How to find GOOD deals.

Merry (late) Christmas and Happy New Year!

My family is oddly good at getting me clothes I like for Christmas (well, maybe not that strange.. they are good at getting me gift cards, which are the same thing).  So many people feel odd giving gift cards, but like I’ve said to my family, it is really two gifts for me:  1. I get pretty new things. 2. I GET TO SHOP (and without feeling guilty). What better gift COULD there be??

So of course, I went shopping bright and early the morning of the 26th! I thought this post would be a good place to share when and how I find good deals and steals.

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My first major trick is just following the stores and items you are loving.  It has become an almost daily routine that if I see something I want, I check in on it while I am drinking my morning coffee (mmmm Nespressoooo). Do this especially if you get an email about a sale or that items have been added to clearance.  Also, if you see that the store you follow says that they have “new arrivals”, it probably means they have some “new arrivals” to the clearance section, if you know what I mean…

Most stores have items on sale in the store that are not on sale on line, or vice versa.  So, check both occasionally, you never know when that pair of Italian leather shoes at J. Crew will be on major clearance in the store but still full price online!  Most of my good deals are in stores as opposed to online.

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(This dress is still full price online, but I got it in the store for $35!)
If you live in an area that has multiple malls or if you are visiting a new area, check out the stores you love in multiple places.  I assure you they will all have a different selection.  It is also interesting to see how a different demographic can change the store selection.  For example, in some areas one item will be sold out almost immediately, but at another store, no one wants that same item! So that dress you wanted during the summer but was too expensive and sold out too fast, might be five dollars at another store when you go home for the holidays. VICTORY!!

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(These shoes were $178 and I got them for $42!)

Lastly, although some shopping at outlets is good, a lot of times you will find better deals at the real stores.  Most of the stores at the outlets have a different clothing line made just for the outlet stores, and usually it is not as good of quality.  They will automatically mark down all the items in the store to make it look like you are getting a good deal, even though they were never sold at the original price on the tag.  So, spend the extra five dollars at the real store to get a better deal. Quality over quantity friends!

Enjoy your family, enjoy the good sales, and enjoy the last days of the holiday flavored drinks at Starbucks!

Sales I’ll be shopping:

Ann Taylor (Right after the holidays they will have some great deals because it gets really slow in January! Check for some 40-50% off sales)

J. Crew (right now they are having 40% off of sale styles, and I have found some great summer styles I wanted but now are very cheap!)

Madewell (They are doing 40% off of sale, and in stores the sale is very good.  Also, you can use a student ID on top of the sale!)

Anthropologie (Their sale section will start to get larger and after the holidays they will probably mark down the prices)

LOFT (They have been doing 50% off the whole store… seriously, get it while you can!)

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HOLIDAY.

I can finally think about the holidays now that the semester is over and I AM LOVING IT. I know a lot of people despise Christmas parties, but I look forward to them all year.  Christmas parties are the best excuse to wear sequins, lace and all the bling you have!

Also, I love chips and dip.

Here are some of the outfits I would wear!

WINTER WHITE.

One of my favorite colors to wear during the holiday season is winter white. It is basically just off white, but why would you call it that when you can call it winter white? So much more fun.  If you have a lace dress with a slip underneath, try putting a sequin slip underneath to add more sparkle! When you have a lot of sequins in an outfit make sure to put on simple jewelry.

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To get the over-the-knee look without buying new boots, put tall socks with your booties–just make sure they are the same color.  This will also be super warm and comfortable!

RED.

Of course red is always a good option for holiday parties and dinners with your family. Be careful what you put with the red.  too much black will make you look like santa, but too much brown will make you look too matronly.  I like to put nude or gold accessories with red to add a little sparkle, but not overwhelm the outfit.  Let the red speak for itself–it knows what it is talking about.

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If you want to dress down your red dress to go to coffee with a friend, just put some brown booties with it!

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GREEN.

Of course green.  Green is great with black for the holidays.  My mom got me these UH-MAZING black sequin leggings, and there is nothing more perfect to put them with than a holiday tunic.  I also put a simple necklace with it to add a little sparkle, and some black booties.  (Recent purchase, aren’t they so fun?? Thank you Lesley and Emily for talking me into them!)

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Another great way to wear sequin leggings is to put them with a long slouchy t-shirt.  Always go for something a little unexpected.

GOLD.

One of my favorite color combinations is gold and winter white. (I keep wanting to spell “winter” with an “h”–“whinter”)  Gold sequin anything goes great with winter white, navy, black, or chambray.  Add black tights to this look if it is freezing where you live!

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BLACK VELVET.

This is one of my favorite dresses, I just always feel chic when I wear it. Any black velvet dress will do.  Wear simple gold jewelry with it, maybe layer two or three simple necklaces to add interest.  If it goes past your knees, make sure to wear heels, whether it be booties or pumps! Also, if you dress is longer, make sure to wear a short jacket with it.  That will give you a small waist as opposed to a frumpy look.

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ANIMAL PRINT.

I don’t always wear animal print, but when I do, I wear Ann Taylor Loft.

This is pretty much true actually! I love the way Loft and Ann Taylor do animal print.  This dress is great–it has dolman sleeves and a sweet animal print with a hint of coral.  Put this Black Niloulu statment necklace with it and some black booties, and you have a party worthy outfit. You can do this for almost any animal print.  Look at the prints they have at J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and Loft to get an idea what classy animal print looks like.  Let them be your guiding star.

