Blog It To Me

Category — Interviews

Cheap Chica’s New Guide to Frugal Fashion

We’re so excited! One of our fave frugal fashionistas — Lilliana Vazquez – has written her first book! The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style: Secrets to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic features the best of her brilliant blog and it’s the first time we can recall a fashion book that shows us how to style ourselves like an expert and save money in the process! Who doesn’t love that?

CheapChica_15_rvsd

Lilliana told us she has been in love with fashion since she was a child. “I get it from my grandmother. To this day, at 87, she doesn’t leave the house unless she’s really put together.”

Like many of us, Lilliana’s budget just didn’t live up to her high-end fashion tastes. So she learned to scour the racks at TJ Maxx and Marshalls and to check her Salemail religiously to recreate the looks she coveted for a lot less. (Her last big score was a pair of Loeffler Randall boots at 40 percent off.)

An avid reader of both fashion and budget blogs, Lilliana felt that none offered advice on how to look chic on a budget. “The style blogs featured pricey clothing, while the clothes on budget blogs looked cheap.”

So, she created her own blog to offer other budget-challenged fashionistas ideas for “dressing chic for less.” The blog established Lilliana as a style expert and opened the door for frequent guest spots on shows like Today, Rachael Ray and Katie. It’s also the basis of her new book, which goes on sale Nov. 5.  It can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

In the meantime, we asked Lilliana to share her advice for chic, but cheap, holiday dressing:

  • For casual events, she suggests purchasing an embellished or lace blouse and wearing it with a dark skinny jean. Repurpose your metallic sandals from the summer and you have a look that’s totally luxe for less!
  • Even formal events don’t have to break the bank. One little black dress can be transformed into different looks just by adding a statement necklace (layer two smaller necklaces for a cheap but chic alternative) or fabulous earrings. And don’t forget about a bold lip – it’s one step to glam!

As for holiday gift giving on a budget, go with items for the home that aren’t seasonal – like simple white candles or a collection of mini-vases. She’s also a fan of DIY: a nice bottle of wine can be packaged beautifully.

November 5, 2013   No Comments

Four Ways You Can Get An Even-Better Price on that Sale Item

Mark Ellwood, whose Salemail features John Varvatos, Marc Jacobs and Fred Perry, offers Shop It To Me members these four tips from his new book to help you score the best possible deals online.

BargainFever

1. Don’t hit ‘check out’ without asking for a better deal

Many shoppers assume that the posted sale price is non-negotiable. Not true. The retailer may have over-bought and might be under pressure to clear out the item you want to buy. Before making the purchase, IM with customer service: Are any additional discounts available? How about free shipping? It doesn’t always work, but it never hurts to ask.

2. Practice cart abandonment

Nothing worries a retailer more than a shopper who logs in, places an item in her cart and then closes the window without completing the sale. Clearly, you were about to make a purchase and got distracted. They REALLY want you to come back and finish your purchase. Many will email you a “reminder” within 24 hours – and offer you an additional discount to close the sale.

3. Take things out of context

Retailers engineer product context – both in-store and online — to make sale prices look cheaper than they are. They surround “sale” items with high-priced ones, to make you think you’re getting a good deal. So you aren’t misled by this, take the item you want to purchase out of that retailer-engineered context and look at it again. Is it really a bargain? (Does that $500 bag still look like a deal when it’s not sitting next to one that’s $1,200?)

4. Don’t shop while stressed

This is a corollary to the rule of not shopping for food when you’re hungry. Like hunger, stress hormones interfere with the brain’s ability to make good comparisons and smart decisions. If you shop when you are feeling stressed, you’ll make impulse purchases that you will regret later. So, put on some classical music, do some deep breathing … and wait for the “headmaster of your brain” to take back control before you shop. Mark lists John Varvatos shoes, shirts and fragrances (“I’m obsessed with Varvatos!”) among his top Shop it To Me finds. His biggest “score” was a lilac-striped shirt that makes him feel like a cross between Mick Jagger and Gordon Gecko. Mark also keeps Gucci shoes on his Salemail, hoping someday to find a pair of classic loafers on sale in his size.

