Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

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Category: Aldo

Frugal Fashion: William and Kate go cowboy chic on their overseas tour

CowboykatePrince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, might have finished their overseas tour of parts of Canada and California, but we're still buzzing. We just can't get enough of the duchess and her confident, elegant style.

The newlyweds are now old pros at dressing for public appearances. While in the U.S., Catherine wore a flowy Alexander McQueen gown to the BAFTA "Brits to Watch" gala, a hand-painted silver dress by Jenny Packham to a charity polo match in Santa Barbara and a white and navy ensemble to paint with kids at an art center in L.A.'s skid row. But who knew the royal couple would look so good when they went country in jeans and cowboy hats?

These outfits came out when Kate and William made an appearance at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Canada. The look was a far cry from something the duke and duchess would wear to tea with the queen, but it's difficult to watch a lively herd of livestock in heels.

William kicked off the Calgary Stampede in a blue and green tartan plaid shirt, a pair of blue jeans and boots, while Kate wore a pair of dark denim jeans, Temperley London rodeo shirt, boots and a silver buckled-belt. The couple stayed clear of the sun in matching crisp white cowboy hats.

To get Kate's look try a white blouse with a prairie feel like the French Connection vintage grace shirt (below, left) for $39.99 at For some country ruffles try the silk georgette blouse from for $24.80.


For a rodeo, a nightclub or even a leisurely Sunday afternoon, there's no need to throw down a couple of hundred dollars for jeans. For a great pair of jeans under $100 try the Frances 18 low-rise boot cut jeans by Silver Jeans Co. for $75, Meltin Pot jeans from for $45 or the 1969 perfect boot cut jeans by Gap for $69.50.

For her accessories, Kate went the traditional western route with a bold silver-buckled belt and cowboy boots. Lasso the look with the Relic two-tone etched buckle belt from for $24 and the American Eagle Outfitters suede desert boot for $59.50.


The prince, looking more like a stylish Texas ranger in his rodeo gear, perfected the look of a modern cowboy. For a similar shirt, get the Polo Ralph Lauren slim custom-fit plaid sport shirt for $39.99 from, American Eagle Outfitters plaid button down for $39.50, Cockpit navy blue plaid shirt for $44.99 from or the eco-conscious Swell the Josh Organic flannel shirt for $39.50. from Just remember to roll up the sleeves!


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Frugal Fashion: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is sheerly beautiful

RosieThe new film "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the third installment in the robot action series, was the top-grossing movie in the country last weekend. Audiences were treated to fighting robots in 3-D and a new leading lady, British Victoria's Secret model turned actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Whiteley replaces Megan Fox as Shia Labeouf's new love interest in the film. For the movie's media tour, the 24-year-old made waves on red carpets around the world with her statuesque, model physique and killer sense of style.

While in Brazil, she wore a black chiffon, belted Michael Kors fall 2011 dress; in Berlin, a sparkly metallic backless Naeem Khan design; and in London, a Christopher Bailey custom-designed Burberry navy gown.

At the Moscow International Film festival, which opened with a screening of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Huntington-Whiteley towered over the turquoise carpet in a weightless vision of chiffon. The Gucci gown, from the label's fall 2011 collection, features a sheer, playful, sexy skirt and a one-shoulder chartreuse top. The summer-perfect color blooms from the floral embellishments for an effect that is simply stunning.


To get Huntington-Whiteley's look without a designer-gown price tag, try a sheer black maxi skirt. American Apparel makes a full-length chiffon skirt for $46, or try the Sparkle and Fade maxi pleated chiffon skirt from for $59 for a more textured look.


For a top, you'll need a one-shoulder design in a striking color. If you like the dramatic look of ruffles, try the Asos ruffle detail one-shoulder top for $13.79. For something a bit more subtle, but with the same color profile, get the Cheap Monday Tanya one-shoulder tank top from for $30.


Tuck the top into a pair of hot pants, like the Lace dolphin shorts from for $13.80 and accessorize with a skinny black belt. For a better buy, you can go for a set of two with the Apt. 9 leopard skinny belt set for $24 from Kohl's or the Beamish black and white belt set from Aldo for $20.

Happy shopping!

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? Email us a picture. We're up for the challenge.


Frugal Fashion: Alicia Keys gets an A-plus at BET Awards, before celebrating 10-year anniversary of "A Minor"

Frugal Fashion: Who says Selena Gomez needs Bieber fever to attract attention?

