Striped Turtleneck Staple

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Do you have a striped black and white turtleneck in your closet? If not, get one. Yesterday. During some after Thanksgiving shopping, I bought this one from Old Navy for a whopping $8. Unfortunately, it’s sold out now, but I found this one from Macy’s for $14.99.

I never realized how much I was missing! I actually have a black and white striped t-shirt, but this turtleneck has quickly become my go-to piece. It’s seriously a game-changer. I’m not even a huge fan of turtlenecks because I don’t like my neck and I think they typically emphasize my double chin! BUT…this style is a thin, lightweight version that doesn’t ride up too high or graze one of my least favorite features.

I’ve worn it by itself and as a layering piece. A lot!


If you still need convincing or if you just need some styling inspiration, here are some pics I found on Pinterest and shared on “My Pinterest Closet” board. Notice, I’ve already used some as inspiration and full intend to recreate all of these looks!



Know what I found while pinning? Some of these images are years old! That just goes to show you how classic and versatile this piece is! (Unless that just means I have outdated style! whomp whomp!) Do you already have a striped turtleneck? What’s your favorite way to style it? I’d love to see new ideas!

As always, thanks for reading!




Cold Weather Work Wear

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Happy New Year, everyone! I’m not doing a silly resolution post. I don’t keep them. Not wasting my time or yours with false promises, hopes and dreams. I’m a realist. What I realistically need is some cold weather work wear inspiration!

I was born on an island (the Philippines) and have lived in the southern U.S. the remainder of my life. Being acclimated to cold weather just isn’t in my blood. It’s not in my genes. When the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you can rest assured, I’ll be layered up and bundled up.

This is where my problem arises. It’s tough for me to be motivated to look cute for work when all I want to do is stay warm and cozy in pj’s or in my bed! Best case scenario (when you factor in winter weight gain), I am happy to throw on leggings, boots and an over-sized sweater.

So, I did some blog and Pinterest perusing to try and get excited about getting dressed when my inspiration level is about as low as the temperature. For any of you who may feel the same, hopefully this will help you make warm wardrobe decisions that are still office appropriate!

1. Add some color somewhere..or everywhere! It’s a lot more fun to get dressed when your choices are more fun to look at! I’m crazy about color blocking. I particularly love colored pants! All of these really get my fashion mojo going! Bonus style points to Blair Eadie from Atlantic-Pacific for that rocking cape!

Wendy Nguyen from Wendy’s Lookbook can do no wrong. A red blazer is a perfect way to add color and warmth! Leather leggings aren’t the best work appropriate option, but trade those for black trousers…add black tights..def keep those leopard pumps!!… and you’re hot to trot!

from: Wendy’s Lookbook

2. Add patterns to the mix…multiple patterns if you’re feeling bold! One thing I love to see is a patterned top/button-down under a basic sweater. It’s like a peek-a-boo fun house! If you want to push the envelope, merge two prints–stripes and dots are an easy way to mix patterns for first-timers!

Don’t be afraid to try patterns on the bottom, either! Go with a more subtle pattern, which allows you to play with bolder colors. Or go with a bold pattern and keep the rest simple–I love how the black pieces tame these amazing plaid pants!

3. Texturize (maybe I made up that word)! There’s no better way to feel cozy than when you’re wrapped in a cozy, chunky knit! Pair with a leather blazer or skirt to bump up the cool factor a few notches. Or just keep it safer, yet still chic, by pairing with a fun blazer or coat. Are you dying to try leather leggings at work? Try the look Kat pulls off (3rd image). The layers are long enough to cover everything tastefully and the suede knee boots provide extra coverage while balancing out the texture!

4. Pile It On! One theme that seems consistent with staying chic in cold weather: layering! It adds that much-needed warmth and also elevates the overall look. To keep from feeling like you are being restrained in your own outfit, keep the bottom layer on the fitted side and go up a size in your outer layers to give you some breathing room!

