{Fashion Cents} Budget Friendly Fashion Statements

Wait… what does her bag say???

Years ago, the fad was to show people “how” many things you could afford, as people would brag about how much they spent on this or that. While this is still true in many cases, I am noticing an even cooler trend that is fun, witty, and fashionable. What is it, you ask?- Fashion Statements! No these aren’t the statement shirts and bags that were super popular in the early 2000s that had quotes from people like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. These are fashionable acknowledgements of the times, with phrases like, “Can’t Afford a Birkin” and “My other bag is Louis Vuitton”. Occasionally, I would see someone with a bag like this and I would always chuckle a bit at the boldness of these women. I guess I was just surprised by the fact that these women were the opposite of the masses I see rocking fake labels, act like they are real, and suddenly make others feel bad for not having what they have. I mean seriously, no one believes your Birkin is real on a $22,000 salary and it doesn’t even come in that color, and having a purse doesn’t make you better than others…I’m just saying.  I think the problem is that sometimes great style is confused with a name brand.  Trust me, not all designer fashion is stylish, but the examples of these awesome, budget friendly, designer inspired fashion finds below, are.

Below are a few of my favorite “Statement Looks” :

She Makes CentsMy other bag is Louis VuittonCeline T-shirt

Photo Credits: Skreened, If You Seek Aimee Fashion, & Style With Benefits

Which look would you rock?

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Fashion Cents} Brand Loyalty or Brand Validation?

love-chanel1

Danielle and I have discussed how the psychological obsession with expensive products and luxury labels can lead to financial trouble. While setting up shop for the most relaxed SMC meeting ever, we discussed our favorite brands. Danielle likes O.P.I. nail polish and has a shoe game that would blow you away. I, however, have recently recovered from a serious infatuation with True Religion brand jeans and the both of these are pricey for the types of products they are. Sometimes within one’s own living circumstances, it makes no sense to step out of one’s’ budget for the sake of feeling validated by a brand. So why do so many people do it? Which has more value, brand loyalty or brand validation?

Let’s begin the conversation by defining these terms. Brand Loyalty is your devotion to a particular brand because of its proven usefulness. This is a tried and true product or brand that has won you, the customer, over for its merit or quality. (THINK: I’m loyal to Charmin tissue because of its thickness.) Brand validation, as its name suggests, is when a product’s mere reputation trumps the importance of its merit; thus fueling one’s desire for the label more so than the product. Yep, we let a brand validate us without proving itself worthy of its cost.

Brand names and their reputations are impossible to evade. Because of this, it is almost too easy to get lost in a particular brand so much so, that we allow it to eat out our pockets. The place where both brand obsession and financial logic intersect is where I am in my journey to financial freedom….SMC too, since she has repeatedly admitted that Chanel makes her feel pretty. In no way am I discouraging splurging for yourself or investing in expensive products that will hold you down in the long run. I, for one, own expensive jeans that have lasted years. When operating on a budget, though, it is imperative to think critically about the items you choose to spend your money on, and why. Are you loyal to your brands because they actually fulfill their purpose, or are your brands validating you while nipping away at your money? Granted, there is no cookie cutter way to address the issue of our obsessions with luxury brands. However, acknowledgment of this issue is a surefire way to begin searching for smarter ways to shop for the things you love…while staying within a budget, of course:)

Have you ever allowed a brand names to validate your purchase?  

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{Broke is the New Black} Are You Paying for the Fake Life with Real Money?

fake-life-real-money-moneyWelcome to the Good Life!

Over the past few years, social media has become a game changer. Its created jobs that did not exist even ten years ago, helped people connect who may not have had access to each other, and became a major catalyst for our cultural need to document everything. But what exactly are we documenting? – The life we live or the life we want people to think we live? All too often, I see people around me going into debt trying to rock the same fashion piece that they saw on one of the Kardashians. I asked this question a few months ago and I will ask it again, whose lifestyle are you funding? They can afford it, can you?
Fashion writer, Suzy Menkes called 2009 the “end of the statement bag” in a blurb for the 2009 autumn edition of H&M Magazine. She adds, “Insane shoes that mangle your feet, laughably expensive bags that no-one can afford; who can afford such extravagances in times of [financial] crisis?” If 2009 was the end of the expensive statement bag, then this must be the year of the appearance of luxury, where people are funding a fake life with real money. The reality is, even four years after the “fall of the statement bag”, we are still in a financial crisis.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion and will spend money when I have it, but I refuse to waste money staging a lifestyle for the world to see. I’m am not one of those people who are offended by the finer things in life, rather I feel sorry for those who mishandle their responsibilities in hopes of material possessions. This is not just a twenty-something problem either, as I witness people of all ages spending in excess to portray the good life…and for what? Public validation? Likes from Facebook, Twitter, and most notoriously Instagram from people you don’t even know in real life? Be yourself, rock what you love, but don’t go into debt doing so. Trust me, none of the people who “liked” your photo of those oh-so-fly out of your budget shoes, will help you save for that house you have on your vision board.