Frugal Fashion: "Bad Teacher" Cameron Diaz rocks a summer romper

Frugal Fashion: "Friends with Benefits" star Mila Kunis in Balmain at the MTV movie awards

-- Jenn Harris

Upper photo: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley poses prior to the opening ceremony of the Moscow International Film Festival. Credit: Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP/Getty Images

Skirt photos: From left, chiffon skirt from American Apparel. Credit:; Sparkle and Fade maxi pleated skirt. Credit:

Blouse photos: From left, Asos ruffle detail one-shoulder top. Credit:; Cheap Monday Tanya one-shoulder tank. Credit:

Accessories photos: Lace dolphin shorts. Credit:; Apt. 9 leopard belt set. Credit:; Beamish black and white belt set. Credit:

Frugal Fashion: Mandy Moore, between 'Tangled' and 'Falling Slowly,' flexes her fashion cred

MandymooreSometime between Mandy Moore's hit song “Candy” in 1999 and now, I blinked, and she became  “someone to watch” in the fashion world. The singer, songwriter and sometimes actress was always adorable, but she’s given herself a complete revamp, turning the “cute” spaghetti-strap-tank-wearing, midriff-baring teeny bopper into a chic, sophisticated woman.  

Moore recently popped up on our fashion radar when she blew away our own Melissa Magsaysay in an elegant, sparkly Monique Lhuillier dress at this year’s Oscars. Moore has also made recurring appearances on best dressed lists, such as InStyle magazine's Look of the Day feature.

The 26-year-old appeared most recently as the voiceof Rapunzel in Disney’s "Tangled," and is slated to appear in the film "Falling Slowly" opposite the dreamy Rodrigo Santoro next year, finding plenty of reasons to impress on red carpets everywhere.

Moore attended Lucky Magazine's First Annual "Lucky Shops LA" at Siren Studios in Los Angeles recently in a sheer top, double-breasted collarless jacket, black tapered leg pants and two-tone ballet flats. She accessorized her carefree look with a ring necklace and a white simple structured tote. Her barely there, fresh face makeup and effortless pulled-back hairstyle helped her nail the look.

Every part of Moore's outfit is super versatile and accessible for the fashionista on a budget. Each item is a great find to pair with any number of pieces you may already have in your closet. Moore's sheer T-shirt happens to be one of my closet staples. It's perfect to dress up or down and super comfy. For a scoopneck shirt that will easily become your go-to "T," snag the Favorite scoopneck T from Gap for $12.50. Dress up your shirt with a collarless, cropped sleeve jacket like Moore's. The 212 Collection tweed jacket from Kohl's is $31.99 and great to wear with office wear or a new dress.


Moore's pants remind me of the tapered-leg style often worn by stylish Brits Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller. Get the look with the Rory cotton-twill pant by Miller's brand Twenty8Twelve for $57.50 on or the Belted Twill pants from Forever 21 for $22.80.


Moore's structured tote looks great and can be the perfect "everything" bag -- it's big enough to fit your keys, makeup, wallet, phone and the rest of your life nicely. Aldo makes two great totes, the Cyphert tote for $45 and the Bazer tote for $34.98. Dillard's also carries an all-purpose tote by Kate Landry Paris for $55.30.


Mandyshoeszapposblog A good pair of flats is always a smart investment, especially ones you can wear to work, the store, lunch  or your favorite bar. To get Moore's two-tone look try the Annie Cybil cork and black patent flats from for $49.95. The cork texture is fun but the patent leather dresses up the shoe for that nighttime feel.

Happy shopping!

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? Email us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

-- Jenn Harris


Frugal Fashion: 'The Green Lantern's' Blake Livey goes all white at CinemaCon

Frugal Fashion: 'Sucker Punch's' Emily Browning may have found the perfect prom dress

Frugal Fashion: 'Dancing with the Stars' co-host Brooke Burke's supermom style

Frugal Fashion: In a bikini or on the red carpet, 'Arthur' star Helen Mirren exudes confident style

Photo: Mandy Moore attends Lucky Magazine's First Annual "Lucky Shops LA" at Siren Studios on April 7 in Los Angeles. Credit: Frederick M. Brown /Getty Images.

Shirt photo: Gap scoopneck T, left. Credit:; 212 Collection tweed jacket, right. Credit:

Pant photo: Rory cotton twill pant by TwelvebyTwelve, left. Credit:; Belted twill pant, right. Credit:

Bag photo: From left, Cyphert tote. Credit:; Bazer tote. Credit: Kate Landry Paris tote. Credit: 

Shoe photo: Annie Cybil flats. Credit:

Julian Louie makes eye-catching Ikat shoes for Aldo

Santa Cruz-raised and New York City-based designer Julian Louie is the much buzzed about young man in the fashion community whose first runway show was just last September. Louie was trained in architecture but honed his natural knack for fashion after a few in-house internships, including one at Calvin Klein.

