Restyle: Work LBD 15 different ways

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It’s important for every girl to have a little black dress, or LBD. It’s even more important for every girl to have a work-appropriate LBD. My black dress is Banana Republic, but I got it for $15 at a consignment shop. That’s proof that clothes that are versatile and look good don’t have to be expensive!

While the work-appropriate black dress is a staple, it can get a little boring. Plus, if you live on a tight budget like I do, you have to make that black dress function in more ways than one. In the pictures above, I styled my black dress 15 different ways. That’s three five-day work weeks’ worth of outfits!

All the outfits have the same base, but build on it differently. It is important to infuse your own personal style into your outfits, so I did just that. All of the outfits involve layering, which is an important skill to know. With such a simple backdrop as a black dress, the possibilities for layering are endless.

I really liked mixing my black dress with bright colors and patterns. It is also a good idea to add accessories to give outfits a totally different feel. Belts, scarves, jewelry, shoes and handbags are all good examples of things that can spice up any outfit. It’s possible to give new life to a boring black dress just by cinching your waist with a colorful belt!

I hope these pictures give you some inspiration for outfit switch-ups that you can do. It is important to look professional in the workplace but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with your outfit!

What about you? Do you restyle your clothes to make the most of them?

How to: shop at a thrift store

As any savvy shopper would, I know all the places with the best deals. Sure, this often means browsing the discount racks at the mall and scouring Ross for brand-name pieces, but it also means hitting up things like Goodwill and consignment stores. There’s a reason Macklemore’s Thrift Shop has gotten so popular, right? There are rules on how to successfully shop at these places, though, so feel free to browse my consignment commandments:

Know the difference. There is a difference between Goodwill and consignment stores. In my experience and in the area I live in, consignment stores mean resale stores. They buy gently used clothing, furniture, etc. and resell them to the public. Generally, you find nicer brand-name clothing (like a $15 90%-off Banana Republic dress!). On the contrast, Goodwill accepts donations and sells them to the public. Clothing might have more damage, and might come from cheaper brands. The clothes here are generally less expensive, however.

Browse all the racks. Thrift stores aren’t as careful about keeping their racks as organized as normal stores are. This often means that items in your size end up on other racks. Also, since thrift stores are a conglomeration of brands, it may be hard to tell what size you are. A small at The Limited might be a medium at Forever 21, so it is important to look through every rack.

Check for damages. Most clothes at thrift stores have already been worn, some more lightly than others. It’s important to check the quality of clothes before you purchase them. Most consignment shops have a no-return policy, so you need to make sure the piece is in good condition. This means checking for sweat stains, holes, unraveling seams, etc. If you love the piece and it has fixable damage, you might consider buying it and taking it to a seamstress or fixing it yourself. Chances are, the price of the garment including fixing the damage will still be cheaper than buying the piece in stores.

Look for statement pieces. Don’t shop for everyday basics at thrift stores. Pieces are cheaper for a reason: the clothes have had previously owners. Personally, I would rather spend $10 on a new white t-shirt than $2 on a used one. I go to thrift stores to find pieces that I wouldn’t spend the new store price on. It’s way easier to justify buying a statement piece that you might only wear a few times if it costs $5 and not $50.

Do you enjoy shopping at thrift stores? What are your consignment commandments?

Borrowing clothing: Double your closet!

As it is National Siblings Day, I’d like to give a shout-out to my two amazing sisters. Rebecca and Rachel are both older than me and are the best sisters and friends out there. As lucky as I am to have been blessed with such great sisters, I was even more lucky to be blessed with sisters who are generally the same size as me. We all have petite builds and very small feet, which means we all wear the same size shoes and are about the same sizes in clothing.

Growing up, this meant that I got all of their hand-me-downs. This was much to my dismay back then, but now I really appreciate it! Instead of having one closet, I have multiple. If one of my sisters outgrows a garment, it gets passed on to me. If I need a pair of wedges for a fancy dinner, I can just pay a visit to my sister and borrow hers for the night.

This can apply to friends too. I have borrowed clothing from friends of mine on numerous occasions. I needed a dress to wear to a fiesta and after scouring my closet to no avail, a close friend of mine lent me her south-of-the-border style dress. Borrowing clothes from other people is a great way to expand your own wardrobe for no money at all. Plus, as my sister put it, “the other person probably gravitates toward things that you wouldn’t pick but may look great on you and be the perfect addition to your wardrobe.”

I’ve even heard about friends holding clothing swaps. Each person brings a few articles of clothing that they are willing to part with and you trade pieces with your friends. It’s a win-win situation: you get rid of garments that are old to you and you leave with some completely new items.

