Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fantasies

Thank goodness it's Friday! This week seemed to drag on for-ev-er. I'm looking forward to a few fun things this weekend ...

- the Vintage Heaven sale is back this weekend! (I nabbed a few amazing things here in the past)

- with the weather warming up, the monthly Kane County Flea Market is the best spot to haggle for great vintage finds (I'll be on the hunt for chairs and frames - per usual)

- and I've totally caught "Lotto Fever"! ... why not take a chance at tonights $640M jackpot, right? The best part is fantasizing about what you could with the winnings.

... I know what I would do first ...

Chicago Bride
transform my closet into a luxurious dressing room (and maaaybe a few new items for it)

Chicago Bride
find the perfect apartment in Paris to call my own (aren't they all perfect, though!)

Chicago Bride
arrange for macarons to be delivered fresh daily

... or I can just streamline my process and build my dressing room in my new Parisian apartment, where my macarons will be delivered! Perfect plan. And you're all invited (on me).

Have a great weekend!

images from Pinterest, Irene Suchocki, Pinterest

Sheer Blush

Chicago Style

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• sheer blouse from Nordstrom Rack

• pants from Forever21
• two tone pumps from Zara
• bracelets from J.Crew, IGWT, Barneys
• vintage pearl necklace and cocktail ring from Vintage Underground
• pearl clutch from Forever21

Another fab, affordable find from the Rack. I've seen similar tops with contrasting accents at department stores and boutiques, but this price was right at $16. That, plus my other bargain garments adds up to around $100 for the entire outfit! I've learned that if I spot something I love, at least take a glance at the outlets or Forever21, chances are very good that they have something similar for a fraction of the price.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Garden Party


There's a fine line between tasteful and tacky ... pick a bad floral pattern and you risk looking like gaudy wallpaper. But choose a pretty print and you've got an easy, feminine ensemble. Below is a round up of chic florals I'm currently craving – and contrary to Mrs. Priestly's criticism, these pieces are a welcome spring trend in my closet

The garden party goods, clockwise from top right: 
• floral tulip top – $12.50, available at Forever21
• dahlia floral dress – $75.20, available on ASOS

• summer fun dress – $127.79, available at Free People

• floral cut out waist dress – $53.72, available on ASOS

• floral sandal – $7.50, available at Forever21

• strapless peplum top – $15.80, available at Forever21

• blurred floral blouse – $53.72, available on ASOS

• printed maxi dress – $46.99, available on Piperlime

• midi skirt – $69, available at Urban Outfitters

• floral skinny belt – $16.11, available on ASOS

Bargain in Bloom

Chicago Style

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• maxi dress from Free People

• chambray shirt from J.Crew
• bangles from IGWT and C.Wonder
• necklace from Loris Shoes

This floral maxi dress has proven to be a great layering piece and has made a few appearances throughout the year (here and here). I've worn it alone to balmy, summer weddings, in the winter with a turtleneck, or tie on a shirt for a cool spring day like today. Floral frocks add a feminine touch, and who says they have to be reserved for warm weather months?

p.s. A few days ago I mentioned how it's totally worth scouring department store outlets – Well I tracked this dress down at Neiman Marcus Last Call, marked down from $148 to $60 ... while it was still full price at FP! Yup, definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Delicate Details

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• vintage blouse from Salvation Army

• green pants from Anthropologie 
• pumps from Aldo
• bangles from Forever21
• green agate ring from Target
• rhinestone initial necklace from UO

Adding delicate details to a vintage blouse and pants creates a clean, easy look. I added dainty gold bangles and one simple necklace to play off the romantic ruffle of this top. I love a good statement ring, and this one is a pretty serious stone, but in the most delicate sea foam shade of green. I found this awesome piece at Target for about $15. It's very similar to the lovely work of local jewelry line, Dollybird ... but I can't resist a good bargain!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pep in Your Step

peplum dress

Lately, I have been admiring the peplum style, but avoided it assuming the ruffle was meant for super slim chicks, not these hips! But then I fell in love with the above dress from BCBG and had to try it on. The cut is so feminine and the fringe falls just right where it accentuates an hour-glass shape in a good way. One problem, the $248 price tag is slightly out of my price range. I set out on an online hunt for similar flirty frocks, at a more affordable price. Below are some pretty peplums I spotted ...

