Monday, July 13, 2015

Tips for Scoring Expensive Looking Accessories on the Cheap

Eddie Borgo for Target white marble clutch, tassel charm, and pyramid charm

When I was younger, I used to play a game while at the grocery store with my parents. I would look at all the handbags on women and figure out if they were designer or knock offs. I was able to do this at middle school age and can still tell you if a bag is real or not. I've always had a knack for picking up the most expensive, luxurious item on a table or rack. That being said, I can spot expensive looking pieces even in the cheapest of stores.

This is a gift, people. (or a curse if you are married to me)

I love to receive compliments on pieces only to tell people that I grabbed something at Target or Forever 21. I've started to hone in on what I look for when selecting pieces at low end stores and I've compiled them for you here!

The key for me is to purchase items that read as "rich" without leaving me broke, so I'm going to use that term a lot when providing my tips below followed by a shopping guide of my under $150 accessory picks!

  • When purchasing jewelry or pieces with hardware, opt for traditional metal coloring with gold as your #1 pick. Gold inherently looks richer and heavier and is easier to fake than silver and other metal finishes.
  • When purchasing leather (or faux leather products) lean towards darker finishes. Black and darker tones tend to wear better and are easier to fake. I almost never purchase light colored leather and when I do, it must be real or from a reliable source. Light colored leather, real or faux, can easily be dirtied and stained, especially if you are a fan of dark denim which tends to bleed color onto accessories. 
  • If you are going to purchase anything in faux patent leather, be sure to inspect the item for scratches or dull spots. Also be sure that there are no glue spots or smudges. I would definitely stick to only black patent leather and I would follow this guide for keeping it impeccably clean and shiny. 
  • When buying jackets and bags, look for structure over slouch. It's much easier to fake quality when great structure is present. Slouchy silhouettes really shine in luxe, fluid fabrics which tend to be more expensive. 
  • Avoid making online purchases unless you have honed your eye on details and can easily spot a quality piece by picture. I online shop all the time and even though I'm experienced, I'm positive that I pass up on pieces that must be gorgeous in person that I can't be sure of via picture. 
  • Avoid purchasing items that are blatant copies of designer pieces. "Inspired by" can be a dangerous term. For example, chain strap purses were inspired by the Chanel 2.55 and can be found everywhere, but a rectangular quilted leather bag with a chain strap purse is a blatant 2.55 knockoff.
  • Whenever I am brick and mortar shopping, I can be seen touching every single thing in the store. As a store manager, I hate that I am this way as a customer, but honestly a huge part of shopping for me is being able to handle an item. If something feels super soft, well made, buttery, or weighty, I may consider purchasing it. When touching objects, be care to use the back of your hand rather than your fingertips when grazing light colored fabrics and leathers or fur. Your fingertips may pass oils or dirt onto items, which is not great if you are only browsing. 
  • My recommendation is to keep it simple regarding exotic looking skins, prints and patterns, and embellishment. It's very easy for too many details to read as cheap or overtly trendy. I would definitely stick to solid over print/pattern. I strongly recommend avoiding designer looking logoes and patterns unless you are purchasing the real deal (I am actually begging here). When purchasing embellished items, follow the same rules you would regarding jewelry. Look for sheen, lean towards gold, and go for heft rather than light/hollow details. When purchasing exotic skin look-alikes, be sure to stick to naturally occurring colors/sheens. Purple alligators are not found in nature, but brownish green ones likely are. 
  • Don't be afraid to mix all of your pieces. I have been known to throw a Louis Vuitton wallet inside of an Old Navy tote bag. Having a few great investment pieces gives the illusion that all of your pieces are/could be high end. The key here is to leave everyone guessing wether or not your pieces cost you hundreds of dollars. 
  • Lastly, you must treat your purchases like they are all high end. Clean your jewelry once in a while, remove scuffs from your shoes, and store your bags carefully. If a piece is looking to shabby or dirty, retire it-thats why you purchased a lower end item in the long run (this is not an investment pieces). 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Perfect Tomato Red Nail Polish

Guys, I've been on the hunt for the perfect orange-y tomato red nail polish. I was having a hard time locating a cruelty free polish (of course Essie has a great non C-free version), but the nail gods have finally ended my plight!

Success came in the form of Zoya's Haley!

I picked it up and broke my no nail polish for a month rule (following a gel mani for London that killed my nails) and painted my tips immediately!

The color looks great on my pale hands and would probably look even better on tanned skin!

Also, if you're looking for a perfect true (fire engine) red, check out Butter London's Come to Bed Red. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Last week Jon and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, which many people know to be our 3rd since we were quietly married at the courthouse a year before our wedding.

We kept it very simple-both of us worked that day- with the exception that my husband surprised me with flowers over lunch at the store. We had been meaning to go out a noodle bar together (he's a big fan and I've always wanted to give it a try) so we chose David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar as the site for our anniversary dinner.

Dinner was amazing following an hour + wait time-it was so worth it.

I felt amazing in the outfit that I picked out. This jersey dress was so comfortable and had a draped silky overlap that covers any lumps and bumps that one may have. My sandals were light and easy to walk in and my new bag from London made me feel pulled together and ladylike. I would happily wear this outfit everyday if I could (in fact I threw it back on the next morning to wear to work).

Dress (red23 via The Fig Leaf), Sandals (old, similar)

Monday, July 6, 2015

A London Love Affair

Since my last post mentioning London,  I traveled to, fell in love with, and parted ways with England.

I was lucky enough to join my friend Katie in Richmond (a suburb outside of London proper) for the last few days of her business trip. We eschewed tourist spots in favor of eating and wandering our way around London based on local recommendations. I have to say, we had a great time and I ate really well despite several people telling me that British food sucks. I am a little upset that I forgot to eat fish and chips while there, but hey, I live in America and I'm positive that I can find a great version here!

This is about to be a shit ton of pictures from England:

The Thames

Katie-my wandering partner

Rusty, whom I fell in love with <3

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pay Day Priorities II

Last night, we had a date night and went to the mall and to see Jurassic World. It came as a surprise to both of us that I LOVED the movie. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should, but be prepared to sit through the whole movie in a stage of anxiety. 

We had a couple hours to kill before the movie started so we had dinner and did a bit of shopping. I grabbed a couple things, most notably the two pieces below. I'm quite happy with my purchases, which came in just under $95.

I stopped into the Coach store to check out their store redesign (which looks really high end and amazing) and happened upon these amulet earrings. For $60 I thought they were totally worth it and can't wait to wear them.
I ventured into Forever 21 (which was an absolute mad house) to score a cheapie outfit for 4th of July (unsuccessful) but I did find this (faux) leather quilted crossbody bag for about $30 on a shelf in the men's department and then invested 20 minutes on line at the register to purchase it. It looks and feels so much nicer than its price tag suggests, which I'm always a big fan of.