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SEQUIN MINI.

This is pretty self explanatory.  Wear it like you would any other black mini skirt, but add festive accessories to make it more appropriate for holiday events! For those who want top suggestions: Chambray (of course), white blouse, striped t-shirt, bright t-shirt, cropped sweater…. and many more!

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PANTS.

For the days when the temperature gets into the teens, wear a festive top and pants!  This year I ventured away from my skinny jeans *GASP*  and got these amazing skinny ponte pants with leather details from Ann Taylor.  When you have hard details like leather, put it with something super feminine and dainty, like lace.  This contrast will create a head turning outfit.

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Of course you can wear your dark skinnies to a party too! Just put it with a festive sequin top and a simple necklace.  Wear boots, booties, or pumps.

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DRESS–> TOP.

If you have a dress that has a fabulous top, try tucking it into a skirt to create a new dress.  If you are worried about the outfit falling apart, put a belt with it to make it more secure.  Get more out of your clothes!!

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With any of these outfits you can put black tights with them to add more warmth.

Take your christmas party invite as an excuse to wear fabulous clothes you never get the chance to wear! Wear sequins, wear lace, wear bling!!

What I wore:

Ann Taylor Ponte Pants with leather details

Loft Lace Peplum Top

Loft Black Sequin Mini

Red Dress (similar)

Free People Festive Tops

White Lace Dress (similar)

Animal Print dress (similar)

SWEATSHIRT + SEQUINS

So, it got cold here very quickly. I’m talking, taking a shower just to warm up kind of cold.  But, it is sequin season, I MUST WEAR SEQUINS!! This just means we have to be more creative and wear them with functional and warm pieces.

I got this awesome fancy sweatshirt from J. Crew, which allows me to be comfortable and warm, yet still feel put-together.  There are a lot of great sweatshirts out there now that have great embellishments on them.

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I was taking pics for the blog and got cold in my house so I threw on this sweatshirt, and it actually looked pretty cute with the gold sequin skirt! So I decided to take a picture of it.  Just tuck in a little bit at the front to add shape, and voila, you are holiday party ready. Of course put it with booties and a necklace.

Where to find:

J. Crew sweatshirt

Loft sequin skirt (they have the gold one in stores)

Niloulu Pinecone Pendant Necklace

Booties: Similar, Similar

CHUNKY SCARVES.

Knitting is pretty much the perfect activity for watching Love Actually and passing time on a flight to see your family for Thanksgiving (though you might not get much done on your project because the people sitting next to you on the plane can’t fathom how you got your knitting needles through security and they feel obligated to question you about this– it’s allowed people, check out the TSA guidelines) I mean, is it really THAT strange that I am knitting on a plane?

Anyways, Christine and I have been in a knitting FRENZY. It could be because the heat in my house was mysteriously turned off (probably my cats attempt to get more attention), and knitting helped get me warm AND because we unexpectedly  sold a bunch of scarves at the Holiday Marketplace in Enid and decided to make more.

We got the first snow of the season last week and I decided, with the help of my friend Lyssa, to take the scarves out for a test run.

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Lyssa is pretty  much rocking all of these photos…. hope she doesn’t realize how great she is at this or I might have to start paying her with more than just nespresso lattes.

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We were inspired to make these cowl knit scarves because of similar styles we saw at Anthropologie.  Don’t you LOVE how this cobalt looks with the winter white lace dress??

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We also discovered a new technique to make these beautiful and warm chunky infinity scarves.

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All of these are so great for adding style to almost any winter coat AND keeping you warm.  Again, I like to layer scarves with a necklace which adds sparkle and dimension to your look, and also because when you get inside and take off your scarf, you still have your third piece.

Chunky Rose Infinity Scarf

Cobalt Cowl Neck Scarf

Light Taupe Cowl Neck Scarf 

Chunky Dark Plum Infinity Scarf

Gold Pinecone Pendant Necklace

Also, this picture… because it makes me laugh and I have no idea what she was saying, but it looks like, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

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THE STATEMENT SWEATER.

“What the FOX say?? RING DING DING DA DING DA DING DING DING!!!”

If it wasn’t already obvious, I am in love with this new fox trend.  They are the new owl. I also got into the owl trend to late to make it my “thing”.  That basically means, I could not resist this UH-MAZING sweater from Ann Taylor.  (As crazy as my friends think I was) Plus, I can say that I have nothing like it in my closet because, it’s true!

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With any of these statement sweaters, you just need to know how to not make them look like crazy cat lady sweaters. (Even if you are one, like me) Put a white collared shirt or some chambray under it to add some style, and put it with a mini skirt, tight ponte leggings, or boyfriend jeans with heels. I, of course, put the Clear Bead Statement necklace with it also! It just adds the perfect amount of sparkle to almost any outfit.

Sadly, Ann Taylor sold out of this sweater pretty quickly.  There are tons of fun sweaters out there though so find one that fits your personality! Here are some that I like and also similar links to the other items I am wearing in this post:

Statement sweater: Similar, Similar, Similar, Similar

Chambray shirt:  Madewell

Mini skirt:  Similar

Necklace: Clear Bead Statement