Welcome to the 3rd installment of Frugal Fashionista, where my designer outfits are revealed for under $15…that includes the shoes and jewelry.
If you have missed the first two posts in the series, you can find them here.
1. Designer Wardrobe on a frugal budget
2. Building a Core Wardrobe – frugally
As we dissect the ins and outs of finding core wardrobe pieces at yard sales and thrift stores, many of you have emailed me that you just can’t find anything. While I know for some of you, location or size is truly an issue in finding these hidden treasures, but I think for many of you, where to look or how to start is the problem. I guarantee, they’re out there, and when you find them…you will be sold.
How do I know this? Because every Sunday at church, I have multiple people ask me what I found yard saling the day before, and then they want to know how much I paid for my outfit. It never fails that I always hear, “I can never find anything good…it’s always junk.”
Considering that I live in the same town as these friends, and I find great treasures weekly, I know that I need to get working on my post about “how and where to look.”
So for those of you who have been asking…it’s coming….sometime. 🙂
One of the ten essential items that I mentioned looking for in our core wardrobe was a blazer or suit. I find it quite ironic that I am beginning with this “essential” since I am a work/stay at home mom, who would much rather live in sweats all day…but I don’t…for the most part.
I am actually beside myself at the three finds I have come across in the last 2 weeks, and therefore, the suit must come first. I have left the house feeling like a million bucks, when in reality I paid $10. Total. FOR THE OUTFIT!
SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE!!
BRAND NEW ANNE KLEIN SUIT with the price tag still attached.
Originally, $360.00, marked down at Anne Kleins…do you know why?
I found out in the dressing room of Good Will. Someone in the Anne Klein store probably wanted their $360 suit to fit better, and swapped a different pants and top size.
Well, whoever bought it for this amazing deal of $100+, never wore it.
And so I stole it (or feel like I did) for $7!!!!
SEVEN DOLLARS for a fully layered two piece suit that fits like a glove.
Do you like the price tag still hanging down? Sorry, does it feel like I am rubbing it in?
I don’t mean too ($7…seven bucks) Oh, and don’t mind my bed pillows that are still on the sofa. 🙂
Good grief, nice touch, Jen.
This is perfect for those of you who need office attire. I can wear this on Sundays and occasionally when I speak, but for the most part, I will need to mix and match these pieces for versatility.
( just ignore that silly smile…that is embarrassing, my daughter took all the pics. 🙂
A classic white shirt looks great underneath, but I wanted to show you what a blast of color can do. I can find classic white or colored shirts all the time at yard sales for $1, and the sky high price of $3.75 at Good Will or thrift stores.
Someone asked what they should do if they don’t look good in black.
90% of people look great in black, but for those of you that feel it makes you look washed out, concentrate on putting accent colors up against your face. Make sure that you wear a color that compliments your skin tone around your face. An important part of picking a wardrobe is knowing the right colors, and to do this, you need to know what “season” you are or if you fall into the “cool or warm” color spectrum. The blue shirt is a great example of how I can wear any color blazer as long as the accent color near my face falls into the “cool” spectrum, since that is what I am. Scarves are another wonderful alternative for incorporating color by the face.
Here is a great “Eddie Bauer” type look, which it should be since it’s an Eddie Bauer sweater.
Quality turtlenecks will last forever and they look good with everything. I picked up a Black Banana Republic one last week for $1, and this necklace for the same…$1.
Do you know how many amazing things I find for $1. Only in America! 🙂
Every single picture in this “photo shot” was taken by my 5 yo daughter – no one else was home. You can imagine the giggles we had, and the whole time I kept telling her, “Now, you know it’s what’s on the inside that matters, right? Even though we are having fun dressing up, God looks at the heart.”
It was pretty funny because she would “model” all day long if I let her.
I was going to show you that the suit pants look fabulous with the turtleneck all by itself. I had it laying on the floor and she wiggled her body underneath and was hiding when I came back in.
