Marjie's Shopping Diet

The Shopping Diet is my way of passing along words of advice to fellow self-proclaimed shopaholics so they can buy on a budget.
You don't have to make a fortune to buy today's latest trends and have a closet full of fun. Here I'll blog about tricks I've learned over the years that allow me to shop when I want, buy (mostly) what I want, keep my closet happy and feel good about myself, all while staying within my budget.
To me, bargain hunting is a thrilling challenge. It takes skill, drive and passion to know what you're looking for, find it, and get it for less than everyone else. I take pride in the fact that although I don't usually spend more than $20 or $30 on any one item, I'm always getting compliments on my clothes and accessories. Some of my most successful shopping experiences have resulted in a $5 pair of black patent flats that I've worn almost every day for the past two years, and a $4 black scarf that goes with anything.
I don't just tell people to buy things on sale, or only buy something when it's on sale. Part of The Shopping Diet is doing research so you get the best possible deal on something you really want/need. It's about weighing your options and making good choices.
For me fashion is all about how YOU want to look and feel. Wear what you want and you'll always look good.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sample Sales

Sample Sales
By Erica

Hello all! I’m Erica, and I’ll be guest blogging for a few different topics here on Marjie’s Shopping Diet. I’m 23, and love shopping in a range of places, reading fashion blogs, and putting together unique outfits every day! My favorite fashion season is fall, and I eagerly anticipate putting together new outfits for the forthcoming season. My very best friend, Marjie, shares my passion for all things fashion-related, and I thank her for letting me put in my two cents here! Hope you enjoy my thoughts!

Rue la sample?

I’m told this is a relatively new subject, and one very much uknown, at that. I’m going to dive into the online phenom that is the sample sale. In the real world, one is hard-pressed to get to a sample sale, unless you’re lucky enough to live in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do who lives outside of these meccas? Three words. Online. Sample. Sale.

I’ve been a member of these sites for a few years, but there have been few times when I’ve lusted after some of the items. Point in case? Rue La La’s sale of Madison Avenue’s Chanel boutique. Chanel is out of reach of many people, but this sale puts a cobalt blue 2.55 into your hands for 50-60% off, with validity guaranteed. Not so much into Chanel? What about J Brand Jeans, or Sam Edelman shoes? J Brand Jeans’s most popular style, Love Story, would normally put a $200 hole into one’s checking account, but on Gilt’s website, they’ll become an investment for $49. Sam Edelman’s gorgeous Nellie boots with incredible studded accents on the back normally are $299…Gilt brings them to you for $99.

In addition to selling fashion at a deep discount, many of these online sample sale websites includes major discounts on hotel stays--- What’s currently on Gilt’s website? Reduced rates (and these are much lower than anything Expedia has) on The Greenbrier in West Virginia, Namale Resort in Fiji, and The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. The blackout dates are few and far between, and there are varying styles of rooms and/or capacities.

Most of these websites just require that you sign up with an email and encourage you to invite others as well, but there are a few that require an invitation, such as Rue La La. Scour your online friends list and you’ll be able to find someone that’s connected. When you first sign up, there may not be anything that catches your fancy right away, but let the sales come to you. My most recent purchase, along with Marjie? Red Tartan plaid Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes, originally $89, purchased for $29, from Gilt.

So good luck, and happy bargain shopping!


Sam Edelman Nellie boots for $99. (Originally $299)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Falling for fall trends

Don't get your romper in a twist! I know, I know, it's still technically summer until Labor Day when the pools close and you can't wear white safely. So don't put away your plaid shorts and flip flops yet! I'm merely giving you a peek into what fall 2010 will look like, and where you can find the perfect pair of Oxfords and a Crossbody bag that will fit everything you need. Read on, fashion lovers! Read on!


$26.50, Charlotte Russe


$22.80, Forever 21

$19.99, Target


$29.50, Old Navy


$24.80, Forever 21

$15, Target


$26, Charlotte Russe

(I've seen owls, tigers, butterflies, insects, elephants...the list goes on)

$4.80, Forever 21

$4.80, Forever 21

$3.80, Forever 21


$24.99, Target

$32.09, Liz Claiborne (

(Don't be fooled by the ruffles on this bag! Ruffles are all over this fall, from cardigans to skirts to shoes. If you're a ruffle lover, go crazy!)

$22.50, A'gaci

(In my opinion, there's nothing sexier than a suede shoe! Mmm..)

$15, Target

(Wallet shown below)

$9.50, Charlotte Russe

(Nude pumps are the way to go! Match nude with just about any fall color!)

$25.50, Charlotte Russe

$20.50, Go Jane

Thursday, July 29, 2010

You better WATCH yourself!

Knowing what time it is is sexy.
I think the last time I actually owned a watch I wore almost every day was when I was around 10 years old. I had a Minnie Mouse watch with a red leather band. It was cute. But I was 10.
Now I'm 25. I'm a professional. I need to know what time it is. And I need to do it in style.
I have done much research on this topic, the topic of where and how to find age-appropriate watches on a budget. If I'm going to invest in a good watch, I want it to match most of my outfits, whether I'm wearing a black pencil skirt and button-down shirt at work, or I'm dressed in jeans and a colorful top on the weekend.
It's not particularly classy to pull out your cell phone to check the time while in an important meeting. You should have the time handy. It should be there, right there on your wrist, available at all times. After all, you jump and hop from activity to activity and from dinner party to dinner party, right? You can't be more than fashionably late to all your equally important events. So, alas, my assistance is offered. See below.
Per my Shopping Diet, I don't have $500 to blow on a Movado, so here are my cheap (but still super sexy and sophisticated!), watch picks. All under $50. All from

Nine West, $29.25

Tommy Hilfiger, $39

Nine West, $29.25

Fossil, $44.99

Nine West, $29.25

Manhattan, $30.30

Nine West, $29.25

Bongo, $19.99

The SmartPack Model

Ok, so this post isn't exactly about shopping on a budget, but I wanted to throw it in here anyway because I believe it is necessary for all the fashion-lovers out there who like to be prepared, in, well any occassion.

This post is about packing smart, or, as I like to call it, (since I enjoy making up names for virtually everything, such as "Sundress Exhaustion"), SmartPack Model.

SmartPack Model is a model you follow to make sure when you pack to go away for a weekend or a month-long mountain climbing excursion, you are prepared.

Let's start easy: weekends away.

When packing for only two days, it's pretty unncessary to pack more than two outfits, right? WRONG.
Enter...the SmartPack Model.

The SmartPack Model states that a lady should always bring at least ONE extra outfit, in addition to the two she packs. Why this additional outfit? Two simple, but highly important reasons:

1. In case you change your mind. Sometimes we plan what we want to wear the next day and even lay it out on the bed, or in this case, in a cute Vera Bradley travel bag. Then you wake up in the morning and you are not in the "mood" to wear what you packed. You may have packed a yellow sundress, but you discover you're more in the mood to go preppy, and would prefer white capris and a Ralph Lauren polo. Yes? Our moods vary every day, and with those varying moods come changing of minds when it comes to clothes. If you're sad or it's rainy out, are you really going to want to put on a floral dress? If you're in a really good mood and woke up with a fresh complexion and bright skin, would you want to hide all of that in a black turtle neck? I think you can answer these questions on your own. So pack different options for your many differing moods.

2. In case of emergency. Yes, emergency. Shall I elaborate? I always do, anyway. Picture the scene: summer 2010. First time meeting your boyfriend's parents. You brought along the perfect (and new) lavendar eyelit dress. One strap breaks. You have no other clothes. You are, my friend, screwed. In the event of a button falling off, a rip, a tear, a hole, a stain or strap breakage, you should ALWAYS have a back-up plan. This is especially important for big events, such as weddings or maybe a dinner party with your boss where you really can't go out at the last minute and find something appropriate for the event. Always bring a little something extra: an additonal shirt or pair of pants, and even more than one pair of shoes because you never know when a flip flop will break or when you'll step in something yucky. A smart girl is always prepared.

And, moving on to more difficult packing via the SmartPack Model, long trips. A week or more falls into this category. Obviously you've mastered packing multiple outfits if you'll be away longer than a week. So how do you bring the RIGHT stuff? When packing for a big trip, it's easy to literally just throw a bunch of stuff in your suitcase, thinking you'll wear it during the trip. As I know when I packed for Israel, these results are not typical. Our Israel trip was 9 days total, but I packed enough clothes and shoes (and purses) for two weeks. I wore less than 50 percent of what I packed. The result? Sure, I was prepared, but I was lugging around heavy bags the whole time. Yucky. So pack what you NEED and what you KNOW you'll wear.
When putting items into your suitcase for a long trip, think before you throw them in there. Will I need this? Will I wear this? Sure, I'll be in Alaska but this bikini is really cute and we might have a pool at the hotel. Sound familiar? Unless you're going to a hot tub retreat, the chances of wearing a bikini while vacationing in Alaska are slim. So put back the swimsuit and fill your bag with something else.
I know from experience, it's easy to get carried away and over excited when packing for a trip. I pack everything and anything in my closet, thinking I'll wear it because I'm literally in a "packing high" or "packing daze" due to excitement from the upcoming trip. But now I have invented the SmartPack Model and unused items will no longer sit in my suitcase...unused.
So only pack what you love, and love what you pack, for the most enjoyable trip ever!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sundress Exhaustion

Sundress Exhaustion:

No, Sundress Exhaustion is not when your sundress is tired; rather it is when YOU are tired of your sundress.
Sundress Exhaustion is a real condition, and self diagnosis of this condition entitles you to go shopping.
Excited? Read on!

Every season I have my "favorites." Favorite shoes, shirts, dresses and skirts I wear all the time. Sometime during the season, usually during the middle or end, my "favorites" become, well, worn-out. Not that they have holes or stains, but I have worn them so much that I am sick of them. Sundress Exhaustion, which can apply to any article of clothing, is when you no longer feel fresh and exciting when you wear something that once brought you great joy.
When you purchase a new article of clothing, the first few times you wear it, you feel attractive, stylish and fresh. You can even feel this way after many months of wearing the item. But then there reaches a point when your favorite article of clothing no longer makes you feel amazing. This is Sundress Exhaustion.
So how do you know if you have Sundress Exhaustion?
The first sign is that you no longer feel fresh and amazing when you wear a once-favorite dress or article of clothing.
Almost every photo of you during the season shows you in that particular item.
You've worn the item at least once a week or once every other week for the season.

Sundress Exhaustion really only applies to your favorite items, because items that you don't love, you don't tend to wear over and over again.

When is it NOT Sundress Exhaustion?
Sundress Exhastion ONLY exists in the season. Meaning, you can't get Sundress Exhaustion after retiring an article of clothing for the season. For example, I can't get Sundress Exhaustion from a shirt I haven't worn in three months. It is possible to retire an article of clothing for the season without getting Sundress Exhaustion. I can love a particular wool sweater and wear it throughout the winter. But when spring rolls around, and I put it away for a few months, and I'm not sick of it, that is not Sundress Exhaustion.
But, say, if it were still winter and I was still wearing that wool sweater, and felt it no longer gave me the same excitement it once did, I have Sundress Exhaustion.

Sundress Exhaustion can be, and should be, cured within the season in which it occured.

Maybe my personal example will help.
This summer I have about four sundresses I wear all the time: to work, to parties, graduations, outings, etc. I love them. But I have worn all of them so much they have become dull to me, and no longer make me feel beautiful when I wear them. Summer is still here, and it will be for about two more months, so I have further need to wear sundresses. Therefore, this particular case of Sundress Exhaustion I am feeling allows me to purchase 1-2 new sundresses!

The cure to Sundress Exhaustion is a simple sprucing-up of your wardrobe. One or two fresh, new items can easily cure this condition. You have to LOVE the new purchases, however, and they must be "favorites" so they can replace the items that gave you the condition in the first place.

If you attempt to cure Sundress Exhaustion with a sundress you don't love, you may end up wearing the old dresses and get Sundress Exhaustion all over again.

So really, mid-to-end season usually requires some sort of fresh new item(s). We often go shopping BEFORE the season approaches. I always get my new sandals and skirts a few months before spring so I'm prepared, and begin looking at sweaters and scarves towards the end of summer so I'm ready for fall and winter. But what about in the middle of the season, when our new purchases have faded and we need something fresh? Well, not that you need it, but you have my blessing to make your wardrobe laugh again, so you can, too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day of Independence 2010!

Hot ideas to spice up your July 4th! Whether you'll be firing up the barbie with friends, having a picnic with the family, or spending all day at the pool, you're guaranteed to find bits and pieces to make you stand out and, uh, express your independence!

$33.40, Go Jane

$28.80, Go Jane

$27.60, Go Jane

$12.99, ModCloth

$25, Go Jane

$24.80, Forever 21

$49.99, ModCloth

$24.80, Forever 21

$24.20, Go Jane

$19.99, ModCloth

$19.80, Forever 21

$17.80, Forever 21

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I'm all about this summer ...

What are YOUR favorite fragrances, prints and styles this summer? When you think of summer 2010, what do you picture yourself wearing? Send me your favorites and I'll post them. Here are some of mine:

Nail color of the summer: Teal

Shoe brand of the summer: Sperry Top-Sider

Fragrance of the summer: Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker