Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ten outfits under $35, part II.

A few months ago, I put together a blog post that featured ten outfits that cost me $35 or less. Previously, I’ve done outfits totaling $40 or less and outfits totaling $30 or less.

I have come to the conclusion that $35 is my sweet spot. Outfits under $40 were too easy, and outfits under $30 were too tough. Under $30 was doable, yes; but raising my limit to $35 allows me to make a REAL outfit: jewelry, accessories, whatever. So $35 it is!

That being said, when I put together my last $35-or-less outfit post, I found myself left with a lot of really great outfits. In the meantime, I’ve added a few more bargain pieces that just begged to be added to a cheap outfit. And that’s why I have (yet another) cheap outfit blog post for you!

A quick recap of my rules: I won’t post an outfit on this blog that I wouldn’t wear as an actual outfit – so anything you see here is something that I would gladly wear out in public and not something I just threw together for the sake of it being cheap. I will not reuse any clothing item from past blog posts except for shoes. I will include gifts, but only jewelry (and I’ll try not to do it too often). No foundation garments – tank tops, socks, etc – as part of my total. Prices are almost always exact, but some are from memory – and those are probably within fifty cents. Finally, I included outfits from as many different places as I could. Who doesn’t love variety?

With all that out of the way, please enjoy the fourth (fourth?! whoa!) installment of my top ten cheap outfits!!

Silver jeans – Maurices – $25 (buy one get one free)
sandals – JCPenney – $3 (fall super sale)
shirt – Goodwill Brookings – $3.75
necklace – gift/Sears (Grandma paid $2.80)
TOTAL = $34.99

Whenever I do one of these cheap outfit blog posts, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll see something from Maurices. Maurices has THE BEST sales – you just have to know when to look for them. I got these jeans as part of a “buy one clearance item, get one free” sale. The clearance items were already 40% off their original price – so buying one pair of jeans at $50 got me a second pair for free (you saw the other pair on the last under $35 blog post). Splitting the difference gets me $25 jeans – and Silver jeans, no less. The red shirt was a should-I-get-it-should-I-not kind of thing at Brookings Goodwill. I’d tried it on and loved it… only to spot a hole in the sleeve. Since I am domestically challenged, I figured that there’s no way I could fix it and promptly put it back on its hanger. I left Goodwill… and then turned around and bought the shirt, deciding that if I totally messed up sewing up the hole, it would only be $3.75 lost. Luckily, I did an ok job, so my $3.75 is safe! The necklace was a gift from my grandma Sheila, but I know for a fact that she paid $2.80 for it at Sears (she is as proud of good deals as I am).

dress – Modcloth – $26.99 
sandals – Target – $5-ish 
necklace – gift
TOTAL = $31.99

Modcloth is another one of my go-to websites. They have the loveliest clothes, and while they appear a little expensive on the surface, they’ll give you some good deals if you watch out. I bought this dress around Christmastime when they were giving 50% off their new arrivals. And can I say how much I love maxi dresses? It’s just like wearing pajamas all day, except classy. The sandals were a steal at Target because they’re size 5: while my usual size is 6 ½, sandal sizing is a bit different, so Target’s size 5 fit like a charm. Luckily for me, not many people have tiny freak feet that can squeeze into a size 5. The necklace was a gift from James for my 23rd birthday – it was the first item he’d ever bought from a jewelry store, and he likes to say, “This is the first GOOD present I gave you!” (We started dating when I was 20. I have stories.)

pants – Goodwill St Paul – $3 (half off for yellow tag day)
shirt – Savers – $1.99 (half off day)
cardigan – Target – $5.38
shoes – Target – $9.98
necklace – arts festival/Hobby Lobby – $7 for charm, $3 for chain supplies
TOTAL = $30.35

Only at Goodwill in St Paul can you find a pair of J Crew pants for three dollars on half-off day. Goodwill will have half-off days for certain color tags, and I happened to snag these pants when the yellow tags were fifty percent off. YES. Both Target items came from an end-of-season clearance sale, which is when they’re practically giving stuff away. And the shirt from Savers: I’ve told you time and time again about the dangers of half-off day at Savers, so I won’t bore you. I’ll just remind you that if you ever decide to brave half-off day at Savers, you’d better wear steel-toed boots and have your affairs in order. Finally, the necklace: the ferris wheel charm came from the Brookings Summer Arts Festival: my favorite place ever and home to cool stuff/great food/the best people watching of all time. I made the fancy chain myself with supplies from Hobby Lobby, where stuff is always on sale (or you can download a coupon to MAKE it on sale). Viola.

