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I have something to share with you guys today: I love a good challenge.  So when Marshalls asked me to participate in a fashion challenge (adding 'fashion' to a challenge automatically makes it even better), I didn't hesitate.  I was instructed to head to my nearest Marshalls store and shop for a head-to-toe look incorporating a top fall 2012 fashion trend.  I was given three trend categories to choose from: color, print, or 'ladylike with an edge.'  There was one other guideline as well: make sure that the entire outfit totals around $100 or less.  Finding a head-to-toe outfit for $100 is kind of a feat in itself, but finding one that is also stylish and on trend seemed almost impossible (and admittedly made me a little nervous).  I decided to go into it without a plan, try on a whole bunch of stuff, and hope that I could somehow bring it all together. 

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I'd actually never been shopping at Marshalls before and didn't know what to expect.  The first thing I noticed was that they had a really (really) large selection of different pieces.  It felt a little bit like thrifting; it was fun to dig and treasure hunt.  I was also surprised at how many items I came across that were from high-end designers and/or clearly high quality.  Avoiding fast fashion (cheap, overly trendy clothing that falls apart) is something I strive for, and this little shopping spree was probably one of the first experiences I've had where I found a lot of very well-made garments for very low prices.  Marshalls had mentioned to me that their buyers are their 'secret ingredient' (that they literally travel the world searching for the best deals on stylish clothing and accessories), and I knew exactly what they meant when I headed into the dressing room with about two dozen items.

I ended up deciding to focus on color for my trend.  I absolutely loved the pops of mustard yellows and muted hot pinks on the fall 2012 runways this spring, especially when paired with dark greys.  Pantone even had three of these color hues in their fall 2012 fashion report (honey gold, pink flambe, and titanium).  I ended up discovering a really great pair of mustard jeans, a gorgeous over-sized hooded sweater in dark grey, and some super cute Steve Madden flats in bright pink.

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Finding pieces in these color hues was my main objective, but I also wanted to incorporate some other fall  trends. Colored jeans are still really big this season, as are brightly colored ballet flats and flats with embellished toes.  Lucky for me, between the mustard denim pants and pink shoes, those trends were already covered.  Chambray is also one of my absolute favorite 'big things' right now because it's so versatile and timeless, and I was really excited to stumble upon a very well-tailored chambray button-up top.  Another of my favorite current trends is tribal prints, and I fell instantly in love with a big, gauzy grey and white Aztec print scarf.  The scarf was the perfect find, because it added a little more neutral to a very bright look, added some print to a very solid outfit, and tied in the dark grey of the sweater. 

In the end, my entire outfit totaled $105. I was a tiny bit over budget, but I still successfully completely the challenge by staying around the $100 limit.  And I have to mention that this sweater is probably the most amazing find I've come across in the past few years as far as sweaters go.  I'm truly impressed by the quality and the knit work and the design itself, and I have a feeling that once the weather cools off, I'll be wearing it on a daily basis.  I'm also still a little bit in awe at the fact that it came with a $34 price tag.  I would expect to see it selling for $200+.  Pretty cool.

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Shirt, scarf, sweater, pants and shoes c/o Marshalls



Before I go, I have to say a huge thank you to Marshalls for asking me to participate in such a fun challenge.  I think I'm still a little shocked at the amount of goodies I was able to find for that amount of money!

I also have some good news for all of you...  You guys get to be a part of it too!  I'll be giving away a $100 Marshalls gift card to one lucky Bubby and Bean reader who will get to go on a fall shopping spree of their own!  Make sure to check back next week for this very special giveaway.

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