It’s been so fun to do this Frugal Fashionista feature and read all of your comments and emails.
I do believe I might have a few of you doubters pondering this designer duds on a dime option.
If you’re new to these posts, please click on the Frugal Fashionista side bar button to read all the installments. They will give you the background of why I shop thrift, some of the hesitations with second hand shopping, but mainly…all the great benefits. 🙂
I am veering away from the essential pieces of a core wardrobe, and sharing one of my highlights from buying thrift.
I love the opportunity to step out of my typical wardrobe comfort zone and wear things I would never have dared to wear if paying retail.
A few years ago, I would have considered myself a fairly classic dresser. Give me a black dress, a great necklace, and I was good to go
(well, some things haven’t changed…wait til you see my post on ALL of my little black dresses. 🙂
In fact, I bought my first pair of jeans only five years ago when I was with some girlfriends on a beach trip. Having been heavy in my early 20’s, I could never find jeans that I felt comfortable in, and I never shed that “chubby” mentality that I had lived with as a single woman. It only took that one pair I tell you, now I’m converted.
Once I began feeling comfortable with who I was, and didn’t worry so much about “what I looked like,” I really started having fun trying new things.
My philosophy? If I don’t like it, I can just pass it on. I only paid $1 – 5 for it.
Some of the ways that I have stepped out of my comfort zone.
- I am wearing new colors.
I automatically navigate towards certain colors. Usually, they are colors within my “summer – cool” toned spectrum, but I have had a blast experimenting with both brighter or darker shades as well. I never envisioned that I could wear brown. This winter at Goodwill, I bought a brown turtleneck, accented my eyes with deeper brown shadow shades, wore brown lipstick (a first), and guess what…I got a bunch of complements….on brown. Who would have ever figured that? Now that summer is coming, I will enjoy some brighter colors, and I can’t wait to show you another “out of my comfort” dresses in hot pink. It’s supposed to be on the post, but technical difficulties happened.
- I am trying new sizes.
Do you have a wardrobe of various sizes like me? I am slowly getting rid of my larger sizes, but I have kept quite a few…just in case… (I get pregnant…not gain back my weight…hee hee). With buying second hand clothes, you quickly realize that size means nothing. In the last month, I have bought a size 6 and a 12, and they both fit great.
At most thrift stores, they have a dressing room and I always take advantage of that. At yard sales, the prices are never over $1-2, so I take a chance by eyeballing the item.
- I am dressing more trendy.
Believe it or not, I am dressing more “in style” than I ever did when I was buying retail. I can afford more items and I can experiment in new ways. I can be a bit more daring in designs, patterns, accessories, colors etc. Some women turn over their clothes frequently based on size, the season or a shopaholic syndrome. I have been their benefactor and they don’t even know it.
So step out of your comfort zone a bit when shopping at these thrift stores and yard sales. Just because it’s something “you’d never wear,” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. 🙂
Here’s my prime example.
This dress I bought at Good Will months ago. It was brand new – Arden B – with a $98 price tag still hanging on it. I looked on their website and I am guessing it probably went on sale for $78. Still, I paid $5. It is an XL, which I am not, but I knew that because of the drawstring, I could make it as small as I wanted. This dress could be worn by someone many pounds heavier than me, so again, size is relative for this dress.
This has waited and waited and waited while I got brave enough to wear it to church.
What was I waiting for? I LOVE IT and my son even said I was stylin’.
Why was I hesitant? The pattern is bold (maybe, sort of hippie-ish), the stripes go sideways, and I thought maybe I was trying to dress too young for my age. Never again will I let those feeling deter me from trying something different and fun.
I had a blast with this on…it gave me an extra hop with those honking high heeled boots. 🙂
Although, truth be told, I did need to get past my total self consciousness when my 9 year old daughter looked at me as I put it on, and said, “Really, Mom, can you just put on a normal skirt or something?”
Yep, she said it, and I almost hung it back up for a few more months, but I persevered.
I wanted it to be a bit more modest. It was showing some cleavage (which many women love – not me), so I layered a brown tank underneath it.
