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Excuse Me. Are Those Shoes Prada?


(For the record – Victoria is NOT the person I am talking about in this post!!) ๐Ÿ™‚

Sorry for the poor quality picture – but it was the only one I had that showed off the shoes I wore to the Wonka Party at Dylan’s Candy Bar from earlier this week.ย  At some point in the evening, I met a few good people who worked in the fashion industry. One of them asked me if my shoes were Prada.

And I said… no. Because nothing I own is Prada or any other mega designer brand for that matter. I told the girl the shoes were actually $29 DSW heels and she couldn’t believe it. We then got to talking and everyone in the group (besides me) were completely obsessed with labels. They all took great pride in purchasing quality clothing with quality names backing the brands. Meanwhile I was standing there wearing the following:

  • AJ Wright shirt: $7.99
  • AJ Wright sweater: $9.99
  • Jeans from ideeli: $39
  • Shoes from DSW: $29
  • Chain from ideeli: $19
  • Bag from Costa Rica street market: $10

My outfit was about as discount as you can get and that’s pretty standard for me. I do own a Louis Vuitton bag but that’s because my husband wanted to do something special for me while I was hospitalized for 2 months when I was pregnant with Liam.

I could very easily get caught up in that world and sometimes I feel like I am doing a disservice to my readers when I don’t. I am many people and sometimes it can get very conflicting. Yes, I am a mom and I live in a quiet neighborhood and I meet my friends to play Bunko and the movies. But I also cover NYC’s fashion and beauty parties and press events where suddenly the lifestyle is very glam and everyone I know is dressed to the nines completely knowledgeable of what trends are hot and what labels you should avoid. So I am always somewhere in the middle. And it’s a pull in both directions. Can you really live in both worlds? I do my best – but then questions like these make me remember that I am not fully committing to either. Should I have to? I don’t know.

The girl wasn’t trying to make me feel uncomfortable – and truth be told – we had a really fun time with her. But I walked away feeling a bit insecure – like I am somehow a fraud as the owner of INO STYLE . I covered over 80 shows and previews this season – and I don’t have this appreciation that the other fashion bloggers do. Believe me, I wish I did. These girls are so INFORMED. It’s unbelievable to listen to – a true skill. And I can’t look at a bag and tell you what fabric it was made out of – yet here we all are waiting for the lights to dim and the models to walk.

That’s another reason why I started INO Mommy. Because in the end, that’s all I am. I’m a mom and I am good mom. I know everything there is to know about loving my children and keeping them safe and happy. So I don’t ever feel self conscious about that role. I’m proud of that role. I own that role.

I don’t know why I wrote this post – it’s something I deal with all the time. Fashion bloggers are an amazing group of women and I truly envy their ability to be so put together and in the know. I guess there is a tinge of jealousy that I don’t have that capacity. Maybe that’s why I hired four girls to run that site and I stopped going into the city to cover those events. Because I didn’t want it to eat me alive.

Perfect example, last season I met up with a bunch of fab women and they all had Minx nails because that was the super hot thing to do. I didn’t even have my nails PAINTED. So, we’re all chatting and having a great time inside the tents and I can’t stop thinking about how I have to run and get my nails done with Minx. And then I caught myself. WHY do I have to have my nails done with Minx? These girls are my friends either way. They don’t care if I do or if I do – but I did. And I hated that I cared. It’s not something that anyone in that industry is doing to me. I have GREAT friends in that world and we always have a blast when we meet up at events, but there’s a want that grows in me when I do. And it leaves a bad after taste in my mouth.

Wow -I’m ranting. Does this make any sense? I’m going to stop before I end up writing a novel.

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in todayโ€™s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. debbieinparadise : February 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Having lived on LI most of my life then moving to Florida, I see just how fashion and trendy LI and NYC really are. 90% of the country doesn't dress in designer clothes. Macy's and Dillard's are high end stores around here.

    You look great in that picture and I'll bet that unless someone was scrutinizing what you were wearing, no one knew the difference. I love the shoes too!

  2. Pam_bizzy_mom_of_2 : February 20, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Hi Vera. I just wanted to let you know I face the conflicts you are facing, too. I have a side of my family that is all about labels. When we get together that is what all the girls do: talk about what they're wearing (Tory Burch, Balenciaga, Chanel, etc.) and meanwhile I am there with my Target and Marshall's finds). It does make me feel inadequate sometimes, but I do feel I dress the best that I can given my budget and my other needs (like my car and my mortgage payments, LOL). Besides, as soon as I get away from that group I don't feel quite the same urgency to BUY, BUY, BUY designer. I think it has to do with the values I have set for myself. I would rather be dressed in cheaper (though still fashionable- it IS Tar-zhay, after all :)) clothes and be able to eat out (I really enjoy that), buy small treats for my family and myself, live in a comfortable home and have a comfortable life than to force myself into a lifestyle and the resulting debt that I would be miserable with for a long time.
    I think you look great and I LOVE your sites. I feel like you are my friend and you write so that I feel that way (thanks, BTW). Your job has some great perks and your family just looks so cute and happy. You are blessed.
    And really – fashion is so democratic now. No need for labels when you can achieve the same results with a lighter credit card bill and a big SMILE.

  3. Don't get all caught up in the bull. The perspective in which name brands are important is just not one you want to get involved in.

    This happened to me once as well, “What DESIGNER did those? I LOVE THEM!”
    you shoulda seen the look on her face whne I said, “Uh.. Payless?”

  4. No one should care whether you're wearing a designer label or not. YOu're a great blogger and that's all that counts. As long as you look polished (which you do!) and that you're comfortable with what you're wearing, that's all that matters.

  5. Please don't say “i'm a mom..that's all I am”. You are much, much more than that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are feeling the exact conflicts that I think most of us face every single day. So, I think we can all understand what you mean about finding a balance and living in both of those worlds.

  6. I find myself wanting designer brands, but I also find myself not wanting to spend the money. Like CL said, you aren't just a mom – you are someone I love to follow, you give great advice and I almost feel like you are a big sister I've never met, just becuase I've been following this site since the beggining. I think it's great that your whole outfit was so inexpensive, maybe you could teach those girls a few things about saving money! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I'm so happy I can comment now! I was missing the conversation part. I'm Nicole on INO, but it looks like someone already has Nicole as a username, and even NicoleT… Hmmm… I'll think of something..lol

  7. It all makes complete sense, Vera! Totally understand. With that said, what would you tell Natalie if she said all these things to you? What kind of assurance would you give her? I think the answer to these questions is important and the advice to stick with. By the way, you look gorgeous. Women and girls need to see that you can look pulled together without breaking the bank. I mean, hellllllo, I gotta eat and have a place to live in!! Prada is hot but Prada on a homeless person? What's wrong with this picture?

  8. Vera you look fab. I wouldn't get tangled in all of that, you know how to dress fasionably and you rock it. It's like you said before, alll you care is to spend more time with your family and keep your kids happy and healthy. I think you doing great as a blogger.

  9. I can't say enough how much I appreciate everyone's response here. I was a little nervous writing this because I didn't want to sound bitter or mean spirited in anyway.

    All your kind words have made me feel better about what happened and I know that it's so easy to get caught up in that world (especially when you have to live in it for work). But I'm trying my hardest to not let it affect me. It's just a bit of a struggle at times because all I do is write about these celebs wearing the nicest clothing (which they got for free) and here I am walking around with coupons and searching through sale racks. But you know what, that's ok too. And I get that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks again.

  10. Dude you make it seem like I asked you that since I'm the one in the picture with you. lol ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you. And I thought the shoes looked fab on you.

  11. LOL!!! No I didn't! I wrote that we went to the party together and it was the only pic I had. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just to clear up the air – I added that it wasn't you right in the beginning. Now will you marry me or what!

  12. Seriously can't believe you brought that up! lol Ten bucks says the Galapagos will be my honeymoon ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I'm not marrying you, I'm forcing you to be a bridesmaid.

  13. Too cute!
    Awww, where are my girlfriends!!!

  14. Hi Vera, I understand how you feel. I work as a music promoter in Europe. During the week, I have dinner with artist like Kelly Clarkson, shake hands with Cรฉline Dion and party backstage with John Legend. During the weekend, I go camping, play bingo, organize Supernintendo-battles and have the nerdiest (but loveliest) friends in the world. All while my office friends go clubbing underground. It took me a very long time to find my place in both worlds while not changing myself a bit. I always felt a little intimidated by the cool kids in the office. But they actually like me just the way I am, and never thought of me as some kind of outsider. So, I think it depends on you (us) how we want to feel around those people. As outsiders, because we don't go clubbing and don't own expensive shoes, or as insiders, because we bought shoes they love and that just shows that we exactly know what we're talking about. The girl with the Prada shoes might never hear that they look nice on her. So, who knows more about style: you or her? But jep, do know how you feel :o)

  15. totally get it! some of my mommy frineds show up at playdates in black slacks and heels and one even in a dress, tights and high heel boots. me = target jeans and dillards sweater and clogs from college. we were all sitting on the floor to. anyway, after that i started to dress nicer then told myself i'm great just as i am! period! you are too!

  16. This is EXACTLY what I am doing. Hit the nail on the head – it is all about us and how we feel about ourselves. And WE are the one that are causing this stress. It's just about acknowledging it's not really a big deal. Thanks for writing.

  17. anotherdirtymartini : February 21, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Vera, I understand how you felt. I do think that the person asking “are those Prada?” should be embarrassed! I like nice things also, but it's very superficial and I think, snobby, to phrase her question that way. I think she could have nicely complimented you and possibly ask you (aside) if you minded telling her where you got them if she wanted a pair herself.
    And Victoria, I knew she wasn't talking about you ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. No matter where you purchased your clothes if you feel good in them thats all you need people who label chase have no self esteem. You can find me in the sizem 9 1/2 aisle in payless thank you very much Jimmy choos hurt payless doesn't stuff your prada's Keep your coach. I feel good when i leave my house don't need a fashion show to tell me what looks good. It's all in your heart. I'm not a very confident person. Boy can I shop for a bargain.

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