Vacation Lookbook: Summer In SoCal 2017 + Shopping Tips! (Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Designer)

Fashion was not something I was always into. Having a curvier & tricky body to dress (hello big boobs!) means I often wore baggy sweatshirts & sweatpants. Rarely did I ever dress up & this can be attributed to the fact that I often felt self-conscious about my body. However, over the past few months, I've not only come to accept my body, but truly love it. Naturally, this meant I started dressing up more! Now, I've become as passionate about fashion as I am about beauty!

Last month, I traveled to Southern California to attend my sister's college graduation. I thought it would be fun to share the outfits I wore to look chic without melting in the heat!

I would describe my style as classy, sophisticated, & timeless. I like to incorporate trends without seeming trendy if that makes sense. I'm quite modest by nature, so showing too much skin doesn't make me very comfortable.

 Day 1: At the airport, exploring Irvine, checking into the hotel 
(DoubleTree by Hilton at the Spectrum)
Hat: Vince Camuto,  Nordstrom Rack
Cardigan: Marshalls
Top: Vince Camuto, Nordstrom Rack
Wrap Skirt: RBX, TJ Maxx
Sandals: Merona, Target

Day 2: Exploring downtown LA
Top: Vince Camuto, Nordstrom Rack
Leggingings: Francesca's
Flats: Morena, Target

Day 3: Parents arrive, shifting to another hotel closer to UCR
(Hyatt, Downtown Riverside)
Top: Vince Camuto, Nordstrom Rack
Leggings: Francesca's
Flats: Morena, Target

Day 3: Graduation day, outdoor event
Hat: Vince Camuto, Nordstrom Rack
Top: Kenari, Marshall's
Jeans: Vera Wang, Kohl's
Sandals: Morena, Target

Day 4: Heading home
Hat: Vince Camuto, Nordstrom Rack
Top: Vera Wang, Kohl's
Jeans: Vera Wang, Kohl's
Sandals: Morena, Target

In total, I wore:
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 1 hat
  • 4 tops 

The idea is to stick to bottoms, shoes, & accessories that can be re-worn over multiple days. For jewelry, I kept a simple pair of diamond studs. I only rotated the tops & some days wore a hat with my hair down to keep it fresh. Now, I'll share with you how I shop for cruelty-free, vegan, designer clothes at a fraction of the cost!

Shopping Tips!

First off, I just want to clarify that as with all other aspects of my life, I prefer to support vegan companies above all else. But to be honest, it can be hard to find vegan-only designers in mainstream shops or even online. Since I work in a very professional setting, wearing clothes that keep me looking stylish, but still conservative are a MUST. But, I also can't spend too much on most of my work-appropriate clothes since I work with kids - they are likely to get ruined.

So, here's my approach: I view designers that use fur, down, & exotic skins on par with beauty companies that test on animals - there is no way I'm supporting them (I realize I have a post on Michael Kors bags, but that was before I learned he used fur). Brands that do not use fur or exotic skins, but may use other animal skins such as leather, silk, or wool are slightly better - on par with companies that don't test, but have a parent company that do. If I don't have a vegan-only brand that I can support (since most have a more hippie style & that's not my vibe), then I will purchase from them. 

I also almost never pay retail price! I love designer clothing, but I'm not about to throw down an entire paycheck on one top! I prefer to shop at outlets & during sales. 

Finally, I just want to add that I do love to support vegan apparel brands that have animal-friendly statements. I'll share the ones I like below. I love to wear a statement tee with a blazer or cool jacket with a pair of jeans, heels or sandals, & a hot vegan handbag. Casual badass activist ladyboss at its best!

Shops & Brands I Love

  • Kohl's: I like to get vegan-friendly shoes, jeans, & seasonal clothes. My favorite designers are Lauren Conrad, Vera Wang, & my husband loves the Marc Anthony line.
  • Marshall's/Nordstrom Rack/TJ Maxx: This is where the majority of my work clothes come from. I like to get tailored designer pieces for a reasonable price to wear to work. Because I tend to spend less than $30 on a single item, if it eventually gets ruined I don't feel so bad. I tend to get mostly skirts, tops, & dresses. My favorite designers that I usually purchase from are:
    • Ann Taylor
    • Ann Klein
    • Calvin Klein
    • Ralph Lauren (My husband swears by their super-soft polos)
    • Eileen Fisher
    • Ted Baker
    • Guess
    • Hugo Boss (My husband loves this brand)
    • John Varvatos (My husband is a huge fan)
    • Kenneth Cole
    • Jessica Simpson
    • Urban Expressions
    • Betsey Johnson
  • H&M/Zara: I especially love to shop these places for basics & the occasional "trendy" top. But I love their more streamlined, tailored offerings. I also love to shop their cruelty-free bags & shoes. Not to mention H&M has released an eco-friendly line that I'm living for! I mostly come here during their sales.
  • Outlets: These are a great way to get designer clothes at a fraction of the price! I'm fortunate to live where there are many popular outlet malls! The ones I frequent the most are (I may also find outlets for the above designers & I like to shop there as well - I just don't want to repeat myself):
    • J. Crew
    • Banana Republic
    • Abercrombie & Fitch
    • Aldo
    • Gap
    • New York & Company
    • Nine West
    • Saks 5th Ave Off Fifth
    • Tommy Hilfiger
    • Armani
  • Stand-Alone Shops & Boutiques (when they have sales)
    • Urban Outfitters
    • Free People (they are more boho-inspired, but I do like that style as well. I just like to class it up)
    • Steve Madden
    • Splendid
    • Express
    • Madewell
    • Ella Moss
    • Alice + Olivia
    • Nasty Gal
    • Pixie Mood
    • Anthropologie
    • Bayou With Love
  • Basics:
    • Pact Organics
    • Prana
    • Toms
  • Online Boutiques:
    • Asos
    • Net-A-Porter
  • Animal Activist Apparel:
    • Meaningful Paws
    • Herbivore Clothing Company
    • Compassion Co.
    • PETA Catalog
    • Viva La Riva
    • Happy Healthy Vegan
    • Into The Soulshine
    • Various sancturaries/animal rights organizations
  • Coveted Luxury Designers (on my wishlist)
    • Stella McCartney
    • Delikate Rayne
    • Matt & Nat
    • Angela Roi
    • Charlotte Ronson
    • Vaute Couture
    • Brave Gentleman
    • Beyond Skin
    • Cri De Couer
    • Gunas
    • Jill Milan
    • Mink
    • OlsenHaus
    • Bourgeois Boheme
    • Alexandra K.
    • Freedom Of Animals
    • Denise Roobol
    • 88
    • LaBante London
    • Hipsters For Sisters
    • Ethique 22
    • Mary Point
    • Nella Bella
    • Novacas
    • Neuaura 
    • Deux Lux
    • Cornelia Guest
As you can see, it's beyond easy to find quality, high-end, luxury cruelty-free & vegan fashion! If you enjoyed this post & would like to see more fashion posts, please let me know! I hope these tips inspired you to ditch the animal skins & wear cruelty-free fashions!

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