While I hate being categorized, I've recently had to think about where I fit in the blogosphere.
Growing up I was a small, skinny girl. I had buck teeth, a lisp, long stringy hair, and born in to a family of seven kids without a lot of money probably didn't help. I had to deal with teasing from the mean girls but in retrospect I was lucky that I wasn't subjected to serious bullying. As a mom I try to make sure that my kids are always thoughtful of other kids feelings so they won't have to experience what I felt growing up. I think what kept me sane was eventually finding a friend who felt as different as I did - and knowing I was amazing - even if those basic girls couldn't see it. Eventually the braces came off, had a few years of speech therapy, grew a few inches, learned to put myself together (on the cheap of course) and then people started to finally see what I always knew. I was naturally skinny, I had the beauty of youth, and I was fearless with my fashion. At parties or events people would always come find me to see what I was wearing.
And now at 42, after three kids and a much slower metabolism I had to re-learn how to dress for my new shape. I'm far less bold in my choices but I still try to push myself. Most bloggers I know or follow are in their 20s and/or super skinny, or petite, or plus-size, or modest, or rich with a closet of current season designer goods. And then there are those mommy bloggers who tend to be smart business women who monetize everything, and write e-books, and know how to earn a living off their blogs. And then there's me. And I'm none of the above.
So who am I?
I don't have a mission statement or anything - I just like to take people inside my crazy world of a stay at home mom who loves fashion as much as her family (maybe a little more LOL) and is always on the hunt for pretty things on the cheap. While most of my deals are not available online, I always invite you along, sharing my experiences on Instagram or my blog, and flat out tell you where to find me shopping so you too can partake in my designer deals. On Insta this week when I threw my hat in for Redbook's Real Women Style Awards, someone called me a #balleronabudget and I can't tell you how much I love that hashtag.
From head to toe:
- Sunglasses: Zara, $3.99
- Dress: Shein, gifted (RV $22 - seen before here)
- Coat: Zara, $19.99 (RV $189!!)
- Gloves: Carolina Amato, Century 21, $10
- Bag: Rebecca Minkoff, sample sale, $75 (RV $425)
- Jeans: Zara, $7.99
- Shoes: Tesori, Nordstrom Rack, $0.01
Last week I hit the City for a full day adventure. It was bitter cold. It was actually the day before the snowstorm and you could feel it coming. I knew I needed something warm so I grabbed one of my recent $20 Zara sale finds which is insanely cozy. I actually purchased it in a Medium and XXL. The medium just fits and the XXL is HUGE. I seriously grabbed almost every $20 coat on the rack for friends and family. I did find a large in black but I preferred this color so I gave it to my SIL. I didn't intend to keep the XXL but sometime when I feel big I feel the need to cover up. Problem is oversized clothing can often bulk you up. I probably should just gone with the medium but I chickened out.
I'm from the camp of dressing to fit and flatter. But every now and again I make a mistake so I'll consider this one a teachable moment.
A few quick Michelle-isms to consider:
Always show your skinny. I have long skinny legs and arms and I try to show them as often as possible. That way your eye is drawn to them so you don't focus on my wider parts - and it also helps visually create balance. Open necklines are also more flattering now that I've put on a few pounds and have a few more curves. I used to wear a lot of turtlenecks and boat necks when I was a size 2. I'm not saying that one can't unless they're size small, but I prefer not to. Just focus on what you like about yourself - and go with it.
Create as many vertical lines as you can. You want to elongate your body as much as possible. In this look I added a small heel, skinny jeans, and your eye follows the line of the long placket on the front of the dress making me look slimmer and taller. I was a short girl growing up (still not that tall at 5'5") and finally grew in my late teens all the way till I was 20. I had to learn all the tricks to look and feel taller. It always drove me nuts that other than my mom, I'm the shortest in my family. Horizontals will break you in half and cut the line. Right now all I see is where this coat hits me (on the widest point on my hips) and I'm cringing a little. Wearing my coat open creates more vertical lines but a longline vest or coat, or even a long scarf will help the cause as well.
Don't be afraid to try something on. When I'm personal shopping with clients I always insist they try on everything I pull. Sometimes you need to open your mind because things you thought you'd never wear can turn out to be your best friends.
You can shop my style here:
Thank you to Belle @littlefashionstylist for my pictures! After a few shots a security guard came over and told us we needed a permit to take pics at Lincoln Center. Really? Luckily we had enough so we just walked away.
We met up to hit the Milly sample sale preview and walked away empty handed. They had a few cute things but nothing super cheap or super amazing. After I dragged her along to a Disney Style press preview to check out all things Beauty and the Beast. They had a mix of high and low end designers who collaborated with pieces inspired by the movie. Now really is the time to have the name Belle.
I'm linking up all things Beauty and the Beast that I spotted on-line here:
On our way to our next sale we walked by Central Park and I had to take a few snaps of Belle. She's seriously the cutest. Off the bat I can tell you that the hot pink scarf/glove combo was from the Carolina Amato sale and she killed it at the Marc Jacobs sale where she picked up those star booties.
Nina Kids Shoes just sent us these gorgeous sequin sneakers that we'd been waiting for since the preview a few months back. I still have yet to share that adventure on the blog - I'm so behind in sharing so many things.
A movie party is really the way to go. Our local theater is $5 a seat and we went to the dollar store and made our own goodie bags that we filled with Cracker Jacks, Fruit by the Foot, Ring Pops, fruit drinks and all of Ella's favorite treats. I did buy the tickets several days ahead because as I suspected, it was a sold out show. Our group took up an entire row in the theater so we arrived early and shuttled the girls to their seats as they arrived. After the movie we walked down the block to the pizza store and chowed down until pickup. Easy peasy and budget friendly.
So for me, next week is all about shoes. Both Paul Andrew and SJP are having their sample sales and you better believe I'll be at both! Be sure to come say hello when you see me knee deep in heels :)
SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker
March 29, 10am-?
65 W 54th Street, 2nd Fl
Paul Andrew (This year they will have men's and women's shoes!)
March 30-31, 12-7
41 West 58th Street, Suite 2A
Michelle the Shoe Obsessed