The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Yea or Nay: Betsey Johnson

Step inside any major department store (or even any off-price retailer) these days, and you can't help but notice the plethora of bejeweled, brightly colored and otherwise blinged out Betsey Johnson or Betseyville brand products. From handbags sewn from boldly patterned fabrics, or animal prints, splashed with hot pink details and adorned with shiny metallic trinkets, to heavy metal and rhinestone necklaces, bracelets, and earrings dripping with gems and charms, the Betsey Johnson label seems to have exploded in recent months—and it's edgy, cute, rock 'n' roll vibe is attracting throngs of followers.

Or is it? Well, I happen to know at least one Betsey addict who seeks out her duds on sale at places like Lord and Taylor or Bloomingdales. If you're patient, shop often, and get coupons to department stores, she says, you can score a $100 Betsey Johnson necklace for as little as $20. Sometimes even less. If you're willing to sift through racks at TJ Maxx, you can get a leather Betsey Johnson purse, perhaps something with studs and gold cherries hanging from the hardware, marked down from $249 to $49 on clearance. So while this isn't a budget brand, there's so much of it right now that you can wait and get it at a discounted price.

I can't deny the lure of the Betsey brand. I love the designer herself and her wild-child attitude. The costume jewelry is a little to over-the-top for my personal style, but I can certainly see it's appeal. A lot of it is very creative, inventive, and it seems like no two pieces are alike. If you have a young fashionable woman on your holiday gift list, chances are she's pining for some Betsey Johnson. My only fear is that BJ will oversaturate the market and go the way of Juicy, which is becoming less and less "cool" these days. So it's a definite "yea" for design and other girls who can rock this look—but a prudent "nay" when it comes to incorporating this look into my personal wardrobe.

Betsey Johnson: Yea or Nay?

Patricia Field for Payless Fall 08 Collection

I checked out the Patricia Field for Payless Fall/Winter 2008-09 Collection, which includes a gladiator platform sandal, a modern/medieval ankle boot, a tall fringe boot, an over-the-knee suede boot, and an oversized black handbag. I call these "wear when it's dark" shoes because the poor quality in terms of construction was visibly noticeable from afar in the daylight hours. But if you wore them to a club, no one would know they cost you less than $60. However, the prices--even on sale--are a little steep for Payless. And the staggering 4.75-inch heels on these things prevented me from trying them on, so I can't attest to the comfort factor. Shop most of the collection here. And get more real-life pics after the jump...

More Rogan Gregory for Target

As if the first line wasn't bad enough (to quote a Budget Babe reader, it was like "1980s K-Mart"), Rogan Gregory will be returning to Target to create a second budget clothing line. On a positive note, the collection will be mostly organic—as was the first—and you'll be able to pick it up on April 19, just in time for Earth Day.

[Above: Looks from the first Rogan Gregory for Target collection]

Cold Weather Essentials

It seemed like we had been happily cruising through the fall accompanied by mostly mild weather, but yesterday it got COLD, and let me tell you, when the temperatures drop, you feel that freezing New England chill in every fiber of your being. But it doesn't have to be that way: With the right cold weather accessories, you can stay warm and look stylish during the long winter months. Grab a cup of hot tea and read on for some budget-wise ways to winterize your wardrobe.

[Above: Fingerless gloves keep my wrists and hands warm while I type. I practically live in mine all winter long, which is why I'm lusting after these cashmere gloves from Nordstrom ($48). They'd also make a great gift, hint hint!]