April 28, 2017

Business Casual – Dress for Less

Feb19

Frugal Fashionista

(No camera lenses were shattered in the taking of these photographs. If it appears blurry, it’s not your eyes. It’s called forgetting to take pictures of my outfits before midnight and then relying on hotel room lighting.)

When invitations state “business casual,” various images and mixed opinions are shared from different people.

Especially when a blogging conference with five hundred women is your destination, you realize just howt women and clothes are a CRAZY combination. I can’t begin to tell you he worrisome buzz going around for months leading up to this weekend. Never before was I so thrilled to have committed to $10 Frugal Fashionista designer outfits. Without the anxiety to purchase new clothes, my stress was lifted. (Well, besides the pressure that I had to make sure everything I wore was second hand, cute and under $10/outfit. :))

Classy, dark jeans and heels are always a win in a business casual environment.

My $5 thrift store jeans, $1 yard sale sleeveless tank paired with a wrap that I just let hang loosely at my side, can take you from daytime conference to evening party without having to go back and change.

Total for outfit (including shoes):Β  $9.50

Time taken: After Cinderella’s pumpkin popped

FIFTEEN minutes before closing, the thrift store’s rude cashier yelled at me to get out of the dressing room, so I never got to try on this shirt (true story). Yet the cool sleeves lured me even before I saw the whopping price of $1.50, (whoot whoot) which only sealed the deal. If it didn’t fit me, I’d pass it onto my best frugal friends, and they’d love it. Honestly, I never would have picked out a shirt like this just by looking at it on the rack. It was one of those “Dare to be Different” decisions, and I am so glad I bought it.

Pairing the shirt with jeans is an adorable and trendy option, but I decided to dress it up with my $0.50 yard sale skirt. This skirt is a bit big for me,Β  but the comfy, comfy material allows me to nap in it, clean in it, and use it as a swimming suit cover up during the summer. Ask me how I know. πŸ™‚Β  I’ve done all the above and more with that skirt.

  • Shirt – $1.50 (thrift store)
  • Skirt – $0.50
  • Boots – $4 (thrift store)
  • Necklace – $2 (yard sale), (earrings – gift)

Total: $8.00 for the entire outfit

Time taken: Past the point of no return.

( Kimba (my sweet roomie) and I were laughing so hard thinking about what a bedlam moment this was of me modeling my cheap, Goodwill duds in the richy Opryland hotel hall. You know that kind of punchy laugh you get when you’re so tired that everything is hilarious. We were at that point. Well, I was laughing. Kimba was snorting…just telling you how it was. πŸ™‚

It was a blessing to meet other fun frugal friends who didn’t raise an eyebrow when they asked where I got my cute shirt. I can’t tell you how many people came up and shared that they had entered a Goodwill for the first time because of me. I don’t know if that’s what I want written on my epitaph, but it sure warmed my heart.

I sat next to Julia on the bus, and somehow I mentioned thrifting. How fun to find out the outfit she was sporting was second hand. I think with the cute purse the total came to around $18 (and I wish I could remember the brand of that bag because it is quite the designer label.)

Mela introduced herself to me after I spoke on “Niche Blogging” (representing the frugal living niche), and she shared her outfit were some Goodwill love as well. (And I don’t even know if she knew how I’d love that scarf. Did she see my video tutorial? LOL).

Isn’t it wonderful to know that women around the country are embracing the fact that we can re-purpose, reuse and look fabulous while still dressing for SO MUCH less?

I love being a Frugal Fashionista.

Have you found any fun frugal finds lately?


Comments

  1. After viewing your vlog about shopping at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago, I plunged into the women’s clothing section. It was all so overwhelming before, not knowing what to look for on tons and tons of racks of randomness. I usually just steered directly to the children’s clothing and avoided looking for something for me. Since learning the tips you shared, I’ve found two very cute sweaters and two super nice pairs of jeans for myself! One was a pair of Seven jeans for $6.00 and I was lucky enough to have them fit just perfectly! Felt like God gave me a little gift! Anyway, just wanted you to know how much I appreciated your words of wisdom of what to look for!! You are doing a great job!!

