All-Black Attire: Fashion All-Star

If there is one thing I know about this CC community, it's you readers love your sports...and your Pitbull.

Totally the direction I thought Couture Cheapskate was headed when it was conceived two years ago.

No judgement here because these are clearly my life's two passions.

So while some of you may have been watching the fashion bonanza commonly referred to as the Oscars, our beloved Pitbull was performing the halftime show during the NBA All-Star game.  And because we know Pitbull is basically the most fashionable human being alive, male or female, this was the real red carpet.

Fine.  His all-black ensemble is not that out-of-the-ordinary and not something we haven't seen him rock before...I still can't help but be impressed with his commitment to gentleman dressing at all times...especially when an Adidas sweatsuit would have passed as acceptable attire.

In honor of Pitbull, I present a female interpretation of his all-black, tuxedo-jacket based All-Star look:

NBA All-Star: Pitbull

Items included in set: All Saints 'Rois' Tuxedo Shirt $65, J Crew 3/4 Sleeve Perfect Stretch Shirt $65, Forever21 Satin Collar Blazer $33, EXPRESS Studio Stretch Black 'Columnist' Pant $70, Kelsi Dagger Frances Flats $62, Kelsi Dagger 'Laurie' Pumps $80, BCBG Max Azria Studded Clutch $108, Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Sunnies' Necklace $58, Wet Seal Rubber Watch with Rhinestones $15, Tinley Road Crystal Hoop Earrings $20, Carrera sunglasses $120, Hilts-Willard 'Ann' Leather Gloves $69, Juicy Couture Perforated Leather Bow Belt $48, Apt.9 Square Buckle Belt $26

For those of you who care, the best moments of the game came when Dwyane Wade flagrant fouled Kobe Bryant and broke Kobe's nose.  LeBron James turned the ball over in the last seconds to prevent his team from winning.  Fail.  And of course Derrick Rose was a class-act MVP taking the game seriously when the rest of the East starters were acting the fool dancing during introductions.  Correction.  I love Dwight Howard, the human bobble head, so he can pop and lock away.

And Derrick was caught on camera giving LeBron a dirty look.  I love passive aggressive disdain on the court set to dance music.

D.Rose...far left...next to lame LeBron

Fashion-wise, Derrick changed his shoes, one pair per half, so that earns him style points in my book.  He also signed a $260 million shoe deal with Adidas. Fashion for the win!

For the record, obviously GP would be "Best Dressed" at the Oscars.  She was wearing Tom Ford for goodness' sake.  That combination will never lose...even if there is a cape involved...which I love BTW.  She looks like a modern princess.  I can't even comprehend the amount of style and excellent taste when it comes to the combination of Gwyneth Platrow and Tom Ford.  It makes my computer smoke just typing it.  So overwhelming.


My new lady that I love is Jessica Chastain and I would give her a close second in Alexander McQueen.  Black and gold embroidery rules. Not to mention her hair and make-up are simply stunning.  She also has a three-legged dog, I mean...how cute is that?

Okay...we started out talking about Pitbull and ended up here talking about a three-legged dog.  How did that happen?  I don't know but the bottom line is in a sea of fashion, an all-black ensemble ala Pitbull, is always sleek and stylish.  Not to mention easy to execute.

A well drawn-up, game-winning play if you will.  One that will win you a gold statuette!  A fashion all-star for certain!  Ahhh.  All random ramblings are now connected.


Transition Color: Hot Pink

Hot pink is the perfect color to transition your winter wardrobe into Spring.

Hot pink is bright and bold; cheerful and fun.  It has the frivolous spirit of Spring but enough depth to work back to the black basics in your winter wardrobe.  Quite the charming hue!

This revelation came about when I wore this blouse from DKNY last week with my black Columnist pants from Express.

