Stand Out This Spring: Ditch Forever 21 for These Chic Looks from H.C.B.

Posted February 20, 2013 by in Shopping

Big box shops like H&M and Forever21 are great for staying fashionable on a budget — everybody know’s it. Trouble is, since they’re on the top of everybody else’s list, you’re bound to run into a girl wearing the same outfit you just bought. This is why we’re loving small and trendy e-commerce sites, like The Happy Wardrobe and Heavenly Couture.

Now a new site, H.C.B, is on our short list. It’s perfect for the preppy girl who loves to test the waters with new trends, plus everything on the site is under $60!

One thing we found that separated .H.C.B. from most e-commerce sites is that they don’t over do it. They feature a curated selection of affordable items worth checking out. Who knows, they just might be the perfect fit for your wardrobe! According to the founder, Hilary Caroline:

H.C.B. was started with the idea that online shopping should be simple, fun and not cost you an entire paycheck. Fed up with overflowing online stores with endless “search” criteria and pages and pages of mediocre options to sift through, .H.C.B. has set out to do it right – just a handful of only the best options at budget savvy prices, and not all the other filler junk. And no ridiculous mark ups. Because who needs that?

Hilary’s company is still up-and-coming (it only launched last summer) and she does everything — buying, descriptions, packing, shipping and even some of the modeling!

We ordered a purple peplum top and a black tote bag, courtesy of Hilary, which has since been used in quite a few of our photo shoots. Below is our wonderful model Madison!

Head to the bottom for a 10% off discount code.

We really admire women who start their own companies, so we had to ask Hilary a few questions!

Broke & Chic: Have you always been interested in fashion? 

Hilary: Yes, for as long as I can remember! I used to love it when any of my family members would agree to take me shopping. My favorite store back in the day was Limited Too.

Arrow Necklace: $18

B&C: Have you always looked at yourself as an entrepreneur? 

H: Yes, also for as long as I can remember. I was always the kid on the block doing lemonade stands or other even more bizarre entrepreneurial pursuits, like painting large rocks found in my neighborhood and trying to sell them as art.

When I was about 13 my dad introduced me to eBay, and that started a string of online businesses, starting with Beanie Babies and going to wholesale costume jewelry and even clothing, a very early and less developed version of HCB.

Once I grew tired of eBay I started a handmade jewelry line that I sold on Etsy for a few years in college. So I have pretty much always had one project or another going since I was 13 – but HCB is of course my favorite one yet, and seems to be on track to be the most successful!

Stacked Zig Zag Rings: $12

Where do you get the inspiration for what you’re going to sell? 

I mostly follow my own gut style instincts – if I like something I see, I will pick it up and hope that others like it too! But I’m starting to learn my customers taste also and change my buying habits slightly according to which items they are gravitating towards. I love fun clothes – bright colors and patterns, flattering fits, things that will make my customers feel happy and beautiful every time they wear them. I also like to think about where my customers would wear the items I’m buying – is it for going out, or work, or a bridal/baby shower?

I make sure everything I buy could have a purpose in someone’s life. I usually try to write a little about how I imagine the item being worn in the item description itself, so my customers can start to visualize where they are going in their new outfit! 

How would you describe your personal style? 

I like to mix a lot of different styles together, but I think I mostly gravitate towards feminine and boho style pieces, with a little bit of rocker edge tossed in from time to time. Lately I’m loving lace, floral prints, studs, and jewel tones. But since I work from home, I’m mostly wearing leggings or yoga pants and comfy tee shirts all day! So then when I go out I like to really get dolled up to get all my fashion cravings out of my system – I usually end up wearing head to toe HCB!

Chevron Dress: $38

What’s your least favorite trend at the moment? 

I’m actually pretty open minded when it comes to trends, as long as they are done tastefully and not piling too many trends together into one outfit. I really only dislike trends if the only reason an item is “trendy” or wanted is because of its brand name – I think fashion should be about the style and design, not about the name on the label. So it drives me crazy if everyone is obsessing over one bag, coat, pair of shoes, etc just because of the name on the label, which usually makes the item cost a fortune.

You can almost always find something just as cute or cuter for much, much less! Obviously if you truly like something by that designer it is justified, it only irks me when people are buying an item just because of that label, and not because they truly love the item.

It’s officially fashion week! What do you think the next big thing will be? 

I’m not sure! I can’t wait to see what the designers have done and then how that will translate into actual street fashion, it is always an interesting transition! I’m still really loving bold patterns and stripes, so I think those will be sticking around and hopefully even given a twist of some kind.

Bow Back Blouse: $36

What are you currently coveting on .H.C.B. at the moment? Let us know in the comments below!

*Use the code BROKECHIC10 for 10% off until March 6th at!