Now, I need to head to my closet and start playing dress up! If you have any warm weather favorites for the office, I’d LOVE to see! Feel free to tag me on Instagram: @buddingfashionista or share a pic on Facebook!


Meet My BFFs

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I’ve kind of been dragging my feet on kicking off this new part of my blog, but I’m finally pushing through and “getting ‘er done” as some of my Southern cohorts might say.

During Birmingham Fashion Week (previous posts here), I took a few snapshots of fashion lovers whose style caught my eye. I loved doing it and actually thought about doing this on a regular basis for average Joes and Josettes on the street–my own version of Street Style, if you will. After getting inspiration at a Bloganista Mini-Conference a while back, I decided to get on the ball!

Enter my new BFFs: budding fashionista favorites!

I was shopping at my local outlet mall when this young lady caught my eye. She probably has cooler style than me! This is Bryanna and I absolutely love how she styled such a cute print top with a fun skirt and added a little edge with the booties. Her glasses may be primarily for function, but they are certainly fashionable, as well. Her mother told me Bryanna may only be 13, but she certainly has her own sense of style! I’m happy to show off this budding fashionista to the world!


I have more BFFs to share! Hope you’ll stay tuned!

Fall’s Most Wanted

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I haven’t even really been able to update my wardrobe with new summer duds because of my no shopping challenge (which is almost over, Hallelujah!), but I’m already getting mentally prepared for the fall!

One reason why: I was recently invited to attend a ’14 Fall Fashion Preview at Belk, led by the VP of Trend and Fashion Direction, Arlene Goldstein. I was happy to see a lot of trends sticking around from last year (that’s less spending I have to do!)!

Here’s a little collage from the event, featuring Ms. Goldstein herself and super popular beauty bloggers, eleventhgorgeous.

Fall Fashion Preview
top L–Arlene Goldstein and me, top R–eleventhgorgeous and me, bottom L–fall style concept examples, bottom C–swag bag contents!, bottom R–hors d’oeuvres

Before I reveal the “most wanted” list, here’s a quick Belk back story. If you’re not familiar, Belk is a regional department store, based in the south with the slogan, “Modern. Southern. Style.” While it’s geared toward southern shoppers, their inventory is hardly exclusive to Southerners. After all, they were the sponsors for the Project Runway accessory wall for Season 12 (my inside scoop reveals they will not be the sponsors for the next season).

So, even though this list is coming from a Southern-based store, it certainly applies to all fashion lovers from all walks of life. This list is practical for every day wear. I’ll be doing another post with hottest looks from the runways in the near future.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. All of the following items are straight from the Belk website.

The 10 Most Wanted for Women (starting with my personal favorites):
1. Soft Pant – I absolutely love this trend. They can come in a wide range of fits and patterns–from softly structured to athletic inspired. I snatched a pair before my no shopping challenge and could live in them. They are so comfortable, effortless, yet utterly chic! Pair with a slouchy top for an easy feel or blazer/button down for a more work-appropriate look.

2. Longer Skirts – Anyone who knows me knows I love a great mini skirt. But, I can still appreciate this ever-exploding trend of below-the-knee hemlines. Now, just because the hem drops, doesn’t mean sexy falls off the radar as you can see in the lace number below. But the most on-trend silhouette is fuller and more voluminous. I have created this look recently, by hiking up a maxi skirt to give me that midi-length. It will do for now until I can shop again. It looks best with fitted tops (maybe even a crop top if you dare!) to balance out the fullness on bottom.

3. Statement Neck – If you think bling is designated for evenings out, think again. Statement necklaces are not falling off the radar anytime soon. Wear with any and everything! To keep it current, go for mixed metals. For an ultra-cool, not trying-to-hard look, pair with loose fitting simple T, blazer, distressed jeans and killer heels!

4.Fashion Sweatshirt – we’re not talking about your old high school gym gear. The must-have sweatshirt is embellished, cropped, graphic and/or printed. Pair with (#1 listed) structured soft pants and heels for a fun juxtaposition!

