colors. Velvet, military, bold hued statement sweaters, and sport savvy silhouettes are all of-the-moment looks for autumn. Vibrant and cozy. This is a brand that inspires women to take risks with their personal style.

But let’s keep it real. While the free-spirit look is ever romantic in photos and fine print, it’s not always so easy to pull off cowgirl-desert-queen riding off into the sunset on the regular. (Most of the time I look the exact opposite –– tee-shirted-straggling-aimless-wino?) So I guess when emulating this look, staying true to yourself can look different. It depends on the day, your mood. Dreamy pieces aren’t always the most practical, but they are absurdly fun to wear. 

I styled this Free People ginger gauzy tunic for warm end of summer days, (it has been rather sweltering here in the mid-west.) The open back and delicate mesh are light and flouncy, perfect for an evening out. You could throw this dress on over a bikini, or layer it with long sleeves for a very fall-look (I’ve been seeing this idea everywhere, but have yet to give it a try, as it reminds me of being 5.) A jean jacket also makes me feel like a kid again, (maybe it’s the 80s baby in me?) but is a great option for a light layer, as we get closer to cool nights.

While I know most of us can’t wait for the cool air of fall to make it’s appearance, until then, soak up the sun, kiss the breeze, and wear you 100 degree dress - wild and free.

Outfit Details:
Dress: Free People 100 Degree Jacket: Forever 21 Premium Denim Shoes: Free People Oliviera Wrap (similar here) Sunglasses: Forever 21 Bracelet: Arm Candy Lips: MAC Sin Nails: Formula X Atlantic-Pacific Taken By Storm

For those of you following along, I would love feedback! What posts have you loved? What don’t you like? What would you like to see more of? What inspires you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below! <3

Keep It Local

Jessica Wagner

Look One: Everyday Casual

Look Two: Feminine Glam

Look Three: Urban Edge

Boutique Shopping
 

“No thanks, I have enough clothes and shoes,” said no woman ever.

Shopping for some of us is like oxygen. We need it to live. It’s a way of life. Take us shopping, and we are yours.

For others it’s a means to an end.

Either way, we all need to wear clothes and have countless options as to where we spend our time and money.

While there’s nothing wrong with on-line and retail chain shopping (spoken like a true shopaholic) if you want a catered and joyful experience, look no further than your local shopping boutiques.

Boutiques are usually smaller “concept stores” that sell über stylish clothing, jewelry and other specialized accessories.  (The word boutique is French for “shop.”)  

Since boutiques often evolve out of a founder's passion, they are a great resource for exclusive items. Not to mention, they boost an authentic environment to shop in. Often associated with a specialized service, boutiques offer a wide assortment of their niche product, which in turn allows you more choices. Knowing a shops’ sphere of expertise will allow you to easily navigate what it has to offer.

More recently I rediscovered the charm of shopping local, at Ragazza Boutique, known for their smart up-scale occasion dressing. The shop is tailored toward a lifestyle of “classic with a hip twist.” 

*Fun fact: Ragazza, means "girlfriend" in Italian. The owner chose this name, aspiring to create a place friends would love to meet and shop together. (I mean don’t you just want to become a regular after knowing that?!)

Ragazza, like many boutiques caters to specialized styling, offers great brands and one-of-a-kind finds. Their quality is exquisite and the selection is all-embracing. 

Boutique shopping is an upgraded experience not only in the la-di-da of discovering a look that no one else will have, but in the luxury of a shopping experience about YOU. 

Take for example, Ragazza offers private wardrobe appointments, alterations, and a sales team of brand and product experts. Their profuse knowledge of their inventory pretty much guarantees they are equip to help you find an outfit that meets your needs. 

Now, shopping at an uptown boutique like Ragazza, I expected to find elegant dresses and chic options for weddings, baby showers and business affairs, (see this post here) but what I didn’t expect to find was the same high-end customized fashion in their more casual weekend wear.

If there is one fashion item that never fails to call out its wearer as a genuine fashion-girl it’s the jumpsuit. I about died when the styling team at Ragazza pulled this jumper off the rack. It can substitute for a glamed-up gown or be dressed down street-style cool. From off-duty models, fashion editors and movie stars there’s a reason it-girls can’t get enough of this versatile one-piece.

It’s the ultimate lazy girl go-to. With this all-in-one ensemble at the heart of your outfit, all you need to think about are shoes, bag, and a few carefully considered accessories. It’s the go-anywhere outfit dreams are made of. Ragazza slayed it.

When you chose to shop local, not only are you supporting the heartbeat of your own neighborhood, but also you are helping your economy thrive. Plus, it’s a great way to love on your community! Shopping local is always in style. When you support small businesses, you’re supporting a dream. Shop small, support your friends or “la ragazzas!”

SECRETS OF A FASHION BLOGGER PARTY!

On that note lovely followers, I am SO excited to be hosting an event with Ragazza Boutique (Downtown Perrysburg) this Wednesday, July 20th and would love to meet you!!!! I’ll be sharing “Secrets of a Fashion Blogger” along with tips and tricks on how to make your outfit picture perfect. There will be lots of raffle prizes, yummy food and shopping! Party starts at 6PM and is open to all. Feel free to reserve your spot now, and bring along your friends. Visit Ragazza Boutique on Facebook (link here) to reserve your spot today! Hope to see you then! XOXO 

Outfit Details:
Jumpsuit: Ragazza Boutique 

Look One: Everyday Casual
Hat: Forever 21  Bag: Zara Reversible Tote Shoes: Charming Charlie Zuri Flat Sandals Sunglasses: Karen Walker Super Duper Strength Bracelet: Stella & Dot Renegade Cluster Lipstick: Stila Stay All Day Lipstick in Baci

Look Two: Feminine Glam
Bag: Olivia + Joy Pom Keyring: Old (similar here) Shoes: Michael Antionio Sunglasses: Style By Girl  Earrings: Old Watch: Michael Kors Lipstick: MAC Saint Germain 

Look Three: Urban Edge
Bag: Zara Shoes: Adidas 'Stan Smith' Sneaker Sunglasses: Fox House Vintage Watch: Guess (Old, also love this one) Lips: MAC Lady Danger

A special thank you to Ragazza Boutique for partnering on this post!