Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Express

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

MilaThe MTV movie awards tend to deliver that certain wow factor every year with a musical performance or outrageous skit of some sort, but this year Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis stole the show. While the two "Friends with Benefits" stars announced the award for best male performance the two "friends" decided to prove their platonic status by, ahem, groping each other's private parts.

As I gasped in amazement at the utterly ridiculous yet hilarious spectacle, I became transfixed. Not because of the incessant groping, which seemed to go on forever, but because I suddenly -- and more importantly -- realized that I needed to get my hands on Kunis' uber sparkly, 1980s-flashback Balmain miniskirt, stat.

Kunis has been turning heads at awards shows with her fashion choices, such as the jaw-dropping red Alexander McQueen she wore to the SAG awards well before her "Black Swan" glory days. She's a pro at going uber glam with a gown for the Oscars or, as in this case, fun and flirty for an MTV event.

Last Sunday Kunis wasn't the only one wearing Balmain, but she did wear it best. "Twilight" saga star Kristen Stewart wore a red Balmain dress with frenzied safety pin embellishments and "Gossip Girl" vixen Leighton Meester went hyper glam in a Balmain long-sleeved dress that looked a little like a shiny, shattered mirror.

Mila Kunis rocked her Balmain jewel-bedazzled mini with a dolman sleeve classic black top and sky-high pale pink platform pumps.

For a look-at-me mini of your own, you can ditch the jewel embellished pieces. Sequins add just as much bling without the eye-popping price tag. Go for the LaRok flirty sequin camo skirt from for $158.99, Tumbled sequin miniskirt from for $127, smoke sequin miniskirt from for $79.50 or the sequin mini skirt from Express for $59.90.


Kunis' loose top transforms the mini from night club status to elegant-party-ready. For a similar top, snag the 3/4 sleeve tee by Juicy Couture for $24.97, 3/4 sleeve dolman from for $14.90 or the 3/4 dolman sleeve twist tee by C&C California for $24.90.


Kunis' pale shoes are a great color contrast to her skirt but it might be fun to play around with the shoes you might already own, so no need to splurge there. Any pair of solid-colored pumps in bright red or even black would work great with this look.

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


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Frugal Fashion: "Scream 4's" Lucy Hale goes Tribal at a Nylon magazine bash

Photo: Mila Kunis on stage at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards at Universal Studios' Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011, in Universal City. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Skirt photos: (From left) LaRok flirty sequin camo skirt. Credit:; Tumbled sequin miniskirt. Credit:; Sequin miniskirt. Credit:; Sequin miniskirt. Credit:

Shirt photos: (From left) 3/4 sleeve tee. Credit:; 3/4 sleeve dolman. Credit:; 3/4 sleeve dolman twist tee Credit:

Frugal Fashion: Sofia Coppola sparkles in a sequin tank

Ldcw9cnc Sofia Coppola is the ultimate jack of all (Hollywood) trades. She's been an actress, director, producer, screenwriter, costume designer and cinematographer, and she's only 39. It doesn't hurt that she comes from Hollywood royalty; her father is Francis Ford Coppola, and famous cousins include Jason Schwartzman and Nicolas Cage. 

As part of a clan of Hollywood elite, Coppola is used to the flashbulbs that come with fame and has a unique sense of style when in the public view. She has a knack for being subtle in her wardrobe choices but always tends to add her own special twist, whether it be a cute clutch bag or, in this case, some sparkle.

At a recent screening for her new film, "Somewhere," Coppola attracted flashbulbs galore in a tank adorned with dark blue sequins; black pleated crop trousers; ankle strap heels and a clutch bag.

Her outfit looks sensible and conservative but fun enough to wear to the after party. And, indeed, sequined tanks are a playful, inexpensive way to spruce up any party outfit. Get your party on with one of these sequined tanks, all frugally priced of course:


From left, sequin and fabric mix tank from The Limited for $49.90, Michael Kors sequin tank from fro $63, Peter Nygard sequin tank from Dillard's for $35.40, Calvin Klein tank from Macy's for $34.99 or this Simply Vera Vera Wang sequin tank from Kohl's for $48.