Image via Polyvore/StyleBop

This particular blouse is no longer available, but there are many other affordable hot pink options:

Transition Color: Hot Pink

Items included in set:  Forever 21 Colorblock Button-Back Top (Model) $15, J.Crew Talitha Silk Blouse $110, MICHAEL Michael Kors Printed Top $60, GAP Ikat Open-Front Sweater $70, DKNY "Inspiration" N/A, H&M Button Cardigan $16.95, Old Navy Chiffon Tie-Yoke Top $25, Old Navy Printed-Front Tank Top $12, Old Navy Lightweight Boat-Neck T-shirt $15, Forever21 Two Tone Scalloped Bracelet $8.80, Kate Spade Pink Gumdrop Earrings $38, Marc by Marc Jacobs Enamel Turnlock Katie Bracelet $118, Forever21 Rosette Necklace $13, Forever21 Royal Paisley Scarf $9.80, Old Navy Open Cable-Knit Sweater $22.50

A hot pink blouse or t-shirt make a statement on their own.  When working with a plain hot pink top, add a black statement necklace for extra style.  If hot pink is too hot for you, try a hot pink underpinning (such as the Old Navy Marc Jacobs-inspired blouse for $12.00) beneath a black jacket.  Or mix in a hot pink accessory to a black top or dress for a bright and easy outfit update.

Two-Tone Scalloped Bracelet
$8.80 at Forever21  To Buy

Black and hot pink make for a powerful combination that is seasonally appropriate when pastels and neutrals feel too light.  Hot pink is most definitely so hot, you will be able to transition your hot pink items into your warm weather wardrobe.  And with a color this hot, surely your attitude will match.


Neon Magenta Snake

I feel like I can't stop talking about shoes lately.  'Tis the season I guess.

But when you see the words neon, magenta and snake, it is hard to not mention.

Lilly Pumps by INC International Concepts
$89 at Macy's  To Buy

I know I rave continuously about my Nine West hot pink kitten heels, but I definitely have a crush on these pumps.  The color is fabulous and the snake suede finish is just the right luxe touch for a designer-inspired look.  These pumps look far more expensive in-person and definitely could pass for a well-over $200 pair of pumps.

All you need now is a sweet grey dress and you can be Emma Stone!  Except her shoes are almost $800.

And I am not sure Emma's can officially be called neon magenta snake?


$100 at H&M

This weekend my husband was a good sport and took me to the extra awesome H&M so I could hunt for a pair of floral pants.

I run around that place as fast as I can knowing I don't have much time.  I am on a frantic mission grabbing all the pieces that only the bigger stores receive. Especially those that scream "Novelty! Limited quantities!"

Well, zero pairs of floral pants later, I did end up with 5 pieces for $100.  So gold star for me for exceptional shopping skills and gold star for my husband for having the patience to deal with this situation.

Speaking of gold...

Gold Sweater
$9.95 at H&M  To Buy

This is the sweater currently featured in the H&M advertisements.  The fabric is super weird and you will definitely have mixed emotions over it.  But here's the thing...it's $10 and not going to last long on the rack at that price.  The person working there said they had a $50 version of this sweater earlier in the year and that he couldn't believe they had any left.  Metallic will be big this Spring and I feel like there are many styling options once I get over the stiff, painted knit.

H&M Black Floral Dress
$24.95 at H&M  To Buy

This is actually the print of the pair of pants I went specifically to H&M to find.  No pants were spotted so I figured a knit dress in the same print would be the next best thing.  Believe it or not, this dress somewhat replaces the J.Crew Jules Dress in my heart.  I love the bright coral/teal/green combo and think it is a more funky version of the J.Crew dress that speaks more to my style...not to mention for almost $100 less.  Plus, these H&M knit dresses are great to layer under jackets such as my black leather jacket.  And how cute would my coral ruffled shoes be with this dress?

Pink Peplum Top
$17.95 at H&M To Buy

Peplums!  Peplums!  Peplums!  It is all about the peplum this Spring, specifically peplums on skirts.  Well, as you could imagine, peplums are tough to pull off if you are wider through the hips.  Hence, for ladies like myself, a peplum flowing from the top versus from a skirt is a more flattering option.  I am on the fence with this top though.  The smaller size offers more flare and volume but is shorter whereas the larger size is longer for my torso but does not offer as much poof.  Full disclosure: my shirt is actually green and will be worn underneath this sweater.