5. Over-the-knee boots – Step out with ferocity in these. I obsessed over these last fall and they are still blazing this fall! Don’t be afraid of looking like Pretty Woman. Pair with jeans to keep it low-key or a fit and flare skirt to bring edge to the flirty silhouette.

6. Novelty Vest – A bandwagon I have yet to jump on, but that doesn’t make it any less important of a fashion statement. Fur vests, moto vests, quilted vests, sleeveless blazers–all get a thumb’s up. I am personally still undecided about the trend for myself (partly because I’m not a big fan of “fur”). Go ahead, discredit me as a fashion source. But, must I remind you, I never claimed to be a fashionista! Pairings depend on the style of vest you choose: fur goes well with jeans and boots to trousers and booties, quilted vests are better suited for the weekend and sleeveless blazers are perfect for the office (pair with a longer skirt for extra style points!).

7. Creative Cardigan – If the classic twinset look suits you just fine, try branching out! Cardigans come in so many shapes and silhouettes, there’s something for everyone. I personally love super thick knits or a looser dolman sleeve. Wear with anything! Have fun with layers and textures!

8. Tunic Top – Ever the Fall staple, tunics are so comfy and easy paired with leggings or your fave skinnies.For a more updated look, find one with some asymmetry to it!

9. Midi Length Sheath – The knee-length sheath is a no-brainer. The midi puts you on the map! It looks so chic with a hot pair of heels!

10. Satchel – With its simple shape and subtle details, this classic bag captures an “of the moment” fashion vibe. Perfect to add a pop of color or classic finish to any look.


I love fall weather! I think it allows you to maximize your wardrobe more than any other season! But for now…I’ll be perusing the summer clearance racks first! So I’ll admire all of the new fall merchandise from afar!

For more on Belk’s fall trend report, click here.

What are your favorite fall must haves? Do you already have a head start on the season?

Thanks for reading!





Oh, yes! It’s Ladies’ Night (and men can come, too)!

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High end shopping is not something I can typically afford, but it is certainly something I appreciate (and try to copy!)! That’s why I’m so excited to share I’ll be attending and covering a “Night Out” with Style Blueprint’s Faces of Birmingham. The event will be held at Gus Mayer , a local, upscale women’s boutique at the Summit shopping center.

gus mayerIt’s a night of tax-free shopping, giveaways, great music, complimentary cocktails and free hors d’oeuvres! It’s definitely a see and be-seen event for anyone interested in fashion and trends (pssst…it’s also free to attend!)

You can see me even if you aren’t in the Birmingham area! I’ll be covering the event live via social media for B-Metro Magazine from 5-8pm Thursday, April 10th.

Sidenote: I love this local lifestyle magazine and have always secretly wanted to work for them ever since I learned of their existence when moving to the Magic City. So, of course I’m thrilled to finally be connected in some capacity!

Another thrilling moment: a friend of mine said she heard an ad on the radio announcing I’ll be among the other live bloggers at the event! I’m still dragging my jaw on the floor! The budding fashionista was mentioned on the radio?! I’m still in disbelief!

So, please take a second to check me out here:

Facebook: budding fashionista

Twitter: @buddingfashion1

Instagram: @buddingfashionista

I’ll be looking forward to sharing all of the fashion excitement as we get ready for the 4th annual Birmingham Fashion Week!

Is It 2014 Yet???

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Seriously. I couldn’t have picked a harder time to do this budget thing. What was I thinking? November=Black Friday!

Once again, by mid-month, my $100 budget had run dry.  So, needless to say, that means I will not be partaking in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping–which, in reality, seems to be starting on Thanksgiving Day in many stores. While we’re on the subject… I used to WISH stores/the mall were open on Thanksgiving after all of the family fun and face stuffing had wound down. But now, as a mom with a family of my own, I am so perturbed at the fact many stores are opening on the actual holiday. The retail race is out of control! Let families relax, spend time together. Or just let your employee enjoy a holiday off to do nothing! For the companies that only operate holiday hours on volunteer staff, I guess I’m okay with that. But otherwise, the only way to stop it is to NOT SHOP on the holiday. That’s my stance.

