Luxe for Less: Under $100

1. Dorothy Perkins skirt, $49 // 2. Jonathan Adler for JCP coasters, $35 // 3. Tory Burch fragrance, $82 // 4. Sparrow sweater, $98 // 5. Tory Burch pouch, $95 // 6. Zara shoes, $70 // 7. JCP earrings, $50

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Sartorial Spending: July 2013

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A month where I purchased a DVF item and only went over budget by $30?! And they said it couldn’t be done! Actually, I’ve curbed a lot of frivolous spending thanks to having a car payment again. It’s a challenge to adjust to a new budget after driving a lien-free car for years!

August is going to be a frugal month with our Labor Day trip to D.C. coming up. I’m trying to limit my sartorial spending to only what I earn outside of my paycheck. So far, the Rebecca Minkoff camera case fits into those parameters, but we’ll see how the rest of the month goes! 

Here’s what I bought in July:

Total: $280 

I also purchased my Hermes bracelet, but that was money I had been tucking away for months to save up for it. 

Friday Find Under $50: Now you can find the week’s budget-friendly indulgence in the sidebar. I sometimes post more than one entry on Friday and didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle!

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Filed under: Budget 
Sartorial Spending: June 2013

June was the first time this year that I’ve felt satisfied with all of my purchases. Despite sale temptation, I avoided impulse spending by carefully considering how an item would work into my existing wardrobe (instead of just how it would work into next week’s outfit). The result: items that fit with my classic aesthetic without being boring. 

Here’s what I purchased:

Total: $376

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Filed under: Budget 
Sartorial Spending: April 2013

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I think it’s fairly obvious by now that I don’t set a budget for my purchases. As long as I’m not in debt, I give myself the freedom to buy what I like. It’s the perk of not having major fiscal commitments yet. However, I would like to be more conservative with my sartorial spending since I’m looking for a new car. I currently drive a 2002 Honda Civic that needs love, attention and money that I’m not willing to spend. The air conditioner stopped working over a year ago and it leaks inside when it rains. (When it’s sunny, the steam rising from the damp floor makes it feel like a sauna. Who needs a spa treatment when you can just ride in my car?)

Here are my goals for May:

  • Um, buy a car. Whoa.
  • Ignore sale emails to help curb impulse spending.
  • Plan purchases. I know I’d like to buy a Lilly Pulitzer tunic in May. Focus on that before being distracted by other items. (I also want a full red skirt, but that seems terribly impractical.)

And, here’s what I spent my hard-earned cash on this month:

The Limited pants - $15 and $25
I have mixed feelings about this purchase. I love the pattern, they’re more flattering than I thought patterned pants could be, and I scored the first pair for only $15. It was too good to be true. My normal size stretched out at least an inch in the waist after just four hours. I’m a fan of feeling svelte, but that was a little much. I ordered the size smaller online for $25 and it’s better once it stretches to accommodate my hips. I’m a little annoyed that I had to purchase them twice, but $40 total for a pair of pants is still a decent deal.

Joe Fresh shorts via JCP - $20
Joe Fresh in the States - finally! This little section of JCP is further proof that the retailer is upping its game. I have enough pairs of shorts to get me through the year, but this pair had such a fun pattern.

J.Crew bracelet - $32 (plus a gift card)
There’s no way I would have purchased a neon green, plastic bracelet at full price and I don’t suggest that you do either. I had a Christmas gift card still tucked away in my wallet, which helped justify the frivolous purchase. It’s obnoxiously bright.

Marc Fisher flats - $60 
Confession time: the only pair of black flats I had previously were plastic rain flats. I think that’s all the explanation needed.

Erin Fetherston dress - $0  (thanks to another gift card; not pictured)
Erin Fetherston had their archive sale this month (read: final sale). I admired this dress, convinced myself I didn’t need it, then checked on it again and again. I don’t have many occasions to wear a cocktail dress, so I’m tucking this away in my closet for an October wedding (and maybe a date night before then). It’s a little large and needs alterations before I wear it. 

ASOS dress - $73
I’m still crazy about this dress (also featured here).

LOFT dress - $53 not pictured
Those friends and family sale emails get me every time! I bought this dress with our upcoming vacation in mind. A blend of cotton and linen should be comfortable for strolling through Charleston. 

LOFT shorts - $30
I know that LOFT runs large, but I was able to wiggle into a smaller size than usual in this pair of shorts. (I’m so vain.) They’re also great for pattern mixing with summer stripes.

Juicy Couture sunglasses - $30 not pictured
Who needs cat-eye sunglasses? Me. Obviously. 

