Tag Archives: Dress Barn

5 Cool Yule Tips for Saving Money on Beauty this Holiday

Dress from Dress Barn; necklace from Claire’s.

The recession changed the way I spend money.  I thought I would share some money-saving beauty tips with you.

  1. Do your own nails. You know, the look is for shorter nails, which is great because they are low-maintenance and easy to shape and lacquer yourself.  Thanks to the recession, I have saved a small fortune since I gave up salon manicures and pedicures.  Polish your nails with a trendy shade from Sephora for less than $5 a bottle (look for the small bottles), like a sophisticated silvery grey, or try a sexy Christmas red glistened with gold lustre; like my favorite Revlon shade, “Frankly Scarlet” (just under $5 bottle).
  2. Shop smart for holiday dresses. If you absolutely must have something new this season for your holiday parties, and you usually shop at Ann Taylor or Macy’s for dresses, consider budget-friendly shopping alternatives.  I purchased one of the prettiest cocktail dresses I own, a teal satin number, from Wal-Mart! I also found a great sleeveless top. The dress was — brand new, not on sale — $18, I kid you not.  The top was $15. So, if you’re on a recession budget, keep an open mind about discount stores. Dress Barn has some of the prettiest dresses I have seen anywhere this season. That’s just my personal taste, perhaps, but they really are nice, and they also have plus size versions. The dresses at Dress Barn top off, when they’re not on sale, at about $79, which is about half what you’d pay at a higher-end department store. But there are also plenty of great dresses at Dress Barn for $39 and $49. There is no reason to buy more when you might only wear the dress a few times or maybe even once.
  3. Shop smart for jewelry, accessories and evening bags. Costume jewelry can get pretty pricey.  Because I don’t have pierced ears, I have long been a fan of Claire’s for their clip earrings.  It’s really not just for kids!  I have received many compliments on the jewelry I have purchased there.  I once saw the identical scarf sold elsewhere for more than $20 in department stores for less than $15 at Claire’s.  And everyone was wearing that style scarf this fall. Target should be your destination for unique and gorgeous evening handbags for fantastic prices.  The look this year is not too matchy-matchy; go for a contrasting bright color, or skip matching your bag and shoes.
  4. Festive shoes for less. The most comfortable pair of black satin evening heels I wear that everybody goes crazy for was bought at Payless on sale for less than $20.  I also have a pair of silver flats I bought there that really kick up jeans that I snagged for less than $15.
  5. Scent and sparkle. Bath and Body Works often has a terrific deals on lightly scented, sparkly moisturizers; $5 a tube.  My favorite is Warm Vanilla Sugar.  I think a little lustre on your shouders, cheeks, and decolletage is really delightful during the holidays. I also like the their scented body sprays (3 for $10), which I find less cloying than expensive perfumes.

Now We Don Our Gay Apparel: Cool Yule Holiday Fashion Tips

Attending a special party or performance this holiday season?  It’s time to show off a little bit!  You know, Washington, DC is a conservative town in many ways.  Even at the Kennedy Center, many women tend to dress down.  I go to plenty of after-five networking functions and I notice that some women look like they didn’t want to be perceived as trying too hard.   Well, ladies, it’s time to turn that around.  There is nothing unprofessional or show-offy about looking fantastic!  Here are some fashion tips to help you shine for the holidays.

Turn Heads with Sassy Leg Wear

Fancy hosiery is one inexpensive way to update and accessorize a simple holiday outfit.  The holidays are one time when you can really pull off patterned leg wear, which is great because  that is one of the hot looks this season, and anyone of any age or size can wear them.  Choose patterned leggings for a more casual (and warmer) look, or go for lace, sparkly or patterned stockings or tights to dress up your look for holiday parties.  I’m gravitating toward the lace styles this year.  One very hot look this season is bright color tights — hot pink and magenta, even.  (I saw this look in More Magazine, so it’s not just for young women.)  Try them with black or charcoal grey dresses or skirts.  Another head-turning look are printed tights in floral and animal patterns.  There is a wide range of prices on these, starting at $7 and up.

