5 Dresses to Get You Through the Holidays – For Less

As the holidays come to a close I know there are still a ton of holiday parties that you have yet to attend. If you’re like me and are a last minute shopper and/ or an indecisive person, you’re probably still shopping around for a perfect party dress. That’s why I’ve compiled a top 5 list of the best holiday dresses you can still get, for less!

I’m a huge fan of ModCloth, this coral dress with a silver belt would be great for the holiday and new years parties. Dress it up with some pumps and a sparkly clutch. Or dress it down with some silver flats and a cardigan over top. This dress could also work well in the spring for other events too!

ModCloth: $49.99

Lulu’s is another great site for dresses. I think that this long sleeve dress in burgundy with a peplum at the waist is perfect! You could even dress it up enough to wear it from work to a Christmas party. Plus the long sleeves with some tights underneath are great to face the winter cold in.

Lulu’s: $48.00

A sweater dress is also a great addition to your wardrobe for the winter season. Macy’s has a great collection including this cowl neck, ¾ length sleeve dress in pink. Sweater dresses can be hard to wear because they can sometimes be shapeless, but this one has a great belt to define your waist, and comes in a lighter material to help give shape.

Macy’s: $29.99


Another option from ModCloth is this long sleeve lace frock. With ¾ length sleeves that are sheer with a tie belt at the waist, this dress is great for family gatherings. I’d wear this dress with colorful flats to add a pop of color to the white and a gold or sparkle headband to add some glamour to the season.


ModCloth: $54.99

Lastly, this chiffon shirtdress from Old Navy is so adorable for so many occasions! Try it for a Christmas or New Years brunch with some riding boots or to wear out to a party with some heels and a sparkly belt. I love polka dots for 2013 so be sure to start the trend early!

Old Navy: $30.00


Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

I Got Charmed By Charlie… Serious Accessories You Can’t Miss!

When I find a something new whether it’s a store or a pair of jeans I have a habit of telling everyone I know which is probably why I majored in marketing and took to blogging. The only person I tend to feel sorry for is the one who has to hear the same spiel over and over, my husband.

So when I began developing a crush on the Michael Kors watch you see in almost every magazine I couldn’t help but to start looking for a similar version that would fit a more…let’s just say “conservative” budget. And that’s when it happened. I was attracted to, seduced, and eventually charmed by Charming Charlie. If you haven’t yet heard of this store yet… you’re welcome.

Though I will give you fair warning that it can be slightly overwhelming when you walk into Charming Charlie for the first time. They carry almost every type of accessory from bags to scarfs to necklaces to hats and more. Luckily, they organize everything by color allowing you to easily navigate your way through the endless amount of accessories. So I’d suggest if you’re looking for something specific, keep the color in mind. I can’t rave enough about the affordable price range and the insane amount of options that live within this store.

First, I have to admit that a majority of my Christmas presents came from Charming Charlie this year and while I’d love to show them off I’d hate to ruin it for those receiving a gift that just so happen to run across my post. That being said, I’m showing off a few of my favorites below. Right now, Charming Charlie doesn’t have an online shop so the best way to find if they are in your area is to go to charmingcharlie.com and do a quick search. With just about a week until the big day I suggest if you have any Christmas shopping left to do, the time to do that would be now.

(Gold Boyfriend Watch, Animal Print Watch, Bow Necklace, Pink Scarf, Knotted Bracelet)

Charming Charlie Watch = $14 vs. Michael Kors Watch = $250

Love love love this bow necklace = $9.99

 Soft Pink Scarf = $14


**I participated in a partnership between Lucky Magazine and Charming Charlie. As part of this opportunity, I received a gift card to Charming Charlie. I only work with brands where I personally shop and feel that my fellow 20 somethings would enjoy hearing about.**

And You Get a Sequin… And You Get a Sequin

I don’t know about you but my holiday events never require full on sequin dresses or fur coats which leaves me to seriously question who in the world is buying these things? I do realize that I’m not exactly a socialite and that my idea of a night out is to the movies, but where are these people going? And more importantly… why am I not invited?

Maybe these feelings stem from the fact that as a child I always wanted to carry around one of those fur muffs. Ya know the ones that slightly resemble the death of a pomeranian dog on your hands? Yea, those. That was until I grew up and realized no one actually carries fur muffs around the holidays, or ever for that matter. And as much as I love, and I mean love, Christmas movies. I have to blame them for their trickery in fashion and magical singing and dancing and white fluffy snowy Christmas mornings. But where’s the realism in all this? Where’s the image of families overeating and needing a nap by 4pm? Where is the image of my dad half asleep on the couch or of people wearing t-shirts…in the Midwest… in mid December. Bah humbug, global warming! This my friend is the holiday that I’ve for better or worse gotten accustomed to which I suppose totally explains why no one has ever made a movie about it…but I digress.