I let her model it for you. She got to pick which picture she wanted posted. 🙂
Please note that I don’t endorse the spring hat with the winter sweater, but she just couldn’t understand why the hat needed to go with a sun dress. lol
Shhh…don’t tell my secret, but I love to wear sport tank tops/bras as my “camisoles.”
Go look back at the first picture. Would you ever have known? Go with what you have. I have them in all different colors and they are great for layering, but don’t tell because a true fashionista would think that very tacky. 🙂
Awesome silver necklace…$2.
Here’s to show you how this stay at home mom would wear this suit out and about at Walmart.
Throw a fun shirt underneath. I paid $.50 for this at a yard sale and would probably never even considered it at a store because it’s a bit fun and funky. I LOVE IT and that’s what I love about thrifting. I can try different styles that I would never before have considered.
There are a lot of different styles of blazers. I love this one that I picked up last week for $2.
I snagged another $.50 white tank top from a yard sale, added a more dramatic necklace and earrings matching set ($4), and I feel like a hip momma.
The 3/4 length sleeves that jet out give it such a great, stylish touch.
Trying to let you see the arms. Pair this with some great jeans,
and some “make me taller than I already am” leather Bass shoes that I got at our Junior League Bargain Box thrift store for $2.50 (originally marked $5, but it was 50% off all shoes day)
and I am loving this outfit…which I put together and wore for the first time today…for you. 🙂
This is what actually inspired posting about suits/blazers today.
Two days before Easter I went into Good Will and saw this 3 piece light blue suit (matching skirt is hanging up in the closet). Since I sang on Easter morning, our “required dress attire” was a choice of purple, light blue or white top and black pants.
I was thrilled to find something “new” for Easter Sunday, and just loved that it was the necessary blue. Just what I needed to wear. I honestly felt the Lord had given me a little gift.
With the matching skirt, it would be more appropriate for a more formal work environment, wedding, or traditional church service. I would probably have worn it with white dress pants on Easter (although I don’t recommend white pants on all body types :).
I layered it with a white blouse, and that looked very classy, but I will enjoy going casual with a white T-shirt under it and jeans as well.
Matching necklace and earrings. $2 brand new from thrift store.
Sheesh, I have a ton more pictures of ways that I mixed and matched all these core pieces, but you all might need to go wash your hair and then shave if I take any longer, so I’ll end with this.
A classic suit or blazer will last you years, and never go out of style (except if you have those huge shoulder pads from the 80’s..cut those out.)
I have had this blazer for years, and it still looks great. I highly recommend a mid length blazer because it can cover a multitude of sins, including those panty lines.
I have worn this jacket through a swing of 30 pounds. Yes, I have. I have worn it in my thin days and chunky days, and it has looked great on both ends.
I can’t believe that I found those first three suits/jacket all within 2 1/2 weeks. It may take you a few months, but if you just keep your eyes open…they are there. I could kick myself now because whoever dropped off the blue suit, dropped off three others in my size. What was I thinking?
I should have snagged them all and shared with you. I found some brand new plus size shirts with the tags on, and they were adorable. Trust me, I was thinking of my blog friends for sure.
Well, once again, I am writing this past midnight, and this Cinderella’s glass slipper is waiting for me…at a yard sale.
I hope you had fun and I can’t wait to hear some of you share what great Frugal Fashionista outfits you are putting together. Remember, if you are starting off new….look for these essential wardrobe pieces, and then mix and match with fun things. And shop your closet. You may be surprised at what you do to liven it up with new accessories.
Once I have at least 5-10 of you on the band wagon, we’ll do a Mr. Linky (since I know how now…yipee) and we’ll have a Frugal Fashionista fashion show. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Have a blessed weekend. I can hardly wait til Saturday.
Trash to Treasure.
What will you find?
Posted at Frugal Friday,
We are that Family
Wow,what deals you found, Miss Jen!! Way to go, you are looking pretty chic!
