Friday, June 20

Fashion Friday: Affordable Fashion.

GUEST BLOGGER: Holly Becker

Hello! My name is Holly and some of you may know me from decor8. I am so glad that Victoria invited me here today while she's poolside sipping boozy cocktails wedged between two hot men with British accents. And you know the stylish Victoria has a lovely beach towel in pink and yellow and her fruity concoction is topped with a mini pink umbrella. While Victoria lounges, let's talk about a subject I rarely cover on my own blog, fashion! I must confess, before Project Runway, I knew very little about cohesive collections vs. flamboyant couture fashion, garment construction, and how fiercely competitive the industry really is. I also thought fierce described a really mean person and not a gorgeous dress. A few things I did know before Project Runway: What I love to wear and how much I'm willing to pay to look somewhat presentable.

Jeans The Flirt from Old Navy, Shoes and accessories
from Delia's, and bag is from DrikaB bag on Etsy.

Before showing you a lovely clothing label, I feel like ranting a little about clothes, namely cost. My fashion style is Lo-May. That stands for Low Maintenance. With that comes a passion for finding good stuff at great prices and sure, while I just might splurge on a pair of $150 jeans that make my butt look good over owning 5 pairs at $30 each that give me muffin top, I am not particularly fond of shelling out that much cash for denim. Sure, sometimes my butt may look better in them but I also have to cover my butt -- l have bills to pay and my landlord will not care how 'up there' my booty looks if I can't cough up his rent money. I found an alternative to the $150 versions on the market, they are called The Flirt, mid-rise flair bootcut jeans at Old Navy. They are currently on sale for $20! AND they don't make me look like the Michelin man.

Now let's talk handbags. Don't get me started. I live in the countryside in New Hampshire on an apple orchard, style isn't nearly as important to farmers as owning a good tractor. When I travel to the suburban malls (I need some culture he he) every third teenage girl I see is toting some little Coach number. My friend spent $500 on her daughter's handbag because she wants her child to have what she didn't. Of course you want your child to have some of the things that you didn't have, but most of us thirtysomething girls never had expensive handbags because in the 1980's, Coach didn't exist, selling lifestyle and bling to children wasn't part of mainstream culture, and being cool meant you had a Members Only jacket that you wore until it had holes in it, or you owned an Izod polo shirt or Converse All-Star sneakers that you had all of your friends sign. Am I right? I can't imagine how hard it is for parents and children nowadays. When I see teens with expensive handbags I'm reminded of why I feel so lucky to have grown up in the 80's despite big hair and baggy jeans with, oh dear, pleats. When I look for handbags, I shop Etsy where I purchase a good amount of them or I hit the sale section at Anthropologie. I love my DrikaB bag, this San Francisco designer is the best.

When it comes to shoes, yes they must be cute but comfort is of equal priority. When I was in my early twenties, I wobbled around on stilts like the rest of 'em, but now that I'm in my thirties I live in flats, I wear them so often that when I do slide on heels I usually fall before I leave the house. I think women can and should wear heels as long as they want, God knows there is no age cut off for that. My grandmother lived on a farm for fifty years and wore high heels until she was in her late 80's. While doing chores and cooking. Oh yes. My great aunt is a ballroom dancer in Chicago, 84 years old, and still twirling around in her heeled shoes. I often wonder what these ladies have in their morning cereal that I don't because, Sex in the City cast included, I don't know how they do it. I am missing that gene entirely. Whenever I wear slinky shoes I walk like I'm drunk. No matter how cute, I won't pay over $100 for a pair, well maybe $150, IF I put down the 6 boxes in my arms and purchase only one pair. I find the cutest shoes at Zappos and end of the season sales at J.Crew are the best - they have adorable ballet flats there. Though I won't be caught ever wearing plastic imitation-leather (oh, how painful!), $15 for a pair of cotton wedge shoes from Target paired with $40 Flirt jeans from Old Navy and an patterned cotton tunic with some gorgeous crochet around the neck or some pastel Indian pattern (think Virginia Johnson), and that's how I dress a good chunk of the summer.

For accessories, I go with Etsy and Target stuff for the most part, or I hit Forever 21, Anthropologie, or Urban Outfitters because sure, it's throw-away costume jewelry but by the time it falls apart or turns orange, I'm over it anyway. Oh and when it comes to t-shirts and pull overs, Delia's can't be beat. I really like their stuff though I admit I'm like 15 years older than their average shopper and there is no way I can fit into most of it. But lucky for me, cotton is stretchy and I like to layer t-shirts in the summer, so I prefer them fitted.


