Are You Spending Too Much? How to Determine Your Clothing Budget

chanel street style

Can I start by saying this, I love my Facebook fans! Whenever I ask a question I get the BEST answers ever. Last week I asked the following questions, and I challenge you to ask yourself the same questions …

How much money do you spend on your wardrobe?

Do you set a budget for the year?

Do you buy as you go and hope for the best?

My answers? I don’t know and don’t want to know. No. Yes!

Spoiler alert, all of my answers suck!! I’ll admit that I am fully obsessed with fashion. So when I see something that I “need” I buy it. Budget be damned (aka what clothing budget) and at the end of the year when I add up all of my receipts, I basically cry myself to sleep for a week.

Not good.

So this year I have made the decision (not some feathery resolution but a decision) to get smarter with my money. So I did a little digging to find out how much money I should actually be spending on my wardrobe. The results of my study were disappointing to say the least. Apparently the proper percentage of your salary is 5%.

FIVE FREAKING PERCENT!! So that means …

$40,000 gross is about $28,000 net. Clothing budget $1,400/yr

$60,000 gross is about $42,000 net. Clothing budget $2,100/yr

$100,000 gross is about $70,000 net. Clothing budget $3,500/yr

$150,000 gross is about $105,000 net. Clothing budget is $5,250/yr

*sad stats courtesy of Pete the Planner

The news gets worse because apparently this piddly percent is for ALL of your clothes – clothes for you, your family, workout clothes, dry cleaning and repair, shoes, AND handbags. Every damn thing.
Definitely makes you think a little harder before hitting checkout.

Want to make the most of your money? Find luxury items for less.

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Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Lose the Weight (start shopping now)

Micah Gianneli_Best top personal style fashion blog_Street styleNumber one excuse as to why people put off booking me for my styling services? They want to lose weight first.

I hear it ALL the time, “I don’t want to shop for a new wardrobe now because I am going to lose weight and after that happens I’d have to buy all new clothes again.

Uh-huh. Heard that one before.

It’s not that I don’t think people can lose weight. Heck, people do it all the time and I think it’s great. Taking care of your body is actually more important than clothes BUT here is where it gets dicey …

The mental torture and the blows to your self esteem that come along with having nothing to wear because your clothes don’t fit properly can be downright dangerous. Know what else can be dangerous? Missing out on life because you feel fat in your clothes, or maybe it’s that you enjoying life just a little less because you aren’t taking care of your image.

So what is the solution? Buy clothes for the body you in are NOW! Here are some other helpful tips that might help you wrap your head around this concept.

The Fast Fashion Route

I am not a big supporter of fast fashion but in this case, it’s the best way to go. If you have plans to the lose the weight or are actively working out/ eating right then buy pieces that won’t break the bank. Hit up Zara, H&M, and the likes. By the time you shed those extra pounds the clothes will be out of style or will have fallen apart anyhow.

Go Used

“Used” clothing sometimes gets a bad reputation but don’t turn your back on second hand stores during this transitional period. SO many of those stores have clothes will the tags still on them! You can find good stuff in there for your current body without breaking the bank.

Get a Tailor, Duh!

You are probably sick of me talking about tailoring but if you aren’t utilizing one, you really should start. If you shrink and can’t fit into your new clothes, then get that shit tailored! It is much more cost effective than buying new and it will fit your new body perfectly.

Sell Them

It hurts to buy clothes that you can only wear for a short period of time – I get it. You know what doesn’t hurt? Feeling confident in your new body and having a little extra money in your pocket. If you find your clothing is suddenly too big, then sell your gently used clothing. You won’t make a fortune but it’s better than a kick in the pants. Am I right?

What are you thoughts on shopping for the body you have now? Join the conversation on my Facebook page.

7 Tools You NEED to Get Dressed (to look pulled together)

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For a lot of you this post is going to be a big old DUH but based on the work I’ve done with my clients this post is necessary.

Why?

Because putting on a great looking outfit is only step 1 in the process of looking great. There are a few simple (and some some very obvious) tools you need in your arsenal in order to look your very best.

Here we go …

1. Full Length Mirror

I know, I know … bring on the eye rolls but you won’t believe the number of clients that I’ve worked with that don’t own a full length mirror. It’s crazy town. People, please get yourself a full length mirror and look into it before leaving the house. Seeing your complete outfit from head-to-toe is a non-negotiable.

2. Steamer

Wrinkled garments are NOT okay. So I suggest investing in a steamer. Steaming your garments is so much easier than whipping out an iron, so there is no zero excuse for walking out of the house looking all rumpled.

3. Lint Roller

I have a dog and sometimes he sheds but no one should know that by looking at me. Before you walk out the door give your clothes a quick once-over with a lint roller. Even if you don’t have a dog, there are other little nasties that can ruin your overall appearance. Get to rollin’

4. Mini Sewing Kit

I like to keep a travel sewing kit in my closet for quick touch-ups. Never leave the house with a loose or missing button. Have a small hole that you think no one will notice? People will notice, stitch iy up with your mini sewing kit and you will be good to go.

5. Lotion

This is a weird one but it’s true … dry skin can ruin an outfit. I keep a bottle of lotion in my closet and make sure that any exposed skin is hydrated before I set foot out the door.

6. Pinterest

OMG I love Pinterest! I keep my Pinterest board loaded with outfit inspiration so I never have a “I have nothing to wear” moment. Keep an iPad in your closet with your Pinterest board bookmarked or print out a few images from your board and post them on your closet door.

7. Proper Undergarments

Your undergarments lay the foundation for your ensemble and you must have a solid foundation in order to look your very best. If you are wearing a racer back top, make sure you have a racer back bra. Wearing thin pants? Skip the granny panties and opt for a thong instead. You get what I’m saying?

What tools do you need in order to look your  best?

10 Ways to Wear Nude Pumps

I recently ended my hunt for the perfect pair of nude pumps. After attempting to buy a pair of nude Louboutin pumps (all sold out) or a pair of Manolo’s (they didn’t have nude) – I settled on a pair of Kurt Geiger pumps that were on sale at Shopbop. To my surprise, these pumps are freaking perfect and due to their classic nature, will last me a lifetime.

If you don’t have a pair, I recommend you invest because the outfit possibilities are endless. Here are 10 ways …

la-modella-mafia-model-off-duty-street-style-Chanel-+-Christian-Louboutin-21. With a Flirty Skirt

Ton down the crazy with a classic pair of pumps and let that flirty skirt shine.

89d3643a934cb5a68569162a081300232. With White

Who knew that nude and white were a match made in heaven?

106fcce4d18ad5ac04050964ec93c4383. Get All Matchy-Matchy

Nude on nude? Sexy.

1366258638Nude_Outfit-Cream-Parka-Coach_Bag-Street_Style-104. With Neutrals

Blend in to the background with a totally neural ensemble. Pop some color with your bag if you’re bored.

12313173754_4d5be72cab_o5. Add a Camel Coat

Tie in the nude with a cozy camel coat.

DANIELLE-OF-WEWOREWHAT-army-jacket-skinny-cropped-denim-nude-pumps-bseball-cap-aviators-fashionoverreason6. With a Tomboy-Inspired Look

A subtle touch of femininity will totally upgrade a tomboy-inspired weekend look.

e6f888318112e0b34c7ee4f7252551607. With Something Kooky

Let your freak flag fly without a fussy pair of shoes getting in the way.

elle-10-street-style-parisfw14-xln8. All Black with a Touch of Nude

You wouldn’t think to add nude shoes to an all black outfit but it works AND it elongates your legs.

street style nude pumps9. Add to Colored Bottoms

Can’t figure out which color shoes match your colorful pants? Keep it simple with nude.

street style nude pumps10. With Baggy Jeans

Baggy boyfriend jeans look suddenly polished and pulled together with a pair of nude pumps.

Learn how to find the perfect pair of nude pumps here:

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Holiday Beauty on a Budget


holiday beauty ideas

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Walmart via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Walmart.

With the holiday season in full swing, spending money on yourself isn’t typically a top priority. After all, this is the season for giving. However there are a few items that should be on your personal shopping list this holiday season.

For starters a great holiday dress that is versatile enough to outfit you for all of your holiday soirees. Second, a proper beauty arsenal to give you a fresh look for the most wonderful time of the year.

I stopped in Walmart to grab a few budget-friendly beauty buys to take me through the holiday season. My goal was to get a handful of products that would help me achieve a festive and vampy holiday look.

Step 1: It’s All About That Base

Keeping your skin prepped and pretty during the dry winter months is key. L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sunscreen has been giving me life. It smells great, protects my skin from the sun (people often forget about sunscreen during the winer), hydrates, and keeps me looking young.

Step 2: Play Up Those Peepers

My typical holiday look is all about the bold lip but this season I am flipping things around with a strong winged eye. I was having a hard time finding the perfect eyeliner but after a lot of trial and error, L’Oreal is my savior. The Infallible Blackbuster liquid eyeliner is genius! Seriously. I’m not typically a fan of the felt pen liner but this one gives me the perfect wing with minimal concentration.

 

A hefty coat (or 3) of mascara really tops off the dark eye look. I used CoverGirl Clump Crusher for long, clump-free lashes.

beauty

Step 3: Just a Tint of Lip

I love a red lip but with a strong eye look a bold lip isn’t the best idea. Lucky for me, Revlon’s Super Lustrous lipstick makes for the most perfect sheer lip color. The Rich Girl Red shade gives me my red without being overpowering. It’s the most perfect sheer red.

Step 4: Nail It

Having manicured nails are a key ingredient for a solid holiday beauty look. If you’re like me and don’t always have time to hit the salon for a gel manicure, do it yourself at home! Revlon’s ColorStay Gel Envy gives you gel nails without the hefty price tag. I am loving the shade High Roller for a vampy holiday worthy nail.

Walmart-Beauty-Logo

Every woman has her own unique way of showing her beauty. At Walmart discover the latest products and most trusted brands at everyday low prices, so you can save money and live beautifully. www.walmart.com/walmartbeauty

Can We Really Have it All?

lauren messiah personal stylist

When Nissan and Glam asked me to write a post on the topic of “having it all” with inspiration from African American women go-getters, I jumped at the chance.

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my rant about these new “makeover shows” starring African American women which are basically a big old joke. There is a lot of content out there that, to me, perpetuates stereotypes and fails to inspire the next generation of black female leaders. That is why I find it refreshing to see women of color doing big things are inspiration all women.

From powerful black women dominating mainstream TV (How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal), to powerful African American stylists (June Ambrose), and super-talented interior designers (Cathy Hobbs) – I am even more inspired to “have it all.”

Cathy Hobbs Haute Havens video

What does having it all mean to me? It means living the life you were destined to live without worrying about seeking the approval of others. It means being on a mission and not letting anything or anyone stop you. For me this involves continuing to make my clients look and feel like their best selves through my Personal Styling business. It also means inspiring and educating the next generation of stylists at my fashion school, School of Style.

What does having it all mean to you?

My Haute Havens video

With its stylish looks and premium interior, the Nissan Altima is just as much as an individual as you are. Not fitting into one mold is what makes the Nissan Altima not only unique, but very exciting!

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nissan via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nissan.

Style Profile: Hilary Duff

hilary duff iconI’ll admit, Hilary Duff and her style have never really been on my radar. However yesterday while I was rotting my brain reading Buzzfeed, I ran across this post and realized Hilary Duff has got it going on in the style department!

Not only does Hilary have killer street style, she has a body that is much more relateable (to me at least) than many of the other street style stars. So far that I say, “you go, Hilary Duff!” She has the contemporary casual thing down to a science, proving you don’t have to be a stick figure to have style.

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HILARY DUFF STYLE enhanced-912-1418928036-1 HILARY DUFF STYLE

To score Hilary’s look, you only need a few things … boots that are made for walking, great jeans, a stylish jacket, a few statement accessories, and tee shirts. We can all master that, can we not?

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Intermix

Satine

Fred Segal

Beckley

Scoop NYC

HILARY DUFF STYLE HILARY DUFF STYLE HILARY DUFF STYLE

What do you think of Hilary Duff’s style? If you have a favorite style icon let me know and I’ll feature them on LaurenMessiah.com

Building Your Business Casual Wardrobe

business casual looks

Oh the elusive and oh-so-confusing “business casual” dress code. It’s not quite business and it’s not quite casual. It’s a pretty flexible code of dressing that allows you to embrace more of your personal style. Flexible sounds good in theory but often flexibility breeds confusion. I’ve found that a lot of women (and men) often lean more into the casual side of the dress code and, in my opinion, that ain’t good!

Don’t feel bad because the business casual dress code is fairly difficult to master. My rule of thumb is when in doubt skew more business than casual (after all the word business does come first). How does that saying go? Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Yeah. Do that.

Still confused? Fear not, I’ve got a shopping list that will help you build your business casual wardrobe.

business casual

 

1. Chic black blazer

2. Classic cardigan

3. Trouser jeans

4. Dark wash skinny jeans

5. Silk blouses (printed, solid, and neutrals)

6. Pointy toe pumps

7. Stylish tote bag large enough to fit your laptop

8. A toned down statement piece of jewelry – think chunky pearls, gold tassel chain necklace, etc

9. Slim-fit black trousers

10. Neural cashmere sweaters

11. Pencil skirt

12. Stylish coat in camel or black

13. Shift or wrap dress

14. A watch (give your cell phone a break)

15. Cute classic flats

16. Silk scarf

17. Black belt

Am I missing anything? Feel free to drop your style tips in the comment section below.

5 No-Fail Looks If You Are Bigger on the Bottom

56th GRAMMY Awards - Show

If your body type is “bigger on the bottom” chances are you aren’t all that interested in rocking a bodysuit and tights like Queen B is illustrating above. I get it. Most of the women I style with this particular body type body type would rather conceal their assets to create a more balanced appearance.

This week’s “5 No-Fail Looks For Your Figure” post is for women who carry their weight in their lower half. Whether its your booty, hips, or thighs – I’ve got you covered with 5 outfits that will balance and slim you out.

1. Flared Skirts and Dresses

It may feel counter-intuitive add more fabric to an area that is already a little larger than you’d like BUT this styling trick actually does make you look smaller. The looser fabric will drape effortlessly over your curves instead of pulling tight across it, which will make you look larger. Go for something strapless to show off your shoulders and to draw the emphasis upwards or try a strong attention grabbing sleeve instead.

look for bigger bottom 1

2. Dark Bottoms

If you want De-emphasize your bottom half, then wearing darker colors on the bottom is the way to go. Avoid patterned pants and light colored pants, as they draw attention to your trouble area – save all that magic for your top half instead.

look for bigger bottom 2

3. Structured Shoulders

If you want to create a balanced body, think of the hourglass as your goal. If you are bigger on the bottom, you’ve already filled the bottom half of the hourglass. All you need to do is fill the top. A great way to do that is by adding volume up top with a structured shoulder. Look for jackets with a slight shoulder pad or some type of embellishment to draw the attention upwards.

look for bigger bottom 34. Printed Tops

If you are bigger on the bottom, your wardrobe should be filled with printed tops! Wear these with jeans, skirts, pants – and you have an easy go-to flattering outfit.

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5. Cropped Jackets

Don’t cover up your bottom half with a long jacket or blazer, instead go for something cropped. A cropped jacket draws the eye up and brings attention to your tiny little waist.

look for bigger bottom 5

How do you dress to best flatter your figure?

10 Ways to Wear adidas Sneakers

adidas shoes street style

When being comfortable is actually stylish – I am so on board. I have recently been embracing the classic sneaker trend and my feet are loving it. You know I am an adidas die hard so today’s ’10 Ways’ is devoted to the 3-stripes.

1. With Classic Neutrals

Pair a classic shoe with the most classic and timeless clothing on the block.

adidas shoes street style

2. With a Skirt

Let those sneakers shine without a pesky pair of pants getting in the way.

adidas shoes street style

3. Just Add Boyfriend Jeans

Ripped and baggy boyfriend jeans make for the ultimate weekend look.

adidas shoes street style4. Try a Trench

It might make you look as cool as this model off duty.

adidas shoes street style

5. Get Short-y

Shorts and tights are a classic fall/winter combo. Sub your typical pair of boots for a stylish pair of sneakers instead.

adidas shoes street style6. Suit Up

Love the concept of dressing down a conservative suit with a pair of sneakers.

 

adidas shoes street style

7. Bundle Up

Because adding a scarf makes you look totally chic. adidas shoes street style

8. All Black

Because black goes with everything

adidas classic shoes street style

9. With a Dress

Dresses need comfort too ya know!
dress with classic adidas street style

10. Clutch it Up

An evening wear staple meets a casual classic – I love it!

stan smith adidas street style

How you wear your classic adidas?