Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest post: Outfits (on a budget) by Lola

Tonight please welcome Lola to the guest blogger fold! She does a great job of explaining her concept so I'll leave it to her words. If you're interested in writing a guest post, please email me or click the "contact" link near the top of the blog. On to the guest post!

I approached Roxy with the idea of creating a blog post that focuses on affordable Anthropologie outfits after realizing that many Effortless Anthropologie readers are graduate students. Anthropologie's target demographic may be 'women with an annual household income of $150,000 to $200,000,' but most grad students don't have nearly that income to work with. Even those of us who receive research stipends or are paid to teach earn, on average, one tenth of those figures.

Regardless of whether I should be able to afford it, I'm still drawn to Anthropologie clothing. I've managed to build up a wardrobe of Anthro items through sale maneuvers and generous gift cards from family and friends. Today, I will share some outfits that I have created using only items that cost under $100. Most of these items are currently available on the Anthropologie website or on sale racks at Anthropologie stores across the country.

Because I spend a large portion of my days teaching undergraduates and meeting with faculty, I try not to wear anything that is overly short or low-cut. For those who are curious about fit, I'm approximately 5'6". I generally wear sizes 4-6 in Anthropologie dresses/skirts and size small in sweaters/shirts/tights.

Verite Dress - $80 (on sale right now)
Pinwheel Tights - $10 (on sale right now)
Submerged Necklace -$48

This is my 'hip professor' outfit, although I tend to wear it on days when I don't have to lecture at the blackboard (I get nervous about raising my arms above my head to write while wearing a strapless dress'). I love to bring out the chocolate brown belt on the Verite Dress by matching it with my tights and shoes. The sweater adds some much-needed color to the ensemble. In the picture, I'm wearing the Dawn's Break Cardigan (purchased at Anthropologie last year for $50) but any monochromatic cardigan in a bright color would do the trick.

Fluttering Pencil Skirt - $80 (on sale right now)
Wind Rippled Tee - $30 (on sale right now)

Some might say that the Wind Rippled Tee with the Fluttering Pencil Skirt is a combination with too many ruffles. I personally can't get enough of Anthropologie's ruffled pieces, so I wear them whenever possible. The only caveat is that you want to make sure that the ruffles don't add too much bulk. Fortunately, this isn't a problem for the slimming Wind Rippled Tee or the figure-hugging Fluttering Pencil Skirt. Since the ruffles are a little overpowering, I try not to wear any accessories with this outfit. I also pull my hair into one clean upsweep so that it doesn't compete with the neckline of the Wind Rippled Tee.

Solo Stroll Skirt - $50 (on sale right now)
Gentle Current Cardigan - $88 (no longer available - the Graceful Point Cardigan ($88) is similar)
Shades of Gray Tights - $10 (no longer available)

The Solo Stroll Skirt is tricky because of the diagonal ruffle. You must wear it with a fairly short shirt or the ruffle will get hidden underneath (and give you a lumpy physique). I like to wear mine with a basic black tee that I bought on the Anthropologie sale rack for $20 last year. I'm a huge fan of wearing different shades of gray together, so I decided to pair the skirt with a charcoal-colored Gentle Current Cardigan and the Shades of Gray Tights. I splurged on a pair of Flaxen Wedges ($138), but any brightly colored shoes will add a little pizzazz to this outfit.

Sideswept Sweater Dress - $70 (on sale right now)
Scarf Trick Sweater - $80 (on sale right now)
Duchess Headband - $32 (no longer available - the gold Triple Strand Headband ($32) is similar)

This is my 'first day of teaching' outfit. As a young instructor, it can be difficult to get my students to see me as an authority figure rather than a friend, so I try to look a little more mature on the first few days of class. I like this combination because the burgundy in the dress matches perfectly with the burgundy in the scarf, plus the sweater has more of a 'blazer' feel to it. I know that it sounds crazy to wear a sweater over a sweater dress, but the Sideswept Sweater Dress is very lightweight (and short-sleeved) so it can be layered underneath of a more substantial sweater.