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{Fashion Cents Cheat Sheet} How to Accessorize Popular Necklines

Thanks Charming Charlie for this Cheat Sheet!

{Wise Words} Walk with a Purpose

NEW YORK RESORT 2013

{Neiman Marcus + Target} Preview the Holiday Collection NOW!!!

Words cannot express my excitement over the 2012 holiday collaboration between retailers Neiman Marcus and Target which will launch on December 1st (for more information, click here)! Based off the amount of views I got when I first announced the collaboration, I know I am not alone in my excitement. This is the ultimate shopping opportunity to use your “cents” to live the fab life! Click the picture below for a sneak peek of the goodies to come!

{Fashion DIY} Fabulous Monogrammed Wristlet

I came across this picture sometime last week while browsing through Pinterest and I fell in love. It’s a Fashion DIY from the blog, Little Green Notebook. Based off the great job that Jenny did, I thought I would try it. August is a busy month for birthdays (including mine) and I thought something cute, simple, personalized, and most important, not terribly expensive, would be a great gift.  I thought to myself, buying something like this will cost you $$$, but DIYing it could be fun and worth and the savings.  So immediately, the Mr. and I drove to the closest H&M to see what wristlet I could find to try this project out on. Unfortunately, I did not see the same pattern as pictured below, but it made me remember this cute little Chevron patterned wristlet I saw on Esty (I’m totally going through a Chevron phase). 

Check out my inspiration picture!

Pinned Image

Photo Credit: Little Green Notebook

Click here to see Jenny’s project from start to finish!

Lets Connect!

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{Sneak Peek} Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale Catalog Preview

I told you I would feed your fashion fix with sneak peek from the Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale Catalog. I present to you three of my favorite pages.

Check it out!

To see more looks from the Anniversary Sale Catalog, click here!

What are you looking for to seeing on SALE?

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{Wise Words} Fashion and Style

{Thank You Fashion Gods}Target & Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection

Christmas in July!

Target and Neiman Marcus, two visionaries in the retail industry, today announced a revolutionary partnership that will bring together 24 of America’s most talented designers to create a limited-edition holiday collection. Beginning Dec. 1, just in time for the busy holiday shopping season, the collection will be available at all Target and Neiman Marcus stores, as well as online at Target.com and NeimanMarcus.com.

The Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection includes an eclectic and diverse mix of more than 50 limited-edition gifting products. The collection ranges from $7.99 to $499.99, with most items less than $60. Designers who created pieces for the collection include:

For decades, Target and Neiman Marcus have shared a commitment to incredible design and innovative retail experiences. By partnering together, the retailers are harnessing the power of both their beloved brands to offer shoppers a truly unforgettable holiday collection. To celebrate the unprecedented partnership, Target and Neiman Marcus are donating a total of $1 million to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The donation underscores the retailers’ long-standing commitment to fostering design talent and recognizes the 24 designers, all of whom are members of the CFDA.

“I can think of no better finale to CFDA’s 50th Anniversary celebration than through this extraordinary designer collaboration,” said CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg. “As designers, creativity is our best gift, and with the generous support of Neiman Marcus and Target, we are happy to have created specially designed products as a thank you to share with our consumers and friends.”

More information about the Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection, including details about the products created by each designer for this limited-edition engagement, will be available in the fall of 2012. In the meantime, updates on the partnership will be shared via ABullseyeView.com and NMdaily.com. On Twitter, design enthusiasts can follow @ABullseyeView or @NeimanMarcus, #Holiday24 and as always I will post updates at She Makes Cents!

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