Fashion Friday: September Style

This week I'm going to show you two versions of Fashion Friday. One is the haute couture version; the other is my budget workaround.         

Here are two outfits perfect for running around town in post-Labor Day style. Given that it's made up of separates either outfit's pieces are very versatile and can be dressed up or down in many different ways depending on what each piece is paired with. In my opinion versatility adds value. I'm more inclined to buy separates I can use in multiple ways because it makes my clothing budget money go further.

If you've got money to burn you can opt for the $2,400 Chanel Vintage tweed jacket, the Jason Wu color block stretch jersey pencil skirt for $695, Costume National leather sandals at $400, and the $3,400 Bottega Venata "Cervo" Fire (Orange) Leather Woven Satchel. Total cost for the designer label version is $6,895.

My version is considerably cheaper but no less chic. The black cotton Contrast jacket is from the clearance rack at Marshall's and set me back $19.99. My skirt is fresh off the racks of Forever21+. Can you believe an "XL" is considered a plus size? At $17.80 I could care less what they call it. I call it a good deal. My black XAPPEAL heels are from Rack Room Shoes as part of a BOGO so they cost me $16.50. The bag is a TJ Maxx find, a certified "vegan" bag from Urban Expressions and a steal at $32.00. Total cost for my cheap knockoff look is a whopping $86.25.

Now I'm off to get ready for the British Invasion. I get to play tour guide this weekend - I expect it'll be tons of fun!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Gotham Girl

As I end the Budget section of BODS I hope you've been left with the impression that there are no end of bargains out there for any Spashionista willing to be diligent and resourceful.

In this post we wave goodbye to frugality and plunge head first into major label elegance. New York City is my birthplace and where I spent my early childhood years - when I was actually cute.

Although it's been many, many years since I called Gotham my home it will always be a part of who I am. Even living on the outskirts of Nashville you can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl. So let's go back to NYC and do it dressed to the nines.

Love the top? Me, too. It's a Vivienne Westwood Green Boeing Blouse in khaki silk from the Autumn/Winter 2012-13 collection at viviennewestwood.co.uk for $320. The skirt, an ALICE by Temperley Dita lace-paneled jersey, is an expensive iteration of my Ilyse Hart LTD black and white lace pencil skirt. This one can be had from net-a-porter.com and is much pricier at $300. The fox fur trimmed, wool/silk blend pashmina is $543 worth of stunning Gucci style. You can find the Spanish red suede Chie Mihara Sour Floral T-Strap Pump shoes at Neiman Marcus. They'll only set you back $470. The clutch comes to us from Harrod's. A McQ Alexander McQueen Albion Envelope  for $740 (£470). The bracelet and rings are both Alexander McQueen as well. The pearl bracelet is from Bergdorf Goodman and the gold finish brass Quad Band Skull ring from alexandermcqueen.com; $2565 and $265, respectively. The Jazzy Power chair will keep you moving in style for $3529 from Amazon.com.

Grand totals? Without the chair, $5203; with, $8732. Either way this is more than I'll ever spend on an outfit. But I think I'd look amazing in these pieces. Now, where are the cheap knockoffs?

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

It's A Cinch To Pinch Those Pennies

Last week I promised to share with you where I found the bottoms in this picture.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I got these jeans at a thrift store for $4.98. In fact, I purchased everything you see below at one of three thrift stores I periodically pillage.

For my fellow disabled Spashionistas and anyone on a tight budget or a fixed income secondhand stores can be a boon. You're letting somebody else pay full price for a garment that has the potential to make you look fabulous when you score it for a lot less money. There are obvious downsides to the thrift store experience. You have to be willing to wade through a sea of so-so clothing to find that rare piece that's perfect for you. You also have to be willing to have it altered if it's a close fit.

Take these jeans, for example. These happen to be Nine West and fit me perfectly except for the length.

Given the fact that I'm on the short end of petite I expect any pants I find are going to be too long. I paid $6.98 for the jeans and another $9 to have them hemmed (you didn't really think I could sew, did you?). For around $16 I have name brand jeans that fit like a glove. The Westbound Petite I'm wearing in the photo above, along with a pair of Old Navy Sweetheart Jeans purchased for $5.98, are the only pants I've bought that didn't need to be taken up.

