I am obsessed. I’ve been daydreaming about it. The perfect bright yellow tee, at the perfect affordable price.

Let’s be real here — money is tight and times are hard. I wish I had $500 to just blow on the hot new trends, but I don’t. Not if I want to pay for gas and bills and all of the not-so-fun necessities of life. So I am allowing myself a few spring/summer staples, and to follow up on my adapted Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style List, I need to look fly on a budget. Some of you might recall, I recently ordered some items from Kiyonna — a dress for a wedding, and a pair of shorts. The shorts weren’t gonna cut it. Too tight, didn’t look cute… still looking for the perfect summer shorts, and I strongly suspect I won’t find them online. This needs to be a try-on-in-store purchase. But the dress fit like a charm, and was quite flattering once I jazzed it up with jewelry — I splurged on a gorgeous aquamarine lariat necklace from Innasense Gems, a store in the east village (I think). The price was right and the jewelry is gorgeous, but methinks their website is broken. Does it load up properly for you? Probably not. If you’re wandering through the village anywhere near Christopher and Bleecker, stop by — you’re in the neighborhood. And their stuff is amazing, I seriously wanted to buy everything.

Back to my full figured fashion review — overall, the Kiyonna experience was favorable… watch yourself if you tend to linger before sending back an item, they won’t accept a return if it’s been a month since the date of purchase. But here’s my real beef with Kiyonna. Their designs are simple and flattering, but I think the prices are inflated. Feel free to jump in and correct me, if I’m wrong. The Hamptons Surplice Tee is exactly what I’m looking for, but it’s $56! Which is more than enough to make me question whether or not I really need it. (answer — I don’t.) I’d look divine in this yellow top, but you know what else I’d look divine in? A plane, on the way to Paris. Or a house of my own. Or a car that’s been completely paid for. I’m trying to be thrifty here, and blowing $60 for a cute teeshirt isn’t the way forward.

So I planned to compromise with my fashion sense by getting this cotton/Modal smocked tank top from Old Navy. It’s $15 on sale, and I can work it with a cute cardigan over it for work. Then one of my favorite style bloggers, Sylvia of I Like Her Style, recently highlighted plus-size destination Size Appeal, and most specifically, this adorable Alice in Yellow top for $29. Light fabric, breezy v-neck design… I like it! And it’s extremely similar to the Kiyonna shirt, for half the price. Ladies, Size Appeal definitely has cute, summery clothes at an array of prices. Well worth checking out. Have any of you ordered from them? Was the experience worthwhile? Please let me know.

For now, I already found MY perfect yellow shirt — it’s sunshine bright, soft jersey, short sleeves, square neckline with has some ruching at the front bustline that looked weird on the rack but was extremely flattering on me. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of it yet – I just got it this week, and I can’t even find a website by the designer! But just so my plus size bellas can be on the lookout, I keep finding these super cute, very flattering tees by Derek Heart designs — here’s a link to some other tops by this designer on Overstock, Amazon, and on Kohl’s. All I know is, Derek Heart is apparently a juniors plus size designer whose garments eventually get sold in discount fashion stores like Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, and Ross, which is where I found my perfect yellow shirt. For less than $10!!! Love that. I’ve had more than a few amigas clown on me for my regular Ross shopping sprees, but you know what — I keep going back because I always find cute, affordable tops there. And they just expanded their women’s plus department. No shame in my cheap shopping game.

Have you been on a fashion mission lately? What have you been searching for, bella? Tell me!