Mark Ellwood’s new book “Bargain Fever” will be published on October 17, but is available for preorder hereIf you order a copy of the book before October 17, you’ll even receive a BONUS chapter, Bargain Fever: The Manual, which features 100 tips and tricks to help you save money and shop smarter, from airline tickets to TVs. Forward the proof of purchase to bonus@mark-ellwood.com and you’ll receive this manual by email after publication.

 

 

 

October 15, 2013   No Comments

Former Bachelorettes Dish on What to Wear to a Finale Viewing Party

The Bachelorette is one of our not-so-secret obsessions, and after this week’s finale part 1, we can hardly wait to see what Monday’s grand finale has in store. We had the pleasure of chatting with former Bachelor/Bachelorette alums Molly Mesnick,  Ashley Rosenbaum and Trista Sutter about their predictions for this season, what they’d wear to a finale viewing party, and other juicy deets from their time on the show.

Each stylish gal put her top picks together for what to wear to a Bachelorette finale viewing party using Shop It To Me Threads, our newest site where you can easily shop brands and trends you love on sale in your size. Login or sign up for Threads to see their picks.

The Bachelorette Finale Viewing Party Picks

Molly’s viewing party picks

Ashley’s viewing party picks

Trista’s viewing party picks

What are your viewing plans for this Bachelorette finale?

Trista: I wish I could make it to a fun finale party, but for this mama, it’s all about getting the kiddos to bed early (hopefully after a tiring day at summer camp!) so that I can cozy up and live tweet with Bachelor Nation!

When you were a contestant, how did you choose what to wear to the finale?

Molly: The show stylist actually brings a room full of dresses for you to try and you get to pick what you’d like to wear!  It’s the ONLY dress they provide for contestants.  Everything else is our own.  I chose a purple Marc Bouwer dress.  I probably wouldn’t choose the same one today, as my style has dramatically evolved, but at the time, I loved how flowy it was!

Ashley: When I was on the Bachelorette, I fell in love with Randi Rahm’s designs. Out of racks and racks of clothing, her dresses seemed to always catch my eye! They fit my petite body type like a glove, so I knew I wanted to wear as much Randi Rahm as I could pack into one season! I wore her beaded dresses for the season premiere, two of my most important one-on-one dates, AND the finale.  I loved her so much, she even designed and custom-made my wedding dress! 

What were your go-to brands during your season? Now?

Trista: Oh wow.  If only I had a memory!!  My look back then was more about looking professional and career classy and included brands like Theory and Chanel.  My go-to brands now are pretty much about comfort and being active, including Splendid, Hudson jeans, and Athleta.

Molly: When I was on the show, I was a budget girl.  I loved getting dresses from Express and H&M.  Now, I’d say I have a bit more of a refined taste in clothing.  I love Tibi, Haute Hippie, and Elizabeth & James.

Ashley: Some of my go-to brands on my season were Equipment, Alice & Olivia, Haute Hippie, Foley + Corinna, Helmut Lang, Elizabeth and James, and Paige Denim.  They are still my favorites now! I’m also currently obsessed with anything Ted Baker.

What’s your biggest outfit regret from your Bachelorette season?

Trista: I don’t think we have enough time or space for that answer. If only I could go back in time and have Shop It To Me on my side!!

Given this week’s turn of events, do you think Desiree will pick one of the remaining suitors or leave single?

Molly: I seem to think we haven’t seen the last of Brooks.  I think he’ll realize he made a mistake and will ask for a second chance…much like another Bachelor couple I know ;)

Sound off — which was your fave: 

Experience: fantasy suite, hometown visits, or introducing the guys to your fam?

  • Molly: Fantasy suite, and not for the reasons you think. It’s the only real time you have away from the cameras and producers.  It’s just you and the Bachelor/Bachelorette, so you can really talk about normal things and get to know each other better.
  • Ashley: Fave was definitely hometown dates!