Though I do tend to see more sparkle topped cookies than sparkle dresses this time of year, it doesn’t mean that I’m deprived of the standard one or two holiday events in which non socialites attend. So despite my scrooge like rant it’s time that I wrap this post up with what is bound to be the only reason you have come this far…  a holiday outfit socially acceptable enough for non socialites. And here ya go:

Friends Night Out

The Office Party

The Christmas Show

How to Be Comfortable Yet Chic for Less

Every now and then I have a Lazy Sunday, or Monday, or even Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, Friday. But I think it’s important to not fall into a rut of lazy dressing. Believe it or not, there is a way to for comfortable yet chic.

For a casual weekend look that still appears to be put-together and tailored, try this outfit I created. Start with some fitted yoga pants that allow some room to move from Old Navy. Pair these pants with a simple yet higher quality v-neck from the Gap, coming in a variety of colors. A nice tailored athletic jacket can be great to wear for running errands, exercising or just day-to-day. So wear this jacket from the North Face over top then invest in a pair of Nike running shoes to finish off you look. These Nikes from JCPenny are a bargain and you will get a ton of wear out of them.

Old Navy Yoga Pants: $19.50; North Face Jacket: $99.00; Nike Shoes: $40.00; Gap V Neck: $24.95

Or for a less athletic look, try out this second outfit I’ve put together. A perfect pair of skinny jeans, from the Gap, is a reliable piece to always have in your closet. These legging jeans are great for a comfortable and lazy day because they have a more casual and relaxed fit. Pair them with a cozy waffle knit sweatshirt from Forever 21. The cream is a great option for a muted look or try the neon yellow for a more bold pop of color. Throw on a pair of gray converse shoes so you can move about being comfortable and in style. Not to mention, for a chillier day try throwing on a colored vest to add some easy color. I love this one in orange from Old Navy.


Gap Jeans: $69.95; Forever 21 Sweatshirt: $24.80; Converse: $55.00; Old Navy Vest: $14.97

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

How To Sparkle This Holiday Season

I hope you take the time to read Allyson’s last post for Reality Chic. We are sad to see her go but will be of course supporting her in all her future and fashionable endeavors  I am personally going to miss her awesome posts and advice in the What to Wear column. She has been a great fashion blogger and addition to our somewhat and slightly snarky tone here. So again don’t miss her last post, and thanks so much to Allyson for being part of  Reality Chic! The girl is great at helping a 20 something transition her style!

The holiday season is that rare time in the yearly calendar when sequins are not only allowed, but also encouraged.  Seems that come December, the sparklier the better.  There are shimmering pants, skirts, shorts, shirts, shoes, gloves, earmuffs and everything in between.  Something about the festive nature of the season extends to our clothing, and suddenly the female population over age 7 is dressed up head to toe in glitter.

The best part about this seasonal wardrobe must?  When done right (and appropriately), you can wear this trend day or night, in the office or at the club…or to the family function.  If you’re more daring, there are a few pairs of pants with your name on it.  Feeling a bit more conservative and want to get in on the trend without converting fully to the shimmery side?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Below, from head to toe, your guide for all things bedazzled:


Jackets and Sweaters:




















Skirts and Shorts:

























The secret to wearing sequins in a “this is not a costume I am a 26 year old working professional thank you very much” way is to keep the rest of the outfit simple.  Pair glittery pants or a sequined blazer with a basic white tee.  If opting for a shimmery dress, match with standard black pumps and stockings or tights.  Now is not the time for patterned tights.  The little black dress can be spruced up with glittery heels, but think twice before matching the glittery heels with the sequined dress.  Basically, it’s a balancing act.  Make sense?

One more thing.  This will be my last week writing for Reality Chic and the What To Wear section.  Unfortunately, after this post we must part ways, but I will continue to join all of you as a devoted reader and fan of the website.  I’ve enjoyed writing these posts for the past two years as much as I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them.  If you received any helpful advice from any of my articles that you’ve since put into action, well, that’s just the cherry on top.  Thank you all for taking this journey with me, and stay chic (and have some while while doing it)!

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

26 Fashion Tips I’ve Learned Over the Past 26 Years!


This weekend I will be turning the big two six. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. For one, 26 is one of those numbers where you have no idea what to celebrate. I now can rent a car. I can have a glass of wine. I can…well… do everything that I could pretty much do at 25. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I’ve yet to figure out.

Then there is the inevitable thinking back to what you thought you would be doing at 26 when you felt like 26 felt was a lifetime away. Somewhere between junior high and high school I had convinced myself I would be chatting it up with Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts. Ya know, after my brilliant debut on GMA (Good Morning America) in which we would clearly become friends.