H&M Green Pumps
$24.95 at H&M  To Buy

I have been looking for green pumps like this fooooorever and then to score them for $25....I mean, what did I do to deserve this good fortune?  For $25, I was actually impressed with the quality and do not think they look that far off from my hot pink Nine West kitten heels.  Coincidentally, these pumps also come in hot pink!  I am still working through if I think these shoes would match my new floral dress.  TBD.  I do know my vision for these shoes was based on this Levi's ad campaign from a few years ago except my vision is more cropped and cuffed denim with a slight distressing.

Last but not least, I cannot find an image for the leggings I bought for $12.95.  But!  What I can tell you is they are the same print as this dress that I own so use your imagination.  I was thinking they would look cool with a long black blazer but this look is just not coming together as I had planned.  They could be a return so I don't think you are missing much.

All in all, I am happy with my investment.  I feel like I found 4 (maybe 5) pieces that make a statement on their own but are also versatile enough to work with many pieces I already own.  All this style selected in under 20 minutes.  Dang.


Simple and Stylish @ The Limited

Simple, stylish outfits are for sure my favorite.

If you build a wardrobe of simple and stylish pieces, magically your wardrobe comes together in unexpected combinations with minimum investment.

Hence the reason I was drawn to this look from The Limited.

I am always attracted to any outfit that incorporates jeans and black pointy-toe pumps...these be my staples.  Second, I always choose comfort over anything else when it comes to getting dressed and this outfit looks to be just that.  Loose fitting top?  Check.  Lightweight cardigan?  Check?  Long enough to cover my abnormally long torso?  Check.

Colorblock V-Neck Shell
$34.90 at The Limited  To Buy

This top, besides being a versatile basic, also has a flattering silhouette.  A high v-neck is flattering on most body types and the strip of fabric down the center adds visual length making the torso appear longer and leaner. The back of this top is also made of knit material which of course is super comfortable and better for tucking-in to bottoms.  This colorblock top would look awesome with a pair of colorful statement earrings.

Open-Front Cardigan
$59.90 at The Limited  To Buy

Obviously you can never have too many cardigans in your closet.  What I love about this particular shape is the ability to wear it open like a knit jacket or buttoned and belted for a more polished, sleek look.  For the price of one cardigan you essentially get two options that will add mileage to the underpinnings already in your wardrobe.  

My cardigans are my favorite way to show off my extensive belt collection.  This cardigan is begging for a hot pink or kelly green belt which both happen to be available at The Limited in my favorite adjustable style. Seriously, I love these belts and wear them every other day if not every.

The best part of shopping at The Limited is they always offer some sort of promotion on the weekends.  You could probably buy both of these pieces for less than $50.   Better yet?  Each piece will be simple yet stylish enough to work effortlessly with much of your existing wardrobe beyond just jeans and black pumps. Even best?  This outfit is "wear now" and is virtually appropriate for four-season wear.

Super style investment I'll say!

CC Tip:  Navy can be hard to find outside of Spring/Summer.  A lot of companies steer clear of navy in Fall/Winter so if you love navy, now is the time to buy it.


Tribal Sequin Skirt Savings

I have really been into skirts lately, don't ask me why.

Besides being into skirts, I have always been into any kind of print that resembles "Aztec" aka this season's interpretation of tribal aka two season's ago ikat.

Enter this skirt from Express:

Embellished Sequin Mini Skirt
$59.90 at Express  To Buy

I know what you all are thinking.  That skirt is short and I would respectfully agree. Hence the reason I am ordering a larger size to hopefully get some additional length.  The advantage of a knit skirt!  The styling possibilities are endless.  Black turtleneck and jacket with tights and pumps...amazing.  A chambray shirt and flats...double amazing.

And besides being into skirts and tribal print, I am always into savings.  This skirt bears a striking resemblance to a much more expensive option from All Saints.

Newaz Skirt
$275 at All Saints  To Buy

Obviously the more expensive skirt has more beading and detail but I can't be trusted with that much intricacy.  It is an accident waiting to happen by way of a snag.  I am willing to sacrifice some luxury for an exceptional savings.


Citrine Conundrum

I am in love with this shoe:

Colin Stuart T-Strap Peep-Toe Pump
$88 at Victoria' Secret  To Buy

Of course the citrine/antique gold option is my first-choice.  What a surprisingly neutral and glamorous shoe to pair with Spring's print dresses.  I love that it is a statement shoe in a unique color combination but not over-the-top as shoes of this nature tend to be.  The t-strap pump is also a major trend in Spring footwear.