I had just found these brown Chinese Laundry brand boots at a yard sale for $2. They have this great row of buttons up the side of the boot that you can’t see.
I am not a high heel kind of gal. I just haven’t figured out how to build up that muscle yet, but I can put up with anything for a few hours.
Anyone who wears boots like this struts…just a little…try it. 🙂 Plus, I knew with summer coming, this would be one of the last times to wear my dark boots.And here is the official “I am a bird and I can fly” picture that my son took. I am attempting to show you just how cool these big sleeves are…somehow the affect has been lost on me.
So, remember – have fun with your clothes, whether they are from yard sales, or Sax Fifth Avenue.
Throw on a huge chunky necklace that is so “in”, try a Julia Robert’s “hat”, accent with a scarf, buy a hippie looking dress and enjoy a lift from your designer doldrums. 🙂
At least one “out of your comfort zone” purchases will be so worth it.
Dare to be different!
(edited to add: I woke up to some great comments from ladies who initially thought, “Only Jen, can find such cute things.” Read their stories of “hitting the jackpot.” YEA!!
We’re going to do a “fashion show” in 1 1/2 weeks and we’ll show off our style…Frugal Fashionista style with Mr. Linky. 🙂
I’ll get you an exact date…so look for it.
I am loving these fashion posts and second all of your fashion tips! The GW allows me to dress in ways I would never spend retail $$ on! Thanks again!
These are awesome! If I like the style, the fabric or the maker, I will buy a larger size. I have a great dry-cleaner by my house and they have an alterations person who is fantastic and soooo inexpensive.
I can get a fab outfit on clearance or at a thrift/consignment store and get it perfectly altered for my wacky body. For pennies.
Love it! You look great! I need to find some time to go shopping.
I.LOVE.THESE.POSTS! You are amazing. I am dying for a good thrift shop. We have none. At least that’s what I thought until the other day. I found a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store online that is supposedly some where in this town. I’m on the hunt for it tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!
That dress is so fun! I just got some hand me downs…things I would never buy on my own…but I put them on and they are sooo cute! It is amazing what you will find with an open mind! Some of my favorie tops have come from the thrift store! And plus, when they are too big/small…it is so much easier to get rid of because I know I got a great deal! Great post Jen! 🙂
I absolutely love that dress! It looks great on you!
Oh Jen! I have to share this with you. As I have been reading the Frugal Fashionista posts I have thought, “wow that’s great that SHE can find cute clothes that fit well for cheap; but I can never find things like that.” Then one day driving down the road I saw a decal on a car that said, “I heart www________yardsales.com” (insert name of military base). I decided to check it out and WOW! Yesterday I hit the jackpot; I found an officer’s wife who bought a whole bunch of new clothes, and then got pregnant. Fortunate for me we are the same size! 🙂 I came home with 2 pairs of capris, 2 shorts, 2 dress trousers, 1 pair of trouser jeans which are amazing, a sweater, a very cute top AND a gorgeous evening dress for this year’s military ball. Grand total? $45.00. Not kidding. And they are all high end brands! Thank you, thank you for all the great tips and inspiration for even trying on another person’s clothes! 🙂
Wow! What a great dress… and a great article too 🙂 You go girl. Life’s too short to be a “safe” wallflower.
You look AWESOME! I’ve been a real slacker when it comes to clothes. I’ve got a pair of sweats and jeans. I kind of feel that since I’m a SAHM I don’t deserve nice clothes. I really should go to Goodwill…but my little daughter starts whining in that store so there’s never much time. And that’s something you need shopping second hand stores- time. Perhaps I’ll have hubby watch the girls while I go shopping. 🙂
I have always shopped for kids’ clothes at yard sales, but I never looked for clothes for myself. You have changed that! Two weeks ago I hit the motherload! Brand new sweaters and dress shirts from the Banana Republic – with tags on them, for $2 each. Whooo Hooo! I still can’t figure out why she was selling them – they were perfect. I even bought a brand new winter dress coat for $10. I was so proud of myself. Thanks for the encouragement!
