Magpie Musts: The Budget-Friendly Edition

Monday’s post elicited some interesting responses — some of you commented on the absurdity of a $2,500 Hermes blanket, while others tweeted about how they’d just found their new ultra-covets.  Because a speaker is nothing without an audience {contrary to the implications of the mental gymnastics that many of the post-modern theorists from my Lit Criticism course put me through}, I take all of this feedback to heart.  I spent the better part of my free time over the past few days sifting through contradictory thoughts: the benefits of having a “dream space” blog where I can blather on about impractical dream items I will likely never purchase versus the sheer, borderline disgusting excess of some of the products I’ve culled and coordinated here.  What do you think?  In deference to the latter perspective, today’s post is all about affordability.  Below, you’ll find realistic, budget-friendly ways of achieving three of my favorite looks of the moment: fierce urban-chic, cobalt, and bold colorblocking.  As an aside: this post hits a touch closer to home, to real life, to my mode d’emploi when shopping for my own wardrobe.  I rarely purchase anything full-price (note the insane deals featured below on items like this Loeffler Randall blouse, marked down to $130!), and when I do, I make sure it’s a good bang for its buck (like the price-defying quality of this enorma-clutch — check it out in person!)  All the items below are under $150 (…er, $154…), and many are below $100.

1.  Fierce Urban Chic

As mentioned here and here, I’ve been embracing black skinnies, fierce footwear, and enorma-shades as a coping mechanism for dealing with the lingering winter blues (numbs?).  There are loads of options when it comes to obtaining the look for less.  First: a funky blouse ($110, Atrizia), black skinnies, and a pair of suede mid-calf boots (love that it snaps down at the heel for a different look, and that they remind me of those more expensive PLV boots I’ve been drooling over all season — $97, AshFootwear) finished with some chic tortoise-shell shades ($140, Madewell):

Pop-of-red lips or nails would add just the right punch to the look — and since Deborah Lippmann is all the rage, why not give Essie a break and test-drive their Its Raining Men red ($16, Zappos)?

I’d finish with sparkling enorma-studs ($33, Yochi NY) and a supple brown leather oversized clutch (I snagged this one — which has been making quite the splash in the blogosphere, as people gape over its deceptive affordability…it looks like it costs at least 4x as much — $45, AmericanApparel) —

And because the neckline of the shirt makes necklace-wearing a challenge, I’d load up the wrists with a watch (I own this La Mer find in brown, but am tempted to buy this black-on-rose-gold combo as well — $90, La Mer Collections) and a stack of bangles ($60, Yochi):

I like the idea of topping it all with a cape-turned-trench ($75, ModCloth):

While we’re in the brown-meets-black color palette, I recently bragged about a camel-on-black, Stella McCartney-esque striped t-dress I’d found.  I love it, and am tempted to buy this similar style, in sweater version ($80, TopShop).  I’d wear it on the weekends, putzing around the house, with leggings/skinnies and either OTK boots or my Minnetonkas ($98, Zappos):

If you must sneak out of the house, hide behind some enorma-shades — check out these House of Harlows ($138, ShopTheTrend)!

Look a little scary?  Believe me — they work.  Just let Nicole Richie show us how it’s done:

I’d finish with a slouchy black tote, and DeuxLux has some phenomenal options.  I’ve featured a few of their bags in the past, but am with their entire Mercer line ($108, DeuxLux):

If you’re into the bucket style, I love the colors that theirs come in (especially the “moon” and “stone,” shown below — $80, DeuxLux):

2.  Cobalt

It’s the color du jour.  I’d pair a simple white sleeveless blouse ($70, TopShop) with a fabric-and-chain necklace ($22, ShopMamie), black skinnies and blue suede pumps ($60, Zara):

I’d add off-the-moment cateyes ($16, Urban Outfitters) and a bold beaded clutch ($140, ShopFurbish):

Finish with a simple black blazer (this one is on sale for $56, PiperLime), topped with a faux fur tippet (this one is on sale for only $38! — Ssense):

Or take a walk on the slightly wilder side by pairing a silken black blouse (can you believe the deal on this Loeffler Randall style?!  TGTBT! — $130, LoefflerRandall) with some bold-print cobalt-and-black shorts (Twenty8Twelve, $53, TheOutnet), and some slightly edgy enorma-studs (House of Harlow, $38, ShopTheTrend):

For winter, finish with black tights, some cap-toe flats (love this classic style — $64, MaraisUSA), and a fierce little clutch ($98, Banana Republic):

If those looks are too bold for you, invest in one of the darling “market” totes instead ($130, Hammocks and High Tea) — do you not die over the prints?!


I am with this inexpensive striped tee from H&M (just snapped it up myself! — $12), which I’d pair with white skinnies and almond-hued thong sandals (I must.have. these basic sandals — love the unexpected nude color! — Sam Edelman, $60, Amazon):

Finish with this shocking pink clutch ( — and it comes in other great BRIGHTS as well — $43, Melie Bianco), some classic wayfarers ($145, Ray-Ban), and some opaque white beads (KJL, $88, Charm and Chain):

Alternately, what do you think of a navy striped day dress ($72, Basic French) with a pop of neon-accented straw bag ($148, Barney’s) and some mod-looking, slightly futuristic metallic mini-wedge flats (Seychelles, on sale for $29/pop, W Hotel):

If you’re looking for just a little POP, pair a simple white dress/white jean get up with this funky little squeeze o’ lime clutch ($154, Cleobella), or this citrus orange cross-body ($99, Mango):

Alternately, this zippered, sueded clutch, with its shocking pink / orange combo, is just about as on-point as they come ($99, BlueHeavenBoutique):

Could be great paired with these slightly 80s era wedges (PLV, on sale for $140, Endless):

Come to think of it, I’m pretty much anything BRIGHT/DAY-GLO paired with crisp white or solid black, including these colorful danglers ($68, Rachel Leigh), these inexpensive Wayfarer knock-offs ($12, FredFlare — they add just the right amount of kitschiness to an outfit), and these Proenza Schouler rope bracelets (they are all.the.rage. right now — $150, KirnaZabete):

And why not punch things up with a coat of glittery lacquer — apparently this “Happy Birthday” color has been flying off the shelves ($18, DeborahLippmann):

Finally, just a little pop of the brights beneath your clothes might put a little pep in your step — and I’m with all things Eberjey, so I’ve got this little set on the brain ($50 for top, $38 for bottom — Journelle):

Did any of these items make your ultra-covet list?!

One Comment

  1. Personally, I rely on your posts for my Dream Space moments. A girl can dream, can she not? Then when my pay comes in, I try to make as many of those dreams into reality as I can (or cannot) afford to! I say keep dreaming so I can too! 😉

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