dress – Maurices – $10
shoes – Shoe Carnival – $12.50 (buy one get one ½ off)
earrings  Lewis Drug  $.99
TOTAL = $30.49

Here we go with Maurices again. This dress came from one of their big house-cleaning sales where they round up a bunch of stuff and mark it all at one flat price. Dresses happened to be $10, and this one happened to be perfect for work. Shoe Carnival always seems to have a buy one, get one half off sale, and these lovely shoes were part of it. I almost never go to Shoe Carnival, but I’m glad I did – these shoes were not only the last pair, but they were on clearance, which meant I got them for half off the clearance price. Cha-CHING! You don't usually think of Lewis Drug for your jewelry needs, but I was picking up a couple of things there and happened to wander by their jewelry display. The pearl drop earrings were priced at $4.99, which was awfully reasonable already, so I picked out two pairs. Lo and behold, they rang up as ninety-nine cents. I love Lewis. 

Converses – Converse Outlet – $15
shorts – Goodwill Brookings – $4.25
shirt – Wet Seal – $10
necklace – Forever21 – $4.80
TOTAL = $34.05

If you are a Minnesotan (or even a South Dakotan), you are probably aware that there is an outlet mall in Albertville, Minnesota. Outlet malls aren’t usually my thing, but I do like this one: if only for the Columbia store, the Fossil store, and the Converse store. It’s not too often that you can find a pair of All Stars for the paltry sum of $15, but I did just that at the Albertville Converse outlet. These shorts are the third and final pair from my Brookings Goodwill American Eagle shorts jackpot – three pairs in my size, all with the tags still attached. I have to tell you, too, that I’m fully aware that I’m too old to shop at Wet Seal, but I got this shirt when I was 23 – I may have been too old for Wet Seal even then, but I don’t think I’m too old for the shirt. That’s what counts, right?

shoes – Target – $7-ish
necklace – Claire’s – $7
dress – Goodwill Brookings – $6
bracelet – World Market – $10.95
TOTAL = $30.95

Funny story about this dress: Mom and I were in the Brookings Goodwill years and YEARS ago, and we were rifling through the overstuffed racks. I almost never have good luck with dresses at Goodwill – most of them have shoulder pads, after all. Mom dug this one out of the fray and suggested I try it on. I saw that it was a few sizes larger than I would usually wear and politely declined. Mom insisted, so I tried it on – and it is probably the most magical dress I’ve ever owned. It clings and flows in all the right places, and I hope this dress lasts forever. I bought the necklace at Claire’s… seventeen years ago. It was during the height of my Titanic craze, and Claire’s was selling fake Heart of the Ocean necklaces. I had ten dollars to my name, so I went to Claire’s, fully intending to buy one. When I got there, I found – much to my dismay – that the necklace was out of my price range. (I think it was $11.25 or something.) Instead, I bought this little necklace: after all, it looked vintagey and like something someone on the Titanic might’ve worn. And it was a good choice: I’ve gotten way more use out of this necklace than I did of my Heart of the Ocean (which I received for Christmas that same year). And let me say this about World Market: it is one of my favorite stores EVER. I do a ton of my Christmas shopping at World Market – from crazy food to fancy pillows to colorful scarves, you can find something for anyone and everyone at World Market.

skirt – Goodwill St Paul – $3.99
cardigan – Target – $7
necklace – Charlotte Russe – $10
flats – Y’s Buys – $3
ring – H&M – $5.95
TOTAL = $29.94

Like dresses, skirts are usually not too great at Goodwill. They tend to be long/frumpy/made of wool. This skirt is one of the few that I have found at Goodwill, and it’s one of my favorites. I almost never wear my gigantic cocktail ring because it’s so heavy and cumbersome, but I love it, so I keep it around for special occasions. (Like blog posts. Obviously.) And the zebra cardigan: I went through a brief animal print phase when I lived in Minneapolis, and this cardigan is one of the lone survivors. My zebra cardigan and I have been through a lot together: I wore it on my first day of work at the library, so it’s in the picture that graces my ID badge. I was wearing this cardigan the day I gave blood at the Bloodmobile and promptly passed out on the sidewalk. Ahh, memories.

sweater – Goodwill Omaha – $3.75
pants – Target – $8.48
flats – American Eagle – $6
pearl choker – Etsy – $13
alligator charm – Hancock Fabrics – $.06
TOTAL = $31.23

Omaha has about a zillion Goodwills, and James and I went to two of them during a trip last year. I didn’t find much, but I did find this sweater. The pants came from Target’s winter clearance sale, which is when I do the majority of my Target shopping. Leopard shoes? From the Minneapolis animal print phase – but I was lucky enough to score these (on clearance!) with my American Eagle employee discount. In the last post, I told you about my pearls from China – these pearls are from the same Etsy store, and I LOVE them. They’re real pearls, but I paid a pittance for them. They’re a little oblong and a little bumpy, but they’re real and go with pretty much anything. Finally, the charm (and it is indeed an alligator) came in a four-pack of New Orleans-themed charm, and the whole pack was twenty-five cents. Score one for Hancock Fabrics.

I love twirly skirts.
skirt – Effie’s Heart – $16 ($10 off)
wedges – Target – $14.98
t-shirt – Old Navy – $3.97 (clearance)
magnifying glass necklace – gift!
TOTAL = $34.95

Weird story about this skirt: I had never heard of Effie’s Heart before I ordered a shirt from Modcloth. The shirt arrived, and while it looked completely ridiculous (I returned it – thank goodness for free return shipping), I really liked the pattern. The label read “Effie’s Heart,” so out of curiosity, I headed over to their website. I found a ton of really expensive stuff… and a gem of a clearance section. By signing up for their email list, I got a $10 coupon right off the bat. Bonus: the skirt has pockets.

shirt – Country Peddler – $0 (used credit, was $2)
scarf – DSW – $11.95 ($5 off coupon)
jeans – Plato’s Closet – $12.80 (org $16 with 20% off coupon)
earrings  Spencer's  $1
sandals – Gap Outlet – $7-ish
TOTAL =$32.75

We’ve talked about Country Peddler before: the wonderful Brookings consignment store where I sell my old clothes and pick up a few new things while I’m at it. This shirt came from Country Peddler’s clearance rack, and I paid for it using my consignment credit: so I’m counting it as free. DSW is pretty generous with their coupons, and this one happened to be a $5 off coupon I got in the mail. DSW online only sells shoes and handbags, but the brick-and-mortar stores sell scarves, necklaces, and other fun stuff. This particular scarf came from the Mall of America, and it was the LAST ONE. Frankly, I don’t do a lot of shopping at Plato’s Closet any more – the Sioux Falls store is packed to the gills, and there are always tons of people. I really have to be in the right mindset. That being said, when I AM in the right mindset, I usually end up with something good. Plato’s Closet has stamp cards, and for every $10 that you buy or sell, you get a stamp. For every 20 stamps you get, you get a 20% off your purchase. I used to sell a ton of stuff there, so I’d have 20% off coupons all the time. These jeans came from one such coupon - $12.80. Not too shabby. Finally, a word about the earrings. You know what I look like and how I dress, so I obviously stick out like a sore thumb at Spencer's. I went in looking for a tragus stud and happened upon a "buy one, get one for one dollar" jewelry sale. Hence the sparrow earrings. Also hence me feeling like a huge square every time I go into Spencer's - which, in my defense, is less often than once a year. But for $1 sparrow earrings? Sure enough, I'll go to Spencer's.


Once again, we have completed another tour of my cheap clothing closet. This time, my items came from 30 different places! Whoo hoo! We’ve got eight mall clothing stores, three thrift stores, two big-box stores, two outlet stores, two online only clothing stores, two shoe stores, two consignment stores, two gifts, one drug store, one arts festival, one craft store, one costume jewelry store, one online jewelry/a little bit of everything store, one fabric store, and one of whatever World Market is.

So that’s it for this time around: ten more outfits under $35. Stay tuned for next time: I’ve got plenty more bargain outfits to show you!

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