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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tip #48: STAPLE C - The White Shirt

Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor

Princess seaming and slightly ruched cuffs give this basic a touch of "pretty." A machine-washable blend of cotton, nylon and spandex and a wallet-friendly price make this an easy work-to-weekend staple. $69,

The elusive white shirt can impart sophistication and polish to everything from a suit to a pair of khaki's or jeans.
The classic white shirt is made of 100% cotton, with a collar that's neither oversized nor too small; not too pointy and not too wide-apart. The hem can be cut straight across, but a menswear-style shirttail hem, with a curved bottom and cutaway sides, is nice because it reduces bulk when tucked in and is visually slimming when worn out. No matter what your shape and size, the most flattering shirts are tailored with darts and seams to fit closer to the body. Boxy shirts tend to look frumpy.
From there, you can branch out to suit your taste and fit needs. If you're concerned about wrinkling, try a fabric with a small amount of stretch. If you love cuff links, opt for French cuffs. If you prefer a cleaner, minimalist look, consider a shirt in with the front buttons hidden under the placket.
Or you can choose a less traditional shirt, such as a wrap style that flatters the waist, one with gathering at the bust to can create the illusion of curves, or a body-conscious version with stretch. (If you choose a fancier style, the details become part of the focus of your outfit, so you'll want to make sure your accessories, such as scarves and jewelry, don't compete.)

Banana Republic

Banana Republic

No iron? No problem. This shirt, in a cotton/Lycra blend, resists wrinkles, making mornings easier. The company says the fabric is treated to avoid puckering at the seams, armholes and collar. Hidden buttons look sleek, and though blends don't always breathe as well as all-cotton fabrics do, they're often more opaque--a bonus for women who worry about overexposure. $59,

Old Navy

Old Navy

At this price, you can buy Old Navy's fitted cotton shirt in multiples--if only to save trips to the laundry. A narrow placket creates a softer, more feminine neckline. $20,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tip #47: Nail Polish Strips

Available at Walmart
Click to get a 3% rebate and SAVE $
OMG!!!  Have you seen these Nail Polish Strips?  It wears like nail polish because it IS nail polish - NOT a sticker.  NO DRY TIME!   They are advertised to last up to 10 days - but those of us who do the dishes know better :)

I haven't personally tried them, but the reviews are favorable - especially for the money.... anyone tried them?

Incoco Brand
Also, if your nails are short, you can further save money by cutting each nail strip into half - so that instead of wasting the 'free end', you could use it for another nail - perhaps the same nail on your opposite hand. 
These strips would probably appeal to those of you who want to wear nail polish for special events, but who don't have the time or $ to paint their own nails or hop into a salon.   

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tip #46: STAPLE B - The Black Pant

Who doesn't love a pair of black pants?!?   Black trousers can be dressed up or down and, if you buy a pair that fits your figure, black pants can be slimming and flattering.  
Black pants can be worn over and over without looking repetitive, because the attention is on what you pair them with, not on your pants. I went on a business trip once where I was limited to one carry on... I brought 1 pair of black pants, 6 different shirts, accessories, casual shoes and high heels.  Every day I had a different look.   
Try on a variety of styles to find the one that best fits your body type.  Are they machine washable?  Will dog hair stick to them? Should they be lined?
Different Black Pant Looks:
  • A classic flat-front, wide leg style flatters virtually every figure and enables you to wear a variety of shoes -- ballet flats, peep toes, loafers.  
  • Black jeggings or leggings with a pair of black boots (or even brown depending on what you wear on top) 
  • Wear black pants with a T-shirt, a hoodie and sneakers for a casual weekend look.
  • Opt for a black sweater and black boots for a lean silhouette.
  • Select a crisp white blouse and black beads for a simple, modern touch.
  • Let your shirt pop by selecting one in a bold color, such as turquoise, deep pink or bright green.
  • Try straight-leg black pants with a longer, tunic cut print top.
  • Experiment with tops in a range of styles and cuts. Try shirts that are open at the neck, high turtlenecks, boat necks and crew necks to see what works best.
  • Feel sexy by pairing a halter top with black pants.
  • Find a black cropped jacket in a tweed finish that works with the pants to get a suit effect. Just match different blacks carefully, since the depth of the colors can vary.
  • Take black pants into evening by selecting a top with a metallic finish, such as bronze, copper, gold or silver.
  • Tuck straight-legged black pants into boots that come up almost to your knee with a turtleneck and blazer to achieve a classy, equestrian style easily.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tip #45: STAPLE #A - JEANS

