Now and Later Fall Style

If you’ve been following along on the blog, you’ve definitely heard me moan and groan a little bit about how tight our current budget is due to paying 2 mortgages and not having a renter for quite some time. You won’t be surprised, then, to hear that my clothing budget is as tight as my home décor budget, except worse, because there’s no Dollar Tree or spray paint for clothes. Somebody should invent both of those things.

But really, I share these things not to complain, because I’m not discontent. I know God will take care of us as He always does, and I’m very grateful for the things I do have. I share just to explain the situation, and most likely commiserate, because I know so many people are in the same boat. You want to look cute, but just don’t have a whole lot of money to do that.

Fall and winter clothes are my absolute favorite, so I will admit it hurts a little to not have much of a clothing budget this year. However, it gives me a good chance to get creative with the clothes I do have, something I’m not always good at. I needed some pieces that could really work overtime, and I needed transition pieces that I could wear now while it’s still a little warm, and wear later when it gets a little colder.

So I thought I’d share 3 key pieces I’ll be wearing this fall and winter and how I plan to style them to work now and later. Mostly, I just wanted to play dress up, haha..,but hopefully this will inspire you if you’re working with a really strict budget like me.

I really tend toward jewel tones in the fall, and they’re really big right now everywhere. I picked up this swing dress for less than $20 last year, and I’m wearing it as a tunic now tucked into white jeans with some cut out booties.

now-1

And yes, you can wear white after Labor Day. That is an ancient, arbitrary, and silly rule left over from the class system.

When the temps drop a little, I’ll throw on a blanket scarf, leggings and some over-the-knee boots, along with a hat. I’m always looking for an excuse to wear a hat.

later-2

You can find a similar dress here (which is currently 30% off with the code THANKYOU).

Next, I just recently picked up this warm, topaz colored drapey tee from Old Navy, which again is currently 30% off. The description calls it a sweater, but it feels more like a tee.

I’m wearing it now as just a casual tee shirt with jeans and ankle boots.

now-2

And later, I’ll layer it with a plaid shirt and pleather jacket.

later2

Just a little friendly tip, if you find yourself in the market for distressed jeans, it’s almost always cheaper to pick up a pair of regular jeans from Walmart or Old Navy, or even use a pair you already own, and distress them yourself, as I did in the pair above. For some reason, retailers like to charge more for holes in your jeans. Here is a great tutorial for distressing your own jeans.

Lastly, I found this, my most favorite ever drapey blouse, at the Nordstrom anniversary sale last year. I absolutely love the shape and fit, and the draping just feels luxurious. As you may have noticed, I like to wear drapey tops. If you’re a mom, you understand. No explanation necessary. I’m wearing it now tucked a little with jeans and my cut out boots (perfect for early fall)…

now3

…and later, I’ll dress it up with pleather leggings (from Walmart!) and a fur vest. And another excuse to wear a hat.

later-3

That’s all for now!  Do you have any tips on how you stretch out your fall and winter wardrobe? I’d love to hear them!

Rachel

10 Ways to Update Your Fall Look for $10 (Or Less!), Part 1

October is here, and fall has finally arrived here in East Tennessee. The leaves are juuust starting to turn, and I couldn’t be more excited! Fall is by far my most favorite season…the leaves, cooler weather, the promise of bonfires and s’mores, sweaters and boots…just to name a few. But, my most favorite thing about fall is the clothes! I adore fall clothes! I also love fashion, and while I’m no serious stylist, I like to wear cute clothes; and due to a restricted budget, I have figured out how to get things for cheap. I have a little more wiggle room in my budget now (just a little…I’m still cheap, as the name of my blog would suggest), but for most of my life, I have had 0 wiggle room in my budget, and I would have loved to have had someone give me ideas for super-cheap style. So I’ve compiled a list of ten ways anyone can update their fall look ranging from $0 to $10. I’ll be sharing these 10 things in 2 parts, so as not to overwhelm you.

My favorite part about this blog post was that I got to have a little photo shoot with some of my favorite people, two of my gorgeous sisters and my gorgeous sister-in-law!

So, let’s get started, shall we?

  1. Clearance Summer Dresses- Just Add Tights and Boots. (Price: $6-$10)

This little trick has been a favorite of mine for a while. Now is the time to scour the stores for cheap, cheap clearance summer dresses, and pair them with a cardigan, jacket, chambray shirt (cuz we know everyone has one of those!)…whatever you have.

