Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ten outfits under $35, part IV.

Oh look! Another cheap outfit blog!

Obviously, I have a great time putting these cheap outfit posts together.  I am (and always have been) fond of a great bargain, and these clothes showcase some of the great deals I’ve gotten. And while I get a great deal of personal pride out of finding said deals, I have even more fun showing them to you.

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

I’ve told you before, but $35 is the perfect price point for me. Outfits under $40 were too easy: where was the fun in that? Outfits under $30 were ok, but they were a little boring – with a price limit that low, it’s hard to add fun things like accessories. The $35 limit is high enough to let me add small touches like accessories, but low enough so that I have to be creative with my clothing items and their prices.

As always, I’ll recap the 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. The only items I will reuse from past blog posts are shoes. Why? Because I only have so many super cheap pairs of shoes, and without reusing them, I would’ve had to be done with these cheap blog posts long ago. Since I am reusing shoes, I won’t tell you about them unless they’re shoes that are new to the series. I will include gifts (aka, free items), but only jewelry –not something that could make or break the outfit. No foundation garments – tank tops, socks, etc – are used as part of my total. Prices are almost always exact, but some are from memory – and those are likely within fifty cents. Lastly, I tried to include items from a variety of stores. After all, no one wants to see ten outfits made entirely of clothes from Target.

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

sweatshirt – Country Peddler – FREE! (was $8, used credit)
jeans – Levi.com – $27.92
shoes – Y’s Buys – $3
fleur de lis necklace – Helzberg – gift
TOTAL = $30.92

The older I get, the more I want to just wear Levi’s all the time. I think they’re fantastically comfortable, and they’re an American institution. However, it’s rather difficult (for me) to find a good pair of Levi’s. (Let it be noted that I’m only looking for Levi’s skinny jeans. Their bootcut jeans and I have never gotten along.) If you go to a Levi’s store, most of the jeans are what they call their “curve ID” jeans – they’re super expensive and have the magical ability to make my butt appear 25% larger than it actually is. What I want are the classic Levi’s: the 524 skinny jeans, to be precise. Those are a little more difficult to find, especially if you’re like me and aren’t looking to pay full price. Thankfully, the online Levi’s store is there to save the day. They stock the 524 skinny jeans, and they’ll have some pretty great promotions from time to time (30% off and free shipping). That is how I got these Levi’s – and the other two pairs of Levi’s that you’ll see in this blog post. The fancy sweatshirt came from Country Peddler (thanks to my store credit!), and I have to tell you, I have a serious thing for fancy sweatshirts. They’re as comfortable as a regular old sweatshirt, but with the embellishment (in this instance, lace), they make you look put-together – and not like you’re just wearing a sweatshirt (which is totally the case). The necklace was a gift from James. It’s a fleur-de-lis, which I have had a serious love for ever since I lived in New Orleans.

sweatshirt – Plato's Closet – FREE! (was $6, used credit)
pants – Target – $22 (gift from James)
sandals – JCPenney – $3
necklace – $10 (40% employee discount)
TOTAL: $35

Oh look! Another fancy sweatshirt! I really love clothing with decorative zippers: add that to my love of embellished sweatshirts, and I was sold. I usually don’t have much patience for Plato’s Closet as the racks always super-crowded and not very compatible with browsing. This time, though, I was waiting for the buyer to go through some clothes I’d brought in, and I sifted through one of the racks. And it’s a good thing, because I wear this sweatshirt all the time. (Extra bonus: the Plato’s Closet buyer had taken some of my clothes, so I just cashed in for this sweatshirt.) The red pants were a gift from James many years ago. I know, I know, I said that I wasn’t going to use clothing gifts as part of my blogs, but I’m making an exception. Justification: I know how much the pants cost, so I’m using the price as part of the outfit total. Plus, I just wanted to wear red pants. This necklace is one of the few things I have left from my American Eagle employee days – I stopped working there in 2010, which pretty much meant I stopped shopping there in 2010.

dress – Country Peddler – $0 (was $12, used credit)
shoes – Target – $19.99
pearl earrings – Etsy – $10
TOTAL = $29.99