On-air wardrobe: glammed up in a cocktail dress, casual jeans look, or bathing suit beachwear?

  • Molly: Glammed up in a cocktail dress!  Who doesn’t love getting all dolled up!  You can wear casual clothes any day of the week, but having an excuse to throw on a ballgown is way too much fun!
  • Ashley: On-air wardrobe choice would be casual jeans with a leather jacket to spice it up! 

Guy for Des: Brooks, Chris or Drew?

  • Molly: Chris!  I’ve got to root for the Seattle guy, of course!
  • Ashley: Whomever she loves that loves her back!

For even more Bachelorette fashion scoop, see our previous interview: Babes of the Bachelorette Talk Fashion.

July 31, 2013   No Comments

Fit tips and trends from a savvy swimwear expert

Swimsuit shopping is an undertaking, to say the least. With swimwear deals flooding our Shop It To Me emails recently, it’s the perfect time to score big, and get late-summer use out of some new pieces.

Luckily one of our fabulous Trendsetters, Susan, Director of Social Media Marketing for InStyleSwimwear.com and contributor to their blog Beauty and the Beach, was excited to answer some of our questions surrounding the must-knows of swimwear! See what this sun-loving gal spilled to us in a recent interview.

InStyleSwimwear.com and Beauty and the Beach

Shop It To Me:  Swimsuit shopping can be a bit daunting. What are some tips you can give to fit and flatter your body type?

Susan:  The first step to finding your perfect swimsuit is knowing your body and its overall shape.  For example, if you’re pear-shaped (narrow shoulders, smaller bust, fuller hips and bigger bottom), you want to choose swimsuits that help balance you out.  Choosing an embellished top (think fringe bandeau tops or tops with ruffle detail) paired with a dark solid-colored bottom will help emphasize your top half and minimize your bottom half.  Also don’t get too caught up on the size tag, as all brands and styles run differently.  You may be an extra-small in one brand or style and a medium in another.  Next time you’re shopping for a swimsuit, refer to this simple swimsuit style guide for every body shape.

SITM:  You were just in Miami for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, what does the future hold for swimwear trends?

S:  For 2013, fringe is literally EVERYWHERE, so hopefully you’re not tired of seeing it already!  Also we noticed a ton of bustier-style tops with sweetheart necklines which will be perfect for the beach or paired with your favorite pair of denim cutoffs.  We also spotted a ton of nautical-inspired pieces; although the nautical look is a classic trend in swim and resortwear, we saw some pretty cool updated versions.  In terms of color, pastels were definitely having a major moment, especially soft shades of mint, yellow and peach. See some sneak peek photos from the week below:

2012 swimwear trends

SITM:  What are some classic swimwear styles to invest in that won’t go out of style?

S:  Every woman must have at least one LBB, a.k.a little black bikini, in her swimdrobe.  Like the LBD, a LBB is sleek, sexy and 100% timeless; furthermore, they come in a wide variety of styles and silhouettes!  You should also have at least one bikini that features a classic print, such as polka dots, stripes or animal prints.  You never have to worry about them going out of style and they’re perfect for mixing and matching throughout the years!  Finally, even the most diehard bikini-wearers should invest in a cute one-piece—trust me, you’ll thank me later!

SITM:  What’s the most expensive or crazy swimsuit you’ve ever seen?

S:  I’m pretty sure I once saw an itty bitty diamond bikini in an old Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.  I think it was worth $30 million or something… and I think Molly Sims was modeling it!

SITM:  What’s your favorite affordable swimwear brand?

S:  One of my favorite brands, Vitamin A by Amahlia Stevens, makes a really great younger, more affordable “Silver” line.  The styles still feature that amazing Vitamin A fit but they have a much lower price point.  Furthermore, many of the styles are reversible so you can get multiple bikini looks for the prices of one.  Check out the line here.

SITM:  What are some swim-worthy items you’ve come across recently in your Shop It To Me email?