You are an inspiration. When are you coming to San Diego to take me shopping? Like everyone else, “I never find anything good.” I must not be looking in the right places. 😉
I waited all day for this post 🙂 And, so enjoyed every bit of it! Thanks! ~Connie
Your right about sizing, I’m plus sized so there isn’t much to pick from.
Awesome. I’ll ask you again, Can you come live with me and hold my hand through this “frugal” process?
You have the spiritual gift of being frugal (yes, I make up spiritual gifts 🙂 ). What cute clothes! Thank you for posting.
I have been waiting for the next installment all week long! 🙂 You are an inspiration!
Oh, and I am so happy to see that a jacket I have (with the 3/4 length bell sleeves) is considered hip :)! Although I am sad to say I didn’t pay the price you did..boo hoo…but it was on sale!
How do you keep from getting discouraged if you aren’t finding things (or does that never happen to you?). That is usually the challenge I run into. Trying on five million outfits and none of them fit right or look right is disheartening. Perhaps I am too picky? My mom is a wonderful seamstress and I grew up with handmade items that looked store bought. She created my outfits to fit me like a glove. I was so spoiled 🙂
And I was also wondering how you tried stuff on at garage sales? Or do you? Perhaps you could walk us garage sale novices through step by step?
Loving your blog!
What a great post! Your little girl is so adorable…so fun.
When you get ready to do Mr. Linky on a FF post, I’m here for ya!
I want to go shopping with YOU!!!!
You look great and I love the last couple of pictures with the jeans and that black coat…simply lovely!
The suit is a great buy, good shopping. Suit-wearers do some really perplexing things, have you noticed: Wearing two different shades of black top and bottom – no, no. And real suiting jackets with jeans – disaster. Best to find the casual cut of jacket – I love this season's safari inspired pieces – even H&M has them for next to nothing – and pair with a white tee and a pair of super dark wide legs or a sailor cut trouser. I buy great cut, super trnedy jeans on Rue La La for unbelieveable prices… Be well, the Hostess
Wonderful, flattering, fun outfits. I am amazed at the goodies I find. Thanks for sharing!
You are such a pleasure to read! I am thinking that I may be able to find some great stuff as I just moved to a fairly well-to-do area–I am hopeful that there will be several Anne Klein-type finds in my local thrift stores. Crossing my fingers!
Wow, Jen. Great job!
I love, love, love the cute little black jacket with the jeans & the funky new shoes.
Enjoy your weekend & hitting those yard sales.
love, love, love looking at all of your fun finds. can’t wait to hear where i should look in our area. thanks for sharing all of this with your faithful readers. so fun.
Love that 3/4 length jacket! You are definitely Queen of a Good Deal! Have a great weekend!
I love the Frugal Fashionista! I do shop at thrift stores and yard sales sporadically, but your ideas give me some idea of what I could pull together! Thanks!
Congratulations on your great finds! I am going to a large community yard sale in the morning where I have found some fantastic deals before; you have inspired me to look for clothes for myself there, not just my kids!
You are totally an inspiration!! I will be posting on my blog some of my plazer finds at GOODWILL. I am a WAHM but i also do MaryKay out of the home, and other things like motivation speaking… So i went Wednesday to lunch with hubby as he was off do to Passover…:o) and went to the Goodwill… I found 3 awesome blazers for $5 a piece…They are all name brand… where could you get 3 Blazers that are lined…for that…
I am still a little shy of yard sales but i will work up to it… LOL Thanks so much for all your help!!! Mimi
Jen, you’re awesome! I think I said this in my comment last time, but I’ve just recently converted to thrift store shopping – and I’m hooked! I found a pair of capris that were so cute (and so CHEAP) that I finally decided to lose the 10 lbs. it would take me to get into that size!!
Another thing that I struggle with is buying for a different season. I never think to pick up the turtleneck for $1.00 – because it’s spring now. Another thing I need to adjust about my thinking!