This little striped tank dress was $6 from Walmart. Add a jacket, tights, boots, and a scarf, and you’ve got a super comfy, super cute fall outfit. (If you look at my cute sister really closely, you can see a teeny, tiny baby bump…I’m going to be an aunt again! And this dress is so comfy, she’ll be able to wear it throughout her pregnancy!) Find a similar t-shirt dress for a little over $7 from amazon here.

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This tribal print dress was $9 at Ross Dress for Less. My sis is wearing it for now by itself with cute wedges, but to get ready for colder weather, we added a cardigan, tights and booties. Here’s a similar black print dress from Wal-Mart for $6.

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This skirt from Old Navy is on sale now for $8. I added a chambray shirt, tights and a belt for a more seasonal look. (Y’all don’t know how badly I wanted to photoshop this pic to edit off a few pounds, but I resisted.)

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You can use this trick for even the most summery of dresses. I love this white lacey dress winterized with a black pleather (or vegan leather as they call it now…cracks me up!) jacket and tights.

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While I’ve given you a few examples online, the best thing to do is to go in-store to places like Ross, Old Navy, Target, even Wal-Mart, and look at their clearance deals. They usually have more selection in-store and they’re almost always cheaper than online. Here are a few more for examples, this little $9 floral dress from Target would be adorable with a colorful cardigan and tights, and this $10 Triangle Print Tank Dress from Forever21 is a wild card for the more adventurous.

2. Menswear Watches from Wal-Mart (Price: $7.88)

This one is another favorite. Oversized, menswear watches have been a big trend over the last few years, and just this one accessory adds so much to any outfit. You can buy a $275 Michael Kors watch…OR you can pick up one of these Wal-Mart watches on your next grocery trip for $7.88! I’ll take the second option, thank you very much!

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On a side note, is Wal-Mart getting cuter and cuter clothes across the board, or am I just getting old losing my sense of style? I’m going to go with the first option, because my fragile ego can’t handle the possibility of the latter.

3. Grab $10 worth of flannel fabric and make your own Blanket Scarf (Price: $6-$10)

This one’s a DIY, but the good news is, there is NO sewing involved, and it’s so super easy. You just need 2 yards of plaid flannel fabric (I got mine for a little over $6 from Hobby Lobby, using my 40% off coupon). I haven’t seen blanket scarves for less than $30, so with a tiny bit of extra work, you can get yours for a steal.

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I used this tutorial from MomAdvice for the one my sis-in-law is modelling. You could also switch it up and grab wool fabric for this no-sew plaid cape from Leanne Barlow at Elle Apparel Blog, another super easy DIY.

4. Marsala Lips and Nails (Price: Around $5 Each)

Nothing adds impact to your look like a dramatic, wine colored lip, which just happens to be the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year.

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Another option is a wine-colored manicure, which adds a little drama to your hands.

Mani

At around $5 each (depending on the store), this is a very affordable way to match your look with your fall wardrobe. I added a few embellishments to my marsala nails for a different look with a $3 stud kit from Five Below. The lip color I’m wearing is CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain in Saucy Plum, which seriously lasts all day. The nail color is Revlon Nail Enamel in Vixen.

5. Braids! (Price: A Little Bit of Practice)

This one, obviously, is completely free! Braids are such a pretty complement to the season’s sweaters, hats and boots.

My sis-in-law is wearing a side-wrap braid here…

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…and I went with a simple fishtail braid.

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There are so many different braids you can try for short hair and long hair alike, so I’ve started a Pinterest board for inspiration.

So that’s it for today! Hope you enjoyed these, hope you’re able to use some of them, and be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2, where I’ll be posting the next 5 tips for curating your fall wardrobe on the cheap!

I’m also sharing these fall wardrobe updates at the Wow Us Wednesday party over at http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net:

Savvy Southern Style
…and at the Pretty Preppy Party:

Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss

DIY Anthropologie-Inspired Necklace

I have this thing about jewelry. Other than my wedding ring, I wear really cheap jewelry. Like really cheap. The reason? I have four kids. That says it all. When they were babies, they, like all babies, loved to yank on my earrings and chew on my necklaces. Now that they are older, my girls love to play dress-up with Mommy’s jewelry, and they’re just so darn cute, it’s hard to tell them to stop. Although, truthfully, while I blame my kids, I’m probably even more responsible for my lack of jewelry for no other reason than that I lose it all the time. I’ve probably lost as much or more than they have lost/destroyed.

