To say I have been a little absent from blogging is quite the understatement. This post is especially important to me because it is the end of almost a decade. For those of y’all who aren’t familiar with what I do for a living, I am a commercial wardrobe stylist. I style TV commercials, print ads, the occasional film and editorials. One of my very first big clients was Austin Woman Magazine. Before I had broken into the commercial styling realm, I was a starving artist trying to break into the styling scene in Austin.
I remember meeting the Austin Woman Magazine art director at an event at Neiman Marcus. Thankfully, she had remembered me from an email I had sent her about doing their editorial wardrobe styling. As it so happened, their wardrobe stylist was moving on to another job so they were looking for someone contract to fill her place. That was the beginning of my amazing 10+ year relationship with Austin Woman Magazine.
Pretty soon after I started styling for them they offered me my own fashion and style column. I was absolutely overjoyed and immediately accepted! This was all prior to having my blog and Instagram so I was definitely excited to share my styling tips with the Austin community! My Ask Ashley’s quickly turned solely into Splurge or Steal columns every quarter.
Splurge or Steal – Floral Maxi Dress:
Long story short, this is my last Ask Ashley/Splurge or Steal in Austin Woman Magazine. It is so bittersweet to see this chapter of my life come to an end. I am so happy I was able to be a part of the AWM family for so long! This definitely isn’t the end of my styling relationship with Austin Woman Magazine. I still get to work on some of the fashion editorial shoots when I’m not booked on a commercial job.
I had absolutely no idea that this would be my last Splurge or Steal when I was planning this shoot. I’m actually glad for that or I feel like the entire vibe of the shoot would have been tainted. Just knowing the fact that this would be my last shoot would have made me sad! And I needed all the energy I could muster up for this one!! It was a doozy!
Each and every Splurge or Steal always has their challenges. I actually don’t think I’ve had one of these columns go off without a hitch. It’s mainly because I am so OCD with how these look. Both the splurge and the steal have to be as identical as they possibly can with the biggest price point differences. It is so time consuming to think of a theme, a location and then each specific piece that will need to be in the shoot.
The April issue was probably the most difficult. We were running out of ideas but had come up with doing bright, rainbow colors. I quickly found out that wasn’t going to work. Not knowing what the theme was, I started mindlessly searching online for outfits at super high price points and then searching for similar, less expensive looks.
There was nothing. I was texting my friend Niki who is also the AWM creative director telling her there is absolutely nothing out there. I was at a loss and thought I would have to scratch the April column completely.
Floral Maxi Dress Splurge Outfit Details –
Dress – Oscar de la Renta // Handbag – Gucci // Shoes – Christian Louboutin
Hat – Eric Javits // Earrings – Sachin & Bobi // Sunglasses – Celine
I had come across the most beautiful Oscar de la Renta floral gown and knew I had to find something similar. Everything about this dress was exactly what I was looking for. It had a high price point, it was a dress I knew would fit me well and I figured it would be pretty easy to find something cheaper.
And again, there was nothing. I started my search on Poshmark. Maybe I could find something used that would still work that was similar. And ALAS! It’s as if the stars were aligning for me. I found the most beautiful red and white floral maxi dress on Poshmark. I noticed it was from a clothing store I work with frequently so I knew it would fit well.
Our scheduled shoot date was exactly one week away. I normally cut these pretty close and have to express mail everything. I placed my order on Poshmark and made a comment that I needed the dress pretty quickly. A couple days go by and the dress hadn’t been shipped out yet… Let the freak out commence.
Literally, freaking out because I had already spent the time and money ordering the Oscar de la Renta dress and all of the accessories that go with each look. Obviously, the cheaper dress HAD to work or I would have to completely start over. That wasn’t really an option at that point. Another day goes by and the Postmark dress still hasn’t been shipped.
Thankfully, it was from VICI so Grayson was like, why don’t you just email them and see if they have this dress. Being Debby Downer, I assured him the dress was so old and it was sold out online so there was no way they had one. I emailed them late on a Friday and within minutes I get the best response ever. Hey Doll! YES, we have that dress in a small. We’ll get it out to you so you’ll have it by tomorrow! PRAISE BE! It was all going to work out.
Floral Maxi Dress Steal Outfit Details –
Dress – VICI (Similar HERE and HERE / Use code DTKAUSTIN20 for 20% off your order!)
Handbag – Cleobella // Shoes – Treasure & Bond
Hat – Vitamin A // Earrings – Baublebar // Sunglasses – Amazon
As if anything else couldn’t go wrong, shoot day arrives. We found the most gorgeous, last minute location at Lake Austin Resort. We planned to shoot off the dock looking out into the lake. In my head it was going to be such a stunning, summery shot! Instead, it is the rainiest, windiest day in Austin.
I’m literally hiding in the hotel until right before we shoot. Each time I would run out there it would start pouring! Not to mention it was like a hurricane outside with the wind. I almost lost my “splurge” hat too! Overall, the photos came out pretty dang cute but we had the most hilarious outtakes. I think 8 out of 10 shots looked absolutely ridiculous because of the wind.
Thankfully, Grayson was there to help. I really don’t know what we would have done without him. He is never on these shoots so it was shocking he was actually available to come with me!
Overall, I am so happy with how this Splurge or Steal came out. After all of the struggles and frustrations thinking this column wouldn’t even happen; it all turned out amazing. The photos look gorgeous and the outfits worked out so perfectly! I mean, check out that price difference! Which look is your favorite?
Click HERE to see some of my past Splurge or Steal columns throughout the years.
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Awww girl I’m so sorry about this coming to an end with Ask Ashley/Splurge or Steal in AWM. You’ve done a fabulous job with these style of posts! I am glad VICI was able to pull through with that dress!
What an amazing journey for you! I’ve definitely enjoyed following along.
How bittersweet that this chapter of your life is coming to an end 🙁 I love seeing your splurge vs steals!
How 2 Wear It  http://how2wearit.com
I gotta admit I’m pretty sad your splurge or steal days are over after this. But what a banger to end on! Your story was nutty, and those dresses are beautiful!
It’s always sad to see one chapter close, but I do love discovering what comes next! All good things headed your way!
I always love these posts and am sad it’s the last one! I can’t wait to see what’s next for you though!
Sorry to see this coming to an end especially because you did such a great job with it. Love the pictures. They came out great.
So sad it’s your last splurge or steal, though I can understand how hard it must be to try and find identical pieces. Honestly you did a great job with your steal dress, but I don’t think anything could compare to the beauty and delicate print of the Oscar de la renta dress.
Chic on the Cheap
What a great Splurge or Steal post to be your last! I’m sorry this chapter is closing but I’m so excited to see what’s next for you. PS these photos are AMAZING and I am obsessed with both these looks. You did an incredible job styling them!
That Save dress is absolutely stunning! Congratulations on a beautiful journey!
THE perfect maxi dress! Love the print!