I’ve heard (from Oprah) that your 20’s are for figuring it out. And if that’s the case, I believe I’m at least succeeding or attempting to do just that. The one thing I’m sure of is that I’m wiser than the year before. In which case, why not impart my wisdom (of some sort) with some of the best fashion tips I’ve learned over the past 26 years. So here it goes:


1. Put your nails in a bowl of ice water to dry in 60 seconds

2. Wear nude under garments under anything white

3. A dab of light eyeshadow in the corner of your eyes makes them pop


4. Tie a skinny belt multiple times around your wrist for a new boho chic bracelet

5. Brush a stripe of bronzer down the middle of your nose to make your nose appear slimmer (Kim K does it)


6. Always bring stylish flats to walk around in NYC

7. Always have a pretty umbrella handy when visiting in NYC

8. Splurge on shoes

9. Never purchase an item from Old Navy without a discount (they come almost every week)

10. Turn your scarf into a vest for double usage

11. Only buy mid-rise jeans

12. Buy one clutch that can easily be moved from purse to purse so you can wear multiple purses in one season

13. Double your long chain necklaces to make bracelets

14. Wear your favorite cropped pants in the winter by wearing long boot socks & covering them up with tall boots

15. Turn your scarf into a shawl (wear it across your back, pull over your arms to the front then go back under your arms to be tied in the back) and wear over strapless dresses in the winter

16. Tie your trench coat in the back and wear it as an inside jacket

17. If you have a passion especially for fashion, start a blog

18. If you find t-shirts you love, buy them in multiple colors

19. Wear white after labor day

20. Even if you’re tall, wear heels

21. Overpacking isn’t worth it

22. If a collared button up no longer fits, cut off the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves and still wear it under sweaters

23. Use good shampoo & conditioner… it actually makes a difference

24. Find old door knobs to use as jewelry hangers

25. Don’t hang up your sweaters, fold them and they’ll last longer

26. To move up seats at Fashion Week stand in the aisle, ask the attendant, and wait 5 minutes minutes before the show starts… second row baby!


Five Perfect Stocking Stuffers for Less

As the holiday’s creep up and holiday shopping is in our midst, it’s important to keep up with all of the craziness. I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 must have stocking stuffers for the season. Perfect for fashionable and trendy women of all ages. Check out these top 5 buys for filling your stockings with care.

Nail polish is always a can’t miss, especially if you grab it in some basic colors such as black, nude, pink, red and the newly popular steel gray. I also love these metallic colors from Essie to add a little sparkle to the season. I highly recommend Essie nail polish for all of your manicure needs. It goes on smoothly and evenly and always leaves a solid coat.

Essie Nail Polish from Macy’s: $8

I also believe the latest and greatest must have stocking stuffers are these tech touch gloves from Target. This new trend is gloves that enable you to wear them and text through them. I really love the idea of my fingers not freezing off as I try to send my next tweet; therefore, I am all about these gloves! They come in a great variety of colors and are very reasonably priced. Therefore if you loose your gloves a lot like myself, they’re easily replaceable.

Tech Touch Gloves from Target: 3 for $9.99

Next up are these adorable mugs with the perfect touch of personalization to make for a great stocking stuffer. These mugs are awesome for holding your hot cocoa and staying cozy this winter. They come in a variety of colors, patterns and fonts making them easily to personalize for a group of ladies.

Monogrammed Coffee Mugs from invitecottage.com: $24.00

As important as it is to dress and accessorize ourselves, sometimes our gadgets are just as fun to accessorize. I really love switching up my phone case and getting a different vibe as the seasons roll on. Society6.com is a great site to get unique and affordable iPhone and other cases. This Christmas grab a patterned one is to celebrate the season.

Phone Case from society6.com: $15.00

Lastly, I think these stackable rings from Urban Outfitters are adorable little stocking stuffers, with a touch of personality. They come in every letter for every woman in your life and are great to wear on an every day basis with a wide range of outfits and accessories. I would love to wear three of these rings for each of my initials.

Stackable Rings from Urban Outfitters: $8 or 2 for $12

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

How To Keep Your Feet Toasty All Season Long

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time we started getting a bit comfortable.  The temperature outside is dropping, while the fireplaces and radiators are getting cranked up inside.  Holiday movies are starting to play on endless loop on all channels, gingerbread lattes and peppermint hot cocoas are readily available, and pumpkin pie, sweet mashed potatoes, buttery biscuits and hearty stews are just a Seamless click away.  Yes, the stores and streets are filled with glittery dresses and sparkly stilettos, but when the snow starts to fall and Hugh Grant is on tv, why bother getting all dolled up?