Recently mall-chain store Aldo tapped him to design a capsule collection and the result are striking Ikat wedges that are as cool as they are treacherous.  The designer cites the photographs of Pieter Hugo as his inspiration for the Aldo collaboration and said in a press statement that “the shoes were meant to be intricate and bold, baroque and minimal at the same time. The prints were treated as a texture. So the end result became not about any one pattern but about the use of pattern in general.”

Mission accomplished. He certainly utilized pattern. The only way to pull off this style is with a really minimal ensemble, much like the clothes Louie tends to design.

The Julian Louie shoes for Aldo are in Aldo stores for $125.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Ikat wedge by Julian Louie for Aldo/Aldo

Frugal Fashion: Joy Bryant at the Essence Black Women in Music event

JoyJoy Bryant is part of that rare breed of fashion model-turned-actress who actually becomes a successful film star. The beautiful 34-year-old has starred alongside Denzel Washington in "Antwone Fisher," Kate Hudson in "The Skeleton Key" and Jessica Alba in "Honey."

As a model, Bryant has appeared in ad campaigns for Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren and Cover Girl, modeled in the Victoria's Secret catalog and snagged a Teen Vogue magazine cover.

Although Bryant may have made it as an actress, currently starring as Jasmine Trussell on NBC's "Parenthood," it's clear that when she dresses for events she hasn't forgotten her roots in fashion.

During an appearance at the Essence Black Women in Music event in February, Bryant looked fun and flirty in a floral print dress and black leggings. She toughened up the girly dress with a military-style jacket and dark grayish-brown ankle boots that were just a tad rugged and her cross-body brown bag with fringe gave her a little hippy-chic vibe.

With spring fast approaching, a floral print dress is the perfect way to escape the dark, muted colors of winter. There are many varieties available in terms of colors and print size, but Bryant's choice of a dress with a smaller flower print allows her to layer other pieces without clashing.

For a floral print dress that can easily go from daytime shopping to a night out with friends, Macy's, Forever 21 and Asos all have some great frugal finds: Be Bop Dress from Macy's for $36, the Vero Moda Winter Floral Frill Sleeve dress on Asos for $39.45 and the Chloe Floral dress from Forever 21 for $15.80.


Layer one of these military-inspired jackets over your dress to keep warm: Keely Twill motor bomber from Delia's for $29.99, Military Knit Jacket from Forever 21 for $32.80, or the Surplus jacket from Old Navy for $44.50.


I actually contemplated keeping this week's frugal shoe finds to myself and ordering 10 pairs of each but I realized there are plenty of cute boots to go around. Target has the uber cute Mossimo Supply and Co. Kamara ankle boots for $10.48, The Cassy Distressed ankle boot from Delia's is $19.99 and the Three Flap Flat Boot from Wet Seal is $14.75.


Cross-body bags are a great buy because they are super versatile, functional and comfortable to wear. Here are some frugal picks for under $40: Sonnenberg bag by Aldo for $19.98, Braided Strap cross-body bag from Tilly's for $16.99, BDG Double Buckle bag from Urban Outfitters for $38 and the Brown cross-body bag from Delia's for $24.50.


I don't know a single L.A. fashionista that doesn't own a pair of plain black leggings or tights, so definitely go with a pair you already own. And if you don't? This look will still look great without the leggings.

Happy shopping!

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? E-mail us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

-- Jenn Harris

For more photos of Joy Bryant's style check out a gallery below:


Photo, top: Actress Joy Bryant arrives at the second annual Essence Black Women in Music reception honoring Grammy-nominated artist Janelle Monae in Los Angeles on Feb. 9. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press.

Dresses, from left: Be Bop Dress from Macy's. Credit: Macy's. Vero Moda Floral Dress from Asos. Credit: Asos. Chloe Floral Dress from Forever 21. Credit: Forever 21.

Jackets: Keely Twill motor jacket from Delia's. Credit: Delia's. Military Knit Jacket from Forever 21. Credit: Forever 21. Surplus jacket from Old Navy. Credit: Old Navy.

Shoes: Mossimo Supply and Co. Kamara boots from Target. Credit: Target. Cassy Distressed boot from Delia's. Credit: Delia's. Three Flap boot from Wet Seal. Credit: Wet Seal.