Sidewise Denim Skirt - $88
Climbing Cowlneck - $48 (only available in stores - call Customer Service to track one down)
Lacy Floral Tights - $15 (on sale right now)
Seychelles Ballet Flats - 44 (no longer available through, but you can find them on in a variety of colors)

This outfit is ideal for a quiet day of research. The Climbing Cowlneck is extremely comfy and the Seychelles Ballet Flats are more like slippers (beautiful, silky, d'orsay cut slippers!). The Sidewise Denim Skirt gives the outfit a casual feel, but even when I'm being casual I like to dress things up a little by pairing the ensemble with Ruffian's grey Lacy Floral Tights.


Krameymartin said...

Love it! Such cute outfits and awesome sale shopping!

Anonymous said...

I'm doing my MBA and I cannot imagine incorporating many Anthro merchandise into my work wardrobe. Certain blouses work under suits and if the products are structured then they are fine. If Anthro is targeting consumers with incomes of $150K+ then these women may be in creative professions which allow certain liberties while dressing. I cannot imagine more business casual/conservative inclined professions to be places to wear Anthropologie in.
Roxy, it would be great if you can do some outfit posts for those of us in less creative jobs. :)

Lola said...

Oops! I think I may have reversed the photos when I sent them to Roxy. The photo with the yellow shoes is the "Solo Stroll Skirt" outfit, and the one where I'm about to write on the blackboard is my "Scarf Trick Cardigan" outfit. Sorry for the confusion!

sktruman said...

Hi Anon,
I am a Phd candidate and I work on a high-profile political campaign. I like to think that many Anthro items work well in my work wardrobe- especially the trousers. It takes a bit of a hunt, but nonetheless workable. What is funny is that woman in their target are "wordly", which to me does mean somewhat creative. I knew that when I entered my doctoral program, it would mean that I would have to become a carefully crafted image, and that always includes Anthro- at least on the weekend and to casual events.

roxy said...

Krameymartin - I agree! Lola, you did a great job.

Anon - Sure, I will give it a shot. :) Look for something late next week.

Lola - Fixed!!

sktruman - Great thoughts. I have a friend who's a devoted Anthro Addict but is also a legal counsel so she only wears it on the weekends.

Sunny J said...

I've been reading this blog for months, and this is my first post. I just wanted to say Thank you for posting sale-purchased outfits. I'm not a grad student, just an average worker bee and love Anthro but have a limited budget. I usually shop the sales racks, or get gifts from family and friends. It's great to see such creativity! Keep 'em coming!

Sahiti said...

I'm a law school student and I love these on a budget posts! I live for the sales and I have to say that more than half of my wardrobe is from Anthro (and the rest is from J.Crew)...and I've never bought anything full price from either!

Megha said...

lola, love the looks. very cute. i would have been so excited to have TAs in my lit classes with great style. however i did dress like an ae/abercrombie addict (where are THOSE blogs, i ask you. ;p) in college and probably would not have recognized good style if it bit me.

Lindsay Road said...

I'm a teacher too, and I love the on a budget stuff! If not for this blog, I would have never found out about the sale days. I also like the more conservative looks...I can't exactly go low cut at school...

Ellabel said...

This is great! I'm a PhD candidate too, but in History, so I can get away with teaching in pretty much whatever I want, as long as it's "professional".

I have the same worry about looking "in charge," especially as one of the few female instructors, so I'm always in heels.

Lola, I love the look with the scarf trick sweater. I've been tentatively eyeing it on sale, but wasn't convinced. Now I might have to buy.

Angela said...

As a fellow grad student, I love this post! I love anthro pieces for teaching--I think it strikes the right balance between being polished and age-appropriate, while still having fun with clothing.

Cute outfits!!

Lauren said...

Lola, thanks so much for this post, I think it is a great idea! Actually, I've worn the fluttering skirt + wind-rippled tee several times! Although, with the teal and cranberry versions of the tee :). But you have great style, I love it!

Anon at 7:22, I just graduated with a degree in finance and feel that there are many pieces I could incorporate into my work appropriate wardrobe. I don't know, maybe Roxy would let me make a few suggestions for a post about that as well ;P

ali said...

hi lola
love your outfits and ideas thanks for the inspiration. i am no longer a grad student, but still like to get the best deals i can and love anthro

Rosa in DC said...

Lola, all the outfits are great and super cute.

Melissa said...

Love the post, Lola! Great outfits! I too am a PhD student teaching undergrads. I receive a low stipend and have an Anthro addiction...not a good combination! But it is nice to know there are others like me out there hunting the sale racks!!

!Tb0n3! said...

What a great post!

Lola said...

Thanks, everyone, for all of your encouragement! Reading your responses has been a wonderful distraction from the frustrations of working on my thesis :)

Anon @ 7:22 - I'm lucky to have a lot of freedom with what I wear on a day-to-day basis, although I wouldn't say that Anthropologie is limited to people with creative jobs. When I attend conferences, I dress much more conservatively, but I still find nice Anthro blouses and pants to wear with my (non-Anthro) blazer. Even if you're limited to wearing very traditional-looking suits, I imagine that you could get away with wearing Anthro accessories (scarves, earrings) and shoes (I love their shoes!).

Lindsay Road - I'm with you on the low-cut issue. That (along with skirt length issues) is the #1 reason that I wind up returning items to Anthro.

Ellabel - I'm glad to hear from someone else who worries about looking "in charge." I'm also in a male-dominated department (I'm a math PhD student). I'm glad that I've helped sway you towards the Scarf Trick Sweater. I love it!

Angela - I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that Anthro strikes the right balance between polished and age-appropriate. I couldn't agree more.

Lauren - I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one wearing the Fluttering Pencil Skirt with the Wind Rippled Tee. Now, I'm almost tempted to run out and buy the cranberry version...

Roxy - Thanks for letting me do this guest post! Working on it made me realize how much hard work you put into your blog every day.

Christiana Thomas said...

yay for the awesome sidewise denim skirt, which I have and LOVE. Couldn't believe that it wasn't getting more attention from the blogosphere. A great skirt at a reasonable price.

Anonymous said...

I love it! I am in a somewhat different situation in that my grad school days are behind me. I have a 5 yr old and a baby on the way and I stay at home. (why do I hesitate to write that!)
But I am uncontrollably drawn to anthropology and feel I don't need to be deprived of it simply b/c I have small children and left my career to stay at home. So I do need anthro pieces that are on sale or somewhat reasonably priced. (b/c of my "lifestyle") and of course....the more casual looks (jeans,pants, cute tops or cardigans,unique jewelery) are what I will need as staples in my wardrobe. So I love the idea of anthro on a budget posts!

Jennifer said...

I really like the Solo Stroll skirt outfit! Never would have thought to put that together but it is so cute. I love to see how different ladies wear their Anthro!
As for professional outfits vs casual outfits, etc. - I think Anthro has a nice blend of clothes, and with creativity one can develop a look that is a bit unique yet appropriate to one's lifestyle. And it's great to find opportunities to dress outside one's usual "look" for weekends or special occasions, etc.

Katie said...

Thanks a lot, Lola! I too am a grad student addicted to sale-watching. Fortunately, the dress code in our lab is basically, "Not jeans if you are with a subject and not too much skin," so I can get away with most Anthro items as long as I layer the more revealing pieces. =) Even $100 for a single item is a stretch for me, but sometimes I splurge *coughtemptingtrelliscardigan* And I did buy the Horizon Line dress full price, but in my defense it was my reward for passing Electrophysiology, and that was NO easy task for me!

Anyway, thanks a lot for the great post!

Meli22 said...

I am a college student working towards a PHD, and work in an office full time. Luckilly my office is 'buisness casual'. I can't afford anthropologie, except on super sale or gifts or ebay finds. Recently I bought my first full-price purchase, the Rare Bloom tee $58. That was an investment in something I LOVE.

Anyway I integrate 'creative' enembles by going very professional and clean-cut with the rest of the look.

Nell said...

Wonderful post! I'm one of those girls that refuses to pay full price for anything. I love reading things like this!

Brianna said...

I love your guest post, so creative and it's a great way to see how other wear their Anthro items

Michele said...

Love this blog and was SO EXCITED to see a teacher posting about Anthro on a budget!! I am a high school science teacher, so I can't afford anything full price. We are facing a 4% pay cut next year. :( So my budget for clothes is rapidly shrinking. I head straight for the Sale Room, and I've bought plenty of Anthro items on ebay. I just wear a coordinating cami underneath anything low cut to make it work appropriate. My major weakness is jewelry, and oh my, Anthro has some awesome jewelry! I can add a stunning necklace to my Tar-jay or Old Navy sale pieces and everyone thinks I spent a fortune!