Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ten outfits under $35, part III.

Guess what? It’s another cheap outfit blog!

I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had putting these together. I really enjoy the challenge of finding an outfit that not only looks good, but is easy on the old wallet.

(While I love putting together and writing about the outfits, taking the pictures is the WORST. I always think I look like a complete dork, and I don't have any poses - obviously, because I always end up with my hand on my hip and a big dopey grin. James, my ever-suffering photographer, gets tired of me saying "what should I do with my hands? what does ANYONE do with their hands??!" Plus, there are only so many places to pose in and around our house.)

This is my third blog post where the outfits are $35 or less. You can find the other two here and here. I’ve also done blog posts where the outfits were $30 or less (here) and $40 or less (here).

$35 is where I’ll stay. I’ve told you this before, but here’s why: outfits under $40 were too easy, and I enjoy a good challenge. Outfits under $30 were doable, but it was tough to add fun things, like accessories. The $35 limit allows me to make a complete outfit (accessories and all) while still requiring me to think creatively about my items and their accompanying prices.

As always, I’d better go over my rules: I won’t post an outfit on this blog that I wouldn’t wear as an actual outfit. These outfits are not something I just threw together for the sake of it being cheap – I think they look good, and anything you see here is something that I would gladly wear out in public. I will not reuse any clothing item from past blog posts: the exception being shoes. (Since you’ve seen most of these shoes before, I’ll also try to refrain from telling you about them. If they’re new to the blog, then all bets are off.) The only gifts (aka, free) items I will include will be jewelry – so not something that could make or break the outfit. 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. After all, variety is the spice of life.

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

zipper cardigan – Plato’s Closet – $12
jeans – Plato’s Closet – FREE! (org $14, used credit)
t-shirt – Old Navy – $3.97 (clearance)
octopus necklace – Hobby Lobby – $5 for supplies
flats – JCPenney – $13
TOTAL: $33.97

Plato’s Closet and I have a complicated relationship. I like that they give you cash for your clothes, but I don’t like that it’s something like 20% of what they’ll sell it for – a pittance. I like that they have lots of options, but I don’t like how crowded the place is. Also, their employees tend to be on the snotty side. So Plato’s Closet is not one of my favorites, but every once in a while, I’ll decide that I want to go there. And shopping at Plato’s Closet most definitely requires the right do-or-die attitude. Both this cardigan and these jeans came from Plato’s Closet – I had sold a few things, so I used that money to get the jeans. So I’m calling them free. I have a thing for decorative zippers right now, so clearly, this cardigan had to come home with me. Old Navy is my go-to place for plain v-necks, and let me tell you, you can build endless outfits around them. Finally, my necklace. It is an octopus that I put together using supplies from Hobby Lobby. Awesome? Awesome.

dress – Forever 21 – $27.80
flower necklace – gift
flats – Y’s Buys – $3
TOTAL: $30.80

I’ve told you before that I am too old for Forever 21: except for accessories. (And even then, it’s touch and go.) However, I bought this dress BEFORE I was too old for Forever 21 and BEFORE the store itself started selling nothing but crop tops and harem pants. I bought this dress in early 2011: I still lived in Minneapolis and the Mall of America was just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Maxi dresses were a fresh trend, and I wanted to try it out – but I didn’t want to look a.) pregnant or b.) like a sister wife. If you’re looking to try out a new trend on the cheap, Forever 21 is your place. I tried this dress on, liked it, and that was that. It opened the door for many other maxi dresses – which are as comfy as pajamas, and you feel like you’re getting away with something.

dress – Mikarose – $29.99 
sandals – JCPenney – $3 
necklace – gift (Botanical Garden)
TOTAL: $32.99

Hey, look! Another decorative zipper! This dress came from an online store called Mikarose, which is totally run by Mormons. They specialize in “modest” dresses – not like FLDS modest, but dresses that aren’t too low cut or too short. Maybe I’m a Mormon at heart, but that’s exactly how I like my dresses. Plus, the dress has pockets. You know how much I love dresses with pockets. The necklace was a gift from my sister Darrah – the first time we visited her in Arizona was May 2010, and we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens and died of heat. The necklace came from their gift shop – authentic Arizona turquoise!

shirt – Storyville – $12 (flash sale)
shorts – Younkers – $14.99
sandals – Gap Outlet – $7-ish
TOTAL = $33.99

Last summer, Younkers was having this gigantic online sale where you could get shorts and summer clothes for almost nothing. Younkers is not my favorite place to shop – while they have nice shoes and purses, their clothes are either too old or way too young for me. I’m in Younkers no man’s land. However, during the online sale, I did find this one pair of Levi shorts – and I’ve been wearing them like crazy ever since. The NOLA tank top comes from Storyville – a t-shirt shop with locations only in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. However, they do have an online store, and every so often, they have a flash sale. They’ll pick a handful of shirts and sell them for $12 for a few days. I live for Storyville flash sales.

shirt – Goodwill St Paul – $2 (half off day)
skirt – hand-me-down from Grandma
necklace – Mikarose – $9.99
wedges – Target – $19.99
TOTAL: $31.98

This skirt belonged to my grandma in the 1950s. How cool is that? It’s perfectly classy, and it even has fun little pleats. It is made of wool, so it is not an all-season skirt, but that means I’m all the more excited to wear it when fall rolls around. The necklace is from the Mormon store – turns out that they not only have modest dresses, but fancy necklaces! The shoes came from Target – they’re a tad bit impractical, but since when has that stopped me? When I worked at the interpreting agency in Minneapolis (which is a story for another time), they would give you a $20 Target gift card on your birthday. Awesome. I bought these shoes for $29.99 using that gift card, so it was only $10 out of my own pocket. Wouldn’t you know it, they go on sale for $19.99 the very next week. Luckily, I hadn’t worn the shoes yet, so I brought them back and asked for a price adjustment. Target said no, so I returned them… and rebought them at the lower price the same day. Don’t mess with ME, Target. Now, this outfit marks something rather unusual in all my cheap outfit blog posts: it is the ONLY ONE with a yet-unseen item from Goodwill. (Another post has Goodwill shoes, but you've seen those before.) It’s been a while since I’ve had a Goodwill haul, so I’m running low on items to show you. But I do have a lovely striped shirt, so I guess we’ll take quality over quantity this time.

Levis – Amazon – $17.99
sweater – Target – $8.38
shoes – Plato’s Closet – FREE! (originally $6; used credit)
TOTAL: $26.37

These jeans are the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned. They’re soft and flexible like pajamas, but they’re still definitely jeans. I had never bought jeans on Amazon before, but the price was right, so I gave it a shot. Definite success. This sweater was an end-of-fall clearance find last year, and it’s just as comfy as these jeans. I rarely buy secondhand shoes, but these (along with the black Ys Buys shoes) are a new exception. They were at Plato’s Closet, and I can’t resist a good wedge. I found them while I was waiting for Plato’s Closet to go through a pile of my clothes to buy, and when I went to pay, it turned out that I had more than enough credit to cover the shoes. So I’m calling them free. 

shirt – Old Navy – $5.99
skirt – Forever21 – $10.80
belt – Forever21 – FREE! (came with skirt)
wedges – Goodwill St Paul – $4.99
TOTAL = $21.78

This, friends, is an exceptionally cheap outfit. Yes, my shirt has little cats on it. No, I am not a crazy cat lady: I got this shirt WAY before I got Mona. I know I told you earlier that I’m too old for Forever 21 clothing, and here we are with a second piece of clothing from said store. This skirt falls into the same category as the maxi dress: it’s something I bought almost four years ago, back when a.) I wasn’t too old, and b.) Forever 21 clothes were less ridiculous. It came with the belt, so hooray for that.

maxi dress – Modcloth – $26.99
flats – Target – $7-ish
earrings – Lewis Drug – $.99
TOTAL: $34.98

Hey, another maxi dress! Modcloth has big clearance sales every so often, and that’s when I strike. Their stuff is a tad overpriced at the outset, so I just bide my time until the price drops. Around Christmas, they’re pretty generous with their discounts, so you just have to know when to be watching. Much like the maxi dress from earlier, this dress is like wearing pajamas. You will not hear me complain. And yes, I got my earrings (that are hidden by my hair) at a drug store. Nothing wrong with that.

shirt – Country Peddler – $0 (used $6 credit)
Silver jeans – Maurices – $22.24 (75%off)
sandals – GoJane – $11.84 (20% coupon)
pearl earrings – Etsy – free with wedding bracelet
fleur de lis charm – Hobby Lobby – $.50 (pack of three @ $1.50)
TOTAL = $34.58

Maurices goes a little clearance crazy sometimes, and that’s when I do my best. These jeans were 75% off their clearance price, and it’s almost a miracle that they had my size. When you sell brand-name jeans at a price that low, you’re usually only left with the ridiculous sizes, like 000 extra-long. But luckily for me, they had normal-person sizes, too! The shirt is a lovely Country Peddler find, where I used my store credit to come home with something new. The sandals came from a website called GoJane, where you can almost always find an online coupon. The pearl earrings were tossed in as a freebie when I bought a pearl bracelet for my wedding. Etsy was where I got all sorts of wedding wear – my bracelet, my antique pearl hair comb, and my red slip (to go with my red petticoat). Whoever made the bracelet saw it fit to throw in a pair of earrings for free, and I wear them all the time. Lastly, the fleur de lis charm came from Hobby Lobby as part of a three-pack for $1.50: hence, fifty cents for the individual piece. I had my own chain, so twenty seconds and one pair of needle-nosed pliers later, I had myself a necklace.

dress – Country Peddler – $0 ($32 but used credit)
flats – 6pm – $16.99
belt – Forever21 – $5.80
ampersand earrings – Modcloth – $9.99
TOTAL: $32.78

This dress was a truly great Country Peddler find. It was brand spanking new – it still had the tags attached, and the original price was – get this – $148. It was marked for $32 at Country Peddler, but as always, I used my store credit. I am of the increasingly popular persuasion that something is more desirable if you put a bird on it, and this dress has birds EVERYWHERE. You can’t see my earrings too well in this picture, but you’re going to have to trust me when I tell you that they’re ampersands. I also have quotation mark earrings – what can I say? I have a thing for punctuation.


Well, another cheap outfit post has come to an end. This time, I showed you items from 24 different places: six online clothing/shoe stores, five mall-ish stores, four consignment/thrift stores, two craft stores, one ginormous online retailer, one all-purpose store, one online crafty flea markety store, one outlet store, one drug store, one botanical garden gift shop, my Grandma’s closet, as well as three gifts of indeterminate origin.

That about does it for this latest foray into bargain shopping. I’ve got plenty of other thrifty outfits to show you, so keep your eyes open for the next installment of the cheap outfit blog!

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