Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ten outfits under $35.

Time and time again, I’ve told you about how much I enjoy bargain shopping. It’s the thrill of the hunt and the feeling that you got a super great deal on something, and therefore you are the champion of the world.

Twice, I have put together blog posts showing off some of my best bargain finds. The first time around, all ten outfits I put together totaled less than $40. The second time, my budget took a big cut, and all outfits were less than $30.

This time, I’m making my limit $35. They’re still damn cheap outfits, but let me tell you: finding outfits that totaled less than $30 was TOUGH. And since I don’t reuse my clothes for these outfit blogs, everything I’ve showed you already is off limits. And since I used some of my very cheapest stuff for the last blog post, it would be awfully tough for me to find ten more $30 outfits. Also, there are occasions where I probably could eke out an outfit under $30, but the exact pairing that I want is just a little over the mark. And here’s the thing: I’m not going to post an outfit on this blog that I wouldn’t wear as an actual outfit, and this time around, that means raising my limit to $35.

I am enacting one more change: even though I said I don’t reuse my clothes for posts, I am making an exception for shoes. It’s actually kind of tough to find shoes cheap enough for this blog post. So in order to keep doing these outfit posts (and I don’t know about you, but I kind of enjoy them), I’m going to have to reuse some shoes. You’ll have to forgive me.

I also let myself use more gifts than I have before. These blog posts are mostly about my bargain shopping skills, and something I’ve been given as a gift doesn’t really apply, as my bargain shopping skills and I had nothing to do with it. However, I have limited my inclusion of gifts to jewelry only, which isn’t absolutely essential for an outfit. Wearing jewelry isn’t as important as wearing pants. (Some may disagree, but that’s where I stand.)

So anyway, that’s what’s new. Otherwise, the same rules apply as always: no foundation garments – tank tops, etc – as part of my total. Why? Because then it gets boring and complicated. Also, the prices may not be exact, but I have estimated to the very best of my memory and am pretty sure I’m right on – give or take a few cents. And I did my best to include items from as wide a range of stores as possible. As much as I’d love you show you only outfits from Goodwill, I thought you’d like a little variety. So please enjoy the third installment of my top ten cheap outfits – this time, it’s ten outfits under $35!

(a disclaimer about this set of photos: James and I ran around taking these pictures on a rainy Monday afternoon - so you'll have to forgive the windblown hair and me looking slightly cold. but you'll get a mini-tour of our yard!)

dress – Maurices – $9.95
pearls – Etsy – $6
wedges – Target – $14.98
TOTAL = $30.93

Maurices is my go-to place when it comes to cheap dresses. You just have to keep your eyes open: every now and again, they have some kind of gigantic clear-out sale where they’re practically paying YOU to take their stuff. This dress was a great fund. I’d been keeping one eye on it for a while, but I certainly wasn’t going to pay $40 (its original price) for it. When the price eventually fell all the way down to $9.95, I was there to snap it up. And we have got to talk about my string of pearls. I had been looking for a string of pearls in your regular Targets and mall stores, because who doesn’t want a string of pearls? (And when I say “pearls,” I mean fake pearls. Just so we’re clear.) But I couldn’t find much, and the strings of pearls I did find cost north of $25. For FAKE pearls?! Give me a break. Thank goodness for Etsy – if you’re unfamiliar, it’s like a gigantic craft fair. You can get handmade jewelry, paper products, vintage hats… basically anything you could ever want that’s crafty and/or vintage, you can find on Etsy. That’s where my pearls came from – they’re real, and because they’re not quite white and not quite round, they weren’t very expensive (especially after the twenty Paypal dollars I’d earned from taking internet surveys, which I’m totally not counting towards the outfit total). Etsy for the win.

suit – Salvation Army (Winnipeg) – $12.75
flats – ZooShoo – $17
necklace – Vintage Pearl – gift!
TOTAL = $29.75

Yes, friends: I bought a suit at the Salvation Army. It’s not a suit that I’d wear on a job interview or anything (it’s less SUIT and more “suit”), but I can definitely wear it to work, and those pants are awfully versatile. This suit didn’t come from just any Salvation Army: this was a Salvation Army in Winnipeg that James and I visited on our honeymoon. (It’s not too often you hear “Salvation Army” and “honeymoon” in the same sentence, but you have maybe learned to expect that from me.) The Salvation Army itself was super dirty (as was its clientele), but I came away with not only a suit, but a purse and a pair of jeans. The shoes came from the internet – and one of the beautiful things about ordering stuff online is the possibility of coupon codes. Whenever I order something online, I do a quick search to see if there are any coupon codes out there. The answer is usually no, but in the case of these shoes, I found a $5 off coupon! That’s almost a 23% discount! And the necklace? A Christmas gift from my sister – they’re spoon handles stamped with my initials.