Total: $338

Reminder! Win a pair of bangle bracelets from Sequin!

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Sartorial Spending: March 2013

I was joking with Dave that this should be named my “shopping problem” series and by the looks of things this month, that’s not too far off. Any intention I had of staying on budget was gone the moment I spotted the Lilly Pulitzer dress. You can’t deny true love, right? 

Here’s the rundown with taxes, shipping, gift cards and discounts accounted for:

Lilly Pulitzer dress - $248
We have a wedding to attend in May and while I really wanted to buy something over the top, this feminine Lilly Pulitzer dress was a more versatile option for spring and summer. It was still a splurge, but at least the cost-per-wear will be less than a cocktail dress. (I’m also planning to wear this for my birthday in May on our Charleston getaway.)

Banana Republic coat - $40
I went on about my eBay score in this post. I won’t rehash it, but I’m still delighted with my new-to-me spring coat.

Not Pictured Old Navy floral boxers - $9
I stopped at Old Navy on the hunt for the lemon-print boxers. Our store didn’t have them in stock, so I left with a floral pair. At least it was a cheap impulse purchase.

Gap jacquard shorts - $45
I swear, “pink dressy shorts” really were on my spring must-buy list! Obviously I haven’t had a chance to wear these yet, but I’m hoping that I’ll reach for them quite a bit in the coming months. They’ll be especially cute with a slouchy grey sweater for afternoon drinks. (I’m tempted by the matching jacket, but that might be overkill!)

Jeweliq floral bracelet - $20
This bracelet is so cute, but it was such an impulsive buy. 

Lulu Frost necklace - $155
I obsessed over this necklace since it appeared in the February issue of Glamour magazine and finally took the plunge knowing I’d be devastated if it sold out. Unfortunately, the clasp broke the first full day I wore it. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of exchanging it, so the Lulu Frost team graciously sent over a new clasp. It was an easy fix and it’s as good as new. Aside from that minor hiccup, the necklace is beautiful. I’ve already worn it with everything from a sweatshirt to a black dress.

Banana Republic black dress - $46
Would you believe that I didn’t own a LBD? I received an invitation to a friend’s bachelorette party requesting that everyone wear black. Usually I’m exaggerating when I look into my closet and woefully sigh that I have nothing to wear, but this time I really didn’t have something. I ordered this black dress from Banana Republic (a promo code and my credit card rewards brought the price down considerably). I’m actually looking forward to wearing it with my new Lulu Frost necklace, an anorak jacket and gold boat shoes.

Total Spent: $563 (Yikes!)

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Friday Find Under $50

J.Crew shorts, $45

If you don’t have a pair of red shorts already, this is one item you’ll want to snag before summer. I wear mine at least once a week with everything from ultra preppy nautical stripes to a simple grey tee (speaking of which, these Old Navy t-shirts are my favorite and they’re just $9.50 each). 

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Friday Find Under $50

Joe Fresh for JCP pants, $29

This pair of printed pants is perfect for those who have been hesitant to experiment with the trend. They’re under $30 and the subtle pattern will work with many of the items already in your closet (think vibrant sweaters and Breton stripes). 

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Friday Find Under $50

Zara flats, $49.90

On my previous blog, I had a weekly roundup called “Friday Finds Under $50.” I was fed up with magazines (ahem, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue) insisting that anything under $500 was a style steal. My budget certainly doesn’t allow for that, so I wanted to work with a more realistic budget. There are great pieces at every price point if you have the patience to look for them. While I obviously couldn’t attest to the quality of the items in “Friday Finds,” I hoped that the weekly post would inspire readers to thoughtfully consider lower-priced items. 

I stopped doing the post because it took a lot of time to put together a collage of five items under $50, but I just had to bring it back in some capacity when Emily mentioned on Twitter that she missed the feature. So, here’s the debut “Friday Find Under $50!”

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Sartorial Spending: February 2013 

My “quality over quantity” New Year’s resolution isn’t going that well. I’m actually a little embarrassed by how much I spent in February, but I’ll pretend it didn’t happen if I don’t fess up. Changing my mindset about shopping is difficult with so much temptation and emphasis on fast fashion. I’ve been trying to use the first half of the month to research items, but then my self control fizzles mid-month.

Here’s the rundown with taxes, shipping, gift cards and discounts accounted for:

Vintage Clutch - $28
There are a lot of designer raffia and straw clutches this season, but you can find vintage versions on eBay for a fraction of the price. I love the floral one I came across (and I kind of adore that the flower clasp reminds me of the Mulberry one).