You are too good! Thanks for the tips and inspiration. By the way, I love the picture of your daughter in that outfit – very cute.
I love thrifting and garage sale shopping. I’ve found a couple of nearly brand new pairs of shoes at a thrift shop that I frequent, and for the life of me can’t figure out why the previous owner got rid of them. Oh well, I love my new shoes so I can’t complain.
Wow. You are amazing! And I totally dig your little photographer. She is the cutest thing : ) Especially with the hat on : ).
Oh, I am so with you sister! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Goodwill. I am a little addicted now. If I am going to a new town or area for some other errand – I look to see if there is a Goodwill or thrift store there. I picked up about 4 great suits a Goodwill in the last month. I got a Calvin Klein one three days ago. $10.49!!!!
wow, I haven’t had that luck in years. But then again I haven’t looked very hard in the last 13 years. When we lived in Pittsburgh, I used to do a ton of thrift shopping. I think I may go on Monday when my kids go back to school! You are amazing!
I find things all the time for my size 4 daughter. At Goodwill, I found a cashmere Anne Taylor sweater in beautiful shape for $3. I don’t find much for myself because I am a plus size but the plus size woman needs to invest in great quality clothes and build a wardrobe that way. I have items in my closet 20 years old and they look new. I think plus size people think, I will lose weight so why invest. Trust me, your blazer is a perfect example of the flexibility of some items.
You look wonderful in all your outfits and so does your little one. You are marvelous and look marvelous, too.
Love, love, love the post! I love to garage sale, thrift store shop, etc. I do have one question though – are all suit jackets and blazers the same measurements through the shoulders? Every one I try on is snug through the shoulders – which drives me crazy. I’ve seen some amazing buys but passed them up because the shoulders looked like they were going to come apart at the seams when I tried the jacket on.
Oh, and I’m so short waisted, if I found one that fit a bit better through the shoulders, the hem was hanging at my knees. Am I the only one with this problem?
You defintely need to do a post teaching us where to start and such. Also, do you go out every Saturday searching for frugal finds?
I love your posts…so inspiring! I love thrift, Good Will, and yard sales! However, I have only bought for my boys in the past. An occasional shirt for me. You have inspired me to search for me too! I would never have thought to look for whole outfits either! I’m curious about your circle necklace in your first piece? I love it and have been wanting one. These are pretty new in the fashion world..I think…did you get it at a frugal price…where?
Thanks for inspiring me and others!
I so loved this post and this series.
You’ve given me a nudge to be a bit more diligent in my thrifting, I’ve always thought that because I need some smaller and hard to find sizes I would always be out of luck (petite 2 is hard to come by-even in the stores!)
But I was searching Goodwill just before Easter, like you with the prayer to find something for church, and found a size 2 linen skirt from Banana Republic. Score! I was so excited about this gift.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Blogger AND a model…
Please skip your scheduled post about how to find a great bra for cheap…
This is great. I think I’m the size of every woman shopping at GoodWill because girl, I’m telling you… all that I find when I go are parachute pants, polyester leisure wear, and Wal-mart shirts (which I already own). Oh, I did find an Ann Taylor outfit To. Die. For…. but it was one size too small… and my well endowed area below my armpits left the button holes quivering with all their might to stay together.
When I finally meet you, my sister separated at birth, in real life… you must take me fashionista shopping.
Cute outfits! I don’t really have anywhere to wear those kinds of clothes, but I am feeling like I need to wear something else besides orange and black, our High School colors.
Thanks for sharing!
Yea! Great deals! I *heart* Anne Klein. Since I’ve started thrifting in the last couple of months I really am amazed at the great brands I find. I’ve found Seven Jeans, True Religion (sadly, neither in my size) and tons of Gap. I have a pair of Gap Khakis that I would wear every day. I can’t even bring myself to look at mall prices for crappy quality anymore. Thanks for sharing! Maybe you can have a thrift store clothing linky party at the end of this series?