shirt – Plato’s Closet – $10
shorts – Goodwill Brookings – $4.25
sandals – GoJane – $11.84 (20% coupon)
TOTAL = $26.09

There’s not a lot to stay about this outfit besides the obvious: LOOK AT MY SHIRT IT HAS A KRAKEN. I don’t buy things at Plato’s Closet very often, but when I do, they’re completely awesome. Case in point: kraken. I do have to mention the shorts: I went to the Brookings Goodwill one day and, much to my good fortune, stumbled across a cache of American Eagle shorts – all with original store tags on them, all in my size. I bought three pairs, and this is one of two pairs that you’ll see in this outfit post. The sandals came from a website called GoJane, and there’s almost always some kind of coupon code that you can apply to your order – in this case, 20% off. I do love coupon codes.

Can you spot the Great Dane in this picture?
Silver jeans – ebay – $22
shirt – Savers – $3 (half-off day)
cardigan – Country Peddler – $2 originally, $0 with credit
belt – Rue 21 – $.33
flats – American Eagle – $6
TOTAL = $33.33

I’ve talked to you before about the dangers of Savers on half-off day. It’s not for the weak of heart. The Sioux Falls Savers has narrow aisles and just a handful of fitting rooms (where NOBODY obeys the six-item limit), and there’s no discernable line for the fitting rooms, so you just have to zip in as soon as you see one open. It’s every man for himself at Savers on half-off day. That being said, I’ve gotten a lot of great stuff at Savers on half-off day, this crazy shirt included. The cardigan came from Country Peddler – a consignment store in Brookings. I take my old clothes there all the time, and of course, I have to do a little looking around. This cardigan was marked down to $2, but I had some outstanding credit, so they just subtracted the cardigan from my credit total. In my book, that makes it a free cardigan. The belt is two sizes too big, but I got it as a three-pack for one dollar. For thirty-three cents, I can punch a few holes in the belt, loop the extra, and call it a day. Oh yeah, and these pants? Totally got them on ebay. (This experience provided a very important lesson for me: I’m not cut out for bidding on ebay. I get all jittery and nervous and can barely handle it – I thought I was going to have a heart attack while waiting for the bidding to end on these jeans.)

dress – Redeemed – $10 (honeymoon discount)
belt – Maurices – FREE! (came with some other dress)
flats – 6pm – $16.99
C wax charm – Hobby Lobby – $3 for supplies
TOTAL = $29.99

Remember the honeymoon discount? Here’s a recap: James and I were in Winnipeg for our honeymoon, and we ended up at a consignment shop called Redeemed. The owner of the shop found out that we were Americans (“Oh, we LOVE Americans!”) on our honeymoon, and she gave us a very generous “honeymoon discount:” a blazer and a dress were marked down from $60 total to $20 – AND she threw in a $20 gift certificate to her store’s second location. She was so kind to us – total strangers – and totally reinforced the stereotype that Canadians are nicer than everyone else. We should all try and be a bit more Canadian, eh??

You'll have to forgive the weirdness of this picture. It was super cold out.
Silver jeans – Maurices – $25 (buy one get one free)
flats – Y’s Buys – $3
shirt – Country Peddler – $6 originally, $0 with credit
upside down fleur de lis charm – Hancock Fabrics – $.06
bracelet – gift from James
TOTAL = $28.06

Dresses aren’t the only things that go on super sale at Maurices. One glorious day, they were having a “buy one clearance item, get one free” sale, which was in addition to their usual “40% off the lowest marked price” clearance sale. I got two pairs of Silver jeans (read: usually expensive) for a total of $50, so splitting the difference makes them $25 each. That is nothing short of a steal, my friends. You’ve seen my Y’s Buys shoes before, but I must reiterate that I almost never buy shoes from secondhand stores. These are an exception that I’m glad I made. Finally, the charm: I rarely go to Hancock Fabrics, but James needed to go there to get some stuff for school. I perused the jewelry-making aisle and came across a pack of four New Orleans themed charms... for twenty-five cents (making the individual charms about six cents each.) Sold. The bracelet (it’s made of spoons) was a gift from James – he got it at a flea market for two dollars. He learns from the best!

t-shirt – Forever21 – $4.80
scarf – Forever21 – $10.80
sandals – Gap Outlet – $7-ish
shorts – Goodwill Brookings – $4.25
TOTAL = $26.85

