Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ten outfits under $35, part V.

Will I ever get tired of putting together cheap outfits to show you? I don’t think so.

Putting together these cheap outfits is honestly a blast for me. It requires some creative thinking and a wee bit of math, so doing this is clearly good for my brain. Besides, what fun is finding a great deal if you can’t show it off?

This is my fifth blog post where the outfits are $35 or less. You can reread the others if you please: volume I, volume IIvolume III, and volume IV. Before I settled on $35 as my perfect dollar amount, I also wrote posts about outfits that were $30 or less and $40 or less.

How did I decide on $35 as my limit? I initially started with $40 as my total, but putting together an outfit under $40 was a little too easy. So I cut my limit by ten dollars and tried outfits under $30. That was significantly more challenging, which I enjoyed – but when my price ceiling was that low, it was tough to truly make an outfit. Sure, I could do it, but the outfits were the bare minimum. I didn’t have any room to add the little touches that make an outfit fun, like accessories.

As always, I must go over my rules.

1.) I won’t include an outfit just for the sake of it being cheap. I put a lot of thought into these outfits, and any that you see here are outfits that I would wear in public.

2.) All of the clothing items you see here are new to the blog, with two exceptions: shoes and belts. I have been reusing shoes for a while now, mainly because if I couldn’t reuse shoes, this blog series would’ve been dead a long time ago. This will be my first blog post where I reuse belts, and it’s for the same reason. I only have so many belts, and sometimes, your outfit just needs a belt. Since I’m reusing these items, I won’t tell you about them unless they are new to the series.

3.) Something new about shoes: in the past, I have tried to only use a pair of shoes one time per blog post. However, I find myself putting together outfits that aren’t as great as they could be because of my limited shoe options. For that reason, I will now allow myself to use a pair of shoes multiple times per blog post, but I'll try not to go crazy.

4.) I will include gifts, but under only two circumstances: jewelry with no price or clothing with a price. If the gift is jewelry, its price will not be added to the total. (And chances are I don’t know the price.) If the gift was an item of clothing, I will include it ONLY if I know the price, which will contribute to the overall outfit total.

5.) Foundation garments (socks, tights, tank tops) will not be used as part of the outfit total.

6.) The listed prices are almost always exact. The longer I’ve been doing this, the better I’ve been at keeping a list of cheap items with the potential for this blog – and I note the prices ASAP. Some of the items are pretty damn old, though, and I have listed those prices from memory. And those prices are almost certainly within fifty cents. I rarely forget a good deal.

7.) Lastly, I tried to include items from a variety of stores while still maintaining the quality of the outfit. It gets rather dull to see clothes just from one or two places. Then this blog might as well be a clothing catalog, and no one wants that.

With all that out of the way, please enjoy the seventh (!!!) edition of my top ten cheap outfits!
dress – Modcloth - $26.99
booties – Old Navy – $2.97
buckle bracelet – gift from James (Wall Drug)
TOTAL: $29.96

This dress. Oh, this dress. I am a definite fan of Modcloth, but I am definitely not a fan of their prices. I saw this dress ages ago and loved it. The price, though? Not so much. I am on a seemingly never-ending search for ¾ and long-sleeved dresses. They are tough to find, and when I do find them, they are usually frumpy times 1000. This one wasn’t: it was, in fact, perfect. Except the price. I added it to my Modcloth favorites (a list of stuff that you like, but aren’t ready to buy) and kind of forgot about it… until the day I got an email from Modcloth touting their 70% off sale. And what do you know? There was ONE of this dress left. In my size. It was a final sale (like all Modcloth 70% affairs), but I was willing to risk it. My boots came as sort of a surprise: they were marked as $12-ish, which is still a good deal. When I brought them up to the register, they rang in at $2.97. And that was that. Me = delighted. The bracelet was a gift from James when we went to the Black Hills to celebrate our first anniversary. I don’t care how corny it is: you just can’t go to the Black Hills without stopping at Wall Drug.

cardigan - Maurices - $8.75 (75% off lowest price)
pants - Plato's Closet - $10
boots – Dollhouse – $15 ($10 off + $15 Paypal survey money)
TOTAL: $33.75