Okay, so enough chatter, time for one of my favorite fashion labels. I'm glad you stayed with me because I tend to ramble when I'm hot on something. Now let's look at clothes. There is one label that I will share with you today called Noa Noa based out of Denmark where all the beautiful things seem to flow freely from. Maybe you know of them? I first started shopping Noa Noa back in 2006. They have stores dotted around mostly northern Europe and are quite a delight to shop. There is one around the corner from me in Germany where we have a little apartment. It's always one of the highlights of my trips there. Noa Noa collections change quite a lot with each season, you never know what their designers will be inspired by next, it's hard to predict. Sometimes I will pass by their shop after they've just styled their latest collection in the window and I don't recognize it as being the same store. Of course the moment I step closer to inspect the details, it most certainly is a Noa Noa designed collection. Like every cohesive collection (thanks Project Runway!) they have their staple pieces, but also little things that only the regulars would notice like discreet feminine textures and embellishments, attention to detail, cut of the garments, and how they fancy layering.


Speaking of layering, you will notice some type of scarf with each collection even in the summer. Northern Europeans seem to love them and given how fast the weather can change during any given month, a scarf is a must have accessory. Noa Noa garments are also very flattering on most figures. If you watch Clinton and Stacy on TLC's What Not To Wear, you know just how much of a difference there is between a skirt that flatters and one that has mini arrows all over it pointing out every flaw. For the summer they appear to be giving a nod to vintage bathing beauties and while I'm not big on nautical themes, this completely works for me because it's soft and feminine, a nod to times' past with a definite modern feel. If I wear some of these styles, I won't look like I'm in period gear or I escaped from one of those vintage tourist-y photo places on the boardwalk. If you bookmark Noa Noa and browse their site each season, you'll find so much inspiration that you just may find yourself translating it into your personal style, how you decorate your home, the art you create, or something as easy as how you style your mood board. Love this company and a bonus, their prices are much more affordable than say, an Anthropologie, and you get amazing one-on-one customer service in-store, their shops are small and boutique-like, garments are carefully arranged (in other words, it's not trashed), and it's not so large and overwhelming that you walk in excited and exit empty handed because you didn't know where to start.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and thank you for having me, Ms. V! Over and out - Holly

29 comments:

mermer said...

love your picks holly!! I shop at many of the same places and I totally agree about the crazy out-of-control teenyboppers who are carrying the latest IT bags, not just coach! I've never heard of Noa Noa but thanks for the intro. but since they only have stores in europe, I now have a serious case of fashion envy!! :)

Janet said...

Thanks for the jeans find. I love Old Navy, but I seem to forget about them when I am out shopping. I wish the fashion magazines would subscribe to the same view, regarding budget. You don't have to go into debt to be in fashion. And yes, Forever 21 is the best place for accessories, and the best price. I think I'll go shopping.

katherine said...

great, great post, holly! i, too, have been frustrated with the fact that the quality of clothes seems to be going down while the prices go up. this is the reason i sit here typing this in my cotton dress from target. i would much rather pay less for basics and save my hard earned money for something really special, like the lovely items handmade by jenny gordy at wikstenmade.

AT said...

Re the Coach bags rant - this is why no one wants to carry Coach bags anymore. Because no one would seriously want to be caught dead running into a 15-year-old at the mall carrying the same bag you are. Or at least, I wouldn't.

I shop a lot of Target and J. Crew clearance sales.. but it's nice to invest in something expensive and well-made from time to time. And when I do that, it ain't from Coach.

Shauna said...

OMG, Holly. funny funny funny!!! GREAT lo-May finds. (now i'm wishing you had a fashion blog).

Anonymous said...

Holly, I'm fourteen years old and I love your blog. I've always been into decorating and also fashion, so let's just call decor8 my heaven. However, I am a little bit upset with your post complaining about teens carrying overpriced bags. I agree to some extent, and, obviously, $500 is absurd to spend on one item, but I still think you're missing a big point. Having an item in your wardrobe that you love and cherish and use every day is rare, but is great for anyone's confidence. I have a few Dooney and Bourke's from past years, and a Coach, and I recently invested in a Kate Spade. Let me tell you that they were all on sale at TJMaxx or Marshalls, so I got them at a great price. Still, the prices were more expensive, ranging from $50-$150. Although the prices may be higher than average on these items, I appreciate the great quality and they're something that I wear every single day. Also, most importantly, I feel GOOD when I carry them. As a teenager, my confidence isn't exactly huge, but having a purse that I love and that makes me feel hip, chic, and unique gives me a boost of confidence that I need. And in the end, even if everyone in the world hated my purses, I love them, and that's what matters. Not the huge price tag.

Anonymous said...

Wow, pretty articulate for a fourteen year old. You might want to re-think the confidence thing - seems to me you're doing just fine.I didn't even know what absurd meant when I was fourteen.

