31 July 2011

Sunday Splurges: Neon Brights

There is nothing sexier and ballsier than big, bold, brash color. Here are some neon items that I'll never be able to afford.

Shop Now:
1. Marchesa Dress $795
2. Jil Sander Skirt $695
3. Alexander McQueen Booties $1075
4. Christopher Kane Clutch $575
5. Erickson Beamon Necklace $985

30 July 2011

Saturday Songs - Undercover Brother

Today's playlist contains some of my very favorite cover songs.

Twilight Singers "What Makes You Think You're the One?" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Wilco "Thirteen" (Big Star cover)
Weezer "Velouria" (Pixies cover)
Mark Kozelek "If You Want Blood (AC/DC cover)
Nouvelle Vague "God Save the Queen" (Sex Pistols cover)
Mates of State "Secondhand News" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Jose Gonzalez "Teardrop" (Massive Attack cover)
Pomplamoose "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" (Beyonce cover)
Luna "Sweet Child O' Mine: (Guns N' Roses cover)

What are your favorite cover songs?

29 July 2011

Hair, Down to There

Last week, I accidentally shut my hair in my car door.

And earlier this week, I dreamt about chopping off my hair not once, not twice, but thrice.

I go back and forth between long hair and short hair a lot. Right now, my hair is probably the longest it's ever been, although it's been this length many times. This is the length where I get sick of it and cut it off. And once the haircut seed has been planted in my brain, I can't kill it. I almost certainly will chop my hair off sometime within the next few months.

This is what my hair looks like now. It's long, but pretty ratty.

This is what it looked like two years ago, when I started growing it out:

And here is a collage of many of my haircuts over the years. Some were good and some were very, very bad.

I'm partial to #2 and #5, myself. As you can see, I'm partial to bangs and have had them almost consistently for about twelve years.

So now, I'm debating. Should I keep my hair longish but get more layers like I used to have, like this?

Or do I choppity chop chop like some of these photos I've come across?

I love this video of Dianna Agron from Glee getting her hair cut. Hear how she screams "I'm so happy!" at ten seconds in? I know how she feels! It's such a rush to cut your hair off.

But on the other hand, growing your hair out is a bitch. And I'll be forced to have some awkward, unflattering hairdos when I decide to do that. And if I cut my hair short, I won't be able to wear my fallback summertime 'do, the fishtail braid.

Do you have any suggestions for what I should do with my hair? Do you like to vary your hair length, or do you tend to keep it long or short?

Personal Shopper: Blogging Workshop

Reader Request

I have a food blog that I'd like to expand, and in a few weeks, I'm going to a local blogger's workshop. It's in the meeting room of a fancy hotel, on a Thursday evening. I have no idea what to wear. Blogging is fairly casual, so I don't want to show up in a suit, but I also don't want to be under-dressed, because I'm hoping to network and make some good connections. Do you have any suggestions?

I think that business casual is a good idea, but it should be bright and fun, not stuffy. This look comes from Old Navy, Topshop, Forever 21, Aldo and Wet Seal.

Shop Now:
1. Top $8
3. Skirt $70
5. Shoes $25
6. Clutch $45

Celebrity Copycat: Jennifer Aniston Style

Jen wears this simple black sheath pretty well, I think. But I have to say, with her hair grown out a little bit, it almost looks like she's got the Rachel again, no? Get her look for less with pieces from Asos and Forever 21.

Shop Now:
1. Dress $43
3. Shoes $21

28 July 2011

Wishlist: Colorblock Shoes

Fendi has never been one of my favorite designer labels, but that may change, because I'm seriously gaga over their Spring 2011 colorblock sandals. Swoon.

But even marked down, I can't come close to affording them. So here are some other colorblock shoes that are tickling my fancy.

Shop Now:
1. Wedges $39
2. Pumps $98
3. Wedges $86
5. Metallic $99

My Fictional Boyfriend: Matt Saracen

If you didn't watch Friday Night Lights, shame on you! It was critically acclaimed but never got the audience that it deserved, and so it recently ended after a five-year run. And seriously, it was so good. I'm talking the same quality of Mad Men or Six Feet Under. I think that it's one of the best television dramas of all time, no hyperbole necessary.