However, as much fun as it is to play dress-up with other peoples’ clothes, always remember to be courteous. Wash whatever items you borrowed or have them dry-cleaned if necessary. Your friend or relative will definitely appreciate this and will be way more likely to let you raid her closet in the future if you return garments in the same shape you borrowed them.

Sharing clothes is a two-way street, so also be open to loaning out your clothes. It’s always polite to return the favor, plus it can be really interesting to see how your friend or relative styles the borrowed garment. They might wear it in a totally new way to you, sparking some creative outfit ideas for you in the future.

What are your thoughts? Do you borrow clothes from relatives or friends?

Stitch Fix: A new take on box subscriptions

Have you heard of beauty box delivery services? If you haven’t, the premise is simple. For a monthly fee, usually around $10, the company you subscribe to will send you a box filled with beauty products to try. The products are usually smaller than normal, but sometimes the boxes include full-size products. While I’ve never subscribed to one, I have some friends who hold subscriptions and they think it’s a great way to try new makeup products for a low price.

With beauty box subscriptions on the rise, it’s no surprise the idea has moved into the fashion world. Stitch Fix offers a similar service to its subscribers. Customers pay a $20 styling fee and then receive a box with five hand-picked clothing items to try on.

Subscribers fill out a profile that tells the Stitch Fix stylists what their personal style and budget are. This helps the stylists pick out the perfect pieces to send to the customer. Customers can keep or return as many or as few of the five pieces as they want. The $20 styling fee goes toward the purchase price of any item kept.

If you don’t want to keep an item, just return it within three days and you won’t be charged for it. Otherwise, the company assumes you would like to keep it and charges you for it. The company’s website says that it varies on price point but that pieces are $75 on average.

I definitely think it’s an interesting take on the box subscription idea. Whereas beauty boxes usually come on a monthly basis, you can order Stitch Fix as many or as few times as you want. I definitely like this factor- clothes are way more expensive than makeup, so I would probably need to (read: for my wallet’s sake) order a box less frequently.

I think Stitch Fix is a great idea, though. It’s almost like going shopping with a friend and having them pick out clothes for you. It’s a fantastic way to get you to try some new pieces that you might not normally try and therefore, would be a great tool if you’re trying to step out of your fashion comfort zone.

What do you think? Would you subscribe to a fashion box?

How to: pack for a trip

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If trying to stay fashionable while packing lightly, stick to the basics but add a pop, like the bright lipstick pictured.

If you’re like me, you have a hard time packing for vacations, weekend getaways and trips back home. However, since starting college, I’ve gained a lot of experience on how to pack effectively. Here are the biggest tips I have for your own packing success:

Stick to the basics. Pack pieces that can be combined and re-worn. T-shirts (especially in neutral colors like white and black), cardigans for layering and denim shorts and pants are staples that should be in any suitcase. You should also avoid packing multiples of anything. Do you really need two pairs of dark wash skinny jeans? Probably not, and you can use that room in your suitcase to pack more important things anyway. For most pieces, if you can only wear it once, you should not pack it. That chartreuse jacket is cute, but if you can only wear it with one dress then you should leave it at home. Instead, bring a black blazer that matches almost anything.

Know your destination. If you are heading to the Bahamas for spring break, you shouldn’t pack a heavy jacket. Do a little research before your trip and find out what the weather will be. When I went home this past week for spring break, the weather was tricky. It was 65 degrees for the first part of the week, 75 degrees at the end of the week and 45 degrees at night. While it’s harder to pack for situations like these, it is all the more important to not pack doubles of anything and to only pack the essentials.

Save space with toiletries. Shampoo and conditioner take up a lot of room. If you are going on a trip with a friend or a companion, share toiletries and use only half the amount of space you normally would. This is the hardest part of packing for me. I have a very complicated and multi-product skincare regimen and I can easily fill up a bag with facial products alone. It’s important to think of the length of your trip in this situation. If you’re only going somewhere for the weekend, you can probably afford to leave most of your skincare and haircare products at home (you should still pack the very basics, like cleanser and moisturizer). However, if your trip will be a week or longer, it’s worth it to bring some extra products.

Really evaluate what you will and will not use. This used to be my biggest problem. I used to pack nail polish for my trips home, telling myself I would paint my nails. Did I ever? No. And I had to bring those adorable nude pumps, just in case I went somewhere nice. I never did go anywhere that I would need them, but I always convinced myself that I could absolutely not go on a trip without them. Instead, bring things that will definitely get used. For example, flats are versatile, can go with many outfits and can be dressed up or down.