Now…let me step off my soapbox and get back to budget talk. I really had to put some of my wants aside this time. Most of it went toward clothes for the children. Most of it. Not all.

After a recent doctor visit, I realized my 7 year old is trapped in a 10 year old’s body. So, needless to say, all of his pants from the spring looked like cropped pants (which I’m actually a fan of on adult men). We had a wedding to go to, so there was no procrastinating on making a purchase for him.

At The Children’s Place, we bought khaki pants and some boat shoes that I hoped would be dressy enough for the wedding. I sign up for their emails (like I encourage all of you good, budget conscious shoppers to do) and saved 20% or 25% on my purchase. I couldn’t remember. I also had to make another trip to get jeans. They ended up being only $10 with a coupon. So I ended up getting the pants, shoes and jeans for $35! Not bad!!

The Children’s Place chino//The Children’s Place boat shoe//The Children’s Place boot fit jeans

I also got tights for my daughter at The Children’s Place for $5 since winter feels like it’s already upon us on some days. Do I really need to post a picture? Thank you.

I got some other cute goodies for my daughter at Old Navy. I could not pass up this tres chic sweatshirt dress. And I got her a little silver, peplum striped top. There went $15 ($10/dress, $5/shirt).

I was on the go and in desperate need of black leggings/pants, so I made a quick pit stop to Toys ‘R Us. I got lucky and found some on promotion for $5. And they had cute little bow details on the leg opening! I only found a picture of denim leggings in this style, so just pretend they’re black. 

Old navy sweatshirt dress-sold out//Old Navy Silver striped Peplum Top//Babies ‘R Us leggings – only in black

Then, I could focus on myself. I got an email (yes, email!) from J.Crew saying they had 30% off markdowns. I figured I’d check it out. When I got to the store, markdowns were actually 40% off, so I got a cute tassel necklace for about $23.

J. Crew tassel necklace

And, Marshalls just opened up in the area, so I HAD to be there for the grand opening. I tried out the track pant/harem pant trend…really, I’m not sure how to categorize these things. But the pants were $25. To see how I styled them with my leather top, check me out on Instagram. My older sister questioned this purchase because it was a quarter of my budget. I have an extremely difficult time finding pants long enough. Sometimes tall lengths are not even long enough. So, for these pants to have fit me, that played a huge role in my purchase. Usually trendy pants are made for the average height woman. And, these pants had the original tag on with a retail price of $128! So, it was a no brainer for me!

So, if you do the math, it doesn’t take a genius to see I went a little over budget.

I could have gone so much more over budget. The new Isabel Marant collection for H&M came out. I could’ve done a lot more damage at the Marshall’s grand opening. Also, Piperlime was having 30% off their markdowns! And of course, there’s always Black Friday damage. I have practiced self-control beyond my known capabilities this month.

On the bright side…my Banana Republic bill was only $17.58. I am in sticker shock in the best way possible. It’s usually 15x that much. So, maybe this budget thing isn’t so bad after all.

But rest assured, when January 2014 rolls around, I will be hard-pressed to practice this budget restraint. Expect big sales at the end of the month (it’s the end of the fiscal year!). I may have to reinstate the budget challenge in February!

The Copycat Fashionista Strikes Again!

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As I mentioned in my original copycat post last week, I love getting inspiration from other stylish ladies. It doesn’t hurt to get a little inspiration from others. Heck, inspiration, schminspiration…I’m trying to flat-out steal some of these women’s looks! But, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

So, after going a week wearing “outfits inspired by others,” I would hope the following women would be flattered. I hope they don’t have a “B*** stole my look” attitude about my knock-off outfits.