But I was resistant at first. A TV show about high school football in Texas? Not my thang. But I'm so glad I watched, and I'm so sad it's over. If you haven't seen it, rent in on DVD. I promise you, you'll love it.

End rant.

Anyway, the resident heartthrob of FNL was Tim Riggins.

And if I was younger and still into bad boys, I'd be all about Tim Riggins. He is pretty sexy, even if he needs a haircut. 

But I'm over bad boys. Give me a sweet, sensitive, artistic dude any day. Like Matt Saracen.

Matt Saracen is actually my #1 Fictional Boyfriend; I only chose to profile Ron Weasley first because it was timely with the release of the film. 

Yes, give me the guy who single-handedly takes care of his sick grandma, who pulls down good grades while playing football and holding down a part-time job, who would do anything for his lucky, lucky girlfriend, who wants to escape his small town and go to art school in the big city, who mumbles so adorably when he's nervous.

And it doesn't hurt that he's hot.

Next week, I promise to be less creepy by profiling a fictional boyfriend who is out of his teens.

You Asked, I'll Answer, Part II

I have always wondered about your process for finding outfits. I have a hard time finding outfits online so I want to know the secret!

Okay, but if I tell you my secret, you've got to promise that you won't start a competing blog and make it better than mine and steal all of my readers, m'kay? ;)

For celebrity looks, I save all of the celeb photos in a folder, whether I've found them myself or gotten them as a request. Every day, when I sit down to blog, I go through the folder and decide which outfits I'm going to try to recreate. Sometimes I would get stuck on one and not be able to fully recreate it, but that doesn't much happen anymore.

For stylist/personal shopper posts, I tackle the requests based on the order in which they came in, and also when the event is. There are so many that I can't get to all of them, and if I get many of the same kind of request, I usually can't do them all. For example, I get an average of 4-6 requests a week from readers wondering what they should wear to a wedding. I figure that if I only fill one or two of those requests, the others can still take inspiration from the posts.

Once I decide on the challenge, I start looking for the items to blog about. And I have a secret weapon.

It's called Shopstyle.

It's basically a search engine that searches hundreds of stores for you. You can sort by price, size, color, brand, anything. For example, check out what I'd do if I was looking for a pair of red peep-toe pumps for under $100:

If I can't find what I want on Shopstyle, then I do a Google product search check some of my other favorite stores that aren't yet working with Shopstyle. I've linked to most of them here

I hope that helps! 

How do you balance your budget finds with more lasting quality?

Now that I think of it, I've got fairly rigid rules regarding what I'll splurge on and what I won't.

I will splurge on:
  • Jeans
  • Shoes
  • Handbags
  • Coats
  • Cocktail Dresses
  • Bathing Suits
I don't usually splurge on:
  • Casual Dresses
  • Casual Tops
  • Shorts
  • Underwear
  • Costume Jewelry
Now, that's not to say that I always splurge on jeans, shoes, bags, etc. I wear my Old Navy jeans as often as I wear my J. Brands. But I rarely if ever splurge on the other items.

And my rule of thumb is that I'll be more willing to splurge on an item if it's timeless and classic. If it's a very trendy item that might not be in style six months from now, I won't want to spend a lot of dough on it.

That's it for this round of questions, but I'll be back to answer even more!

27 July 2011

You Asked, I'll Answer, Part I

Thanks to all of you who sent in questions! There were so many that I'll have to split the answers up into two, maybe three posts. And feel free to continue sending in questions to whatthefrockblog@gmail.com!

How did you get into fashion?

I've always loved fashion, although I'm not even close to being as stylish as some of the bloggers in my blogroll. But I got into fashion blogging almost five years ago, when I used to spend time on a (now defunct) community website. There were different sections for lifestyle, pop culture, celeb gossip, etc. and I spent a lot of time in the fashion section, helping other users find celebrity looks for less. I realized that I had a knack for it and I began Fashion Under $100 a few months later.