First, I want to thank the MOPS girls at Kirkwood Presbytarian in Springfield for being so welcoming and wonderful this morning.  I had such a great time talking to your group and I learned some valuable tips myself... thank you!!!

One of the questions asked this morning was, "What are the staples that you must have in your closet?"  I could speak in length about each one of the staples, so today I will only address one... JEANS!!!

Everyone needs a pair of 'go-to' jeans.  The kind of jeans you can grab and wear with anything.  Once we find 'the pair', we are so happy.  But, finding that one special pair can be very daunting.

Here are some tips:
  1. JUST go shopping for jeans - nothing else.  Jean shopping can be overwhelming with sizes, brands, styles, washes.  You are going to need a good meal and an honest friend to go with you.  
  2. Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off!
  3. Wear a shirt that you would typically wear with a pair of jeans. This is important for fit (especially for hiding those trouble areas)
  4. Refer to Tip #10 and Tip #32 for more information on jean trends and Levi 512's.
  5. I wouldn't be the Hip Bargain Chick if I didn't say WHERE to buy a BARGAIN pair of jeans... try consignment stores (like Chic Envy in Fairfax, Plato's Closet in Chantilly, Classy Consignments and E C's Closet (in Burke/Springfield) or Salvation Army.
    • Jeans are broken in
    • Designer brands for cheaper (True Religion, 7 For All Mankind, CABI, etc.)
    • Lots of selection in 1 spot
I had a Mom (who just had her fourth child and looks fabulous) mention this morning that her favorite pair of jeans are the Old Navy Dreamer Jeans.  I haven't tried them on yet, but the on-line reviews are good.  

Old Navy Dreamer Boot Cut Jeans

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tip #44: The "New" Pencil Skirts

LOVE Pencil Skirts!  But, I haven't worn one in years because the hemlines have been too short.

Well, I am excited, because this seasons elongated take on the 9-5 classic hits below the knee!!  

A Black Pencil Skirt is a GREAT Basic to add to any wardrobe - and a piece I would spend more money on for good quality.  It can be dressed up or down for day or night.  So many outfit possibilities!!! 

NOTE:  With this shape, shoes with height are a must.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tip #43: Out of Season Shopping

Are you willing to wait until things go out of season to score some great deals?!?!

  1. Stores usually stock clothes according to the fashion seasons, which are always a month or two ahead of actual seasons. 
    • A spring line of clothing lasts from January to March
    • Summer lines are introduced in April
  2. Buy your spring clothes in April (or later) instead of January 
  3. Buy winter clothes for a steal in March
    • Buy staple pieces, such as slacks and sweaters, that will still be in style for next year.
  4. Buy for your children a year in advance; just buy in a bigger size and store them. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tip #42: In Season Shopping

If you see a piece of clothing that you JUST GOTTA HAVE this season... here is the rule:
  1. Wait 6 weeks from the time that the items were first introduced at the store. Six weeks into the introduction is when most items go on sale.
  2. Then, after you've waited, hit the store on a Thursday night. Thursday is usually the first day of a sale.
  3. Don't wait until the weekend.  The store won't re-stock by then and the choices may be picked through, reducing your chances of getting the right size and style. 
  4. If an item isn't in stock when you go to buy it, ask a sales associate if she knows when more might be in or to call other stores to see if they have it. Often, stores will ship it to you for free.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tip #41: Upscale Consignment Shops

My girlfriend found this Ball Gown
at Chic Envy and looked gorgeous!
Cheapest is not always best - especially when it comes to certain basic wardrobe items - like Jeans and Suits.

