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Mall Madness: The Under $75 Challenge

Last Saturday, while admittedly wickedly hungover from my monthly Wine Club event the night prior, I somehow managed to make my way to Aurora Farms Premium Outlets for a little blogger/fashion student competition.

Bloggers were paired up and challenged to put together an outfit, shopping only from Aurora Farm stores, for under $75, in an hour or less. Since most motivations in my life involve a hefty dose of real (or made up) competition, this was right up my alley.

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I was paired with Amanda of Closeted Fashion Blog for the Mall Madness/Hunger Games style event. We said hello, strategized on theme – I waffled between day to night transitions, work wear, wedding wear, and finally landed on festival fashion (a favorite of mine since I’m 30 going on 22). Then it was off to the races.

Frankly, I think I made out quite well. While I love expensive things and spending ALL THE MONEY to silence my insecurities (what fashion blogger doesn’t), there is nothing quite as sweet as the success of the hunt when finding a good freakin’ deal.

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I ended up with the following:

Printed floral pants from Banana Republic – $19.99, great for a festival (as seen in this look), pair it with a crisp button down and some pumps for the office, or throw on some flip flops and a white bikini top for a day of boating – these bad boys feel like PJs and are quite versatile.

Crochet top/Hat from Rue 21 – $12.99 each, Again, since I’m 30 going on 20, hitting up a store targeted to teens means two things in my world: cheap prices and trendy pieces. Both boxes were checked with these items. Kicking around town in a see-through back halter top doesn’t exactly scream LOOK AT HOW GOOD I AM AT ADULTING! But it does work great for the beach with some jean shorts or to add some zing to my printed preppy pants. For me – the contrast works.  The hat, while fun, might not be something worth keeping around – and for $12.99, I’m ok with that. It will be fun to flounce around in, but won’t become a staple.

Purse, Steve Madden, from Saks Off The Fifth – $29.99 The most expensive piece in this puzzle wasn’t an accident. A neutral color and a long strap with a decent amount of room for my phone/keys/lipstick/gum: Check, Check, Check. This is a bag that will get a lot of use in general. It’s versatile and easy.

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Key Takeaways:

Prints for summer are fun! I dress like a ninja/cat burglar 90% of the time. Every once in a while it’s fun to remember that color lives outside of Ohio winters.

Spend on staples, save on trendy pieces. Again, I don’t shy away from an expensive investment piece… if it’s just that – an investment. I look at my clothing as cost per wear – if it’s a basic, or something that will go the extra mile and make getting dressed easier, you can bet your bottom I’m dropping big dollars on it without blinking an eye.

Do the digging and don’t spend unnecessarily. I have some of the worst patience in the universe, that being said, take the time and you’ll reap the rewards. I love online shopping, but have found some of the best deals in-store. When inventory is taking up space in a brick and mortar location, they NEED the space back, so markdowns are typically aggressive. Check out the sale sections, the outlets, and don’t pass up clearance; you’re more likely than you might think to find a diamond in the rough.

Full Disclosure: I was invited to shop for the challenge by Aurora Farms Premium Outlet and was gifted my finds. All opinions are my own

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