I LOVE that dress on you–what a find! I just bought something wild at the Salvy earlier this week: a Vertigo Paris (BCBG) cardigan. It is made of slinky rayon with a multicolor animal print, beading, and sequins! The shape is very classic, though, so somehow it stays in my comfort zone. $6–hurray!
Jen, it looks great! I’m off to the thrift store today – hope I can find some great buys.
Okay, you ROCK that dress, girlie! And don’t mind what the kids say…Kiddo told Sound Man the other day that a t-shirt that Sound Man wanted was too “cool” and “young” for him to wear. Whatever. I bought it for his birthday. What do 9 year olds know? : )
Dearborne Family and Anonymous – I tried to leave you a comment, to no avail. You don’t even know how thrilled I am to read this. It’s so fun to encourage others in this fabulously frugal way of life, and reading encouraging success stories like this are so worth it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Make sure and share those finds when we do our Mr. Linky party.
Oh Sheri – Your cardigan sounds like a definite “out of my comfort zone” purchase. I think I would have snatched it up for $6 as well. What fun..animal print – you go, girl. 🙂
You are HAWT, woman! That dress is the coolest thing I have ever seen! Yesterday, I was shopping in the clearance section of TJ Maxx, and my fashionista friend said, “Hey, here’s a cocktail dress for $10!” It was bright pink, and different, and I laughed. She said, “No, really try it on!” So I always listen to her when she says to try something on. I LOVED it! I am going to sport it at BlogHer I think! I just have to fix a button, but I’m so excited!
You are one hot, thrifty momma!!!
great testimony to shopping frugal!
I get soo many more compliments on my great finds vrs spending more on new stuff..funny that I also can play more with colors and sizes this way!
That dress is so darling on you!
Love it! You look great!!
You look great in that outfit!! 🙂 If you do a linky party, then I’ll try to find an outfit too! 🙂
Please explain how you lost weight. You seem to enjoy food :), so how did you do it and keep it off? Also, I am new to your blog, and have been trying and trying to listen to your praise music to no avail. Is there a secret?
Oooooo Jen – I can’t tell you how much I LOVE the things that you’ve taught me. It’s almost as if you’ve given me permission to frugally buy things for myself! Since becoming a subscriber to your blog, I have stepped out of my comfort zone (which ironically is brown) and picked up many really great things from thrift stores – things that I normally never would have considered, but take on a whole different light when done inexpensively.
I bought $410 LEOPARD SHOES for crying out loud! And they are gorgeous… And I LOVE them. And I’m SO wearing them to church with a crisp white girly-blouse and black skirt. And you KNOW I’m going to be saying “Oh yeah – that’s right – I’m wearing LEOPARD” in my mind.
Thank you for opening up a whole new world for me…
I’d wear it. I give it two thumbs up!
Love the dress! I’ve just gone back and read the old Fashionista posts – you have an amazing sense of style! Can’t wait to see more!
I looove that dress. I also like the idea of trying different sizes. I have learned to adjust to that as I am on a weight loss journey.
Look at you in your snazzy dress!!
Jen, it is greatness! Small children do not know fashion for adults. 🙂 Also, THANK YOU for being “pro” the cami under dresses and not showing cleavage and for not being ashamed of it but just putting it out there on your blog. 🙂 To me it’s part of the purity puzzle. We need to remember our Christian brothers when we go to worship all together (or anywhere else we go for that matter). No sense in making things harder for others. I am looking forward to the Mr. Linky party! Such fun! Kelly
Thanks Jen for all your good tips! I recently had a baby (trying to lose the weight, but it’s slow going) and none of my “regular” clothes fit. I didn’t want to go out and buy all new clothes that I’ll only wear for a short time. Thanks for reminding me about thrift shops and yard sales! I went to a community garage sale the other day (got lots of great things for baby) and a RED leather(ish) jacket for me for 50 cents! I also went to the thrift store around the corner and found lots of great clothes for really cheap!
Keep up the great posts!
I love these posts! That dress is adorable!!