Give your new sparkly tank the attention it deserves by pairing it with some simple black trousers:


From left, Pleated crop pant from Express for $29.99, Signature pleated crop pant from Talbots for $56.24, Ella Moss Cassandra belted pant from for $74, or the Halogen Twill Drape trousers from Nordstrom Rack for $29.97.

For more ways to shine on New Year's Eve, check out these tips from resident stylist Melissa Magsaysay.

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

Upper photo: Sofia Coppola attends the New York screening of "Somewhere" at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Middle photo, from left: Sequin tank from The Limited. Credit: The Limited. Sequin tank by Michael Kors. Credit: Peter Nygard sequin tank. Credit: Dillard's. Tank by Calvin Klein. Credit: Macy's. Simply Vera Vera Wang sequin tank. Credit: Kohl's

Lower photo, from left: Pleated crop pant from Express. Credit: Signature pleated crop pant from Talbots. Credit: Cassandra belted pant by Ella Moss. Credit: Halogen Twill Drape trousesrs. Credit:

Frugal Fashion: Lauren Conrad's Teen Vogue party look for less

Lauren Teen Vogue hosted its 8th annual Young Hollywood party at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles last week with all of Tinseltown’s hottest celebs under 30. Among the stylish attendees were actress Emma Roberts, Twilight saga star Nikki Reed and designer and former reality television star Lauren Conrad.

Conrad became famous after MTV’s show “Laguna Beach” spun off into the Los Angeles fashion scene on “The Hills.” She hasn’t made it to the runways of Milan or Paris yet but she does have her own clothing line, aptly named LC Lauren Conrad. Her personal style, like her clothing line, plays up simple wardrobe pieces such as well-fitted, solid-colored tops and pants for an everyday look that is anything but ordinary.

At the Teen Vogue bash, the 24-year-old sported an updated 1950s glam vibe with her soft blonde curls, black eyeliner and bright red lipstick. She kept her wardrobe simple but elegant with an olive green, silk blouse tucked into some high-waisted, pleated black trouser shorts and plain black heels. She slung the ultimate, timeless accessory over her shoulder: a quilted black Chanel bag with chain straps.

Her 3/4 length rolled up sleeves and loosely buttoned shirt gave her menswear inspired shirt a feminine softness. The green silk dressed up the shorts for a look that could easily take her from a relaxing day at the beach to a bar downtown.  

Conrad makes looking good seem effortless, and it really is with our frugal alternatives.

Silkblouse This Military Silk Blouse from Express for $69.90 adds a shiny soft touch to any pair of trousers or jeans. The breast pockets and button up sleeves bring the shirt back to the military feel of last week's frugal fashion trend.

Shortstopshop Tuck the shirt into these pleated Trouser Shorts with gold button detail from TOPSHOP for about $55. The shorts are super versatile and worth adding to your wardrobe to pair with anything from summer tanks and plain white tees to slinkier party tops.

We could have kept to our usual $100 limit but decided to make an exception this week. When you're dealing with a silk blouse it's a good investment to stick to the real thing. In our search for our frugal alternative to Conrad's chic green blouse, we came across a lot of cheaper versions that looked well, cheap. So whether you skip your mid-afternoon coffee splurge to save up a little cash, or bring your lunch to work, it will be worth the extra  dollars to steal this week's look.

The grand total comes to $125.24 before taxes. Still pretty frugal with two new wardrobe pieces that will spruce up any work or party outfit. 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

Photos top: Lauren Conrad attends the 8th annual Teen Vogue Young Hollywood party on Oct. 1, 2010 in Los Angeles. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images. Photo left: Military blouse from Express. Credit: Courtesy of Express. Photo right: Shorts from TOPSHOP. Credit: Courtesy of TOPSHOP.

Spotted: Sequin Balmain-esque tux jacket at Express.

Express jacket I was doing some speed shopping at the Beverly Center yesterday.  As I whizzed past Express, a striking black tux blazer caught my eye.

The sharp lapels and slouchy fit are very fitting for fall.  But it was the sequin and studded lapels and collar that flooded my brain with the Balmain runway collection.

This Express version doesn’t have the signature super-sized shoulders, but if you’re dedicated, sticking some pads in there is always an option. Plus, the Express jacket is just $98.

 Happy (fall) shopping.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

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 Embellished blazer from Express/Express


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