I went to the huge King of Prussia mall today with a few friends. (It has literally every store I'm interested in, except for Anthro, sadly.) These are not Anthro/J.Crew-type friends; we spent long periods of time in H&M and Forever 21, and I ended up just buying a few cheap accessories from Wet Seal and New York & Company. A nice black belt to replace an Urban Outfitters belt that recently broke--I returned it for a merchandise credit, using a year-old receipt--and two clearance scarves, for a total of $11.

EDIT: Also a <$2 nail file from the Sanrio store, haha.

In fact, the belt (on sale for $5 at NY&Co) is pretty much a knock-off of Anthropologie's Looping Lanes Belt, which I've loved on several bloggers. The scarves are just so-so, but I needed to buy one for the Scarf Swap and it was a buy-one-get-one sale on top of clearance prices. I tried on a bunch of other stuff and some of it looked OK, but the fit wasn't perfect or the quality was discouraging.

F21 had a really cute blue tank top with a white dove print, but the armholes were huge and taking up the straps would have left me with a bizarrely prudish neckline given the skimpiness of the tank top. The Banana Republic also had a ton of tuxedo-bib button-down shirts on clearance, some in pink and a bunch in off-white, for just $11 plus 40% off. However, my shopping companions were universally against the shirt--they called it prudish--and the body was very wide, so I passed. I have NEVER seen a BR-quality button-down priced that low with multiples in stock, and it wasn't even final sale... but, of course, the fit is way off.

And now I finally get to the original point of this post: the magic price point. I realized that I will buy something on impulse if it is 1) a piece of clothing or shoes (excludes scarves, belts, costume jewelry, etc.) and 2) priced below $10. This is definitely lower than my price point a year ago, which was more like $20; but then, I have also raised my maximum price point quite a bit to include first-cut Anthro. I ended up returning the Eyeleted Corset Top because the colors were too hard to work with, but I'm still somewhat willing to pay $100 for a "perfect" piece of high-quality clothing. And if that top goes on sale for $50, I may be calling CS to repurchase it...

O anonymous reader: what is your magic price point? Do you have fine-print exceptions to the rule?
This is my fifth and last week in rural Canada before I return to civilization. Tonight I had to attend a 50's themed dance party, and I hadn't had the chance to go shopping (i.e. thrifting, because the closest mall is 30-45 minutes away and I don't have a car) for appropriate attire. At the last minute, I took off the tights I'd worn under a navy jersey dress and layered a cream ruffle skirt underneath the dress as a mini-crinoline. Topped with my charcoal gray peacoat and a quick tie of a scarf that I'd thrifted in a previous week to the amazing Frenchy's^, I was ready to go.

^Other things I've thrifted from Frenchy's since arriving in Canada include a J.Crew Costine sweater, Ralph Lauren polo, Banana Republic striped tank, NWT Express black satin tank, and a gorgeous seafoam-green vintage silk scarf. Everything is sold in giant bins and priced by item type, no markups for brand names. There are often premium brand jeans, too, although I'm hard to fit in pants so I didn't take a look.

Being on vacation with a limited wardrobe--that wasn't particularly well-packed, as I was in a hurry--and I didn't have a good sense of the finicky, rainy spring weather in Nova Scotia--means that I've had to be creative (and, at times, just repeat super-casual outfits) with my style. For instance, I paired a mustard yellow J.Crew Costine sweater, oversized and the first yellow clothing item I can remember purchasing, with navy Aeropostale sweats. And y'know, it worked.

This time around, I love the look of this skirt as a crinoline/slip, especially since I've wanted to own a slip for a while now. (It's on the same impractical-clothing-items wishlist as a corset.) It was a random NY&Co purchase while at school--my friend owns a twin--but has proven to be quite versatile. The matching self-belt is held on by real belt loops and easily detached; it looks great as a ribbon belt over this same solid jersey dress. Plus, the skirt is fun and flirty by itself, has snap buttons down the front for interest if I decide to tuck in my top, AND is machine-washable polyester that has held its shape. And now a modern crinoline. All for $20, originally intended as a trendy way to try out ruffles. This is why I continue to shop at New York and Company: I also own a colorblock jersey skirt from several years ago that I've worn to death fabric-wise but STILL get compliments on. I often walk through NY&Co without finding anything that I like, but when pieces work, they really work.

Specs (photo pending, but under terrible lighting):
* J.Crew Drift dress in Shadow
  - currently available in teal Agate, size L (popback)
  - I own it in size XS; I also got the XXS in the same online order for fitting purposes because I am often sized out of J.Crew non-petite tops (and everything else that doesn't involve an accurate waist measurement), but it was a teensy bit smaller in the waist and had the same slightly-too-long bust to shoulder length.
* New York & Company cream ruffle skirt, size 4
* White Mountain Outfitters black leather knee-high boots, size 6
  - ordered from Amazon
  - The leather on these boots is really soft and very easily scratched, but I'm OK with that look. They are super versatile and when they die in a few years--I bought them for pretty cheap, under $30--I am definitely going to pick up another pair of flat black leather knee-high boots. I'd like to find a similar type of pair in brown, too.
* London Fog charcoal gray wool peacoat, size PXS
  - purchased in-store from Macy's, on sale with coupon
  - sleeves actually fit!
* Jones New York silk crepe moss green floral scarf
  - thrifted from Frenchy's for $1

Not pictured:
* Citizen Eco-Drive stainless steel, diamond, and mother-of-pearl watch
  - ~$300, gift from relative, purchased at Kay Jewelers
  - from last year, similar to the Silhouette Diamond but with a rectangular face
  - I adore this watch and wear it every day (though I always wear a watch every day). My skin turns green in the presence of copper, including when mixed into base metals, so the stainless steel strap was a must. It doesn't overwhelm my frame, and since it's link-based, I got it shortened for free to actually fit my 6" wrist. The surface has some scratches because I wear it every day and don't baby it, but the diamonds are all still firmly set in place and so far the no-battery-replacement claim seems to be true.
* Pink floral hair clip holding bun together, gift from relative while visiting in China

August 2011

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About

Seeing personal style through K's eyes.

I'll be chronicling my quest for personal style on a frugally-raised college student's budget. Fitting room reviews, style inspirations, musings/rants about dressing a petite, size-2 apple figure--just whatever is on my mind. I adore the Anthro aesthetic, but rarely pull it off in real life. Same goes for heels and make-up...

SIZING REFERENCE:

Height: 5'2"
Measurements: 31-28-33
Bust: 32A (or 32AA without padding)
Shoes: 5 women's/3 kids, also 5.5 if open-back
True size: 2 with consideration for my waist
Shape: "crabapple"
Ethnicity: Asian = straight black hair (now waist-length for the second time!), boring brown eyes and nonexistent lashes, medium yellow-toned skin

SPECIFIC BRANDS:
Anthropologie: 2/S dresses (0/XS fits tight), 2/XS tops, 4-6 skirts
J.Crew: XS/0 tops and dresses, 4 skirts
Banana Republic: 2 tops, 4P Sloan bottoms (sometimes 2/2P in other cuts)
H&M: 4/XS tops, 4/S dresses, 6 (sometimes 8) skirts
Forever 21: S tops and dresses, 26 jeans

Resident of the teensy state of Delaware, whose greatest virtue is 0% sales tax!

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