S:  Here are some great items, clockwise from top-left: Marc by Marc Jacobs bikini, BCBGMAXAZRIA tank dress, Juicy Couture floppy hat, Steve Madden sandals, Tory Burch clutch

Swimwear items from Shop It To Me

 

SITM:  What are some of your favorite of-the-moment items from InStyleSwimwear.com?

S:  Here are some great products that we have available now:

InStyleSwimwear.com swimwear pieces

Ula La Ruffle by PilyQ (great LBB example) | Periwinkle by Vitamin A Silver (great example of classic polka dot print AND it’s by Vitamin A Silver—the brand I mentioned as my favorite affordable brand) |Trancoso by ViX (another great animal print example)

Be sure to follow InStyleSwimwear.com on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

August 15, 2012   1 Comment

Bloggers share how they made their Shop It To Me email even more personalized

email organization page

If you haven’t pulled the trigger on our latest feature, which is choosing how you want your Shop It To Me email organized — by retailer, by clothing category, or by brand — fear not! Our Trendsetters (aka shopping experts) and our own staff (also experts in shopping) weigh in on this ultra-personalized featured and how/why they’ve organized their emails this way.

retailer

  • “I organize my Salemail by store. That way I can see any special promotions the store is running in case I want to buy multiple items from the same spot.” -Natalie of Shop It To Me
  • “I organize my sale by retailer because it’s the most like the experience of shopping in store.  I have my favorite retailers for certain items so it’s nice to have it broken up this way in my Salemail.”  -Caitlin of Shop It To Me
  • “I organize my Salemail by retailer. I definitely have my favorites and love knowing which items I can shop with free shipping and free returns!” -Kelly of Shop It To Me
  • “Personally, I chose the Clothing Category preference because you never know what you’ll come across when you think outside of the box! I have found the most amazing shoes and accessories from brands I’ve never heard of before and love sharing my discoveries with my readers!” -Patty of A Work in Progress
  • “I organize my salemail by Category because I love hunting for the right dress for that night out on the town, regardless of which store it’s from!” -Alice of Shop It To Me
  • “I currently have my Salemail organized by retailer. However, when I have an event or am searching for something specific I love being able to change it to Clothing Category to easily see what I’m already shopping for!” -Laura of 24-7 Style
  • “I group my salemail by brand. I’m super specific and definitely have my faves (Joie, Adriano Goldschmied, Equipment, J Brand) so its great to be able to quickly scan through.” -Krista of City Chic
  • “I think it’s best to organize Salemails by brand and/or by clothing category. Wallets, beware!” -Hallie of Corals + Cognacs
  • “I’ve always had it organized by retailer… but I might try organizing by brand and see how that compares.” -Lisa of Pennlive.com

Choose your organization method here, now.

July 25, 2012   No Comments

From One Stylist to Another

Annie Ladino's interview with ElShane

Contrary to popular belief, celeb stylists aren’t competitive with each other.  In fact, we’re all pretty good friends and support one another in this chaotic job we have.

Recently I learned my friend and blogger extraordinaire ElShane was behind Carly Rae Jepsen’s fresh and stylish tour looks.

ElShane and I met years ago while she was a fabulous NYC publicist for DVF and I was a baby editor at Elle.  She’s now living in LA and tapping stars like Carly with her fashion magic wand. So I asked her to share the inside scoop on how to get Carly’s look.

Annie Ladino: How did you meet Carly Rae Jepsen?

ElShane: Pure electronic fate! Her manager had been following my blog and thought we’d be a perfect fit. With my eye for candy-colored, edgy-inspired looks, and Carly’s innately fun and fresh vibe, we joined forces to create epic greatness!

Annie: She’s been compared to Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin and I can see a little of that in her wardrobe.  Do you have any influences when putting together her tour looks?

El: The best part of working with Carly is that she looks amazing in everything! We love mixing bright pop hues with hints of her whimsical, bohemian nature; it allows her to dive into her most creative, powerful self on stage.

Annie: What are your favorite designers for Carly?

El: Carly is the queen of street style; she can rock highs and lows effortlessly, creating looks her fans to aspire to wear. Brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, and TopShop are the perfect mix of feminine and rocker chic. We’ve also been experimenting with incredibly on-trend Australian brands like Finders Keepers and Zimmermann.

Annie: Most people don’t see the behind-the-scenes part of styling and are only exposed to the end product.  I’m curious to know if there have been any wardrobe malfunctions or last-minute switches?

El: The job is never over until the final note is sung! With the introduction of chains, lace, and paillettes into performance looks, it’s pretty much a sure bet that something will go wrong right before stage time. Thankfully double-stick tape, safety pins, and miniature sewing kits are my three best friends.

Annie: From your blog we can all see how bold and fashion forward you are with your personal style.  Personally, I admire how adventurous you are. Is there anything you shy away from on the red carpet with Carly or any of your clients?

El: Absolutely! For myself, I love experimenting with volume. Since I’m not in the spotlight, I can control what angles I’m shot from. A voluminous dress on the red carpet can be an instant fashion disaster if shot from the wrong angle. I do everything I can to keep pieces that are not 360-degree-angle friendly off of my clients!

Annie: Anything Carly’s exposed you to?

El: She taught me everything about personal character.  Nice girls always finish first. She’s the real deal…

Annie: Anything in your prop kit you can’t live without?

El: My sewing kit. For a gal who majored in Journalism and History, I’ve pricked myself more times than not. But I can make a mean last minute hemline…

Annie: We know you’re a Shop It To Me girl, what’s been in your Salemail that you’d snap up for Carly Rae?

El: Check out my picks for Carly Rae below:

ElShane picks for Carly Rae

Clockwise from top-left: Rosamosario corset | Red Valentino skirt | Citizens of Humanity moto jacket | Dion Lee dress | rag & bone hat

July 10, 2012   No Comments

Neon + Nude = Honolulu Chic

In Yahoo’s video series “Secrets To Your Success”, Kathryn Eisman talks with trailblazing women and imparts their working wisdom to women like you.

In this week’s episode, Kathryn jets to Hawaii to interview Cindy Sakai and Sarah Kalicki Nakamura, certified Dream coaches, who help companies create more profitable, efficient and enjoyable workplaces. Kathryn gets the scoop on the qualities all good bosses have and on creating a company culture that encourages trust and inspires people to use their gifts in innovative ways.

To keep it chic in the Honolulu heat, Kathryn opted for a sleeveless neon dress from Nanette Lepore (now sold out) and nude platform heels from Sergio Rossi.

Kathryn Eisman

 

To succeed with this look, we serve up these similar styles:

Kathryn Eisman Similar Items
Dresses from left: French Connection ($124.60), DKNY ($227.50),  Shoshanna ($308)

Shoes from left: Jessica Simpson ($58.90), Pour La Victoire ($190), Cole Haan ($199)

 

Watch Kathryn in this fab look at Yahoo Shine.

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May 17, 2012   No Comments

Shop It To Me Staffers: Meet Caitlin!

We’re excited to introduce the newest member of our Shop It To Me team — Caitlin! As our marketing intern (and childhood friend of Ilana, our office manager), she’s rapidly filling her days with exciting marketing projects, learning the ropes around our super-cool HQ and keeping up with our collectively odd sense of humor (or perhaps she’s just being polite). Get to know her more…

Caitlin

What are some items you keep on your desk at work that keep you sane during the day?

My planner.  It helps me keep track of all the different things I have going on. Whether it be work or social commitments, it gives me one place to organize it all and not worry about forgetting anything.

If you could have one time-saving super power, what would it be and why?

Insta-cleaning.  I love when things are neat and organized but I find that when I’m busy I rarely have the time to clean as thoroughly as I would like.  If I could snap my fingers and have things instantly organized my life would be amazing!

Caitlin's style

What’s your favorite recent purchase?

My green Lacoste Melbourne sunglasses.  When I bought my Ray Ban Aviators I was a die hard fan, but these shades have become my new staple.  I like that they’re more original than the classic aviators and go with almost anything.