Rethink the Little Black Dress

It’s hard to beat the little black dress for easy sophistication.   Go to any holiday party and you’re sure to see ubiquitous black skirts or trousers topped with festive blouses and sweaters.  Even black blazers.  Black is a no-brainer.  But it’s so predictable!

Check out this picture featuring two women in Lane Bryant silk holiday dresses.  Which woman would you remember?  Which would you notice from across the room? Sure, black is classy and elegant, but you only go around once!  Might as well have fun.

Black can be flattering if worn strategically.  Otherwise, black can make you look tired, or less than festive.  If you choose to wear black close to your face, for example, a solid black blazer or top, consider adding contrasting jewelry or hair accessories, in pearl or bright jewel tones, to bring color and light to your face.  For example, I have a very simple black dress that has a v-neck line, but I like to wear a statement necklace with enormous peridot green stones with it.

Pay  a bit more attention to your makeup than usual when you wear black, particularly mascara, eye liner, and brows.  If you’re older than forty, bright red or dark lipstick with black can be a bit harsh, so consider a more subtle lip shade, with a little shine, and accent your eyes.  And of course, the best accessory is a smile 🙂

This adorable dress is available from Target for $31.99

If  you really want to stand out at the party, however, why not go for color this year?  I’ve seen some lovely dresses at Target and Dress Barn in deep purple, deep teal, and cranberry red.  Or try something unexpected and complexion-flattering, like chocolate brown, pewter, sage green, or champagne matte satin — all very chic and sophisticated looks that can look festive when accessorized with the right jewelry and perhaps warmed up with a soft cardigan sweater with three-quarter sleeves (to show off a pretty bracelet).

Check out this flattering, empire-style Target dress which is available in women’s sizes up to 16 for only $31.99!

Would you ever look back at basic black after rocking this fabulous dress from Dress Barn?

What to Do About Shoes?

Shoes are where a lot of people give up.  There is always the compromise between comfort and style, especially if you are traveling on Metro to a downtown event, or the weather is bad.  But people do look at your shoes.

Most work day shoes, such as a simple leather pump or plain flat, as comfortable as they are, cannot stand up to the glitz and luxe of holiday fabrics.  You really have to buy a dressy shoe to look your best, but there are comfortable and affordable holiday shoes to be had.

Consider another color for dressy shoes instead of black.  Shoes close to the color of your complexion (think satin pumps, metallic sandals) will make your legs look longer.   Check out these lovely champagne colored slippers (they’re on sale at JCPenney this week for $39.99).  Now imagine them with some champagne sheer hose, with an emerald or teal dress.  That could be an elegant look.   Or these little red numbers, which look as comfortable as they are pretty ($55, from JCPenney).  Couldn’t you dance the night away in those? 

But black is great, I agree.  If you choose black pumps, consider wearing black patterned or sheer hose to extend the leg.

Casual Looks for the Holidays

Hey, every day can’t be a party (I wish!)  But every day can be a little more fun in the cotton holiday t-shirts I have seen at Wal-Mart and Target for only $5 each.  Why not wear one to the gym the next time you work out, or layer one with a sweater the next time you go shopping or ice-skating?

The ANA and Worthington brands at JCPenney have some great, updated, and affordable looks for casual get-togethers that are wearable for women of any age.  Consider these looks, my darlings, instead of those holiday santa or applique sweaters.  Reindeer sweaters are cute, perhaps, but this holiday, let’s all go for HOT instead of cute.  Here’s a very good reason to donate those cute sweaters to Goodwill and embrace your fabulous hotness while still looking festive.  I love this gorgeous charcoal gray sweater from JCPenney, less than $40.  It’s hip and it has the most subtle touch of Lurex for little holiday sparkle.  Wouldn’t this be smashing with boots and jeans, or leggings?  Or you could wear it for dinner out.