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Valentino-Inspired Floral Look

zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-3zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-8zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-11zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-5zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-7zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-6zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-10zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-9zara-two-piece-flora-embroidered-set-valentino-dupe-2Top: Zara (sold out, very similar here) // Skirt: Zara (sold out, similar here) // Boots: Chinese Laundry // Bag: New Look (old, similar here)// Necklace: Julie Vos // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO // Bracelet: Lily Dawson // Rings: BaubleBar and Rachel Zoe (sold out, similar here)

Botanical prints are everywhere right now, yes, but none were done quite so well as the embroidered versions found at the Valentino Pre-Fall 2015 show. The classically puritanical Valentino silhouettes and Botticelli-inspired embroidery have stayed with me ever since I saw them (aren’t they stunning?), and I knew it would only be a few seasons before this trend trickled down. And so, after a bout of uncharacteristic retail patience, I finally hunted down a fast-fashion approximation of the looks I pined for the year before—on sale, no less!

One day, maybe, after I’ve earned my way to a student loan-free life and a house with a library and a rolling ladder, I’ll be able to afford the real thing. But in the very likely chance that doesn’t happen, I think I’ll still be pretty darn happy with my two-piece Zara look. Although the floral print and short skirt hem smack of springtime cheer and sunnier weather, I couldn’t bear to keep this combo in my closet for long. Out came the tights and the over-the-knee boots to save the day and keep me warm enough to brave a beautiful Iowa City winter sunset.

Accessories, On the Cheapish

Brand New Boots

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Dress: Forever 21 (old, similar here) // Boots: Chinese Laundry // Bag: Deux Lux // Necklace: Forever 21 // Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs // Nail Polish: Julep

If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours wondering what your life would look like if you owned a pair of 5050 boots. The iconic over-the-knee boot is a perennial favorite of celebrities, bloggers and off-duty models alike. It’s also a bit of out of my price range. So I dedicated a good few weeks to hunting down the best alternative, taking into consideration value, quality and similarity to my dream pair.

What I found was actually much better that I was hoping for. At just under $100, these Chinese Laundry boots fulfill all of my requirements. Since I ordered them online, I was a little worried about the quality of the suede, but in person, I’m very happy with the suppleness and substance of it. With a low stacked heel, tall silhouette and slightly rounded toe, this boot really echoes the 5050 in every way. All in all, I’m extremely happy with this purchase and plan to wear them all winter long.