One dress, three outfits: Getting your money’s worth out of clothes

As soon as I bought this gorgeous ombré beauty of a maxi dress, I knew that it’d be hard to get me to take it off. I imagined myself sleeping, grocery shopping, working out, going to class and cleaning my house in this dress because of what I call the “Love At First Sight Effect.”

Okay, maybe that was slightly dramatic, but the bottom line is that I was super psyched to have found this hippie-esque, flowy dress at Urban Thread, a local Gainesville boutique. Before I buy something new, I always think about whether I have a sufficient amount of other clothes to wear with it to make sure I’d be getting my money’s worth. As I tried on this maxi in Urban Thread’s quaint little dressing room, the inspiration came flooding in. I realized I could wear it with a cozy knit sweater for a lunch date with friends or with fancy jewelry to dress up the casual nature of the dress for a nice dinner at home with my family.

I think it’s necessary for every gal and guy to do a mental run-through of his or her closet before buying something new to make sure the purchase is going to be worthwhile. If you’re thinking of buying a funky pair of pants or a chic fur vest but don’t have anything to wear with it, then you may need to rethink how bad you really want to drop $70 on a vest you’ll wear one time.

I’m sure you’re thinking, Okay, okay… I already know it’s important to spend my money wisely. Like, duh. But it’s also essential to think of outfit pairing options before making a purchase so you can partially escape the dreaded label of an “outfit repeater.” You can easily dodge that bullet just by adding or subtracting different layers and accessories to distract from the fact that you’re wearing the same dress you wore a week ago. If you have a dress you really love but barely wear because you’re sick of pairing it with the same old strappy sandals, then here are some options to give you some inspiration for how to wear it next.

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Tastefully tropical: The comeback of Hawaiian shirts and why you need one in your closet

Cue the steel drums and reggae island music… Hawaiian shirts are back in all of their tacky floral glory. The true underdog, Hawaiian shirts have risen again from the depths of fashion exile to take hold of concertgoers, beach bums, fraternity men and SoCal dreaming gals alike. Their recent surge in popularity has dads all over America saying, “See, I told you I was trendy!” Or at least that’s what my dad said when he caught me snooping in his closet scoping out his endless Hawaiian shirt collection…

Hawaiian shirts

Their gaudy prints and tacky aura have earned them a bad reputation in the past, mostly due to the fact that fanny pack-adorning, Floridian map-holding tourists used to be the only ones to sport them. However, these beach-themed masterpieces popped up on the spring 2014 runways of notable designers such as Prada, Tommy Hilfiger and Saint Laurent, putting them back on the map. Now they can be found at popular stores like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Tilly’s or at any local thrift store.

These shirts offer the best of both worlds for any casual occasion: The flashy prints say “I’m here to party” but the structured design — complete with buttons, a collar and sleeves — says you still appreciate fashionable details. Though typically worn by men, who says girls can’t venture into the realm of these floral beauties? I’m all for finding fashionable ways to rock men’s clothing, so I’m here to give all of you beachy gals out there a few options for nailing an outfit centered around a Hawaiian shirt. Below are a few creations I made using Polyvore, my go-to website for deciding how to piece together different outfits.

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Musings from a stylish summer in Europe

It’s been nearly three months since I landed back on American soil after my unforgettable seven-week European summer adventure. Following a two-week family road trip from Florence to Barcelona, I spent five of the most memorable weeks of my life studying abroad with my three best friends in Valencia, Spain. It’s safe to say that I nearly cry every Thursday, as I scroll through my photos trying to pick out what photo to use for #ThrowBackThursday. Valencia’s culture became a part of me in the short time I was there, and I miss the laidback, relaxed vibe of the people more and more each week.

I planned to blog every week during my time abroad, but I obviously didn’t stick to that commitment, as this is regrettably the first time I’ve posted on my blog since July 2. Though I would’ve loved to document my adventures and fashionable escapades along the way, I found myself wanting to be 100 percent immersed in everything I was experiencing. I probably passed up great opportunities for killer “Outfit of the Day” blog posts, but it’s all worth it for the memories I made. Trust me — I’d love to ramble on and reminisce about my weekend adventures to Paris, Ibiza, Barcelona and Madrid or the times my friends and I stayed out late enough to catch the sunrise on the beach. But I’ll spare you the details and just stick to the focus of my blog — fashion.

I was so stoked to receive the opportunity to start writing for CollegeFashionista, a website dedicated to college campus fashion trends, at the start of the summer. Once my European journey began, I started writing for the “Fashion From Abroad” section, which was a total dream come true. Being a Style Guru Intern for CollegeFashionista required (or should I say requires, as I still write for the site currently!) me to find a stylish stranger to photograph and write about once a week. From freely flowing fabrics to practical purses and flashy sunglasses to funky overalls, the European trends that I wrote about were all over the board.

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Outfit of the day: tribal overalls

Okay, so you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What the heck? Tribal overalls? That sounds hideous… Lemme check out this weirdo to see what this is all about.” I will admit that buying these online was a bit of a fashion risk for even me. But I figured that because I love anything and everything tribal printed and because overalls have been my guilty pleasure since I found a pair for $8 at Plato’s Closet three years ago that maybe combining the two trends into one could make for a rad outfit. Even though they’re a little eccentric, I think life is way too short to wear boring clothes. I mean YOLO right?