Great post, girl!! Love all of your outfits! 🙂 Your little one and mine are only a year or so apart, but I know they are kindred “mini-fashionistas”!! 🙂 What a time they would have playing dress up together!
I love the fun, funkly tops or tanks to go under things. Just enough pop without being too bold!!
I love thrift store shopping but I am so jealous though – our thrift stores NEVER have cute jewelry (you found some great jewelry!!!) and I like the Bass shoes as well. My sister hates the fact that I buy shoes from the thrift stores but sometimes you can find some that look brand new -a little Lysol and you are good to go!
CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!!!!!
You are such an inspiration as the Frugal Fashion Queen. AWESOME deal on that suit! I know when I find deals like that – I do feel like I am stealing it. I almost want to ask the cashier if she will take more money for it. (I of course DON’T…)
BTW – I have 8 Tagged you (see my blog for details)
Wow Jen…. what deals! Those outfits are gorgeous!
Great finds! I’m doing a post (hopefully today) about garage sales! I’m still a newbie – so I’ve got my work cut out!
Yep, it's out there! I'm proof of it too, so I know it's not just in your city. Those are great outfits, Jen! Good for you. I think I'll have to do a fashionista post too, since I'm all over thrifty clothes shopping too & I'll def. join in your Linky party when you do it. I wore an Ann Taylor long dress for Easter that cost me $1! My parents were amazed. I've got to do a post too, this will be fun.
Oh my goodness – that is amazing!!!! Thanks for the inspiration to go out and find our own great deals!!
You definitely have inspired me to look more! WE have soooo many great thrift stores around here. I haven’t done much garage saleing but I would definitely like to try.
OK, Kloe and I just had some great giggles over Emma hiding under the clothes….and that pictures of her with the hat is stinking adorable!!
To Emma: You were too funny and cute. And I like your dogs.
To Mrs. S: I like your suit.
Jen, you never cease to amaze me. You are definitely the QUEEN of frugal fashionistas everywhere. I bow to you!
Love your style…love this series!
WOW! You have some really great clothes for very little. I am impressed! I am going to have to go Goodwill shopping for clothes!
Bummer; I forgot today was “yard sale day,” and will be out of town next weekend. Maybe the *next* weekend I can jump in with you.
I am amazed that so many of the comments say that plus sizes are hard to find. All of the most amazing clothes I find – whether at yard sales, thrift stores, or regular retail – are, almost without exception, plus-sized clothes. Big bummer for size 0, as they won’t come close to fitting me. But there’s a ton of really cute plus-sized stuff out there, especially if you like feminine shapes!
I found your blog via “The Nester.” I love your series on frugal fashion! I’ve been doing this for years, and it’s great to see someone of like mind out there in Blogland. I’m sure you know many people who just won’t do this–too icky! But your bargain clothes are just fantastic! Would you ever consider a little fashion show of used clothing items you have bought for your children?
Oh, WOW!!!! You really scored…love that bright blue top you paired with the blazer…really cute! 🙂
I feel like I leave the exact same comment everytime, but gotta say it again…You inspire me. Absolutely love all the photos. Please tell your very talented little photographer thank you!
Love the photos, I’m sure your daughter had a blast with it! I think I commented before that many of the stores where you get the best deals do not exist in my area and now I see that even our Goodwill stores charge more than yours does – you’re lucky!
Love it!! My whole maternity waredrobe was from goodwill! Can’t wait for the linksy party!!
LOVE your post..but I have to ask you something off topic…I love the green walls in your pictures…Can you tell me what color it is…I am getting ready to paint our family room, and that is the color I have been looking for…I tend to find too dark or too light.
Thanks…sorry for the off topic comment.
Yet another reason why I love Goodwill. I am just never certain what is “in” style in regards to jackets or blazers though. I guess I would have to window shop at a store first to see what’s “in.”
don’t you look cute! i love all your thrifty finds.
Hi Jen – I love this Frugal Fashionista series – have been following it closely! In fact, I sent the link to several of my co-workers a couple of weeks ago. I noticed you commented at our Econobusters blog recently. I’m the editor of the Molly’s Money-Saving Digest, and would love to get in contact with you about sharing some great clothing advice with our readers in July’s Digest. If you’re interested please email me at Editor (at) Econobusters (dot) com. Have a wonderful day! thanks
Thanks for the fashion advice,, I’ve got a box of things that was given to me recently and there are at least two jackets in there, maybe I’ll try wearing them now..Thanks
I am so jealous! Your finds are gorgeous. You clearly are working the shopping mojo. 😉
what awesome steals and awesome inspiration!
My mom taught me to thrift and it is something that always brings me suprises and that special feeling of being blessed! I love your frugal fashionista posts because you carefully highlight the how you find and put outfits together. The best part of thrift shopping vs. retail is the amazing variety. There is always something for everyone’s taste–you just have to know how to look.
Unbelievable the bargains that you find! But lets face it….YOU would look good in anything! You could make a paper sack look stylish and chic!
My only suggestion is that *sometimes* a girl needs to splurge a little more on some great artisan jewelry. ahem… 😉
Other than that, you look FAB! I love thrift store hunting, but for clothing I’m like the above poster that finds many things polyester and/or acid washed. That’s probably because I’m in a small town – not much fashion here for the most part.
I have two velvet blazers that I LOVE and wear them dressed up or down like you did here. LOVE them with a brooch.
Lots of giggles over here over you and your daughter playing together! Loved this! 😀
Jen, You mentioned NC – I’m in NC – would you consider acting as a “personl shopper”?
I just love this series, I just found it today. I wrote a post about elegance and included in the comments about how my mom can “feel her way through the Goodwill” to the great deals.
I LOVE GOODWILL. Don't forget Salvation Army too. It costs even less but takes a little more time unless you know how to look for namebrands, quality fast. I get Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Gap, Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor, etc., etc. Let the other people spend the big bucks and get it for almost free when they throw it out! I used to spend WAY too much and now get the same things for a fraction of the cost!!
I am sixteen. I bought a leaf blower almost brand new at the Goodwill for my father for Christmas for eight bucks. They let me plug it in so I knew for sure it worked.It is my job to sweep the kitchen, when my mom is not here, I remove the rugs and use the leaf blower to "sweep" the kitchen. Then I use the swiffer and put a few papertowels at the bottom attached with rubber bands and finish the kitchen! I have way more great clothes than my friends. They think we are rich! I do chores such as picking up pecans and selling them in time for the holidays. I am soux chef for my mom when we cook for church. I do the chopping and washing dishes, and she pays me. I am crocheting a scarf with pretty brown and black fuzzy yarn from Big Lots. A ball of yarn costs $1.00 and at night, I either crochet, read, watch style and homeshows on tv, (LOVE CLEAN HOUSE), and look up how to do things smart on the net. I am the new Martha Stewart on a budget!!
Hi Frugal Fashionista!
Me again. I really love your clothes. I wanted to tell you more about my scarf. I am not that good at crocheting, but it's called Phentex Fashion Eight in sable at Big Lots. Its really easy b/c when you mess up, you can't tell b/c of the way the yarn is made, and you can go back and fix it and it's not noticeable. I was making it for a Christmas present but may even keep it for myself! Wonder if I could get a job at Goodwill for Christmas holidays and get a discount on things I buy? Does anyone know? I know that when we drop things off for donation, they give us a ten percent discount to use in the store, and we have a Goodwill card that earns points, so when we have spent so much money, we can get 25% off! We shop at very nice places sometimes, but we love Goodwill, thrift stores, Salvation Army, Fred's, Dollar G., Dollar Tree, Beall's. We really love the Ralph Lauren outlets and Gap outlet. Right now at Gap outlet, you can buy a Gap tote and use it every time you use it for addt'l. ten percent off!