These cheap outfit blogs would be nothing without Country Peddler. Like all of the Country Peddler clothes I’ve featured, I got this dress using my store credit. I had tried on the dress once before and wasn’t sure about it – it was too flowy, too bright, too something. When I came back a few months later and found the dress still on the rack (and marked down), I gave it another shot. Who knows what changed from the first time I tried it on, but the second time, I loved it. One of the reasons I love it is because of its length. I love long dresses, and I really love when a dress is long enough so that I don’t necessarily have to wear tights with it in the winter. Tights are the bane of my existence, and dresses like this help me avoid them. My earrings are real pearls – cheap real pearls, thanks to the miracle that is Etsy. They had to be shipped from China, so the wait time was a tad long, but you know what? Shipping from China was FREE, so you won’t hear me complain.
sweatshirt – Goodwill Brookings – $3.75
jeans – Levi.com – $26.17
sandals – Target – $5-ish
TOTAL: $34.92

These Levi’s were also part of some kind of promotion through the Levi’s website. Because seriously: you just can’t find a good pair of Levi’s for that price. These particular jeans are especially stretchy, so the comfort level is high. As you know, Lake Poinsett is one of my favorite places on earth. There are a few area stores that sell Lake Poinsett gear, and it’s always rather expensive. So imagine my utter delight when I came across this sweatshirt at the Brookings Goodwill. I haven’t really had the ambition for a Goodwill clothes shopping session lately – they require much patience and perseverance – but finds like that remind me why I do it.

shirt – Old Navy – $4.75 (buy one, get one free)
skirt – eShakti – $9.97 ($25 gift certificate + 30% off)
shoes – Target – $7-ish
scarf – Forever21 – $8.80
TOTAL = $30.52

Out there in cyberspace, there’s a website called eShakti. They make clothes to order – you can customize the sleeve length, neckline, length, and so on. You can even send them your measurements, and they’ll make a garment based on them. As you might expect, such custom clothing runs toward the expensive side – which is why I never gave eShakti much thought. That is, until I was looking for a skirt with an anchor on it. You see, I had purchased an anchor skirt from Modcloth, found that it was a bit too big, and returned it for one size smaller. However, the smaller size was too small, and the original size was sold out. I called Modcloth to find out that my return of the original size had not been relisted on the website. They said that instead of restocking it, they’d just send it back to me. Fantastic – in theory. When two weeks had passed with no shipping confirmation email, I called Modcloth, and they delivered the bad news: there had been some kind of miscommunication between customer service and shipping, and my skirt had been put on the website. No surprise, someone else purchased it right away. What a bummer. I went on a half-hearted internet search for a similar skirt and wound up at eShakti.com. I balked at the original price of the skirt, but I quickly realized that there were a great many promotions to be had. Not only was eShakti running a 30% off sale, but they were offering a $25 gift certificate to a first-time buyer. And that’s how I got a custom-made anchor shirt for less than ten dollars.

jacket – Plato’s Closet – $12
trousers ­– Maurices – $8.74 (75% off)
shoes – Modcloth – FREE
TOTAL = $20.74

Last summer, Maurices had this crazy sale on dress pants. (You’ll see another pair at the end of this blog.) I don’t particularly enjoy wearing dress pants, but I like buying them even less. They’re always expensive, and I just don’t want to spend money on things that I don’t really want but know I need (much like tights). Maurices to the rescue. I had tried on their dress pants before and liked the way they fit, but I wasn’t about to spend $40 on them. However, when I found said dress pants on the 75% off rack, I was suddenly a lot more willing to buy them. The only real downside to these pants (and all the Maurices dress pants I bought that day) is that they have no pockets. I would’ve been willing to pay extra for pockets. And my shoes? FREE. It’s not too often that you get a pair of brand-new shoes for free. (Besides, you know, as a gift.) I was on the hunt for red heels, and I ordered this pair from Modcloth. When they arrived, they had a substantial scuff on the heel. I took a picture of it and emailed it to Modcloth, assuming that they’d offer to exchange the shoes or to give me a small percentage back as a refund. I received an email back from them saying that – oh no! – these shoes were sold out in my size, so they couldn’t exchange… but to cover the repair cost (repair? ha!) of the scuff, they would refund me THE FULL AMOUNT. Modcloth for the win!

shirt – Country Peddler – $0 ($15, used credit)
jeans – Levis – $26.17
belt – Charlotte Russe – FREE! (came with a shirt)
shoes – American Eagle – $6
necklace – Helzberg – gift
TOTAL = $32.17

Like many businesses out there, Country Peddler has a Facebook page. They’ll post pictures of some of the new clothes they’ve gotten in, and I get a kick out of looking at their pictures. When Country Peddler posts something on Facebook, they’re usually inundated with requests from people asking them to hold the item. The featured clothing sells really quickly, and that’s why I was amazed to stroll into Country Peddler one day and find this blue shirt. I’d seen the shirt on a mannequin in one of their Facebook pictures and assumed it would be long gone by the time I could get there. It wasn’t – and wouldn’t you know it, it was my size. These jeans are the last of the cheap Levi’s, and I’ve worn these so much that they’re already starting to wear at the knees. The necklace was a gift from James for Christmas 2013 – it has black and blue diamonds and came with a matching ring. James is pretty great.

shirt – Francesca's – $9.98
pants – JCPenney – $8 ($10 off coupon)
belt – Modcloth – FREE! (came with a dress)
shoes – Target – $14.98
TOTAL: $32.96

Francesca’s was one of those stores that I never really ventured into – I only saw them in the cities, and they always looked overpriced and overcrowded. I finally went into one in a cities suburb and found out that it’s not so bad – as long as you stick to the clearance rack and try not to let the overabundance of colorful patterns get the best of you. Sioux Falls opened a Francesca’s not too long ago, and the first time I went in, I emerged triumphantly with this shirt. It had come off the clearance rack (surprise) and was marked as final sale. That’s the thing about Francesca’s – if you get it on super sale, you might not be able to return it. In this case, I was willing to take the chance. I don’t often have luck with clothes at JCPenney, but our relationship has been steadily improving. JCPenney will issue these “$10 off a purchase of $25” coupons, which are nice, but the REAL excitement comes when they send out the rare “$10 off a purchase of $10” coupon. That’s how I got these pants: I was in desperate need of a pair of plain old black dress pants, and JCPenney happened to have this coupon. Ta-da: cheap black dress pants.
shirt – Goodwill St Paul – $2.99
skirt – Forever21 – $15.80
booties – Dollhouse – $15 ($10 off + $15 Paypal survey money)
TOTAL = $33.79

This shirt is yet another score from the St Paul Goodwill. Oddly, most of the really good stuff I find at the St Paul Goodwill originated at Target – and this shirt is no exception. I must’ve missed it at Target the first time around. And I’m sure I couldn’t have gotten it at Target for $2.99. The maxi skirt came from Forever21, which is my go-to source for trends that I want to try out but not spend much money on. Hence: maxi skirt. The booties came from the days when I was still toiling away, taking online surveys for a pittance. It took me ages to save up enough points to trade them in for $15 in PayPal credit. Add that to a $10 off coupon, and that's how I only paid $15 for these booties. Yes, I'm calling them booties. That's what they are called. And we're all just going to have to deal with it.

cardigan – Trendz – $10.50
trousers – Maurices – $3.74 (75% and $5 off)
shoes – Goodwill Brookings – $4
bird bracelet – Michaels – $6.50 for supplies
TOTAL = $24.74

I talk about Country Peddler an awful lot, but Brookings does have another consignment store downtown: Trendz. Trendz used to be just a few stores down from Country Peddler, and it was pretty grubby. Most of their stuff looked like it belonged at Goodwill, and half of the store dedicated to children’s consignment (all of which was covered in a layer of grime). Not too long ago, Trendz packed up and moved to a different building at the edge of downtown, and the store is worlds better. Everything is cleaner and nicer, and even the children’s consignment area looks downright welcoming. I hadn’t gone into the old Trendz in years, so I went into the new Trendz on a whim – and was pleasantly surprised. While Country Peddler is still my consignment store of choice, it’s nice to have another option downtown.


There we are: ten more outfits from my cheap outfit cache. This time, I only used items from 18 different stores (and two gifts). In all my other blog posts, the number of different stores has exceeded twenty – I even got up to 24 in my last blog post. I was a little disappointed with myself at first – 18 just didn’t seem like that many. But then I looked over my outfits, and by golly, I think this is the best set of outfits I’ve ever done. Quality over quantity, my friends.

This particular cheap outfit blog is a little different in that it is really pants-heavy. Most of the cheap outfit blogs tend to have more dresses or more shorts, but I just happened to find a lot of good deals on pants. Good pants deals don’t often come my way, so I have to say that I’m a little proud of myself. Feel free to be impressed.

That’s all for the latest chapter of the cheap outfits. I’m always on the lookout for great deals, so stay tuned for installment number seven!

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