Here are two simple points I keep in mind when I choose my targets:

  • Is the outfit comprised of relatively basic items (I’m not realistically going to re-create some flouncy feathery skirt ensemble when the statement item does not exist in my closet–although you can use basic alternatives, but what’s the fun in that?!)?
  • Don’t try to recreate to the “T.” The original looks are basic inspirations. They can be adjusted to work within one’s wardrobe.

I did not want to have to go shopping. Everything used in my re-creations was already in my (or as you’ll learn, my husband’s) closet.

Here are my inspirations and interpretations for the week:

Day 1: I went straight to My Pinterest Closet for this look. The original source is no longer tied to the picture, so I’m not quite sure who to give credit to. I had pinned this a while back and thought it was smartly put together. The original is actually worn with a navy blazer and red shoes. Because I don’t have either of those items (note to self: get navy blazer and red shoes when budget allows), I went with a black blazer and black boots (to acclimate to dropping temps). I added an on-trend tassel necklace recently purchased on clearance at J.Crew. What do you think? Instagram likes: 51+

Day 2: This is also from My Pinterest Closet. It’s actually inspired by an actress I’m not a huge fan of, but I’ve always loved this red carpet outfit of hers. I’m talking about Kristen Stewart! Sorry, I hope I’m not alienating all you Twi-hards out there! I didn’t have a boyfriend fit white button down, so I used the next best thing–my husband’s white button down! I just rolled up the sleeves and tied it at the waist. Voila! I love how my $20 Steve Madden shoes that I purchased in my October budget month match so closely with Ms. Stewart’s! I tried to match the jewelry comparably–the tassel necklace makes another appearance! Instagram Likes: 33+

Day 3: Yes, I tried to knock off a pregnant woman’s look. I would happily wear any of Karla Reed‘s outfits even when she’s 9 months pregnant. I mean, really? Who really looks this good so late in a pregnancy?! Well, thanks for putting us to shame, Karla. Anyway, back to the outfit! She is a master at layering. I don’t own any camo or military green separates but my military/safari inspired dress from Banana Republic (a few years old) filled in as a nice substitute. Karla layered her look with a denim shirt on top of her outfit, then with a black blazer on top of that. I opted to wear the denim under my dress. I rather like the outcome! Instagram likes: 43+

Day 4: Honestly at this stage of the week, I was tired of trying to find looks to copy. I was ready to just wear what I felt like putting together. But, I stuck it out and found this ensemble on Instagram. It belongs to Carolin of Follow the Pink Fox. I don’t own a khaki blazer with black lapels, so I improvised. I wore a black button down under the blazer, with the collar over the lapels. My only black/white striped sweater has polka dots on top, but hey…it works and. Instead of neutral pumps (which I do own) I just decided to do a neutral bootie instead to make it more fall appropriate. Instagram likes: 37+

Day 5: I saw Katy (Instagram user @WearWhatWhere) sporting the same yellow Banana Republic sweater I already own. I loved how she layered a flannel shirt underneath. I don’t own flannel, so I just wore the only plaid shirt I have underneath. Worked out just fine, if you ask me! I think it’s a look fitting of a Banana Republic “icon.” Instagram likes: 41+

Bonus Look: I couldn’t finish the week without giving props to Brenna from Chic Street Style. I absolutely LOVE this look she put together. I don’t have leather shorts, so I stuck with my dressy black ones. I don’t own a Burberry scarf or coordinating purse. I do, however, own a yellow Burberry plaid inspired scarf and yellow 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target cross body satchel. So, I switched the red for the yellow! I’m still learning how to style a scarf, so you’ll have to give me a pass on the styling of that for now!

There you have it!! A week of “what I wore” and “ootds.” All inspired by someone else.

What I learned from my little challenge, is this: Even though I may not be a fashionista and I may not come up with the most fashion forward looks all the time, I’m perfectly happy with my own personal style and love being able to play dress up when I want. And I love playing copycat when I want!

Which look did you like best??