For me, bargain shopping is more than just a hobby. It's a way of life. And as with any endeavor, practice makes perfect. So I was thrilled to chat up the blogger behind Cheap Chicas (and fellow Philadelphian), Lilliana Vazquez, and pick her brain about how to dress luxe for less.
Read on for Lilliana's tips on looking fabulous within the framework of your own figure, budget, and lifestyle.
SP: When did you first fall in love with fashion and beauty?
LV: My mom says out of the womb...even when I couldn't talk she says I had a say in what I wore!
SP: What was your first big break as a style expert?
LV: My first time on air at FOX4 in Dallas was my biggest break early on...since then I've turned it into a regular gig on NBC 10 in Philadelphia where I'm their fashion and style correspondent.
SP: What is your style philosophy?
LV: I'm all about mixing. High and low, plaids and prints, pearls and denim. I love using unexpected pairings to create a look that's unique and interesting and NOT predictable. Oh and style has nothing to do with money or labels...you can look just as good in head to toe thrift as you can in couture.
SP: What is the most treasured item in your closet?
LV: My Chanel Jumbo Classic Flap Bag...it's my most prized possession!
SP: If you could spend the day with one fashion icon (living or deceased), who would it be and what would you do?
LV: Coco Chanel and Christian Louboutin...they're both masters. I'd have Coco edit my closet and dress me to her liking and have Louboutin personally fit my foot for a custom pair of shoes!
SP: What makes a woman 'stylish?'
LV: Confidence. You can wear anything if you have the attitude to pull it off...whether it's pair of shoes from Payless or a Lanvin gown.
SP: Who are some of your favorite designers of all time?
LV: Chanel, Balenciaga, Giambattista Valli, Lanvin.
SP: Which trends will be big this fall/winter?
LV: Over the knee boots, excessively chunky knits, and motorcycle jackets.
SP: Which trend(s) do you wish would die?
LV: I love to have fun with fashion and trends are a part of that so I'm willing to try anything once...but I won't spend money on super trendy items and I always advise my readers not to either.
SP: Current handbag obsessions?
LV: I rarely spend money on "it" handbags...I have two or three classic bags that are designer but the rest of my collection is comprised of bags that cost $50 or less! Trends I'm loving are cross body for day and evening, 80's inspired shapes like the drawstring and oversized clutches are my fave!!
SP: Which celebrities would you love to style and why?
LV: Cameron Diaz because she's fearless and has an amazing body to dress, Nicole Richie because I love her eclectic style and she's petite like me, and January Jones because she's so fresh and new on the fashion/celeb scene but has incredible potential!
SP: Where are your favorite places to shop?
LV: Zara, Forever 21 (it's my mecca and I visit at least 3x per week!), H&M, Cherry Hill Thrift Center, Barney's Shoe Floor, Madewell, Ebay, Lulus.com, Target.
SP: What tips do you have for women who want star style on a budget?
LV: Make a list of your celeb style icons and watch what they're wearing. If you keep a close eye on their fashion choices you'll start to see a few common threads (colors, textures, cuts, styles, etc) and those are the items you purchase at budget friendly stores like Forever 21 and H&M. These items are their "signatures" and by incorporating them into the clothes you already own, you won't have to buy a whole new wardrobe to get their star style! Oh and for the best in celeb looks for less, go to my blog!!
SP: What are three fashion accessories every woman should own?
LV: An amazing pair of nude pumps (4" at least and your legs will look a mile long), a big, chunky statement necklace and tons and tons bangles that can be layered together!
LV: Use belts to accent your waist...especially in the Fall/Winter when you're layering! Understand proportions and how they relate to your body...shortening a skirt by one inch or sending your blazer to a tailor to be taken in can make you look 2 sizes smaller!
SP: What products are staples in your makeup bag?
LV: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Tarte Creme Blush, NARS Catfight Lipstick, CoverGirl LashBlast and I've never met a lipgloss I didn't like!
For more style tips and tweets, follow Lilliana on Better Philly and Twitter.