Lilliana Vazquez has made a career of mixing high-end items — say, her beloved nude Louis Vuitton pumps — with pieces from chains like T.J. Maxx and Forever 21.
She regularly shares her style tricks on the “Rachael Ray” show, the “Today” show, “Access Hollywood” and “E! News,” and she is the founder of the website the Cheap Chica's Guide to Style, where she shares budget-friendly but stylish outfits, online discount codes and links to name-brand pieces on super sale. This fall, she'll publish a book by the same name.
But first, Vazquez will visit Omaha to help celebrate the opening of the first Nebraska location of the clothing boutique Apricot Lane. Vazquez will be at the new store in One Pacific Place, 10341 Pacific St., on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. She will meet and pose for photos with fans and maybe offer some style tips, too. Those beloved Louis Vuitton pumps, for example? She paid retail for them back in 2006 but has had them resoled three times since, and she still wears them all the time.
“I've brought down the cost per wear to like 10 cents,” she said.
The World-Herald caught up with Vazquez, and she was more than happy to share a few other fashion secrets.
Q. When did you first realize you had a knack for putting an outfit together?
A. I think I've always loved fashion. When I was younger, both my parents worked, and my aunt was my primary caretaker during the day, and she was also an amazing seamstress. She'd take me with her to the fabric store, and I was always attracted to bold colors and bold styles. I was on a sewing machine when I was 5 years old, and she would teach me how to do needlepoint.
Q. How does your sewing background affect your choices when you're shopping?
A. I think for me a lot of it is seamwork. I wear my clothes a lot, and I'm a big believer in recycling certain looks that I love. To me, the way the seams are put together has to be done well.
Q. What about when you're shopping at discount retailers? How do you identify pieces that look higher quality and hold up better?
A. I'm really big on embellishment. It can make something look expensive; at the same time, it can make something look cheap. I love an exposed zipper, but how is its exposed? Is it fully exposed or is it tucked and exposed? I actually have a book coming out in November, and there's a whole section on decoding chic vs. cheap. I love blazers, and one thing I always love is operable buttons. It allows me to do so much more.
Q. How — and when — did you come to start a blog to share your shopping secrets?
A. I started blogging in 2008, and at the time I'd been in Philadelphia for about a year and a half. My husband is a die-hard Eagles fan, and on Sundays he basically leaves me. It was an October Sunday and I had spent that whole day emailing back and forth with my cousins. I've always taken a role as like a style adviser to my friends and my family, and I looked through (the email chain) and I thought, “This would have been a good blog post.” Even if it's just my 22 female cousins, there's a platform there.
Q. Do you have a current favorite bargain find?
A. Right now, I am obsessed with shoes, as all women are, but I think my obsession borders on insanity. I actually just got a pair of Chanel bright-coral patent peep-toe pumps. I bought them on eBay, and I think I spent $298, plus shipping.
Q. What's your No. 1 tip for someone new to budget shopping?
A. I think for budget shopping the key to is limit your expectations and manage your time. Don't think you're going to walk into H&M and walk out with an wardrobe. Start with your casual weekend clothes and say, “Hey, I want a great dress that I can wear out to dinner and style a couple of different ways,” and I think that will kind of set you up for success. And I think the patience is important. I never (shop) at the end of the day when I'm tired or frustrated. I try to do it on a weekday morning or really early in the morning on the weekends.