Sensible Stylista

How-to Find the Perfect LBD

As I'm sure you all know by now, I'm straight up obsessed with BCBG!  I picked this gorg LBD up during a blowout sale at their factory outlet store a while back.  They were offering customers an extra 50% off already-reduced prices so I went a little cray.  I bought 7 different things for only $200. I say "only" because their clothing's usually ridiculously expensive - at full price, a haul like that would've easily cost $1500+.  
Their designs are second to none though.  Every time I walk into a BCBG, I just want to throw my money at 'em.  I mean, they might as well just take all of it from the getgo!  How many of you guys are fans? They've been one of my favorite stores for years now, but I only really shop their factory outlets. I guess that's the sensible part of me speaking!  I won't ever pay full-price for anything...unless it's an investment bag or a classic I'll wear forever.
Now, a perfect LBD is an absolute must-have - every woman should have a killer version in their wardrobe. This number's very "look-at-me," but that's because I have a dozen other styles hanging in my closet (from classic to jaw-droppingly sexy).  So, how do you find the right LBD for you? Simple - just consider the following factors:  fit, style, and pricing. 
Fit: It's important to know your body shape.  Figure out what your best physical attributes are and highlight them accordingly.  If you have killer legs, purchase a mini-dress to draw attention to your stems.  Want to cover your tummy?  Go for an empire waist.  It'll mask your middle and create a killer hourglass figure.  Looking to minimize broad shoulders?  Wear a v-neck or plunging design and avoid dresses that elongate them (ie. off-the-shoulder or strapless).

Now, ask yourself...

Am I comfortable in this number?  If you find yourself tugging and pulling at your dress, you'll never want to wear it again, no matter how great it looks.  Your ideal LBD should make you look and feel like a goddess.  You may look like a supermodel, but if you're uncomfortable all night, that'll shine through and you'll end up feeling self-conscious.

Can I wear it as is? Unless you visit a tailor regularly, this will most likely keep you from wearing your new LBD out and about.  The last thing you want is for it to gather dust in the back of your closet, and I guarantee it will if you're not a fan of the fit right from the getgo.  Think about it this way!  It's like purchasing something you want to wear once you lose 15 lbs.  How often does that work out?
Style:  For your first buy, I recommend choosing a dress that's both versatile and sophisticated so you can whip it out for any and every occasion - I'm talking dates, office parties, weddings, and so on and so forth.  It's important to keep things classy so go for a subtly sexy design...and please use common sense.  

If you know that you'll mostly be wearing your LBD for corporate events, seek a midi dress.  If you're in college and see yourself dressing it down often, opt for a shorter length.  You can easily pair it with tights and a cool moto jacket for a casual everyday look.  Avoid crazy embellishments and dramatic cuts (like plunging necklines).  It's best to keep things simple!  Remember, you can always expand your LBD collection after you find a reliable (but still fabulous) version.
Pricing:  You guys know that I'm all about saving, but I'm a huge believer in splurging on classic pieces because I view them as investments - the LBD just so happens to be one of them.  Plus, if you think about CPW (cost per wear), you're really not dropping as much money as you think you are. Now, since splurging means different things for different people, I'm going to list several stores below so you guys have options.

Where do I purchase my dream LBD?

TJ Maxx Runway:  Thank the shopping gods for this amazing store.  They carry designer items for MUCH less, and you can browse their collection in-stores or online.  In addition to cute clothing + shoes, they also carry investment bags...and I mean SERIOUS brands like Celine, Givenchy, and Bottega Veneta.  Also check Last Call Neiman Marcus Saks Off 5th for more designer finds.  Stores like Marshalls and Ross also carry name brands from time to time, but as I'm sure y'all deduced, not as many as the aforementioned shops.

H&M:  For those of you looking for (even more) affordable options, I highly recommend H&M. They carry high-quality designs that are wallet-friendly.  I purchase a lot of office-friendly workwear here - their blazers always seem to be on point.  

Premium Outlet Malls: Factory outlets are my go-to!  Be patient and wait for a blowout sale to get the most bang for your buck.  TIP: Go to customer service and pick up a coupon book in advance to further up your savings.  It costs $3 or so, but you can get it for free if you have AAA.  If you're paying for it, take a second to flip through.  After all, you want to make sure your favorite stores are listed! I frequent Nine WestBanana RepublicBCBGAnn Taylor, and Brooks Brothers.
Browse cute LBD picks here (varying price points):
Shoes:  c/o Guilty Soles (use code SENSIBLE30 to get an extra 30% off) || Dress:  BCBG Factory Outlet (similar) || Clutch:  Handbag Heaven (similar)

Photo credit:  Dennis Christians

25 Ways to Stay Alert When You're Super Tired

Alright guys, it's time for some real talk.  We all wish we could sleep 7-8 hours each night, but that just doesn't seem possible in this day and age.  We're all hustling to become the best we can be, and that requires serious sacrifice, which brings me to my latest.  For today's post, I'll be sharing my tips on how to stay fully alert throughout the day.
1.  Rest your eyes for a bit, especially if you're staring at a screen for a prolonged period of time.
2.  Practice acupressure - try stimulating different pressure points.
3.  Catch up with a friend during a short ten-minute break.
4.  Turn your lights up or get some sun!
5.  Take a minute to stretch.
6.  Watch ONE funny video on youtube.
7.  Squeeze in a quick workout or do a bit of light exercise.
8.  Take a break and play with a furry friend.
9.  Stand while you work - some swear by standing desks.
10.  Take a power nap - 5-20 minutes can do wonders for your focus.
11.  Switch tasks to avoid monotony.
12.  Chill in front of the air conditioner for a bit.
13.  Down a glass of water to stay hydrated.

14.  Sniff some peppermint oil.
15.  Look at flashing colors to stimulate your brain - you can even download an app for it on your phone!
16.  Munch on a healthy snack and avoid overeating at lunch.  Like Steve Jobs said, "stay hungry."
17.  Play a quick game on your phone.
18.  Keep your workplace cool.
19.  Down a cup of espresso (or a caffeinated beverage of your choice).

20.  Take a quick shower.
21.  Watch a motivational clip to stay inspired - sometimes that's all you need to get back into the game!
22.  Practice deep breathing to reduce anxiety and increase focus.
23.  Blast your favorite tune and sing along with it.
24.   Chew on some bubblegum.
25.  Splash your face with cold water.

And that's it folks! I hope y'all found this helpful.  If you did, please take a moment to share this post with your friends.  Also, if you enjoyed this post, you'll love "8 Ways to Maintain Your Health When You're Busy as Hell." Happy reading, everyone!  Sending lots of love from the DMV.

The Striped Long Shirt: Remixed Three Ways

You guys are probably sick of seeing this shirt on SS by now, but it was a serious fave of mine all summer long so I have to pay homage to it one last time.  I blogged about it HERE a few months ago, but I want to give you guys a quick refresher.  I picked it up at Doota in June during my month-long trip in Korea, and it was the ONLY thing I purchased there clothing-wise.  

I wanted to get more stuffs, but everything was either too expensive or straight up un-buyable.  I know "un-buyable's" a harsh, but not being able to try something on (without the option of return) is a dealbreaker for me. So, I exercised self-control and kept my shopping habit to a minimum. However, I ended up wearing it all the freakin' time, which brings me to *drum roll, please* today's remix.  I'll be sharing my fave looks with you guys on Sensible Stylista!
Shoes:  OASAP || Dress:  H&M

1. My first look's a work-friendly ensemble that's both comfortable and stylish.  I started with a fabulous dress from H&M and wore my long shirt on top.  I don't know about you guys, but I've always been a huge fan of summer layering and all that jazz.  There are a ton of cute deets happenin' in this outfit already (tassels + ruffles), but I threw on my Valentino-inspired heels to add more personality.  To see more snaps from this shoot, click here!

Shoes:  Steve Madden || Top:  Polo || Bag:  Chanel || Necklace:  JWholesale

2.  Look number 2's more of a casual everyday outfit.  I wore this out to lunch last month when I met up with an old friend from high school.  I was running super late so I only got to snap 1-2 pics of it with my cam - that's why I never used it as an individual post. In retrospect, I probably would've carried a different bag, but whatever, I was home visiting my parents in Pittsburgh so I wanted to take full advantage of my mom's amazing closet.

For this getup, I started with a cute faux-leather mini and paired it with a navy tank from Polo.  I picked up a bunch of them (tanks + tees) from their factory outlet in Grove City because they were on sale for $9 or so.  TIP:  always get your basics for less!  I refuse to spend a buttload of money on items that aren't "special."  The only exception IMHO is if you're investing in something you'll wear forever like the classic trench.

Sorry, I totally got off topic.  Let's get back to my OOTD!  This skirt has navy embroidery so it matches everything beautifully.  My neck felt a bit bare so I threw on a fabulous statement necklace. This gorg piece is available at Jwholesale.  If you're looking to purchase trendy jewelry for a fraction of the price, make sure to hit them up HERE.

Boots:  Nine West || Tank:  Polo || Shorts:  Aero || Bag:  YSL

3.  I'm oozing (or at least trying to, ha) casual cool for this ensemble.  I kept things very simple by wearing high-waisted denim shorts and a plain white tee.  The long shirt elevates the outfit and creates a cohesive vibe.  I went easy on the accessory front, but carried my faux-snakeskin YSL crossbody for a splash a print.  To top things off, I wore distressed boots.  To see more from this post, click HERE.

Alright guys, that's it for today!  I hope you enjoyed my latest remix.  Which outfit do you like best? And how do you feel about long shirts - are they a do or a don't?