May 29, 2020 | Fashion, Score!
This post contains affiliate links – and I receive a small commission on sales from readers clicking through these links. My full Disclosure Policy is here
Cutting your clothing budget down is something that many of us are faced with when our discretionary spending takes a hit. (I definitely have had to in the past!) Whether it’s a job loss or life circumstance change, a re-shifting in our priorities, or even a forced statewide stay-at-home order, there are times when we need to take measures to tighten up our finances. The clothing budget is often one of the first places to find some wiggle room, but there is still a way to get the clothes you need for HALF (or less) of what you are currently spending. When times are tough, here are 5 painless ways to cut your clothing budget in half:
How to Cut Your Clothing Budget in Half
1. Do a clothing swap with friends, family, or neighbors
Right now many people are unable to sell their extra clothes, as garage sales and other outlets have dried up (though I’m still having some luck on Poshmark – get $10 when you sign up using my referral code CARLYJCAIS). A great way to increase your wardrobe options and help others get rid of their unwanted items is to organize a clothing swap amongst friends, neighbors, or family members (who are not ill or immuno-compromised). You can have everyone drop off a bag of unwanted items at a location at a designated time, lay out the items, and have people return to look through what’s available (in small groups or in staggered times to be safe). Observe social distancing and group gathering protocols, or even snap photos of the items and share them to the group. Decide what you will do with unwanted items and you have yourself a clothing swap!
Also: Here’s a great article about treating clothes that may have coronavirus on them, and how to be safe handling them. (There’s still a lot we don’t know though experts say the risk of contamination is low.) A good precaution is to wear gloves when handling someone else’s clothing, and
2. Shop at thrift stores and used clothing shops instead of buying new
Deemed essential businesses in many states, many thrift stores and used clothing stores are still open to the public (though many have suspended taking in new donations at this time). As stores reopen, do your part to shop (still being careful of course). So many of the raw materials for my shirt makeovers have come from the local Goodwill! (Goodwill is my absolute favorite thrift store hands-down, partially because of their global supply chain and that they ensure every donated piece of clothing is not wasted. It completely blew my mind when I researched how extensive their organization is and the amazing things they do. Check out my article on Goodwill’s ability to keep clothing out of the landfill and their sustainable practices for more information.)
3. Style your pieces differently to create a whole new look
Sometimes it just takes fresh eyes to breathe new life into your wardrobe – which is why it can be fun to share outfit ideas with a friend remotely. But if you’re looking for styling ideas by yourself, you can always search on Pinterest for the specific piece you have in your closest that you want to style differently (“striped shirt” or “outfit ideas” for example). I also keep a ton of old clippings from magazines – cool pieces, clothing I’d love to make, DIY ideas for this site…as well as whole outfits. One source of inspiration that I love is The Uniform Project – even though it’s more than a decade old now – because Sheena Matheiken’s sense of style and different ideas she came up with for that little black dress were amazing and so versatile! It always starts me thinking about similar pieces I have in my closet – and the cool stuff I could do with them that are a little outside my normal go-to.
4. Purchase just the tops
With the proliferation of Zoom and online meetings as a part of everyday life, many of us are having to appear on camera…but only from the waist up. A great way to keep costs down is to only purchase from the waist up! Instead of a whole dress, buy a top only (and wear sweatpants below…shh! no one will know!). A pretty pair of earrings or nice necklace and you’re done – for only a fraction of the cost of your normal shopping budget.
5. DIY and makeover clothing you already have!
Of course, this one is nearest and dearest to my heart! You can find hundreds of tutorials for clothing makeovers on my site, the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System, or on Pinterest. Refashioning, upcycling, and giving clothing a new life is what allows your closet to survive fashion trends, and ensures you squeeze every last drop of usefulness out of your wardrobe. Hope to see your DIY projects – with your own personal stamp on them – soon!