So as I look at and lust over the jewelry at some of my favorite stores, like Anthropologie, I can turn away knowing it would be foolish to invest the amount of money that they charge into a piece of jewelry I’ll probably lose in a month or so (depending on how much my girls like it; the more sparkle it has, the more likely they are to lose it).

But when I saw these earrings on Anthropologie’s website for $78, I thought, “I think I could make those!” (It’s that disorder that I have that I’ve discussed before.)

Anthropologie

And so began my experiment. I decided to take it a step farther by making a matching statement necklace.

I picked up supplies from Hobby Lobby, but made sure to buy my metal findings while they were 50% off, which they often are. I had the painter’s tape and metallic gold spray paint already, so my supplies were a little under $10.

They are, as follows:

-Sculpey oven bake clay

-Gold fine cable chain

-Gold findings set

-Rustoleum Metallic Finish Spray Paint in Gold

-Painter’s Tape

-Xacto Knife (or similar knife…not pictured)

-Rolling Pin (not pictured)

Supply List

I used wax paper for a non-sticky surface, and rolled out my clay to 1/4″ thickness.

Rolling Clay

Clay

Then I cut out my shapes with an Xacto knife. I just kind of free-handed it because I like the imperfect, handmade look. If you’re not comfortable with freehanding, you could pencil out your shapes with a pencil right on the clay.

Cutting Shapes

Shapes

Next, I inserted the pins from my findings kit right into the center of the shape, so that the little ring was sticking out at the top, so that I could later attach it to the chain and earring hooks with a jump ring. I had to guide it with my fingers to keep it in place and make sure it didn’t poke out of the sides.

Insert Wire

I cut the pins in half with wire cutters for the earring shapes since they were smaller.

Cutting Wire

Next, I placed my shapes on a cookie sheet (and from the looks of it, I think I need a new cookie sheet…this one has seen better days), and baked them. If you’re going to attempt this project, be sure to follow the baking instructions on the package explicitly. I burned my first batch pretty badly.

Baking

I let my shapes cool for 24 hours to make sure they were completely solid.

The next step was to mark off a line with painter’s tape on both sides, and spray paint them (one side at a time, allowing plenty of time to dry between sides).

Spray Painting Medallion

Once dry, I peeled off my tape, then added jump rings, a chain (I made mine 18″ because I love a really long necklace) and clasp for the necklace, and jump rings and earring hooks, all from my findings kit.

Here’s the finished product.

Finished

And here’s what it looks like on.

Modelled 2

I apologize for the quality of the modelling; if I had anyone else at the time to do it, I wouldn’t have done it myself!

So that’s that! A matching earring and statement necklace set for $10.

Let me know how you like it, and of course if you dare to attempt this yourself! There are so many possibilities with the oven bake clay and paint or even markers, I’d love to see what else y’all could come up with!

Rachel

I’m also sharing this project over at Wow Us Wednesdays on http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net:

Savvy Southern Style
…and at the Pretty Preppy Party:

Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss

DIY Watercolor Sneakers

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my DIY Anthropologie Inspired Mock Espadrilles. If you read it, you remember that I used a $6 pair of slip-ons from Walmart. At the same time, I found these $6 sneakers, also very plain and simple, but blank canvases just begging for a DIY project.

Before

Since I have a history of not being able to leave things alone…or plain…or white (you get the picture), I made plans to give them a makeover.

As an aspiring artist (you can see some of my work here), I have been practicing with watercolors, a medium I love. I thought I’d play around with watercolors on my shoes, just to see what happened, and ended up with these, a feminine, springy floral.

Watercolor Sneakers

Now, to get started, here are the supplies I used. My watercolors were just a cheap $10 set from Hobby Lobby…nothing fancy or expensive.

Supplies

I sketched out a few ideas to figure out what I wanted (I have a little trouble committing/making decisions, so this helped).

