Scoop Blogger Kathleen Murillo's Stealth Shopping Tactics

Looking good shouldn't be hard work. It should be fun, right? Look at the lovely, always-on-point Kathleen Murillo. As a Berkeley Psych grad and freshly-minted member of the workforce, the blogger behind the engrossing Inspirafashion has mastered her youthful, sophisticated Cali-girl look, smiling all the while. How does she do it so effortlessly without breaking the bank? Well — confession time here — her go-to resource for on-trend must-haves isn't the web, a consignment shop, or some magical super-secret boutique to which only bloggers have the key. It's T.J.Maxx, and this lady truly knows how to shop it. Because she's such a sweetheart, she offered to take us on a tour of her local store and teach us how she makes the most of its killer deals. Read on for retail strategies and of-the-moment seasonal picks from one very smart shopper.
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Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux; Hair and Makeup by Katie Nash
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“I tend to rock an effortless laid-back, California style and just love mixing together edgy and girly pieces. Now, if I had it my way, I’d just charge up some Christian Louboutin heels, Isabel Marant jeans, and a Chanel 2.55 purse. But I’m constantly on a budget, so finding those kind of unique, stylish pieces at good prices, is crucial. That's why I actually have fun hitting T.J.Maxx, and have become a bit of an expert in how they do things. Let me show you.”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux; Hair and Makeup by Katie Nash
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“Whenever you hit T.J.Maxx, browse the main aisle first — it’s the best place to get an idea of the new on-trend stuff that's going to be in every department. After that, I usually hit accessories. I'm heavy into all the beautiful shoes, jewelry, and its collection of designer handbags at great prices. Personally, I draw inspiration from street-style, magazines, and Pinterest (I pin for days). My ultimate style icons include Nicole Richie, Kate Bosworth, Miranda Kerr, and Olivia Palermo — people who really know how to accessorize a simple look, so this is my favorite section.”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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"If you only have, like, 20 minutes to spare, you can totally get a quick update to your look in accessories. I mean, look at this beautiful gemstone bib necklace I found! Bags, shoes, and jewelry — the essential things in a shopaholic’s life, right? I guess I’m an accessory fanatic.”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“After that, I always hit the feature racks — lots of fresh merchandise and on-trend pieces there. It’s great for finding must-have items in a snap. I discovered this lovely black blazer with a blue bottom, a fun play on colorblocking, which was big in spring and works in fall if you stick with deeper colors and earth tones (colored denim is great for this!).”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“I work in a corporate office and we have to look very polished, so I find it a little bit difficult when I want to go out with friends right after. So, I thought I’d try to build a transitional ensemble. For building a look, take a dive into the ladies apparel section — which is great to browse because it’s divided by categories (denim, sweaters, and so on). I wanted something that picked up on the fall peplum trend, so I hit the appropriate racks and found this rich orange-colored top. Its flowy shape and feather cut-out details around the collar were too lovely to pass up. The whole section is full of designer items perfect for a season just like this.”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“I paired off my two picks with some boyfriend-style, distressed denim jeans (also easily found), and kept it classy with these blue leopard-print heels — a real favorite. I’ve recently become obsessed with leopard, so finding them in this unexpected blue color, made them even more fun and intriguing. Being able to mix office clothes (the blazer) and casual items (the jeans and statement leopard heels) shows I’m able to balance both work and play in one outfit. What do you think?”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“I was wowed by these sequin shorts — so vibrant and unique. You really don’t come across a pair like these in a fun sequin fabric that often. They inspired me to whip up a classic girls' night-out look with a button-up top and some platform strappy heels right there in the aisle.”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“On top of pieces from designers I love, I found something even better — this great neutral-and-black dress in ladies apparel! It’s perfect for matching up with this season's big animal-print trend. A little shopping advice: Before you hit T.J.Maxx, take a mental picture of what you already have in your wardrobe, so you know what you have, what you don’t have, and what you can update. It’s the best way to enrich your closet!”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“For my last look of the day, I incorporated that blazer into a sweet, mod look by wearing it over a polka-dot dress and these oxfords that I picked up along the way. For an extra pop of color, I cinched in everything with this chic, red belt. The accessories section really helped to pull together this outfit. I’m very artistic at heart — I love to draw people and landscapes — and I think my picks reflected that through colorblocking and the mixing of prints. Looking at this outfit, I can see my creative side shining through.”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux
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“Mission accomplished. With all the designer pieces, wardrobe staples, and gorgeous fall must-haves I saw, I’m excited to come back again (and because they get multiple shipments every week, I know I’ll find something completely different). Oh, and nothing hurt my wallet!”

Photographed by Molly Decoudreaux; Hair and Makeup by Katie Nash
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