Apr 20, 2020 | Fashion
This post contains affiliate links – and I receive a small commission on sales from readers clicking through these links. My full Disclosure Policy
So many fashion trends were on the Spring & Summer 2020 runways that seem recycled from past years. Well, that’s pretty much to be expected with fashion – what goes around, comes around! Though I’m not suggesting you indulge in ALL these trends ALL at once (then you would be a slave to the Fashion Industry’s whims)…you might find inspiration to pull out of your own closet, give a dust-off, and enjoy again.
The weather is warming up, the birds and insects are coming out of hiding, flowers are blooming, the world is in lockdown. Let’s look at some pretty things to lift our spirits, shall we?
8 Fashion Trends for Spring & Summer 2020
1. The Crochet Dress
Seen on the Spring runways at Marni, Fendi, and Jil Sander (just to name a few!) this 70’s revival received a modern update this year. Pretty, airy, and feminine, these can display a little – or a lot! – of skin to the warm breezes of Summer.
Recommended: Navy Blue Mesh Panel 3D Floral Lace Double Layer Midi Dress, $40.99
2. The Bra Top
Underwear as outerwear showed up at Dior, Givenchy, and Giambattista Valli. Channel the high-end designers by sporting a demure bikini top or bra that looks less like lingerie and more like a cool lounge top. Even if you’re naturally shy, you can still pull off this fashion trends for spring & summer 2020 by layering under a blazer or lightweight Spring coat.
Recommended: Padded Lace Longline Bralette, $13
3. Yellow Neon
I’ve always loved this color and certainly don’t need the latest crop of designers telling me to go wear it! Though Courreges, Marni, and Balenciaga got with the program this year, neon yellow will always be a neutral in my mind – and something that is cheerful and sunny even on cloudy days.
Recommended: Candidly low heel sandal with tubular strap in yellow, $60
4. Ruffled Tiers
Prairie-style for days, these ruffled tiers are super-sweet volumes of indulgence at the Christopher Kane, Roksanda, and Alexander McQueen shows. I feel lighter and happier when covered in ruffles (seriously, can you EVER have too many??) and this is truly a welcome trend.
Recommended: DIY Babydoll Dress from 3 Men’s Shirts, $0 if you own 2 button-down shirts already!
5. Bermuda Shorts
Kind of an update on the cropped clamdigger-length pants that were everywhere last year and you had to have model proportions to pull off well >: ( …the longer-length shorts that hit around the knee are a new iteration. Bottega Veneta, Chloe, and Altuzarra offered their interpretations…and paired with a cute color-coordinating blazer these shirts give off a cool, laid-back 2020 vibe.
Recommended: Board Short in Black, $40
6. Polka Dots
Another graphic print I just adore – they almost act as another neutral when paired with a more busy print, and help a color POP when layered together. Dries Van Noten, Sacai, and Maison Margiela shared their pretty Spring versions of this sophisticated classic.
Recommended: 80’s Vintage Polka Dot Smock Top in White, $39.90
Vests are already a wardrobe staple for me and I’ve been wearing them for years – so happy to see them back in fashion! Something tailored, fitting, and chic is the name of the game – at Celine, Max Mara, Gucci, and Rag & Bone.
Recommended: Jersey Cropped Suit Vest,$29
8. 1960’s Wallpaper Prints
I’m personally not a huge fan of 60’s wallpaper prints…which showed up in the Prada, Marc Jacobs, and Gucci collections…but I DO love a tropical oversized print! Nothing says Summer so much as large flowers and palm trees! (Evidenced by my DIY Printed Flat-Bottom Zip Samudra-Style Pouch tutorial using my Palm Tree Print Fabric, available on Spoonflower.)
Recommended: Tropical Print Paperbag Waist Belted Shorts, $8.95 (!)
The nice thing is – if you DO want to purchase any of the above – they ALL can be bought online – and all delivered to your home. Except of course the DIY Babydoll Dress – which you can make yourself from 2 button-down shirts on hand!
