I have four staples when I am looking for a specific item, or just anything new and exciting.
For starters, Nordstrom has all the nice things you want, plus some cheaper cute trendy pieces (in their junior/BP section). I usually spend more here just because of their higher quality merchandise. But as my super smart husband has taught me, it really is better to spend more for the quality (in most cases).
I absolutely DIE at J. Crew every single time. The main reason I like J.Crew is simply because they have my style/taste. They are very preppy/classy, as I would call it. Their prices are similar to Nordstrom but totally worth it. And their accessories are always wonderful.
I go to H&M and Forever 21 for the same reasons...to find a cheap trendy piece or for staples like tank tops/t-shirts. I figure, if it's only going to be in style for this season, maybe a couple more, why fork out the cash?? I learned this the hard way, unfortunately. I bought a pair of True Religion jeans (over $300), bejeweled pockets, thick stitching, faded wash, the whole she-bang. I have maybe worn them 7 times and I think they are so ugly now. (Only had them 1.5 years!)
My two favorite blogs to follow are The Daybook and Pink Peonies, and are where I get some of my inspiration. I also have a subscription to InStyle Magazines where I find cute ideas. I am not a big reader, but every now and then I get a fashion book like Lauren Conrad's Style and Victoria Beckham's That Extra Half an Inch. Another go to for ideas is, naturally, Pinterest! Then, of course, there is just every day life where something stands out to me and I want to try it! Or I pull one item of clothing out of my closet and make some crazy concoction while still being cute. Sometimes I epically fail. BUT, the important thing is I wore it with confidence. If you want to try something different or a little out of your comfort zone, do it! Just slap on that smile and hold your head high because true style involves some creativity.
Outfits I've put together soon to come...