Sketches

I chose my colors, and painted on blobs for the flowers…seriously, just blobs. It’s supposed to be abstract, and when I went back with my Sharpie marker and added details, they started to look like flowers. I had to keep my paint brush pretty wet. If my paint went on too thick (it needs to be pretty light and transparent), I just got my brush really wet and painted back over it.

FlowersPink Floral

I added leaves (still just blobs, I didn’t even need shapes), and let my paint dry for about an hour.

Leaves

Dots

 

Now, I added details with my Sharpie like petals, stems, leaves, etc.

Sharpie Details.

And my shoes were done!

Final Floral

Here’s another version I did, adding stripes for fun mixed prints.

Stripes and Flowers

If you’re wanting to try this, but not feeling quite brave enough to tackle watercolors, you could use just your Sharpie to make a black and white pattern, and add fun details like colorful shoelaces (mine were $1.50 from Walmart).

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Or you could sketch a tribal print, and add mock espadrille soles (similar to this Marc Jacobs pair starting at $165) with twine and hot glue. You can see the tutorial here.

Tribal Espadrilles

Really, the possiblilities are endless, and the supplies are minimum. There are so many fun, unique things you could do with these shoes to easily make your own cute, summery pair in any print you like. You can also see my Pinterest board, Patterns, to inspire you with more ideas. Happy crafting!

I’m also sharing this post at these fabulous parties:

Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss

Savvy Southern Style

DIY Anthropologie Inspired Mock Espadrilles

      To me, nothing says summer like a cute pair of light, beachy espadrilles. And who doesn’t love a good Anthropologie knock-off? I’m combining both of these things today.

 Anthropologie is one of my favorite stores. However, I don’t own a single article of clothing from the store. Why, you ask? Well, when I walk into an Anthropologie store, drooling over the every single item in the store, I don’t even bother to look at the prices…I already know I can’t afford a thing in there (unless I see a clearance rack, where I’ll read the price tag, but still be sorely disappointed that even the clearance prices are too high). Doesn’t stop me from looking, though.

Espadrille sneakers and slip-ons are everywhere this year, and I’ve really been wanting a pair. Whilst perusing Anthropologie online, I fell in love with this pair.

Anthro Version

At $95 a pair, well, if you’ve read my blog at all, you know I don’t spend that kind of money on anything.

While walking through the aisles of Walmart, I found a plain white pair of slip-ons for…get this, $5.87!! Although they were slightly horrifyingly ugly as they were (sorry Walmart), all I could see was a blank canvas. The wheels in my head started turning. By the way, if you ever wonder why, like, 75% of the things I mention come from Walmart…well, with four kids, I don’t get out of the house much, so it’s usually kind of my only option. When I make a run for groceries, I slip over to look for inspiration in other departments. Two trips in one.

With just a few things I had on hand already, I turned an otherwise bland pair of shoes into, what I think is a cute little pair of slip-ons that I’m excited to wear. Here is the list of supplies for the job:

                -White flats (from Walmart or similar)

                -Sharpie marker

                -Twine (I got mine from Lowe’s for $3 several years ago, and I’ve used the same roll for at least a dozen projects)-

                -Hot glue gun

Supplies

I’ll show you the steps first, and give you a few pointers below that I discovered through trial and error while making my own.

Step by Step Blank Background

First, you’ll want to color the trim with your marker (inside and out). Second, color your dots. The good thing about this dalmatian pattern is that there is no set pattern; they’re meant to look hand-drawn, so you can literally just scribble them on randomly. If you don’t particularly care for the dalmatian pattern, you can chose any pattern or color you like (to me it’s the mock espadrille that makes them, so the pattern doesn’t really make a difference). When you’re ready to start gluing and wrapping the twine, you’ll want make sure you start and stop at the same place (that was the back middle for me). Also, you’ll want to apply 3 or 4 inches of glue and twine at a time…the glue dries quickly. Once you’re done wrapping, go back through and make sure there are no loose spots, and especially make sure the ends are very secure so they don’t pop up while you’re wearing them. Once you’re done, let your shoes dry out for 24-48 hours so that the Sharpie design has plenty of time to dry. I made my pair in about 20 minutes each, including the trial and error process. So just like that, you have a cute, comfy new  pair of summery espadrilles that only take a few minutes, and most importantly, won’t break the bank.

Just Shoes

I’m also sharing this post in the Pretty Preppy Party Link Party:

Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss