August 9, 2012

Today's Everyday Fashion: Birthday Bag



I snapped these pictures on my way out the door yesterday (still not feeling 100%, so it's nothing earth-shattering). I've had the inspiration photo saved for ages, and I love that it gave me the boost I needed to not just throw on jean shorts like usual. I'm also excited because I finally figured out how to layer three necklaces (score), and I'm sporting my new birthday bag (the big day was July 30). 

The story behind the bag: every year for my birthday I set aside a budget for a new dress, but this year I decided to go big and invest in a leather purse. I set a budget of $300 and was hoping to score a deal at TJ Maxx or the like, but then I spotted this bag on the Karen Millen website and it was game over. It was perfect. As an added bonus, I did an event with Karen Millen in May, and as part of that they offered to gift us an item from the collection. Since her gorgeous dresses are generally out of my budget ($200+), I had declined (I only accept a free item if I would truly be willing to pay for it - if I told you how many expensive items I turn down it would make you cry). But besides being something I would be willing to invest in, it was also something I felt I earned (by working the event), so that's how this expensive beauty wound up in my hands. A little splurge gift for surviving another year on this crazy planet, and now I can go back to pinching pennies. Do you buy yourself a birthday gift each year? What kinds of things do you usually buy?

Inspiration photo: Refinery29
Shirt: Gap, $10 (similar)
Skirt: Express, $18
Shoes: Nine West/DSW, $60
Purse: c/o Karen Millen, $340 (vegan alternatives here and here)
Necklaces: Banana Republic, My Stella & Dot website $34, charm $22, and $59
Right bracelets: village in Africa
Watch: Michael Kors, family gift
Ring: My Stella & Dot website $49
Left bracelets: My Stella & Dot website $49 and $32 and $59

1. Piperlime pleated skirt, $54
2. Forever 21 pleated skirt, $15.80
3. Urban Outfitters pleated skirt, $39.99

69 comments:

  1. that bag is SO gorgeous, what a great purchase. i'm really loving that skirt too.

    www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com

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  2. I don't typically splurge for my birthday with one big investment like your bag.  I usually set a budget and shop for a few small things on my wishlist.

    I have a pleated skirt similar to this and have been at a loss how to wear it.  I would have never thought to pair it with just a simple tee.  Obviously I was overthinking it!  Heather

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  3. Just curious- if you got the bag "courtesy of" Karen Millen, why all the talk about splurging? You got it for free, no? There's no harm in accepting c/o items from brands especially if it is thought of as payment for an event or whatever. Own it girl.

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  4. Love the bag!  Just beautiful!  Great birthday outfit!  I always try to treat myself to something special on my birthday, sometimes its small or sometimes its a little bit bigger!  

    Glad your feeling better!

    Amy

    Leopard and Lillies

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  5. pretty little thingsAugust 9, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    what a great purse -- and yes I buy myself a birthday gift every year. I'm thinking a new camera this year! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  6. CoffeebeansandbobbypinsAugust 9, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    lovely purse! You deserve it!

    http://coffeebeansandbobbypins.blogspot.com//

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  7. I buy myself a birthday gift every year too! It's kind of a pat on the back, saying, you made it through another year, kid. Usually my choices are Coach or Dooney and Burke bags. My one real splurge a year :)

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  8. Love the nude colored pleated skirt!

    XoXo Brenna

    www.chicstreetstyle.me

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  9. I usually do buy a special birthday (also in July) gift for myself and this year it was a ...leather bag!  So I fully support your birthday purchase.  :-)  It's gorge!  And it's classic and timeless, so you'll be able to use it for a long time to come.

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  10. How do you look super adorable even when your not feeling 100%?! I LOVE your new purse, I'd love to get one - it's just what I've been looking for - lots of pockets is a must! And the color is perfect (: I went on the website to order it and it doesnt show pictures of the inside ... do you might posting a couple pictures of the inside?

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  11. I LOVE your morale for not just snatching up every free item thrown your way. That is very admirable!! The bag is gorgeous and I love the piperlime skirt you linked. Thanks!

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  12. Angela, email me (jseverydayfashion at gmail) and I'll snap a picture with my phone for you. It's got leopard print lining!

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  13. Thank you Beka! I'm not perfect, but I do my best and wanted ya'll to know a lot of thought went into this purse. :-)

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  14. ... also are the pockets in the front magnetic and easy to get in and out of?

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  15. The top (big) opening you just have to turn the "lock" and then it opens. The little ones are snaps. 

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  16. You look adorable! And Happy belated Birthday!

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  17. Cute bag, but if you didn't pay for it, it's not a splurge!

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  18. Maybe you should accept free stuff and instead donate your budget money to african kids? Or a charity of your choice.. or something.

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  19. I love your bag!  I don't normally splurge on myself for my birthday, but when I turned 40 I treated myself to a New Zealand Eyris Blue Pearl necklace in a sterling silver setting.  I had been wanting a unique pearl necklace, and these pearls are such a beautiful shade of blue/green.  I'm lucky because I have a friend who is a jeweler, and I got the necklace for around $500.  I know that's not much for fine jewelry, but it was a huge splurge for me.  I absolutely love my necklace and I'm so glad that I decided to treat myself. 

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  20. I've thought about something along those lines, but it feels unrealistic to be getting everything I wear for free. That's not the way you guys shop and I hate a website that is covered in nothing but free gifts. I prefer to make my own choices and I'm picky, so I can't always find what I'm looking for from gifted brands, either. 

    What I am doing though, is donating more than 4 times my clothing budget to charity each month (always have, always will). And to raise a big chunk of money for Africa this year I sold a ton of clothes, many of them which had been gifted. :-)

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  21. You didn't pay for the bag. It isn't a splurge. You got it as a gift for helping out. Tell it like it is.

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  22. I have a budget for "free" items that I like to stay within, so this was a huge splurge. 

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  23. belated budday wishes J, the bag is gorgeous!
    ~ashy
    thezingofmylife.blogspot.com

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  24. A bag makes a great birthday gift to yourself! I usually get shopping money from my parents, so I buy myself something fun with that. Sometimes I buy lots of things, other times, one "big" thing. Anyway, I think it's very admirable that you don't just accept any free gift that is offered. I'm not sure if I could be that self-disciplined were I in your position!! 

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  25. I still haven't been able to successfully pair 3 necklaces together...you did it well! Yay for your new bag, it's gorgeous.

    Lindsay @LindsayJEveryday.blogspot.com

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  26. I usually ask my hubby for something that I wouldn't ordinarily plunk down major change on myself.  This past bday I got a little Louis Vuitton that I had been admiring ever since he got me by large LV for Christmas.  I made sure it was the classic monogram that would NEVER go out of style and with the way I treat my clothing/shoes/purses it will last FOREVER and my daughter eventually will get them. 

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  27. Ive been eyeing the pleated skirt from forever21 for a while... I might just have to get it!

    http://polkadotsandpencilskirts.blogspot.com

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  28. If I receive money this year for my birthday, I am going to the Stell & Dot website!

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  29. For my birthday I usually take the day off and go to the spa.  I know it sounds cliche, but I feel that I am worth the pampering!

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  30. I buy myself a birthday bag each year.  This year, however, I treated myself to a beautiful luggage tan leather jacket from the Nordstrom anniversary sale.  Your tan leather jacket was totally my inspiration for this purchase!

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  31.  What is your budget for "free" items?

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  32. Another great item to invest in Ambre! My jacket is one of my favorite pieces in my closet, hope you love it!

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  33. Couple hundred dollars a month. I didn't include this bag in the budget for the reasons listed. :-)

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  34. Happy belated birthday! What a beautiful bag for a beautiful girl! You deserve it. Way to go! What you do for charity is totally admirable.

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  35. love your new bag! i splurged a couple years ago & bought 2 leather bags - one brown & one black. they are classic, stay in great condition, & now i just don't want or need anything else. they were a great investment. i totally agree with the idea of buying yourself a bday gift. most of us ladies work really hard & a treat once a year or so can be a great thing!

    http://ohhhsolovely.blogspot.com/ 

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  36. Such a cute outfit. Gorgeous bag!!! :)

    http://www.natinlove.com

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  37. Yes! I always splurge on a gift to myself for making it another year in life :)

    Love your pick!

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  38. That is a gorgeous bag and you look way better than most of us would if we were under the weather.  I am glad you cleared up in the comments how you got the bag because I was confused by the wording in your post.  (I read it like you turned down the free bag and then went back and bought it.  The "c/o" in the item list then threw me off a bit.)  Anyway, happy belated birthday!

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  39. I love your pleated skirt!

    www.daisyraeboutique.com
    www.kacieskloset.blogspot.com

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  40. I love the idea of saving up every year to get yourself a birthday present, I'm going to have to start doing that! I think you look just lovely in these pics, I'd never know you were sick! I love the skirt - I've been on the hunt for the perfect pleated skirt but haven't decided what color to get. Yours is a perfect neutral!

    Also, happy birthday!

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  41. You look way too cute! I actually like your look better than the inspiration photo! 

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  42. I LOVE this outift! I only wish I felt slim enough in the hips to wear a knife-pleat skirt. I think they're best on petite, slim hips. Definitely into the T shirt/skirt combo, layered necklaces, and ankle cuff sandals. Yes, I do buy myself bday (and Xmas, and congratulatory) gifts... you are not alone!

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  43. jseverydayfashionAugust 9, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Thank you Miranda! :-)

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  44. jseverydayfashionAugust 9, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Thank you Nic! So sorry for the confusion, that was certainly not my intent. I was trying to say "I planned to turn this down, but when I found this bag I changed my mind and here's why" in this post. I need to stop writing so late at night before bed. :-) 

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  45. I just wanted to say I love your blog and facebook page.  You look amazing even when you don't feel well. I love all the outfits you loaded. I love the leopard print and royal blue combination. Any tips for us plus size girls on where to get fashion forward clothing? Thanks for the inspiration!

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  46. Okay I cannot even handle that you only accept gifts that you would be able to afford! That's what makes you such a realistic blogger and I am so appreciative of it. Other style blogs have dresses that are like $400 and are just so unrealistic, I keep coming back here for a reason! There's no way I'd have that self control to turn those items down, so I admire you and your dedication to this blog/us readers! :-) Thank you!

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  47. what a great idea! Happy belated Birthday!!

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

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  48. A great leather bag is a worthy investment! I purchased a nice Cole Hann one on clearance at Marshall's this summer. I have found that a nice quality leather bag with a classic shape will last for years without looking dated. Plus, the leather looks even better with age. Bags are one of the few things I splurge on once in a whole. I have found I am much happier with one nice timeless one than i am with several less expensive trendy ones.

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  49. Happy birthday!  I like the pleated skirt and like the relaxed look with a t-shirt.
    Shadow

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  50. LOL thank you Steph!

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  51. Niiiiiice!  Belated birthday blessings!

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  52. Well, since the rest of us don't receive any of our clothes for free, why accept c/o items at all? Wouldn't it enhance the integrity of the blog to only highlight items that you actually did purchase rather than showing items that you "would" purchase? Sorry, but a splurge is something you purchase, not something you get for free. No matter how you try to cast this, the bottom line is that it was given to you, you did not buy it, so it is not a "splurge." Giving money to charity is certainly admirable and what you do with the clothes you receive for free is your prerogative. It is just misleading to claim that you are presenting a "realistic" situation when you receive free items and calling something that you got for free a "splurge" is misleading even if it wasn"t intentional.

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  53. Great Bag!  Good for you for earning it through barter - double score!  Love the outfit :)

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  54. Excellent points, and thank you for your feedback!  I treat free items with the same respect as my own money, so to me that is definitely a "splurge" - if you don't feel comfortable calling it that then that is fine, but it definitely feels like a splurge to me, and that's why I choose (present tense) to use that word to describe it.

    To your first question - if you are legitimately about to hit "purchase" on an item, but instead get it for free, I don't think there is much of a difference between the two. That's how I get most of my items. I turn down almost everything that is offered to me, but when I stumble on something like Ily Couture, I ask instead of buying, because 1. they are going to sell a gazillion necklaces if I post one, with no kick back to me (other than possibly getting the item for free) and 2. I think that is the most organic way you could possibly get a c/o item (versus just accepting something mediocre because it's "free").
    As for receiving free items at all? I think they provide a lot of value to this website, and at the end of the day my goal is to provide you guys with exciting stuff! Also, trying out the clothes at different smaller boutiques gives me experience and sizing knowledge that I can pass on to you guys. I have an open call for anything a reader may find shady under my "Disclosure" section and have never had a complaint, so using gifted item that are organic like I described up above is totally cool with me.

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  55. She worked for it - did you miss that part? 

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  56. ps. Also just want to remind you - I worked an event, and this bag was my form of payment. That exchange had absolutely nothing to do with the blog - the other girls who worked with me also received gifts, but they don't have blogs.  

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  57. Umm...thanks Angela, but no I did not miss that part. My issue is not with the fact that she received the bag for free. It is with the disingenuous description and explanation.

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  58. I also buy myself a piece of birthday jewelry each year. My biggest splurge was a few years ago when I bought myself a $2500 Cartier Tank watch. Took me a year to pay it off but I wear it every day and it will last me for years to come.
    Niki
    www.fashionatforty.blogspot.com

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  59. I find it very odd that my choice to explain the story, rather than just post the bag and hoping no one noticed the price tag, seems disingenuous. Why would I go to all that trouble explaining just to try to trick you?

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  60. Look, I am offended by your "explanation". Just like the above commenter said you did not splurge on this bag, you literally got it for FREE... event or no event please don't try to disguise it as something else. Just say I got it for free, end of story.

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  61. It's pretty simple - the c/o means it is free. That is all I'm required to disclose by the FCC. But I wanted to share my reasoning with you guys because reader trust and full disclosure is really important to me. How you are upset with me for going above and beyond is beyond me.

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  62. I think that it is the language you used. Talk of a "splurge" and "pinching pennies" seemed to be an attempt to embellish or obscure the truth. The bag was free. Why not just say that you were excited about it because it is a bag that you would not normally purchase instead of making it sound as though you saved up and splurged so now you have to watch your pennies. It was FREE!

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  63. I don't know about you, but I am astounded at these replies..........like it really matters!!

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  64. pretty girl!

    Natalia, http://my-crazy-idea.blogspot.com

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  65. I don't buy myself a birthday gift, but in college I always bought myself an end-of-the-semester present. It was a reward for all the hard work and sacrifices I made. The gifts usually ranged from something small (a piece of jewelry) to a designer bag (bought on mega-sale at the outlet). Then, when I graduated, I purchased myself a vacation! Totally worth it. But now maybe I'll have to buy myself a birthday gift...

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  66. So I just read through all the comments and saw what people had to say about the concept of free gifts. I have to say, I too was confused by your post and didn't realize you received the bag for free. I am not faulting you at all. I just wanted to let you know that the post was a little confusing. I really have no problem with a few "c/o" items on a blog, as long as it is plainly stated. Blogs are a business for a lot of people, and its really just business. You are advertising their items; they're paying you with a product. Its essentially bartering. I admire you for the self-control you do have. 

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  67. Thanks so much for your feedback! I appreciate it!

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  68. cute! i've been looking for a hi-low grey chiffon skirt - anyone have ideas?

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  69. How about this one? http://www.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=341244876&pid=uid2641-1460879-79&utm_medium=widget&utm_source=Product+Widget

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