Fashion was a hobby until about six months ago, when I actually got a job in the fashion industry! But I'll get to that in a minute...

What is your favorite fashion trend of all time? 

Of all time? Hmmm, this is a toughie. I really love the mod fashion of the mid- to late-60's, although I've never been able to pull it off (you need to be tall, flat and willowy like Twiggy to rock a mini shift dress, and I'm average height, busty and have a very thick waist).

How about least favorite?

Now this I can answer! I can't stand anything Ed Hardy or similar.

I loathe those Herve Leger bandage dresses that were on every celebrity in 2007 and that we still see sometimes today.

And while I've come around to UGGs for utility only (after finally trying a pair on - on a dare - and realizing how comfy and warm they are), I can't stand seeing them paired with miniskirts or shorts. They are winter boots to be paired with winter clothes! 

But, you know what? Who cares what I think? In my opinion, you should wear what makes you happy, regardless of whether it's on trend or not. Fashion is intensely personal and nobody's opinion but your own should matter!

What one accessory could you not live without? 

My name is Dana and I am a handbagaholic. Seriously, I'm obsessed. Bags are the one thing that I'll drop some serious dough on. I fairly recently cleaned out my collection and sold some bags on eBay, but I've still got quite a few gorgeous bags. Someday I'll post about them.

I also love, love, love shoes. I'm no Carrie Bradshaw, and I don't buy designer shoes, but my closet is bursting with footwear. Again, I'll post about them someday.

What do you do for a living?

I handle social media and web marketing for a fashion brand.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Most of my clothes come from Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Some days, I'll look down at what I'm wearing and realize that every single thing I have on, with the exception of my undies, is from Urban or Anthro.

I love dresses from Modcloth and I get a lot of my jewelry and accessories from Etsy. I also love to order from my two favorite UK retailers, Topshop and Asos. I'm obsessed with Zara too.

I also love Forever 21 and H&M for trying out cheap trends. I adore J. Crew's sale section. I've lately purchased a bunch of things from Ruche, and I'll definitely be back for more.

Check out my shops section for a list of all of my favorite stores.

Have you ever considered doing "Outfit of the Day" posts like so many of the bloggers in your blogroll do?

Actually, yes! I recently bought myself a nice camera, and I'm taking a class to learn how to use it. I need to snag a remote control for the camera (the Mister is absolutely terrible at taking photos) but once I'm all set, I will definitely post some of my own outfits on the blog on a fairly regular basis.

The whole idea actually goes beyond just posting outfits, though. I'm not nearly as young, pretty and fit as most of the bloggers in my blogroll, and I usually hate getting my photo taken. I'm going to use this as a way to get over my fear of the camera!

I love Philly! What is your favorite restaurant there? And what is your favorite thing to do in that area?

You know, I started writing an answer to this question, and it got really long, and then I realized that I could write an entire post about it. So I will! Stay tuned!

I know you are super budget-savvy, but do you have any one holy-grail fashion item that you dream of splurging on one day?

As a matter of fact, I do! Like practically every celeb, I'm mad about the Proenza Schouler PS1 bag. Swoon. I'll take one in every color, please.

And that's it for this round! I'll be back soon to answer even more of your questions, so keep 'em coming.

Personal Shopper: Golf Outing

Reader Request

I am having a terrible dilemma.  I was invited to an outing at my boss's upscale country club in Connecticut and have no idea what to wear.  I probably won't be playing golf but will be driving the cart and in hanging out the clubhouse, and I know there are restrictions on what I can wear.  Can you put something together that would look fun and preppy and still be appropriate?  It's going to be really hot so the least amount of fabric the better!  Thanks!

Here is a fun, flirty and appropriate look for you, from Lacoste. Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Piperlime.

Shop Now:
1. Dress $77
2. Hat $18
5. Shoes $18
6. Bag $38

Celebrity Copycat: Katharine McPhee Style

It's been a long time since we've seen Katharine McPhee, and I'm glad to see that she's gone back to her natural brunette again. I'm also glad to see this outfit, which I think is just fabulous. Get her look for less with pieces from Asos, Aldo, Modcloth and Forever 21.

Shop Now:
1. Blouse $43
2. Skirt $35
3. Shoes $23
4. Ring $10

26 July 2011

Our House: The Bedroom

While I have somewhat of an eye for fashion, that talent hasn't translated very well into interior design.

But, actually, I think I have good ideas, I just don't know how to execute them. 

The Mister and I recently bought my mother's old house, the house I lived in when I went to high school, the house that my mother bought in 1990 and barely changed since. Besides new carpets in the downstairs and a new coat of paint in the master bedroom, the house was exactly the same as when I moved out almost 20 years ago. Before we moved in, we redid the kitchen, but that's a post for another day.

We don't care too much about the extra two bedrooms, but we really want to fix up the living/dining room, the bathrooms, and especially the master bedroom.

Here's what it looks like now. Please keep in mind that we haven't done a single thing to the room besides bring our stuff in.

Celery green walls. Barf. A carpet that is somewhere between lavender and periwinkle. Double barf. I do love our quilt, though.

I have this old rocking chair that used to be my mother's when I was a baby. For the sake of full disclosure, I'm showing you what it looks like in its usual state, i.e. covered in my clothes. Don't judge me.

The Mister's ugly old dresser is in the corner, along with a $5 mirror that I propped against the wall. My own dresser is in my walk-in closet, which is a story for another day.

But here's a peek. Again, don't judge my mess.

Using my limited Photoshop skills, I put together a mockup of how I'd like the room to look.

 Most of this can be done fairly cheaply. Paint is cheap and easy, and we can paint the walls, chair and dresser. We can score a mirror, rug and bench for a few hundred bucks. We can make a headboard out of a piece of wood and a coat of paint.

But the floor. The floooooooor. We just don't have the money to get rid of that heinous carpet right now, so we'll need to live with that for another year or so.

And for now, I'll dream of the day when our bedroom will look like this.

What does your bedroom look like? And do you have any suggestions for ours?

Girl Crush: Zooey Deschanel

Seriously, who doesn't have a girl crush on Zooey Deschanel these days?

She acts. She sings. She blogs. She has shiny shiny hair and pretty blue eyes. And she seems like a genuinely nice person.

And then there's her style.

Feminine, vintage-inspired A-line dresses. Flirty, delicate shoes. Dainty jewelry. Headbands. Tights.

One of my favorite things about Zooey's style is that most of the things she wears are flattering on most body types. So here is an assortment of stylish pieces that are inspired by our girl Zooey.

Shop Now:
1. Shoes $23
2. Top $50
3. Bag $50
4. Dress $55
6. Skirt $19
7. Necklace $14

25 July 2011

Personal Shopper: Printed Shoes

Reader Request

I have been obsessed with these shoes since I laid eyes on them in May and my mom purchased them as a gift for me. Now that I have them, I'm not sure what to wear them with. I've never had shoes so busy before and am struggling to build an outfit around them. Can you help?

I think that, since those shoes are so loud, it's important to keep the outfit simple and neutral. This look comes from Lord & Taylor, Old Navy, Bloomingdales and Fred Flare.

Shop Now:
1. Top $12
3. Necklace $58
4. Shorts $24
5. Shoes $90
6. Bag $13

Celebrity Copycat: Taylor Swift Style

Well, I'm not a fan of Taylor's music, but she's got a very sweet, feminine style that I admire. Her flattering coral dress can work for daytime or nighttime, depending on her shoes and accessories, and it looks comfy to boot! Get a similar look with pieces from eShakti, Payless, DSW and Forever 21.

Shop Now:
1. Dress, $53
2. Clutch, $35
3. Shoes, $50
4. Necklace, $7

24 July 2011

Sunday Splurges: All That Glitters

I've had some requests to bring back the old Sunday Splurges series, so here you go!

I don't usually include much sparkle in my outfits, even for evening, but sometimes a girl needs a bit of glitter. So here are some fabulous shiny things that I can't afford. Maybe one day they'll go on sale, right?

Shop Now:
1. Miu Miu Shoes $690
2. Halston Heritage Clutch $195
3. BHLDN Belt $400
4. Anthropologie Top $240
5. 3.1 Phillip Lim Shorts $685

23 July 2011

Saturday Songs - My Latest

For a while, when I was doing Fashion Under $100, I'd post a playlist every week. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to care.

But I'm going to give it another go. Music is a huge part of my life and I'd like to include it in my new blog. I hope that you'll give it a listen, and share your favorite music with me!

This week, I have no theme. This is just some music I've been listening to lately.

1. Nightlands "Suzerain (A Letter to the Judge)"
2. Fleetwood Mac "What Makes You Think You're the One?"
3. Teen Daze "Let's Fall Asleep Together"
4. Yuck "Get Away"
5. Jeremy Larson "Make Believe"
6. Dirty Gold "California Sunrise"
7. Kurt Vile "Baby's Arms"

What have you been listening to lately?

22 July 2011

Ask Me Anything!

I love when my favorite bloggers write Q&A posts, so I figured that I'd steal the idea follow suit.

Do you have any questions for me? Do you want to know my favorite stores, my guilty pleasures, my pet peeves, my medical history (okay, not that)? Then email your questions to whatthefrockblog@gmail.com and I'll post my answers.

Come on - I dare you!

Personal Shopper: Connection in L.A.

Reader Request

In a few weeks, my sister and I are flying to Atlanta for a family wedding, but we've got a connection in Los Angeles. It's a long connection, about 8 hours, so we're going to head into the city for a couple hours for lunch and shopping. I've never been to L.A. before, so I want to look great, but I need something comfortable since I'll be spending several hours beforehand and afterwards on a plane.

What's more comfy-slash-stylish than a knit maxi dress and flat sandals? This look will take you from the plane to the streets and back without missing a beat. It comes from Last Call, Wet Seal, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Need Supply Co.

Shop Now:
1. Dress, $69
2. Bag, $30
3. Sandals, $8
4. Earrings, $4
5. Bracelets, $19

Celebrity Copycat: Whitney Port

If Olivia Palermo is an uptown girl, then Whitney is totally downtown. I'm totally digging her getup here, with the bold red pants and sleek blazer. Get a similar look for much less with items from Yoox, Max Studio, Delia's, Endless and Need Supply.

Shop Now:
1. Blazer, $38
2. Bracelet, $13
3. Earrings, $14
4. Pants, $55
5. Blouse, $40
6. Ring, $5
7. Shoes, $38

21 July 2011

My Fictional Boyfriend: Ron Weasley

See, I told you that this was going to be more than a fashion blog!

This new series was brought on by the fact that, while I am a 36 year-old woman, I sometimes have the personality of a tween. And part of that means that I sometimes get big swoony crushes on fictional characters.

So this is my ode to those fictional boys that we wish were real!

Today's fictional boyfriend is very timely, since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II just came out last week. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and my favorite character is one Ronald Weasley.

I think I dig Ron because he's not the main hero. He's not the most confident or the most talented. He's totally awkward and doofy. But he's loyal, brave, goodhearted, and funny (he reminds me of my husband that way). Also, he's adorable. Adorable. I mean, seriously. Look how he grew up:

So, cheers to you, Ronald Bilius Weasley. You are the fictional boyfriend of a woman who is twice your age.

Do you have a fictional boyfriend?

Wishlist: Colorful Necklaces

I used to wear a lot of black and neutrals, but lately, I've been really into bright, bold color. If I'm wearing a simple, neutral outfit, I like to punch it up with bold, candy-colored jewelry. Here are some pieces that I've been craving lately.

Shop Now:
1. Madewell, $45
2. Kenneth Cole, $45
4. Modcloth, $18

How do you add color to a neutral look?