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    Jens Reply:

    @Becky, I loved reading this…it does feel like a little gift, and just a different, yet unique way that He looks out for us. πŸ™‚

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  2. I’m so glad you’re a Frugal Fashionista, too! I shop thrift all the time but tend to get stuck in my ruts, always choosing the same colors and styles. Your posts have helped me think outside my little box and look for things a little more daring and yes….fashionable! πŸ™‚

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  3. The Junior League here in Charlotte is finishing up their end of season Gambler’s Sale. I scored a pair of Nine West pants, two Ann Taylor Loft sweaters, and a Liz Claiborne blouse for $10 + tax this week. Even their regular prices are ($10-15 for pants) are pretty good when you look at the brands they typically get. They also have a lot of petites which means I don’t have to take everything to a tailor later. Ever since I found the Junior League Wearhouse I’ve been able to wear nicer clothes and better brands than I could ever afford retail. And because I could afford to replace my wardrobe after some significant weight loss, I’ve maintain my weight for almost a year and a half. I want to be able to stay in the smaller sizes I now own.

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  4. Love love LOVE the top outfit! And I just started reading Julia’s blog, as well – she seems like the real deal. πŸ™‚

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  5. I ran into in the halls late at Blissdom while you were still sporting outfit #1-it was adorable. All of my outfits that I wore that weekend were either Clearance or Thrifted…..which I love. I got many compliments on my cream color flowered headband that I got at Family Dollar for a whopping $1.50 (I love it)

    So glad I got to briefly meet you-hopefully next time it won’t be so late.

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  6. Wow. Jen. I would never have guessed you got those clothes at the Goodwill. I haven’t been in there since I was young. I guess I need to go back.

    While I can go into the grocery store and come out with $100 worth of groceries for $3, I am at a loss when it comes to clothes. I’m fashionably challenged πŸ™‚

    You looked wonderful!

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  7. I spotted some really cute scarves for $2.50 at Target–hot pink, aqua, black, and more. A couple of weeks ago, I had a great time at Goodwill’s 1/2 price Saturday sale. I didn’t spend more than $3 on any one item and most were much less. Here’s a sample: Ralph Lauren long sleeved purple tee, Croft and Barrow nubby sweater, Liz & Co taupe/white cardigan, SB Collection taupe/white long cardigan, Casual Corner red sweater, Ann Taylor Loft red cardigan (with ruffled front!), NY & Co black cardigan (thin and can be worn all year long). Oh, and Harve Benard black quilted blazer!

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  8. I haven’t found any frugal fashion finds for myself lately but I did pick up about 5 shirts for $2 or less each at a thrift store for my son, the brands were Gap, Old Navy and Childrens Place. They look like they were barely worn.

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  9. I’d love for you to link to my Thrift Stores Thursday link up!

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  10. Jen,
    you always blowe away with your frugal fasionista posts. I can never find anything at Goodwill to fit me. LOL, maybe i need to lose some weight. I applaud you for being able to dress for as little money as you can….and look good too!
    I was totally laughing when I read the Kimba was snorting thing. LOL, I have been with friends and we have been so tired where everything that was said and done was histarically funny.

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  11. What great outfits, Jen! You always look amazing :)!!

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  12. Fabulous outfits!! I’m hoping to get to my local thrift store today to get some new pants. Since losing weight I am at a loss for things to wear. πŸ™‚

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  13. Love that first outfit…very very cute. The green is flattering. πŸ™‚ I was in Goodwill this morning, but I about had a nervous breakdown b/c the 2 year old wanted to stay in the toy area and the 4 year old kept saying, “I wanna go home!” And it wasn’t the nicest of GWs either, and that’s saying something. I’ll have to go back another time, sans bebes.

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  14. I have REALLY got to have a bit of sunshine and energy to make photos of ALL the finds I have from Goodwill lately! I’ve really jazzed up my work attire and my office gals just can’t believe I buy it at the Goodwill store. Designer blazers, skirts, tons of sweaters (Mostly Gap and Liz C), a Brighton belt and even a Prada handbag! My co-workers are begging me to take them along and show them how to do it. LOL

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  15. Mrs. Jen, I sure do love your posts on just about anything, but I especially love the frugal fashionista posts. I just wanted your readers to be aware that even shopping in department stores can sometimes be well within a frugalista’s budget. I just bought $377 worth of stuff from JC Penney and only paid $22.24. Thank you Lord for clearance and coupons!

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  16. I am in our thrift store at least once a week and it’s kind of fun to be at the point where I don’t feel I *need* to be buying something, I am just checking if there’s any new steals (and how sad is it that I can eye things up within minutes and, generally, tell what is new to the store!!)

