The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Site Spotlight:

The Seller: (part of the National Geographic Family) is an online, fair-trade marketplace based in Los Angeles, with sourcing and direct-shipping offices in seven developing nations.

The Goods: At any given time, Novica features more than 30,000 limited edition and one-of-a-kind handmade works of art, ranging from artisan-crafted jewelry to handmade apparel to
world-style home decor. Novica also recently launched an entire section devoted to handbags, where you'll find the perfect tote handbag for running errands to that one-of-a-kind leather handbag you've been searching for to take to the office.

The Cause: Launched in 1999, to date Novica has helped change the lives of 50,000 people in developing nations, including artisans and their dependents, uniquely helping each artisan earn personal recognition and real-world prices for their work.

The Cost: Most bags at Novica range in price from under $50 to about $200 (not bad compared to designer bags).

Here are 5 of my favorite handbags under $50:

Agel handbag, 'Blue Fantasy', $44.95. Woven by hand from agel grass, this nautical striped handbag says summer.

Alpaca wool shoulder bag, 'Andean Warmth,' $44.95. Rich colors and an on-trend "tribal" print make this bag a chic addition to any wardrobe.

Silk handbag, 'Silver Horizon', $44.95. A simple, classic silhouette makes this the perfect go-with-anything bag.

Cotton batik shoulder bag, 'Chocolate Bouquet', $49.95. Exotic floral patterns appear through hand-stamped batik in this shoulder bag from Bali.

Cotton handbag, 'Plum Abstractions', $22.95. This colorful tote from Thailand looks plucked from the MoMA giftshop, earning it some serious cool points.

The Look for Less: Guess "Maeve" Boots

GUESS at ShopStyle

These sexy "Maeve" boots by Guess have a take-no-prisoners attitude with their rugged sole, tough buckles and kick-ass heels. Take your pick of black ($185) or brown ($99.52) at

Charlotte Russe at ShopStyle

Get the look for less with these look-alike boots from Charlotte Russe constructed from faux-leather for just $34.99.

Neon Under $50 (Should I Even Go There?)

I've managed to resist the neon glare that's been going on in the fashion world for months now, but a few factors are beginning to wear me down: 1) Cupcakes & Cashmere makes neon nail polish look irresistible, 2) Target has an entire collection of neon rubber bracelets and plastic earrings that are a blast from my past and oddly tempting (couldn't find them online, but look for them in stores), and finally, 3) Real Style Real People's theory of fashion desensitization, which states the longer you're exposed to a fashion trend—no matter how heinous—the more likely you are to succumb to wearing it!

Slap me back into reality…or tell me you aren't starting to like a little touch of neon, too?

Ask BB: Cami-Bra Basics

I would like to wear a camisole but not a bra and camisole. A camisole with a bra attached would be good, but where do I buy one? What do you suggest I do? —Meena

Sounds like you're ready to test-drive a cami-bra, a modern marvel that fuses brassiere with camisole. Some of these so-called cami-bras have built-in shelf bras, which may or may not provide the support and coverage you need. Other cami-bras feature lightly padded, molded cups and/or underwire which provide full support and render a separate bra unnecessary.

Look for cami-bras in the lingerie department of your favorite store—Macy's, Kohls, Target, etc. Other great stores to check out include Nordstrom—their bra-fit-experts can help you find a supportive camisole, and the service is complimentary. If you have a larger bust, Panache makes a popular cami-bra in sizes up to a G cup (available at Banana Repubic makes some of the best camis that you can layer for work; Victoria's Secret offers one of the widest selections of cami-bras from basic white and black to pretty bra-tops with ruffle-details.

I've had luck with the cami-bras from Gap, Express and Target. Experiment until you find one that works for you—the reward will be a lighter, more comfortable way to layer, especially during the hot summer months.

Are you a fan of the cami-bra or do you prefer to layer a regular camisole over a bra?

Win Cool Stuff: 1-Year Subscription to All You Magazine

And the winner is #29 Emily! Congrats to our winner and thanks to everyone who participated! You all shared such great money-saving tips, I'll be referring back to this post often :-)

Please note: This contest has ended.

Win a 1-year subscription to ALL YOU, a magazine that features money-saving strategies, fashion ideas, easy-to-prepare recipes and more. All You is available at Wal-Mart stores nationwide and by subscription, as well as online at

To enter, tell us your favorite money-saving tip in the comments section below. Act fast, this whirlwind giveaway ends today, Monday July 27th, 2009, at 5pm EST! The winner will be announced shortly thereafter so check back...and good luck!

Be sure to use a valid email address and include info(at) in your address book so we can contact you if you're the winner. Email addresses will not be shared and will only be used to notify you if you're the winner for this giveaway. Comments must be posted by 5 pm ET on Monday July 27 to be eligible to win. One lucky winner will be chosen at random, and will be announced on Monday July 27. Giveaway is open to residents living in the continental United States only.