The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Back-to-School Bags Under $30: Forever 21

Forever 21 at ShopStyle

I know that some people like to malign Forever 21 for their "fall apart" fashions, but all the bags I've ever purchased from the fast-fashion chain have garnered dozens of compliments and they've held up really, really well. As in, I've never had a single problem with any of the half-dozen or so bags, totes or clutches that I've purchased from the store over the years. For example, I still use this black convertible bag at least weekly (it was in my daily rotation for a year but a girl's gotta mix things up), and the zippers still function perfectly, there are no loose threads, and the pleather has held up really well, no scuffs and you can just wipe it clean. So with that in mind, if you don't have a lot of cash to drop on a new handbag this season, consider purchasing one from Forever 21. And here's some more food for thought: Just because something costs $30 doesn't mean it's disposable. There's nothing on the tag that says you can't enjoy your budget purchases for years to come!

Back-to-School Bags Under $70: Urban Expressions

Urban Expressions at ShopStyle

If you're looking for a roomy, comfy, affordable handbag for back-to-school with an "It" bag vibe, Urban Expressions is a brand you should know. You can find this Los Angeles-based company's stylish, modern collection of handbags and clutches at stores like DSW as well as online at, and Urban Expressions has been featured in People StyleWatch, Life and Style, Cosmo and O, The Oprah Magazine, so you might be familiar with some of their designs already! Most bags are priced under $50 at Baghaus, and under $70 at DSW, but as always, look for sales and sign up for the DSW rewards club (if you aren't already a member).

LC Lauren Conrad for Kohls in Shape Magazine

LC Lauren Conrad for Kohls in Shape Magazine

We finally have a first look at Lauren Conrad's new fashion collection for Kohl's, LC Lauren Conrad, thanks to the September 2009 issue of Shape magazine and blogger Hills Freak (, who took the time to scan in the following spreads for your viewing pleasure! (Thank you, Hills Freak!!) I see a lot of potential here. Nothing ground-breaking, but I think I could make many of these pieces my own, like the purple ruffle top and the strapless LBD. The line launches in October and will be priced from $20 to $60. Click any thumbnail to enlarge for a better view and as always, let me know what YOU think in the comments!

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Trend Alert: Blu Moose Doona Boots

From the country that brought you Uggs comes the next must-have footwear craze: The Blu Moose doona boot! ("Doona" is Australian slang for quilt or blanket.) Based on a Swedish concept called the "dun sockar", Blu Moose slippers are like duvets for your feet. Who needs Louboutins when you can get cozy feather-and-down construction, adjustable ankle straps, and a quirky moose print?

Choose from either the wear-at-home down slipper, the slipper boot with a newly-introduced EVA sole you can wear outdoors, or a comfy suede-sole ballet slipper, ranging in price from $29.95 AUD (about $25 U.S.) for the ballet slipper to $49.95 (about $42 U.S. dollars) for the boots. And for a limited time, buy one pair and get the second pair half-off (plus overseas shipping; see site for details).

I'll stick to my Uggs for trudging through snow and ice but my tootsies wouldn't mind having a pair of Blu Moose slippers to keep them warm around the house. And the kiddie styles are undeniably cute. What do you think, are Blu Moose boots calling your name?