I think I feel a eating/weight loss post coming on. :)It’s been years since I really struggled with my weight, but one never loses that feeling of what it was like. I probably didn’t do it the most healthy way, but I started doing aerobics 3-4x a week and eating VERY low fat. I would eat salad, but I would also eat Peanut Butter Captain Crunch (oh bless my heart) because cereal is really low fat. Do I struggle with my weight now? I know it doesn’t look like it, but remember this post? I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, but will keep going strong. I went 4times a week for all of Jan, Feb. and March and now the thought of going through all that pain again…ugh. But I know it’s good for me.
Oh my goodness! I love going to second-hand stores. You realize just how much you wasted before! A month ago I went to a children’s second-hand store and got a Janie and Jack pink quilted hooded jacket for $2.50 for my daughter. It was marked for $10 and was 75% off!!! It was worn maybe two to three times. WOO HOO!!! This probably retailed for over $50. I checked on ebay and it was selling there for $49.
Fabulous again – I do have to say that our Goodwill here seems to be high priced – I tried on clothes there today FOR ME – that is a first – and found jeans that I liked but they had a price tag of $29.99 – I thought for sure that was wrong – I took them to one of the workers and they took them to the back and returned to tell me that the price was correct because of the brand – they were Rockies – as in western cut jeans – I was fully shocked – I am pretty sure I could buy them new for that price or close to it – I did end up getting a shirt though that is so fun – but it was $6.99 – not really a bargain in my book – I think I’ll have to shop around for better shops and better buys – you are inspirational for sure!
i just recently discovered your blog…and i am in awww. i love everthing from your frugal fashions (wish i could get that lucky), to plan ahead freezer meals. you are awesome…can’t wait to see more!
oh I love it. I’d wear it in a heartbeat… with the tank. I have to wear them with everything it seems.
Love it! I hit the jackpot at Sally Ann yesterday. All clothing was 1/2 off. I got 2 Ann Taylor Loft skirts for $2.00 each. One was silk – gorgeous – and the other still had tags on. Plus I got a gorgeous, styling knit dress for $4.00. My teenage daughter got an armload of dresses and skirts, cute, cute, hip clothes, and our total amount spent was less than $30.00.
Wear that to NCHE, pretty please! I love it and I want to see it up close. You look so cute and so stylish! It’s funny, but I’ve been wanting to sport a little flair lately myself, which is somewhat unusual for me. Mabye you’re rubbing off on me. Thanks for helping me work up my courage to be different.
By the way, I will be wearing something exceedingly different when I give my reality talk at NCHE so beware!
I am seriously in love with that dress! And you absolutely pulled it off. There’s nothing wrong with being the hippest mom around! Beautiful, Jen!
It has been way too long since I went to the thrift store. I think I might have to go next week though. I am feeling VERY inspired all of a sudden. 🙂
I have so enjoyed all of your posts in this series! I am headed out for a thrift store shopping spree this week with some birthday money that I hope to be getting tomorrow. I will be printing off your list of essential pieces to take with me. Thanks so much for such a helpful series.
Jen – I have been a recent reader of your blog and have really enjoyed all your fun reads. I have really loved this new series that you have started. I have to say that I was surprised to read on this post that you were once a heavier person. Any chance that you would share some of that story with the rest of us? For many years, and I know that there are other women that do the same thing, because I am not thrilled with my “size” I choose not to dress as fun or stylish. Might you share your thoughts on this or share your own triumph? Thanks Danee in Northern California
Love the dress and boots!
I’m a little late seeing this. I love the dress! Super cute. You could also wear it over jeans and that would look awesome too!
Every week I look forward to your frugal fashionista post! You encourage me to remix what I have in my closet with jewelry or scarves and shop at TS’s! Now I look at the clothing racks at the TS more carefully and search to see what I can find. I move so much, nobody knows me and my lack of fashion or my being uncomfortable about wearing something trendy. So I’m proud to say Balancing Beauty and Bedlam has encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone!!! You are a role model to me and I’m 40+ with an 8yr old. Thank you!!!!