The fringed frocks: 
1. open back peplum dress – $69.83, available on ASOS

2. scuba pencil dress – $96, available at Top Shop

3. gabby peplum dress – $178, available at NM Last Call

4. frill waist dress – $99.90, available at Zara

5. work with me dress – $49.99, available on ModCloth  

6. peplum top – $42.97, available on ASOS 

7. contrast trim dress – $17.80, available at Forever21 

8. midi dress with v neck – $71.62, available on ASOS 

9. lace peplum skirt – $50.13, available on ASOS

10. lilac fitted dress – $50, available at Top Shop

11. sweetheart dress – $52.99, available on ModCloth 

Channeling Chanel

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• blouse and pumps from Zara

• jacket from T.J. Maxx
• pants from Forever21
• wrap watch by La Mer
• bracelets from J.Crew and Forever21

I spotted this jacket on the discounted racks of T.J.Maxx for around $25 and was drawn to the Chanel-inspired look. Taking that theme, I'm pairing it with black pants and a black and white blouse, since she typically stuck to only those two shades. Also made famous by the fashion icon are the cap toe pumps, updated here with a tan and black pair from Zara. I suppose you could call this look "Chanel-lite", since Coco often added strands of pearls, baubles, a hat and her camellia brooch to her ensemble (as evidenced by my full-blown Chanel Halloween costume last year). 

... of course, no Coco homage would be complete without a spritz of Chanel perfume (though I opt for "Mademoiselle" over her signature "No.5")

Chanel style
Mlle Chanel, photo from Pinterest

Monday, March 26, 2012

Discount Department

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• top from Mikkat Market

• silk dress from Off 5th
• leggings from H&M
• booties by Report
• men's watch
• cuff by Nine West
• rhinestone earrings from J.Crew

It's just like mother nature to tease us with that summer weather ... but I'll keep spring alive with this super bright pink hue. Department store bargain basements like Nordstrom Rack, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Off 5th may seem intimidating with their mishmash of inventory, but taking the time to sift through the deeply discounted racks can lead to some fantastic finds. This dress was originally marked around $178, but it was tucked into a rack, slashed down to $25! I check out these spots first when on the hunt for something specific – say, a dress for a wedding, or a classic pencil skirt – that way I have a goal instead of not knowing where to start. Of course ... I always pick up some fun finds along the way, whether or not I find what I came for.   

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mad Men Style: Modern Home

You can channel your inner Betty or Joan with some stylish steals, but to really complete the look, grab a few vintage home accents, too. Below are a few Don Draper-approved accessories to add a mid-century modern twist to your space ...

The Mad Mod goods: 
1. mid century side chair – $95, available on etsy

2. modern brass sconce – $39, available at Urban Outfitters

3. vintage typewriter – $68, available on etsy

4. set of vintage tumblers – $42, available on etsy

5. set of vintage decanters – $44, available on etsy 

6. danish-style media stand – $89, available at Urban Outfitters

7. vintage ice bucket – $33, available on etsy

8. vintage cigarette tin – $12, available on etsy

9. vintage ads for framing – $65, available on etsy

Homage to Mid Century

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• tshirt from Nordstrom

• vintage jacket from Salvation Army
• dark denim from Forever21
• pumps from Aldo
• vintage earrings from rummage sale
• vintage clutch from McShane's Exchange
• bangle from Coach

As my own tribute to the mavens of Mad Men, I'm adding a modern spin to a few vintage finds. I'm donning this vintage swing jacket that I scored at Salvation Army for $3, and throwing in some accessories inspired by Betty and Joan, like these clip-on baubles and a sleek portfolio clutch. Pairing these items with skinny jeans and a clean ponytail keeps the look current instead of costume. I'm looking forward to pulling more inspiration (and getting my Don Draper fix!) during Sunday's premiere!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Money Bags

So I have a confession to make ... I've been stashing my cash in a Coach wristlet since college. It's a convenient little pouch to hold cards, bills, and I.D. (and all that random stuff that makes it's way in, like receipts, frequent-buyer cards, coins, and crap), but also a pain rummaging through all of that to find anything. I figure since I am now officially out of my twenties, it's time for a grown-up wallet. I want it to be slim and lady-like shape, professional yet pretty (you know, for holding all of my benjamins).