Bags: Sonnenberg bag from Aldo. Credit: Aldo. Braided Strap bag from Tilly's. Credit: Tilly's. BDG Buckle bag from Urban Outfitters. Credit: Urban Outfitters. Brown cross-body bag from Delia's. Credit: Delia's.

Natalie Portman is a stylish vegan at the DGA awards


Natalie Portman’s recent red carpet gowns have obviously been pregnancy friendly, but her accessory choices always remain animal friendly. In order to stick to her no leather or animal byproduct mantra, the vegan actress has a smaller pool of shoes to choose from when it comes to getting dressed for award shows and premieres. 26_labrie_94_90

Last night at the Directors Guild of America  awards, she paired her black Michael Kors dress with  satin and rubber heels from Aldo. The “Labrie” pump ($90) is a d’orsay, peep-toe style heel that looks pretty good for containing no leather at all.

Portman has turned to Aldo for several movie premieres in the past, and it will be interesting to see if she brings the mall brand into the higher fashion arena during this evening’s SAG awards or maybe even the Oscars.

Kate Walsh carried a $30 Aldo clutch to the 2009 Emmy awards.

And with this rain, why ruin a $1,000-plus pair of Louboutins?

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Natalie Portman arrives at the 63rd annual DGA awards dinner in Los Angeles on Saturday. Credit: Reuters/Phil McCarten

Aldo “Labrie” shoes $90 at

Frugal Fashion: Golden Globes glam on a budget


The buzz around red carpet interviews at awards shows is almost always drowned out by the same question: "Who are you wearing?" Last week's 68th Golden Globe Awards was no different...shocking. I don't mean to sound bored with it all and I'm the first to admit that I enjoy watching the red carpet arrivals more than the actual award shows, but every year I'm always left with the same burning question: "Yea, yea, Marchesa this, Armani that...but what about the jewelry?" When you're a fashion-obsessed little girl who finally wiggles her way into her mother's closet, you don't reach for the gowns -- you put your tiny feet straight into her heels, wrap her pearls around your neck and go for the diamonds.

Sure last week's leading ladies were dressed in designer bigwigs like Lanvin, Versace, Calvin Klein and Vera Wang, and fashion websites, including our own, went on and on about the 10 best dressed ladies of the evening, but an Oscar-worthy gown is always short of amazing without the right accessories. Would Catherine Zeta-Jones really sparkle in her Golden Globes Monique Lhuillier emerald green gown without her earrings? To be honest, that woman would sparkle in something as mundane as a burlap sack, but the earrings did help! Her diamond chandelier earrings draw your eyes to her gorgeous face and were the perfect accent to her strapless dress. Natalie Portman also looked stunning in her Viktor & Rolf gown but she gave her maternity glow a boost with her Tiffany layered diamond necklace. The piece definitely made a statement but still gives the look of a soft, dainty piece of jewelry.


A pair of diamond earrings and necklace are a given when accessorizing an evening gown but when you're waving to adoring fans why not give your wrists a little extra sparkle? 'The Closer' star Kyra Sedgwick rocked a bright orange Emilio Pucci dress at the Globes and adorned her right wrist with a number of chunky, shiny gold bangles.

It might be easier to clasp a dozen gold bangles on your wrist or fix a diamond necklace around your neck with a movie star bank account, but there's no reason why you can't go glam on a budget.


A layered necklace is the perfect way to make a statement with your jewelry but keep things looking refined. If you have a flare for the dramatic try this Lydell NYC Tiered Chain Beaded Necklace from Bloomingdales for $48, or the mixed metal Peggy Necklace from Chico's for $58. For something a little softer, the Fallling stars necklace from Banana Republic is $47.99.


The chandelier earring went on hiatus for a while but I think it's safe to say they are back -- at least on the red carpet. If you're looking for the perfect pair to wear to a charity gala check out these frugal finds: Chandelier drop earrings from Arden B for $24, Durol earrings in White Nubuk from Aldo for $13.98, Apt. 9 Jet-Tone Simulated Crystal Beaded Chandelier earrings on sale for $10 at Kohl's or the Nadri Crystal Teardrop Chandelier earrings from Nordstrom for $88.


When it comes to bangles, go for the gold and the more the merrier. Budget shoppers can look for bangles sold as a set, giving you a layered look without having to buy 10 bracelets. Mix in some chunkier pieces with stone, pearl or glass accents for fun. Nordstrom has a great set of bangles by Cara for $58. Layer the bangles with a set of four Kaya bangles from Chico's for $38 or the Astronomer's bracelet from Banana Republic for $39.50.

Happy shopping.