20 July 2011

Personal Shopper: Going Away Party

Reader Request

I'm moving across the country for a new job in a few weeks, and my friends are throwing me a going away party. It's nothing fancy, just a barbecue in my friend's backyard with burgers, hot dogs and kegs of beer, but I'd like to look nice anyway. Any ideas as to what I should wear?

I'd go with a chic but low-key shorts and top combo, something like this look, which comes from Ruche, Old Navy, Target, Express, Fred Flare and Forever 21.

Shop Now:
1. Earrings, $10
2. Necklace, $5
3. Clutch, $16
4. Top, $29
5. Shorts, $15
6. Shoes, $25


Celebrity Copycat: Olivia Palermo Style

Olivia has become one of my style icons. Her looks are always classy, chic and ladylike, yet she always includes something a bit unexpected. Get her look for less from Bluefly, Piperlime, Nine West, Forever 21, Endless, and Wet Seal.

Shop Now:
1. Top, 45
2. Skirt, $57
3. Shoes, $25
4. Watch, $20
5. Ring, $8
6. Tote, $56

19 July 2011

Wishlist: Camera Bags

I've always been terrible at taking photos, so I'm finally doing something to change that. I bought myself a decent DSLR and I'm taking a digital photography class at the Fleisher Art Memorial here in Philly. I've only had one class so far, but I'm hoping that, after the six weeks are up, I will no longer be an embarrassingly horribly photographer.

In the meantime, I need something to carry the camera around in. And damn, has it been a challenge finding something!

They make cheap, durable, completely functional camera bags like this, but I was hoping for something a bit more stylish.

Unfortunately, all the bags that I love (neutral, leather, fairly androgynous) are waaaay out of my price range:

1. Kelly Moore, $199
2. Billingham, $349
3. Ona, $309

In my quest to find something for under $100, I ordered a bag from Etsy seller SeasonsTotes. It wasn't leather or androgynous, but I liked it just the same when I saw it online.

It's well made, stylish, and completely adorable. I love it! Unfortunately, as a brand-new DSLR owner, I didn't know what it was that I needed, and it turns out that this bag is just too big for me. Luckily, I can remove the camera padding and use it as a beach bag or overnight bag, which I've already done.

So my quest continues for a neutral leather camera bag for around $100. Can it be done? I'll keep you posted.

Do any of you own SLR cameras? What do you use as a camera bag?

Girl Crush: Florence Welch

This new weekly feature is all about the ladies I admire, ladies with fabulous smarts, style and/or soul. And who better to kick off the series than Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine?

She can sing and she's got rad hair, but what I really love about her is her style. Her flowy, diaphanous outfits just blow my mind.

Here are some Florence-inspired pieces for those of us on a budget.

Shop Now:
1. Green Dress, $60
2. Ivory Top, $40
3. White Dress, $68
4. Floral Skirt, $78
5. Blue Top, $24

18 July 2011

Personal Shopper: Wedding PRE-ception

Reader Request

My best friend is getting married in Jamaica in August with her immediate family, but they're having an informal PREception before hand and I have no idea what to wear. It's in Charlotte, NC so its bound to be pretty toasty. I'm 5'4", around 160 lbs, size 10. I've got pretty wide hips and a narrow, long torso. I don't mind sleeveless but because of my curvy bottom half, I'm not a fan of things that are too short. I love color and would love to wear something bright to help her celebrate. Any ideas?

This retro, 50's inspired dress can be dressed up or down, and the delicate, feminine accessories complement it perfectly. Get this look at eShakti, Forever 21, ASOS, DSW and Nordstrom.

Shop Now:
1. Dress, $65
2. Earrings, $8
3. Shoes, $27
4. Ring, $28
5. Clutch, $30

Celebrity Copycat: Eva Longoria Style

I'm not usually a fan of the matchy-matchy, but Eva Longoria's tangerine dress and shoes combo really makes a statement. Best of all, her dress is crazy-affordable: only $35 at Asos!

Shop Now: