If you haven’t read the first Frugal Fashionista post, click here to get the background!

One of the most difficult stumbling blocks in purchasing clothes at thrift stores is the huge amount of “junk” one has to go through in order to find the “jewel.”

Identifying essential pieces in a core wardrobe makes that process much easier because there is a starting place to the “search and score” process. The majority of larger thrift stores have clothing “organized” in some chaotic pattern – dresses, long sleeve tops, jeans, slacks etc. Often I don’t have time to meticulously look at every piece.
When I enter any thrift store, the first thing I look for (and actually feel for, yes, I run my hands down the rows feeling for great fabrics) are little black dresses, pants, and tops. Black wears unbelievably well on 90% of skin tones and looks classy on everyone, plus it can be accessorized in so many ways.
Our goal is to establish a quality core wardrobe that oozes class in its cut, color, fabric, and style.  I’m searching for essentials that will last for years to come. Building a core wardrobe is key whether women buy retail or second hand.
Magazines cover this topic, but their plans recommend investing thousands of dollars for these pieces. They assure you, it’s worth it in the long run!
With the Frugal Fashionista approach, we’ll save thousands. 🙂
Identifying ten key pieces (and mine will probably vary as I do this series) will allow us to mix and match to make numerous complete outfits, and then we’ll add in the flashy fun. I have had a few questions about what to do for plus sizes.

The great thing about these core pieces is that it does not matter what size you are.

I have been 40lbs heavier in the past (no…not when I was pregnant…lol), and I do understand the challenges that come with larger sizes. I have shopped thrift stores spanning ten different sizes, so I will be sensitive to that.
Core wardrobe pieces are important, especially for larger sized women.

Don’t fall into the trap that says “clothes only look good on a size 2.” You can look classy and chic whether you’re size 2 or 22.

There are various opinions on what should compose those essential pieces.

I will briefly share what stylist Tim Gunn says, considering I have all those pieces in my wardrobe right now, but will be adding a few more of my own.
Each week, I will focus on one of those core pieces.
(Well, I’ll be honest. You’ll probably get what ever outfit I was wearing the day before I post, since that’s how this blogger works.
I have committed to shorter posts, so you don’t have to brew a pot of coffee each time you read me. ;))
Tim Gunn’s 10 Essential Items Every Woman “Needs” – (wants, in my opinion)
  • Basic black dress (ohhh-I won’t even share how many I own. I never said I was a minimalist. 🙂
  • Trench coat (Yes, I found three this year – all second hand)
  • Classic dress pants (start with black, you’ll find many at thrift stores)
  • Classic white (if you’re cool toned) or off-white (if you’re warm toned) shirt (There are lots of stylish ones…it doesn’t have to look like a man’s shirt.)• Skirt (A-line style looks great on everyone)
  • Blazer/Jacket
  • Day dress (come on – be fun and feminine or cute and sassy)
  • Cashmere sweater/any occasion Top
  • Jeans (some fabulous wearing ones)
  • A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit

My additions are:  a great quality T-shirt – v-neck or crew, chic tank or camisole, fun accessory pieces such as a great shamina (pasmina), wraps or shawls, chunky necklace, one outrageously trendy piece, boots…

I’m getting ahead of myself. Can you tell I am excited to peak your curiosity level on whether you will take the Frugal Fashionista challenge? Stay tuned.
Here is the Frugal Fashionista outfit that I wore on Sunday.
We had the hardest time getting these pictures, and this is the only serious one my son took.
He realized that it was too sunny outside, so we decided to go in the shade a bit.

It was a really windy day here in NC, and my hair kept flying in my face.
I didn’t know that my son kept taking pics, but they are pretty funny, so I’ll share both the Beauty and the Bedlam.
Besides the windy hair, I have a Yellow Lab who just wants to retrieve.
So I would quick try and throw the ball…..giving us enough time to take a picture.
Then she brought me the kick ball and I thought that would give me a more time…
But that didn’t work either…
I was getting hot. I was thinking these black boots weren’t meant for kick ball.

So the bottom line is that this frugal fashionista will have to try some new modeling techniques.
But it’s all part of balancing beauty and bedlam, right? So what is the price point on these items?
Glad you asked. Really, they look a bit classier without the kick ball setting.

*Basic black skirt – A-Line style…looks good on everyone.
$2 yard sale
*Banana Republic basic black T-shirt.
$1 yard sale
*Green wrap
$2 Carolina Thrift Store – brand new with tags
*Aerosole Leather Boots
$5 thrift store
*Matching necklace and earrings
$2 brand new in package, yard sale
And if anything, it was less because I may have gotten the $2 yard sale items for $1, but I didn’t want to underexaggerate. 🙂
And if you want to dress it down, you just switch out the shoes, but wait for the legs to get a bit tanner, and then enjoy the cozy T-shirt. Now that I brought attention to my calves, I almost didn’t post this for fear of acknowledging their far from perfect status….but I did – anyhow.

Just keeping it real.
Next Frugal Fashionista edition: Designer outfits on thrift store budget