Take 5 For Fashion: Fantastic Finds!

I was just dying over this whole outfit when I spotted the chambray skirt in Nordstrom’s last catalog.  This bad boy was worth taking all my children with me to the mall to get my hands on it.  (Picture: me, checking out in a fancy department store while 2 year old Vivian, who insisted on wearing nothing but a Tinkerbell swimsuit to the mall, adamantly insists on trying to ride the escalator down. By herself.  Some middle-aged Nordstrom employee nearly had a coronary blockading the way and passionately informing me that my child was moments from certain death.)  Looking forward to wearing this flowy skirt with pretty much everything this summer!

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Anthropologie necklaces are always calling my name when I step in the store, but this one was the perfect turquoise pendant I’d been hunting for.  Alas, I was righteous and waited until it was on sale.  It definitely doesn’t disappoint and goes with everything!

 

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Is it obvious a 6-year-old took this picture? No?

I got the necklace on Saturday, wore it Sunday and then again on Monday.  How’s that for driving down that cost-per-wear?  Which brings me to the skirt and shoes…

That Forever 21 has done it again!  This fun rust skirt and d’orsay flats are some of my absolute faves this summer.  The shoes are still available here along with TONS of other adorable ankle strap options.

If you haven’t yet tried shoes at F21, don’t wait any longer!  Cheap, adorable and a huge selection.  Their midi skirt options are plentiful too (see them all here) and I’m ecstatic over all the longer length skirts available this summer!  Finally!

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Bright tomato is my color obsession this season and I keep seeing tops like this one everywhere.  Have yet to choose one to add the wardrobe line-up but can’t you just see the possibilities?  Match it with army green, a neutral or something bold like a purple!

Last but not least, remember this tutorial for the striped, pleated anthro knock-off skirt?  Well F21 has one too!

Two cheers for cheap fashion!

Ode to winter

The temperature reached 100 degrees this week, here in the Valley of the Sun and, well, that really sucks- pardon my french.  I can no longer even pretend that I’ll have additional chances to wear wonderful winter sweaters, button downs and boots.  Therefore, I present an Ode to Winter Fashion post, highlighting some of my favorite cool-weather looks.  If you’re lucky (?) enough to still be experiencing sub 70 degree temps then I hope you try to enjoy your remaining sweater weather.  If not, then I’ll commiserate with you.  I mean, let’s face it…swim suits are WAY less fun to wear than sweaters.  Um, in my current bodily state that is.  Time to tone up!
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leopard overload.  but can you really have too much??
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ah, yes.  the ol’ chambray top/colored jean combo.  Adieu, my beloved winter uniform!  until next fall…

holiday fancies

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In my personal opinion, middle class moms never get enough chances to dress up.  So, of course, I like to overdress at every opportunity I get.  Luke’s work party was my occasion this holiday season.  I managed to squeeze all my favorite trends into one outfit this time: peplum, leather accent, metallics and ankle strap heels.  I’m a multi-tasker, what can I say?!

I was really hoping to find a sleek pair of metallic jacquard crops kinda like these but nothing I liked was in my budget.  So luckily I scored this great pencil skirt on sale at Anthropologie instead.  Way impractical due to the fanciness but I couldn’t help it.
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Sorry, forgot the red liptsick for this picture.  Criminal.
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I could just come up with evening outfits all day long.  Time to start crashing some parties!

Monochrome animal

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Is there anything better than animal print?  I mean, other than like your family and helping the needy and other worthwhile stuff.  I mean in the frivolous realm of things.  I say unto you NO! There is not.  Except maybe these cheetah pants with a mustard top and some awesome booties found at Old Navy for super cheap.  Definitely nothing better than cheap shoes.

Bell Skirt Tutorial

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I consider myself an Anthropologie sale stalker so when I saw Reachel from Cardigan Empire wearing this little number above on the right I was shocked and appalled that I hadn’t seen it. 
The problem was that not only was it sold out on Anthro’s site but the few left on eBay were selling for upwards of $160.  Ugh.  Even I have limits.
Then I thought, ”Hey…I bet I could make that…”
Behold the Bell Skirt.

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The Anthro reviews were stellar on this skirt and, although this is a very simplified version, I have to say it is one of the cutest, most flattering skirts I own (especially at this more voluptuous time of my life). 
What with the fitted waist and ample hiding room for your bottom half, I can promise that it would look great on just about any woman. Plus it’s a breeze to make.  Promise.
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I started by buying 2 yards of upholstery-weight black and white cabana stripe fabric (57” wide) from this Etsy shop.  Then I bought a yard of 2.5” wide black elastic from this shop.  I knew I wanted a contrasting zipper in the back but I couldn’t decide on pink or green…I eventually went with an exposed gold one instead.
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First of all, the fabric was vertically striped so I turned it 90 degrees so that it was 57” tall and 1 yard wide.  I then folded it in half the long way and cut it along the fold (in half).  I ended up with 2 pieces, both measuring about 28” x 36”. 
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Now make your pleats.  I made one box pleat (here’s a good how-to) by creating a fold about 4 inches from the center and bringing it into the midline on both sides, then made two (2”) knife pleats roughly halfway between the center pleat and the edge of the fabric. 
Do this to both pieces of fabric, the front and the back of skirt.  Of course your exact placement of pleats is up to you…play around with it and see what looks good!
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Sew the pleats in place using a basting stitch, and then sew your side seams, right sides together.  My fabric unraveled pretty easily so I made sure to serge all my edges.
Now, you’ll want to slit your back piece of fabric in the center about 6 or 7 inches down, depending on the length of your zipper.  Don’t forget that your zipper will have to be attached to your wide elastic as well.  I used a 9” zipper.

This is where you’ll want to try your skirt on and fit it to your natural waist.  One of the great things about this skirt is its really high waist since it hides muffin top like nobody’s business.  You’ll probably need to take your side seams in a bit unless you’re a sewing ninja and already made your pleats just the perfect width.
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Having never seen the actual Anthro skirt in person, I kinda winged the waistband.  I decided that I wanted it fitted (not stretchy) to hold me in but I still liked the idea of the elastic to act almost like a girdle (it does!).  So I folded the elastic in half widthwise (to find the center) and began pinning the center of it to the skirt at the front pleat, and continuing all the way around to the slit at the back, on both sides.
I then installed the zipper (you can topstitch around the zipper if you like) and hemmed it right at the knee.

 

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Did I mention that this baby cost me about 25 bucks total?  Yeeeah!
I haven’t cleaned it yet but I’m assuming it’ll need to be dry cleaned or spot cleaned.  An alternative would be to make your own striped fabric by sewing some strips of white and black washable cotton together.  Just make sure you pick something fairly stiff so that you get the “bell” effect.

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Happy skirt making!