Other notable summer tops include the pink One World ombre  for $3.99; the RXB turquoise embellished tunic, also $3.99.

The black and white "mystery"  label-removed tunic for $2.98.

The gorgeous Ilyse Hart LTD black pencil skirt with white lace looks like a million bucks but only cost me $3.99! The third black and white item is a Sangria dress that I purchased for $5.99.

Fall picks start with the Sarah Arizona Petite dark sage top for $4.99 and the Worthington Petite black wrap top at $3.99.

This Ann Taylor Loft grey fringe wool skirt with appliqued flowers was a steal at $8.98.

Winter clothes are hard to find secondhand. This is especially true for sweaters that can't be altered and tend to arrive at the thrift store stretched, snagged, or pilled. When I find a great sweater I pounce on it. Take these two for instance. The white is a Raphaella angora/lambswool blend for $7.98. The pink Valerie Stevens is cashmere and set me back $10.99.

By my calculations that's a total of $84.81, including the $9 alteration fee, for 13 items. That averages out to $6.52 per piece. Is there any sceneario by which this does not qualify as awesome?

Please excuse the quality of these photos - I lent my photography rig to Vogue magazine. They promised to have it back in time for this shoot but, well, you know how that goes!

What's your best thrift store/charity shop/consignment boutique find?

Do Your Best - Results May Vary

This is only my sixth post and already I have met some wonderful ladies through their comments on SR. I think that warrants a little more personal information from me. An addendum to The Palsy.

I live in a little house just outside of Nashville, Tn with my husband and my two dogs. I can't drive so I spend the majority of my time at home. I'm not from Tennessee but I've come to appreciate the scenery and the peace and quiet that comes with living in a rural area. I'm not exactly the outdoorsy type. Scratch that, I'm not even close to the outdoorsy type. My idea of camping is only one bathroom and no computer. Two years ago this week our home was nearly destroyed by the 2010 flood aftermath aka the Army Corps of Engineers' genius plan. It has taken us this long to rebuild it with no shortage of amazing people stepping up to help - some of them from as far away as Liverpool, UK. We're not quite done with it but our involuntary remodel has resulted in a better, more accessible house than we started with.

My dogs have a big fenced-in yard to run around in and I walk with them for exercise. As I get older I've come to understand that any mobility I have is a privilege and it's use it or lose it time.  Four years ago I had to have neurosurgery to repair a cervical vertebra that had literally turned onto it's side and  left my right arm completely numb. It was likely the result of my efforts to become the world best Spastic Chef. Whatever; it was surgery or inevitable paralysis. As I've approached and passed the half century mark on this planet I've also had to work through a severely pulled hamstring, sciatica, and carpal tunnel - in my palsy hand of all places!

Poor me. Boo hoo. Nobody cares about any of that when they meet me. It's up to me to do the best I can to look as good as I can muster at any given moment so I can engage the people I'm interacting with. After my neck surgery I wore a scarf around my neck brace. It didn't occlude the brace, it just showed I cared enough to wrap it in something beautiful. Likewise until my neck healed I couldn't wear pants that had buttons or zippers so I found the prettiest skirts or pull-on pants I could and made sure the elastic didn't bunch and was covered up. It was the best I could do.

There are days when I don't feel like wearing much makeup or fussing over my clothes (yes, really) but I've set things up in such a way that even if I'm in a rush I know how to make myself look presentable. I'm sure all of you have seem the fashion makeover shows on TV. Don't you find it odd that they never makeover a Palsy? That's because their rules only take into account bodies that move correctly with clothes that fall over lines that are not twisted by spasticity or caught in the spokes of a wheelchair. Their bags won't sit in the crook of an elbow encased in a crutch, their stilettos are the ideal setup for a Spaz pratfall in 0.02 seconds.

So what are we, chopped liver?

The rules are different for us. I've figured out a few of them and I'll be sharing them here. It is my sincerest wish that all of you reading this won't hesitate to share your particular challenges and any workarounds you may have found.  It's high time we showed the world what we're made of!