    I recently posted about our shoe finds (my sister is living with us for a few months and has joined me on the quest to shop thrift only for a year.
    Our recent thrift store shoe finds:

    http://paulsbride.blogspot.com/2010/02/best-foot-forward.html

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  17. Wow you looks so cute! I neeeeed to figure out this second hand thing, haha. I simply do NOT buy clothes lately because of the cost but I’m looking a little shabby. You look so sharp!

    Btw, as you said, “business casual” can mean a lot of things. The more conservative version does NOT include jeans, even if they are super cute dark wash trouser jeans like yours. Unfortunately, business casual in my office is this more conservative type. I can get away with jeans on a Friday though πŸ™‚

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  18. Hey Jen,
    NICE outfits!!! LOVE the prices too!

    I have an award for you on my blog
    http://www.bargains4wahms.com/2010/02/youre-going-places-baby-my-first-award.html

    Have a great weekend!
    Sandra

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  19. Love this post!! And love all your outfits! I know what you mean when you say they feel l ike little “gifts” because I feel the same way! I hardly EVER shop retail anymore. Unless I absolutely HAVE to, and then it’s still Marshall’s or TJ Maxx! Goodwill and Salvation army are my fav places to shop! My sons got an Ihome Ipod player for 1.99 and also a keychain with a digital picture frame on it for 2.99 still in the box. They have grown up in there ! πŸ™‚ I cannot even BEGIN to tell you all the clothes I buy my daughter! She’s only 19 months but I buy her (up to 3t right now, should start 4 soon, LOL) and put it in plastic bins. Almost all brand name, boutique and designer clothing for next to NOTHING. SO MUCH FUN! !!!

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  20. My best find recently was a replacement winter coat (thank God I found it before the back to back blizzards!) $10.00 for a long, red wool coat with velvet cuffs and a velvet lined hood! It fits perfectly and looks brand new! Miki

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  21. I like how you think. I wear $8 outfits all the time!! Looking fabulous for less is the best πŸ˜‰

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  22. Something I have never seen addressed when you write about your Goodwill finds is dealing with the odor. The clothing I have purchased at my Goodwill store has a strong unpleasant smell. I have to wash the item repeatably to reduce the odor. Sometimes it remains after four washings. Items that must be washed in cold water are especially reluctant to give up their odor. Please share any tips you have discovered. Thank you for a great blog.

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    Jessica @ Life as I See It Reply:

    Tea tree oil works really well for this job for me. It disinfects and leaves the clothes smelling great! Just a few drops do the trick.

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  23. Love, love, love your posts about your thrift store clothes. You always look quite smashing! One question: when buying shoes, do you ever buy scuffed ones (which is what I mainly see) and if so, what do you use to hide the scuff that will stay on the boot?

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  24. Thanks for your tip to shop off season! Last week on 1/2 price day at the local Salvo (Salvation Army) I checked out short sleeve shirts and shorts and scored 2 of each, very cute ones too- they can be business casual or fun/flirty.

    I love your site and your fashion sense! Thanks!

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  25. Those outfits rock. You may convert me yet–if I could find such locally!

    Awesome. Just awesome.
    Ginger

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  26. I love your blog! I have thrift shopped for years…way before it was even cool! I am always dressed very in style and am amazed that people are amazed that I get almost EVERYTHING at thrift stores or yardsales. I don’t understand why everyone doesn. Of course, then we would n’t have much to pick from:)

    I love the 1st outfit the most…very cute.

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  27. I love reading Frugal Fashionista! Even though I grew up wearing thrift/second hand, I’d gotten away from it after getting married. When we had our son last year, I started thinking ‘second hand’ again – especially for kids clothes. (I know this sounds cliche’ but I swear it’s true:) After reading your blog, I decided to start thinking ‘second hand’ for me too. My best steal so far has been the beautiful black leather Liz purse I got for $4 last week!!! It was marked $10, but the clerk rang it up wrong and was trying to hurry and close for the night. When I questioned him, he told me not to worry about it! Woot woot!
    Oh, and within the past week, I’ve got my son two pair of shoes for $1.99 each – both in great condition! Yay!

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  28. I get more comments on my $2.99 red leather Samsonite tote (MSRP $130) than anything else I’ve ever worn/carried. http://katrinkajane.blogspot.com/2009/11/secondhand-scores-leather-links.html

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  29. It was so good to find your blog. Loved reading about the goodwilling since I have been a goodwiller for a couple of years now. I love to hear about others finds and love telling any one who will listen about mine;>)
    Blessings!

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  30. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

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