J.Crew Tee, Shorts - $71
I thought this tee would be adorable with this pair of green shorts. And it is. And it’ll look cute on vacation this spring. (And I wish I had a better reason for purchasing them than that.)

Banana Republic Factory Store Scarf - $25
I didn’t need this scarf; I just liked the pattern. 

Not Pictured: Sam Edelman Sandals - $44
I wore my Sam Edelman’s "Gigi" sandals (in almond patent) nearly everyday for the last two summers. My old pair is looking pretty ragged, so a replacement was necessary.

Not Pictured: Banana Republic Factory Store Sweater - $20
During a shopping excursion, Dave and I inadvertently purchased his and hers striped sweaters (here’s the Instagram). The last thing I need is another striped shirt, but the red color blocked top made it interesting.

Not Pictured: Ann Taylor Shoes - $41
classic pump, pretty color and interesting texture. How could I resist? I didn’t, especially after using a Christmas gift card to cover most of the cost. I hadn’t worn Ann Taylor pumps before, but they’re incredibly comfortable. (You can see more photos here.)

Not Pictured: Gap Underpinnings - $50
I was all set to overhaul my lingerie drawer last month before I discovered that Victoria’s Secret discontinued my beloved Biofit bra. I’m trying Gap’s uplift bra. So far, so good. I also bought a lime green lace bra and matching boy shorts.

Total Spent: $279

Not Included in the monthly budget: Ferragamo Flats - $448
A pair of Ferragamo flats was my annual “Tax Return Splurge” and, as you’d expect, my most loved item of the month. I had a major Cinderella moment when I slipped them on for the first time. The fit is perfect and the creamy red patent leather makes for a classic, versatile flat. This pair of shoes is my inspiration to stick with my New Year’s resolution … at least for March (baby steps).

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Sartorial Spending: January 2013

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more thoughtful about my clothing and accessory purchases - and to hold myself accountable by reporting back to you. Overall, I’m satisfied with how January went, even though I purchased a lot of items. (Honestly, it was more than I thought it was at the time.) In February, I’d like to make more of an effort to put most of my money toward fewer items that I’ll cherish, instead of a handful of cheaper things.

Kate Spade Lawn Party Straw Purse - $42
This Kate Spade purse was my first sartorial purchase of 2013 and, as with all Gilt sales, it flew in the face of my resolution to make thoughtful purchasing decisions. That said, I’m glad I bought it. I don’t have anything like it in my closet and I’m sure it’ll get a lot of use this spring.

Forever 21 Scarves - $15
I went to Forever21 two days after seeing Fran’s Instagram of their spring scarves. (What can I say? I’m impressionable.) I purchased the mint and pink versions, and I had been wearing them nonstop before the weather became too frigid for anything other than wool. 

J.Crew Tile Necklace - $49
This was my most thoughtful purchase of the month, so it should come as no surprise that it’s also my favorite. I featured the tile necklace as the "Bauble of the Week" back in December. I looked at it every few days online, and imagined what I’d wear it with. At that point, I knew I’d be devastated if it sold out. (It’s no longer available on J.Crew, but it is on Net-a-Porter, if you’re interested.)

J.Crew Tippi Sweater - $25
When I ordered the tile necklace, I also purchased this dress. I knew it was a gamble since loose shift dresses are rarely flattering on me, but I just had to try. As expected, it turned out to be a pretty bad look on a girl with hips. I brought it back to J.Crew, but didn’t leave empty-handed. This is now my fifth Tippi sweater. The cut is perfect, it’s an office wardrobe staple, and lavender is becoming my favorite spring color this year.

Not Pictured: Old Navy T-Shirt, Pajama Pants, Dress - $30
I stopped at Old Navy specifically to buy the lobster-print pajama pants, and left with a t-shirt and a striped dress. I have a dozen of these t-shirts and they hold up remarkably well through countless washings. The dress is the only purchase I’m still disappointed with. When I first bought it, I was smitten with how flattering it was … until I wore it for a day. It stretched out quite a bit in the arms and shoulders.

Not Pictured: Banana Republic Skirt, T-Shirt - $55
We’re planning a trip to South Carolina at the end of May and these purchases were made with that trip in mind. A flouncy red-orange skirt (with pockets!) perks up my wardrobe and will look adorable exploring Charleston. I also picked up a white timeless tee. I didn’t already own a basic white tee, and this one is substantial enough that it’s not sheer.

Total Spent: $216

Are you keeping track of your spending this year? How’s it going? 

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