Funny story about this cardigan. I bought it around Thanksgiving last year, and Maurices was having a sweater sale where they’d give you something like 50% off the regular price. That was a pretty good deal, and I really liked the cardigan, so I bought it. Fast forward to spring. I’ve worn this cardigan tons of times, but it’s a hair too big and is always stretched out at the end of the day. I’ve spent the last few months wishing I would have gotten a smaller size. Lo and behold, I was browsing the clearance rack at the local Maurices, and there it was: that very same cardigan. One size smaller. And priced at 75% off the lowest marked price. So now I have two cardigans, and the larger one is in storage. Just in case. I bought these pants at Plato’s Closet after a certain amount of hemming and hawing as to whether or not I could pull of mint pants. I’m still not sure, but they are comfy as hell and have ankle zippers. That’s good enough for me.

sweater – Old Navy – $12.99
Silver jeans – Maurices – $20.99 (75% off)
shoes – DSW – FREE! (org $29.99, had $30 in coupons)
necklace – gift from James (shop in Lanesboro)
TOTAL = $33.98

It’s not very often that the opportunity arises for me to tell you about a new addition to the cheap shoe cache – so I’m going to do that first. I am a big fan of DSW: they have super cool shoes, issue stackable coupons pretty frequently, and have a great clearance section if you’re lucky enough to catch it. I saw these shoes on their website, and I was the very fortunate holder of $30 in DSW coupons. The shoes were on sale for $29.99. Hence: free shoes. The sweater isn’t anything too exciting: an end-of-winter find on the clearance rack a couple of years ago. The jeans, though, were a pretty fantastic deal. As noted in the story about the cardigan (see above), Maurices will occasionally mark items down for 75% off the lowest price. It’s rare to find Silver jeans in my size at such a price, but these fit the bill. Well, almost. They were a 34 inch inseam, which I am not. Luckily, getting jeans hemmed is pretty painless. The bike necklace came from an ill-fated camping trip to Lanesboro, Minnesota. It rained the entire time and our tent leaked… but I did get a cool necklace (and a good story) out of the deal!

dress - Lillian's - $18.72 (gift from Mom, 30% off lowest price)
belt – Modcloth – FREE! (came with dress)
scarf - Plato's Closet - FREE! (was $5, used credit)
boots – Maurices – $12 (50% off, $10 in coupons)
TOTAL: $30.72

I wasn’t going to buy this dress. I tried it on, and it was SHORT. Much shorter than I liked. Dresses must be below the knee or bust. Mom and I were shopping in downtown Sioux Falls, and we pulled this dress out of the clearance rack. Shortness aside, I couldn’t resist the pockets and decorative zippers (you’ll notice that four of the ten outfits in this post have decorative zippers) and the color, and Mom liked it so much that she bought it for me. It ended up being cheaper than we thought, and I ended up liking it much more than I thought. You know how you have a handful of things in your closet that always get you compliments when you wear them? This dress is one of those items. And the shoes? Holy cow. I had been on a mild hunt for a new pair of black hiking booties. (I know. Kind of a weird thing to hunt for, but what can I say? I wanted black hiking booties.) Every pair I found was either too expensive or too ridiculous. I strolled into the Brookings Maurices one winter day and came across these shoes: the last pair, and amazingly, they were my size. And they were 50% off. AND I had $10 in coupons. It was a match made in hiking bootie heaven.

cardigan – Forever21 – $8.80
tank – Forever21 –  $7.80
pants – Maurices – $5.75 (75% off)
booties – Maurices – $12 (50% off, $10 in coupons)
belt - FREE! (came with pants)
necklace – gift from Mom and Dad (Riddles)    
TOTAL: $34.35

A few outfit posts ago, I told you about how I had sworn off of Forever21 for everything but accessories. The time has come to redact that statement. While I don’t get many of my clothes from Forever21, I will find something worthwhile every now and again. This outfit contains two of those worthwhile items. A good mustard yellow cardigan is hard to find, and I can usually count on Forever21 to deliver a good price-point. Also, I have a serious thing for decorative zippers: serious enough that I bought this tank top in two colors. (You’ll see the second one at the end of this blog.) I really don’t enjoy buying dress pants, but I was fortunate enough to find these for super cheap at Maurices. And the shoes? Holy cow. I had been on a mild hunt for a new pair of black hiking booties. (I know. Kind of a weird thing to hunt for, but what can I say? I wanted black hiking booties.) Every pair I found was either too expensive or too ridiculous. I strolled into the Brookings Maurices one winter day and came across these shoes: the last pair, and amazingly, they were my size. And they were 50% off. AND I had $10 in coupons. It was a match made in hiking bootie heaven. Finally, the necklace was a gift from Mom and Dad for Christmas 2014. It’s a key, which I love.

dress - Country Peddler - FREE! (was $18, used credit)
necklace - Francescas - $6.50 (buy one get one 50% off)
belt – Modcloth – FREE! (came with dress)
shoes - Modcloth - FREE! (scuffed heel)
TOTAL: $24.50

Another Country Peddler gem. I don’t get to Country Peddler as often as I like, as I live in Luverne and they are located in Brookings. However, when I go there, I always come away with something fantastic. This dress is clearly a classic, and I feel damn sophisticated in it. Now, if only I had a place to wear it. I love turquoise, so this necklace was a no-brainer. I have to tell you that this outfit is probably my favorite from the entire series… and as of the end of this blog, I will have put together seventy (!!!) outfits for you. My, how time flies!

dress - Modcloth - $29.99 ($10 coupon)
shoes - DSW - FREE! (org $29.99, had $30 in coupons)
TOTAL: $29.99

I have to say: I LOVE this dress. I love the colors and the patterns, and I love the cut. I do NOT love that it’s staticky, but I guess I can live with it. I found it in the sale section of Modcloth, which is my very favorite place to buy clothes. It had gotten terrible reviews (mostly for the color), but I loved the colors and patterns enough to give it a try all the same. Lucky for me, my Modcloth clearance dress worked out just fine.

t-shirt – Old Navy – $4.75 (buy one, get one free)
pants - F21 - $24.93 (10% off)
heels – Modcloth – FREE! (came with weird heel, couldn’t exchange, full credit)
scarf – Country Peddler – FREE! ($15 originally, used credit)
TOTAL: $29.68

Here it is: the fourth and final decorative zipper. I have a feeling that these pants might be a little too badass for me, but you know what? I am kind of really loving them. But let me tell you about this scarf: I once owned an identical scarf that I got at (don't judge) Walmart, of all places. I lost it somewhere in Minneapolis around Halloween, and I thought it was gone forever... until I found its twin at Country Peddler. It was truly meant to be.

tank - Country Peddler - FREE! (was $6, used credit)
pants - Plato's Closet - $7.33 (was $10, used credit)
booties – Dollhouse – $15 ($10 off + $15 Paypal survey money)
bracelet – RIU Montego Bay gift shop – $7
TOTAL: $29.33

Oh, Country Peddler. What would I do without you? I probably never would've picked this shirt had it been on a rack in a store, but at Country Peddler, the price is always right. And it turns out? I totally love it! Same goes for the pants: I NEVER would've paid full price for these crazy pants, but they were worth a $7.33 risk. Which paid off, because I also totally love these pants. Normally gold damask isn't my thing, but I guess you just never know. I got the black bracelet in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We were there on a family vacation, and I bought it in the resort gift shop mere seconds before we were supposed to get on the shuttle to the airport. My sister has a matching bracelet, and I love to wear it and remember our glorious Jamaican days.

dress - Tyanas - $20
sandals – JCPenney – $3 (fall super sale)
belt – JCPenney – $2
necklace – Modcloth – $7.99
TOTAL: $32.99

Tyana’s is a clothing boutique in Luverne, and it’s been kind of a godsend. Luverne (believe it or not) is no shopping mecca, though there are a handful of fairly cute stores downtown. Tyana’s opened up a couple of years ago, and they had things that no other Luverne store did. Namely: stylish women’s clothes. I snagged this dress off their end-of-summer sale rack, and though I was initially hesitant about the blinding hue, I’ve come to really appreciate it. This necklace was originally something like $30 on Modcloth, which I thought was insane. I liked the way it looked, but there was no way I was paying $30. Apparently no one else was paying that much for this necklace: it showed up in the clearance section a few months later.


There we have it: another “ten under $35” blog post for the books. I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t already started planning outfits for the next installment. I could plan these outfits all day long: it’s getting the pictures taken that presents the challenge. In any case, keep your eyes open for more cheap outfits. I’m excited already!

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