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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