My only complaint is that I don't love the big gold heel and said gold heel will put me over six feet tall because it is 5 1/4" in height.  Holy skyscraper!

These pumps will continue to be on my radar for Spring.  No urgent need to buy now because I wouldn't wear them any time soon.  It would be smart of me to wait and see if they go on sale when they are more weather appropriate.

What I will ponder in the the meantime is if they will wear more similar to my coral ruffled pumps or the handful of other too high heels that sit in my closet unworn because they hurt?

A real citrine conundrum, if you will.


Couture vs. Cheapskate: Red Polka Dot Blouse

Can you tell which red polka dot blouse costs $294 vs. $18?

 Blouse A


  Blouse B

To see results, click here.


CC Stands for Cupid's Choices

Valentine's Day reminds me of Christmas but with a much more appealing color scheme of red and pink.

Color palette reference -- Image

Valentine's Day gift-giving has evolved from flowers and chocolates to a full-blown shopping event that encompasses all categories.  What I appreciate about V-Day-themed gifts is they usually are somewhat indulgent but at more affordable prices than their fancier Christmas counterparts.  For under $50 you can treat yourself to something fab because let's face it, we work hard and deserve a little loving now and then.

Here is what I hope Cupid (aka me) delivers to my door:

CC Stands for Cupid's Choices

  1. Old Navy Dolman Striped Shirt $19.50 So cute for Spring!
  2. Arden B. Ornate Beaded Statement Necklace $44  Totally looks like a couture piece straight off the runway.  For sure on my wish list.
  3. Magnolia Bakery Valentine's Day Cupcakes $21 for 6 Is it pathetic this is the only thing I really want?
  4. Big Buddha Bordeaux Shoulder Bag $90  So Chanel.
  5. Banana Republic Pink Stone Stackable Ring $35 Pink stones and gold metal are my fave.
  6. J.Crew Pleated Jardin Skirt in Heart Throb $128  I adore this skirt.  It might be heart print but has long-term potential.  A must own when on sale.
  7. OPI "Gettin' Miss Piggy With It" $9  Will be on my toes come Tuesday.
  8. Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in "Hollywood Red" $23  A long-time favorite.
  9. Marc by Marc Jacobs Pave Heart Stud Earrings $35  Red hearts rule.
  10. Moschino Cheap & Chic Flat $395  Super splurge!  I couldn't resist mentioning because they are so adorable albeit very festive.
  11. Kate Spade "Eat Cake For Breakfast" Gia Pouch $78  My personal philosophy.
What I love most about this set is somehow all the pieces work together.  Although they read "Valentine's Day" when grouped together, each piece could work into your wardrobe without being too holiday.  Minus the cupcakes...they will go bad eventually.

Two other items worth mentioning:

Valentine Pad-Printed Bowls
$8 each at West Elm To Buy

These bowls are the sweetest things ever.  Even after February 14th has come and gone, these bowls will still make your day.  I envision a big bowl of ice cream as the appropriate filler.

A Dozen Roses "Electron" Eau de Parfum Spray
$95  To Buy

This fragrance is so unique.  You might think it to be floral or sweet but it is actually more fresh and clean.  I mean, per the description, it is supercharged with neon musk and how awesome does that sound?  Definitely a contender for my next fragrance buy for Spring.

So I say, indulge away.   You have worked hard this year and you deserve a loving treat from you to you.  Even if you think Valentine's Day is a made-up holiday, everyone likes a treat.


Me, Jules and Drew

Whew!  It's been a few days but check out this reveal...

Look what Drew Barrymore was spotted wearing on The Tonight Show:

The J.Crew Jules Dress in Ashbury Floral we discussed last week.  Looks like Drew and I are on the same page...or at least me and her stylist.  This, as you know, gives me a sense of fashion validation.  As I imagined, I love the dress with black tights and cold-weather styling.  The blue shoes are perfection and her gold chain necklace adds a delicate, feminine touch.

Jules Dress in Ashbury Floral
$188  $119.99 at J.Crew  To Buy

While the dress lacks shape, is more expensive and less versatile than the Ashbury Floral blouse, I still can't help being drawn to the dress.  It is the perfect palette to showcase some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe.