On the whole, I am way too old for Forever21. However, there are two exceptions: basics and accessories. Striped shirt? Basic. Green scarf? Accessory. I steer clear from the rest of the clothes, making the odd allowance for a pair of pants. But for everything else, my Forever21 days are over. These shorts are the second pair from my Shorts Jackpot Day at the Brookings Goodwill.

maxi dress – Country Peddler – $18 originally, $0 with credit
flats – 6pm – $16.99
pennyfarthing charm – Michael’s – $2.75 (employee discount)
TOTAL = $19.74

Yes, this is the second time you’re seeing these shoes. But can you think of shoes that would go better with this dress? I didn’t think so. I have been rather lax on my survey-taking lately (who wants to do that when the weather is nice?), but I took surveys like a champion in the winter. That little extra bit of internet survey money gave me a nice discount on these shoes, the string of pearls from the first outfit, and other things here and there. (Yes, I know that the Paypal money could’ve been cashed out and sent to my bank account, but I earned it taking ridiculous surveys about things like paper towels. According to me, that means I don’t have to count it as real money, and I don’t have to count it towards my outfit total.) This is the third (but not the last) Country Peddler item on the list today – once again, I bought it with my store credit. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the last time I actually had to PAY for something at Country Peddler. That is a beautiful thing. The charm – which is totally a pennyfarthing – came from my days as a Michael’s cashier. Employee discount to the rescue.

shorts – H&M – $12
t-shirt – Old Navy – $4.75 (buy one, get one free)
turquoise necklace – Hobby Lobby – $7 for supplies
flats – Target – $7-ish
TOTAL = $30.75

Hey! Shorts that aren’t from Goodwill! These are from H&M, and they’re one of the few things I’ve purchased there in the past couple of years. H&M and I have a tumultuous relationship. When I lived in Minneapolis, I went to the H&M in the Mall of America all the time, and it was always a madhouse. I would either find a million things that I wanted, or nothing at all for many visits at a time. Whenever James and I go back to the cities, we usually end up at H&M – and almost every time, there’s nothing that appeals to me. I want the old magic back; I want to be a stylish Swede like them! But since I’m not into harem pants and crop tops, H&M and I are on the outs right now. But I did find this pair of shorts, so there’s that. 

A skirt like this just begs to be twirled.
t-shirt – Target – $5
scarf – American Eagle – $6
skirt – Country Peddler – $8 originally, $0 with credit
heels  DSW  $12.98
cuff bracelet – World Market – $8.49 (mysterious coupon)
TOTAL = $32.47

Remember how I used to work at American Eagle? This scarf is one of the few things I have left from my American Eagle days (along with the leopard shoes from earlier in the post). Working at American Eagle gives you a pretty sweet discount – 40% on regular priced things, 25% on clearance, and that’s on top of whatever promotion they’re running at the time. Once in a while, we’d even get an additional 50% off of everything, and it was like Christmas. Or, it would’ve been, if I’d had any money to spend. This scarf is one of the few purchases I made when I was working in Denver, and even then, $6 was a whole lot to spend on a pink scarf. I’m glad I did, though – this scarf (along with the leopard shoes from earlier) is one of the few American Eagle things I have left. Most of the other stuff has since found its way to consignment shops and Goodwills, but this scarf is holding strong. And check out this skirt! It is the hugest skirt I’ve ever owned, but I love it. SO MUCH. It just makes me feel fancy. I’m kind of at a loss as to where to wear it, but don’t worry – I’ll make it happen. The bracelet came from World Market, which is one of my favorite stores on earth. They have everything from shower curtains to jewelry to wine and pancake mix. It’s my go-to place for Christmas presents. However, World Market is a bit dangerous: I always spend more there than I intend to. I went to World Market with two $10 coupons: one for my birthday and one for rewards points. I almost bought this bracelet, but I ended up buying a chevron throw and two pillow shams instead… but went back the next day to get the bracelet. I didn’t have any coupons left, but the cashier scanned a coupon from her pocket that gave me $1.50 off the bracelet. Score! Final note on this outfit: I found these shoes in the clearance section of the Roseville DSW, and they were marked down 70% from their original $59.95. Throw in my $5 off coupon, and you have yourself a pair of really cheap shoes.


Well, we’ve made it through ten more outfits! This latest round included items from a total of 25 different locations: 27 if you consider gifts from two different people! We have six mall clothing stores, four thrift shops, three consignment stores, two craft stores, two online shoe stores, one outlet store, one big-box store, one shoe store, one online auction site, one fabric store, one of whatever World Market is, and one gigantic online flea market – plus the two gifts. Not a bad variety, if I do say so myself!

I hope that you don’t get tired of these cheap outfit posts, as I really enjoy putting them together. Until next time, happy thrift shopping!

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