Sometimes the best wardrobe solution is dressing down, and that cozy, comfy look starts from the feet up.  When spending a night in, slippers are an essential part of feeling at home (after all, you don’t want to tire out your feet with all those long walks to and from the bathroom and kitchen).  A solid investment that won’t cost you a pretty penny, there’s no reason not to have a cute pair of kicks for kicking back.

Below, I’ve dug up a few of the best pairs I’ve found on the web.  Get inspired, and then get settled on the couch.  Your feet will thank you.

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

15 Cyber Monday Deals & More From Fellow Fashion Bloggers…

This week on Canopi.me, they are holding their first MISSION. You can find the best Cyber Monday deals uncovered from fashion bloggers across the web.  While I’m pretty sure Cyber Monday is likely another marketing ploy to make us all feel as if we need to continue to shop after Black Friday. I still, unfortunately, can’t help but to look at them all! So in other words, I’m a sucker, but a budgeted sucker that is. And lets be honest that’s the best type of sucker to be outside of the ones with gum in the middle.

I have collected 15 Cyber Monday deals across the web for you to enjoy and shop from your own home or work desk… whichever. However if you want to see more Cyber Monday finds, go Canopi.me and click on Cyber Monday to look at the other deals fellow fashion bloggers uncovered!

 15 Cyber Monday Deals & More From Fellow Fashion Bloggers

1. Candie’s Embellished Boots @ Kohl’s + Extra 20% off with Promo Code:  CYBER20

Original: $99.00

Cyber Monday: $29.99

2. Unrestricted Avery Tall Wedge Boots @ Kohl’s + Extra 20% off with Promo Code:  CYBER20

Original: $29.99

Cyber Monday: $79.99

3. Gap, Banana Republic, & Old Navy – 30% Off Enter: CYBER

4. ShoeMint, IntiMint, & JewelMint

IntiMint: New customers receive 70% off their first item (no exclusions); Current customers receive 50% off their entire order (no exclusions)

JewelMint: New Customers receive 70% off first piece ; Current Customers receive 50% off their entire orderEarly release of 10 December styles that will be eligible for the above promotions

ShoeMint: New customers receive $40 off their first item purchased (shoes, boots or bags), $20 off each additional item (maximum of 3 items, excludes sale items)

5. DSW

$15 off $74

$30 off $149

$50 off $199

6. Magazines: ELLE, Cosmopolitan, O Magazine, Marie Claire, @ Amazon.com

Original: $25 per year subscription

Cyber Monday: $5

7. JCP
FREE SHIPPING no minimum
Original: $799
Cyber Monday: $549
“For every $40 spent on BaubleBar, an online accessories shop, you will receive a free gift of your choosing from more than 200 items. Spend $80 and get two gifts; spend $120, get three gifts; spend $160, get four gifts, and so on. (There is no limit.)” – NYTimes Blog
10. Gilt Groupe
Gilt Groupe is introducing its “Free Fall” sale on Monday at 11:45 a.m., with items going on sale for about 5 to 10 minutes. Throughout that window of time, the items will keep dropping in price. There will be more sales that day starting at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.” – NY Times Blog
40% off site wide & FREE SHIPPING
50% off everything & FREE SHIPPING no minimum, Promo Code: YOURGIFT
40% off everything & FREE SHIPPING no minimum, Promo Code: ICE
FREE SHIPPING no minimum

**I am a part of the Windows Champions blogger program. As part of this partnership, I have been loaned a Windows 7 PC for an entire year and have the opportunity to learn about Windows and Microsoft products. I’m looking forward to sharing the inside scoop with fellow 20 somethings & fashion bloggers.**

Fashion Bloggers Uncover The Best of Cyber Monday on Canopi.me

There comes a time in every girls life where she has to make a decision… to fight or not to fight… for shoes. And last night at 2 a.m. my decision had been made. I weaved in and out of a storming crowd of women. You know the ones, you’ve seen them in the SNL skits right next to Oprah’s audience, and I’m pretty sure they were all there.

After discovering a pile of shoe boxes stacked 4 feet high, I turned the corner and victoriously started running in slow motion with 3 boxes of boots secured in my hands while Queen’s “We Are The Champions” played over the loud speaker. Alright, lets be real. Christmas music was playing over the loud speaker.

Luckily for you, Canopi saves you from having to make a decision. Instead fashion bloggers uncover the best Cyber Monday deals while you shop from the comfort of your own home minus all the crazies. Seems like a much more logical scenario, right?

On Sunday or Monday while your browsing the web stop by Canopi.me and click on Mission: Cyber Monday to see the top Cyber Monday posts featuring deals uncovered from fashion bloggers all across the web!

You get a deal and you get deal… Everyone gets a DEAL! Just call me the Oprah of the web.