But, you still want a bargain....

Upscale Consignment stores, such as the one in Fairfax called Chic Envy (, carry high-end clothing, shoes and accessories for a fraction of what they would cost in the department store.  Many times these items still have the original tags on.  I found myself a pair of Cabi Jeans for $30 compared to the original price of $90.  

When looking for those wardrobe basics that you plan on keeping in your closet for years and years, try an upscale consignment store first.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tip #40: How to Try on Clothing Easily

  1. Wear loose, comfortable clothes that are easy on and easy off. That means no tight jeans, tank tops with built-in bras or shoes with laces. 
  2. Wear neutral colored undergarments so they don’t show through any light colored items you might try on.
  3. Avoid heavy foundation or powder make up, as it rubs off easily on shirts and dresses that you need to pull on and off over your head. 
  4. Wear Deodorant that rolls on clear.
  5. Avoid styling your hair. You’ll just get aggravated trying to keep it in place pulling clothes on and off over your head. Instead, pull your hair back into a braid or ponytail. Or if it’s a short do, just wash and let it go.
  6. Take a friend you trust along with you--someone who respects your style, but who also will be honest and tell you when a color, print or size doesn’t like you.
  7. Browse through all of the clothing racks before heading into the dressing room. If you end up with too many items to carry, ask the store clerk to hold them for you. Accumulating all of your possibilities before heading into the dressing room will you give you the most options for putting outfits together. The last thing you want to do is try on a bunch of clothes then discover on another sweep through the store that they have a shirt that just might be perfect for the pants you already tried on.
  8. Grab a couple of sizes (if you don't know the brand/designer) so that you don’t have to go back out into the store if one doesn’t work out in the dressing room. 
  9. Fold after you try on a piece of clothing if you want it, but hang it back on the hanger if you don’t. It’s no fun trying to make sense of a big pile of discards and their tangled hangers when you’re done trying on and just want to get out of the dressing room with your new clothes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tip #39: When you don't shower after the Gym

Ugh... who doesn't shower after the Gym.... ME!

I am already out, I have an hour before picking up my daughter at preschool and I need to get sh** done!

C'mon girls - who can admit they run to Target after sweating on the treadmill?!?

My solution to my smell?

Magazine Perfume Inserts.

I rip out the page and keep them in my car.  I rub them all over my wrists, neck and clothes after a workout when I don't have time to shower before an errand.

Don't subscribe to Magazines?  Rip them out of the magazines at the gym or at a doctor's office.  Chances are, if the magazine is available to the public then the person buying the magazine wasn't interested, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tip #38: Eyelash Strengthening FOR FREE!

Some of  you are going to think I am CRAZY!

So, I happened to catch some snippets of the morning shows yesterday at the gym and they were talking about the eyelash lengtheners that will be hot this year.

I tried a way that lengthened my eyelashes for FREE!!

I am a little nervous to tell you because it can be dangerous....

I trimmed my eyelashes with nail scissors. 
Yes, I cut them.  
And they grew back longer and thicker.

My Eyelashes 1 month after trimming
(love the bloodshot eyes!)
The first time I did it, I was VERY nervous.  What if they don't grow? What if I puncture my eye?  What if I cut them too short and I look like a freak?

My girlfriend has been doing it for years.  At first it was an experiment based on the fact that when you cut your hair on the rest of your body, it comes back thicker and sometimes darker.

After 25+ years of curling my eyelashes and wearing waterproof mascara, my eyelashes were beat up.  They didn't curl as well anymore.  Sometimes I had holes where I had no eyelashes.  Some lashes grew sideways. Some were thin.

I am quite happy with the results.  I trimmed them back in early December and by mid-December I had fuller lashes.  

Note:  If you have short, stubby eyelashes, I would not attempt this.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Did you save some money to go clothes shopping?  

Because January and February are 2 of the best months to shop for clothes!!  

Need to wait a few weeks for the best bargains, but there are a few out there right now.

Wait until the Xmas dust settles a bit.