CC Stands For Celebrity Copycat

Items included in set:  J.Crew Jules Dress in Ashbury Floral  $119, Forever 21 pointy toe heels $25, Sam Edelman "Meadow" $55, Kendra Scott "Danielle" Earring $60, Forever21 Leaf Tiered Necklace $5.80, Covergirl 3-Kit Eye Shadow - Dazzling Metalics $4.44, Textured Horse Shoe Ring, $5.80

Coincidentally, Drew Barrymore also happens to be the spokeswoman for CoverGirl and I think the Eye Enhancers 3-Kit Shadows in Dazzling Metallics would be striking with this dress...either shade.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 3-Kit Shadows in Dazzling Metallics
$4.44 at Walmart  To Buy

Although the dress is on sale, it is still not cheap.  If J.Crew were to have a percentage off sale event, this dress would be way more affordable than when I first laid eyes on it in January.  I may miss the opportunity to wear it a` la Drew with black tights, but I would happily wear with my Sam Edelman "Meadow" pumps and bare legs come Spring if it meant saving a buck.


Wanted: Spring Eye Shadow Palette

Last week I finally threw out 3 eyeshadow palettes I had been holding onto for years despite really not using.

Of course this has now created an opening in my cosmetics carrier that I feel compelled to fill.

Which one should I get?

 Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Eye Palette
$45 at Bobbi Brown  To Buy

Urban Decay Naked2
$50 at Sephora  To Buy

Stila In The Moment Eye Shadow Palette
$39 at Sephora  To Buy

You know Bobbi Brown makes my favorite eye shadow of all time and these colors seem like perfect sparkly neutrals for everyday wear.  People are obsessed with this Urban Decay Naked2 palette so much so that is regularly sells out.  I feel like I need to know what all the fuss is about.  But!  The Stila palette has a nice mixture of shades and an eyeliner for an exceptional value.

Decisions, decisions.


Fishnet Feet

Sometimes affordable style is a waiting game.

Case in point I have been waiting for these shoes to go on sale for a year:

Sam Edelman "Meadow" Pump
$55 at Endless.com  To Buy
(also available in black)

This shoe reminds me so much of Christian Louboutin who loves to work in fishnet and mesh.  Except not only are these shoes way less than a pair of Louboutins, they are also half of what they originally cost.  Double save!  I have a feeling these shoes will garner many compliments and maybe even trick a few folks as I wear them with my Spring skirts and dresses.  Only those really paying attention will notice their lack of a red bottom.

Sam Edelman Meadow


Look On The Bright Side

Bright accessories make me happy.  They add fun to my otherwise boring outfits (read: all black and jeans) especially when the winter doldrums set in.  Another reason to smile is that they work exceptionally well into your warm weather wardrobe.

Here are three pieces catching my eye:

Simply Vera Vera Wang Flats
$59.99 at Kohl's  To Buy

Color-capped shoes are emerging on the scene but I have not seen a colorblocked pair besides these yet.  I love the sporty feel of these flats.  They sort of remind me of a wetsuit or scuba gear...which believe it or not is a trend this Spring.  I think they would be perfection with a black knit dress and tights for winter.  Orange is the color of the year too!

Mini-Messenger Bag
$16 at Old Navy  To Buy

I cannot find this bag at any store but I think it would be a worthwhile risk to order online.  I have seen this bag featured all over the place mainly because it resembles the much more expensive Fluorescent Satchel from The Cambridge Satchel Company.  I love bags this size for running errands when I don't feel like lugging my everyday purse around or taking on a trip in my carry-on.  Plus, a little pop of sunshine makes any basic outfit more fun.

Neon Aztec Tribal Scarf
$9.50 at Charlotte Russe  To Buy

By now it should be a no brainer why this scarf is on my radar.  I love a good bargain almost as much as I love scarves but not nearly as much as I love neon...or ikat.  Good thing this scarf is all four rolled into one.  This scarf with a pair of jeans and t-shirt is perfect with a pair of boots and fun earrings.  Easy piece to add style for an exceptional price.  I live for this type of purchase.

So while warm weather feels ages away, a bright accessory can give your wardrobe (and spirit) just the lift you need this time of year.