With Drake’s words of wisdom in the back of my head (like always, duh), I bought my tribal print overalls and finally decided to get some mileage on those bad boys today when I went to Ybor City for lunch. Though many are scared of Ybor because of its reputation for housing a plethora of “sketchy” people, I actually love the place. As the former home of cigar factories and thousands of Cuban and Italian immigrants, it’s rich in Tampa’s culture. I’m not denying its sketchy tendencies — My mom and I were once hit on by a real-life pimp wearing a floor-length purple pimp suit. Plus, I’ve encountered my fair share of transvestites and homeless people. But I can assure you that if you go during broad daylight around lunchtime, you’re golden.

And today, that’s exactly what I did. I went to lunch at The Bricks of Ybor, my go-to restaurant in the area. Owned by the Skatepark of Tampa, one of my favorite hangouts in town, The Bricks never fails to leave me with a happy tummy and wallet. Even though I usually opt for the pulled pork sandwich, I changed it up today by getting the Bird & Pig — a pulled chicken sandwich with brie, sliced apples, agave and bacon, all pressed between sweet bread (a.k.a. heaven in my mouth). The Bricks is a must-try if you’re into places that serve fresh, cheap and inventive food. Stay around until dark and you’re in for some ~groovy~ tunes and an even groovier atmosphere.

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One shirt, four outfits: Getting the most out of your clothes

Similar to any other cheap college student, I’m a big fan of getting the most bang for my buck. Whether it’s Tijuana Flats’ Taco Tuesday special or Starbucks’ Frappuccino Happy Hour, I’m all about the bargains. My dad, an avid Groupon-er and the man who taught me my bargain-hunting ways, will undoubtedly be proud of this post when he reads it! I usually go into my shopping expeditions with a thrifty mindset, asking myself various questions while in the dressing room, including:

  1. Will I ever actually wear this?
  2. Is this really worth the money?
  3. What else do I have in my wardrobe that will go with this?

I like to put a big emphasis on the last question because I like to get a lot of use of my clothes to reassure myself that it was money well spent. I do a mental run-through of my wardrobe, and if I think I have a sufficient amount of items to pair with it, I usually go in for the kill—I check to see if I have any gift cards and grudgingly swipe the plastic card of death I like to call MC (a.k.a. Master Card) because I’m just that cheap. After I get over my initial case of buyer’s remorse, I happily skip home with shopping bags in hand, excited to raid my closet and plan new outfits for the future.

To demonstrate how easy it is to get the most of your clothes, I put my Polyvore obsession to good use and styled four different outfits centered on one graphic shirt.

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Outfit of the Day: Not-So-Traditional Kimono

It really blows my mind how Americans have a way of… well, Americanizing things. Let’s take everyone’s guilty pleasure – pizza – as an example. When I had real pizza in Rome back in seventh grade, I was pretty shocked at how different it was compared to the Domino’s I was used to. My initial thoughts were, “Dang, Papa John is such a poser. This stuff is the bomb.com.” Authentic Italian pizza is lighter and less greasy, and the ingredients are actually fresh as opposed to the often frozen toppings that American pizza chains use.

Let’s be real. I could talk about pizza for hours (mostly because I’m having severe separation anxiety without Gainesville’s finest Pizza By The Slice just a mere five-minute walk from my apartment). But let’s bring it all back to the focus of my blog—fashion. A major style trend for the summer is the “kimono,” a lightweight jacket usually made of polyester or rayon. These Americanized “kimonos” are flowy, open in the front and are often used as a layer to add a little ~ooo lala~ to any basic outfit. I think it’s necessary to put quotes around the word when referring to these types of “kimonos” because they’re far from the real thing.

Our American version of a kimono pales in comparison to legit kimonos—floor-length Japanese robes that wrap around the body. According to an old article that I came across on BBC News, new kimonos usually cost nearly $2,000, which is just slightly out of my price range. I personally feel like it’s a bit of a stretch to call these cheaper American versions kimonos. I mean, look at this gal on the left. She’s covered head-to-toe in a killer garment that’s rich in Japanese culture. Though the girl on the right is no doubt stylish, her “kimono” just doesn’t stand a chance in terms of the real meaning of the word.

Image[photo credits: blog.coco-fashion.com and vampirextina.buzznet.com]

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Outfit of the Day: Rockin’ Out

Greetings, blogosphere! Long time no see. This past semester was one of my busiest thus far. I took Reporting (a.k.a. the second most failed class at the University of Florida), which required extensive time and effort every week. I probably could have half-assed it like some of my classmates and gotten by with the minimum grade of a C, but that’s just not my style. I worked my little journalism booty off every week to pump out quality stories, and I ended up getting a B+ in the class! On top of Reporting, I had to deal with transitioning to prepare taking over my school’s chapter of Her Campus. Let’s just say I truly started to understand the diagram below. But in my case, I only had one choice, and that was schoolwork.

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But enough of this mini pity party. After one of my busiest semesters thus far, I’m stoked to have this summer to get my blog back on track! Though I’ve been MIA, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been ~stylin’~ in the meantime. This past semester especially, I noticed that I took more time to plan out my outfits every morning to choose something comfortable and fashionable for running around campus all day. As I’ve mentioned in former blog posts, I’m a firm believer in the adage “Look good; feel good.” When I showed up to my 8:30 a.m. three-hour Reporting lab wearing something cute, I can honestly say that those three hours were a lot more bearable because I felt more put-together and awake. Don’t get me wrong—I also relied on my fair share of caffeinated tea before dashing out the door and nearly sprinting to make it on time to my lab. But wearing cute clothes definitely helped along the way!

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