Dec 20, 2017 | Fashion
FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, where if you click and make a purchase I receive a small commission. My full Disclosure Policy is here
Winter is upon us here in Portland – and what comes with blustery winds, white flurries, and freezing walkways is cozy, comfy fashion. I’m a big fan of layers and usually am covered up neck to toes at work – and love this season as it presents great opportunity to get creative with the layering of my more lightweight items. Here are a couple pretty pieces that can be rotated into a winter work wardrobe with ease:
1. Choies Polychrome Colorblock Geometric Print Tie Belt Dress, $16.99
2. Modcloth Stargazing Splendor Blazer in Constellations, $89
3. Modcloth Charter School Turtleneck Sweater, $39
4. ASOS Suede Slouchy Shoulder Bag, $50
Nov 7, 2017 | Fashion
Well..technically a laptop case…but we’ll just call it a handbag for today’s purposes, yes?
I’m a firm believer in using the possessions you have to utter exhaustion: until they are tattered, destroyed specimens of what they once were. Get good use out of it (until it falls apart!) would be my motto.
My first laptop case is still on its last legs (so I only use that around the house and where no one sees it). I needed a laptop case for the computer I use for work, which is smaller than my personal computer, and which I have to carry to and from work constantly.
I spied this amaaaahzing Renny Drive spotted laptop case by Kate Spade (it’s now sadly sold out everywhere but one does show up from time to time on eBay). It’s professional, chic, feminine, memorable, and goes with just about anything I’m wearing to the office, or casually. I purchased it about a year and a half ago and have been using it ever since to tote around my work computer. It’s such a light color though – that it’s like a grime magnet, and I’ve been stumped on how to clean this nylon laptop case for awhile – because it’s nylon and because it has stiffeners and linings that really shouldn’t be thrown into the washing machine. So..
What is Nylon?
Nylon is a synthetic polymer (and actually was the first commercially successful synthetic thermoplastic polymer – thank you Wikipedia!) Though there are a few different types of nylon, nylon used in clothing and accessories is heat-set in terms of pattern and color, and water-resistant – and can be dyed using acid dyes.
You may have a nylon bag in your closet – or a pair of nylon shoes or an accessory – that gets dingy and defies being cleaned (because hey, it’s nylon). I’ve discovered the most awesome trick for getting those grungy nylon accessories sparkling again.
How to Clean a Nylon Handbag (or How to Clean Nylon in general)
Everywhere I looked on how to clean nylon recommended either throwing it in the washing machine with a milk liquid detergent, or spot-clean with liquid soap and water. Nope and nope – I found these methods useless for the amount of dirt on my laptop case. (Plus you should never put a handbag with linings or stiff sides into the washing machine – submerging in water and agitating could permanently damage the structure of the bag.) Here’s the top-secret, ONLY way to clean a nylon accessory and get it good as new:
dirty nylon item // Kiwi Sport heavy duty sneaker cleaner for light-colored sneakers // rag // small amount of water (not pictured)
How to clean your nylon accessory with Kiwi Sport sneaker cleaner:
1. Squeeze a generous amount of sneaker cleaner onto a dirty area, using the bristle brush of the applicator to scrub the cleaner into the nylon weave in a circular motion.
2. Wait a few minutes to let the cleaner penetrate. Use a clean rag to buff the cleaner into the nylon in a circular motion.
3. Dampen your rag with a bit of water, and shammy that cleanser (and the grime) away!
Note: Always do a spot test of the sneaker cleaner on the item before using it in a conspicuous area.
Allow your accessory to dry, et voila!
Your nylon handbag, laptop case, accessory what-have-you…now has a new lease on life!
This method may not work perfectly (and I was left with a few stubborn areas of dirt, especially on the edges of the case), but for a quick, useful solution this can’t be beat!
Sep 26, 2017 | Fashion
This post is part of my ongoing affiliate relationship with Shopbop. My FTC Disclosure is here.
This will hopefully be one of my last posts on Chic Steals before everything is moved over to Chic Creative Life…and I can’t wait!
I just wanted to give all of you a heads up about the Shopbop End of Season sale – and some great discounts that can be had exclusively for my readers!
As a Chic Steals (and soon-to-be Chic Creative Life) reader, YOU have access to the sale a full 24 hours ahead of everyone else! Just click on the Shop Now link below!
Above are some key pieces that are on my Fall wishlist (and that can be snapped up for a steal during the sale):
1. STYLEKEEPERS Retro Juliette Pleated Skirt // 2. English Factory Ruffle Sweater // 3. Madewell Treasure Pendant Necklace Set
4. Rebecca Minkoff Handcuff with Chain Bracelet // 5. The Fix Vail Pumps // 6. J.O.A. Tie-Sleeve Sweater
7. Elizabeth + James Obi Ring // 8. Melissa Drop Rain Boots // 9. Rebecca Minkoff Ruffle Muffler Scarf // 10. Baggu Small Canvas Circle Purse
Get in on the sale early starting NOW!
Sale ends FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH at 11:59 PM PDT.
More details about the Shopbop Event of the Season Sale can be found here (will go live Wednesday Sept 27 once the Sale is live for everyone).
Jun 5, 2017 | Fashion
FTC Disclosure: This is a paid post in partnership with Nakturnal, with the prize of a $25 ARV gift certificate to the e-tailer Mixology. The content and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, where a purchase made after clicking on a link earns me a small commission. My full Disclosure Policy is here.
Hi again, friends!
Things have been super-busy over here at Chic Steals (for good reason – I have a TON of cool announcements on the way!) but I’m popping in briefly to talk about Summer fashion finds – and to offer up a $25 gift certificate to get your shopping started. So let’s go!
Lately I’m crushing on ruffles, layers, sparkles, and LOTS of pink. I don’t know why…it just feels like a girly, feminine summer to me so far, and lots of frilliness and silliness is totally making me happy. With that in mind, I’ve been browsing the Mixology website lately – a mom-and-pop fashion boutique that features awesome brands at affordable prices (right up my alley 😉 and a lot of fun, girly pieces.
Here are a couple of my pretty pink, frilly, sparkly picks for Summer:
1 // Decker Flamenco Top, $29
2 // Curved Modern Hoop Earring, $38
3 // Agile Employee Dress in Milkshakes, $89.99
4 // ASOS Hunky Dory Pom Block Heeled Sandals, $72
5 // BlueStripe Bow Waist Ruffle Skirt, $22.99
6 // Get it Right Black Halter One-Piece Swimsuit, $49
7 // Oscar Daniel Triangle Choker, $48
8 // Valentine Ruffle Heart-Shape Bustier Shift Dress, $70.40
9 // Skinnydip Cateye Sunglasses in Pink Velvet, $48
10 // Sparkle Star Field In the Universe Tote Bag, $20 (designed by me!!)
Mixology has some great, affordable picks (like that hot pink ruffled flamenco top and triangle choker necklace above, that went straight onto my wishlist). And I have a $25 gift certificate for one lucky Chic Steals reader to get a head start on your Summer shopping there!
WIN A $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE – HOW TO ENTER
- (Required) Leave a comment on this post telling me what your fashion crush is for this Summer. [one entry allowed per unique email address]
- (Optional) Share a link to this post on any of your social networks (like Facebook or Twitter) and comment back on this post with the link. That comment will earn you 1 more entry. [one extra entry allowed per unique link to live social media post]
- (Optional) Share this giveaway with a friend and ask them to comment on this post with your email address in the comment. This will earn 1 entry for you, and 1 entry for your friend. [one extra entry for your unique email address per unique friend’s email address]
Winner will be chosen at random from comments on this post.
The giveaway is open from now until July 7, 11:59PM PDT.
*Please note: Mixology offers $8.99 flat rate shipping for all orders under $75, free shipping for orders above $75 for the contiguous 48 United States. All international shipping will be shipped through USPS. The $25 gift certificate can be used for merchandise only and does not cover shipping costs or International customs fees for orders.