Still have fun with it! None of this means that you still can’t be fashionable on your vacation. It’s relatively easy to pack lightly and to fill your suitcase with cute and stylish outfits. Just don’t go overboard. Pack one handbag that will match all your outfits. I try to make sure all my outfits match the same neutral (black or brown), that way this is easier. This also makes it easier to pack shoes. I bring a black handbag and black ankle boots. I wore these booties at least five out of the nine days that I was back home for spring break. They’re ultra-stylish and comfortable, plus I got tons of compliments on them! Also, really play up makeup and accessories. You can still look amazingly chic wearing basics like a white v-neck and dark wash skinny jeans if you pair your outfit with cute accessories like bright lipstick or a colorful head scarf.

I hope these pieces of advice help you figure out what to pack on your next trip. Let me know how it goes!

How to: get ready fast

When you know you will have to get ready fast, it can be helpful to set out clothes and accessories ahead of time.

When you know you will have to get ready fast, it can be helpful to set out clothes and accessories ahead of time.

We’ve all been there. You wake up and look at the clock, only to find out that you were supposed to leave for class already… about 10 minutes ago. In a situation like this, it’s tempting to just roll over and go back to sleep. But if you can get ready quickly enough, you can still make it to class! So how to do you do that?

0-5 minutes: Get out of bed immediately. You don’t have time to shower (I like to shower at night anyways, which is something I would suggest if you have early morning commitments), but if you really, really need it, you can take a 3o second “lazy girl’s” shower by using dry shampoo for your hair and baby wipes for your body. Wash your face and moisturize (remember: SPF!), which should take another 30 seconds. Facial wipes are also a great time saver, so I recommend stocking up on some for busy mornings. Next, it’s time to pick out an outfit. This isn’t the time to wear the most complicated outfit you have. Stick to the basics. When I’m running late, I like to wear a dress. I still look put together but I only have to find one piece and I don’t have to match anything. Another good option is to just wear something classic–think: dark skinny jeans and a white-button-up. Use the remaining time in these five minutes to pick out coordinating accessories (jewelry, purse and shoes).

5-10 minutes: It’s relatively easy to pick out clothes on a time limit, but doing hair and makeup is way more complicated. Avoid hair styles that take a lot of time and effort. Instead, go for something quick, like a side-braid or a messy top-bun. These hair styles can both be done in less than a minute. If you normally just leave your hair down, great! Just run a hairbrush through it and you’re good to go. Doing my makeup quickly is the hardest thing for me. I can easily spend half an hour dolling up my face, so condensing my makeup routine into less than five minutes is difficult. Again, stick to the basics. This is something that takes a little bit of practice, but doing your makeup quickly is a good skill to have. Focus on having a clean slate: foundation, blush/bronzer and mascara. I can apply primer, foundation, blush and bronzer in about a minute and half; do my eyebrows and mascara in a minute; and because I feel naked without it, put on lipstick in a minute.

10-15 minutes: Now that you’re done getting dressed, focus on getting all of your things together for class, work or whatever commitment you have. Make sure you have your backpack/briefcase/handbag and that it is stocked with a notebook and writing utensils at the very least. Also, double check that you have any homework or paperwork that is due today. Grab something to eat–preferably something like an energy bar or a banana, but anything is better than nothing. Make sure you have your keys, and anything else that you will need for the day, and get going!

My best advice to you, though, is to plan ahead. If you know you’re going to wait until the last minute to get ready for your 8 a.m. class, pick out your outfit the night before! Make sure you have your backpack or bag packed, your homework printed out and something to eat for breakfast.

Good luck getting to class!

Welcome to classmade!

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I’m Robyn, and I run this site!

A little bit about me:
I’m 18 years old and a freshman at the University of Florida. I am a journalism major with an interest in social media and fashion journalism.

The best way to describe me? Lots of class and lots of sass. I like to think I’m a witty and sarcastic person with very strong opinions on fashion and style. My personal style is influenced by the world around me. I generally dress more classic than not, but I like to mix it up and try new trends. That’s the best part of being young and in college – I can try new things now that I will never be able to again!

A little bit about this blog:
I want this blog to be like your favorite classmate – the one who you call up to study with or to ask for help with that super hard homework problem. But instead, I’ll help you with all the fashion needs that a young adult has!

As a college student myself, I know firsthand what it is like trying to be stylish and trying to meet the demands of being a full-time student. What should you wear to a job interview or to an all-night study session in the library? How do you get ready for class in 15 minutes or in the dark because your roommate is sleeping? How can you reinvent your own wardrobe to create something new, because paying rent is a priority over buying new clothes? I have been in all of these situations and I’m hoping my experience can help you.

I appreciate feedback, so please let me know if you have any questions or topics that you would like me to cover. I hope you enjoy your time on this site and welcome to classmade, your style companion!