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? E-mail us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

-- Jenn Harris

Top photos: Natalie Portman, left and Catherine Zeta Jones. Credits: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images and Mike Nelson / European Pressphoto Agency

Middle photo: Kyra Sedgwick's bangles. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Necklace photo from left: Lydell necklace. Credit: Bloomingdales. Peggy necklace. Credit: Chico's. Falling Stars necklace. Credit: Banana Republic. 

Earrings photo from left:Chandelier Drop earrings. Credit: Arden B. Durol earrings. Credit: Aldo. Apt. 9 earrings. Credit: Kohl's. Nadri Crystal earrings. Credit: Nordstrom.

Bangles photo from left: Cara bangles. Credit Nordstrom. Kaya bangles. Credit: Chico's. Astronomer's bracelet. Credit: Banana Republic.

Aldo's design-it-yourself competition [Updated]

I just stumbled upon a cool-looking contest with Aldo shoes and accessories.  Personalize a pair of shoes or a bag with studs, spikes, color or anything you want, and submit the picture to  Judges will choose 10 finalists, and the winner will get to design a shoe or bag for the brand’s Fall/Winter 2010 collection.

The last day to submit is Oct. 30, and finalists will be announced on Nov. 16. It's last minute, but I thought it worth mentioning.  Besides, you may already have some DIY accessories you’re proud of and wanted to share with the world.

[Updated at 10:58 a.m.: An earlier version of this post listed today as the submission deadline and Oct. 20 as the day finalists would be announced. Aldo has changed those original dates.]

Aldo has been doing some interesting things lately, stepping up the design and also appearing in the most unlikely places.  Every fashion plate from Diane Kruger to Beyonce has been wearing its shoes, and Kate Walsh carried a silver Aldo clutch to the Emmys. I’ve got my eye on Aldo.

Competition details here.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Shopping Update: Westfield Culver City unveils its makeover

Max Padilla
FF_09.2 At 4 p.m. today, the Westfield Culver City Shopping Center, formerly known as the Fox Hills Mall, officially re-opens after a 19-month extensive $180-million renovation with special promos and giveaways.

The Culver City Shopping Center, a short drive from Marina del Rey and Playa Vista, offers a slate of new tenants (Aldo, XXI Forever, Coach, Hollister and Target) and more to debut over the next two months (H&M, Express and Brooklyn Projects).

Westfield Culver City Shopping Center opening weekend promotions include a black quilted tote giveaway with $200 in combined same-day receipt totals from center stores shown to the Center Court concierge. Also at the Center Court, you can enter a drawing held next Monday (Oct.12)  for an iPod Nano 8G and four 30-minute music lessons, both courtesy of Best Buy. 

On Saturday (Oct. 10), Five Four, an L.A.-based menswear collection, launches its first retail store at the Culver City Shopping Center with a weekend promotion: Spend $50 or more and receive a complimentary V-neck; spend $100 or more for a woven shirt; spend $150 or more and get both. The store will have extended hours until 8:30 p.m. with a DJ spinning.

The Westfield Culver City Shopping Center plans to hold an Art Walk at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29 to unveil three commissioned public art pieces including one by L.A.-based artist Jeff Kopp.

That way you can breathe in some high culture while stocking up on affordable fashions, Cinnabons and iPhones.

6000 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

-- Max Padilla

Photo: Five Four woven shirt, $92. Credit: courtesy of Five Four

Affordable Aldo makes it onto the Emmys red carpet


Amid a sea of diamonds, designer dresses and crystal-encrusted minaudieres, a lone clutch from Aldo floated down the red carpet in the hands of actress Kate Walsh.

The "Private Practice" star wore pricey pieces from J. Mendel and Christian Louboutin, yet chose to accessorize it all with a $30 snakeskin-printed faux leather bag from the mall store Aldo. It was both confusing and refreshing to hear Walsh rattle off who she was wearing, then see her lift the clutch and say, “Aldo, $30”.


Though her bag is thousands of dollars less than the Judith Leiber pieces that many actresses carry during Hollywood events, Walsh still managed to shine as one of the best dressed stars at the Emmys in her soft-gray strapless gown and no-fuss hairstyle.

Not since Sharon Stone wore a Gap T-shirt to the Oscars has a mass-market (and affordable) brand made its way onto the red carpet at a major awards show.

Should more celebs start mixing affordable pieces into their awards-night ensembles or should they stick to the fantasy and keep it strictly high-end?

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo, top: Kate Walsh attends the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards/Associated Press

Photo, right: Aldo "Kantah" clutch / Aldo


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