I personally think the bags are ridiculous and spendy and make you look like a Paris Hilton wannabe and have no personal style whatsoever. They just make you look like a clone. I carried a backpack when I was fourteen, and I know things are different now, but the bags are a joke and you're just buying into the marketing plan. Be a real teenager - be a rebel! Do something different - how about make your own bag?

candace morris said...

oh yes, simply gorgeous from noa noa. question, though. where can you purchase in the US?!

p.s. 14 yr olds and handbags always look rediculous. hang onto some inklings of a childhood - a handbag does not a woman make.

SarahIsabella said...

I seriously LOVE the Noa Noa look! And the children's line is fantastic too!
Its all so feminine and breezy...like you stepped out of Great Gatsby!

Ana said...

Hi Holly! Love your choices...especially DrikaB...she's fantastic. And for sharing the info on Noa Noa...lovely stuff!

Susan said...

I'm a LeSportsac girl when it comes to bags, but I do love DrikaB. I have her shop saved as an etsy favorite. Thanks for the tip on the Old Navy jeans. I've been shelling out $100 for Lucky jeans because they are the only ones that hide my crack (as in butt) and don't give me a muffin top!

S.HOPtalk said...

Another Lo May, Tarjay aficionado here...LOVE this post Holly!!! Such great finds and I love your insight (as always).

Wishing you a speedy recovery Victoria.

Mrs. MK said...

I've been dying to find out how to buy NOA NOA for months!! Is there any hope for us stateside folk???

Anonymous said...

I still have the 1970s Coach bag that I got as a hand-me-down from my grandmother when I was a teenager in the 80s. But, Coach was a totally different company then-the bags where all leather, made in the USA and logo-less.

Laura said...

Coach existed in the 80's...they've been around forever. In fact, I still have the coach bag my parents gave me for my 13th birthday, 21 years ago! But--they were so different then, all about quality. No logos and nonsense. I miss the old Coach.

Jerusalem said...

Oh I adore Noa Noa! So inspiring, so modern and vintage at the same time. And I never know which I like better - the kids or the adults!

alexandra said...

Great post - thanks for sharing all those wonderful links, Noa Noa looks especially gorgeous. Mmm. We're in the midst of winter, so bring on Summer!

Eva said...

Wow, I forgot about noanoa. My husband and I rented a house in Southwold last summer, and they had the greatest shop on the high street. I thought they were local. Too bad you can't shop them online, since we're back in the U.S.

annechovie said...

Ok, Holly, this post is so illustrative of what we all love about you: you're refreshingly honest, have a great sense of style AND an equally great sense of humor, you have an unbeatable eye and you always manage to come up with the best stuff that I would want to buy. You know your stuff, yet you are an idependent thinker and don't buy into the whole status thing just for the heck of it. Just like Victoria, you manage to endear yourself to your readers while giving excellent tips. Bravo! I hope both of you are around for a long, long time.

P.S. Victoria, I hope you are feeling better soon!

Topsy Turvy said...

Holly, I totally agree with you about fashion. And I love your choices. I live in a hot climate (Fla.) and comfort has to come first, but I love style too. Being older than most (& probably ALL) of you, that presents another problem altogether for me! The first outfit that you put together is just the kind of look I'd wear.
Great post! As Annechovie said, hooray to independent thinkers!

-Lana

stephmodo said...

Loving the change of scenery here...

decor8 said...

Coach existed in the 1980s? Really? And someone so nicely encouraged me that perhaps I should start a fashion blog? Now you see why I don't!!! You mean to tell me Coach was around as I proudly rocked my permed hair as I roller skated to "Let's Get Physical" thinking it was about aerobics the whole time?

:)

Thanks for the encouraging comments, all. I hope Victoria invites me back again in the future, I loved being here. Thank you so much Ms. V.

R. Robyn said...

I really enjoyed your post. SO REAL. I appreciate suggestions for things that I can actually attain. I'll have to try out the Flirt jeans at Old Navy to see if they take care of my muffin top.

Lori said...

love the post -- where is the top from? did i miss that somehow?

--lori

Lori said...

oh -- please e-mail if you know!

decor8 said...

Lori -- It's from Virgina Johnson in Canada, her link is in the post above, I don't know it off the top of my head.

Katrina Lynn said...

Love love Noa Noa! Is it possible to find find in the US?

bridget said...

love the noa noa post Holly...great minds think alike! please check-out my post about their new fall lines from last week:
http://www.trendsinc.ca/blog/?p=128

am headed to Frankfurt next week to do some shopping! yay!

b.

Anonymous said...

I love these picks. I found this article on creating your own fashions by recycling to be very helpful. Save money and go green.