Do you have any tricks when it comes to making your commute less painful?

Good music.  I try to update my iTunes pretty frequently so that I always have new music to get me excited for the day.

May 11, 2012   1 Comment

Seen on Kathryn Eisman: Retro Ballpark

Yahoo’s new series “Secrets To Your Success” takes you on intimate conversations with women that have paved the way in their careers. The lovely Kathryn Eisman gets up close and personal with a variety of talented individuals.

In this week’s interview, Kathryn met with trailblazer Sue Falsone, head athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Falsone is the first woman to lead athletic training for a Major League Baseball team.

Who says visiting a baseball stadium can’t be a chic moment?!

Kathryn-Eisman

To assemble the perfect uniform, Kathryn turned to Shop It To Me, her personal assistant for shopping (read: all of the pieces she’s wearing were on sale in her sizes from her favorite designers!).

For a look that’s as appropriate at the office as it is the ballpark, Kathryn says, “Combine earthy tones with pops of soft pastel colors.” She also recommends sporting pieces with subtle retro details like a scalloped trouser cuff, fringe neck tie and two-tone chunky heels.

(All styles shown below found via Shop It To Me.)

On Kathryn – Tie-neck Blouse: Tory Burch Lane Blouse ($158)

Similar Styles:  Tucker ($183), Diane Von Furstenberg ($199.50), Alice+Olivia ($158)

 

On Kathryn – Colored Pants: Rachel Roy Tropical Mandarin Cropped Pants $208.60)

Similar Styles:  Tory Burch ($118), Diane Von Furstenberg ($199.50), Diane Von Furstenberg ($149)

 

On Kathryn – Shoes: Nine West Women’s Platform Pump shoes in natural/yellow leather, $71.90

Similar Styles: Juicy Couture ($95.99), Tory Burch ($243.75), Vera Wang ($177), LOFT ($39.88)

Kathryn-Eisman2and3

To knock your wardrobe out of the park, sign up now for Shop It To Me!

 

May 10, 2012   No Comments

Shop It To Me Staffers: Meet Ilana!

We’re a hard-working and passionate crew here at Shop It To Me, saving you time and money finding your favorite designer goods. Take a peek behind the scenes to meet our fast-paced, energetic and quick-witted office staff, starting with Ilana, our baker extraordinaire Office Manager. While she isn’t filling our tummies with decadent home baked goods, she’s taking care of logistics, planning events and amusing us with random facts and funny photos. Get to know her more…

Ilana

What’s your favorite time-saving site or app?
Is it cheating to say Shop It To Me? I don’t really use many apps, I’m all about handwritten to-do lists!

What are some items you keep on your desk at work that keep you sane during the day?
Votre Vu hand lotion, an All Blacks (New Zealand Rugby Team) mug, and my beautiful old-fashion composition notebook. I used to bring snacks but I would always finish them all by 9:00 am so I had to stop bringing those in.

If you could have one time-saving super power, what would it be and why?
Definitely teleportation… I would never have to sit in traffic again!

What’s your favorite recent purchase and some favorite brands?
I just bought a Vince cashmere ombre sweater on sale at a consignment store, and a really cute beaded clutch from Forever21 that looks like it cost a lot more than $25! My favorite brands are Rebecca Taylor, Vince and Sperry Top-Sider

Ilana

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Do you take any shortcuts or time-saving tricks in your routine?
It takes me about 20-25 minutes to get ready. I always grab a Balance Bar for breakfast (S’mores flavor is the best!) so that doesn’t take any time, and when I first wake up I turn on pump-up music so I have no choice but to get moving.

Do you have any tricks when it comes to making your commute less painful?
I always read CNN and ESPN on my phone while I’m on the bus which is fun and feels semi-productive.

Do you have any “weird” habits or talents you’re willing to share?
I’m an air-drummer in an air band called the Tuhtle Boiz! It might be a stretch to say I’m talented at this so maybe it’s more of a hobby…

April 20, 2012   3 Comments