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Styleis20/20 says:
May 9, 2008, 10:16 am
I love it ... Yellow is so sexy againt Brown Silky Smooth Skin. And it's a Happy Color!
Wes says:
May 9, 2008, 10:43 am
Sometimes I feel like I need so many things that when I DO actually have a lil' spending money and start to hit the stores I get soooo overwhelmed!!! I feel like I don't know where to start; whether it be with shoes or tops or bottoms!!!
Nerd Girl says:
May 9, 2008, 10:55 am
I need cute work tops for the summer. I'm good on pants, but all the shirts and blouses seem very, very trendy - big prints, self-belts, etc. I definitely can't afford to replace my clothes each season, and am having a tough time finding work appropriate tops that won't look terribly passe this time next year.
bella says:
May 9, 2008, 11:03 am
Exactly, Nerd Girl -- I used to be so drawn to busy patterns and big prints and they do eventually look dated... which is why I'm going with bold basics. I can wear my own oversize belt over the shirt, if it fits well and is long enough. I love yellow enough to wear it all the time, whether it's "hot" or not.
Shones says:
May 9, 2008, 11:41 am
I would love a high-waisted pencil skirt. I think I lack structure in my wardrobe and lately I'm finding things with a little more shape built-in garner the most compliments. I soooo feel you on the Ross-spree, Bella. You can find tops there for $10 or less on the regular. Also, at my local Ross, lately they've had lots of Mexx gear, i guess because all of Mexx's American stores recently closed. Love the detailing... wish I had gone to that store when I was livin in NYC years ago! I'm also on the hunt for some kitten-heel raspberry shoes. The prowl continues.
TX Girl says:
May 9, 2008, 12:07 pm
Wow we're thinking alike. I bought a yellow top about 2 weeks ago. I haven't worn this color since High School. It was a banana yellow silk blouse for senior photo. I'm glad they brought it back. Loved your blog, thanks for keeping us updated and upgraded.
TX Girl says:
May 9, 2008, 12:12 pm
Oh yes...Trust. Ross is the truth! Happy Shopping.
Angel says:
May 9, 2008, 1:00 pm
I absolutely love shopping at Ross. They are such a great bargain. I always come out with huge bags and that's something being that I'm the girl who doesn't like to shop. My current mission is to find 1-3 suits for interviewing and work. Now that I'm graduating college and trying to become a young professional my wardrobe needs some updating. My current suit makes me look about 45, sad considering I'm only 21. So that's my fashion mission, a tailored suit in a nice colour that makes me look fab.
AJ says:
May 9, 2008, 1:03 pm
I ordered a suit from Size Appeal way back in 2003, and when I returned it by mail they claimed they never got it. I lost $50 and my suit (which is a lot to a college sophomore).I really want to go back and look around, and that shirt is so cute. I'm going to try, Bella, I really am. I just still feel that heartache of losing $50 and clothes!
tip says:
May 9, 2008, 1:11 pm
Maxi dresses! I got two of them, one from old navy and the other from wet seal. Then I found an old one, I bought three years ago from The Gap and only wore once or twice. Also I want a yellow clutch and a straw or woven clutch. I also need to some new heels in my life, I just haven't been inspired by anything I have seen. In the summer, I go crazy for sandals, scarfs(to tie around my head), and sunglasses. I'm always on the hunt for new and interesting peices of costume jewelry. I guess that's why my friends call me the accessories queen.
The Frugalista Files says:
May 9, 2008, 2:22 pm
I went to dinner in downtown Miami last night and saw two girls with bright yellow shirts and I was so ENVIOUS. I AM GETTING ONE. They are super cute. synergy!
BlackHoney says:
May 9, 2008, 4:09 pm
Angel May I recommend you look for suits from stores like Banana Republic, H & M or The Limited (maybe even Express). Their suits have more modern cuts. I'm not as young as you but suits from stores like Ann Taylor, JC Penny's, Petite Sophisticate and Talbots make me look matronly. Maybe it's because I have narrow hips and the suits (especially the pants) are cut for women who have more curves. Even with tailoring, they just don't work. As for my summer quest, I searching for perfect white jeans.
Miss Maxine says:
May 9, 2008, 6:06 pm
I'm in search of nice flip flops for the summer, new head wraps, and a nice summer bag. I really need to re-do my whole wardrobe but I don't have the $$ for all that ... I know I'll likely hit up Old Navy for the flip flops and the bag, but where could I find nice head scarves/head wraps?
bella says:
May 10, 2008, 10:38 am
AJ -- that is NOT COOL! I'm gonna have to call Kiyonna to make sure they got my returned item. And tip -- Old Navy has gorgeous dresses, too! I love this one in black -- http://www.oldnavy.com/browse/product.do?cid=40860&pid=561201&scid=561201012
pets says:
May 10, 2008, 12:33 pm
Yellow! Love that colour! Can be teamed up with white, khaki and of course jeans. I have 3 new ones - one has whilte polka dots & a grosgrain ribbon tie and I wear it to work, one was for Carnival (In Joy Clothing of USA)and the other was a birthday present (Westport brand with satin on the collar & facings). I even bought some lovely yellow glass earrings that go well with all 3. I like the styles you chose too.
Melissa says:
May 10, 2008, 9:37 pm
HAH! How funny is that, you know my secret! Im in Ross entirely too much but the truth is with CUTE tops aplenty for $6.99 I can't help it, also check out the "cute-tee energie" tops in the plus dept. I got this one ( http://www.overstock.com/Clothing/Energie-Plus-Size-V-Neck-Baby-Doll/3114430/product.html? ) shown on overstock for $15.99 at ROSS for $5.99 HEY NOW!
warrior11209 says:
May 11, 2008, 6:45 pm
Bella , my mission this summer is to find a nice pair of comfortable sandals in any color other than black or brown. Thanks for the lead on the Old Navy yellow tee - I just ordered one for my daughter!
Kwana says:
May 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
I refused to spend alot on a pair of skinny colored jeans so I found a pair that fit like a dream for 20 bucks at JC Penny LOL a girlfriend told me about their Chip and Pepper line for teens altho I"ll never see those years again, I rocks a size 5 in that dept. I got a super cute tee from urban outfitters to go with for 30 bucks and voila cheap and chic:-) Folk with style can shop almost anywhere and make it look like a million bucks!!!!
Georgia's Angels says:
May 15, 2008, 2:02 pm
Just thought i'd give you ladies a laugh, i'm 59 years old and in 1962 a blouse almost the same as this one cam out called the Angel Blouse. I bought the blouse to wear the first day of school, my mother would not let me wear it she had a fit said it looke like a maternity blouse. Wow have times changed. I think i'll buy this blouse i'm in charge now.lol
Mezzo_Soprano says:
May 17, 2008, 10:44 pm
I have hit the Bargain Lottery ladies. I went to Marshall's and bought 2 Calphalon sautee pans for CHEAP. I got a 5 quart, which retails for 239.99 in Macy's for $59.99. I also bought a 3 quart for 49.99. I was so excited I almost shed a tear. :) I have decided to boycott Old Navy now that they do not carry Plus Sizes in the store. We have been relegated to ordering online and paying shipping. I don't care if shipping is $5, I don't think it is fair to not be able to try clothes on. I wish more plus sized women would write to them to voice your concern about this. Actually they carry up to a size 20 in the store, but larger than that you have to have your clothes shipped. I like trying my clothes on.


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