The cash-stashin' goods, clockwise from top right: 
• coach croc skinny wallet – $158, available at Coach
• lodis sleek frame wallet – $58.90, available at Nordstrom
• marc jacobs fold over wallet – $168, available on Shop Bop
• see by chloe twirl flap wallet – $195, available at Bloomingdales
• kate spade zoey wallet – $198, available on Zappos
• mk saffiano wallet – $138, available at Nordstrom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mad Men Style: Joan Holloway

Joan Holloway Style

Leave the a-line skirts for Betty, Joan is all about the curve-hugging styles. She saunters down the hallways in sexy pencil skirts, sporting her signature red lip. Swipe Joan's sultry, secretarial look with these inspired pieces ...

The secretarial goods: 
1. jade cardigan – $62, available at J.Crew

2. knot collar blouse – $59.90, available at Zara

3. pink pencil skirt – $32.23, available on ASOS

4. berry brooch dress – $129.99, available on ModCloth

5. vintage pen necklace – $24, available on Amazon 

6. YSL Rouge Pur Couture – $32, available at Bloomingdales

7. linen peep toe pump – $80, available at ALDO

8. tan belted dress – $49.99, available on ModCloth

9. polka dot scarf – $7.99, available on ModCloth

Bonjour Spring

Paris Spring

I am traveling for work today and tomorrow so no outfit posts for me (but as you can imagine, my "biz casual" outfits aren't far from my average look). In the meantime, it's officially spring and all I want to do is start my garden (but like any good Chicagoan, I know these temps are probably a tease until the real deal).

While we can't be in Paris this spring, but we can pretend at this macaron making class!

French Macarons

And these pretty sherbet polishes are perfect for ringing in spring (I would love to dip each digit in a different shade!)

French Macarons

Paris image from Getty, French macaron image from thisisglamorous, Chanel polishes from Pinterest

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mad Men Style: Betty Draper

Betty Draper Style

Bust out your best scotch ... Mad Men returns this coming Sunday! After a year-plus hiatus, the stylish set of ad execs, their housewives, and secretaries are back to awe us with their mid-century musings. While the men are suave in their suits, it's the ladies that really steal the scenes, namely Joan and Betty. Both leading ladies embody the aesthetic of 1960s fashion, but in two very different ways. With feminine a-line skirts and ladylike touches, below are some finds fit for the former Mrs. Draper.

The Betty-fied goods: 
1. braided pearl and bead choker – $8.80, available at Forever21

2. polka dot gloves – $40, available at BHLDN

3. chain mail clutch – $79.90, available at Zara

4. ivory dress – $199.99, available on ModCloth

5. red swing jacket – $198, available at Anthropologie 

6. nude patent pump – $80, available at Aldo

7. silver and blue studs – $3.80, available at Forever21

8. embroidered violet pullover – $98, available at Anthropologie

9. floral cardigan  – $19.80, available at Forever21

10. lace print cat eye glasses  – $5.50, available at Forever21

11. red dress – $109.99, available on ModCloth 

12. taffeta a-line skirt – $99, available at Lord&Taylor

Red Hot Tuesday

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• dress from Forever21

• chambray shirt from J.Crew outlet
• sandals by Via Spiga
• silver necklaces from Tiffany
• silver bangle from Barneys
• men's watch

I love this bright, lightweight dress (a $17 bargain from Forever21), but balmy weather like this means the air conditioned office dilemma arrives a little early this year. The dress is perfect for my walks to and from work and lunch hour strolls, and throwing this buttondown shirt over keeps me comfortable inside.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Urban Bargain

Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson style

Chicago Style

Chicago Style

The goods:
• top from UO

• wideleg pants from H&M
• necklaces from Vintage Underground 
• espadrilles from Target
• bangles from J.Crew and Banana Republic

We took advantage of this summery weekend by hanging out on our rooftop and driving top down (I even have the pink hue to prove it). With these temps come the summer tops, like this one from Urban Outfitters ... which always has pretty, feminine, and flowy tanks. And this weekend I made a divine discovery, the Urban Outfitters Outlet! The shop that used to sit on Clark at Fullerton moved to Diversey, but they kept the old space as their bargain basement (and I mean bargain ... sweaters and tops for $10, dresses for $20, shoes for $25, men's t-shirts for $5 a pop!). It would seem I'm the last to know about it as the place was packed with shoppers, but I'll be checking there first from now on (especially since I saw a table of green jeans that they currently carry in the regular store). A new fave frugal find.