Every time I hit “publish” on these Frugal Fashionista posts, I get a little sick tummy feeling.
I feel crazy putting myself out there as a Fashionista, especially when I know that 99.5% of the things in my closet were purchased second hand. Then, I ponder your past comments and it enables me to hit that button.
Do you know how it thrills my heart when people share that they have walked into a Goodwill for the first time since reading this series? Or that you’ve shopped your closet and realized that you have core wardrobe pieces that were forgotten?
One of my favorites was my reader’s comment that told me her husband thanks me for saving their budget, and his wife needs to hang out with me more often. 🙂
Honestly, that is why I do these posts. To give you permission to think outside the box. You are not alone if you desire to get that budget under control, and sacrifice to do it (although, for me…it’s so fun…it doesn’t feel a bit like sacrifice.)
Most of society screams, “You must dress, decorate and purchase this…” to succeed.
My heart mourned last week when I actually had someone say to my face, ” I would never wear something second hand… it feels so desperate.”
(Diving into what the root cause is of those feelings will be a separate blog post .)
Had I not been secure in the why’s and how’s of why I dress, decorate and live frugally, that comment would have given me quite a few sleepless nights, and hurt feelings. Instead, my heart was sad for her. I love knowing that money doesn’t drive who I am or where my worth lies.
Please know, that if you have never walked into a Goodwill or purchased an item from a yard sale, you are still my kind of sweet friend. Many of my closest friends just laugh with me (or at me, actually) when they hear how excited I get about scoring an amazing treasure for a $1.
For me, it’s not about what we purchase, where we shop or how much we spend, it’s just getting to the heart of the matter.
Why do we spend the way we do? Why are the majority of Americans living with maxed out credit cards? How can we live in freedom from financial bondage in a society that puts such pressure to “Keep up with the Joneses.”
I haven’t taken the time to dive into some of these personal finance issues, but I will as I share my “Riches to Rags” story this fall.
Sheesh, I didn’t mean to climb up on a soap box, but can you tell I am passionate about this?
Now, onto my Frugal Fashionista…conference style outfits.
I am one that takes five minutes to pack, but when I looked in my suitcase after those five minutes, I found 3 outfits all in black, with spurts of color from the wraps I chose.
Hmm….I realized I needed to brighten it up a bit, and this outfit certainly did that.
I bought this skirt at a yard sale months ago. $1 with the store tags still hanging.
Since I wondered if it was a bit too bright, I had yet to wear it. But I wanted to wear those awesome red shoes and couldn’t find something that worked…it was HOT outside.
When I matched it with an all white sweater, it brought it all together.
When my daughter saw my skirt with the store tags, she gasped and said, “Mommy, you bought that new skirt just for your conference?”
I replied sweetly, “What do you think?”
” I didn’t think so,” she smilied. 🙂
Just so your in the designer fashion know, “they” say that red is the new black. You can wear it with anything. 🙂
Both days I left my camera in the hotel room…what was I thinking?
Here is my attempt to recreate my Friday outfit…today.
At the Blogger Meet and Greet, one of my new favorite bloggers, Tina from Antique Mommy, gave me the once over and said, “You don’t look like you’re frugal.” Love her!
You know how much I love wraps of all kinds.
Many people feel as if they can not wear black. They claim it washes them out, which may be true, and that makes me sad because I love black. Well, my suggestion is to spruce up all things black with splashes of vibrant color.
Long Gap shorts – $4 – Good Will
I love these because I can go from ultra casual to a night on the town look by adding heels (not that I get many of those, but hypothetically speaking ;).
Black tank top – $1 at Carolina Thrift (with the store tags still attached).
Everything in the store was 50% off, and I had a total bedlam moment as the whole store flooded while I was there. It is quite the story. 🙂
Shoes (pictured at the top of post) – $4 Goodwill.
Wrap – free from a friend who knows I love them and was going to give it to Good Will.
I should have spent a bit more time making sure the wrap wasn’t crooked, but this gives you a sneak peak at how they are very versatile in their look.
On Saturday, I left my room at 8:30am and didn’t make it back until midnight.
Sweet Stephanie from Dayspring/(in)courage took this for me in the wee hours.
And no, I didn’t plan to match the carpet.
I found this dress the day before She Speaks at Goodwill for $5.
When you hit a larger thrift store, one tip is to look at the rack that the employees have recently wheeled out. Those are items that have just been donated that day and typically employees unpack bags/boxes at one time. and hang that grouping on the same rack.
If you happen to hit the jackpot of someone with designer clothing in your size, they will all be in that one spot. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does…it ROCKS!
Another place I look is the dressing room rack where people have just put back what they don’t want to purchase. This is how I found two fun dresses. Someone with great taste, in my size, took the time to search through for some gems. For whatever reason, she didn’t want a hand full of items, and I loved everything she returned to the rack.
For those of you who have a predetermined concept of Crocs. Take a look at my shoes…aren’t they adorable? Yes, they are high heeled
Crocs and they are SO comfortable.
No, I didn’t get those second hand, but I got them free, does that count? (Plus, browsing their site, WOW, there are some great deals.)
It was really chilly in the hotel, so sweaters were a necessity. I would have worn a green cardigan, but since I had already worn green the day before, the $2 Limited white sweater was all I had packed.
There’s a big girl moment with this dress. Those of you who follow me, know I am passionate about great style with modesty. This is the shortest length dress I own by far, but it’s still fun and length appropriate for the day, although maybe not “business casual.”
I had a cute suit coat and pants picked out for my speaker evaluation group that evening, but when our blogging session, which included the launch of (in)courage ended late, I didn’t have time to change.
Guess what one of the comments was about my appearance on evaluation? Inappropriate for speaking…skirt too short.
Ah yes, the irony there wasn’t lost on me. 😉
Sunday – I wore a cute pink top and black pants, but after having to redress today for my black/green outfit, I was not taking the time to do that again. So I stole this picture from Emily.
Stephanie from DaySpring, The Nester, Especially Heather, Jen, Holley, Emily and Dawn
Thanks for coming along on my Frugal Fashionista conference style edition.
Considering that when I add up the total amount of money spent on four outfits, and it totaled $25, I don’t care if someone thinks that’s desperate…I am desperately in love with what that does for my yearly clothing budget. 🙂
Posted at Rhoda’s
I love your frugal style and have purchased a few items from my local Goodwill after reading your first post in this series. Thanks for what you do!
You have incredible style, not "just for shopping secondhand," but by any measure.
I thought of your blog when my sister and I hit the jackpot at the dollar rack at our local Goodwill– I was literally in thankful, excited tears over a pair of like new black flat front pants the fit me perfectly, petite length and all! 🙂 Not to mention a mossy green boucle jacket that I'll be rocking with dark wash jeans this fall!
I am so thankful for folks like you, getting the word out that tighter budgets, the goal of getting out of debt and being good stewards of our resources does not have to mean sacrificing expressing ourselves with style, modesty and creativity.
Your upbeat and warm attitude encourage me to "keep on keeping on" with creative frugality.
I could not believe that the outfit you had on was all of $5. I am so impressed. It's not what you wear, but how you wear it and you wear it well.
One of the things about She Speaks that I was so delighted to see is that no one was focused on clothes. Refreshing.
You really have a gift for finding great deals at thrift shops! You look stunning, and the outfits gorgeous! I have a friend who always shops at thrifts shops and looks adorable, too.
I, on the other hand, feel overwhelmed merely walking into a thrift store. Instead, I seem to have a knack for finding stuff marked down at regular stores. Before the conference I shopped the 70% off rack at a local dept. store. It was buy one of 70% off…get the second piece for $1. Hard to beat!
Anyway, LOVE these posts. I'm going to send a link to my daughter in law. She LOVES thrift stores too! 🙂
Thank you SO much for writing Frugal Fashionista posts. If it weren't for girls like you, I would not be shopping at GW either…I would still be limping along on my very limited cheap-store clearance rack clothes. Instead, I have a growing collection of beautiful designer clothes that I've picked up for pennies on the dollar and I don't look frumpy any more. 🙂 I am still a little shy about admitting in public that I shop at GW…There seems to be a prevailing idea that only poor people shop there.
I guess I shouldn't worry. The other day I saw a brand-new Mercedes parked in front of GW. My husband says that is probably how they afford a Mercedes. 🙂
You are too foxy! I just have to tell you… my friend had a free yardsale today and I scored oodles of cute cloths. I have to go through them and perhaps donate some to the local thrift store… but what a bargain! FREE!
Jen, every time I see you you're always stunning! No one would ever know you shop the thrift stores, you beautiful woman!
Hello Jen – love your fabulous frugal outfits! You have such a great eye for pairing things together. I get so much inspiration from your blog! Thank you.
I love your posts. I am a clearance shopper all the way. I spend a little bit more than you do, but when you are a size 14 tall and an 11 shoe, it is hard to find stuff at goodwill! Either way, I love to see your posts! I got nine shirts and 2 dresses at Kohl's today for $30, so not too bad!
Hi Jen, I love your Fashionista posts and as I've only just recently found your blog I hope you don't stop doing them now! I am off out yard saling tomorrow … because of you:-) I haven't done it for a while, because, well it just gets too hot here in TX and to be honest I don't think there as many good sales during the summer months, the Fall is much better. But I found a community yard sale near by so I will go to that. I have to be honest and say I've never looked for clothes at a yard sale, I'm usually wanting books or household stuff, but again, you have inspired me and I will do just that tomorrow, and see if I get lucky. I'm not averse to wearing second hand clothes (I had to do it a lot growing up in England… we never had much money and I often got hand me downs from friends) but it's more for the reason I just don't seem to find anything (at Goodwill) that actually looks new! I really think I need to take a closer look and start using my imagination too. I love your outfit in black with the green wrap, I love that it has sleeves in it, it just looks so comfortable to wear.
OK, I've rambled on long enough. Should I find anything of interest tomorrow I shall be sure to blog about it and perhaps leave you a comment so you can come read about it 😉
Have a great weekend
I love going to Goodwill! It is always an experience!!!
I enjoy your FF posts. I have posted a couple of times recently about shopping my own closet b/c at this season we have a 0 budget for clothing. Thankfully I normally buy separates so I am having fun challenging myself to coordinate pieces in a different way.
Pooh on the sad woman who thought your skirt was too short!
You have amazing style–I love your thrifting posts. I love to shop the same way and am limited by my location, but have scored some great stuff when visiting larger communities.
Kudos to you!
Oh honey you looked fabulous! I've read your blog for a bit now so I knew you'd be sporting some previously adored thrift store finds. I like to do that myself. I like yard sales too but I can never find someone to go with me and I'd get lost in my own neighborhood so me driving is out of the question. I wish you lived closer!!!
I hope to see you again soon!
Lost my last 2 comments here because of a dying battery, so here goes the short version, and hopefully will post!
Thought of you when I scored some great frugal finds last Fri at a garage sale! Practically new jeans that retail for $69 for only $1!! And cute heels for only $2! Whoo-hoo!
Loved all your conference outfits…so chic!! 🙂
Please keep up these Frugal Fashionista posts, cause I love them! You are inspiring so many of us out there to dress our families fashionably for less, and in this economy, that (to quote Martha) is a "good thing"!
Thank you for what you do. You are a kindred spirit.
I love to see all your great finds! Who cares what other people think!
I have a hard time finding things for myself in thrift stores, but I have a friend who's closets are filled with thrift store clothes, and you would never know it.
My closets are also 90% thrift.. you look like one hot mama!
J, you are always so in style and I love that you go about it with such gracious stewardship. You are an encouragement to me!
I'm a frugal fashionista too. But I'm a frugal everything. :b I used to work in the advertising dept. of a major retailer, and I saw how much everything was marked up, so for the life of me, I'd CAN'T pay retail for anything! It would be sinful! 😉
Those blue espadrilles in your first pic…I bought a pair almost identical to those a few weeks ago at Goodwill! 😀 $3!!
I love this series!!! It is my most favorite!! You always look so classy!! It is inspiring!
I have such a difficult time finding clothes to fit (tried on 19 tops to get 3 today!) But I always go for the "steep" sales. I love to see how fashionable you always are & love the inspiration you are to so many of us. I did find some brand new in package jewelry at a yard sale recently for $1 (necklace & earrings!) Keep up the great ideas!
I think you have beautiful taste and great style. No one could ever know by looking that you've put together your fashionable wardrobe by thrifting. I love buying second hand anything but it's tough to find clothes in my size at the GW. I do shop Kohl's and Cato's sticking to the clearance racks saving money buying deeply discounted items. When you know who you are and you're secure in that knowledge then you have no desire to keep up with the Joneses or Smiths (since my name is Jones *smiles*) because your purchases will reflect your values and beliefs. Great job on your Frugal Fashionista series, keep it up, we all love it!
Hmmmm, I will say just one thing about the desperate comment. It is the times I have been most desperate that my creativity has been thrown into overdrive. That is usually when my best ideas come to light. Inspiration is 99% desperation, and the other 1% is the dollar you get to make something happen. I'd consider that a compliment in the highest form!
One of the things I wanted to share with you is that I love how comfortable you are with the camera. Your sweet face just works well on film. It really challenges me to have more fun when pictures are taken of me. I'm good at "the pose" and everything looks so scripted! Your blog challenges me to lighten up and embrace the face I've got!
I am addicted to your blog now, and unfortunately, you have a new stalker. Luckily- you have distance working in your favor, cause I'm far away. 😉
Mahevelous, Dahling! You are mahevelous!
I tried the frugal fashionista myself and posted about it, with a link back to you, of course. Hope that is legal..??
You look so beautiful in all of your outfits!! Thanks for the inspiration.
Wow… your outfits are beautiful! What great finds! Please don't feel crazy for posting these posts… they are inspiring! I can't imagine the poor woman who thinks it is desperate to shop second hand.
Considering that the mainstay of my wardrobe is my collection of $2 t-shirts from the clearance rack at Target, I would say that your strategy is much better than mine! I have no style. Thanks for the free lessons & inspiration! Can you take me shopping with you sometime? Blessings!!!
I think your outfits were great!!! Can't believe someone wrote "inappropriate" on the comment card. I need to get on the weight-loss bandwagon so I can score some cute stuff too. 🙂
I so have to laugh at the 'Keep up with the Joneses' saying. I am a Jones, and honey, let me tell you… anyone could far surpass what we have!lol I don't mind though. I love Yard Sales and Garage Sales! I seriously get a [thrill] when I spend $.25 on something when I know the person who bought it spent at least $15-20. My daughter was almost 5 before she really knew what a store looked like to buy clothes. Even now, she loves yard sales… teaching her young!!
For myself though, I have a hard time finding anything. I'm 6' tall, weigh more than I should, so it's very rare that I find something I can wear. But, I am losing weight, so I'm hoping in the not too far future, I can start looking for tops at least. Pants, that's a whole other story.
When I do buy in the stores, I love going to the outlet mall in Gaffney SC. I hit Lane Bryant when they are selling the previous season at way discounted prices, and then they'll be taking off even more. I bought a bunch of their capris last year, all the $39 and up ones for like $4.95 For my size… that's a steal! And because I knew I was losing weight, I went a size or two down, and they all fit great this summer! And then the ones I can't get into yet, I have for next.
Girl, I think you are great! You looked very fashionable and beautiful when I saw you. If I can tell you to do anything, it will be to 'Rock on!!'
I love the outfit in the first picture. I normally don't go for bright, vibrant colors but that outfit makes me want to try it!
I love your posts! The deals you find are amazing! I have shopped yard sales and thrift stores all my life. There is no way I will ever pay retail for anything! Most people will spend $25 for a shirt alone and that is what you paid for everything you wore. That is how I am. If I ever spent $100 I would come home with a trunk full (lol). It is hard for me to spend that much 🙂
Love your posts!
You looked gorgeous dahling! And I tend to think that the lady who made that comment to you might be a wee bit desperate herself! You handle everything with such grace.
$25??? That's unbelievable. I know the quality of clothes that I DONATE to Goodwill…so I have no doubt you find amazing things there. I think I'm living on the wrong side of the equation, though.
BTW, so fun to meet you. You are even sweeter and more delightful in person than you are here.
I've got a cute pic of us…one of only four pictures I took at the conference.
I so look forward to your Frugal Fashionista posts. Whatever you do, don't stop them coming! Every outfit looked amazing and the dress didn't seem too short to be appropriate at all.
May I tag along on one of your shopping trips? 🙂
I love garage sales, but I don't have good luck finding clothes for ME. Maybe I need to look harder and longer…
Ok, so like… you're my kind of lady. I mean seriously. My husband is an amazing provider… The only complaint that he has about my spending is that it's not enough. 🙂 Am I strange for feeling bad about paying $7 for a skirt? or $8 for a huge framed wall-art with the original price of $80 still on it?? I just really think FRUGAL ROCKS.
LOVE your conference outfits. You are certainly an inspiration, in so very many ways. I'm really liking the black and green combination lately.. and I love your floral skirt ensemble!
I am so very thankful for you! I am getting ready to go to our local church sale where most of the clothes are on 50 cents a piece! I would have never even looked until I read your stories. Last month I found some great high end name brand skirts! I have really built my school wardrobe up this summer because of your encouragement on the cheap. I can't wait to see what I find today! Keep it up sweetie!
My DH and I decided not to have credit cards, which people seems to think of as crazy. If we dont have the cash for it, we just don't buy it. After reading your blogg my sister and I will be going to Goodwill (which is opening a superstore around us!) You look like a million bucks, so let everyone know there is a bunch of equally "desperate" women right behind you. Desperate to show that we care more of spending time and money on our families than buying that terrific dress at Anne Taylor (which is by far my favorite store) we are in awe of how much you inspire us…keep the great looks coming!
Goodwill (and other thrift stores) are a treasure trove for sure! I find sometimes I get overwhelmed too but when I go looking for something specific, say a black skirt, I can fly through looking for just that color, etc. Even if you can't find a whole outfit for $5 on the cheap, certainly one item in an ensemble that you get for a few dollars helps out a bunch.
Thanks for sharing! Now I'm gonna have to plan on hitting Goodwill Monday – the day all weekend donations start popping out.
The wrap and the dress are my favorites!
My mom always taught us how to find great deals at thrift stores and garage sales- I don't buy a piece of clothing at retail price unless it's absolutely fabulous. You can also find great vintage jewelry!
The only thing I have trouble buying used is shoes. I dunno, it kinda grosses me out.
I think you rock!!!! And the comment your daughter made sounds just like something one of my kids would say. 🙂
Oh, and I'm SO with you on that philosophy, girlfriend! I need to join your party again, I have a whole closet I could show off too. You do it so well for all us frugal fashionistas! And not ashamed of it. It's their loss if people are too proud to shop like this.
totally agree with the second hand thing…….clothes or decorating………what a waste to throw out what someone else could happily use and love……and don't get me started on the debt thing……….sad
I love these posts and the pics!
Great to meet you last weekend, Jen! I could sense right away that you had a fantastic sense of style, but I had no idea you were THAT savvy. What an amazing post! And what a cutie you are. Thanks for sharing all your finds with us.
P.S. I haven't been able to get on your blog (that silly "abort" message), but I'm on my husband's computer and it works here. Hmmm. I'll be back!
Even this Nana is impressed with your ability to scope out those bargain clothes. Anyone can go into a store and buy a dress. Going to Goodwill takes time and effort and I'm proud to say I've done it and been successful. I don't buy everything there but then I am retired and I don't need a ton of clothes.
Thanks for inspiring all of us. Your classic black dresses are as beautiful as you'll see in any magazine.
I think this may be my first time visiting your blog and I just LOVE this post! I, too, love finding ready-to-wear at garage sales/estate sales/thrift shops. It makes wearing fashionable clothes even more fun! Thanks for sharing and come over and visit anytime…
Well aren't you just gorgeous in your thrifty outfits?! You pull it all together so well! I especially love that skirt with those awesome red shoes. AND, you're teaching your daughter such great lessons in fashion and frugality! You Rock!
Jen, I not only love the skirt outfit, I love your heart for blessing women through your gift. My sis has a friend who is much like you in this area. It is such a blessings to see what you have put together. For me it's all about the shoes.
Girl, this is seriously impressive. I'm inspired!
I LOVE the wrap!
I love all your outfits!! You look gorgeous! You did such a great job! I need to go do some shopping this week…
I love your style! I'd say 80% of my clothes were bought 2nd hand ~ my friends think I'm crazy but I feel good about being able to dress well without spending much to do so. I just love your blog!
The green and the black was my absolute favorite.
I thought you looked beautiful in the striped dress, too, with the white wrap.
OMGness! If you didn't tell anyone no one would know! You are gorgeous!!!
Yesterday I took a dear friend who hates to go shopping and has no idea what looks good together. She was whining that 4 people have tried to get clothes for her and nothing feels good. I took her to my favorite thrift store. I picked out 4 outfits within minutes that looked nice and were comfortable. She was so amazed. She spent less than $20. I about freaked out when we went to TJMaxx and her bill came to $80. TJMaxx used to be my place to get "deals", but not anymore. I'm addicted to yard sales and thrift stores.
Ah, I LOVE it. I'm frugal frugal too! Who knew! The other day I told my husband that I must be a cheap date! My outfit including the shoes was a grand total of $3.50! I wasn't looking cheap or acting cheap…if I do say so myself! I so totally hope I can go to "She Speaks" sometime! Thanks for sharing. xo rachel
I have just discovered you from the Nester and I must say, I am smitten with your blog! So much charm. Obviously a faithful woman. Beautiful and unassuming. Much like what I aspire to be and usually feel inadequate about. I have just subscribed for the doses of inspiration and fun. Thank you!
I just re-found your blog! I'm so thrilled you do these fashion posts! I was thinking of you this past week! I found a bigger Goodwill and a new-to-me Salvation Army near each other. I'll be going back into the work force next year. I was thinking that I have got you find your blog again. Somehow I stumbled back here through someone's link! Yea! Keep up the inspiration!
When I read your Frugal Fashionista comments about buying things from thrift stores and yard sales and your closet consisting of mostly those items, I laughed because it reminded me so much of myself and how I buy clothes and even most of my household items. The laughter came from thinking of my daughter asking from the time she was old enough to talk, "who gave this to me or what funny store did you buy this at?" She knew mommy didn't buy things in the same stores as other mommys did, so she called our thrift stores, funny stores. She would ask why we didn't buy our clothes at stores like other people did. I would tell her that we were really, really smart and saved lots of money by buying them at our funny store and from other people. To this day, she owns very few items bought from the "real" store. Because of the generosity of some Craig's List friends, and picking up my thrift store and yard sale treasures, she and I can dress in ways that we could only dream of, if we didn't get them at such great, cheap prices. I would not give anything for me finding these places and people to shop with. I will have to send a picture of one of her "Fashionista" outfits with prices, so you can see that my family is a 100% "Frugal Fashionista" family!